Jump to Menu

schooldaze


School Daze

High School is fun again!



 Buy School Daze from DriveThru RPG!

Winner of a Judges’ Spolight ENnie for 2013!

ennies 2013 spotlight

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fillable Character Sheet

Standard Character Sheet

School Daze is a tabletop rolelaying game designed to  use high school to tell awesome stories. It uses a light system and emphasizes story over dice rolling. If you’ve ever wanted to be a part of The Breakfast Club, or knock some supernatural heads like in Buffy, School Daze is the game for you. It’s available as a PDF from DriveThruRPG, or in print from Indie Press Revolution.

As well, School Daze is published under a Creative Commons By-SA license, so the full text is available below. Give it a spin!

Introduction

School Daze is a role-playing game in a high school setting. High school is an exciting time. Everything in your life is in flux, and no matter what, nothing will be the same again. What better place to set a story? Each player takes on the role of a high school student, with all of their hopes, dreams, problems, and challenges. The Administrator facilitates the game using Group Projects as frameworks for the game sessions. School Daze is collaborative and functions best when the Students and the Administrator work together, developing the story and the world together.

Everyone remembers high school. Some remember it fondly and some… less so. School Daze isn’t about opening up old issues or revisiting the bad things. School Daze is about using high school to tell awesome stories. It’s about Buffy: The Vampire Slayer, Brick, The Breakfast Club, American Pie, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Glee, and any other expression of the interesting times that happen between the ages of 14 and 18. So grab some friends, grab some dice, and tell some awesome stories. Be excellent to each other, and let the past stay in the past.

 


The Core Mechanic

If a Student wants to do something that is outside their wheelhouse, directly competes with the action of another Student, or is especially risky, the Administrator will request a roll. They roll a d6, adding bonuses or penalties from their Favorite Subject, and/or their Ranks. Any result of 5 or higher means the character gets to narrate the effects of their success. Any result of a 4 or lower means that the character doesn’t get exactly what they want. Maybe it’s outright failure, or maybe it’s a sub-optimal choice. In this event, the Administrator narrates the outcome.

Keeping Failure Interesting

School Daze works the best when the players are willing to see their character be as imperfect as real high school students. This means embracing failure. The key is that the Administrator must work to make failure interesting. Just telling the character that they fail is boring. However, telling the character that they succeed, but with a twist?  Now that’s fun.

Example: Richard is trying to find out more about the girl he is taking to the prom, in hopes of discovering what will make his prom night “special.” He misses his roll, getting a 4 even though his Favorite Subject is Drama, and he has Ranks in Swank.

Bad failure narration: “She doesn’t answer your question.”

Great failure narration: “You find out that she’s ultra-conservative and is saving herself for marriage.”

The great failure narration provides a roadblock for Richard, but doesn’t prevent him from continuing to pursue his goal. The twist keeps the narrative moving.

Assisting: If a student is trying to accomplish something, their fellow students can try to help. If one student wants to assist another, they roll a d6, adding their Ranks and Favorite Subject, as appropriate. If they succeed, they give a +1 to the other student’s roll. Only one student can assist another at one time. If you want to help your fellow student, you have to say so before they make their roll.

 

Gameplay

School Daze is a narrative game designed to see interesting stories told in a high school setting. In each Group Project, the Administrator has plot seeds to work with, but will need the Students’ relationships and motivations to drive the game forward.

Narrative control is shared between the Students and the Administrator. The Administrator needs to make sure that each Student is getting equal time to explore their own story, as the individual narratives may only be linked in a loose manner.

The Students need to feel free to add to or embellish the game world. If a Student asks the Administrator if something exists in the world (a person, an object, etc.), the Administrator’s response should prompt the Student to answer that question for themselves.

If what the Student desires is outlandish or beyond the scope of what the Administrator believes could be easily obtained by the character, the Administrator should call for a roll of the dice to see what the outcome will be. (See: The Core Mechanic). For more advice on running group projects, see the Group Projects section.




Consequences

If a student is attempting something that is dangerous, rolling less than a 5 imposes a Consequence on the student. Consequences also are imposed when a character is on the losing side of a fight.

Consequences come in three forms: Physical, Mental, and Social. Consequences give the student a -2 penalty to related actions. Consequences are both determined and tracked by the Administrator.

Example from Play:

Administrator: It’s lunch time, and Bob, you said you’re trying to keep a low profile after what happened in Mr. Brown’s Science class. What are you doing?

Bob: I go and get my lunch, just trying to not be noticed. I’d rather not have the attention right now.

Fred: There’s no way I’m letting that happen! As Bob steps away from the cashier with his tray, I try to flip the try, covering him in food.

Administrator: Alright, both of you make a roll. Fred, you’re at +1 because of your Ranks in Pranks. Bob, you’re also at a +1 because your Ranks in Blank will help you go unnoticed.

(Both Bob and Fred roll a d6)

Fred: Alright! I got a 6!

Bob: Crap. I only got a 3.

Administrator: Alright, Fred, describe what happens.

Fred: I walk right up, and say “this is what you get for telling Mr. Brown that I cheated on that test, you little punk.” And I flip the tray, covering him in mashed potatoes and gravy.

Bob: Aw, man! This was my favorite cardigan!

Administrator: Bob, you’re completely embarrassed. You take a Social Consequence that will last for the rest of the school day because everyone’s going to be calling you “Food Face.”

Bob: Man, this is gonna make it hard for me to ask Sarah to the dance later. Maybe I’ll be able to find a way out of this.

 

If both sides of a conflict roll successfully, then whoever rolls higher wins the conflict and gets to narrate the outcome, as in the example above.

The type of consequence that is imposed is up to the Administrator, but the students are welcome to give their suggestions. If Fred wanted to physically hurt Bob, he could have suggested that, and the Administrator could have imposed a Physical consequence on Bob instead.

Consequences last as long as narratively appropriate. In the above example, most people would have forgotten about the Food Face incident by the next day, and Bob wouldn’t be embarrassed by it any longer. Because high school students move from one bit of gossip to the next so quickly, Consequences rarely last more than one day of in-game time. Consequences can also be eliminated by spending a Gold Star.

 

Gold Stars

Everyone loves Gold Stars. They’re a mark of prestigious achievement and, even though you’re in high school now, you still get a thrill from getting one.

Gold stars are handed out by the Administrator to reward actions that drive the narrative through spectacular success or defeat. Every student starts each game session with one Gold Star. Students cannot have more than three Gold Stars at any one time, and they don’t carry over from session to session.

Gold Stars can be spent by the students to aid them in their goals. Gold stars can be spent in the following ways:

  • To gain a +2 on any roll (can only be used once; multiple Gold Stars do not stack).
  • To remove a Consequence. Must be explained through narrative (see example below).
  • To add to the story in a way that is out of the ordinary.

Earning Gold Stars

Gold Stars are earned by doing awesome things during the session. What is awesome varies from one Administrator to another, but snappy quips, good role-play, self-sacrifice, or just playing your character to the hilt are all examples of things for which the Administrator could give you a Gold Star.

Example from Play:

Administrator: The principal comes on over the PA system, and says something about a green notebook. Mrs. Stanley goes to the door, locks it, turns off the lights, and tells everyone to stay seated and be quiet. He says that it’s just a drill, but you should treat it as if it’s real. The school’s on lock-down. You’re stuck here.

Sally: No way! We’ve got to get out. If we don’t leave soon, we’re not going to be able to make it to the Quiz Bowl.

Bob: This isn’t happening. I’m sneaking out the window.

Administrator: Make your roll. You’ve got +1 from your Ranks in Blank.

Bob: Crap. I got a 3.

Sally: Spend your gold star!

Bob: Oh, yeah. I spend the gold star for a +2. Gives me a 5.

Administrator: Cool. You’re able to sneak out of the window.

Phil: I want to follow him.

Administrator: Okay. Sneaking out is going to take some concentration, and you have that Mental Consequence because what Benny Jones said about your mom is still really bugging you.

Phil: Benny’s a jerk. I’m spending my gold star to clear the consequence.

Administrator: Okay, how?

Phil: I remind myself that Benny wouldn’t be able to get his fat butt through this window if his life depended on it. His words shouldn’t mean anything to me.

Administrator: Done, and done. Make your roll, straight up.

Phil: Sweet! Got a 6.

Administrator:  You make it out, no problem. What are you doing, Sally?

Sally: Well, I can’t let these guys have all the fun. I’m going, too.

Administrator: Mrs. Stanley is looking out into the hallway, so you’ve still got a chance. Make your roll, no bonuses.

Sally: I rolled a 4.

Administrator: You make it out the window, but you land right as a police officer comes around the corner.

Sally: Hmmm… I could spend one of my gold stars for a +2, but I’ve got something better. I spend my gold star, but I spend it so the cop is my Uncle Frank. Uncle Frank will understand how important this is.

Administrator: That works. Uncle Frank sees that it’s you and your friends, and lets the three of you go. He was on the Quiz Bowl team in high school, too. He understands.




Characters

All players take the part of Students who attend a fictional high school: Trowbridge High. The Administrator plays the parts of all the other high schoolers, as well as the teachers, parents, and various other people the Students will interact with.

All Students have the following on their Permanent Record:

 

Name

Favorite Subject +2 to rolls within that subject

Ranks +1 to rolls for the Good, and -1 to rolls for the Bad

Motivation What makes the student get out of bed and come to school every morning? This usually changes with each Group Project.)

Relationships Make up three people. These are people who your Student knows. They could be friends, family, enemies, whomever. This gives each Student some ties to people in the game world, and gives the Administrator NPCs to work with.

Note: Teachers, parents, or any other adults don’t have Ranks in anything. They’ve (usually) outgrown what defined them in high school. They do still have a Favorite Subject, because, let’s face it, adults still need to find joy in something.

 

Permanent Record – Trowbridge High

Name: ________________________________________

— This is how everyone will know you, so make sure it’s a name you like! ~ Mrs. Masters

 

Favorite Subject (+2 to rolls in Subject): _________________________________

— Your Favorite Subject is English, right? ~ Mrs. Masters

 

Ranks (+1 when good, -1 when bad): ____________________

— I know you’re more than just this, but you need something to identify you, right? ~ Mrs. Masters

 

Motivation: ______________________________________

— This may be deep, or it may not be, but you need to know what moves you. ~Mrs. Masters

 

Relationships

 ______________________________________

 

_______________________________________

 

_______________________________________

 — You always have people around you, talk about them. It’s good to know who you know. ~Mrs. Masters

 

 

Favorite Subjects

Every student has a Favorite Subject. If a student is making a check that involves their Favorite Subject, they get a +2 to their roll. Your Favorite Subject can be as general, or as specific as you’d like. The more specific you make your Favorite Subject, the more it will take good role-play to use. After all, there are only so many ways that you can bring up Wind Ensembles, right?

 

Subjects

English

Also includes sub-sets of English, like Journalism. This is where you’ll find Yearbook, too.

Foreign Language

Languages offered at Trowbridge are: Spanish, French, Mandarin Chinese, German, and Latin.

Math

Any branch of mathematics is allowed, from Applied Algebra to Advanced Calculus.

History

World History, American History, or the lineage of the Han Dynasty; it’s all here.

Science

Chemistry, Physics, Biology, Anatomy, or any other branch of high school science you can think of.

Arts

Trowbridge High offers Art, Choir, Band, and Theater, as well as more esoteric Arts such as Interpretive Dance.

Phys Ed

Almost any sport you can think of. Including Jai alai.

Industrial Arts

This is Art for the extreme student. If it takes metal or wood to create or fix, you’ll find it here.

Technology

From Business Computing to Applied Robotics; it’s covered by Technology.

 

Ranks

If a Student has Ranks in something, then they have a physical, social, or mental characteristic that can both help and hinder them. There is no numeric value associated with the Ranks a Student has; you either have Ranks in something, or you don’t. Stating that a Student has Ranks in something means that the Student has the positive and negative aspects associated with those Ranks.

If a Student’s Ranks would help them in a situation, they get +1 to their roll in that situation. If their Ranks would hinder them, they get -1 to their roll.

A Student may choose up to three Ranks. See the Character Advancement section for more details.

 

List of Ranks

Bank

Good: You can afford anything you desire.

Bad: You’re spoiled, and demands instant gratification.

 

Blank

Good: When you don’t want to be noticed, you’re invisible.

Bad: When you want to be noticed, nobody cares.

 

Clank

Good: You excel with electronic and mechanical devices.

Bad: You over-focus on minutiae.

 

Crank

Good: You can get your hands on drugs, no problem.

Bad: You’re, like, so high right now.

 

Dank

Good: You’re comfortable in small, cold, and dark spaces or situations.

Bad: You creep people out with strange obsessions.

 

Drank

Good: You’re the life of every party.

Bad: You are either drunk or hung-over.

 

Flank

Good: You’re an excellent wingman/friend.

Bad: You know too much, and tell embarrassing stories about others.

 

Frank

Good: You always tell it straight, and you never beat around the bush.

Bad: Your honesty comes without tact.

 

Gank

 

Good: Your quick fingers can get ahold of what others don’t want you to have.

Bad: You’re compulsive shoplifter. .

 

Jank

Good: You can be stylish with a few bucks, and some time.

Bad: You come off as cheap.

 

Lank

Good: You’re tall, slender, can reach high, and run fast.

Bad: You’re clumsy and awkward, with a tendency to trip while going up the stairs.

 

Plank

Good: You’re always up on the latest online memes.

Bad: You’ve got limited real-world knowledge.

 

Pranks

Good: You always come up with a distraction.

Bad: You can’t resist an opportunity to humiliate someone.

 

Rank

Good: You excel in competitions.

Bad: You are overly competitive.

 

Shank

Good: You are the king of unexpected attacks.

Bad: You telegraph your blows like Samuel Morse.

 

Shawshank

Good: You know a lot about movies/film.

Bad: You’re often regarded as a flaky thespian.

 

Skank

Good: Your physical charms get you what you want.

Bad: You’ve got a reputation as a player or a slut.

 

Spank

Good: You’re great at embarrassing others.

Bad: You’re useless when actually confronted.

 

Stank

Good: When you want people to go away, they do.

Bad: You’re the Smelly Kid in class.

 

Swank

Good: You’re excellent in your interactions with members of the opposite sex.

Bad: You can’t resist flirting, even when it’s detrimental to you.

