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Messages - lordrahvin

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1) I didn't respond because I didn't think you wanted me to.  It sounded like you wanted an "official" answer, meaning there's no point in posting if I wasn't that one guy you were interested in hearing from.  Maybe it was a misunderstanding.

2) These forums don't seem to see much activity.  From what I've seen, a couple days without an answer is not uncommon. 

As for your question, I think all the archetypes are considered "official", especially as they are now being sold by Generic Games on a pay-what-you-want basis.  These are simply extra playbooks that you're free to use with the game, and they have been updated to the revised edition.

Monster of the Week / Re: Advanced moves?
« on: August 07, 2015, 10:57:35 PM »
By default, all basic moves have an effect when you roll a 7-9, and a better effect when you roll a 10+. 

Once you mark a basic move as "advanced", a new option for that moves becomes available.  However, the "advanced" effect only kicks in if you roll a 12+ when rolling for that move. 

I once developed a "fan fiction RPG" based on Alpha Centauri, the computer game.  The players had landed in a United Nations Unity Pod, and developed their first city by taking apart the pod.  This was UN Headquarters.  Later, three other colonies were made nearby -- mostly lower population agricultural societies.  Each one had different local laws, but they all answered to UN Headquarters.  Roads were made from each colony, to each colony. 

Sensor towers were erected to keep an eye on the colonies and surrounding territories, but there's not enough sensor towers for the outlying regions.  The three outer colonies can't even keep the power on all the time, and the competition for limited resources granted by UN Headquarters means a great deal of political strife and rivalry.  The roads are dangerous and so are frequently patrolled by UN Peacekeepers.  There's plenty of land to grow food, but farming is one of the most dangerous occupations because it means you're pretty much on your own and there's so many health risks that local media outlets have started to report corruption among food inspectors, doctors, and other government officials.

Despite all these human problems, the PCs spent most of their time away from the colony.  They were UN Rangers, and their task was to explore the nearby terrain and gather information, build maps, and report back about dangers or resources that they found.  Over the course of their travels, they discovered fungal blooms, ways to harness the fungus for medicinal purposes, giant fungal towers... and the omnipresent threat of Mindworm Boils.  Their ultimate goal was to find crashed debris from the original Unity starship, and recover any tech or data they found. 

In one adventure, they found a pod that had a manifest of three exploration vehicles, and thought they had hit the motherload only to discover it had been opened and looted.  This is when they realized their escape pod wasn't the only one that escape the crashing starship and they set out to find other signs of human survival.  This eventually led them into conflict with a group of religious fanatics calling themselves the Believers, and the campaign started to become more political and military oriented after that.

I've looked for my notes on that setting, as I had some details on politics, economy, law, technology, etc, but I can't find it right now.  If I find it, I'll post it, and you can use whatever you like. 

I think the whole document would read better without the GM Moves part. 

You don't really go into detail enough about what Soft Moves and Hard Moves are for that part to be worth anything, and most of what you want to say there is already covered in your description under "Actions".  That's really where you want attention focused. 

The GM Moves section offers decent advice for someone who already knows what those two things are, but doesn't explain them very well.  (I think a couple examples would help.)  It's probably better just to omit that whole section rather than confuse people. 

Other than that, it seems clear, concise, and playable.  The only ambiguity I see is that story points change a 6- roll to a 7-9 roll before the dice are rolled which 1) is a temporal paradox, and 2) doesn't describe what happens to the story point if you do not roll a 6-.  So even though its not hard to understand, that section could use a little bit of editing.

roleplaying theory, hardcore / Re: Post-Big-Model RPG theory
« on: July 23, 2015, 09:56:56 PM »
I agree with this.  I was considering "Don't be a jerk" as one of the points on the MC Agenda for a homebrew hack. 

Monster of the Week / Re: Monster of the Week Actual Play mp3's
« on: July 23, 2015, 09:44:46 PM »
Can't open the links while i'm at work right now, but those characters sounds awesome!

Casey sounds like a handful. :)

brainstorming & development / Re: The Modern World
« on: July 23, 2015, 09:15:07 PM »
Another fundamental goal of mine has been reversing many of Vincent's terminology changes.  A lot of people seem to like to keep these, but I find them kind of intrusive.  It does help give the game its own distinctive "flavor", which I suppose is part of the point, but I don't think my target audience will appreciate it.   

