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Topics - Tim Ralphs

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Apocalypse World / Two questions about playbook based on vengeance
« on: March 12, 2016, 06:13:25 AM »
I'm working on a playbook for someone or something that comes back from the dead to avenge a hideous wrong. A playbook where the Earth has vomited up a walking lump of flesh because she can not abide the injustice upon her face. A playbook tied to Sharp, to marking people for justice and hunting them down.

Two questions. Firstly, I feel like the name "The Revenant" has too much pop culture currency right now. Is there another name which says the same thing but is less obvious?

Secondly. This is more nebulous, and it ties into what Eonas was writing in the Kickstarter thread about PC Wolves of the Maelstrom having such strong and antagonistic motivations. Does anyone have any experience with playbooks and characters whose motivations are entirely at odds with the rest of the player characters? I'm thinking of The Space Marine Mammal, which I never got a chance to play with. Clearly there were options for integrating into the rest of humanity (ahh, sweet, sweet dolphin sex.) but the initial set up just gave the character a bucket-load of incentive to go off on their own and do entirely their own thing. Is that a problem? Am I overly worried? Are there tricks to keep characters interacting?

Apocalypse World / Machine Arm
« on: January 28, 2016, 03:12:15 PM »
Second edition of Apocalypse World may feature rules for prosthetic limbs. In the mean time, here's some inspiration from Bali.

AW:Dark Age / Slavery
« on: September 25, 2014, 05:00:36 AM »
My wife and I were trying out the setup and creation rules on a long train journey home. She's a bit of a Dark Ages buff and as we built our stronghold on a contentious border she laughed and said "So we're basically Mercians, right? Keeping down the local British population. We've probably got a handful of Welsh slaves."

And that made me a bit worried. I have no real knowledge of how slavery was practiced in the Dark Ages beyond the fact that the life of a slave was worth less in wergilt than the life of free person. It felt like such a contentious topic that I almost wanted some guidance.

As it was we continued and ended up with a really interesting set up. The dominant people in the stronghold were not well known for their rites, and there was a welsh wicker-wise slave who appeased the local Gods on their behalf. She, in her turn, was owed a life every mid-winter and we set it up so that the Gods chose who they wanted as sacrifice. If they chose one of the Saxons (or if the Wicker-wise reported back that they did.) then custom was that the Saxon was offered up. It was a nice and tricky power dynamic and I'd be interested to see how it played out.

But yeah, slavery. Am I over-reacting in wanting a little guidance? Is this a topic that other people have run into?

AW:Dark Age / When and What
« on: September 04, 2014, 02:50:44 PM »
Hey Vincent, what sort of time scales do you expect to have for things being useful to you? If my regular playgroup takes a few months to finish up our Monsterhearts game, does that probably mean that anything we'd gather from playing Dark Ages would likely be too late? Should I be trying to get something done promptly? Would you like first impressions of the text before playtest reports?

I expect vague and shifting answers.

Monsterhearts / Old Pdf errata
« on: January 26, 2014, 09:03:47 AM »

Last week I bought the Monster Hearts pdf from Buried without Ceremony. My wife is planning on running it, I'm very excited. As she was reading it this morning she commented on how odd it was to have playing a second character as a season advance, as you only got one more session in that season and it seemed like a weird time to be bringing in another character. That made sense, and it reminded me of a thread on here where the Second Character advance had been discussed as a relic from Apocalypse World that had been abandoned.

Have we got an old pdf? I notice it has the update about when to change highlighted stats, so it's not super old. Are there any other errata we should know about?


Apocalypse World / A dark room
« on: January 08, 2014, 09:40:54 AM »
I don't know if anyone here has already mentioned A Dark Room. It reminded me of Apocalypse World (especially the way it felt like I was changing playbooks!) But I feel bad for saying that it reminded me of Apocalypse World, because part of what makes the game fun is having no idea what's going on or what kind of world you're in.

