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Messages - Munin

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Apocalypse World / Re: Taking away the PC's Stuff
« on: November 25, 2013, 10:31:24 PM »
The choice is important thing of course, but in case of 'style' items, the issue is, that I can imagine sitaution, that item is not important to the character, but is important for player - cause it makes the character cool for him.
Perhaps.  But I posit to you that if your character's stuff and not his or her personality is what makes the character cool to you, maybe you haven't put enough thought into developing your character.

roleplaying theory, hardcore / Re: AW - When an MC should kill a PC?
« on: November 25, 2013, 10:27:14 PM »
I am pretty squarely with Oldy on this one.

But I feel like this topic touches on an issue that a lot of gamers ignore, which is that sometimes players (and GMs for that matter) need to be trained out of being douchebags.  If your player is consistently making "bad" decisions and trying to escalate to violence, you might have a problem.  If this kind of behavior is getting on the nerves of the other players, then you absolutely have a problem.

Essentially, what is happening under the hood is that this player's play-style is disruptive.  It does not fit in the with the (usually unspoken) social contract under which the game is trying to function, and therefore it is annoying.  If all of the other players were like, "Hells yeah, hoss, thanks for starting another fight!  Now I'ma get my bang-bang on!" then it wouldn't be a problem.  But I get the sense that whenever this player makes a move, everyone else at the table is thinking to themselves, "Jesus, here we go again."

As such, if the fiction demands it (or maybe if it even gently suggests it), squash him like a bug.  And if his next character is the same way, squash that one like a bug too.  Give plenty of explicit warnings and be up-front with him about it ("Dude, if you roll out heavy and try to take all these guys on at once, you will die").  But don't compromise.

Eventually, one of two things will happen: either he'll get sick of losing characters and quit the game (in which case the rest of you can get down to having the kind of fun you want to have), or he'll figure out that the root cause of losing characters is in fact his own behavior and he will modify it accordingly.

Alternately, you can take the direct approach and just take the player aside and say, "I get that you want to play the hardest hardass on the planet, but you're being kind of a jerk and ruining it for the other players."

I know that lots of people play in places where fellow gamers are hard to come by and people are afraid of alienating someone and losing a member of an already small player pool.  But I've had it both ways and I can tell you flat out that I'd rather have a game with one or two good players than a game with five or six plus one bad apple.  And by "good player" I'm not making any quality or value judgements beyond "willing and able to play nicely with others."

Honestly I feel like a lot of this stuff would get sorted out if players and MCs/GMs alike were more articulate and up-front about what they want out of a particular game.  If my buddies are all about some kind of deep, story-driven narrative collaborative play and I just want to roll dice and kill stuff (because work is sapping my soul and all of my creative energies), then I can just say, "Hey, guys, I think I'll sit this one out."  And everyone should be OK with that.

roleplaying theory, hardcore / Re: Augury vs. Spell Lists
« on: November 25, 2013, 09:51:42 PM »
It may also be true that a lot of this depends on just what magic is capable of in your specific fiction.  If magic is extremely broad and can cover a lot of different effects or situations, a move-based approach is going to be an exercise in silliness.  You'll be better off just riffing on opening your brain and describing the effects on an as-needed basis.  I mean, what's the real functional mechanical difference between a lightning bolt and a disintegration ray?  And is that difference important enough to force a player to opt to spend an advancement on move on one over the other?

On the other hand, if magic is very specific and there are only a handful of things that a user of those powers can accomplish, then yeah, maybe a move for each "spell" (or broad effect type) is OK.

If it were me and I were trying to keep flexibility but give different kinds of magic different flavors, I might split the difference.  So there might be a custom move for divination magic, a custom move for curses, and a custom move for summoning, and a custom move for whipping out a can of elemental whoop-ass.  All of those moves would be flexible internally to allow the players (and the MC) plenty of latitude to describe how they are applied and what their effects might look like.

Apocalypse World / Re: Taking away the PC's Stuff
« on: November 25, 2013, 09:40:21 PM »
I think in this case it's up to the player, really.  If the MC gave the choice of losing the coat or turning back and not making it through the swamp and the player chose to push through, then the coat isn't a "defining" item.  If the player is willing to give up the item that quickly, he or she clearly doesn't define the character by it.

I also think that there are times when situations like this are actually a really good way for the MC and the player to get a better understanding of what about the character is important to the player.  Or to expose more about hte character's internal foibles and motivations.  If the thought of getting blood on your coat means you won't help a dying man, well, that's an interesting piece of information now, isn't it?

