Author Topic: Help with Fronts - peer review?  (Read 4819 times)

IvanEwert

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Help with Fronts - peer review?
« on: November 10, 2013, 06:00:57 PM »
So my group is falling in love after Session Three. These forums have been such a massive help to me in terms of creating the kinds of PC-NPC relationships the game needs to drive it, but the whole Fronts piece is still ... I'm not certain I'm doing it quite right, and was hoping for a quick peer review? Or suggestions on how I could make them hotter.

FRONT: THE TOTEM

Expresses: Despair
Agenda: To disgorge the Final Prophet of Armageddon
Stakes: Will Mice survive? Do the Loved learn the truth of the Ascendant?

Threat One: The Plume, Landscape
Impulse: To Entice and Betray
Description: A dark plume of smoke with faces appearing in them: Prim, Preen and Rum.

   3:00 - The Loved kill one person.
   6:00 - The Loved kill two people At three right now.
   9:00 - The Loved kill five people.
   10:00 - The swamps are drained, opening the way between the Plume and the Watch.
   11:00 - The dead Five possess five of the Loved and begin settling scores while preaching the arrival (working on a custom move for the Five ...)
   12:00 - The Prophet Arrives.

Threat Two: The Swamps, Landscape
Impulse: To Trap, To Frustrate Passage
Description: Mangrove swamps, full of boars, gators, and snakes.
Custom: Roll + Sharp. On a 10+, you navigate without harm. On a 7-9, you navigate but MC chooses one: Suffer 1 Harm, Lose your grip on something, Lose track of something,Miss noticing something important.) On a Miss, MC chooses 2.

Threat Three: Mice's Family, Brutes
Impulse:  Close ranks, Protect their own.
Description: Four brothers and their son/nephew.
   To 9:00 - They study booby traps and reinforce their street.
   9:00 - Hugo dies.
   10:00 - They booby trap The A Highway.
   11:00 - They booby trap the Watch.
   12:00 - They kidnap two of the Loved, and the Loved retaliate.
?
FRONT: THE HARVEST

Expresses: Ambition / Hunger
Agenda: To turn Chola City into a Maelstrom Portal
Stakes: How many children will fall prey? Will Abando discover Jackabacka's secret trade in adult flesh?

Threat One: The OP, Landscape
Impulse: To Deny Egress.
Description: A three-story medical building; windows boarded and doors reinforced.
Custom:   To escape, roll + Sharp. On a 10, steal equipment: +1 Barter. On a 7-9, Escape.

   3:00   - An escape from the OP
   6:00   - Death of a Harvester
   9:00 - Another escape OR death
   10:00 - OP gets +1 Armor
   11:00 - OP gets +2 Armor
   12:00 - OP is a full-on fortress

Threat Two: Abando, Grotesque
Impuse: Craves Satiety & Plenty
Description: Abando believes he can open his mind to the Maelstrom by devouring innocent brains.
Custom: The first time you see Abando, your mind automatically opens under fire.

Threat Three: The Harvesters, Warlords
Impulse: To own and collect
Description: Jackabacka and a small gang of pimps and organ harvesters.
Small gang, 2-Harm 1-Armor, Rich

   3:00   - The OP becomes a Fortress
   6:00   - The Harvesters start on adult victims
   9:00   - Cholo refugees flee to the Watch
   10:00 - Abando kills Jackabacka
   11:00 - Opening your mind is now always under fire
   12:00 - Chola City becomes a Maelstrom Portal.   

yellowhat

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Re: Help with Fronts - peer review?
« Reply #1 on: November 13, 2013, 05:37:22 PM »
Very cool and inspiring.

Daniel Wood

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Re: Help with Fronts - peer review?
« Reply #2 on: November 13, 2013, 08:29:24 PM »

There's a lot of detail missing (like, who are the Loved?), which makes it hard to evaluate the Fronts in depth, but:

* Custom moves need to have concrete fictional triggers, just like regular moves. A trigger is an action or circumstance undertaken by a PC, it is not a description of an outcome. 'To escape, roll X' is not a trigger, 'When you try to escape, roll X' is. Presumably the trigger for The Swamps' move would be 'When you try and make your way through the swamps'?

* I am not sure that the custom move for escaping the OP is really operating on the right level, scope-wise. Is this really something you want PCs to be resolving with a single move? All the results seem extremely boring; a custom move should evoke something specific about the Threat it is associated with. Is the only interesting thing about the OP (and escaping from the OP) that you can sometimes get out with medical supplies? Seems unlikely.

