Maestro D's Gang

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Bret

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Re: Maestro D's Gang
« Reply #30 on: August 12, 2010, 02:03:59 PM »
If there's a leader or not a leader you're going aggro on the gang including them. A leader can't cancel out your successful roll because they were a victim to it also.
Tupacalypse World

Re: Maestro D's Gang
« Reply #31 on: August 12, 2010, 02:23:44 PM »
Something I think that's being lost in the trees:

  • Apocalypse World's rules are not its physics like you can expect from some other games. If you try to figure out how AW's fiction works by looking first at the moves, you're going to break something (likely one's brain, probably the game). Like the game says, paraphrasing, "You can make some head-scratchers. Don't do it."
  • The fiction is primary in AW. "Make it real." The moves are just tools for the players and MC to yank on the fiction in special ways. When they don't make sense there's no problem: they just don't make sense. When your character doesn't have a move to represent something there's no problem: you're not making a move. Just keep going with the fiction until a move is made.

So this is how I understand stuff like this confusion, given those basic principles (and his is my interpretation, my understanding; I'm going to speak in assertions because that's efficient, so keep this disclaimer in mind while you read):

So the Maestro D' doesn't have the leadership move. That doesn't mean anything fictionally at all. It doesn't dictate the relationship to the gang. (The fiction does that.) It doesn't limit how the Maestro D' can try to influence the gang and impose her will. (The fiction brings the limits.) Having Leadership doesn't mean anything fictionally either. It's a piece of system that lets you insert things into the fiction.

Try thinking of AW like this: The Gunlugger isn't bad-ass because she's got Not To Be Fucked With, she's bad-ass because she's bad-ass. Taking a move like NTBFW is just a way of giving you story control in-line with the already-established bad-assedness. All Gunluggers are "not to be fucked with", and a Gunlugger with NTBFW is not fictionally different from a Gunlugger without. The difference is that this Gunlugger is going to be guided into scenes that involve mowing down entire gangs like wheat, because the player chose that story control for their own. Moves don't create fiction when they're chosen—they don't tell you more about the character when you choose them. Moves create fiction when they're used—they tell you more about the character when the character acts in the fiction in a way that lets the player pull out the move and take control of the fiction.

If you think about AW moves like that, the Maestro D' having or not having Leadership isn't really an issue in the fiction. Does the MD' have a gang in the fiction? Yeah. Does she order around the gang? Yeah. Do they do it? Yeah, sometimes. Do they push back? Yeah, sometimes. Do they turn on her when pushed too far? Yeah, probably. Do they ever just go, "fuck, sorry boss, whatever you say" when they resist and then are shown who's boss? Yeah, sure.

The only difference is whether the player is doing this using the Leadership move or is doing this by fictional positioning and a series of Basic Moves. Obviously you have fewer chances to roll bad and give the MC a move if you're using Leadership. All that means is that a Maestro D' whose player didn't pay for Leadership from another playbook is going to have to work harder/smarter to keep a gang in line and will have a more interesting life (more chances for MC moves) when she keeps a gang around.

Re: Maestro D's Gang
« Reply #32 on: August 12, 2010, 02:33:28 PM »
If there's a leader or not a leader you're going aggro on the gang including them. A leader can't cancel out your successful roll because they were a victim to it also.

Yeah, I think you're misinterpreting me. I'm not talking about canceling rolls. I'm saying when you Go Aggro on a gang, not a "group of people" - a gang that acts as a singular unit - you are actually going aggro on the leader.

Without a leader - no gang, imo. You're just a gaggle of individuals (like the Hocus' followers until she unites them with Frenzy) . And, most likely a leader will step forward and assume that mantle.

A crew is different in that they are a selection of individuals. They don't act as a single unit. Yah dig?

It's just round and round, and like I've said before, I totally think you can play the game with the Maestro D' as written, just have them Go Aggro every time they want the gang to do something or write up a custom move or whatever.

However, I do see the difference between gangs, and the associated moves, and crews as significant.

This conversation as helped me a lot in understanding the game and how I might also hack it.

Good stuff. Thanks everybody.
« Last Edit: August 12, 2010, 02:35:38 PM by Michael Pfaff »

Re: Maestro D's Gang
« Reply #33 on: August 12, 2010, 02:48:20 PM »
Something I think that's being lost in the trees:

  • Apocalypse World's rules are not its physics like you can expect from some other games. If you try to figure out how AW's fiction works by looking first at the moves, you're going to break something (likely one's brain, probably the game). Like the game says, paraphrasing, "You can make some head-scratchers. Don't do it."
  • The fiction is primary in AW. "Make it real." The moves are just tools for the players and MC to yank on the fiction in special ways. When they don't make sense there's no problem: they just don't make sense. When your character doesn't have a move to represent something there's no problem: you're not making a move. Just keep going with the fiction until a move is made.

