Our 1st Session (and some question marks)

  • 9 Replies
  • 5533 Views
Our 1st Session (and some question marks)
« on: November 08, 2011, 09:48:56 AM »
Hi!

So, we had our first Apocalypse World session ever last night. I've wanted to try this game for a long, long time and I was finally able to find time in my group’s schedule for some apocalyptic barfing. We met in a moose infested part of Sweden (mating season = moose armies everywhere) and jumped right into character creation and world ideas. We ended up with a shy, ugly Gunlugger called Lars; a blunt, tired Angel called Balder; a weak but quick-witted Operator by the name of Glenn and a hard as fuck, occult Chopper called Satan (of course). And the world they live in? A Swedish city frozen in ice, where wolfs walk the snow searching for pray and people live in smaller holds where the weather hasn’t devoured everything (the city is our beloved home town Gothenburg).

It was a very fun, exciting and creative 1st Session. Balder strangled a man badly hurt by a knife wound to end his suffering (the man’s son attacked Balder later on), Lars went to his secret love Lana and found her fucking the gang member Kebab, so he killed him and fled the hold (Kebab was the one who stabbed the man Balder took care of, Lana likes dangerous partners...), Satan and his gang searched for their lost gang member and found him beaten to death in Lana’s room (Satan opened his brain and saw Lars...) and Glenn, he came to the hold to meet a member of his crew but had to flee from both Captain Red and a crazy, rabbit loving maniac (unworked obligation gig and random apocalyptic).



It’s cool to see the rules "in action", especially the Hx-rules and how they really creates bonds and flavour between the PC:s before play. It's a fast-paced system and I had only a few problems MC:ing it; the 1st Session worksheet was one of those problems. I didn’t have time to take notes on the threat map or write down NPC:s motivations, that’s something I’ll rather do after the session. I forgot the Harm and Session end move too, but hey I’m human.

After the session we had a couple of question marks remaining, maybe someone can help us out with some of them:

- First of all, I don’t really get the Operator’s gigs and crew. What happens with a gig if you succeed, do they disappear or stay? Is Improvement the only way to get new gigs or can you get them any other way (other then, I guess, through the fiction)? And the crew... Is there anything mechanical about the crew? What do they do (as crew members), how do they influence the Operators work?

- The Chopper’s gang got a Vulnerability, do I get to activate it or is there a rule for when to do it?

- The Gunlugger counts as a gang... In what way?

- When shit’s going down and people are fighting, how is harm distributed? Say that Glenn is fighting against two others, he rolls to seize their lives by force and he succeeds with his roll - does he inflict his harm on both of his enemies, and do they both get to inflict their separate harm on him? And while we’re on the subject, if Glenn’s enemies survive and are still in the game, can Glenn roll another Seize by force to inflict more harm, and another and another - or should one roll solve the whole fight?

- When to PC:s fight, who rolls the Seize by force?

Re: Our 1st Session (and some question marks)
« Reply #1 on: November 08, 2011, 10:46:18 AM »
Hi! Glad to see you liked it. I've got no definitive answer, but here's how I'd deal with your stuff.

- First of all, I don’t really get the Operator’s gigs and crew. What happens with a gig if you succeed, do they disappear or stay? Is Improvement the only way to get new gigs or can you get them any other way (other then, I guess, through the fiction)? And the crew... Is there anything mechanical about the crew? What do they do (as crew members), how do they influence the Operators work?

Not having any operator at my table, I can't say for sure. Still.

Gigs stay as long as nothing make them burst. Remember: prescriptive AND descriptive. So let's say you have a bodyguard gig and you babysit Uncle's daughter III. If III gets shot in the head, or Uncle suffocate on a mutant chicken bone one day and nobody's paying you anymore, the gig's out. And even if your operator doesn't blow any advancement on the "get more gigs" line but still broke a contract with the nomads to escort their convoy once a week to the city's ruins and back, he'd get the gig.

The crew is simply a bunch of NPC (or PC) the character works with. If as a MC, honnesty and prep demands that Mox tells your fellow operator to go fuck himself because there's no way she'd work with him after he double-crossed her last session, it's up to the PC to work the problem with what he's got: seduce/manipulate Mox, get her something that she wants, go aggro on her, or simply talk about the problem with her or something.

