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Messages - Spwack

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brainstorming & development / Palm cards and such
« on: July 28, 2017, 11:37:33 AM »
Reprinting for my own gratification:

It's a mix of introducing the starting rules, getting some roleplaying going, and just stirring shit. Looking back at it, the Angel card is literally just a 12+ roll of an advanced Read a Sitch. Which is kind of interesting.

Oh, and the Gunlugger card? That gives me a lever. If they are being interesting, that extra NPC just exists, and is an Ally (probably Lover or Confidante depending). If they are being kinda boring, I have them be taken hostage. However, if I'm feeling super cruel and I feel they can take it, this happens immediately -

“Well guess what, they’re fucking dead at your feet.“

To a non-violent character (Angel, Savvyhead or Driver):

“How’d they die huh? Shotgun or axe to the face? Electrocuted? Were they tortured before they died? Come on, give me something to work with. No no, I’m not blaming you for it. You just know something. Well, in that case, pick a number from 2 to 5. Yeah, they’re on your doorstep in [X] different pieces."

“And you know who did this?”

Point at a violent character (Faceless, Chopper, Battlebabe):

“They fucking did this. Did you do this? Did one of your guys do this? Then who fucking did it?”

“Gunlugger, it’s time to make a choice: Who’s to blame here?”

____________MESSAGE ENDS____________

Paul, you mentioned a "different kind of AW play", and that my text pointed towards a specific style of play. Basically my question is... what IS, my style of play? Was there anything specific that led you to reach this conclusion? What would you change for them to be your style?

brainstorming & development / Re: Escape the Dungeon
« on: July 27, 2017, 09:43:17 AM »
Exactly, you've hit the nail on the head there.

brainstorming & development / Re: Escape the Dungeon
« on: July 27, 2017, 12:56:27 AM »
Not to hijack or anything, but here:

It's a mix of introducing the starting rules, getting some roleplaying going, and just stirring shit. Looking back at it, the Angel card is literally just a 12+ roll of an advanced Read a Sitch. Which is kind of interesting.

Oh, and the Gunlugger card? That gives me a lever. If they are being interesting, that extra NPC just exists, and is an Ally (probably Lover or Confidante depending). If they are being kinda boring, I have them be taken hostage. However, if I'm feeling super cruel and I feel they can take it, this happens immediately -

“Well guess what, they’re fucking dead at your feet.“

To a non-violent character (Angel, Savvyhead or Driver):

“How’d they die huh? Shotgun or axe to the face? Electrocuted? Were they tortured before they died? Come on, give me something to work with. No no, I’m not blaming you for it. You just know something. Well, in that case, pick a number from 2 to 5. Yeah, they’re on your doorstep in [X] different pieces."

“And you know who did this?”

Point at a violent character (Faceless, Chopper, Battlebabe):

“They fucking did this. Did you do this? Did one of your guys do this? Then who fucking did it?”

“Gunlugger, it’s time to make a choice: Who’s to blame here?”

And remember: If they don’t give a shit, which is completely acceptable, the Maelstrom brings them back.

Didn't get an opportunity to try it. But still, it looks good on paper.

brainstorming & development / Re: Escape the Dungeon
« on: July 25, 2017, 11:27:39 PM »
You're phrasing of "a beat missing" pins down exactly what I was feeling. Something isn't quite working and there's a gap. I think your phrasing of "threaten" works really well, and as a matter of fact "Announce future badness" is an MC move.

Sudden realisation: A thing that might be missing from the "rhythm" is the success of the player. In AW, your successes are clearly presented, even if they aren't exactly what you wanted. Your moves have only the potential negatives, which makes it seem as though it's a poor decision to ever roll dice.

THEREFORE - Your players need to be very active participants, or your characters need to be under a lot of pressure the vast majority of the time. Escape the Dungeon requires a consistent need to get things done.

One thing I attempted to do for an AW one-shot was to write out some prompt cards to get the drama flowing almost immediately. I didn't need to use them, in the end, because the players went nuts anyway. Maybe something along those lines might work for EtD?

Last thought (ha, that's a lie, this is too much fun), I'm thinking every game should start in media res. Always have the biggest roughest toughest dude pinned down by someone slightly less rough and tough. Always have a big shiny lever directly in front of the most impulsive player. And put something interesting and weird in the room, something that can be used and abused.

I'll do some more thinking. Really want to try this out though.

brainstorming & development / Re: Escape the Dungeon
« on: July 16, 2017, 08:40:54 AM »
Changelog plz. I'd very much like to know what has happened. Is there a way to get github to do that?

