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Summary of the basic AW framework.

Game Master Cheat Sheet


MC Agenda
1. Make AW world seem real
2. Make characters' lives not boring (== make character lives interesting?)
3. Play to find out what happens
MC Principles
1. Barf forth apocalyiptica the text has some dumb examples without stating the principle, which would seems
to be , understand the world and imagine its components, and relay in terms of
sensory data e.g: rain has toner like grit whith makes leaves gray , dogs have i
nner eyelids that click etc
2. Address yourself to players never characters
= obvious
3. Make your move, but misdirect.
(which is better stated as "make your move flow from game world events"
afaiui, the actual GM move is triggered by something the player says his charact
er does, or something the player does - look at you for input, say . But you ex
plain the move as a result of /flowing from game world happenings.
Eg: Player makes a move (" go aggro") of "grab his gun" and rolls and fails. Thi
s is what triggers the GM move.
But you don't say, "you rolled low so you two get separated" you say
"you try to grab his gun (player move) but he is fast and lays it across your fo
rehead. He seems pissed by your attempt and says "Oh she wants to play? take her
dickboy to the cauldron and throw him in" As they are stomping you, you see the
m drag Damon (character name!) away. What do you do?"
4. Make your move but never speak its name

a clarification on the above principle is all. Never say "you are separated" (G
M move = "separate them"

extra concept tacked on: your move may be chosen at random from the GM list of
moves. But present it as having fictional effect (above, 3 is about fictional *c

ause*)

e.g: GM Move == "announce future badness"


what you say == " you can see a cloud of black smoke in the East and when the wi
nd is right, you can hear occasional shots from that direction. I wonder what is
happening over there?"

Essentially a way to condense 3 and 4 into 1 rule would be "Present GM moves as


effects/events in the game world, and having game world causes and effects". Do
ne

5. Look through the crosshairs


== a dumb way of saying - the GM should hold the attitude that anything in the w
orld can be attacked and destroyed -an institution, a rival gang, any NPC. The p
layers may think specific aspects of the world are reliable. As a GM, don't.

6. "name everyone, make everyone human"


has 3 parts
6.a
Everyone should have a name, including all NPCs with even one line or one signi
ficant screen moment.
6.b
Give them sensible (not necessarily complicated) motivations and have them act
on it. e.g: Roark, burning down the nearby hardhold (and bringing trouble down o
n the players) and now looking for a bubble bath. (The point is that Roark does
what he does, as per *his* lights, and it doesn't necessarily have to make sense
to the players)
6.c
Make PC-NPC-PC triangles.
i.e make NPC self interests involve PC s individually.
e.g: Roark loves Marie, who is ambitious, but serves Uncle,who wants people to s
tay in their places.

What is really happening here is that there are two distinct arrows from Roark t
o Uncle and Marie, but more importantly, *these conflict*.

7 Ask provocative questions and build on the answers.


- essentially a two step process. Constantly ask players questions (a) and build
on it (b)
(a) ask questions
- start simple - What is your living space like? Why can only two people fit in
to the tank?
as play proceeds, ask for immediate details of the players experiences
List of question seeds
- sense based - sight, texture, temperature, sound, smell , taste
- details of things, relations, places
How do the people of tent city make you feel?
How do her lips feel under your palm?
(b) note answers and
--- 'barf apocalytica about the answers, adding your own details and imager
y
--- bring it back into play later in the game
--- incorporate the answer (and more importantly its implications) into you
r developing apocalyptic aesthetic/vision
Ha! no examples. Very helpful! Not.
8. Respond with fuckery and intermittent rewards
fuckery = fuck around with not fuck over (roll eyes)
essentially the Joe's girl example says, even when players get what they expect,
which they should, since they worked hard, you should add unexpected aspects to
it. the example is pretty terrible since it does not delineate what the expect
ation was and why the changes added by the GM are particularly problematic.
Intermittently give players what the expect or something beyond what they expect
ed. Intermittently.

9. Be a fan of the players characters. Don't be an eternal adversary.


Specifically
- don't take away what makes the characters cool/memorable

- don't deny a character success when they've fought for it. Instead give char
acter success, but make it consequential - the world responds to success - NPC a
ct/change, triangle activations/changes etc
- Make hard move you like != make hardest possible move
- don't screw the character by highlighting his worst stat (consistently)

10. Sometimes declaim decision making


- four choices
1. put decision in your NPC's hands
2. put it in the players hands
3. create a countdown
4. make it a stakes question
Given an NPC, say Deere, who the NPC's care about. Decision: Does he die?
1. put decision in your NPC's hands - Birdie (NPC) decides whether Deere dies or
not. Does it make sense for Birdy to kill Deere? If so he dies. Else, he lives
2. put decision in your players hands - "Deere's been shot and he is shuddering
and going into shock. What do you do?" - If player/s help, Deere lives, else he
dies.
3. create a countdown - (detailed procedure to come). But in in essence, have a
countdown that ticks along.
4. make it a stakes question - (details to come, but it seems like a scene is s
etup with PC's and NPCs and played out)

9. Think Offscreen too


- essentially keep NPCs fronts etc moving in your head and when their actions b
ecome manifest, present to players

MC Moves
A. General principles:
1. Choose a move that logically follows from the game's fiction.

