Archive for April 27th, 2010

Firmament Notes: The Sciences

2010 Apr 27

Life’s been too busy to work on Geiger, so here are some notes mostly to myself.

In addition to all the other scarcities that Apocalypse World is normally about, Fingers on the Firmament is about a scarcity of people or — even worse — any sign of human existence. Floating in the vastness of space, it’s nearly impossible to find anything at all. The universe is insanity-inducingly immense and basically empty.

The Darkness Between the Stars = The Psychic Maelstrom, duh.

The Three Sciences, Cartography, Astronomy, and Archeology, are basically the equivalent of character types, except that they encompass an even wider range of optional special moves. Two Cartographers are probably even more different than two characters of the same type in AW. There’s also another category of special moves, outside the Sciences, which can be gained contextually, based on things you discover in play or from having too much congress with The Darkness. Actually, those are probably too different sets — contextual moves and the Lonesome Arts, learned while lost in space.

The Hardholder and other leadership moves are definitely contextual, with rules like: “If you have a group of more than N people, any player can choose to purchase Leadership” or “If you’ve seized control of a base area, spend blah blah blah to improve it, choose related gigs, etc.” Vincent basically implies these kinds of contextual things already, but I want to make some very explicit and perhaps even connected to specific locations.

Archaeology = pretty close to the Savvyhead, communes with all the relics and ruins and remains. Probably has some default gigs related to uncovering secrets or following trails of ancient history. I kinda want to call that gig “Do Mysteries” but that’s AW jargon, not Firmament. Also probably has something like “Fucking Thieves” where he always has random gear on hand.

Cartography = a mixture of escape / travel moves (“Eye on the Door”) and tracking moves (“Lost”), but built around a core set of mapping moves that are probably brand new, plus some of the Skinner’s performance-based stuff, because Cartography is done through dancing and body memory. Natural gigs are related to mapping, uncovering lost roads, etc.

Astronomy = combination Brainer, Angel, Hocus, focusing on talking with stars (a different kind of weird than The Darkness) and manipulating starlight. I’m thinking that, fundamentally, there are a couple core currencies: Starlight (which is effectively hold you have over all sorts of things) and some kind of debt to the Darkness (hold it has over you, which you can spend in an attempt to rid yourself of it). Astronomy specializes in the former. Not sure what an astronomer’s natural gigs are. Maybe lighting and maintaining beacons (non-star objects that emit starlight and are thus critical to navigation)? That would seem to place them close with the others near the core concept of the game, which is great since they’ve been an outlier in earlier conceptualizations.

The core moves will be adjusted to basically be the foundations of all the Sciences, because everybody has to do a bit of everything just to survive, especially in instances where you get lost and alone. Of course, you can always take on more debt to the Darkness to be reunited with other people wandering through space, but eventually you make return to your group as an insane, destructive creature of the void, considering the amount of hold it’ll have over you, and that’ll be pretty bad for them.