Monday, 1 October 2012

AW: London Calling 2012

I don't recall exactly when I started running Apocalypse World, but it was some time in late 2012. I'd read many interesting things about it, and wanted to try it out to see how it handled.

Barb, Rohin and I got together and decided on the setting - central London, at a holding in the Tower Bridge, which was allied with a holding in the Tower of London on the north bank. The river was running a bit higher than in the Time Before, and the suburb of Hackney Marsh was an actual marsh again.

  • Barb made a Brainer called Marsh, a creepy psychic concealed in androgynous medical-wear.
  • Rohin made a Gunlugger called Keeler, a wild-eyed scarred man with a collection of firearms and the skills to use them.
  • +Paul wasn't present for the first session, but joined in shortly after things kicked off. He made a Savvyhead called LaFayette, a somewhat kooky young woman with a greater affinity for machinery than people.

Get Sun

The players wanted their characters to be working for someone else, so they were both in the employ of Prim, the Tower Bridge 'holder. Chack, Prim's "fixer" and the PCs' handler, told Marsh that Prim wanted to acquire a guy called Sun from the Tower holding. Apparently Raccaro, the Tower 'holder, had refused a polite invitation to send him over. Chack suggested Keeler go along too, but cautioned against making too big a mess...

The two talked their way into the Tower, where they discovered that Sun was an engineer helping Raccaro outfit a small army. LaFayette joined them, and used her access to the Tower Keep to persuade Sun to come out to her workshop in the courtyard by seducing him. Unfortunately they had to dispose of Mimi, captain of the Tower Guard. Marsh used In-Brain Puppet Strings on one of the other Tower Guard, compelling her to run around telling everyone that Sun had shot Mimi. In the confusion, they slipped out the back way through the garage and returned to the Bridge with Sun in tow.

Siltway Raiders

Prim wanted Sun to help bolster the defences of the exposed southern fields against raiders from the Brick Fields to the south, and the Barrier Siltway holding to the east. She also put Keeler on field duty, as raids had been increasing. LaFayette helped out with the planning and installation of some of the defences. Marsh hung around with Keeler in the fields.

A dust-cloud to the east signalled a raid. The field guards holed up and waited for the attack, but Keeler and Marsh went out to meet them. Keeler sprayed the convoy with machinegun fire, breaking their charge and sending them scattering into side-roads. Marsh used the painwave generator and violator glove to wipe out a jeep-load of raiders, causing one guy's head to explode from accumulated psychic damage. Keeler captured and questioned Rover, the only survivor, learning that they were slave-raiders from the Barrier Siltway, sent to steal more workers as their labour force had been dying from a mysterious illness.

The field guards were so impressed by Keeler's display of combat prowess that they basically said they were working for him now, not Prim. Rover also became part of the gang, under Keeler's protection.
Brick Field Battle
Tired of waiting for raiders to come to them, and tooled up with a new gang, Keeler and Marsh headed south onto the eerie Brick Fields to hunt down the "Brickheads" bike gang. The Brick Field is a vast, circular area where all of the old buildings have been somehow pulverised into a flat field, paved with bricks and dust. Some judicious brain-opening led to them discovering that the Brickheads had a large camp set up some distance away... and that some of them were coming this way, attracted by the convoy's dust cloud!

Clarion, one of Keeler's gangers, took the jeep and drove it back towards the Bridge while the rest hid out behind the only available cover in the field. As the bikers rode past, the gang ambushed them and wiped them out. The sole survivor was puppet-stringed by Marsh to return to the others with the message "you're next."

Having put paid to both major threats for now, the gang returned to the Bridge and reported to Prim. They also discovered that emissaries from the Tower had visited demanding recompense for Mimi's death and Sun's abduction, and that Prim had agreed to supply them with a crate of firearms. Marsh lost all respect for Prim due to this decision.


These first few sessions of Apocalypse World were mostly pretty good, but it did take me a while to wrap my head around some things. Figuring out which Move had been triggered was sometimes problematic; deciding between Seize by Force or Go Aggro can take a bit of mulling over, but I'm slowly getting the hang of it. In the first session I called for a Manipulate roll which probably didn't follow the form exactly. The first big fight between Keeler, Marsh, and the Siltway Raiders was great, but the next battle against the Brickheads didn't "sing" quite as much.

>>> Session 2013.1