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Topics - Chris

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Murderous Ghosts / The Blah and The Awesome
« on: October 10, 2011, 10:35:04 AM »
So two games of Murderous Ghost for you, played back to back, with two different groups.

The Set-Up:

As an after AW digestive, we played two games of Murderous Ghosts. The other members of my group (Dave, Taylor, and Christina) had never heard of or seen the game before I pulled it out and put it on the table. I told Taylor he was running it for Christina. He panicked and then said yes.

Game One!

Right from the start this game was a trainwreck. Maybe it was the nature of how I dropped the game on them, but it ...... was the worst. I can't remember exactly what was said at the beginning as I stepped out a bit to give them some privacy as I thought the audience factor would take away from the intimate nature of the interaction.

I came in after getting a drink and lowering the lights and I could tell that things were bad. It as scary, but not because of the content. Basically, neither player did anything that wasn't written down. They did absolutely nothing that the game didn't prompt them to do. When the book told Taylor to consider something, he quietly considered it and told her to turn to whatever. Zero roleplaying. It was painful and they quit.

Game Two

So Dave was like "I've got this" and then he did. He had that. I was the player and Dave was the GM and he crushed it. He REALLY dropped the atmosphere in a way I've never seen him do before and I sometimes didn't want to speak because of the tension in the air.

The game seemed really short, about 15 mins, so we probably could have pulled it out longer, in terms of the exploration. There still was no sense of scenes. There were two locations, the initial room and a hallway. But I also died, so that cut it a little short.

Two issues:

One: I, as the player, didn't know how much to do during my "Turn". How far should I go, how many "actions" do I get? I didn't want to cheat the game, but I also wanted to GTFO. So how much to elide the action or zoom in during MY turn to speak was an issue for me. Dave didn't have that so much on the MG's side.

Two: Both ghosts I saw were wispy and intangible and when Dave read "Does it seem realistic that he could escape?", my attempt to fight the ghost off realistically didn't. Like the ghost could physically hurt me, but I couldn't hurt it. Once it had me, I was dead. There seems to be a built in "difficulty" factor in the nature of the ghost. Not a problem, per se, but making the GM aware of this might be good.

I've actually got the full audio recording, because we record all our AW sessions with Dave's sweet sound equipment and we forgot to turn in off. I could cut the end off and kick that over to you, if you want, Vincent. It's literally everything that happened at the table.

So one issue I've always had with AW is that the games I've played in and ran both seem to have hit the conflict button over and over like one of those apes with the wires in the sexual center of its brain.

Sure there's no status quo, but often, things weren't static enough to even care about the NPCs. Just us eating plot like we're langoliers.

Little slice o' AP:

So Clarity, she's a Touchstone. And Smokey, he's a Maestro. And Clarity, she's got herself this little school where she indoctrinates teaches the teenagers of the hold that her way is the way of the just and all that. Smokey, he sells drugs.

Enter Caps. Caps, a brand newly named NPC, is called into existence by the MC as one of Clarity's school children. And he takes it upon himself to go down to Smokey's and bust up the place. Seems good, right? PC-NPC-PC triangles and all that.

But that's a Midnight thing, on the countdown clock. I think it's much better to have a 3 o'clock, where Caps comes to Clarity and expresses his unhappiness with the drug joint. And a 6 where one of the other students tells Clarity that she's seen Caps hanging out outside the place.

Sure, the aftermath is fun. But the circling, the circling is what makes the NPCs human and it's what makes them matter to the PCs.

Basic stuff, but it's been on my mind.

Apocalypse World / C.R.E.A.M.
« on: June 16, 2011, 12:37:59 PM »
So a Hardholder, he's got that barter, right? He's the cheeseman, just rolling in so much cheddar.

But when he pays out to those in his gang, or those working for him in other ways, is that coming out of his personal barter? Or is it "On a 10+ Wealth roll, we assume errbody got paid?"

Apocalypse World / Apocalypse World and the Feminist Perspective
« on: February 04, 2011, 10:30:10 PM »
I had an interesting dinner where the discussion of a one-shot I had run last week came up. And the subject of how post-apocalypse fiction is way too bleak and all that was put across the table.

We started to discuss the bleakness and a friend mentioned that all the ways in which we were saying the genre was bleak were masculine. They were power based. She told me to read this and I just did. I'd read Ursula Le Guin, but not read this commencement speech.

