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Messages - hobbesque

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Apocalypse World / Re: Interesting Place Names
« on: May 23, 2013, 11:07:27 AM »
We're playing in our own city (greater Boston area, mostly Somerville/Cambridge). So far place names have been based on actual locales, but reinterpreted by post-apocalyptic locals.

Jinx! Us too.

Ours is a cold apocalypse where survivors huddled in underground "cores" which formed the center of many of the current-day settlements. There's "the Yard" (Harvard Yard), inhabited by Yardies, run by someone bearing the inherited title of "Conductor" ever since ex-MBTA employees came on top in a power dispute. Nearby, the PC Chopper Lobster has converted a boathouse in to his own holding, the "Lobster Pot." There's "the Beaverhold" centered around MIT (whose school animal is the Beaver). The neo-neo-classical "Romulus" rules out of Government Center (an actual name of a T-stop). "Lady Belmont" rules feudal-style from the ex-suburb of that name (specifically the McLean hospital). South of the frozen Charles river (just "the river"), the Sox tribes live in "the Fens" (actual modern nickname), brutalizing outsiders and each other with wooden clubs.

The Regiment / Re: The Regiment: Colonial Marines
« on: May 23, 2013, 10:39:13 AM »
If you wanted to make the Xeno's beefier, you could also have each one count for multiple enemies – so a fireteam vs. a single warrior is an "even" fight.

I really like this new thing! My excitement for the Regiment is generally disproportionate to the likelihood that I'll convince my local gaming group to play it, but I expect I might have more luck with Aliens than Saving Private Ryan.

Liiive, damn you, liiiive!

I came back to my notes recently and have largely finished a version that I like (full credit to everyone else for most of the work; my major contribution is a take on network similar to the hoard, since that's what I decided I liked best). I'll post it in a day or two once I get done fiddling.

DWeird: I like Market Forces a lot, but I'm not 100% on the third option (“someone pays a debt...”) because it seems unconnected to the lead in (“name someone who doesn’t owe you, but should...”). It should either be replaced with something better or nuked, and then on a hit, the first one is true (someone needs your help) and on a strong hit no-one demands anything.

Unless it’s supposed to represent your general douchebaggery (market forces are always in play; you get to choose whether you're paying your people for marginal benefits provided, getting jingle back without fuss, or putting someone in a useful spot) and you name someone up front just so there’s a referent if you pick the last option? I actually like that quite a bit, so maybe that's the crux you were fond of.

The other question is what do you do if no-one owes you (probably, let us be honest, because it's only the first session) or if a PC is the one who owes you, or whatever, but that probably doesn't have to be in the move, it can be in the "notes" section. Vincent allowed himself some off-charsheet explanatory wordcount, so we can too.

Monsterhearts / Re: Managing a 2nd season
« on: March 21, 2013, 01:15:29 PM »
Fair enough! It sounds like you're more interested in b than c and d and we have disagreements about d and f. :P About the same net effect vis e.

RE: graduating. I like it, and obviously we aren't going to force our friends to play a character they don't want to, but retirement is a Season advance. I never really thought about it because even in AW, where "Woo you get to live out your days in relative safety!" is sort of a big win, it's never seemed attractive to me as a player (I wanna play!). This might be a different thread, but it's interesting to think about that being freely available between seasons and how it changes things (for starters, might as well ignore retirement as a season advance).

Monsterhearts / Re: Selkie's skin from other playbooks
« on: March 21, 2013, 01:09:21 PM »
Ah, you're quite right. To clarify: I don't consider them inextricably linked, but if someone wanted to take one with an advance, I'd offer them the other one for free if they were actually going for the Seelie feel. I feel like this is cool for the reasons stated above, plus the fact that the Seelie skins gets both plus one more at chargen, but I wanted to check my thinking.

If you were a player who wanted a some Seelie in their Witch/Fae whatever, would you feel sad you had to take both move separately to get the full package? If you were another player at the table, would you feel like that was too much fiction-control for the cost of one advance?

