Autore Topic: [English] Apocalypse World: Dark Age First Playtest  (Letto 1487 volte)

Matteo Suppo

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Yesterday we played a one-shot in order to get a taste of what to expect in the upcoming campaign.

I will venture in great detail, so pick a coffee, some relaxing music (like heavy metal), and don’t forget to breath.

Introducing the players
Matteo (yes, me!): I am an experienced player and MC of Apocalypse World. I’m way better as an MC because it’s easier when you have lots of characters.

Gabriele: He played a lot of games like D&D, girsa, ciberpunk, stormbringer, call of chthulu. He worked in a play by chat, built one. He went to knudepunt e larp symposyum, but he never played Apocalypse World.

Mauro: He started with The Ancestral Trailed. After years and years I started playing less and less without really knowing why, until I passed to Dogs in The Vineyard and Stuff

Michele: born as a chess player, he fell in love with boardgames. Then he found out about roleplaying games and started publishing them (and playing them, of course). He published Apocalypse World in italian, so of course he knows it.

The favourite part
I’m putting this at the top because I think it’s better to read everything with this opinions in mind

Matteo (still me!): My favourite part was creating a monster on the fly, while chatting in character with a player. It’s really evocative and easy (I hate numbers!).

Gabriele: I really liked the collective world-building. I don’t know if this is specific to Dark Age or if it’s an Apocalypse World feature, but it was neat to see the input of everyone weaving together.

Mauro: I liked the interaction between characters (even if we didn’t play long). The questions of Take Stock and The Sight are very interesting, and I think that the latter could make for great fiction.

Michele: Oh, the Charms and Enchantments! I loved them.

The least favourite part
Matteo: I was a bit at a loss at the beginning. I found it difficult to find something interesting to say. I probably missed something in the character creation (the coherent contrast).

Gabriele: Well, we were in places completely different. It’s hard when for the most of the time you just watch the others play. That, and also I don’t understand the move Commanding Presence of the Trollkiller.

Mauro: The way you keep track of XP is mental. You have to check through you sheet all the time to see if you have reached 7. We need a place to keep track of the XP number. Also I found the character creation odd, but it’s probably because I arrived late and couldn’t read anything before.
But there IS a lot of stuff to choose and pick. Also, why create 4 relevant NPC from the start? Would they all ever come in play, if every character has that many NPC? And would a player put them into play? I did it because they interested me, but I don’t know how another player would do.

Michele: I second the XP thing. Also, we took a LOT of time to create the characters, and I don’t understand where things went wrong.

The most surprising part
Matteo: The pace of the game sounded a lot less frantic than Apocalypse World. We only played one session, so it could only be an impression.

Gabriele: Actually there was no real surprise. I didn’t have any expectations. I created a Trollkiller, I traveled and found that there was a Troll to kill. Sounded familiar to me.

Mauro: I was surprised that in a few scene there was a well defined mood. I don’t know how much was conveyed by the game or by the player, but I could really imagine things in my head. The circle of stone, with arms and armors in the middle, the ceremonies.

Michele: The mood. I expected something different, gritter and noirer, but of course, we only made a few scenes, and I nearly bled myself dry to save a poor fucker, so maybe I’m not seeing things in perspective.

The timeline
We spent a LOT of time making characters, much more than I expected, but we also had external problems.
We played by hangout. We should have been 5, but one had a fever and the other couldn’t connect. We enlisted Mauro to meet the minimum players quota.
21:00 The hangout started and people begin to arrive.
22:15 The characters were almost done and we started to present them and draw the map
22:50 We started the oaths
23:00 We finally began to play
00:20 We finished to play and debriefed

The characters
Gabriele created a Trollkiller named Lura Might (Rank 5), with two big bite scars, from a family of monster hunters, full of equipment like a tank, with connections to a farmsteader, a midwife, a garrison captain and a priestess. He sworn to follow Machel and to teach Laco (something about killing things, we presume).

