Help me with my Winter Front.

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Gwion

  • 18
Help me with my Winter Front.
« on: October 02, 2011, 12:25:14 PM »
Hi I am preparing my fronts and I need some help for one of them.

Our apocalypse is a eternal winter vomiting ashes and snow storms.

The characters:
- A hocus who want to lead her people south.
- A gunlugger who think his lost son went south.
- A brainer intrigued by the hocus who want to go south.

The group is trying to go south to run away from the winter and cannibals.

For now I have the home front, the men hunters (cannibals) front and a winter front.

The prep of the home front and the men hunters front went well, but I am hesitating a little with my winter front since this is not a group of people.

So for now I have (I have put in bold my main hesitations):  

Front: Winter
Express: despair
Dark future/agenda: cover the entire world?
Description & cast: ash snow, storms, freezing cold ?
Stakes questions:
- do summer still exist in the south?
- can people survive the winter?

Threat 1: The road south
Kind: landscape/mirage
Impulse: entice & betray people
Cast: people migrating south, ?
Custom move: ?
Countdown: this is where I am hesitating. For now I have the idea that more and more people will migrate south. But should I focus on the actual "road" or the trip?

Threat 2:  The freezing cold
Kind: affliction/condition
Impulse: expose people to danger
Cast: ?
Custom move: something about freezing?
Countdown: I am aslo hesitating here. The temperature could become colder and colder. Or maybe a super ash-snow storm could happen. Maybe something weird could lurk in the cold. Or maybe I should focus on the effects on the general population?




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Chroma

  • 259
Re: Help me with my Winter Front.
« Reply #1 on: October 02, 2011, 12:54:12 PM »
Since this is the Despair front, I'd consider putting the Hocus's followers on there as one threat... Brutes - Cult or Brutes - Family, perhaps... and, perhaps follow-up Affliction - Delusion or Custom as they turn to other means of "staying warm" as things get worse.

I'll think more about possible custom moves and get back to you.
"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

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Jeremy

  • 134
Re: Help me with my Winter Front.
« Reply #2 on: October 02, 2011, 01:29:18 PM »
Are you making it harder on yourself by making "Winter" the front?  What if the you thought about it as two or three different fronts? Or as part of some fronts you already have?

Seems like your "Man Hunters" front fits in the Hunger scarcity. Could you make the front itself be "cannibalism" and the hunters be one of the threats, the cast?  Then the "cold, frozen ground" could be another threat (affliction: barrier), with special moves like "when you've gone days without food and you eat human flesh, mark XP and get +1 forward; if you don't, you're acting under fire." 

"The Road South" seems like another possible front (scarcity: ambition or despair).  Plenty of landscape threats possible there, and wintery afflictions like a sudden storm (affliction: condition), an open ice flow (affliction: barrier).

Clearly the details need work, but I think it comes down to this: "Winter" isn't a front, it's an element to make appear in all your fronts.

Re: Help me with my Winter Front.
« Reply #3 on: October 02, 2011, 03:45:13 PM »
The last game I ran also had a cold/snowstorm-filled apocalypse, but it was an urban setting, and the PCs were largely stationary -- I think with a travel-focused game, you're going to want to focus on how the Threats act in that context, more than a generalized 'what is winter like?' approach.

Front: Winter
Express: despair
Dark future/agenda: cover the entire world?
Description & cast: ash snow, storms, freezing cold ?
Stakes questions:
- do summer still exist in the south?
- can people survive the winter?

This seems like a good start. Since the Front expresses Despair, I think you might also want to consider ways in which the Winter might isolate people from each other -- both geographically/physically, through actual storms and snow, and socially, through the hardship and tough choices it forces on people. If I were running with this I would probably add a question like 'will people band together in the face of winter, or be forced further apart?'

This also makes the dark agenda feel a bit more concrete -- winter will cover the world not just because it will be cold everywhere, but because it will have forced everyone apart, set man against man, and left what few good-hearted people remain shivering to a slow, inevitable death in a cave somewhere.

Quote
Threat 1: The road south
Kind: landscape/mirage
Impulse: entice & betray people
Cast: people migrating south, ?
Custom move: ?
Countdown: this is where I am hesitating. For now I have the idea that more and more people will migrate south. But should I focus on the actual "road" or the trip?

Have you read The Grapes of Wrath? Forced, mass-migrations in response to environmental calamity create a lot of opportunities for people to exploit each other. All these people moving south are vulnerable -- they don't know the land they're travelling through, they have all their possessions strapped to their back, etc. I think focusing on the trip and the non-PCs making the trip with or around them is a great idea.

