Saturday, March 8, 2014

Avatar World: The Sub-Playbooks, Part 1 (art inside)

I think I've mentioned this before, but the Spirit World is easily my favorite part of the Avatar universe. Something about it is just super alluring to me. More or less the whole Mushi-Shi soundtrack is appropriate music for the Spirit World, and it's great.

So I figured today I could just go about posting up what I have for sub-playbook stuff so far. To remind everyone about sub-playbooks, they're essentially smaller archetypes that weren't quite important or unique enough to warrant their own playbook, but are still important to the game's completion. Usually, they fit underneath one or more pre-existing playbooks.
Each playbook has an entry condition, some situation that must be true to take moves from it. Once you're a member of a sub-playbook, you can take moves from it as if it was any other playbook (meaning you use your Take A Move From Another Playbook options for it - this is one of the few points that I'm still thinking heavily about).
Every sub-playbook has 3 moves. In some cases, one of the moves will be necessary to take the others.

Here's some sub-playbooks:
The Masterless Wanderer
Masterless. A simple word, but it holds so much meaning to you. It is the shame of failure, it is the fear of death, and it is freedom from obligations.
Entry Condition: You were in the service of a lord in an official capacity, but they died dishonorably. Alternatively, they purged you from their ranks for a failure. Any playbook can become a Masterless Wanderer.
* Traveler: When you return to a community you once visited, roll +Natural. On a hit, the locals remember you favorably. On a 10+, you have Honor with this community.
(The other moves aren't written yet, but the working titles are "Unreliable" and "Hardened")
The Masterless Wanderer's art is the furthest I've deviated from the playbook-art conventions I've laid down, but I quite like it. I may refine some of the sharp edges, but I kinda like it the way it is.
Regarding the name: this has been the Ronin for days, I was literally halfway through writing this note right here about the name when I broke and switched over to The Masterless Warrior. The benefit of The Ronin was that the name itself brought the connotations of having failed, while the Masterless Wanderer (as a name) could just be a free spirit, and I liked the push of past failure, it feels like interesting drama and backstory. Of course, the Masterless Wanderer still needs to have had a master in the past and failed and lost them - it's just now restricted to the entry condition, rather than appearing in the name itself. I made the switch over the cultural appropriation fear and also because there's no "ronins" in Avatar, despite a wealth of Ronin characters. Zuko was sure one.

The Plantbender
To hold the water flowing through root, stem, and leaf isn't to rule nature but to be one with it.
Entry Condition: You must have the Waterbending move to take Plantbending, which is in turn required to take either of the other moves here.
* Plantbending: When you bend the water in plants to grow or move them, roll +Solid. On a 10+, the plants are (choose 2):
     * Thick and sturdy,
     * Overgrown and obscuring,
     * Lithe and malleable.
On a 7-9, only choose 1.
* Swamp Monster: When you gather many plants around yourself into a great beast, roll +Solid. On a 10+, you have 3 Plant. On a 7-9, you have 2 Plant. Spend 1 Plant to:
     * Weather any blow,
     * Cause masive carnage, with collateral damage. Add Tags as appropriate.
     * Manipulate plants as if you'd rolled a 7 on a Plantbending roll.
So long as you have any Plant, you cannot Waterbend anything else.
* ______: All plantbending moves use +Fluid instead of +Solid.
So sub-playbooks are how I'm doing most of the advanced bending stuff. Plant, Blood, Metal, Lightning, at the very least.
Yes, there's a move with no name. The mechanic is pretty stable, though I considered a maybe more-interesting thing about communing plants that never got anywhere mechanically and felt too complex for its own good.
The art, and the Swamp Monster move, are both very obviously Huu's trick. There's no reason it has to be with vines like he did, or even swamp materials like the name implies. There's just not many great-sounding ways to say hulk-like-pile-of-random-plants.
The Plantbending move itself has changed since the last time you saw this guy. It's now very fictional. In fact, it's mostly not mechanical at all any more. But I like it. Something about it reminds me of my work on Mass Effect Hack, though I don't know why. "Malleable" is the only adjective that isn't pitch perfect right now I think, and even then it's passable.

The Bloodbender
Boiling, raging, flowing; blood is water, people are blood. They say all these words about free will and liberty, but you know better. People are water, and water is yours to command.
Entry Condition: You must have the Waterbending move to take Bloodbending, which is in turn required to take either of the other moves here.
* Bloodbending:When you bend the blood in their veins to control their body, roll +Hot. On a 10+, even the strong-willed succumb. On a 7-9, only the weak-of-heart fall under your control.
You only get to command their body, never their mind. Bloodbending takes total mental and physical concentration. PCs cannot be bloodbended. No one's ever bloodbended multiple people at once, but that doesn't mean you can't be the first...
* Scary: Bloodbenders are reviled, but more importantly, they're feared. When you Speak Honorable or Act Dishonorably and they know what you can do, roll +Fluid instead of the usual stat. If you're bloodbending them while you do it, treat any result less han 7 as a 7.
* Crimson Moon: When the moon is full, spend 1 Chi to bloodbend anyone (other than PCs) under the light of the moon, so long as you know where they are. While you do so, you can see through their eyes.
[Art not made yet]

So there's that little pile of notes on Bloodbending, defining just how much you can get away with with this crazy-powerful move (I universally took off the moon requirement from what was already the scariest power in the show). PCs are never vulnerable - this stretches the fictional situation slightly for player agency's sake, and I'm not at all unhappy about that.
Scary is exactly what I want it to be. The final clause of that move is strong, but requires another bloodbending roll on top of the speaking roll, so the chance of a hard move is still there, just shifted.
Crimson Moon is entirely my creation. It has no basis in the show. I just thought it sounded cool, and since my other idea was just stat substitution, this is better. Plus I don't WANT to give bloodbenders stat substitution, they're strong enough already.

The Doctor
[Flavor note written yet]
Entry Condition: You must have the Always Prepared move to take Physician, which is in turn required to take either of the other moves here.
* 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, the Materials you spent are gone, and the MC makes a move.
* Field Medic: When you heal another character, you may spend an additional Material to do so quickly.
* Supply Scavenger: When you scan and search an area and Observe Carefully, add the question:
     * What raw materials here could I make use of?
If there's something and you take it, gain 1 Material.
Huge credits to my bro for the mortar & pestle grinding herbs thing, I was totally stumped as to what an Avatar doctor would do and this is totally it. The hair is all me though - it's a little silly, but feels very Avatar to me.
There's not much here that isn't just like it used to be - the Scholar has always been remarkably stable, even in light of the major Chi and Honor rewrites.

The Lightningbender
I'm mostly happy with this. It's action-y enough for me.
 That's it, that's all I've got on the Lightningbender right now. Don't even ask about the Metalbender, it's currently a blank slate.

Well, that's good for today. I'll stop in again when I think I've got another good batch. And come by tomorrow for Sunday Songs, of course.
The plan is to have the sub-playbooks done (to the extent that I want to have them "done" for the core book) for Emerald City Comic-Con, which I will be GMing at for Games On Demand. Come by the GoD room at 10am on Saturday or Sunday and come say hi and maybe play a game with me!
End Recording,

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