holdless scenarios?

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holdless scenarios?
« on: July 29, 2011, 07:45:33 PM »
How often do you guys start a game with no hardhold in play?
How often do you end up going for multiple sessions without one?


Re: holdless scenarios?
« Reply #1 on: July 29, 2011, 08:23:19 PM »
I have this idea in mind for a campaign where the PCs are on the run from something1, and the entire thing would take place as one big chase, and also with scenes in the places they pass through. Think 'The Gunslinger'; desolate, desperate, and pursued. Anyway, I've been wondering the same thing. I mean, sure, they would be passing through holds, they might even stop a while to help out (or get waylaid) in one, but by and large the campaign would not be taking place in a hardhold. Questions that I have been asking myself are things like, How do you play the Hardholder?, Or the Maestro D'?, Does this type of campaign devalue the Operator? How about the Skinner? The Savvyhead with no workshop? Is another character necessary (something like a scout. does the driver fill this role? how does the chase change if you have a driver or a chopper?), If one character has a gang or followers, all of a sudden the dynamic changes. You're no longer some people on the run, you're a village on the run.

It's interesting to think that the hardhold, as peripheral as it may seem to the core seed content (or maybe not to you?) may actually be an intrinsic part of Apocalypse World as written. In this case, how heavily do we need to hack it in order to run the holdless game?

I have some possible answers to these questions, but I'm curious to see some other people weigh in first.

1I'm not sure what it is that will be chasing them yet. I've toyed with two ideas mainly. The first is that whatever the Apocalypse was, it's still happening, and they're trying to escape it's swath of destruction. The second is more about people (or a person) chasing them, which I feel adds a lot of potential for backstory and PC-NPC relationships.
The Dead Flag Blues - Godspeed You Black Emperor! This is my Apocalypse World theme song.

Re: holdless scenarios?
« Reply #2 on: July 29, 2011, 08:37:58 PM »
I'll be mcing my first game tomorrow, and i've purposely left out the hardholder from the stack of characters. The only thing i know so far about the setting is that the characters start in a small northern california town that's mostly deserted and near a forest that's currently on fire.

I am excited to see where they go from there, and i'm sure they'll find holds along the way. But you raise some good points. I suspect one of the players will be drawn to the savvyhead, so we'll see what happens workspace-wise.

Re: holdless scenarios?
« Reply #3 on: July 29, 2011, 08:41:29 PM »
Some AP on this would be hot. I'm excited to hear how it goes.
The Dead Flag Blues - Godspeed You Black Emperor! This is my Apocalypse World theme song.

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Ariel

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Re: holdless scenarios?
« Reply #4 on: July 29, 2011, 08:48:50 PM »
Always, and ... forever?

I don't think anyone's ever been a Hardholder in any of my games. There are ruins, underground bunkers, desert tribes and fisherfolk that all could have been hardholds had we'd have had a Hardholder but without they're just fiction and Fronts.

No one seems all that interested in the Hardholder; lots of Maestro d's, Hocuses and Operators but I can't recall a single Hardholder.

Or are you asking about traveling play?

Re: holdless scenarios?
« Reply #5 on: July 29, 2011, 10:53:25 PM »
I'm just trying to get a feel for how people have handled games where no one is playing a hardholder and they didn't start in an NPC controlled hold.

Mine won't have one to start, so I'll get to see what the characters do to find some semblance of safety. That doesn't mean they won't ever find a hold to call home, we'll have to wait and see :)

Thanks for the feedback!

Re: holdless scenarios?
« Reply #6 on: July 30, 2011, 02:37:16 AM »
Well, the game I MCed never really had any of the characters being part of a holding. There were some out there, but they were always external groups that the PCs were pushing against.

At the beginning, the characters were tied together by the Savvyhead. They all lived/worked at the workshop. This place was a neutral zone, that everyone nearby visited now and then.

The game went through to a natural end, maybe 15-20 sessions, with nobody being a hardholder. The savvyhead eventually retired, and our skinner took the place over as she became a maestro'd, so the workshop became a bar and kept the same neutral status.

Re: holdless scenarios?
« Reply #7 on: July 30, 2011, 02:43:52 AM »
based on a game i've played with a hold and one without

the hold is no good

it's just a lot of little house on the prairie homework business that don't really get across the whole 'life here in AW is cheap and terrible' vibe because everything is too safe.

Re: holdless scenarios?
« Reply #8 on: July 30, 2011, 03:24:37 AM »
A couple weeks ago, I ran a 1st session where there is no holding. Instead, the Driver is leading a caravan to the Beach, or Santa Monica, where there is food aplenty, life is safe from harm, and its a paradise.

The caravan stops at each dinky town to put on a show by the Skinner and her backup dancers, who perform songs from the pre-Apocalypse classical group, the Spice Girls.

There is no real leaderahip, the caravan follows the Driver and the Skinner only because they seem to know where they are going, and a Dustbowl is slowly engulfing the land.