So this is how I understand stuff like this confusion, given those basic principles (and his is my interpretation, my understanding; I'm going to speak in assertions because that's efficient, so keep this disclaimer in mind while you read):

Yeah, I get all that. I'm not saying the game doesn't work or that this is even a big deal.

I mean, a gang is essentially rules for weaponizing groups of people. Fine. I get it.

What I'm more concerned about is the design aesthetic of moves like Pack Alpha and Leadership.

What's the point of them? If we're just assuming you have a gang, and they do what you say most of the time, and anyone can have a gang like this, why even have special Moves for "imposing your will" or "having your gang fight for you"? Why not just use basic moves or custom moves for those situations like we'd do with the Maestro D'?

Maybe this thread should be in the Blood and Guts forum?



Re: Maestro D's Gang
« Reply #34 on: August 12, 2010, 03:14:57 PM »
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What's the point of them? If we're just assuming you have a gang, and they do what you say most of the time, and anyone can have a gang like this, why even have special Moves for "imposing your will" or "having your gang fight for you"? Why not just use basic moves or custom moves for those situations like we'd do with the Maestro D'?

Leadership can be used in absentia for starters. I can have my Hardholder order a part of his gang down the mountains to Terminal City to go raiding, and if I make my Leadership roll I've got one or more holds that can help them fight even when I'm not there. The risk in that at-a-distance scenario is that they surrender to the bandits, offer them inside info on my holding in exchange for mercy, and then bugger off into the wilderness.

If I don't have Leadership, then I can't even do that mechanical stuff to start with. Then I'm just telling a gang what to do in-fiction and reaping/suffering consequences that result from the ficiton, possibly with some basic moves to help the reaping/suffering along.

So, Leadership exists because it's interesting. It lets me do things directly to the fiction, as a player, that I wouldn't have direct access to normally. Without it I have to use more general mechanical tools to cobble together that kind of fiction if I really want to go there (with all the attendant messiness and MC-infused interestingness when I miss even one of those many basic moves).

Pack Alpha opens up similar fictional horizons. It's less used for telling a gang what to do, and more for putting down mutinies. The fictional horizon it opens up is a focused mutiny/crushing mutiny scene. That kind of scene is eventually integral to playing a Chopper, so it makes sense to support it mechanically. Without Pack Alpha you can get into that kind of scene, but it's going to be more fictionally piecemeal, take more play to set up and resolve, and be the kind of deal that will likely come up once and then irrevocably alter the relationship to the gang for the Pack-Alpha-less character.

I mean, think about the likely fictional circumstances. You've got a dozen violent individuals who have decided that you're done telling them what to do. They revolt. Most ways of imposing your will without the Pack Alpha move aren't going to be clean, repercussion-free actions. If you're clever and lucky you'll get the gang to do what you want, but unless you're exceptionally clever and lucky there will be piles of Badness that the MC will have inserted. The gang will never be the same again, and likely the crushed mutiny will come back to haunt you. If you're not clever or lucky enough, you've got a dozen violent individuals who are not only done with you as leader, but now you've pissed them off and you're probably under concentrated fire. Have fun!

Not so with Pack Alpha. You make the roll 10+? You're free and clear. Move along!

So, mechanically, Pack Alpha supports the archetype of the Chopper well: you get to have disputes with your gang, and you get to be a hard-ass who puts them in their place every once in a while. Rather than being a big huge blow-up that is going to define this and a few sessions, it'll be one event in a larger set of circumstances for your Chopper.

Mechanically, Leadership does the same for the Hardholder. It makes being leader-ly a supported part of the archetype, so that you can get into those power struggles in a quickly-resolved way, often enough to make it just part of being a Hardholder.

Re: Maestro D's Gang
« Reply #35 on: August 12, 2010, 03:20:58 PM »
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What's the point of them? If we're just assuming you have a gang, and they do what you say most of the time, and anyone can have a gang like this, why even have special Moves for "imposing your will" or "having your gang fight for you"? Why not just use basic moves or custom moves for those situations like we'd do with the Maestro D'?

Leadership can be used in absentia for starters. I can have my Hardholder order a part of his gang down the mountains to Terminal City to go raiding, and if I make my Leadership roll I've got one or more holds that can help them fight even when I'm not there. The risk in that at-a-distance scenario is that they surrender to the bandits, offer them inside info on my holding in exchange for mercy, and then bugger off into the wilderness.

