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Messages - nerdwerds

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Apocalypse World / Re: Sunken Sydney, a Hatchet City-style scenario.
« on: July 23, 2017, 12:24:06 AM »
This link appears to be broken, or disabled. Does anyone have a copy of this pdf they could send to me?

the nerve core / Re: Apocalypse Fuel - an AW random-generation tool
« on: July 19, 2017, 12:37:53 PM »
I love this! Thanks for sharing, I'll definitely be using it.

Apocalypse World / 2nd edition trifolds
« on: June 02, 2017, 06:05:35 PM »
Good morning friends!
Every so often I see somebody comment that they miss the old trifold style playbooks and I just wanted to let anyone who's interested know that I've made trifold playbooks for the 2nd edition playbooks and the links are up on my blog post hosting all of the 1st edition playbooks. I'm slowly getting around to making 2nd edition extras and trifolds for the basic 11 playbooks were my first project. Cheers!

Is that how it's supposed to work in 2nd edition, or just the way you handle it at your table?

Old convo, sorry.
But I'm with ebok, I still make a move on a miss if I think it works with the fiction. Not necessarily a hard move, but something bad happens somehow, or perhaps I just announce future badness.

For example, would it be legit for you to negate the exchange of harm, and have something else happen?
NO! You exchange harm THEN you roll. Seize By Force is pretty explicit on that point.

You wanted some more input from other people? Here goes!

1. How strict are you about requiring fictional context for the move? Do you demand it to be described or justified fictionally, or is it the player's option to call on the move as an attempt to gain a mechanical advantage?
Before a player picks up dice I've usually asked them "what do you do?" or "how do you do that?" and clarified enough that I know exactly what they're doing before we see the dice rolls, making sure to correct them or ask them about any misunderstanding they might have within the fiction. A lot of my players are not rules-focused, so I often find myself asking players who are in a position to help if they want to. Any time a move is directed AT a player, I ask them if they want to interfere. I always put what gets rolled into the players hands and only call for a roll if it's something that the fiction, not another player, has created.

2. If anyone misses their help/interfere roll, how does the MC make a move in response? We've got all this other stuff hanging over our heads - the other three rolls going on, getting back to the fictional action we're invested in, and so forth.
If I can't think of something appropriate I might flip the move (e.g. help turns into interfere, or vice versa). Otherwise, I advance a threat countdown, usually something in the background (the water supply is running out in Lola's purifier) or not immediately noticeable (Snow's infection is getting worse). As a personal rule of thumb I follow the fiction, or I flip the move, or I advance a countdown. In that order.

It becomes very tempting to just skip it, and to say that the missed help/interfere "did nothing", moving on to the next roll, and playing out the scene. Is that the desired dynamic here, or should we be playing it differently?
Not for me! Never! Rolls ALWAYS have consequences at my table. I want the players to both crave and fear rolling dice.

3. What's your preferred way to handle the timing of help/interfere: before the roll you're trying to affect, simultaneous with it, or afterwards (where we only roll if it's close enough that successful help/intereference could make a difference)?
Case by case. If I remember to ask somebody before a roll was made then they can't help/interfere after the fact, if they insist then usually I let them but I spell how much more it's going to suck if they miss the roll (tell the consequences and ask).

Apocalypse World / Re: Extended playbooks - yay or nay?
« on: May 17, 2017, 12:45:40 AM »
I treat the Extended Playbooks like the Expert Rules of D&D. Once the players have unlocked the ability to change playbooks or make another character I introduce the Extended Playbooks as if they've "leveled up" to those playbooks.

My reasoning: The original Basic rules of D&D allow you to get to level 3, but no farther, and the Expert rules allowed you to get to level 14. The Extended Playbooks are like those extra levels. That's a meaty part of the game that everyone wants to have access to!

Apocalypse World / Re: Custom Playbook - The Huntress
« on: March 04, 2017, 09:30:25 AM »
I would change nearly everything about this playbook.

Hunting Grounds
"While you may not have uncontested control of this land, it is yours just the same."
You know this land like the back of your hand, but it is not yours.

