Viking Playbook

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Viking Playbook
« on: December 18, 2013, 05:53:17 PM »
I'm looking at running a re-skinned version of AW in a low-fantasy medieval setting (Harn, for those who might be curious).  Not really a full hack, just a difference in setting and a few cosmetic changes.  Pretty much all of the playbooks convert straight across as-is or with very little modification with the notable exception of the Driver.

But one of the things that's present in the area where the game is to be set are viking raiders, and it occurred to me that if I was looking for a character that was mobile, someone with a ship could be cool.  But just having a ship can be pretty limiting, so I wanted to add more to it.  A gang of raiders seems kind of cool, but I wanted to be careful not to tread too heavily on the Chopper's toes.  The trick is to work things out such that the Viking has its own niche, but isn't completely useless if the story isn't taking place at sea.  This is my attempt to balance that idea.  So I give you:


Choose one set:
• Cool=0 Hard-1 Hot+1 Sharp+2 Weird=0
• Cool+1 Hard=0 Hot=0 Sharp+2 Weird-1
• Cool=0 Hard+1 Hot-1 Sharp+2 Weird=0
• Cool+1 Hard-2 Hot=0 Sharp+2 Weird+1

You get all the basic moves, as well as a no shit sailor and raid leader.

*  A no shit sailor: when at the helm...
...if you do something under fire, add your ship’s power to your roll.
...if you try to seize something by force, add your ship’s power to your roll.
...if you go aggro, add your ship’s power to your roll.
...if you try to seduce or manipulate someone, add your ship’s looks to your roll.
...if you help or interfere with someone, add your ship’s power to your roll.
...if someone interferes with you, add your ship’s weakness to their roll.

*  Raid leader: when you try to impose your will on your crew, roll+hard. If you are at the helm, add your ship's power as well.  On a 10+, all 3.
On a 7–9, choose 1:
• they do what you want
• they don’t fight back over it
• you don’t have to make an example of one of them
On a miss, someone in your gang makes a dedicated bid to replace you for raid leader.

O  Good in the clinch: when you do something under fire, roll+sharp instead of roll+cool.

O  Weather eye: when you open your brain to the world’s psychic maelstrom, roll+sharp
instead of roll+weird.

O  Daredevil: if you go straight into danger without hedging your bets, you get +1armor.
If you happen to be leading a gang or convoy, it gets +1armor too.

Your crew is a lightly-armed mob of 10-15 blood-thirsty raiders who know their way around both a hawser and an axe (2-Harm gang small unruly savage 1-armor).

Your ship is a modest long-boat capable of carrying a small gang in addition to its crew.

Choose one of these profiles:
• power+2 looks+1 1-armor weakness+1
• power+2 looks+2 0-armor weakness+1
• power+1 looks+2 1-armor weakness+1
• power+2 looks+1 2-armor weakness+2

Pick one per power:
• Your crew is heavily armed (+1harm)
• Your crew is heavily armored (+1armor)
• Your crew is numerous (counts as a medium gang)
• Your ship is capacious (can hold either a medium gang or a small mounted gang in addition to its crew)
• Your ship is armored (gives +1 armor to people fighting from it)
• Your ship has braziers and fire arrows (gives +1harm reload to people fighting from it)
• Your ship is easy to handle (can be crewed effectively by just a few people)
• Your ship is fast
• Your ship is rugged
• Your ship is easy to repair
• Your ship has a shallow-draft

Pick one per weakness:
• Your crew is prone to drunkenness (vulnerable: desertion)
• Your crew is a pack of scurvy dogs (vulnerable: disease)
• Your crew has made bitter enemies (vulnerable: reprisals)
• Your crew owes a significant debt to someone powerful (vulnerable: obligation)
• Your ship is hard to handle (needs at least 10 people to crew effectively)
• Your ship is cramped (fits only the crew)
• Your ship is slow
• Your ship is fragile
• Your ship is finicky
• Your ship is unreliable

If you and another character have sex, they immediately mark +1 Hx with you.  In addition, they may also choose whether to give you -1 or +1 to your Hx with them.
In addition, roll+hard. On a 10+, it’s cool, the conquest is yours and your crew is impressed - take +1 forward with them. On a 7–9, there's a little grumbling but it doesn't amount to more than talk.  On a miss, they're pissed at you for not sharing - you can either take -1 forward with them or impose your will.

