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Messages - strongbif

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other lumpley games / [AP] Psi*Run over Google+
« on: September 27, 2012, 04:40:02 AM »
I just finished playing Psi*Run for the first time with friends on Google+. We rocked that game so hard! It's 1am now so I'm going to bed, but I'll get an AP thread started soon.

If you were wondering whether to pick up Psi*Run, the answer is yes, do it.

blood & guts / Re: Fronts Glue
« on: September 25, 2012, 07:18:19 PM »
Fronts are primarily an organizational tool in DW, vs a thematic one in AW.  They have similarities (they get worse as time goes on, player action can change them, they reflect a world in flux ,etc) but they're different, too. 

Think of it this way - the Campaign Front is the thing that colors the Adventure Fronts.  If the Campaign Front is "the return of the gods of darkness" then the Adventure Fronts should either have something to do with that or be a distraction from it that will give the servants of the gods of darkness some time to get their shit together.

Campaign Front themes and overarches Adventure Fronts.  Adventure Fronts inform and organize dangers.  Portents resolve Dooms, Dooms change the world.

So in this model "Pride" from my earlier example is a thing that goes in the Campaign Front somewhere and feeds adventure fronts? Like: players' cues --> campaign front (incl. dooms) --> adventure front (incl. portents) --> local dangers? Where would I stick "Pride" on the campaign front, and what kind of thing should it be?

Tangent: if DW fronts abdicate the theme-based inspiration function, what do you use instead?

blood & guts / Re: Fronts Glue
« on: September 25, 2012, 02:07:39 PM »
This idea of free form fronts organization and Vincent's lovely concentric design post from last year are starting to coalesce into a hacker's toolkit for me: a list of fundamental rules, and a set of designer's principles for rolling your own AW-driven game on the fly. I'm calling it "Anything World." I probably won't finish it.

blood & guts / Re: Fronts Glue
« on: September 25, 2012, 01:51:49 PM »
Scarcities are a real thing in AW but they are also a thematic thing, so I think any game that wants to shift the inspiration for Fronts should try and reproduce that double-ness if at all possible.

Real thing / Thematic thing: now I have evaluation criteria when riffing off of PC details for freeform front glue.

blood & guts / Re: Fronts Glue
« on: September 25, 2012, 01:05:55 AM »
Seriously, though. I dig this.

Dungeon World / Re: [AP] Dungeon World over Google Plus
« on: September 25, 2012, 01:00:44 AM »
Thanks, guys!

You might be surprised to know that we all left the first session vaguely unsatisfied.

Partly it's because success was thin on the ground.

Partly it's because I'm inexpert at dungeons (I cut my RPG and GM teeth on AEG's 7th Sea and progressed through Deadlands to Savage Worlds).

Partly it's because we were still figuring out the moves and stuff (we'd all of us played Apocalypse World, but there are important differences to navigate).

Partly it's because I didn't use rules that I've since gleaned from these forums that would have fit perfectly (e.g., mark XP on a missed roll, gang-ups roll multiple damage dice and take the highest, when players do damage the damage roll result = number of mooks that go down in that hit).

But mostly it's because I wasn't paying close enough attention to my players' cues. Heimdal wanted a big-ass monster to vanquish, and Tempi wanted something to backstab and maybe a clever trap to turn against his foes.

These elements were waiting further into the dungeon. To be fair, I expected them to get past the foyer at least.

Ooh, and this: I should have called for more Spout Lore rolls. Especially given the Bard. I shot myself in the foot by not offering anyone the ability to speak goblin (and anyway, it's not like all goblins speak the same language, duh), but a Spout Lore roll for the Bard to know just enough about these goblins' tongue, plus a detail about how he learned it? God, I'm kicking myself.

As an aside, I'm super-stoked about Baldric's Grand Histories of the Known World expertise. Talk about depth and verisimilitude: we'll have constant prompts to tie in the current situation with the march of history. Yes.

