• 9 Replies


  • 1293
« on: June 22, 2012, 12:02:16 PM »
I was looking for something else and I happened upon this old post of mine at Story Games. I thought you all here might be interested. Pardon my crankiness; it was topical at the time but no longer.


Co-MCing Apocalypse World

Preface 1, in which I am cranky:
Co-GMing is fun, easy and good, but it's not like it's the pinnacle of roleplaying or anything.

Preface 2, in which I am still cranky:
If you and your friends want to co-GM Apocalypse World, you should. I don't know what's stopping you.

But since you ask, here's how I'd do it:
1. Setup: everyone makes a PC. Everyone gets a first session worksheet and as many front sheets as they want.

2. The conversation stands. There's still no turn taking, just the casual turn taking of any conversation.

Within the conversation, moment to moment, interaction to interaction, you'll be a player, an MC, a fellow player but not currently talking, a fellow MC but not currently talking, or pure audience. Don't try to formalize or keep track, they overlap and come and go.

3. The player agenda - play your character as though she were a real person - stands. That's your agenda with regard to your PC.

The MC agenda - make Apocalypse World seem real, make the characters' lives not boring, play to find out what happens - stands. That's your agenda with regard to everyone else's PCs.

4. A new co-MC agenda: share graciously. You aren't a solo MC; you've agreed to be enthusiastic about your fellow MCs' visions and ideas.

Divvy MC duties by fronts. You have your fronts that you're advancing, the other MCs have theirs. I own the water cult inside the holding, Em owns Dremmer and his raiders, Meg owns whatever it is that's going on in the old subway tunnels.

Coordinate fronts with your fellow MCs only when they really do interfere with one another. Ask first. "Hey, Meg, do you figure that what's going on in the old subway tunnels affects the water cult in any way? Anything I should know about that?" Since fronts in Apocalypse World aren't mystery- or backstory-intensive, this shouldn't be a problem.

Share the home front.

4. A new always-say (or rather, a never-say), for all co-MCs: don't have a conversation with yourself. Don't make the other players have conversations with themselves.

When you're playing your PC and you would normally turn to the MC for an answer, input, or to say what happens, instead turn to the rest of the group. Don't answer your own questions.

When someone turns to the rest of the group for input, one of you has to provide it. If you have something, say it!

When your PC comes with NPCs, have your fellow players play them, don't play them yourself. When someone else's PC comes with NPCs, play some of them.

5. The MC's principles and moves stand. They're how you relate to your own NPCs and to your fellow players' PCs.

6. The first session. You all know that the first session isn't a session, it's a process, right? You ask questions, begin to arrange relationships, play NPCs, look for stable and unstable situations in the PCs' lives, start to apply pressure to them, and ultimately create fronts and threats. Occasionally throughout play - especially as the PCs' interests grow in scale - you return to the first session process, to establish what's going on now, here at this new scale.

Each of you, as co-MCs, will go through this process at your own pace. By the end of the first session of play, at least one of you ought to be ready to start making fronts, but probably not all of you will be. That's fine! Go at your own pace.

My recommendation:
If at least two of you have MCed Apocalypse World before, your group can co-MC Apocalypse World, no problem.

If you haven't, you still probably can.

If you want to try it, do!

That's it! Have fun.

You know I love to answer questions. If you've got 'em, ask 'em.

Re: Co-MCing
« Reply #1 on: June 22, 2012, 06:57:16 PM »
Have you done this?



  • 1293
Re: Co-MCing
« Reply #2 on: June 22, 2012, 07:53:11 PM »
I haven't done it with Apocalypse World, but I've done it just this way with Ars Magica: 2011-04-12 : A background in Principled Freeform. My confidence in these rules is high.

Happening upon this today made me want to do it again.


Re: Co-MCing
« Reply #3 on: June 23, 2012, 09:41:06 AM »
Thanks for sharing this Vincent, this is really cool!

Re: Co-MCing
« Reply #4 on: June 24, 2012, 10:17:01 PM »
What would you say are the main differences that would arise playing AW like this?

Do you think a game that has been running for awhile with a single MC could survive transition into this?

Re: Co-MCing
« Reply #5 on: September 20, 2012, 11:09:46 AM »
I just joined in giving this a try last night, and it worked rather well. Introductions themselves snowballed a lot with three MCs asking questions of each player. We also had a moment of pause while we considered how to divvy up established NPCs for our respective fronts, but then we decided that an lone NPC could represent more than one threat on more than one front, so we're just nabbing them for whatever we feel like. I for one plan to leave alone NPCs that are close to my PC, because that just seems like good common sense, but we didn't discuss that specifically. In play I look forward to seeing whether these multi-threat NPCs act cohesively over time, or whether everyone in our Apocalypse is a schizophrenic.

Re: Co-MCing
« Reply #6 on: September 20, 2012, 04:14:47 PM »
I've thought this was a great idea since the day I read it, but convincing a group to do this is very difficult. My players are highly resistant to this kind of change. Hopefully some day soon.

Hanklevoncrankle and I are both MC's and play in the same circles, maybe someday we can get this off the group with the H-town  group!?

Re: Co-MCing
« Reply #7 on: September 20, 2012, 04:33:03 PM »
Strongbif and I organized our game over Google+ Hangouts.

It was interesting trying two non-standard arrangements at once (the co-MCing and online play) but it worked really well for us.

Finding MC/players seemed comparatively easy when we didn't have to work within the constraints of geography.

Re: Co-MCing
« Reply #8 on: October 03, 2012, 11:27:46 AM »
That sounds awesome guys! I'm glad it worked out so well. If you're ever putting out the word for new members to join that game, I hope you'll let us know here. :)

Re: Co-MCing
« Reply #9 on: October 09, 2012, 01:48:41 PM »
I did this for a while, with two of us at the table. It was great fun.