introducing the Red Shirt

  • 4 Replies
introducing the Red Shirt
« on: November 28, 2014, 07:08:13 AM »
I had this idea in the middle of the last game I played - when one of my characters got killed while I was retiring another character and suddenly had nothing to play
consider this a rough draft, comments and criticism welcome

To create your Red Shirt, choose name, look, stats, moves, gear and Hx.

Branson, Carlisle, Chilton, Dern, Haskell, Hawk, Hendorff, Kaplan, Leslie, Mallory, Marple, Monroe, Nell, Rizzo, Tasha, Thompson

Male, Female, Ambiguous, Hidden, or Transgressing
Display wear, scrounge biker wear, showy wear, casual wear, or vintage wear
Rugged face, sweet face, severe face, weathered face, or strong face
Dazed eyes, cold eyes, calm eyes, narrow eyes, or wide eyes
Compact body, wiry body, sturdy body, stout body, or fir body

Choose one set:
? 0=Cool, +1 Hard, +1 Hot, +1 Sharp, -1 Weird
? +1 Cool, +1 Hard, 0=Hot, +1 Sharp, -1 Weird
? 0=Cool, +1 Hard, 0=Hot, +1 Sharp, 0=Weird
? 0=Cool, +1 Hard, -1 Hot, +1 Sharp, +1 Weird

You get all the basic moves. You get Follower and Respawn, then choose another Red Shirt move.

You get:
? oddments worth 1-barter
? one common firearm (see list on p.421)
? fashion suitable to your look, including at your option a piece worth 1-armor (you detail)

Everyone introduces their characters by name, look, and outlook. Take your turn.
List the other character's names.
Go around again for Hx. On your turn, choose both:
? You follow one of them. Tell that player Hx+3 and their HX with you will never rise or fall from that number.
? You don't trust one of them. Tell that player Hx-1.
Tell everybody else Hx+1, everybody knows who you work for.

On the other players's turns:
? Ignore the number the one you follow tells you and write Hx+3 next to the character’s name instead.
? For everybody else, write whatever number they tell you next to their character’s name.

Follower: you start as a member of another character's gang or crew, subject to their approval. Your role within the gang or crew should be defined between you and the other player. They are your leader. At the start of the session you can declare one of the gang's vulnerable tags as inactive, and the MC is not allowed to use that tag during a hard move unless you fail a roll and it makes sense to use the tag against you. The player you follow can make any start of session moves at +1forward as if you rolled HX and hit 10+, only your presence as a follower is needed for this. If there are no gangs or crews for you to join at the start of a game, then you can join the first gang or crew that another player gets without needing to justify how or why.

Respawn: your Harm clock only has 4 segments and you can't take debilities, but if you die you can return as part of the same gang or crew with a new Name, Look, Outlook and all of the same Stats and Moves. You respawn with zero barter and one common weapon, NOT a firearm (p.241) If you were not part of another player's gang or crew, you cannot Respawn.

Pack Beta: when your leader misses a Pack Alpha roll, you can intercept the bid to replace them. Roll+hard. On a hit, you can take the brunt of whatever attack might be coming at them. On a 10+, take +1forward or -1 to your harm move, whichever is more appropriate.

Number One: when your leader makes a roll+hard move that involves hold, they hold +1.

Miracle Worker: if your leader has a workspace, you count as a crew all by yourself. Any time they use their workspace, the MC can't pick more than 3 requirements for a project but can still string all 3 together with "and."

I am the cavalry: when your leader goes to 10 o'clock harm or higher you can arrive on the scene immediately, without any clear explanation why, by their side or in an advantageous position, your choice.

Backup planning: when your leader rolls moonlighting, they get +1juggling. If they don't have moonlighting then you give it to them, pick a job from the list and tell them they have +1juggling with it, if they pick up up moonlighting later then they get +2juggling instead.

The Burdens We Carry: when you read a situation, you can always ask "who is going to move against _*_ next?" even on a miss.
_*_ is always the name of your leader.
Looking for a playbook? Check out my page!



  • 415
Re: introducing the Red Shirt
« Reply #1 on: November 28, 2014, 07:37:25 PM »
Honestly, I like the concept. A playbook that lets someone play a minion type of character that dies gloriously and hilariously is a pretty cool concept. Redshirts are suppose to /die/ which this playbook doesnt really address. You come back as someone else... whoop-dee-doo, you do that ANYWAY. I think you need to grab hold of this and make death part of their moves trigger.

You have an NPC harm clock, you're expandable.

Death's Herald: At the beginning of the session roll+weird. On a hit, you gain 1 hold. You or the MC may spend that hold to have you show up on scene whenever someone suffers a serious injury, and you die suffering that injury in their stead. On a 10+ you're still alive and fighting after the hit, but choose part of your body that's disabled, crippled or otherwise permanently fucked up. On a miss, the MC gains 1 hold, and can spend that hold at any time to have you show up in a scene to die in a horrible way that announces badness to the rest of the group.

