I’ve got this idea for an RPG, where the teenage characters face a system (perhaps they are child soldiers) which purports to protect and look after them, but generally fails and has abandoned them – leaving them in basically a lord of the flies sort of situation, but without being on a desert island. Also, and this is even more important, it doesn’t appear they have been abandoned.
Further it would go into how that abandonment essentially puts them in bad situation or at odds with each other (or both). But sans any recognition of being abandoned, what it gets into is the responce and idea that they are still being looked after and that they just have to ‘get it right’ or ‘follow the system right’. In this RPG, ‘following it’ will specifically be an invention of players, and yet characters will believe they are indeed following the system. No matter what their acts. No matter what their deeds.
It’ll plot basically a regression into an animal sort of form, which thinks only moment to moment as to how it responds and reacts, as the young, malable characters in question have continually thought themselves as under a system, and yet as they weren’t and often the only reaction was animalistic reflexes, they start to think animalistic reflexes are the system – rather than just like, simply being animals.
Perhaps having some scale of reactions, regressing all the way down. Each character is on the scale and if they choose to go down a notch, they get a strong bonus on dealing with a situation that would hurt or ostracize them otherwise. And so the regression will slowly be charted.