- The Chopper’s gang got a Vulnerability, do I get to activate it or is there a rule for when to do it?

You activate it by doing the MC's move: activate their stuff's downside. I also use them to decide which orders the gang won't follow (inciting the chopper to impose their will on the gang) and what they do when they're idle.

- The Gunlugger counts as a gang... In what way?

When the Gunlugger's in a battle, they count as a small gang to determine the harm they deal and take. So a NOT TO BE FUCKED WITH gunlugger going against a small gang will inflict full damage to the gang and the gang will not get a +1harm. Against a medium gang, they'll deal harm-1 and take only harm+1. Against a lone fucker NPC, the NPC's pretty much fucked : full damage (3-harm +1harm because it's like a small gang going against one guy, so 4-harm) minus that NPC armor.

- When shit’s going down and people are fighting, how is harm distributed? Say that Glenn is fighting against two others, he rolls to seize their lives by force and he succeeds with his roll - does he inflict his harm on both of his enemies, and do they both get to inflict their separate harm on him? And while we’re on the subject, if Glenn’s enemies survive and are still in the game, can Glenn roll another Seize by force to inflict more harm, and another and another - or should one roll solve the whole fight?

Two guys ? Well, you get to decide if they outnumber Glenn. If so, they count as a small gang and each recieve harm as established by Glenn's weapons, minus one for being a bigger gang than Glenn's lonely ass. When they deal damage, they do so as a gang: as established, with +1harm because there's two of them.

But Glenn's a gunlugger, right ? He's all badass and two guys don't really outnumber him. So each one take full harm as established by Glenn's weapons and moves, and those guys' armor. When it's your turn, either you don't feel like making a hard move on Glenn and only one of them inflicts damage (if that's what you want to make of your move), or you decide to go hard move on Glenn because he's walked straight into a trap you established through fiction and both of them inflict damage on Glenn, minus Glenn's armor.

About rolling seize by force multiple times: do what honnesty demands. When the player's character do things that seem like seizing something by force or securing their hold on something sure, let them make the move. If not, try to see what they're trying to do. Ask questions! "What are you trying to do, here? Running for the door? Killing everyone of them motherfuckers? Sending a message?" Follow on the answer. And if a PC tells you straight on "I seize the exit by force!" say "cool! What do you do?"

A thing about harm: remember, you make a move when

a) a player misses a roll or
b) they're waiting for you to say something.

MC's moves work on NPCs too. And Inflict harm (as established) is a MC move. So when a player's all "Imma KILL that guy!" and there's no reason he shouldn't be able to do it and the player's all "what happens next?", don't be affraid to inflict harm on the poor guy as established by the PC's gun! It's fun! Be a fan, look through crosshairs and all that!

- When to PC:s fight, who rolls the Seize by force?

Let's say Dremmer has a box, and Rex wants it. Rex's player tells you "fuck it, I'll take that box and I'll break Dremmer's face if I have too" and Dremmer's player is all "no way !" So Rex rolls +hard to take the box by force, but Dremmer's player rolls +Hx of Rex on his sheet to interfere and hopefully gives Rex a -2.

If the box is sitting there and Dremmer and Rex are looking in each other's eyes, the first to talk gets to roll +hard. The other can always roll +Hx to interfere.

Now, remember that moves snowball. As long as nobody has a definitive hold of the box, everybody gets to try to take it by force, or try to put themselves in a position from where they can go aggro onto the box holder, or manipulate them to give that box away, etc.

That's for when PCs fight for something. Now, if they're fighting because one wants the other to do something and the other doesn't want to, that's a go aggro right here. If the victim's all "hell NO" get them roll +Hx to interfere and if the attacker misses their roll, the other one's got the drop on them or something. On a miss, hell, you get to make a move, so you might even turn their move against them and say something like "you're about to get your gun against Dremmer's forehead but he's too quick for you, man. Dremmer, your gun is on Rex's crotch. You can go aggro on him right now, as if you'd rolled a 10+. What d'you want Rex to do?"

