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Topics - DWeird

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AW:Dark Age / Inverting rights
« on: October 09, 2014, 04:25:51 AM »
So we're a couple sessions in our game, the summary of which I won't provide because I don't feel it'd add much to what others have already established. Plus, I'm not the MC, so it's not my job!

You can't help but think about fiddling with the game as you go along, that's just what the AW engines does, I guess.

So here's a rambling chain of thought about an interesting problem that hasn't yet come up in our game - when, how, why, deny rights?

To start, you'll have to go along with the following - 'rights' are merely duties for everyone else. If you have a right to impose a law on a village or something, that necessarily means that the village has a duty to follow your orders and the neighbouring leaders have a duty not to interfere.

Now, technically, rights are duties for *everyone* else, including the moon, stars, and the mongol hordes, but obviously it doesn't work like that. Every inverted right has a clincher to it, the person, people, place or event that makes it so that you having a right means something rather than nothing.

There's a lot of them, probably! But you're an MC, so you get to choose what sees the light of play. Is the right to lay down the law a right because the villagers follow the liege (why?), or because the warlords nearby respect the claim (why?).

Since you're an MC who has played apoc world, you get to be creative, too, and meld clincher NPCs of different players into one, making triangles. The blacksmith has the right to marry a girl from a family who's say-so determines whether this village will seek protection of the liege this side of the river or that. The guy who gets a life at midwinter for the Wicker-Wise is also part of the War-captain's raiding party.

Or you can leave them dangling alone, making them more of a problem than a node. My labours bear no fruit because the spirit of tilled earth was not sated by the year's sacrifice... What do I do, who do I turn to?

Anyway, this means you don't ever need to decide on the spot on whether you want deny a right or not. You make aesthetic choices and contributions to the game that are useful on their own, and then as these develop, possibilities of denying the players' rights will flow naturally out of the fiction, which at that point will be affected by player and MC alike. Is the clincher in working order? Then the right goes through without a hitch. Is the clincher gone? Well then, friend, you are denied, let your voice pierce the heavens.

So that's a thought.

AW:Dark Age / Name lists
« on: September 03, 2014, 05:51:14 AM »
As promised over in the blog, here's some comments on the Baltic section of name lists. I'll do this piecemeal over a few days, most likely.

Assumptions: to make Baltic names, you pull names from lithuanian or latvian sources, as no other linguistically baltic people currently exist. There were other peoples, of course, but they're now either assimilated into either Lithuania and Latvia and exist as regional dialects, or were eradicated altogether and so we only have (not very good) reconstructions of their languages. If you pulled any names from these reconstructions instead of either lithuanians or latvians, good for you! You know more than I do and should just carry on doing what you're doing.

Anyway. Here's the names that make me raise eyebrows sky high:
Kertu, Daniil, Henri, Karl, Maksim, Rasmus, Rickards, Romet, Sander.

All of them save for Rickards are odd because of one reason: word endings. Lithuanians and latvians use word endings to denote gender, grammatical case and singular plural. "Englishing" a name usually means that most of that is ignored and you just use nominative for everything, which is an established practice by now that everyone is quite fine with. However, you *do* need to get the nominative endings right.

The most common feminine nominative endings in lithuanian (and, far as I know, in latvian as well) are "-a" or "-e." (In lithuanian, the actual nominative word ending is "-?", which is important-ish because using an "-e" turns changes the case from nominative to vocative, which is mildly frustrating when reading. Not that important, though.)

Which is why "Kertu" feels ridiculous. You could turn it into the form of an actual name by changing it to Kerta or Kerte, but even then it would not be a name I have actually heard of.

Similarly, the most frequent masculine nominative ending in lithuanian is "-as", more rarer ones are "'-is", or "-ius." Far as I can tell, latvians either stick an "-s", or an "-is", or an "-ijs" at the end. The simple way to look at it is that if a masculine name doesn't have an 's' at the end, it's probably not Baltic.

Henri and Karl thus seem french and german, respectivelly. You could change 'Henri' to 'Henrikas' or 'Erikas', whereas variations of "Karl" are not much used at all.

