Some questions about moves and combat

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Some questions about moves and combat
« on: December 19, 2012, 08:34:15 AM »
Hi everybody,

After some sessions I have some problem handling moves during combat and battles, my PCs and me having some trouble breaking with the "round by round" systems usually found in roleplaying games. Here is some questions I've been wondering during those :

- When I say something like "the raiders draw their weapons and fire at you, what do you do ?", I have all of my PC starting to talk at the same time, all of them wanting to make a move. Can they all make a move ?

- If yes, do I have to make a MC move after everyone of them, or only after they all made their move ? If the latter, as I have to make a (direct) MC move for a failed PC move, do I have to make multiple moves if some fail their roll, but only one if they succeed ? How do I handle this ?

- If they all simply answer something like "I shoot back", do they have a move to make or we simply trade harm for harm ? they all want to make a "seize by force" move to inflict terrible damage and take little damage...

- Does a failed "seize by force" move still includes harm for both sides ?

- Do the holds granted by the leadership move of the hardholder or the indomitable move of the touchstone count as moves when used ? If they are used against enemy fire, is it legit to ask a "act under fire" roll ?

Sorry for my imperfect english.
« Last Edit: December 19, 2012, 08:53:49 AM by jimmeu »

Re: Some questions about moves and combat
« Reply #1 on: December 19, 2012, 10:34:10 AM »
1) A good thing to do is to zoom in on time and specify exactly what's happening. If the PCs are actually working in concerted effort, best bet is to have whoever's "in charge" make the move to seize and have everyone else aid. Alternatively, they may even count as a gang (how many PCs do you have?).

1a) That said, if they aren't working together so well (do they ever? :), it's best to get a better handle on exactly who does what, when. You can do this by asking questions and clarifying until you see really what order is happening; then you process each move in order, resolve it, go on.

2) Oh, no - you only make MC moves A) when they look to you to see what happens and B) when they miss a roll, right? So, if they're all making moves, you'd just respond if they fail, and as the fiction dictates, but don't worry about enforcing an arbitrary move-turn order.

3) What are they seizing? If they are seizing something, sure, you use the move there.

4) I'm not sure here; book isn't in front of me. My gut says you just make your MC move as normal, which might be damage might not.

5) Everything is a move. ;) But that's not what you meant. When you spend hold for leadership, it just happens (you don't roll)... but it can certainly snowball into other moves or involve a move if it fits in the fiction. Like, if you spend a hold to have y'r guys go in and make an advance, and you say you're leading from the front... you may have to dodge some bullets.

Maybe this helped some? I hope!
- Alex

Re: Some questions about moves and combat
« Reply #2 on: December 19, 2012, 11:03:25 AM »
Maybe its good to re-state that "firing a gun" is not a move. It totally depends on the circumstances whether it triggers seize by force, go aggro or even no roll at all. Its much more important to find out what the player tries to achieve to find out what move to choose then to find out his action.

Before you call for a roll ask more questions.

It also depends on the "zoom level" you want to apply to the scene. A gang shootout could be handled with a single seize-by-force plus some help/hinder rolls. But the same scene - when you think its more important - could be handled by several moves of go aggro, act under fire, seize etc ... all the moves snowball.

Re: Some questions about moves and combat
« Reply #3 on: December 19, 2012, 11:14:38 AM »
When you say that the raider are opening up, your players are all going to say things -- exclaiming at the circumstance, and narrating how their characters are responding.  Some, maybe all, of those will involve a move.  They can all make a move, but they might not.  In a case like that, they probably all will.  Even if they're all diving into cover, you're likely going to call that acting under fire, right?  

You will not make a MC move for each of those.  If the players look to you to say something, then you'll make a move.  If the players roll a 6- on a move that doesn't list a specific result, then you'll make a move.  If the player offers you "the perfect opportunity on a golden plate," then  too, you'll make a move.

In the case where they're all shooting back, I've found it pretty rare that all the PCs in a game are in the same place at the same time and on the same side.  It's usually wildly more nuanced than that.  And if that's how things are generally rolling, it means you're not using PC-NPC-PC triangles effectively enough to drive wedges between them, so step up your game (I need to do that better, too).  But let's say this is one of those cases and they're all opening up.  It would be awkward to have them all roll to seize by force.  I suppose the way I'd do it is let the first person to speak up make the move and the others might help (or maybe interfere) based on their narrations.  Or I might make the PCs a gang and use the rules for that.  Or maybe both.  If there's anything left after that first seize, and the change in the fiction that comes out of it then maybe another of them will make that (or another) move.  And like you said, just exchanging harm might feel like the best application of  the rules; if they all say their shooting back, and they're looking to you to say something, instead of calling for a roll, you can just say, "OK, everyone takes two harm, your enemies are lying in a giant blood-slick, make the harm moves..." and go on.

