[Apocalypse World] Let's Play It Wrong!

edited September 2010 in Story Games
Well, not wrong, but detoured, rewired, diverted. I'm not talking about hardcore hacks, just changed settings and concepts with minor rules changes and maybe an extra playbook or two. More than saying "we're playing in Waterworld and the Drivers all have speedboats", but less than Dungeon World.

I'm sufficiently impressed by AW's system and usability to try it for lots of other stuff, and I'm also curious to see how much mileage I can get out minor changes because I'm lazy. I thought I'd add some play ideas to this thread and see if anyone wants to comment or add their own.

Comments

  • Idea one: King Arthur Pendragon.

    After all, Dark Ages Britain is the original post-apocalyptic setting, yeah? This would playing along the lines of Bernard Cornwell's Enemy of God or Philip Reeve's Here Lies Arthur, where Arthur is an amibitious warlord with a great PR machine that ties him in to the dreams of past glories. I remember one scene in Cornwell's book where Arthur is sitting before a battle in an old cottage with a lead roof, musing that they used to actually mine lead in Northumbria, and now they can barely keep the roofs fixed, and that if he can fix things, he'll get the mines going again and make Britain rich. Except there's a million Saxons in the way of his plan.

    Probably not much actual hacking needed, the Maelstrom becomes the Spirit World, the Gunlugger becomes a big bastard with a sword. Probably needs a Druid playbook that's a mashup of the Brainer and Hocus playbooks. Holdings are still holdings, gangs are warbands. The Driver is probably hosed, since everybody rides horses in this setting unless you can tweak the moves to represent a guy with really excellent cavalry skills.
  • Games I'm already thinking about playing with Apocalypse World with some slight hacking:

    -- Rifts, because it's so easy: a Glitterboy is a Driver, a Baby Dragon is NOT TO BE FUCKED WITH
    -- crusaderpunk stuff like Engel or Wormwood or any other church-y knights fight demonic invasion setting (40K?)
  • I'm already trying to get my head around doing Night Witches, but that's probably more hack-ish.
  • I'm starting a roller derby & Tank Girl inspired game of Apocalypse World with my girlfriend.

    The classes are getting a facelift, but remaining mechanically the same.
    Chopper = Derby Captain, f'rex.

    I'm mucking about with the Threat Types, to better fit ROLLERPOCALYPSE WRRRLD.
  • I've mentioned before wanting a green apocalypse. Not the dry cracked wasteland, but the verdant mutated forest.

    I also had some interest in a Civil War-ish setting, but that would probably go beyond playing wrong and into a hack.
  • Posted By: DannyKIdea one: King Arthur Pendragon.
    Great minds think...

    Well, I don't know what great minds think. But this one is funny, because we recently found out that one of our AW PCs believes (perhaps correctly, the Maelstrom indicates it could be true) that she's the rebirth of Arthur.
  • Posted By: sageI've mentioned before wanting a green apocalypse. Not the dry cracked wasteland, but the verdant mutated forest.
    Most of the AW games I've played have been set in verdant mutated forests. I don't even think that's drifting the game.
  • edited September 2010
    Posted By: DannyKProbably not much actual hacking needed, the Maelstrom becomes the Spirit World, the Gunlugger becomes a big bastard with a sword.
    The Maelstrom might also represent the intersection of the fey world with the real world. Lots of cool/hardcore stuff if you go back to the folklore about the fey rather than RPG sources.

    I could also see doing a weird Mouse Guard / Apocalypse World / A Boy and His Dog / Secret of NIMH mash-up about psychic lab animals that survive the apocalypse in government labs only to escape later.
  • I like the pre-Arthur Pendragon idea. I suppose there's ample historical grounds for say, post Black Death AW, post Hun invasion AW, etc.

