The Watch by Anna Kreider and Andrew Medeiros

A very interesting game; I read it in PDF. It’s an Apocalypse World game that reminds me of Apocalypse World, with strong influences from Night Witches. (Missions feel very similar, though I like the streamlined version of just dealing with complications.)

The setting is great; it’s a fantasy world without Fireballs and Wishes. The characters are women of the watch, who resist the machinations of the Shadow–which has possessed the soldiers of the land, and turned them against our heroes.

The system is written boldly, clearly identifying the themes, and noting that there are reasons that they’re boldly calling out toxic masculinity, foregrounding women as heroes, etc. There’s clear direction that this may affect the players strongly; the X-card is cited as a bare minimum to keep the players at the table safe as they explore these dark themes.

The MC guidance gets very direct, explaining what the Shadow is, how it manifests, and guiding the MC to make some choices to guide their characterization of the Shadow and the influence. The missions are very reminiscent of Night Witches, including the roles (and corresponding rolls) that characters take during the mission. Fortunately, it doesn’t look like failures spin off more rolls with further bad consequences, as sometimes happens in Night Witches missions when trouble begins manifesting.

I really like the idea of this game; while it’s strident in places, I think the game benefits from the clear explanation of what underpins the Shadow and the setting.

Reading along, I found a few small copy editing errors, but nothing that was tough to work around. It was much less jarring than, say, the first copies of Rise of the Runelords.

Apocalypse World: Inspiration

Last night and this morning, I was seized by a setting for AW, a setting that excites me. It’s a very specific vision at its core, but with lots of easy messing.

The core is the Central Valley, post disaster. Like normal AW, we’ll play to discover what happened, etc. But some elements will be stable, part of the pitch.

The core idea is that it’s our topography–though minus today’s functioning dams, so we get back Tulare lake, etc. Lots of marshy areas return, but the lack of groundwater (due to current and anticipated pumping) remains, so everyone’s dependent on catchments.

The weather’s like today but worse. Winter brings back dense Tule fog everywhere, with a side of ashy grit. Spring and fall are each a seized month of bliss, before temperatures head over 100 for months. (Basically, today + humidity from the surface water, without a/c, with some climate change to add 5-10 degrees.)

Play will focus on the little towns; Fresno/Clovis and Bakersfield are gone and barren, irradiated. Hell, maybe every city with a population of 20,000+ on this list is gone–burned in the troubles. Assume that everything built post 1970s won’t work. In AW, it was built to fall apart, like fireplaces as decoration rather than useful heat sources.