The Operator

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Arvid

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The Operator
« on: July 23, 2011, 07:04:31 AM »
Let's talk about The Operator.

It sticks out to me, I can't quite grasp it, be grabbed and inspired by it. Is the Operator flawed? I have a much harder time coming up with an inspiring Operator concept than other playbook concepts. I'd probably rather make a driver or battlebabe with the Moonlighting improvement than a straight up Operator.

Also, in a game where every playbook gets roughly three things (three moves, two moves+crap, or followers+moves) the Operator just gets two moves: Moonlighting and a choice of four other moves, all of which are rather indirect. The x2 "Add a gig and you may change your crew" improvement doesn't really excite me either.

Sure, the Operators crew or contacts can be counted as +crap, but anyone can have contacts, right? Maybe the Operator should have a move for their network or crew, just as the Hocus, the Chopper and the Hardholder has moves for their followers.

What are your thoughts on the Operator? Does it need fixin', or am I just missing something?
« Last Edit: July 23, 2011, 09:13:43 AM by Arvid »

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Chroma

  • 259
Re: The Operator
« Reply #1 on: July 23, 2011, 09:26:10 AM »
What are your thoughts on the Operator? Does it need fixin', or am I just missing something?

For me, it's the concept of Obligation gigs that make the Operator my favourite playbook, there's so much story potential there for both the player and the MC... they're all trouble magnets!  And those three open "spaces" in the list at the back of the playbook... infinite possiblilties for complications!  *laugh*

I find the Operator works best when at least one other PC is part of their crew, makes for some good PC vs PC conflicts; the Operator is the brains/director of the operation, the Battlebabe, Gunlugger, or... yikes... Brainer is the muscle...

Lastly, with three starting gigs, an Operator can be seriously flush with jingle...

"If you get shot enough times, your body will actually build up immunity to bullets. The real trick lies in surviving the first dozen or so..."
-- Pope Nag, RPG.net - UNKNOWN ARMIES

Re: The Operator
« Reply #2 on: July 23, 2011, 12:34:34 PM »
I like the ease with which the Operator can flow between the home hardhold and others. In one of our games, it made for some cool spying / info gathering options that didn't need to become the main story.

And also, not every book is supposed to grab everyone. I'm just not interested in playing a Hocus or a Battlebabe when a Skinner or a Gunlugger is available, but I don't think that makes the first two busted.

Re: The Operator
« Reply #3 on: July 23, 2011, 03:22:18 PM »
I have never played an Operator, but I did design one as my next character in case of death, and this is my view:

As a discrete entity, the Operator isn't that interesting.  What makes him interesting, to me, is his crew.  Sure, Choppers get their gang, a Hocus has his cult, but a Chopper's gang are all pretty much the same - a bunch of hard dudes and a Hocus's cult, by definition, have shared beliefs.  What makes an Operator's crew interesting is that they, to me, would be a mix of individuals, with a mix of skills, who rely on each other, but don't necessarily have anything in common beyond a need for barter.  When I was designing Waters, my Operator, I spent far more time on the personalities of the crew.  I literally made a matrix of what each person thought of everyone else, absolutely chock-full of plot hooks for the MC.

The one part of the Operator himself which really sings to me is this: to munchkin him the most (if I read the rules right), you need to be a complete douche.
You have sex with someone, getting you an obligation gig.  This gets you +1 juggling, so you can do an extra job in downtime.  But this is only a benefit if you don't spend the extra juggling attending to the obligation.  So, you want to actually spend as little time as possible actually maintaining the relationship, so you don't work it and you let them down in some small way.  Again.  And Again.  And Again.  Only working the gig when you have to.  Sure, they'll break up sooner rather than later, but in the meantime you're up loads of Barter.  It's even better if you can juggle two or more relationships at once.

It's no coincidence that Waters had a long history of running from problems.  It's like Chroma said - they are the biggest trouble magnets in the book.

Re: The Operator
« Reply #4 on: July 24, 2011, 10:06:34 AM »
I will admit that the operator has been the hardest role to wrap my head around from a mechanical standpoint.  Most  of the other roles I was able to grok after just skimming over them a few times.  I think that I'm going to have to sit down and really read over the Operator a few times to get what they do.

That said, the concept of the Operator is very clear, and that sort of roguish character appeals to many people.  As for it being effective within the context of the game, I'll just have to trust Mr. Baker on that one as I have not seen it in play as of yet.

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Arvid

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Re: The Operator
« Reply #5 on: July 24, 2011, 02:47:02 PM »
I made two moves to give the operator a little more punch, maybe we'll try them out in the next game.

First, every Operator gets this:

Just the thing
When you are searching for something for your business (a new gig, an opportunity, a thing, a talent, or just two hands), roll +Cool. On a hit, you get it.
10+ you get it easily or even free, maybe from your crew or someone who owe you. 7-9, there's a catch. On a miss, the MC will make a move. Maybe you piss someone off, or get betrayed.

I wrote a wordier version, but that's not really needed, right? Here it is:
10+, either you or your crew already has it, or there's a discount, a perfect opportunity, or someone who owe you.
7-9, there's a catch, a risk, extra work, extra cost, someone you owe or you have to work with someone difficult again


Second, this is one of the optional moves:


Specialist
Pick a move from another Playbook.
« Last Edit: July 24, 2011, 02:57:48 PM by Arvid »

Re: The Operator
« Reply #6 on: July 24, 2011, 04:57:30 PM »

I love the Operator, conceptually -- and I love obligation gigs, oh so very much -- but I think there's something to be said for the fact that 'X other playbook with the 'gigs' advance' does often seem a lot more interesting/appealing/effective. Or, similarly, an Operator turned X other playbook.

