breaking old habits

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breaking old habits
« on: April 12, 2012, 03:10:20 PM »
So i've played Apocalypse World before, as a player. Even had two characters going at once. I loved it. I read the rules, figured I understood them enough to start running my own game with a different group.
But i'm also an RPG veteran who is far more used to the "kill badguys, take their stuff" style of play that so thoroughly permeates the industry. As a player, i can break out of that mold. In fact AW was really the first time i've been able to taste some fresh blood in a long time.
The game I've started to run has been going well... sort of... I suppose. I think I am having some trouble getting my players into the AW style of play, and it is in turn making me revert to the old way I used to run games.
And that's not really working for me. Yesterday we had a session where the Gunlugger and the Operator were heading out to investigate the source of "demons" fucking around with the holding. And by "investigate" of course I mean, "Blow them all up."
The players all saw this as "the combat session" or "the dungeon crawl" or "the boss battle", whichever term you want. So they all jumped aboard, even with no real reason to do so other than "let's kill badguys and take their stuff".
Which is not necessarily the problem. I did remember to ask them enough questions to respond to their temporary total abandonment of the holding with some fuckery for later.
It's just that the mood of the game suddenly changed. And I changed with it. They busted in the old chapel where the demons and their followers were engaging in a blood orgy. The Gunlugger, Operator, Angel, and Brainer proceeded to attack the cult leader while the Hardholder and Maestro'D tried to get the demons to explain why they were acting like demons.
We went around and everyone rolled Sieze By Force over and over again, which resulted in trading blows with the cult leader. It was, in essence, a D&D-style boss battle.
The problem was, it was so wretchedly boring to run. And the players got tired of Siezing by Force. "do massive damage, take little damage, impress the enemy.", all day. I had non-combat characters throwing themselves into a fight with little incentive and few rewards. I feel like, as the MC, i fucked this one up, but i'm not sure what i'm doing wrong.
As if that's not enough, things are escalating next session when more demons arrive. But I don't want to run an extended, pitched battle that takes forever. With initiative rolls and taking turns and all that shit.

I'm looking to break those old habits and run AW the way it is meant to be run. Or should I swallow my pride and give the players what they want? Advice?
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Re: breaking old habits
« Reply #1 on: April 13, 2012, 11:11:33 AM »
Hey Niles Kane
I'm pretty new to Mc'ing myself...I do have the advantage of being a AW player for a while now, and my veteran MC (Chroma) is a player and he helps me out.

Anyhoo...

Main point is that I would look at how you set up the NPCs...doesn't seem like they were in the Cross-hairs...

In my Hack, the Hard-Holder + gang along with the Gun-Lugger attacked another fortified settlement. The hard-holder + gang led the attack, the Lugger aided the rolls. Surprise attack (much like your situation) Go Agro or perhaps even a simple inflict harm if you feel its appropriate. Then battle begins in earnest>>> Seize by force roll(s). Perhaps even the expanded battle rules now

2 moves was all it took for us, some battles/situations obviously can take more

For the seduce.manip> ask tons of questions... example "you see the masters right hand man Draegon... he looks like he wants to help kill his master...what do you do?" Stuff like that can really make the game interesting

Another idea, don't forget to make a custom move(s) for the NCP's. Chroma had a good one where ranged attacks wouldn't effect a particular NPC! the players quickly worked around it... was a challenge, but didnt bog the game down.

Hope that helps a bit

Re: breaking old habits
« Reply #2 on: April 13, 2012, 03:32:41 PM »

Main point is that I would look at how you set up the NPCs...doesn't seem like they were in the Cross-hairs...
It does kind of feel that way now that you mention it. I'm walking a fine line here between really Looking Through Cross-Hairs and creating NPCs without any agency. They have to be a real threat, right? And monstrous NPCs (whatever their origin) should be more threatening than mundanes, right?
Falling in love with my monsters is one of those old habits i'm trying to break.

breaking out the peripheral battle moves might have been a better idea. I've never used them or seen them used so I'm a little unclear how that all works. BUt i guess there's only one way to find out.