Interesting parts:

Because you are human beings you are going to meet failure. You are going to meet disappointment, injustice, betrayal, and irreparable loss. You will find you're weak where you thought yourself strong. You'll work for possessions and then find they possess you. You will find yourself - as I know you already have - in dark places, alone, and afraid.

What I hope for you, for all my sisters and daughters, brothers and sons, is that you will be able to live there, in the dark place. To live in the place that our rationalizing culture of success denies, calling it a place of exile, uninhabitable, foreign.

Well, we're already foreigners.

In the framework of some of the discussions about how AW is too bleak or whatever, I find the whole thing interesting.

Monsterhearts / My Monsterhearts Session
« on: January 26, 2011, 09:35:07 AM »
I've been meaning to write this up, but I'm lazy.

So I ran Monsterhearts for some chick-type friends of mine. Three of them. They are non-gamers, with no idea that gaming is a thing that exists. I pitched it to them from a "Hey, you guys should come over and get three kinds of drunk with me" and then dropped a roleplaying game on them.

So I had:

A Vampire
A Mortal
And An Infernal

The biggest thing that stood out to me is that the sorts of unbalanced relationships the game fosters makes for some crazy play. And that a group with no conception of "we're a party of adventurers" will get murder-tastic real quick. Secondly, the semi-real world nature of the game and it's slight(ish) horror means that people seem to put versions of themselves into the game or use it to explore stuff that's going on in their lives.

So here's the basic set up. The Mortal, Danny, worked at a diner as the short order chef. He was a former prom king who had just graduated and was no dealing with the realities of "the real world" where he wasn't going to college. (RL Note: Danny's player is one of only members of my social circle who hasn't been to college and I know she's mentioned that it bothered her in the past. The armchair psychiatrist in me was titillated.)

Danny had a thing for Jess, The Vampire. Jess was your basic 'I've been alive for so long, now I'm sort of bored, so I'll use humans as sexual playthings' sort of vampire. Maybe I'm oversaturated on Vampires, but the playbook feels the weakest in terms of interest and color. She basically spent the game cock teasing Danny and then shutting him down, building up strings.

Erin, the Infernal, was more interesting. She had a pact going with some sort of sex demon chick, a sort of succubus. It was a sort of a relationship, and a mutually codependent one. The demon provided Erin with power and Erin provided the demon with sex and human connection.

So of course, Erin decides that the demon, while incredibly sexy, isn't good for her. She wants to go off to college and have a family and kids and doesn't see where the demon fits into all this. The demon and the related powers were sort of a casual plaything for her, but that sort of stuff is ... hard to get out of.

Erin has had a thing for Danny for years. He was former prom king in their town and has never noticed her. So (and get this, this is where I fell in love with the game) of course Erin decides that the best way to get Danny is to use the demon's power. This is the demon that actually loves her, in a crazy stalker demon way. So she's using the power that one person's love gives her to pursue another, because the game is rewarding her for that. Wow.

(RL Note: Erin's player and Danny's player are dating in the RL. When Erin's characteriztion became apperent, in that she was part of a lesbian arrangement that bored her and now was thinking of dating a guy, real life tension ensued. :) We all ended up agreeing that it was just the proximity effects of my rugged and incredibly masculine presence. And by 'we all', I mean 'just me'.)

So Danny is chasing Jess, Erin is chasing Danny, and the demon (I can't remember her name) is chasing Erin.

The game built to a nice conclusion where the demon and Jess destroyed each other and Danny and Erin ran off together to New York, which made no sense to me, but all the girls agreed was perfectly plausible.

The End.

All three girls really liked it. Interestingly, with no experience in roleplaying, they viewed it as a game sort of like Apples to Apples, one we'd play once and then maybe again in a month. One of them said "Next time, I'd like to play a Fae." So the expectations are that it's a movie, not a television series. I just thought that was interesting.   


Apocalypse World / Confessions of a Bad MC
« on: January 18, 2011, 03:10:45 PM »
So you're a screwup sometimes, of course you are. But specifically, what's your deal, your issues? I'll air my dirty laundry later, because there's so much of it, but's what's yours?

blood & guts / Investigative moves
« on: January 17, 2011, 02:57:50 PM »
I've had a few ideas for little hacks to run for my group that center around investigation, but I've never been able to come up with good moves. The best I've been able to do is modified Workspace rules.

Watching a lot of media of this type, the most important move seems to be When the session is almost over, you'll suddenly know the answer, but that sucks.