I'm hoping to take my game into game stores and play some pickup games, and I don't want people hung up on terminology so I'm trying to use terms commonly found in D&D and "traditional games".  As cool as the Apocalypse World flavor is, my game isn't as distinctively different and may not need the terminology changes to reinforce that difference. 

In fact, if you think about it, the whole idea of The Modern World is that at first glance it should look very familiar, but as you go deeper under the surface you realize that things are different.  In a way, I'm trying to make the rules reflect that.  Everything I love about the Apocalypse World rules are still there waiting to come out during play, but the structure and terminology of the game should be friendly, inviting, and familiar. 

So instead of "harm" and "harm as established", I've got damage and wounds.  I don't have any terms that say "hold", "forward", or "ongoing", instead I use brief explanations when they come up, "You receive a +1 bonus when rolling your next Tough move", for example, or "you can ask the GM up to 3 questions from the following list". 

I try to use words like attack, damage, melee, ranged, wounds, xp, attributes, traits, bonus, penalty, ... things traditional roleplayers will be used to.  I've replaced "hand" range with "touch" and may later just change that to "melee".  I have damage types right now: sharp, heavy, magic, burn, and bullet, mostly so I can have a wider variety of armors available.  "Tags" are being renamed to "features", and I'm including stat blocks with items that usually have them such as weapons, armor, and vehicles to keep the information separate from the features.  I'm considering changing "GM moves" to "effects", but I'm not sure yet.   

The most important thing, and really the reason I started all this, is that whenever a move (or MC move) or failure of some kind says that something happens to a PC, I try to specify whether the PC has the opportunity to react with a move of his own.  Apocalypse World seemed pretty clear about stuff like this, but some of the other 'Powered By Apocalypse World' products seemed a lot more vague.  It's an important goal of mine to be clear on this.  For example, the Defend basic action allows you to redirect danger from an ally to you on a roll of 7+, but on a 10+ you can react to the danger normally and on 7-9 you can't. 

I've taken out all the Hx stuff, for now, but I may add them in -- possibly as optional rules.  That part will depend on players' reactions and how the game flows either way.  Unlike Apocalypse World (which has an awesome distinctive flavor and style that I'm not trying to copy), the Modern World is a more traditional game in which a group of player work together against outside threats presented by the GM.  (Yeah, I renamed "MC" to "GM".  I understand that an Apocalypse Engine MC is very different than a traditional "GM", but that kind of stuff can be handled in the GM Agenda and Principles section without needing to add a new unnecessary term.)

Speaking of which, I get the point of a GM Agenda.  I think that's awesome, and I've been trying to put some thought into mine.  But I think too many people copy the Apocalypse World principles without really thinking about it -- I mean, the Principles, in many cases, are what make a setting unique.  The fact that an MC "looks at everything through crosshairs" in Apocalypse World is what makes Apocalypse World waaaay different from, oh say, playing in Greyhawk or Sherwood Forest.  I don't think that's a Principle that should just be lightly copied into any setting. 

Other Principles seem to not make too much sense, in that they don't seem "principle" to the game or setting.  In this way, I'm thinking of renaming the whole "GM Principles" section to just "GM Tips & Suggestions" or something.  Anything stronger than that probably should be in the Agenda.  Take "map everything", for example.  Is that really necessary?  I mean, it's good advice... but its not like we're playing a totally different game or somehow playing the game incorrectly if we don't map stuff for a few sessions in a row.   "Be a fan of the player characters", however, is awesome advice for just about any setting.   "Tips & Suggestions" are probably easier to read than laying down "Principles" like you're violating some sort of rule. 

Maybe it's like the hard/soft move thing.  Agendas are hard moves.  They can't be violated, they are in effect, you must obey them.  The "Tips & Suggestions" are ideas I'm throwing at you, but you can avoid them or modify them if you want.

Anyway, where was I?  Terminology.  I'm considering changing "moves" to "actions" or "traits", but I haven't decided yet.  I like "moves" right now because it implies action, physically doing something.  However many "character moves" seem more like "traits" to me.  We'll see what I do with that as I fill out the playbooks.  I might change "GM moves" to "effects", character moves to "traits" (some of which are also moves), and leave basic moves as-is. 

