AP: Hyborian Saga! Awesome!

  • 6 Replies
AP: Hyborian Saga! Awesome!
« on: August 30, 2011, 05:25:26 AM »
Just finished a great game.

For weeks I have been working on a Conan hack of Apocalypse World. Last night was our first session.


Barracus, the Aquilonian Sorcerer (used SimonC's Sorcerer from his Conan hack, sort of like a Brainer but with cooler crap)

Connavar, the demon-spawned Monster (my own customized Faceless)

Godrigo, the Zingaran Rogue (my own customized mix of Battlebabe, and SimonC's Thief, and a little Operator thrown in)

Heimdall, a Hyperborean Barbarian (my own customized Battlebabe/Gunlugger)

I set the scene in Arenjun, capitol city of Zamora. I used the setting from, "The Tower of the Elephant". Yes, I know this is bumping up against the rule a little bit about not having a pre-decided plot. With an already established setting like the Hyborian Age, I found it a little hard to do. So I used a setting from the stories and planted some plot seeds, but I am still "Playing to find out what happens". It won't be the same "Tower of the Elephant" with Conan. I feel like I had a couple "pre-determined Fronts".

I handed out MC love letters as follows ('x' is the option the player chose):

To the Barbarian: Why are you here? Choose 1:

* Fleeing from some crime, threat, or other scandal (+pursued, mark xp).
* Treasure-hunting, theiving, & wenching (start w/ 1-riches).
X Pursuing some bastard that seriously wronged you (you detail & "Swear an Oath").
* You just wandered into town a moon ago for some other reason but you're a prominent target (mark XP).

(The player decided a thief stole his great-axe, his heirloom and only possession. "Swear an Oath" is my (with Shreyas' help!) replacement for "Open your Brain".
When you swear an oath you get holds for +1forward in pursuing your oath, then mark xp when you complete it)

To the Monster: Why are you here? Choose 1:

X You were inexplicably drawn here by some mysterious power (make an Augury move right now).
* There is much evil here to slake your monstrous appetites (mark XP).
* You were summoned, transformed, or birthed from an unholy union here (+1-riches).
* These ideas suck, you decide. But King Eriakes thinks you work for the enigmatic Wizard, Yara, for good or ill.

(The Augury move in my hack is identical to "Open your Brain" only certain archetypes have it, but not the Monster, he got it just for this story seed)

To the Rogue:

Make your move, "Plundering Jackal". On a 10+, you start with a copper blow-tube filled with Black Lotus powder (5-harm ap area). Obtaining this was an adventure in itself. You also get a rare grapple hook & line. The line was made by the tresses of dead women from the catacombs of Zingara, then steeped in the sap of the deadly Upas tree.
On a 7-9, you just have the grapple hook & line.
On a miss, sorry no luck, but mark XP.

(Yes, if you know the Howard story, this is stealing the plot a bit, don't hate me Vincent! This was cool cause the player rolled a 7-9 and he doesn't have the "Plundering Jackal" move yet. "Plundering Jackal" identical to the Chopper's "Fucking Thieves" move)

To the Sorcerer: Why are you here? Choose 1:

* Plenty of thieves and cutthroats to sacrifice (make Augury move).
X Heard tales of & studied the Tower of the Elephant (mark XP & you know some facts about it).
* Hoped to learn at the feet of Yara, the wizard of the Elphant's Tower (he's initally respectful to you and may grant you some favors).
* Fuck it, you're just here, but King Eriakes thinks you work for Yara, and may grant you favors.

Then we started play, me with the 1st session worksheet and a list of Hyborian names.
The group was having a fun time with Hx and generating some backstory. The Barbarian who lived in the wilderness around town came looking for the bastard who stole his great-axe. The Monster had dreams (the Augury move) of a red, glowing light that pulsed like a heartbeat and heard strange whisperings goading him onward and calling his name.

The Barbarian came to the tavern that the Rogue was roistering at. Although they weren't friends, he knew the Rogue, and figured he was the best help he might get in finding his great-axe, if not the very one that lifted it.

