Intrigue in the desert

We just wrapped up our first session of the Flux.
The player characters got sucked into the great warping mystery that is The Flux — and their Shadowrun world of 2050 fluxed into another world and/or time… the world of Acid Death Fantasy. In my book, that world is a crazy jambalaya of Dune, stoner rock, the Heavy Metal movies and Zardoz.

When the echoing sounds of horns faded and they were able to see again… they found themselves in the middle of a desert. A short while later, someone on a six-legged camel showed up and greeted them: he obviously knew them, and he talked about old times when they were kids…. so the world changed, but the people didn’t notice. The only ones who noticed are the player characters…

Game prep
Nothing. I started with the characters I had prepared for my players. Those Acid Death Fantasy characters are very rough in-world equivalents to their Shadowrun characters (the former troll headhunter became a huge Sultanless Guard, the private eye and wolf shaman became a Dosed Prophet with six disciples, and the newbie decker turned into a Companion Droid with technical skills).

I used the “First Session” chapter of Apocalypse World 2nd edition to kickstart tonight’s game: I simply offered my players to follow their characters around for a day. And I asked questions. Loaded questions. Like, “And’aam, what happened to your Lady? Aren’t you supposed to be a good companion droid and be with her?”, or “Tib el Hiri, what happened to your job? A sultanless guard? Why did you get kicked?”, and so on.

And boy. Oh boy. The answers I got were pure gold… and established many interesting details of our game world. Like, companion droids come in two versions: the old ones, with synthskin and chemical receptors that enable them to feel the effects of drugs. Those droids have a built-in perception filter and don’t know they’re robots. This is hardwired. The new ones know they’re machines….

Or, in the last four moons, there were several attempts on the sultan’s life — all of them by droids whose circuits were tampered with and who recognized what they really are. Or, the sultanless guard was kicked because he impregnated the sultan’s main concubine… And, the companion droid lost his client because the old lady fell to death in a tragic accident… but her son claims the droid had pushed her down the stairs…

And so, in only two and a half hours, we had co-created a rich tapestry of the world, and old enemies and threats.
Those go on the Apocalypse World threat map, a tool that I can’t recommend highly enough. Once you have filled out the map, it becomes clear what will happen next. The opponents become real persons with real motivations and desires.

Wallah, what a beautiful game night it was!

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