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Messages - Pigeon

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Apocalypse World / Re: Help me "get" the basic moves.
« on: April 05, 2012, 04:31:13 PM »
So here is my honest theory, and feel free to ignore it:

I feel like in a lot of games violence is used, or implemented in systems, as an end in itself, rather than as a tool to use in resolving a conflict, because:

* violence is the most fun subsystem
* the reward mechanism of the game expects violence
* violence is both genre- and medium-appropriate

I feel like this can cause a play problem in AW where people perceive the enemy they want to "kill" before they perceive the reason they want to kill them -- to maintain order in the camp, to take away their followers, to acquire their resources, whatever. This question comes up repeatedly in this forum: "well, what if I just want to kill him?" It's always a little confusing to me. I regularly see players play sociopathic murderers, but usually they're not actually homicidal maniacs -- they're not killing people because their dog tells them to, it's because they have a PLAN, even if that plan is not fully clear to the character, and killing that person is a step in that plan. Just having a motivation is a plan (albeit kind of a poorly fleshed out one). So you don't just want to kill him, you want to kill him for a reason. That reason is what you seize. By force.

There's a second problem, too, which is that people love mechanics. This is fine -- I love mechanics too! But there are at least two examples in the text of players attempting an assault which could easily be "seize by force without a target" in which Vincent's reaction harm for harm (as established). Apocalypse World is a heavily MCed game, even though at first read it may not be that obvious, and not everything requires a die roll to resolve -- sometimes the MC just applies their judgement. (There is at least one example of Vincent making somebody roll in the same situation, so, judgement.)

Now, Vincent clarifies, and it's become forum wisdom, that in those (few!) situations where you really, really, don't have ANYTHING ELSE that you could conceivably want in the situation, AND you need a die roll, just use seize by force to fight people. Note that this is not really meaningfully different from just saying "when you are totally whacking on a dude and he's whacking on you and you're just hitting each other like whoa, roll +hard, choose from some options," i.e., in the majority of situations, it may as well be a separate move! Hard is the stat for killing dudes for most characters, if you want to kill a dude, and for some reason you feel like a die roll is required, roll +hard. But seize by force doesn't have to be your go-to problem-solving move for fights, just you don't actually need to make people act under fire to do anything difficult. The move you want to use in that situation is "refer to the fiction" and "ask clarifying questions." And "to do it, do it." Simplify the situation, apply MC judgement, and if you really can't resolve something into one of the existing moves, THEN use seize by force (or act under fire).

In your example I would definitely be like, well, why do you want to kill Tom? Why do you CARE that he's a psychotic bastard? Are you trying to protect something from him? That's what you're seizing by force. On a hit, that's what he has to relinquish control of or access to. If there's really nothing? Trade harm for harm. Because I don't really care about Tom, let him die. Tom's brother is just around the corner.

Apocalypse World / Re: Hard moves for Sharp/Hot
« on: September 28, 2011, 04:02:30 PM »
You are certainly right, that is how the rules work. But I feel a lot more comfortable making a really hard move if it feels like a natural response to the failed move. Like, inflicting harm because someone failed an acting under fire roll, sure. But say they are in a dangerous situation where harm could potentially be inflicted on them at any moment. Inflicting harm in response to a failed read a sitch roll? Or worse yet, inflicting harm on a different player than the one who failed the roll? I'd feel real nervous about making that move, even if it did flow out of the fiction, and it was my turn.

Absolutely. Remember that you have to DO something to read a situation. Here's a real example that came up in our game: Nile and her gang (and Smith) have come upon a clearing with a stasis pod in it, that they want.  The gang spreads out, there's a sniper, Smith takes him out, and then Nile hears her gang spot something on the north side of the clearing. Nile says "I walk over there, get in front of my gang members, and see what's going on." Rolls to read the situation and blows it.  That is absolutely a situation where she could get hurt as a result.  The example of play in the book ALSO has an example of somebody getting grenaded because they tried to read the situation and blew it.  It can mean you dithered, you overextended, or you leaped to a bad conclusion -- but when bullets are flying, that can get you shot.