Apocalypse World / Re: Help with Fronts - peer review?
« on: November 25, 2013, 09:22:07 PM »
Also, maybe it's just shorthand for "inflict Harm," but "rain down hell" is pretty non-specific.  The results of moves need to be spelled out explicitly in a way that gives them a mechanical effect.  That effect doesn't need to always be the same thing, and should absolutely offer the MC lots of options, but the effect needs to be concrete.

If you want to introduce both crazy hi-tech and a SkyNet-like system that is trying to prevent people from using it, why not try the following:

Item: Crazy-Hi-Tech Gizmo: Left over from before the apocalypse and intended for gods-only-know-what,  Crazy-Hi-Tech Gizmos have both a Power (+1 to +3) and an associated Move.  So for instance, you might have a "tricorder" that gives +2 to Read a Sitch rolls, a "psychotropic lens-o-tron" that gives you +1 to Read a Person, or a "sub-sonic dopamine actuator" that gives you +2 to Seduce or Manipulate rolls.  Or an "pheromonal dominance projector" that makes it terrifying whenever you Go Aggro on someone.  Or whatever.

Now your custom move for SkyNet is: Under the Watchful Eyes of SkyNet: whenever you use a Crazy-Hi-Tech Gizmo, it is as though you are attempting to Act Under Fire, but instead of rolling +Cool you roll -Power (i.e the more powerful the gewgaw is, the more likely it is for SkyNet to notice it and get pissed).

That way, you have both a carrot and a stick.  You've got these weird, characterful, hyper-advanced gizmos that provide a concrete mechanical benefit, which makes players want to use them.  But they are unpredicatable and liable to bring down the wrath of SkyNet upon you.  Or maybe not, because the MC has so many options on a partial hit or a clean miss.  Either way, it will make players think twice about just whipping out their magic macguffin every time they want to Go Aggro on some poor sucker.

And because an example is worth a million words, how might this work in practice?  Say I have one of these nifty sub-sonic dopamine actuators, +2 Power.  And say I want to use it to help me convince Haemish to act as my bodyguard next time I make a foray into the Ash Wastes.  I roll to Seduce or Manipulate (which is +Hot).  I'm a crass,  ugly motherfucker with a -1 Hot, so it's a good thing I've got this +2 gizmo, so I end up rolling +1.  Depending on that roll Haemish may or may not help me out, the MC may or may not get to make an associated move, or whatever.

But once that is resolved, I make my Under the Watchful Eyes of Skynet roll, which is roll-Power.  If I am super fly and roll a 12, I'm going to end up with a 10, in which case I escape unscathed.  Heh.

If my final result is a 7-9, the MC is going to offer me a worse outcome, a hard bargain, or an ugly choice.  In this case, maybe the MC says that once I get out into the Ash Wastes and start digging for hi-tech amongst the old ruins, SkyNet is able to triangulate on the signals that my gewgaw is using to pump poor Haemish full of good vibes and happy feelings, and jams them.  Suddenly Haemish isn't feeling so good about being way out here in the Ash Wastes with just the two of us.  And maybe he starts thinking he'll be better off making it back to the hold on his own.  At some point, I look up from my digging and that fucker is just gone.  So the "worse outcome" here is that sure, Haemish will accompany me out.  But I'm on my own to get back.

Or maybe he offers me an ugly choice: sure, everything can go fine this time, but SkyNet is now on the alert for my particular Crazy-Hi-Tech Gizmo's unique signature and I'll take -1 forward on my next Acting under the Watchful Eyes of Skynet move.  So I'll skate this time, but next time I am virtually guaranteed to have bad stuff happen.

And if my final result is a 6 or less, well, all of the usual MC moves are on the table, including taking away my stuff (SkyNet triangulates my Gizmo's signal and fries it with a 50 million volt pulse of microwave energy), inflicting harm (SkyNet figures out where the Gizmo is and starts dropping bombs on my head) or announcing future or off-screen badness (out in the Ash Wastes we see a bright flash and hear distant thunder.  Huh, that's strange.  But unbeknownst to us, SkyNet triangulated the location where the Gizmo was activated, which was my flophouse back at the hold, which is now a smoking crater.)

Also, because these are two separate moves, you have plenty of opportunities for hilarity (and moves snowballing).  So I might completely flub when using the Gizmo and still bring down SkyNet's wrath.  Or I might fail the first roll completely, have the MC take away my stuff (Haemish says, "I see what you're doing.  Gimme that gizmo, you idiot"), then bomb the second roll as well and bring the wrath of SkyNet down on Haemish.  Heh.  Sucker.

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