Coalblack Night: A Jazz-Age Apocalypse

September 22, 2011

This is something that struck me as I was walking through downtown at night, after wrapping up the tenth session of my AW-in-space game.

Inspirations: “Sloosha’s Crossin’ an’ Ev’rythin’ After” from Cloud Atlas, Three-Penny Opera, Sleepy Hollow, City of Ember, Porgy & Bess, The Untouchables, Idlewild, Public Enemies, Chicago, The Giver, Dark City.

I member when the cities first got lit up. Twernt just candles in the windows but gas lamps and, then, the full-on real stuff, Uncle Edson’s lectric wonderland. Was a magickle time: erryone could see the future, right in front of em. But it was shortly affer when coalblack night done roll in, blockin out the sun, moon, and stars, coating errythin in darkness that no man’s light could pen’trate for long.

When coalblack night first roll in, lot of folk got dead reel fast. White folk obvusly blame black folk; black folk rightly point out that Ole Coalblack himself be unquestionbly a white man: impossible tall, pale like snow, in hat and tails as an undertaker or a sweep, but with those eyes and those teeth y’know. And the god-fearing ladies — black, white, or otherwise — just be tellin their men that the apocalypse o’ Revelations ain’t no time to go killin nobody, in fact just the opposite, and that Ole Coalblack is clearly the Devil an nobody ought listen to him.

But erryone listen ventuly, right? Ya don’t wanna, but ya caint help it.

Hush my darling, for we are deep in the COALBLACK NIGHT…

Playbooks:
Driver + Operator = The Wheelman
Skinner + Maestro’D = The Flapper
Hardholder + Quarantine = The Baron
Chopper + Touchstone = The Highwayman (w/ Horse & Hound)
Saavyhead + Gunlugger = The Greaseman
Angel + Battlebabe = The Raven

Replace when you open your brain with when you are all alone in the coalblack night and the lights are out, an impossibly tall man with skin like snow lights a cigarette, offering another to warm you against the cold. If you refuse, it’s always, “Suit yourself” and nothing more. But if you accept, Ole Coalblack makes you a bargain, though never straightforward and plain but in hints and strange questions, and whether you’ve accepted or not is sometimes only clear later, when you find out what he’s up to. Roll +Weird. On a 10+, Coalblack’s doing something in your best interests. On a 7-9, mostly so.

4 Responses to “Coalblack Night: A Jazz-Age Apocalypse”


  1. Nice. How do you envision the two playbook thing working? Would you make new playbooks that took bits from both, or would players just have both and pick from them as they saw fit?


  2. I was going to hack the playbooks together, with a few changes. Like “An arresting skinner” might be milder, like, “Show a little ankle.” The Highwayman’s hounds would be a new move too (or maybe just count as a small gang), with the horse being vaguly like the Chopper’s bike.

    Not sure this is what I want to play next, though. It’s mostly just a concept for what a light AW hack might look like, as with That Ancient Serpent.

  3. Alex D. Says:

    Gunlugger (w/o the guns) + Faceless = The Butcher (or The Ripper)?

    I like this idea.

  4. Martin Says:

    This is awesome and I want you to build it. Please?


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