Yesterday was session 2 of 2 of our Gamma World mini campaign run by our friend andi jones (see Black Ray Gun. Although a couple of guys who missed session 1 talked about coming to session 2, that didn't work out and we proceeded to play with the same 5 players as last time.
I noted our optional specialties after our code names.
Click here for session 1.
"Hillbilly" (me) - medical specialist
"Caveman" (Jon L) - demo/EOD
"Short Bus" (Mike D) - computer programmer
"Princess" (Andy D) - cryptographer
"Barbie" (Mike H) - demo/EOD
We picked up where we left off - at the foot of an especially radiated hill* in a hilly radiated crater. We'd just offed and android and went over and looted him. Two others had run, and we let them. Once we'd cleaned out the downed one of his knife, telecoping staff, and bullpup rifle and magazines, we cautiously headed up a nearby hill. Our goal was the clear the hills one by one until we found the "iPad" we were looking for. On the next hill, we spotted a cloth-and-wood "pillbox" some ways away. After we cleared our sight lines, our demo specialists decided to check out the black baseballs.
After some experimentation, they found out they were clearly grenades. They'd attune to you, and then the user (only) could see a readout. We found they had a distance of 1-4, delay of 1-10, min dist (minimum distance?) of 1-10, and a 0/1 set safety. Barbie got to one screen and threw his towards the "pillbox" but nothing happened. More experimentation made it clear you needed to go through a bunch of screens to arm one. We complained about a lack of "front toward enemy" instructions.
In the end we snuck up on the "pillbox" thanks to amazing stealth from Caveman and despite a total lack of stealth from me, Hillbilly.
We snuck with all of gear. The GM checked with Caveman about that, and he said, "It's that kind of world." Yeah, don't put stuff down unless you have to.
We moved in, with Barbie in back. It was a wide, low (5') warren of tunnels. We systematically moved through until we saw a T-intersection and a badder wandered across. We fired and advanced, facing out both ends of the T and shooting badders. We took down a handful of unarmored badders before they could usefully arm themselves. Once we'd finished them off, we found they had nothing and moved out.
We figured the place must be a bunch of hills each with a badder warren on them, and started to move towards a big hill in the back.
On the way there, we saw a blindfolded, naked or nearly naked man with X-ed out 20th Homeland tattoos standing on the top of a hill. We circled around him from the sides as Hillbilly advanced up the middle. Talking to him didn't do anything, and he wasn't propped up, so I shot him with the 9mm between the eyes. Nothing. More talking, and nothing, so I popped him with the SCAR-H.
That dropped him, and we took off the blindfold with a knife - it was scarred onto his face. He was blind underneath.
We moved on, unsure of what to make of that, and headed for that "back hill."
This was a good choice, because the hill was halfway hollowed out, exposing the layered levels of some kind of facility. In front of it was a watchtower with a rope bridge to the 4th level of the place, a ladder to the 5th, a skeleton of some giant creature, and (oddly) a big-ass mushroom.
We could see some android guards - 5 of them. I suggested we snipe all five at once, but for some reason Barbie and Princess chose to shoot the same target. We opened up and took out 3 of them, as I damaged one. A second later mine went down, and the remaining one came under fire from the rest and quickly dropped as well.
We began to cautiously advance, and bang, a shot rang out and blew a hole through Princess. He dropped, and we took cover - all except for Barbie, who sprinted over in the open to get to Princess and drag him to cover. A second shot missed him. .50 cal, we decided, and began to scan.
We spotted an android with a gun. Someone (Caveman?) shot him, and then (at my urging) shot his rifle as well, destroying both. But another shot rang out.
We began to fire at the watchtower, after Barbie finished patching up Princess and stabbing him full of red injectors (one full one, and most of another).
