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Topics - help im a bug

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Monsterhearts / Things!
« on: June 24, 2012, 10:34:53 PM »
A while ago, I ran Monsterhearts; the intent was to podcast it. We did, for the first few sessions. (

Mostly, the game worked very well. But it fell apart at the end of the season, and it left me wondering if the game itself was flawed or if our group/play was incorrect for it.

A few things came up that indicate that perhaps the game wasn't optimized for multi-season play.

In particular, the fact that there are only 9 advancements available for each Skin; this means that if your character hits their 5th advancement (triggering the end of the season next session) and then takes something other than switching playbooks for their Season Advancement, the character will only have four slots left for advancement. This seems like it could very easily leave a character in the second season with no advancements to take midway through.

Similarly, we had a great deal of trouble with the timing of the season finale. The game said that things should be wrapping up in the world by then, so I kind of figured that, you know, they would be. But they weren't, and the season finale felt very awkward and forced; we HAD to resolve all these conflicts RIGHT NOW. In the words of one of the players, it wasn't feral at all, and it kind of made everyone mad.

We elected not to make public the final session.

Maybe some sort of advice on how to handle these things might be useful?

Apocalypse World / What I Learned about AW at Con of the North
« on: March 05, 2012, 04:44:31 AM »
A couple weekends ago, I ran a room at Con of the North in Saint Paul, Minnesota.

I participated in three games of Apocalypse World there; I was the MC for one of them. Now that I've recovered my sleep and collected my thoughts, well, here some of them are.

Apocalypse World: basically a Lacuna hack
I ran three sessions of Lacuna over the weekend. It was my first time running Lacuna since I first ran AW last year. I was struck by how unexpectedly similar the GM role felt in the two games. When you run Lacuna, you track Static, which increases when the PCs do certain things. And whenever Static increases (most commonly, hey, when someone fails a roll), there's a list of things you can do. I found myself barfing forth surrealistica a lot.

Also, the books have similar approaches to the setting: really broad tonal strokes of color with a few precise details scattered throughout. But most of the space left blank. This seems important.

Maestro D: best playbook, or bestest playbook?
Holy crap! I got to play Jackbird, the Maestro D, in my final game of the con. I'd never seen one in play before, just read the playbook. Wow, it's a hot little box of plot generation in play! I don't think Jackbird ever left his establishment. He wanted something/one, he used fingers in every pie and, well, something showed up. My first roll of the session was a 12 to make Jackal, the Hocus, arrive at his castle. Jackal's player was like "when should I show up?" and I was like "LIKE MAGIC" and the MC was like "well, you're putting the word out, gotta keep it realistic" and I was like "THIS IS SOME AWFUL SLOW MAGIC THERE BETTER BE LIKE FORTY BUNNIES IN THAT HAT"

Oh, also, the special wasn't as boring as I thought it would be. It worked really nicely when I hooked up Allison the Hardholder with some stolen food.

Fun for the whole family!
I'm heading to North Carolina to visit my folks soon, and they've been asking me what this whole role-playing thing is all about anyway. I've been considering MCing Apocalypse World for them, but I get hung up on the idea of running a game where sex is so central to the characters.

So, waiting outside the room for the Jackbird game, I and Cait, the MC, were joined by a mom and her teenaged daughter. Cait was like, "Um, have you played Apocalypse World before? It does say 18+ on the event description" and the mom was like "Yeah, we thought the tickets were for a Call of Cthulhu game, but she's 18 and I can totes handle anything" so we went with it.

Well, the daughter fucking got it, like immediately. She made this Hocus, Jackal, and was like "My Hard's highlighted, you say? Seize your *face* by force." The mom seemed kinda bewildered by the game, like she was waiting for the real plot to start.

Spaceships are scary places
The session I ran was on an enormous, decrepit space station. And it was way more of a horror game than I'd intended. I realized that it was because, in previous games, when the PCs fucked up a settlement or hardhold or whatever, they could just go somewhere new on the map if they really wanted to. With that option out of the way, they really had to stay and face their consequences.

Also, it was really cool winding up with a much more heavily mapped area than I had before. At one point, the Skinner was arrestingly stripping, and, suddenly, I realized I could draw lines of sight to see who actually could see him. Also, he was by the docking bay window, so I had Mice, the head Earth-trader, crash his personal craft into the side of the station, since he couldn't pilot his ship anymore. SO HOTT.