Dungeon World / Paying Nature's Price
« on: October 13, 2013, 03:27:25 PM »
Finally the Druid takes Elemental Mastery, which I have always thought looked incredibly fun. She built a great heap of wood, set it alight, called on the spirits of fire and made the roll. But we ran into a total blank when it came to Paying Nature's Price. I, as I usually do, asked the players, everyone had a moment of looking confused and then I remembered that the players had, amongst their items, a magical torch that would always re-light itself and burned endlessly. That was what the primal fire spirit demanded as the heart of its blaze. Fine this time, the Druid payed up, but she mentioned on the way home that it's not like she has many magical items.

And I find myself at a loss. The move doesn't feel like Nature's Price should be something long winded, some task the Druid needs to perform, mid-ritual, to get the spirits to co-operate. Neither do I want to jump in and say: "The fire will burn you - take d8 damage" or something like that that will rapidly just become mechanics. So I thought I'd ask, what sort of prices have people been paying nature for this move?

brainstorming & development / Looking for recommendations of Fantasy hacks
« on: November 15, 2012, 06:33:11 AM »

I've got some players interested in a fantasy Apocalypse World game. I was sort of waiting on The Dragon Killer, but I understand that progress on that stopped due to wider concerns about content.

So, what are the good options out there? Dungeon World? Are there any others? Can anyone give me some idea about them without me having to dig through them all? Cheers!

Apocalypse World / Post apocalyptic storytelling in Doncaster
« on: November 12, 2012, 04:25:02 PM »
I was telling some stories at a post-apocalyptic event in Doncaster on Saturday. Some people may find the images inspiring, and you can play "Match the person to the playbook."

Apocalypse World / Introducing The Shaper
« on: June 26, 2011, 12:52:46 PM »
The Shaper
"The world is gruelling aches and nerves afire. It is bone-deep hunger and a future of dust. What kind of gift is life?"


"Maybe, once, it would have been fair to say that some things should not be. But when your progeny heaved itself upright and drew its first, ragged breath, didn't you just feel like a God?"

To create your Shaper choose name, look, stats, design a strain, beget your starting progeny and choose Hx.

Stitches, Master, Wombjob, Herbert, Prometheus, Hallow, Milf, Proffessor, Baker, Weaves, Sculptor

Screwfly, Chorister, Sanguine, Frankie, Rhea, Locus, Makesmith, Pasture, Geppetto, Curie.


Male, Female, Concealed, Transgressing.

Utility wear with tech, scrounged vestments, tattered formal wear, casual wear.

Innocent face, eager face, scarred face, blank face, leering face, dour face, smiling face, commanding face.

Wild eyes, sharp eyes, piercing eyes, mocking eyes, calm eyes, haunted eyes, warm eyes.

Bloated body, lean body, muscled body, hunched body, voluptuous body, hard body, looming body.

Cool-1 Hard+2 Hot=0 Sharp-1 Weird+2
Cool=0 Hard-1 Hot-1 Sharp+2 Weird+2
Cool-1 Hard-2 Hot+2 Sharp+1 Weird+2
Cool+1 Hard+1 Hot-2 Sharp+1 Weird+2


You have these two:

Old wounds
When you meet someone, either you or the MC can decide that their past suffering was tied to you or your creations. If either of you do, roll +weird. On a hit, you decide what went down and how it binds you together. On a 10+, you take +1 forward when dealing with them. On a miss the MC will fill in the details.

When you bring forth life, it'll be from a strain you've already designed. You'll have to satisfy your creation criteria and then roll +weird.  On a 10+ you'll create progeny with the specifics of the strain. On a 7-9 you create progeny with the specifics of the strain, but choose an additional flaw. On a miss, the MC chooses one or more of:
~it dies in creation.
~someone sees you at it.
~it has the ability to procreate, wildly.
~it's murderously hostile towards you.
~it escapes from you.
~it suffers another two options from the Flaws list.

Detail your new progeny and give it a name. This can be whatever you choose.

