Survivor of the Week – Machine Talker

You’ve rigged up some system that allows you to listen and maybe even talk to the machines. Maybe you spliced one of the overland wires, maybe you’ve hijacked a cell tower or managed to beam a signal to one of the many low-orbit satellites. But you can glimpse into the machine minds, you can trick, cajole, force or at least negotiate with them.

Machine Talkers are highly sought after, because knowing what the machines are up to or even how to fake a legitimate order means the difference between life and death. Some of the ‚talkers are in deep with the machines, making them a bit weird for normal human interactions. Others know their worth and lord it over their clients, demanding outrageous fees for their work.

Survivor of the Week: Post Robber

Be it for the thrill of the take or just for plain survival, Post Robbers make a living out of ambushing, stealing or simple tricking the machines Mail Order Delivery Vehicles into giving up their precious cargo.

These daring folks use any method at their disposal to get to the goods, and often enough they have to face formidable opposition of Murderbots and booby-trapped cargo trains. They are mean, grizzled and cunning.

Survivor of the Week: Roving Genealogist

All of the fortunes of man must by definition belong to some man. Well, to someone at least. Even the most convoluted dutch-irish-sandwich-tax-evasion-scheme boils down to someone owning the stock portfolio eventually. The original person is of course long dead, but they have to had had an heir. And while that person is probably dead too, someone out there, probably even a few more people must be the rightful inheritors of mankind’s lost fortune.

You have made it your mission to trace back the bloodlines, to look at last wills and trusts, to find an heir who will be allowed into the fertile and rich lands, so the machines will once again serve us.

A Genealogist is sometimes revered, sometimes aided, but often ridiculed. They are armed with stacks of documents, memory sticks, well versed in ancient contracts. For that reason they often enough serve as arbitrators in disputes. Some of them hack into the machines databases, trying to glean insights into the ownership structures.

Randomness

I’ve come to love random tables. It took me a while, but these things are a very nifty tool to get creative juices flowing.

One trick is to make the entries evocative enough that one can quickly come up with more details. The other is to ensure that the results are varied enough to not be boring but internally consistent so things fit together.

a random dice-drop map

MOA will come with quite a few such tables and mechanisms:

  • A dice-drop system to quickly create a random node map to explore
  • random tables to fill that map with encounters and descriptions
  • tables about Stuff, so you know what is inside a given parcel or shipment
  • more encounter and event tables to quickstart a session

No movement on moves

After a big flurry of activity, I’ve hit my first big stumbling block: Writing moves for this game.

All Powered by the Apocalypse games rely heavily on the construct called Moves – bits of game rules that get activated by certain bits of narrated fiction, ask players to roll dice and then make interesting things happen.

At first, this looked easy as pie:

Don’t Starve!

Trigger: If your survivor feels hunger or realizes that there is no readily available food within 20 meters. (Readily available means: The survivor could eat it right now without facing any immediate danger or repercussions. A bush full of fruit is available, a leg of ham in the hand of another scavenger who is eating it right now is not)
Do: Eat something or Roll 2D6 + Body
Effect: if you’ve eaten something, you have to face any consequences (ie: The scavenger is angry that you took his leg of ham and attacks you)
If you rolled the dice, check the result:
10 or more: You’re actually not that hungry – yet. Gain 1 Determination
7 to 9: You manage to ignore the gnawing in your stomach. Gain 1 Desperation
6 or less: You are starving! Take 1 wound and gain 2 Desperation

So far so good, and I managed to actually write all the Basic Moves for the player characters too, even some for the Master AI (which is what I call the gamemaster).

But writing the Moves for the individual Playbooks? I fear I need more playtesting before these come together…