Author Topic: Is my campaing premise a bit too large scale?  (Read 232 times)

Roikka

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Is my campaing premise a bit too large scale?
« on: May 23, 2019, 07:03:12 PM »
A lot of campaign premises on AW I see usually has relatively few settlements, and they typically aren't very connected. Yet quite a few of them seem to contain a number of hardholds at a relatively bad reations, usually because one is trying to overtake another.

So here's the idea. Let's say a couple of Hardholders manage to subjugate a handful of other Hardholders in their areas, basically forming crude feudal kingdoms, either by forcing the other hadrdolder to submit, or killing them and placing their own puppet at the lead. Let's call those Overholds, and their rulers the Overholders. And let's say eventually one rose from among them, who managed to force all the other Overholders to bend the knee, but isn't strong enough to simply destroy them. Now that guy is dead/dying, and the Overholders and their underlings are preparing for the inevitable power struggle to come.

The idea here is, that the civilization, or at least something akin to that has had enough time to regrow enough for the world to become reconnected (motor vehicles are a part of default setting after all). Trade routes provide far-away holds with goods they require in exchange of goods required elsewhere, and warfare can include multiple vehicles and gangs from small to large on both sides, organized under one war leader, however temporarily. What would keeping multiple holds in line without destroying them look like in Apocalypse world? How about affairs between numerous such nations?

This is just the backdrop. I haven't submitted to the players yet (we are in the middle of another campaign), but the idea is that they can pretty much decide among themselves what they would like to do in such a world. My main concern is, that some potential results of such a world may be a bit too large scale to handle under AW:s normal rules, such as warfare with multiple gangs, or trade with the kinds of amounts of barter typically reserved for the Hardholder.

Munin

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Re: Is my campaing premise a bit too large scale?
« Reply #1 on: May 23, 2019, 07:53:05 PM »
While AW is certainly flexible enough to do what you want to do, it's worth noting that the themes of scarcity, isolation, and lawlessness are fairly "baked-in" to how the mechanical and narrative effects of AW work.

For example, many playbook-specific moves and even a number of the basic moves enable (and even encourage!) sudden, terrible, wanton violence. True, that violence should always have consequences, but in the "civilized" setting you're describing, it's harder to fit in the Chopper as a roving bandit or the Gunlugger as a gives-no-fucks death-machine. What happens when the Battlebabe takes a vicious dislike to a particular Overholder? If you're looking at said Overholder through cross-hairs (and you should) I think we both know the answer to that question. Thus, the actions of AW PCs can be massively destabilizing (especially if they are playing to their strengths and working together) to a world's "status quo," which I think is a big part of the reason that Vincent contends that Apocalypse World shouldn't have any status quos.

I'm not saying it can't be done (it can), just that you're going to need to contextualize the PCs' actions in a different way and that you should be prepared for a little bit of tonal dissonance.

Roikka

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Re: Is my campaing premise a bit too large scale?
« Reply #2 on: May 23, 2019, 09:40:18 PM »
It seems you misinterpreted what I was going for somewhat. I don't want to build status quo for the campaign (which is why I'm killing it along it's personification, the High Overholder, in the campaing backstory), only enough of it to justify some semblance of it remaining when the campaign begins, and fully intend to look those remains through the crosshairs. So if the PC:s manage to kill an Overholder, the overhold will destabilize (unless there is an established reason for it not to) and if the PC:s stick around, they will be dealing with the immediate consequences of that. And possibly the long-term ones if they don't. The world descending into nothing but a handful of hardholds and smoking ruins with next to no contact to each other as a direct consequence of the PC:s actions is something I'm quite prepared to see.

Munin

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Re: Is my campaing premise a bit too large scale?
« Reply #3 on: May 28, 2019, 03:08:09 PM »
Oh, yeah, OK. If you're prepared for everything to erupt into chaos and crash in flames, then I think you're in good shape.   ;D