On a failed seize by force you make an MC move.  If the most logical thing is that everyone takes harm, as established, do that.  If the tactical situation in the fiction calls for something else, do that.  If you can justify some other outcome and want to bring that in, instead, go for it.

The consumption of e.g. leadership hold will often coincide with a PC's move, but not always.  It might instead, direct what MC move you make.  If the hardholder wants to spend one hold on his away-team's hard advance in the face of withering fire, maybe he's not there to make the move himself, so you just decide that they're doing it (he did roll and get the hold, after all) and you assign harm to all sides as the fiction demands.  Or maybe she spends the hold to tell her normally undisciplined gang not to eat the survivors' skin and you figure it doesn't require a manipulate or pack alpha or whatever roll.  But the use of those hold might well make a move on the PC's part possible that wouldn't have otherwise been available.  It all depends on the fiction as established.

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noclue

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Re: Some questions about moves and combat
« Reply #4 on: December 19, 2012, 11:36:43 AM »
When I say something like "the raiders draw their weapons and fire at you, what do you do ?", I have all of my PC starting to talk at the same time, all of them wanting to make a move. Can they all make a move ?
That's totally up to you, depending upon how you phrase things. "The raiders draw their weapons and start firing at you. There's shots going off everywhere. This big guy ducks behind this rusty Chevy, blasting away with an A-K, while most the other guys hunker down in some trees. Balls, there's shots zinging by you from the Chevy while this one crazy-eyed motherfucker is just charging right at you with a machete. Balls, what do you do?"

Quote
If yes, do I have to make a MC move after everyone of them, or only after they all made their move ?
Balls: "I pull my .44 and just blow that guy away!"
MC: "Okay, but that's going to leave you open to the A-K..." (Put character in a spot)

If you focus on one character this issue tends to disappear.


Quote
If the latter, as I have to make a (direct) MC move for a failed PC move, do I have to make multiple moves if some fail their roll, but only one if they succeed ? How do I handle this ?
make a move that follows from the fiction. Deal with one thing at a time. If two people are acting together ask who's acting and who's aiding.

Quote
If they all simply answer something like "I shoot back", do they have a move to make or we simply trade harm for harm ? they all want to make a "seize by force" move to inflict terrible damage and take little damage...
your call again. Do the 7-9 results fit the scene? If they're just blasting away, you can put your dudes in the crosshairs and just off the NPCs. You can trade harm. If the PCs are in the open you may deal harm as established. Make moves that follow from the fiction and stick to your principles and agenda.

Quote
Does a failed "seize by force" move still includes harm for both sides ?
maybe? Your move.
James R.

    "There is a principle which is a bar against all information, which is proof against all arguments and which can not fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance-that principle is contempt prior to investigation."
     --HERBERT SPENCER

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noclue

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Re: Some questions about moves and combat
« Reply #5 on: December 19, 2012, 11:37:07 AM »
Browser problems. Nm
James R.

    "There is a principle which is a bar against all information, which is proof against all arguments and which can not fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance-that principle is contempt prior to investigation."
     --HERBERT SPENCER

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noclue

  • 609
Re: Some questions about moves and combat
« Reply #6 on: December 19, 2012, 08:54:55 PM »
- Do the holds granted by the leadership move of the hardholder or the indomitable move of the touchstone count as moves when used ? If they are used against enemy fire, is it legit to ask a "act under fire" roll ?
Yes, they're moves. No don't require an Act under fire to use them. The Leadership choices are all things that can only happen under fire. Fire is assumed.

Instead, ask them if they're leading from the front or are they hiding behind cover while their men fight and die for them. Make sure the gang reacts to these kind of choices too. They're a threat. The Hardholder takes them for granted at his risk.
James R.

    "There is a principle which is a bar against all information, which is proof against all arguments and which can not fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance-that principle is contempt prior to investigation."
     --HERBERT SPENCER

Re: Some questions about moves and combat
« Reply #7 on: December 19, 2012, 10:55:17 PM »
Here's a really helpful resource for someone approaching AW from a "D&D" viewpoint:

http://www.dungeon-world.com/dungeon-world-guide/

It's written for Dungeon World, but the advice applies just the same to Apocalypse World.

Re: Some questions about moves and combat
« Reply #8 on: December 20, 2012, 04:13:06 AM »
Thank you all for your answers. They are helping a lot.

2) Oh, no - you only make MC moves A) when they look to you to see what happens and B) when they miss a roll, right? So, if they're all making moves, you'd just respond if they fail, and as the fiction dictates, but don't worry about enforcing an arbitrary move-turn order.
But the thing is, everytime a PC make a roll, they look at the MC to know what happens, that's how the game works...

3) What are they seizing? If they are seizing something, sure, you use the move there.
If I ask them, they answer something like "i'm seizing the life of the raiders" or "i'm seizing the moment" (example written in rulebook !)... the kind of magic answer which always works, but seems a little too easy.

