Category: Role-Playing

The Universe of Starfinder

The Universe of Starfinder

Friday, November 10, 2017 | By | Add a Comment

The Universe of Starfinder

Starfinder is set in the same universe as Pathfinder. In addition to the obvious “lots of time has passed, and now there’s more technology,” there are two significant events that set the stage for the passage from Pathfinder to Starfinder. The first is the Gap, a span of centuries that no one remembers. Everyone just woke up one day with knowledge of basic present facts (for example, “this person is my spouse”) but no recollection of historical facts (for example, “how did I meet this person”). Of particular note is that, at some point during the Gap, the central world of Pathfinder (Golarion) disappeared.

The second event is the creation of the Drift (and the creator of the Drift, the gestalt deity known as Triune). The Drift is what allows interstellar travel without the use of high-level magic. To travel with a drift engine means shunting into a parallel dimension, traveling through that, and then translating back into the prime material. Drift travel usually means a week or two travel time between systems (drift travel works in-system as well, but is not typically any faster than taking several days to travel through realspace). Notably, there is no equivalent of “subspace” or other instantaneous technological communication – sending a message through the Drift is no faster than simply travelling through the drift, meaning that interstellar communications are mostly at courier speed.

The home base of the Starfinder setting is the Golarion system, home of the Pact Worlds. The Golarion system is a very crowded place, with around a dozen inhabited worlds (including worldships, massive space stations, asteroid belts, and such). The Pact Worlds is a confederation of the various worlds and demi-worlds of the Golarian system, plus protectorates both in and out of the system. The government of the Pact is located on Absalom Station, which resides in the orbit that used to belong to Golarion. Player characters are reasonably likely to have some involvement with this government, as it can provide a good excuse for throwing disparate PCs together and giving them a mission. Because of its somewhat limited mandate, the Pact government does not really get into the sort of traditional law and order function that’s not well-suited for PCs.

Notable Pacts Worlds and protectorates include the sun (a protectorate inhabited mostly by the Church of Sarenrae), Aballon (a machine-ruled Pact World), Castrovel (the Pact World home of the lashunta), Verces (a tidally locked world where most civilization exists along The Line), the worldship Idari (home of the kasatha), Eox (a self-ravaged Pact World now inhabited by the undead), Apostae (a world captured from the depths of space, inhabited by drow and a lot of ancient technology they don’t understand), Aucturn (not a planet as much as a giant egg for a chthonic being), and a couple of inhabited gas giants.

Nearby to the Pacts Worlds is the Veskarium, a solar system that is also multi-species, but that is ruled by the reptilian vesk. Further away a menace that has not yet turned its eye on the Pact Words is the Azlanti Star Empire (descendants of a settlement founded by humans from the ancient Golarion empire of Azlant, before that empire destroyed itself). Another dozen worlds or systems are briefly described. In addition to the playable species discussed below, the worlds in and out of the Golarion system are ripe with sentient species to be added as playable races in later supplements.

Significant factions include Abadarcorp (the massive corporation/church of the god of wealth), the Android Abolitionist Front (who try to root out continued use of androids as slaves), the Augmented (pushing for the advancement of life through cybernetics), the Free Captains (space pirates), the Hellknights (Order Above All), the Knights of Glarion (a band of do-gooders associated with the church of Iomedae), the Starfinder Society, the Stewards (the elite warrior-diplomats who work for the Pact), and the Xenowardens (space druids).

Twenty core deities are described, although I would say that around a dozen of them are possible sources of faith for player characters. These are a gestalt of existing Pathfinder deities, new deities brought by other species, and deities of cosmological concepts that take on an increased importance in a science fantasy setting. There are, however, many gods in existence beyond this score.

An Introduction to Starfinder Character Creation

An Introduction to Starfinder Character Creation

Wednesday, November 8, 2017 | By | Add a Comment

 

An Introduction to Starfinder Character Creation

Well, Pathfinder is here and what an interesting game it is!  Character creation is of course is the fundamental part of any role playing campaign, so I would like to start my long (but hopefully inspiring) critique of Starfinder with that.  So let’s just dive right in to this long awaited hearty meal with the important things first:

Characters in Starfinder have many familiar elements from Pathfinder, but there are differences. For example, characters don’t just have a race and a class, they have race/class/theme. They do, however, have the six attributes we all know and love – Strength, Dexterity, Constitution, Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma (a point buy is the default method of picking these).