Some of my favorite moments:

* Smith interrogating Sandalwood. "I'm reading you." "Cool. I'll roll to help you."
* Sandalwood yelling at Rhyme later. "You did exactly what Smith would do in that situation. How is that better?"
* Chris forgot to mention that Half-Pint came to help me because I seduced him earlier, just in case.

Things did get a little messy, initiative-wise, when the big fight happened, but I think things worked out okay. I still don't know why Third was so mad at me.

Apocalypse World / Re: When to use Manipulate
« on: September 28, 2011, 12:16:40 AM »
Also, "social violence"? Can I take it you think this move is always a violation, then? One of the appeals for me of how AW models persuasion is that, between players at least, it doesn't involve leverage and can use the "carrot" instead of the "stick", so it's possible to play a charismatic character who can persuade others to do what they want without it feeling like violence against the other character. I guess I don't see the results of a hit as always being "punitive", as you put it. Using the move on an NPC it requires leverage, so that seems a little darker, but I just saw it argued that appeals to reason and humanity could also be manipulation. I'm on the fence in the latter case, but I've seen people play this move as something that could go on between friendly characters without anything really evil going on. I'd be interested in hearing another perspective, could you expand on this?

Definitionally, when you use the manipulate or seduce move, you're a) acknowledging a conflict of interest and b) unilaterally attempting to apply pressure to resolve it in your favor. That seems pretty aggressive to me! It's the difference between saying "So what's going on?" and "Okay, I'm reading you. What's really going on?" -- one of them already implies a level of distrust and active penetration of defenses.

Apocalypse World / Re: Frustrated
« on: September 18, 2011, 05:02:07 AM »
You guys need to talk with one another about your assumptions and goals for the game and how to discuss, in-game, when things are happening that are leading to unfun events for somebody. (edit: And how to head off those unfun events before they actually happen.)

Apocalypse World / Re: Frustrated
« on: September 17, 2011, 05:52:58 PM »
I have a hypothetical question... if you are attempting to make the world seem real and there is a Hardholder with a big gang (apparently) and snipers, where do you draw the line between being a fan of the PCs and penalizing them for bad choices.

Why, exactly, do you want to penalize your PCs for bad choices? Bad choices are awesome and lead to all kinds of excitement!

Quote from: Apocalypse World, p.108
Itís not, for instance, your agenda to make the players lose, or to deny them what they want, or to punish them,
or to control them,...

If people are making bad choices then the world will deform in response to those choices. You're absolutely right that when a battlebabe walks into that situation, if they blow a roll, they're going to be in the shit -- but shit's not permanent in Apocalypse World, and battlebabes are great at acting under fire.

Fun moments from Smith's perspective:

* Telling hir new crew the facts of life. "This is not a playground. This is not a warzone. This is a business. You WORK for me."
* Telling off Sandalwood. "I could have killed you when you got back." Sandalwood: "I don't understand. Are you apologizing?"
* Trying REALLY, REALLY hard to get along with Rhyme. "I'm sorry if I was mean to you." "Oh, no, it's that you're a mean person IN GENERAL."  Then my invisible psychic friend prompting me: "When you say that I'm a mean person, it makes me feel blank." Smith just staring at her.

Excited to see what happens next! The rave's headed towards the mutant city, and negotiation over the gas refinery seems likely.

Apocalypse World / Re: Understanding Basic Moves
« on: September 08, 2011, 03:53:35 PM »
It sounds like you're saying that act under fire is more of a defensive/protective move.  I mean, I get that there will always be situational circumstances that can make moves behave in uncommon ways, but it would be uncommon for act under fire to be used offensively, right?

I'm not Vincent, but I think this is reasonable -- for you to act under fire, after all, there needs to be FIRE, and you need to want to IGNORE it. Acting under fire is great for getting you into a situation in a firefight where you have a tactical advantage to exploit (possibly by going aggro), but I probably wouldn't have you shoot a guy with it, because there are two other whole moves for shooting a guy.