Mauro created a Dragon Herald named Laco Strong (Rank 4), with dark skin and wild hair, owning a lot of land around and mostly comprising the Sharp Village (see Machel below). He also had the first rights to the hunters’ catch. He meets his followers (families of most ancient pagan blood right and peasants) in a circle of stone which he believes were part of a bigger and ancient temple. He sworn to save Lura from evil, and sworn to Machel to see them triumph.

Michele created a WickerWise named Machel Sharp (Rank 5), bony, pale skin and long black hair. She meets with her student Robber in a secret place in the forest, a circle of stone with images of gods and hearth and stars. She has the blood right over the Sharp village, but don’t really want it. She also has tributes from the grateful, because she heals and perform miracles for them. She sworn to guide Lura well, and to protect the life of Laco.

We created this beautiful map: which is in italian but it doesn’t matter.

During the creation of the character I searched for contrasts: I asked the Trollkiller about a place where people didn’t wanted to go, and here is the desolated north, a cold desert of barren land called “The flat with nothing but crevasses”. But it didn’t come into play. I was excited to find out that Machel had blood-right over the Sharp Clan, but that Laco was the ruler of the whole region, but it didn’t come into play, because the characters were basically allies. One contrast I used is the border with a foreign land. One error I realized we made is that we didn’t add the population numbers to the map. That and also there weren’t enough contrasts.

The first rolls
I didn’t know how to start, so we started with the Fortunes roll. One error I realized I made is that I should have probably describe the passing of the seasons, like for example “The winter solstice is getting closer, and snow is falling on the higher peaks”.

Machel started with a 9, having Obligation from the Sharp Village as Want. I waited to see the roll of Laco to decide something.
Lura followed with a 7, so he decided the garrison captain would call for Help as Want. I asked him how he asked for help, and he said that he has a complex system of communications between the people he helped, and if someone doesn’t check in once a month, someone would search for him.
Laco rolled a 9, and chose Outlawry as Want. I decided to merge the things and said that because of a bandit attack someone in the Sharp family was killed, and I asked Machel who it was. She said it was Masio, the husband of one of her many sisters.

The first sboing
I started with her describing how another sister was sent to search for her to celebrate the funeral and asked what would she do. She of course said “Well, I will go”. I felt there was something wrong. I could hear the SBOING of something that didn’t hit. Probably because it wasn’t an MC move.

The invaded garrison
I decided to change character and focused on Lura, describing how he arrived at the fortress and could see from a distance a lot of tents and shacks. Show evidence of what’s coming. He said he would check them out and find someone to talk. I suggested to roll for Take Stock, and he did with a 7.
He asked “why are they here?” and “Upon what and whom should I not rely”? I answered that people would tell him that they are running away from a plague and that he should not trust the people armed because they clearly did something to the garrison people, he could not see them everywhere.

He then decided to mingle with them to search for the captain. I suggested using the move Take your Bearings, and he rolled a 9

“How might I access to these people secrets? Or, how could I discovered what happened to the garrison?”. I answered that probably he could offer them his boarspear as a mercenary, and I also explained that he would discover easily that the garrison was overwhelmed and retreated in the forests, fighting guerrilla. The invaders are stalled in this place.

“How could I have their undivided attention?” Well, I said, you are a troll killer. Bring them a troll head. Gabriele was dubious “Where could I find a troll, here?”. I didn’t have to answer but mentally I decided that the plague was brought by some sort of monster.

The war plan
I switched to Laco and said him that there were bandits and if he wanted to do something about them. He said he would consult with his most important followers, and I asked where. “In the stone circle. There are my loyal foremost, Demiana, the most impatient, Quintus, and the most devoted, his sister Martine. We stand in a circle with arms and armor at the center of the circle”

I decided to Have someone act impulsively and Quintus said “I say we search every fucking inch of the forests, find the bandits and hang them.” The player asked for other opinions to Demiana and I Offered an Opportunity, with or without a cost, by saying that on the Montagnazza (Awful mountain) someone saw them and maybe it would be worth a try to search there. He asked if Martine had something to say but I said that she would not have any idea, only would approve of what has been decided. It wan’t easy having to juggle three characters I still had to know, and so I failed to see the possible contrasts, like “What the fuck is martine doing here if she doesn’t even cohoperate?”

