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Messages - ColdLogic

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Things I love:
__ the first session rules
__ the weak hit, strong hit, miss mechanic
__ descriptive tags, constraints, prompts
__ no monsters; everyone is fundamentally a person
__ the MC's agenda and principles (by the way, 'make things shitty for the PCs' is explicitly breaking the rules here)
__ explicit MC moves
__ rules for custom moves
__ rules for MC prep
__ AW as a powerful set of tools for making your own RPG

Things I deal with:
__ sometimes mapping the fictional action onto a move bogs the game down, or results in an unsatisfying MC call
__ the game wants to be serious, but sometimes the players show up and want to be gonzo
__ Hx and XP are a little wonky

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Apocalypse World / Re: Hacking First Session: good, bad, or unnecessary?
« on: February 16, 2016, 04:50:58 PM »
Paul,

I think you ought to avoid the first option Amora described above (playing out the HX choices they've already selected). We already know how that scene will end (someone left bleeding and the other one didn't help or whatever).

If you're thinking of Amora's second option, frame their scenes aggressively, in the sense of putting them in a tense sitch. Don't just frame the driver and savvyhead on a roadtrip. Start them in the middle of a breakdown with folks bushwhacking them or something. Or push to get a PC-NPC-PC triangle as quickly as you absolutely can, then smash cut right to the tension of that triangle on-screen. This way you can hopefully avoid that situation where the players wander through dialogue scenes with no real idea of the direction they want to go in and just settle on some humdrum weak-sauce Hx at the end of it ('the savvyhead went on a roadtrip with me' or whatever, which is no better than the driver's regular Hx choice in 1E).

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Apocalypse World / Re: 2nd Edition Kickstarter
« on: February 16, 2016, 04:23:50 PM »
Vincent, for the battle moves, do the rules permit players to stack their choices on 10+? So, put two points in 'take definite hold' or whatever, similar to AW:DA?

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Dungeon World / Re: Dungeon World... new DM
« on: February 10, 2016, 03:00:29 PM »
Kristoffer, I see no one answered your question about maps. The rule there is make maps but leave blanks. That means, you know, map out your dungeon the way you normally would, but don't necessarily detail every room. That means a few of your rooms have just a one-word prompt, 'undead' or 'razor room' or 'chasm', or are just blank. Don't commit yourself to what's in those rooms. Let your table's play inspire you as the party gets to those rooms.

Re: adventure hooks -- Dungeon World has a few tools to let you pre-plan situation but not actual story/plot. One of them is the fronts, and Munin's advice there is excellent. Another tool, more to the point of your question about adventure hooks, is the idea of starting the party in media res. Meaning, you know, start them right in the action. So, no scenes of them in the tavern getting a mission or whatever. Start them just inside the dungeon, fighting off a horde of goblins who were guarding the mouth of the cave. Start them in the treasure room with the trap already activated and the sand filling up the room or whatever.

Re: ask questions -- yeah, ask questions from the players to a) do collaborative world-building, so it's not all on you and b) to solicit things that are of interest to them. Ask questions like crazy! You're looking for interesting bits from the players to take as cues for the kinds of things they want to see in the game.

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Apocalypse World / Re: 2nd Edition Kickstarter
« on: February 08, 2016, 03:57:21 PM »
Thanks. More:
1) When you shoulder a vehicle, are you also using your vehicle as weapon, and hence trading harm in addition to v-harm?

2) To go with what you said above, should we have the players decide their PvP choices blind, without knowing what their opponent chooses?

Probably more after this.

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Apocalypse World / Re: 2nd Edition Kickstarter
« on: February 08, 2016, 02:53:07 PM »
Vincent:
There are a lot of moves that don't tell us how to adjudicate PvP. Like Assault vs Defend, or hell most of the other battle moves. Do the options that cancel each other out actually cancel each other out and call for us to, let's say, decide if you're still assaulting/defending or something. In other words, ought we to take a cue from the single combat move here?

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Apocalypse World / Re: 2nd Edition Kickstarter
« on: February 03, 2016, 03:25:17 PM »
Based on the preview documents, assigning HX is my most favorite improvement. Holy cow does it go so much smoother now, just from a tiny little procedural change!

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Freebooting Venus / Re: Playmat for "Fight with Someone"
« on: December 14, 2015, 03:58:51 PM »
That's great! Thanks!

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Freebooting Venus / Re: Ideology skill
« on: November 13, 2015, 08:23:17 PM »
We had questions about this in our first playtest also. There's the Ideologies 'booklet' in the playtest packet, which is fun adn interesting. Our table wanted to know if other players who didn't have this skill were supposed to refrain from bringing its contents into play. Like a character talking about Terran birds vs Venus bats, for instance.

