Author Topic: Confused about Pack Alpha (Chopper)  (Read 5739 times)

samtung

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Confused about Pack Alpha (Chopper)
« on: December 12, 2016, 06:47:47 AM »
We're a bit confused on how the 7-9 choices work with Pack Alpha.  Generally, when given a list of three from which you can pick one, I'm assuming that that means the other two options happen in the negative.  Here's how I'm reading the hypothetical scenarios:

  • You choose, "They do what you want," and then your gang fights back and you must make an example of one of them.  This one seems pretty clear.
  • You choose, "They don't fight back," but they don't do what you want?  Additionally, you must make an example of one of them?  Does this mean they shrug their shoulders and ignore you?  Subsequent action requires additional moves, like "Go Aggro?"
  • You choose, "You don't have to make an example of one of them," but they fight back, and also don't do what you want?  What does this look like?

I'm confused about what the second two options look like in execution for both the MC and the Chopper.  Thanks in advance for any words of wisdom.

pastorlindhardt

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Re: Confused about Pack Alpha (Chopper)
« Reply #1 on: December 12, 2016, 08:34:36 AM »
Lars orders his gang to take their bikes out in the sandstorm. They really don't want to. He rolls Pack Alpha.

Option 2: They really, really don't want to. Lars sees a building tension in his gang; they're pissed he even suggests it. He realizes that not only won't they do it, but if he doesn't act quickly, they will beat the shit out him. So, before they can react, he draws his knife and stabs Rolfball in the shoulder. This might mean he goes aggro, but I usually just let him deal harm. Rolfball screams and his gang is momentarily demoralized by the shocking show of violence, but still pissed, and Lars doesn't push the subject. They stay put in the holding.

Option 3: Lars doesn't do shit to Rolfball and also keeps insisting that they do as he says. The tension builds until Rolfball starts swinging, and suddenly the entire pack (or just some of them, maybe) jumps on Lars, beating the shit out of him. After the dust settles, Lars (who is pretty beat up)  doesn't push the subject, and the gang stays put in the holding.

Paul T.

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Re: Confused about Pack Alpha (Chopper)
« Reply #2 on: December 12, 2016, 05:05:25 PM »
You could look at this way:

1. They do it (or do not agree to do it).
2. Are they pissed off enough to get into a physical confrontation about it?
3. Is there one in particular who won't back down, or is some kind of "punishment" necessary?

Your choices:

If "they do it", it's only after some violence and you make an example out of one of them. The simplest version here from the MC's perspective is that one of them stands up to the Chopper and has to be beaten down (while the others watch).

If "they don't fight you over it", then they don't do what you asked, AND you have to make an example out of one of them. This generally might look like, "Screw you, man. We're not going out there. What are you going to do about it?" No one's fighting back, but you're going to have punish someone to retain your authority.

If "you don't have to make an example of one of them", then there's just some kind of brawl or fight, but presumably no one is making a dedicated bid to take your place. You could play this out a variety of ways: maybe they gang up on the Chopper, maybe they just break out into a brawl, but once the immediate tension is out of their system, things are back to normal.

Fniff

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Re: Confused about Pack Alpha (Chopper)
« Reply #3 on: December 12, 2016, 06:04:20 PM »
I find this move makes a lot more sense if you interpret 'they do what you want' as 'they do it and don't half-ass it'.

So in the other two options, they do what you want but they don't put their backs into it. In battle, for instance, they'd take potshots from a distance and scatter as soon as they encounter resistance.

DannyK

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Re: Confused about Pack Alpha (Chopper)
« Reply #4 on: December 13, 2016, 04:30:47 AM »
I really like that!

samtung

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Re: Confused about Pack Alpha (Chopper)
« Reply #5 on: December 13, 2016, 06:14:50 AM »
Awesome responses, thanks everyone.  I particularly like the interpretation of "they do what you want," meaning "they ACTUALLY do you what you want," and the other options being, "they kinda half-ass it."  I think it allows the game/story to move forward (or requires the Chopper to make the move again, after the gang has taken lackluster action, at which point the conversation may have flowed elsewhere).  I personally also need to be better about advancing and leveraging the gang's history / simmering discontent better.

