AP: Things to Do in Denver (when the rest of the world is dead?)

  • 5 Replies
So they're outside of Denver, just coming back from a job, when their drivers head splatters all over the hood.  It's Fox who scored them the gig and he's trying not to stain that sweet-ass zoot suit, and Trey who's pulling out the goddamn grenade launcher, and that weird fuck Dr. Pity just looking over at the guys taking shots.

One grenade and it's all over (Trey rolls a 10+ on seize by force: massive harm, take less, and overawe) except for the screaming, and that's when Dr. Pity moves in.  When he touches the guy's face with his glove the guy goes silent - he can't feel anything as the Doctor wanders through his memories.  Mills is his name, he's got a girl named Amy back in Denver, they had a daughter named Sun. Pity watches as she gets taken away by Parson's men.  He watches as Mills waits for Amy to leave before he shoots up.  He aches for her to forgive him and knows she never will. Eventually, he puts Mills out of his misery with a scalpel.

But the fucking driver is dead and the car won't start, so they head back to Denver on aching feet.  Mother Superior owes them for whacking Marco, after all, and the new guy in charge of the tunnel swears to God he'll keep the tolls "reasonable".

Mother Superior is a big lady in Denver, in all senses of the word.  And Fox's player tells me she wears a bondage nun outfit, so its clear what kind of place the Convent is.  Fox digs the sweet little gig that Mother Superior's got going on, and he maneuvers himself into a deal: he and the boys are "on retainer" for the Mother. (10+ on seduce) They seal the deal the old fashioned way (because Fox wants juggling-3).

While Fox and the Mother are "negotiating", Dr. Pity wants to find out more about this Parsons guy.  And who does he run into but Amy, who cleans up the place, you know, after. He quizzes her and finds out that Parsons is using Sun as a hold over her, but He hasn't asked her to move yet.  She's freaked out that he even knows about it, and he blows it when he tries to get her to promise to tell him when Parsons makes a demand: she runs from the room, and you just know she's going to tell Parsons that Mother's brainer is onto her.

The three rendezvous in their rooms.  Fox has a bag full of Convent chits (good for services) which the other two seem content to let him keep.   Dr. Pity begins to tell them about Mills and Amy, and the other two "read a person", both scoring 10+.  Trey's the one that asks the really insightful questions, though: what are you going to do? (eliminate Parsons and free the girl) and how can I change your mind? (convince him that mother & daughter somehow deserve their fate).

The session ends with Hx changes: Trey understood Dr. Pity better after those questions, Fox knows how to keep Trey happy (rooms in a whorehouse plus freebies? Sure!), but Dr. Pity? He don't know Fox, suggesting they go after Parsons-where's the profit in it? Also, Fox picks his three gigs for next time: seeking luxury, keeping Mother Superior happy, and fucking.  Sounds like he's setting himself up as a boy toy…   

Re: AP: Things to Do in Denver (when the rest of the world is dead?)
« Reply #1 on: September 23, 2010, 08:48:33 AM »
So that was session 1: a little short, because I got there late and there were a lot of distractions.

Here's my "I wonder" list from the session.  (Some of them already got answered as we played).

Is anyone after Trey for his act of violence? (I asked how he came by his 1-barter's worth of DVDs.  He was breaking legs for a warlord.)

Why does Trey think Dr. Pity is so pretty? (We're all guys, but the fact that Trey picked the Operator to fight shoulder-to-shoulder with and the 40-year-old, awkwardly angular Brainer as "the prettiest"? Interesting!  I know the player did it just to give the +Hx, but still.)

What happened to the driver? One of the players actually suggested the opening scene, which was them only having half a driver.  But we answered that.

Who has Mill's daughter?  Well, Parson, but we don't know anything about him yet.

What drug is was Mill on? We know he cooks it up and injects it but nothing more.  Pretty sure it's going to wind up on the Threats sheet though.

Who is Parson? (see above)

Who is taking over the tunnel? I asked them what gig they were coming back from, and since one of Fox's is "murders" they picked that - they whacked whoever was in control of the I-70 tunnel because they were charging too much.  Someone's going to pick up the pieces though.

Why is a brothel owner so interested in the tunnel anyway?  Does she really get that much business from the other side?  Hard to believe.

Why is Pity so interested in Parson and the girl? John, Dr. Pity's player, said "It's hard to play acharacter who doesn't care."  I suspect the conflict between him and the money-motivated Fox might be central to the game.