If I don't have Leadership, then I can't even do that mechanical stuff to start with. Then I'm just telling a gang what to do in-fiction and reaping/suffering consequences that result from the ficiton, possibly with some basic moves to help the reaping/suffering along.

So, Leadership exists because it's interesting. It lets me do things directly to the fiction, as a player, that I wouldn't have direct access to normally. Without it I have to use more general mechanical tools to cobble together that kind of fiction if I really want to go there (with all the attendant messiness and MC-infused interestingness when I miss even one of those many basic moves).

Pack Alpha opens up similar fictional horizons. It's less used for telling a gang what to do, and more for putting down mutinies. The fictional horizon it opens up is a focused mutiny/crushing mutiny scene. That kind of scene is eventually integral to playing a Chopper, so it makes sense to support it mechanically. Without Pack Alpha you can get into that kind of scene, but it's going to be more fictionally piecemeal, take more play to set up and resolve, and be the kind of deal that will likely come up once and then irrevocably alter the relationship to the gang for the Pack-Alpha-less character.

I mean, think about the likely fictional circumstances. You've got a dozen violent individuals who have decided that you're done telling them what to do. They revolt. Most ways of imposing your will without the Pack Alpha move aren't going to be clean, repercussion-free actions. If you're clever and lucky you'll get the gang to do what you want, but unless you're exceptionally clever and lucky there will be piles of Badness that the MC will have inserted. The gang will never be the same again, and likely the crushed mutiny will come back to haunt you. If you're not clever or lucky enough, you've got a dozen violent individuals who are not only done with you as leader, but now you've pissed them off and you're probably under concentrated fire. Have fun!

Not so with Pack Alpha. You make the roll 10+? You're free and clear. Move along!

So, mechanically, Pack Alpha supports the archetype of the Chopper well: you get to have disputes with your gang, and you get to be a hard-ass who puts them in their place every once in a while. Rather than being a big huge blow-up that is going to define this and a few sessions, it'll be one event in a larger set of circumstances for your Chopper.

Mechanically, Leadership does the same for the Hardholder. It makes being leader-ly a supported part of the archetype, so that you can get into those power struggles in a quickly-resolved way, often enough to make it just part of being a Hardholder.

Oh yeah. That's what I've been looking for. Yes. More please?

So, tell me then.

Why not give the Maestro D' a theme with her gang? And, for that matter, why should the other playbooks get leadership or pack alpha with the gang they get from improvement?

Also - and this is the kicker. How do I earn leadership and pack alpha, as you've described them, as descriptive improvement and capabilities (not prescriptive by taking an "improvement" bubble or whatever)?

I eagerly await this reply.

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Bret

  • 285
Re: Maestro D's Gang
« Reply #36 on: August 12, 2010, 03:36:44 PM »
If I had to venture a guess, I'd say it's because there isn't something about the Maestro D archetype that's like, "Hey I have a special style of leading a gang," so the Basic Moves suffice. Vincent has said elsewhere that moves exist in part as a way of color differentiation. That's why a Hardholder has Leadership instead of Pack Alpha, and vice-versa with the Chopper. Leading groups of people is a part of what they are. It is not a part of what the Maestro D is.

When I put together the Faceless Playbook, I gave him the possibility of taking Pack Alpha. He wasn't a leader, he was someone who could feasibly assemble a gang of hardasses and get them to follow him because he was the biggest hardass and he would do terrible things to them if they fall out of line. I didn't give him Leadership because it didn't make sense just like I didn't give him a workshop or anything like that. I imagine Maestro D didn't get one of these or a new, different one, because that's not what the Maestro D is. The Maestro D is defined mainly part by her establishment and that's why she gets one and the Hardholder doesn't.

There's a selectiveness in deciding who gets access to what to prevent the characters from blurring into one another. To make sure that if I am playing the Chopper, I'm THE Chopper, not a Maestro D without an establishment or a Hardholder without a Hardhold. The more those things blur, the more of a danger that becomes, and the less cool my character becomes.

I know other people disagree with me on this, but I don't think I would ever descriptively hand out Pack Alpha or Leadership. If you're not a Hardholder or a Chopper or someone who has those moves available as advances, it's just not a part of who you are. You'd have to get the advance to change Playbooks if you decide that's the path you want to take.
Tupacalypse World

Re: Maestro D's Gang
« Reply #37 on: August 12, 2010, 03:40:31 PM »
I don't know why the Maestro D' doesn't get it with the gang. Maybe to reinforce the theme that MD' gets things done by manipulation? The MD' who has a gang is going to have a more touch-and-go relationship with them, and it might blow up if they push too hard? A Maestro D' who wants to get more hard-ass can take Leadership or Pack Alpha as an improvement to change that, and become a slightly different kind of character.