Any thoughts?

brainstorming & development / Settings
« on: December 17, 2010, 10:54:23 AM »
More than hacks, I'd really like to see other people's settings set out in some sort of formal way, complete with the custom moves that they're using.

I think the post-apocalyptic genre is big enough to encompass so many different things that dispite me playing three different campaigns of the game in three different settings, I haven't seen much of what the genre has to offer.

I put this in hacks because I'm interested especially in the custom moves that are setting specific.

Anyone got any? I'll put mine out later today, if I remember.

Apocalypse World / Platoon based warfare
« on: December 01, 2010, 04:42:48 PM »
One of my players has gone with the junta wear of his playbook and is extremely martial. So he's broken his gang up into platoons and such.

What's up with moves for when gangs are away from the hold.

Sure, sure, make a hard advance and all that. But stuff like recon missions, how is that handled. I've never had a PC go with that sort of stuff. I know you use Go Aggro and Seize as normal, with your gang as your weapon.

Each one of those things can be a move on the part of the hard-
holder. For instance, “we storm their encampment, we gotta get
through that wall” is both making a hard advance and seizing
something by force
, so the player spends 1 hold and rolls+hard.

When the gang is fighting but the hardholder doesn’t spend
hold, they fght conservatively, for their own survival, or else
they fght according to their impulse as a threat.

Does the holder Act Under Fire for his gang, even though he's back at the hold? Are all gang maneuvers like that? Or am I handling it, according to my principles, moves and all that jazz? Or do I need to wait for the Regiment, which is clearly what my player really wants to play? :)

Apocalypse World / Acting Under Fire 7-9
« on: December 01, 2010, 11:42:20 AM »
Acting Under Fire 7-9's are the bane of my AW playing experience. I hate them. I am forever failing to come up with good stuff for them, ugly choices, etc.

Am I just uncreative?

Most situations aren't binary, of course, but it feels like they are. A guy's running rooftops from some crazy dude with a pickax and he's acting Under Fire. 7-9'd it.

So he makes it. It's a hit. But that interesting situation, that ugly choice. It's always on the tip of my tongue and I hate taking a bathroom break right there, you know?

Any thoughts?

Apocalypse World / Make money, money
« on: August 17, 2010, 04:22:47 PM »
So the Maestro. No gigs. No wealth.

What's up with that? All transactions in fiction? Or what?

Apocalypse World / The Cover
« on: August 06, 2010, 02:40:09 PM »
So the cover is amazing.


blood & guts / Do we have to have stats? Or basic moves?
« on: July 14, 2010, 08:54:29 PM »
Here's something I've been playing with: why do we have the stats? Their main purpose is to differentiate PCs and focus their skills into "class appropriate" blocks while still offering character options.

But the character moves do the same thing. A brainer isn't really weird because they have +2 weird; they're weird because their moves are crazy fucking weird.

You still get differentiation with the varying options of moves. My savvyhead will be different from your savvyhead.

Now stats also affect basic moves; they help make the skinner better at seducing than the gunlugger. They, with the stats, make a reason to play different classes through mechanical differentiation that comes with applying different pluses and minuses on the same basic move.


What if we take the stats out and then just move the basic moves into each character playbook while making them different.

So the skinner's seduce move is called something entirely different and the "list options" of +10 and 7-9 are generally "better" than that of the gunlugger. For instance, maybe the gunlugger can seduce okay, still at 2d6, but on a 7-9 he picks from options that hurt someone mentally or physically. And his 10 might include the need for some assurance right now.

Each basic move gets a rewrite with not only the flavor of their class, but also the general perceived skill set.

I'm not saying that this is a "problem" with AW. Nah, as you guys may have noticed I actually like the whole stats/leveling thing in AW.

It's more for a game I've been working on called The Colony, where the players are the first team down on a planet that was recently terraformed.

There is a lot more stuff I'm working on (like associative moves that establish and mechanically re-enforce familial relations and also moves that change over time to re-enforce Fronts rather than a straight progression system) but the stats are what really jumped out at me.

Apocalypse World / Double Idle
« on: July 08, 2010, 04:06:42 PM »
Some of the hardholder's stuff can end up with double wants.

As an MC, what do we do with this? Are they just super idle, i.e. American Idle? Or what?

Apocalypse World / Apocalyptic Wave
« on: July 08, 2010, 12:56:01 PM »
For those of you with a Google account, Michael and I are doing a Google Wave game of AW.

No idea how it will work. If you're interested in this crash and burn, let us know.,

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