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Freebooting Venus / Re: Orlando playtest group, first session
« on: November 05, 2015, 06:52:06 PM »
Oh, also!

8. I also can't stress enough how much fun it was to have that improvised absurdity of the circus get embraced by the table. Balboa's player ended up bringing it back into play when he bound his second ghost. The terms are that he'll make sure the ghost's masterwork hangs in the atrium, and we've established this circus is some obscenely big attraction. As I said before, I never would have prepped an element like that. For the players, I think going through treasure was the highlight. For me, the highlight was having that circus come back into play and legitimized!

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Freebooting Venus / Orlando playtest group, first session
« on: November 05, 2015, 06:40:01 PM »
I struggled as GM, and we stalled a lot for rules clarifications and analyzing the game that seemed to go on forever. On the plus side, a lot of this was from us puzzling through the rules. You know how you think you know something until you see it in action? That's what this was. We're going to keep on it for at least another 4 or 5 sessions to get through the learning curve because the stuff that was fun was really fun!

Here are as many details as I can remember, some useful but most probably useless.

Character creation started out fine. I tried to steer it by going step by step  through stats, skills, belongings and lodgings, but once we got to skills there were lots of digressions to talk about/look up how spellcasting and necromancy worked, and from there we nose-dived into more analysis of the game as a whole. There was some discussion from a stealthy character about rolling up his unexamined treasure during character creation -- like, before choosing his belongings and rolling his lodgings. Thankfully the group nixed that on the grounds that examining your treasure is a move, not part of character creation.

When they were done, I had them read aloud the PAST & PRESENT section. We digressed for a bit here exploring the experiences and talking about them.

So, now we had 3 characters with lodgings, their lodgings' appointments and who they share them with:
Balboa, with necromancy and instincts.
Holt, with swordbinding and reputation.
Hale, with grace and stealth.

I was super tempted to ask questions like crazy and chase down the concrete details here, like 'Oh, so who owns this private home you're subletting a room out of? Which benevolent deity does the temple honor?' etc. We started in on that but thankfully the first person I asked stalled for a second, thinking, and I realized I actually didn't want to fill these details in right now because the text was going to give me a starting scene. So lucky me, I have unexplored hooks!

I rolled up the random table and selected:
Under the bridge, an unruly ghost, and their enemy's accomplice about to appear. (I was so gunning for the pterosaur, Vincent, but the dice let me down!)

I started to set the scene. Now, because everything is improvisation and explicitly built from contradictions, you should read '... for some reason, apparently!' onto the end of every sentence going forward.

We settled on 'stealing a succession of human bodies' meaning, like, animating/possessing recently-deceased bodies. One of the PCs had a prisoner, and somehow this ended up being a prostitute from Madam Bolivia's unnamed brothel who didn't realize her client was a ghost inhabiting a dead body, and somehow it ended up that the ghost had been visiting M. Bolivia's for a few days in different bodies before being discovered...? The players were trying to fill in background on the scene, and justifications for the scene, almost immediately. I didn't actively discourage this at first, but I cut it off once it started getting super in-depth so I could leave room to figure out what powerful person's bad decisions had created this trouble.

So, Holt had an unruly 'prisoner'. Hale had promised someone he'd take care of this situation, and it turns out that promise was to Madam Bolivia, naturally. Balboa was wounded and bleeding. He marked that his soul was battered and torn. We stopped to talk about that for a bit, and no one knew what it meant or how it might get expressed in play (they were concerned, I really didn't care at the moment). In the end, they agreed to treat it as a 'spiritual wound' and move on. Good.

In setting the scene, I wanted to have the ghost doing something, like they've chased it down here and it doesn't have a body of course and so it's cornered and threatened, attacking them, and on a rampage or something? Anyway, we stopped for a while and argued over whether anyone could actually see the damn thing. I was going to use the Mourning Ghost from the bestiary, and my instinct was to let them be able to see it. But after talking about it forever I went back on that and said they couldn't really see it. It was like a nasty 'presence' they could feel swirling around them.