When making progeny, the first step is to develop a strain that will act as a template for creations. By default, your progeny are 2 harm seemingly inhuman threats that are easily distracted and fascinated by the world around them. They have the capacity for simple speech but can't act coherently for prolonged periods without your guidance. You can choose for the strain to be partially mechanical (+Hi tech) or exist solely in the maelstrom. (Harm +psi)

Creation criterion:
Creating progeny is a process that needs time, concentration and relative solitude. Also, choose one from the following for this strain:
~ it takes several fresh corpses.
~ it requires a living host for the progeny to gestate in.
~ it incorporates supplies worth 3 barter.
~ it requires elaborate and extensive prep with more than one participant.
~ it does you or someone nearby 2 harm ap. (Your choice if this is +psi or not.)

Choose 2 that all progeny of this strain share. Then each time you create a new progeny, choose an extra edge for it.
~ Paralyzing. (Can inflict s harm.)
~ Dangerous. (+1 harm)
~ Deadly. (+2 harm, counts as two)
~ Piercing. (+ap)
~ Focused. (-easily distracted and fascinated)
~ Rugged. (+1 armour).
~ Normal looking. (-seemingly inhuman).
~ Far roaming and independent. (Can act coherently without your guidance.)
~ Bonded. (You can communicate with them at distance.)

Choose a flaw that your progeny suffer from.
~Decaying. (They fall apart in a matter of weeks.)
~Disloyal. (They'll take any opportunity to betray you and break free.)
~Vengeful. (They aggressively and disproportionately pursue anyone they feel has wronged you.)
~Desperate. (They hunger for something inconvenient or controversial; blood, sex, barter, your attention. Yours to detail.)
~Mute. (They're incapable of speech.)
~Shocking. (When they reveal their true nature for the first time, PC witnesses get +1Hx with you, NPCs take S-harm.)

Why do they follow you?
~Loyal - they adore and obey you, devoted to your every word and whim.
~Craven - they fear and respect you, clamouring to avoid your wrath.
~Dependent - they need you or something you give them, and this need holds them in thrall
~Lacking - they don't have the imagination to think for themselves. Perhaps they're little more than extensions of your will?

Whatever you choose, that's just how it is to begin with. Expect each progeny to grow, to evolve, and to develop its own sense of self and direction.

Starting progeny.
You start the game with some progeny, one or two. If you choose one, detail it as if you'd rolled a 10+ on the beget move. If you choose two, detail them as if you'd rolled a 7-9 both times

Shaper Special
When you and another character have sex roll +weird. On a hit, you've successfully manipulated that person, treat it as 10+ if you rolled 10+, 7-9 if you rolled 7-9. If it's another PC, they also count as having manipulated you, same terms. On a miss, one of your progeny gets obsessively jealous or fascinated about your lover.

Everyone lists their characters by name, look and outlook. Take your turn, and while you're at it tell people a little about your progeny.

List the other character’s names

Go around for Hx, on your turn choose one or both:

One of them you've had to protect or serve somehow. Tell them Hx +1
One of them you're itching to improve, shape, change. Tell them Hx +2

Tell everyone else Hx+0.

On others’ turns
Ask them if they admire your creations or are appalled by them. It's not an either/or choice. If they admire, whatever number they tell you give it Hx+1. If they're appalled, then give their number Hx-1. Write it next to their character's name.

At the end, find the character with the highest Hx on your sheet. Ask that player which of your stats is most interesting and highlight it.
The MC will have you highlight a second stat too.

Shaper Improvement
Whenever you roll a highlighted stat and whenever you reset your Hx with someone, mark an experience circle. When you mark the 5th, improve and erase.

-get +1Sharp (Max +2)
-get +1Hot (Max +2)
-get +1Cool (Max +2)
-get +1Hard (Max +2)
-develop another strain
-develop another strain
-get a move from another playbook
-get a move from another playbook
-get followers (detail) and fortunes
-expand your Beget move. (On a roll of 12+ create your progeny as per the strain but choose either to take an extra edge or that your creation is without flaw.)
-get +1 to any stat (max stat+3)
-create a second character to play
-change your character to a new type
-choose 3 basic moves and advance them.
-advance the other 4 basic moves.

