Yesterday was another session of GURPS Gamma World, aka Gamma Terra, aka 20th Homeland.
"Caveman" - demo/EOD
"Hillbilly" - medical specialist
"Love Handles" - demo/EOD
"Oinker" - demo/EOD
"Fatbox" - demo/EOD
"Momma's Boy" - computer programmer
"Princess" - cryptographer/sniper
"Short Bus" - computer programmer
"Barbie" - demo/EOD (MIA)
We picked up based in the ferry station that we turned into base camp when we arrived in the ruins of Muskegon, Michigan. Only four players made it, so we left half of our number to guard base and fix it up (fortify it, clear lines of fire, fix the cappuccino maker (joke, maybe), refurbish weapons, forage, etc.)
The rest of us headed out to investigate the various heat sources detected by Warbot.
On our way to the first one, four lizard-like things with grass frill down their backs saw us in the streets. We waited, they moved on, and we went on. We'd find out later they were just beasts, and delicious ones at that.
Our first stop turned out to be Mead Motors, a car dealership. They had one of those glass-and-burning oil structures in front. I opined they must be shrines, not modern art, maintained by the Uggies/Ugnauts/Devo beasts/whatever. I'd turn out to be right - Hillbilly's college education must shine through now and again despite the haze of being frozen for so long.
Mead Motors had a Mark VII android salesman and some cars:
- a 50's looking bubble car two-seater (42,000 domars as equipped)
- a bubble car sedan five-seater with a broken wheel (12,000 domars, as-is)
- a totally wrecked sedan
- a stretch limo
- a big truck with lots of damage, a two-man cab, and a big bed.
We looted some free key fobs as trade goods and tried to sweet-talk the android into a test drive - no, not without a driver's license and we have none. Military ID wouldn't do. Hillbilly's doctors note didn't work either. The android wasn't authorized. We could buy a car without ID, but we'd need cash as we know (even if the Android, Sid, did not) since the banks are all out and we aren't on any records. We decided not to ruin the place and just moved on, hoping to come back. Sid did reveal the little dudes cleaned the outside, never came in, and kept the shrines going with flame. All we got after that was about 20' of thorn vine that Caveman harvested.
Our next stop was a large building that turned out to be a 14-story hospital. It was also marked with a shrine, but it was thoroughly looted. Anything that could be pried up was gone. We explored anyway, Caveman gathering what bits he could of materials for bomb-making. Around the eighth or ninth floor, we found a balcony full of plants. Maybe a dozen "pineapple" headed pygmy dudes made of sticks and leaves and plant fibers rushed us from 15 yards away. Hillbilly yelled, "We come in peace" and they gibbered back and charged. Okay.
Caveman and Oinker shot them, with little effect. Love Handles got out his sword. Hillbilly got out Hoopslayer and moved it to his left hand and drew one of Mike Mike's plasma grenades. When they got closer he lofted it into the middle of the pack, setting like seven or so of them on fire. The rest moved into melee. Caveman drew his ceramic knife and joined in. We slashed up a couple, with Hillbilly and Caveman double teaming one and Love Handles on the other. It took a few seconds, and Hillbilly took a nasty thorn-claw slash to the leg, but then we finished them. We left the burning ones running around until they dropped. Oinker cut up a pineapple head and was disappointed it was plant, but not fruit. Maybe he kept one, I'm not sure.
We got to the roof and briefly looked around, spotting a cemetary with a zamboni-looking groundskeeper bot, briefly saw 3 little men with a mech walking away (and lost to view soon after), and a college. Then the red snow came down hard. We slept in the hospital ground floor.
The next day we worked our way back to to base.
As we arrived, though, a polearm equipped owl swooped down near us and dropped a bag for us. We opened it and found three masks - Neo-Brain hoods. They claim to boost willpower and perception but might cause nasty side effects if worn too long. The owl also gave us a note that said, "Jeschure of Freindship." We kept both as he flew off. We handed out the hoods. Hillbilly wanted one, and the best way to get that was to get Love Handles worried. Hillbilly read the side effects, said, "As your Primary Care Provider I recommend you put this on." Love Handles did, but got worried, so he ended up giving to Hillbilly and doesn't want it anymore. Mission accomplished!
At base, we got more food and water and Hillbilly re-did his bandages, now confident he wasn't poisoned. We also got two of Fatbox's watch stash and Hillbilly wrote "You too" on the note and stashed them in the bag. We headed out again the next day.
We went past a radiation zone on the map. In it, hovering but listing, was a hover-cruise ship named "Princess," just like our most feminine sniper. I joked it was not hovering, but in a "hover zone" and that got Caveman to throw a rock to see if it would hover. It didn't.
