need clarification on "force your hand..." and brainer move

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I've been reading the rules in preparation for starting a game as the MC (I've never played AW before). I'm still a little unclear on the details of the "direct-brain whisper" move and the target's option to "force their hand and suck it up".

In one example in the book, a brainer uses a brain whisper to get an NPC to follow her, but the NPC stops, and forces the player's hand. The player decides NOT LOUD, and walks away, leaving the NPC bleeding from the ears a bit, with 1-harm, but no one else the wiser

So, what is really happening here?

  Is the NPC hearing a voice in her head that she recognizes, and she realizes she'd rather fight it than comply?

  Does she know there will be harm done if she resists? 1 harm seems minor compared to the other option, so why would this move ever work, unless the NPC is already seriously wounded, or the request is really mild?

Afterward, does she know there's been harm done? In the scenario, the NPC doesn't say anything to her buddies, and that may be on purpose, but I can't tell if maybe she doesn't realize yet what has happened.

*

Arvid

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Re: need clarification on "force your hand..." and brainer move
« Reply #1 on: July 11, 2011, 03:10:51 AM »
I've been reading the rules in preparation for starting a game as the MC (I've never played AW before). I'm still a little unclear on the details of the "direct-brain whisper" move and the target's option to "force their hand and suck it up".

In one example in the book, a brainer uses a brain whisper to get an NPC to follow her, but the NPC stops, and forces the player's hand. The player decides NOT LOUD, and walks away, leaving the NPC bleeding from the ears a bit, with 1-harm, but no one else the wiser

So, what is really happening here?

  Is the NPC hearing a voice in her head that she recognizes, and she realizes she'd rather fight it than comply?

  Does she know there will be harm done if she resists? 1 harm seems minor compared to the other option, so why would this move ever work, unless the NPC is already seriously wounded, or the request is really mild?

Afterward, does she know there's been harm done? In the scenario, the NPC doesn't say anything to her buddies, and that may be on purpose, but I can't tell if maybe she doesn't realize yet what has happened.


This is a great time to start asking questions to your players. "So, how do you whisper into people's brains? Is it like a voice? Can it be traced to you? What does it feel like, how does it sound?"

The way I do it is, the target feels there is something telling her she has to do this, accompanied by a dreadful feeling that something bad will happen, she will get hurt, if she doesn't. Cool-headed or savvy persons can figure out that there is someone skull-fucking them.

Re: need clarification on "force your hand..." and brainer move
« Reply #2 on: July 11, 2011, 06:49:16 AM »
A lot of the moves are written like this, wide open to interpretation. Arvid nails it; ask the players what it's like. If you're worried about why the target would ever not choose to suck it up, then remember your agenda to make Apocalypse World seem real. If someone is feeling strange and weird compulsions in their head, are they strong enough to fight them, even though it may mean ripping their brain apart? Do they care that much? It will all depend on the characters involved, the fronts and threats you have written, and how you feel they would react to the move as it's been established.

The scene in the book is a particularly nasty example of the MC putting their bloody fingerprints all over a situation.

Re: need clarification on "force your hand..." and brainer move
« Reply #3 on: July 11, 2011, 11:35:21 AM »
So first, the other responses have been to ask your players what it's like.  That's fine, but if you have things you want to be about how these things work -- maybe you have ideas about what the psychic maelstrom is and you want to maintain some kind of internal consistency, impose that now, maybe as you ask the players for details or maybe not.  But don't ask them for details you don't want them to have authorial power over.

1 harm seems minor

If one harm seems minor compared to following orders, then they should take the harm.  But remember, that's a week or two of healing to get better and places them just one harm from dying.  NPCs are pretty fragile.

Re: need clarification on "force your hand..." and brainer move
« Reply #4 on: July 11, 2011, 11:54:50 AM »
Thanks for all the replies.

Part of the problem of being impatient like I am is that I hadn't yet gotten to the part about how fragile NPCs are compared to PCs. I see now that one harm isn't as minor for them.

I'm excited about MCing this game, but also anxious, as at heart I'm a planner, and am used to games with more detailed rules about every little thing. So much making things up! It'll be great, once I can let go of some of my default anxiety :)

I'm glad to have this resource though!

Re: need clarification on "force your hand..." and brainer move
« Reply #5 on: July 11, 2011, 07:08:57 PM »
Have you gotten to the instructions on how to prep this game? What do you think?

Re: need clarification on "force your hand..." and brainer move
« Reply #6 on: July 12, 2011, 02:56:23 PM »
Have you gotten to the instructions on how to prep this game? What do you think?

I'm not sure what you mean. So far I'm most of the way through the book, currently reading the notes on the characters' special moves.

Re: need clarification on "force your hand..." and brainer move
« Reply #7 on: July 13, 2011, 09:00:27 PM »
If you think direct brain-whisper projection is a bit weak take bloodcrazed and merciless ;) bonus, now you can use your mind as crowd control. Problem is having sex will be even scarier now when NPCs literally explode in your face sometimes.