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Messages - Anaphory

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It's an amazing technique!

Someone pointed me at the Everway cards again, and judging from or, the questions are of approximately the relevant form if you take them as they are, but taking them as a guide to interpreting the image on the other side, I don't know whether they are an example of what I'm looking for or not. (And if they are, is there a causal connection?)

Apocalypse World / Re: Breaking away from the archetypes
« on: February 01, 2015, 11:49:53 AM »
In one game I MC'd I had a Faceless in the group, who wasn't some kind of large brute, but a doctor who had been forced to do some nasty stuff by a rival gang, and when he ran away he picked up a dented hockey mask (thus the name “Dent”) that protected him from them, but wanted to keep the doctoring personality at bay. (This was his pre-story that we found out slowly in the game.) He started out as the Gang's bonesetter due to some innate capability (having picked up “Healing Hands” from the Angel playbook quite early), and turned more and more into an Angel as time went on, with much internal fighting between the doctor and the mask.

Oh, from context I had thought it had been a particularly uninteresting game of My Life with Master. I'd never have imagined you could write games that lead to “particularly uninteresting play session[s.]” In particular for people who I would have thought know what they're doing…

I could not find this “Czege Principle” stated in my copy of My Life with Master. The search continues…

Next find: In The Mountain Witch, this sharing of narration goes in the other direction!

Players have the authority to declare things about their Fates, but the rules say:

“What is important to understand about characters’ Fates is the purpose for these Fates in play is to set up future conflict. […] For this reason, to get the most out of a character’s Fate, players should use their Fate-given directorial power to “introduce” game elements. That is to say, the player briefly narrates the game element into play before handing the control of the element to the GM.”

This is because “There is a general role-playing principle that states that when the introduction, resolution, and consequences of a conflict are all decided by the same person, that conflict becomes unsatisfying for the player. […] Sometimes called the Czege Principle after Paul Czege, author of My Life with Master, who discovered the principle after a particularly uninteresting play session.”

Otherwise, I did not find any mention of questions like that in tMW (yet).

Yep, that's an example of what I meant. In general, I'm looking for the idea of not just asking the players “What do you do?”, but also about other stuff that might be something that would traditionally be in the narrative authority of the GM. In particular if it's a question that establishes something that the player could, but would probably not have said themselves (the “you don't have your guns and armor with you” part), but than gives them a good bit of authority back.

Hmmm, now I feel like I need to reread Apocalypse World (something I should probably do anyway at some point). Some skimming first…

One of the questions you give as Mikael's playtest questions is “Why can you only fit two people in the cabin of the Tank?” This is precisely that type of question: It establishes that indeed only two people fit into the Tank, but leaves it open to the player why.

From the first session part, the “Marie, Bran, you two are trapped outside of the holding, you’re hunkered down inside an old gutted RV. Outside, six of Dremmer’s gang are setting up camp, looks like they’re settling in. They don’t know you’re there, they just blundered in on top of you. What are you two doing out here, anyway?” or the “Keeler, this person named III corners you that night. She’s fucking pissed off, she comes straight at you, fists first. What did you do to her?” are also clear examples of this type of question.

But some of the questions you suggest in the passage on Opening Your Brain are also like that, such as “Who was your first kiss? Tell about it.” or “What’s the worst hurt you’ve suffered that you can’t remember?” – They both establish that a thing has happened, but then disclaim the decision of how.

The general thing-to-do of “Turn questions back on the asker or over to the group at large.” does not have the “leading” part to it, but is otherwise kind of this.

Off to look through Forge archives and the Mountain Witch rules for this principle, then…

Hi folks,

Where does the concept of offloading storytelling power to the players by asking loaded questions come from? In particular, when it applies to questions after character creation, when it seems to be a very old technique indeed.
(And which is the best generic term for that, “leading”, “loaded”, “provocative”, or something else?)
As in, such as AW's 7th Priciple, “Ask provocative questions and build on the answers”, come from? I have looked through my copy of DitV, and could not find it stated there explicitly. (I thought it might already be in there, but I have as of yet neither read all those rules beginning to end, nor played it, so I had to rely on the pdf search function as a first approximation.)

