Understanding Basic Moves

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Understanding Basic Moves
« on: September 06, 2011, 06:43:16 PM »
So far, our gaming group are loving the AW game system.  The flavorful and stylized text used in the rulebook really help add to the overall atmosphere of the game, and go a long way toward getting players to think like the characters themselves would think.

Unfortunately, that mostly clashes with the logical part of our brains that is actually trying to implement the rules.

So here are some questions that I would adore concise, flavorless answers to. :-p  (Below each question is what I have interpreted the answer to be based on my reading of the rulebook).  Some of the situations seem redundant, but I thought I should include them anyway due to my uncertainty of how the rules actually work.

1) I pull a gun on an NPC and start shooting.
I go aggro

2) An NPC and I both have guns pulled on each other and we start shooting at each other.
I sieze by force

3) An NPC and I are engaged in a fire fight, guns on both sides, and continue to fire at each other.
I sieze by force

4) An NPC pulls a gun on me and starts shooting, and I try to get out of the line of fire.
I act under fire

5) An NPC has been shooting at me, and continues to fire at me, and I'm trying to get out of the line of fire.
I act under fire

Now, as far as I understand, AW doesn't use opposed rolls - one player rolls and the success or failure of that roll determines just how the scene unfolds.  So does that mean the answer to all the above questions remains the same even if I'm acting against a PC?

Any help would be appreciated.  I just want to make sure that we're understanding the intent of the rules.  :-D

Re: Understanding Basic Moves
« Reply #1 on: September 06, 2011, 07:18:34 PM »
1) I pull a gun on an NPC and start shooting.
Depends on the situation. If you have the drop on him, you're going aggro. If you don't, you're seizing by force. (This assumes you don't bother talking before you shoot.)

2) An NPC and I both have guns pulled on each other and we start shooting at each other.
Seize by force.

3) An NPC and I are engaged in a fire fight, guns on both sides, and continue to fire at each other.
Seize by force if anything. In a real game situation, if you're already shooting at somebody, and they're already shooting at you, I might look for an excuse to do something else, since you probably just DID seize by force.

4) An NPC pulls a gun on me and starts shooting, and I try to get out of the line of fire.
I act under fire

5) An NPC has been shooting at me, and continues to fire at me, and I'm trying to get out of the line of fire.
I act under fire

Act under fire.

Now, as far as I understand, AW doesn't use opposed rolls - one player rolls and the success or failure of that roll determines just how the scene unfolds.  So does that mean the answer to all the above questions remains the same even if I'm acting against a PC?

Yes, with the understanding that PCs can roll to interfere with each other's actions, and that, in practice, players usually take turns. You can pull a gun and shoot at me (and go aggro if you take me by surprise), but I get to choose what happens next.

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lumpley

  • 1293
Re: Understanding Basic Moves
« Reply #2 on: September 06, 2011, 08:29:17 PM »
Both PCs can roll to seize by force, if both want to. There's only one exchange of harm, but both players' choices apply to it. In that case, if both take definite hold, it's the same as if neither do.

For going aggro, the attacker should roll the move and the defender can roll to interfere, yes.

Acting under fire is a little bit iffier, since it has the potential to nullify the other player's move outright and you shouldn't let it do that. I use it only when the defender gets the initiative (not a technical term) on the attacker. Like, you go aggro on me, I force your hand and suck it up, I take the harm, and then maybe I can act under fire to get into hand range.

Make sense?

Re: Understanding Basic Moves
« Reply #3 on: September 06, 2011, 10:23:54 PM »
Both PCs can roll to seize by force, if both want to. There's only one exchange of harm, but both players' choices apply to it. In that case, if both take definite hold, it's the same as if neither do.
Ah, interesting.

For going aggro, the attacker should roll the move and the defender can roll to interfere, yes.
Sorry, I forgot about interfering when I posted.  We had a Hocus in the group who had Seeing Souls and liked marking experience, so we know all about interfering. ;-)

Acting under fire is a little bit iffier, since it has the potential to nullify the other player's move outright and you shouldn't let it do that. I use it only when the defender gets the initiative (not a technical term) on the attacker. Like, you go aggro on me, I force your hand and suck it up, I take the harm, and then maybe I can act under fire to get into hand range.