Choosing a location should be the player answering a series of questions to help the MC define where & what the Hunting Ground is.
Ideas: Where do you lurk when you hunt? What do you hide from there? Who might see you hunt?

I think the choices of prey should have drawbacks that the MC can draw more directly upon. And maybe not so many choices. Fewer and harder choices make it more interesting. Maybe even correlate the choices directly to terrain threats.
Desert (an exposed place)
Mountain (a precipice or a wall)
Valley (an overhang)
Swamp (shifting ground)

The Hunt seems like a move that is designed to just give stuff to the PC at the start of every session. The hit/miss results should be more explicit, and the miss should have some real consequences that the MC gets to play off of. I would change this to be a substitution for Lifestyle, not something to add to it:
at the beginning of the session, either spend 1- or 2-Barter for your Lifestyle. If you can't or won't, you can spend time in your Hunting Grounds instead. Roll+sharp, on 10+ you've hunted gloriously and you have some leftover, claim your Bounty; on a 7-9, you claim no Bounty but at least you ate well; on a miss, you have no Bounty, you're starving, and you're currently being hunted

In Your Element
Keep in mind that the cat/mouse moves use cool. So you either have to substitute cool for sharp here, or you have to give the move an edge for a Huntress with a low cool. Either take this out of their Hunting Ground and just say "when you're the cat, you roll+sharp instead of roll+cool" or "when you're in your Hunting Ground, you may roll+sharp instead of roll+cool when you're either a cat or a mouse" or "when you're the cat or the mouse, you can't miss, but only in your Hunting Ground"
I'm partial to that last one because players should feel like badasses when they're doing their "thing" and the Hunting Ground seems like this playbook's "thing"

Depth of the Track
you can read a trail like you would a person, roll+sharp and ask questions, on 10+ ask 3, on 7-9 ask 1:
- when did my prey pass through here?
- what was this prey thinking or feeling?
- where is this prey going?
- is this a false trail?
- how might I lead this prey into a trap?

Lying in Wait just seems like a different version of Hunt Prey or Bait Trap from the rulebook
You could go for stat substitution again but that's boring so I would probably make this more of a stealthy kind of move instead
when you sit in silence waiting for your prey at a location you know they will be at, roll+sharp. On a 10+ you get the drop on them and they are at your mercy (sucker someone?) On a 7-9 you surprise them but they were ready for you, take +1forward, on a miss your prey gets the drop on you instead or they evade you completely (MC's choice)

so here are some questions to ask yourself:
1) What does the Huntress do? What's their "thing"?
2) What makes the Huntress unique? Is it the Hunting Ground? Is it being able to hunt, in general?
3) Why would I want to play a Huntress instead of a Battlebabe? - the only thing separating these two is the Hunting Grounds except Battlebabes start with kickass custom weapons and the Battlebabe is uniquely suited to using all of the subterfuge moves because of their high Cool

I could go into a spiel about what I find less than optimal about PbtA, but I won't. At the end of the day, the big "problem" I see with and hear about PbtA is that the main mechanic relies on trusting your MC to know how to make Failing Forward work, to generate complications which are relevant and at least consistent with the situation if not necessarily balanced.

Which is to say that if you're climbing over a wall, and roll a 1, "you land on a bear" is technically a valid response from the MC. And without broader lists of potential complications for such rolls, and an explicit directive to the MC to make things shitty for the player characters, that's a hell of a lot of faith to put into the guy running the game, especially in a hobby where the idea of an antagonism between MC and players is still clinging on from it's modern originator. I know one person who I've played with that I would maybe trust to not kill all the players an hour into the first session, whether through malice or incompetence.

So I'm just wondering what people see about PbtA games, and especially AW, that makes them like it so much.

It just so happens I wrote an essay about why I love Apocalypse World on my blog last year, it's too long to repost as a single comment here so how about a link?

Here is an excerpt:
At it's crunchy core Apocalypse World has a pretty simple mechanic for determining success. You roll two six-sided dice then modify it by one of your character's stats, -2 is the worst and +3 is the best. Other factors could adjust that modifier, but usually it's just one of your stats. If you roll 10 or higher, that's the best possible result. But if you hit between 7 and 9 you get a partial success, or a success with a cost. If you roll 6 or less, you missed the roll completely and the MC gets to make a hard move. Sometimes this hard move is in addition to some negative effect of the roll you were making.

