[Legend of the Elements] Final 3 Days of the Kickstarter! Help Make The Last Stretch Goal! (8/27)



  • edited October 2014
    I'd maybe go a step further, or maybe add an additional playbook move:

    "When an environment tag you've created with earthbending serves to defend someone, destroy that tag and give them +1-armor."

    I was going to suggest you could also "break" your tag to tag someone (as an attack), but I realized the +1 to open violence is probably just as good anyway.

    - Alex

    (Edit: Actually, my first suggestion, was an inversion or modification of move with intention...)
  • It's like you read my mind - a thing about wrecking env tags for benefits was something I was thinking about! My hangup has been what the benefit is exactly. I like the ideas behind using Armor, esp since the move will likely replace Defender (easily the last interesting move there), but given how Armor works now I'm still working through how to incorporate it best.

    "Bulldozer: When your actions lead to the immediate destruction of (or relief from) an Environment Tag, gain 1 Chi."
    Valuable, interesti , versatile? Doesn't deal with armor, but I think it'll probably be alright.
  • Maybe make it "Defender: Whenever you have access to abundant earth and stone and can earthbend, you can protect yourself from an attack (and attendant tag) by spending 1 chi. If the character attacking you was a PC, give that player the chi; otherwise, give the MC the chi.".

    This makes Earthbend->Bulldozer->Defender a really cool and flavorful combo (but each is still pretty useful by itself).

    This actually leads to another thing I was thinking of, though, where - since tags aren't necessarily physical - there's a disconnect between what armor is and how it's actually used. For example, the move "Stealth" tags people as "Unwitting Prey"... which you can use armor to prevent? If I get the tag "confused", or "tired", or "angry"... I can use my stone wall to protect myself?

    It's not an insurmountable obstacle... I guess you could limit armor to only protecting against tags it would, in fiction, protect against, but that actually makes non-physical tags much better, since now there's almost no way to avoid them...

    - Alex
  • That's pretty interesting. Having both Bulldozer and Defender (the mechanic you proposed for it was also something I'd had nipping at the back of my mind but more fully fleshed out) necessitates axing something else though, gotta figure out what.

    You've raised a good point about Armor. In many cases I treat Armor a little abstractly, spending it as defensive capability even on a mental level, but this is also a problem.
    ..y'know, calling it Armor is kind of a holdover from the past when it attached to harm. Moments of luck and drive are a genre staple, maybe just switch the name to Fortune? It's still mechanically the same so I don't need to shuffle around who has what Fortune value, so that's simple. I just might do that.
    The other big problem I still have with Armor/Fortune is regenerating it. I'm thinking it might just refill at session start. Not fictional, but not unreasonable either.

    So guess who got a year of InDesign CC for his birthday? I'm working on the next draft right now. Main redesign-y bits are the earthbender stuff we've been talking about, draining out some artifacts from the airbender (including rewriting the Training move, which I'm struggling with a bit right now), altering the design of the playbooks themselves to account for a bit of the over-designing on the inside-left page, and general typo repair. I also am gonna make some real art for a couple of the sub-playbooks that only received mediocre stuff cuz I was in a rush.

    I'm actually really interested in any feedback on the sub-playbooks! None of them have ever been played, and many of the moves were designed in a single surge right before PAX this year, so I don't know if they actually hold up.
  • edited October 2014
    Oh, huh, axing something? For move count, I assume... is this a game design limit (every playbook only gets X move choices), a graphic design limit (can only fit X moves on the sheet), or something else?

    I like moving to Fortune and having it refresh per session. Maybe add an additional trigger, maybe related to playbook or chakra?

    Maybe - though it's probably not needed - a peripheral move for actual physical armor use? Like, "When you let your armor take the brunt of a physical attack, roll+solid. On a 10+, you avoid the worst of it and ignore any consequences. On a 7-9, pick one:
    - you suffer no harm, but you're dazed, knocked down, or pushed back
    - you suffer no harm, but your armor is damaged
    On a miss, you suffer the worst of it, plus your armor might take some damage, too."

    I've had a few comments about some typos, so I'm sure my players will be overjoyed to see that fixed (one of my players is a bit anxious about spelling :/)... airbender training, hm... I'm not sure there!
    I'll take a look at the sub-playbooks a little later, and see if any thoughts come to mind.

    Airbender training move (maybe?) with the armor move above... "Once you’ve trained with a master airbender, whenever you airbend, on a 10+, you gain armor made of wind."

    Or: "Once you’ve trained with a master airbender, you can use your glider like fortune; you can avoid a single tag (say how it happens), but when you do, you or the MC should say why you can't use your glider right now."

