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Messages - theloneamigo

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brainstorming & development / Re: Apocalypse World + Planet Algol
« on: July 05, 2011, 02:32:58 AM »
Woo! I am deeply in love with this.

This is pretty awesome. One question - some of the races get specific moves or stat bonuses as their racial benefit, while others only get the ability to have a specific stat bonus as an advance. How does this balance out?

You can find the current rule set here. It's very much a work in progress.

Anyone who plays the hack or sends me comments about it will receive access to the special Planetary Governor playbook, which can present an alternate frame of play from the standard Space-Adventures-in-a-Big-Ship frame.

Of specific interest to other hackers designing space opera hacks may be the ship rules, which are based around the principle of building ships like characters from playbooks.

Media that inspires the hack.

Rogue Trader: Apocalypse / Re: Ship battle moves
« on: July 03, 2011, 02:05:22 AM »
To be honest... we haven't actually had a proper ship-to-ship battle in the game yet, so the rules in the document are completely unplaytested. I haven't really yet finalised how they work, or even finished writing the rules.

That said, what's in the document doesn't fully explain what I'm picturing at the moment. I see ship battles as taking place on an Agon-style positioning chart - a two-dimensional representation of the various ships' relative positions - with "close" range being 0-2 increments away and "far" range being 3-4 increments. Boarding actions take place at 0-range, torpedoes and bombers probably move 3-increments per tick. Ticks are pretty much similar to AW battle ticks, but without the clock, as the positioning chart sort of renders it irrelevant; everyone gets to take one concrete action per tick.

Ship scale works as in AW - small ships inflict -1 harm and take +1 harm against medium ships, and so on. This is why Rogue Traders with small ships get no obligation endeavours; they're bloody dangerous to fly about in.

The current void battle moves array - manuever, brace, broadside, and ram - isn't entirely complete; I need moves that cover evading oncoming fire (Profile), launching torpedoes (Power), directing fighter squadrons (either Hard, Sharp, or Augury; haven't decided yet) and boarding actions (Hard from the boarding action's leader).

Notes about various moves:
  • The ability to fire lances while maneuvering is meant to represent their status as precision weapons, and give them some advantage over the more powerful battery weapons.
  • Launch a devastating broadside probably only implies using one weapons system, as I feel that firing the whole weapons suite of a ship in one tick seems likely to end the battle far too quickly, especially if we're talking about a naval ship-of-the-line. At least, at the moment. Not really sure about this one; it's a complicated balancing act.

I suspect the whole system will undergo serious revision once it meets the playing field.

I originally pitched this game to my group as Blackadder in Space; not the standard grimdark violence opera that seems to categorise most of the 40k universe, but something more along the lines of a British comedy series like Red Dwarf. At least, seems to categorise the 40K universe nowadays - certainly back at its birth, in the old Rogue Trader era, it was written with enormous lashings of dark satire and comic humour - see here.

Of course, the best way to do something funny is to play it reasonably straight, and let comedy emerge from the situation. This has worked well in play, but it's also lent a somewhat more epic, political tone to events - somewhere between Game of Thrones and Red Dwarf, a dynastic adventure dramedy. I think this is probably the sweet spot for Rogue Trader: Apocalypse play; somewhere between light-hearted and grimdark, epic and comic.

Media that directly inspires design & play
Red Dwarf
The Ciaphas Cain novels
Game of Thrones
Mara of the Acoma
The Borgias
The Eisenhorn novels
Into the Maw... on

Rogue Trader: Apocalypse / Re: The Working Rules
« on: June 28, 2011, 04:28:02 AM »
On second thoughts, I see no real reason to keep my hack locked up. You can find it here.

People who traded with me for access will receive a limited edition Planetary Governor playbook as soon as I write it. In addition, I'll send it (or one of the AW LE playbooks I've picked up) to anyone who plays the game, sends me some comments, or otherwise contributes to the hack.

Rogue Trader: Apocalypse / Re: Arch-Militant career book
« on: June 27, 2011, 05:23:03 AM »
This character book has gone through a major revision, along with the rest of the rules.


