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Author Topic: [Apocalypse World] Morgan Enterprise  (Read 1331 times)
juliusz
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« on: November 21, 2009, 09:37:57 AM »

1. PLAY

We played about one and half week ago. It was our first Apocalypse World session, but all players are familiar with some Forge/story/indie-stuff (including DitV, Burning Empires, IaWA, Polaris and a number of other games). We know each other well, so we were not afraid of rather brutal and shocking (at least, for some people) elements of fiction.

Oh, and in advance, sorry for grammar mistakes below (if there are any), English isn't my primary language ;-)

Filip took Skinner named Frost, transgressing (man -> woman), singer in local bar (called simply Bar, 'cause people living there believe it's a proper name) and slave of Jackabacka (NPC).

Carrie played Brainer, Pity; if you imagine how would hippie after Apocalypse look like, that's her character.

And vh had Hardholder, Nwabudike Morgan (Alpha Centauri pun intented), ruler of Enterprise and leader of his gang.



Enterprise is small village in the middle of nowhere, on the trade route (which is, of course, the old state highway). There are two reasons for the existence of the "city": waterhole and the fact that it is placed at the last relatively comfortable location before the mountains. There is also an old mine nearby, and right behind the mountains there's a forest with trees made of concrete and nuclear waste containers in its heart [carrie said that US government considered creating such things, because from Jungian psychoanalysis it followed that trees made of concrete would scare the people from going around the containers, and we decided that it's an awesome idea]. Enterprise is about 80 people total, 20 of that being members of Morgan's gang.

We played few scenes; in more or less chronological order.

- Morgan's vice, Princy, brings mutant to the village and keeps it in the cage; Pity plays with the mutant, until it bites her; Morgan orders his vice to shoot the mutant;
- dialogue between Enough-to-Eat, travelling with his gang slaver, and Morgan. Morgan allowed him to stay for few days in Enterprise and some trade took place (water for children slaves and slaves for services and so on) ;
- scene of sex between Morgan and Frost, when Frost uses this complicated Skinner move;
- Pity opens her mind to Psychic Maelstrom, goes to the abandoned mine, founds hiding there Twice and (unconsciously) slaughters her child with a hatchet; after that, comes back with Twice to Enterprise. Oh, and Maelstrom tells Pity that her mother is inside one of Enough-to-Eat slave cages;
- confrontation between Morgan and Pity, with the slaughtered child, Frost, Princy and other people around. Pity plays the direct-brain whisper projection on Morgan and, lucky for her, Morgan decided to get the hell out of her way;
- Frost takes Twice back to her place, but Jackabacka comes to her, because it's the time to open the Bar. Some abuse game happens, and after that Jackabacka tries to slay Frost with spiked chain or smth like that. Poor bastard, Frost made him stomach swordfuck (exactly that. strongly erotic context intented) in one move, leaving him bleeding and dying in the dust;
- and final scene between Frost and Princy, where Princy demands (thinking that Frost is a "normal women") night with Frost as a satisfaction for injuring community member. Morgan tries to help her, but without effect, and Frost is forced to promise that night to Princy.

In general, it was like some parts of "Saint Leibowitz and the Wild Horse Woman" but more wicked, I think (because of children slavery, this creepy scene with Twice and the fight between Frost and Jakabacka with strong erotic context). Unfortunately, because of convention near Ukraine during last weekend and flu some of us got after that, the second session didn't took place yet. Hopefully next Wednesday. Can't wait!

After the session I had 8 NPCs (one dying included), 1 big location, 1 small one and hints for another big one. I created local Front and two other Fronts without any problems (at least I think so ;-)).



2. PROBLEMS


OK, now about problems we experienced so far. I omit fluency problems, because that was first session and we needed some time to get used to identifying corresponding to some events in the fiction moves (- hey, you're going aggro on him or you're seizing his life by force? - well, I wanted to go agrro, but now this situation looks rather like seizing, I think...). The same applies to me as MC - for example, I should play an inflict pain move on Pity when mutant bit her. But now I think I'll be able to operate fluently with moves next time.

(1) I'm not sure how should I think about "grotesque: disease vector" and "grotesque: perversion of birth" options while creating Fronts. The other ones are self-explanatory, but these two seems not, at least for me. Any examples, perhaps?

(2) In the Hardholder characterbook it says "You can have, for your personal use, with the MC?s approval, a few pieces of non-specialized gear or weapons from any character guidebook". I decided that non-specialized here means: not hi-tech and not valuable. Dunno if that's OK? Seems to work good.

