Author Topic: The lack of a "speed" stat  (Read 5283 times)

JasonT

  • User
  • Posts: 44
    • View Profile
The lack of a "speed" stat
« on: August 18, 2012, 05:59:08 PM »
I'm curious: How do you get around the lack of a "speed" stat (like "Fast" or "Quick") in this game?

The only hack I've seen that had anything like such a stat is Dead Weight, and presumably only because parkour is a central aspect. In AW and most hacks, though, I feel like a LOT of diverse actions get lumped together under Act Under Fire, making Cool into something of an uber-stat (at least until you take moves that let you Act Under Fire with other stats). You end up using it for everything from keeping your shit together under a hail of bullets to madly scrambling out of the way under a hail of bullets, right?

I also have a hard time reconciling the idea that someone with high Cool is both rational/calm and amped/light on their feet but maybe I'm trying to turn a system based around personality descriptors into a system based around capabilities, which I don't mean to do...

Jeremy

  • User
  • Posts: 134
    • View Profile
Re: The lack of a "speed" stat
« Reply #1 on: August 19, 2012, 03:36:01 PM »
Dungeon World uses Dexterity.  When you Defy Danger (DW's equivalent of Act Under Fire) by getting out of the way or acting fast, you roll +Dex.  (Dex is also grace, agility, accuracy, etc., so it's used for Volley, picking locks, etc.).  Beyond that, there are also moves in DW like the Thief's Shoot First (you are never surprised; when someone would get the drop on you, you act first).

Basic moves represent the things you're interested in seeing the PCs do, while the stats represent the different ways you're interested in the PCs being (and how they are different from each other).  The way they interact is your observation about those character traits and the things the characters do.

So (assuming you're still talking about your In Nomine hack), I'd ask yourself whether you're actually interested in how physically quick one celestial is vs. another.  Or could such quickness be boiled down to something like "Sharp" or "Accuity" or "Wits" that represents speed of thought? 

Also, is there a basic move (or set of moves) where you see that quickness being important?  If not, this is all kind of a moot point.

Final thought: the basic moves don't have to be tied to a specific stat. I've been working on a hack in which the moves themselves are potentially broader than in most hacks, but they aren't tied to the stats. The moves have clear fictional triggers, but the way in which you describe hitting that trigger influences which stat you roll. For example:

When you attack your enemy from a position of strength or safety, roll to assault.  On a 10+, inflict harm as established and choose one...

When you chase, follow, or track down your quarry, roll to pursue. On a 10+ you corner your prey or catch them in the open. On a 7-9...

If you assault someone by drawing a bead and sniping them, roll +Cool to do it. If you assualt a group by casting fireball, roll +Magic.  If you assault a dude by bashing a chair over his head from behind, roll +Brawn.

If you pursue someone by running after them through the streets, roll +Grace.  If you pursue someone by following their tracks through the woods, roll +Wits.  If you pursue someone by asking around in town, roll +Presence.

To tie this back to your question: if you take an approach to your moves that doesn't explicitly tie them to your stats, then whenever someone triggers a move you can look to the fiction to see which stat is most appropriate.  In which case, "Speed" is only a stat if you think it's important enough differentiator to be one.  Otherwsie, you can look to whatever stat is most appropriate to the fictional situation (and if you're a fan of the characters, you'll be generous about the corner cases).

Johnstone

  • User
  • Posts: 435
    • View Profile
Re: The lack of a "speed" stat
« Reply #2 on: August 20, 2012, 12:29:10 AM »
Speed hasn't been an issue in any of the AW games I've played or run, really. If somebody needs to work under time pressures, they pretty much always just act under fire.

To me, it's pretty much the game saying if you keep your cool and don't crack under pressure, if you don't freeze up, hesitate, or stall, then you can act quickly and competently, before other people do, and before the bad shit happens.

JasonT

  • User
  • Posts: 44
    • View Profile
Re: The lack of a "speed" stat
« Reply #3 on: August 20, 2012, 02:52:52 AM »
Oh, yeah, I even ran Dungeon World and totally forgot about Dex when I wrote this post. Good point. Hmm. I'm finding my feelings contradict themselves: I was worried before about Cool being an uber-stat because Act Under Fire is such an important move. On the other hand, I was not really a fan of the way that Defy Danger (DW's variant of Act Under Fire) drew on practically whatever stat you wanted, as it just encouraged players to use their best stat every time. Hmm. Well, I'll be running Apocalypse World more in the coming weeks, so maybe my concerns will turn out to feel unfounded in the long run anyway.

You're right that I got to thinking about this through working on the In Nomine hack  there's one kind of angel that is cool as in calm under pressure, and another kind of angel that is cool as in moving lightning-fast, and they're very different in their demeanor. This got me thinking about whether you could even create the latter kind of character in AW, as "Cool" seems kind of an odd word to describe somebody who's totally amped and manic. Now that I think about it, though, it occurs to me now that having a ton of wild, nervous energy might map pretty well onto Weird or Hard, and you could always take a move that lets you roll one of those when you act under fire. And, thinking back to the point above, that also helps Cool not turn into an uber-stat.

All right, I feel better now. Starting up my first multi-session AW game soon; want to make sure I get how all this works at least half-decently first. Thanks for the responses.

