Extended playbooks in play (spec. News, Child-Thing, Waterbearer)

  • 4 Replies
Hey folks! I'm trying to compose a Hatchet CIty/Sunken Sydney-style one-shot (that is, a scenario that simulates a game that's really popping off in session 4-5 or whatever). Player interest meant that I'm including some of the extended playbooks (the ones in the subject), but unlike, say, the Gunlugger, I've never seen one in play for more than a session or two (or at all). So, help me out:

Whether you've played one/seen one in play or not, what sort of character of that playbook would interest you? Why do you think it's cool, what sort of situations or in-game position do you think you'd aim your character towards?

(Ex:  "I like that the Gunlugger is the baddest ass" "I'd want to play then as a rootless nomad but I keep on liking helpless people with fixed addresses"/"I want to play them as fixated on constantly finding bigger badasses to test self against")

If you have played one or seen one in play over a few sessions, what'd they get up to? Where were they going, or where did they end up?

(Ex: "after doing lots of gigs for both of two rival holds for a while, they ended up brokering peace by seducing the head of one into abdicating in their favor" / "they piled up so many bodies that the game area was depopulated and barren")

Obviously, I'm asking the actual players these questions, but I'm interested in what other people have been up to, and figured I'd get more grist for the mill.



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Re: Extended playbooks in play (spec. News, Child-Thing, Waterbearer)
« Reply #1 on: November 05, 2017, 08:03:36 AM »
I've played a Child-Thing, I've MC'd a Waterbearer for a one/two-shot. The Waterbearer seems almost out of place in the wilderness. They're political in nature, more-so than the Hardholder. The 'holder, and the Chopper to a lesser extent, is about dealing with big groups of people. Packs? Herds? I like herds. They spook easily, they eat a lot, but then can be led, with difficulty.

The Waterbearer did something interesting, it immediately divided the world into "haves" and "have nots", whereas before there were only "have nots". You might say "But MC, surely some people have something." And to that I say, well yeah. They have something. But for how long? How long do you need to possess a material advantage before changing your behaviour pattern from "get the thing" (the have nots) to "keep the thing" (the haves)?

I did something for the one-shot, which were kind of like love letters. I've spoken about them before, but here's the one for the Waterbearer (WIP)

You are the Waterbearer -  You giveth. You taketh away. Blessed, blessed be your name.
Fundamentally, your presence alters the entire geography of the region. You own the last piece of potable water for a hundred kliks. Name three gang leaders who you’ve made deals with. What did you ask for, in return for access to your water. Two of them will have responded, ask the MC what they said. If one of the other players has a gang, you should definitely ask them. if they refuse your offer, turn to the MC and smile… They’re basically fucked, and they know it.

Re: Extended playbooks in play (spec. News, Child-Thing, Waterbearer)
« Reply #2 on: November 07, 2017, 06:26:29 PM »
The Waterbearer tells an interesting story, like the hardholder they hold something of immense value and power, which everyone desires. However the Waterbearer does not come prebuilt with an explanation of how they keep it. A Waterbearer needs to be constantly working to keep their Source fully under their control, as there are plenty looking to pull it out from under their feet. What is the WB willing to do, willing to give up in order for the water to keep flowing. Their cupped hands runneth over, but that water will trickle between their fingers and feed the parched earth beneath.

I found The News needs to be prodded into the action. Too often a player will seek to sit back in his station, you need to give him reason to get up and get his hands dirty. Because game doesn't happen unless the players go out and seek it

Re: Extended playbooks in play (spec. News, Child-Thing, Waterbearer)
« Reply #3 on: November 08, 2017, 09:36:44 AM »
I've played the News for a whole bunch of sessions now and I think it's really cool. Breaking Now is a really cool move to start off a session and some of the others, like The Good Fight and Rally to the Cause, are really nice too. As is their special move. The News can be very influential, but really has no other force to protect that influence with but their tongue.They can't afford to have too many enemies, which is of course interesting if you really go for the truth thing that the playbook seem to suggest. It's balancing on a knife's edge The barter set up, where already at the start of the game you don't have enough barter to keep both yourself and the radio going, is neat too.

Like Ell975 said the News will need to get out of the station to have a satisfying game. But I think that should be pretty obvious to the player as well. As an MC I think you should make sure that listening to radio is a big thing: everybody listens, there's speakers on every corner, in every cantina and in every car, it's the main pastime and people listen and discuss.

Re: Extended playbooks in play (spec. News, Child-Thing, Waterbearer)
« Reply #4 on: November 10, 2017, 03:22:13 PM »
Thanks, folks! These are all very helpful. I'm hearing that the News and Waterbearer both have interesting dynamics around having a thing that others are interested in, but the power it gives them is not directly or obviously capable of letting them keep it against a hard, direct move.

Right now I'm thinking the News love letter will be about the tension between journalistic/artistic integrity and the need to remain fed and in one piece (and even selling out will be complicated by multiple possible allies). The Waterbearer one I want to set up similarly, with the tension being between... maybe sanctity/ceremony (the Source as a thing above and beyond the grit and grime, and the hope that brings), peacemaking for its own sake, and power politics. Or something. Need to come up with actual costs and benefits for them to choose among, too...

Spwack, I'm very interested in your experience with the Child-thing! What did you do? Where were you in control, and where were you vulnerable? How does it compare to the brainer?