Custom Move: When You Enter a New Settlement-

  • 8 Replies
Custom Move: When You Enter a New Settlement-
« on: August 11, 2014, 01:04:12 AM »
Hey gang.

Made up a new custom move that I have yet to implement in my game.  The idea is to create history with a place the players never visited before, but the characters may potentially have.

Looking for feedback and/or suggestions.

When you arrive to a new settlement, ask the character "Have you been here before?"  If no, then there's no history, no ties.  Yet.
If yes, get the player to name an important NPC in town.  Roll +Hot and pick one.

-They are still in love with you.
-They owe you a favor.
-They are easily intimidated by you.
-You had an agreeable business arrangement.

-You left them in a bind.
-You went back on a deal.
-Skipped out with something of value.
-Broke their heart.
-Made them a lot of promises, never delivered.
-Owe them a big favor.

You left them broken, beaten, betrayed, humiliated, and/or you killed someone they love.

Re: Custom Move: When You Enter a New Settlement-
« Reply #1 on: August 11, 2014, 08:34:54 AM »
I think it's really interesting, and it's a good way to get around the "okay, we're in a new place, what do we do" awkwardness that comes up when you visit new hardholds in game.

My main suggestion is to try to differentiate the 7-9 outcomes from the fail outcome. A 7-9 is still a "success", but to me some of those options are just more specific ways to say the failure outcome. If I was a player and I rolled a 7-9, I wouldn't interpret those options as succeeding on the roll.

One thing I like to do when I'm making custom moves, (and you can feel free to disregard it if it doesn't fit your MCing style), is to make 10+ give more concrete rewards in addition to the "narrative" rewards a weak hit gives. So, you could have those 10+ outcomes be the options for any time someone succeeds on the roll, but have 10+ options where the player gets experience for learning a thing or two about themselves, or history with another character, or 1-barter, or a fun little trinket.

That's just my feedback though, so feel free to take it or leave it, of course!

Re: Custom Move: When You Enter a New Settlement-
« Reply #2 on: August 11, 2014, 05:10:04 PM »
I hear you.  Make it rewarding.  Hmm...

For the move, yeah I was intending to make things interesting, and create a history to the settlement and the people therein.  For the 10+  I was going to give a reward through gameplay - a sense of being connected to someone positively, which would work out to certain benefits in game play, and a feeling of creating to the world as they detail those connections. 

But for the 7-9, yeah I'm treating it more as a failure than a success.  I like that the 7-9 creates the problems (as I had set down), but not sure what kind of benefit would be included.  Maybe throw in a +1 forward when dealing with those people?  And just put a +1 forward for any situation in the settlement on the 10+? 



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Re: Custom Move: When You Enter a New Settlement-
« Reply #3 on: August 11, 2014, 06:22:35 PM »
There are a couple of different patterns you can use here.  For what it's worth, even the basic moves vary in this regard.  For instance, on act under fire you only have a full, unqualified, complication-free success on a 10+, whereas when seizing by force, a 7-9 result is still pretty damn good.  So I don't think it's too drastic to complicate the players' lives on a partial.

If you want to make it more flexible, how about:

When you return to a settlement which your character has visited before but which has not yet previously come up in-game, roll+Hot.  On a 10+ hold 3, on a 7-9 you and the MC each hold 1.  On a miss the MC holds 3.  Any time you encounter a new NPC in that settlement, you may spend your hold 1-for-1 to take +1forward with them - they like you, owe you a small favor, or maybe just remember you fondly.  The MC can similarly spend hold 1-for-1 at any time to give you -1forward with a new NPC - they dislike you, you wronged them, or they remember you being an asshole.

You will note the focus of this is a little bit different, in that it preserves "The Line" between the MC's responsibilities (creating the world, populating it with believable NPCs and making it seem real) with the players' responsibilities (acting on their outlooks, indicating how the world has reacted to them in the past, and how they themselves are reacting to the world in the present) more clearly.  But if you have players who are hip to it, maybe giving them the responsibility of leaping forth with named NPCs of their own is cool.

Re: Custom Move: When You Enter a New Settlement-
« Reply #4 on: August 12, 2014, 12:21:48 PM »
I like this version of the move Munin. I'd probably make sure that any time a player uses his/her hold that he/she explains how she knows them. And of course as an MC you would want to ask "Why does ___ dislike you?" when spending your hold.



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Re: Custom Move: When You Enter a New Settlement-
« Reply #5 on: August 12, 2014, 01:37:07 PM »
Yes, absolutely.  This move is in some sense an excuse to ask the players lots of leading questions.  :)

Re: Custom Move: When You Enter a New Settlement-
« Reply #6 on: August 12, 2014, 09:25:52 PM »
I'm thinking I like Munin's move the more I think about it.  I like taking the holds. 

What I originally wanted to do, however, was pre-create the settlement with NPCs.  That way, when the players wanted to do something, they would know ahead of time who to go to, or who had that thing they wanted. 

