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Topics - strongbif

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Dungeon World / Mini-campaign clinic: fronts and intro moves
« on: August 27, 2013, 05:33:25 PM »
I have a precious school-free month coming up and plan to run exactly four sessions of Dungeon World with friends (all experienced roleplayers with varying Apocalypse Engine experience). I plan to run a mini-campaign with a satisfying conclusion in that short duration. I'm basically skipping Acts I and II and starting at the beginning of Act III. Here's how I think I'll do it:

1. Plan really good introductory moves

2. After the first session, develop one or two very urgent fronts

I'd like help with both of these things. Specifically, how do I find the sweet spot between enough detail to kick things off with momentum and enough vagueness to respect my players' contributions?

I get the sense that I'll want my intro moves to provide me the detail I want by having the players supply it, with me simply suggesting urgency and consequence without defining it.

Am I on the right track? Any advice how to accomplish this? What am I overlooking besides all this?

Dungeon World / Dangers, Impending Dooms, and Grim Portents
« on: November 21, 2012, 04:59:52 PM »
Could someone clarify something for me? The summary talks about impending dooms and grim portents in one way, but the body of the chapter seems to talk about them differently.

Specifically, the summary tells us first to choose an impending doom for each danger, and then to add a handful of grim portents for the overall front. The body of the chapter then discusses grim portents first, and then impending dooms (in reverse order from the summary), and talks about grim portents in terms of dangers rather than fronts, tying grim portents to impending dooms in a way that isn't clear to me (e.g., pg 250 reads, "When all of the grim portents of a danger come to pass, the impending doom sets in.")

Please clarify the relationship between grim portents, dangers, and impending dooms.


Dungeon World / Help a newb
« on: November 16, 2012, 12:46:17 PM »
I've read Scrape's excellent beginners' guide and I've MC'ed a healthy portion of Apocalypse World - I'm very comfortable with AW's approach to generating fun.

What I haven't done is ever run an old-school RPG, or even D&D 3e or later. I cut my teeth on 7th Sea and moved on to Savage Worlds settings like 50 Fathoms and Deadlands.

I ran a game of DW and got the sense that I was running it too much like AW (in the types of questions I asked, the bonds I elicited, etc.). 

How do I need to adjust my thinking? What assumptions do I need to ditch, and which do I need to take up, in order to get into the old-school mindset?

other lumpley games / [AP] Psi*Run over Google+
« on: September 27, 2012, 04:40:02 AM »
I just finished playing Psi*Run for the first time with friends on Google+. We rocked that game so hard! It's 1am now so I'm going to bed, but I'll get an AP thread started soon.

If you were wondering whether to pick up Psi*Run, the answer is yes, do it.

blood & guts / Fronts Glue
« on: September 20, 2012, 07:41:05 PM »
I notice that in Apocalypse World the elements of a single front are tied together by a fundamental scarcity, while in Dungeon World such elements are tied together by scale (i.e., campaign or adventure).

Sadly, my experience with Apocalypse World hacks stops there. What are some other things you hackers out there are using to glue your fronts together?

I feel like I'm chasing a cool idea but it eludes me. For one thing, I could probably gin up personal-scale fronts for Dungeon World, based on character backstory from their introductions.

It also seems easy enough, intuitively at least, to replace fundamental scarcities with less fundamental somethings (?). Like maybe

Office World
  • Brown-nosing
  • Demoralization
  • Mismanagement
  • Procrastination
  • Ass-covering
  • Spotlighting
  • Backstabbing
  • Blame-shifting

In addition to such simple modifications of the fronts glue I've seen before, I bet there are whole categories of things I haven't thought of that would work. OK, help me chase this down. What new fronts glue can you think of, and for what kinds of stories?

Dungeon World / [AP] Dungeon World over Google Plus
« on: September 17, 2012, 07:25:36 PM »
Hiya folks. I managed to run a session of Dungeon World over Google Plus with some friends, and I'd like to talk about it.

Before the game, I daydreamed a starting scenario like this:

The goblin warren has thrived in the deep woods for some time, but it never affected Nook's Crossing before. When an otyugh, deep in the warrens, started an outbreak of Filth Fever, Skullthumper the Orkaster sought to solve the problem with magic. Whatever half-baked spell he mustered, it turned the infected into undead and started a different sort of outbreak. Most of the survivors have fled into the countryside and begun proliferating wherever they find themselves, and life in Nook's Crossing's has been poorer and more dangerous for it.

My descriptive palette included words like fetid, swollen, dank, reeking, musty, cloying, acrid, foul, offal, refuse, discarded, ramshackle, rotting, dark, close, cramped, soft, and cold.

During introductions, the players heard this:

Nook's Crossing has suddenly fallen victim to increasingly bold goblin raids, and no one knows why. You'll start at the edge of the forest clearing looking upon an entrance into a tunnel braced by random deadfall in the side a hill. You've found a goblin warren.

I made sure to describe the day-long drizzle they'd trekked here under, and the fresh, delightful odor of a forest rain in spring, in contrast to what would follow.

