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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niklinna

učim hrvatski
Not the unpopular opinion thread, but relevant here anyway: PbtA > FitD

I say that as someone who loves Blades in the Dark, too
I am reminded of that article in The Onion about how a certain GM finally understood how to run Blades in the Dark after reading the rulebook 87 times, or something. (I did just search for the article, in duckduckgo and google and The Onion itself, and sadly could not dredge it up.)

Blades in the Dark looks straightforward, but it has a lot of rules hidden in weird places. It's like a treasure hunt!

I love Blades in the Dark too, though.
 

Eyes of Nine

Everything's Fine
I am reminded of that article in The Onion about how a certain GM finally understood how to run Blades in the Dark after reading the rulebook 87 times, or something. (I did just search for the article, in duckduckgo and google and The Onion itself, and sadly could not dredge it up.)

Blades in the Dark looks straightforward, but it has a lot of rules hidden in weird places. It's like a treasure hunt!

I love Blades in the Dark too, though.
 

niklinna

učim hrvatski
Oh! I could've sworn it was in The Onion....

Thanks for finding it!

Edit: And hey I was only off by 4.
 

Eyes of Nine

Everything's Fine
Oh! I could've sworn it was in The Onion....

Thanks for finding it!

Edit: And hey I was only off by 4.
Relevant to this entire thread though is the final sentence in the article, quoting titular GM who read the BitD text 83 times:
"When asked if she had any advice for up-and-coming Blades GMs, Borba said “Oh, it doesn’t matter. It’s a fiction-first game, just do what feels right.”"
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
Supporter
As you note, there are people that, for reasons of psychopatholoy or neuropathology, simply are unable to play this type of game.

Mod Note:
Folks,

I know this line of discussion started from a place of someone talking about people they knew, from a place of understanding.

It still remains broadly true that blaming someone's issues with a game on mental health conditions is a great way to have a moderator come and stare at you as if you just blatantly had your pet squirrel race over and poop in their morning cereal.

I do not recommend this rhetorical direction. At all. No harm yet, but it should stop now, before someone takes it someplace ugly. I hope that's understandable.
 


I will admit I bounced hard off meaning-free wording like "To do it, do it" and "if you do it, you do it". I mean, it was explained in the surrounding text, but I still roll my eyes every time I see those empty statements that were clearly trying to be edgy rather than explain anything. A lot of the other edgy text really worked for me though: Apocalypse World was there to present an edgy and harsh world, and the textual tone was integral to that.
Well, I'm of the school of thought that those phrases are filled with meaning. "To do it, do it" has 2 subjects, the player and the character. The first phrase tells you what the player's need is "to do it" and the second is the in-character process "(you) do it" where you is the character (the player in character, and remember, AW doesn't HAVE out of character, except maybe to solve a rules dispute). Same with the other one. If you (the player) do it, you (the character) do it. And the immediate form of the verb 'to do' making it NOW. It's not "if you did it, you did it." nope! Its wham bam that's it the thing just happened! Much like real life, you stepped off the curb, well maybe you thought better of it a second later, but the truck still hit you.
 

I am reminded of that article in The Onion about how a certain GM finally understood how to run Blades in the Dark after reading the rulebook 87 times, or something. (I did just search for the article, in duckduckgo and google and The Onion itself, and sadly could not dredge it up.)

Blades in the Dark looks straightforward, but it has a lot of rules hidden in weird places. It's like a treasure hunt!

I love Blades in the Dark too, though.
The rules could use an editor, lol. They do this thing that a lot of game texts do. That is they introduce a topic, and give a few rules, then go on to something else, and then 100 pages later they give a whole other set of rules, which you needed to know when you read the first part, and often there's a 3rd go-around too! BitD is far from the worst. I found BRP to be unusable, there are rules scattered everywhere on every topic, its utter chaos.
 

pemerton

Legend
I will admit I bounced hard off meaning-free wording like "To do it, do it" and "if you do it, you do it".
I didn't bounce of it, I guess because I didn't find it meaning-free.

I took the first to be an idiomatic rendering of In order to do it [ie roll the dice for a move as per the rules], a player must do it [ie declare an action for their character which is listed as the move in question, such as (eg) seizing something by force].

I took the second to mean If you do it [ie declare an action for your character which is listed as a move, such as (eg) seizing something by force], then you do it [ie roll the dice for the appropriate move].

An alternative, which would exploit the player-PC identification inherent in typical RPGing, would involve a more co-referential second person:

In order to do it [ie roll the dice for a move as per the rules], one's PC must do it [ie in the fiction, one's PC must undertake an action which is listed as the move in question, such as (eg) seizing something by force].

If you [that is, the PC in the fiction] do it [ie declare an action for your character which is listed as a move, such as (eg) seizing something by force], then you [the player] do it [ie roll the dice for the appropriate move].

The alternative rendering is analogous to how the D&D rulebooks use the second person to refer simultaneously, or sometimes ambiguously, to the player and their PC.

Anyway, the key thing to reading the phrases is to recognise that the pronoun "it" shifts in meaning, across its two occurences, between the rules for the move and the fiction for the move, as is brought out in the subsequent words "When a player says that her character does something listed as a move, that’s when she rolls, and that’s the only time she does".

To me, it seems pretty clear.

EDIT: In post 258 upthread, @AbdulAlhazred pre-empted my second alternative (with the second person shifting reference along with the "it").
 

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