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Topics - John Mc

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Apocalypse World / LE Playbooks in 2nd Ed
« on: January 20, 2019, 02:17:24 PM »
I started up a new campaign last night with my shiny 2nd edition hardback.  One of the players asked to play Hoarder and I was up for it, but when we got to Hx things got bumpy.  All the other players are using the new HX system, which doesn't involve them giving any numbers to the Hoarder, and then the Hoarder is giving numbers to everyone else they don't need.  Anyone got an idea how to bridge the gap?  Has this come up for you?  ( I imagine this affects other LE Playbooks from 1st ed)

Freebooting Venus / Burglar
« on: November 06, 2015, 02:10:42 AM »

When you hire a burglar, name a treasure or a spell tablet. The
burglar brings it to you, except…

Is this a choose 1?  A roll X dice?  Who chooses?

other lumpley games / Mobile Frame Zero
« on: March 05, 2012, 08:29:24 PM »
For all the lumpley fans out there: Mobile Frame Zero (the new and improved Mechaton) is up on Kickstarter.

Hopefully we'll hear more from Vincent on this soon...

Murderous Ghosts / Actual Playtest - 2nd Wave - Late Night
« on: October 12, 2011, 07:55:06 PM »
Summary: We had fun, but giving the MC playbook to the less confident player was a problem.  Her determination not to make a mistake, and our general level of tiredness, slowed the pace of the game down too much to sustain the proper emotional mood.  The game went for 90 minutes, with the player escaping from the ghosts on card 7.  We both agreed that things would improve with subsequent play.

So the players are me (John) and my wife (Jennie).  I'm a long time player and MC, with plenty experience and an interest in experimenting.  She's been roleplaying for a long time, but has very little experience running games.  She likes roleplaying, but mostly does it because she's supportive.  (She loves Apocalypse World, btw.)

For starters, we're new parents and both just returned to work.  We're adjusting to a new schedule that includes a lot more than it used to.  So imagine a certain amount of bleariness and shellshock.  The scene opens on us having recently put our daughter to sleep.  We're tired, but desperately trying to include some play time in our day before falling unconscious.

For playtesting purposes I gave Jennie the MC book.  This intimidated her right off the bat, but I reassured her and we both examined the opening sections of our books.  We had a little discussion, but mostly were able to parse out the intro stuff.  We didn't have context yet, but it was a start (for example, I was assuming I'd want her to draw face down cards, but didn't know what they did).  Before we started she seemed to take a while to "prep".  That was a bit of dead time for me, but I was okay with it.

The early descriptions went well, although it took Jennie a minute to get her bearings.  She needed to be reminded about the "underbasement" detail, but it was a minor hiccup.

Play began with my character (Roger) finding a room containing a well decomposed body shackled to a wall.  A series of unpleasant tools lay nearby, with bloodstains and rust a plenty.  Furthermore, I had reasonable suspicions that a child's body was in a pile of rubble in the corner.  I was initially frightened, but reassured myself that this was old news.  I decided that the worst thing (and most likely) that this suggested was Cruelty.  I then related a story of my near-death experience of falling through a rotten floor in an abandoned building.  I had broken my leg and was trapped for some time before freeing myself and crawling out.

I had no desire to disturb evidence of a crime, which I intended to report to the police, so I continued on my way.  The next room, however was not empty.  It contained a gaunt looking old man, apparently a Factory Worker.  He had a circular saw and appeared to be trying to use it to finish some carpentry, but it wasn't plugged in and he was just running it back and forth over the wood.  Despite a fairly non-menacing demeanor, I was sufficiently freaked out to back away toward where I came from.  (High hand got me out safe)

Attempting to retrace my steps to the sewer, I encountered a hideously mutilated child in the next room.  This ghost was playing on a couple of conveyor belts and took immediate notice of me.  Her expression was one of pure hatred, and she appeared to start searching around the belts for something.  I noticed a knife not too far away and decided to flee before she found it.  (I believe this was another high hand.)