I have googled inside the Forge archive using search terms like “leading OR loaded OR provocative question”, but the hits I found were about questions asked there being loaded, not about provocative questions as GM technique.

I asked on rpg.stackexchange ( and have not got a proper answer there either.

Can anyone point me to where this concept appears implicitly and explicitly for the first time, and what may have sparked it being a prominent technique these days?

blood & guts / Agenda, Principles and Moves in some AW hacks
« on: November 20, 2014, 04:06:16 PM »
Hi there,

I was thinking about Agenda, Principles and Moves for a game where Greek Mythology is remotely real.
In that context I decided that it might be interesting to look at what different instance of games powered by the apocalypse give as Agenda, Principles and moves. You can find the result by following I found some interesting patterns, but of course there are artefacts in how I decided to set some moves on the same row that are only remotely comparable, or only with some deep thought. But maybe it's interesting for someone.
Currently it contains AW, DW, Monsterhearts, Monster of the Week, AW:DA and SotI. Feel free to add more if you wish, and to move around associated moves/principles/… if you have a reason.

Use note: When sorting for another game (I left it sorted by AW:DA), select the whole table, including the first column, and then sort (with headers) by "G", then by the game that you want to take as focus, to not mix Agenda, Principles, Moves etc.

Curious patterns:
The split between Principles, Always say and Some more things is not always clear. Not all games have all three categories.
Many games have a Move that is somewhat good for the PCs, but can lead to problems.
A lot of the differences come from different wording and different focusing (splitting a short principle into two long ones, etc.), but that can lead to games feeling seriously different. (This is not surprising, but it's noteworthy that it works.)

AW:Dark Age / Re: Playtest feedback
« on: October 17, 2014, 11:45:16 PM »
I'm fully aware that you are working on the next iteration, but we took these notes, so I did want to share them with you, in case they would be useful.

AW:Dark Age / Playtest feedback
« on: October 11, 2014, 01:06:27 PM »

I know you have already drawn your conclusions from the playtest, and I'm sorry it took me until now to put the following things in writing. Some of the notes below may be misunderstood from my notes during the session. I may correct any misunderstood notes later.

I organised an AW oneshot a few weeks ago, and ended up not running it, because we started according to the Co-MC suggestions, and then someone else had a better idea to start than I did, so I passed on being the GM.

When creating our place, it was a bit difficult to come up with names for peoples and nearby places. The language-based name lists seemed to imply that peoples and place names should also depend on languages, but there are no guide lines.

I had not printed enough peoples sheets, and also more peoples creation rules sheets would be good, so people can create peoples in parallel. If your next iteration ends up with stuff that is needed multiple times, an estimate of how frequent stuff is needed on the table would be helpful.

Did we miss an indication of how wealthy characters are?

Are the seasons supposed to follow the yearly seasons of spring, summer, harvest and winter, or are they of arbitrary length, a time during which circumstances are comparable or something like that?

What is the mechanical trigger of “sizing someone up”? In particular, do I need to interact with them, or can I do that from a distance?

How does small-scale stuff interact with large-scale stuff? I think this question turned up during a small battle, in which the influence of individual PCs' actions was comparatively large in “enemies incapacitated” or similar.

During a small battle, we managed to outnumber our fighting enemies 3 to 1, because some of them were incapacitated and some out of range (it was a battle between three boats, so some melee fighters on a boat could not come closer to the action), which scewed the odds extremely in our favour. Are we supposed to have such an immense difference in fighting capability?

The gods did not seem to really play a role at character creation, and did only rarely turn up later.

Leap Into Action reads like a nice move, but when successful allows quite a few choices given the fact that not all of them may be applicable. We felt that either there need to be more options to choose from (I may remember later what we considered missing), or less choices.

Is it on purpose that hindering other characters is not in the rules, but helping is?

