I’ve been mulling this idea over since I read Wisconsin Death Trip last December. Bear Lake is going to be a game about the life of a small town as told through the reprehensible deeds of its most prominent citizens.

If you get a chance please take a look at what I’ve linked to and give me some feedback. Even if it is “Get back to scanning Roach images!”…

(Update: the link now points to the revised 1.5 version)

Bear Lake
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5 thoughts on “Bear Lake

  • November 29, 2005 at 11:36 am

    This looks pretty sweet. I got a little confused by the example which used Person: Child and the Elements section which called it Era. Or am I more confused than I thought?

    I worry that it may be too constrained, but I had a similar worry about the Roach, and it was baseless. Would like to try it, though, and see how the stories overlap and intertwine.

    It seems to me like you want to force the sort of wonderful concurrence that happened a few times in the MACE Roach game, where one scene would go off, and the next scene would be framed before that one temporally, thus changing the flavor of the intial scene completely (my drunk rabbi’s rant, and ‘earlier’ murder of his wife).

  • November 29, 2005 at 1:14 pm

    Thanks Remi.

    Exactly, time-framing-wise.

    I intend it to be VERY constrained. I’m considering even naming the PCs – “you are John Crabtree, the town Doctor.”

    The nomenclature is a little dodgy. “Child” and “Child” is an example of this. Easy to fix. I’ve started working on mechanics – PCs have two stats, MEMORY and REGRET.

  • November 29, 2005 at 1:42 pm

    Ah, excellent. While walking to lunch I said, “Hey, he didn’t actually have mechanics, did he?” Yet I can still see where you’re heading with play.

    It’s weird, but I like playing pre-gen characters. It forces me to break out of my bad habits and preferences. If you do decide to go the ‘You are so-and-so’ route, perhaps make it randomly drawn cards or a chart of some sort?

  • November 29, 2005 at 3:43 pm

    As it sits, it is:


    The Pastor, Walter Abernathy
    The Police Chief, Virgil Cooper
    The Banker, Edward Davis
    The Editor, John Green
    The Mayor, Milton McDonough
    The Merchant, Robert Peeke
    The Doctor, Carl Shaw, M.D.
    The Innkeeper, Winthrop Tucker

    You are the soul of the character you choose. You want to be good, and you want to be decent. Everyone else will be trying to destroy you, and your criminal, immoral, and antisocial weaknesses will help them do it.

    (I’ll narrow this down to six people – it’s turning into a game of sixes)

  • November 29, 2005 at 4:57 pm

    Nattering on. On the surface it seems like you could fold the Merchant and the Banker together (money&power) as well as the Innkeeper and the Editor (influence, information, gossip&power). The other four seem like such iconic figures of smalltown life it would be impossible to leave them out.

    Have your ever read the comic ‘Strangehaven’? It goes a different way with the archetypes, and it’s set in small-town Britain, but it touches some of the same places in my brain as this does.

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