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Messages - Allan Dotson

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The Child-Thing's mercurial move allows them to change any or all of their looks. They can still be recognized by people who know thwm well, which implies they can't be recognized by those who don't.

As MC, I  have allowed the child-thing to blend into a crowd, but not into a small group of uniformed soldiers.But now I'm second guessing myself. As a fan of the character, should I let this move (which has no direct mechanical benefit) be more useful?

Should they be able to disguise themselves as part of a small select group (uniformed soldiers)? Can they disguise themselves as a specific individual?

How do you interpret this move? How have you used it?

AW:Dark Age / Re: New playbook for DA: the spymaster.
« on: September 16, 2014, 05:19:24 PM »
A lot to like here!  I'd also been missing a roguish playbook, and thinking about creating one. 

The right to remain silent is especially great.

Your single combat right seems over-powered, in that it gives an existing right (the right to spend 1 more than your roll would allow, that the War-Captain and others already get), plus more.  Being able to roll +Wary alone seems like a good enough right.

AW:Dark Age / Re: Hypothetical Combat Question
« on: September 11, 2014, 02:40:11 PM »
The rules for Monsters suggest that the claws and teeth of a mortal beast do 3-harm, and that the hide of a mortal beast provides 1-armor.  The battle moves suggest that if the pack outnumbers him 3+ to 1, they get +3 harm, +3 armor.  Nasty.

But d you treat this as a battle, or as single combat?  Good question.

AW:Dark Age / Regina Playtest
« on: September 10, 2014, 05:22:14 PM »
We started a playtest last night.  Kier (MC), wanted to start out by building some Peoples, and trying out the Battle moves before we build characters. 

Creating Peoples (Sorry I can't remember all the stats and names)

Kier (MC) created a Monastic order of Christians.
Enclave of 20 souls, 5 warriors.  War 0.  Harm 3 (spears), Armor 1.
Ethnically diverse, but defined by their worship of the One God. 
Known for their healing arts, their valuable relic, and their island stronghold. 
Notables include a professional soldier captain, and the abbot.
Kier also created a stronghold sheet, with archers, an island position, a bottleneck approach, and a well.   
Kier used the People's sheet #1, and found that he wished he had more of the arms and armor information.

Chad created the Kurkinen.
Fishing village of 50 souls, 8 warriors.  War +1.  Harm 3 (staves), Armor 1.
Known for their insularity, rich land, strategy and tactics, and mercy to their enemies.
Notables include a war-leader.
Chad used the Peoples sheet #2, and ended up writing his notables on the back of the sheet.

I created the Jenci (I'll post more about them in the Peoples thread). 
Clan of 30 souls, 8 warriors.  War 0.  Harm 3 (axes), Armor 1.
Defined by their nomadic river-boat lifestyle and their worship of the faeries.
Known for their sorcery, beauty, physical prowess, craft and skill.
Notables include Vencel, the honored raid leader, and Katalinka, a humble girl from a family with secrets.
I used the Peoples sheet #3, with the extra arms and armor detail.  We all found this to be the best Peoples sheet.

Equipping warriors
We equipped our warriors according to the rules for equipping characters from Households.  Those rules seem to say "choose whatever equipment you want", and we all ended up with 3-harm, 1-armor.  Kier also had archers.

We were a little unsure about how to equip the warriors.  Should a people's warriors only get archers or cavalry if they are known for such according to their War?  Is it appropriate to give a people a stronghold if they are known for it according to their Wealth, and then use stonghold options to give them archers?

The fiction
We decided that the Kurkinen share their river-valley with the Monastery, but that the monks deny healing to the pagan Kurkinen.  The Kurkinen hired the Jenci boat-people to lead a raid against the Monastery. 

We also created a map, and really liked how the map sheets suggest terrain areas or features.

Mustering war companies
We were also a little unsure about mustering war companies.  Since we didn't have any PCs, there was no one to roll+Strong to muster warriors.  Chad suggested that one of the Notable NPCs could roll their "In Single Combat" instead of Strong to muster warriors (or possibly in place of any stat for any basic move, as necessary).  We ended up skipping the War-Company sheet, and just sending our people's warriors into battle. 

