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The Powered by the Apocalypse thread

Discussion in 'The Gazebo' started by Silva, Jun 10, 2019.

  1. Silva Arcane

    Silva
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    Any fans around here? I'm a big fan of the engine, and my favorite games are Apocalypse World, The Sprawl and Sagas of the Icelanders.

    By the way I'm heating up for a Masks: a New Generation game. Any tips/advice is welcome as I never played it.
     
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  2. Curratum Savant

    Curratum
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    I spent almost a year trying to get into Dungeon World, then I just gave up. :(
     
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  3. FritzedProcess Savant

    FritzedProcess
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    I don't really like the engine. The only AW game I have is Kult 4th edition, a game that used to have a proper system. The choice of this system for the 4th edition over an improvement of the old one was a kick in the balls.

    The setting is still nice if you want a horror game.
     
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  4. Silva Arcane

    Silva
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    As you should, because Dungeon World is a piece of shit Lol. Serious now, DW is not bad. But I don't see the point of using over a proper OSR game like DCC or Beyond the Wall etc (unless you're not a fan of OSR of course).

    What exactly you don't like in it, if you don't mind me asking? I couldn't read the new Kult yet but it appears a very tweaked form of the engine.

    I think the best Apocalypse games are those about interesting group dynamics. I find the way the engine mediate player-to-player interactions superb, be it as a proper team (like in Masks), a dysfunctional bunch fucking each other lives (like in Monsterhearts) or both (like in Apocalypse World).

    Oh and I love The Sprawl as a Shadowrun / Cyberpunk2020 substitute but I find it an average Apocalypse game, if that makes sense.
     
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2019
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  5. Lithium Flower Prophet

    Lithium Flower
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    Its the only shit I run. The first campaign I ran was AW, then I ran one of the Sprawl, DW, then my homebrew, now I'm running a retardedly ambitious campaign using the Sundered World supplement (watsup hello friend) .

    I absolutely agree in that Dungeon World is far from the best Powered By Apocalypse systems and I wish more people started with AW instead of it but I will say that the Sundered World supplement is T H I S F U C K I N G G O O D at making the classes/setting ideas not boring as shit (it takes the game into a more Spelljammer/Dark Sun/Planescape direction and less "lol forgottenrealms? more like forgottenzzzzz").

    My system of choice is actually World of Dungeons (which is a rules light version of Dungeon World, so a hack of a hack, go figure) because its so minimal and unburdened by bullshit that you can just add rules until it takes on whatever shape you desire. That's how I came up with my shitty little not-Planescape system.

    As Silva says, there is something fucking magical about Apocalypse World's community-based fuckery where by the end of the campaign everyone is succing or backstabbing each other as the stakes continually increase and shit gets incrementally realer. Other systems in the family try to transplant this dynamic onto other gameplay styles, like your classic open world D&D fuckery (DW, ofc) or mission-based cyberpunk fuckery (Sprawl) or whatever have you, but their success varies. If you understand what AW is and, more importantly, your GM does too, then I'd say that system is your best bet for having a great time.
     
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  6. udm Arcane Patron

    udm
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    I'm not really impressed by the system (tried running DW, read through AW2e and played The Sprawl). Too meta for my liking. Mind you, I like the concept of failing forward and players having some influence over the success rate of a skill check, but PBTA games give the players too much agency in deciding how the story should go (rather than how the story goes). Also, there's just too little crunch for my tastes (and too much emphasis on narrative game mechanics like relationships).

    I do like Blades in the Dark (Forged in the Dark system) a lot though. Of all the PBTA-influenced games, it's probably my favourite, as it retains a significant level of tactical decision making and the fun of diverse character builds from crunchier, combat-heavier games.
     
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  7. FritzedProcess Savant

    FritzedProcess
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    I just like my systems crunchy. I think that AW leaves things too open-ended and too prone to bullshit with the "yes, but..." approach it has, and in fact noone in my gaming group likes it either, but I guess it goes with the terrain (all of us work in IT or have at some point freelanced as programmers or had programming as a hobby, and the tactical approaches a complex system provides are a huge plus in our books).

    In regards to Kult, it has some mechanics specific to the setting (mostly mental imbalance), and without being too specific it is a mixture of Clive Barker's works and medieval gnosticism, and character development revolves around confronting fears, loss, insanity and enlightenment (which can be achieved by becoming a saint or a monster).

    None of the editions were as complex as Rolemaster or Shadowrun, for example, but 1st edition had a lot of gun porn. Too much for a game that shouldn't revolve around shootouts, even. Second edition toned that down a bit while still retaining the most iconic guns (there were Walther WA2000s in second edition, a rifle of which only a few hundred were made, just because it was on film and looked cool) and making the system a bit simpler, but in a good way.

    I don't know about 3rd edition, it was never published in Spain and I completely missed it. Fourth edition was picked up by some guys who were fans of the original game (Target Games AB was gone by the time 3rd edition came out), who made the current AW-powered game (it's still true to the setting, though).
     
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  8. Silva Arcane

    Silva
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    Looks dope as fuck. Gimme some Planescape vibes. I'll check this out.

    By the way, if you like that stuff, take a look at The Spire too. It's in the same design corner as PbtA or Blades in the Dark too, fast pick-up rules dripping personality. And the setting is crazy good.

