Author Topic: Fronts Glue  (Read 8224 times)

strongbif

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Fronts Glue
« on: September 20, 2012, 11:41:05 PM »
I notice that in Apocalypse World the elements of a single front are tied together by a fundamental scarcity, while in Dungeon World such elements are tied together by scale (i.e., campaign or adventure).

Sadly, my experience with Apocalypse World hacks stops there. What are some other things you hackers out there are using to glue your fronts together?

I feel like I'm chasing a cool idea but it eludes me. For one thing, I could probably gin up personal-scale fronts for Dungeon World, based on character backstory from their introductions.

It also seems easy enough, intuitively at least, to replace fundamental scarcities with less fundamental somethings (?). Like maybe

Office World
  • Brown-nosing
  • Demoralization
  • Mismanagement
  • Procrastination
  • Ass-covering
  • Spotlighting
  • Backstabbing
  • Blame-shifting


In addition to such simple modifications of the fronts glue I've seen before, I bet there are whole categories of things I haven't thought of that would work. OK, help me chase this down. What new fronts glue can you think of, and for what kinds of stories?

Daniel Wood

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Re: Fronts Glue
« Reply #1 on: September 21, 2012, 06:24:23 AM »

Well, they're lists of things that share a theme, so there's pretty much limitless options. Take almost any evocative list of things and you could build Fronts based off of them:

* Scarcities
* Mortal sins
* Lives of Catholic Saints
* Logical fallacies
* Art movements
* Controversial Social Issues
* Jungian Dream Symbolism
* Stages of Childhood Psychological Development
* Types of weather
* Emotional States
* Greek Gods
* Different Sections of the Sermon on the Mount
* Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs
* Stages of Your Last Unsuccessful Romantic Relationship
* Types of Formal Poetry

etc?

strongbif

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Re: Fronts Glue
« Reply #2 on: September 21, 2012, 09:31:39 PM »
I bring this up because I find scale in Dungeon World, while useful as an organizing principle, isn't prompting additional ideas for threats the way that scarcities do in Apocalypse World.

I'm looking for that scarcities magic: pick threat --> choose what fictional element it represents --> brainstorm other threats that reflect that element <--> decide how each threat finds expression in the fiction (characters, resources, etc.) --> give it all movement and direction with dark agenda, custom moves, stakes and countdown clocks.

Notice I replaced "fundamental scarcity" with "fictional element" to broaden my perspective. I find I can't just substitute "scale" for "fictional element" and have it work the same way.

For now I think I'll generate fictional elements on the fly based on prompts from the PC's introductions, rather than choosing from a pre-generated list. For example, I'll take the story of The Fighter's signature hammer and the back story I elicited from its player (he found it in the mines, it's a relic of legend, and he had to win many duels to keep it), and think, "what fictional element does this represent?" Let's say "Pride," (in this case his own, and also that of his vanquished rivals). Easy. Pride becomes one of my "fundamental scarcities." I can make fronts about pride all day long.

As long as I guess my players' cues correctly this should work really well, because the story we're telling is then based on the things they've already affirmed interest in.

Thoughts?

Daniel Wood

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Re: Fronts Glue
« Reply #3 on: September 22, 2012, 08:03:58 AM »

Uh, weird, I made a big long list of possible Threat themes and then posted it and then... it disappeared?

strongbif

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Re: Fronts Glue
« Reply #4 on: September 22, 2012, 02:17:30 PM »
I don't suppose you have a copy?

Also, "element of fiction" makes more sense than "fictional element," now that I think about it.

noofy

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Re: Fronts Glue
« Reply #5 on: September 22, 2012, 11:32:37 PM »
Neat idea!
For me, the scarcity or scale or element is simply a tag (pun intended) to remind you as GM to unbalance the status quo. What makes all this work is putting the characters in an untenable situation and playing to see what happens.

Its not about how you antagonise them so much as doing it in the first place. So if you 'follow the characters around' make sure you give them a sticky choice!

Daniel Wood

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Re: Fronts Glue
« Reply #6 on: September 23, 2012, 12:56:48 AM »
Nevermind, it was magically fixed? So confusing! Anyways, my post has re-appeared, above, in its original position.

Daniel Wood

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Re: Fronts Glue
« Reply #7 on: September 23, 2012, 01:00:12 AM »

Uh, weird, I made a big long list of possible Threat themes and then posted it and then... it disappeared?