In the watchtower, something stood up - a 7-8' tall rabbit with bandoliers, pounches, a holster, and an M107A1 .50 cal sniper rifle with a crazy-looking scope on top (which we dubbed the kaleidoscope and later the Viewmaster). We shot and our rounds pinged off of him, and he barely twitched, even from a head shot. (Metagaming here - gee, because he's turned them to rubber?) I aimed for and took a shot at his rifle and drilled it with a round of 7.62mm. That did it - he looked at his rifle, put it down, ripped open the walls of the tower, and jumped down and charged. We charged, too, or at least Hillbilly and Caveman did. Caveman dropped all of his stuff, despite his own motto. Hillbilly didn't. It's that kind of world, man.
Because of this, Caveman closed with the bunny faster than Hillbilly. That proved to be a great fight, at least if it wasn't your guy in the fight. The bunny was huge - almost 8' - and had the heft to match. Caveman threw a grenade at it - and it dodged as the grenade went off with a zap noise and everything in a 20' circle was disintegrated. Damn. Caveman's bullets didn't bother it at all, either, and it just grabbed his rifle and dragged him around by the lanyard and then by his armor's drag strap. Caveman tried punching it, kicking at it (and fell, with an 18), reversing his rifle to shoot it, and so on. Nothing. The hoop just toyed with him, not pulling out its monstrous pistol from its hip and mostly punching him full in the trauma plates with cestus-like gloves. . . and occasionally hurting him. It finally broke the gun strap of the SCAR and tossed it away.
Meanwhile, Hillbilly kept running.
The hoop taunted Caveman in English, but Caveman didn't answer, and just kept fighting back, trying to get the bunny's pistol. He did, lifted the heavy thing (a four-chambered two-barrel 14mm pistol) and pulled the trigger all the way back as the bunny stepped back and put its hands up instead of holding them in guard.
"I haven't had ammo for that in six months," said the hoop, and it attacked again.
It kicked Caveman and fractured his leg.
Somewhere around this time, Hillbilly showed up. I had around behind the bunny as Caveman yelled and cursed. I drew my machete, because I'd seen guns do little, but kept my 9mm in my other hand, because that's how you do it. I managed to close, and just the hoop began to turn I cracked it full power in the skull. It winced but the blade bounced off. I kept attacking, single shots or doubles, landing shot after shot. It turned on me, and Caveman pulled himself close and tried to hamstring it with his machete. He hurt it a bit, and I kept powering shots into it until it dropped.
Once down, Caveman tried to ram his machete into it . . . and it bent. It wasn't metal anymore, but rather like foam rubber.
So while Caveman dealt with his leg, Hillbilly took out his multi-tool and cut down a branch, put a point on it, and rammed it through the bunny's eye. Then shortly after put a 9mm round into the other - that one didn't bounce off, which sadly put paid to Caveman's plan to make hoop-fur armor.
We looted it - it had a bunch of hand-load .50 cal rounds, some plastic pieces, some pieces of gold (little gold tabs really), and its gear. And a grey ID card of some kind with 3 red stripes on it. And, naturally, a laminiated and illustrated copy of Animal Farm. We took all of that, reorganized around the corpse, found caveman's rifle, and splinted his leg. Caveman took Princess's M110 and Princess took the SCAR (which Caveman test-fired to ensure it was okay).
We headed for the facility.
Once there, we moved up into the watchtower and into the place on the fourth floor, with Hillbilly inside, Princess and Short Bus in the watchtower, and Barbie down below getting Caveman set to rope up. At that point, gunfire came from inside, shattering a window. I hit the ground and fired back with the bullpup carbine, wanting to try it out. Full auto put 12 of the 25 rounds downrange, and I kept firing until empty and then reloaded. Short Bus moved up and engaged another android (or the same one?) coming up on my left, as I watched the flank and tossed a glowstick to ensure I had a clear shot into a dark corner.
We started to move into the facility, fighting androids as we went. Our first left was a supply closet. The second was an airlock-like door. As we headed to the second door, Hillbilly took some fire. So he readied a grenade, set it to 4 ("There isn't any other number than 4!"), set it to no delay, and threw it. Zap.
