[AW] The Finder

edited December 2010 in Out-Of-Game
I just made my first attempt at an alternate playbook. I'd like to get some analysis of it and thought I'd start with you folks before posting it somewhere more widely read. Would it be fun to play? Are there any problems with it?

The Finder

Apocalypse World is dog-eat-dog. People are always stealing shit or running off. When folks need stuff, or need it back, they talk to you.

To create your finder, choose name, look, stats, moves and Hx.

Name:

Rhodesia, Ethan, Bail, Scout, Rover, Cycle, Skip, Dog, Queen, Rick, Domino, Scarecrow, Baby, Monkey

Look:

Man, woman, ambiguous, or transgressing

Utility wear, uniform wear, scrounge wear or luxe wear

Worn face, sharp face, cruel face, determined face, hard face

Clear eyes, suspicious eyes, unconcerned eyes, appraising eyes, hard eyes

Rangy body, sturdy body, stout body, strong body, small body

Stats:

Chose one set:

Cool-1 Hard=0 Hot+1 Sharp+2 Weird+1
Cool+1 Hard+1 Hot=0 Sharp+2 Weird-1
Cool=0 Hard-1 Hot-1 Sharp+2 Weird+2
Cool+1 Hard-1 Hot+1 Sharp+2 Weird=0

Moves:

You get all the basic moves. You also get Single-minded pursuit and your choice of one of the other finder moves.

Finder Moves:

Single-minded pursuit: any time that you're not already in pursuit, you can name a person or thing -- one of a kind or one of a type, and now you are. Make a note of it. Your quarry must be completely unknown or have gone missing. You'll be in pursuit until you've reached your target or discovered it destroyed. Take +1 forward whenever you act directly in your pursuit. When the MC thinks you're ignoring your quarry, you'll be acting under fire -- your thoughts keep going to the hunt. When you do reach your quarry and are no longer in pursuit mark xp.

In the zone: when acting in pursuit, you take +1 armor -- you don't have time to get hurt.

Ripcord: Once you've acquired the subject of your pursuit, you both get back home. Roll+weird. On a 10+, spend 3. On a 7-9, spend 1:
- you got home without taking damage
- you got home without being seen
- you didn't take forever getting home
- you remember how you got home

Gotta know where to look: find some place where you can think for a bit and name a person or thing -- one of a kind or one of a type, and roll+sharp. On a hit, you figure out where it is. On a 10+ you intuit some stuff about the surroundings or situation -- the MC will tell you what.

That one thing they need: any time you're using oddments for barter, it's worth one more. The thing you're trading might not generally be worth that much, but you know that this person really wants or needs what you've got.

In and out: when you're seizing by force, you're a racoon, not a bear. Roll+sharp instead of hard. One of the options you choose must be to take definite hold of your goal.

Connects the dots: you get +1 to sharp (sharp+3)

Hx:

Everyone introduces their characters by name, look and outlook. Take your turn.

List the other characters' names.

Go around again for Hx. On your turn:
- Decide if you're involved in a steady marcantile operation or more of a special operative. If the former, tell everyone +1. If the latter, tell everyone -1.

On the others' turns use any, all or none:
- Choose a character you've done work for before. Whatever number they give you, give it a +1.
- Choose a character who has something you want. Whatever number they give you, give it a +1.
- Choose a character who stiffed you. Whatever number they give you, give it a +2.

Improvement:
__ get +1 cool (max cool+2)
__ get +1 hard (max hard+2)
__ get +1 hot (max hot+2)
__ get a new finder move
__ get a new finder move
__ get a new finder move
__ get 2 gigs (detail) and moonlighting
__ get a gang (detail) for operations, and leadership
__ get a move from another playbook
__ get a move from another playbook

Comments

  • edited December 2010
    I'm hoping to come back to this later and write about it in more detail. My initial impression, though, is that I'm not really getting a sense of unique, distinct coolness. Feels like an Operator, really. The "In Pursuit" move, which is the main gimmick of the playbook, is interesting, because it'll put the character after specific things...but then, it kind of feels like most of these characters are after specific things, anyway. So all it would really do is allow the character to get a +1 to all rolls made in pursuit of a particular goal, leading to a hyper-focused character. Also, in battle, couldn't he just say "I'm in pursuit of Dremmer's life" and then when Dremmer's dead, "Okay, now I'm in pursuit of Yankee's life," and so on? Seems odd to me.

