Does announcing future badness have to be addressed to the characters?

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noofy

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Yoki said over @ Story Games - Cut Scenes are scenes without the presence of the protagonists, that is the player characters (PCs), that the GM can use to show the players, not the characters, what's going on elsewhere in the story. Normally they focus on what the antagonists are doing.

The Third Person, Past Tense technique works wonderfully well in Cut Scenes, since they allow you to summarize the scene in past tense letting the GM get away with roleplaying multiple NPCs in conversation. This momentarily puts the players into Audience Stance, which is also away from Player Stance, and if used well will give the players motivation to use Author Stance to have their characters do something plausible about what occurred in the cut scene.

All good stuff. It got me thinking about my actual play however as MC. It may be simply a byproduct of playing primarily one-on-on AW over the last few sessions, and not having the luxury of more than one other player's input, but I've been indulging in much announcing future badness during play. In fact announcing off screen future badness has often taken the third person, past tense technique that Yoki describes above (since I use that in my other RP too), rather than the first person present examples used in the rules (p.118).

My quandry is that the rules ask MC's to follow the principles, one of which is to address the characters, not the players. This is the norm for most of the play, it makes for immediate, conflict driven scenes that demand choices or moves from the players. However, with the cut scene technique of announce future badness MC move drift I've been guilty of employing, I'm addressing the audience. Thus the misdirect followup question of what do you do? tempers the resultant character (player?) reaction.

In play, I will always draw a connection (generally a provocative question)  between the cut scene and likely ways of the character hearing about, or interacting with the fallout of the cut scene; to give credence to the follow up: what do you do? But still.

Does this sort play fight against the system? I mean its done not only to indulge, but (as the rules suggest) respond with fuckery and sets me up for a future harder move and gives something for the character to react to. It does however require a distinct maturity on the player's part to separate their stances somewhat (based on the information - as audience - they've become privy too).

To my mind its no different from a 3+ group, where some players may become audience to a particular scene (as their characters are not involved). Invariably that scene involves some sort of primed conflict or move making opportunity that upsets the status quo - ergo future badness - that their character can now react to as the MC asks them what they do now? Pushing them to make a move of their own.

It hasn't seemed to harm our play, or cause disconnects with the immediacy of the fiction. Has anyone else drifted other story games techniques not specifically part of the AW ruleset and survived? Thoughts? Advice?

Re: Does announcing future badness have to be addressed to the characters?
« Reply #1 on: November 07, 2010, 02:44:51 AM »
What you're doing might not be 100% pure Apocalypse World principles, but I don't think you're not totally outside the spirit of the game. At the same time you ARE addressing the players to some extent, but you are also being generous with the truth while you describe off screen badness, so I think you're within boundaries.

You could always do the same kind of thing totally within the rules by allowing the psychic maelstrom to show the characters what is happening, probably as the result of brain opening, but who's to say how the maelstrom works, right? I'm sure there's other tricky ways of really letting the characters experience the vision you're providing the players.

Often Apocalypse World prompts the MC to ask questions of the characters. Address the characters, but ask something like "Keeler, what would you think if you knew Dremmer was fucking your Sister in order to get closer to your stash?" Well, now you've done what you described in a way totally within the principles. you've just asked a question....   an extraordinarily leading question, yes, but jut a question.  Want to bet Keeler might follow up on something like that?


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noofy

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Re: Does announcing future badness have to be addressed to the characters?
« Reply #2 on: November 07, 2010, 04:39:25 AM »
Huh.
Ask and you shall receive. Thanks Scott! I love love love the way you turned that announcement of future badness into a very provocative question to the character instead of the usual 'what do you do?' post MC move. Awesome. Thanks very much!