Author Topic: Opening your Mind  (Read 8338 times)

tonydowler

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Opening your Mind
« on: June 28, 2010, 02:47:27 AM »
I want to talk about the Open your Mind move, because this is some serious, serious Apocalyptic mojo. I considered bringing this up in "the basis for all the moves" thread, but I think it's further ranging than that.

Elsewhere, Vincent says:

The basis for all of the moves in Apocalypse World, every single one, is an active conflict of interests between named, human characters.

So what's the deal with Open your Mind, then? Is it because I usually have a specific question in mind, and that question is related to the conflicts-of-interest in the story? What if I open my mind with no particular question in mind? That's become a fairly common practice in our AW games. Where's the basis then?

And a related thing: I'd like to talk about how the maelstrom functions or does not function in a way that's analogous to a character in the fiction. The maelstrom doesn't act like a disinterested force or entity. It acts like it's involved in what's going on. Do other people find that in their game? Is this an intentional characteristic, and what are the implications of including or not including Open your Mind in your hack?

Edits: accidentally published before I was done asking.
« Last Edit: June 28, 2010, 02:53:32 AM by tonydowler »

Ariel

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Re: Opening your Mind
« Reply #1 on: June 28, 2010, 02:54:54 AM »
The maelstrom is a medium between you and other humans. It only knows things that someone told it.

benhimself

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Re: Opening your Mind
« Reply #2 on: June 28, 2010, 03:34:40 AM »
The world's psychic maelstrom tells you something interesting. At least in my book, that means telling them something that will create a conflict of interest through revelation alone, or highlight an existing conflict of interest by revealing dramatic new facts about it.

And a related thing: I'd like to talk about how the maelstrom functions or does not function in a way that's analogous to a character in the fiction. The maelstrom doesn't act like a disinterested force or entity. It acts like it's involved in what's going on. Do other people find that in their game? Is this an intentional characteristic, and what are the implications of including or not including Open your Mind in your hack?

This is something that you can run with a lot of different ways, I think. One thing to remember: if you give the Psychic Maelstrom agency, give it a threat type. Most of the landscapes are pretty interesting to think about, but I've also gotten a lot of mileage out of "Disease Vector" and "Mindfucker", myself.

And in contrast to what Orly said, my personal advice would be to give the psychic maelstrom whatever information it needs to make your characters' lives more interesting. (And keep the world real, of course, but you've got more wiggle room for that agenda when you're talking about the psychic maelstrom as opposed to more mundane aspects of the world.)

Now, HERE'S a related question for you all. What has happened, in actual play, when characters in games you've been in have gotten the expanded "open your brain the the world's psychic maelstrom" move, and rolled a 12+? What's beyond that sucker, ladies and gentlemen?

In one game I was running, the apocalypse was sort of an endless nuclear winter scenario, the skies eternally choked by the ashes and smoke created by civilization-that-was going up in flames. Gradually I invoked some of this imagery into the world's psychic maelstrom, ash demons and it being smoky and choking and whatnot, until I realized that the death-cloud blotting out the sun and skies and the world's psychic maelstrom were the same thing. So, naturally, when a character managed to pierce "beyond" the world's psychic maelstrom (which they only managed to accomplish as their dying act), they punched through, and a single shaft of sunlight, the first the world had seen in 50 years, fell down upon their corpse, with green shoots blooming up almost instantly around them. (Cue end credits).

But I'm curious what other people have done with the expanded move!

John Harper

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Re: Opening your Mind
« Reply #3 on: June 28, 2010, 05:53:53 PM »
Oh man. Seeing through the maelstrom has been a thing of beauty in our games. It's very hard to put into words on a forum, though. Like everything else in AW, the specific details and context are so important. It won't have the same impact unless you were in the game.

But, briefly:

In the Empire of Dust game, my brainer saw through the maelstrom. She saw the game of thrones being played out on her world -- the pawns, the knights, the kings and queens. She saw the whole shape of the game; learned the identities of all of the players. She also saw the future: When one piece won, the game was over. The world would come to an end. The only reason the world existed was so the game could be played.

Then she saw, out beyond the solar system, all the other thousands of worlds in the great game, all giving rise to their own game boards until the battles were won, then each flaring for a moment and disappearing into the void.

It became her mission to keep the game going forever.

-------------------

In the Iron Coast game, Brandon's driver-turned-gunlugger, Drake, saw through the maelstrom. That game revolves around a place called Oracle, where the lucky few uploaded themselves before the apocalypse. Drake sees the truth of Oracle, what it really is, how it relates to the apocalypse, and how it's dying, taking the uploaded minds with it. And Drake learns that she herself is from Oracle -- as well as several other key characters in the game -- and the dream-pods that contain their minds are failing, too.

Drake, the deadly assassin, the destroyer, changed course right then. She got into the saviour business.

-------------------

Fun stuff.

lumpley

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Re: Opening your Mind
« Reply #4 on: June 28, 2010, 06:08:35 PM »
Oh man. In our game, Ammanuel the savvyhead is on the verge of being able to do things speak to (a piece of) the world's psychic maelstrom. What's wrong with you, and how might I fix it?

