One Shot: Dani Nolan

Character: Danielle "Dani" Nolan
Game: The Hour Between Dog and Wolf
Episodes: 1
Theme Song: And The World Was Gone by Snowghosts
Keywords: Nosey, lost, aloof

Awhile ago I played The Hour Between Dog and Wolf online with a dear friend. The game never ended, but I really began to dig my character, even though I found having an online character much harder to understand and play than face to face characters. But for that game I made Dani, a young but lively investigative journalist who had left the shitty city to go to a bigger, better city for school.

Naturally, as the daughter of a nurse and a police officer, Dani was pretty adept at taking care of herself. But when her mother got sick, she returned home on the brink of being really successful. She had done a few big articles, and had been ready to be hired at some big time papers. Her mother got cancer, Dani went home, and shortly after, her mother died. Dani knew she couldn't leave her dad alone, so she moved in with him and took a job at the local paper.

A couple years later Dani isn't liked because of her style of reporting where she values truth above anything else. This meant she would reveal the truth behind some tragic accidents that people brushed under the rug because it kept a company who hired a lot of people in business. She shut them down. She did revealing articles on the police department or mayor's office. Nothing was a limit to her.

Until a killer came to town. I created Dani to be a character that was a little girl interrupted. She had been on a definite life path and was on a new one now, but it didn't feel right on her skin and she wasn't sure who she was. She knew she wasn't who she was supposed to be, but part of her was okay with that. She had a fiancee her dad approved of and she had a best friend she was sleeping with on the side from childhood.

Women were being killed in the city, and Dani had decided she needed to investigate. People needed to be safe and the police weren't doing enough to reveal who this killer was or catch them. Carefully, Dani began to unravel the truth around who was doing these horrible, disgusting killings. As the story progressed, it became clear that this somewhat waif like, aloof girl I had made was heavily connected to family and friends and used that emotional stability to maintain her progress through investigating the killer.

The final scene in the game ended up being Dani discovering it was her best friend and lover that was behind the killing. She figured it out, and confronted him. He ended up confessing and turning himself into the police. The game was genuinely uncomfortable, but I found myself at a bit of a disconnect with Dani and the fiction. She was a tenacious, dedicated reporter, who had quietly lost her fire and had begun to be more interested in her future husband and her father's life. I didn't like that she was so heavily defined by the men in her life, but it was what there was.

There was no particular challenge I had in mind. I wanted the game to challenge Dani in ways I didn't expect, and unfortunately, it didn't. Partly I think this is because I hadn't expected to win and partly because the dice did interesting things through that game. I had a horrible obsession score, that was really low, so I never did investigation scenes. I always did scenes around increasing my stability until I could use my stability to wheedle away at the stats of the Killer. What this looked like in the story was my character repeatedly being adverse to any harm to her family and being protected and loved and protective of those in her life.

It was a really interesting game, but I didn't feel much for Dani. I felt a little frightened every time the killer and I were in the same scene together, because I knew he was a little unpredictable. She hadn't expected he was the killer, not until she tracked down his father to ask questions. But that slow burn mystery wasn't one she felt scared in, she felt bad for him and in the end, just wanted him to do better. To the point where she just confronted him alone in a parking lot rather than get help from her fiancee or her father.

I would like to play her again. I would like to challenge her more, by maybe playing her in a different game, like Ten Candles or Hope Inhumanity. Something where she had to make more intense decisions or something where I could connect with her more. Maybe another time. For now, this character was a bit of a wash and a disappointment to me. Maybe I'll play her in the same game again, investigating a new killer in a new town after she's published her book on it and becomes more into serial killer hunting.

Now that is something I want to play. That is how I failed this character. I didn't make something I found interesting in the story, she wasn't invested enough and had no reason to be. I made a bad character for this story. I am now eagerly looking forward to playing her again when she's a bit older and a bit more intensely dedicated and maddeningly hunting the villain. I'll have to play this game again soon and try this approach.

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