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Messages - Rafu

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DeadmanwalkingXI, I agree with your analysis in full.
One more reason, in fact, I like AW waaaay more than I do any other existing work in the "post-apoc" genre.

Quoted from this Tumblr, answering a question from this other Tumblr, via this dirty-pics blog (NSFW, etc.):

why does so much post apocalypse media have people wearing straight up bdsm/fetish gear like. do the kinksters watch the world ending and think “oh boy i can wear my bondage gear in public now”

What I wanna know is why the spiky kink warriors are always the bad evil marauders. They might be into some weird shit and unafraid to show it but that doesn’t mean they want to go around killing dudes. They’re a tight-knit bunch. A lot of them are queer. They understand the importance of community.

If the government collapses and all laws come to an end, the people rampaging around killing and looting are gonna be like, frat boys and 4chan rejects. You can mistrust the bondage raiders all you like but they’re definitely the ones you’re going to run to for help when the neoliberal blood cultists and Nazi meme demons lay siege to your survivor enclave. There’s gonna be gayboy berserkers busting up slaver gangs and burning down warboy frat houses. The assless-chaps leather daddies and weird petplay people are gonna be the accidental peacekeepers of the post-apocalyptic world just because they’re the only motherfuckers who understand the importance of consent anymore.

Listen. Don’t come to me asking how to get the secret cadre of bisexual death commandoes to protect your wretched tent village if you’re scared that we might call in the kinksters for backup. I don’t give a shit if they dress up like dogs and spend all day writing poems about butt plugs. There’s assholes out there acting like Vlad the Impaler on a meth bender and you’re afraid of seeing a nipple. Fuck you. If you really want to get rid of the MRA death gangs you’re going to have to accept that a lesbian chainsaw dominatrix or two might be involved. It’s the fucking post-apocalypse my guy we gotta weigh our priorities here

Freebooting Venus / Re: The moves and me
« on: November 27, 2016, 04:30:06 AM »
I hear you. But probably you could achieve this fairly easily, just by being really *light* on your demand in return, no? For instance, "you owe them for it" could be a very minor demand, depending on the circumstances. "You deceive them" could mean, "You can tell all they need is a kind word to win them over; do you?"
You're right, but... As I explained in the following paragraph, I'm a bit uncomfortable making judgment calls which concern how well things go for the PCs - as opposite to only deciding how they go south when the dice say so.

Do you still plan to post about the other moves?
I do! It's just that our FV game has been put on hold indefinitely for RL reasons (of the good kind: it's because of a birth) - I'm playing other games, now, both with other people and with a subset of the same people, and my free time activities are focused on serving the needs of the games I'm currently playing. But I do plan both to keep posting on this forum (albeit at a slower pace) and to eventually take the game out of the freezer and continue playing it as soon as we're able to.

That sounds exciting! (But hopefully not an *entirely* missed opportunity... I'd seriously consider some "strings attached" in this instance, if it makes sense with the rest of your world-building.)
Well, it was an opportunity to arrange a second meeting with a certain interesting NPC who, off the top of my head, made sense as one of the possible buyers for such a rarity. There might be a number of potential side-effects to this meaning, but I don't want to plan too much in advance.

As an item from another world, I introduced an atlas map of Mars, of Martian make. I intended it as a hint or reminder that other planets are available for visiting and having adventures on, but the players' first thought was to just sell the map to a collector for more treasure, and he immediately acted on it.

Freebooting Venus / Re: The moves and me
« on: November 07, 2016, 07:48:26 AM »
Intrude Somewhere

I like this move, and it doesn't get used as often as I'd wish for. I don't think we've ever had any issues with this one, except maybe missing a few opportunities to use it when it would have been a good match. When it does get used, it's pretty straightforward.

Sometimes PCs are trying to escape notice or attention, and my instinct is to call for a Bold or Quick or Patient save, depending on the exact circumstances - but then, in hindsight, I realize rolling this move would have served us equally well.

