[Playbook] The Maelstrom Ghost Mk2

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Chroma

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[Playbook] The Maelstrom Ghost Mk2
« on: November 17, 2011, 03:14:36 PM »
The concept of a "maelstrom ghost" has always intrigued me; Simon C started the ball rolling here, but it didn't really seem to go very far.  As well, in two of my campaigns, the Savvyheads managed to get their minds sent into the psychic maelstrom while their bodies got destroyed... so, I felt I needed to put something together to represent that fractured existence.

So, with Simon C's blessing, allow me to show you something... don't be scared...

(And I hope you'll help me finish it!)
"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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Chroma

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Re: [Playbook] The Maelstrom Ghost Mk2
« Reply #1 on: November 17, 2011, 03:20:18 PM »
MAELSTROM GHOST MK2.
by Kevin “Chroma” Petker, built on the bones created by Simon C and Co.

Introducing the Maelstrom Ghost

Apocalypse World is littered with shattered dreams, broken promises, dashed hopes, and unfinished plans. Them guys with the guns, the jackals at the door don’t care about your plans and desires and put many in an early grave… dead is dead, right?  Well, there ain’t no status quos…

Sometimes… sometimes someone comes back…

To create your maelstrom ghost, choose name, look, stats, moves, aspect, manifestation, and Hx.

NAME

Cholera, Typhoid, Tetanus, Ebola, Pox, Pertussis, or Rubella.

Rosebud, Draven, Crowe, Psyche, Weir, Grady, or Krueger

LOOK

Naked form, rag-draped form, billowing robed form, form wreathed in flames, form wrapped in chains, or shapeless form.

Vaporous, shadowy, tattered, luminous, or flickering.

Piercing eyes, burning eyes, haunting eyes, veiled eyes, or no eyes.

Numbing presence, chilling presence, disturbing presence, maddening presence, or whispering presence.

STATS

Cool+0, Hard —, Hot+1, Sharp+1, Weird+3
Cool-1, Hard —, Hot+1, Sharp+2, Weird+3
Cool-1, Hard —, Hot+2, Sharp+0, Weird+3
Cool+1, Hard —, Hot-1, Sharp+1, Weird+3

You have no Hard stat and cannot use moves that require Hard.  You may not improve Hard.

MOVES

You get all the basic moves, but cannot Go Aggro or Seize By Force without additional moves. You get incorporeal and choose 2 maelstrom ghost moves:

HX

On your turn:
Choose 1, 2 or 3:
-One of them knew you before you became what you are now, tell them Hx+2
-One of them has been possessed by you before, tell them Hx+3
-One of them doesn’t believe in ghosts, tell them Hx-2

You’re a mystery to everyone else, tell them Hx-1

On the others’ turn: choose 1 or 2
- One of the characters, willingly or un-, had a hand in you becoming the way you are, ignore what number they give you and write Hx+3 instead..
- You’ve had a strange obsession over one of them. Add +1 to whatever they tell you.

MAELSTROM GHOST MOVES:

x Incorporeal: you have no physical body. You cannot use or gain the benefits of normal gear.  You suffer no harm from weapons or effects that are not specifically designed to harm incorporeal targets.  Brainer moves and gear that cause harm, or other psychic effects, can harm you. ?-harm causes 1-harm (ap) to you in addition to any other effects.

0 Spirit Travel: You can travel through the psychic maelstrom to appear anywhere it touches, roll+weird: On a 10+, choose 3. On a 7-9 choose 2:
-   you arrive where you want
-   your travel takes little time
-   you suffer no ill effects
On a miss, you suffer 1-harm (ap) and arrive somewhere else, the MC will let you know where.

0 “Let me show you the things I see”: When you open your brain you may select another character to share your experience, opening their brain with the same results as your roll.  On a hit, you may ask them a question or two and they may ask the same number of questions of you, answers must be truthful.
On a miss, you both suffer ?-harm.

