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Messages - gregpogor

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Apocalypse World / Re: Our hardholder broke tonight.
« on: November 26, 2013, 03:46:39 AM »
Of course! I'll try to post the fronts I'll use before the game, even.

I hinted at Uncle's player that his character could decide to fight the maelstrom directly and even have a figthing chance, if he didn't mind the chance/risk of becoming the villain of this season. He seemed to entertain the idea, like it even.

I'll keep you guys up to date.

Apocalypse World / Re: Our hardholder broke tonight.
« on: November 17, 2013, 05:26:23 AM »
So! I've been thinking.

We're currently in "season 2" of our game, and last session was "first session" all over again — second season pilot, if you will. I'm currently building up fronts and I'm thinking about Uncle.

The maelstrom wasn't that important last season, so here it is: the maelstrom is definitively a front this time. Also, the chopper introduced a new warlord and managed to piss her off right of the bat, so a war is in sight with Uncle's compound. Which is home to a very, very dangerous cult leader in ties with the maelstrom — the aforementioned brainer-turned-hocus.

What if the warlord comes to Uncle at the start of the next session and offer him an alliance to properly destroy the maelstrom? What if most of Uncle's people are definitively not down with that, what with Verm the White (the brainer/hocus) being the protector and prophet of the maelstrom and all that? How would Uncle, Verm and all the other PCs, who are slowly but surely becoming more and more weird but still attached to Uncle's people and compound, react to whatever would happen?

I'm curious to find out. What do you people think?

Apocalypse World / Our hardholder broke tonight.
« on: November 15, 2013, 04:03:21 AM »
He held it up together, kept his vision in the face of the apocalypse and tried to save the last remnants of the Golden Age for a dozen sessions.

Then last game, the then-brainer-now-hocus teared up a rift in reality itself to show his people what was miles away.

"Uncle, how do you react to that ?
-I don't, Uncle doesn't see shit like this, I never open myself to the maelstrom.
-No, you don't get it. It's not a vision. It's real, like, right before your eyes. He really teared up a hole in reality itself. That's no metaphor."
-I... He..."

And he broke, right then.

The player is quite distressed, btw. He really took his role of protector of the remnants of the old world quite at heart, despite our regular reminders of no status quo.

Uncle is also the only character who hasn't changed playbook or made another character yet. In fact that player never took any advanced option.

I think becoming a touchstone could be an interesting option. Poor sap.

Apocalypse World / Re: Can MC use players/characters moves?
« on: November 05, 2013, 11:28:26 AM »
Yeah, helps a lot actually - makes sense. I assume that point is, that players are always focal points. It's not NPC/MC testing if the move on the player succeeded, it's player testing whether he wasn't affected?


Apocalypse World / Re: Can MC use players/characters moves?
« on: November 05, 2013, 06:22:01 AM »
You are correct, PC playbooks and what lies therein are for players only. Also they're not character classes, but characters: they're unique, there's only one Battlebabe (or whatever). But :
  • don't forget you can turn their moves back to them : "hey, Sunset, that's a 6- right here on your Hypnotic roll. Jackaba is unfazed, and he holds one over you. You can spend it like an hypnotized NPC would, and until you do you can't take direct action against her."
  • you can give custom moves to your special NPCs, like say an NPC that would looks a lot like a Skinner : "when Arby's talk to you with his soothing, melodic voice, roll +cool. On a 10+..."

Hope that helps!

roleplaying theory, hardcore / Re: AW - When an MC should kill a PC?
« on: October 21, 2013, 01:47:00 AM »
Even if you follow the fiction, players won't take well their character death.

That's not a given. I've got my share of PC death whose player's reaction was "...awesome."

MC don't kill PCs. NPC kill PCs. And sometimes PCs kill themselves.

You inflict damage "as established", right ? Meaning that you don't inflict damage from sources the PC isn't aware of, directly or not. No "blam, there was a sniper, take 5-harm" without warning, right ? You have to tell them somehow: a glimmer of light on the watertower, or some NPC warning ("I saw Eightball going to the watertower with a rifle, mumbling "I'll show 'em all", boss"), etc.

That means that when there's deadly danger, the PCs will know they can take big fat harm. It's up to them to risk their skin. If you established there was a mad sniper aiming at the PC, and the PC does something that urge the sniper to shoot, 5-harm it is.

BUT! It's a big decision, isn't it. Big decisions are hard to take, but you don't have to take them yourself!

Quote from: 'Apocalypse World p. 115'
You can put it in your NPCs’ hands, you can put it in the players’ hands, you can create a countdown, or you can make it a stakes question.

Would Eightball, pissed as she is, shoot Bish in the head just because Bish is walking towards her even after Eightball fired a warning shot? If so, Bish is up for 5-harm. If not, hey, what would Eightball do? It's in Eightball's hands, say.

