Archive for March, 2012

Korra Hack: Playtest Version

March 26, 2012

So last Thursday I watched a Youtube stream of the unreleased first episode of The Legend of Korra, the sequel to Avatar: The Last Airbender. And, since we were at Gamestorm and all excited, I wrote a little one-page Apocalypse World hack for running it. There’s a lot about this playtest draft that won’t be clear at all from just looking at it (it’s just a character sheet and most of the game only exists in my head), but I wanted to share anyway. I didn’t end up getting to playtest it or try some of the ideas out in practice, but hopefully soon.

In any event, you can download the game here: The Legend of You.

Planarch Codex: Human Heritage

March 21, 2012

The new heritage rules in the Planarch Codex (“when you invoke your rights of blood and tradition”) means that humans need some monster moves. Here’s my initial shot at those.

Humans are short-lived creatures of passion and destiny. They may be weak and petty from the perspectives of most other species, but they feel more deeply, love more strongly, and recklessly attempt the most dangerous and impossible things, for their timelines are measured in years, not centuries. And, for that, the gods and demons favor them above nearly all others. Want to get things done or shake things up? Throw some humans at a situation.

Monster Moves

  • make someone fascinated by you
  • escape from restraint, bondage, or captivity
  • earn the attention of one or more powerful forces
  • persevere
  • any other monster move that doesn’t require special powers or abilities (reflecting the incredible diversity of human ethnicity and culture)

Planarch Codex: Posse Creation

March 19, 2012

Cleric! You have fallen in with a band of planejumping sell-swords, cut-purses, and diabolists!

  • Yes, for I have been defrocked for the crime of ________ and sent into exile, though the god ________ still heeds my prayers and must have some plan for me.
  • Yes, for I am the last surviving keeper of the ancient and noble faith of ________, now lost to (violence, time, cataclysm, fissure, or conversion).
  • Yes, for I am a dark templar of my faith, charged to seek out lost secrets, sources of power, and ________, all for the greater glory of ________.

Fighter! You have fallen in with a band of planejumping apostates, cut-purses, and diabolists!

  • Yes, for I was born and raised among the wretched and outcast in ________, living hand to mouth, dreaming of future riches and ________.
  • Yes, for I am the black sheep (or exiled scion) of the noble house of ________, and this is the ignoble company I keep, obscuring and protecting me from ________, who has “great plans” for me.
  • Yes, for I am through with the wars and battles of ________, and will live out the rest of my days as a servant to my own interests, seeking ________.

Rogue! You have fallen in with a band of planejumping sell-swords, apostates, and diabolists!

  • Yes, and what else is new? I used to ________ with ________, and they were no better than this lot, that’s for certain.
  • Yes, but it’s only a temporary situation. You see, I have grand plans for ________, if only ________ would stop blocking my path to true greatness.
  • Yes, but how else would these idiots know where to find big piles of loot? They’re the unfortunate cost of doing business and I have this great job in mind where we can get ________ from ________.

Wizard! You have fallen in with a band of planejumping sell-swords, apostates, and cut-purses!

  • Yes, and such is the lot of a wizard, to be shunned and feared by pleasant society. Luckily these unsavory types don’t ask too many questions about my strange and unsavory practices, such as ________ and ________.
  • Yes, but once the wizards of ________ acknowledge the true earth-shattering potential of my new line of research into ________, they will beg me to teach them my methods.
  • Yes, but I’m not your average hide-behind-the-armored-dude hedge-mage who crawls head-first into a hole in the ground wearing fancy robes. I like to get my hands dirty. How else do you learn the real stuff like ________ and ________?

Lafferty vs. Buddha: The Source of All Harm

March 15, 2012

Lafferty met the Buddha of the Waste on the side of the blasted highway. Lafferty reached for his holster.

“Wait,” said the Buddha. “Tell me: what is the source of all harm?”

“Me,” Lafferty chuckled. “Well, me and Charlene here,” he gestured to his signature shotgun (3-harm close loud).

“Alas, but it is not so,” the Buddha replied. “The seething masses may claim that harm is caused by weapons, but the first noble truth is that life is suffering. For us, that means that harm is always caused — in the end — by the fiction.”

“Goodbye,” said Lafferty, pulling the trigger. But there was just a dull click; Charlene had jammed. Or else the bullets had gotten soaked through when he crossed that river of sewage a couple days back.

“An excellent example!” the Buddha exclaimed. “Where’s your 3-harm now, Laffer-”

Then the operator was on him, wrapping his cold hands around the Buddha’s throat and squeezing.

But when it was over, Lafferty knelt next to the Buddha’s lifeless body, starring down at his own calloused, trembling fingers (1-harm hand), and he knew that the Buddha was correct.

The Afterborn: YA-AW

March 12, 2012

So I got inspired and made a thing:

You Carry the Burden of the Future

Apocalypse World is no place to raise children. Sometimes, though, a hardholder or scavenger brood makes a pact—with the blasted heath, with the poisoned ground, with the Psychic Maelstrom itself—and the pact is this: OBEY THE LAW AND YOU WILL SURVIVE.

And so a haven is created amidst all the want and suffering, a hardhold of sorts but something more, something almost civilized. Children are born and raised within its limits, taught to fear the world beyond and to obey the law, taught the means of survival. Generations go by, and yet the people remain.

But humanity is curious and heedless; they do not obey the law but break it—in part or in full—every day. And thus every day the broken world chips away at this mote of security and stability, awaiting the day when it will be consumed in desperation and darkness.

The ones known as the Angel, the Battlebabe, and so on… maybe they were born and raised in a place such as this, a place long ago and far away, a place without the constant fear of death and want, a place long since consumed. If so, these are the stories they tell no one, the stories of what they used to be before the broken world made them hard, cool, hot, and weird, the stories of growing up.

Bibliography: Thanks for These Dark Dreams

– The White Mountains (1967) by John Christopher
– Clay’s Ark (1984) by Octavia E. Butler
– Invitation to the Game (1990) by Monica Hughes
– The Giver (1993) by Lowis Lowry
– Reign of Fire (2002), directed by Rob Bowman
– City of Ember (2003) by Jeanne DuPrau
– The Village (2004), directed by M. Night Shyamalan
– The Hunger Games (2008) by Suzanne Collins
– The Forest of Hands and Teeth (2009) by Carrie Ryan
– The Passage (2010), parts III-VI, by Justin Cronin
– After the Apocalypse (2011) by Maureen McHugh
– “The Villager” for Dungeon World (2012) by Jason Morningstar

You can download it here. I haven’t playtested it yet (so take it for what it is) but I plan to do so at Gamestorm later this month, assuming I don’t get a chance earlier. It’ll definitely always be a hack that’s 2-4 playbooks long, at most, and will never turn into a big commercial hack (I just don’t see the need for it, honestly).