Dolls: Children of the Dollhouse by The Chairman
SettingOriginal SA post
I think I'm going to take a shot at summarizing
Dolls: Children of the Dollhouse
Rev. Michael E. Driscoll
Book available here
Probably one of the least necessary fan-made supplements for Old World of Darkness, Dolls is a game where you play a toy living in a house full of other toys. In the author's words,
Rev. Driscoll posted:
The point of being a doll can be one of two things; the first is living in the dollhouse and getting involved in the activities therein. The second is finding your way out and back into the flesh world and finding your place within it.
The prelude -- a pack of interchangable, ISO 9001 standard werewolves looking for a missing pack member investigate the house where the dolls live -- is a couple paragraphs of "theurges see spirits and philodoxes love balance and ahrouns are bossy!", then a few lines of "this house sure has a lot of creepy dolls!", then the big reveal:
We made it back to the first floor and it had Christmas decorations up all over the place. We raced to the front door, but it wouldn’t open. Blood-Soaked-Claws tried to break down the door but it wouldn’t give. Just then we heard a grandfather clock chiming midnight. It was Christmas day now and we all heard the voice of our Theurge, Walks-with-Ghosts.
“I’m so glad you came to join us for Christmas my brothers.”
We looked and saw what could only be described as a doll in crinos form
I looked at, her, “Walks-With-Ghosts? Is, that you?”
She smiled, “Yes, Calls-the-Storms, it is me. And Mother will be so glad that you could join us for Christmas…”
The book goes straight into character creation from the prelude, so I'm going to jump ahead to the sections on "Social Structure", "Physiology of Dolls" and "The House":
All the dolls live in a four-story Victorian mansion -- represented in the book by a picture of a three -story mansion -- ruled over by a pair of venerable rag dolls named "Mother" and "Grandmother". The mansion is basically a giant boarding-house, with three floors of tiny bedrooms; among other amenities, it also features a jacuzzi (?) and a basement full of bones (!).
New dolls are "reborn" from the souls of mortals and supernaturals, but nowhere in this supplement does it actually describe the rebirth process. However, it does spend a paragraph describing how newly reborn dolls are given a special marble that gives them magic, bottomless pockets!
Dolls can be anywhere from 9 inches to 9 feet tall and made from a variety of materials (which determines their type), but the one thing all dolls have in common, and the author is firm on this point, is that each and every doll is anatomically correct. However, the description goes on to say that dolls are "sterile, among themselves"; the implications are thankfully not explored further.
Like every group of WoD supernaturals, dolls have a code, or "a few major rules that must be fallowed (sic)":
respect your elders.
do not hurt another doll.
do not kill another of your own kind.
do not kill humans unless your life is in jeopardy.
- do not leave the family.
Next: character creation!
Character CreationOriginal SA post
Dolls: Children of the Dollhouse
: The Kinds, Backgrounds, Merits & Flaws
The general character creation process has been covered above, so I'm just going to do a run down of the Dolls Greatest Hits.
Kinds are this supplement's breeds/clans/whatevers; they're determined by the material your doll is made of.
are stuffed animals and are "the most common" but also "the most diverse". Their drawback is that "interaction with the flesh world is rough", but it's okay if you're wearing a big cloak, a trenchcoat and a mask, because those aren't suspicious.
are made of wood, which somehow makes them "very life like" to the point where they "can be mistaken for flesh beings", but their drawback is that "they are hard to repair" and they have "plus one difficulty to stealth rolls" if they're barefoot on hard surfaces.
have cloth bodies but porcelain heads, hands and feet; they're so beautiful that they get an automatic base Appearance 3, but they also take a penalty to stealth rolls because they constantly "tinkle". (No, not that.) Despite having porcelain hands, they favor firearms.
just have porcelain heads; they only get a base of Appearance 2, and their drawback is that their heads are super fragile. Why is the type with less porcelain pieces more fragile? Tinklers hate them for having less porcelain parts. They can only use "non-impact and non-recoil type weapons", because I guess you fire a gun with your face.
are either wind-up toys or pendulum-driven toys; wind-up toys need to be wound up once a year, because that's a huge imposition, and pendulum toys (I'm imagining a sexy evil drinky bird) go Incapacitated if they take 4 points of bashing, because obviously hitting a pendulum really hard will make it stop.
are realistic plastic dolls with "the biggest sex drive of all"! Their drawback is that they are
! I hate myself for reading this!
