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Topics - Simon JB

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Apocalypse World / Gunlugger and augury
« on: September 14, 2016, 08:45:43 AM »
So, my player's gunlugger in this solo game is up for an improvement, and since he has interacted a lot with the maelstrom from the start, he would like to get access to augury.

I don't really see a "legal" way for him to do that with just an improvement, but it'd be really cool if he did, so naturally I want him to be able to.

Does any of you have any nice ideas on how to play this?

Given possibilities I see are:
- write up a custom character move and make him take it as an out-of-playbook move.
- make him acquire a workshop in the fiction and then take Bonefeel.
- make him wait until the ungiven future and then either change playbooks or take a second character to play.

None of these is very appealing, but I don't want to say, "sorry, looks like you can't" either.

So, any suggestions?

Apocalypse World / The new Threat Map
« on: May 27, 2016, 05:40:33 AM »
I presume Vincent is too busy designing and writing to answer, but the rest of you: would you use the new threat map as a tool for the whole group, lying there in the middle of the table, or for the mc, hidden to the players because they shouldn't know if Roark is technically a pain addict or a warlord?

Apocalypse World / A calmer apocalypse?
« on: April 15, 2016, 05:20:55 AM »
It's been a while since I actually played AW, and I think I've figured out why. While the explosive chaos that the game breeds is fun, I started missing something... calmer, for lack of a better word.

I mean a sense of a more living world, a more functioning society, more stable relations. It can still be full of scarcity and conflict, of course, and apocalyptica, but I long for playing in a world that has some basic stability, which can then be ruptured and brought into crisis, if that's where the game takes us. I just want a change from the gasoline stinking, chainsaw whipping, free-for-all that the game always seems to pull towards.

(Yes, I know there are other games, and I've revisited Solar System for a while, but then I started to miss AW's rules even more! :) )

I can't really see anything in the hard rules that means the world has to burn by the third session, or that your old lieutenants must try to cut your heart out with a chainsaw by the second, but somehow that's what always seems to happen.

One thing I just read, that got me thinking, was a comment about the PCs' gangs and stuff as threats. I've always read that as very real threats against the PCs, and that made playing a leader much less fun for me (turning the hardholder's lieutenants against them is like taking away the driver's cars; fun at some point, but not immediately and constantly, is my feeling). But this comment pointed out that the gang might be a threat against the PCs' enemies, which, strangely, was a new way of thinking to me. But of course, just because they are dangerous and have an agenda doesn't mean that agenda needs to be opposed to the PC's!

Soooo, I wonder if anyone has any more tips on how to think, or thoughts on what makes a game of AW more explosive versus more stable (while still being interesting, but that goes without saying)?


AW:Dark Age / Playtest Report: Sweden/internet
« on: September 17, 2014, 11:45:54 AM »
Platest report 1

Playing in Swedish, over google documents. An example of how it looks when we are playing is here

Setup continuing earlier play
We are playtesting the Playtest One version of the rules by continuing exactly where we were when we paused playing with the First Look rules. This meant a variation on the setup in the Playtest One documents.

Previously on...
Previously, we had created a teenaged Outlaw Heir and a middle-aged Troll-Killer that had allied in the struggle to take back the throne from the Heir's brother, the king.

We started play outside an inn at an important crossroads, which serves as a safe house and winter hearth for our heroes since the family that runs it owe their lives to the Troll-Killer. A fight with bounty hunters we thought were after the Heir, but the Troll-Killer revealed that she had belonged to and left a monster hunter sect and that they were actually after her as punishment for leaving.

I tried, as I usually do when MCing, to follow the characters around to get to know them, and managed, as I usually don't, to not escalate everything to an end of the world level right away.

The duo talked and sang through the evening and had a training session the day after, with the Troll-Killer instructing the Heir in close combat, using different circles on the ground to train fighting at different distances. Very fun. Not completely clear what moves we should use, but we decided to call it going into battle in order to try out the rules.

Then they started north into the Songswood, a mystical forest, to try to get an alliance with the bandits living there. There they met undead, whom only the Troll-Killer's cursed sword could harm.

That's how far we got before the previews of the new rules came. We're playing online, via Google docs, so this was about the equivalent of two table sessions.

Oldish New playbook: The Outlaw Heir
We decided to remake the characters with the new rules, so I proposed an Outlaw Heir looking like this:

High stat: +2 Strong.

