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Author Topic: [Apocalypse World] The Hardhold on the Hill, er, Cliff  (Read 865 times)
Chris_Chinn
Member

Posts: 280


« on: May 29, 2011, 06:09:54 PM »

Hi,

We ran our first session of Apocalypse World today.  The group is myself, Sushu, and Jono, whom I've been roleplaying with for over a year, now.  I've been the only one with the book and took up the role of MC.  We weren't sure what we wanted to play, but settled on AW, which meant I had a little fuzziness of how the rules work again, but everything worked pretty well.

Our PCs are:

Sushu played Fox Wilson, an Operator who is a hard working woman, hoping to earn enough scratch to keep her housewife happy.  Her wife, Rice, apparently dug out a lot of material from a nuke bomb shelter and apparently has it in her head that the pre-Apocalypse was 1950's America, and is desperately attempting to recreate that, here, now.   Their ramshackle house with railroad ties & spikes as the "picket fence" has Christmas lights on the outside.

Jono played Sundown, a creepy Brainer (what Brainers aren't creepy?) who dresses in total gimp wear and speaks of himself in 3rd person.  Despite the creepy talk, by the end of the session we had the feeling Sundown was more a Michael Jackson-esque innocent- a little too off in the head to relate normally, and often putting himself in situations that appeared really sketchy.  (He also calls the psychic maelstrom, "Ziggy" and makes manikins to reflect the true selves of the people he knows in the Hardhold - he calls them "The Bloodless".)

The hardhold they're in is called Merry Vatos, held by Lockwood, a hard ass man who's just trying to keep the place from falling apart.  It sits at the top of a hill, next to a cliff.   Mind you, the cliff wasn't there pre-Apocalypse, and below, you can see the ruins of the city that once connected to this place.   Just south of the city is another hardhold, Blue Light Special, a fortified town built out of strip malls and a K-mart.

AW's first session advice is to mostly follow the PCs around on a normal day and only throw in a few bits of drama.   Naturally, though, I found once you institute a little drama, you end up with a lot of drama.   Unfortunately, I didn't do such a great job of getting the PCs to cross paths, so effectively their situations happened in parallel with no crossover, but both were fun.

Things that worked really, really well:

- Barfing Apocalyptica was easy, and fun.  It was easy to do between asking questions of the players and coming up with disturbing ideas.  Highlights included:  Creepy mutants who communicate through blinking patterns in their eyes, double-tailed squirrels that are tasty eatings, bats with weird bone-bits growing out of weird places.

- The rules really supported things.  I kept checking the book, mostly because of first-session jitters, but the rules were there when and how I needed them.  A couple of things that you'd normally use rules for in other games (sneaking up on someone), don't apply here, so there's some adjustment process in those.

- Names!  Naming characters is easy and fun when you realize anything and everything can be a name in Apocalypse World.  I wrote down my own list of NPC names while the players did character generation, which gave me a lot more ideas: Lockwood, Handaxe, Mixer, Slim Jim, Pinesol, Vixen, Inglewood, Domino, Slipstream, Piss Bucket, Deputy, Nipple Ring

- "Characters just aren't that complicated" - this principle about NPCs made it really easy to play up a few different NPCs.  Although in playing, it's easy to make them unique, for the basic core, I just think of them as a "one-trick pony"- there's one thing that they're about, and the way they generally go about doing it, and you go.

Things that will take some getting used to:

- Rules here REALLY don't work like rules elsewhere.  Things that typically engage mechanics in other games are either simply go from the fiction or GM decisions.

- Slow down!  I found myself kicking up a lot of drama on the first session - not looking for resolution, but just highlighting schisms, places for conflict.  I'd probably go a bit slower next go around.

- More maps, more diagrams, etc.

- Naming more people!  I named a lot, but didn't name everyone in everyone's gang.  I should start looking into doing more of that for the hell of it.   I also need to think a bit more like Dogs in the Vineyard with each characters schtick - they should announce or go for it sooner in play.

Overall, a good time, and hopefully we can go for further sessions.

Chris
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Abkajud
Member

Posts: 285


« Reply #1 on: May 30, 2011, 08:51:26 AM »

Chris,
I just MCed Apocalypse World for the first time last night, and I concur with a lot of what you're saying, here.
I definitely forgot to make NPCs "just not that complicated". But the game was pretty easy to run, surprisingly so, and at times I'd look to do a soft Move, only to watch as one of the PCs did it for me. At least twice, I commented, "This game practically runs itself!"

One thing that did not unfold as I expected: Fronts. I sort of expected that I'd have a Front all ready to go by the time the session was over, but I'm looking at my 1st Session Worksheet, and I have, like, 2 names on there. Not enough info for a Front just yet.
I'll try to put an AP post together so as to fill in the gaps a bit more.
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Mask of the Emperor rules, admittedly a work in progress - http://abbysgamerbasement.blogspot.com/
Chris_Chinn
Member

Posts: 280


« Reply #2 on: May 31, 2011, 01:37:10 PM »

Hi,

Yeah, part of what had me checking the book, often, was the fact that I had to do, so little in terms of play that made it easy.

I'm giving myself time to mull over Fronts - it's probably going to be 2, maybe 3 weeks before we can play again, so I'm not short on prep time.  One thing that really helped that I forgot to mention, was thinking about how each character might be a problem or a threat in the future.

Mostly, though, what I see as being something to work on in future sessions is highlighting the differences -between- a lot of characters who are on allied cliques, and how those groupings are also fragile status quos in and of themselves.  So, that'll be the fun stuff to think about as I'm working up Fronts.

Chris
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