Apocalypse West

  • 33 Replies
Re: Apocalypse West
« Reply #15 on: November 19, 2010, 09:30:31 PM »
In my excitement, I failed to give the Law Dog a sex move.  Any suggestions?

How do folks feel about how The Boss compares to Pack Alpha?  Would they rather play a character with the later, or the former?

Re: Apocalypse West
« Reply #16 on: November 23, 2010, 02:10:08 PM »
The Homesteader
"It was a hard land, and it bred hard men to hard ways." -- Louis L'Amour

"If I owned Hell and Texas I'd rent out Texas and live in Hell." - General William Tecumseh Sherman

For years, you worked this land, and made it your own.  It's a hardscrabble life, full of backbreaking labor and little reward.  But it's your life, and you'll be damned if man or monster will take it from you.


Choose one:

Cool =0 Hard +1 Hot +1 Sharp +2 Weird -1
Cool -1 Hard +1 Hot =0 Sharp +2 Weird +1
Cool +1 Hard +1 Hot =0 Sharp +2 Weird -1
Cool +1 Hard +2 Hot -1 Sharp +2 Weird -2

Basic Moves

You get all the basic moves.

Homesteader Moves

You get this one:

Bounty of the Land:  At the start of the session, if your Homestead is secure, roll + Sharp.  On a 10+, you have surplus on hand and available.  On a 7-9, you have surplus, but also choose one want.  On a miss, or if your Homestead is in chaos, your Homestead is in want.

And pick one:

Dinner Conversation:  When you sit down to have dinner with friends and family, gain Insight.

Hard Land, Hard Life:  When you roll to Act Under Fire, you can roll Hard instead of Cool.

Head of Household:  When you roll to help another character, you can roll Sharp instead of Hx.

This Is My Land:  When you are fighting for your home, gain +1 Armor and inflict +1 Harm.

Western Hospitality:  When you cook a meal for guests with all the fixin's, they get +1 Forward and you mark experience.


By default, your Homestead has
*15-20 people living and working on it.
*For potential work, a mix of rough farming and hunting.  (Surplus 1 Barter, Want: Hunger)
*A wooden house large enough for you and your family to live in relative comfort, and a few wooden outbuildings for farmhands and animals.

Any Surplus of Barter is your share of the Homestead's profits.

Choose 2:

*Your Homestead produces some manufactured crafts, like textiles.  Surplus: +1 Barter, Want: Idle.
*Your Crops are particularly Fertile.  Surplus: +1 Barter, Want: Locusts
*You large pastures for Cattle or other grazing animals.  Surplus: +1 Barter, Want: Cattle Theft.
*You have a secure and fresh water source.  Gain +1 to rolls for Bounty of the Land.
*Your House is well fortified, made of stone and well positioned.  Anyone trying to defend the house gets +1 Armor.
*Your lands have a clearly demarcated perimeter, with a sturdy fence, and your farmhands keep an eye out for suspicious activity.  If anyone trespasses on your land, you will be aware of it.
*You have a particularly large population on the Homestead, but that many mouths can be hard to feed.  Surplus: +1 Barter, Want: Famine instead of Hunger.
*Your Homestead is located on or near a functioning trade route.  Folk can spend goods to speed a thing on its way as if they were at a marketplace while they're at your Homestead.

Choose 2:

*You don't have a clean water supply.  Want: +Disease
*You have few farmhands.  Surplus -1 Barter, change Hunger to Anxiety.
*You owe protection tribute to a powerful Hardholder, or several warlords.  Surplus -1 Barter.  Want: Obligation.
*There aren't any actual buildings on the land, just a bunch of tents.
*Your Homestead is in the middle of nowhere.  Want: Isolated.
*Your Homestead's borders aren't clearly defined, and wind through difficult territory, making them hard to keep an eye on.  Want: Poaching.


You get one home defense item, and fashion suitable to your look.

Homesteader Special

When you and another character have sex, you gain +1 forward for the next time you make your   Bounty of the Land move.  If they make a move at the start of the next session, they gain +1 forward for one of those moves (their choice which one.)

