Tuesday, March 26, 2019

GURPS Gamma World, Session 19 - Postscript 1 - Muskegeon's Bank

At the end of last session, we took care of some loose ends. Here is the first of the two - the bank in Muskegeon.

We'd tried to crack the vault when we first found it, with no luck. Later, Caveman and Hillbilly schemed up a way to get the Army of the Bear to crack the vault for us.

They accepted our offer, and tasked their metal-shaping officer, Washagami, to come and do it for us. Washimgami found the weakness in the vault and then it was just a matter of time to get the door removed.

We expected safety deposit boxes and domars.

What we got was something much less and yet much more valuable.

The vault itself was made out of Permium, a very long lasting metal that's not quite up to the level of duralloy, but still good.

Inside stood a defunct Security 'Bot (like the one at the Power Station). It was red and white. On its chest was a logo - a chevron in a circle surrounded by alternating inward and outward pointing arrows. It stood in a room decorated with propaganda posters for a group called the Autonomists and lined with shelves. It wasn't a bank vault, or hadn't been in a while - it was a "time capsule" of some kind.

On the shelves were dozens of holo bibles - but personalized ones, with people's names, images, family genealogy, etc. for the owners. Many were of relatives to each other.

Reading through those - they were sort of like diaries - we found that 20-30 years before the 3-day war was referred to at the time as the "Shadow Years." There was a United Earth Government, which by dint of strict policies and top-down control had united the earth and basically ended poverty, starvation, poor education, etc. But they'd done so in a heavy-handed manner. The Autonomists opposed them, mostly peacefully at first. But they clashed with a group called the League of Free Men, who supported the UEG.

They started with peaceful debate and ended with terrorist attacks against each other with WMDs, killing thousands.

Such explained why the Princess, for example, was a cruise ship with a death bot on it. And why we've got utopian powers but very strict rules, very well armed police, warbots with domestic patrol areas, etc. It was a utopia on the edge.

In short, it was the extremely chilling intro to 1st edition Gamma World.

This place we'd found was time capsule to the Autonomists. We also found some heirlooms, like class rings, watches, commemorative coin sets of domars encased in lucite (800 domars worth, if we need to cut them out with Hoopslayer), a desk globe hologram with chevron markers showing areas of importance to the Autonomists (including a massive project on Grand Island, which is very close to us and now on our list of "to do" places!), and some stock certificates (valueless, maybe - Hillbilly wants to barter them to the Restorationists.)

Interestingly, there was a publicity still of the guy Barbie has been dreaming about, modified to be a shooting target. Clearly, that was a League of Free Men or UEG guy. And Barbie jumped forward in time. Was the UEG or League of Free Men looking to develop time travel, either forward or backward? We debated putting the image on a board and having it pop up to surprise Barbie. He'd just shoot it to pieces, though, and spoil all of the fun.

Notes:

This was extremely valuable. First, it means my meta-knowledge (like how I've nearly memorized the intro to GW 1st edition) is now in-game knowledge. Second, it tells us a lot about the past in a way that points to things to do in the future. Third, we have some information which may allow us to predict what we'll find elsewhere - Grand Island and other places - and be less surprised by the odd mix of "peaceful utopia" and "security hell" that we've encountered. Maybe that's not so odd - flawed utopia is a whole theme - but it's not exactly what we expected and didn't have a reason why it should be so.

Now we know.

Monday, March 25, 2019

GURPS Gamma World, 20th Homeland - Session 19 - Unknown #2, Part II

We played Gamma Terra today with a short crew, determined not to cancel even in the face of that since we haven't played in more than a month. Even so, we had three people whittle down to to two people. Luckily Oinker's player was a mid-session arrival back home and joined us.

Days 142 since departure from the bunker.