 

Tank

Good: You’re big, either physically imposing or strong.

Bad: You’re clumsy, and break things easily.

 

Thanks

Good: You’re one of the nicest people anyone has ever met.

Bad: You’re a kiss-ass.

 

Wank

Good: You know a lot about a lot.

Bad: You’re a pedantic know-it-all.

 

Yank

Good: You can diffuse any situation with humor.

Bad: You crack jokes at the most inappropriate times.

 

 

Character Advancement

School Daze is designed for one-shot games or an ongoing campaign. For an ongoing campaign, the character advancement is primarily story-driven. Characters will grow and change over the course of their time in high school. If a campaign group would like mechanical change to occur, the suggested route is to allow characters to change their Favorite Subject, Motivation, and/or what they have Ranks in after major story milestones or character development milestones.

For example, in the movie 16 Candles, the characters change over the course of the movie, but by and large, they remain within the confines of how high school defines them. Their Ranks may change, but they haven’t grown much.

In The Breakfast Club, all of the characters experience major growth and development, even though the movie only takes place over the course of one day. Those characters effectively grow out of their Ranks, and move toward being adults. This kind of change would be the kind a group could experience at the end of a multi-session campaign, or after a particularly deep single session.

If your group needs more direct guidelines, every school year, from Freshman to Senior, the characters may change their Ranks, their Favorite Subject, and/or their Motivation to reflect how they’ve changed from one school year to the next.

 

Group Projects

Group Projects (what other games call ‘adventures’ or ‘scenarios’) take place over a set period of time. Most take place during a single school day. Each Group Project contains a Class Roster with descriptions of the major NPS, as well as their motivations, and a Syllabus that details the plot.

Group Projects are designed to be improvisational. Take the plot hooks and characters, and run with them.

 

Creating Your Own Group Projects for School Daze

Creating a group project for School Daze is a simple process. The steps are as follows:

  1. Choose a theme. Homecoming, Spring Break, a zombie outbreak, etc.
  2. Choose NPCs. Make up some students, teachers, parents, or friends who will be part of the Group Project. Adults get one Favorite Subject and one Motivation. Students get one Favorite Subject, one Motivation, and Ranks in one area.
  3. Set a time frame. The Group Project will come to its natural conclusion in a day, a week, a month, a grading period. You decide. Most games run the best in shorter time-frames.
  4. Play it!

 

Running School Daze Group Projects

School Daze Group Projects are a shared narrative between Students and Administrators. Students will do things that the Administrator did not anticipate at all, including adding people, things, or locations.  It’s important to know your players. If they like things to stay relatively normal, try to keep them that way. If they like gonzo, way-out-there things to happen, roll with it. It’s the difference between Dead Poets Society and Dude, Where’s My Car?

Every Group Project starts in a similar manner:

“It’s 7:15AM. The first bell rings in about 15 minutes. Where are you and what are you doing?”

Because Administrators need to think on their feet, a good feel for the themes of a high school game is vital. Think of your favorite movies or books that are set in a school. Saved By the Bell, Ferris Beuller’s Day Off, The Breakfast Club, Sixteen Candles, Brick, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer are all examples of stories that played out using high school as the frame. Think of the relationships that play out, the friendships, romances, and rivalries.

If you find yourself stuck, look at who the students have relationships with, or go to the tables for random Group Project generation at the back of the book.

Scenes in School Daze should move along quickly, never lingering on one character for too long, especially if plot lines don’t intersect.

The group projects are also designed to last a specific amount of time. If the characters have all achieved major goals, and it feels narratively appropriate, fast-forward to the climactic moment of the Group Project. In the included Group Project, move on to the dance when the characters have accomplished their pre-prom goals.

 

 

Prom Night – A School Daze Group Project

It’s Prom week. Hopes and hormones are both high as the students navigate the social waters surrounding this hallowed event. What kind of night will it be for you? You’ll always remember it, but how fondly?

Timeframe: One Day

Class Roster

Mrs. Morp, Harried Senior Prom Advisor

Mrs. Morp just wants Prom done and over with. She doesn’t care about the crepe paper, the lights, or how many pounds of glitter that the cannons need. She just wants this nightmare to end.

Favorite Subject: English

 

Lance A. Lot, Teenage Heartthrob, Extraordinaire

No one knows if Lance is straight, gay, bi, or other, and no one really cares. All anyone knows is that Lance is gorgeous. Lance’s one true desire is for someone to see past his face to the person he really is inside. Sadly, Lance’s insides aren’t as great as he thinks they are, but he still wants someone to see them.

Favorite Subject: Foreign Language (French)

Ranks in Bank

Motivation: To find the perfect date to the Senior Prom

 

Morgan L. Fey, Like, The Most Popular Girl in School

It’s a complete scandal that Lance hasn’t asked Morgan to the Senior Prom yet. At least, Morgan thinks it is. She’ll stop at nothing to get her claws into Lance.

Favorite Subject: Arts (Choir)

Ranks in Skank

Motivation: To go to the Senior Prom with Lance, no matter what

 

Cynthia Hoskins, Reporter for the Reasonable Squid

Cynthia knows that something fishy is going with Lance and his lack of a date to Prom. She wants to get to the bottom of things, and she’ll stop at nothing to get the scoop.

Favorite Subject: English (Journalism)

Ranks in Clank

Motivation: To find out who Lance will take to Prom before he even knows.

Syllabus

It’s the day before the Senior Prom, and everyone who doesn’t have a date (and a few who do) want to go to the Prom with Lance. Some kids want something even simpler: to see Morgan crash and burn. She’s the meanest girl in Trowbridge, and she’s got no end of people who wish she’d basically die in a fire.

Then there’s Mrs. Morp. She just wants this nightmare to be over. In fact, her Math classes are pretty sure that the quadratic equation doesn’t include the word glitter. She needs Prom to be planned, done, and finished.

And over it all is Cynthia. She seems to be everywhere, investigating, reporting, and otherwise sticking her nose into everyone’s business.

At the beginning of the day, things will be mild enough, with students leaving notes, texts, and wall posts trying to get Lance to go to the Prom with them. As the days go on, and Prom gets closer, the students – especially Morgan – do more and more desperate things to try and be seen with Lance on their respective arm come Saturday night.

Possible Character Motivations: To see the mighty fall; to ruin Morgan, Lance, or both; to help Mrs. Morp; to have a perfect Senior Prom; to mess Prom up for everyone else.

“It’s 7:15AM. The first bell rings in about 15 minutes. Where are you and what are you doing?”

 

Random Generation Tables

School Year Events (Roll a d6 to get a category, then another d6 for a specific event)

1

Sporting

4

Criminal

1

Football Championship

1

School Break-in

2

Wrestling Tournament

2

Major Drug Bust

3

First Basketball Game

3

Bomb Threat Called In

4

Regional for Cross Country

4

Metal Detectors Installed

5

Major Sporting Win

5

Gang Fight

6

Major Sporting Loss

6

Sex Scandal

2

Academic

5

Bizarre

1

Mid-Terms

1

Alien Invasion

2

Honor Roll Announced

2

Zombie Outbreak

3

Finals Week

3

Vampires!

