The Coldest War
The game is Apocalypse World.
Character creation is a group affair. You don’t need to know anything about the game before you arrive. You don’t need a copy of the rules. You will select a “character book” from those provided, and all the rules you will need to know will be on that book. Anything you don’t understand will be explained.
Apocalypse World is a simple game system. It’s one that strives to preserve narrative flow. It’s a system that models the relationships between people. Character creation will include, as an integral part of the mechanics, the creation of ties and backstory between the characters.
Consider these post-apocalyptic archetypes below. Consider which you might enjoy embodying the most. Understand, however, that such an archetype provides just the launching point to creating a character with strengths and flaws, motivations and hang-ups. Ultimately, however, the group is the main character. Individuals may die, may come and go, but the group persists.
Angels are medics. If you want everybody to love you, or at least rely on you, play an angel. Warning: if things are going well, maybe nobody will rely on you. Make interesting relationships so you’ll stay relevant. Or sabotage things, I guess.
Battlebabes are good in battle, of course, but they’re wicked social too. If you want to play somebody dangerous and provocative, play a battlebabe.
Warning: you might find that you’re better at making trouble than getting out of it. If you want to play the baddest ass, play a gunlugger instead.
Brainers are spooky, weird, and really fun to play. Their moves are powerful but strange. If you want everybody else to be at least a little bit afraid of you, a brainer is a good choice.
Warning: you’ll be happy anyway, but you’ll be happiest if somebody wants to have sex with you even though you’re a brainer. Angle for that if you can.
Choppers lead biker gangs. They’re powerful but lots of their power is external, in their gang. If you want weight to throw around, play a chopper — but if you want to be really in charge, play a hardholder instead.
Warning: externalizing your power means drama. Expect drama.
Damned have been touched by some unholy or inscrutable power, driven by strange hungers, but also striving against their inevitable fate. Play the damned if you want to be doomed to self-destruction, but want to take a lot of other awful people down with you.
Drivers have cars, meaning mobility, freedom, and places to go. If you can’t see the post-apocalypse without cars, you gotta be a driver.
Warning: your car’s going to be awesome, but you’ll be at a pretty significant disadvantage when you aren’t behind the wheel, so be prepared for that.
Faceless The Faceless keeps going no matter the odds, no matter the punishment. If you want to be an unfeeling, unstoppable juggernaut, then the Faceless is for you.
Warning: Your mask defines you. If you want to be an expressive and likable kinda guy, then the Faceless might not be for you.
Grotesques are twisted mockeries of the human form. Once human, they have since been warped or mutated by blasphemous powers. Some, however, retain enough shreds of their humanity to be tragically heroic figures.
Gunluggers are the baddest asses. Their moves are simple, direct and violent. Crude, even. If you want to take no shit, play a gunlugger.
Warning: like angels, if things are going well, you might be kicking your heels. Interesting relationships can keep you in the scene.
Hardholders are landlords, warlords, governors of their own little strongholds. If anybody plays a hardholder, the game’s going to have a serious and immobile home base. If you want to be the one who owns it, it better be you.
Warning: don’t be a hardholder unless you want the burdens.
Haunted can see ghosts… not just see them, but interact, control, or be harassed by them as well. If you want the afterlife to be more real to you than life, play the haunted, but don’t expect to get along so well with the living.
Hoarders throw nothing away. You have an eye for the useful amidst the junk, or at least that’s what you tell yourself. Others just think you’re a pack rat who obsesses over trash. Play a hoarder if you want to occasionally have just the thing they need, or if you want to be good at collecting material wealth.
Hocuses have cult followers the way choppers have gangs. They’re strange, social, public and compelling. If you want to sway mobs, play a hocus.
Warning: things are going to come looking for you. Being a cult leader means having to deal with your fucking cult.
Last Child The Last Child is a son or daughter of the Madness, a child touched by doom or prophecy. They see the currents of the psychic maelstrom and all fear their pronouncements and curses. Last Children always have a family of some sort who are extremely protective of their strange but powerful offspring… What becomes of such a child who inevitably grows up?
Maestro D’ The Maestro D’ has his own little establishment, catering to the unwashed masses with drinks, food, sex, or other indulgences. If you want to be the guy who provides the finer things in life, then the Maestro D’ is for you.
Warning: you’ll have little physical power. All you have is your establishment and your contacts. Interesting relationships is where its at.
Operators are freelancers, moonlighters, odd jobbers, schemers and fixers. They’ve always got one thing cooking, one thing in prep, and one thing on the verge of going wrong. If you play an
operator you’ll always have something to do; unlike angels and gunluggers, you make your own business.
Warning: your life is half getting ahead and half going under. Expect to swallow your share of water.
Quarantines The Quarantine is an elite soldier from before the Apocalypse, trapped in stasis until he was recently thawed. If you want to roll back the curtain, and find out the truth about the golden age and the people living in the current Post Apocalyptia, then the Quarantine is for you.
Warning: As a quarantine you are not a part of this world. You are an outside observer, a stranger, apart from unwashed humanity now living outside the stasis chamber. Fitting in may take some time.
Rat Pack “Where do these fucking kids keep coming from?! I kick them out and when I turn
around there’s another one behind me. Don’t they have any mothers? Any good-fornothing
fathers? Little fuckers keep stealing my food and my knives. Those were good
knives!” (Note: This playbook is not for the organizationally-challenged. You’d be playing 7-9 characters as a group)
Savvyheads are techies. They have really cool abilities in the form of their workspace, and a couple of fun reality-bending moves. Play a savvyhead if you want to be powerful and useful as an ally, but maybe not the leader yourself.
Warning: your workspace depends on resources, and lots of them, so make friends with everyone you can.
Skinners are pure hot. They’re entirely social and they have great, directly manipulative moves. Play a skinner if you want to be unignorable.
Warning: skinners have the tools, but unlike hardholders, operators and hocuses, they don’t have a steady influx of motivation. You’ll have most fun if you can roll your own.
Sorcerer has summoned up… something… from beyond the pale. It has physical form, and serves you. Perhaps it’s a harmless-looking puppy, or a blasphemous flesh abomination. Whatever it is, most of your power is tied up in it. Play a Sorcerer if you wish to be defined by your familiar and its abilities. Be warned, others may object to your blasphemous studies.
Touchstone has a vision. A dream. If you want to create or accomplish something great, you could consider a Touchstone.
Warning: A touchstone doesn’t have the resources or skills of a hardholder, hocus or savvyhead. You are dependent on getting others to follow along on your dream.
Turncoats are spies, operatives with divided loyalties working alongside their fellows, but also for an external cabal.
Warning: Prepare to be the source of inter-PC strife