And there is a Brainer kid and and and old Hoarder to make everyone else seem normal.

I'm thinking Ron Moore's Carnivale, but everyone else wants Priscilla Queen of the Desert.

I made the mistake of not making their first town seem real enough; I was expecting them to pack up and leave so I didn't invest too much time to the town.

Also, I didn't push the scarcity involved with a holdless caravan; fuel, food, power, parts, and purpose.

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Chris

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Re: holdless scenarios?
« Reply #9 on: July 30, 2011, 07:47:19 AM »
based on a game i've played with a hold and one without

the hold is no good

it's just a lot of little house on the prairie homework business that don't really get across the whole 'life here in AW is cheap and terrible' vibe because everything is too safe.

Being in a hold should be WAY more dangerous than being out of a hold. A hold is where the people are.....
A player of mine playing a gunlugger - "So now that I took infinite knives, I'm setting up a knife store." Me - "....what?" Him - "Yeah, I figure with no overhead, I'm gonna make a pretty nice profit." Me - "......"

Re: holdless scenarios?
« Reply #10 on: July 30, 2011, 03:49:13 PM »
Quote
Being in a hold should be WAY more dangerous than being out of a hold. A hold is where the people are.....

Yeah, it really depends on your MC. I mean technically all NPCs are threats but, realistically, you kind of want to see this community grow and beat off the zombie threat, etc.

Shreyas, I don't see it as "Little Hold on the Prairie." Media analogues would be more like:

Game with a hold, semi-non-threatening NPCs = Road Warrior
Game with a hold, threatening NPCs = Deadwood
Game with no hold, semi-non-threatening NPCs = Ralph Bakshi's Wizards (1977)
Game with no hold, threatening NPCs = The Road

Depends really how you'd classify each of the above as "gritty."

Re: holdless scenarios?
« Reply #11 on: July 31, 2011, 01:29:16 PM »
It's weird that Shreyas said that, because in our current game he's playing the de facto hardholder (A Maestro 'D who runs the traveling rave and who everyone works for), and he's basically got it way easier than any other hardholder I've seen because he doesn't have to do the scarcity roll at the beginning of every session.

So maybe it's not Little House On The Prairie because no one's sick and/or rioting and/or idle and/or whatever. It's easy mode.

Re: holdless scenarios?
« Reply #12 on: July 31, 2011, 02:21:06 PM »
Our first session was last night, and it was interesting how the three players developed their little part of the world. I basically told them where they were (Yreka, a small town in Northern California), and that the nearby forest seemed to be on fire, although it wasn't close enough to see flames, only smoke.

The were playing a Savvyhead, a Driver, and a Quarantine. But as their situation unfolded, they described a town that was a little more well functioning than I'd expected. While there wasn't a proper "hold" in the walled-in moat around it sort of way, there is a nominal boss of the area (Hugo), who has a crew, and who people come to when they need something they can't get for themselves.

Since it's a fairly rural area, most everyone has their own little veggie patch, or raises chickens. There's a sort of farmer's market in the town center where people gather with carts of what they can scrape from the land to trade each other.

Gearshift, the PC driver, mostly runs deliveries for Hugo or anyone else that needs something sent or picked up. The savvyhead fixes stuff for people and travels into town with his mule-drawn cart and a portable tinker's setup to sharpen knives, clean guns, and do other things for jingle. If you've got a bigger job you'll find him in his workshop/house, which is a gutted 747 in the middle of his junkyard, which used to be an airplane graveyard, then an automobile graveyard, and now just a big patch of dirt with a lot of junk on it.

Anyway, so I don't give them a hold, and they sort of make one themselves. That's fine with me, because I have plans for that forest fire. This 1st session was definitely on "easy mode", which seemed appropriate. I promised them there'd be a bit more action next time.

Re: holdless scenarios?
« Reply #13 on: July 31, 2011, 10:39:48 PM »

None can resist the dreaded Status Quo.

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Chris

  • 342
Re: holdless scenarios?
« Reply #14 on: August 01, 2011, 08:53:08 AM »
It's weird that Shreyas said that, because in our current game he's playing the de facto hardholder (A Maestro 'D who runs the traveling rave and who everyone works for), and he's basically got it way easier than any other hardholder I've seen because he doesn't have to do the scarcity roll at the beginning of every session.

So maybe it's not Little House On The Prairie because no one's sick and/or rioting and/or idle and/or whatever. It's easy mode.

No. This is bad. The wealth roll isn't to create bad things; it's to limit the bad things to just one or two and that on a missed roll. Pseudo-holders without the wealth roll in my games? It's tooth and nail. Your people, they're hungry and diseased and savage and idle, all of these at all of the times that there are, and what do you do about it?

Hardholders, you may question their methods, but they're good at holding a community together. You, Maestro? You're no holder.
A player of mine playing a gunlugger - "So now that I took infinite knives, I'm setting up a knife store." Me - "....what?" Him - "Yeah, I figure with no overhead, I'm gonna make a pretty nice profit." Me - "......"