4

Quiz Bowl

4

A Haunting

5

Science Fair

5

Science Experiments Gone Wrong

6

Graduation

6

Government Agent Infiltration

3

Extra-Curricular

6

Social

1

Band Trip to Florida

1

Senior Prom

2

School Talent Show

2

Big Party

3

Math Club Fundraiser

3

Spring Break Trip

4

Protest in the Halls

4

County Fair

5

Intramural Kickball Championship

5

Valentine’s Day

6

Pep Rally

6

Halloween Celebration

 


Setting: Trowbridge High

The default setting for School Daze is Trowbridge High, home of the Fighting Kraken. Trowbridge is a blank slate. The school colors (seen throughout the book), the mascot (Squiddie), and the school newspaper (The Reasonable Squid) are the only things that are pre-determined. Even then, you’re allowed to change those as you see fit.

This book contains NPCs, and information about the school, but every time you play School Daze, your group should work to make Trowbridge what you want it to be. Add NPCs, classes to attend, teachers, administrators, support staff, family, friends, add whomever (and whatever) you want. Make it as crazy, or as normal as you want.

Trowbridge is your school. Do as you will with it. Here’s our take on it.

 

The History of Trowbridge High

The city of Trowbridge was founded in 1723 by Elias Trow. The river that bisects the city, the Spindle River, was treacherous to cross at the time. Elias was the only person brave enough to attempt the crossing. He built a ferry across the river and amassed a small fortune, as his was the only crossing for miles. Upon his passing in 1746, the people of Trow’s Crossing used an endowment from the Trow estate to replace the ferry with a bridge, free for all to use. The town was soon renamed Trow’s Bridge, which was soon shortened to Trowbridge.

Trowbridge High began as a small, one-room schoolhouse on the outskirts of town. The residents of Trowbridge began sending their children there to learn basic literacy and arithmetic skills. As time went on, and the educational climate began to change, the Trowbridge School grew. With the advent of the modern educational system in the early 1920s, Trowbridge High School was formed, along with its constituent elementary and middle schools.

Now, the Trowbridge Greater School System serves almost 2,500 students, with yearly graduating classes around 200 students each. Almost 600 students attend Trowbridge High yearly, and Trowbridge employs 53 staff members and 7 administrators.

 

Trowbridge High Staff and Faculty

The following entries are the names and descriptions are a large sample of the staff and faculty at Trowbridge High. The list is not complete, and if you see a gap that you want to fill with teachers and administrative staff of your own making, do so! Ultimately, the Trowbridge High that you use for your games should be exactly the Trowbridge that you want it to be.

All teachers’ Favorite Subject matches the subject they teach. Support staff and administrators have their Favorite Subjects listed in their entry.

 

Administrators & Support Staff

Stephen Morris – Principal

Favorite Subject: Drama

Mr. Morris never wanted to be a school administrator. However, after many years as an English/Drama teacher, he had to fill in for Trowbridge’s former principal. The filling in turned into a permanent position, and Stephen ended up getting his Administrator’s License because he couldn’t bear the thought of the school going through a succession of principals. However, he would much rather be on stage, and he brings his dramatic flair to every aspect of his job in a desperate bid to recapture the thrill of his years in the spotlight.

 

Joan Branch – Assistant Principal

Favorite Subject: Military History

Unlike Mr. Morris, Joan has always wanted to be in charge of things. However, with Mr. Morris in the picture, she has been relegated to the background. She handles the day-to-day running of Trowbridge High, and does her best to rein in the drama that Mr. Morris brings to all proceedings. Someday, she hopes to be the Head Administrator at Trowbridge, but until then, she seethes quietly, always respecting the chain of command, even as it chafes on her.

 

Walter Dean – Dean of Students

Favorite Subject: Botany

Dean Dean, as everyone calls him, is one of the most laid-back administrators in the world, let alone at Trowbridge. Coming of age in the late 60s, Mr. Dean sees his job as a way to try and help students “free their minds,” and “see beyond the walls of the Institution, man.” It’s rumored that his relaxed attitude is due to his love of plants (the five-leafed kind, in particular). One thing’s for sure, he always has snacks on hand in his office, and he’s continually clashing with Ms. Branch. Well, she clashes with him; he usually just wants her to “like, mellow out.”

 

Horace “Magic Fingers” Stanley – Athletic Director

Favorite Subject: Phys Ed

Horace was quite the basketball player in his day, earning his nickname due to his ability to keep the ball dancing around the court. Sadly, his abilities as an AD fall far short of his former ability on the basketball court. His current plan is to have Trowbridge High be the host school for the regional basketball tournament. He plans to take a page from the NCAA, and hold the tournament in the domed stadium that serves as the football field. The fact that Trowbridge doesn’t have such a stadium is only a small barrier to his plans, and he is in the process of starting a huge fund-raising drive to build such a space.

 

Stephanie Masters – Guidance Counselor (A – Me)

Favorite Subject: Debate

Stephanie means well. She really wants to help the students, but she gets, well, argumentative. Every time a student brings a concern to her about their schedule, their future, or what color the sky actually is, she engages them in what she perceives to be a spirited debate… and what the student perceive to be a list of reasons they’re wrong. Fortunately, she only deals with half of the student body, so at least some of the students will be guided well, right?

 

Joan Banks – Guidance Counselor (Mu – Z)

Favorite Subject: French

Joan is the Yang to Stephanie’s Yin. She hardly even speaks to the students, letting them vent all over her when they come in to voice their concerns. The upshot to this is that the students leave thinking that all of their problems are solved and that they’ve been validated in their way of thinking. In an interesting happenstance, the number of angry parental phone calls about their students’ future choices has gone down since she has taken the position.

 

Mason Jenkins – School Councilor

Favorite Subject: Psychology

The administrative staff at Trowbridge has a variety of disparate personalities, and the only one who seems to be able to find balance between the various parties is Mason. Her job description said nice things about making sure there was harmony between parents, teachers, and students, but she spends most of her time mediating disputes between the administrative staff. Teachers treat her like their own personal guidance counselor, so she’s busy, overworked, and thinks that she’s starting to be able to feel her hair grow.

 

Guy Bald – Student Services Coordinator

Mr. Bald doesn’t get a break. His duties are “as assigned” and he always floats from one classroom to another, hoping to help out. He gets pulled in a different direction by each of the teachers, when all he wants to do is have a chance to help the students he sees around the school who struggle with reading. However, he is given few opportunities to do so, as he is more often sent to make copies than he is asked to assist in the classroom.

 

Elnora Nilsen – Head Librarian

Hell hath no fury like a librarian who sees a student damage one of her books. Even in the digital age where tablets and eReaders are becoming more and more common, Mrs. Nilsen runs a clean, efficient library of physical books. Oh, she has an appreciation for digital literature, but deep down, she’s convinced that such technology is just a phase and that it will all eventually fade away to leave her and her books safe and sound.

 

Jami Leverette – Media Coordinator

Jami is in charge of the bulk of the technology at Trowbridge, from renting tablets and projectors to the teachers, to arranging for files to be distributed across the network to all of the students. She loves computers and what they can do, with a zeal that often puts her at odds with Mrs. Nilsen. After all,  what is Mrs. Nilsen going to do when the last tree is cut down and everything runs on lithium ion cells and digital screens? She’ll come running to Jami, that’s what.

