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Messages - Simon JB

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Sagas of the Icelanders / Re: Sagas of the Icelanders
« on: July 30, 2010, 10:38:43 AM »
I've seen this doc getting updated over the weeks but it's been a while since I looked at it. Again I'm struck by the awesomeness of it. Very cool and good in many ways.

A couple of comments, of mixed nature...
 - The appearance options are so very cool. (I'm in love with manly face for women!)
 - Re last names, like -(s)son I think it should be -(s)dóttir. All my icelandic friends (and their friends on facebook) have it that way. Kristinsdóttir, Johannsdóttir. Could be a modern thing, but I wouldn't assume it.
 - You are, in several places, quite careful to point out that what the character has isn't too much, especially when it comes to people around them. A small ship with a few men, two slaves, a warchief defaulting to one or two loyal warriors. Is this an important part of how you want it? To me it feels much more exciting to let the warchief be a warchief, with a medium gang as default, or thereabouts.
 - The viking gets a karve ship, but that's not mentioned in the world description later. Why not just give them a longship, of which the karve is a variant, as I understand it?
 - At the moment Gestur, Beer-giver, Cunning and Homeless give me the hots the most. But then again, that changes every time I look at the text! And nothing gives me the meh.

Apocalypse World / Re: Changing prep
« on: July 30, 2010, 08:42:56 AM »
Your prep is a tool to make things easier for you. You don't serve it, it's the other way around.

On a note related to this, at the moment I'm feeling very bogged down by the prep, because I don't have enough of a handle on it, mainly on the threat-specific moves, to be able to use it in play fluently. Instead I feel that to keep the different parts of my prep in my mind takes an effort that distracts me from the rock and roll of play. The basic mc moves I've grokked now, well enough to choose, misdirect and make illusion from any fitting move without braking the pace of play, and I'm not worried I won't get there with the rest of the moves as well, and pretty soon too. My dilemma at the moment is how much I should focus on keeping the play rocking, using mostly the old basic mc moves, and how much I should focus on getting better at handling the rest of the stuff, by using it even if it distracts me.

Any thoughts on this?

Apocalypse World / Re: Changing prep
« on: July 29, 2010, 07:37:06 PM »
Good advice, guys, thanks!

Apocalypse World / Re: Changing prep
« on: July 29, 2010, 05:57:56 PM »
Mostly the later. I'm thinking stuff like changing someone to a different threat type, moving cast from one threat to another and stuff like that. I wouldn't retcon things that have been on screen.

However, there is also a disease running in the holding that totally bores me, but I'd feel like a cheating coward if I'd just decide it slows down and eventually disappears without the angel defeating it or something.

Apocalypse World / Changing prep
« on: July 29, 2010, 05:21:41 PM »
Do you allow yourselves to change the prep you've made, that hasn't been onscreen yet? Or is that disallowed from treating the world as real and what the prep demands?

I've just MCd my first second session and I'm not at all happy with a lot of the prep I did. Now I'm not sure to what extent I want to change it over, add stuff, or remove stuff.

Apocalypse World / Re: Stat Substitution Glitch
« on: July 26, 2010, 03:21:25 PM »
Of course I don't mind! :)

Yes, I had things that were natural to take. Fact is, I wanted those advances, wanted them now, dammit! That's why I was hitting those keys... sorry, highlights, so hard. At a different point in play it would have been slower, and that would have been fun at that point. My group has been playing Solar System campaigns for years now, and it has always been up and down the way those xp flow, and never exactly synced between characters. Some sessions you get loads, others you get hardly any. And it has never been a problem. Partly because it tends to even out in the long run. But even when it hasn't, that hasn't affected Fun.

Thing is, these games are built for play to flow organically. There are no point pools for the GM to build threats with. They just throw in stuff that seems good and fun at the moment, and that builds on what's gone before. Same with advancement. There is no mechanic that keeps balance between player characters, because it's not needed for the game to rock. Every character grows and develops at its own pace. Check what Vincent said about how it's unproblematic for a new character to enter play a good ways into the campaign. We've often had new characters enter play in the middle, or the end, of a Solar System campaign, and they have naturally been made as starting characters, with no extra advances to put them on par with the old ones.

Like I mentioned above, since you keep adjusting the xp triggers throughout the game, there's no reason to fear the game is going to "break" because of some character's setup, or "build" if you like. 

With all due respect to "destructively" playtesting the hard mechanics of a game, I believe it has never been a good idea to play it destructively. Presumably you play to have fun. I mean, you can ruin any game if you want to, but I hope that's not what you or anyone else is aiming for. It might be especially important in this kind of game, where it's actually the "soft" rules that are the most important. Play to find out, and make the characters' lives not boring. Fuck with them, don't fuck them over all the time. Give them what they work for, but introduce complications.

Those things can't be hardwired. But luckily you've picked up a game where the hard mechanics actively support the soft rules making the game awesome.

Uhm, back to your questions! :)

We haven't played more than those two sessions, we live in different cities, but I surely don't plan to see that character obsolete in two more sessions, no sir, I don't! As I said before, I trust the pace to adjust organically, because it's we who play the game, and at the moment we want it to go on. Maybe at some point I'll want Wilson to retire, but that will be because I'll want him to, not because he's become to good or something like that.

