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Messages - Munin

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Apocalypse World / Re: Advance Manipulation - too many allies
« on: October 20, 2020, 02:28:45 PM »
The longest lasting AW campaign I've run capped out at 35 sessions. Of the five original characters, three were still in play (with the other two players having lost a character to death and retired one to safety respectively). We could have gone longer, but the campaign was at a satisfying end point so we wrapped it up. But here's the catch - the players explicitly wanted a slower progression to give them a chance to "inhabit" their characters for longer than you typically et in AW (where 10 sessions in you might be looking at "retire to safety" and "switch playbooks" as those among your dwindling supply of possible advances to left take). The only change we made was to double the amount of XP needed for an advance, and it worked perfectly. As a result it told a "slower" story, but that was by design.

Now, in terms of how to address you specific issue, I think one of the best things that can be done is to "put your bloody fingerprints" all over the allies. You're no longer looking at them through cross-hairs and they are no longer actively looking to mess with the PC - but that doesn't turn them into automatons. They're not suborning their parts to the Skinner's every whim. They still have wants and desires and needs and problems, and just because they're your ally doesn't mean those all stop. Indeed, being the PC's ally might make them worse. What do you do when your allies are competing amongst each other for your attention/favor/love? That warlord who you've turned into your love-toy - how do his goons feel about him "going soft?" Does he still command their respect? So sure, you can turn the Humongous into an ally, but doing so might intrinsically change him, for better or for worse.

As the MC you don't want to be a jerk and undermine what your PC has worked to achieve, but that doesn't mean you need to make their lives sunny and uncomplicated either.

Apocalypse World / Re: Giving new Battlebabes opportunities to kick ass
« on: October 20, 2020, 02:15:09 PM »
Part of the issue is one of MC/player expectations. Act under fire is only opaque if you as the MC are waiting for a player to say, "I 'act under fire' to..." - which to be clear you should basically never be doing. Your primary roll as MC is to determine when a PC's action (as described narratively in the fiction by the player) triggers a move and to call for the appropriate roll. As much as possible you want to abstract the move from the fiction such that your player isn't saying, "I 'go aggro' on this joker," but rather, "I stick my gun in his face and tell him to give me the Geiger counter" - at which point you (the MC) say, "Oooh, nice! Roll+Hard!"

In the context of the Battlebabe, act under fire is the move that is most often used when a PC is doing something daring, something where it feels like success shouldn't be automatic and/or some level of skill or chutzpah is required. It is most often the move that sets you up to be in a position to do some other move. So encouraging the Battlebabe to kick ass is best done by putting the Battlebabe in situations where kicking ass is appropriate.

That said, you need to take some care here, because while the Battlebabe is usually fantastic at starting trouble, not having a great Hard stat means they're often not so good at finishing the trouble they've started. Stand-up gunfights are for the Gunlugger. The Battlebabe excels at things that are not necessarily violent, but rather those things which are dangerous. No one is better at swinging across chasms, or scaling walls in the dark of night or tight-rope walking into the enemy camp. The Battlebabe is that rare person who can sneak past the guards unseen, dodge the enemy's strongest attack unharmed, slip a drug into someone's drink unnoticed, or run full-tilt through a minefield unscathed. If you present the Battlebabe with these kids of dangerous situations and call for roll+Cool to solve/get out of them, your players will catch on in a hurry.

Apocalypse World / Re: Seize by force in 2ed
« on: September 29, 2020, 12:01:18 PM »
I have to admit that Seize by force already in first edition is the part of rules which is conceptually hardest to swallow for me, as it seems to dilute the boundary between failure and success (you will get harmed no matter what).
Taking Harm is not failure. It is the price of success. Or rather it's the ante to even have a shot at succeeding in the first place. When things have devolved to seize by force or single combat, bullets are flying and the situation is already well and truly out of control. Harm is just what happens to you while you're trying to get yourself out of the mess.

Apocalypse World / Re: Seize by force in 2ed
« on: September 21, 2020, 06:33:51 PM »
There was an in-depth discussion of this change and its ramifications a while back, which you can find here:

There was a follow-up discussion about a proposed hack/modification of the move here:

The change is subtle, and has a lot to do with where you place the consequences (i.e. either directly in the move itself or "off in the snowball"). Long story short, Vincent places a lot of emphasis on the idea that when the battle moves are invoked, the PC is by definition "in battle." Unfortunately my take-away was that the real intent of what it means to be "in battle" is not defined super clearly, and leaves a lot to interpretation by the MC. What I though was super interesting was that after we'd talked around a bunch of different ideas and interpretations, we sort of arrived at the same place if by slightly difference paths. As an experienced MC I have come to appreciate and approve of the change, but I do think that it doesn't quite give people new to the system as much to go on as 1st Ed.

