Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Avatar World: Playbook Moves Brainstorm
This is the extension of the Waypoint Mix released far in advance of Halo 4's soundtrack release. It's my favorite bit of the soundtrack, and it's great. For more Halo greatness, 4 or otherwise, check out October Songaday Day 23 through the Music tab up top.

Musings on Playbooks and Moves and Such

So I recently (as in like 3 days ago) finished watching Avatar the Last Airbender for the first time. I'd previously watched the first two seasons a couple years ago, but didn't have a means to watch the third. Over the past week, I marathon'd the series on Netflix, and damn if I didn't enjoy it. I'm itching for more, but need to find a way to get Korra. I'm also now watching the series again with my brother. The Waterbending Master and The Siege of the North is still my favorite set of episodes - Spirit World, crazy scary spirits on both the good and bad side, sweet visual effects, Avatar State, the amazing Katara/Pakku duel (my favorite bending duel in the show), those three episodes have it all.
Toph is still the best character by the way.

So I've also been working on generating some ideas for the playbook moves. Mostly, this means the Benders, because they're my favorites right now - I'll be watching a lot of the other Martial Arts stuff as I get my hands on it, and hopefully those can help generate major excitement for other playbooks (though I doubt anything can motivate me like Avatar is). I'm also working on getting other Asian-themed RPGs. I have Legends of the Wulin, but want Weapons of the Gods, Feng Shui, and Tenra Bansho Zero (taking some serious will to not use the download of that I saw, but I'm not gonna do that to Andy).
Anywho, here's some stuff of what I have for playbook moves and such.
* Firebending: When you generate or manipulate open flame, roll+Hot. I haven't decided what more goes into this one yet, but it is, of course, the standby of the Firebender. It also may have an exclusivity clause with the other bendings, I haven't decided.
* When you firmly root your stance, you Stand Fast with Hot instead of Solid. A simple replace move, but one that I think is grounded in the show. The lessons Iroh mentions as the basics during the agni kai in the very second episode are the source of the idea here, but I think it's pretty simple. I know that stance and rooting is even more important to Earthbending, but hey, they can both have moves about it.
* Something to model the breath control aspect of Firebending. Don't have a wording here, but I really like how Firebending is based in the other elements as well (air in breath, earth in stance, and even water in redirection).
* Some form of heat manipulation - not simply through open flame, but raising and lowering temperatures. Yeah, lowering as well.
* Lightningbending! Yeah. Maybe. I'm considering making this a form of Firebending, where you can Advance your bending just like you Advance the basic moves. It's an idea I'm working with.
* Inferno/Explosion. Essentially, widening your blast (giving your attacks the Area tag).
* Maybe a kind of Flame Cloak thing.
* And the very obvious but obligatory +1 Hot move.

* Earthbending: When you wield earth, soil, or stone without touching it, roll+Solid. See, this is where the weirdness starts. Anyone using fire is obviously using magic, but the others I have to word so that a dude chucking a pebble isn't triggering it.
* Immovable: You don't move unless you want to. You may Move With Intention using Solid instead, and if something tries to move you against your will, roll+Solid. On a 10+, you don't budge. On a 7-9, you might not budge, but if you don't you take 1 harm (ap) (or whatever damage equivalent I use). I like this quite a bit.
* An earthquake type move. I suppose this could be Area-tagging your bending, but is this really a variant or is it just covered in Earthbending.
* Stoneskin. This is about gathering up stone armor onto yourself or hardening your own skin or some such. It's an armor boost thing.
* Metalbending! Same potential caveat as Lightningbending.
* Sandbending. Same as Metalbending.
* Detection and Senses aka See With Your Feet: Your Observe Carefully rolls can apply to anything directly touching the ground. Additionally, add these questions to the list: stuff stuff stuff.
* I also put Lie Detection on my list, since that's one of Toph's things. I noted that it could very well just be a part of the Observe Carefully questions though.
* Obligatory +1 Solid.

* I don't have a ton of stuff about airbenders yet. The biggest thing is that I want to do a sort of subsystem with the Airbenders about Momentum. If you've read John Harper/Daniel Solis's mostly-abandoned Dead Weight hack of Apocalypse World, something like how they did Flow.
* The obvious Airbending. I think I'd use it as a part of the Momentum system, which means Airbenders may start with two chosen moves. If I do that, I'll probably allow a third and make the general stat total lower or just not allow a move choice at creation.
* Glider-staffs as gear options.
* Soundbending as an enhanced form. I know Air doesn't have an explicit advanced form, so I made some up. Soundbending is one of them! I fee l like Sound is conceptually close to air, in that it's this form of control over something you can't see or feel.
* Lightbending is the other idea I have (with some support from a fella on Story Games, James Fleming I think), and as he pointed out, it has a lot of both conceptual matchup (nonmaterial control) and methodical matchup (momentum and misdirection as the main weapons of the style). I have personal weirdness about not including a Darkbending as well when the world of Avatar is SO focused on Balance of the Elements, but I'll either get over it or figure out what to do with Dark. That said, I kinda like Darkbending...maybe there's a way to put that into something, at least through an eventual supplemental thing...
* When you're being flighty and light on your feet, or using speed or acrobatics to avoid the enemy, Move With Intention using Natural. That is wordy and awkward as hell.But it does the thing I want, which tends to be to make Move With Intention customized to the benders since movement and positioning and stuff is key to the martial styles used by the bending forms.
* Obligatory +1 Natural. Note that not every playbook will have a +1 to their core stat, but I want the benders to have it. If you remember the list at the end of the original opening post, they're essentially the mono-stat classes. The others will do interesting things with several stats, the benders are all about being their stat and exemplifying it. Heck, you probably saw it in my tremulus post - I really dislike just numerical bonuses without a hard attached flavor, but sometimes it's necessary, and sometimes, even just that is what sets someone apart as special.

