Read a sitch question. Bonus points opening your brain.

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Read a sitch question. Bonus points opening your brain.
« on: November 30, 2016, 09:45:31 PM »
Hello fellow nerds , I'm new to apocalypse world but hoping to start a campaign in January so wanting to make sure that I have my mutated ducks in a row.

When it comes to reading a sitch , things like "who's in control here " and "enemy's true position " in particular . Do I not allow a player to roll until their character could actually be able to deduce those things or if they choose to roll it then they get to know things right off the bAt?

It's not always the most logical thing ,but since opening your brain to the maelstrom is a thing , getting a feeling that your enemy is in X place doesn't seem to far fetched .

Bonus question. When your players want to open their brain do you often allow them to ask questions of the maelstrom? How direct should I be willing to give info from it ? I don't want it to turn into the oracle but I want it to remain a strong valid move. Would love some input from more experienced players and MCs

Re: Read a sitch question. Bonus points opening your brain.
« Reply #1 on: November 30, 2016, 11:23:23 PM »

The 'to do it, do it' approach still applies to Read a Situation. If a player declares that they are reading a situation, make sure you figure out what that looks like in this particular case. Then, as MC, your job is to make whatever answers you give fit the particular case. Sometimes that means they will get more or less specific versions of the same answer, depending on what their PC is actually doing -- but they should always get a real answer, that provides new, useful information.

Given that 'who's in control here' includes the word 'here', I'm actually not sure what sort of situations you are thinking of, where this information would somehow be out of reach of a PC reading a situation; for 'my enemy's true position', remember that 'there aren't really any enemies here' or 'your enemy's true position is elsewhere' are both real answers that provide real information to the PC.

It might help if you provided some examples of situations where you think certain answers would be off-limits or hard to square with the fiction?

Re: Read a sitch question. Bonus points opening your brain.
« Reply #2 on: November 30, 2016, 11:24:56 PM »
I think your question about "read a sitch" is one of taste, in a way. You'll have to "find your groove" somewhat as you play.

I think you'll find, however, that you should always err on the side of being generous with the information. The game is better for it. I would only hesitate to answer such a question if there was NO conceivable way for the character to figure it out.

In practice, you pretty much always fully the questions, however - and that's the ideal to strive towards. By the book, you always answer the questions, and fully. That's for a good reason.

What I do in cases where it really seems like a stretch is to answer the question, but in terms of what the character could actually learn. This lends a little bit of weight to how the player approaches the move.

For example, let's say someone is looking around an abandoned warehouse and they ask me, "Where is my enemy's true position?" Normally, I might say, "You can see someone popping their head over the rusty metal grate at the far left. It looks like Dremmer!" If the PC rolling the move had less information to work with - they had just turned off the lights, for example - I might answer the question more obliquely. "You can't see a thing in the dark, but then there's a noise. You turn your head that way: there's something moving off to your left!"


Edit: As Daniel Wood says, above (we cross-posted), if a question seems totally out of bounds, you can always say so, and have them ask another one. ("Enemy's true position? It's just Bran here, and the approaching sandstorm. Want to ask another?")

Re: Read a sitch question. Bonus points opening your brain.
« Reply #3 on: November 30, 2016, 11:30:42 PM »
As for "open your brain", here are some things to keep in mind:

* It's up to you and your players to define what the experience is like. Ask them lots of questions about it; you establish what you can and can't do largely by precedent. For instance, if the maelstrom occasionally takes the shape of a person in a vision, obviously you can try to talk to them and ask them questions. If it's like wandering through a flat, desolate wasteland, completely alone, then it's less likely.

* That said, it doesn't have to be 100% consistent. It could be different for different characters, or different in different locations.

* Don't be afraid of giving the players good information. It's useful and it drives the game forward. Balance the utility of opening your brain by making appropriately hard moves on a miss. If they're doing it all the time and it's having a huge impact on the game, consider making moves (when you get to) that match that level of impact.


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Munin

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Re: Read a sitch question. Bonus points opening your brain.
« Reply #5 on: December 01, 2016, 05:33:02 PM »
An important thing to remember about the read a sitch and read a person moves is that their triggers are specifically for charged situations or interactions. These are not "perception checks," but rather moves that are used when there is obvious tension, danger, peril, or conflict. If the player simply wants information about their surroundings, just tell them.

As for how you convey information, it really depends on the situation. So for who's really in charge here? you might say something like, "Rolfball is puffed up and talking a lot of trash, but you catch him glancing at TumTum every so often. You get the impression he's looking for her approval." Or for what is this character really feeling?, you can call attention to subtle cues or tells. "Yeah, Rolfball is yelling and gesturing like a raging bull, but there's a little quaver in his voice. You think this apparent anger is a display to cover his fear."

Also, don't be afraid to alter/add to the in-game fiction when answering these questions. When a PC asks, which enemy is most vulnerable to me?, it's time for you to invent an exploitable vulnerability on the spot. Say there are dudes from Dremmer's gang on a cat-walk, an elevated position that will deprive the players of any cover. But hey, as soon as the player asks, that cat-walk is supported by a single rusty beam - break that and all of those dudes are coming down ass-over-teakettle. When the player says, what's my best way in, that's when you invent a way in - "As you pick your way around the perimeter keeping out of sight of the sentries, you see a Rad-Rat dart out of an old, mostly-blocked drainage tunnel. After moving some rubble aside, you can see it's tight quarters and gods only know what's down there, but it looks like it leads straight into the complex - that Rad-Rat looked pretty well-fed."

In MC parlance, these are chances to present an opportunity, with or without a cost.

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DannyK

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Re: Read a sitch question. Bonus points opening your brain.
« Reply #6 on: December 01, 2016, 09:01:28 PM »
Yeah, players should read a sitch only when there's something going on. That's a low bar to cross in Apocalypse World, of course.  You can always do the thing they do in old Westerns and say, "It's quiet... too quiet."  You can totally invent stuff but I usually keep it relatively mundane, i.e. things they could plausibly observe. 

If the player wants crazy mystical tactical visions, they should take the Gunlugger Move "Battlefield Instinct" which lets you roll +hard to open your brain during a battle.  I love that Move.

Re: Read a sitch question. Bonus points opening your brain.
« Reply #7 on: December 01, 2016, 11:56:15 PM »
I dunno, the example in the book (in 'Moves Snowball') has reading a sitch make the situation charged if it wasn't already. I like that construction, you can use it whenever you like but the act of doing so implies that you're making things important and interesting, that if nothing else makes the situation charged, you sure will. That seems cool, and a good way to handle people wanting to use moves in situations that might not otherwise be charged.

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Munin

  • 417
Re: Read a sitch question. Bonus points opening your brain.
« Reply #8 on: December 07, 2016, 01:40:06 PM »
Saying to your players, "OK, cool, but what are you doing to make this a charged situation?" is totally fair game. And also hilarious.