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Messages - bonkydog

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Apocalypse World / Re: Extended Mediography
« on: January 11, 2018, 02:19:03 AM »

Apocalypse World / Re: NPC Name Habit
« on: January 11, 2018, 01:32:41 AM »
I definitely don't need that many, they just keep showing up.

Maybe they need me.

I like your ideas about scarcity.

What about a world where we are nameless until we take a name from someone else?

(When an unnamed kills a named, they assume the name. This is not a crime.)

What if the number of names are decreasing, like musical chairs?

(When a named kills another named, the name dies with them. This is the only crime left.)

Who do I become when I give my name away as a gift?

Yes yes yes. Bonefeel shouldn't be "rule says Planck can retcon teleport anywhere", but

  Day 1764: I woke up at about 0300 with the urgent need to get down to the car yard.
  By costly experience, I have learned to trust this feeling implicitly.


  I was out dowsing for magnetrine when I heard the shots. 
  "Come on, you guys can shoot at each other anywhere."


  "Hey guys, what's this hatch. Guys? Hmm. Peculiar locking mechanism. Actually, wow this
  really pretty clever, I wonder who made this."   Thunk thunk thunk screee...   
  "Air's good. Interesting.  I wonder where that draft is coming from."

Apocalypse World / Re: NPC Name Habit
« on: January 10, 2018, 07:58:11 PM »
OK, no one asked, but I'ma overshare.

I'm MCing my first game in February and I've been daydreaming apocalyptica, but
mostly what comes out is just names. Over a thousand now. They just sort of
float the the surface of my unconscious and then they're up in exploding neon
like Dirk Diggler.

(Please don't get me started about names for bands or spaceships.)

I wanna say: Leap Forward With Named Characters is genius. Tabletop is a textual
medium. It's spoken text, but it's text. When we introduce a character by name,
we meet them. The name's connotations suggest a whole life behind it. A good
name is generative, a seed crystal around which a living character can

Many of my names are handles, nicknames, words ripped from their context
according to hallowed Apocalypse World tradition.

(There's also an in-fiction reason for this in my world, a widespread
superstition that Bad Things somehow found people by their names during the
apocalypse. Our ancestors discarded their legal names as a hex against
revelation. I might have more to say after I find out more about this.)

Things that seem to push my buttons: (Your buttons may vary.)

  Characters who are referred to only by their last name (Vasquez, Steckler).

  Homophones (Case, Bering, Planck).

  Place names (Corvallis, Calais, Madras, Arcadia, New Jersey).

  Names of tools or machine parts (Mattock, Crowbar, Fanbelt).

  Names of ambiguous gender (Cassidy, Schuyler).

  Women with feminine names that are shortened to masculine names (Sam, Max).

  Men with delicate names (Jasper, Quinn).

  Nouns that are also adjectives or verbs or which convey a quality of movement
  (Mince, Shear, Hopper).

  Evocative animal names (Cormorant, Badger, Heron).

  Names of inventors that are used to refer to the thing they invented
  (especially Halligan).

Names are modifiable with titles, honorifics, and diminutives from as many
cultures as I can get my hands on. (OK, I also have a list of these.) Also,
colors. A few of these make it into the list (Lord Meg, Trash Master, MC Donald,
Ogrina, Remnant King) but you can hack any name as long as the result is cool
and/or affronting.

(Remnant King is actually the name of a carpet store that was on ran ads on the
radio in New Jersey when I was a kid.)

There are names that I love, but which are too prominent in recent pop culture
or are from content too close in tone to Apocalypse World not to feel corny or
distracting. Finn, Stannis, Corvo, Tracer, Chell -- I adore you and all your
running around and getting shot at, but you're not invited to this party. (Uhh,
unless a player insists on bringing you, all starry eyed, in which case I might
have an awkward time turning you away.)

Once a name from pop culture has had time to ripen and ferment, it feels like
fair game again. Thumper is the rabbit from Bambi, but also the device Fremen
use to distract sand worms, and evokes future slang for a defibrillator. Thumper
may be a dashing young angel with inappropriately perky bedside manner and zero
fear of monsters. A good, kinetic name.

I want to avoid mis-applying names in ways that are too on-the-nose or that are
act as slurs. "Ace" is a fine name, but maybe not for an asexual character? I
think "Spade" is a great name for a Gunlugger, but wow OK it's super offensive
if he's African American. Avoid racist caricature.

