Just Outside the City, compiled AP threads

This is an easy to follow list of threads for our Apocalypse World campaign.  I am updating  it so that I can read the threads over and get caught back up once we get back together at the end of January, beginning of February.

Game 1, In and Out of Pole

“You’ve just gotten out of the city and you are dragged a big-ass haul behind you, like, dragged behind the car with chains.  What did you get out of the city?”

Some ideas are thrown out there.

J.J. speaks up.  “Maybe its a person.”

“Its a fucking person.  Yes.  Chained up in a trailer. Someone dangerous.  Who is it?”

“The local warlord’s daughter?  Maybe a Romeo and Juliet kind of thing?”

“Yeah, she went off and hitched up with a rival, Dog head and her dad, the Warlord of Pole is pissed.  Her dad is Millions.”

And off we went.

Front Creation 1, Crafting Fronts

I got home and got excited.  My buddy, Witt, was in town and we sat up and talked about gaming and life and shit.  I started asking questions about New York City, about where our game taking place just outside The City, could be set.  He mentioned Duchess County and we were off and running.

Maps, links, bookmarking shit, reading wikipedia and so on.  I’m thinking of printing out a Revolutionary War era map and marking it up with a sharpie.

The Hudson River has some fun toys.  West Point.  The Indian Point Nuclear Plant.  Spook Rock.  Crazy tides with brackish water.

Game 2, Explosions on Bear

On a piece of paper I wrote the following words:

Unfinished Business

And asked questions, handing out one off the list to each of them.

Turns out Bullit has a rival, one of Saffron’s customers named Toyota.  He drives a rusted out Toyota truck that he piles his nine kids into the bed, giving them weapons.

Baby’s lover is one of Saffron’s girls, Newton.  Newton wants her to buy out her contract so she can leave Bear and travel around with Baby’s gang on the back of her bike.

Marsh has unfinished business, having been mugged last time he was in town by a guy who had pretended to be his buddy and gotten drinks with him.

Dent had a friend, another faceless named Stomp, with a mask made from car-seat leather and tremendous boots that give him his name.

And the whole game drove on from those four bits, those questions the players answered.

Game 3, Myths Busted, Hardholds Taken

The proceedings went around in circles for a while and then the Kipsie said something about no one having to bow down to him.  I tell everyone that he is fucking lying.

Baby fucking shoots him.  Seize by Force.

The king is dead, hail to the queen.

Front Creation 2, Cannibal Country, the Garden

Thanks for the medical cannibalism info, Jason and thanks again for the custom moves!

Great stuff.

Game 4, From West Point to Kip-Town

Spent the first bit of the game filling out info on their holds.  Both have manufactories (West Point makes lumber, Kip-town – cows).  We sped up time a month and just let them ease into things.  I didn’t make any hard moves, lots of vague future badnesses and some apocalyptica vomitting but honestly, nothing heavy.

It was the two hardholders, Bullet at West Point and Baby at Kip-town and Dent, the Faceless, roaming between the two, hammer in hand.  Dent has become an unmitigated bad-ass.  Or as JJ said so aptly, “Take moves from other character types…why would I?  I have so many awesome choices with the Faceless…as soon as I get enough XP together, I will be able to TALK to my mask and ask it advice.”

Letters to the Characters, thinking up new fronts

We took a few weeks off, some folks longer than others.  Seemed like a good time for this kinda thing.

Thoughts and comments on the letter-moves is appreciated.  Making moves is something I am still getting used to.

Game 5, Rabid Bikers and a Violent Wedding

Rubbin is growing up so damned fast, 15 year old girls are like that and since she had been adopted by Bullet, she’s kinda blossomed.  The Driver, turns out, is a decent dad and since he took over West Point she eats well and is learning from Fitty the art of the gun and learning some driving from Mr. Bullet.

Game 6, The Anti-Squid-Eater Progrom:

But these cannibals…

Yeah, everyone wants peace…sure.  But who is going to have the moxy to ask for it now that Dent had his hammer and mask fueled tantrum?  Shit, even Gams is scared to get her shit, not sure how she is going to be received.

Game 7, The Chain of Command vs. the Food Chain:

Everything is primed.  The Hudson River Valley Compact is planning to destroy the cannibal’s incoming shipment from “out west” where they get lots of raw goods and materials, hoping that this will starve them out come winter.  It’ll be a while, with the holidays messing up the next few weeks but once that is past us, war is coming.

