[AW] The Witch

My first attempt at a playbook was The Finder and some of you folks helped me quite a bit on it. This time it's The Witch. And I'm hoping you can help me talk through some ideas.

I'd like to hear overall impressions.

I'd like to know what you think about five stat choices and no stat that's always +2.

I'd like to hear what you think about the moves that I've designed to include fairly few move-rolls but drive the play toward the basic moves.

I'd like to hear what you think about the witch's sex move.

I'd like to know if the universe kneels seems problematic.

I'd like to know what you think of rituals as an abstract idea; a smorgasbord of mini-moves

I'd like to know what you think of the actual rituals.

I'd like to know what you think of the focus/power mechanic.

I'd like to know if anything else strikes you as good or bad.

(continued...)

Comments

  • edited April 2011
    THE WITCH

    In Apocalypse World there are folk who can do things -- things that others can't, maybe even things that no one could do back in the Before. Isn't that special? Since the dawn of time, there've been those that could do stuff the rest couldn't. The old woman who knew things she shouldn't. The man who could be in two places at once. Witches don't rely on this new psychic miasma, they tap the old powers.

    CREATING A WITCH

    NAME

    ...

    STATS

    Choose one set:
    - Cool+2 Hard=0 Hot+1 Sharp+1 Weird-1
    - Cool+1 Hard+2 Hot-1 Sharp=0 Weird+1
    - Cool=0 Hard+1 Hot+2 Sharp-1 Weird+1
    - Cool+1 Hard-1 Hot+1 Sharp+2 Weird=0
    - Cool-1 Hard+1 Hot=0 Sharp+1 Weird+2

    MOVES

    You get all the basic moves. You get rituals and focus and one other witch move.

    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:
    - Choose one of them that you've helped in the past; it's unclear but maybe they owe you one. Tell that player Hx+2
    - One of them sees you in their dreams. Tell that player Hx+2
    - Tell everyone else Hx-1. You're not the center of attention just now.

    On the others' turns:
    - If you think of their character sexually, add +1 to whatever they tell you.
    - If you think of their character as prey, add +1 to whatever they tell you.

    Anyone else, whatever number they tell you, write it next to their character's name.

    At the end, find the characters with the highest and lowest Hx on your sheet. Ask those two players which of your stats is most interesting, and highlight them. The MC doesn't get a say in the matter.

    LOOK

    Man, woman, transgressing.

    mystic wear, common wear, scrounge wear, showy wear, casual wear

    cunning face, strange face, aged face, sweet face, bony face

    tortured eyes, bright eyes, milky eyes, friendly eyes, cold eyes

    willowy body, soft body, hot body, tubby body, child's

    GEAR

    You get:
    - fashion suitable to your look
    - a ceremonial blade (2-harm hand valuable)
    - oddments worth 2-barter
    - a supply basic components required by your rituals
    - a mystic focus

    IMPROVEMENT

    Whenever you roll a highlighted stat, and whenever you reset your Hx with someone, mark an experience circle. When you mark the 5th, improve and erase. Each time you improve, choose one of the options. Check it off; you can’t choose it again

    WITCH SPECIAL

    If you and another character have sex, each of you temporarily takes one move from the other; you each choose the one you take and your partner no longer has access to it. When either of you use the move once, you lose it and your partner gets it back as their normal move. If the *next* session ends with the move(s) unused, they revert to normal anyway.

    IMPROVEMENT

    experience: () () () () (.)
    ___ get +1cool (max cool+2)
    ___ get +1hard (max hard+2)
    ___ get +1hot (max hot+2)
    ___ get +1sharp (max sharp+2)
    ___ get +1weird (max weird+2)
    ___ get a new witch move
    ___ get a new witch move
    ___ get 5 new rituals for your mystic focus
    ___ get a move from another playbook
    ___ get a move from another playbook
    ----------------------
    ___ get +1 to any stat (max stat+3)
    ___ retire your character (to safety)
    ___ create a second character to play
    ___ change your character to a new type
    ___ choose 3 basic moves and advance them.
    ___ advance the other 4 basic moves.

