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Independent Game Forums => lumpley games => Topic started by: RPL on October 11, 2010, 04:15:50 AM



Title: [AW] Question about healing
Post by: RPL on October 11, 2010, 04:15:50 AM
Hi :)

So I’ve started playing AW a couple of weeks ago and yesterday we kind of got stumped at something.

We’ve been using the harm and healing move rules to the letter in all circumstances, but yesterday one of the players (the Hardholder) got a bucket load of it (bringing him to 11:00) and in the healing I got to choose one consequence (the Angel player rolled an eight), so I thought of choosing something that would put him out of action for a while, there are three options that do this:
 1) He’s out for 24h;
 2) He’s in and out of conscience for a week;
 3) He needs constant care for 36h.

While choosing one the player said that anyone of them would totally undermine his capability to interact with the world and with that his ability to play. After some (civil) discussion on the matter we came around to choose option 3, that would give the character some liberty to interact with the world, although limited.

So the question became, how honest is it for the MC to choose a healing option that would put a character out of action for a considerable period of time? The problem being, there is nothing for the player to do in that period (consider he doesn’t have the advances to make a second character).

Thanks for the help.


All the best,
Diogo


Title: Re: [AW] Question about healing
Post by: Noclue on October 11, 2010, 11:14:57 AM
Why were you interested in taking the character out of the action for a while?


Title: Re: [AW] Question about healing
Post by: RPL on October 12, 2010, 02:44:41 AM
Hi James,

What was happening in there was that I noticed at the begging of the session that every PC naturally gravitated towards the Hardholder for one reason or another, on the other hand he has a very tight grip on his gang and his holding and things are just starting to fall a part, between a recent surge of drug addicts, an attack by a strange exploding guy hearing a gas-mask, people starving, lost children and people fighting among each other for the control of a ‘green treasure’, and a lot of insurrection due to a forced lock down he imposed.

So in the midst of this, I saw in the healing options move a rout to spread some chaos, taking the main guy not totally out of the picture but in a compromised situation “Ok, things are starting to fall apart in your holding and you’re bedridden (full of holes and cuts, at 06:00), what do you do?” he answered by calling his right arm man and told him what to do using the Gang as a weapon move, witch failed “So now your gang is turning on you, your holding is getting very near to the brink of rebellion and your bedridden, what do you do?”, next session we’ll find out what his answer is.

To the other players the question is “You main go-to-guy is bedridden, things seem like their falling apart around you, what do you do?”, next session we’ll find out what their answers are.

We all agreed that the situation was coolness and I did tell them my motives for wanting to choose one of those options, so I think we solved it pretty well. But the during the session and a the end of it we talked about how the MC has six options to choose from in the healing move, but three of them seem to remove to many options from the player, since he has nothing to do in that time (namely the 24h and the week options).


All the best,
D.


Title: Re: [AW] Question about healing
Post by: lumpley on October 12, 2010, 09:34:16 AM
Your job as MC is to make their lives not boring, not to preserve their unlimited options. So sure, limit their options, that's fine. That's why those choices are there: it's perfectly valid for you as MC to take away the players' options.

When you do, you just have to make sure that you're also taking it as an opportunity to make their lives interesting. That's exactly what you did, so great! No problem that I can see.

- Vincent


Title: Re: [AW] Question about healing
Post by: Mathew E. Reuther on October 12, 2010, 01:09:35 PM
TBH the discussion makes me want to buy AW just to see what the system looks like. LOL. :)


Title: Re: [AW] Question about healing
Post by: lumpley on October 12, 2010, 04:26:21 PM
Please do!

Shameless self-promotion aside, you can get a pretty good sense for the system by looking at the character playbooks at http://apocalypse-world.com .

- Vincent


Title: Re: [AW] Question about healing
Post by: Noclue on October 12, 2010, 08:01:14 PM
@RPL, your response was just what I was looking for. I see the 1 week and 24 hr options playing out pretty much the same way you ultimately chose to resolve the move.

I'd turn to the other players and say "Your go to guy is down for the count, possibly dying. There's this freaky dude with the gas mask. What are you planning to do without him?" Anything they said that sowed more chaos and fucked with the hardholder, I would just allow to happen.

Then I'd turn to the hardholder and say "It's a week later. You come finally come awake with a massive headache, utterly exhausted." And then I'd go from there. His girl's gone, or his gang's in revolt, or the Chopper has set himself up as the Man, whatever. "What do you do?"

Cuz, harm.


Title: Re: [AW] Question about healing
Post by: Noclue on October 12, 2010, 08:01:54 PM
What I wouldn't do is leave the player sitting there for a long period of time while the others played without him. Cuz, boring.


