Playbook: Faceless

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Playbook: Faceless
« on: June 23, 2010, 11:56:11 AM »
Tell me if this sucks. I noticed a lack of a playbook for huge monsters wearing masks like the Humungus or Blaster (of the hit duo Master Blaster), or any post-apocalyptic video game ever made.

It could use some tweaking. It doesn't speak to me yet.

The Faceless

Why does he wear a mask? Maybe it's because his fake face, the one underneath the mask, didn't do a good enough job showing how powerful, cold-hearted, and fucking monstrous he was. So he had to put on a new one. This one doesn't smile, doesn't wince. It's stone like his fists and his soul.

How did he get so goddamn big? Setting aside for a minute the fact that he's big enough to crush someone's skull in his palm, think about how he had to live so that he could get enough food to reach that size. He had to be tough, he had to be savage, or scariest of all he had to be fucking dead clever.

Creating a Faceless

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


Hunk, Tor, Ork, Doule, Big Fucker, Blag, Mega, Dent, Crudhammer, Deg, Frog, Summint, Trench, Zuto, Kray, Momo, Gigg, Meat, Stomp, or Playboy.


Man, woman, concealed, or transgressing.

Casual wear, fetish-bondage wear, showy armor, scrounged armor.

Hidden face. Reveal one of the following if the mask is ever removed: Rugged face, haggard face, deformed face, childlike face, scarred face, pretty face , or plump face.

Hard eyes, blank eyes, merciless eyes, dead eyes, or calculating eyes.

Huge body, muscular body, tall gangly body, or obese body.


Choose one set:

Cool+1, Hard+2, Hot-1, Sharp=+1, Weird=0
Cool=0, Hard+2, Hot+1, Sharp-1, Weird+1
Cool=0, Hard+2, Hot-1, Sharp+2, Weird-1
Cool+1, Hard+2, Hot-1, Sharp=0, Weird+1

Basic Moves

You get all the basic moves.

Faceless Moves

You get this one:

A masked psycho, when wearing your mask...
... if you do something under fire, add your mask's grim to your roll.
... if you try to do something by force, add your mask's grim to your roll.
... if you go aggro, add your mask's grim to your roll.
... if you try to seduce or manipulate someone, add your mask's glitz to your roll.
... if you try to open your mind to the psychic maelstrom, add your mask's totem to your roll.
... if you help or interfere with someone, add your mask's grim to the roll.
... if someone interferes with you, add your mask's awkward to their roll.

Then choose 1:

Pit Bull

When you take enough harm to die, you live long enough to take someone with you, messily. If this is a PC, their death can be avoided by suffering a debility per the standard rules. A little something to remember you by.


Shot, stabbed, and poisoned, you just keep coming. When you are being scary as fuck and coming at someone, you get +1-armor. You still get shot and stabbed, bleeding just doesn't bother you that much anymore.

Man Mountain

Use +hard to help or hinder instead of +Hx.

Oh yeah!

Use +hard to smash your way through scenery to get to or away from something. 10+, the scenery moved or smashed and you get what you want. On a 7-9 you get what you want and smash or move the scenery, but take 1-harm (ap), are disoriented and under fire in follow-up actions, leave something behind, or take something with you. Think smashing through walls or through burned out husks of cars

Scent of Blood

At the beginning of a session, roll +weird. On a 10+ hold 1+1. On a 7-9 hold 1. At any time, you or the MC can spend your hold to have you at the scene of a battle (a real battle, not intimate violence between a couple people). On a miss, the MC holds 1, and can spend it to have you there and pinned down.


You seek the advice of your mask. Roll +weird to see what it directs you to do. On a 10+ mark experience and take a +1 if you  do as your mask wishes. On a 7-9, take a +1 if you do what it wants and act under fire if you don't. On a miss, it has its own agenda and act under fire if you don't follow it.