Make sense?
I guess this is the part where my lack of system mastery shows.  In that instance, would act under fire allow you to make the hand range attack, or do you have to follow that roll up with a separate move like seize by force?

That kind of raises a similar question of: Can act under fire be used offensively?

Also, I'm sure you get tired of hearing it lumpley, but it's pretty awesome that you're so active in the community here and give so much firsthand feedback about your game (which is also pretty awesome by the way).  Thanks!  :-)

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Monte

  • 13
Re: Understanding Basic Moves
« Reply #4 on: September 07, 2011, 12:16:15 AM »

2) An NPC and I both have guns pulled on each other and we start shooting at each other.
Seize by force.

What exactly are you seizing here, the upper hand?

3) An NPC and I are engaged in a fire fight, guns on both sides, and continue to fire at each other.
Seize by force if anything. In a real game situation, if you're already shooting at somebody, and they're already shooting at you, I might look for an excuse to do something else, since you probably just DID seize by force.

Why wouldn't this just be an act under fire?  With the fire being the NPC's gunfire?


Re: Understanding Basic Moves
« Reply #5 on: September 07, 2011, 01:35:30 AM »
What exactly are you seizing here, the upper hand?

It depends.

Okay, so I'm not Vincent, but in my reading, the "combat" moves (act under fire, go aggro, seize by force) are all written with the assumption that you actually have an objective you're trying to achieve, and the person you're shooting at (or who's shooting at you) happens to be preventing you from achieving that objective. All three of them focus first on getting something done, and only secondarily shooting people. Acting under fire obviously is for doing it without anybody getting hurt; going aggro is for scaring off or threatening people before having to kill them; and seizing by force is for when you'd really rather not have to talk to them any more.

So in most situations, as long as you keep that in mind, the system should work seamlessly. When you're in one of those rare situations where your number one priority really is just killing a guy, it's a little more confusing, but if you keep in mind the effects of the moves, things should still work out fine.

If the situation is that you and, uh, Plummer are standing across a table with handguns pointed at each other, and you say "Fuck it, I shoot him," what do I do as MC? In the majority of cases, I say it's seize by force, because a) "this is a move for when the guns and knives and crowbars are already out on both sides," p. 195, and b) seize by force is the move where both parties take harm, which seems appropriate. If you wanted to, you could say you're seizing the moment, the upper hand, his life, whatever, but honestly? You should probably just seize his gun. I'd probably say "You're seizing by force, what do you want to seize, his gun?" Alternately, you might seize the escape route, to keep him in the room -- depends on the situation. Even in a case of straight-up murder, there's generally SOME tactical advantage you can try to seize. (One other thing I could do as MC is just make it an MC move -- inflict harm as established or trade harm for harm -- but that, again, is pretty contextual.)

Why wouldn't this just be an act under fire?  With the fire being the NPC's gunfire?

Well, it could be -- I don't really have enough information. A key design idea about Apocalypse World is that the moves are heavily dependent on the fictional detail; that makes bare-bones hypotheticals very difficult to answer. In an actual firefight, tables would be falling, people would be running, innocent bystanders would be dying horribly, and you, the PC, would presumably be DOING something, diving for cover or getting around the opponent's cover or digging in and calling for help or some sort of action that I could translate into acting under fire or whatever. If you just said "I stand there, where I am, and continue to fire?" Well, firstly, I'd be way more likely to call that trading harm for harm, as an MC, but if I were to pick a basic move, I'd probably pick seize by force again, and again ask you what you're actually trying to SEIZE.  The other thing is, as above, if I was running the beginning of the gunfight you've already chosen something to seize and so you can't just be like "I stand there and shoot." By the time you're "engaged in a firefight" you, mechanically, have probably already identified a goal and taken steps towards it, and the scene can build around that goal.

I hope that's clearer!

