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Messages - Jeff Russell

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Sagas of the Icelanders / Re: Sagas of the Icelanders
« on: November 06, 2010, 09:29:35 PM »
You already know I'm down with the PbP stuff, so please consider this my application :)

blood & guts / Re: ESL Hack: Apocalypse World for Chinese children
« on: November 06, 2010, 09:26:32 PM »
Well, to steal an idea from Daniel Solis that he posted on Story Games and I think someone put up a post about here yesterday or today, you could make color matter.

So, maybe for each 'story word' or 'move' or whatever increment you decide to use, you draw a card. Higher cards are more likely to succeed, lower cards less so. Then color could be whether it's with or without complications. To avoid the Otherkind problem of talking out all kinds of stuff you end up not using, maybe use a simplified list of complications.

Alternatively, I just realized success/failure is binary, whereas complication can be graded, so why not make red success and black failure (or vice versa), and then high numbers are way complicated, and low numbers are not very complicated (again, or vice versa). That puts more onus on the MC/GM to interpret complications from actions, but that might be a nice feature for bringing in specific vocabulary words.

brainstorming & development / Re: finished hacks?
« on: November 06, 2010, 06:34:08 PM »
I think Joe's Monsterhearts is damn near playable, he's planning on putting out the last bit of required playtest info soon.

And "Rogue Trader Apocalypse" has apparently been a play in progress kind of thing.

Also, I think that Sagas of the Icelanders is playable.

Oh, and of course, Dungeon World has been playable for awhile.

Hopefully one of those sounds interesting :)

brainstorming & development / Re: eventually publishing a hack
« on: November 06, 2010, 06:31:08 PM »
Not to be a pest, but I posted the above question while you were sick, Vincent, so I wanted to bump it.

blood & guts / Re: ESL Hack: Apocalypse World for Chinese children
« on: November 06, 2010, 11:17:43 AM »
Cool project! Sounds pretty daunting to me.

That being said, here are my thoughts:

1) On the density, I think maybe you'd want to be more explicit with the implications of the move as well as the act. So, instead of "Act under fire" or "do something difficult" you might say "Do something with a risk of complication" (maybe getting even more bland and wordy :) ). The idea being that the idiomatic phrase "act under fire" carries a lot of information for English speakers, it's clear to us before we even read the 7-9 results that it's a situation where it's possible to a) get what you want, b) have something bad happen to you, c) both, or d) neither. I don't know how to make that clear to Chinese speakers without being super explicit.

2) Too bad, I like dice :) That being said, if you want to keep the same probabilities, the main trick is to make sure you reshuffle and draw from a full range every time. The hard part here is that each number from 2-12 is not equally likely on 2d6, so you can't just write 2-12 on index cards and draw one. What I think you'd want to do, off the top of my head, is "emulate" dice by just having two sets of ace-6 cards, and re-shuffle before every draw. If you want to get into why that is more, I'd be happy to, and I'm sure there are more knowledgeable probability nerds here to help out.

3) If you're going with this, ignore what I just said above :) Neat idea. Does it increase the chance of complications? Or would that be counterproductive to encouraging vocabulary use?

blood & guts / Re: Essential Principles
« on: November 06, 2010, 11:01:54 AM »
Huh, those are neat!

I may just steal that concept with something like "Give each NPC an agenda" for a status-oriented game I'm working on. Hmmm.

blood & guts / Re: Essential Principles
« on: October 26, 2010, 07:13:08 PM »
Thanks, Joe, your Monsterhearts principles were the main ones I had in mind when thinking of hacked principles!

Noofy (I'm sorry if you've put your real name out there, I've forgotten it) I *think* that I disagree, but I'm not sure, hence my desire for discussion! Take "look through crosshairs". On the one hand, I can see the argument that gunning for "your guys" reinforces "play to find out" and otherwise not being overly antagonistic, but on the other hand, I think that in some games, you could and would want to build more lasting institutions, characters, et cetera.

That being said, I didn't feel compelled to remove (or add) many for even a very different game, so you could be right b

blood & guts / Essential Principles
« on: October 26, 2010, 06:26:59 PM »
Ok, so everybody loves talking about moves and gear tags and other familiarly "ruley" stuff (myself included!), but today I want to talk about MC stuff. Specifically the principles, and to a lesser degree, the moves.

I've seen a few people take a stab at changing up the principles to better suit the flavor of their hack, and after starting to do the same for one of mine, I started thinking about which principles/moves are necessary for "MCing" (i.e. GMing the way AW calls for) and which are necessary for MCing AW specifically.

I've got a few ideas, but I'd like to hear what others have to say. But to start off the conversation, I'll give an example of a move that looks like it's Apocalypse specific, but I think is actually core to the broader GMing style: "Barf Forth Apocalyptica".