    Or: "Once you’ve trained with a master airbender, your natural state is one of constant movement. Whenever you move with intention, whatever the result, your next roll can be made with +natural in place of the normal stat."

    I dunno!
    - Alex
  • Okay, here goes a pile of comments on sub-playbooks... overall it's pretty good but I tried to take the critical eye... let me know if my notes are not clear, they are really notes I took down quickly and not a fully-fleshed-out thought yet...

    Entry Condition, Typo "You must have the Waterbendeing move."
    Bloodbending, Wording "When you bend the blood in their veins to control their body" sounds kinda weird to me, but maybe it's just me. "When you manipulate someone's blood to control their body"?
    Bloodbending, Mechanic "even the strong-willed succumb", "only the weak-of-heart fall under your control"... who defines this? I think it needs to be more clear. Maybe "On a 10+, it affects them. On a 7-9, PCs can stand fast to refuse you, and NPCs are only affected if they've been tagged."?
    Bloodbending, Mechanic "PCs cannot be bloodbended" - it seems weird that there's one particular move standing out that just doesn't work on PCs; I'd allow them to be affected, but give them an "out" (stand fast, as above, spend a chi, spend a fortune?)
    Bloodbending, Wording "No one’s ever bloodbended multiple people at once, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be the first..."; it may not be necessary to say this! I'd leave it up to player/MC question asking to resolve at the table
    Scary, Typo "When you Speak Honorable"
    Scary, Typo "any result less han"
    Scary, Mechanic ... this one seems a bit weak flavor-wise to me, but I'm not sure how to fix it

    Doctor - looks okay, I think

    Charge, Mechanic "If accompanied by an unintended discharge of electricity that causes undesired consequences, gain back the Charge spent." I'm not sure you really need this actually, and it feels clunky and asking for trouble... "Okay, I gain +1 to every roll and havoc follows me everywhere? Sign me up!"
    Magnetism, Wording "You can move relatively small pieces of metal to your will." the wording here strikes me as a bit odd, but I can't say for sure

    Masterless - looks fine

    Impenetrable, Mechanic: Maybe "When you manipulate metal to protect you from attack, roll+keen. On a 10+, repel any attacks for as long as you maintain your defensive stance (or until you run out of metal!). On a 7-9, protect yourself from the next attack you'd suffer."?

    Plantbending, Mechanic: This one seems a bit lackluster to me. I'd much rather have a hold-and-spend with options like "grab someone's limb", "block someone's path", "cut and pester with thorns", "obscure or hide something"?

    Earthflow, Mechanic: The 7-9 seems kinda weak if you choose the second option... they're basically trapped, but not really? I'd just make "On a 7-9, you can trap and tag them, but you'll need to maintain your focus to keep them there.".

    Faceless, Wording: I think this is okay but it's nagging at me... I think it could be reworded but I'm not sure how

    Entry Condition, Wording "You must have been called upon to rebalance the world. You also must have spoken with the group and gained their consent." The first "You" is a character, the second is a player. It's clear, but not super-clear. I guess it could imply the avatar character must have spoken to the other characters about it (I know this isn't what you mean, but you see my point?)
    Spirit Within, Mechanic: "the duration of the scene" is ill-defined... not sure how to fix it, though... it also feels a bit weak over-all
    Natural Mastery, Mechanic: This seems really good! And disconnected from any fiction. I'd go with the following... it's much wordier but cooler and more even. "When you spend time and effort training under a master bender, spend 3 chi to gain their bending move."

    - Alex
  • edited October 2014
    Sorry it's taken me a bit to get back to you, it's been a crazy week but I've been using what you wrote to implement some changes! I'm really grateful for such a thorough look at what's there.

    The move limit is largely just game design symmetry (with the one violator, the Waterbender, having their extra move essentially just be a peripheral on top of Waterbending). I could break it, but after some stewing I decided that Bulldozer could replace Counteroffense. While that move was alright, I never saw it get taken and I think that, for all its mechanical viability, it's just not that interesting in play if I also have the modified Defender (which I basically just took from you).

    I'm deciding against an additional Fortune-restoring trigger for now. To start with most characters don't have any, so it's a bit unfair if it's easily refilled, but actually I'm doing so because of Tag frequency. It surprised me that, at least when I'm running the game (and I have yet to play in another's AvW game since player Tags came into being), players don't get tagged that often. Just like how dealing Harm was a very powerful MC move that didn't always add that much to the fiction, there are often more interesting consequences to failure, and most players will just accept their Mild Tag without spending their Fortune on it because Mild tags can often narratively be resolved quite easily. As such, having a lot of Fortune or the ability to restore Fortune without too much effort is very very good. There are a couple ways to get a lot of it, but they require dedication. For this reason I think I'll leave players with what they have.
    However, I did add a new entry to the upper-tier improvements (the ones you can access after 5 improvements) to raise your maximum Fortune by one, letting even the 0-Fortune playbooks get in on the action.