With the PCs getting less experience without marking attributes or gaining Hx, I've added "objectives" and "motivations" to earn extra XP.  In addition, I was thinking of introducing something similar to Fate's open-ended aspect system, using xp instead of hero points.  I'm having trouble thinking of a name for it though.  I'm considering calling them "reputations" because they are things "everyone knows about your character", and I was going to introduce a rule that says player characters gain 1xp whenever a reputation (belonging to any player) causes you a setback or complication. 

This kind of replaces the idea of character tags.  Instead, you can gain a reputation that says "I'm always broke because I have a gambling problem." or "I have a crush on Bridget." or "The Irish Mafia thinks I have their money". 

After a fight with a werewolf, one player may want the reputation "I killed a werewolf."  Other NPCs will react to this reputation, and any player can call on that reputation to introduce a new problem into the narrative, in exchange for xp.  Perhaps at some point the whole group will earn xp when they learn that a pack of werewolves have come to town to find out who killed their youngest pup.

That's the idea right now.  For now I'm calling it "Reputation", because that can be anything (and because calling it "History" might be confusing for AW veterans). 

brainstorming & development / Re: The Modern World
« on: July 23, 2015, 06:54:19 PM »

My name was Thomas Drayne.  Four years ago I was a mid-level accountant in the payables department for one of the largest shipping firms on the United Statesí west coast.  I made decent money..  I had a career, my own cubicle, my own computer, my own private little world.  I thought I was safe.  I thought we were all safe.  That was until i found a trail of money leading into several shell companies and dummy investments used to cover-up an explosion at a warehouse in the midwest.  The news said it was a gas leak, but I saw the purchasing orders.  That was no gas leak. 

My life followed a somewhat different course now that my eyes have been opened.  I spend most of my time on the run, but at least Iíve got a small crew to run with.  Itís a strange crew -- a rogue priest, a self-proclaimed alien-hunter, a professor obsessed with old-world artifacts, and a human lab experiment, but they are closer to me than family.  Together, we have seen things, discovered things, and did things that I never thought possible.  My companion says we are doing Godís work.  Iím not so sure about that.  All I know is that the world is more messed up than I ever thought, and only those of us that know the truth are in a position to do anything about it.  This is our fight now.  Our secret war.   

brainstorming & development / Re: The Modern World
« on: July 23, 2015, 04:20:08 PM »

I added a fifth stat, Spirit.  It's only really necessary if you ever decide to pickup a little magic later on, as its basically "the magic stat".  It's also used to resist some supernatural and psychic effects, but its mostly a "dump stat" right now if you're not a Spirit-based Champion.


So I'm working on the playbook concepts, and so far I think I have 16 I want to use.  These playbooks represent people who may have once been ordinary people, but have learned that the world is very complicated.  Supernational corporations exploit the weak and control whole governments.  A New World Order is gathering power every day.  Not just one, but several, alien species have visited the Earth.  Plus, as the world becomes more connected we learn that ancient threats of magic and monsters are still with us and gathering in strength. 

These players represent ordinary people who have left their lives behind and dedicated themselves to either working with an organization or striking out on their own to basically confront the madness head on.  They are Champions, fighting a secret war.  Maybe they are trying to save the world from a major threat.  Maybe they are just trying to save one person from terrors he cannot understand and doesn't believe in.  Maybe they are just trying to find out what else is out there and where the next threat is. 

So each of these takes what I consider to be a good archetype for a "modern adventures game" and have their concept injected with a year or so of monster fighting, mystery solving, and trying to stay alive.  So all of these playbooks are designed to be fairly believable ordinary people -- and you can select options to make them that way -- but all of them have just a touch of weird to them, too. 

At least, that's the idea.  They're not finished yet.  Most of them aren't started yet. 

