Playbook: The Rat-Pack

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Playbook: The Rat-Pack
« on: July 24, 2011, 12:28:58 PM »
Last night the world’s psychic maelstrom barfed forth into my sleeping brain, and so I present to you:

The Rat-Pack

“Where do these fucking kids keep coming from?! I kick them out and when I turn around there’s another one behind me. Don’t they have any mothers? Any good-for-nothing fathers? Little fuckers keep stealing my food and my knives. Those were good knives!”


Creating Your Rat-Pack

To create your rat-pack, choose kids, names, looks, moves, gear, and Hx.


Name

Choose 1 for your rat-pack:
Leeches, Silverfish, Nest, Swarm, Brats, Cheeky Fuckers, Roaches

Then choose 1 for each kid (detail below):
Jake, Braces, 4-eyes, Foster, Li’l bro, Markie, Puck, Hates-Soap, Slugger

Freckles, Pigtial, Sis, Juvie, Nix, Annie, Waif, Caterwaul


Look

Choose 1 for your rat-pack:
Boys, girls, mixed, or too-young-and-dirty-to-tell.

Then choose 1 of these for each kid (detail below):
Casual wear, scrounged wear, rags, tinfoil-and-cardboard “armour”, brightly-coloured costume (with full-face mask and sound effects at your option), dirty-and-torn Sunday Best, mud covered, underwear, or birthday suit.

Bruised face, snot-nose face, bloody-nose face, cold-hearted face, feral face, baby face, old-soul face, tear-streaked face, sour face, pouting face, or innocent face.


Kids

Your rat-pack is made up of elders, middl’uns, and pups. By default, it has 5 members, is (1-harm gang small 0-armour), and has the following stats:

Cool-1, Hard-1, Hot-1, Sharp-1, Weird-1

You may increase the size of your pack up to 9 members, but you also gain +hungry.

Detail your members:

Elders are the oldest members of your rat-pack (12-15 years old-ish), or maybe they’re just bigger and tougher than the other kids. You have 1 of them, or up to 2 if you have 9 members. If you ever have more than 1, gain +divided leadership. For each elder your rat-pack has, choose 1. Each option can be chosen more than once, up to its maximum.
  • +1 cool (max +2)
  • +1 hot (max +2)
  • +1 harm (max +2)
Available basic moves as an individual: all of them.

Middl’uns are the meat and potatoes of your rat-pack, and can be anywhere from 7-12 years old. You start with 3 of them, or 5-7 if you have 9 members. For each middl’un your rat-pack has, choose 1. Each option can be chosen more than once, up to its maximum.
  • +1 hard (max +4)
  • +1 sharp (max +4)
  • +1 armour (max +1)
Available basic moves as an individual: Everything except seize by force and seduce (but you can still manipulate).

Pups are the little kids you’re looking out for (3-6 years old). They might be one of the other’s kid brother or sister, they might be orphans you met on the street or in a shelter you ran away from. However it is, they rely on you at least as much as they help out. To start, your rat-pack has 1 pup, or 2 if you have 9 members. For each pup, choose 1. Each option can only be chosen once.
  • +1 weird and +emotionally fragile
  • +1 weird and +homesick
  • +1 weird and +sickly
Available basic moves as an individual: Manipulate (but not seduce), read a person, and open your brain. You also may or may not be very good at getting around on your own.


Basic Moves

The rat-pack gets all the basic moves, but each kid may not get all of them individually.


Rat-Pack Moves

You have this 1:

Born Unto the Apocalypse

Unlike those who lived in the before-time, unlike those who where born just-before, or after but soon-after, you are all truly the first children of the apocalypse, and you understand it like only those of a generation can ever truly understand that generation. Whenever some aspect of the world-as-established (or not-yet-established) is in question, you have final veto over all players except the MC.

Gerald Says: “Don’t be a dick!”

And choose 1 of these:

Crows and Pigeons

You’ve become especially good at begging or scrounging up stuff that common folks find useful. At the beginning of each session, roll+sharp. 10+, gain 2-barter. 7-9, gain 1-barter. 6-, you’ve spent 1-barter since last session. If you have no barter, you gain +hungry. If you normally have +hungry, none of you have eaten in days, gain +sickly. If you normally have +sickly, well, you're fucked anyway.


