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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    stveje's Avatar

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    Default [Apocalypse World] Dark Times WIP

    I've had the idea for an Apocalypse World-style game for a long time. At first, my concept was a vague "AW but epic fantasy à la LotR and OotS" which was hard to translate into anything concrete or useful. Eventually I had an epiphany of what it was I was actually looking for: not epic fantasy, at least not necessarily, but a certain kind of story that we all know and which exists in many genres.

    I've been sitting on this for way too long, never getting much further. I could keep tweaking and trying to finish it on my own, but I think it's time to get some outside help in fleshing it out. I'm pretty happy with my overall vision, but the details need fine-tuning and expanding, and I need at least a few more playbooks.

    Any thoughts and suggestions are welcome.

    DARK TIMES
    Call For Desperate Acts of Heroism

    Apocalypse World, but instead of the post-apocalypse it's the apocalypse itself.

    First Principles
    Everything must flow from first principles. The stories we aim to tell with this game may be very different, but they share certain defining characteristics. They are the great heroic epics like The Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, or even the last book of Harry Potter — stories where a small group of unlikely heroes defy overwhelming odds to save the world from a Great Evil — or the zombie horror genre, where a small group of survivors face ever-present danger and swiftly dwindling hope that a cure may be found. Our stories are as likely to end in despair and defeat as in epic victory; what's important is the struggle itself.

    Thus, our five core principles:

    1. There is a single great Enemy. While the heroes may have to face many challenges and many foes along the way, there is a single constant threat looming over their lives which affects all of them and which cannot be ignored. It may be an enemy in the traditional sense or something more nebulous, but it and its effects upon the world are (or will soon become) undeniable, and it must be overcome if there is to be any hope of a brighter future, or even a future at all. It is the single driving force of the entire story, a constant imperative to move fast, and to move hard.
    2. The Enemy is overwhelming. No one can stand face-to-face against the Enemy or the full strength of its forces for long. Even the greatest armies can only hope to buy themselves and their allies some time: a short reprieve or a desperate chance to act. No true or lasting victory can come from facing the Enemy or its forces upon the battlefield.
    3. The Enemy is everywhere. Nowhere is safe for long, and no one should think themselves beneath the Enemy's notice. As the saying goes, you can run but you cannot hide. Even the strongest fortress must fall before a concerted attack by the Enemy, and even the most well-hidden sanctuary must become known in time. Staying on the move is not just sound advice, it is the only hope you have of staying alive in the long run.
    4. Victory only comes through sacrifice is a consequence of the second principle. It means that, if the heroes lost nothing to gain their victory, the Enemy was never a real threat to begin with. Embrace loss and sacrifice along the way. Accept it as the price of your victory.
    5. Time is short. If nothing is done, before long the Enemy will be victorious, and all hope will be well and truly lost. Whatever is to be done, it must be done now, while there is still time. Desperate acts, with only a fool's hope of success, may be called for.

    Basic Moves
    Make Your Stand: When the final hour has arrived and the horn is blown, when you stand before the enemy and do not flee, roll+Fate. You may always Give your Life in Battle to get the results of a 12+, even if you have not advanced this move. On a hit you hold your ground just long enough, creating an opportunity or an opening for someone else, or you push the Enemy back for a short reprieve. On a 7-9, you face a Trial as the battle takes its toll.

    On a miss, your forces suffer a Blow.

    Advanced: On a 12+, the Enemy's forces suffer a Blow.

    Fall Back: You can run, but you cannot hide. When you fall back or run away from the enemy, roll+Fate. On a hit, pick one:

    • You buy yourself some time: a short reprieve or a chance to prepare.
    • You lead the Enemy away from others.

    On a 10+, you take +1 forward: you cannot run forever, but at least now you're prepared for what you must face.

    Advanced: On a 12+, turns out you really can hide, at least this once: The Enemy passes you by, none the wiser.

    Play with Fire: When you play with fire, expect someone to get burnt. When you attempt something dangerous and heroic, or when you dig in to endure the fire, roll+Fate. On a 10+, you do it, and no one gets burnt. On a 7-9, you do it, but someone gets burnt and faces a Trial for it. If someone other than you gets burnt for your act of daring, they know who to blame. If it's another PC, they take +1 Hx with you.

    Advanced: Not only do you do it without getting burnt, an enemy of your choice gets to feel the fire instead.

    Lash Out: When you lash out at someone with violence or threats of violence, roll+Might. On a hit, you may give them the option to cave and do as you want. If you don't, or if they refuse, immediately exchange harm.

    On a 7–9, they may instead choose one:

    • Get the hell out of your way.
    • Barricade themselves securely in.