Obviously for different game styles you wouldn't necessarily "barf" "Apocalyptica", but I think the idea of providing oodles of color, sometimes not fictionally significant color, is necessary to make [game world] seem real, part of the agenda for this style of GMing. What are y'all's thoughts?


I want to write something about the game bits that are making the game go.  It feels like folks rolling 7-9 and the words savage as a gang descriptor have been the two big bits of MC Move Fuel for me this game.

Wow, yeah, was 'savage' ever a story-driver in my game. Players will really go nuts with how savage their guys are, and it's permission to you to have their NPCs do things in a far more horrible way than they expected. On the other hand, not having any 7-9's or worse on initial situation rolls had me stumbling around a bit.

Apocalypse World / Re: Currency in Apocalypse Worlds
« on: October 22, 2010, 11:53:30 AM »
It's usually been pretty loose in my games, but one angel character used cigarettes for barter, a habit he picked hp growing up in a prison-turned-hold, and justified by the ease of making "change" (individual cigarettes vs packs or cartons)

brainstorming & development / Re: eventually publishing a hack
« on: October 21, 2010, 11:48:27 PM »
So, a related question here. In addition to my hack(s), I'm working on an original game design, but AW's MCing rules came in and paradigm-shifted the hell out of how I think about GMing.

What I would like to ask is: where on the 'give credit/ask permission/license' spectrum is using the breakdown of "agenda, principles, moves" if you generate all new elements for each for your game?

Obviously a baseline of 'give credit', cos yeah, duh, but this seems like really good terminology/tech for advancing GM rules that could do to be released into the wilds of non AW-hacks. I don't want to be a dick though, hence the question. Thanks!

Apocalypse World / Re: new character playbook: quarantine
« on: October 21, 2010, 11:42:40 PM »
By the way, I want to say that I love how the really "Whoa, shit, that's crazy!" type interesting stuff in this playbook isn't in the moves.  That means I don't have to be worried about dropping the playbook on the table and saying, "Here's more options for you guys when you take moves from other playbooks."

I think that Disciplined Engagement is kind of amazing.  The ability to decide how much harm you deal was, really, at the core of that whole Seize By Force debate we had a month or so ago.

I kind of assumed that was where the core of the idea came from, but it's probably just as likely to be a parallel development thing.

A Song of Ice and Fire Hack / Re: Playbooks
« on: October 13, 2010, 11:57:45 PM »
Hey Simon,

  That might be a good approach! I've sort of let this simmer (okay, okay, I've been doing other things and occasionally feeling guilty about my lack of visible progress, but I have been thinking about it) and I'm somewhat torn.

On the one hand, as a generic concept, I love modularity, and I think it might help get the sort of variety of characters you see in SOIF.

On the other hand, having played some for reals AW, I really really appreciate how the playbooks a) give clear but not overly constraining direction to what the players are about and the sort of conflicts they should gravitate towards, and b) they concisely convey the world in intuitive bits and pieces. With a game set in an established setting, this latter consideration might not be as necessary, but would be helpful for people who get pitched a highly political historical-feeling fantasy game, rather than knowing Martin's work already.

The other AW related thought I've been having recently, and I think will *really* apply to SOIF is that the MC's job is soooo much easier when a) the characters have strong agendas and b) the situation generating moves come into play. The very first session I ran, the Hocus's followers provided loads of juicy NPC-PC triangles, potential conflicts and future badness, and so forth. When I ran again and all I had to work with was a successful operator's roll where the player played it safe and only did one gig, it was much harder.

All of this is a way of saying I'm very fond of building in MC fodder into the character types, and a purely 'pick your moves' modular approach might have the players avoiding such moves unless the potential gain is just too darn juicy to pass up.

So, to come back around to your suggestion, having written this post, I'm liking it more and more. I might make a number of playbooks that then have subtypes (come to think of it, like the monsterhearts playbooks). So you can be a high lord or a bannerman if you pick "Lord", you can be a sellsword or a sworn sword if you pick "Stabby Guy", et cetera.

And then maybe have some optional "make your own" rules akin to the custom moves and what not in "Advanced Fuckery", like the way Lady Blackbird gives you pregens and a super tight opening situation, but later on gives you complete character creation rules.

blood & guts / Re: Sex moves => vulnerability moves
« on: October 12, 2010, 09:00:22 PM »
/begin 14 year old humor/
Snerk. "Do it."
/end 14 year old humor/

Apocalypse World / Re: Slave Playbook: Mindshare effectiveness?
« on: October 06, 2010, 08:00:45 PM »
Maybe the one pushing the slave around gains experience, but the slave gains some sort of hold that can be saved up and spent on some emancipating act (literally or metaphorically?). To me, this feels less like "yay, I get pushed around" and more like incrementally getting closer to the point of not taking it anymore. If you don't make it a definite countdown, but a player decided amount, then it really becomes when the player thinks his character is ready to act.

Also, I can't think of what they are right now, but I'm positive SAJ has some relevant concepts worth bringing in here.

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