AW Setting questions about character types and the game world

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DannyK

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AW Setting questions about character types and the game world
« on: August 12, 2010, 03:22:45 PM »
First, more serious question: do the character types, as presented in the playbooks, exist in the AW setting?  I mean, would you have an NPC talk about somebody being a "Battlebabe" or "Gunlugger" ?  Do those niches even exist? 
I mean, in D&D it's pretty obvious who's a Rogue and who's a Wizard.  But there are no NPC character types in AW as such, so it's ambiguous. 

For example: If the NPC looks in a car and sees a PC with heavy guns and another PC with violation gloves on, do they figure they're a Gunlugger and Brainer coming to parley, or is it just "some guy with a lotta guns and his mind-raping pal?" If there's a beautiful NPC in town, is she called a "Skinner"?  Some of the character types have names like job descriptions, like hardholder and driver, and I figure they exist in and out of character.  But I'm not sure if you can tell a Chopper or Gunlugger from anybody else with guns and armor and a bad attitude.

I'm trying to get my head around the default setting, and one question I have is whether people in Apocalypse World know about the special moves or not.  I mean, if I were a local hardholder and I had a Hocus visiting me, I'd be paranoid about him turning my own men against me with his Frenzy move -- unless no such thing exists in the game world.  Similarly the Skinner's ability to get holds on people would make me very nervous about letting a known Skinner anywhere near me or my bodyguards. 

So, does any of this exist in the fiction, or do the moves just reflect what happens, that sometimes people do dumb stuff because a pretty girl smiled at them and sometimes a religious leader riles up a mob and topples the government?  This interpretation makes more sense to me. 

Re: AW Setting questions about character types and the game world
« Reply #1 on: August 12, 2010, 03:33:00 PM »
I would say, "Yes, you know people's capabilities."

I know an Angel can heal me. I know a Brainer can get into people's minds. I know a Savvyhead can fix shit.

Do I call them "Jim the Savvyhead"? Maybe. I think that depends on your particular game.
« Last Edit: August 12, 2010, 04:03:09 PM by Michael Pfaff »

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Chris

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Re: AW Setting questions about character types and the game world
« Reply #2 on: August 12, 2010, 03:35:48 PM »
First, more serious question: do the character types, as presented in the playbooks, exist in the AW setting?  I mean, would you have an NPC talk about somebody being a "Battlebabe" or "Gunlugger" ?  Do those niches even exist?  
I mean, in D&D it's pretty obvious who's a Rogue and who's a Wizard.  But there are no NPC character types in AW as such, so it's ambiguous.  

Not as such. Maybe it's the name for it in your world, maybe not. Maybe there are other angels in the world, but your Angel is the only Angel. And I would never call someone a battlebabe in fiction. Not even the battlebabe. :)

But I'm sure there's groups that do. It's sort of a crappy answer, but "it's up to your group".

So, does any of this exist in the fiction, or do the moves just reflect what happens, that sometimes people do dumb stuff because a pretty girl smiled at them and sometimes a religious leader riles up a mob and topples the government?  This interpretation makes more sense to me.  

I mean, right now, guy who have been playing a while are discussing in other threads whether having a move means that you have a move fictionally. Like does having a move make your character different, or is it a player lever?

Most, but not quite all, of the fiction is Yours, at your table, for Your MC. Like even barter might be Barter, or coins, or an actual barter trade on the spot, or it's "shiny" like it is in my game.

I don't personally like having people say "Oh, he's a brainer" even for the brainer. He's just Iris, that weirdo dude that Kreider keeps in the basement. They say he can get into your mind"
« Last Edit: August 12, 2010, 03:37:33 PM by Chris »
A player of mine playing a gunlugger - "So now that I took infinite knives, I'm setting up a knife store." Me - "....what?" Him - "Yeah, I figure with no overhead, I'm gonna make a pretty nice profit." Me - "......"

