[AW] Advice for making interesting play for Savvyheads/Angels (workspaces)

edited May 2013 in Play Advice
my new AW campaign is up to session 3 and I have both an Angel and a Savvyhead. I'm finding the Savvyhead in particular difficult to get involved in threats/fronts... they just seem to want to spend time in their workspace. How do I make that interesting? (to a lessor extent advice on how to make an Angel's infirmary sing). Thanks!


  • edited May 2013
    I'd say take the trouble to them - like, a bomb in the workspace with a ticking clock, sabotage, someone unlovely wants to talk up close and personal, some dirtbrain brings them a live claymore and asks them what to do with it. Maybe ask them why these things are happening, let them tell you - that way, you'll know what sort of problem interests them. After all, it's not all about you being entertainer - they want something out of this, too, otherwise they wouldn't be in their workspaces.

    I'd also send them directly out of their workspaces, and Angels totally have a reason to do that (you know, blood and guts don't travel well). Savvyheads, you're actually given a tool for that. When they want to make something, tell them they need some piece of crap or other that is Only To Be Found in X location over yonder. If it doesn't make a lot of sense, come up with some circuitous bumpf for why, or ask them why they need it. There's also that bit that means you can say they need to add something to their workspace, and that might just be something that can't be synthesized inside the workspace itself, on account of absurd size or improbable fixtures or something.

    Oh, and let them rebuild if that first part goes awry. Because it will.
  • It probably sounds simplistic, but I'd suggest giving the workspace characters something to work on from time to time, and some (non-negotiable) reasons to leave the workspaces from time to time.

    Things that have drawn my group's Savvyhead out of the workspace and into actively moving the plot:

    Seeing strange, gas-mask-clad travelers peddling unusual tech in the holding.
    A supply run in the dangerous part of the city.
    Being called into a tense meeting with the Hardholder (NPC).
    A dead body with mysterious wounds at the front gate of the holding.

    She tends to retreat back to her workspace during combat. Of course, her workspace is a van, so she never has to be TOO far from it. We have also drawn the plot into the Savvyhead's workspace, where people followed her (e.g., getting her hands on an NPC Brainer's Violation Glove, while someone distracted the Brainer).

    Granted, it sounds like I am luckier than you in that my group's Savvyhead WANTS to be involved in the plot, and will actively suggest things to shape the world. (It was her suggestion that made the downtown area of the city a dangerous hub in the psychic maelstrom, her idea to go downtown for a supply run I didn't impose on her, and her question on rolling weird – "Did we awaken something?" – that basically created the biggest, scariest front in the game.)
  • That list of 8 or so possible complications in the workshop rules (in the Savvyhead playbook) is GOLD for this: all of them push the Savvyhead to get resources and support from elsewhere to be able to complete (or even start!) a project. Adding caveats if they skip part of the prerequisites also gives them interesting choices.

    "You've got it all sketched out, but you'll need either two other people to hold the jaguar down while you bolt on the tentacles, or a serious sedative to knock it out while you work."

    "The rust plague hasn't cropped up in town, but it's just a matter of time. You can build the necro-etheric transmitter, sure, but until you figure out a cure, you'll need to watch out for contamination: nobody will be able to use this without wrecking it but you."

    "Sounds great! Only catch is, you don't have any Langly nodes, haven't seen one in ages. Trolololol's cult ransacked a Langly warehouse last month though, so they might have one. If you could talk Mad Dog into letting you tear down a few of her choppers you could probably make something that'd work for a few days at least. And you'll need at least a few gallons of Type O blood to seal the binding"
  • edited May 2013
    "You've got it all sketched out, but you'll need either two other people to hold the jaguar down while you bolt on the tentacles, or a serious sedative to knock it out while you work."
    Oh hey, this reminds me - for one game I ran, the Savvyhead was all into his teratogenesis shtick, so I gave him a one-off start of session custom move (the others got different ones, not relevant) that went:
    You've cooked up a fine beastie in the lab, ripe for whatever depravaties will fit on the schedule. Only trouble is, the wretched thing has escaped. Bloody hell, better hope [local Hardholder] doesn't find out. Worst of all, the damn thing was...

    roll+Weird. On a 10+, choose two. On a 7-9, choose 3. On a miss, hard cheese - all of the following are true:
    • The beast is huge
    • The beast is horribly beweaponed
    • The beast is murderously cunning
    • The beast is uncannily stealthy
    • The beast is heavily armoured.
    That went down pretty well.
  • Remember, in a world of scarcity, the Savvyhead's workshop looks like a piñata.
  • In the first session, bring the Angel a wounded scavenger and bring the Savvyhead a dead engine block.

    As JasonT suggests, give them things to work on and also reasons to leave their workspace.

    Finally: say to the other players, "Hey, the Angel/Savvyhead is a playbook that only fires on all cylinders when the group leans on them for support. So we should all just agree to do that when it makes sense. Turn to them for advice, supplies, and fix-me-ups. It'll make the group gel."
  • Thanks guys, I'll try some of those.
  • Those are all great points. But, also:

    Why work so hard to bring "the game" to the player? Ask, instead, what the player is into. Does their character have plans? Who bothers them? What are they afraid of? Who are they afraid for? What do they wish they could change in their life?

    When was the last time something they made or worked on turned out horribly, horribly wrong? Why is it suddenly becoming a problem again now?

    And then make the game about that.

    I find that, in AW, sometimes you've got ideas and you throw them out in front of you. Other times, ask the players and use their ideas. When you're frustrated or things aren't working... it's best to turn it over to the players, and ask them where they want to take things next.
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