Author Topic: Alternative Hack for AW2 Seize by Force  (Read 10332 times)

Munin

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Re: Alternative Hack for AW2 Seize by Force
« Reply #105 on: May 25, 2017, 01:21:16 AM »
I like exchange of harm being a prerequisite - if it's worth inflicting violence, the expectation of harm should be built in.

I also have no particular problem with "you fight harder for [thing], even if ultimately you don't get it."

We had a combat in a recent one-shot where the PC (a heartless assassin based on the Battlebabe playbook) engaged in a fight with three opponents. Ultimately, the assassin's goal was to abduct the crown prince (a mere suckling babe), but rather than jumping straight into SBF, the fight shook out as a go aggro (the surprise initiation of combat, killing the first guard), two single combats (to kill the other two guards, who - due to their positioning - couldn't attack him simultaneously), and another go aggro (to get the wet-nurse to hand over the kid). In this case, single combat seemed like the appropriate move because the PC knew he needed to deal with the guards. A single "seize" roll might have gotten him the kid, but he'd still be in a fight (and at that point he'd have been applying his harm to the wet-nurse, not the guards - and they'd have been carving him up while he did it, applying more harm whether he missed or hit). Similarly, a single "seize" might have gotten him out the tower-window and to his escape, but he wouldn't have had the kid.

Like I said in one of these threads, I think the granularity of what is being seized is intended to be more specific under AW2. And if there's nothing specific you're trying to seize, then single combat is the fall-back. It seemed to shake out pretty well in play.

Paul T.

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Re: Alternative Hack for AW2 Seize by Force
« Reply #106 on: May 25, 2017, 04:20:00 AM »
Hmmm! I'm not sure I follow what you're saying, but let me comment on the first two notes, first:

* I also like the implications of relatively ever-present harm. However, AW, as written, nerfs that big time with the armor rules. In the last couple of AW games I've played, it's a rare fight where a PC actually takes *any* damage at all.

I'd prefer a version where harm is more meaningful and injury is a big deal. In that context, I don't mind a version of the rules where occasionally you can get out of a fight unhurt.

In any case, I think it would be very rare: it would require two people to get into a fight and BOTH be totally unwilling to hurt each other. I'm guessing... that would pretty much never happen.

* I'm not sure what you mean by your second comment! Care to clarify?

As for the main gist of your last reply here, you can still colour me confused.

First of all, the way you're describing is definitely much more satisfying. That's the way I've always played AW, though. (Because it's more satisfying!)

How does this have anything to do with AW1 vs. AW2, though? I mean, seize by force is still a move, and it still does the same thing. What about the 2nd Ed rules would give me to your example there?

In short, I agree entirely with what you're saying, but I have no idea why you would treat it differently in 1st Ed and 2nd Ed. The only different rule you're using in your example is the Single Combat move... but I don't really see how that changes anything here. Is it just the implication of the word "Single" in the title leading you to apply it only two one-on-one fights? Because I would do that with go aggro and seize by force, too, if it felt right. (And if it didn't, that would be any different in 1st Edition for me.)

Munin

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Re: Alternative Hack for AW2 Seize by Force
« Reply #107 on: May 26, 2017, 12:24:28 AM »
OK, let's break this down:

Here's the above situation - you're fighting with a guy. He's not the only guy you need to fight to get what you want (there are others), but as of this moment, he's the guy between you and the next step towards your ultimate goal. You have decided that dedicated violence is needed to get past him (because he's in no mood to negotiate). What is your next move?

ASIDE: Note I did not say, "What do you do?" I think we all understand the relationship between the fiction and triggers for moves. I am explicitly talking about moves here, this discussion is largely mechanical in nature. END OF ASIDE

Under AW1, there is only one move for mutual violence. You are seizing by force. That's it, it's really your only option. Established harm is traded, and you pick several from 4 choices. But if you look at those 4 choices, one of them - "take definite hold of it" - essentially gets blurred by the fictional situation; there's more than one opponent between you and your ultimate goal, and I think if as MC you say, "No, taking definite hold here will not get you all the way to the MacGuffin," then you have to do either one of two things: either you invalidate one of the four choices (essentially take it off the table ~because fiction~), or you come up with some other fictional snippet (short of your ultimate goal) that can be taken hold of to offer to the player (e.g. "If you 'take definite hold' here, you can put this guy out of the fight for a tick or two whether he's dead or not").