There was a brief question about whether I should know which doorway led back toward the sewer, and I quoted the Start text, and she seemed to be happy with that.  We also discussed the MC draw mechanic for a couple minutes.  We eventually agreed that this was the third card pull.  1) Game Start, 2) into the room with the Factory Worker, and 3) passing the Child.  Backtracking to the start room, and then going into the room with the Child were just avoiding the Factory Worker, so passing the Child represented the next new progress.

As I left the room with the Child, she lost interest in me and returned to play.

The next room contained a Crying Woman putting a teddy bear into a box, with other similar boxes in the vicinity.  She immediately rounded on me and accused me of murdering her child.  I tried to talk her down and get past her, (bust) but she (bust again) backed me into a corner and charged me.  I realized at the last second that she was forcing me back toward a sharp spike protruding from the wall.  I responded by dropping to the floor (a move we're both familiar with from martial arts) which allowed me to escape the threat.  Unfortunately (low hand) the tussle and fall banged up my weak knee and left me dragging a badly hurt leg.  Luckily, however, the Crying Woman became distracted by picking up her dropped teddy bear.  I kicked it away to buy time and space and (low hand) was rewarded when she chased after it.  That was enough breathing room to reach the next door.  I didn't look back and was happy when she did not follow.

The doorway opened into a tunnel.  On one side of the tunnel were piles of aging womens clothing and on the other side were piles of human bones.  In the middle was an awful Smelling Man with smooth hands picking through the clothes.  Dragging my bum leg, and breathing heavily, I proceeded through.  The Smelling Man stopped still (low hand?  I must have busted somewhere in there, but I remember this was low.) evidently listening for something, but I paused and he lost interest.  I progressed past and on into the next room.

The next room was deathly quiet, even though I fully expected ambient noises.  It contained two wide open hallways leading away, one lit and one dark.  I was able to continue to the dark one (high hand) which I thought was the way back to the sewer.

The dark path lead me back to the Factory Worker's room, through an entrance I missed the first time.  I had no interest in that path though so I doubled back and tried the light path.  (no draws required)

Of course the lighted hallway was lighted because it contained a stairway right up and out.  (seventh MC card)  So I was home free, just a little worse for wear.

As you can see, the fiction was good.  I've left out plenty of flavor detail, but I was into it.  The above doesn't reflect the silences though.  Each page turn for Jennie seemed to leave her with a couple minutes of reading/thinking.  The Player side was simple, so I often was kicking the ball back to her in 30 seconds, and then waiting 2 minutes before play continued.  Tiredness was definitely a factor.  Jennie's discomfort with being on the spot (she usually won't play games that put the spotlight on her when she hasn't requested it, for example anything with rotating scene-setting like Primetime Adventures.) didn't help, but she was a champ about that.  She didn't complain, she just hesitated a bit, and over analyzed instead of making quick decisions to keep things moving.  Anyways, the 90 minute run time speaks for itself.

Jennie mentioned some feedback and I wish I could remember it better, since her stuff was more tricky.  She found herself describing the scenes and the ghosts at the same time, only to be informed to describe the ghosts later, which I didn't notice as a problem, but stumbled her a bit.  She had trouble limiting herself to the given reaction on 15(b).  I specified "stops still", after which she wanted to "approach directly now", but that seemed to conflict with "stops still" as opposed to "looks at her" and "reaches out to her".  She also expressed some confusion with page 11.  She said she wanted to "Say what the ghost is doing" and then follow it with "The ghost reacts", but those two were mutually exclusive.  In general, I know Jennie would have liked to have read the whole book before play started, just to get some familiarity, but acknowledges that she really needed the context of play for it all to make sense.  She also said things got more comfortable toward the end as she started seeing pages for the third time.

Jennie did walk away excited about the process, although she was selfconscious of her performance as a GM.  She immediately wanted to talk about ways to improve and things to try next time, but was scared about actually having a next time.  :)

I hope we get another opportunity to test this out in the next couple days.  If we do I'll post that up as well.  I suspect that Jennie will do much better given another chance.  Or she might just have me run for her, we'll see.

Apocalypse World / Retirement Question
« on: October 05, 2010, 07:44:53 PM »
Normally when you retire a character you get a new one.

What if you're already playing two characters?  (By taking the improvement with that first one that's now retiring.)

Corollary: Does the number of characters a player has ever decrease?

