Jun 25

Revising the Basic Moves

One of the most pressing issues in the current revisions I’m working on is in making the Basic Moves work properly. There were three main issues in the 0.2 revision: Maneouvre did what I wanted but in a boring way, I always ended up fudging Fast Talk slightly in play, and Play Hardball just didn’t really work at all.

After coming across this post by Vincent on Barf Forth, I was all ready to rework Fast Talk and Play Hardball into a combined move of some sort, but when I opened up my master document to make some revisions, I saw that I’d already tweaked Play Hardball towards what I wanted. Here’s the new version of those two moves:

Fast Talk (Style)
When you try to convince someone to do what you want with promises, lies or bluster, roll+Style. For NPCs: on a hit, they’ll do it. On a 7-9, they’ll do it, but someone will find out. Advance the appropriate countdown clock.
For PCs: on a 10+, both of the following apply. On a 7-9, choose 1:

  • if they do it, they mark experience
  • if they refuse, they must act under pressure to go against your stated wishes.

The previous version had retained the language of Apocalypse World which was essentially about bartering and trading within a face-to-face society (I’ll do this if you do that). The new version makes the 10+ hit better, and makes the 7-9 cost a hit on the mission clock. Now the move is more suited to a faceless impersonal society where you may never run into the person you’re Fast Talking again. They’re probably just a corporate employee with bigger concerns than whether they let the suit with the plausible story into the warehouse. At question is whether they let you in and whether someone important finds out that they did it.

Note that the requirement for (the much debated) “leverage” is still there in the form of promises, lies and bluster: “I’m a Valdez Combine Internal Investigator. If you don’t let me through this door, you’re in deep shit!” If you threaten violence and don’t intend to follow through — “Open the door or I’ll shoot this lab tech!” (while holding your buddy in a lab coat) — that’s bluster, and falls under Fast Talk. If you intend to follow through, that’s covered by the next move…

Play Hardball (Edge)
When try to get your way with threats of violence and you intend to carry through, roll+Edge. On a 10+, they do what you want. On a 7–9, the MC chooses 1:

  • they attempt immediate action to remove the threat but not before you inflict harm as established.
  • they do it, but they want payback. Add them as a Threat.
  • they do it, but tell someone all about it. Advance the appropriate mission clock.

So once again, at question is do they do it, or do they have some direct or continued effect on the story.

[Edited to make all the 7-9s successful for the player. Thanks Colin!]

Finally, Manoeuvre wasn’t quite where I wanted it to be. I had some good suggestions on this one which made me realise that the main problem was that the results of the move didn’t feed back into the fiction appropriately. This change aims to do that, and reduce duplication with Mix it Up.

Manoeuvre (Mind)
When you attempt to gain a tactical advantage over an opponent, through advanced planning, careful positioning, or clever manoeuvring, choose one:roll+Mind. On a 10+ hold 3. On a 7-9, hold 1. You may spend 1 hold per roll to:

  • Take Cover: Gain +1 armour until you move or are outflanked.
  • Get the drop on them: You are in perfect position to act.
  • Hide: You evade their attention for the moment.
  • Aim: Receive +AP forward (see Weapon Tags in Chapter 7: Assets).
  • Impress, dissuade, confuse, dismay or embolden your opponents.

Note that all of these things are actions that a character could take anyway for fictional positioning. This move is there because sometimes those set up movements add complications to the game, and that’s fun.
There might be further changes here, in terms of adding options to the list. Suggestions are welcome!

There may also be some slight tweaks to the Check it Out and Research questions, but otherwise I’m pretty happy with the Basic Moves.

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