(Slightly) more detailed review

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(Slightly) more detailed review
« on: March 05, 2014, 12:29:27 AM »
I've gone through the rules and playbooks a few times now, and started making some notes. I'll post my thoughts about the Rules document first, and then the playbooks probably on Thursday.

Basic mechanics
It's been said elsewhere on this forum, but +1/-1 forward isn't particularly exciting. It is, however, very easy to remember and calculate, and keep the bonus from becoming overpowering.

Helping is very powerful in this formulation, and I like that it emerges directly from the narrative. It would be really interesting if someone invited to help could "betray" as well, though.

Harm & Fates, as said many times, are incredibly cool. For the final game, more detailed rules for how healing can help -- given that medicine is pretty much "clean it and pray" -- would be nice, but are probably not essential.

Bounty & Want are going to ultimately require some clarifying language. They make sense to people familiar with other AW games, but their scope and permanence, in both narrative and game-mechanical sense, might benefit from being made more explicit.

There's a reference to "each 10%" when talking about Holdings diminishing and increasing. Does this mean "every 10% of the original total" or "10% relative to the last recorded value"? ie, 500 reducing to 450 obviously triggers this. Does the next trigger happen at 400 or 405? Small difference, but it may eventually matter.

Several people have said that the Stats could use renaming, and I'm of two minds about it. On the one hand, they do smack of core AW. On the other, I'm sure people in the Dark Ages were referred to as hot, cool, and sharp, and certainly the weird/wyrd connection can't be topped.

Claim Your Right is a great move, and it reminds me of Throwing an Insult in SotI. I have a feeling it's going to result in a lot of dispute in meatspace and online. Who decides what you have a right to? Can you claim a right even if you don't have one? If so, what differentiates a just claim from a spurious one, other than lucky dice?

The timing of choices in Go Into Battle is great. Obviously, the precise order of the options in the final draft will result in battles feeling different. For example, if you move Impress/Frighten/Dismay up in the order, it becomes a more "powerful" option, and improve the value of psychological warfare.

I'm not certain what is meant by "drawing someone out." Is the same move used for analysing an opponent from across a battle line (I patiently observe Korig's movements by watching his army, and try to ascertain his strategy) as for getting to know someone in conversation? If so, it Hot the right stat for both of these moves?

Common Knowledge is, in general, great. It's incredibly efficient at conveying just the right amount of setting.

When it comes to inheritance, is it intentional that none of the three systems is, eg, gender-neutral primogeniture?

The bits on religion are also efficient and colourful. I like that none of the religious systems is depicted as monolithic.

The tech section is excellent, again conveying just the right amount of detail. It could perhaps use a brief discussion of languages, trade-tongues, and literacy. Also on the topic of trade, some discussion of coinage might be useful, even in vague terms.

The map is, of course, a classic AW touch. I'm a little concerned about how to depict some of the Interests, though. How am I supposed to draw "a subsidy from the ambitious and dissatisfied," for example?

Monster and Dragon rules are simple and evocative. I'm a little perplexed about how it will work if a Dragon is unable to consider the Herald as an enemy, though, especially if ignoring the Herald is also not an option. I worry that the Herald will just bully the Dragon into slavery by saying "if you don't obey me, it will make you my enemy."

That's what I've got for now!

Re: (Slightly) more detailed review
« Reply #1 on: March 05, 2014, 02:16:47 AM »
Quote
The map is, of course, a classic AW touch. I'm a little concerned about how to depict some of the Interests, though. How am I supposed to draw "a subsidy from the ambitious and dissatisfied," for example?

Make an arrow to the thing and write it on the arrow?

Re: (Slightly) more detailed review
« Reply #2 on: March 06, 2014, 08:00:48 AM »
Monster and Dragon rules are simple and evocative. I'm a little perplexed about how it will work if a Dragon is unable to consider the Herald as an enemy, though, especially if ignoring the Herald is also not an option. I worry that the Herald will just bully the Dragon into slavery by saying "if you don't obey me, it will make you my enemy."

"It is unfortunate you will consider me your enemy, for that I am not. I will come to you again tomorrow when your head has had time to cool; I have a family line to end."

