One thing I’ve been interested in for a while is an alternative to the Nova playbook.

One thing I’ve been interested in for a while is an alternative to the Nova playbook.

One thing I’ve been interested in for a while is an alternative to the Nova playbook. The Nova as written has a Charge/Burn pool mechanic rather than a set of Playbook Moves, and this makes it play in a different, crunchier style than other Masks playbooks. It’s often excluded as an option from con games for this reason. In the spirit of the Mage alternative to the Wizard playbook in Dungeon World, I jotted some thoughts down for a Nova playbook that uses Playbook Moves like other books instead of a pool mechanic. Would love people’s thoughts on this, especially if you’ve played Masks with a Nova before:

12 thoughts on “One thing I’ve been interested in for a while is an alternative to the Nova playbook.”

  1. Benjamin Davis I meant for that to mean you had to mark two conditions if you chose that option and couldn’t shift those labels (due to them being maxed out or locked). I’ll see about clarifying the wording.

  2. I’ve only played the Nova in a single game and that only lasted for 2 days before being cancelled. But I agree that it felt very clunky compared to the other playbooks. I feel that the Burn would work better as an Extra with some actual playbook moves available to the Nova instead.

    So your idea of the Conduit is pretty interesting although it feels like most of the backstory questions are geared towards a cosmic scale of power rather than the tamer ones like eledtrokinesis. But that’s not meant in a bad way because the Nomad’s moves are geared towards a Guardians of the Galaxy like feel but they can as easily a dimension hopper or a time traveller like Doctor Who. So that’s not meant to be a criticism, just a point of mention.

    Eye of the Storm: I think getting 3 conditions for a miss is FAR too harsh. I get that it’s supposed to be a variation of the Burn mechanic but it doesn’t really work because when you miss on a Burn you still get hold to use for flares. Here you just get completely ganked. IMHO.

    Phenomenal cosmic power: love that reference, that scene is one of the best in that movie.


    Brainstorm: Feels incredibly geared towards psychic or cosmic powers, and it kinda feels like it forces a player’s hands into choosing those powers and not things like gravity of electric. I suggest a rewording like “When you pierce someone鈥檚 mask by finding a common ground between your abilities” or something along those lines.

    Moment of Truth: is that last line a reference of Galadriel in Fellowship of the Ring?

    Team Moves: Oh I love both of them to bits 馃榾

  3. anistuffs Thank you for the detailed feedback!

    I hear you about Eye of the Storm. Gotta think about how to sweeten the deal. You’ll see I’ve messed around with a new version tying into a new condition.

    I am pleased with Grounded and glad you like it!

    I’ll think about rewording Brainstorm. I meant it to fit the flavor of elemental powers two, but a couple folks have thought it doesn’t.

    There are two Galadriel references in here! I guess I just like the writing of that scene as a powers flare out of control moment.

  4. Alexi Sargeant I’m taking another look at it. By the way, what do you mean by ‘manipulation of the web of life’? It sounds like an incredibly vague phrase. It’s basically like the default Nova’s biokinesis which is very confusing. I’ve asked others to explain biokinesis but I get very wildly differing answers so I still don’t know.

    Anyway, I just think some rewording might help make it less ambiguous.

    I like the addition of a new condition. Drained definitely feels like in the spirit of the Nova/Conduit. But I don’t think it diminishes the sheer harshness of marking 3 conditions in Eye of the Storm.

    Firstly, the player needs to find a quiet moment to even use this move. This is definitely not a move they can use in the middle of combat. And they get knocked out by marking 3 conditions… out of combat… That just feels incredibly depowering which is the exact opposite of what this playbook is supposed to feel like…

    Or wait, is it your intention with this playbook to make the Nova not feel empowering? Either way, I still feel 3 conditons on a miss is very very harsh.

    This feels analogous to ‘just increase hp to make the boss harder’. That is a poor game design philosophy.

    There are so many interesting bad things that can happen on a miss when the character is ‘opening their brain to the cosmos’ and just giving 3 boring conditions feels like a complete missed opportunity.

    They could draw the attention of someone else who has access to this or someone with similar powers, they could have their body hijacked by this powers and lose control of their powers and end up destroying or damaging the place they’re at, they could accidentally end up giving a nearby teammate a condition by connecting to them via their powers in an unexpected way, etc… but no, they just get 3 boring conditions! That is just…. disappointing.

    Not to mention, depending on what conditions they had previously, they end up marking Drained again. Which is just… yeah.

    The only way they can clear Drained is by this move and they mark it again. That is not a good thing imho.

    I know you think it sounds good on writing but I can definitely assure you that if I was playing this playbook (which I would want to someday), I would probably never use that move and just keep my Drained condition instead. And I’d imagine many players would agree with that assessment.

    Sorry about the rant/wall of post. I just think marking 3 conditions on a single miss of the dice is a terrible option.

  5. anistuffs Yup, all the abilities are near-matches to Nova abilities, with the open-endedness that implies. I imagine the Web of Life option letting players build a powerset/mythology along the lines of DC’s The Green and The Red. But I imagine other players and GMs would have their own interpretations of it!

    Your point is taken regarding Eye of the Storm. Several folks have suggested it is too harsh, and I am considering reworking it. I’m definitely more interested by the “draws unwanted attention” part of that consequence.

  6. Doyce, this is fantastic! Thank you very much for this.

    Since “Eye of the Storm” has generated controversy (and I see you’ve taken your own stab at it) I give blanket permission to anyone testing this playbook to hack the miss results to their hearts’ content. You’ll see in the google doc I made it so it always clears Drained, even on a miss. But anyone who takes this for a spin (and I’d love to hear stories of it!) should do with it as they’d like.

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