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Messages - TheKingInJello

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Apocalypse World / Fallen Empire Warband Rules
« on: July 01, 2016, 03:33:41 PM »
Just a quick question -- warbands in Fallen Empires seem to sidestep the rules for harm in a confusing way. Normally, PCs are going to be dealing 2 harm with their weapons, 3 harm if within Deadly range, and four if they have a move dedicated to doing a crapton of harm.

The Strongholder's gang starts out at 3-harm, and can be well-equipped to be 4-harm. In Apocalypse World 1e, gangs' harm are determined by their armaments and then they get a size bonus relative to their opponents. Since Fallen Empires is based on 2e, it seems as though there may not be a relative size bonus, just a flat bonus for the size of the gang, with a bonus for good armaments. Is this correct? If a PC is fighting with one member of the Strongholder's gang, how would you approach adjudicating it? It seems like I should fiat the harm that individual member deals down to 2, or even 1 if the strongholder didn't select the well-equipped tag.

brainstorming & development / Brennan's L5R Hack
« on: April 29, 2016, 02:35:22 PM »
I was hoping to DL it to run an L5R one-shot, but I see it's been taken down. Does anyone have the files downloaded and could you perhaps email or link them to me? You would be my favorite apocalyptica-barfer of all time, forever.

Removing the PCs' agency by not letting them take advantage of the situation they have made for themselves, or by fudging towards moves that do not actually let them move towards their clear goal -- all in the name of drama or climax -- is, I think, a pretty common pitfall. I am sure I have done it myself. But ultimately AW is a game about what the PCs choose to do, not whether they can do it at all; postponing the consequences is just as likely to rob the game of its momentum as build it up.

Totally agree here, and I think everyone around the table knew that Dremmer was going to die once they got toe-to-toe with him. I think everybody at the table just wanted the fight to feel like more than a stomp, and I don't think they would've felt satisfied if all the back-and-forth of the fight was purely narrated, as the suggestion from Ebok, with the all-narrated barfight with one roll at the end.

Thanks everyone for the advice. Appreciate you taking the time to read all this.

@Ebok Yeah, I really agree screwing up the initial Seize by Force arbitration was unfortunate -- that had a chance to change the direction of the fight in an interesting way.

As for your tips #2 and #3, that's taken care of. I didn't provide additional story context around the fight itself, but suffice to say they were conflicted going into the fight as to whether it was the right thing to do, and that conflict will carry forward into interesting outcomes, along with the fact that Dremmer's faction is just as dangerous in its collapse.

I have to confess, though, that I disagree with some of your guidance about how to represent violence overall in the game -- I think if I had made this fight last 2-3 rolls, the players would've been really disappointed. This Threat has been in play since the second session of the game, and this is the second-to-last session (I'm moving cross-country, so we're wrapping up). I agree that most violence should be resolved in a couple of rolls, per your tips #1 and #5. But I stipulated that this was a climactic fight, rather than the constant violence that characterizes life in the Apocalypse. The system is equipped to zoom in fairly granularly, so why not take that opportunity once in a while/campaign?

@Daniel Wood -- I think I agree that at least one of the AUF moves should've been SBF or Go Aggro instead, but I also think that the text off the rules supports a broader reading of the AUF move than you are taking. In the book in the example fight between the Brainer and three goons, on page 158, the MC is about to rule that her attempting to grab the last goon with her Violation Glove is acting under fire (the fire presumably being a counterattack), but then opts to let the In-Brain Puppet Strings move proceed per normal, remembering that the NPC is incapable of counterattacking at that moment. This is mentioned again on page 167 under "When an NPC Attacks" -- "Usually what you'll do instead is put someone in a spot: 'Fisty opens fire on you. What do you do?' If the character does anything much, she's doing it under fire." I think a counterattack can absolutely be the Fire for AUF. You're right about my out-of-game motivations, though -- I did it to draw out the fight. AUF allows for the NPC to avoid harm if the player fails, but it also allows the PC to avoid harm if they succeed, whereas SBF does not -- by default, everyone takes harm.


