Last week’s “No Ranks” post has stuck with me, because you see the transition from high school to “whatever comes next” in a lot of movies. Depending on the type of movie, though, you might not see a whole lot of change in the characters. The American Pie movies, for example, never really stop being high school movies. The characters do evolve over the course of the movies, but it takes the entire series (of theatrical releases) to see any real growth. And a few characters never lose their Ranks.
There’s another kind of movie that hearkens back to high school, which is why I’m covering two topics in this post: the “we want to go back” movie. Think The Best of Times or Indian Summer. In this kind of movie, you’ve got adults, well past high school, who want to recapture something that they are missing from their lives now. Adulthood has changed them, ground them down, and they want to relive the “glory days.”
What these movies have in common is that they both transition where Ranks are involved. High school is a particular kind of time, and according to popular media, it never really lets you go.
College movies are as much their own genre of movie as high school movies are. A lot of the same themes are present, too, just… bigger. And many college movies treat college as just an extension of high school. “You get to find out who you are,” yeah. In many cases, that person turns out to be who you were in high school, but more so. When you’ve got the freedom to literally do what you want, there’s a tendency to just double down on the things you know or feel to be true.
Say you’ve played through a bunch of School Daze sessions. You’ve had at least two Proms happen, a few Big Games, four years’ worth of Final Exams. The characters are ready to move on, but you’re not ready to move on from the characters. There are a couple of ways you can keep playing.
College = High School with the Brakes Off
Movies like this are the most natural extension of School Daze. You get to keep your Ranks, but in this case, they’re good for a +2 or a -2 on your rolls. When they help, they help as much as your Favorite Subject. When they hurt, they hurt a lot more. Movies like these also tend to be comedies, which is a natural fit for School Daze as well. So send your students off to Trowbridge Community College, see what happens!
College = The Real World
This is the “we’re turning into real adults” version of graduation. Not everyone goes to college, those who do are serious about it, and there’s real chance for disillusionment. This is the natural extension of last week’s post about School Daze with no ranks. It’s much more serious type of game, one that focuses on “becoming an adult.” There are groups for whom that might be fun. When you fall back on who you used to be in high school, it’s your Ranks coming back to haunt you. They only give a -1, but it’s always a minus.
What Comes Next?
Like I mentioned above, there’s also the “recapturing the glory” type of movie where adults get a chance to atone for stuff they messed up, or to take advantage of the opportunities they missed in high school. These movies are often a chance for someone to relive a time they see as more carefree, where there was less on the line. Alternatively, they’re about changing who the past made them. They messed something up when they were a teenager and it’s haunted them? Now’s the time to make it right.
For a game like this, it’s useful to have characters with established histories, to have events from your high school days (previous sessions of School Daze). That way you can imagine who those characters would become as adults, and how they would want to approach a game like this. As well, it’s useful to have an event like Homecoming to wrap this around. There are all kinds of “recapture the glory” moments that can be wrapped up in Homecoming.
For the characters, give them their Favorite Subjects, and take the idea from High School with the Brakes Off and turn it up even more. Ranks now give a +3 or a -3. This skews the numbers a lot, so it means that successes and failures are both going to be more epic. A game like this is also very in keeping with the feel of School Daze, so it’s a perfect time to make things even more over-the-top than usual.
There might be other ways to continue a game of School Daze after high school, but I feel like this topic’s gotten its due. For new week I’m taking suggestions as to which high school movie you’d like to see me break down. Let me know in the comments!