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Messages - Ariel

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brainstorming & development / Re: Apocalypse Warhammer
« on: June 17, 2010, 05:19:21 AM »

Maybe it's own thread in Hacks? Cause I'm feeling like is a discussion about the Madness Meter and not WH40K anymore.

brainstorming & development / Re: Apocalypse Warhammer
« on: June 17, 2010, 04:17:31 AM »
Moving this discussion to Bulwark, cause it's not really about Warhammer 40k anymore!

brainstorming & development / Re: Thoughts on BSG moves
« on: June 17, 2010, 04:13:00 AM »
I'm not sure the Galactica is a Hardhold so much as the Home Front. The other ships are hardholds. The the Viper pilots and Marines are Gangs. As I see it Adama is a Battlebabe.

Eschaton / Re: New Stat: Status
« on: June 17, 2010, 03:51:11 AM »
Whenever you invoke an ancient contract roll +status. On a 10+ pick 3. On a 7-9 pick 1. On a miss, you invoked the wrong deal, sucker.

  • You know a secret clause or loophole
  • The cost is not dear or is easily fulfilled
  • The sanctions aren't severe
  • The penalties for a breach are not high
  • You know all that's expected of you

I'm not really a fan of the hold+1 moves beyond 'when another PC helps you,' but that's just me. If you ever use this move, it's a fine addition.

blood & guts / Re: The Adaptability of AW
« on: June 16, 2010, 04:13:18 PM »
The game invites you, out-of-the-box, to do two things: Make up a setting with everyone at the table and do some hacking (custom moves for Fronts).  It tells you how and gives you some examples. So right there, the game can work or a wide variety of settings with zero hacking, or maybe changing the names of some of the gear. That's it.

Then you have the realization that you had: If I'm already making custom Moves and the settings, then I can probably drift and hack the other stuff real easy. This because Vx has already given us the form of the rules without too much content. That content is play. Not to mention that the rules are dead simple and not really subject to balance. PCs that have a ton of advancement (say, even past the Ungiven Future) aren't overpowered, just unwieldy. I mean if you had a gang, a hardhold and followers, that's a lot going on but not overpowered.

Eschaton / Re: New Stat: Status
« on: June 16, 2010, 05:42:16 AM »
Sanction, cost and penalties are all slightly different in my mind. The Sanctions are things that you can't do, the Costs are things you must sacrifice, pay or do and the Penalties are the shit that rains down when you don't hold up your end of the bargain. The clauses are small but specific 'wiggle room'. Exceptions really.

As to the 'who cares if I break it,' lots of people, and not just humans either.

"You're the fucker who screwed the Scarlet Prince of Blood out of his due. Me and the Baron of Crows here owe him a favour and I think I know just how to repay him."

Eschaton / Re: New Stat: Status
« on: June 16, 2010, 05:03:31 AM »
You're spot on. The first "make a pledge" move is super weak and IMHO shitty. John's advice was right; it needed a list.

The second move is my taking that into account. Thus, one should ignore the make and pledge and focus on the invoke an ancient contract.

As for examples, I imagine that humanity's standing with the world is a matter of adhering to ancient and primordial dealings with various aspects of reality. Everything has a kind of spirit or kami. Much of the original contracts are either forgotten or taken for granted (the air lets you breath, the water quenches you thirst, &c.) Thus, there exists a whole ton of unwritten and often metaphysically legalistic dealings that not every knows about. That's the fundamentals of 'magic' and 'ritual' in the setting. However, I have no interest in writing in all in detail before hand. So, the players get to invoke ancient contracts with various elements, spirits and people to serve as a kind of magic. But it's very much 'there's no free lunch.'

Say, as a player, you really need to climb a wall. What was that momma said about being descendant of from spiders or they owing your House a favour? "I invoke the ancient pledge of the Spiders to my House that has yet to be repaid! Lend me your claws, Queen of the Arachnid!' Make the roll and you can climb surfaces like a spider for awhile. But it'll cost you and you'll have to hold up you end of the bargain, or else.

This could also work with human NPCs, too. There is a vast and complicated system of contracts, pledges, oaths and titles that exist already. It's merely a matter of calling on them. It's not without its complications, however.

Again, the if you do it, do it, comes into play.

Eschaton / Re: New Stat: Status
« on: June 15, 2010, 11:33:10 PM »
It's a list:

Whenever you invoke an ancient contract roll +status. On a 10+ pick 3. On a 7-9 pick 1. On a miss, don't pick any.

  • There are clauses only you know about
  • You know of all the clauses
  • The cost is not dear
  • The sanctions aren't severe
  • The penalties for a breach are not high

Eschaton / Re: New Stat: Status
« on: June 15, 2010, 05:19:16 PM »
It does need a list really: 10+ should be pick 3, 7-9 pick 1 or 2, miss don't pick any. When I think of a good list, I'll post it up.

brainstorming & development / Re: Apocalypse Warhammer
« on: June 15, 2010, 05:04:01 PM »
Negotiated Stakes is really poor word choice on my part. Sorry for that. I meant that you might take about it with the Players first before you set its condition. Talking with the Players about their characters helps me find where they're not in control. You're right that it shouldn't be their choice as to what the conditions are. The MC should present them as tempting but damning; both mechanically and in the fiction.

They'd be like the count down timers for Fronts, except they'd be for PCs explicitly. I suppose a list of generic one would work too. Understandably, it would fit better with the other design themes of AW if it was a premade list or package with a few hard choices.

I don't see the "madness meter" as a player Move, or even so much as a parallel Harm meter but as a micro-Front. So that the custom moves, countdown clock and description are all compressed into one thing. While the player is getting a few extra moves, it should be constantly providing opportunities for the MC to make hard moves and advance the fiction.

