We’re doing a lot of things we’ve never done before this year: 2-player games, massively epic games that will take more than a single episode to resolve, and some other neat things that I like. But we’re also doing some things that I love from previous seasons, like playing a rules-light indie RPG that lets us tell a compelling story without a lot of crunchy rules.
Today, Matt Fraction, Amy Dallen, Kelly Sue DeConnick and I played an absolutely phenomenal game called Misspent Youth. Here’s my introduction to get you excited about it:
MISSPENT YOUTH is an indie RPG about friendship, rebellion, and kicking ass, designed by Robert Bohl.
I want this pair of episodes to give you an experience similar to our sister show, TITANSGRAVE. That means that the focus will be on the characters and their narrative. I don’t want to overwhelm you with a lot of mechanics and crunchy system details that remind you we’re playing a game. I want this to be about the story.
But there are a few things you need to know before we get started:
In Misspent Youth, one of us will be THE AUTHORITY. That player will represent the force that’s making life miserable for the other players, who will be the YOUTHFUL OFFENDERS. THE AUTHORITY is our version of a GAME MASTER, in as much as THE AUTHORITY player will handle adversaries, challenge the other players, and work really hard to ruin their day. Unlike a traditional RPG where the GAME MASTER needs to be a neutral arbiter of rules and a narrative facilitator, THE AUTHORITY in Misspent Youth openly works in opposition to the other players, and both sides are going to fight like hell against each other to achieve their goals.
The YOUTHFUL OFFENDERS, or YOs, play a group of kids, from about 12 to 18 years-old, who are fighting back against THE AUTHORITY. At its core, Misspent Youth is about the struggle between the two sides.
Before we get into the story, we will all work together to set up the world we’re going to play in. It’s usually a dystopian sci-fi world, like The Hunger Games, Logan’s Run, or the 2016 presidential election in America, but it could just as easily be something more grounded in reality, like the world of Pump Up The Volume, Repo Man, or even Dazed and Confused.
Each session of a game is divided into seven different narrative sections. At the heart of each section is something called THE STRUGGLE. THE STRUGGLE is the primary conflict resolution mechanic of Misspent Youth, and it’s the only time we’ll use dice in the game. One side will win each struggle, and both sides will deal with the consequences. We’ll explain the specifics of The Struggle when it happens.
Misspent Youth is unlike any other RPG I’ve ever played, but I can see the influences of groundbreaking RPGs like FATE, Fiasco, and even Dread in its DNA. This is a game that lets us focus on the story, and makes it possible for old guys like me to imagine that we’re still young and fighting every day for something more important than a parking space. And I’m incredibly excited to be playing today with some phenomenally creative people.
Dig out your Rage Against The Machine records, and lace up your steel-toed boots, because we are about to visit our MISSPENT YOUTH.
Excited? I hoped you would be. If you want to get to playing this right fucking now, you can do a couple of different things: you can order a gorgeous PDF copy from Drivethru RPG dot Com, you can pre-order a printed version (which I own and love because it looks and feels and reads like a graphic novel), or you can freely download the eyebleed version that creator Robert Bohl has put online for your enjoyment.
If you end up playing it (and I really hope that you do), I hope you’ll share some details about the world you created with the other players, because I feel like there are a lot of stories to be told using this setting, sort of like you can with FATE or Fiasco, and those of us who have played the game will really love to see what other players come up with. And, because someone will ask: yes, I’ll release details about the world we created when this episode airs.
18 thoughts on “Tabletop Season 4 Day 7: Misspent Youth”
Thanks so much Wil. You and that amazing group did a terrific job with this game. I can’t wait for everyone to see it (and watch it again myself 1482 times).
Great to hear you’re doing two player games, Wil; most multiplayer games don’t work well when it’s one-on-one (they become quite vindictively combative, and we end up fighting!)
Also good that you’re doing it in a misfits t-shirt…!
I just wanted to come here and let you know that I’m playing my very first pen and paper RPG on Saturday. I’m both excited and nervous about it, but mostly excited I think. I want to give you credit for my interest because it started when I watched your TableTop episode Dragon Age. Any advice or suggestions you have would be great, but I also know you are a busy man and don’t fault you for not answering. Thank you for being you and making cool stuff.
Hunger Games, Logan’s run, Repo man, Dazed and Confused, Pump up the Volume and the 2016 presidential race are great ideas for a bleak rpg game but you forgot High School Musical. No other movie shows dystopia quite like teenagers breaking into song
You got Matt Fraction and Kelly Sue DeConnick? That’s freaking awesome, and so appropriately fitting for the theme.
Right?! We’re super lucky that they were able to play with us, and holy shit was Amy Dallen INCREDIBLE. This is going to be a great episode.
That sounds amazing. I can’t wait to see it!
This game sounds amazing! Pump up the Volume…memories. Can’t wait to see the episode.
I am so happy to see excellent indie RPGs get the love they deserve. Misspent Youth is one of the first games I played when getting back into gaming and I was lucky enough have Rob run a session of it for me at GenCon. “Who will stand up?”
Would love to see a BTS episode to see how Tabletop is made 🙂
The punkest way to play this is to flip the game table then piss on the floor.
How many points for that?
And then come on, Wil…
What good is having three million and change Twitter followers if you can’t leverage that into Shane McGowan, Henry Rollins, and just some random street urchins from whatever neighborhood is considered the punkest in LA in 2016?
Looking like a killer season!
So, not to tempt you, but. Well, OK, that’s blatantly what I’m doing, but here it is. I was just listening to a simulcast of the Word Beer Cup, and one of your local breweries medaled in both of the two most competitive categories, which is… well… it’s darned impressive.
If you’re able to set aside some spare calories and you still like beer, you might want to get yourself over to Noble Ale Works in Anaheim and try their American Style IPA and their Imperial IPA. Evidently they’re pretty darned good.
Um. I’m sorry, or you’re welcome, whichever applies 😉
I’m really looking forward to this episode just to see it in action. My wife and I are thinking of giving it a try with friends despite never having delved into the world of tabletop RPGs before. Maybe we’ll love, maybe we’ll hate it. Either way it’ll be an experience.
Of course after crafting the opening concept for the world now I just want to turn it into a novel instead of playing a game. Writer problems.
Hey Justin, that’s so exciting that you are going maybe try your first RPG. Let me know if I can help you in any way (https://plus.google.com/u/0/115105688391873512546 is the easiest place to reach me).
I’d love to know what your setting is like, but I don’t want you to give away your book!
¿Porque no lo dos?
“massively epic games that will take more than a single episode to resolve”
Are you sure that didn’t happen any other year?
I played at Kantcon. Our authority was the department of human health and well-being. Who were evilly forcing people into arranged marriages to breed a race compliant people who wouldn’t oppose them.
We worked at menial jobs at their matchmaking office. Where we slowly uncovered the evil plot of the Dept. We dodged behavior modification chips untrustworthy allies. And I was the only guy not to compromise their convictions. It was by far my favorite game of the con.
Seriously guys play it
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