Sunday, January 22, 2017

GURPS Gamma World, 20th Homeland - Session 10 - Unknown Area 3

We played session 10 of our Gamma Terra game today.

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

Present but NPC'ed:
"Love Handles" (Vic L) - demo/EOD

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

We did some housekeeping to start this session. We'd set up in the old elevated highway second level we'd first encountered back in Session 1. From there, we spread out on some tasks:

- Princess worked on his Tracking and hunting-type skills, and is aiming to be our stalker/naturalist type. He learned about the local nature on his own and from the Bal'Kree.
- Short Bus worked on his mechanical and engineering skills, which I believe he leaned from Mike Mike.
- Momma's Boy went native, learning Bal'Kreenese, learning their history, and adjusting to their culture. He kicked in for Diplomacy.
- Fatbox moved in with Mike Mike and apprenticed with him, learning more Armoury skills and Machinist.
- Hillbilly got to fishing in the area, based on his half-remembered skills from a youth growing up fishing. He also studied under Mark VIII and some of the androids to learn to operate modern medical electronics, honed his Leadership skills, picked up some Bal'Kreenese.
All of us added Survival (Mutated Woodlands) as far as I know.

We also took care of some material development, too - brass catchers for our weapons, finally, despite our lack of lead and propellant. We forgot to do anything with our newly found armor from last session - the GM literally asked us, but I was in the middle of something and said, "Give us a moment" and when we finished we all forgot until much too late.

Once we got rolling, we loaded up Softie, our Warbot, with a couple weeks of food and some water and zipped down to Unknown Area 3 in her designated operational area. What we knew was simply that there was a buried high-energy power source.

When we got there we found that, buried under earth, was a rough T-shape of objects - a trio of end-to-end cylinders butting up against another structure.

We brute-forced our way in. Softie used her disintegration guns to clean most of the earth. We used our folding shovels to clear the rest of the dirt away from the the end of the cylinders. That turned out to be a long "bullet train" like series of wheeled vehicles, like Damnation Alley meets the shinkansen. Once we cleared out the back, we found a logo (a blue Earth, a WWII looking star, and a white circle with a red star, interlocked left to right) and the designation NADF MI-S17. North American Defense Forces, sure, but what? Military Intelligence, Secret 17? Something less awesome? (It would later turn out to be "Sector 17")

We tried to pry it open but failed. A few slices with the glass knife Hoopslayer free the jammed locks and we went in. Two cars of medical beds and gear, long ruined by age, and an engine car with no windows (robot-driven?) with two seats and no power.

So we dug into the structure. That was much more interesting. We found a buried structure.

As we uncovered what turned out to be a parking garage, some . . . things . . . attacked us. They looked like lobsters crossed with dragonflies, with curled proboscises. They flew out and attacked. We were really unprepared, with four of us digging and only Short Bus standing guard his his shield and M11 pistol. He started to fire, picked off two right away. Hillbilly had two get him just as he drew his SCAR-H, one grabbing his leg and one his face. Note to self: Wear gas mask more often. Princess was also grabbed, as was Momma's Boy.

Hillbilly tried to grab the one on his face, but despite his excellent Wrestling skill, he panicked and missed (SM-5, totally forgot to use Telegraphic Attack). A second later, the thing shoved its proboscis into Hillbilly's mouth.


So Hillbilly bit the proboscis off and grabbed the thing. A second later, he ripped it from his face and spit the snout out. Then he beat the other one to death with the one he was holding.

Momma's Boy pretty much did the same thing, minus the bite, then spiked his and drew his pistol and shot it.

Princess shot one off his own face, oddly choosing a 3-round burst. (His player didn't think, realistically, there should be any chance of hitting himself on a miss. Me, I think no one in their right mind would do that without pressing the gun against the thing and taking a single shot. It worked, though, which was pretty funny.)

The rest scattered after Fatbox cut one in half with his axe and Short Bus shot at least one more.