Re: Understanding Basic Moves
« Reply #6 on: September 08, 2011, 10:49:44 AM »
Why wouldn't this just be an act under fire?  With the fire being the NPC's gunfire?

Well, it could be -- I don't really have enough information. A key design idea about Apocalypse World is that the moves are heavily dependent on the fictional detail; that makes bare-bones hypotheticals very difficult to answer. In an actual firefight, tables would be falling, people would be running, innocent bystanders would be dying horribly, and you, the PC, would presumably be DOING something, diving for cover or getting around the opponent's cover or digging in and calling for help or some sort of action that I could translate into acting under fire or whatever. If you just said "I stand there, where I am, and continue to fire?" Well, firstly, I'd be way more likely to call that trading harm for harm, as an MC, but if I were to pick a basic move, I'd probably pick seize by force again, and again ask you what you're actually trying to SEIZE.  The other thing is, as above, if I was running the beginning of the gunfight you've already chosen something to seize and so you can't just be like "I stand there and shoot." By the time you're "engaged in a firefight" you, mechanically, have probably already identified a goal and taken steps towards it, and the scene can build around that goal.

I hope that's clearer!

This sort of addresses my question about act under fire, but I wanted to clarify.

It sounds like you're saying that act under fire is more of a defensive/protective move.  I mean, I get that there will always be situational circumstances that can make moves behave in uncommon ways, but it would be uncommon for act under fire to be used offensively, right?

That's one of the main reasons that the consensus around here is that the Battlebabe is better at getting herself into trouble than getting herself out of it, right?

Re: Understanding Basic Moves
« Reply #7 on: September 08, 2011, 11:26:58 AM »
Here's how I understand acting under fire:

If you want to do something cool (or dangerous, which usually ends up being pretty cool anyhow), and it's not some other move, then you're probably acting under fire.

Here's how it can be used defensively:

Plummer is trying to blow my legs off, so I tuck and roll under the idling semi to get out of the line of fire.  The fire is Plummer with the shotgun, clearly; the objective is to get to a spot where Plummer can't shoot me, at least for the moment.  On a 10+, I get out just fine.  On a 7-9, maybe I take a bullet in th leg or whatever.  On a miss, I'm in a bad spot- maybe a spare bullet spangs off the gas tank and it's leaking gas something terrible, all over me or right by me, depending on how interesting the MC feels it'd be.

Here's how it can be used offensively:

Plummer is trying to blow my legs off, so I swing myself into the idling semi's cab like a monkey and jam something heavy onto the accelerator so it hauls forward, ideally right at Plummer.  The fire is still Plummer with the shotgun, and on a 10+ I'm supercool billy badass but maybe on a 7-9 the door gets stuck and now I'm in a giant accelerating death-missile with no obvious way out.

Pretty cool, right? I'm not going aggro (Plummer knows I'm coming), I'm not seizing by force (nobody's fighting me for the semi, Plummer just wants to shoot me and he's too far away anyhow), I'm not manipulating and sure as hell not seducing and not reading shit and not even CLOSE to opening my brain.  I'm just being a badass.

And if there's nothing cool to be done, the Battlebabe is left with some fancy guns but not a lot of +hard.  Sucks to be her sometimes.

Re: Understanding Basic Moves
« Reply #8 on: September 08, 2011, 11:53:35 AM »
It sounds like you're saying that act under fire is more of a defensive/protective move.  I mean, I get that there will always be situational circumstances that can make moves behave in uncommon ways, but it would be uncommon for act under fire to be used offensively, right?

I'm not Vincent, but I think this is reasonable -- for you to act under fire, after all, there needs to be FIRE, and you need to want to IGNORE it. Acting under fire is great for getting you into a situation in a firefight where you have a tactical advantage to exploit (possibly by going aggro), but I probably wouldn't have you shoot a guy with it, because there are two other whole moves for shooting a guy.

Re: Understanding Basic Moves
« Reply #9 on: September 08, 2011, 03:20:35 PM »
Usually, what I'm seizing when I just want to kill somebody is the person I'm targeting. If you're attacking a single target, I would imagine grappling them or otherwise taking the fight to the ground would be appropriate uses for "take definite hold," but I'm less certain where gangs are concerned. I don't worry about it too much, though--it's just one less option competing for my spends. (Though, I did just expand my seize by force, so maybe I should start thinking about it for those moments where I roll a 12+.)