    I think a straight up, apocalypse-free Western (or Weird West) would work fine, RAW.
  • Posted By: J. Waltoncrusaderpunk stuff like Engel
    I'm working on this one as we speak!

    image
  • edited September 2010
    Posted By: McdaldnoPosted By: sageI've mentioned before wanting a green apocalypse. Not the dry cracked wasteland, but the verdant mutated forest.
    Most of the AW games I've played have been set in verdant mutated forests. I don't even think that's drifting the game.
    Well, the OP mentioned Water World style settings, the green apocalypse falls into the same thing for me. Maybe not that big a change, but maybe not something that everyone's thought of.
  • What about Office World - a totalitarian state forms a megacity that is one giant apartment building / cubical farm. Lots of scared pencil pushers, social combat, occasional going of postal.
  • Dude, Michael, that Komtur is so so good. Keep me informed or let me know how I can help. Are you gonna make different playbooks for the different choirs or have a single Engel book with special moves for each choir type?
  • Thanks Jonathan! It's basically just the picture of the Komtur from the Engel core rules, AW-ified in Photoshop. :)

    I'm definitely planning on having different playbooks for each choir, although so far I've been focusing on non-Engel character types, since those are the easiest to hack from AW (Junklords are basically Hardholders, &c) and that seems to be the angle my group is most interested in. I've been thinking of having the Engel playbooks be something you unlock after the 6th advancement; but we'll see how it progresses.
  • That would be pretty hot, actually, if one of the second tier advances was "take a second character who's an engel." That would definitely help you establish the boot-deep-in-mud nature of everyday life on the ground before playing angel children, which is one of the issues I had thinking about how to run Engel.

    I would suggest checking out Johnstone's "Last Child" playbook when you eventually get around to making engel. Their sex move, which I originally suggested, is that, when they have sex, they stop being a child, which Johnstone says means they switch playbooks but I was originally thinking it just meant they pick a new sex move from another playbook. Engel perhaps shouldn't get a sex move to start but can purchase one with higher advances, yeah? And they should have a mandatory "retire your character to puberty" advance at some point, yeah?
  • Winter of '41-42, occupied Ukraine. The 'liberators' from the west have proven to be even worse than Stalin. The world as you knew it has been destroyed, As a jew, intellectual, or party member, you have taken to the woods and joined the partisans. If the SS catches you, you'll be sent to a labor camp, or wish you had. If Stalin gets his hands on you, you'll be tried as a traitor and a deserter. But in the meantime, there's many places to hide, and the rules of society have been torn wide open.
  • One of my friends thinks I should hack Apocalypse World into Compton World. Less snapping tarps in the burning wind, more drive-bys and NWA. I don't actually think it would need much work beyond changing the Brainer and the Psychic Maelstrom into something a little more urban and less psychic, but beyond that it shouldn't be that hard of a hack.
  • Posted By: mease19The Maelstrom might also represent the intersection of the fey world with the real world.
    If you do that I definitely recommend Janni Lee Simner's excellent YA novel Bones of Faerie. Actually, I'd recommend reading it even if you don't do that.
  • Many, many great ideas, the Ukraine and Arthur ones especially.

    My craziness is (started as a game chef idea, but never made the deadline)

    Grand Tour
    An Apocalypse World hack set in Europe in the 18th century.

    imageEurope in the 18th century. Young aristocrats, mainly men, from Northern Europe embark on their rite of passage across Europe. Their journeys will take them to the greatest cities in the world, educate them in art, history and culture - and the pleasures of the flesh - and in the end make or break them. The practice was introduced by the three super powers at that time - the English, the Prussians and the Danes - but other nationalities soon followed and it became a tradition for the offspring of the European ruling classes. The Grand Tour was not just a recreational and educational trip, it was a matter of showing and maintaining cultural power. "Ruling-class control in the 18th century was located primarily in a cultural hegemony, and only secondarily in an expression of economic or physical (military) power."

    Full notes here
  • Posted By: Lee ShortAs a jew, intellectual, or party member
    Wait, are those playbooks?

