Basic Moves, New Playbooks, and Downtime

Hey there, cowpokes!

It's our first-ever devlog for Magitech Space Western!

Today we'll be talking about some of the changes to expect in the next version of this game which will, hopefully, be dropping sometime around the end of 2021 / beginning of 2022. Let's dive in!

First up, slight changes to the Basic Moves -- mostly this is focused around the moves Get Chatty With an NPC and Get in a Dust-up, though there will likely be a bit of polish given to some of the other moves as well. The initial thought with Getting Chatty was that there are a lot of ways to convince people to do things, so why not just use a different stat depending on your approach? Well, because in play it turned out to make the move a bit too broadly applicable -- not just a good tool, but the de-facto best tool, regardless of playbook. So that's been tightened up to only use Sincerity, which also makes Sincerity a bit more of an appealing stat to pick.

Get in a Dust-up went through a bit of a smaller change, but for a bigger reason -- the notable change here is that no matter what else happens, you always take one Wound when you get in a dust-up. Whether that's taking an elbow to the ribs, getting winged by a bullet, or just the physical stress of engaging in violence, there's no such thing as a totally clean fight. Coupled with a couple other minor shifts, the idea here is to make MSW's wound economy pop a bit more -- characters should be marking Wounds or Status often enough that cycling through the Status-clear narrative conditions will cause a lot of drama!

Moving on to what's new, we have FOUR NEW PLAYBOOKS in the works, to bring the total for the next edition up to TEN PLAYBOOKS! Names and specifics may change, but the overall feel of these is very much set at this point. So let's walk through them!

First up, The Dandy is built around a story of gleeful, dramatic, over-the-top revenge. The Dandy was, at some point, a head-down, law-abiding, common member of the Settlement. Then the corruption of the Heeled aristocracy took everything away from them. Their home, their loved ones, years of their life, and more -- all gone. Casually. Carelessly. Now the Dandy is back in town with a pile of ill-gotten resources, a forged identity that puts them on par with the rich and the powerful, and a list of names. To live is to risk death. Dance upon the blade's edge, my friend.

Next we have The Discarded. Once upon a time, before the Settlement was a twinkle in the corporate eye, there was you. A highly-advanced AI sent out to find new worlds, gather intelligence about them, and set up the scaffolding of human civilization out among the cold stars. You did a great job. Problem is, cutting-edge AI is expensive. At some point, the Corporation realized that it's cheaper to pay people to die doing dangerous work than it is to build and maintain technological marvels like yourself. So now you're obsolete, cast aside like junk. But you're still here, and this Settlement is precious to you -- it was your iron hands that built it, after all.

That brings us to The Firebrand. The Law holds your entire world under their thumb. The rules they demand you live by are a complicated web of mutually-exclusive edicts, unevenly enforced depending on your social strata. Some folk see that as a sign of bureaucratic bloat and incompetence, maybe the Law is just underfunded and undertrained. Truth is, if the Law can decide what is and isn't illegal at any time, and can back that up with perfectly legal violence, you have no rights at all. Maybe it's best to just keep your head down and do as you're told. But you know what? Fuck that. Let's make some noise.

Finally, we have The Undertaker -- the bridge between the living Settlement and the bones of its past, both literally and metaphorically. The Undertaker is equal parts historian, supernatural mediator, and literal undertaker. Their insights into the ways history and present intermingle, their ability to interrogate the souls of those directly involved in past transgressions, and their connection to the flow of life and death can be powerful tools. They can also be powerful reasons for the Civ to want the Undertaker silenced for good. Let the dead keep their secrets, Undertaker, and maybe you won't join them.

Lastly, let's talk a bit about Downtime! Downtime is, at this point, meant to operate as kind of an in-between session which separates moments of high action. Every so often, when major story beats resolve, you'll take a session and flash forward by days, weeks, months, or even years -- and when that happens, each PC will have a little montage of narrative advancement. So will the Settlement. And like the PCs, the Settlement as a whole has a narrative arc -- it can live,  grow, change, and maybe even die. But that's your story to tell.

So what do you think, pard? Still on-board this space train?

Thanks for reading!

-Magitech Space Jeremy

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