My Savvyhead wants to heal the environment, help?

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agony

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My Savvyhead wants to heal the environment, help?
« on: June 02, 2011, 09:48:32 AM »
We play up the "In Apocalypse World it rains thick black like toner." angle and the Savvyhead came up with the idea to heal the atmosphere.  I was like, uh, ok. 

My answer was that, rather than building something, he could enter the Psychic Maelstrom and heal the environment with the help of this strange woman several of the group have been having visions of (She's a threat/front attempting to seduce key members of the population and devour the city).  The Savvyhead has augury and has been messing with the maelstrom so this seems to fit kind of.

I'm not sure that's a good answer though and I have no idea how he's going to work with this evil psychic queen who wants to mindfuck everyone.  I could either use an alternative idea or help fleshing this idea out a bit.

Re: My Savvyhead wants to heal the environment, help?
« Reply #1 on: June 02, 2011, 11:44:21 AM »
I think you're on the right track. I'd just look at the workspace rules and pick a set of tough requirements.

So you've already got:
*you're going to need (evil psychic queen) to help you with it;

That sounds like a pretty cool start to me. Is there a specific reason he'll need her help? I wouldn't really worry about how he's going to work with her, that's his problem, right? If you're feeling really nice you might try to make sure that there's a couple angles he could take to get what he wants out of her, but as long as you're being open to his ideas, just let the player come up with something cool and say it works.

I'd just add something like:
and
*you're going to have to add a weather manipulation array to your workspace first;
and
*first you'll have to figure out where that black shit in the atmosphere came from.

Then you've got a few interesting projects for him to plug away at and you'll probably get some good games out of his attempts. What more do you need?

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agony

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Re: My Savvyhead wants to heal the environment, help?
« Reply #2 on: June 02, 2011, 12:14:53 PM »
Thanks FigureFour, those are some great ideas.

I figured the healing of the environment would actually be accomplished via the psychic maelstrom, hence why he would need the psychic queen's help.

The trouble is, where did that black shit come from?  I'll need an answer for that because I'm sure the player will want to go to the maelstrom to figure it out.  It could be a tear in the fabric of realities and the taint of the maelstrom bleeding into the atmosphere.

I'm struggling with the fact that I don't want to define what the maelstrom is and leave it sort of vague - but that makes it difficult to deal with the above questions that arise, like "why is the maelstrom tainted", "how does this tie into the black empress (queen woman)?"


Re: My Savvyhead wants to heal the environment, help?
« Reply #3 on: June 02, 2011, 12:28:36 PM »
"how does this tie into the black empress (queen woman)?"

If the atmosphere is cleaner, more people survive, more people for her to mindfuck.

Just because she's evil, doesn't mean she can't (seemingly) help people.

Maybe the foul atmosphere is the only thing keeping her fouler evil in check...

Re: My Savvyhead wants to heal the environment, help?
« Reply #4 on: June 02, 2011, 01:11:51 PM »
I think it should be very dangerous to meddle with the Maelstrom, and extremely dangerous to try to understand it. The Psychic Maelstrom is a product of the apocalypse; hell, it could even be the reason it happened in the first place! It's one of those elements that (I think) are better left a mystery. It's like a Lovecraftian monster: something so fucked up it makes you go mad if you stare at it for too long. Whatever the reason, it's here now and it's as real as gravity... And you don't fuck with gravity, because gravity will fuck you back.

Keeping the maelstrom a mystery will pay off, since it makes it so much more fun for your players to explore it. If the Savvyhead wants to head into the maelstrom to heal the environment, he should be able to do so because it's cool, but he should probably also get more than he bargained for (you'll burn your fingers if you play with fire!). Whatever happens, the true answer of the maelstrom should always be out there, just out of reach for the players. You should always say what honesty demands, and honestly, the Psychic Maelstrom is some sick shit.

Re: My Savvyhead wants to heal the environment, help?
« Reply #5 on: June 02, 2011, 04:10:00 PM »
My savvyhead did this in the game I played!

Well, with a bit of help from a hocus and some other people along the way.

I think the key thing to make it enjoyable was that the MC made it hard. By the time we had everything we needed and spent all that time building weird psychic machines and so on, it felt like we'd earned the success. It helped that the game felt like it was coming to a natural close at around that point.

So, my advice: make it hard, but let it happen.

PS: It also wasn't obvious that our plan was good - in our game it seemed like something had split the world into multiple timelines that were slowly being corrupted. Our solution was to collapse down the split timelines into one (desirable) one to live in. But we were not quite sure about it all - possibly we destroyed all those alternate worlds (and everyone in them), and possibly the one we ended up in was not the perfect world we hoped.

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agony

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Re: My Savvyhead wants to heal the environment, help?
« Reply #6 on: June 02, 2011, 05:13:24 PM »
Awesome. 

Widundret, that's exactly how I view the Maelstrom - dangerous and mysterious.  Messing with it should bear consequences, definitely.

Mike, that's really cool.  Can you elaborate on how you accomplished this technically?  Like, what kind of machines/tech did you create, what kind of weird religious rituals were involved with the hocus' followers, etc?


Re: My Savvyhead wants to heal the environment, help?
« Reply #7 on: June 02, 2011, 05:21:50 PM »
Man, there was a lot! Key things (that I can remember) included:
- my savvyhead building a crazy machine to help (added augury to workspace)
- going on scavenging runs into cannibal territory for special old time parts
- lots of experiments where we tuned the machines while the hocus and followers used augury and opening brains to different timelines (which we could only get at through the maelstrom)
- a couple of times we opened small portals to other timelines and even explored them a little bit
- a really crazy bit where we all got caught in the past/alternate world before the apocalypse and we all met different versions of each other. Notably, my savvyhead got some important details of the plans from his alternate (who was involved in the thing that caused the apocalypse, maybe?).
- our brainer, by that point a disembodied ghost in the maelstrom, helped us in some weird psychic ways
- the MC (Simon C here) also made up some custom moves for when we finally activated the machine. Each key character had one to roll, and each contributed different elements to how it all worked.

