Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Apocalypse World: the Nuns of Anarchy

We didn't know what we were going to play. I opened the table up to discussing options and offered lots of them: I was prepped for another Apocalypse World game, I was also prepped to run Dungeon Crawl Classics or Lamentations of the Flame Princess, I had the character sheets ready for a Stars Without Number game, and I also offered other options of Shadowrun and Mage and 5eD&D, but in the end the players whittled down the options until it was Apocalypse World. One player had already written up a character, and the rest of the players just started to revolve around what he set up.

Big Momma Superior is the leader of the Nuns of Anarchy biker gang. A small group of women who've embraced Big Momma's interpretation of the old religion. Described as "we help the needy and the starving, we free the enslaved, and we only kill when necessary." The members of the gang who have earned Sister rank wield big heavy rulers, and those who are still earning their way in the gang use baseball bats and lead pipes, sometimes with crudely drawn inch markings along the cylinders.

Sister Alleluia, the former wife of Big Boss, a slaver who ran the walled shantytown of Jericho. Big Boss was a violent and vindictive man who tormented everyone around him, including his wife Marie. Marie killed her husband during Big Momma's rebellion against the town's slavers and when the people of Jericho were freed, Marie joined the Nuns and was immediately made a Sister. She later took the name Sister Alleluia.

Mercy was once a slave in Jericho and is now an Acolyte of the Nuns. She was born to pagan tribals from out west who raised horses and traded them with the local communities, until one day the slavers in Jericho wiped most of them out and enslaved the women and children. Mercy was freed from her bonds by Big Momma herself and she joined the Nuns soon after.

Cletus is the town medic, he runs an infirmary on the side of a hill sloping underneath the east wall of Jericho, and he can be found there most of the time. While he's not a member of the Nuns, he describes himself as an "angel" and claims to have been "called" to it. He travels with the Nuns when they visit neighboring communities, sometimes to offer aid to their neighbors and sometimes just to aid the Nuns.

the Sorrow is a former slave who also joined the Nuns after being freed by Big Momma. She carries around a very visible sadness and bleakness that makes some people uneasy or distrustful. She is also the most secretive, as very few know anything about her from before she arrived in Jericho. The Sorrow was forced to be a prostitute, and many of the women in Jericho who are former slaves are also former prostitutes.

All of these characters live in Jericho, but the neighboring communities are visited frequently by Big Momma Superior and the Nuns.

While designing the world we decided that the world had a Biblical apocalypse where most of humanity died or disappeared, but most people don't really know what happened. It's obscured by rumor and mystery. There are stories of beasts that rose out of the seas and giants living in the earth, and some people even claim to have seen one but the proof of these things is never confirmed. The sky, on the other hand, is visibly changed. The world is shrouded within a nearly perpetual darkness thanks to heavy clouds which cover the sky and produce lightning storms. Rain is common, but not always pleasant as it always falls with hail. The world is a cold place though it never seems to snow, nor does the temperature ever drop to a freezing point. The plants manage to weakly sprout despite the sun's concealment behind the clouds, but sunlight does peek out from behind the clouds sometimes, and that is usually a day for celebration and feasting.

In Jericho, the town is run by Governor Isle, a former slave, but she defers most of her decisions to a council comprised of six women, all are former slaves. There is a central well that people collect water from, and rainwater is also collected on the gutters of roofs. There is an fuel refinery in the center of town, but it hasn't pumped for some time. Outside of the walls the citizens tend crops that grow thin in the muddy hilltops.

The Seminary is a haven for the Nuns but is rarely visited. The place looks like a single sprawling building from the road and few people actually live there.

A man named Ivan runs the town of Perostroika. The center of their town has an old electrical station, and Ivan rations the electricity out to anybody who he deems worthy of having it. They rarely trade with their neighbors directly, Ivan prefers outsiders to visit the town and be beholden to his laws.

In Horse the Night Mother (maybe a title?) runs a theocratic village where they worship the night and believe bad things happen when the sun comes out from behind the clouds. They reject the old Bible and while Big Momma Superior has never had a direct confrontation with the Night Mother or any of the locals from Horse she knows that they won't offer hospitality to her or the Nuns.

Hunter's Palace is run by a tough woman named Heston, her laws are few but the penalties are strict. Criminals whom she exiles get hunted like animals, as there are so few good opportunities for sport in the wasteland.

Fresh Whiskey is the name of a bar and pool hall on the side of the road, there is no town nearby and no other buildings surround it or stand nearby. It is run by a burly man with thick scars across his face, everybody calls him Frank.

The town of Black Grass is not so much a town as it is a warning. The map might as well say 'here there be dragons' as nobody ever ventures that far south.

The Fort has been left undefined.

I looked at maps until I found some real world equivalent to the roads I had drawn in my initial sketch. I found a really good similarity between my rough map and the area around Huntsville, Alabama and redrew the roads of the map to reflect the major highways around that region.