Why does the MC get to make this hard move? Because the MC never rolls dice.

Instead, when a player rolls the dice and they fail the roll this generates the hard move for the MC to use which in turn keeps the action going and sometimes presses the player to make another roll. A hard move is something bad that's going to happen and that you know is likely to happen, or it's letting the player know that something bad is going to happen. If you're in the middle of a gunfight and you miss your roll, it’s obvious to everyone at the table that you're likely to get shot, which could be the MC’s hard move -- the character gets shot.

But the MC might instead declare that a barrage of gunfire forces you behind cover and you lose sight of what's happening, or you might see one of your opponents has a grenade in his hand and he just pulled out the pin, or you might realize that the tractor you're taking cover behind just had a hole blown through the gas tank and the ground at your feet is quickly pooling gasoline. These are all variations of the same hard move, and there are about two dozen hard moves that the MC could use, each is a narrative decision which metaphorically throws a brick at the player’s head. The MC is instructed to always follow up a hard move with the question “What do you do?”

Apocalypse World / Re: introducing the Red Shirt
« on: November 28, 2014, 08:47:50 PM »
Cool suggestions Ebok! I appreciate the feedback, and you're right, it is a bit too gamey as is. I wrote it up while looking at the core playbooks that start with followers (hardholder, chopper, hocus, savyhead, angel-potentially).
I might not get to work on this again until Sunday, but I wanted to get the idea out there so people could rip it apart.

Apocalypse World / introducing the Red Shirt
« on: November 28, 2014, 07:08:13 AM »
I had this idea in the middle of the last game I played - when one of my characters got killed while I was retiring another character and suddenly had nothing to play
consider this a rough draft, comments and criticism welcome

To create your Red Shirt, choose name, look, stats, moves, gear and Hx.

Branson, Carlisle, Chilton, Dern, Haskell, Hawk, Hendorff, Kaplan, Leslie, Mallory, Marple, Monroe, Nell, Rizzo, Tasha, Thompson

Male, Female, Ambiguous, Hidden, or Transgressing
Display wear, scrounge biker wear, showy wear, casual wear, or vintage wear
Rugged face, sweet face, severe face, weathered face, or strong face
Dazed eyes, cold eyes, calm eyes, narrow eyes, or wide eyes
Compact body, wiry body, sturdy body, stout body, or fir body

Choose one set:
? 0=Cool, +1 Hard, +1 Hot, +1 Sharp, -1 Weird
? +1 Cool, +1 Hard, 0=Hot, +1 Sharp, -1 Weird
? 0=Cool, +1 Hard, 0=Hot, +1 Sharp, 0=Weird
? 0=Cool, +1 Hard, -1 Hot, +1 Sharp, +1 Weird

You get all the basic moves. You get Follower and Respawn, then choose another Red Shirt move.

You get:
? oddments worth 1-barter
? one common firearm (see list on p.421)
? fashion suitable to your look, including at your option a piece worth 1-armor (you detail)

Everyone introduces their characters by name, look, and outlook. Take your turn.
List the other character's names.
Go around again for Hx. On your turn, choose both:
? You follow one of them. Tell that player Hx+3 and their HX with you will never rise or fall from that number.
? You don't trust one of them. Tell that player Hx-1.
Tell everybody else Hx+1, everybody knows who you work for.

On the other players's turns:
? Ignore the number the one you follow tells you and write Hx+3 next to the character’s name instead.
? For everybody else, write whatever number they tell you next to their character’s name.

Follower: you start as a member of another character's gang or crew, subject to their approval. Your role within the gang or crew should be defined between you and the other player. They are your leader. At the start of the session you can declare one of the gang's vulnerable tags as inactive, and the MC is not allowed to use that tag during a hard move unless you fail a roll and it makes sense to use the tag against you. The player you follow can make any start of session moves at +1forward as if you rolled HX and hit 10+, only your presence as a follower is needed for this. If there are no gangs or crews for you to join at the start of a game, then you can join the first gang or crew that another player gets without needing to justify how or why.