* Similarly, all the results for the 'navigate The Swamps' custom move are nearly redundant with the Harm moves, assuming you are using them, since 'take harm' is already on the list and a failed +harm roll can make someone lose their grip, lose track, etc. Again, I'd encourage you to think about some specific situations or dangers that the Swamps might create. If there aren't any, a custom move may not really be necessary? Also I assume on a miss, that also means the PCs are lost, but in this case I would actually suggest just not having a specific 'miss' result. The only reason to have a specific 'on a miss' thing is if you have something really evocative or specific or crazy-cool; otherwise you are denying yourself (as MC) the full breadth of possible moves for no good reason.

* What does it mean, for the OP to gain armour? Why does that matter? Is someone going to shoot it or something?

* I'm not sure what 'opening your brain under fire' means, but it sounds neat. I would make sure you have some fairly specific ideas about what that fire looks like, and how it interacts with the Open Your Brain roll that follows it; otherwise this could get very exhausting to adjucate very fast.








Yarrum

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Re: Help with Fronts - peer review?
« Reply #3 on: November 17, 2013, 08:08:20 AM »
You have some good ideas here, and I'm dying to know how they play out! (Daniel Wood said there were details missing, so I guess I'm just repeating him.) Would you like to share some more about this game? For example - this Abando sounds like a sick fuck (kudos for adding him), but what's the PC-NPC-PC triangle? It doesn't sound like making Chola City a Maelstrom Portal would be a good thing, so why don't they just kill the NPCs trying to do it? You have some really interesting elements here, but I don't feel like I can offer any critique without knowing more!

As an aside, and this may be kind of a nitpick, but I don't see how The Plume is enticing or betraying anyone - it might be more useful to think of it as an Affliction?

zefir

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Re: Help with Fronts - peer review?
« Reply #4 on: November 17, 2013, 06:25:32 PM »
Sorry for barging in into your topic, but I'm trying to figure out a move for threat, and have hard time doing it.
Generally we have setting in which apocalypse was probably (at least partially) brought in by MURDEROUS ROBOTS. One of the setting elements is the sky - which instead of normal stars, has them in regular pattern. My assumption is, that's some kind of satellite defense network.
General front for those robot related threats is nearby city, which has lot of hitech, and sometimes spawns strange machines.

I'm wondering what move I could devise for that Deadly Satellites in the sky. The idea is, that players can trigger some kind of attack from the sky, by playing with larger tech hitech, or by using maelstorm - but how move like this should work? Just pure damage?

IvanEwert

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Re: Help with Fronts - peer review?
« Reply #5 on: November 18, 2013, 08:38:58 PM »
Oh, man - thanks you all! I was away a few days and missed these.

Yarrum - you're totally right. Abando is a relic of older games, where there's not a triangle created. I didn't start getting the hang of triangles until this third Session.

If I'm going to keep him in play (and he hasn't been met yet) I need to tie him into one of the players' needs and against one of the other's ... I totally get that. Maybe his real name is different, and he's one of the Loved or a friend of one of the players? This is like a secret identity for him?

Daniel and Yarrum - The Loved are the Hocus' cult, who have Want - Savagery and Surplus - Violence.

The Plume itself arose out of the Hocus' failing an Open Your Brain roll after one of the Loved murdered another one - I figured the body count was likely to escalate, and so turned the move on him with this "announcing future badness."

Good catch on the Swamps, yes - "When you try to make your way through the swamps ..." and I should probably not bother with a Miss.

I was concerned about the OP moves being too boring, that's one of the reasons I came in. LEARNING.

In play, they don't have an Angel, so I made the OP the only source of healing near their hold - offer healing, very much with a cost attached. As it turned out in play, the OP became much more interesting, and we left the last game with the Hocus, the Battlebabe, and two of the Hocus' followers trapped behind the concrete walls with the Harvesters.

For the OP to gain armor, I meant "All the harvesters gain armor ..." as a means to show their growing economic power / hardness.

Opening your brain under fire for Abonado means that when you Open Your Brain in front of him, you do so under fire. The specifics are around the emotional nature of the maelstrom, the meaning of innocence in Apocalypse World, and displaying the contents of the grotesque's soul.


Yarrum

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Re: Help with Fronts - peer review?
« Reply #6 on: November 24, 2013, 05:49:03 AM »
Thanks, I'm seeing a much clearer picture of how these two rival gangs are fitting into the setting with each other. Sorry if I seemed too demanding about it before, but I think you've got a fairly good idea of what you're doing here and I don't want to keep repeating what others have said better than I could.

Here's some general things to keep in mind - when a countdown clock hits 12:00, I think that means the shit has hit the fan in the strongest way possible, and it should change things up in a big way. Also, if you whip out a custom move, it should also be a game-changer. PCs should react in one of two ways - "I want to do that move!" or "I hope to Gosh I never have to roll that move."