Here's the list of concepts so far:

Alien Hybrid (a human modified with alien DNA and/or technology)
Aristocrat (the front face of the group, half 'wealthy traveler' and half 'suave superspy')
Confessor (an agent of The Church trained to save souls and fight supernatural threats in the name of God)
Field Agent (a special agent with the backing of an influential government agency)
Hunter (a violent criminal dedicated to the extermination of a particular threat, organization, or monster type)
Investigator (hardcore investigative journalists dedicated to finding the truth about what's out there)
Ninja (added to appease a friend of mine.  He likes martial artists.  To be honest, I'm not sure if there's much difference between Ninja and Thief.)
Nomad (the ordinary 'everyman' who is seen too much and been pushed too far)
Occultist (a character specializing in ritualistic magic and enchantment; or a master of warding, binding, and summoning spirits)
Professor (the expert researcher, scholar, antiquarian, and mastermind of the group. Good at studying and improving magic artifacts.)
Protector (a warrior or martyr dedicated to preservation of innocent life at all costs, defends the group, protects civilians)
Psychic (a powerful telepath who can mess with people's minds and see the future, at a personal cost)
Scientist (the analyst, technical specialist, and healer of the group.  They specialize in tinkering with gadgets and alien tech.)
Soldier (a special operative trained for either solo wetwork operations or squad-based tactics)
Thief (a character whose infiltration, stealth, and prestidigitation skills border on the supernatural)
Wizard (a modern spellcaster who specializes in improvisational magic and protecting the group from magical effects)

brainstorming & development / Re: The Modern World
« on: July 18, 2015, 07:12:57 AM »
Two things I really love about this game are how well the mechanics can deal with situations that don't work well in other games, despite their most convoluted attempts. 

-A police officer pulls out a gun on the robber and yells "Freeze". 
What is this in other games?  Are you setting yourself on Opportunity Fire?  Are you Delaying Your Action until he makes his?  Is it Intimidate?  Negotiate?  Do you want to match your initiative to his? 
DEMAND WITH FORCE.  "If he doesn't freeze, I shoot him in the leg."

-The Rage Demon tries to pull your buddy out the window, but you manage to get the car started and Vroom.  Just for yahoos, you turn the car around and ram into the Rage Demon before driving off.
What is this?  An opposed grapple check?  Do we check the opposed strength?  Does the seat belt add +2 to your roll?  A dexterity check, maybe?   What's the to-hit bonus of a car, anyway?  Does it matter.  Should we use your drive skill instead?  How much hitpoints does the car take off?  Will this modify the challenge level? 
AVOID DANGER.  Escape momentarily from the nasty Rage Demon.  Your buddy would HELP OUT, but he's busy getting the car started.
PHYSICAL ASSAULT.  Your weapon is a car, which is slow but accelerating and probably does 3 damage.  On a bad roll, your car may take damage and that will hinder your getaway.  On a really bad roll, you might crash or pickup a demonic hitchhiker.

Both these events happened in the last sessions of d20Modern I ever played.   That's when I realized, you need a totally different and flexible mindset to govern gaming in a modern setting. 

brainstorming & development / Re: The Modern World
« on: July 18, 2015, 06:48:23 AM »
Some more specific details...

At the moment, I have no equivalent to History, Hx, Strings, Bonds, or whatever.  Like Monster of the Week, the history step will just be asking questions about your history and how it involves (this other character).  This may change later, but is the assumption I'm going with for now.  This means I'll be adding in some additional way for players to earn XP, likely by declaring and completing group objectives and personal objectives.

The attributes I'm using right now are Tough, Quick, Sharp, and Charm.   Not much to say here..  The attributes kind of speak for themselves. 

During the design process I'm also picturing those as my four categories of player-characters, the Tough Champion, the Quick Champion, the Sharp Champion, and the Charming Champion, and so I'm trying to make sure they all have basic actions they can perform, that they each have some role in combat scenes, they have each have some role in mystery solving, etc. 

I'm not sure what actual playbooks I'll be using at the moment.  For now, I'm content to use the playbooks in Monster of the Week, as they really are excellent.  Eventually, writing up my own playbooks - or frankensteining my playbooks from bits and pieces of others - will probably be my last step.  This started as kind of a project to adapt Monster of the Week to "my style" of game, but I'm perfectly happy with most of the playbooks other than maybe one or two I'd like to rename.

