by Delos

Hatchet City

I remember a while ago someone somewhere had told me that I should read Vincent Baker’s Hatchet City. It’s an Apocalypse World (AW) scenario designed for a one shot or convention game. Regrettably I only just found it last night and have my eyes been opened. Due to life choices, luck, and very little time, it’s hard for me to keep a long lasting game going. So a lot of my games tend to be one shots with people that I’m probably not going to see again for a long time. I love AW but my one shots tend to get bogged down at character creation due to everyone trying to make the world up and then trying to rush through and come to some sort of conclusion.

Vincent wrote up a solution to that. Hatchet City is kind of like starting on session four of a long term game. The skins/classes/playbooks are limited to just a few choices and the scenario is hand tailored to those skins. You can play with 3-5 PCs, with 5 being the optimal, and have a choice of Hardholder, Skinner, Brainer, Angel, and violent person (Chopper/Battlebabe/Gunlugger). Hatchet City offers up a scenario, and a checklist for things you need to do to prep for running the game, then it gives each player a love letter.

Each love letter explains to the player what their character has been doing recently, and what history about the character is a must. You can make whatever hardholder you want, but (s)he will be at war with another city. The love letters also contain a few start of session moves to determine just how messed up everything is and some of the love letters let certain players determine what has happened/is happening to the NPCs. Finally the love letters end with love and kisses, which is important to let the players know that you care about them.

Hatchet city then concludes with the MC side of things which includes what the MC will need to ask the players in accordance with their love letters, and the MC will have a few other things that (s)he may need to ask.

This scenario format is great, and I’m going to try to write up a few myself. Next one shot you play with AW, consider giving this a go. Thanks for reading and in the off chance your name is Vincent Baker, thanks for all you’ve done for the RPG community and the Powered by the Apocalypse community. You scratched an itch I didn’t even know I had.

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