Thursday, September 6, 2012

Apocalypse World: Fronts Pt 1


This is written as if I had both fronts done. I don't. My game is delayed by several days so I have time, but I've been exhausted by the start of school, and I don't want to deprive you guys of any content. I think what's here already is cool, and I'll put in more cool next time.
EDGE is a good, but not stellar indie action-puzzle game with one of the best retro soundtracks I've heard in a while. This is, in my own opinion, a spiritual successor to Cave Story's soundtrack, and I'm that guy with at least 5 versions of the entire CS soundtrack and over a dozen versions of Last Battle. Seriously, this is a freaking incredible soundtrack. I love this song in particular for how upbeat it is - it's freakin' Labyrinth Fight all over again. Now, to Apoclaypse World.

So, Apocalypse World has a thing called Fronts. Fronts are, essentially, a packet of related Threats, developed between sessions by the MC so the MC will have interesting things to say already prepared. It's a cool thing that always confused me. I must say, looking at them before play, I didn't comprehend what exactly they were really doing. They seemed like just another piece of prep, something similar to regular games and not really integral. I've read about them in Dungeon World and as I said in my annotations of that they confused me (though the latest version is much better than the very original from Basic), and I read about the variation in Monsterhearts and Monster of the Week, and I think I suffered from the same confusion across the books.
I get it.
I think what I really needed was to actually play. Having actually done the MCing, I get why the game is stressful in a rather unique way, that the pressure to come up with this stuff or to keep track of the myriad stuff is tough. Biggest, it's tough to build up your threats when so much of the motion is on the player's side. Having this pile gives me a chance to come up with the cool names and the cool schemes and the horrible things that lay around the players and get all tangled up in their webs. I also absolutely understand why you CANNOT write these before the first session - everything I've written so far has been built off of a base of information built by my players (in this case, the NPCs from Life's Establishment questions and Kray's Hx question). This way I'm not just making guys to fight them with - I'm preparing material on the guys they've set up as their own enemies.
I've built two Fronts now. I'm gonna share 'em cuz I think they're cool and writing it all up here will help me think through my last couple gaps. In front one I'll also describe what each category is - Front two will likely be more streamlined.

Name: The Dame's Tower (Holiday?)
Expresses: ...the example front has corruption but I couldn't actually see it explained anywhere. Unless it just wants what our Scarcity is, but corruption isn't an option for that. Either way, Toyota and the Dame's Tower expresses Ambition, power-hungry-ness.
Threats: Toyota, The Dames, Lovesickness
Dark Future/Agenda: Lovesickness infects the whole town, placing everyone under Toyota's command as she dominates the population.
Description and Cast: Description, who's there, etc. The Dame's Tower is both Toyota's brothel and her cult. I'm not so sure of this yet, it's still stewing, but I kinda like the idea of them calling the place Holiday cuz maybe the tower they operate out of is an abandoned Holiday Inn - a hotel is a pretty good place for a post-apocalyptic brothel I think.
Stakes Questions: Essentially, these are questions I ask that are open ended that I'm commiting to not answering myself. This is what I want to see answered in play.
* Will Rolfball fall victim to Lovesickness? Will Toyota gain control of the town? (these are, essentially, the same question)
* Will Toyota manage to enthrall any of the PCs?
* Can Toyota eclipse Life in popularity and success?

- Threat 1
Is Called: Toyota
Kind: There are a series of lists describing what kind of threat something is. There's categories and types within those categories. Toyota is a Warlord - Dictator.
Impulse: The impulse is determined by the type of threat, and dictates what they do instinctually. Totota has the impulse to Control.
Description and Cast: Description, who's there, etc. Toyota is a small-ish Chinese-looking woman, and the madame of Holiday. She's simultaneously a brothel-owner, cult leader, and awakening psychic.
Custom Move: Threats and fronts get custom moves about them! I love this part. When you lock eyes with Toyota, she forcefully opens your mind about Toyota, but she knows any answers you give. Your sex move also activates, if it has a relevant effect when triggered on an NPC.
Countdown: Countdown clocks are a thing in the game as a whole - fronts are the main things with 'em. It'd take too long to explain these if you don't know the concept already. Toyota so far doesn't have a countdown clock of her own.

- Threat 2
Is Called: The Dames
Kind: Grotesque - Disease Vector
Impulse: to
Description and Cast:All the girls under Toyota's command, and the distribution vector for Lovesickness. They're Toyota's cult.
Custom Move: When you have sex with a Dame, roll+Hard (heh). On a 10+, you're good. Anything less, you've caught Lovesickness, though on a 7-9 the MC doesn't make an additional hard move.
Note: in Apocalypse World, ALL sex is unprotected sex.
Countdown: Don't have one here either.

- Threat 3
Is Called: Lovesickness (other names include Black Widow's Disease from Kenny and Maelstrom Syphilis from Allegra. Thanks for the input, it really helped move my mind along!)
Kind: Affliction - Disease.
Impulse: To saturate a population.
Description and Cast: An STD secretly carried by the Dames that causes the victims to become loyal to Toyota. She also cuts it into her opium. It manifests looking like an obsession with Toyota or her Dames - the obsession could be sexual in nature or simple devotion, depending on the case.
Custom Move: When you're infected with Lovesickness and you act counter to Toyota's demands, Act Under Fire or succumb to her will.
Custom Move: When you take some of Toyota's dirty opium, roll+Hard. On a 10+, no problem, either your stuff was clean or your body fought it off. 7-9, not too bad, you're only afflicted til the drugs are out of your system. 6-, you're Lovesick for Toyota and her stuff.
Countdown: 0:00-9:00: The disease spreads through the town.
9:00-12:00: The majority of the town is infected.
12 Midnight: Rolfball is infected and Toyota takes control of the town.

I can also do Overall Countdowns, but I don't here. I'm pretty bad at Countdowns. I really hope that, in general, I'm doing this right - as I've mentioned, making Fronts is a touch perplexing for me. And you'll get to see Front Two - Nuzulu soon enough!

End Recording,

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