 

Clayton Robnett – Library Aide

Caught between two hard places, Clayton does the best he can to manage the tasks set before him. While Elanora and Jami aren’t overtly hostile towards one another, there’s always an undercurrent to their words and actions. Clayton, a hard worker, but not the brightest guy, doesn’t quite know what the big deal is, but he knows that something is not quite as it should be. He tries to make each of his bosses happy, but every so often, there’s a disapproving glance, or a downturned mouth that makes him wonder what it is that he did wrong.

 

Dona Sones – Student Activity Clerk

Favorite Subject: Geography

Extra-curricular is Dona’s middle name. Want a field trip, excursion, outing, or any other synonym for taking the students outside of the school for even a vaguely educational experience? Mrs. Sones is the one to talk to. She knows the bus schedules, the names of all of the bus drivers’ spouses, and has travel agents on speed dial. Sadly, most of her skill is wasted due to recent budget cuts, but she knows to one day soon, her skills will be needed. After all, museum tour guides don’t schedule themselves.

 

Lance Lauro – Head Custodian

Favorite Subject: Chemistry

Lance loves his job. There’s not a stain that he can’t remove, and there’s not a spill that he can’t get cleaned up. Sure, he might remove portions of the floor along with the stains and messes, and he might be missing half of his left eyebrow due to chemical burns, but he’s one of the best janitors that Trowbridge has ever seen… as long as the fumes from his office don’t render a group of students unconscious again.

 

Max Cubero – Assistant Custodian

Favorite Subject: Math

Where Lance is dedicated to cleanliness, Max is dedicated to his Collection. The Collection is an assortment of trinkets, odds and ends, and miscellaneous junk that he has picked up while cleaning the school. His Collection has grown over the years and now threatens to spill out of his humble office. While no one in their right mind would accuse him of stealing, some of the current teachers at Trowbridge were also once students there, and the last thing that he wants to be accused of is thievery.

 

Edwina Cerna – Administrative Assistant

Favorite Subject: Government

What’s the difference between a secretary and an administrative assistant? Edwina can tell you, and she’ll send a memo to everyone in the school telling them exactly what the difference is. Following that, she will ask everyone to fill out the perforated form at the bottom of the memo (if you print it, you’ll be able to cut along the dotted line, with included scissor icon), and return it to her within four days. If you don’t do this, she will look at you very sternly at the next staff meeting.

Kathrine Zupan – Secretary

Favorite Subject: Family and Consumer Sciences

While Edwina is busy being a bureaucrat, Katherine, Katie to everyone at the office—including students—does her level best to make everyone happy. This means that she works more hours than anyone else at the school and has a permanent nervous twitch from the caffeine that runs through her system. Her fingers are permanently stained with toner, she has specks of paper stuck in her hair, and she has small scars on her arms from the repeated paper-cuts. However, she greets everyone with a smile. Just ignore the spasmodic twitching of her eye.

 

Gladys Swan – Food Services Coordinator

Favorite Subject: Social Studies

Gladys is an enigma, wrapped in a mystery, wrapped in canned pizza. She manages the cafeteria staff at Trowbridge, but she doesn’t seem to care that much about the food. What’s doubly odd is that, even with her seeming disinterest, she won’t let anyone else do the buying of the foodstuffs that the students eat every day. Taciturn and prone to long, awkward silences, Gladys is no one’s favorite person.

 

Max Papadopoulos – Food Services Assistant

Favorite Subject: Family and Consumer Sciences

Max is an artist. Do you hear me!? An artist! He strives to make each meal at Trowbridge more memorable than the last, but his efforts are blocked at every turn by the disinterest and poor food choices made by Gladys. Max seethes when he has to serve canned peaches in syrup for the forty-second day in a row, but he keeps it all inside. He believes that someday, he will get a chance to prove his culinary genius.

 

Carlene Beachy – Food Services Assistant

Favorite Subject: Biology

When Ms. Beachy’s last name was found out, she gained a nickname that has replaced her true name in the mouths of the students: The Whale. The cruelty of the students simply washes over her, seeming to leave no mark. Carlene long ago decided to be comfortable with how she is shaped, and the words of the students are nothing to her. She is content in her role as a lunch lady, and she always greets the students with a smile. Her cheerful demeanor seems to continue in spite of the silent feud between Gladys and Max.

 

Hillary Navin – Attendance Secretary

Favorite Subject: French

Ms. Navin always wanted to work in a school, but she always envisioned that she would be a teacher, not behind a desk taking excuses from students who skipped school. Three years of disillusionment: seeing kids drop out, come in seemingly half-dead from whatever contagion they were carrying, or looking at parent notes claiming that shoe shopping is a good reason to miss a day of school. All of it has her ground down, and now she initials notes with barley a glance.

 

Teachers

Ellen Kim – Senior English

Ellen’s parent emigrated from Korea when she was a baby and raised her to appreciate both Korean and American culture. In her third year of teaching, she has taken on the sometimes unenviable position of Department Head and balances her duties as a classroom teacher with the pressures of dealing with the concerns of the English department. Still, she manages to be one of the most highly rated teachers in Trowbridge. Some wonder how she manages to fit all of her projects into a single day, but most just respect the fact that she works as hard as she does.

 

Tia Hirsh – Journalism/Yearbook

What do you do when you’re the biggest gossip in the school? You find a way to make prying into everyone’s business your job. Tia manages The Reasonable Squid, the official Trowbridge High school newspaper, as well as Year of the Kraken, the yearbook. Where before she had to rely on the rumor mill to give her the news she wanted, now she has an entire staff of willing students going around school, giving her the news she feels she needs. Oh, and she tries to teach the students to write articles, since that’s sort of her real job.

 

Guerrant – Junior English/Poetry

No one, not even HR, knows Guerrant’s first name, or if he even has one. He maintains a mysterious air, and always seems to answers questions with more questions, or with obscure Belgian poetry. His classes are some of the most regularly attended classes in the English department, thanks to his magnetic personality. He is able captivate a class like none other. Most of the girls, and not a few guys, have a major crush on him. His classes are the only classes in the high school that are waitlisted.

 

Sharron Toto – Art

Ms. Toto lives up to her last name because her students all think that she’s not in Kansas anymore. All of her projects are supposed to be “expressive,” and “full of life,” which translates to “I have no idea what she really wants” in student-speak. The students who try the hardest seem to get the worst grades, and those who slack off and toss something slapdash on her desk seem to always come out on top. It’s like her classroom is a small slice of educational Opposite Day.

 

Darryl Oshaughnessy – Geometry

Shapes and how they fit together have always made sense to Darryl. Much more than people have ever made sense to him. He makes it through each school day only by virtue of the fact that he’s a brilliant geometry teach in spite of himself. He’s kind, befuddled, and he’s one of the only teachers at Trowbridge who no students pick on. In fact, most students go out of their way to protect and help him. Due to that, he has won Teacher of the Year for the last five years running.

Penelope Falkowski – Algebra

In direct contrast Mr. Oshaughnessy, Mrs. Falkowski is a horrible math teacher. Not because she doesn’t understand the subject; far from it. In fact, she understands math so well that she can’t understand why the students don’t simply grasp the concepts that come so easily to her. Due to this, and her inability to make reasonable tests, her students refer to her as “Mrs. F.” She doesn’t seem to get why, aside from that her last name can be difficult for some people to pronounce.

