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silva

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I didn't find a thread to talk about PbtA games in general, so here it goes. Post your questions, experiences or whatever you feel like.

Something curious I've found today: you know those suggested names in the Gunlugger playbook in AW? They're all names of Rutger Hauer characters from his movies. Batty (Blade Runner), Navarre (Ladyhawk), Vonk the Sculptur (Turkish Delight), etc.

Check it out.. :grin:

 

Edgewise

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Questions it is:
  • Which is your favorite?
  • Which is the best one for someone who has never played one?
 

Séadna

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I played my first one recently The Veil, which I really enjoyed. The advice in the GM section about how to structure a cyberpunk story was very well done. The default is sort of a novel-like story. Not a railroad in that the characters don't have to do anything in particular, but you design your setting and antagonists around a sort of existential question with different groups representing different answers to that question. On my first run I just ripped off Cowboy Bebop's Bushido based "Life as a dream".

My initial impressions are that the system is very good for mid-length games (not a one shot, but not a year long campaign either) that are genre focused. Is this accurate to the system in general?
 
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Mankcam

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I just sent away for City of Mist - I think it's PbtA...
 

Trippy

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Well, it should be noted that Kult: Divinity Lost is an unofficial game based on Apocalypse World rules, albeit using D10s instead of D6s for some reason that I can't quite work out why. I'm willing to wager that it has the highest production values and most involved setting of any of these games to date. Not for kids though.
 

finarvyn

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I have had DUNGEON WORLD for quite a while but never ran it, and just picked up MONSTER OF THE WEEK because it looked really cool. System seems neat, but I don't feel that I get it quite enough to run a session of either yet so based on Voros' comment I guess I should look for APOCOLYPSE WORLD to get the best info about the system.
 

Picaroon Jack

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My first PbtA game was the Sprawl, a cyberpunk game. It was a blast. But I agree Apocalypse World (2nd ed) is a great starting place. Lots of MC (gamemaster) info.
 

Bashere

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I've played Monster of the Week, but honestly couldn't get into the game. I admit to not looking deeply into it but what I've seen and how it's played just didn't appeal to me. The classes felt constricting and the whole thing just didn't feel like it would be good for anything but short campaigns at best. A quick read of the rules felt that you are expected to burn through your luck/fate/whatever points and then when you run out the GM is encouraged to screw you over at that point.

I get it's trying to reflect a certain genre but the set up just doesn't appeal to me.
 

Voros

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I've played Monster of the Week, but honestly couldn't get into the game. I admit to not looking deeply into it but what I've seen and how it's played just didn't appeal to me. The classes felt constricting and the whole thing just didn't feel like it would be good for anything but short campaigns at best. A quick read of the rules felt that you are expected to burn through your luck/fate/whatever points and then when you run out the GM is encouraged to screw you over at that point.

I get it's trying to reflect a certain genre but the set up just doesn't appeal to me.
As the name suggests I do think MotW is mostly intended for a few sessions not longterm play. But every PbtA game is different, in general though they are intended for short campaigns.

One thing to remember is PbtA is very hackable, Baker has an entire section in AW about how to hack your own PbtA game.
 
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silva

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Questions it is:
  • Which is your favorite?
  • Which is the best one for someone who has never played one?
My favorite is the original, Apocalypse World, because it's so open allowing a wide range of styles and premises, where other hacks are usually good at just one thing.

I also find it the best one to get started at the engine, not only for it's clear writing and examples but also because it's dripping with style in it's prose, art, rules, etc. It sells the "spirit" of the engine in a really strong and unique way, imo.
 

silva

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I played my first one recently The Veil, which I really enjoyed. The advice in the GM section about how to structure a cyberpunk story was very well done. The default is sort of a novel-like story. Not a railroad in that the characters don't have to do anything in particular, but you design your setting and antagonists around a sort of existential question with different groups representing different answers to that question. On my first run I just ripped off Cowboy Bebop's Bushido based "Life as a dream".
Thanks for this description. I have The Veil in my queue here, and this made me more excited to read it. I specially like the idea of building the setting (factions, Corps, NPCs, etc) around existential questions (culture shock coming from advanced tech?) and letting the PCs loose in it. Great potential for moral dilemmas and "ugly choices" there!

