More on Magical Burst

The other day someone on 4chan’s /tg/ board pointed people to Carly Ho’s Magical Burst character generator, the result being a rather glorious thread where people used the generator and interpreted the results. I wouldn’t even know where to begin pointing out the amazing stuff in the thread, but this was suitably funny and twisted:

Onigawara Yuri
Pretty Strawberry Lovely Yuri

>Already feeling that pain in my legs, better check my blood sugar.

What kind of girl are you?
Sickly Victim

>Eh. Guess I SHOULD check that blood sugar alright. And stop with the strawberries – it fucks with the chemo.

What convinced you to make a contract?
I realized I’m tired of feeling helpless.

>What, no deep spiritual satisfaction in sitting in that hospital bed being miserable?

What is your wish?
I wish I could be my old self again.

> I assume that she’s referring to the self that has a good chance of living to adulthood.

Weapon
Dagger

>Damn, bitch is hardcore.

Magical Element
Radiation

>SEE HOW YOU LIKE CANCER

Magical Power
Analysis
By magically analyzing things you can discover secrets, and locate weaknesses.

>Say, you seem to have a genetic predisposition to developing leukemia, don’t you?

Costume Elements
Omega

>DOOM AND GLOOM, I TELL YOU. DOOM AND FUCKING GLOOM

Crisis
I’m hopelessly attracted to someone I probably shouldn’t be.

>But… sempai… we’re both girls, right?…

More creepy lesbian carcinogenic goodness!

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Anyway, with NaNoWriMo coming up I’ve been trying to shift out of card game mode, and this inspired me to get back into Magical Burst. It’s incredibly gratifying to see people not only enjoying but being creative with something I made. The magical girl creation tables are this mass of cliches and strangeness, and at times the random results come together in the most amazing ways, doubly so when people as creative as some of the /tg/ posters are the ones interpreting the results.

One thing about me is that I have a tendency to hyper-focus on one creative project or area, and the amount of time I’ve been putting into Channel A and related projects is kind of ludicrous. I have a thing I do where I carry around a notebook to write down whatever comes to mind, and then I’ll periodically write down a list of all my projects. I never leave Magical Burst off the list,[1] but I think I had put out of my mind how messed up it was. I tend towards a very shiny aesthetic, but I also go to some pretty dark places sometimes. Going back to that place was a little bit of a journey, and I had to put on some Nine Inch Nails to set the right mood. (Did I mention that the sample youma in the book are going to be based on the 14 tracks of “The Downward Spiral”?)

I don’t have much of anything to report in terms of changes to the game that I haven’t talked about before, basically because I got stalled and am picking up where I left off, with a bunch of things pretty well planned out but not implemented yet. Today working on Magical Burst was pretty much the extent of my productivity,[2] and most of that was tweaking and expanding the text and working on filling out some tables that were incomplete. Entirely too much of my life is about filling out tables and similar lists of discrete items these days. But anyway. One of the major things I’m trying to work on is more procedural clarity, especially when it comes to setting up a campaign. It’s one of those things where RPGs habitually leave you to muddle through yourself, and I know I appreciate it when a game gives advice on how to achieve its intended tone, especially when its something like this where you have to work at it.[3]

I did already finish up the Instant Magical Girl section (here’s an example of it in action), which now covers pretty much everything for character creation, including a new table for rolling up finishing attack names. It would be hard to pick a favorite from the tables, but the Crisis table is definitely up there. “Crisis” is basically my word of choice for what Ron Edwards called a “Kicker” in Sorcerer, and the table is appropriately full of stuff a character can’t ignore. To me that’s the essence of what makes Magical Burst–and Madoka Magica–so compelling.

Update Stuff


[1]I’ll do that sometimes with, say, Tokyo Heroes. That’s a game I sincerely do want to work on again some day, but that I’ve pushed so far on the back burner that it’s fallen back behind the stove.

[2]Unless you count making a batch of “slutty brownies.”

[3]Like its source material, Magical Burst is meant to have a heavy, oppressive atmosphere and be about characters dealing with some really scary shit. It’s been my experience that that’s exactly the kind of thing that gamers have a natural tendency to use humor and generally step out of character in order to back away from. I really want someone to formally study this phenomenon, but that would require the kind of people who have the expertise and funding to care about tabletop RPGs.

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