To Battle!
The Jenci warriors row up to the island by cover of darkness, but before they could lead an attack, the Monastery used their superior position to harass them with arrow fire.   Kier rolled their War and missed.  We weren't sure how to handle this, as Kier was the MC, making a hard move against his own people.  He ended up saying the Monastery had lost their advantage of position, and that the Jenci had snuck in close enough to use grappling hooks to climb into the monastery.

The Jenci led an attack, striking hard, unexpectedly, and driving a wedge into the enemy.  They snuck right into the stronghold by night and started slitting throats.

The Monastery came under attack, striking back hard, and striking Vencel, the Jenci raid-leader.  Kier described the  captain of the guard striking Vencel down. 

Already, the Jenci were limping and the Monastery were both limping!  We were all shocked by how fast and bloody the battle was.  We were unsure when to apply the harm to Each of Us, so we applied it only as Losses in Battle, and to Vencel's Meeting Death.

With the Jenci driving a wedge into them, the Monastery could not counter-attack, so the Kurkinen led an attack.   The Kurkinen also struck hard, and unexpectedly, driving a wedge into the enemy.  Kier ruled that since the Kurkinen could climb the ropes that the Jenci had left in place, the Monastery's stronghold fortifications were effectively reduced by 1-harm, 1-armor. 

The Monastery came under attack again, striking back hard, spiriting the abbot over the causeway and into the hills, and surrendering. 

The Monastery was butchered, the Kurkinen gutted, and the Jenci still limping. 
The Kurkinen (known for their mercy) accepted the Monastery's surrender, and the battle was over. 

We counted our fallen.  Kier described how The mysterious Jenci girl Katalinka dragged the wounded Vencel away to safety.  We were unsure how to apply the losses terms to our small numbers of warriors.  We ended up deciding to interpret many as 1/3, and some as 1/6, rounding down (until butchered, when we rounded up).  Since our warrior numbers were so low, this meant only 2-3 warriors were dead from each people.  We also counted those warriors who were "no longer a threat to anyone) as no longer counting towards the people's warriors, though they were still numbered among its souls. 

Since the battle took place within the Monastery (which had been an advantage to them during the battle), we also decided to apply the Monastery's losses to its total souls, as well as its warriors.  Is this right?

The aftermath
The Kurkinen allowed the monks to keep their island stronghold, having made their point.  They will be expecting to have access to the Monastery's healing in future.  The abbot escaped into the hills.  Vencel owes Katalinka his life.  The Vencel hope to be paid for their part in the battle (although they do not have even the right to expect payment, do they?).

We plan to build characters living in the aftermath of this battle, and take this as our starting point for play.

Things we learned
Battle is a brutal, bloody business.  Unless you've really got something in fiction worth fighting over, it seems best to avoid battle.  If you must go to battle, take the time to muster a warriors from among diverse peoples, building a war company with the advantage of numbers.  And attack your enemy on the road, not in their stronghold. 

While we all liked the People's sheet #3 best, I could see using the #1 sheet with more notables, as long as you had the arms and armor detailed on your war company sheet.  I could also see using the sheet #2 for quickly creating minor Peoples in the middle of play.

Things we wished or wondered
More clear rules on mustering war companies, and equipping warriors.

We ended up feeling that we should have created a single war company from the Kurkinen and Jenci warriors, for the mechanical advantage of having greater numbers over the Monastery.

A Battle worksheet to help calculate final harm and armor after applying the number of warriors, fortifications, and other strategic considerations.

More guidance on how to apply the losses results to our Peoples and Notables. 

I think the biggest block all night was wondering how to handle the MC making a hard move against his own People when he missed their War roll.

AW:Dark Age / Re: Denied right
« on: September 08, 2014, 02:58:40 PM »
I'm also wary of the "denied your right" move, and the Liege Lord specifically.

The in-fiction rights give you some character motivation and plot hooks.  If you are denied your rights, then you get the opportunity for cool monologues, vows, more character motivation and plot hooks.  All good things. 

