Saturday, January 5, 2013

Avatar World: The Scholar (Plus The Doctor)!
Damn, the London Philharmonic Orchestra hit it again with Volume 2. This, ACR, and Deus Ex are only my favorite highlights. It has Fez on it, which is simply amazing to even think about, and the only disappointing song there was Still Alive (which is to be expected - I don't think any Still Alive covers are good. You NEED Ellen Mclain's GLaDOS voice to make it work). Plus I totally love Dragon Roost Island...
wait a second, this is two posts in a row of Dragon Roost Island covers. Shit. Well, whatever, they're really different and the source tune is freaking incredible.

In literally the first two days of January I've gotten more views than I did in all of last January. I've said it before, but I love you all, and my pride over this blog is just growing as we approach the relaunch's anniversary (Jan 17th). I know it's shallow to care about the views, but it still impresses me.

Okay fine, I'll stop bullshitting you all and finally show off The Scholar.
 The Scholar

The Scholar is the Keen playbook. It is THE Keen playbook, in the same way that the Benders represent each of the other four stats. Let's review our Keen Basic Moves real quick:
Meditate: When you meditate on something, roll+Keen. On a hit, you're struck with a vision or moment of enlightenment regarding the subject of your meditation. On a 10+, the experience is clear and powerful. On a 7-9, pick one:
     * The experience is sharp and piercing, the information is clear but take 1 harm.
     * The experience is muddled and murky, yielding only impressions.
     * The experience takes far longer than expected.
That last one is a modification of what I originally wrote, but I prefer it. It allows for more non-literal interpretations of Meditate, such as when the Scholar pores over his tomes.
Observe Carefully: When you observe something carefully, whether it be a person or a situation, roll+Keen. On a hit, ask questions from the list below. On a 10+, ask 3. On a 7-9, ask 1. When you act on the answers, take +1 forward.
     * What should I be watching for?
     * Who's in control here?
     * What's about to happen?
     * What do I need to do to be at an advantage here?
     * What here is not as it appears to be?
     * I have no idea, I'm still writing these.
The latter one is more important to us. Meditate is valuable, but more specialized to the Monk than the Scholar.

So without more, here's the playbook moves!
Always Prepared: When you begin the session, roll 1d6+Keen. The result is the number of Materials you have for that session. Spend Materials 1-for-1 to produce a small, simple tool of your choice. You can spend 2 Materials instead to produce a small, complex tool.
 Every Scholar gets this move. This is actually the basis of my own hook into the class. I feel more attuned to the technology side of the playbook rather than the book-learner scholar, but I'm not trying to be biased against them. I think it works out. If anything I don't have enough uses for Materials.
What is "small, simple" or "small, complex"? Small and simple is the sort of general objects anyone could be expected to have on them. A knife. A short length of rope. A blank scroll with pen/ink. Whatever. Small and complex is a little harder. These are relatively uncommon items that he can pull out - remember that, in any given session, they can pull four of these at the most (a roll of a six + 3 Keen gives nine Materials, which is four complex and a simple). A couple good examples of some complex stuff to pull out: a smoke bomb, a lockpick, a short length of chain.
I'm actually worried I'm giving too many Materials. Really, I guess it depends on how long your sessions usually are. I'm fond of it conceptually since it sticks to the d6s and still uses the signature stat of the playbook, and I like beginning of session moves.
Library/Workshop: You have some sort of home base you operate out of. This move is fundamentally and completely unfinished.
 As it says, this is a concept without a mechanic. I have ideas but haven't stumbled on the words yet - I know I DON'T want to treat it just like the Saavyhead's workspace. I'm considering this as you select one or the other of the two; Libraries provide a strong resource for you to consult when you're back at home, while Workshops allow you to do multi-day projects to build something normally unreachable with just Materials.
Ingenious: You have +1 Keen (max +3).
 Well that was easy. You're smart as hell. Briefly considered a caveat of "when you use your massive intellect" but honestly it doesn't add much and this is easier to keep track of.
Construct: When you take your time to build a complicated contraption, roll+Materials spent. On a 10+, you get it all made up! On a 7-9, the MC will choose a complication or two:
     * Parts broke and you had to use your spares; the project takes an extra Material.
     * It took longer than expected to build.
     * The best you can do is a lesser version, unreliable and limited. [!]
     * Trouble shows up right when you're done.
     * You can't do it alone.
 My personal favorite move here. In a lot of ways this is the DW Wizard's Ritual (...huh, I didn't mean to make this playbook line up with the Wizard as a whole so well). In fact, the [!] entry is word for word from Ritual (so thanks Adam, Sage!). It's wide open and versatile. Go nuts.
That last one might seem either trivial as a complication or completely prohibitive. If those would be the case, don't freaking pick it MC! Instead, use it when the other people around and have better things to do. Then you've got a conflict of interests: "Come help me finish this!" "But I need to go into town to buy new equipment." "Come on, I'll make it worth your while." "Like what? Make me a promise." And now you're cooking; now you have inter-PC promises.
If the Scholar doesn't have an extra Material to spare, don't pick the first option. You've got other ways to make their life difficult and still see their cool invention. If it drains their last one, more power to you.
Trained Observer: When you Observe Carefully, you may ask an additional question, regardless of result (even on a failure).
I just made this up on the spot, as opposed to the others which have been mostly planned out. See, two of my prepared ones were really the same thing under the skin, so I'm gonna consolidate them into the next move you'll see.
I swear this was in one of the playbooks in ApW or DW, but I don't remember which. EDIT: I was thinking of the Rogue from DW, but his applies to his own Trap Expert, not a basic move. Still.
The Scholar can notice things others can't thanks to all the time he's spent reading-really-carefully or watching-for-experimental-results.
Think It Through: When you take some time to come up with the answer to a problem, do a variant of the Meditate basic move. If you consult your books or texts in the process, add +1 to the roll.
Well that's vague. The previous moves had been Think It Through and Consult The Books until I realized they were both just very similar things, variations of Meditate's concept. Problem: In recent musing, I've grown unhappy with the wording of Meditate. The reason this is vague is because I'm going to rewrite Meditate and make sure I'm happy with it before I go on to the Monk. We'll see this move again.

