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Topics - caitlynn

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AW:Dark Age / How many players?
« on: March 03, 2014, 07:59:10 PM »
Didn't see this anywhere - I'm guessing at least three, plus MC?

AW:Dark Age / Making Additional Characters and Politics
« on: March 03, 2014, 06:12:23 PM »
When you mark the XP thing to create an additional character, do you think that would impede on the political aspect of the game? I haven't watched Game of Thrones or any of the source material, to be honest, so maybe I'm just not seeing it, but it would seem to me that having an additional major player in the game would give you a bonus over the other players, as far as politics goes. Ugh, this sounds too vague. Do you see what I'm asking, Vincent, or do I need to rephrase?

other lumpley games / Storming the Wizard's Tower playtest document
« on: August 03, 2013, 10:47:15 PM »
Is the Storming the Wizard's Tower playtest thing up anywhere? I'd love to get a look at it again.

other lumpley games / [Dogs] Can a woman become steward?
« on: April 17, 2012, 06:38:19 AM »
I can't find the information! Can a woman become steward? Is that a sin?

What if she's a former Dog?

other lumpley games / Escalation in Poison'd and IAWA
« on: April 11, 2012, 11:37:08 PM »
So, in Dogs, you just keep on going until someone taps out. We're talking conflicts here. But Poison'd says at three rounds, we stop. Apocalypse World, too, if you use the combat moves, they give you the clock countdown and say, after a certain limit, we stop. In a Wicked Age says this as well: after three rounds, stop.

A few questions about that, Vincent!

1) Is there a reason for that? Talking about design here, what is it about conflict in these games that made you say, "these shouldn't keep going. I want to come to a decisive winner after three rounds," or whatever.

2) Why doesn't Dogs worry about that, but later games do? Dogs can keep going as long as they have dice as ammo. I'm betting this isn't a general game design statement and it's more situated with each individual game, but I don't know these things until I ask. Dogs can escalate forever and ever (as long as dice are there), but you can't do that in Poison'd or IAWA.

3) If the answer to the first question is anything along the lines of, "I don't dig when conflict just goes on and on and on back and forth and wanted to avoid that," then can you elaborate more on that? Do you feel it's bad design, or that it gets old and boring? In your opinion, and broadly, of course, not accounting for every game ever.

4) What do you think the three-round structure solves about conflict and about back-and-forths, if anything?

I'm tinkering with a game that goes back and forth repeatedly and these games came to mind!

brainstorming & development / The Boy and The Girl
« on: February 26, 2012, 02:46:41 PM »
So, I've made a hack! It's a two-player (one GM, one player) fantasy thing based on child adventurers going on epic quests much bigger than themselves. You fight Monsters, run from Goblins, and try to get a kidnapped princess back to her home in another dimension.

You play a Goblin who's made 7 or 8 years old, cast out by your kind, trying to get the princess (a weirdo human-esque girl from another dimension) back to her home. But the Demon King is after you, and you'll have to defeat the Monsters he's hidden his soul in first before the way is laid bare.

You can find the playtest document here:

A moves sheet is here:

And a character sheet!:

An MC sheet is coming shortly.

I'm looking for people who can throw in one or two sessions (or more is fine!) by the end of March!

(came up with a solution to just publicly post the playtest, so we're solid! Disregard any previous nonsense this post said)

In the mean time, I'll use this thread to post up art for the final project as it trickles in, answer questions, and discuss anything related to it. Thanks!

Apocalypse World / The Touchstone and the Quarantine - questions
« on: February 15, 2012, 09:29:33 PM »
1. Why the Touchstone's sex move? It has you scribble out possible advancements if you screw someone you don't love. Where does that fit in with the character? I'm not saying it doesn't! I'm saying I don't quite understand the angle.

2. The Quarantine can ask questions about the past at the beginning of each session. The MC answers questions on a hit, but on a miss, the player answers instead. Why? Specifically, why is that the miss option?

Apocalypse World / Names and their power
« on: February 07, 2012, 02:37:39 PM »
Going along at character creation, I've never had anyone deviate from the Looks, Eyes, Body, etc. bit. "I have a lush body, I wear fetish-bondage gear, I have arresting eyes, all fine." I'm sure it happens, but I'm talking about personal experience - it's never happened, for me.

Names are another thing entirely.

This isn't about "Do you let your players pick names other than from the lists?", because that conversation's been done to death. I'm talking about why they would even want to. For reference, nearly all of my players have selected their own names, using the list of names as a color reference, like how you might scroll over some old-timey biblical names when you're thinking what to call your characters in Dogs in the Vineyard.

