Hard moves for Sharp/Hot

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Hard moves for Sharp/Hot
« on: September 23, 2011, 03:12:59 AM »
Sometimes it's easy to come up with a move when a roll fails. When a character is acting under fire it's usually clear what the danger is. When they are going aggro or seizing by force it's usually a dangerous situation, so again it's clear what could go wrong. A failed roll to open your brain is sometimes tricky at the start of a game when it isn't clear how the Maelstrom works yet, but eventually I know what the risks are.

But when someone tries to read a situation or a person, or manipulate or seduce someone, it often isn't clear to me what a failure could or should mean. I think part of the issue is that the player is making these rolls to gain knowledge or advance their goals, and not to prevent something bad from happening, so it isn't obvious what dangers there are, above and beyond simply failing.

Do you have any favorite hard moves for failed Sharp/Hot rolls that might be broadly applicable? Or do you have any suggestions for assessing what an appropriate hard move might be when nothing is jumping out at me?

Re: Hard moves for Sharp/Hot
« Reply #1 on: September 23, 2011, 04:18:29 AM »
Well, first off, just saying "it fails" and not specifying further consequences is appropriate. Not every miss needs to result in a hard move--sometimes it's just a miss.

That said, when you want to make a move on a player who fucks up a read or manipulate roll, you can try turning their move back on them. For instance, on a failed read, you could ask them a question and have whatever person or situation they were trying to read act on that knowledge. On a failed seduce or manipulate, they may harden their target's position and make it even more difficult to dislodge them, or perhaps just plain piss them off if they're particularly clumsy about it. You could also have the target end up manipulating them instead, making them act under fire if they don't accept the target's counteroffer (offering them a carrot probably isn't as appropriate for a failed roll).

I've had MCs react to a missed read roll by having the situation read the would-be reader and to a failed manipulate by making the target even less compliant. Not sure I've seen the reverse-manipulate before, but if memory serves, that's how it works for the skinner's hypnotize ability, so it seems like at least some of the time it would probably fit for a failed seduce or manipulate.

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noofy

  • 777
Re: Hard moves for Sharp/Hot
« Reply #2 on: September 23, 2011, 07:36:51 AM »
Taking away their stuff doesn't have to be material either. Take away their 'mojo' on a failed seduce, or their reputation on a failed manipulate.

Asking them a question and elaborating the consequence is good too, especially on a failed read. 'So whadya reckon is the worst thing that could happen in this situation?' 'Oh yeah? well you're knee deep in that shit and by the way......'

I'd agree with Allison though, 'turn the move back on them' is gold.

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noclue

  • 609
Re: Hard moves for Sharp/Hot
« Reply #3 on: September 23, 2011, 02:50:07 PM »
We had this last night. The Quarantine runs in to find the Savvyhead standing over a girl he had just shot trying to steal his gear. Quarantine misses on his Read a Person. The MC found himself describing what the character felt and thought about the Savvyhead's reactions, but called shenanigans on himself. Instead he offered up the Unpleasant Truth that "No one's going to care that Mimi's been shot. There's not going to be any consequence at all. Things are diffent now."
James R.

    "There is a principle which is a bar against all information, which is proof against all arguments and which can not fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance-that principle is contempt prior to investigation."
     --HERBERT SPENCER

Re: Hard moves for Sharp/Hot
« Reply #4 on: September 26, 2011, 06:37:06 AM »
"Announce future badness" is always a good one.

I always find if I'm struggling for a hard move to make when a player fails a roll, take a quick look at the MC sheet and have a scan of the MC moves. If you've still got nothing, look at your fronts. Still pulling a blank, Announce future badness and add whichever npc the player was interacting with to a front.

Re: Hard moves for Sharp/Hot
« Reply #5 on: September 26, 2011, 09:51:54 AM »
Entered a car (with weaponry) the driver of which was just shot, in order to use it against a possibly incoming attack. Missed when reading a situation. Me: "You smell gasoline. Oh, and your feet are getting wet."

Had something suitable been established: Kaboom. Alas, there was no reason for such.

Re: Hard moves for Sharp/Hot
« Reply #6 on: September 26, 2011, 07:36:35 PM »
Just saying "it fails" isn't something that occurred to me could be appropriate, but I'll have to keep it in mind, sometimes that might be all that's appropriate.

Turning their move back on them, and announcing future badness both seem like good options, especially for a failed Sharp roll. Any other ideas for Manipulation? I could see some good options when you fail to manipulate an NPC, but what about if it's a PC and you don't want to tell them how to react?

Re: Hard moves for Sharp/Hot
« Reply #7 on: September 26, 2011, 08:03:57 PM »
The move you make doesn't have to be related to the move they made.

I mean, the above ideas are all good stuff too, but the move you make as an MC is not a fictional consequence of the thing the PC just failed to do. It can be, and often will be, because whatever move you do make has to be a fictional consequence of something, and here's a big something right in front of you -- but that's not the only thing going on.

A missed move is an opportunity for you, as MC, to look at the whole situation -- on and off screen, involving the PC's recent action or not -- and decide where you are going to push next. If you decide you want to separate them, or deal them harm, or take away their stuff -- and if there's an obvious reason that could happen right now, based on your principles and knowledge of the world -- then just do it. They also fail whatever they were doing, of course, but that's not the reason. The reason is, it was your turn to do something.