Daniil and Maksim are slavic. The Baltic states have a long history of being occupied by the Russian empire and then the Soviet Union, with attempts at assimilation through education controls, partial extermination and massive population relocations. You want to avoid conflating names from these two language groups like you'd want to avoid calling the Dallai Lama chinese. There is a baltic version of Daniil - either "Danielius" or "Daniels." There is no baltic version of Maksim.

Rasmus is the name of a band. Rasmas, I believe, is a latvian name, though I do not know for sure.

Romet and Sander I haven't even got a clue about. Where did you get these two names?

And I think that's it for today. Later this week, I'll try to find and list some cool archaic names (the current ones feel fairly modern, and don't read like their English list counterpart at all). Maybe a bit of implied linguistic background for some of the names, though I'm not sure how useful that would be.

If other people want to use this thread for similar name-checking for the languages they know about, feel free.

Apocalypse World / New playbook: The Abacus (evil middlemanager edition)
« on: December 22, 2012, 04:04:46 PM »
You might know about my earlier attempt at a playbook, the Abacus, who was a kind of stealthy hitman type. That one failed to take off - mostly because no one, including myself, was able to point at what exactly the playbook was supposed to be doing.

Well, now I've redone it completelly. Instead of being a cool loner assassin type, instead he's now basically a middle manager - a guy who is all about social leverage and the inability to use it gracefully.

You will find yourself caring a lot more about where and how barter is flowing, and you will be very capable of putting other people into trouble while remaining relativelly safe yourself. You lack the ability to have a "final say" in matters, though, and things ought to get away from you unless you take care of various troublesome details well in advance.

You can play post-apoc middlemanagers, loan sharks, dealers and brokers with him.

Inspirations were the Wolf from Pulp Fiction, Buddy from Swimming with Sharks, Fennyman from Shakespear in love, and my own burning inner desire to make a jerk playbook that doesn't screw the other characters.


Joe, Gray, Moss, Pierce, Case, Jules, Mirth, Rain.

Adams, Bach, Carter, Evans, Young, Thomas, White, Price.
QED, Once, Boss's Man, Mirror, Thirteen, Pi, Carver.


Man, Woman, or concealed.

Formal wear, vintage wear, casual wear, signature wear, or luxe wear.

Concealed face, sharp face, stern face, fat face or forgettable face.

Deep eyes, dead eyes, calculating eyes, wise eyes, weary eyes.

Tall body, wiry body, pudgy body, crippled body, hard body.

Cool+2 Hard-1 Hot-2 Sharp+2 Weird+1
Cool+2 Hard0 Hot-1 Sharp+1 Weird+1
Cool+2 Hard+1 Hot0 Sharp+1 Weird-1
Cool+2 Hard+1 Hot+1 Sharp-1 Weird0

Abacus's network -

By default, your network costs 2-barter maintenance per session and provides you with services as per your professional agreement. Missing payments means no more service, no more respect. Pick two:
* You've got a rare contact (maybe Milk) for something luxe or rare, like weapons, drugs or transportation.
* You've got two no-nonsense enforcers (maybe Vega and Ezekiel).
* You've got an understanding with the local warlord (maybe Jonathan) that you're the gatekeeper of something necessary, like food, medicine, or gear.
* You've got a front or a patsy (maybe Quentin).
* You've got cachet and an envoy (maybe Trigger) with the distant looming threat (maybe Greer's gang).

Pick two:

In the pocket - at the beggining of a session, roll +cool. On a 10+, hold 2. On a 7-9, hold 1. Spend your hold 1 for 1 to have someone in your network make a move for you as if you were there to do it.

Swimming with sharks - if whoever's in charge around here owes you, you can cash in the debt to use +sharp instead of +hard to aggro, using their retribution as a weapon.

Options - you can spread 1 barter around once per session, getting 1 extra hold any time you get hold for the rest of the session.

Keeping tabs - you can read the sitch regarding anything you spent barter on, even if you're not there.