Respawn: your Harm clock only has 4 segments and you can't take debilities, but if you die you can return as part of the same gang or crew with a new Name, Look, Outlook and all of the same Stats and Moves. You respawn with zero barter and one common weapon, NOT a firearm (p.241) If you were not part of another player's gang or crew, you cannot Respawn.

Pack Beta: when your leader misses a Pack Alpha roll, you can intercept the bid to replace them. Roll+hard. On a hit, you can take the brunt of whatever attack might be coming at them. On a 10+, take +1forward or -1 to your harm move, whichever is more appropriate.

Number One: when your leader makes a roll+hard move that involves hold, they hold +1.

Miracle Worker: if your leader has a workspace, you count as a crew all by yourself. Any time they use their workspace, the MC can't pick more than 3 requirements for a project but can still string all 3 together with "and."

I am the cavalry: when your leader goes to 10 o'clock harm or higher you can arrive on the scene immediately, without any clear explanation why, by their side or in an advantageous position, your choice.

Backup planning: when your leader rolls moonlighting, they get +1juggling. If they don't have moonlighting then you give it to them, pick a job from the list and tell them they have +1juggling with it, if they pick up up moonlighting later then they get +2juggling instead.

The Burdens We Carry: when you read a situation, you can always ask "who is going to move against _*_ next?" even on a miss.
_*_ is always the name of your leader.

AW:Dark Age / Re: Playtest Report: Eagles End
« on: September 29, 2014, 06:17:09 PM »
So, we had a second session but I've been dilly-dallying over writing about it because I keep looking at my notes and feeling really dismayed. Let's just say, long story short, our group is no enthusiastic about Dark Age. The things in the rules that aren't fleshed out and explained aren't interesting to our group.

Our next session covered Summer, and Lothric had declared war against the Athomians in Starbury, with or without the help of Salt Hill.

The Wicker-wise prepared for war by consulting the Shrinewood, and realized that once the Aetosian and Ferdigen warriors leave town it would be the perfect time for the Munii to take over.

Lothric successfully mustered warriors. I skipped the roll and treated Lothric as an NPC, so he would muster 20 warriors regardless. I gave other players the opportunity to bring more warriors and we role-played out the week's events, trying to muster troops, making concessions for some of the farmers, and preparing to go on the march. (Nobody prepared to be betrayed by the Munii.)

Once everybody declared what they wanted to do and resolved the rolls if it required a move, we skipped ahead to the night before the battle with Starbury. Both Ozan and Aranck scouted around Starbury the night before, and Ozan determined that the warriors he commanded were the strongest force. Aranck used a weird move to receive a vision of the Athomian leader, Rolesworth, and discovered a connection to a spirit-troll that had escaped Aranck last spring. A nearby mine seemed like it was in the process of being worked. Leon consulted his gods for advice, but Lothric ignored it.

The battle: Ozan and Lothric split their companies and attacked Starbury from different sides. They attacked at dawn, which Leon's gods said would be the worst time to attack. The Athomians weren't expecting the attack but were in their best defensible position at dawn. I rolled quickly for Lothric (a miss) and the Athomian defenders (10+), and Lothric's forces were wiped out at the gate. Ozan's forces attacked and he hit an 11 on leading an attack, and the Athomian defenders, who had suffered only 1 harm so far, rolled a 9, but still managed to hold off the attack. The Athomians suffered only 2 more harm but inflicted 5 harm (after armor) and Ozan's group was butchered.
The rest of the battle was more dramatic and less anti-climactic. The players insisted on rolling the fighting in company move and this resulted in characters getting cut off a lot.
We did some quick math and figured out there were only 13 surviving warriors who could still fight. Ozan wanted to rally all of the survivors into another fighting force (I let him with no roll required) and made a defensive retreat.
Hypatia wanted to cross the battlefield (which I told the player to roll+bold but I treated the result like acting under fire from AW because she was literally trying to avoid archers while getting to a new location and neither leaping into action nor undertaking a great labor fit as a move fictionally).
Ozan's forces attacked Starbury's gates and the last of his warriors were butchered, but the Athomians were also reduced to a very small force.
With only about 5 warriors still able to fight on both sides, Aranck provoked the spirit-troll from within Starbury, and Hurit assisted with an enchantment from afar, and Rolesworth answered the summons. The two had a duel to resolve the battle, which ended with Aranck drinking Rolesworth's blood and devouring the troll-spirit but sparing Rolesworth's life. Once the spirit-troll was devoured I told the player to fight in single combat against the spirit using weird. (This entire exchange took about 30 minutes to set up, role-play, and resolve. It never touched upon any of the Battle moves, and it was the most fun and interesting part of the game.)