If that's just a case of "I've had it with Rex. I pull my gun and shoot that fucker in the head" you might choose to a) make Dremmer go aggro on Rex and what Dremmer wants is Rex to roll over and die (inelegant if you ask me, but a legit ruling), b) have Rex act under fire, and the fire is "Dremmer cap your ass and inflicts harm as established" or c) choose, as a MC move, to inflict harm as established by Dremmer's gun, like Rex's all tied up or can't see Dremmer scoping on him from the clock tower with his high-powered sniper rifle. As usual, if dice are rolling and the victim can interfere, have them roll +Hx.

Re: Our 1st Session (and some question marks)
« Reply #2 on: November 08, 2011, 11:29:05 AM »
- The Gunlugger counts as a gang... In what way?

When the Gunlugger's in a battle, they count as a small gang to determine the harm they deal and take. So a NOT TO BE FUCKED WITH gunlugger going against a small gang will inflict full damage to the gang and the gang will not get a +1harm. Against a medium gang, they'll deal harm-1 and take only harm+1. Against a lone fucker NPC, the NPC's pretty much fucked : full damage (3-harm +1harm because it's like a small gang going against one guy, so 4-harm) minus that NPC armor.

Funny...

I always assumed that the NOT TO BE FUCKED MOVE applied "in battle" (meaning a larger event, not a one on one), so gave the Gunlugger an advantage when holding off a whole gang. I read it as not being relevant in a one-on-one situation (where the Gunlugger's already badass enough as it is, you know?).

But I suppose my interpretation isn't really clearly supported by the text.

Re: Our 1st Session (and some question marks)
« Reply #3 on: November 08, 2011, 04:08:34 PM »
- The Gunlugger counts as a gang... In what way?

When the Gunlugger's in a battle, they count as a small gang to determine the harm they deal and take. So a NOT TO BE FUCKED WITH gunlugger going against a small gang will inflict full damage to the gang and the gang will not get a +1harm. Against a medium gang, they'll deal harm-1 and take only harm+1. Against a lone fucker NPC, the NPC's pretty much fucked : full damage (3-harm +1harm because it's like a small gang going against one guy, so 4-harm) minus that NPC armor.

Funny...

I always assumed that the NOT TO BE FUCKED MOVE applied "in battle" (meaning a larger event, not a one on one), so gave the Gunlugger an advantage when holding off a whole gang. I read it as not being relevant in a one-on-one situation (where the Gunlugger's already badass enough as it is, you know?).

But I suppose my interpretation isn't really clearly supported by the text.

Hey, not necessarily. It does say "in battle". The way I play it is : is it a battle, properly, as there's a bunch of people ready to shoot at each other and there's an objective and a battle plan and shit? Not like the player's character is chatting with an NPC and suddenly goes "fuck that shit, I'll shoot him and his bodygard in the face."

Now, if afterwards the saloon becomes a battlefield and each side has turned tables on the side for cover and to get to the exit you'll have to go that way (points map), then yeah, it'd kick in.

Re: Our 1st Session (and some question marks)
« Reply #4 on: November 08, 2011, 09:25:21 PM »

It's entirely possible that within the larger context of a battle, a Gunlugger might still go up against a single individual -- in that case, the NOT TO BE FUCKED WITH move would presumably still apply. To my mind it's not about the precise individual configuration of dudes, it's more about the general context of the fighting.


Re: Our 1st Session (and some question marks)
« Reply #5 on: November 09, 2011, 04:39:44 AM »
Those are some thorough answers, gregpogor! Thank you (and everyone else!) for your input so far; it will certainly help me and my group.

Regarding my questions about fighting and using the seize by force move: The answer seems to be to stay flexible and shape the rules around the fiction. I think that I'm a bit stuck in the old, traditional "I roll to hit, you roll to avoid etc"-kind of rules. If it seems logical that Glenn inflicts harm on both of his opponents, then that's what he does. If it seems logical that his opponents should hit him at the same time, then he will suffer harm from both of them and so on and so on. Yeah, that feels right according to the rules.