(basically a heroically lethal bonefeel)

All the moves in the above playbook are useless without other characters with leadership moves. That's very gamey, as you'll be useless unless someone has the single move you modify... Also, these moves take away from the coolness of the other classes. Things going wrong are just as hot as things going right, unbalancing that isn't playbook worthy. That said the concept could be cool. Instead of looking to change the other playbooks, why dont you actually embrace the red shirt trope. Give the character things to DO to make that type of character come to life and be cool. For example:

Heroic: when you're guarding someone nearby who isn't in someone's else's control, you suffer all damage they suffer, instead of them. tell the MC how.

Helper: whenever you aid another character, you do so as if you rolled a 10+.

Inglorious Death: Whenever you die, roll+weird and do something crazy cool or fun, like give someone +2 forward. OR. Whenever your redshirt reincarnates into another redshirt, roll+weird and add something from a list to the playbook for awhile.

Follower: Whenever you fight in a gang and that gang suffers harm, you suffer the brunt of it.

Sacrificial Lamb: Whenever the going gets tough and your group needs to to get the hell out of dodge, name their escape route and roll+weird. On a 10+ you all get out and you're only a little beatup/shootup/rattled. On a 7–9, they all get out but you die making sure of it. On a miss, well shit, you tried.



  • 415
Re: introducing the Red Shirt
« Reply #2 on: November 28, 2014, 07:52:58 PM »
Additional thoughts. As part of the character creation part of the playbook, you should include a large list of qualities that can be like choose three, and they somewhat create a quickly character concept. Like...

a bunch of adjectives. one legged, one armed, grizzled, yellowtoothed, limpy, smoker, mean, violent, savage, drug addled, whatever. Might include a positive, negative, and descriptive quality list and choose one from each or something simple.

I'd also do something neat with the special, like it triggers whenever you and another character becomes friends or have a real and characterizing personal exchange.... they get an experience point.

Also, I'd say whenever they die they get an experience point. >_>

Maybe in turn have another automatic move that triggers whenever they survive a session... like they give someone else a +1 or -1 forward to their next beginning of the session move; call it like... karma. You want to balance the many hundreads of times this kenny character is going to die while maintaining at least some of the emotional realities of a life ending. So at the same time as you balance the character's death cycles, you need to give some tangable reward for not dying that makes the player be cool with either.

The concept risks a player never getting into a groove because they're always someone new. Maybe the playbook in a many-child-household where they just keep bouncing between seconds cousins and nephews, so that exchanges with the "family" are residual between characters. Dunno, but it needs to be considered.

Re: introducing the Red Shirt
« Reply #3 on: November 28, 2014, 08:47:50 PM »
Cool suggestions Ebok! I appreciate the feedback, and you're right, it is a bit too gamey as is. I wrote it up while looking at the core playbooks that start with followers (hardholder, chopper, hocus, savyhead, angel-potentially).
I might not get to work on this again until Sunday, but I wanted to get the idea out there so people could rip it apart.
Looking for a playbook? Check out my page!

Re: introducing the Red Shirt
« Reply #4 on: December 14, 2014, 04:47:35 PM »
I'd like to see more of this concept, fleshed-out as more of it's own character than a prop for leader types. My favorite aspects of your first version are respawn and I am the cavalry, I'd like to see those (or a variation on them) make it to the final version.

I know that Monsterhearts is only loosely similar to Apocalypse World in terms of how the characters get connected via stats (i.e. Hx vs Strings), but this reminded me of the playbook The Mortal, which I think shows some similarities in that both they and the Redshirt get power by becoming vulnerable. There's some other moves from that game that might work for a Redshirt as well. I just copy/pasted all the Mortal's moves here for convenience, but I think something similar to Mess With Me, Mess With Him and Sympathy is My Weapon could work well in keeping a dependent character, but adding a little more of their own self outside of the leader.

Mortal Moves - You get this one, and choose two more: True Love You always have exactly one lover. The first is chosen during your backstory. If you ever fall in love with someone else instead, give them a String and they become your new lover. You always carry 1 forward to earning your lover’s heart or fancy.

Mess With Me, Mess With Him When you use your lover’s name as a threat, add 2 to your roll to shut someone down or hold steady. Your lover gains a String on you. Sympathy is My Weapon Every time you forgive someone for hurting you, and excuse their base nature, take a String on them. Excuses Are My Armour When you ignore some blatant problem with your lover or how they treat you, mark experience. Downward Spiral When you gaze into the abyss, you maycause yourself 1 harm. If you do, add 2 to your roll. Down the Rabbit Hole When you go poking your nose in affairs not meant for your kind, someone involved in the situation gains a String on you, and you mark experience. Entrenched If you and another character have a total of 5 or more Strings on one another, gain 1 to all rolls against them