I could make a ruling, but I'm curious if anyone has any thoughts on this.

Apocalypse World / Rolling with +5
« on: September 18, 2010, 11:08:09 AM »
My players have designed their characters such that they're rolling +3 most of the time (they've got a stat up to +3 and substituted it where they can, then they do things like never read the sitch if Sharp is bad or never open their brain if Weird is low).  Whenever they get bonuses, which is often, they're rolling with +4.  I've even started hitting more and more situations where they've got +5 to the roll.  So here's my question:

When you've got +5 to 2d6, you can't get less than 7.  Does that mean you just can't Miss?  Is that cool?

The most common sources of bonuses are currently reading the sitch, and our Skinner's sex move.  She has tons of hold on people and spends it freely to help them out.  (She's never mean with it, in fact I don't know that any player has used HX to interfere either.)

Apocalypse World / Sixth Sense and Healing Touch
« on: September 05, 2010, 05:28:51 PM »
Quick easy question:

If an Angel has Sixth Sense and Healing Touch, can she roll sharp for Healing Touch?

My bet is that the rules as written say no, but I might overrule that for my specific game.  Still, I'm curious.

Apocalypse World / Repeat Moves
« on: July 22, 2010, 02:12:57 PM »
Could be I'm crazy.  Could be I'm remembering something from playtest that didn't make it to final version.  Could be I just can't remember where I saw it.  Anyways,

I seem to remember that you can't make the same move twice.  Like if you Read a Sitch and miss, then you missed that's done.  Wait for the next Sitch to Read.

We ended up discussing this after last session and I can't remember where I'm getting this from.  My players made a good point, that I should try to change things with my moves such that the same move wouldn't happen twice.  If they try to seize something and miss, then my move should make it unseizable, so we progress to the next thing.  Then one player was like, what if I fail to manipulate, suck up the concequences, and then want to keep trying?  I wasn't sure that was a good idea, and definitely thought Vincent recommended against it, but now I can't find that reference.

Anyways, can you try the same move more than once?

Should the MC try to change the fiction when you fail, but if it makes sense allow another try?

I usually don't make much of a move when they Read a Sitch (although I invent stuff into the fiction, it's more of a revealing I guess).  Can they just do it again if they want more questions? 

If not, what's a new Sitch?  I'm pretty sure I was too limiting on that last time, but I'm curious what others think.  (PC trapped in a burning building is a sitch, if they jump out and are outside now is that a new sitch?  If you and I are arguing, that could be a sitch, if you draw a gun is it a new sitch?)

Is there some place where this is all covered that I read in the past but can't find now?

Apocalypse World / [AP] Barnum's Crossing
« on: July 22, 2010, 11:36:25 AM »
Last Saturday my group got together for our second session of Apocalypse World.  They had a gigantic blast and I thought I'd share the experience, to the extent that it's possible to do so.  :)

A little background: I've got a group of friends who've been meeting on/off for gaming every weekend for 10 years.  Lately it's been more board gaming, but roleplaying is the original activity.  Others had little idea about Apocalypse World, but were willing to give it a shot.  Our 1st session of AW was a huge hit.  The character creation process got high marks from all players, including comments like "Why doesn't every game have these awesome little books?"  It was all smoothness and thrill.  We made the characters seem real, we made the world seem real, we foreshadowed threats to the PCs, we set up a love triangle, we had a fight, and everyone walked away wanting to find out what would happen next.

Barnum, the Hardholder, played by Jeremy.  He's the boss of Barnum's Crossing, which is a merchant town on the intersection of two rivers.  It's got a large population, but small number of guards.  They pay tribute to the local warlord "Gentleman" Jack for protection.  At the end of session 1, Barnum stands up to Jack's emissaries and badly wounds one in a tense climactic scene.

Mercury, the Skinner, played by Jennie (my wife).  She's the most highly sought after courtesan in the hardhold, and currently Barnum's lover.  She's a bit of a hedonist and general free-spirit.  At the end of session 1 she's had an affair with Man, and things are tense between her and Barnum.

Man, the Gunlugger, played by Mike (Mary's husband).  He's scarred body and soul.  He's come to Barnum's Crossing looking for a reason to live, and has fallen in love with Mercury.  He and Barnum have some bad blood in their past.  Session 1 ends with him feeling pretty good about his prospects with Mercury and working for Barnum despite their past history.

