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Topics - lachek

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Dungeon World / Which version?
« on: August 02, 2011, 01:55:50 PM »
I ran the game last Friday for the first time. It was a fun time, I got some useful feedback on how I ran it, and I expect subsequent runs will be even better.

One issue we ran into was that I was unintentionally working with multiple versions. I had the full "Adventurer's Guild" version, and had just gotten the "Red Book" version as well. I figured "Red Book" was the more up-to-date as it was going to be released to the public, so used this for the Basic & Special Moves, and printed off the four playbooks for Fighter, Thief, Wizard, and Cleric classes. I also had the Ranger, Paladin, and Bard printed off from the full AG version, in case someone picked those. These latter three had no playbooks.

Turned out we got a Fighter, a Thief, a Cleric, and a Ranger. Since I had no playbook for the Ranger, I printed the one from the DW Hack. However, as we went through character creation, it became clear that the version of the Ranger in DW Hack was slightly different from the version in full AG. During play we also encountered another few niggling issues, I think, like starting equipment bundles vs starting gold, etc. Not sure if we used some incorrect versions of Moves or not.

So, given that one has access to all three versions:

  • DW Hack
  • DW full AG
  • DW Red Book

Which should be used, which should be ignored, and which are compatible?

Also, will playbooks for the 7 classes in DW full AG version become available sometime? Or are they around somewhere and I'm just missing them?

Dungeon World / Bonds and Experience
« on: July 27, 2011, 03:23:49 PM »
I really like what you've done with Bonds. Hx was easily the trickiest part of AW for us, and while it served to generate excellent starting positions, the details of the relationships wasn't front-and-centre on your sheet the way Bonds are.

Having said that, I think it's underutilized.

Case in point, the End of Session move. I never liked it in AW and you've ported it right over. The reason I didn't like it was simply because the details of the relationship change wasn't spelled out, and it always seemed like an afterthought for the group in play. It didn't make the most of the Hx system, in my opinion.

A simple enough tweak in AW would be to say:

Session End
Once during a session, anytime, choose a character who now knows you better or worse than they used to. You must use this move once per session, if not during play then at the very end. Tell that player to add or subtract 1 to their Hx with you on their sheet. If this brings them to Hx+4 or Hx-4, they reset to Hx+1 or Hx-1 respectively, and therefore mark experience. Write down the nature of the relationship change on both your sheets.

Since you already have Bonds on your sheet and Hx is calculated based on that, this would work great - instead of just adding or subtracting 1, specify the nature of the change as a Bond, and use the Bond to propel the fiction rather than just change a stat.

The benefit of making the change as it happens, rather than at the end of the session, is that it gives the move more teeth and makes player interactions more loaded. One issue is that if you use the move once and then change your mind later in the session, you've already used it up.

Secondly, the Experience when you get to +4 or -4. This has always been weird to me, and I've listened and tried to swallow Vincent's explanation of "taking the relationship to the next level" and all that. I just don't get it - it appears to be a design decision guided by wanting to tie experience awards to relationship changes, but not wanting the game balance to suffer from people having Hx+5s on their sheet. Maybe Vincent will correct and enlighten me, if he pops in. :)

So, not sure if y'all are loving that concept, but if I were you, I'd take the opportunity to redesign it in the context of Bonds. One way that's floated around in my mind would be to say that no matter how many Bonds you have, your max +bond score with someone can never exceed +3 or -3, but:

Resolve a Bond
When you finally resolve a Bond with another character, cross the Bond off, adjust your Bond score with that character, and mark experience. The other players, especially the person you have the Bond with, must agree that the Bond is finally resolved for you to do this.

For example, as a Paladin I have a Bond of:
I have worries about the soul of Ishmail, my Bardic companion (+1).

It's not enough for me to state "I no longer worry about Ishmail", but if Ishmail can prove to me beyond a shadow of a doubt - or if I can make Ishmail prove to me, through my own tests - that Ishmail's soul is safe (i.e. he has shown that he adheres to my Order's tenets), then I cross it off, reduce my +bond with him by 1, and mark experience. As per the End of Session move above, though, I could perhaps acquire another Bond with him this session:

Ishmail has proven to me that he is a trustworthy and pious companion (+1).

If Ishmail later betrays me or otherwise proves that his piousness was but a ruse, I again mark experience. However, the experience gains are still limited to 1/session on average, though there is an initial "buffer" caused by the Bonds taken at character creation.