    For now I'm thinking a physical armor move is unnecessary. Actually wearing armor will just adjust fictional positioning of how you can be Tagged.

    I've fixed a great many typos! On top of the ones you pointed out, I finally found the dynamic spell-checking option in InDesign, so the only ones left are the ones that are actual words.

    The third suggested Airbender training move is brilliant and I'm using that. I had some thoughts about whether to make it trigger off of MWI or Airbending, but I like how MWI gives an incentive to occasionally have to roll +Fluid to get the ball rolling.

    I re-did Bloodbending, changing much of what you mention but leaving the no-PCs note. It is anomalous among the game's moves, but it's also the only one that even gives you the ability to, with a single move, completely hijack someone's agency and even with a cost I don't want to enable that. Some of this is driven by my experiences with MH's Vampire move Hypnotic, which I desperately wish had a no-PCs clause as both in discussion and later in-play (as a victim of it) I've really become quite uncomfortable with what it's capable of.
    Scary is a bit weak flavor-wise, I agree, but it incorporates a thing that I find essential to being a bloodbender. Besides, I already invented an aspect of the bloodbender whole-cloth and I'd like at least half of the design to be based on the show's characterization of bloodbenders. I think a better synonym or phrase would go a lot further to accentuate the move.

    With the Lightningbender's Charge, I think I'm going to keep it for now. If they want that +1 bad enough to hand over control elements to the MC constantly with that havoc, I'm comfortable with that. Plus as story gamers we're a little more comfortable with that idea than some gamers are - I get a remarkable amount of interest from primarily trad players with this game (I suspect because there are no other dedicated Avatar games), and I suspect they'd be much more hesitant about it. So I think there's a culture thing there.

    I replaced Impenetrable with essentially the same thing (but named different as it's about Fortune instead of Armor) but that's a temporary fix, I'm deciding if I want to do something more like what you suggested.

    Plantbending is something I've thought about for a while. For now, I'm leaving it as it is. Something I tried to do with all the moves is to keep them from being about specific tactical decisions (such as grabbing or cutting) and being more about the overall intentions of a move (hurting, impeding, etc). I think all of those are reasonably possible with plantbending, so instead I wanted to focus on HOW they do it and what that does to the fiction. The options are largely meant as imagination-drivers in this case, though each thing is somewhat desirable. I've yet to see it in action though so I won't say anything for sure until I've seen if it works how I want it to.

    Entry wording of the Avatar was adjusted.
    I'm actually quite fond of Spirit Within. Scene is poorly-defined, but that's somewhat intentional - scenes with the Avatar State don't share traits of being confined to a specific place, time, power limit, or even continuous action, it just goes until it's obvious that it's time to come out of it. You could change location, cross-cut to something else, introduce new elements, and still call it the same scene if it's appropriate. It's a little bit of a wobbly technical definition, but I'm comfortable with that for now. As for its power level, that's a fair point, but I don't want it to be truly excessively strong. In many ways, it's a character guide more than a mechanical advantage I think - the prompts of when Spirit changes will affect behavior a lot more than the actual use of Spirit warrants I think. (the entire mechanic's concept is inspired by my ongoing experiences with a MH Angel and the maxed-out track moves).
    That's an interesting take on Natural Mastery, but it seems odd to take a move and then have to fulfill another (difficult) condition before getting any benefit. I'm also not entirely dissuaded by the idea that awakening your nature as the Avatar suddenly fills you with these abilities you didn't have before.

    Thanks so much for such thorough feedback! It's gotten me working through a bunch of things, and I feel more solid about the sub-playbooks. I have a couple little things (art-replacement mostly) and I'll be posting v1.6.

    EDIT: Woah, did the forum upgrade increase the character limit on posts? Awesome.
  • Version 1.6 is out! Changes are largely thanks to Alex, as well as to Klawy and Andy over on G+, who ran a 7-player(!) game at GeekGirlCon very successfully.


    What else do you want to see worked on? And if anyone has any experience with playing the game in a multi-session way, can you please please tell me about it?
  • Cool! Thanks for keeping us posted.
  • Oh, horn head, I guess I should mention that we're playing campaign-style and up to 2 sessions now with more to come.

