Cover art for podcast The Hard Move

The Hard Move

37 EpisodesProduced by Matthew GravelynWebsite

The Hard Move is a Powered by the Apocalypse (PbtA) RPG discussion podcast. Each episode, host Sidney Icarus will chat with a guest about a single move, diving into how the move works mechanically, how players can use it narratively to drive the fiction, and how GMs can react to the move. Join us ev… read more

37 Episodes | 2018 - 2020

Reveal a Secret

November 18th, 2020


Fight, Item, Run is available to back now:

Taylor Curreysmith and I prepare for the worst as we discuss his Kickstarter based on the …

Pay the Price

October 28th, 2020


Kyle Thompson and I prepare for the worst as we discuss object-oriented design, separation of intent, and a really cool move that I didn't love going …


October 14th, 2020


Literally one day left to get Apocalypse Keys 25% off for being a Hard Move listener!

John Harper and I prepare for the worst as we discuss the building tension, core loops, and how we …

Accuse Someone of Lying

September 30th, 2020


Reminder that you can get Apocalypse Keys 25% off for being a Hard Move patron!

Tomer Gurantz and I prepare for the worst as we discuss the nature of move engagement, what it means to …

Holy Symbol Arsenal

September 16th, 2020


Get Apocalypse Keys 25% off for being a Hard Move listener!

Jammi Nedjadi and I prepare for the worst as we unfold …

Tell a Story

September 2nd, 2020


Proceeds from this month's patreon go to Color of Change, support them here:

Yoshi Creelman and I prepare for the …

Surrender to Weariness

August 5th, 2020


Misha B and I prepare for the worst as we fight against the shadow until we Surrender to Weariness. Misha is an absolute joy to listen to, and I …

Thy Will Be Done

July 22nd, 2020


Aaron King and I prepare for the worst as we satiate an Object's Hunger with Thy Will Be Done. This episode unfolds a lot about what we want from the …

In-Brain Puppet Strings

July 8th, 2020


Paddy Hutchinson and I prepare for the worst as we pull on some In-Brain Puppet Strings. An interesting move, we discuss a lot about the requirements …

At Any Cost

June 25th, 2020


Rach Shelkey and I prepare for the worst as we take a look at At Any Cost from Urban Shadows. One of my favourite eps, when we discover that we both have a totally different understanding of this move.

In the Patreon …

The Abyss Stares Back

June 10th, 2020


Spenser Starke and I prepare for the worst as we take a look at The Abyss Stares Back from The Veil. An interesting move, we discuss as much about how we …


May 27th, 2020


Jenn Martin and I prepare for the worst as we take a look at the Beacon's Drives from Masks. We go through how Drives offer players guidance, and how the smart design offers beats without defining an arc. 

In the …

Gaze Into The Abyss

May 13th, 2020


Andrew Gillis and I prepare for the worst as we Gaze into the Abyss from Monsterhearts 2. In this episode we discuss inviting players in, generating stakes, and developing good dark stories. 

In our patreon release …

Go Aggro

April 29th, 2020


Adrian Thoen and I prepare for the worst as we go OG and Go Aggro with Apocalypse World 1e and 2e. In this episode we discuss shifting agency of threats; bluffing and calling it; and how to do moves from "a distance".

Spit In The Face Of Guidance Or Influence

April 15th, 2020


Ryan McNeil and I prepare for the worst as we step into the time-shifting Innocent, and look at a really hostile move. In this episode we discuss escalation in PbtA; what it means to have moves "on the table"; and how …

Last Breath

April 1st, 2020


Matthew Gravelyn and I prepare for the worst as we explore Dungeon World's move for facing down the black gates of the death. In this episode we discuss the nature of RPG death; triggering and engaging with the move in …

Hard Move Season 2 Announcement

March 31st, 2020


The Hard Move returns for Season 2... with a twist! New episodes start on April 1st.