My 2gp! :) Sorry for the sudden rush of feedback, it just proves how excited I am about this game. ;)

Dungeon World / Parleying with another PC
« on: July 27, 2011, 02:53:31 PM »
Parley (Cha)
When you have leverage on someone (something they need or want) and you try to get them to do what you want, roll +Cha. If they’re an NPC, on a hit they ask you for something and do it if you promise. On a 7-9, they need some concrete assurance of your promise, right now. If they’re a PC, on a 10+ both, on a 7-9 choose one:
  • If they do it, they mark experience
  • If they refuse, it’s defying danger
What they do is up to them.

(emphases mine)

So, this comes up quite a bit in my AW games, because my friends are backstabbing treasonous bastards (or I encourage them to be, which is also a possibility).

In AW, where Defying Danger is called Acting Under Fire and linked with +cool, this makes perfect sense. If I tell you I'm keeping your girlfriend hostage, and I will do horrible things to her if you don't give me all those shotgun shells you've been hoarding, it makes good sense that if I make my +cool roll, I don't start bawling but can, with a straight face, tell you to go fuck yourself and who gives a shit what you do with that whore anyway. Yet Acting Under Fire works equally well when I have to plow my way through friendly fire to reach the neighbouring gang's bunker.

In DW, I'm asked instead to roll my +dex to Defy Danger. As we can see, that makes sense in the latter case (storming the goblin barricade while the archer is raining fiery death onto it) but not in the former (pay me 1000 gold or I'll snap your magic wand in half).

Disregarding the fact that the game probably doesn't work too well with PCs who threaten wand-snapping each other every few minutes, I still want a workable move. :)

There are of course many possibilities, so I'd appreciate suggestions. One notion might be:

  • If they do it, they mark experience
  • If they refuse, they acquire a Bond worth -1 with you; if they do it, they can instead opt to give you a Bond worth -1 with them

Dungeon World / Initiative and Position
« on: July 27, 2011, 01:36:35 PM »
Who goes when? How many times can they act before it's someone else's turn? How far away is too far away? How do I get closer?

So, I'm getting ready to run DW for the first time, and have not been reading this forum carefully, so my apologies if it's been mentioned before.

I've been running AW for a while. None of the questions above have ever been raised during one of my AW games. I'm not convinced they'll come up in DW either, but there are some differences in gameplay which leads me to believe they might.

"Initiative" is a fairly pointless construct in AW play, since PC-things happen when PCs do them, and MC-things happen when PCs miss or look to the MC for input. In PvP, should it happen, it makes sense to just trade turns between players, with the MC making moves when it seems to make sense.

But DW is a potentially (even) more physical game than AW. There are "monsters" there exclusively to be killed. In AW, antagonists can be dealt with in a very large number of ways, of which killing in combat is simply one option. In AW, even grotesques are distinctly human, and mindless "monsters" are afflictions to be dealt with on a potentially higher level than sheer firepower.

So as I see it, the difference is that (to use terms borrowed from WFRP3, but you know what I mean) in AW, I'm always in "story mode", with actions taken fluidly, conversation-style. In DW, I'm imagining being forced into a kind of "encounter mode" which requires a bit more structure. Maybe I'm wrong. But what do we do, if this comes up? Do we trade turns?

Yemin: "I run my sword through it - hack & slash style. Hit. Oh look, 6 damage. It pierces through its scaley armour, through its left side, blood pooling at it's feet."
GM: "That made it angry. Its head snaps forward quicker than you can imagine on its long, flexible neck. It's going to bite you with its nasty serrated fangs. What do you do?"
Yemin: "I hop out of the way, Defying Danger."
GM: "Okay, roll it - 7? Okay, you hop out of the way just in time but trip over a nearby protruding rock. You're on your face in the muck, trying to get up. Now what do you do?"


GM: "Its head snaps forward quicker than you can imagine on its long, flexible neck. It's going to bite Cyllia unless you do something. What do you do?"
Yemin: "I quickly move to Defend Cyllia. Hit, 1 Hold. I spend it to halve the damage. I knock its head with the broad side of my sword, knocking it away from her but it still grazes her."
GM: "Okay, Cyllia, you take 3 HP damage, and you feel the sting of some sort of poison coursing through your face. Cyllia, what do you do now?"

or is it just moving from PC to PC to PC, with the GM only making moves when the PCs fail?

What about non-active moves like Defend or Spout Lore - what DnD4E or WFRP3 would call a "maneuver" or "free action"? When the GM asks me what I do now, can I say:

Me: "Well, I'm still standing beside Cyllia, Defending her. Then, I tell the others what I know about this creature from my travels, so I Spout Lore. Hit! Okay, how can I prevent it from regenerating? Oh, immerse it in water, okay. 'Hey guys, let's push it back towards that pool we found!'. Next, I shoot it in the eye - Volley - to blind it, so we can push it back there more easily. Hit, okay, so he's blinded in the one eye? Alright, I guess Cyllia can do something now."

