Decimation City (An Apocalypse World)

Love Letters Pre-Session 7

Dear Trout,

It’s been very weird adjusting to having people actually depending on you for something besides a good lay.

The last 6 weeks have seen you managing to herd the girls out of the Theater and into their new home at Tomorrow!, where they’ve settled in and are taking great joy in lording it over the new arrivals, who seem to find them both fascinating and terrifying, but the roof is solid, and there’s power, so no one’s complained really loudly yet.

As it happens, it looks like you moved out of the theater district just in time, because just last night, a rumble was felt for blocks as the Theater collapsed into a huge sinkhole in a towering cloud of debris visible for miles. A few hours later, a similar collapse leveled Spider’s place. Another huge plume of dust and shattered glass.

So this morning, you’re woken up by a catfight. Layla, Grace, and Heron are out in front kicking the shit out of a couple of skinny, dust-covered girls who are screaming and begging to talk to you. Through the blood and vaporized concrete covering their faces, you recognize Audrey and Annette, two of Spider’s girls, younger ones, maybe 14 or 15.

If you do nothing, the Hummingbirds will beat them to death in short order and you can go back to bed, knowing the girls will just feed the bodies to the plants on the fourth floor.

If you intervene, describe what you do to break it up and roll +Hard.

On a 10+, you forcefully and immediately butt in and the terrified girls are roughed up but basically OK. The Hummingbirds bitch at you for spoiling their fun, but they’ll get over it. Add +1 Barter for the drugs the newcomers have stashed on them that they hand over to you for saving them.

On a 7-9, they manage to get their licks in before you get them in hand. Pick One:
-One of them is beat into a coma and probably won’t wake up until she gets some actual medical care. Pick which one.
-The Hummingbirds are pissed you got in on their fun and not inclined to let you forget it. Take -1 ongoing to get them to do what you want until you make it up to them.
-You get an ‘accidental’ elbow in the face as you try to get them off the refugees. Take 1-Harm AP.

On a Miss, you’re not their daddy: All 3.

Love, your MC!

Dear Jones,

It’s been six weeks since the business at Tomorrow!. Despite the difficulty Tavi is having adjusting to her new leg, she could not be happier. Your Sanctum is regularly filled with song, and she has taken to the harpsichord like a pro. You have busied yourself with the usual fortune-telling and dream interpretation jobs that generally keep you in Barter, but you’re finding they’re fewer and further between these days. Apparently, Domino’s warning to the MythBusters only served to provoke them, and they have held a couple of demonstrations where they have supposedly showed their audiences other ways to produce the results that you do with your powers.

Whatever efforts to track them down or threaten them you’ve devised have failed up to this point, and their leaflets and posters have been appearing in greater numbers around town.

The striking and inescapable sensation that’s slowly built over the last week or so that you’re being watched hasn’t made it easier to sleep, but after a fine meal and an evening of reading to Tavi (who does so only poorly herself), you have managed to finally claim a deep sleep.

You awake to the stark realization that someone is standing in your room, at the foot of your bed. It’s fat man in a white suit, the one you saw in your vision from weeks ago.

“Hello, Jones,” he says, in an oddly childish and lilting voice. “My name is Foster. You’re a hard man to track down.” You try to respond, but are paralyzed, voiceless but fully lucid in the way that comes sometimes in dreams. You try to open your brain, but realize that those rules don’t seem to work here, wherever you are right now. Panic starts to race through your bones, but you grit your teeth and try to choke it back as Foster leans over you and gestures as he whispers words in a language just at the edge of your comprehension.

If you do nothing, Foster extracts the information he needs from you and leaves you to sleep the rest of the night. Tavi is unaware of your nocturnal visitor unless you choose to tell her.

If you resist, describe the psychic struggle you enter and roll +cool.

On a 10+, you tamp down the panic and gain some control of the dream state. You may ask Foster 3
Questions, which he must answer truthfully with a single short phrase or sentence.

On a 7-9, It takes you a few moments to regain your composure, which Foster takes advantage of, but you fight back: He asks you 1 Question, which you must answer truthfully with a short phrase or sentence, and you can ask him 1 Question, as above.

On a Miss, you are unable to resist Foster’s intrusion and he extracts the information he needs from your sleeping brain: He asks you 3 Questions which you must answer truthfully as above.

Just as the psychic battle between you comes to a head and you feel like one of you is about to break, he is gone and you suddenly awake, shaking, sweaty, and twisted in your sheets, with Tavi shaking you.

Love, your MC!

Dear Adele,

It’s been 6 weeks since the craziness at Tomorrow! Your research has been going great; it turns out Crille is pretty quick on the uptake, and he makes a capable lab assistant, especially when you need help with lugging and toting. You managed to buckle down and, with the help of some gear and schematics you found in the medical lab under Tomorrow!, complete a working leg for Tavi. Because it is wired directly into her brain and uses some DNA Splicing that you don’t entirely understand, the technology is not something you could just whip up for someone else. It took her a week to be able to properly stand on it, but now she gets around pretty handily with crutches and is slowly working her way towards walking unassisted.