Quote
Another idea, don't forget to make a custom move(s) for the NCP's. Chroma had a good one where ranged attacks wouldn't effect a particular NPC! the players quickly worked around it... was a challenge, but didnt bog the game down.

Yes, they have an "im really terrifying in a totally unnatural way" custom move, and the cult leader had an "assault your brain with psychotronic nightmare imagery" custom move. Those worked out brilliantly. :)

thanks for the response
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Re: breaking old habits
« Reply #3 on: May 15, 2012, 02:19:32 PM »
I've been using the optional battle moves for things like this and they've worked well.
Plus it helps to remember to look at all the NPCs through crosshairs.
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Re: breaking old habits
« Reply #4 on: May 29, 2012, 03:35:24 PM »
it might also help to remember that you, as MC, are not there to challenge people or anything. like it says in the rulebook, if you wanted to you could just have a cave-in cause them all 10-harm, and that'd be that.

i try to MC like i'm just there to remind the PCs of what they can already see - the dice and i tell the players what happens when they move around and do stuff in the world, but i don't owe the players a plot or a story or anything.

there's something in the Threats and Fronts rules about not having actual monsters - that is, even Grotesques are fundamentally people, and i worry that giving people magic, at-will powers is only going to make them feel like not-people.
giving them ritual powers, or anything that requires time and a little peace and quiet to accomplish, is no problem at all, i've found. powers that require multiple NPCs' involvement to activate are also good, as they make them collectively scary or fearsome without making them too un-people-y as individuals.

Re: breaking old habits
« Reply #5 on: May 31, 2012, 04:15:18 PM »
And that's not really working for me. Yesterday we had a session where the Gunlugger and the Operator were heading out to investigate the source of "demons" fucking around with the holding. And by "investigate" of course I mean, "Blow them all up."

What are the demons?  Are they actually demons, or are they people who dress as demons? If they're people who dress up as demons, why do they dress up as demons?  And what do they want?

Re: breaking old habits
« Reply #6 on: January 22, 2013, 03:33:52 PM »
i haven't touched the AW forums in a while, but i wanted to come back to this topic because the question still bugs me after re-reading it.

What are the demons?  Are they actually demons, or are they people who dress as demons? If they're people who dress up as demons, why do they dress up as demons?  And what do they want?

Well, they were Fictionally "demons", in that, they were not mortal beings. They were like physical manifestations of the psychic maelstrom.
Mechanically, they were about equal to some wild dogs or something.

I think my problem was calling them demons in the first place. I think it sent the wrong message to the players. AW is primarily about social interaction, and I think I gave them the impression that it was now time to team up to battle all the evils of the world. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but it's not really what i was hoping for.

thanks everybody for the replies.
I think i'm going to make a hack with a Splatterhouse vibe. I think that will get me what I am going for.
Check out my new book of apocalyptic fiction!
http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/taylorwhiteshowPreview=true

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-t-

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Re: breaking old habits
« Reply #7 on: March 04, 2013, 05:29:52 AM »
For me it helps discussing with your tribe of gamers what kind of game you want, before you start it.

There will probably be several different answers for this and it might take a while to agree upon something.

Another thing that helps me is to have an idea of a game, present it to the players and invite them to join in.

Re: breaking old habits
« Reply #8 on: March 05, 2013, 02:17:51 PM »
For me it helps discussing with your tribe of gamers what kind of game you want, before you start it.

There will probably be several different answers for this and it might take a while to agree upon something.

Another thing that helps me is to have an idea of a game, present it to the players and invite them to join in.
i read somewhere else on this site about MCing the game according to the playbooks the characters choose and the moves they take. I think this group was after violence. the demons were a convenient outlet for that impulse.
maybe my NPCs were weak. maybe i like running monsters better. that's kind of why i'm doing a hack, so i can try some new things out as an MC.

i think next time i try to run standard AW, which i will do again, i'll discuss with the players beforehand what everyone wants to really do in the game. Does everyone want to run gigs and live simple? who wants to fight monsters or other people? who wants to fuck a lot? who wants to explore the world? And then we'll just do all of it.
Check out my new book of apocalyptic fiction!
http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/taylorwhiteshowPreview=true