Quote from: noofy
Have you got any ideas for fronts or dangers to play with in the background? Will you detail Nook's crossing with the player's using the steading rules?

Yes and yes. I'll remain taciturn in case my players happen upon this. I'll say this: if you're familiar with the goblins' monster moves, you might could guess what comes of those fleeing goblin survivors next.

Quote from: mease19
Are they more like voodoo zombies or goblin-pox crazed zombies or flesh pealing raised from the dead zombies?

A gentleman never tells.

blood & guts / Re: Fronts Glue
« on: September 23, 2012, 10:59:13 PM »

Well, they're lists of things that share a theme, so there's pretty much limitless options. Take almost any evocative list of things and you could build Fronts based off of them:

* Scarcities
* Mortal sins
* Lives of Catholic Saints
* Logical fallacies
* Art movements
* Controversial Social Issues
* Jungian Dream Symbolism
* Stages of Childhood Psychological Development
* Types of weather
* Emotional States
* Greek Gods
* Different Sections of the Sermon on the Mount
* Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs
* Stages of Your Last Unsuccessful Romantic Relationship
* Types of Formal Poetry


LOL, "whose Confirming the Consequent is threatening the PCs?".

Dungeon World / Into the Hole: [AP] Dungeon World over Google Plus
« on: September 23, 2012, 06:27:47 PM »
Into the Hole

They're all standing in the tree line away from the rain, peering into the goblin hole. They can hear the odd muffled clank and sometimes a grunt - maybe a goblin expletive?

Heimdal strides forward like a colossus across the clearing, but Tempi jumps in front, "just let me have a look first." Heimdal notices the warren floor slopes downward without any regard for proper drainage, creating a streaming, muddy morass. "Go right ahead, then."

Tempi tiptoes into the hole. A stench washes over him with palpable force as he approaches a crook in the tunnel. He hears strained voices beyond, almost an argument, if goblins are anything like halflings. Distracted, he finds himself thigh-deep in a sinkhole. He's right at the corner; he can probably make it back out without attracting attention, but moving forward would surely alert those voices deeper in. He retreats to report what he heard.

Comment: This was a weak hit on Defy Danger, for which I offered an ugly choice. In hindsight, I'm not sure I like it. I could have done better. Oh, well.

Deilwen asks his god for guidance, and The Faceless One delivers with enthusiasm. His symbol, now a black vapor, takes the form of a lozenge (a shield, perhaps?), and shoots straight down the hole, raising startled cries within. Annoyed and impatient, Heimdal charges in after it, followed by the rest.

Comment: This was the Guidance rote, again a weak hit. He chose to be put in a spot, and thus they lost the element of surprise.

Startled Survivors

The room beyond shares the same low ceiling as the entrance tunnel, forcing the humans to stoop and hobble. It widens to around 20 yards across, with one obvious exit at the opposite side, blocked by a haphazard barrier of piled dross. Luminous fungi cast an eerie green glow across a dozen or so startled goblins. Three goblins brace their spears against the barrier; something pushes against the other side, and these three pay the intruding party no notice.

Baldric pauses to notice that the force on the other side makes no sound. Deilwen notices his holy symbol vapor forming a floating lozenge before one of the goblins. He swings his hammer at its face. The lozenge intercedes, but the hammer passes through unheeded. Still, by some stroke of fortune it merely grazes the goblin's crude armor to no effect. The startled goblin likewise grazes Deilwen. Deilwen wonders whether he interpreted his god correctly.

Comment: Hack 'n' Slash weak hit and crappy damage rolls. I implied that his god had interfered.

Meanwhile, Heimdal ignores the puny goblins and marches to the barricade in search of a real challenge. With the might of The Hammer he smashes it down as if it were cobweb (Fighter's breaking things move, 10+). A daunting big horde of undead goblins issues from within (dubbed "zoblins" by the players). Heimdal manages a swing at one before they swarm and surround him.

