Questions after the first session...

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Questions after the first session...
« on: July 09, 2010, 01:08:18 AM »
I always end up doing one of these threads, it seems.
I MCed my first session today, with three players.  They didn't pick some of the playbooks I thought would be coolest, but thats okay, I'm pretty sure it's still going to be a cool group.  We've got a Driver, a Gunlugger, and a Savvyhead.

Most of it went pretty smooth, but I've got two rules-type questions right now:

I think Vincent mentioned that one of the stat lines for the Driver was weird, and my friend noticed it.  One of them only totals to +1 instead of +2.  Vincent, did you ever decide for sure that was how it was meant to be?  He ended up not picking  that line (because it totaled lower) but I guess part of it looked tempting.

Secondly, how do people generally handle healing when none of the PCs are angels?  Do the PCs just have to do favors or pay barter for healing from an NPC medic and then I, as MC, just say, "Okay, he narcostabs you, you're out for a few hours and when you wake up you're covered in bandages and your wounds have been stitched up. Clear your clock to 6:00."?  Or something along those lines?

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Ariel

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Re: Questions after the first session...
« Reply #1 on: July 09, 2010, 02:13:00 AM »
Vx gives you two options: One tick for one barter until 6:00, or MC's digression. 

I usually charge 1-3 barter and make any and all wounds part of the fiction (as opportunities for Moves). They heal when they've worked for it.

Re: Questions after the first session...
« Reply #2 on: July 09, 2010, 02:21:44 AM »
Actually there's a few options presented for non-PC medics. You can either make them a full-on threat NPC, involved in stakes, triangles, the whole shebang. Figure out healing and costs however you would work out another NPC's interests.

Or you can make the medic a named NPC with some human wants and needs, but no particular agency, like any other NPC, and basically characters just go, spend some jingle, and are done with it.

Or, of course, there's always the option that there's just no ready healing available, and they're SOL :)

Re: Questions after the first session...
« Reply #3 on: July 12, 2010, 08:24:34 PM »
So I'm working on my prep for my second session and I find myself with more questions as I try to work on Fronts.

First: Pretty much everyone is supposed to be a Threat, right?  But there is no category of threats for individual people besides Grotesques.  Does this imply that EVERYONE in AW has had their humanity crippled?

Second: Am I doing it wrong if each front doesn't fit cleaning under one fundamental scarcity?  The example front doesn't even have one of the fundamental scarcities (it expresses "corruption").  Two of my threats are the lazy and greedy but entrenched hardholder and his ambitious head of "security."  I figure the first falls in "envy" or possibly "hunger" and the second quite cleanly in "ambition" but it also seems like they should both be in the same front since it's primarily the potential power struggle between them that's going to cause trouble for the PCs rather than direct action against them.

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lumpley

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Re: Questions after the first session...
« Reply #4 on: July 12, 2010, 08:46:19 PM »
Grotesques: nah. Most of the individual people in my Apocalypse World, for instance, are members of some brutes threat or other. "The population of the Luxor - brutes (sybarites). Cast: Daff, Dough, Wensdy, Clarion, Mom (RIP), Gams (RIP), Ell (RIP)..."

Right? Daff gets lots of individual screen time, but threatwise he's just one little person of a big, sprawling brutes threat.

Scarcities: the purpose of the fundamental scarcities is to inspire you to create new threats thematically related to your initial ones. For instance, say your hardholder's hunger. Look through and see if any other hungry threats jump out at you -- add those to the same front. Say that his gang boss is ambition (it's totally fine that they're separate fronts, even though in the fiction they're close together) -- look through the threats and see what else is ambitious, or what else is a threat because of ambition.

I say "jump out at you," but really, by the rules you're obliged to add enough threats to make it a front. I mean "create," and sometimes it takes some care and some thought. This is how you prep for play, so it's worth a little time.

Somewhere late in the process I changed "corruption" to "rot." Oops! Oh well.

-Vincent

Re: Questions after the first session...
« Reply #5 on: July 13, 2010, 09:48:02 AM »
Somewhere late in the process I changed "corruption" to "rot." Oops! Oh well.
I think you mean "decay" :)  At least that's what in my book and 1st session worksheet.

Sounds like I'm going to have to tear apart the front I started writing up then and split it into a couple different ones.  I had four threats: a lazy hardholder with all the shit who doesn't really do enough to protect the people, an ambitious gang leader seeking more power, a group of people born with various mutations driven out of the holding and forced to live in the junk fields, and a disease striking the only renewable sources of fresh food and meat (this was going to be the spark that set the other three fighting more directly with each other).  But most of these don't fall under the same fundamental scarcity.