I love names from cultures different from my own, but as a white guy, I also
want to be careful about appropriation and representation. I love these names,
but I'm also uncomfortable. I'm OK with being uncomfortable. I'm not OK with
making other people uncomfortable.

Meg and Vincent's names from the threat map and playbooks are fantastic. I've
tried to avoid duplicating any of them, though one or two may have snuck in via
parallel invention.

So OK, here are too many names I've collected:

I've put them in a Gist so I don't break Vincent's CMS, so I can add more names
(send help), and so you can fork and modify it if you are some kind of nerd.

Apocalypse World / Re: NPC Name Habit
« on: January 10, 2018, 07:56:00 PM »
Whoops, hell not at all.

There's an interesting contrast between this (ab?)use of Bonefeel and the Driver & Gunlugger's escape moves.

Apocalypse World / Re: NPC Name Habit
« on: January 07, 2018, 03:19:42 PM »
(OK, obsession appears to have burned itself out at 768 names.)

Apocalypse World / Re: NPC Name Habit
« on: January 06, 2018, 02:23:26 PM »
OK, now I've collected over 550.  Some of these are so good -- I can't wait to find out who they are.

Apocalypse World / Re: NPC Name Habit
« on: January 05, 2018, 10:33:15 PM »
Oh, yeah!  I gotta start collecting character photos and inspiring landscapes.

Apocalypse World / NPC Name Habit
« on: January 05, 2018, 08:31:11 PM »
Does anyone else have a mild obsession with collecting NPC names?

They pop into my head at any time of day and I jot them down on an index card or my phone.

Writing them down seems to encourage my subconscious to suggest more and more of them.

Adam Cadre has a game where the main characters are named after cities in Oregon and it's just so good.

Went to look at Wikipedia and dumped about 2/3 of into my file.

Apocalypse World / Mapping Freakangels to Playbooks
« on: December 29, 2017, 12:18:23 AM »
Spent today sick in bed re-reading Warren Ellis & Paul Duffield's excellent
comic Freakangels (online at and it struck
me that KK was obviously a Driver. 

And then my brain was off running and I couldn't stop mapping Freakangels to playbooks.

(Freakangels spoilers follow)

Obvious ones:

Driver: KK
Angel: Miki
Savvyhead: Caz
Kirk: Hardholder

Ones I had to think about:

Initial knee jerk was that Sirkka is the Skinner because she's Miss Hot Bitch
Baby, but after thought she's clearly the Hocus. She's all about her love cult
family and saving people.

Was initially confused between Kait being Gunlugger or Battlebabe, because she's
so cold and kind a spinny killbot but come on -- her Serious Armor, Serious
Wall of Guns, and Serious Seriousness settle it.  Gunlugger.

Jack starts out as a kind of vague, vehicle-oriented character, but it
eventually becomes clear he's the Battlebabe. He's slept with almost everyone,
does a bunch of gunplay that doesn't turn out the way he hopes, and is caught
in a Bad Romance, all moody broody, needing a shave, and smoking those horrible
little cigars.

I initially thought Arkady must be the Brainer because she's so psychic, but
that's lazy. Also she does more teleporting than brain manipulation. Luke. Luke
is all about creepy brain violation.  He's the classic Brainer gone bad.
(What about Mark? I'll get to that.)

Weird ones:

Karl is a weird kind of Maestro D, since he's such an avoidant grouch, but
eventually he assembles a crew and starts building greenhouses. He gives Alice a
strawberry. When the Freakangels need to meet up after the Freakcave is
destroyed, they meet in Karl's basement and drink his wine.

Connor is the Skinner. He's the only Freakangel who makes art. He's gentle. He's
a funny Skinner because he's romantically clueless and trying to get over being
the fat kid, but he's the Skinner.

Mark is the Chopper because he externalizes his power. Mark is all about his
gang, his zombie army. Choppers have a tendency to attack Hardholders if the two
appear in a game and Mark is playing to type. Mark has to be Alpha Dog.

Which leaves Arkady. I dunno, maybe Arkady is the Psychic Maelstrom? She comes
and goes unpredictably, and is a vector of surprising strangeness. She was the
first to die and come back weird.

(I mean obviously there's no requirement that the mapping between characters
in unrelated works lie all flat and tidy, but it's pretty uncanny.)

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