But if I don't choose the in-fiction rights, I can do all that anyway. 
Suppose I make a War-Champion or Troll-Killer who goes around imposing law, even though he has no right to do so.

-I still get character motivation from creating his personality and goals, without spending character resources on them. 
-I still get plot hooks, because I'm drawn to perceived infractions of the law. 
-NPCs will probably not respect my authority, but that seems just as interesting as if the NPCs do respect my authority.
-If no one respects my authority, I can still rant about it, or vow revenge in character.  I can also still express my dissatisfaction to the MC and the other players out of character.
-I also get whatever cool mechanical powers (+1 Strong, an enchanted weapon, tracking, etc.) I spent my right on instead.

If a player wants to give a cool monologue, I'm not going to not listen, as an MC or as another player, just because there's nothing on his character sheet to back it up.

So the character who takes in-fiction rights is giving up some amount of mechanical power they might have had, but I don't see that the character who takes mechanical rights instead is giving anything up. 

The in-fiction rights and "denied your rights" move seem like really innovative, important aspects of the system, and I want to engage with them in our playtest.  Is the best way to test these rules by playing a Liege Lord and using the "denied your rights" move?  Or is the best way to test them to play a character who claims rights he doesn't have, gives soliloquys and vows revenge without the mechanical weight of being "denied rights", and seeing whether I wish I had access to the "denied your rights" move.

Apocalypse World / Re: NPC gang leaders
« on: August 09, 2013, 02:46:52 PM »
Well, Norvell's gang already had their guns out, but they weren't really expecting trouble (which is why I let Doomspot go agro on Nornell instead of seizing by force).  After Norvell got shot, they turned their guns on Doomspot, now ready to fight.

I said "turning their guns on Doomspot" as description, as a reaction to Doomspot shooting Norvell, but they couldn't actually start shooting at this point, because I don't have a move.  I guess I could have described them as starting to shoot, but they wouldn't actually be able to inflict harm until Doomspot seized by force, or missed a move. 


Apocalypse World / Re: NPC gang leaders
« on: August 07, 2013, 10:27:29 PM »
There it is, right in the playbook.  Thanks Krippler.

Apocalypse World / Re: NPC gang leaders
« on: August 07, 2013, 07:20:31 PM »
Thanks Jeremy, very helpful suggestion!  I hadn't thought of BBQ being the gang's real leader, although of course he is.  That definitely helps make gangs tougher. 

So here's what actually happened in play, the gang-fight scene I was preparing for didn't end up happening, but we got two other gang-fight scenes instead.

Scene 1
Doc and Doomspot are haggling at the market, when 10 of BBQ's soldiers show up, armed and armored, led by Norvel (BBQ's plan was for this small gang to keep Doomspot busy while Rothschild's larger gang attacked the brothel, but that never ended up happening).

Norvel:  "You two, BBQ wants to see you.  You're coming with us."

Doc:  "Okay."

Doomspot reads the sitch.  "Who's in charge here?"  "Norvel is."

Doomspot:  "They're a small gang?  I'm a small gang.  I put my pistol to Norvel's head and tell him to fuck off.  I'm going agro."

Norvel takes the harm (3-harm minus Norvel's 2-armor).  He's wounded, but still up, and now the rest of the gang is turning their guns on Doomspot.  Grace and Franky are seeing all of this happen from inside the brothel.  Grace, what are you doing?

Grace goes dangerous and sexy, catching Norvel's eye and keeping him from acting. 

Doomspot seizes by force, doing 5-harm to the gang (minus their 1-armor), and frightening them.  With Norvel distracted by Grace (and BBQ absent), the gang stops fighting at 3-harm.  Doomspot cuts Pellet in half with his assault rifle, and shoots Harrow and Ridley in the back as they're running away.  The surviving gang members are all wounded, the gang is broken, and the fight is over.  Norvel is still staring at dangerous and sexy Grace.

Scene 2
Doc drops his gas can, and runs for the nearest cover, into the brothel.  Doomspot assists him by pushing some guy out of the way, and misses the roll.  "Some guy" turns out to be Lost, one of Ball's gang of juiced-up speed-addicts, just coming out of the brothel. 