Typical of other science fiction based role playing games outside of the fantasy genre, Starfinder does not use hit points in the same way as D&D/Pathfinder. Rather, a character has both hit points and stamina points. Stamina points are lost first, and are relatively easily recoverable (characters have Resolve points to spend every day, and spending a point refreshes all Stamina. Hit points lost represents actual damage to the character, and is harder to heal. Characters gain both hit points and stamina points every level based on character class (characters also get a one-time HP boost from their race).

Leveling up will be familiar to Pathfinder fans. It is still literally leveling up, from 1st to 20th. Following in the refinements of Pathfinder, Starfinder makes sure that characters are getting something new at every level from every class. In addition to class-specific benefits, characters gets a feat every other level, an ability score increase every fifth level, and a theme benefit every sixth level. Multiclassing exists, but is disfavored.

There are seven standard races available, plus several “legacy” races. The legacy races – dwarves, elves, gnomes, half-elves, half-orcs, and halflings – are perfectly playable, are simply not given the same prominence in Starfinder. Some, like the elves, have a relatively limited presence in the setting, voluntarily isolating themselves. But others, like the halflings, are almost as widespread as humanity. Each race gets one page with mechanics and two portraits, and one page of setting information. The seven standard races are:

  • Human: you know what these guys are, right? As with Pathfinder, they get to pick their attribute bonus, and start with an extra feat and get more skill points. These are the same humans who originated on Golarion.
  • Android: As androids are often wont to do, these ones were created as servitors but more recently have been recognized as sentient beings with rights (well, at least they have in the Pact Worlds). They are constructs and have some environmental immunities, have good vision, sometimes have a tough time communicating when it comes to emotions, and can upgrade their bodies as if it was armor. They are nimble and smart, but not very charismatic.
  • Lashunta: Originating in the Golarion system, the lashuntas are near-human in appearance, but with long antenna (they are not insectile). They are mildly telepathic, have a handful of cantrips they can use as spell-like abilities, and get skill bonuses. Lashunta are a dimorphic species, and characters usually get to choose which one they will become (not just that the player gets to choose for their character, but the character themselves gets to choose). All lashunta are charismatic, while one subspecies is strong but somewhat oblivious, while the other is smart but fragile.
  • Kasatha: The kasatha originate from outside the Golarion system. They came to the system in a generational worldship intending to colonize, but found the system too densely populated to just take over a planet. So they stuck around and their ship is now a Pact World. Kasatha kind of look like Eldar with four arms. They tend towards being very traditionalist and consider melee weapons preferable to ranged ones. Mechanically, they get bonuses to Strength and Wisdom, but a penalty to Intelligence. They get bonuses to Culture, Acrobatics, and Athletics. Oh, and there’s the four arms thing, which literally lets them carry more.
  • Ysoki: These ratfolk are generally high-energy and technologically-focused. They have bonuses to Dexterity and Intelligence, but a penalty to Strength and have less HP than most other races. They are small, can carry things in their check pouches, have darkvision, and get bonuses to tinkering, hiding, and surviving.
  • Vesk: The vesk are definitely not a Pact World race. Indeed, these aggressive, martial reptilians were the impetus for the creation of the Pact. But the arrival of the Swarm threatened both the vesk’s star system and the Golarion system, resulting in a hesitant collaboration between the two. Vesk are strong and tough (including extra racial HP), but not as bright. They get extra benefit from armor, have enhanced vision, and natural weapons.
  • Shirren: Unlike the lashunta, the shirren are insectile. Indeed, they are a breakaway portion of the Swarm. Because of their history as part of a forced hive mind, they highly prize individual choice. They are tough and observant, but are considered less charismatic by other races. They have blindsense (vibration), work well as part of a team, have limited telepathy, and get bonuses to Culture and Diplomacy checks.

