[Apocalypse World]Helping/Interfering efficiency

edited September 2010 in Play Advice
Hi,

I'm reading my way slowly throught the AW pdf and enjoying it. Once again, kudos to Vincent for the super pdf offer.

Something is puzzling me abpout the Help or Interfere move and its probabilities. I might have my hypothesis and/or my calculation wrong. Don't hesitate to shoot them down if necessary.

Hypothesis: I'm a player trying to decide if I should help or interfere.

If I'm in a helpful disposition I'll consider helping if overall probability of success is higher when I help than when I don't. (There is an assumption here -> the MC will systematically complicate the whole situation if I fail my Help roll. Which isn't necessarily true)
If I'm in an interfering mood I'll consider interfering if overall probability of failure is higher when I interfere than when I don't. (For simplicity sake I discard the case where I fail my Interfere roll because depending on the MC it have many different implications)

So here I detail two cases: one when the target use a trait of zero for their roll and the other when the target benefits of a +2 trait. In both case I arbitrarily decided that my Hx with the target is +1 (72% success of helping/interfering).

move (at 0) 2d6>=7 -> 58% lonesome success
help 2d6>=6 -> 72%, 72% * 72% = 51% -> worse than 58% lonesome probability of success
interfere 2d6<9 -> 73%, 72% * 73% = 52% -> better than 42% lonesome probability of failure

move (at +2) 2d6>=5 -> 83% lonesome success
help (at +1) 2d6>=4 -> 91%, 72% * 91% = 65% -> worse than 83% lonesome probability of success
interfere (at +1) 2d6<7 -> 42%, 72% * 42% = 30% -> better than 17% lonesome probability of failure

So here I am with a strong hint that interfering is a good move but helping sucks ass. I mean it as if I was purely gamist in my view of the game. Of course there could fictional reasons that make decisions more complicated. But yeah, it seems helping isn't helping.

What did I do wrong in my reasoning?

Comments

  • I don't know that there's anything wrong in your reasoning. If there is a problem with helping (in terms of "gaming" the system--i.e., no incentive to help), it evaporates when you make Hx a highlightable stat.
  • edited September 2010
    1) You've already identified that a +1 is a huge help to someone with a 0 trait. It's largely the same if they're at -1 or +1. +2 or +3, not so much You're probably better off getting out of their way.

    2) Yeah, helping is best if you've a +2 or a +3 Hx with them. Once the game is well underway, you're at +2 or +3 with your friends more than 2/3 of the time (gaming the system, slowing down getting to know them better when you're in the +2 to +3 zone)

    3) MCs will tend to be easier on misses from people helping or hindering if that's the kind of hot interaction they want to see in their game. I know I am.

    4) Each of the the four MCs I've played with (and now me as MC) have allowed helping *after* the initial roll (you can see that they need that +1 to get to seven or ten). That's when they most often step in to help. That changes the calculation significantly.

    5) I don't have the link handy but this topic's been covered in the AW forums as well.

    edit: Helping and interfering is Apocalypse World is fun. If you want to play a potent teammate (or a meddling jerk!), play a Brainer, Hocus or Savvyhead, get your Weird to +3 and grab the Hocus' Seeing Souls move (p64).
  • Posted By: nemomeme
    4) Each of the the four MCs I've played with (and now me as MC) have allowed helping *after* the initial roll (you can see that they need that +1 to get to seven or ten). That's when they most often step in to help. That changes the calculation significantly.
    We do this, too.
  • Posted By: boulet(There is an assumption here -> the MC will systematically complicate the whole situation if I fail my Help roll. Which isn't necessarily true)
    Yeah, this is your big assumption that I don't agree with. It varies depending on the situation, but there's a lot of ways for the MC to make a hard move against the helper that doesn't necessarily screw over a successful roll by the original person.

    I mean, heck. By at least one interpretation of the rules as written, if the first PC succeeds in their roll, they succeed. The MC's empowered by the helper's failure to make a hard move, but "They do it if you make a promise" or "You seize it by force, choose 2/3 from below" or whatever still has to happen, yeah? Say what the rules demand. Yeah, I know one of the examples in the book contradicts this. Obviously Vincent doesn't understand his own game.

    Also, you only figured out the odds for +1 hx, but keep in mind it's really easy for most characters to start off with a few +2s if not +3s. There's plenty of playbooks that start with +1 with everybody else, and there's plenty of playbooks that give everyone +1 with them, and almost everyone's got a few discretionary choices to make that will strengthen their history with somebody or somebody's history with them. Like, I would recognize that +1 hx is better than average but still kind of risky odds, before making that roll.
  • What Ben said. The rolls are independent in terms of hits and misses. A miss on a helping roll means a miss for the helper, not the acting character.
  • @Matthew and Hans: I see how the Help/Interfere move could be drifted that way. Vincent wrote "It’s best if both the players roll at the same time, but don’t be a nit about it" which (kind of) opens the door to a flexible use of the rule. It feels a little dirty though. And what about the corollary: if one can decide to help depending on the first character roll, it should be the same for interfering right?

    @Ben and John: the independence of the rolls seems a mighty solution to me. The the Marie and Keeler example is kind of a bummer though.

    I don't think the meager +1 bonus to the main roll is going to make a big difference even if Hx+3 makes the help roll more reliable. I imagine that if helping gave a +2 bonus it might fix the problem without drifting the rule façon Hans and Matthew and without invalidating the Marie and Keeler example completely.