Spectre, the Savy-Head, played by Mary.  She's one of Barnum's Crossing's oldest inhabitants and a bedrock of support for Barnum.  She lives alone out in her junkyard between the two intersecting rivers.  She lives to discover past creations and build new ones.  She sees the world as a collection of stories.

For session 2 though I've got two new players.  They show up right as we're about to give up on them.  Unfortunately this means we put things on hold while they make characters.  Fortunately, the creation process is very popular and we cooperate to an unprecedented degree on their characters.  When we get to the HX section, we go around the table and everyone tosses out some invented history worth +1 or -1 at their discretion.  This works very well, because the original players really grasp the HX thing now and are excited about it.  So now we've got:

Snow, the Battlebabe, played by Dena.  She's a cold bitch who thinks survival is as good as it gets.  She's worked with Mercury in the past, but feels threatened by her.

Always, the Hocus, played by Brian (Dena's husband).  He leads the cult of Nuclear in Barnum's Crossing.  Their teachings involve closeness, unity, strength, family, and technology.  The faith exists with the approval of Barnum himself, who is a "Sunday practitioner".

The game starts off with Always hitting his fortune, but his followers have Surplus: +stupor, and Barnum getting 7-9.  The players all agree they want to see +reprisals after last week's climax, so reprisals it is.  Still, I don't lead off with that.

Opening scene: Man shows up at Mercury's place.  He doesn't have a place in town and figures he might as well invite himself into this one.  It looks like they're going to reach a reasonable agreement when one of her customers shows up and asks her out for the evening.  She accepts, which complicates the discussion with Man.  Ultimately she explains her profession and steady thing she's got with Barnum.  Ultimately he blows his attempts at seduction and looks like a super creepy dude.  Some of her hold on him from last week gets spent and he leaves dejected.

Cut to Snow approaching Barnum's Crossing on foot.  She makes out some finely dressed guys on motorcycles scouting the perimeter.  She passes them by and heads in looking for work.  As it happens Barnum's hiring guns in an attempt to discourage the Gentlemen.  Her first task is to take his boys out to cause some trouble for Jack.

Always is communing with his followers in the abandoned nuclear power plant when he hears some scuffling in the rubble.  He investigates and realizes there are intruders skulking around ready to pounce.  He tries to sneak up on them but blows the roll, so plague cultists spring out and capture him.  He takes a couple harm and activates their custom move, (similar to the waders in Hatchet City) which he also blows despite his high Weird.  So now he's abducted and infected.

One of Always's cultists bursts into Barnum's office and demands aid.  Barnum summons Man and tasks him with a rescue mission.  They confer briefly and agree that "quick is better than clean".  Man heads down to the riverside where he's previously seen these "Harbingers", he quickly spots someone who might know something.  A brief interrogation turns up that Always is Down Below (in the caves).  Man marches directly Down Below.  He finds a small gang of cultists and doesn't fool around with any stealth.  He orders them to surrender then tears into them when they go for their weapons.  Always wakes on the ground as gunfire rakes the cave.  Wanting immediate insight, he opens his mind to the maelstrom.  Many impressions leap out of the chaos toward him, but one thing stands out: some of these cultists have something powerful in their possession.  Man has done his work though and the surviving Harbingers are fleeing.  Always seizes a runner by the legs, causing him to lose his satchel and continue his flight without it.  The scene ends as Always examines his prize: a vial of golden slimey substance.

Back to Snow, who's leading Barnum's gang out to where she saw the Gentlemen earlier.  They're getting discouraged when they crest the rise of a hill and notice a large cave mouth below them.  There's echo's of motorcycle engines coming from inside.  Snow quickly dives in, but the gang doesn't follow her...

Barnum's office, he's talking to Specter.  She's requesting three motorcycle engines she needs to build a jury-rigged helicopter.  Just then they see a line of headlights erupt from the ground over in the rich part of town.  Barnum sends Specter to rally his men.  As she leaves he realizes Mercury is in danger.  He grabs his revolver and heads toward trouble.

