Actual Play – Waters’ Girl (9/11/2010)

GM: Sean Nittner
Players: Alex, Abe and Lawrence
System: Apocalypse World

It’s 10:00 at night before Al’s wedding and Abe, bless his soul is evagilizing the hell out of Apoc World. He’s never even played it but he’s bugging everyone “Hey, let’s play this, it’ll be awesome.” And he was right.

First off, I still haven’t finished the book, wasn’t sure I knew what I was doing and probably failed to follow at least half of Vincent’s rules for running it. That said, the game was awesome and I’m convinced will be more so once I know what the heck I’m doing (read: stop being lazy bastard and read all the rules, which I’m getting to, about 1/3 done now).

Because I had played in an operator game and it was late, I decided that’s the setting we would use. Roles pick were not surprising. Alex picked up the Operator, he likes to be in control and have flexibility. Lare went for an Angel, he likes to be needed. Abe was a tossup between Battlebabe and Brainer, ending with an androgynous, super hot brainer decked in fetish-wear. Also not a big shocker for me.

We did introduction, Hx and fleshed out a bit of background.


Alex – Operator – Waters – Male – Utility Wear – Rough Face – Cold Eyes – Sturdy Body. Started with a box of cigars and a chip on his shoulder. Gigs: Surveillance, Infiltration and Companionship, with an obligation for Revenge.

We figured out pretty quick that Waters rolled into Hatchet City, tried to take the Hard Holder’s property (a pretty thing named Fauna) and got all of his crew killed doing so. He was left to die by Dog Head’s gang with a giant slice of windshield imbedded in his face.

Lawrence – Angel – Grip – Male – Scrounge Wear plus utility – Haggard face – Quick Eyes – Range body.

Grip knows when things are going down. It might have been the psychic maelstrom that alerted him or the sound of dog head’s game opening fire on the semi that Water’s crew was driving, but either way he knew he was needed. He found Water’s bleed to death and with the help from Sundown pulled his ass out of the cab and saved him.

Abe – Sundown – Brainer – Androgynous – Fetish – Bondage Wear – Sweet face – Ruined eyes – Slight body

Yeah, she watches you sleep. Sundown has been using in brain puppet strings to mess with whoever Dog Head told her to and she was tired of being his whore. Seeing that Water’s openly defied the hard holder, she sided with him as well.

A bit of background

It was pretty clear that the players thought of Dog Head more like a Warlord than a Hard Holder, so I played to that for a while, so long as they were talking to his enemies, sure they would agree he was a son-of-a-bitch, but he got a bit more nuanced at the end.

Waters started off the session rolling his gigs, he shot for both Surveillance and Infiltration and nailed them both (solid hit). Turns out Pierre has been hired on by Dog Head to keep some of his business in order, which is of particular interest to Jav, who wants to take over Hatchet City.

Starting the 1st session.

I opened up pretty casually, the characters started at the scrap heap that was Water’s old semi, how turned over and gutted of everything valuable. Water climbed in the cab, ripped up the seat and found the box of cigars he had hidden under it and then declared the rest of the rig a loss. The other two waited around, unsure what their new leader was going to do. Rice, a grubby local with busted teeth and a big cock tried to sweet talk Sundown. Now that she wasn’t Dog Head’s property, maybe she’d give him a ride. He wasn’t to smooth but figured that Sundown was still a whore and tried to buy her with a broken watch from Waters. Waters took the watch and all Rice got for it was a knife pressed against his throat. He ran off, screaming he’d been ripped off, and Waters had started making enemies already. The fun part here was when Sundown tried read Waters to figure out if he really meant to sell her or not and got box cars. She walked away from the whole thing thinking Waters was just as bad as Dog Head. That was worth it.

Rice’s complaining drew the attention of the some of the Hard Holder’s gang and the characters decided it was time to bug out, and got turn in the information they had to Jav across town.