    Advanced: On a 12+, they cave and do as you want, or they face a Trial.

    Take Hold: When you try to take or keep hold of something by force, roll+Might. On a hit, you seize or hold on to it. On a 10+, it's your choice whether to exchange harm or not. On a 7-9, exchange harm.

    Advanced: On a 12+, you also impress, dismay, or frighten them, regardless of whether harm was exchanged.

    Make Believe: When you try to Make Someone Believe something, whether through trickery, illusion, lies, or simply speaking the truth, roll+Wiles. On a 10+, they believe it, but their reaction is their own. On a 7-9, they need some concrete assurance, corroboration, or evidence before they believe it.

    Advanced: On a 12+, if an NPC, they not only believe you, they react exactly how you want.

    Pull Strings: When you Pull Strings to get something you want, first specify what those strings are, then roll+Wiles. You may spend Barter one for one to add to your roll, for a maximum total of +3. On a 10+, it's yours. On a 7-9, the MC chooses one:

    • It will cost you one Barter, in addition to any you already spent.
    • You can have it, but it comes with strings of its own attached.
    • You don't get it, but you find someone who can help you get it.
    • You can get something pretty close, but not quite.

    Advanced: On a 12+, you get more than you asked for.

    Study Another: When you take time to Study Another, roll+Wiles. On a 10+, ask three. On a 7-9, ask one:

    • Is the character telling the truth?
    • What is the character really feeling?
    • What does the character intend to do?
    • What does the character wish I'd do?
    • How could I get the character to ___?

    On a miss, ask 1 anyway, but be prepared for the worst.

    Advanced: On a 12+, you also learn a secret from them.

    Sniff the Air: When you stop to Sniff the Air, roll+Instinct. On a hit, you can ask the MC questions. Whenever you act on one of the MC's answers, take +1. On a 10+, ask three. On a 7-9, ask one:

    • How close is the Enemy?
    • Where's my best escape route / way in / way past?
    • Which enemy is most vulnerable?
    • Which enemy is the biggest threat right now?
    • What should I be on the lookout for?
    • Who's in control here?

    On a miss, ask 1 anyway, but be prepared for the worst.

    Advanced: On a 12+, you can ask a single question of your own.

    Go to Ground: When you Go to Ground, roll+Instinct. On a hit, you've gone to ground and are safe, for the night. You cannot leave until morning or stay any longer than that lest the Enemy finds you. On a 10+, choose three. On a 7-9, choose one.

    • The Darkness whispers its secrets to you. It may be confusing and alarming.
    • You can still watch and hear what's happening outside.
    • You can re-emerge in a different place altogether.
    • You can bring others in and out with you.
    • You alleviate a Trial you are facing.

    Advanced: On a 12+, you find something or someone in the Dark ...

    Peripheral Moves
    Help or Interfere: When you help or interfere with someone who's making a roll, roll+Hx with them. On a 10+, they take +2 (help) or -2 (interfere) to their roll. On a 7–9, they take +1 (help) or -1 (interfere) to their roll.

    Exchanging Harm: When two parties come to blows, each compares their Harm to the other's Armor. If the Harm is greater, the defender suffers harm: a difference of 1 is minor injury, not serious enough to be a Trial but bad enough to be felt by the character (roleplay as you like); on a 2-3 difference, the character faces a Trial, or an existing Trial worsens; on a 4+ difference, they suffer an immediate Blow.

    Whether or not a character suffers harm, the MC can optionally pick one:

    • It seems worse to you than it really is.
    • You lose your footing.
    • You lose your grip on something you're holding.
    • You lose track of someone or something you're attending to.
    • You miss noticing something important.

    Trials and Blows
    Throughout the story, characters may face Trials and suffer Blows. These help to drive the story and create interesting and meaningful consequences to your actions. They replace the usual tracking of Harm.

    A Trial is something the character must face, endure, and overcome beyond the current scene. Moment-to-moment changes of fortune within a scene are not Trials. Though it can be overcome, a Trial will likely leave lasting scars that may haunt the character for the rest of their life. The alternative to overcoming a Trial is to succumb or give up.

    If a character fails to overcome their Trial, or if certain dramatic scenes turn irrevocably bad, they may suffer a Blow. A Blow is immediate and permanent, a done deal: you lose a battle, there's no changing that, no going back, you can only endeavor to win the next one, provided you live.

    In telling our stories, we aren't concerned with details like hit points and damage. When Frodo gets stabbed by the Morgul blade, we aren't concerned with bookkeeping the exact amount of damage he takes, or how much it heals over time. We're only interested in the story of the trial he faces, the pain he endures, his struggle against the evil spreading within his blood, and the lasting effects the ordeal has on him.

