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[Apocalypse World] The Sacred Mentality and its Thousand Eyes

Started by Steve Segedy, February 28, 2010, 03:49:35 PM

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Steve Segedy

For the last few weeks our group has been running an Apocalypse World playtest, and I thought it was time to put up some actual play. Our group is 5 players plus the MC (me), and we play once a week for 2 a two-hour session. So far we've played four sessions, and have really just gotten started.

To begin this thread I'll cover character creation and the first two sessions, and if that proves useful to folks, I can write up the other sessions.  I'll also post some of our group's reactions and feedback on the game. 


From our initial discussions about the game, none of us were very jazzed by the idea of the psychic maelstrom as a pervasive, paranormal element and so we agreed that we'd treat the mechanic in a more subtle, individual way (flashes of relevant memories, intuition, reading signs in the wasteland, etc.). This is also reflected in the fact that most of the players avoided choosing the Weird-based moves for their characters (the Hocus being the exception).

Dizzy (the Angel) is a scrawny little dude with a goofy grin and a satchel full of medical shit at his side. He drives an ancient ambulance which has been modified to accommodate his lab, and he's the main supplier for recreational drugs in the area. Folks call him "Dr. Ambulance".
Moves: Infirmary, Battlefield Grace

Dust Horse (the Hocus) is a transgressive prophet, the leader of group ("the People") who see him as the instrument of a higher power- the Sacred Mentality, who brought the apocalypse by closing its thousand eyes that see sweet things and leaving open its thousand eyes that see only wretched despair. Dressed in tattered raiment and grime, Dust Horse has a graceful form and a forgiving, benevolent countenance. 
Moves: Fortune (insight, 2 barter / judgment, savagery), Charismatic, and Frenzy

Montana (the Chopper) is a weathered, beaten-looking biker with weary eyes and a wiry frame, dressed in rough, vintage leathers. She's as tough as stone and the alpha of a nomadic, filthy gang called "The End." 
Moves: Pack Alpha, Fucking Thieves; Gang: Well-disciplined, Nomadic, Diseased

Pandora (the Skinner) is a striking Asian woman in well-oiled leather, her exposed skin covered in spectacular tattoos- her particular art. She is breathtakingly beautiful, and perfectly out of place in the wasteland. She's spent the last few years traveling across the wasteland to the West, taking work where she could find it. 
Moves: Breathtaking, Hypnotic

Quinn (the Driver) is a stocky man with a mohawk and a buck leather vest over a bare chest. He wears military pants and boots and keeps a shotgun near at hand, in or out of his cars. He makes his living driving escort across the wastes, using either his gorgeous 1979 Plymouth Thunderbird ("Bernice") or his toughened Chevy Suburban ("Precious") with its mortars and armor plating to get the job done. 
Moves: No Shit Driver, My Other Car is a Tank

Session One

We created four of the characters in our first session, and that along with talking about the game took most of our time. By the end we had established Hx and determined that the characters are highly mobile- Dust Horse's followers are a caravan of old VW buses full of scavengers- and that we would begin with them on the road.

Dust Horse turned out to be the focal point for the start of the game- he and his followers were returning from a pilgrimage at "The Sacred Mentality" (Sacremento) to Berzerkley. Along the way Dust Horse had hired Quinn to provide escort and Pandora to serve as his "gift" to the holding's governor on their return. Payment on delivery, of course.

Along the way they were found and surrounded by Montana and her wretched biker gang. They threatened to attack, and Quinn- having history with Montana (he blew up her old gang) – was ready for a fight. However, Dust Horse convinced Montana that they didn't have much and that greater rewards would be theirs if they followed the caravan to Berzerkley. She agreed, and her gang made nice with the People. Pandora promptly took Montana's number one guy, Squire, into her tent so that she could get her hooks into him.

Session Two

Between sessions we added our fifth character, Dizzy the Angel, and so we started the second session by reevaluating Hx for the group. It turned out that Dizzy knew Dust Horse and Montana a bit, and had an interest in finding them on the road. 

We opened, however, with a scene of Dizzy coming out of a shithouse in Berzerkley, only to see a methed-out mechanic named Kilo [Announce future badness] coming his way. Dizzy tried to slip away [act under fire, failed], but Kilo cornered him in the stall and laid into him with a wrench [Inflict Harm]. Dizzy defended himself, not really fighting back, while looking for a way out [read charged situation]. He ended up climbing up over the wall of the outhouse stall to get away [act under fire].