Here it is!

When you offer promises instead of payment, roll +hot: On a 10+, they're down with it, you gain 1-debt for each point of barter you're short, and you're on your merry way. On a 7-9, same thing, only they want something more: a favor, a little something something, or a bigger debt than the value you're receiving. On a miss, no dice, and you've pissed them off.

When somebody owes you, you are always considered to have leverage when you manipulate them, and you may choose to roll +debt against them instead of +hot.

When you're in debt, at the start of each session roll +debt (if you owe more than one person then just roll the highest, you deadbeat). On a 10+, they're looking for the full value, right now, and they'll do whatever they can to extract it from you. On a 7-9, they're willing to let it slide for a bit longer, but they're going to want something for their trouble: a favor, a little something something, or maybe a down payment. On a miss, they've got other things on their mind, but they'll get around to you eventually.

You know I'm good for it: (Operator playbook move) whenever you offer promises instead of payment, you always succeed as though you had rolled a 10+. If you attempt to use this move on somebody you already owe a debt, you are acting under fire.

I like that pretty well. You help people (doesn't say whether they asked for or wanted it!) and get to take their stuff. Maybe take out the "if they want it" clause, at the very least in reference to the person you helped - that way, you can always spemd it to get a 10+ on manipulate, thus giving alternate over-PC leverage.

There were some cool debt moves someone made, including a custom operator move that could just be an Abacus move instead. I'll link to them here when I have time later if no-one beats me to it.

If you could tie it in to when other playbooks end up with Wants (or whatever). Perverse incentives for the Abacus to interfere with other player's beginning-of-session moves (that would make me hate the Abacus, but also make them maybe too useful to just kill on sight).

Maybe "Other players may call for your help with a Want; you get to pick one (They owe you money, you assume some of their powerbase, etc)."

Monsterhearts / Selkie's skin from other playbooks
« on: March 20, 2013, 09:34:49 AM »
The Selkie has two moves linked to her skin: One lets them swim like the dickens (including swimming away forever) and one lets them have it be stolen from them to force them to do favors (for which they get strings and bonuses).

Am I right in thinking the two are split for elegance's sake, and that another skin (i.e, a Witch – "I made it with a ritual!" – or a Fae "I am a spirit of the ocean!") who took one with an advance could reasonably get the other for free? They seem kind of sad when separated, and given that one is a limited-applicability power and the other is an excuse to be messed with it doesn't seem h4x.

(Obviously Joe isn't going to lead-pipe me in a dark alley if I Choose Poorly, but I thought I'd poll the crowd.)

Monsterhearts / Managing a 2nd season
« on: March 19, 2013, 05:17:43 PM »
So me and my friends finished an awesome season of Monster Hearts. We tore up the place, defeated ancient evil, and stretched the "last session" suggested by Season Advances to 2 or 3.

We want to come back to these characters, but we were hesitant to just play them as they were, long on power and short on further advancement options. We wanted them to have room to grow again after they got back from summer vacation.

I wrote (this draft) of these rules so that we can play a second season a) while feeling more powerful than starting characters, b) without losing all our sense of progress, and c) allowing some flexibility to reshape our characters while still d) maintaing the feeling of young, and therefore not super-competent, characters, e) providing enough mechanical (and therefore fictional) support to further growth and f) maintaining a sense of continuity.  Here's what I've got.

NB: This doesn't address strings. Yet(?).

When you come back from summer vacation…

Take a blank copy of the Skin that you ended the season as. Act as if you're starting afresh, for the most part (your Name, Look, and Origin probably haven't changed, but then again, they might have). You can redistribute your +1 stat if you want.

Select five advances, including a Season advance if you want.

If you changed your skin last season, it's a little different. Keep the starting stat line of your original skin (but you can still change your +1). Select any 5 of the normal advances (no Season advance), and you can use the "Take another [Current Skin] move" advance to take a Move from your old skin, if you want.

You may want to mark your 5 starting advances a little differently than you normally do, so you can keep track of when this season ends (see below).

