[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.



  • edited April 2011

    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.





    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


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


    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.


    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


    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


    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


    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.


    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.


    (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.


    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)


    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.
    ( )
    ( )
    ( )
  • I have no problem with the idea of a playbook with no main stat, but it seems very odd here. I mean, this is a Weird playbook: it obviously is. Sure, none of its moves require that you roll+weird, but all of its fluff points toward Weird, and all of its moves are without exception the sort of things that Weird people do.

    You kind of imply that Weird people are doing something different from witches, but I don't really buy it when the moves look like cousins of savvyhead and brainer moves. If you're doing weird things, you're Weird.

    If you want to emphasize that they don't truck with the maelstrom, give them a different version of Open Your Brain. That or make it, like, a Sharp playbook, and write the moves to mechanically emphasize that they're using Sharp-ness to gather natural power and put it toward fueling their superficially-Weird moves.

    Or Hot-ness, if you wanted it to be about bartering with spirits and such, but that would make this more of a niche book, inappropriate in a lot of games, since it would presume the presence of intelligent spiritual beings acting in the world separately form the maelstrom.

    Additional: Just evenly distributing the stats doesn't really say anything, except possibly "this is the generic everyman playbook", which it totally isn't. I could see a playbook that favors certain stats without making any one stat king, but the perfectly even spread comes across as uninformative.

    Weighing stats says important things about what the playbook does and how it develops. For the later, consider how every angel can get to Hard+2, and how the chopper's Weird starts kinda poor but generally gets to be decent, with time. And see how the quarantine doesn't actually need any particular stat (and it draws in places on Hard, Sharp, and Weird), but it's still ultimately a Cool playbook because that's where the fluff leads.

    Here, the fluff leads to a Weird playbook. Rewritten, it could lead to probably a Sharp playbook, or maybe that Hot spiritualist playbook. I don't think it would ever lead naturally toward split stats, and certainly not to evenly distributed stats. At the very least, you'd weight the stats away from Weird, if that's the point you're going for by making it not a Weird book.
  • edited April 2011
    I don't really see the point of rituals - it's an awfully fiddly way of going about it, with not much payoff in the end.

    Building a witch character, I'm going to have what looks like twice as much unique stuff on my character sheet ... two moves, five rituals, a special (as opposed to three-ish moves and a special). A mature witch is going to have, ah, four witch moves, 2 other moves, ten rituals, and a special.

    That's a hefty list of stuff for AW. Not necessarily bad, but when I see something going in a weird direction like that, I look hard at what it's adding to the experience, and I'm not really seeing anything that outweighs the fiddliness:

    - I've got to pick these rituals from a big ol' list, paying mind to the fact that I must split my selection between power-gathering rituals and utility rituals. So I've got to be weighing factors: what I want to be able to do, how I'm going to be gathering power to do it, what kind of ratio between those two things I should be looking for. Probably something like 2 power-gathering rituals and 3 utility rituals, or maybe balance it the other way.

    - I have a ritual focus, and it has its own stats, with its own factors to weigh.

    - I have to gather power ahead of time in fairly specific ways, which is an extra thing to worry about. It has the effect of guaranteeing that all of this will only kick in infrequently, since if I only gain power on holy days and when I have sex with someone for the first time, I can only use my rituals as frequently as those things happen.

    - Gathering power requires that I make a dice roll, using a number that I'd generally hope is fairly low (harm taken). If I'm getting medical attention, I'll generally never be doing these things with more than 2-harm under my belt, so I'm more likely than not to hit a complication. If I'm in good health, I've got a more than decent chance of drawing a hard move and failing to actually get the juice, further slowing my power gathering.

    And I don't know. What's all that adding? I've got about four game elements dedicated to this (a ritual focus, a list of ways to gain power, a list of ways to use power, and the rituals and focus move ... probably also count Power itself as a fifth thing, since I have to track it on my sheet), and all they do is let me produce one of a handful of specific effects, every now and then ... possibly not even every session, depending on how the power-gain conditions hit me.

    There's a lot of complexity and a lot of text, but really not much payout for all of that.

    ( You also seem to be counting rituals and focus as two moves, for the purposes of balancing the playbook in that "3-ish moves" zone. I think that's over-valuing it. )

    Puzzlingly, there's the the universe kneels move, which does all of this much more straightforwardly. If the ritual focus is the way you want to go, you're undermining yourself by including that move. It makes me think: why is rituals and focus my automatic move? There's this other move that does the same kind of thing (and to me it looks much more attractive: simple and effective). You should pick one and focus on it, not give the playbook two ways to execute the same idea.

    In summary, none of these elements are individually bad, but it does seem like about half of them need to be pared away, and the remaining half need to be reincorporated into the rest of the playbook. You've got a big chunk of material that's separate from the rest of the book, that's more complicated than the rest of the book (and, generally, more complicated than AW as a whole), and that just doesn't have much payout compared to all the stuff it puts in play.

