PAX12 Session Report

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PAX12 Session Report
« on: September 10, 2012, 04:02:13 AM »
I can't regurgitate all of the details, but I'll relate all I can recall:


This was my first play of AW. I had attended the Workspace+ session about using AW as a framework for development @PAXDev on Thursday, and I was curious to try it.

We got started at about 4pm on Sunday. My wife and I had attempted to get into a game at 2pm, but were turned away for lack of a facilitator.

Our MC was a gent named Orion. It was apparently his first time running AW, but we were unaware of this till after the game. He did a really good job, and seemed to have the basics pretty well understood.

There were four players which included myself, my wife, a guy named Joel, and his wife Peggy. None of us had played AW, none of us had extensive RPG experience, and I think that I was the only person with any story game experience.

He had us start by having me read the back of the book aloud. He then spread a mess of skins on the table, gave a quick overview of each and we chose.


He then walked us through the character creation process. Here's what we ended up with (I have the character sheets for the first two, but not the others):

I chose a Horder named Billy Beau. He was an aristocratic gentleman with a gentile southern drawl (Peggy and Joel seem to think it was akin to Foghorn Leghorn... hehehe...) from High Town, the largest remaining city and found in The Blades mountains, with a taste for collecting old world finery in order to embrace civility in a savage world. He is always in competition with a gentleman named Bean whose things are always just a little nicer than Billy Beau's. Even things he would get from Billy Beau himself, always sparkled a little brighter once under Bean's care.

Code: [Select]
Name: Billy Beau
Look: Man, Luxe Scrounge Wear, Soft Face, Hungry Eyes, Slinky Body
+1 Cool
-2 Hard
+1 Hot
+1 Sharp (H) - MC
+2 Weird (H) - Mecha-Man
Mari 0
Mecha-Man -1
Esmarelda +2
Moves: Acquisitive eye, A spoonful of suagar

Hoard: pretty things, intoxicants, delicacies & poisons, relics & waste of the golden age past
What else is true of your hoard? Beautiful: if an NPC sees it, she envies and desires it

My wife was a Maestro D' name Mari who had an establishment called Mari's in a derelict warehouse south of The Blades near an area known as the Breeding Pits which is controlled by a hedonistic cult. She had borrowed a good sum of money to attain the place from a High Town aristocrat named Gams, a gender ambiguous type who wore entirely too much make-up (which was apparently not-uncommon amongst the upper-crusty types). She has been falling behind on payments.

Code: [Select]
Name: Mari
Look: woman, immaulate whites, porcelain face, cool eyes, lean body, quick hands
-1 Cool
+2 Hard (H) - Mecha-Man
+2 Hot (H) - MC
0 Sharp
-1 Weird
Esmerelda +3
Mecha-Man +3
Billy Beau +2
Maestro D' Moves: You call this hot?, Fingers in every pie

Establishment: Music (main), spectacle, drinks
Establishment's Atmosphere: bustle, anonymity, noise dancing
Who is your best regular? Toyota
Who's your worst regular? Camo
Who wants in on it? Bean
Who do you owe for it? Gams
Who wants it gone? Brain (MC override - the cult leader of The Breeding Pits)
For security: everybody's packing, a warren of dead-ends, hideaways & boltholes
Cast & Crew: Joe, Joe's Girl

Joel's character, Mecha-Man, a Gun Lugger, was a late-teens, overweight, loser obsessed with bits of golden age culture he scrounged up. He grew up in The Maze, a place no-one is really from (it's a dangerous Escape From New York style no-mans land found between High Town and The Foundry in the North). Obsessed with being a real-life hero, he managed to scrounge together an impressive set of heavy armor and an assault rife. As our story began, he had been making his way from The Maze to high-town, where he got into some trouble while playing "hero" there and got ousted to the South, where he had found his way to Mari's. While I don't know his stats or other traits, I highlighted Hot for him as it sounded like it would be interesting, and he was definitely hard up for female attention.