(3) Carrie complained about the concept of first session. In her words:

First of all, what is the purpose of the first session? As I see it, it is meant to enable the GM (or Master of Ceremonies, or whatever) to get to know the characters and get some basis in order to prepare metaplot. However, although it gives a rather clear idea of what the characters are like (more reliable than players' declarations; we all know well that what a player has in his/her mind and what a player plays can differ greatly), it's not much of a session. Of course, there is action, there are important choices to be made, there are the npcs to be introduced, but... something's missing. The impact (or rather a punch right in the face!) that hits the player right at the beginning of a "Dogs in the vineyard" or "Poison'd" game. The feeling that the choices made here and now may be crucial (of course, they might be, but a player bearing the whole idea of fronts in mind might think that there's no point in paying much attention to the first session, as it's just an introduction...).The impression that it's the characters' beliefs and decisions that really matter, which is much of what one would wait for after reading the rules. Of course, the player can't expect all this stuff, as this is about to come during the next sessions, but saying "hey, wait till the next session!" seems to be not the best tactics whatsoever.
All in all, the problem of the first session is the lack of much of the stuff that the game promises to be about.

(as MC, I have no opinion on that yet - I'll write something about that after the 2nd session, when I'll see how the created Fronts will work in practice)

(4) Funny thing. We took "transgressing" (Skinner characterbook) as "transgender", but now I'm not sure if "transgressing" wasn't intented to mean "cross-dressing" or something like that. After the session I looked at wiki, here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transgender , and soon after I was completely lost in these all gender and LGBT issues. Anyway, Frost surely was person after sex reassignment surgery and it worked really good, and if you ask me, that's a great option for Skinner character. Any comments on that?
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DWeird
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« Reply #1 on: November 21, 2009, 10:15:19 AM »

Simple answers to simple questions:

A disease vector is pretty much a carrier of a disease. Like, a mosquito that carries malaria. Or some humongous body that covers everything in infective slime. Or little girl with a cough. You use them to make more people sick.

Perversions of birth are sad, sad things that have something to prove. Remember the disfigured whatshisname soldier from 300? He wants to prove that, despite the travesty of nature that he is, he's still a damned good soldier. Failing that, he wants to have SOME sort of power over his life, and things quickly go south from there. I'd trust bastard sons of local warlords would kinda fall in this category too - going all "that's *my* throne you're sitting in there, brother!" and making a general mess of things.

I read "transgressing" as anything from androgynous to transvestite. Don't think this is something that needs to be nailed down precisely - 'specially since

As for gear... The way you handled it seems fine. There are pro'lly other ways to do draw the line - for instance, I'd probably not give my hardholder early access to a Gunlugger's fuck-off big guns, or a battlebabe's custom weapons, or a Brainer's relay.

The complex question of the first session issues... Yeah, a bit above my level of AW know-how. I'll sit this one out and maybe comment if something hits me.
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Mikael
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« Reply #2 on: November 21, 2009, 12:18:56 PM »

Regarding the first session: I would not make any issue about the Fronts to the players. I would keep them totally ignorant of the Fronts just like they should really be ignorant of the MC moves, and just focus on the details and actual in-game action. Who cares if the soul-wrenching, life-threatening situation is just ad hoc or outcome of a Front?
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juliusz
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« Reply #3 on: November 21, 2009, 03:32:57 PM »

DWeird:

Thanks, that's helpful!

As to the transgressing thing: also thought so. But Skinner has four options, androgyne between them, and of course it looks like if it was something different from transgressing.


Mikael:
In case of carrie and vh it was literally impossible. I.e. they were familiar with some APs (mostly of yours, I guess), and some parts of the book. During the game I was quiet about Fronts, except the "my prep will require blahblah, no high tension etc." thing. Maybe the whole issue is about carrie's preferences. I haven't heard similar to her's opinion from vh and Filip - I'll ask them about this specific thing.
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lumpley
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« Reply #4 on: November 23, 2009, 07:38:47 AM »

Juliusz, thank you!

I've very interested to hear what Carrie thinks after the second session, when she sees that all the first-session stuff really matters. I'm interested to hear with the other two players think about the first session too.

The purpose of androgynous vs transgressing, disease vector, perversion of birth, all those kinds of things, is to spark images in your head and your players' heads. There's no danger that you'll get them wrong. So, like, in my head, androgynous means could-be-a-man-could-be-a-woman, with few or no clues to tell you which. Transgressing, on the other hand, means could-be-a-man-could-be-a-woman, with overt and contradictory clues which. But what's important isn't what's in my head, it's what the player does with it. It sounds like the player did just fine.

DWeird, THANK YOU for the guy from 300. I've been casting about for an example perversion of birth with no luck. He's perfect.