In this dark and dying age, some individuals fool themselves into thinking that there can still be peace and civilisation and glory and comfort. They armour themselves in faith and lies, blind to the one truth of their time:

In the grim darkness of the far future, there is only war

To create your arch-militant, select origins, name, look, stats, moves, gear, and Rapport.

Homeworld: Death world, war world, hive world, forge world, or void-born

Born to be: Scavenger, stubjack, guardsman, zealot, slave, or criminal

Past glories: Renegade, prisoner, mercenary, warrior, assassin, or officer

Enemies: Orks, heretics, daemons, Eldar, arbites, Inquisitor, rebels, pirates, or xenos

Motivations: Endurance, fortune, vengeance, renown, murder, or pride

Man, woman, eunuch, or transgressing

Savage wear, hiver wear, gang wear, guard wear, officer wear, or power armor

Weathered face, savage face, blunt face, rugged face, scarred face or blasted face

Plasma scars, daemon scars, las scars, major burns, bionic limb, or bionic eye

Cunning eyes, hard eyes, scarred eyes, weary eyes, or mad eyes

Sturdy build, hard build, squat build, enormous build, or compact body

Choose one set:
bold +1 adroit +1 hard +2 charm -1 beyond 0
bold +2 adroit -1 hard +2 charm 0 beyond -1
bold +1 adroit 0 hard +2 charm -1 beyond +1
bold +1 adroit 0 hard +2 charm +1 beyond -1
bold +1 adroit -1 hard +2 charm -1 beyond +2

Choose three:

Stone Cold Killer
You gain +1 Hard. (Hard +3)

A Simple Faith
When you pray for the emperor’s guidance, roll +Hard instead of +Beyond, but only in battle.

Endurance Under Fire
When you defy danger, roll +Hard instead of +Bold.

Weapon Master
Select a weapon type. Whenever you wield that type of weapon in battle, take +1 to any moves you make and inflict +1 harm.

Bare-Handed Slayer
Whenever you’re unarmed or unarmoured, you have 1-armour and inflict 3-harm silent (or s-harm, at your option) with your bare hands.

Avenging Guardian
When the fighting starts, mark someone as your ward. When they come under fire, you can roll +Hard to strike back. On a 10+, you get your ward out of fire, and have a chance to inflict harm on the attacker. On a 7-9, you get your ward of the fire, but suffer the harm of the attack.

Death World Veteran
You count as a company (3-harm small 1-armour) in battle.

Commando Infiltration
At the start of every session, roll +Bold. On a 10+, hold 1+1. On a 7-9, hold 1. Whenever you want to infiltrate somewhere, spend your hold and boom, you’re there. If you hold +1, you take +1 forward on arrival. On a miss, the MC holds 1 over you and can spend it at any time to put you in a spot.

Power Armour
You get power armour (detail), and can wear it without penalty. Add its Strength whenever you seize by force or brandish threats, and add its Mobility whenever you defy danger. Whenever someone hinders you, they add your armour’s Vulnerability.

When you and another character have sex, you both take +1 forward.

You get:
2 custom weapons
1 serious weapon
Fashion worth either 1 or 2-armour at your option

Custom ranged:
Choose base:
Pistol (1-harm hand/close quick)
Rifle (1-harm close/far loud)
Blaster / shotgun (1-harm close area reload messy)
Cannon (2-harm close reload messy)

Options (choose 2):
Bolt (+1harm bolt)
Plasma (+1harm ap plasma explosive)
Inferno (+1harm flame)
Melta (+ap flame)
Las (+ap las )
Heavy (+1harm +messy)
Xenotech (+1harm +xenotech)
Archeotech (+reliable +valuable)
Autofire (+area)
Silenced (-loud)

Custom melee:
Choose base:
Sword (1-harm hand)
Axe (1-harm hand)
Lance (1-harm hand)
Fist (1-harm hand)
Whip (0-harm hand/close entrap)

