Jul 162014

So on July 10th players met at Sam’s place for our third AW session.  Astute readers of this record will note therefore that this implies an undocumented second session. If you are that reader you are correct.  If I had made a a post I know the title would have been: [Apocalypse World] You gotta know when to hold ’em. With such a precedent, the title for this report would make even more sense.  Action during that lost session revolved around the struggles of Vega’s hard hold: Iron Well. Iron well dealt with a refugee problem, shunting some weary and possibly sickly pilgrims off to work on the out-lying farms.  Now the pilgrims are gone or dead and the farms are abandoned.  Session three began with Iron Well sliding into want.  In the mean time Always and Crimson Beastie turned about at began heading back to the Hold. Crimson set on declaring his love for Plum and daring Vega’s wrath by inviting Plum to abscond together.

Always’s group of followers also finds themselves in want after giving up so much of their life energy to fuel Alway’s cryptic ritual in the swamp.  Going in to want seems to make them jumpy.  Just in sight of Iron Well the party is intercepted by Pyotr on a mission from Vega.  Crimson refuses to be deterred and sweeps Pytor up in his mad, all but headlong rush to destruction.

Before  the walls of Iron Well, Crimson makes his declaration at the top of his lungs demanding Plum be “set free” to follow eir heart and then makes an additional plea directly to Plum’s heart. Out of shear grandiosity Crimson hurls the precious lure, the hook in his heart that continuosly drew him back to Plum up into Vega’s face.  The logic being, if Vega didn’t respond they’d be storming the Hardhold anyways and would either reclaim the precious treasure or die in the attempt.  With Crimson, there really never is ever any ‘holding back’.

But the bloody climax was averted.  Ever pragmatic, Vega accepted the return of her stolen property and allowed Plum to make eir own choice.  Pyotr had earlier offered to take Plum on his far flung trading missions.  Crimson, battle lust sated (or at least distracted) resigns her temporary and tenuous command and offers to work for Pyotr so long as Plum is in his company.  Always does what Always always does…  But before the new party can depart, just before they’ve turned their back on Iron Well a sound from the wild lands captures everyone’s attention.    Some people are coming out of the woods.  They are coming this way.  And they don’t look like they’re coming to talk.

Mar 292014

2014-03-17 19.17.25 Here’s an update from Geoffrey et al’s game.  I believe the played on St. Patrick’s Day, 2014.

Geoffrey writes:

After a slight delay, we played another session of QfR on Monday, accompanied by fresh oatmeal cookies, a not-at-all bad bottle of homemade white wine, and the requisite number of cats.

(Comments in italics)

The first session ended with the characters (Derek, Odette, and Joan) gathered together outside a convenience store in St. Collens, NB, in the company of a pair of strangers. The last lines of the evening were Odette asking, “Who are you folks?” and one of them answering, “We’re the Fair Folk.”

Monday’s game began with a monstrously huge man charging out from the alley next to the store and everyone piling into Odette’s car to drive away as fast as they could. The two strangers (who would later be introduced as Gabriel and Cobweb) weren’t very forthcoming with explanations, although they did tell them that the thing that was chasing them was called the Spriggan. Eventually, after they were fairly sure it was far behind them, they paused at a gas station to gather their wits (and, in Joan’s case, smoke a joint), whereupon they were joined by a third stranger, Corbin. Corbin merrily climbed into the car with them all, making it rather cramped, as they agreed to drive to Derek’s house for explanations.

It would be a night of much exposition: I would have preferred to avoid being quite so info-dumpy, but at the same time, it’s hard to avoid that in an introductory session.

The trio explained that they were emissaries from the Seelie Court, tasked with finding champions for an upcoming contest against the Unseelie. Their court, they said, brought happiness and prosperity to an area; the other one brought pain and misery. Whichever court won the contest would determine the fortune of the local lands for the next seven years, but the nobles needed mortals to compete—hence the recruitment of champions. In exchange, the champions would see wonders, be given gifts, and would know that their actions turned the luck of everyone around them.

Joan agreed immediately. Derek hesitated until he was sure that someone would take care of his father while he was off on the adventure. Odette was the last to decide; while she was thinking about it, she noticed that her brother (and Joan’s boyfriend) Travis had left her a message asking where Joan was. When she phoned him back, he told her that it was a mistake, that Joan was with him, and that he was going to come over to Odette’s place.

