Apocalyptic Hierarchy of Needs (Player Motivation pt 2)

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Apocalyptic Hierarchy of Needs (Player Motivation pt 2)
« on: December 06, 2014, 04:25:56 PM »
A modern Apocalypse World does somehow force us to do stuff. Maybe because we're incompetent ("we", meaning you and I, modern people). Who can farm or raise animals, let alone hunt for their own food? That's a small percentage of the population of the civilized world anymore. So it's all scavenging & stealing for survival because we suck. That's a big deal on the Walking Dead TV show - people suck, and that forces them to be assholes to other people.

In the Dark Ages, you're looking at an agrarian world, with a lot of serfs and peons who can farm, forage, and hunt. Many fewer lawyers, for sure. Survival (for the a-hole player characters) is about rounding up peons to make food for you, right? You can't scavenge for tins of SPAM & baked beans & ramen noodles because that didn't exist. Food is about getting peons under your thumb. So that means a very different experience for you, right off the bat.

Yeah, a gang of Chopper-riding a-holes might not be totally different than mounted cavalry, but you actually want to preserve peons in the Dark Age (from an economic perspective)... and you don't really need to care about the incompetents that you roll in a modern apocalypse. (Of course, brutal Dark Age thugs being what they were, a lot of peons were brutalized anyway...)

So... here's my simplistic apocalyptic hierarchy of needs (thanks Maslow).
  • Survival. So, this is the food, water, shelter stuff. Modern Apocalypse World does a lot here because we suck. AW:DA shouldn't do as much here because peons.
  • Safety. This is about making sure your area is Clear. Getting rid of external threats. Rally the in-group, defeat the out-group. Both AW & AW:DA play here, but I think AW:DA should be playing in this space a lot more than simple Survival stories.
  • Stability. (EDIT: Oooh, another S word (besides shit). Had to add this one in after I completed my list.) I'm talking about internal threats. Like Shane in Walking Dead. Like a bastard son, or someone in line for inheritance trying to take your shit. These are sometimes the worst threats, or the best ones because they're so dramatic. AW does play in this space when you can get it there, and AW:DA should definitely play in this space.
  • Succession. Self-actualization is kind of meh when you can barely keep alive sometimes. What's left after eliminating the external threat is accumulating wealth getting ready for the end. All true wealth is biological, as the Butcher of Komarr once said. This is why Rick is hauling Carl & Judith around... but really isn't a main thing for Walking Dead, and not a main thing for AW because you'll basically never address any of the other two needs to the point where they aren't a big concern. HOWEVER, for AW:DA, I think you need to get here. Who inherits the throne from the Keep Liege? Survival should not be an issue for most AW:DA games... and this is what should get folded in, on the top end of the hierarchy. Sons, marriages... setting up a society is more than this generation, and that's what changes a brute & thug from a real noble, with the right to rule.

We just have very little for anything in the game beyond fighting stuff, and I think that's only the first step in making a playable Dark Age.

Marriage might be way off the rails for some of you who want to be hard ass War Champions & Battle Babe Peasant Beauties... but succession wars are, I think, a big deal for the Dark Age genre.
« Last Edit: December 06, 2014, 08:18:02 PM by made of cheese »