Tuesday, April 26, 2016

GURPS Gamma World, 20th Homeland - Session 7 - Boomtown II

The seventh session of our Gamma Terra game was on Sunday.

"Fatbox" (John M) - demo/EOD
"Hillbilly" (me) - medical specialist
"Momma's Boy" (Tom P) - computer programmer
"Princess" (Andy D) - cryptographer/sniper

Present but NPC'ed:
"Love Handles" (Vic L) - demo/EOD
"Short Bus" (Mike D) - computer programmer

In reserve:
"Caveman" (Jon L) - demo/EOD
"Barbie" (Mike H) - demo/EOD (MIA)

We picked up where we left off last session, in Boomtown. We had the same crowd as last time - clearly Short Bus and Love Handles were really into guarding our stuff and ignoring the delights of Boomtown.

We picked up after having done some buying, selling, and schmoozing last session. We rested up, met back up with Eo, our telepathic translator. We hit breakfast at the mess hall. There, an old man named Elk came up to us with some free tea made from that same hallucinogenic stuff. Princess and Hillbilly refrained, so Momma's Boy and Fatbox doubled up. Elk gave us the rundown of the situation. Pretty much as you'd expect - tense non-violent struggle between the Triumvirate (run the Sheriffs, provide the food) and the Iron Men (founded and run the town, organize the trade, stockpiling artifacts) over the town and the reactor aka the Fountain. Also, the Triumvirate has a segmented potato shaped robot thing that patrols the wastelands and protects the Fountain. We didn't see it, though.

After that we went to the hospital and meat a healer of the White Hand, a 60-something mutant humanoid woman. Turns out they heal people for free, no matter who they are. They get some of their medicines from the jungle-like forests nearby. Princess arranged to meet the healer later, and she'd provide him some sketches. A couple of us, not including Hillbilly, helped out around the hospital. Momma's Boy did a terrible job with binding a broken rib or two and hurt his patient. He got scolded by the healer so he used a dose of one of our red healing injectors on the guy. Hillbilly complained at him for it - he's just chucking away priceless resources to make someone feel a little better!

We did a few more things that are jumbled up in my head in order:

- we talked to the Restorationists some more. Hillbilly is trying to put the moves in on the main one, but it didn't work out.

- we ate a meal with some of the toughest, best professional scavengers. They work for the Iron Men. From them and from Elk we found out who they are - we got their four names, and descriptions. Sounds like big (literally big) nasty humanoid types, including Psyclo, a telepath.

- met a local who offered us a map for 250 domars that lead to a "talking wall" who spoke "like you guys speak" in the Ziggurat. We eventually took him up on it, for 250 plus he comes with us. We have trust issues, although ironically bringing him along made things tougher for us and could have been a disaster if he'd really been a setup.

- decided we needed to go loot the Ziggurat, which the Restorationists called an "Earthscraper." It's a ruined arcology built into the ground instead of the air.

- we checked out Xorn's shop again, and got a glass dagger for Hillbilly which he got inscribed as "Hoopslayer." The logic was we might need a really effective armor-penetrator if we had trouble.

- we killed some time in the desert trying out the headlight-lasers (still no luck, Hillbilly is so done with them), and Princess practiced his electro-whip.

- went to the Sheriff's and asked to see the Triumvirate. Their bird-like deputy wasn't terribly sensitive to our need for a quick meeting but a bribe of a watch to match her feathers by Fatbox swayed her. "Do you happen to know the time?" "No, I don't." "Well, now you do, with this beautiful timepiece that matches your feathers." Hillbilly told her to tell them that we needed batteries, and we'd make a good deal to get them.

Later that night Princess picked up his nurse friend at closing time and got the sketches of medicinal plants. Also, she warned him that we stand out, because we have five "pure strains" with us, and they're unusual around here.

We slept for the night.

The next day we found out the Triumvirate would see us, and we'd get a ride on the boat to their island. It would come in a few days, and then stay for a few days. So we geared up - crowbar, sacks, lots of rope - and headed to the Ziggurat. We had the usual argument that sacks cost too much. ("$30 for a sack? That's crazy." "They hold 40 pounds without ripping." - this happens literally every time.) We left behind some valuables and our pass cards so they wouldn't get confiscated when we returned.

It took two days of hiking including a stopover at a safe rest area everyone uses, but we made it safely.

We climbed down into the Ziggurat, with our guide showing us to the "talking wall." We'd been warned it was in a heavily picked-over area.

We found the wall and Fatbox talked to it - it activated when we showed up. Turns out it was an info kiosk for residents with two personalities - "Kurt" and "Greg." Kurt was pretty curt. Greg was laid back. We got a lot of information out of them:

- the locations of some still-powered apartments in the complex
- locations of the nearest hospitals (my idea), powered or not
- the current date (May or something in 2122)
- the political situation (the Faction Wars are going on, but some group called the Apocalypse is trying to bluff everyone into stopping, which Kurt said, "Clearly they were full of ---t, because nothing happened.")
- the identity of the building owner, Mr. Morrow - turns out he's the brother of our old commanding officer, which tells us longevity really jumped if our CO was alive 106 years after we got stashed away!)
- a rundown on the pass card color meanings and stripe meanings

We couldn't convince them we were guests or potential buyers who needed unlimited access, and the kiosk couldn't point us to security areas. But it could send an armed escort for us - an android with a stun-stuff. Hillbilly had to pry open a door to let it get to us, but it did. With our escort, we headed for the areas that still had power. We left our guide behind, for his own safety. He was in awe of us (the walk talks, robots come to help us, etc.) anyway.