No, you can tell a player, "You get to be either a Gunlugger or a Skinner. You get to be either really Hard or really Weird, but not both. You can have this feature on your gun but not that. Are your eyes like this or like this?" And you go on and on, narrowing it down even more, until you arrive at a person. They don't resist! Do your players? Maybe. This was the same when we'd play Vampire, and they were all, "Gotcha, I can pick from this list of clans. I get to pick from these powers. I get these abilities, these skills."

But when you enforce naming conventions, that's when I've seen major contention.

Names means something else above and beyond everything else about a character - at least for my players, anyway. And I've played with a lot of different people! They'll take forever, maybe hours or even days, to find the right name. We're talking having giant lists of baby names in different cultures bookmarked, and going through them in painful detail to find just the right thing.

I found this especially relevant due to AW's list of names, a small selection it wants you to pick from at the start, and my players' insistence on deviating, despite being cool with every other detail.

Do names imply more about a character than their eyes, their clothes, than what they say? Can slapping a bad name on an amazing character ruin things? Does a name have more power than we think? I'm curious as to everyone's stories and thoughts on this.

other lumpley games / [DitV] Raising / Seeing question
« on: February 03, 2012, 05:03:02 PM »
Let's say Alice and Bill are in conflict against each other.

Alice: (raise) "I charge through the blinding rain on my horse! It's a bad storm, near-impossible to see through, everything's just shadows to you."

Bill: (see) "I struggle along trying to find you for a long time, but then the rain lets up, so now I can see!"

Can that happen? Can players take control over outside events as part of their dice-setting? Here, Alice says she's going through this rain storm, but when it's Bill's turn, he transforms it. Nobody in particular owns the rainstorm, and I'm sure you can use it the way Alice did, but can you just change it whenever you like, as Bill had?

Or what if Bill had said, "Your horse hurts his leg. He's not out of it, but he slows down enough I can track you through the rain."

Here's another one. Say Alice wants to get out of having to go stand for judgment in front of the other Dogs. They're saying to her, "We really need to talk to you, and we're trying to be nice about this. You've wasted enough time, let's go." So Alice says, "I totally can't, because I'm too sick. I need bed rest for days!" which will hopefully buy her enough time to think of a plan to escape judgment.

Alice: (raise) "My nausea is so bad, my fever is going up, my vision is blurry - if I leave the bed, it'll be really bad." (This isn't the character speaking, this is the player saying something about her character. She's not faking it, either, she's legit sick.)

Bill: (see) "It's not that bad. You can come out here. It might be unpleasant, but we can still do this."

Here, Alice has invented something about her character. Can Bill do what he just did, and modify that property as part of his See? I see a distinction between this and the first example.

"(raise) I take the Steward's gun and blast holes through the wall!"
"(see) No way, turns out it wasn't loaded!"

or even,

"(see) Yeah, but it's a crappy gun and the walls are thick, so you just make little small holes."

Can the PCs control the weather, the setting, inanimate objects, the sun, etc.? Can they weaken, bolster, or otherwise transform an event already stated? (It's raining, but now it isn't. But now it is again! I'm sick! You're not sick enough!)

Apocalypse World / Dicepocalypse
« on: January 20, 2012, 05:53:43 PM »
Best dice for Apocalypse World, or Bestest Dice?

Found a link to the place on They've got apocalyptic dice of all colors under the "NUKE" category. Even a glow-in-the-dark set! Fancy.

Murderous Ghosts / Playtest: Cassandra and the ugly smushed-up ghosts.
« on: October 04, 2011, 03:01:10 PM »
Played it with my girlfriend just now. She gets spooked easily. Unfortunately, this didn't do it for her - but that was mostly my clumsiness, and we're both eager to try again. I GMed, she played, and she's willing to do it the other way around, though normally she doesn't like GMing.

This went very slow, very awkward. I can't say there were very many navigation problems: we both understood to draw, to turn to things. It took her a little bit to remember she could discard her hand before drawing, but then she was using that to her advantage like a boss. I have no doubt that going into it next time, when we know what's up, it'll go smoother.