Game 8,  Post-Apocalyptic Errands, Chores and House-keeping:

Meanwhile, down south, Saffron chose some bits from her 10+ role for her custom-welcome-back-move.  For her role at 10+, she got:

– musicians in her joint, bringing in extra barter

– an affair with the leader of the local West Point lumberjacks (he reminds her of her late bouncer, killed in the first session, Shmee)

– and a gaggle of new girls from Bumfuck, Nowhere who want to work



Graz’zt vs. Klauth: Hunting a Dragon with a Demon Prince

AP Thread:

So, they made a deal with the Lord of the 45th, 46th and 47th layers of the Abyss and did it without a Duel of Wits…which maybe bummed me out but their terms were reasonable. We haven’t hit that moment where both sides dig in their heels and no further forward motion can be made in the game that always was a sign for DoW to start.


  • He won’t seek revenge against the witch who had kept him her prisoner (they were friends with the witch’s sister).
  • Before he leaves Luskan, however, he can lay with her, disguised as her lover in a local brothel.
  • He won’t harm any in the Deep 6 as long as they do not harm him.
  • He won’t seek revenge on any within the Deep 6.
  • He will continue to hunt Old Snarl until the dragon is dead as long as Arkadian Lahl is beside him.

Yeah, Auric wanted his name in that last term but Arkadian wasn’t having it and he had a belief about keeping the Hanged Prince safe until he takes back Felbar. They walked out of the tower while the Witch was out, with a Demon Prince who shifted his shape to look like a Luskan sailor with six fingers on each hand and tattoos on his arm: 45, 46, 47.



Building a demon prince

Monster Burning Thread:

Pete took out a bunch of his old D&D books, here are some relevant quotes:


I’m paraphrasing, here, “He was winning the war in the Abyss against Orcus and Demogorgon when he was summoned by a mighty magic-user and pulled to the prime material plane. Cool. That fits right into the game we’re in.”

“Graz’zt is the handsomest of the demon rulers, at least by human standards. He appears as a huge, good-looking man, although his skin is shining black and his eyes are glowing green. Graz’zt is six fingered and six toed.”

The 3.0 Manual of the Planes is a nifty book. I especially like the 3-line descriptions of each plane:

“It is an infinity of clutching horror.
It is home to demons.
It is where morality crumbles and ethics perish.”

Demons, dark gods and thinking outside the box

AP thread:

I wanted the calling of the hunt to have some traditions and some ritual to it. We e-mailed a bit about it and I suggested that the noble in charge of the hunt calls on seven deities to bless the hunt. Tonight, before the game, I sat down and wrote down the four recorded Great Hunts:

The first Great Hunt was called by an ancient God-king of Mulhulorand. Who or what he called the hunt on or how the hunt ended is lost to time and history.

600 years ago the Elven Queen called the Great Hunt upon an avatar of Orcus who walked the earth. Orcus was killed the queen’s own champion, a sword singer, the Herald of the West.

200 years ago King Azhoun III (King Azhoun IV currently reigns Cormyr) called the Great Hunt on the Dragon-god of Hullack, a green dragon, the consort of Tiamat who was attempting to become a god. The dragon was killed by the knight who founded the Purple Dragon knights of Cormyr.

50 years ago Lord Urdo of Westgate called a spiteful Great Hunt on a thief. The hunt brought out every bounty hunter on the Sea of Fallen Stars but the thief was never caught. Some say he found a portal to the legendary city of Sigil. (ya know, when I had Lord Nasher talk about the history of the Great Hunts, I forgot this one…shit).

And 20 years ago Lord Ather, the Arm of Tyr and father to Waterdeep’s own High Lord, Peirgeron Paladinson called a Great Hunt on Klauth, the Great Wyrm of the North. The hunt ended when Lord Ather himself was killed. Killing the noble who called the hunt, ends the hunt.

I listed a bunch of gods and goddesses who sent representatives and they chose 7.

  • Moradan, the dwarven highfather, the world-forger
  • Tyr, god of justice and law
  • Mystra, goddess of magic
  • Bhaal, god of murder
  • Mask, god of thieves and shadows
  • Bahamut, the father of dragons
  • Solonar Thelandira, elvish goddess of hunting and archery

They chose Solonar to honor Milja’s death.
For the duration of the hunt, each deity will provide a call-on for a skill that pertains to their realms of expertise.

