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[AW] To Collect Custom Moves
I think I'm definitely leaning toward Michael's side on this. Let's try using augury, deep-brain, etc.. First. And if we're not satisfied with how it pans out in the end, we can turn to custom moves.
Everyone cool with that?
I'm totally cool with that.
edited October 2010
Something that's probably going to come up eventually: a PC is possessed.
With NPCs, whatever ... both ghost and host are under MC control, and he can make moves as usual. But should we look at custom moves for PC possession? You could theoretically cover it on the fly with things like inflicting psi-harm, acting under fire (where the fire is the malign will of a possessing ghost), and various existing MC moves, but this is definitely something that the game doesn't specifically cover.
Psi-harm is probably a good place to look for inspiration. It's brutal on NPCs, but on a PC it puts you on your toes without robbing you of agency. Brainer moves might be good too, as well as the skinner's hypnosis move and good old seduce/manipulate. I guess the main point to take from all of those moves is that mind control tends to be way different and far less reliable when applied to PCs.
A lot of those moves use hold, though, and I'm not sure that makes sense for possession ... it suggests that the ghost will eventually just run out of juice and pop out of the body, which I don't think is what we're thinking here, right? In-Brain Puppet Strings, though, has that thing where you don't spend your hold to make the target do something, instead spending hold to punish resistance. Could be a way to go.
Incidentally, as a matter of the fiction, can NPCs shake off a ghost after getting possessed? Or do they
to have outside assistance?
A good point. Trying not to go overboard, I think the best option would be the In-Brain Puppet Strings analog for PCs. That would still bear with it the notion that eventually, however, a given spooky will run out of juice with regard to its victim. I actually think I'm fine with that. There might be exceptions; in some locations, for instance, where the Maelstrom leaks, maybe they get additional hold, or they can easily renew hold, or something like that to indicate greater power. But I'm fine with them eventually running out of juice when the subject is actively capable of (and actually is) resisting them. And the In-Brain Puppet Strings adds a very sinister component to it, in that, ultimately, no PC is ever actually possessed. He never has to do what the ghost wants, if he's willing to suck up the pain. I like that notion a great deal, that it's almost a boon to be more susceptible to them when they possess you, because if you can fight back, then you either suffer, or you have to take responsibility for what you do.
As for the NPC issue, I believe Charlton has actually already made some implications there, assuming that the principles in the flashback involving Gritch can be extended to all spookies, which I'm fine with. Perhaps a great deal of pain can help the possessed individual to fight back against the spooky, which means that an NPC who is willing to inflict such pain on him or herself could thereby regain some agency. But other than that, my gut reaction is that, yes, they need outside assistance almost always. This should be accompanied by the notion that out and out possession is not a tremendously common thing, however, or that the possessing ghost will generally either lose interest or maybe even burn out and stop possessing for a time, thus indicating why possession isn't as common as it would seemingly be if no one could shake off the spookies without help.
I have made that implication pretty clearly, because I like the dramatic ramifications; however, I'd also say that the river house is unambiguously in a place where the maelstrom leaks, so it wouldn't violate my sense of what's going on there if the pain approach only worked there, or with those particular spirits.
You could do that pretty easily for a PC, too: Go Aggro on the ghost, where the 'harm as established' is on yourself.
Actually, I guess that's a little rough, since it relies on the ghost giving a shit about the state of your body. I think we've established that they can possess corpses? Maybe: whenever you take harm while possessed, roll+harm. On a 7-9, you have a moment of free control of yourself (or you erase one of the ghost's hold, or something else appropriate to the ghost's method of control). On a 10+, you are purged of the ghost's influence. On a miss, nothing?
Or, since it's basically the same roll, you could just add those features to the harm move, where they happen in addition to whatever harm effect the GM chooses.
Or for more flex, you could roll+harm and use the go aggro rules. If you hit a 10+, the ghost must either leave or take 1-harm (ap) from the pain it is forced to experience. If you hit a 7-9, it must do the usual 'give you something it thinks you want', 'barricade itself in', or etc, as appropriate to the fiction. On a miss, it's not a roll that you're choosing to make, so it's probably still reasonable to have nothing happen on a miss (aside the harm you just took).
I think you hit it on the head, if we want to introduce the pain option for PCs. The harm move should simply be expanded so that if you roll a 10+ you're purged, and a 7-9, you get a moment's respite. I like this both for the simplicity and for the fact that now, rolling high on the harm move can actually be a double-edged sword in some instances, which makes it much more interesting.
I also think the pain thing should be expanded to include all instances of spookies, but I think that maybe it's especially pronounced in the river house that Charlton set up. What I mean by that is that maybe the rate at which the spookies leave the possessed is a bit slower outside of such volatile areas, or maybe pain can be used in a continuous, steady fashion outside of areas like the river house, instead of needing to be used in a sudden, dramatic burst. Regardless, though, I think the point of pain being one of the simplest ways (and maybe even the only way) for normal people to deal with spookies and possession without the help of a psychic exorcist is a good way to go.
I was imagining using a "capture them" move when a PC becomes possessed by a spook, with the PC having to act under fire in order to take control, obviously with the fire being the spook gets to do what they want with the PC's body.
edited November 2010
That's fine if it only happens as a one-off sort of thing, but if it's a serious danger in the game, it probably does deserve some kind of custom move. Having to act under fire to control yourself is really harsh - more so than any of the existing 'mind control' sort of moves. You're basically fucked if you're not good at acting under fire ... fail to pull off the roll, and you're just a spectator in the game.
By comparison, the seduce/manipulate move: you can be made to act under fire there, but it's different. It's, when you do something other than what the seducer wanted you to do, you have to act under fire to pull it off. If you botch the roll, things go badly with whatever you wanted to do, but your will is never overridden. Same with Go Aggro, In-Brain Puppet Strings, Hypnotic, and so forth.
They all present consequences for disobedience, but you're still always allowed to disobey, regardless of the results of the dice. (If you're a PC, at least.) Off hand, I don't
there are any exceptions to that.
The 13+ success when you expand
is an exception for PCs, and it's called out as such.
Right. I remember that now.
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