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Messages - cwilbur

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Apocalypse World / Re: 2-Hour Demo/Intro?
« on: September 13, 2010, 05:09:17 PM »
My experience so far is that the pacing has to be really different for a one-shot than for an ongoing game, because in a one-shot you really don't want a lot of dangling ends.  So you need to ask enough questions to generate something interesting, but not so many that there are unsatisfying unresolved situations at the end of the session.  This is exactly the opposite of what you want in a first session for an ongoing game, where unresolved situations at the end of the session are good.

Character creation is fast enough and has a large enough payoff that it's well worth doing it around the table, although you really do want to structure it, maybe working through it with each player in turn -- the first time I tried a live, in-person character creation bit I had five people asking me questions at once, and it was too much context switching -- it probably would have been more efficient if I had gone around the table saying, "Okay, Mark.  Hardholder.  Let's work through everything here.  Okay, Missy.  Operator.  Your turn."  Instead I was answering questions about gigs and surplus and want and fortunes and it was a little bit more of a challenge than I cared for.

I like the idea of insisting on one of the leader-types as a leader for the party to be connected to, but I prefer brainstorming a half-dozen different serious, immediate situations.  If you get a gunlugger and a battlebabe and an angel to go with the chopper, the hit 'em hard missions work.  If you get a skinner, a savvyhead, and a brainer, not so much - something sneaky and covert works better.  But you do want something where there's a clear objective to accomplish - blow the fuel stash, recover the macguffin, kill the evildoers.

Naming people makes them real. And that makes decisions regarding them real.

Example from actual play:  second session of a game this weekend.  They're going to scout out the holding of a former lieutenant of the PC hardholder Unca, who left acrimoniously in a dispute over how much she was getting paid and went north, where the rough terrain and hilly ground makes it a lot easier for people to hide out.  There's no PC driver; Clover the operator said, "Hey, I know a guy who's driven for me before," and I named him Hill.  There were a couple vignettes involving Clover and Hill, and they got to know him - decent, reliable driver, family back in Unca's holding.  

There's an armed guard on the road right outside the holding that won't let them take the van in.  So they park it facing the other way, and leave Hill guarding it and ready to drive off in a hurry in case they need it.  They go into the holding, and mayhem ensues.  Smith the brainer, thinking ahead, does in-brain puppet strings to a passerby and tells him to go to the gate and kill all the guards.  A few minutes later I announce that everyone hears four bursts of automatic weapon fire.  (Announce future badness, yo!) The brainer said, "Four?"  I said, "Four."  

Mayhem escalates, and they're in a hurry to leave the holding.  They dash back to the car, and I say, "You almost trip over three bodies, and there's a spatter of blood all over the van."  Clover shouts, "Hill!  Where are you?  We gotta get out of here!"  Smith puts two and two together, and says, "I think he's over here."  Turns out Hill had been having a cigarette with the gate guards.  (Fuckery, with bloody fingerprints, yo!)

Without naming him Hill, none of that would have happened.  He would have been a faceless mook; instead, he got a funeral pyre, and Clover has sworn revenge.

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