    WITCH MOVES

    (X) Rituals and focus: You get a mystic focus (choose and detail) and five rituals that you know well. Mark your choices on the list. Any time you use a ritual to add power to your focus roll+currentFilledHarmSegments. On a 10+, it works like a charm (get it?). On a 7-9, the power is added but it takes a little something extra; the MC will choose one of:
    - suffer 1 harm AP
    - take -1 ongoing until you satisfy a demand the focus makes of you
    - someone knows what you're up to; the maelstrom delivers a dream or vision of you to someone else
    - you lose some memories; set Hx with another player to 0
    - you lose track of something or someone you were attending to

    ( ) Perspectives: when you have time and intimacy with someone, you can extract or implant a simple, discrete memory in them. When you're extracting, it must be a memory that you know about. They can give it to you or you can seize it by force. Once you've drawn it out of them, it's like a bit of cotton; you can do whatever with it. If they're an NPC, they've forgotten. If they're a PC and their player decides the character has forgotten, they mark xp. When you're implanting it in someone, they need to swallow it.

    ( ) Under the radar: when you're trying to avoid someone's notice, you don't have to hide -- just be fairly discrete. Where someone else might have to act under fire to avoid being found while they hide in the rubble, you can just skirt the pile or stand in the corner. Maybe you still have to roll when the MC thinks so, but in general, folks just don't *want* to notice you.

    ( ) The universe kneels: when you prepare an ad hoc ritual to impose your will on the universe, tell the MC what you want. Your MC will tell you "sure, no problem, but..." and then 1 to 4 of the following:
    - it's going to take hours/days/weeks/months of attention;
    - first you're going to have to suffer/sacrifice/acquire/consume/learn/wait for ____;
    - you're going to need ____ to help you with it;
    - it's going to cost you a fuckton of jingle;
    - it's going to require power from your focus;
    - it's going to mean exposing yourself (plus colleagues) to serious danger;
    - it'll only last for a while before things revert to normal;
    - your change will only affect/exist within this small (defined) area;
    - it'll have unintended consequences;
    - it won't be quite as good as you're looking for;
    - this is the only time you'll be able to do this;
    - someone or some-thing will notice the change as you commit it;

    The MC might throw an "or" between some of these conditions but will more likely connect them all with "and."Once you've gathered and accomplished any prerequisites, your reality-bending ritual is available to you this one time. Maybe you still have a choice or maybe it's already happening, based on circumstance. The MC will detail the situation for you.

    ( ) Fortunes: If a character pays you to reveal their future and you use your focus to make a show of it, tell them what might happen. Any time they act directly in accordance with your prediction or in direct opposition, they get a +1.

    (continued...)
  • MYSTIC FOCUS

    Your mystic focus is the center of your arcane power. It is a crucial element in your rituals and also a power source. Choose the physical form and detail its appearance:
    - heavy iron cauldron (bulky need:heat max-power=6)
    - crystal sphere (glowing max-power=4)
    - small hide purse (max-power=2)
    - carved wooden mask (need:worn max-power=3)
    - alter built of significant items (stationary max-power=8)
    - prayer mat (need:frequent-contact max-power=4)
    - familiar (independent vulnerable need:care max-power=5)
    - other (detail with MC assistance)