I took an idea from d20 Modern and am asking every player to select a "background".  This plays out similiar to the "choose your background" step in the Crooked playbook of Monsters of the Week, except this applies to all characters.  This basically represents your former life, before you became a Champion.  The available backgrounds to choose from are: Academic, Artist, Athlete, Celebrity, Criminal, Dilettante, Doctor, Domestic, Executive, Nomad, Military, Police, Religious, Reporter, Rustic, and Technician.  Each one has a list of 3-6 moves/traits, and you can select one.  For some of them, the same move/trait is copied among different backgrounds.  For example, "Computer Savvy" is a move that you can select if you have the Academic, Criminal, or Technician backgrounds. 

One problem I'm going to have is how much overlap to have between the backgrounds and the main playbooks, and whether or not any overlap there is a bad thing.  Like, I was picturing have a Criminal or Thief playbook -- does that overlap too much with the Criminal background?  Should they have a similar move selection or completely different?  Essentially, your background is your "Former" life, so a lot of overlap shouldn't matter, I guess.  Like maybe you were Military, but now you're a Criminal.  You would have very different abilities from someone who grew up in a life of crime.  On the other hand, does that mean I should have a corresponding playbook for each background?  Or if someone wants to be a Celebrity, should the Celebrity background completely cover that leaving no need for a corresponding playbook. (The "American Idol"?)

At the moment, my basic moves lists are:
- Act Under Pressure (similar to Act Under Fire, but to resist fear or act normally under tension or surprise, uses +Sharp) SHARP
- Avoid Danger (basically roll +Quick to avoid bad stuff, this is Act Under Fire)  QUICK
- Move Stealthily (just a renamed 'avoid danger' to make it clear how to handle this situation) QUICK
- Manipulate or Bargain (mostly the same as Seduce or Manipulate from Apocalypse World) CHARM
- Research (taken from Monster of the Week, changed a bit, kind of a replacement to Open Your Mind?) SHARP
- Help Out (taken from Monster of the Week, except gives a specific "aid bonus".  A player can use only one "aid bonus" on any given roll.) SHARP
- Throw object (basically ranged attacks without firearms.  Throwing knives.  Grenades.  Whatever.) TOUGH
- Smash object (bash doors down or destroy breaktable objects.  I'm considering removing this and working it into Move Stealthily.)  TOUGH
- Sense Motive (this is the same as Read a Person in Apocalypse World, except it uses +Charm) CHARM
- Investigate Your Surroundings (a blend and middle ground between AW's "Read a Sitch" and MotW's "Investigate the Mystery") SHARP
- Defend (similiar to Monster of the Week, but with more clarification.  On a 10+, you draw the danger but can try to react to it.  On a 7-9, you just draw it.) TOUGH
- Open Fire (you try to take down a target with a firearm) QUICK
- Medical Care (a basic move to heal and stabilize a character, but has a list of complications - on a 10+ you get one, on 7-9, three.  I might decide to simplify this later.) SHARP
- Physical Assault (the basic melee "Attack move" that players can declare when asked for their action.  On a 10+, you don't take any harm and can perform the Combo with Followup move) TOUGH
- Combo With Followup (I'm not sure yet if I will keep this move. It's optional to roll, but can only be rolled if you rolled 10+ on a Physical Assault) TOUGH
- Demand With Force (this is basically "Go Aggro".  I combined Seize with Force and Go Aggro together, and then later renamed it to Demand With Force to make it easier to declare) TOUGH
- Fight Back (a quick reaction, like 'avoid danger', but instead of avoiding it, you attack the source of danger before it can hurt you.  Uses the same mechanics as Physical Assault except you can't Combo with Follow-up) TOUGH

There are three moves here that were designed specifically to be reactions.  That isn't to say all the moves can't be reactions, but three have that specific role.  When "{something bad} happens, what do you do?", these are the goto actions.  They are Avoid Danger, Move Stealthily, Act Under Pressure, and Fight Back. 

"The guy pulls out a gun and aims it at your head." 
"I act under pressure and continue the deal, uninterrupted" or "I avoid danger, and get crash through one of the windows."  or "I fight back, and punch the guy in the face."  "I Move Stealthily and give a subtle signal to Merideth."

This is the main conceptual difference between Physical Assault and Fight Back.  Fight Back is ultimately a reaction to danger.  Physical Assault is something more premeditated.  Mechanically, the only difference is that one gives access to the Combo with a Follow-up move.  The reasoning is, while I like the idea of fighting back as a reaction, I want to keep the action simple and smooth.  In this case, I want the players to know the likely consequences for the roll before they even throw the dice, without having to look down at lists or make decisions between different options... my GOD, there's no time for that, a sword is swinging toward your head!!!  And so I wanted the Fight Back move to me mechanically simple and fast, just like the Avoid Danger move. 

