Play Report- Apocalypse World: Central California

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Play Report- Apocalypse World: Central California
« on: January 18, 2012, 09:11:10 AM »
So, I managed to run my first session of Apocalypse World with a group I scraped together online, the first GMing of any sort I've done in over a decade.

My first reaction: wow.

Achewater, hard-headed and cunning Operator, refugee from the coastal town of Crockett Ferry after it got hit by the disciplined, organised, well-equipped, and *nasty* Zephyr Army, with a life goal to see the Zephyr Army torn down.  Sunny, a young Brainer who wandered east from the relatively isolated town of Stanford across the bay, with a seriously unsettling manner and a way of bewitching the hearts (and bodies) of those she sets her mind on.  Alexis Hamilton, Hocus, naive leader of the 'New Federalist' cult, dedicated to see the United States and democracy restored.  Set them down in Market Town, an island of relative sanity in the ruins of Stockton, fourty years after the Ten-Year Winter hit its end, in a misty, rainy post-apocalypse of tainted water and scattered farming villages managing to eke out enough of a living in the fertile soil of the Central Valley to keep the population running, and tell them that it's 'Oath Day' in April, where Mayor Roark of Market Town has a public ceremony in the town square reiterating his dedication to ruling with law over his subjects.

Right off, Achewater gives me interesting stuff to work with by succeeding at his Surveillance gig, but failing at Compound Defense- apparently, he was keeping an eye out for badness on Oath Day, and let something slip in!  And with Surveillance, I  decide to let Sunny in with vague rumblings that Zephyr's planning 'something big' after the harvest this autumn.  Achewater and Hamilton cross swords, verbally, Achewater being suspicious, at first, of Hamilton being a Zephyr sympathiser (not least because Hamilton has an idealistic idea that they might form the nucleus of the army of a new republic formed through peaceful treaty), but Achewater decides that Hamilton's sincere and not deliberately betraying anything.  Hamilton heads off and visits a couple of her followers in the town, who have been suffering hunger  and disease following a slack period of work for the textiles mill owned by Corbett, one of the town's moneymen.

Sunny in the square and Alexis in Jesus' home more or less simultaneously decide to open their minds.  Both get bizarre visions involving two intoning voices- Sunny gets additional imagery that makes it clear this is about a sniper from 'Tower', a nihilist cult set up in Modesto, targeting the Mayor.

Bizarre Metaphorical Vision Roark: "I and the law.  Build on the ground beat flat with sweat and care.  Stand, and stand, and stand, and stand.  Let it not fall.  Let it not fall.  Build up, build up on this foundation."
Bizarre Metaphorical Vision Tower: "All towers will fall, all towers will fall.  Only one tower will rise.  Only one tower will rise."

A little quick thinking by Achewater later, Achewater's pretty sure a sniper would be using Corbett's textile mill, currently padlocked for standing idle, as their best sniping position.  Some fast talking by Achewater lets him convince Corbett to not take the ENTIRE reward for stopping the assassination despite Achewater having messed up, here, and Achewater manages to reclaim 1-barter of the 2-barter payout for compound defense.  Corbett has Jones, one of his workers, let Achewater and company into the mill- though it turns out that's not strictly necessary, since the padlock was broken off.

The group enters, has a brief discussion on strategy, then gives away their position, Achewater and Alexis taking cover behind the mill machinery moved into this old warehouse after taking .22 carbine fire from the assassin on a second-level walkway along the wall.  Sunny tries to get the assassin to give himself up using direct brain whisper projection, getting a 7 on the roll- at which point the assassin 'tells her what he thinks she wants'.  Turns out he's suddenly FASCINATED about the idea of the brainer, here, and begins preaching about how the Tower is guided by visions and miracles, trying to convince Sunny that she should be with THEM, not with the 'blind' here.  He's only briefly interrupted by taking a potshot at Alexis when she breaks cover for a moment.  Still, Sunny keeps the assassin's attention, long enough for Achewater to creep to the other end of the building under cover and get up onto the walkway, and draw a bead with his automatic on the assassin.  Just as the assassin is starting to suggest that he and Sunny should purge the 'unbelievers' together, Achewater has his shot, takes it, and hits a 12 on going aggro on the cultist, shooting him through center mass from behind.  And the session ends, with much of the profit the group made through the surveillance information from Sunny, the bounty on the assassin, and donations from the New Federalists being eaten by Alexis spending her donations on supplies to ease her followers through these lean times and Achewater paying for the antibiotics Amalia the preacher/medic provides to help Alexis recover under bed rest for the next week from the two grazing hits from the carbine she took (much mitigated by her divine (democratic?) protection).

The looming issues of what's going on in the Tower, how much shortages and bad water will bear down on everybody in the region, the threat of Zephyr, the general dangers of raiders in the countryside, internal politics in Market Town, and why in the world children go through a transition of absolute screaming horror sometime around the age of 8 or so, which not all *survive*, are left unresolved.  All of us had an absolute blast, and I'm looking forward to seeing what happens *next* Tuesday, and what the PCs choose to pursue.

So, thank you, Vincent.  You made a system that I've actually felt confident enough to GM in, and the results were spectacular.  If there's any interest from anybody here on the forums, I'd be glad to continue reporting on the events that come to pass in Post-Apocalyptic Central California as time goes on.
« Last Edit: January 18, 2012, 03:17:09 PM by nweismuller »