Instant feedback: Elemental Ooze seems to have stolen some stuff from Hybrid. I need to know what EO demons are. Like, seriously. Very important. Salt? Boredom? Magnets? Roofs?

The moves are obviously much better now. I think the Fighter move still needs "deal with the consequences", since it does seem to be all about avoiding negatives, rather than just getting positives like Thief or Fighter. I like that.

Interestingly, you seem to have created MC hard moves that are linked firmly to the moves themselves. That might create an interesting effect: By rolling a certain move, the player gets to decide the tone of the game for the next few moments. They get to manipulate that tone somewhat (through their choices), but then it's up to the MC to narrate how the game progresses.

If the MC isn't specifically called to "move against" an option, does that mean they can't do anything? Or is it a soft move like. Hmm... An example:

Grimy the Gremlin is tossing grenades at Gerald. Or rather, sliding between the orc's legs and shoving them up his pant legs, and rolls+Thief.

On a 10+ : Grimy chooses to deal another one damage to Gerald's friend Greg, does it quickly and gets away cleanly. He could've chosen to not use up an item, but grenades can be replaced, limbs are trickier. Can the MC say (because he's sick of Grimy's shit) that his bag only has three grenades remaining? Or is that solely the purview of "moving against"?

[Message begins]

If you hit someone with an ambulance, that has a spiked cowcatcher attached to the front (oh, and tooting the horn redirects the defibrillator into the spikes), they get F*CKED UP.

[Message ends]

Same as with the Battlebabe, having a high cool score gives you a freedom (?) that might not be immediately apparent. "My other car is a tank" is as amazing as it sounds, and way better than "Collector", but only because I made getting vehicles for too easy. "Reputation" kick-starts character develop like nothing else. And finally, "Daredevil".

I keep hearing 'mindshare effectiveness' being thrown around, and I'm not sure if this is it or not. Maybe a cousin? Anyway, it's a paradoxically tricksy move, and one that can be frustrating if "hedging your bets" isn't strictly defined. Are you allowed to Read a Sitch? I'm not sure. At any rate, once an agreement can be made, the atmosphere changes: The cool, reckless, transient Driver can get you out of this shit. She might be the only person that can. But only if you let them lead you. We decided that NTBFW meant the Gunlugger was included in that list. So suddenly the Driver, who cannot doubt themselves for an instant must make snap decisions, and act as a herald of destruction.

And it was cool.

Apocalypse World / Re: Trying to understand the nature of moves
« on: June 16, 2017, 05:18:41 AM »
To go off your specific example of Read a Sitch (and Person), there's something very, very specific I say to all my new players about a minute after introducing the moves. On average, I find that it's about this time they feel the itch of "Why this specific list? Why not something else?" and then I get them to all shut up and say this:

"Yes, the list is limited, but here's why - If you ask a question on the list, I have to give you a truthful answer. You can ask me any question you like, but if it's not on the list, it's up to me whether I answer or not, and whether or not it's true. I'll err on the side of fun. But to re-iterate, if you roll high enough to Read a Sitch, and if you ask one of the questions from the list, then I have to tell you the truth. Otherwise it defeats the purpose."

Then they all nod. This is the clearest example, but as Paul is saying, you don't have to roll for everything. You can't roll for most things. It's not a case of "In order to attack someone, you have to Go Aggro". Only when the specific conditions are met do the dice come out. Only.

Vincent wrote Apocalypse World in a specific way. It might not be perfect, but there's a rhythm to the moves that I enjoy a lot. Rely on them.

brainstorming & development / Re: Dark Magical Girl Hack
« on: June 14, 2017, 01:57:41 AM »
Having a Madoka-esque subtitle sounds like a happy medium. And for some reason the word "Gloam" is refusing to leave my head regarding this.

brainstorming & development / Re: Dark Magical Girl Hack
« on: June 10, 2017, 11:45:34 PM »

Ok. Phew. Got that out of my system.

All of my friends are boring so I it is very unlikely that I will be able to playtest this IRL. SUPER interested in a discord game, but I'd probably only be able to do PbP.

Mild feedback: Using different stats for different enemy types is interesting, and is probably geared towards giving different playbooks the spotlight for different fights. Current life and past life are neat as anything, and "Playbooks Fly Open" is something I'll be keeping in going forward for every type of game.