    If it isn't big enough to be a story, or important enough to tell that story, it isn't worth keeping track of. Your character can get wounded in a fight, but it isn't always worth dwelling on too long. Sometimes your character just grits their teeth and moves on with the real story.

    Playbooks
    Last edited by stveje; 2020-06-04 at 12:59 PM.
    Sebastian/S.T. Veje
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  2. - Top - End - #2
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: [Apocalypse World] Dark Times WIP

    Playbook: The Sovereign
    A leader of people and commander of armies.

    Sovereign Moves
    [x] Fortunes of War: At the beginning of each session, roll+Fate. On a 10+, your people are safe and well, your forces stand ready to carry out your commands, and your rule is unquestioned. On a 7-9, one of these is not true: pick which, and the MC will detail. On a miss, all Hell is loose in your kingdom.

    [x] Anoint: When you Anoint another player's character and send them forth on a Quest of Great Importance, roll+Fate. On a 10+, pick two. On a 7-9, pick one.

    • They take +1 ongoing in pursuit of their Quest.
    • They take -1 ongoing in all other pursuits.
    • Offer them the gift of some item which may be of aid in their Quest.
    • They mark experience on completing their Quest.

    On a Miss, they take -1 ongoing in pursuit of their Quest, as it is Doomed from the start. If they succeed against all odds, both you and they mark experience.

    [ ] Gloria Mundi: Whenever you lead your forces to victory in battle, everyone marks experience.

    [ ] Peacemaker: When you call for two rivals or enemies to come to you and meet, to settle things between them, roll+Might. On a hit, they must both come, at the time you specify. On a 10+, choose 2. On a 7–9, choose 1:

    • They must come alone.
    • They must come unarmed.
    • They must bring gifts, peace offerings, prisoners to exchange, or tokens of good will.

    On a miss, they can make demands of you, and come only if you accede.

    [ ] Pro Patria Mori: Sometimes greater sacrifices are necessary. When you Make your Stand, you may opt to sacrifice the majority of your forces to gain the benefits of a 12+, as if you had given your own life in battle. If your army is large, reduce it to medium size. If your army is medium size, reduce it to small size, and you can no longer achieve a 10+ on Fortunes of War until you've in some way restored what was lost. If your army is small, you lose all but a handful of commanders, your rule is questioned, and you can no longer use your Sovereign moves.

    Sovereign Special
    If you and another character have sex, you each hold 1. Either of you can spend your hold any time to help or interfere with the other, at a distance or despite any barriers that would normally prevent it.

    Barter
    Your kingdom provides for your day-to-day living: while you're there governing it, you need not spend barter for your lifestyle at the beginning of the session.

    When you suffer a Blow
    • come back with -1 Might
    • come back with +1 Instinct (max +3)
    • change to a new playbook
    • die

    Improvement
    • get +1 Fate (max +3)
    • get +1 Might (max +3)
    • get +1 Wiles (max +2)
    • get +1 Instinct (max +2)
    • get a new Sovereign move
    • get a new Sovereign move
    • get a move from another playbook
    • add an option to you army
    • add an option to you army
    • remove an option from you army

    After 5 advances:
    • get +1 to any stat (max +3)
    • retire your character to safety
    • create a second character to play
    • change to a new playbook
    • choose 5 basic moves and advance them
    • advance the other 5 basic moves

    Your People & Army
    Describe your kingdom, your peoples, and your army. By default, your army is medium sized and has:

    • A standing force of experienced soldiers who are always ready and can march at short notice.
    • A much larger reserve of soldiers of varying experience and training who can mobilize given enough time.
    • A handful of commanders with their own underlings.
    • Basic arms and armor (2-harm, 1-armor) for your standing army. Your reserves have whatever they can scrape together (2-harm, 0-armor).

    Then choose 3:
    • Your army is large instead of medium.
    • Your armory is sophisticated and extensive (3-harm, 2-armor for your standing force).
    • Your reserve is well-equipped for war (2-harm, 1-armor).
    • Your army has dedicated siege equipment or other advanced weaponry appropriate to the setting; detail.
    • You command an air force: detail and say what percentage of your forces are dedicated to the air force.
    • You command a navy: detail and say what percentage of your forces are dedicated to the navy.
    • Your army is supplemented by paramilitary forces or mercenaries with their own command structure and loyalties.

    And choose 1 or 2:
    • Your army is small instead of medium.
    • Your armory is sh** (2-harm, 0-armor for your standing force).
    • Your reserve is poorly trained and unprepared.
    • Your forces are wild, savage, unruly.
    • Your forces are expensive or have special needs such as rare fuel.

    Stats
    You get Fate+2.

