This is a tool I put together for Apocalypse World; it can help a group get to the “action” very quickly. Taking the premise that the central conceit of each playbook + PC-NPC-PC triangles basically make the game work, this gives you a small set of NPCs with actionable and interesting relationships to the PCs. The players get to define who the NPCs are and why they are important to them, which means the MC just needs to “put flesh on that skeleton” with evocative character descriptions/depictions, and then frame a couple of scenes.
Using this should allow you to get a game going in basically no time, and even more so if your players are actively looking for interesting combinations. The MC’s job, then, is simply to pick an NPC and frame them into a scene which revolves around one or two of the PCs’ connections in order to start the game.
For example, the PCs are a Hardholder and a Skinner. They decide that Jackabacka is “is most important or indispensable person in the holding”, and that the Skinner has her “wrapped around his finger”. After asking them a few questions, it becomes clear that Jackabacka is a young woman with unusual technical expertise, and the only one capable of running the community’s water purifier. All the MC needs to do now is to frame a scene with two or three of those characters to get some play happening.
What if Jackabacka was pregnant with the Skinner’s child? What if she got corrupted by the maelstrom? What if she learned some terrible secret the Hardholder didn’t want getting out?
Any of those make for an interesting opening situation; you don’t have to look too hard.
I’d like to think that this is one of the quickest and easiest ways to get a game of AW rolling, and tremendously beginner-friendly; at least, that’s my goal. If I were coaching a new group getting ready for their first game of AW, I’d recommend that they use this.
What are your thoughts? What kinds of tools do you use to get games of this sort started?