Lost:  "This fuckin' guy just shoved me!  No one disrespects Balls' crew on our own turf!"  Balls comes out of the back of the brothel, pulling on his pants and picking up his shotgun.  More of Balls' crew are coming out of the market, pulling out knives, pipes, and crowbars. 

Doomspot:  "They don't have guns?"  "Nope." "How many of them?" "About 10 for now, but you can see another 20 still moving up through the crowd, grabbing their weapons." 

Grace reads the sitch.  "Which of the gang is most dangerous?"  "Balls."  She goes dangerous and sexy again, freezing Balls so he can't act. 

Doomspot:  "I'm shooting Balls"

Cool.  He's helpless while he's staring at Grace, so you can totally shoot him, but he's still in the doorway and, his gang is all around you with crowbars in your face, so you'll be acting under fire. 

Doomspot tries to act under fire.  Franky yells from the brothel to assist him by distracting the gang.  They both miss their rolls.  Lost shoots the gascan Doc dropped at Doomspot's feet.  Doomspot takes 3-harm from right on top of it, Franky takes 2-harm from the doorway, and the gang barricades themselves in the brothel.  The fight is over, Doomspot is left outside, and Balls is following Grace off to one of the bedrooms. 

What I learned:
-The details of the fiction make a huge difference, and the right move often becomes clear because of the details of the fiction.  Sometimes it seemed right to let the PCs just target the gang leader, sometimes it seemed right to make them act under fire.
-My players love to read a stitch to figure out who the leader is. 
-Even though the Gunlugger dominated the battle scene, there was always lots of stuff for the other characters to do, especially because they could assist each other. 
-The Battle Babe is great at taking out gang leaders!

Next time:
BBQ can't just let Doomspot get away with cutting down his soldiers like that.  Now he has a reason to send in Rothschild with a large gang to make a show of force. 

My next question:  The gang-combat rules refer to small, medium, and large gangs, but the Chopper and Hardholder never seem to get access to large gangs.  Did I miss something?  Do Choppers and Hardholders ever get large gangs, or are large gangs only for NPCs?

Apocalypse World / Re: NPC gang leaders
« on: July 31, 2013, 12:45:49 AM »
Great suggestions Audient.  Widely applicable, and with lots of player choice for how to engage the gang leader.  Thanks!

Apocalypse World / Re: NPC gang leaders
« on: July 29, 2013, 12:14:22 AM »
I get that I'm not trying to keep Rothschild alive.  I'm trying to make an interesting, exiting, dramatic action scene. 

Of course I could make custom moves for this NPC, but that's not my point.  There is already a rule that a gang continues to fight to 4-harm with a strong present leader.  What I'm wondering is how to interpret that existing rule.  I guess my question is, if the PCs can target individuals within a gang of NPCs, then when does the strong leader rule apply?  Is it meant to be only for PC gang leaders? 

It seems to me that if the fight with the strongly led squad of soldiers ends after they take 1-2 harm, and the fight with the disorganized leaderless mob also ends after they take 1-2 harm, then there is no mechanical difference between these two gangs (Other than their size, weapons, and armor, which is to say, there is no mechanical difference between having a strong leader and not having one), and neither of the gangs is very scary.  The rules for a gang fighting longer if they have a strong, present leader seem to be there so that some gangs are tougher than others.  And if Rothschild hangs back, then she is not being a strong present leader. 

Do you guys use this rule when your PCs fight NPC gangs?  How much harm do your NPC gangs take before they stop fighting?  Have you had PCs target the leader of a gang, and how have you handled it? 

Daniel, your suggestion that the specifics of the fight in the fiction makes a difference is a really good one.  For this specific scene, I'm imagining a squad of BBQs soldiers burst into the brothel, guns drawn, they fan out to cover the whole place, then Rothschild comes in, I tell them that this is a big deal, BBQ only sends Rothschild in when he really means business, and Rothschild starts making demands, saying they're here to take one of the girls back to BBQ.  So Rothschild is up front, visibly leading the troops, making demands of the PCs.  Maybe it won't come to fight, but if it does, they will likely target her (I would).

