We ran our first playtest

  • 4 Replies
We ran our first playtest
« on: March 05, 2014, 06:14:35 PM »
*Apocalypse World: Dark Age thoughts and AP after first session*

This is our map (parts of it are german. sorry. You can ask me about it)

 We had Wigun the Dragon Herald who rules in an ancient keep in the old forest. His cult is basically "lets live to the fullest now because something terrible is going to happen". A lot of the old families and knights in the region still follow his cult and twice a year there is a big orgiastic party at the old stone-circle on the cliff.

There is Primo the Wicker Wise who is a wandering healer and magician and he has good connections to the mountain clans. His player described him as "basically Merlin". His shrine is a grotto in the mountains.

And we had Etsel the War Herald. He is tasked with watching the mountain clans and rules over a big estate with farmland. He has a big watchtower too that warns of attacks from the clans. His WArband are the chosen fighters from the important families of his estate.

We took a lot of time preparing the map, deciding where everyone is, what their oaths are and introducing characters (not really in this order). I added the extra towns that are not part of the players holding. There is Waves End a seaport trading town, OldTown (pronounced Ulton), the former highpoint of civilisation in the area but kind of in a decline after the empire of eagles fell (both are allied) and Equsten but that is not really defined yet.

Players made their fortune roll and WH and WW failed.
So we had Primo facing a hunger from the hunter connections he had but he had a champion from the mountain clans. A kind-hearted but deadly fighter woman named Grogar (i insisted she be female and reminded the WH also to include fighting women).
Wigun however had a bigger problem. He has to face infamy, outlawry, hunger and obligation but can rely on the safety of his keep.

Etzel got new recruits but faced a potential low muster.

Starting scenes were there to see what the daily lives are like before the problems. So we checked in with every character. Wigun had to learn that the food reserves are running low and that there is no tribute coming from his settlements in the big forest. He decided to visit Etzel to plan to rob Waves End. Primo also visited settlements in the northeast of the forest and heard that there are trolls that stop everyone from going out to hunt. He too went to check in with Etzel.
Etzel was eying his new recruits and i took extra time to describe all 5 of them. 2 women, 2 men and a boy. I gave them all characteristcs using the method described in the blogpost linked in the document. That took a lot of time but i hope it will pay off and i can use them in future sessions. These 6 and the other named 4 characters are the faces of the warband for now.

So everyone met later at Etzels manor and plans were made. We used *take stock* both to check on how to best deal with the new recruits and to formulate a plan of attack against WavesEnd. I am not sure if this is correct or not but it felt okay in game.

So they made a plan and then had a big feast the next day after the muster was complete. 1 day might be fast for a muster, there are no guidelines on how long that takes but i guess between 1 and 4 days usually, especially if the roll is made 10+.

So Etzel gave a speech, Wigun frenzyd them to give him offerings and then lose themselves in eating and drinking and Primo made a ritual to bless everyones armor and spirit.

Wigun prayed to his dragon goddess Maternia but rolled a 7-9 and his offer was declined. Maternia wants a bigger sacrifice and showed him visions of a burning city with him slaughtering people, asking "when?".

On the next day the warband set out to circle the forest from the east side to check in on the troll sightings in  the northeast. We ended the session with a cliffhanger as everyone was attacked by javelins, thrown from the woods.

Small spoiler for my players about how all the tags work together in my head:

There was double hunger so this is a big deal. There is hunger because of the trolls hunting game and people. There is more then one troll. Two settlements couldn'T live with that anymore and fleed their homestead, becoming bandits. That is who is attacking them right now.
I want to use obligation to "force" Wugin to travel to OldTown to bless a newborn there. I am not sure on what to do with infamy yet but it will probably hit him there.

*[Spoilers End]*

As a GM i wasn't quite sure on what to do really but decided to do a bit of following around and then the problem emerged in my head and i just followed the players deal with it. A lot of exposition is done anyway by the creation of the map i think. Otherwise i maybe answered questions a bit to easily, mostly giving them opportunites with a cost, where they would have needed to Take Stock beforehand. But it still felt good and gave me a chance to put my ideas into the world.
I also updated the maps with a few things that clicked into my head as they happened and informed everyone about it.

?+Vincent Baker asked for favourite, least favourite and surprising parts and i made a list (lets hope i can still read it).

I really liked holding and map creation because it gave me a world to work with and then the tags from the failed fortune rolls gave me the rest for the beginning of the game. I feel like "every problem is solved i don't know what to do" is a good point to move the season forward.

My players liked that the game was not PvP heavy as they thought it could be. Oaths help to enforce keeping your words and being helpful to each other, especially the prewritten once are about supporting each other. Also none of my players pushed for an antagonistic thing and neither did I. I felt like there was enough going on right there without me having to create extra conflict when we (and especially I) still need to find me feet with the game.

The XP rule was mentioned as liked because it gives you direct reward and forces you to do a lot of things. We had to discuss how getting XP for something works. Does getting your full muster is enough to "use" your *large* warband? We decided that the size bonus had to be used in battle to be XP worthy. Same thing for shield wall. On the other hand that means that you could get 3 XP from one battle situation/move. However i personally don't think there should be a singleton type rule for these kinds of things. Armor only gives XP when you get hit, harm only gives XP when you harm someone. Followers give XP when you go yourself and interact with them. If the GM brings them into a scene you would have to make a move at them for it to count (inspired by Saga mostly here).

The WW player liked the magic at a price and without a roll.

The general dark fantasy setting was liked.

Everyone liked that you already start out powerful. A mover in the world, not just a lowly peasant.

The Dragon Herald was extremely happy with his playbook.

Least fav.
In the beginning i was really confused on what to do as a GM but i think i found my grounding quite good. It felt really different to DW (no surprise really) because in DW i am much more aggressive and on the gas pedal, here i made more moves in response to players doing things since i also wanted to see them doing "their thing".
That doesn't mean i made no moves though.

The WH was a bit confused because he rolled a 7-9 on his fortunes but because of the combination he choose there was only 1 want available after he choose his bounty. The same thing would have been true on a 6- so that was a bit weird to him/us.

The WW player was rather tired and didn't insert himself enough but also i didn'T give him so many opportunities. We need to see more of his wandering wonderhealer type thing in the future.

People were unhappy they could only take 1 extra class move in the future. They want more! That is a good problem to have because of the scarcity element being present in the characters also.

How little PvP there was.

People were really surprised on how powerful the fortune roll was to create situations. I think this really forces you to go out and improve your holding through the fiction to get a chance at a better roll. It won't get better by itself.

People were surprised on how the Oaths made everyone work together instead of being in their own little kingdom doing their little things.

I think that is all i have for now. Any questions?



  • 1293
Re: We ran our first playtest
« Reply #1 on: March 05, 2014, 06:26:20 PM »
Great! Thank you!


Re: We ran our first playtest
« Reply #2 on: March 05, 2014, 06:29:21 PM »
We will be running at least two more sessions.

What i could really need is at least a list with all wants and bounties for inspiration. No full description needed, just need a list. Could look it up myself i guess.



  • 1293
Re: We ran our first playtest
« Reply #3 on: March 05, 2014, 06:39:36 PM »
I'll be making one soon anyway. How soon are you playing again?

Re: We ran our first playtest
« Reply #4 on: March 06, 2014, 01:00:27 AM »
Next Wednesday