09 August, 2012

Walkabout core mechanism play examples


With the modified core mechanism for Walkabout, here are some in play examples:

We’ll follow a single character through a range of actions to demonstrate how the same basic core mechanism is versatile enough to handle a wide variety of situations.

Bill is playing Bruce, a helpful young man who does jobs for the local community. He is a “Jackaroo” from the “Cultivator” people (keywords: Endurance, Riding), his basic edge comes from “Training” as a “Survivalist” (keywords: Academics, Survival), but he also has a “Reputation” as being “Curious” (keywords: Awareness, Stealth). He is not a wayfarer. Bruce has the standard equipment (Sturdy Clothes (+: Rugged, -: Dirty), Horse, Hat, Canteen, Survival Knife), and has three relationships; a loose relationship to his people, a loose relationship to his reputation, and a close relationship to Claire (a girl he met on the road). Bill’s token bag contains 6 white, 6 black, 3 green, 2 blue and 1 red.

Let’s look at some activities that Bruce might get involved in…

Fording a shallow stream
Step 1
1a – Bruce isn’t trying to get a strategic advantage from moving, nor trying to hamper an enemy; he’s just moving from one side of the stream to another. This counts as a Blue action.
1b – Bruce has a horse, so he can justify using his “Riding” keyword.
1c – Bill doesn’t want to injure Bruce’s horse so he’s playing it safe and not calling on the horse as a beneficial non-core trait.
1d – Since there are no non-core traits, there is nothing to do here.
1e – None of Bruce’s relationships really apply in this situation.
Step 2
2a – Bill draws four tokens from the bag (three, plus one from the keyword): two Whites, a Black and a Green.
2b – Bill allocates the Black to “sacrifice” to avoid anything going wrong. He allocates the Green to “success”, meaning that he gains no benefit from his action. One of the Whites is applied to story, and the other is allocated to back to the riding keyword (and thus removed from play).
2c and d – There are no non-core traits or relationships in play, so move to the next step.
Step 3
3a – A White token was allocated to “story”, but since there are no non-core tokens to be allocated, there is nothing to do here.
3b – A Green “success” result means that Bruce is unable to ford the stream. A Black “sacrifice” result means that he doesn’t suffer any problems in his attempt to get across. A White “story” result has no further effect because there are no non-core traits in play.
3c – Bruce encounters a swiftly moving stream but thinks he has found a place where he can cross it safely. He descends into the stream on his horse, but finds the footing unstable. He backs out and has to find somewhere else.

Fording a shallow stream (second attempt)
Step 1
1a – Bruce isn’t trying to get a strategic advantage from moving, nor trying to hamper an enemy; he’s just moving from one side of the stream to another. This counts as a Blue action.
1b – Bruce has a horse, so he can justify using his “Riding” keyword.
1c – Bill is willing to take a few extra risks this time so he calls on the horse as a beneficial non-core trait.
1d – Since there is only a single non-core trait, there is nothing to do here.
1e – None of Bruce’s relationships really apply in this situation.
Step 2
2a – Bill draws four tokens from the bag (three, plus one from the keyword): a White, a Black, a Red and a Green.
2b –Bill allocates the Black to “success” to ensure he gets across this time. He allocates the Green to “sacrifice”, meaning that something will become more difficult in the situation. The Red is applied to the “story”. The White is allocated to back to the riding keyword (and thus removed from play).
2c – Bruce’s horse is being risked (providing one bonus non-core trait), so an extra token is drawn (Blue).
2d – There are no relationships in play, so move to the next step.
Step 3
3a – A Red token was allocated to story, but the Gm has only one token to allocate and one trait to place it on. The GM allocates the non-core token (Blue) to the “Horse”.
3b – A Black “success” result means that Bruce fords the stream. A Green “sacrifice” result means that the opposition (the stream) gets stronger, the GM describes this by saying that the river bed starts breaking up as Bruce crosses the stream. The Red “story” result has already been applied in the tokens. The Blue “story” result allows another transformation in the scene, so Bill asks if Bruce’s friend Claire can also cross the stream before the bed breaks up. The GM thinks that’s a reasonable request.  
3c – Bruce moves up the stream and finds another place that looks reasonably safe to cross. He descends into the stream on his horse, the footing is a bit unstable but he risks the crossing. Claire follows quickly behind, and her passage adds to the instability of the riverbed. As they emerge, rocks wash through the water and the safe passage is gone. Anyone attempting to cross the stream in future will have a harder job, and will need to find somewhere else to cross safely.