Re: AP: Things to Do in Denver (when the rest of the world is dead?)
« Reply #2 on: September 23, 2010, 04:50:11 PM »
Work's done, and I return to my 1st Session playsheet.  It's pretty sad, really: when I was running the game I completely neglected to put anything on the "eightfold path of evil" aka Wheel of Threat.  I didn't want to stop and try and figure out any of that, and I suck at taking notes while keeping the flow going.

Instead, I'm just going to barf forth some thoughts here, and if more experienced AWers want to comment that would be just peachy.  After that I'll start working up the Fronts.  I've got 2 weeks before the next game.

So from my "I wonders" I've got a list of possible threats:

the Eisenhower Tunnel Rats (whoever was running the place before)
Mother Superior

and from play, we found out that the reason they're in Denver is because the low-lying areas of the country are uninhabitable - great rolling clouds of poison gas, heavier than air, that get blown over the landscape.  I can only imagine it's coming from the oceans.  Who knows what it's doing to the plants.  Maybe sometimes the wind blows it away from a particular area, and scavengers rush in with makeshift gas masks to reclaim whatever they can.

Somewhere I saw a web page that talked about how long man-made things would last without upkeep.  Like, after 3 days this happens.  After a week, etc, etc.  I wish I could find it again.  I know there were a couple of TV programs and a book like that too. Hot damn! I think I found it, or something very like:  http://arcana.wikidot.com/post-apocalyptic-decay

Back to threats and where they fit in.  This is a lot harder when nobody comes with a built-in group of NPCs attached!  I saw the Hardholder and Chopper both get picked up a couple of times, but nobody bit - and the players decided that the PCs were enough of an Operator crew for Fox.  It's a problem I have had in the past with this group - there's a tendency to want to Teflon-coat the PCs.

  • Amy - she seems like she's acting out of Fear right now, but it could be Despair.  Mill was certainly the latter.  You know, before.
  • the Eisenhower Tunnel Rats - "Ambition" is the classic motivation for political entities, but these guys just saw some heavily armed fuckers come into their camp and blow nine kinds of hell out of their leader.  I'm thinking "fear".
    • Mother Superior - here's our Ambition! Mother Superior is a warlord.  I'm kind of torn between Slaver and Hive Queen, or maybe even Collector.
    • Parson - I don't know enough about this guy.  I have a feeling he's political, but what the hell, he doesn't have to be a warlord.  He can be a grotesque - he certainly did the 'seize and hold someone' move to Mill/Amy/Sun.  Mindfucker, I'm thinking.
      • drugs - Despair? Decay?  I'm not even sure what kind of drugs they are.  Seems like papaver somniferum would potentially grow in CO, so it could be heroin.  Or it could be something out of the lowlands affected by the poison.  Maybe it's both.  Gonna say Affliction-Delusion for now.
      • poison gas clouds - Landscape is the category, of course.  Not sure what type, though.  Fortress seems appropriate, but "Breeding Pit" just really says "post apocalyptic" to me.  Maybe it's not poison gas.  Maybe it's spores.
        • winter - damn, almost forgot about this one.  They're in the mountains, in Colorado.  How can this not be a threat?  Landscape-Prison, because it'll be trapping people wherever they are.
        I've got no brutes yet!  Need to think about that, do a little more brainstorming. 

AP: Things to Do in Denver (session 2)
« Reply #3 on: October 06, 2010, 11:16:55 PM »
Session 2?  Definitely turned out better than the first, maybe I'm getting the hang of this?

So Dr. Pity was out - I'll have to write him a nice letter - but we picked up a new player (or rather a returning player new to this game), M, who is playing Sammy, a No shit driver with a red Trans Am and a Killdozer.  I wrote him a letter to welcome him to the game. 

Well, Sammy, you've been on the road a while. You've been running on ethanol for so long that when you heard a rumor a crazy old guy out in Grand Junction had a way to cook up oil out of rocks, you headed right out to check on it. Turns out he was just making biodiesel, but he was willing to trade you a generous supply for help with a little bandit problem.  Roll +hard, and you can use your car.

On a 10+, pick 3
On a 7-9, pick 1.
On a miss…everything went south.
* the old guy made it, and he'll probably trade with you again
* you've got plenty of fuel for yourself, and extra cans worth 3-barter in the back.
* your car isn't damaged
* you're not being chased

Well, he rolled a 7, and was practically paralyzed by the choice. Eventually he decided that the bandits outsmarted him, outflanked him, booby trapped the old guy's place, and chased him clear back to the tunnel - but hey, his car was OK!