Served cold - when using time and manpower to pursue someone, roll +cool. On a hit, hold 3. On a 7-9, hold 1. Spend hold 1 for 1 throughout your pursuit to:
* Find the least loyal member of their group.
* Trap, imprison them or remove an escape route.
* Put something left unprotected in danger.
* Hide something important or dangerous in plain view.

When you have sex with someone, either you get 1 hold on them or they get 1 hold on your network as per In the pocket rules, their choice.

Advancement: The usual, details pending, plus:
Retire as a threat.

You also get some unimpressive weaponry to start with, and a whopping 5 barter. Improvements might get you a small hold or a moonlighting crew, both of which will benefit from the Network move.

Apocalypse World / Default +stat, info +stat: a forum game!
« on: December 15, 2012, 07:43:40 AM »
Do you like thinking about possible AW hacks even if you don't actually make any? I do!

So here's a thing. You know how Weird is the setting background stat because you get all of your information through it? And you know how Cool is the mechanical background stat because it has the move that you can always default to?

Now lets see what happens if we get different stats for those purposes! Default AW stats only, for now at least.

I'll start.

Info stat: Hot. You get all of your information from other people by being someone they would willingly release their secrets to. You have to be attractive, sensual and sexual to know what the true meaning behind the world is. If you're not, you can still act end get things done, but you might never know what your actions mean in the great scheme of things.

Default stat: Hard. To keep alive and well, you have to do one of two - suck up the fallout, or make someone weaker than you deal with it.

I think the above might just be Game of Thrones, but I could be wrong.

Anyway, your turn! Pick a stat that a getting information move would fall under, and a stat that would basically do some version of act under fire, and describe the result.

Or, I don't know. Ask to clarify if you don't get what the game is about. But that's not as interesting.

Apocalypse World / New Playbook: The Abacus
« on: January 05, 2012, 01:16:45 PM »
So I wanted to do a playbook that toys with the definition of Cool as "rational" for a while now. This idea has been tossing around in my head for a while now, but only recently the general idea "clicked."

You know James Bond, right? So that's basically a Battlebabe. James Bond is cool because he is the master of his sexuality, which in turn makes him a master at killing things. Sex and lives don't matter to James Battlebond, that's why they're easy things to take.

Now, I'm interested in the converse - someone who achieves control of his life not by mastering their sexuality (or emotions in general), but by by suffocating it, removing it from their lives altogether. So, Leon, the dude from Equillibrium, and such. They're dudes who are cold, calculating, professional but who don't necessarily *want* to be such. So if there's any ideas or criticism, keep the general thrust of the idea in mind, okay?


Joe, Gray, Moss, Pierce, Case, Jules, Mirth, Rain.

Adams, Bach, Carter, Evans, Young, Thomas, White, Price.
QED, Once, Boss's Man, Mirror, Thirteen, Pi, Carver.


Man, Woman, or concealed.

Formal wear, vintage wear, utility wear, casual wear, signature wear, or luxe wear.

Concealed face, sharp face, stern face, scarred face, striking face or featureless face.

Deep eyes, dead eyes, calculating eyes, wise eyes, weary eyes.

Tall body, wiry body, crippled body, hard body, or fit body.

Cool+2 Hard-1 Hot-2 Sharp+2 Weird+1
Cool+2 Hard0 Hot-1 Sharp+1 Weird+1
Cool+2 Hard+1 Hot0 Sharp+1 Weird-1
Cool+2 Hard+2 Hot-2 Sharp+1 Weird-2

(needs work)


Thorough - for every 2-harm you inflict, choose one of the following:
* You break something important.
* You learn something (get 1-hold for read a person/sitch)
* You keep your target from escaping.

Like a ghost - always ignore gang size bonuses. Also, when going for the leader in a battle, roll +cool. On a 10+, you're there ready for a perfect shot, on a 7-9 you're there ready for a shot, but you risk exposure.

Aware - roll +cool instead of +weird to open your brain.

Eye for detail - get a +2 bonus instead of +1 for read a person.
Tools of the trade - get a workshop and stock for making hi-tech weapons or explosives.
Lethal - whether using a weapon or not, always do at least Cool-harm. If there's a weakspot you know of, also do ap-harm.