Daniel Wood

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Re: Confused about Pack Alpha (Chopper)
« Reply #6 on: December 13, 2016, 08:33:08 AM »

Really, guys? You think if someone doesn't pick 'they do what you want' the gang should just... do what they wanted anyways? But do a slightly worse job?

I mean, if there is some particular way they can still do it and fuck it up, sure, that's one of the many ways they could not actually do what you want. But mostly this just seems like a wilful misreading of the text because you don't like how harsh the move is on a 7-9.

Ebok

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Re: Confused about Pack Alpha (Chopper)
« Reply #7 on: December 14, 2016, 01:53:39 AM »
I definitely don't like the "they do it... kind of, anyway". First off it's pretty damn explicit, and this is explicitly against the rules. If someone needs to roll pack alpha, its cause they're already Not going to do it. Getting them to it is the entire point, and if you dont select that option, it's because you're saying OKAY you dont have to do it. BUT you cant let that go to their fucking hyena heads, they'll just do what they want all the time and never be there when it matters. No.

When shit hits the fan, you're in charge. They will follow you, or you'll fucking kill them them all yourself. (or seriously beat the crap out of them). Halfass it... shit. Might as well not do it, at least then someone gets what they want and things are more interesting. Especially is halfassing it was all you needed from them anyway.

Chopper
• They do what you want (otherwise, they refuse)
• They don’t fight back over it (otherwise, they do fight back)
• You don’t have to make an example of one of them (otherwise, you must)

If they fight back over it, it means they actually fight back over it. People start throwing punches, people hold a grudge, people do not take it laying down.

If you don't have to make an example of one of them, great! That's one more guy still fight worthy. This means its more of a general grrrr without an explicit leader. If you do have to make an example of one of them, the MC can play that up. One of the guys start walking away laughing at the chopper, calling him an idiot or whatever else, and some others start following him off; some turn to you expectantly, not YET walking off, like they're waiting to find out... what do you do?

You walk up behind the guy and stab that knife into his throat and twist. That's what you do. A Chopper's gang is UNRULY, they are CHAOS, and it takes a firm hand to keep order. Sometimes that means whacking one of your own dudes to show the others how terrifying you actually are. That you're worth following. I'd go as far to say that if you FAIL to do the things your options requires, you might lose the entire gang.

Remember, it's hold 3 on a 10+, 2 on a 7+ and one on a miss. If they dont fight back, and you didnt tell them to do it, it means simply they don't hold you backing down against you. It's not weakness, it's just smarts. Otherwise you doing what they want is like you giving up the alpha chair. That might be an expensive thing to earn back. Pack Alpha has a lot to do with Reptuation, and fight back over it just might be on those terms too.

EDIT::
Quote
So in the other two options, they do what you want but they don't put their backs into it. In battle, for instance, they'd take potshots from a distance and scatter as soon as they encounter resistance.
I wanted to address this specifically. I'd probably not have the Pack Alpha even be rolled before before they "encountered resistance", because its easy work up to that point, why'd they refuse easy work? Its when you put your foot down and say, some of you, you're going to fucking die for me today, cause I said so. If they dont want to, then hello pack alpha.   
« Last Edit: December 14, 2016, 02:21:09 AM by Ebok »

Paul T.

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Re: Confused about Pack Alpha (Chopper)
« Reply #8 on: December 14, 2016, 03:04:10 PM »
Remember, it's hold 3 on a 10+, 2 on a 7+ and one on a miss.

I kind of like that formulation of the move... but it's not what's written. That would be a decent "softer" pack alpha move, though - I like it. It's still plenty harsh.

Zwolfe124

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Re: Confused about Pack Alpha (Chopper)
« Reply #9 on: December 14, 2016, 09:06:28 PM »
.
 
Remember, it's hold 3 on a 10+, 2 on a 7+ and one on a miss. If they dont fight back, and you didnt tell them to do it, it means simply they don't hold you backing down against you. It's not weakness, it's just smarts. Otherwise you doing what they want is like you giving up the alpha chair. That might be an expensive thing to earn back. Pack Alpha has a lot to do with Reptuation, and fight back over it just might be on those terms too.



