Monday, August 26, 2013

Avatar World: MC Principles and Moves, Aristocrat Fiddly Bits

More Bandcamp embeds! This is from James Dean's soundtrack for the game Super Panda Adventures, which I know absolutely nothing about. I got the soundtrack from the Game Music Bundle 5, which is also where I got FZ yesterday. Only 1 day left for this bundle!

Let's start accelerating to the finish here! Today I've ironed out some pretty basic MC stuff, the Agenda, Always Say, Principles, and Moves. They're hardly final, but they're draftworthy I think.

Explore a mystical world.
Make the characters' lives interesting.
Play to find out what happens.
Not much creativity here. That first one will likely get a better phrasing eventually, but it's not bad right now.

What the Principles demand.
What the rules demand.
What honesty demands.
Even less creativity here, but the original text is so pithy and forward! Taking my cue from Monsterhearts I've axed ApW's "what your prep demands" though, cuz, well, my idea of prep doesn't DEMAND anything.

* Expose the spirits of the world.
My version of Barf Forth Apocalyptica and Blanket The World In Darkness. I don't think it's on the same awesome level as those, but I think I like it more than Embrace The Fantastic.
* Address yourself to the characters, not the players.
This is a probably my favorite principle built into the engine. I like it a lot, and apply it to other games too now.
* Be a fan of the players' characters.
Yup yup yup same deal as the other engine pieces.
* Put players in the middle of competing factions.
Put another way, make relationship triangles. NPC-PC-NPC, PC-NPC-PC, PC-PC-NPC-PC-NPC, whatever.
* Make your move, but misdirect.
Important, though I admit that that the exact wording on this one has always weirded me out a little bit.
* Make your move, but never speak its name.
This one doesn't weird me out at all though. I like this one.
* Ask provocative questions and build on the answers.
Of course. This is just a good practice in general.
* Think offscreen too.
Again, duh.
* Sometimes, disclaim decision making.
And more obviousness. I do more of this in my games than I probably should, but I like it.
* Treat everyone equally - without kid gloves, like people.
My version of look through crosshairs or stolen cars, it means that no one should be protected or kept safe, but that their lives aren't just for throwing away.
* Give everyone a motive.
Here's the thing: ApW and MH have you Naming Everyone, DW has you giving every monster life. AvW, on the other hand, doesn't actually WANT everyone named. There's a good deal of mooks that get tossed around in this sort of thing. However, even mooks have a reason-to-be, and named and unnamed folks alike are pushing for something.
* Be overdramatic.
ApW is about being real. AvW is about being theatrical.
* Fights are never started just for violence's sake. Violence is not to be taken lightly.

This is a big deal to me. Now, once you're in a fight, yeah, it's often just fighting. Maybe "to survive" as the motive. But this is intrinsicly connected to "give everyone a motive", but much more specifically displaying that fighting is a serious thing. Now, this is an action game - you will do a good deal of fighting. This principle is a reminder that just because you do a lot of fighting, you shouldn't forget the importance of what it means to do violence.

* Isolate someone.
Kinda like "separate them" but slightly different.
* Announce off-screen badness.
* Announce future badness.
Yup. Those two are nothing new.
* Inflict harm, as established.
Also nothing new.
* Challenge their oaths.

Don't force them to break promises, but put them in situations where it would be EASIER to break an oath than to keep it.
* Take away their stuff.
Take that a bit liberally and you can block bending with this.
* Tell them the possible consequences and ask.
* Put someone in a spot.
More classic ones.
* Reveal who's really in control.
Good for plot twists! Who's at the top of the villain hierarchy? There's always another!
* Make them promise.
Good for making more oaths.
* Offer an opportunity, with or without a cost.
* Expose the harshness of the environment.
* Bring forth the Spirits.
Herald the Abyss. Be as literal with this as you wish - I happen to be way into Spirit World characters, so I'll probably use this to literally draw out spirits, but it can be a metaphor if you want.
* After every move: "What do you do?"

 Switching gears now, let's get some more fiddly bits done! Today is The Aristocrat - 75% of the Aristocrat is already done before now, thankfully. Let's get the rest in.
Flavor Text:
Naturally at home in the courts of kings, you're not the same as all those other nobles. You're smarter than them, more cunning than them, and infinitely more ambitious.
Stat (Pick One Array): 

* Natural +2, Hot +0, Solid +1, Keen +1, Fluid -1.
* Natural +2, Hot +1, Solid -1, Keen +1, Fluid +0.
* Natural +1, Hot +0, Solid +0, Keen +1, Fluid +1.
* Natural +1, Hot -1, Solid +0, Keen +2, Fluid +1.
* Natural +1, Hot +0, Solid +1, Keen +2, Fluid -1.
Look (Pick One From Each Set):
Choose one from each list:
    * Courtly clothes, Fancy but practical, humble garb
    * With regalia and emblems, with accessories and jewelery, with intricate designs and colors, without adornment.
    * Ruler, heir, minor nobility, just regular folk
A small weapon, easily concealed.
Clothes worth 0-armor.
Some trinket denoting your position of authority.

* One of the characters is from your area of influence and you've sworn to take care of them. Who?
* What other ruler have you in turn sworn obedience to? Do you still like that ruler?
* Insufferable and privileged,
* Manipulative and treacherous,
* Honorable and trustworthy,
* Commanding and inspiring,
* __________ (write your own).
Once you've trained with a master politician, choose one:
* You're better at juggling many engagements; when you have at least 4 oaths with PCs or NPCs and take on an additional PC or NPC oath, gain 1 Chi. 
* You're most skilled at handling one request at a time; when you have exactly 1 oath (either with a PC or NPC) take +1 ongoing to actions directly related to completing that task.
I'd be lying if I said I didn't like these. Heck, these could have been moves. My mind is actually sort of in overdrive about Aristocrat moves suddenly - unfortunately I actually like all six that made it into the playbook, but hey, loose moves never hurt.
When you have 5 XP, you can gain no more. Reduce your XP from 5 to 0 at any point to take an advancement:
__ You have +1 Natural (max +3)
__ You have +1 Hot (max +3)
__ You have +1 Keen (max +3)
__ You have +1 Fluid (max +3)
__ gain a new "Chi Key" from the list, or write your own.
__ gain a new Aristocrat move
__ gain a new Aristocrat move
__ gain a new Aristocrat move
__ gain a move from another playbook
__ gain a move from another playbook
///////////////////////// (these improvements can only be taken once you've taken 5 of the above improvements)
__ You have +1 to any stat (max +3)
__ Retire your character to safety
__ create a second character to play side-by-side with this one
__ change your character to a new type
Oh hey, and for good measure:
Mixing Business With Pleasure: When you put your oaths to others over your own priorities add one to your Trust with everyone who has an oath with you. When you put your own interests over your oaths to others, you may completely abandon an oath (with all the usual penalties) but gain 1 XP.
That's just a loose move I came up with while figuring out the special. It ain't perfect, but maybe it'll find its way into the playbook, or perhaps a sub-playbook somewhere.
There. That's 4. Airbender, Aristocrat, Scholar, Waterbender. 4 more to go. Also some sort of MC "Fronts/Threats" deal because I like that and think it's valuable. Maybe some "first session" notes more meant for myself than anyone else. After that it's just writing up the damn thing into document form.

End Recording,

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