Gathering Food
Step 1
1a – Gathering food is a positive action, it could be used to overcome a “Hunger” penalty, or gain a beneficial trait like “Well Fed” or a beneficial item like “Rations”. This marks it as a Green action.
1b – The keywords of “Survival” (from the Survivalist Training Edge) and “Awareness” (from the Curious Reputation) are both applicable here.
1c – Bruce has a “Survival Knife”, and Bill thinks that this might make a useful tool for Bruce. To gain a benefit, he needs to risk damaging it.
1d – As a cultivator with a loose relationship to his people, Bruce automatically gains a bonus when gathering food. He’s doing the action alone and his reputation won’t help.
1e – Since there is only one only beneficial non-core trait, this is not applicable at this time.
Step 2
2a – Bill draws five tokens from his bag (three, plus two from the keywords); two Whites, a Black, a Green and a Red.
2b – Bill allocates the Black to “success”, the Green to “sacrifice” and the red to “story”. The two whites are linked back to the relevant keywords (and thus removed from play).
2c – One piece of equipment is being risked (providing one bonus non-core trait), so an extra token is drawn (Green).
2d – Since Bruce has a loose relationship to his people, and he is performing an action commonly associated with his people, Bill takes an extra Black token and adds it to his non-core pool.
Step 3
3a – A Red token was allocated to story so the GM allocates the first non-core token (Black) to the “Survival Knife”. Bill applies the remaining non-core token (Green) to the “Cultivator” relationship.
3b – A Black “success” result indicates that a benefit is gained. Bill gives Bruce a “Rations” piece of equipment (this should help cancel out any potential hunger effects if they encounter harsher terrain in the future). A Green “sacrifice” result avoids anything bad from happening. The Black result on the “survival knife” provides an extra success result. The Green token applied to the “Cultivator” relationship means it doesn’t do much (only black and white tokens have effects on relationships).
3c – Bruce finds a tree snake, and using his survival training he catches it, and whips it to the ground, painlessly cracking its skull and breaking its neck. He skins it and prepares the meat.
The sharp blade slices the flesh effortlessly, leaving enough meat to feed a second person, he hands the meat to Claire.

Finding a document in an abandoned library with Claire’s help

Since Claire is a bit more active in this action, let’s describe her a bit.

Carol is playing Claire, a city girl who is out of her element. She is a “Scholar” from the “Arcology” people (keywords: Academics, Investigation), her basic edge comes from “Augmentation” in the form of “Cybernetics” (keywords: Awareness, Focus), but she also has a “Weapon” which is a “Firearm” (keywords: Firearms, Intimidation). She is not a wayfarer. Claire has the standard equipment (Fashionable Clothes (+: Fashionable, -: Fragile), Battery Pack, Sunglasses, Tablet Computer (+: Informative, -: Limited Use), Pistol). Claire has three relationships; a loose relationship to her people, a loose relationship to her weapon, and a close relationship to Bruce (a man she met on the road). Carol’s token bag contains 6 white, 6 black, 3 blue, 2 red and 1 green.

It is later in the story, and Bruce has acquired a “clue” regarding the situation that is causing problems in town (this is a positive trait but the characters don’t know how to use it). The GM decides that this information will be fairly important to the story, he tells Bill and Carol that they will need to overcome two successes before they’ll gain any advantages from the situation.

