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1
Apocalypse World / Re: Threat Analysis
« on: December 02, 2015, 04:35:46 AM »
Holy moly! This is really cool!

2
blood & guts / XP for MCs...?
« on: September 04, 2015, 05:23:06 AM »
Hey all! I've been away from these forums for a while, so I'm not up to date on all the latest hacks and such.

Has anyone experimented with mechanics that would allow MCs to get experience for their threats or otherwise advance their threats?

3
blood & guts / Re: Separate moves with interactive effects
« on: January 21, 2015, 05:15:24 AM »
Can I ask, why would you have McCoy roll first? Why would his roll affect Kirk's? My instinct would be to have it the other way around: Kirk gets a bad roll on ship-to-ship combat, and the MC's move is to put McCoy in a tight spot, Act Under Fire and the fire is the ambassador might die!

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the nerve core / Re: Transgressing
« on: January 15, 2013, 06:49:17 AM »
I always think of David Bowie and Annie Lennox.

5
roleplaying theory, hardcore / Re: IRC No Good for AW/AW-based hacks?
« on: December 16, 2012, 04:47:29 AM »
Hey LZ,

It sounds to me like this is not a problem with the IRC format of your game. It sounds like your players just didn't cotton to the procedures of an AW-style game. You'd have been asking the same questions at a table top. There's no distinction in these games between "character creation" and "worldbuilding" -- they both happen at the same time. That's just something you kinda gotta be on board with when you sit down to play, whether in person or online, I tend to think.

I played AW over online chat, with no prep, with great success.

Hope this helps!

6
Apocalypse World / Re: Questions on Act under fire because of Manipulate
« on: December 14, 2012, 08:46:12 AM »
I know you said you realize this topic has come up before in the past, but I'm going to link a thing I wrote about it, last time it came up, because I think it speaks to the problem you're having.
http://apocalypse-world.com/forums/index.php?topic=2858.msg17240#msg17240

Essentially, I think maybe you're approaching it as if PC1 manipulates PC2, and PC2 does something else, and they have to act under fire, so the fire is, can you bring yourself to do the thing you're trying to do, or do you not actually do it at all because you're being manipulated. But from clarifications Vincent has offered in other threads, I think maybe that's not really the model--? From what I understand, the model is more like, PC2 can do whatever they want and they will carry it out normally, but the fire is, you look like (or are or become) the kind of person who ignores what's at stake in the manipulation, or you have to deal with the sorts of things that happen when someone offers you a deal and you don't take it. Manipulation is all about how you are perceived and how you want to be perceived. I mean, I hope to be corrected if I'm putting too much weight on this, but this is the way it seemed to shake out in previous discussions.

In scenario #1, if Dremmer doesn't have a clean shot at Dawn but is trying the shot anyway, I would say that's Act Under Fire, and the fire is, you might actually hit your daughter. I'd probably run it that way even without the manipulation. When the manipulation is in play, there's an additional fire, which is, what does it mean when someone is using your daughter as a human shield and you shoot anyway? What does that say about Dremmer? Maybe you're in the wrong for taking that shot, maybe people won't forgive you, maybe even your daughter, if she survives. I would probably have Dremmer roll for the shot first, roll for what it means second.

In #2 and in #3, both, depending on what Beef does instead, the fire could very well be whatever happens when someone's sick and the doctor ignores her. Beef might look to all the world like he's not doing his job and ignoring a member of the community who is in need. It's his reputation as an angel on the line. Folks like that used to swear an oath, man. He would roll whenever he's doing whatever he's doing other than treating June.

Just spitballing here. My point is, "act under fire" doesn't always have to involve mortal danger. It can be about maintaining your honor in the eyes of people who matter, members of your community or your loved ones. It can be about dealing with the consequences of your choice as a choice, as a reflection of your character (and not just as a practical thing with practical implications). I hope this helps!

