Threat Level: A '24' hack

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Threat Level: A '24' hack
« on: May 24, 2011, 08:09:42 PM »
I'm planning a hack which I'm calling 'Threat Level'. Essentially, it's 24 the RPG.

Here's what I think will be in it:

- - -   - - -

3 Playbooks (with general moves and specialist moves for each playbook)
  • The Field Operative. Jack Bauer. Tony Almeida. Renee Walker. (specialist moves: Sniper, Marine, Interrogator, etc)
  • The Analyst. Chloe O'Brien. Kim Bauer. Good with data and conclusions. I think this playbook has lots of moves, including some Savvyhead stuff.
  • The Administrator. Bill Buchanan. Michelle Dessler. Deals with hierarchies, competing priorities and decisions (has one or two beginning of session moves)

A mini-playbook: The Mole

Basic Moves that deal with gathering intel, asserting authority, evading and pursing, analysing data, and using tech.
  • The element of 24 I feel most uncomfortable with is the frequency with which torture and enhanced interrogation are used to advance the plot. While I think that'll be a component of this game, I want make it a lot more dangerous and problematic than the TV show presented it. I want to emphasise the downsides of these techniques: false intelligence, creating enemies, alienating allies, the moral cost on the torturer, and harm.
  • I'd also like to make planning and tele-conferencing into riveting, edge-of-your-seat scenes.


Battle moves for brutal improvised attacks, and co-ordinated assaults.

Conditions that can replace Harm at the player's discretion. Conditions include Captured, Off-The-Grid, Dead, Pursued, Out-numbered, Unwilling Accomplice, Tracked, Second-Guessed/Suspected, Replaced/Fired, Blackmailed, Alone)

Fronts and Threat Types: including Targets, Personal Life, Authority (Presidents, Chiefs of Staff, Foreign Powers)

Threat clocks - inspired by Mystery Clocks in Monster of the Week, these are equivalent to an episode of 24, centre around a specific crisis, and describe the 'What would happen if the threat isn't dealt with'
  • 3 sample Threat clocks (virus stolen; terrorist leader located; an AI has been released onto the internet)


Conspiracy Clocks - like Countdown Clocks (or Arc Countdowns in Monster of the Week). A season (or half-season) of 24.
  • 2 sample clocks showing how this works.



- - -   - - -

I've been sitting on this idea for a while. In the spirit of getting things done, I've just spent 10 minutes getting it down on screen, so I can get back to finishing Left Coast and work on this next.

Any thoughts would be appreciated!
« Last Edit: May 25, 2011, 12:28:33 AM by Steve Hickey »

Re: Threat Level: A '24' hack
« Reply #1 on: May 24, 2011, 08:59:30 PM »
In the Police Procedural hack I'm fiddling around with, roughing up a suspect means you can get them to confess. The catch is, you still don't know if they did it or not.
 

Re: Threat Level: A '24' hack
« Reply #2 on: May 25, 2011, 09:14:08 PM »
This sounds very promising as a hack, Steve. Making torture a feature, and making it troubling and problematic, also sounds like a win to me.

Simon: That's great.

Re: Threat Level: A '24' hack
« Reply #3 on: May 26, 2011, 06:40:47 PM »
That's good stuff, Simon. I'll add it to the stuff that's I'm mulling over about problematising interrogation.

Thanks for the encouragement, John! Keeping this short (ala Lady Blackbird) is a major focus for me.

Re: Threat Level: A '24' hack
« Reply #4 on: May 26, 2011, 06:45:56 PM »
Here's some stuff I'm thinking about Conditions.

(This post is a work-in-progress. I'll keep editing it as I think of stuff.)

You can choose to take a condition instead of Harm.

Conditions can stack.

Here's an example of what I'm thinking:

Broken Nerves
Duration: At least 4 segments.
Effects:
-- Analysts and Administrators subtract 1 from Calm
-- Field Operatives lose their automatic success at the Act Under Pressure move. They must roll Act Under Pressure using the Analyst and Administrator move.
Buy-off: Spend an advance, or be calmed by a colleague.