Yarrum

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Re: Help with Fronts - peer review?
« Reply #7 on: November 24, 2013, 06:13:31 AM »
I'm wondering what move I could devise for that Deadly Satellites in the sky. The idea is, that players can trigger some kind of attack from the sky, by playing with larger tech hitech, or by using maelstorm - but how move like this should work? Just pure damage?

Giving credit where its due, member of this forum niles kane posted this in an ancient topic of mine about non-human gangs, and I like the move so much I'm gonna go off what they posted.

Quote
Operate Satellites
When you active the deadly satellites, roll+sharp. 10+, hold 3. 7-9, hold 1. Over the course of the operation, spend your hold 1 for 1 to make them:

rain hell down upon a target
defend a target or area from attack
analyze a target/area
self-destruct
On a miss, still hold 1, but you can only spend it to: rain hell on a random (MC choice) target/area, or self-destruct.

As for harm... 4 harm sounds pretty nasty for a bomb/death ray from space. Any humans caught in the area take harm as established as if they were a gang.

zefir

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Re: Help with Fronts - peer review?
« Reply #8 on: November 24, 2013, 11:20:12 PM »
It gives me some ideas, but I was thinking about that in reverse. It's a threat - they can't use it as a tool too well. It's more like something, that will fall on their heads if they play with maelstorm, so.

I'm thinking of something more along this lines:
Quote
Move: Activation of Territorial Defense Network
Roll +Weird
On 10+ nothing happens, on 7-9 MC picks 1, on fails MC picks 3:

- rain hell on you
- rain hell on location you were in or saw lately
- rain hell on piece of hitech you saw or had
- rain hell immediately

Any thoughts on this?

Or maybe additional MC move, that stores locations/places/things for 'raining hell' later, when someone fails opening mind to maelstorm.

Daniel Wood

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Re: Help with Fronts - peer review?
« Reply #9 on: November 25, 2013, 05:43:59 AM »
A move with a 10+ result that is 'nothing happens' is probably* not a good move. How is this move better than simply making regular MC moves on misses that otherwise involve the TDN, the Maelstrom, etc., and describing those moves in terms of the Threat that the defense network represents? (Threat: Landscape, Impulse: To Rain Down Hell?)

I think when it comes to making custom moves for threats you always have to remember that you already have tools to represent the specifics of your Threats, and their consequences: you have the Fronts, the countdown clocks, and the impulses/moves of the different threat types. These all guide you when making MC moves, and when it's your turn to talk. A custom move is something that happens when it's the PCs' turn to talk: it triggers from their actions. You have to think about how it is going to make their actions more interesting or consequential; if it's just 'some MC moves that make sense for this threat' in disguise, it probably doesn't need to be a custom move.





* Act Under Fire looks like an exception, but there it's okay because you're already trying to do something else, so the 10+ result is actually 'that other thing happens'.
« Last Edit: November 25, 2013, 05:48:22 AM by Daniel Wood »

zefir

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Re: Help with Fronts - peer review?
« Reply #10 on: November 25, 2013, 08:31:14 PM »
Quote
A move with a 10+ result that is 'nothing happens' is probably* not a good move. How is this move better than simply making regular MC moves on misses that otherwise involve the TDN, the Maelstrom, etc., and describing those moves in terms of the Threat that the defense network represents? (Threat: Landscape, Impulse: To Rain Down Hell?)

Well, for me this is also kind of reactive threat move. This killsats will activate mainly when players fiddle with the maelstorm or hitech. I can play this out with my moves, but I saw the fronts/threats moves, as something that helps you order the things you have - even if it could be covered by existing MC moves.

So when players try to get something out of maelstorm and fail, instead of dealing other things, I can use the killsats.

Maybe when they succeed, I could throw something in for them? I was basing on the threat moves from the rulebook, what is there, has basically "no effect" on 10+.

Munin

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Re: Help with Fronts - peer review?
« Reply #11 on: November 25, 2013, 09:22:07 PM »
Also, maybe it's just shorthand for "inflict Harm," but "rain down hell" is pretty non-specific.  The results of moves need to be spelled out explicitly in a way that gives them a mechanical effect.  That effect doesn't need to always be the same thing, and should absolutely offer the MC lots of options, but the effect needs to be concrete.

