AP Narrative Heavy Session One

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AP Narrative Heavy Session One
« on: March 07, 2011, 01:59:46 PM »
Crossposted from my gaming blog: http://realityvault.blogspot.com/2011/03/apocalypse-world-rough-narrative-on-our.html

Apocalypse World
Actual Play
Session One

We started a new campaign of Apocalypse World.  This is a very different game then what we've been into, not separating the fiction from play as much as we are used to.  The players are to play their characters as if they are real people and the GM, or Master of Cermonies, is to run the world as if it's real and speak directly to the characters instead of the players.

We jumped in and chose characters - a brainer, a battlebabe and an operator.  In history (hx) we followed the instructions closely introducing the characters by name, look and outlook only.  

As we went around highlighting I decided to focus on Weird to start, inspiring players to open up to the Psychic Maelstrom and hopefully creating more Weird custom moves.  

The Brainer, Sundown, starts with +3 with both characters.
The Battlebabe, Amber, starts with +3 with Sundown, trusting her least and +1 with Bells.
The Operator, Bells, star is at +2 with Amber because she let him down in the past.

We had a very brief discussion on setting.  We will have shambling dead in the game as environmental hazards.  We don't know how we become undead or what created the undead but we will be exploring that over time.  We are using straight up barter for the world's economic system.  We'll be set in the Philadelphia region.  I am definitely using The Road and Walking Dead as my creative inspiration to start - bleak, empty.  

I wanted to start with loneliness and cold.  The game starts in a empty farmhouse.  Amber is in a cheerleader's outfit and a furred jacket.  She is sipping tea spiked with moonshine looking out over the overcast farmland.  The house they found has a generator in it with some fuel so they've had light and hot food last night in the sparse living room in front of a fireplace.

Amber walks around the perimeter and sees that there's little cover.  One one hand it would be hard to escape unseen if anyone happened upon the farmhouse, as they have.  However, they'd probably have a twenty minute warning if anyone were to come upon the farm as they had.  Amber sees another farmhouse a good distance away, up the road.

She finds a burn scar out behind the house, some ten to fifteen feet across with various blackened objects scattered about and two obvious charred bodies.  She looks about and determines that the fire was about a week old and could be seen from several days distance away.  Whomever did this used the furniture to fuel the fire and either had enough that they didn't need the generator's fuel or hoped to come back (10+ on a Read Charged Situation move).

Amber looks over and sees Sundown staring at her through a wavey farmhouse window.  Sundown is absent-mindedly winding string into a ball.  Amber lifts the old window and Sundown looks down at her ball of string.  "We're going to have to leave soon," Amber says, "whoever did this is gonna come back." Sundown hands her the string and walks away.  

Amber looks at the string and instinctively drops it as the hairs on the back of neck stand on end.  She takes a few steps toward the front of the house and stops, looks back and picks up the string.

Before they leave Amber does a sweep of the house.  Upstairs she finds some shards of mirror on the floor, the mirrors and windows are broken in the bathroom and some dried blood on the glass of the broken window.  Touching the blood she pays more attention to the tingling sensations tugging at the periphery of her senses.  She quickly shuts out the flood of images of violence, fear and surprise (rolls a 7 on her attempt to open her mind to the psychic maelstrom).

Sundown approaches the burn scar.  She turns over one of the bodies and sees that the hands are bound in barbed wire.  She wraps her hands in some clothing from her pack and begins to untangle the barbed wire from the body's wrists.  She wonders who this was.  Why she was here.  The voices speak to her from beyond.  Sundown listens.  She hears the sound of the burnt earth crunching under someone's feet.  Startled, Sundown bears the barbed wire between her hands to defend herself.  A sooty woman in her 40s in common clothes and a scarf stands there wringing her hands looking toward the house. 
"What are you afraid of?" Sundown asks. 
"I don't know what she's found," the woman looking up to where Amber looks about.  
"Is there something there she should fear?"
"My husband.  I don't know if he rests.  I worry he'll be violent.  Hungry."
"Where is he? Where did you come from?" Sundown looked around, "did you walk here?"
The woman raised her skirt to reveal her ankles were still bound and bleeding.  Sundown noticed the cuts on her wrists matching the wire Sundown took off one of the burned corpses.  When Sundown looked back to the woman she was gone.  (Open herself to the psychic maelstrom 10+)

Amber is picking about some discarded bedclothes in a corner with the broken end of a broom.  It is the only thing in this room.  Arms stretched she unfurls the heap of comforter and sheeting to reveal ichor, brown and deep green instead of the dark reddish she would expect.  Amber drops the stick and steps back away from the gore cover sheets.  She backs out of the door into the hall and into Sundown waiting and watching silently.  Amber, startled, takes a deep breath, her hand tightening around the butt of her revolver. "Someone's coming." Sundown points out the window.