Jav was a brainer, holed up underground in a sunken trailer trying to purity water and making the whole area smell like rotten eggs. He was also, apparently, trying to move in on Dog Head. The encounter out front was fun. Two guards, Exit and one who would only shrug, so never got a name, greeted the characters. Exit didn’t want Dog Head’s property inside or for Grip to bring his shotgun. This eventually turned into some name calling, some pushing each other around and a grip getting a bloody nose (but holding onto this gun). The message was clear though, you don’t touch Water’s crew without getting a fight. Waters liked play hard and though she didn’t trust him Sundown backed his play and she didn’t like being discriminated against.

Eventually they met with Jav, all wrapped in latex (courtesy of Carl Rigney’s inspiration for him) and some bartering took place. He was originally going to offer them a 20 gallon drum of mostly clean water for their surveillance and infiltration (2 units of barter) but they didn’t have any way to transport or protect it. We had some fun bartering and they eventually traded the water back, the box of cigars and one more job for a tow truck and a savvy head to fix it. Yay, a lead created for me.

The players I could tell were itching for a fight, something I wasn’t particularly excited about seeing, as I imagine people in Apoc World judge pretty carefully if they are going to get into a fight they’ve got a chance of losing. Bullets are hard to come by (at least in the setting I was running), and injuries not treated by an Angel (who are also rare) can easily get infected and get much worse. So I figure most people don’t want to fight if they can get away with bullying and even then will prefer overwhelming odds that minimize their personal chance of injury. And yet, they were going to find Pierre and mess with his business.

So they found something close, Pierre’s gang putting pressure on Joe’s Girl who had a small fenced in area with a few goats. They were demanding milk or they were going to carry one of the little devil-eyed fuckers off for dinner. And now enter the characters, to mess with Pierre’s gang.

Putrid, the strongest amongst then was hungry, he just wanted to get something to eat or drink, but he’d heard of Water’s reputation and didn’t want to start trouble with him. He told Ricarra, man with the gun, but also the most intelligent of them, to hold off so they could talk. Putrid told Waters that this was Dog Head’s business and it would be best if he just left. Putrid’s face was smashed into a fence post. Water’s throat got punched over and over till he was breathing blood. That fight went on for a while.

In the meantime Sundown started talking to Ricarra, he could see that Putrid was taking care of things (this was before all the throat punching) was pretty interested in it. It looked hot, soft pale flesh, strange ruined eyes. Something alien but (thanks to unnatural lust transfixion) hot. He set down the gun and went around back with Sundown. What they ended up having was a conversation about how Ricarra got where he was, and what kind of person he was, and the same about Sundown. If there is a thing that passes for love in Apoc World, they found it. Then they had sex.

Which left four guys for Grip to handle. He leveled a shotgun and blew half of Dremmer’s face off and scared the rest of them away with the last bullet in his gun. At about the same time Waters finally got his gun out of his coat and managed to shoot Putrid in the gut, who limped off, not wanting to find out if there was another bullet in the gun (and Water wasn’t going to waste a bullet proving it to him).

Which left Waters and Grip, both beat to hell, in front of Joe’s Girl, who stared at them suspiciously. Her man (Joe) had left town and Dog Head was taking care of her, but he wouldn’t move in so she was still Joe’s girl. On the edge of town she needed someone, Dog Head, Jav, Waters, she didn’t really care, to protect her from the grotesques outside of town. Again, we had some negotiation, she just wanted a man with a gun under her roof but Waters didn’t want to be tied down, however, with no truck and no place else to sleep that night, he didn’t have any better offers.

So now we’ve got Waters’ girl.

What rocked

Even with a lot of pieces missing, I think the game held together really well. People dug the moves, the setting, and the system. I felt the whole time like I was winging it but they dug it all.

What could have been improved

I kind of suck at barfing forth the apocalyptica. In my head I have these image of a dusty barren wastes sparsely populated but haggard peoples. Yet the details don’t always mesh. Jav’s sulfur purifying for water sounded could as I was thinking about it but then didn’t make any sense once I said it. We rolled past but my skills at creating a living setting need work.

I had no room on the table in front of me, which meant  I spend a lot of it fumbling through looking at the 1st session handout, the basic moves, the MC moves, and the book.  It was a bit overwhelming for the space I had and the fatigue factor of playing late after a really busy day.


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