Apocalypse World / How to conclude a game of AW?
« on: April 15, 2014, 09:44:42 AM »
Ladies, Gentlemen, Esteemed Others,

I feel like it's time to draw my Apocalypse World campaign to a conclusion. However, I'm not really sure how to do that.
Up to now, the campaign has been mostly continuous with very little downtime (somehow I'm quite bad at initiating time skips). The chopper's gang has been in town (the Clam, named such for the big sign there that survived the apocalypse at this former motorway service station…) for quite some time (two weeks?) now, dealing with the natives, but many members (in particular NPC members) are getting restless and want to leave. Therefore them riding out of town into the sunset will be one thing to do. However, many of the players have either picked up additional characters from the Clam, or been somewhat absorbed by that Family, so that's still leaving things open for many. It feels like there is always two more things to do in the settlement. Does someone have a good recipe for putting a conclusion (and not just an end) to a campaign?

Apocalypse World / Re: playbooks
« on: March 12, 2014, 11:21:20 PM »
By chance I tried it yesterday, yes it is!

Monsterhearts / Re: New skin: The Host
« on: March 11, 2014, 11:19:20 PM »
Currently I think the easiest way to give the decisions about the character to the player, while still making them act strangely, is:
? But It Wasn't Me!: Your Guest can influence you to do relatively harmless things that are outside of the social norm. When you act like a social norm from this place and time does not concern you at all, and you pull it through until someone speaks up against you or forces you to stop, mark experience.
(The “from this place and time” is due to how I want to see it in Apocalypse world. I don't know how experience works in MH; maybe them gaining a string on each other might be appropriate, as well?)

Monsterhearts / Re: New skin: The Host
« on: March 10, 2014, 03:12:30 AM »
Ideally, I want But It Wasn't Me! to be an ability where the Host marks experience if someone stops him, and the person doing the stopping gains a string on him. Or the reverse, because there are two scenarios: either the Host is embarrassed because they cannot control themselves, or the stopper is embarrassed because stopping you is uncomfortable (have you ever asked someone with autism to stop pacing or talking out of turn?). I'd like it to be triggered under certain conditions, like as a 7-9 penalty, so that you aren't rolling every scene to see if your character is getting railroaded.
While a lot of similar MH skins deal with a secret identity or power that you absolutely under no circumstances can reveal, the Host is the opposite. Everyone knows you're crazy, but you have no way of telling them that it's not you, because what does that make you sound like? Crazy still. Most of the abilities deal with ways of mitigating how much the Guest influences you, and ways of making you feel normal.
Yep, I get that. And it's particularly those abilities that I consider worth stealing. (The character in my AW game does not try to blame it on someone else, she's pretty much accepted the memories from the maelstrom as hers, but she's indeed considered quite crazy now, claiming she has a wife down in London, which everybody knows is a large crater and wasteland, but that she isn't gay, and would appreciate some way of control over herself and feeling normal.)
[…] putting yourself in imminent physical danger […]
I wasn't sure if “imminent physical danger” was what you meant, because to me “treacherous” has some other connotations, as well.

Monsterhearts / Re: New skin: The Host
« on: March 09, 2014, 02:35:34 PM »
Cool! One of the characters in my AW game got possessed by something from the maelstrom recently. I posted some bad ideas for a corresponding playbook in, and this looks like something I might need to ponder over and point the player to and stuff.

Given the different rules systems (in particular the lack of formal conditions and Hx less volatile than strings) in AW, and the fact that at least for the specific character in question a full In-Control-mechanic sounds inappropriate, I want to steal and adapt Feels like Home and But It Wasn't Me! in particular.

On But It Wasn't Me!: So for every scene, you roll to hold steady+In Control, and if you fail, you are forced to break social norms in the scene until someone stops you? Or how is it supposed to work? That seems a lot of social norm breaking implied there, and a proportional amount of the MC taking over your character for “relatively harmless things that are outside of the social norm”? Sounds pretty hefty to me.

What's a physically treacherous situation here?

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