    ETA: Although, I just realized that that could lead to some phenomenal situations, if the character says "I'm in pursuit of Yankee's life," and then the battle ends through negotiation without him having killed Yankee, so he's still in pursuit of Yankee's life. That's...actually really cool. Need to think about this more.

    I like in and out, and I think Ripcord is giving me a reaction, so although I'm not sure if I like it yet, I definitely find it a very interesting move. I'll come back later with maybe more of actual value to say.
  • Posted By: Christopher WeeksThat one thing that someone needs: any time you're using barter (that's not in the form of currency) for any purpose, spend one fewer. The thing you're trading might not generally be worth that much, but you know that this person really wants or needs what you've got.
    I like this move a lot. I just don't know if I like the implementation.

    Here's what I want to have happen:

    When you spend barter, if it's something that person really needs or wants, it counts as +1barter.

    That way, I can't just randomly have my barter matter to them. I still need to read them or whatever to find out what they want, then find that thing.
  • What if that move were something like:

    That one thing that someone needs: if you have oddments worth three or more barter, any time you're using it for any purpose, spend one fewer. You know you have something that this person really wants.

    I guess what I should really be asking is, do you think that any move that gets rid of the need to read and plan and whatever is bad, or just the way I had that written? Because really, getting rid of the need to do your commercial homework was sort of the point.
  • What are you hoping for this character to do? That should've been the first thing I asked. What is the niche which you want this character to fill, or what do you see as this character's real 'thing'? It's present in the moves, but I'm hoping to hear you explain more, so that I can get your perspective on it. I think there's something here which I may not be seeing, but you have in your head, the same way you described the above move as having been specifically designed to get rid of the "commercial homework" which Michael seemed to want to protect. I just want to understand your intent a little bit better.

    Two short questions for now:
    1) Stats. I don't remember what regular, average base stats are (I mean, when you add them all up to determine the total). Are they decreased for the Finder, to make up for the nigh-constant +1 he's likely to get?
    2) Ripcord.
    Posted By: Christopher Weeks- you got home faster than is reasonable
    - you remember how you got home
    Those two are the two I think I'm getting a little hung up on. The first can be a big deal in some situations, but not always, so in situations where it's not specifically important, it's kind of a waste to choose; I see that as being the option which is most often neglected. The second, I love, think is awesome, really cool...and I'm really worried, because I think it's the opposite, the one that everybody will always, always, always choose because the alternative would be quite bad. I don't think any of the options should be so definitively expendable or necessary.
  • I can see myself skipping the memory to take the other ones on a regular basis, so I don't see it as definitively necessary.

    Also, for stats, with a couple of exceptions, most stat lines add up to +3, and having two stats at +2 counts for an extra one, so to be in concert with most of the basic books, the
    Cool=0 Hard=0 Hot-1 Sharp+2 Weird+2
    line should have Cool, Hard, or Hot reduced by 1. The Driver's lines all balance to +2 since she's supposed to be in her car some of the time, and there are a couple of other lines in the book that only balance to +2; there's a thread about it somewhere.

    I like these but wonder if maybe there shouldn't be more of a drawback to being in pursuit of something. You get a bonus for acting on it, but it seems like you can ignore it if you want to, and still be just as capable as anybody else. Maybe the stats should be lower and the bonus should be better. The aforementioned driver has 1 stat point less than everyone else to begin with, but gains at least one, and in many cases 2, when behind the wheel.
  • edited January 2011
    Posted By: Max Bshould have Cool, Hard, or Hot reduced by 1
    Done. Thanks.
    Posted By: Brendan ConwaySo all it would really do is allow the character to get a +1 to all rolls made in pursuit of a particular goal, leading to a hyper-focused character. Also, in battle, couldn't he just say "I'm in pursuit of Dremmer's life" and then when Dremmer's dead, "Okay, now I'm in pursuit of Yankee's life," and so on?
    It may be that the description is written poorly. You should be getting a +1 to all rolls that lead proximally toward finding the object of pursuit. Further, you can be in pursuit of an object or a person -- not just any crazy-ass goal that you happen to want to name. Further, further, if you're in pursuit of Dremmer, once you've found him, your pursuit ends. Was your understanding of the move quite different from that explication?
    Posted By: Brendan ConwayWhat are you hoping for this character to do?
    Essentially, be a bounty hunter and/or master thief -- with enough flexibility that you could do some interesting things with the playbook as a base.
    Posted By: Brendan Conway1) Stats. I don't remember what regular, average base stats are (I mean, when you add them all up to determine the total). Are they decreased for the Finder, to make up for the nigh-constant +1 he's likely to get?
    No. I don't expect the Finder to receive a nigh-constant +1 and I'm also not terribly concerned with balance. And neither is the game, I think.
    Posted By: Brendan Conwayso in situations where it's not specifically important, it's kind of a waste to choose
    That's true of all four options. That said, I'm not at all averse to revising the list. What do you think would be good? I think I'll change the getting home quickly one so that it's not getting home slowly. What else?
    Posted By: Brendan ConwayI don't think any of the options should be so definitively expendable or necessary.
    Agreed, in general. but like Max, I'm not convinced that any of them are necessary or trivial.
    Posted By: Max BI like these but wonder if maybe there shouldn't be more of a drawback to being in pursuit of something. You get a bonus for acting on it, but it seems like you can ignore it if you want to, and still be just as capable as anybody else.
    There is a sort of penalty -- if you're totally ignoring one of your moves (like Spector and augury or a driver who is rarely behind the wheel) then you're playing at a disadvantage. Does it matter that you're still competent at the basic moves? I'd like the move to give the character a kind of trademark ability without making her a one-trick pony.
  • First reaction: Aw ... I thought it was gonna be a detective ...