0 Possession: With intimacy, you may force yourself into someone's brain, roll+weird.  On a 10+ you control their body, like a fleshy puppet, for up to 24 hours. When you make them do something against their nature, you must act under fire or take s-harm and be forced out and may not possess them again for 24 hours.
On a 7-9: You control their body for one concrete action and are then forced out and may not possess them again for 24 hours.
If the body you're controlling takes harm, you must act under fire or take s-harm and be forced out and may not possess them again for 24 hours. On a miss, their mind fights you off: you take s-harm and may not attempt to possess them again for 24 hours. Additionally; they may ask you one question, as you leave part of yourself behind, answer truthfully.

0 Terrifying: when Going Aggro, roll+weird instead of roll+hard.

0 Rejuvenation: After you have suffered harm, with time, you may attempt to reknit yourself with the stuff of the psychic maelstrom, roll+weird. On a hit, heal 1-harm.
On a 10+ pick 2, on a 7-9 pick 1:
-   you’re stabilized
-   you heal an additional 1-harm
-   you don’t reveal any of your secrets to the psychic maelstrom
On a miss, you begin to unravel.

0 Signs and Portents: [something to do with oracles or augury or some kind of talking-to-spirits stuff.]

MANIFESTATIONS

You get one manifestation, pick one:

Keening Wail, (s-harm, loud, area, close, implanted)
Balefire (1-harm, hand, area, ap, implanted)
Spectral claws (2-harm, hand, ap, implanted)
Psychokinetic Strike (2-harm, close, implanted)
Abyssal Stare (?-harm, hand, loud, implanted)
Poltergeist (move small physical objects if unseen)

ASPECT
Something keeps you anchored to the material world, something you have left undone, some facet of your previous existence that forms the kernel of your current incarnation.  When you act in a manner that goes with your aspect, take +1forward, when you act against your aspect, take -1forward.  Choose one aspect from the following:

Revenge   Love      Hatred      Jealousy   Curiosity
Greed      Anger      (trying to think of a few more)

[Still working on this… might try to take some inspiration from the Hoarder’s hoard effects… I believe a ghost should be obsessed about something.]

SPECIAL

When you and another character have sex, if the other character is a PC, they mark experience.  Additionally, hold 1.  Either character may spend this hold; if you spend it, you may take possession of the other character as if you had rolled a 10+, regardless of distance.  If they spend it, you immediately spirit travel to their location as if you’d rolled a 10+.  These effects occur even if you don’t have these moves.

IMPROVEMENT

__ get +1 cool.
__ get +1 sharp
__ get +1 hot.
__ get a new maelstrom ghost move
__ get a new maelstrom ghost move
__ gain another aspect
__ gain another manifestation
__ gain followers (detail) and fortunes
__ 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.

HARM
__ 3:00
__ 6:00
__ 9:00
__ 10:00
__ 11:00
__ 12:00

__shattered (-1cool)
__disfigured (-1hot)
__broken (-1sharp)
__fragmented (-1weird)
"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: [Playbook] The Maelstrom Ghost Mk2
« Reply #2 on: November 17, 2011, 04:03:35 PM »
Neat!

I'm not a huge fan of moves that tell you what happens on a miss.  I mean, sometimes there's a good reason, but I think that in general, you're better off leaving that out.

I wonder if spirit travel should be just a very slight mod of augury.

Are we to take it that a character of this type will not heal at all, ever unless they've taken the Rejuvenation move?

Possession is interesting.  If I'm a PC possessed by your maelstrom ghost, do I have perceptions?  Actions?  I kind of like the idea of making it easier to perform the possession but then there's a struggle for control.  Also, what if instead of the 24 hour delay, whenever you leave a person, they hold one and for every one they hold you suffer a -1 to possess them.  Or something?  I'd be interested to hear what ideas you've played with and discarded specifically related to possession.

It would be neat if the ghost's sex partner could possess them through the special move somehow.


