Custom moves

  • 11 Replies
Custom moves
« on: June 08, 2013, 06:25:03 AM »
Okay, so we ran our first session, and I just got done writing up fronts. Here are two custom moves I made.

I Wish I Was An Only Child
When you try to stop the Twins from getting into mischief, roll+sharp. On a 10+, you head them off before they can get up to any serious trouble. On 7-9, you catch them in the act. On a miss, the damage has been done, and you don’t find out about it until it’s too late.

Ghostly Exorcisms
When you exercise a ghost, Roll+Weird. On a 10+, it’s gone for good, never to be heard from again. On a 7-9, it’s banished to the depth of the psychic maelstrom, but can still come back, maybe. On a miss, the MC makes a hard move; additionally, if it wasn’t already haunting you, the ghost takes it upon itself to personally haunt you.

Re: Custom moves
« Reply #1 on: June 11, 2013, 11:13:10 AM »
OOh, I may steal that exorcism.  I wrote these moves for my current PbP game:

Origin & Use of Ghost Tech

Gasoline evaporates over time.  Cars and bikes and generators were bolluxed. 

When you open your mind to the maelstrom, you can see human-like shapes  of energy and mist and what-the-heck-was-that out of the corner of your eye.

Eventually, some sick fucker realized that you could put those ghosts into a motor and bleed them dry.  Engines powered by ghost tech scream when they’re firing.  A substantial ghost will give you about a month’s worth of juice in a bike, two weeks in a car, or a couple days powering a modest-sized holding.

Some of the ghosts are tougher than others, we’re not sure why.  Maybe they were murdered or maybe they were just badasses in real life.  Luckily they can’t touch you unless your mind is open to the maelstrom.

When a ghost fucks with you, roll+weird.  On a 10+, pick two.  On a 7-9, pick one:
> You don’t take spectral harm (ap)
> You deal it 1+weird harm (ap)
> You shut down your connection to the maelstrom.[/li][/list]
On a miss, it deals harm and you’re still connected to the maelstrom.

When you try to trap a ghost in a haunt box, roll+weird.  On a 10+, pick all three. On a 7-9, pick one:
> You capture the ghost
> You don’t attract any attention
> You don’t get hurt
On a miss, your haunt box is empty, the ghost is mad, and every angry specter in the neighborhood knows where you’re at.

When you install a haunt box, roll+weird.  On a miss, you fuck it up and fry the ghost.  On a 7-9, you install it correctly. On a 10+, you install it correctly and optimize the engine; pick one:
> The ghost lasts twice as long as usual.
> The ghost is muffled and doesn’t scream.
> The engine can be turbocharged (take +1 on a related roll but the engine will die shortly)

I'm still getting some feedback on them from the players so if anyone has ideas, let me know.  I've got a couple ghost threats coming together too.

Re: Custom moves
« Reply #2 on: July 25, 2013, 04:45:13 PM »
When I asked my players what kind of Apocalypse World, they said they live underground to avoid the mutants and contaminated fog out on the surface.  Mostly, the fog and the mutants will be dangerous because of how they affect the other people in the hardhold (as Affliction threats), but I do want the characters to eventually encounter the mutants and the fog directly.  So, here are my custom moves for the mutants and the fog.


The caves beneath the hardhold are a Landscape (Breeding Pit).  Their impulse is to disgorge something (mutants).  The fog outside the hardhold is a Landscape (Maze).  It's impulse is to trap, and frustrate passage.  To do this, it will often present a guardian (mutant).

Most true mutants are Brutes (Hunting Pack).  Their impulse is to victimize anyone vulnerable, and their favorite move is to burst out in uncoordinated, undirected violence.  Mox is a Grotesque (Mutant) instead.  His impulse is to crave restitution and recompense, and he will make all kinds of tricky moves.  There may be other grotesque mutants like Mox.