 

Noreen Morp – General Math

Noreen knows that things could be better in the Math Department, but she also knows that they could be worse. A graduate of Trowbridge High herself, Noreen works to make math as accessible for her students. Generally, she does a fair job, but her teaching style is as plain as her demeanor. Nothing fazes her, but nothing excites her, either. The oddity of this stems from her demeanor in high school, where she was a salutatorian and runner-up for Prom Queen. Something must have happened to change her outlook on life, but she barely seems to notice the difference.

 

Lorrie Waguespack – Social Studies/Drama

Mrs. Waguespack wages a two-front war: one against those who mispronounce her last name and another against Mr. Morris for control over the Drama department. Every move she makes – from directing, to casting, to advertising, to scenic design – is questioned or outright changed by Mr. Morris. This lack of control on stage translates into an iron rule in her classroom. No teacher had more student write-ups than Mrs. Waguespack, and no teacher is more rumored to be storing Scotch in her desk drawer.

 

Kurt Babineau – Social Studies

Social Studies teacher and head football coach, Mr. Babineau brings military discipline to both the classroom and the football field. Or, he tries to, anyway. His military heroes are such icons as George Armstrong Custer and Robert Neville. He tries to use examples of these horrible military figures as cases of what to not do, but the minds of his students and athletes seem bent on doing exactly the same types of wrong things as Kurt’s examples. This has led him to have the worst football record in Trowbridge High history.

 

Allan Pelt – Government

For the students and by the students is Mr. Pelt’s motto. Not only does he let the students determine the curriculum, within reason, he also has the students teach the class. The seemingly backward method of teaching government has led to some startling results over the years. His classes invariably experience a wide variety of forms of government as each class organizes itself differently, and different groups of students rise and fall from power. His students end up leaving his class with a full and experiential grasp of the nuances of government.

 

Neil Mom – Physics

Mr. Mom knows that everything happens for a reason. Forces act, and things move. That’s what he tells his students every time he writes them up for making fun of his name. It’s not his fault that his parents have an odd last name, and his discipline is the equal reaction to any student mockery. In fact, such things happen so often that the students have come to rely on his detention-issuing to learn their physics lessons. Not the best way to get the lessons across, but he has some of the highest grades in the school.

 

Clinton Doud – Biology

It’s not easy being a Biology teacher when you’re a fundamentalist, but Mr. Oram manages. In fact, that’s why he went into the sciences in the first place: he wanted to learn about how the other side thinks. The side-effect is that he actually developed critical-thinking skills and has begun to question his beliefs. However, he preservers in spite of this conflict, and he is quite an effective teacher. His students sense some of his inner turmoil, though, and they all hope that he’ll be able to resolve his issues in a manner that lets him continue to teach.

 

Darren Coppinger – Chemistry

Best friends with the Head Custodian, Darren tries to teach Chemistry effectively, but in truth he really just loves seeing things explode. His favorite thing to do is introduce students to the reaction that takes place between sodium and water. He tries to be careful about how vigorous his reactions are, but he does manage to burn off his eyebrows at least once a school year.

 

Selena Daoust – Spanish

Sabiendo que el español es hablado por más y más conforme pasa el tiempo, la señora Daoust esfuerza por dar a todos sus estudiantes un conocimiento de la lengua coloquial. El único trozo de controversia sobre los métodos de su enseñanza es que ella también tiene como objetivo enseñar a los estudiantes de la jerga y frases comunes de cada dialecto regional de españoles encontraron en América. Básicamente, los estudiantes saben cómo insultan a alguien, ya sea cubano o de Honduras, pero no se puede pedir comida en un restaurante.

 

Tabatha Marques – French

Mme Marks aime tous les aspects de la culture française et les cultures de toute la nation française. Elle fait de son mieux pour inculquer l’amour même de celui-ci à ses étudiants. À cette fin, elle s’habillait en mode de Paris, titulaire d’célébrations de Mardi Gras, et sert poutine tous les autres jeudi. Cependant, il est l’enseignement horrible réalité française. Ses élèves hors de la classe à se demander comment la salle de bainpassage, et c’est à ce sujet. Mais les crêpes sont son incroyable étendue.

 

Carlene Dumlao – Vocal Music

A voice like and angel and the body of a devil, Ms. Dumalo is fresh out of college, and the bass and tenor sections of the Trowbridge choir have never been so populated. Sadly, that doesn’t translate to much but those sections being loud and off-key. Ms. Dumalo preservers, however, and is slowly getting the students to look past her body and actually listen to the instruction that she is trying to give. It is, however, a long process.

 

Jessie Jakubowski – Instrumental Music

Jessie has the students eating out of the palm of her hand. She convinced them that a Jakubowski is a type of obscure musical instrument, and since kids only check Wikipedia, one quick page edit, and they were hers. The mystery that she wraps around herself has the kids’ rapt attention, and she uses their focus to mold them into performers that are second-to-none. They routinely win regional and state band competitions for both marching and orchestral band. The band is her pride and joy, but if that mystery is ever pierced, the fallout will ruin things for her.

 

Max Helbert – Phys Ed

Max was a good kid. He played sports in high school, but wasn’t the best on the team. When he went to school, he decided that teaching was for him, but nothing particularly interested him. He almost fell into Phys Ed as a focus, and he made it through college with okay grades. He managed to get a teaching position and his classes are mediocre at best. He remembers sports from high school, but he doesn’t do much interest his students in physical activity. Overall, he’s happy with his lot in life, but he does occasionally wonder if there’s more to life. This question is usually met with a shrug of his shoulders and a whistle for the kids to run another lap.

 

Nelson Rivet – Tech Ed

With a last name like Rivet, how could you not end up working with metal for a living? The Tech Ed program at Trowbridge covers metal and wood shops, as well as auto repair, and Mr. Rivet loves every minute of it. He feels very deeply that he’s giving students valuable skills that they will need when the world governments collapse, and everyone is left to fend for themselves. After all, you won’t be able to pay someone to fix your shelter when the dollar is worthless, now will you?

 

Guy Sulzer – Ag Ed

Always ready with a joke, Guy has been at Trowbridge for longer than almost anyone, and he runs the most financially profitable program at the school. Though many dismiss Agricultural Education in a city as large as Trowbridge, Guy’s farm outside of town serves as the temporary home for the livestock that his students purchase, raise, show, and sell. The profits all go back into the Ag program and, as such, he can afford to host regular pizza parties, sponsor field trips, and arrange other activities that make the other teachers just a mite jealous. But they’re not the ones mucking out the stalls, so who are they to complain?

 


Alternate Settings

Maybe you want something different than the usual high school experience. Maybe you want to go to space, or you want to fight vampires. That’s cool, and we think you should totally do that. So, here are some alternate settings for Trowbridge High. Not only are the settings different, they include optional rules or rule changes that help support the change in setting.

These settings are offered as platforms for your own creativity. Much like the default Trowbridge, if you don’t use the provided setting details, these alternate settings are blank slates for your group to paint on. We’ve given you the lines, but it’s up to you to color inside of them, or not.