--- Support this podcast:

Make A Challenge

March 14th, 2019


Becky Annison and I dive into her upcoming game Bite Me! and explore the complicated dynamics of werewolf pack authority. The move Make A Challenge …

Act Under Pressure

March 6th, 2019


Rev Deschain and I check out the move Act Under Pressure from Monster of the Week. This seemingly generic move is used whenever there is risk or doubt about the success of an action and offers a wide assortment of both …

Take A Powerful Blow

February 27th, 2019


Lloyd Gyan and I expand on a Twitter conversation by discussing Take A Powerful Blow from Masks. In a game where super humans battle it out with …


February 13th, 2019


Jonah M. Jackson and I launch into Uncharted Worlds to discuss Transform, a move from the Shaper playbook found in the Far Beyond Humanity expansion. This move is mechanically light, relying on another basic move for …

Keep Your Cool

February 6th, 2019


Marsie Vellan and I head back into Monsterhearts 2 to check out another pivotal move for any teen monster, Keep Your Cool. Mechanically it’s simple: …

Stand Strong in Your Convictions

January 30th, 2019


Lauren McManamon and I talk about her game Girl Underground as we discuss the move Stand Strong in Your Convictions. At the heart of this game is a sense of empowerment and discovery by The Girl who is striving to turn …


January 23rd, 2019


Kyle Gould and I look into his first PbtA game, Blades in the Dark, and explore the move Mesmerism from the Slide playbook. Mechanically this move …

Express Your Love Passionately

January 16th, 2019


Brandon Leon-Gambetta and I get steamy and talk about Express Your Love Passionately from his forthcoming game Pasión de las Pasiones. Mechanically …


January 2nd, 2019


Renee Rhodes and I stumble into the move Oops! from Monster of the Week. This move comes from the Mundane playbook and offers the player a mechanical way to luck into finding some crucial information for them to share …

Embrace Your Chimera & The Power of Friendship

December 26th, 2018


Ryan Boelter and I explore the genre-bending world of Chimera by looking at the basic move Embrace Your Chimera and the genre move The Power of Friendship. After an overview of the system, we talk about how the genre …


December 19th, 2018


Murphy and I gear up for another visit to Monster of the Week by analyzing the Expert Playbook move Preparedness. This move represents the Expert’s vast knowledge and stockpile of gear, trinkets, and artifacts and …

Risk Roll

December 12th, 2018


Jesse Ross and I delve into the mysterious and dangerous forest of Trophy to discuss the Risk Roll, one of only three in the game. It mechanically …


December 5th, 2018


Ross Payton and I focus our minds on Scum and Villainy as we dive into the move Attune. From telekinetic powers to psychic visions to handling dangerous artifacts, this move offers a mechanical basis for a vast array of …

Blow Off Steam

November 28th, 2018


Meghan Dornbrock and I explore the shadow-filled world of The Watch and look at how the move Blow Off Steam gives deep meaning to downtime. This move mechanically helps you reduce Weary and gain Camaraderie, two tracks …

Turn Someone On

November 21st, 2018


Adam West and I get hot and heavy as we discuss the move Turn Someone On from the game Monsterhearts 2. This move is at the core of Monsterhearts gameplay and mechanically powers Strings, the economy of relationships …

Mind Your Manners & Be Understood

November 14th, 2018


Brie Sheldon and I struggle with our inner beasts as we take a look at both Mind Your Manners and Be Understood from their game Turn. These moves represent how characters handle the instincts of their beast and human …


November 7th, 2018


Jason Mills and I get into the move Burn from the Nova Playbook in the game Masks. We talk about the mechanical importance of this move as the only Playbook option for the Nova, how the choices made in this move are …

Detachable Body Parts

October 31st, 2018


Eric Lee and I break down the move Detachable Body Parts from the Constructed playbook in Monster of the Week. We talk about how deceptively simple the mechanics of this move are but how out of hand (or arm, or leg) …

Unleash Your Powers

October 24th, 2018


Aabria Iyengar and I discuss the move Unleash Your Powers from Masks. We explore what this move means mechanically as a barely controlled burst of …


October 9th, 2018


Hello, I'm Matthew Gravelyn and I love Powered by the Apocalypse games! Join me every week as I welcome a new guest on to name their move and we’ll play to find out what happens. This is The Hard Move. Subscribe on …

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