You're both right about the hardholder's gear. It's not critical, you won't mess up the game by letting the hardholder have a cool piece of gear. My experience is that the hardholder wants one cool thing related to his background, and I always say yes. Like, Rob's hardholder Vega used to be a badass, so he wants him to have a tricked-out assault rifle, and that's fine with me. I wouldn't let him have the rifle plus a car, or the rifle plus brainer gear, or the rifle plus toyboxes, but any one thing? Sure.

More questions always welcome.

-Vincent
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juliusz
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« Reply #5 on: January 03, 2010, 10:40:56 AM »

i]your compound is mostly tents, lean-tos and wooden walls. Your gang gets -1armor when fighting to defend it. After getting an improvement he decided to fix another option for his holding and went with your compound is tall, deep and mighty, of stone and iron. Your gang gets +2 armor when fighting in its defense.. What should happen? +1 armor when fighting in its defense?

11. When events in fiction dictate that holding or gang should be upgraded (Morgan getting Enough-to-Eat's men to work for him), should hardholder wait and spend an improvement on it? On the other hand, is it required for these sort of improvements to have a trigger in fiction? Like, lets say, we're in a middle of nowhere with no means of upgrading the armory established, and harholder decides he wants to spend his improvement on that very upgrade. Or: fact of upgrading armory triggers appropriate events in fiction?

12. Hardholder and Want. How to interpret Want in fiction - is Want an effect of Hardholders' actions, or independent, or it depends, or it doesn't matter? I guess it depends, but I'd like to have it written clearly in the book. Again, DitV-style (or just idiot proof) summary for Want/Surplus rules would be useful.

13. How to decide that the holding is out of its "want" state? Is the fact in ficiton that hardholder took some successful measures against it sufficient? Is surplus on a wealth roll sufficient? We need both?

14. Is Want cumulative? Like, at the beginning of first session hardholder rolls 8, and gets idle, and at 2nd session rolls 8 again: he gets paranoid in addition to idle, or paranoid instead of idle?

15. What to do if one character wants to kill another? Is that simply Bad Thing? Normally, killing an NPC is seizing by force move, with intention of seizing someone's life (and it's easy, just roll 7 or more), right? So it'd be easy to kill other characters in that way as well (there's an example somwehere in the book when Keeler shoots Bran while seizing his life by force).

16. Linguistic problem. How do you communicate about Barter (rather: how do your characters communicate about Barter during dialogues)? Example: Morgan to Pity, "I'll let you live if and only if you'll pay 5 Barter for me and 5 for Twice". Yuck. For sure that way of speaking doesn't make Apocalypse World seem real.

17. I don't understand how gigs are supposed to work, mostly because the whole Obligations part seems to lack connections with rest of the chapter. I.e.: are Obligations linked with some moves or not (I guess not, except Operator's sex move)? How obligations are connected with gigs (at all?)? What does unworked mean and how to get out of that condition? Everyone could get an Obligation, right? How should MC operate with Obligations, when to introduce their effects and so on? etc. Maybe that part should be rewritten to make it more comprehensible.

18. I looked at toyboxes and was like "oh wait, using that implies hardcore GM fiat". Maybe some guidelines for MC should be added?

19. Chopper, pack alpha move. Some options introduce fight against his gang, and that's great, but maybe adding an example to the book would be useful to get what you mean by that kind of fight?

20. Weapons, tag: ap ammo (applied). Wording of applied tag makes it a bit strange; intimacy and uninterrupted time (and willing or restrained subject) refer to process of applying ap to ammo, like creating dum-dum bullets or something like that, right?

21. How to understand surplus bonuses during character creation? Surplus and want are not disjunctive? Or are they? An example would be useful.



After all, we enjoyed these few sessions a lot, and we're going to play again Apocalypse World soon. Probably this time we'll be heading for more cyberpunk-styled setting (because this game would totally do that, Infocalypse World ftw), with carrie as MC.

Comments or questionsyour compound is mostly tents, lean-tos and wooden walls. Your gang gets -1armor when fighting to defend it.[/i] After getting an improvement he decided to fix another option for his holding and went with your compound is tall, deep and mighty, of stone and iron. Your gang gets +2 armor when fighting in its defense.. What should happen? +1 armor when fighting in its defense?

11. When events in fiction dictate that holding or gang should be upgraded (Morgan getting Enough-to-Eat's men to work for him), should hardholder wait and spend an improvement on it? On the other hand, is it required for these sort of improvements to have a trigger in fiction? Like, lets say, we're in a middle of nowhere with no means of upgrading the armory established, and harholder decides he wants to spend his improvement on that very upgrade. Or: fact of upgrading armory triggers appropriate events in fiction?

