Monday, 14 January 2013

AW: London Calling 2013.1

I ran our first Apocalypse World session for 2013 on the 14th of January. It's been a couple of months since we last played, so it took a while for everyone to remember what was going on!

  • Barb plays a Brainer called Marsh, a creepy psychic concealed in androgynous medical-wear.
  • Rohin plays a Gunlugger called Keeler, a wild-eyed scarred man with a collection of firearms and the skills to use them.
  • +Paul wplays a Savvyhead called LaFayette, a somewhat kooky young woman with a greater affinity for machinery than people.

Over on G+, Seth Blumberg suggested I should have given out "Love Letters" to provide some impetus after the break - you get the players to roll and pick some random stuff that's happened with their characters during the down-time. I'd forgotten about the concept, since I only read that page once several months ago and promptly forgot about it. I'm keeping the idea in mind, though - if one of my players doesn't turn up to a session, they'll find a "Love Letter" waiting for them when they get back.

The group's working for a holding based in the Tower Bridge in the middle of London, which is allied with a holding based in the Tower of London itself. Last year they were mostly concerned about marauding bikies from the Brick Field, slave raiders from the Barrier Siltway holding (who were on a "recruitment drive" because their workforce was dying of a mystery illness), and that the Tower's holder looked like they may have plans to fully annexe the Bridge or start a war.

This session they uncovered another problem. A large number of giant rats (about 2 feet long, not including the tail) started swimming upriver past the Bridge, almost certainly fleeing Dog Island for some reason. Many of them bolstered the local food-pots.

The three PCs drove with some of Keeler's gangers on an expedition to the east to see if they could scout out the Siltway, but as they neared Dog Island they noticed a large number of dead rats, both in the river and on the bank. LaFayette tested the water, and discovered it contained a toxin. Keeler took a look at some of the dead rats, to find they'd been bleeding from the soft tissues and vomiting before death. LaFayette spotted an ancient water filtration plant on Dog Island, but getting to it would require a boat, or a swim across the poisonous water. They abandoned the Siltway plan, and headed back upriver, finding that the toxin became weaker as they moved back upstream - it hadn't reached the Bridge yet.

LaFayette stayed behind at the tower to find or build a boat and analyse the water samples, while Keeler and Marsh crossed to the north bank to check the river on the other side. The contamination was about the same, until they reached the brackish, overgrown streams flowing into the river from Hackney Marsh. Keeler made Rover, a captured slaver from the Barrier Siltway, wade into the mud to secure a sample of the water. The toxin levels were several times higher than those seen in the river. On the way back to the Bridge, Rover started vomiting blood, so Keeler shot and abandoned him in case he was infectious.

LaFayette couldn't find the materials to make a boat, and had even less luck trying to co-opt the only river-craft she did find. Overnight, she confirmed that the contaminant is chemical, not biological, so there's little chance it's contagious. It seems that some sort of toxic waste is leeching into Hackney Marsh and contaminating the river. Because the Thames Barrier was closed before the end of the world, it's built up a massive silt deposit that makes for great farmland, but has also caused the river to rise and slow. So, the contamination is slowly spreading upstream, and will eventually affect the Bridge's farmland, leading to sickness and death as seen at the Siltway.

They're working on a plan to get the Tower to deal with the toxic leak, while they assimilate refugees from the Barrier, and use their extra numbers to take over the Tower before it takes over the Bridge. Hopefully the Brickheads will hold back on their attacks until everything's under control!


>>> Session 2013.2

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