Sniper

  • 17 Replies
  • 9321 Views
Sniper
« on: February 21, 2012, 09:30:53 PM »
Hey all, wanted to get some opinions on how I handled an action by a player. He is a Gunlugger with a silenced sniper rifle (AP ammo).

He's walking the road to a town called Riches when he hears a (medium) chopper gang coming. His pastime is murdering people so he decides to have a little sport. He finds a good hiding place on the side of the road (wearing his Ghillie suit) and starts sniping them.

He wants to try to stay hidden which seems to make sense to me.

So I had him Go Aggro to deal the first damage. Then, Act Under Fire to stay hidden as the gang tries to find where the shots are coming from. If he can stay hidden, he can Go Aggro again without them being able to find him and harm him. Rinse and repeat.

How would you have handled this?

Re: Sniper
« Reply #1 on: February 21, 2012, 10:08:31 PM »
"You shoot like five of them before they work out where you are and start coming for you. What do you do?"

Re: Sniper
« Reply #2 on: February 22, 2012, 12:39:20 AM »
I'd have it be all acting under fire not to be seen.

If he wants to stone cold murder passersby, he can just do that.

I mean, make everyone human--I'd have some of the gang try to tend to the wounded and maybe escape with them. Surely they just break and run if this lasts more than a round without them locating him.

Does he have something he wants to get out of this, or is he just killing for sport?

Re: Sniper
« Reply #3 on: February 22, 2012, 10:53:47 AM »
What's the gunlugger's name?

Remember the MC's agenda, principles, and moves.  Specifically in this case make Apocalypse World seem real, make your move, but misdirect, look through crosshairs, be a fan of the players' characters, and inflict harm (as established).

To make Apocalypse World seem real, and because I'm a fan, I would allow the ghillie-suited-gunlugger to hide, no sweat.  He looks through the scope, lines 'em up, and pulls the trigger.  As MC I'd make the inflict harm (as established) move on the biker, while misdirecting its source.  I mean, the bullet came from the sniper rifle, not the MC right?

After a vivid description of what the bullet actually does to the unfortunate biker, he hits the broken pavement and skids for a hundred feet.  His bike does a 50 mile per hour cartwheel and knocks down a few more bikers before hitting the road and sliding on a shower of white hot sparks (looking through crosshairs, and leaving my bloody fingerprints).  I imagine that after this debacle the opportunity for Ghillie to take another safe, clean shot is over.  While the bikers are running around trying figure out what the hell just happened and to aid their fallen comrades I'd ask the 'lugger "What do you do?"  Does he take another shot?  He's still in a position of tactical superiority, so I'd ask him to act under fire, the fire being 'do you give away your position?'.  Does he try to get out of there before he's discovered?  Either fuck this shit (if he has that move) or act under fire.

I don't see go aggro as the best way of dealing with what a sniper does, I see it as an intimidation move more than anything.  "…using violence or the threat of violence to control somebody's behavior, without (or before) fighting."  Of course that's open to interpretation and I could be wrong, but I wouldn't use it in a situation like this.   Seize by force is problematic here for me too.  After the initial shot I would rely heavily on act under fire for this guy, at least until the situation changes.  This is where battle-hardened and insano like Drano would really come in handy for him.  I'll bet he has at least one of those moves already, since his pastime is murdering people.

Re: Sniper
« Reply #4 on: February 22, 2012, 02:09:22 PM »
I don't see go aggro as the best way of dealing with what a sniper does, I see it as an intimidation move more than anything.  "…using violence or the threat of violence to control somebody's behavior, without (or before) fighting."  Of course that's open to interpretation and I could be wrong, but I wouldn't use it in a situation like this.

My current MC and I disagree on this topic as well. My stance is that Going Aggro is totally used for sniping someone or sneaking up behind them and attacking from stealth. These examples are very specifically used in the description and example of the move. After the initial attack then that's where this application would end. Going Aggro from that point onwards is strictly the intimidation/manipulation side of the move.

Just my two cents.

