[AW/nonpocalypse world] what are the AW hacks good at?

hey folks,

given that the other thread has gotten into some good territory, i wanted to ask - how have the various AW hacks improved upon the original?

personally, i find that in Sagas of the Icelanders, it's nice to not have to mess with damage ratings and levels of harm. makes combat that much more narrative-y, but also allows it to be much deadlier too.


  • I really like the monster moves, goals, instincts, etc in Dungeon World. It makes each combat really unique as HP are not really the medium of exchange (as in DnD?) but _fictional_ positioning. Not crazy about rolling damage for monsters though.
  • Oh and the Regiment seems to have fantastic support for running military campaigns, sadly haven't got the time to actually play it though (yet). It directly addresses issues we had in a recent Mythic GME-Traveller merc campaign where it directly zooms in on planning, tactics, leadership, bravery, etc.
  • The requirement in Monster of the Week that everyone have two defined connections with every other player leads to a fantastic hot mess right away. It would be too much for vanilla AW, but it fits the genre excellently.
  • My friend Robo noted tonight that he loves Sagas (as opposed to his lukewarm feeling for both vanilla AW and Dungeon World) because of the elegant way it forces moves to clearly snowball. Physical challenge --> tempt fate --> harm, for example, which exists in every version but is never so clear and non-reliant on GM skill and attention as in Sagas.
  • Do you remember Vincent's idea that roleplaying games should have an idea of how humans work and implement that in play?

    I think Monsterhearts does that better than Apocalypse World.
  • Where can I find a copy of sagas?
  • Posted By: UserCloneWhere can I find a copy of sagas?
    Gregor's still working on it. Currently it is a front sheet and playbooks. If you want my laid out versions of those whisper me with your email address.
  • edited May 2012
    My main lingering issues with AW, after 30+ sessions, are:

    -- I don't like the first session sheet (it just doesn't do much for me in helping me plan for the game)
    -- I don't like the way fronts are organized or the front sheets (though threats are near-perfect)
    -- I don't like the harm rules, which are easy to forget and pretty far removed from the fiction
    -- I don't like barter that much, because -- like harm -- it's easy to forget and is often divorced from the fiction

    Neither Monsterhearts or DW has really tackled the first session stuff as well as I'd hoped they might. The homeroom sheet in Monsterhearts is an interesting concept, but starting every session in homeroom has felt a bit weird in practice, especially because I've played a lot of first sessions of Monsterhearts and not a single extended campaign yet. Also, it always feels slightly contrived that all the monsters in the school are clustered in the same homeroom, since there hasn't been a lot of NPC monsters in the games I've played. Similarly, DW doesn't have really killer guidelines for the first dungeon, though "start at the dungeon entrance" helps a great deal in skipping a whole lot of wander-y bullshit. Still, I really wish there was a way to make sure the first dungeon really rocked, that the stakes where high and that it actually mattered, because anything else seems kinda pointless. The Regiment is pretty good at the first session, but that's because it's war, so the stakes are always high and hopefully command doesn't give you a really lame, pointless mission.

    I haven't run enough of the other AW hacks to know whether fronts make more sense. Hopefully they do.

    I'm also not sure about harm. I don't really like HP that much, because it also feels really far removed from the fiction, even more than harm, really. But it's a choice that makes sense given the audience and goals for DW. Don't have enough experience with harm in Monsterhearts yet. I'll take Jason's word that it works better in Sagas and place a mental bookmark to go look at that. Harm in The Regiment is super great, and the game revolves very tightly around it; it's perhaps the thing you track most closely as a player. But it's also very particular to that setting, so I'm not sure it's obviously exportable to other hacks. Maybe.

    Treasure in DW seems much more clearly tied to the fiction than barter, since it's placed close to the core of the game. I've never yet had a game of AW where getting barter was at the forefront of the players' minds, which seems a bit strange in a game about desperation and want. Some of that's definitely on me as the MC, but the game makes it pretty easy to not deal with that if you don't keep emphasizing it. But it's more difficult to imagine a DW game in which getting treasure and converting it into better gear, weapons, and minions wasn't pretty central, though that has more to do with the overall structure of the game than Sage & Adam really solving this issue. You're just going to get killed otherwise. Seems like very much not the point of Monsterhearts, though dealing with class issues might come up. Currency in The Regiment works pretty well, I think, broken down into a number of different categories, including unit-level currency and soldier-level stuff like "smokes." It's also super important, as in DW, because having the right equipment is often the difference between life and death. I really wish AW felt more like this sometimes, with the level of desperation high. Still, I haven't yet seen concerns about, say, running out of non-contaminated food or water that are on par with not having the right gun or medical equipment for the task at hand, which is what I'd want in AW, I think.
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