Re: Apocalypse West
« Reply #17 on: November 30, 2010, 12:08:37 PM »
Introducing... The Drifter

There's lots of folk out there just trying to make ends meet, wandering from hold to hold with the clothes on their back, a pack of supplies, and the grit in their stomach.  Prospectors with no mines, Chinese railroad workers with no rails, farmhands with no farms.  That's you there, pardner.


Choose one:

Cool +2 Hard =0 Hot +1 Sharp +1 Weird -1
Cool +1 Hard +2 Hot -1 Sharp +1 Weird =0
Cool +1 Hard -1 Hot +2 Sharp =0 Weird +1
Cool +1 Hard -1 Hot =0 Sharp +2 Weird +1
Cool +1 Hard +1 Hot +1 Sharp +1 Weird =0

Basic Moves

You get all the basic moves.

Drifter Moves

You get this one:

Moonlighting:  You get Juggling 2.  Whenever there's a stretch of downtime, either during a session or at the start of one, choose any number of gigs to work, up to a maximum of your Juggling.  Roll + Cool.  On a 10+, you get profit from all the chosen gigs.  On a 7-9, if you only worked one gig, it pays out profit, otherwise, one of your gigs results in a catastrophe and the rest pay out profit.  On a miss, each gig yields catastrophe.
Whenever you get a new gig, add +1 Juggling.

And choose one:

Drifter's Escape:  Name your escape route and roll + Cool.  On a 10+, you're gone, just like that.  On a 7-9, if you leave, you have to take something with you, or leave something behind- MC's call what.  On a miss, you're caught half in, half out.

Flow of Riches:  Whenever you spend at least 1 barter, mark experience.

Lucky Bastard:  Once per session, when you would make any roll, roll + Cool instead.

Preparedness:  When you declare retroactively that you've set something up, roll + Barter spent.  On a 10+, it's just like you say.  On a 7-9, you set it up, but the MC will introduce some hitch or delay.  On a miss, you set it up, but since then things have seriously gone south- all bets are off.

Well-Rounded:  Increase any stat by +1 (Max +2).

Start with 3 paying Gigs, and one obligation Gig.


You get a simple weapon, goods worth 1 barter, and fashion suitable to your look.

Drifter Special

Whenever you and another character have sex, you gain a new obligation gig: Keeping them Happy.  You Keep them Happy/ You Screw It All Up.
If you have sex with them again, you don't get another gig.  Just the first time.

Re: Apocalypse West
« Reply #18 on: November 30, 2010, 03:27:41 PM »
I don't have anything constructive to add, but this continues to look awesome. I especially like the homesteader, what a good combination of moves to hit the archetype. "Dinner Conversation" is brilliant.

Re: Apocalypse West
« Reply #19 on: November 30, 2010, 04:05:43 PM »
Thanks Jeff!  Actually just popping in to say you think things look cool is constructive to me- gives me a reason to do this.

Re: Apocalypse West
« Reply #20 on: December 02, 2010, 03:55:15 PM »
You know, I think I read through the Drifter three times before I noticed there was no list of names.  That's just too awesome.

Re: Apocalypse West
« Reply #21 on: December 05, 2010, 07:38:19 AM »
These playbooks aren't finished yet- most of them don't have Look, or Hx, but for a western game I'm intending on having a single list of period first and last names.

Re: Apocalypse West
« Reply #22 on: December 06, 2010, 05:55:00 PM »
The Junker
“What hath God wrought!” - Samuel Morse, first telegraph.

Things aren't what they once were.  Raillines broken, telegraph lines cut, factories burnt, locomotives scrapped, mines empty.  You take the Junk, and you turn it into something worthwhile.


