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Messages - DannyK

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Apocalypse World / Re: Question about rolling...while under fire
« on: August 22, 2014, 01:31:25 AM »
You could certainly take away their ability to use the kit after failing the roll, but I can think of a *lot* of crueler, more exciting things to do with a hard move when one of the PC's is trying to heal someone without really knowing what they're doing:
--the patient survives, but because you didn't know to use the coffee reddener, they went into shock and became paralyzed on one side of their body, oh boy! (Inflict harm)
--the patient survives, but they're not stable by a long shot and you're going through your supplies at a furious rate -- do you let them die or barter all their stuff to that bastard Dremmer for more medical supplies?  (Make them pay, or make a hard choice)
--the patient survives and is fine, but is now fiercely addicted to chillstabs and starts stealing from the infirmary, and will do anything to maintain their supply (announce future badness?)
--the patient is still very sick, and only Doctor Balls down by the river can cure them - it's two days ride and they'll need to convalesce for a long time (separate them)
--if it's an NPC patient, he/she rallies, seems to be doing better, then dies during the night after going home.  Their family/friends now think you're an asshole.  (inflict harm)
--the patient dies right there on the spot and starts haunting the PC who "killed" them. Now you know what to do the next time that player blows a +Weird roll

Any of these options, and many more I haven't mentioned, seems more interesting than just saying "You can't do it".  Failed rolls, according to the rules as I understand them, should still move things forward, not result in the player being stuck after a failed attempt.  In other words, there's no "whiff factor" in AW.

Apocalypse World / Re: Playbook focus: The Gunlugger
« on: November 05, 2013, 12:16:56 AM »
A Gunlugger who takes that one move (blanking on the name) that lets you open your mind with +Hard, but only in combat, can be an awesome thing. Hit or miss, it's an open invitation to the MC to spew forth whatever grim visions of apocalypse they can think of, plus maybe some useful info.  If the player is willing to risk a bad brain opening roll in the middle of combat, they should get something nice for their troubles.

Apocalypse World / Re: Why the Maelstrom
« on: October 30, 2013, 04:46:21 PM »
Speaking as a player/MC of AW, I think the Maelstrom was  a genius thing to put in the game because it ties together a lot of different aspects of the game, but it's so undefined that you can do all kinds of interesting things with it, and it can really open up the game in a lot of ways.  As a player, it gives you something interesting to play with, and as an MC it frees you to make the AW setting really tight and grim in the "real world" because the Maelstrom is sort of an escape valve. A bit the way magic works in urban fantasy novels (rather than the way magic works in most RPGs).

Monsterhearts / Re: What do the players need to know?
« on: October 11, 2013, 12:37:11 PM »
Something I like to do when I'm running a game that's new to the players (let alone players who are new to RPG's) is do a "training mission" like in video games which lets them try out the moves and mechanics without any lasting damage to their characters.  It works especially well if you run it with the actual characters, so they can get into character with the explicit understanding that they can see how it goes and then change things up a bit for the real game which is played for keeps. 

For Monsterhearts, I guess it could be a dream sequence or maybe a scene set in drama class where all the characters are doing improv.  The main thing is to get them trying things out and making bold moves in a safe environment.

Monsterhearts / Re: Did anyone ever create a Detective/Gossip Skin?
« on: October 11, 2013, 12:32:52 PM »
That's pretty cool!  A little more overtly supernatural than I had in mind, and maybe overpowered.  Being able to impose conditions and spread rumors at will seems plenty powerful enough without being able to literally edit reality.  Besides, that seems like one of those powers that is guaranteed to piss off one's fellow players --
"Jackie isn't gay, she's just kissing other girls to get the boys' attention"
"The hell she is!" 

Look how uncomfortable people are with the Move that lets you turn someone on. 

Apocalypse World / Re: Custom moves for a Cosmic Horror game
« on: October 11, 2013, 12:25:18 PM »
Oh, I forgot to mention: if you want to simulate SAN using AW mechanics, just make a Move with a countdown clock.  At 6 o'clock, the character starts seeing things out of the corner of their eye and develops phobias; at 9 o'clock, they have terrible dreams and NPC's start treating them differently; at 12 o'clock, they go insane.  Or borrow the Trauma mechanics from the Ghost Lines hack, they are very nice!  If you want to give the mechanic real teeth, then when they reach 3 o'clock, tell the player "This stuff is starting to make sense to you, take +1 forward for attempts to understand the geography of the Impossible City/read the literature of [untranslatable]/communicate with the alien flesh robots."  That incentivizes them to keep doing stuff that will imperil their sanity, and get the Call of Cthulhu-like dynamic going where the PC's need to balance understanding the threat that faces them with the risk of going mad and maybe even becoming part of the threat.   

Some groups may consider this a dick move; you should probably make sure they're all on board for a particularly bleak and hopeless game of AW, like Call of Cthulhu on Purist mode.

