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Messages - strongbif

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Apocalypse World / Re: Ask Questions! ("Get the ball rolling" edition)
« on: September 05, 2012, 09:09:08 PM »
One of my favorite ones (for any playbook) is "who do you rely on the most?"

EDIT: I mused more about provocative questions over on this thread.

Apocalypse World / Re: Ask Questions! ("Get the ball rolling" edition)
« on: September 04, 2012, 11:12:06 PM »
Yeah, that's fantastic. That's how I pray every game of AW will go.

Apocalypse World / Re: narrating outcomes.
« on: September 04, 2012, 07:09:54 PM »
It's fine to clarify intent in the pre-roll stage ("Okay so you're telling him all about how dangerous the mutants are, but is that because you're trying to get him on your side or what?"), but that's the limit of it.

This is what I was talking about when I said that. Usually it's clear what the player wants to accomplish when s/he picks up the dice. If it's not I ask questions until it is, before any roll is made. On 10+, that thing is accomplished, and I consider its consequences (intended and otherwise) and proceed. I guess in this case replace "preferred outcome" with "intention" if it helps.

In your example, "I convince him to fight with my gang against the mutants" leads to me saying "cool, what do you do (or say) to convince them?"

Apocalypse World / Table of Contents: [AP] Every day is Apocalypse World day
« on: September 04, 2012, 05:40:06 PM »
This is an outline now, but as I post more it will become a table of contents.

I ran one session of Apocalypse World each day of PAX. The first and second sessions were with the same players, who all came back the next day to see what would happen next. The third session was with new players except one, who played an NPC from the previous two sessions, elevating her to a PC in an awesome way.

  • First Session (3 hours)
    • Cast of characters
    • Introductions and Hx
    • Following them around
  • Second Session (5+ hours)
    • Rapid-fire Fronts creation
    • Resolving the cliffhanger
    • Driver's dilemma
    • Playing "kick the Hocus"
    • Longview
    • The Tower
    • Aftermath
    • Fronts mini-workshop for the curious
  • Third Session (3 hours)
    • Cast of Characters
    • Introductions and Hx
    • Politics
    • Violence
    • What we would have done next if we had more time
  • Summary and remarks
  • Appendices: "What does the maelstrom look like to you?"

Apocalypse World / Re: narrating outcomes.
« on: September 04, 2012, 03:58:04 PM »
I let characters narrate some outcomes, especially if the outcome is very definite: the PC very much got the local doc into the sack, very much killed the local doc, etc.  Rather than narrating yet another NPC death (or seduction), I hand it over to the player to say how it happened.  It gives them a chance to detail what their character is about.  It's meaningful if Wembley dodges and weaves and dances about before landing the perfect blow, vs. leaping on the doc with a scream and beating his skull into paste.  It's meaningful if Wembley engages in a playful romp and some pillow talk, instead of just dropping trou and squeezing his eyes shut until the doc is done.

In this case though you still determine what the outcome is, you're just allowing your player to elaborate, and s/he still does that "from within their character's experience and frame of reference."

EDIT: the quote comes from John Harper's article.

Apocalypse World / Re: Ask Questions! ("Get the ball rolling" edition)
« on: September 04, 2012, 02:01:31 PM »
I like these very much.

Apocalypse World / Re: narrating outcomes.
« on: September 04, 2012, 02:00:11 PM »
Can you point to a specific example? In most cases in my experience players narrate their preferred outcome before rolling the dice and get that on 10+, or else I clarify that with them once the dice are cast if necessary.

Remember that after every move you ask "what do you do?". So, regardless of the outcome, their reaction and/or follow-through is theirs to determine and express. Could that be what you're hearing and reading about?

Oh, man I'd love to have seen that.

Did we meet at GoD? I sent you a PM.

I had the pleasure of MC'ing Apocalypse World on every day of PAX Prime. Who wants to hear about it? Consider this a placeholder. I'll do the AP writeup once I'm settled into my routine again.

Here's a teaser of one of my many favorite moments:

During Hx, the Skinner's player looks at the Hocus's player and says matter-of-factly, "your guy's in love with me." The Hocus, taken aback, says, "that goes against everything I believe [uncertain pause] ... so I keep it a secret."

EDIT: If you want a head start, read this description of the Apocalypse World I presented to my players at PAX.

Apocalypse World / Re: Ethics as provocative question fodder.
« on: August 28, 2012, 11:44:14 PM »
Excellent point; I hadn't considered that.

This mostly came about in response to my need to cut right to the chase for con demo play at PAX. I needed to think up questions that help me bring situations to a boil much quicker than I'm used to*.

I like that it also works for evaluating player/PC tendencies.

*For example: "Whom do you care about most, and why? Whom do you rely upon most, and why? Who (relies on|cares about) you the most, and why? What do you think about that person? What conviction do you demonstrate/enforce despite taking heat for it, and why? Who gives you heat for it, and why? What do you do that you're kind of ashamed of, and why? What can't you stand about (important NPC|other PC), and why? What should (you|important NPC|other PC|everyone) (avoid|pursue) at all costs, and why?" Normally I'd suss these out spontaneously over several sessions, but for Games on Demand I plan to spread these questions around at character introductions. Also this awesome trick:

Apocalypse World / Ethics as provocative question fodder.
« on: August 22, 2012, 10:49:04 PM »
My technical communication class briefly reviewed ethical considerations today (as they pertain to making recommendations in analytical reports, but who cares?) and a couple things lit up my brain parts about Apocalypse World so here it is:

When making decisions we weigh priorities in three categories,

  • Anticipated Consequences
  • Values/Convictions (independent of consequences)
  • Obligations

Each category can hold all kinds of ideas, specific or abstract. The key word in all this is priorities. We may all value safety, prosperity, and personal freedom, for example, but we might prioritize them differently.