Everything Comes Apart and Burns

Comment: Here follows a series of missed rolls to make even the most stalwart player despair. I'm serious, 6- every time they stood a chance of getting ahead; 10+ only when barely recovering. My memory lacks precision here, so I'll summarize.

Chaos reigns as the goblin survivors flee, ignored. Deilwen entreats his god to turn the horde away. His vapor swells and billows out among the horde; it seems to work as Deilwen pushes through to Heimdal. (It didn't. He rolled a miss and the vapor did nothing. Deilwen was now trapped in the midst of the horde with Heimdal.). Heimdal swings at a few zoblins, then powers through to rejoin his companions. Deilwen attempts to kill a few, but strikes the low ceiling and overbalances, landing on his back. Zoblins swarm him, but his armor preserves him for a moment.

Baldric runs a zoblin through the heart, but it merely lurches forward up to the hilt to bite him in the shoulder. He pushes it away, but his rapier remains in its chest as it rejoins the horde.

Tempi stands back, looking for some advantage in the environment. His mind alights upon the torch in his pack, which he promptly lights. He waves it at the zoblins, attempting to scare them back. Instead he ignites them, and the fire quickly spreads among the relatively dry zoblin horde.

Heimdal levels a mighty swing, but loses his grip. He sees The Hammer sail through the entrance tunnel, and shoves his way through burning zoblins to retrieve it.

Deilwen endures until the zoblins move away, distracted by their own burning flesh. At last, his holy symbol returns, and, still lying on his back, Deilwen invokes The Faceless One and casts Speak with the Dead. A nearby zoblin goes still and faces Deilwin. It whispers into his mind even as its body burns away. "We were falling ill,  and Skullthumper used magic to heal us. Then we died." Deilwen rises and grips his hammer.

The Tide Begins to Turn

Flames begin to extinguish from the zoblins in the entry chamber as they run out of fuel. Heimdal leaps again into the fray, bellowing at Baldric to restore the barricade before more zoblins can join their vanguard. Baldric moves to comply, but notices his rapier, still impaling a zoblin, in the chamber beyond where more zoblins begin to shamble in. He snatches up a goblin spear and charges in to retrieve it real quick. He sneaks around the edge of the horde, and is swarmed and bitten again for his trouble.

Deilwen notices Baldric's plight and follows him into the deeper chamber. He Stands in Defense, and together they fight their way back toward their companions. Baldric contrives various schemes to retake his rapier; each fails.

Tempi brandishes his torch and scrambles across the fallen barricade, but trips and drops his torch in the mud, extinguishing it. Heimdal glances over from the fray and mutters a curse. At last, Baldric and Deilwen win free to the barricade, while Tempi, knowing from the look on Baldric's face, performs a stunning display of acrobatics, retrieving Baldric's rapier and making it look easy.

The three work together to hold off the new horde and rebuild the barricade, while Heimdal finishes off the last of the burned out zoblins in the entry chamber. For a few moments, all is quiet.

Session End

Baldric resolved his bond with Deilwen, deciding that he will no longer be the butt of any jokes after standing shoulder-to-shoulder with him. Baldric's body failed to fend off the foulness carried in the zoblins' bites. He contracted an unknown illness and marked down the Weak debility. Everyone marked experience for learning something new about the world. Later, having learned of the XP-for-missed-rolls rule, I awarded everyone three more experience based on the approximate number of missed rolls everyone endured. I should maybe make it four.

Next up is an all-commentary after action review. I'll reflect on what we were there to accomplish, what actually happened, what worked, what didn't, and why. I might muse a bit on what could happen next.