Steelers or Steelests
(the author can't decide) are dolls made of metal; they get an extra two soak dice for free, but are super noisy ("plus three to stealth rolls") and the hardest to repair.
- The Unnamed Children of Grandmother are evil ventriloquist dummies who are "amazingly cruel and crafty"; they're locked up somewhere in the house, but sometimes escape and go "running amuck killing people". Everybody hates them and wonders why they even exist. The author is adamant you not play one:
The good reverend posted:
These are NOT meant to be played as characters. If you are some kind of sick F*#K and want to be a ventriloquist dummy and your Storyteller lets you instead of beating you to death with your own dice or a 2lit. Of Mt. Dew go right ahead. Just keep in mind that all the other Kinds will not like you and that there is NO such thing as a nice dummy.
Incidentally, the author encourages you to give your doll attributes up to 7, because of reasons. They are bad reasons; for example, "Dolls are given new eyes, ears, etc. thus now they are capable of exceeding normal bounds. Intelligence and wits no longer confide to the limitations of a physical organic brain. They can become very smart."
Some of the Backgrounds are directly pasted in from the original OWoD books (Allies, Contacts, Mentor, Influence, Resources), none of which make much sense considering you're a child's toy locked in a mansion with no contact of the outside world. You can be a millionaire with important government buddies and the ear of every CEO on Wall Street, and also a teddy bear who was grounded by doll-mommy for misbehaving.
There are custom backgrounds as well, such as "Toy Box", which gives you one extra wildly overpowered weapon per dot, and Destiny, which lets you "once per story (not each game session), if something threatens her with a bad end, she may roll her Destiny rating against difficulty 8. Each success she scores allows her to regain one spent Willpower point. She may use theses points to avert a cheap death." Also, if you want to be able to leave grandma's house once in a while, you have to take dots in "Doll Pass". Also also, dolls can take the Mage background "Dream" because the author said so, that's why.
And now, a selection of some of the wonderful merits and flaws made available to dolls:
Child (3 point flaw): you're either a child, or an adult in a child doll body.
Beans (4 point flaw): You're stuffed with beans or pellets, and if you take damage, you automatically die in four rounds unless you manage to repair yourself.
Wada Scoop! (6 point flaw): A reporter found out you exist and wants to show you off to the world. "This will make life hard for you in any way your Storyteller can think of."
Crush (2 point flaw): Another doll in the house wants to have sex with you, or you want to have sex with another doll in the house. Either or.
All American Hero (7 point merit): Before you were turned into a doll, you were a member of an elite, secret military organization. You get Contacts (Military) 3, Allies (Military) 3 and Allies (Military) 4,
even though you're a fucking doll locked away in grandma's house
Good Cloth (3 point merit): Take half damage from any source of damage, no matter what. What's balance?
- Mage (8 point merit), Werewolf (6 point), Vampire (6 point), Other supernatural (6 point): As well as being a doll, you are also a Mage, a Werewolf, a Vampire, or another supernatural creature, with all the benefits and abilities that entails. Why not?
Finally, some random text gems:
"Dolls are under most circumstances immortal unless she is killed."
"Once all of your temporary Life Force is gone you fall in to a kind of comma."
- From the lexicon, "Wolf-man: Werewolf."
Next up: the feature characters.
Character disasterOriginal SA post
There was a World of Darkness fangame--oWoD, as I recall--where the player characters were living dolls. The five splats were based on what they were made of, so you had plastic action figures and baby dolls, plush toys, RealDolls (...yeah...)... Also, the text went out of its way to say that every doll was anatomically correct.
They were also ludicrously overpowered. For a few points you could be a living doll that was also a mage, vampire, and/or werewolf, or one that inexplicably had access to military hardware including tanks. Their highest stat category had maxed-out stats (as in Str 5 / Dex 5 / Stam 5). This is all before getting into their own superpowers... which evade me at the moment.
I first caught wind about this from RPG.net, as this had been created by one traumatized poster's GM and he kept interrupting the campaign with what they described as "an anatomically correct Hobbes--please don't ask me why we know this--with a trenchcoat and katana." (God, I love when people do the trenchcoat/katana/dual pistols thing unironically.) Things got real hilarious when the offending GM showed up and tried to defend himself.
If I could remember its name I would totally hit that one after Chi-Chian.
Me, on RPG.net posted:
Perhaps I'm mistaken, but...CAN IT BE? No one has tried to create one of these blasphemies yet? I will do it. For Science.
