Grade the Powered by the Apocalypse (PbtA) System

How do you feel about the PbtA (Powered by the Apocalypse) system?

  • I love it.

    Votes: 34 24.5%
  • It's pretty good.

    Votes: 29 20.9%
  • It's alright I guess.

    Votes: 22 15.8%
  • It's pretty bad.

    Votes: 7 5.0%
  • I hate it.

    Votes: 8 5.8%
  • I've never played it.

    Votes: 39 28.1%
  • I've never even heard of it.

    Votes: 0 0.0%


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hawkeyefan

Legend
...what do you think the purpose of this topic is, precisely?

To discuss PbtA games and what we like or don’t about them.

So either you're also being a contrarian and disagreeing with me on principle or you somehow are also completely confused by what I mean by storytelling.

No, I’m not confused. I don’t think that PbtA games are “writers rooms” or that they “generate stories in the third person, and do so by deliberately dissociating mechanics from how those stories proceed”.



Lets try this: what, precisely, do you think Ive said in this topic?

That you don’t like PbtA games for reasons that are inaccurate.

Only in the sense that this topic exists to invite people to give their opinions on a given family of games. Which I have.

You and the other person responded by getting highly offended and spouting off about not being convinced by me, when I frankly do not give a flying naughty word about whether or not I convince you if anything. This isn't about you.

You clearly don't care for my opinion and despite your claims about supporting my opinions you haven't actually practiced that demand you have of me (all you've done thus far is just complain about me), so clearly you're not really even interested in talking to me at all.

So all I can say to you is get over it and disengage if you don't actually have anything to say.

I’m not offended by what you’ve said. I just think it’s misplaced, poorly explained, and inaccurate. Based on the poll results, there are many folks who’ve looked at this thread who’ve not yet played PbtA games. I’d hate for your comments to influence those folks.

I am not saying I am unable to come up with what the acid spray could do in game, but there are no mechanics attached to it, everything is left up to the DM.

Forgive me if you know how the game works already, but the Ankheg (or any other monster or NPC) doesn’t get an actual turn in Dungeon World or similar games. Instead, when the game calls for a move by the GM, they can use a monster move as their move.

A GM makes a move when the players look to him for what happens next, hand him a golden opportunity, or when the players’ dive call for a roll. The GM never rolls.

So if I’m a Fighter and I attack the Ankheg and roll poorly, I deal no damage and maybe it spits acid on me. That probably inflicts damage, but maybe it also leaves my sword covered in acid. Do I toss it aside and draw another weapon? Do I try to get the acid off before the sword is damaged or destroyed?

The monster moves are not specifically defined to give the GM the freedom to use the moves in different ways. It is a bit of a learning curve, but once you get used to it, it really allows for dynamic play.

Guess this just is not a game / system for me

That’s possible, for sure! I’d say to at least give it a try if the opportunity presents itself.

And of BitD-alikes, I'll just mention Spire (and its alternative, Heart), which are lovely (in a tragically doomed way). I don't even like supermagical settings or drow, but there we are.

Yes! Spire is amazing! As is Heart, but I really, really like Spire. I’m always glad when other people bring it up.
 

mamba

Legend
If by "the game" you mean "the combat system" . . .
well, it's a monster, so yes, in this case the combat system of it

but then the Rank in Ironsworn does much the same thing. Ironsworn and Dungeon World have rules for resolving combat too. They're just not variants on D&D's take turns, in initiative order, to roll to hit, roll for damage, ablate hp until one is at zero.
whatever they are, I am not a fan of. To me they have only the slightest membrane that separates them from being pure storytelling, so maybe call it too little crunch.
 

mamba

Legend
I don't see how it's a weakness of the game that I don't need to pay others to write up wargame-y stats for creatures, in order to use them in my scenarios.
as I said, I can do so myself too, there is no requirement to buy such books.

The weakness to me is that ultimately all monsters are basically the same. The Ankheg burrows and bursts forth, the next guy hangs from the ceiling and sweeps down, the third ambushes you around a dark corner, but in the game this is all 'showing signs of an impending threat', there just is nothing to it. You might as well save the page space and not include any at all.
 

pemerton

Legend
The weakness to me is that ultimately all monsters are basically the same. The Ankheg burrows and bursts forth, the next guy hangs from the ceiling and sweeps down, the third ambushes you around a dark corner
How are these things the same? They are different fictions, that suggest different responses.

in the game this is all 'showing signs of an impending threat', there just is nothing to it.
This seems like saying that smoke coming from the cone of a volcano, and the beacons of Gondor being lit as the Orc army looms on the border, are basically the same because both are signs of an impending threat (an eruption, and the invasion of Gondor by Orcs, respectively).

The difference is in the fiction.
 


Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
Supporter
I can tell you're very emotionally invested in these games, so let me ease your anxiety: I am not offending you by voicing my opinions. This isn't about you.

Mod Note:
Except, of course, in this post you are making it about them - you are making it about their personal emotional investment, and so on.

This is the second time you've been warned about that in this thread. Please don't aim to get a third.
 

I don’t think that PbtA games are “writers rooms” or that they “generate stories in the third person, and do so by deliberately dissociating mechanics from how those stories proceed”.

Then you disagree with virtually everyone whose ever discussed PBTA outside of this topic and this concerted effort to disagree with me.
 

pemerton

Legend
I don’t think that PbtA games are “writers rooms” or that they “generate stories in the third person, and do so by deliberately dissociating mechanics from how those stories proceed”.
Apocalypse World, at its most basic, is like any other RPG: the GM describes a situation, the players declare actions for their PCs, and the rules are applied to work out what happens as a result.

The game's particular structure, that I described upthread, means that play will generate a story of somewhat brutal conflict in a post-apocalyptic world. But no one has to write that story - the rules take care of that. There is no "writers' room" to it - that is, no people sitting around collectively deciding on a sequence of events that will constitute a satisfying story. Nor is there any particular third personality to it - the most canonical GM refrain is second person, namely, "What do you do?"

TL;DR: I agree with the quoted post.
 

hawkeyefan

Legend
Then you disagree with virtually everyone whose ever discussed PBTA outside of this topic and this concerted effort to disagree with me.

No, that’s really not the case. Plenty of other folks in this very thread have told you that they disagree.

I agree that there are people out there who describe PbtA and similar games along those lines. But I don’t think those people are correct. I think they’re either under informed, or they have a bias. Or more charitably, they may not know how to more accurately articulate the differences between PbtA style play and more traditional play.
 

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