Mercury is having a fine evening.  The party isn't the best of the season, but likely of the week.  As she seeks out some refreshment she hears a ruckus outside.  She goes to the (2nd story) balcony to observe.  It's the Gentlemen and they're raiding in force.  She tries to take a read but misses.  One of the Gentlemen takes notice of her beauty and orders a concerted attack to get her.  Turning she finds her date has abandoned her and everyone is fleeing.  She tries to run downstairs and out the back door, but realizes she'd have to shoot her way through the mob to get out.  (This was my one fuck up, she hit a 7 and my worse outcome was too much worse, c'est la vie.)  Back on the second floor she's running out of time.  She makes a desperate leap out a back window into the alley, and comes down hard on one ankle for 2 harm (ap).  Still, she hobbles down the alley trying to avoid attention.  Just as she's about to make it clear when she spots a Gentleman accosting a young woman.  Using her natural charms, she distracts him from his prey and convinces him to meet her in an hour elsewhere.  The lug wanders off and she walks free of the nightmare a heroine.

Barnum is headed directly into the chaos, but is realizing how out matched he is.  He grabs a fleeing merchant and orders him to sound the alarm.  The merchant begs off as he's unarmed, but Barnum hands over his revolver and orders him on.  After this sacrifice, Barnum turns again toward the violence, perhaps even more out matched.  As he approaches the party that Mercury has just escaped she spots him across a wide avenue.  In relief she runs to him and calls out.  He turns just in time to see her scooped up into the arms of a passing Gentleman.  He cries out her name as she's carried away from him.  He hesitates not a moment, immediately charging the nearest Gentleman and seizing a motorcycle for himself.  He ends up being struck by a nail studded bat, but he ignores the pain as he races after his love.

Snow, Specter, Man, and Always arrive just in time to see Barnum's chase in the distance.  Snow unslings her rifle and tries to take down the Gentlemen who're intercepting Barnum.  She misses terribly though.  In fact she hits Mercury's date from earlier and draws return fire from some more Gentlemen.  The group is taking incidental fire, but Man ignores it and tries to slow down Mercury's abductor with some distracting fire, which succeeds.  Always opens his mind to the psychic maelstrom in an attempt to contact his followers, but shit doesn't really work that way.  Instead he feels a presence, resting deep in Down Below.  "Do you want to rouse it?" He totally does.

Back to our chase, Barnum is gaining on his quarry.  The Gentleman really wants to make off with his prize though, so he attempts to lose Barnum amidst some obstacles.  Barnum is undaunted and weaves right through.  At the same time he manages to lose his two pursuers in the same obstacles, without taking any fire at all.  Finally it's down to the home stretch.  They're coming up on the cave that the Gentlemen used to get into the Crossing, and dozens of Gentlemen are riding into it at this very moment.  Barnum moves to seize Mercury, which she assists by flailing at her abductor.  Barnum rides up a wall of rubble and flies across the path of the other motorcycle, grabbing Mercury and taking definite hold of her while he shocks and awes the assembled Gentlemen.  Before they can react he tears ass right out of there.  He doesn't stop until they reach the bridge in the center of town.  At which point they're swept up in passion.

While the two enjoy being alive and in each other's arms the camera pulls out to reveal a rifle scope.  Man is watching the whole thing with a pained expression.  He heads off to the bar to get drunk, where he learns two things.  One, Mercury's date is dead and his landlord has an apartment for Man, and two, there are hard drugs to be had down on the wharf.  Man goes down to score what turns out to be "Honey".  The same substance Always discovered earlier.  He takes it immediately and starts experiencing extremely pleasant hallucinations.  He retires to his new loft to dream.

In our final scene, Always retreats to his temple where his followers have gathered out of fear.  They pray together and he augurs for answers to his new-found affliction.  He isolates and draws out of the maelstrom everything Tao, the leader of the Harbingers, knows about sustaining life despite his plague ridden body.  However he leaves behind quite a bit of his own knowledge and we discover that he was not always a priest.  Sorrow Snake, the father before him, saved him from a life of crime, but taught another aspect of the Nuclear: Fission.  Always deposed him and drove him out of Barnum's Crossing.  He's still out there though...

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