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Topics - Simon C

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brainstorming & development / Blood and Guts: Alternate Harm Rules
« on: May 29, 2011, 04:20:44 AM »
One of the things I've noticed about the harm rules is that, while they're functional and do what they're designed to do, they're quite different from the rest of the game's rules, in that they're quite abstract and "mechanics first" rather than being specific and "fiction first".

One of the effects of this is that even when a character has taken a bunch of harm, it's quite easy to forget about that in practice, and have them walking around chatting and fighting and chilling out like they're just fine.

There's also the whole thing with the harm move where I always forget about it.

So I made some different rules. They need some work though! Please help me! I originally made them for my dungeon exploration/alien sex game "Dungeonfuckers", so I know they work more or less, but I'm not sure the effect they'll have in Apocalypse World.

Here's the pdf:

The basic idea is that when you get injured, the MC chooses an injury for you from a list. The injury changes our expectations of what the character is capable of, and what may require an "Acting Under Fire" roll. The injury also acts as a Threat, with a set of moves the MC can make for the move.

Let me know what you think!

brainstorming & development / Ice World - A pleistocene hack
« on: January 25, 2011, 02:03:22 AM »
I had a little idea for a AW hack for playing hunter-gatherers of the pliestocene. It'd be quite an extensive piece of work, so pretty daunting, but it's an interesting idea:

You'd have a handful of basic moves, maybe some things like "Stalk something" and "run something to ground" as well as some more basic stuff. But instead of playbooks, you'd have individual moves for the objects each person owns. For example:

Rope: When you test your rope's strength, roll +hand (or something) plus your rope's craft (or something). On a hit, it holds. 10+, haul something heavy, go somewhere inaccessible, tie something down, or hold something together. 7-9, the MC can offer you a worse outcome, a tough choice, or a compromise. On a miss, the rope breaks, and the MC will make a hard move.

Spear: When you hurl your spear, roll +eye (or something) and your spear's craft (or something). On a hit, you hit and do harm. 10+, choose 3. On a 7-9, choose 2.
- Your spear is buried deep
- Do terrible harm (+1 harm)
- Do little harm (-1 harm)
- Remain hidden
- Your target is knocked down, frozen in place, or pinned

Headdress: When you dance with your headdress on, roll +spirit (or something) and your headdress's craft (or something). On a hit, the spirits are pleased. 10+ hold 3. 7-9, hold 1. Spend hold 1 for 1 to:
- give someone dancing +1 forward
- heal someone dancing one segment
- something else cool.


the nerve core / Borked
« on: January 18, 2011, 10:40:24 PM »
Hey Vincent,

I think something is kind of borked on the forum. There are messages that are not showing up, and odd behaviour in general. For example, I'm only seeing two topics in this subforum.

I noticed someone else saying the same thing.



roleplaying theory, hardcore / Designing interactions between players
« on: January 16, 2011, 05:39:33 PM »
To my mind, the most exciting and innovative thing about Apocalypse World is the fact that the mechanics are conciously designed to facilitate back-and-forth dialogue between players and GM.

I think that resolution, in terms of what a resolution system resolves and how that affects the fiction that is generated in play is reasonably well understood now. It's still not well implemented in a lot of designs, but the theory exists to understand and analyse it.

I think an emerging field of exciting developments in theory and design is understanding how systems shape the interactions between players. Understanding the interface between rules and people, how existing dynamics shape play, how the physical limitations of human beings (it's hard to talk and listen at the same time) constrain your possible ways of interacting with the game, leveraging existing forms of dialogue and styles of interaction, using ritual to push boundaries of acceptable communication, are all relatively unexplored.

Are there existing games that do this well? AW, obviously. S/lay w/ Me? Others?

There are a number of games that do this very badly, in my opinion, in terms of them asking you to interact in ways that are very difficult, require enormous attention or engagement, or that are overly formalistic and constraining (thus being exhausting to play).

Many more games simply leave a lot of this unstated. The designer clearly has an imagined rythm of communication, a way that people interact when they play the game, but this isn't communicated by the text or encouraged by the mechanics.

Are there some known rythms of communication other than AW's back-and forth? It seems like an obvious one because it mimics the turn-taking of natural conversation. What other styles are there?

