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Messages - Paul T.

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Apocalypse World / Re: Seize by force - to kill
« on: Today at 04:30:35 AM »
Yeah, 'go aggro' is an interesting move in the way it agency away from the character/player. Somewhat unlike most of the other moves, in that regard (with the possible exception of a 7-9 on an "acting under fire" roll).

Apocalypse World / Re: Seize by force - to kill
« on: November 23, 2017, 05:45:49 PM »
Excellent points. (And I would definitely buy that novel!)


My interpretation of "go aggro", it seems, is slightly different from yours. The way I read it, the move shows a character trying to apply force and dominance to someone else. On a 10+, you've cornered them; they have to give in or suffer. On a 7-9, you were still effective in dominating the situation, but they're not responding to it the way you'd like ("Tell them what they want to hear" is a perfect example). You putting the weight of intimidation (or threat of violence) on them has now limited their choices to the outcomes listed in the move.

I *think* we're on the same page. However, it's important to treat it as a hit, and not a miss - simply turning the situation into a tense standoff is undercutting the value of the move. In that regard, then, it depends on the specifics of the scene - working off your brief example, we're probably filling in the gaps differently here online (which would hopefully not be the case in person, at the table). That, to me, underscores the importance of grounding the moves in detailed fiction, once again.

Apocalypse World / Re: Seize by force - to kill
« on: November 23, 2017, 12:14:13 AM »

Good answer.

And I agree with your point of view: it makes sense to me. I think that "hands where you can see" clearly implies that they should NOT be able to draw a gun or pull some other "trick", but, at the same time, your interpretation of a change in the situation is also a good play tip.

I'm not sure how I'd play that, myself. The key in that situation is that the character has ceded to the show of dominance you've put on. I don't think rolling "go aggro" a second time would be completely out of the question (although I agree that generally we try to avoid that kind of thing in AW).

It's also possible that you simply shouldn't choose that option (unless you *like* the idea of leaving the choice to shoot in the player's hands) in this situation. It might be more suitable when the harm being threatened is a fist in the face or something similar, where backing off actually *does* make a difference.

Apocalypse World / Re: Seize by force - to kill
« on: November 22, 2017, 04:29:31 AM »

There are two really good rules of thumb for a new AW MC to remember, in my opinion:

1. When you're *not sure* what's going on, which move applies, or what its outcomes mean, keep asking questions until you get more details. Flesh out the fictional situation, until one of the moves (or see below) is the right fit.

2. If something's happening and no move seems to fit, the MC makes a move.

The second point applies particularly if you're coming to AW from other games. You know how you have those moments where you feel like you should say, "Ok, roll some dice!", in AW, is just a moment where you make a move.

In AW, the "filler" die rolls just become MC moves, plain and simple.

Armed with those two guidelines, AW becomes pretty seamless and easy.

Apocalypse World / Re: Seize by force - to kill
« on: November 21, 2017, 10:23:04 PM »
For what it's worth - and it's very weird for me to be saying so when the designer of the game is potentially in disagreement with me! but I do feel strongly about it - I see the use of moves in PbtA games as being more of an art than a science. It is, arguably, the form that "system mastery" takes in a game with this structure: learning, as a group, how and when to apply moves to your play for maximum effect.

(Notably, it's less so in AW than in some of its descendants, like Monsterhearts, but I think the basic principle applies just the same.)

How do we decide when to call for a move?

(1) Part of this is a question of a player's right to create effects and push for consequences within the fiction. You know you can 'go aggro', and thereby get an NPC to do something, so it's your right to call for that, and no one should block you - if anything, we should conspire with you to make it real and to make it happen. We just need to add enough fictional detail to the action to make it interesting and compelling and plausible. You want to do move X? Ok, let's help you make it happen - that's something you should be able to do in the game. That's why they're "your moves" - they are things you are legally entitled to as options within the scope of the game.