Re: [Playbook] The Maelstrom Ghost Mk2
« Reply #3 on: November 17, 2011, 04:36:21 PM »
I like it conceptually! I'm not sure how well such characters would gel with the game.

For me, it'd be important that the playbook is a good A Ghost In The Psychic Maelstrom of Hate From Apocalypse World, as opposed to just a ghost playbook that hey you could drop into Apocalypse World.

I would like it if the Look was less generic-ghost to that effect. Maybe they could look kinda cenobitey? Maybe a Look could be covered in some sickening liquid? Be covered in piercings? Have their skin turned to leather? Lady Gaga touches?

I like the Hardless idea! It seems like the most sensical way to fuck with ghosts would be A) Brainers and B) Augury.

What is communication with ghosts like, you figure? Can they talk normally? Is it largely mediated by players Opening Their Brain? Is this for the group to decide?

You might want to note that incorporeal means that they can't be healed in the standard way. Would the Angel's weird healing move work?

I like the idea of ghosts being able to Help/Interfere with people Opening Their Brain as a part of their being. Maybe you could add that to "Let me show you"?

I assume Terrifying is mostly equivalent to the Brainer's Direct Brain Whisper? It does harm with their mind, and doesn't require much from the situation? Perhaps it would be good to note that.

My philosophy about Motivation-y stuff for characters like Aspects is that they should be less "Be better when following your motivation" and more "Here are specific outcomes that will occur depending on what happens to a thing you are responsible for" (Think Hardholder, Hocus, Hoarder) - Maybe get rid of Rejuvenation and tie Ghostly healing to taking care of your business? Maybe have neglecting your business lead to psi-harm esque uncontrolled rampages?

I would be very entertained if you stole moves from Murderous Ghosts.
« Last Edit: November 17, 2011, 04:40:55 PM by evilseanbot »

Re: [Playbook] The Maelstrom Ghost Mk2
« Reply #4 on: November 19, 2011, 12:51:02 PM »
Does having a class-specific weird debility work? Like, what if you switch playbooks? Maybe if you switch playbooks, your weird becomes your hard or something, and the debility remains.

Or, heck, it would even make sense if you didn't have the switch playbooks option with this playbook! And you can only switch TO it by dying.

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Ariel

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Re: [Playbook] The Maelstrom Ghost Mk2
« Reply #5 on: November 19, 2011, 01:10:24 PM »
I think you've got really cool idea here.

I think no hard stat and no body is a terrible idea.

I can expand on it if you want but basically its that it's gonna be really really clunky in play.

What you should be doing is like an alter brainer: possession, scrying, other maelstrom stuff.

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Chroma

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Re: [Playbook] The Maelstrom Ghost Mk2
« Reply #6 on: November 19, 2011, 01:39:13 PM »
I think no hard stat and no body is a terrible idea.

I can expand on it if you want but basically its that it's gonna be really really clunky in play.

I'd love for your to expand (and expound?) on this! 

I'll be responding in more detail to other stuff brought up soon.
"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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Ariel

  • 330
Re: [Playbook] The Maelstrom Ghost Mk2
« Reply #7 on: November 19, 2011, 03:20:57 PM »
It makes violence towards the character meaningless unless it's PvP with a Brainer or like, you're coming up with Fronts and Custom Moves just for that playbook which is a hassle.

The character is going to be literally out of the action a lot of the time. Most All of the important scarcity in the setting becomes meaningless or minor in play.

Okay so move-by-move break down:

Quote
x Incorporeal: you have no physical body. You cannot use or gain the benefits of normal gear.  You suffer no harm from weapons or effects that are not specifically designed to harm incorporeal targets.  Brainer moves and gear that cause harm, or other psychic effects, can harm you. ?-harm causes 1-harm (ap) to you in addition to any other effects.

Basically this says that large and fundamental parts of the game don't apply to your character. Not only that, but you're a ghost now instead of a flesh and blood human being, unlike the other human characters. These two things are bad things in terms of play. All of sudden there this exceptional character that doesn't really have a stake in making the world a better place or is implicated in the scarcities.

