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Topics - hobbesque

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Hey folks! I'm trying to compose a Hatchet CIty/Sunken Sydney-style one-shot (that is, a scenario that simulates a game that's really popping off in session 4-5 or whatever). Player interest meant that I'm including some of the extended playbooks (the ones in the subject), but unlike, say, the Gunlugger, I've never seen one in play for more than a session or two (or at all). So, help me out:

Whether you've played one/seen one in play or not, what sort of character of that playbook would interest you? Why do you think it's cool, what sort of situations or in-game position do you think you'd aim your character towards?

(Ex:  "I like that the Gunlugger is the baddest ass" "I'd want to play then as a rootless nomad but I keep on liking helpless people with fixed addresses"/"I want to play them as fixated on constantly finding bigger badasses to test self against")

If you have played one or seen one in play over a few sessions, what'd they get up to? Where were they going, or where did they end up?

(Ex: "after doing lots of gigs for both of two rival holds for a while, they ended up brokering peace by seducing the head of one into abdicating in their favor" / "they piled up so many bodies that the game area was depopulated and barren")

Obviously, I'm asking the actual players these questions, but I'm interested in what other people have been up to, and figured I'd get more grist for the mill.

Dungeon World / Steadings
« on: March 01, 2016, 10:52:34 AM »
Hey folks! Has anyone played much with steadings and is willing to tell me what was cool, worked, didn't, ended up hacked?

They seem like a cool mechanic and I want to steal them for my AW game (where the hard holder is all about post-apoc geopolitics). I've run a lot of World games, including DW one-shots with dungeon starters, but not anything that used these rules.


The Regiment / Films (&tc) Reference/Inspiration
« on: January 14, 2016, 11:07:04 AM »
I want to try running this game. I'm well-familiar with Powered by the Apocalypse, but that means that I know each one is influenced by its own set of internal logic. That's why the principles, moves, etc. all end up more-or-less subtly different.

I realized, though, that I'm pretty understeeped in war movies. I'll probably end up running Colonial Marines, but Aliens is more of a horror-plus-action-movie than a war movie.

So, recommend me! I'll start the list off with one of the few I have seen:

  • Letters Home from Vietnam, based off the book of published real-life letters. Stock footage, newsreel and commentary, interviews with soldiers, music of the era, and the letters themselves read by (often big-name) actors. Does a great job of conjuring a feeling of the war at its various points.

Apocalypse World / Hacking "read a..." moves.
« on: December 17, 2015, 10:48:19 AM »
Conversation between AW players and MCs teased out some dissatisfaction with the Read moves: the questions aren't always quite right, and specifically with read a sitch, a 10+ feels dissatisfying because there's usually only one question they want answered (so it's no better than a 7-9).

We're trying:

When you roll a 10+ on Read a Stich or a Person, you may give up all 3 of your questions from the list for any 1 other question (as per advancing the move with the Ungiven Future).

We tried it out last night, and it was used once, and considered several times.

The one use was "What happened here recently?" when coming upon the the bushwhacked body of a former subordinate (that they were probably going to kill for being a traitorous bastard anyway). It let me drop lots of badness and plant lots of bloody fingerprints, and made the gunlugger out to be a badass tracker (in the movie version, the explanation is clearly done in jump-cuts to shakycam flashbacks, or something).

Thoughts? Similar dissatisfaction? Other fixes, on the mechanical or just MC-ing level?

Apocalypse World / Being on fire
« on: December 17, 2015, 10:43:22 AM »
I came up with a front that involves a lot of people with a bad case of pyro-fetishism, and I wanted to flesh out the rules. I did some poking around (I found that searching the forums for "molotov" got the most results I wanted and the least I didn't, compared to "fire", "on fire," "burning,' etc.), so plenty of this is stolen.

Feedback welcome! Goals are:

The rules should be simple and fit in with the rest of AW.
Setting someone on fire should not be better than shooting them (it’s for crazies, tactics, or terror).

