107: Girlfriend, Rat

Girlfriend, Rat

"'I'm interested in film noir,' says Jonas Ferry, the Swedish creator of One Can Have Her, 'and have watched a lot of old classics. There's something about the strict formula of transgression/punishment, the desperation of the characters and the moral ambivalence that makes me watch them.'

"With One Can Have Her, Ferry says he was looking for 'a new way of generating story through conflicts.' And to do so, he had to reinvent the roleplaying game, introducing an element sorely lacking in spite of over two decades of RPG evolution: real storytelling."

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The major flaw I see in this game is that it is entirely male-centric. Most of the female gamers I've known, myself included, get more out of the characters and narrative in a role-playing experience than anything else. A game that actively excludes female players doesn't seem like it will help the genre.

If you're much of a roleplayer, though, you shouldn't have too much playing a guy in the context of the game, no?

Aside from which, isn't the noir hero traditionally male, and noir fiction tends to deal with more masculine interpretations of morality and conflict?

Hello,

First of all, thanks Russ for your interest in my game! I enjoyed our conversations on noir a lot. One clarification on the article: the game is already available as a PDF here. I took some time off work recently to finish it.

clericsdaughter, that female role-players would feel excluded from the game a valid concern. Since the player characters are men the stories tend to focus on their troubles, and present problems that men in the 1940s and today could have. But the unifying force between the player characters is the femme fatale. Every character has a relationship to her, but it doesn't have to be a sexual or romantic relationship.

What's interesting is that it isn't decided until the epilogues at the end of the game whether the femme fatale was evil or innocent, or if she was actually the victim of the whole story. In one game I played the femme fatale crushed the player characters and took control of an entertainment-business city block. In another game she ended up trying to save one of the characters from the police, but was shot and died in his arms.

What I'm saying is that even though the player characters are men there's an interesting woman in every story. She's mainly controlled by the game master, but the players can control her in the story if they play certain cards in conflicts. If their character is the only one left in the end the player gets to decide what happens to the femme fatale and their character. Maybe they marry and live happily, or she betrays him or he does everything to avoid her.

You could play a game where the main interest is what happens to the femme fatale. To be able to decide on your own what happens to her, though, you'd need to have your character rat on the other characters and be the only one left.

To anyone that's reading, I'd be happy to answer any questions you have on the game.

- Jonas Ferry

This seems like it could be easily modified to include female characters going after the femme fatale themselves. It's just up to the roleplayers, right?

Bongo Bill:
Aside from which, isn't the noir hero traditionally male, and noir fiction tends to deal with more masculine interpretations of morality and conflict?

Exactly.

hawksdr:
This seems like it could be easily modified to include female characters going after the femme fatale themselves. It's just up to the roleplayers, right?

Not really in context to noir type things. Noir is always a man on a cold dark street, in the top office of a building, that of a Private Eye.

 

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