Special move:
When you have sex, you lose your control. Your partner can have you wake up anyplace they want, good or bad.

Advancement: The usual, details pending, plus:
Retire as a threat.

Apocalypse World / Real life battlebabe!
« on: May 25, 2011, 09:55:18 AM »
So I saw District 13 a bit ago, and seeing this particular chase scene immediatelly made me think "crap, he's a battlebabe, isn't he?"

But, while I finally get the appeal of playing a battlebabe now, it also made me think...

Isn't the fact that the playbook has custom guns and weapons on it a big fat misdirect? Giving them awesome weapons seems to say: hey, look! This one is good at fighting! Pick it if you want a battle! And that is a hell of a lie - battlebabes, with their puny hard, are downright sucky when things come to actually having to shoot your guns or bloody your blade (you can debate this but I probably won't believe you).

The fictional battlebabes (David Belle, that dude in Equillibrium, Hit Girl, River in any of her fight scenes) do something different than fighting, I think... They *dodge* until the enemies around them are dead, and use the environment and the enemy's weapons to inflict their harm.

And you can't do that with the battlebabe as written (or can you?). If that's the case, it's a problem easily solvable via custom playbook moves, probably.

But first, I would of course like to know if I am totally totally wrong about all of this.

Knife & Candle / MC principles and what you say?
« on: July 10, 2010, 09:25:29 AM »
Having played Echo Bazaar for a short bit, I now believe I can play this hack and amuse my fellows whilst doing so.

I do not, however, have the faintest idea of how I would go about running it. Will you tell me?

Apocalypse World / Tell me about your experiences with Ally:
« on: June 28, 2010, 05:02:20 AM »
So! I played an operator who's gig was spreading peace and understanding through the use of words and diplomacy and looking harmless.

Eventually, I got the unwritten future extended move for manipulation, and boy oh boy did any move ever feel as right for him as this. Turning threats into allies! Yes!

Only, in that game, it didn't seem to do much (on screen, at least) beyond what I would get for a regular 10+. The henchman gave me support in front of his boss, the mutant leader promises not to kill all humans, the gang under fire put down its weapons and came peacefully. A 10+ was a "they do it!" then... And on a 12+, the result was still pretty much "they do it!", and then I would not hear from them again. For the most part, they'd stop doing some types of stuff - an ally: representative would not do warlord actions, and that is good...But they would not start doing the other types of stuff - the ally NPCs slid off the screen and did not do what their types called for without prompting... And the cool thing about the extended manipulation move is that it's supposed to give you people that help you even in your absence, even when you don't ask for it, right?

Now, there are details about the game that could've lead to me getting this impression (lots of intra-PC conflict with the result of NPCs in general not playing much of a role), but I think there's something more to this... Specifically, the MC, if he's following the principles right, is ill-equipped to deal with non-threat NPCs. They slide off the mental radar and only reappear as blips of "whoop! I can't do that with that guy, he's no longer a threat now".

'course, I may be way wrong here - what are your experiences with turning threats into allies?

brainstorming & development / Bad Company
« on: June 26, 2010, 03:40:58 PM »
I found a neat possibility in AW hackspace! Precisely, the possibility of a move that goes in the rough form of:

When you do <X>, something(someone) else can roll with stat+yourstat.

Or, to give this vagueness a bit more meat to sink teeth into...

You belong to a company of mercenaries in a war-torn land. Kings and emperors and sky-scorching wizards come and go, but they all need someone both experienced and expendable to do their dirty work. And, when the price is right -- that's you and your men.

The mainstay of your Company starts out as a rag-tag group of greenhorns armed with whatever weaponry they came from home with and sharpened sticks for pikes.

Cool-1 Hard-1 Hot-1 Sharp-1 Weird-1

You have three advancements you can spend to incrase any stat you wish by a +1. When advancing a stat, pick one thing from the appropriate list. You can pick something twice - when picking it the second time, write down "The finest <...> in all of the lands" or something other to that effect.