We finished clearing the doors. Its doors, once we disintegrated/dug to them, opened right away for us and we went in. We found a parking garage with two bubble-like golf cars and an inline tricycle with a motionless android near it. The android had a leaking fuel canister, and in the puddle at its feet grew glowing blue mushrooms. No radiation, at least not more than normal. Short Bus tried to jump start the android to no avail, and the vehicles wouldn't start.

We moved into the structure itself. We found a waiting area, some waiting rooms, and some beds. Also, an elevator room. We took the elevator, and stepped out into a reception area. We met androids in a well-lit area - probably Mark VI or VII - not quite up to the Mark VIII standard. No jokes, though, which was a welcome break. Mark VIII is nice, but geez, no. No more jokes.

We talked to the androids, and they recognized us right away as 20th Homeland. Ah, the joys of being PSHs. They told us we needed a full medical scan, followed by prescriptions for recovery - relaxation, medicine, surgery, whatever.

We went along, because the Ancients are our peeps. They brought us to a locker room and told us to take a medical badge (white, one red stripe) and put on these jump suits and canvas sneakers. ("Onesies" I called these things.)

We stripped down, and everyone tried to conceal weapons. Eventually Hillbilly decided he was going to ask for really thorough scanning so he pulled Hoopslayer out of his sock and put it in his locker. For the best, really - we eventually went do to medical scanning, and got the, "No, really, please disarm, we'll store your weapons in your locker" speech. Okay, okay, we did that. Not Short Bus, though, who told them our Colonel ordered him to be armed at all times. They couldn't prove that wasn't true - there is no outside communication - so that worked.

Once in medical scanning we all got checked out. Everyone passed easily, but we all showed signs of significant trauma healed well but leaving odd scarring and markings (i.e. the red tube healing), some nutrient deficiencies, stress, fatigue, etc. Hillbilly, of course, brought on special concerns.

A full scan of his eyes revealed no malignant issues, just an incredible rod density, reflective surfaces on the back of his eyes to catch light, and so on. Hillbilly asked about fixing this anyway. The androids said the human medical staff would have to make that call, they could not.

We got to explore the R&R areas. First, we hit the cafeteria. There they had plenty of very limited foodstuffs - the rest long ago spoiled, something like 300-400 years ago by their count. They did have some flour, some oils and condiments, crustacean-based protein powder (vanilla, banana, or maple bacon flavored), and water. We ate - Fatbox had protein powder and "Ketchup Soup" (100% ketchup), Momma's Boy got biscuits and dipped them in the maple bacon protein sludge, Hillbilly made them check there was no chocolate protein powder and then settled on maple bacon (horrible) and then banana (better), and I can't recall what the others ate.

We then checked out the other levels. We had a limited run, but found a media room (no media, the network was down), an "outdoor" area (actual trees, etc. groomed by Groundskeeper Willibots), a gym (which Hillbilly criticized for being too chrome-and-health club.*) Fatbox tried to summon security, because he needed to talk to them. They never came.

We explored the facility more, especially after Short Bus got access to a computer and then hacked his badge to be White/Red 3 from White/Red 1. With a more full (but not complete) run of the place we found a number of place:

- a cryogenics area, with folks frozen mostly for replacement parts or in an attempt to keep them alive post-burial of the facility. We swiped the administrator's actual White/Red 3 badge. The lab also had a big hole in the floor to a cave below.

- we couldn't get the computer room open - we need two keys.

- we found the incinerator, and the folded uniforms and white/red badges of the folks who'd died there. Something like eight hundred (800!) were trapped and died there.

- we found security was destroyed, and administration was buried and crushed.

Hillbilly had an idea. Still stinging from getting ignored as a non-human by some junky wall computer, he decided on a doctor's note. Basically, a scannable card or id marking that would say he had an eye injury but was otherwise in good health. That way future Ancient tech - at least much of it - would register him as a PSH. Eventually, though, getting the eyes fixed is the plan. We eventually got this done, thanks to Short Bus's administrator badge.

Once we'd had a fair run of the place, we headed down into the exposed caves.