Catching fire:
When you catch on fire, if its just a little bit of fire, maybe just your arm or just your torso or maybe just your head a little, take 1-harm. If you are like seriously fucking on fire, like most of your body, it's 2-harm. The same applies if you go into a place that's on fire a little or a lot.

If you stay on fire or stay in a place that is on fire for some reason (I don't know, I don't tell you what to do) then the harm becomes AP.

Doing stuff when you are on fire, including becoming less on fire, is, of course, acting under fire.

If you don't stay on fire, being on fire isn't that scary. Good things to do as a result of not-strong-hits on acting under fire: harm (including s-harm, for smoke inhalation, etc.), their armor slagging, their ammo cooking off, them setting other things on fire, panicked unhelpful NPC action or inaction.
New weapon tags:
+Incendiary: the weapon sets fire to things. Maybe it will only set fire to things that are already flammable, or maybe it’s a nasty thing that spits out something that is flammable and then sets that on fire.

I thought about making two tags to distinguish between "hot" and "covers in burning chemicals," but nah.

New gear:

molotov cocktail (1-harm incendiary messy)
firebomb (2-harm incendiary area messy)
flamethrower (2-harm incendiary messy)
dragon’s breath rounds (+incendiary to a shotgun)

Molotov cocktails are breakable containers full of flammable chemicals with a wick, mostly good for setting stuff rather than people on fire. Firebombs are anything from crude explosives to WP grenades. Flamethrowers are man-portable (I thought about "autofire," maybe?), and clearly the tank should explode at some point. Dragons breath rounds are real goofy, but too cool not to include:

I'd make cocktails practically free, firebombs as as rare as grenades, flamethrowers as rare as assault rifles, dragon's breath rounds as rare as ap ammo.

Monsterhearts / Summer Internships
« on: December 28, 2013, 12:39:03 PM »
My group is super excited because we're getting to pick up the second season of a beloved game. There was a blood oath with a morally bankrupt supernatural tied law firm at the end of the last session, so this is the move we rolled at the start of the first session:

When you spend your summer interning for Danforth and Chase, besides tedious cubicle slavery (making spreadsheets, filing rituals) and grunt work (fetching copy, digging graves), you did... other things. Roll +nothing (the banality of evil doesn't care how cool you are). On a 10+, pick 1. On a 7-9, pick 2. On a 6-, you pick one and the MC picks one.

*You cross a line you never thought you'd cross.
*You alienate a friend or break ties with the community.
*You make a powerful enemy.

If you find out you've gotten too deep, you can break your contract and avoid all of the above, but D&C gets 5 strings on you.

Two of us got a miss. D: We're figuring out the results right now...

Monsterhearts / Son of "Managing a second season": Strings
« on: November 25, 2013, 12:16:03 PM »
As I described in this post, my friends and I played a game we liked (yay!) are are slowly getting our act together run the second season of it (yay!). The first post was about how we were trying to figure out how to deal with advances;* this one is about strings. We're hoping for input, particularly suggested questions (see below).

So, when we dug out our sheets, we had strings on people. Sometimes a lot, sometimes on NPCs that were no longer central to the story, and never with much idea of why we had gotten them (Did we hit on them, hit them, cut them down to size?). So we decided to wipe the slate clean and start out with a fresh round of "backstory" like we would if we were making new characters. It'll refocus us on who and what we find most interesting while we figure out where we are post-summer-vacation.

This is the process we're following. We're not done formulating questions, and we won't answer them until we sit down to play the first session, just like normal.

Step 1: what are our current skins backstory moves? which ones do we keep and which do we drop?

We had two people who changed skins (Infernal->Chosen and Witch->Selkie) and one who didn't (Fae); all their current skins' backstory questions still seemed relevant, so we're keeping them.

Step 2: What questions should everyone answer?

Here are our ideas thus far:

"Who did you want to grow closer to this summer? Give them a string on you. Did you? If yes, gain a string on them; if no, they gain another string on you."

"Who did you miss over the summer? Give them a string."