    Add +1 to one of: Might+1, Wiles-1, Instinct=0.

    Gear
    In addition to your kingdom and army, detail your personal fashion. You can have for your personal use, with the MC's approval, a few pieces of non-specialized gear or weapons from any character playbook.

    Hx
    Everyone introduces their characters by name, look, and outlook. Take your turn. List the other characters' names. Go around again for Hx. On your turn, ask one or more:

    • Which one of you is like family to me? For that character, write Hx-2.
    • Which one of you gave me advice in the past? For that character, write Hx+2.

    For everyone else, write Hx+1. It's in your interests to know people. On the others' turns, answer their questions as you like.
    Sebastian/S.T. Veje
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  3. - Top - End - #3
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: [Apocalypse World] Dark Times WIP

    Playbook: The Wizard
    Manipulates events on a grand scale, moving pieces into place and guiding the other players down predetermined paths.

    Wizard Moves
    [x] Foresight: You consult the Mysteries for direction and guidance. Roll +Instinct to see where they lead you or what they tell you to do. On a 10+, mark experience and take +1 forward if you follow. On a 7–9, take +1 forward if you follow and Play with Fire if you don't. On a miss, Play with Fire if you don't follow.

    [x] Ultimate Power: When you command the forces of the Universe to do your bidding or tell the laws of physics to go break themselves, consult your Grimoire. The MC will tell you what it will take but not what the consequences are.

    [ ] Gift Horse: Whenever you Make Believe and your words come true or things happen just as you said they would, everyone who believed you marks experience.

    Wizard Special
    If you and another character have sex, they roll Foresight as if they had the move themselves.

    When you suffer a Blow
    • come back with -1 might
    • come back with +1 instinct (max +3)
    • change to a new playbook
    • die

    Improvement
    • get +1 fate (max +1)
    • get +1 might (max +2)
    • get +1 wiles (max +3)
    • get +1 instinct (max +3)
    • get a new Wizard move
    • get a move from another playbook
    • get a move from another playbook

    After 5 advances:
    • get +1 to any stat (max stat+3)
    • retire your character to safety
    • create a second character to play
    • change to a new playbook
    • choose 5 basic moves and advance them
    • advance the other 5 basic moves

    Stats
    You get Instinct+2.

    Add +1 to one of: Fate-1, Might=0, Wiles+1.

    Gear
    Choose one, two, or all three:
    • A staff, wand, or similar implement: a symbol of your power and authority in this world.
    • A grimoire: the vessel for your spells and a symbol of your mastery over the arcane mysteries.
    • A hat

    Hx
    Everyone introduces their characters by name, look, and outlook. Take your turn. List the other characters' names. Go around again for Hx. On your turn, ask one or more:

    • Which one of you do I figure is doomed? For that character, write Hx-2.
    • Which one of you has been with me for days on the road? For that character, write Hx+2.

    For everyone else, write Hx+1 if you’re a good and quick judge of others, Hx-1 if you’ve got more important things to do and other stuff to learn. On the others' turns, answer their questions as you like.
    Sebastian/S.T. Veje
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  4. - Top - End - #4
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    OrcBarbarianGuy

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    Default Re: [Apocalypse World] Dark Times WIP

    I'm somewhat reminded of the PbtA game Fellowship, which does something similar to your concept of the "One great enemy"; the Great Enemy (called the Overlord) is actually somewhat closer to a player than in most games, and explicitly advances their schemes whenever the players take time off to rest. It also handles monsters in a way I very much like; they have statistics like "Flying" and "Surrounded by Groupies" that the players can damage by dealing with them; when they have none left, they're effectively defeated, even if they were never physically harmed.

    I really like the Play with Fire move! It's nice that other people might pay the price for your recklessness; I think that's something I often forget about when running the game.

    Fall Back and Go to Ground feel somewhat similar to me in effect/goal, if not in scope. Can you Go to Ground to run away from a fight, or do you have to Fall Back first?

    Play with Fire and Make your Stand overlap as "be heroic" moves; I feel as though they should be condensed. If I want to daringly jump into the nuclear reactor carrying the control rods, that's giving my life (to a similar level of heroism as with Make your Stand), but I don't get the same option to say "yeah, this is worth it". Within this usage, they differ mainly at the partial success level; one forces the cost to be on yourself, while the other can have that cost be on anyone.

    I really like Lash Out as a social tool.

    Exchanging Harm: I don't see much in the way of armor or harm in the characters, or ways that they interact; additionally, it's unclear to me how to handle harm that isn't damage: do I try to Take Hold of a tank's armor when I'm trying to blow it open to get to the people inside?