Sadly this isn't how the move works . It's 3 on a 10+ ,  choose 1 on 7-9, and someone makes a bid to replace you as alpha on a miss.

I think this move really pushes the differences between a hardholder and a chopper.

A hard holder is the captain of an army/ king of the castle. The chopper is just the biggest son of a bitch in the group. Where the hard holder provides for his people and brings stability as a figurehead of the area. , the chopper is only in charge as long as he is the strongest and doesn't personally provide more than a direction for the group to raid in.

DannyK

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Re: Confused about Pack Alpha (Chopper)
« Reply #10 on: December 14, 2016, 09:52:12 PM »
Yeah, you don't want to be rolling it all the time. Just when you really need something done or are trying to keep your guys from committing one atrocity too many.

Maleficum

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Re: Confused about Pack Alpha (Chopper)
« Reply #11 on: December 14, 2016, 10:08:44 PM »
We're a bit confused on how the 7-9 choices work with Pack Alpha.  Generally, when given a list of three from which you can pick one, I'm assuming that that means the other two options happen in the negative.  Here's how I'm reading the hypothetical scenarios:

We're a bit confused on how the 7-9 choices work with Pack Alpha.  Generally, when given a list of three from which you can pick one, I'm assuming that that means the other two options happen in the negative.  Here's how I'm reading the hypothetical scenarios:

  • You choose, "They do what you want," and then your gang fights back and you must make an example of one of them.  This one seems pretty clear.
  • You choose, "They don't fight back," but they don't do what you want?  Additionally, you must make an example of one of them?  Does this mean they shrug their shoulders and ignore you?  Subsequent action requires additional moves, like "Go Aggro?"
  • You choose, "You don't have to make an example of one of them," but they fight back, and also don't do what you want?  What does this look like?

I'm confused about what the second two options look like in execution for both the MC and the Chopper.  Thanks in advance for any words of wisdom.

Hypotheticals are always difficult; it should be way easier for the one actually portraying The Chopper if they ever find themselves in a position were they roll a minor success for Pack Alpha!

I've played a Chopper once and have had two in campaigns I've MCed - and the old Hx-line (after memory): "Everyone else,  -1, you don't care so much about, you know, ...people.

As The Chopper - the gang is yours, and your's alone! If you have to break Dice or Jaccabacka's nose to spur them to action, what's it to you? The gang is yours, but you don't care (to much*) about them induvidually. To decline an order isn't something they can, at least not so long as you breathe (or grow...**).

Quote from: Ebok
I wanted to address this specifically. I'd probably not have the Pack Alpha even be rolled before before they "encountered resistance", because its easy work up to that point, why'd they refuse easy work? Its when you put your foot down and say, some of you, you're going to fucking die for me today, cause I said so. If they dont want to, then hello pack alpha. 

Ebok is off course right. The choices isn't choices on a list, it's second nature to a Chopper. They're not that difficult.



To form an example: Pinky wants her gang to drive convoy for Carrerra (The Driver, I think maybe Pinky has the hots for hir). The Gang don't like it, and maybe she could read the sitch, but she is the boss. Maybe the MC shows future badness and have someone mutter about useless time spent[/grumble], but they won't argue. Not now.

When Pinky tells them to protect Carrerra over the Burn Flats and through Dremmer's territory, that's when their self-reliance kicks in. Sooner or later the MC will have Pinky roll pack alpha. She might:

Break Dice' nose/shoot Baby in the leg, in other word's make an example out of them and say "On second thought, I'll do it my self. I need to take the hog for a long run, you all stay here and keep head's out!"   She's chosen to not have them do it, but they don't fight her over it. She could choose to have them do it, but then she'd better be ready to fight for it. Sure, a Chopper should only order them to do what they really care about, but then again, it's not like they, you know, care to much about, like people.

