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Topics - ColdLogic

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Freebooting Venus / Florida AP
« on: November 21, 2018, 10:32:40 AM »
Years later, we have dusted this off to give it a second go, with spectacular results!

The PCs were:
Nanette the Blade, with grace and sword-binding.
Dr. Hughburt Starling, with necromancy and instincts.

They started high up on the balconies of a tall tower -- a highrise made of stone, except it's shaped like an enormous rib, and here hundreds of floors up it's curving to a point. They were in pursuit of The Brundlewasp, a person with the head of a wasp. It had torn its way through the apartments and tenants of the building. Unbeknownst to them, but soon to be knownst, Virk -- the 'owner' of The Brundlwasp -- was slinking up in their wake, trying to stay hidden.

Nanette tried to interrupt The Brundlewasp's ascent to the next-highest balcony, but failed. It sent her sprawling, went up, and stormed into the apartment above to continue its tear-assery. Dr Starling got a boost and intruded on the balcony; he was in the clear as long as he didn't draw attention to himself.

The apartment was nice, or would have been, but it's smashed to hell now and The Brundlewasp is in the dark somewhere tearing its tenant apart. Dr Starling sizes the situation and deduces that he'd have to lure The Brundlewasp out with bait. He jumps on the bed and makes a lot of racket. It works, of course. The Brundlewasp attacks him from darkness but he interrupts its attack by getting out of the way, confusing it for a minute. He's able to scoop it up in the bedsheets. Nanette conks it on the head while it's helpless and it curls up in a fetal position and sulks.

Dr Starling goes off to look for loot in the apartment and finds some treasure to examine later. Nanette stands over the wrapped up Brundlewasp. Virk comes into the apartment. Nanette tries to size him up but fails, inadvertantly giving away her own vulnerabilities -- her blood is still flowing freely from The Brundlewasp. Virk offers to buy back his Brundlewasp but our heros aren't having it -- they're fulfilling a promise to take it to Professor Grimwald (Doctor of Entemology and Sunspritology).

Later, our heros take an overcab -- a canister with seating for 12, except it has large bird wings and is steered telepathically by the conductor. They fly out to the Collegium Imperialis District to find Prof Grimwald. This district is characterized by spired jenga-type buildings jutting up at odd angles to each other, and everything looks both cutting edge 'for its time' but also incredibly dated these days. The professor is at The Focus, a big building with a telescope, and his orderlies take The Brundlewasp off our heroes' hands.

While there, they hear about Magpie Pollintwist (a seer/mountain witch who's always in the market for saps to do dirty work). They also get a look at, and detailed esoteric rundown about, the Starfish Nebula -- a distant space cloud where stars and blackholes are being born.

Later, they examined their treasure...

Dr Starling has enough to devote himself to pursuing his own hobbies and interests; he marked towards adding a new skill (it will be Wizardry).

Nanette the Blade had enough to lay the foundations of her estate. She bought a country parcel with vineyards, orchards, spice fields and a stream filled with fish and salamanders. Unfortunately, it's predated by a breeding pair of burnished jackals.

End of session. Was a really good game.

We played with the original playtest rules, not the 'Wicked New Direction' rules. Mostly because the playtests rules were all in one packet and I didn't want them flipping between 2 packets and getting confused. Also because I don't quite understand how the moves work in the Wicked packet (your wins, your losses, etc).

When a character wanted to boost himself up onto the balcony our monster had just ascended, I said he was likely 'intruding somewhere he wasn't expected to be'. I thought that was clever.

'Size Someone Up' says you can be sizing up 'something', not just a person, so we played it as reading a sitch. It was awkward, but not terrible.

Vincent's essay on improvising was very helpful. He mentions it in the GM section. I tried to add 'but' into as much as I possibly could.

One of the characters started with treasure, but it reads like it's treasure that's been examined already (it's some rare spices). Wasn't sure what to do with that. I told her she could have a +1 if she brought it into play somehow, which we promptly forgot about.