2. Generally choose a move that (a) sets up for future harder move *and* (b) gi
ves the character a chance to react
3. When the player gives you a golden opportunity (eg: a player makes a move an
d misses - < 6) make a hard and direct move. Not necessarily meanest possible b
ut irrevocable (?)
4. Unless golden opp, only do a move that sets up a future move. Good example is
"announce future badness" (I guess the point here is that you don't necessarily
directly hurt the players unless there is a golden opp. e.g: Separating player
s is by itself not 'hurty' but sets up future fights without allies).
"you hear gunfire and screams to the west and there is a black cloud of smoke bl
otting out the setting Sun. What do you do?"
5. When the game rules tell you things to say, say them in accordance with the "
ground events and responses in the fiction " principle
e.g: when the game rules say (as a response to a roll) "they get the hell out of
your way" the MC actually says "she jumps into the mud and elbow crawls away fr
om you, looking back in fear"
e.g: "they give you what they want" - "all right keep them asshole but don't co
me around tonight"
6. When your fronts tell you to say things == when "say something interesting" y
ou decide to reveal "joe's girl joined the cult" etc present audio 'picture' of
gang's chant with "joe's girl" in it somewhere
7. Make maps like crazy.
8. Turn questions back on players - "What does the mountain look like?" " I don'
t know what *does* it look like?"
9. Occasionally go into great detail about some insignificant part of the scen
e. - details of coat pins blah
10. . Elide action sometimes - battle being played out in great detail then you
say in the middle "so you are pinned till night falls"
11. Vary scales of moves " make a dash under fire " == "navigate 100 meters to c
ave entrance" or "cross the burning desert over a period of weeks with Dink and
his cannibals chasing you all the way"
12. Go around the table "While this is going on, what do you do Martha?" . Cut b
ack and forth between players.
13. Take frequent breaks.

1. After every move, ask "what do you do?"


Whenever any player looks at you expecting you to say something *pick on of the
MC moves* and "say" it, rooting in the fiction etc as per the MC principle of mo
ve originating and terminating in the fiction. Then *always* ask "what do you do
?"
2. Announce future badness
Not sure what the difference is between this and put someone in a spot. The exa
mples are really dumb.
3. Announce offscreen badness
The difference between 'announce future badness' and "announce offscreen badness
" is that the latter cannot be directly examined by the player. So a gunman comi
ng into the scene and aiming at player, vs gunfire in the distance.
4. Separate them:
- by distance - 'you are far enough away that you can't hear each other"
- by forcing one player to 'stay behind' while another escapes/passes into dif
ferent 'territory zones' etc
5. Capture someone
- 'capture' used very loosely. In the first example, someone is under siege, n
ot really captured. The basic idea seems to be to restrict movement. Which fits
in with the second example where someone is 'captured' by someone else throwing
themselves in front of the exit. So essentially "nail character down to present
location and somehow unable to leave"
6. Put someone in a spot
== create present , *immediately impending* trouble. Could be in the middle of a
n action sequence (enemy truck grinding blah).
7. Trade harm for harm (as established).
- essentially do harm, get harm. I think harm rules come later
8. Inflict harm (as established).
- essentially player takes harm without inflicting it.

9. Take away their stuff I would have thought this would be as simple as characters losing equipment but
the first example has an enemy gunman standing on the character's car (thus "ta
king it away" but in the second, the character is screwing someone and enemies
burst in and beat him up (so no Hx? is that what is being taken away? wtf?)
10. Make them buy
== if character wants something they can get it at a price
11. Activate their stuff's downside
= make equipment's weaknesses come to life. rifle in close combat blah.
12. Tell them possible consequences and ask.
- essentially when a player plans to do X, give them the possible consequences o
f doing X
e.g: You can go to Hatchet city but that will use up all your fuel and you won't
be able to leave unless you find more. What do you do?"
13. Offer an opportunity
(a) with cost - he isn't aware of you and you can get the drop on him IF
you leave Amni here. What do you do? (or better "Do you want to?")
(b) without cost - he isn't aware of you and you can get the drop on him.
What do you do?
14. Turn their move back on them
== ??? the example is totally weird. WTF
15. Make a threat move from one of your fronts.

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