    So far I don't have much to say about it, as opposed to single-session play... one thing I think I could see as an improvement is some sort of formalized end of/start of session (as we see in Dungeon World and some other places), but this is just me.

    I'm gonna look over these when I can and bring them to the table with me, hopefully the players will be okay with the updated versions. :)

    - Alex
  • That is super super exciting to hear! A formalized set of session-bookending moves could work... It'll be a feat to fit 'em into the graphic design structure of the game without needing radical change, but I can manage. But what to do with them... I'll think on that!

    Based on a discussion with someone on my blog's core AvW page, I'll be including a further description of how Tags work on both MC elements and on players, as well as a set of sample Tags to display what sort of things Tags are. That might actually do a good bit to dispel the rather-prevalent association with FATE's Aspects that I hear about. I'll also definitely be including an Example of Play in the next draft. I'm thinking I might record my next several games and take a really good representative scene and transcribe it (with editing), as I find that Replay style of play examples more rewarding than something invented or summarized.

    Thoughts are moving! Avatar World has cycled to the side right now as I released the new Superlite Heroes! version today, and am turning my attention to a new draft of The Shining Void and my non-RPG project Learning Pixel Art, but I'm still very much thinking about the game.
  • Release 1.61 is out! It's a minor update, relating to my completion of Korra. The Lavabender and the Spirit Medium are now subplaybooks, some typos have been fixed, and taking moves from subplaybooks is now its own option under Improvement.

    What do you think of the new subpbs?

    I'm also now in a long-form game myself, playing its second session tomorrow. What this means for you is that we're in the home stretch - being in a long-form game is one of the two remaining things on my pre-final checklist (the other being an example of play section that might be drawn from said long-form game). In about a month when it wraps I will probably go into final drafting and get this puppy done for real.
    If you're interested in actual play of my long-form game, I post that regularly under a Storify I keep for it. Update usually come by each Tuesday night.
  • edited December 2014
    ... It has been a very long time since I posted on Story GAmes (Or, sadly, got a chance to play an RPG) but I'll be MCing a long-form game starting in a week or so.
    The setting is very definitely Avatar-verse, but a few Avatars post-Korra, with a bit of a Cyberpunk/Biopunk theme. Wrote up very quickly a 'Databending' theme playbook specially for it (With the internet being information transmission using the Spirit Vines, and databending being an Airbending substyle).
    Avatar World is looking pretty great!

    Of the two new subplaybooks in the most recent release, I really like the Spirit Medium.

    The Lavabender seems to have a weak move in Equilibrium to me - Lavabending is about heat and such, but it almost feels like something that should fit in a Firebender playbook/subplaybook. But I really like the basic move and Weight of Expectations. I think with regards to a move for lavabending, I'd be tempted to lean towards something like: "When you isolate yourself and your allies using Lavabending, they you may give permission for them to spend your Fortune as if it were their own." It seems that primarily Lavabending is quite slow and defensive - the really common move is this ring to allow a group time to recover and rest. Though with only 1 fortune, it seems like mechanically it would be very weak. Perhaps something to do with removing allies tags or granting chi to isolate allies to give them a rest (Which would allow some tags to be removed fictionally)?

    The other subplaybooks:
    Bloodbending: I really like. It has clear limitations, and it really feels like it does what it sets out to do. I'm especially fond of the second clause of scary.

    Doctor: Looks good.

    Lightning: Charge is really really fun. I have a player in the game who read through the book for the first time, then just pointed at it and said 'Well, I know what I'm playing now'

    Masterless Traveller: Looks quite fun (I have a character looking to play an Airbender who has their eye on this I think), I'd like to see how it works in play.

    Metalbender: Make my own luck and Shine and glitter seem to capture a bit of new and old Metalbending philosophy, which I really like. Transmutation seems a little off-flavour to me, but you have your own design philosophy with the game, and it seems very mechanically solid.

    Plantbender: Looks good

    Sandbender: I like Sandbending and Earthflow, but Solid Sand, to me, seems like it could use a bit of a boost. The 'Use a move with this stat rather than this one' moves always seem a it dull to me, unless they have a basic move or a condition with them. In this case, I think 'When you Move With Intention using sand' could act as a fun additonal clause.

    The Spy seems really interesting, and has given me quite a few idea.

    The Avatar I must admit, I kind of glossed over since it isn't one I think I'm likely to use with the playgroup.
  • Wooooah, databending... that's super awesome. Is it a whole new bending of its own, or an advanced form?

