Scarcity of Sharp

  • 5 Replies
Scarcity of Sharp
« on: October 25, 2016, 02:26:09 AM »
So, I've noticed that as of 2E, there's a fundamental scarcity of high Sharp playbooks. I mean, in the core and extended playbooks combined there are 4 Cool, 4 Hard, 3 Hot, 4 Weird, and a whole 1 Sharp based playbook (plus The Show, which is half Hot and half Weird and thus not super relevant to this specific discussion). There's only the Angel, nobody else. Angel is also the only playbook that allows Sharp to advance to +3 before the generic 'any stat to +3' advance, and does it without making it a Move, making this unavailable to anyone who isn't an actual Angel.

This doesn't seem to be a major design goal (unless I'm wrong and it is), just a side effect of the Driver being Cool based now (rather than Sharp based as in 1E...probably a good decision) and none of the extended playbooks being Sharp based. It's nonetheless interesting to examine...and partially made up for by a full eight non Sharp-primary playbooks having a Sharp +2 stat line (Brainer, Driver, Gunlugger, Hardholder, Savvyhead, Faceless, Quarantine, and Child Thing), while only four non Cool-primary playbooks have a +2 Cool stat line (Angel, Brainer, Chopper, and Gunlugger), and only one playbook each having such an option for Hard, Hot, and Weird respectively (Maestro D' for Hard, Battlebabe for Hot, Gunlugger for Weird).

Those are interesting numbers to note, and say interesting things about how the stats are distributed, with Sharp rarely being a main focus but often a secondary focus, and Cool being a surprisingly common secondary focus as well.

It's also notable that Brainers have +2 Cool and +2 Sharp both as available options, and that the Gunlugger has both those and +2 Weird as well, making everything but Hot available at the +2 level for the discerning Gunlugger.

A related (and also interesting) note is the +1 stat moves, of which there is one each for Cool and Hot, two for Hard, and a full three for Weird...and, as noted, none at all for Sharp.

So...yeah. That's a thing I noted and wanted to share.

Re: Scarcity of Sharp
« Reply #1 on: October 25, 2016, 05:41:50 AM »

As you point out, the only difference from 1st edition is that the Driver is no longer Sharp-based. The thing about only the Angel being able to advance to +3 Sharp has always been true, and I never tire of pointing this out to people designing new Playbooks, who seem to invariably toss in a +1 Sharp or +1 Cool playbook move without considering the larger consequences to other playbooks.

On the Cool front, it is worth noting that in the playtest version of the game the Battlebabe had +2 cool statlines and a +1 cool playbook move that they had to take automatically; this was eventually changed to the Battlebabe just starting with +3 cool, which had the obvious side-effect of making +3 cool unattainable for other playbooks, since they could no longer take the Battlebabe move as a move from another playbook.

It may not be a major design goal, but it is very clearly on purpose.

Re: Scarcity of Sharp
« Reply #2 on: October 25, 2016, 08:46:43 AM »
Well, first, I should note I'm not complaining, it just seemed interesting to note.

But the Driver not being Sharp based isn't the only difference. There's also the fact that two non-core playbooks were high Sharp in the previous edition (making the total 4 out of 21 rather than 1 out of 17). That's a pretty big difference. Now, those two were the Marmot and Space Marine Mammal, which makes me unsurprised they didn't make the transition to 2E...but I suspect not making said transition had to do with things other than them being Sharp-based.

And adding a +1 Sharp move certainly says and does something, but not something inherently bad IMO, just something that says a specific thing about the nature of your apocalypse. As for a +1 Cool move, that already exists: Combat Veteran from the Quarantine is precisely this. So not having that one available may have been intentional at one point, but appears intended to be an option these days.

Re: Scarcity of Sharp
« Reply #3 on: October 25, 2016, 02:17:20 PM »
I love all the previous LE playbooks, including the Marmot and SMM, and hope to give them a look and see what tweaks are necessary to bring them in line with 2nd ed. That said, the Marmot and SMM are two that I usually put with the group of "No picking this at the start of the game, please"-playbooks as I feel they would make the game feel rather "silly" if used from the jump.

Re: Scarcity of Sharp
« Reply #4 on: October 27, 2016, 12:58:42 AM »
Yeah, those two playbooks pretty obviously have reasons other than high Sharp that they might not be included with the rest of the 2E Playbooks.

Re: Scarcity of Sharp
« Reply #5 on: October 27, 2016, 02:10:51 AM »
And they're the two I'm least bothered by not getting an "official 2e translation."  But the Hoarder, the Solace, the Touchstone, even the Macaluso are all ones I'd love to have available. Fortunately, the core mechanical differences are slight enough I think it could be easy to work out. And even the Marmot and SMM are great. I love how they're "joke" characters but are also totally playable. Especially the SMM! I would LOVE to see someone, after like 10 sessions in a "normal" AW game, after retiring a character, or dying, suddenly play an SMM.  Because an intelligent dolphin in a mech suit dropping onto the ruined earth from one of their satellites would shake up a game in some fun ways, I think!  and hopefully wouldn't feel "goofy" after everything has been well established.
I actually generally like to take the Quarantine off the table for the very start of the game for the same reason. I want to establish the world with it's "native weirdness" before bringing in "fish out of water" so to speak.