We moved around in the complex for a few hours. We found, pried open, and looted a pair of apartments. One half-empty (we took some Logan's Run inspired clothing, though) and another full of knicknacks and books. We took some books, a bunch of random knicknacks, drank some beer ("Hey hoser, this beer is 400 years old! And irradiated!" "Chug-chug-chug-chug"), and found two electronic super-Kindle books. Well, maybe Nooks, in that they're e-book readers with no ongoing support. We found a lot, but carrying it might be an issue. Fatbox asked our guide bot, aka Smiley, to get us porters. Four porter-bots came with rollable luggage dollies and we loaded them up. We didn't find any weapons, cards, or really useful gear.

After that, we found a clinic. It wouldn't help us until we claimed to be hurt - Fatbox and Hillbilly both went through full-body scans by the clinic-bot while Momma's Boy snuck around super-looting. We ended up getting a bunch of anti-rad solution, a couple medi-kits, some medical gear would couldn't ID (and no one in town could, either).

We also checked out the area the bots came from and examined the chargers. Nothing worth taking, though.

We did have a big discussion of loot. It started to go all "how do we conceal as much loot from the authorities as we can?" but Hillbilly jumped in. "Who cares? What do we want it for? What do we need the money for? If we show up with a metric ton of unique stuff, great, we show we're the best Finders Boomtown has ever known. The Iron Men will come talk to us, and the Triumvirate will hear all about us." That's basically what we settled on.

Hillbilly did suggest murdering our guide if we had to keep stuff secret. Momma's Boy suggested we bribe him, so we decided we'd cut him in right away instead.

In the end, we left the bots behind before we met up with our guide again. Momma's Boy did take a stun staff even though he can't activate it - bots only, it seems. He's convinced he'll find a way around that. We headed back in an uneventful trip after giving our guide a bunch of books, some clothes, and some knicknacks.

Our stop at customs was disappointing. We didn't find any cards, we didn't find any artifacts (they didn't ask about books), etc. They didn't even know what to do with the intact stuff we brought. The next guy in line had a seat cushion, and people cashed in bent bits of metal. They told us to give the Restorationists first choice and keep the rest. Hillbilly was annoyed - better they know it's all great and take it. Oh well.

It being late, Hillbilly hit the sack. The other three went out and celebrated in the bar. They got work that Psyclo wanted to meet us, through the veteran Finders we met earlier. Word was we'd done what few had done, and brought back stuff no one could even identify.

The next morning, we dumped off all of our books, etc. at the Restorationists. We told them to pick what they liked and we'd sell the rest. We took some time to borrow tubing, etc. from the hospital and use a full dose of anti-rad on all of us. After that, we met the boat and headed out to the island.

The boat was a catamaran with three banks of oars. No slaves, though, and no one answered to either Spartacus or Ben Hur. We chatted about the big fish in the sea on the way to the island.

There we met a serene giant Chewbacca-alike who greeted us and brought us inside the island's building. Inside, we met a blind woman in a wheelchair who spoke English, who sat in a nice office with a big binder atop a flat rock

Spoke English, like I said. How well? Natively. So Hillbilly asked her name ("Amy") and then said, "Heard of the Tomorrow Men?" and Fatbox added. "20th Homeland?" She did. "We're them." She said, "Are you Gamma?" Nope - gamma was the wave before us. We're the next batch. She was disappointed to hear of our paltry numbers. But we traded notes - how Mike-Mike is doing, what happened with the Bal'Kree, etc. We didn't mention warbot but we did mean we had a vehicle that needed power.

Long story short, you need a sighted pure strain human to work the reactor. Amy was the last - the other Triumvirs are a mutant human (the Wookie) and a musk oxen named Rachel or something like that, Hillbilly wasn't listening. We could potentially repair Amy's eyes with a medi-stick, but she's got shrapnel in it. Better we get her to the medical center in the Ziggurat. But before we do that, we need to deal with the Iron Men.

We made a deal - actually, we just agreed to side with the Triumvirs and do what they want. Amy's 20th Homeland, after all, and her goal seems to be a peaceful community. The Iron Men want to wipe out the humands and organize an army to destroy the Knights of Purity at all costs to everyone that isn't them. Momma's Boy suggested they give us our guns back if we help them. Hillbilly said, no, give us our guns now and retrieve our stuff and we'll kill the Iron Men, restore the reactor, and kill only the folks that prove they need killing. Which he mostly really means, too, although he's bad tempered so their might be last-second additions to the list. The Triumvirs, it turns out, can't control the robot but might make it not attack us. So it seems like we have two big tasks:

- defeat the Iron Men and their allies, without too much collateral damage
- turn the reactor back on, bringing the big binder of Operating Instructions to it and have Momma's Boy operate it.

That's where we left it.


Hillbilly's callsign was assigned to him, so that tells me a lot. Either he's the least hillbilly like guy in the squad or he's the most. I went with, he's the most and makes that a point of pride. Got a stereotype? Hillbilly owns it, so you better step aside. That might just be the Jersey in me. Yeah, I am - you got a problem with that?

Things to do list:

      - learn the local language, or what passes for a trade pidgin at least;
      - find out about ammo reloads;
      - find out about warbot zone range extension;
      - find out what the heck kind of nickname "Amy" is. Short Bus. Fatbox. Barbie. Those are 20th Homeland callsigns. Heck, maybe it's a real name, but that would be odd.

There were a lot of names, and I promptly forgot them all. Others at the table remember them, though, so I may add them back in to this summary later.

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