Re: Hard moves for Sharp/Hot
« Reply #8 on: September 28, 2011, 02:25:12 AM »
You are certainly right, that is how the rules work. But I feel a lot more comfortable making a really hard move if it feels like a natural response to the failed move. Like, inflicting harm because someone failed an acting under fire roll, sure. But say they are in a dangerous situation where harm could potentially be inflicted on them at any moment. Inflicting harm in response to a failed read a sitch roll? Or worse yet, inflicting harm on a different player than the one who failed the roll? I'd feel real nervous about making that move, even if it did flow out of the fiction, and it was my turn.

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lumpley

  • 1293
Re: Hard moves for Sharp/Hot
« Reply #9 on: September 28, 2011, 09:48:05 AM »
When someone blows the roll to manipulate I like to turn their move back on them thusly. Say that it's Dusk missing the roll to manipulate Vega:

"Dusk, next time you make life easier for Vega without his asking, mark experience."

Re: Hard moves for Sharp/Hot
« Reply #10 on: September 28, 2011, 12:02:30 PM »
You are certainly right, that is how the rules work. But I feel a lot more comfortable making a really hard move if it feels like a natural response to the failed move. Like, inflicting harm because someone failed an acting under fire roll, sure. But say they are in a dangerous situation where harm could potentially be inflicted on them at any moment. Inflicting harm in response to a failed read a sitch roll? Or worse yet, inflicting harm on a different player than the one who failed the roll? I'd feel real nervous about making that move, even if it did flow out of the fiction, and it was my turn.

Absolutely. Remember that you have to DO something to read a situation. Here's a real example that came up in our game: Nile and her gang (and Smith) have come upon a clearing with a stasis pod in it, that they want.  The gang spreads out, there's a sniper, Smith takes him out, and then Nile hears her gang spot something on the north side of the clearing. Nile says "I walk over there, get in front of my gang members, and see what's going on." Rolls to read the situation and blows it.  That is absolutely a situation where she could get hurt as a result.  The example of play in the book ALSO has an example of somebody getting grenaded because they tried to read the situation and blew it.  It can mean you dithered, you overextended, or you leaped to a bad conclusion -- but when bullets are flying, that can get you shot.

Re: Hard moves for Sharp/Hot
« Reply #11 on: September 28, 2011, 01:35:15 PM »
@Daniel, could you give me an example of a time you made a really hard move that didn't follow directly from the failed move, but felt appropriate? That would be useful for me.

Re: Hard moves for Sharp/Hot
« Reply #12 on: September 30, 2011, 06:48:01 PM »
@Daniel, could you give me an example of a time you made a really hard move that didn't follow directly from the failed move, but felt appropriate? That would be useful for me.

Unfortunately, none come to mind -- it's been awhile since I ran a game of AW. Hopefully others will chime in.

But another thing to point out is that generally a hard move is a move that has already been set up in the fiction -- there are very few cases where you are going to introduce a threat and then have that threat take decisive action in a single move, without a 'what do you do?' inserted somewhere in-between.

So if you are looking for a hard move to make, your options are limited to what is already on the table -- threats you have set up previously in the fiction, as part of other moves you've made, in accordance with fronts, etc. This also helps explain why people often look for a hard move that is a consequence of what the PC is doing: the PC's actions become the fiction that establishes the threat, and the MC then follows up hard on that.

In a case where there is nothing else going on in the fiction, that is really your only option for a hard move -- while your options for various set-up moves is of course much broader. (Things like 'turning the manipulate back on the PC' and similar moves feel like set-up moves to me -- they establish a threat by giving that NPC unusual amounts of power over the PC.)

Re: Hard moves for Sharp/Hot
« Reply #13 on: October 01, 2011, 11:06:08 AM »
The badness doesn't have to follow from the character's move, even if the announcing does. You can decide on the badness going on and give the info as if the read had succeeded (but with no bonuses, obviously).

"Straining your senses, you realize there is the smell of burning in the air/sounds of shouting and gunfire/something else that points to badness going on."

Or the reading itself could cause the trouble, thusly: "Looking around the bar, you catch the eyes of this hard-as-flint looking woman in the corner for what is obviously a second to long. She shouts across the bar: 'Hey! What the fuck are you looking at?' Her two friends rise with her."

Otherwise, even if you don't have some good badness that would follow from the character move itself, there is rarely a situation for a character to be in when making a move that couldn't suddenly worsen by itself without it feeling very much like a stretch. After all, a charged sitch is called charged for a reason, right? ;)

Even if that wouldn't help, there is always more to the fiction than meets the eyes of the character, right? Anything that would feel like it follows organically from something that could be going on behind the scenes is probably appropriate, no?

Re: Hard moves for Sharp/Hot
« Reply #14 on: October 01, 2011, 11:45:31 AM »
"People notice you staring" is a good one for reading a sitch, yes. Though some people might look at some of your hard moves as opportunities, not simply problems. ("I'm looking at the hardest mutherfucker here, obviously, and the only person around worth paying any goddamn attention to. If I offended you, maybe I could make it up to you somehow? Like, buy you a drink? Least I can do, right?")