Next up is the theme, which is layered on top of the class. A character can be a priest (theme) whether or not they are a spellcasting mystic (class). A character can be a mercenary or a bounty hunter (themes) without being a soldier (class), or can be a soldier and a spacefarer (theme). The themes are ace pilot, bounty hunter, icon (as in, a celebrity), mercenary, outlaw, priest, scholar, spacefarer, and xenoseeker. Each theme gives +1 to a specific attribute, a bonus class skill at first level and a boost when using that skill (or some related skills), and unique abilities at levels 6, 12, and 18. For example, the Ace Pilot always has Piloting as a class skill, gets a bonus on Piloting checks, and has an easier time with Culture checks to know about starships and vehicles. A character can also be themeless, which provides generic bonuses.

As one might anticipate, a character’s class is the most mechanically significant mechanical choice at character creation. Class defines attack bonuses, saving throws, hit points and stamina points, skill points and where they are best spent, and weapon and armor proficiencies. The baselines for these are about 6 HP/SP a level, 4 skill points a level, a moderate base attack bonus, two good saving throws, and proficiency in light armor, basic melee weapons, grenades, and small arms. Every class also gives Weapon Specialization (bonus damage) at 3rd level for every weapon it gave proficiency with. Most classes have a class feature that every few levels lets the player choose an ability off of a substantial list, permitting a lot of customization. There are seven classes:

  • Soldier: The soldier will be instantly recognizable to any Pathfinder or D&D fan as the fighter of the system. They have increased HP/SP, the highest base attack bonus, and are proficient with pretty much every kind of weapon and armor – indeed they are the only class that is proficient with heavy armor, heavy weapons, and longarms (rifles). Soldiers receive a bonus combat feat every other level, and get to select gear boosts every four levels (such as a bonus when wearing armor or attack bonuses with certain weapon subcategories). Soldiers choose a primary (and eventually a secondary) fighting style, such as arcane assailant, armor storm, blitz, bombard, guard, hit-and-run, or sharpshoot (a soldier with the right specialization can also use powered armor). This fighting style gives bonuses every four levels. Soldiers also get enhanced ability to make extra attacks.
  • Envoy: The social character class (the “face,” if you will), the envoy is also very good with skills generally, gaining the highest available number of skill points per level and class features that make them even better at select skills. They envoy gains envoy improvisations every couple of levels. These abilities tend to involve social combat effects, such as taunting enemies or bolstering allies.
  • Operative: The operative is the other skill-heavy class, with some aspects traditionally associated with the rogue, like Evasion and a Sneak Attack variant (Trick Attack). Operative exploits are chosen every two levels, and include abilities such as a bonus combat feat, the ability to use skills untrained, or extra mobility. Each operative chooses a specialization, which gives several powers and a bonus exploit. The specializations include daredevil, detective, explorer, ghost, hacker, spy, and thief. Operatives aren’t proficient with grenades, but they are proficient with sniper rifles. They also have the potential to make more attacks than most other classes.
  • Mechanic: The mechanic is a “pet” class, with the pet being an AI installed either in a drone or in an exocortex (a brain implant with an AI) that levels up along with the mechanic (and is very customizable itself). The mechanic is also bonkers at breaking into computers and related systems. The drone AI tends towards combat, while the exocortex makes the mechanic even better at hacking. The mechanic chooses from a variety of mechanic tricks every two levels, such as a bonus ability when repairing starships or a visual data processor for enhanced perception.
  • Mystic: The mystic is, along with the technomancer, one of the two spellcasting classes. Neither spellcasting class is “arcane” or “divine,” but the mystic leans more towards what you might expect from a divine spellcaster (they have the healing spells, for example, while the technomancer has magic missile; their spellcasting is also based on Wisdom). Reading the descriptions, I almost wondered if mystics were Starfinder Jedi, as their powers are all about “connection with some force.” The concepts involved are broader than that, however, as a mystic’s “connection” is their philosophical power source. If the mystic draws their power from a deity, then this connection is probably related to that god, but the connection need not be divine in nature. Some of the connections are akashic, empath, healer, mindbreaker, overlord, and xenodruid (note that some of those connections are not exactly pleasant). Connections grant a few more spells known, and then a specific power every three levels. The mystic has a certain number of spells cast per day and spells known; there is no memorization of spells. The mystic also gains telepathic powers. The mystic has a few more skill points than is standard, but is not proficient with grenades and has subpar saving throws.
  • Technomancer: The other side of the spellcasting duo, technomancers are Intelligence-based, with fewer HP/SP and skills than the mystic. Technomancers have a spell cache for extra flexibility, and get a magic hack every few levels that can be used to modify spells or use spell slots for additional effects. Magical hacks include disrupting technological attacks, using a battery to fuel spellcasting, or changing any basic land type into another.
  • Solarian: The solarian is the most distinctive Starfinder class. The solarian’s concept is tied to the stars in their various stages of life, and the power of gravity, light, and heat. During combat, the solarian will either be in graviton mode or photon mode (and will fluctuate between the two), gaining access to particular powers depending on what mode they are in (the solarian will get to pick particular powers as they level up). In addition to these stellar modes, the solarian is also accompanied by a solar mote, a physical manifestation of their solar power. The solarian must choose whether this mote can become a solar weapon or can become solar armor. Of course, the solar equipment improves as the solarian levels. The solarian, like the operative and the soldier, has improved access to extra attacks. Solarians also join soldiers in having more HP/SP than other classes and in getting a better base attack bonus, and trade in their grenade proficiency for advanced melee weapons.