I definitely had second thoughts about the read a sitch move. But he didn't say his character was doing anything else than looking around, in the middle of a intense one-on-one combat. I thought it couldn't pass, but I might do it differently if I did it again.

You're right about the grapple. I could've given him the chance to deal more damage, but say one of Dremmer's seconds was about to hit him, or something like that. I feel like that was my biggest error.

First, some background: Last session, the two PCs in my AW game rode into the desert to face down Dremmer, a warlord who is uniting the clans of nomadic raiders for an attack on the PC's home, a ruined city containing a handful of hardholds. Through some cultural finagling, they were able to challenge him to ritual combat to dispute his leadership of his band of nomads. Here's how the ritual challenges go down:

The two duelists are in the center of a ring drawn in the sand, say 15 meters across. They each have a melee weapon of their choice, or a firearm with a single bullet. Each of them have two seconds fort he duel, their right-and-left-hand guys. The seconds mount up on their offroad motorcycles, the conveyance of choice for nomad raider scum. They're armed as well, with the traditional spear of the nomads, or other melee weapons like chain lengths, morning stars, etc. These spears are often tipped with grenades, but for the purposes of these ritual combats, they're just sharp as fuck. The spears get stuck into the ground at the quarters of the circle. Each rider idles next to his. When the presiding priest gives the signal, they begin to ride around in a circle. As they're passing their spear for the third time, they pull it out of the sand and the duel begins. The riders form the ring of the duel, and are allowed to interfere to help their principle -- part of the strategy is to lure your opponent towards your seconds and avoid the enemy seconds. The seconds are also allowed to interfere with one another, killing or otherwise forcing them out of the circle.

Here's basically how the fight went down, as best I can remember:

-Dremmer had a spear, Shieldbearer had a hand axe, each of which do 3-harm. Each are wearing 2-armor gear. Dremmer has a custom move -- when he deals harm to you, you also take s-harm. His blows keep his opponents reeling and off-balance. He also is tougher than the average mook -- he will go down after 3 harm, not 1-2.

-Dremmer tries to keep Shieldbearer at bay with his superior reach. Shieldbearer uses his axe to splinter the haft of the spear. I rule it a Seize By Force, Shieldbearer gets 10+, I rule the spear is split in two -- haft and point -- and he deals 3-harm to Dremmer, reduced to 1-harm by armor.

-Dremmer rushes forward to get inside hand range with a grapple, striking with his fists at the Shieldbearer's unprotected face. Shieldbearer responds by trying to counter-grapple Dremmer and throw him to the sand. I rule it Act Under Fire (the fire is Dremmer's assault), Shieldbearer gets a 7-9. I rule Dremmer gets a shot in, 1-harm AP, but the Shieldbearer successfully throws him to the ground, and is on top of him. Shieldbearer is now also reeling from Dremmer's strike, which has cracked his cheekbone (s-harm). I forget to make him make the harm move. Derp.

-Shieldbearer now tries to choke Dremmer out with the axe handle. Acting Under Fire (because of the s-harm), gets a 7-9. I rule he chokes him a bit, but then Dremmer throws him off and rolls away. 1-harm AP to Dremmer for the choke.

-At this point, the Shieldbearer's player says "I read a sitch." Technically, not supposed to do that, since you're not supposed to name your moves. I let him roll, though, and he gets a 7-9. Spends a hold to ask "What should I watch out for." I say "Well, while you were getting your bearings, Dremmer picked up the head of his broken spear and threw it right at you, so you should probably watch out for the razor-sharp blade spinning towards your chest." 3-harm to the Shieldbearer, dropped down to 1-harm by armor. He makes the harm move with a 6-. But he has s-harm again.

