Failed Open Your Brain

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Failed Open Your Brain
« on: May 06, 2013, 03:03:54 AM »
Recently, I MCed my 2nd session of AW. The PCs got into a firefight with a guy holed up in an 18-wheeler cab they were trying to, um, acquire from him. We've got a pretty Weird bunch, so at one point, someone decided they'd open their brain and it went kind of interestingly (they got some vague hints about an unrelated Threat for their trouble). That was the first time we'd done it, so we talked a lot about the nature of the Malestrom, etc.

Because it went interestingly, two other (of the 4) PCs decided they, too, wanted to open up... and both rolled misses. Since it's the second session, they haven't bumped directly into most of the Threats (though, at least one in each Front, so far), so I don't have a lot of stuff that would make sense in a, "Well, Jojo and her biker gang roll out of nowhere. They must have heard the gunshots and decided it sounded like their kinda mayhem," sort of way. And with the Maelstrom, there's no harm establish to deal out...

Basically, I'm looking at these moves and trying to figure out what makes sense from a misdirection standpoint. I feel like the ones that make the most sense are, like, "Put someone in a spot", "Take away their stuff", "Activate their stuff's downside" (maybe), "Tell them the possible consequences and ask" (maybe), "Offer an opportunity, with or without a cost", "Turn their move back on them", or some threat move. In the case above, I wanted to make at least a medium-hard move (I'm still calibrating what's hard, so I don't know how strong I can hit, yet, but that's just an experience thing).

What I ended up doing was taking one PC's stuff away (hands go completely numb, drop your gun, freak out for a while) and turned the move back on the other PC by asking a bunch of questions. The latter didn't feel nearly as hard as I'd've liked.

AND, after the session, one of the players brought this up specifically. Basically, saying he wanted opening your brain to really have consequences to disinsentivize people from being like, "I open my brain, I buy a drink, I open my brain, I take a stroll, I open my brain, I gaze at the clouds, I open my brain" and never have bad things happen. While I think that's a sort of ad absurdem example (eventually, we'd all get bored and I'd roll out a super hard move no matter my temperament). But his idea was that, like, if you fail your roll+Weird, it would be entirely reasonable for the MC to just nod and be like, "OK. Well, sucks for you." and not say anything more until later when the PC gets back to the hold and finds out their house burned down. In the fiction, no causal relationship to the Maelstrom, but something bad did happen.

Also, in the case of turning the move back, I have a flavor question: If you turn the move around and ask the player a bunch of questions and something comes out, like, "Oh shit. Yeah, I'm totally terrified of snakes. Worst thing I can imagine would be to be buried in them. Can't stand to even be near one, but a ton would be panic attack city." In order for that to be a hard move, that should totally come up again. Do I need to tell myself that, off screen, Harridan the (little h) hardholder got a text from the Maelstrom with that piece of data and so, at some later date, can use it, or is it enough for me to know it and, later, have Harridan just happen to use snakes as a threat against that particular PC?

Re: Failed Open Your Brain
« Reply #1 on: May 06, 2013, 05:35:32 PM »
Remember when you ask questions: other characters can access that information too now! My favourite example of this was the Obamapocalypse were the Maelstrom was Alex Jones radio show and opening your brain meant tuning it in and sometimes calling in. A player was having a tense shootout inside some house he tried to burgle and opened his brain to try see where exactly his foes had taken cover.

Alex Jones: Seems we have a caller on the line.
Caller: Hey Alex! I have listened to your show for 40 years and I'm a huge fan but now there is some asshole burglarizing at [address] just wanted to let you know.
Alex Jones: See! This is the truth today. People try to break and enter anothers home violating his property and right to privacy! IM SO GOD DAMN SICK OF IT! I urge any freedom lovers left in this county to go out and deal with this evil-doer at once!