Archetypes exist in Starfinder like they do in Pathfinder, but work somewhat differently. Each base class has a standardized list of what it loses from an archetype when an archetype puts a feature in at that level, allowing archetypes to apply to any class (instead of being class-specific). There are only two archetypes presented, however, making this more something that will be expanded in later books than used directly out of this one. The two archetypes are the phrenic adept (psychics) and the Starfinder Forerunner (from the Starfinder Society).

The Wonderfully Chiseled game which is Warframe

The Wonderfully Chiseled game which is Warframe

Sunday, September 24, 2017 | By | Add a Comment

The Wonderfully Chiseled game which is Warframe

Hello everyone, so again it has been some time since I have posted a blog this site.  I deeply apologize to those who have been committed to checking in regularly and disappointed that there has been no activity for some time now.  My computer has once again been in and out of service for a long time with reoccurring problems and some things had to be replaced out of warranty.  So it has taken some time to get the necessary funding and finally get someone to fix it to a workable condition.  So with that said, let us move on to a review of a fun, pretty, and time/money consuming game called Warframe.

Warframe is a sexy game and has a lot to offer in a third person shooter package.  This lovely lady of a game has seen some changes in the recent years since its release in 2013, including accessories and platinum currency which you can purchase on their website through their Prime Access catalog.  It is a fun and addictive game to play and along with the occasional additions to the game, players continue to be drawn back into the arms of this beckoning cash cow.

A little on the game then….Warframe is a cooperative online third person shooter where players take on the role of Tenno, space ninjas in technologically-advanced exoskeletons that give them superhuman powers.  Engage in action-packed combat as you run along walls, go down zip lines, perform acrobatics, and cut down enemies with your sword, or blast them all to kingdom come with the vast arsenal of weapons at your disposal.  While Warframe does have several PvP options, Warframe is primarily a PvE game. Choose from three starting classes and 17 advanced classes, each with their own roles and playstyles.  Work together with friends as you take on armies of space grunts, walking turrets, and hordes of mindless zombies in a stunning futuristic sci-fi world.

Warframe Key Features:

  • Good Variety of Warframes – choose from a large pool of warframes and customize them with mods to match your needs.
  • Smooth Moves – play with familiar FPS controls and use ninja/parkour moves to position yourself.
  • Constant Updates – the dev team is always tweaking and updating the game based on players’ comments.
  • Awesome Graphics and SFX – the graphics are amazingly fluid and the music heightens the action-packed atmosphere of the game.

So, what is it that draws in players after 4 years since its release?

Warframe wasn’t always the sleek time-devouring machine it is now. It launched with significant bumps (as, in fairness, do most online games) but more importantly vanilla Warframe felt a bit feature-light.  Content felt very sectioned off and discrete, progression was pretty hamstrung, and there wasn’t much of a community in which to find other players to jump in with or to answer your questions about some of the game’s more obscure systems.

But that was 2013.  Fast-forward to the present and Warframe is a completely different animal.  The bones are the same, but almost every system of the game has been markedly improved or evolved.  Gameplay is more connected now, so it doesn’t feel like every mission is a stand-alone affair, though the game has retained enough bite-sized content that if you want to just dive in for ten or fifteen minutes that’s perfectly viable. And that core gameplay, the shooting and slicing and leaping that continues to be the best part of Warframe’s layered offerings, feels sleeker than ever.  It’s power fantasy done right, allowing players to feel powerful and dangerous without making the game’s challenges feel trivial.