I know that the other people in the game read this on occasion - anything I missed?

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Arvid

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Re: My Savvyhead wants to heal the environment, help?
« Reply #8 on: June 02, 2011, 05:54:24 PM »

I'd just add something like:
and
*you're going to have to add a weather manipulation array to your workspace first;
and
*first you'll have to figure out where that black shit in the atmosphere came from.

Then you've got a few interesting projects for him to plug away at and you'll probably get some good games out of his attempts. What more do you need?

These could be made into workspace projects of their own. Like, what do I need to build a weather manipulation array?

Re: My Savvyhead wants to heal the environment, help?
« Reply #9 on: June 02, 2011, 07:36:13 PM »

I'd just add something like:
and
*you're going to have to add a weather manipulation array to your workspace first;
and
*first you'll have to figure out where that black shit in the atmosphere came from.

Then you've got a few interesting projects for him to plug away at and you'll probably get some good games out of his attempts. What more do you need?

These could be made into workspace projects of their own. Like, what do I need to build a weather manipulation array?

Exactly! That's the beauty of breaking things like this up into a few workspace requirements. Well chosen requirements easily become projects themselves!

Also, if the Saavyhead has augury, he totally needs to isolate and contain a fragment of the psychic maelstrom. I think that's the coolest thing any AW move does.

Re: My Savvyhead wants to heal the environment, help?
« Reply #10 on: June 03, 2011, 08:26:37 AM »
It sounds like you've already got a direction here, so I'll chime in with some more general advice. All the time my savvyheads, my hocusses, they throw shit at me. My current hocus is all about building webs of connections in the maelstrom, and last session she decided that what she really wanted to do, long term, was build a web all the way around the maelstrom and ensnare it.

Awesome.

And in all these cases, where the players say something outrageous and out of left field that makes your jaw drop, a really good first thing to do as MC is to ask "How? What would you do in order to make that happen?"

Because then you can make the savvyhead do the work, right? You can make him come up with the idea that he'll need a weather scrubber. You can make him come up with the idea that he'll need a containment device for the horrible black silt that he's filtering out of the rain. You can make him come up with the idea that he'll need the witches brain in a vacuum jar in order to open the maelstrom up.

When the players announce great big grandiose projects, I always get them to break it down into little steps. It's easier to see how you, as MC, fuck with the little steps, make them hard and complicated, how they interact with your threats and fronts.

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agony

  • 65
Re: My Savvyhead wants to heal the environment, help?
« Reply #11 on: June 03, 2011, 08:34:15 AM »
It sounds like you've already got a direction here, so I'll chime in with some more general advice. All the time my savvyheads, my hocusses, they throw shit at me. My current hocus is all about building webs of connections in the maelstrom, and last session she decided that what she really wanted to do, long term, was build a web all the way around the maelstrom and ensnare it.

Awesome.

And in all these cases, where the players say something outrageous and out of left field that makes your jaw drop, a really good first thing to do as MC is to ask "How? What would you do in order to make that happen?"

Because then you can make the savvyhead do the work, right? You can make him come up with the idea that he'll need a weather scrubber. You can make him come up with the idea that he'll need a containment device for the horrible black silt that he's filtering out of the rain. You can make him come up with the idea that he'll need the witches brain in a vacuum jar in order to open the maelstrom up.

When the players announce great big grandiose projects, I always get them to break it down into little steps. It's easier to see how you, as MC, fuck with the little steps, make them hard and complicated, how they interact with your threats and fronts.

That's good advice Tim, but what if your player says "Fire a rocket up into the sky that blows up and cleans out the atmosphere, I don't know."

The player didn't really have an idea so he half-heartedly threw out that crazy rocket idea which I found rather zany and out of place in our game.  So I was looking to offer him suggestions and work it out with the table.

This thread has been immensely helpful, thanks everyone.  If you have any more ideas keep 'em coming. 

Re: My Savvyhead wants to heal the environment, help?
« Reply #12 on: June 03, 2011, 11:21:29 AM »
Just to pimp the workspace rules again . . .
Keep in mind they're not just for building stuff, they're also for when you go into your workspace and devote time and resources to "figuring out some shit."

If he says "I want to know how to heal the environment," that's another workspace project. And, as I've mentioned, workspace projects are great story fodder.

So if you're not ready to jump in and provide a solution yet, get him to do a little research first. Collect data, talk to an expert, gather information, all that good stuff.

Re: My Savvyhead wants to heal the environment, help?
« Reply #13 on: June 18, 2011, 08:49:46 AM »

I'm struggling with the fact that I don't want to define what the maelstrom is and leave it sort of vague - but that makes it difficult to deal with the above questions that arise, like "why is the maelstrom tainted", "how does this tie into the black empress (queen woman)?"

You don't have to kill all the mystery. One of the hardest things I've found for people to come to terms with in the labs I've worked in IRL is that science doesn't always "make sense", it just IS. Here's what we've tested for 20 times in 20 different ways, and over and over again, here is what it IS in the world. It doesn't have to fit our intuitions (hello maximum speed of light in a vacuum), and we don't always have enough backstory to suddenly develop new intuitions.

So you could totally have the guy do an analysis to find the rain really IS black toner, and let him develop some sort of satellite technology for catching the toner before it hits the ground (it can be made very reactive to static charges), and that's just the reality that IS without breaking open all the maelstrom mysteries. We know all about many facets of our little existence here on this earth and we're still stumped on just about everything.