Apocalypse World / Brainer advancement clarification
« on: July 16, 2018, 03:37:39 PM »
Can someone clarify what this brainer advancement means?
Get 2 new or replacement brainer gear (you choose)

Specifically -- can the brainer keep her current gear and get 2 new ones on top of it? (I know it literally says yes, but I had thought I saw somewhere that the brainer has to exchange old gear for new).

Hello all. Now that I'm running a game with a brainer in it I'm just noticing the amount of overlap in these two moves.

Direct-brain whisper projection: you can roll+weird to get the effects of going
aggro, without going aggro. Your victim has to be able to see you, but you don’t have to
interact. If your victim forces your hand, your mind counts as a weapon (1-harm ap close

In-brain puppet strings: when you have time and physical intimacy with someone—
again, mutual or 1-sided—you can plant a command inside their mind. Roll+weird. On
a 10+, hold 3. On a 7–9, hold 1. At your will, no matter the circumstances, you can spend
your hold 1 for 1:
• Inflict 1-harm (ap).
• They take -1 right now.
If they fulfill your command, that counts for all your remaining hold. On a miss, you
inflct 1-harm (ap) upon your subject, to no benefit.

To me, puppet strings is much stronger. You get pretty much all the desired effect of go aggro without risking the chance that they could barricade themself in or whatever. Granted, you need the violation glove to do it with minimal effort.

Why would anyone take Direct Brain Whisper instead?

And Vincent, why did you include such similar moves in the same playbook? Is the violation glove requirement that much that they seemed more different, or what?

Freebooting Venus / Orlando playtest group, first session
« on: November 05, 2015, 01:40:01 PM »
I struggled as GM, and we stalled a lot for rules clarifications and analyzing the game that seemed to go on forever. On the plus side, a lot of this was from us puzzling through the rules. You know how you think you know something until you see it in action? That's what this was. We're going to keep on it for at least another 4 or 5 sessions to get through the learning curve because the stuff that was fun was really fun!

Here are as many details as I can remember, some useful but most probably useless.

Character creation started out fine. I tried to steer it by going step by step  through stats, skills, belongings and lodgings, but once we got to skills there were lots of digressions to talk about/look up how spellcasting and necromancy worked, and from there we nose-dived into more analysis of the game as a whole. There was some discussion from a stealthy character about rolling up his unexamined treasure during character creation -- like, before choosing his belongings and rolling his lodgings. Thankfully the group nixed that on the grounds that examining your treasure is a move, not part of character creation.

When they were done, I had them read aloud the PAST & PRESENT section. We digressed for a bit here exploring the experiences and talking about them.

So, now we had 3 characters with lodgings, their lodgings' appointments and who they share them with:
Balboa, with necromancy and instincts.
Holt, with swordbinding and reputation.
Hale, with grace and stealth.

I was super tempted to ask questions like crazy and chase down the concrete details here, like 'Oh, so who owns this private home you're subletting a room out of? Which benevolent deity does the temple honor?' etc. We started in on that but thankfully the first person I asked stalled for a second, thinking, and I realized I actually didn't want to fill these details in right now because the text was going to give me a starting scene. So lucky me, I have unexplored hooks!

I rolled up the random table and selected:
Under the bridge, an unruly ghost, and their enemy's accomplice about to appear. (I was so gunning for the pterosaur, Vincent, but the dice let me down!)

I started to set the scene. Now, because everything is improvisation and explicitly built from contradictions, you should read '... for some reason, apparently!' onto the end of every sentence going forward.

We settled on 'stealing a succession of human bodies' meaning, like, animating/possessing recently-deceased bodies. One of the PCs had a prisoner, and somehow this ended up being a prostitute from Madam Bolivia's unnamed brothel who didn't realize her client was a ghost inhabiting a dead body, and somehow it ended up that the ghost had been visiting M. Bolivia's for a few days in different bodies before being discovered...? The players were trying to fill in background on the scene, and justifications for the scene, almost immediately. I didn't actively discourage this at first, but I cut it off once it started getting super in-depth so I could leave room to figure out what powerful person's bad decisions had created this trouble.