    RITUALS

    Every witch knows at least a few good rituals. When you conduct these rituals during the game, the MC will ask you to describe the particulars of the ritual so that we all know what it looks like. Mark the ones you know here:
    ( ) power of willing blood - When a person willingly contributes their own life-blood to your focus, you may try to add 1 power per harm they endure.
    ( ) power of new love - When you have ritual sex with someone for the first time, you may try to add 1 power to your focus.
    ( ) power of astral confluence - When the celestial bodies align in auspicious ways, you may try to add 1 power to your focus.
    ( ) power of festivals - On holy days, when you observe the proper forms, you may try to add 1 power to your focus.
    ( ) power of the inner eye - When you spend most of a day in meditation or prayer your may try to add 1 power to your focus.
    ( ) consuming ancient powers - When you find yourself in possession of a mystic artifact, you can ritually destroy it and direct its power to your focus. The MC will tell you how much power is involved
    ( ) power of cruelty - For any act, in the presense of your focus, of overt cruelty: humiliating someone, crushing their innocence, breaking their spirit -- you may try to add 1 power.
    ( ) potions of love - Use 1 power to brew four potions of love. When a character gets another to consume a potion that character gets an automatic 10+ on a seduction move.
    ( ) pregnancy flowers - Use 1 power to imbue a small bouquet of flowers with spirit of child. If sex is had atop the flowers, a pregnancy begins. If the flowers are consumed by a pregnant woman, the child will die and either vanish or pass.
    ( ) augury - Spend a power and gain one immediate use of the augury power.
    ( ) reform - Change the form of a person to another person or an animal. If the details of the new form are important, you may take your time with the change but you are acting under fire from the arcane forces being harnessed. Pay 1 power.
    ( ) shadow walk - By spending 2 power, you may open a portal between two bits of deep shadow that allows passage. You or some one other person may traverse the portal and it will remain open so long as both sides remain dark or until the traveler returns.
    ( ) unwinding the clock - At a cost of 2 power you may prevent someone from aging for the next year.
    ( ) scrying - Spend 1 power to view some otherwise unobservable location. You must be able to envision the place or a significant participant or item on which you are scrying. And there is sometimes a chance that you will be detected.
    ( ) unnatural sleep - You may use this ritual to put a person into an ageless, dreamless coma. They must be willing or must in some way consume a product of the ritual. They can be roused from the sleep -- the difficulty in doing so is commensurate with the power you spend (1+).
    ( ) curse - For 1 power, you may inflict a noxious condition on another character. Name a domain of activity and they will experience difficulty in any action related to that. If they are a PC, they take -1 ongoing to related activities. This effect persists until the next full moon.
    ( ) tongue of the wild - By spending 1 power, you may speak to the spirit of an animal for a short time. The spirit of each animal is of similar sophistication and knows more than most people suspect.
    ( ) squeeze a bit more - For each power spent when using some move that gives you hold to spend, add one to the number held.
    ( ) fury - Spend 1 power to imbue a weapon with arcane fury. When someone uses the weapon, they absorb the power and fly into a berserk rage -- continuing to attack until they are disabled or exhausted.
    ( ) crack in the veil - To most people, the dead tell no tales. You're a little different. Spend 1 power to speak with a dead person whom you are touching for a short time.
    ( ) removing the veil - You may animate a corpse at a cost of 3 power. It will not be alive. It will be a transgression of nature. It will remember who it once was and act accordingly. Good luck.
    ( )
    ( )
    ( )
  • edited April 2011
  • edited April 2011
  • Michael, thanks so much for the time you put into that. I'm going to reread and chew on it for a while.
  • fortunes

    Oops! I had that move called something else and changed it to fortunes without thinking about the other move. Yeah, that's awful. Fortune telling and read the future seem too generic, but I'll think of something.

    stats

    One of the easiest pieces of your feedback for me to think about is the stat distribution issue. I think I was trying to say something about this character -- that there are several different kinds of witch you might be. A hot witch plays differently than a hard witch. And either are totally playable. If you imagine the savvyhead's playbook but with the stat choices I gave, you'd be a fool not to choose the +2 weird -- or you'd be trying something funny. But with the witch, any of those choices creates a valid, bad-ass character. Also, I was kind of trying to say something with the specific way that I combined +2s with -1s. E.g. if you're a weird witch, you're not cool and if you're hard you're not hot. Is that too subtle?

    sex move

    I need to understand what picturing it in the fiction is. Do you mean you don't know why the participants blend like that?
  • What if universe kneels were an advanced improvement -- maybe replacing retirement?
  • edited April 2011
    ( ) Under the radar: when you enter a scene, if you don't want to be noticed, tell the MC. Until you do something that someone can't ignore, you don't really have to hide, it's like folks just don't want to notice you.
  • Been meaning to comment on the playbook, thought I might wait for you to make a first round of updates based on Michael's feedback, but It does seem quite complex. Was a little hard to follow how it works.

    I wouldn't change advanced improvements, they're the same for everyone.
  • edited April 2011
    I've accepted that the ritual system is too complex for the shallow payoff. What I'm doing now is working out other details of the character type and then I'll figure out where the function played by the ritual and the focus stand. Maybe a few of the rituals will just become moves. Maybe I'll be able to fold rituals together somehow. Maybe the focus will disappear or maybe (I think more likely) it'll take a different form with a somewhat different role.

    It's a shame because I wanted to bring in a whole new idea to how characters can work -- a currency-driven move-pool. But I'm not going to do that if it blows.

    So you don't need to wag your finger at me. ;-)

    I'm also just about convinced regarding the stats. And I was leaning toward hard, hot and sharp witches too -- including cool mostly for completion. Maybe what I'll do to emphasize that is lean on double +2 stat lines giving these options instead:

    Cool=0 Hard+2 Hot-1 Sharp-1 Weird+2
    Cool-1 Hard-1 Hot+2 Sharp=0 Weird+2
    Cool-1 Hard=0 Hot-1 Sharp+2 Weird+2
    Cool+1 Hard=0 Hot=0 Sharp=0 Weird+2
  • edited April 2011
    (X)Rituals and focus: You get a mystic focus (choose and detail) and five rituals that you know well. Mark your choices on the list. Any time you use a ritual to add power to your focus roll+currentFilledHarmSegments. On a 10+, it works like a charm (get it?). On a 7-9, the power is added but it takes a little something extra; the MC will choose one of:
    - suffer 1 harm AP
    - take -1 ongoing until you satisfy a demand the focus makes of you
    - someone knows what you're up to; the maelstrom delivers a dream or vision of you to someone else
    - you lose some memories; set Hx with another player to 0
    - you lose track of something or someone you were attending to
    MYSTIC FOCUS