Choose one:

Cool +1 Hard +1 Hot +1 Sharp -2 Weird +2
Cool -2 Hard -1 Hot +1 Sharp +2 Weird +2
Cool +1 Hard -2 Hot -1 Sharp +2 Weird +2
Cool -1 Hard +1 Hot -2 Sharp +2 Weird +2

Basic Moves

You get all the Basic Moves

Junker Moves

You get this one:

Machinist:  When you go into your Workspace, and dedicate yourself to making a thing, fixing a thing, investigating a thing, or working on something, decide what you're doing and tell the MC, who will respond, “sure, no problem, but,” and then 1 to 4 of the following, possibly with some “ands” and/or “ors.”
*It's going to take hours/days/weeks/months of work.
*First you'll need to get/build/fix/figure out ____.
*You're going to need help from ____.
*You'll need supplies worth __ barter.
*It's going to have some downside or flaw.
*It's going to mean exposing yourself to serious danger.
*You're going to have to take ____ apart to do it.

Once you accomplish that, you finish the task itself.  The MC will do whatever's called for at that point.

Plus, choose two of the following:

Jury-Rig:  When you touch a nonfunctioning device, roll + Weird.  On a hit, hold 2, or 4 on a 10+.  Spend your hold 1 for 1 to either:
*Make the device work for an hour.
*Make the device work above normal capacity for 15 minutes.
On a miss, you almost mostly fix it, but it will break during a crucial moment.

Mystic Telegraph:  When you concentrate on sending someone a message through the Mystic Wastes, roll + Weird.  On a 7-9, they get the message, mostly intact, with only a little static from the Mystic Wastes.  On a 10+, they get the message, crystal clear, and you can even get an emotional sense of how it was received.  On a miss, you've just bared your Mind to the Mystic Wastes.

Scavenger:  At the start of each session, or when you have a chance to scavenge during play, say what you're looking for and roll + Sharp.  On a hit, you find something neat.  On a 10+, pick 3, on a 7-9, pick 2, on a miss, pick 1.
*It's in working condition.
*It's more or less what you were looking for.
*It serves a potent and useful purpose.
*It doesn't belong to anyone else who might come looking for it.

Surgery:  When you perform Surgery on a character who is severely injured (at 9:00 or more, but not past High Noon), spend 1 Barter worth of Medical Supplies and roll + Sharp.  On a hit, the character recovers to 6:00, but the MC will choose a downside (1 on 10+, 2 on 7-9)
*They need to be physically stabilized.
*They are fighting back, even with sedation, you're Acting Under Fire.
*They'll be drifting in and out of consciousness for at least 24 hours.
*They'll be bedridden for at least a week.
*They'll need constant care and monitoring for at least 48 hours.
On a miss, the target either chooses to take 1 harm (and not be healed), or be healed, but mark a Debility.
If you try to heal someone past High Noon, roll + Barter spent.  On a hit, they recover to 6:00 as above, but the MC will add an additional downside.  On a miss, you do everything you can, but they die anyways.

Also, if you have a Workspace, you can work on People in it.

Technobabble:  When you describe a plan of action, using “scientific principles,” that you, as a player, just made up, whoever acts on that plan takes +1 forward.

Weird Science:  When you use any Junker creation or other artifact of strange science, roll + Weird instead of what you would normally roll to use it.


You start with a Workspace, a Junker Weapon, fashion appropriate to your look, and goods worth 3 barter.


Your workspace starts with three of the following:
A machine shop, a darkroom, controlled botany environment, chemical laboratory, skilled labor and assistants, a carriage with driver and team of horses, wierd-ass steampunk clockwork stuff, a working telegraph machine, a weapons range, a strange science artifact, extensive supplies, a large steam engine, a medical infirmary.

Junker Weapon
You start with a custom weapon.

Frame (choose 1)
Small (2 harm close reload tech)
Large (3 harm close reload tech)

What's it Shoot? (choose 1)
Fire (+1 harm, hand/close, messy)
Electricity (S-Harm)
Bullets, Lots of Them (+1 harm, close/far, loud)
Laser Beams (ap, close/far)

Other Options (choose 1)
Scope (+1 harm at Far)
Ammo Backpack (-Reload)
High Powered (+1 harm at Close)
Attached Bayonet (2 harm hand)
Burst Fire (+area, +loud)
Automated (+remote)

Junker Special

Whenever you and another character have sex, you have an Augury into the Mystic Wastes.  Whoever you're having sex with can help or interfere with your Weird roll.