So, Holt had an unruly 'prisoner'. Hale had promised someone he'd take care of this situation, and it turns out that promise was to Madam Bolivia, naturally. Balboa was wounded and bleeding. He marked that his soul was battered and torn. We stopped to talk about that for a bit, and no one knew what it meant or how it might get expressed in play (they were concerned, I really didn't care at the moment). In the end, they agreed to treat it as a 'spiritual wound' and move on. Good.

In setting the scene, I wanted to have the ghost doing something, like they've chased it down here and it doesn't have a body of course and so it's cornered and threatened, attacking them, and on a rampage or something? Anyway, we stopped for a while and argued over whether anyone could actually see the damn thing. I was going to use the Mourning Ghost from the bestiary, and my instinct was to let them be able to see it. But after talking about it forever I went back on that and said they couldn't really see it. It was like a nasty 'presence' they could feel swirling around them.

Balboa's player was still confused about calling a ghost by name, contending with it, etc. He didn't realize that since the ghost was here, he didn't need to summon it or do anything special to be able to contend with it. He wanted to find out its name. I was tired of struggling over this, so when he said he wanted to jump behind a big pillar of the bridge and REGROUP, RECOVER, PREPARE to talk to his ghostly attendant about the binding name, I said go for it. He got a strong hit, and chose to 1) no longer suffer whatever the effects of his spirit being battered were 2) come up with a plan and 3) consult with his ghostly attendant. He asked his ghostly attendant what the binding name of their enemy ghost was. I didn't know what to do, but the text says his ghost must answer truthfully and so I spilled. In retrospect, the truth is probably that his ghost doesn't know another ghost's binding name, but I really didn't want to tell his player this after making him roll, so whatever. We paused on settling what his plan was for a second; his player was expecting a +1 or something, which I'm reluctant to do because I want to play strictly by the book as much as possible. And then when we paused in deciding the plan we forgot about it totally, so it never came back up.

Holt, Hale and their prisoner were still, like, where we started. It was clear that Holt's player didn't know he couldn't actually fight with the ghost, so I asked him if he wanted to SIZE UP THE SITCH. He failed, and got to ask one. I told him to ask me about where his enemy is vulnerable/strong, and revealed to him that normal weapons and armor are useless; only a necromancer can deal with a ghost. I also had the ghost rip into him, but the table suggested that instead of outright inflicting harm I should have him make a bold save to overcome fear, which he passed, so no harm.

Hale was determined to deal with this ghost somehow, and tried to INTERRUPT or delay it for a minute by way of gracious rhetoric. I was done with this damn ghost at this point; it seemed like we had spent so much time of this session analyzing, arguing, referencing how ghosts work! So I said he could attempt it. He succeeded, the ghost was confused for a minute, I went ahead and had it take visible form to get rid of the annoyance of it being invisible.

Balboa knew its binding name, and he just basically bound it right then and there. The rules read as if knowing its name is enough, no roll required, so that's what we declared. He's got a second ghost now, and I'm finally rid of the ordeal.

Okay! Now they're looking at me, and we're all stumbling, trying to get something going with this scene. Like, I've got nothing prepped right? They've got a 'prisoner', a prostitute from M. Bolivia's that they need to return. I look down and realize I never really brought in the 'enemy's accomplice' who was supposed to appear, and at the same time I was trying to think of someone rich who might somehow be tied to this whole mess through neglect or whatever. Also, I hadn't given them any treasure.

So yeah, I had a rich man show up with body guards, all anxious. Man, I never would have prepped something this absurd in a million years, but here's the deal. I guess this ghost, being invisible and all, is actually the property of the world's biggest circus. You know, like it's what's behind their magnificent acts of illusion, magic, acrobatics and the like. And yeah, it's gotten off its leash somehow in the last few days, going on a tear at the brothel with reanimated bodies. So here's, like, this rich circus owner and his attendant body guards, threatening to sue because necromancy be damned, the court of law will hold that Balboa has now stolen his property. His prized act, in fact.

