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Messages - DWeird

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I think that's maybe it. More than other playbooks, the Driver brings a sense of spectacle.

Sounds about right. Most of my favorite memories with the Driver have something to do with the perverse incentives created by Daredevil.

So, Paul - we can agree it's not the mobility itself that's a problem for you, right?

I think "I have a cool car and I don't like being tied down" is pretty much spot on. Avoiding relationships is itself a pretty clear and thematic relationship dynamic - it's just that it runs counter to the easiest way a MC can have fun with players (sticking an NPC between two PCs). Drivers don't *need* to be tied down, which is exactly the problem if you're focusing on a small cast of interlinked, localized threats - fucker can tear right out of that web no problem.

Of all the threats in the book, Drivers are most likely to deal with terrain, landscapes, and vehicles - all the things that are least like persons and so the hardest to get delectable drama juice out of. Not that I ever consciously tried, but you could explicitly try to triangle that stuff out anyway. Roads are cramped things where cattle and people live, good asphalt is being torn right up as building material, a part you need for repairs is in Dremmer's bastard rig. A slightly roundabout way of learning about the communities of the world - what threats they're facing, what they're doing to deal, what they're not doing and why.

Paul, a question. The Driver isn't the only immensely mobile playbook. Do you have similar issues with the Chopper?

Apocalypse World / Re: Get a Stat Move From Another Playbook?
« on: February 04, 2017, 11:21:49 PM »

Thanks for going into such depth about your process and concerns. People only really notice when it goes wrong, but preserving meaning over languages is such a fragile art. I've had flops with otherwise great games because the emotive content and ritual aspect of a game doesn't translate easily over languages, beyond even just the mere fact of having to translate at the table at all. One of the reasons why I play most of my games with native English speakers online or such.

It's actually easier with games that don't rely on the shorthand of emotive language and connotations as much, and are more like technical manuals. Like, translating D&D's "strength" isn't really an issue, that can go several "good enough" ways. "Hard", though? Translating that into Lithuanian literally gives me a word that has more connotations of AW's "cool" than anything else. But then what do you do with all the moves that work off the physical metaphor of the word, like "Ice cold" and such.

It's difficult!

So again, a lot of respect for the work that you are doing.

Yeah, I bet the difficulty of the text increases the satisfaction in successfully translating it! Oh, and your answer actually got me another question - Swedish has grammatical gender, right? AW is pretty strong on the gender of the playbooks being an open question. How did you deal with that?

AW is a very lively text, full of idioms and patterns of speech that don't hop over to other languages all that easily. Respect for stepping to the task!

What was the hardest thing to do, in your translation process?

Apocalypse World / Re: Advice for a Larger Group
« on: January 10, 2017, 01:47:39 PM »
This is a common problem. The different playbooks operate at different speeds - the natural operating units of time for people like Savvyheads or Hardholders are weeks and months, whereas it's days, minutes and finally seconds for Battlebabes and Gunluggers.

Of the playbooks that rely on having enough in-fiction time to operate, only a handful have direct mechanical support (i.e., the wealth moves) to allow them to have the breathing space needed.

What's probably happening in your game is that all the violence people get into trouble, you zoom in on it because it is interesting and exciting (as you should), and then more trouble happens, and you zoom in even more, and then eventually you have a whole game session that is about five minutes of (nerve-wracking, adrenaline-pumping) in-fiction time.

There's nothing inherently wrong with gradually zooming in on the action, but it remains true that in a timeframe of five minutes, a Gunlugger and a Battlebabe shine, whereas a Maestro'D or Waterbearer can only really rely on the basic moves.

If you want them to be more relevant, you as the MC will need to sometimes stop going moment-to-moment with your moves frame out hard - "It's a week later after the fight, and Waterbearer? It's your job to pass judgement on the Chopper's gang, who are tearing it up in celebration at Maestro'Ds place."

At that point, the Waterbearer and Maestro'D will have easy enough access to their full capabilities that they'll start making their own fun instead of you having to worry about it. Until things go to hell enough that everything's going moment-to-moment again, of course.

This will become less of a problem when someone inevitably takes a hardhold or followers advance, and these zoomouts will happen more naturally.

brainstorming & development / Re: Apocalypse World Prequel: Eden
« on: January 05, 2015, 12:15:46 PM »
This is a great setup! Relevant to my real life, even, in a metaphorical way. Was dealing with some workplace bullying in a very macho environment while being a human twig, and pushing through that to some level of respect without getting physically wrecked myself, but also somehow avoiding pumping up my adrenaline and violent fantasies to a level where I'd actually shred the other guy's face with a claw hammer. I'll spare you the details, but we ended up simply shaking on it. Somehow!

It's one of the most difficult, but also interesting and satisfying things I things I ever had to do. There's definitely a game in that theme.

the nerve core / Re: Legacy - AW hack now Kickstarting
« on: January 02, 2015, 08:56:50 AM »
This sounds great! I've missed the actual kickstarter, but it's good to see you made it regardless.

I'll very likely be buying it, so I hope you drop the details here when you're done.

Apocalypse World / Re: Scarcity of room
« on: October 23, 2014, 11:50:50 AM »
I don't know if scarcity of room is the best way to go about it. If it was, the Maestro D and the Hoarder wouldn't be having this problem, yeah?

What you may instead be looking for instead is tighter purely causal links. For example, why doesn't it matter for the hardhold, and thus Maestro D and the Hoarder, that the Touchstone's mission failed?

