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Paul Taliesin
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Tomorrow, today will be the next yesterday.
Tomorrow, today will be the next yesterday.

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I have a question and would like you to share some MC advice or good play experiences.

How do you make moves as the MC to take advantage of PCs' Conditions?

Ideas, tips, and examples from actual games would all be great to hear.

Do you just use Conditions to inspire particular moves and actions on behalf of people around the PC? Or do you sometimes change the way you apply any of the mechanics, as well?

The original Monsterhearts suggested that taking advantage of Conditions could put an NPC at Advantage, but Monsterhearts 2 has removed that whole chapter, leaving it only for String use.

What's your take? How do you best take advantage of PCs' Conditions?

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Today I ran a sci-fi/horror one-shot based on Monsterhearts. I hacked the game to bits and came up with this:

The setting was Depression-era Arkansas, and the characters were entirely mundane, human, people. (Not teenage monsters, in other words.)

But as the game progressed, they experienced otherworldly forces and gradually were transformed into something rather alien and/or monstrous. In the end, it seems, alien forces were trying to make their way onto the Earth, slowly infesting humans with inexorable purpose.

In our playthrough, it's pretty clear that they succeeded.

I should write this up sometime to share the mechanics bits and pieces - they are a lot of fun. The only regret was that we didn't have longer to stretch out the game and explore the ramifications piece by piece. (Particularly the character transformations which took place.)

+Dirk Detweiler Leichty, I used some of your Academy moves, and also the modifications we've discussed before. That part worked great! The fundamental mechanic of the game was inspired by your Level Up move. (+Mark Causey was in on the discussions, too.)

Are you about to play a *World game, and feeling restricted by the list of playbooks? Are you looking for a way to freshen up your next game, whether personally, or as a group?

Before you get to hacking (or before you get to writing up new playbooks), try this custom character creation move:

---

When you pick up a playbook, whether familiar, beloved, or overlooked, ask the group - or ask yourself - what is most archetypal about this playbook?

"What is the one thing that, to us, makes a person The Hardholder?"

Now, create the character, inverting that assumption:

When you invert an assumption, choose one of the following:

* The character plays entirely opposite to type, in terms of their personality, philosophy, outlook, or goals.
* The character occupies a station or role in society entirely opposite to expectations.
* The character is perceived by others (by society) as being someone totally different from what you would expect for that playbook.

As you look through the moves, gear, and Hx choices, justify each one. Some will be immediately obvious; others will be head-scratchers. Dig in and find the nugget around which you will form this new character.

If you are the MC, use that idea to form a landscape - physical, social, and psychic - which reflects that character's position and values.


Apocalypse World

Assumption: The Angel is a healer; someone who cares about helping people, and wishes to eradicate disease and suffering.

Inversion: In your game, the Angel is a sadist, who invents - or creates! -
medical problems, wounds, and imaginary "plagues" in order to scare others into submission and garner power.

Justification: This Angel believes that only those whose insides she has seen can truly be trusted. She cuts and slices the world so she can find some semblance of security for herself.


Assumption: The Skinner is a gorgeous, nubile, desirable creature.

Inversion: In your game, the Skinner is an aging soldier with a limp.

Justification: There is something so magnetic about their stories, the twinkle in their eye, that everyone admires them, respects them, and wishes to be close to them. Their words soothe the hurt and excite the young, sowing the seeds for dreams of grandeur; their tales of a lost past are dangerously seductive.

Let yourself listen too long and you'll find yourself in their bed.


Assumption: The Brainer is the weirdest wacko around, the most twisted and creepy individual.

Inversion: In your game, the Brainer is the only level-headed, sane person left. In the aftermath of the apocalypse, everyone else has lost their mind, and she is the last even-keeled survivor, clutching desperately onto reason and sensibility.

Justification: Your Brainer's desperation has attracted the attention of the maelstrom, which has bestowed upon her powerful psychic gifts. Will she use her whisper projection, violation glove, and in-puppet strings to try to restore sense and sanity to those around her? Does she see her newfound weirdness as a problem to solve (the final erosion of everything she has been clinging to), or a tool to embrace?


Monsterhearts

Assumption: The Ghost is a nobody; a social outcast, overlooked, ignored, and easily forgotten.

Inversion: In your game, the Ghost is the most popular kid in school. He is the quarterback of the football team and Homecoming King.

Justification: His popularity has reached such a peak that other students have started to see him as above them or beyond them. Suddenly he realizes that no one really cares; no one sees his vulnerability or his pains. There is no one he can confide in, for no one would ever believe that he, the Homecoming King, could ever have any real problems in life! At the peak of his popularity... he's never felt more alone.


And so on, of course.

Pick a different assumption each time.

Try it. Have fun.

Presenting:

A Custom Character Creation Move for PbtA/*World games


Are you about to play a *World game, and feeling restricted by the list of playbooks? Are you looking for a way to freshen up your next game, whether personally, or as a group?