 

 

Saved by the Hellmouth

The drip of water echoes through the darkened locker room. Your flashlight’s wavering beam makes flickering shadows that fade almost as soon as they are created. A scraping noise makes you turn. Was it your shoe across the floor, or something else? You hand begins to shake, and the feeble beam of light dances even more, adding to your growing confusion.

A flicker of movement catches your eye, and you turn.

Nothing. Nothing but flickering shadows.

One of the shadows moves. You move your light to cover the darkness, but the darkness stays. Sweat breaks out on your forehead as the shadows grow, beginning to move towards you with vague tendrils. One of them flickers quickly, tearing the flashlight out of your hand, dousing the room in darkness.

Somehow, you can still see the shadows moving, even in the total darkness. You feel something curl around your ankle, a cold touch, slimy and wet. A voice whispers in your ear, implying things, promising things, worming its way into your mind, beginning to rip and tear. Your reality begins to fragment and your last conscious thought it that this fear, this shredding, will not end.

Things are dark at Trowbridge High, and not just because the lights are constantly flickering. Everything has a dark twist to it, from the teachers to the hallways. If you’re outside of the classroom without a pass, you might not be seen again. There are mysteries and conspiracies, cults and foul deeds.

This alternate setting is a modern setting, but one where the supernatural is real. Vampires, ghosts, zombies, you name it. It has direct echoes of shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer and The X-Files, where the improbably or impossible are things that affect everyday life for the characters.

Group Projects in this setting focus on mystery and exploration. There is always a conspiracy to uncover, a cult to stop, or an ancient being to stop from breaking free. As such, pay special attention to the grades of success on the die rolls. The quality of information that the Students get from their explorations should tie directly to how well they roll, with low rolls giving them incomplete or even incorrect information.

Plot Hooks

  • Every teacher is replaced with a substitute teacher on the same day; the same substitute for every class.
  • Students begin disappearing from class, and the Woodshop teacher has been seen making wooden stakes.
  • The Drama club is working to put on a play, and the props have been coming to life backstage. As opening night draws closer, things become more animated.
  • Old architectural drawings of Trowbridge High are uncovered, and the layout forms a very peculiar shape. As the days go on, the walls of the school begin to move. It looks like something old is becoming new again.

 

 

From Whom the Bell Trolls

Stupid James and his stupid spell. I mean, couldn’t he have just left me alone? Just because I insulted his stupid lizard doesn’t mean he needs to go and turn my nose purple. That’s a stupid talent, anyway. What good will it do anyone to be able to change things to a different color? I mean, he could work in a crayon factory, but that’s about it.

My talent’s so much cooler. Sure, I can only walk on water for about fifteen feet before I start to sink, but that’s pretty far. It lets me walk across puddles without getting wet, and I’m ace when it comes to hiking.

But I guess that doesn’t matter much when you’ve got a nose the color of an angry eggplant. Stupid James. I’m gonna get him back. I’m gonna get Sally to set fire to his shoelaces. That’s about the most she can burn, anyway. Then we’ll walk together out to the middle of the public swimming pool and laugh at him.

From the journal of Stephen Jones, Freshman

Trowbridge doesn’t just teach the usual subjects in this setting. Oh, no. Trowbridge is a school for aspiring witches and wizards. The fantastic is commonplace, and the commonplace fantastic. In this setting, just getting through a day of school can be an accomplishment. When even the lowliest student can cast simple spells, class has a way of getting interesting, and fast.

The Harry Potter series by J. K Rowling serves as the inspiration for this version of Trowbridge. Every student has the potential to go on wild adventures in and around the grounds of Trowbridge High. As well, the daily pressures of school life get amped up when magic is involved. Spells go awry, pranks become deadly, and wonderful things happen with just a wave of your hand.

Then there’s the dark side of magic. Sure, no one likes to talk about it, but it’s there. There are imps and demons and all kinds of slimy things that scuttle around at night. Oh, don’t worry; Trowbridge is safe from those things. A dark wizard would never even think to bother a school full of young, aspiring spellcasters. Never.

Rule Changes

Every student has a magical talent, rather than having a Favorite Subject. The magical talent should be narratively interesting, but not aggressive or game-breaking. Since the magical talents are replacing the Favorite Subject, they should be abilities that would grant no more than a +2 bonus to a given roll.

Plot Hooks

  • A field trip to the Fedwing Menagerie goes sideways when someone lets a group of cuttle fairies out of their cage.
  • Finals are coming up, and everyone is cramming. When student start using spells to literally cram information into their heads, things get messy.



How the West Was Fun

The dust blew across the hallway through the gaps in wall boards. Jen shielded her eyes from the grit, hoping that the wind wouldn’t muss her hair. She wanted to look good for Tyler when they met for lunch, and she’d be stuffed if some wind was going to ruin that.

“Goin’ somewhere, darlin’?” She knew that voice. One of the James boys. She turned. “Tain’t none of your business where I’m goin.'”This one was Horace James, the middle one “Horace James. My plans are my own, and I suggest you choose to not pry.” Horace smiled, his broken front tooth looking like something more apt to fit on a snake than a man. He moved forward, an evil gleam in his eye.

“Now, you stop right there, Horace James.” The gleam of Jen’s pocket .22 caught his eye, and the look in his eyes changed from predatory to scared. He slowly began to back off, one hand raised high, the other covering the portion of his anatomy at which the pistol was aimed.

“He’ll be scared for a week. But the James boys have more muscle than sense. He’ll be back.” Jen turned, and saw Tyler standing behind her, leaning on the wall. “That’s as may be.” Jen fixed her hair one more time. “But it’ll be a cold day before I let a lunk like that back me down. Now, are we havin’ lunch, or not?”

A school system made up of disparate buildings, arranged much like a town in the Old West. Cliques turned into outright gangs. And firearms being a matter of course, rather than being something that gets checked for when students enter the school. This is high school in the west, and school has never been this wild. All of the themes of Wild West movies transfer themselves well into a high school setting, and every character gets a chance to be played with some grit. Either that, or the rest of the students brand them a coward, and they slink from class to class hoping to not be accosted.

In a setting like this, the teachers and administrators fade even more into the background than they usually do in a set of stories focused on students. Imagine the teachers taking on the roles of the near-faceless townspeople that serve as the backdrop of many a Western. The heroes and villains—students—are the stars of the show, and the teachers should only be used to drive the plot along if necessary.

Rule Changes

A trope of the Wild West is firearms, and it’s no different in this setting. When a firearm is used in a Conflict, the person with the gun automatically wins the conflict. If both parties have a gun, Conflicts are resolved as normal, with any wounds being treated as normal Consequences. Death should be an extreme rarity.

Plot Hooks

  • There’s a new Sheriff in town, and he’s trying to bring law to Trowbridge. Whether he will or not is up to the students.
  • Been some talk of a burlesque show coming to town, and every gang wants a piece of the action, literally.


 

2101 – A School Odyssey

Max walked down the hallway, his footsteps echoing on the metal surface. He was late to class, and no amount of running would help him get there. He’d be marked as tardy, and there was nothing he could do about it. Unless…

He punched a few buttons on his TransPad and looked at the bioschematic. If he was careful, he could make sure that the clone mark was hidden under his hairline, and he could have the close spat out into the bathroom right next to the classroom. Just a few taps and… there!