    I agree about Equilibrium being the weak link in the lavabender. Something defensive is sensible. My approach to the Lavabender was very much looking offensively, as the rest of the Earthbender mods are generally quite defensive and I thought the inherent danger of lava would be a good chance to step out of those lines a little.
    I'm going to be keeping Equilibrium for a little, but mostly because I have a player taking Lavabending today who is interested in the move and if I get a chance to see it in play I can get a better sense for it. If it doesn't work out, something defensive definitely sounds like a good path.

    I'm also very fond of Scary on the Bloodbender, I think it's one of my favorite moves I've written. One of my players is angling to play the bloodbender, so I'm excited for that.

    I also have a player who might migrate toward Lightning. Glad it's well-liked, along with blood and metal they're the ones I wanted to make sure were solid.

    Masterless Wanderer is one of the sub-playbooks that I expect to see players pick up one move from and then jump into something else potentially. Spirit Medium is the same way. Not a bad thing - for that reason I have multiple people looking at it, which is interesting.

    You're right about Transmutation's oddness. I'll be honest: I was kinda drained on the metalbender, it and the sandbender both were really hard for me to come up with full move sets. Transmutation almost feels odd to have in the game now that the show introduced the whole Platinum thing, but at the same time it makes the move even more powerful.

    You're 100% right about Solid Sand. I dislike stat substitution moves, even with mitigating conditions. They are, however, an easy fallback. Solid Sand will probably be rewritten, or even replaced, if I get a good idea for it. Adding MWI could help it - "All of your sandbending moves, as well as Move With Intention, are made with +Solid instead of +Fluid." That's still not amazing, but it's better at least.

    No worries about the Avatar, I think I'm going to see it myself in my game if we go into a Season 2. There are definitely things I want to see used about that one.

    Thanks for all the thoughts! And wow, databending. That sounds like a great time. Enjoy your long-form!
  • Just a quick thanks here, I have run a game of this a few weeks back and wanted to say thanks for writing a really neat game. We ran red mountain and had the group fighting bandits and one of the characters evil twin on the way up. Fun times for all.

    I will be running the game at our local con in late January and will try and write up some actual play based on my experiences.
  • Thanks for the play Paul! Glad your session went well, and I'm excited to hear some actual play :3

    So, another little bit of news, Orion (game designer and player in my home game) interviewed me about the game for the first issue of the Story Games Olympia journal. Check it out! I'm actually mostly coherent.
  • Just got back from session 1 of my long form game.

    The first thing is.... I didn't expect my players to spend that much short term chi! 5 Chi in 3 and a half hours is no mean feat!

    My final party ended up as a hard-smoking wayward Airbender biker with a heart of gold, just trying to get back into motorcycle racing, a young teen hiding her ability to metalbend from her parents so she doesn't get sent to the academy and away from her friends, and a waterbending assistant hacker (She bends the plants needed to databend) motivated by a desire to break out her best friends from the highest security Cabbage Corp prison in the Earth Kingdom. Quite a nice mix, we had a nice formal scene where they navigated the high society dinner where they met, a blistering motorcycle race (Where I managed to make good use of the 'Offer an opportunity move' with "Win the race or save your opponent from a landslide?", making for some nice character moments), and a chase through the streets of Omashu.
  • Re: the Chi economy, that is FASCINATING. Just earlier today I was going to make a post about my experiences with the Chi economy, and you've just thrown a crazy curveball into my thoughts.

    I completed my 4th session of my long-form game on Sunday and they spent their fourth move-boosting Chi in that session. Most of them (save one character) have four or five advancements, mostly due to aggressively pursuing their Chakras, some flexibility on my part with handing out Chi, and a couple players who've had the worst dice luck I've seen in quite a while, going like two sessions with only a few 7-9s even. The lagging player has the reverse - he rarely fails, though his occasional failures have been spectacular.
    For my game, given the way I've written the big plot I'm using, it's actually been perfect for the pacing. The first session none was used. The second had Chi spent that I used to kick things rolling fast. The third had Chi spent that I ended up making use of in the fourth, and the fourth session had a Chi spent that I used to set up the cliffhanger. They also spent another that I'm hanging onto to trigger the final stage of the Plot at an appropriate moment. At the same time, the advancement count has been very similar to Monsterhearts actually - if we were playing MH, the season finale would be next time, the 5th session.
    One phenomenon I've witnessed in this game was an increase in willingness to spend Chi for move-boosting as time went on. I expected this. At first, characters only have a couple moves - almost all players will have their eyes on a few moves they saw in the playbooks and sub-playbooks that they want to pursue (though my group has been rather character arc/development-focused in our various games, so they my have had more in mind that many players do). They'll spend their early Chi pursuing those things and developing their character. As they get comfortable that they like their current crop of moves (or just start running out of move advancements that they like) they'll be more comfortable letting that Chi go to the moment rather than the future. Essentially, as time goes on, the balance of "Do I spend Chi on this move?" goes from "I could do well now or advance myself later" to "I could do well now, but the MC will get to push harder later."
    I'm happy with that balance. It makes the desire to gain Chi steady, unlike XP in games like MH which stops to matter a bit after you've reached your desired crop of moves and stats.