And if you do let the PC make it all the way to the MacGuffin on a single roll, then there is a disconnect between your fictional conflict (there are multiple enemies/steps between you and your ultimate goal) and your mechanics for resolving it (fuck it, one roll takes all!)

Under AW2, you have more options. If the fictional situation is such that you're not really "seizing" anything, then you can just use single combat instead. You don't have to take one of the SBF options off the table or come up with some fictional tidbit to make that option attractive. The move only has two options and both are meaningful. It also has a built-in miss condition that is exactly a flipped move.

Ultimately, this is a stylistic choice. For the most part, I like having all of the move-related choices presented to the player be meaningful. Even in something like read a person where you think you may know the answer to something before you even roll, the move lets you confirm it beyond any doubt. Similarly with read a sitch, every one of the questions should give the player meaningful information. It might not be the information they necessarily expected and it may be an "unwelcome truth," but IMO you should never be "paring down" the options to only what is "appropriate" in your mind. And for what it's worth, I love it when they ask the questions I don't expect.

Finally, no, I didn't choose single combat because he was fighting the guards one at a time; I chose it because he was fighting them with the express goal of killing them. Had both been within arm's reach, I still would have used the same move (though how the harm was exchanged might have looked different).
« Last Edit: May 26, 2017, 12:31:01 AM by Munin »

Paul T.

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Re: Alternative Hack for AW2 Seize by Force
« Reply #108 on: May 26, 2017, 05:12:07 PM »
In that case, it sounds like we're agreeing on scope (in this case, it's a call the group makes together, and informs their playstyle throughout the game). (I tend to lean towards "zoomed in" moves, as opposed to abstracting away the whole action, by, say, "seize by force" including stuff that's in the next room which the character can't even see yet. But other groups might like that feature.)

What you're saying, essentially, is that it's nice to have a "violence for the sake of violence" move.

I agree to some extent: I've pondered a version of AW where you have a "just really hurt them" move, with appropriate incentives and costs.

However, I find Seize by Force with an uninteresting "object" pretty good in this regard. (And, in this example, we don't even need that - we already know that the player's goal is to get past the guard, so he's "fighting his way out or through".)

Ebok

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Re: Alternative Hack for AW2 Seize by Force
« Reply #109 on: May 29, 2017, 03:48:50 PM »
Paul T, that actually falls in line with what I disliked about seize by force. Seizing your way through a person, when your harm alone is enough to kill them, isn't seizing anything at all. Therefore you've got a move balanced around the use of 4 options, leaving it even stronger then it's normal "too strong" a move state. It's not as bad if you remove a hold from 7-9 and 10+ all the time though, which we did in a few games.

I would actually change the fiction to support the move, unfortunately. And I would probably arm the guard with something that could contain the PC, or blow a horn that would sound a massive alert. That way, if the PC doesn't seize their way past, that unfortunate "capture" is going to block their path. If the option is there and says you get through, not picking that option means, you DO NOT get through.

However, if the PC is just here to murder everyone, and the guards are just here to end the PC, then Single Combat is a far better option then seize by force at all times. Sure my hacked version stuffs them closer together, but I still wouldn't. They're distinctly not the same.

Paul T.

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Re: Alternative Hack for AW2 Seize by Force
« Reply #110 on: June 02, 2017, 08:19:15 PM »
Ebok,

I see where you're coming from.

If I'm reading you correctly, your objection to using "seize by force" in that kind of situation is that it's too effective/powerful, in comparison to Single Combat, right?

Although I don't particularly expect anyone to play the game that way, I find it odd that if you finagle a strategic goal - something you can seize - into a situation,  then the outcome of the fight is weighted more heavily in your favour. That's an odd thing to consider, if you're playing and trying to decide which move is a better fit.

In the example situation we were describing, I'd take a position somewhere in-between what you're describing and simply ignoring the "take definite hold" clause altogether.

My own approach would NOT be to invent something additional to make the choice meaningful (like your examples of inventing a horn which can signal an alert), but I WOULD interrogate the fiction to see whether the choice matters, and make those details count. As a simple example, maybe "taking definite hold" means that you're past the (presumably dead) guard and launching yourself with initiative into the next room. (One way to look at this is to say that the MC move I would make next would be to offer the PC an opportunity.) Failing to "take definite hold" would be meaningfully different, in that I would choose a different move - perhaps the guard in the next room has time to barricade the door (or sound the alarm, as you suggest).

I can see some situations where no such options would be fictionally appropriate, however, and in those cases I'd be happy to simply let the PC have a 'free' victory in this sense - it's a testament to their luck and fortunate fictional positioning, and it should be allowed to stand.