At first the girls freak out, pack up and prepare for a hasty retreat, making certain the farmhouse is always between them and the stranger.  They stop a few feet from the house.
"Why are we running. It's one man.  Maybe he knows something?"
Sundown just nods and follows behind Amber.

As he gets closer they can see he's an older guy, maybe 30s or 40s.  He's in overalls and a quilted shirt.  A floppy hat shadows his face, beaten and streaked in dried blood. He walks with a limp and one bowed leg.  He stops about 50 yards from the girls.  Amber is leaning against a post eating a small crab apple.  Sundown is several yards behind her on the porch of the farmhouse.

"Hey" he shouts.  "You alone?"
"Just about to leave," Amber calls out to him paying attention to her apple. "Care for an apple?"
"Uh, sure. But whatcha doing out here all by yerselves?"
"Same as you I suppose.  Where are ya comin, from, sugah."
"I had a farm a ways back.  My wife died.  I figured I'd find other folks to work or travel with.  Aren't you girls worried about traveling alone?"
Amber pulls out her hand canon.  "Nope.  Not worried at all."
"Uh, I'm Tork.  Ya all have any food?"
From the porch Sundown stiffly sticks out her hand. Wide eyed she says, "pleased to meet you, Tork. I'm Sundown, this is Amber." She stands there, arm straight out, extended to a man in shouting range.
Amber sees the hungry look in his eyes but can tell his focus is more on the food and her gun than on them.  He's scared and wants to eat.  He's no threat, she thinks.
(read person in charged situation 10+)
"Come on in, Tork.  We were actually about to leave but we can trade stories and some grub."
Tork looks at her and chews his lip.  Amber eyes the man and slowly unloads her revolver.  Tork gives them a nervous smile, takes a deep breath and walks toward the house. (rolls 8 on an attempt to manipulate someone)

The three eat what they have.  Tork tells them he's been walking for a couple weeks.  He ran afoul of a gang of ghouls and Sundown looked at them both quizzically.  
Amber scowled. "I ran into ghouls once.  Nasty buggers.  Folks that eat other folks and aren't right after a while."
"After a while? As if eatin' folks doesn't make you not-right off the bat?"
"I dunno.  I was lucky.  A weak soul allowed me to get a little too close to him.  After I broke his nose and freed my bonds I high-tailed it outta there."
After an uncomfortable silence Tork continued, "so, where are you headed?"
"Meeting a man named Bells in York. We split up for a bit. He had work to do."
"Well, we're on the same road. Lookin' for the same thing. I don't have much to offer but I'm another set of hand and eyes."
Amber eyes them both, "Well, we could use someone that runs slower than we do..."




Re: AP Narrative Heavy Session One
« Reply #1 on: March 08, 2011, 10:57:52 AM »
***I felt that I got a little lazy with the post so I did a bit of clarification and cleaned up the notations.***

Apocalypse World
Actual Play
Session One, Part One

We started a new campaign of Apocalypse World.  You can learn more about the game and other games from rockstar game designer Vincent Baker here.  Apocalypse World is a story game with some interesting mechanical elements that make this a different kind of game then this group is used to playing.  For the past three years we've been playing games characterized with significant player authorship, scene framing as a standard pacing mechanism, and a top down approach to story development.  Apocalypse World's player authorship is less obvious.  There are no scene framing mechanics and everyone at the table is instructed to “make it real.”  We're coming at game play from a character's point of view and following them along their brutal day to day lives with emphasis on the most interesting parts.  Apocalypse World's mechanics go a long way in bringing old tropes to the table in an accessible fashion (buying gear, for example) while keeping pressure on the players to face challenges lest they  come to bite them later.  I feel like we've been easing back to more GM driven games ad this group is ready to really get their hands dirty.

The narrative below will have some mechanical notations so you can see what were the outcome of the characters' moves.  [I will put the moves themselves in bold along with the number rolled all packaged in brackets.]

Setup was fast.  This process is definitely subject to the proclivities of the group.  We really tried to keep the setup focused and stuck with the rules.  The players chose character templates, or playbooks.  As the MC, or Master of Ceremonies, my role in this was to direct and inform.  I kept the group on track and answered any questions they had about the system.  I avoided going into too many details about the setting or the character's back story.  I knew the game was going to be a slow burn as players really got to know their characters.

