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Current status: writing for my game 🧙‍♂️👨‍🎨

I'm having the best time playing #ApocalypseWorld twice a month.

The rules feel incredibly open ended but at the same time it is incredibly amenable to WRITING and I think that's important, it hits me right in the creative guts

1/thread
One of the things I've always enjoyed about P&P games, and the reason I have spent most of my RPG hours as a DM, is because I love storytelling, and the writing and creation that goes with it.

I've played mostly D&D, some Pathfinder, a few other odd RPGs. Most
of the games I'm talking about are very mechanics-heavy.

As a longtime lover of strategy gaming (everything from Smallworld to Starcraft) I thought tactical combat mechanics were essential, but that wasn't why I put in 1000s of hours doing GM prep--
(not an exaggeration; by my estimation something like 6-12 hours a month for most of my life. It has dropped to near zero in the last 10 years)
--I put in those hours because I wanted a compelling story. At age 12 I, having never heard of P&P RPGs, received an original red box set for Christmas. I understood very quickly that the stories were why I would play this game.
Not everyone plays these games for the same reasons. I have many reasons to play, myself.

But the reason I went deep on D&D and games like it was crafting story and worldbuilding.

But that brings me to the problem with those games. I wanted both story AND tactical combat,
and as a DM doing his own worldbuilding, I had to do all of both, from scratch. Drawing maps will never get old for me, but statting creatures, rolling treasure tables, laying out these tactical notes in a way that I could reach them quickly,
these elements FELT LIKE A SLOG on top of the story I was writing. Would excitedly write encounters for 2 hours, draw maps for 1h, then spend 4 more hours statting things and placing them where they would be accessible to me as a DM.

7+h prep for one 2-3h session of table play.
As an adult with A Job, I finally let it go for many many years. I popped into a few games as a player, but I couldn't stick with those because my itch to write was too overwhelming and you don't have a framework for that as a D&D player.
(True, you can go off the rails, but I hate doing that to my GMs out of respect for their creative process. I only derail if I think my character's motivations are profoundly out of sync with what's happening.

For some reason, I've never minded when it was done to me, though.)
So bring in AW, which I've owned for a couple of years now. The lack of tactical combat made it an interesting system that I didn't think I would ever play until we had our first session, and I realized
during that 2h intro that, even though I hadn't given them even one single encounter, the mechanics of AW were such that we were already telling stories, about each other and the world we live in. Holy crap!
(btw, I want to talk about this world on Twitter, and about how we approached "tone" in the game, and I will. But not in this thread.

Just know that I think explicitly and implicitly setting the tone in a game like this is important.)
So this was already fun, but where was the *writing*, follllllks?

I had understood the rulebook enough to know that I shouldn't create much in advance, that the players are equal creators in this world.

I knew about Fronts and Threats, although I had yet to make one,
and by now I was sweating at not being able to outline 50 sessions ahead. My urge has ever been to fire the plot out of a harpoon gun into the future, with the players tied to end of it.

Until I sat down and reread AW's MC chapters and really understood the tools it gives you.
I had a pile of notes from the first session: the characters' Hx, a bit of Lore I created (not too much, b/c the players need room to play in), and a whole big mess of frantically scribbled ideas bouncing off things ppl had said while creating characters.
AW's gift, to you as an MC, is a usable framework to slot all of those things in. Threats let you basically drop "Dangerous people are trying to break into the Hold" on an index card and includes the exact tools you need to rapidly flesh that idea out.
They force you to think about:
- scarcity that's driving the bad things that happen;
- what motivations the NPCs and situations have;
- where things might go to shit if the players fuck it up;
- & specific, usable tools like Countdown Clocks that help you SHOW the players that there are stakes.

It took me less than an hour to create an entire Front of 4 of these Threats,
including the NPCs that go with them, and we only scratched two of them during the last session! (They follow me On Here, so I won't talk about any specific things I've put into threats, I'll just say that I WOULD WATCH THIS SHOW.)
(btw s/o to @scrivenerapp at this point for making the perfect tool for AW MC'ing. All my "index cards" are texts in this app, and they get organized as we go. Pls release the Windows version now folks!)
There's much more that I ♥ about AW. Move mechanics that are unique to each character, the simple 2d6, "success if you succeed, points if you fail" mechanic. We've tried just a whisper of combat, and it feels more visceral than much of what I did in D&D.
This thread wasn't meant to be a review of the game, although it clearly is. I just wanted to share how amazing it feels to have a system that lets me get my story out QUICKLY, still feels like a game, lets the players tell the story too, and pushes the writing-joy button.
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