AW AP: “Why’d you kill him?” “He was in my way.”

Apocalypse Report:

So, last night marked session one of our Apocalypse World game, with myself and 7(!) players. I believe the large cast will make for some exciting storylines, there wasn’t much screen time to go around- and once play got going, some folks got a lot more screentime than others. (Tim and Misha got hardly any it seemed to me, but Misha made good work of hers!)

I do think the large cast will make well for episodic ensemble play- if only 4 of the players can make it, no big deal, we zoom in on those guys. I will probably have to institute a ‘no fucking with a player’s power base while they’re away rule.’

Our characters, in no particular order:

Beastie the Battlebabe, played by Tim. We don’t know too much about this guy yet- he showed up in his speedo and cowboy boots, and got laughed at by the Hardholders boys and had his ass kicked and thrown out- and that was before play even started!
Kim the Angel, played by Amelia. Man, if there was one character in this group I would not trust with my unconscious body, it would be the Angel. Total Mad Scientist vibe- looking to experiment with scavenged cyberware on unwilling test subjects.
Marsh the Brainer, played by Abram. He’s a brainer with a violation glove. I’d still feel safer around him than the Angel.
Dark Enlight the Hocus, played by Shari. When her cult has surplus, they party and open up links to the psychic maelstrom. Did I mention that the hardhold is a nexus for the Psychic Maelstrom- ley lines, or some shit? And that Marsh and Dark have extremely different visions of what the Maelstrom should be like.
(Also, Tim’s character in my D&D game is a Drow Sorcerer named Maelstrom, so there’s lots of jokes about that.)
Shit Head the Chopper, played by Len. While I can’t take the name seriously, there’s a lot of good stuff going on with Len’s gang- they are well disciplined, coming from some sort of military heritage survivalist settlement somewhere, and have a baseball theme. Len has expressed an interest in taking over the hardhold.
Wolf, the Gunlugger, played by Misha. Like the Battlebabe, a bit of a mystery. But most of the action in the session was triggered by a chain of action starting with Misha. I look forward to seeing how she’ll react in other situations.
And finally, Frost the Skinner, a male exotic dancer, played by Sabe. Frost works at The Shakedown, a club owned by greasy fat perv Jarvis.

We establish that the Shakedown, Kim’s Infirmary (which is invite only), and Dark’s cult all operate out of a small hardhold called Lincoln Town, in the middle of Wreck City, which is some sort of large, semi-ruined metropolis. We start with Dark’s cult augury opening a psychic vortex in the Shakedown and staging an impromptu party, Kim trying to inject Beastie with anesthesia and it going horribly awry. Then Shit Head decides no one throws a party without him and his gang, but it stopped at the door- maximum occupancy, you know, first come, first served, and ends up deciding to have his gang party in the parking lot. (Most of the important town buildings are in an abandoned and reclaimed strip mall.) Marsh goes into the club to talk psychic philosophy with Dark, and possibly turncoat worshipper Winkle, 80-year old ecstasy cultist. Dark reads Marsh, and learns that he’d most like her to touch his hand. Why the hell not? He deep brain scans her, and learns that she abandoned her little brother Shit Head as a kid.

Oh, and Wolf storms into the infirmary and kills one of Kim’s lab assistants.

I was worried, especially at this point, that with a group of hardened IAWA players, everyone would be going for the throat right from minute one, which I don’t think AP supports as well- you have significant safety nets in IAWA- more ephemeral characters, being at zero dice meaning many different things, only one of which is death, etc. AP has actual hit points, and Wolf does 4 fucking harm with her Magnum Pistol.

During character creation, Sabe decided that Kim and Frost are lovers, but Wolf loves Frost. (Sabe and Misha are a couple in real life, for what it’s worth. An adorable couple.) So Wolf decides that Kim is in her way, kicks down the door to the infirmary (seize by force, inflict great harm on the door with her boot), goes aggro on Char, overgrown burncovered lab assistant, and shoots him right in the chest, then goes aggro on Kim. There’s some discussion about what you can do when you are went aggro on, especially when it’s a +3 Hard Gunlugger who rolled 10+ against you. Wolf’s command was ‘bug out,’ so Kim flees- into the arms of pissed off Beastie, who’s still waiting nearby. Beastie decides to forgive her for now, and side with her versus Wolf. Wolf comes out, sees Kim, and is mad at her. Aggro may have been went. Beastie picks up Kim and flees with her one way around the stripmall, and Wolf saunters around the other. Kim is, of course, fleeing to Frost, who Wolf is now also on the way to see.

Everyone ends up in the parking lot, where Shit Head’s bikers are partying. Some of the Hardholder’s boys show up. Everyone has guns, and there’s a nice big mexican standoff. Shit Head sends one of his guys in to get Frost- it gets out that this dispute is somehow about him.

Frost gets everyone to shut up, and Wolf and Frost have a standoff of their own, which goes Frost’s way. Wolf, a woman of few words, decides that Frost is a total bitch, and decides she doesn’t need him.

That was a whole exchange of moves having consequences and building on each other. I didn’t get to ask as many questions as I’d intended to- there’s still a lot I don’t know about the holding that I wanted to come from the players, and I don’t think I have enough established to make more than a front or two, and I feel if I author more stuff than that, I’ll be creating too much. I don’t know- still getting the hang of this. Certainly a great session, everyone’s eager for more, and I’ve already got some great ideas on how to push the characters’ buttons.

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One thought on “AW AP: “Why’d you kill him?” “He was in my way.”

  1. Sabe says:

    I think if there was any systemic problem with the Gunlugger, it’s the same as afflicts many (granted, mostly traditional) RPGs: violence is the most effective means of interacting with the world. Sure, you can manipulate or sneak or whatever, but the majority of the time, killing things gets you what you want faster, more permanently, and more impressively.

    Which may speak to the themes of the Apocalypse World, but it’s still an instance of that age-old issue.

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