Dungeon World / The Cast: [AP] Dungeon World over Google Plus
« on: September 23, 2012, 12:44:48 AM »

First Session: The Cast

The following occupied our Dungeon World:

Heimdal the Fighter, Dwarf
  • Look: Short, hard, and calloused. Battered body, battered face, battered armor, battered horn helm
  • Signature Weapon: Heimdal wields a massive ancient warhammer (+forceful +messy +well-crafted), named simply 'the Hammer'
  • Pertinent Details: He found The Hammer deep in the mines. It belonged to a mighty ancient dwarf hero of legend, and Heimdal won many duels in order to keep it. He feels it is his by right, and only he is worthy of wielding it. He now roams the land in search of a worthy opponent. He's bored and reckless and dangerous.
  • Bonds: Heimdal caught Tempi trying to steal The Hammer and spared his life, and therefore reckons Tempi owes him his life. He worries about Baldric's ability to survive in the dungeons, and he inadvertently insulted Deilwen's god.

Deilwen the Cleric, Human
  • Look: Short hair, clean and well-groomed. Average build and kind, lonely eyes.
  • God and Sect: The Faceless One, God of the Downtrodden. His sect is cultish and insular, charged with gaining secrets
  • Pertinent Details: Deilwen doesn't know why he was chosen by The Faceless One, but he was somehow spared when his village was attacked and enslaved (he doesn't remember by what). He feels indebted to his god, but doesn't understand its agenda. He carries as a religious symbol a small stone of rough black onyx. When he channels The Faceless One, it becomes a formless black vapor.
  • Bonds: Deilwen doesn't trust Heimdal after his affront to The Faceless One. He has vowed to keep Tempi safe, despite Tempi being in constant danger.

Baldric the Bard, Human
  • Look: Fiery eyes beneath a wild shock of ruddy hair. He bears leather armor over a fit, jaunty body. He's grimy and doesn't look very "minstrel-ly".
  • Music and Lore: Baldric chants ballads, and carries around a fiddle, never before played. He evades questions about his attachment to it. He knows all about the grand histories of the known world.
  • Pertinent Details: Baldric carries a rapier, preferring cleverness in swordplay as well as in verse. He was born to a stern blacksmith in Mill Town who never approved of his curiosity and fondness for thinking. He fell in love with Pendrell the elf maiden from the nearby Deep Wood, who taught him the bardly arts, among other things, in secret. One day Pendrell stopped coming to meet him; with no reason to stay anymore, he left Mill Town not long afterward.
  • Bonds: Baldric met Tempi on the road near Mill Town, and they've travelled together since, sharing adventures. Recently, they met Heimdal at Nooks Crossing; Baldric had sung songs of Heimdal before they met, and immediately impressed himself upon Heimdal's affairs in order to compose a new ballad about him. He also figures Deilwen a fool, and makes him the butt of every joke.

Tempi the Thief, Halfling
  • Look: Sandy short hair frames gray eyes above a lithe, springy body clad in black.
  • Traps and Poison: Halflings are nomadic gypsy-like merchants, and Tempi learned all about traps from their nightly encampments. He won't say where he mastered the use of Bloodweed Syrum, probably for his own safety.
  • Pertinent Details: Tempi is on the run from big-city creditors of the worst kind. He suspects he was set up as a fall guy by certain members of his caravan, but he has no proof, nor indeed any idea who is culpable or why.
  • Bonds: Pendrell stopped visiting Baldric when Tempi arrived in the area and stole her fickle heart. She still visits Tempi sometimes, and Baldric knows nothing of it. Still, he has Baldric's back when things go wrong, and is irked by the lavish praise and attention Baldric now heaps upon Heimdal.

Now they're all standing outside a goblin warren. What do they do? Find out next!

Dungeon World / Re: 2 revelations on Impending Dooms
« on: September 22, 2012, 10:23:50 AM »
adam I think I've been chasing this same thought around over in blood and guts:

Our timing is funny.

blood & guts / Re: Fronts Glue
« on: September 22, 2012, 10:17:30 AM »
I don't suppose you have a copy?

Also, "element of fiction" makes more sense than "fictional element," now that I think about it.

blood & guts / Re: Fronts Glue
« on: September 21, 2012, 05:31:39 PM »
I bring this up because I find scale in Dungeon World, while useful as an organizing principle, isn't prompting additional ideas for threats the way that scarcities do in Apocalypse World.