Swift men
Cunning men

Sheer numbers
Ferocious men
Proud men


Grizzled veterans
Hard-ass officers
Disciplined men

A keepsake from an old battle
A perplexing device
Circling buzzards
An old hag
A child prophet

A Company has all the basic moves, plus special results on a +12.

Under fire - on a 12+, the company fends off attacks completelly. Hold 3. During battle, any member of the Company can spend this hold by to: save their own skin from imminent danger (or) save everyone from imminent danger with a succesful under fire roll.

Seize by force - on a 12+, the company has broken through and seized initiative. Hold 3. During battle, any member of the Company can spend hold this hold by making a +hard roll. When inflicting harm, you can spend this hold to: add ap, ignore size, fear, s-harm.

Manipulate/Seduce a person - on a 12+, you've got them in your pocket. Pick an ally: threat type and hold 3. Any member of the company can then, at any time, spend this hold to make them make their threat move. This hold can be refreshed by 1 up to 3 by getting back in touch with them and seducing/manipulating them some more.

Read a sitch - on a 12+, the company starts making the sitch instead of reacting to it. Hold 3. During battle, any member can spen this hold after a succesful read a sitch roll to pick a question from the list and answer it as you please ("What's the biggest threat? I AM!").

Open your brain - on a 12+, the company unwittingly sets something into motion in the grand scheme of things. Say what will happen, eventually, and hold 3. Either you or the MC can then spend this hold to show omens of things to come. After all the hold is spent, what's forseen will come true within a day.

And the characters!

The Siegeworker

Barrage - when you're providing cover fire, add your cool to the Company's.

The Slayer

Vanguard - when you're leading a charge and killing like crazy, add your hard to the Company's.

The Layer

Vanguard - when you're making somebody feel comfortable, add your hot to the Company's.

The Tactician

Schemes within schemes - when you make a plan and stick to it, add your sharp to the Company's

The Hedgewizard

Foreboding femur When you get a that feeling in your bones and tell them, add your weird to the Company's.

Obviously, the character/move names could use work and this generally needs some working on, but you get the general idea. You do something which gives the Company extra power right then and there, and then she passes the end result back to the players for them to do with as they will.

brainstorming & development / A hack with no name
« on: June 24, 2010, 09:50:35 AM »
So, there have been thoughts in my head about a little hack for a while now, essentially spurred by a single sentence in the original text.

“There are no status quos in Apocalypse World.”

'But,' I thought... 'I like status quos! They give you a big stick to hit things with! Something to scrape against! What's the deal here?'

Later on, that inchoate feeling developed into something I could sink my teeth in. Simply put, my deep gut feeling is that, were the world to really go to hell, people wouldn't all go cowboy (as much as I actually LOVE playing cowboy) and start shootin' and drinkin' and generally being free to do what they damn well please as long as they can put a gun in front of that please. That deep feeling in my gut told me that, instead, in a world gone to hell, people would cluster together so hard they'd start to choke, cling to anything that's still a certainthing, a rock if need be, put on a brave face they know is a lie and stare at the advancing darkness in disbelief. And in this group of people clustered together on a rock, there would damn well be status quos, and you would BE these status quos or else claw against them trying to get a breath.

I've got some vague ideas about the hack - it'll be a fantasy thing about a world shattered into little islands and neverending raging storms of dust between them, and I've also got some equally vague ideas for playbooks and possible moves. What I do already have down are the stat names - they're basically the same thing as in the original, only with some things lost and, one would hope, some things gained through translation:

Spine - willpower, ability to resist and weather pressure. You use this when you see the odds are stacked against you and do it anyway.

Blood - stature, rootedness in the community, pride. You use this when you see something that is yours and take it.

Warmth - understanding and the ability to comfort others. You use this to give others guidance and stop someone before they go too far.

Nose - intuition and the senses. You use this when you act on opportunities, whether you really know about they're there or not.

Dust - that which makes a stranger a stranger... a certain whiff of death. You use this when you act inhumanely... and inhumanly.

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