    As Max points out, that one stat line should get a -1 to balance the extra +2 stat.

    Why doesn't he have any way to get to Sharp+3?

    I feel like in and out should add a qualifier: "... but you must take definite hold of it." Just because.

    With single-minded pursuit, I don't think it's right. As said, there isn't much of downside, so you're not really all that single-minded. On the other hand, I think it's overly restrictive that there's no way to set aside your pursuit. If you get into a situation where you've sworn to bring so-and-so back to his execution, but his daughter convinces you to let him go, what then? You'll never be able to pursue something, ever again?

    At the least, I'd want to you ditch an improvement option (the option to take a holding seems weird for the playbook, incidentally), and replace it with "__ give up your pursuit".

    I'd suggest just rewriting it so that it's more mild and well-rounded, though. Maybe it works a bit like the quarantine ... something like: "When someone tasks you with bringing them someone or something, and you accept with the intention of following through, take +1forward in the pursuit of that task. It is acting under fire to abandon or side-line such a task."

    Possibly toss in an xp mark if you succeed, making it like the other person hit 10+ on manipulating you. And the MC knows to occasionally Tell Possible Consequences and Ask: "You sure? That sounds like it's a bit out of your way ... aren't you busy pursuing [x]?"

    It does seem like this is a playbook for being employed to do this stuff, so I'd like to see that show up in the core move. In stories like this, there's always the pressure that you can't fuck up because it's a job, and your reputation's riding on it, or whatever. Thus the acting under fire, then.

    That one thing surely isn't intended to work with the move for spending 1-barter to get an automatic 10+ manipulate hit, is it? If so, you're mad, sir.

    The 'it costs one less' language does seem problematic ... it'd be better to say: "When you spend barter, treat it as if you'd spent +1barter. You have exactly what the other guys wants." Heck, I think I've seen that move already floating around a couple of playbooks out there.

    1-barter covers most things in the game (minus vehicles and the particularly terrifying weapons), so that one move would let you buy most things in the game for 0-barter, so long as they're available on the market. I think it excessively weakens the MC's Make Them Buy move, and it's kind of stabbing scarcity in the foot.

    I have no problem with you just being able to say you have something the other guy wants among your oddments of barter. Why not? You're eclectic.

    Ripcord is alright. I guess it's pretty similar to Fuck This Shit and Eye on the Door, and I like those more. Not sure why.
  • edited December 2010
    Essentially, be a bounty hunter and/or master thief -- with enough flexibility that you could do some interesting things with the playbook as a base.
    Oh, ok. Did you think about linking his pursuit thing to Insight? You have to go out and talk to people, getting leads on your prey, casing the joint, or doing whatever else makes sense. The GM tells you what you figure out ... gives you advice. Then you get a +1ongoing to rolls in the pursuit of that advice, and you mark xp if it doesn't work out.