    Your case is a fascinating counterpoint. I would expect regular Chi use from a one-shot, but the first part of a long-form game is surprising! Here's my thoughts on why I might expect that:
    ~ The players just happened to always fail on rolls they considered very critical. It happens, but five times surprises me.
    ~ The players are already comfortable with their crop of starting moves. Also surprising, but I guess it happens!
    ~ The players are not familiar with what failure actually means in PbtA games, and that it is often just as interesting as success. Alternatively, simply clinging to the narrative authority - not a problem, but they should understand the trade-off that comes with spending Chi to boost their rolls, that they give the MC a big chunk of more long-term narrative authority by doing it.
    ~ The players are used to one-shots and other systems where mechanical development over time isn't that important.
    ~ The players feel that they're receiving so much Chi that they can spare it. This is a concern I thought might come up starting with my second session - I had a player advance three times that game, but it actually balances out in the end. I think it's just kinda surprising to keep track of it like that.

    Any, all, or none of those! Do you have any additional ideas of why they might have spent like crazy? Ultimately it's not a problem - if the habit keeps up, you should adjust your Plots to either have smaller steps per Chi, many concurrent Plots to spread it out among, or higher costs per step in order to keep the game from escalating ridiculously fast (unless you want that!). They're making their choice about the cost, and the system is meant to handle that.
    The big thing I'm curious about is if they keep up that spending habit.

    One other note about the Chi economy from my own game that surprised me: I have a hoarder player. He gets his Chi, and doesn't spend it. He knows he can, but has a very clear intention: he wants to take moves when it's dramatically appropriate for his character to pull out this cool new thing. He had 15 Chi built up at one point last session, though I gave enough circumstance that he advanced a couple times with it. This is an interesting way to play, and while it's totally outside of my original expectations, it's also totally valid and the system seems to flex to accommodate it.

    This is great stuff. I know that for the final draft I want to write up some additional stuff about pacing and the Chi economy because it's clearly something that's not really static or universal to games.

    Off that topic, your game sounds really fun! Glad the session went well :3. Chase scenes are great.
    And to everyone who's interested, I've been writing reports of my sessions as I've been doing them. I do the report on Twitter, then compile on Storify. The first three sessions are here, and I'll probably have the fourth up later tonight or tomorrow: https://storify.com/Logbook_Project/avatar-world-season-1

    Thanks for the thoughts, looking forward to putting together the next draft now!
  • Two things!

    One: The Improvements lists are expanding a little bit to accommodate another idea. Under the advanced improvements is: "Gain an animal companion with ________" with the blank being filled in with a playbook-specific special trait.
    Pets are the one thing that is regularly present in the show and completely absent from the game. You could just narrate a pet, sure, but that's why you get a special trait with your pet! And it's a fun fictional thing, especially if it doesn't always do what you want. Pets are NPCs, and thus MC territory!
    AB: Flight
    AR: Charisma (ie the animal is likable or showy)
    EB: Burrowing
    FB: natural weapons
    MO: Patience
    SC: Intelligence
    WA: Armor
    WB: Swimming
    These aren't final. I'll also be adding a page about animal companions, and I'll be rewriting the Spirit Medium move accordingly.

    Two: One of my players correctly pointed out that 8 playbooks is not that many, especially if a player doesn't want to be a bender. He's been writing two more, The Peasant and The Hunter. They look pretty great so far and I've been workshopping them with him. I haven't decided on if I want to include them in the book eventually or just officially endorse them, but either way be looking for those soon!
  • Anyone here doing a PbP game? I'd love to actually play instead of just reading the books.

    As for other playbooks, there's always ninjas. You could have wako (Japanese pirates), naturalist doctors, plant benders and more.

    Have you considered filing off the -bender/-bending names and changing the title from Avatar World? You could seriously sell this book.
  • Sorry, I don't know of one. PbP isn't quite my thing :/ Hope you find one!

