Monday, 30 January 2017

Solo gaming in the Apocalypse - session 1

So, I kickstarted Apocalypse World 2nd edition, and I was keen to play. I've also been reading up a little on some of the solo playing material that's around, like Mythic GM emulator and all the stuff you can find here. So, I decided to go ahead and run myself in AW, kind of in preparation for a group I'm probably getting together in about a month for some AW fun.

This is my first go at doing solo play, beyond testing out combat rules and the like. I decided to use CRGE as my GM emulator thingy (it's free, I'm cheap) and went ahead and made my character.

I used the Driver playbook, named my character Farley. First thing I did after that was design their car, all the other stuff can be informed by that. I make the car a V8 ute, based on the pick-up base, but a little more like this:
Strengths: aggressive, workhorse. Look: muscular. Weaknesses: loud, sloppy. Battle options: +1 speed, +1 armour. That gives it a total of Massive = 2, Speed = 1, Handling = 0, 1-Armour.

Farley's stats: Cool +2, Hard = 0, Hot +1, Sharp +1, Weird -1.
1 handy weapon: 9mm (2-harm, close, loud). Look: Man, leather wear, worn face, sad eyes, slim body. I'm picturing someone a bit like James Coburn or Scott Glenn

I choose the moves Combat Driver and Reputation (look 'em up). Farley has oddments worth 4-barter, which I don't detail for now.

And so I start my first session.  There's no other PC's, so I highlight stats randomly. I get Weird and Hot. Yay. I spend 1-barter to keep Farley in food and relative comfort. That leaves him on 3-barter.

To start with, I consult the CRGE's Loom of Fate, which is an elaborate take on a coin toss. Kinda.  I ask whether Farley is on the road (as opposed to at a hold). I get a Yes, which gives me +2 on the Surge Count. No, I'm not going to make any attempt to explain what that means. Too bad.  And so we know that Farley is travelling in his car at this point.  I'm going to say that he has no particular destination, he's just moving away from where he was because things got too hot. Husbands can be so unreasonable.

It's getting late, dusk, it will be dark soon. Farley drives  over a pass and sees a seen of havoc below, down a small valley.

There is an overturned truck. It appears to be carrying supplies of some kind. There are a few motorcycles and a buggy around it, all totalled. There are a few bodies around. There doesn't appear to be any activity at first glance.

 Farley decides to Read the Situation. He has to pull up the ute to do so. I blow the roll, a miss. Ask 1 question anyway, but prepare for the worst. What should I be on the lookout for?

 Farley hears a thump from behind him. Someone has just jumped up onto the back of his ute, and there are more about to join them.

 Farley slams the pedal to the metal in an attempt to try and pull away from the other 2 approaching gangers. This gives the woman in the tray a chance to open up with her Uzi. She does 2-harm, the ute has 1-armour, that's 1-harm to the vehicle, that's superficial damage, the rear windscreen is shattered. 0-harm CAN blow through to the passengers. Does it?

I ask the CRGE if the harm move is triggered. I get 37 (-2 surge) for 35, that's a NO, +2 to the surge count for a running total of 4. Thank you, Loom of Fate.

Farley tries to pull a quick fish-tail manoeuvre at speed to try and flick off the douche bag on the tray. I'd say that's Acting Under Fire, with the fire being doing some harm to the vehicle or getting stuck off road where I don't go so fast. Rolls +Cool, hits it with a 13. That chump gowa flying and Farley takes off down the road.

It's at this point I realise that I haven't made the Drivers vehicle  as a threat like the rules say. No biggie, I'm guessing most MC's would do that after the first session, anyway.

Now he has to pass through the spot where the vehicles were trashed before going up the opposite hill. I consider Reading the Sitch, but I did that already so it seems a little cheaty. And so I go back to the Loom of Fate to see whether or not there are more bushwhackers at the bottom. I get a 32, with a surge of 4 becomes 28, which is still just a straight No. Add another + 2 to the surge count, now at 6.

As Farley pulls past the truck, he can see boxes of tinned chick peas inside. There's heaps of it. That's good eating, plus worth a bit of jingle. He thinks about how much distance he just pulled on the jerks up the rise and decides to risk a quick stop.  He pulls up, jumps out and grabs two boxes and slings them in the back of the ute. Then he catches sight of a case of beer, 24 cans of VB, right up the back, deep into the container. He knows it's stupid, but he goes for it, 9mm in his hand. As he comes back, the other two raiders are at the entrance, blocking his way. They are armed with knives and chains. They are wearing fashion worth 1-armour.

Farley raises his pistol and yells at them to get the hell out of the way. That's Going Aggro. He misses with a 6 (still haven't rolled a highlighted stat).  The first one tosses their knife, hitting Farley square in the shoulder for 1-harm. He makes the harm move, gets a 7. Farley drops  his gun and before he knows what's what, he's been tackled to the ground, a chain across his neck.

"Not so tough now, eh, wheels? We're going to skin you alive. Then we'll take your fancy car out of here!"

"Wait!" says Farley.  "If it's a ride you want, I'm your man. Your cars got trashed in the ambush, getting this truck, yeah? You've been waiting for some sucker to come through you could jump, right?" With the slight delay from this talking, Farley takes the opportunity to make the Read a Person move. He gets an 8, and so gets 1 question from the moves list. I pick How can I get the character to let me live? He has to convince him that he can be useful, that he's good enough behind the wheel to be worth their time.

"Yeah, what of it? We've got a ride now" says the bushwacker.

"Where to, though? I know all these roads, I'm the best wheel man in these parts. You've still got to drive through the badlands, and that's no joke. Let me come with you, I can see that you've lost some numbers (some of the bodies Farley saw are wearing the same gang patch as these guys, the Red Mantis Gang), things got hairy here, you need to recruit, rebuild."

Farley tries to fast talk them, using the Seduce/Manipulate move. I roll a 5 and miss. At least I get to mark XP.

"Hey, Bone," says the one with the knife. "We know someone who'd always needs a good wheel man, don't we? We could make some nice moolah here."

Bone smiles. "Good call, Fillet. Wheels here is valuable cargo."

They tie him up and chuck him in the back of the ute, along with a whole lot of tinned food (they just drink the beer, warm as it is). They pocket his 9mm and drive.

End of session. Total xp: 1.


I spent more time flipping backwards and forwards through the rulebook than I thought I would. I don't remember doing that as much in the one AW1e campaign I MC'd. Most of it was because I was using a vehicle. Still, the fights were generally resolved with one or two rolls, can't complain about that. I've always wanted to play a Driver, so there's a bit of wish fulfillment there.

As for CRGE, I don't know. It only gave straight yes or no answers in this instance, and in a way substantially less simple than the die of fate from World of Dungeons (1-3 = bad, 4-6 = good). The surge count didn't really come into it. Then again, I didn't roll it that much, as AW's moves snowball the action, feeding straight into the fiction, lessening the need for the gm emulator. Perhaps another game where the basic mechanics don't interrogate the fiction so much would get more utility from it.  I didn't use anything from the CRGE other than the Loom of Fate and the surge count. The seeds and adventure design stuff didn't really seem necessary for AW.

It was a little difficult to get started.  I looked to CRGE to help me there, but it that's not really what that does. Maybe if I'd used a playbook with a starting move, like the Hocus or the Hardholder, it would have been easier to get going, but I'm in love with the Driver. I've often seen people on forums or blogs who do solo gaming talk about using Rory's story cubes, and now I can see why.

All in all though, it was fun. I'll definitely continue.