[Actual Play] In the metropolis

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[Actual Play] In the metropolis
« on: November 09, 2010, 01:05:17 PM »
I finally managed to get my whole table together with the aim of starting a new campaign of AW. It was my 3rd attempt to achieve this, because we had tried a couple of times before to start a campaign, without much success, and thus we (at least one player and I) were tired of creating the setting and holding so many times.
The 3 players are Ace, Hernán and Alan.

I told them to comment me about their image of a post-apoc world, and start building from that. As I said, we were a little tired to deal with this phase for the 3rd time, and there was a bit of dispersion and distraction in the group, but the result was good.
The elements that emerged were that there was a great city in ruins, giant, called Vancouver, inside which survivors had developed several holdings. All these use to compete with each other for resources, while they have come to develop a fledgling trade. The settlements were small populated areas, but most of the ruins of Vancouver remained uninhabited or inhabited by mutants who plundered unsuspecting travelers.
Awkward is the settlement where the PCs live. It´s maintained by the scrap trade in the area, and they use it to build and repair vehicles and weapons. There is also a mysterious workshop where implants are performed, whose members appear to belong to a religious sect, and have access to weird technology.

Hernan is a Brainer, called Mr. Burroughs, a quite mysterious guy that works as a trader for workshops, negotiating deals, fooling whomever he can, with the aid of his powers. However, his interest is to get some peace for himself and his group.
Ace is a Gunlugger, called Doom, who works as a mercenary to protect cargo and passengers from the mutants and raiders on the wilderness. He doesn´t care to take a side in the conflicts that arise between the different holdings, he just goes with whomever pays him the best. He´s worked with Burroughs, and distrusts him as Sr. B left him almost dead during a mission . He also worked with Melody (see below), and likes her.
Alan is a Battlebabe, called Melody, that, during his childhood, was raped and, therefore, has a great deal of resentment with men. Now works as a farmer in the holding, in a small community, although sometimes she´s hired to kill or spy on people.

The initial situation is Burroughs, Doom and TAO (a mechanic and truck driver, a rebel woman) entering a cargo to Awkward. They go to FUSE, one of the leading traders there, a skinny and withdrawn man, but terribly cunning and treacherous, who inspects the shipment with FIANNELLY, a mentalist peeled and mysterious, visible face of the implants workshop (let´s call it cybog workshop). After inspection, both go angry, because there´s something missing in the cargo: some engines they had specifically requested.
FIANNELLY begins to rebuke the 3 ones responsible for loading and protecting the truck about the lack of such engines, which were part of a deal, and very important. Melody hears the screams from afar, and decides to come and see what happens quietly. Burroughs, who knew that since TAO worked with them, things started disappearing from shipments, blamed TAO for it (TAO denies this, of course), and tries to "read" her. He misses, so I say that his attempt to blame her is seen by FIANNELLY as a lie to cover his own responsibility. As a mentalist, she begins to delve into his mind, and creates an initial link (custom move: vulnerable to FIANNELLY: -1 to read and manipulate her). Burroughs, to get it out of him, goes aggro on her and tells her to retire, and she, seeing that Sr. Burroughs has certain qualities, eventually retires. But she ordered his men to apprehend and bring him home, where she´d interrogate him personally. Burroughs tries to escape, without much success.
Doom, seeing he´s no longer a suspect approaches FIANNELLY and tells her that he could find and return the engines, investigating who was responsible. FIANNELLY agrees, and Doom tells her that he needs Melody and Burroughs for the mission. FIANNELLY says he will have Sr. B the next day, if he wasn´t guilty from stealing the enginges.
Burroughs, in FIANNELLY´s workshop, is kept constantly sedated, while she digs into his mind. She finds him innocent, but I tell him to roll for a custom move (when FIANNELLY delves into your mind in his workshop, roll+cool: 10 or more, you don´t give in, so she doesn´t find out anything about you; 7-9, the MC asks you a question, answer with the truth, if you fail, the MC makes you 3 questions). He rolled 7-9, so I asked: Who do you value above everyone else? Hernán created an NPC at the moment: Isle, a 15 year old girl whom he protects, for some misterious reason, and who belongs to the farming community where Melody works.
When Burroughs was awakened, FIANNELLY was sitting on her chest, and said she  already knew what she needed from him, and that in the future he´d would see her again. She kisses him, then, and Burroughs gets rid from it to do a mental scan (I must say Hernán took me by surprise, but he used it well, and I wasn´t interested in protecting FIANNELLY).
Among the questions, he found out that FIANNELLY had an obsession about being the center of others´ attention, to attract admiration, and this time she was infatuated by a girl who works at a car garage, JEANETTE. If she´d reject her, FIANNELLY would be destroyed and lose its security.
Another thing she learned is that, previously, FUSE was not so withdrawn and silent. When his girlfriend was alive, FUSE had confidence in himself and was much more wise and intelligent. FIANNELLY killed his girlfriend and made it look like an accident, and FUSE has lost since that his former vigor, and became much more submissive to their influence. FIANNELLY saved his girlfriend´s head in a secret place.
Before that, Melody had inspected the truck for clues about the disappearance of the engines, and found a note where a mysterious HUGO set an appointment with TAO to give him the engines. With this paper, he goes her and asks what´s happening. TAO tells him that she´s creating some "savings" to leave this accursed holding, and flee away from the tyranny of FUSE and his henchmen. Melody didn´t convince her to leave her purposes, but TAO advised her that, although they were friends, she wouldn´t hesitate to retaliate if Melody tried to stop progress in its plans.