Apocalypse World / Re: Custom moves for a Cosmic Horror game
« on: October 09, 2013, 07:27:41 PM »
You can turn AW into a cosmic horror game without many additional rules, I think, if you play up the hugeness of the disaster and the insignificance of the survivors.  You might ban some of the more hopeful character types like the Savvyhead and Touchstone. 

Change the flavor of the apocalyptica so it's more cryptic and abandoned instead of dusty and broken, and don't worry so much about making it seem real. Add some surrealistic elements -- throw in horrible things that don't make sense, then watch the players creep themselves out trying to make sense of it.  I learned this technique a long time ago when running Nobilis and it always works. 

The Fronts are pretty good for cosmic horror already, just take their descriptions and go with weird and cosmic trappings instead of translating them into more mundane post-apocalyptic terms.  If you read the names and impulses of the different threat types and take them literally, you'll get lots of nasty ideas. 

The Maelstrom, if you're going with classic Lovecraftian horror, probably translates into the realization that the cosmos is indifferent and inimical to human life and sanity.  You might come up with some nasty custom Moves to make up for the lack of a "SAN roll" in Apocalypse World, something to do with when you strive to understand the arcane logic behind the transportation system... or when you take anti-hallucination pills and see what's really out there...

Regarding threats, if you want to make them scarier, take some of Dungeon World's advice for making monsters scary.  Google the story about the 16 HP dragon.  The really bad stuff shouldn't be scary because it has a lot of hitpoints, it should be scary because it's awful and incomprehensible.

EDIT: Maybe look at Monsterhearts, too: beneath the teenage rebellion, there's a creepy game about people trying to control each other with unsuitable methods in order to meet their own needs.  Plus the playbooks have a whole heap of weird powers that can be stolen and adapted.

Apocalypse World / Re: Playbook focus: The Chopper
« on: October 09, 2013, 07:13:29 PM »
The Chopper is probably my favorite playbook, just because it's so damn easy to MC for.  "Hey, there's a column of smoke up ahead on the road, wanna check it out?  Some of the corpses are wearing nice gear, wanna take it?  That other guy just called you a mutant, what do you do?" 

The idea of a Hoarder in a Chopper's gang is pretty awesome, actually.  He'd end up fighting the other gang members on a regular basis to protect his crap. 

Bonefeel is a great Move for almost any playbook; if you can convince your MC that the equipment your PC needs when they show up includes the gang, then you're golden. 

If your game's Chopper seems too nice and rational, zoom in on his/her gang and develop it more, I think.  Like the Savvyhead, you can draw the Chopper out of their comfort zone by hooking their gang into the community and world around them.  Moreover, the gang by definition is a bunch of aimless sociopaths, so it's totally plausible to let them get into deviltry and quarrels whenever they're not actually under the PC's direct control. The Chopper's comfort zone is leading the gang on their hogs into a fight, so find ways to mix it up.  This doesn't necessarily nerfing the gang -- any Chopper gang is an efficient machine for fighting, looting, and covering ground, so find things that complicate that efficient machine and get the Chopper to make command decisions. 

One of the best things to ask the Chopper's player is how they became pack leader.  If they were leader of a different gang that got wiped out and they built this one up, that's cool; if they used to be just another gang member, that's even better!  The former leader, or his friends, will make natural rivals and malcontents.

Apocalypse World / Re: Playbook focus: The Savvyhead
« on: October 09, 2013, 06:59:07 PM »
The tendency of the Savvyhead to stay in their workspace and do lonely fun is the biggest problem of this otherwise excellent playbook.  One way I've tried to counter this as MC is to put the Savvyhead in the middle of the relationship map; everybody wants something from them, even if it's only to fix their daughter's talking doll or something.  Weird and intriguing NPC's come from far away to get their help and advice, or to lure them away to be a warlord's weaponsmith.  I also tried to integrate the Savvyhead's little gang of helpers into the setting as much as possible -- they all had relatives and boyfriends and such in the community, so there were lots of ways to draw them out. 

If you've got an NPC "hardholder" running the area, that's an awesome way to problematize the Savvyhead's situation -- what does the boss want that the Savvyhead doesn't want to give them, or what does the Savvyhead want that the boss doesn't want to do, like his/her own tank or access to the Rad-Vault underneath the city?  Does the boss want the character to spend a certain amount of time each week repairing the armory and building new weapons? What does the boss do to maintain leverage over the Savvyhead character, and how does the boss play the PC's against each other?

Finally, the Savvyhead has some awesome tools for fixing many of the problems and scarcities that beset AW characters.  I think the key for the MC is keeping them busy doing urgent stuff so that they don't pull a Robinson Crusoe and make their own private paradise out of junk. 

Apocalypse World / Re: Artful and Gracious to stop brewing mob?
« on: October 09, 2013, 06:48:13 PM »
If the Skinner character doesn't have An Arresting Skinner, they don't have the right tool to stop an angry mob dead in its tracks, I think, but jumping into a tense situation (that isn't quite an angry mob yet) and defusing it with a performance seems like classic Skinner behavior to me.  If the player rolls well, let the move play out.  Maybe the crowd shuts up and listens, and now it's waiting for the Skinner to say something to the crowd instead. Afterwards, you can have the NPC hardholder chew out the Brainer and say that he/she would have been killed if the Skinner hadn't stepped in... always be building triangles and splitting the players apart. 