    I feel too lazy to do these calculations right now though.
  • I think the Marie/Keeler example is an example of something that can happen, but not a rule for what must always happen, if you know what I mean. Sometimes when your partner misses it screws up the whole deal, but usually it doesn't.
  • edited September 2010
    My view, and the view of one of the groups I play with that I've discussed this topic with is that a +1 on 2d6, whether from reading the situation or Oftener Right or being the recipient of help is HUGE. There is a really big difference narratively between a miss (a 6) and a weak hit (7). That +1 has turned the tide over and over again. +1 is mighty mighty.

    All that aside, applying a purely gamist approach to Apocalypse World strikes me as... less than ideal and maybe even a bit of a red flag. Maybe I'm helping because the stakes in the conflict are really high and my character feels it's important than another PC succeed even if it puts my character at risk. Maybe things have been a bit slow and I'm welcoming the opportunity to either be a bad-ass helper or help the MC make my character's life more interesting.

    Yes, I saw the risk and yet I decided to try to fuck with/save you. What does that reveal about who my character is and, knowing that, where in the ungiven future might that lead us?

    edit: Yes, it would be fair to characterize my response as:

    1) Helping IS helping.
    AND
    2) Even if it isn't, there absolutely are/will be fictional reasons why that is okay, reasons that will rock you and your fellow players.
  • There's also the possibility of multiple characters helping, yeah? That changes things too.
  • edited September 2010
    Posted By: J. WaltonThere's also the possibility of multiple characters helping, yeah? That changes things too.
    Yeah. Although the +1 for helping doesn't stack from multiple characters, it does make it more likely someone will get a hit on their helping roll, so you'll get the +1. But the rules explicitly say no chaining, so no helping someone's help roll).

    I've never highlighted Hx yet but I want to try it sometime, that sounds fun.

    With a good GM misses are as much fun as hits, so roll away like a wild monkey! Or so I tell my players.
  • Posted By: Carl
    With a good GM misses are as much fun as hits, so roll away like a wild monkey! Or so I tell my players.
    Does it make me a really amazing GM that I have a harder time making hits as fun as misses? Or maybe misses are just more fun for me, and not for the players, hmm...
  • Posted By: hans chung-ottersonPosted By: Carl
    With a good GM misses are as much fun as hits, so roll away like a wild monkey! Or so I tell my players.
    Does it make me areally amazingGM that I have a harder time making hits as fun as misses? Or maybe misses are just more fun for me, and not for the players, hmm...That's because the succesful outcome has been decided in advance by the player, the unsuccesful outcome is a delighful surprise.
  • Highlighting history? That seems like a good thing to be able to do. Is there a downside to just saying you can do that?
  • I'm interested in highlighting Hx too. Has anyone done this in actual play?
  • Here is my understanding...

    - Anyone can roll Hx to Help (or Interfere) with someone else's Move.

    - Rules suggest rolling the Move and Help at the same time.

    - But explicitly says you don't have to and gives an example where you don't.

    - Because you can Help after someone rolls for a Move, the +1 is huge.

    - Rolling a Miss on Help is different than rolling a Miss on a Move. The two are independent. I can score a Strong Hit on my Move and you can score a Miss on your Help.

    - I don't believe you can currently Highlighting Hx. If you hacked the game to allow it, I don't know what the consequences would be.
  • Posted By: Michael PfaffI'm interested in highlighting Hx too. Has anyone done this in actual play?
    We've done it from the second session or so, and are six in. It works well--I highlight it when I'm like, "Ok, I want to see how your character interacts with the others; does he hurt them, help them, not care?" It's definitely led to more helping/hindering than otherwise. When Hx isn't highlighted we don't help/hinder nearly as much.

    As far as a downside, Jason: Not that I can see, from our play. It's all upside. Maybe it doesn't matter, but I'm almost positive that somewhere on the AW forums Vincent said highlighting Hx is cool, no worries. Or something like that. It's why I felt comfortable hacking. I'll see if I can find where he gave his blessing.
  • edited September 2010
    Okay, it's actually Vincent by way of John Harper, but whatever. John says, if you follow the link:

    "Vincent and I talked about this at GameStorm.
    Hx is a stat. It can be highlighted. If I were to do it, I'd just highlight Hx in general, not a specific pairing.
    "

    So since John & Vincent gave it their blessing, which to me means that they didn't have any problems with it, and I'm sure they're the two that have run the most Apocalypse World in the world, I'm cool with it.
  • Is Angel Kit a stat?
    I ask because the last time we played all the Angel was doing was cleaning up after the Gunlugger, and if it was highlighted he would be like level 30 by now.
  • edited September 2010
    No, but over time you can get a ton of advances healing PCs with Healing Hands or healing them with your kit (p175). When you heal PCs you get +1 Hx with them for every segment of harm you heal and when your Hx resets with them you mark experience.

    A +3 Weird Brainer who takes Healing Hands can get their 6th advance in no time at all. Brainers, man... they're already maybe the fastest advancers and they start up there with Gunluggers and Skinners in potency right from the get go...
  • Hmmm. Allowing +stock spent to be highlighted would be interesting. As would +barter spent.
  • Posted By: nemomemeA +3 Weird Brainer who takes Healing Hands can get their 6th advance in no time at all. Brainers, man...
    Ryan's brainer took that path and was 1 xp away from the Ungiven Future (6th advance) by the end of one session. But then he had a violation glove, and used healing as a good time to use Deep Brain Scan and In-Brain Puppet Strings while he was patching folks up. Man, Brainers...
Sign In or Register to comment.