General comments welcome of course, but I have some specific questions. Firstly, prospective players: is there enough in this playbook? Is the right amount of trouble going to happen? Are the progeny powerful enough, significant enough, flawed enough, or are they a little too ineffectual? Will they occupy too much of your time to deal with the rest of the world? Will they pull you away from the other characters?

And secondly, prospective MCs, would you want to see a Shaper in your game? Progeny sort of aren't human, and that messes with what threat type you can give them. To me, they scream that they want to be Grotesques rather than Brutes. Will that even work?

Another question. It isn't the point of The Shaper, especially the Old Wounds move, that the playbook produce only evil, maniacal monsters. The flavour may be My Life with Master, but I don't want to push people into that, hence why Beget isn't simply called "It's alive!" (I realise that getting rid of the "Retire to safety" option feels a little hypocritical now. Hmm.) Do people think there's enough different ways this character could play out? The indecision about intro text is tied into this dilemma.

Lastly, I haven't mentioned anywhere that, by the time of the Ungiven Future, it'd be cool if people were building the progeny up as second characters etc. Is that the kind of idea people will stumble on anyway, or is it worth making explicit?

I'd be really interested to hear how they go in play as well. I think a degree of tweaking is probably necessary!

Apocalypse World / New Playbook: The Shell
« on: March 07, 2011, 08:24:52 AM »
So, I'm after the Quarantine booklet, and I figured an interesting way to go about trying to get it would be to write a playbook of my own. It's a bit of a work in progress, I've put the things I'm still thinking about in marked parenthesis, but I'm open to any comments.

The Shell
(*Not convinced on the playbook name. Thoughts?*)

Apocalype World hurt you. It cut you up, shaved bits off, and did a damn untidy job of welding the scraps back together. It doesn't matter how it happened; whether the sky rained fire or a convoy ran over you or you just didn't fit right in your mother's womb. No, what matters is that you aren't dead yet. Because that which does not kill us, right?

To create your shell, choose name, look, stats, mark debility, moves, gear and Hx.

Names: Mock Tyrtle, Hazy, Squint, Grey, Hermit, Auntie, Nails, Zombie, Lucky, Fallout, Stumps, Mannequin, Patches, Hook, Lobster, Pieces. (*Needs more names. Any ideas?*)

Scrounge wear, environmental wear proper to the local environment, tattered uniform.

Male, Female, Ambiguous, Transgressing.
Inspired face, pale face, crazed face, leering face, weathered face, scarred face.
Bloodshot eyes, hollow eyes, sleepy eyes, piercing eyes, missing eye(s).
Rangy body, twisted body, bony body, heavy body, withered body.

Choose one set:
Cool+0, Hard+1, Hot+0, Sharp+2, Weird+0
Cool+0, Hard+0, Hot+0, Sharp+2, Weird+1
Cool+1, Hard+0, Hot-1, Sharp+2, Weird+1
Cool+0, Hard+1, Hot+1, Sharp+2, Weird-1

Mark a debility
Shattered (-1cool), Crippled(-1hard), Disfigured(-1hot), Broken(-1sharp).

You automatically have:
It only makes me stronger
Whenever you mark debility choose a move from your own playbook. That debility you marked just now? It's already factored in below. Merry Christmas.

Now choose 3 from:

Saw that coming
When you read a situation, on a hit you may ask an additional question. When you're acting on one of the answers to your questions, you have +1 armour.

When you read a person, on a hit gain an additional hold. In addition to the questions listed, you may spend your hold 1 for 1:
+1 to interfere with that person,
+1 to act under fire where the fire is coming from that person.

I've had worse
If you or a person you're directly trying to patch up has just suffered harm and there's a risk they might die, roll + cool. 7-9 they are stabilised. 10+ stabilised and they heal 1 section. For NPCs this means that if they weren't dead outright, they'll live.

