Powered By The Apocalypse WG Homebrew?

Has anyone created, or does anyone have any idea how one might create/implement, a WG mechanic into a variant of the “Powered By The Apocalypse” system? There are a couple (one officially created, one would have to be reconstructed from watching a recent livestream and studying the system they’re using, because it’s a homebrew based on the PBTA system) versions of that system I’d like to attempt to do something with, namely “Avatar Legends” and the Critical Role “Tears of the Kingdom”-inspired one from their sponsored one-shot, and would like to incorporate something that leans into our mutual tastes here.

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I’m not aware of any existing PBTAs that do this, but Avery Alder’s “Simple World” is very nearly a “How to make a PBTA” guide: Simple World - Buried Without Ceremony (Note that it was published under an old pen name).

If you’re okay with Forged in the Dark, this feels like something you could tweak the Stress and Vice system to accommodate

EDIT: Clocks might also be a cool way to handle this ( clocks for hunger, weight stages, time to stomach growls, etc)


Nice to see some non-D&D content here :slight_smile: I was also thinking that clocks could be a good solution!

The obvious thing would be to just have a clock for the character’s weight, and use the number/size of segments to model how naturally resistant the character is to gaining (e.g. an elf/orc might find it easier to stay slim than a human/dwarf). Then you could have consequences at certain points on the clock (e.g. mobility decreases, less armour effectiveness as it doesn’t fit any more, etc - whatever floats your boat).

The main downside to that, though, is that it doesn’t give you a lot of flexibility in designing moves - you can choose how much weight someone gains, but that’s it. That’s fine if all of the WG in your setting is happening supernaturally/instantly, but not if you’re looking for a slow burn.

I think it could be interesting to make things a bit more granular, and add a second clock for ‘capacity’ - this would represent how much the character can eat before they start feeling full. Then you’d build the rules around the interplay between the two clocks:

  • Whenever a character eats/drinks (or is otherwise hit with an onslaught of calories), you’d mark segments on the capacity clock.
    • At the halfway point, the character feels ‘full’.
    • The further past halfway you go, the more consequences you incur, both fictionally and mechanically.
    • It’s up to your setting/preferences what happens if the clock fills completely - you could either go realistic (read: gross) with it, or you could have it start spilling over into the weight clock for instant gains.
  • Whenever your character rests, transfer segments from the capacity clock to the weight clock to actually have them gain weight.
    • Again, you could vary the number of segments the weight clock has to make it so some characters get fat after a day of overeating, and other characters need to sustain that lifestyle for longer.
    • You could also have rules for subtracting segments from the weight clock if the capacity clock stays low, but… c’mon that’s not why we’re here

Building on Jentera’s capacity clock idea, an untested move for fighting cursed/uncontrollable gluttony:

When you resist an opportunity to overeat, roll with [stat].

On a 10+, you succeed.
On a 7-9, your resolve slips. Advance your capacity clock by 1. The MC chooses one:

  • You are food-dazed. Take -1 Forward
  • Your indulgence attracts unwanted attention
  • You are lost in a reverie of food. You lose an opportunity to act.

On a miss, you eat with abandon. Advance your capacity clock by 2. MC chooses two.

(If you wanna go harsher, replace the “reverie of food” option with "You make yourself uncomfortably full, stomach aching and seams straining. Take Level 1 Harm)

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Alright, PbtA games are… very tricky. I must warn you if you PbtA is ‘deceptively’ difficult to make a proper game for in the first place. The issue being that if your coming at it as an actual game then you’ll screw it up, cause PbtA’s whole strength is about adding mechanics to ‘narrative’ as opposed to adding mechanics to ‘actions’.

This is why the best PbtA games dont replicate world or settings like D&D or Call of Cthulhu, it instead replicates “Specific Stories”, thus why any real character customization in a PbtA game kind of ruins it, and why strict adherence to playbooks is important. Because in the rules, it doesn’t care that your character is a unique dragonborn Bard, it only cares in what ‘role’ you play. Notice I said ‘role’ and not ‘Class’ cause, they are similar things, but instead of determining your role in combat, playbooks determine your story role.

Think your classic 5 man band archetype, “The Leader, the Lancer, the Big Guy, the Smart Guy, and the Heart”, in a PbtA game these would be elaborated on more. Like Monster of the Week you will have “The Chosen”, “The Expert”, “The Monster”, if you’ve watched any media akin to Scoobie Doo or Buffy, you know exactly who I’m talking about. And these Playbooks dont care if your playing “Highschooler Cheerleader with Acrobatics”, no it only cares that your playing the role of “The Chosen”.

Now you can see why merely sticking on some homebrew rules might be a bit iffy when it comes to the PbtA game your talking about because plenty of them have integrated rules, like Strings in Monster Hearts, which you ‘could’ have it to where eating and feasting could apply to that.

Though in reality, I suggest actually making your own, because realizing that your not creating a mechanical game world, but a narrative game world, a kind of ‘improv theater’ ruleset that doesn’t care that technically your fireball shouldn’t reach the goblin cause its 5 feet out of range, it hits because it’s thematically expedient. Or the fact that it does the same damage or impact as an arrow because damage isn’t the issue.

The main thing is to make number tracking ‘very’ simple. You can have ‘move’s’ (think of these as ‘attacks for stories’ as opposed to physical damage attacks) that impact characters girth or react to their girth, on top of physical or emotional state.

You can have “The Pig”, the character who just eats whats around them and throw their weight around, have them literally have “Belly Bump” as a move where they can force through anything, cause damage, wreck havoc. Or you can have “The Foodie” with a “Pompous” Move that allows them to use a different stat for eating or even cause status effects. Or even “The Enabler” who isn’t or even ‘cant’ gain weight, but has moves dealing with buffing other characters.

Maybe even have it to where gaining weight is more about increasing the ‘amount’ of bonuses, have little energy tokens that you can expend, but only have a max of 3 until you gain weight slowly to get 4 or 5.

The big thing is with PbtA, you need to think very thematically and theatrically. If your planning on tracking pounds or calories, deal with food, strategy in any form, then choose a different system, because PbtA’s rules are… well… a 50/50 coinflip in success without much in the way of modifying that when it comes to environmental scenario. Players will always be rolling 2D6 + stats, no outside influence is going to change that, you cant have things ‘more difficult’ or ‘easier’ due to that overt simplicity.

So frankly, I suggest making your own instead of modding another system, cause due to how tightly machined good PbtA games are, it will just end up ruining it, and you’ll have a much better game if you start from the ground up making a “Weight Gain PbtA game” that focuses on the aspects of gaining, enabling, the types of fat character steriotypes.

You can do so much with it, have “The Punk” who views their weight as a statement, “The Oblivious” who either ignores or is in denial about their weight, “The Pampered” the classic fat spoiled brat, the aformentioned “Enabler” but also the “Researcher” could be a fun variant more about poking, prodding, and finding alternate solutions. “The Chow Hound”, all about food variety and just overall enthusiasm, “The Competitor”.

The list go’s on.

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