The MC can't kill a PC because a PC isn't a real person and the MC is. But the MC's job is to make the world seems real and play their NPC like real people and sometimes it means shit happens and people kill people. Don't cuddle your PCs, they can take it: disabilities, one bullet for free, etc. If you really think the player don't get how dangerous it is, you can always tell the consequences and ask.

roleplaying theory, hardcore / Re: References for Beginners
« on: June 18, 2013, 07:23:08 AM »
My take on the glossary, with the caveat of "I don't know man, I wasn't there" :

Yeah, it's still solid. The concepts themselves didn't change that much from the early discussions to their use today. But the glossary is really full of stuff that was The Big Thing™ at the time but actually it wasn't that big, or at least in that form. KFD, GNS, IIEE all got refined in less "boxes to put stuff into", more "effective systemics" ways. The good discussion these days seems to move away from acronyms and taxonomy and toward predictive and descriptive systemics.

EDIT because I'm clear as mud: take GNS. For a time, the whole of discussion was "what are the different creative agendas?" and all in all it was pretty inward and definitive, once we're done we're done.

Now it's more "so, creative agendas, what's it good for and what can we do with them?" and that discussion is outward and open and that's what design's really about, in a sense.

roleplaying theory, hardcore / Re: References for Beginners
« on: May 17, 2013, 03:48:42 AM »
Anyway, Vincent Baker's blog, is a good start :

It's a bit overwhelming but here's the tip : take a category you like, start from the bottom and click on the first link with a lot of comments.

Also, antiquated posts are good too :

EDIT : for example, this :

I'm quite fond of two books on the subject :

The Art of Game Design by Jess Schell (, that taught me that game design encompasses so much — economics, maths, sociology, group dynamics, psychology, semantics, systemics, aesthetics, dramatic writing and shit I don't know yet — but that's okay and here's where to begin, and

Theory of Fun by Ralph Koster ( who has tons of great insights about games, why they are fun, how they are fun and what they do to us in general. I take issues with some of what he says (please don't ask me about gendered learning dispositions unless you like streams of incoherent rage) but the rest is pretty solid.

Hope that helps.

Apocalypse World / Re: The Battlebabe's gang
« on: April 05, 2013, 03:21:14 AM »
I'll defend the idea that barring optimized built, the battlebabe attracting enough people to form a gang but not having a reliable mean to manage them is part of the point.

For what I've seen at my table, it's a hoot. The battlebabe either screws a lot of hard rolls and end up with entertaining authority issues, or becomes a manipulative leader instead of a dril sergeant.

Apocalypse World / Re: Are separate story lines normal?
« on: January 03, 2013, 05:10:57 AM »
I didn't have that that much in my first campaign. I think that's because I did this a lot in the first session:

Quote from: 'Apocalypse World, p. 128'
Give every character good screen time with other characters.

Bring them onscreen in pairs and triples, in obvious groupings and unlikely ones too. Play with their natural hierarchies and bring them into circumstances where they might have something to say to each other.

If you do that the first session, in conjunction with the Hx rounds, you'll probably have a group that plays more with each other. I think.

Now, there's still moments when characters go do their own things and that's cool, but when shit hits the fan, they're quite enclined to call each other for help and stand together.

(Also, I noticed first session advices are wicked good for when your group has solved a front or two and the momentum is a bit low. Like a second season first episode in a TV series.)

Apocalypse World / Re: Some questions about moves and combat
« on: December 20, 2012, 08:28:31 AM »
But the thing is, everytime a PC make a roll, they look at the MC to know what happens, that's how the game works...

Say what the rules say.

Each move tells you exactly what happens when the roll is 7-9 or 10+. They should look at them, not at you, for what happens next. In those case, you're there to help them figure out what actually happens in the context of your game, usually by asking them questions. Lots of them. Also, ask them before the roll to give the situation a good context. You'll see it helps you figure out which move to make when and how.

"So, you're behind the rusted car debris, bullets sparking around you, pinned down... what do you do?
-I'll take their position by force!
-Cool! How do you do that?
-I guess I'll exchange fire then run towards them like a madman so they run away.
-How do you figure it'll work? There's five of them and only one of you, and they have cover too.
-Well, all they have is a bunch of puny pistols and I have a bitchin' machine gun! Also, I'm the gunlugger and I'm NOT TO BE FUCKED WITH.
-Cool! Yeah, that should do, roll for it, +hard.
-8! Let's say I inflict a lot of harm and take definitive hold of their position.
-Cool! How so?
-Let's say I wait for them to reload their six shots? And I jump over my cover and I'm all like "AAARGH!" like Ahnold in Commando, and I run toward them like a mad rhinoceros blasting my machine gun?
-...and let's say one or two of them aren't reloading and you take one or two small caliber bullets, for 4-harm, before they run away like chumps?
-Good for me! How's the rules for gang-vs-gang harm go again? Because I'm totally counting like a small gang here."