    The Wizard: It needs a bit of tweaking to be less tied to mysticism in nonfantasy settings- as written, Foresight takes some fiangling to represent mundane insight, and Ultimate Power doesn't tell you how to do basic things like "create improvised explosives" in a modern day setting.
    For Ultimate Power, I suggest "when you attempt to create a dangerous tool or ritual that is beyond your capability" or something similar; the main point is that you're gathering resources for a particular purpose, not that the purpose is magical.
    My one piece of homebrew: The Shaman. A Druid replacement with more powerlevel control.
    The bargain bin- malfunctioning, missing, and broken magic items.
    Spirit Barbarian: The Barbarian, with heavy elements from the Shaman. Complete up to level 17.
    The Priest: A cleric reword which ran out of steam. Still a fun prestige class suitable for E6.
    The Coward: Not every hero can fight.

  5. - Top - End - #5
    Colossus in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: [Apocalypse World] Dark Times WIP

    Hey stevje! Lot of interesting thoughts happening here.

    My biggest and most immediate one, though, is consider throwing out the barter mechanic. Barter is arguably the core mechanic of AW in particular because AW is about stuff. Stuff and things and gear and items, getting lost or stolen or breaking. There's not enough to go around. That's why the basic combat move in AW isn't 'fight a guy' it's 'seize by force' - you're seizing an item and the harm you're inflicting is incidental. All of AW revolves around the theme of scarcity and I recommend being extremely critical about importing moves or mechanics directly from AW without critically reading into why those are there and how they play into the scarcity theme.

    This thought extends to a couple of the basic moves you've got. You've imported read a person/sitch which are things because everyone's got an agenda in AW and you can't trust anyone who's hungry enough. They're moves for reading untrustworthy crews of people with unpredictable motives. Hx is similar - it's ways to make the player characters essentially distrustful and with leverage on each other. Is that the tone you want for your end of days adventuring party?




    Above all, I recommend going through Vincent Baker's blog where he talks a lot about game design theory, and reading Fellowship to try and figure out where you want to diverge from it. Fellowship is very good and already exists kind of in the space you're trying to explore, so I think hacking off it rather than AW itself would likely do you a bunch of good. Consider not what makes your design distinct from Apocalypse World, but what makes it distinct from Fellowship - going for a darker tone than Fellowship is a fair goal.

    Alternately you could go in the opposite direction and really lean into the AW inspiration - but that creates an energy of distrustful kingdoms and heroes refusing to work together or banding together only extremely tenuously in the face of darkness, more of a Game of Thrones vibe than Lord of the Rings.

    E: Chatlog as requested

    Spoiler
    Show

    Your tagline is about desperate acts of heroism. Maybe a core move for sacrificing your life. Like, the totally original basic move where you stand against the enemy and maybe die is *by far* the best one in your list.
    Maybe a move for enduring injury and suffering. Maybe a move for rescuing people in danger, like Masks has.
    Maybe a move for resisting *despair*
    "When you fall into despair, roll +spark..."
    You can make your basic moves much more evocative. You don't need a 'generic' suite.
    You can even just have no fighting move at all. Either it's not the armies of the enemy, in which case you auto win, or it is the armies of the enemy, in which case someone has to make a last stand.

    Last edited by Thanqol; 2020-06-05 at 01:42 AM.

  6. - Top - End - #6
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: [Apocalypse World] Dark Times WIP

    Quote Originally Posted by aimlessPolymath View Post
    I'm somewhat reminded of the PbtA game Fellowship, which does something similar to your concept of the "One great enemy"; the Great Enemy (called the Overlord) is actually somewhat closer to a player than in most games, and explicitly advances their schemes whenever the players take time off to rest. It also handles monsters in a way I very much like; they have statistics like "Flying" and "Surrounded by Groupies" that the players can damage by dealing with them; when they have none left, they're effectively defeated, even if they were never physically harmed.
    I played a game of Fellowship once, because it seemed like what I was looking for, but I didn't much like it. I can't remember much about it, or why I didn't like it, but it wasn't really what I was looking for after all. Still might be some good stuff in there to inspire me though, for sure.

    Quote Originally Posted by aimlessPolymath View Post
    Fall Back and Go to Ground feel somewhat similar to me in effect/goal, if not in scope. Can you Go to Ground to run away from a fight, or do you have to Fall Back first?
    Hmm, good point. I'll have to keep that in mind and see if I can make them more clearly distinct. I think Go to Ground would imply that you're not being immediately followed, so you can't use it to run away from a fight.


