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Playbook: the Swashbuckler



I'm looking for some input on this one.


------------ THE SWASHBUCKLER -------------

The charming scoundrel.  The dashing rake.  The hellion.  The vixen.  The man you always wanted to be, or the woman you could never have.  Wits and panache and a sharp blade.  Who better to stand with you in this mad, mad world?  Better a friend than a wicked, mocking enemy.

A character playbook for APOCALYPSE WORLD
By Owen S. Kerr

To create your swashbuckler, choose name, look, stats, moves, gear, and Hx. Choose in any order you like.

Flynn, Blood, Indiana, Wraith, Mad Jack, Roberts, Barbarossa, Ronin, Maverick, Bart, Zorro, Fox, Vane, Kelley, Red, Jackie, Kidd, Han, Coyote, Cyrano, Toshiro, Crocodile

Vixen, Raven, Scarlet, Opium, Carmen, Jess, Ebony, Calico, Charlotte, Pearl, Morgan, Ivory, Anne, Elaine

Man, woman, or transgressing.

Practical wear, display wear, silk-shirt-tight-pants-and-boots, or showy armor.

Tanned face, strong face, bearded face, handsome face, sharp face, wicked face, delicate face, or striking face.

Laughing eyes, greedy eyes, sleepy eyes, clear eyes, or burning eyes.

Lean body, stocky body, gorgeous body, muscular body, or petite body.

Choose one set:
• Cool+1 Hard+1 Hot+2 Sharp=0 Weird-1
• Cool=0 Hard+2 Hot+2 Sharp-1 Weird=0
• Cool+1 Hard-1 Hot+2 Sharp+1 Weird=0
• Cool=0 Hard-1 Hot+2 Sharp+1 Weird+1

You get all the basic moves. Get Improvised Weapon and Parry in Sixte, then choose 2 Swashbuckler moves.

You get:
• 2 swashbuckling weapons
• oddments worth 1-barter
• fashion suitable to your look, including at your option fashion worth 1-armor. Cool hat and/or fashionable mask optional.

Swashbuckling weapons (choose 2)
• an honest-to-God sword (3-harm hand)
• heavy pistol (2-harm close/hand reload loud)
• large knife (2-harm hand)
• buckler (1-harm hand (+1armor at hand range only))
• axe (3-harm hand messy)
• whip (1-harm hand area)

Everyone introduces their characters by name, look and outlook. Take your turn. List the other characters’ names.

Go around again for Hx. On your turn:
• One backed your play in a bad situation. Tell them Hx+2.
• One made you look bad, once. Once. Tell them Hx-2.

For everyone else:
• If you're the flamboyant type, tell everyone Hx+1. You put yourself out in the public view.
• If you're not, tell everyone Hx=0.

On the others’ turns:
• (need something here)
• (need something here)

At the end, find the character with the highest Hx on your sheet. Ask that player which of your stats is most interesting, and highlight it. The MC will have you highlight a second stat too.

Whenever you roll a highlighted stat, and whenever you reset your Hx with someone, mark an experience circle. When you mark the 5th, improve and erase. Each time you improve, choose one of the options. Check it off; you can’t choose it again.

If you and another character have sex, you're totally unsurprised.  I mean, look at you.   (need something else here)

IMPROVEMENT -----------
__ get +1 cool (max +2)
__ get +1 hard (max +2)
__ get +1 sharp (max +2)
__ get +1 weird (max +2)
__ get a new swashbuckler move
__ get a new swashbuckler move
__ get a gang (detail) and leadership
__ get moonlighting and 2 swashbuckler gigs
__ get a move from another playbook
__ get +1 to any stat (max stat+3)
__ retire your character (to safety)
__ create a second character to play
__ change your character to a new type
__ choose 3 basic moves and advance them
__ advance the other 4 basic moves.

-- SWASHBUCKLER MOVES --------------------------------------

? Improvised Weapon: if you need a weapon, roll+sharp. On a 10+, there is an implement handy that just might work (2-harm hand improvised); on a 7-9, well... it's better than nothing (1-harm hand improvised). On a miss, the other guy grabs it first. Give the opponent a weapon (2-harm hand improvised). Improvised weapons last for the duration of a single fight (MC's discretion).

? Parry in Sixte: People have a hard time getting past your guard.  When using a weapon (hand), add +1 armor. This does not work against firearms or some hi-tech weapons (MC's discretion).

? Drop. Your. Sword.  When you go aggro on someone, roll+hot instead of roll+hard.

? Hold Them Off Single-Handedly: when fighting a gang (small or a-guy-or-two), range hand, you may roll+hot. On a hit, you get their attention for a while. In that time, the gang does no damage to you or your allies. On a 7-9, you don't hurt them, either. On a 10+, choose 1:
     * the gang either takes 1-harm (ap), or
     * is impressed/awed/frightened by your martial prowess.
On a miss, you have their attention... do you really want it? (At MC's discretion, this move can be used to tie up *part* of a gang. A medium gang becomes two small gangs, only one of which can act. A large gang becomes one small and one medium gang; the medium part can act as normal.)

? Laughing, Then Jumping Off Something: roll+hot; on a 10+, safely close the distance between yourself an opponent, going from far to close, or close to hand. On a 7-9, as above, but they get a shot off: take 1-harm (ap). On a miss, you don't manage to get any closer, and they have you in their sights; take full damage from their weapon.

? Sexy Beast: get +1 hot (max +3 hot)

-- SWASHBUCKLER GIGS ----------------------------------
                             (profit / catastrophe)
? Bodyguarding (1-barter / embattled)
? Companionship (1-barter / entangled)
? Doing murders (3-barter / embattled)
? Dueling (2-barter / embattled)
? Gambling (2-barter / impoverished)
? Raiding (1-barter / embattled)
? Treasure-hunting (1-barter / embattled)

(with a vehicle or gang)
O Blockade Running (2-barter / embattled)

1-barter is the going rate for one act of murder, extortion or other violence; one week’s employment as bodyguard or gang leader; one threat, message or valuable delivered; or one month’s casual employment as an enlivening presence.


Let me know what you think.


Improvised weapon:
Fists are harm-1, so a 7-9 on Improvised weapon isn't really a partial success at all. I suggest you add some effects to Improvised weapons, reflecting the swashbucklers tendencies for flair rather than brute force. Perhaps you deal s-harm, or roll a harm roll for an opponent you hit, or an other effect.

I don't know if this helps you at all, but you asked for our thoughts, so: Personally, I wouldn't put swashbucklers in my Apocalypse World. I don't see any of the bravado style, comedy or heroics of the swashbuckler genre in the game. Have you intended the playbook for vanilla AW games, or did you write it for a special campagin or for fun?

@Arvid: Good points.

Improvised weapons are there so the character can have a chance to use the Parry rules when he's been otherwise disarmed.  (Hard -- but not impossible -- to block a knife with a bare hand.)

I like the 'flair, not force' idea.

The concept came to me during a game that I'm MCing.  One of my players mentioned Jackie Chan in passing, and later another tried a flamboyant series of moves.  It struck me that the battlebabe playbook didn't explore the charismatic warrior angle, just the sexy-yet-dangerous one.  The hardholder is supposed to be charismatic, but isn't necessarily a combatant.

I wanted there to be a playbook for the Indiana Jones, Robin Hood, lone samurai, Captain Jack type of person, someone who suceeds out of sheer force of personality.  As a system, AW is well into the 'cinematic' end of the realism spectrum.  I think it's inclusive enough to absorb this kind of play.

Thanks for your input, and I'm looking forward to more.


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