    If you want to work the idea of the focus, off-hand, not-particularly-thought-out alternatives:

    - Combine rituals and focus and the universe kneels into a single move (really maybe separate them into a playbook feature, like a workspace or angel kit). You get it automatically. Discard the rituals list, and reincorporate the power-gain rituals as options for the Rituals feature. Make sure that power gain is fairly slow, and allow the witch to spend power 1-for-1 to eliminate the MC's "no problem, but ..." conditions.

    - Make your ritual focus move a separate thing, a free move that doesn't really count as part of playbook balance, and all it does is let you gain power, more easily than you can now. Tie the playbook's moves to that (spend 1 power to evade notice with under the radar, fr'ex).

    - The Monsterhearts hack has something like what you're doing here in its own Witch playbook (the Witch's hexes), but that version feels much less unwieldy: straightforward rules on hex use, a short list of hex options, far fewer unique elements in play, and the elements in play are all tied into the other moves, the sex move, etc, not just doing their own thing over here.

    If you use the universe kneels in some capacity, you should maybe add some loose limitations. Like, the savvyhead's workspace has you pick workspace options? There's not really a whole lot of mechanical kick to that, since you can always add new elements to your workspace, but it makes the different savvyheads feel different. Your list of specific rituals does that right now, but they feel unwieldy, and I wouldn't recommend keeping both kinds of ritual in the same playbook, anyway.

    There could be something like, "you have implements and components to work rituals in X number of spheres, pick 3: sky, life, death, fire, shadow, divination, beasts, enchantment, ...". And probably you can craft new implements for new spheres of influence, sure.
  • edited April 2011
    Beyond that:

    • Don't call fortunes 'fortunes'. The hocus already uses that name for his followers move. Best not to call multiple things by the same name.

    • Under the radar is too imprecise. It breaks down to "you don't have to act under fire to hide, except when the MC tells you to", coupled with a flag to the MC that he should probably not make you roll very often. Set a specific trigger condition and just say that the move lets you go unnoticed, no qualification. Maybe: "When you first enter a scene, you go unnoticed. You do not need to roll to hide until you have done something to that the people around you cannot ignore."

    • I have trouble picturing the sex move in the fiction. A rephrase of some kind might help. I'd probably change the end condition to something like, it lasts until you or your sex partner has sex with someone else, so that it's tied more firmly to your actions in the fiction.

    • The rituals, I don't particularly like as a thing. Too many of them, too complicated to execute, etc. See above. But whatever. They feel a little uneven. Like, I don't see ever taking 'unwinding the clock'. This is Apocalypse World ... nobody's gonna die of old age, anyway.
  • 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.


    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.
  • • Under the radar

    Yeah! Like that.

    • Sex

    Really, I think I just need a line of text that explains what the heck is going on. "When you and another character have sex, you each borrow a piece of the other's soul ..." Or whatever the logic is. Right now, it's all mechanics, and it's not apparent what those mechanics are trying to illustrate.

    • Stats

    I can see a Hot witch, a Hard witch, a Sharp witch, all quite easily. The Cool witch is maybe a little more vague in my mind, but that's really more to do with Cool's diffuse nature. But in all cases, I think she'd also be Weird. The Weird stat is uncanny, touched, prophetic ... the witch's concept seems squarely in the Weird camp.

    We've got a character who fades from notice, who performs reality-bending rituals, who talks to animals and opens doors through shadow, who looks into the future and modifies memory. She's got ritual knives, and glowing orbs, and a witch's familiar. That's Weird. It totally is!

    Compare to the quarantine. She has nothing in her playbook that refers to Cool (except the move that gives +1cool, but that's kind of a chicken-and-egg situation). In fact, a couple moves use Sharp, the stasis facility might grant augury (Weird), and her gear and moves tend to point toward frequently using Hard. But she's Cool, always Cool, because that's just what she is.

    I'm looking at the Witch, and she's Weird. Even if she doesn't need Weird for any mechanical reason, every witch should be Weird, because there just isn't any way to build a witch who isn't, you know, 'weird'. You could've built this playbook in a totally different way, maybe something like the 'wise woman'-type playbook in the Vikings hack, where she's tough, wise, skilled, and maybe-but-not-necessarily strange and magical. Then a different stat spread might've worked.

    But you didn't go that route. Every witch does total, plain-as-day magic, gathering strange power and wielding it to change the world. Not one thing in this playbook goes against that.

    So absolutely make stat lines that are Hard, Hot, or etc. But with this playbook I don't think you can really get away without putting Weird first.

    • Universe kneels

    I wouldn't put it as an advanced improvement: you'd still have two ways of doing the same sort of thing. Just pick the workplace-styled Universe Kneels, or pick the power+rituals, and stick with it. But if you pick the power+rituals mechanic, I'm wagging my finger at you through the screen, saying that mechanic is too complicated, too disconnected from the rest of the playbook, and probably provides too small a payoff.

    Incidentally, power-gathering might work better if it's just turned into a downtime move, like Moonlighting. Like "Drawing down power: Whenever there's a stretch of downtime in play, lose any accumulated power and roll+whatever. On a 10+, take 3-power ..."

