Playbook: A Boy and His Dog (new)

  • 7 Replies
Playbook: A Boy and His Dog (new)
« on: November 13, 2010, 10:54:31 PM »
I've been inspired to do my own take on ABaHD after reading another Playbook thread on it (thank you, Willow).

A Boy and His Dog is homage to human-canine interactions such as Rin-Tin-Tin, Lassie, the Road Warrior, Dogmeat (from the Fallout series), the obvious A Boy and His Dog story by Harlan Ellison.  (a great "Apocalypse World" short story).

Wanted the Playbook to revolve around the concepts of loyalty, protection, friendship.  Inspired by the builds of the Faceless and Driver.

Finally, I consider this to be a rough draft.  I highly encourage others to comment and suggest ideas that will help to improve this. 

A Boy and His Dog

You can remember the black nights spent dodging murder, then hunting the things that weren't trying to eat you.  Afterwards, the two of you managed to pull in somewhere safe, keeping watch while the other slept.  Alone, either one of you would be nothing more than a meal, but together you're nothing to be scoffed at.  And while people will let you down, fuck you over, stab you in the back, your dog is the one person you will stick with you, through black nights and murder.
In Apocalypse World, so many people are separated from love and warmth, but not you.  You've got your best friend.  You've got your dog.

Choose your name and look:

Ace, Bandit, Blondie, Blood, Blue, Dog Boy/Girl, Flint, Gibson, Harlan,                 

Hunter, Kringer, Max, McCarthy, Queen, Shepherd, Snarl, Terry, Trigger, Vic.

Boy, Girl, Man, Woman, Ambiguous

Army surplus wear, furs and leather wear, ratty luxe wear, baddass ganger wear, rugged ranger wear.

Filthy face, friendly face, weathered face, cute face, thin face, quirky face.

Spiteful eyes, guarded eyes, sharp eyes, twitchy eyes, expressive eyes, warm eyes.

Angular and bony body, wiry body, sturdy body, chubby body, relaxed body, malnourished body, fit body.

Choose a set:
Cool-1 Hard+0 Hot+1 Sharp+2 Weird0
Cool+0 Hard+1 Hot0 Sharp+2 Weird-1
Cool+1 Hard0 Hot+0 Sharp+2 Weird-1
Cool-2 Hard+0 Hot+1 Sharp+2 Weird+1

Your Dog
Choose a name for your dog.

Choose a gender:  Male, female, neutral.

Pick an array.
Fierce+1, Friendly+0, Alert+1, Aberrant+0, Dependent+1
Fierce+0, Friendly+1, Alert+1, Aberrant+0, Dependent+1
Fierce+0, Friendly+0, Alert+1, Aberrant+1, Dependent+1
Fierce+1, Friendly+1, Alert+1, Aberrant+0, Dependent+2

In combat, it has: 2-harm hand implanted, 0-armour, with a health clock the same as you.  Players Healing and Harming your dog affects your Hx as if they healed or harmed you.

Also, while your dog may argue with you, hate you, or get upset, it will never betray you.  The dog is +Loyal to you.

Pick the dog's breed:  Mutt, Pedigree, Cyber, Mutie.

Pick its role:  Hunter, charmdog, sentry, science experiment, wardog, Maelstrom expy, lapdog, performer.

Pick one or two Strengths, and one or two Weakness.

Strength:  Fast, protective, tough, patient, friendly, eager, adorable, smart, aggressive.
Weakness: Lazy, filthy, dumb, lame, loud, feral, needy, decrypted, cynical, ugly, mostly-blind, small.

You start off with A Boy Loves his Dog, and Tricks.

A Boy Loves His Dog, while accompanied by your Dog...
... if you do something under fire, add your dog's fierce to your roll.
... if you try to do something by force, add your dog's fierce to your roll.
... if you go aggro, add your dog's fierce to your roll.
... if you try to seduce or manipulate someone, add your dog's friendly to your roll.
... if you read a sitch or a person, add your dog's alert to your roll.
... if you try to open your mind to the psychic maelstrom, add your dog's aberrant to your roll.
... if you help or interfere with someone, add your dog's alert to the roll.
... if someone interferes with you, add your dog's dependent to their roll.

Tricks:  Give the dog a command.  Roll +Sharp.  10+ Pick all 5.  On a 7-9, pick 3.  On a fail, the dog does not, or cannot obey.
--The Dog obeys the command immediately.
--The Dog is not harmed or hindered.
--The Dog is not confused, distracted or frightened.
--The Dog performs particularly well.
--The Dog performs happily.
Note:  I thought the dog needs a way to determine the degree of success/fail when the Boy gets the dog to do something.  One can use this move to do a huge array of things, like guard a person, attack, navigate through a land mind, dig for treasure, etc.  Can be compared to the Pack Alpha move.

Scout:  When you read a sitch, a success will allow you to pick an additional question.  10+ Pick two questions from below.  7-9 pick one additional question.  As this is part of reading a stitch, you also can take +1 if you act on these answers.
-Who else has been here?
-Where can I find [a particular item, place or person]?
-Where is safety?
-What happened here recently?
-What is secretly going on?
-How can I best hurt my enemies?

Best Friends:
When you help another PC, gain an xp.


When fighting together, you and your dog act as a small gang: 3-harm, 1 armour. Range: hand/close.

