Monster of the Week hack, call for readers/playtesters

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Monster of the Week hack, call for readers/playtesters
« on: December 07, 2010, 06:25:58 PM »
I've got a minimal, but playable, version of my Monster of the Week hack now. I'd like a few people to have a look and (hopefully) playtest it as well.

It's all about monster slaying in a world pretty much like this one, but with monsters  and magic. Emphasis is on action-horror. The main inspiration comes from stuff like Supernatural and Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

If that sounds fun, drop me a PM or reply and I'll hook you up with a copy.

Re: Monster of the Week hack, call for readers/playtesters
« Reply #1 on: December 07, 2010, 09:57:32 PM »
Recently, I started watching Buffy again, from S1E1.
I'm now at S5E17.

I feel pretty primed to tackle Monster of the Week.

I can guarantee a read-through and feedback, but probably can't playtest.

Why not just post a PDF publicly?

Re: Monster of the Week hack, call for readers/playtesters
« Reply #2 on: December 07, 2010, 11:54:46 PM »
I find that just posting a pdf and asking for feedback hasn't usually worked very well for me. I hope that by making it that little bit more effort to get, and starting a conversation, there'll be more constructive comment to work with.

Joe, for sure I'll send you a copy to look at. Hopefully it will spark a few ideas for you the way your work on monsterhearts has for me.

Re: Monster of the Week hack, call for readers/playtesters
« Reply #3 on: December 08, 2010, 03:34:55 PM »
I'll take a look, dude.

Re: Monster of the Week hack, call for readers/playtesters
« Reply #4 on: December 08, 2010, 04:20:43 PM »
I'd love to look through it; I haven't watched any Supernatural, but I love Buffy and Fringe.

Re: Monster of the Week hack, call for readers/playtesters
« Reply #5 on: December 13, 2010, 01:24:02 AM »
Hey Mike,

I just had a thought. Tell me if this is cool to you:

Keeper Threats:

Troublesome Relationships

Doomed Love: Impulse - to make two people hurt
Forbidden Friendship: Impulse - to keep two people apart
Love and Hate: Impulse - to keep two people off balance
Unwilling Allies: Impulse - to keep two people together

Keeper moves for Troublesome Relationships

Keep them apart
Force them together
Introduce an obstacle
A secret is revealed
Interrupt or intervene
A message is lost or garbled
There are personal implications
...

Personal Tragedy

Wanted: Impulse - to keep someone on the move
Doomed: Impulse - to destroy all hope
Haunted: Impulse - to stop someone moving on
Special: Impulse - to keep someone isolated

Keeper moves for Personal Tragedy

Something comes back from the past
Separate them
They learn a terrible secret
They are singled out
There are personal implications
...

And maybe "Raison D'ĂȘtre" for whole teams of people. You detail these and give them countdown clocks and custom moves just like other threats.

Re: Monster of the Week hack, call for readers/playtesters
« Reply #6 on: December 13, 2010, 03:16:10 AM »
That's pretty hot, Simon. Clicks in nicely with some of my other thoughts. Will talk more before AW tomorrow.

Re: Monster of the Week hack, call for readers/playtesters
« Reply #7 on: February 13, 2011, 12:18:36 AM »
For anyone watching, a new playtest draft can be found at: http://genericgames.co.nz/downloads/Monster%20of%20the%20Week%20playtest%20draft%20Feb%202011.pdf

Thanks to Jonathan Walton's Festival of Flawless Victory for getting me motivated to revise!

Re: Monster of the Week hack, call for readers/playtesters
« Reply #8 on: March 15, 2011, 04:42:41 PM »
Hi Mike,

I ran Monster of the Week for Jenni and the Tuesday night crew last night.

Here are the top four things I noticed:
  • the Spooky lacks a history section
  • the game could really benefit from a cheat sheet to create Mysteries
  • I got the pacing of the game completely wrong
  • there may be a possible new Move for sneaking around and impersonating people.


Character selection took a little bit of time. Svend and Celeste, I'd be interested in your thoughts in particular about what would have made it easier for you to choose the character type you wanted to play.

I made up a Mystery connected to Celeste's Ghost' s origins - a ritual sacrifice had been conducted in Denver, Colorado similar to how Celeste's ghost had been killed in the 1930s.