I don't like looking at lists very much.  Maybe I'll eventually get used to it, but I prefer rules that can be easily memorized and "pick 2 of these off this list" isn't something that's easy to memorize.  So it was important to me to have basic attack actions that might get repeated a lot to be simple, such as Open Fire and Physical Assault.  On a 10+, you inflict your harm.  On a 7-9, you inflict harm and take harm, or with Open Fire something else bad happens. 

Still, I liked having the options available in some form, and so that's where the Combo With a Followup comes into play -- it's the move with the list of special combat tricks like disarm the opponent, move him where you want to go, knock him out cold, etc.  You can only use it if you get a 10+ roll though and only for Physical Assaults, not Open Fire, Demand With Force, or Fight Back.  So now we have a list of special combat moves that may become available in combat, but the opportunities for it won't come up as frequently.  That seems thematic, should streamline play a little, and gives special potential benefit to both melee attacks and melee attacks done "on your turn" or when you are the aggressor.

I'm still not sure I'm happy with it.  I will probably be making a couple different versions of Physical Assault, with and without Combo With a Followup to see how they run in actual play.   I know I really want 10+ to be "you take no harm" though, because the idea that you might get hurt while attacking feels more like a "7-9 roll" situation to me.

I don't have a "harm move" like Apocalypse World does.   In Apocalypse World, you get knocked out on a 10+, you're okay on a 6-, and on a 7-9 you suffer a temporary annoyance off a list.  While, instead, I'm doing what Monster of the Week does (mostly because I like the way it reads in many of their examples), where the MC just chooses an annoyance off the 7-9 list.  No roll.  The MC just does a hard "harm move" and we move on.  It's one of the few times when I like their "narration instead of dice rolls" play-style.  "Only 1 harm, but he cut a deep gash down your leg and you're on the ground." or "You wipe the blood from your eyes and realize he's gone.  Both doors are open."

So the 10+ on the Combo With a Followup move is supposed to make up the lack of a "instant knockout" result to choose from on a table (which is important for taking out mooks and guards and salespeople), while the 7-9 options on the Combo With a Follow-up move and the advanced "pick one of these" moves normally found in attack moves such as "move the character where you want" or "inflict +1 harm".   

Anyway, those are the attributes, backgrounds, and basic moves I'm working on for now. 

My goal now is to watch a bunch of TV shows and say, "Okay, players are going to want to do that!" And then I have to decide if its going to be a character move (limited to certain playbooks and/or backgrounds), a special move (limited to certain campaign settings), or a basic move (available to everyone to at least try). 

brainstorming & development / The Modern World
« on: July 17, 2015, 10:46:53 PM »
It seems pretty silly to be considering a "hack" when I have so little experience with the AW system, but I've just been going crazy since I discovered AW and all its other games.  Despite this, I feel like all these games are "almost" what I'm looking for, but not quite.

I played the Spirit of '77, and while I don't dig the 70's theme, I loved the mechanics of the game (and still find it among my favorite of the AW hacks, mechanically).  It's almost what I want, but it was built to support a slightly different theme than what I'm looking for.  Like that product, I'm looking for cinematic action but also some kind of supernatural drama, like Buffy The Vampire Slayer, X-files, that sort of thing. 

I was amazed by the mechanics of AW engine.  I loved the idea that the players rolled all the dice (as players like to do) which freed up the GM to focus completely on narration.  I never realized how much it bothered me to go from "narration mode" to "game mode" to "narration mode" and back again until I didn't have to do it anymore.  At most, I'm just jotting down notes when stuff happens. 

In addition, I simply love that there was a lot about the mechanics that felt appropriate for gaming in a modern setting.  The rules seem to support roleplaying in a modern world in exactly the same magnitude that the d20 system utterly fails at it.  So that's kind of what I'm looking for... a good "core" modern rulebook to play out some of my favorite modern-fantasy settings.  Basically, I want a single system that has mechanics suitable for handling cinematic action, supernatural drama, crime mystery, and maybe a touch of science fiction ala StarGate or X-Com.  I think the Apocalypse World can handle this pretty well with its focus on drama, dramatic consequences, and character-focused abilities/stats.  If anything, Apocalypse World has a little too much drama and I might tone that down a bit. 