Everybody bleeds
When you inflict harm, if it would be reduced to 0 or less you still inflict 1 harm.

Everybody talks
When you have time and physical intimacy with someone, mutual or one sided, roll + number of debilities you have.  If the intimacy is one sided, they choose whether to have you inflict 1 harm AP on them. On a hit, ask them a question or give them a topic to talk about: On a 10+ they'll give you good detail and you get +1 forward if you act on the info. On 7-9 the info is mostly good, but parts may be patchy or inconsistent. If they're a PC, they can choose for you to take +1 Hx or -1Hx with them.

(*Could do with a miss result? This move feels clunky.*)

Everybody sleeps
When you come for someone while they're sleeping, roll +sharp. On a 7-9 choose 1 to be true, on a 10+, choose 2. On a miss, you don't get any, and you take -1 forward.

You know their exact position and what to look out for.
They don't have time to raise an alarm before you're on them.
They don't have time to reach for a weapon before you're on them.

Twitchy as all hell
When you act under fire, if you're outside of battle, roll +sharp rather than +cool.

See what I've seen
When you inflict harm, if it's with your bare hands, you may instead choose to inflict 1 psi harm.

Glimpsed the beyond
Whenever you go to 12 on the harm clock, you get +1weird (Max +3).

(*There's a lot of moves here. Maybe one should go? Could more be off a roll of +debilities*)

Shell Special
When you and another player character have sex they mark experience. Then they choose: either you mark experience, or they move one of your highlighted stats.

You get:
1 questionable weapon
1 worthwhile scrounge
Fashion suitable to your look

Questionable weapon:
Sawed off (3 harm close reload messy)
Crossbow (2 harm reload)
Crowbar (2 harm hand messy)
Prosthetic limb (2 harm hand)

Worthwhile scrounge:
Stun gun (S harm hand reload)
Hidden knives (2 harm hand infinite)
Scrounged mismatched pieces worth 1-armour, detail suitable to your look
Some mongrel animal (alive). Your choice and yours to detail

Everyone lists their characters by name, look and outlook. Take your turn.

List the other character’s names

Go around for Hx, on your turn choose whether your past makes you closed or open.
If closed, tell everyone Hx-1
If open, tell everyone Hx+1

On others’ turns
Choose one or both:
One of them is a blood relative of yours. Whatever number that character tells you, ignore it; choose a Hx from -3 to +3 and write that number next to their name instead.
One of them you blame for something. Whatever number that character tells you, ignore it; write Hx+2 next to their name instead.
Everyone else, write whatever number they tell you next to their character’s name.

At the end, find the character with the highest Hx on your sheet. Ask that player which of your stats is most interesting and highlight it. The MC will have you highlight a second stat too.

Shell Improvement
Whenever you roll a highlighted stat, whenever you reset your Hx with someone, mark and experience circle. When you mark the 5th, improve and erase.

Get +1 Sharp (Max Sharp+3)
Get +1 Cool (Max Cool+2)
Get +1 Hard (Max Hard+2)
Get +1 Hot (Max Hot+2)
Get +1 Weird (Max Weird+2)
Get a new Shell Move
Get a new Shall Move
Get 2 gigs (detail) and moonlighting
Get a move from another playbook
Get a move from another playbook
(*These don't feel particularly inspired. Thoughts?*)

the preapocalypse / Get a new Hardholder move
« on: August 07, 2010, 03:49:02 AM »
Might be a little late but...

In the legal trifold character sheets, the Hardholder character advances are a copy paste of the Gunlugger's. I'm guessing the moves on the John Harper sheets are correct.

Apocalypse World / What we're waiting for
« on: June 09, 2010, 12:16:43 PM »
Oh sure, I'm very excited about being able to pre-order this game. Excellent. But that's not the satisfaction I'm aching for.

Does anyone else remember the arrangement for Vincent's starting Battlebabe to go up against DWeird's starting Gunlugger?

There is sand as yet unstained by blood. When is that going to happen, huh?

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