Tortured
Duration: On-going. 1 torture scene per segment
Effects:
-- Take 3 Harm. You can reduce this Harm by selecting one or more of the following options:
  • Remove 3 Harm if you give them exactly what they want, as well as your on-going compliance.
  • Remove 2 Harm if you reveal valuable intel
  • Remove 1 Harm if you: (a) take the Unwilling Accomplice condition, (b) take the Broken Nerves condition, (c) reveal a personal detail that can be exploited, (d) fall unconscious for 2 segments (avoiding further torture).

-- You can take an additional 1 Harm in order to set yourself up for an escape
Buy-off: Give them what they want, engineer an escape or distraction, or you are rescued


---  ---  ---

Conditions I'm currently fleshing out include:

Off-The-Grid: You lose access to all of your agency's resources
Unwilling Accomplice: You have been forced to work for the enemy.
Tracked: Your location is known at all times. Duration: Ongoing.

---  ---  ---

Other conditions include:

Captured
Dead
Pursued
Out-numbered
Second-Guessed/Suspected
Replaced/Fired,
Blackmailed
Alone
Deceived.

« Last Edit: May 27, 2011, 01:14:49 AM by Steve Hickey »

Re: Threat Level: A '24' hack
« Reply #5 on: May 26, 2011, 08:34:46 PM »
Some stats seem to be emerging as I work through moves and conditions. I've grouped them into 'themes' and highlighted my current front-runners, below:

(This post is a work-in-progress. I'll keep editing it as I think of stuff.)

Force. Hard.

Authority. Credibility. Command.

Calm. Cool.

Insight.

Tech. Savvy. Wired.

Precision. Stealth. Quiet.

Resources (although this may end up being a peripheral move).
« Last Edit: May 27, 2011, 07:40:31 AM by Steve Hickey »

Re: Threat Level: A '24' hack
« Reply #6 on: May 27, 2011, 01:10:47 AM »
Some ideas for basic and peripheral moves.

(This post is a work-in-progress. I'll keep editing and adding to it as I think of stuff.)


---   ---   ---

Basic moves

When you assess fresh intelligence, roll+insight.

When you manipulate someone, roll+ ...?
-- Rather than leverage, you need a plausible rationale.

When you intimidate or coerce, roll+force/authority/tech (as appropriate to playbook).

When you act under pressure, roll+calm (if you're an analyst or an administrator).

When you act under pressure, you do it (if you're a field operative).

When you take violent action, roll+force.

When you assert your authority, roll+authority? credibility?

When you protect someone, roll+ ...?

When you infiltrate or evade (or 'When you act with stealth'), roll+stealth? quiet? precise?


---   ---   ---

Peripheral Moves

When you draw on resources in the field, roll+ ...? insight? calm?
-- You gain X amount of hold, which you can spend to gain equipment. Unique items cost more of your hold.
-- You can't roll this move again until you reach base or your vehicle.

When you draw on resources at your base, roll+ ...? insight? calm? authority?
-- It takes you X segments to acquire the item.
-- On a miss, the GM makes a hard move. (Oh! One of the GM moves should be to advance the threat clock by a segment.)


---   ---   ---

The equivalent of sex moves is "When you plausibly and directly oppose another PC".
« Last Edit: May 27, 2011, 07:44:13 AM by Steve Hickey »

Re: Threat Level: A '24' hack
« Reply #7 on: May 27, 2011, 07:59:46 PM »
More Conditions. (I didn't realise you lose the ability to modify your posts after a few hours.)

Captured: You're confined to a single location (such as a compound, fallout shelter, or warehouse).
Duration: On-going.
Effects:
-- Leaving any single area of the location you're confined to requires you to succeed at an appropriate move. You can make one move per segment.
Buy-off: successfully escaped or get rescued.