Re: Some questions about moves and combat
« Reply #9 on: December 20, 2012, 06:24:31 AM »
Thank you all for your answers. They are helping a lot.

2) Oh, no - you only make MC moves A) when they look to you to see what happens and B) when they miss a roll, right? So, if they're all making moves, you'd just respond if they fail, and as the fiction dictates, but don't worry about enforcing an arbitrary move-turn order.
But the thing is, everytime a PC make a roll, they look at the MC to know what happens, that's how the game works...
I think that's meant to be when there is a lull in the conversation. There are moments when a player's actions have concluded and everybody looks to you to hear what happens next. That's when you would make a move. I'm fond of asking questions like crazy at those moments.

If I ask them, they answer something like "i'm seizing the life of the raiders" or "i'm seizing the moment" (example written in rulebook !)... the kind of magic answer which always works, but seems a little too easy.
There's nothing saying you have to listen to the player's. Just because they quote the names of the moves doesn't necessarily mean that's the move they make.
For example, if Tum Tum has a shotgun levelled at Brad's Chopper and Brad says "I want to seize his life by throwing my machete into his neck!" then you can say "That sounds more like you're acting under fire, why don't you roll+cool."
Or another example would be Brad levels his Chopper's shotgun at Tum Tum and says "I want him to do what I say, I seize the moment!" and you say "That sounds more like you're trying to manipulate him, and the stakes are his life. Roll+hot."
Looking for a playbook? Check out my page!
http://nerdwerds.blogspot.com/2012/12/all-of-playbooks.html

Re: Some questions about moves and combat
« Reply #10 on: December 20, 2012, 08:28:31 AM »
But the thing is, everytime a PC make a roll, they look at the MC to know what happens, that's how the game works...

Say what the rules say.

Each move tells you exactly what happens when the roll is 7-9 or 10+. They should look at them, not at you, for what happens next. In those case, you're there to help them figure out what actually happens in the context of your game, usually by asking them questions. Lots of them. Also, ask them before the roll to give the situation a good context. You'll see it helps you figure out which move to make when and how.

"So, you're behind the rusted car debris, bullets sparking around you, pinned down... what do you do?
-I'll take their position by force!
-Cool! How do you do that?
-I guess I'll exchange fire then run towards them like a madman so they run away.
-How do you figure it'll work? There's five of them and only one of you, and they have cover too.
-Well, all they have is a bunch of puny pistols and I have a bitchin' machine gun! Also, I'm the gunlugger and I'm NOT TO BE FUCKED WITH.
-Cool! Yeah, that should do, roll for it, +hard.
-8! Let's say I inflict a lot of harm and take definitive hold of their position.
-Cool! How so?
-Let's say I wait for them to reload their six shots? And I jump over my cover and I'm all like "AAARGH!" like Ahnold in Commando, and I run toward them like a mad rhinoceros blasting my machine gun?
-...and let's say one or two of them aren't reloading and you take one or two small caliber bullets, for 4-harm, before they run away like chumps?
-Good for me! How's the rules for gang-vs-gang harm go again? Because I'm totally counting like a small gang here."

Re: Some questions about moves and combat
« Reply #11 on: December 20, 2012, 10:16:34 AM »
If I ask them, they answer something like "i'm seizing the life of the raiders" or "i'm seizing the moment" (example written in rulebook !)... the kind of magic answer which always works, but seems a little too easy.

If players state just a move name I ask them "cool, how do you do that?" to ground the move in the fiction. When they answer that you will have a better feeling if this is really the move they called and what to do on a miss.

EDIT: if I had read carefully what gregpogor had posted I might have considered posting this - its pretty much the same advice.
« Last Edit: December 20, 2012, 10:51:16 AM by CoveredInFish »

Re: Some questions about moves and combat
« Reply #12 on: December 20, 2012, 12:03:55 PM »
Thank you all, I will try all that.

Re: Some questions about moves and combat
« Reply #13 on: January 02, 2013, 08:21:35 PM »
Okay, i'm back after some sessions of play, and i'm still in trouble handling combat.

Let say this situation :
"So, you're behind the rusted car debris, bullets sparking around you, pinned down... what do you do?
- I shoot back with my rifle and kill them !"
What do I answer ?

a. Ask for a seize by force roll, because he is seizing the life of his ennemies.
b. Ask for a act under fire roll, because he is totally under fire.
c. Trade harm for harm, because the player is looking at me to say something, and that seems to be a golden opportunity for this action.

Every answer seems to fit the rules, so I dont' know which one to choose... Any help ?

(And happy apocalyptic new year !)

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lumpley

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Re: Some questions about moves and combat
« Reply #14 on: January 02, 2013, 08:36:01 PM »
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