Apocalypse Short: The Siege of Shanty Town (Part 5)

(I’m knee deep in seminar season again, and I’m several game reports behind. To catch up, I decided to write a series of short 500-ish words posts about the highlights of each).

A few weeks ago, we concluded our Apocalypse World mini-campaign.  See this post to catch up on the story.

Dramatis Persona (reminder)

Thunder: Male Chopper (Cycle gang leader, played by Eric)

Raven: Female Faceless (Masked semi-mystical Brute played by Franky)

Smith (Absent) : Male Brainer (Psychic Mindfucker played by Mike)

Eternity: Female Battlebabe (Waif-fu Kill-Bill-esque badass, played by Math)

Game Summary

Colonel Allison and “Sarge” Thunder were planning to defend Shanty Town which was surrounded by several dozen Hummer-like vehicles and a pair of Armored Personal Carriers. Just as Thunder returned from his aborted raid on Fortress city, two of his lieutenants (including the treacherous Phil) and 2 of Allison’s tried to capture him to deliver him to Sun, the leader of the invasion.  Being the total Badass that he is, he reminded everyone who was the Alpha Wolf of the pack and got the traitors groveling (at best) or dead. He then focused on more important stuff… like saving his little corner of Hell he calls home.

Allison and Thunder mobilized their gangs and grabbed initiative to take hold of Ambush Hill before the invaders from Fortress-City could. They succeeded admirably but when they tried to push their advantage and capture the command-centre APC, they found themselves at the business end of a Rocket Propelled Grenade.  When the smoke cleared, there was one APC less and a lot of gang member body parts strewn all over the place.

Then the shelling of the city by Fortress-City’s grounded battleship began…

In Thunder-City, right after Smith collapsed into a strange Coma, Raven used her mystical powers to seek out Eternity.  As Raven tapped into the Psychic Maelstorm, she felt Smith’s glee and exaltation at being one with the Storm.  It remained unclear if Smith’s influence helped or hindered the 2 women that he had been interested in.  Even plugged in the ether, Smith managed to mindscrew his colleagues.

Raven made it to the ship by crashing through everything that stood in her path (Oh Yeah!) and teamed up with the Battlebabe to start serious trouble on the ship, taking out the gun batteries for good right before it hit Shanty Town’s Factory.  They eventually confronted Sun, the leader of Fortress-City and massacred his honour guard… when Eternity went aggro on Sun for him to stand down, the gold-painted psycho leader forced the Battlebabe’s hand and found, to his post-mortem dismay, his brains painting the bulkheads of his former ship.

And thus, shanty Town was saved, but there would be consequences now that open war had been declared between both towns.

Game Highlights

After 4 sessions of Apocalypse World, I realized I had grown quite used to the whole “the players make the moves and roll dice / the GM answers and prompts them for more” method of play.  I had an easier time calling the moves to respond to player input and I felt the game flow more naturally.

I also experienced with dishing out damage to the PCs more (which is done in response to players dishing it or failed dice rolls/soft successes).  I even went too far and crushed Franky’s Faceless PC underneath an I-Beam toward the end of the session.

When all said and done, the element of Apocalypse World I prefer is the Front structure which I discussed here.  It’s an awesome framework to build adventures and campaign on without resorting to scripting scenes and events.  By giving clear, step by step objectives to NPCs, groups and places, the GM gets to truly create a dynamic world that reacts to the player’s significant choice.

When my players told me they’d play again, with different characters to try something different, probably more Mad Max like, I knew the experiment was a great success.

Oh and mad props to Vincent Baker for naming a Faceless power after a Kool Aid ad. That’s made of win.

Up next, our last Mouse Guard game. Then, Gamma World.

P.S. Let me know if that format works for you or if you prefer the 1.5k word format (I prefer the longer one BTW).


  1. I’ve been reading the character playbooks today, and they just really made me want to run a game and chuck in the terrifying Chopper with kind eyes and a disciplined bunch of followers, the mad Hocus with a family of psychos looking to purge the world, the Skinner running a settlement by manipulation of her patrons…
    I’ve bought the book, so hopefully I’ll have that soon and be able to start making my own stories!

  2. This is awesome, it truly is a game that needs to be explored. If only for it’s setting structure that resides entirely in the design of its character classes.

    Thanks for reading!

  3. The format’s fine, but I really do prefer longer posts, but until he stopped blogging, Eric Burns was my favorite blogger and he occasionally broke 10,000 words.

  4. Definitely prefer the longer version 😉

    Still, fantastic finale for the run! I’d love to see your front sheets, and your first session sheet too. I’m currently starting up my group on AW, and running a one-off of it tomorrow for a friend about to be married. It’s going to be a blast. Thanks for tuning me in to this, Chatty 😀

  5. Yeah, the experiment was less than satisfactory for me too.

    I’ll post my front sheet and First Session sheet up very soon… Dave and I are working on a specific venue just for that…

  6. Gotta agree, I definately prefer your longer posts. After all, that is why they call you Chatty! 😉

  7. Then don’t miss the 1700 words monstrosity that is today’s Gamma World post. 🙂