They somehow end up going back with him to the circus, which is this crazy ostentatious colosseum in the heart of the citystate. Hale is walking and talking and wheeling and dealing with the guy on the way, and wants to SIZE HIM UP. He wants to know how much money they could sell this guy's ghost back to him for, so of course I'm like: 'Well, you know, he'd win in court, but that's expensive, so anything just shy of litigation costs and he'd settle. About 3 treasure, I guess.' So Balboa releases his newly-bound unruly ghost back to the circus' custody and they each get treasure out of it. I know it probably should have been examined treasure, but we all wanted to see unexamined treasure in action so I said the circus had this storehouse of chests and trunks and whatnot from, you know, their travels and trades abroad and they just blindly handed over 3 treasure worth without examining it.

Now they spend the last half hour or so examining their treasure. Everyone has 1 treasure except Hale, who started with an additional one, so he's got two. Here are the results:

Hale laid the foundations of his estate, an old outpost in ruin on the river with dockage and access to a highway. His other treasure turned out to be something dangerous to someone powerful. I said it was like probate papers, and from looking at them it was obvious they invalidated this powerful financier's claim to his inheritance -- which was what his financial institution was built on.

Balboa  had an item of historical significance and value. I told him it was a painting. It was in watercolor, but the colors changed and moved while you look at them, so the thing was animated. It was the long lost masterwork of someone who, you know, could have become a great wizard or something but instead had pursued mastery over oils and paints. Someone at the table named him Ygrid the Younger, who was far more skilled than Ygrid the Elder, obviously. After a few minutes of talking about this, we suddenly realized that this masterwork was a token of Ygrid's life, and I'll be goddamned if Balboa didn't use that to call him forth from death and try to bind him! Balboa offered to have this masterwork displayed before the the masses in the world's greatest circus if Ygrid would serve him, and that seemed pretty damn right to me so I said yeah. So yeah, it's there in the atrium of the circus as you enter.

Holt went back and forth between investing in a pie slice towards development vs investing in an enterprise, and now I don't remember what he settled on.

Okay, treasure done, they went through experiences and marked the ones that seemed appropriate. I think they marked 1 to 3 each.

Insights and questions:
1. It's neat how examining your treasure takes you into this other mode of play. It's not the normal kind of play you think of, like where we're talking about our characters doing stuff in the fiction. It's more like a combination of the kind of play you do when you're a) creating your character and b) world-building/character prepping. It was definitely fun for everyone, maybe the highlight of the night.

2. A ghost is here and it's going crazy. Is it, like, chairs flying around, or can they see it?

3. When you consult your attendant ghost and he answers your questions truthfully, can the answer be 'I don't know?' or is that a cheap shot? Like, the player rolled to do this, and 'I don't know' kind of sucks.

4. Is all interaction with a ghost considered 'contending with it', or just actually fighting with it? Is there any way for a non-necromancer to interact with a ghost, like talking to it, trying to stall it, trying to confuse it somehow?

5. The GM's job is to create trouble. Creating jobs is your job in the Hand to Mouth module. Does that mean that giving them jobs shouldn't be the main way I hook them into adventures here?

6. How do I create trouble? I didn't know what to do once the scene was over. Luckily, they soaked up the last part of the session examining their treasure, but if they hadn't I don't know what I would have done. When they look at me to say something, I don't know what I'm supposed to say. Should I follow them around for a day, nailing down the concrete details of their lives, and use that to make trouble? What should I be prepping for the next session? They've got lodgings, appointments, people they share those with. One has an estate, and maybe the other has an enterprise. Should I focus on threatening those things?

7. I can't stress enough how lost and at sea I was when I was improvising. The rules told me the first scene, but once that was done I just didn't know. Somehow, somewhere, this rediculous circus situation came to my brain, and we followed that for a bit. The players were gracious and found ways of embracing that, and it turned out super cool. But once THAT was over, again, I was lost. I didn't know if I'm supposed to follow them around, setting up a toppling world around them, ala AW. 

Freebooting Venus / Sizing a situation up
« on: November 02, 2015, 03:04:50 PM »
There's no read a sitch move, but the incendiary booby trap references sizing a situation up... What's the move when someone is cautiously looking the room over? Patient save to be on the look-out for something?

Freebooting Venus / Contending with a ghost
« on: November 02, 2015, 09:27:26 AM »
Contending means fighting with it, physically.

