Once I began the work on the “second tier” playbooks for my Apocalypse World hack I quickly realised this hack still has some major issues. Though in my mind the premises and the main idea behind this hack is clear it might not be for others.This was a point that I noticed while we get together to play it a couple of weeks ago.
Aki was wondering why would his character stick with the other characters. I realise that this is something that pops up every once in a while in any game. My current approach to this kind of a problem is to get rid of the character as soon as possible. Questioning the motives of a character is a quick way to kill the mood and diverse the story from what is actually happening. But this time was different. It got me think of the reasons any of the characters are involved in “the hunt”.
For me Wayward Sons is a game about regular people getting mixed into paranormal events. When the game goes on they will get deeper in the shadow world behind the normal structure of society. But the problem here is that I have not addressed this eventual and inevitable future. The taint has been introduced but it has yet to spark any real effect on the characters.’
Trying to solve this problem I decided it was time to get into writing the “second tier” playbooks I had had on my mind since we began playing Wayward Sons. It has always been my purpose that the “novice characters” would grow into something more suitable for encountering the beings and phenomenons from the Beyond. I have been thinking the way Mulder and Scully got deeper and deeper into the conspiracies and their mythos but it was apparent that my players had not seen it this way.
I started out the Seasoned playbooks with “The Hunter”. Aki was kind enough to point out that this does not spark any kind of idea of what the playbook was about. Another failure from my part. I got a bit bummed at first but after a good night’s sleep I was back on the game (both literally and figuratively speaking). “The Hunter” was a bad choice for a playbook simply because it was something that all characters should be.
As an inspiration exercise I tried to think of different ways to separate hunters from each other. Why would they differ from each other and how?
In Hunter: The Vigil they are different because of their affiliations. I do not want that. Sure there might be a playbook that would allow a player to use a character to belong into an organisation that studies and/or hunts these phenomenons. But this idea gave me one playbook. It deals with a character that is part of a bigger organisation like FBI, CIA, The Initiative from Buffy, Witch Hunter society from 3rd season of American Horror Story etc.
Monster of the Week hack also present a range of hunters. It would be a simple thing to steal from it. But MotW is a good hack by itself. If I wanted something like that I would be playing it. That is not to say I would be above borrowing an idea or two from it. After all one playbook for Seasoned must be something like a professional monster hunter. Most likely a loner, “everyone around me dies”-kind of type.
The comics about John Constantine have been a major influence on my thinking on this hack. The problem with him is that he is way too powerful. At least for this “tier”. I might add something like him for the third and final tier but for Seasoned character I think I need to add someone that might one day be like him. Someone who is familiar with the beings from the Beyond.
For diversity’s sake there also needs to be someone who is only in it for the money. Think Bella from Supernatural. I am still not sure who she could be turned into a playbook but she is definitely an interesting type of a hunter. There is something lovecraftian about her and that is something I want to grasp. She might not admit it but she thirst for the knowledge and power the objects she hunt present.
In addition with these archetypes I have been thinking about a member of a cult and someone with a really paranoid attitude. Both have their problems. The Cult Member could easily turn out too similar to the “secret society/police member” and the paranoid “lone gunman” could be unplayable. They still need some more consideration before I even begin to work on them. As do all of them for that matter. The main idea that the each playgroup would have the chance to determine what do their characters hunt (aliens, monster, vampires, foreign agents, cultists, witches… etc.) must be considered in each playbook.
We are having a gaming night tomorrow so hopefully I will be able to present these ideas to the group and get some response. I know Aki will read this before that but the others are a bit harder to get into this side of the game.
Hopefully we’ll have some preliminary playbooks out sooner than later!