*

Arvid

  • 262
Re: Sniper
« Reply #5 on: February 22, 2012, 04:10:55 PM »
I don't see go aggro as the best way of dealing with what a sniper does, I see it as an intimidation move more than anything.  "…using violence or the threat of violence to control somebody's behavior, without (or before) fighting."  Of course that's open to interpretation and I could be wrong, but I wouldn't use it in a situation like this.

My current MC and I disagree on this topic as well. My stance is that Going Aggro is totally used for sniping someone or sneaking up behind them and attacking from stealth. These examples are very specifically used in the description and example of the move. After the initial attack then that's where this application would end. Going Aggro from that point onwards is strictly the intimidation/manipulation side of the move.

Just my two cents.

I feel there is merit to using Go aggro in a situation like this is when there is a chance for
1) Something to go wrong (miss)
2) The target might have a chance to barricade themselves in or get the hell out of your way, or one of the other 7-9 options

Remember, the target can't pick a choice that doesn't make sense in the fiction. In this case force your hand and cave in means the same thing, and the 7-9 options back off slowly, give you something or tell you something doesn't make much sense.

Re: Sniper
« Reply #6 on: February 22, 2012, 04:43:20 PM »
i would let him kill a few of them and then decide how their deaths fucks up the status quo.

"Oh shit that one looked like a dude but it was a girl. Not just any girl, but the daughter of Vega the Terrible, the biggest gangster in the region. What do you do?"
Check out my new book of apocalyptic fiction!
http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/taylorwhiteshowPreview=true

Re: Sniper
« Reply #7 on: February 22, 2012, 08:53:10 PM »
Squinting pretty hard at the implication that there is some special prohibition against killing women in the post-apocalypse, but +1 to the idea of making sure whoever he kills turns out to be important. Like Vincent says in the text, you make PC success interesting by making sure it has consequences, not by making it difficult to achieve; just because the Gunlugger sees it as 'having some fun' doesn't mean it isn't going to change the world.

As for the moves, I think Chris has the right general idea. Go Aggro can be appropriate for sniping or attacking from stealth, but in this situation it doesn't sound like the PC is trying to kill anyone in particular -- and the first shot at the very least seems like a freebie, unless the bikers have some reason to expect a violent long-range attack. If he's trying to take out the bike gang leader or something, Go Aggro would be appropriate -- but if all he is trying to do is go all watchtower-murderer on anyone he can, Acting Under Fire to avoid being spotted seems more important than whether he manages to shoot any individual person.
« Last Edit: February 23, 2012, 12:43:58 AM by Daniel Wood »

*

DannyK

  • 157
Re: Sniper
« Reply #8 on: February 22, 2012, 09:51:09 PM »
Sniping at random passersby from hiding is pretty effective in the real world, IMO, when deranged folks do it. No reason it shouldn't work in Apocalypse World, too. I try not to keep my guys from doing their thing when I MC the game: the Brainer's going to screw with people's heads, sometimes fatally; the Gunlugger is going to shoot people in valuable body parts; the Hardholder is going to do terrible things out of expedience.  It's baked into the game, trying to keep them from doing stuff just messes it up, IMHO. 

But letting consequences flow is totally appropriate. Don't forget that there are lots of ways for things to come around in AW, too.  Besides the obvious thing of having him kill somebody he didn't want to have killed, the Gunlugger can boast about it later or have a Brainer read his thoughts, the biker gang can turn into a serious threat, the ghosts of the murdered bikers can stalk him through the Maelstrom... lots of possibilities.   

Re: Sniper
« Reply #9 on: February 27, 2012, 04:34:11 PM »
Squinting pretty hard at the implication that there is some special prohibition against killing women in the post-apocalypse,

just a little bit of flavor to let the player know he done goof'd. I could just as easily say "that guy looked like a mutant but he just had a rubber mask" or "he wasn't really an alien, he just had a horrible skin disease" or "he wasn't really a dwarf, he was a child" that sort of thing.

the ghosts of the murdered bikers can stalk him through the Maelstrom   
this one
Check out my new book of apocalyptic fiction!
http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/taylorwhiteshowPreview=true

Re: Sniper
« Reply #10 on: February 27, 2012, 06:13:35 PM »
I'm pretty sure the instinct to punish the player for playing a psychopath is not one supported by the system. You're supposed to be a fan, not a moral authority.