I took absolutely no notes about what happened during the first play session. Here's what I remember:

A local from Jericho named Oberon was seen running through town with a mewling baby in his arms.
He was being tracked by three teenagers with greenish skin, he called them "the Frogs" and claimed they were trying to take the baby away.
Cletus tried to stop them but ended up getting stonewalled by the youths who were adamant that the old man had kidnapped the kid, though he believed they were lying.
Sister Alleluia interrogated the teens roughly and ended up shooting one in the head.
Big Momma Superior showed up shortly afterward and Sister Alleluia's machinegun accidentally discharged into Cletus.
The Frogs who were still alive, Ula and Ribbit, were told to leave town and never come back, while Oberon was calmed down in Cletus'es infirmary by Sister Mercy.
Eventually Oberon found a way to escape with the baby but was stopped by Cletus and again interrogated, but this time by the Sorrow who learned that the locals in Horse are committing human sacrifices.
The baby was wrested away from Oberon and given to Jenny Two-times who was both a mother and a nursemaid.
Grid the Watcher lives next to the infirmary, he watches from his home but never leaves.
Later that night by one of the Frogs had returned to town to ransack through Cletus'es infirmary, Cletus caught him but got beaten into unconsciousness. When he woke, Cletus used some painkillers on himself that would leave him out of action for the next day.

I have one NPC whose name I wrote down, Lecter, but I don't remember what I had them doing, if anything.

During our second session, Big Momma Superior instructed Sister Alleluia to protect the baby and she interpreted that as kill anybody who tries to take the baby away from Jenny Two-times.

Big Momma Superior was being hassled by some of the Nuns to drive down to Horse and take care of the Night Mother. She decided the best course of action was to go down and scout it out quietly, but Motown (one of the Nuns) kept giving resistance to her slow and peaceful resolve. Big Momma visited the infirmary and traded with Ruth for some first aid supplies, and gathered more than half of her gang to go scout around Horse.

Sister Alleluia stayed behind to protect the baby, and Cletus was still unconsciousness from the night before.

The gang didn't even make it halfway to Perostroika before they ran into trouble. A semi trailer had been tipped over and was blocking the road. It looked like an accident, as the metal of the trailer was ripped in some places and the seams were split along the edge of the roof. Something could be seen skittering around inside the trailer. Very carefully Sister Mercy approached the back of the trailer, pried it open and revealed a long coiling snake-like creature with spindly legs along the underside of it's body. It was wrapped around some sort of machinery in the trailer and as the warmth from it's nest escaped the back of the trailer it tensed and began to move around. Small white eggs could be seen all along the inside of the trailer, sitting along the floor and walls.
Big Momma Superior coordinated her gang to rip the roof of the trailer and expose the nest completely, but by then it had started to escape and grabbed Sister Mercy as it fled. Several of the Nuns chased after the creature and struck it with their bats and pipes and it released Mercy. In the trailer itself, The Sorrow was trying to get a better look at the machinery and jumped into the nest, then kicked out any of the young she found still lingering. Big Momma set about trying to determine the best way to take this machine, which nobody knew what it did, back to Jericho. She returned to Jericho by herself, leaving five Nuns at the trailer wreckage, and sending The Sorrow and Sister Mercy on to Horse with Sister Marilyn, Motown, and Twinkie

Back in Jericho, Sister Alleluia was picking up some bread for Jenny Two-times when she overheard the baker, Notch, talking with somebody about how the Frogs didn't even travel south when Big Momma threw them out of town. Sister Alleluia wanted to follow up on this lead but was delayed by Cletus who was checking in on the baby and explained that he had been beaten by one of the Frogs who had returned to steal from his infirmary.
Sister Alleluia wanted to know how the Frog had gotten in and upon approaching the infirmary they saw the door open and blood splashed across the floor. The same Frog had returned to the infirmary and was looting the place, during the break-in he had killed Ruth. Sister Alleluia quickly subdued the Frog and interrogated him, promising not to kill him if he told them where he was from, and he confirmed that they were from Horse but a group of them were camped out just east of town, though he didn't specify where. Cletus found Henry in the back, unconscious and hurt but alive.

Big Momma Superior arrived back in town and hearing that the Frogs were nearby decided to lock down the town and shut the gates, there was some debate whether they should chase after the Frogs that were camped outside of town or continue with trying to bring the machinery back to Jericho. Big Momma elected to focus on the machinery and gathered three more Nuns to assist in towing the trailer back, and even though Sister Alleluia wanted to go hunt down the Frogs by herself she followed Big Momma's commands.

The drizzle of rain that had been building up finally broke into a storm. Two days passed and the trailer had been towed to Jericho, Sister Alleluia decided to cook some of the snake-spider eggs and they turned translucent from the heat but tasted good nonetheless.

The next session will start by determining exactly how the scouting mission around Horse fared...