Balboa's player was still confused about calling a ghost by name, contending with it, etc. He didn't realize that since the ghost was here, he didn't need to summon it or do anything special to be able to contend with it. He wanted to find out its name. I was tired of struggling over this, so when he said he wanted to jump behind a big pillar of the bridge and REGROUP, RECOVER, PREPARE to talk to his ghostly attendant about the binding name, I said go for it. He got a strong hit, and chose to 1) no longer suffer whatever the effects of his spirit being battered were 2) come up with a plan and 3) consult with his ghostly attendant. He asked his ghostly attendant what the binding name of their enemy ghost was. I didn't know what to do, but the text says his ghost must answer truthfully and so I spilled. In retrospect, the truth is probably that his ghost doesn't know another ghost's binding name, but I really didn't want to tell his player this after making him roll, so whatever. We paused on settling what his plan was for a second; his player was expecting a +1 or something, which I'm reluctant to do because I want to play strictly by the book as much as possible. And then when we paused in deciding the plan we forgot about it totally, so it never came back up.

Holt, Hale and their prisoner were still, like, where we started. It was clear that Holt's player didn't know he couldn't actually fight with the ghost, so I asked him if he wanted to SIZE UP THE SITCH. He failed, and got to ask one. I told him to ask me about where his enemy is vulnerable/strong, and revealed to him that normal weapons and armor are useless; only a necromancer can deal with a ghost. I also had the ghost rip into him, but the table suggested that instead of outright inflicting harm I should have him make a bold save to overcome fear, which he passed, so no harm.

Hale was determined to deal with this ghost somehow, and tried to INTERRUPT or delay it for a minute by way of gracious rhetoric. I was done with this damn ghost at this point; it seemed like we had spent so much time of this session analyzing, arguing, referencing how ghosts work! So I said he could attempt it. He succeeded, the ghost was confused for a minute, I went ahead and had it take visible form to get rid of the annoyance of it being invisible.

Balboa knew its binding name, and he just basically bound it right then and there. The rules read as if knowing its name is enough, no roll required, so that's what we declared. He's got a second ghost now, and I'm finally rid of the ordeal.

Okay! Now they're looking at me, and we're all stumbling, trying to get something going with this scene. Like, I've got nothing prepped right? They've got a 'prisoner', a prostitute from M. Bolivia's that they need to return. I look down and realize I never really brought in the 'enemy's accomplice' who was supposed to appear, and at the same time I was trying to think of someone rich who might somehow be tied to this whole mess through neglect or whatever. Also, I hadn't given them any treasure.

So yeah, I had a rich man show up with body guards, all anxious. Man, I never would have prepped something this absurd in a million years, but here's the deal. I guess this ghost, being invisible and all, is actually the property of the world's biggest circus. You know, like it's what's behind their magnificent acts of illusion, magic, acrobatics and the like. And yeah, it's gotten off its leash somehow in the last few days, going on a tear at the brothel with reanimated bodies. So here's, like, this rich circus owner and his attendant body guards, threatening to sue because necromancy be damned, the court of law will hold that Balboa has now stolen his property. His prized act, in fact.

They somehow end up going back with him to the circus, which is this crazy ostentatious colosseum in the heart of the citystate. Hale is walking and talking and wheeling and dealing with the guy on the way, and wants to SIZE HIM UP. He wants to know how much money they could sell this guy's ghost back to him for, so of course I'm like: 'Well, you know, he'd win in court, but that's expensive, so anything just shy of litigation costs and he'd settle. About 3 treasure, I guess.' So Balboa releases his newly-bound unruly ghost back to the circus' custody and they each get treasure out of it. I know it probably should have been examined treasure, but we all wanted to see unexamined treasure in action so I said the circus had this storehouse of chests and trunks and whatnot from, you know, their travels and trades abroad and they just blindly handed over 3 treasure worth without examining it.

Now they spend the last half hour or so examining their treasure. Everyone has 1 treasure except Hale, who started with an additional one, so he's got two. Here are the results:

Hale laid the foundations of his estate, an old outpost in ruin on the river with dockage and access to a highway. His other treasure turned out to be something dangerous to someone powerful. I said it was like probate papers, and from looking at them it was obvious they invalidated this powerful financier's claim to his inheritance -- which was what his financial institution was built on.

Balboa  had an item of historical significance and value. I told him it was a painting. It was in watercolor, but the colors changed and moved while you look at them, so the thing was animated. It was the long lost masterwork of someone who, you know, could have become a great wizard or something but instead had pursued mastery over oils and paints. Someone at the table named him Ygrid the Younger, who was far more skilled than Ygrid the Elder, obviously. After a few minutes of talking about this, we suddenly realized that this masterwork was a token of Ygrid's life, and I'll be goddamned if Balboa didn't use that to call him forth from death and try to bind him! Balboa offered to have this masterwork displayed before the the masses in the world's greatest circus if Ygrid would serve him, and that seemed pretty damn right to me so I said yeah. So yeah, it's there in the atrium of the circus as you enter.

