Giving new Battlebabes opportunities to kick ass

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Giving new Battlebabes opportunities to kick ass
« on: October 17, 2020, 02:32:02 AM »
A lot of new players in my games seem to pick the Battlebabe and then play cautiously and limply. I think part of it is that Act Under Fire is one of the more opaque moves when you're starting out. How do you recommend giving these players chances to breathe and kick ass?

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Munin

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Re: Giving new Battlebabes opportunities to kick ass
« Reply #1 on: October 20, 2020, 02:15:09 PM »
Part of the issue is one of MC/player expectations. Act under fire is only opaque if you as the MC are waiting for a player to say, "I 'act under fire' to..." - which to be clear you should basically never be doing. Your primary roll as MC is to determine when a PC's action (as described narratively in the fiction by the player) triggers a move and to call for the appropriate roll. As much as possible you want to abstract the move from the fiction such that your player isn't saying, "I 'go aggro' on this joker," but rather, "I stick my gun in his face and tell him to give me the Geiger counter" - at which point you (the MC) say, "Oooh, nice! Roll+Hard!"

In the context of the Battlebabe, act under fire is the move that is most often used when a PC is doing something daring, something where it feels like success shouldn't be automatic and/or some level of skill or chutzpah is required. It is most often the move that sets you up to be in a position to do some other move. So encouraging the Battlebabe to kick ass is best done by putting the Battlebabe in situations where kicking ass is appropriate.

That said, you need to take some care here, because while the Battlebabe is usually fantastic at starting trouble, not having a great Hard stat means they're often not so good at finishing the trouble they've started. Stand-up gunfights are for the Gunlugger. The Battlebabe excels at things that are not necessarily violent, but rather those things which are dangerous. No one is better at swinging across chasms, or scaling walls in the dark of night or tight-rope walking into the enemy camp. The Battlebabe is that rare person who can sneak past the guards unseen, dodge the enemy's strongest attack unharmed, slip a drug into someone's drink unnoticed, or run full-tilt through a minefield unscathed. If you present the Battlebabe with these kids of dangerous situations and call for roll+Cool to solve/get out of them, your players will catch on in a hurry.

Re: Giving new Battlebabes opportunities to kick ass
« Reply #2 on: February 08, 2021, 05:13:21 PM »
Munin has the right of it big time! Acting Under Fire is triggered by taking risks in the game's fiction, but it's actually a generally safer move than, say, Seizing By Force, especially when you have +3 Cool. Playing a Battlebabe entitles you to take audacious risks and, more often than not, come out the other side unscathed.

I would add that filling out details of the environment and explicitly providing the PCs with opportunities can be a good way to let the Battlebabe shine. I think that, for players who are accustomed to the combat of other game systems especially, they may not see themselves as having that many options. They're stuck in the mode of "Attack, attack, attack" one enemy at a time. That's not where the Battlebabe shines. It's when they come at people sideways and find ways to attack opponents that cannot readily fire back that they shine. If they're in a situation where they would have to Seize By Force, consider how they could Act Under Fire to turn that "Seize By Force" into a "Go Aggro"--and blur the line between "combat" and "negotiation" while they're at it.

But I get the feeling you already get that; the problem is that your players might not. That's why I say explicitly provide opportunities. While it might seem obvious to you based on your description of the scene that the hanging chain would let the Battlebabe swing behind the gang leader, it might not occur to your player. So, ask a leading question like "There's a chain hanging there, and if you swung on it you could get behind the gang boss--if you can avoid getting blasted into oblivion on the way down. Do you wanna?" These sorts of leading questions can help teach the game, communicating to the players the types of moves that are available to them. Then hopefully next time they'll start springing forth with ideas like that on their own.

The other side of the equation, though, is a little harder to address: motivation. The game sings when the player characters are highly motivated and really go for their drives. Unfortunately, the Battlebabe can sometimes appeal to players who just want to hang back, stay safe, and not care about anything. Getting a player like that invested and engaged enough to take action can be a challenge but not an insurmountable one when you meet them halfway.