Thoughts after play

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NilsH

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Thoughts after play
« on: August 12, 2010, 05:07:50 PM »
Some questions and thoughts after tonights game.

The Hocus in our game has a cult with: Fortune +1 Surplus: 2 Barter, Growth, Stupor, Violence Want: Hunger
They are dedicated, successful recruiters, drug-fixated, and violent

So The hocus rolled +10- he got his barter before game begun- and when we started his cult was violent and drugged- which meant they attackted people in the hardhold.

This was mighty fun and dramatic- but after the game I got this feeling of cheating-  the Hocus passed the test but still his Cult messed it all up, attacking an innocent little girl and all... It ended with the cult and the characters being chased out of town...

Did I "cheat"? Do you interpret violent and drugged as I do?

One of his cult-guys also wanted to overthrow him- just as a MC-move- ok?

The player said that his guy wasn´t that powerful- the hocus couldn´t really do anything. Then, just now, I read that Frenzy effects a mob, not just the cult, but any mob. So he can speak to anyone? Anytime? In the middle of a fight even?


I also had some problems with The Driver- he was cool and powerful and all- but it was hard to get him "hooked" to the world. He just drives around- I can´t really mess with his car, and his true element is on the road, so it´s hard to invent old lovers, friends associates and stuff. Well, maybe it actually isn´t... hmmm..

Anyway, I did feel that it was harder to get the driver into the drama... Any thoughts on that?

We had a Brainer too. So awesome!!!

Re: Thoughts after play
« Reply #1 on: August 12, 2010, 05:44:24 PM »
First, you didn't cheat. Surplus doesn't just mean "Good things happen!" It means whatever happens when you have a surplus, happens. So if your guys get violent & drugged-out, then that happens and the Hocus has to fucking deal. Our first game kicked off with the Hocus in surplus and it basically ran the game: "Okay, your cult is going violence crazy, burning down the nearby shantytown--what do you do?"

Also, as far as the Hocus not being "that powerful"--in our game the Hocus player has had some problems getting things done as well, but I think it's just because he hasn't been using his strengths (uh, his cult) to get things done. Choosing to play a Hocus means wanting to have your will made manifest through others, not through your own strength (a la the Gunlugger).

And yeah man, the Driver. I haven't seen it in play nor played it, but I often wonder what a Driver looks like in play.

Re: Thoughts after play
« Reply #2 on: August 12, 2010, 06:54:51 PM »
First, you didn't cheat. Surplus doesn't just mean "Good things happen!" It means whatever happens when you have a surplus, happens. So if your guys get violent & drugged-out, then that happens and the Hocus has to fucking deal. Our first game kicked off with the Hocus in surplus and it basically ran the game: "Okay, your cult is going violence crazy, burning down the nearby shantytown--what do you do?"

Just to expand on this, I think it's significant that the hocus's player *picked* these fucked up things as part of his surplus. So, if he doesn't want drug induced violence as one of the major things that makes his character's life not boring, well, he made a bad move :) As with everything else in the game, I think as long as you were making these "bad" things happen because they were interesting/real-seeming and not just to be a jerk, then you're not "cheating".

I suppose the real question, though, is what did the Hocus's player think of the session? Did he have a good time, or did you get the impression that he felt like you were (inordinately) dicking him over?

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Arvid

  • 262
Re: Thoughts after play
« Reply #3 on: August 12, 2010, 06:57:20 PM »
I also had some problems with The Driver- he was cool and powerful and all- but it was hard to get him "hooked" to the world. He just drives around- I can´t really mess with his car, and his true element is on the road, so it´s hard to invent old lovers, friends associates and stuff. Well, maybe it actually isn´t... hmmm..

Anyway, I did feel that it was harder to get the driver into the drama... Any thoughts on that?

Just drives around, doing what? I have some thoughts on the driver, but it would help to know what he's actually doing in play. :)

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Bret

  • 285
Re: Thoughts after play
« Reply #4 on: August 12, 2010, 08:59:34 PM »

This was mighty fun and dramatic- but after the game I got this feeling of cheating-  the Hocus passed the test but still his Cult messed it all up, attacking an innocent little girl and all... It ended with the cult and the characters being chased out of town...

Did I "cheat"? Do you interpret violent and drugged as I do?
Yeah, though I think I try to give the Hocus a chance to direct that violence. They're all worked up, and if he's smart he'll point them at something.

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One of his cult-guys also wanted to overthrow him- just as a MC-move- ok?
Yup.

