[Apocalypse World] Xenoformed Chicago (Character Creation)

Our first session was fan-fucking-tastic. Everyone was excited, everyone was contributing and positive and very affirming of each other’s ideas. The characters rock. I couldn’t be happier about it.

Our setting ended up being a xenoformed earth, where some alien invasion is changing the environment of the planet into their own. We also decided to set it in Chicago. Here’s the summary I wrote everyone after the session:

SETTING OVERVIEW – Something has invaded the earth, and is reshaping our world into its own. This is physically evident in the alien ecosystems that are taking over the planet; it is evident in the presence of unnatural technologies that seem to work on principles antithetical to human reason. But it is evident on a deeper level, assaulting and connecting us all at fringes of our consciousness, a primal psychic maelstrom raging at the edge of our thoughts.

Chicago. 50 years after the events that transformed the surface of the Earth, a small community of survivors live in battered ruins that were once the buildings of the South Loop, surviving on whatever they can, drawing water from the tainted iridescence of the receded Lake Michigan, purifying and making it potable through makeshift filters.
Their de-facto leader/dictator, is Shazza, an elusive figure few have ever seen face to face, whose orders are meted out through trusted lieutenants and elders.

We have six characters, which we spent the whole session creating:

THE ANGEL – Doc is old enough to remember the world ending. Ambiguously gendered, wearing rugged scrounge and utility wear, sie has quick eyes and a sturdy body. Sie works and lives in a ruined hospital building, where sie keeps hir infirmary. Sie has a crew of two assistants, Shigusa and Mox. They’ve been with hir a long time – sie practically raised them, but trusts Mox more. Shigusa is too smart. Doc doesn’t understand him fully. Doc wants to find our more about the way the world was, & to eventually die in safety and peace.

THE BATTLEBABE – Ruby Honeytree is a young woman in her early 20s. She wears casual clothes, and has a striking face, arresting eyes, and a muscular body. She juggles two jobs — one, in which she is a stripper/courtesan working for Pallor, and another, in which she is a hired assassin working primarily for Cassa and targeting mostly political figures. Her father taught her to shoot, but was himself killed by another (unknown) assassin, part of a group of killers for hire, with whom Ruby does not associate.

THE BRAINER – Pallor is a madame. She often appears in formal wear, and has a sweet face, deep eyes, and a soft body. She has known that she was a brainer since childhood. Her twin brother, Parcher, is/was also a brainer, but he has been missing for 10-15 years, after they parted ways on rather complicated terms. Pallor’s clients are generally part of the high political and military crowd; specializing in those with very “specific” tastes. Her favorite is Shazza’s #2, Clarion, the leader of the militia. Pallor has 5 girls on offer, including Ruby. She has been careful not to make any enemies…yet.

THE FACELESS – Zuto, known also as “Mega Stompfucker”, is an enigma wrapped inside a mystery. Sie is in hir early 30s. Sie dresses casually, usually including a kilt and a bullet proof vest, and never, never removes hir gas mask. Sie works as a bodyguard for hire, and is currently in Pallor’s employ. Shazza doesn’t like hir, due to Zuto preventing Shazza from killing someone in the past. Zuto cannot eat solids, and eats and drinks everything via a tube leading under hir mask. Hir face was disfigured by the alien beings that are transforming the earth.

THE RUIN RUNNER – Wolfie. A boyish-looking woman with a friendly face, sharp eyes, steady hands, and an energetic body, wears scrounged clothes and a ponytail. Shje hoards the things she finds in the ruins and wastes, but uses them at times to gain trust. Collects trinkets and gadgets mostly. Old-world stuff; stuff Doc takes interest in (sometimes too much interest for Wolfie’s comfort). Wolfie sleeps in a hole. She keeps her stuff in the hole, too, deep down. Once, Wolfie and Pallor trekked out in the wastelands — Wolfie has slept in Pallor’s presence. Significant? She’s also helped Doc save a life or two.

THE TOUCHSTONE – Cassa is a visionary. She wears comfort clothes — pants, t-shirt, a zip-up hoodie. She has a sweet face and calm eyes. Her body is very still. Her necklace carries a symbol of human purpose and achievement. She wants to offer people reassurance, and remind them what it was like Before, and that it’s not over. She wants to push forward without losing that which makes us who we are. She lives on the fringes of the South Loop community, and has friends inside (Ruby is one of her disciples, for example). She isn’t entirely welcomed by the authorities there, but she’s not willing to abandon the community.

Everyone’s homework for this week:

  • Find or make an image of your character
  • Decide where in the South Loop your character lives
  • Decide what oddments your character keeps for barter

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