(2) Part of this is agreeing on what kinds of fictional events or details cause us to "trigger" moves. If someone pointing a gun at someone and yelling is understood to be "going aggro" in your game, then make that clear and be consistent with it, so we can all get on the same page. Some moves' "triggers" are really clear ("at the end of the session..."), but others require more interpretation (like "seduce/manipulate"), and you'll find yourself setting those standards over time as you play.

If don't follow some standards for when to apply moves and when not to, based on what's happening in our game (or "on screen", to use a metaphor), we start getting into some really wishy-washy territory, and I think that plays against the strengths of the game, eroding our trust in the rules we're playing by.

Having said that, however:

(3) Another part of it is choosing the best tool for your dramatic goals - how does this move, and its potential outputs, work for the fiction we're creating, the choices of the characters within it, and the dramatic necessities of the current scene or situation? There are times when this becomes key and can even override the two previous approaches - times when the outcomes listed for move X just fit perfectly for what you're doing in your scene, even though normally it wouldn't be called for (such is the case with more figurative interpretations of the moves, like "seizing the moment").

In practice, all three work together, in my experience.

A good example of the last type - a move which must be used dramatically - is the "Oftener Right" move (Savvyhead). If you try to apply its use literally, to any instance where any character is asking the Savvyhead for advice on anything at all, you'll soon be overwhelmed with notes on what advice applies where and how. And how long does it "last" for? ("Hey, I think the Savvyhead said two sessions ago that it might be a good idea to bring some food on the trip. Does that mean I can get a +1 to negotiate in the market for buying food?")

However, if you apply the move through the lens of dramatic timing, then it makes sense: we call it into play when a conversation between a character and the Savvyhead is happening and we want to lend it dramatic weight.

In other words, we use the move to mark that "this is a moment where a significant piece of advice is being given, and we want it to matter going forward". If the game were a movie, you can imagine the filmmaker might have marked it with some swelling music in the background, instead: pointing out to the audience that something important was just said or just happened.

I could even imagine a group using it more creatively: a character is pursuing her goals and runs into a real tough situation. We slow down and say, "Hey, you know the Savvyhead always used to say that no one should attempt this. Let's play out a flashback where you two were talking about it, about a month ago... now, let's get back to that scene. If you want to change your mind and turn around and run, I'll give you that +1 for realizing the Savvyhead was right after all."

That might be a bit of a stretch (I can see it being legit at some tables and not others), but sometimes this kind of thing is just the right thing to do. I can imagine a more typical example where, over many sessions of play, we learn that a certain characters always arches their eyebrow before launching into wild violence. In that game, the character arching their eyebrow meaningfully at another character who knows how they operate could qualify for "going aggro", even though normally that would be a pretty sloppy (and probably inadvisable) use of the move.

I could see a group using that for Oftener Right, too; perhaps two characters know each other well enough that they can communicate non-verbally, and that creates opportunities for a move to trigger. A character is about to leave on a journey (instead of dealing with a problem back home), and they go to their usual hiding spot, where the Savvyhead normally leaves them letters. However, this time, there's no letter there.

We all look at each other, instantly understanding what it means: the Savvyhead disapproves. What doesn't need to be said is that she wants the character to stay home and deal with the problem. It's a moment of tough love.

The player points at her character sheet and says, "I'm Oftener Right." We all understand implicitly that, should the character take this as a sign and stay back, to deal with the problem at hand, the move will apply.

That's a part of what's happening in the "shotgun to the head" example. By the book, perhaps (depending on how you interpret the 2nd Ed. rules, I suppose), we should definitely by using "go aggro" here. However, dramatically and mechanically, it makes no sense to roll dice and look for an NPC reaction when we can all see that pulling the trigger is a meaningful choice in the player's hands. Suddenly throwing in some randomness here isn't appropriate. The outcomes of the move don't help us here, either. All we care about is: does she pull the trigger or not? And then we can narrate the outcome accordingly - it's already clear to everyone what's at stake.

Apocalypse World / Re: Seize by force - to kill
« on: November 21, 2017, 08:47:18 PM »
Thanks, Borogove. I knew that wasn't coming out of nowhere.