Inside they would find a handful of surviving goblins in a foyer of sorts, bracing a makeshift barricade against something deeper inside. More on that later. Next up, it's character introductions and bonds.

P.S., can I be in the adventurer's guild?

other lumpley games / This webcomic reminded me of Murderous Ghosts
« on: September 17, 2012, 01:32:59 AM »
I figured this crowd might appreciate it:

Dungeon World / Any chance a kind soul will work some InDesign magic?
« on: September 07, 2012, 07:10:12 PM »
I can't open the Dungeon World files from GitHub because I only have InDesign CS4. Would anyone be so kind as to export a version I can open with CS4? It doesn't have to look pretty; I just want to see how DW has changed since I bought my red book. I plan to run it for my d20 grognards.


I had the pleasure of MC'ing Apocalypse World on every day of PAX Prime. Who wants to hear about it? Consider this a placeholder. I'll do the AP writeup once I'm settled into my routine again.

Here's a teaser of one of my many favorite moments:

During Hx, the Skinner's player looks at the Hocus's player and says matter-of-factly, "your guy's in love with me." The Hocus, taken aback, says, "that goes against everything I believe [uncertain pause] ... so I keep it a secret."

EDIT: If you want a head start, read this description of the Apocalypse World I presented to my players at PAX.

Apocalypse World / Ethics as provocative question fodder.
« on: August 22, 2012, 10:49:04 PM »
My technical communication class briefly reviewed ethical considerations today (as they pertain to making recommendations in analytical reports, but who cares?) and a couple things lit up my brain parts about Apocalypse World so here it is:

When making decisions we weigh priorities in three categories,

  • Anticipated Consequences
  • Values/Convictions (independent of consequences)
  • Obligations

Each category can hold all kinds of ideas, specific or abstract. The key word in all this is priorities. We may all value safety, prosperity, and personal freedom, for example, but we might prioritize them differently.

For asking provocative questions, this comes in pretty handy. If I'm stuck for ideas I can just pick two categories, or two ideas within one category, or two ideas within different categories (the boundaries are blurry anyway), and ask the character which is more important. Note that I can ask provocative questions implicitly by putting someone in a spot or offering a hard bargain, or probably other moves I haven't thought of, which is to say I misdirect as instructed by the principles.

Example? OK.

Does Boxer prioritize Lala (his lover to whom he is obligated) over his oft-stated conviction that everyone must pull their own weight around here (a value)? Does he prioritize Lala's happiness over that of Shazza, his chief lieutenant (conflicting obligations)? Does he prioritize Lala's safety over preventing a neighboring hold from attacking (obligation vs. anticipated consequence)?

For some of you this may seem obvious, and we probably all do it intuitively anyway. Yet here I am posting about it just in case.

Summary: when asking provocative questions, sometimes try to clarify the character's competing priorities and make him choose between them. The closer they compete, the better.

Apocalypse World / Running AW at Games on Demand at PAX - advice?
« on: August 16, 2012, 03:56:49 PM »
Hey folks,
Does anyone have advice for running AW as a one-shot most effectively?

For one thing, I'm thinking about offering fewer than the full range of basic playbooks, to speed up character creation, offer me a more predictable starting situation, and allow me to run more than one con sessions with one set of printed books (by running the next ones with the excluded sets). Any thoughts about this?

I know AW works best when relationships and situations have time to ferment across sessions, but how do I approximate that adequately in just one? Or do I even need to?

In general, how can I give the curious newcomer the best possible Apocalypse World experience in one session? How should I modify my approach to the tools I have (Principles and MC Moves, etc.)?


Apocalypse World / New custom move for transient PCs
« on: July 25, 2012, 06:21:41 PM »
So far my players have chosen playbooks that don't include explicit built-in motivations or NPC relationships, i.e., no hardholder, hocus, operator, or chopper. They basically freelance smuggling and escort gigs up and down a river valley dotted with hardholds. Since I don't want to come up with all the NPC relationships alone, I made this custom move:

When you roll up to a new hardhold, you know someone there. Describe the relationship to the MC and roll+hot. On a 10+ both, on a 7-9 choose 1:
*they're not pissed at you
*you don't owe them a favor

What am I failing to account for with this move?

I seek advice about the best way to later include a player who couldn't make it to the first session. What should I do? What should I avoid?


Apocalypse World / Ask Questions! ("Get the ball rolling" edition)
« on: July 17, 2012, 12:11:30 PM »
Rather than necro'ing this thread, which I love dearly, I'd like to share here a few "get the ball rolling" questions I came up with to use when I draw a blank during the first session (coming up this Sunday), and solicit similar general questions from you, gentle readers.

"When you wake up, what's the first thing you think about?"

"What does your place look like? What do you display there? Who gave it to you and why?"

"What's unusual about your morning [or any] routine?"

"What do you seek out purely from habit? Who do you get it from?"

"Who reminds you of [the abstract thing we're talking about]?"

OK, so what are some of your favorite general-purpose questions?

Just kidding. In my game, one of each. :)

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