Apocalypse World / Re: Hardholder Generosity
« on: December 01, 2012, 07:45:21 AM »
Am I being waaaay too picky, or is this a sensible way to play up scarcity and underscore just how costly generosity can be?

Just as you, I'd try to push the scarcity aspect and make that generosity something to pay for. I'd do that the same way I deal with ammo, though.

Now and then, when it's my turn, I'd just make the Hardholder buy. No tally or anything, maybe a reminder on a sticky note, and when it's my turn and it fits : "hey, Uncle, that's a lot of gifts you've been giving, isn't that? You're 1-barter poorer than you thought. What do you do?"

Apocalypse World / Re: Moonkis Questions about the rules.
« on: November 10, 2012, 11:55:26 AM »
what is the actual difference of yelling "go ahead" and just getting shot? How about the "Direct-brain whisper projection" in the Moves Snowballing example? It counts as going aggro but without going aggro, is "Forcing hand" the same as "You know, fuck you I'm not going to tell you shit, just fucking shoot me already you pussy!" aka not doing what the one going aggro wants. How does this works when someone is just threatening someone?

Okay, the thing is, when you go aggro on someone and hit a 10+, it's not your decision anymore, it's your victim's player's.

It's up to them to decide, by any means they deem fit, if a) their character suffer harm as established, like that, no more roll needed or b) their character does as they are told.

It's their only choices, you get no saying about that choice (other than, say, picking your biggest gun to threaten them with if you really want them to cave) and it's a player thing, not a character thing.

So yeah, you're free to say "no" every damn time someone goes aggro on you and hit 10+. But that means you're also going to suffer harm as established, just like that, every time.

That said, "to do it, do it", and "make your move, but misdirect". When the victim's player's made their choice, it's also up to them to present this choice a) in fiction and b) in a way that makes sense.

If you just want to threaten someone, not actually hurt them, but make them believe you're going to, that's manipulating someone and the leverage is "I won't hurt you", not going aggro on them. Go aggro when you're absolutely 100% determined to inflict harm if they don't cave (or you just want to inflict harm).

What if the characters can't pay? And must they pay if you choose "make them pay" or could they just walk away? Or does that move just mean, you wont get that for free this time, can this be either Barter or exchange in a favor?

If they can't pay, they don't have what they were asking for, and feel free to escalate by following with another move, and this time, be mean.

If they don't pay the rent, take away their stuff. If one PC don't pay the train fare, seperate them. If they don't pay for a gun but take it anyway, announce the consequences and ask : "the old guy's just behind you and his hand is close to HIS gun. If you take those gun and run with it, he's going to open fire. You do it ?" If they try to negociate, put them in a spot ("that's okay, of course we can forget the rent this time... if you kill your mother.")

Any move is good in return, provided it makes sense in the fiction. Any move will push the thing forward and keep the game moving.

Of course, the PCs can also seize the initiative and responds with a move of their own. "Fucker III is coming to get the rent? Fuck it, I wait for him by the size of the door and when he comes in, I put my gun on his fat head and whisper "how do you like lead for payment, motherfucker? Forget about the rent or I blow your brains all over." I go aggro." And that's good! That's perfect, even.

(And then you think off screen and ask yourself "wait, if III comes back to Uncle empty-handed, what's gonna happen? What would III do in that situation? Use his own barter to pay Uncle and try to get back at the PC afterward? Tell Uncle straight about it to come clean? What would Uncle do about it?" and you're going somewhere interesting.)
Hope that helps!

Apocalypse World / Re: Moonkis Questions about the rules.
« on: November 09, 2012, 10:26:03 AM »
Forcing your hand means forcing you to do violence upon them. It's about going agro, right? "Force your hand and suck it up" means you've got your gun against their forehead, and they yell "go ahead!" or just stand there and you shoot them. Blam. Inflict damage as established.

Barter is just, sometimes as a MC it's your time to talk, and you pick a move, and it's "make them pay for it" and you decide barter is the price. 1-barter, 2-barter sometimes, sometimes more. If they have it, they spend it and it's gone, but they got what they want. Like they're in a shop, and they ask you "so, any gun in there ?" and it's your turn to talk, so you pick "make them pay" and misdirect : "yeah, there's a bunch of automatics behind a chained door. You're looking at them, and a guy pops up and say "like what you see? It's one barter apiece.""

Basically, it's just money, but in large chunk, no pennies.

Sometimes the game itself tells you how much it costs (like 1-barter gets you 2-stock for your angel's kit), sometimes it tells you how much some character get (like moonlighting or wealth).

1-barter is enough to get basic shelter and food for a month. More on barter bottom of p. 101 and full pp. 236-238.

Monster of the Week / Re: Hunters and Sex
« on: November 08, 2012, 04:31:38 AM »
Yeah, I can grok that. Thanks!

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