Author Topic: When do you reveal custom threat moves?  (Read 2298 times)

Paulus

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When do you reveal custom threat moves?
« on: July 17, 2016, 10:25:46 PM »
I mean moves like "When you go into Dremmer's territory..." -- PC moves linked to a threat.

Do you put them on the table as soon as you mention Dremmer has territory, or do you wait until a PC says "I am heading to Dremmer's territory," at which point you say 'About that...'

Putting them out front signifies that 'hey, here is something interesting.' Waiting means that there is an element of uncertainty.

It may be that some go in one category and others in the other category -- any thoughts, though, on which go in which?

Rubberduck

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Re: When do you reveal custom threat moves?
« Reply #1 on: July 18, 2016, 09:41:50 AM »
When I've MCed, it has depended on the context.

If the person/place/situation was entirely unknown to the characters, I simply ask them to roll the move, when they encounter it. So the first time the players ran into Blue Eyes (who they had never met or heard of before), I forward the custom move for his dominating presence, and asked them to roll weird against it.

If the person/place/situation was known, but the characters hadn't encountered it yet, I'd put forward fiction that support the move, without actually showing them the move. So when the players consider traveling through Dremmer's territory, I'll point out that it is well known that Dremmer patrols the area extensively, and there is a good chance they might run into his gang.

Finally, sometimes there are moves which the characters are assumed to know about. These fall into two categories. Either moves that are basic and assumed to be used often "When you travel outside the hold..", or stuff which are enough of a part of the character's world that they would know the specifics "When you offer tribute to the Iron God.." / "When you attempt the Trial of Fire..". In these cases I present the move upfront, since the character is assumed to know exactly what he or she is getting in to, when doing the move.

But that is just what I've ended up doing, since it seemed logical. Even when playing AW, I tend towards simulationist gaming. I haven't actually considered what kind of play I might get if I did it differently.

Paulus

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Re: When do you reveal custom threat moves?
« Reply #2 on: July 20, 2016, 04:51:10 AM »
The thing that gets me thinking about this is a map, or something map-like.

(By way of digression, while I've only ever run AW in tabletop, I am presently contemplating running some sort of PbtA online game in a MUSH/MUX format, which is what in turn drives this line of thought.)

On such a game -- or with a sufficiently detailed map in a regular tabletop game -- you might mark things on the map: "Over here is the Fire Hills. When you try to drive the bandits from the Fire Hills, roll+Hard. On a 10+..."

As soon as you write that move down on the map, the players know something -- there's bandits in the Fire Hills, and by the way, I can try to drive them out. What I'm interested in is that sort of signaling: inviting players to 'go here and try to do something'. Publishing custom moves is one way, but there might be other good ways, too.

noclue

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Re: When do you reveal custom threat moves?
« Reply #3 on: July 20, 2016, 06:13:17 AM »
Quote
Make your move, but never speak its name. Maybe your move
is to separate them, but you should never just say that. Instead,
say how Fosterís thugs drags one of them off, and Foster invites
the other to eat lunch with her.
James R.

    "There is a principle which is a bar against all information, which is proof against all arguments and which can not fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance-that principle is contempt prior to investigation."
     --HERBERT SPENCER

Daniel Wood

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Re: When do you reveal custom threat moves?
« Reply #4 on: July 20, 2016, 06:13:43 AM »
A useful middle ground can be to make move triggers public but not the actual move details. Knowing that Something Will Happen 'when you travel through the Fire Hills at night' can suggest opportunities to players without 'giving away' consequences that might be more interesting to reveal in the fictional moment. It also lets players know that something is up in a very general sense, which can be useful for players who might have taken the opportunity to use Read a Situation/Open Their Brain if they realised things with this person/in this area were operating differently.
« Last Edit: July 20, 2016, 06:26:21 AM by Daniel Wood »

Ell975

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Re: When do you reveal custom threat moves?
« Reply #5 on: July 20, 2016, 11:54:12 AM »
Quote
Make your move, but never speak its name. Maybe your move
is to separate them, but you should never just say that. Instead,
say how Fosterís thugs drags one of them off, and Foster invites
the other to eat lunch with her.

But that only applies to MC Moves, because you as the MC are supposed to make Apocalypse World seem real and so your moves should feel to flow from the fiction. But these custom moves are player facing, like Open Your Brain or Seize By Force, shouldn't the players know what they're getting into?

Munin

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Re: When do you reveal custom threat moves?
« Reply #6 on: July 20, 2016, 01:07:15 PM »
In my mind, these are great uses for announce future badness. Rather than throwing out the move itself, use the opportunity to "make the world seem real" by talking about the pertinent situation and effects. So a prominent NPC goes missing - what happened to him? In conversation with Nabs it comes out: "Oh, he went up into the Fire Hills and probably got jumped by the bandits. Dremmer drove them out last spring, but in the absence of regular patrols, they've filtered back in. Someone should really do something about that."

Kapow, now you know a bunch of stuff: 1) There are bandits in the Fire Hills, 2) they can be driven off, 3) Dremmer has bigger fish to fry, 4) it's a source of annoyance/tension within the community. You don't even really need to know the mechanics behind the rule, because if you trigger it, the MC will say, "Awesome, roll +X."

The exception here is for setting-related custom moves that essentially become new basic moves, to which everyone has access. Many times they say something about the setting itself. As an example, in our hard-sci-fi AW game based on a dilapidated space station, jury rigging stuff was part of the setting. In order to eliminate the need for keeping lists of gear or tools or whatever, I just gave them the following rule:

Quote
When you rummage through your oddments to find something useful to your present situation, roll+sharp. On a 10+ you have just the thing, or near enough that it'll work more or less like you need it to. On a 7-9 you can make it work if you have to, but using it this way will be acting under fire. On a miss, you try to make it work and something goes horribly wrong in the process.

I will also give out the details of a move if it's something that everybody knows about and Harm is involved, as it is a way of establishing the Harm. You know that a pistol does 2-Harm and you know that getting touched by a Ghost is like getting shot. This gives the players some sense of risk vs reward, which is fair. You can do the same thing fictionally (NPC shows off heinous burns on his arm and face, saying , "Yeah, it was Night Flower. They always tell you it's dangerous, but I never listened. And if someone gave me some right now, I'd eat it again in a heart-beat."), but so long as you and your players are on the same page about expectations, it's all good.