Laco decided to storm the mountain. I then suggested this was an excellent time to Take Stock on the situation. He rolled a 9 (never a failure, never an MC joy).
“How might I move forward most quickly, and how most safely?”. I answered that probably I small elite team would be better if a mountain has to be climbed without being noticed.
“Where am I strong, and where am I weak”. I answered that well, he didn’t have any proper soldier. He only has farmers, peasants, that sure, know how to hold a pitchfork, but that’s far from bein a warrior. On the bright side, people will probably fight harder because there is their land at stake.

The retcon
I went back to Machel, and I was at a loss. I couldn’t think of anything. I started asking her how do they celebrate funerals (dumping bodies in the lake with stones to keep them down). I stopped everything and said that probably I should have made things better. We decided it was ok to retcon. Masio isn’t dead, only very injured. He has an arrow in the chest and they didn’t manage to remove it. It was established that there was a contrast in the family, mostly because they worshipped different gods. They would worship the gods of the river, and she would worship the gods of the lands. So when they went to her to ask for help I was Offering an opportunity.

She said she would send away all men (but not the women), aside from Masio, of course, and Robber, which had to learn. She would then perform the Healing Charm. There was a bit of confusion about how many sacrifices she had to make. She decided to cut her arms and I said “there’s one sacrifice missing”, and suggested she could cut Robber. She said “yes, it’s time he understands”. But of course when she understood that he could live only another day she decided to make a ceremony instead. There was a sacrifice missing “The ceremony will last long, a few hours” “That’s the default, is not a sacrifice” “Well then, I will cut my other arm and lose lots of blood”.

She managed to remove the arrow, in the awe of her sisters and whil Robber was sweating SO HARD. Then I described that when Masio opened his eyes his wife got up and almost hug Machel. “Why almost?” “Well, you’re covered in blood and also maybe she thinks it would not be proper, what do you do?” I offered an opportunity, mostly because I was interested in seeing how would she behave with her sisters. She didn’t hug her back, but began to speak about the gods of the earth and how they can talk to you. I stopped her and asked if she was Drawing them Out. She rolled a 9.

“How can I get them to believe in the earth gods?” “Well, you could say that the river gods didn’t help Masio because they want people to be buried in them.” She like the answer very much and told them that exact thing, with a lot more flourishing of words, of course.

“What’s their feeling on this?” “The youngest one is frightened, she would probably not take a bath in the river for a while. The others think about it, and after some of them will approach you and ask to pray with you.”

She was very glad.

“How about smaller than that?”
We realized that the Lura has the Reputation move, and he decided to use it, by going to the most important person here. I describe him as eating with his hand a large piece of roasted something. He rolls a 9 (I swer we all used different dice). He said he has heard he is from a trollkiller family and he recently killed a huge one. He rolled the enourmous skull on the table (I say jokingly “And the skull is the smaller part of them!”. I say that the big boss is impressed (I forgot to name him) and he says “How good are you with something smaller?” In the meantime I was creating a monster. this one vomits poisons into springs and wells. Lura took this like it was a job interview, and stated he can easily kill any human.

“How about smaller than that?” And his expression is confused. this one is made of living shadows, intangible except as it chooses.

“We are running away, but it is following us. It’s poisoning our food and wells, we had to send people searching for clean water. Someone saw it, it’s like a small shadow of something horrible.

“I will hunt it” decides Lura.

The meeting
Laco decided to meet Machel and I asked where. They met just after the ceremony, outside the house. “I’m going to the Montagnazza to fight the bandits” and in the meantime decided to roll The Sight (with a 9, OF COURSE).
“Of what are you most deeply afraid?” “Disappointing the gods of the earth, because I’m putting all my soul into them”

Machel replies to the invitation of Laco “I will come with you, but I want a prisoner”
“With Masio’s wound you certainly has the right, what will you do with them?”
“You can call it ‘larder’” she pick some blood from her wounds, licks her fingers “larder”
“We will depart tomorrow at sunrise.”

And we finished here the game.
Volevo scrivere qualcosa di acido ma sono felice :(