Everything up til now I've actually had from brainstorming throughout the past couple days. Now I'm just riffing on internal ideas.
* Waterbending: Hands-free water and ice manipulation, roll+Fluid. I'm actually unsure whether or not I should include Ice right off. While it's something Katara can do immediately, as in Episode 1 immediately, she has a reasonable affinity for it with her heritage. I love the combination of ice and water as it allows for the discipline to take on not just he fluid-y movement stuff of water but also ice's offensive and status-inducing abilities. However, it may be easier to emulate other non-Avatar medias as well if I limit it to just Water at first, and that may even help support non-polar Avatar waterbenders, such as the dudes in The Swamp.
* And to confront that issue, potentially Icebending.
* Naturebending! This applies to plants, despite the broadness of the word nature. It's about wielding the water in the plants to move them and stuff, and may also be capable of accelerating their growth. It's the hallmark of the Swamp Waterbenders.
* There's an obvious piece in a Tidal Wave-like power. It would probably just be an Area version of Waterbending though.
* Bloodbending has presented an interesting challenge. It's a really cool idea and is perfect for a move, except that it's either way too strong or way too weak, based upon the existence of a moon restriction. If it can only be used on a full moon, that's pretty weak for a move. However, if you can use it any time, this is a move that trivializes the game. In the show, it was Katara's hatred of the evil way that Hama wielded it that kept her from overusing it, only when she was feeling particularly dark.  Players tend to not have that dilemma - they usually just go ahead with the puppetteering. The power eliminates every threat completely and inescapably. Maybe just the need to make a move to do it will dissuade the players, but I'm worried about this one, which sucks because it's a really interesting power.
* Maybe something about being able to pull water from anywhere, like Hama does and then is never used again? I mean, it seems way useful, even if there isn't THAT much water there. Or maybe something about being able to draw water from people if you do a bit of harm to them or something, make it a tradeoff. Man, I'm getting a hell of a lot more mileage out of Hama than I ever got out of Pakku, he wasn't very creative at all.
* Something special about Move With Intention. I don't know what, but something.
* Some way of customizing or modifying a different basic move. They can specialize in Move With Intention thanks to their main stat being Fluid, or they can do unique things with other non-Fluid moves. I DON'T want this to just be a use-different-stat one though.

They're my main thoughts. Here's a couple random things I have in my mind.

* The Monk having a move about Spirit Contact that modifies Meditate. I can definitely see this taking inspiration from Monsterhearts's Beyond The Veil move, as well as any Psychic Maelstrom powers, especially Augury.
* The Monk will also likely have some kind of Timeless Body-like move, freeing them from food, drink, and sleep.
* Several of the playbooks are candidates for a move about making it through a situation without dishonoring yourself where doing so would be normal. The Samurai, the Aristocrat, even the Monk have potential here. Alternatively, and this is just a dawning idea that definitely could go nowhere, Honor as the replacement for Hx as a relationship stat of some kind. Will require a lot more thought, but that's an idea.
* I'm realizing a strange case in lying. Lying is definitely dishonorable, but is also definitely a part of the Speak With Honor move rather than Without. I'm thinking now that it's, in general, going to be Dishonorable (since it's less about getting them to agree to something and more about forcing them into doing something through not knowing better. It's an excuse, but I think I can make that work, plus hey, it fits in Fiction), but the Aristocrat may have a move that transfers lying into the Natural stat. It's just second-nature for them to be duplicitous.
* The Ninja definitely gets sneaky moves, several specialty gear options, and maybe even some Ninjitsu magics. That or his ninjitsu is just taking a Bending move from a different playbook.
* The Samurai without a doubt has a Katana, a Wakizashi, and big armor as gear.
* I feel unjustifiably compelled to figure out the Samurai as a 2-stat-focus class, since he's the only 3-stat-focus one. But every time I think about it, he becomes Hot/Solid, and I really want him to be Natural as well, since I think the focus on just being a physical warrior is way less interesting and him being all honorable is definitely a Samurai thing.
* On the original thoughts, I'd assigned the Ninja as Fluid/Keen, but this was mostly to avoid a niche-overlap with the Martial Artist who's Fluid/Hot. However, since it seems the Martial Artist was fraught with niche-overlaps anyway and was axed, the Ninja is now free to be Fluid/Hot.
* The Ninja could have a pretty sweet sneak attack type action that modifies Commit Open Violence or is a new move with a lot of similarities to COV.

Ehh, despite the rational sense that The Scholar makes, I can't really make it stick all that great in my head, especially with the Monk around too. Anyone object if I just axe that one for now?

If I do that, I definitely have a lack of Solid playbooks, with a dedicated one and a guy splitting his attention three ways. Maybe I can wave this off as Stand Fast is an important move for EVERYONE, but honestly, I'm feeling a bit weird about that. We'll see what I do about that - if I can come up with a better playbook to add in to replace Martial Artists and Scholars, maybe THAT can be Solid. All I really want is one of the playbooks to have Solid as one of two in addition to the current setup.

So, that's a pretty good set of stuff to talk about.

What kind of playbook moves do YOU think are iconic of these archetypes? Is the Scholar's removal acceptable and sensible to you? What do you think of the move ideas already presented?

End Recording,

No comments :

Post a Comment