I covered a few details about the world, that we would have the shambling dead as an ever present environmental danger and that they would be part and parcel to the mystery of the Apocalypse.  The game would be set in the Philadelphia area.  We all thought it would be fun to manage through the ruins of our area.  I was pulling from some of my own post-apocalyptic favorites – The Walking Dead, The Road, Doomsday and 12 Monkeys – for my creative inspiration.  There would be time for Mad Max and Resident Evil but for the moment the setting called for lonely and bleak.

I will link the characters' statistics later.  Check out the character playbooks on the Apocalypse World site for a better idea of what the characters are all about.  In the spirit of the game I will always refer to the characters' names.     

We have Amber, a Battlebabe.  I see Amber as an ambitious and capable hottie who refuses to conform to the gritty and des0late landscape.  If the world were painted in shades of gray Amber would be in Technicolor.  Amber doesn't trust Sundown much.

Sundown is a Brainer.  While pretty, Sundown is too awkward to be considered attractive.  Spending moments with her clues you in to how disconnected to this world she is.  While she stares at you wide-eyed, you are uncertain what she is looking at and equally unsettled.  Sundown watches Amber intently.

We also have Bells the Operator but he wasn't in this session beyond character creation so we'll see him in session two.  We just know that Amber let Bells down in a deal that went wrong.

[Author's Note: I had the inclination to pretty this up, this morning.  I was going to add info and detail but realized that as an Actual Play report, while fiction, it should also reflect the game closely.  If there wasn't enough detail in the setting, honestly, that was my fault as a MC not bringing enough Apocalyptica and detail into my descriptions.  I will do better in the future.]

The game starts in a empty farmhouse...

Amber is in a cheerleader's outfit and a furred jacket.  She is sipping tea spiked with moonshine looking out over the overcast farmland.  The house they found has a generator in it with some fuel so they've had light and hot food last night in the sparse living room in front of a fireplace.

Amber walks around the perimeter and sees that there's little cover.  They are surrounded by miles of ruined crops and little tree cover.  It would be hard to escape unseen if anyone happened upon the farmhouse.  However, they'd probably have a twenty minute warning if anyone were to come upon the farm as they had.  Amber sees another farmhouse a good distance away, up the road.

She finds a burn scar out behind the house, some ten to fifteen feet across with various blackened objects scattered about and two obvious charred bodies.  She looks about and determines that the fire was about a week old and could be seen from several days distance.  Whomever did this used the farmhouse furniture to fuel the fire and either had enough fuel they didn't need the generator's or hoped to come back. [10+ on a read charged situation move.]

Amber looks over and sees Sundown staring at her through a wavy farmhouse window.  Sundown is absentmindedly winding string into a ball.  Amber lifts the old window and Sundown looks down at her ball of string.  "We're going to have to leave soon," Amber says, "whoever did this is gonna come back." Sundown hands her the string and walks away.

Amber looks at the string and instinctively drops it as the hairs on the back of neck stand on end.  She takes a few steps toward the front of the house and stops, looks back and picks up the string.

Before they leave Amber does a sweep of the house.  Upstairs she finds some shards of mirror on the floor, the mirrors and windows are broken in the bathroom and some dried blood on the glass of the broken window. Touching the blood she pays more attention to the tingling sensations tugging at the periphery of her senses.  She quickly shuts out the flood of images of violence, fear and surprise [rolls a 7 on her attempt to open her mind to the psychic maelstrom.]

Sundown approaches the burn scar.  She turns over one of the bodies and sees that the hands are bound in barbed wire.  She wraps her hands in some clothing from her pack and begins to untangle the barbed wire from the body's wrists.  She wonders who this was.  Why she was here.  The voices speak to her from beyond.  Sundown listens.  She hears the sound of the burnt earth crunching under someone's feet.  Startled, Sundown bears the barbed wire between her hands to defend herself.  A sooty woman in her 40s, in common clothes and a scarf, stands there wringing her hands looking toward the house.
"What are you afraid of?" Sundown asks.
"I don't know what she's found," the woman looking up to where Amber can be seen poking about the upstairs.
"Is there something there she should fear?"
"My husband. I don't know if he rests. I worry he'll be violent. Hungry."
"Where is he? Where did you come from?" Sundown looked around, "did you walk here?"
The woman raised her skirt to reveal her ankles were still bound in barbed wire and bleeding.  Sundown noticed the cuts on her wrists matching the wire Sundown took off one of the burned corpses.  When Sundown looked back to the woman she was gone.  [Open herself to the psychic maelstrom 10+.]