Dead: You've been killed.
Duration: On-going.
Effects:
-- Your dead character cannot take any actions.
-- Create another character to play
Buy-off: Spend an advance (or take an appropriate condition) and demonstrate how your character's death was faked.


Presumed dead: You convincingly appear to have been killed.
Duration: On-going.
Effects:
-- As long as you're undetected or unsuspected, you can take actions without being opposed.
-- You must take the Off-the-Grid condition.
Buy-off: Reveal yourself or have news of your survival reported to the wider world.


Infiltrator: Your base or personal life have been infiltrated.
Duration: On-going.
Effects:
-- The infiltrator will make a hard move within the next three segments.
-- The infiltrator can be an existing threat, a newly-introduced one, or an existing NPC who has become an unwilling accomplice.
Buy-off: Discover the identity of the infiltrator.


Under Cover: You've established your cover in an enemy organisation..
Duration: On-going.
Effects:
-- Establishing your cover requires (a) making a successful Manipulate move, and (b) taking 3 Harm.
-- Remove 1 Harm for each of the following options you select:
  • Someone on the inside suspects you
  • They still have a reason to distrust you
Buy-off: Your cover outlives its usefulness or is blown..


---   ---   ---

Some other conditions to work on:

Premature Action: Someone jumps the gun and launches an operation to soon.
« Last Edit: May 27, 2011, 09:57:50 PM by Steve Hickey »

Re: Threat Level: A '24' hack
« Reply #8 on: May 27, 2011, 08:19:24 PM »
When you assess fresh intelligence, roll+insight. On a hit you can ask the GM questions. On a 10+, ask two (or the same one twice). On a 7-9, ask one:

  • Tell me something that's already happened.
  • Tell me something about the organisation that's doing this.
  • Tell me something about the person behind this.
  • Tell me where the person or organisation might be vulnerable.
  • Tell me what the terrorists' next objective is.
  • Tell me about someone who might be valuable to the plan.


On a miss, the MC can make a move, including asking two of these questions of the player.


When you formulate a battle plan, roll+ ...? On a hit, you can ask the GM questions. Whenever you act on the GM's answers, take +1. On a 10+, ask three questions. On a 7-9, ask two (*):

  • What's my best way in?
  • What haven't I noticed?
  • What's the most immediate threat?
  • What's the best way to minimise casualties?
  • What's the best way to achieve my objective?
  • What's my enemy's true position?
  • Who is in control here?
  • What's the best escape route?
  • Where's the best place for an ambush?


On a miss, the MC can make a move, including asking 2 of these questions of the player.

(*) The Administrator also gets this move,
 but on a 10+, they ask two questions, and on a 7-9
they only ask one.

Analysts do not get this move.

---   ---   ---

Mike has this cool move in Monster of the Week which I think applies to Threat Level:

When you protect someone, roll+ ... reflexes, maybe? On a 10+ choose 3 and on a 7-9 choose 1 from the following list.

  • The target suffers no harm.
  • You suffer little harm (-1 harm).
  • The target is out of immediate danger.
  • Any impending danger is now focused on you.
  • You inflict harm on the enemy.


You also suffer whatever harm you are protecting them from.

On a miss, then you end up making things worse, like both you and the person you are protecting get harmed.
« Last Edit: May 27, 2011, 11:58:22 PM by Steve Hickey »

Re: Threat Level: A '24' hack
« Reply #9 on: May 28, 2011, 12:11:47 AM »
FYI Steve, the Protect Someone move has been streamlined a bit. Here's the newest version (key difference: you always protect them on a hit, mainly because people always chose that when it was an option)

Protect Someone

When you attempt to prevent harm to another character, roll +Tough.

On any hit (7+), you protect them okay, but you'll suffer whatever harm they were going to get.