Options (choose 3):
Power field (+ap power)
Chain (+1harm chain)
Spiked (+1harm)
Elegant (+quick +valuable)
Terrible (+1terror +cursed)
Brutal (+1harm +messy)
Vicious (+1harm)
Shock (+s-harm)
Double-headed (+2harm +unwieldy)
Reliquary (+skulls +valuable)

Serious weapons:
Chainsword (2-harm hand chain)
Bolter (2-harm close/far bolt)
Bolt pistol (2-harm hand/close bolt)
Power sword (1-harm hand ap power)
Sniper rifle (2-harm scope far)
Hellpistol (2-harm hand/close las)
Shotgun (2-harm close area reload messy)

If you selected power armour, choose one of these profiles:
Strength +1 Mobility +1 2-armor Vulnerability +1
Strength +1 Mobility +2 2-armor Vulnerability +2
Strength +2 Mobility 0 2-armor Vulnerability +1
Strength +1 Mobility -1 3-armor Vulnerability +2

On your turn, choose 1 or 2:
One of the other characters has fought beside you in battle. Tell that person History +1.
One of the other characters doesn't understand that their existence is based on violence. Tell that person History -1.

Tell everyone else History +0.

On the others' turns, choose 1 or 2:
You've fought or sparred with one of them. Whatever number they tell you, write down History +3 instead.
One of them reminds you of a world beyond killing and death. Whatever number they tell you, add +1.

Write down whatever number everyone else tells you.

You’ve fought for many commanders before, but only one truly had your loyalty. Pick one:
Imperial Guard (detail a Lord General)
Holy Inquisition (detail an Inquisitor)
Adeptus Arbites (detail a Judicator or Venator)
Criminal underground (detail a crime lord)
Planetary governor (detail the system)
A rogue trader dynasty (detail the dynasty)

Give them +1 Influence. In addition, pick another of the above organisations; you’ve fought them in battle before, give them -1 Influence.

Take +1 Bold
Take +1 Adroit
Take +1 Beyond
Get a new arch-militant move
Get a new arch-militant move
Get a company (detail) and pack alpha
Get a signature vehicle (detail) and hotshot pilot
Get a move from another career
Get a move from another career

Rogue Trader: Apocalypse / Re: The Working Rules
« on: June 27, 2011, 05:00:29 AM »
This is very much a living hack; if you PM me, I'll send you a link to the current rules; I'd make them openly available, but I've been trading access to them for AW LE playbooks and I'm not sure whether I should make something I traded for exclusive content available for open general consumption.

Rogue Trader: Apocalypse / Building Your Ship: shipbooks
« on: June 27, 2011, 04:57:36 AM »
It's an old cliche, but it's true: in a traveling space opera, the ship really is one of the characters, just as important as the people with faces and voices. When I started designing this hack, I tried to model ship design on Apocalypse World's existing model for creating important things for characters; holdings and gangs and the like. Something about it didn't quite ring true. It works really well in Apocalypse World, but it wasn't quite enough for what I wanted from ship design.

I moved on to a model more like the Rogue Trader RPG, where players would pick hulls, complications, components, weapons, all from a variety of different lists, building the ship out of fictional Lego. It seemed to work alright, but it didn't quite convey character in the way that I wanted it to.

Then, I realised AW already has a model for designing things as important as the ship: character creation through playbooks. This is the model I'm currently running off, where players collaboratively choose a shipbook and design their vessel from the options within.

Example shipbook:

Wrested from the hands of Orks. Salvaged from

To create your salvaged hulk, select name, class, history, looks, persona, components, and weapons.

