35 thoughts on “Does anyone have any moves, rules or ideas for playing a character who is a sentient weapon or other item?”

  1. Looks

    Condition: Polished, blood caked, worn, new

    Make: Wood, iron, silver, bone

    Utility: Puncturing, lacerating, bludgeoning, binding


    Lawful: Carry out an order. 

    Nutral: Protect your user.

    Evil: Cause your user satisfaction.

  2. Ideas:

    Starting move that dictates who can use you.

    Starting move that lets you compel your user like a loyal henchmen.

    Starting henchman that conveys certain powers and has certain traits based on druid’s shapeshift ability – pick moves that user gives you.  If you later have a new user, you get a new set of available moves.

    Advanced moves:

    Legendary status

    Gain a tag (e.g. flaming, glowing, poison)

    Speak directly to non-user

    Attract/compel better user

    Coincidental movement (you just happen to end up in a position to be used through an odd series of events).

    Change one category of look at will

    Survive the harshest punishment (acid, great falls, prop heavy weights, beaten against stone)

    Break other weapons

    Fly farther and truer


  3. The henchman angle is a neat way of handling the dependency on the wielder. 

    What about PC wielder? I imagine a  compel move could still work. I can see the item conveying powers to its wielder, especially spells and gear tags. Maybe the item has thirsts and urges that puts its wielder in danger or in debt. More rubies nom nom. 

  4. Or the whole to build a ship, don’t assign tasks, make others long for the endless immensity of the sea. So perhaps the item is crucial to ending some menace or fulfilling some destiny. That way leaving the item behind would mean abandoning the lives of many to evil or some such.

  5. What about user’s quest as an additional alignment for the weapon.  You don’t get double XP, just twice as many ways to meet your once per session XP opportunity.  If a PC is your user, it gets your alignment as an additional opportunity to meet their once per session XP opportunity as well.

  6. Think automaton/golem w/Sentience…

    When you meet your maker…roll +COIN

    *On a 10+ Pick an upgrade that suits your theme (GM must agree to upgrade for balance?)

    *7-9 create a new bond and add it to your list (get a free XP if related to the maker)

  7. What about a compendium class? Would there be a way to make most class moves work if the character is a sentient weapon? Maybe granting them to their wielder or changing how they are triggered. Spells would be awesome and their colour easily adapted to fit. Not sure about other class moves.

    Actually, putting aside the idea of a compendium class, there is probably an issue with triggering basic moves, particularly with a PC wielder. For example, who rolls for volley, the sentient bow or the PC wielder?

  8. I’d make the CC for when you’re possessed by a weapon.  You get some bonuses based on the weapon but you give up your own advancement to take it’s moves.  Always have the option of giving up the moves and weapon forever as an advance – you get rid of the weapon and lose powers but you can take your character in a totally different direction.  Maybe you unlock a second CC based on knowledge of possession, magic items, telling if people are acting under their own volition, etc.

  9. I can’t see an inanimate object as a successful character class. Unless you play the object and the wielder… But then you could just play the wielder instead.

  10. Wynand Louw you could be right about items wielded by PCs. But I don’t think you are for a NPC wielder. You could just play the wielder except its not the same at all. Playing the weapon would create a very different play experience. You don’t change weapons, you change people. They die, empire falls and you grow more legendary and more powerful.

  11. Marshall Miller I’m not fond of the “you have leverage” kind of moves. Fictionally they don’t make much sense. You don’t offer anything so the 7-9 results doesn’t make sense either.

    If you are mentally affecting someone in a magical manner, it should have its own move. Using parley seems kind of cheap.

    Also, you’d need a different set of stats, unless you can somehow transfer your stats to the wielder. Which would make it pretty weird if another party member was wielding you.

  12. Oliver Granger I’ll believe it when I see it. At the moment it does not click in my brain…

    “I stab the goblin with Steve, my current wielder.”

    GM: “Steve is actually looking the other way. At the slave girl. He wants to attack her handler.”

    “Ok. I telepathise Steve and scream ‘Wake up idiot’ in his mind.”

    GM: “Steve is still pissed off at you for killing the paladin. He uses you attack the slave driver. What do you do?”

    “I mind blast him.”

    GM: “Roll+Cha… Four! Steve drops you. You lie on the floor for the rest of the fight.”

    “Ok. Anybody for coffee?”