You’ve made less progress on the water system, as the newly-active security apparatus of the SPECTOR building has proven increasingly difficult to deal with. At one point two weeks ago, it locked down for a full five minutes, and gas pumped out of the vents, knocking you both out for apparently an hour or so. The computers in the building have also been acting oddly, occasionally displaying messages of doggerel verse and at other times snippets of particularly pastoral and soothing video clips accompanied by soothing music, even, occasionally, from machines not wired for sound. You’ve been unable to get to the bottom of this weirdness, but it’s put enough of a damper on your research that you’ve made no further progress on the sprinklers.

It’s been a frustrating day so far today, so when Crille arrives, you ask him to help you take another crack at the room labelled ‘robotics lab’ you’ve been trying to get into for the last several weeks. You think you’ve figured the lock, and if Crille is strong enough to hold the magnetic contacts in the door housing apart for a few seconds, you can fuse them open and crack the door.

He heaves and pries at the deceptively flimsy-looking alloy locking plates, and with a howl of effort that starts his nose bleeding, forces them a millimeter apart, allowing you to zap the contacts and sending the door sliding noiselessly open with a puff of air that smells of sparks and graphite.

Almost instantly, a howl of alarm bells go off, a strobing blue light erupts from the walls, and you hear the building locking down again, shutters slamming, doors booming closed where you haven’t managed to permanently disable them. Oliver snaps to attention on your shoulder, and says in that odd voice you’ve heard him use a few times before, ‘Eliza, the other Orphans are compromised, as we discussed, you’ll need to work very quickly indeed.’ As he extends his snout to tap into the open wall, his tail arcs over his head and projects a glowing keyboard into the air, the keys marked with machine-code algorithms. You can hear the scrape of metal on metal in the lab beyond, slow and languid but gathering strength and speed, as of something waking up, and as Crille steps to fill the doorway between you and whatever is making that loud scuttling noise, you stare at the keyboard…

If you do nothing, the door slams shut and after an hour the security lockdown ends. Any further efforts to open this door will likely fail until you can find another way past.

If you keep trying to get into the room, describe what you’re doing to overcome the Security and roll +sharp:

On a 10+, you manage to quickly bypass Security and take over the lab before the defenses are ready. Annie, Bruce, and Harry emerge from the lab ready to work for you. They are AI helper bots similar to Oliver. Describe them, and add the ‘Skilled Labor’ perk to your Workspace.

On a 7-9, you’re not quite fast enough and some of the defenses come on-line before you shut them down. Pick One:
-You shut down the robots in the lab, but Oliver is cooked by feedback and inactive until you can find the right parts to repair him.
-You overpower the unstable decades-old power grid in the room and fry everything inside. The entire lab is trashed and useless.
-Crille stops one of the advancing robots from getting at you with his body before you succeed in shutting the security down. He’s tough, but he’s still flesh. The thing attaches itself to his face and gouges out an eye before he smashes it against the wall. He’ll need immediate medical attention. Name the Orphan he destroys.

On a miss, you’re all thumbs, and things go badly wrong before you get it shut down. All 3.

Love, your MC!

Dear Hammer,

After two bloody victories in a row, the Valks’ rep for not taking any shit has never been more solid.

Raiding has been good, the Crocs have mostly lain low, and the occasional visits from Trout’s girls have everyone in good spirits. You’ve spent the last six weeks shoring up the Bridge as best you can, though a week ago a hunk of pavement fell out that almost landed Domino in the Cut, and the roadbed is in generally pretty shitty shape all along the Bridge, now that you’ve noticed.

Gnarly survived the Speedforce injections and is now a Lookout, twitchy, rapid-talking and unsleeping, manning the Uptown Tower. It turns out he’s actually got great eyesight, and can spot stuff like smoke trails from the Hex, and ’copters taking off from the airport that you can only barely make out with binoculars.

The gang is down a few members, and the word is out that you’re recruiting, but with everyone aware that you’re at war with the Crocs, no one’s showed up to join. Crille has managed to bypass the usual initiation because of his performance against the Crocs, and splits his time between joining you on raids, where he’s a serious bad-ass, and working with Adele over at the SPECTOR building when he’s got down-time (he’s there right now). He’s crap on a bike, but he’s now the strongest guy you’ve got, which is saying something.

So, it’s about 4 o’clock in the morning, everyone is pretty wasted, and you’ve crashed out with Layla, Heron, and Grace in your crib, when you hear a shotgun blast go off very nearby and suddenly Valks are screaming, Stinky and Gnarly’s spotlights are on and sweeping over the Bridge and their rifles are going off. The girls are half in the bag, giddy with laughter at all the noise and commotion. You roll out of your hut to see that the Bridge is swarming with Trolls. They’ve got scuba masks on their faces, and they all look to be soaking wet. They’re mostly armed with punched-steel knives and simple tomahawks like you saw them making inside the Bridge. The Valks are mowing them down; gunfire, sledgehammers, and fire axes are doing a number on them, with regular shots from the Towers picking off any who get free of the scrum.

