Balancing the weird and the mundane

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Balancing the weird and the mundane
« on: February 14, 2013, 07:03:41 PM »
I've been thinking a bit about the balance between the weirdness of Apocalypse World and the agenda to make the world and the people in it seem real. I have sometimes felt as though the balance has tipped too far one way or the other -- some campaigns have felt as though they were populated by nothing but thoroughly broken people, corrupted beyond relatability by the psychic maelstrom, whereas others have been too focused on the day-to-day realities of a ruined world, with little room for the weird and fantastic stuff that also has a place in the setting. How do you balance realness and relatability with weirdness and the palpable influence of the maelstrom?



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Re: Balancing the weird and the mundane
« Reply #1 on: February 15, 2013, 10:50:53 AM »
I see a difference between making Apocalypse World seem real and making it seem realistic. When I watch Star Wars, it seems real to me, even though it's not realistic in any sense. I don't have a problem with weird stuff and broken people in AW, as long as motivations and behaviors make sense.
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."

Re: Balancing the weird and the mundane
« Reply #2 on: February 15, 2013, 01:47:28 PM »
I think the heart of making the world seem real has two parts:

1) Crazy things just need to be consistent and follow some sort of understandable rule, no matter how far out there they get (And they get really far out there in AW sometimes, but don't have to).

But much more important:
2) Characters behave and feel real. Make real choices for real reasons.

The movie Promethius is a perfect example of this gone wrong. You can argue about the aliens and their motivations and technology in this movie, but what is totally broken in it is the baffling behavior of the characters. Nothing will explain why the characters in that film make the choices they do. It simply doesn't feel like real human behavior.

Re: Balancing the weird and the mundane
« Reply #3 on: February 17, 2013, 10:23:29 PM »
I've always thought the Weirdness to be a slider based on player choices.

If no one chooses a Weird playbook, and no one uses open your brain, then I tend not to push the Weirdness very much, since the moves and fiction won't touch on Weird.

If everyone chooses Weird and uses open your brain, then there is plenty of opportunity to insert Weirdness in your questions and in Hard moves.