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Topics - Aetius

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It was a sunny and hot afternoon and we sit down, at the end of a convention,between the fumes of lard-fried pork filled with pig meat, to play Dark Age. International crew, Italian and German, so nobody was speaking his mothertongue and we were all males, Moreno Roncucci, Francesco Berni, Matteo Casali, Tim Franzke and myself. Moreno didn't stay until the end.
We decided to go for a traditionally MC-ed game, mostly out of fear, and because I was more than willing to MCing.

The game has been... insightful.
I've felt like different muscle stretching than the one I usually use in PbtA games. Maybe it was the setting and the fiction that were my bread and butter so I was able to immerse in it fully without effort, or maybe something else.
The Right moves are majestically thematic and effective. They allow you to glue your game to the setting, to the thematic choices and allow for a quicker snowball effect than before. Now literally whatever you do has mechanic and fictional consequences.

The playtest package has a lot of stuff in it, a lot of paper. Next time I'm going to remember to print the Holdings and Households sheet behind the character sheet, and maybe organize all the material I'll need in a small binder. In fifteen minutes we had the table full of slips of papers, maps, people details and so on. That's not necessarly a bad stuff, I like to play with paper, reorganize it, allow it to form patterns, but I need a way to sort it.
And to print several copies of the People Creation sheet.

Stronghold creation has been a blast. On the long side, but a really cool way to brainstorm and have the collective creative juices starting run. Since just talking would had slowed too much (Italians, am I right?), I often ask to do thing like choosing one option each, or cross out an option each.
It went fairly smoothy and we came out with the fortress of Wassershild (because you always have to exploit the German guy for cool names), basically a fortified raiding post strategically located at the center of a bay, connected to the mainland only by a tidal bridge.

The only doubt I have is in the What does its armory include section. Now that I'm reviewing it it seems clear that if you don't mark something it has 10 pieces, if you mark once it has 20 and if you mark twice it has 60. Am I correct? It wasn't very clear, at the table.

Another little difficulty has been to explain the concept of Household. It was clear to me (but, again, I studied these things most of my adult life, so I probably am biased) how members of a War Order could come from 16 different "families" and the concentric relationships these kind of things mean, but I had some hard time explaining it to the players.

Anyway between now and my work detailing the other people around during characters creation, we came out with the Sea-Devils, a christian(ish) warrior order/band of riders, menacing a trading town part of a bigger system of "roman/barbaric" towns and warring with a ragtag army of small tribes and clan reunited under the whip of an old enemy of their leaders, the mysterious Seleukos.

We used all the kinds of People Sheets, and I found the one with the Notables list at the bottom the most useful, but what I really need is a sheet listing the options. Creating People hase been fun and creative, but it risks to become an endevour and to stop the game too often. Having to circle the chosen options instead of writing them would be better and quicker.

The booklets have been presented only by a slightly dramatic reading of the verses, and it was very effective. Only Moreno choose to be a Sea Devil, the War Champion of the Sea Devils actually, but the other created three more people. The Troll Slayer was a woman coming from a group of clans in the far north, devoted to monster-slaying, the Dragon Herald came from a pagan village near the territory of the Sea Devil and the Paesant Beauty was a sort of indentured servant coming from a People that styled themselves as the descendants of the Kings of Old.

In the meanwhile I created three more cultures: two People to colour up my ragtag army, and a more civilized People to populate the town. Everything had a disctinctive German/Celtic/Nordic feeling, so I gave the enemy of the Sea Devils the most south-oriental name in the list, Seleukos, because I'm that cool :-P

A lot of cultures in play, a lot of differences and variations. It was very, very good. In a few minutes I had all the materials, from myself and the other player, to depict a really divise world, a colorful, varied and shifting world. I didn't take a big effort on my part: with the help of everyone I had a lot of different details, idea and broadly-but-effectively characterized cultures in play.
That's part of what I lacked in Apocalypse World, and it works very, very well.

I loved the season moves. Some of the fought, some of them prepared for the big fight incoming, the Dragon Herald and the Troll Slayed spent the Summer by celebrating with their People, gaining the Right to Enchant Someone or Something and the Right to a Magic Weapon.
Another doubt. Can anyone perform Enchantments or only those who have such Right?