No more fire. We looked around, and found it was a stairwell. There were the end of stairs up, and a big gap where a 40' diameter circle had been disintegrated. Grenade must have bounced down the stairs and went off.
Well, that took care of that. We end the other direction, down a hallway. The hallways were lined with glass and seemed to be old medical labs. Some had low levels of electric light. Interesting, that. Stairs at the other end let us get up and down, and we exchanged fire with some androids as well secured the stairwell up and down. From above, some of the androids shot down at us, and a voice yelled "Stupid androids! Stop firing!"
They didn't, but it didn't matter, because Hillbilly could see a foot and buzzed it off with a bullpup carbine burst.
Some of the androids fought well, moved fast, and took a pounding to put down. Others went down with almost comic ease even when we used their crappy bullpup carbines against them firing sub-optimally reloaded rounds. So Hillbilly opined (in yet another meta moment for me) that some must be combat androids, others non-combat ones re-purposed into combat androids. "These aren't like the combat androids from where I grew up."
But who spoke?
Up on level 5, we found out. We found and fought more androids, who tried to catch us in a crossfire (it failed, they got wasted), and found their boss. A big wolverine with laser-dazzling eyes and a force screen and a cyborg arm. Yikes. The "big bear," as Barbie called it (he'd rolled an 18 to identify it) kept advancing, shooting us with laser eyes and trying to blind and dazzle us. Our shots bounced off his force screen.
As we shot, Caveman decided to try out a pink injector. Good guess - it knit his leg bone.
We kept fighting.
Our bullets kept bouncing off, and its big screen protected it and the android behind it but not the ones to the side. So Hillbilly tried to waste one of them. The bullpup carbine jammed. Dead to me. I dropped it and grabbed the SCAR, as Barbie readied his baton-staff and extended it, getting ready to melee the big boss who we'd decided had Dune shields up. We shot down two of the androids, and started in on the third as the boss walked along casually toward us. The plan was, Barbie beats him to death. Naturally, Short Bus messed up the entire plan.
Short Bus lobbed a grenade on 4 and it landed just short of the boss. ZAP.
No more boss.
No more androids.
No more anything in a 40' circle, like ceiling and floor and parts of the levels below.
We worked our way along the edge of the new hole, kicking in drywall and going around more solid walls. We found the wolverine's lair.
In it were a cool black mace that could turn into an electrical whip, some fire axes (we took them all), some knives, some money, and other junk - but no iPad.
We headed up to level 6, using stairs that existed only on one side. We found a door there with a special key insert, looking like a peg with some kind of circuit on the end was needed.
Naturally, that had to be on the boss.
Axing the door did nothing, nor did voice commands, the key card, or knocking.
We futzed around more, finding our way downstairs, looting storerooms. We found an elevator shaft going way up and way down. So Hillbilly climbed up, and out storm doors onto a roof patio. Nothing exciting, though. We climbed down, and found the wrecked car and a sub-basement (which we'd eventually find had big doors out, clearly blocked). In the basement we found some crates marked 20th Homeland. In them we found some assorted pills, some winter clothes, and some old distilled water that Hillbilly sipped at.
In the end, we went back to the 6th floor doors. We had found 2 40x46mm HE grenades. The two demo guys rigged up a shaped charge out of them and tamped it to the lock. We wired it with eletrical cords pulled out of the androids, and sent electric charge down the wires with a 12 lb. battery pack from one of the androids.
That did it - the door was no longer locked closed, but could be opened. We pried it open with our axes and went in. We smashed open a fractured glass door on the other end and found a room full of (broken) computers.
And one working computer, with our iPad hooked up to it. Standing in front of it was a guy with military fatigues, in his 20s. He turned and without hesitation started to tell us really bad Gamma World jokes. "A hoop and an android walk into a bar. The badder would have but he was too short. . . . . no? How about this one?"
We cut him off and started to interrogate him, nicely. He said his name was Mark, and he worked for Pink Eye the wolverine.
"Thank goodness for that."
What do you do for him?
"I can't tell you."