Concept: Prettiest Serial Killer Ever
Demeanor: Bon Vivant
Physical (9): Strength 2, Dexterity 5, Stamina 5
Mental (7): Perception 2, Intelligence 2, Wits 5
Social (5): Charisma 3, Manipulation 2, Appearance 5
Talents (17): Alertness 5 (Ambushes), Brawl 5 (Capoeira), Dodge 5 (Katanas), Subterfuge 2
Skills (13): Firearms 5 (Rifles), Melee 5 (Swords), Fast-Draw 3
Knowledges (9): Occult 5 (Mages), Linguistics 2, Science 1, Computer 1
Backgrounds (5): Age 5, Day Pass 5, Generation 5, Toys 1, Resources 3
Katana (Difficulty 5/4, Damage Str+5/Str+10, Concealable in Trenchcoat)
Winchester Lever-Action Rifle (Difficulty 5/4, Damage 8/16, Rate 1, Concealable In Trenchcoat)
Blunderbuss (Difficulty 6/5, Damage 30/60, Rate ½ /1, Non-Concealable)
Disciplines: Celerity 3
Blood Pool: 15
Life Force: 7
Merits: Vampire (6), Good Cloth (3)
Flaws: Notoriety (3), Crush (2), Spooky (3)
Origin: Jack was apparently an 8th Generation vampire before he had his soul ripped out and placed into a Living Doll. He doesn't remember anything of his previous (un)life.
Jack has permission from Grandmother to leave the Dollhouse and travel the mortal world indefinitely. This is great, as he was getting really freakin' bored and one day realized that his status as a Plastie (a relatively human-looking doll with fake eyes and hair and latex skin), not to mention his incredible good looks, make him perfectly qualified to model for glam rock magazines, MAC cosmetics photo shoots, Duran Duran album covers, and Robert Palmer videos. Things have been kinda rough since the 80s ended.
Jack spends his time travelling the world, looking for the oldest, strongest, and most interesting supernatural beings he can find. He doesn't care whether they're good or evil, as long as they can share interesting stories and have a good time together. Methuselah vampires, honored Garou elders, Pentex higher-ups who can transform into God-knows-what, enlightened mages, ancient Wraiths and Mummies, Samuel Haight.
Jack has a peculiar methodology which governs his interactions with the creatures he meets. First, he decides whether or not he likes their face. If he does, he attempts to have a meaningful and friendly conversation. If he does not like their face, or if they do not want to have a meaningful and friendly conversation, he actives his Celerity, spends a Manna to charge his toy Winchester Rifle, shoots them in the brains for 16 levels of aggravated Pattern damage, spends a Manna to charge his toy katana, and slices them twice for 12 levels of aggravated Pattern damage per slice. Occasionally, he makes an exception to this rule: If he doesn't have to worry about concealing his weapons inside the trenchcoat he stole from some Scottish asshole back in the 80s, he will bring his toy blunderbuss and shoot them in the brains for 60 levels of aggravated Pattern damage, instead. Inevitably, he likes their face even less after he shoots and slices the brains out of it, but old habits die hard, y'know?
Notes: Jack's Vampire Merit says that he gets Disciplines, and that he defaults as a 13th-gen vampire, so I assume he gets his Blood Pool. Does he have a Clan? Does he need to drink blood to survive and burn up in the sun like vampires normally do? Does he have Humanity/Path and the Virtues required for that to work? It doesn't say.
Jack has the Age Background, which gives him 21 Freebie Points instead of 15, and big boosts to his Life Force and Manna stats. The text says that it's for playing an "Elder Doll," a phrase that is only mentioned twice in the entire supplement and apparently just means "Doll who is older than most of the others." There's nothing anywhere that says you should get specific permission from the ST before playing an Elder Doll, so I went ahead and bought the Background.
Given that he is a Plastie and his Age Background says he's over 300 years old, Grandmother must have been way ahead of her time when she made him. Either that, or he tried to undo his transformation some time in the past few decades, and Grandmother caught him and remade him in a new body, obliterating his memory. Either way, he doesn't know, since he has no dots in the Past Life Background. It's entirely reasonable to assume that Grandmother has known how to make realistic latex dolls since 1706, considering that she gives away house-flattening blunderbusses like candy.
Jack's Day Pass 5 Background is what allows him to roam the earth as long as he wants, only returning to the Dollhouse to recharge his Manna and Life Force when needed. From the text, it seems that Dolls with no Day Pass Background can never leave the Dollhouse.
