Noir World

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Noir World
« on: January 13, 2016, 05:46:22 AM »
Minimalist/abstracted take on film noir using the Powered by the Apocalypse rules. All comments and suggestions are welcome.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B6TzJIdlqOYNRWpucFNNNjZvNTg/view?usp=sharing

Re: Noir World
« Reply #1 on: January 13, 2016, 06:44:56 AM »
Just responding to the document as I read it:

I love how the Broke & Loaded rules work, especially the way they interact with your Vice: that's a clever and elegant way to face the players with hard choices right from the start.

I also like the clarification of putting up a fight: it's nice to have this baked into the rules as a condition that applies to the player characters.

Go Unnoticed: why do you still choose one on a miss? Shouldn't the consequence be that you don't get what you want when you miss a roll? At the very least, shouldn't the MC choose one on a miss, not the player?

Read their hand: this could do with some editing, as I found it quite difficult to follow when this move is triggered; should I roll when I ask someone a question? But if they have the option to answer truthfully in exchange for asking me a question, then is a roll always necessary? Perhaps this move is less about getting answers and more about being able to discern whether the answers are true or not?

Push & Tough it out: as I read this, I assumed that the former was the equivalent of act under firebut then I saw the latter, so now I'm not so sure. I think the wording of Push needs more clarification; also, regarding Tough it out, if I get 10+ and choose the first two options, don't they partially contradict each other? One implies that I recover quickly, while the other implies that I don't.

Send a message: I like this move a lot, it really captures the flavour of noir. One question: if I don't choose the second option as part of my result, what happens?

The Devil: just wow! What an excellent implementation of the Vice rules!

The Enforcer: this is an excellent way of making the typical big, thuggish bruiser into a desirable character: I'd love to play one of these!

In fact, all the playbooks are excellent: please try to playtest this as soon as possible, as I'd love to see an actual play report on it.

Re: Noir World
« Reply #2 on: January 14, 2016, 05:00:13 AM »
I agree. This is great stuff.

I don't have a problem with the Go Unnoticed move. If the player chooses to get what he came after, I'd interpret that as him just getting his hands on it, before being caught red-handed, with ample evidence pointing towards him. Even if he gets away with what he came after, that is plenty of trouble for the future.

Read their hand: In addition to maybe clearing up when it is triggered, I also feel that the text could benefit from some reordering like this:

When you observe somebody you're interacting with you may ask their player a question from the list below; if they agree to answer truthfully, they can ask you a question from the same list, which you must also answer truthfully.
As long as you're both willing to answer, you may ask as many questions as you like.
Also roll +Smooth.
On a 10+, you may also ask them one question for free, which they must answer truthfully.
On a miss, they may also ask you one question for free, which you must answer truthfully.

This makes it much clearer why you are rolling.

Tough it out: I also feel that this is a bit wonky, both for the choices, and what happens if you don't try to keep going.

Maybe instead:

When you've just taken a lot of punishment, roll +Raw.

On a hit you are battered (physically or mentally), but able to push on. While battered, you make your rolls at a disadvantage. You can remove your battered condition by crashing somewhere for a good nights sleep, or by indulging in your vice for an hour or two.

On a 10+, you also get to choose one:
- It isn't as bad as it seems. You can remove your battered condition by taking a quick nap for 10 minutes.
- You push onwards. Choose one goal. When heading directly for that objective, you can ignore your battered condition.
- The blows to your head provides hallucinatory insight into your dilemma. Ask the MC one question from the Look for Answers move, about any scene you've been in recently or the situation in general.

On a miss, you succumb. If succumbing means death, you can hold it together just long enough to pursue your choice: confession, redemption, or revenge.

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Re: Noir World
« Reply #3 on: January 16, 2016, 08:38:44 PM »
Thank you for the input! Very helpful to have fresh pairs of eyes look over these rules, definitely some things I ought to adjust/clarify.

Go Unnoticed: I'm happy with this one, because I like putting the player on the spot to make a choice even with the worst possible outcome, where they have to weigh the situation/consequences and decide for themselves whether getting what they were after is worth more than trying to mitigate the damage of been seen/identified.

Read Their Hand: Rubberduck's reordering reads much cleaner than mine, thanks! Still may fiddle with this one a bit; the intent is that you need to roll because you're putting yourself out there by engaging with the other person to the extent that you're able to pick up informantion about their goals/state of mind, which runs the risk of tipping your own hand and letting them learn more about you than you necessarily wanted to reveal.

Push/Tough It Out: Push is roughly equivalent to Act Under Fire from Apocalypse World, Tough It Out is intended to be more of a replacement for AW's roll after you've suffered harm. Or to put it another way, Push is active, Tough It Out is reactive. Push is when you're taking the initiative to attempt something risky (and, like Act Under Fire, is a catchall move for actions that don't clearly fall under another, more specific moves), Tough It Out is when somebody else is doing something to you and you're trying to endure it.

Tough It Out options: This I definitely need to modify or phrase better; the first option is intended to affect long term consequences of the beating you took, while the second option affects the immediate consequences. Taking the first and not the second still means you're effectively disabled in the current scene, and potentially out of action for hours/days depending on the nature of the injuries you've received, but you'll make a complete recovery, and faster than you would otherwise. Taking the second and not the first means you can keep going in the current scene (with a slight penalty, since being able to completely negate an injury is boring), but after the immediate situation's passed and your burst of adrenaline's spent, you'll be out of action longer, and if the way you were hurt is the sort of thing that'd potentially leave you with permanent injuries (scarring, disfigurement, etc.), it does. The two options aren't supposed to overlap, so taking both gives you both benefits: You're still active in the current scene, albeit with a penalty, and your recovery will be shorter than normal and leave no lasting effects.

(Choices between immediate danger and long term repercussions is something I hope stands out as a recurring element in these rules. Like Go Unnoticed; getting caught in the act is an immediate danger, but if you can make it out of this situation without any more slip-ups, you're in the clear. Leaving evidence that points back to you doesn't cause an immediate threat, but can be much more damaging to you as whoever you've ticked off can potentially trace exactly who you are, where you live, who your friends are, etc.)

Send a Message: Not choosing the second option means an excess of violence; perhaps there'll be bystanders caught in the crossfire, or if you rolled the move against someone you only intended to rough up and threaten, they'll end up maimed or dead. This is different from the treatment of violence/combat in action-centric RPGs or even a more narrative experience like Apocalypse World, and it'll require buy-in from the players and the MC, but I want to avoid framing violence primarily as a competition where effectiveness is tied to being able to inflict more violence (which is also the main reason there's no health bar/weapon stats). For the genre/tone I'm trying to emulate, I want violence to be more of a nuclear option: It's an incredibly effective tool, and very difficult to defend against, but carries severe repercussions that mainly serve to push you onto a downward spiral where you have fewer and fewer options for interacting with the rest of society other than more violence. Being good at violence is less about being able to cause more violence than it is about being able to control your violence enough that you can direct it efficiently and mitigate the consequences to yourself. That's why you can essentially kill anyone on a 7-9 roll, and most of the options from high rolls are tied to minimizing the repercussions.