Apocalypse World is a groundbreaking story RPG about a tropey, high-drama, fetish-masked, diesel-belching, psychic-maelstrom postapocalypse. It’s the founding work of the extensive Powered by the Apocalypse stable of storygames, which includes Monsterhearts, Dungeon World, Night Witches, Sagas of the Icelanders, and an ever-expanding list of others. The second edition is in the process of coming out (at time of writing, you can buy the PDF but the print version’s not quite there yet). But I’ve had my hands on the Kickstarter-backer version of the PDF for a little while, and I am very excited about it.
So are other people! Cat Manning was planning for a campaign, and asked something like “does anybody know of a good system for building factions?” And I didn’t, but it seemed like an entirely too fun thing to do with procedural generation, so I made one.
Apocalypse Fuel generates brief, sketched-out concepts for the basic social units of Apocalypse World: hardholds, Maestro D’ establishments, hocus cults, and assorted packs of violent bastards, as well as some basic character and drama hooks for you to build on. OK, it’s probably better if I just give you a example: the following is a basic gang.
the Axle Howlgirls are a faction within a larger hardhold. They are barely a gang – 5 or so no-account assholes. (The gang was nearly wiped out in a turf war, and they’re the last survivors.) They’re well armed, plus they’re all packing harpoons; and armored in sturdy work clothes, to which most members add a skirt. They are savage. They mostly care about conformity – they hate and fear anyone who’s not like them. They are under the brilliant leadership of Strong Marge. They’re planning a midnight raid on the encampment of Grave Hill, but someone within the gang is playing both sides against one another.
Digby: always horny
Hunter Shan Endocrine: unnaturally lust-transfixed on Horrid Blossom; has gotten drunk with everyone worth knowing in the waste
Stab Girl: loves their kid, to mutual destruction
The intended use is as an inspiration generator for MCs and players, a rough first draft for you to edit and build on; I don’t recommend that anyone use the results purely as-is. It’s designed to leave a lot of things that need fleshing out, to drop suggestive details and pose questions as much as it provides answers.
If you just need some quick post-apocalyptic names, it can do that. If you need stats for things in a hurry, there’s an option to turn them on (although that breaks up the text a bit, so the option is off by default). And if you don’t really know Apocalypse World but just want to giggle at silly procedurally-generated results, it does OK at that too.
It’s a thing that I intend to keep expanding, so suggestions, ideas and contributions are very much welcomed. The source code’s available if anybody wants to poke around in it. (Part of the design includes a way to add optional modules to the base content, in case you’re doing a campaign with a heavy focus on a particular biome or real-world region or theme, so if you’d like to contribute such a thing…)