Before you get to hacking (or before you get to writing up new playbooks), try this custom character creation move:

---

When you pick up a playbook, whether familiar, beloved, or overlooked, ask the group - or ask yourself - what is most archetypal about this playbook?

"What is the one thing that, to us, makes a person The Hardholder?"

Now, create the character, inverting that assumption:

When you invert an assumption, choose one of the following:

* The character plays entirely opposite to type, in terms of their personality, philosophy, outlook, or goals.
* The character occupies a station or role in society entirely opposite to expectations.
* The character is perceived by others (by society) as being someone totally different from what you would expect for that playbook.

As you look through the moves, gear, and Hx choices, justify each one. Some will be immediately obvious; others will be head-scratchers. Dig in and find the nugget around which you will form this new character.

If you are the MC, use that idea to form a landscape - physical, social, and psychic - which reflects that character's position and values.


Apocalypse World

Assumption: The Angel is a healer; someone who cares about helping people, and wishes to eradicate disease and suffering.

Inversion: In your game, the Angel is a sadist, who invents - or creates! -
medical problems, wounds, and imaginary "plagues" in order to scare others into submission and garner power.

Justification: This Angel believes that only those whose insides she has seen can truly be trusted. She cuts and slices the world so she can find some semblance of security for herself.


Assumption: The Skinner is a gorgeous, nubile, desirable creature.

Inversion: In your game, the Skinner is an aging soldier with a limp.

Justification: There is something so magnetic about their stories, the twinkle in their eye, that everyone admires them, respects them, and wishes to be close to them. Their words soothe the hurt and excite the young, sowing the seeds for dreams of grandeur; their tales of a lost past are dangerously seductive.

Let yourself listen too long and you'll find yourself in their bed.


Assumption: The Brainer is the weirdest wacko around, the most twisted and creepy individual.

Inversion: In your game, the Brainer is the only level-headed, sane person left. In the aftermath of the apocalypse, everyone else has lost their mind, and she is the last even-keeled survivor, clutching desperately onto reason and sensibility.

Justification: Your Brainer's desperation has attracted the attention of the maelstrom, which has bestowed upon her powerful psychic gifts. Will she use her whisper projection, violation glove, and in-puppet strings to try to restore sense and sanity to those around her? Does she see her newfound weirdness as a problem to solve (the final erosion of everything she has been clinging to), or a tool to embrace?


Monsterhearts

Assumption: The Ghost is a nobody; a social outcast, overlooked, ignored, and easily forgotten.

Inversion: In your game, the Ghost is the most popular kid in school. He is the quarterback of the football team and Homecoming King.

Justification: His popularity has reached such a peak that other students have started to see him as above them or beyond them. Suddenly he realizes that no one really cares; no one sees his vulnerability or his pains. There is no one he can confide in, for no one would ever believe that he, the Homecoming King, could ever have any real problems in life! At the peak of his popularity... he's never felt more alone.


And so on, of course.

Pick a different assumption each time.

Try it. Have fun.

Does anyone still use the Operator playbook?

Has anyone made a 2nd Ed version of it?

Thanks!

I've been looking at "Dream Askew", recently, and potentially gearing up to play it.

It seems like a fascinating game, in many different ways, and so economically presented.

However, one thing I find really unclear from the text:

How do you deal with player vs. player (or even character vs. character) conflict?

Does the game rely on consensus to resolve such conflicts, or can the mechanics be leveraged to do so? (It's fairly ambiguous in this sense.)

I'd love to hear, particularly, from people who have played!


+Richard Williams' amazing look at "Death Moves" inspired me to share this.

It's a first draft; I expect many revisions. But I think Monsterhearts needs a more interesting take on harm, so here's a basic adaptation of my AW harm rules to Monsterhearts.

The basic gist is: you hurt someone to make them lose control over their destiny.

-

When you are subjected to bodily harm, roll. For each statement that is true (below), take +1 to your roll.

* "They're not really trying to cause me lasting harm."
* "It's not frightening: they're not bigger, more numerous, or better armed than me."

If you're not sure if "they" are trying to cause you lasting harm, ask them. "It" could be an object or a place, if, say, you've just crashed your car.

On a 10+, choose one from the list below.
On a 7-9, choose two, or ask your opponent to choose one.
On a miss, you choose one, and your opponent chooses one.

Mark your choices. You can only choose each option once. At the start of a new session, or if you come back from apparent death, clear them all.

The MC or other players can narrow your choice. Don't choose an option which doesn't follow believably from your actions or the situation. If "you're dead" was chosen, the second choice might come into play before, during, or after your death: for instance, you might flee, only to bleed out and die in the woods.

O You are scared and shaken - give a String to your attacker.
O You look weak - lose a String on your attacker, and take a Condition.
O You're a bloody mess. This will probably leave serious scars.
O You freeze up or you panic and flee; your choice.
O You're knocked flat on your face: dazed, senseless, you hardly know where you are.
O It's bad: you're going to need medical help.
O Afterwards, you have no clear memory of what happened or misremember important details.
O You're dead.



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