Aaand it happened again. I don't know what is going on with this thread for me -- when I go to reply, I can see my original post in the Topic Summary, but all the posts I am making to the thread seem to vanish (then briefly reappear, then vanish again.) After making my last post, the thread suddenly started showing my earlier, vanished post... but now it has disappeared again.

So here's my latest attempt, I will just quote my earlier post, and hope it shows up somewhere:

Quote
Well, they're lists of things that share a theme, so there's pretty much limitless options. Take almost any evocative list of things and you could build Fronts based off of them:

* Scarcities
* Mortal sins
* Lives of Catholic Saints
* Logical fallacies
* Art movements
* Controversial Social Issues
* Jungian Dream Symbolism
* Stages of Childhood Psychological Development
* Types of weather
* Emotional States
* Greek Gods
* Different Sections of the Sermon on the Mount
* Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs
* Stages of Your Last Unsuccessful Romantic Relationship
* Types of Formal Poetry

etc?

strongbif

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Re: Fronts Glue
« Reply #8 on: September 24, 2012, 02:59:13 AM »

Well, they're lists of things that share a theme, so there's pretty much limitless options. Take almost any evocative list of things and you could build Fronts based off of them:

* Scarcities
* Mortal sins
* Lives of Catholic Saints
* Logical fallacies
* Art movements
* Controversial Social Issues
* Jungian Dream Symbolism
* Stages of Childhood Psychological Development
* Types of weather
* Emotional States
* Greek Gods
* Different Sections of the Sermon on the Mount
* Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs
* Stages of Your Last Unsuccessful Romantic Relationship
* Types of Formal Poetry

etc?


LOL, "whose Confirming the Consequent is threatening the PCs?".

strongbif

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Re: Fronts Glue
« Reply #9 on: September 25, 2012, 05:05:55 AM »
Seriously, though. I dig this.

Daniel Wood

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Re: Fronts Glue
« Reply #10 on: September 25, 2012, 08:48:30 AM »
LOL, "whose Confirming the Consequent is threatening the PCs?".

It would definitely be a strange sort of a hack that went with that option, but personally that's the sort of stuff that makes being an MC fun -- I like using weird abstract concepts and figuring out how to translate them into concrete apocalyptica.

I think a game where each Front was based off the life of a particular saint would be awesome -- especially if it went hand in hand with a post-apocalypse gilded to the nines with pseudo-catholic imagery, cults, etc. Scarcities are a real thing in AW but they are also a thematic thing, so I think any game that wants to shift the inspiration for Fronts should try and reproduce that double-ness if at all possible.

strongbif

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Re: Fronts Glue
« Reply #11 on: September 25, 2012, 05:51:49 PM »
...
Scarcities are a real thing in AW but they are also a thematic thing, so I think any game that wants to shift the inspiration for Fronts should try and reproduce that double-ness if at all possible.

Real thing / Thematic thing: now I have evaluation criteria when riffing off of PC details for freeform front glue.

strongbif

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Re: Fronts Glue
« Reply #12 on: September 25, 2012, 06:07:39 PM »
This idea of free form fronts organization and Vincent's lovely concentric design post from last year are starting to coalesce into a hacker's toolkit for me: a list of fundamental rules, and a set of designer's principles for rolling your own AW-driven game on the fly. I'm calling it "Anything World." I probably won't finish it.

Daniel Wood

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Re: Fronts Glue
« Reply #13 on: September 25, 2012, 06:33:58 PM »
Real thing / Thematic thing: now I have evaluation criteria when riffing off of PC details for freeform front glue.

Yeah, it sounds like your problem with Dungeon World's Fronts is that they are real, but not thematic. (I'm not familiar with DW's rules, so I don't know how they're described, precisely.) Level-of-scope is an actual thing in the world, but it's maybe not a very evocative, inspirational thing in one's brain.

skinnyghost

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Re: Fronts Glue
« Reply #14 on: September 25, 2012, 08:11:12 PM »
Fronts are primarily an organizational tool in DW, vs a thematic one in AW.  They have similarities (they get worse as time goes on, player action can change them, they reflect a world in flux ,etc) but they're different, too. 

Think of it this way - the Campaign Front is the thing that colors the Adventure Fronts.  If the Campaign Front is "the return of the gods of darkness" then the Adventure Fronts should either have something to do with that or be a distraction from it that will give the servants of the gods of darkness some time to get their shit together.

Campaign Front themes and overarches Adventure Fronts.  Adventure Fronts inform and organize dangers.  Portents resolve Dooms, Dooms change the world.