1) Only necromancers, or anyone?
2) Your force of will is a weapon inflicting 1-harm. What about you armor? Useless?
2) For the Mourning Ghost in the Bestiary, this is how a player deals with it?
3) For binding, it's not clear if you have to a) deal 3 harm and also hold something over it or b) deal 3 harm or hold something over it.

Freebooting Venus / End/beginning of session
« on: November 02, 2015, 09:11:49 AM »
Vincent, at the end of session the players examine treasure by rolling 2d6 for each 1 treasure and selecting from the list.

1) A lot of the choices on the list lead to troublesome situations (hiring) or to a bunch of bookkeeping (estates, enterprises, lodgings). When a player choose one of these, are we to note it and explore them in the next session? Like, the next session starts with you rolling on the mercenary or burglar table, or the first part of the next session is a bunch of bookkeeping details on the progress of your estate?

2) At the beginning of the first session, is there any more guidance other than rolling on the random situation table? Like, collaborative world-building, for instance?

3)Are we supposed to start every session by randomly rolling on the situation table, or just the first session (See number 1)?

Freebooting Venus / Fighting, interrupting, GM rolls
« on: October 30, 2015, 12:19:37 PM »
You knew this was coming:

1) Can you fight another PC? The text reads like you can.

2) Does the GM roll too? If so, does the GM have access to all the moves, or just fighting? If not, who rolls when your enemy is an NPC?

3) How does this interact with interrupting someone?
On 10+, they just stop your attack?
On 7-9, you have to back down or fight back (ie, you're still fighting them) -- in which case you both roll fight with someone now?

[edited my pronouns]

Here's a scene. I'm the Paladin.

Thief: I'm looking for traps.
GM: You found one. It's a magical rune inscribed on one of the tiles on the floor. It's like a ward against intruders.
Thief: I've got a move called Disarm Traps. Can I use that?
GM: Sure! Roll +Dex
Paladin (me): Whoa. You're 'disarming' a magical ward? How? What are you actually doing?
GM: Oh you know... we'll figure that out after we see how the roll comes out.

Okay. A couple of things going on here.

Assenting to something you don't like... This is the minor thing. I'm the one objecting to the thief 'disarming' a magical ward. But, you know, the other player didn't mind it, obviously. And the GM didn't mind either; maybe he just wanted to give the thief a trap and when it was his turn to talk he accidentally let his imagination get ahead of him until suddenly, it's not just a 'trap' -- it's a cool magical ward. So yeah, there was some social pressure and thus I didn't put up a lot of resistance.

The two timelines...
Here's Vincent on Two Timelines:
Here's another one:

In my example, here's the fictional timeline:
The thief looks around, finds a trap, and disarms it through some interesting means.

In the real timeline, the exchange I described above happens between the players and GM, then we roll, then we retroactively narrate both what the thief tried as well as its effect.

Here's an alternate real timeline: the thief player describes what they attempt, then we roll dice, then whoever is supposed to interpret the results does so and we find out what happens as a consequence of the thief's attempt.

Both of these real timelines result in the same fictional timeline. The game didn't break down because our real timeline was the first one and not the second one. And yet! And yet -- man! I really hate that first real timeline and prefer the second one.

So, discussion points:
1. Let's ignore whether the GM made a good or bad call regarding letting the thief disarm a magical trap. Instead...
2. Let's talk about assenting to things you don't like. Vincent, I've tried to be more conscious of this since last week or whenever you mentioned it to me. I'm not sure how much it happens in my group, but on reflection I can think of a few times in the past it's happened. And obviously last night it happened for this example.
3. Also, let's talk about the various 'real' timelines I described (one that actually happened, and the alternative one that I would have preferred to have happened). You can ignore my actual play example and sub one in of your own, if you want. I'm interested in where yall stand in terms of what needs to be established before the roll vs after it. Is it okay to retroactively describe the specifics of your attempted action after you roll? Like 'Huh, I guess I tried to pour water on it and that obviously didn't work because I got a 6.'

Apocalypse World / Driver playing chicken?
« on: July 17, 2015, 02:40:28 PM »
Johnny the driver says: I drive straight at him to make him swerve.

It's chicken, right? What move is being triggered here?