You get:
- 1 no-nonsense weapon
- 1 mask
- fashion suitable to your look, including at your option a piece worth 1 or 2-armor (you detail
- oddments worth 1 barter

No-nonsense weapons (choose 1):
- magnum (3-harm close reload loud)
- smg (2-harm close area loud)
- sawed off (3-harm close reload messy)
- crowbar or club or bat (2-harm hand messy)
- machete or axe (3-harm hand messy)


Choose one of these profiles:
Grim+1, Glitz+1, Totem=0, 0-armor, Awkward+1
Grim+1, Glitz=0, Totem=+1, 0-armor, Awkward+1
Grim+2, Glitz=0, Totem=0, 0-armor, Awkward+1
Grim+1, Glitz=0, Totem=0, 1-armor, Awkward+1

Choose its type: sports mask, gas mask, combat helmet, hood, balaclava, carved mask, fetish mask.


Everyone introduces their character by name, look, and outlook.

List the other character's names.

Go around again for Hx. On your turn:
- One of the characters helped you do something terrible once. Tell that player Hx+2.
Tell everyone else Hx+1.

On the others' turns, choose one or both:
- One of them was once kind and unafraid towards you. Ignore what they tell you and write Hx+3.
- You think one of them is pretty. Add +1 to whatever number they tell you.

At the end, find the character with the highest Hx on your sheet. Ask that player which of your stats is most interesting and highlight it. The MC will have you highlight a second stat too.

Faceless Special

If you and another character have sex, you hold 1. If they get into shit, either you or they can spend it and you are there.

Faceless Improvement

Whenever you roll a highlighted stat, and whenever you reset your Hx with someone, mark an experience circle. When you mark the 5th, improve and erase.

Each time you improve, choose one of the following. Check it off, you can't choose it again.
__ get +1hot (max +2)
__ get +1sharp (max +2)
__ get +1weird (max +2)
__ get a new faceless move
__ get a new faceless move
__ get 2 gigs (detail) and moonlighting
__ get a gang (detail) and pack alpha
__ get a move from another playbook
__ get a move from another playbook


If you're charging someone wealthy for your services, 1-barter is the going rate for one act of murder, extortion, or other violence; one week's employment as bodyguard or gang leader; one month's employment as thug-on-hand; one threat delivered; one convoy guarded through hostile territory; one month's physical labor requiring your strength and size.

etc. etc.
Tupacalypse World

Re: Playbook: Faceless
« Reply #1 on: June 23, 2010, 01:41:33 PM »
Hmmm, looks like an interesting mix of Gunlugger and Driver. The moves look alright at first glance, the main sticking point for me is that pretty much all of the guys you listed as influences feel a lot more like threats than PCs. I like the direction you're going with the sensitive human underneath the mask, that seems to fit right in with the AW thing (the Hx instructions are especially good, there) but in terms of 'monstrous masked guy smashing stuff by himself' that sounds like an NPC threat usually. Have you had a chance to play with a character like this yet?



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Re: Playbook: Faceless
« Reply #2 on: June 23, 2010, 01:58:24 PM »
Your sticking point doesn't fly with me. Just because the inspirations were antagonists in the fiction doesn't mean they wouldn't make awesome protagonists. I watch and re-watch Road Warrior for the Humungus, not for Mad Max. Your same sticking point could be said apply to the Chopper. And I don't get your threat/PC dichotomy.  They're a PC because a player plays them. They're a threat because the MC plays them.

I haven't played with a character like this, no. I made it because I want to play it. It needs some tuning, I think, before throwing it into play. I'm not sure I like the Mask mechanics.
Tupacalypse World



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Re: Playbook: Faceless
« Reply #3 on: June 23, 2010, 02:27:16 PM »
Go play then do the tuning.



  • 1293
Re: Playbook: Faceless
« Reply #4 on: June 23, 2010, 02:28:21 PM »
I dig it! The brainer is a similarly menace-based character, no probs there for me.

If I were making mask mechanics, I'd try something combining the mechanics of the battlebabe's custom weapon with the mechanics of brainer gear.

Norman rocks my world.




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Re: Playbook: Faceless
« Reply #5 on: June 23, 2010, 02:37:32 PM »
Nathan, I'm running a game starting this week but I'm not playing for the foreseeable future. So I'm posting it here to talk it over.

