[The Jungle] Welcome to the Jungle

edited November 2011 in Out-Of-Game
I know there's a lot of new blood here at Snail's Pace eager to do some AW (myself included), so I'm gonna try my hand at some Apocalypse World MCing.

I've been reading Alan Weisman's very awesome The World Without Us and watching History Channel's considerably less awesome Life After People, so I'm presently infatuated with a non-specific apocalypse resulting ultimately in a world mostly devoid of humans but teeming with rampant, dangerous life.

I'm a sort of visual person, so I put together a little collection of post-apocalyptic imagery I liked. Specifically, the pieces that inspire me most are these screens from a game called Enslaved: Odyssey to the West (which is itself notable as a future, post apocalyptic adaptation of Journey to the West, which hits pretty much all of my buttons):

image image
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(click for a larger view or just hit the gallery link above)

As much as I'd like to include all the fantastic players already here, I know there's a whole crowd of folks like me waiting to play, so I'd like to give them the first attempt. We'll probably only use playbooks from the main rulebook, simply because it's my first shot at AW and, well, I only have those playbooks. If you're interested, post here with your intent, what playbooks you'd be most interested in, any concepts you've got rolling around in your head, and/or any brainstorming on the setting and/or its apocalypse! I'm not sure how many folks makes for a decent game, so any feedback or advice from any of the more experienced MC is more than welcome!


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    You know, Jon. You could set it in a formerly landlocked city that the sea encorached on during a deluge. I always thought a coastal East Tennessee would be neat... but I'm from East TN, so I have my biases.
  • oh hey, it's your game, just throwing out an idea. I think the basic premise you have is keen. I'd rather some newbies and those without a game on here in the game, but if the dust settles and there is an open slot, I'm interested.
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  • Posted By: FlashbackJonAs much as I'd like to include all the fantastic players already here, I know there's a whole crowd of folks like me waiting to play
    I get this. If you have room, I'm interested.

    I'm happy to play literally any playbook. Skinner and gunlugger are the two at the top of my list, but whatever.

    I'd generally suggest that four players is perfect around a table. In a PBF/PBP game, you can go bigger without too much worry. Something else you should talk about with your prospective players is posting frequency. The game works best when everyone's on the same page. (But also just know in advance that whatever people say, it'll fluctuate for everyone.)
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    Hey there! sorry, when Vortex told me a game had been launched i was at a concert... just come home!!!

    I'm most definitely in!!! the first playbooks that come from the top of my head are Chopper, Skinner and brainer, but this is still loose: i might change idea, and if somebody is particularly keen on any of these, step up please!!! EDIT: if Vortex goes for the Savvyhead, i might go for the Battlebabe...

    Definitely like the setting Vibe we're going for... in particular:

    Like: "lake" idea, mutated/weird nature (not as far as Avatar, but something quite strong, i'd say.. with vibrant colors and powerful life)
    Don't like: "the sea on one side, the jungle on the other"... c'mon, it's too easy! let's find a way to bring them together...

    You know those huge underground openings in south america? why not bring those in the picture? huge pits where the earth has just collapsed... creating a big circular hole in the surface, and vast undergound spaces half-open to the outside... usually those places fill with water, also, for the doouble action of rain and underground rivers... could it be that there's been a sort of global ground collapse, leading to a planet covered in such formations? cities could have been broken, half outside, and still standing... the other half buried, possibly submerged... thus with it treasures still potentially intact!!! the jungle may be predominant outside, with lianas, moss (glowy moss?) and other smaller forms of vegetable lives in the caves... this also leaces plenty of possibilities for human colonies...

    Something that might also come in handy, for Jungle inspiration, is Nausicaa from the Valley of the Wind, by Hayao Miyazaki... giant insects as animals? fungi?
  • And here I was worried that re-introducing Pleistocene megafauna would be a stretch!

    Albi, your ground collapse reminds me of another piece I like:
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  • FlashbackJon, thanks! the image is soo cool!