Peggy's Esmeralda, a Battle Babe, was a confident and well-to-do gun for hire. She was a well dressed, attractive professional. Gams hired Esmerelda to lead a group of thugs to collect money which it believed Mari had been witholding from him. Again, I don't have the details at my disposal. There were definite machinations about having Mari hiring Esmerelda as additional security for her establishment.


In the midst of character creation (or maybe just after?), Orion explained the geography of the place we were about to visit. I've already related the important features relevant to the story via the characters, but essentially there was The Foundry in the north which made fancy machines and it was powered by slaves. To the southwest was The Maze, which people either risked traveling through from High Town to save time or took the long way around. If you continued southwest you'd end up entering The Blades, and eventually High Town. Directly east of the Blades began a canyon that bisected the map. At the far east portion of the canyon was a large bridge called The Staple. It was the only easy way across. You could make your way down the cliffs, but it was much more physically demanding. The trick with the bridge is you needed to pay a toll, and sometimes, you might get kidnapped and sold to slavers. You know. For kicks. The entire eastern portion of the map was occupied by a giant salt flat, a ways out was a large crater filled with green water. Strange creatures lived there. Drinking from it made you sick. High Town was where most people lived, amongst The Blades. It was a built on a large rough cement plane amongst the mountains as if some mountainous crater had been filled with concrete. South was Mari's, which is a rowdy out of the way place to hear some music. The Breeding Pit, home of Brain's imbred sex cult. People generally don't leave, but sometimes they do. Brain doesn't like Mari's because occasionally members wander there and get exposed to new notions. Southwest of The Breeding Pit is a place that people don't go because they get real sick and their hair starts to fall out if they spend time there.


So with the scene set, character's established and appropriately interwoven (MC leaning heavily on Mari's as the means of tying us all together), and geography explained, we opened with Gams driving Esmerelda and their thugs to Mari's early in the morning. People stayed at Mari's pretty much all the time. It never really closed, just sort of slowed down. It was also a sort of make-shift inn, as there was really nothing else around between High Town and The Breeding Pit. Gams was hitting on Esmerelda fairly obviously, but being accustomed to such things, she kept the situation in check. On arrival, she and the thugs attempted to organize themselves. One of the thugs was a nervous type, and she took command of the situation to establish her dominance and keep things orderly.

Mean while Billy Beau was at home amongst his junk when he was paid a visit by a strange wandering soul named Monk. A man dressed in what appeared to be a full-body amalgam of ugly sweaters. His head was bleeding from having rocks thrown at him. He was disoriented, he had news for Billy about something he would want. He asked for some water. Billy summoned his servant boy (created in this moment) named Ick to fetch Monk some water and a cloth for his head-wound per his request, but refused to let the dirty bleeding man into his home. Monk proceeded to tell him about this machine being lugged through the desert toward Mari's that would produce a glorious light. Using the Acquisitive eye, it was learned that such a light would be a grand centerpiece for my horde and would surely be the envy of Bean. Monk then requested tins of food in payment for the information. Billy Beau, being shrewd if a bit cold, proceeded to insist that having been told the information he required, he had little incentive to provide him with anything, and seeing as he had already provided Monk with fresh water (valuable in and of itself) and cloth to bandage himself, that would have to suffice. Seeing as he travels alone in the wasteland, Monk was clearly not a man to mess with in such a way, but Billy was not the sort of gent to worry about such things. With newfound knowledge he asked Ick to ready his things. Ick excitedly asked if he could come as well, but Billy insisted he stay to look after things, and attempted to reassure the disappointed child that he would bring him back
something lovely.

Back at Mari's, Esmerelda started banging on the door. Mari was up in her room, which filled the top floor of the establishment. It was immaculately white, and very bright and clean, in stark contrast to the gaudy, make-shift circus of a place found downstairs where yellow and red paint were crudely applied the walls.