Ravens and Vultures

You’ve become especially good at scrounging up stuff that not-so-common folks find useful. At the beginning of each session, roll+sharp. 10+, hold 2. 7-9, hold 1. 6-, you owe one of the other characters a favor, payable by the end of this session, or take -1 to this roll next session if you don’t pay up. Spend your hold 1-1 at any time this session to have one of your members come running with:
  • 1-supply worth of/for an angel kit
  • 1-ammunition for any refill weapon
  • a can full of bio-diesel
  • any weapon worth 1-barter
  • whoever they’re looking for
  • enough clean food and/or water for 2 people or your entire pack and 1 other person
  • a piece, part, or tool (high-tec at MC discretion)

But also choose 1 each time:
  • it took a while
  • they spent 1-barter to get it
  • the pack now owes someone a favor (MC details, same rules as above)
  • the local law or gang is after them now
  • they got hurt in the getting, take 1-harm


And choose 1 more:

The Swarm

When you help or interfere with someone, roll+(number of members participating/3) (round down, min+1) instead of roll+Hx.


Like a Plague of Locusts

Whenever one or more of your members is in physical danger, the rest of you rat-pack shows up without needing an order to do so and within seconds, if they’re at all able.


Abandon Ship

If any member of the rat-pack is killed, the MC immediately tells you what your best escape route is and, if you act on it, roll+hard. 10+, take +1 forward to do so, and mark experience. 7-9, take +1 forward to do so.


Hive Mind

If you ever roll+weird when at least half of your members are present and focused on the same task, take +1 to that roll.


Gear

The rat-pack has oddments equal to 1-barter.

Each member has fashion suitable to their look, and, when acting as an individual :

Each elder has 1 kid-sized weapon, and possibly a piece worth 1-armour.

Each middl’un has 1 sort-of-weapon.

Each pup has 1 toy or something.

Kid-sized weapons:
  • big knife (2-harm hand)
  • .38 revolver (2-harm close reload loud)
  • 9mm (2-harm close loud)
  • .22 bolt-action rifle (2-harm far loud reload)
  • baseball bat (what the fuck is baseball?) (1-harm + s-harm hand)

Sort-of weapons:
  • pocket knife or sharpened stick (1-harm hand)
  • big stick or club (s-harm hand)
  • rocks (s-harm close infinite)
  • fucking powerful dart gun (1-harm close reload)
  • fucking powerful bb rifle (1-harm far reload)

Toys or something:
  • Stuffed Animal (+adorable)
  • A-B-C Book or 10-piece puzzle (+inspiring)
  • Pacifier or diaper (+heartbreaking)
  • Action Figure (+distracting)


Hx

Everyone introduces their characters by name, look and outlook. Take your turn. List the other characters’ names.

Go around again for Hx. On your turn, choose one player who is the mother/father/older brother/sister of one of your members. Tell them Hx+2. At your option, you’ve also stolen (repeatedly and often) from one of the others, tell them Hx-1.

On the other’s turns, if the player who is your relative still looks out for you, take what they tell you and write +1 to it. If they abandoned you like everyone else in the world, ignore what they tell you and write Hx-3.

Everyone else, whatever number they tell you, write it next to their character’s name.

At the end, find the character with the highest Hx on your sheet. Ask that player which of your stats is most interesting, and highlight it. The MC will have you highlight a second stat too.


Rat-Pack Special

If one of your elders loses their virginity to another character, they write Hx+2 with you, and you roll+cool. 10+, it was no big deal and mark experience. 7-9, it was cool and write Hx+1 with them. 6-, you fall head over heals in puppy love.

If one of your elders has sex with another character otherwise, you both write Hx+1 with each other.

Gerald Says: “While I do not condone either incest or pedophilia, I do unfortunately recognize that they happen. I highly recommend overtones of tragedy and innocence lost when using this rule. Apocalypse World is a fucked up place, yes, but please be considerate of your other players when/if you bring this into play!”