What I find about Mystery creation is that not all of the moves for each type of threat apply to a particular monster: I like to customise it a little. What I would like is a single sheet listing all the broad types of threats (monster, bystander, etc). I would like blank spaces, so I can write and the exact type of threat and its impulse, and then I would like a list of all of the moves associated with that type of threat (so I can cross out the ones that don't apply).

I figure if I had a sheet like that, I could whip up a Mystery in about two or three minutes (which would be great for a one shot).

Much like I did with Monsterhearts, I added specific moves related to each character. For instance, for the Spooky (who selected 'The Sight' option) I wrote down 'show him spirits' and 'make the spirits fascinated by him'. A space for that on this Mystery sheet would be great. In fact, adding that all the standard Keeper moves at the bottom of this sheet would also be useful in stock

A minor thing I noticed is that most of the playbooks need Looks.

In play there was a lot of Supernatural inspired impersonation of police officers. In general I used the Manipulate move for that; I probably could have also used Act under Pressure. I read once that Moves are methods for resolving conflict in a particular genre. I'm not sure that sneaking and impersonating resolve conflicts - they seem more like ways of extracting information, but I think it's worth looking out for a way of handling this because I think people are going to ask to do it, and having some mechanical crunch might be quite cool.

Some tips on pacing the game would probably be good. In hindsight, the way I paced the game was more like an actual episode of Supernatural. In the 2 1/2 hours we played I set up a lot of character scenes, the players to do some investigating, and there was an attack by minions. Really, though, it felt like we had gotten up to the first commercial break of an episode of Supernatural.

When I play it again, I am going to have to be very mindful of keeping the pressure on. Any tips on how to do that, on how to compress the intensity of one of these shows into a two or three hour session, would be gratefully appreciated.

Here's what I really like about the game:
  • the archetypes are great (I really miss the tough guy, this simple straight ahead brawler; in fact, maybe call it The Brawler)
  • Mystery creation is really fast and effective
  • it communicates the genre very well.


When we play it next time, I will focus on pacing and gaining confidence with running combats (I haven't done that with the Apocalypse World system before), and actually felt a little nervous about it. I guess advice on running combats would be good too.

Hope that's useful!

Re: Monster of the Week hack, call for readers/playtesters
« Reply #9 on: March 15, 2011, 04:51:09 PM »
Oh! re: pacing ... what if the Monster had a countdown clock? The clock could be advanced by investigative moves, but also could give a rough framework to the Monster's plan.

The sections of the clock could be pretty generic (but customisable if the Keeper wanted to make things more specific): 'Isolate next victim', 'Attack the investigators', 'Fulfil its plan'.

Re: Monster of the Week hack, call for readers/playtesters
« Reply #10 on: March 15, 2011, 05:25:37 PM »
Thanks for the feedback, Steve. I like your ideas about structuring the mystery.

It sounds like you handled disguises just like I would have - manipulate and act under pressure should cover all the conflicts that impersonating officials are going to spawn.

I kind of miss the straight up tough guy too, but that playbook got folded into the Wronged. Look there for your (relatively) simple brawler.

The other stuff is good too, but no thoughts on it all yet.

Re: Monster of the Week hack, call for readers/playtesters
« Reply #11 on: March 16, 2011, 09:38:15 PM »
Svend mentioned something at the end of the game, too. He asked what the definition of Hot was; he suggested that in this genre, it might not be purely about good looks - that, for instance, Stephen Fry might be considered Hot in the Monster of the Week genre, because he's so damn charismatic, charming and listen-to-able.

Re: Monster of the Week hack, call for readers/playtesters
« Reply #12 on: March 16, 2011, 09:56:05 PM »
Re: Hot. That is absolutely correct.

Re: Monster of the Week hack, call for readers/playtesters
« Reply #13 on: May 12, 2011, 01:33:45 AM »
There's now a much more solid playtest draft of Monster of the Week available. I know that it works, because two groups that do not involve me are playing, and having fun.

Anyone interested in taking a look or playing, please send me a PM with your email and I'll send you an invite the the dropbox folder with all the playtest documents.

Re: Monster of the Week hack, call for readers/playtesters
« Reply #14 on: June 06, 2011, 05:50:11 PM »
Just a bump to let people with access know there is a major new revision now available in the dropbox folder. I am thinking of this as a beta version, although not quite ready for the public yet.

Any interested people, drop me a PM with your email and I'll give you access to the draft.