Re: An Apocalypse World hack for Glorantha

From: Peter Larsen <p3larsen_at_vw-KJvW_NRYsU_rsQ5vWelmiMOh7DKfGoB4MgvGoAnn4zIqpH9Riwb4uM5S5W7rHFeF>
Date: Sat, 22 Sep 2012 09:23:37 -0400

Hmmm. I like AW a lot, but I think that Glorantha is the wrong setting for it. AW does two things -- it creates a very player-driven gaming experience (the GM pretty much doesn't roll for anything) that depends on player choices to drive the narrative (with some GM nudging). That can be adapted to a Glorantha game really easily.

The second part, however, is it is meant to be an exercise in communal world-building. The GM is required (as much as you can require someone to run a game in a particular way) to provide only some of the answers, to ask "well, why are you there? Why does this cultist hate you? What the heck did you do that the Boss wants to see you? and so on). And the problem with this is that Gorantha, more than almost any other game setting, has "right answers" to many questions.

Part of this is that we enjoy a world revealed through one person -- Greg -- and interpreted by a bunch of others (always subject to revision by Greg). To be fair, Greg says "YGWV," which is great, but, if you just look back over the archives of this and previous lists, a majority of the posts are about "what is the right answer for this question?" And that idea of certainty, that an answer is known or can be provided, by necessity constrains the collective act of creation, unless you are all cool with the idea that you are going to deviate from the published material at an increasing rate. (Notice, people have obviously done this, but they don't seem to be the people posting to this list).

Because, I think, for AW to work, it has to work quickly. When a player asks "What's the deal with the Heler cult?" the GM can't go and say "well, let's see.... and spend 20 minutes digging around for the right answer. The GM goes "they are a bunch of water cultists, not foreigners, but they do weird things. What do you find weird about them?" And the player spins out something, and another player chimes in, and the GM riffs, and so on. Which is not really the Way Gloratha Is Done Around These Parts.

Note: I'm not saying the AW approach is better, and clearly people like "Cannonical Gloratha" or "Generally Accepted Glorantha," but the central game design in AW works at cross purposes to the encyclopedic "Glorantha can be definitively known" ethos.

Peter Larsen

On Fri, Sep 21, 2012 at 11:49 AM, simon_hibbs2 <>wrote:

> **
> While the actual mechanics couldn't be more different, yes there are quite
> a few things in AW that mirror ideas in HeroQuest.
> Another one is the way that in HeroQuest 2 NPCs don't need stats. In HQ
> you decide on the opposing resistance on an ad-hoc basis, and while there's
> no such thing as an opposed roll in AW, they share a common focus on the
> character's abilities as being at the centre of play.
> Fronts and threats are great GMing tools. I need to go over that section
> of the rules again and work up some sheets for my game.
> Simon Hibbs
> --- In, "ian_hammond_cooper"
> <ian_hammond_cooper_at_...> wrote:
> >
> > --- In, "simon_hibbs2" <simon.hibbs@>
> wrote:
> > > So at least for this month, my new favourite system of all time is now
> Apocalypse World. It's well worth checking out.
> >
> > We played a set of vanilla AW games, really enjoyed it, I particularly
> like the setup with fronts and threats to a community. It put me in mind a
> little of what can be done with HeroQuest's Resources and Crises.
> >
> > A lot of indie games have a good focus on low-prep setup that creates
> scenarios. It's great for people with busy lives.
> >
> > In HeroQuest pushing the Narrative Hook and Resource Crises can generate
> similar effects. I have felt for some time that AWs front and threat model
> could be a great way to enhance that - but I have not spent any time
> pursuing the idea. It's definitely a part of HQ to push hard on to get that
> kind of 'setup' feel to an HQ game.
> >

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