What I like about it is that each PC becomes a Front in their own right. Both to themselves and to the other PCs. Mechanically it's all out in the open but it's more hidden in the fiction. I think it could create the right kind of tension with the group.

Eschaton / New Stat: Status
« on: June 15, 2010, 07:49:47 AM »

Roll +status whenever you demand service or respect according to your station or standing.

   On a 10+, they totally fall in line.

   On a 7-9, they fall in line, but you or the MC choose one:
  • You've lost face in the eyes of you peers
  • The loyalty of those below you is shaken
  • Those above you doubt your ability to govern
  • It breeds contempt
  • You don't have jurisdiction is this instance, so it'll cost you

   On a miss, they don't owe you shit.

Roll +status whenever you enter into a contract, pledge or covenant. One's word and name are all one is. As such, these are metaphysically binding. Breaking them begets fuckery.

   On a 10+, there are loopholes or clauses in your favour

   On a 7-9, it's binding

   On a miss, there are loopholes or clauses that are definitely not in your favour

Also, based on your status score, you'll have a small number of mostly loyal attendants, serfs, slaves, concubines, handmaidens, wards &c. Somewhere between 0-10. Not quite a gang in the Chopper sense but a number of useful NPCs the PCs will be responsible for.

The ideal came to be when reading some commentary on Genji's Tale, wherein when a courtier was doing something sneaky or private and thus going it 'alone' he'd have at least two or three attendants with him. TWO OR THREE. My list of names is going to be huge.

This might be a strata thing and not a stat in it's own right but I feel that if the PCs want a group bigger than 10 or so, they can pick up the Chopper, Hocus or Hardholder kits.

Eschaton / Shit son, I'm working on stuff.
« on: June 15, 2010, 07:30:37 AM »
Yep. Basically, Bulwark is taking all those half-baked axioms in dungeon-punk games like D&D, L5R and other stuff besides seriously. It's not going for some kinda Harn-esque realism but I'll say it again: for every instance of EPIC replace with GRITTY MAGICAL (SUR)REALISM. I have some ideas for the setting, it's ontology and social structure but they're less important. That's like the details of the apocalypse in AW it's more or less important. Shit's built to drift. Monster, magic, castes and clergy; these things have social and political ramifications. By way of example: if you can heal people pretty well with magic (especial disease and such) you'd have a population explosion. Also, slavery was pretty much they way of things for a long time. I don't mean that particular racialized brand of American slavery that came into being sometime in the 1700s but something more ancient and feudal. As a medieval studies prof once put it to me: everyone lived in varying degrees of un-freedom.  That's not in D&D. Moreover, where is the sympathetic magic and the kinds of metaphysics and ontologies that don't assume a germ theory of contagion or vital humors and demons aren't the best way to understand how the body works.

It's the kind of setting and hack that asks what if you had a bunch of attendants, a healing potion, a sword, few charms, and there were demons and worse trying tear apart your little bit of terra firma? What if they was just enough good health and food but not enough space and too many people? What about those people at the edges of the map about to fall off into the darkest abyss? What would you do and how much blood and fire and black powder would it take for you to quit?

On the outside it's all demons and monsters and bleakness and on the inside it's all crowds and slavery and hopelessness. You're not really sure where one starts and the other ends.

That's kinda how I see Bulwark.

brainstorming & development / Re: Apocalypse Warhammer
« on: June 15, 2010, 05:05:38 AM »
It'd look something like:

(x) Leaked information to the Cult of Shadows

Move: Preternatural Calm: Roll +weird instead of +cool when you act under fire to hide something. Or it could be like: Other players always fail (or -2 or &c) to read a person on you, never mind NPCs figuring out what you're up to.

Redeem: Confess your betrayal. 

() Attend one of their Rituals.

It seems a little involved, both fictionally and mechanically. Although, I almost like it better than regular advancement.

brainstorming & development / Re: Apocalypse Warhammer
« on: June 15, 2010, 04:52:58 AM »
I think 'crazy' is a often abused concept in RPGs. Actual madness isn't really that fun or interesting. Both as a sociology student and in my personal life, I can say that the lived experiences of things like depression and anxiety disorders brought on by trauma, often subtle, aren't things you'd typically role-play. They certainly aren't empowering or beneficial in anyway. Moreover, having a stat for that doesn't do it any kind of justice. It's something that needs to be addressed in fiction, apart from the mechanics.

However, I think something like for each of the five (is it six?) countdown stages you could have negotiated stakes for each one. The death spiral is going to be different for every character. Making them almost like Beliefs in Burning Wheel could work well.

Thus, stage one of corruption could be a cold-blooded murder, turning your back on a friend, or aborting a child. Whatever. Then, if the player is decided to cross that line, then they and the MC negotiate or up the stakes in regards to that path. There should be significant mechanical rewards for going down it. Maybe a new custom move. Also, the MC should get the move Whenever a character gives into temptation, make as hard a Move as you like can.

There should also be hard but clear conditions for redemption. Again, set like Stakes.

brainstorming & development / Re: Apocalypse Warhammer
« on: June 15, 2010, 02:51:43 AM »
I was also think about a parallel Harm meter that tracked something like Sin, Corruption, Madness &c. Not unlike the Madness meter in CoC or Dark Side points, it would be a kind of Faustian bargain where the more filled in it is the closer you are to going over the edge but you get some evil perks too.

I enjoy the theme that one must become a 'monster' to fight them. Rather than that sort of 'all this blood shed and violence is totally okay because I am the Good Guy.' I might take some cues from Unknown Armies and the power scaling in Changeling: the Lost. I.E., habitual magick and violence makes you all fucked up and the more you fight what you hate the more you become it.

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