    A Ukrainian partisan in 1941-42 would be looking at summary execution, regardless of who caught him (or her). And the biggest threat would probably be Ukrainian partisan hunters like Ivan Voskoboynik and his Russkaya Osvoboditelnaya Narodnaya Armiya. Set it 18 months later and things get waaay crazier. Apocalyptic, even.
  • Star Wars. I was originally thinking of it as a full hack, but now I'm just thinking of reskinning and keeping everything just about the same. You'd tell stories that aren't like the ones that made it to the silver screen, but they'd be appropriate, I think.
  • I've thought of using a The Wire/The Corner inner city drug infested ghetto as a setting for Apocalypse world. There is need all over the place, and definite fronts. Not sure how to fit in Police as pc's but I can see some really cool pc-npc-pc triangles between a cop a snitch and a drug dealer.
  • edited September 2010
    For urban apocalypse/gang/the wire/etc style games, I recommend the film District B13. I found it while web-searching for post-apocalyptic movies and really enjoyed it.
  • Just getting to the end of Grant Morrison's X-Men run, which ends with a story set in the future, which is pretty much an X-Men trope at this point. I know J-Walt already mentioned that a bit somewhere else (Age of Apocalypse World), but it's really singing to me now with a firmer story.

    I mean, there's a guy with a pet sentinel. He's totally a gang. And I even have some ideas on what the maelstrom equivalent is. Oh man.
  • Hey, if you're going to come up with your own mini-hack, at least tell us how you'd do it. Which playbooks disappear, which ones need to be added? Would you MC it differently? Does the Maelstrom work differently?

    That said, here's another idea:

    Apocalypse Space

    There's that connection between AW and Firefly, this idea turns it on its head and feeds it back into science fiction. There are lots of ways to do this -- you could take Battlestar Galactica and practically run it off the shelf -- but I was thinking of taking a lot of color and ideas from Star Trek. I've never played a good game of Star Trek in any version, but maybe it would work AW-style. Probably borrow some elements from Asimov's Foundation Trilogy, set it in the collapse of the Foundation/Empire/whatever, in that exciting part where sector commanders are calling themselves kings, admirals are trying to become emperor, and individual fleet captains are going rogue or turning pirate. The PC's will be starfleet officers who've fled the galactic core to avoid getting pulled into the civil war that's about to break out, they've got elite skills, a nice ship with serious resupply problems, no clear path to the future and lots of local powers and potentates that see them as a threat or opportunity or resource to be stolen.
    Other sources: Dune, Red Dwarf. Any of those stories where the cosmos is big and lonely and there's nobody out there but other humans.

    I'd almost like to make the ship + ship's computer a character of its own. By picking your moves, you decide what kind of ship you're playing and what its issues are. On the other hand, that sort of violates the "no aliens" rule, so it might be better to have a "Captain" playbook that covers this. I'm torn, it obviously needs to be a group decision what kind of ship, but usually there's a level of identification between the Captain and his/her ship than any other character. Taking some inspiration from the Chopper and Hardholder playbooks to help characterize the ship, crew, and their strengths and weaknesses.

    I suppose you could also let each of the playbooks taken help define the ship, the same way they help define the setting in the standard game of AW. So if you've got a science officer, the ship's got some scientific function. If there's a Viper Pilot, then the ship has fighters on board like the Galactica or a fighter escort.

    I'd reshape some of the other playbooks, maybe reducing Weird and playing up Sharp.
    Hardholder becomes Captain, I think.
    Brainer becomes Science Officer and gets some kind of "Analyze" move to figure out new situations.
    Savvyhead becomes Engineer, keeps the quasi-mystical attachment to their stuff but also a move for improvising things MacGuyver-style.
    Chopper becomes Viper Pilot, leader of a squadron of little fighting ships that go off and do their own thing. Works pretty much as written,
    Driver becomes Warp Pilot, navigating the ship and knowing about other star systems. Maybe more weird stuff here, if you go with a Dune-like tie between space navigation and psychic powers.
    Angel is Medical Officer, pretty much as written
    Gunlugger could be Security Officer, with some significant changes to represent the change from solo badass to leader of the redshirts. He should have a move that allows him to find out more about a threat by sacrificing one of his guys.
  • I've been contemplating a hack for the setting of Shadowrun (though not exactly a Shadowrun hack, if you follow me). I keep facillating between thinking I want the playbooks to be totally different and thinking that they really don't need much tweaking.

