Monday, 4 February 2013

AW: London Calling 2013.3

  • 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.

Before we began, Barb talked to me a little about some minor problems she was having. Because of the morally grey, sandboxy, anything-goes nature of the game, the pressure to make hard decisions, and the fact that so much of the world is undefined, she was finding it mentally taxing on occasion to figure out what to do, or even evaluate their choices properly. I said if she's unsure how part of the setting works, or why something is a certain way, or what might be an appropriate response in a particular situation, that the players should bring it up - either I'll give them an answer, or ask them what they think, and we'll nail down the important stuff as we go. Apocalypse World really encourages the MC to access the versions of the world that exists in the players' heads, rather than using their own version as the only "official" one. The world is very much built by collaboration.

Rohin mentioned at the start of the session about changing marked stats, but when I asked him directly if he wanted to call for a re-marking he didn't say yes, so he missed out on about six XP from running around shooting everything as he had Sharp and Weird marked. We changed it up at the end of the session, and I had him mark XP as a consolation prize.

Having just doubled the size of his gang by bailing up and recruiting the Barrier Siltway's slave raiders, Keeler decided to press on East to see if they could deal with the remainder of that holding. According to the slavers' lieutenant, III, there were probably less than a dozen guys still in the Siltway holding with Newton, plus maybe five or six acting as border guards.

The convoy roared up to the edge of the silt fields, and looked out upon a flat, sodden expanse of dead, pestilential farmland. Not a living thing moved between the crumbling city and the Barrier wall, and only a few dead black plants remained where once had been lush crops. On the southern edge, in open ground, stood the heavily fortified Siltway holding.

The group flushed out an emaciated scout by name of Missed. Marsh gave him a silenced 9mm pistol and messed with his head, compelling him to go to the holding and shoot Newton. They watched Missed run across the fields and into the fortress. A minute later, they heard a shot ring out, and then the walls were manned by dark, scurrying figures.

Keeler led his gang on a direct frontal assault, laying siege to the hold but not doing much more to those inside other than keeping their heads down. Marsh got Spatula to ride their bike up to the foot of the wall and lobbed the Pain Grenade over, causing much anguish and disabling some of the defenders. The gang set up behind parked jeeps for cover and kept the walls under fire as Keeler single-handedly blew the fortified doors open, leading the rush inside.

Keeler found Missed dead in the hold's main room, with a shot and unconscious Newton receiving attention from a medic. Keeler just strode straight in and pasted both of them with his heavy machinegun. Meanwhile, his gang poured up to the roof and massacred the remaining defenders. They celebrated by mounting heads on the hold's battlements, and followed that up with a vigorous round of looting.

It looks like the former slavers have been bound together with Keeler's original gang in a frenzy of blood and vengeance, proving their worth in battle by turning on their former comrades. It was a great victory, with no serious injury or loss of life despite the unsubtle tactics. Keeler has earned their respect as a worthy and fearless leader.

Rohin rolled a 10+ for every single Seize by Force move Keeler made, which was a lot. His gang's 2-armour, plus the fact that his gang was larger, contributed to the lack of casualties even under 3-harm machinegun fire.

With an advance, Keeler chose Merciless - which, on top of his Bloodcrazed gives him +2 harm. Using one of his larger guns, he'll physically destroy an NPC who's not wearing armour. Since Marsh also has Bloodcrazed, this is really turning into a steamroller group - any problem they see, they can obliterate it with overwhelming force. There's been very little Going Aggro, as they can generally Seize by Force with little risk of actual harm. I'm going to have to see what else is going on around the place that they can't fix with sheer damage output.

I felt better this time about Moves and judgment calls, even though I had to pause and think a couple of times. I just gave myself permission to take the time and think things through.

Just before they left, I asked Barb and Rohin to each come up with one or two NPCs at The Bridge; people they know from their everyday life, just regular people or those they get something from. Hopefully that'll flesh out the holding a little, make it feel more alive, and make up for the somewhat slipshod first session of following them around I did.

>>> Session 2013.3 Intermission