Tuesday, August 28, 2018

In Which I Run a PbtA Game

In case you missed it, there was an indie RPG from Vincent and Meguey Baker called Apocalypse World, and people have taken the rule system and done all kinds of non-apocalypsy things with it. People have taken to calling such games "Powered by the Apocalypse" or PbtA. 

In the last six months, I've picked up two such games, Urban Shadows (vampires and werewolves and stuff plotting and scheming) and Monster of the Week (Buffy/Supernatural style monster killin') 

It's no secret that I've been looking for a replacement for World of Darkness/Chronicles of Darkness for years. I've even tried to write several such replacements, and they've all been failures in my eyes for one reason or another. I picked up these books as perhaps my last hope at having an urban fantasy/horror game that does what I want it to. 

I finally got around to running MotW this past Saturday with my sort-of local group. (They live in my hometown, which is 50ish miles away from me) 

It was fuggin' great. Some of my takes: 

-The mechanics are dead simple. The moves cover most actions that players would take anyway, and are simple enough that you could easily make up moves on the fly. (We sort of did that with a PC who wanted to attempt some stealthy antics) 

-The play style is constantly pushing things forward. This is bad if your group is more comfortable with extensive planning. Personally we found it refreshing. 

-The game manages to be narrative, but lacks the weird inorganic feeling I get from Fate Core. 

-Not rolling dice as a GM is weird. At the same time, the GM moves list is designed in such a way as to constantly have me making decisions. I felt like more of an active participant in the game rather than a purely reactive force. You may or may not dig that. 

-The game advocates minimal prep on the part of the GM. It works out better than you would think. At no point did I feel like I was just doing jazz-hands or pulling things out of my...hat. 

Keep in mind that this group is accustomed to playing Pathfinder. (Not with me, my PF days were brief and they are most decidedly over) I'd say that PF and MotW are pretty far apart from one another on the rpg spectrum. They felt it was significantly different than what they usually play, but they enjoyed the hell out of it. 

We're planning on making this a regular weekly thing. 

...now I just need to decide on this week's Monster of the Week (roll credits) 

With that, I think I can safely say that Save Vs. Poison isn't an OSR blog, and hasn't been for some time. I just happen to like old TSR D&D better than post-TSR D&D. 

1 comment:

  1. My brief experience with Apocalypse World was similar to yours, I think; definitely a change of pace, but I didn't get to play enough of it to judge whether it would sustain my interest. Glad you found a workable supernatural horror game, though!