Apocalypse World / Apocalypse Random
« on: January 06, 2012, 03:51:03 PM »
Since pretty much every choice in this game is from a list, my friends and I have been messing around with randomization of Apocalypse World games. So far, we've done it twice. (Using for random number generation)

The first time, I ran it for two players. I laid out all the playbooks and had them each choose up to two playbooks they didn't want to play, then choose randomly from the rest. Then we chose names randomly, looks randomly, stats randomly, starting moves randomly, and starting gear. Randomly. They asked, what's the climate like? So I rolled some fudge dice and got -3. "Fucking cold". Turned out Heron the Skinner's random art of making fur and leather clothes was an awesome choice! Then we played a session; it was pretty cool.

The second time, another player ran it for me and someone else, and we followed the same path, only randomizing even more stuff. We chose a random latitude and longitude (wound up in Suriname) and did fudge dice for random climate again (+3). This time, though, not only did we randomly generate our characters, we chose random Hx options, random highlighting of stats, and every improvement we chose was chosen randomly! (Throwing out the options at each step that were mechanically terrible; e.g. replace a stat with a worse stat)

Wound up with some seriously interesting characters, though it might have just been that we were very drunk. I had a Brainer whose first advancement was, randomly, "take a move from another playbook" and wound up with Reputation. Pretty sweet!

Apocalypse World / Re-highlighting mechanics
« on: December 08, 2011, 07:04:11 PM »
In my current AW game, one PC (Tak, the chopper) manipulated the NPC doctor (Brace Win) who was taking care of another PC (Pandora, the touchstone) into, basically, roofie-ing Pandora. I handled this by telling Pandora's player to un-highlight all her stats, then highlight Hot.

This seems to me like a cool mechanical way to model drugs and other behavior-modifying effects on the PCs, kind of like how Psi-harm can change a threat's type (we used that to change an ally from a representative to a lover as well).

Just wondering if anyone else has messed with mechanics that involve the highlighting or un-highlighting of stats, and how they worked out.

I don't think Pandora ended up actually rolling Hot for the rest of that session, thinking about it.

Apocalypse World / Numbers
« on: September 26, 2011, 04:48:44 PM »
Just finished running a campaign of AW. Pretty awesome. But rather than talk about the world or the events in it, I kind of want to just compare stats with other games, and talk about that. Sound cool?

Number of players: 5 (one dropped out about 3/4 of the way through).
Number of PCs: 10 in total. 4 retired, 1 died. (not counting the gunlugger the player who retired his character in the final session was going to play, but never did).
Max number of active PCs: 7 for 3 sessions.
Number of sessions: 13
Number of playbooks used: All 11 core, plus touchstone and faceless. Touchstone, skinner, battlebabe, angel, brainer, hocus all used twice.

Character progressions, organized chronologically by player:

Kite: Battlebabe => Skinner => Retired
Niche: Driver => Faceless
Luca: Hardholder => Touchstone

Ash: Hocus => Touchstone => Retired
Shade: Skinner

Domino: Chopper => Gunlugger => Battlebabe => Retired
Must: Hocus

Burroughs: Brainer => Operator => Angel => Retired
Whitmont: Savvyhead

Mei: Angel => Brainer => Dead

List of Allies:
Kite had Van Van (confidante), Maryland (representative), Absinthe (lover), and Logan (guardian)
Whitmont had Union Jackoff (guardian) and El Senor (friend)
Niche had Oily Pete (friend)
Ash had Absinthe (right hand)

Do these numbers sound typical for you guys' games? Looking at it now, 10 PCs in 13 sessions seems awfully high.

Any questions about the game? Happy to answer.

Apocalypse World / Allies of retired PCs
« on: August 19, 2011, 02:33:12 AM »
We recently had a player retire her Battlebabe=>Skinner, who had acquired four allies. The question came up of what to do with those guys once the character retires. Do they revert to normal NPCs and go back in the threat pool like everyone else?

Apocalypse World / Second character questions
« on: July 10, 2011, 03:22:32 PM »
Two of the advanced moves (retiring a character, creating a 2nd character) involve creating a new character to play. I'm wondering how other groups have gone about this.

Is it generally considered cool to take an existing NPC and claim it as your new PC? How about if the PC is your Ally? Someone else's Ally?

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