Quote
0 Spirit Travel: You can travel through the psychic maelstrom to appear anywhere it touches, roll+weird: On a 10+, choose 3. On a 7-9 choose 2:
-   you arrive where you want
-   your travel takes little time
-   you suffer no ill effects
On a miss, you suffer 1-harm (ap) and arrive somewhere else, the MC will let you know where.

This fine-ish, a little boring but okay. How is this different than Saying "I walk to the Hardhold" and then maybe having to roll Act Under Fire?

Quote
0 “Let me show you the things I see”: When you open your brain you may select another character to share your experience, opening their brain with the same results as your roll.  On a hit, you may ask them a question or two and they may ask the same number of questions of you, answers must be truthful.
On a miss, you both suffer ?-harm.

Why is this better than just telling the character about something? Why is this move important? Opening you brain to others is cool idea, but how is it different from Deep Brain Scan or In-Brain Puppet Strings? I like this move but it needs a serious rewrite.

Quote
0 Possession: With intimacy, you may force yourself into someone's brain, roll+weird.  On a 10+ you control their body, like a fleshy puppet, for up to 24 hours. When you make them do something against their nature, you must act under fire or take s-harm and be forced out and may not possess them again for 24 hours.
On a 7-9: You control their body for one concrete action and are then forced out and may not possess them again for 24 hours.
If the body you're controlling takes harm, you must act under fire or take s-harm and be forced out and may not possess them again for 24 hours. On a miss, their mind fights you off: you take s-harm and may not attempt to possess them again for 24 hours. Additionally; they may ask you one question, as you leave part of yourself behind, answer truthfully.

This move is the hot one. It doesn't really work as written but it's a start. Too much going on. Look at the other moves in the Brainer playbook, what does this move look like in play and in the fiction.

Quote
0 Terrifying: when Going Aggro, roll+weird instead of roll+hard.

Sure okay but like you can only really Go Aggro is if the target can't fight back effectively which gonna always be the case because no one can deal harm to you unless the Ghostbusters show up. And what happens when they do show up? No Seize? If they can fight back it's not Go Aggro anymore. So, the Ghost can just wander around murdering people with his claws. Seriously, the character becomes this walking-thru-walls, effectively invulnerable, murder hobo.

Quote
0 Rejuvenation: After you have suffered harm, with time, you may attempt to reknit yourself with the stuff of the psychic maelstrom, roll+weird. On a hit, heal 1-harm.
On a 10+ pick 2, on a 7-9 pick 1:
-   you’re stabilized
-   you heal an additional 1-harm
-   you don’t reveal any of your secrets to the psychic maelstrom
On a miss, you begin to unravel.

Boring and makes the character even more autonomous invulnerable murder hobo. You want moves that make the characters live more and not less boring. I don't like it when the PCs take the Angel playbook because it makes healing harm less interesting for me because I can't make them go to NPCs for healing.
« Last Edit: November 19, 2011, 04:24:41 PM by Nathan Orlando Wilson »

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Ariel

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Re: [Playbook] The Maelstrom Ghost Mk2
« Reply #8 on: November 19, 2011, 08:27:00 PM »
So, after all that criticism, figured I'd be more constructive and rewrite it.

And so:

THE HEARTDRIFT

STATS
Cool+2 Hard-2 Hot=0 Sharp=0 Weird+2
Cool+1 Hard=0 Hot-1 Sharp+2 Weird+1
Cool+1 Hard-1 Hot+1 Sharp=0 Weird+2
Cool-1 Hard=0 Hot+2 Sharp-1 Weird+2

MOVES

X Spooked:
You’ve awoken in a body that isn’t the one you remember and as such, you’re tenuous and loosely bound.
With time, intimacy and an empty or willing vessel, you can change bodies, roll+cool.
On a 10+, pick 3. On a 7-9, pick 1.
+ Your soul’s not exposed to the world’s psychic maelstrom.
+ It doesn’t deal 2-harm ap area messy.
+ No one walks in on you.