It's a pretty subtle nuance in comparison to your approach, I think - just a very slightly different way to handle those outcomes from the MC's side.

Although I generally don't like using abstract "objects" for the "seize by force" move (like "seizing the moment"), in a case like this, I think it could be useful. Taking definite hold of the moment, or of initiative, of the situation, can be a useful guide to the MC in terms of deciding which move to make next and how to generally paint the situation.

That's why I dislike the "choose 1 on a miss" option in the new move: it seems to allow any PC willing to take harm, or heavily armoured, to automatically achieve strategic goals in a fight, without the roll mattering all that much. (Many PC-NPC matchups, and some PC-PC matchups, lead to an established harm of 0 on one side, and enough harm to kill the opponent on the other, which means that other choices are fairly meaningless - I don't need to suffer less harm when I've already got 2-armor, for instance. In the last four fights/battles I saw take place in my AW and Fallen Empires play, there was no harm at stake at all for the PCs, including one PC-on-PC fight.)

I can appreciate the "action movie" interpretation of this; perhaps it drives play more towards other concerns. "Sure, you can kill those guys. But is it worth it?" However, it leaves Apocalypse World feeling much less "real" to me, which makes it a less interesting game.

I still like how your hack, as presented here, balances Seize by Force nicely with Single Combat and potentially resolves that issue (or at least mitigates it).

I'll give some more thought to a different way of parsing Seize by Force vs. Single Combat...

Ebok

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Re: Alternative Hack for AW2 Seize by Force
« Reply #111 on: June 03, 2017, 12:40:08 PM »
Using this hack does mitigate most of the unbalance between them. My concern wasn't specifically that vanilla seize by force was more powerful then SingleCombat, but that it was generally more powerful then it needed or deserved to be all around.

That said. In my game this week, Seize and SingleCombat were both used quite often during a larger battle, along with many of the new battles moves. The threat leveled at the group was simply terrifying, and in that instance at least, getting 1 hold on a miss would have barely been a consolation prize. A player was fighting to defend a trapped NPC and was willing to die for her, heh, he just about did. Even in a starkly losing fight, him being able to use his hold to either protect himself, or her were huge choices, and that's a perfectly fine choice to need to make on a miss.

Paul T.

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Re: Alternative Hack for AW2 Seize by Force
« Reply #112 on: June 05, 2017, 04:45:37 PM »
That's very interesting, Ebok.

Can you tell me more about that particular scene/situation?

Paul T.

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Re: Alternative Hack for AW2 Seize by Force
« Reply #113 on: November 14, 2017, 11:06:56 PM »
Ebok,

Just posting here for an update. Things have been going well, I take it?

How often do you use the "NPCs choose" option on the move? Do you have any rule of thumb for when to use it and when not to?

How do you decide which options to choose? Is it based on "what the NPC prioritizes", story concerns, or something else?

Cheers!

Ebok

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Re: Alternative Hack for AW2 Seize by Force
« Reply #114 on: November 17, 2017, 06:30:39 AM »
It goes well, sure.

Honestly the hard rolls haven't been a main focus lately, and it's been more hit or miss, so there aren't too many standout partials. So no great examples. The one that have occurred using this hack felt perfectly natural to the scenes. It's just once choice after-all, colored by the fiction. I honestly don't even think about it anymore, it's always been obvious which choice the NPC chooses, even to the players.

If you want to see how it goes, try it yourself.

Paul T.

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Re: Alternative Hack for AW2 Seize by Force
« Reply #115 on: November 18, 2017, 09:12:07 PM »
Indeed. I haven't had an opportunity to run AW myself since we started this conversation, but it's been on my mind nevertheless. I was mainly wondering if there was an option in the move that never sees use, and therefore could simply be discarded, simplifying it further.

It also occurs to me that making the move somewhat-similar-but-still-distinct for NPCs and PCs may be slightly misleading. In the same way that Hx and help/hinder, as well as seduce/manipulate and a few others, work differently for PC vs. NPC use, we could probably design an even better version if we weren't trying to make them similar to each other. But that's a whole other topic!


Ebok

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Re: Alternative Hack for AW2 Seize by Force
« Reply #116 on: November 19, 2017, 08:17:34 PM »
This game is so simple compared to most other options out there, that this isn't a "complicated" thing to do. And if it gets in the way, it's really easy to just not do it. You'll know really quick I think.