  • Special: Add 1 to your Bold, to a maximum of +3.
  • Special: Add 1 to your Strong, to a maximum of +3.
  • Your foremothers were queens of the Old Blood. You have these rights:
    • To fitting tribute and recognition from all your neighboring queens.
    • To bind warriors and sages to your service by oaths and blood rites.
    • To solemnize the turnings of the seasons and the bonds between the the Human World, the Natural World, and the Other World.
  • When you inflict harm, or lead warriors who inflict harm, you have the right to inflict 1 additional Harm.
  • When you give someone an order or a warning, you have the right to roll Strong. On 10+, they choose 1 of these:
    • They follow your order or heed your warning.
    • They freeze or back slowly away.
    • They attack you.
    On 7–9, they choose 1 of the above, or else 1 of these:
    • They scoff, but hesitate.
    • They demand proof, an assurance, or an explanation.
    On a miss, they dismiss your words and continue on their course.
  • When you judge someone strong or weak, enemy or ally, you have the right to treat it as sizing them up, but roll Strong instead of Wary.
  • You have the right to seize authority over a counsel of war.
  • You are beautiful and doomed. When you enter into a new social setting, you have the right to roll Bold. On 10+, choose 2 of the following. On 7–9, choose 1.
    • Someone here falls in love with you.
    • Someone here is afraid of you.
    • Someone here must meet you.
    • Someone here is a friend of your family.
    On a miss, choose 1 of the above, and in addition:
    • Someone here will try to kill you.
Map and groups/peoples
The map of the land is here.

From our setup with the old rules, we had a map, populated with groups, which made the next step, writing down peoples, interesting.

I have noticed that some players have reported confusion with the small numbers in the options for peoples, and many seem not to have used the Or as you choose option for bigger areas or towns and so on.

Here, I will have to do that, since we already have groups of people defined from before, with thousands and thousands of souls defined by the Heir’s old playbook. To stay true to the fiction, we will keep those numbers, and then add subgroups when, for example, play focuses on a village or something.

We have farmers of the lowlands, clans in the highlands, robbers and other woodspeople in the forest, townspeople on the coast, the royal house, and other groups mentioned on the map.

I’m currently torn between writing up more of the groups, because it makes things concrete and that is generally good, but writing up too many groups at once that have not yet been on screen will just be confusing. So at the moment, I’m writing up a few groups in detail, and noting the others with just headlines and vague numbers for later, or for when the players feel like filling in the blanks.

The groups that are written up in detail are:

Farmers of the Saroan lowlands
5000 souls, 600 households, 800 warriors. Bronze-brown and gold-brown, stocky. English names.
0 Rites, -1 War, +2 Wealth.
Known for their patience in suffering, their loyalty, their rich land, their beauty and their feasts.

The Filled Bellies Inn
The people living in and around the inn. 25 souls, 4 households, 3 warriors. Mostly bronze and golden brown Saroans.
+1 Rites, 0 War, +1 Wealth.
Known for their vigilance against monsters, their veneration of priests and priestesses, their crafts and their cuisine.

The robbers of the Songswood
40 souls, 4 households (they are a bit spread out), 20 warriors. Most are bone-white or pink, a few are dark brown, some are lighter brown.
0 Rites, +2 War, -1 Wealth.
Known for their insularity, their advanced tactics, their mercy to the defeated and their hospitality (to those few who manage to get it).

The royal house
One family, worshipping the Old gods, descendants from a mythic queen. Have a secret, ancient language. 5 or 6 living persons. Persian names used within the family, and more common, English or Latin, names used otherwise.
Very dark brown skin, almond-shaped eyes, short and slender.
+1 Rites, 0 War, +1 Wealth.
Know for their powerful, but dying gods, their devotion to the old law, their mercy, their rich land, their generosity.

The Circulus Serpentis
Sworn together by holy oath (obediance and slaying monsters). 30-40 souls, 1 households, all are warriors.
Variety of colors and looks. Dress to blend in. Snake tattoo. Latin names, or local to blend in.
+1 Rites, +1 War, 0 Wealth.
Known for their fearlessness, their vigilance against monsters, their blood-vengeance, their skills at arms and their crafts.

Groups that are mentioned but not defined are the highland clans, the townsfolk of Viserto, the people and vassals of the north-west coast, and so on.

Some comments
Since starting with the new rules, there haven't yet been many rolls for moves. I bet they will come, though.

We havent made new maps since changing to the new rules, so we haven't yet used the Voronoi sheets.

The rules for creating peoples and NPCs are very inspiring.