Looking nice.

brainstorming & development / Re: Escape the Dungeon
« on: June 08, 2017, 01:08:54 PM »
I think the miss clauses need to be evaluated on a case by case basis. Just a thought: The net complexity of all the clauses should be roughly equal. Observe:

1) In-brain puppet strings from the Brainer: Has extremely versatile and potentially knotty conditions for it's activation, but on a miss, just inflicts damage.

2) Healing touch from the Angel: Just heals harm on skin contact, but on a miss, weeeeeeird shit can happen, especially if its used on an NPC

See what I mean? Balance. Your Brute move, Gut Feeling I think it was, is the perfect mix. Interesting questions, extra on a 10+, but satisfactory on a 7-9, and on a 6-, something cool happens that pushes the story forwards!

My advice: Ditch those handcuffs. Make yourself a nice list of hard moves for the GM to use. Hell, cludge something together from Apoc World! It's about giving the GM a sturdy toolbox, rather than a one-size-fits-all for each and every single move. Don't leave them with nothing at all. But remember, and put this in bold, aren't guidelines, they're rules.

Treat yourself. Fix that Wizard move. "On a 6-, the attempt goes awry, resulting in an ironic twist on your original intentions." Think about what this means. If you've got Wizard+1, sure, you might give it an attempt, but maybe it won't be such a stretch that things can't be repaired. Now, a Magus with Wizard+3. At some point, they are going, GOING to roll snake eyes. And when they do, oooh boy, you'll be there. You'll be there.

Last thought: Don't feel that you need to give the same information to the players as the GM. Lumpley goes into detail about each and every basic and advanced move. There's a reason for that, the GM deserves to know what you were trying to get across, rather than having to puzzle through the poetry of it like the players do. They (if they are my kind of gamers) will enjoy that process, and I know I do as well, but sometimes you need a couple sentences to say "This was what I was trying to do."

brainstorming & development / Re: Escape the Dungeon
« on: June 07, 2017, 12:06:12 AM »
Here we go again, time for the playbooks.

- "Them? They was dead when I got 'ere." FTFY

- "Sniff" I approve

- The names, appearance and demons of the Brute are sweet. Electricity? Hilarious. Weakness? His own or others? I'm super keen to play one and find out. Just that right mix of hilarity and broken despair, which I'm pretty sure is the tone you're going for. Bullseye.

- The miss clause of Gut Feeling is perfect.

- "Name the body part that drives them." Yessss. Good usage of Lumpley phrasing. Are you sure you don't want to let the GM choose one on a 7-9? Whichever way you choose it, make sure it's intentional. Do you, yourself know how manipulating them is going to turn out later? Because that says a lot about your relationship with them.

- It's A Weapon! There is only one option here that I would ever choose. Heh, puny elf... Honestly, the others are completely fine, but this one is just so much GOODNESS.

- The Creep. Oh jeez oh jeez oh jeez this is all so gross. I love it.

- Brain slither might need to be reformatted. DON'T CHANGE ANYTHING because it's beautiful in the same way fungal infestations are beautiful, but hard to read. Something about the order, not sure. Maybe: On a 7+ you can hold their shadow indefinitely, releasing it at any time to summon one of their demons. And then go from there.

- I have no idea what a seedling creep is and I do(n't) want to. Is this how Creep's are born?

- Greek Chorus is fun. Same as Scarred, it rewards you for playing the way you feel like you should.

- Black Leech seems like the most powerful move, but also the clunkiest to use. Memory-killing seems like a big deal, but maybe give the GM something to work with.

- The Undead seems to be all about old shit and its powers. Still can be a very effective Fighter, but more controlled than the Brute. Which is nice.

- Looking at All Is Dust, I've come to a really obvious realisation: You need to take that move in order to use it. Which is eh... I feel that Scarred, Greek Chorus, and now this one shouldn't be moves. They should be intrinsic to that playbook, meaning other's can't take them, and they are encouraged to play a certain one. Not mandated, but still. You feel me? This is only my opinion, so let me know if you've made a particular design choice here. Maybe this causes too much XP flow. Idk.

- "Logical paradoxes" Heh. Nice.

- Rise Again is all sorts of nice. Flavourful, effective, powerful, and potentially deadly for everyone involved.

- Is Maslov a reference I'm not getting? The first time I read this I didn't read the first two lines. Makes the whole thing make a whole lot more sense. Maybe "At the start of the session roll to see what the hoard is currently dealing with." Reading from now, I suddenly see a whole microcosm unfolding, with drama occuring partly behind the scenes. Plus, there's a couple rewards along the way. Nice. I remember you saying something along the lines of a one-shot focussed game. Maslov would be a mild issue after about three sessions, due to the limited written content, but for a one-shot? Brilliant. Instant plot hook.

