How to handle pregnancy?

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How to handle pregnancy?
« on: February 07, 2011, 08:35:36 AM »
So my  player character is pregnant and she's going to have a baby. I'm trying to figure out how to do that by the rules. It's an inevitability, something that is going to happen pretty much on schedule barring some calamity.

Set a threat countdown clock? That's for stuff that is conditional and explicitly preventable. I guess you can prevent the birth of a child, sort of, but that seems off. But there needs to be a way of saying "you go into labor now". Or would the threat be "the baby comes too early" or maybe "the baby dies"?

Do you just have to fall back on "what the fiction demands" for when she goes into labor?

A custom move? For the process of delivery, definitely.

How would you handle this?

Re: How to handle pregnancy?
« Reply #1 on: February 07, 2011, 02:18:42 PM »
First, you might be interested in this if you haven't already seen it.

Pregnancy sounds just like a threat.affliction.condition.

I keep thinking of countdown clocks that don't really fit with how the rules tell you to do them, so I'd guess that's not what you're looking for.  I might still adapt the idea of the countdown and say that at 12:00 the baby comes and then fill in a wedge each time either of: seven weeks pass or significant trauma is experienced.  If you avoid trauma, the baby comes on time, else early.

Or maybe this custom move: When a player is pregnant, the MC should add this option to the 10+ list on the suffer harm move: your baby is affected by your harm.

I guess I'd mostly use the normal MC moves and principles to determine when delivery starts.  The when is only interesting if it's interesting. 

But thinking about all the things that could go wrong and how slowly time has passed in the AW games I've played, it's hard to imagine a fetus surviving 40 weeks.

Re: How to handle pregnancy?
« Reply #2 on: February 07, 2011, 02:45:01 PM »
Thanks, those are good thoughts, and the other thread is informative. Regarding time, I had the same concern, although our game seems to move pretty fast. I guess the GM would have to aggressively telescope time to make the birth relevant/possible. Or the PC could start pretty far along.
« Last Edit: February 07, 2011, 02:55:47 PM by Jason Morningstar »

Re: How to handle pregnancy?
« Reply #3 on: February 08, 2011, 01:20:20 PM »
Even without the actual birth, the pregnancy becomes relevant because of how it affects people around it: the mom, the dad, their roles in the holding, their call on the holding's resources, anybody who's got a stake in the outcome. Currently, we have a newly-revealed-as-pregnant NPC in The Windmills. I figure she's about 2, maybe 3 months along. One missed period is just a thing that happens occasionally, but two is noteworthy, and three you've got a reason. So really, I've got 6 months to deal with in the fiction. If I squint just a bit, I could say each of the next 6 sessions happen a month apart, barring any that evolve into two-parters. So now I'm only looking at 10 or so sessions till the birth. Which seems fine, and plenty of time for stuff to go wrong, or to eclipse more time.

it does mean I need a calendar, as well as more maps.

Re: How to handle pregnancy?
« Reply #4 on: February 09, 2011, 03:28:02 PM »
Even without the actual birth, the pregnancy becomes relevant because of how it affects people around it: the mom, the dad, their roles in the holding, their call on the holding's resources, anybody who's got a stake in the outcome. Currently, we have a newly-revealed-as-pregnant NPC in The Windmills. I figure she's about 2, maybe 3 months along. One missed period is just a thing that happens occasionally, but two is noteworthy, and three you've got a reason...

...and the odds of that baby having a daddy are very much up in the air right now! That little embryo isn't a child OR a choice, it's sweet, sweet leverage over not one, but TWO NPCs. It's a little prenatal triangle!

-JC
« Last Edit: February 09, 2011, 03:32:29 PM by Jim Crocker »

Re: How to handle pregnancy?
« Reply #5 on: February 10, 2011, 02:02:43 AM »
I would want to see a custom move involving morning sickness and the weird stat.

Re: How to handle pregnancy?
« Reply #6 on: February 11, 2011, 09:24:23 AM »
Interesting that you see it that way, Jim ;)

Re: How to handle pregnancy?
« Reply #7 on: February 14, 2011, 12:17:54 PM »
Jason, are you looking for it to do something that can't be handled with Act Under Fire?

Because, DUDE, flinch, hesitate, or stall and worse outcome, hard bargain, or ugly choice all totally sound appropriate to an Apocalypse World pregnancy.

