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Topics - Judd

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Apocalypse World / AP by Move - Inflict Harm (as established)
« on: September 25, 2010, 06:18:10 PM »

1) Dent it feels a punch in your lower back when Shit-head shoots you in the back.  Shit-head starts screaming at you about how Dent will never disrespect him again.  He has a shitty little revolver in his hand, it has duct tape around the metal handle; its kind of amazing the fucking thing even shot, really.  Take 2 harm and roll the harm move.

2) Bullet is following this Nissan and the trunk opens up.  You realize right then that the trunk was rigged so it could be opened from the inside. Kneeling in there is a kid with an uzi on some kind of jury-rigged tripod.  He blazes on your windshield.  3 harm and make a harm move.

He rolled a 7-9 on the Harm Move, so he lost track of the Nissan

I have trouble bringing this one out.  I admit it, I totally feel guilty bringing out damage without some kind of a die roll.  Example #2 was only after a die roll was failed.

#1 was done on the first night, one of my first MC moves but since then, in general, I like to start the move a little earlier.  Like so: 

Dent, Shit-head is front of you, waving a gun around, screaming about how you should never have disrespected him or his bike in front of the guys.  He pulls the hammer back and points the gun at you.  What do you do?

I tend towards that lately.  I think the reason I went with #1 in play is because Dent specifically stated how he was turning his back on Shit-head and walking away to do his business.  He was so dismissive, it just made sense to put a bullet in him and see how he reacted.  Also, I wanted to see the harm move in action; turned out JJ rolled low, so he rolled Go Aggro when Shit-head refused to put down the gun and beat the biker gang's pack omega to a pulp.

Any Inflict Harm thoughts and/or examples?

I reckon that one way to link our AP experiences and see what is working and what is not is to list AP based on MC principles and moves.  I'll start some more threads based on other principles and moves but if someone else wants to start some, please do.

There is a tendency in AW AP threads, my own included, to be very fiction-y, with the moves and principles implied but not necessarily said.  Might be helpful to see some in action in isolation and talk about them a bit.

Ask provocative questions and build on the answers is the principle that pulls out more story per square word than any other technique in the book, to my mind.  There has never been an answer that hasn't ended up being featured in a future moment in the game.  Sometimes (#4), I had the answer linked to a custom move.  Other times it just feeds into the game's atmosphere.  Very often, the questions start by telling them something else, by barfing forth some apocalyptica.

After getting the answer it is about asking solid follow-up questions and then it is just about storing that information for later.

1) I asked Barry, "That night, Bullet has a dream about the first offensive driving move his father ever taught him, the first thing he ever learned about killing people on the highway.  What is Bullet dreaming about?"

This fed into the next game, when Bullet was in a race with Toyota and he had to make a tough choice in order to win.  He chose to drive Toyota off the highway, using the very technique he described from the dream, killing his adversary and most of his children, all but one and that one child, Bullet adopted as his own.

The question provided key color that fed into one of the most interesting relationships in the game.

2) As their characters approached a new town in the area, I asked everyone, "Each of you has a friend, a rival, a lover or unfinished business in Bear, a small city on the Hudson built around a bridge.  One relationship each.  Which is which and who is it?"

These questions entirely drove that session and gave Bear some context.  It gave everyone something to do when they first arrived, someone to seek out, either in friendship or hatred or lust.  It was a big ole glorious mess.  The NPC's created here still haunt the game.

3) I asked everyone, "If your characters could find anything at all during their salvage of West Point, what would it be?"

This one I attached to a move and due to the many 7-9 rolls, I had their shiny new toys being pawed at by a crack troop of bad ass spec-ops cannibals.  But man, they sure wanted that shit.

I hesitated when I asked it, thinking that someone would say "Abrams TANK!" but even if they did, they'd have to find a someone to fix it eventually and ammo to use...etc.  The other nightmare bit I had in my mind was a suitcase nuke of some kind but fuckit, I wasn't averse to that being in the game.  As a matter of fact, it'd be interesting to see that effect one of the threats in the game.

Padraic answered, "Cannibals," after running into a block about them when he went into the Psychic Maelstrom in order to find out what happened to the soldiers in West Point.  He rolled 7-9, so I put them out there but outnumbering this posse and out-gunning them.  I reckon if he had rolled a 10, he would have found one alone and had time away from everyone to talk to him.

4) I asked JJ after he hinted at the answer, "Wait, why does Dent wear that helmet?  Who gave it to him?"

Turns out, JJ knew the answer of this question since the first night.  He had told his wife, KK about it.  Dent and his mother were taken by cannibals and parts of his head were eaten by them.  His father gave him the helmet so that he might hide his shame and not remind anyone of what happened to him and his mother.  The cannibals were torturing the boy so that their mother would offer herself for their meal.  Dag.