Post-Apocalyptic Errands, Chores and House-keeping

AW Thread:

JJ (Dent) and KK (Baby) couldn’t make it to the game, so we played without them but didn’t want to go forward with the assault on cannibal country without those two key players.

Padraic had Marsh pick up two gigs, one was surveillance and the other was infiltration.  We decided the surveillance was Millions from Pole wanting to know more about Mrs. W in Albany.  He sent Marsh up north with some barter to trade, some unmarked canned goods, known as Canned Surprises.

Captain Dale was sent to Watertown to find out if there were any military remnants.  Its a 100+ mile trek, so they hitched a ride with a squid-eater (also called Squiddee’s nowadays, thanks, Barry) and threw in some more MRE’s for the captain’s wife to make some ponchos to cover up their gear and uniforms.

Meanwhile, down south, Saffron chose some bits from her 10+ role for her custom-welcome-back-move.  For her role at 10+, she got:

– musicians in her joint, bringing in extra barter

– an affair with the leader of the local West Point lumberjacks (he reminds her of her late bouncer, killed in the first session, Shmee)

– and a gaggle of new girls from Bumfuck, Nowhere who want to work

Killing Cannibals and Hunting a nasty Dragon (who is also a cannibal)

In both games I am GMing right now, things are right on the cusp of really exciting sessions.

The Cannibal War

Tonight in Apocalypse World, the players are leading the Hudson Valley Compact into Cannibal Country in order to hit an incoming shipment of goods that will keep their hardholds fed until the winter.  Should be some vicious road battle for the ole Driver and just some nasty small group warfare for everyone else as they attempt to take a bridge that leads into Central Garden.


The Great Hunt

Over in the Forgotten Realms, the Great Hunt has been called on Klauth, the Great Wyrm of the North, the most vicious named dragon in all of the realms and one of the few bits we’ve taken from the 3E book rather than sticking to the gray box.  Or am I wrong and is Klauth in the gray box?  He has a spy network of critters throughout the north and gains power by eating other dragons.  What a shit.

Pete and Aaron discussed it over e-mail and indeed, the Deep Six are taking part, probably the leading adventuring group.  We e-mailed a bit about what goes into the calling of a Great Hunt and decided that seven deities are chosen to sponsor such a hunt, chosen by the noble who sponsors the calling.  The deities they choose will change the tenor of the hunt itself.  I’m curious to see which ones the players will pick.

That’s what is up at the gaming tables I frequent.

How about you?

Dammit, I wanna play too.

But…I wanna play.  I was looking over the little ugly map scrawled in red pen in my gaming note-pad from the last post and really wanted to make up a character, same as Aaron’s – 3 lifepaths.  I thought about a sorcerer’s apprentice of some kind or maybe a squire of Malat but then Soren Guilder sprang into my head, fully formed, ready to go.   There’s something almost Dickensian about him.

I reckon me and Aaron could go back and forth if we should play this game.  There is no reason why a one-on-one RPG session can’t have each person picking up the player and GM role, maybe even switching up a few times a game if it doesn’t murder the pacing.

The Dwarven lifepaths are the best stock in Burning Wheel, so here he is:

Name: Soren Guilder
Concept/Bio: Minor Ambassador/Bureaucrat from the Mithril Bank
Lifepaths: Born Guilder, Wordbearer, Hawker
Age : 51
Stats: Wi: B4, Pe: B5, Po: B5, Fo: B3, Ag: B4, Sp: B4, Speed Mult.: x3
Attributes: Ref: B4, Ste: B4, Hes: 6, Hea: B5, MW: B10, Greed: B7, Circles: B2, Resources: B0
PTGS: Su: B2  Li: B4  Mi: B6  Se: B8  Tr: B9  Mo: B10

  1. I will rise through the Guilder ranks through awesome cunning and maybe some steel.
  2. I will earn the coin that will allow my father and brothers to retire from the Host.
  3. MoBu City is the most glorious place in the world. I will devour its every taste and experience

OATH: The Deadport Merchant Princes will get their loans from us.