    I also just got the complete series of Thundarr the Barbarian, and having that and AW in my head at the same time is probably not going to end well.
  • Ookla! Ariel! Ride!
  • This is slightly off topic, because it is a complete hack of Apocalypse World, and not just a drift, but...

    The first image test for Monsterhearts:

    image
  • ZOMFG nice wallpaper
  • Posted By: Christopher WeeksStar Wars. I was originally thinking of it as a full hack, but now I'm just thinking of reskinning and keeping everything just about the same. You'd tell stories that aren't like the ones that made it to the silver screen, but they'd be appropriate, I think.
    custom move: I Am Your Father...

    when you reveal a shocking truth to an enemy, roll+sharp.

    On a hit, you follow up your shocking truth with an entreaty to join your side.

    On a 10+, choose both, on a 7-9, choose 1:

    --If they do it, they mark an experience circle
    --If the don't do it, it's acting under fire

    On a miss, you chop off their hand.
  • Posted By: DannyKAny of those stories where the cosmos is big and lonely and there's nobody out there but other humans.
    Ooh. This makes me think of one of my favorite pieces of dark-as-hell SF, which turn out to fit AW awfully well.
  • Posted By: sageJust getting to the end of Grant Morrison's X-Men run, which ends with a story set in the future, which is pretty much an X-Men trope at this point. I know J-Walt already mentioned that a bit somewhere else (Age of Apocalypse World), but it's really singing to me now with a firmer story.

    I mean, there's a guy with a pet sentinel. He's totally a gang. And I even have some ideas on what the maelstrom equivalent is. Oh man.
    Oh, hell yeah. "We have seen a terrible flaw, at the heart of all things" has informed my psychic maelstroms since the day I started playtesting this game.
  • edited September 2010
    Lee, I am working on something now that should make you pretty happy. It's not ready for the public yet.

    Unrelated to that, we played the first session of our mashup AW / Warhammer Fantasy ("The Eye of Chaos") last night. It went rather well. I'll post the moves once they've seen a bit more playtesting, but they seem solid so far. I am in love with my violence move.
  • As long as we're onto historical apocalypses, I think I'd go with Persia just after the Mongols finished with it.

    As the mighty Wikipedia says: "In 1218, the eastern Khwarazmid provinces of Transoxiana and Khorasan suffered a devastating invasion by Genghis Khan. During this period more than half of Iran's population was killed, turning the streets of Persian cities such as Neishabur into "rivers of blood", as the severed heads of men, women, and children were "neatly stacked into carefully constructed pyramids around which the carcasses of the city's dogs and cats were placed". Between 1220 and 1260, the total population of Iran had dropped from 2,500,000 to 250,000 as a result of mass extermination and famine."

    Ancient systems of irrigation, which had been built up since about 2000 BC were destroyed, and it wasn't until the 1700s that the population recovered. Entire regions of Khorasan, which before the invasions had been one of the world centers of art, culture, and learning never recovered and became nomadic grazing grounds to the current time.

    Plus, a lot of the playbooks can be converted over fairly easily. The Driver becomes the Horseman, the Hocus becomes the Sufi, etc.
  • edited October 2010
    Next idea I had:

    The Totally Heterosexual Adventures of Dremmer and Balls
    I was thinking about this after the discussion of all the different gender permutations in Apocalypse World, and then thinking about the aforementioned Dremmer and Balls, who are a pair of bodyguards in my game who are always seen together. Nothing gay about them!

