The Brainer is a Dog, of the four-legged variety

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NPC

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The Brainer is a Dog, of the four-legged variety
« on: February 23, 2012, 08:44:59 PM »
We're going to be starting a brand new game this weekend, and a friend of mine has humorously voiced the idea to play a Brainer... that is actually a mutt dog.

Aside from the weirdness that could come out of the Sex Move (ahem), I'm not entirely certain that this is a bad idea. The inspiration is obviously A Boy and His Dog, but instead of playing the Boy (as all the search results I found here focus upon), he wants to play a masterless Dog. Or maybe even the psychic dog companion of another character. Not sure.

Anyway, what are your thoughts on this? Given some consideration, do you see this as a possibly interesting character concept?

Re: The Brainer is a Dog, of the four-legged variety
« Reply #1 on: February 23, 2012, 09:05:18 PM »
Sure, if that's what you guys want to do. I'd make sure everyone was really, truly on board though. In the wrong hands, that kind of thing leads easily to silliness.

How would they inflict harm? Just through biting? They wouldn't be able to inflict as much harm as everyone else. Gunfights are right out. What if they want to take the advancement and become a different playbook? What if they become a driver? What are you going to do about the sex move? Part of the fun of being a brainer, I think, is finding ways to trick people into fucking you. But I guess if they're good without that, then sure. I guess it could still happen anyway.

I mean, as long as you've thought really hard about what this really entails and what the player might be missing, not being a human being, then go for it.

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DannyK

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Re: The Brainer is a Dog, of the four-legged variety
« Reply #2 on: February 23, 2012, 10:42:18 PM »
I think a Moreau-style Dogman born of science gone mad might work better -- more tragic, hands, cool backstory.  But really, why not?  We've already got a bizarre nonhuman playbook in canon.  

Another possibility is A Dog and His Boy -- the dog character gets a one-man crew, namely a kid who think he's the dog's owner.  Like any other AW NPC, the Boy (or Girl) gets to become a Threat, be seen through crosshairs, do stupid shit and get the Dog in trouble, etc. etc.  Or just having him be the Scooby Do to another player's Shaggy.

Re: The Brainer is a Dog, of the four-legged variety
« Reply #3 on: February 24, 2012, 01:02:18 AM »
I'm supposedly running the above game, and I'm new to Apocalypse World. I appreciate the responses :P   Most games have balances.  Sure the dog may not be able to wield a gun, but that drawback would be balanced out by abilities a human wouldn't have, right? And I could always make the sex moves apply to other animals. 

I would also like to add some kind of feral person to the game, whether a feral child or an adult. I ran another game where one of my players played a feral teenager and a wolfpack.... the psychic dog could have a pet human. 

Re: The Brainer is a Dog, of the four-legged variety
« Reply #4 on: February 24, 2012, 02:11:21 AM »
I've toyed with the idea of a feral boy and a wolfpack type character. I tried to fit it into The Chopper, but the "bike" mechanics don't translate well. A Hardholder that is a Tarzan type character might work better, where your gang really are "a pack of fucking hyenas". Your "souls" would be the other animals. This might work.

Re: The Brainer is a Dog, of the four-legged variety
« Reply #5 on: February 24, 2012, 02:24:03 AM »
Yeah, there is a limited edtition feral kid character but I'm not gonna add those until I'm comfortable with the game. 

Re: The Brainer is a Dog, of the four-legged variety
« Reply #6 on: February 24, 2012, 03:11:33 AM »
Most games have balances.  Sure the dog may not be able to wield a gun, but that drawback would be balanced out by abilities a human wouldn't have, right? And I could always make the sex moves apply to other animals. 

I wouldn't worry about things in terms of balancing, just in terms of what a psychic dog can or cannot do in the world. Do psychic dogs talk? Do they develop telepathic/empathic bonds with their owners? Etc. Lots of questions to explore during play -- and asking those questions will help get everyone on the same page about limitations & abilities. But certainly I'd expect the dog to be able to Read a Person or a Situation in some novel, non-human ways.