If you got a 10+ choose two options, and on a 7-9 choose one:

  • You suffer little harm (-1 harm).
  • No impending danger is focused on the person you protected.
  • All impending danger is now focused on you.
  • You inflict harm on the enemy.

On a miss, then you end up making things worse, like both you and the person you are protecting get harmed.

Re: Threat Level: A '24' hack
« Reply #10 on: May 28, 2011, 06:08:45 PM »
Thanks, Mike. That's an elegant and completely sensible change.

Re: Threat Level: A '24' hack
« Reply #11 on: May 28, 2011, 06:53:37 PM »
The Field Operative (or 'The Operative' or 'The Agent').

Based on characters like Jack Bauer, Tony Almeida, and Renee Walker, the Field Operative is who you send into any situation where you expect to make contact with the enemy. The Field Operative has military training, has proven themselves resilient to stress, and is competent in a variety of spheres.

Stat Blocks
Force   Command   Calm   Insight   (Tech)   Precision   (Reflexes/Tempo)


---   ---   ---

Moves

Disciplined Engagement (from the Quarantine): When you inflict Harm, you can choose to inflict any amount of Harm you like, less than or up to your Harm as established, including s-Harm. Decide at the moment you inflict the Harm: you need not tell anyone in advance how much Harm you intend to inflict.

Extra Force: you get Force +1.

Extra Calm: you get Calm +1.

Merciless (from the Battlebabe): when you inflict Harm, inflict +1 Harm.

Perfect Instincts (from the Battlebabe): when you've formulated a battle plan, and you're acting on the GM's answers, take +2 rather than +1.

Leadership (from various playbooks): when people fight for you, roll+command. On a 10+, hold 3. On a 7–9, hold 1. Over the course of the fight, spend your hold 1 for 1 to make your squad:

  • make a hard advance
  • stand strong against a hard advance
  • make an organized retreat
  • show mercy to their defeated enemies
  • fight and die to the last ???

Pack Alpha (from the Chopper): THINK ABOUT INSERTING THIS.

The Speech (adapted from the Hocus' Frenzy): when you tell a group of civilians that their lives are on the line, roll+command. On a hit they unite and fight for you as a gang (2-Harm, 0-armour, size appropriate). On a 7-9, ???

DIY Surgery (from The Wronged): When you do some quick and dirty first aid on someone (including yourself), roll +calm???. On a 10+ it's all good, stabilize the injury and remove one harm. On a 7-9 you have to pick one: stabilize the injury but the patient takes -1 forward; remove 1 harm now, but have it return as 2 harm later; remove 1 harm but the patient takes -1 ongoing until it's fixed proper. On a miss, the Keeper chooses what happens.

A list of specialist moves:
Sniper
Marine
Interrogator
???

Re: Threat Level: A '24' hack
« Reply #12 on: May 28, 2011, 07:19:06 PM »
The Analyst

(This one is totally unfinished, but I'm putting it up here as a placeholder, while the inspiration strikes me.)


Stat Blocks

Force   Command   Calm-1  Insight+2   (Tech)   Precision   (Reflexes/Tempo)
Force   Command   Calm 0   Insight+2   (Tech)   Precision   (Reflexes/Tempo)
Force   Command   Calm+1   Insight+2   (Tech)   Precision   (Reflexes/Tempo)
Force   Command   Calm+2   Insight+2   (Tech)   Precision   (Reflexes/Tempo)
Force   Command   Calm      Insight   (Tech)   Precision   (Reflexes/Tempo)

---   ---   ---

During the  first segment of each Threat Clock, the Analyst gets the following free move:

When you re-assess recently-acquired intelligence, roll+insight. On a hit you can ask the GM questions. On a 10+, ask two (or the same one twice). On a 7-9, ask one:

  • Tell me something that's already happened.
  • Tell me something about the organisation that's doing this.
  • Tell me something about the person behind this.
  • Tell me where the person or organisation might be vulnerable.
  • Tell me what the terrorists' next objective is.
  • Tell me about someone who might be valuable to the plan.
  • Tell me something about what the organisation or person wants.