7
brainstorming & development / Re: Hushed Valley: A surreal horror hack
« on: November 29, 2012, 02:27:58 AM »
I'm interested in what you've got here but I needed to think about it for a while. I want to push you on some things because I think you're on to something, but you're not quite there yet.

So, okay, first of all, you give us some of the source material that's inspiring you. And you give us some flavour up front, with your run down of Hushed Valley facts, history, and background. Well, okay I like Silent Hill, and I like Twin Peaks, but---I'm not sure what they have in common. I mean, the trappings are there: small town, lurking supernatural horror. But the stories they tell are fundamentally different, right?

Silent Hill is survival horror, where you're waiting for the monster to jump out and chase you down. People are trapped in Silent Hill because the roads are blocked and there's magical mist. When violence happens, it's a demon or a ghost coming after you, and you can't hurt it; you can resist long enough to escape or temporarily pin the monsters down, but you can't take them on directly and you're very likely to be overwhelmed.

Twin Peaks is about the rotten shit that's festering under the sunny patina of everyday life. People can come and go, but if they're stuck, or if they keep coming back, it's because they're personally entangled in intimate, corrosive stuff and can't get away from it. When violence happens, it's between people, and it's personal: it's someone you know, and there's a grudge, or a crime, or something very human involved, even if it's being incited by woodland spirits.

So, my first thought is that you should pick one or the other, and focus on it. I mean, you also cited Hitchcock, and I don't even really know what to do with that, because I have even less of an idea what that means in this connection. Anyway, I'm seeing a LOT more Silent Hill than Twin Peaks or anything else, so I think maybe that's the angle that interests you more, is that right? Personally, I think a thing you should do is put more of the world building in the hands of the players at the table. But you should definitely have a direction for them to go.

One way this decision is going to impact your game is that these two sources suggest completely different styles of combat, and both are completely different from the D&D model or even the AW model of applying numerically-rated harm to a physical harm gauge.

In a Silent Hill styled game, you're rarely fighting mere mortals like yourself, right? You're fighting monsters. And there's not much point in applying harm to monsters, because you're not really going to bring them down. (Sometimes there's a swarming monster and you can pick off individual members of a swarm, but in that case you might as well treat the whole swarm as a monster anyway, since the danger of the swarm of little monsters is the same as the danger from one big nasty fellow.) And I would submit that you don't need to have monsters apply harm to the PCs, either; either the PCs manage to get away, or they're overwhelmed, but there's not really much middle ground. You might want to have conditions and status effects to account for injuries, but in general I think you could just have a fight move structured in such a way that you get away on a strong hit, and on a weak hit you get away but you leave something behind or take something (possibly an injury) with you.

In a Twin Peaks styled game, though, you're exclusively fighting mortals, never monsters. You can't physically hurt the supernatural beings in Twin Peaks. You're fighting their pawns and patsies, the mortals they've corrupted and tempted or otherwise manipulated. Okay, but in that case, you probably want something that looks more like real-world combat, which is pretty sloppy and unpredictable. Nobody in Twin Peaks is a jujutsu bad ass or anything. Again, you could probably just use conditions and status effects to account for injuries. You could probably run all combat with a stipulation that says, hey, when you are fighting hand to hand with someone, the MC arbitrates the outcome, generally by applying the moves "apply harm" or "trade harm for harm" (or injurious status effects, as the case may be). You might put some rules in place to emulate the way guns are used in stories like this (NOT the AW firearms rules). I have some thoughts about this, but they're probably for another thread.

The point I'm angling to make here is that you should focus on what kinds of stories you want to recreate, and you should look at EVERYTHING with a view to whether it contributes to the telling of those stories. I can see you've made some effort to do that, but you can go deeper: you should be asking, does this kind of game need health gauges and fight moves at all? Do you need any gauges, or stats? Maybe not! That kind of thing.