I think everyone decided at that point that Travis had been found by the Unseelie Court, and was either in danger or had been persuaded by them to join their team of champions.

In any case, Odette finally decided to join, but wanted to be assured that they could go back to find Travis once the three had gone through whatever formal induction ceremony they were supposed to. The Seelie emissaries agreed readily, then ushered them off into the Otherworld through a magical portal.

In the forest-like realm of the Seelie Court, each character was allowed to choose a patron from among the nobles of the court. Joan chose The Piper, a forest trickster who granted powers involving beasts and mischief. Derek chose Mother Coal, whose gifts are sanctuary, healing, and imbuing objects with emotion. Odette nearly followed the Blue Maiden, embodiment of ice and sorrow, but backed away to choose Father Stone—with powers of storms and mountains—instead.

The NPCs used the fact that Odette was an injured dancer to encourage her towards her eventual patron. While it wasn’t initially clear why a mountain fae could make her a better dancer, the nimble goat-legs of Father Stone’s representative may have made that clearer. I think she’s still suspicious, though.

While the evening was fun and I think the players enjoyed it, it was still a bit GM-heavy in terms of how we used our time. I’m hoping that the next session will give people more of a chance to take the reins, have their characters interact with each other more, and generally be active.

2014-03-17 19.47.44

Feb 182014

On February 11th, 2014 something strange and marvellous took shape in Halifax.

Geoffrey reports:

About 25 years ago, my gaming group in Toronto decided to try something that was unheard of: a roleplaying game in which the players didn’t handle any dice, never saw their character sheets, and didn’t even necessarily know the rules of the game they were playing. We called it “Zen roleplaying,” and it went on to be our standard approach for many years to follow. Recently, I wanted to go back to that style of playing, so I put out an invitation here in Halifax for players who would be interested in a character-heavy game of urban fantasy. On the 11th of February, we had our first session.

The Story so far:

There are three players, who were asked to think of characters from the small fictional town of St. Collen’s, New Brunswick. The main requirements for the characters were that they be fairly ordinary, that they knew each other in some way, and that they would be willing to answer the call to adventure when it came. We ended up with:

Derek, a physically imposing, sensitive loner who dabbles in pottery when he’s not working as a check-out clerk at the local supermarket;

Joan, a restless and troubled teen looking for any way to get out of town;

and Odette, a former dancer who left St. Collen’s to pursue a career but was forced to return after an injury.

The first thing to arrange when we met was to establish how the characters knew each other. Joan, we decided, was dating Odette’s younger brother (Travis, a pot-smoking would-be musician seven years older than Joan). Joan had noticed Derek as someone who seemed just as out of place in town as she was, but probably hadn’t approached him yet. Derek had noticed the attractive Odette, but likewise hadn’t said or done anything to introduce himself.

I’d expected that most of the session would be taken up with getting the characters familiar with each other, but that part moved along so easily that we had time for opening scenes:

Joan, while smoking up at her boyfriend’s place, answered a knock at the door from a ragged-looking young man who asked for her specifically. He offered her a chance to leave town and do something exciting, and (despite Travis’s protests) she took him up on it without a second thought.

Derek was having a night at the local bingo hall when a woman in a Victorian nightgown sat down next to him, started chatting with him, and soon urged him to come away with her. She didn’t say why, and seemed so out of place that her presence was starting to raise some eyebrows among the bingo players, but he finally relented and went along.

Odette was picking up dinner (a pack of cigarettes) at the convenience store when a small man with a cane barred her exit and growled that she was coming with him. When she refused, he grew more threatening, and when she threw down her purse in the assumption he was there to rob her, he crouched down over it and started eating the money inside. That’s when she ran.

Outside the convenience store, and near Odette’s car, the three characters ran into each other. After the initial “what are you doing here and who are these people?” questions, they were interrupted by the sight of an impossibly huge figure barrelling out of the alley by the store. That’s where we ended our first session. We pick up again in early March.

While it’s still too early to say how things will progress, everyone in the group was comfortable enough with the game and each other that I think the story will roll along quite smoothly. Their characters are only lightly sketched out now, but they’ll have time to fill in more details during play; what’s important is that they all seem to have good, clear ideas of who they are and how they’re motivated.