Choose 1:

Thunderstar, Winterlash, Lightkeeper, Nametaker, Callowblade, Shadowlion, Whiteknife, Swordbreaker, Moonwatcher, Windbearer

Last Whisper of Autumn, Final Moment of Peace, Sword of Fading Light, Eternal Hand of the Emperor, Guardian of Dying Stars, Shadow of Lost Regret


Conquest-class star galleon
1-shield large 3-cargo
Profile -2 Speed =0 Power +1 Augury +1 Warp -1

Jericho-class pilgrim ship
1-shield medium 3-cargo
Profile -1 Speed =0 Power +1 Augury +1 Warp +1

Devastation-class cruiser
2-shield large 1-cargo
Profile -2 Speed +1 Power +1 Augury =0 Warp -1


Age: Great Crusade, Horus Heresy, Post-Heresy, Age of Reclamation, Age of Apostasy, Black Crusde, 38th Millenium

Commanded by: Lord Admiral, Rogue Trader, Chartist Captain, Legendary Pirate, or Inquisitor Lord

Lost in: Glorious battle, tragic battle, terrible accident, planetfall, warp incident, or mysterious circumstances

Found by: Pirates, orks, tyranids, scavengers, xenos, or explorators


Bulky form, scrappy form, crooked form, damaged form, or worldworn form

Worn prow, broken prow, jagged prow or rounded prow

Shattered spires, alien spires, ruined spires, or restored spires

Dynastic colour scheme, naval colour scheme, pirate colour scheme, alien colour scheme, or faded colour scheme

Choose 1:

Impluse: to evade, to retreat
Benefit: When you want to get the hell out of there, roll +Speed. On a 10+, you’re gone. On a 7-9, you can stay or go, but if you go choose 1:
You suffer 3-damage as the engine coils rupture.
You must abandon something precious.
You’re easily tracked by your foes.

Impluse: to break down, to be demanding
Benefit: The ship gets +1 Power and +1 Speed when it’s not broken down.

Impluse: to become more alien
Benefit: The ship gets one xenotech component; see xenotech component list.

Impluse: to conceal secrets, to reveal tragedy
Benefit: The ship gets +1 Profile.

Choose 2:

Ancient Chapel-Barracks
This ancient ship was once blessed to carry a company of Space Marines. Start with +1 Influence with a Space Marine chapter of your choice. When you walk within its walls and offer a prayer to the Primarchs, take +1 forward on a boarding action or planetary assault.

Blessed Teleportarium
When you activate the teleportarium, roll +Warp. On a 10+, you arrive on target. On a 7-9, you arrive, but choose 1:
Your passage through the immaterium seems like an eternity of torture, suffer 2-terror.
The teleportarium matrix scrambles your internal organs, suffer 2-harm ap.
You arrive disorientated and sickened, take -1 ongoing until you can rest.
Your beacon malfunctions, leaving you dangerously off-target.

On a miss, you’ve seen Star Trek. Anything could happen here.

Dorian-pattern Shield Matrix
When you brace for impact, add +1 shield on top of the move’s normal effects.

Ellison-pattern Cognition Circuit
Your ship is equipped with an ancient and heretical Ellison-pattern cognition circuit, allowing its Machine Spirit true sapience. It may converse with a few select members of the command crew, but if it is discovered by an Inquisitor, it will earn you immediate sanction.

The interior of the ship is laid out according to schematics and plans that evade comprehension, creating a maze-like tangle of facilities and passageways that will entrap the unwary. Take +1 to resist boarding actions, and auguries cannot accurately penetrate the interior of your vessel.

Choose 2:

Sunhammer Lance
2-damage close/far lance

Ryza-pattern Plasma Battery
4-damage close battery

Pharos-pattern Las Battery
3-damage close/far battery

Movidus-pattern Missile Battery
4-damage close/far reload battery

Tolling Bell-pattern Bombardment Cannon
3-damage close battery bombardment

Torpedo Tubes
2-damage penetrating ordnance torpedoes

Discover a weapon system
Discover a salvaged hulk component
Discover a salvaged hulk component
Install a component from another shipbook
Install a component from another shipbook
Clean out a cargo hold (+1cargo)

Example ship from play.

Here is what I've done so far; a somewhat more elaborate set of rules inspired by Tael's rules and Matt Wilson's rules in his Vanguard hack. They're more elaborate because the social setting of Rogue Trader is more elaborate, and I hope the rules work to convey that sensation.

In actual play, the rules haven't lead to an impersonalisation of organisations as I feared - I think to do it, do it covers this ground fairly well. To further avoid this, I asked players to detail who their contacts were in organisations when they drew on influence moves, and what they do to earn their favour.

