I found the missing feels!
They were hiding at the intersection of psychic maelstrom and threat prep, traveling at the velocity of several hours of play time X three or four advances for each character.
By some miracle of table zeitgeist, everyone had “Weird” as a highlighted stat last night. I had thought about pushing that myself if nobody else did when they chose new stats to highlight, but three of the five did it on their own. Made it look less weird for me to just follow along and do the same for the other two players. The maelstrom was the center of attention this session so it was a good stat to push.
I’m still feeling out the tension between the blow-by-blow play that snowballing moves demands and the bigger-picture narrative-level authorship that all that delicious prep wants. It’s a good tension! But I’ve got pages of threats doodled up and I can’t really get to much of it at the pace we’re going.
Nothing super notable about the session to talk about, not really, other than the fact that I’m now definitely seeing the hooks sink in and the trappings of pure adventure game fall away a bit. The maelstrom is asking more and more pointed questions, largely emerging from my prep. The new moves folks have are prompting new and interesting angles of play, and I kind of wish they got to buy more moves! But I think every playbook is limited to like, two of their own moves, maybe one from somewhere else, then it’s just stat boosts. Which is fine, whatever, just enjoying what the moves do more than what
failing missing less feels like.
I did have an unfortunate hiccup with our newest and least-experienced player, and I’m still chewing on it. (This isn’t a cry or even a request for help btw.) One of my players got fixated on very precise details about fictional positioning, which to where I was sitting felt like getting boxed into a rhetorical trap. Like, if I mentioned something about a previous scene that looked like it would preclude her plans, then that’d be the GM trying to screw the player. But she was also super-uncomfortable with framing her own scene, despite my strong encouragement to do so — because she probably felt like it was a rhetorical trap and I was just looking for a reason to NOPE her plans. It was a bummer of an impasse, emerging entirely from trust stuff I think, and not improved by some ill-considered snark on my part when we just couldn’t move on. I’m still thinking about that a little. Other than reining in my urge to be a dick, I’m not sure what else there is to be done other than continue building trust (which, yeah, my snark interfered with). Not a showstopper and we got through the session, but still. Disappointed in myself.
This feels like the halfway point, but unfortunately come December I’ve got a player or two whose schedules are gonna not allow us to play. So we need to decide whether to continue without the missing player(s) when the time comes.
EDIT: Oh, as promised, here are the custom moves I revealed in play last night:
When you first talk to the guards at the gate to Durango, roll +hard. On a hit, they let you pass but they keep an eye on you in town. On a 10+, they’re so impressed they take you to Mice to talk recruitment into the Patriots: take an XP if you meet with Mice, or +1 ongoing whenever you deal with the Patriots, because now you’ve got their number. On a miss, they see you as a total pushover: give them something valuable or things will get worse.
When you first interact with a child in town, roll +weird. On a hit, the child is actually an extrusion of the psychic maelstrom. On a 10+, the child takes you into the maelstrom with them.