I've never been motivated to post an AP report before, but this game was a lot of fun and the prospect of getting access to a fuller version of the rules appeals to me. I ran the game using the Version 11.03.06 - which I hope is the latest one.
Players: my wife, son and daughter (13 year old twins). Everyone has played some rpgs before; my wife and daughter weren’t too keen on 4e, but the prospect of a game more centred on story created by the players appealed to them - my son on the other hand will seize any opportunity to play a game regardless of what it is!
I’ve played AW a few times so I’m familiar with the rules, but I’ve not run it.
Character creation was easy and fun for everyone. The character sheets make that a breeze.
My wife has a female dwarven cleric named Fingolfr. She was taken in by the ‘Cult of Stone’ after her mother died in childbirth. This Dwarven cult commune with spirits embedded within rocks and minerals. Her father went on a quest in to the northern mines and was never heard of again.
My daughter chose to play a halfling thief named Hobolous (Hob). Hob grew up in a small desert town where he learned snake charming and sleight of hand trickery. Hob had a business (The Art of Burglarization) for some years and has mob contacts and enemies.
My son is playing a human Paladin, Ugbert (Ug), from the mountains of the north. He found religion and joined ‘The Brotherhood’, a fraternal organisation devoted to the acquisition of arcane knowledge.
I asked what Ug knew of the ‘fountain of youth’ and was tole that it is said to be located in the mountains of his home. I found the asking of questions worked well. When I asked my wife why she disliked the leader of her cult she said she didn’t, but when I encouraged her to accept the loaded question and go with it, she responded that the cult leader was a lecherous old dwarf.
The bonds set up some good ties between the characters, with both the cleric and the paladin wanting to convert the thief to their respective religion.
All that took perhaps an hour to an hour and a half. There was a lot of chat descriptive detail, and I tried to note down pertinent points which I though I could later incorporate.
We then played for about an hour. I decided to throw them in to a simple action scene akin to the start of Indiana Jones. I told how they’d gone on a quest and asked them what had led them to search the mines? Ug said his order had sent him in search of the Horn of Keshorn, the dwarf sought strange minerals and the thief great wealth. That seemed enough motivation. I set the scene; a dark tunnel, skittering sounds ahead in the shadows. Behind lay an abyss which they had recently leapt, losing a hireling in the process (we didn’t play that, I just said it had happened).
So there the three of them were, peering in to the gloom. Hob tries to Discern Realities and is successful. She’s a little unsure which questions to ask and how. But I prompt her to simply pick 3 questions and the provides some inspiration for me to describe the spidery creatures and a figure hanging in a web further up the tunnel. Hob goes for sneaking through the tunnel past the spiders to the figure. I ask for a Dodge roll (acting despite imminent threat) and she score an 8. I struggle to think of a hard bargain, worse outcome or ugly choice - or should that be on a fail? Perhaps it should have been stumble, hesitate of flinch? I figure that it should be limited success and Hob gets to the body but has a spider thing on his back - it’s not attacking at present. Fingolfr follows.
Ug hacks and slashes several times while the other two investigate the body. I keep the damage low (D4+1 per spider) but hardly scratch Ug as he has plate armour. I play it by the ‘round’; allowing each player a move and dice roll then moving to the next player - hope that’s right?
Fingolfr attempts to spout lore about the body in the web (the difference between spout lore and discern realities seems hazy to me at times). Anyhow she fails and I move against her, stating that as she touches the leg of the man the corrupted flesh bursts open and a gush of viscous fluid pours on to Fingolfr’s hand - it is acidic and appears to contain spider larvae.
I move against them, saying that disturbing the eggs attracts the spider’s attention. I’m not really sure when to move against people - is it when they fail rolls?
With a spout lore of his own, Hob knows what to do about this and douses Fingolfr’s hand with water, following that up with (‘what will make the spiders leave?’) using one point of his adventuring gear to grasp a lantern and oil and shine a bright light in towards the advancing spiders.
Ug still has a +1 forward from earlier which he spends to boost his attack on the spiders, which combined with the light kills or drives them away.
I felt they should find something on the body and presented them with a large axe at the feet of the feet of what turns out to be a dwarf bearing tribal tattoos similar to Fingolfr’s, though clearly of a different religion. I fumbled around a little here to improvise some future plot hook.
So they then rolled to strike camp, picking 2 of the 3 options, allowing for themselves to have been followed. I told Finglofr that she had a feeling they had been followed, Fingolfr speculated whether the follower was mortal or a spirit. Ug laid hands on Hob, who with the point of healing from camping was fully healed. One thing I can’t find in the rules is when you die? I assume its if you fall to zero or less hit points, and fail the ‘last breath’ roll? Can a PC make a last breath roll regardless of how low their hit points fall?
Everyone enjoyed the session. My daughter asked if it was all about fighting and when she would get to use the carousing and parley moves as she couldn’t really talk to spiders. I assured her we’d get some of that next session and that I’d just wanted to start with some action.
On reading Apocalypse World afterwards in bed, I realised that I hadn’t focused on naming NPCs enough, if at all. I think I need a list of names as MC to draw upon and allocate in play. Also I launched them into an action scene rather than following the PCs around for a day - opps.
Should I still be using the countdown clocks in DW for threats and so on?
I hope this AP report is useful and if someone can answer some of my questions that would be much appreciated.