__ get +1hard (max hard+2)
__ get +1hot (max hot+2)
__ get +1weird (max weird+2)
__ get a new viking move
__ get a new viking move
__ choose a new option for your crew or ship
__ get 2 gigs (detail) and moonlighting
__ get a move from another playbook
__ get a move from another playbook

__ get +1 to any stat (max stat+3)
__ retire your character (to safety)
__ create a second character to play
__ change your character to a new type
__ choose 3 basic moves and advance them.
__ advance the other 4 basic moves.

Analysis: The Viking has both a gang and a vehicle, but needs to split his choices between them.  As such, his gang won't ever be as good as the Chopper's.  Additionally, (and perhaps somewhat subtlely), I chose to make the Viking's gang unruly in addition to simply savage, and discipline is not one of the crew improvement options.  This strikes me as characterful, largely because what we're talking about here isn't an organized mounted warband (like the Chopper's gang) but rather a group of men banded together for the sole purpose of raiding to get rich.  They're going to have different ideas about how best to accomplish that.

Furthermore, most of the stat pack options don't help the Viking out with Hard rolls.  This makes imposing your will on the gang dicey when you're not at the helm.  So in shipboard actions, imposing your will should be OK.  But once the boat is beached and your men are running around causing havok?  Not so much.

I am hoping I've struck a decent balance here, but I'm interested to get other peoples' feedback on it.  What have I gotten right and what have I missed?  I'm especially interested in opinions on the Viking Special move, because I'm curious as to whether having a sex move affect the character's other crap will work well.

Re: Viking Playbook
« Reply #1 on: December 19, 2013, 05:40:20 AM »
One obvious issue is that the sex move suggests that the cultural norm of the Viking's milieu encourages "sharing the conquest", but the move doesn't say what happens (or, rather, reads nonsensically) if the Viking follows the cultural norm. It sounds like the move as written really means "when you and another character have sex, and they don't also do your crew"...? Your whole crew? Would a few lieutenants count? Just the crewmember likely to make the play for raid leader? Or is it "and they don't bring along friends who do your crew"? Or just "unless your crew is getting laid also"? As written, it's hard to figure out just what exactly the trigger entails. Or does the move mean to imply that the Viking always doesn't share? I mean, that it's a character mandate for the Viking to defy the crew's expectations each time?



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Re: Viking Playbook
« Reply #2 on: December 19, 2013, 01:02:06 PM »
Right you are!  I think the easiest alteration to convey the idea is to say, "if you are the only member of your crew getting laid, roll+hard..."

I think this makes it more clear, and furthermore answers both questions (do you share or does your partner bring friends).

That said, the idea that the Viking raid leader never shares and is thus always in tension with his crew is an intriguing one.  I'm not sure I'd go that far because I think it penalizes the Viking Special a little too much, but it's certainly an interesting twist.

It's also interesting to consider how this move plays with the special of the other playbooks.  For example, having sex with the battlebabe is "safe" because the Viking special is nullified.  Maybe your crew thinks you're crazy for going there.  And if the Skinner is actually willing to be shared with your crew there's all sorts of potential for disaster and hilarity.

Re: Viking Playbook
« Reply #3 on: December 20, 2013, 02:02:06 AM »
Well, one way to support the "tension because the Viking Leader never shares" mechanically would be to introduce some kind of "damned if you do, damned if you don't" situation. If your crew is getting laid on their own, everything's cool. If you are the only one and you flaunt it, roll hard for the risk of pissing them off. If you act to try and get them laid, though, to avoid this penalty, then roll for the risk of incurring their contempt -- you're supposed to be the raid leader, not their pimp, and paying too much attention to their needs is a sign of weakness?

I'm not sure you need to worry about penalizing the move too much -- some playbooks penalize the PC for having sex (or having it under the wrong circumstances, cf Touchstone), others mechanically advantage it, others (especially the meta ones like Battlebabe and Maestro D') vary. Vincent is on record, I believe, as having first balanced the characters (not for combat or adventuring strength but for capacity to affect the story and connect to the other characters) as if they'd never have sex, and only afterwards written the sex moves. They are more about evoking character than being balanced power-wise. I mean, it's mutually consensual sex by definition, so a PC who doesn't want to risk a downside sex move can always avoid it (but probably won't, because downsides in AW are interesting. A blue-ballsed crew muttering about your escapades -- what's not to like?)