That involved a lot of climbing, and eventually found us a winding cave system and some fast-flowing and fresh water. We also found:

- a placid watery cave with some beaver-otter critters the size of small dogs on the far side. We left them alone.

- an "ant lion hole" looking cave mouth down. Hillbilly climbed down, hooked off on rope. Once down, he found a gigantic underground lake. A thrown glowstick attracted fish ("Damn, I didn't bring a pole!"), some gull-sized bird-thing was gliding around, and a shouted "Hello down here!" just drove off some short-dwelling critter. Eventually, Hillbilly climbed up.

- We finally found another way up into the facility, into a storeroom we'd found blocked off by a collapse. In it, we saw three holes - two man-sized, one bigger.

We moved in, sure something waited in those holes for us. We were right.

Two things popped out of the smaller holes - half-spider, half-human torsoed things with half-human half-spider heads, one shield-and-spear armed, the other shield-and-android arm club armed. We called them Centorsos.

They attacked, and they were fast. Hillbilly shot at one with a 3-round burst ("Are you okay?" said the GM. Yeah, yeah, full auto when it's closer) and it dodged easily. It dodged a spray of shots by Momma's Boy's Mark 48. Short Bus put a round into it, wounding it.

They moved into melee. One stabbed Hillbilly and couldn't penetrate his armor. Hillbilly stepped back and shot 9 rounds at it, but it dodged the lot.

In the meantime, Short Bus shot the other one, as Momma's Boy, IIRC, and Fatbox's shotgun blasts were dodged. The wounded one tried to flee, and Princess tried to blow his head off and narrowly missed.

Out of the big hole popped a big Centorso, with two wooden clubs and two moose antler shields, nicely decorated. Hillbilly tried to shoot it and it blocked the shots. He went back to buttstocking the Centorso attacking him.

Momma's Boy shot at its legs, injuring it. It stared at Princess and gave him a migraine. Then it stared at Fatbox and he collapsed, throwing up violently. Hillbilly yelled, "plasma grenade it!"

Princess aimed. Momma's Boy wilted under a psychic assault but kept firing, getting a round into the big one. Hillbilly's buttstocking injured the Centorso he was fighting.

Princess fired, and blew the big Centorso's head open. It collapsed in a pile.

The buttstocked one tried to flee, even as the other one collapsed from wounds. Princess shot it in the back, killing it.

We ensured they were dead, then Hillbilly investigated the holes. Nothing but dead androids in one, nothing in the small ones.

We headed back into the facility and did actual R&R. I'm not sure what the others did, but Hillbilly showered, hit the sauna, got a shave and a haircut, hit the showers again, hit the sauna, and then showered and got lunch. And took a nap.

All of this done, we started to plan for next time. I'll detail those tomorrow.

* One of the other players said, "Don't be you, stay in character." "Hillbilly bought 2 points of ST and Very Fit and squatted back at base, he is just like me this way."


Overall, a low-action but very decision-intensive session. I like those a lot.

We had lots of weird jokes about sharks and bears.

This was Hillbilly's 10th session, I "level up" next time.

Possible more notes tomorrow, it's late . . .


  1. The action content would have been greater, but I didn't anticipate Short Bus hacking Chief-of-Staff authority and getting the guns out. Getting to Tier Zeta would have been a very different experience using improvised weapons. Mind you, I'm *not* complaining - as GM, I love it when the PCs do something I didn't see coming, even if it sends the adventure somewhere I hadn't planned on. That's the very nature of collaborative story-telling.

    1. That's interesting. Using improvised weapons never occurred to me. Once it was clear security was down, I felt like we were unarmed by choice.

  2. Without the proper ID Card, the elevator effectively stopped at Tier Delta, where the cave entrance was, which you came out of. Without the ability to take the elevator all the way down, you'd have had to get access to the Cryonics Lab from below, which would have meant exploring the caverns unarmed, and which more importantly would have meant fighting the centorso/drider monsters without weapons (other than what you could find lying around, and Short Bus' pistol) and armor (other than your jumpsuits). I imagined a tougher fight, but I'm happy how it played out.


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