Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Veronica Monsterhearts - Looking anew at the Basic Moves

Why am I doing this? Because I didn't really like what was there, it was more the first thing that came to mind rather than something actually useful. There was also something that someone said about the difference between something like Apocalypse World and Dungeon World is that DW is about the players dealing with their environment and AW is about the players dealing with the other players. I think this game needs to be somewhere in the middle, and I don't feel that I managed to get there. The original Basic Moves as written are here. Let's see if I can improve them.

Basic Moves

Sweep the Scene
Whenever you're looking for information about a situation, a scene, or a crime, ROLL+eyes. On a 10+ you pick up 3 Clues. On a 7-9, you get 2 Clues, but you get interrupted, discovered, or attacked. You must spend at least 1 clue to ask one of these questions:
-Who should I talk to next?
-What am I missing here?
-Where is the next place to go?
-Why should I care about this?
-When is something going to happen?

On a 6- you get 1 Clue that you can't spend on any of those questions, and something bad happens ... good luck. 

Okay, I changed up the questions because I thought this is a little better. There's a few more leading questions that give the player a direction to go in rather than just have them answer questions about the environment. It should be more "how do I move this story forward."

I also wanted to make sure that you could get at least one clue from this move so that's why it got a -6 section as well. 

Open Up
When you reveal something personal to someone else, ROLL+Soft. On a 10+ you can either remove 2 conditions, or 1 condition you have and 1 condition they have. On a 7+ you can remove 1 condition you have, or 1 condition they have.

Confession time, I'm adding another change to AW here. I'm not using Harm or anything resembling an HP stat. I don't want this to be about damage, I want this to be about problems. With that in mind, I'm going to give people 4 conditions in 3 "branches." You hit the 4th condition in anyone of those branches and you're taken out. I don't know what that means yet, but I like that better for this game than Harm.

Three branches? Physical, Emotional, Social. Because that's where a lot of the hurt in Veronica Mars is. I like this a lot more now because you can open up to share, or you can open up to be selfish and I think that's really in keeping more with how the show goes than say filling up a circle or ticking marks of HP. I think that the one way everyone has to recover is more through opening up to other people which makes them possibly vulnerable later on is great. Maybe do it with four of them so that there's one for each STAT, and if you get a stat taken to -2 then you're taken out? That way if you have a high HARD 

And Action
Whenever you act where there's any immediate danger, ROLL+Rash. On a 10+ you get to act with no consequences of the danger. On a 7-9, you get to act but choose one: you take a condition; you get a cliffhanger even if you have another move.

I like this one more than the previous And Action move. First of all it's a little more general, so that could be if there's a danger of getting caught, or a danger from another player. It provides you with the option to decide what happens if you get a 7-9, it immediately stops the scene or gives people damage in the way we're doing damage here. Is it too vague? I don't know, but I like it more because the immediate danger is less specific than "something physical."

Shut Someone Down
When you need to put someone in their place, ROLL+Hard. On a 10+ choose one: give them a Condition; they lose a String against you; if they held no Strings on you, gain a String on them. On a 7-9, choose one: you each give a Condition to one another; you each lose a String on one another.

I think this is something that belongs into the basic move section. I think shutting people down is something that should be tied to hard more than anything else so I think keeping it here is worth while. The others I think should be more open, and then I think we need to have the "Putting Clues together" move that I need to add.

Adaptable Moves

I'm going to keep Adaptable Moves for now because I still like the idea, I think it's workable, and I don't have something to replace it just yet. If I do, then we'll talk about it then, but right now let's keep this as is.

Pick which STAT will apply to each move. You must apply each STAT only once.

Manipulate an NPC
When you want to get NPC to do what you want them to, ROLL+. On a 10+ they'll do what you want depending on how you manipulate them except confess to a crime without evidence. On a 7-9, the MC will tell you what it'll take to get the NPC to do what you want. Do it and they will.

This is straight out of Monsterhearts with a little modification. I don't want people to manipulate the suspects with just a single move, so I modified it to make suspects a little harder to manipulate. You still need to be able to manipulate them to get them arrested, because solving the crime is 3/4 of the job ... the other 1/4 is getting them into the hands of the "authorities" with a smug sense of satisfaction.

Fight! Fight! Fight! Fight!
When you want to hurt someone physically, emotionally, or socially, ROLL+. On a 10+ choose one: you give them 2 conditions,  you give them 1 condition and take a string on them or get a clue from them. On a 7-9 you give them a condition, but choose 1: They gain 1 String on you; They get a Clue from the exchange; They deal give 1 Condition to you.

Back to the conditions instead of Harm. I also like the fact that you can trade clues this way too. I think it's good that it doesn't generate new clues, but it still can move the clues around the table. I want to just leave it as hurt someone, but I think part of me feels that I should include physically, emotionally, or socially because that way there's less ambiguity. 

Hold OnWhenever you need to withstand something, ROLL+. On a 10+ you withstand whatever you needed to, and managed to get a clue, and a string on whoever was working against you. On a 7-9, you withstand whatever you needed to, but managed to get a clue or a string on whoever was working against you.

I like the results of this move a little bit more than it was before. Instead of being another avenue for conditions, it gives you the ability to get more clues and more strings by taking people's best shot and taking it. It's a little reminiscent of how you get more dice in Technoir when you take risks and damage. 

Put it All Together
Whenever you want to use a clue to help solve a mystery, ROLL+. On a 10+ you get to place two clues on a suspect. On a 7-9 you get to place a clue, and the player with the least clues get to place your second clue on a different suspect. On a 6- the player with the least clues places your clue on a suspect.

And this is the final one. I like that it's on the changeable scale, so you can be good at putting clues together even if you aren't good at getting them. I think this solves some other problems I had with how do you solve the mystery.

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