Semi-Cosplay

Semi-Cosplay

Monday, February 27, 2017 | By | Add a Comment

Semi-Cosplay

Semi-cosplay is what I like to call cosplay that can be considered more of a regular dress and activity than full-on cosplay.  It is not a movement, but just a term I will use to describe those of us who like to wear our favorite outlandish attire or pieces of outlandish attire on a regular basis without feeling too out of place or having to go through great lengths to dress up as well as fit in on a regular basis.

Although many of us who are into cosplay or semi-cosplay tend to have been originally heavy metal rockers, punk rockers, or rivet-heads/ cyberpunks that continue to wear their everyday get-up, some of us change our attire from time to time or have different costumes or looks we like to wear.

Heavy metal rockers and punk rockers are two examples of lifestyles of people who tend to dress with semi-cosplay articles on a regular, all-day-every-day basis, such as studs and spikes , shin and wrist guards, make-up, wigs, and designed pieces of attire.

Most of us like to dress up on our days and nights off when we are with our small group of close friends who partake in such activities while either just relaxing or indulging in some sort of gaming or partying.  Whatever the case, we do it to bring out our true selves, which most of us hide and wear our masks of conformity to adjust to our workday program.

Cosplayers obtain their apparel through many different methods.  Manufacturers produce and sell packaged outfits for use in cosplay, with varying levels of quality.  These costumes are often sold online, but also can be purchased from dealers at conventions.  A number of individuals also work on commission, creating custom costumes, props, or wigs designed and fitted to the individual.

Other cosplayers, who prefer to create their own costumes, still provide a market for individual elements, accessories, and various raw materials, such as unstyled wigs or extensions, hair dye, cloth and sewing notions, liquid latex, body paint, costume jewelry, and prop weapons.

With the advancement in robotic technology, robot or android/cyborg additions are becoming increasingly popular.  Semi-cosplayers or cosplayers often create add-ons that serve no useful purpose other than to make the individual’s costume look cool and unique.  That is the whole idea of being yourself and doing your own thing.

Take a look at the above video for a glimpse of creativity by a designer who created robotic spider shoulder wear and let me know what you think!

Starfinder is Coming!

Starfinder is Coming!

Monday, January 9, 2017 | By | Add a Comment

 



Starfinder is Coming!

Hello my readers, today I found out about a new science fiction RPG that will be available on the market around August of this year.  It is called Starfinder and it is created by the same company, Paizo, @ www.paizo.com, that has brought us the renowned Pathfinder fantasy RPG.  In fact, it is basically the same core roleplaying system as Pathfinder such as character creation, core rules and gaming system.  Unfortunately, it has been said that they will not be producing many books or references for the game, which is all fine since the game expands on the Pathfinder core rules, but to me that sounds very familiar with sci-fi role playing games (Gamma World, Shadowrun, GURPS).  Nevertheless, I am always excited about the release of a sci-fi roleplaying game, whether it is an expansion or not.  Pathfinder seems to be the popular choice among roleplayers these days, so I can only imagine a high degree of interest in this game as well as the possibility for more expansions in the years to come (depending on its popularity, of course!)  Check out some of the wonderful artwork for the game!

Setting

It seems to be set a few hundred years past the current time of Pathfinder. Golarion has vanished and a few hundred years is just missing from people’s memories. There are no records of this time and it will be a HUGE mystery in the new game.

The new setting will be based around the solar system Golarion is in. Distant worlds is the foundation of all of this but it is just in the distant future. Absalom Station is floating over were Golarion used to be and will be there heart of the new setting. It is very easy to get back to Absalom station and everyone is vying for control of it.

The setting is around exploring new worlds so there will be a lot of new places to explore. This is for both players and third party groups to go nuts with and apparently they are already getting request from third parties to start making new worlds.

The Multiverse is still the same, all of the same planes exists though it has been a long time so who knows what is different. The Gods will also be different, apparently some of the current Gods aren’t as popular and new Gods have taken their place.

Races and Classes

All races that are core races in Pathfinder will be in Starfinder, but there will be new races in the core book. While some of this is being kept close to the chest, four of them have been confirmed to be, Humans, Ratfolk, Androids and Kasatha. There will be three other races in the core, but they would not announce them at this time.

