Powered by the Apocatalk: The Speaking of Names

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Jared Rascher
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Powered by the Apocatalk: The Speaking of Names

Post by Jared Rascher »

Just trying to check in on something I may have been reading wrong. I've heard a few discussions about not speaking the name of moves in PBTA games, but I always thought that was in regard to MC moves.

As in, you frame "separate them" or "introduce a complication" in the narrative instead of announcing the name of the movie. But player moves are named, because you need to direct them to the move's structure and choices, as well as having the players cited when a playbook move is applicable.

Are there PBTA games that say you don't name the Player's moves, and did I miss it, or is this just a prohabition for the MC moves in most games?
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greyauthor
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Re: Powered by the Apocatalk: The Speaking of Names

Post by greyauthor »

I'm not sure if it is called out specifically for player moves versus MC moves in any game. My understanding was that this concept referred to both. I think the general idea is to not use the names of any move and the rationale is that game play is supposed to focus on narrative that will trigger a move. In other words, in trad games you might say, "I want to roll stealth" and then you do and perhaps describe what happens after the roll (not to say that trad games don't "trigger moves" either, but this is just an example). Whereas in a PbtA framework, you would say "I'm sneaking in to the place, keeping in the shadows" and saying that will trigger a move and the MC determines which move it is. The rules are saying don't use the move names to get us players out of the habit of doing that.

That, of course, all in principle. Having run and played many different PbtA games I think this is a goal. It will often turn out as "I'd like to use fill-in-the-blank-move" and the MC says "Okay, what are you doing to trigger that." Which, I think, is totally fine. As an MC I rarely know most (if any) of the playbook moves in question and sort of rely on players to do that for me. In that case, players that know the game or playbook well may say "I'm going to swing from the rafters and double flip onto the table--that's fill-in-the-blank move."

I know this may not be news for you or others, but I went ahead and blabbed about it for those that were unclear. In short, it is perhaps phrased as a prohibition, but is really a "principle" or a guiding light.
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GMGERRYMANDER
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Re: Powered by the Apocatalk: The Speaking of Names

Post by GMGERRYMANDER »

I more often see players describing their action and then waiting for the GM to tell them what move to roll. (And sometimes the players will say "OK, I'm trying to do XXX)
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pksullivan
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Re: Powered by the Apocatalk: The Speaking of Names

Post by pksullivan »

There's a lot to unpack here.

My first impression and understanding is that it refers specifically to MC moves, but I don't have a game handy at the moment to cite chapter and verse.

There's reasoning behind this. First is that it not speaking the name of MC moves keeps the MC interactions specifically authorial; there's no querying the dice when you're an MC (in most PbtA games). This goes back to the premise that the game is a conversation. The MC will be carrying the convo most of the time. So keeping them from monologuing about what they're doing in-game makes sense.

Secondly, the game is a conversation so players should describe their actions and what they want to do. Players should never announce, "I'm going to Go Aggro" rather than lead with fiction. However, there comes a time in the conversation where, for clarity's sake, the name of the move should be spoken. The GM should speak the name of the move so everyone is on the same page. "Cool, sounds like you want to Go Aggro? Go ahead and roll +hard."

And if the GM saying that reveals there's a disconnect - say the player doesn't want to Go Aggro but is instead wants to Seize by Force - then the player should speak the name of the move they want. This is part of the conversation, it's clarification in the discussion.
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Jared Rascher
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Re: Powered by the Apocatalk: The Speaking of Names

Post by Jared Rascher »

In all the convention games I've run, and the Monster of the Week campaigns I've had going on, I've had a pretty good run of getting players to do it by doing it, i.e. stating what their character is doing, and then talking about what move that triggers later. I just never really thought "never speak its name" was about player moves until recently when I heard it come up multiple times in the last few months.
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