On A Miss, Wolves.

edited January 2014 in Story Games
Re-starting an old Apocalypse World game from a year ago, I dug out my game notes to refresh my memory on the fronts and threats from the campaign, and found this amazing custom move.

When wolves come slinking down the tunnels, roll +sharp. On a 10+, you see them coming before they see you. On a 7-9, they spot you, but you have time to prepare. On a miss, wolves.

Comments

  • I find this very odd: it's a player-side move that's triggered by the MC.

    Do you guys use this kind of thing a lot?

    I always try to phrase fictional triggers for moves in terms of PC actions, so there's still a dialogue happening.

    Exception: "love letters" and start-of-session moves.
  • edited January 2014
    I agree Paul, it is kind of odd. The move could be easily fixed by rewording the trigger though.

    How about:

    When you enter the old sewer tunnels** roll +sharp

    On a hit, you detect them before they detect you.

    On a 10+, you have the drop on them.
    on a 7-9, you don't have the drop on them but you have a few moments to prepare before they detect you.
    On a miss I normally don't spell out misses in PBTA games.

    **It would have to be in the old sewer tunnels otherwise wolves are going to always detect the players first. (What honesty demands)

    In general though Brian, I use moves like this all the time although they are usually done spontaneously rather than pre-written.

  • There's a very real part of me that wants to see the game where "On a miss, wolves" is in play for every action. Doesn't matter what's going on or where or why; fail to stand your ground under fire? Wolves. Mess up a manipulation? Wolves. Trying and failing to go aggro on some wolves? Ha hah, my friend, it looks like there's a leaky valve on the wolf ducts, because here are some more wolves!
  • I think it is fine. Sometimes wolves come slinking, it is a thing that might happen. When it does this move gets triggered.
  • I agree that it works; it just fits in a funny space when it comes to the Apocalypse World conversation.

    The MC makes a move -> wolves are coming!

    Now we roll to see whether the MC makes another move.

    If the roll fails, she does.

    The players haven't said or done anything - it's a one-sided conversation.

    So that's where I think it's suboptimal. I'd prefer something where the players make a choice to deal with the wolf issue or not, and then the resulting MC move is based on that.
  • That would work, Paul, if the world of this apocalypse cared about your choices regarding the wolves. But this move supposes a different world where your choices don't matter when it comes to the wolves -- they just come slinking and you best be sharp.
  • John,

    That makes sense. Just to be clear, I'm thinking about this in terms of soft moves and hard moves:

    The MC announces future badness: there are some scrabbling sounds in the tunnels, or whatever.

    [Given the move above, this is where we would roll. Instead, the MC says, "what do you do?", is she wont to do.]

    The Savvyhead says he ignores it, slams his psychic maelstrom helmet down over his face and keeps working on his weird-shit device, hoping someone else will check it out. He's handing an opportunity on a silver platter to the MC: in his situation, WOLVES. (Straight to the miss clause of the move!)

    The Battlebabe, on the other hand, is suspicious, so she goes to investigate. She makes this move, then, and has an opportunity to spot the wolves and decide how to react, get into some kind of standoff situation, or get jumped by them in the tunnels, depending on how the move works out.
  • By way of context, our apocalypse, whatever it was, decimated the population and brought on a new ice age. The game is set in the subway tunnels of Washington DC. (Which we all travel daily, in real life, sans wolves).

    Sometimes you have to go down the long, dangerous tunnels that lead out into the icy wilds, though, like to cross Fenwick Bridge or deal with the murder hippies. This is the move for those times.

    As for the mechanical rightness of it, I played a fair amount of Dungeon World for a while there, where that sort of move seems to make sense.
  • Yeah, it's basically a Perception check. Very D&D-appropriate. But how do you decide *when* the wolves come slinking down? Is it an MC move, or something else?
  • Paul, I think John's explanation covers it: it's the regular flow of MC soft move -> player decision -> player move -> outcomes, just minus the player decision.
  • Yeah, I get that. I guess I just don't like it, design-wise! And that's OK.
  • The game is set in the subway tunnels of Washington DC. (Which we all travel daily, in real life, sans wolves).
    Oh, you think so, do you?

    (For serious, I do like this move.)
  • If I were handed this for use in a game I was MCing, I'd interpret the trigger to be weather-like, or like-the-onset-of-night. The canny characters would know when wolves were to be expected - it would somehow be obvious, like how the wind changes about 3pm each day making packing up the bazaar a pain in the ass, or how the reddish clouds over the rag wastes means that there's probably new growth out there waiting to be harvested. (And best get on that shit, too, before Dog Head and the girls beat ya to it.)

    But sometimes you roll and, shit, you were just a little to distracted by Dremmer getting up in your grill or what have you, and all of a motherfucking sudden, wolves.

    However it's used, love it, Brian!
  • I like it because it's evocative and it just sounds cool. "On a miss, wolves." Rolls off the tongue nicely.

    However, I'm also confused by it for the reasons Paul_T has raised and appreciate how looking at it from that angle has got me thinking more about moves in general, triggers, and the conversation in play. So thanks for that, Paul_T.
  • edited January 2014
    When you enter the hundred acre wood, roll+sharp. On a 10+, you meet Pooh Bear and the whole gang! Hooray! On a 7-9, you meet Tigger or Eeyore, your choice. On a miss, wolves.
  • edited January 2014
    LOL @Johnstone

    When you enter the Wild Wood roll +sharp.

    On a 10+ you make it out.
    On a 7-9, you are stuck with Badger for the whole winter
    On a miss, stoats and weasels. (And also probably wolves)
  • However, I'm also confused by it for the reasons Paul_T has raised and appreciate how looking at it from that angle has got me thinking more about moves in general, triggers, and the conversation in play.
    I'm not confused, possibly because I'm not thinking carefully enough, but it's useful to think about when and how you should use the game mechanics.
    When you enter the hundred acre wood, roll+sharp. On a 10+, you meet Pooh Bear and the whole gang! Hooray! On a 7-9, you meet Tigger or Eeyore, your choice. On a miss, wolves.
    Ha ha.