"When people ask you what you did over the summer, there's one story that impressed people the most, and there's one person who would improve their opinion on you more than anyone else, and either you know it or they know it.. Gain a string on them." [This one's clunky in phrasing, but I like the idea]

Step 3: What questions should particular characters ask?

Obviously this is pretty closely tied to knowledge of the campaign, but.

For Logan, the Infernal-turned Chosen: Who has given you the most forgiveness? Take a string on them.

For Faolan, the Fae who might be trying to occupy the newly-vacated throne of the Faerie Queen: Who gave you the most help in your struggles over the summer in the Fae court? Give them a string on you.

Evelyn, the Witch-turned-Selkie: Who made you question your core values and hardened your heart? Give them a string on you.

*We ended up using the system as described there, in part because our "last session" (actually 2 or 3) after someone gained a Season Advance was long enough that the PCs had 7, 8, and 9 advances.

Monsterhearts / Selkie's skin from other playbooks
« on: March 20, 2013, 09:34:49 AM »
The Selkie has two moves linked to her skin: One lets them swim like the dickens (including swimming away forever) and one lets them have it be stolen from them to force them to do favors (for which they get strings and bonuses).

Am I right in thinking the two are split for elegance's sake, and that another skin (i.e, a Witch – "I made it with a ritual!" – or a Fae "I am a spirit of the ocean!") who took one with an advance could reasonably get the other for free? They seem kind of sad when separated, and given that one is a limited-applicability power and the other is an excuse to be messed with it doesn't seem h4x.

(Obviously Joe isn't going to lead-pipe me in a dark alley if I Choose Poorly, but I thought I'd poll the crowd.)

Monsterhearts / Managing a 2nd season
« on: March 19, 2013, 05:17:43 PM »
So me and my friends finished an awesome season of Monster Hearts. We tore up the place, defeated ancient evil, and stretched the "last session" suggested by Season Advances to 2 or 3.

We want to come back to these characters, but we were hesitant to just play them as they were, long on power and short on further advancement options. We wanted them to have room to grow again after they got back from summer vacation.

I wrote (this draft) of these rules so that we can play a second season a) while feeling more powerful than starting characters, b) without losing all our sense of progress, and c) allowing some flexibility to reshape our characters while still d) maintaing the feeling of young, and therefore not super-competent, characters, e) providing enough mechanical (and therefore fictional) support to further growth and f) maintaining a sense of continuity.  Here's what I've got.

NB: This doesn't address strings. Yet(?).

When you come back from summer vacation…

Take a blank copy of the Skin that you ended the season as. Act as if you're starting afresh, for the most part (your Name, Look, and Origin probably haven't changed, but then again, they might have). You can redistribute your +1 stat if you want.

Select five advances, including a Season advance if you want.

If you changed your skin last season, it's a little different. Keep the starting stat line of your original skin (but you can still change your +1). Select any 5 of the normal advances (no Season advance), and you can use the "Take another [Current Skin] move" advance to take a Move from your old skin, if you want.

You may want to mark your 5 starting advances a little differently than you normally do, so you can keep track of when this season ends (see below).

After you've done all that, add 3 more advancement options to your skin:

_  Take another [Current Skin] move.
_  Take a move from another Skin.
_  Add 1 to any stat (Max 3).

Then begin the season. The Season Advances open up again, and signal the end of the season, after someone gains 5 more advances (10 in total).

Apocalypse World / Johnstone's "When you reset Hx, learn a secret"
« on: July 11, 2012, 05:50:01 PM »
I considered posting to the original thread, but didn't want to necrotize.

I really liked this rule when I saw it. We've been using it in our game as it's written in the first post, without a specific list of options or mechanical bonuses.

I was wondering if and how people have been using it in play. Thus far, everything we've revealed has been backstory stuff, either that the player's worked out beforehand or on the spot, and the knowledge of it is sort of retroactive; "You've always known this thing/have heard the rumor before, but it hasn't come to light/seemed relevant before now." I'd love to hear specifically what sort of secrets you've revealed, and also how that revelation's been worked in to the fiction.