We played and I really pushed for that big battle that you need, with Seleukos coming to "make peace", in an obvious rouse tohave the Sea Devils open the gates of Wassershild.

I had some indecisions on when shift from personal moves to war moves, since at least two strong personal champions where in play. The War Champion and the Troll Slayer personally attacked Seleukos' army (they were advancing on a very small tidal bridge, it wasn't totally unreasonable) and they did things like jumping over a shieldwall and beign captured. I was a little in doubt if allowing them those things or not, and if to activate Jump Into Action (because they were literally doing that), Join them in Personal Combat when they attacked the leader of the company (even if he was surrounded by is men) or call for the Battle Moves and rise the camera above personal level immediatly.
I suppose I need more experience with this kind of things. Again, it feels different from the other Apocalypse Games, I'm again on a learning curve (thank you! I needed this!).

Creating the war company was a little confusing. Not difficult per se, but there was a lot of things to move, write down, consider. I really would have needed to call a little pause in the game to do the contability stuff, but I suppose that it is another of those experience things. It's quite linear, after all, just... full of things.
Next time I'll just stop and take the opportunity to ask questions about the aspects of the War Band(s) I'm going to detail.

The only real doubt I have is on the opportunity to use the When Coming Under Attack move. The Sea Devils were lead by the Paesant Beauty, of course, but the other warband was lead by Seleukos, an NPC, and hadn't any PC in it. I rolled the dice, as the MC, because I felt that the battle would have been incomplete without the Coming Under Attack move. Was I right? It felt weird to roll dice as an MC.

When I created Seleukos' warband I was afraid I was going too far There was something like 60 people, with shieldwalls (the town joined the raiding army, out of fear), bows and cavalry, against less than 20 people lightly armed with bows and polearms.
I thought I was about to witness Seleukos trash the ground with the Sea Devils' collective ass without breaking a sweat.

I was totally wrong.

The rules for battles are wonderful and deceptive. Following them the players had the full opportunity to strike in a tactically significative way, I had the opportunity to foster new interesting twists in the narrative killing the old Sea Devils chief and realized that having stone walls surrounding your houses, reachable only by the smallest istmus is really something in this game. The fictional descriptions flowed seamlessly into values and numbers and gave us a result totally plausible and, at the same time, very exciting: the Sea Devils bloodied Seleukos' ragtag army, loose some important man but were able to defend themselves mostly tanks to their absolute advantage position.

I was surprised and delighted by that.

Things happened alongside and immediatly after the battle. The Troll Slayer slaughtered Seleukos magically-protected ass, the Dragon Herald begun some intricate religious plot while the Paesant Beauty tried to keep the Sea Devils together after the death of their leader.

It hasn't been a blasting game (good, quite fun, not memorable), we were tired and inexperienced, but it carried the promises of great games to come. I've learned something on how to present it next time, on how organize myslef to play it and I have the sensation that it will really, really change the way I look at Apocalypse games.

Thank you.

Apocalypse World / The sleeping Gunlugger and the shitty knife.
« on: November 12, 2011, 08:45:24 AM »
Hi to everybody.

I would like to continue more deeply the discourse started here on variations for weapons in particular situations.
I'm talking especially about this post of mine and the answer by gregorpogor.

Let's imagine this situation.

Fifi the Gunlugger is sleeping beside Rouge the Battlebabe. Rouge went out of her way to put Fifi out of the game. She fought to acquire a strong narcotic, she seduced him into drink it, she fucked with him all night.
The point here is: Fifi the Gunlugger is down, defenitively by means of several moves from Rouge. Fifi's player has got plenty of possibilities to interfere and whatnot, bun now he's out.

Now Rouge takes his faithful knife and thrusts through Fifi's right eye, down, into the brain.

If you don't like this, let's say she cut his troath, or paints the bed red with his brain shooting her 9mm. It works even with a granade in his as... mouth. Basically she does something to proof-kill him: no human being could survive this.

I think this isn't even a move, a going aggro. Fifi is out. Rouge does it, stop.

But, really, Rouge's knife is only 2harm (and so is the 9mm), and usually the mighty Gunlugger can just shake off this ridicolous damage!
But... in the fiction it happened! Fifi got his brain pierced. He is, basically, dead.