I do think I would replace the sex move, though. The Brainer sex move as applied to animals just seems kind of shrug-worthy -- unless you are going to introduce lots of other sentient dogs, 'how are your mind and soul vulnerable' is just not really something I want to ask a shnauzer. Then again maybe you and your players feel differently. In any case I wouldn't change the content of the move beyond its triggering situation -- instead of sex, find some other, similarly-intimate or canine-iconic situation that will allow the psychic dog 'free' access to someone's mind.

I like the idea of the dog having an NPC companion, far moreso than putting a PC in the same role. I'd suggest offering the Dog-Brainer a few lists of traits to pick from for her adopted human, much like a Driver decks out his car or a Hocus his followers -- just to help build up the character, mind you, not for some mechanical benefit.

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DWeird

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Re: The Brainer is a Dog, of the four-legged variety
« Reply #7 on: February 24, 2012, 03:24:01 AM »
Just go with it.

I played a dog once in an AW game, a Battlebabe. It's not like just because most people imagine those to be beautiful and seductive that that's how you have to play any character (dog or not). It's the Apocalypse.  Why not psychic dogs that watch you sleep?

Just make sure the player is aware of the logistical limitations - can't pick stuff up, can't really communicate worth a damn. When you're a dog, you're a dog.

Re: The Brainer is a Dog, of the four-legged variety
« Reply #8 on: February 24, 2012, 04:40:27 AM »
Change the sex move to - "When you are taken in and accepted as part of the family"

Re: The Brainer is a Dog, of the four-legged variety
« Reply #9 on: February 24, 2012, 08:26:46 AM »
Custom Move: When you play a dog someone hooking you up with dog stuff because you're cute and adorable counts as having sex with them. This could be a meal, a chew toy, taking you for walkies or whatever.

Re: The Brainer is a Dog, of the four-legged variety
« Reply #10 on: February 24, 2012, 03:12:49 PM »

Yeah, I think 'taken in and accepted as part of the family' is maybe a bit too much, compared with just fucking somebody -- I like the 'whenever someone treats you as though you were a pet' angle, especially if it encourages the Brainer to pretend to be a normal dog every once in awhile.

Re: The Brainer is a Dog, of the four-legged variety
« Reply #11 on: February 25, 2012, 01:04:13 PM »
Sex moves are operative.

When someone feeds you and gives you shelter and talks to you as you were a person...

Re: The Brainer is a Dog, of the four-legged variety
« Reply #12 on: February 25, 2012, 07:53:50 PM »
Custom Move: When you play a dog someone hooking you up with dog stuff because you're cute and adorable counts as having sex with them. This could be a meal, a chew toy, taking you for walkies or whatever.

I love this idea, it opens up all kinds of possibilities.  You could do the same for a child character.  I think the player changed his mind though, so i don't think I'm gonna have either a feral child or a psychic dog as PC's in this game.  Oh well. 

'how are your mind and soul vulnerable' is just not really something I want to ask a shnauzer.

I would totally ask this question of a psychic shnauzer. :P

Re: The Brainer is a Dog, of the four-legged variety
« Reply #13 on: February 25, 2012, 08:21:21 PM »
'how are your mind and soul vulnerable' is just not really something I want to ask a shnauzer.

I would totally ask this question of a psychic shnauzer. :P

Well yeah, that was my point: if there are other psychic dogs in the setting, then you can keep the sex move as it is, but if all the other dogs the Brainer-Dog is likely to have sex with are just, like... dog-dogs... that sex move probably isn't going to get much play.

Re: The Brainer is a Dog, of the four-legged variety
« Reply #14 on: February 26, 2012, 03:38:50 AM »
Custom Move: When you play a dog someone hooking you up with dog stuff because you're cute and adorable counts as having sex with them. This could be a meal, a chew toy, taking you for walkies or whatever.

Obvious net result, the Battlebabe in put in charge of walking the Brainer-dog. This strikes me as one of those things that'd end up being humorous to the players while still being serious withing the game world.