0 Oracular:
When you scry, roll+weird.
On a hit, pick 1: speak of the forgotten past, of the secret present, of the ungiven future, or of the world’s psychic maelstrom.
On a 10+, anyone who listens to these revelations takes +1forward.
The MC may ask you: how is that so? If you don’t have a good answer, talk about something different instead.
If it involves a PC, they may either contradict or modify your answer, in part or in full.

0 Just a Loaner:
When you make the harm move, take -3.

0 Half-in, Half-out:
+1weird.

0 Casper:
You may help or interfere despite distances.

0 You wanna see the real me?:
To you, the world’s psychic maelstrom counts as both as a person and a situation.

0 Drift:
When you drift through the world’s psychic maelstrom, roll+weird.
On a hit, you may reemerge anywhere connected to it.
On a 7-9, the MC’ll pick one:
+ The maelstrom opens you right up, it’ll ask you a question or two.
+ When you exit, any witnesses take psi-harm.
+ You forget a major or important detail about yourself.

As for the Aspects, some like a Haunt would work: a thing, person or place that they’re obsessed with. It shouldn’t give them any +’s or any benefits really. Being a ghost is already a big perk mechanically.

Re: [Playbook] The Maelstrom Ghost Mk2
« Reply #9 on: November 19, 2011, 11:32:47 PM »
Nathan, I'm curious if you'd apply your criticisms of this playbook to the Gunlugger as well at a lesser extent - Compared to the Hardholder, the Gunlugger is much more of an invulnerable murder hobo, even if its not as invulnerable or hobo as the Maelstrom Ghost.

Conversly, I don't think the added strain to threats that the Ghost would generate is all the significant. Ideally, they'd have people and things they care about that you could threaten. Otherwise, its not that different than the sort of added creative challenge created by having PCs with huge armor or who live in different holds.

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Ariel

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Re: [Playbook] The Maelstrom Ghost Mk2
« Reply #10 on: November 19, 2011, 11:49:06 PM »
I mean invulnerable in the sense of all the weapons that the other PCs can't hurt the Ghost at all. With the Gunlugger, at least it's possible. Moreover, at least the player is saying "I want to kill people with guns" when they take the Gunlugger. The Ghost isn't suppose to fill that role and yet they do it better than the playbooks that should.

I mean, I was recently in a PvP fight with between a Faceless with Rasputin, NOT TO BE FUCKED WITH, and Bloodcrazed and a fucking Maestro D' with Devil with Blade and the Maestro D' almost killed the Faceless. When you Seize, everyone takes harm - sure, the Gunlugger a little less but maybe not if they're going up against a large armored gang.

The Ghost can't participate meaningfully in combat without Hard and ignore guns and knives. So, there's no comparison really.

Re: [Playbook] The Maelstrom Ghost Mk2
« Reply #11 on: November 20, 2011, 12:35:45 AM »
I don't think the Ghost as written would be better at murder than the Gunlugger. For one thing, as written they only have access to Going Aggro, meaning that they don't straight up and kill a dude like a Gunlugger could, instead they force people to do things or else get all messed up from Ghost powers.

If I was playing a Hardholder and there was a big gang headed at me, a Gunlugger between them would probably be great. A ghost would be less useful in that situation.

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Ariel

  • 330
Re: [Playbook] The Maelstrom Ghost Mk2
« Reply #12 on: November 20, 2011, 01:06:06 AM »
Oh, sure. But like 2-harm ap fells NPCs if they suck it up.

That big gang is my gang: I'm the Hardholder.

The fact that you don't get all the basic moves and stats is seriously problematic and it's not really addressed properly.

Re: [Playbook] The Maelstrom Ghost Mk2
« Reply #13 on: November 21, 2011, 10:37:36 AM »
Nathan,

That rewrite is pretty hot!

But I really like some of the original moves, too.

I'm with Nathan, though: this playbook, as written, is problematic.