One of the main differences between Apocalypse World and this hack is that the characters aren't playing in a completely broken down world; they're often working within the rigid, decadent, decaying social order of the Imperium of Mankind. The media that inspires play in this space are things like Game of Thrones or Mara of the Acoma; dynastic fantasies where social interactions can be just as important (and just as deadly) as any open battle. The player characters in Rogue Trader: Apocalypse aren't just playing privateer or explorer in the outer rim - they're playing important parts in the great game of Imperial intrigue.

To convey these elements, it was important to make sure that there was a set of rules for illustrating these environments, just as effectively as Apocalypse World illustrates the violence of a dying and desperate world.

Here's the peripheral social moves that all characters can access:

When you spend time picking out the ideal outfit, costume, or accessories for a social occasion, take +1 forward.

When you’re trying to retain dignity when embarrassed in front of important figures, roll +Charm. On a 10+, your dignity remains mostly intact. On a 7-9, take -1 Influence with all appropriate parties. On a miss, your dignity is that last thing you’ll be worried about.

When you attempt to curry favour with an important figure, roll +Charm. On a 10+, you gain +1 Influence with them. On a 7-9, take +1 Influence, but choose 1:
You are required to pledge your support or assistance to them.
You damage your relationship with another party, take -1 Influence with them.
You attract the attention of their enemies.
You must give them an immense “gift” worth 1 or 2-profit.

When you host an important social event, roll +Profit spent. On a 10+, choose 3; on a 7-9, choose 1:
Everyone who you’d want to appear shows up.
Hold 1 and spend it to take +1 forward.
No-one you’d rather didn’t appear shows up.
Your event or ceremony is the talk of the sector.
Your security preparations ensure that any of your allies have +1armour if fighting breaks out.

When you seek aid and succor from an important organisation, roll +Influence. On a hit, they will grant you aid; on a 7-9 choose 1:
It’s going to cost you serious thrones.
You must grant an important favour in exchange.
You expend your influence with the organisation, take -1 Influence.

And here's some of the playbook rules that work in this space:

Perfect Companion (the Consort)
Whenever you accompany your master on a social engagement, roll +Charm. On a 10+, hold 3; on a 7-9, hold 1. Spend your hold to:
Give your master +1 forward.
Ask a single question from the read a person list of any individual at the engagement.
Embarrass a social rival by inducing a humiliating gaffe on their part.
Cause someone to freeze or forget their place.
Occupy full attention of the room, giving someone the chance to act under cover.

Disregard Decorum (the Dilettante)
When you brazenly waltz into a social affair, completely ignoring all rules of ceremony and decorum, roll +Charm. On a 10+, hold 3. On a 7-9, hold 1. Spend your hold 1-for-1 to:
Embarrass or humiliate someone.
Give someone -1 forward.
Change the rules and tone of the event; a stately ball becomes a rapturous orgy, a grim funeral becomes a raucous wake.
Steal a precious item from under the nose of an important guest.
Have a single NPC become totally transfixed, unable to act.

Apocalypse World / Re: AP: Honeytown and the Space Wasps
« on: June 22, 2011, 03:25:47 AM »
What worked well:

Basically, the session was great, and all the players enjoyed it immensely. The playbooks and character generation phase worked brilliantly to generate an initial situation, full of weirdness and apocalyptica. At all times, the rules helped drive play forward, giving PCs something to do at all times. Go aggro and act under fire worked really well to create an exciting action scene with the Motherfucking Space Ukrainians; we didn't use seize by force throughout the whole session.

The players, especially, were great, leaping forward with named NPCs and setting details, barfing forth apocalyptica as good as they got. Every time I asked a question, I got a useful answer that helped make apocalypse world seem real. Truth's player brought an apocalypse playlist filled with moody, dark, and pounding music that matched the mood to a T.  Whitmont's player really helped set the tone of the apocalypse by defining various facets of the psychic maelstrom, and by having his crazy swarm of cyber-zombie bees. Josie's player contributed a whole lot of kicking ass, and brought to light some interesting aspects of the Before. Colonel's player, during his brief appearance, really ran the session, taking charge, kicking his gang into gear, and pushing the other players forwards; I can't imagine Honeytown will do too well without Colonel's gentle fist guiding it.