After you've done all that, add 3 more advancement options to your skin:

_  Take another [Current Skin] move.
_  Take a move from another Skin.
_  Add 1 to any stat (Max 3).

Then begin the season. The Season Advances open up again, and signal the end of the season, after someone gains 5 more advances (10 in total).

I still think dice need to come in or else you can create overly deterministic and/or steady states.

Maybe a mechanic like the Hoarder (or, elsewhere on this board, the Turncoat)? Your Network has attributes, one of which is Arrears (arrears doesn't actually make the most sense in this context, but whatever). Bad Stuff goes up when you use your Network's assets. At the beginning of session, GM rolls +Arrears, gains hold to mess with you.

(Do you guys know what I'm talking about? Troubles of LE playbooks...).

I like the fictional descriptions you've added to all of your Network options, Hidersine. That's one of the things that I liked about Dweird's original writeup: all of it provides fictional hooks, both in terms of leverage and trouble.

However, I don't think we should discard the dice mechanic just because other playbooks use it. Followers and Wealth are pretty similar, but they have very different feels because the Hocus is different from the Hardholder and they could both totally be in the same game without it being a problem.

The other reason the "payoff/payoff and some trouble/all the trouble" moves are great is because of that line at the end of how you have the Network written:  If a component of your network becomes contested... Contested says who? The MC is supposed to throw fuckery your way, but as both MC and player I like the dice to come in to help disclaim decision making.

For example: The first session opens with Key showing up at your door, needing you to cover up her indiscretions with a dead boy or a live mutant. Oh, and it's also Jonathan's favorite boy/mutant, and your position with him is now in jeopardy. That sounds like a great scene! But as the MC, I'd be reluctant to drop that much hammer and as a player, I might feel put upon if that much hammer was dropped on me – unless a miss was rolled on Businessman, fair and square.

That being said, I think I'd put in on all of the gig-options from my list stuff like "as long as you hide their little indiscretions (not so little), +Technical work" and so on. And then have Businessman have something like "instead of or in addition to catastrophe on a gig, the MC may have one of your contacts come to you with (as) a problem." I'd probably also change the Upkeep-to-trouble mechanic to be "For every Barter less than your upkeep you pay, gain 1-Arrears. Every session, the MC gets hold equal to your Arrears that they may spend, 1 for 1, to either make a vulnerability pressing or have one of your contacts come to you with (as) a problem. You can buy off Arrears with an equal amount of Barter."

Per DWierd's instructions and nerdwerd's suggestion, here's what I might do to the Abacus.

A starting Abacus gets Businessman and 1 other move.

Businessman: as per Moonlighting (with 2-juggling and gigs as defined by your Network) but every time you roll, pay Upkeep. If you don't, pick one vulnerability which is most pressing (rather than just extant). If you miss two payments in a row, well, I guess they're all "most pressing."

note: Some of the vulnerabilities take a little mental massaging to fit in the context of a Network (rather than a gang, hardhold, or followers), but only a little. As usual you have a vulnerability go off twice, it's extra fucking true (also, if your people are idle or deserting, who's working your gigs, your own sweet self?).


By default, your network is a loose-knit group of castaways and cutouts. Upkeep 1-barter, +desertion.

Choose 2 for your bread-and-butter and day-to-day.

You've got a rare contact (Milk) for something luxe or rare, like weapons, drugs, or transportation. +Making Deliveries (1-barter/bushwhacked).

You've got two no-nonsense enforcers (Vega and Ezekiel). +Enforcement (1-barter/overthrown).

You've got an understanding with the local warlord (Jonathan) that you're the gatekeeper of something necessary, like food, medicine, or gear. +Honest Work (1-barter/impoverished).

You've got a front or a patsy (Quentin). +Making Deals (1-barter/shut out).

You've got cachet and an envoy (Trigger) with the distant looming threat (Greer's gang). +Raiding (1-barter/embattled).

