The Moves of New Horizons: Basic Moves

At the core of Apocalypse World and the multitude of hacks of it are Moves. New Horizons is pretty much the same. All characters start the game with a number of Moves, most of them Basic Moves, which are shared by all of them, and some more unique, that set them apart.


This is the walk through the list of the six Basic Moves of +H. Enjoy.

Deduce Things

Basic Move: Päättele asioita

When you examine (investigate) a situation or a new clue in front of you, card+Know

10+: Ask 3, 7-9: Ask 1:

  • What is this?
  • What does this mean?
  • How do I get in/out/away?
  • What should I keep my eye on?
  • What is the relationship of this to _______?

New Horizons is an investigative game. It follows in the footsteps of Call of Cthulhu model of RPGs where you find clues and move towards a threat. This means that there has to be a Basic Move that is about investigating situations and clues.

It is a way for me as a Game Master to give actual answers to the players from things they investigate. Instead of just giving a pile of clues and watch them run off into a tangent, because the typewriter was a rare 1921 model that shouldn’t be there. And also, as Moves trigger from things happening in fiction, forcing the player characters to investigate if they want to find out things.

This move is very similar in tone to the “Puzzle Things Out” one in Tremulus (both being Basic Moves for investigation), but Deduct Things has a more narrow scope and no mechanical bonuses for following the clues. This is a Move that serves as a basis for a whole bunch of other investigative Moves, from hacking to seduction to autopsies that all come from the character Roles.

Commit (to) Violence

Basic Move: Sitoudu Väkivaltaan

When you’ve committed to hurting a person to get what you want, card+Hurt:

10+: The target chooses one:

  • They hold their ground and force your hand.
  • They cave in and give you what you want.

7-9: Either one of the above, or they can choose one:

  • Flee the situation.
  • Give you what they think you want.
  • Tell you what you want to hear.
  • Take cover.

At first glance, this looks like the fighting Move. But it’s really not that. There is no blow-by-blow deal damage Move in New Horizons. Mostly because the characters are more or less normal people.

That premise makes this a sort of a threshold Move – if your character is willing to cross the line to harm someone, you can get what you want. It’s an alpha dog thing. But as long as you’re not actually ready to take that final step to get what you want, this Move doesn’t trigger. If your character is pointing a gun at someone, but not planning on using it (even if the other person doesn’t know it), that situation is solved through (hopefully intense) roleplaying.

This Move also requires the use of violence as a means rather than a goal. If you’re just hitting someone because you want to hit them, it’s not in the scope of this. That will most likely be settled with use of Confidence or acting under pressure, if it’s a more dangerous situation.

The source for this Move is Apocalypse World itself. It’s more or less mechanically “Go Aggro” but with a different flavor.

Act Under Pressure

Basic Move: Toimi paineen alla

When you have to act in a situation where you are threatened, card+Grit:

10+: You do what you were planning on doing.

7-9: You flinch, stall or hesitate: The GM can offer you a worse outcome, a nasty cost or a difficult choice.

This is a standard Basic Move from Apocalypse World. There it is known as “Act Under Fire”, but the world in that game is a lot more violent than the one in New Horizons.

For me, it’s the move where there is an (external) threat that might prevent the character from doing what they’re doing. A move for the GM to say that “this is dangerous and I’m not going to let you just waltz through this bit”.

Give Care

Basic Move: Anna hoivaa

When you make a person (other than yourself) who has been harmed feel better, card+Care:

10+: The harm is marked as healed, and the target reveals something personal to you.

7-9: The harm is marked as healed.

With damage working in New Horizons the way it does, the system for handling it needs to be different from other Apocalypse World variants. Any effort to make the life of a character who has been harmed easier triggers it, and if you’re successful, all the damage gets healed.

This means that for most part, damage is something you can brush off with a good pep talk or by offering the guy a sip of whisky from your flask. This Move is there to provide excellent situations for character bonding, and thus increased Trust.


Basic Move: Siirry eteenpäin

When you move to a location that’s not easy to reach, card+Move:

10+: Pick both, 7-9: Pick one:

  • You get there fast.
  • You get there unnoticed.

This is another very simple Move designed for a specific purpose. Is there a locked door in your character’s way? Security cameras? A cliff or a wall to climb? Are you in gang territory? Is there a pack of Shadow Creatures lurking about. When there are complications in getting from X to Y, this is the Move to make.

The wording is quite intentional – if getting somewhere is easy, you get there without a Move, or by using Confidence. If somewhere is impossible to reach, you can’t get there even with this Move.

This move is inspired by Dead Weight‘s (Apocalypse World Parkour Zombie Hack) “Haul Ass”, but only in theme. The execution is quite different. It’s there for those situations where there is wonderful tension to be had in situations where characters need to avoid something – Stealth, acrobatics, larceny and all that, rolled into one. Things that are quite essential for a faster paced scenarios.

You … wait, what?!

Basic Move: Teet ... siis mitä?!

When you … What the hell? Are you out of your mind? Ok, it’s your funeral.. card-1:

10+: As insane as it sounds, you manage to pull it off.

7-9: Oh well, not perfect, but you can call it a success. However, you are now open to danger and the Game Master should do his best to take advantage of that.

This is a Move I love, even if it has not been used once in the game yet. It’s there for the situations where the player decides that their character will try some heroic feat or another that’s just plain insane.

It’s a risky move that allows crazy stunts. A 10+ with a -1 modifier is a 8.33% chance. With someone helping you and using a point of Confidence, that goes up to 27%, but even that’s a long shot.

This is a Move I have adopted from The Regiment, a wonderful World War II hack for AW.

Basic Moves that are Missing

Now, two things that are clearly missing from the mix that feel like they should have a place in an investigative game are observation and social skills. Neither has a Basic Move for them (if you don’t count committing to violence a Social Move).

If it is a question if you spot something or not, or if people react to you the way you want, it’s something that most of the time is just roleplayed. And my guideline as a Game Master is to root for the Player Characters in those situations. The dramatic moments should not rise from if a character spots something or not, and a good social interaction shouldn’t be solved with just a simple card draw.

And that’s all there is about the Basic Moves. Next on the Moves list are the Peripherals, which include team mechanics like help and using Trust, the use of the Mission Track, and taking Harm.

2 thoughts on “The Moves of New Horizons: Basic Moves

  1. Footnote: Also, it’s interesting to be writing about this in English, because there is an overlap in terminology when translating – “Move” (the things on the cards that get executed) is called “siirto” when talking about it in Finnish, so there is no confusion between that term and the Stat “Move”

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