Please, continue to contribute if there's something you would handle differently. It's always nice to see more than one side of things :-)

Re: Our 1st Session (and some question marks)
« Reply #6 on: November 09, 2011, 05:03:51 AM »
You're welcome, Widundret.

Regarding my questions about fighting and using the seize by force move: The answer seems to be to stay flexible and shape the rules around the fiction. I think that I'm a bit stuck in the old, traditional "I roll to hit, you roll to avoid etc"-kind of rules. If it seems logical that Glenn inflicts harm on both of his opponents, then that's what he does. If it seems logical that his opponents should hit him at the same time, then he will suffer harm from both of them and so on and so on. Yeah, that feels right according to the rules.

Don't blame yourself, the approach of violence is a bitch when you're used to trad RPGs.

The thing is, violence for and by itself doesn't exist in AW. Violence is always a tool: to take what you want, to make people do think they wouldn't, to make a point. The question most RPG ask in combat (and when you roll dice in general) is "who's the best at (X)?" (fighting, running, basketwaving...). In AW, when you roll the dice, the question's "what happens next?"

Don't think at it as "combat". Fighting is something the characters do sometimes, just like flirting or eating or running errants. Sometimes you'll want to have them trigger a move. Sometimes not.

Annecdote: there's that one time in my game, when Dick the Gunlugger and Ralph the town gard were both dead drunk and I can't remember why but they started to brawl like drunk people do sometimes. And the player's all "so, what do I roll?" and I'm like "well, you're trying what exactly? You want to keep Ralph down? You want to kill him? Take something he has? What?" and the player's like "no, I'm just drunk and I enjoy fisticuffs sometimes but Ralph is a friend, you know, it's just like sometimes we brawl for fun" and I'm like "okay then, but you're so drunk you can't limit yourself. You roll around hitting each other in the face and doing wrestling moves and shit, and when you both stop - mainly because you're out of breath - both your faces and arms are covered in bruises and some orifices bleed a little, like your mouth and Ralph's ears. Take 1-harm - don't count armor, he was hitting you in the face - and make the harm move."

Re: Our 1st Session (and some question marks)
« Reply #7 on: November 13, 2011, 04:38:18 PM »
Hi,

I've started making Fronts for our next session. One threat is a big, bad wolf pack that haunts the city. This is what I have so far:

The Wolf Pack
Warlord, Alpha Wolf

Cast:

- The Pack (3-harm gang medium savage 2-armor)
- Fenrir, the legendary alpha wolf (3-harm fangs alive messy)

I made the pack using the rules for creating new gangs, but it's hard to know if it's balanced or not. Any opinions, good or bad?

Oh, and I have a Countdown Clock where Fenrir awakens at 12. I want him to join his pack and go crazy if that's the case. What's the best (mechanical) way of showing that Fenrir's in the gang? Should I make a "new" gang with higher stats... Or should I make a custom move?
« Last Edit: November 13, 2011, 04:52:13 PM by Widundret »

Re: Our 1st Session (and some question marks)
« Reply #8 on: November 14, 2011, 12:19:13 PM »
Custom move is the best. About Fenrir - if you want to make it a real threat, like monstrous giant wolf-being, Garou-like(WoD) - then you could try smth from Moster of the Week style(basically give it somewhat better ability to withstand damage, like more then usual 2-3 "hits" NPC have, or maybe some move for that. And custom move, of course.

Re: Our 1st Session (and some question marks)
« Reply #9 on: November 14, 2011, 01:29:39 PM »
Oh, and I have a Countdown Clock where Fenrir awakens at 12. I want him to join his pack and go crazy if that's the case. What's the best (mechanical) way of showing that Fenrir's in the gang? Should I make a "new" gang with higher stats... Or should I make a custom move?

Custom move, sure, maybe something like...

"When Fenrir's leading his pack, they have 2 extra harm segments and the MC can make the following additional moves:

Fenrir grabs someone in his massive jaws, holding and rending them.
Fenrir leaps ahead, waiting for his pack to catch up.
Fenrir and the Pack surround someone."

Or something, whatever works for you!