On a miss, the MC can make a move, including asking two of these questions of the player.


---   ---   ---

SOME POSSIBLE MOVES, TO FLESH OUT ...

Extra Insight: you get +1 insight.

Reputation (from The Operator): when you meet someone important (your call), roll+...calm? On a hit, they’ve heard of you and you say what they’ve heard; the MC will have them respond accordingly. On a 10+, you take +1 forward for dealing with them as well. On a miss, they’ve heard of you, but the MC will decide what they’ve heard. [I THINK THIS MAY GO AS AN OPTION OR AN ADVANCE ON EVERY PLAYBOOK.]

Always The Victim (from The Mundane): When another character uses protect someone to protect you, they mark experience. Whenever you're captured or harmed, you mark experience.

Don't Worry, I'll Check It Out (from The Mundane): Whenever you go off by yourself to check out somewhere (or something) that potentially poses a threat, mark experience.

Things Speak (from the Savvyhead): whenever you examine or handle something related to the current threat, roll+insight. On a hit, you can ask the MC questions, which they will answer with information that it's plausible for you to infer. On a 10+, ask 3. On a 7-9, ask1:

  • Who handled this last?
  • Who made this?
  • What has been done most recently with this or to this?
  • What is this for?
  • What's wrong with this?

Oftener Right (from the Savvyhead): When a character comes to you for advice, tell them what you objectively believe the the best course of action is (regardless of whether it's in their interests or not). If they take your advice, they take +1 to any rolls they make while following your suggested course of action, and you mark an experience circle.

When you act under pressure, roll+calm. On a 10+, you do it. [On a 7-9, you flinch, hesitate, or stall: if you still want to do it, the MC can offer you a worse outcome, a hard bargain, or an ugly choice.

Tiny details: I want the Analyst to be good at noticing tiny details.

I want the Analyst to have a Matrix-style 'Operator' style move, to help people insert and extract themselves.

A move that lets the Analyst detect a condition that somebody has. Roll+insight.

A move that makes them good at deception.

A move that makes them good at multi-tasking.

A move that gives them a bonus to assessing fresh intelligence.

A move that makes people help her so that things get done faster.

I want a variation Savvyhead workspace type move, to create tech or use computers to assess data. [When you re-purpose technology?]


---   ---   ---

I'd like a variation of the Oftener Right move, as well. Something like the Flake's advice rules, to represent giving difficult or problematic advice:

Contrary: When you seek out someone's honest advice on the best course of action for you, and they tell you, then mark experience if you do something else instead. If you do exactly the opposite, you also take +1 ongoing on any moves you make pursuing that course.


---   ---   ---

I'd also like a move that makes the Analyst good at fitting things into a broader pattern. (something like this move from The Flake)

Drawing Threads Together: At the beginning of each mystery, you can spend some time looking at the wider patterns that these events are part of. Roll +Sharp. On a 10+, hold 3 and on a 7-9 hold 1. Spend your hold during the mystery to ask the Keeper one of the following questions, and gain +1 if you act on the answers:

  • Is this person connected to events more than they are saying?
  • What is the time and place that something critical is next going to happen?
  • Which two people have a hidden relationship?
  • What does the monster want from this person?
  • How does this monster relate to previous mysteries I have investigated?
  • How does this mystery connect with the bigger picture?
« Last Edit: May 28, 2011, 10:14:26 PM by Steve Hickey »

Re: Threat Level: A '24' hack
« Reply #13 on: May 29, 2011, 07:52:21 PM »
The Administrator.

(I found it good to do a bit of a brain-dump about what I wanted the Analyst playbook to feel like, and then extract moves from that - so I'll try that again with this one.)

The Administrator has authority over a lot of agents and analysts and takes ultimate responsibility for the success or failure of the mission or for any individual's incompetence or betrayal. This playbook is inspired by characters like Bill Buchanan and Michelle Dessler.