The answer to your second question is no, it really goes counter to the rules and spirit of Apocalypse World to try to structure situations to force a certain outcome.  If there's an angry crowd, let whichever PC is there use their Moves and connections to deal with it as best they can -- for the Skinner it might be a performance, the Brainer might start brain-puppeting the ringleaders, a Gunlugger can shoot over the heads of the crowd, and an Angel might just have to say that's he/she isn't going to tend the wounds of anybody so stupid as to start a riot at the hardholder's palace and maybe that would be enough.  Just let it play out and take those events and throw them back at the players, hard. 

Apocalypse World / Re: Playbook focus: The Angel
« on: September 22, 2013, 03:25:27 AM »
This is an easy character type for the GM to jerk around, since you can plausibly invent sickness and injury anywhere you like in the apocalypse.  It's easy to pair them up with other PCs or NPCs since the Angel can ride shotgun with almost anybody who's likely to get hurt or likely to encounter the injured during their travels -- which is pretty much everybody. Like the Skinner, this character tends to have trouble determining who's being friendly because they actually like them, as opposed to who just wants access to their services when they need them.  The ambulance or infirmary are great things for this playbook -- unlike the Savvyhead's workspace, where they tend to have solitary fun until the MC finds a way to lure them out, the Angel's infirmary is a natural hub of activity and drama.  McCoy from the original Star Trek is a great angel -- emotional, wise, irritable, demanding at times. Think of all the shit McCoy did in the show and you'll have an idea of the Angel's range. I work in the medical field, so I like the Angel a lot because I think it feels a bit like an actual EMS does.  I still remember the beta-version Angel who had this whole fiddly minigame with chillstabs and blood supplies, if you have a game with only a few players and one of them is an Angel, you could get a whole lot of mileage out of the Angel's struggles to maintain his/her supplies.

Here are some ideas I came up with to create complications for the Angel:
--they have to take care of an injured prisoner that someone else wants to interrogate/kill/liberate
--they're faced with a public health emergency and have to get the authorities to enforce a quarantine or keep people from going  in the water or drinking from the river, that sort of thing, pissing many people off
--one of their crew, or an important NPC, is hooked on chillstabs and keeps stealing them or trying to buy them from the Angel even though they're needed to treat patients
--the angel is asked to help out people in another community who don't have a doctor or whose doctor can't handle the load -- but the hardholder insists that the angel charge a massive price or their services, with the hardholder taking a cut
--they have an ill patient who is hateful to them, or who will do awful things if they recover their health -- do they fulfill their duty to this patient, or to the community?  I actually put this in a game, with an ill old man who knew the secret of turning soldiers into blood-crazed zombie warriors. Unfortunately, I neglected the game and it died before we found out what would have happened.

Apocalypse World / Re: Playbook focus: The Operator
« on: September 10, 2013, 04:47:29 PM »
Exactly. The sort of activity DannyK describes is only one of the Operator's many possible gigs. Thinking of the Operator as this supernaturally-talented merchant-trader-whatever is, I think, following one direction a little too far, when they could just as likely be a scavenger-of-materials or a security expert or a straight-up murderer.

I don't see that much difference between what you said and what I said, though I did exaggerate a bit.  The Operator does a lot of odd jobs that put them in crazy situations.  Every gig provides the perfect excuse for framing the character into a tough spot when their contact or crew member flakes out or they just have bad luck. I really want to run an AW game with an Operator and their crew now!

Apocalypse World / Re: Playbook focus: The Hocus
« on: September 10, 2013, 04:43:50 PM »
The one game where I played a Hocus ended very early, but my character had already alienated every other PC in the game with a little gentle proselytizing and a blown roll.  I'm not really sure how to avoid freaking everyone out with this character -- even if they see your character sheet and hear you pitch the character concept, it's like you're only 2D6 away from becoming Charles Manson with this playbook.  I think it might have been better if I could have persuaded another PC to be in the cult during chargen, but that can be a tough sell.

Apocalypse World / Re: Playbook focus season 2, and what about the Skinner?
« on: September 10, 2013, 04:39:40 PM »
Every Skinner I've encountered in a game so far has been a beautiful lady.  I'd still like to see the Yo-Yo Ma as Skinner character that was discussed by somebody really smart, a long time ago. Or even a boy-toy; every beautiful boy I've seen in AW has been a Battlebabe. The playbook seems more gendered, at least in people's minds, than most.

Dungeon World / Re: New dungeon world GM question
« on: September 05, 2013, 02:42:45 PM »
I have found that sometimes the silly settles down after a session or two, as people get it out of their system/get bored with it. 

Was the Heavy Metal singer Glenn Danzig, by any chance? I based more than a couple characters on him, back in the day.

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