Drop-ins, Drop-outs

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Ry

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Drop-ins, Drop-outs
« on: January 18, 2011, 11:24:31 PM »
I know what to do when a player joins the game.  Re-do the Hx rules. 

What expectation should I set when a player can't make a session but their character is materially involved in the evolving situation?

What's the balance between:
"Make Apocalypse World seem real."
"look at NPCs through the crosshairs" and
"be a fan of the players' characters"

(I'm not blasé about spotty attendance; I try to avoid having spotty players take anything more than guest roles in my games, but once in a while something's going to give)

Re: Drop-ins, Drop-outs
« Reply #1 on: January 19, 2011, 03:16:02 PM »
I would be tempted to go with something like the TSoY rules for "offing NPCs":

If the NPC "snuffs it", they're out of action, and maybe they choose 1 -

* When you 'come to', you've lost nearly everything that was worth something to you, whether that's belongings, relationships, or your meaning in life.
* You've survived, but at a cost: choose a debility, then continue playing normally.

Alternatively, you could make a custom move ("When your character snuffs while you're away...").

In any case, best to make it clear to the player(s) before they miss a session, as you suggest: what's the baseline policy here?

Re: Drop-ins, Drop-outs
« Reply #2 on: January 24, 2011, 07:41:00 AM »
Wait - just because the player is not attending doesn't turn their PC into an NPC, right? And as an MC I would only make a move, especially a hard one, against PCs whose players' are there around the table.

My AW games have been very PC focused and very depending on what the PCs do. As an MC I react to this and throw more interesting stuff at 'em. A PC without a player would easily fade into the background. As per the fiction.

So:

"Make Apocalypse World seem real."  - Establish fictional reasons for non-active PCs to fade into the background
"look at NPCs through the crosshairs" - Not applicable
"be a fan of the players' characters" - Don't mess with them, i.e. do not make (hard) moves toward them, if they can't react.


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Ry

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Re: Drop-ins, Drop-outs
« Reply #3 on: January 24, 2011, 03:21:56 PM »
That's the crux of my question, I guess. 

So you'd say the PCs are still PCs when a player doesn't show up - I can deal with that.

The thing is sometimes a PC is right in the middle of some action and it'll be on the MC to find a way to Make Apocalypse World seem real when removing them from play will seem contrived.  Kind of like when an actor leaves a major role in an ongoing series (I'm looking at you, Dax).

(Paul, your move crosses into the table details instead of fictional ones, but I do think along those lines too)

Re: Drop-ins, Drop-outs
« Reply #4 on: January 25, 2011, 04:09:40 PM »
That one's tricky. Some GM's can do it really well (I played with one fellow who GMed PCs so well when their player was away, that we gradually forgot which actions had been initiated by the player and which by the GM); I don't think I could.

I *do* think that making sure that the "camera" follows only the (present) PCs, and using a few time tricks (e.g. fast forwarding through that one day where missing PC X's actions are truly vital) should work, if carefully done. I think that's what I would do. I don't know if there's a general tool or principle that can be distilled from that kind of technique, though.

It probably depends a lot on the game in question, right? Like: How closely tied are the PCs? (e.g. Is it a large holding, with hundreds of NPCs, or three brothers traveling together in a minivan?) Do in-game reasons for absences exist, like weird blackouts, or constant trips out of the holding to gather water two days away, for which people from the holding are chosen by lottery?

If you're starting a game from scratch, you might be able to get some good ideas on this stuff from the players. "Does your character ever just disappear without explanation, or have duties outside the holding, off-screen relationships, etc? What's that like, how often does it happen, what does it mean to you?"

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Chris

  • 342
Re: Drop-ins, Drop-outs
« Reply #5 on: January 25, 2011, 07:07:08 PM »
Psychic Maelstrom, every time. :)
A player of mine playing a gunlugger - "So now that I took infinite knives, I'm setting up a knife store." Me - "....what?" Him - "Yeah, I figure with no overhead, I'm gonna make a pretty nice profit." Me - "......"

Re: Drop-ins, Drop-outs
« Reply #6 on: January 25, 2011, 08:46:51 PM »
Psychic Maelstrom, every time. :)

So. True.

Re: Drop-ins, Drop-outs
« Reply #7 on: January 25, 2011, 10:38:20 PM »
Moves can reference things in the real world, right? Like "at the start of the session" and so on. So:

When you can't make it to a session, choose one:
- You vanish, sloping off to some hideout in the waste or following up other business. You are safe.
- You stick around in the thick of it. The MC will play your character, but you are not safe.
- You are taken by the psychic maelstrom. You pass out cold, right where you stand. You are not safe.

That's a basic move. It'd be kinda cool to make custom, character-specific moves to though right? If you know you're going to be flaky, why not make it part of your character, like:

When you can't make it to a session, choose one:
- You're off doing murders and raiding in the waste. Take +1 barter when you come back, but there might be reprisals.
- Someone from your past is hunting you, so you're laying low.

Re: Drop-ins, Drop-outs
« Reply #8 on: January 26, 2011, 12:53:26 PM »
Simon, very cool.

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Chris

  • 342
Re: Drop-ins, Drop-outs
« Reply #9 on: January 26, 2011, 01:10:17 PM »
Standard move for this across all games:

When your game doesn't have an integral character due to a player absence, roll. On an integer, leave the house immediately and do something else, like get drunk as all hell and attempt to put parts of yourself into other people.
A player of mine playing a gunlugger - "So now that I took infinite knives, I'm setting up a knife store." Me - "....what?" Him - "Yeah, I figure with no overhead, I'm gonna make a pretty nice profit." Me - "......"