And yes, Jack, like all Dolls, starts the game with two "Toy" weapons, one melee and one firearm. The slashes in the stats show that they have certain stats all the time, but when you spend a Manna point, the Difficulty of the weapon is reduced by 1 and the Damage is doubled and becomes aggravated. Looking purely at the numbers, a Spiked Flail would've been the best choice that could be hidden in the trenchcoat, but I had to choose the slightly lower-quality katana, because this is the WoD and it doesn't matter if you're a walking vampire RealDoll as long as you have a trenchcoat and a katana. His high Initiative and ridiculous damage potential means he will probably never have to bother using his phenomenal talent for dodging the katanas of his foes, but even if he does, and even if he gets hit, his Good Cloth Merit ensures that he takes half damage from all attacks.
From this terrible, horrible, no good, very hilarious thread
Stereotypes/Signature CharactersOriginal SA post Dolls: Children of the Dollhouse : Stereotypes, and Signature Characters
First, the usual Stereotypes section, revealing the nuanced, mature opinions the average supernatural has about Dolls and vice versa. Three of the stereotype blurbs are worth quoting in full.
Hey! Fuck you if you have something bad to say about them! My boyfriend is a doll and he’s so fucking cool! You have something bad to say like they aren’t real I’m going to put my boot up your ass!
Mysterious May, Hallow One.
Ah, yes. Dolls, one of them is an old friend of mine. We had many fine adventures together for quite a long time. Perhaps Rasshaka and I will meet again some day.
Neffratari, Khri-habi Amenti.
Are you kidding me? Dolls? Yah, right
Random supernatural being.
So who is Rasshaka ? He's one of the wonderful Signature Characters that can be found in grandma's dollhouse. He is a 15,000 year old tiger plush doll, the fourth one ever made, in a smoking jacket and fez, usually "smoking his pipe and drinking Brandy from his sifter"; the thread on RPG.net about Dolls reveals that this is the writer's personal PC, which he would include as a party member in the long-running campaigns he GMed. He carries a special flintlock pistol toy with difficulty 5 and 40 damage dice . (For reference, a standard pistol in stock CWoD has difficulty 6 and 5 damage dice, and PCs generally have 7 health levels.) Since Dolls can spend a point of Manna to double their weapon's damage and reduce the difficulty by 1, Rasshaka can get a nice grind-the-game-to-a-halt 80 damage dice . I've seen shitty homebrew rules, but why even bother if you're going to give your personal Tigerry Stu the ability to negate basically anything thrown at it?
In the "creatively-named" department, we also have a 16,000-year-old wooden ship captain doll named The Captain , doll number 3, and a 19,000-year-old tin General Patton doll named The General , number 2. No explanation is given for how a doll of a WWII general could have been made 19 millenia ago. The Captain has a background of "Relics 10", when Relic 5 already implies "a legendary relic the likes of which are rarely ever seen". However, his pistol toy is only a piddly diff. 5 damage 18, compared to Rasshaka's Relic 0 and his fuck-you gun. The General has backgrounds "Solders 10", which I will imagine means he is a double-legendary electrician.
Next is "Jonathan Parks AKA Johnny Football Hero Johnny Foot Ball All-Star (sic)". He's a teenager who wandered into the dollhouse in 1999, found a silver pendant there, left the house, got involved with the mob (!?), came back, put the pendant on "the oldest looking doll there", then decided to live there for some unspecified reason. He isn't a doll, but thinks he is one. His age is listed as "18/957".
One of Jonny Foot Ball All-Star's friends was named Alice, who also went to the house. Her soul was split into two plush rabbits, one named Alice , and the other one named Malice . GET IT???? Also, Alice has a watch that can stop time for multiple rounds. Malice's interests are "making liquors" and "waiting for her one true love to find her", and "will kill or torture any one she preserves is interferes with her relationships (sic)".
Finally, there's Jock-O the Great , an Unnamed Child of Grandmother (despite having a name, I guess); it has 7 in every attribute except Charisma and Appearance, 5 in every combat-related ability, and "Medicine 5 (sweet spots)" (?). The author suggests he looks like "The ugliest, craziest, No! Think Carrot Top made of wood!", which is probably legitimately the scariest thing this book has offered so far.
The first doll ever made is not described in this supplement. The author hints that the return of the first doll will be the beginning of Gehenna/the Apocalypse. Big friggin whoop.
That's pretty much it for Dolls . I have a feeling I've spent more time thinking about the implications of this supplement than the author ever did.