The move is rather harsh, but so is Apocalypse World, and it really drives the fiction! If the Chopper cares about her gang, she could like, pay attention to any unruly elements (to know who to make examples out of) and maybe even get a +1 for reading a charged sitch and acting upon the answer before rolling pack alpha.

I think any of the three options are good, and I can think of several hypothetical scenarios were the gang don't do what The Chopper will, but a manipulate/seduce an NPC move might get Domino too take Wire and Shit head to ride guard for "Carrerra's like...car, or something"...

* my chopper, Diamond, actually cares a lot about their freedom. Nobody should tell them what to to, and they should live life to the fullest, protect the weak, take no orders - but Diamond's!  :enthusiastic complex standards-smiley:

**  by taking another playbook, perhaps?

Ebok

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Re: Confused about Pack Alpha (Chopper)
« Reply #12 on: December 15, 2016, 04:41:49 AM »
Zwolfe124, yup, I definitely was off there. Just read it again to make sure, and then took a look at Vincent's MC section over the move.

He does also assume it's always physical violence when they fight back too, which I hadn't in my iterations. Although granted, it was that most of the time. I guess when it comes to these things, it all depends on the Scope of the scene. If the world is mostly gasoline and guns mad-max style, then violence it is. My games tend to be much... much quieter, far more contemplative, manipulative. In that scene, the reputation was literally everything, it mattered far more then the people in the gang (because the reputation could get you replacements), it mattered when he threatened people, when it pushed his weight around.

The take away here, is that the hardest part of understanding this move, is really feeling the vibe. There is an attitude, a frame of reference that comes with it, you know?  The fatherly, the egomanical, the pride. When push comes to shove, you can even go think about the gang as a feral starving wolf pack, they cant survive on their own, they wont take down the prey that matters. But at the same time, that desperation to survive cuts both ways. They wont leap off a cliff for a howl, maybe they'll follow the meat over though. lol.

Munin

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Re: Confused about Pack Alpha (Chopper)
« Reply #13 on: December 21, 2016, 10:26:45 PM »
As Daniel Wood mentioned, I too draw a pretty hard line on "they do what you want" in that if you don't pick it, they just plain don't do it. And in fact, I occasionally have the "they fight you over it" manifest itself as, "yeah they do what you want (because you chose that option), but they find a way to passive-aggressively fuck you while they're doing it."

As an example in my current game, our Chopper (Major Tom) had to impose his will to keep his gang (who it must be remembered are a pack of fucking hyenas) under control in the settlement they were visiting. Hitting the roll with an 8, he had them do what he wanted (quit roughing up the locals), but he had to make an example of one of them (poor, poor Baseball). But Major Tom's gang has the "desertion" tag, so their method of "fighting him over it" was to just fuck off and find a better gig elsewhere. So after getting his gang in hand by beating poor, poor Baseball to death to make a point, Major Tom rolled out of his doss the next morning to find a third of his gang had collectively decided "fuck this noise," and ridden off into the night. But the ones that remained did what he wanted, played it cool with the locals, and stayed out of trouble.

So instead of the fight being physical and applying "harm as established," I instead chose to "activate his stuff's downside." It seemed thematically appropriate given the circumstances.

noclue

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Re: Confused about Pack Alpha (Chopper)
« Reply #14 on: December 22, 2016, 10:39:28 PM »
I think the point is, if you roll a 7-9, you can get it done, but there's going to be fighting and you are personally have to make an example of someone. You don't get to choose who you make an example of, that's the MC's call. And the  gang is going to remember that shit. Pinky's girlfriend may get pissed enough to come at you later. Maybe there's a PC-NPC-PC triangle that gets messed with here. This is not an innocuous choice. It has teeth.

Or, you can give. You don't want to make an example of someone? That's fine choose you don't have to make an example of one of them, and watch the knives come out. Don't want your gang fighting itself, that's fine. Choose they don't fight back. The assumption is they don't fight back, provided you make an example of one of them. They don't fight back because you shut that shit down. The MC should clearly indicate who needs making an example of. Probably the one mouthing off or trying to shiv you.

Clearly, some kind of violence is coming if you don't roll 10+
James R.

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