We hacked our way along a trail to get from one road to another. But along the way there was a blinding flash that disoriented Caveman and some big nearly-invisible thing grabbed and hugged him. It would turn out to be the dreaded Michigan Murder Hose, aka a lamprey. Within a couple of seconds it squished him nearly to death. Hillbilly took a shot at it and it dodged, but then he put four more into it in the next four seconds, each time rendering it slightly more visible. Love Handles off-hand shot it with his pistol and his bullet hit to no visible effect. Oinker snapped off 3-round bursts with his sniper rifle and hit it a few times as well. It slackened its grip enough for Caveman to get his knife out even as it bit around his head. It would have decapitated him if it wasn't for his armor. Hillbilly yelled, "Stab yourself in the head!" and Caveman basically did that, ramming the knife into its head. That and the bullets were enough, finally, and it collapsed. We stopped, backed up the trail 20 yards, and proceeded to heal up Caveman with red sticks and first aid. Then he took 30 minutes to carefully skin it. We left the remains and kept on going.
Our next spot was a church we'd seen from the hospital. We got to the church. I asked what the sign said, putting our poor GM on the spot. Somehow, "Watch out for snakes!" came out, and he decided that is what it said. (The passage is in the Science Mysteries 3000, Eegah 5:06)
We hacked our way into the church through the weeds and went inside. We found some domars in the donation box, endless packed supplies (food, water, etc.) for emergencies, holo-bibles, the keys to the rooms, etc. We took 13 holo-bibles, Oinker camped in the tower to keep a lookout on the college, Hillbilly stripped down and went to sleep on a cot, etc. We ended up staying overnight. Then we zip-tied the place shut, Caveman dirtied that up and we covered the doors with foliage to make it look less disturbed.
We hacked our way through rough ground. We did some more bushwacking and found four hubcaps, one of which was salvageable and could be used as a 3' metal shield with modifications. We took that.
We came out on the far side to a college campus. A giant herbivore moose-dinosaur thing was grazing, and it telepathically greeted us. We also saw a mech with a French tricolor on it with a rabbit skull with crossed carrots - the Jolly Rabbit. (We all encouraged out GM to make Jolly Rabbit t-shirts.) We approached in peace and met Colonel Jezza, a hoop that make the one we fought look old and weak. He greeted us in accented English (oddly, monotonous English despite coming from a ways up north, eh?) I was all ready to greet them with my Bob & Doug accent and song but no.
We spoke to him and found out he is in the Ranks of the Fit, under Emperor Napoleon the Bear. He is here harvesting robots. We were friendly and gave him the watches in thanks, and he explained the hoods only seem to work for humans. They took them off the Purists. We explained we were of the same origin, but not the same unit, and clearly something had gone wrong with their waking-up process to make them horrible racist Nazis.
Hillbilly gave him the illustrated Animal Farm he's been carrying since the early days. Turns out that the Fit aren't really hostile, but Pinkeye and Bro were. They were glad they came to an end. We were glad they weren't natural enemies. Maybe political rivals down the road.
We met the rest of the team - a four-armed squirrel, an opossum named White Dog who used a belt-mounted M2HB, and a small wolverine. They were snatched mechs they'd encounter in the city, reprogram them, and send them through a secret way through the woods to their lands. They intend to use them en masse versus the Purists. We told them we wanted robots, too. It turns out the little dudes are split into two groups - the Little Thieves (who forage and steal and patrol around with the mech) and the Little Monks (who preserve and worship.) The Colonel doesn't want that balance upset.
We talked it over and made a deal:
- we can get into the factory, we're military and human.
- the mechs don't seem to be manufactured there anymore, just refurbished and maintained.
- while the Colonel is patient, if we can scoop up all of the robots at once and divvy them up, that would be good.
- they can teach us how to reprogram them.
So we will go to the factory, try to take the place over. They get half of the robots (half working, half not, half supplies) and teach us how to reprogram them. We go our separate ways. We try to establish real relations between the Fit and us. He seemed very pragmatic and trustworthy, so we'll do this deal. It's probably generous to them, but they have something we need (reprogramming). We also got the Colonel to get a 7.62mm barrel sent to us (we explained the kind of gun and gave him a round of 7.62mm) and show us exactly where the weak points on the mechs are. He shoots them with a 30mm rifle he carries. We're going to have to find a different way.
(The goal here is to get what we can without annoying the Fit. Ideally, they'll be strong enough to hold off the Purists but not so strong they beat them and incorporate us.)
He also told us one of the spots was a perfectly intact mall, but it was heavily guarded by the Little Monks. He said there is nothing in the mall he can't live without. Hillbilly said, "That's because you haven't had a Cinnabon." (Seriously)
In the end we made our deal and decided as a group to do the following:
- mall or floating ship
- the other of the above
- use the floating ship to take everything we can from the city to our base - food, water, raw materials, bots, mechs, androids, cars, Cinnabons, etc.