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The player said that his guy wasn´t that powerful- the hocus couldn´t really do anything. Then, just now, I read that Frenzy effects a mob, not just the cult, but any mob. So he can speak to anyone? Anytime? In the middle of a fight even?
Sounds about right to me. Speaking to crowds of people is what Hocuses do. Though if he misses, he might get gut-shot.


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I also had some problems with The Driver- he was cool and powerful and all- but it was hard to get him "hooked" to the world. He just drives around- I can´t really mess with his car, and his true element is on the road, so it´s hard to invent old lovers, friends associates and stuff. Well, maybe it actually isn´t... hmmm..
Ask questions. "Who does your driver know best in this town?" or "Who has a reason to be tracking you down?" etc. "Nobody" is not an acceptable answer.

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Anyway, I did feel that it was harder to get the driver into the drama... Any thoughts on that?
Consider some threats he can't drive away from. Also throw some named, human NPCs at him. People who are fascinated with his car and want to ride in it, people who want to look under the hood, and, obviously, people who want to take it. Maybe someone else with a car who's like a rival. Just spitballing.
Tupacalypse World

Re: Thoughts after play
« Reply #5 on: August 12, 2010, 09:44:55 PM »
The other thing about the driver, though - you always need more fuel, food, repairs, that sort of thing. Just driving around doesn't mean you can avoid dealing with NPCs.

Re: Thoughts after play
« Reply #6 on: August 12, 2010, 10:38:48 PM »
Yeah. Cars take maintenance. If you use them too badly, cars take repair. And Drivers need food and shelter just like anybody else. And then somebody comes along who wants something delivered, it won't be an easy job but that's why they're paying jingle for the best driver around, yeah?

It helps to broaden your maps a little bit, including neighboring hardholds. Ask questions, too. Like "Hey, Driver, where do you hate going to? Why, is it the journey, the destination, both? Why do you have to do it regularly, what do they have that somebody here wants, and vice versa? Gotcha. Now, where will you never go? Never, under any circumstances, period, end paragraph? Regardless of how much jingle somebody waves in your face? Why? Who's the last person you had to explain this at length to, and how did they take 'no' for an answer? Cool."

And of course, involve other PCs if it makes sense to do so. "So hey, Hardholder, who do you pay this protection tribute to? Who are they protecting you from, ostensibly? (Or flip that around, "who do you collect this other protection tribute from?") Where do the people who come to your holding's bustling marketplace come from? Who buys the stuff your manufactory produces? Okay, sweet, thanks. Hey, Angel, when you need to restock your medical supplies, who do you get it from? They come to you, or do you go to them?"

And so on.

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NilsH

  • 79
Re: Thoughts after play
« Reply #7 on: August 13, 2010, 08:11:40 AM »
The player with the Hocus actually did have a really good time, so did we all. I don´t think he had realised at all that his own "things"- The Cult could be his characters major problem- but I think that is one of the things he will get used to playing AW. Then he said his character was a little lame, but, as I said before, we misinterpreted Frenzy to be just about his (at the moment drugged-up) Cult. So I think things will change the next session.

In our other game one of the player had read a lot about The Battlebabe on this forum- about what you can do with advances and moves from different playbooks- do any of you have any neat tricks for the Hocus- to really get him spooky and powerful?

Good stuff about the Driver. I think things will get sorted out- I just have to use my brain a little doing those Fronts. In the first session he talked to his sexpartner and provider of spare parts to his car. At the end of the session we also established that he and the Cult could (they were running from the hardhold) seek refuge at a farm who is run by his ex-lover- who has chased him away with a gun- for slepping with her sister. So I think I can get these three people to stick to him- that would work.

Sometimes people I play with could be a little hesitant to make their characters vulnerable- when I ask questions they arn´t in love with any one, they don´t depend on or believe in anything special- not that much anyway. They seem to want to stay in control of their characters. I´m not sure if I should adress this question or just think that they are playing their characters- who keep themselves safe in this fucking unsafe world.

Maybe I should start a session with asking- "we´re are you unsafe?"
« Last Edit: August 13, 2010, 08:15:19 AM by NilsH »

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Bret

  • 285
Re: Thoughts after play
« Reply #8 on: August 13, 2010, 08:30:13 AM »
That's ok. It's their job to play their characters realistically and your job to make Apocalypse World a real place. Just jump forward with named, human NPCs and if the players play total recluses who don't want to get attached to anyone that's fine.

