[AW] What happens when you run out of moves?

edited September 2012 in Play Advice
Hi

have you ever had a situation where a character wanted to figure something out in-game, and it seemed like a +sharp roll but read a sitch didn't handle it and there was no custom move written?
At that point do you roll +sharp anyway and wing it based on act under fire?
If you're playing a hack rather than AW do you feel that the basic moves are lacking? (If you've played WoD do you start to question the need for moves at all, damn you Harper! :-)

rgds
rob



Comments

  • edited September 2012
    The existing moves really outline how the world is supposed to work, so if you find yourself not seeing the current action in their context look harder.

    That said, the game degrades gracefully back to roll +appropriate stat if you paint yourself into a weird corner. Talk about it and come up with a good answer that supports the fiction and has good consequences on 7-9.
  • What are they trying to figure out?

    I mean, if it's like "What do I know about Nbeke?" then you've got a couple of options. One of them is to disclaim decision-making. "I dunno. What do you know?" or "I don't know. Where or who might you have heard something about Nbeke from?"

    But remember, if they're looking at you expecting you to say something... make a move. Announce future badness is, as always, a good all-purpose one: "Nbeke's a badass, and his gang is crazily well-armed. Nobody knows where he gets all those guns. Does a lot of trade with slavers, too, and if you don't like that you're going to have problems with him." If they're going looking for information... make them buy? "Rolfball looks at you, gleam in his eye. 'Ooooh, Nbeke, eh? That'll cost ya! Man enjoys his privacy, yaknowwhati'msayin?'" Tell them the possible consequences and ask, maybe. "Tum Tum's mind has never been the same since that trip up North, but he's still the most traveled out of anyone in the hardhold. Want to ask him, maybe?"

    You absolutely CAN make a custom move for "see if you know shit" but you don't really have to.
  • Ooooo, Ben. Great suggestions.
  • I've heard that information like that is available, for a price, if your brain is open to it.
  • Ben's got it. Thing to remember about AW and derivatives, if there's obviously no move for it, you can still do it, but you don't roll dice for it. In case of "figure something out", that's passive, and AW is kinda not about being passive, so there's no move for it. If you, the player, can't figure it out with the info you have, maybe you need more info (so maybe you need to Seize it by Force, or Barter for it, or something). Or you can always say Fuck It, open your mind to the psychic maelstrom, and ask it to tell you.

    If the MC is super nice and want to hand you stuff on a silver platter, they could just tell you, of course. I prefer show over tell, usually as part of the Countdown Clock reaching another section.
  • +1 to everyone who pointed out that the moving for knowing something you have no other way of knowing is "Open Your Brain," but there are so many other ways to find out stuff that the people who reach for +Weird all the time... those are the ones you have to worry about.
  • Hey, are you guys saying I'm wrong? Just curious, I am happy to be wrong.
  • Hey, are you guys saying I'm wrong? Just curious, I am happy to be wrong.
    No, I think you're right. Ultimately, every roll is more or less the same - it's why Defy Danger comes up so often in DW or why World of Dungeons exists at all, really.

  • Jason, when I MC, I prefer not to "look harder" to make a move "fit", and instead just throw out a counterpunch describing what happens. If the player really wants to roll the dice, I might suggest - or nominate someone else to suggest, or encourage brainstorming on - rewrites of the fiction to work better in the context of the actual move.

    For example, the typical:

    "I shoot him in the shin."
    "Oh really? Are you attempting to Seize something by Force, or what?"
    "Um, I just really want to shoot him in the shin. And, you know, deal some harm or whatever."
    "Oh, but you'll deal harm anyway. Are you trying to perhaps Seize his Mobility by Force?"
    "Sure, that sounds right, let's do that."

    though I might've just said:

    "Okay, you shoot him in the leg. He crumples to the ground, screaming and bleeding, clutching at the wound."

    or, if I was a bastard:

    "From this distance?? Without a scope or laser sight or anything?? Okay, you shoot and miss his shin. The bullet pings off the metal floor next to him and he turns around, gun lodged at his hip, automatic fire spraying everywhere. What do you do?" though I should've probably Given the Possible Consequences and Asked first.

    I prefer if the player had said something like "I'm going to take control of that guard post he's hanging out in, by taking him out at a reasonable distance before he notices me, then move in quickly - but I still want him alive, so I'm going to take aim at his legs while I'm approaching." I would've called for an Act Under Fire to move up close enough and then a Seize by Force with the guard post as the subject and its guard as the obstacle. Much cleaner than rewriting fiction to fit the mechanics, IMHO.

    The approach of degrading to an appropriate stat is essentially writing a custom move on the fly, which is cool too. In those situations, I usually make up a barebones move that'll do the job, then for a subsequent session I name it, flesh it out, and make it more interesting. That avoids the problem of inconsistent rulings in similar situations, and give us a better toolbox for our ongoing games.

    Not-at-all saying you're doing it wrong, but it's not the way I prefer to do it. To me, the lack of certain moves (like, there's no "hack & slash" in AW and there's no "seize by force" in DW - which makes for very different games) is sometimes even more telling than the presence of others.
  • edited September 2012
    Many good examples have already been given, but I would also add that the Workshop rules actually provide a much better framework for serious 'figure something out' issues than Open Your Brain. OYB can work for that too, but I see it as more useful for a 'I don't know what to do next' or 'I feel like something is going on here but I dunno what' situation.