Title: Re: [AW] Question about healing
Post by: RPL on October 13, 2010, 04:37:22 AM
Thanks for all the replies :)

I can see we’re all on the same page her. But I think James wrote my question better than I did.

What I wouldn't do is leave the player sitting there for a long period of time while the others played without him. Cuz, boring.

How do I do this exactly? I mean, he’s going to have to sit there (this situation could happen at the beginning, middle or end of a session), unless I schedule a session without him, or do I have to make a more a tight screen time management for the other players actions? Because a lot of things can happen in 24h, even more in a week, between my prep and the players own agendas.

How would you (you = everyone) manage that time frame in order keep things happening but not letting that player out in the wind.

I know this is not a linear QA thing, but if I could get your personal experience on this it would really help.

Thanks.


All the best,
D.


Title: Re: [AW] Question about healing
Post by: Jim D. on October 13, 2010, 07:56:49 AM
If no important things are going on, just skip a week.  Do a couple love-and-kisses letters, ask people what they did over the course of the week, and let the Operator work her jobs.  Maybe advance one of your fronts' countdowns.


Title: Re: [AW] Question about healing
Post by: Noclue on October 13, 2010, 09:08:41 PM
How do I do this exactly? I mean, he’s going to have to sit there (this situation could happen at the beginning, middle or end of a session), unless I schedule a session without him, or do I have to make a more a tight screen time management for the other players actions? Because a lot of things can happen in 24h, even more in a week, between my prep and the players own agendas.

Well, we know the answer isn't "Have the dude sit there for a session while everyone else plays." And it can't be "Schedule a session without him." Those both suck. That's not making his life interesting.

I'm going to go with a combination of tight screen time management and time dilation.

A lot is going to depend on where things are at when the hardholder went down. If someone's involved with something that the hardholder would have had to sit through anyway, you can resolve a scene like that normally. I would move those things along briskly.

Otherwise, I'd move forward with a question to the other players "What did you do during the week that Ambergrease was in and out of consciousness?" The answers to that kind of question are going to determine a lot about how you handle the time. Again, if someone's doing something that sets you up for a hard move, consider just letting it happen and barf forth apocalyptica on it (intermittent rewards, right?).


Title: Re: [AW] Question about healing
Post by: JMendes on October 14, 2010, 04:29:51 PM
Hoy, :)

Disclosure: I'm the hard holder. :) Also, as a minor point of correction, the Angel player rolled, like, an 11 or something. Had it been an 8, you would have had to choose two options. :)

Anyway, the main question isn't how you preserve or take away the characters' options. The main question is, if the job is to make the characters' lives interesting, what do you do to them when they get injured right in the thick of the interesting.

As you all have recognized, taking a character out of the action while the action continues is not bad because it "doesn't preserve options". It's bad because it leaves one player without the ability to engage the interesting, for an indeterminate amount of game time.

Thing is, glossing over or rushing through that time is bad for much the same reason, only, it does it to all the players instead. There was a lot of interesting going on throughout the session. (Credit to the MC, btw. :)) Everyone was dealing with it. If you suddenly turn to the players and ask what they've been doing for the past week, you've just deflated all the interesting.

As Diogo said, the situation was aptly resolved. However, the general question seems to stand. When things are at their most interesting, that's when protagonist characters will tend to get the most hurt. A lot of care has to be put into this one choice, because if you're not careful, there's a high risk that you'll just make the interesting suddenly go away.

Things change if it's an NPC, though. The more important the NPC is to the players, the more the 24h and the one week option seem yummy and interesting. :)

As a minor aside, if a character is injured when whatever interesting is going on is quiet enough to be glossed over, then the "out of action" option doesn't seem all that good either, seeing as it really doesn't add or take away anything from the character.

All in all, I agree with one thing: the option chosen was the most interesting one. :) We'll see what comes of it.

Cheers,
J.

P.S. @Vincent, Apocalypse World just rocks. So far, it plays like traditional RPGs, but done right. The game just works, roll after roll, scene after scene. @Mathew, you should totally check it out!


Title: Re: [AW] Question about healing
Post by: Mathew E. Reuther on October 15, 2010, 08:58:19 AM
You know those scenes where in fiction (pick your media) you have a protagonist drifting in and out of consciousness? Images blur, they react to outside stimulus but it's all as if shouted from a great distance?

That's how you can make heavy lasting injury work. The character can still influence things, but only peripherally. They're involved in what's going on, the ref gives them a rundown of what their character seems to understand is happening, and they roleplay the pain/fever/injury hampered responses their character has.

