Author Topic: Last Child playbook (again)  (Read 11901 times)

creases

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Re: Last Child playbook (again)
« Reply #15 on: July 23, 2012, 01:47:36 AM »
THIS PLAYBOOK IS AWESOME. It tickles my wicked heart.

I see a couple of places where the bolts might be tightened a bit.

Black witchery is cool, but I think your wording is overly complicated. Couldn't you just say this?: "You can use your family for augury, as long as you aren't rushed or threatened." The context makes it clear that they're the antenna for the purposes of that move.

I love dark radiant fear, but your power needs a range, right? And you should probably specify that it's armor piercing? Your wording suggests you based this move on direct-brain whisper projection, so your fear should be (s-harm ap close), maybe? I would change the last line to something like this: "If your victim forces your hand, the fear counts as a weapon (s-harm ap close)."

For prophetic curse, the move is "when you reveal your secret knowledge and pronounce a curse against a PC". Is "secret knowledge" an operative phrase here, or just evocative? Does it mean you can only use this move if you've already established that you gained secret knowledge by some means? Or is the intention that you can just ad lib it at the time you use the move?

I hope this feedback is helpful!

Johnstone

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Re: Last Child playbook (again)
« Reply #16 on: July 23, 2012, 06:42:31 AM »
Glad you like it.

Black witchery is cool, but I think your wording is overly complicated. Couldn't you just say this?: "You can use your family for augury, as long as you aren't rushed or threatened."

Yeah, that would work just as well. It used to be you were the antenna, so I made it clear you weren't using the normal stuff listed under Augury, and the first line is for colour, but it's totally legit for the Last Child player to determine how the move actually works in the fiction and whether it's actually rituals or not. If you play a Last Child and you want to treat the move as if it consists of just that one line (or maybe "You can perform augury using your family as an antenna, as long as you aren't rushed or threatened"), you have my full endorsement.

I love dark radiant fear, but your power needs a range, right? And you should probably specify that it's armor piercing? Your wording suggests you based this move on direct-brain whisper projection, so your fear should be (s-harm ap close), maybe? I would change the last line to something like this: "If your victim forces your hand, the fear counts as a weapon (s-harm ap close)."

The range is already there: "your victim has to be able to see you." I would define it further based solely on the fiction. Like, maybe it works if they see you on a tv monitor, or in psychic maelstrom visions, or through a telescope, but mostly I'd rather leave that up to the judgement of each individual group and game.

I figure s-harm is already ap? You just have to act under fire to do anything, so I wouldn't figure that armour stops that. Shutting down this move just because somebody has armour is kind of a dick move, though, so I admit it might be best to clarify that yes, fear is ap.

For prophetic curse, the move is "when you reveal your secret knowledge and pronounce a curse against a PC". Is "secret knowledge" an operative phrase here, or just evocative? Does it mean you can only use this move if you've already established that you gained secret knowledge by some means? Or is the intention that you can just ad lib it at the time you use the move?

Definitely more operative than evocative. My intention was to put a limit on it so you can't spam curse people, because just cursing somebody over and over again is boring.

Other than that, I expect actual secret knowledge to be revealed (because secrets are meant to be revealed, right?), but how a group determines that is up to them. If your group is cool with an ad-lib, great! And hopefully your MC will ask questions about how you know what you know, etc etc. If your group wants you to discover something first, great! I recommend a high sharp and reading people a lot.

Thank you for the feedback! I hope the answers are helpful.

creases

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Re: Last Child playbook (again)
« Reply #17 on: July 23, 2012, 03:46:14 PM »
The range is already there: "your victim has to be able to see you." I would define it further based solely on the fiction. Like, maybe it works if they see you on a tv monitor, or in psychic maelstrom visions, or through a telescope, but mostly I'd rather leave that up to the judgement of each individual group and game.
Hm, okay. Your answer is interesting to me because it means this fear effect is unlike other weapons/harm-establishers in the game, even direct-brain whisper projection (which also says the victim must see you, but also has a range in addition to that).

One thing that occurs to me to ask is, how close to the TV would you have to be? Or, would it work if you saw the last child on the horizon, off in the distance? I can imagine movie-like scenes that work like this move, but most of them would involve close range -- if not close to the last child, at least close to the TV, kn'a'm sa'in'?

Would the move become too powerful (or too bulky, or too colourless) if you said, close range, but also explicitly said it can be transferred through images and electronic devices (as long as the target is within close range of the receiving device)? That would kind of like be turning a TV or a phone into a brain relay.