    I mean, the Workshop rules allow the MC to provide straightforward exposition on a topic of interest -- once the PC has met all the necessary conditions, of course -- whereas if your Open Your Brain responses are starting to feel like fully-comprehensible exposition, that's generally a warning sign that your Maelstrom-fiction might need some barfing up.

    Open Your Brain is a request to the MC that they show you more of the mystery/badness/weirdness than you may have previously had access to, or provide a new perspective on things you have already encountered; the Workshop rules provide a way for the MC to actually explain that shit. After all, sometimes there are things PCs want to know or problems they want to solve that can't be resolved in a single burst of visionary insight.
  • I personally don't like degrading to Defy Danger or the base WoD move of roll+stat in AW. Those are interesting techniques but not the tools I'd reach for in AW. I agree mostly with Benhimself that I would reach for the other GM tricks other than rolling, until you hit something that actually is a move.

    Custom moves are cool, but importing a move like Defy Danger kinda gives you an excuse not to make custom moves, right? Or to not dig deeper and try to figure out what's actually happening in the fiction. I'm not saying it's wrong, I'm saying I'm not a huge fan in this case, it might be a bit lazy, and there are possible consequences that push you away from engaging with the fiction.
  • Also, +workshop, yes. That is the move for figuring things out or making plans.
  • edited September 2012
    Yeah, I'm with Ben and Jonathan. If there's no PC move for it, and there's no custom move for it, then the MC says what happens, using her agenda and principles and moves. This is a feature, not a bug. You don't have to roll dice for it to matter. Don't force dice rolls in AW where they don't need to exist.

    (But, like Jason said: the stakes are fairly low. If you do fall back on a stat roll in a pinch, it will work fine and not crash the game or anything.)

    The feel and texture of DW is differefent from AW. Start importing moves across the games and you will smooth out the peaks and valleys and make them more and more alike. Sometimes this is what you want, but do it with intention, not because you just feel like rolling for something.
  • edited September 2012
    Hey, are you guys saying I'm wrong? Just curious, I am happy to be wrong.
    No, I think you're right. Ultimately, every roll is more or less the same - it's why Defy Danger comes up so often in DW or why World of Dungeons exists at all, really.

    This one time, at band ca during Apocalypse World, my Brainer was going off to a meet or something and I wanted some better armaments. Like an assault rifle. So:

    Me: I go looking around the hardholder's munitions workshop. I mean, he's making rifles, I should be able to borrow one.

    Adam: Hmm, I'm not so sure, it's also a business. Maybe you should roll+sharp?

    Me: Okay, sounds fair. I got a 7 (or maybe I missed? I can't remember, the outcome is what mattered to me).

    Adam: So there's still some pistols lying around, but no rifles. The shipment went out this morning.

    Me: Fuck. I already have a handgun, I'll just take that.

    And there you have an example of making up a custom move.
    Also an example of why Defy Danger comes up so often in DW: because Adam is a clone of Luke Cra likes to roll for things.
  • This is a good discussion. I think we've locally developed a culture of play that approaches this family of games in a particular way, and "taught each other" how that works. We're definitely prone to going to the dice. I really want to see how you all do it, from a player's perspective! Please fly to my house next Monday. Dinner's on me, 6PM EST.
  • In my mind, thinking of them as a "family of games" could be part of the issue. AW provides this language for talking about play, specifically for talking about GM-backed sandbox play (which is mostly what people used the language to talk about, for the most part, though there's been hints of other play style), but there can still be dramatic differences in how the GM is meant to approach different games and how players interact with the moves. And those differences are part of what makes it worthwhile, in my opinion, to play all these games and look at how different hacks handle similar issues in different ways. The fact that things as different as Murderous Ghosts and Sagas of the Icelanders are both AW hacks demonstrates that there's a lot of variety contained in these games and even more unexplored potential as people begin to stretch the language.

    I mean, part of what I think happened with Murderous Ghosts is that Vincent is already much more proficient in using the language to do different things than those of us who later began learning to speak, read, and write it. By the time he finished AW, he pretty much had it down for talking about AW-like stuff and so has already started using it to talk about things that are pretty different from AW. Folks are catching up, but obviously he's had a fair headstart. Many of the apples are falling reasonably close to the tree right now, but there are still significant differences and my expectation is that different AW-inspired games will only become more dissimilar over time.
  • edited September 2012
    Hey, are you guys saying I'm wrong? Just curious, I am happy to be wrong.
    No, I think you're right. Ultimately, every roll is more or less the same - it's why Defy Danger comes up so often in DW or why World of Dungeons exists at all, really.

    This one time, at band ca during Apocalypse World, my Brainer was going off to a meet or something and I wanted some better armaments. Like an assault rifle. So:

    Me: I go looking around the hardholder's munitions workshop. I mean, he's making rifles, I should be able to borrow one.
    Adam: Hmm, I'm not so sure, it's also a business. Maybe you should roll+sharp?
    Me: Okay, sounds fair. I got a 7 (or maybe I missed? I can't remember, the outcome is what mattered to me).
    Adam: So there's still some pistols lying around, but no rifles. The shipment went out this morning.
    Me: Fuck. I already have a handgun, I'll just take that.

    And there you have an example of making up a custom move.
    Also an example of why Defy Danger comes up so often in DW: because Adam is a clone of Luke Cra likes to roll for things.
    Johnstone speaks the truth in this regard.

    Also, it was totally a 7. You got a thing sort of like what you wanted. If you'd missed, I'd probably have had that quartermaster guy show up and give you shit.

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