Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Avatar World: The Samurai Moves Brainstorm, Tag Talk
I'm not a huge Glitch Mob fan, but every so often I find something by them that is truly worth it, and this is one of 'em. Thanks bro - this is a good one.

Hey there! How're you all doing today? I'm doing pretty good. Tomorrow is this blog's anniversary since the reboot! A whole year, wow.

But reminiscing happens tomorrow. Today you're here to see Avatar World again! Side note before we begin: I added another advancement option for the Scholar (about gaining a new Chi key - I'd forgotten this one) and I modified the wording of Meditate so that it now mandates the selection of a subject to contemplate. Back to new stuff! I've talked before about The Samurai, back at the beginning. I think at this point I'm prepared to write a few moves.

However, there's something else I want to do first. See, I've been thinking about tags and Chi some
So what do we already have? Let's codify things a bit.
What is a tag?: Tags are narrative conditions placed on characters or environments describing some condition beyond the norm. There is no set list, and are written to describe specific situations. Specific tags and examples will be in italic text.
Where do tags come from?: Players can impose tags through their moves, primarily Move With Intention. The MC can apply them at their will, but really should only be applying them as a result of hard or soft moves - arbitrary infliction isn't very good at all.
So how do I use tags?: You can trigger tags by spending a point of  Chi.
...Chi?: Chi is a type of point or token held by players. You can get Chi by fulfilling certain conditions specific to the character and specified by the "Chi Keys" (truename pending) you chose at character creation or acquired afterward, as well as other minor circumstances such as fulfilling NPC oaths.
But how do I get rid of tags?: Tags are removed when it is narratively appropriate. As of right now, there are no written moves that can remove tags wholesale. Some make sense to only last until they're acted upon (say you've given a foe the tag  unaware) while some tags may be harder to remove (say, plague-stricken).
What points are still NOT talked about on these points.
What happens when I trigger a tag?
How does the MC trigger tags?
What happens when the MC triggers tags?
What is special about environment tags?
 So that's what we DON'T have, and what I've been working on. Let's try to answer this some.
How does the MC trigger tags? The MC triggers tags in the same way as the players do! The MC is collecting Chi, just like the players. This opens a new question.
So how does the MC get Chi? The MC gets a point of Chi whenever a player rolls a highlighted stat.
This is one of the places where numbers will likely destroy me. About the highlighted stat thing, not the MC having Chi, I like the unity there. You'll see how that works in a second. Other options I ran around were "when a player fails a roll" (they're already getting beaten up, no need to add insult to injury, death spiral ahoy), "as a hard move" (way too lenient), and "when a player rolls a 7-9" (I think it gives the MC too much Chi).
What happens when I trigger a tag? What happens when the MC triggers a tag?: Both are the same thing! The answer is "the player re-rolls." MCs can force a re-roll, or players can give themselves a second chance. When the player triggers a tag, they discard the point of Chi they used. When the MC triggers a tag, they don't discard the Chi, they give the point to the player they forced to re-roll.
Hey look, I finally wrote this! Until now, I'd more or less been operating on a "you get +1" thing, but that's boring.  Re-roll is cooler. Unfortunately, it's also more numerically-complex - I personally think a re-roll is a bit harsh, but it's the best I could come up with. Again, I had alternatives: "re-roll 1 die" (this actually causes a more extreme effect cuz players will keep the high result and MCs will keep the low), "+1/-1" (just boring), "put the player in a spot/something for the player" (essentially a free MC move - this has merit, but I'm not sure how much). I like the true unity of re-rolling, but we'll see how it really shakes out.
What is special about environment tags?: Two things. One: they're harder to place, it takes certain moves to make it work. Be generous with actions affecting the environment, or coming up with what tags are already there to begin with. Two: They can be triggered against anyone realistically affected by the tag.
I need to write more about these in the moves. Or not.
So I think I'm actually done with talking about Chi for now! I think I just finished fleshing out a plan that rounds out the whole system. How effective it is is debatable (and please debate it with me) but it's there now at least.
So, that was Tags and Chi. Now, let's talk about the Samurai. Here's what I've got.
The Samurai is a playbook focusing on being actively strong in combat but bound by their own honor. They pride themselves on respect and proper behavior, but are powerful and competent in direct battle.
 That's a basic description I guess. Not a final or anything, just for easy reference for now.
Oaths: You've sworn fealty to someone before. Who? Are you still under that oath?
This is my eventual solution to whether or not I should force an oath of fealty. See, I want to permit the ronin character - it's kind of an incredibly common archetype. However, the oath is an important part of being a Samurai. With this, you at least at some time had an oath. That makes sense, and if you did break it it's still forced to be a part of your life. Solves my little issue pretty nicely actually.
Gear: Katana (3-harm close), Wakizashi (2-harm hand), Heavy Armor
You probably saw this coming. No surprises here.
Let's look at some moves. An important note is that, so far, there are NOT any required moves like there are for the benders or the scholar.
Calm Reservation: When you stay calm and well-behaved when your honor is challenged, or when you take the high road when violence would be preferable, mark XP.
This is a move reinforcing the idea of the honorable samurai. It's one of the very few moves I write expanding the ways to get XP, but I'm fond of it. On a related note, I'm considering a Chi Key that rewards when you are indignant to slights against your honor, potentially turning it into an "XP or Chi?" question, which is kinda cool.
Duel: When you challenge a foe to single combat and they accept, swear an oath to kill them and impose the tag challeneged upon the target. This tag may be invoked at any point during the duel, as many times as desired, provided you still have Chi to spend.
This is a move whose concept is strong and whose mechanics aren't quite solidified yet. I'm happy enough with what's here to share, but not enough that I think I'm done here.
Untouchable: Whenever you are directly attacked, you may Stand Fast to try and avoid the damage. This doesn't apply to attacks with the (ap) distinction.
The name has unfortunate implications in an Asian-themed game - we'll put that aside for a minute. This move turns the Samurai into a freaking juggernaut. This lets him have blades slide off his armor, dodge hammer blows in improbably nimble ways, and chop arrows out of the air. I already know I'm underestimating the incredible power of this move. The Samurai still can't dodge psychic manipulation and fire blasts though - armor penetrating attacks still break right through you.
Oaths of Power: Double the effect of oaths with other players and NPCs - double the change in Honor, double Chi gain, etc.
Your word is good, and you quickly gain the trust of those who give you the chance, but when you break your promises the consequences are even worse.
Peerless Swordmaster (1): When you successfully attack someone, you may always choose to inflict an additional harm.
Peerless Swordmaster (2): When you successfully attack someone, you may choose to inflict a condition instead of deal harm.
Maybe you see two options there! That's cuz I can't pick. It'll be something along those lines of enhancing your combat potential. You may notice that this is the only move here about explicit offense! I think the basic playbook does a decent job well enough at offense, and an offense focus is the boring part for this one.

That's all I've got! See, it kinda looks like just five moves, huh? Yup. Always six could be kinda boring. I could flex this if I have more/better ideas. I'm basically just dry on the ideas for right now.

Well, that's a decent discussion for today. Have a great one, and I'll be back tomorrow to pat myself on the back for a whole year's worth of blogging.
End Recording,

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