Canine Intervention:
Your dog races to perform a last second save when a NPC or PC is about to take Harm.  Describe how your dog can come to the rescue.
Roll +Sharp for an NPC, or +Hx for a PC.
On a success the dog reaches the target in time.
10+ - Divide the total harm in half, (round down), and divide the remainder between the target and the dog.
7-9 - Subtract 1 from the total Harm, and divide the remainder between the target and the dog.
Fail - Both the target and the dog take the full harm.
Note, the Harm can be dealt from any source, so long as the canine can physically intercede.  It is conceivable for the canine to arrive in time to prevent the Harm from a botched Angel roll (bursting in on the operation before the scalpel is lowered!), but hard to justify intercepting the Harm from a Brainer's move.

Your dog can speak, through medical experiement, mutation, telepathy, mechanical enchancements, or sheer empathy. ("what's that Lassie?  The Hocus fell down the well?")  Others can understand the dog, if it wishes.
Still working on the details of this power.  Thinking it could give +insight, or maybe a bonus similar to the Faceless?  Or maybe scratch this as a power, and allow the dog to speak from the beginning?
Note:  I think it's important that the dog is given a voice, either literally or figurativly, especially as a way for the character to be played with and interact.  The Dog from the Harlan Ellison story was done particularly well as a speaking (telepathic) character, and that's something I want to capture with this char.

You get oddments worth 1 barter.

And pick 2:
-9mm (2 harm, close, loud)
-Hunting Rifle (2 harm, far, loud).
-Hunting spear (2 harm, hand or close & reload)
-Handspike (1 harm, AP, hand)
-Fuck off knife (2 harm, hand)
-SMG (2 harm, close, area, loud).
-Many Knives (2-harm, hand, infinite)
-Dog Vest worth 1-armour.

Also, the Boy can choose to take armour worth 1-armour.


On your turn, choose one or both:
-You want to have sex with one of the characters.  Tell them hx+2
-One character has never had a pet.  Tell them hx-2
-Everyone else, tell them 0.

On their turn, pick on or both:
-Your dog thinks you should watch that person.  Whatever number they tell you, give it +1
-You've had to pack up with that character, surviving through a particular period of murder and starvation.  Whatever number they tell you, instead write +2.
-Everyone else, write the number they tell you.

Boy/Dog Special

-If you and a character have sex, hold 2.  Either you, or the other character can spend the hold.  Spending the hold will compel the other to help, if able, or to prevent the other from interfering.

_+1 Cool
_+1 Hard
_+1 Hot
_+1 Weird
_+1 to one of your dog's stats.
_Gain a new Boy/Dog move.
_Gain a new Boy/Dog move.
_Gain 2 gigs and Moonlighting.
_Gain a move from another playbook.
_Gain a move from another playbook.
* If your dog dies, you can also spend a level to gain a new one.  (detail).


Re: Playbook: A Boy and His Dog (new)
« Reply #1 on: November 14, 2010, 07:27:34 PM »
I love that you kept DON'T FUCK WITH MY DOG.

That is all, interesting take- more along the Driver setup of things.

Re: Playbook: A Boy and His Dog (new)
« Reply #2 on: November 19, 2010, 11:39:55 AM »
Cool! I might steal some of those moves for non-dog things (like Scout--excellent move there).



  • 203
Re: Playbook: A Boy and His Dog (new)
« Reply #3 on: November 19, 2010, 06:25:53 PM »
I...I don't like that you can get a new dog.

Game-wise, I totally understand but it bugs me.

Man, as an MC, I just don't know if I could have this playbook in a game I was running and still be as harsh as I'd need to be.  Killing fictional pooches might just be beyond me.



  • 157
Re: Playbook: A Boy and His Dog (new)
« Reply #4 on: November 20, 2010, 12:57:59 AM »
I've thought of making it so the only way the Dog can die is by using Canine Intervention, otherwise the bastard just runs away for a while. 



  • 203
Re: Playbook: A Boy and His Dog (new)
« Reply #5 on: November 20, 2010, 10:03:33 AM »
Could the dog dying be an alternate version of Crippled, Disfigured, Broken and Shattered?

Re: Playbook: A Boy and His Dog (new)
« Reply #6 on: February 03, 2011, 11:19:25 PM »
Hey all.

Took a hiatus from Apocalypse World, though I've returned.  Thinking a little about Ab&Hd  in the meanwhile.

Came to the realization that using the Dog for bonus stats similar to the Driver, or to the Faceless is kinda weak.    Feels like the Dog is only there for the numbers, instead of participating as something living/breathing to the world.

Taking away the stat-bonus would help.  As would finding another way of creating the Dog.  To that end, it would be better to create the Dog along the same way as creating a Gang or a Hold. 

To that end, the Dog would be +2 harm/close, 0 armour, +Loyal.  Can be used for Seize/Aggro rolls, or used through the Tricks Move.

Creating the Dog would pick from several stats, like the Gang or Hold.  Here's a few:

~This Dog's got bite.  +1 harm.
~The Dog can speak.  How is up to you.  +Verbose.

~The dog is an unwashed cur, a living carpet of disease and muck.  Gain +Filthy.
~Untamed and savage, the dog gains +Feral.

Keeping along those lines, wondering if anyone else has any suggestions keeping to building the Dog?

Re: Playbook: A Boy and His Dog (new)
« Reply #7 on: April 14, 2011, 08:19:15 PM »
I took a stab at making a character like this too, before I saw the forums. My take was like you had at the end there, like options for a hold, but I also was thinking 'why limit it to a dog?'  "A Kid And Companion"  Lyra & Pantalaimon, Huck & Jim, the kid from sixth sense & bruce willis...

It's probably under-powered. Once your companion dies you lose all their powers. But I'd still play it.