Holt went back and forth between investing in a pie slice towards development vs investing in an enterprise, and now I don't remember what he settled on.

Okay, treasure done, they went through experiences and marked the ones that seemed appropriate. I think they marked 1 to 3 each.

Insights and questions:
1. It's neat how examining your treasure takes you into this other mode of play. It's not the normal kind of play you think of, like where we're talking about our characters doing stuff in the fiction. It's more like a combination of the kind of play you do when you're a) creating your character and b) world-building/character prepping. It was definitely fun for everyone, maybe the highlight of the night.

2. A ghost is here and it's going crazy. Is it, like, chairs flying around, or can they see it?

3. When you consult your attendant ghost and he answers your questions truthfully, can the answer be 'I don't know?' or is that a cheap shot? Like, the player rolled to do this, and 'I don't know' kind of sucks.

4. Is all interaction with a ghost considered 'contending with it', or just actually fighting with it? Is there any way for a non-necromancer to interact with a ghost, like talking to it, trying to stall it, trying to confuse it somehow?

5. The GM's job is to create trouble. Creating jobs is your job in the Hand to Mouth module. Does that mean that giving them jobs shouldn't be the main way I hook them into adventures here?

6. How do I create trouble? I didn't know what to do once the scene was over. Luckily, they soaked up the last part of the session examining their treasure, but if they hadn't I don't know what I would have done. When they look at me to say something, I don't know what I'm supposed to say. Should I follow them around for a day, nailing down the concrete details of their lives, and use that to make trouble? What should I be prepping for the next session? They've got lodgings, appointments, people they share those with. One has an estate, and maybe the other has an enterprise. Should I focus on threatening those things?

7. I can't stress enough how lost and at sea I was when I was improvising. The rules told me the first scene, but once that was done I just didn't know. Somehow, somewhere, this rediculous circus situation came to my brain, and we followed that for a bit. The players were gracious and found ways of embracing that, and it turned out super cool. But once THAT was over, again, I was lost. I didn't know if I'm supposed to follow them around, setting up a toppling world around them, ala AW. 

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Freebooting Venus / Re: Trouble and the powerful people who cause it
« on: November 03, 2015, 05:12:45 PM »
I'm running it tomorrow, and I'm anxious/curious what I'm going to say when it comes time for trouble.

In an AW game, some of the tools I have for making trouble include:

1. Scarcity. It tells me the kind of trouble to create -- the kind where someone suffers from hunger, fear, despair...
2. Collaborative world building. The other players share the burden of fleshing out the world with NPCs and relationships for the MC to threaten or use as threats.
3. Fronts. The MC takes NPCs from the First Session Worksheet/Home Front, or invents new ones, and makes them into threats for a front or adds them to an existing front.
4. The snowball. The fallout/snowball of PC actions often creates enough trouble to carry a big chunk of a session, if not the whole session.

For the Freebooting Venus playtest, the guidance is to have a powerful person take malicious or thoughtless decisions through to their end. The opening situation has just a couple of hooks to help create more trouble (one of the players might be fulfilling a promise, or might have a prisoner, or might be taking the sitch personally). The text says trouble should be a practical problem for the PCs, not a moral problem, but there's no tool for making a web of practical relationships and needs to threaten. There are folks you share your lodgings with, and folks you are indebted to. Hopefully that's enough. In some traditional game, I'd probably have a powerful person give them a job, but that's explicitly not the GM's agenda for this module.

So I dunno. We'll see what I say when I say it, right? I'm registering this here for posterity, so I can come back tomorrow night and be all like: 'Duh! It worked out fine!'

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Freebooting Venus / Sizing a situation up
« on: November 02, 2015, 08:04:50 PM »
There's no read a sitch move, but the incendiary booby trap references sizing a situation up... What's the move when someone is cautiously looking the room over? Patient save to be on the look-out for something?

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Freebooting Venus / Re: Contending with a ghost
« on: November 02, 2015, 07:55:47 PM »
I think so. Only necromancers can contend with ghosts, got it. Can others attempt to bind ghosts by holding something over them or offering them something? I guess not, just checking.

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Freebooting Venus / Re: End/beginning of session
« on: November 02, 2015, 06:43:56 PM »
2) Oh I don't know. I've done my share of worldbuilding without player contribution, so I guess I'll do that.

edit: It just wasn't nearly as good or as rewarding as building off of player contributions ala Apocalypse World. Now I'm going to have to break my recently-learned Apocalypse World habits!

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