What could have been better:

I can't fault anything about Apocalypse World, or any of the players, and the game overall was a success. Still, I do feel like my MCing wasn't necessarily up to scratch; I feel like missed a couple of notes that would have turned the game from a success into a dramatic success:

  • Look at NPCs through crosshairs: Reviewing the session, it seems more like I was looking at NPCs through a bombsight rather than crosshairs. They were blown away like there's no tomorrow, leaving only a few established NPCs alive at the end of the session.
  • Leaping forward with named, human NPCs: I'm not sure I brought forth enough named, human NPCs this session; the sheet only has a couple of names on it, and half of them or more were dead by the end of the session.
  • Make Apocalypse World seem real: Mainly this happened, but I think I fell short of the ideal. For example, on the read a situation moves, where I just delivered the information straight to the player rather than filtering it through the character's senses - "Your best escape route is the ravine." vs. "They've got you and Josie surrounded from the north, but the ravine lies open and gaping like a gash in the earth. If you jumped down there, you could follow the flow of the river back to Honeytown faster than they can get there on the ATVs."
  • Springboard off character creation: The main threat that arose in the course of the session - the motherfucking space Ukrainians - basically came out of nowhere, when I was pushed to come up with a reason for why they were under attack. The threats from Truth's followers, Colonel's holding, Whitmont's lab, Josie's superiors back in Stasis - all of these became secondary to the space wasps. I feel it could have been a more powerful game if I'd spent more time building more localised threats that arose more from the world as established at the start of the game.
  • Going too big, too early: At the end of the first session, the player's home holding is in ruins, crazy tattooed spacemen are invading, and the islands are on the verge of vanishing in atomic fire. At this point, it's impossible to follow Vincent's advice for crafting your first front on a small, human scale; the threats that face the PCs are nothing less than the total destruction of their entire local universe. I imagine it's going to be more difficult to bring things back to that smaller scale in the future.

Apocalypse World / Re: AP: Honeytown and the Space Wasps
« on: June 22, 2011, 02:14:09 AM »
Cue generate badness, and the gang runs into an old bridge over a ravine, covered in corpses. As Whitmont and Colonel move in to investigate, they recognise the facial tattoos of some of the more intact corpses - they're from the cannibal tribes of the interior. It's at this point they start to realise there's more to this situation than just a couple of savages severing the cable. Colonel steps out onto the bridge to test its strength and see if it will hold the Humvee. It won't - as soon as he gets to the centre of the bridge, it explodes, showering everyone nearby in pieces of concrete and fleshy chunks of Colonel.

(Colonel's player, at this point, had to leave to another appointment. We didn't necessarily know whether he'd be able to join us for another session, so he suggested that Colonel die explosively. Why not?)

A small gang of quad bikes come roaring out of the jungle at this point, accompanied by the chatter of gunfire. We have no idea who these pasty tattooed fuckers in brown jumpsuits are, so Truth reads the situation (10+), identifying the leader of the bikers as being a small guy driving a giant ATV with a mounted .50cal. He goes aggro (7-9) with a hunting rifle, trying to get the leader to scatter or flee; they choose instead to bunker down behind cover.

Whitmont, his ears ringing from the explosion, leaps back behind the wheel of the Humvee and throws it in reverse as Josie provides covering fire with her assault rifle from the top hatch. Unfortunately, he reverses at high speed into a tree, tearing off the side of the Humvee, throwing Truth to the ground, and knocking himself out on the steering wheel. Thinking fast, Josie grabs the wheel, hits the gas, and speeds out of the ambush towards Honeytown, leaving Truth behind for dead.

