Players: Feiya, Caroline, James, Jay
We all agreed at the beginning to play as kids, but not until after we had written our memory triggers. I'm glad we decided it afterwards so that our memory triggers weren't necessarily kid-focused. I think it's more fun to have a trigger that's a challenge to fit into the fiction.
The triggers that we pulled were surprisingly heavy on senses, three about things burning, two about silk against skin, but overall, I think the memory triggers can have very little impact on the actual stories.
It was still a little difficult working the first memory into a pleasant one. They all had elements of something sad or bad in them and I would like to see a completely happy first memory, it might make the eventual tragedy that much more intense.
In terms of the difference in the feel of the game due to the fact that we decided to play as kids...all of the end memories were pretty dark but I felt like initially, there was a little bit of additional hesitation on whether things might get too dark. For example, there were homeless men assaulting an 8 yr old but we left it vague on what exactly happened. Personally, I would love to have things be more concrete so we're all on the same page but I can see the appeal of leaving it vague so you're free to imagine what you want.
But, maybe one of the things that you have to really embrace and trust in, is the fact that you are all voluntarily entering into playing a game of Penny for My Thoughts, and you expect to explore the depravity, cruel, unfeeling ignorance, and just plain bad luck of humanity. However, I definitely had concerns about whether some of the stuff I thought of were just too fucked up (hence the vagueness), but I also don't know if it would be fair to use the Veil as a carte blanche?
Summary of Game:
Character ages ranged from 8 to 10 initially and aged up to 16.
There was a period of time where she had frequently reoccurring nightmares and would crawl into bed with her parents and her mom would hold her and comfort her.
One morning, she tried cooking breakfast for her parents before they were awake and ended up severely burning both hands and had to be taken to the hospital. Due to an allergic reaction to medicine at the hospital, she had to stay in the hospital for a week, missing her first week of 5th grade. When she got back to school, she started lying about what really happened because she was embarrassed.
Years later, she is a cutter and after finally passing her driver's test after three tries, is taking her mom to get burgers to celebrate when she carelessly runs a yellow light and hits a young child that ran out into the middle of the road. Her mom gets out of the car to help the child, and when she also gets out of the car, the car is not stopped properly and starts rolling forward. She runs to the front of the car to try and stop it, but is unable and her mom pushes her out of the way and she watches as the car rolls over her mom's legs and breaks them.
Reason Memory was Lost: Accidentally kills a child and due to her negligence, breaks her mom's legs.
Remember? Yes, to remember the child and so she can make it up to her mom.
She has a rocky relationship with her mom's boyfriend, she wants to like him but worries that it'll be disrespectful to her real dad. She seeks out attention by stealing a banana and hiding the peel under the boyfriend's pillow and later, when they go out for sundaes, stealing her best friend's spoon and hiding behind the store so everyone will come looking for her.
The boyfriend tries to be nice to her by cooking her favorite food, but burns it and in retaliation, she fakes a stomachache so her mom has to stay home and take care of her instead of going out to the opera. She confronts her mom about her mom being pregnant and her mom lashes back that at least the new baby might love her back, unlike her current ungrateful daughter.
Years later, to get back at her mom's boyfriend, she has a boyfriend of her own that she has unprotected sex with at the age of 13. Her mom's boyfriend comes to pick her up, and she tells him he has to take her to the pharmacy to get the morning after pill. He makes her go through the humiliation of buying it herself and in her vulnerable state, she makes a move on him and they end up having sex in the back of the car.
Reason Memory was Lost: She ruined everyone's lives by sleeping with her mom's boyfriend.
Remember? No, the regret of ruining everyone's lives is something she couldn't live with.
After a fight with his dad and stepmom, he hides out in the dog house with his dog Max. When he finally comes in, he tracks mud all over the floor and his dad threatens to get rid of Max if he doesn't clean it up. He lets Max in instead to make an even bigger mess and then runs away from home to live with his mom.
On the way to his mom's place, he gets off the bus at the wrong stop and is assaulted by homeless men in an alley and they take Max, his best friend (dog). The police are unable to recover Max.
Less than a year later, when he's almost 9, he sees his life with his mom crumbling, she's a prostitute and a drug addict and is supplied by her Johns. He doesn't want to call the police because he doesn't want to be taken away from her because he believes she's the only one that truly loves him. One night he follows her out into the rain and intervenes while she's trying to pick up a John. He and the John get into a scuffle and he throws a concrete block at the John but his mom gets in the way and it hits her instead.
Reason Memory was Lost: Traumatized by causing the hospitalization of his mom.
Remember? Yes, because she's the only person that loves him.
For his 8th birthday, his wish when he blew out the candles on his cake was for a bike. His older brother Seth made him tell what his wish was and then laughed at him. He still loved Seth, but resolved not to share any more secrets with him. His dad came home for his birthday party and ended up giving him the bike he wanted.
His older sister is getting married and so he spends a lot of time at his mom's salon but is largely ignored, his mom gives him some money and tells him to go buy himself some candy so he's not constantly underfoot, but he goes to a comic book store instead and spends hours reading there until his mom finds him. She's angry and tells him he needs to grow up and not be so selfish.
His sister gives his parents a canvas painting of the family but they hide it in the attic because his brother Seth came out as gay and they disowned him. One day after school, he notices Seth following him and convinces him to come home and try to patch things up with his family. However, his dad ends up beating up Seth while he stands by doing nothing.
Reason Memory was Lost: Did nothing while his gay older brother Seth was beat up by his homophobic father.
Remember? Yes, he wants to become a better person like Seth.
Thanks for the write-up, and thanks again all for the game. These were powerful little stories. I find myself going over my guy's history quite a bit this week. The more I play Penny, the more I appreciate it. Good stuff.