Or, it does matter, but... There might be another issue that I come across every so often in my AW games, and that's the fact that different characters have different rhytms. As the most obvious example - Gunluggers live from fight to fight, and the fact that they have been in a fight usually means they get in another fight sooner, whereas Savvyheads live from project to its completion. Savvyheads go slow and steady, Gunluggers accelerate. Eventually, what happens is that either one of them dominates the spotlight, or you have two geographically and even temporally distinct stories.

What you need at that point is a resync tool, which take chunks of time and deal with them in a kind of abstract way, ending with a situation where all the player characters are back together and the situation is such that their efforts affect one another's. There are a few resync tools already built in, like Wealth or Moonlighting, as well the Love Letter format (the latter seems, honestly, exactly like good honest GM prep most of the time). Dark Ages has a whole list of them, too. Maybe borrow a page from there?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So that's a thought.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Apocalypse World / Re: New Custom Playbook: The Conduit
« on: May 24, 2014, 11:46:14 PM »
I like this playbook! It seems entirely playable as is, and seems like it wouldn't need that much work to get polished-super-cool status. I think the playbook moves are all mostly fine - need some tinkering, perhaps a "curveball" move on the concept that's based on a stat other than weird... But primarily, you need to do give the goals of the maelstrom better definition.

My own choice would be to provide the player and MC with a list, similar to the following:

The Link:

You get 1 hold to use for a session's purposes so long as you worked on something the maelstrom wants last session because you're a PC and we like to see those guys strut their stuff. If you want more, the maelstrom obliges, but asks for one of the following in return:

* Show the maelstrom something it has not seen before
* Hurt someone who has helped you
* Hurt someone who has wronged you
* Leave a mark of the maelstrom where it will be seen or heard
* Bring a sliver of the maelstrom into a place it cannot reach
* Destroy or desecrate a meeting place, landmark, or throne of power

When you complete any of these, you immediately have 3 hold for the purposes of the session. You can spend it 1-for-1 for Link powers you already have, or blow the whole 3 hold on a Link power you do not yet have.

I'd also remove a lot of the hedges in the text. Clarity is better than a halfhearted attempt not to make things too overpowering, no?


Become invisible while not moving. Blinking counts.
Stun a person in sight until someone touches them.
Make one person believe a total lie until they see you again.
See through clothing, walls, and pretense (+1 hold to "read" moves, even on a fail?)
Invoke a telekinetic force and choose two of three: target, direction, and force.

My reworking may not be the best (probably isn't), but you can see how it would take less moment-to-moment parsing from an MC to establish how a power works at any given time.

Apocalypse World / Re: AW as an online text-based game
« on: May 10, 2014, 10:31:00 AM »
The majority of my AW sessions were held online, over IRC. Depending on the kind of channel you're on, this has the advantage of having built-in dicebots, so you can have rolls basically as a regular part of conversation.

<Damson> I stick my gun into his face and very politely ask him for the keys to the trunk.
<MC> Haha! Great, so that's going aggro. Roll it!
<Damson> 2d6+2
<=Roll=> <Results for Damson [2d6+2]: 10>
<MC> Alright, since you have him at gunpoint, he rustles in his pockets and hands you over the keys. Looks like he has a few choice words for you, but he swallows them with a gulp.
<Damson> I bet he does. Now, lets see if I'm right about this trunk...

It's a very natural, and since the basic roll mechanic is consistent and dirt-simple, you spend no time with rule clarifications.

So long as you have easy access to an automated dicebot of sorts (would be surprised if Skype didn't have some sort of widget equivalent), I can pretty much guarantee the game will go as smoothly as a face to face one.

AW:Dark Age / Re: Proposition with Dragon Herald
« on: March 11, 2014, 12:53:05 PM »
This is kind of off-topic, but both Murderous Ghosts and Dark World are apocalypse engine games that involve powerless main characters. I think I agree with what you're saying, though, but I'd add the caveat that any apocalypse engine game that uses playbooks is going to be about power fantasy, as one of their purposes is to give the PC cool stuff he can do, that other people can't.

That's a great caveat, thank you. I did have a moment of "am I talking out of my ass here?" when my mind wandered to Murderous Ghosts, but I felt like there's still something to the general thrust of the statement and so kind of wanted to leave it stand alone instead of enmeshing it in a thousand caveats (like, making sure that no one thinks that I consider calling AW a 'power fantasy' a negative pejorative, explaining why not, saying how big of a deal I think having to deal with other cool guys as part of a power fantasy actually is...), but that would have probably made it an unintelligible mess.

I also agree with you about prophecies, but I think it's not that it's hard to make an AW game in which true prophecies are a large part of the game, but that it's hard to make a Story Now game in which true prophecies are a large part of the game, because choices and uncertain outcomes are important to making Story Now work.

I don't think that's true exactly! You'd have to drill down deeper into what makes stories about prophecies tick, but you could do it. For example, Ben Robbins' Kingdoms have a character-class that is pretty much defined by having full knowledge of a world-defining event but no power to change it, which could very well support something prophecy-like. But I guess this is beside the point.

I'm a little bit struggling with the Dragon Herald, to be honest. This might just belie my lack of knowledge, of course, but while I can think of multiple characters 'out there in the wild' that are War Heralds, Outlaw Heirs, Wicker-Wises or Troll Killers, when I think of Dragon Herald, the only image that comes up vividly is Daenerys. Maybe also Arthur or Merlin if I squint? I like the playbook and am sure I could play it, but I don't feel 'free' around it, if that makes any sense. Like I'll always be making stuff up on my own rather than being able to borrow things from my memory when I get stuck.

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