Apocalypse World: The Verdant Mountains Campaign

Our 2nd Powered by the Apocalypse campaign, this one went way better; we even finished it!
Set in a world over run by wild malicious forests, where ruins of the old world are being choked out and eaten away by plants. Nestled in the mountains of the this world is the dam our protagonists call home. A community divided, politically and physically.
Our characters will have to navigate the political waters of this world to try an accomplish their various goals.

We hope you enjoy listening, if you like to see what we thought of the campaign you can read more after the break.

Raymond: I loved running this campaign. It took a completely different turn than I expected right off the bat. The whole political aspect really surprised me, and I’m so glad I could run it well. I’ve had trouble running political plots in the past, and I got pretty nervous after the first episode.
I did have trouble giving peoples characters things to do in every session, but we made it work in the end.
I was pleased that we managed to keep the tone and world building consistent. And I think the storytelling was some of our best so far.
It was great fun running a Powered By The Apocalypse World campaign and we defiantly need to run more of it.

Ryan: For me, the Verdant Mountains campaign didn’t really hit its stride until somewhere around game 7 or 8, when the threat of the Mountaineers became apparent. Before then, the story meandered a bit, the players resisted having scenes together, and our characters (with the exception of Ozair) were all very noncommittal about their choices. Ayazama played the game of hardhold politics, but eventually decided not to manipulate himself into a position of greater power. Saffron, despite what others assumed about him, was rather naive and thought of himself more of an artist than a businessman. He pretty much allowed others to lead him by the nose at every turn–including his mask, in the end.

However, the setup paid off big time during the second half of the campaign, when we found out about Jean the Thirteenth Paratrooper and the Mountaineer plot to cause a war between the Dammers and the Burners. If not for the squabbling and angling for power in the first act, the characters’ decision to throw their collective weight behind the community would not have been half as meaningful. The concluding arc had so many memorable moments, too. Who can forget Ozair’s shocking “king hit” on Con Pacifica, or the miracle for which Ayazama paid so dearly afterwards? And the endings that our characters got were really fantastic. Though the first part of the series may have been too slow a burn for my tastes, it built to an explosive finale that was well worth the wait.

Alex: I agree with Ryan for the most part, except that I enjoyed the slow burn of the first act. I thought the politicking and the going back and forth were interesting. I do, however, regret some of the choices I made. There was a time when I kept waffling on Ayazama’s motivation, and it shows. However, I did like how he eschewed everything he set up for himself initially once he realized he was being played and was way over his head.
And the climax was fantastic — we all managed to put aside our differences for the sake of the community. Which, really, was all Ayazama wanted.

Brandon: While I really enjoyed Verdant Mountains, I think we made a few mistakes with the game itself. I think perhaps Raymond had a specific idea of the game especially with the kinda of Verdant plant filled apocalypse with raiding and factions. We also put time into developing the world outside, particularly the creatures. We then made characters, and the playbooks probably should have been chosen before the fact, particularly when we ended with the Waterbearer and Maestro’D, because they really inform the direction of the game being more politically or at least can be. From my times running and playing PbtA games I think creating characters then creating a world to fit around them can sometimes function more cleanly. It definitely would have behooved us to pay more attention to what we have created or talked about what we wanted. I think that would have pushed the game along toward a better direction.

Personally, I think Ozair was a giant mess of a character, really representative of my failings as a player. She was tonally all over the place, was like someone with Bipolar disorder on speed. While I had fun playing Ozair, I probably wouldn’t play another Savvyhead. I think the slow burn of the projects are really anathema to the ideals of quick action in a pbta game at least for me. Another point being, if the other characters were not so political minded it might have worked. A savvyhead is not necessarily a political creature. Hence the unfurling of the more weird aspects of the savvyhead and pushing into other playbooks to provide a grounded point for Ozair. Which all culminated into my poorly executed epilogue being the thrall of the Yellowkin. I regret more about Ozair than I have fond memories of her.
However with all this in mind, I really did enjoy our Verdant Mountain game. I think it ended well and came to an interesting head. But there are definitely things we should keep in mind for the future.


  1. I listened to this campaign and wasn’t at the start sure I would like it mostly due to genre. What won me over was the repeated phrase “that’s not the kind of game we’re running” when the silliest things were suggested. It also helped that I really loved the weird of Ozair for the first half, and agree with Ryan that the second half was sold in large part by the first being somewhat meandering. In the end, I liked it, in large part thanks you guys successfully sticking to tone.


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