Choose Your Apocalypse

Choose Your Apocalypse

Preparing to play Apocalypse World: Burned Over with Jay and Aaron. Their playbook choices are kind of rootless, so I’m offering up some setting choices.

PIC: Skull with flaming top of head icon

TEXT: APOCALYPSE WORLD: BURNED OVER

make the post-apocalypse seem real
make the PCs’ lives interesting to you 
and play to find out what the PCs make of their world

Red and Yellow gradient in text, crumpled poster texture over it all
https://lumpley.games/burnedover/

Here are a few ideas:

The Simple Desert: There are a few places where people dwell but it is all highway and desert in all directions. Where are you on an olde world map? Who knows? Who cares? Where are you getting your next drink of water?

Empirepocalypse: Eastern Seaboard, raise the sea level by 30 feet or so. Start in NYC, where people are surviving in skyscrapers, boats, remaining bridges and that ole decommissioned aircraft carrier/museum parked there.

Too close?

The Underground: Whatever happened on the surface, only people who retreated underground survived. The world is a series of tunnels and underground highways linking old mines to old missile silos to old government vaults.

Low Earth Orbit: There are enough space stations in orbit that the last of humanity is clinging to life while orbiting the tombworld called Earth. Moon-base, space elevator and a few space stations put up by the last of the space-capable powers before the apocalypse 50 years ago (India, China, Russia and the Vatican). Motorcycle gangs = jet pack gangs. Semi-truck = space shuttle. Interceptor Car = Orbital Fighter Jet.

We made a choice. An Operator and a Weaponized in Low Earth Orbit. Excited!

Apocalypse World: Burned Over title

Low Earth Orbit with funky, gritty, scifi fonts and cool green glow over a pic of the earth from orbit.

The Hard Zones are as follows:

The Olde Station – the piece of crap first floated into space. Often called The Tomb.

The Last Elevator – the last tether to Earth, used to grow food and transport those with the resources and the bravery to set foot on the ruined planet that birthed our species.

The Moon – our species’ first stop in space, now home to the closest thing to a city that remains and the defiled historical site of the First Landing.

The Highest Cathedral – the Vatican’s first orbital platform, an ambitious half-completed cross floating in space. The Jesuits produce some of the finest scientific minds left.

The Zhenbao-Damanski Station – Where Chinese and Russian clans play out the last pathetic breaths of earthbound political rivalries with Indian families trying to broker peace. The original name for the station is lost, now it is named after an island Russia and China fought over back on Earth.

I can’t WAIT to see their playbook decisions. They will say so much about the setting.

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Moons of Leviathan: Space Drugs

Inspired by the Visions of Death move in Apocalypse World: Burned Over in the Volatile playbook and in Apocalypse World 2nd Edition in the Battlebabe Playbook.

Moves are gained through using technology.

When you take Trance before battle, roll your approporiate training:
On a 10+, name one person who will die and one who will live.
On a 7-9, name one person who will die or one who will live.
On a miss you see a vision of the monster you become as a result of this battle and the fell havoc your hand brings to the universe, take -1 for this battle and hold 3 moving forward after the battle is done.
[ ] +1 to a roll that brings this vision to reality.
[ ] +1 to to a roll that brings this vision to reality.
[ ] Roll this move again as if you were entering battle. Either retire this character as the destiny is made real or prove you have free will by changing the course of destiny.
True Sword, a networked blade with an AI embedded in its core.

“I live in an apocalyptic dream. My steps fit into it so precisely that I fear most of all I will grow bored reliving the thing so exactly.”
― Frank Herbert, Dune Messiah

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Dune Collection
Scifi Dune Font by Hydro74 / Joshua M. Smith over a sand dune
https://shopofjudd.threadless.com/collections/dune-collection
Science Fiction Collection
scifi Truesword
https://shopofjudd.threadless.com/collections/science-fiction

Training and Moves in Moons of Leviathan

Riding a wave of inspiration from Morgan, we’re playing Traveller(ish). We’re using the skills as a way to resolve conflicts using Apocalypse World moves. So far it is working

What about skill improvement?

In Book 2: Starships of the Traveller Little Black Box, it talks a bit about getting education and training. Easy enough to Apocalypse it up a bit. Here’s a different way to say something similar, drawing inspiration from ( or ruthlessly pillaging, depending on your POV) Apocalypse World and Burned Over:

“Muad'Dib learned rapidly because his first training was in how to learn. And the first lesson of all was the basic trust that he could learn. It's shocking to find how many people do not believe they can learn, and how many more believe learning to be difficult.”
Frank Herbert, Dune
When your character wants to train, either gaining a new expertise or improving an established skill, talk to the Referee about the people who offer such training.
Then the Referee will tell you 1 to 4 of the following:
[ ] It is going to take X weeks/months/years of consistent training
[ ] First, you will have to hire a tutor through [an in-game faction]
[ ] You will need X to help you with it.
[ ] It is going to cost dearly.
[ ] There is ancient tech that is said to condition the brain in this manner.
[ ] You’re already the best in the sub-sector; you’ll have to venture deep into the void or take on a massive under-taking in order to improve.
[ ] It is illegal to train the brain in such a manner; you will be risking imprisonment, excommunication or worse.
[ ] Those who safeguard these training methods are rigid in their orthodoxy and will guard them dearly but there are always rebels and heretics at the fringe of the worlds…
Once your training is complete you can add the skill to your sheet or increase the skill you already have. The Referee will tell you what you will need to do to keep this skill sharp so that this expertise does not become covered in rust and decay.

But, Judd, you ask, what about stats?

I like that we’re saying that the limits of the human body aren’t interesting to us. What you use to change the world is your training and in order to gain training you have to go out and interact with the world.

What about non-basic moves?

Non-basic moves are all tech. Maybe the True Sword, a networked blade with an embedded AI, gives you a move like the Gunlugger’s Not to be Fucked With, where you fight as a gang. Certain drugs give you access to psychic powers.

A science-fantasy True Sword and a cool way to show the end of the blog post
A True Sword and a cool way to show the end of the blog post

Dune Collection
Scifi Dune Font by Hydro74 / Joshua M. Smith over a sand dune
https://shopofjudd.threadless.com/collections/dune-collection
Science Fiction Collection
scifi Truesword
https://shopofjudd.threadless.com/collections/science-fiction

Moons of Leviathan, Session 1, Remembering Morgan

That game was special and strange. Thank you, Sean and the Actual Play team. Thank you to everyone in chat.

Thank you, Morgan, for the cool character and cool everything. Thank you for continuing to inspire us.

Ithaca Station’s True Sword

That is exactly what we did, Morgan. There was a duel out on the ship’s hull, in the void of space under the baleful glare of the Leviathan’s eye.

I think you would’ve loved it. What you made and you inspired us to make was too cool for one session. We’re going back.