-Next up, Dremmer charges at the Shieldbearer, trying to push him into the ring, into one of his henchmen. Acting under fire, the Shieldbearer misses entirely, and is shoved in front of a speeding ATV (one of Dremmer's seconds is riding an ATV rather than a motorbike). One of his seconds, The Driver (the other PC), attempts to aid him by stabbing the ATV driver to slow him down or drive him off-course. He succeeds, and the ATV driver swerves at the last minute, clipping the shieldbearer rather than running him down, and dropping his weapon, a length of chain. I rule it 2-harm AP, since being rammed by things is generally AP. He fails the harm move with a 10+, I choose that he looses his footing and drops his axe.

-Shieldbearer gets up, sees that Dremmer has his axe, and has moved near the center of the ring. He picks up the chain length, wraps it around his hand as a gauntlet. Having learned his lesson from last time, he says "I crounch into a fighting stance, move away from the edge of the ring, and get my bearings," triggering Read a Sitch. He gets 1-hold, and asks what he should watch out for. I tell him that Dremmer, in addition to getting the axe, has stuck the spearpoint in the sand and may intend to use it as a surprise weapon if it comes to another grapple.

-Shieldbearer wants to make an end of it, and charges, saying he's going to snatch up the spearpoint as his weapon, and parry Dremmer's axe stroke with his chain gauntlet as he strikes. I call it Act Under Fire, the firing being Dremmer's counter-attack. He hits a 10+, and deals his 3-harm to Dremmer, killing him, and recieving no harm in return. Shieldbearer ends the fight having taking 4-harm.

Overall, everyone was happy with the fight -- it was exciting and dramatic with some twists and turns. The Shieldbearer PC felt a little cheated at two points:

-He felt he should've gotten more advantage from having Dremmer grappled early in the fight, and that Dremmer escaped too easily.
-He was a little put out by the result of his first 'read a sitch,' when he got hit with the thrown spearpoint because he was too busy getting his bearings.

Thoughts on that? Anything else I did that doesn't give with your GMing style? Any advice for stuff like this?

Apocalypse World / Re: Sharing the specific wording of custom moves
« on: August 17, 2015, 05:18:00 PM »
That makes a ton of sense, thanks!

So, in the Rolfball example -- lets say the PCs managed to avoid getting any scuttlebutt about Rolfball before confronting him. Should I forego his fists moves? Or just reveal it the first time I get to make a move with Reveal an Unwelcome Truth?

Apocalypse World / Sharing the specific wording of custom moves
« on: August 17, 2015, 12:23:07 PM »
I'm wondering when to reveal the specific wording and conversational triggers of custom moves to the PCs. Take some examples from the book:

"If you’re in a fist fight with Rolfball and you take harm, you take s-harm (ap) in addition to the usual harm."

When to share this? The first time someone gets punched by Rolfball? Or should I work to share it earlier? Like, maybe have an NPC tell them "You need to watch out for this motherfucker Rolfball, he's got fists like engine blocks, and when he punches you down you don't get up," and then share the custom move with them?

Likewise, this one:
When you scavenge in the ruins, roll+sharp.
On a 10+, choose two and find an oddment worth 1-barter. On a 7–9, choose one and find an oddment worth 1-barter:
• You find it quickly.
• You find it with relatively little trouble.
• You find an item that is valuable.
• You find an item that is hi-tech

Share it when they discover the ruins? When the ruins are discussed in conversation? Or the first time they scavenge them?

How do folks approach these moves?

AW:Dark Age / Re: Slavery
« on: September 29, 2014, 11:43:37 AM »
"Innovation" is the wrong word for a practice that was already thousands of years old

Sorry, yes, this is totally right. Maybe "moral alternative" would've been a better phrase.

AW:Dark Age / Re: Slavery
« on: September 27, 2014, 12:33:02 PM »
One other thing to note -- and it's totally abhorrent to modern morality -- is that at the time, slavery was a moral innovation, and it's possible that Vikings and Anglo Saxons saw it that way. Let's say you're a Viking, and you've just raided a town. You're taking everything they've got, and you've killed some or all of the able-bodied, soldier-aged men. What to do with the people who are left? Kill them? That's pretty harsh, and it will stiffen resistance on your next raid. Leave them behind? Well, you've just taken all their shit and killed their defenders -- leaving them might be dooming them to death anyway. Take them with you into your household, as a slave? It might be the kindest choice.