When you reset Hx to +1...

When your Hx with a character goes to +4 and you reset it to +1, have that character's player tell you a secret about their character.

When you tell a secret about your character, tell the other player something their character did not already know, either some weakness or habit, or some psychology they manage to puzzle out. This should be something more than trivial; if it can be used against your character in some way, if it's something the MC didn't know, or if it paints your character in a radically different light all of a sudden, all the better.

If you're using Hx (or bonds or the equivalent) with NPCs, and you reset from +4 to +1, the MC will tell you a secret about that character.

Apocalypse World / [AP] Cold Cores
« on: May 28, 2012, 06:52:23 PM »
It's a Cold, Cold World

The world's ending in ice, not in fire. People who bother to talk to the oldsters hear that first the world was getting hotter, and then it got colder, and then it got way cold, and then it got bad. Maybe it was something they did to try to fix the warming, stupid as that sounds nowadays.

As the winters got worse and the summers got winter, people started to go underground. Some went in bits and pieces, converting subways and steam tunnels, but if they really had their shit together they built something shiny-new, deep and well-stocked. The luxe ones and the jury-rigged ones alike became known as "Cores." The lucky got in and the unlucky stayed topside.

Things break; the Cores couldn't remain sealed forever. The surfacers had had a much rougher time of it, scavenging for heat and food and shelter enough not to end up a corpsicle. The cultural exchange was a little rough at first, but each side had stuff the other wanted. That was a ways back; the surfacer/core distinction is more about pedigree than practicality nowadays.

The known world goes from the edges of the sea-ice on the east coast, west (along the highway that is the frozen river) and north and south until you run out of ruined cityscape and start getting into wilderness and the cannibal tribes. There there be dragons. Sometimes travelers come through claiming to be from other, distant Cores, and there are people who range the wastes and claim to know safe ways through.

The Yard’s Golden Age iron fence has gotten some beefing up into a proper compound since the local Core (built around four miles of steam tunnels and a subway station, among other things) opened up. It’s a little ways from the where the river hits the southern tip of the s-kink it takes before continuing west. The Yardies have good relations with the Beaverhold that lies on their side of the river to the east, dealing through them with Administrator Romulus at Government Center.

The cast:

Lobsterclaw, the Chopper. His gang of snowmobile-riding hard bastards -- the Claw Crew-- operates out of an old boathouse by the river.
VERITAS, the Hocus. Her secret society, Phi Beta Kappa, reveres the written word and hordes books while structuring themselves in layers of initiations and titles like P.h.D, Magna cum Laude and Assistant Dean of Housing.
Nero, the Operator. A cold-as-ice, James Dean looking motherfucker. He's got a super hot, way competent crew of highly skilled badasses... as long as he can keep the gigs in order and the jingle flowing. Preferably while staying ahead of Romulus' boys, a neighboring hardholder (and his father).

Dirty Snow

Tum-Tum’s gotten knocked up. Her man, Hill, left the Yard and left her in the lurch. Tum-Tum’s sad about it. Her brother Dremmer isn’t too pleased, either. Which is why he’s paying Nero a fuckton of jingle to make sure that Hill never comes back.

Nero’s got Cloud and Feather, pretty blond sharp-faced killers. Cloud has a tendency to stare off into the distance vacantly when he’s not engaged in murder or rutting, and Feather has the personality of a razor blade, but they’re both good at their jobs.  Nero had got word that Hill had run off north to Belmont Medical, and was making some kind of courier run back. He has the route.

They’re just along as consultants, though. He tossed this one to the Claw Crew, offering them as pay whatever he was carrying. They’re lounging around behind snow banks, waiting for Hill to come topside via a manhole cover. Sunny, one of the crew, is making snow angels, his assault rifle across his chest. Cloud and Feather sit apart, together, quietly. They all come to attention as the manhole cover slides away with a scrape, and they hear Hill saying goodbye to his pals, and pushing the cover back.