Sometimes I've thought about stretching this move to actually cover an escape attempt, through some somewhat twisted logics, because the potential outcomes were fitting enough - but I can't remember whether I've actually acted on that thought or not. One time I've actually stretched the move - it happened two weeks ago - was when a PC asked to speak to an NPC's boss. I chose to have the player roll to Intrude, instead of rolling to Demand, because the possible outcomes looked like a better match. In fact, the PC got a 7-9 hit: I narrated the NPC sending an underling for their boss, the boss coming into the room, listening to a few sentences of what the PC had to say, then making a harsh comment and leaving the room (actually, he didn't manage to leave the room at once because the PC Interrupted him - but that's beyond the point).

Freebooting Venus / The moves and me
« on: November 06, 2016, 08:41:59 PM »
After ten or so sessions of GMing Freebooting Venus, I sort of feel qualified to comment on various parts of the game and how well they're working for me and my group. It feels like a natural thing to do - I hope it's going to be useful feedback. I'm going to start with the moves, one by one.

Demand Something
This is one of the moves they most often make (second only to Recover, Regroup & Prepare, but barely). That's probably because it feels like a "versatile" move we can stretch to cover quite a wide range of fictional situation - for example, Enrico's PC Vetin often tries to get her way out of trouble by telling outrageous lies and, more often then not, we resolve that as Vetin effectively demanding that people believe her bullshit. Demands to be left alone are also matter of course.

As a GM, it feels different from any other move, in that it always requires me to inject new content into the current situation - effectively making a move of my own on the PCs - even on a hit. Which is actually great, most of the time: by choosing to roll this move, they only make their situation more complicated. To me, that's always an opportunity to evolve trouble - sometimes escalating it, sometimes creating new connections between previously unrelated situations, and sometimes handing the PCs new "jobs" altogether. These things sometimes spring from my prep, but most of the time it's just content I improvise on the spot (and add to my game prep notebook later): sometimes this marks the beginning of a whole new adventure. That makes it a slightly taxing, but very fruitful move, when observed from the GM side.

Sometimes, though, it felt like a pity there wasn't a superior success option available (on a 12+ or whatever) to have the demand met with absolutely no strings attached - because, once in a while, why not?

The problem with this move is when a PC initiates it in a way that obviously signals their means to their end: when the demand, before rolling, is accompanied by a threat of violence, an extravagant bribe, or phrased as a bluff. The problem being that, as the GM, I find myself effectively having an extra layer of choice to make on top of what the move always asks of me, i.e., whether to give the PC a "free pass" or not. Let's say a PC lies to an NPC and threatens them with violence just before formulating a demand and rolling, and hits in the 7-9 range: I can take the cue and say "They'll do it if you deceive them and threaten them", effectively making it an unmitigated success from the other player's standpoint, or I can choose either 1 or 2 different options, thus complicating the current situation.

OTOH, when I choose "if you deceive them" and the player making the move isn't already performing some kind of bluff, it feels like I'm judging their performance, evaluating whether and when it's enough (and good enough) of a deception.

One more thought...

Magic items that replicate spells - do these have a role in FV? And, if so, are they appropriate as items of magical potency found as treasure, or should they be part of a wizard's grimoire exclusively?

I was thinking of a flask of enchanted liquor which affects the drinker as the "Becoming minuscule" spell. It could work exactly as the spell - i.e. cast the spell - but unsettling the plasmid doesn't work as an outcome for a spell you don't own a tablet of and can't call into our world again. Thus, I was thinking of the flask starting with a number of doses (2-4, probably 3) which act as the spell's rating: for exceptions, you roll dice equal to the doses you drink, a roll of 6 means you've drunk one dose more (or all of it?), and to change your roll you need to drink one dose more (or gulp all of the bottle?). A significant difference from a regular casting of the spell, though, is that you can share the flask (or can you? it's interesting how this would interact with the "max 4 attendant magics" rule)...

The question being: does the above make any sense, or am I trespassing into design space which is already reserved for a wizard's grimoire?