We resolved the aftermath of the battle, the players forces retreated back to Eagles End and the Munii did not try to take over the stronghold, though it didn't make much difference since most of the Ferdigen warriors were now dead. Then we finished narrating the summer.

Basically, what we discovered with the battle moves was that warriors will wipe each other out, unless they're defended well. Defenders almost always win out. I don't feel like the battle moves really work, at least not the way harm and armor is written, unless its intentional that mutually assured destruction is a common outcome and good defenders almost always win.

AW:Dark Age / Re: Playtest Report: Eagles End
« on: September 19, 2014, 06:22:07 PM »
This game was played last Sunday before a few things about enchantments and war companies were clarified here in the forums.

At the start of the session I gave my players the choice of how difficult I will be making the trolls and supernatural world (i.e. monsters) by describing it as a movie title:
Ghostbusters (rated PG, or everybody survives and it's a happy ending)
Army of Darkness (rated PG-13, or everybody survives including some villains)
Texas Chainsaw Massacre (rated R, or one person survives including the villains)
Cannibal Holocaust (un-rated, or everybody dies except for the villain)

They chose Cannibal Holocaust.?

co-MCing: We tried co-MCing a little which I found a little disruptive because even though I made a character for myself I haven't invested much into the character. When I role-play I usually discover who the character is while I play them and develop their goals as a result of how I am confronted by conflict. I had one player who kept asking me what my Keep-Liege was doing and it was difficult for me to go from having no status quo as the MC to suddenly trying to think of what my character would want to do. I didn't like it.

War Companies and Battle Moves: We started our first session with a big battle. At the beginning of spring a warning horn was sounded and a nearby tribe, the Athomians, were attacking Eagles' End in force. We had written up a single War Company for Eagles' End which was divided into four groups of people.
20 Ferdigen archers with bows and hide armor
20 Ferdigen warriors with spears, hide armor, and shields
8 Munii warriors with hatchets and hide armor
5 Aetosian warriors with hatchets and hide armor

Because the attack was coming in the morning I had each character who wanted to fight in the battle make the muster warriors move and distributed groups from the War Company accordingly. This slowed play a little because I didn't have an individual War Company sheet for each player. I handed out index cards with brief details, harm, and armor ratings and allowed each player to make Battle moves with the portion of warriors they controlled.

The Athomians who were attacking the front gates were armed with spears and shields.

Ozan wanted to figure out who the leader was, and took stock of the situation. We noticed that there was no mechanical benefit for taking stock (unlike reading a sitch) and that was cool because I ended up using my answers to create contradictory narrative elements ("if you draw them toward the gates you'll be well defended and you'll draw their attention from Aranck's counterattack" "if you open the gate and charge them they'll be surprised")

The same player wanted to leap into action to attack the leader, but I pointed out that leading an attack fit better since there were two war companies here and one of the choices was to single out an opponent (I had also set that up as a choice when he took stock). We found in the moment that reading the battle moves was a little confusing because coming under attack says "Do not choose one that your attacker’s choices have specifically denied you." yet there are exceptions in the choices. None of us thought this played well because we hadn't committed these exceptions to memory. I just ignored the exceptions though, when my player chose "You strike at a particular individual in your enemy’s force." I elected not to choose "You protect the individual your enemy is particularly striking." He rolled a 10+ and I rolled a partial hit.

