Custom move: (Culture) Shock

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Custom move: (Culture) Shock
« on: May 03, 2014, 04:41:06 AM »
When you try to adjust to culture shock, roll+something (see below). On 13+, you were born for it. On 10+, hold 1. On 7-9, hold 3. On a miss, hold 3 in addition to the other bad stuff that happens.

You spend your hold when you:
- decline to perform a related action
- take -1 when rolling for something related
- act under fire when doing related stuff

If you have trouble spending your hold, MC will help you.

This is arguably more a template than a real move. Concrete examples:

If someone convinces you that humans are fundamentally good and trustworthy, roll+Sharp. Spend hold by e.g.
- refusing to help the pitiful refugees
- doing something for the common good? - act under fire

If you start believing that Pugsbreath is a god, roll+Weird. Spend hold by e.g.
- preventing Pugsbreath from slaying infidels with his godly thunderstick
- taking -1 when converting others to the faith (custom move)

If you declare unconditional love for Wanton, roll+Hot. Spend the hold by:
- insulting his mother
- acting under fire when trying to impress him

If you suddenly have to believe in magic, roll+Cool. Spend your hold by:
- walking away from the sword in the stone
- taking -1 when operating the Wand of Purification
- acting under fire when in the presence of obvious magic

If you are faced with aliens, roll+Sharp or Weird, depending on the kind of aliens we are talking here. Spend your hold by:
- trying to pull the mask off the biggest alien
- taking -1 when dodging their invisible heat rays

Note that in these examples, the ways to spend hold are also only examples, not an exhaustive list to choose from.

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As If

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Re: Custom move: (Culture) Shock
« Reply #1 on: May 03, 2014, 04:44:23 AM »
I LOVE this as a general idea (especially for "Apocalypse:Emergence" or other "Fallout"-type scenarios), but I'm a little less convinced by the way the holds are handled.  Maybe you should just give the holds to the MC?

Re: Custom move: (Culture) Shock
« Reply #2 on: May 03, 2014, 07:43:54 AM »

Why make this into a move? What is the benefit, versus seeing how the character reacts to these things organically? I don't roll to decide how my Gunlugger feels about killing people, or what she thinks about the Hocus' cult, or what she thinks makes for a good community; those are things I'm interested in finding out through play. Is this different somehow than those things?

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As If

  • 142
Re: Custom move: (Culture) Shock
« Reply #3 on: May 03, 2014, 09:59:57 AM »
Dunno about those specific applications, but I do like the idea for a Fallout-type scenario.  The goal there would be to slow players down a bit, make them "appreciate" how weird the world around them is compared to what they expected, rather than just letting them charge ahead like lifelong Apoc Worlders or Murder Hobos.

Re: Custom move: (Culture) Shock
« Reply #4 on: May 03, 2014, 04:13:34 PM »
... I'm a little less convinced by the way the holds are handled.  Maybe you should just give the holds to the MC?

You could, if that works better for your group. For us, I will definitely go with players being the primary drivers for their characters, with suggestions from the rest of the table, and the threat of MC "helping" there mostly just to motivate the players not to sit on their holds indefinitely.

Re: Custom move: (Culture) Shock
« Reply #5 on: May 03, 2014, 04:55:49 PM »

Why make this into a move? What is the benefit, versus seeing how the character reacts to these things organically? I don't roll to decide how my Gunlugger feels about killing people, or what she thinks about the Hocus' cult, or what she thinks makes for a good community; those are things I'm interested in finding out through play. Is this different somehow than those things?

These examples make it seem like the move is about controlling what the characters think or feel about something. That is emphatically not the point here.

Our game has seen a couple of occasions where a player or the MC has had some inspiration that - while valuable and in the end contributing to the overall story - has been introduced with such jarring, "culture-shocking" suddenness that it has directly conflicted with the agenda of "making it feel real".

Yes, these situations could be avoided if the player took a bit more time to introduce their idea, using foreshadowing and some tasty hints, but at times that can be really difficult, or the player has some trouble with the whole concept of pacing.

At the same time I really cannot see an AW MC blocking these contributions.

Thus I am now going to see whether a judicious and limited application of this custom move could turn something that has been difficult into something that is fun for everyone.

Re: Custom move: (Culture) Shock
« Reply #6 on: May 04, 2014, 07:51:36 AM »
I... don't really understand how the scenario you describe relates to the moves you listed, either in the general or specific forms. Could you give an example of the sort of contribution you mean, and a move specifically for that situation? (I mean, you don't have to; I'm just confused as to what it is you're trying to deal with, and how you feel a move would help.)

To me the general move seems too nebulous, and the specific moves are entirely about character belief (but you suggest that is just a sort of accident, not the goal). If it is clear to the player and/or MC that the PC is totally not able to wrap their head around some new cultural element, why not just use Act Under Fire?

MC: 'The strange people in gas masks offer you the warm heart of their dead comrade to eat... if you want to try to eat it, that's probably Act Under Fire?'
Player: 'No way, I'm totally into it, it's just like I always wished things were!' OR 'Yeah, I am totally freaking out here, but I want to make a good impression!' OR 'Forget this, these guys are barbarians, I refuse.' Depending on how physiologically difficult eating this heart seems to be, the MC could still ask for a roll even if the character has the first reaction, but either way it's about what the character actually does in response.

Like, that sounds like an interesting thing for the player, to see how they react -- and then once they decide how to react, that helps guide what kind of rolls (if any) are necessary. But these example moves seem to want to decide for the player, how it is their character might react, which seems to be missing a pretty big part of what makes playing in the post-apocalyptic setting interesting.


Re: Custom move: (Culture) Shock
« Reply #7 on: May 09, 2014, 06:35:02 AM »
Hey Daniel, what an excellent example. Disgusting, but excellent, and I appreciate the effort that went into it.

I see your example and the ways you suggest to manage the player responses as completely valid. But, given a reasonably-civilized Vault-dweller, suddenly eagerly turning into a cannibal, I would still highlight this major discontinuity with the "Culture Shock" move.

In the end, the player responses can be exactly the same whichever way you play, and we might end up rolling "Acting under fire" with the custom move as well. Thus it is quite fair to state that this custom move is unnecessary - but only if you do not feel the need to draw additional attention to a specific world-changing event.