Swapping out the sex moves with Secrets

  • 5 Replies
Swapping out the sex moves with Secrets
« on: July 20, 2016, 07:31:45 PM »
I'm about to play Apocalypse World with some 12-year-olds! I've been holding off on introducing it to my son & his friends -- Mad Max fans all -- due to the sex moves, but I think I've figured out how to swap them out. Here's the hack:

During character creation, after the Hx round, everyone comes up with two Secrets. Add this section to each playbook:
No one else knows that:
Only one other person (it's ___________) knows that:

And in all the "[Playbook] Special" moves, replace "If you and another character have sex," with "If you tell one of your Secrets to another character,"

If we were playing more than a one-off, I'd probably have to figure out some way to replenish the mechanical Secrets with fictional Secrets that emerge from play.

We'll see how it goes.

Re: Swapping out the sex moves with Secrets
« Reply #1 on: July 21, 2016, 07:27:01 AM »
mmm... ok

1) a 12 year old boy probably has already a "secret" stash of porn and/or has been exposed to enough sex related content to have a lot of pretty confused ideas about it.
They would also, with all probability, be already sexually active (on their own, so to speak).
What is the point of removing sexuality from the game?

It is one of the elements that help characters feel more human, thus driving home the emotional payload of the game when violence happens and messes up everything.
And having them get in contact with sexuality in the brutal world of the apocalypse, with the supervision of an adult presence at the table, could actually be very instructive and formative (not in a bodily function graphical kind of sense, but in a human relationship way).

Veil the descriptions all you want. But removing the sexual element from the game (which, in a lot of Playbooks, amounts more to a intimacy/relationship element, than straight sex) will cripple the experience considerably!

Anyway I highly doubt that a bunch of kids will be going all sexual in an activity where a parent is present :P
But still, the potential for intimacy and human relationships is present, and would be golden.


2) the problem I see with the Secrets is that there is no drive to them.
Sex moves work because sex is a part of human life, especially in a brutal and impoverished world. Sex is a drive, and a currency, and a statement.
But secrets?
So OUT GAME I know that Dremmel has a secret or two, but as far as I know it is little more than a small personal piece of trivia, and in the story it is very possible that I will have more pressing matters to attend to than to pine over Dremmel's little secret. You are basically swapping out a big piece of the game in exchange for something that I fear might see zero use.

A solution, that requires quite some design work to be done properly, is to find a way for the Secrets to be about BIG things, VERY relevant to whatever is going on in the current story.

Re: Swapping out the sex moves with Secrets
« Reply #2 on: July 21, 2016, 01:55:41 PM »
Hasimir, do you have kids? The point here is not to suppress 12-year-old's sexualities: who cares if they have a secret stash of porn? Certainly there's no problem with them playing standard AW with *each other*. But would you really want to play a game incorporating sex moves *with your Dad* at 12? I didn't think so.

Leaving the sex moves in the game would produce exactly the result you predicted -- nobody would use them. So the driver would never have to prove their independence from anyone, the Hardholder would never have extra gifts to give someone they'd been intimate with, the Brainer would not have intimacy triggered a deep brain scan, and so on: that's all just out of the game.

The point of the Secrets is to KEEP that large part of Apocalypse World -- that intimacy between the characters matters, that it has mechanical teeth. So rather than insisting on keeping that intimacy as being literally sex, in a situation where the social contract at the table doesn't support it, the idea here is to replace that intimacy with something else.

Obviously, if people pick trivial secrets, it's not that interesting. The MC should coach players to make the secrets matter by asking leading questions -- "why is this a big deal? why haven't you dared to tell anyone?" Last night, people picked pretty interesting Secrets, each of which was an opportunity for the MC to bring things into play. No one actually got around to telling their secrets in the first session, but I think that's okay: they were on the horizon. Even in a game where sex moves never trigger, AW's sex moves are there on the horizon, signalling something about the game -- that sex is part of this game and taken seriously, that intimacy has teeth. Similarly, here, the secrets, though untold, were still on the horizon, signalling something to the players -- that they were the kind of people who had secrets, and might share them.



  • 415
Re: Swapping out the sex moves with Secrets
« Reply #3 on: July 21, 2016, 10:47:51 PM »
I don't think you need a list of secrets, that might actually hamper the imagination. All you require to make this work, is that the secret have implications. "When you tell someone a secret, between just you and them, that they could use against you..." I just tossed that last line in sort of randomly, I haven't put a great deal of consideration into it. It's basically saying "when you open you heart to someone" except that it allows for the cold calculated secrets to count to, megalomania style.

You just need some trigger that expresses intimacy. "When you consider someone like family, and do something that let's them know..."

It's a functional idea otherwise I think. I'm just worried about the list hampering the action, because once they write it down, people will want to know what they wrote, maybe it's no longer collaborative, maybe once they tell one person, telling other people has lessened impact because they were in the room and heard it. What if the secret gets out, is it crossed off the list? I think that using secrets as written is almost like itemizing them... it could work but seems like it would work better in a hack where you can buy and sell them mechanically.

/tangent: Or give them away. That would be lol: you pass on the memories but dont get to keep them. tangent)



  • 609
Re: Swapping out the sex moves with Secrets
« Reply #4 on: July 22, 2016, 01:12:03 AM »
Angel Secret
If you share a secret with another character, your Hx with them on your sheet goes immediately to +3, and any time afterwards, if they share a secret with you, they immediately get +1 to their Hx with you on their sheet. If that brings their Hx with you to +4, they reset it to +1 instead, as usual, and so mark experience.

Battle Babe Secret
If another character shares a secret with you, nullify the other character’s secret move if you also share a secret. Whatever it is, it just doesn’t happen.

Gunlugger Secret
If you share your secret with another character, you take +1 forward. At your option, they take +1 forward too.

James R.

    "There is a principle which is a bar against all information, which is proof against all arguments and which can not fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance-that principle is contempt prior to investigation."



  • 417
Re: Swapping out the sex moves with Secrets
« Reply #5 on: July 22, 2016, 09:10:53 AM »
For the Viking-themed re-skin of AW I use for convention games, I included a playbook that was a Sharp-based re-skin of the Macaluso, in which the player is not a single person but rather a pack of small children. I didn't think a sex move for small children was appropriate, so I changed the trigger for The Urchins' special move to "when someone treats you parentally and you let them..." It preserved the idea that intimacy (in this case emotional) has consequences without being skeevy.

The other interesting ramification of it was that you had a situation where one player's special would trigger but the other's wouldn't, which was unique and kind of cool. For your case of trying to replace the sex move, this might be an interesting way to go. So for the Driver (who is looking to avoid attachments), maybe it's "when you spend more than a day in the constant company of just one person..." For the Gunlugger, maybe it's "when you save someone's ass in a fight or they save yours..." This kind of thing gets across the personality theme/motivations of the playbook without the need for talking about sex with your dad.  ;)