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[Apocalypse World] Keg of powder

Started by Mikael, November 21, 2009, 03:23:45 PM

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Here's a session I did not have high hopes for. Two months since we last played and feeling very rusty, not to mention very tired due to work and family reasons.

The ideas I had going in were that Mercury the Skinner, a cold-hearted selfish bitch, would find a hapless orphan girl, Jag the Driver would find his tank possessed by the spirit from the Car Mountain, and Snow Queen the Battlebabe would be asked to kill the holding's second in command. Most specifically, I did not have any special apocalyptic imagery prepared, like the one from the previous session: a mist-shrouded bunker for processing corpses, perched between two great pits full black, leafless trees that slowly drip blood from the tips of their branches.

I also had some goals around the kind of things I wanted to happen: I wanted the players to become more proactive, not just reacting to stuff, and perhaps also connect more with some of the NPCs.

In the end, one of the players did not make it until the session was almost ended, so there were just the two players for Mercury and Jag. Great for focus, less so for getting surprising results from mixing the inputs from the different players.

Apocalypse World is just great for a lot of action in a short session, especially when the GM does what I suppose he or she is supposed to: leave room for player initiative, and wring the maximum juice out of that initiative through not blocking, focusing on details and hitting hard when the players fail their rolls. So, lots of other stuff happened as well, but here's couple of scenes I want to focus on, now.

In the first, Mercury goes to the hardholder Nbeke, on her own volition, to express concern about the tension between Nbeke and his lieutenant Allison (all NPCs). She fails a roll. To reduce my cognitive load while GMing, I have a random-generated list of the GM moves ready, and simply go through it one by one when the players fail their rolls. The item at the top of the list is capture someone. Although it messes up with everything I had imagined prior to play, I go along and have Nbeke say: "Tension? There's no tension anymore." Then he points out the window of his command tower, and Mercury sees Allison swinging there in a cage.

In another scene, Jag wants to read a charged situation. True to sample in the book, I say that I did not really know whether the situation was charged, but it certainly is now. Jag succeeds, and determines that the Allison loyalists among the holding's contingent of violence-prone fucking hyeenas have a leader, Balls. His position is now precarious, and we learn that through sheer obstinancy, he's been the one protecting Jag from the attentions of the sadistic leader of all the hyeenas, Gnarly. Then, because Jag's got nothing better to do, he goes to Nbeke to warn him that Allison loyalists are still active, and when Nbeke thanks him and promises to handle the situation, goes back to Balls and warns him that Nbeke is about to do something...

Then, in the last relevant scene, Jag and Mercury are chasing Jag's tank around the holding in the middle of the night in Jag's beautiful, belowed Jaguar. This is the second night in a row that the tank's been driving around the holding, and the guards on the wall are pissed off, taking pot shots at the two cars. Jag blows a roll, and my list tells me to activate their stuff's downside. So I tell that his picky Jaguar chokes after being hit once. Laughter echoes from the wall, most likely Gnarly's. True to the driver stereotype, Jag is pretty upset. He takes his assault rifle to the roof of the dormitory building and shoots Gnarly.

Thus, in three short and sweet scenes, the players have placed the keg and lit the fuse. Highly satisfying session. I am really curious to see what happens next.
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Great! Thank you.

It seems like it's working well, yeah? Any questions or problems, be sure to let me know.