    Like a big, no-roll read a sitch, which is kind of appropriate for a high-Sharp guy.
  • edited December 2010
    Posted By: Christopher WeeksIt may be that the description is written poorly. You should be getting a +1 to all rolls that lead proximally toward finding the object of pursuit. Further, you can be in pursuit of an object or a person -- not just any crazy-ass goal that you happen to want to name. Further, further, if you're in pursuit of Dremmer, once you've found him, your pursuit ends. Was your understanding of the move quite different from that explication?
    I think the following phrasing is what causes problems for me: "You'll be in pursuit until you've reached your target or seen it destroyed." So reached simply means physically gotten in the proximate area? Because that's not gonna do much for a thief. Yeah, you're in the area of the coin you want to steal, whoopdeedoo. Now you have to actually steal it, and that +1 is gone. So it seems to me that it has to extend beyond simply getting in the same area as someone or something, or finding someone or something. If it is just finding someone or something, then that might be a bounty hunter, but definitely doesn't feel like a master thief. The problem with a bounty hunter is that it really gives you no help in apprehending the person; just finding him or her. That may be what you want, and it does solve the problem of having a constant +1, because it limits it much more. It was the "seen it destroyed" phrasing that was confusing, ultimately, because it set up in me the expectation that you could destroy it. "Seen it destroyed" as in "saw it through to the end," not "with your eyes, saw that the thing you sought had previously been destroyed".

    So, yes, I understood that you had to find an object or a person, and couldn't pick just any goal, but that still seems pretty damn open to me. Uncle currently wants to find God. If he had this move, then anything he did which helped in finding God would get the +1. That would include manipulates, seizes, aggros, open brains, anything really, as long as it in some way contributed. If you want it to be interpreted more strictly, then the phrasing very much needs to be changed.

    I might actually suggest the following:

    Pick something you want, a specific person or specific object. Roll+sharp.
    On a 10+, hold 3. On a 7-9, hold 1. Spend hold while in the pursuit of the person or object to get a +1 on any roll. On a miss, doing anything unrelated to the pursuit of the person or object is acting under fire. You cannot use this move on the same object or person again, unless circumstances have significantly changed since the last time you used it.
    Posted By: Christopher WeeksEssentially, be a bounty hunter and/or master thief -- with enough flexibility that you could do some interesting things with the playbook as a base.
    An interesting idea, but the playbook does not communicate that to me right now. So if you hadn't told me that's what you were sort of envisioning, I wouldn't have known.
    Posted By: Max B
    No. I don't expect the Finder to receive a nigh-constant +1 and I'm also not terribly concerned with balance. And neither is the game, I think.
    I disagree with this. I think the game is balanced along those three axes Vincent talked about on the Barf Forth Apocalyptica forum, in the one thread which I have never been able to find since reading it the first time. So I apologize for that. But he explained that there were three axes, one for mechanical efficacy, one for fictional efficacy, and one for...I forget how he phrased it, story efficacy? And ultimately, every playbook was the same distance from the origin of this graph, but they all had different coordinates. In other words, they looked "unbalanced", but really, they were just better at different things.

    This guy looks like he's about the mechanical efficacy, and in that regard should be balanced against the others who are about the mechanical efficacy. Examples, I think, are the Gunlugger, the Skinner, the Brainer.

    I do think it's important that balance exists to the extent that no character playbook makes other character playbooks feel less awesome.
    Posted By: Christopher WeeksThat's true of all four options. That said, I'm not at all averse to revising the list. What do you think would be good? I think I'll change the getting home quickly one so that it'snotgetting home slowly. What else?
    Not getting home slowly is a better phrasing. I don't think the other ones are situational, though, because the other ones, to me, seem to effectively insert stuff. In other words, if you take "you got home without taking damage," then yeah, no damage. But always, by not choosing it, you have effectively implied that you will take damage. There is no situation where that seems untrue. Similarly, "you got home without being seen" implies, if you don't take it, that you were seen, always. Both of those add the dramatic tension right in there. The problem with the "getting home quickly" was that there wouldn't always be anything that made it matter whether or not you got home quickly. It didn't have the inherent element of danger that the others did. Not getting home slowly, though, has that danger much more built in, I think.
    Posted By: Christopher WeeksAgreed, in general. but like Max, I'm not convinced that any of them are necessary or trivial.
    I actually think this part, about forgetting the way home, was based off a misunderstanding on my part. I think I was primed to look at it in a "weird" light. I was envisioning something like: "You're home. Last thing you remember, you had just found the golden fleece. You have no idea how you got home, except there's blood on your hands." That's what had made me afraid. But if it's more like, "You manage to cut your way through the forest and get home. You have no idea how you found your way out, and if you ever went into that forest again, you'd likely get so lost you'd starve to death, but this time you made it through," then that makes much much more sense to me.
  • Posted By: Brendan ConwayI was envisioning something like: "You're home. Last thing you remember, you had just found the golden fleece. You have no idea how you got home, except there's blood on your hands."
    This is what I was picturing, and it'd still be the option I'd pick least. It's MC-fuckery AND you can both disclaim decision making: "The MC could have had me wake up in a strange bed, but no" vs. "Hey, you could have chosen to remember."
  • Posted By: Michael LoyWhy doesn't he have any way to get to Sharp+3?
    The only two normal playbooks that always have Sharp+2 are the Angel and the Driver, and only the Angel can get Sharp+3 as part of her basic improvements, so this doesn't appear to be uncalled for.
  • edited December 2010
    I think you're misinterpreting that: the driver is the only official playbook (including maestro d', quarantine, and faceless) that can't get a +3 in its primary stat. That's probably more to do with the fact that the driver is just generally weak in stats, and not to do with the fact that it's a Sharp book.