Is that cool? Or are you limited to one move effect per person and then it moves on to the next (PC or GM)?

And on position:

GM: "You're all in this small cavern, the floor is covered in thick green slime."
Ysildan: "Yuck. I'm staying out of that, hanging back in the tunnel the others came in through."
GM: "Okay, fine. Suddenly a large, winged creature descends rapidly towards Yemin, claws protruding and aiming for his face. It screeches and its eyes burn red. What do you do?"
Ysildan: "I strike at it with my rapier! Hack & Slash!"
GM: "Hold on a second, you said you were outside the cave. You can't get there before Yemin is shish-kebob. Yemin?"
Yemin: "I bolt for the tunnel, squeezing past Ysildan, making him a more suitable target."
Ysildan: "Hey now! I'm Interfering with that."
GM: "Okay, Yemin, roll Defy Danger. Ysildan, roll to Interfere with Yemin."
[rolling happens]
GM: "Okay, Yemin tries to squeeze past Ysildan but he stands his ground, ducking from side to side, preventing his passage. The winged creature's claws dig into Yemin's back. Yemin, take 4 HP damage. Its screech ring in your ears and its claws are still stuck in your back."
Ysildan: "Okay, now I hit it with my rapier!"
GM: "Hold on, Yemin's body is in the way, the creature is attached to his back and we've already established the tunnel is narrow enough that a person can block it. I don't think you can hit!"

See any flaws in the above? Or does it all sound cool and reasonable?

I can see how AW's lassitude in handling initiative and position may also work in DW, but given how DW has roots in games which either have a strong DM-role of "enforcing the laws of reality" (early D&D) or are heavily tactical (D&D 3.x - 4E), I imagine at least a chapter on "managing combats", covering some of these issues, would be useful. Similar, if you will, to the "Moves Snowball" chapter in AW.

Feedback appreciated.

Apocalypse World / (Affliction: Delusion) Myth [drug] + Countdown Clock
« on: October 04, 2010, 02:39:38 PM »
Compiled from my replies in a different thread for completeness.

I've written a custom move for when/if the PCs dabbles in the drug Myth, which is a Threat (Affliction: Delusion, impulse: to dominate people's choices and actions).

When a character takes a hit of Myth, roll +cool. The MC tells them something they get an impulse to do.
On a 10+, they take +1forward for as long as they're actively working towards their impulse and mark experience when they've fulfilled their impulse.
On a 7-9, they mark experience when they've fulfilled their impulse.
On a 6-, if they're not working towards their impulse, they have to Act Under Fire - on a 10+ they do it, on a 7-9 they're given a bargain, on a 6- they fail and the MC makes as hard of a move as she likes.

For each hit of Myth a player character takes, increase the Myth Addiction Countdown Clock by one section.

Myth Addiction Countdown Clock

Purpose: to track how the Myth Addiction is spreading in the holding and determine what happens at specific points of the holding's descent into madness.

Custom MC move: advance the clock by one section by introducing an NPC with these effects into the narrative, or by showing an existing NPC subjected to an effect higher up on the clock. Descriptive on each level, prescriptive only insofar that narration of a higher state increases the section by one step (i.e. it doesn't skip directly to that step).

Custom player move: decrease the clock by one section by combatting the drug and use of the drug through radical action (e.g. cut off the supply lines of the drug, kill a prominent proponent of the drug, eradicate a cult that's formed around the drug, implement and enforce policies about the use of the drug).