  1. Never axe a customer.
  2. Always flirt with tall ladies.
  3. When in combat, always defensive.

Traits: [Dt] Accustomed to the Dark, [Char] Bearded, [Dt] Greed, [Dt] Oathsworn, [Dt] Shaped from Earth and Stone, [Dt] Stout, [Dt] Tough, [Char] Quirky, [Dt] Ironmemory, [C-O] Quickstep
Skills: Accounting B2, Axe B2, Clan History B2, Conspicuous B2, Haggling B3, Hold-Wise B2, Inconspicuous B2, Man-Wise B2, Oratory B3, Persuasion B2, Rumor-Wise B2, Streetwise B3
Affiliations: 1D The Mithril Bank aka, The Guild
Relationships: My father, Sergeant in the Host. (Minor, immediate family, hateful/rival), Uncle, Greybeard Guildsman (Significant, immediate family) Sweetheart from the Bay (romantic)
Gear: Clothes, Sturdy Shoes x2, Finery, Traveling Gear
Weapons:  None…shit.
Bare Fisted I:B3 M:B5 S:B7 Add 2 VA 0 Fast Shortest

The seas between Paradise and Hell.

Pete couldn’t game last week, so I e-mailed Aaron, asked him to burn up a 3 lifepath character, any kind of character and we’d make up a campaign for what he came up with. I love doing that with friends, especially those who know BW well, with whom I’ve played before.

He showed up with an elven sea captain, young and brash. Lots of 2’s and 3’s on the sheet but a solid array of Elven spellsongs. He was kind enough to not go the Born Noble route, as he knows how sick and tired I am of nobles. Thanks, Aaron.

We started talking and I doodled one of my hideous maps, started writing down names: MoBu City, Mithril Bay, the Vampire coast, Deadport, Hellsgate, Paradise Gates, Kamar City, Holy City of Grond, Hellsgate, The Empire’s Ruins, The Immortal Cliffs, Kraken Citadel, the Griffon Citadel, Osprey Point, Talam. Some of the names came from a name book or a word looked up online, others came from Aaron, some came from the Warhammer Dark Elf book that was on the table, as Aaron named his PC, Lokhir, after a big NPC in the Warhammerverse.

We talked about the vampires on the oh-so-aptly named Vampire Coast, the mists that surround Hellsgate. Aaron started writing down beliefs and I looked at the map and found a glimmer of situation here and there but couldn’t find anything glaring. For some reason, I wrote down how many council seats each nation around MoBu City has.

  • 5 Mithril Seats
  • 3 Dead Seats
  • 3 Kraken Seats
  • 2 Osprey Seats
  • 1 Talam Seat
  • 3 Kamar Seats
  • 3 Holy Seats
  • 2 Imperial Seats

Hm, something was coming together in my mind and for some reason that did it. The empire was now just squabbling dukes and barons on the northern coast. Kraken and Osprey are both elven but one is dominated by etharchal nobility and the other is dominated by a fort built in the midst of wilderland villages. The Vampire Coast is right next to the Holy City of Grond. I’m sure there is a neighborly war brewing between the undead and the theocratic state. I tossed in Talam for some Knights of Malta-ish action.

His character didn’t have the points for a ship but he bought a relationshipwith his one-time first mate.

Lokhir’s Beliefs:

  1. Once I chart the storms off the Vampire Coast, I will sell the map to the highest bidder.
  2. The Petrel is on her way back to Osprey Point, we must take her before she reaches the fort.
  3. If Sebastian can help my ship, I will sail for the Princes of Deadport.

I find myself tinkering with the religions, wondering why the empire fell and coming up with little details like:

  • Only the etharchal elves can travel back and forth from Paradise.
  • Like their Tolkien-inspired brethren, the Elves have forbidden humans from traveling too far west but unlike them, this has sea-trade implications.
  • Past the Hellgate are the orcs.
  • I’m sure its just a coincidence that the human empire falling had nothing to do with its proximity to Hellgate.
  • Lego pieces of a seaworthy pantheon: the Leviathan, the Moon, a fallen city, a wraith ship, an undersea kingdom…

And now its there, simmering, ready to be taken out of the port. I am kinda eager to start, with Captain Lokhir on MoBu City’s docks, near the trading barges owned by the undead merchant princes of Deadport, looking for dishonest work.