Apocalypse World Tour

  • 4 Replies
Apocalypse World Tour
« on: September 18, 2010, 08:53:37 AM »
The flag day riots showed the brainers in Motor City the hard link between raw crowd emotion and the psychic maelstrom. They started to whip their people up to tap that juice. And the best way to tank a crowd is, and always was, full-throttle rock.

Now head-line and dive bands travel the the waste between the cities built in the shadow of ancient towers, hunting the juice-hit and barter so they can rise above the filth.

This is your world tour. Welcome to the apocalypse.

I’m with the band

Face: Someone needs to front the crowd and make them roar. Think Mick Jagger, Henry Rollins or Anthony Kiedis.

Solo: Making music is a talent, and you and your instrument on stage is the sole definition of the term. But did you bargain with the devil for the skill? Not just for guitar players, but think Hendrix, Slash or Frusciante hammering out an abnormally long solo.

Pace: A pace, a rhythm, is the base, the heart of a band. All the flash and clever solos won’t make a difference if the songs don’t hang together. Think the unknown bass player, the extra guitar player or that weird guy on keyboards.

Hammer: Music is a physical thing. Lose yourself while hammering the skins, animal drummer.

Manager: I found these guys playing to mutant rats in a garage. They’re gonna get me somewhere. Somewhere better.

Roadie: “I’m responsible for the bands overall musical direction.” “You’re our roadie.” (Satanic Sketches, D-Generation)

Yoko: “You can't fucking concentrate because your fucking wife! Simple as that, alright? It's your fucking wife!” (Nigel Tufnel, This is Spinal Tap)

Re: Apocalypse World Tour
« Reply #1 on: September 19, 2010, 07:16:10 AM »
Why play this

I’ve always loved the internal politics of the band, as shown in Metallica’s Some Kind of Monster and This is Spinal Tap. The rock tour brings this into sharper focus. But I’ve found integrating the threat of violence challenging until now. We played a Boy Band Shadowrun one-shot a long time back, but I think the rock concept really shines when combined with Apocalypse World. You need the threat of violence and the Psychic Maelstrom to really make it sing.

Like XXXXtreme Street Luge I don’t see the actual on-stage happenings themselves as the central focus. Its the tension on the bus from the gig I want to focus on. Alternatively crank up your Rock Band or equivalent to simulate the gigs and get you in the mood before you play or as a break.

The rules additions to make this work are straight-forward, so I’m tempted to call this a “Skin” that goes on top of Apocalypse World rather than a “Hack”. (You’ll see it may work as written on top of other Hacks like Sixth World as well, but that’s not my focus right now.)

The new rules are Band Role, Fame and Cash. The band name, musical style, Fame with a bunch of nearby cities and Band Role of each chararacter and their related moves are recorded on a small separate sheet that you use in combination with your standard playbook.

Band Role

Like D&D 4e or XXXXtreme Street Luge there are two sides to the characters. They can play a wicked tune, but they also have to be able to survive the harshness of the world. Add Band Role as additional layer on top of character “classes” in the playbooks. So each character has a Band Role AND a standard Apocalypse World playbook.

Specific classes suit specific Band Roles better, like Battlebabe Faces, Operator Managers and Skinner Yokos. But these are merely suggestions and you can crank the combinations how you like to get a Roadie Brainer for example. Also unlike the standard “classes” in the playbooks you can double up on band member types if you want to. Think how much fun you’d have with two lead guitarists (Solos).

Each Band Role gets an additional single move which is usually roll + Fame (see below) and some appropriate instruments and details.


Fame is like the band’s Hx with a particular city. Unlike Hx it works two ways, as you understand the people of the city more, you are treated with a higher regard within the city. Outside a city use -1 for Fame as the degenerates that live there have probably never heard of you. Fame resets from +4 to +1 like Hx, and when this happens everyone marks experience.

There are two Fame moves:

Another day, another city: Roll + Fame from the last city.
- On 7-9 add +1 Fame in this city.
- On 10+ add +1 Fame in this city and a crowd forms to meet you.
- On 6 or less the MC can make a move as hard as they like, which may even drop your Fame here.

The Main Event: Once per city during a performance roll + Fame. You only get one roll per city regardless of how many performances, until there is a decent break between them like travelling to another city and back.
- On 7-9 add +1 Fame for a wicked performance.
- On 10+ someone on stage gets good detail as if they rolled 10+ on open your brain. You can fight over who gets the detail if you need to as normal, potentially with the locals who want a piece of this action.


Cash means that people can buy concert tickets and you can get paid. Whilst barter is the norm across the wasteland, luckily some cities print their own cash for you to collect. New City Dollars, Silver Town Bracelets, Old Irish Pounds, Motor City Dimes, and Fair Land Credits. The MC will give you an easy exchange rate like 10, 100 or 1000 of the local cash = 1 barter. But you’ll get a worse exchange rate for non-local currency, if you can use it at all. 1 unit of barter = front row seat, back stage pass, 2-3 good seats, 5-6 cheap seats, latest rec of a famous band (recordings in variable format), a stack of old/unknown recs.

Still to come
- Revised creation
- Band Role moves
- Additional MC notes

In the meantime hit me with suggestions and feedback...

Re: Apocalypse World Tour
« Reply #2 on: October 27, 2010, 06:06:46 AM »
Revised creation

A. Choose musical style: pop, cock-rock, metal, blues, reggae, country, covers, whatever.
(Note you can choose something other than a straight band like a Circus, Orchestra, Boy Band, the travelling musical family or whatever. Note this might cut the seriousness. The existing Band Roles will probably work with some mods. For example Face for ringmaster or conductor, Solo for first violin or trapese, or Hammer for dancer. Enjoy.)

B. Choose a Fame level for the band as a group:
- Headliner (Fame +2 at one city, Fame -1 at one city, otherwise Fame +1)
- Also appearing (Fame +1 at one city, Fame -1 at one city, otherwise Fame +0)
- Ex-roadie krew (Fame +0 at one city, otherwise Fame -1)

“There’s no lower life-form than a roadie krew who breaks off and forms their own band.” (Brian playing Grunge Warriors, from KoDT #90)

C. Choose band member type for each player. 

D. Make the rest of the character as per the standard Apocalypse World rules.

E. Don’t forget to argue over the band name during the first session.

MC notes

Need a new MC move: Reduce Fame as established. Probably stick to dropping it by -1 at a time. 

In terms of Fronts, the Fundamental Scarcities (p137) are similar, except that actual Hunger and Thirst are probably less frequent in the cities or the cities wouldn’t be there. Think fame, money, drugs and groupies to replace them during the city bits, and hit them hard with Hunger and Thirst on the trips between cities.

There are additional options for Threats (p138) from this Hack:
- For Warlords also think rival major bands, corporations and corrupt managers, promoters or even city governments.
- For Grotesques also think crazed fans and disgruntled groupies.
- For Brutes also think roadie gangs, over zealous security and cover bands.
- For Catastrophy also think riots and civil disturbance.


All standard Apocalypse World character playbooks are available: Angel, Battlebabe, Brainer, Chopper, Driver, Gunlugger, Hardholder, Hocus, Operator, Savvyhead, Skinner.

For Hardholder use the standard or think either a venue owner or a traveling hold, like a group of tour buses.

Re: Apocalypse World Tour
« Reply #3 on: October 28, 2010, 05:19:17 AM »
Some apocalypse world tour inspired art

Lead guitar battle babe?

and the badass bassist

More to come soon!

Re: Apocalypse World Tour
« Reply #4 on: October 28, 2010, 07:51:09 AM »
This is exactly the feel I'm trying get! Thanks.