Take a look at The Sprawl if you want a more traditional Shadowrun/CP2020-like heists-based cyberpunk.

My initial impressions are that the system is very good for mid-length games (not a one shot, but not a year long campaign either) that are genre focused. Is this accurate to the system in general?
This confirms my experience, yes. It's more of a situation-tackling engine, where the group comes up with an issue or situation they want to explore, and after 5-10 sessions they exhaust it and move on. There are exceptions (like Legacy: Life Among the Ruins, which is about generational play) but that's the norm, I agree.
 

AsenRG

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I didn't find a thread to talk about PbtA games in general, so here it goes. Post your questions, experiences or whatever you feel like.

Something curious I've found today: you know those suggested names in the Gunlugger playbook in AW? They're all names of Rutger Hauer characters from his movies. Batty (Blade Runner), Navarre (Ladyhawk), Vonk the Sculptur (Turkish Delight), etc.

Check it out.. :grin:

Someone should ask the author on a forum.
It would be even better if it was accidental:smile:!

Questions it is:
  • Which is your favorite?
  • Which is the best one for someone who has never played one?
I'm not sure about my favourite, but the best for someone who has never played one is definitely Apocalypse World itself, IMO:wink:!
 

Edgewise

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People seem unanimous in their estimation of Apocalypse World. I've heard a few people grouse that Dungeon World is an inferior PbtA iteration but it's the one I see everywhere.

Does anyone else hate the PbtA acronym?
 

Mankcam

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I have Monster Of The Week pdf, I like the premise although I am not sold on the mechanics at this stage, but there are some great ideas within there.

No dramas, it looks like a very easy port to Fate Core if I don't want to force my players to learn new mechanics just because it's a different setting.
 
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spittingimage

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Something curious I've found today: you know those suggested names in the Gunlugger playbook in AW? They're all names of Rutger Hauer characters from his movies. Batty (Blade Runner), Navarre (Ladyhawk), Vonk the Sculptur (Turkish Delight), etc.
Then Doom must be from Omega Doom, which was... well, you can see they were trying to do A Fistful Of Dollars, but all the cowboys were robots and the writing was terrible, and the budget must have been all the change they could find on the mens room floor of the local pub. There's a scene at the end of it where they literally explain the entire plot with a voice-over that sounds like it was recorded while the narrator was high. It's not good, but it's a glorious drinking movie.
 

PolarBlues

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I have no experience with PbtA games. I often hear that they rely on the GM knowing how to play hardball with the players. Is that the case in general for PbtA games or is more of a case by case thing?
 

silva

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Then Doom must be from Omega Doom, which was... well, you can see they were trying to do A Fistful Of Dollars, but all the cowboys were robots and the writing was terrible, and the budget must have been all the change they could find on the mens room floor of the local pub. There's a scene at the end of it where they literally explain the entire plot with a voice-over that sounds like it was recorded while the narrator was high. It's not good, but it's a glorious drinking movie.
Lol this is frigging hilarious. I must watch this.

I was talking with a friend the other day ( @The Butcher , by the way) how those 80s/90s badass B movies vanished in this Netflix era. Michael Madsen, Rutger Hauer, Danny Trejo, Bruce Campbell, Kurt Russel and Mark Dacascos were my childhood heroes, man.

Edit: The Green Room is a nice modern B movie I just watched on Netflix. Highly recommend. Patrick "Xavier" Stewart as a badass neo-nazi villain is awesome.
 
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Voros

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I have no experience with PbtA games. I often hear that they rely on the GM knowing how to play hardball with the players. Is that the case in general for PbtA games or is more of a case by case thing?
Depends on the game you're playing I'd say. AW certainly encourages the GM to be consistently pressing the PCs I think. But some other PbtA games are much more mellow, like the Ebyllion which is a dragons game for kids that stresses cooperation above all.
 

Voros

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Lol this is frigging hilarious. I must watch this.

I was talking with a friend the other day ( @The Butcher , by the way) how those 80s/90s badass B movies vanished in this Netflix era. Michael Madsen, Rutger Hauer, Danny Trejo, Bruce Campbell, Kurt Russel and Mark Dacascos were my childhood heroes, man.