Lobster lets him get a little ways, but not so far he’ll make the cover of a building. He guns his snowmobile and comes roaring through a snowbank, a huge man in blue camouflage and a bulletproof vest. Hill pulls a pistol, which tickles a little before a machete takes his hand off at the wrist. The Crew takes their lead from Lobster, circling and taking potshots. Sunny, smiling the big smile that earned him his name, finishes it by pulling up beside Hill and planting his crowbar in his head before grabbing his courier bag. Lobster makes doubly sure by parking his growling machine on him, popping the clutch and revving.

Hill dies ugly in the snow. Dremmer paid enough for ugly.


VERITAS is sitting in her library underground, scrawling intensely into a ratty notebook. Stacks of books, moldering golden age texts and ones transcribed by her students on crude paper. Dictionaries and Thesauri and Encyclopedias take pride of place, but there’s everything from Reader’s Digest to academic journals to technical manuals to Harlequin novels. Times are good. Her students sit around, philosophizing and shooting up. Three of her tenured faculty are trancing out together, Blood’s reading a text in a distant voice while Salt and Slack rock back and forth.

A dirty-faced girl comes in. She’s probably pretty, under all of it. She’s maybe seventeen. VERITAS sits up, in her academic robes and hood, made of Golden Age plastifabric. Her eyes glow reptile-like in the dim light. “Yes?”

“I... I have a question.” She’s small and withdrawn, which isn’t actually like the rodents that run around the tunnels at all. They’re fierce sons-of-bitches. She blurts it out, though. “Can you tell if someone’s pregnant?”

VERITAS stares at her for too long. “Come into my office.” She stands and turns in a spin of crimson robes and heads back to her office, not a separate room but a cave of books. There’s a huge wingbacked chair, a bar stool, and a couple of folding chairs leaning against a wall. VERITAS sits in the chair, and Tum Tum perches.

“Have you ever had sex?” she intones, leaning in closely.

“... yes. I... I just want to be able to tell Hill...” she hesitates over the words before saying, “the father.”

“Let me... consider.” VERITAS sits, and contemplates, and opens her mind.

In front of her expands a vast sea of words. She knows many words, but she can never tell what the ones far away mean; they come into focus, not like through a lens but for her mind. They swirl, the ones in focus forming a garble and then becoming clear, in words of red: the father was killed.

VERITAS jerks back into reality, eyes wide. There is a long pause as she scribbles in her notes, muttering. She looks up, then down, then up again with awkward, halting movements.

“I have understood.” VERITAS begins suddenly, loudly.  “I’m...” She stops again and stares, her manic intensity fading into something resembling empathy. “I’m sorry. Hill isn’t alive anymore.” Tum Tum’s face falls, confused and hurt. VERITAS puts a hand on hers in comfort, a show of rare affection. “Don’t worry. We are here, and we will care for you.”

Tum Tum sniffles and looks down at the floor. Finally, she whispers, “I... I don’t know how to read.”

“That’s all right.” VERITAS smiles. “We will teach you.”


After showing the Crew to the manhole cover, Nero climbed behind Grass on her machine and roared off back towards Lobster’s boathouse. Grass is one of Nero’s, but rides like one of the Crew because she used to be. She’s actually Lobster’s niece; when Nero headhunted her, he got one of the Yard’s best mechanics. Something of a sore point with the gang, but bikes need fixing, so they grit their teeth and alternate between being pissed at Grass, for deserting, and Nero, for luring her away.

They roll up on the boathouse from the frozen river side, with the ramp and the large doors. As the engine dies, they hear... fucking. And screaming. “Shit,” mutters Nero. “Go left, quiet.” They draw pistols and go to opposite doors; Nero kicks his in.

He sees Dust, one of his crew, dangling by his thumbs while a thug digs into his stomach with a sharp stick. He’s one of the ones screaming. In the corner are Frost, June, and Grace -- Dust’s whores -- probably not getting paid for what’s being done to them by three others. Between those three and the rest of the room, holding guns, are two more, keeping an eye on some of the Crew -- Clam, Fox, and Tooth, plus Big Tuna, although he’s lying against the wall and not moving.