Step 1
1a (Bruce and Claire) – Both characters are trying to turn their “clue” into another positive trait that will be more useful in their current job. This counts as a Blue action.
1b (Bruce) – Bruce has abilities in “Academics” (from his training) and “Awareness” (from his reputation).
1b (Claire) – Claire has abilities in “Investigation” (from her people) and “Awareness” (from her augmentation).
1c (Bruce) – Bill has the “Clue” and he uses this as a positive trait that will help in the search.
1c (Claire) – Claire is willing to risk the “Tablet Computer” in the investigation. It could get damaged, but more likely it simply run out of power (luckily she has a battery pack).
1d (Bruce and Claire) – With only one beneficial trait each, there is nothing to do here.
1e (Bruce) – Bruce’s reputation of being curious might allow him to bring up something useful in his investigation, so he calls on this as a beneficial relationship.
1e (Claire) – Claire’s association with the “Arcology” people gives her a benefit when using high technology (such as her “Tablet Computer”), she calls on this as a beneficial relationship.
Step 2
2a (Bruce) – Bill draws five tokens from his bag (three, plus two from the keywords); two Blacks, a White, a Blue and a Red.
2a (Claire) – Carol draws five tokens from her bag (three, plus two from the keywords); two Whites, two Blues, and a Green.
2b (Bruce) – Bill allocates a Black to “success”, a Black to “sacrifice” and the Blue to “story”. The whites and red are linked back to the relevant keywords (and thus removed from play).
2b (Claire) – Carol allocates a Blue to “success”, a Blue to “sacrifice” and the green to “story”. The two whites are linked back to the relevant keywords (and thus removed from play).
2c (Bruce) – Bill is risking the “clue” (providing one bonus non-core trait), so an extra token is drawn (Green).
2c (Claire) – Carol is risking the “Tablet Computer” (providing one bonus non-core trait), so an extra token is drawn (Red).
2d (Bruce) – Since Bruce has a loose relationship to his reputation, and he is performing an action typically associated with that reputation, Bill takes an extra Black token and adds it to his non-core pool.
2d (Claire) – Since Claire has a loose relationship to her people, and she is performing an action commonly associated with her people, Carol takes an extra Black token and adds it to her non-core pool.
Step 3
3a (Bruce) – Bill allocated a Blue token to “story”, so he gets to allocate the non-core tokens. He allocates the Black non-core token to the “clue”, and the Green token to his “Reputation”.
3a (Claire) – Claire allocated a Green token to “story”, so she takes turns allocating non-core tokens with the GM. The GM first allocates her Black non-core trait to the “Tablet Computer” trait. This leaves Claire to place the red token in her “Arcology” relationship.
3b and c (Alternating) – Bill drew a total of 3 black tokens, while Carol drew only 1; Bruce acts first.
Bruce – (Narrates his core success, eliminating one of the obstacles toward success) Bruce finds a book that relates to the clue, it doesn’t make much sense yet.
Claire – (Narrates her core success, eliminating one of the obstacles toward success) Claire scans a few relevant pages of the book into her computer.
Bruce – (Narrates his core sacrifice) Bruce gets further engrossed in the texts.
Claire – (Narrates her “Arcology” relationship) Claire gets a bit confused by the old writing in these books.
Bruce – (Narrates his “Reputation” relationship) Bruce gets distracted by some pages relating to plants.
Claire – (Narrates her core sacrifice) Claire manages to refocus her thoughts on the pages.
Bruce – (Narrates his “clue” trait, gaining the first real success now that the obstacles have been eliminated, he converts the “clue” into “useful information”) Finally discovers the piece of information that makes the clue useful, an old elaborate symbol from the forgotten world before.
Claire – (Narrates her “Tablet Computer” trait, since this is a black success she not only changes something, but may also add to it. The “useful information” is now upgraded to a double trait.) Claire decodes the symbol; it is an old sign for a chemical fertilizer which in common in town.
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