We got to a point where we were looping around a lot, a lot of interacting with ghosts but they didn't really do much towards her, so we were drawing cards and hopping pages but not really anything was happening. The idea I had was a couple who used to work in an old factory back in the thirties, they were a couple because the woman was cheating on her husband with this guy, and this guy was in a position of power and tried to burn the place down, and he hunted them down in the halls and bashed them over and over with a big sledgehammer. I couldn't really think of much evidence to show for it - threw some skeletons down there, showed the place in supreme disrepair. But I couldn't think of a way for it to be really transparent - there were just some ghosts here, and I couldn't think of any logical way to convey what kind of crime had transpired to them to the player.

Instead, she was really just trying to get out and get away from the ghosts. She met one, a male ghost, all smashed and distorted, trying to do his job, repairs around the big open room she was in. She ended up leaving this room because the ghost started calling her by name, and screw that. The next room featured a woman ghost - the pacing felt weird, not dramatic or tense, just "get to the point", I was keeping the game's timeframe in mind - and this woman was trying to escape, and in her hellish ghost world of the past, the place was burning and she was trapped. The player attempted to leave, only to find a big set of locked doors barring her way. The ghost noticed her and tried to get her to help her escape, but the player couldn't figure out how: she wanted to leave through those double doors, but there's no way to open them! Locked, rusted shut, something. So eventually the ghost gets pissed and threatens her for not cooperating, and pulls off a layer of sheet metal from the wall and all its nasty, rusty nails, and throws it at the player. She leaps out of the way and returns to the room she just came from - no other way out!

This room was empty now, so she headed up to an office on the second floor. She goes inside to investigate and the male ghost from before enters, muttering about people being after him, saying he's got to leave. The ghost notices the player and attacks her, she gets strangled and dies. The end.

Afterwards, the player noted how dismal most all of the endings were. Appropriate, given the story we're telling. I don't feel comfortable saying the game didn't go well since it was awkward and our first time with a new system, especially one as weird as this (in a good way: my girlfriend asked, "Why doesn't he just make a goddamn d20 game like everyone else?", in jest).

We weren't aware at first if the player was supposed to read aloud the section they turned to. Like, it tells you on 2 to pick what you hope the ghost doesn't do, and the way her hand went, she told me that and what the ghost did instead. At this point, we weren't telling each other what our sections said, so when I started having ghosts do other things that were on the list, we had to stop for a moment and figure out how transparent this information is supposed to be. We went with her telling me everything from the player's book, and me being kind of secretive about my information. Not sure how it was supposed to be handled.

The repetition got kind of bad, because it turned into, "I can't think of a logical reason why these ghosts would do this, so they're going to stay to their own devices." Even after we did the back and forth and figured things out, I guess I just made some piss-poor ghosts. It was a little frustrating, letting the pace of things be dictated by the jumps and card draws, because we felt like it was trying to get us to do one thing but we wanted our characters, NPCs to do another.

Next time, at least, we're going to draw a map.

Also, first time around, we didn't realize how much prompting and improv would be required of us. It was jarring, and led to some bare-bones description. It didn't feel cohesive. There were a lot of instances where we read things and thought about the consequences, but it led to some weak narration. We didn't have any idea where we were headed or what was expected of us. I know it's just a playtest document, and it's without any glitz or glamour, no introductions or supporting information really, but as per request, I'm playing it as if it were a complete game.

We liked it though. We're eager to try it again. Probably some of the issues we had can be tidied up with a bit more experience under our belts as well as a deeper narrative, knowing now what's expected of us. However, I'm worried that there's only four, five games tops to be had out of this, that even though it all loops around to help craft a ghost story, that it's a very limited tale, and not one I'd want to revisit that often. But it's really neat.

other lumpley games / Mechaton stuff
« on: December 11, 2010, 11:49:37 AM »
I combed the Mechaton discussions over on anyway, so if these have already been answered, then curse my inability to notice things.

I guess I'm either asking for your opinion, Vincent, (or anyone else's!) or for any decisions you may have come to since last you discussed the game.

1) Space attachments were mentioned and explained, but I never saw anything for underwater attachments, which were also mentioned. How do those work? Do they use vector movement?

2) What about battlefields that are half space, half not, or half water, half not, any special rulings there?

3) There was mention of no longer subtracting -1 from defense and spot, and additionally, if your attack = their defense, you do no damage, but get to use any spot die they may have on them. Was that ever tested, would you advise that?

4) What about interactive terrain: like jeeps or tanks or crowds of people that might move or do interesting things during the turn? Could you have objectives or stations that move or attack - or heck, even any kind of terrain?

5) When you're doing campaign play, do you scale the objective multipliers - or the number of objectives - or anything like that? Like, is it the same for three people as well as two people, or even five?

