What do Allies do?

  • 6 Replies
What do Allies do?
« on: June 03, 2015, 09:45:15 PM »

A couple of the playbooks have the Gain An Ally or Gain A Team options, and Allies are described in more detail on page 119. However, I'm still in the dark about how they work mechanically. Do they just let Hunters trigger Moves in ways that they couldn't do before, like asking their doctor ally do an autopsy on a mangled body, triggering the investigate a mystery move to get medical information about the cause of death? Or ordering a sniper team to open fire, triggering the kick some ass move? Or having a sorcerer ally cast a spell to trigger the use magic move?

In those examples allies just let the Hunter trigger moves in ways that they couldn't do by themselves. Allies also let the Hunter effectively be in more than one place at a time, as they can trigger moves by actions performed by their allies on the other side of town. And if a move triggered by using an ally goes badly, Keeper moves like "capture someone" or "destroy something" seem like reasonable ways to put the allies out of action for a while.

However, that interpretation of allies means that allies never grant any advantage beyond letting a Hunter trigger moves that they couldn't do by themselves. A slightly more complicated approach might be to treat Allies like Gear (p.114), and give them tags which grant mechanical bonuses or custom moves. A sniper ally team might have the tags "2-harm far loud". A doctor ally might have the tag "medic - as per the Professional's Medic move."

An even more complicated approach would be to treat Allies like Minions (p.254) and give them tags and a Harm capacity. If the Hunter orders their Allies into a fight, they trigger the kick some ass move, but the Allies take the Harm. However, this sounds like it might be a open to abuse.

What do people think?


Re: What do Allies do?
« Reply #1 on: June 04, 2015, 10:44:52 PM »
The Keeper gets to control allies, using their motivation to guide what they do. Normal Keeper moves should cover most things that an ally would do.

I wouldn't suggest treating them just as a way for the hunter to roll a move, or as gear, but keep their essential humanity first. These are people who have chosen to help hunt monsters, but they still should react as a normal person would in that situation. The main advantage for hunters is the ability to send them off to do other tasks, as well as extra bodies on their side in a fight (controlled purely by normal Keeper moves and the results of hunter moves).

Regarding harm capacity, as normal humans (usually), allies the same harm capacity as other normal humans or hunters.

Re: What do Allies do?
« Reply #2 on: June 07, 2015, 11:32:58 PM »
Thanks for the reply Mike. :)

Asking allies to go handle a task elsewhere sounds fairly straight-forward to adjudicate. If I ask my ally Bob to go check out what that noise was on the far side of the darkened parking lot, the Keeper can play a move like reveal future badness (Bob comes back with a report of finding werewolf footprints), or make them investigate (Bob comes back with a report of finding strange mystic symbols in the graffiti on the walls, which the players are going to have to investigate a mystery to figure out). If the Keeper knows there's something nasty lurking in the shadows, they can use a monster or minion threat move, and Bob comes staggering back covered in blood (minus a few Harm points).

I'm not quite sure how to handle allies taking part in a fight alongside the hunters. If an ally attacks a monster, does the ally's hunter just roll kick some ass as usual?

Re: What do Allies do?
« Reply #3 on: June 07, 2015, 11:46:15 PM »
In fights, just describe them doing their thing. If it's established, add their harm to what a hunter is doing with their weapons (and an ally will just do an amount of harm based on their weapon and abilities).

If the hunter rolls a miss, harming an ally is a perfectly reasonable way to respond.

Also look for opportunities to have allies make things harder: e.g. "you can either take an easy shot at the monster or protect your ally, but not both"



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Re: What do Allies do?
« Reply #4 on: June 08, 2015, 03:27:28 PM »
In that regard, they are the perfect fodder for the proverbial "ugly choice."

Re: What do Allies do?
« Reply #5 on: June 08, 2015, 10:55:40 PM »
So, it sounds like Allies ought to be defined much like Minions, with weapons and Harm points. Because Allies are under the Keeper's control, it's easy to prevent abuse - Allies only trigger Keeper moves when the Keeper feels it's appropriate. If a Hunter orders their Minions into the fray, the Keeper gets to decide if that triggers inflict harm, as established on the Monster, Minions and/or the Allies in return. When a Hunter asks their Allies to do something that they might not want to do - like wrestle a werewolf - it may trigger the manipulate someone move, possible resulting in the Ally refusing, or demanding a concession in return. If a Hunter callously lets their Allies get hurt, it's likely to affect how their surviving Allies will feel about the Hunter - as well as affecting the opinions of onlooking Bystanders and other Hunters. That could easily trigger a Keeper move like take away some of the hunter's stuff, when the surviving Allies tell the Hunter to shove it and walk off the job (or become embittered Minions of the Big Bad).

In a fight, if the Allies fight alongside the Hunter, it's appropriate to add their weapon damage to the Hunter's damage (maybe +1 per extra Ally?) during kick some ass - but it puts the Allies in the line of fire of any Harm coming back in return. (As described above, a Hunter that treats their Allies like a disposable hit point buffer isn't likely to have Allies for very long. And dead Allies definitely don't get automatically replaced.)

If an Ally is fighting separately (or doing any other task without acting alongside the Hunter) then the outcome is pretty much a Keeper call. If the Hunter stations an Ally to guard the back door, and the werewolf flees through that door, then it's the Keepers call if the Ally inflicts harm on the werewolf, the werewolf inflicts harm on the Ally, or both, or some other combination of Keeper moves. If an Hunter sends an Ally to ask around for rumours in the bars, it might result in the Keeper revealing future badness, revealing offscreen badness, or using a threat move to capture or hurt the Ally. Because the results of an Ally's actions are in the Keeper's hands, without the buffer of the Hunter's moves, it ought to tend to discourage Hunters from trying to 'outsource' their challenges to their Allies. Allies are certainly useful, but they are much less reliable than doing the job yourself. Because of these limitations, I don't think an Ally's stats or weapons are especially critical to game balance.

Re: What do Allies do?
« Reply #6 on: June 08, 2015, 11:05:17 PM »