Meanwhile, Fox had chosen fucking, luxury, and keeping Mother Superior happy for his gigs, and rolled a 7.  Disaster on one - he chose fucking, and entanglement came kicking his door in, in the form of Twice (head of Convent security) and her thugs Abondo and Fuse.

Fox's player has discovered the "secret" to Apocalypse World and was continually hitting his highlighted stats (cool & hot), manipulating people and acting under fire - he actually got two improvements (one was partially filled from the first session).

After a quick escape (jumping out a window, 2 harm) Fox hooked up with Sammy and they went looking for the doctor, Line.  He wasn't around, but a sketchy guy named Chin (on account of he's got none) tried to sell him some drugs.  A quick threat and he offered the packet as a freebie instead.

Fox took the drugs, and we got our first look at the psychic maelstrom…well, through his eyes anyway.  He relived the worst moments of his life, including one that was pivotal in making him the murderous gigolo he is today.  In this case, he goes through his first murder…from the victim's side.

(to be continued)



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Re: AP: Things to Do in Denver (when the rest of the world is dead?)
« Reply #4 on: October 07, 2010, 07:24:58 AM »
Thanks for the writeup. The point about Brainers needing to care about someone is a good one.

The book you're thinking of may be Alan Weisman's
The World Without Us, and there was a TV Special "Life After Man" that was good, and then made into a TV series that became repetitive, although its visuals of various places that have been abandoned for decades have an eerie fascination. Available via Netflix.

Re: AP: Things to Do in Denver (when the rest of the world is dead?)
« Reply #5 on: October 07, 2010, 08:13:09 AM »
Let's see…where were we?  Right, Trey got himself a broken nose trying to calm Fox down from his hallucination. (Fox saw himself as Partidge, the guy he killed; Trey as the younger Fox; Sammy as a friend of Fox's; and III as Fauna, Fox's girl.)

You know…if he saw Sammy as someone who was there, I clearly need to ask Fox who was with him when he killed Partridge.

III was an NPC I actually came up with on the drive to the game store.  She's one of the girls at the Convent, and she never speaks.  In fact, I've never said her name—I just hold up three fingers.  (If you check out my other thread, maybe you'll figure out why she's mute.)  She's inspired a curious mix of protectiveness and speculation - the players are trying to figure out if she's a helpless waif or a secret River Tam ninja asskicker.

And I left out a scene - earlier, when Trey went to go see Fox (right after Fox jumped out the window, in fact) he caught Twice, Abondo and Fuse leaving Fox's room.  He failed to Go Aggro (a gunlugger! the shame!) but managed to Read a Person on Fuse (big, slow, likes to burn things) and Manipulate him into letting him go, using the leverage that they would go cook off some rounds from Trey's grenade launcher.  Fuse entertained himself blowing things up and is something of a natural at it.

Right, so, after all of this things seemed to quiet down and I thought I'd announce some future badness, as Sammy sees a group of muscle surrounding a small well-dressed man moving across the floor of the Convent, led by Jeanette.  He catches her eye and reads a person with an 8 - she doesn't want him to piss these guys off.  He tries to stealthily get into a place where he can observe them, but is spotted.  The small guy hands him a card with his name (Peppering) and, sotto voce, implies that should he ever tire of working here, Mr. Peppering's employer could find a place for a talented young man like him.

Everybody knows Peppering works for Parson.  So why is he here, and what does he want with Mother Superior?

They go in to talk to MS, Sammy gathers Trey and Fox and tells them what's up.  Fox has a key to Mother's room, and he's been sleeping with her, so he figures if he gets caught listening in he has a built in excuse.  He overhears Twice report "they're clean" - but Sammy was sure the thugs were packing heat.  Is Twice going to betray Mother Superior?  He grabs the bull by the balls and knocks, telling III (who answers the door) that he needs to see Mother Superior right the hell now.

In her private room, he tells MS everything: that Twice and her thugs tried to kill him, that Peppering's men are armed, that Parson has a spy working in the Convent.  He wants her to believe him…and he blows the roll, snake-eyes.  She dresses him down, telling him that Twice has been with her for years, and tells him to go back to his room like a good little boy toy.  NOW he reads a person and finds out she'd need some damn good proof to believe him, so he calls in Abondo and fast-talks him into spilling, with a promise to protect him from Twice if she retaliates.

Mother Superior sends Twice & co out of the room.  Peppering gets nervous and leaves, which doesn't seem to upset the Mother very much.  In fact, she's got a job for Fox and his boys.  See, Fox has infiltration as a gig, and she very much wants someone on the inside of Parson's camp…