6) What's your general procedure for fiction during a campaign? Do you have a set way of doing it - establish this before this, then this - or is it more or less freeform?

7) If I make little infantry squads or flying spaceships to fight alongside my mechs, the only difference about them is their looks - there's no mechanical significance between ships or anything else, right?

8) What all constraints can you impose on a campaign battle when it's your turn?

Apocalypse World / Additional Prep For Play
« on: September 27, 2010, 10:22:20 PM »
So I've been experimenting with different prep sheets and different ways of organizing / teasing information from what comes out of the session. Thought I might share some things with everyone!

All this comes into play strictly by the second session, never the first. I let everything learned from the first session sink in before worrying about all this. Kinda like fronts!

1.) Barf Forth Apocalyptica Sheet
This is all done in a spiral bound notebook, all of these are. Target had some clearance notebooks on sale, and they were selling a bunch of them for 3 cents a piece! I loaded up.

Anyway, after getting a handle on what kind of world / environment we're dealing with (in my current game, it's a frozen-over wasteland), I fill this out with details. It helps me when I need apocalyptica, mainly by keeping it focused and consistent.

At the top of the sheet I write DESCRIPTORS, and I think of three words that best sum up the Apocalypse World our group has made. For this one, I've got: "cold, mists, wind". They're prompts, basically. I try to tie in a lot of my apocalpytica with those three words, but at the same time, I don't force it. If I can come up with something that deals with the cold, with mists, or with wind, then there you go - if not, no big deal. But these are a reminder of what the world is known for, and what will tie in consistency with the group. They're prompts that say, "Don't use these exclusively, but use them often."

Under that, I write QUESTIONS, and these are pretty much like the I Wonder... part on the first session sheet. Here, I write things I want to find out or that jump to me. I always write: "What's the maelstrom like, and what do people call it?" on there, as a rule. Treating the maelstrom like an NPC, giving it a name, description, and self-interests - and oh boy, PC-NPC-PC triangles! - stops it from being a faceless answering machine.

Other questions I have are:
- How does the cold weather impact travel?
- What do the mists obscure?
- What's carried on the wind?

These aren't stakes, but they very well might end up as such! But no, these are things I look for in the PC's answers and descriptions of the world, and in what the apocalyptica is shaping to. Most of this is just bits of flavor that don't have the weight of stakes or I Wonders..., but instead make intriguing set dressing. Notice how, though, I've got "How does the cold weather impact travel?" We've got a Driver in the group, so that's totally going over to the 1st session sheet. Sometimes it happens, and it's cool.

What do the mists obscure? Very open-ended. Could be any given thing at any given time. Could be symbolic or literal! But they're mists, and they're damn sure obscuring something, and I want to know what. What's carried on the wind? I know that sulfurous, smelly, salt-water-garbage air is one answer, but what else? Sounds? What kind of sounds? Animal howling? Gunshots?

The last thing on the sheet is APOCALYPTICA, and these are pre-generated color statements for when I need one quick but I'm drawing a blank. They tend to follow as possible answers from the questions above, but they don't always have to.

- The tree-people, who wear thick furs, hides, and human skins.
- Frozen-over landscapes just barely hinted at in the sunlight, buried deep, deep down.
- Bumping into something large and scary in the mists.

So I'll just cross them out when I use them and apply them to the situation at hand. "Boxer, you're trying to find your way back to the station? It's thick as all hell out here, you can't see anything. Then, like, you're slamming into something hard and heavy, and you fall on your ass, and you look up to see gleaming red lights eight or nine feet above you."

Miscellaneous features include a memo: "Remember to Digress!"

2.) Questions Sheet
For asking provocative questions!

Up at the top, I remind myself: "immediate and intimate details of their experiences," and under that, "sometimes follow-up questions that promote character development or antagonism." With that last part, when I feel like, I ask a related questions, but try to cut deeper into the character. Or sometimes I ask someone else something, see what it reveals about them. It's really cool to see how someone else's answer to a question fleshes out YOUR character. And then sometimes, I try to start shit between people in the group - "Hey, Pallor, which of these guys is the easiest to kill, do you think?"

Anyway, under that, I've got question prompts. I have a small list, but enough room to add more as we play. They're prompts that I think best bring out intimate and immediate details. Just like the ones listed in the book, pretty much! Sounds, tastes, specific details, history, thoughts and feelings. That's so you can ask, "Why is Stork Row surrounded by walls?"

"What does the mist smell like?"

"How do you combat the cold weather?"

