Sunday, 7 April 2013

Primal Fantasy: The Feral preview

This is a work-in-progress Playbook from my World That Time Forgot re-skin of Apocalypse World, tweaked to run savage primeval fantasy in a world where people coexist with dinosaurs and other prehistoric beasts.


In a dangerous world, you have learned to survive by embracing the wild. You are the one who melts into the jungle. The one who runs with beasts, as one of their own. The one who forsakes their humanity to answer their own savage heartbeat. The Feral.

Choose one set:
  • Fierce -1 Keen+1 Primal+1 Savage+0 Wild+2
  • Fierce-1 Keen+0 Primal+2 Savage-1 Wild+2
  • Fierce-2 Keen+1 Primal+1 Savage+1 Wild+2
  • Fierce-1 Keen+0 Primal+1 Savage+1 Wild+2

You get all the basic moves. Choose 2 feral moves.


Savage Heart: Gain +1wild (maximum +3).

Tooth and Claw: Whenever you inflict harm while unarmed, inflict +1harm.

Camouflage: When you blend into your surroundings, roll+wild. On a hit, hold 1. On a 10+, hold 2. While hiding, spend your hold 1-for-1 to:
  • Remain hidden at any time you would otherwise be discovered.
  • Make an unexpected appearance in a nearby area.
  • Take +1forward when you act from hiding.

Beast Speak: When you try to influence the behaviour of an animal or pack, roll+wild. On a hit, the animals keep doing what they want, but you can give them +1 or -1 forward. On a 10+ the animals change their behaviour and follow your command. On a miss, they turn on you.

Voice of the Wild: When you commune with the spirits alone and in the wilderness, roll+wild instead of roll+primal.

Pack Hunter: You belong to a pack of roughly a dozen human-sized predators, which treats you as one of their own (pack small 1-harm 0-armour savage). Decide on the type of animal, then choose two:
  • The pack has over 20 members. Medium instead of small.
  • The beasts have wicked teeth, claws, or other body weapons. +1harm.
  • The beasts have thick, armoured hide. +1armour.
  • The beasts are intelligent and cunning. -savage.
  • The pack considers you their alpha. Take +1ongoing when using Beast Speak on them.
  • The pack does not primarily hunt on the ground. Choose either +aquatic, +arboreal, or +flying.
And choose 1:
  • The pack is small, just a few individuals or a family group. -pack.
  • The pack is easily scattered in the face of danger. +flighty.
  • The pack’s power-structure is constantly being tested. +rivalry.
  • The pack’s food or territory is being impinged by something else. +competition.
  • The pack is very attached to their current habitat. +territorial.
*     *     *

I should note, I plan to have armour be even less common than in Apocalypse World. 1-armour will be the norm for combat-centric characters, and maybe only the Thunder Hunter will have 2-armour. That's why I've only given the basic pack creatures 1-harm.

I came up with the pack idea fairly late in the piece. I considered making it integral to the Playbook, like Choppers and their gangs, but in the end decided to keep the option open for people to play a Feral with no pack. Maybe it's a little weird to have "gain a pack" as a Move? Opinions are welcome - I could always make one Playbook for a pack-runner, and one for a solitary Feral.

I'm not sure if I should give the Feral an extra Move. As it stands, they start with 2 out of 5, and will pick up another 2 as advances. I'm not sure how many would be right; the average seems to be about 6, but characters with gangs or multiple concerns do seem to end up with fewer Moves (cv Hardholder, Chopper).
EDIT: I added Tooth and Claw, which I think rounds them out nicely.

I still haven't fully read through all of the AW Playbooks, which I really should do before I get too far into writing Playbooks of my own! Still, at the moment I'm mostly brainstorming ideas. I can edit and revise stuff later, when I have a full field of Playbooks assembled and ready to playtest.

I did notice that some Playbooks have a Move that gives +1 to their primary stat (taking it to +3), but other Playbooks have the same thing tucked away in their general advancement box. I'm not sure what's up with that, other than characters with it as a Move can start with the +3, whereas the others have to wait for an advance before they can pick it up.

Any advice, insights, or suggestions to do with Playbook development would be appreciated!