Freebooting Venus / Re: Wizardry
« on: October 26, 2016, 05:31:32 AM »
During last Sunday's session, Nictus the necromancer - who's stated in-character that his life goal is to live forever - has finally unlocked the Wizardry skill. He really, really wished to be able to resettle spell tablets, and now he finally can - but he's also hungry for more magic, I can read it in his eyes. My suggestion to the player was to start amassing spell tablets as his next pursuit, as the "wizard" Nictus only has one spell so far (Acridic Cloud).
Of course, should you have anything half-baked about creating that first spell-item for his grimoire or anything, now is a great time to send it my way and have it tested (with full understanding it's experimental, noncommittal, etc. etc. These players have been through my playtests, you know. Next session in 2 Sundays) - but that isn't the top reason I've rekindled this thread.

I wished to ask you specifically about spell tablets, instead. They're the main venue of accessing magic in the current draft, but without a bigger context (which I expect the future Grimoire chapter to provide, explicitly or implicitly) it's hard to gauge their social and economical role, the way we can instead infer a lot of setting information from the various lists of things in the rules.
You mentioned in your post that writing spell tablets is the kind of thing you expect wizards to be able to do "in the field" (not requiring a seclusium), and it looks like any literate person can effectively perform an act of wizardry using a spell tablet. Judging from the details "1" result on Examine treasure rolls, spell tablets are rarer and harder to acquire than mundane weapons and armor, but not overwhelmingly so. This suggests that wealthy people routinely have access to a spell or two, as curiosities or specialized tools. So far, I have equipped a few wealthy and resourceful NPCs with a spell, but never more than one, and last session I have put a spell tablet on display as a treasured possession - the way you would display a lucky find at an antique shop - but now I'm wondering whether I went overboard with it.
Also, what with spell tablets being tablets in a word which clearly has books, and even a notion of publishing as an industry? Feels like an interesting topic...

Vincent, are magic items such as the earrings and jasminite sword I've described in this thread supposed to take up "Attendant magics" slots?

Freebooting Venus / Re: A game I love to prep for
« on: October 25, 2016, 03:50:26 AM »
Let me think...

Well, RR&P rolls often include some explicit stake-setting on my part. Just like I now hold them to their commitment when they help each other on the roll ("Yeah, you can all use this roll, but you all have to spend one on regrouping"), I do also say things like: "Roll RR&P and spend one on checking your equipment to be wearing your armor - otherwise you've left it behind when you fled the bordello". So, yeah.

And I believe I also say things like: "When you tumbled down the stairs, of course the chinaware skull broke! Consider checking your own stuff to be aware it's broken and learn what inside". Ours is the kind of table where we use the dramatic tension of "Your character doesn't realize that..." a lot.

But as a general rule, that's true, using RR&P to check one's equipment doesn't in itself decide whether the equipment is there. In a context which makes it more of a "prepare" action, it might involve acquiring the equipment, but in a context which is more of a "recover under pressure", I might just confirm that no, they don't have what they wish they had. It's ultimately my decision only, informed by principles, etc.

Freebooting Venus / Re: New Spells
« on: October 23, 2016, 09:11:53 PM »
You summon forth a burrowing worm-like entity from the 4th dimension of space - a creature of some intelligence, but extremely literally-minded, which can travel tangentially to three-dimensional space and unconstrained by it. Describe to it in minute detail an item and the place it is located: the worm travels to the location by boring a hole through space and swallows the item, as long as it isn't being held or carried by an animate creature, is no larger than a human head with full headdress, and your directions were correct. If you give it inexact directions, it instead swallows any one random item from the location it finds itself at. Then, in a matter of minutes, the burglar worm comes back to you wherever you are (it unfailingly locates you by scent if you have changed location) and excretes the swallowed item in front of you, covered in disgusting but ultimately harmless ectoplasm. This ends its service to you.
  • The worm travels back to you by crawling through three-dimensional space, not via the fourth dimension, taking as long as it would take a man to walk there, not mere minutes, and leaving behind an invisible thread of plasmic silk some might be able to track.
  • The worm you summon is tiny and can only swallow items no larger than a fist.
  • The worm will try to swallow items held or carried by animate beings, often harming them in the attempt. It attacks with Violent +1 inflicting 2 harm.
  • The worm is huge: it can swallow items as large as a war-chariot and the tunnel it drills through space takes days to heal, remaining usable until then.
  • The worm is subtle and can steal purely notional "items" from people's minds, such as facts, pieces of information, names or spells. People tend to notice when such things disappear and are occasionally harmed in the process. You can then retrieve the stolen knowledge by consuming the worm's excretions, except that plasmids (including spells) are killed and rendered inert when digested.
  • The spell returns to its native plasmic world unsettled.