-Vincent

benhimself

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Re: Opening your Mind
« Reply #5 on: June 28, 2010, 06:57:24 PM »
Suddenly I want to make the psychic maelstrom a person just so people can have sex with it.

Especially an Operator. "Keeping the world's psychic maelstrom happy" as an obligation gig. Hee.

John Harper

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Re: Opening your Mind
« Reply #6 on: June 28, 2010, 07:08:16 PM »
Vx: OMG.

Ben: Yes! This was a possibility briefly in the Iron Coast game, but then they killed that person. More's the pity.

Elizabeth

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Re: Opening your Mind
« Reply #7 on: June 28, 2010, 11:45:35 PM »
Oh man. In our game, Ammanuel the savvyhead is on the verge of being able to do things speak to (a piece of) the world's psychic maelstrom. What's wrong with you, and how might I fix it?

-Vincent

I am SO LOOKING FORWARD TO THAT.

My favorite was when Damson botched her Open Your Brain roll, and took two harm because the recently-dead sadomasochist with a crush on her poked through her eye with a bleached bone.

John Harper

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Re: Opening your Mind
« Reply #8 on: June 29, 2010, 12:06:42 AM »
In prep for tonight's game, I just remembered this from last session:

Brandon's savvyhead, Pellet, used augury to cast someone bodily into the psychic maelstrom. That someone, Dusk the skinner, is now a kind of psyhic ghost inhabiting the Reaver's airship, and Twyla, her player, is seriously considering spending her next advance on followers and fortunes.

Wee!

Daniel Wood

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Re: Opening your Mind
« Reply #9 on: June 29, 2010, 05:59:09 AM »

In our game, the psychic maelstrom began play as a 'different things to different folks' sort of deal but eventually converged as a sort of storehouse for (nearly) everyone who had ever died. But while this meant that it often expressed itself in terms of agency -- some specific dead person wanting or saying something in particular -- it didn't ever seem to be a character in itself. So while it was clearly involved in what was going on, it didn't necessarily have an agenda.

Eventually -- when our Brainer finally saw through the maelstrom -- it turned out that the maelstrom was a kind of ozone-layer/atmosphere protecting our world from total destruction at the hands of various all-devouring entities.

--

Coming up with a new version of the maelstrom is one of the main reasons I am looking forward to playing AW again -- there's so much potential, and I love the way the system provides a natural pacing mechanism for discovering more and more about it.

I'm particularly interested in trying to express different versions of the maelstrom through the questions the MC asks when players Open Their Minds.

John Harper

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Re: Opening your Mind
« Reply #10 on: June 30, 2010, 09:17:15 AM »
This is so silly and nit-picky. I'm a little embarrassed.

But... it's open your brain. Not mind. Brain. That physicality is important, to me.

benhimself

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Re: Opening your Mind
« Reply #11 on: June 30, 2010, 10:43:17 AM »
Now I want to come up with a special move called "Trepanning". Hmmm.

Deal any amount of Harm to yourself, and take +harm dealt to your next weird roll.

It would be a fun custom move to throw into a basic AW game. "Well, you're pretty bad at opening your brain, yeah? But there is a rumor you remember hearing once..."

Offer them an opportunity, with or without a cost.
« Last Edit: June 30, 2010, 10:45:02 AM by benhimself »

tonydowler

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Re: Opening your Mind
« Reply #12 on: June 30, 2010, 06:42:38 PM »
Yeah, you're right, it's Brain. That's actually pretty important. I'm embarrased to have made that mistake.

Ben, in our Apocalypse of Dust game had a drug you could take for +1 forward to opening your brain. It also had tons of nasty side effects, not the least of which was a burning addiction and dependence on the tyrannical forces of evil for your supply. It was the source of much mayhem. :)

Carl

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Re: Opening your Mind
« Reply #13 on: July 01, 2010, 08:44:21 AM »
I like the evil brain drug.

I also like the idea of a custom move where suffering harm gives a bonus to opening your brain to the psychic maelstrom if that's your next action.  Either a straightforward +1forward, or allow +harm instead of +wierd.  Glimpse Beyond.

Jeff Russell

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Re: Opening your Mind
« Reply #14 on: July 02, 2010, 03:40:34 PM »
I like the evil brain drug.

I also like the idea of a custom move where suffering harm gives a bonus to opening your brain to the psychic maelstrom if that's your next action.  Either a straightforward +1forward, or allow +harm instead of +wierd.  Glimpse Beyond.

I like the idea of it being most likely on the verge of death, or beyond, though that may say some things about the psychic maelstrom that aren't for your game ::shrug:: A simple one would be:

"When you reach 12 o'clock (die) and are resuscitated, count it as opening your brain and rolling a 10+"

Or, to make it a little more common, perhaps:
"When you reach 11 o'clock (or whatever time seems right to you for 'in touch with the other side') roll+weird +1 forward to open your brain"