Finally, the group buys a car and heads north, taking a highway. In between, there are all sorts of group conflicts, which reach the point where mentally Burroughs threatens Doom to stop insulting him. Luckily, they didn´t scale beyond that.
After driving for a while, they get to see some fires burning in the distance, along with some mutants that dance around them. All this stands interrupting the highway. Burroughs opens his mind to the psychic maelstrom to discover that Melody´s lost father is there.
They decide, then, to move into the mutants and clean their way through. This is the first game´s battle, and it got resolved quickly. Doom, displaying his power, takes his rifle and starts blowing mutant brains, clearing the road and ensuring the passage for the car. Melody, then sees that his father is who leads the mutant group, and furious to find that out, decides to run over him with the jeep (which she does, of course). After this interruption, they go on to the next holding.
In Vault 101, they should look for a trader called PRIME, who was selling diluted fuel to Awkward. On reaching the settlement, they find the streets empty, people hidden in their homes while thugs were patrolling the area. When they meet them,  they thugs insist, the group should leave their weapons to enter, which they do not want to do, and so the fight begins. Burroughs is left on the brink of death, although they´re able to kill most of them.
Then a house´s door opens, and a 40 year old man tells them to take refuge there. Once inside the house, he starts healing Burroughs, and while he does so he presents himself: he is PRIME. The holding´s been invaded by a rival gang. Doom reads it, and sees that it is not telling the whole truth. PRIME is a miserable merchant, lacking the capacity for savings and pension, and that is why we can only secure their profits by defrauding others. The gang invaders came from another holding he had also cheated.
So ended the session.

-The first part of the session was saturated with conflicts within the group, but not the kind of dramatic conflict the game pushes, but rather fighting for no reason. In fact, part of the discussion was that Doom constantly insulted Burroughs. It got a bit boring because that delayed the dealing with real conflicts and opposition. I hope, in the future, to make conflicts between PCs revolve around conflicting interests, different priorities, rather than just for the pleasure of arguing.
-The moves that provide information: reading a person or situation, open your mind, etc., are excellent for establishing and developing the characters and situation, and so to create the past, relationships, unexpected connections, etc. Even when improvising, just asking a question to the GM helps him to creat contradictory characters and situations: when Sr. Burroughs scanned FIANNELLY, I created at that moment FUSE´s past, the murder, his current submission, etc., and that gave so much life to the game (rather than if, for example, I had tried to prevent hernán from making that move).
-It happened that the meeting with the Melody´s father didn´t develop as strongly as I hoped. When I talked later to Alan, I realized it was because of a mismatch around our representations of the moment: alan had imagined mutants as destructive and almost mindless beings, whereas I had them in mind as mere deformed and twisted people who had been exiled, and were seeking a proper place to live and subsist. That difference meant that Alan did not even consider approaching her father during the melee. It is a point to consider for future sessions.
-I got a very interesting consistency in the assembly of the story. Most of the NPCs introduced led to tension building and had their own agendas. Now, while I'm developing fronts, I realize that the greatest virtue of this first session was to generate all the future potential for other issues: mutants and mutation source, cyborg worksho, FUSE, competition with other holdings, the farming community that works Melody, etc.
-I'm taking my first steps around the creation of custom moves: Doom was scaned and Ace had to create his vulnerability. What he made up was that Doom is vulnerable to group tension, he is uncomfortable working when the group is having internal conflicts. As I thought it´d be nice to give mechanical expression of this vulnerability, I invented that when there is conflict within the group and Doom doesn´t try to solve it, he is acting under fire. Another solution is that Doom marks a point of experience when he resolves a dispute in his workgroup (I like this one better).
-2 Of the PC, Burroughs and Melody, conceptually, "flee" or refuse sex. This isn´t per se bad as a PC´s concept, but AW gets more interesting when the relationships between PCs and NPCs become more intense. I want to break those locks, perhaps through offering easy opportunities to get things in exchange for sex. How would you push for sex in these cases?
-Sooner or later, I´ll have to deal with the mechanical effects of implants, and I want to make some custom moves to represent them. Any ideas? Maybe they could be "once per session" moves that give you bonuses, or just objects that otherwise would be very hard to come by:

Internal antenna: at the beginning of the session, you can link yourself with two persons (PC or NPC). When you want to speak with them, roll + weird. On a 10+, you can deliver your message, and choose 1 from the list. On a 7-9, you deliver your message, but the MC chooses 2 from the list:
-Someone unexpected also hears the message
-The message is somehow twisted by the psychic maelstrom
-You tell him more than what you intended to. The MC or target player will ask you a question, and you should answer it truthfully
-Part of the psychic maelstrom enters target´s mind. The MC will tell you what happens.

Cyborg claws: you have replaced a hand with claws, getting +1 to the harm you can do with a blade. The claws have reached, though, your own mind, and they have their own ideas:
-If the blades speak to you and tell you what to do, or if you ask the blades for advice, and then do it, you mark experience. If you don´t, though, you lose the +1 harm benefit until you follow their advice again. The claws don´t allow you to use another melee weapon.
The MC determines the claws´ agenda, but it always involves killing.

Ear radar: you have a mini radar implanted on your ear, which lets you get a +1 to read a sitch and open your brain to the psychic maelstrom. However, on a miss and a 7-9, your radar goes against you: you draw unexpected attention from someone attuned to the psychic maelstrom in the area, apart from the common results.

What do you think? are they good? I figure that an advancement should be spent in order to get access to the benefits of an implant.
« Last Edit: November 09, 2010, 01:26:35 PM by Khimus »