    Quote Originally Posted by aimlessPolymath View Post
    Play with Fire and Make your Stand overlap as "be heroic" moves; I feel as though they should be condensed. If I want to daringly jump into the nuclear reactor carrying the control rods, that's giving my life (to a similar level of heroism as with Make your Stand), but I don't get the same option to say "yeah, this is worth it". Within this usage, they differ mainly at the partial success level; one forces the cost to be on yourself, while the other can have that cost be on anyone.
    I think it'd depend on your reason for jumping into the reactor is. Do you jump in, expecting that you might not come out ... then you're Making your Stand, not Playing with Fire. If you jump in, thinking you'll just quickly dart in and back out, then you're Playing with Fire.



    Quote Originally Posted by aimlessPolymath View Post
    Exchanging Harm: I don't see much in the way of armor or harm in the characters, or ways that they interact; additionally, it's unclear to me how to handle harm that isn't damage: do I try to Take Hold of a tank's armor when I'm trying to blow it open to get to the people inside?
    True, the two playbooks haven't given me much opportunity to detail weapons and armor. The Sovereign gets weapon and armor from other playbooks, and the Wizard isn't much of a combatant, although they probably should get some simple weapons to choose from.

    Quote Originally Posted by aimlessPolymath View Post
    The Wizard: It needs a bit of tweaking to be less tied to mysticism in nonfantasy settings- as written, Foresight takes some fiangling to represent mundane insight, and Ultimate Power doesn't tell you how to do basic things like "create improvised explosives" in a modern day setting.
    For Ultimate Power, I suggest "when you attempt to create a dangerous tool or ritual that is beyond your capability" or something similar; the main point is that you're gathering resources for a particular purpose, not that the purpose is magical.
    Ultimate Power is intended as basically a wizard equivalent of the Savvyhead's workshop. The Wizard wants to do something, the MC tells them what's required, and that's that. I just made it more freeform, rather than list a bunch of options for the MC to pick, but that was how I intended it.
    Sebastian/S.T. Veje
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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: [Apocalypse World] Dark Times WIP

    Quote Originally Posted by Thanqol View Post
    My biggest and most immediate one, though, is consider throwing out the barter mechanic. Barter is arguably the core mechanic of AW in particular because AW is about stuff. Stuff and things and gear and items, getting lost or stolen or breaking. There's not enough to go around. That's why the basic combat move in AW isn't 'fight a guy' it's 'seize by force' - you're seizing an item and the harm you're inflicting is incidental. All of AW revolves around the theme of scarcity and I recommend being extremely critical about importing moves or mechanics directly from AW without critically reading into why those are there and how they play into the scarcity theme.
    Yeah, I'll drop Barter for now. Maybe it turns out later that we need something like it, but there's no reason to include it just for the sake of including it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Thanqol View Post
    This thought extends to a couple of the basic moves you've got. You've imported read a person/sitch which are things because everyone's got an agenda in AW and you can't trust anyone who's hungry enough. They're moves for reading untrustworthy crews of people with unpredictable motives. Hx is similar - it's ways to make the player characters essentially distrustful and with leverage on each other. Is that the tone you want for your end of days adventuring party?
    What I do want is for PCs to have agendas, or rather "different ideas of what the best way to stop the Apocalypse is." This actually is based on something you suggested, when I showed some of my early ideas a long time ago.

    You suggested something along the lines of every playbook having some way to incentivize other players to follow along with their plan of action: the Sovereign wants to march their armies against the Enemy, the Wizard wants people to follow strange or mysterious visions, etc.

    I like that idea, and I've played around with it in the moves that let players mark XP when they follow someone's plan. I'm not happy with how that works yet, but it's one of the goals I've got in mind as I work on the playbooks.

    If Hx exists in this system, I think it needs to represent that: different ideas of what's the best way to stop the Apocalypse. Everyone's got their own ideas, but if everyone runs off to do their own thing, then it's more likely to fail.

    That also applies to Study Another (or Read a Person): If you want to sway someone to follow your lead, understanding them might help.

    Sniff the Air (or Read a Sitch) is more about the fact that PCs live in a dangerous world. It would feel odd in such a world to not have a move be about trying to spot or anticipate danger.

    Quote Originally Posted by Thanqol View Post
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    Your tagline is about desperate acts of heroism. Maybe a core move for sacrificing your life. Like, the totally original basic move where you stand against the enemy and maybe die is *by far* the best one in your list.
    Maybe a move for enduring injury and suffering. Maybe a move for rescuing people in danger, like Masks has.
    Maybe a move for resisting *despair*
    "When you fall into despair, roll +spark..."
    You can make your basic moves much more evocative. You don't need a 'generic' suite.
    You can even just have no fighting move at all. Either it's not the armies of the enemy, in which case you auto win, or it is the armies of the enemy, in which case someone has to make a last stand.
    Requested because these are really good points.

