Tuesday, November 22, 2016

'Pedes, Pup & Pump-can (Apocalyptic Dispatches from Parcher's Pt. 2)

Hopefully these man-sized millipedes will haunt my player's dreams...

Got in our third session of Apocalypse-World. Not quite as action-packed as the last, but I did some poking, prodding and prep for what's to come (if you're playing the drinking game, take a double for my overuse of alliteration...).

First, prep work. I didn't do Love Letters for this game, but I did take some time to type up my threats and then brainstormed 40+ bits of apocalyptica so I'd be ready to better fulfill the MC principle of "Barf Forth Apocalyptica" (goes without saying that my players shouldn't click to see the full list, but the rest of you are welcome to). I may not ever use all of these but it helped me when I ran to push things a little further.

A photo posted by Zack Schwartz (@thatwordyguy) on

We opened with Pinky, Man, Thirteen, Ludo and Bolts headed up to Roark's abandoned hard-hold; Bolts was in his van, Man had borrowed a bike from one of the deceased of Pinky's gang, while Ludo rode with Pinky on her bike and Thirteen took up her sidecar, at least until a miss on a scouting roll gave me an excuse to Announce Future Badness by having the group realize they were about to run into a Bullet Rain storm. The group split, with everyone but Pinky abandoning bikes for the van as they tried to race to shelter. A few rolls later, and I had Seperate(d) Them, with the van reaching a barb wire fence and rusted metal gate, having lost the bikes, who found an abandoned gas station and then the burnt out remnants of a car with a lockbox full of gold bars in the trunk.

Ludo tore the gate open, but without the bikers, the others stalled when they saw a person duck down in a dump-truck armored with plates and spikes and caught a glimpse of 4-6ft long millipedes in an old animal pen. I had hoped to tempt Ludo, Thirteen, Man and Bolts into going in without Pinky and the gang, but apparently they only saw the danger and did not feel bold enough to act without prompting. Pushing the players to be a little more reckless will have to move up my list for next session.

So the van crew drove back and found Pinky and her bikers and returned. Thirteen reached out to radio when they got back to Roark's and got a vision of a small chapel filled with melted candles and wax, then the vision dived down so that Thirteen could see hundreds of giant millipedes writhing below.

Ludo decided to go up to the dump-truck and met Pup, apparently an 8 year old boy wearing fake dog ears with a gas mask slung around his neck. Pup imprinted quickly on Ludo and the group learned that he and his Pop arrived a few weeks ago, but Pop died after being bitten by a pede. Pup told the PCs that the supplies where in the basement bunker of a ruined farmhouse in the compound and offered the dump-truck, called the Beast, to Ludo. One of the things that Apocalypse World 2nd edition improved is the vehicle rules. Not only are their vehicle moves for more than just the Driver playbook, but the improved the way you stat out vehicles, creating them like you would a Threat. So, here are the stats for The Beast... (and yes, cagey fucker, is taken from the vehicle creation rules)

    • FRAME=Construction (Dump Truck)
    • STRENGTHS=Huge, Capacious
    • LOOK= Cobbled Together, Spikes & Plates
    • WEAKNESS=Loud, Guzzler
    • MASSIVE=3
    • ARMOR=2
    • HANDLING=0

Bolts explored a machine shop and gathered up some spikes and nails, while the others gathered up the supplies from the bunker, finding cans of 'Pump'can' (or to paraphrase one of my players, "Zack just thought up the most disgusting food he could imagine and it was pumpkin"), burlap sacks of rice, a few of which had gone bad, and canisters of 'Grit', a soylent like food substitute powder. The PCs loaded the supplies into the back of the Beast and headed back to Parcher's

As they approached the gates of the hardhold, they were met by Dremmer, Parcher's second in command, who told Man that things had gotten bad, that Parcher was paranoid and lashing out and when Man had a miss on his "Read a Person" roll to see if Dremmer was on the up and up, I took the opportunity to Offer an opportunity with a cost... as Man realized that Dremmer was hinting that Man should step up, take Parcher out and become the hardholder and if he wasn't willing to to that, that she at least wanted him to back her up if push came to shove with Parcher.

The session ended with the PCs meeting back up with Parcher, who insisted on using up some of the supposedly scarce supplies of the hardhold to throw a party after asking the PCs if they'd used the tower at Roark's hardhold to get a view of the surroundings (left unsaid, the PCs did not find a tower or a remnant or sign of a tower at 'Roark's'...). Pinky's gang broke out into fights (they are violent bastards with no fucking discipline after all), which Pinky took bets on, but then they heard screams as millipedes attack some of the hardholders and Man arrived on scene to watch Parcher get bit killed by the 'pedes, putting him in the bind of having to decide if he is going to step up and be the hardholder or not.

Not as much action as I had thought would spool out, as the players didn't take some of the bait, but I maneuvered them into a tight spot to start next session, with threats inside and outside the hardhold and some hard choices to make about whether they stand and fight or if they run.

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