  13. Npc’s dont have mechanical moves. Only fictional ones classified as hard or soft. How does an Npc take +1??

    Im not saying it wont work. I am intrigued by the challenge of making it work.

  14. I kind of like class damage as +Lvl. You do it atop the class damage of your PC wielder. A basic move could grant your henchman a base damage die that you could upgrade with an advanced move.

  15. Here’s one way you could compel or control your wielder.

    Compel: When you set your wielder on a course of action, roll+CHA. 10+ hold 3. 7–9 hold 2 but the GM holds 1. You can spend hold 1-for-1 during play to make a wielder move, just like that; the GM can spend hold 1-for-1 to distract the wielder with one of its impulses. On a miss, you hold 1 but the GM holds 3 and the situation gets more complicated.

    O, and the wielder can do stuff not covered by its moves, just not with compel. Make the appropriate move on their behalf.

    Example of impulses:

    hide, wait, vanity, threaten, butcher, reckless, mischief, endanger, consume, escape, overanalyse

    These impulses could come with certain wielder builds and improvements, including wielder moves which would be like Druid or monster moves.

  16. I actually think it is much more convenient to have the “wielder” function as a summoned / animated being as per the spells, with access only to the basic moves and a basic stat line.

    The you can have moves solely based on bestowing power on your wielder. The wielder would always do as you want. Assuming an NPC wielder of course.

  17. The immediate problem I see with the animated dead approach is there is no built-in contest of control. It reads like the player just has control of the wielder. Of course the GM can make a GM move to screw with this, but the animated dead approach doesn’t provide much assistance with that. I’d prefer to build-in the contest of control to demonstrate the wilfulness and agency of the wielder, who presumably won’t typically be a mindless zombie.

  18. Oliver Granger Why is a contest of control a necessity? Is it for thematic reasons?

    With a contest of control / will, you take the risk of making the class utterly unplayable. There’s no “I do this“, it is replaced by “I want to do this, but first I have to roll to see if I can even attempt to.”

    Basically, you are destroying the players chance to interact on a equal basis with the other players.

    Or did you have something else in mind?

  19. I am working on items (and spirits) for Number Appearing 2nd Edition, so this thread is super cool and timely for me. When I’ve played an item before, the fun I found is in pushing and changing wielders and gaining new powers. So my thoughts so far are:

    – I want to use existing classes like all other race options in Number Appearing. This makes it much harder to design, but adds interesting diversity. Effectively you extend the powers of your item to the wielder, like shapeshifting (Druid) or fighting (Barbarian) or spellcasting (Wizard).

    – Like Kasper Brohus Allerslev I’m thinking that most of the time your wielder will be fully controlled. I have ideas for a Who Picks You Up Next move – roll and pick positive and negative features of your next host.

    – Then I am planning moves for those times when a PC wields you. As well as accessing moves from an additional class these are bonuses to tests and damage. I personally don’t see this as as much fun for the item player, but some people will love the Captain Planet powers combination.

    Also John Wick is totally making a meta game for this and has a kickstarter coming up. I bet he will have a interesting take so watching this with interest.

  20. Kasper Brohus Allerslev, yeah it shouldn’t destroy the player’s agency. 

    Maybe the phrase of “contest of control” doesn’t get my point across. I’m thinking less about reducing player’s agency and more about setting their expectations about how things will go wrong, based on the choices they made for the kind of weapon they are, the powers they grant and the wielders they attract. 

    I’ve used something very close to my Compel move in cyberpunk and it worked well. Here’s an example of a Drone master commanding a drone with submachine guns, which give the drone the impulse: to butcher.

    After a pretty tight standoff with January Jade, an NPC, Mack exits carrying a badly injured Wraith. When January collapses the firestairs Mack’s descending, sending him and Wraith hurtling to the bitumen, Mack sends Bessy on a course of action: to shoot January with the submachine guns mounted on her chassis. So Mack’s player rolls the Compel move, getting two hold and giving the GM one hold. Mack spends one hold to activate Bessy’s move “ram at speed”, sending Bessy through the wall into the smuggler’s building. Then Mack’s player rolls seize by force or something to shoot January. That’s when I use my 1 hold to activate Bessy’s impulse to butcher, turning on the smgs autofire tag and hitting the whole area with bullets. The end result is the whole shanty construction collapses, killing several and trapping others, including another PC.

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