Romulus’ goons. Nero figures the one with the stick for their bossman, and lets him look all the way down the barrel of his magnum. “Tell them to drop their guns or you get a new hole in your head.” He’s ripshit, no-one messes with his crew like this, but cold.

The man slowly lowers the stick, looks him dully in the eye. “Your daddy wants to talk to you.”

BANG. The back of his head explodes outwards to the wall, and there’s a moment where he stands before flopping bonelessly to the ground.

The two with guns look at him, eyes wide. He goes to try the same move on them and they just open fire. He flings himself back, firing, towards the boathouse door while Grass opens up with her nine from the other side. A shotgun demolishes part of the heavy wood in a hail of splinters and the submachine traces fire across the wall and both sides of the double door, with Nero in between. He feels something warm and wet.

One of the two goes down to Grass, and the other turns on her. Nero draws a bead through the pain. Click. A rat-a-tat-tat and a cry from Grass. Clam and Fox and Tooth rush him; he rounds and takes out Clam’s knee in a spray of blood, and then the submachine gun clicks empty. The Crew is on him with boots and fists.

The three who were in the corner with the whores still have their pants down and are scrambling for their weapons. Nero forces himself to his feet through the pain in his belly and levels his empty gun at one of them as he’s about to grab an assault rifle off the floor. The man hesitates. Nero’s hand is steady.

“Anyone who can still walk, can walk with whatever they’re holding.”

The man still hesitates over the gun. The sound of Clam, Fox and Tooth beating his buddy to death echoes off of the ceiling of the big room.

“How do I know you won’t just shoot us?”

Nero lowers his gun to his side, eases the hammer down on the empty chamber. The man starts to back away, and then eyes the gleaming rifle.

“You’re not holding that,” Nero clarifies. The man pulls up his pants, and he and his three buddies start shuffling out.

Nero starts gives orders in a loud, clear voice. “Tooth, go get Key, fast.” Key is part of Nero’s crew, a medico. The door closes behind the three brutes. “Fox...” he takes the assault rifle and passes it to him, speaking quietly now. He picks up the submachine gun, takes a clip from the corpse, loads it. “They don’t walk away.”

They’re starting up their snowmobiles when Fox and Nero come out and gun them down in a hail of bullets.

Mechanical notes:

Nero worked two gigs, Doing Murders (Hill) and Technical Work (fixing the Claw Crew’s bikes). He got a weak hit, and chose tech work to go poorly, figuring the hurt feelings about Grass would be the problem. Since he was leaving his Avoiding Romulus gig unworked, it didn’t quite turn out that way (the third gig is Fucking, hence Dust).

VERITAS’ cult are academics -- argumentative, but drug-fixated with a disdain for fashion, luxury, and convention. Also a powerful psychic antenna, but that didn’t come up until next session.

The Claw Crew are well-armored and disciplined.

Monsterhearts / Some Love Letters I Wrote
« on: May 27, 2012, 12:53:54 PM »
McDaldno and I exchanged a few words about love letters here. He's not a big fan of them for M<3s, but I like them. In this particular case  I'm about to go in to a session a) with a big gap between it and the previous one, b) it'll probably be the last one before a player leaves town, and c) one of the characters missed two session. So they seem apropos.

This tiny Kansas town will never be the same.

Here they are:

Dear Carla:

It must have been very isolating for you, stuck at home alone all day while Lex goes out and parties and your aunt goes to visit her mother in Colorado. But you're used to it. You've been doing some thinking... some very productive thinking. Now it's time to get down to business.

You're a quiet type, but despite a lifetime of experience to the contrary it seems like people are starting to notice you. Mara. Vance. That strange Eric boy who talked to you in the hallway and knew your name. After highlighting stats, we'll see how that's going.

Roll +Hot, and some of the following will be true. On a 10+, all three. On a 7-9, pick two.

