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Old 08-04-2021, 08:36 PM   #1
khorboth
 
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Default Is Apocalypse framework any good?

I just saw that a kickstarter is in progress for an Avatar (Last Airbender, not blue cat-people) RPG. They say they use Apocalypse framework, but I have no experience with it. Do any of you?

Apparently, it's used in Monster of the Week, Masks: A New Generation, and Root: The RPG. I've not played any of these.

I don't want to jump on the kickstarter if the rules are going to be garbage.

So... Thoughts? Experience?
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Old 08-04-2021, 09:40 PM   #2
Mark Skarr
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Default Re: Is Apocalypse framework any good?

I am not a fan of the Powered by the Apocalypse system.

I have a lot of negative things I could say about it. However, in the spirit of the Rules, all I can really say is this: As an RPG system I find it incredibly lacking in both substance and versatility.

It's main strength is that it can be tailored to play a very specific game through an incredibly narrow window to tell a precisely-tailored story.

I can't really give any good examples without violating a lot of rules for the boards. I've picked up a couple of games that wound up being PbtA (serves me right for not looking deeply enough) and have, every-time, wound up being disappointed.
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Old 08-05-2021, 01:14 AM   #3
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Default Re: Is Apocalypse framework any good?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Skarr View Post
It's main strength is that it can be tailored to play a very specific game through an incredibly narrow window to tell a precisely-tailored story.
I think this is an important point about PbtA games. In my experience they don't lend themselves at all to being 'toolboxes,' even for one genre, and when a design team tries to take that approach the result is usually unsatisfying. I struggled with PbtA games in general for quite a while for just this reason.

But I've had some recent experiences that were much more successful because the GM and the other players were interested in playing the very specific story that the (better designed) game was carefully created to tell. And by specific, I mean very specific. Even 'an RPG for playing in [x] series of novels' could possibly be too broad. The odds of success will probably be better if the game has a tighter focus, say, a particular setting within that series of novels and then leans toward a particular type of story that can be well told within that setting.

That necessarily means that the real audience for any given PbtA game is going to be much more narrow than would be the case for a generic system. If you happen to be in that audience, you may find yourself quite happy with the result, but you'll also have to work harder at finding a group of other players who share the same interest in that story.
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Old 08-06-2021, 03:36 AM   #4
RogerBW
 
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Default Re: Is Apocalypse framework any good?

There is very little in the way of tooling to let the GM devise and run their own campaign at the level that, say, GURPS lets you do it.

If you want something that's covered, as it might be "high school drama where all the kids are monsters with dark secrets" or "WWII female Soviet fighter pilots", no problem; it does the modern thing of having a core system that's tuned for the specific setting, so you get the familiarity of a generic system but genre-specific add-ons (you give up character portability between games).

I feel that any given AW game is probably only going to get played once or twice with a particular group, but it may be a long and enjoyable play.

It's not for me, but that's another matter.
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Old 08-06-2021, 11:42 AM   #5
L.J.Steele
 
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Default Re: Is Apocalypse framework any good?

I've been looking into Scum and Villainy -- uses the Blades in the Dark system, which is an off-shoot (of sorts) from PbtA. I like the concept of S&V -- the system is very narrative based, but has a bit more crunch than Fate and its kin. I'd suggest looking for some actual play podcasts of a PbtA game and give a few episodes a listen. That'll give you a feel for how it plays in the hands of someone who (hopefully) knows it.
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Old 08-12-2021, 04:01 PM   #6
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Default Re: Is Apocalypse framework any good?

It's a narrative system, so you don't get what you pay for in terms of rules. PbtA is a pretty good Narrative system but not very robust. It's a great way to get quickly into a drama with players that are versed in RP. There's a good flow for quick resolution, great choice for a one-shot, but over a longer game I don't see much rewarding development for characters, not much crunch to enjoy.

It's like sherbet. It's sweet and refreshing, but I can't handle very much of it before I want something with texture.
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