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Topics - Borogove

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blood & guts / Separate moves with interactive effects
« on: January 18, 2015, 02:01:37 PM »
So I'm thinking about a Star Trek flavored AW hack, and I'm watching some original series episodes to identify various moves.

In the episode "Journey To Babel", at the climax of the story, McCoy is doing heart surgery on the Vulcan ambassador while the Enterprise is under attack. Mechanically, that's two separate move sequences: McCoy is doing healing moves while Kirk is doing ship combat moves; both aspects are dramatic enough to call for moves and die rolls.

However, the jostling and power fluctuations on the ship are interfering with the surgery; the outcome of the doctor's moves are dependent on the success of the captain's moves.

I can think of a few ways to model this in the basic AW framework:

* McCoy rolls Healing, hits 7-9, MC says "the ship is getting shaken around pretty badly, and you're going to lose your patient if the raider ship isn't dealt with right quick; Kirk, what do you do?" This is unusual because the normal 7-9 shtick is to make the acting player make a choice, but here MC's shifting the focus and decision to another player -- not necessarily a bad thing.

* McCoy rolls Healing, misses with a 6, MC says "the ship's getting shaken around too badly, and you're going to lose your patient; Kirk, you can help him here by beating the raider ship." MC doesn't want to reduce the starship fight to a single Help roll; instead she improvises a special move that gives the effect of a Help roll if Kirk beats the raider without the ship taking more than 2 harm or something.

* McCoy rolls Healing, hits 10+, MC says "you'll be able to save him", cuts to Kirk, the space battle plays out, with narrative cuts back to sickbay as the ship gets shaken around. Works fine in vanilla AW rules, but the surgery lacks the suspense that the entire episode has been building towards.

In another context, I've considered using a "reverse countdown clock", requiring multiple successes from the players for different subtasks in order to reach a major goal, and I think that mechanic might be a good way to handle this kind of partially-dependent move series.

Anyone else have ideas on how to handle this?

Apocalypse World / How to make a formidable opponent?
« on: December 24, 2014, 03:55:02 PM »
I'm thinking about how possible it is in AW to make a single NPC into a substantial physical threat for players.

The non-random weapon and armor numbers, the different PC and NPC damage clocks, and the player moves combine such that any "hard" character who can find a reasonably large gun has the odds stacked well in their favor. This is usually just fine; the "view NPCs through crosshairs" and "do what the fiction demands" principles make it perfectly reasonable for PCs to one-shot most enemies.

A while back, though, I was listening to an actual play podcast where the MC introduced an intimidating character, the badass daughter of one of the campaign's Big Bads, clearly intended as a Dragon. A lot of color went into this character, and then the Gunlugger one-shotted her. I don't know how the players and MC felt about it, but from the audience perspective, it was a little anticlimactic.

So what mechanics exist in AW to keep a Dragon alive long enough to be a threat?
* Numerous bodyguards that will immediately kill you right back if you attack
* Relationships that make killing the Dragon consequential in the long term
* Create special moves that have to be performed before the Dragon can be directly attacked ("To disable the shield generator, roll+sharp...")
* Call for Acting Under Fire before the Dragon can be directly attacked

Anything else?

Players in my campaign, note: this is just purely something I was idly wondering about and has no bearing on anything going on in Merciful Bear don't be silly why would you even think that

Apocalypse World / AP: Merciful Bear
« on: November 18, 2014, 11:45:26 AM »
The holding is called Merciful Bear after the nose art of an ancient bomber aircraft whose wreckage (and one good gun turret) makes up part of the scrap-metal wall surrounding the town. The (NPC) hardholder is a woman called Lin; she takes a share of the crops grown in the holding’s poor soil, maintaining a small standing militia of about 12 soldiers, and keeping a distillery running, producing liquor and fuel.

The PCs:

Joo, the Gunlugger sheriff, genetically engineered human/canine hybrid, ex-mercenary and family man; he and his wife and stepson came to town at a time when Lin’s soldiers were getting greedy and abusive, and he put a couple of them down; now he functions as a check on Lin’s power.

Mostly, the Brainer, who recently stumbled into town weak with fever; she owes a debt of gratitude to the local doctor; she has little memory of her past prior to two years ago.

Truth, the Hocus; he and his nomadic sex-and-drugs cult recently arrived and set up camp in the hills just outside of town.

Apocalypse World / Yet another combat move choice question
« on: November 09, 2014, 04:47:48 PM »
MCing for the first time the other night, we came to a point where one of the local hardholder's soldiers, a fellow named Barker, had taken just about enough lip from the PC Hocus, Truth. Barker stepped forward and Truth correctly read his intent to kick Truth in the side of the knee. So far so good.

Truth grabbed for Barker's throat, intending to intimidate him and prevent his attack, establishing dominance without necessarily dealing significant harm. I initially called that a Go Aggro, but after the roll I realized that none of the results really fit the situation, so I switched it retroactively to a Seize By Force; Truth chose to suffer little harm, and to impress/dismay/frighten. Barker took 1-harm; Barker's intended 1-harm kick became 0-harm, and the harm roll made Truth lose his grip on Barker, who fell to the ground - he kicked himself out of Truth's grip, basically, and was intimidated enough to stay down, and that was the end of it.

I'm happy with the outcome in the fiction but still not sure it was the right mechanical option. It seems wrong to decide Seize By Force vs Go Aggro by looking at the list of possible results rather than by the actions and intentions. In this case the stakes weren't super-high, and it worked out great, but I'm curious what other MCs would do in similar situations, and why.

Apocalypse World / Looking for players...
« on: October 23, 2014, 02:17:29 PM »
Hey all - I hope recruiting for players is okay here?

I'm hoping to get an AW game started on I've got one player signed up and am looking for about 3 more.

Weeknights in Pacific time zone, weekly or biweekly, starting in November.

I'm also interested in playing Monsterhearts, MOTW, Dungeon World, or other PBtA games.

The campaign link:

AW:Dark Age / Typos/spelling
« on: September 02, 2014, 08:47:45 PM »
I don't know if I'll have a chance to playtest anytime soon, but I can pick nits at least!

Rights: Personal Prowess: exhilerating s/b exhilarating (also appears on Peasant Beauty playbook)

Battle Moves: Harrassingng Your Enemy

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