*You think Vance is sweet on you. Gain 1 String on him.
*Vance doesn't consider you a liability in the hunt. If you don't chose this option, he gains 1 String on you.
*You think you've seen someone hanging around the house. Is that... Eric? Gain a string on him. You can spend a String on him to have him right there when you need him.

On a miss, I'll pick one and you'll pick one to be true, but not as true as it would be otherwise -- it won't affect who gets Strings. There might still be some truth to the last one, too. We'll see.

Vance is coming to pick you up. Good hunting.

Love and kisses,

--Your MC

P.S You’ve had a lot of time to yourself to think. Pick any or all of the following:

*You were up all night thinking. Get the Drained condition and mark XP.
*You hurt yourself (anger, despair, training for the hunt). Take 1 harm and mark XP, up to twice (you can start with 1 healed, but that counts for this session).
*You’ve been obsessing. Pick another PC, give them a string on you, tell them why, mark XP. Do up to twice with different characters.


So you're a monster. How's that working out for you? At least you haven't eaten anyone you liked (yet). Just a few cows. And the janitor -- Ed Clark, they made an announcement over the PA. And poor... Beth? Was it Beth? It's so easy to forget names when there's so much... flavor. Well, serves her right for picking up hitchhikers, everyone knows that's dangerous.

You're cutting a swath. You're mad, bad, and dangerous to know. What could possibly go wrong?

After highlighting, roll +Cold, and we'll see. On a 10+, pick one. On a 7-9, pick two.

*You didn't do as thorough a job of hiding/skeletoning Beth as you could have. She's found and ID'd by morning, to hit the news along with the meth lab explosion.
*You get a text from your brother Kent. Your parents are upset -- something about blood on some clothes they found in your room? They want you home, now.
*Alice's mom calls you. She never got home last night. What asshole did you have drive her, again?

On a miss, all 3.

Love and kisses,

--Your MC



Shit's gotten real. The buzzing in your head is a near-constant, and there's static in your vision that you're not sure is reality glitching or a hallucination. You haven't asked Caleb whether he can see it to, but he's got a distant look in his eye.

The Fallen wants things. It wants Spoons aflame, its streets awash with madness. It's given you a shopping list:

*Knock out the transformer for the town. It's ten miles east on RT28.
*Spike the water supply with Dust. There's a water tower just inside city limits as you come in to town from Jed's.
*Oh, after you take out the power, there're still some emergency generators. Like the one in the Hospital. Get rid of that.
*Burn something big, like a building, and/or that's a symbol of authority, like a police car.
*Kill someone within city limits. It doesn't have to be public, but it should be messy, and the body should be found before too long.

Every time you do one of these things, it loses a string on you. Murder might have diminishing returns -- you'll need to do more, bloodier, scarier.

The good news is that it's going to lend a hand. Let's see what kind.

After highlighting, Roll +Dark. On a 10+, the Fallen gives you three. On a 7-9, it gives you two.

*Weapons of terror. Old man McCreevy, who owns the plot next to Jed's, had a son who was in the militia movement before the Feds got him. There's a buried cache that they never found. The Fallen will show it to you.
*Minions of madness. Kelly gave some of the rock to some meth cookers. Who knows how many people got dosed?
*Supernatural might. The next 3 times you call on your Bargains, it won't gain a String.
*Succor of the damned. Remove 2 Conditions.

On a miss, pick at least one and up to two, but for each one you pick the Fallen gets a string on you.


--Your MC

Dearest Lucien,

(Or are you going by "Luke," nowadays? Quaint.) I do hope you've been enjoying your time in the colonies. I'm sure it's very... provincial. Despite the DeWitt hunter following you (and good job getting the local brutes to give him what-for on account of him being a nancy boy, we all had a good laugh) you seem to be doing well for yourself. You've even built yourself a coterie! Precocious boy. I wouldn't think a place as, mmm, rustic as this "Spoons" would support one...

In any case, let's see how they're doing, shall we?