He watched through the public camera feed as his double trotted into class just as the bell rang. Now, all he’d have to do is make sure that the Spotters didn’t do their job and spot him. If they saw that he wasn’t in class, even the M19 supernova’d look tame by comparison. He already had five demerits. Another… well, it wasn’t worth thinking about. Max engaged his thermal dampeners and tried to look like a piece of wall.

The future holds a lot of mysteries, the greatest of which are the different types of technology that we’ll be able to use. In Future Torwbridge, the answer is simple: whatever you can think of and deal with: Classes are virtual, you teleport to them, or they stream directly into your brain.

This setting is possibly the most open of the alternate settings. When technology can make whatever you want, the possibilities are endless. Think of the holodeck in Star Trek. Now, think of what happens when that malfunctions. Now you’re getting the idea. Think of your favorite sci-fi setting, from Ender’s Game to Dune. Very different, but all doable in the future. Because of the diversity of the possibilities of the future, this setting has more plot hooks than the others.

Plot Hooks

  • Hoping to curry favor with the Galactic Emperor, the students of Trowbridge Space Station create a group of dancing clones. Everything goes fantastically, until the clones go rogue in the Galactic Court.
  • Trowbridge Galactic Flight School is attacked by a Trarg Troop Enclave. The teachers are all killed, leaving the students as the only hope for the Flight School.
  • A nanovirus is sweeping through the Trowbridge Space Station, changing any matter it touches into anti-matter, with explosive results.
  • When a student-created robot gains sentience, how will administration deal with it? The robot only wants to be a student, and it will fall to the Student Council to come to a ruling. Student Government will win the day.
  • A virtual reality game entrances the entire Station. Only a few students seem immune to its effects, and it falls to them to free everyone else.


Sample Characters

Name: Lee Michaels
Favorite Subject: Science
Ranks: Blank
Description: Lee is average of height and build, with dark hair, cut short. He wears dark rimmed rectangle glasses and has green eyes. He dresses plainly, wearing black/blue jeans with plain grey or black T-shirts and regular white sneakers. He is a quiet person, not speaking unless spoken to and replies with short concise answers. He’s smart enough to do well in classes, but doesn’t care much about classes that aren’t science classes. The only thing aside from science that grabs his attention is soccer, which helps him to fit in a little better.
Name: Nolan Trane
Favorite Subject: Computer Science
Ranks: Crank
Description: Nolan always looks a bit disheveled. He’s got hair that would make Einstein blush, and walks around muttering to
himself. Most of the other students avoid Nolan unless they are forced to interact with him. Everybody thinks he’s crazy. But there are times when his muttering almost seems to make sense… almost as if there’s some great truth hidden underneath his twitchy exterior.
Character Name: Christopher ‘Brindy’ Brind
Favorite Subject: Computer Science
Ranks: Bank
Description: Chris is of average height, with long blonde hair, and blue eyes. He keeps himself cleaner than most high school boys, but has a dry skin problem. He tends to wear jeans, t-shirts, and hoodies. Chris is one of those rare kids that can bridge the gap between the nerds and the jocks. He’s in to heavy metal, computers and gaming, but also football and athletics, more due to his innate talent rather than any love of the sport. He goes by Brindy, even with teachers. He’s an average student, but does excel at technology. He is well-liked by most students and teachers, but does attract the attention of the (non-jock) school bullies because of it. He never backs down from a fight and the jocks will stand up for him if they see him being picked on.
Character Name: Summer Songbird
Favorite Subject: French
Ranks: Swank
Description: Summer has blonde, wavy hair that reaches down to the middle of her back. Her blue eyes are a stark contrast to her fair skin. As a Trowbridge High soccer star, her body is in top athletic form. Her lips, glimmering with cherry lip gloss, are always smiling. Summer is a soccer star by day and closet nerd by night. She hangs out with the other jocks while at school, and then at night, after soccer practice, she meets up with her other group of friends for some good old fashioned tabletop gaming. She feels bad about leading this double life, but she doesn’t think either group would understand the other. In her heart she wishes to bring the two worlds together, but fears rejection from both.
Character Name: Cookie Crawford
Favorite Subject: History
Ranks: Spank
Description: Cookie is tall and skinny, with long auburn hair that she keeps tied up neatly in a ponytail. Her face is fair and full, with piercing hazel eyes. Her tastes in dress tend towards the fringes of popularity, leaning towards black and pink as her favorite colors. Her tastes in music also fall more along the alternative choices. Cookie is shy and reserved around new people, but opens up once she’s become comfortable with someone, regardless of the clique that the person associates with. With her friends, she is helpful, though this causes her to follow others into trouble that she wouldn’t have gotten into on her own. She can be quite fun to be around, though she has been known to take things too far in her playfulness. Cookie can also be moody and stubborn, with a tendency to rebel against anyone with authority over her. However, this bravado disappears when an authority figure confronts her. When stressed, she sometimes sneaks off for a cigarette, though this often leads to more stress when the faculty find her.
Character Name: Brian “Brainstorm”
Clark
Favorite Subject: Science
Ranks: Gank
Description: Brian is bright, but he has to go well over the top to get noticed. This is the guy who you know will wear facepaint to the pep rally and really go all out, but in the hallway you’d walk right past him. His most valiant effort came in the new school year, when the teacher asked if anyone had a nickname they preferred. “Brainstorm” wasn’t an inspired choice and he’s never lived it down. He dresses like a hood, but he does too well in
school for that. He steals stuff because his family doesn’t have money. He spends too much time in his own head for his own good, which can make him seem odd to his fellow students. Not being able to find his niche has made puberty interesting, as he’s prone to morose mood swings.
Name: Felix “Roman” Romaninski
Favorite Subject: Foreign Language (Latin)
Ranks: Blank
Description: Felix—or, as everyone else calls him, Roman—isn’t much to look at, really. When everyone else hit a growth spurt and seemed to shoot up six inches overnight, Roman just stayed the same height. His brown hair, hazel eyes, and pale olive skin don’t help him much when it comes to standing out in a crowd, either. That’s okay by him, though; he’s a quiet guy who is generally happy with his own thoughts to keep him company. Mostly. In those thoughts, Roman dreams of being an Orator. In Junior High, Roman fell in love with Latin. The perfect parallelism, the clever cadences, the subtle suspense of Cicero leave Roman breathless, no matter how many times he reads those speeches over and over. When other kids do spare Roman just enough attention to notice how weird he is, he dreams of being able to cut them down with a barbed phrase… but it never comes. Roman dreams of one day being a speaker who can command the attention of multitudes, who can win women’s hearts with a quick turn of phrase, who can be someone people listen to. For now, though, he’ll settle on getting through PE without getting run over on the track again.
Character Name: Jo Klein
Favorite Subject: Choir
Ranks: Jank
Description: Jo always works to look good, even if her definition of good is different from most. She embraces the “alt” in alternative, creating fashions that draw eyes for their awesomeness and for their oddity. Jo also loves music. She tends to find choir restrictive, and works to make things more dramatic, like the shows she sees on TV. This means drama, the kind you can sing about. Jo drifts from social circle to social circle, never staying with one group of friends for too long. Her pointed attitude towards things and her tendency to want to break into song means that she wears out her welcome before too much time has passed. However, since there are only so many social circles at Trowbridge, Jo is sort-of friends with most of the students in the school.