Jeremy

  • User
  • Posts: 134
    • View Profile
Re: The lack of a "speed" stat
« Reply #4 on: August 20, 2012, 03:18:29 AM »
...another kind of angel that is cool as in moving lightning-fast.... This got me thinking about whether you could even create [that] kind of character in AW, as "Cool" seems kind of an odd word to describe somebody who's totally amped and manic. Now that I think about it, though, it occurs to me now that having a ton of wild, nervous energy might map pretty well onto Weird or Hard, and you could always take a move that lets you roll one of those when you act under fire.

Or take a step further and give them a move that lets them be faster, period. Like:

When you cut lose and move with the speed of lightning, roll +Weird. On a 7-9, hold 1; on a 10+, hold 3. Spend your hold, 1 for 1, to get the drop on someone, evade a physical threat, or cover distance before anyone else can react. You lose your hold if you hold still or calm down. On a miss, you move TOO fast. Ouch. 

JasonT

  • User
  • Posts: 44
    • View Profile
Re: The lack of a "speed" stat
« Reply #5 on: August 20, 2012, 05:07:21 AM »
Neat approach  gonna keep that one in mind. Thanks!

lumpley

  • Administrator
  • User
  • Posts: 1270
    • View Profile
Re: The lack of a "speed" stat
« Reply #6 on: August 20, 2012, 01:53:09 PM »
Now that I think about it, though, it occurs to me now that having a ton of wild, nervous energy might map pretty well onto Weird or Hard, and you could always take a move that lets you roll one of those when you act under fire.

On the nose!

-Vincent

simon_hibbs

  • User
  • Posts: 17
    • View Profile
Re: The lack of a "speed" stat
« Reply #7 on: September 18, 2012, 04:30:33 PM »
I've been having thoughts about this for a swords & sorcery hack, actualy for a game set in Glorantha. I don't see Cool and Sharp as being particularly distinctive attributes, so I'm considering ditching Cool and substituting Quick (quick reactions, agile, dextrous). Weird gets replaces by Wyrd, the magic stat so I have:

Hard, Quick, Hot, Sharp, Wyrd.

Simon Hibbs

JasonT

  • User
  • Posts: 44
    • View Profile
Re: The lack of a "speed" stat
« Reply #8 on: September 19, 2012, 01:53:27 AM »
Yeah, in a sword-and-sorcery setting, "Cool" probably sounds a bit too modern (though I'd argue "Hot" might too). You might also get some mileage out of something like "Bold," seeing as Cool tends to cover both quick-thinking and grace under pressure.

That said, since I started this thread, I've been pretty comfortable using Cool as written and kicking around custom moves for quickness-related actions as needed.

mllaneza

  • User
  • Posts: 8
    • View Profile
Re: The lack of a "speed" stat
« Reply #9 on: September 24, 2012, 09:00:39 AM »
I have an AW hack working up, using mostly the same stats as AW. I'm using a catch-all move similar to Defy Danger and making my basic +cool move more like just being so cool you take over the scene for a minute. For my +any move, I have it defined so that all of your physical abilities are lumped under +hard because a character that is physically gifted in some way usually also uses that gift in a fight. my move looks like this:

Grace under pressure (any)
When you act in the face of an imminent threat roll as follows

   
  • If you rely on your physical abilities or combat skills, roll +hard
  • When you think your way through, roll +sharp
  • When you carry on with grit, willpower or attitude, roll +cool
  • When you sweet talk your way out, roll +charm
  • If you rely on tools or technology, roll +tech.
  • If you rely on your psychic talents,roll +psi

On a 10+ you succeed and don't end up in a worse situation. On a 7-9 you don't get away clean, the GM will tell you what it cost you, the next fix you're in, or give you a hard choice. On a miss the GM makes as hard a move as she sees fit.

simon_hibbs

  • User
  • Posts: 17
    • View Profile
Re: The lack of a "speed" stat
« Reply #10 on: October 04, 2012, 04:42:22 PM »
I've been taking a long hard look at the stats I'm using in my swords & sorcery hack, Moonrise Over Karse. I've decided I'm going back to the original Apocalypse World stats, at least for now.

Apocalypse World's stats are very different from the stats in most other games. None of them, even Hot or Hard, are directly physical in nature. They're not even really 'capability' based. Most games try to slice up all the different abilities characters have to do things and make those into stats, but AW stats are more like personality traits. It just looks wrong to see a stat like Quick alongside them. So the choice is either throw away the AW stats and substitute more traditional RPG stats, or stick with the AW stats.

I've chosen the latter course, with the minor exception of substituting Wyrd for Weird due to the different assumptions about pychic/magic stuff.

AW stats are things about your character that are always true. They are the universal truths about that character. That's why Quick doesn't fit. A character might be quick when moving in combat, but are they quick when filling in their tax forms? A hard character is always hard, a sharp character is always sharp, etc. Alternatively look at Bruce Willis' character in Die Hard. Is his character Strong or Agile? Yes, but not always, he gets beaten up and knocked about until he can barely walk, but is always, always as hard as nails. That never changes.

Thinking this through has also given me a better understanding about the relationship between stats and moves. E.g. just look at the Battlebabe's "Impossible reflexes" move. Clearly a battlebabe with this move is super-fast in combat, but in a particular context doing something specific.

So if I do go to a different set of stats I'll do it wholesale, no half measures, but right now I like the stats in AW. They do seem a bit 'modern' for a swords and sorcery game, but clearly a lot of thought has gone into them and it would be foolish to discard that without very good, well thought out reasons.

Simon Hibbs