    A move for resisting despair is definitely something I'll be working on.

    I might also drop the fighting moves, or replace them with something a bit more "auto win", because fighting is really only the focus in these stories when it's against the Enemy and its forces (which is already covered by Make Your Stand and Fall Back).
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    Default Re: [Apocalypse World] Dark Times WIP

    Quote Originally Posted by stveje View Post
    I played a game of Fellowship once, because it seemed like what I was looking for, but I didn't much like it. I can't remember much about it, or why I didn't like it, but it wasn't really what I was looking for after all. Still might be some good stuff in there to inspire me though, for sure.
    I know I disliked how closely the different playbooks were tied to race; if you can replace that aspect, I'd be sold.

    Quote Originally Posted by stveje View Post
    I think it'd depend on your reason for jumping into the reactor is. Do you jump in, expecting that you might not come out ... then you're Making your Stand, not Playing with Fire. If you jump in, thinking you'll just quickly dart in and back out, then you're Playing with Fire.
    Make Your Stand being the self-sacrificing move sets it apart for me. I'm reasonably satisfied.

    Quote Originally Posted by stveje View Post
    Ultimate Power is intended as basically a wizard equivalent of the Savvyhead's workshop. The Wizard wants to do something, the MC tells them what's required, and that's that. I just made it more freeform, rather than list a bunch of options for the MC to pick, but that was how I intended it.
    My only issue is that it explicitly says "break the laws of physics"- if it didn't, then it would be fine and I could engineer explosives. It's a minor issue in scope, not an inherent problem with the move.

    Similarly, Foresight is written as "consulting Mysteries", which asks for a pretty flexible definition of "mystery" to apply to a nerd's set of engineering textbooks or an alchemist's accumulated knowledge.

    What I do want is for PCs to have agendas, or rather "different ideas of what the best way to stop the Apocalypse is." This actually is based on something you suggested, when I showed some of my early ideas a long time ago.

    You suggested something along the lines of every playbook having some way to incentivize other players to follow along with their plan of action: the Sovereign wants to march their armies against the Enemy, the Wizard wants people to follow strange or mysterious visions, etc.

    I like that idea, and I've played around with it in the moves that let players mark XP when they follow someone's plan. I'm not happy with how that works yet, but it's one of the goals I've got in mind as I work on the playbooks.
    The Dungeon World Know-It-All wizard move might be appropriate here.

    Have you considered borrowing Strings as a social system (I know Monsterhearts uses them, and I think Masks does too)? A social economy based around trying to prove your own leadership ability and goals to others would be an interesting twist.
    My one piece of homebrew: The Shaman. A Druid replacement with more powerlevel control.
    The bargain bin- malfunctioning, missing, and broken magic items.
    Spirit Barbarian: The Barbarian, with heavy elements from the Shaman. Complete up to level 17.
    The Priest: A cleric reword which ran out of steam. Still a fun prestige class suitable for E6.
    The Coward: Not every hero can fight.

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    Default Re: [Apocalypse World] Dark Times WIP

    Got distracted over the weekend. A few more thoughts while I go to work on the basic moves ...

    Quote Originally Posted by Thanqol View Post
    Maybe a core move for sacrificing your life.
    I'm not sure this should be a separate move from Make Your Stand. Like, knowingly sacrificing your life should probably only happen in situations where you'd Make Your Stand anyway.

    Quote Originally Posted by Thanqol View Post
    Maybe a move for enduring injury and suffering. Maybe a move for rescuing people in danger, like Masks has.
    These are both covered by Play with Fire, I think. I'm not sure a dedicated move feels right, although if you can post the Masks move for me, that'd be great (I'm not sure I have that book, or if I do, it's somewhere on my backup right now)

    Quote Originally Posted by Thanqol View Post
    Maybe a move for resisting *despair*
    "When you fall into despair, roll +spark..."
    What would be the success and failure results here? I feel like successfully facing your despair should perhaps result in marking experience, but ... a basic move that gives you experience? *skeptical face* On the other hand, I have been seriously thinking of not having highlighted stats and just gaining XP directly from moves, but still ... a basic move? It makes a kind of sense, but yeah, I'm unsure.

    Quote Originally Posted by aimlessPolymath View Post
    I know I disliked how closely the different playbooks were tied to race; if you can replace that aspect, I'd be sold.
    Aye. I have no intention of even mentioning race because that's so heavily tied up with setting, and this is meant to be 100% setting-neutral.

    Quote Originally Posted by aimlessPolymath View Post
    My only issue is that it explicitly says "break the laws of physics"- if it didn't, then it would be fine and I could engineer explosives. It's a minor issue in scope, not an inherent problem with the move.