So like a really basic chain of escalation-through-human-violence, with events like: somebody steals someone else's stuff; violence erupts over where to go next; a local guide of questionable morals offers to lead migrants through a seemingly impassable landscape; a windfall of food turns out to be poisonous; desperate migrants kill and pillage local farmers; a con man swindles a family out of all of their food; a wealthy migrant dies on the trail, leaving her supplies up for grabs. Lots of things that the PCs will have opportunities to mitigate or avoid, but could also happen on their own, emerging naturally out of the fiction -- that way you get a really dynamic countdown clock, which advances at the pace of the story.

Quote
Threat 2:  The freezing cold
Kind: affliction/condition
Impulse: expose people to danger
Cast: ?
Custom move: something about freezing?
Countdown: I am aslo hesitating here. The temperature could become colder and colder. Or maybe a super ash-snow storm could happen. Maybe something weird could lurk in the cold. Or maybe I should focus on the effects on the general population?

Again I would definitely focus on the effects on the general population -- you want things that can happen 'on their own' in the fiction, as much as things you can make happen yourself if the PCs give you the opportunity.

In the game I mentioned above, the snow and cold were deeply intertwined with the psychic maelstrom -- the overall front was about isolation and breaking down communication ("static") -- so I generally just had a rule where if the PCs missed an Open Your Brain roll, I would trigger a snowstorm. This wasn't on a countdown clock, though -- if there's ash storms all the time, they probably don't need to be distinct events. On the other hand, if the threat of the Storm to End All Storms is something you want, that's probably worth making 'Ash Storms' its own Threat type.

I think deciding whether or not the cold is supposed to be Weird or not is going to have a huge effect on what sort of things you want to include on the countdown. Assuming a mostly natural threat, I'd look up the symptoms of hypothermia and frostbite and consider what sort of horrible situations that could create for people. A child is accidentally left exposed, or someone who was travelling south loses a leg and may have to be abandoned. Think about the effect on resources, too: in our cold apocalypse, anything that could be burned pretty much had been burned (yes that included most of the gasoline), so books were super-rare and most people were illiterate. Clothing also becomes very important. Pack animals are a source of heat, etc.

Superstitious beliefs are good, too, especially since you have a Hocus; maybe a death cult develops around people who get lost in the snow, or someone decides that the cold can be kept at bay through human sacrifice. Maybe people have hypothermia-induced visions.

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Gwion

  • 18
Re: Help me with my Winter Front.
« Reply #4 on: October 02, 2011, 04:31:58 PM »
Thanks all for the food for thoughts, especially the comments about isolation (it a very good issue).

I admit I find it harder to figure out how to prep non-people threat like landscape and condition, because some stuff like agenda, cast & motivation are more about peoples.

I made a front for the men-hunters because they are a organised group instead of savages and we wonder if they will become a new order or not. People are joining them out of fear and don't dare to stand up again them. 

The road south is very interesting since we established that some people don't believe that the south is warmer and we all wonder if the hocus is leading her people toward a mirage or not. We also established that people who go south never come back to talk about it. I wonder also how the hocus and her cult will react when she will meet the flow of people migrating toward the south.

I will reconsider the winter front, maybe it not a front in itself and it threats should be in the men-hunters front. 


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Gwion

  • 18
Re: Help me with my Winter Front.
« Reply #5 on: October 03, 2011, 04:13:10 PM »
Ok I have re-read the section about fronts agenda/dark future:
Quote
"... write a sentence or two about the hell it'll create if nobody does anything about it."
Since the characters can't do nothing about the winter, I have followed Jeremy's advice and removed winter as a front.

Now I have:
- the home front with npc from the hocus cult as threats and the freezing cold.
- the men-hunters front (4 threats)

I think I will be ok with those two front for a start.
I will wait to see what happen to create a threat for the south road.
« Last Edit: October 03, 2011, 04:35:02 PM by Gwion »

Re: Help me with my Winter Front.
« Reply #6 on: October 03, 2011, 09:16:13 PM »
Since the characters can't do nothing about the winter, I have followed Jeremy's advice and removed winter as a front.
Just to show another perspective: the threat the characters could do something about is not exactly winter itself but the time before it hits hard? Like a Overall Countdown that says: "When the clock hits 12:00 the pass south freezes over and the snowfall makes it impossible to get through. You wasted too much time with your silly shenanigans. You're fucked."

That said, I think having the fronts you expect to use in play are more than enough for a start. Once the situation changes or the threats in concern actually appear is soon enough to create the associated front. at least imho.
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