Re: AW Setting questions about character types and the game world
« Reply #3 on: August 12, 2010, 03:40:32 PM »
So I had a big, long, somewhat confused conversation about this with John Harper and Elizabeth and came to the following conclusions (which John and E may not agree with, I'm speaking for myself here):

There are no NPC versions of the character types.  PCs can be Angels, but non-PC medical types are called "medics" in the rules for a reason.  Some of the PC types don't really have default NPC names, for example: the Hardholder.  So sometimes we would refer to X NPC as the hardholder of Y location, but they were not actually a Hardholder and did not (obviously) have any Hardholder moves.

Because of character pluralism (each player can have multiple PCs) and the fact that any NPC may be taken as a PC (at least in our games), any NPC can potentially be a PC but that does not make them proto-PCs or anything.  NPCs don't need to fit into particular character types.  They play by their own rules.  When one becomes a PC, then, sometimes it takes a bit of work to figure out what PC character type to build them as.  This is okay and actually awesome.

The PCs are unique in the world for their sexiness and badassitude.  It actually says this in the game.  Nobody is necessarily expecting their powers and abilities, but NPCs are not always fools either.  They know dangerous people when they see them.

The PC types do not necessarily exist in the fiction.  You can call the Brainer a "brainer" in the fiction if you want, but you can also just call her "mindfuck girl" or whatever.

Re: AW Setting questions about character types and the game world
« Reply #4 on: August 12, 2010, 03:53:00 PM »
From the PDF, p. 101:

Quote
Your characters are unique in Apocalypse World. There are other medics, and they might even be called “angel” by their friends, but you’re the only angel. There are other compound bosses and warlords who might be called “hardholders,” but you’re the only hardholder.

So I'd say, "no." However, you're also supposed to make NPCs real, and if the Brainer can get in-brain puppet strings and do nasty stuff with a violation glove, then there are going to be others out there in the world who can do that stuff too. They're not THE Brainer, but they're similar psychic mind-fuckers.

I read that injunction as an extension of "make it real." There are no class types in the world; people are just people; the player moves and character types are out-of-fiction only. In the same way the MC is supposed to make a move but never speak its name, the PC "classes" are used by the players but never spoken in-fiction.

Re: AW Setting questions about character types and the game world
« Reply #5 on: August 12, 2010, 04:00:08 PM »
There are no class types in the world; people are just people; the player moves and character types are out-of-fiction only.


I agree with this, but the same thing applies, imo, to say D&D. You call someone a "wizard" because they can cast spells and know arcane lore. Not, because their class is a "Wizard".

Same with Apocalypse World. I'm calling Jim an Angel because he can heal me and whatnot. Not because his "class" is Angel.

So, yes, you do know people's capabilities. However, calling them "angel" or "brainer" could be just as much fiction as it is out of fiction. Or, in other words, the fiction can parallel the mechanics.

I cast spells, therefore I am a wizard. I am a wizard, therefore I can cast spells. No?

Re: AW Setting questions about character types and the game world
« Reply #6 on: August 12, 2010, 04:08:27 PM »
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I cast spells, therefore I am a wizard. I am a wizard, therefore I can cast spells. No?

Sure, mostly. It's when the MC screws with that expectation and pulls out a sword-slinger who can cast charms that you're in trouble. :)

So I'm reading it as, "here are the archetypes that are cool to play." And there are going to be NPCs that don't fit into them at all. I mean, what's Blind Blue? Not exactly a brainer, but definitely mucking about in brainer territory. Are people going to call it a brainer? Maybe? Maybe they're just call it "jezas fuck get out of my head!"

Re: AW Setting questions about character types and the game world
« Reply #7 on: August 12, 2010, 04:13:14 PM »
So I'm reading it as, "here are the archetypes that are cool to play." And there are going to be NPCs that don't fit into them at all. I mean, what's Blind Blue? Not exactly a brainer, but definitely mucking about in brainer territory. Are people going to call it a brainer? Maybe? Maybe they're just call it "jezas fuck get out of my head!"

No, I agree completely. The PCs are the only Brainer, as in class. He could be called a brainer or not, same as Blind Blue could be a brainer or not.

I can totally see someone saying in the fiction, "Don't mess with that hocus fuck, Jim." Same as I could see someone saying, "He's a strange and powerful wizard, Gandalf is."