To me, it's go aggro, and the thing Johnny wants the other guy to do is get out of the way. But on a 10+, the other guy can just suck it up and force Johnny's hand (ie, force a head-on collision). So they exchange harm? That's weird for me -- I don't normally think of exchanging harm as something that happens when you hit going aggro on 10+.

I don't think it's seizing the road by force because that means the other character's player has to decide if he's chicken before Johnny even rolls his hard -- that is, he doesn't get a chance to back down... which seems to be the opposite of what playing chicken actually is.

And it's not acting under fire... like, playing chicken is all about who is hardest, right?

So what do yall think?

Apocalypse World / Quarantine questions
« on: August 21, 2014, 02:46:52 PM »
We're adding a quarantine to the game I'm MC'ing. I've never played with one before, and have a couple of questions I'm hoping y'all can answer (I searched, but didn't find the answers):

__ By default,  are any stasis facilities unlocked? It reads as if you start play with 1 unlocked, but it's not 100% clear.

__ The quarantine brings rules for psi-harm. Do these rules apply for other characters already in the game? Specifically, do characters now suffer psi-harm 'from exposure to the world's psychic maelstrom'? I realize it says in the very next line that the psi-harm might be from 'first exposure... or some subsequent unusual exposure', but it's not clear how liberal I can be here or how to apply this rule generally.


-- Christopher

Gunsight / Gunsight -- an AW-inspired hack set in the Old West
« on: September 11, 2012, 05:42:26 PM »
Stepping out on a limb here...

I've been messing around with this Old West hack of AW. You can find it here. It's not quite complete, but I have the following classes (some of them are a little weak, so help me improve them!):

The Trick Shot -- fastest gun in the west. This guy is into making a name for himself by winning showdowns. He's also pretty wicked in a fight.

The Law Man -- the marshal or sheriff. This guy organizes a posse and goes after people to serve warrants against them or collect the bounty on them.

The Gambler -- the con man; the face. This guy is always in and out of schemes, cheating folks to get rich quick.

The Thunderheart -- the Indian brave slash shaman. This guy can disappear into the wild without leaving a trace. He's also got some quasi psychic open-your-brain stuff.

The Outlaw -- the Chopper, pretty much. The outlaw has a gang, and the wild lands between civilized steadings are his domain.

The Baron -- the Hardholder, pretty much. A town has built up around this guy's enterprise (eg, his mine or his railroad). There might be a sheriff and a judge, but they default to his authority.

The Madam -- she has the dirt on everyone, and she trades in secrets and social favors. If you need something and you don't know how to get it, she's usually the one you want to see.

The classes are a mix of adaptations from AW plus my own moves plus moves I've seen floating around on these forums (eg, I know I stole moves from John Harper, and from the Smiler, the Abacus, and the Cabal, just off the top of my head). If anyone sees a move they invented and has a problem with me shamelessly stealing it, let me know and I'll pull it down from the document.

We haven't playtested this yet (mostly because my group has had a hard time getting more than 3 of use together at a time for the last month). We'll probably playtest it starting in late November. But I really wanted to start getting feedback on it, as I've only had limited experience hacking AW before.

So please, play it out and let me know what you think.

Dungeon World / Custom class: the Witch
« on: August 09, 2012, 11:01:33 AM »
Here's my attempt at a custom class: The Witch

My main concerns here are:

1. the amount of versatility it has over the wizard and cleric. I've tried to temper that by imposing a serious resource penalty (the witch has, at best, either four uses of magic or the option to have her magic seriously backfire).

2. a couple of moves are lifted directly from the wizard playbook and re-flavored for the witch. Not sure what to do about this, other than providing what are imo a lot of strong moves the witch can choose from when advancing (only a few of which are re-flavored wizard moves).

So, let me know what ya'll think.
(Also, I just realized I misspelled 'pestle' -- doh!).

Dungeon World / AP: On the Lam
« on: July 31, 2012, 01:48:19 PM »
So we had a playtest this weekend. Apologies if this AP is too detailed, or not detailed enough, or all over the place.