If you want to introduce both crazy hi-tech and a SkyNet-like system that is trying to prevent people from using it, why not try the following:

Item: Crazy-Hi-Tech Gizmo: Left over from before the apocalypse and intended for gods-only-know-what,  Crazy-Hi-Tech Gizmos have both a Power (+1 to +3) and an associated Move.  So for instance, you might have a "tricorder" that gives +2 to Read a Sitch rolls, a "psychotropic lens-o-tron" that gives you +1 to Read a Person, or a "sub-sonic dopamine actuator" that gives you +2 to Seduce or Manipulate rolls.  Or an "pheromonal dominance projector" that makes it terrifying whenever you Go Aggro on someone.  Or whatever.

Now your custom move for SkyNet is: Under the Watchful Eyes of SkyNet: whenever you use a Crazy-Hi-Tech Gizmo, it is as though you are attempting to Act Under Fire, but instead of rolling +Cool you roll -Power (i.e the more powerful the gewgaw is, the more likely it is for SkyNet to notice it and get pissed).

That way, you have both a carrot and a stick.  You've got these weird, characterful, hyper-advanced gizmos that provide a concrete mechanical benefit, which makes players want to use them.  But they are unpredicatable and liable to bring down the wrath of SkyNet upon you.  Or maybe not, because the MC has so many options on a partial hit or a clean miss.  Either way, it will make players think twice about just whipping out their magic macguffin every time they want to Go Aggro on some poor sucker.

And because an example is worth a million words, how might this work in practice?  Say I have one of these nifty sub-sonic dopamine actuators, +2 Power.  And say I want to use it to help me convince Haemish to act as my bodyguard next time I make a foray into the Ash Wastes.  I roll to Seduce or Manipulate (which is +Hot).  I'm a crass,  ugly motherfucker with a -1 Hot, so it's a good thing I've got this +2 gizmo, so I end up rolling +1.  Depending on that roll Haemish may or may not help me out, the MC may or may not get to make an associated move, or whatever.

But once that is resolved, I make my Under the Watchful Eyes of Skynet roll, which is roll-Power.  If I am super fly and roll a 12, I'm going to end up with a 10, in which case I escape unscathed.  Heh.

If my final result is a 7-9, the MC is going to offer me a worse outcome, a hard bargain, or an ugly choice.  In this case, maybe the MC says that once I get out into the Ash Wastes and start digging for hi-tech amongst the old ruins, SkyNet is able to triangulate on the signals that my gewgaw is using to pump poor Haemish full of good vibes and happy feelings, and jams them.  Suddenly Haemish isn't feeling so good about being way out here in the Ash Wastes with just the two of us.  And maybe he starts thinking he'll be better off making it back to the hold on his own.  At some point, I look up from my digging and that fucker is just gone.  So the "worse outcome" here is that sure, Haemish will accompany me out.  But I'm on my own to get back.

Or maybe he offers me an ugly choice: sure, everything can go fine this time, but SkyNet is now on the alert for my particular Crazy-Hi-Tech Gizmo's unique signature and I'll take -1 forward on my next Acting under the Watchful Eyes of Skynet move.  So I'll skate this time, but next time I am virtually guaranteed to have bad stuff happen.

And if my final result is a 6 or less, well, all of the usual MC moves are on the table, including taking away my stuff (SkyNet triangulates my Gizmo's signal and fries it with a 50 million volt pulse of microwave energy), inflicting harm (SkyNet figures out where the Gizmo is and starts dropping bombs on my head) or announcing future or off-screen badness (out in the Ash Wastes we see a bright flash and hear distant thunder.  Huh, that's strange.  But unbeknownst to us, SkyNet triangulated the location where the Gizmo was activated, which was my flophouse back at the hold, which is now a smoking crater.)

Also, because these are two separate moves, you have plenty of opportunities for hilarity (and moves snowballing).  So I might completely flub when using the Gizmo and still bring down SkyNet's wrath.  Or I might fail the first roll completely, have the MC take away my stuff (Haemish says, "I see what you're doing.  Gimme that gizmo, you idiot"), then bomb the second roll as well and bring the wrath of SkyNet down on Haemish.  Heh.  Sucker.

Munin

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Re: Help with Fronts - peer review?
« Reply #12 on: November 25, 2013, 10:46:46 PM »
Afterthought: For additional hilarity, you could reverse the order of the moves.  So if you get a 10+ on your Under the Watchful Eyes of SkyNet roll, the Gizmo works just like you wanted and gives you the bonus going forward.  If not, well, the sky(net)'s the limit on possible outcomes.

This difference in move order is subtle, but addresses Daniel's point about a move where 10+ is "nothing happens."  Realistically it's "nothing bad happens," but that might be semantics.  It's not without precedent: the example custom move in the AW book's example Front about initial exposure to the mudfish parasites is similar (i.e. on a 10+ you are immune - nothing bad will happen), but the structure and order of the moves can be used to produce different effects, so I figured it was worth mentioning.