The same group is playing a space game, with rules that are inspired by Uncharted Worlds, but that are mechanically very close to these AWDA rules. That game has been moving faster, and our experiences from that game is also that the groups/people rules are great, that the system with moves divided between domains is very nice since it makes it so easy to tailor a playbook after a character concept, and that there is a bit of confusion between the moves Size someone up and Win someone over.

Um, that’s a kind of report. Not sure what to say now, and it’s long enough, so I’ll stop until either someone asks me to expand on something, or I think of more to report.

We have great fun playing, though!

Uncharted Worlds / Thank you, Archangel!
« on: September 06, 2014, 09:26:20 AM »
I have now played enough of Uncharted Worlds to realize that its design goals and methods are a bit too different from my taste for me to keep using these rules.

But I'm really happy for the hack, and for your work writing this down, Archangel! It got me and my group finally playing a PbtA space game seriously, and it has given me an excellent starting point to get my own space hack going!

Also, the generous CC license means I don't have to invent the wheel all over when it comes to a lot of stuff.

So, a big thank you for this! I'm super-happy you wrote these rules and made them accessible, both for playing and for re-hacking!

Keep up the good work, and have fun both playing and designing onwards from here!

Best, Simon

AW:Dark Age / Created maps?
« on: September 05, 2014, 11:53:07 AM »
It would be super-nice to see what maps get created by different groups. Maybe we could show them here? (Thank you Toronto! Lovely!)

Hope it's not bad form to ask before I have something to offer, but it'll be a few days before I have a chance to sit down with this, and it's fun to see!

AW:Dark Age / Session based experience
« on: September 03, 2014, 07:20:34 AM »
If you would care to say something about the switch from action-based to session-based experience, I would be very glad to hear it.

After just looking at it, I am a bit hesitant as to its qualities, but granted that might be because I almost exqlusively play ongoing via text online, which makes session breaks a bit artificial, and usually much more playing time apart than when sitting down at a table.

AW:Dark Age / Reboot or keep going
« on: September 02, 2014, 08:37:50 AM »
Really excited about trying out the new rules.

My group has just started to get to know the characters and the situation using the previous version ("first look"), so we are now discussing whether to ditch that completely and set up play anew using the new rules, with a new situation, or to see how close to the old characters and situation we can get using the new rules and keep playing where we are.

The latter is inviting as we are both fond of the PCs we have and the playtest instructions explicitly ask for people to try alternatives to the holding-centered play. I hesitate because it would basically be us playing a hack of the new rules, and I for one want to try the actual playtest rules as they are.

The situation is a wandering Troll-Killer and a young Outlaw Heir who are travelling the lands to gather allies against the evil brother who sits on the throne. And undead trolls coming out of the deep forest to the north!

That's where my group is at the moment. Thoughts are welcome. Otherwise I'll say how it goes later.

Anyhow: FUN!

Uncharted Worlds / Social moves
« on: June 22, 2014, 12:48:14 PM »
In version 0.81 at least, there is no manipulation move. The only social pressure move is command. How come?

Uncharted Worlds / Single player UW
« on: June 08, 2014, 12:17:51 PM »
Looks like the first chance I get to try this will be a single player setup. While I'm not the least anxious about this, I'm curious about whether you have any particular thoughts about it. Maybe add a few crew member NPCs from start, to not make it so lonely aboard the ship, for example. Anything you have tried?

AW:Dark Age / Ambush and backstabbing
« on: April 17, 2014, 12:34:57 PM »
How would you handle ambushing with DA's moves?

I have a Troll Killer having maneuvered to get in a high position behind a bounty hunter and about to jump down, blade first, assassin's creed style bind and on top of her enemy. In vanilla AW a clear case of going aggro.

In general, as I'm reading the new moves, I'm leaning towards rolling to hold steady to get into a position of backstabbing and then just doing weapon damage or even just kill the victim straight out. Then, if the enemy still lives and maybe strikes back, we would be in a going into battle situation.

In this particular case, the Troll Killer has held steady climbing to the position above and behind the bounty hunter, and she is wearing her bunny cap, allowing her to go unnoticed by her enemies. What now? Jumping down and sinking her blade in the bounty hunter seems like it should mean rolling for something, but if that roll is holding steady, should the bunny cap mean she can leap within sword range without a roll? Nah, don't think so. I think I'll go for another roll for holding steady for jumping down, blade first, and if that succeeds, just have the bounty hunter take sword damage, probably killing her outright.

Am I missing somthing?