I GM’d two friends. One was a female human thief, and the other a male dwarven artificer (I ripped off loneamigo’s awesome artificer design and modified a few things).

We opened with the heros in the Big City, spending all their loot carousing. We didn’t roll Carousing, just narrated it. This was supposed to be a montage of what sorts of things they do when they party, as well as a way of introducing the characters, filling in bonds, and going through the character backgrounds. We decided they were level 3 so they’d have more things to play with.

Turns out they have been running cons on wealthy merchants and nobles throughout the countryside (this was one of the thief’s bonds which we fleshed out). The con involves them trying to get funding for the artificer’s far-out technology designs (the artificer thinks this stuff will actually work if he can just solve a few key problems, but the thief pretty much knows it’s pie-in-the-sky daydreaming). So they had spent their night of debauchery and decadence sweet-talking wealthy folks and running their con on them to drum up funding and support. Also, lots of bar-hopping, drugs, and skivy men and women.

The game proper begins with them waking up, hungover, sunlight creeping in through the window. They’re in a finely-furnished sitting room. There’s a body on the floor. It’s one of the wealthy guys they had been schmoozing with the night before (Lorenzo). He’s been soaking in his own blood for a while. His butler is knocking on the door to rouse him for his morning activities. What do you do?

The artificer threw a curtain over the body and the thief wrapped herself in one of the throw blankets, as if she were naked, and opened the door a crack. She convinced the butler that Lorenzo was ‘indisposed’ but that she would make sure to rouse him, get him sobered and cleaned up, and have him downstairs to start business within 30 minutes (Defy Danger with CHA).

Having bought some time, they quickly investigated the crime scene. I told them they hadn’t done it, and asked them how they knew. The thief decided that she had all her daggers and none of them were bloody, which I thought was fine (I really just wanted to establish that they had been framed). They rifled through the room, papers on the desk, etc, and the artificer used Logical to Discern Realities with INT. They discovered that it was a political hit aimed at serving the dual purposes of a) removing a political enemy and b) distracting the local police to hunt down our heros (a wag the dog kind of thing). I told them this was a good ruse, because after all this dead guy was the mark in one of their cons. (PS, the thief stole everything with weight 0 as she Aided -- I ruled she got an estimated 5 coin worth of papers, but we’ll see how much it’s worth when she brings them into play).

I decided at about this time they heard the butler returning, jingling keys, and they had to make a fast getaway. Since the body was already soaking the carpet with blood, the thief decided it would do no good taking it with them, so they torched the place. The artificer declared he had a pair of ECTOPLASMIC PROJECTOR GOGGLES which would spray down the room with flammable ectoplasm (it gets damaged in the process, clogged with ectoplasm, and the artificer will have to jury-rig it later). They busted out a window and tipped a candle, then repelled to the street below using a rope from their dungeon gear. They ended up getting tangled on the way down, landing hard on each other, and looking up at the window of another room in the house as the butler looked down at them making their escape. The butler started calling for guards at the top of his lungs, and we had a quick chase scene as our heros tried to lose the foot-police in the busy marketplace (obviously, several fruit stands were tipped over).

They managed to hole up in a smuggler’s seedy tavern (‘you’ll not find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy’), where they hid out for a bit while the thief put out feelers with a contact. After a few hours, their contact brought in a made wiseguy who gave them some info about the politics of this city and why Lorenzo might have been assassinated. Turns out the ‘king’ here was really powerless. The merchant collective really ran things, along with the Dominion Church naturally. This Lorenzo was making moves, gaining lots of friends, and consequently had a few enemies. The wiseguy could only tell them about the politics in general, but not about the specifics of who’s out to get whom and why (he’s not, you know, THAT politically savvy). But he set something up for them to meet with a mafia boss-type who would know.

I also used the wiseguy to Show Signs of Doom, telling them the city was crawling with police now, and ‘none of our people can even make a move because of how much heat you brought down here.’ In addition, Lorenzo’s family was hiring out mercenaries, and the majordomo of the house was going to be heading up their efforts. The wiseguy told them not to rough up any cops, because that would be Really Bad, but said it was probably ok to rough up mercenaries. However, he told them this majordomo was a seriously dangerous dude (ie, his wallet is the one that says Bad Muthafuka on it), and told them they’d best run if they see him coming.