On the topic of stats. One thing you should have in mind here is, how often do you want characters to succeed at their rolls? An unmodified 2d6 roll gets a soft hit 15/36 of the time (41.7%), and a strong hit 6/36 of the time (16.7%). In other words, +0 gets you a hit 21/36 of the time (58.3%). That's better than even odds --- and that might be good enough for a horror game. Maybe you don't want the characters to have TOO good of a chance. If that's true, you might not want any stats at all. Rolls are generally unmodified, and have no guaranteed bonuses. You might make a +1 a rare commodity, so everything's chancy as hell. For comparison, +1 to the roll gets you a hit 26/36 of the time (72.2%), and +2 gets you a hit 30/36 of the time (83.3%). By the time you get to +2, you're equally likely to get a strong hit as a soft hit. AW has stats that go up to +3 or even +4, because it's about bad asses who roll the world up and smoke it. A horror game is a different kind of thing, right?

Why did you want to include a Freakishness stat? Why would the PCs be freaky in a game inspired by your source(s)? Isn't that something for the monsters?

I could go on and say some more specific things about the moves, but first I want to know whether this is the sort of feedback you're looking for. Is this helpful?

8
blood & guts / Re: modular playbooks
« on: September 18, 2012, 08:15:37 AM »
Playbooks are ostensibly about niche protection, right? Only one gunlugger in the game, so no one else steps on her toes, ditto for the hocus and the operator, etc.

If you want to introduce modularity, I think you could make it work if you had two independent dimensions of niche you wanted to protect.

D&D 4e might offer an interesting example. It had at least two mini-games, offering two dimensions of niche: the combat mini-game, and the skills mini-game. The classes were categorized by their combat niche, which was called its role: striker, defender, leader, controller. Each class had a specific take on its role, and that's a cool part of the game. But the skills also form clusters that offer niches, too: every party wants a face, an athlete, a burglar, a nature dude, and a lore dude.

The 4e solution to this problem, was a complex system of classes, each of which combined a primary combat role, a 2ary combat role, and an area of expertise in their class skill selection. These niches were loosely correlated with role (eg. strikers are often burglars, defenders are often athletic types, etc.), and loosely correlated with power source (arcane dudes tend to make good faces or good lore masters, primal types are often good nature dudes, etc.).

But another solution would have been, of course, to make the two dimensions of niche completely independent. That seems to be the direction they're talking about for D&D Next. So, if you want a tank who can sneak and disarm traps, you just pick a tank class to set one dial, and pick thiefy theme and background to set the other dial. In AW terms, you'd want each playbook to offer moves that pertain to different aspects of the game, only loosely connected to one another.

In a Werewolf game, I'd look at each splat-category (especially tribe and auspice, probably not breed), and figure out: which aspect of the game is this supposed to influence the most? Auspice is essentially a werewolf's caste in Lupine society. So, I would expect my choice of Auspice to determine how I advance politically, perhaps by providing moves that let me increase Renown in given circumstances appropriate for my Auspice.

Tribe, on the other hand, has a lot to do with the relationship to the spirit world via a specific totem, and by implication, the werewolf's relationship to human society and to nature. So I would think that would give each tribe a certain domain in which they could be masters, eg. Glass Walkers in the middle and upper classes of human society, Black Furies among women and the oppressed, Fianna among romantics and artists, etc.

(Breed doesn't really fit this pattern, but I don't think you'd want a playbook approach to breed anyway. You wouldn't want only one homid, only one lupus, or only one metis in the game, right? So breed is probably a tertiary option that you can add to any other auspice + tribe combination.)

Does this help? Is this the sort of thing you're thinking about?

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Gunsight / Re: Gunsight -- an AW-inspired hack set in the Old West
« on: September 18, 2012, 07:20:52 AM »
Can you tell us a little more about what characters or historical figures inspired each playbook? That might help you get some more colour, especially for the trick shot.

For example, among the trick shot's advanced moves, I recognize a quote from Young Guns II's Billy the Kid, and Tombstone's Doc Holliday. Is that right? Westerns aren't really my thing but those two lines stood out even to me.