- One thing though, does the Horde have a leader? I.e. the PC? Or is it just "Here is a vague group of similar individuals"?

- Trap making. On a 6-, someone always dies? Nice.

- The Filofax 6- is cool as well. So much opportunity for (re)introducing "interesting" characters.

- In fact, the Horde 6- clauses are just GOOD. As well as 'Mother-In-Law' as a demon. and HAT-WEARING. Oh my god tiny little gremlins wearing hats running around getting blown to gore-y bits running away from this slathering broodmother while trying to win a trade war. YES. ALWAYS YES.

- "My name is Aaaaargh. Pleased to meet you." Good reference.

- Good appearances and names for the Beast, but a couple more would be nice, especially the latter.

- Lifecycle seems like a really interesting take. I tried to create someone along the lines of a mass-murdering monster, and I had that failed rolls could become a 7-9 so long as an ally or nearby useful object was moderately mutilated. You even got the XP from it so long as your description was horrid. Enough. With this you can reroll... four missed Fighter rolls on average before your time is up. Cool, that seems pretty fair.

- Unleash Instincts is FUN. Not complicated, very easy, but powerful and spooky and dangerous. Stolen.

- Arcane Bridle changes things up a lot. You are now a beast of burden. How does that make you feel?

- Optional source of food? NOT OPTIONAL. Good list by the way.

- Jesus, "Bells" as a demon? This poor thing. This poor, monstrous thing. Very much going for the harsher version of the game here. My heart breaks. So does your face when this thing gets mad. Cool.

- Construct Demon: Replacement. Awwww. That's actually so sad. Unless they fight it out. In which case yay~

- Elemental Engine. Why not consuming dangerous radioactive substances for +1 Wizard? And this miss, oh my word, brilliant. Magnificent.

- Simulacrum seems like buckets of cool. Who is the real construct? IS there even a real individual in there, or just a melange of personalities? Does that even matter?

- A million monkeys is fun. Expensive to use, and dangerous to boot, but very cool for that player.

- I don't have much to say about the Magus, except that it seems well thought-out, formatted nicely, and fun to play. Henchlings and Meddler's Curse especially. Good shit. Are Homelessness and Sanctum mutually exclusive? Now that I think about it, maybe not... Huh. An interesting past.

- The Dregs seem hella fun. I can't wait for one of my players to miss a Smuggle roll. Bandits... I would recommend, when you launch an ambush rather than when you set an ambush. Gambler's Tarot has the same problem as Commune from the Creep, trying to frame it in dice etc. Don't. Just tell them, and then ask them what that looks/sounds like in game.

- Mischief is good. Uncontrollable, non-stat related, hilarious. And it's on all the time? Priceless.

- Indulging in vice is an important bit of fiction, but you're right, the move just doesn't match it.

- I can't wait to see the other playbooks. Would it be possible for you to send me a message when you write more? Thanks.

- "On Magic" HA. Stolen. 'Nuff said.

Final thoughts: The Demons are really cool, bursting with flavour. Some of your miss moves are lacking something, but others are brilliant, so I know you can do it. I don't know how important you want Identity to be in this game, that's for you to decide, but I feel that if you managed to (carefully) link Demons and Identity, you could make something really cool happen. Fix your Wizard move! It's too cool, and too important to allow it to get mushed up. Some weird-ass mix of Read A Sitch and the Harm move from AW? I'm not sure. But the Magus with +3 Wizard better be able to do something kooky.

Awesome game. If I run it I'll be sure to let you know how it goes.

brainstorming & development / Re: Escape the Dungeon
« on: June 06, 2017, 09:49:02 AM »
Ok, I'm making some notes as I read this thing. Things are likely to only make sense in that particular order. This is also to keep myself on-track. If something is being stolen'd it means it's so good that I'm using it myself and want all the credit for something up something so clever, poignant, witty and/or effective. Jk but not.

- "Don't play this game if it's not the game you are looking for". Well said, and up-front.

- "Build a jungle-gym, not a treadmill." Pure gold. Stolen.

- Mild nit-pick, can we have the Wizard, Thief and Fighter basic moves in the same order as before?

- Of those three basic moves, the Thief is my favourite, mostly by the use of the "negative space" created by not choosing an option. I recently learnt about this from someone discussing a Superhero-genre game, wherein not taking the "secret base" perk meant that by default, all other bases are 'not secret'. By putting an option out there, it feels more fun/gritty/realistic when it's not chosen and used against you, rather than just a 'gotcha'.