    Ninjas are a thing I have specific thoughts about. The Ninja is an ex-playbook, part of the initial lineup. After some complex thoughts about appropriation, cultural specificity, and redundancy, the Ninja and Samurai (as well as the original ideas for the Martial Artist, which fell through almost immediately) were merged into the Warrior.
    That said, several of the Ninja's moves made it into the game. Ambush and Stealth were transferred in directly, and some of the ideas made it into the Spy.
    Pirates/other bandit types are interesting. That's on a small roster of potential sub-playbooks! Doctors and plantbenders are already there even! The hard part is figuring out which archetypes are playbooks and which are subplaybooks. Two things help the distinction. One: if it's an obvious extrapolation of another, such as the advanced bendings. Two: if it acts as a modifier or addition to other archetypes. For example, "artist/performer," "criminal/bandit," or the Masterless Wanderer. Those aren't things on their own usually; if on a protagonist, they're usually subordinate to some other archetype.
    (that's far more than you mentioned, but I wanted to get the whole thought process out)

    I have considered! I reconsider basically every couple months, and usually my mental functions end with "the game is weakened by dropping the specificity." Last time I thought about it though, the game wasn't as comprehensive - the more I refine and improve the book, the more I think it's worth it to wipe off the trademarks.
    Things that need renaming/changing if I was to do that:
    "Avatar World," "Airbending," "Earthbending," "Firebending," "Waterbending," "Soundbending," "Metalbending," "Lightningbender," "Icebending," "Bloodbending," "Lavabending," "Plantbending," "Sandbending," "The Avatar."
    "Title image," "Page 2 (and 118) image."

    Huh. That's actually less than I thought. The title image would take a little work to replace, and otherwise I just need to come up with a LOT of good synonyms. I'm open to suggestion of course!
  • Please note, for legal purposes, I make no claim on any suggestions I make here, you're free to use anything, yadda, yadda, yadda. (I'm a professional writer and legal stuff is big where I work).

    Avatar World: Paragon Wolrd
    -bending: -mancy, Style, Wanqu
    Avatar: Paragon

    Oh, and I'd love to see some sort of beast tamers. It would be a nice universal ability, such as attracting a generic or element-specific animal. You know, phoenix for fire, sandworm for earth, ki-rin for air and so on.
  • Based on some discussion with my players and friends, we've come up with a few significant changes.
    The biggest one we solved is that the -bending suffix is largely being replaced with -shaping, though not universally (a few don't flow well with that, such as lightning-). Working on fixing the remnants.

    This leaves one huge rename to decide on: the title. Paragon World is okay, but I dunno, it doesn't feel right to me when I turn it over in my mouth a few times. A friend tossed out Legends of the Shapers or Legends of the Masters, neither of which feels quite right either. He also mentioned naming the Avatar figure "The Archon" which I kinda like, but I'm thinking I may drain away the Avatar figure as a whole from the book. I've been bouncing around the word Wuxia for the title, as it's the genre I'm working in, but the easy answer in Wuxia World is technically already a thing.

    Those two shifts alone would be enough to probably get away with the game legally, but at the same time it kills off my largest hook into the game for people. I could make it clear that Avatar is a great guide for tone and style for the game, but it still restricts the game's word of mouth ability some.
    If I only make these changes, the distancing is purely a negative impact. That would be ignoring the potential inherent in the shift - by dropping Avatar's connections, I also remove the restrictions. The question is, what can I do now?

    Here's what's been discussed thus far:
    ~ Expanding the playbooks a bit. This was probably going to happen regardless, but the nature of the expansion is a little different. In addition to The Peasant and possibly The Hunter that my friend is writing (which I think are appropriate, especially outside of the Avatar context). One idea that I've come to quite agree with is adding a fifth Shaper to the core lineup, the Spiritshaper. This both lets me indulge some of my ideas in a more core way, as well as instantly distance myself from Avatar a bit more. Another thing I'm still debating is the idea of splitting the Warrior back down the armored-soldier line (as The Knight) and the stealthy type (name tbd, trying to avoid The Ninja if possible, as well as Rogue or Thief). Depending on how it plays out, The Hunter might actually just be the new other half of the Warrior.
    ~ The bolstering of the sub-playbook lineup with more non-bending subpbs, as that's a thing I want that is sorely lacking.
    ~ A refinement of the existing playbooks, culling some moves and swapping some around.

    Obviously this will be a full rewrite of the game again, but I can't really get going on that without one major answer: what is the game's name?
    So, uh, help?
  • Element Shapers?
    Element World?
    Maybe not sexy enough. But the fifth element being Spirit clinches this analog for me.