How can I resolve this situation?
I've got three hypotesis running in my head.

1) 2harm is 2harm. If you want to kill Fifi you've got to repetedly stab his brain, at least 3 times.
2) Fifi's dead. No debilities, nothing. Goodbye Fifi.
3) Fifi's countodwn clock goes instantly to 12.00. Now... are we talking about debilities?

I must be frank: i like the first one the least and the third the most.
The first one is... strange. Even in a Hollywood movie it would be ridicoulus to see someone stabbed three times throught the eye before dieing.
The last one is... elegant, I believe. Ad Gregpogor said countdown are descriptive and prescritive. If something happens to send me at 12.00... I go at 12.00.

What do you think?
I'd like very much an answer from Vincent: what is "kosher" for you? But, please, I'll like also to hear different opinions and reasoning on this matter.

Apocalypse World / A non-Angel healing
« on: February 16, 2011, 03:40:13 PM »
Good Apoclaypse to all.

A simple question buzz in my head since my first AW session: how do you handle the healing, even the basic first-aid by a non-Angel character?

My Faceless, Meat, and my fiancée's Quarantine, Jenny, were helping a poor boy, Rum, which was shot.
"His heart stops. He's dead" said the MC. "No, wait!" I screamed, "I try a crude reanimation, hitting hard his chest! Beat, bastard, beat! "

It was obvious to us to roll "Act under fire", the fire being the fading of poor Rum's life.
I succeded, we managed to keep him barely alive (no real healing on the countdown clock: he was stabile at a inch from death) and the only solution was to hibernate him in Quarantine's vault.

All this was wonderfully coherent in fiction, but I marvel: is correct to handle healing in this way?

If I use an Angel kit to stabilize someone I must spend it to have a +1 to the roll, but Meat the Faceless, just with his fist, take a +2.
Isn't this going to strip the angel kits (and the Angel) of part of their utility?

Also, you give acces to angel kit to everyone or reserve it for Angels or moves like "prepare to the inevitable"?
If everyone can access and use kits like an Angel isn't he a little... dull?

Apocalypse World / Faces for the Faceless
« on: January 28, 2011, 04:20:23 AM »
This blog is in cyrillic, and maybe you must scroll down a little, but some of those creation are perfect for your leathery, baroque apocalypse ;-)

Apocalypse World / Small Question on the Quarantine
« on: January 27, 2011, 06:29:22 AM »
Good Apocalypse to all.

The name of the Quarantine is:
Specialist [Last Name], [First Name] [MI].

Here in Italy there is a small fuss about what "MI" really means.
Some think that it means Mobile Infantry, others read it as "Middle Initial" so the name of the Quarantine should be "Specialist Donovan, Jenny S."

Can some of you america-born guys enlighten us dumb european about your funny abbreviations? ;-)

Thank you all.

Apocalypse World / Skinner and Hardholder having sex
« on: January 14, 2011, 05:35:38 PM »
Good apocalypse to all.
I'm sorry if this question already got an answer, but If it had... I cannot found it.

So... Shade the Skinner and Vega the Hardholder like each other and, as is customary to Apocalypse World, they express phisically their love.
Special Moves Time!
Shade is a Skinner, so he pimps himself and Vega owe him gifts for 1-barter.
Vega is an Hardholder so he can gift his partner with 1-barter.

Do the two special moves cancel each other (the barter Shade get is the same Vega is getting for free from his Special Move) or do they add together, so now Shade is 2-barter richer than before?
Or are they both feasible solutions, to be chosen case by case?

What do you think?

Apocalypse World / Driver and motorcycle
« on: January 13, 2011, 06:59:23 PM »
Good apocalypse to all, guys.

I'm sorry if this question has already been raised, but I'm not entirely familiar with this board and the search didn't found anything.

My doubt is this: can I be a Driver with a shiny, cool, noisy motorcicle instead of a boooooring car?
Yes, I know I can choose a motorcycle instead of a car with the collector move, but can I START with it, without even bother me with a fucking four wheels?

I'm aware that this is probably a silly question, but I'm a bit shy fooling around with written rules and I don't want to destabilize some kind of game balance...

Thank you.

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