12. Hardholder and Want. How to interpret Want in fiction - is Want an effect of Hardholders' actions, or independent, or it depends, or it doesn't matter? I guess it depends, but I'd like to have it written clearly in the book. Again, DitV-style (or just idiot proof) summary for Want/Surplus rules would be useful.

13. How to decide that the holding is out of its "want" state? Is the fact in ficiton that hardholder took some successful measures against it sufficient? Is surplus on a wealth roll sufficient? We need both?

14. Is Want cumulative? Like, at the beginning of first session hardholder rolls 8, and gets idle, and at 2nd session rolls 8 again: he gets paranoid in addition to idle, or paranoid instead of idle?

15. What to do if one character wants to kill another? Is that simply Bad Thing? Normally, killing an NPC is seizing by force move, with intention of seizing someone's life (and it's easy, just roll 7 or more), right? So it'd be easy to kill other characters in that way as well (there's an example somwehere in the book when Keeler shoots Bran while seizing his life by force).

16. Linguistic problem. How do you communicate about Barter (rather: how do your characters communicate about Barter during dialogues)? Example: Morgan to Pity, "I'll let you live if and only if you'll pay 5 Barter for me and 5 for Twice". Yuck. For sure that way of speaking doesn't make Apocalypse World seem real.

17. I don't understand how gigs are supposed to work, mostly because the whole Obligations part seems to lack connections with rest of the chapter. I.e.: are Obligations linked with some moves or not (I guess not, except Operator's sex move)? How obligations are connected with gigs (at all?)? What does unworked mean and how to get out of that condition? Everyone could get an Obligation, right? How should MC operate with Obligations, when to introduce their effects and so on? etc. Maybe that part should be rewritten to make it more comprehensible.

18. I looked at toyboxes and was like "oh wait, using that implies hardcore GM fiat". Maybe some guidelines for MC should be added?

19. Chopper, pack alpha move. Some options introduce fight against his gang, and that's great, but maybe adding an example to the book would be useful to get what you mean by that kind of fight?

20. Weapons, tag: ap ammo (applied). Wording of applied tag makes it a bit strange; intimacy and uninterrupted time (and willing or restrained subject) refer to process of applying ap to ammo, like creating dum-dum bullets or something like that, right?

21. How to understand surplus bonuses during character creation? Surplus and want are not disjunctive? Or are they? An example would be useful.



After all, we enjoyed these few sessions a lot, and we're going to play again Apocalypse World soon. Probably this time we'll be heading for more cyberpunk-styled setting (because this game would totally do that, Infocalypse World ftw), with carrie as MC.

Comments or questions?
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lumpley
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« Reply #6 on: January 04, 2010, 08:33:16 AM »

Thanks, Juliusz. This is very helpful, lots of good suggestions.

Let me see if I can get your questions too:

3 Correct.

5-6 On my countdowns I write two things, NPC actions and events that might happen and if they do, they'll trigger NPC reactions. Don't plan a sequence of events, instead set up a countdown to remind yourself that your NPCs are active, with agendas and intentions they won't just sit on forever.

7 I think there's a bit in the playtest book already about what happens when a PC is in a fighting gang. Is that the situation?

8 Good question. Off the top of my head: no duplicate moves - circumstances have to change before a move counts as new. Given that circumstances have changed, though, yes, hold accumulates.

I may change my mind about that.

10 +2armor. No need to be stingy.

11-13 Oh sure, stuff like that? Descriptive & prescriptive. If a bunch of thugs join a gang, bump the gang up in size on paper. If the gang goes up in size on paper, I guess that means a bunch of thugs have joined it. Feel free to ask the player what's up - "so how come you can now fortify so effectively, when last week you couldn't?" This isn't a demand for justification, it's getting the player's help.

14 Not cumulative. Surplus isn't cumulative either.

15 Same with killing NPCs, all you have to do is inflict enough harm. Unless you're seriously overarmed, inflicting 6+ harm at a time, a 7 on a seize by force roll won't kill a PC. "Seizing someone's life" isn't special, it doesn't mean you get to kill them easier.

16 In our current game we say "chips." I don't know (or care) how many chips of what size or color constitute 1-barter, all I know is that the local economy uses chips as a medium of exchange. You can say whatever your local economy uses. I don't mind "hey I'll give you a barter if you stop punching me," either, it doesn't do my immersion any harm.

17 Obligations are gigs. When you're moonlighting, you choose how many gigs to work, including obligations. An unworked obligation is just an obligation you didn't choose to work.