Not, "Don't mess with Jim, as he's a Hocus with the Frenzy ability." Or, "Gandalf is a 5th level Wizard."

Know what I mean?


Re: AW Setting questions about character types and the game world
« Reply #8 on: August 12, 2010, 04:20:50 PM »
So, does any of this exist in the fiction, or do the moves just reflect what happens, that sometimes people do dumb stuff because a pretty girl smiled at them and sometimes a religious leader riles up a mob and topples the government?  This interpretation makes more sense to me. 
The way it makes sense to you is the way it works. Also, Michael's bit about Jim and Gandalf is spot-on.

Re: AW Setting questions about character types and the game world
« Reply #9 on: August 12, 2010, 04:28:43 PM »
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Know what I mean?

Yeah, I think we're on the same page!

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Bret

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Re: AW Setting questions about character types and the game world
« Reply #10 on: August 12, 2010, 04:32:52 PM »
Yeah I like the example of Gandalf. For me, my way of playing it out in the fiction is that their names mean something. Like, yeah there's psychic weirdos, but that's Iris or like there's mechanics but if you really want to get something fixed or maybe its something a little weird for your average greasemonkey, you could always go to Ozair. Just like in Tolkien there's wizards, but this is Gandalf we're talking about here.

Like when the PC isn't in the room and the NPC is talking about them their name is italicized. :p
Tupacalypse World

Re: AW Setting questions about character types and the game world
« Reply #11 on: August 12, 2010, 04:35:54 PM »
Like when the PC isn't in the room and the NPC is talking about them their name is italicized. :p

Because the characters are fucking hot. ;)

Re: AW Setting questions about character types and the game world
« Reply #12 on: August 12, 2010, 06:40:12 PM »
I can totally see someone saying in the fiction, "Don't mess with that hocus fuck, Jim."

Unless you're a pool shootin' country boy named Slim :)

Though it seems like a good consensus has been reached here, my two cents are that the playbook names are given to establish this sort of cool, funky Apocalypse way of referring to stuff so we get a feel, especially given the little playbook descriptions. The Angel description comes to mind ("now *that's* an Angel"). Meaning in AW as presented in the book, someone, somewhere, one time would refer to that badass motherfucker with the guns as a/the (G)unlugger. How widespread is that? I dunno, how much does that resonate with your group?

So, yeah, I agree, but I like ruminating.

Re: AW Setting questions about character types and the game world
« Reply #13 on: August 12, 2010, 10:04:23 PM »
So, there's all this talk about the Battlebabe being this thing that sticks out, as far as playbooks. Style, moves, sex move, etc...

And the name, too! "Battlebabe"'s the only playbook name I can't easily envision being used in AW-speak.

And I see "gunlugger" being used, too, since Jeff just mentioned it explicitly.

"The fuck am I mad at Doom? You wanna know why I'm mad at Doom? Fucking gun-lugger came into my hold two weeks ago with a fucking grenade launcher strapped to his back and an smg in each hand and blasted up my tradebuilding to get at some ass that'd stiffed him, than just walked out, thank-you-very-much. Damned gun-luggers think that just because they've got some ammo and know how to use it, it makes'em the law. Fuck.".

And I could probably come up with examples for every other type easily, except battlebabe. It just feels awkward to me in speech.

Re: AW Setting questions about character types and the game world
« Reply #14 on: August 13, 2010, 07:08:41 PM »
I've referred to characters in game as brainers, hard-holders and angels.

Those feel like natural in-game terms, and also things I wanted to have terms for. I've never had any reason to reach for terms for chopper, hocus, savvyhead or the rest.

I can see driver and operator being used in a descriptive sense. "Careful of Big Dick, he's a real operator" or "Matron is a slick operator."

I can see hocus and gun-lugger being used as pejorative back-handed terms. But if I were a Hocus, I'd call myself "visionary" or "leader" or "conveyer" or something. And so would my followers. Only those spitting cuss words at me behind my back would say "hocus."

Battle-babe, as Antisinecurist mentioned, could not possibly exist in-setting.