Driving through the jungle near Honeytown, Josie can't help but notice that it's on fire. Truth's followers have seemingly run riot (in an orgy of violence), setting fire to the nearby jungle, Honeytown's precious orchards, and the old resort building. It's evident some kind of pitched battle is taking place near the Ferris wheel; someone is firing a sniper rifle from the top perch. Josie flashes back to the Before; remembering a rioting crowd in Hong Kong surging against the barricades her unit was guarding, the whole city on fire. She chooses to bypass Honeytown's emerging unrest, and speeds straight to Whitmont's lab to apply some emergency first aid.

Remembering her training, she realises that the bruising to Whitmont's head probably indicates some sort of swelling in the brain. She'll have to drill a hole in his skull to relieve the pressure, and there's no time to waste. Acting under pressure (10+), she coolly and smoothly uses Whitmont's power drill to stabilise Whitmont. We decide this counts as opening your brain, and further more, suffering psi-harm. Whitmont nails the roll to open your brain; the ghosts of dead bees show him a vision of wasps descending from space to ransack the islands, destroying everything he has built. On the other hand, he also hits psi-harm with a 10+, meaning I seize control of his character and have him unleash the swarm of cyber-bees on Honeytown.

Meanwhile, Truth wakes up in a clean, white chamber with a medical-looking type babbling at him in Ukrainian. He's strapped to a surgical table, with his wounds stitched up. Realising that Truth doesn't speak a word of Ukrainian, the doctor calls over the short old guy who lead the ATV bikers, Orlaf. He reveals that his men have captured Vasiligrad and besieged K-19, the nuclear submarine that powers most of the island. For some reason, he keeps referring to the islands as "weak humans", despite his apparent appearance as 100% human. Orlaf demands that Truth help them capture K-19 intact; in exchange, he will grant Truth a quick and painless death as opposed to a long and torturous existence.

Truth manipulates (7-9) Orlaf into agreeing instead to set him free if he can help them take out K-19. To provide concrete assurance, he calls up Captain Vasili on the radio and gets agreement that he will be let on board, and then allows Orlaf to fit him with a remote explosives vest. He discovers that the Ukrainians are aboard some sort of huge plane that has landed on the west side of the island, and that they're all dressed in brown space suits with red flag patches on the side. They lead him to the beach between their lines and K-19, and he walks out, hands in the air.

That's where we end the first session, with a nuclear-armed submarine on the verge of launching its cargo, Ukrainians from space on a rampaging warpath, and Honeytown tearing itself apart.

Apocalypse World / Re: AP: Honeytown and the Space Wasps
« on: June 21, 2011, 02:13:44 PM »
The 1st Session

We start the game with the lights going out all over Honeytown.

Okay, we actually start the game with the start-of-session moves; Colonel misses his wealth roll and thus Honeytown is set on the verge of starvation; the last fruit harvest failed with disease running rampant amongst the fruit-pickers and his gang gorging themselves on the remaining supplies in the Tiki Bar.

Then we see the lights go out, from the Ferris wheel look-out to Whitmont's apiary-lab, and it's not a good sign. The power's supplied by overland cable from Vasiligrad on the other side of the island, where an old Soviet nuclear submarine is beached in a bay. Cannibal tribes that run the interior jungle tend not to fuck with it since Colonel and Captain Vasili joined forces to burn out their villages last time they did. If they're fucking with the cable, it's a sign they're losing respect for the strength of Honeytown.

The sudden power cut freaks out the loiterers in the Tiki Bar, which lounges beneath the Ferris wheel in the old fairground that serves as Honeytown's market. The loiterers include Truth and Josie, who are watching idly by as Colonel's number-two, Parson, has the shit kicked out of him by another gang member over a woman. Colonel comes out of his hut and isn't having any of this shit; he threatens Pierre, the gang member, with dismemberment if he doesn't let the fuck go of Parson (go aggro, 7-9). Pierre backs off slowly, hands in the open, and drags the woman, Chazza, away with him. Parson, who's completely wasted, blearily turns to Colonel and then collapses to puke his guts up.

Whitmont's working in his lab, trying to get to the bottom of this bee shit, when the power cuts out. He swears, and kicks the backup generator into gear. It splutters and halts - out of fuel. He swears again. Trying to work out what's going on, he taps into the psychic maelstrom (augury, 7-9) using his psychic antenna - his zombie bee hives. Reaching out to look at the power cable, he sees it's been severed deep in the jungle, in a place surrounded by anger, engines, and trees.