Apocalypse World / Maelstrom Ghost proto-playbook
« on: January 05, 2011, 06:30:24 PM »
Here's the skeleton of a thing that my be getting introduced in our game:

When you take harm past 12:00 and your brain is open to the world's psychic maelstrom, you can, at your leisure, change your character type to Maelstrom Ghost.

Maelstrom Ghost

Choose a look

Wisps of smoke, shadows in darkness, flickers in dreams, glimpses in mirrors

Choose a voice

Whispers in ears, crackles over the radio, writing in the dust, signs and portents

Basic Moves

Of the basic moves, you get Read a Sitch, Seduce and Manipulate, Act Under Fire, and you can Help or Interfere

You can't physically interact with anything, except by virtue of one of your moves.

Maelstrom Ghost Moves:

You get 2:

Open a Brain:
When you open someone's brain to the world's psychic maelstrom, roll +weird. On a hit, they get glimpses into your world.
10+ you can show them something you've seen in the maelstrom, and you can ask them questions
7-9 The MC will show them something, and might ask questions
On a miss, they take ?-harm.

Move through the Maelstrom: (this is pretty particular to our own maelstrom)
When you attempt to manipulate the world's psychic maelstrom, whether you're physically moving, or just taking a look, roll +weird.
10+ choose 3
7-9 choose 2
- right time
- right place
- right reality
On a miss, the MC will take you somewhere interesting.

Familiar Spirit:
When you use any other move, if it makes sense, you can roll +Hx instead of what you'd normally roll.

When you force yourself into someone's brain, roll +weird.
10+ you control their body, like a fleshy puppet, for as long as you want it. When you make them do something, PCs can act under fire to force you out, in which case you take s-harm. If the body you're controlling takes harm past 12:00, you take s-harm and are forced out.
7-9: You are acting under fire to make them do something. On a miss, you'll take s-harm and are forced out of their brain.
On a miss, you take s-harm.

Spirit Fingers:
When you have time and intimacy with someone, at your option, they take ?-harm.

brainstorming & development / World of Conan - Available Now!
« on: November 23, 2010, 02:57:26 AM »
Hi all!

It's done! Or at least, it's as done as I can make it at the moment. Hopefully I'll get a chance to playtest it more and then, depending on how much fawning adulation I get for this version, I might make a second edition.

Anyhow, here's the link:

Feedback welcome!

the nerve core / Jumpy text box
« on: November 21, 2010, 03:52:06 PM »
Hey Vincent,

I'm coming down with a case of jumpy text box - the same thing I caught on the Forge a while back. Something about line breaks messes with the interface, and makes the text box jump around when you're typing. I'm using IE, and I haven't seen the same problem when I use Firefox.

It's not a terrible problem, but I thought you'd want to know.

brainstorming & development / World of Conan
« on: November 14, 2010, 12:10:19 AM »
World of Conan is a little hack for playing in the Hyborian Age. It's basically done, but I'd like two things:

Vincent, I've used some of your exact words in my hack. Nothing extensive, just the wording from some playbooks, and some threats. Is that cool? I'm publishing the thing for free.

Anybody else, it'd be cool to get someone to proof the thing, make sure I'm describing the moves clearly, that it all makes sense, and check the layout for ugliness. Volunteers?

Apocalypse World / Slave Playbook: Mindshare effectiveness?
« on: October 05, 2010, 02:57:12 PM »
This is actually for a Conan hack, but I think it's equally applicable to Original Flavour.

I'm making a "Slave" playbook. I'm trying to make the class rich in "mindshare effectiveness" like the Battlebabe, since mechanical and fictional effectiveness don't seem right for the class.

Here's what I'm thinking: "When someone makes you do something you don't want to do, they mark experience."

Is that gonna get the job done? I feel like it needs an accompanying move, about freeing you. Also, naturally, one of the Hx things will be "This person owns or controls you. Say how, and write Hx +3"

roleplaying theory, hardcore / Creative Agenda and GNS
« on: August 29, 2010, 11:26:10 PM »
On my blog just recently, I posted about some things I've been thinking about. Some of that was just hare-brained rambling, but this bit I'm sticking to:

"Play should be personally and socially fulfilling" is the one big thing to come out of the Forge in the last ten years, apparently. I'm like "Yup. Cool." Creative Agenda, as a thing that exists and makes play personally and socially fulfilling is something I can get behind, no problem. Things happen in a game, stuff changes, on your character sheet, in the fiction of the game, and in the social relationships between the players, and you notice and appreciate that change. You see it as "progress" rather than just change, because you've got a creative agenda.