I had ideas about the cannibals but after hearing the answer to that question and having Padraic answer "Cannibals," for question #3, I am currently in the process of writing up the cannibals as a Front all their own.

5) Marinating

Very often, when I ask a question, it takes someone by surprise and it is just an angle of their character that they hadn't thought of.  I will ask them to think on it, let them know that I am coming back to them and go through a quick scene with someone else and come back to them once they have had some time to marinate.

Any other examples of this principle in action?

Apocalypse World / Just Outside the City: Myths Busted, Hardholds Taken
« on: September 25, 2010, 02:00:51 AM »
 - Baby wanted military motorcycles for her boys.
 - Dent wanted a big army the kind with a canvas top (a deuce and a half,      Barry told us, it is called).
 - Bullet wanted a crane, a working construction crane.
 - Marsh meet Cannibals.

I don't recall the mix of misses and 7-9's but it was a nice mix and it resulted in this:

They they were, cannibals in their homemade suits, almost Amish looking but if Amish were special forces soldiers in an apocalyptic world with matching AR-15's assault rifles, gathered around the deuce and a half they had just salvaged with their shiny new crane.

Baby wasn't having it and opened fire, seizing the crane.  She took some shots but drove them off; they took cover behind the truck.

Things got nasty.  Everyone got shot but Baby kept seizing shit by force, so she got really shot up.  Everyone else I had roll their Harm right when it happened but I forgot with Baby, so when the fight was all over, after Marsh had knifed the little boy, Elijah, to keep him from revealing his stealthy position, after Bullet had been pinned down but backed Baby up, after Dent had attempted to get into melee but got shot and lost his grip on his hammer, after Baby sent them running again and I decided that they were done messing with her and they were in full retreat, numbers be damned, she collapsed with 3 damage.

The only doctors worth a damn was in Kip-town.

They stowed her in Bullet's 'vette (he went and got it) and he sprinted on up to the biggest city on the Hudson River.  The rest followed.

Ah, but I'm missing stuff, missing how Baby ended up possessed by the spirit of dead, Elijah and how Rubbin asked Baby if she should kill Bullet because he killed her entire family and a few other things.

But the important facts are there.  Baby's bleeding out and Bullet's running her up north to Kip-town.

That is the important stuff, that sets up everything else.

Dent and Marsh went to Bear to round up Baby's boys to meet up in Kip-town.

Bullet got into Kip-town and made a deal with their warlord, the Kipsie.

Yeah, I need to do dishes and to bed.  I'll start there tomorrow in Kip-town.

Dungeon World / A quote that bridges the two worlds.
« on: September 14, 2010, 07:28:29 PM »
Shit, this brings it all together, from this post on Story Games.

I asked Arneson whether this pipe organ implies a previous high-tech fantasy civilization or whether Blackmoor is a post-apocalyptic Earth. He said "Yes,"

Apocalypse World / Just Outside the City: Explosions on Bear
« on: September 11, 2010, 10:39:02 AM »
I took a map of upstate New York and marked up Duchess County with red and black sharpie markers.  I X'ed out all of the bridges into the cities.  If you want in to NYC, you have to crawl down the western roads or make a deal with the cannibals who control the tunnels.

I labeled New Jersey as Cannibal Country (partly an homage to a post-apoc PTA game from a few years ago and partly because I grew up in New Jersey).

At the base of the Hudson I wrote, "Squid up through Kip-town," because I read that the Hudson is brackish right up to that point and I also saw a youtube video about these fucking squid on the west coast and liked the idea of them having made it this far east and up the Hudson.

Stuck Pole on the eastern side of the Hudson, coming out of the city, put Dog head's 'hold, Coop, in Yonkers.  The other 'holds are bridges, leading up to Kip-town, the self-proclaimed capital of the region. 

The players headed to Bear, the nearest bridge town.

Brandy came in with her Maestro'D this game.  We finished her character, Saffron and stuck her joint in Bear.  Saffron wears a big, purple dress with ruffles and lace, has a bodyguard who knows his business named Shmee.  I start the game with Shmee bringing in Been, a guy who owes Saffron.

I like starting off a new character with them making a judgment call.  She wants to cut on him and rolls 7-9, so there's a rough choice involved.  I say that she can do it but Shmee will get cut up a bit in the process.  She cuts on Been anyway, putting a little fork in his tongue to remind him to pay up on his debt, not caring that he lost his shipment on the river because of squid.