Driving into town in his customised Humvee, he relays this information to Colonel, who tries to scare up his gang; they are, however, too busy listening to Truth, who's speaking the truth (7-9) about how the cable represents reliance, and how the cannibal gangs have struck a blow in a war against Honeytown, and how they must be destroyed. After the mob disperses off to seek vengeance (orgy of violence), Truth and Josie decide to join Colonel and Whitmont on their drive into the deep jungles of the island.

Apocalypse World / AP: Honeytown and the Space Wasps
« on: June 21, 2011, 01:23:30 PM »
So, despite having run and designed a bunch of Apocalypse World hacks up to this point, I'd never actually busted out the original eleven herbs and spices up to today, when my friends and I ventured into the psychic maelstrom for the first time.

Taking a leaf out of Fabricated Realities' book, I made sure the play space was as apocalyptic as possible, scattering images of the apocalypse all over the table and the walls and keeping light to a minimum, with a message of despair scrawled across the whiteboard. This is the first time we'd really done anything like this, and I think it helped build a better play experience, creating a discontinuity between the game play and the outside world.

We settled on an island-based Apocalypse World; I printed out a Russian-language map of the Solomon Islands and Guadalcanal to serve as the baseline map. Foreign-language maps work great for creating distance between the location and the players. The one piece of knowledge about the apocalypse that we established early in play was that all the bees - all insects in fact - were dead, and Honeytown was (as a result of the Savvyhead's work) the only place known to grow fruit rather than scavenge tinned fruit from the remains of the Golden Age.

The players arrived slowly and snapped up playbooks somewhat haphazardly; one player (Colonel) arrived about twenty minutes into character creation. We had:

Truth the Hocus was a Greek-style philosopher-teacher who preached an almost Nietzchean dogma of extreme self-reliance. From his traditional pulpit in the town square of Honeytown, he declaimed that the apocalypse had been a liberating event, freeing the Human Will to Power from the shackles of societal strength.

Josie the Quarantine washed up on the shipwreck beaches east of Honeytown a few weeks ago in a strange lifepod, where she was rescued by Truth. She had sort of settled into his little entourage for the time being, despite her strong dislike of his philosophy; it reminded her of the Nietzchean philosophies of her superiors.

Whitmont the Savvyhead had been a child when the apocalypse had struck, fascinated with insects. He remembered fleeing devastation on a plane with his mother, but little about the contents of the apocalypse - the psychic maelstrom had evidently erected a strong barrier around people's memories from the Before. His childhood fascination with insects would become Honeytown's salvation when he used his weird technical skills and a shipload of dead Africanised bees to create a hive of cyber-zombie bees that pollinated the orchards around Honeytown.

Colonel the Hardholder was a soldier from the Before who remembered Josie's face from a youth spent in uniform. Using his military equipment and knowledge, he ruled Honeytown with a gentle fist, turning it into the market centre for the island chain. He held to some extent with Truth's philosophy, though in an apparent paradox, also supported an infirmary for those who suffered the cancerous wrath of the angry sun.

Has anyone experimented with an Hx-like mechanic for creating relationships between characters and larger organisations or factions? As in, characters build up Ix through interactions with various factions throughout the game, which they can use to gain favours and support.

I'm thinking of implementing a system like it in my Rogue Trader hack - to represent the characters building influence amongst vast, galaxy-spanning Imperial organisations like the Munitorium, the Inquisitor Ordos, the Adeptus Mechanicus, the Imperial Guard, etc. - but I worry that the risk of this approach is creating a less personal, NPC-focused approach to building up relationships with these organisations. When characters have a specific "Influence with the Imperial Guard" statistic, I worry they'll be less likely to care about their specific relationship with Warmaster Iridian Holt... to some extent, this should be obliviated by "to do it, do it", but it still seems like a valid concern.

Does anyone else have any experience with such mechanics in play or in design?

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