Rat-Pack 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 elder (max 3, detail) and choose an accompanying bonus
__ get +1 middl’un (max 6, detail) and choose an accompanying bonus
__ get +1 pup (max 3, detail) and choose an accompanying bonus and want
__ get another rat-pack move, but not Crows... or Ravens...
__ get another rat-pack move, but not Crows... or Ravens...
__ get battlefield grace
__ get impossible reflexes
__ get just give me a motive
__ get pit bull, but it applies when a pack member dies instead


Barter

1-barter will cover a month’s living expenses for the entire pack, if your tastes aren’t too grand.


On Combat, Harm, and Healing

Obviously the rat-pack operates and fights as a gang, but they can also (most of them) fight as individuals too. You’ll notice though, that even the toughest possible elder can never be as badass as the pack as a whole. Fight as a unit whenever possible. You count as a gang whenever there are at least 2 of you.

When you take harm as a gang, take harm as a gang. In this case, whenever you would normally be allowed to take a debility instead of harm, one of your gang members dies instead (you choose who), and you lose all bonus’ and wants associated with them. If the pack is ever reduced to less than 3 members, it dies (disbands, whatever). This means that starting size packs can take less punishment than other characters, but as they increase in size they become harder and harder to do away with for good. Note also that while you can take improvement options to gain new members, they can only be chosen once, just like all improvement options.

When a pack member takes harm as an individual, elders have 3-harm (1st is free, 2nd takes them out, 3rd kills them), middl’uns have 2-harm (1st takes them out, 2nd kills them), and pups are killed by only 1-harm.

When you take harm, either as a gang or as individuals, you should be detailing and keeping track of which members are either dead or unconscious (or whatever), and what bonus’ and wants you’re missing because of death.

While healing as a gang, heal as a gang, and dictate which members are back in fighting shape if not all of them are. Note that only death removes bonus’ from the pack, not simply being out of the fight.

When you heal as an individual, heal as an individual.

-------------------------------------------------------------------

Suggestions and all feedback welcome as always! Also, I need more names!
The Dead Flag Blues - Godspeed You Black Emperor! This is my Apocalypse World theme song.

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Chroma

  • 259
Re: Playbook: The Rat-Pack
« Reply #1 on: July 24, 2011, 09:01:53 PM »
This is so insane that I think I fell in love with it!

I'm a little high after ending my thirteen session AW campaign this evening, so I'll try and comment more later.
"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: Playbook: The Rat-Pack
« Reply #2 on: July 24, 2011, 09:39:42 PM »
Weeeeeeeee! Thanks Chroma! The more I think about this the more excited I get about it.
The Dead Flag Blues - Godspeed You Black Emperor! This is my Apocalypse World theme song.

Re: Playbook: The Rat-Pack
« Reply #3 on: July 29, 2011, 10:02:03 PM »
Not much else to say until I get some AP in on this, but I did notice a couple errors in the text.

Quote
Middl’uns are the meat and potatoes of your rat-pack, and can be anywhere from 7-12 years old. You start with 3 of them, or 5-7 if you have 9 members.

This should be:
Middl’uns are the meat and potatoes of your rat-pack, and can be anywhere from 7-12 years old. You start with 3 of them, or 5 or 6 if you have 9 members.

Related to this,

Quote
get +1 middl’un (max 6, detail) and choose an accompanying bonus

should read, "get +1 middl’un (max 7, detail) and choose an accompanying bonus

I'm also thinking of changing

Quote
Crows and Pigeons

You’ve become especially good at begging or scrounging up stuff that common folks find useful. At the beginning of each session, roll+sharp. 10+, gain 2-barter.

to:

You’ve become especially good at begging or scrounging up stuff that common folks find useful. At the beginning of each session, roll+sharp. 10+, gain 1-barter and remove either +hungry or +sickly from your sheet for the rest of this session.
The Dead Flag Blues - Godspeed You Black Emperor! This is my Apocalypse World theme song.

Re: Playbook: The Rat-Pack
« Reply #4 on: August 09, 2011, 10:58:18 AM »
This is one of my favourite custom play-books so far!