Re: (Slightly) more detailed review
« Reply #3 on: March 08, 2014, 06:27:37 PM »
The Dragon Herald

Dragon Heralds' rank options are great. I like that they can be either the highest- or lowest-born. Very colourful.

The oaths are generally interesting, though "see them home" lacks the bite of the others. I suppose it's up to the players to make that really mean something, and it will probably work best with the Outlaw Heir.

I really enjoy the Frenzy move. I can see that being incredibly disruptive to the poor jerks it's used against.

I like the Sight. I think it's very creepy, and I find the questions really compelling.

All of the Followers options are cool. I particularly like the Foremost/Notables section. I think these options are a clear refinement of the cults and gangs in AW, and I am going tos tart "back-adapting" them.

I am a little confused about the population values in the Interests and Ventures section. Where are those people, exactly?

The Outlaw Heir

These Oaths are great. It really hits the different potential relationships there.

Moves are good. Beautiful & Doomed is the real standout, because its trigger is so simple, and the consequences are so significant, particularly because it uses Hot, which isn't one of the OH's best. As it reads, it's ambiguous as to whether the "Someones" can be all the same person, or if they must be different. My gut is that it makes more sense if it's at least permissible that they all be the same.

I like how Supporters start in the mechanics, but can only be added to in the fiction.

Does the OH roll for Fortunes even if they have not yet reclaimed their holdings?

The Troll-Killer

Interesting that Cool is the TK's best stat! I suspect that's going to be a bit dissonant for people who gravitate to it as a "combat class", but I think it has the potential to reward clever players, especially along with Honed Instincts.

Commanding Presence is a potent move. Is it usable against PCs as well as NPCs?

Reputation is great, and will allow both the TK player and the GM to spread lore about the setting.

The TK's equipment list is a curiosity. I think I'll have to see it in play before I have any real comments.

I love the Associations. It's great that in a good season, they all can help out, but when times are hard, they are hard for everyone, and the whole dang world needs a Troll-Killer all of a sudden.

The War-Herald

These are maybe my favourite Oaths, because of the way they imply status.

Wolfpack is a complex move, but a nice evolution of the equivalent Chopper move. It's clear, given the relative simplicity of the other moves, that a lot of the WH's play is meant to revolve around their little war-band, which puts them in a very clear and dangerous position. I also like the threat generated by defiant lieutenants...

The war-band of 12-16 warriors could use a little more clarity. I understand from what else I've seen here that it's a low-muster/normal muster, but it suggests that the total value is somewhere in between those two figures.

I think the Suffering table is maybe a little confusing, because of the 0-harm line. Is that to be read that if they take harm, but it's reduced to zero, then they have a few incidental injuries? What is their Fate/Suffering if they have not even risked harm?

Are Cavalry and Shield Wall mutually exclusive? I can see how a war-band might be trained in both, but it seems like one couldn't use both tactics simultaneously.

Similar confusion here as before with Interests and Ventures. Where exactly do the 180 population from investment in overland trade and furs go?

Wicker-Wise

I love this name. I think it implies all the right qualities, along with the fact that Wicker sounds like Wicked.

Of all the Distinctive Features, I think the WW has the best ones, particularly since they tend to extremes. That said, since "beautiful" is in there, perhaps "extremely ugly" ought to be as well.

Great Oaths. They are simple, and they make clear what the WW's traditional place in society is.

The Moves also really cement the WW's place in the social order. A WW doesn't have a lot of power in direct confrontation, but with +2 Hot to start, and Charms, and then using either Poisoner, Regal Air, or Wise in Counsel, I can see a WW quickly accumulating favours.

Charms and Ceremonies are great. They feel like a very stripped-down version of Spells from Ars Magica. I like how blood sacrifice is pretty close to a given for anything that needs to be done urgently, but that there's no pressure on choosing a source.

The Love charm might be a bit too potent, though I suppose its short duration balances that out. It's also potentially a bit triggery.

The Healing charm: presumably this heals someone to "I will see another sun rise" or keeps them there for one more day if they were already there, preventing them from getting any worse. It has no power on anyone less-hurt?

I love the Shrines. I have a feeling that I'm going to see "Among standing stones" and "In a sacred grove" checked off more than the others.