As is often the case in AW hacks, straight stat highlighting often doesn’t work when you fiddle with the stats and the moves. I’ve found that to be the case in The Sprawl. Accordingly, I’ve been talking about changing the advancement system for a while; several months ago I had the idea to use the concept of Keys from Clinton R. Nixon’s excellent The Shadow of Yesterday. The following is still a work in progress, especially as regards the specific Personal directives listed, the wording of those that are listed, and the number of experience per advance. Comments welcome, as always.
When you create a character in The Sprawl, you’ll select two Personal Directives that they follow. Choosing a Directive tells the MC that you want to see elements that play on, towards and against that Directive. For example, if I choose the Compassionate Directive, I’m saying that I want the game to include people in trouble so that I can choose to find out in which situations my character will choose to help them and in which situations he will not. In addition to these Personal Directives, every mission will include a Mission Directive. These give you signposts for the actions the mission requires, and reward you for taking concrete action towards the Mission. As you act towards completing the mission, you will mark experience. Each time you mark five experience, you’ll choose a new advance for your character. After you’ve gained five advances, you’ll be able to choose advances from an additional list. Some of these additional options have additional requirements or costs that must be met before they can be selected.
It’s important to remember that in The Sprawl, planning doesn’t advance your character or the story. Be bold! Take action!
If life was just the mission, it would be pretty easy. But in The Sprawl, there’s always life beyond the mission. Directives are the motivations, problems, connections, duties, and loyalties that throw you curve balls, pull your focus off the task at hand, and generally complicate your shadowy, illegal career.
Here are some examples:
Behavioural Directive: You have some kind of personal behavioural restriction or code: a religious, moral, professional or the like. When following that code inconveniences you, mark experience.
Compassionate Directive: You have a soft spot for the weak and powerless. When you helps someone who cannot help themselves, mark experience.
Deceptive Directive: Sometimes your entire life is a lie. When you pass yourself off as someone or something you’re not, mark experience.
Filial Directive: You have a mentor who gives you advice. When you follow that advice, mark experience.
Financial Directive: You loves wealth. When you come out of a deal richer than you expected, mark experience.
Hierarchic Directive: You want power. That’s all. When you improve your standing in a society or organisation by improving your own position or impairing someone else’s, mark experience.
Ideological Directive: You have a strong belief that guides her. When you act, or persuade others to act, primarily according to your belief, mark experience.
Illustrious Directive: You’re in it for the bright lights. When you publicise your activities unnecessarily, mark experience.
Interlinked Directive: You are part of an organisation that makes occasional demands of you. When the organisation’s demands are a primary influence on a decision, mark experience.
Intimate Directive: You have a close friend who is more important than anyone else. When you make a decision influenced by that friend or the friendship, mark experience.
Masochistic Directive: You thrives on personal pain and suffering. When you are hurt or wounded, mark experience.
Protective Directive: You have a ward who depends on you for security and protection. When you protect or make a decision influenced by that ward, mark experience.
Prudent Directive: You always seek non-violent solutions. When you avoid a potentially dangerous situation, mark experience.
Rejected Directive: You were part of an organization, but they kicked you out. When your former status influences your current activities, mark experience.
Revelation Directive: Something is being covered up and you intend to find out what. When you discover something about the conspiracy, mark experience.
Vengeful Directive: You hate a particular organisation or person. When you harm the subject of your hatred or their interests, mark experience.
Violent Directive: You enjoys overpowering others in combat. When you overcome a problem using direct physical violence, mark experience.