Seems like, given that the Operator is in theory the Mal Reynolds playbook, it could really do with a few 'no crew left behind' and 'check out this awesome plan, it gets awesomer the more I suffer' style moves.

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Arvid

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Re: The Operator
« Reply #7 on: July 24, 2011, 05:15:06 PM »
Seems like, given that the Operator is in theory the Mal Reynolds playbook, it could really do with a few 'no crew left behind' and 'check out this awesome plan, it gets awesomer the more I suffer' style moves.

Smart!

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DWeird

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Re: The Operator
« Reply #8 on: July 25, 2011, 01:58:34 PM »
The Operator is very good at managing screens off-screen. Which is not that useful if all the cool stuff is happening on-screen, but sometimes you want stuff to happen but you don't care about going through every little bit.

If you do infiltration, on success you don't only get barter -- something gets infiltrated, too. If you do compound defense, stuff gets defended. If you scavenge, you get stuff, maybe stuff that you need.

'course, if you do have fast-burn playbooks on the table, like the gunlugger, chopper, or battlebabe, the flow of the game will slowly focus on a very specific segment of time, and the awesome off-screen power of the Operator will be weakened somewhat.

(I kind of wanted to make a post about similar time-mistmatch issues between playbooks, but never did. A Savvyhead operates in different intervals than a Driver does, and a Hardholder shines more when there isn't a Gunlugger making his more long-term decisions immediatelly outdated!)

Re: The Operator
« Reply #9 on: July 25, 2011, 11:15:00 PM »
'course, if you do have fast-burn playbooks on the table, like the gunlugger, chopper, or battlebabe, the flow of the game will slowly focus on a very specific segment of time, and the awesome off-screen power of the Operator will be weakened somewhat.

(I kind of wanted to make a post about similar time-mistmatch issues between playbooks, but never did. A Savvyhead operates in different intervals than a Driver does, and a Hardholder shines more when there isn't a Gunlugger making his more long-term decisions immediatelly outdated!)

That's a good point. My current game consists of an Operator, Hardholder, Savvyhead, Gunlugger, and Battlebabe. The last two are shaping the story to an appreciably greater extent than the others, and are also advancing faster.

On the topic of the Operator, it's never been a terribly exciting playbook for me, either; I'd sooner play one than a Chopper, but that's about it. I think it's that when I'm doing something, I'd rather actively do it than make one roll at the beginning of the session to see if it works or on. I'm probably just not getting it at all though. :p

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Chroma

  • 259
Re: The Operator
« Reply #10 on: July 25, 2011, 11:42:53 PM »
On the topic of the Operator, it's never been a terribly exciting playbook for me, either; I'd sooner play one than a Chopper, but that's about it. I think it's that when I'm doing something, I'd rather actively do it than make one roll at the beginning of the session to see if it works or on. I'm probably just not getting it at all though. :p

Remember, to do it, do it.

"I work my gigs...", says the Operator.

"Okay, what do you do...", asks the MC.

"I'm finalizing a deal with Dremmer and his goons to supply bullets for our beloved Hardholder's upcoming little war... and while we're at Dremmer's camp, I've got Gabble and Jaim stealthly assassinating that mindfuck bitch Fauna like Sundown asked..."

So that's "Brokering Deals" and "Doing Murders" and sounds like some awesome goings-on.

Then the roll... which let's you know whether the next part of the story is going to be painful or profitable, but still interesting!, cuz you can snowball right into what happens next in Dremmer's camp.

"I rolled... dammit... a seven..." and now you get to see where all hell breaks loose.

And then the Gunlugger asks, "Can I be at Dremmer's camp when this is happening?"

A moonlighting/gigs roll should be its own cool little story!

Remember, most other playbooks that offer gigs as advancements don't come with crews... so the player really has to figure out a way their character can be working multiple gigs effectively or they can't actually make the move, or not work all their gigs at the least, that's part of what makes the Operator cool.
« Last Edit: July 25, 2011, 11:47:04 PM by Chroma »
"If you get shot enough times, your body will actually build up immunity to bullets. The real trick lies in surviving the first dozen or so..."
-- Pope Nag, RPG.net - UNKNOWN ARMIES

Re: The Operator
« Reply #11 on: July 28, 2011, 05:18:46 PM »
Mal Reynolds, Operator? Kind of a silly theory.  He's got gigs running, sure, but he feels more like a Hardholder with a couple gigs on the side to me.

Fictional characters I think of when I think of Operators:

-Jack Sparrow (REPUTATION)
-Han Solo (Opportunistic, Eye on the Door)
-John Constantine (Eye on the Door, Reputation)
-Face (Easy to Trust, Reputation)

Whoever said "they need to be complete douches" is spot on.  No other playbook calls you an asshole for taking a move.  That's what makes the Operator awesome for me.

Also, you get a *signature weapon*.  If that's not cool to you, man I don't know what is.

P.S.  If you want to get all game mechanic-y about it, the Operator is better at getting out of sticky situations than just about anybody else.  They don't start with +3 cool like the Battlebabe but they *can* get +3 cool as an improvement, which is *rare* and, considering how often the Operator uses cool, a must-have IMO.