-I called the gang leader ambitious, but I think he's actually "envy" because he wants what the hardholder has.  (Though... he's also after more power.  Can something be under more than one scarcity?)
-I think the hardholder actually falls under ignorance (which is where i had him initially, then i second guessed myself and moved him... now i'm third guessing myself and putting him back).  He's a threat because he stays holed up in his little stronghold with his canned fruit and his wives and he doesn't know or care about what's really going on with the inhabitants of the holding, and that means he's not going to be prepared when shit hits the fan.
-The mutants fall under hunger, I think, pretty obviously.  They've been driven out and have to scavenge for food.  They are literally hungry.
-The disease... most literally might be decay, but I guess it could fall under hunger as well, since it's going to cause a food shortage.

That said, I'm not entirely sure I understand the benefit of grouping threats together based on scarcity if they are otherwise unrelated.
Or am I doing it wrong?  Do I need to take just one threat, stick it in a front, then create, at that point, other related threats that also exemplify the same fundamental scarcity?  I had been trying to put threats that I'd already thought of and mentioned in the first session into a front together: the disease was the only one i made up after the first session.

Oh and on the grotesques and individual people question...  Are you saying that any person who wouldn't be considered a part of a larger group must be a grotesque?  I can see this, possibly, as anyone in apocalypse world who intentionally keeps apart from all others is probably twisted in some way, but I'm still not sure.  This occurred to me when I was thinking about making up an NPC medic and writing her up as a threat.  I'd like her to be a major NPC so, while she certainly is employed by the hardholder, I thought it would be best to write her up separately rather than just subsuming her under the hardholder's warlord threat, but none of the grotesque threats looked right.  I guess I could put her into a brutes threat for random citizens of the holding, but I wanted her to standout more... and I can't give her her own custom move either.

Anyway, sorry for the rambling nature of this post.  I'm at least half just thinking "out loud" here.

But thanks for the advice!
« Last Edit: July 13, 2010, 10:11:57 AM by fnord3125 »

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lumpley

  • 1293
Re: Questions after the first session...
« Reply #6 on: July 13, 2010, 10:52:48 AM »
Right, yes. The threats you discover during session 1 are the tips of icebergs. After session 1, you create the rest of the icebergs, the related dangers that the players haven't seen yet.

The hardholder expresses ignorance. Cool! You know what resources he has and what resources he lacks. Create another, new threat that touches the hardholder, and also expresses ignorance. An affliction, maybe; afflictions make very good front-glue. "Not going to be prepared when the shit hits the fan" is great. What is it, a delusion, "nothing bad will happen"? A simple condition, "unprepared"? You decide.

For an easy third threat, you can create the sufferers of the affliction. Some segment of the hardholder's population. Brutes are the obvious choice, but which kind of brutes? It depends on your vision of their ignorance. Maybe it's "nothing bad will happen" as a delusion, and the brutes are sybarites, indulging themselves as though they could never run out. Or they're a cult, and "nothing bad will happen" is their doctrine! Maybe it's "unprepared" as a condition, and the brutes are a mob, just incapable of any coordinated or sensible response to danger.

That's three threats, which makes it a front. List names for cast. Create some countdowns (how long until the aforementioned shit hits the aforementioned fan?) and think about custom threat moves. Write its agenda / dark future and a couple of stakes questions, and you're all done.

Now do the same again for the gang leader. Choose envy or ambition by creating the next threat. You can do the affliction trick again, or you could make a landscape -- landscapes are very good for envy -- and you'll inevitably create this guy's gang as a threat, so you could do that next.

Like, this one guy, he's balancing the scales between envy and ambition. As you add threats, though, they'll inevitably tip it one way or the other. His gang: do they share his lust for power, or do they just crave better for themselves and their families? His landscape: is he already holding a position of strength and he wants more, or does he have too little and he wants enough?

So, yeah. Consider each of the proto-threats that comes out in session 1 to represent a whole front of its own, don't mash them all together into one front.

Also: ha ha! Corruption rot decay. I chased that word around for a while, I'd forgotten where I finally stopped.

-Vincent

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Bret

  • 285
Re: Questions after the first session...
« Reply #7 on: July 13, 2010, 11:12:06 AM »
So I have a question that's a follow up. Let's say in a front three threats resolve but maybe one is left. And maybe now it seems like it belongs in another front. Would you maybe develop it as a completely different front and make some threats around it? Or let it pan out and let the ash settle and go from there and develop new Fronts/Threats afterward?
Tupacalypse World

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lumpley

  • 1293
Re: Questions after the first session...
« Reply #8 on: July 13, 2010, 11:23:12 AM »
Sure, whichever. Move it to another front, build a new front behind it, let it evaporate, all legit.

-Vincent

Re: Questions after the first session...
« Reply #9 on: July 13, 2010, 01:33:05 PM »
and you'll inevitably create this guy's gang as a threat, so you could do that next.
I was nodding along right up until here.  Doesn't the warlord threat types imply a gang?  This guy could easily be an alpha wolf or possibly a prophet (i mean, he's not actually a prophet but he'll probably be denouncing and attempting to overthrow, so...).  But you seem to be suggesting... what?  Making the gang leader some type of grotesque and then the gang brutes?