Ref: "You've got a hell of an ugly nurse, looks like a sasquatch. Someone comes in while it's dark out and you hear mutters about revolution. There's a gleam of metal as the nurse walks over to you."
Player: "I lunge away, trying to find a weapon. They must be trying to depose me."
Ref: "You call out of bed. The nurse and the other figure, who you now recognize as your most trusted lieutenant struggle to get you back in bed. Then you recognize the nurse is actually your older brother. The metal he had was a bedpan. You've shit yourself in your effort to escape."
Player: "I start crying."

Player is involved, can roleplay, but is irrelevant to the actual action.


Title: Re: [AW] Question about healing
Post by: lumpley on October 15, 2010, 12:01:13 PM
All good! I like everything in this thread. João, I'm glad you're enjoying the game.

There's another side to mention, too. As a player, it's your job to play your character as a real person. Sometimes this includes accepting that your character is out of the action. Getting almost killed can put you out of participation, legitimately, and you should be willing to sit back and let things happen without you sometimes.

-Vincent


Title: Re: [AW] Question about healing
Post by: JMendes on October 15, 2010, 02:09:46 PM
Hoy, :)

As a player, it's your job to play your character as a real person. Sometimes this includes accepting that your character is out of the action. Getting almost killed can put you out of participation, legitimately, and you should be willing to sit back and let things happen without you sometimes.

This sounds good on first read, but, what happens if those 24 hours take three sessions to play through? :)

Anyway, yeah, if the rest of the players' scenes aren't engaging enough on their own, then something else is wrong with the group, so, I guess I'm on board with that.

Oddly enough, five or ten years ago, that would have been my default response, anyway, only, with the groups we had then, I would have been bored out of my skull! :D

Cheers,
J.


Title: Re: [AW] Question about healing
Post by: Noclue on October 15, 2010, 09:56:37 PM
This sounds good on first read, but, what happens if those 24 hours take three sessions to play through? :)

The MC has a lot of options to prevent this if it isn't working for them. It's hard to imagine a case where the MC wouldn't be able to control the flow of time. Just saying "A couple days later, October approaches you..." before a scene shoots you forward two days. And if you get an opportunity to make a hard moves, you can capture people and separate them and make everything unstable before you bring the hardholder back.



Title: Re: [AW] Question about healing
Post by: Noclue on October 15, 2010, 10:10:22 PM
Also, if the hardholder is going in and out of consciousness for a week, they're not necessarily out of the action. They can still make Leadership moves with their gang if it's intact. They can still make Barter moves from their bed if they come to. They can still manipulate people in their lucid moments.


Title: Re: [AW] Question about healing
Post by: JMendes on October 16, 2010, 07:20:51 PM
Hoy, :)

The MC has a lot of options to prevent this if it isn't working for them. It's hard to imagine a case where the MC wouldn't be able to control the flow of time. Just saying "A couple days later, October approaches you..." before a scene shoots you forward two days.

Yea, that was sort of my point. :) If you're in the middle of the thick of things, this is pretty much unfair for everyone else, as it robs them of the chance to address whatever interesting is going on.

(I should point out that we're a rather slow-playing group. We generally don't gloss over stuff and it takes us a bit of time to get through a scene. This is not a bad thing, it's just how it is. :) )

Also, if the hardholder is going in and out of consciousness for a week, they're not necessarily out of the action. They can still make Leadership moves with their gang if it's intact. They can still make Barter moves from their bed if they come to. They can still manipulate people in their lucid moments.

This. This is entirely true. Sure, they may be shorter scenes, but that's part of playing the character like a real person. :)

Cool. Thanks for the input, guys. :) Good stuff.

Cheers,
J.


Title: Re: [AW] Question about healing
Post by: Noclue on October 17, 2010, 12:36:44 AM
Yea, that was sort of my point. :) If you're in the middle of the thick of things, this is pretty much unfair for everyone else, as it robs them of the chance to address whatever interesting is going on.
Hey J, I'm not sure if you were done with the thread, but I'm interested in why you think this is so. I'm not following. How does time dilation rob people of the chance to address stuff?  October still comes to you, only it's two days later. Whatever interesting things need addressing still get addressed. Everybody's still in the think of things.

If not. If something really needs resolving right then and there, the players can resolve it. Then have the next thing happen two days later, or whenever. The MC can move countdown clocks forward, advance threats, etc. Obviously, we don't have an example of actual play to work with, but I think most conflicts would remain interesting.

Time is dilated all the time in games. We don't tend to spend time with characters while they nap quietly, or eat breakfast alone. We move to the next important thing.