Joe's Girl, whom Mari wasn't very fond of (hence only knowing her as Joe's Girl), came to Mari in a panicked state and told Mari what was going on. Esmerelda entered the establishment with the goons and asked Mari about collecting on the debt.

The commotion stirred Mecha-Man, who awoke to find himself next to a beautiful lady and had a brief and awkward introduction before she went back to sleep. Sense the opportunity to be a hero, he insinuated himself into the situation, theoretically coming to Mari's aid. There was discussion of whether or not he was officially working for Mari at this point, but he was not.

Mecha-Man and Esmerelda were surprised to see one another again. Esmerelda had left Mecha-Man for dead during a fire-fight where Mecha-Man had been shot. Seeing him as dead-weight, she left him for dead. On seeing that he managed to survive, she was impressed. Mecha-Man was less pleased to meet her again.

Mari successfully persuaded Esmerelda to consider maybe working for her instead of Gams. Esmerelda clearly established that Mari actually didn't have the money to pay, but she sees the job as the job, managed to go aggro under-fire from being persuaded to shoot-up some stage lights and other  dren around the bar.

At this point, we returned to Billy Beau who had hired a car in High Town to drive him south. Along the way, there was an explosion and the driver insisted that he hit someone. He stopped the car and got out to investigate, walking into a cloud of dust.

Gun shots were heard, and Billy, being impatient got out of the car to investigate. He found the driver dead, and other man with a gun going through the deceased driver's clothes. The attacker, sensing further opportunity threatened Billy. Though Billy, shrewdly offer to pay the man to finish driving him to his destination. It was a successful persuasion, but didn't go as planned.

The attacker insisted Billy drive the car. Billy protested, as he didn't know how to drive, always paying others to do such things for him. The attacker insisted, and being unarmed, Billy acquiesced. The car, a manual jalopy, was uncooperative, under-fire Billy failed a roll to get the car going. The car stalled out. There was an opportunity to injure the attacker with the car seat, but Billy passed up for fear of provocation, instead attempting to get the car started again on risk of being shot. This time he managed to get the car rolling in first gear. But knowing nothing about driving, proceeded along at a brisk 10 mph. The attacker insisted that he drive faster, but Billy protested that didn't know what he was doing and again attempted to persuade the man to drive him to his destination as offered previously in return for valuables. Again persuaded that Billy was indeed valuable, he agreed, however on exiting the driver seat the attacker clubbed him on the head with his gun, knocking him unconscious for his first point of damage.

At this point, it was about 7pm, and PAX was shutting down. There was a party that the facilitators were all going to and Orion asked us if we minded stopping there. No one objected, and we all thanked him for his time.


One of the things that REALLY impressed me was the character creation. The way it's setup just works so elegantly. I had a character that felt really robust and balanced very quickly. The recommended names and appearance descriptors are just perfect. Maybe that's just happenstance based on the variables I picked, and everything just clicked for me. But my instinct is that would happen no matter what character I made.

I see why the game receives the praise it garners, and I'm hoping to find someone here in Seattle to MC a game through a story arc. I'd also like to MC at some point, but I really want to have more experience as a player beforehand.

All-in-all, it was a great experience, and it certainly whet my appetite for more. I'm quite sad I won't be able to follow Billy Beau on his adventure. He was really fun to play. Maybe one day, but it feels wrong to recreate him in another context with a different MC.
« Last Edit: September 10, 2012, 04:19:40 AM by grey »

Re: PAX12 Session Report
« Reply #1 on: September 15, 2012, 10:51:14 PM »
"I'm hoping to find someone here in Seattle to MC a game through a story arc."
Look for John Harper, Tony Dowler or Ogre Whiteside as possible local connections. I'm glad you got to check it out!

Re: PAX12 Session Report
« Reply #2 on: September 18, 2012, 02:53:23 AM »
Thanks, I just might!