Re: Understanding Basic Moves
« Reply #10 on: September 08, 2011, 05:51:46 PM »
I am starting to think "when I just want to kill a guy" just isn't a thing that HAS a move in AW. When you want to do that, you've got two options:

- Reexamine your motives, figure out what you actually want.

- Maneuver into a place where you can just inflict harm as you like.

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Chroma

  • 259
Re: Understanding Basic Moves
« Reply #11 on: September 08, 2011, 06:38:19 PM »
I am starting to think "when I just want to kill a guy" just isn't a thing that HAS a move in AW. When you want to do that, you've got two options:

Actually, it is a move... but it's an MC's move: "Inflict Harm (As established)" and the player is handing out opportunity on a golden platter when they attempt to call on it.

Scats: I just want to shoot Dremmer in the head from way over here, it's why I've got a sniper rifle.

MC: Okay, *boom*, [Inflict harm] his head explodes in a blast of gore and his scattered teeth pelt his buddies, who look right at you with anger in their eyes, that you can feel all the way over here, as they dive for cover [Bloody fingerprints].

Scats: DAMMIT!

With the MC looking at NPCs through crosshairs, it shouldn't be a problem to kill anyone... it's the follow-up that's the bitch!  *laugh*

Or the MC might "Tell the possible consequences and ask".

MC: Okay, but if you take that shot, they're going to know it was you and where you are... you want to Act Under Fire to try and stay concealed?

Scats: Sure, I hunker down in the rocks, line up the shot, and pull the trigger...

The MC is still making an "Inflict Harm" move as a follow-up to the player's move, but the PC is not as exposed if they succeed at the Act Under Fire.
« Last Edit: September 08, 2011, 07:03:17 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: Understanding Basic Moves
« Reply #12 on: September 08, 2011, 06:58:49 PM »
I am starting to think "when I just want to kill a guy" just isn't a thing that HAS a move in AW. When you want to do that, you've got two options:

- Reexamine your motives, figure out what you actually want.

- Maneuver into a place where you can just inflict harm as you like.

I'm pretty sure my motive is to make some goons into ex-goons, and that my place in which I just inflict harm as I like is "right at the centre of the storm of red stuff."

Re: Understanding Basic Moves
« Reply #13 on: September 17, 2011, 01:37:47 PM »

Actually, it is a move... but it's an MC's move: "Inflict Harm (As established)" and the player is handing out opportunity on a golden platter when they attempt to call on it.


Now this makes much more sense to me. I always felt that if a PC makes the necessary plans to set up a distraction, gain a proper angle, and owns a sniper rifle... Someone is getting shot. I feel very dissatisfied with "Go Aggro... I want Plummer to lie in a pool of his own blood." Because if the PC rolls a 7, then  Plummer "puts their hands where they you can see 'em?"

But then again, if I'm a fan of the PC and he set up this elaborate trap, it's not as exciting for me if he misses. It's more exciting when he succeeds with unknown consequences.

Also, I always felt that Go Aggro was very similar to Manipulate. You go to a Plummer and you make a promise, "I swear by my pretty flower bonnet if your hand touches metal, I will end you." If you will actually harm them, it's Go Aggro. If you are lying or boasting, it's Manipulate.

Re: Understanding Basic Moves
« Reply #14 on: September 17, 2011, 06:52:52 PM »
Quote
If you are lying or boasting, it's Manipulate.
Not necessarily, AFAIU - a threat of a violence can be manipulate as well. Difference is that when I manipulate, I promise harm in an unknown future, and when I Go Aggro, I promise harm right here and right now. I've seen those police drama series, and there's plenty of Go Aggro - when officers have guns trained on the bad guy, but nobody has started shooting Just Yet, and if he tries to make a move for it(force your hand), he will be shot EVEN if in fact he'd better be questioned.