On a tangent, I was a bit worried when Vincent said somewhere that the game will start rocking hard after about six sessions. I mean, I want it to rock now! Now, though, after two smoking first sessions, where so much change is going on, I got a whiff of how it's going to be even better when we have even more play behind us with Wilson and his world. Not going to be obsolete after three or four sessions, oh no! Or he will be, but I'll know that then, won't I?

I'll gladly keep talking if you're interested in more. Sorry for all the emphasis, I get excited about this stuff. :)

Apocalypse World / Re: Stat Substitution Glitch
« on: July 26, 2010, 12:31:25 PM »
I think I might have been in the faster end of the scale with my operator, Wilson. A short way into the first session I had both Easy to like and Ice cold, so I had three basic moves on Cool+2, and another two on Sharp+2, as normal. Since my character was so all about being cool and being sharp, and the others wanted to see him rock, I had both those stats highlighted, and so I got xp marks like crazy. I hit three advances in a rather short first session, maybe one and a half hour or something of active play. We had a 2+1 group.

Second session, the others felt, not surprisingly, that we had enough for now with highlighting Cool, so I got my Weird-1 highlighted instead. I still kept progressing fast, with three more advances in maybe three hours this time, but the dynamics felt slightly different.

In the first session I drove hard at what I wanted, rocked most of the time and was rewarded with xp for being good at what I did. And with success came new complications in the fiction. That was great fun.

In the second session, success was its own reward when I did what I was good at, but at the same time I was rewarded with xp for doing what I sucked at. I started opening my brain quite a lot (I was aiming at that ungiven future, dammit, I needed to become a gunlugger to bring down my enemies!), failed most of the time, and opened up for a lot of direct badness. This was also great fun!

The brilliant thing with this reward system, like with Keys in Solar System/The Shadow of Yesterday, which is similar, is that you decide what gets rewarded based on what you think would make the game the most fun at the moment. You can get xp for rocking hard, and you can get xp for failing equally hard. The important thing is that progression comes from doing stuff, from taking action. And that you can change the xp triggers when it would be more fun differently.  

My two cents on this. :)

the preapocalypse / Re: Folding Player Books
« on: July 20, 2010, 09:29:16 AM »
I've had some trouble with the paper as well, but then I have the additional circumstance of printing on a4, not us letter. Maybe it'll work out when I fiddle a bit more with it.

But, if someone would like to do a version that's made for a4, I bet a bunch of us Europeans would be happy!

the preapocalypse / Re: Folding Player Books
« on: July 18, 2010, 04:33:36 PM »
Thanks Piers! I will try that for an upcoming games with new players.

But there aren't updated ones still, is there? Last I checked the gunlugger still had the secret cache of arms.

Apocalypse World / Re: Apocalyptic Wave
« on: July 18, 2010, 06:17:36 AM »
I'd say it's an awesome read. Looking forward to following!

the preapocalypse / Re: the final PDFs
« on: July 17, 2010, 09:39:09 AM »
Very nice!

the preapocalypse / Weapon stats
« on: July 08, 2010, 07:21:38 PM »
Some things about weapon stats that I find confusing and or bothersome...

 - Battlebabe's guns: What's the idea behind three round burst giving near/far range? I mean, why does a handgun that goes from single shots to burst gain far, and why does a rifle with bursts gain close, when automatic doesn't grant that?

 - Gunlugger: Isn't an assault rifle the exakt example of a weapon with close/far range? As far as I know those things are accurate at several hundred metres as well as being able to spray away at close range. It looks strange to me that the assault rifle doesn't have close/far and the mg only far. Those things are unwieldy.

Um, there was more but I've been on the beach all day. Might be back tomorrow!

Apocalypse World / Re: First try today!
« on: July 06, 2010, 02:34:18 AM »
Well, following the advice in the book we didn't use the full battle mechanics since it was the first session. We just went with the basic moves. We still played it out sort of one tick at a time, though, with both character getting to do one 'thing' each as the fight progressed. No countdown mechanic though.

But no, I just forgot about acting under fire there. Doh! Of course he was acting under fire, and quite literally, even though he was behind a piece of concrete barrier. Thanks for pointing it out!

Apocalypse World / Re: First try today!
« on: July 01, 2010, 12:20:15 PM »
Good points, all. Any thoughts on the other stuff?

Apocalypse World / Re: First try today!
« on: July 01, 2010, 07:09:59 AM »
A matter of taste, as well, that I carry with me from the game, is to make an effort not to let human lives get too cheap, at least in the protagonists' eyes. I mean, I love it that the world is such a harsh place and all, but I can feel a bit degraded myself and lose my engagement when the protagonists, or their gang in this case, constantly strive to behave like fucking savages . A matter of taste, as I said, but in the future I'll try to steer players away from that kind of character.

Name everyone. Make them human.

THEN kill them off like flies.

Makes all the difference.

Yeah, I'm totally with you on that, and I love my crosshairs! Every named npc but one, I think, got killed off last night, and that's all fine.

But what I'm talking about is that having protagonists who are  murderous bastards bothers the audience part in me, and that is more or less regardless of genre or medium. I didn't like American Psycho either, good as the book or the movie might be. And that is, as I said, very much a matter of taste more than anything else.

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