Most mutants have 1-armor, and do 2-harm.
Huge mutants have 2-armor, and do 3-harm (+S harm).  A huge true mutant counts as a gang (3-harm small 2-armor).  A gang of mutants that includes a huge mutant counts as one size larger than normal.[/b]

When you see a mutant for the first time in play, the MC will ask you if it is really your first time seeing a mutant.  If it is, mark experience, and you are acting under fire for the rest of this interaction with the mutant (or mutants).

When you read, seduce, or manipulate a mutant, roll+weird, instead of +sharp or +hot.

When you suffer harm from a mutant, do the harm move as usual.  On a 10+, the MC can choose this instead of their usual choices:
-You are bitten and infected.  Mark one segment of your mutation clock (If you don't already have a mutation clock, start one, and mark it to 3:00).

If you have sex with a mutant, or eat their flesh, mark one segment of your mutation clock (If you don't already have a mutation clock, start one, and mark it to 3:00).

The Fog

When you act in the fog, roll+sharp.
On a 10+ you do it.
On a 7-9, your vision is impaired.  The MC can offer you a worse outcome, hard bargain, or ugly choice.
On a miss, you are blind.  The MC can make any hard and direct move, such as put you in a spot, inflict harm, separate you, take your stuff, etc.

When a PC is exposed to the fog without a mask, roll+weird. 
On a 10+, you are dizzy and nauseous, you cough up a little blood, but you recover.
On a 7-9, choose 1:
-You crave human flesh.  The MC holds 1, and can spend their hold to make you eat human flesh.  If you do, mark experience.  If you don't, you're acting under fire. 
-You are hallucinating.  The MC holds 1, and can spend their hold to make you hallucinate.  If you react to the hallucination, mark experience.  If you don't, you're acting under fire. 
-You are contagious.  The MC holds 1, and can spend their hold to pass your contagion to anyone you touch, as though they were exposed to the fog. 
-You have persistent chronic pain.  Take -1 forward until you either get some meds, or eat human flesh. 
-You develop a physical mutation, which is slight and easily concealable, for now.  Mark one segment of your mutation clock (If you don't already have a mutation clock, start one, and mark it to 3:00).
On a miss, choose one anyway, and mark one segment of your mutation clock (If you don't already have a mutation clock, start one, and mark it to 3:00).

If an NPC is exposed to the fog, infected by a mutant or if Doc Boo opens their brains to the psychic maelstrom, the MC chooses any or all:
They visibly transform into a true mutant (change threat type to Brute or Grotesque)
They secretly develop a hidden mutation (change threat type to Affliction or Grotesque)
They aggressively pursue their threat impulse.  Make a hard and direct move on their behalf.

Mutation Clock:
Choose one:  Lumpy, veiny, discolored, peeling, scaly, oozing.
3:00    Small patch of skin, easily concealable.
6:00     Patch of skin, easily concealable.
9:00     Spreading patch of skin, odd number of toes, concealable with effort.
10:00   Visibly mutated, odd number of fingers, roll+hot to conceal.  MC holds 1. 
11:00   Visibly mutated, odd number of eyes.  Not concealable.  MC holds 2.
12:00   You are a true mutant. 
The MC can spend their hold to make you eat human flesh or hallucinate (if you do it, mark experience, if you don't, you're acting under fire), or infect someone by touch.  At 10:00 and later, if you have sex with, or bite another character, they are exposed to the fog.  The Angel can heal mutation harm as regular harm, and can restore a true mutant as reviving a someone from death.

And then there is the fighting pit in the hardhold.

Fighting Pit
When you enter the fighting pit, roll+hot.
On a 10+, choose 3:
On a 7-9, choose 1:
-Someone in the crowd throws you a weapon (2-harm hand).
-Someone in the crowd distracts your opponent, take +1 forward.
-Someone in the crowd bets on you.  If you win, they will give you 1-barter.  If you lose, they will demand 1-barter.
-Someone in the crowd (you choose who) is impressed or frightened.  Take +1 forward with them when you come out of the pit.
-If you win, you are absolved of a crime or debt.
-You will not be punished for losing.
“Someone” means a named NPC.