But aside from this specific scene (which may not end up actually happening, I'm just thinking about what BBQ is planning, and what the PCs do may totally change that), I'm looking for a consistent way to interpret the gang-fighting rules. 

So far I'm really liking Soylent's suggestion that targeting the leader means "seizing definite control".  I would also say that in some situations (not this one) the PCs need to read the sitch to figure out who the leader is.

Apocalypse World / Re: NPC gang leaders
« on: July 28, 2013, 03:21:49 PM »
Strong leader rule is from p. 169, When a Gang Suffers Harm.  Also on the MC playsheet.

Why not, for me, is that is players can target the gang's leader, then they should always target the gang's leader.  If the gang's leader goes down at 2-harm, then the gang is leaderless, and breaks at 1-harm.  So every gang breaks after 1 or 2-harm, whether it has a leader or not.  This, to me, is not saying what the rules demand (since the rule is that a gang with a strong, present leader keeps fighting to 4-harm), and will make the player's characters' lives boring (because it makes every gang the same, and no gang very scary). 

So my impulse is to say Rothschild gets hit last, because even though I'm looking at her through crosshairs, I want the players' characters' lives to be not boring.  But I'm sure the players will want to target her, so I want to have something to tell them when they try. 

SoylentWhite and Withers, excellent suggestions.  Next game is actually in a week, so still lots of time to figure this out.  I will make sure to post how it does play out. 

Has anyone had this happen in play?  You mean your players don't target the gang's leader?

Apocalypse World / NPC gang leaders
« on: July 27, 2013, 12:28:37 PM »
Barbecue (NPC hardholder) sends a medium-sized gang in to the PC's brothel to make a show of force, and maybe seize and hold someone.  The gang is led by Rothschild, who is a bad mother fucker.  So, as long as Rothschild is present as a clear strong leader, the gang will keep fighting up to 4-harm, but if Rothschild goes down, the gang stops fighting at 3-harm (if Rothschild is hurt or falls back), or 1 or 2-harm (if Rothschild is killed).  So:

When the PCs inflict harm on the gang, who decides which NPC gang members were hit? 

If the PCs inflict even 1-harm, but say "I'm targeting Rothschild", and Rothschild takes the injury, then she is no longer a strong leader, and the gang now stops fighting at 3-harm.  If the PCs inflict 2-harm, and say "I'm targeting Rothschild", then Rothschild is dead, and the gang stops fighting at 2-harm (immediately). 

If I (as MC) get to choose, then Rothschild gets hit last (so that she looks like the bad mother fucker she's supposed to be), and the gang keeps fighting until 4 harm, when Rothschild either dies or withdraws. 

Can the PCs choose to target Rothschild instead of targeting the gang as a whole?

Apocalypse World / Re: Custom moves
« on: July 25, 2013, 04:45:13 PM »
When I asked my players what kind of Apocalypse World, they said they live underground to avoid the mutants and contaminated fog out on the surface.  Mostly, the fog and the mutants will be dangerous because of how they affect the other people in the hardhold (as Affliction threats), but I do want the characters to eventually encounter the mutants and the fog directly.  So, here are my custom moves for the mutants and the fog.


The caves beneath the hardhold are a Landscape (Breeding Pit).  Their impulse is to disgorge something (mutants).  The fog outside the hardhold is a Landscape (Maze).  It's impulse is to trap, and frustrate passage.  To do this, it will often present a guardian (mutant).

Most true mutants are Brutes (Hunting Pack).  Their impulse is to victimize anyone vulnerable, and their favorite move is to burst out in uncoordinated, undirected violence.  Mox is a Grotesque (Mutant) instead.  His impulse is to crave restitution and recompense, and he will make all kinds of tricky moves.  There may be other grotesque mutants like Mox.