Re: Apocalypse West
« Reply #23 on: December 07, 2010, 09:11:24 AM »
Willow, I've been enjoying reading these as you post them.  They're great!  Once you're done with the "playbooks" are you going to write more of a hack (different agenda/principles etc.) or kind of leave it to the basic rules of AW?

Re: Apocalypse West
« Reply #24 on: December 21, 2010, 05:36:01 PM »
Willow, this is easily my favourite of all the hacks I've read through so far! Really nice work.

Re: Apocalypse West
« Reply #25 on: December 22, 2010, 02:25:13 PM »
Introducing... The Revenant
“This will be the plague the Lord strikes all people with who warred against Jerusalem: their flesh will rot while they stand on their feet, their eyes will rot in their sockets, and their tongues will rot in their mouths.” Book of Zechariah 14:12

“When hell is full, the dead will walk the Earth.”  -Dawn of the Dead, often misattributed to the Book of Revelations.

It's going to take a hell of a lot more than a bullet to keep you down.  You were a big damn hero, with lots of unfinished business, and you clawed your way out of Hell to finish what you started.  Lord have mercy on those who stand in your way.

An Advanced Playbook

You cannot start out the game playing a Revenant.  If your character dies during play, and you had achieved five or more advances, you may choose to change playbooks to Revenant.  Cross off the 'change playbooks' advancement option (if it isn't already), and erase your character's experience track.  Also cross off the “retire your character to safety” option.  That's just not going to happen.

Taking Revenant Moves

Revenant moves cannot be taken with the “Take a Move from another Playbook” advance, unless the character has had a near death experience: hitting High Noon on the wound track (but not going past), and receiving care from either the Saint's Lay on Hands or the Junker's Surgery move.

Revenant Moves

When you become a Revenant, take the following move:

Borrowed Time:  When you become a Revenant, draw a new countdown dial on your character sheet, Borrowed Time, starting at 0:00.  At the start of each session, roll + Cool.  On a 10+, do nothing, or choose the 7-9 result.  On a 7-9, fill in the next segment, and mark experience.  On a miss, fill in the next segment.  Each time you fill in a segment take a new Curse.  When the dial reaches High Noon, take the Marked for Death Curse.

Plus, take three of the following moves:

Grave Vengeance:  You gain +1 forward, forever, against whoever killed you, or anyone that puts you to High Noon on the harm track.  (You can't get more than +1 forward against the same person with this move.)

Immune to Pain:  When you take harm, you do not have to roll the Harm move.

Shadowwalk:  When you attempt to physically enter or leave the Mystic Wastes, roll + Weird.  On a hit, choose 2.  On a 10+, choose 3.  On a miss, choose 1.
*You don't take 1 harm (ap).
*You don't attract the attention of any supernatural entities.
*You have a clear route to a specific location in the Mystic Wastes or the physical world.
*You can take someone else with you.

Supernatural Aptitude:  You gain +1 to any Stat.  (Max +3)

Supernatural Skill:  Advance all seven basic moves.

Unnatural Healing:  You heal supernaturally fast- wounds at 9:00 or less heal at a rate of one segment per day.  Wounds past 9:00 heal at the rate of one segment per week.  A Wound at High Noon heals after two weeks.  This assumes rest and food- heavy activity or poor nutrition (as it is for Revenants) may slow down the healing period, up to double.

Unnatural Weaponry:  Your hands are killing weapons.  Maybe you have nasty, retractable claws, or you can suck the life right out of people.  Choose one: 2 harm hand messy, or 1 harm ap hand.


Each Revenant has its Curse, the price it pays for coming back from the dead.  It's also a temporary deal; most Revenants get worse over time, and eventually go out in a blaze of glory- or become horrible monsters.