Title: Re: [AW] Question about healing
Post by: JMendes on October 17, 2010, 06:16:49 PM
Ahey, :)

Hey J, I'm not sure if you were done with the thread, but I'm interested in why you think this is so.

I was, but I can come back. :)

Anyway, to answer your question, yes, time dillation happens all the time in RPGs, but so does time compression. And by "thick of things", I mean the type of sessions that it takes a full 3+ hour session to play through about half-an-hour's worth of game time.

Naturally, that's not all the time. Our games AW or otherwise, are by and large fluff-free. Sooner or later, things will quiet down enough that it's ok to move forward a couple of days.

Thing is, this is my intuition at play, and I can't really demonstrate, but I have a nagging feeling that PCs are more likely to get seriously injured during the former type of sessions, than the latter. In case, if we were talking about the more pliable sessions, this whole issue would never have arisen anyway. ;) (And by the way, in that case, it really doesn't matter which option(s) the MC chooses, anyway...)

To give you a bit more actual play info on what I mean, the Angel character (incidentally, being played by my wife) is in hot pursuit of a kid that was grabbed by Bad Guys (tm). The kid is important for his knowledge, but is also personally important for the player. The kid's badly hurt, too, so his life is at stake. Now, sure, the MC can skip ahead two days by simply announcing that she lost the trail, and that two days later, she happened upon a clue. But, given the frantic nature of the action so far, it would be a jarring break of pace. It would, at the very least, rob her of the ability to engage with the frantic. I'm sure we could gloss over it, but it would be unfair to do it just because I'm out of action.

The other characters had other equally pressing things going on, involving a drug dealer chase, generalized kidnapping, and a biological treasure of some value.

The entire three hour session took maybe just over an hour of game time. The next session promisses to be equally dense. :)

Cheers,
J.


Title: Re: [AW] Question about healing
Post by: Mathew E. Reuther on October 17, 2010, 06:28:28 PM
Which sounds to me like it's interesting enough to be in a state of low- or non-activity. Good stuff. :)


Title: Re: [AW] Question about healing
Post by: Noclue on October 17, 2010, 08:53:59 PM
Cool. So, just riffing off of that as an example:

Since everyone's busy doing their own things that don't seem to directly fuck with the hardholder's world, maybe I don't lay him up for a week. Maybe I just knock him out for 24 hours. Then I turn to the Angel. She comes upon the bad dudes with the wounded kid. He's bleeding out bad and she's got no time to fuck around. What does she do? Let's say she goes aggro and threatens the bad guys somehow (like no medical treatment for any of their gang if the kid dies). We resolve that with a roll and she rolls awesome. She takes the kid and scurries into the waste, but the kid needs rest and treatment. So she decides to hunker down for a bit. Okay, she's good.

Then I turn to the others and deal with their shit. Just to get them to a natural stopping point. The Chopper chases down the drug dealers and there's a gunfight. The Savvy Head is dealing with the biothingy and needs something from the nearby ruins. Whatever they decide.

Then I go back to the hardholder and wake him with something nasty. Someone he cares about is wounded, but the Angel is out saving a fucking kid. Or his hardhold is under fire and the damn Chopper is off chasing drug dealers. Or a piece of necessary gear is broke and his damn fool of a Savvy Head is playing in the ruins. The hardholder player really hasn't been "out of the action" for any longer than usual when you're resolving other player's shit. But the hardholder character has been down, without any say in what all these people he is forced to rely on have been doing today.


Title: Re: [AW] Question about healing
Post by: JMendes on October 18, 2010, 08:39:59 PM
Hoy, :)

Yup, James, that's pretty much how I (we?) expect things to go down. :)

Only thing is, there are a lot of balls in the air. Maybe many of them can be brought to an acceptable rest as neatly as you described, but maybe a few of them won't, and so ongoing action will go on for a bit longer. Like maybe a session or so.

But that's all good. Even if my character is out of action, as long as the game still engages me, as a player, I can still kibitz and cheer and whatnot.

In other words, Mathew, yes, what you said. :)

Cheers,
J.


Title: Re: [AW] Question about healing
Post by: Paul T on December 28, 2010, 10:30:49 PM
I think it would also be kosher to do one of those Angel healing situations:

"He looks like he shouldn't be moving for the next week or so."

"How can I get him up-and-moving-around faster than that?"

"Well, maybe if you could talk Plover into handing you a share of his hyperstim needles, you could try to see what that would do."

That seems like a fun and interesting fix that doesn't violate the ficiton, just complicates it.