Edit: The Green Room is a nice modern B movie I just watched on Netflix. Highly recommend. Patrick "Xavier" Stewart as a badass neo-nazi villain is awesome.
The same director of The Green Room made a film before it called Blue Ruin that is very good and I believe his latest is a very violent prison drama whose name escapes me.
 
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Voros

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PbtA is a pretty bad name for a generic rule set
I'm not sure PbtA is a generic system per se.

I don't think it was designed to be generic from the get-go, it was just in the back of AW Baker had a section where he was like "hey, if you feel like it you can hack your own settings using these rules as a base, here's how you do it." And it took off from there.
 
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carpocratian

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Well, it should be noted that Kult: Divinity Lost is an unofficial game based on Apocalypse World rules
That's the thing that kept me from backing the Kickstarter. I love Kult and have the older rule sets, but really dislike PbtA style games.
 

Edgewise

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Only the first game has anything to do with the apocalypse. They should have called it WorldEngine.
 

carpocratian

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Only the first game has anything to do with the apocalypse. They should have called it WorldEngine.
No matter what they call it, it is still a system - and a philosophy of GM/player interaction - that I deliberately avoid.
 

Edgewise

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No matter what they call it, it is still a system - and a philosophy of GM/player interaction - that I deliberately avoid.
Yeah I wasn't responding specifically to you - I'm well-aware that it would take more than a name change. I'm a little leery myself.
 

Trippy

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That's the thing that kept me from backing the Kickstarter. I love Kult and have the older rule sets, but really dislike PbtA style games.
I'm fairly ambivalent about the system used, to be honest. PbtA systems are quite neat (as in tidy and efficient), so all they really did was adapt the old archetypes to the format of the new system. To me, ultimately it just amounts to rolling high on 2D10 instead of rolling low on a D20. The general feel of the writing and look of the game is true to the original though.
 
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Mankcam

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I have a few games I bought in recent times which I think use a version of PbtA: City Of Mist, Blades In The Dark, and Scum And Villainy.
I have to take a good look at them, but the system feels like setting-specific class/archetypes plus ? Descriptors/Aspects, so pretty traditional rpg stuff a bit of Fate-ish stuff.

Will take a better look at them after working thru other titles I am reading
 
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Caesar Slaad

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Questions it is:
  • Which is your favorite?
  • Which is the best one for someone who has never played one?
IMO/E:
*Masks
*Masks

Though this is somewhat contentious in the PbtA "early adopter" community, some of whom consider Masks bad (or at least not great/"in the spirit). Which I don't get. I consider Masks an exemplary game, and easier for me to understand and play than many PbtA games.

I've been running City of Mist. It has some warts but it's pretty cool.
I'm trying the Sprawl next week. It's obviously flawed, but I hope I can get past some of its weaknesses. Though it's not perfect, the group wants a Cyberpunk game, and it seems like there isn't a very good CP game these days (no, I don't like Shadowrun, and don't think of it as rightly Cyberpunk.)
I've played Dungeon World. I think of it as innovative, but don't enjoy the way it plays.
I've played MonsterHearts. Notwithstanding that the GM (I refuse to say MC) tweaked it to a cooler setting than faux Twilight, it wasn't for me.
I think of Monster a Week as pretty mediocre. But I guess it's there for people who dig Supernatural in the same way that my love of CP made me get/try The Sprawl.

Blades in the Dark and Scum & Villainy are slightly different beasts. They share some characteristics (playbook and difficult-choice dice resolution driven), but are excellent in their own way. I've run a Scum & Villainy session and hope to continue that game soon.
 

silva

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@Caesar Slaad , have you tried The Veil? It looks pretty distinct from The Sprawl.

About Masks, is it really bashed like that? I always hear it's one of the best iterations of the engine. And it seems so through my reading of it (never played it though).
 

Voros

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Masks seems to be one of the most played PbtA games out there.
 

finarvyn

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Blades in the Dark and Scum & Villainy are slightly different beasts. They share some characteristics (playbook and difficult-choice dice resolution driven), but are excellent in their own way. I've run a Scum & Villainy session and hope to continue that game soon.
Can you tell me more about these two games? I think my local game store has both in stock and I haven't been able to decide if I should buy them or not.
 
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