Both of these characters suggest lowly origins; Billy the Kid lived his whole desperate life hand-to-mouth, and Doc Holliday had a semi-legitimate profession which he used to fund his gambling, right? (They both gambled, but I guess neither one is THE gambler in your terms, who reads a little more like Maverick, am I right?)

Also, I'm wondering whether someone like Calamity Jane might also count as a Trick Shot in your game; she was also a misfit type. Did some work as a scout in the Army, which wasn't exactly becoming for a woman, but nobody cared because her station was pretty low anyway.

That suggests to me something you might want to play up for the Trick Shot: a misfit, an odd jobber, maybe walking the straight and narrow or maybe a little more wobbly of a path, but always just scraping by, either way.

Does this help?

10
Apocalypse World / Re: How do you use these character traits?
« on: August 06, 2012, 02:57:22 AM »
Cool, glad I could help.

Since the quarantine's unit is military, in an alien colony situation, they might have a guerilla mission. A sleeper cell, literally.

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Apocalypse World / Re: How do you use these character traits?
« on: August 05, 2012, 04:54:04 PM »
Yeah, I guess.  Maybe my problem with it is that I don't perceive the past as being the story.

Normally, it's not. When you put the quarantine on the table, now it is.

As I see it, the quarantine is about two things, two ways the past affects the present: loss and mourning, and having unfinished business. The memory move is about loss and mourning. It isn't about facts, it's about the experience of seeing the world end -- how it felt, what it meant, what was lost. How hard it was, how fucked up. Maybe you can glean some intel from it, but mostly, it's personal. It's not about what's written in an archive, it's about what one soldier saw and knew and understood as he actually watched everything go to hell around him. As I see it, it's not really supposed to provide actionable information, it's supposed to generate colour and give you greater insight into the quarantine and into Apocalypse World.

The archives are for unfinished business. How much did we know about the plague, how close were we to the cure? Where was the lost city? What's in the underground vault, and what are the access codes? There's a bomb with an unstable core -- how do we disarm it? What can we rebuild, and who can help us? Who's left to bring to justice? How do you prove that something everyone believes about the past is a lie? This move should be for delicious plot prompts and big rolling move snowballs. But to get use out of it, the MC has to put fronts in play that make it relevant.

It seems to me that afflictions lend themselves to this. The truth about the past is relevant if people's present decisions are governed by a Delusion about the past. If there's a Disease, you want to know what science knew about it before there was no more science. If there's a Barrier, you might get insight into how to remove it. If there's a Condition, you might get insight into how to end it. Etc.

ETA: I see the whole concept of stasis through the lens of "unfinished business". You're part of a military unit, right? So what's your mission? Maybe you don't know it, and you have to unfreeze your commanding officer. Can you do that yet? Is it safe to do it? Who else is frozen? Why are they frozen? When are you going to unfreeze them? Etc.

12
Apocalypse World / Re: How do you use these character traits?
« on: August 05, 2012, 07:59:57 AM »
I'm still a little baffled about the archives, but the player ended up choosing another improvement so I didn't have to deal with it (but it's probably coming one of these days).

Let me take another stab at it.

So, the quarantine playbook says:

Quote
Archives: stasis includes a workspace in the form of its records and historical archives. Access them and you can get to the bottom of the past like a savvyhead getting to the bottom of some tech shit (cf).

A "workspace" is a specific kind of resource in AW. The "cf" means, look up how it works by consulting the savvyhead's workspace rules. Those say:

Quote
When you go into your workspace and dedicate yourself to making a thing, or to getting to the bottom of some shit, decide what and tell the MC. The MC will tell you "sure, no problem, but..." and then 1 to 4 of the following:

... followed by the list of options.

"Getting to the bottom of shit" is a technical term in AW, believe it or not. Getting to the bottom of shit is one of the things you can do in a workspace. The idea is, you can gain knowledge, like to solve a mystery or something. Like, if a savvyhead has a piece of tech, and he wants to figure out what it does, or how to fix it, or whatever else, he can "get to the bottom" of that shit.