The Sorcerer waltzed into the tavern to listen in on any rumors about the Tower of the Elephant, as he did so, he noticed a cut-purse with a large oblong bundle skulk out of the tavern, heh-heh.

The Barbarian, already distrusting this high-browed Aquilonian sorcerer, started yelling at him. The Sorcerer revealed the furtive figure that skulked away in a hurry. So they all went trekking after the thief.

Meanwhile the Monster was roaming the Temple district, which is eerily abandoned at night, even by the rogues of the Maul. He was searching for the source of his strange dreams. He heard a distant chanting and followed, bringing him to an archaic temple. Inside was some kind of cult and when Connavar appeared, they thought he was some kind of messenger from their deity (The Monster must be disguised, if he openly displays his true nature, he is Acting Under Fire. The 'fire' being that people may discover his 'Bane' which= the Faceless unmasked. Although he is disguised he always has a 'Tell', so it is apparent he is unnatural).

A cultist charged him, stark raving mad, and he snatched her up by the neck and rendered her unconscious. He then placed her in the arms of a statue of a deity. The priest Dinak, conducting the cult worship, pledged his loyalty to him thinking him a messenger of Yezud.

The Monster left the temple and came into the Maul, looking for food. He was ambushed by some cutthroats, but he Acted Under Fire and hit with a 10+. He used his Monstrous Locomotion to scamper up a wall before they could do anything, which freaked them the hell out. (Instead of normal weapons and gear, the Monster has 'Dread Boons' like claws, natural armor, and monstrous locomotion was one of them, the player wanted to climb up surfaces really fast. Some of the Dread Boons have the tag, "Unmasked" -The Monster has to Act Under Fire from witnesses discovering his bane).

The Sorcerer was leading the others after the thief with the big bundle (Read a Sitch). The Monster was on a rooftop munching on a dog he found, when he saw Godrigo the Rogue (they have Hx together). Connavar the Monster warned Godrigo of the cutthroats and followed them.

The trail lead to what appeared to be an abandoned stable. Godrigo, having been in Arenjun the longest and familiar with the Rogue's trade, thought it might be some kind of safehouse. He sauntered into the darkened building to immediately feel a blade to his throat, "Why in Bel's name are you here, Godrigo!?" a raspy voice whispered in his ear.
Godrigo had no time to reply as Heimdall the Barbarian charged in and tackled the knife-wielder. The Barbarian threw him into a supporting post, breaking his neck. Other shadows rushed them.

Godrigo hit with a 10+ to seize his new attacker's throat with is knife. He did it with such deftness and grace that he frightened and dismayed another assailant, who attempted to escape.
A less-filthy cur, wearing some decent leather armor attacked the Barbarian. He hacked into the Barbarians side with a hand-axe but Heimdall pinned it under his arm, broke his attacker's elbow and slammed him into the floor head first. (The Barbarian was enraged and missed that this guy was someone who might be important, and didn't notice where his stolen great-axe might be).

The escaping cutpurse dove through a small window in the back of the building. The Monster, watching all this through the doorway, climbed over the building and caught him. The Sorcerer used "Visions of Death", hitting with a 10+. Following the fiction, he named the guy that Heimdall through on the floor died, his skull shattering on impact. And the thief that Connavar caught would live, the Monster brought him back alive.

They found Heimdall's great-axe and interrogated the prisoner. The dude with the armor stole axe, his name is Abuletes. And since Barracus the Sorcerer declared that the prisoner would live, and they were interrogating him right there, he began spilling everything. Abuletes belongs to a powerful family, and very reluctantly, the prisoner will lead them there.

I figured this was a good place to stop since I need to develop a front for Abuletes' family. The Barbarian reset Hx with the Sorcerer. And I'm using the "Learn a secret when you reset Hx". So Heimdall learned that Barracus' veiled companion was a succubi, his demon familiar, not an human slave. Since Heimdall is from Hyperborea, he was used to the Sorcerous 'nobility' that enslaved others there, and he thought this was the case with Barracus as well.