    Your mystic focus is the center of your arcane power. It is a crucial element in your rituals and also a power source. Choose the physical form and detail its appearance:
    - heavy iron cauldron (bulky need:heat max-power=6)
    - crystal sphere (glowing max-power=4)
    - small hide purse (max-power=2)
    - carved wooden mask (need:worn max-power=3)
    - alter built of significant items (stationary max-power=8)
    - prayer mat (need:frequent-contact max-power=4)
    - familiar (independent vulnerable need:care max-power=5)
    - other (detail with MC assistance)
    MYSTIC FOCUS (take 2)

    Your mystic focus is the center of your arcane power. As your source of power, it is a crucial element in your rituals. Maybe it's your totem bag, a spot where two ley lines cross or whatever. Detail your focus, note its tags and determine its power limit:

    By default, a mystic focus has a power limit of 2.

    Choose a size: ( ) small +portable, power limit-1; ( ) large and heavy +awkward, power limit+1; ( ) location +stationary, power limit+3

    Choose 0-3 of the following, each includes power limit+1: +obvious, +independent, +vulnerable, +well-known, need:heat, need:worn, need:frequent attention, need:blood, ...

    At the beginning of each session or whenever substantial down-time is skipped over, if you've been attending to the needs of your focus, roll+weird to add power up to its limit: On a 10+, add 3. On a 7-9, add 1.

    ----

    And then this leads naturally into the rituals. I agree that removing unwinding the clock makes reasonable sense. And I want to rename reform to something, maybe just shape-shift. But all of those rituals are good things for a witch to be able to do and the variety allows for witches of very different abilities. Anyone have suggestions regarding trimming or consolidating?

    With regard to the overlap between the rituals and The universe kneels, I'm still not sure how to handle that. The rituals are supposed to be little (not exactly "little") sure-things. You do this, you spend some power and it just works. The move is supposed to be incredibly flexible but much more involved. Is there really no room for both? And how would it feel if the move included a roll?
  • edited April 2011
    When you perform a ritual related to something you want to accomplish, your ritual focus rolls+its power to help you. The ritual must be appropriate to the action taken and generally takes a little time. On a 10+ it costs no power. On a 7-9 your focus loses one power and on a miss your focus loses one power and instead interferes.

    You can perform a ritual to add power to your focus (roll+weird). On a 10+ add 2-power, on a 7-9 add one.
  • edited April 2011
  • edited April 2011
    Posted By: Michael LoyYou have 2 mystic foci? Is that what 'take 2' means?
    No, "version two."

    Hmmm. Custom rituals are pretty delicious.
  • Hey, can you see this? Does it render properly? (I made it in Word and saved it as a PDF. The image is supposed to be just a black box and there's too much empty space in the first middle column.)

    Also, if you're interested, what do you think of this version? It is heavily influenced by the help I got here.
  • Looks right to me
  • edited September 2011
    Yeah, the fonts are in many places just approximations and don't look as good. Word is a really inadequate tool for this kind of layout. For instance, blowing up the check-circles increases the spaces between the surrounding lines and looks goofy. I think I could make a text box with a circle and then just float it anywhere I want, but I opted not to in order to get something sort of done. Same with the distressed black bars.

    On power: I thought about just making rituals cost one but figured more flexibility for the MC was better, so there's the one line of the universe kneels: "Your MC will tell you 'sure, no problem, but it'll take __ power from your focus and...' and then 1 or more of the following..."

    I've thought about having the witch start with a foreign move in addition to the rituals. This notion of underpower -- would it stop you from playing the character if you were otherwise inclined to?

    And I rolled that extra advance between being an additional foreign move or an additional ritual move and I decided on the additional foreign move as a better accompaniment to the special.
  • edited September 2011
  • I dislike Word too! It was pretty sweet ten years ago but they added the wrong features since then. But I have it and not some real layout tool.

    I did add a fucked this person to the Hx and made the starting foreign move be from their playbook -- I like that. For now at least, I'm leaving the potential for too much +1s, I'll mull over whether I care.

    And I added a picture (which I'm not entirely happy with, but it's something, and not bad) and rearranged to eliminate some white space.

    It's not a substantial change, but this is the new current version.
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