Rules, rules rules! that's what I've been working on lately. The majority of the work has gone into Chapter 5: I Want You to Want Me, the all-new performance chapter that originally began as part of I Put a Spell on you but soon revealed itself to be another chapter entirely. Now almost complete except for the section about game effects of drug use (an essential element of rock-n-roll roleplaying), that chapter is almost done. Here's a section of it.
• Broken: One half-step from quitting.
• Fractured: Serious illness, disputes or fatigue.
• Ragged: Undeniable sickness, tensions, fear or fatigue.
• Weary: Pushing through troubles but feeling the strain.
• Tired: Kinda beat but dealing with it.
• Solid: All good. Let’s roll.
• Vital: In good spirits.
• Stoked: Hey, ho – let’s go!
• Rockin’: Riding the wave to a killer gig.
• Soaring: Firing on all cylinders.
• Euphoric: "I could live for a million years."
Get Your Shit Together
Just before a gig, a character or band that’s feeling ragged can try to pull things together. In story terms, the artists involved try to rectify the situation: talking, hugging, praying, snorting lines, shagging groupies, meditating, beating the crap out of one another – whatever seems to work for the musicians in question. In game terms, the players decide what the characters are doing, and then make an appropriate “Get your shit together” roll. That roll depends on the situation and characters involved:
• If the character’s trying to get herself in order alone, roll the traits related to her attempt to do so – probably a will or stamina-based roll. In Compact rules, this would be a Spirit roll.
• If characters are trying to help one another, make that a social-based roll, again using the appropriate traits. This applies to physical solutions, too – decking the drummer might involve a social trait combined with an attack.
• A successful roll raises the performer’s energy or intoxication one or two levels in a favorable direction; an unsuccessful one drops it one or two levels. A Triumph adds three levels, while a Disaster drops it three levels. Really dramatic roleplaying might raise or lower that attempt even further, with significant story-based effects.
• You can try to get a character’s shit together onstage, but at a -3 penalty to the roll regardless of who’s doing what to whom.
Tough love is a staple of the music business, and often involves methods that seem appalling otherwise. For better and worse, punching the singer is a time-honored way of solving problems backstage… and sometimes it even works.
Chemical enhancement can either take your performance to the next level, or else level it completely. This double-edged circumstance reflects your overall impairment (see “Let’s Get Fucked Up,” [[[PAGE XX]]] ) and its effects on the performance. If you’re playing in a band, the modifier reflects the impairment of the group’s most intoxicated member. That character’s bonus or penalty counts for or against the entire band, allowing a psychotropic insight to bring everyone else along whereas foggy flailing spoils the gig for everybody.
Each + or – modifier adds to or subtracts from the performance roll. Intoxication categories are:
• Visionary: Drug-inspired brilliance.
• Grooving: Locked into a tight trip that totally enhances the experience.
• High: Loose enough to shake the rust off.
• Sober: Not under the influence, or not showing it if you are.
• Buzzed: A bit blurry and slow on the uptake.
• Skewed: Scrambled reflexes, perceptions or both.
• Wasted: Obvious mental and physical impairment.
• Wrecked: Making an ass of yourself.
• Gone: Total impairment, collapse, or both.