Section 12-3 - Myth users are creative and productive in a manner bordering on manic, but suffering from some tunnel-vision and eccentricity in their thinking which impact their functioning in society somewhat. Users do not suffer as strong effects of heavily rationed resources, and are able to go for days on little food, water, and sleep.
Section 3-6 - Myth users' personalities alter in subtle but significant ways, and their individual undertakings become less and less in line with the needs of the holding as a whole and displaying even greater eccentricity (e.g. Rum decorates the interior of her home with the skulls of the deceased, excavated from the holding's graveyard, dangling from leather cords from the ceiling; Jackabacka insists that dirt is a nutritious additive to meals and starts using it as a main ingredient in all his dishes).
Section 6-9 - Some myth users have major breakthroughs recognized by the population at large (e.g. Rum claims to be able to speak with the dead in her home, and as far as anyone can tell she does receive accurate information; Jackabacka's dishes start to have nourishing effects on its imbibers, even though they taste horrible), however, heavy users exhibit increasingly strange and antisocial behaviour (e.g. Rum declares that the dead have told her that Mother Superior must be made to suffer; Jackabacka forcing dirt down the gullets of non-believers).
Section 9-10 - Due to either withdrawal symptoms or an overdose of Myth, a named NPC dies or causes someone else to die horribly (e.g. Jackie shoots an innocent and laughs hysterically at the pattern their blood forms as it pools on the ground). Myth users become beholden to their supplier and will do almost anything for another hit.
Section 10-11 - Erratic and destructive behaviour is introducing chaos to the holding. Non-users are starting to behave as erratically as users due to constant breach of routine, paranoia, and having to protect themselves from physically violent users. A small-scale riot, easily controlled by a well-organized gang of non-users, erupt across the holding, instigated by individual users. Its participating members do not form a mob as there is no cohesion.
Section 11-12 - Users of similar sources of Myth band together in cult-like units to overthrow the holding under similar but erratic, non-sensical principles (e.g. the Followers of Davok's Word wants to sacrifice Mother Superior to the scorpion spirits, the Lengmar Disciples starts construction on a roof over the holding to banish the sun, the Mothers of Meredith wants to slay all males in the name of their daughter patron). Each one of these cults act as a gang.

My own game's countdown clock is currently in the second section. I'm interested in any feedback you may have on this.

Apocalypse World / Healing in downtime move - please help
« on: September 08, 2010, 03:01:33 PM »
Played our 1st Session. It went so-so, I think mostly because we had only two players (2 players = 2 relationships / story stuff to latch onto due to Hx. 3 players = 6 relationships. 4 players = 12 relationships. Makes a big difference).

The characters were Clover, a smooth Operator with a big handsome smile, who does scavenging, raiding, and the occasional murder for jingle, and Mother Superior, a (male) Hardholder of the San Francisco mission in the Arizona desert, with a small but elite gang of soldiers protecting the weak and innocent. Since both have start-of-session rolls (which resulted in quite drastic outcomes) a lot of the "day-in-the-life-of" stuff of the 1st Session was negated in favour of assassinations, ambushes, and a bit of extortion carried out by the local protection racket warlord, Putrid.

This resulted in a fair bit of Harm dealt to the PCs. The holding being a mission, it was reasonable that medical services were available, despite the lack of a PC Angel. This proved a bit problematic for me as the MC, because the book basically states "if there's no PC Angel available, then the characters can get medical attention anyway, maybe at the cost of some barter".

I don't want Harm to be reduced to the role of hit points in a dungeon crawl, where the PCs can say "oh, I took some harm - well, wake me up in 8 hours / two weeks and I'll be good to go". What I'd really like to see are custom moves for when you spend downtime licking your wounds and when you spend downtime in medical care, with some interesting consequences chosen by the player and/or the MC. I'd write it myself, but wanted to turn to the more experienced MCs on this forum first; I think there's a potential for a lot of interesting effects and it's clearly very reusable across Apocalypse Worlds.

Apocalypse World / Pre-session 1 prep
« on: September 04, 2010, 02:36:49 AM »
So, MCing the 1st session Saturday evening (so quick replies are greatly appreciated).

I know that before the first session I'm supposed to "daydream some apocalyptic imagery, but DO NOT commit yourself to any storyline or particular characters." How far should I take that, exactly? There is no explicit default setting or regional power structure in Apocalypse World. The Psychic Maelstrom is entirely undefined. The apocalypse event itself is undefined.

I know I'm supposed to get the players to answer a lot of these questions by asking them during the first session. "So, who's in charge around here? What settlements do your holding trade with? How do you feel when you open your brain to the Psychic Maelstrom? Your character is really old - what does she remember about the fall of civilization back in her childhood?" That's all well and good, but I expect that will generate the kind of setting I'm envisioning from the book's examples: a barren wasteland with isolated villages and strongholds struggling against each other and the elements. That leaves out a whole slew of other post-apocalyptic setting possibilities: like, the one with a strong authority with access to hi-tech ruling the wasteland from the crumbling towers of an old megacity, or the one where pockets of reality have been torn asunder and everyone have birth defects of varying intensity, or the one where large numbers of NPCs inhabit manufactured cities of lies and the adjoining wasteland is inhabited by diseased alien angels and evil sorcerous humans feeding off suicidal despair (that last one, a bit out there, was BWHQ's Under a Serpent Sun).

Now, I recognize that of the many possible settings, there may only be a handful of options that actually fit with the player characters picked and the standard moves in play. So I'm wondering, what have others done for pre-session-1 prep, and to what degree should the MC have a few setting ideas prepped ahead of time (even if they're modified later, in play)?

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