Why is there no "what do I know about X?" move?

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Ry

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Why is there no "what do I know about X?" move?
« on: January 11, 2011, 11:55:12 AM »
So this seems like a pretty natural move - something comes up in play / an NPC mentions he's from the Salt Flats out east, and the players ask "What do I know about the Salt Flats?"

Obviously there are guidelines - the MC barfs forth, makes the world seem real, announces future badness but misdirects, whatever. 

But I was curious why it wasn't an actual move, since it seems like you could make a chart like

When a player character uses their noodle, roll +sharp.
On a 10+, you know one, on 7-9, both.
- You've heard something more than its name and basic description.
- What you've heard is from a reliable source.
On a miss, the GM tells you something that you believe is a hard fact. 

I assume it has to do with player autonomy over their characters' brains, or player/character disconnect on the miss, but it also seems like it would pull play along so I was wondering why the downside outweighed the upside. 

Re: Why is there no "what do I know about X?" move?
« Reply #1 on: January 11, 2011, 03:10:44 PM »
I think my somewhat glib answer would be as you alluded that there *are* moves for this, they're just the MC's instead of the players' :) I feel like the "pull play along" can be accomplished pretty well by responding with MC moves guided by the principles, being part of a prepped front/threat, or whatever.

On the other hand, it would be a way to a) emphasize sharp as a representation of what your character knows, rather than just relying on what makes stuff not-boring, which may be a direction you want to go, and b) to prod the MC into doing more than "Oh, well, they're, um, salty, and flat, and they're over there".

I'd view the "b)" up there as potentially more useful, but perhaps not necessary for everyone. I'd see that as a way to prompt the MC "hey, I care about this thing enough to want more than what you're giving me". I'm not sure that's necessary (again, I think the principles/agenda/moves point the MC towards figuring out what players want more of and delivering in interesting and unexpected ways) but it would be explicit.

Oh, and I just realized that the opportunity to give the MC permission to spread falsehoods on a miss might be pretty awesome, so I lied, I think that's probably the most interesting/valuable aspect of a move like that :)

Re: Why is there no "what do I know about X?" move?
« Reply #2 on: January 11, 2011, 03:28:33 PM »
Honesty.  In a move like that, the PC gets false information on a miss, and it's not really an easy thing to write it so that's not the case.  That doesn't generally happen with read a sitch and read a person.  In AW you can pretty much trust whatever the MC tells you, and there isn't much that asks you to separate character knowledge from player knowledge. 
« Last Edit: January 11, 2011, 03:34:26 PM by Michael Loy »

Re: Why is there no "what do I know about X?" move?
« Reply #3 on: January 11, 2011, 03:40:46 PM »
That's a good point.  But since this is in blood & guts, you could hack the game to remove the principle of honesty.  In which case, I'd prefer the MC roll in secret "for" the player when they use that move.  Or maybe when the player misses, it opens up a one-use MC move to be saved for later allowing the MC to lie about something else.  Or something.

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lumpley

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Re: Why is there no "what do I know about X?" move?
« Reply #4 on: January 11, 2011, 04:05:16 PM »
That move exists in Storming the Wizard's Tower, which is where the other two sharp moves come from. I dunno why it didn't come over, except that for Apocalypse World as MC I expect to either answer them outright (barfing forth) or else say that they've never heard of it before.

Quote
What can I know about this?
Whenever your character might already know something about something, or might be able to find out about something by consulting a map or other source of information, you roll your arcane (including dice for a map, if you’re using one). Count up your hits and tell the GM.
• For your first hit, your character has or gets an impression. The GM will tell you what your character’s impression is.
• For each additional hit, your character knows or learns a true, concrete detail. The GM will tell you what the details are.

It’s always the GM’s call whether you get to make this roll, but if you think you should get to make it, say so.

GM, use your knowledge of the adventure, its backstory and its monsters, to create your answers. Your monster writeups in particular are full of information that’ll be useful to the players. When a player makes one of these rolls, hold in mind the nature of the map the character’s using (including none) and consider all the information you have to share. Choose information that suits the map, then give it to the player in a form the map would use.

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lumpley

  • 1293
Re: Why is there no "what do I know about X?" move?
« Reply #5 on: January 11, 2011, 04:07:19 PM »
Oh wait, looking at it again, that move DID make it over. You just roll+weird instead of roll+sharp.

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Ry

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Re: Why is there no "what do I know about X?" move?
« Reply #6 on: January 11, 2011, 04:50:54 PM »
That makes me really think about the apocalypse. 

Like, the world is so psychically screwed that "do I remember that map in my uncle's cabin" has now become "open your mind to the psychic maelstrom" ... ?

Re: Why is there no "what do I know about X?" move?
« Reply #7 on: February 26, 2011, 09:44:04 PM »
Maybe the salt flats is a sitch, and they're reading it, even! There's a few ways it could go down.

Re: Why is there no "what do I know about X?" move?
« Reply #8 on: March 10, 2011, 09:12:37 AM »
Sounds like a character move for a missing type - the character that studies the past.  Hmmm I've been thinking about playbooks unlocked from moves - conditions in the world based on character actions.  It would be cool as a condition of long term surplus if a playbook were made available that is a archivist/scientist type.  I think I'm working on that playbook now. :)
-Don

Re: Why is there no "what do I know about X?" move?
« Reply #9 on: March 14, 2011, 11:15:08 AM »
Don, I've seen a couple of skinners with "history" as their art. It only makes it be a thing where you're more like a sexy librarian / storyteller rather than, like, a nerd.

Although I like to think that what's lost is lost and cannot be recaptured.

Re: Why is there no "what do I know about X?" move?
« Reply #10 on: March 28, 2011, 10:08:20 AM »
I'd follow my MC principals and turn the question back:
"Good question, what do you know about the salt flats? Hey, what do each of you know about the salt flats? What was it like out there last time, and what were you doing out there anyway?"

Or you could take the Skinner move "Lost", and name as your target that piece of info.