I'm looking for that scarcities magic: pick threat --> choose what fictional element it represents --> brainstorm other threats that reflect that element <--> decide how each threat finds expression in the fiction (characters, resources, etc.) --> give it all movement and direction with dark agenda, custom moves, stakes and countdown clocks.

Notice I replaced "fundamental scarcity" with "fictional element" to broaden my perspective. I find I can't just substitute "scale" for "fictional element" and have it work the same way.

For now I think I'll generate fictional elements on the fly based on prompts from the PC's introductions, rather than choosing from a pre-generated list. For example, I'll take the story of The Fighter's signature hammer and the back story I elicited from its player (he found it in the mines, it's a relic of legend, and he had to win many duels to keep it), and think, "what fictional element does this represent?" Let's say "Pride," (in this case his own, and also that of his vanquished rivals). Easy. Pride becomes one of my "fundamental scarcities." I can make fronts about pride all day long.

As long as I guess my players' cues correctly this should work really well, because the story we're telling is then based on the things they've already affirmed interest in.


blood & guts / Fronts Glue
« on: September 20, 2012, 07:41:05 PM »
I notice that in Apocalypse World the elements of a single front are tied together by a fundamental scarcity, while in Dungeon World such elements are tied together by scale (i.e., campaign or adventure).

Sadly, my experience with Apocalypse World hacks stops there. What are some other things you hackers out there are using to glue your fronts together?

I feel like I'm chasing a cool idea but it eludes me. For one thing, I could probably gin up personal-scale fronts for Dungeon World, based on character backstory from their introductions.

It also seems easy enough, intuitively at least, to replace fundamental scarcities with less fundamental somethings (?). Like maybe

Office World
  • Brown-nosing
  • Demoralization
  • Mismanagement
  • Procrastination
  • Ass-covering
  • Spotlighting
  • Backstabbing
  • Blame-shifting

In addition to such simple modifications of the fronts glue I've seen before, I bet there are whole categories of things I haven't thought of that would work. OK, help me chase this down. What new fronts glue can you think of, and for what kinds of stories?

Apocalypse World / Re: [AP] The Silo
« on: September 20, 2012, 11:26:20 AM »
I played October. This was a blast. The opening scene made my whole day. In mechanical terms, it went like this: Arresting Skinner ---> Artful and Gracious (weak hit)--> "Corey must have my services" --> Bigs sex show finale with Corey --> Skinner Special (auto 10+ on Hypnotic) --> Victory strut.

Later I enjoined Corey to return to the Family, ostensibly because he should be with the people who've taken care of him all these years, but actually so I could have him keep an eye on fellow faithful Lion for me. Lion wants something exclusive with Lena, which goes against her beliefs, and I lust after Lion for reasons unexplained. Incidentally, we'd established during introductions that Corey was Lena's least favorite follower because he asks uncomfortable questions, but she keeps him around for his mother Elizabeth, who has been vapid and unflinchingly loyal to the Family.

So yeah, we've begun a cultural battle over the moral implications of sex.

The MC part of me can't wait to see what Valentine does next, while the Player part of me dreads it.

Apocalypse World / Re: Co-MCing
« on: September 20, 2012, 11:09:46 AM »
I just joined in giving this a try last night, and it worked rather well. Introductions themselves snowballed a lot with three MCs asking questions of each player. We also had a moment of pause while we considered how to divvy up established NPCs for our respective fronts, but then we decided that an lone NPC could represent more than one threat on more than one front, so we're just nabbing them for whatever we feel like. I for one plan to leave alone NPCs that are close to my PC, because that just seems like good common sense, but we didn't discuss that specifically. In play I look forward to seeing whether these multi-threat NPCs act cohesively over time, or whether everyone in our Apocalypse is a schizophrenic.

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