    And then I was thinking how they're really like the Rosencrantz and Guildenstern of the game, a couple of wiseasses without many lines who are doomed to get shot in the face when a PC makes his move. And I kind of wished that they would steal a car and run far, far away, to find happiness somewhere else. And that's what The Totally Heterosexual Adventures is all about, a couple of very non-heroic guys with some guns and a car, lighting out for the territory, trying to make it to that golden land called "California." I'd borrow heavily from Damnation Alley, On the Road, The Road, and every other book with "Road" in the title. Plus Lord of the Rings. Also the Bill and Ted movies and the Harold and Kumar movies. Maybe a little Butch and Sundance action. Basically a series of picaresque adventures in increasingly surrealistic post-Apocalyptic America which get more intense and dangerous as the guys power up, without ever losing a basic sense of absurdity and black humor.

    No need for different playbooks -- a Gunlugger and a Driver would work nicely, but I might have to change how Fronts work to adapt to a game where the characters keep moving West and never, never turn back.
    EDIT: This would be awesome to run or play for two characters in person or via Skype, if I only had the time...
  • Posted By: DannyKI might have to change how Fronts work to adapt to a game where the characters keep moving
    I think that would be an excellent and useful hack.
  • Crap I totally forgot this thread existed. I feel dumb about starting a new one for Metalocalypse World. Le sigh.

    Anyway. Guy Ritchie World would be fun, with Bullet-Tooth Tony as the Gunlugger, Brick Top as the Operator, etc. Dave Berg and I were also discussing Quentin Tarantino World (it's not a motorcycle, it's a chopper), but kobutsu pointed out that it'd be more fun to play Reservoir Dogs in the Vineyard.
  • Posted By: J. WaltonRifts, because it's so easy: a Glitterboy is a Driver, a Baby Dragon is NOT TO BE FUCKED WITH
    Seriously thinking about this one.
  • edited November 2010
    Another idea that has invaded my mind (and it's weird -- usually when I'm running a game, I start thinking about what the next game I'm going to run is -- lately I've been thinking about what the next game of Apocalypse World is going to be -- that's never happened before):

    Apocalypse Planet

    There's a planet near the core of the Galactic Empire that is not on any charts, an anomalous habitable world that orbits dangerously close to its dying sun, an ancient, dessicated world where the core has cooled and the terraforming is wearing off. The locals are hostile and mysterious and the fauna are dangerous and poorly understood. That's where the Imperial Police send criminals too dangerous for normal prisons, and the Navy and Army strand their own when they've become politically difficult or awkward. There's a single spaceport which is used only by Navy ships, and a few smugglers who land in the arid wastes, and neither one takes passengers.

    The sources here are Star Wars plus its direct inspiration, Dune, plus the Cordwainer Smith stories. And, of course, Warhammer 40K which I don't like but everyone else does. Maybe a little bit of Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri, for when all the PC's get their own gangs.

    Playbooks needed:

    Disgraced Military Officer
    Exiled Aristocrat
    Practioner of Forbidden Cultish Practices
    Fallen Criminal Mastermind
    Bounty Hunter
    Disfavored Courtesan
    Stranded Smuggler

    As part of chargen, each player should detail what they did to get stuck on this hell-world. Also, based on chargen, the MC should decide:
    What's Going On With The Empire;
    What's Going On With The Planet.

    There should be one of each: for example, in Dune, the Empire is going through an attempt to liquidate House Atreides, the Planet is going through a secret movement of the indigenous people to liberate themselves and transform their planet.

    Depending on that, the Maelstrom-equivalent should become clear.
  • Jumping in on the thread Necromancy!

    I cooked up a few minor tweaks for a non-apocalyptic Western game, the main sticking point being the brainer and maelstrom.

    I also think Necromunda would work with nothing but color tweaks.
  • edited June 2011
    Holey moley thread necromancy!

    This seems to be an appropriate setting. Maybe after we finish the current campaign.
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