If you fight in the fighting pit, and lose, or if you use a gun in the fighting pit, choose one:

Re: Custom moves
« Reply #3 on: July 27, 2013, 12:29:06 AM »

Cool deal. The first move (keeping the twins out of trouble) seems troublesome to me, though, because it operates at a nebulous level of scope in the fiction. When is this move used, and what triggers it? Is it a beginning of session move, for a PC who is generally-tasked with taking care of these Twins? Is it an in-fiction move, on the same level as a basic move?

And if the latter, why is it so abstract? What sort of conversation precedes it, on your part? "The Twins are, uh... maybe getting into trouble now. What do you do?"

It seems to me that any situation where the Twins are actually getting into trouble, right now, you are going to want a much more fine-grained move -- and probably in fact anything the PCs do about it is going to be covered by a basic move or another move they already have, because it's going to be a very specific, concrete situation. I.e. "You see the Twins playing with Rolf's grenade launcher, what do you do?" or "You hear the Twins on the other side of the wall, they sound like they're arguing about how best to light a horse on fire, what do you do?" or etc. You're never going to have a situation where you as MC present 'the twins getting into trouble' without being specific about what they are actually doing, because that's really not how AW conversations tend to work.

Some possible fixes/improvements: turn it into a session move, so the trigger is instead 'If the Twins are your responsibility this week...' or 'If you've been looking after the Twins...' That way it's obvious when to use it, and it fits well with the move's current design as a sort of situation-generating move on par with Moonlighting or the like.

Alternately, the move could be about the consequences of interfering with whatever the Twins are up to. Something like 'if you intervene to try and keep the Twins out of trouble...' or 'if you ruin the Twins' fun...' -- these would be about social consequences or repercussions (from the Twins themselves, from their parents if any, from others who want to take care of them, etc.)

But generally making a roll to just deal with 'generic kids getting into mischief' doesn't seem to fit the game very well, to me, unless for some reason that's not something you ever want to actually examine in detail. And in that case, a session move probably makes more sense.

Re: Custom moves
« Reply #4 on: July 27, 2013, 04:05:00 PM »
Thanks for the advice. The Twins are the Chopper's drug-addicted, violence-loving teenage sisters. We're currently 5 sessions into our campaign, and while the Twins have very much gotten themselves into trouble (their involvement with a local hedonism cult set of a chain reaction that lead to the leadership of the holding being dead and the Brainer stepping up as the new hardholder), the move has never actually been invoked, mainly because the Chopper's reaction to her sister's exploits has been more along the lines of "I'm going to go shoot [npc] in the face so she doesn't endanger my sisters anymore", rather than "I  just want to keep my sisters out of trouble". I agree that the move as written was too abstract, and decided to rewrite it to be a session move.

Re: Custom moves
« Reply #5 on: July 28, 2013, 03:05:03 AM »
When you read, seduce, or manipulate a mutant, roll+weird, instead of +sharp or +hot.

I like this move (but I'm a sucker for Weird characters, so I might be biased). It makes me imagine a Mutant-hunter Brainer, or maybe even a Hocus whose cult worships the Mutants, maybe as wrathful angels. It would make a high-Weird character almost a must, and opens up alternatives for how to do those Playbooks.



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Re: Custom moves
« Reply #6 on: December 11, 2013, 05:04:48 PM »
I am wondering whether someone can help me with custom move for mutant NPC. Generally she is car-gang boss, called Mustang (go figure), and she has third eye - literally.
So I decided to give her some kind of mind-control powers. And now I wonder how exactly custom move for that should work:

When Mustang uses her Third Eye on you, you roll +Weird.
On 10+ you are unmoved. On 7-9 MC keeps 1, if you lose he keeps 3.