Each Revenant starts with one Curse, and the Borrowed Time move will cause you to gain more.

Angst:  At the start of each session, or anytime there's significant downtime in play, you take -1 forward ongoing until you roll 12+ on any die roll.

Frenzy:  Whenever you might lose your temper, roll to Act Under Fire, with a -1 penalty to the roll.

The Hunger:  You have to eat regularly, and it has to be raw meat or other (once?) living things.

Losing Control:  When you roll your Borrowed Time move, take a -2 penalty to the roll.

Mystic Beacon:  Your mere presence riles up monstrous inhabitants of the Mystic Wastes.  Wherever you go, monsters break through into the physical world with extreme frequency.

Rotting Flesh:  Your body is starting to rot, and is obviously no longer living.

Degeneration:  Choose another curse you have, and double it's potency.  This might include it's mechanical consequences (like for Angst or Frenzy), or its narrative consequences (The Hunger might involve a Hunger for blood... or human brains.)  You can take this curse twice, for two different curses.

Marked For Death

When your Borrowed Time track reaches High Noon, your character is Marked For Death.  You get +1 forward, ongoing, to all rolls you make during the session.  However, at the end of the session, if your character is still alive, it loses its humanity, becoming a Threat under the control of the MC.


When you become a Revenant, all other characters lose -2 Hx with you.  (If this brings them to -4 Hx, they reset to -1 and mark experience.)  The exception is if another character killed you- they change their Hx with you to -3 instead.  Remember that you get Hx with them for them dealing you harm.

(The Revenant is totally Deadland's Harrowed.  No two shakes about it.)

Re: Apocalypse West
« Reply #26 on: December 22, 2010, 02:26:11 PM »
That pretty much wraps up the playbooks.  (There's a hardholder, but it's the same as Apocalypse World, so I didn't bother writing it up.)

Next step is going to be a PDF will all the complete playbooks, and maybe a MC playbook with some notes on barfing forth Apocalyptic West.

Re: Apocalypse West
« Reply #27 on: December 22, 2010, 02:54:15 PM »
(The Revenant is totally Deadland's Harrowed.  No two shakes about it.)

Yeah, except way better! Seriously, I was thinking as I read this whole playbook "man, this is way better than the undead guys in Deadlands". I especially like that the focus is on your character's burning need to exact vengeance, rather than random or manitous or whatever. In your MC guidelines, I might include that the Revenant is okay for one-shot games, because I think he'd bring in all kinds of juicy situation generation and escalation right there. Oh, and of course 'Marked for Death' would automatically be in play in that situation.

So, by way of critique, the one thing that jumped out at me was the "Supernatural Skill". I get the impulse here, but when thinking about specific moves, some of them don't seem to mesh. Like, why does your zombie hell power give you the ability to get allies on a seduce or manipulate roll? Are you just that intense? Also, Shadowwalk seems a little vague, but I imagine there's more about the mystic wastes in the hack rules in general that makes them make more sense? Or is it meant to be vague to let your group figure out what the mystic wastes are like and what it means to physically enter them?

The only other thing that comes to mind right now is that the ability to take Revenant moves after a near-death experience (Sweet!) should maybe be coupled with some supernatural downside? I dunno, like "You can only use the "take a move from another playbook advance" to gain a Revenant move if you've had a near death experience. If you do take one, also take a curse". Even without the downside, I love the fact that having such sweet moves available will tempt players into damn near getting their characters killed :)

If you can't tell, I'm really excited about this hack.

Re: Apocalypse West
« Reply #28 on: December 22, 2010, 04:43:27 PM »
All Supernatural Skill really does is save your character an advance, it's not as cool as the other moves by far, and I wouldn't pick it in most situations, but I could conceive of a character for which it would be a good move to take.

Re: Apocalypse West
« Reply #29 on: December 22, 2010, 06:05:16 PM »
Hey Willow, do you have any playtest experience with this hack? It's on my list of things I want to run at my next con now!