Amber is picking about some discarded bedclothes in a corner with the broken end of a broom.   The linens are crumpled in the corner of an otherwise empty room.  Arms stretched she unfurls the heap of comforter and sheeting to reveal ichor, brown and deep green instead of the dark reddish she would expect.  Amber drops the stick and steps away from the gore cover sheets.  She backs out of the bedroom door into the hall.  Sundown is behind her, waiting and watching silently.  Amber, startled, takes a deep breath, her hand tightening around the butt of her revolver. "Someone's coming." Sundown points out the window.

At first the girls freak out, pack up and prepare for a hasty retreat, making certain the farmhouse is always between them and the stranger.  They stop a few feet from the house.
"Why are we running. It's one man.  Maybe he knows something?"
Sundown just nods and follows behind Amber.

As he gets closer they can see he's an older guy, maybe 30s or 40s.  He's in overalls and a quilted shirt.  A floppy hat shadows his face, beaten and streaked in dried blood. He walks with a limp and one bowed leg.  He stops about 50 yards from the girls.  Amber is leaning against a post eating a small crab apple.  Sundown is several yards behind her on the porch of the farmhouse.

"Hey" he shouts.  "You alone?"
"Just about to leave," Amber calls out to him paying attention to her apple. "Care for an apple?"
"Uh, sure. But whatcha doing out here all by yerselves?"
"Same as you I suppose.  Where are ya comin' from, sugah."
"I had a farm a ways back.  My wife died.  I figured I'd find other folks to work or travel with.  Aren't you girls worried about traveling alone?"
Amber pulls out her hand canon.  "Nope.  Not worried at all."
"Uh, I'm Tork.  Ya all have any food?"
From the porch Sundown stiffly sticks out her hand. Wide eyed she says, "pleased to meet you, Tork. I'm Sundown, this is Amber." She stands there, arm straight out, extended to a man in shouting range.  Amber look st Sundown and then to Tork.  She sees the hungry look in his eyes but can tell his focus is more on the food and her gun than on them.  He's scared and wants to eat.  He's no threat, she thinks.
[read person in charged situation 10+.]
"Come on in, Tork.  We can trade stories and some grub before we go."
Tork looks at her and chews his lip.  Amber eyes the man and slowly unloads her revolver.  Tork gives them a nervous smile, takes a deep breath and walks toward the house. [rolls 8 on an attempt to manipulate someone.  Note because she rolled a 8 she had to give him something before he'd agree going into the house which was why she unloaded the revolver.]

The three eat what they have. Tork tells them he's been walking for a couple weeks.  He ran afoul of a gang of ghouls and Sundown looked at them both quizzically.
Amber scowled. "I ran into ghouls once.  Nasty buggers.  Folks that eat other folks and aren't right after a while."
"After a while?!” exclaimed Tork, “As if eatin' folks doesn't make you not-right off the bat?"
"I dunno.  I was lucky.  A weak soul allowed me to get a little too close to him.  After I broke his nose and freed my bonds I high-tailed it outta there."
An uncomfortable silence hung in the air before  Tork continued, "so, where are you headed?"
"Meeting a man named Bells in York. We split up for a bit. He had work to do."
"Well, we're on the same road. Lookin' for the same thing. I don't have much to offer but I'm another set of hand and eyes."
Amber eyes them both, "Well, we could use someone that runs slower than we do..."

*

noofy

  • 777
Re: AP Narrative Heavy Session One
« Reply #2 on: March 10, 2011, 01:21:30 AM »
Frickin cool Eruditus!
I knew if your crew ever played AW it'd be grouse. More! More! I love the 28 days later vibe. :)

AP Narrative Heavy Zombipocalypse
« Reply #3 on: March 10, 2011, 04:25:13 PM »
crossposted on The Reality Vault

Apocalypse World
Actual Play
Session One Part Two

Somewhere in the wilds of what was once Pennsylvania...

After the meal was eaten and Tork had gotten some heat into his bones from the fire Amber asked, “So sugah, care tellin' us what happened to your wife?”  Tork hemmed and hawed with euphemisms of passed and sick.  Sundown pulled the black gloves she wore up to her elbows.  She got up to put a log on the fire, crouched behind Tork and put a hand on his shoulder.  “It's alright.  You can tell us.”

Tork broke down and began to weep.  He screamed and step by step relived the death of his wife, every moment, every tear, every stroke of the axe afterward and through her burning.  “I didn't want to,” he screeched.  “I should have been with her in that fire!  I did what I had to do so she didn't come back!”  Tork's eyes went wide and he lurched toward Amber grabbing the straps of her top, shaking.  She instinctively reached for her gun.  Hands up she talks him down and after realizing where he was, confused and drained Tork settled back in front of the fire.  Amber looked into the fireplace and watched the flames die while Sundown awkwardly petted Tork's back. “You did what you had to do” whispered Amber.  We all seem to say that a lot, she thought. [Poor Tork took 1harm from a failed deep brain scan by Sundown using her Violation Glove and Amber had to calm him by manipulating him and rolling 10+]

A few days passed wandering without incident through farms and forests.  Tork was chatty, going on and on regardless of Amber and Sundown's input.  He'd gone quite a while without pleasant company.