  • On a 7-9, you meet Tigger or Eeyore, your choice.
    Ouch.

  • Hard choice. Worse outcome.
  • edited January 2014
    More seriously, I would probably do this with the idea:

    When you sneak through the tunnels, roll+cool. On a 10+, like shadows and smoke, nacht und nebel. On a 7-9, you leave a trail that can be followed. On a miss, wolves.

    When your blood is spilled in the tunnels, roll+hard. On a 10+, it's not much and not enough to cause trouble. On a 7-9, if you run you take 1 harm from blood loss but nothing follows you and if you stay it's only a matter of time. On a miss, wolves.

    When you meet someone in the tunnels, on the sly, roll+hot. On a 10+, they'll leave with you fast enough there's no trouble. On a 7-9, they're scared and you need to offer concrete assurances or they flee. On a miss, wolves.

    When you open your brain to the psychic maelstrom in the tunnels, on a hit, it's business as usual. On a miss, wolves.

    When wolves comes slinking down the tunnels, fuck you.
  • Johnstone, sweet.
  • When you go slinking down the tunnels roll + bond with the wolves...
    On a 10+ you gain a pack mate who guides your way or protects you as needed (choose).
    On a 7-9 choose one:
    :You find your way but are hunted as food.
    :You are come across a hurt dog that if you can befriend and heal will act as if a 10+
    : you get lost and find an underground chamber, but no wolves.

    On a miss, wolves.
    http://www.lifewithdogs.tv/2013/04/stray-russian-dogs-commute-to-work-by-subway/
  • (I've been lurking in this thread the past couple days, and just wanted to say, with excitement, that today I rolled +birthday and got a 10+: wolves. I totally got to pet and nuzzle some wolves today!)
  • When you become a Wolf, roll +Wierd:

    On a 10+ you can keep all of your moves but you must choose your new look and style from the Wolf Playbook. When you gain XP, take moves from the Wolf playbook.

    On a 7-9, you must replace 2 moves with Wolf moves, replace your new look and style from the Wolf Playbook and take bonds with your pack, though one of those Bonds can be with a non-wolf, showing your last link to the two-legged world.

    On a Miss, you are a Wolf now, make a character from the Wolf playbook. You may keep one piece of gear from your old character. If a Wolf couldn't carry it around, tell the MC where you have it hidden or buried.

  • edited January 2014
    This has been my favorite thread on SG for a long while.

    When you go out of your way to try and spend time with Moon Moon, roll +Cool:

    10+: Your morale is boosted by his zany antics, take +1 forward.

    7-9: choose two:
    - Moon Moon doesn't accidentally break your stuff forgetting how to wolf.
    - Your morale is boosted, take +1 forward as above.
    - You don't laugh too loudly, alerting the wolves around you.

    on a Miss, wolves. Actual wolves. Ones that don't like Moon Moon very much.

    Edit: And as a stroke of "genius", I want to do Dr. House World, where it's "On A Miss, Lupus" ...
  • edited January 2014
    My heart is bursting, grinch style.

    +Judd +Alvan +Johnstone +Noofy +Everyone
  • When you hear the wolves howl in the distance, roll +Cool.

    On a 10+, hold 3.

    - you know their position, take +1 damage when attacking them.

    - you know the best escape, anyone who wants to get away can take +1 forward as long as they follow your advice.

    - you have time to prepare and choose your ground, take +1 armor when you take your stand.

    - you can get away without a problem but the weakest among you will be caught by the pack.

    On a 7-9, hold 1.

    On a miss, they aren't in the distance...holy shit, how did they surround you so fast?
  • Ooh, I like that one, Judd!
  • I like Jackson's idea of treating wolves like guards. You know the guards make rounds twice a day because you've established that in the fiction. Twice a day, you make this move. The GM's move then becomes letting you know that that time is approaching. Maybe the players can use the move to their advantage and trigger it themselves, maybe the GM just says, "Hey, it's 3am."
  • Ooh, I like that one, Judd!
    Thanks, I was lukewarm on it and it just sat on my computer screen all morning until the last hold came to me and then it felt properly wolfish.
  • When you open the large crate left behind by Matilda, roll + sharp. On a 10+ you found just what you needed, gain one item worth 1 barter, or a common weapon with the +valuable tag. On a 7-9 it's something nice, but maybe not what you needed. Tell the GM what you want and she'll give you something close-ish.

    On a miss, wolves.
  • Judd,

    Exactly right. It makes the move fly.

    Although I'm not exactly sure how it would work with multiple PCs in the group...
  • I was thinking that the Weakest would be the character with the lowest Hard - Wounds.

    With multiple PC's, I'd think that you'd put an NPC in the ole cross-hairs.
  • When you retreat to your den to lick your wounds, roll+harm. On a 10+, the pack has left you for dead. On a 7-9, one of your trusted pack-members is there and has your back. On a miss, wolves. (Hooray!)
  • I like Jackson's idea of treating wolves like guards. You know the guards make rounds twice a day because you've established that in the fiction. Twice a day, you make this move. The GM's move then becomes letting you know that that time is approaching. Maybe the players can use the move to their advantage and trigger it themselves, maybe the GM just says, "Hey, it's 3am."
    This is interesting...by doing things like this we might take another crack at the "stealth is boring because if you win nothing happens" problem.

  • Ok, it's time to start this anew. Here is the new thread:

    On a miss, you fall on a bear.

    This time, it isn't wolves. Now it's a bear. Just one. But you fall on it.

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