For asking provocative questions, this comes in pretty handy. If I'm stuck for ideas I can just pick two categories, or two ideas within one category, or two ideas within different categories (the boundaries are blurry anyway), and ask the character which is more important. Note that I can ask provocative questions implicitly by putting someone in a spot or offering a hard bargain, or probably other moves I haven't thought of, which is to say I misdirect as instructed by the principles.

Example? OK.

Does Boxer prioritize Lala (his lover to whom he is obligated) over his oft-stated conviction that everyone must pull their own weight around here (a value)? Does he prioritize Lala's happiness over that of Shazza, his chief lieutenant (conflicting obligations)? Does he prioritize Lala's safety over preventing a neighboring hold from attacking (obligation vs. anticipated consequence)?

For some of you this may seem obvious, and we probably all do it intuitively anyway. Yet here I am posting about it just in case.

Summary: when asking provocative questions, sometimes try to clarify the character's competing priorities and make him choose between them. The closer they compete, the better.

Apocalypse World / Re: Running AW at Games on Demand at PAX - advice?
« on: August 18, 2012, 02:32:28 PM »
Here's a run-down of my Apocalypse World starting out. Note that I stole some ideas from AP threads here, so thanks.

Welcome to The Valley, a string of hardholds along a seepage-contaminated river, at least when droughts don't make it a sludge-lined dry riverbed. In the golden age of legend this place was fertile and moist and fresh. Now sometimes it's hot, bright, parched and dusty; sometimes it's fetid, stagnant, stinking, rusty, and swollen. It's too hot for ice run-off, so water only comes from frequent severe thunderstorms and hurricanes. Water is a dubious blessing, as often death as it is life.

Reference Map, (not to scale).

The Mountains form the western horizon. No one who's ventured to the mountains has ever returned. Far to the southwest a beacon sometimes glimmers from the top of a ridge, apparently with no pattern. This has formed the basis for cults with various interpretations of the beacon's spiritual significance.

The River flows down from the mountain creating the only arable land for miles. Hardholds are scattered along both sides of the river. The Old Canal and the river form a natural barrier to The Ruins of an old city.

The Tip was a pit mine, then a landfill before the apocalypse. Now it alternates between water reservoir and salvage site. Southeastern storms and hurricanes swell the river and fill the tip, which in turn leaches into the ground water and river, causing food grown in the valley to smell like garbage. Shazza runs a crew of salvage "supervisors" to mine the tip for useful refuse using slave labor. She's one of Jackabacka's biggest customers.

Longview is a high tower perched atop the highest nearby ridge, creating a vantage point for spotting anyone crossing the desolate craggy valley. Jackabacka dispatches crews of raiders for the purpose of kidnapping the unwary, "elevating" them to the status of "undercrew" and selling them in slave auctions. Slaves are sometimes ransomed back to their hardholder, sometimes handed over to Shazza or even a rival hardholder. Slaves no one will pay for are offered to the cannibals of the glass desert. Longview can't grow food and slave labor is its only export.

The Toll Bridge is Dustwich's holding, unique because it controls the only bridge into the ruined city. His crews patrol the city for salvage and competitors, and trade both in a bustling market near the bridge. Rare or valuable things usually present themselves only at the toll bridge, and only for absurd prices. Would-be salvagers can pay a huge fee for access to the city, but will probably end up ambushed anyway. Dustwhich's crew also patrols the eastern river and canal to make sure the bridge is the only way into the city.

Places no one goes include North, where venturers inevitably fall ill and die, the Swampy Delta, guarded by insular and brutal swamp people, and The Glass Desert, where somehow roving bands of cannibals survive to menace the valley.

Apocalypse World / Re: Running AW at Games on Demand at PAX - advice?
« on: August 18, 2012, 01:32:19 PM »
Well, my "shift" is 6 hours, but I don't know how high demand would be for using the whole 6 hours for Apocalypse World. So I'd probably end up doing a 3-hour game, which is a bit awkward. I like the idea of breaking it up, but I don't know if I'll have enough time.

I suppose I could take a 5 minute break, develop like two fronts and then pick the one that inspires me the most and lean on it exclusively for the second hour and a half, with front 2 as a back-up. Very focused.

I think I'll offer the first group the full range of playbooks, then if I run it again the second group can choose from among the ones the first group passed on, and so forth.

Apocalypse World / Running AW at Games on Demand at PAX - advice?
« on: August 16, 2012, 03:56:49 PM »
Hey folks,
Does anyone have advice for running AW as a one-shot most effectively?

For one thing, I'm thinking about offering fewer than the full range of basic playbooks, to speed up character creation, offer me a more predictable starting situation, and allow me to run more than one con sessions with one set of printed books (by running the next ones with the excluded sets). Any thoughts about this?

I know AW works best when relationships and situations have time to ferment across sessions, but how do I approximate that adequately in just one? Or do I even need to?

In general, how can I give the curious newcomer the best possible Apocalypse World experience in one session? How should I modify my approach to the tools I have (Principles and MC Moves, etc.)?


Apocalypse World / Re: New custom move for transient PCs
« on: July 26, 2012, 05:20:47 PM »
Hmm.. mid-session love letters could be interesting. I could hand one out when triggered by in-fiction cues or at the tail end of a bathroom break. I could choose which player gets it and spread them out over time. I could refrain from handing one out. I could tailor them- say, to a specific PC or even fictional cue, like, Someone at The Plaza is looking for you. Tell the MC...

It's almost like a custom move that starts with, When the MC feels like it...

Might be too far down the rabbit hole, though.

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