The seven base classes have been announced and I am pretty excited about them.

  • Soldier: they will be similar to the fighter, being a weapon master and using one type of weapon expertly.
  • Operative: This sounded an awful lot like a rogue to me, being a heavy skill user and being a bit more of specialized fighter.
  • Envoy: This is a charismatic buffer and face of the party, sounding similar to a bard. Princess Leia was given as an example of their role.
  • Mechanic: This one sounded truly bonkers. With the ability to create a robot or an A.I. you could use it as a kind of high tech summoner, or druid. I was really excited about it.
  • Mystic: this sounded like a Jedi to me, and was described as an Oracle type character. Drawing their power from magic but not worshipping anything.
  • Technomancer: Oh boy oh boy, so this sounded like what would happen if a computer programer found magic. It is such an unusual idea and was a true hybrid of magic and technology.
  • Solerian: they really saved the best for last. This class is so different than anything I’ve ever seen. They see the ebb and flow of energy and entropy and use those powers to great effect. Apparently you have to be very careful which abilities you use. If you use an energy ability then your next energy ability will be more powerful but you entropy abilities will be weaker.

The monsters will have a two page spread. Now some of this was Erik Mona being silly but I do think there was a lot of truth to it. The monsters will have two pages so that players can use crazier races in the future, and he wants things like floating cubes to be playable races. It sounds amazing if they can pull it off, but one thing is for sure, there will be lots of crazy races.

How Much Content to expect

They will not be producing as much Starfinder material as Pathfinder. They seem to want people to be able to play both and they don’t want to overwhelm people with the cost of two RPG’s.

A portion of the core book will have campaign setting details. While it will be very easy to use the system for other settings they are really trying to encourage people to use the setting … but based on what I’ve seen that shouldn’t be too hard.

What about Items?

Magic Items will be rarer as technology has slowly taken over. We didn’t get a good answer on how important equipment will be or how they will balance that with alien physiology. It is likely this is the biggest thing they are still working on. Cybernetics and magical enhancements will be very important though.

Last, but certainly not least, space ships will be very important. Space combat rules will exist and people will be required to fill multiple roles. They described it has meeting half way between BattleTech, and SpellJammer. They wanted everyone to be involved but it to not be too crazy detailed. They mentioned Star Wars and Serenity a lot when talking about the style and  feeling of ships. They like the idea of one ship being as much a character as the party.

This is the biggest news about Starfinder yet! I am very excited about it and it seems like everyone at Paizo is has well! It is expected to drop at GenCon 2017.

Roleplaying Apocalypse World

Roleplaying Apocalypse World

Monday, December 19, 2016 | By | Add a Comment

 Roleplaying Apocalypse World

It has been quite some time since I have actually gone out and played role-playing games with a group or campaign.  Lately, however, I have taken part in a couple of games hosted by a meetup that I frequently attend around my locality.  Last weekend, I was introduced to a fun post-apocalyptic game called Apocalypse World.  This was not my first introduction to the game, although it was my first time actually playing the game in a group setting, so I was in for a bit of a treat.  The game is mostly a narrative type game, with the characters telling the MC or “Master of Ceremonies” their actions and if need be, rolling 2d6 with modifiers for the results.  As a roleplayer who enjoys rolling dice, I do not particularly like this system, but it does, however, allow more narration in the game.  With a good group of roleplayers, the game can be a lot of fun.

The game is set on a few simple principles.  PCs have 6 stats that help define how well they can do certain things:

Cool: As in clear-thinking, calm, rational
Hard: As in hard-hearted, aggressive, violent
Hot: As in attractive, gracious, inspiring
Sharp: As in smart, perceptive, educated
Weird: As in uncanny, psychic, strange
Hx (History): As in shared history, how well one character knows another

These stats are given a value from -3 to +3, and they can change based on actions in the game. When one of them hits -4 or +4, it reverts to -1 or +1 (respectively) and the PC gets to advance (usually picking a new skill or move for the PC).