We started tallying harm and armor and counting your fallen seemed to happen as a part of this, so having this as a final move for battles seemed unusual. We also noticed while doing this that the palisades gave extra harm and armor (nobody had looked it up beforehand), and that effectively meant the Athomians broke through the walls into Eagles' End (a choice I made for coming under attack) but were easily slaughtered by the Ferdigen who suffered no losses.

I wanted the players to have more to do so I ruled that a few Athomians were hanging back and started to retreat. Aranck managed to capture 8 of them and Togqous slaughtered any she encountered. The players were rolling 10+ results for everything.

All in all, we found the battle moves interesting but not easy to adapt to on the fly, especially because how the forces were calculated was not precisely dictated. Half of the players around the table are accustomed to playing 3rd edition D&D so having a lot of narrative control over their character was fun but since nobody really knew how the war companies were really defined we just handwaved a lot of the details.

Storytime: We got to use a lot of the more basic moves for the rest of the session. Players spent time reacting to the outcome of the battle or following up on tales learned from their starting season moves.

Hurit spent a lot of time consulting the other world, making the surviving Athomians into slaves, and trying to figure out how to cast enchantments.

Issue with enchantments: Everybody liked the enchantment rules as written, but didn't like the idea that anybody could perform them. There was a unanimous consensus from the other players around the table that nobody should be able to cast enchantments unless they've taken the right - some of the arguments stated were "Then what makes the wicker-wise special?" "If anybody can cast an enchantment then why not play a very charming but lowly farmhand who casts spells in secret?" and the fairly point-blank "That just sounds dumb."

Ozan journeyed south to Salt Hill to ask for assistance in attacking Starbury, where the Athomians came from, but he got embroiled in Salt Hill politics and saved the life of a child that was condemned to die and thus ruined the reputation of Eagles' End by defying the keep-liege there.

Leon and Togquos accompanied Aranck to the farmstead in the north where a troll was rumored to live. They found one survivor of a group of three men who had been trapped by the troll, and Aranck drew out the troll from hiding. We used the single combat moves to determine the fight, but afterward we thought maybe this wasn't appropriate given that more than one character wanted to fight the troll. Looking at leap into action we thought maybe that was the right move for a skirmish between groups of characters that are smaller than a war company.

We did spend a lot more time discussing what defines a right versus a move than we did actually playing the game. Only one person was denied their right but this led to the player looking at the other basic moves as a recourse.

One of the things we discussed at the end of the session was that maybe sieging a fortification should be a move since it's easy to get slaughtered attacking a defensive force, and needing to siege for months was something that definitely happened. This came out of discussing the soldiering season move because nobody really liked it. One of the players pointed out that there was no benefit for taking the soldiering move as even a 10+ resulted with a negative outcome and no xp or narrative benefit (yet all thesother season moves give xp).

AW:Dark Age / Re: experience question
« on: September 18, 2014, 06:21:39 AM »
There's a Peoples move that can bestow a right, potentially permanently.

Apocalypse World / Re: Expansive Hardholder "conquest"
« on: September 18, 2014, 04:14:23 AM »
Yeah, I like that. Sort of a crossbreed of Hardholder and Operator, where the gigs are whole towns. 

I hadn't considered that correlation, but yeah, that works too.
Want to gather tribute from more than two places in one month? Maybe something goes bad, maybe some town revolts, maybe the tribute got robbed on the way to you...
That idea actually works a lot better than what I wrote up!

AW:Dark Age / Re: Court Wizard - No Enchantments?
« on: September 14, 2014, 05:54:48 AM »
The rules even say "You can perform any enchantment, at any time you choose to do so." That's the stuff of fairy tales right there. On the other hand, if you don't have the right then you are performing unholy black magic and are a witch! The Court Wizard is "trembling before God" and so does not have the right to use unholy witchcraft. . .but he does ave the ability.

As you quoted, it does say "You can perform any enchantment, at any time you choose to do so," and gives details how.  So, yeah, it looks like you might get burned at the stake for doing that when you ought not be!

So, Vincent or Meguey, since these are playtest documents can you clarify whether that was deliberate or not?
Can any playbook really perform any enchantment?

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