Aha, why? Becuase he's an android. Mark VIII. Captured, wiped, and re-purposed for finding artifacts by Pink Eye, probably from the Purists up north.
Caveman was worried he was a killbot waiting to destroy us. Hillbilly figured he was a walking computer, not a killbot.
While we talked, Short Bus unhooked the iPad from the working computer it was hooked to - turns out there are generators on a part of the lower levels we hadn't been to, powered by compressed slime from the green snow collected by badders for Pink Eye.
Short Bus tapped in our username and code.
Both the big computer and the tablet started to steam code. Oh, still hooked up by wireless. Damn Gamma World magic-tech! No wireless works so well.
We heard a whine. I asked Mark, do you hear that?
O-kay . . . we took off, leaving him to think of more jokes as we headed to level 4 and the watchtower rope bridge.
We ended up there, watching the show.
The sound and soon vibrations came from the giant mushroom.
We watched at it shook off the mushroom mold coating. It wasn't a mushroom.
It was a hovering, heretofore quietly hovering aircraft that had accumulated crud from years of sitting in place.
Nothing for it but to climb up the ladders that had been the "stem" of the mushroom. Hillbilly went up first, found an airlock, and opened it. He wasn't alone, as everyone else quickly piled on.
We dropped into the vessel.
Once inside, a female voice greeted us. It was Adjunct Captain Hopper.
Turns out the Hopper that summoned us was this ship, which had been sucking in the local radiaton, woke up, and then sent out a call to all military units. Ours responded. Once we'd logged into the tablet we'd made contact and it burned power to reveal itself and talk to us.
The original hopper had gone non-functional in 2120 near Quebec, and woke up some years ago as this unit. Pink Eye had her dragged to this spot as loot, but couldn't get it to function. We could, of course, because we're US Army and she's US Air Force, which pretty much means the same side in what she revealed was roughly 2375 or so.
Where are we? Near Battle Creek (Bal'Kree) Michigan, not far from Kalamazoo.
Now what? We made some quick plans. Rig her up to the generators. Decide if we could re-purpose Mark (or even keep paying the badders to fill up the generator so we could power Hopper). Go back to our base, burn a door down with a disintegrator grenade, and wake up everyone else we could (and get at the stockpiles of stuff). Maybe swing by the village and impress them with our ship.
That's where we ended. It was a single adventure, not a campaign. Pretty satisfying stuff, with enough open question to make us wonder how session 3 would go. Perhaps someday.
* Much later, we, or at least Short Bus and Hillbilly, decided that maybe the "bug splat" marks on our maps were probably rad zones. After all, we didn't see a badder lair entrance, we found another badder lair entrance that wasn't marked, and it was rad-hot. We didn't get a chance to followup on this, but I bet it's the case.
Meta-Gaming - oh, the great curse and villifying insult. I was meta-gaming all over the place. Why? Because part of the fun of Gamma World, to me, is that I know it inside and out and yet it's a lethal world full of challenges and things can be a lot more than they seem. Even armed with all of that game-world knowledge, I was still forced to fight a hoop with a metal weapon, throw grenades without a clear idea what the settings did, fight warrior androids without knowing which of them were ersatz which were real, etc. And knowing only made the stuff I could ID much more fun.
Overall, I loved this all. The spin on the hoop's power - that metal that struck it turned to rubber - was cool, and even knowing my machete was doomed I had little else to try against it.
The wolverine? Also cool. Got to love a GM that lets you disintegrate the big bad without blinking, and just waits for you to find a way around the door that now no longer has a key.
We did keep joking they were Teleport grenades, and all of our "victims" were in our base, getting medical treatment and arming with our stuff. "We'll meet that wolverine, and he'll have his old arm back, and be like "Thanks for this! I owe you guys!" - that sort of stuff.
All in all this was a great break from DF and a total joy to play. Because Monday was off for most of us, we played until like 10:30 pm. No chance of that anytime soon.
In a couple weeks we'll be back to DF, but we'll probably be talking about Gamma World for some time to come.