Community Creation and Other Thoughts

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Community Creation and Other Thoughts
« on: November 10, 2010, 01:32:54 PM »
Man, I was sick on Tuesday and now I'm booked until late today, so I can't get the last few bits of my Game Chef duties finished, much less have time to work on my Apocalypse World hacks.

Here's some notes before I forget:

Community creation is done as a group. You sit down at the table with the other players and the first thing you do is create the "nest" that the characters are a part of.  Some options include:

Lonely Nest: The folks in your community are the only human beings you've ever spent significant time with, aside from those lost to you. You can use advances to raise stats or buy things for your community (like it's a hardhold) or develop your own unique custom moves, but you don't get access to buying moves from the Sciences (at least until you build an academy or uncover lost secrets and develop the Sciences yourself).

Outpost: You are a branch of a larger cluster of micro-communities. Containing the characters plus a few other NPCs. With advances, you have access to purchasing options for your local community, the larger community of which you are a part, PLUS the Sciences, since you have access to a larger community of knowledge and practices involving star travel.

Plus a few others, maybe you're a traveling group of bandits or gypsies, without a local home that you can buy things for but with access to other kinds of knowledge, like an oral tradition that is basically a unique take on one of the Sciences.  Or maybe you're a group of bandits that steal secrets from others.  Or maybe you hail from a significant community with developed knowledge of the Sciences but have been separated from them somehow.

In any event, as a group you first decide what your starting community is like, by choosing traits off a list of options, just like you do for a hardhold, followers, etc.  Your community sets the limits on both your starting moves and traits and your subsequent advancement, so everyone will develop the community as a group in order to develop their own characters.  It's a bit like Starcraft or other real-time strategy games in that regard, in that you have to build a Dark Temple in order to have Dark Templars.  If certain characters are full members of multiple communities (which will undoubtedly happen), then they can buy or remove traits for all of them.

Your starting community traits also tell you what to initially draw on your map.  So you pick your outpost location and then you pick where your home community is.  Then you decide where the other known outposts are.  Then you connect them with lines, either solid lines showing that the path is familiar and well-lit, or dotted lines showing that it takes some work to travel between those locations.

The background of individual characters will also generate bits of the map, some of which may only be known to specific individuals.  For example, if someone decides they were lost for a while in a specific area, they could have mapped a nearby or distant region heavily, but not everybody else may be as familiar with it.

Finally, each community also has specific gigs (there will be a new term) that they are responsible for collectively.  Individual characters or groups of characters MAY have gigs too (I haven't decided), but most tasks are community based, like a hardholder rather than an operator.  Gigs include things like 1) maintaining the network of beacons, 2) conducting rescue and recovery operations, 3) investigating certain ruins, 4) trying to make contact with other known communities, 5) expanding the existing network so as to facilitate travel and recovery, etc.  You roll gigs either A) at the beginning of a session, B) whenever there is downtime or nothing particular the characters want to do, C) whenever somebody wants to do something that is clearly represented by a gig (i.e. you can use gigs as moves). Succeeding or failing on a gig almost inevitably creates new action to deal with, just as normal.

Lately, I'm thinking that the stats are the three Sciences (Archeology, Astronomy, and Cartography).  Maybe that's it.  Plus you take Hx with people and maybe stars.  You stats in the Sciences are your raw talent in those areas, but you don't get access to more sophisticated moves -- just the basic ones -- unless you find a community that can teach or develop such knowledge and skills.  Or you uncover and decipher a bunch of lost secrets, which is more or less how most communities came upon their starfaring knowledge in the first place.

When creating Mysteries (the Front equivalent), the GM will almost always create several custom moves that are attached to places, objects, people, etc., similar to the way Front moves work.  However, unlike Front moves, unlocking the Mystery often gives players access to these moves, either by uncovering secret knowledge, possessing ancient artifacts, understanding how to awaken the beacons and other fixed assets of the ancients or converse more directly with the stars, etc.  Generally I think you purchase these custom moves directly for your character or for your community with an advance, but you have to unlock that possibility first, fictionally.  So I could use an advance to seize control of an ancient rod of rough cast iron that allows me to interfere with other characters when they roll on the Distance (Harm) table if I cause them to take Distance.

Anyway, more thoughts soon.