Newbie creating her first fronts - help!

  • 3 Replies
Newbie creating her first fronts - help!
« on: August 26, 2012, 02:37:39 AM »
Last week I had a pretty successful first session of AW. The players got really into character creation and gave me some great backstory and NPCs. Lots to use, and I've got an idea how to use them.

But I don't really get fronts. I've got a bunch of potential threats but can't see how to fit them into a connected front. I don't really understand how the scarcity fits into a front. And what is the "expresses" it on the front bit? I don't think this is ever explained.

Can people explain how they actually go about creating fronts (not just regurgitating what's in the books)? Have you got example fronts that I can peek at?

I've got until Thursday to come up with some good stuff!

Re: Newbie creating her first fronts - help!
« Reply #1 on: August 26, 2012, 04:19:46 PM »
Try this:

Look at one of the threats. What scarcity describes it best? Are they envy fucks? Driven by the decay of the maelstrom? Desperation after something they need to survive?

Take a front trifold and write the scarcity and threat down.

Then look on your other threats. Do one or more fit with that scarcity? If they do write them down. Now you probably have 2-4 threats. It dosn't matter if the threats are allies, their effect are the important thing. All the threats will if they succeed result in strengthen the scarcity.

Think about what the result would be if these threats would succeed. Write it down as the fronts dark future/agenda.

Think about things or people (like characters and people they need or care about) that could be affected by the fronts threats. Write down some of the possible results as stake questions. "Will The Meat Faces plunder Tum Tums farm?" "Are the water caravans going to stop?"

Write down people involved in or directly affected by the front. You now have the fronts cast.

Flesh out your threats by describing them. Maybe give them custom moves. "When you meet The Meat Faces you act under fire and the fire are fear." If you have a idea you can make countdown clocks (steps for the threat to get what it wants).

Finished? Start the process again until you can't connect your threats with scarcitys. Place the leftovers in the home front.

Re: Newbie creating her first fronts - help!
« Reply #2 on: August 26, 2012, 04:41:09 PM »
I just had a session last night, it went awesome. My players, as a tutorial of sorts, had to fight their way out of war torn Akron and make their way towards the ruins of Columbus.

They decided to stop at a town called Sellb on the way, because they were only a day out, and they got the hint that being out on the burn flats for any length of time is incredibly dangerous.

They stopped within 4 miles of Sellb and set up camp, as they had to rest the injuries they were nursing. Bad choice.

The guy on second shift saw a guy screaming as he ran across the flats while being chased by a dozen half-naked anorexic freaks. The others woke up and started moving quietly before Sellb, but when they looked back, the whole pack was looking at them.

They sprinted for their lives over 4 miles of muddy, craggy ground; dropping all of their supplies on the way. They were invited into a house by the Governor of the 15 people of Sellb, and he told them that they wouldn't be harmed by the people in here, they would just stare at them through the windows.

The next day, they went back for their supplies, only to have them taken by a grotesque hunchback named Grover armed with a rifle.

Then, to make it worse, a warlord named RitterBruder in the area moved some of his 10 boys into the area and invited us to dinner.

To make it worse, we found out while searching for grover that some wolf-critters were eating out the area under "city hall" for a nest.

The Threats: Grover, Ritterbruder, and the Wolf-things. (The Freaks have no real goal, and so are not a Threat.)

Goals:Grover wants to sacrifice some people he will kidnap so that he can become whole again.
RitterBruder simply wants to kill everyone in town and burn it down.
The wolf-things will cause the floor to collapse if the townspeople gather in city hall.

Re: Newbie creating her first fronts - help!
« Reply #3 on: August 27, 2012, 05:52:56 AM »
To me, Scarcity is the type of conflict your players are interested in and hinting at without knowing it.
I just started a new AW campaign recently as well so I'll tell you what I did.

Character Creation offers a lot of info, especially the Hx phase. It's not enough to say "my character doesn't trust you". Demand why and/or what happened. (The Battlebabe decides the driver is a perv that wants to get in her pants). Even during chargen I'm furiously scribbling notes and filling in the 1st Session Worksheet. The Driver says he lives in a junkyard with a mechanic/tinkerer of sorts- boom, written down, npc gets a name, etc. Chargen is collaborative effort with the whole group playing pretend. So for my group, chargen is already the beginning of the "1st Session".