    Because really, most of those power-gathering rituals are pretty natural downtime actions anyway: celestial events, periods of meditation, holy days going by. Spending a day in meditation, for instance, isn't something I'm going to do in a session, usually ... that's essentially volunteering to skip out on several scenes of play."

    Maybe offer a move for gathering power from blood, and figure the GM will have custom moves if there are mystical artifacts that can be cracked open for juice.

    And you already have a distinctive sex move, but something like "When you have sex with another character, roll+whatever as if you were using drawing down power, but you do not lose any previously-accumulated power ..." would be a pretty natural point to tie the power/ritual rules back into the rest of the playbook.
  • 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
  • Oh no! I think you can do the currency. It's the front end where it's too heavy - the gathering power part. The idea of having power that you spend on a selection of moves is not a problem. If power were easier to get and involved less stuff, I think you'd be fine. The specific list of rituals needs to be massaged and trimmed, but that's just what happens when you've got a list of ... counting ... fourteen items.
  • 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

    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
    You have 2 mystic foci? Is that what 'take 2' means?

    I am, I suppose, unenthusiastic about the ritual list. Some of it is that some of them seem to be clearly full moves, and it does seem a little heavy that someone'd be running around with 5 to 10 of those. Actually, just in general 5-10 rituals seems like too much. Carving out a niche with somewhere between 3 and 6 rituals seems more reasonable. As is, I'll eventually just know most of this list, and I'm all Swiss army knife-y, which strikes me as kind of dull.

    Though an idea occurred to me, off-hand: Do a workspace-style move, but it doesn't really make stuff happen directly. Instead, it lets you make rituals.

    So, like Marshmallow and Lemma decide that they want psychic drugs, so they go to their MC and ask about psychic drugs, and we all sort out what that means, and we put together a custom move? And then we kind of figure that Lemma can cook these up from now on, though she might occasionally run into a supply speed bump, or something like that?

    Well, what if our witch decides that she wants to do divination-type stuff, like scrying, so she goes to her MC and asks about divination rituals, and they sort out what that means, they go through the usual workspace-type stuff as she experiments and negotiates with spirits and so forth, and they put together a custom move? And then she has a power-fueled ritual she can do whenever, customized to her needs and style, and she writes down the custom move for later use.

    That way there's no big list o' rituals (though probably an example list, like on the backs of the hoarder and touchstone playbooks), and every witch's rituals will be personal and personally-won, each with its own origin story. Also, not just character-specific, but game-specific ... for instance, I imagine that a witch in the Chateau game world would have very different rituals than a witch in the Menagerie game world.

    It also combines the flexibility of the workspace with the predictability (the 'spend 1 power and get this thing') of a specific set of moves. And sometimes, maybe you just ask for a 1-shot ritual, if you want something big and highly specific, at which point it's working more like a typical workspace.

    ( Technically, this is just a filter on Universe Kneels, not any new rules. It's the difference between going into your savvyhead workspace wanting to do augury, and going into your savvyhead workspace wanting to devise a means of doing augury, both of which are theoretically feasible. Well, though the example is poor, since you can also just take Reality's Fraying Edge ... but whatever. Maybe you don't want to. )
  • 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
  • It looks pretty good. Beyond the black box / white space, there's a couple things that don't look quite right, like line weights, I think?, and the lack of those heavy, distressed black bars at section headers. That's fine detail, though, and it does render correctly.

    Your bubbles, for filling in which options you pick? Both in the moves and in the mystic focus. They should be bigger - they're very small, especially in the mystic focus. (And technically the witch moves should have filled-in bubbles.)

    Hm. I don't think I'm told how I use Power. I assume it's just another thing that the MC can ask for when the universe kneels, but I'm not seeing it mentioned.

    Paring this down to just a "workspace" is interesting. And I really like the "take your current ritual as a move" improvements. I'd probably have 3 of those, rather than 3 "get a move from another playbook" options. Or toss followers in there, as a fairly natural fit.

    My instinct, though, is that this build is underpowered, whatever that means in AW. The savvyhead treats a workspace as equivalent to a single move, getting 2 savvyhead moves along with it. The Universe Kneels looks to be about equal in effectiveness to a workspace. Unless you can do something impressive and unique with Power, I probably wouldn't even count Mystic Focus as a move, for these purposes.
  • 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
    Ah! I see the reference to power now.

    Can't you just draw a circle with a draw tool? I don't know: I dislike Word and generally just don't use it.
    This notion of underpower -- would it stop you from playing the character if you were otherwise inclined to?
    Eh. I don't know.

    I've thought about having the witch start with a foreign move in addition to the rituals.
    If you do that, tweak Hx to have a required "you've fucked this person, they get Hx=whatever with you" item. Then the foreign move is from that playbook.

    Oh, on Hx. I think you did a no-no. If someone gives me Hx+2 with them, and I think of them both sexually and as prey, that puts me at Hx+4. You probably shouldn't do that without a special reason (is there a special reason?). Maybe make it: "if you think of their character sexually and/or as prey, add +1 to whatever they tell you, otherwise -1". Or use a "ignore what they say and take Hx+3" clause.
  • 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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