Shifting back to the others, the caravan ground to a halt when they met the biker gang- Dust Horse's followers were feeling disillusioned and angry at him [failed Fortunes move => Savagery and Judgement], and decided to stop where they were (some ruins along the road) and make camp. This made Quinn nervous, as they were exposed, and he tried (and failed) to convince Dust Horse of this from within the safe confines of his truck. 

For her part, Dust Horse was more concerned that the filthy bikers would make his people sick. She confronted Montana, telling her to keep her gang away from the People [manipulate, failed]. They argued, and Montana pulled out her bullwhip to intimidate the crazy prophet [going Aggro]. This backfired as Dust Horse [forced her hand, took harm] took the lashing and then grabbed for the whip and they fought [seize by force]. Dust Horse took a beating, but managed to freak Montana out sufficiently that she decided to back off [impress, dismay or frighten].

Meanwhile Pandora had some intimate time with Squire (Montana's right hand guy), giving him a tattoo and plenty of time to fall for her. [Hypnotic] . Not long after, Quinn approached Pandora – quite possibly to irritate Squire- and invited her to join him for the remainder of the trip in his truck. She agreed and shortly the truck became a sex-wagon [Pandora scoring a free Hypnotize on Quinn with her sex move]

Around this time Dizzy arrived in his ambulance [a mobile Infirmary with a crew] to do some business with Dust Horse's caravan, having skirted the edge of a wildfire on the hills. One of his crew, a legless old chemist named Gandalf, opened the side of the vehicle like an ice cream truck and they started selling drugs to cultists and bikers alike. 

Montana heard the sound of engines on the wind [Announce future badness] and considered whether she wanted to hang around for a fight or hit the road [read charged situation]. She opted to take her gang and leave the cultists to their fate. 

Squire protested at the idea of leaving without his new squeeze, Pandora, and realizing that she was rocking the springs in Quinn's truck, he was ready to do murder. Montana was forced to knock him out cold in front of her people in order to get them all moving [Pack Alpha move]. Dizzy, who had some history with Montana from long ago, elected to leave with her, striking a bargain for protection in exchange for hauling the unconscious Squire and treating the diseased gang.

Hearing the roar of departing engines, Quinn leapt half-dressed out of his truck to find out what was going on. Knowing they were in trouble, he tried and failed to intimidate the People into packing up and leaving [going Aggro]. At this point, the rival biker gang sprung their ambush [Cunning Attack?], rising out of the dumpsters and hollowed shells of buildings all around the caravan, weapons in hand. A large, scarred up biker boss named Compton rolled into view, chuckling. 

Dust Horse spoke to Compton, trying to convince him to leave them alone [Manipulate, partial success; initially he wanted to Frenzy the bikers, but I ruled that they weren't a "mob"]. Compton agreed to leave the People unharmed in exchange for what he really wanted- his old enemy Quinn. Dust Horse agreed.

The bikers opened fire [Do Harm] on Quinn as he ran for his truck [acting under fire, aided by a bonus from Pandora's hold] . Pandora leapt into the driver seat to start driving the truck [also acting under fire; although they both succeeded, I misinterpreted the rules and harmed them anyway, to the tune of 3-Harm + 1 for gang size] Quinn, caught outside his truck, was hurt badly, but leapt into the backseat of the speeding vehicle. 

As they raced down the road, the bikers continued to attack, firing a rocket-propelled grenade at the truck. Quinn fired back with his own mortars [seizing a getaway by force, frightening the enemy]. Pandora struggled to navigate the explosions [acting under fire, forced to make a hard choice]. She chose to swerve hard and avoid taking harm herself, even though Quinn was thrown from the vehicle. She drove off and left him for dead, even as the gang fell back and let them go.

We ended here. Quinn had taken a total of six Harm, which would have killed him; he elected to take the Disfigured debility, putting him at 11:00 on the harm track. He was bleeding out, alone, without his truck, and filled with anger at Pandora.

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Sounds awesome - I REALLY want to play this now. Were there difficulties in starting Dizzy so separated from the others? Or did you just handwave his getting from bezerkly to the ruins?

Steve Segedy

Mostly hand waved it- they were just a few hours from Berzerkley, and we decided- based on Hx- that he knew where Dust Horse and his people were.  The People are good customers, so he had reason to go find them. 
The Shab-al-Hiri Roach and Grey Ranks, available now at IPR!