So no problem with that.

But! I'm not sure that the specific formulation of creative agendas as falling into three general categories of "Story Now", "Right to Dream", and "Step on Up" is a useful way of thinking about Creative Agenda. I don't see it helping in design, nor do I see it helping in fixing problems in play. I do see evidence that specific understandings about how to design for Story Now play are useful, but I don't see correlated insights into Step on Up and Right to Dream play. I do see a lot of arguments and explanations and wars over definitions.

I don't think it's even a challenge to the Forge orthodoxy (if there is such a thing) to say that there are other ways of understanding creative agenda. I guess what I'm suggesting is that:

a) Historically, GNS (as a seperate thing from Creative Agenda) has been more of a burden to talking about design than a benefit.

b) There is a more useful way to think about Creative Agenda (but I don't really know what it would be).

If you like, I can describe what I mean by creative agenda, to make sure we're talking about the same thing and I'm not terribly mistaken.

the nerve core / Dedicated Custom Moves Forum?
« on: August 13, 2010, 12:48:20 AM »
When I was making my fronts, it came time to make a "When you enter the territory of the bad guys" custom move, and I was like "I'm sure someone has already come up with a really provocative version of this" but I couldn't find one.

Making custom moves is easy, but making those custom moves that really draw out horrible implications and drive interesting behaviours is an art form. I think a dedicated forum just for posting, discussing, and improving custom moves might make it easier to find interesting things. At the moment they're kind of being lost in the Apocalypse World forum.

I'd be happy to talk about alternative ideas though too. A wiki? A searchable database? A seperate forum entirely, that takes advantage of tags and searchability?

Apocalypse World / The Marshes
« on: August 08, 2010, 05:37:37 AM »
This is a custom move that I just made up for the creepy marshes on the edge of town. It's kind of inspired by echo bazaar. I'm kinda excited to see it in play, but I'd be interested in ideas for making it even better.

When you catch one of the strange creatures that lives in the marsh, roll +weird. On a 10+, it will tell you secrets of someone you knew who recently died. On a 7-9, it will babble random secrets from dead people, which may or may not be useful. On a miss, it's just an frogeel, and not very chatty.

Apocalypse World / Strange Machines
« on: August 02, 2010, 12:10:51 AM »
Here's a thing I've been idly daydreaming about while I wait to play my first session:

I guess this is a custom move or maybe the start of a class:

The Machine

There's a lot of incomprehensible junk lying around in Apocalypse World, and you've managed to get a bit of it running. There's no manual, and no one else has seen anything like it. You keep the thing running with luck and prayers and guesses, but when it's working, it's your baby, and everybody else better look out.

By default, the machine can be moved around with difficulty, fits one or two people inside, and provides one armour when you're inside.

Then choose three:

The machine can fly
The machine can drive real flippin' fast
The machine has armour +2
The machine has a weapon, harm 2, close, loud, reload and choose two of far, auto, area, ...
The machine's weapon has harm +2
The machine can drive through almost any obstacle
The machine can hold 10-15 people

And choose two:

The machine runs on something rare and expensive - pure water, batteries, brains
The machine is finicky and difficult
The machine is flimsy (-1 armour)
The machine can't be moved at all

Choose a name for the machine:
The Beast, Baby, Zephyr, Little Friend, Monster, X, Clarice, The Mule, Ol' Clanky, Brother, The Thing.

Say what the machine looks like and such.

Is this a thing that you can have authority about?

Like, if you say "my character George is gonna pull out his gun. He's pissed off because you stole his lady-friend" is that second part true, or is it just your interpretation?

If you say to me after the game "I think Greta only stole George's lady-friend to get him mad, she doesn't really care about Linda at all" can I say back "No, you're wrong"? Or can I only say "That's not how I see it?"

I'm not sure of this has a lot of implications for design, but it seems pretty relevant to how the game gets played. I just finished a Bliss stage game where the players were coming from pretty different directions on this question, and it definitely affected how they played the game.

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