And, as I said, plenty of room to add more prompts if I suddenly go, "Man, what about emotions? Huh!"

Then down underneath that, at the bottom, the PROCESS:

1) barf apocalyptica on it
2) refer to it later in play
3) use it and its implications to inform your aesthetic

Just a reminder!

3.) Play Sheet
This sits right next to my 1st session worksheet. It's basically where I write my notes, answers, and scribbles before finalizing it anywhere else.

Up at the top I've got the DOCKING BAY, which is where, when I ask a question, I write the answer down. "How do you combat the cold?"

"Thick jackets, furs."

And room to write down which PCs this applies to, as well as extra space to barf apocalyptica on it - and then, later on in play, I can scan the list and reincorporate it! This helps facilitate the Process from the previous sheet.

Thick jackets and furs - PCs: Boxer, Jag - how to keep warm. Dirty but warm jackets, stretched animal hides and mottled fur, little spines and grooves on the skins. Maybe little tassels or rabbit's feet or something hanging from them?

I also put plans or objectives the PCs undertake: Pallor went to go find a medic for Boxer. Jag wants to avoid Winkle. Boxer needs medical attention.

None of those need to be connected, don't look at it that way. Sometimes they are. But look at each one as its own individual thing. I only put stuff that gives me a chance to respond in a big, interesting way, or things that might take some time - like if I could jump to a new scene before resolving it. But it's there so that I can scribble down some notes:

How could I respond with fuckery?
What apocalyptica applies here?
Does this beg some questions?
How will this invoke any PC-NPC-PC triangles?

Lastly, at the very bottom, there's OFF-SCREEN ACTION. If I'm thinking, "Brace Win is totally going to gather some people, start some trouble," then I'll write it down there. I'll bring it in when it seems appropriate. Any "Announce off-screen badness" goes here, as well as any open-ended "Announce future badness."

4.) NPCs

Lastly, on the back of Front sheets, I write down some things about my NPCs.

Name - current self-interest - how does this NPC engage in a PC-NPC-PC triangle?

Here's Krin. A basic run-down, Pallor the brainer froze her in place with Puppet Strings, and kinda forgot about her, so she had to stay and watch while he raped and abused the love of her life (he did it for the Deep Brain Scan sex move, for a job) - so now she tries to attack him whenever possible, and enlists powerful people to help hunt him down (like the group's gunlugger, Boxer!):

Krin - wants to torture Pallor - shows undying love (to her dead boyfriend) and strength to Pallor, and shows desperation and need to Boxer.

The goal of these sheets is to help facilitate the prep, which sometimes, when things get hectic, I run into trouble doing! When I go to make a move, I pick one, and see if anything in the Docking Bay or off-screen action needs attention. Then I dress it up with apocalyptica. Then I ask questions! It's not for everyone, and it's a lot of paperwork, but it's helpful.

other lumpley games / Asking more about playing multiple characters
« on: September 23, 2010, 10:50:58 AM »

__ create a second character to play, so now you’re playing two

Oh like it’s such a big shocker or so difficult to do. I mean, shit,
you’re the MC, you have 30 characters at a time, and your players
shy away from playing 2? The real question is, why don’t people
usually play with more than 1?

(I ask specifically about your games, figure this would be the right forum for it? Apologies if not!)

I'm curious! Vincent, can you talk more about playing more than one character in games other than Apocalypse World?

1) Have you or the groups you've taken part in done it, how often, and with what systems - things like that? It was a completely alien concept to me before AW, so I'd love to hear more about it. What's good about it when it works, and what can make it go wrong?

2) Would you say this works in any of your other games? Could a player go into Dogs with two characters, or IAWA with multiples? What do you think the pros and cons of such an approach are? Would any rules need to be tweaked?

3) And lastly, are there any games out there that you think are really, really good when a player plays multiple characters, regardless of whether or not the rules encourage it?

Apocalypse World / Acting on the MC's answers - all at once!
« on: September 19, 2010, 09:48:43 PM »
I might have missed this in the book, but...

Our Driver read the situation, and it turns out that killing some guards was the answer to one of his questions (who is most vulnerable?) and that crashing through the flimsy wooden wall with his ambulance (what's my best way in?) was the answer to another.

The driver's player asks, "So the guards are standing there right in front of the wall? If I charge into them and crush them into the wall, and in the process crash through it, will I get +2? For doing both?"

The player was seizing by force. An entry, if I recall correctly. I gave her the +2 for both, sure, but is that how it works?

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