Apocalypse World / Re: Seize by force - to kill
« on: November 21, 2017, 05:06:45 PM »



That's an interesting example. While I agree with the rest of your post, to me "back away slowly, hands where you can see" is clearly implying that the target is NOT drawing or aiming a weapon - I always read that as a shorthand way for Vincent to indicate that fighting back was not an immediate option for the NPC. Otherwise, why would we need to talk about their "hands" at all? The phrase "hands where you can see", in my experience, is only used to indicate that the subject is NOT reaching for a weapon or otherwise trying to arm themselves or pull some maneuver.

(Having said that, the rest of the behaviour outlined in your example is perfectly in line with the intentions of the move; it was just the but about suddenly having a gun in hand which jumped out at me as being against the spirit of that particular outcome.)

Apocalypse World / Re: Seize by force - to kill
« on: November 20, 2017, 10:46:04 PM »
Well, Vincent presumably knows what he's talking about, so listen to him!


Since "sucker someone" now includes a clause for "if you couldn't miss, the MC just inflicts harm on the NPC" (or something like that; I'm not quoting verbatim), does that align fairly well with the way this might have been done in 1st Ed?

(In other words, "violence is not always a move you roll" is contiguous with, "in the new version, it's always a move; just sometimes the move is that you just do it," because of the wording of the new move "Sucker Someone".)

Apocalypse World / Re: Seize by force - to kill
« on: November 19, 2017, 11:27:41 PM »
That's a good, thorough reply by Ebok.

I'll share a shorter reply:

1. Apocalypse World quite intentionally doesn't have a dedicated "I just wanna hurt someone" move. The idea is that violence generally has a purpose - something you want.

2. Very often, just shooting (or otherwise attacking) someone isn't a move at all. It's just something you do, the same way you can say, "I walk towards the stairs and pick up the shovel," and it just happens.

If we've established that Dremmer is visible to you, in range, and you have time to get your gun out and shoot him, I think that this will often be the case. You say "I shoot him," and the MC describes the results.

The MC describing the results is just her making a move. Likely it will be "inflict harm" (on Dremmer), but it could be something else (like offering you an opportunity, or stating the consequences and asking a question).

3. If that doesn't seem right - things are tense or uncertain - then we need to know more. Is someone trying to stop you? If so, how? Are there guards with guns who could shoot when they see you pull your gun up?

That's probably an "act under fire", where we roll to see if you can gun down Dremmer before they riddle you with bullets. (You're literally acting under fire, after all.)

4. If you have the drop on him, but your relationship with Dremmer is such that we can imagine you having a conversation or holding back because of how he reacts, then maybe "go aggro" is a better fit.

5. Finally, if it's definitely a battle, it may be that you're doing something like Seizing the opportunity to shoot him. If it's not clear that you can just shoot him *like that*, you might be seizing the opportunity. That sounds vague and abstract, but I actually think it could be perfect for a situation where you're facing off against a gang and trying to get at Dremmer.

(If you had the drop on the gang, or the element of surprise, you might even be "going aggro" on them!)

I would try applying these roughly in this order.

Ultimately, the basic flow of effective AW play (and PbtA in general) is one where the group negotiates the question of which more to apply together. The way you do this is by talking about the fiction and asking questions. Over time, the elements necessary for a particular move emerge from that negotiation.

For example, you might ask about the guards, and I might describe them nervously hefting their weapons and eyeing you, fingers restless on their triggers. "So, I guess if I shoot him, I'm acting under fire, aren't I?", you ask. "Yep!"

As another example, I might ask, "So, you're going to shoot him, just like that? What are you hoping he doesn't do?" And you might answer, "Oh, I really hope the bastard doesn't get away; I want to talk to the fucker."

Bam! Suddenly it's clear that this is "go aggro" - you're pulling your gun on him, and what you want is for him to submit to you. (If he wants to run away, he's taking your bullet in the back!)

It's more art than science, but delving into the details of the situation more and more makes it concrete almost every time. Always go back to this if you're floundering, until it becomes clear.