Most mutants have 1-armor, and do 2-harm.
Huge mutants have 2-armor, and do 3-harm (+S harm).  A huge true mutant counts as a gang (3-harm small 2-armor).  A gang of mutants that includes a huge mutant counts as one size larger than normal.[/b]

When you see a mutant for the first time in play, the MC will ask you if it is really your first time seeing a mutant.  If it is, mark experience, and you are acting under fire for the rest of this interaction with the mutant (or mutants).

When you read, seduce, or manipulate a mutant, roll+weird, instead of +sharp or +hot.

When you suffer harm from a mutant, do the harm move as usual.  On a 10+, the MC can choose this instead of their usual choices:
-You are bitten and infected.  Mark one segment of your mutation clock (If you don't already have a mutation clock, start one, and mark it to 3:00).

If you have sex with a mutant, or eat their flesh, mark one segment of your mutation clock (If you don't already have a mutation clock, start one, and mark it to 3:00).

The Fog

When you act in the fog, roll+sharp.
On a 10+ you do it.
On a 7-9, your vision is impaired.  The MC can offer you a worse outcome, hard bargain, or ugly choice.
On a miss, you are blind.  The MC can make any hard and direct move, such as put you in a spot, inflict harm, separate you, take your stuff, etc.

When a PC is exposed to the fog without a mask, roll+weird. 
On a 10+, you are dizzy and nauseous, you cough up a little blood, but you recover.
On a 7-9, choose 1:
-You crave human flesh.  The MC holds 1, and can spend their hold to make you eat human flesh.  If you do, mark experience.  If you don't, you're acting under fire. 
-You are hallucinating.  The MC holds 1, and can spend their hold to make you hallucinate.  If you react to the hallucination, mark experience.  If you don't, you're acting under fire. 
-You are contagious.  The MC holds 1, and can spend their hold to pass your contagion to anyone you touch, as though they were exposed to the fog. 
-You have persistent chronic pain.  Take -1 forward until you either get some meds, or eat human flesh. 
-You develop a physical mutation, which is slight and easily concealable, for now.  Mark one segment of your mutation clock (If you don't already have a mutation clock, start one, and mark it to 3:00).
On a miss, choose one anyway, and mark one segment of your mutation clock (If you don't already have a mutation clock, start one, and mark it to 3:00).

If an NPC is exposed to the fog, infected by a mutant or if Doc Boo opens their brains to the psychic maelstrom, the MC chooses any or all:
They visibly transform into a true mutant (change threat type to Brute or Grotesque)
They secretly develop a hidden mutation (change threat type to Affliction or Grotesque)
They aggressively pursue their threat impulse.  Make a hard and direct move on their behalf.

Mutation Clock:
Choose one:  Lumpy, veiny, discolored, peeling, scaly, oozing.
3:00    Small patch of skin, easily concealable.
6:00     Patch of skin, easily concealable.
9:00     Spreading patch of skin, odd number of toes, concealable with effort.
10:00   Visibly mutated, odd number of fingers, roll+hot to conceal.  MC holds 1. 
11:00   Visibly mutated, odd number of eyes.  Not concealable.  MC holds 2.
12:00   You are a true mutant. 
The MC can spend their hold to make you eat human flesh or hallucinate (if you do it, mark experience, if you don't, you're acting under fire), or infect someone by touch.  At 10:00 and later, if you have sex with, or bite another character, they are exposed to the fog.  The Angel can heal mutation harm as regular harm, and can restore a true mutant as reviving a someone from death.

And then there is the fighting pit in the hardhold.

Fighting Pit
When you enter the fighting pit, roll+hot.
On a 10+, choose 3:
On a 7-9, choose 1:
-Someone in the crowd throws you a weapon (2-harm hand).
-Someone in the crowd distracts your opponent, take +1 forward.
-Someone in the crowd bets on you.  If you win, they will give you 1-barter.  If you lose, they will demand 1-barter.
-Someone in the crowd (you choose who) is impressed or frightened.  Take +1 forward with them when you come out of the pit.
-If you win, you are absolved of a crime or debt.
-You will not be punished for losing.
“Someone” means a named NPC.

If you fight in the fighting pit, and lose, or if you use a gun in the fighting pit, choose one:

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