Administrators deal with hierarchies, competing priorities and decisions. They're good with people. In fact, I'm discovering that playbooks have a yin-yang about them: they're good at something, but that thing also creates problems for them.


---   ---   ---

You get this move:

Act Under Pressure: When you act under pressure, roll+calm. On a 10+, you do it. [On a 7-9, you flinch, hesitate, or stall: if you still want to do it, the MC can offer you a worse outcome, a hard bargain, or an ugly choice.


---   ---   ---

Choose one of these options:

Former agent: You were promoted to Administrator from the field. Choose one move from the Field Operative playbook to reflect your background.

Former analyst: You were promoted to Administrator from inside the agency. Choose one move from the Analyst playbook to reflect your background.


---   ---   ---

Other moves

Promotion: I'd like Administrators to be a little bit like the senior ranks in 3:16, with different priorities to the other playbooks. Perhaps with a series of 'Promotion' moves? Or a series of advances that can be chosen. Each one gives you a different 'priority' (like 'follow the protocol', 'no casualties': I'LL THINK ABOUT THIS A BIT MORE) which you get experience for if you achieve. Maybe you also get additional resources?

Big Picture: I think they have to be good at seeing the big picture. Differentiate this from the Analyst? Maybe it's about True Motives? They can see why an order has been given from further up the hierarchy or can see one or two moves ahead, or they have a HUGE insight into something that's driving a member of the threat - something not in a database, that relies on soft intelligence and personal history.

Reputation (from The Operator): when you meet someone important (your call), roll+...calm? On a hit, they’ve heard of you and you say what they’ve heard; the MC will have them respond accordingly. On a 10+, you take +1 forward for dealing with them as well. On a miss, they’ve heard of you, but the MC will decide what they’ve heard. [I THINK THIS MAY GO AS AN OPTION OR AN ADVANCE ON EVERY PLAYBOOK.]

'Off-the-book': Administrators have built up a number of personal assets over the years - people who aren't in the system, who can be consulted without alerting anyone else.

A move that gets them access to resources faster than others (or better resources, maybe).

Maybe Administrators have a stat like 'Rank'?


---   ---   ---

During the  first segment of each Threat Clock, the Administrator gets the following free moves:

Suction: They have a beginning of the session move that represents how much influence they have over a situation. Successes will give them suction with higher-ups or influence over subordinates or equals. Misses mean they are indebted, and someone they owe a favour to will appear this session.  It could also mean an enemy appears or is created, or there is inter-agency conflict.

New Objectives: Another beginning of the session move could involve 'Orders': new or additional mission objectives, additional resources (or being stripped of resources). Maybe the Administrator is able to set new objectives, and on a miss the GM gets hold to spend on setting new objectives during the session.


---   ---   ---

Oppositional moves:

I think they have to be good at ordering people into tricky situation that aren't necessarily in their best interests. Ordering people to make sacrifices for the good of the mission or the country. If they do it, they mark experience.
« Last Edit: May 30, 2011, 03:14:24 AM by Steve Hickey »

Re: Threat Level: A '24' hack
« Reply #14 on: May 29, 2011, 09:52:22 PM »
Battle Moves.

I was sure there was an extensive discussion of battles in Apocalypse World, but I can't find it at the moment. In the meantime, here are a list of some links I'll need to dig into a bit further:

Seize by Force is a peripheral move.

Is Fighting supposed to be Seize by Force?

Anatomy of Go Aggro.

Seizing by Force and range issues.

Links to any other threads thinking about battles in AW would be greatly appreciated.

I'm thinking there are two types of move here:

When you attack with or defend against sudden violence.
  • 'you seize the avantage is one of the options with this move.


When you execute a battle plan (which is like Seize by Force, with the option to spend hold from your battle planning)
« Last Edit: May 29, 2011, 11:44:38 PM by Steve Hickey »