The threads linked above are both kind of long, but absolutely worth a read as they include numerous examples and such.

I think you can do it a couple of ways.

First, I don't think the move is intended to be full-on shape-shifting. A strict reading of the move says you may change any or all of your looks, meaning looks associated with your playbook. So you could (for example) go from being a "boy in scrounge wear with an innocent face, bright eyes, and a child's body" to "ambiguous in scrounge wear with a misshapen face, cruel eyes, and a child's body." You will note that there are two elements that don't change - you're always in scrounge wear, and you're always a child.

This is sufficient to fool casual observers or people who don't know you. Say you're pursued through the hold's bustling market. At some point when you manage to break line of sight, you change your looks and Dremmer's goons - who were looking for an innocent-faced boy - totally pass by that weird kid with the misshapen face. Because that's not who they're looking for. The last campaign I ran involved a Child-Thing who (along with several other PCs) effectively got exiled from a community. He (it?) was able to regain entry to that community because no one there really knew him well enough to be able to see the difference, nor did anyone spare yet another urchin a long enough second-look to be able to tell the difference even if they had. And he was feral, so he didn't even need to attract any attention begging for food. He could be socially invisible when he wanted to, which turned out to be pretty rad - mechanical benefit or no.

A looser interpretation of the move would allow you to pick any "look," but at that point if you're talking about mimicking adults I think you're straying pretty far from the central concept of the playbook. And I'd definitely stop short of allowing the move to perfectly mimic a specific person, as IMO there's more to a person's visible identity than their basic look. I don't think perfect visual mimicry is the intent at all.

Also, being able to pick any look raises all kinds of issues with respect to garb - could you just trade your scrounge wear for the Gunlugger's custom homemade armor at a whim? Would that actually give you the equivalent of actual armor? Could you conjure up the skinner's luxe wear? How would you handle gear - especially worn gear? A more open interpretation of the move might be OK, but it's going to take more work on your part as the MC to make calls on a case-by-case basis - and that's generally not good move design (which in turn sort of points me back to the stricter interpretation).

And to answer your last question, if you can't mimic a specific person then blending into a small group of uniformed soldiers is right out, because someone is bound to ask, "Hey, who's the new guy? And why doesn't he have any gear?"

IMO, the Child-Thing is very much a creature of the maelstrom. It's fundamental scarcity/impulse stems from its desire to understand the human condition. To blend in. To belong. But it is so alien that that understanding and belonging may be unattainable.

If you want to keep the Child-Thing connected to the other PCs, lean into the idea that "the maelstroms's wolves are hunting you" by making the maelstrom's wolves just really not good for anyone. In some sense, having the Child-Thing in your game is a perfect excuse to add as much of a supernatural element to the setting as you like.

Apocalypse World / Re: Warlords and Grotesques: Always Plural?
« on: May 03, 2020, 08:07:05 PM »
Understand that this is just my interpretation, but when it's talking about a "PC's other NPCs" it's things like the Maestro'D's employees, or if the Angel or Savvyhead have "skilled labor" or whatever.

So as an example the Maestro'D has a crew of people to help run the establishment and taken collectively they are brutes. But maybe one of them (say the bartender Sunny) is a "grotesque," meaning there's something about Sunny that...ain't right. Or maybe the bouncer Bosco thinks he's tough and is a wanna-be warlord, and when he's deep in the fermented algae slurry he talks shit about how he should really be running things.

This means that the NPCs associated with a player's "crap" are assets, but also Threats. Does that make more sense?

Apocalypse World / Re: Is AW meant to be prescriptive? (for MC)
« on: April 26, 2020, 10:55:43 PM »
To me, the MC moves generally are the consequences. "Hit them with consequences" seems really empty to me, like saying "make a move." And if it's a general admonition to make life difficult for them, well, that's what put someone in a spot is all about.

Honestly, the list of MC moves feels pretty comprehensive to me. I've never felt like I wanted to do something that couldn't be explained in the context of a particular MC move.

Apocalypse World / Re: Is AW meant to be prescriptive? (for MC)
« on: April 15, 2020, 04:29:42 PM »
Just as an aside, #2 is a great way to give players some input into the setting. As in:

"Hold up. When you get to your garage, there's a bunch of jerks there rummaging through your stuff. When they see you, one of them says, 'Where are you hiding Diana? Tells us now, or we kill you dead.' So, who - or what - is Diana, and why do these dudes think you'll know where to find her/it?"

And if the Driver's players thinks for a hot minute and says, "Oooh! Oooh! I know: 'Diana' is the name Dremmer gave to his motorbike, which I stole. But these assholes will never find it here because Bish is hiding it for me," then so much the better. Now you have more information about the Driver, Dremmer, and Bish. You are explicitly letting the player tell you something the character knows and taking it on face value as truth. That can be a ton of fun for everyone involved (including the MC, who is also playing to find out).