    Similarly, Foresight is written as "consulting Mysteries", which asks for a pretty flexible definition of "mystery" to apply to a nerd's set of engineering textbooks or an alchemist's accumulated knowledge.
    I think a Wizard playbook ought to have some connection to mysticism, like how Star Wars has the Force, for example. A different playbook for the purely tech-focused type might be better.

    Quote Originally Posted by aimlessPolymath View Post
    The Dungeon World Know-It-All wizard move might be appropriate here.
    Another book that's on my backup and not in my hands right now. Can you copy the move here? I should just go dig out all my backuped books, but I'm feeling lazy

    Quote Originally Posted by aimlessPolymath View Post
    Have you considered borrowing Strings as a social system (I know Monsterhearts uses them, and I think Masks does too)? A social economy based around trying to prove your own leadership ability and goals to others would be an interesting twist.
    Perhaps. I seem to recall liking strings in MH, but my experience with it is sadly limited.
    Last edited by stveje; 2020-06-09 at 02:53 AM.
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    Default Re: [Apocalypse World] Dark Times WIP

    Know-it-all:
    When another player’s character comes to you for advice and you tell them what you think is best, they get +1 forward when following your advice and you mark experience if they do.

    Perhaps. I seem to recall liking strings in MH, but my experience with it is sadly limited.
    As I understand it, they're a somewhat more fluid version of Bonds/Hx; instead of rolling +Hx to try to interfere with someone, you'd spend a String on them to place a condition, offer them an experience point to do what you want, etc.

    Looking over Aid/Interfere, it seems to me that you might consider running Interfere as a usage of Pull Strings or Lash Out, and rewriting Aid as a move that explicitly subordinates yourself to someone else (ex. "when you follow someone's orders to help them, roll +their Strings on you(max 3)"); this would push the aspect of "whose plan to follow".

    Also, if the idea of "everyone's got a different plan" is something you want to push, consider putting it somewhere in the core principles, or add a special experience trigger along the lines of "when you convince others to follow your direction", "when you solve a problem using (class-dependent tool)", etc.
    Last edited by aimlessPolymath; 2020-06-10 at 12:15 PM.
    My one piece of homebrew: The Shaman. A Druid replacement with more powerlevel control.
    The bargain bin- malfunctioning, missing, and broken magic items.
    Spirit Barbarian: The Barbarian, with heavy elements from the Shaman. Complete up to level 17.
    The Priest: A cleric reword which ran out of steam. Still a fun prestige class suitable for E6.
    The Coward: Not every hero can fight.

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    Default Re: [Apocalypse World] Dark Times WIP

    Quote Originally Posted by stveje View Post
    I'm not sure this should be a separate move from Make Your Stand. Like, knowingly sacrificing your life should probably only happen in situations where you'd Make Your Stand anyway.
    Take a look at Urban Shadows, it has a When You Die move.

    I do not like how Urban Shadows implemented it but I have a lot of issues with US in general, use it as inspiration to do better!

    These are both covered by Play with Fire, I think. I'm not sure a dedicated move feels right, although if you can post the Masks move for me, that'd be great (I'm not sure I have that book, or if I do, it's somewhere on my backup right now)
    I think play generic do-anything moves are bad AW tech in general. In Dungeon World there's a big problem with Defy Danger as the move you use to do anything; a better game you're able to shape the characters options by limiting their moves down to really characterful one.

    Like Masks! Defend gives you one pick from this list, and on a 7-9 you bear the brunt of the attack you're defending against while on a 10+ you're fine:
    - Mark XP
    - Take influence over the person you're defending
    - Set up an ally's attack.

    Notably, taking Influence is a really powerful thing because that means the person you've defended now cares about what you have to say - a big deal for a young superhero proving themselves to an elder/J. J. character by putting their life on the line to defend them. It also means that it works as an *offensive* move because you can spend the influence you have on a supervillain to convince them that what they're doing is wrong - how neat is that?

    This is what I mean about good move design. It means that one of the basic 8 things that you do isn't generic Defy Danger, but really specific Defending Other People. You expect superheroes to do that all the time, and the fact that the move is there is what makes it a superhero game!

    What would be the success and failure results here? I feel like successfully facing your despair should perhaps result in marking experience, but ... a basic move that gives you experience? *skeptical face* On the other hand, I have been seriously thinking of not having highlighted stats and just gaining XP directly from moves, but still ... a basic move? It makes a kind of sense, but yeah, I'm unsure.
    Tonnes of basic moves give you experience, AW does it with manipulate. Your experience track doesn't need to be about getting better either, if this is a story about doomed heroes you could do something funky like flip it backwards and make it like a corruption track or something.

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