So that's the Scholar's moves! We're not quite done for the day yet though. No, instead let's turn to something I'd mentioned at some point in the past: the sub-playbook for The Scholar, The Doctor!
The Doctor is a specific version of a Scholar, a smart dude who's put his intelligence to use healing people. He is THE healer for the game along with the Waterbender, but is much closer to how the Angel and his kit functions in ApW.
So let's see:
Physician: When you take time to heal another character, spend as many Materials as you choose. The character heals that many harm. You may instead spend Materials to roll+Keen. On a 10+, heal harm equal to double the Materials spent. On a 7-9, heal harm equal to half the Materials spent, rounded up. On a miss, you spent the Materials but failed to heal any.
The Doctor is much more reliable of a healer than the Waterbender, able to heal without rolling (though he can risk a roll to try and heal even more!). On the other hand, the Waterbender can always try to heal, while the Doctor runs out of his ability to heal within a session. the Waterbender is also capable of healing herself - no such luck for The Doctor.
You become a Doctor by taking this move. Once you fill the entry condition, you can take this move, and taking this move unlocks the other two. It'll be clear in the final document.
I'm DAMN happy with this.
Field Medic: When you heal another character, you may spend an additional Material to do so far faster than you usually would.
Another advantage over the Waterbender, the Doctor can even heal in the middle of battle as long the other character isn't actively engaged in combat at the moment (hard to heal someone actively punching and kicking their enemy!). How much time probably depends on how much harm you're healing and what you're doing to heal that. Just feeding a healing infusion could take just moments, and you can wrap a wound in less than a minute. 
Supply Scavenger: Healing items are everywhere if you people just knew where to look! When you scan and search an area and Observe Carefully, add the question:
     * What here could I use to help heal people?
If there's something and you take it, when you heal, you may use it as if it was 1 Material.
The Doctor can do what no other Scholar can and replenish his stocks mid-session. Here's the real fun bit though: MCs, if your Doctor is searching and misses, I advise giving them something anyway but it has a bad side effect (tell them about the side effect - don't play gotcha!). That's cool on successes too, but in a little bit more bad taste in my opinion. WAY better than a null result. That said, if they searched an empty stone room, chances are there really wasn't anything there, say "there's nothing there" if you really can't rationalize there being something. Don't just say no out of cruelty though - they DID succeed after all.