    I was thinking abouut how cool a driver would be, also...

    anyway, Pleistocene Megafauna = cool.

    something we should also focus on is: how and why is life *really* hard in our Apocalypse World? AW is really about Scarcity... what's scarce in this world? we have lotsa water and plants... is food easy to get? or have natural life forms become poisoned? is there a scarcity of Security, with huge hard beasts coming to get you every moment? what do people squabble, fight, and die over? I like it not to be a radioactive wasteland, but we should be careful not to make it too easy :P
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  • Yeah, was forgetting about the tower... what about the things growing on the ground/near other plants/whatever being toxic because of something in the soil or in the other plants?... so you could only actially farm edible things by separating them from the rest... either on barges in the middle of the lakes, or on the top of towers... but... are the lakes safe? and... how many towers remain thatstill are tall enough?

    (i know, the "plants are NOT toxic if you grow them in clean soil" is straight form nausicaa. but it might work...)
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    as a possible followup to that... the jungle, basically, is NOT composed of plants and vegetable life forms that were there BEFORE the apocalypse. it's new stuff. and it is VERY different from the ecosystem humans thrived in. and wherever it grows in sufficient numbers and strength, it slightly alters its environment to its advantage, through spores, or chemicals, or whatever. Animals have "adapted" to this. and we saw what came out of them. regular plants have adapted halfway, and you gotta keep them in a "clean" atmosphere to make them edible.

    ...and down to the south, according to a guy with a big car that passed through here once, there's PEOPLE who have "adapted". and they are VERY different.

    (i'm imagining the jungle as some sort of "Avatar meets Nausicaa Meets Alien" thing... it's beautiful and creepy and full of wonders and it's out to get us.)

    EDIT: Tripod Ziggurat of fallen buildings? Damn, YES.
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    One of the more salient points in Alan Weisman's book is that most food (at least, of the fruit and vegetable variety) is edible because humans selectively plant for big, delicious apples or oversized ears of corn, whereas these are not necessarily advantageous to the plant on an evolutionary scale. Although he's talking about a much longer timeline, he mentions large, sweet, orange carrots being quickly eaten up by the local fauna and the bitter, woody Queen Anne's lace becoming dominant (as well as other examples like maize, the broccoli family, and apples). I haven't decided how close to the vest I want to play this -- in this case "the vest" is the scientifically-grounded, logical consequences of an almost complete lack of humans. Because while I do love that, I also love the inexplicable and surreal: in this case exemplified by the aforementioned "Avatar jungle" (beautiful, creepy, full of wonders, out to get us).

    That said, I'd like the scarcity to be defined by (roughly) these two statements: "we don't know what this is and what exactly will happen if we eat it" and "everything out there with it wants to kill us."

    I'm not too worried about defining too much, as long as we stay within the realm of the environment, whereas the "first session" will be responsible for the people and their place in it. :)
  • Another bit of setting flavor: "you can't stop the growth." The jungle claims everything eventually, so the best you can hope for is to hold it back long enough to eek out a living. At one point, I considered the idea of a railway, where the crews either have to cut away the growth daily or the trains/railcarts themselves have blades of some sort attached. That doesn't fit great right now, but still indicates the level of inexorable growth I'm thinking.

    Yeah, I think I have a pretty solid grasp on the look and feel, as well as a few behind-the-scenes MC details. I'll probably leave it open over the weekend (as much as it kills me to wait) for some of the others who had expressed interest in the "More AW" thread to see this and pipe up if interested. If we don't have a bunch of sign-ups, Rich and Chris, I'd love to have you guys involved. :)
  • I like the look&sound of the setting. I'd love to try a Savvyhead. I like to tinker, and I like the names on the list. I'll have to mull over them to find my favorite. I'm a noob, too.
    Sign me up, Flashback!
  • Oops, I just noticed the great ideas already posted for the savvyhead. Rather than fighting over it, I could go for the Angel. I could see an advantage to having all those plants around if I know the right ones that are useful.
  • What you need is a weird little kid brainer.
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    On my way home from work, I got some much more vivid images for a Hocus... maybe named Always. I could see me and my followers hanging out and having drum circles in our tree-house. I'd call them my Monkeys. Can I do that instead of an Angel?

    EDIT: I like Rabbit as his name better.
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