"Gunlugger wants to get a grenade launcher? Well shit, Dremmer is the guy to see, and well, you broke his heart..."

Maybe a move that creates a way to pre-create NPCs in the settlement, and use the "get a hold, spend a hold" system. 

Move:  When the character returns to a settlement that the players have yet to visit ingame:  Name an important NPC in town, and roll +Hot.

10+ Player holds 3.  7-9 Player holds 1, MC holds 1. [or each hold 2?] Fail: MC holds 3.

At any time in (or around) the Settlment, the player can spend the hold to gain a +1 forward when that named NPC is involved.  Or spend the hold to have that NPC arrive suddenly, to help out the PC.
The MC can likewise spend the holds to give -1 forward to the PC when that NPC is involved, or spend 1 hold to have that NPC arrive suddenly unfavorably to the PC.



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Re: Custom Move: When You Enter a New Settlement-
« Reply #7 on: August 13, 2014, 12:09:54 AM »
Having the NPC "arrive suddenly to be helpful/unhelpful to the PC" is pretty vague.  What constitutes "help" and how far does it go?  How much authorship do you want to give them?  If the PCs get into a bind, can one of them just drop a hold and say, "Um, Rolfball shows up in his tank.  Yeah.  And with his entire gang, too."  Also, as written now, each player is naming one NPC in the settlement - do they have to spend all of their hold on that character?  How does that work if someone knocks it out of the park and holds 3?  Might they not want to spread it around?

Also, when you say "pre-create the settlement," do you mean that you (as the MC) already know which NPCs are present and what their various roles and relationships are?  If so, I don't think you need to do anything more than follow the MC principles and honestly answer their questions.

To take your example, say the players roll into a new settlement.  They variously roll+Hot, some of them have hold, some of them give the MC hold, some a little of both.  When it comes time for the Gunlugger to get a new bang-bang, the player is going to ask, "hey, where can a guy get a decent gun in this shit-hole?"  And you'll say, "Oh, yeah, you know that Dremmer is the guy you want to talk to.  He's got a bunker full of guns and ammo right on the edge of town."  And it's entirely possible that one of them (say the Operator) might spend a hold right then and there and say, "Ah, Dremmer, right.  I did that guy a solid last time I was in town. We're cool.  C'mon, we'll go see him and I'll set you up."  This is your golden opportunity as an MC to follow this where it leads by asking probing questions: "OK, what was the nature of your work with Dremmer last time you were here?"

You might occasionally want to be a kind MC and remind them if they have hold to spend when you introduce a new NPC.  You can even ask them temptingly - "anyone want to spend a hold to be on ol' Dremmer's good side?"

But if none of them bite, maybe when they jander into Dremmer's Bunker O' Guns (tm) you drop one of your MC hold - meaning Dremmer's going to look up from the counter at one of them and say, "You again?!?  What the fuck do you want?  And before you say a single word, know that if you come anywhere near Maggie, I will cut you."

And if one of your players doesn't drop a hold right then and there at the first mention of her name to get +1 with Maggie, then I question their dedication to causing trouble.  ;)

You can also use a hold system like this to link the players into the "existing" politics of the settlement organically.  Which NPC(s) in town hates Dremmer?  Maybe Keeler, the local black-marketeer.  So when you first introduce Keeler on-screen, just cut to the chase, drop one of your hold and have her say, "I hear you've been getting pretty cozy with Dremmer.  You might wanna watch that.  You wouldn't want to get tarred with guilt by association, wouldja?"  And then explain the nature of the negative association - "Yeah, that work you did for Dremmer a while back?  Keeler came out on the losing end of it.  She's not 100% sure you were responsible, but she obviously has her suspicions."

Or turn it around on them.  "You walk into the joint and Keeler, the local black-marketeer is giving you the stink-eye.  What did you do to piss her off?"
« Last Edit: August 13, 2014, 12:15:34 AM by Munin »



  • 417
Re: Custom Move: When You Enter a New Settlement-
« Reply #8 on: August 13, 2014, 12:32:21 AM »
On the topic of allowing players to come up with NPCs, I can go either way.  Technically speaking, peopling the setting with believable NPCs is part of "making Apocalypse World feel real," and is one of the major responsibilities of the MC.  If the players are coming up with NPCs, that's you abdicating your responsibility - that's not necessarily bad, you just need to be aware of what it means.

The other thing to consider is that if players have authorship over certain NPCs, that has ramifications for putting those NPCs in your cross-hairs.  If the fiction flows such that the NPC that a player introduced gets brutally rubbed out, that's a little bit harder pill to swallow than if someone the MC came up with gets ganked.

Even if you take the simple step of coming up with the name first, maybe giving a super-brief description, and then allowing the player to fill in some details of the relationship, you still retain primary authorship over the character.  "So there's this guy, Hampton. Big dude, always quiet, missing an eye. He's standing outside your door. What does he want?"

Is this making sense?