On the way back to base we stopped at the cemetary. We met a Little Monk in front. He seemed angry but hopefully. We emoted back and forth and seemed to convey that we didn't want a war with them. He seemed okay.
Inside we found an older Little Monk hovering. We did the same with him. We also met a startled priest android - Father Mark VI. We spoke with him, gathered details on the cemetary (and Caveman tried to find weapon stashes buried as Sarah Conner, Linda Hamilton, etc. but failed, so Hillbilly mocked him), and so on. We also found a Mark VI police android, heavily damaged and limping, but armed with a high-tech simple shotgun. I got him to wake up and showed him my police ID badge and ordered him to follow us, we need to clear up disturbances in the city. His shotgun (and three beanbag and three EMP rounds) would help. I ordered him to follow the orders of me or any of the other three, but specifically not the others, so Fatbox can't order him to dance or give up his shotgun and Momma's Boy can't make him carry his stuff.
(We found out here that Oinker is part Iranian, speaks Farsi, and is Muslim. That explains Oinker as his nickname. Hillbilly is probably from Greenwich, CT, and just likes fishing and shooting; Caveman is just big; Fatbox's nickname isn't explainable in polite company, etc.)
All of that done, we took the bot and headed out to the ferry.
Having dropped everything off at the ferry, we went to recon the bank and see if anything had changed. That was my idea as I figured next session the returning players would demand to know what was going on there, and it would be useful intelligence.
As we walked to the bank, we weren't on guard well enough. A storm of crossbow bolts rained down on us, one going through Love Handles's hand into his plastic gun grip, one going through Oinker's leg, and two bouncing off of armor plating (on Caveman and Love Handles). Hillbilly is lightly encumbered and has Combat Reflexes so he dodged with ease (well, against a 9, and I rolled low.)
We took cover and looked for the attackers. Only Oinker could see them. He aimed at one loading his belly-crossbow and shot his head off. The rest ducked. We patched up while we waited, using up two partially-full red sticks, and did not see them again. Eventually we got up, emoting disappointment (Love Handles) and anger (Hillbilly), and went back. Recon was costly but yeah, the Little Monks are guarding the bank.
We headed to the ferry, annoyed at the Little Monks, and settled in to plan our move on the factory. We're really annoyed that the Little Monks didn't convey our feelings. And if they're going to bar our way around the city, Hillbilly will err on the side of shooting them next time. We'll call this a mulligan, but the next crossbow shot gets retaliation. Hopefully it won't come to that.
Early in the session we sailed around the streets. Then our GM questioned our measurement when it seemed really short in one spot. Then it turned out that Love Handles's player's hand-made "ruler" was using the wrong markings. He'd marked miles as quarter miles! Gah. We slowed down a lot later, and the GM bumped the time forward appropriately. Oops, I should have checked more closely.
Hillbilly bought up Wrestling to DX+2, finally, and at the end of the session bumped ST 16 to ST 17. I do kind-of want ST 19 for the 2d-1 thrust damage, but I'm not sure that's worth 20 points. Mostly it's encumbrance - I'm at Light while most of everyone else is at Medium or Heavy, mostly Heavy. The horrifying damage he does with Hoopslayer is really nice, too. Now it's 3d+2 instead of 2d+5, and I'm sure going to miss that +5 even if it's usually going to be better (5/12.5/20 instead of 7/12/17). +5 just feels so satisfying.
Caveman has been looking for 14mm rounds for his over-under four-round pistol since he took it off of a hoop back in Session #2. Out of game, I joked that we'd find out they'd all moved to 13.9mm or 14.05mm or something. Turns out they'd moved to 18mm, so Hillbilly said something like, "I guess General Bro was using his daughter's pistol out of nostalgia."
Caveman missed a lot, but luckily it seems like his player is back for the long haul since we play infrequently enough that he can make it happen. Good thing, too, as he brings a whole different element to the table as well as a good combatant to the PC pool. Amusingly, he rolls 5 dice every time, with two that don't count, "Because it's Gamma Terra." Fair enough. You learn to ignore the non-counting dice in seconds.
Speaking of combat, Hillbilly hasn't been firing full auto much lately. He's still got 357 rounds of ammo left, but it's more of an issue of confidence in his shots. I really thought it would take one or two shots to put that thing down. I was surprised it dodged the first one, and really surprised it was still up after rounds two and three hit home. Michigan Murder Hoses are tough!
And as much as I like meeting iconic Gamma World critters, it's more fun meeting new ones I've never seen or heard of before.
Fun session, as always. I do really like how we do mapless combat and use the Action range bands.