    That's fair. I work with IT too and were also a crunch aficionado for a long time. But after a long hiatus due to 2 toddlers I came back and found out I couldn't waste so much time with crunch anymore. These days if I can't create a character under an hour and finish a combat scene in half that time, its too crunchy for me.

    Ie: first time we played The Sprawl we had 3 missions plus downtime in a SINGLE session. You know how much time we took in Shadowrun to do 3 missions? Around 5 or so sessions, because eventually combat would drag out and we had to stop a mission midway to continue another day. This is such a HUGE gain in quality time that I simply can't go back.

    About Kult, thanks for the writeup. I will eventually read it because the setting always fascinated me. One thing I suspect the PbtA may do good to it is making it imminently playable. I mean, those 90s urban fantasy games like Kult, Mage, Unknown Armies, etc. always sounded fantastic on paper but hard as fuck to play in a way that fitted the fluf we saw in the books (well, at least for my group). PbtA games usually provide solid structure for players to know exactly what to do when they put their butts on the couch.
     
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2019
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  9. FritzedProcess Savant

    FritzedProcess
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    Yes, I reckon I will eventually have to go with simpler systems when kids come into the picture. Something like Savage Worlds or AW, why not. Indeed the latest mission of our Shadowrun campaign has been going on for two or three months now (and we haven't gotten to the shooty part yet!) due to us playing only once or twice a month (because someone's on call on weekend, or out of town), and it's getting hard remembering what went on in the previous session. We are looking for a plan-B campaign, which I intend to run occasionally, and I already know that it won't be Shadowrun because how much of a pain in the ass it is to GM, and I don't have the time at the moment. I'll probably go with Interface Zero 2.0 for Savage Worlds, because it has a good balance between crunch and simplicity (no square roots for calculating explosive damage, no siree!), and you don't get instagibbed like in CP 2020, but The Sprawl looks good and I will have to give it a read.

    And as for playing those urban fantasy games, my group and I were in our late teens when those games came out and you bet the games didn't fit the fluff. Mage has the additional complication that magic is really hard to manage and the spheres could be used to do some crazy shit. Unknown Armies (I got the 1st edition back in the day, and the 3rd edition on KS) has a really simple ruleset but ideally you want to approach it as a campaign, not as a series of separate missions, that's when it really comes together. Back in the day I swear everyone wanted to make a dypsomancer. In regards to the older editions of Kult, if the players weren't really invested in the game it was easy for it to degenerate into Dusk till Dawn meets Hellraiser, so with the absence of gun porn and runaway lethal damage in the latest edition, it might actually be easier to run a proper game.
     
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  10. Silva Arcane

    Silva
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    When we played Vampire back in the 90s, the only part of the fluff we got right was "meeting the prince". So your average story arc had we meeting the prince of some small town in some cool social scene, then he/she would brief us on some task to kill/sabotage/kidnap a [sabbat/anarch/rival clan], which we did. Eventually we realized we were playing "Shadowrun but with Vampires" and went back to Shadowrun proper. And I suspect every group who played Vampire did exactly that - played GURPS/D&D/Shadowrun/whatever your most familiar game was by then - only by night with Vampires.

    When you do, remember to take a look at this Shadowrun hack of my own authorship. I made it as simple as possible, and with as much Tim Bradstreet as possible for that classical 2nd ed Shadowrun feel. :obviously:

    Sample archetypes:

    Show Spoiler

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    Download link: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1If8nBsl73CFxyy1x951le8VNYYVL9xDr
     
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2019
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  11. Silva Arcane

    Silva
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    Bros (and Sis), I'm in love with Masks a New Generation. No, really. This shit is crazy. It emulates teen supers beautifully, in special the part I find most interesting: the personal drama stories (instead of simulating the distance in kilometers Hulk can jump or the strenght in newtons of Cyclops beam). The stats are "labels" on how each teen sees himself (Dangerous, Freak, Savior, Mundane) and they're constantly changing thanks to a mechanic called "Influence" - if someone has influence over you (all adults have, by default) he/she can shift those stats around. So when uncle Ben speaks to you about the responsability that comes with power, you will surely listen (and this will raise your Savior stat, while dropping Dangerous). That means you're in a constant, emotional roller-coaster, just like a teenager protag on those comics/shows. That is, until you get enough advancements to get options like "Lock a Label in place" (meaning you solidify an aspect of your personality) or "Get an Adult move" (meaning you can do stuff in more controlled or safe fashion, that the teenagers can't).

    Also, each archetype is a narrative, like the Spider-like "divided between two lives" hero, the Havok-like "so much destructive power that I hurt people I care" one, the "delinquent who's a disruptive prick but deep inside just wants to belong", etc. Each with thematic stuff built-in - the Spidey there has to manage his mundane everyday life like studies, work, family, etc - a mechanic only he gets. And eventually all them teenagers will grow up and crystalize their own self-images and become adults... and then the game ends. I'm not even a fan of the Supers genre, and I'm crazy to play this.

    This might be the strongest PbtA hack yet for me, even dethroning Monsterhearts. If anyone here is a fan of PbtA, or teen-supers melodrama, give it a try.
     
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  12. Silva Arcane

    Silva
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