On a piece of paper I wrote the following words:

Unfinished Business

And asked questions, handing out one off the list to each of them.

Turns out Bullit has a rival, one of Saffron's customers named Toyota.  He drives a rusted out Toyota truck that he piles his nine kids into the bed, giving them weapons.

Baby's lover is one of Saffron's girls, Newton.  Newton wants her to buy out her contract so she can leave Bear and travel around with Baby's gang on the back of her bike.

Marsh has unfinished business, having been mugged last time he was in town by a guy who had pretended to be his buddy and gotten drinks with him.

Dent had a friend, another faceless named Stomp, with a mask made from car-seat leather and tremendous boots that give him his name.

And the whole game drove on from those four bits, those questions the players answered.

Bits of last night's game to write about later:

 - a little about Bear

 - Dent pays in violence

 - Bullit's race

 - Bear explodes

 - Saffron's Bouncer 

Apocalypse World / Outside the City: Crafting Fronts.
« on: September 04, 2010, 02:19:09 PM »
Padriac, J.J., K.K., Barry, Brandy, you probably should not read this.

I got home and got excited.  My buddy, Witt, was in town and we sat up and talked about gaming and life and shit.  I started asking questions about New York City, about where our game taking place just outside The City, could be set.  He mentioned Duchess County and we were off and running.

Maps, links, bookmarking shit, reading wikipedia and so on.  I'm thinking of printing out a Revolutionary War era map and marking it up with a sharpie.

The Hudson River has some fun toys.  West Point.  The Indian Point Nuclear Plant.  Spook Rock.  Crazy tides with brackish water.

I vaguely remembered how to make Fronts.  I jotted shit down.

Death Point: site of nuclear reactor and the descendants of the engineers who have tried to mitigate the radiation leakage who now fight a religious war against the fading plant's inner workings.

Landscape: Furnace
With doomsday clock that will note when the radiation entirely destroys the Hudson River.

Army Point: At first this was going to be a front, but after talking it over with Witt, we decided that the army of West Point is a myth.  Some guy in some hold was killed because he was a spy for the army.  A tank was seen in the woods by X.  That kinda shit.

Kip-town: A hold built around a bridge and lots but lots of cargo containers (the FDR mid-Hudson bridge in Poughkeepsie, NY).

Brutes -> Hunting Pack
The bastards sent from Kip-town to destroy all bridges and barges that can get across the river so that Kipsie has control of all river crossings.

Coop: Projects in Brooklyn ruled by Dog Head.  Fear of him played a prominent role in the first game.  I thought he should be among the fronts.

Warlord -> Slaver
Moving slaves up and down the river and maybe even down the coast.

So, those are the vague ideas put vaguely into Front-like shapes.  Now I'll re-read the Fronts and Threats chapter and sharpen it all up before next game.

To be continued.  Thoughts appreciated.

Apocalypse World / Just Outside the City: In and out of Pole.
« on: September 04, 2010, 11:24:15 AM »

I had a worried moment there.  Barry was looking at the Driver with a gleam in his eye.  Padraic was going back and forth between a Brainer and a Hocus but was leaning towards a Brainer.  J.J. took the Faceless.  K.K. was not sure but there she was teetering between Battle-babe and Chopper.

No followers, no holdings.  They would have been a tribe of loner bad-asses traveling the wasteland, men and women with no names.  It is the same kind of fear I get when people take object demons in Sorcerer.  Some selfish GM part of my brain says, "But I want to make up cool NPC's that are bound to you!"

Brandy made a Maestro'D but she won't be there until next week, so we hold off on her character from Hx on down.

In the end, K.K. took a Chopper and their group is really neat, not tied to any particular hold in the Hudson River Valley, making trips into the city as needed for salvage.  Good stuff.  We talked about post-apoc life in the city, salvage vs. production and what-not.


I wasn't sure where to start the damned game.  There's no Hardholder, dammit!  They didn't make a town for me.  Bastards.

I latch on to my image of a town whose walls are made of telephone poles.  I describe it as a ragged wild west palisade fort but made out of telephone poles and mud.  The town is called Pole.

"You've just gotten out of the city and you are dragged a big-ass haul behind you, like, dragged behind the car with chains.  What did you get out of the city?"

Some ideas are thrown out there.

J.J. speaks up.  "Maybe its a person."

"Its a fucking person.  Yes.  Chained up in a trailer. Someone dangerous.  Who is it?"

"The local warlord's daughter?  Maybe a Romeo and Juliet kind of thing?"

"Yeah, she went off and hitched up with a rival, Dog head and her dad, the Warlord of Pole is pissed.  Her dad is Millions."

And off we went.