Apocalypse World / Stacking bonuses
« on: May 24, 2012, 05:41:03 AM »
My search fu seems to be failing, because I can't believe this hasn't been addressed before.

Should the bonuses from moves like Norman and Eager to know stack with Read a sitch?

Apocalypse World / Anyone up for a PbP game?
« on: May 20, 2012, 02:58:29 PM »
Would anyone be interested in getting in a PbP game with me? I have one that has been running for about a year now, but I feel like starting something more to run parallel to that one.

I would prefer two or three players, but a forth might be fine as well. But anyone interested should shout out and we'll take it from there.

I could MC regular AW, but I would be happy to run my Dark Heresy/Rogue Trader/General 40K inspired hack. I call it Dark Galaxy.

This link might lead to a folder of docs, otherwise I'll fix it when at a computer.
Okay, new link:

Some basic stipulations about the rules are here:

I've tried to keep the rules of Dark Galaxy as close to regular AW as possible, basically to do just as much design work as necessary to be able to play. Because this is not a hack that is made for distribution it remains full of holes to be handled when it is needed for play. However, I've used it now for a year and it runs perfectly well for enough of the time for play to be fun. But anyone who plays it needs to be aware that the rules are a work in progress.

I have some playbooks that are available, like Inquisitor, Trooper, Psyker, Ship's Master, Commander and Death Dancer,  and some that I can finish if anyone wants them, like Hierophant, Ruler and Acolyte. I guess I could drum up something more if anyone would be particularly interested in something else that would fit, like Pilot or Scum Boss or something.

So, if anyone would be interested in this, I'd be super happy. Otherwise, as I said, I could very well run a game of vanilla Apocalypse World.

So. Any takers? :)

(EDIT: New links.)

blood & guts / Workspaces, augury and playbooks
« on: August 30, 2011, 06:51:50 PM »
How do you see workspaces and how they can be acquired and used in play? Would, say, a gunlugger that takes control of a facility that is technically a workspace be able to use it with the ordinary workspace rules, or would she have to change playbooks for that? Anyone can drive and use a car, but you need the no shit driver-move to get bonuses from its stats. In the workspace rules there is no move associated to it, but that could be intended to say either that anyone could use one if it seems right (maybe while acting under fire, as with angel kits and non-angels), or that no one except a real savvyhead should be able to use them. And people that can get them through improvements, of course.

Situation is, I have a gunlugger-like character who would be sooo sweet with reality's fraying edge, but I don't want to change his type into a proper savvyhead-type. Would you allow generous interpretations like, sure, your armor and equipment could be arranged to connect to the maelstrom-equivalent! Or would you say no man, that is the savvyhead's fun, you have yours already?

brainstorming & development / [Dark Galaxy] Kicker moves
« on: June 13, 2011, 11:53:01 AM »
The hack I'm playing with now, and writing at the same time, uses kicker moves as specials, so every playbook has one. Currently no playbook has exactly gigs or wealth as in AW, but this is intended to cover some of the same ground, helping the group set up a situation in motion and making the play hit the ground running. These are intentionally written to cross the line between player and MC authority, but I feel that works because they are used when play is not exactly in a here-and-now situation, and cover stuff that would be done with a lot of questions to the players anyway. We've only used two in play thus far, the first and second here, but the third is coming up fast. 

There are a couple of shaky points, for example "they don't rule the world" which maybe should be "they don't hold more power here than you previously thought", and the second might get a full rewrite, I'm not sure. Still, I'm curious to hear any thought about this. 


When you enter a world in pursuit of your enemies, roll+sharp. On a strong hit, choose two, on a weak hit, choose one:
-You know where to find them
-They do not rule the world
-They do not know you are coming

Ship's Master
When you approach a world, roll+status. On a strong hit, choose two. On a weak hit, choose one:
-There are forces here that need what your domain can provide
-There is someone here that you fucked over. Take +1forward when dealing with them.
-There is someone here that fucked you over. Take +1forward when dealing with them.
On a miss, the MC chooses two:
-There are forces here that want what your domain can provide. Take -1forward when dealing with them.
-There is someone here that you fucked over. Take -1forward when dealing with them.
-There is someone here that fucked you over. Take -1forward when dealing with them.

When, at the beginning of a session and after a bit of dowtime, you are in the middle of the action, roll+status. On a strong hit, choose three. On a weak hit, choose two:
-You have the objective in sight
-You are not pinned down
-There’s not many civilian bystanders being threatened
-Many lives have not already been lost

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