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Messages - eggdropsoap

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Apocalypse World / Re: Maestro D's Gang
« on: August 12, 2010, 05:07:37 PM »
JW was talking about the other way to blend classes: by picking up another playbook and becoming that class. The "take a move from another book" is totally fair game. I'm wondering about the former.

Know what I mean?

Yeah, I think we're on the same page!

Apocalypse World / Re: Maestro D's Gang
« on: August 12, 2010, 04:26:07 PM »
But, what if you DO have that as a choice for advancement, and you are trying to achieve the capability in-fiction, descriptively. It's part of who you are, because it's an improvement option. Right?

My instinct, when playing, is to angle fictionally for the improvements that I'm heading for anyway, or to take the improvements that I think could reasonably be gotten soon, but I know that's not a rule. Frex, my Hardholder was using Hard and Sharp all session to get an advance, but he screwed around with the maelstrom in a pivotal scene so I felt taking +1 weird wasn't inappropriate. I really wanted to take "take a new option for your hold" to get a more disciplined gang, but that didn't fit the fiction at all (the gang was just getting started on their unruliness) and I didn't want to yank that toy away from the MC in the very first session. But yeah, that's not a rule, and if there's downtime anything could go even with that self-imposed limit.

So as an extension of that, I'd be leery of handing out an improvement descriptively that the player could just buy when appropriate. I mean, it's not like the power level changes drastically with even a bunch of improvements (because power level is almost irrelevant to how AW works), so players really shouldn't be angsting about having to pay for an improvement anyway.

Take the situation where one PC switches character types to become the same type of character as another existing PC.  Now you definitely have two Choppers or two Gunluggers or whatever.  And that's definitely in the rules, yeah?

Y'know, I would have agreed a minute ago until I thought about it, but now I just don't know. I wonder if the "pick up another playbook" rule is relying on there being only one of each playbook, and it is instructing you to literally pick up one of the playbooks that are left to be picked up? But this is totally a tangent.

I cast spells, therefore I am a wizard. I am a wizard, therefore I can cast spells. No?

Sure, mostly. It's when the MC screws with that expectation and pulls out a sword-slinger who can cast charms that you're in trouble. :)

So I'm reading it as, "here are the archetypes that are cool to play." And there are going to be NPCs that don't fit into them at all. I mean, what's Blind Blue? Not exactly a brainer, but definitely mucking about in brainer territory. Are people going to call it a brainer? Maybe? Maybe they're just call it "jezas fuck get out of my head!"

From the PDF, p. 101:

Your characters are unique in Apocalypse World. There are other medics, and they might even be called “angel” by their friends, but you’re the only angel. There are other compound bosses and warlords who might be called “hardholders,” but you’re the only hardholder.

So I'd say, "no." However, you're also supposed to make NPCs real, and if the Brainer can get in-brain puppet strings and do nasty stuff with a violation glove, then there are going to be others out there in the world who can do that stuff too. They're not THE Brainer, but they're similar psychic mind-fuckers.

I read that injunction as an extension of "make it real." There are no class types in the world; people are just people; the player moves and character types are out-of-fiction only. In the same way the MC is supposed to make a move but never speak its name, the PC "classes" are used by the players but never spoken in-fiction.

Apocalypse World / Re: Maestro D's Gang
« on: August 12, 2010, 03:40:31 PM »
I don't know why the Maestro D' doesn't get it with the gang. Maybe to reinforce the theme that MD' gets things done by manipulation? The MD' who has a gang is going to have a more touch-and-go relationship with them, and it might blow up if they push too hard? A Maestro D' who wants to get more hard-ass can take Leadership or Pack Alpha as an improvement to change that, and become a slightly different kind of character.

I'm not sure how to go about things descriptively either. I'm still absorbing that soft rule from AW, and I don't think I've got a good handle on it yet. It's more obvious how to get things descriptively when they're things, but I'm pretty sure it's not limited to just stuff.

If I had to hazard a guess, I'd go back up there to those core principles: make it real, don't make head-scratchers. I'd say that a Maestro D' gets Leadership or Pack Alpha when you're playing, playing, playing, and then you all realise that not having it mismatches the fiction that's been in play already. ("Make it real.") That's a pretty high bar for getting it descriptively, and maybe it doesn't need quite that much, but at that point I would have no reservations about just writing it on the sheet. Or better yet, writing a custom move to reflect the particular fiction that is begging for a move.

What do you think? Like I said, I'm still trying to figure out that part of the game.

(Cross-posted with Bret!)

Apocalypse World / Re: Maestro D's Gang
« on: August 12, 2010, 03:14:57 PM »
What's the point of them? If we're just assuming you have a gang, and they do what you say most of the time, and anyone can have a gang like this, why even have special Moves for "imposing your will" or "having your gang fight for you"? Why not just use basic moves or custom moves for those situations like we'd do with the Maestro D'?

Leadership can be used in absentia for starters. I can have my Hardholder order a part of his gang down the mountains to Terminal City to go raiding, and if I make my Leadership roll I've got one or more holds that can help them fight even when I'm not there. The risk in that at-a-distance scenario is that they surrender to the bandits, offer them inside info on my holding in exchange for mercy, and then bugger off into the wilderness.

If I don't have Leadership, then I can't even do that mechanical stuff to start with. Then I'm just telling a gang what to do in-fiction and reaping/suffering consequences that result from the ficiton, possibly with some basic moves to help the reaping/suffering along.

So, Leadership exists because it's interesting. It lets me do things directly to the fiction, as a player, that I wouldn't have direct access to normally. Without it I have to use more general mechanical tools to cobble together that kind of fiction if I really want to go there (with all the attendant messiness and MC-infused interestingness when I miss even one of those many basic moves).

