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Playbook: The Gladiator

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Description: The worse off people are, the more their struggles are hopeless, the greater their need to watch bastards in even bloodier, more pointless struggles. You're that bastard and they love you with all of their hearts.


Choose a name, a look, stats, moves, gears, and Hx

Beast, Devastator, Matador, Freakshow, Straight Jacket, Samurai, Felon Or Benedict

Half Pint, Medusa, Obsession, Glitter Bitch, 2 faced, Trooper, Acid rain, Vicious, Ada
Loveless Or X

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


On your turn:

Choose 1, 2 or 3:
- One of the characters always roots for you. That players gets +2Hx with you.
- One of the characters always roots against you. That players gets +2Hx with you.
- One of the characters thinks the fights are a barbaric waste of time. They get +3Hx
with you.

On their turn:
- One of the characters, you have fought with in an area, either against or at their
side. Get 1 more than what they give you.
- Everyone else, get 1 less than what they give you. Your mind is on other things.

Man, Woman, Concealed, Andryognye

Sweet face, Striking face, stone face, busted face, cute face, rugged face, honest face

Combat wear, fetish wear, luxe wear, barely-there wear, formal wear, ancient wear

Smiling eyes, ruined eyes, calculating eyes, pretty eyes, weary eyes, caring eyes,
wise eyes

Muscular body, graceful body, thhing-of-beauty-body, huge body


In addition to Fans, detail fashion according to your look. Have some fashion that is 1-armor for fights.

Get an Arena weapon and a Practical Weapon
Arena weapon:
- Machete (3-harm hand messy)
- Ornate dagger ( 2-harm hand valuable)
- hidden knives (2-harm hand infinite)
- harpoon (3-harm hand)
- Mace (3-harm hand loud messy)

Practical weapon:
- 9mm (2-harm close loud)
- Crowbar (2-harm hand messy)
- big knife (2-harm hand)


Get Showman and choose 2 more.

Showman At the end of a grand display of your skills, roll+hot. on 10+, you get surplus from your fans, on a 7-9, get surplus but also get 1 fallout. On a miss, get all of the fallout.

Hot Commodity When a character other than you sets up a showy display of your skills for profit, they roll+juggling(Or 0 if you have no juggling.) On a hit, a special prize of 2 barter can be made from the competition above normal. On a 7-9, the MC chooses 1:
- The job is especially dangerous.
- The Gladiator has to lose in order to get the prize. 
- the Gladiator is competing with someone the Gladiator has history with.
- The job is somewhere treacherous or difficult to reach.
- The job is just gonzo, weird, or embarrassing

Resilent Replace 1 point of Harm with an Edge: Torrid(+1 to Hot), Humbled(+1 to Sharp), Serious(+1 to Cool). You can't get another Edge while you have one, and Edges go away after the session.

Tactical Mind roll+Hard when Reading a Charged Sitch.

Moment of Clarity: When everyone is watching and time seems to stand still, choose a primal truth that you want to convey to the audience. Roll+weird. On a hit, that truth occurs to them in a powerful way. On a 10+, they go do something about it, right now. On a 7-9, The truth only occurs to some people, and some people come away with a Lie. On a miss, treat it as you've opened up everyone's minds to the Psychic Mealstrom and missed.


If they don't know your real name, you heal 1 harm.

If they know your real name, they always have the option of forcing you to take a
debility instead of taking Harm themselves.


- Get +1 cool (Max Cool+2)
- Get +1 hot (Max Hot+2)
- Get +1 weird (Max Weird +2)
- Get a new Gladiator Move
- Get a new Gladiator Move
- Choose a new option for your Fans.
- Get Reputation from the Operator playbook
- get Artful & Gracious from the Skinner playbook.
- Get a move from another playbook
- Get a move from another playbook


By default you have about 100 Fans. They love you but they don't know you or live with you. They live in distant communities from each other but some will gather for your fights.
(Surplus: +1 barter, Fallout: desertion)

Choose 2:
- Your fans are particularly hard-core and dedicated. Replace fallout: desertion with fallout: rioting.
- Your fans feel a strong kinship with each other. Add surplus: +community
- This stuff provides a escape from what's going on around them. Add surplus: +distraction
- Its a status thing for your fans to throw themselves at your feet. Add surplus: +acts of worship
- Your fans are huge in number, around 400, and gather from far. Add surplus: +1barter and fallout:+1overburden
- Your fans are active recruiters. Add surplus: +expansion

Choose 1:
- You have few fans, around 25. Surplus: -1barter
- Your followers are a bunch of animals. fallout: +savagery
- Your fans take this shit really seriously. fallout: +Revenge


If you're charging someone wealthy for your services, 1-barter is the going rate for:
fighting one opponent in an arena, publicly announcing your faith in them, a month's
employment as a bouncer or figurehead

1-barter will cover your living expenses in a month, if your tastes aren't too grand. 2-barter will cover living with showy luxury, as your fans expect.

One addendum to Showman: Performing in an Arena counts as physical Intimacy and solitude between the audience and the performer, even though the audience members are right next to some sweaty dude they don't know. (Important because I really like the idea of Brainer/Skinner Gladiator mixes)

Very interesting.  A few points as I come across them.

