So I finally got to run Apocalypse World! But after years of playing D&D/Pathfinder almost exclusively, I feel the situation we have set up after the first session might a bit too straightforward, more "fight this villain" than "problems pressing in all around".
We have two brothers, Jeremy the savvyhead and Ben the driver, operating a radio station and running trade between homesteads in a hilly region blasted by cold winds and acrid, ashy rains. I thought the Mad Max-style desert was overdone, so we went for more a The Road-style landscape. Butch the gunlugger is Ben's protection from the degenerate scavengers out on the trade route, and Beatrix the battlebabe is a newcomer from the west looking to advertise for a few hard men on Jeremy's station, for her expedition to an nearby abandoned military base.
But then the hi-tech fuel cells Beatrix was planning to pay in get stolen from the Dog Head's flophouse! Ben nearly kills Dog Head's wife trying to treat her wounds, and then the PCs chase down the robbers, who turn out to be working for Clarion, some sort of scary mindfucker chick travelling down the ruined highway with a dozen or so of her cronies. The PCs return all of the stolen stuff, and make the robbers work off the damage they've done before they letting them go... together with a transmitter Jeremy had rigged up and planted in their pick-up.
End first session.
So we have Clarion, who I think needs the fuels cells to power some sort of mini-HAARP array and control the weather. Maybe she likes the rain, maybe she's thinking of a way to distill car fuel from it. But her crew doesn't really know what she's doing, if you ask too many questions, you go into the RV, and you don't want to go into the RV. The last guy came out after three days all dried up like, must have lost 20 pounds.
We have the scavengers, most of whom start as regular bandits but tend to be crushed by the hard life and the rains into crazed barbarians. There's talk of some of them running and raiding openly in the rains, but that's probably bullshit, right?
There's Dog Head, who's really pissed at Ben for nearly killing his wife.
Not mentioned yet, but we also have Pierre, whose daughter got fucked and dumped by Ben, so he might team up with Dog Head if the two of them decide they've had enough of Ben's shit. And Monk, the local religious figure who slept with Butch in the hopes of turning him to god. I don't think Butch is going to take his promise seriously, so she'll probably be pissed too.
There's also the army base the battlebabe is looking to raid, but not much more was said about that.
So I guess there's stuff, but it feels like it all boils down to storming the wizard's tower: the plan is pretty clearly to go after Clarion and kill all of her shit. I feel I might not be doing a very good job making the players feel scarcity and being set upon from many sides. I'm also not sure which of the above should be set up as fronts, and which as threats within fronts. For example, Clarion and the scavangers seem to be threats in the same front, with Clarion whipping up the rains, and the rain-immune scavengers getting bolder in the weather that's deadly to most folks, but doesn't really bother them. But Clarion pretty clearly makes me think Ambition, and the scavengers Hunger, which would suggest they're separate fronts. Additionally, if Clarion, the scavengers, and the rains are the same rainmaking front, that leaves me with a single front plus some resentment on the home front. Again, too one-sided?
I'm also having trouble setting up stakes I'm really interested in. I want to know what happens to Clarion and her crew, whether they'll get mowed down by the PCs, and which, if any, of the NPCs back home are going to have a serious run-in with the PCs, but that's about it. Maybe there aren't enough human NPCs?
Any comments about the setup or tips for going forward are welcome!