Vincent, so far that's my favorite part of him too. I was originally thinking of going brainer/battlebabe gear for the mask but really struggled. Battlebabe custom weapons are easy, since weapons are so easy to put together in Apocalypse World. Harm, tags, boom. With a mask I had a harder time. It's not a harm-inflicting thing, and it's not something you really actively use, but I want it to have a personality and an effect. If a Faceless becomes unmasked I want it to be a BIG DEAL.

And Brainer gear extends the Brainer's weird abilities. The Faceless is a big scary meathead whose moves aren't quite comparable to the Brainer's, so using the mask as, like, steroids with a personality seemed like the way to go. I'm gonna think about this though.
Tupacalypse World

Re: Playbook: Faceless
« Reply #6 on: June 23, 2010, 02:42:01 PM »
Bret, that's cool, I hope I didn't give off an offensive vibe or anything. Let me try to explain myself a little more clearly, with a big helping of "but you're probably right that this would be fun and interesting to play".

Where I was coming from above is that what unites the PC options is that they're looked at with a focus on who they are and what their relationships are. Sure, the NPCs are all real people with real, simple wants as well, but it's also more acceptable to have someone that's pure menace be an NPC than a PC, or at least it seems that way to me, but I might just be stuck on "PCs = Good Guys". I guess my worry is about the focus being on "faceless monster" and less on "human acting like faceless monster for interesting, compelling reasons", but looking through the playbook again, I think you get that human part across.

So yeah, I wasn't trying to be snarky or anything, just genuinely curious if he felt different than the other PC types in any significant way. When you do get to play with this guy, I'll be interested to hear about it.

Re: Playbook: Faceless
« Reply #7 on: June 23, 2010, 02:59:38 PM »
Bret, this is cool. I don't have any ideas for tuning just now, but I wanted to give you a big thumbs up.

I heart Humungus.



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Re: Playbook: Faceless
« Reply #8 on: June 23, 2010, 03:15:35 PM »
Give it you one of your players then. That's even better.

I don't know that the Mask Mechanics really work out that well. Like, with the mask you could start with +4 hard and a cool of +3 or +2. So, you almost never miss at going aggro or taking by force (and never if Norman tells you to do it,) and you're pretty good or extremely good at acting under fire. That's a huge buff compared to the Battlebabe or the Gunlugger. Secondly, without the Mask, he's just brought back down into the realm of the rest of the playbooks; which isn't likely, unless the MC is pretty aggressive about taking it from them.

The rest of the Moves are fine though. Norman is pretty great. I think you should move the Mask (and other adornments) and its tags into the Brainer gear style. Then focus on making the Moves stronger and more unique rather than just outrageously buffing stats. Also Masks aren't the same as Cars.

Also, I'd like to be able to play an apocalyptic Princess Mononoke aka Sen with this playbook. I'm a really big guy isn't that interesting - but I'm a delusional savage with a creepy mask is pretty good.



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Re: Playbook: Faceless
« Reply #9 on: June 23, 2010, 03:24:27 PM »
Jeff, I hear you. When I made this Playbook it was "what would I find interesting to play?" I see all this post-apocalyptic fiction where there's killer nutjobs in masks - Fallout, Borderlands, the Mad Max movies - and I always wish there was a story that followed those guys around for awhile. What did the Humungus do before he got run over in the most anticlimactic moment ever? What was his deal? He was this testosterone-poisoned psycho in a hockey mask. You don't end up in that get-up, with that crew, without having some crazy stories. And even though I haven't seen it in 20 years, Beyond Thunderdome was ABOUT Master Blaster. He is the only part of that movie that stuck with me after watching it when I was like 10 years old. He was not a faceless monster, he was a heartbreaking tragedy. As a side note, have you ever noticed that the secondary characters in Mad Max are always ten times more interesting than Mad Max?

Anyway, I think the thing that prevents the Faceless from being a faceless monster instead of a human who wants/needs to be a faceless monster is the players doing their job and playing real people, as the rulebook commands!

