Threat Motivation and Moves with City Creation

Continuing on with my revisiting games that I have already read, I decided after Don’t Rest Your Head to re-read Monster of the Week. This was the first Apocalypse World game that I ever read, and it did leave an impression. I have written a couple of times about ideas that I got from this book, but on this read through there were different things that stood out and I am now considering.

The big item that I have been thinking about is how monsters, minions, bystanders, and locations all have specific moves that you as the Keeper1 can use when the Hunters2 are interacting with them. I had previously known that each threat had a motivation (though I didn’t really think of locations and bystanders as threats after the first read through). But I didn’t really pay attention to the fact that each of the threats have certain moves associated with them that the Keeper can make. These threat moves are how Keepers are supposed to interact with the Hunters. So a monster could use the move “Escape, no matter how well contained it is” to get away if it is encountered too early in the mystery. A minion could make use of its “Capture someone, or steal something” move to set up an escalation of the countdown clock. A bystander could “Freak out in terror” when they encounter a monster or minion, and a location could use its move to “Trap someone”.

The thing about these threat moves is that for the most part these are the things that GMs use all the time, they just aren’t spelled out as directly as they are here. For example I don’t know of another system that tells you that the things that can happen in a location are as follows:

  • Present a hazard.
  • Reveal something.
  • Hide something.
  • Close a way.
  • Open a way.
  • Reshape itself.
  • Trap someone.
  • Offer a guide.
  • Present a guardian.
  • Something doesn’t work properly.
  • Create a particular feeling.

Now the location isn’t consciously doing these things (at least not normally), but these are the expected events that could happen at a given location and a particular move would probably be picked based on the motivation of the location. So while you would probably not choose the “Present a hazard” move if the location was a “Crossroads” with a motivation “to bring people, and things together”, but you might if the location was a “Deathtrap” with a motivation “to harm intruders”.

So now I am thinking about how to combine threat moves with the city creation from my previous post and I have come up with the following data points for locations, threats, and faces:

  • Location
    • Name
    • Description
    • Motivation
    • Suggested Moves
      • Face
      • Motivation3
      • Suggested Moves
  • Threat
    • Name
    • Description
    • Face
      • Motivation[^4]
      • Suggested Moves
  • Face
    • Motivation4
    • Suggested Moves

  1. Keeper of Monsters and Mysteries instead of the Call of Cthulhu version which is Keeper of Arcane Lore. 
  2. Monster of the Weeks name for the player characters. 
  3. Could be a Monster, Minion, or Bystander motivation.
    [^4: Probably a Monster or Minion motivation. 
  4. Could be a Monster, Minion, or Bystander motivation. 
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Author: Hours without Sleep

I am a professional software tester, who has an interest in programming, computers, role-playing games, history, and reading in general. This is my third attempt at keeping a blog, and I am going to try putting all of my thoughts in one place, and see how it goes.

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