The PCs

Here is a list of the playsets (character types) that come with the main rule book:
Angel: Basic healers, post apocalypse doctors
BattleBabe: Main Strongarm, brute strength and charisma
Brainer: Weird psychics, strange mind-reading and mind-f*%$*ing characters
Chopper: Motorcycle gang leader, heavy duty security
Driver: Car and truck drivers, your post-apoc transport service
Gunlugger: Arms dealer, black market merchant
Hardholder: Landlords of the apocalypse, slumlord or savior
Hocus: Cult leader or religious prophet? you decide
Operator: Opportunistic popular jack-of-all-jobs, post apoc utilitarian?
Savvyhead: Stuff breaks, this guy can fix anything
Skinner: Artistic attention whore, charismatic bard

The main mechanic is very simple: When a PC does something they roll + a stat. The roll is always 2d6. If 2d6 + stat is less than 7, the roll is a miss. If the roll + stat is 7-9 that is a hit and the PC decides the outcome of the move based on a few seemingly limited choices. If the roll + stat = 10+ it is a very good success and the choices are different.

The things that PCs can do during the game are called moves and each PC has a set of basic moves that are available to everyone as well as special moves that only that PC type can use. Each type of PC also has a special sex move that (usually) provides some benefits to the PC when they have sex with a PC or NPC. Each game can only have 1 of a given type of PC so there will be no overlap of special moves or sex moves.

One of the most interesting aspects of this game is that it is highly scripted and upon reading sounds like a player’s options are very limited by the scripting. However, an amazing thing happens in-game and one finds that the restricted choices do not actually limit the game at all. This is because the game is built on the narrative and the outcome choices for moves are relatively vague and leave space for the narrative to take over.

Example of Scripting:
One basic move is called Going Aggro on someone. It means that the PC is using violence or the threat of violence to control someone else’ behavior, without (or before) fighting. On a roll+stat of 7-9 the target chooses 1 of the following outcomes:
a. Get the hell out of your way
b. Barricade themselves securely in
c. Give you something they think you want
d. Back off calmly, hands where you can see
e. Tell you what you want to know (or what you want to hear)

On a roll+stat of 10+ the target must choose 1 of:
a. Force your hand and suck it up
b. Cave and do what you want

Note that on a 7-9, the target can choose to force or cave as well as the initial 5 choices.

The scripting is altered by the actions of the player, and therefore the narrative is altered as well.  The scripting is just a generic example of what type of result you can expect from your role.  But, it is really up to the MC to describe the results of the actions or roles and tell the storyline.

Countdowns
If you would like, you can also ascribe a countdown for the threat. What is a countdown? Well, this is one of those things that is hard to grasp, at least for me it was when I first read the rules. A countdown is basically a way to escalate a situation based on previous interactions or events. It’s called a countdown because it is depicted on the face of a clock (a concept almost everyone understands at a glance), but it doesn’t really denote time per se, it just denotes what stage of escalation a PC is at. The clock face is just a handy way to visualize the chain of events surrounding the issue. As things escalate, the notches on the clock get closer together and the situation becomes more dangerous and sensitive.

The countdown mechanism is, for example, a great way to track disease. Here is that as an example – note that I simplify the rolls here, only giving failure, but each roll will have a different outcome for 1-6, 7-9, and 10+:

Imagine the face of a clock…

A) At 1pm, 3pm or 6pm you can be exposed to a contagious disease. At that time you make a roll and a failure means that you have become infected. Since you have become infected, the clock automatically fast-forwards to 9pm. That doesn’t mean that it becomes 9pm in the game, it means that now the time on the clock-face that depicts the situation you are in is 9pm.

B) An infected person must make a roll at the start of every session (or you could say every morning when the PC wakes up if you want). A failure on the roll means that the disease has progressed and you are contagious. Everyone the PC comes in contact with has been exposed, and they jump on the countdown clock at part A described above (i.e. it is 1, 3, or 6pm for them).

C) You are still infected, so you are making rolls at the beginning of every session. If you fail another roll you succumb to the disease and move up to the 12 o’clock position – your PC is now taking physical harm from the sickness and may possibly die or have psychological effects (the consequences here would be described as part of the narrative).

Here is a picture of the disease countdown I just described:

Apocalypse World can be a extremely fun game, depending on the players and the MC.  This game is absolutely my genre of science fiction and apocalyptic role playing that I like to play.  I look forward to experience more role playing in this future, dystopian world.