When Mustang wants something from you, MC can spend 1 to make you do it. If you don't do it - you act under pressure.

This is how I went about it. But now I get feeling, that this move is a bit weak. The character basically has two opportunities to oppose it. First when rolling Weird, then rolling Cool. Should I add additional incentive in form of check, or go about this in different way?

Re: Custom moves
« Reply #7 on: December 11, 2013, 06:19:03 PM »
Personally, I'd probably handle it as a single roll: When Mustang uses her Third Eye on you, you're Acting Under Fire to not do as she tells you, except you roll Weird instead of Cool.

Re: Custom moves
« Reply #8 on: December 13, 2013, 07:28:13 AM »
I had this move in my own game, for the mysterious Weird npc called Blue Eyes.

When you encounter Blue Eyes, roll+weird. On a hit you mark experience, if you do as he wishes. On a 10+, you are also incapable of committing physical violence against him for the encounter. On a 7-9, you take -2 to your roll if you attempt physical violence against him. On a miss he has no hold over you, and you may do as you please.

This would be rolled any time a character encountered Blue Eyes. We also ended up deciding that seeing him through a sniper rifle's scope would probably also count as an encounter.

In another game, in a world covered in dust with strange creatures moving in the wasteland beyond the hold's walls, I had the following moves:

If you try to travel the Dust in the standard manner, roll +cool or +hard.
If you roll +cool, you may have to take the long way around.
If you roll +hard, the Dust may get into your shit.
On a 10+ choose 3:
On a 7-9 choose 2:
•  with cool: you don't have to take the long way around;
    with hard: the Dust doesn't get into your shit
•  you find something valuable or useful on the way
•  you don't meet a representative of the Dust
•  you observe representatives of the Dust from a distance

If you try to travel the Dust in a straight line, shooting anything that moves, roll +size of your group (+1 for small, +2 for medium, so on).
On a 10+ choose 3:
On a 7-9 choose 2:
•  nobody dies from travel hazards along the way
•  the representatives of the Dust stay at a distance
•  and they don't follow you to your destination
•  you meet other travelers along the way, in peace
If the group consists solely of PCs, somebody may get injured, rather than die, along the way.

If you open your mind and travel in harmony with the Dust, roll +weird.
On a 10+ choose 3:
On a 7-9 choose 1:
•  you reach your destination with a minimum of time and energy
•  you meet a representative of the Dust, in peace
•  you lose your humanity for a while
•  you bring something with you

Every third time the jeep is used, the GM gets to make a hard move.

Re: Custom moves
« Reply #9 on: December 13, 2013, 10:18:05 AM »
Every third time the jeep is used, the GM gets to make a hard move.

Most of your moves are dope, but this one seems kind of weak.
The concept of a "hard move" isn't really player-facing, and I'd much rather just give the Jeep some tags, and use the normal soft->hard move flow.

They use the jeep, give them a small sign of some problem.
They use the jeep again, it gets worse.
They use the jeep yet again, it breaks or whatever bad thing happens.

You could even make it a three-segment clock.
But as it is, it seems arbitrary, detached from the fiction, and not in line with other move structure.

- Alex

Re: Custom moves
« Reply #10 on: December 13, 2013, 11:15:57 AM »
The move isn't really sexy, I agree. But I wouldn't call it weak. It accomplished exactly what it was meant to do.

The jeep was solely a mode of transport, and specifically allowed the players to bypass the "Travelling" moves. It was a short-cut so to speak. As such the players generally wouldn't use any moves when using the jeep, and thus would not fail any moves, giving me no leverage to use any tags the jeep might have.

I also kinda like it for its weirdness, in that it wasn't detached from the fiction. It was established in the fiction, that the jeep was eerily reliable, in that it would always work without problems for two trips, and would break down or cause mischief on every third trip. That was an in-universe fact.

Re: Custom moves
« Reply #11 on: December 13, 2013, 01:25:28 PM »
Alrighty! That makes a lot more sense, then.