Characters:
"Hillbilly" - medical specialist
"Love Handles" - demo/EOD
"Oinker" - demo/EOD


Present but on Security Detail:
"Barbie" - demo/EOD
"Short Bus" - computer programmer

In reserve:
"Caveman" - demo/EOD
"Fatbox" - demo/EOD
"Momma's Boy" - computer programmer
"Princess" - cryptographer/sniper

We picked up where we left off last session, trying to drag a suit of broken power armor out of the LEONIDAS.

We managed to get Love Handles to the "ground level." As he waited for Hillbilly - who'd then haul up the armor while Barbie guarded our rear - a nearby "door" jumped off and attacked - it was a mimic! A big mimic. It scraped along the corridor - aha, the scouring is the mimics moving around.

Love Handles backed up, shooting it with his M16 with some effect from armor-piercing ammunition. As it passed the shaft up, Hillbilly climbed up and came at it from behind with Hoopslayer. It grabbed at Love Handles and tried to crush him . . . and another "door" came at him from behind. Soon Love Handles was caught between two mimics. The big one turned its back on him as the smaller one sought to crush him. He managed to fend it off for a bit) and break free a couple times, but took a lot of crushing. Hillbilly slashed at his and dodged most of its attacks, but eventually was grabbed and crushed a bit while he slashed the mimic. In the meantime, Barbie climbed up part of the way and tried to shoot the mimic one-handed while hanging from the rings, but missed. When he had a chance he jumped up and fired at the mimic normally. Love Handles let go of his M16 and tried to cut the mimic that held him with the shortsword he claimed off of the rebel Little Thieves general, but even a solid All-Out Attack (Strong) did nothing to it. He dropped that and tried to fish out more ammo to reload his gun.

Bullets kept hurting them, but not as much as Hoopslayer did. Hillbilly and Hoopslayer managed to damage big mimic a lot, plus Barbie's bullets (and Love Handles before them) as well - and it died. With that, Hillbilly slashed at the smaller mimic that had grappled Love Handles. It eventually died, too.

Love Handles had been heavily injured, so it took a red pen to set him right. But from there we managed to get the power armor onto the surface and then into Softie, our Warbot. We hauled the smaller mimic corpse up there, too, for later study . . . somehow.

Barbie stayed behind to guard with Warbot (his player was out sick today) and Hillbilly and Love Handles headed in, intent on bring up the rest of the gear. We did that, going down into the hold and bringing up the armored suits - one damaged, one intact - and the force shield generator.Short Bus and Oinker helped, and then volunteered to stay with Barbie (their players were out.)

(We had a brief debate about if Barbie would loan Love Handles his M14, since the M16 that Love Handles was using (borrowed from Fatbox) didn't have a lot of penetrating power against the mimics. Would Barbie part with his personal firearm and stand guard with an M16? We all voted that no, that seemed really unlikely. So we didn't have that happen.)

Love Handles and Hillbilly went into the ship to explore the rest and loot the various chests we couldn't open until we'd found the cards (which we did mid-late last session.)

What followed was a slow grind (in game terms - fun exploration in reality) of moving room to room, kicking down doors, fighting mimics - who mimicked some doors and a folding screen in another room - and looting. After a level of clearing, Oinker joined the team as we needed more firepower (and his player had arrived home from a trip.)

We found some weapons that we armed ourselves with, including four M12 10mm pistols - three with normal rounds, one with AP - a trio of P90-like bullpup SMGs with 4x40mm semi-AP ammo, and two over-under double-barrel break-breach launchers called Aeromil ESA-11s. Love Handles used one of the last against a mimic. The first round he tried was one of 10 "BB" rounds - it turned out to be a beanbag. Harmless. The second was ES - Electro-shock - and it stunned a mimic that was quickly carved up into metal ribbons by Hillbilly and Hoopslayer, the MVW - Most Valuable Weapon.

Killing the mimics took a while - we ended up killing around 9-10 total including two last session and the two killed at the beginning of this one. Love Handles burned through a few magazines worth of 5.56 mm AP, Hillbilly pumped out some 7.62 mm but mostly fought with Hoopslayer. Oinker shot off a lot of 7.62 mm rounds, too.