  • Bendyworld!
  • Thanks folks!
    Element World has bounced through my head four or five times, each time hitting that same lack of je ne sais quoi. It is, however, my consistent backup answer.

    So, this hit me like an hour ago and I can't believe it hadn't hit me before, but is there anything wrong with Spirit World? I mean, it's tonally on-point, still kinda fun to roll around in the mouth, a soft (but definitely not concrete or legally binding) link to Avatar, and with the Spiritshaper being core now it fits better than ever. Thoughts?
  • Spirit World is a Definite Maybe. You mentioned Wuxia World is taken, do you not like the other phrasing- i.e. World of Wuxia?
  • I think Spirit World implies that it takes place primarily in the spirit realm...hmm...

    What about World of the Elements?
  • edited January 2015
    Also remember not every PbtA game has to include *World in the title...
  • Also remember not every PbtA game has to include *World in the title...
    Haha, yes, this too. "Storm of Elements" might be a cool name, for instance...
  • I think Spirit World implies that it takes place primarily in the spirit realm...hmm...
    Oh, you're right, I can see that. Dang, I liked how Spirit World felt when I said it.

    World of Wuxia...I don't remember but I think I considered and then rejected that, but I haven't the foggiest why. Maybe it was a similar already-taken scenario or something. Actually I think the same guy who snapped up Wuxia World got the inverse as well.

    World of the Elements is alright. I feel like it's missing some zazz though.

    I've been keeping World in most of the titles here because it was useful shorthand, I know it's by no means required. I've kept my mind open for some ideas, but haven't come up with a great one myself. Storm of Elements has some interest, but I don't have the perfect one in me yet. I think a non-World title will probably have the best chance though, so I'm trying to concentrate there. No luck yet personally.
  • Legend of the Elemental Masters? World Shapers?
  • A "cycle of the elements" motif might work too...
  • "Elementa"

  • World Shapers is also a good name, but I don't think for this game. It feels more like a game about creating and changing the world itself instead of playing within it. I also want to write that game, of course.

    Elementa, though...I like that. Gonna spin that around in my head for a bit, but I like the vibe it gives off.
  • edited January 2015
    Legend of the Elemental Masters? World Shapers?
    +1 for the 'Legend of' formulation, allows you to keep some of the primary media associations.
    Legends of Elementa.
  • Legends of the Storm Fist Way ???
  • Hmm. I think if I was gonna run around Elementa it'd need to be on its own. It doesn't sound perfect with other things attached to it.

    Legends of the Storm Fist Way seems oddly specific for a term that's not in the game, but even aside from that it feels really long.

    Legend of the Elemental Cycle isn't half bad. It even has Avatar links without being explicit. I don't know how much I want to make such a cycle explicit, but it has a bit of a ring to it. Abbreviated LotEC.

    Keywords jumping around in my brain: balance, world, legend, element/elemental, cycle, way (as in "way of" or "the x way"), shaper, spirit, tale, wuxia.

    The Shaper's Way. The Elemental Way. The World of Balance (that one's okay I think). Balance of the Elements. The Way of Balance. Coming back around on Legend of the Shapers. Hmmm.
    I think The World of Balance is a bit generic, but I think it might be my personal standout from that batch.
  • edited January 2015
    World of Balance may be descriptive, but is it evocative? Compare 'Balance' with 'Apocalypse'. I prefer Legend of the Shapers to WoB. Tells you the game is about legendary stories of these Shapers.
  • That was my same concern. It feels good to say but definitely doesn't carry the zazz of some of the others.
  • Legend of the Elements perhaps ?
  • I think Chakra World is pretty evocative, but I don't know if it fits perfectly. Sounds nice though!
  • I like the vibe off of Chakra World, but I'm not sure it says enough about the game.

    Legend of the Elements is simple, but I think it might actually be just right. Straightforward, somewhat evocative (if not the flashiest name ever), easy to remember.

    Or I could go way out there and use some way-out there word, like tremulus did.
  • Nah, I think "Legend of the Elements" works really well, especially because it feels like a Nick show name. (I may also be thinking of "Legends of the Hidden Temple".) It's cool-sounding, evokes some colorful stuff, and is the sort of thing I'd pitch to adolescents.
  • Also, it means that you could totally have cover art featuring legendary heroes with elemental powers, which could tie into an implication that it's a world with a deep history.
  • Legends of Earth, Air, Fire, and Water?
  • Wait, less cumbersome: Legend of the Four Elements
  • I actually avoided adding the number intentionally - when I add the number it reminds me a bit too much of Legend of the 5 Rings.
  • Ha, true!
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