I'm not sure how to go about things descriptively either. I'm still absorbing that soft rule from AW, and I don't think I've got a good handle on it yet. It's more obvious how to get things descriptively when they're things, but I'm pretty sure it's not limited to just stuff.

If I had to hazard a guess, I'd go back up there to those core principles: make it real, don't make head-scratchers. I'd say that a Maestro D' gets Leadership or Pack Alpha when you're playing, playing, playing, and then you all realise that not having it mismatches the fiction that's been in play already. ("Make it real.") That's a pretty high bar for getting it descriptively, and maybe it doesn't need quite that much, but at that point I would have no reservations about just writing it on the sheet. Or better yet, writing a custom move to reflect the particular fiction that is begging for a move.

What do you think? Like I said, I'm still trying to figure out that part of the game.

(Cross-posted with Bret!)

Re: Maestro D's Gang
« Reply #38 on: August 12, 2010, 03:52:52 PM »
This is good stuff. Thanks for the posts guys. It's making the who situation a lot clearer about how to handle PCs running gangs and also adding gangs to a hack. Excellent.

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There's a selectiveness in deciding who gets access to what to prevent the characters from blurring into one another. To make sure that if I am playing the Chopper, I'm THE Chopper, not a Maestro D without an establishment or a Hardholder without a Hardhold. The more those things blur, the more of a danger that becomes, and the less cool my character becomes.

Eh. I don't know if I agree with this. After all, there are many improvements to classes that give you their abilities and whatnot.

I know other people disagree with me on this, but I don't think I would ever descriptively hand out Pack Alpha or Leadership. If you're not a Hardholder or a Chopper or someone who has those moves available as advances, it's just not a part of who you are. You'd have to get the advance to change Playbooks if you decide that's the path you want to take.

You're talking about playbooks that don't have pack alpha or leadership as an improvement option. But, what if you DO have that as a choice for advancement, and you are trying to achieve the capability in-fiction, descriptively. It's part of who you are, because it's an improvement option. Right?

Or better yet, writing a custom move to reflect the particular fiction that is begging for a move.

Yeah, this kind of seems to be the way to go as far as descriptive advancement of moves.

Re: Maestro D's Gang
« Reply #39 on: August 12, 2010, 04:10:23 PM »
There's a selectiveness in deciding who gets access to what to prevent the characters from blurring into one another.
Definitely, but it's been interesting to note how the extensiveness of niche protection seems to be different between different campaigns.  In some games, players seem to shy away from taking moves that other PCs already have, even though it's definitely allowed by the rules ("take a move from another playbook").  Where, in other games, it seems very common for a bunch of PCs to have the same moves.

I can understand, if you're really worried about niche protection and blurring, Bret, why you would be worried about assigning playbook moves based on fictional developments, but it does work really well in other campaigns that aren't quite as worried about those things.  There's still enough differentiation between characters, in my opinion.

Take the situation where one PC switches character types to become the same type of character as another existing PC.  Now you definitely have two Choppers or two Gunluggers or whatever.  And that's definitely in the rules, yeah?

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Bret

  • 285
Re: Maestro D's Gang
« Reply #40 on: August 12, 2010, 04:15:56 PM »
Gonna steal from John Harper on SG here:
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When the Gunlugger seizes a gang by force and takes definite hold of it, and then lays down the law and makes an example of a few of them, the MC is allowed to say "Okay, cool. Let's figure out the gang profile from the options here, to reflect this new bunch of savages you have under your thumb. And you totally have pack alpha right now."
Basically when you are operating under the conditions that those moves are intended to model. Even so, I like that John said right now like if the gunlugger got a different gang or lost the one he had, he'd no longer have Pack Alpha. It's not a part of who he is yet.

A friend of mine and I were talkin about this. "We like a little more game in our game." That's why I'm reluctant to give an advancement out descriptively. I'm more likely to do the above and be like okay this is a temporary thing until you pay for it.

As for what you said about abilities across other classes, yes, there are abilities that other classes can get that you have, but it's things that make sense for them, and there is still a distinct difference between Chopper and Gunlugger with a gang. I'm definitely not going to confuse the two and they don't blur together. Now, if there were no limit on out-of-Playbook advances you could take, and the Gunlugger started taking all the Brainer moves or something, is he a Gunlugger or is he a Brainer? As it is there's no confusion about this, and I like that.

