Apocalypse World: Changes

It’s been far too long between sessions for my Apocalypse World game ((The last post about the campaign was three months ago, and it that post was written long enough after the game that I didn’t remember it clearly, so we’re talking about probably four months.)). Scheduling over the summer is always problematic, thanks to various vacations and travel plans ((We were hit by GenCon, Burning Man, a wedding, and a honeymoon.)), but things have settled down for bit before the Christmas season messes with scheduling. We’re in the home stretch on the twelve-session run of the game – this is session eight – so we should be wrapping things up early in the new year.

Anyway, we got together last night for the latest session. The first part of the evening was spent filling in the map ((The map had gone missing for a while, but I found it, and we were able to chart in some stuff, like the food caravan ambush site, Sway’s caves, the beacon building, etc.)), recapping the game up to this point, and doing a little socializing. Then we got down to things.

Nils had repaired the beacon control circuits as best he could, but in order for it to work, he needed to reinstall the circuits in the beacon. No one liked that idea, because they had run into a number of scary things at the building where they found the beacon, including some nasty things in the basement and sightings of ghillie-suited soldiers on nearby buildings. But the trail to Snow’s stasis facility required that the beacon be reactivated.

The players were rolling pretty hot, which is good for them, but in a game like Apocalypse World, it makes for a rather uninteresting evening. Luckily, you can always count on the luck to change, and when it did, it changed big time. Suddenly, there was a booby-trapped door, snipers, an armed drone aircraft, and horrific mutant beasts ((“They’re Morlocks!” cried my players. Not quite, but pretty close.)) in the ceiling and elevator shaft. There was some running back and forth, as Snow left Nils on the roof to repair the beacon while he ran downstairs to help JB and Magpie with the monsters they were fighting, and then had to run back to the roof when Nils came back down without having got the location readout from the beacon.

In the end, they made a heroic dash to Nils’s van under fire while being pursued by the mutants ((They almost managed to haul JB off to their basement lair, but Magpie managed to chase them off long enough for Snow to come to the rescue and Nils to get the van started and moving.)), and took off through the city. They stopped after they were sure they had lost any pursuit, and did a sweep of the van, turning up what seemed to be a combination locator device and bomb.

Back in the hidden base, Nils used his new tech developments ((Nils bought the Angel move Healing Touch as an advancement, and described it as funnelling his connection to the psychic maelstrom through circuit boards applied to the wounds.)) to help patch up Snow and Magpie, both of whom had taken some big hits. They data they got from the beacon pointed them to the second beacon, some distance north of the Ruins, on the way to Dawning. This second beacon should have, they believe, the co-ordinates of the stasis facility. They decided to head back to Roosevelt to resupply before heading off after the second beacon.

They made good time heading back to Roosevelt, but I was looking at my fronts, and decided to advance a couple of them, so they arrived to find the gates of the town closed and manned by soldiers in Dawning uniforms. They dropped Magpie off ((She was anxious to go and see what was going on with her hoard.)), and decided they’d best set up somewhere safe, like the caves that Sway was using out in the quarries.

Magpie got in to the city after getting someone inside to vouch for her, and found her (heavily booby-trapped) hoard untouched. She also got the story of what happened: Calico had apparently killed Boss T and her household and taken control of the city, but being crazy, she couldn’t maintain control, and some folks from the marketplace sent a message to Dawning, asking for their help. Dawning came in, Calico ran ((Along with a significant number of her guards.)), and Dawning has taken up peace-keeping duties until things calm down and get sorted out with an election, etc.

Meanwhile, at the caves, the rest of our little group ran into Calico’s resistance. There, they got a slightly different story, where Calico blamed assassins for Boss T’s death, and talked about how Dawning forces showed up out of nowhere to take over and chase her off. Nils traded his ATV for the three of them not getting co-opted into Calico’s little guerrilla army. They headed back to Roosevelt, where Wilson, the Dawning trade rep, was waiting to interview them in the mayor’s house.

Wilson satisfied herself that JB and Snow weren’t there to stir up trouble, and let them keep their weapons and go about their business. When they had gone, however, she had some harder questions for Nils. She told him that she was pretty sure he had deliberately killed Sparerib and Lark, but was willing to ignore that in the interests of peace in Roosevelt. She also told him that, when she took over, she had searched his workshop and took the suitcase that he had recovered from Sparerib and Lark and, if they were going to get along, he had to accept that. Seeing as, as far as I could tell, everyone had forgotten about that suitcase and they’d never managed to get it open, I was pretty sure that would be okay, and it was.

The gang took some time to seek out Wei, the medic that they knew in town, to get a more balanced account of what happened. According to him, Calico had announced that Boss T was dead, and had been killed by assassins. She instituted martial law, and seemed to get very paranoid about the Yellowhammers, with their heavy, shrouding, identity-obscuring robes and close-mouthed unity. She tired to strip search some of them, and they turned on her, many revealing that they had weapons – both mundane and weird tech – hidden on their persons, and a big fight broke out.

That was when the Dawning folks showed up, apparently out of the blue, and got between the two forces.  Calico took to the hills with her people, and the Yellowhammers backed down. Now, there are patrols of Dawning forces on the streets of Roosevelt, a lot of Yellowhammers have gathered in the town, and everyone is just praying that the violence is over.

All three of our heroes gathered back at Magpie’s place with beer and a bottle of whisky from her hoard to share information and commiserate. That’s where we left things for the evening.

We’ve got another game scheduled in three weeks, and that’s the last one on the books for this year. We may get one more in, which would leave the last two session to the new year. I’ve got the players thinking about what their goals are for the game, and am looking forward to seeing how it wraps up.

I’m also starting to think about what to run next.

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