I don't think this will ever be an "official" or "published" hack in any sense, in part because I think its the opposite from what a lot of AW fans want from an AW product.  I'm looking for a good "core" rulebook for modern games that I can add on simple modules to such as "Aliens" or "Magic" to customize the game for particular settings. 

So far, the AW product that has intrigued me the most is Monster of the Week as it comes the closest to the theme and openness I'm looking for.  Unfortunately, I think Michael Sands and I have different design philosophies.   I think he's more comfortable with "story games" than I am.  Like there's references to some characters simply "inflicting harm" by narrating a situation in which they can inflict harm without taking any in turn?   Meanwhile, it bothers me, really bothers me, that there's no "shooting" action in a modern game where most characters get firearms and the focus of every game comes down to a fight scene.  But I think their idea of when to use moves differs from mine, as I want to use moves and dice in any dramatic situation, since dice are a primary mechanism for introducing new consequences and escalating the action/drama. You want to shoot the guy, okay, but that's a move... which means you might just be making things worse.  Despite the fact that there's no "shooting" move, no "go aggro" move, and no fighting move of any kind that doesn't involve you taking harm as part of inflicting harm, "use magic" is a basic move, which apparently anyone and everyone can do without restriction.  To me, the moves feel disjointed from the focus of the game, and so I need to hack. 

My ultimate question when it comes to moves is, "What will the players be doing?"  Even better, "What will the players be trying to do?"  If there's something players are going to be doing a lot, and its important to the genre or setting, and it could have dramatic consequences, I think it should be a move.   Now, this can be a little ridiculous, like "When players are gambling over a game of pool..." but yeah, if the setting and story is set in a pool hall then... yeah, why not?  If it's only for one adventure, then it should be a custom move for that one location.  If its for the entire setting/campaign, then it should probably be a basic move.   IF its something only PCs are likely to want to do, even better.  Here's another example, "When players reveal their true identities to someone..." Clearly that's something pretty setting-specific, but imagine a setting where all players belong to a secret government division of undercover alien investigators.  You'd think at some point they might reveal themselves to gain an advantage, and since they can all do it, this is a good choice for a basic move.  Since my focus is on replicating the "cinematic action" and "supernatural drama" of certain movies and TV shows, this is relatively easy, as I just have to watch these shows/movies and try to identify those points where I say, "hey, that looked cool.  A player might want to be that guy doing that thing". 

So anyway, my ultimate criteria is "would players want to do this," and if so, I think it should be a move.  And that's why I'm shocked at the lack of a "shooting" combat move in some settings where shooting and firearms seem quite common. 

So I'm starting with the basic moves.  I'm adding a few, combining a few, tweaking a few.  I'm trying to think of things players will want to do during a game, and trying to make sure I have rules for it in place.  For example, I added a Smash Object move, in case players want to kick down locked doors or destroy the mystical object raising the dead.  I got rid of "reading a situation" because that felt too tactically oriented and replaced it with "investigate my surroundings", which can alert you to danger but also be used to find clues, track people, and get information about things that happened in the past.  My other two "get knowledge" moves right now are Research and Sense Motive (used with Sharp and Charm, respectively).  I also add options for the types of questions that can be asked to try to recreate the kind of knowledge that people actually research to do their group-briefings in shows like Buffy and Leverage.  Some of this was inspired by the changes in Monster of the Week. 

Altogether I have around 15 basic actions right now, which may be a bit much, but some of the moves are similar to each other.  I'll post more specific information as I continue to work on and playtest them. 

Right now I'm calling this project, The Modern World.  It's not remarkably creative, but it gets the point across. 

blood & guts / Re: Agenda, Principles and Moves in some AW hacks
« on: July 17, 2015, 04:45:45 PM »
I understand the point of an Agenda, but I don't see the point of an Always Say section.  I thought that's what MC Moves were for, anyway.  The Principles seem more like "general tips on running the game". 

I think you can get by with just Agenda and MC Moves without losing anything, and you may gains some additional focus/clarity.

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