- What I'm leading up to is that the Fighter move and especially the Wizard move lack 'fun things' happening on a 6-. Damage? Fleurgh. Booooring. I want shit to break when a Wizard move fails. Idk what to change, but I feel that more pizzazz is called for. Don't you?

- "That's it, you succeeded. Now deal with the consequences." Nice! Really sets up the Fighter move for some interesting complications. In it's current form, it sort of fails to deliver. The 6- is booooring. Less things happen on a miss then on a partial success. Ehhhh... How about this: "On a 6 or below, you probably 'succeeded', but you'll really, really wish you hadn't."

- Also, how about Fighter move is: 10+, player chooses one and success, 7-9, player and GM choose one each and success. Consequences! Success is guaranteed, but at what cost? And who gets to decide?

- Additionally, I LOVE the names of your basic moves. Hard? Fatum? Blood? Tf is all of this shit? I mean, I can figure it out eventually, but FIGHTER, WIZARD, ROGUE is just BAM. Instant understanding. You aren't one of these things, but you sure can act like one of these things. Brilliant. Wish I had thought of it myself. Stolen. Now I have. Sucker.

- "Allow an ally to choose a second option for you" Nice! Flavourful, dynamic, team-based, all the things Bard-ing it up is about. Does that mean by getting someone else to decide, you only get one drawback? Hmm...

- "The GM chooses someone else to choose one for you" Oh-ho-ho, now THIS I like. Scrap the top one. Concentrate all of that deliciousness into this missed move. It's too good. I love it.

- Identity... is something I'll have to look at again in more detail. It seems like a really cool idea, but I can't quite get the narrative-ness of it in order just yet.

- "As the story demands" is important and something missing from standard AW. Well done.

 - "He who kills monsters" nice! You hated that guy, and he hated you, and now you are dead and inside him all along. Stoooolen.

- "Die free" sometimes the only freedom we get is the freedom to die. There was a LOTR 'voice-over' comic about a extremely rail-roady DM. Dying was the decision one of the players made, and there was nothing the DM could do about it 'breaking' his story. This particular phrasing is real nice.

- Did I just read 'Horde'? Oh my. I tried to make a multi-unit playbook a while ago, following the prompting of a friend. I'm looking forward to reading that.

Phew. Halfway there. I hope I don't forgot about this, I'll keep reading soon.

Note for future self: Playbook summary is next.

brainstorming & development / Re: Alternate Roman Empire World
« on: June 06, 2017, 09:07:43 AM »
Looking really sweet. I made up a silly game while hiking with a friend, it was basically British Colonials versus a Roman culture that pulled a Japanese-style seclusion a while ago, but also had bullshit voodoo magic. Think emplaced cannons firing against charging masses of Roman legionaries while 40k-esque demons are being summoned. British characters had "Britishness" in place of Weird/Fatum, and Romans had "Cowardice" in place of Cool/Fortis(? I think I got the right one).

ANYWAY. Digression aside, it's really really hard to kill these characters. Like very hard. Unless marking a debility doesn't restore any health, in which case hitting maximum harm means not retreating has a definite chance to cripple you in a couple rounds. Which is ok I guess, but still feels a little... sudden? I'm not sure, but pacing seems to be a thing.

Are genders fixed? Like, 100%? That is a choice that you can make, but if anyone is going to be the mold-breaking female legionnairess, it'll be a PC. Just a thought.

Keen to see how this develops.

I want there to not just be armor but to have an exo-suit, with micro assist electro-gel motors and built in emergency environmental seals. But yeah where would I put all that?

Sounds like what you need are palm cards! Yup. Palm cards, long names, lots of colours, and room on the back to draw the thing.

If you have one of those pens with four colours, you could even match the core structure, benefits, detriments and weirdness to black, blue, red and green in turn.

If something gets changed or damaged in the field, scribble it out! Yes. In pen. If you get it fixed up in a dedicated facility, redraw the whole thing (because you won't be in combat).

Yes, this goes against the whole "everything on one page" but excessively complicated gadgets goes with the territory, and I feel like that shouldn't be crippled by lack of page space, or take up valuable retail. Palm cards! Do it.


Ship sizes are determined by how much room it takes to draw them i.e. A4, A5, A6, with more blank page space increasing the relative speed.


Instantly hooked on this. Wimpy Gunlugger, Klutz Battlebabe, Ignorant Savvyhead, just pop. Still all the same abilities and powers, but the story is just buzzing with potential. Well played, friend.

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