Pack Alpha opens up similar fictional horizons. It's less used for telling a gang what to do, and more for putting down mutinies. The fictional horizon it opens up is a focused mutiny/crushing mutiny scene. That kind of scene is eventually integral to playing a Chopper, so it makes sense to support it mechanically. Without Pack Alpha you can get into that kind of scene, but it's going to be more fictionally piecemeal, take more play to set up and resolve, and be the kind of deal that will likely come up once and then irrevocably alter the relationship to the gang for the Pack-Alpha-less character.

I mean, think about the likely fictional circumstances. You've got a dozen violent individuals who have decided that you're done telling them what to do. They revolt. Most ways of imposing your will without the Pack Alpha move aren't going to be clean, repercussion-free actions. If you're clever and lucky you'll get the gang to do what you want, but unless you're exceptionally clever and lucky there will be piles of Badness that the MC will have inserted. The gang will never be the same again, and likely the crushed mutiny will come back to haunt you. If you're not clever or lucky enough, you've got a dozen violent individuals who are not only done with you as leader, but now you've pissed them off and you're probably under concentrated fire. Have fun!

Not so with Pack Alpha. You make the roll 10+? You're free and clear. Move along!

So, mechanically, Pack Alpha supports the archetype of the Chopper well: you get to have disputes with your gang, and you get to be a hard-ass who puts them in their place every once in a while. Rather than being a big huge blow-up that is going to define this and a few sessions, it'll be one event in a larger set of circumstances for your Chopper.

Mechanically, Leadership does the same for the Hardholder. It makes being leader-ly a supported part of the archetype, so that you can get into those power struggles in a quickly-resolved way, often enough to make it just part of being a Hardholder.

Apocalypse World / Re: Maestro D's Gang
« on: August 12, 2010, 02:23:44 PM »
Something I think that's being lost in the trees:

  • Apocalypse World's rules are not its physics like you can expect from some other games. If you try to figure out how AW's fiction works by looking first at the moves, you're going to break something (likely one's brain, probably the game). Like the game says, paraphrasing, "You can make some head-scratchers. Don't do it."
  • The fiction is primary in AW. "Make it real." The moves are just tools for the players and MC to yank on the fiction in special ways. When they don't make sense there's no problem: they just don't make sense. When your character doesn't have a move to represent something there's no problem: you're not making a move. Just keep going with the fiction until a move is made.

So this is how I understand stuff like this confusion, given those basic principles (and his is my interpretation, my understanding; I'm going to speak in assertions because that's efficient, so keep this disclaimer in mind while you read):

So the Maestro D' doesn't have the leadership move. That doesn't mean anything fictionally at all. It doesn't dictate the relationship to the gang. (The fiction does that.) It doesn't limit how the Maestro D' can try to influence the gang and impose her will. (The fiction brings the limits.) Having Leadership doesn't mean anything fictionally either. It's a piece of system that lets you insert things into the fiction.

Try thinking of AW like this: The Gunlugger isn't bad-ass because she's got Not To Be Fucked With, she's bad-ass because she's bad-ass. Taking a move like NTBFW is just a way of giving you story control in-line with the already-established bad-assedness. All Gunluggers are "not to be fucked with", and a Gunlugger with NTBFW is not fictionally different from a Gunlugger without. The difference is that this Gunlugger is going to be guided into scenes that involve mowing down entire gangs like wheat, because the player chose that story control for their own. Moves don't create fiction when they're chosen—they don't tell you more about the character when you choose them. Moves create fiction when they're used—they tell you more about the character when the character acts in the fiction in a way that lets the player pull out the move and take control of the fiction.

If you think about AW moves like that, the Maestro D' having or not having Leadership isn't really an issue in the fiction. Does the MD' have a gang in the fiction? Yeah. Does she order around the gang? Yeah. Do they do it? Yeah, sometimes. Do they push back? Yeah, sometimes. Do they turn on her when pushed too far? Yeah, probably. Do they ever just go, "fuck, sorry boss, whatever you say" when they resist and then are shown who's boss? Yeah, sure.

The only difference is whether the player is doing this using the Leadership move or is doing this by fictional positioning and a series of Basic Moves. Obviously you have fewer chances to roll bad and give the MC a move if you're using Leadership. All that means is that a Maestro D' whose player didn't pay for Leadership from another playbook is going to have to work harder/smarter to keep a gang in line and will have a more interesting life (more chances for MC moves) when she keeps a gang around.

Apocalypse World / Re: PC-NPC-PC triangles.
« on: August 09, 2010, 12:47:23 PM »
Maybe they're a threat to one PC and a friend to another

Better: maybe they're a threat to one PC because they're a friend to another.

Threats can be soft. All an NPC needs to be a threat is to not share one PC's interests. The threat can be simply that the NPC is going to get in the way and fuck up a good plan.

This is probably a lot clearer when you've got a hardholder in the mix, since the entire raison d'être of the hardholder—the hold—is nothing more than a big stew of threats:

People need leadership in tough times? That's a threat, because you might disappoint them. (And then what?)

Your lieutenant has the hots for the Gunlugger? That's a threat. It might not look like one yet, but as soon as the Gunlugger wants something that the NPC can deliver, the NPC might just deliver and fuck things up for the hardholder in doing so. The fuck up might even just be that the NPC gets themself killed, reducing the Hardholder's resources. It might be shooting the wrong person. It might be getting all diseased up and then dragging themself and the disease into the Angel's infirmary. And now the Angel's pissed at your lieutenant, pissed at you, and how does the Gunlugger feel if the NPC dies? If they live?

NPCs are inherently threats because they're loose canons in a world with no status quo. Even (especially) a PC's followered aren't controlled by the PC. Every tenuous comfort and budding plan the PCs have is threatened by the mere existence of other people.

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