Making a cool Hocus. Hmm. I think if I were playing a Hocus moves I would look at from other Playbooks would be the Skinner's Lost to get him to summon people to him, or the Savvyhead's Spooky Intense to make him good at acting under fire. Direct whisper brain project would be a good one, too, to make him kick ass at going Aggro. Or maybe I'd consider taking the Battlebabe's Visions of Death. Getting to say who lives and who dies in a fight is definitely spooky and powerful.
Tupacalypse World

Re: Thoughts after play
« Reply #9 on: August 13, 2010, 09:52:40 AM »
I speak from experience saying Hocuses with Lost are fun stuff. And Visions of Death is a brilliant suggestion.

Getting outside "Weird for the Weird God!" territory, I kind of like the idea of taking Artful and Gracious with your cultural expression being Sermons, too. I'd be really tempted to combine that and Reputation with one of the builds that has +1 to both cool and hot.

Re: Thoughts after play
« Reply #10 on: August 13, 2010, 01:24:26 PM »
Sometimes people I play with could be a little hesitant to make their characters vulnerable- when I ask questions they arn´t in love with any one, they don´t depend on or believe in anything special- not that much anyway. They seem to want to stay in control of their characters. I´m not sure if I should adress this question or just think that they are playing their characters- who keep themselves safe in this fucking unsafe world.

I dunno, man. If I asked, "who do you depend on?" And they said "no one," I'd look at them like. Dude. Weak. To me dodging & shooting other players' ideas down like that sucks, and should be talked about. But you & your group may be different.

Another suggestion for your Hocus player: Have him read the brief Hocus intro (if he did already, ignore this suggestion) on page 98, and see if that's what he thought he was in for:

Hocuses have cult followers the way choppers have gangs. They're strange, social, public, and compelling. If you want to sway mobs, play a hocus. Warning: things are going to come looking for you. Being a cult leader means having to deal with your fucking cult.

Re: Thoughts after play
« Reply #11 on: August 13, 2010, 02:33:56 PM »
yeah, it's kind of fun looking at the difference between the Hocus and the Hardholder, at least in terms of their beginning of session moves.  The Hardholder, mechanically, get's off a lot easier than the Hocus as he has no tags associated with surplus:  It's just how much barter he gets.  But for the Hocus, even when he hits his setup move his cult acts like all sorts of fucked up shit.

I think it balances out the fact that the Hocus has things about himself that make him a PC, whereas the Hardholder really is about his hardhold.  Any which way, it's a cool difference between the two of them.
My real name is Timo

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Arvid

  • 262
Re: Thoughts after play
« Reply #12 on: August 16, 2010, 11:53:52 AM »
Sometimes people I play with could be a little hesitant to make their characters vulnerable- when I ask questions they arn´t in love with any one, they don´t depend on or believe in anything special- not that much anyway. They seem to want to stay in control of their characters. I´m not sure if I should adress this question or just think that they are playing their characters- who keep themselves safe in this fucking unsafe world.

Maybe I should start a session with asking- "we´re are you unsafe?"

Oh, man! That is my very definition of the players I seek to play with: That they are vulnerable.

Maybe you've done something similar, but what I did when starting our AW game, was to make super clear that...
1. I am a fan of their characters
2. I'm aiming to make their characters' lives' interesting, not opposing them
3. We're not going to play anything that's uncomfortable or not fun to anyone

In other words, they should feel safe with me as a GM, and in control. Enough so, that they will let themself fall. (Think attachment theory and trust exercises)

Now, the driver, he has something very many people wants. He can deliver goods, people, lead assaults on enemy hardholds, scout the wastes, lead rescue missions, escort people... Play this up. Have people offer him friendship and jingle for doing what he's best at for them.

Connect him to the society of Apocalypse World. Put him in a context. I feel Apocalypse World is very much about the (non-)society the PCs live in.

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Chris

  • 342
Re: Thoughts after play
« Reply #13 on: August 16, 2010, 12:23:30 PM »
I think that some indie players, myself included, get used to the idea that we should create problems for our characters. And that's awesome.

But in AW, I don't think it's really needed. I think AW is awesome because of the immersion. What Vincent has done is finally created a game that focuses on immersion without that immersion being focused on lots and lots of stat blocks.

The kind of meta game thinking in "alright, I need to make my character vulnerable" doesn't really have a place in my idea of AW. If the MC asks "who do you rely on?", there aren't weak or strong answers. If Isis doesn't rely on anyone, she just doesn't. That's the answer.

And it's the MC's job, while he's looking at his prep later that week, to say "Now Isis, she doesn't rely on anyone. Why is that? And that sounds like a place where she's weak. I should push there. I wonder if I really put her in a spot, will she turn to others for help, or will she still stand alone?" etc.
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 - "......"