Apocalypse World / Re: Playbook: The Gladiator
« on: September 07, 2011, 10:13:58 PM »
Gladiator weapons:

Bullwhip (1-harm s-harm hand loud)
Big fucking axe/sword/hammer (3-harm hand area messy)
Claw (3-harm intimate worn)
Poison (another of your weapons gets s-harm tag)
Ornate dagger, ornate sword (as the book)

Apocalypse World / Re: Understanding Basic Moves
« on: September 07, 2011, 05:35:30 AM »
What exactly are you seizing here, the upper hand?

It depends.

Okay, so I'm not Vincent, but in my reading, the "combat" moves (act under fire, go aggro, seize by force) are all written with the assumption that you actually have an objective you're trying to achieve, and the person you're shooting at (or who's shooting at you) happens to be preventing you from achieving that objective. All three of them focus first on getting something done, and only secondarily shooting people. Acting under fire obviously is for doing it without anybody getting hurt; going aggro is for scaring off or threatening people before having to kill them; and seizing by force is for when you'd really rather not have to talk to them any more.

So in most situations, as long as you keep that in mind, the system should work seamlessly. When you're in one of those rare situations where your number one priority really is just killing a guy, it's a little more confusing, but if you keep in mind the effects of the moves, things should still work out fine.

If the situation is that you and, uh, Plummer are standing across a table with handguns pointed at each other, and you say "Fuck it, I shoot him," what do I do as MC? In the majority of cases, I say it's seize by force, because a) "this is a move for when the guns and knives and crowbars are already out on both sides," p. 195, and b) seize by force is the move where both parties take harm, which seems appropriate. If you wanted to, you could say you're seizing the moment, the upper hand, his life, whatever, but honestly? You should probably just seize his gun. I'd probably say "You're seizing by force, what do you want to seize, his gun?" Alternately, you might seize the escape route, to keep him in the room -- depends on the situation. Even in a case of straight-up murder, there's generally SOME tactical advantage you can try to seize. (One other thing I could do as MC is just make it an MC move -- inflict harm as established or trade harm for harm -- but that, again, is pretty contextual.)

Why wouldn't this just be an act under fire?  With the fire being the NPC's gunfire?

Well, it could be -- I don't really have enough information. A key design idea about Apocalypse World is that the moves are heavily dependent on the fictional detail; that makes bare-bones hypotheticals very difficult to answer. In an actual firefight, tables would be falling, people would be running, innocent bystanders would be dying horribly, and you, the PC, would presumably be DOING something, diving for cover or getting around the opponent's cover or digging in and calling for help or some sort of action that I could translate into acting under fire or whatever. If you just said "I stand there, where I am, and continue to fire?" Well, firstly, I'd be way more likely to call that trading harm for harm, as an MC, but if I were to pick a basic move, I'd probably pick seize by force again, and again ask you what you're actually trying to SEIZE.  The other thing is, as above, if I was running the beginning of the gunfight you've already chosen something to seize and so you can't just be like "I stand there and shoot." By the time you're "engaged in a firefight" you, mechanically, have probably already identified a goal and taken steps towards it, and the scene can build around that goal.

I hope that's clearer!

Apocalypse World / Re: Understanding Basic Moves
« on: September 06, 2011, 11:18:34 PM »
1) I pull a gun on an NPC and start shooting.
Depends on the situation. If you have the drop on him, you're going aggro. If you don't, you're seizing by force. (This assumes you don't bother talking before you shoot.)

2) An NPC and I both have guns pulled on each other and we start shooting at each other.
Seize by force.

3) An NPC and I are engaged in a fire fight, guns on both sides, and continue to fire at each other.
Seize by force if anything. In a real game situation, if you're already shooting at somebody, and they're already shooting at you, I might look for an excuse to do something else, since you probably just DID seize by force.

4) An NPC pulls a gun on me and starts shooting, and I try to get out of the line of fire.
I act under fire

5) An NPC has been shooting at me, and continues to fire at me, and I'm trying to get out of the line of fire.
I act under fire

Act under fire.

Now, as far as I understand, AW doesn't use opposed rolls - one player rolls and the success or failure of that roll determines just how the scene unfolds.  So does that mean the answer to all the above questions remains the same even if I'm acting against a PC?

Yes, with the understanding that PCs can roll to interfere with each other's actions, and that, in practice, players usually take turns. You can pull a gun and shoot at me (and go aggro if you take me by surprise), but I get to choose what happens next.