So, with that under their belt, our heros had to slink their way through the city to meet this mafia boss (Santino). The thief lead the way, checking each corner and trying to avoid spots which would be good ambush spots if she were setting up an ambush (we decided this was Defy Danger with INT). The dwarven artificer just tried to look normal and not-suspicious although he’s carrying around an unlicensed particle accelerator on his back (Defy Danger with CHA). He didn’t do well, and the police spotted him and questioned him. The thief slipped a dagger into his hand and then told the police ‘thank you! He’s been holding me captive at knife point. Oh lawdy thank you for rescuing me!’ etc etc. Totally threw him under the bus (Defy Danger with CHA). The cops start hauling the artificer away. He decides he’s got a HYPNOTIC ARRAY WAND in his gadget harness, and rolls Defy Danger DEX to get it out. He does it all cool-like, telling the police ‘Just so you know, I’ve got this’ and holds it up. It works like a Men In Black pen. He flubs his INT roll to use it, and chooses the backfire option, so not only do the police forget what’s happened for the last 60 seconds but also the thief. This leads to a funny situation in which the thief has to roll +bond or else be convinced that the artificer is hauling her to the police to report that she’s stolen a bunch of stuff from him (one of her bonds is ‘I’ve stolen from xxx before and he doesn’t know it’). She rolls 10+, unfortunately, so she’s cool.

They get to Santino the mafia boss’ place. He lives in his mother’s basement, like The Pin from Brick (she’s very happy to see that a sweet girl (the thief) is coming over, because she’s worried about her son’s friends). From him, they find out who the likely candidate behind the assasination is. It’s a merchant named Barzini. Turns out Lorenzo was about to put forward a motion to revoke quite a bit of Barzini’s holdings in the merchant collective. Santino also tells them there’s been another hit while they’ve been laying low (another merchant, one of Lorenzo’s supporters who was going to approve the motion, and therefore another enemy of Barzini). He tells them they’ve been blamed for this hit also.

After agreeing to help Santino in the future should he need a favor from them, the heros decide they need to bust into Barzini’s place to find evidence to clear their name. Outside Barzini’s house, they see a few of the bounty hunters, and one of their underground contacts. Looks like the mercenaries have been roughing him up. Also looks like they’re staking out Barzini’s place, and the poor dude they’ve been roughing up is supposed to identify our heros. The party decides to split up. The thief is going to scale the walls of the house while the dwarven artificer creates a distraction.

The dwarf uses his final battery charge for his ectoplasm goggles (which he had jury-rigged earlier for a partial use), spraying a couple of mercs and then igniting them. They start running around, catching awnings and fruit stands and other things on fire. Of the remaining mercs, one tries to put out his buddies and the other two draw swords and get ready to fight. Cut to:

Meanwhile, the thief makes it in through a window on the third floor, gets into Barzini’s private office, and is going through papers when she discovers she’s not alone. The majordomo (the badass out to get them) is there. After a quick exchange, he draws a dagger and a parrying knife and gets into a low, wide stance which instantly makes clear to the thief that he’s a trained fighting man. Fade to black.

End of session.

This being my first time GMing DW, the biggest thing I learned was that Discern Realities is not like the Perception skill from D&D. It’s not ‘looking around’. If a player wants to look around for bloody footprints or whatever, I should just tell him ‘No. Looks like the killer didn’t get blood on his feet’ or whatever. Discern Realities is piecing together a bigger picture.

I also learned a few things about hard moves. There were one or two golden opportunities that, in retrospect, I could have made better moves with if I had more imagination.

The game was a lot of fun to run. The players both had a lot of fun, and none of us can wait to find out what happens. Loneamigo’s artificer works great. I do have a few playtest notes for feedback, but I’m going to post it in his thread.

Dungeon World / Bard's 'It Goes to Eleven'
« on: July 23, 2012, 10:58:55 AM »
What prevents the Bard from using this on an ally? On a 10+, the ally deals his damage, presumably without having to roll HnS. The 7-9 effect is even more powerful.

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