I figure s-harm is already ap? You just have to act under fire to do anything, so I wouldn't figure that armour stops that. Shutting down this move just because somebody has armour is kind of a dick move, though, so I admit it might be best to clarify that yes, fear is ap.
s-harm isn't ap by default. Note that tasers and such also inflict s-harm, but they're not ap, because armour can prevent that effect. Mental effects are generally ap, explicitly marked.

Other than that, I expect actual secret knowledge to be revealed (because secrets are meant to be revealed, right?), but how a group determines that is up to them. If your group is cool with an ad-lib, great! And hopefully your MC will ask questions about how you know what you know, etc etc. If your group wants you to discover something first, great! I recommend a high sharp and reading people a lot.
One thing that occurs to me is, here's a cool direction you might take this in. You could turn "secret knowledge" into a resource for the last child if you added a move like the savvyhead's bonefeel (be there "with or without explanation", hidden or in plain sight as fiction suggests), or maybe some kind of scrying move (at the beginning of a session, roll or just hold 1, spend hold to be viewing something from afar with or without explanation). Then you have something on the playbook that suggests how you're going to acquire "secret knowledge".

Johnstone

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Re: Last Child playbook (again)
« Reply #18 on: July 23, 2012, 08:49:59 PM »
1.
Nah, you want too much definition! The mechanical aspects I want set in stone are they have to be able to see you, it's night or inside, it's s-harm. That fits with the horror movie tropes, and overall it's a pretty underwhelming move, not very powerful at all, except maybe against NPCs. It should be up to the player's description to make it good: Maybe the child is just radiating fear. Maybe this move represents the point where another character looks at the child and realizes he is the Antichrist, reborn. Or they see the child's true form, which men cannot look upon and stay sane. Or maybe it's just a cloud of moths that attack people the child doesn't like. All of those would have different mechanical effects in-game.

I realize that a more detailed move makes it easier to understand the intent behind the move and how it's supposed to function, but part of the intent with this playbook is to push the fiction first agenda. So, you get whatever additional effects you describe yourself getting.

2.
The scrying move's an interesting idea, esp. as a beginning-of-session move. You could also allow a character to read a situation from afar, perhaps using a mirror or a still pool of water, using either sharp or weird, and then there's risk involved at the time of use, instead of at the start of a session (I wrote a similar move for World of Algol).

There's two things I want to avoid, though. First, with mechanizing something like "secret knowledge" it's possible you get a situation where you roll one move, get a mechanical thing, and then go right into another move, and the fiction between them is basically just decoration, triggered by going from the first to the second move. You should go back into the fiction after every move, and use the fiction to decide whether you are going into another move or not.

A scrying move could still avoid that, because it's another way to collect information that's part of the fiction, and you still need to actually reveal stuff in the fiction to curse someone. But the second thing I want to avoid is making it too easy for a player to get secret knowledge. If you take Prophetic Curse, you should be constantly scheming and looking for opportunities to learn secrets, using your moves or not (and preferrably without using your moves). A move that lets you see things feels a little bit too much like handing stuff out on a silver platter. You should have to go out and get secrets! And in doing so drive the game forward.

creases

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Re: Last Child playbook (again)
« Reply #19 on: July 23, 2012, 11:40:50 PM »
1. Fair enough!

2. Also fair enough. I take your point about encouraging scheming. I think my concern is, if the fiction doesn't happen to offer any logical "secret knowledge" opportunities, I wouldn't be able to use prophetic curse at all. A move like bonefeel (or something modeled on it) would mean sometimes I can get secret knowledge and be excused from having to justify it, although not without cost (it doesn't give me a safe escape route, for example), and besides that I can also scheme out additional opportunities if I can justify it.

I suppose what it really comes down to is, how many of the characters have secrets, and how many of them are sloppy about it? If many of them do and are sloppy, opportunities abound to get dirt on someone, so there'll always be someone I could curse if I wanted. But if I'm in a campaign where I really need to leverage all the secrets I can get, I'd want to be sure I can reliably insert myself into a secret-knowledge situation when it really matters.

I recognize this is partly a matter of playstyle and personal preference. I enjoy a certain amount of "set-'em-up knock-'em-down" kind of strategizing, so here I'm seeing the knock-'em-down but not necessarily the set-'em-up part.

Johnstone

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Re: Last Child playbook (again)
« Reply #20 on: July 24, 2012, 05:58:52 AM »
Sure. It sucks to pick a move because you think it's cool and then you can't figure out how to actually use it effectively, or can't find a good opportunity. So with that in mind, here's a few ideas for making Prophetic Curse work:

1. Straight up sabotage. Without using any moves, specifically, you can create your own secrets, then reveal them and add a curse. Steal something important, hide it somewhere almost in plain sight, then reveal it's location. Voila!