Apocalypse World / Re: Playbook: The Gladiator
« on: September 06, 2011, 09:02:35 PM »
Don't listen to these people, Resilient is a great design. However, I might ask if it's really something you want happening every session for a gladiator, or more something you want happening rarely and mattering more. Here are some pitches:

Resilient: The first time each session you take harm, take 1-harm less and take +1 forward.
Resilient: When you take harm, take +1 forward until the blood dries.
Resilient: You get three new debilities to choose from: Serious (+1 Cool for this session), Torrid (+1 Hot for this session), Focused (+1 Sharp for this session). You can only take them once each.
Resilient: The first time each session you take harm, take 1-harm less and get serious (+1 cool), focused (+1 sharp), or intense (+1 hot), to a maximum of 3.(Couple this with reducing the Gladiator's stat totals by 1.)

blood & guts / Re: Open your Brain = Non-directed Info Move?
« on: September 01, 2011, 02:11:34 AM »

One thing I've noticed in play is that Open your Brain is a Move that serves a really useful purpose for "Throw me a clue!" kind of information gathering.   That is, Read a Person or Read a Situation is great if you know who to talk to/where to go, but if you're completely stuck, Open your Brain serves as a Move anyone can do, anytime, about anything.

Vincent, is this something you found necessary to keep play smooth or was it a happy accident of "psychic maelstrom = cool!"?  Any thoughts about it, game-design-wise, either way?

I'm not Vincent, but I don't think it's coincidental that the "I'm not sure what to do next" or "I want to be involved in something I'm not currently involved in" move is also the move that gives the GM the greatest freedom to barf apocalyptica into the setting (and to demand it of players). I'm not sure you need an open your brain move specifically, but I would watch what players DO do when they're not sure what to do next, and make sure that that move ties into something you think is really important about the setting, and/or just leads to exciting and cool stuff happening by virtue of its effect. (Acting under fire here might be a good example of a move that does not INTRINSICALLY lead to something cool happening, because the default effect is "you do that thing.")

Hocus leads a cult, of course. Still, he is very much "preaching" in my vision - same as Touchstone. He is more "solitary" preacher, yes, more warrior-like with some moves, but I can't get this precise feel, why they're crucially different. Why one can't be the other.

The Touchstone can be a preacher, but they don't have to be. The key element of a Touchstone is that they have hope, and give people hope (otherwise their abilities don't work). Anybody can do that, they don't have to carry a book. I'm not sure I agree that the Touchstone is grounded in the past -- by definition, they have a vision of the future, and presumably hope for and work towards it.  An important distinction between the Hocus and the Touchstone is that everybody the Touchstone meets will give them food and shelter (which is a big deal in Apocalypse World), whereas the Hocus is only special in their little cult.

Apocalypse World / Re: Problem: gunlugger that's not a gunlugger
« on: August 12, 2011, 05:37:41 AM »
I'm honestly predicting that my MC would be sane enough to tell me that Merciless and Bloodcrazed (I already have Bloodcrazed) don't stack. (I'd expect her to do the same with Rasputin and Daredevil too, for that matter: I could definitely see her letting me take both to increase the situations in which I can get that +1armour, without letting them stack for +2armour, and honestly I'm not going to try to get her to give it to me--I find that my +2 to Diplomacy and Intimidate works better on MCs when they know I don't demand unreasonable things.)

This came up with Chris's gunlugger (who as he mentioned has Merciless and Bloodcrazed). I'm just not sure it matters much -- sure, he can kill people by punching them. In fact, he can't NOT kill people by punching them, in general.  But if he wanted to kill somebody, he could probably just shoot them with his grenade launcher.

There are two big reasons why you might not want to take both Merciless and Bloodcrazed. The first is that NPCs just don't take that much harm to kill, even in groups, and trying to kill PCs with your bare hands is always going to be difficult no matter how much harm you do. The second is that they're not optional moves.  Given these two, I don't really think there's a balance problem, or Vincent presumably wouldn't have written them both!  (Since nearly every character in the game can have them both if they really wanted to.)

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