He didn't "goof". You don't need to show him that he made a mistake--because he didn't.

In a sparsely populated anarchy, murdering passersby for sport is just another thing you can do.

Your only responsibility is to have people behave realistically and make his life not boring. That doesn't mean changing the situation with 'gotcha' type traps.

Re: Sniper
« Reply #11 on: February 27, 2012, 07:16:03 PM »
Agreed. You don't have to make sure something goes bad every time the sniper decides to get a little human target practice. On the other hand, sooner or later he's going to randomly shoot someone who has friends. If a bike squad are all found dead with one big bullet hole each, it won't be hard to look for the one guy in the whole wasteland who's got a humongous sniper rifle. Its not a gotcha situation, just reasonable consequences.

Re: Sniper
« Reply #12 on: February 27, 2012, 08:50:25 PM »
I'm pretty sure the instinct to punish the player for playing a psychopath is not one supported by the system. You're supposed to be a fan, not a moral authority.

He didn't "goof". You don't need to show him that he made a mistake--because he didn't.

In a sparsely populated anarchy, murdering passersby for sport is just another thing you can do.

Your only responsibility is to have people behave realistically and make his life not boring. That doesn't mean changing the situation with 'gotcha' type traps.

you mistake my intentions with that premise. I didn't suggest that outcome to punish the character, merely to drive the story forward.

for instance, if the sniper in question killed someone, im not going to say "okay, you kill a bunch of random dudes and go home for a chicken dinner" because that's boring and lame. Even if it is just another thing he can do. I'm also not going to have treasures spill forth from the bikers' gaping wounds like final fantasy. The player made a move and I made the hardest move I can in response. This, in the short term, will lead to fuckery, of course. But It could also lead to greater rewards as the character deals with the fallout from this incident.
in any case, the story moves forward.
Check out my new book of apocalyptic fiction!
http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/taylorwhiteshowPreview=true

Re: Sniper
« Reply #13 on: February 28, 2012, 12:06:59 AM »
I was kinda daydreaming about this scenario.

Half a chopper gang returns to the hold, talking about how they got mowed down by an invisible gunman on the road.

On the side of another road to the hold, someone finds a car with corpses in the driver and passenger seat, one shot for each through the windshield.

Rumors spread. Someone coins a cool, scary nickname for the invisible gunman. People stop traveling to and from the hold.

The hardholder sends out five of her best to go hunt this guy down. Four of them are found dead. One returns to the hold with his tongue burned out and thumbs shot off.

A man shows up in town, calls himself the invisible gunman. Snaps the necks of the two gang members who try to arrest him. Demands to speak to the hardholder. Makes a deal: he'll stop hunting on the roads by her place if she gives him, I dunno, 15 barter. She caves.

When you hear about this, Gunlugger, what do you do?

Re: Sniper
« Reply #14 on: February 28, 2012, 03:26:16 PM »
I know what my Gunlugger would do. His name is Bucktooth.
He'd go to the Hardholder to make a deal. For 7 barter and some of the Hardolder's gang as backup, Bucktooth will get rid of this guy. Once he gets that, he makes a deal with the Savvyhead to build him a flying spy drone or a bunch of remote control cars with cameras on them. Or psychic detection device. Or something like that. Something that can show Bucktooth where the Invisible Gunman is. Spy on him for a while, see what he does and plan a strategy for catching this guy unaware. Bucktooth only wants to have to put one bullet in him. That will make him famous.
If there's barter left after building the spy device, make a deal with someone (the Driver, Chopper, or Skinner) to use either as bait or a distraction or (if there is a Faceless or Touchstone around) as murder buddies. If this guy is something weird like a psychic superman or demon and fucks with him hard, then Bucktooth still has a gang as backup.
Everyone gets paid, Bucktooth becomes the most respected and feared gunslinger in the hold, and business can resume.
Go Bucktooth.
Check out my new book of apocalyptic fiction!
http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/taylorwhiteshowPreview=true