Hx: the third one sounds wrong.  "One of the characters thinks the fights are a barbaric waste of time. They get +3Hx with you."
If they think the fights are a waste of time, they *don't understand you*.  I say it should be -2 or even -3 Hx.

"One of the characters, you have fought with in an area."  To my mind, this is unnecessarily limiting.  Not everyone would fight in an arena.  I suggest you change it to 'fought with in front of an audience/crowd', just to open it up rather (so it can include an impromptu bar brawl with onlookers, for example).

Not an expert in melee weaponry, but why is mace loud but machete not?

Hot commodity and Moment of clarity are awesome.

Resilient is a bit strange.  A session-long +1 to a stat is a massive bonus, especially once they've been able to get a couple of +3s.  Further, as written, you don't even need to do the replacement when the harm takes place.  The basic *idea* behind it is really good, but I think it needs a bit of a rethink.  (Even 'when 2 or more harm is taken (in a public battle?)' and 'Max +3' would make a difference.)

The Specials:
Wait, what?
No, seriously, WTF.
If they don't know your name, it's massively powerful, saving you a week (or 4 days and a barter)'s downtime.
If they do, it's absolutely crippling and unfun. 
If I was playing, I'd never use my 'real name' (what does that even mean in AW?)  If the MC had people suddenly discover it, it'd be a dick move on their part, and the character would never have sex again, for fear of being forever at the mercy of an (N)PC, and being unable to do anything about it.
This is, to me, a terrible, terrible move and needs a total rewrite.

No advancement to gain +3 hard.  Thereby almost forcing them to get one of the other playbook's +1 (+3) hard moves, since they are a hard character.  Strange omission.  Explain, please?

There are 5 moves.  You start with 3 and can buy 2 more.  i.e. you can get all your playbook moves.  Mistake, to my mind.  Don't think you should be able to do this.

I can't help but feel you should have more negative options for your fans, choose 2, but have an advancement to remove one.

By default, 100 fans.  That's the population of an average hardhold!  I can agree with that many people being fans of the arena (given that some will travel from outside the hardhold, but not that many, considering travel is typically very dangerous/expensive in post-apocalyptic worlds - that's where the driver gets his cash, after all), but these are your personal fans.  I would suggest half that, tops.

Re: your addendum: Hypnotic, with this change, on 400 fans is broken, pretty much no matter the result.  Trying deep brain scan under these circumstances will result in your MC murdering you.  Perhaps allow it on one selected member of the audience?

What strikes me is that this almost seems like a Hot playbook, but with a move that lets you 'when fighting in front of a crowd, roll +Hot (NPC) or +Hx (PC) instead of +Hard when going aggro or seizing by force'.  You don't have the moves for a deadly scuffle in an alley, or an assassination - you're a showman.
But that's just my impression, not saying it's wrong to do it this way.

But a promising start, all told.  I'll be watching this with interest.

Thanks for the detailed feedback!

Mace: Because a mace goes thump! And crashes stuff on its way, which also goes thump! Machete just goes *skewer*

Resilent makes perfect sense to me because I'm like "Its the opposite of debilities, kind of" and "You get more hot when you get all bloody!". But I'd want to rewrite it to make clear that yeah, you can only swap the Harm when it happens.

The point of the specials is that its easy and beneficial to sleep with people when you're Devastator, and hard and difficult when someone is sleeping with Dwayne, but, don't you think it would be kind of painful only ever sleeping with people as Devastator?

I didn't notice how standard the +3 advancement was. Maybe I'd swap out one of the Gladiator moves for it, cause there's too much capability to get them all.

I like the idea of more negative options for fans. Couldn't think of cool ones.

About the Fans - Its kind of confusing, because I was thinking that many would be everyone who thinks you're pretty cool, who's ever seen you fight, assuming you've been to maybe 3 or 4 hardholds already. And that's not as many as are going to be in an average crowd. Maybe halving it would be about right.

I think you're right about the adendum.

I can kind of see where you're coming from, but I see 2 major problems: one mechanical, one flavour.
Flavour-wise: in the RAW, cultural context is gone.  Devastator is as acceptable a name as Mother Superior or Dwayne (although I can't really see Dwayne as being along the same lines as all other names provided, so that one's probably rather exotic).  Without the cultural context of 'Devastator' being more badass than Dwayne, you're just some guy with two names.
Mechanics-wise: you sleep with one person, NPC or PC, and you are their slave FOREVER.  Any time you do something they don't like, they can threaten to shoot themselves and give you a debility, which you can NEVER recover from.  And even if they don't seek personal power over you, you HAVE to dedicate your life to their well-being.  If they join a cult which your gunlugger wishes to wipe out, you have to stop him, else he'll keep on shooting this person until you run out of debility slots, are permanently crippled and they can finally die.
So, while I can see where you're coming from, I stand by my assessment: terrible, terrible move.

No need to swap out a gladiator move for the +3 hard, just do what the Hardholder does - have +1 hard (+3) as a standard advancement.

I'll see what I can think of re: fan flaws.  No time now.


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