Playbook: The Scratch

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Playbook: The Scratch
« on: July 21, 2011, 12:23:37 AM »
As in, to scratch an itch, and, slang for money.

My first attempt at a custom playbook. After playing an Operator, I found myself wanting to see how it might work from the other side of the fence, from the employee to the employer. This is still very much a work in progress. Mainly I would like to change the default move to something that gains barter, but isn't the Operator move verbatim. I also need to add in what the gigs you can run are, and their benefits/pitfalls. Barter, at the end, was purposely left blank for now for this reason. I'm also terrible at making up names, so feel free to make suggestions to populate the list if this character speaks to you at all. Finally, I don't have access to the Maestro D', but from reading its description I feel like I might be overlapping on that too. So, consider this an Alpha.

The Scratch

That thing that you need to get by in this fuck-hole of a life? They got that. That thing that you want to take care of that itch? They got that too. But it's more than that. In this age of scraping and crawling, this time of piss and puke and blood as a way of life, they rise above. Through extortion, provision, and subversion, they have what you crave, and they fucking know it.

Creating a Scratch

To create a Scratch, choose name, look, stats, moves, gear, and Hx.


Man, woman, concealed, or transgressing.

Luxe wear, high formal wear, business wear, casual wear, vintage wear, or signature wear.

Hard eyes, cold eyes, calculating eyes, guarded eyes, or sharp eyes.

Severe face, scarred face, beautiful face, plain face, honest face, determined face, or guarded face.

Slim body, soft body, crippled body, fat body, fit body, or old body.


Cool+1, Hard-1, Hot+1, Sharp+2, Weird=0
Cool+1, Hard-1, Hot=0, Sharp+2, Weird+1
Cool=0, Hard-1, Hot+2, Sharp+2, Weird-1
Cool+1, Hard=0, Hot-1, Sharp+2, Weird=0

Basic Moves

You get all the basic moves.

Scratch Moves

You get this 1:

Push, Extort, Traffic, and Swindle

Whenever there's a stretch of downtime in play, or between sessions, check in on the gigs you run. Roll+sharp. 10+, you profit from all of them. 7-9, catastrophe from 1, profit from the rest. 6-, all catastrophe.

And choose 2 more:

Spectre of Retaliation

Whenever someone threatens you (specifically and exclusively) with physical violence, roll+sharp. PCs: 10+, they mark experience if they back down, and they're acting under fire if they don't. 7-9, choose one of the above. 6-, you take -1 forward and they get Hx+1 with you. NPCs: 10+, they immediately think better of it. 7-9, they hesitate. 6-, they're so, so sick of your shit, you weasely fuck.

Stare You in the Face with the Diamonds in My Mouth

Whenever you try to convince someone to do some serious shit for you, roll+barter risked. PCs: 10+, they mark experience if they agree, and act under fire if not. 7-9, as above, and you also agree to pay them 1-barter. 6-, turns out you actually owe them money. Ain't that some shit. NPCs: 10+, they do it for free just to get in good with you. 7-9, they agree, but only if you pay them half what you risked (round up). 6-, they refuse and attempt to extort you for the full amount you risked.

In the Club

Whenever you entertain guests, spend 1-barter to:
  • Read a sitch or person as though you rolled a 10+
  • Take +1 ongoing towards them until they leave your property
  • Have them take -1 ongoing until they leave your property
  • Have them detained/attacked. And, roll+sharp if you want to hide your hand at work. 10+, they have no idea, and you manage to throw blame onto someone else. 7-9, they don't suspect you (or, at least, you're not the prime suspect). 6-, you were sloppy.
  • Drug or poison them. PCs can roll+Hx with you to see if they notice before ingesting tainted food or drink. 10+, they notice and don't have to let you know that they know (you know?). 7-9, they realise and immediatly react, or they're acting under fire. 6-, drink it down and mark experience, or act under fire.


To have an NPC assassinated, roll+barter spent. 10+, you can have the target dead or alive. 7-9, dead like dinner, but I wouldn't want to eat anything that messy. 6-, they killed your man, and now they're coming for you.


You get:
  • .38 revolver (2-harm close reload loud), 9mm (2-harm close loud), or stun gun (s-harm hand reload)
  • oddments worth 5-barter
  • fashion suitable to your look


Everyone introduces their character by name, look, and outlook.

List the other character's names.

Go around again for Hx. On your turn:
  • One of them used to work for you, tell that player Hx+1.
  • Someone knew you before you made the big time, tell that player Hx+2.

On the others' turns, choose one player and tell them that they will never work in this town again and to write Hx-3.

Scratch Special

When you and another character have sex, you choose Hx+1 or Hx-1 with them, and they get Hx-1 with you.

Scratch Improvement

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 choose to improve, choose one of the following.

Check it off, you can't choose it again.
__ get +1 cool (max +2)
__ get +1 hot (max +2)
__ get +1 weird (max +2)
__ get a new Scratch move
__ get a new Scratch move
__ get another gig to run
__ get a holding (detail) and wealth
__ get a gang (detail) and pack alpha
__ get a move from another playbook
__ get a move from another playbook

The Dead Flag Blues - Godspeed You Black Emperor! This is my Apocalypse World theme song.

Re: Playbook: The Scratch
« Reply #1 on: July 21, 2011, 05:17:59 AM »
Gerald, when I get to a machine with my RP notes on it, I'll e-mail you the Maestro'D. This is solid, solid, but it does overlap with the Maestro and I worry you'll be wasting your efforts if you don't build a playbook with its own identity.

Oh, and from the improvements list, are you sure you want Pack Alpha and not Leadership? Brutal.

Re: Playbook: The Scratch
« Reply #2 on: July 21, 2011, 11:55:38 AM »
Thanks Tim, I appreciate the feedback, and would love a chance to read through the Maestro D'. I chose pack alpha because I wanted to make it seem more disorganized, but I think if I continue working on this playbook the character will eventually have it's own distinct type of crew/gang. Think, sycophants and hangers-on.
The Dead Flag Blues - Godspeed You Black Emperor! This is my Apocalypse World theme song.