Scraphold

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Scraphold
« on: May 01, 2011, 12:25:06 AM »
(If you're one of my players, sod off, this topic is not for you. Spoilers!)

On Thursday night I ran my first ever game of AW (really I just want to play it, but as the person introducing it, it's my responsibility to run a game so people learn the system).

Our cast ended up as an Angel called Kash (androgynous, and with two androgynous assistants, Shigusa and Mox), a Battlebabe called Ms. Smith (with infinite knives and a silent sniper rifle), and a Hardholder called Patriach. I was glad to have a holder, because that means a reasonably solid setting for my first game, and I have to do slightly less work.
The holding, which went through a few names before we ended up on Scraphold, is a fairly rich place sitting in a dried up riverbed in the middle of some scrubland/scree. It's rich due to a combination of a market commons and a manufactory, which we determined fairly early on is actually a desalination plant, making the purest water for ages. That does mean it has a few pipes to the shore, and a set of pumps in the manufactory, and if that says anything to me it says 'vulnerable spots'.

The game opened with Pat getting only a 7-9 on his Wealth roll, so the guy whose responsibility it was to watch the foodstores, Corbett, came running in to announce that some nasty little bugs had gotten in and eaten everything. Patriach responded by telling Corbett to check if they were edible (since, after all, they were corn-fed...) but when he returned with a mouthful of bug bits and blood it turned out they were not. He also brought the unpleasant news that this kid Tum-Tum (by the way, I love having that list of names on the back of my MC playbook. Love it to bits) had seen the contents of the stores and had run off. Pat growled a bit and sent a couple of gangmembers to restrain the kid.

Meanwhile we cut to Smith wantering through the market when some guy elbowed her in the armoured stomach as he passed. She responded by stabbing him and walking on without a care. Kash just so happened to be there, though, and stabilised the guy and took him back to her infirmary. He came around briefly and was very confused, and then passed out again.

Patriach decided he'd take some water to trade with a town down the coast, Deity, that specialises in algae farming and some fishing. He got about ten gang members to escort him, loaded the truck, and took off.

It took a couple of hours of driving, but they reached Deity and waited around the edges so as not to cause too much of an upset. It didn't take long before Preen, the very old lady who runs Deity, came out to see what they wanted. Pat made the trade of water for algae without too much trouble, although Preen got him to promise to send the Angel their way. When he pressed her about this, it turned out that the Hyenas, a local gang, had come by and damaged a few people recently and they needed patching up (it was originally going to be a plague, and I might still have one be revealed there). He promised, and they left.

Back in the hold, Smith figures hey, the cat's away, and wanders up to Pat's 'Throne room' to see who's hanging about. Turns out it's the movers and shakers of the hold, plus anyone who wants to cozy up to them and a few guards. As soon as Smith walked in, a lady called Lala walked up and demanded to know why the hell she was there. Smith gave her the scary eyes, and she backed off. Smith then proceeded to find Fuse, the sort-of head of the factory workers and tell him she was 'here about that thing,' trying to get him to tell her something interesting. It didn't work at all, and he had a thug show her out.
Of course, that's when Tum-Tum showed up. He started yelling to the crowd about how there was no food, saying the bastards had stolen/eaten it all, etc, etc. The guards dragged him off, bit the damage had been done and we had a riot on our hands. Smith tried to quell it by firing her rifle in the air, but nobody paid any attention except for a guard, who twitched and shot her (fortunately it bounced off her corset, and only knocked her down). The guards seemed uncertain what to do, and Kash came running out from her infirmary. She saw the guards with Tum-Tum, who were not being terribly polite, and she ran over to deal with them. She managed to talk her way past the guards by telling to one of them (a woman rejoicing in the name of Balls) that she'd explain things to Patriach when he returned. She terrified Tum-Tum into silence, and he went back to her infirmary.
Meanwhile, Smith had risen and was ordering the guards to take control of the situation, surrounding the square, guarding the (empty, but she didn't know that) food stores, and getting the whole thing quiet enough that she could calm them down. She was even doing acceptably when Patriach came back with his new food supplies, distributed a bit of it, and shut people up.

I called the session there, so I could think about Fronts and world-building.


Now, a couple of things. Nobody has a Weird of better than -1, so it wasn't that surprising that nobody Opened their Brain. But what surprised me was that nobody ever used Sharp at all, especially our Angel who after all has a lot of Sharp. Possibly I need to mention how useful it is before next session.
Overall there was actually very little dice rolling, and for a group used to D&D that was a fairly significant shift.

Another little question we had during the game, which I still haven't settled, is the question of ownership as it applies to Hardholders. Pat took more water (it's a luxury good) than he could afford with his own barter. But, on the other hand, he didn't use it for personal gain, he used it for the holding. My instinct says that's kosher, but of course some of my NPCs may see it differently. There's nothing in the rules that I can remember to cover it.

I have a couple of little ideas - like, the Hyenas may be raiding to supply their Breeders and Den Mother with food, and there's a sinking city the other way along the coast that's rumoured to be haunted - but nothing very major yet.

Re: Scraphold
« Reply #1 on: May 01, 2011, 03:30:45 AM »
It sounds like you are having a hoot. I get the impression that Ms Smith is a bit of a firebrand that will make sure things stay lively.

The lack of Weird is rather, um... weird to me as it is one of the things that sold me on this game.
Not since Tribe 8 have I seen such a prevalent metaphysical force built into a post apoc setting.