Your network is loyal (or maybe they just have nowhere else to go). If aren't paying them, though, they still need to eat. -Desertion, +Idle.

Your people are the best, and they know it, the bastards. Take +1 ongoing to Businessman, Upkeep +1-barter.

Your people are the dregs and the desperate, but you only have to pay for what you get. Take -1 ongoing to Businessman, Upkeep -1-barter.

Choose 1 for your big earners (who else wants in?):

A real whiz, maybe a mechanic (Grass) or a sawbones (Key). +Technical work (2-barter/Shut Out).

A pimp or madame (Dust) and their primo tail (Grace, June, Frost). +Fucking (2-barter/entangled).

A no-nonsense tracker (Jaim) and their sharp-eyed, long-rifled gang. +Compound defense (2-barter/inflitrated).

Some slick hired killers (Cloud and Feather). +Doing Murders (3-barter/embattled), +Reprisals.

Choose 1 for your problems (or Choose 2 and +1 juggling if your ambition exceeds your resources):

You owe a shark (Mercer – for startup costs, recent expansion, expensive tastes?) and they aren't patient about it. +Paying debts (you keep up with them/they come due).

You didn't get where you are without seriously pissing off someone connected (or pissing off someone seriously connected – either way, it's Chack). +Avoiding someone (you keep well clear/they catch you in a bad spot).

You rely heavily on following or appearing to follow a code when you do business (what is it?). +Maintaining your honor (you keep your word and your name/you cross a line).

Choose 1 for your people's totally manageable shortcomings:

They're always ready to ditch for greener pastures. +desertion

They regard you as the lynchpin. +judgement

They have other shit that takes precedence if you aren't paying. +idle

They're assholes. +reprisals

They have seriously split loyalties (or at least someone thinks they should). +obligation.

Apparently your inbox is full! But I would like that very much. I've temporarily un-hidden my e-mail address in my profile.

I'm glad to hear it's been working in play. What sort of party did you end up with, and what sort of adventures?

There's some great stuff here! I've been playing a Star Wars game in Strands of Fate and not digging it, and AWE hacking was probably the next step for my group. I'd love to see anything else you've got; even if I end up going in another direction, it'll definitely save me some wheel-reinventing. I'm particularly curious which other iconic things you turned in to playbooks.

In general with the moves and stats, I'm trying to figure out how to make them more SW and less AW. "Seize by force" and "Go aggro," are, to me, very tied in with my idea of AW-style violence, which is very different from SW-style violence. Likewise, I don't think of most of the SW protagonists who are good at violence as "Hard" (well, maybe Mace Windu).

What are SW heroes? Some of them are Attuned, so that's definitely good. Bold, maybe. Cool might still work, or Slick. Suave, if you wanted to distinguish "good in a tight spot" versus "charming" (Han Solo is both, Ep.IV Luke is maybe the first).

I might make the +1 ongoing(!)/+1 Forward aspect of Trust in the Force a Force Move, just because it's really good on a strong hit. Also, making it explicit how even Han Solo can Trust In the Force (even though he wouldn't call it that), perhaps with a change in the move-triggering language or the move name ("trust your instincts," ferex).

In general I like the idea that people who aren't of the two Jedi playbooks could easily Jedi-ify between "take another playbook's move" and a decent starting Attuned (which is thematically similar, I'm told, to how the latest d20 Star Wars game played it, where anyone Class could be Jedi-ish/force sensitive, but you took the Jedi classes and Force feats if you wanted to specialize in or emphasize that sort of thing).

You should probably tweak the looks and such. I can't personally imagine a Jedi Consular in leather wear (but perhaps you can. :P). Maybe a "race" entry, also: "an ancient race, a lizard race, a furred race, a human (or nearly) race, droid."

The names, also, might do with some more tweaking. I'm sure there's a database of minor character canon names somewhere, and/or, and/or Monsterhearts-style lists, where they give you a few options and then also describe the categories they're going for ("A sibilant name, a soft-sounding name, a name full of consonants").

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