So hey, one more thing! Turns out I ALSO teased the Master moves of the Scholar move when I did those. God, I really did act like I had this dude written for far too long. Anyway, on Master moves for a moment, James on S-G made a good suggestion that I should tie the Master stuff into the Chi economy by adding a Chi key to each of 'em. I like the idea, and it adds up to a good number of methods of getting Chi - ~2 from the playbook (1 can be custom-writable), 1 from an advancement (choosable or custom-writable), 1 from mastering, and then any from specific moves such as from the sub-playbook moves Teamwork (from Kyoshi Warriors) or Humility Makes The Master (from Student of Piandao).
But as I mentioned when I introduced Master moves, the Scholar has a funny thing going on - I can't pick just one Master move. I can't think of a good move that covers both the Mind Scholar (the Sage) and the Physical Scholar (the Inventor), which are distinct sub-paths both key to the concept of Scholar. As such, I've got TWO Master moves. Chances are, the player won't hunt for both of them - only one will likely mesh with their character idea. Doesn't matter if they DO get 'em both though - just means you, the MC, aren't going to need to write a custom move for their second master like you would with, say, the Waterbender's second master.
When you learn from a master inventor, choose a small object. You never need to spend Materials to produce this tool.
This tool should be something they could draw out with Always Prepared, though it's up to you if whether you want to allow the more complex 2-Material items or just the simple 1-Material ones. If they're a Doctor, watch out, they can't keep pulling out things to use as healing Materials, that's cheating. They can use the item in healing if they like, but it's not going to provide an extra 1 Material on its own.
Once you've learned from a master sage, when you Observe Carefully you may also ask the following question:
    * What do I already know about this from my research?
Dear MCs,
Don't you fucking dare say "Nothing." This retroactively assumes they've discovered a tidbit about this in the past.
A design quirk: I'm not sure if I should actually make them spend their hold to ask this question. I feel almost like just letting them ask for free when they make the roll (though they have to risk the failure to do it, even if on a fail they still ask). That might be too much though. As it stands, no, it takes hold, but keep in mind that I'm thinkin' about it.

NOW I'm done. I think I've exhausted my entire collection of things on The Scholar. It is also the last stuff I actually have written - I'm dry now, and schoolwork is hurtin' me pretty bad right now, J-Term is far more intense this year. But I might as well do this:
[_] = Incomplete, [X] = Complete, {_} = Sub-Category, |_| = Non-Core

[X] Stats
[X*] Basic Moves
    * Minus Meditate, minus final OC ? list
[X] Playbook Concepts
[X] Sub-Playbooks (as in, What Is This)
[X*] Tags
    *  Concept complete, effect on use needs revisiting
[_] Environment Tags
[X] Oaths/Honor
[X] When You Train With A Master
[X] Chi
[X*] Harm
    * Not Yet Discussed
[X*] Gear
    * Not Yet Discussed
[X*] Improvement
    * Not Yet Discussed
(these three are all very similar to their Apocalypse World versions. I will likely only write up full text when I start compiling a document).
[_] MC Considerations (eg Principles, Moves)

[X] Speak Honorably
[X] Speak Dishonorably (note: name may become Act Dishonorably)
[X] Commit Open Violence
[X] Stand Fast
[X*] Observe Carefully
    * Question list under development
[_] Meditate
[X] Move With Intention
[X] Help/Hinder

[X] The Airbender
    {_} The Lightbender
    {_} The Soundbender
[X] The Firebender
[X] The Earthbender
    {_} The Metalbender
    {_} The Sandbender
[X] The Waterbender
    {X} The Plantbender
    {_} The Bloodbender
[_] The Samurai
    |X| The Kyoshi Warrior
    |X| The Student of Piandao
    {_} The Ronin
[_] The Monk
[X] The Scholar
    {X} The Doctor
[_] The Aristocrat
    {_} The Geisha
[_] The Ninja
    {_} The Shadow
    {_} The Athlete

* Only the Waterbender and Scholar have more than just Moves complete, this is just a guideline for what I have to do for each.
[_] The Names
[_] The Looks
[_] The Stats
[_] The Moves
[_] The Chi Keys
[_] The Master Move(s)
[_] The Oaths
[_] The Gear
[_] The Improvements

I can't think of much more right now, plus this post is now super long. Anyway, would love some feedback on The Scholar, The Doctor, or Oaths/Honor (which didn't get much commentary and I'd still love to know if folks like the idea). Later!
End Recording,

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