But there’s a LOT of them. You see a couple of the Valks just buried under 8 or 10 of the fuckers, pulled down and stabbed repeatedly by their little knives. The roadbed is littered with their little yellow broken bodies, some still twitching and trying to get up even though they’re broken beyond repair.

You’re just about to wade in when you see one of them off to the side wedge a brick of clay with a box stuck into it right into the spot where like five girders come together against one of the seams in the roadbed. Then he whips a one-shot flare gun out from a little pack around his waist, points it up in the air, and fires. The flare arcs up and lights up the entire night sky brilliantly, causing a momentary pause in the running battle, broken a few moments later by the sound of Gnarly screeching “OHFuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckingfuckers!” and starting to rapidly shoot down towards the waterline, where, looking over the side of the bridge, you can see about a dozen crocs in big zodiacs, stowing oars and lowering outboards into the water. One particularly huge one, wearing a crazy full-face mask and a black leotard with a freaky glowing white spider splashed across the chest, is holding up a device with some kind of knob on the top. You see one of Gnarly’s bullets go through his arm, but he doesn’t even flinch as he twists the knob and the Cut recedes back into darkness as the flare burns out.

The box has started beeping, and the light is blinking. Both are getting faster at a pretty quick clip.

If you do nothing, Hooch snatches up the box after she sees you just standing there, and jumps off the side of the Bridge. There’s a spectacular bloody explosion in mid-air about 25 feet down and out over the water, but the Bridge seems OK, the remaining Trolls flee, and the Crocs escape into the night.

If you immediately try to deal with the bomb yourself, say what you’re doing and roll +cool:

On a 10+, you manage to dispose of the bomb exactly as you hoped and inspire the Valks to get their shit together: They manage to capture a Troll alive, Gnarly and Stinky both pick off the Trolls who were climbing their Towers, and the Bridge doesn’t take any damage.

On a 7-9, your plan isn’t as foolproof as you hoped: Pick 1 of the above.

On a Miss, you fucked up somehow. None of the above.

Love, your MC!

Dear Damson,

With the total lunacy that went down six weeks ago, it’s good to see the Sunset filled with guests tonight. You’ve managed to reinforce the windows and put up some barriers to at least make it a challenge for someone to drive vehicle through the front of the place. Adele scrounged up a working TV from somewhere in the building, so you’re back in business.

Ruby doesn’t remember anything that happened in the lab, and was pretty matter-of-fact about Nils ‘getting what he deserved’. She’s cooking up a storm these days, highly active despite her quickly-swelling belly that seems to get a little bigger every day. The pregnancy seems to be remarkably easy. She’s eating huge piles of food, but doesn’t seem to be experiencing any discomfort to speak of, and she sleeps soundly. She’s in better spirits than you’ve ever seen, in fact, and performing near-miracles with the pot luck the customers are bringing in.

It’s a full house tonight, and you’ve got a good flick lined up. Ruby was a trooper tonight, whipping up dessert from a bunch of wild berries some roof-farmer brought in, and a main course from what you are pretty sure was a sizable hunk of a zebra. You do some patter and cue up the movie and fire it up.

It’s about a half hour in when something off happens. The movie cuts out for a moment and very soothing music starts to play, accompanied by a baritone-voiced announcer assuring everyone that everything is all right and they should just remain calm and await further instructions. You notice that the crowd, including Ruby over at the bar, is smiling blankly and staring at the TV. For some reason, it doesn’t seem to have affected you yet? You look again at the TV and a wave of lethargy washes over you, but it’s overcome, barely, by a high and tremulous voice that suddenly whispers in your head:

“flesh-father, you must listen… turn from the gaze of the Watchers…”

If you ignore the voice and look back at the TV, you really enjoy the rest of the movie, and sleep deeply and dreamlessly that night, as do all your guests, who agree it was a really wonderful and relaxing time. You are totally certain that the voice (which you barely remember in any event) was just your imagination and give it no further thought.

If you try to respond to the voice, have a brief conversation with your daughter and roll +weird:

On a 10+, you manage to shake off the TV’s effect and make contact with your daughter without disturbing the Maelstrom or hurting her. You use her psychic guidance to attune your brain to the Watcher signal: You are immune to it from now on. She gives you vital insight into one of your companions that had escaped your notice before: You gain 1 Hold that you can use to automatically Assist or Interfere with another PC’s action without risk of failure, as long as you can see them. She opens your mind to the ungiven future: Use Visions of Death on the entire world, right now, as if you rolled a 7-9, and know that your Vision will come to pass.

On a 7-9, you are so shaken by the contact that she is only able to touch you fleetingly: Choose 1 of the above, but something nearby feels this struggle going on. You somehow know that something else nearby is now aware of your daughter.

On a Miss, you unconsciously forcibly resist being pulled away from the Watcher broadcast. Your brain lashes out without meaning to and feedback fills the club. All of the patrons are forcibly awakened (headaches and a few nosebleeds, but no one badly hurt) and all of them, along with whatever is out there, are now aware of your daughter.

-Love, your MC!


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