SWS: Apocalypse World - Burned Over (Saturday mornings EST in March)

Star Wars Saturdays: Apocalypse World - Burned Over - Dathomir

Something’s wrong with the galaxy and I don’t know what it is. It used to be better, of course, it did, or so they say.

In the golden age of legend, with the Republic and the Jedi Order, when there was enough to eat and enough hope, when people could lift their eyes and see beyond the horizon, beyond the day. Children were born happy and some even grew up rich. The Jedi disappeared. The Republic was replaced by the Empire. Then, the Empire fell.

Now we’ve got this.

Lawmakers stand against the screaming elements and all comers, keeping safe as many as they can. Medics and Gearcutters run constant battle against there’s not enough and blaster bolts fly and everything breaks. Volatiles, Vigilants, Weaponized, and Undaunted carve out what they can and defend it with blood and blasters. Operators search and scavenge, looking for that opportunity, that one perfect chance. Monarchs remember beauty, or invent beauty anew, cup it in their hands and whisper come and see, and don’t worry now about what it will cost you.

And Brain-pickers, oh, Brain-pickers see what none of the rest of us will: the world’s psychic maelstrom, the terrible desperation and hate pressing in at the edge of all perception, it is the world now.

And you, who are you? This is what we’ve got, yes. What are you going to make of it?

We’re adapting The Apocalypse World: Burned Over RPG, a post-apocalypse game, for Star Wars!

Sawyer Rankin is a special guest for this series.

This game is part of the ongoing Star Wars Saturdays series. The time setting is after the end of Episode VI of the Star Wars movie series (that’s Return of the Jedi) when the Empire is falling and the Alliance to Restore the Republic is taking control in fits and starts.

Characters and settings created in this miniseries will exist in the SWS canon for future miniseries.

This event is scheduled to run for 3 hours. It will be recorded assuming all parties agree.
There will be 4 sessions in total. Being able to attend each session is ideal but not required. You must RSVP to each session you wish to attend.

The Gauntlet Inclusivity Policy will be in play and safety tools Lines and Veils and X-Card will be in use, as well as post-game feedback after each session.

Saturday, March 7, 2020 3:00 PMSaturday, March 7, 2020 6:00 PM Session 1
Saturday, March 14, 2020 2:00 PMSaturday, March 14, 2020 5:00 PM Session 2
Saturday, March 21, 2020 2:00 PMSaturday, March 21, 2020 5:00 PM Session 3
Saturday, March 28, 2020 2:00 PMSaturday, March 28, 2020 5:00 PM Session 4



I’m really curious about the choice of “Burned Over” instead of Apocalypse World (as in past SWS games). Was this a careful and deliberate choice, based on design features? Just an excuse to try something different? Or something in between?

How do you expect it to play differently?

Oh gosh, you give me too much credit, Paul! I don’t do much in gaming that’s careful and deliberate, especially when I post games on the calendar two months ahead of time. Often, I’ll post a game I’m interested in as a challenge to learn it in the next month or so.

That said, I do a podcast on PbtA games and felt compelled to learn the Burned Over rules. I’m terrible at learning games simply by reading, so I decided to post it up!

  • The Basic Moves overhaul are clearer on combat for me, I’m interested in seeing how slick it works in play.
  • I LOVE the revised Help and Interrupting rules, it’s really cool (Cartel’s probably still my favorite help rules) that two players can both roll for an action, it’s something I’ve never before, quite exciting.
  • The approach of taking some of the playbook-specific moves (dealing with a gang and workspace moves) and making them Basic Moves is super interesting. Makes sense with all the new playbooks.
  • AND ALL THE NEW PLAYBOOKS! I’m stoked to see these in play, they’re wild and evocative.

I spent some time last night pestering @Ferret about the Environ rules (he’s really got AW:BO down!). I’m excited to see those in play, they’re a sharp new approach to abstracting rules for disasters.
I haven’t gotten to Hard Zones yet, which is next on my list.

I’ve had so much fun digging into these rules that I’m working with @William_Nichols on a full-on Star Wars hack of them for April.

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I’m currently in a AW:BO campaign (3rd session) and I can tell you, it’s really worth it! I really like the new playbooks over the old ones. I feel they make the game more about belonging to some place or people. For instance I’m playing the Medic, with a place and a cult (of Death, because playing the “opposite” of a playbook is quite fun, right?). It’s hard not to care about anything with the new playbooks. And the hard zones are pretty cool too!


Great answer, Rich! I heard the discussion about Burned Over on the podcast, and decided to come here to ask you some questions. I also like some of the minor changes in these rules - like the Helping rules, which, along with Cartel and Freebooting Venus (and maybe my own ‘The Bureau’), are some of the best PbtA helping rules yet.

Do the interrupting rules work only for highly interruptible moves, or anything that’s happening?

I’m a bit torn on Burned Over, because I appreciate the improvements and generally greater elegance of the rules compared to AW2, but I don’t really want a softer or less “adult” version of the game. It’s a bit unfortunate, from my perspective, that they “come together”, as a package. Not too sure what to do about that, but perhaps someone else will, sooner or later!

Will you come back here to give your thoughts on Hard Zones and other elements particular to BO?

I really like this tradition you have made out of doing Star Wars in different game systems. I hope you will write about and/or share the hack you’re working on when it’s done! That sounds like exciting stuff.

Did you ever publish anything about your Cartel Star Wars hack? Any playbooks, writeups, etc? It’s something I’m quite curious about trying myself.