John - thanks! The Humungus would probably fit better under Chopper than this Playbook, but this Playbook is how I WANTED the Humungus to be in that movie.

Nathan - For my first campaign ever, I'm gonna stick with rules-as-written. No inflicting weirdo, unbalanced, GM-written custom materials on them for the first go-round. Maybe some other time. And yeah, using the Car rules as a template isn't working I think. I mean, I think the style could be used for non-car things, but unlike the car there's not going to be points where you just can't have the mask. So like you said, it'll always be there.

Sen is not a Faceless. She wore that mask for, like, ten minutes of the movie. I'm talking about people where that mask is who they are. I get what you're saying though. Separating out the masked weirdo from the superstrong meathead would make this a bit easier. And I think I could do that while keeping what I want this character to embody - creepiness, power, and relentlessness.
Tupacalypse World

Re: Playbook: Faceless
« Reply #10 on: June 23, 2010, 03:38:47 PM »
Skinner who takes faceless as a new character type. I want that story to come true.
"I don't care what Wilson says." -- some slanderous bastard on the internet



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Re: Playbook: Faceless
« Reply #11 on: June 23, 2010, 04:10:19 PM »
For those of you who don't know, Bret and I are horror flick pinkie twins.

Maybe make it anti-gear! When you create your faceless, you create him masked, moves and all, and then you choose options for what happens when he's not wearing the mask. Off the top of my head:

Unmasked, you are (choose 2):
- Vulnerable. Whenever you suffer harm, you suffer +1harm.
- Grotesque. Every PC who sees you goes immediately to Hx+3 with you.
- Afraid. You take -1 ongoing until you cover your face again.
- Irresolute. When you inflict harm, inflict -1harm.
- Ashamed. You can't make any character moves that call for a roll.
- etc.

With this option, I'd make the character 1 better than normal -- balance the stat options 1 higher, or choose 3 character moves instead of 2, or something like that. And for looks I'd do away with a face list, like some characters get a hands list and most don't. The details of the mask could be just a replacement looks list, or it could be a pick list like the maestro d's establishment's atmosphere.




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Re: Playbook: Faceless
« Reply #12 on: June 23, 2010, 04:25:13 PM »
That's perfect and totally obvious. I think I subconsciously needed your permission before doing things like balancing a character upwards. And I think that will do the trick. I'll tinker with this some and make some changes. With Nathan's feedback on the bonuses and mask as anti-gear I think I could tilt this playbook towards playable.

I have this game in my brain that is trying to work its way out where you play people with masks (holy shit I love masks). And you're actually playing two characters, one is the person wearing the mask and one is the mask itself. And this is some of that squirting out. But maybe that idea would be a good hack for AW.
Tupacalypse World

Re: Playbook: Faceless
« Reply #13 on: June 23, 2010, 05:10:32 PM »

/slaps forehead

Re: Playbook: Faceless
« Reply #14 on: June 23, 2010, 07:43:12 PM »
Brett, awesome idea! Looking back over my rpging over the years, I've always been looking for stuff like this, but it usually didn't work that well in the olden-school days. So of this i approve!

Oh, and a comment on this:
As a side note, have you ever noticed that the secondary characters in Mad Max are always ten times more interesting than Mad Max?

This is an old and obvious observation about the difference between different storytelling activities, but still. In a film like Road Warrior, the protagonist is little more than a focus to give the audience a viewpoint on the world around him, which is why it is suitable to have him as neutral a character as possible. Just a bit of charm to make him likable. And a bit of heroism to make us cheer for him.

Since rpgs, on the other hand, puts the player-audience underneath the skin of the protagonist it doesn't hurt one bit that the character is exotic or extreme in ways that would be problematic in (mainstream) film. Hence, it is beautiful and right that we use RPGing to dig into and explore and enjoy completely different heroes than the movies usually give us (come on, how often isn't the bad guy waaay cooler than the hero!).

So, again, I totally approve of the Faceless!