During the 1st session our group describes their Apocalypse World with a holding that detoxes water from a toxic lake and trades with trader caravans from all over the wasteland. I get they are probably not interested in Hunger or Thirst. But they talk about how the holding is begrudgingly governed by two brothers...Hmmm, Ambition fits the bill. They want slavers and raiders and cannibals, so I list them under Hunger. One of the player's says his character wishes he could go to this 'high-class' whorehouse at the top of a cliff where the Battlebabe used to work- Envy. The Gunlugger says he found the blasted ruins of a military base in the wastes where he gets his ap ammo (you think nobody else is going to find it!?)
That Battlebabe says she does odd, shady jobs for the Hardholders (npcs) and trading caravans (Thirsty caravaners). The Gunlugger says he used to do security jobs but is tired of it. The driver says he is like the postman and delivers packages and visitors to another hardhold.

So... after 1st Session I'm making a Front. I look at the worksheet and ask myself, "Whose Envy threatens the PCs?" For each Scarcity. I rephrase the questions to get me to think differently, "How does _______'s Hunger threaten the pcs?"..."How might the Players' Scarcities draw threats?"
I definitely see an opportunity with the dual governing of the Hardhold. And I have written the most notes under Ambition, the players must be interested in conflicts of Ambition. They even said the Hardholders are brothers that grudgingly share leadership. I decide one of them is going to make a move and write him down as a threat.

Threat: Brother Mercer        Warlord/Collector (Impulse: to control)
He's got a gang and a compound

What else have I written down that could have a strong Ambition, even if I listed it under a different Scarcity? Well there's the Maelstrom, the players were really interested in that. How could I make (express) the Maelstrom's ambition? I decide, based on the players' description of the Psychic Maelstrom, that it wants to possess people...even things... The player's suggested during the 1st session that it could be the souls of all those who perished during the Apocalypse....

Threat: Outwalkers             Brutes/Cult  (Impulse: Victimize & Incorporate People)

Custom Move: Spectral Torment
Outwalkers manifest spectrally or physically through a claimed/possessed individual during freak lightning storms (A storm just sort of happened during our 1st Session when the Driver failed at Opening his brain. Then a passenger went nuts and ran into the darkness. These storms are dubbed "Darkstorms"). In a Darkstorm, outwalkers manifest as spectres and most moves against them will use Weird.

Now I read where the group wanted slavers/raiders but I put them under Hunger. Could they have an Ambition? Then I get a brilliant idea as I think back to the Hardholder, what if he tried to hire some raiders! But that can't happen yet, I gotta let a story unfold, so this idea goes under the "I wonder..." section. Then it comes to me! How about a whole army of new raiders just moved into the territory and they want to claim it!

Threat: Keeler's Army                  Brutes/Hunting Pack (Impulse: Victimize anyone)

2 or 3 harm gangs/ 1 armor     Bike Gangs (the players got attacked by a bike gang                                                         in the 1st Session)

Drugged up Suicide Slaves (5-harm area loud messy) no armor   

Why is Keeler so powerful? Maybe he has a fucking tank!

Well that is three threats that revolve around Ambition, I call it a Front. But it doesn't seem like enough threats since one kind of just happens infrequently  (Darkstorms). I remember the group wanted mutated animals and that traveling was supposed to be dangerous so I write up the Home Front to include:

Salt Water Infection (since the setting is the Salt Lake area...the lake is toxic and disease ridden in AW)

Custom Move: Roll+Cool when you ingest the water. On a 10+ you're okay. On a 7-9 you look and feel like shit but you'll get over it (-1 Ongoing). On a miss, you're fucked and will need an Angel (1 harm and -1 Ongoing).     

Water Cats (semi-amphibious mutated cats)
Group of them count as (2-harm/1-armor)
They also transmit the water infection with their claws and teeth.

Rattle Snake (Fucking Huge!)
 Bite kills almost instantly (Hard Move for a complete miss. Player must take a disability to survive)
Constriction 2-harm ap/ 2 armor       

I write down appropriate countdown clocks for the Threats in my Front. This is done by asking yourself, "What's the worst that can happen if this threat is allowed to totally run free?" This becomes your 12 o'clock entry on the countdown clock. For your 1-3 o'clock entry ask yourself, "How does it start?"  Then go to 12 o'clock and work backwards from there, "What has to happen before that?....What has to happen before that?"

For example with the Psychic Maelstrom's Outwalkers I decide that at 12 o'clock, "Storms and Madness across the land".
How does it start? (1-3 o'clock), I fill in, "Hauntings".
6 o'clock becomes 'possessed machinery and vehicles'.
9 o'clock, 'Surge of Mutant Crazies'.
10 o'clock, 'communities incorporated'.
11, 'Becomes Entrenched'.

After I write the countdown clocks for each threat in this Ambitious Front. I tie all the 12 o'clock outcomes together for the Agenda/Dark Future of the Front, "Psychotic Cannibal Badlands".

Does all this help?