Just an hour to sunset the trio come across a wall built out of cars propped up on their sides.  The wall ran across the road and down into ditches a couple dozen yards on either side.  They tried going around through the ditches but they were deep and muddy.  Sundown scaled a car to get a lay of the land.  She saw that the wall was three rows deep, each row a little wider than the one before it.  She also saw movement.  The ditches were filled with muck and dead.  Undead, Sundown realized, as some of the limbs were moving.  They decided to get the hell out of there.  Not wanting to risk navigating the cars they doubled back and went off the road to circle around the blockade, meeting up with the road several miles up.  Along the way they saw irrigation equipment feeding water into the blockade, making it a veritable swamp. [Sundown rolled a 10+ one a read the situation attempt]

Further up the road was a compound.  Stadium halogens lit the front entrance.  The walls were all made of cars, some three high, welded together and supported by telephone poles.  An opening in the front created a gate with three rows of fifteen foot tall chain link fence.  Men with rifles in heavy quilted clothing stood on the walls and at the gate in threes.  Amber, Tork and Sundown yelled their names and waved their arms as they approached the compound. 

For the most part they were ignored, smoking and chatting.  An occasional few looked out over the darkening farmland.  One shouted out.  “Turn around, we've not enough food or shelter for more.”  Amber flashed a smile at the guards assuring them they could be quite useful.  There were some shouts back an forth behind the walls until eventually the word came down and some of the men started opening the first gate.  It was a long process but as the light waned the fences shook open. [Amber succeeded in manipulating the guards to open the gate with a 10+]

Only yards away from the gate riflemen raised their firearms and started shooting toward them.  Tork took cover behind Sundown.  Amber looked behind them to see a man in camouflage fatigues and missing a hand coming out of the shadows.  He looked at the three of them from dark recesses below his flak helmet where there once were eyes.  Amber turned and bolted toward the armed guards skidding into the opening in the first gate. [do something under fire with a 10+] Sundown grabbed Tork and hoisted him onto her shoulder.  She leapt a couple of yards and turned her hip to throw him over her shoulder.  They both landed with a thud and scrambled on all fours in the direction of the guards and Amber.  The shambling soldier, the closest of the dozen undead headed for the gate, swung at Sundown catching her in the back with a sharp exposed radial bone.  [Sundown failed to do something under fire and had to choose between taking harm or letting Tork take the brunt of the soldier's rake.  Luckily the soldier only did 1-harm which was repelled by her light armor] 

Tork and Sundown got to their feet.  Sundown helped Amber pull one of the fence gates closed. [Sundown rolls a 9 to help and gives Amber a +1 to her doing something under fire.  Amber's roll is 10+]

There is a brief respite as the men usher the three newcomers through the other gates.  The fencing groans under the weight of two dozen shambling corpses.  The guards begin to open fire to cull the horde.  Amber looks around eager to take high ground but is cowed by the cacophony of gunfire.  She puts her back to a telephone pole and slumps down to cover her ears until it's over. [Amber fails to do something under fire but Sundown succeeds] 

Sundown looks about for someone in charge.  She sees a hawk-nosed man with small eyes in a furred cap.  He's standing at a table in the center of the small compound and barking orders to men as they scatter to carry out his orders.  Sundown gets a good look at their surroundings now.  Slowly she turns and sees the car walls towering over her, two mobile cranes spire into the night sky.  Bonfires roar in open areas of the compound providing light and warmth to the camps denizens.   Stout poles stick out of the car wall at four points sporting the charred remains of crucified corpses. 

After the last round is fired and the gunshots mere echoes in the cold night more orders are barked.  A trio of people dressed in rags were ushered out the gates among the corpses.  They were chained together and began to collect rounds and casing and loot the dead.   A hulk of a man comes out of the camper on cinder-blocks among a score of green canvas tents that scatter the courtyard.  He wears a massive black armored suit and bears two large tanks on his back.  As he lights up the fifteen foot gout of flame from the nozzle connected to the tanks Sundown can see a large black cross hanging over the imposing man's tent.  She can sense the weight of his purpose.  The armor cannot conceal from her that this man is to be feared. [read a charged situation 10+]

End Session One