Or, get even more fancy: Leave a note for the hardholder's daughter, "Meet me in the basement of the old mill." When she shows up there, you lock her in without showing yourself. Then when the hardholder is looking around for his daughter, you show up and make a pronouncement: "Someone locked her in the basement of the old mill! People are turning against you because of your poor leadership, you're cursed!"

Or go simple, like you cut the fuel line in the Chopper's main bike, then you tell her about the sabotage before she finds it herself.

2. Use manipulate. Set yourself up as something of a confidante, and then manipulate people to tell you their secrets. You have a family, and they want things, like obedience for example, and you can use those wants as leverage against them. You do what they want you to do, and in return, they tell you things you shouldn't know.

3. Use read a person. Talk to someone. Are they lying about something? Snoop around, find out the truth. Maybe what they're really feeling isn't something they want to admit to, like they love or hate somebody, or they feel guilty about something. What do they intend to do? Something they shouldn't be doing, perhaps? It might just be that easy. Or maybe they wish you'd keep your nose out of something? Now you know where to snoop around.

Or the best one: "How could I get your character to tell me a secret?"

3. Open your brain. You've already got weird+3 after all, so check with the maelstrom and maybe you'll get something tasty.

4. Other moves. Two of your improvements are moves from other playbooks. You can try using Visions of Death, Deep Brain Scan, or Things Speak to learn secrets, or you can try using moves like Hypnotic, Oftener Right, or In-Brain Puppet Strings to manipulate people into revealing secrets to you.

5. And finally, stealth. Sneak around trying to observe people doing private, secret things. Make the MC figure out what rules to use for that sort of thing. Maybe you'll be acting under fire a lot, or maybe you'll be reading a charged situation a lot, having made it charged by sneaking into it and trying to stay hidden.

That's about all I can think of right now...

creases

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Re: Last Child playbook (again)
« Reply #21 on: July 25, 2012, 04:30:33 PM »
Sure, that makes sense.

The spirit in which I intended my suggestion was not, "This is something missing from your playbook", but rather, "This playbook is extremely awesome, and if you're considering another revision, a doodad like this would enhance the awesomeness even further, for me personally". Because, to reiterate, your playbook is awesome.

Johnstone

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Re: Last Child playbook (again)
« Reply #22 on: July 29, 2012, 12:25:31 AM »
Oh of course, no worries. For whatever reason, I respond better to editing than to praise. I'm grateful that you'd take the time to have a discussion about it, and express such a detailed opinion of, and reaction to, this playbook.

I probably won't do another revision soon. I have an idea for an AW scenario thing (with a sketched out setting, situation, and fronts), and if I ever end up doing that, this playbook will be cleaned up a bit and included with it. But until then (if it happens), I'm mostly content.

That said, if you want to make these changes to the playbook and then play your revised Last Child with your group, I, as the original creator (for whatever that is worth), will back you up 100 per cent. And I would love to hear about it if you do.

Ariel

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Re: Last Child playbook (again)
« Reply #23 on: July 30, 2012, 02:05:24 AM »
I have only fanish glee at Johnstone's work.

Eeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

David Jay

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Re: Last Child playbook (again)
« Reply #24 on: August 17, 2012, 02:22:41 AM »
When I started reading this I was already dreading the sex move.  But, now that I've read it, it's brilliant!  I love, love, love that the other character decides what to keep when changing books. 

Great job!

Chris Goodwin

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Re: Last Child playbook (again)
« Reply #25 on: August 17, 2012, 09:26:38 PM »
I like it. 

It makes me think of witch burnings in 1692. 

Johnstone

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Re: Last Child playbook (again)
« Reply #26 on: August 17, 2012, 10:08:34 PM »
Thanks, guys. If you get a chance to see it in play, please let me know.

JasonT

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Re: Last Child playbook (again)
« Reply #27 on: August 22, 2012, 01:46:03 AM »
Just adding one more voice to the chorus of those impressed with this. Really looking forward to getting my players comfortable enough with the basics of the game so I can drop this in their laps eventually.

Ariel

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Re: Last Child playbook (again)
« Reply #28 on: September 05, 2012, 03:58:58 AM »
You can drop it in right away.

Last week some one who's never played RPGs before, much less AW, picked-up the last child no problem. It's a great playbook. "Evil newsies" is what she went with.

Johnstone

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Re: Last Child playbook (again)
« Reply #29 on: September 05, 2012, 05:03:59 PM »
Awesome!