We took a lot of damage across the various fights as we explored. Hillbilly was severely crushed - Love Handles even worse at one point, and Oinker was squeezed nearly to death at one point. It was rough going. We used up a number of red pens to heal, a pink pen on Love Handles to knit a broken arm . . . and one of the purple injector pens we found on the ship and on the Purists.

Hillbilly's theory was, hey, it's red (healing) plus blue (fatigue-away). This was not the case. Hillbilly stuck it into Love Handles. LH felt elated, with increased strength, senses, alertness, and vigor. He was raring to go kill more mimics, and couldn't patiently do anything at all. He wasn't healed so it took more pens to heal him up.

We kept moving systematically around the ship, looting the aforementioned weapons, two lower-body-only exoskeletons and one neuro-cap like cap (both put on by Oinker), lots of clothing, a couple of blood transfusion units, 2L bottles of some Midwestern soda called Faygo, around 60 meal bars (1500 kcals each, and ravenously hungry LH downed five of them and a bottle of soda, while Oinker and Hillbilly each ate one), some liquor, many TL9 medical kits (with TL10 and TL^10 being the cutting edge of stuff we've found so far), two diagnostic hoops - hula-hoop like devices that swing over a body and give a bonus to Diagnosis, more purple pens, some of the other pens, and some ID cards. We also found two "landmine" looking flat domes with buttons around the edges, but we haven't fooled around with them at all.

In the end we killed off all of the mimics and took everything we found. We also discovered three more dead Purists - one killed by knife wounds, another by gun shots, and a third by a smashed skull from something blunt. We took their chips (different from ours, the medical hoops revealed) and their bodies to the surface.

We last checked the Jetsons car we'd found. Hillbilly tried to get in but the handprint recognition panel (as he'd guessed it was) didn't recognize him. We ended up having Warbot blow open the rusted iris door and towed out the car. (At least, we said we'd do this, I can't recall if we handwaved it or the GM missed it and we left it behind, which is also possible.)

Finally we buried the Purists with some simple markers out by the ship. Respect to the fallen, misguided or not.


***

Once that was all done, we resolved some postscripts - stuff we'd had time to do but the GM didn't have time to write up. We did that after, instead of before, this expedition. One note, though - LH didn't sleep for days. He's been jittery and wired, and alcohol didn't slow him down. The medical hoops showed a foreign chemical acting on his system.

We need to be very careful with those purple pens.


I'll post about the two post scripts during the week - the bank vault, and the Princess - and the view from near-orbit on the latter.

Notes:

The mimics were really tough. Fast, strong, good HT, high HP, lots of DR (probably in the 5-6d range). With better lightning, we probably could have spotted and engaged them further out, but maybe not. We were in tight corridors and narrow bulkheads. At least we didn't have any more of those Octoshrooms to deal with.

So often in Gamma Terra we're stuck in situations where only a very few of us can engage, so having only 2-3 troopers didn't really make it harder to clear out the mimics.

We cleaned up on this expedition - we took a lot of gear home, we got some new very high-tech items including operational power armor, learned of a sneaky way into the Purist lands (maybe not - they clearly know of it too and used it to get to the LEONIDAS), and learned even more in the postscripts. This was a tremendously successful trip. We expended some resources doing so, and many more red pens than we found, so we're paying out in irreplaceable resources. We'll have to figure out a non-pen way of dealing with injury. We're too quick to just pop them in and move on, not rest and recover. Maybe the medikits and neurosurgery kit will help.