Freebooting Venus / New Spells
« on: October 23, 2016, 08:40:33 PM »
This thread is for posting any new spells we've designed, and for commenting on them.
I'm started it because I've just written down a spell I want one of my NPCs to have, and it's my first attempt doing so for this game.

Freebooting Venus / Re: A game I love to prep for
« on: October 23, 2016, 08:35:55 PM »
1. How are the experience rules working out so far? I mean both "Good and Bad Experiences" as well as "advancement". How are they affecting play, and which parts do you find you use the most?
That's... quite a big question, and I'm not sure I know the answer. I think we're thinking of Bad Experiences as a more colorful version of hit points, but we haven't ever gotten to the point where a PC had marked 5 different BEs once - I'm sure we'll learn more about those over time.
"Good" experience plays a role in shaping player expectations, I believe. Browsing the list tells them what kind of people their characters are expected to be or become, whether that sets a bar to strive for, a foil to strive against, or a legitimation of planned courses of action ("Fuck this gang war shit! I need to take a break, and you know what, that's my chance to mark this "leave the city at my liberty" experience!").
Examining treasure is a lot of fun and it drives the game a lot, whether it leads to "advancement" in the strictest sense (PCs acquiring new skills and belongings) or just to a bout of high living. I look forward to the most complex choices being made, as they enrich the game immensely - such as when Iago recently started a publishing house specializing in pornography and satire in his spacious, half-crumbling house.

How do you decide how much and how often to put treasure in the characters' path?
I don't, really. Whenever the fictional situation justifies giving them valuable loot, a reward, payment or a bribe, I do so, and it's 1 unexamined treasure to each character involved, barring exceptional circumstances. This usually translates to 1-2 pieces of treasure per PC per session, but sometimes they get none at all.

2. Tell me more about "checking your equipment". It's an option in the Prepare move which has me a little puzzled. Do you create some tension, as MC, to make this particularly useful?

With the groups I play with, it's usually not on the table for the MC to make various substitutions or "surprises" based on the PCs' equipment. ("Oh, actually you can't find your knife today..." or "turns out that potions broke an hour ago, and is now spilled everywhere"). Generally, in the D&D tradition, characters' belongings are considered the player's prerogative, and are managed by the player. I like the idea in principle, however; it's got me thinking.

Do you think you do something like this, to make that option attractive to the players? Or has it fallen naturally out of an action sequence (e.g. "Hey, you tumbled down that railing just now. Want to check if anything broke...")?
Your "tumbled down a railing" example is the closest to what we're doing. Even so, it's the least frequently used of all the available RR&P options - but I think that's fine the way it is. It's for those times when it's not altogether certain whether the PCs have all of their weapons, armor and other equipment with them. For example, when Vetin realized she was wanted for questioning, she decided not to go back to her inn, where guards were waiting for her - but it wasn't altogether clear whether she was wearing her armor and carrying her spell tablet, or those things were left in her room.

The use of a Patient save to see whether they can wait long enough for a good moment is also an interesting game moment. Was it more like, "Let's see if you can bring yourself to do it!", or more like, "Let's see if you manage to do it without repercussions..."?
Those uses of the saving throw were very similar to Acting under (metaphorical) fire. In those circumstances, the objective was to leave the corpse somewhere visible, to send the Half Bat gang a clear "message", but not to be seen with the corpse and later recognized. I asked them for both Bold saves - to bring themselves to do it and do it with a straight face - and Patient saves to wait for and spot the perfect moment to act... in that case, the perfect moment to leave. The failed Patient save meant they had attracted unwanted attention. With saves, I always state this out loud when asking for one, like: "pass a difficult Patient save not to attract unwanted attention".

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