    Every other book either gets a move that brings you up to +3, or it offers the +3 as an improvement option.
  • I forgot about the moves, that's a good point.
  • Right, so I've been mulling this over for quite a while and I just went back through the thread and did one of three things with each of the suggestions: implemented it (or a variant), discarded it, or missed it. I did make the following changes:
    • Ripcord felt even to me like a weird move so I changed it. But then the powers were canted too far to weird. So I also changed Gotta know where to look to a Sharp move; including altering the verbiage so it seems more like thinking than a specialized brain-opening.
    • I edited Single-minded pursuit heavily. I clarified how it works and also took Michael's suggestion about giving it more teeth.
    • I added the Connects the dots move to allow a sharp+3
    • As a result of the above and my agreement that the character didn't need the option to get a holding, I replaced that advancement option with a third get another Finder move option.
    • I altered the barter move, That one thing they need. I'd like it to be sexier, but I haven't yet thought of how to make it so.
    Please feel free to provide more commentary.

    One of the issues was that it wasn't clear to some of you that this character ought to be a thief/bounty hunter. It seems to me that the moves say that, but also, the little paragraph at the top. If you think that's not evocative, what would make it better?
  • You may have already considered this, but I just want to make sure the implications of connect the dots existing as a move rather than an advancement option are clear; there's no other move another class can take right now to increase Sharp, so this changes that, giving all other classes access to better Sharp. The Quarantine adds a Cool boosting move non-existent in the basic playbooks, so it's certainly not unreasonable.
  • edited January 2011
    Rather than add a third 'get a new finder move' slot, I'd suggest giving a 'get +1 weird (max weird+2)'. Or if you're concerned about the +3 sharp moving being too much a necessary move to take, give him a 'get +1 sharp (max sharp+3)'. Though, in that case, is the +1 hard really necessary? I'd like this guy to be able to improve his weird a step.

    Since you're making it a Sharp move, I'd put the 7-9 condition for Know Where to Look as something like "you intuit where you might find a clue towards the thing's location". And it'd be stuff like: Dremmer probably would've talked to his mom before skipping town. If you pretend to be a friend, she might be able to tip you off.

    Single-minded Pursuit looks pretty solid. Meaty, but that's why it's worth two moves.

    Maybe Ripcord should be phrased so that it triggers once you leave the scene. You enter the scene 'in pursuit', you get the thing, you escape the scene, and then Ripcord lets you skip everything between exiting that scene and getting home.

    As written, it kicks in as soon as you get your hands on the thing (or take the person into your power). That seems abrupt to me ... I'd like to see another move or so where you're making your initial getaway, and then Ripcord lets you elude pursuit, bypass obstacles, and cross distance. So the move kicks in when you jump out the window with the jewels, not as soon as you get them out of the safe.
  • I'm kind of wanting Ripcord to encourage the player to get into situations that he maybe couldn't get out of if he didn't have this special power. I'll think on the rest of this stuff, thanks.
  • Posted By: Max Bthere's no other move another class can take right now to increase Sharp
    Weird...I answered this yesterday but it's gone. Yeah, I don't think that's a problem for me, but if I were to get a stamp of approval from Vincent and he wanted it changed, that would be fine.
    Posted By: Michael LoyI'd suggest giving a 'get +1 weird
    Thing is, I gave a way to start with weird+2 but not hard+2 and I'm trying to permit several different builds.
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