The quarantine can't do that with tech. But he can "get to the bottom of the past" -- he can go in with the intention of learning something specific about the way the world was in olden times, and then the MC can choose conditions from the workspace rules that have to be met before the she's obliged to give answers.

For example, maybe in your apocalypse, there was a plague that wiped everyone out. Let's say the quarantine suspects it might have been a biological weapon, but wants to prove it. He goes into the archive looking to get to the bottom of that shit. The MC says, "Sure, no problem, but it's going to take months of research to make sense of all of the epidemiological data. Or, if you get your CO's clearance to access the classified stuff, you could probably get a definitive answer in a few days of work. Too bad he's still frozen."

The answers aren't free, right? The quarantine has to meet conditions to get them, and it's the MC's job to make those conditions not boring, and make the answers seem real. That's one difference between the archives and the memory move: for the memory move, the answers are free, no conditions. Also, a lot of the memory move questions pertain to personal matters, or matters of opinion (eg. "Could we have stopped it?"), stuff that might not be recorded in an archive.

Also, the quarantine can "get to the bottom of the past" -- he can learn about the way things were. That doesn't automatically mean he can apply that knowledge to make the present like the past. I mean, the archive might tell me how they built wind turbines 75 years earlier, when there was a power grid, and mills producing high quality steel alloys, and factories assembling high efficiency electrical components, and you could hire a dozen guys to erect the thing. Having that information doesn't mean it's now easy to build such a thing in Apocalypse World. But maybe if I can pass that info to Bran the savvyhead, he can go into his own workspace and see what he can do to adapt the information. And then maybe some of his conditions are, you need a part from another hardhold, you'll need a truck to haul it back, and you need the volunteer labour of the chopper's gang, etc. Moves should snowball, right? And then, at the end, you get a very small piece of the past, which the MC is permitted to look at through crosshairs.

Does that make sense?

13
Apocalypse World / Re: Last Child playbook (again)
« on: July 25, 2012, 04:30:33 PM »
Sure, that makes sense.

The spirit in which I intended my suggestion was not, "This is something missing from your playbook", but rather, "This playbook is extremely awesome, and if you're considering another revision, a doodad like this would enhance the awesomeness even further, for me personally". Because, to reiterate, your playbook is awesome.

14
Apocalypse World / Re: Passive moves
« on: July 24, 2012, 12:52:49 AM »
It sounds like what you did is Announce Future Badness. And that's cool, because it's one of your moves. The near-miss from a bullet is the "announce", and then you followed up with "What do you do?" Sounds to me that's one correct way for it to play out.

There are other ways you could Announce Badness. "A glint from the rooftop catches your eye. There isn't really anything up there that should do that. What do you do?"

15
Apocalypse World / Re: Last Child playbook (again)
« on: July 23, 2012, 11:40:50 PM »
1. Fair enough!

2. Also fair enough. I take your point about encouraging scheming. I think my concern is, if the fiction doesn't happen to offer any logical "secret knowledge" opportunities, I wouldn't be able to use prophetic curse at all. A move like bonefeel (or something modeled on it) would mean sometimes I can get secret knowledge and be excused from having to justify it, although not without cost (it doesn't give me a safe escape route, for example), and besides that I can also scheme out additional opportunities if I can justify it.

I suppose what it really comes down to is, how many of the characters have secrets, and how many of them are sloppy about it? If many of them do and are sloppy, opportunities abound to get dirt on someone, so there'll always be someone I could curse if I wanted. But if I'm in a campaign where I really need to leverage all the secrets I can get, I'd want to be sure I can reliably insert myself into a secret-knowledge situation when it really matters.

I recognize this is partly a matter of playstyle and personal preference. I enjoy a certain amount of "set-'em-up knock-'em-down" kind of strategizing, so here I'm seeing the knock-'em-down but not necessarily the set-'em-up part.

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