They brought her in, knowing full well that Millions would execute her for disloyalty.  J.J.'s Faceless, Dent, did the execution, doing in her skull like a watermelon.

This is their first job.  The rest of the game is them lazing about, spending Millions' reward.

Bullit, the driver, agrees to take some gas and some time in Millions' garage.

Dent, the faceless, agrees to be paid in a week's worth of food and flesh.

Baby, the chopper, just wants  week's worth of food, booze and whores for her boys.

Marsh, the Brainer, just wants a week worth of food and booze.

Millions feels like he got off cheap.  He is a central stop-off point when people get out of the city on salvage runs.

Cool Dice Shit

Dent, big bastard in dirty carhart overalls and a dented helicopter helmet with a sledge-hammer on his back, is nervous.  They got their payday from Millions for delivering his wayward daughter to her execution but had to piss off Dog head to do it.  He wants to know where Dog head might strike back.  He reads a sitch, sitting around town, watching its ebb and flow.

There's a spy in Millions' hold and its his favorite son, Look.  Once Look has info on where they're going, he'll send it to Dog head and there will be a nasty ambush. 


Dent visits Ugly, his favorite prostitute but the she asks if he wants to take off his mask.  He cuts the massage short and just walks off, tells the rest of the group what's up with Look.

Baby watches Look playing cards with her boys.  The boys are liquored up and fuct and loose.  They are telling Look shit.  She tries to get them away (manipulation) from the table by sending girls over and sending signals but they aren't taking the hint.

Baby follows Look when he walks off to piss.  She could hit him (Acting under fire, I think) but there's no room for error.  He's the golden boy in his daddy's own hold and if there's a brawl it will turn ugly.  She'd have to hit him HARD, I tell her that it might put him in her clutches unconscious and it might put him in a coma.  Head trauma is funny like that.  She elects not to hit him.  Look walks away, not knowing how close he came.

Marsh is sleeping with Hundreds, who is Millions right hand girl and main security gunslinger.  He's all up in her brain and she likes that he's this exotic Native American from the great-big-outside-Pole.  He knows how she wants to leave but likes feeling legit, likes being a part of something bigger.  When he pushes her, asks her why she hangs around, they get into a nasty fight and she stomps off once she's done cleaning her guns in bed.

Next up: Cool NPC's & Leaving Hundreds with the Problem

Apocalypse World / In which we vomit forth apocalyptica
« on: August 24, 2010, 03:53:28 PM »
Architecture made of telephone poles and mud.

Armor made from street signs.

Lanterns made from stop lights.

The treasure map: a list of survivalists in the area but due to the total lack of street signs and address markers, it is more like a cryptic pirate map with X marking the spot.

Bone Highway: tens of thousands of automobiles with people's bones inside

The librarian: two kinds of books - good books and kindling

Apocalypse World / Los Angeles is Burning
« on: August 13, 2010, 12:13:41 AM »
The theme song to AW in my head.

Los Angeles Is Burning by Bad Religion

Somewhere high in the desert near a curtain of blue St. Anne’s skirts are billowing
But down here in the city of limelights the fans of Santa Anna are withering
And you can't deny the living is easy if you never look behind the scenery
It's show time for dry climes and bedlam is dreaming of rain
When the hills of Los Angeles are burning
Palm trees are candles in the murder wind
So many lives are on the breeze even the stars are ill at ease
And Los Angeles is burning
This is not a test of the emergency broadcast system
Where Malibu fires and radio towers conspire to dance again
And I cannot believe the media Mecca - they're only trying to peddle reality
Catch it on prime-time, story at nine
The whole world is going insane
When the hills of Los Angeles are burning
Palm trees are candles in the murder wind
So many lives are on the breeze even the stars are ill at ease
And Los Angeles is burning
Jacaranda boughs are bending in the haze
More a question than a curse
How could hell be any worse?
The flames are stunning, the cameras running, so take warning!
When the hills of Los Angeles are burning
Palm trees are candles in the murder wind
So many lives are on the breeze even the stars are ill at ease
And Los Angeles is burning

Actual rules for troupe style play that work, rules for group research (something like...everyone comes to the table with 3 things:

  • Some bit of history about the year or the region in which the covenant is set

    Some bit of mythology/religion from the region in which the covenant is set.

    A vague idea for a magical place whose true nature will be discovered through play.[/i])

With a bunch of different kinds of wizards ala the Houses of Hermes, maybe 3 different kinds of custos (Those Who War, Those Who Pray, Those Who Toil) and grogs as public property for the table. 

Magic as a move with really cool failure bits.  I used to GM Ars Magica, praying that players would botch their magic rolls.

Oh, this makes me ache.

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