Re: Scraphold
« Reply #2 on: May 01, 2011, 11:55:20 PM »
Aaaaaand Threats! (they would be fronts but they're still a little under-developed for that, I feel)

Lala’s Takeover
Lala convinces Fuse that they should pool their efforts.
Fuse tries to persuade Smith to back their bid
Lala tries to persuade Kash to back their bid.
Fuse gets a few gang members on side
Fuse and Lala actually make their bid for power, bringing several gang members to the throne room (along with Smith, if she is on side)

Advance clock when:
Patriarch looks weak
Lala/Fuse (after 3:00) feels strong
Patriarch slights Fuse (after 3:00)

The Hyenas
Hyenas attack a nearby town (Deity maybe, or the scavengers at The City)
Hyenas sabotage the pipes for the Manufactory
A few Hyenas attack farmers
The entire gang show up on Scraphold’s doorstep, attacking anyone who ventures out and generally being intimidating
Hyenas attack Scraphold

Hyenas: Large gang (60-odd violent people), 3-harm, 1-armour.

Advance clock when:
Failed Wealth roll brings Reprisals
Scraphold looks defiant
Scraphold looks wealthy
Hyenas get killed attacking, but the group is not wiped out.

The Deity Plague
One mild hallucination from someone (fever, if examined)
Several people now showing hallucinations, paranoia.
People start to fight over minor things or imagined slights
Preen killed
Deity self-destructs

Advance clock when time passes and people are not cured.

The Plague In Scraphold
(start clock only when an infected person makes it to Scraphold – possibly seeking the infirmary?)
One mild hallucination from someone (fever, if examined)
Several people now showing hallucinations, paranoia.
People start to fight over minor things or imagined slights
Fuse barricades himself and a few other infected workers inside the Plant
Scraphold self-destructs

Advance clock when time passes and people are not cured.



The Bad Futures are all, I think, pretty clear. I'm a bit worried that they're all too focused on the hold, so Patriarch might feel a bit put-upon, but on the other hand this is pretty much what he signed on for. Also, he dared to let his gang get away with the 'unruly' tag, and that's just asking for trouble. :P

Re: Scraphold
« Reply #3 on: May 05, 2011, 10:11:53 PM »
I love that name. Scraphold. Plus if you want the players to do more Weird or Sharp things, you can always highlight those stats before next session starts.

Re: Scraphold
« Reply #4 on: May 23, 2011, 10:03:03 AM »
We had our second session tonight, and it did not go quite as I expected. Not that this was a bad thing, as such, but I was somewhat stumped and off-balance for a fair bit of the evening.
Part of that was the addition of two new characters, a Hocus called Sorrow Lark, and a Savvyhead called Kaylee, who was part of Sorrow's cult. What the cult actually does was left fairly vague, although apparently they all wear plastic monocles, and the odd violent rampage is not unknown.
On a related note, the session tonight started (after the love-letters, Hx-ing left over from last time, and highlighting during which I favoured Weird and Sharp) with a riot in the marketplace. Cultists raged through smashing stalls and stealing jingle, and funnily enough Patriarch took issue with this so he went outside (the market is just outside his throne room, pretty much) and started yelling orders at the guards. Smith and Kash decided at some point to help - Kash tried to read the situation, but unfortunately managed to somehow stumble into the riot in the attempt, getting rather bruised for her efforts. Meanwhile, Sorrow spoke the truth to her cult (the truth apparently being "I don't have enough valuable things, bring me them!) and it worked quite well, they brought stuff forward. Kaylee thought that 'something valuable' meant 'someone's liver' and tried to take that from a random merchant. Fortunately Smith was in position by then, and shot at her to distract. The way the dice went, she actually ended up hitting her, and then racing down to take her prisoner. She was successful enough in her roll that Kaylee went along quietly with her to a room in the 'Palace' where she was lightly interrogated.
Meanwhile, Patriarch mopped up the cultists, who didn't resist much, despite Sorrow urging them to. They were all restrained, and Patriarch had a pleasant chat with Sorrow. It was agreed that she would keep her cultists calm and let them work out their tensions in the local bordello or in the fight club (which they're not supposed to talk about :P ), and in exchange she'd get short-term free lodgings for them and herself.
At this point Kaylee tried Opening her Brain, which made me happy, to ask where her leader was. She got a partial success, and had a vision of Sorrow chained to a bunch of tame dogs while surrounded by big black wolves. So she wasn't that worried. She was persuaded to help out in the infirmary in exchange for her treatment. When Patriarch came by to ask her to build him a radio network, she gladly agreed, even putting a fair amount of her own barter into the funds for it (I just made it cost time and jingle). Smith also contributed, on the condition that she get access to the network.
Meanwhile Sorrow was settling into her new room, when Lala came calling. She tried to be friendly, but Sorrow was not having a bar of it, and brushed past her. She became curious about Kaylee's absence, and Opened her Brain, to see her standing in a white field surrounded by metal pieces and giggling. So she, too, was unfazed.

This is pretty much where we ended, and I think it didn't go too badly. But I don't ever really feel like I know what I'm doing here, even with a certain amount of planning. It's nice that the players seem to be enjoying themselves, although the level of comedic sociopathy is a little worrying (Sorrow tried to dump alcohol and a match on a guy from her window). I'm hardly going to tell everyone to stop having fun, it is just rather different from what I expected. But different is okay too.
Anyway, the players and I are coming to grips with the rules, so that's nice.

Goals for next time:
Threaten everybody more.
Make the Maelstrom weirder.
Plan more things! Varied, weird and wonderful things!

(Oh yeah, I had a nice love letter for Patriarch, where his list to roll from consisted simply of Interesting Things 1, 2, and 3. He rolled well so he got them all, and then because of the way play went, followed up on none of them. So there's still something really nice found and taken from the city up the coast, there's still this lady Kemmler asking about Smith, and there's still a strange drug that makes you Open Your Brain with a bonus or penalty depending on the seller, and nobody in the group really knows anything about them. Ah well, next time)