All in all, though, thank you!  This really helps me see how I should be approaching this.  I'll have to start over... but that's cool, I didn't really go that far anyway.

I do wonder: how many complete fronts do you think are necessary to have for the second session of a game?

Also I'm still wondering about the individuals/grotesques issue, but I have a related question that may or may not make things easier on me: What's the story with the different names of the threat types?  Like "prophet" and "maze" and "mutant."  Is the name prescriptive or is the important part the impulse?  That is, does a "mutant" threat really NEED to be a mutant, or is the important thing that he craves restitution and recompense and the name "mutant" is just a colorful term to help remember that?  Or the same question for the gang leader above: if he's going around telling people how much the hardholder sucks and how everyone should join him in throwing him down, does that make him a "prophet" even if no one would actually use that term to describe him?

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lumpley

  • 1293
Re: Questions after the first session...
« Reply #10 on: July 13, 2010, 01:55:41 PM »
Sure, alpha wolf or prophet, or whatever, that's fine. You can write up a gang boss and his gang as a warlord and brutes, or as just a warlord (listing the gang as cast), or just as brutes (listing the gang boss as cast), depending on your needs.

There are at least a couple of quite obvious warlord-brute pairings for just this purpose. Prophet & cult, alpha wolf & hunting pack, hive queen & family. This isn't restrictive -- you can have an alpha wolf leading a cult or a hive queen leading a hunting pack, or any other combination you want -- it's just convenient.

I don't understand the grotesques vs individuals issue you're having, but I'd say that the threat type and the threat impulse go hand in hand. If you're like "oh MAN, this guy's totally a prophet," then his impulse is to denounce and overthrow. If you're like, "oh MAN, this guy's totally all about denouncing and overthrowing," then he's a prophet. I don't know which will come first in your head, case by case, but whichever does, the other goes along with it.

But, yeah, the guy's gang, or the PCs, or even the other players -- they might not think of him as a prophet at all. That's fine. Threat types, threat impulses and threat moves are MC-stuff alone, nobody else needs to know or care.

I like to go into session 2 with 2 or 3 fronts written up, and some solo threats still floating un-fronted.

-Vincent

Re: Questions after the first session...
« Reply #11 on: July 13, 2010, 02:07:04 PM »
I don't understand the grotesques vs individuals issue you're having, but I'd say that the threat type and the threat impulse go hand in hand.
It's probably some weird personal issue.  :)  I mean, you say they are people, not monsters, and that's cool, but all the names are things that make me go "Aaagh!  Scary!" and yet, as I pointed out earlier, there's no other good category for someone who is a threat as an individual rather than as a leader or member of a group.  And... let's take "mutant" again.  Mutant implies certain things to me. It tends to suggest someone that is physically altered and unlike most other people.  Visibly twisted and different.  But I can imagine someone craving restitution and recompense that isn't a physical mutant.  Cannibal is another example. Someone might seek satiety and plenty (and, obviously, to a dangerous, excessive extent) without doing so by consuming other people.  So are all Cannibal Grotesque Threats intended to literally be cannibals?

But anyway... if you've got more input to offer on this, great, but i expect it's been beaten enough.  :)  I have more questions about how stuff went in my first session that I'd like to ask before my second session (which will hopefully be on thursday) but i think i'll take them to a new thread if that's cool.

Re: Questions after the first session...
« Reply #12 on: July 13, 2010, 09:00:11 PM »
This thread was very helpful to me.  I'm working on my Fronts for the 2nd session. 

Thanks everyone.

Re: Questions after the first session...
« Reply #13 on: July 14, 2010, 12:18:53 AM »
I'm glad my confusion was useful to someone!

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Chris

  • 342
Re: Questions after the first session...
« Reply #14 on: July 14, 2010, 08:15:33 AM »
Yeah, I totally get the individuals thing.

Outside of Warlords, which are implicitly part of a gang, grotesques are the only individuals. I think this is on purpose.

I had some NPCs that I couldn't figure out what type of threat they were. They arrived organically, but now they needed a conceptual structure to make them a threat.

Real example from my Wave game: Amy, the medic's apprientice. She's a smart, sweet girl who cares about helping the people of Kreider's Hold.

What "threat" is she? She has to be one, in AW. I decided to stick her in a family. Where did she come from? What organization is she apart of? Unless they're living alone in a shack, they're part of a group, I realized. And if they're living alone, what the hell are they eating? How are they surviving?

Having to stick her in a threat filled out part of the world for me. "She goes here, so that means I need x"
A player of mine playing a gunlugger - "So now that I took infinite knives, I'm setting up a knife store." Me - "....what?" Him - "Yeah, I figure with no overhead, I'm gonna make a pretty nice profit." Me - "......"