Not that any of that holds up today, but Dark Ages force people into awful ethical calculus.

AW:Dark Age / Re: Where Do Rights Come From?
« on: September 11, 2014, 11:21:30 AM »
This came up in our discussions of rights as well. Some of the rights appear to be granted supernaturally, some of them are more "social" rights, and some of them could be either. Here's is a quote from an e-mail chain about the discussion, possibly might provide some food for thought. The player in question was imagining his Outranger as sort of a wilderness mystic:
That would fit with my intention for something like "You have the right to due respect, from bound, free, noble and royal alike." I wasn't just seeing that as "People look up to him!" Or fear him or have heard of his exploits or etc. I was seeing it as the Forest Moves With Him -- when he comes into town, he brings that same feeling you get when you are alone amongst the giant trees and it's too quiet and a single raven flaps its heavy wings above moving in and out of heavy panes of sunlight. When he invokes Who He Is in regards to this right, people feel that are not just talking to a guy, but to something more fundamental and primal. There would be other ways to interpret the same game effect -- culture, tradition, etc. But it's much more than saying "people respect this guy."

AW:Dark Age / Re: Court Wizard - No Enchantments?
« on: September 08, 2014, 10:15:55 AM »
Perfect, that's what I figured. Thanks!

AW:Dark Age / Re: Court Wizard - No Enchantments?
« on: September 08, 2014, 04:22:08 AM »
Say you are the wizard and you have that right and travel to another land where they tell you that they forbid the worship of gods other than their own.  You can now make the move.  You can curse them for not allowing you to speak to the only TRUE gods!  You can tell them that you will see their gods scattered in the wind like the piles of twigs they are!  You can shout at the mountain tops that your gods shall be displeased and will rain down fire among their false idols! 

I bet you more than anything your war on their gods will be interesting.  I'd be a fan of that character!

OK. I get your POV is that the intention is to act as a right to consult gods that are possibly strange and foreign to the locals. If that's the case, the move will probably be rewritten to read something like:

"You have the right to call upon your gods or the gods of your people, though you are far from them," removing the mechanical statement "When you do, treat it as consulting with the other world, but roll Bold instead of Weird." Vincent has said that the Bold instead of Weird thing is an error, but just leaving "When you do, treat it as consulting with the other world" doesn't really add anything. 

I'll be interested to see, though, if Vincent plans to add some additional function to that move. 

AW:Dark Age / Re: Court Wizard - No Enchantments?
« on: September 07, 2014, 11:33:57 PM »
Yes, rights drive the story. Some rights also give you additional abilities, and I don't know why you would say they're not for that. I really don't think it's correct to say that every player can do any of the things that every playbook gives rights to. Can the War Captain decide to "Step out of [his] earthly life and journey in other places."? You might say, "Of course! But he has no right to expect it to work when he tries." But that's not really any different than saying a first level fighter CAN cast magic missile, but has no right to expect it to happen, or for it to deal 1d4 damage. It might be technically true, but it strains the definition of "can" and "cast magic missile." 

The reason I'm asking This right seems like it's trying to do both of those things, but by granting a right that everyone already has. It's like if Hamlet's right that you wrote read: "You have the right to be King of Denmark. Treat this as Winning Someone Over."

AW:Dark Age / Court Wizard - No Enchantments?
« on: September 07, 2014, 02:11:28 PM »
Looking through the playbooks, the Court Wizard seems like he got a somewhat shorter stick than wicker-wise -- I know the classes aren't intended to be balanced against one another, but it seems a shame that he doesn't get to do enchantments, for example.

Also, what's the intention of the Call Upon Your Gods right? I get that Bold instead of Weird is an error (saw it in a previous thread) but doesn't it still just give a right that everyone has anyway? Consult With the Other World?

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