FWIW, doing this puts a lot of faith in and pressure on your players, so only do it if you know they can handle it and enjoy being put on the spot to come up with cool new details for their character or the world in general.

@sirien: in regards to your question about who decides which move is triggered, as Vincent says the player has ultimate control over saying what they do (or try to do), but it's incumbent upon the MC to decide if that action is sufficient to trigger a move. So for instance if you say, "I go aggro on the guy," it's perfectly reasonable for the MC to ask for clarification, like, "OK, but hold up - what is it you're actually doing to threaten this guy with imminent violence?" Remember: to do it, do it.

It's fine for the MC to offer suggestions as to what fictional actions might trigger a particular move (e.g. "If you want to use Diana as leverage over Dremmer to get him to do what you want, then yeah, that's totally manipulating him. How do you want to do that?") but the final decision of whether the PC takes the fictional action that triggers the roll is up to the player.

Apocalypse World / Re: Angel healing themselves?
« on: April 10, 2020, 05:14:33 PM »
Angel, heal thyself: Most of the Angel moves are predicated on healing someone else, and while an argument can be made that "someone" is generic enough to include the Angel, I think the text of the resulting moves point pretty strongly away from self-healing. About the only one that seems reasonable is spending a stock to speed healing at 6:00 or less.

That said, remember that an infirmary is just like a workshop, and can theoretically be used to do anything. So you can go into your infirmary and say, "I wanna keep myself from dying" and the MC is going to say, "Sure, no problem! But..." and then give you from 1-4 options joined by "and" or the blessed "or" (e.g. "you're going to need to get Shigusa to help you with it" and "you're going to need to take someone with a functioning pancreas apart to do it.")

Using 0 stock: Sure, why not! Just keep in mind that the only move that actually lets you spend a variable amount of stock is if you're trying to stabilize someone who's past 9:00, in which case a failure inflicts another point of Harm.

All of the other uses either a) specify a specific amount of stock usage (e.g. spend 1 to heal an NPC) or let your patient choose (i.e. speeding recovery of someone at 6:00 or less).

Monster of the Week / Re: Mundane's Oops ability?
« on: March 30, 2020, 12:57:21 PM »
Good luck! And let us know how it went!

Monster of the Week / Re: Mundane's Oops ability?
« on: March 27, 2020, 11:53:13 AM »
No worries!

Have you read Apocalypse World? If not, I highly recommend it, as it explains a lot of core concepts that many of the follow-on hacks sort of take for granted.

Monster of the Week / Re: Mundane's Oops ability?
« on: March 26, 2020, 11:01:57 AM »
In general, PbtA games aren't really "I do it again" kinds of games, so using the same move over and over isn't really the intent. For instance, take the basic move "Investigate a Mystery" as an example: the explicit trigger is "when you investigate a mystery..." You make your roll and get clues, and that mechanism represent you examining the clues before you to the best of your ability. But that's it, you've investigated the mystery. You've exhausted all of the leads and followed every available line of inquiry. You don't get to just roll again because the conditions that trigger the move aren't met. You'll note that there's no move for "when you reinvestigate a mystery..." You've learned everything you're going to learn - until you're presented with a new mystery, that is!

This is how the Keeper controls the pace of the story, how the underlying mystery gets revealed little by little as the PCs get more information. Otherwise, if you could just keep rolling and re-rolling the move, you'd quickly exhaust all of the clue options and know exactly what you're dealing with. But that's not how MotW works, because it's driven by the narrative rather than the dice.

This will feel weird to people used to traditional RPGs where you keep making "search" rolls until you find the secret door. PbtA games are explicitly not that. So yeah, take a good hard look at the trigger for "Oops!" and make absolutely sure it's applicable before having the player roll anything.

brainstorming & development / Re: Making a new game?
« on: March 19, 2020, 01:01:06 PM »
Congrats! Have you play-tested it outside your group yet? That's a really good way to figure out where your unspoken (unwritten) assumptions about the mechanics are hiding.

We actually broke the rules and set ours in gaslight London (though the PCs still represented marginalized populations). I went the extra mile to make the Fey utterly alien in their outlook, which was both hilarious and terrifying. Making deals with a demon was a central part of the story arc, as was the recovery of a particular book from a group of hermetic arcanists. The Ghost PC in particular was initially like skeptical until it came out that the book perhaps held the secret of re-incorporation (i.e. "unghosting"), and suddenly she was like, "Find. The. Book."

It was a ton of fun, but I think we applied the "roll for new debts at the beginning of every session" move too much, and as a result the game eventually groaned under the weight of all of the obligations everyone was tracking. Were I to run it again, I'd cut way back on that.

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