Re: Playbook: The Rat-Pack
« Reply #5 on: August 09, 2011, 11:20:20 AM »
Thanks! I have a few others in playtesting right now, but I haven't been able to convince anyone to play this one. Once they've all been smoothed out I plan to release a custom playbook pdf, maybe with one or two others I have semi-planned. So, stay on the lookout for that! Also, if you (or anyone!) does play this, I would love to hear some feedback on it.
The Dead Flag Blues - Godspeed You Black Emperor! This is my Apocalypse World theme song.

*

Reax

  • 13
Re: Playbook: The Rat-Pack
« Reply #6 on: August 09, 2011, 12:26:44 PM »
Yeah, great work on this one, at first glance I deemed it a bit too hard to play and didn´t actully introduce it to my players (we are still adjustning to AW). But one of them found this on his own and then pretty much forced me to make him a (wery crude) trifold. Shuld get it in play in a session or two and will report back as soon as possible.. =)
« Last Edit: August 09, 2011, 12:32:28 PM by Reax »

Re: Playbook: The Rat-Pack
« Reply #7 on: August 09, 2011, 01:43:56 PM »
Oh! That's great Reax! And I agree, it does present some interesting roleplaying challenges, but I feel it ties in with Vx's ideas about gangs and playing multiple characters.

What I really want to know is if the ability to be in multiple places at once is game breaking. When you play two separate characters they can work in coordination, but they can also be at odds with one another. This playbook presents a ton a mechanical advantage to cooperation, but any antagonism between the kids is purely a fictional construct (as per +divided leadership). What I hope is that people will take this with AW's story first design in mind, and not use it as an attempt to overwhelm situations or other players.
The Dead Flag Blues - Godspeed You Black Emperor! This is my Apocalypse World theme song.

*

Reax

  • 13
Re: Playbook: The Rat-Pack
« Reply #8 on: August 10, 2011, 12:12:08 PM »
I really like the thought of several characters per player, making them able to join any and all 'sub-groups' instead of taking turns playing (my players tend to split up a lot).
I 'even' did a rewrite of one of the 'A boy and his dog' for another player, turning the dog into a 'sub-character', in pretty much the same way as you did with the kids, rather then a mechanical NPC (and turned the dog itself into a move to open up the option for other playbooks too).
But then again, (possibly) 12 characters are a somewhat.. disturbing thought, will be great too see if the player manages to get it to work..!

And as a side node, "Born Unto the Apocalypse" is.. brilliant, I love the thought of a stubborn kid refusing to letting go of an unbelievable claim  that turns out to be absolutely right.. =)
« Last Edit: August 10, 2011, 12:21:30 PM by Reax »

Re: Playbook: The Rat-Pack
« Reply #9 on: August 10, 2011, 10:12:55 PM »
Big thanks to Reax for putting this together! To anyone who uses it, I would love to hear your playtest results!

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

*

Ariel

  • 330
Re: Playbook: The Rat-Pack
« Reply #10 on: August 11, 2011, 12:18:45 AM »
The playbook didnt have any art so I did you guys some art up really quick and emailed to Reax to put it in the .pdf.

Cheers.

Re: Playbook: The Rat-Pack
« Reply #11 on: August 11, 2011, 08:36:55 PM »
Updated version of the PDF by Reax, now with art by Nathan Orlando Wilson. Thanks so much for your work on this you guys!

The Rat-pack Playbook PDF v.2
The Dead Flag Blues - Godspeed You Black Emperor! This is my Apocalypse World theme song.

*

Ariel

  • 330
Re: Playbook: The Rat-Pack
« Reply #12 on: August 11, 2011, 09:01:30 PM »
You're welcome!

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Reax

  • 13
Re: Playbook: The Rat-Pack
« Reply #13 on: August 12, 2011, 12:34:33 AM »
Yeah, thanks for the help. Artwork (and me realising and fixing some of my mistakes) made it turn out real nice!

Re: Playbook: The Rat-Pack
« Reply #14 on: August 13, 2011, 08:24:44 AM »
Looks fantastic but I don't understand the Abandon ship move.

1. MC has to remember it all the time :/
2. Fuck this shit does the same thing but better (although you don't get XP for it). You imagine each kids has to get out by themselves?