Hillbilly has 15 points as of this session, and will have 20 as of next. +1 DX? +1 IQ? Both make a lot of sense. I'll decide right after I roll for leveling up since it'll be 20 sessions and we've been doing that every five. It's a really tough call - improved IQ would give Hillbilly +1 to his IQ-based skills, +1 to general comprehension rolls (useful for identifying odd tech), +1 Will, +1 Per. But +1 DX would push a number of his skills from the 14-16 range to the 15-17 range, improve three skills I rely on a lot (Knife, Wrestling, Guns), and generally make him better at what he's become - the main melee combatant. IQ has the slight edge here. I could just directly up his skills, but I'm right at the point of diminishing returns on that. Still, dumping 5-10 points in my medical skills would be immensely useful. Lots to consider, here.

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Gamma pre-summary

We played Gamma Terra today, with a crew of (eventually) three people.

Some highlights:

- a lot more mimics were found, fought, and turned into piles of metal or metal twists.

- much loot was found, including a lot of purple injector pens, 10mm handguns, 40mm launchers, half-exoskeletons, medipacks galore, and more ID cards, advanced medical analysis tools (hula hoops) - and even some food and liquor!

- even more mimics were fought.

- we found out what the purple pens did.

- we hauled off a bubble car.

. . . and we buried the fallen Purists we found.

After the main session, we handled the postscripts of looting the bank vault . . . and taking control of the Princess. We couldn't use the Princess for what we wanted (a mobile shelter) but it was useful nonetheless.

Saturday, March 23, 2019

Gamma Terra tomorrow

We're playing Gamma Terra tomorrow, so I've been reviewing our game sessions for today.

Last session, we found a teleporter, power armor, mimics, new ID cards, dead purists and some of their skull-rank-chips, a flying car, and some other tech.

This next session, we have to find a way to haul it all back home. And salvage a mimic or two. And whatever those squid-shroom "Octoshrooms" are.

I can't wait. It's been a bad year for getting off gaming sessions, and despite a short crew we'll get off a game session tomorrow.

Friday, March 22, 2019

Bonus Troll Adventure Seed

In celebration of the success of the DFRPG Monsters 2 Kickstarter, here is another Troll adventure seed:


The Troll Wars. Every decade or so, the Cold Fens begins to seethe with trolls in the hundreds, even thousands. They swarm out into the surrounding lands. The "troll wars" that result kill countless trolls but take an enormous toll on the kingdoms around the fens. Recently discovered writings have been discovered claiming this is due to an ancient temple to a "troll god" deep within the fens. If this temple can be cleared, exorcised, and expunged, the troll wars may finally end. Unfortunately, the trolls have already begun to mass in force. A group of intrepid delvers could sneak in and clear the temple and claim a rich reward. But if the trolls don't get them, perhaps the cold, stinking, disease-ridden fens will.

I'll add this to the Adventure Seeds post shortly.

Thursday, March 21, 2019

The coming end of the Kickstarters

Both the DFRPG Monsters 2 and Citadel of Norovorn Kickstarter campaigns are almost over.


I'm in for the print book of Monsters 2 + the PDF.

I'm in for the PDF of Norovorn and the expanded grappling book, both in PDF.

Both campaigns have funded, but both can use a bit more help . . . and it's a great chance to get in on things you may have missed (like the DFRPG boxed set) or to support a writer-and-artist friendly company that makes excellent products.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

The origins of Pathfinder Goblins

On an post really unrelated to goblins, Trollsmyth posted something about Pathfinder goblins.

I really like the art of Wayne Reynolds. It reminds me - favorably - of Jeff Dee's superhero-like D&D delvers. They were also posed in some mid-action scene fighting horrid monsters - and Wayne Reynold's stuff is the same.

His goblins, though, feel like the signature monster of Pathfinder even more than, say, his famous black dragon.



I have a bunch of the minis that I use for Doomchildren. I'd cheerfully use them as goblins, Pathfinder style, as well.

Why?

Because of this description of them.

"Everyone loves kobolds." I don't. I do like grinning cute death machines. Especially ones that remind me of the Goblins Sappers from Warcraft 2. "Kabooom!" WR's goblins are close cousins to those guys. I don't even like singing in games (or fantasy novels) but I like that song.
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