Again, if no one is getting in your way and you're not in danger, it's probably #2, from above. It's the *consequences* of the action which will be interesting, not the success of the task you're attempting.

Apocalypse World / Re: Alternative Hack for AW2 Seize by Force
« on: November 18, 2017, 09:12:07 PM »
Indeed. I haven't had an opportunity to run AW myself since we started this conversation, but it's been on my mind nevertheless. I was mainly wondering if there was an option in the move that never sees use, and therefore could simply be discarded, simplifying it further.

It also occurs to me that making the move somewhat-similar-but-still-distinct for NPCs and PCs may be slightly misleading. In the same way that Hx and help/hinder, as well as seduce/manipulate and a few others, work differently for PC vs. NPC use, we could probably design an even better version if we weren't trying to make them similar to each other. But that's a whole other topic!

Apocalypse World / Re: Alternative Hack for AW2 Seize by Force
« on: November 14, 2017, 11:06:56 PM »

Just posting here for an update. Things have been going well, I take it?

How often do you use the "NPCs choose" option on the move? Do you have any rule of thumb for when to use it and when not to?

How do you decide which options to choose? Is it based on "what the NPC prioritizes", story concerns, or something else?


Apocalypse World / Re: Seize by force - to kill
« on: November 13, 2017, 04:23:02 AM »
Also, by the way:

Ebok, this latest phrasing of how you're handling "in battle" is the best and cleanest yet! That's a really clear and easy-to-follow formulation. Makes sense to me! You may consider our early discussion finally settled.

(If by any chance you've been playing and using your Seize by Force hack, I invite you to post about your experiences in the appropriate thread.)

Apocalypse World / Re: Seize by force - to kill
« on: November 12, 2017, 06:25:50 PM »
I agree that the first edition's example of "seizing their life by force" was somewhat misleading. I know what Vincent was going for, I think - he likes using colourful figurative language to get an idea across in very few words - but here it's not being helpful.

To me, the key to playing AW (and related games) is to remain solidly fixed *in the fiction*. Abstracting the rules and moves will (not always, but often) lead to strange dilemmas like these. Think of the fiction first, not the other way around, and keep getting clarifying details until it makes sense.

Instead of looking at the rule and trying to ponder how it maps to the fiction, always get some more details about what's happening, and then engage the rules. THAT, for me, almost always resolves the difficulty, particularly with this move.

So, what does it mean to 'seize someone's life'? I don't know, and I don't care.

What I want to know, instead, is:

* What is your character doing?

* Where are they standing? Where is the enemy? How are they moving?

* How exactly are they going about it, and what are they going to do about _________?

Instead of dealing with an abstraction like "seizing someone's life", now you're dealing with a tangible outcome, like "I rush forward, and I want to get him in a headlock", or maybe "So you're just running into the open, screaming, and throwing that grenade? You're going to have to get past the bikers, though, to get close enough..."

Now we can fruitfully decide which move to engage and how the move's outcomes map to what happens next.

Treating "you take definite hold" as a placeholder for "you achieve a tactical objective you were going for" will usually work. The other options are generally easy enough to parse, although "dismay or frighten" may sometimes require more clarification, as well.

For example, in the first example, above, clearly that option will tell us whether you manage to get your arms around Dremmer's throat, or not. There's no difficulty knowing what that means, right? We can all picture it, we know what's happening "on-screen", and the ambiguities of trying to parse what "seizing someone's life" are left behind in the dust.

Apocalypse World / Re: Opening Your Brain in a Solo RP?
« on: September 28, 2017, 10:24:40 PM »
Interesting stuff!

Ebok, thanks for the thorough answer. Great ideas there!

Apocalypse World / Re: Opening Your Brain in a Solo RP?
« on: September 16, 2017, 02:55:22 AM »
I find the best benefit of the Weird roll is by forming relational questions between the PC and NPCs / World. I'd be worried that this wasn't taking place without making that play a major part of it.


This sounds like a really cool and interesting practice. Can you give some examples of what this looks like in your games? I'd like to learn how to do this - sounds like a great thing to do!

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