Everyone said it was a really cool game and their favorite parts seemed to be everything that revolved around Hx and how XP works.

I really enjoyed running it and am looking forward to developing Fronts. I could have used the 1st session worksheet better but I still have a lot of ideas running through my head. I know I need to work on naming NPC's and making them seem real instead of just 2-dimensional throw-aways (looking through crosshairs a little too much, ha).
« Last Edit: August 30, 2011, 05:34:44 AM by Gavinwulf »

Re: AP: Hyborian Saga! Awesome!
« Reply #1 on: September 01, 2011, 06:25:16 PM »
Even though I know a bare minimum about Howard's Conan-verse this sounds like a lot of fun. I haven't got my hands on the Faceless playbook yet but from what I've heard on the forums so far I really like your hack, the Monster.
I'd like to hear more about the progression of your game. ^_^
One thing that confused me though: You said the Sorcerer used his Visions of Death move. As far as I unterstood the move a character uses it at the beginning of a battle / when he enters the battle. Your description of the situation reads like either the Sorc used it when the "battle" was basically over / or he was never really part of the it. Maybe I'm a bit nitpicky here. I really liked the way the move was used in the game to save someone your players needed. So I just wondered.
a friend in need is a friend indeed

Re: AP: Hyborian Saga! Awesome!
« Reply #2 on: September 01, 2011, 09:55:44 PM »
Thanks for you reply! (yay I got one!)

Yeah, the Visions of Death was supposed to be used at the beginning but it was our first session ever with Apocalypse World, so it got used kind of halfway through.
It was due to the fight starting with the 'bad guys' attacking from stealth, so he didn't 'know' who to choose at first. Then, part my bad for not leaping forward with named PCs. Then my bad again, for letting the player get by with, "I hit with a 10, okay, I'll just have one live and make sure one dies." So I didn't make sure which ones he named specifically until the end of the fight.

I also forgot to mention in my play report that the Monster had sex with the Sorcerer's Demon Familiar in the Hx round. So, taking into consideration the Monster's sex move (Faceless), I thought it would be interesting to go ahead and give him & the familiar their holds.

Re: AP: Hyborian Saga! Awesome!
« Reply #3 on: September 03, 2011, 04:45:55 AM »
When the sorcerer revealed a secret from Hx reset, how did it happen? A simple "you notice my slave is a succubus" or whatever, or more elaborate? And is this the same character the Monster had sex with? (So the Barbarian knows she's a demon but the Monster doesn't, am I getting that right?)

Re: AP: Hyborian Saga! Awesome!
« Reply #4 on: September 03, 2011, 09:14:20 AM »
At the beginning of the game when you go around for Hx, that's when the Monster and the Sorcerer decided the Monster had sex with the Succubus. The Monster does know she's a succubus, in fact, the Monster's player decided that his Monster feels that having sex with humans is weird to him, like having sex with animals or something to most people. So that's part of the Monster's motivations, to find other inhuman mates.

For now it was a  simple "the Barbarian learned that the veiled and robed figure who followed the Sorcerer around wasn't just a human slave but the Sorcerer's demon familiar."

None of us are very experienced in collaborative storytelling and the Sorcerer's player seems to have the most trouble with it. So we asked him to come up with some details before next session, like what is the succubi's name? and how was this revealed? etc.

Re: AP: Hyborian Saga! Awesome!
« Reply #5 on: September 03, 2011, 06:37:31 PM »
Oh, during the beginning Hx! I see. So, do you have any plans to ask the barbarian why it is he can identify demon familiars so easily...?

Re: AP: Hyborian Saga! Awesome!
« Reply #6 on: September 04, 2011, 02:56:04 AM »
The succubus is robed and veiled. So although she is a little creepy, it is assumed by most people that she is either an apprentice or slave.

The Barbarian can't identify demon familiars so easily, that's why it was revealed to him when he reset Hx with the Sorcerer at the end of the session. The details of how this comes to pass is what we gave the Sorcerer's player for homework until we play again.