Apocalypse World: Loudness War

Apocalypse World: Loudness War

4 pm CDT / 5 pm EDT / 2 pm PDT Saturdays in September

In the same world as Lost Vegas was this is the story of Gnashville – the Musical City. The Psychic Maelstrom is still a scouring beast which takes the land and minds from the remaining survivors. Fight the degrading grinding of the Maelstrom with spectacle and amusement. Gnashville provides enough music to hold many demons at bay.

Yet not all is well in this land. In the Church of Idolatry old hymnals are taught to people of high means to turn them into True Fans. In the old tunnels hums the constant, year long party of the Thunderground were many trade sunlight for freedom. Musical competitions are cutthroat and bloody, in all regards.

This is a game of Apocalypse World 2e for Saturdays in September. Made with a setting skeleton that will be fleshed out by everyone.

Session 1: https://gauntlet-hangouts.firebaseapp.com/event-detail/-LkzRxr8ddm4UlDSOlWw

Session 2: https://gauntlet-hangouts.firebaseapp.com/event-detail/-LkzSEWUE0vTSwbMD9oz

Session 3: https://gauntlet-hangouts.firebaseapp.com/event-detail/-LkzSW3Zh1Hel2tzAVgK

Session 4: https://gauntlet-hangouts.firebaseapp.com/event-detail/-LkzSnOF4WFMhRT5h15T


I’m quite curious about this “setting skeleton”. Is it something that’s publicly shareable? How does it work?

Basically I call setting up some parts of the world and how the feeling is. Like this is slightly more 80’s gonzo with a mature theme/R rating. I will also be fleshing out a few locations and NPCs for the players to know. In this way a shorter series doesn’t spend too much of Session 0 going back and forth between a nuclear winter apocalypse and a jungle apocalypse or other themes. I have even given the Psychic Maelstrom a set feel, but that is because this is technically a sequel from a created world before.

I find it easier to cater Session 0 to characters.players this way, give a grounding in the setting for quicker character creation, and then make and lob some custom questions at the characters and players to flesh out more places, NPCs, and history.

However this is not like the Blind Blue pregenerated world that was about 3-4 sessions in.

I think that’s an excellent idea! I have some of my own tools of this sort for Apocalypse World, which is why I’m curious about the specifics, and the best way to present this information or these questions. Any chance you’re willing to share more?

Certainly. I tend to think the only thing required for a setting skeleton is the bare bones world. This intimately flavors the Apocalypse and will draw in players who are more interested in this type of end. On a community with shorter or monthly games this also cuts down on prep.

Examples are: An ice cold world, frigid and unlikely to thaw. You live in the last few biodomes left in the world.
Nature resurgent, choking and cloying to reclaim everything. Giant beasts walk among you and it is a land time rebelled against.
Beautiful and nostalgic, built on the ruins of the old world. Overseers jockey for power and guns are few and far between.

Everything else is just fleshing out the world a bit in how you want to take it (is this America 3000, Mad Max 1, or Into the Badlands). I find fleshing out an NPC or two along with a place get the message across and can provide some tie in to characters if they like.

I would say if you have a good Psychic Maelstrom idea, cling to it. This is the hardest part for most to grasp and even I still have troubles now and again.

I’ll give you a few examples from Loudness War.

Psychic Maelstrom: Strips away emotions in people and scours away land and life in the Dust. Based heavily off the Dust Bowl of the American '30s where people and land were ruined by the clinging, desperate substance. In humans it flenses emotions, at least the ability to feel certain ones. Those who have too much flensed away from become very weird, especially if you can only experience highs of wrath or greed. The land is turned to Dust, stripped of potential.

There is a defense: Entertainment. Spectacle. Creativity. Across the lands there are pockets of resistance, like the Musical City Gnashville, the chosen lands of Lost Vegas, and the spectacles of Gnawlin’s. These displays of culture beat back the Maelstrom, keeping the clutches far from these places. Fight for your right to party.

Potential NPC
Grace Jonesing

A “Star” of Gnashville, runs an underground network of tunnels that run 24/7 parties and train DJs to keep the beat going all the time. She abhors slavery yet has been rumored to turn over ex-slaves in her care for electronic parts to keep her musical equipment ship shape.

Potential Place
The Thunderground

Owned by Grace Jonesing, the Thunderground is a free place of parties and camaraderie. With areas for heavy partying and more secluded housing areas this place is highly fortified and full of people willing to defend it with their lives. Access to the Thunderground parties for above grounders varies in cost and any slave who can cross the threshold into the Thunderground is able to apply for sanctuary.

This way the players know what the world is like by the Psychic Maelstrom (a “party until you’re dead/Jack Vance” world) and can see by the NPC and place there is a tongue in cheek take on this yet with real stakes.

Presenting wise I’d advertise the type of world you want and perhaps the Psychic Maelstrom if you’ve thought of that and once you have gathered the players show off the handful of people and places you made to give them more of a groove for the place. I believe in full transparency so I show what I have written about the character & their Custom Move if any. Then go into character creation.

Now, it’s probably obvious you want to build off this with the players. Ask probing questions, like “Who do you work for, you know, that bastard/bitch who has a hate-on for Grace Jonesing?” or “Where do you go to unwind after a day of partying in Gnashville?” to get a new NPC to bounce questions off of or a new place. It’ll also be good to cater questions to the Playbooks that were chosen. You can also build rumors or just more easily place meat on the skeleton’s bones this way.

1 Like

That’s a great answer. I like what you’re going for there, and I agree that a “pitch” like that can really help to get a game of AW started (if you’re on a limited timeframe, that’s a great idea).

I’ve done a fair bit of this kind of “skeleton” thing myself, some quite detailed and intricate, and some very barebones. What’s interesting is that I tend to focus on the opposite of the things you’re talking about here (for instance, I’m all about getting to explore the psyhic maelstrom together in play).

My latest idea was extremely barebones - how little can I get away with to make a game of AW work?

I wrote it up over here, and I think it’s pretty effective: