Yesterday I ran an one-shot for 2 friends, both of them rookie on the hobby, one having played only once before.
Started normally, creating the characters, and then I asked them how was their apocalypse, how did the world look like now, where did they live, how did they get their food, what sort of dangers were outside the holding, what kind of stuff did the holding trade with the other ones...
They came up with a jungle, overgrown natura world, populated with all kinds of dangerous animals. The PCs live on an university campus, many buildings sorrounding an inner garden where they grow some food, albeit most of it comes from hunting and fruit gathering. The holding inhabitants don´t do that, though, the savage do it, they´re the ones most prepared to endure the dangers of the wilderness.
Then, I asked how the PCs fitted within the holding, how did they work, how did they know each other, etc. The HX rules were excellent for that.
Venus, a skinner, works by tattooing people, but is also the mistress of both Amy, the current hardholder (NPC), and Sun, the aspiring hardholder, currently running the bar, and the drug dealer for most.
Sin, a brainer, works as a sort of witch, getting information or giving advice for people willing to pay for it, but she´s also Venus´ lover.
I was SO lucky that both players are now to rpg, and have no ugly habits like shielding their characters and describing happy lifes. In particular, Guada telling me about her skinner´s lovers eased me the job so much, it was an automatic source of conflict ready to be exploited. My traditional players never did such a thing.
I asked some questions about the attitude of the characters: has venus decided between Amy and Sun? To whom does she feel loyal? what does Sin think about venus being with 3 guys at the same time? But not a lot of questions, the rest would be better to uncover/discover while playing.
All the above didn´t take so much time. I´m getting increasingly confident with this game, and so I asked only the necessary questions and listed the minimum ammount of characters to just start playing.
The most important, the starting point. I asked Guada how did a day start for her, what did she do. She told me she woke up after a night along with Sun (one of their lovers), and then we started playing normally (they started plotting to weaken Amy´s rule). Jesi (the other players, both are women)had Sin starting her day working, meeting a new customer, who´s paying her to figure something about... Venus.
Then some triangles started to arise, Sin working against Venus, but at the same time being manipulated by her to help her with her stuff, Venus using sex without remorse to hipnotize people or receive gifts from them, etc.
The session ran pretty much smoothly, both PCs interacting and rolling moves on the other one, not a lot of NPCs in the stage, but sadly not many actual fights and bullets. The only thing I think that lacked was a sort of external pressure, a threat growing and urging the characters to act. The only conflict was the whole Amy vs. Sun thing, with a couple of other NPCs involved.
Anyway, the advice you gave me was really cool and useful, it helped me a lot to be confident about running the game, Thanks a lot!