EPISODE 79- A Monkey and a Football
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This week Shaun's back on deck. I flail around trying to figure out how to run Sage Kobold's embryonic game Black Stars Rise while Shaun looks on in disgust.
Date: November 2nd, 2013 Time:
Hi Daniel,I just listened to your flailing :)It sounds like an interesting game. I love Apocalypse World and I love Call of Cthulhu (and X-Files) so it might be a good game. I've heard people say that Tremulus doesn't really work because in AW the NPCs are basically tissue paper when faced against the PCs so it is very difficult to bring in mind-buckling horror. BSR seems to address this through the NPC threshold but if normal humans are at 3 out of 6, where does a Shoggoth fit? In AW, the way to make an NPC more challenging is to develop custom moves for dealing with them. For example, the MC decides that Doghead is extra twitchy and shoots before asking questions, so he makes a move that says "When trying to sneak up on Doghead, roll+Cool. On a 7-9 you get within arm's reach but choose one: Take Harm, His retainers head you off, He barricades himself in, or He refuses to listen to you."I'm not sure why Sage changed the Harm from AW. I think the countdown clock works fine. I guess he felt that the cards with additional affects was a bit cooler, and maybe there is some Mythos or horror elements included in them (I haven't seen the document).One thing that you don't seem to get (and Shaun tried to explain) is what happens when a PC gets a miss on one of their moves (6-). It is not simply a failed action - that would be boring. When a PC misses, that is when the MC gets to make a move of their own. So, in the case of your character grabbing the briefcase, the MC could make the move of Capture Someone which might be the police arresting you, or the move of Announce Offscreen Badness which could mean that your failure to nab the briefcase meant the cultists were able to advance their ritual and now the moon is blood red. A miss is when the MC can bring the hammer down, though Vincent warns that the MC shouldn't always punish the PCs on every miss to keep them guessing.With respect to spells, you wondered if you should consult Dungeon World. Personally, I think that would be a mistake if you are going for a Mythos feel. Each spell should be developed as a Custom Move with some pretty hard choices (possibly involving Breaks) for 6- and even 7-9, and if you really wanted to be Lovecraftian, personal costs even to attempt the move and get a 10+.I think Shaun was right about the untaken playbook NPCs not having Hx. It seems like the designer felt that the story kind of needs all the archtypes even if they are not the PCs. The PCs will need to consult Prof. Armitage at some point. AW allows for the players to take an NPC as a second player as an advancement so having them around is useful, but Hx is developed only amongst the PCs.Regarding prep beforehand, I think you should limit yourself to some ideas about possible fronts. The maps should come out of play during the first session. The players will have places they want based on what playbooks they select and that will lead into what they add to the map. How does Sage deal with the Fronts? In AW they are all linked to a scarcity, which I think is genius. Does Sage use anything like that? It would be great if they could be linked to something related to Mythos or Psyche (like Conscience, Id, Fantasy, Dream, Desire, Instinct, etc.)Anyway, sorry to go on and on. I just kept wanting to join in on the discussion as I was listening! I hope you have a great play-test.