J. Walton - I'm not super concerned about niche protection with the rules as written. I think they do the job just fine. And really I was just explaining my take on the rules and the rationale behind them or really more how they make sense to me, not clutching my heart in fear of Playbook dilution. I think by the time a character can take a new Playbook and become another Chopper, the characters will be so well-established and differentiated that it wouldn't be a problem anyway. I don't know, it's not as big an issue as all that.
Tupacalypse World

Re: Maestro D's Gang
« Reply #41 on: August 12, 2010, 04:19:51 PM »
Gonna steal from John Harper on SG here:
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When the Gunlugger seizes a gang by force and takes definite hold of it, and then lays down the law and makes an example of a few of them, the MC is allowed to say "Okay, cool. Let's figure out the gang profile from the options here, to reflect this new bunch of savages you have under your thumb. And you totally have pack alpha right now."
Basically when you are operating under the conditions that those moves are intended to model. Even so, I like that John said right now like if the gunlugger got a different gang or lost the one he had, he'd no longer have Pack Alpha. It's not a part of who he is yet.

Yup. I dig it.

A friend of mine and I were talkin about this. "We like a little more game in our game." That's why I'm reluctant to give an advancement out descriptively. I'm more likely to do the above and be like okay this is a temporary thing until you pay for it.

As for what you said about abilities across other classes, yes, there are abilities that other classes can get that you have, but it's things that make sense for them, and there is still a distinct difference between Chopper and Gunlugger with a gang. I'm definitely not going to confuse the two and they don't blur together.

Yup. I totally understand where you're coming from because Chris (on the boards and in my group) has similar feelings on the matter.

I say, so long as you can get an ability or similar one fictionally, I'm down. Blend the game and the fiction.

Re: Maestro D's Gang
« Reply #42 on: August 12, 2010, 04:22:57 PM »
Bret, yeah definitely, if you haven't spent an advance on a move, you only have it as long as it makes sense fictionally.  If you lose your gang or stop being the alpha, obviously you can't still use Pack Alpha. But if you've bought it and lose your gang or whatever, it's pretty easy for you to use it and round up a new gang, because it's part of who you are.  So if we agree on that, then maybe we've just been talking past each other the whole time (both here and on SG).

Do you mean how you're normally limited to two out-of-playbook moves?  Because that seems pretty open-ended to me.  With two moves, you can buy the two core moves of another character type, yeah?  So I don't see that as particularly restricted.

Re: Maestro D's Gang
« Reply #43 on: August 12, 2010, 04:26:07 PM »
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But, what if you DO have that as a choice for advancement, and you are trying to achieve the capability in-fiction, descriptively. It's part of who you are, because it's an improvement option. Right?

My instinct, when playing, is to angle fictionally for the improvements that I'm heading for anyway, or to take the improvements that I think could reasonably be gotten soon, but I know that's not a rule. Frex, my Hardholder was using Hard and Sharp all session to get an advance, but he screwed around with the maelstrom in a pivotal scene so I felt taking +1 weird wasn't inappropriate. I really wanted to take "take a new option for your hold" to get a more disciplined gang, but that didn't fit the fiction at all (the gang was just getting started on their unruliness) and I didn't want to yank that toy away from the MC in the very first session. But yeah, that's not a rule, and if there's downtime anything could go even with that self-imposed limit.

So as an extension of that, I'd be leery of handing out an improvement descriptively that the player could just buy when appropriate. I mean, it's not like the power level changes drastically with even a bunch of improvements (because power level is almost irrelevant to how AW works), so players really shouldn't be angsting about having to pay for an improvement anyway.

Quote
Take the situation where one PC switches character types to become the same type of character as another existing PC.  Now you definitely have two Choppers or two Gunluggers or whatever.  And that's definitely in the rules, yeah?

Y'know, I would have agreed a minute ago until I thought about it, but now I just don't know. I wonder if the "pick up another playbook" rule is relying on there being only one of each playbook, and it is instructing you to literally pick up one of the playbooks that are left to be picked up? But this is totally a tangent.

Re: Maestro D's Gang
« Reply #44 on: August 12, 2010, 04:30:06 PM »
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Take the situation where one PC switches character types to become the same type of character as another existing PC.  Now you definitely have two Choppers or two Gunluggers or whatever.  And that's definitely in the rules, yeah?

Y'know, I would have agreed a minute ago until I thought about it, but now I just don't know. I wonder if the "pick up another playbook" rule is relying on there being only one of each playbook, and it is instructing you to literally pick up one of the playbooks that are left to be picked up? But this is totally a tangent.

It actually says, "get a move from another playbook."

I'm reading that as any playbook is fair game. However, I could see some groups limiting that in the way you suggested.