Also, consider that -- before the delivery -- you could have someone Read a Charged Situation:

-- What's my best way in/out?
-- What is the biggest threat?
-- What should I be on the lookout for?
-- What's (the baby's) true position? (i.e. is it twisted or facing strangely)

Honestly, I feel like -- unless you have some very specific things you're looking for -- the basic moves can handle this type of thing (and almost any other weird situation) just dandy.

Re: How to handle pregnancy?
« Reply #8 on: March 16, 2011, 11:48:16 PM »
What with all the sex moves, I figured pregnancy would've been covered in the rules... I immediately interpreted the countdown timer as a pregnancy clock, even before I was told what it was for!

I interpret AW pregnancy using a heavy dose of barf forth apocalyptica: Nuclear fallout + no more centralized knowledge banks = not everybody knows/understands exactly how babies happen.  Which, y'know, jives with most of human history.  Early civilizations knew getting married had *something* to do with it, and they knew it was really really unusual when virgins gave birth, and they had social codes that said 'hey don't do the sex thing till marriage'... but the actual factuals behind the birds and bees were just not something people twigged to.

So.  Countdown timer = pregnancy clock. Great.  The session after you conceive, you're at 3:00.  At the beginning of every session (or every so often, depending on how quickly you elide through time), roll dice+0.  If the total is the time or less, advance it.  3:00- Morning sickness. 6:00- Concealable baby bump.  9:00: Obvious baby bump.  10:00- water breaks, start rolling every 10-15 minutes or so of realtime.  11:00- contractions start.  12:00- baby!

Want to delay contractions, or do something that might put the pregnancy at risk? Counts as under fire.  Having an angry pregnant momma moment? Sounds a lot like going aggro to me.

Scale up or down as you see fit.  If I stepped on any toes, well... got any better ideas?  I'm just whistling in the dark.

Re: How to handle pregnancy?
« Reply #9 on: March 17, 2011, 07:28:24 AM »
^ It's a pretty good tune, though :)

Re: How to handle pregnancy?
« Reply #10 on: March 17, 2011, 12:02:13 PM »
I think the people of early civilizations knew exactly how people got pregnant.  They might not have known about details like gametes, and had interesting theories of what exactly happened at conception, and mystical exceptions to the rule like virgin births, but they knew.  Even if we didn't understand the basics as cavemen, we certainly understood it when we started domesticating livestock.

I can imagine an isolated group of children or adolescents losing the knowledge, but they'd get it back in a generation or two.  We're clever little animals.

Of course, maybe the Maelstrom has changed all that.  Maybe people don't have babies anymore.  The Storm brings them. 

*

Judd

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Re: How to handle pregnancy?
« Reply #11 on: March 17, 2011, 12:40:02 PM »
I like countdown clocks for keeping track of fronts and threats, things the PC's might avoid or change.  Birth doesn't feel like a

I would have the baby born when the fiction demanded and use it as an excuse to bring out all kindsa cool apocalyptica. 

"Yeah, you peer into the psychic maelstrom and there's someone there with you, clinging to your belly, looking at this psychic mess in horror."

Re: How to handle pregnancy?
« Reply #12 on: March 17, 2011, 06:07:31 PM »
(Judd, it looks like part of your post got eaten by the maelstrom.)

In a world without modern interventions, birth is totally a threat. 80+% of the time, it's no big deal and things go fine. But it's always in question, and things can go really wrong really fast. Even a minor thing, like a shoulder distortia, can cost either or both lives without someone who knows what to do. Remember, pregnancy/labor/delivery only need to work well enough to get a next generation, not well enough to get mother and baby through it smoothly every time.

*

Judd

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Re: How to handle pregnancy?
« Reply #13 on: March 17, 2011, 11:54:45 PM »
Margolotte,

I meant a threat as in terms of the rules of AW.  As an MC, I wouldn't draw up a pregnancy as a threat, as in a front and threat that MC's make up for their game prep.

Re: How to handle pregnancy?
« Reply #14 on: March 21, 2011, 01:25:01 PM »
So what does the custom "When you give birth" move look like?

For starters, how about:

WHEN YOU GIVE BIRTH, roll +hard. On a 10+, you've got a healthy baby! On 7-9, choose two:

* The baby is not a sickly, mewling wreck
* The baby is not malformed in mind and/or body
* The mother is not injured and can have more babies
* You didn't use up any extra barter or incur an obligation

On a 6- it will go bad and, at a minimum, baby or mother is dead.