After highlighting stats, we're going to see how your HR skills are. You've got, in order of conversion: Jared (the very-much-ex-lead singer of the Moral Disasters), Lex (Carla's sister and head cheerleader), and Christian (a shy, quiet type who fancies you). Christian and Lex, who you converted last night, would normally be waking at the next sunset. They just came to, gasping and twitching. That's weird!

Roll +Hot. On a hit, chose some of the following to be true. On a 10+, pick three. On a 7-9, pick two.

*Christian isn't getting all vampire-obsessive on you.
*Jared isn't butthurt about this club getting less exclusive (and including undesirables like cheerleaders who turned him down for a date once).
*Lex isn't doing some serious angling for Queen-of-the-Damned status.
*One of them knows something useful.

On a miss, I'll pick one. No matter what, everyone's hungry.

Love and kisses,

--Your MC

The context: Carla the Mortal really digs Mara the Ghoul, but has decided after nearly being eaten that Mara needs saving. Possibly with a flamethrower. So she's teaming up with local hunter Vance to get it done (while being stalked by Eric, secretly a werewolf). Cain the Infernal is in deep and Darkest Self with their weird alien space-rock master whose ground-up dust she sells as drugs (last night she dosed Mara's friend Alice, for example). Lucien, the British expat vampire, took the gang advancement and spent all night recruiting. Carla's the one who missed two sessions.

To do it, do it. When you do it, you do it.

If a Chopper with a 2-harm gang takes out a bunch of guys with assault rifles, can his gang become 3-harm without him taking the advancement? If he takes the advancement, do his guys have assault rifles now with minimal fictional positioning, or are there hoops?

Other situations: An Operator cuts a deal with the hardholder to run compound defense. Does he get the gig? An operator shoots the subject of his Avoid Someone obligation in the head. Does he lose the gig? The Hold owes tribute to someone. The Hardholder leads his a coalition and burns the fuckers out. Does the hold improve?

Same situations, but with taking the advancement, maybe in the middle of an unrelated scene: do you then [need to/get to] cut the deal, shoot the guy, burn out the warlord?

Apocalypse World / Stat-substitution and nonstandard moves
« on: May 10, 2012, 08:40:13 AM »
So you're a Gunlugger. You're Insano like Drano and Battle-Hardened, which pretty much covers 100% of the badassery you think is important: you can seize things, extort people with the threat of immediate violence, and act under all sorts of fire. You set it up this way at chargen and, perhaps thinking you'd switched out the one use of Cool that you'd see (without taking another playbook's move that uses it), left yourself seriously uncool in the conventional way.

How should the MC handle things like the Battle move provide cover fire (normally +cool)? Should you be good at that?

Farther out: if the MC introduces the custom moves for sneaking or pickpocketing from the rulebook, should you be good at those? Ghosting fools is definitely the sort of thing that BAMFs like yourself might expect to be good at; sleight-of-hand less so.

Those are pretty clearly refinements of Act Under Fire (codifying the specific hard choice you have to make in the case of a weak hit), but there will probably be other custom moves that are less so. You, however, might still be expecting to be able to act Cool.

Thoughts? Any examples that you think should go one way or the other? This thread, and this post in particular of Vincent's, might be relevant.

Monsterhearts / Add after roll vs. Add before roll
« on: April 16, 2012, 02:22:51 PM »
I've noticed a sharp aversion among people (myself included) to abilities where you pay a cost and add to a roll, chosen before the dice hit the table. Examples are Downward Spiral for the Mortal (1 harm for +2 to gazing in to the abyss) or The Power Flows Through Me for the Infernal (+2 to any roll for 1 string to the Dark Power). Unlike spending strings post-facto, there seems to be a conservative feeling that the extra +2 has a significant enough chance of making no difference (a weak hit to another weak hit, boosting an already strong hit, or failing to improve a miss) that the high cost is rarely worth it.

Is this just poor statistical analysis? How bad/different would it be to allow to use after rolling?

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