18 Maybe. Or maybe the savvyhead gets a thorough redesign. Or maybe you should embrace the fiat!

20 It just means loading your gun with the ap ammo.

21 I don't understand this question at all! Ask it again, in different words, please?

Thanks for the suggestions, and if I missed any questions, just point them out to me, I'll be happy to answer.

I'm glad you enjoyed it!

-Vincent
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juliusz
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« Reply #7 on: January 04, 2010, 02:42:00 PM »

Thanks for answers!

5 & 6.  And when you create countdowns, do you create just one countdown for the whole Front, or separate countdowns for every/some Threats? I guess it depends, but maybe it's somehow better (more efficient, easier to manage during the game or smth) to create Fronts for which only one countdown is enough. (hope to try the just-one-countdownd way soon)

7. Well, maybe it is already, I'm just not sure. Correct me if i'm reading it wrong, OK? The situation is fight, one side of which are Morgan's gang and Pity, the second one Sitting Bull's gang, and both gangs are medium sized. Let's say it's 9 o'clock, so we have the battle. During first tick both gangs inflict harm upon themselves, and Pity uses pain wave projector. Because it's medium range, we decide that both gangs get that harm (which is no harm actually, because of  their size, and armor piercing doesn't matter in that case, right?). So, in next tick, Morgan decides to order his people fire at everyone at the field, including Pity (because she's attacking his people, ain't she, treacherous bitch), and then both she and enemy's gang get appropriate harm, right? So, for Morgan it's just one move to attack them both, and also for Sitting's Bull gang, incidentally (so Pity's pretty fucked).
If in the first tick Sitting Bull's people were attacking both Morgan and Pity, she would suffer normal harm according to p. 94 rules.

14. But at the beggining of the game it's possible to have more than one Want, right? (I'm thinking about p. 85, choosing both filthy and unwell and decadent and perverse population, that'd be +disease, +savagery and really nice situation)

15. Then, considering seizing someone's life by force, rolling 7 and chosing "you take definite hold of it" is not enough. That's fine, just wanted to be sure about that.

17. Oh. Yeah, makes perfect sense. Should think about it earlier. For now, that's fine (I'll try to play an operator and see how it works before any follow-up questions).

18. Maybe! But if you don't mind, I'd prefer redesign; it would be more convenient to not be forced to use GM fiat only for that character, I think. Maybe it's just me, though.

21. Well, part of that is in 14. Now, let's imagine I'm creating followers for Hocus, p. 83. I choose "psychic antenna", surplus +augury, "joyous and celebratory", surplus +party, and then I take "aren't really your's, more like you're their's", want +judgement and "disdain fashion, luxury and convention", want +disease. How to handle that situation? Which surpluses and wants I begin the game with (what are the possibilities here)?
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lumpley
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« Reply #8 on: January 06, 2010, 06:36:26 AM »

Sure thing.

5&6. Don't set false limits. Anything that wants its own countdown, give it its own countdown. Anything that doesn't, don't. I usually set 1-3 per front, but there's no target to shoot for.

7. Yeah, Pity's pretty fucked. (Someone pointed out to me once that "area" should mean that it inflicts its harm even on larger gangs, I mean that's the point of a machine gun, and they're right. So her painwave grenade might actually give her a chance.)

14. Yes.

18. I love that particular bit of fiat, but the savvyhead isn't working out how I hoped in other ways. You'll probably get your wish. But I'm going to see if I can't also preserve the fiat.

(It's not fiat, strictly speaking, although it makes me grin to call it that. It's aesthetic judgment on the MC's part, to which the MC is legitimately entitled and which is well-supported by the game, if not yet by the game text.)

21. You'd list your followers as fortune+1, surplus: 1-barter augury party, want: desertion judgment disease.

When you roll fortunes, on a 10+ they have surplus, so you get 1-barter, they augur, and they party. On a 7-9 they have surplus but choose 1 want, so you get 1-barter, they augur, and they party, plus they desert you, judge you, or get sick, your choice. On a miss, they're in want, so they desert you, judge you, AND get sick.

I'm still not sure I get your question. Have I answered it?

-Vincent
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juliusz
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« Reply #9 on: January 10, 2010, 08:11:26 AM »

5&6 - oh, I wasn't thinking about rules constraints or anything like that. Just wonder what will work best for me.

7 - yeah, in general it could. Not in this case, though, because of size differences. (you mean adding another tag or wording to area tag similar to armor piercing, ignoring size effect or at least part of it? sounds good, especially for huge Driver's vehicles)

21 - oh, yeah, I get it now. (maybe examples like this would be useful in the text)

Thanks!
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