Monday, May 8, 2017

GURPS Gamma World, 20th Homeland - Session 11 - Badders & the ruins

We played session #11 of our Gamma Terra campaign today. For the previous session, click here.

We had an unexpected cancellation (Princess) and a last mine add - Caveman! It's been a
long time since Caveman's player got to the table with us.

"Caveman" - demo/EOD
"Fatbox" - demo/EOD
"Hillbilly" - medical specialist
"Momma's Boy" - computer programmer
"Short Bus" - computer programmer
"Love Handles" - demo/EOD
"Oinker" - demo/EOD

In reserve:
"Princess" - cryptographer/sniper
"Barbie" - demo/EOD (MIA)

We started in Area 3, our new base, getting things organized. One of the guys who'd gotten out with Newb and the others decided to take a more active roll. (A new player joined, and another player got to pick his nickname - it was down to three, and Oinker won.) A couple of us traveled up to Mike Mike and convinced him to let us move him, his loom, his gear, etc. to Area 3. He hasn't moved yet but the plans were made. We'll set up moving material to Yexil to keep him guarding Van Buren Base. We also moved Mark VIII into our base and set him as the major domo. He was bored with his position and honestly, we need him doing more than keeping a Restorationist happy.

We took some time to get ready, and to analyze all of the various pills we found. Short Bus has Chemistry so he did that using the analytical tools in our base.

From there, we went to visit the badders. We'd dealt with some outer warrens of badders when we'd fought Pink Eye, but Softie scouted for us and found a fort on top of an old five-silo missile base. We decided to fly nearby, walk to them, and visit. We couldn't go with Plan A, which was "fly in with our Warbot, land, shoot up the area to show force, and then negotiate." Turns out Softie has standing basic orders to avoid exposing herself offensively to enemy forces. Sigh. Since badders respect strength, we needed to come off as strong.

We found their fortress and left Oinker outside covering us with his M110, walked around the side and left Momma's Boy out with his M48, and walked down in formation. The guys in back had orders to shoot if they felt like they needed to, or if we got into a fight. We put Fatbox in front of our wedge, which proved to be a momentous decision.

Because the badders sent out five of them, and decided since they put their leader in the middle, that was where ours was, too. It turned out okay, but still, we hadn't planned on him talking so we didn't get over the finer points of what we wanted.

In any case, the badders sniffed at the air and then allowed us inside their fort. We went in. Inside, a honey badder came out wearing a robe and used telepathy to talk to our leader, Fatbox. They went into a building to talk. The rest of us hung around with the other badders and ate fruit. The boss badder got impatient and set up a challenge - smaller badders posed with fruit on their heads, and the boss badder took a knife and chucked it through the fruit on its head. The poor target badder was nervous. The boss pointed at Hillbilly's knife, Hoopslayer, and gestured. Great. Hillbilly can't throw knives except at default.

So Hillbilly took our bullhorn and yelled out "It's good, don't shoot" or something like that. Then he pulled his pistol and put a 9mm round through a piece of fruit. The badders jumped. They'd never seen our weapons before. They guys outside didn't hear the warning, or did but didn't understand it. Both refrained from shooting because it was a single pistol shot. That was totally unlike how we fight. They held fire when Caveman used his SCAR-H to blow a fruit off of a nearby tree.

Eventually the leaders came out. Fatbox yelled at us, clearly feeling he'd really been promoted. But he said the boss said we needed to fight a challenge combat. "To the death?" "No, that would be barbaric." Fatbox chose Hillbilly, because I'd messed everything up by shooting and blah blah blah blah not listening because he's not actually in charge. Caveman gave him a hard time back, saying, "Did you even make Corporal?" Heh.

Hillbilly had to fight, and they called for a sword-and-shield fight. Short Bus loaned Hillbilly his shield, Love Handles his sword, and Hillbilly looked at the badder. It was armed and armored. Hillbilly could clearly see that his armor made him invulnerable to damage. So Hillbilly gestured to the badder to take off his armor, and stripped down to his boots and camo pants to fight shirtless against his fellow badger-monsters*. The badder followed suit.

(Fatbox's player put on "Amok Time" and we got going)

The fight went badly. First, Hillbilly critically failed and dropped his sword. Then the badder pinged his shield. They took turns trying to hit each other, but even so, Hillbilly was barely hitting and barely blocking. Eventually, the badder Feinted and Hillbilly got hit - I rolled a 12 against a 14, and that wasn't close. He got sliced from shoulder to hip and took a serious wound. ("Ooooh, he really gets you. How many HP do you have? "23." "Oh, you're just badly wounded.") He fell, and the badder won.

Still, Hillbilly earned some respect. He could have won out of hand just by being immune to their hits, but honestly, that's lame. No one wants a trophy for winning at bowling with gutter blockers. The badders helped stitch his wounds. Once Hillbilly could walk, he presented an extensible baton to the badder champion and seemed to earn even more respect.

The friendship became more like an alliance - they could freely come and go from our territory, we'd like to trade, we'd help each other against our enemies (we offered to go do that right now, but they didn't have any in mind), we'd treat each other with mutual respect, etc. Fatbox offered our grafefulness in return for any ID cards they could find, but didn't specify what that would be.

We'd brought them gifts, and left them with salt, pepper, ketchup, hot sauce, and mustard. We had a big party with our new Ewok badder friends, and left in the morning with hangovers.

Next up, the Robot Farm.

Softie gave us composite shots of the area:

There is a robot ferry that goes back and forth across the lake, still, all these years later. The plan was, Softie drops us off on the ferry and we go in. She waits underwater, since she can't go into town, and can retrieve us on the way back. But the ferry goes right through a zone of high radiation.

We decided we hated the idea of going through a radiation zone (the red circle on the map.) So we made a boat out of wood thanks to Love Handles's Carpentry skills. We took a week to familiarize ourselves with the boat. Caveman's influence showed here - we stocked the boat, tried different loadings, rolled the boat to test its self-righting ability and our rigging, etc. "And if a week isn't enough to satisfy us we're ready, we spend another week." Yeah, that's Caveman.

Once this was settled, we took two weeks worth of food, five gallons of water each, some spare gear all packed in lead-lined medical disposal boxes, and went on with it.

Warbot dropped us off next to the ferry, then submerged. We lashed onto the ferry and towed behind. Caveman and Hillbilly stayed on the boat while the others formed three groups to explore the ferry. It was covered with plants - every wind-blown speck of dirt had eventually been seeded and overgrown. On the bottom level, amidst rows of parked car hulks, were a dozen or more sword-bushes - bushes with sword-like frond and throwable spikes. They riddled Love Handles and Fatbox. Their torso armor was proof against their spikes as were their gas masks but they took some damage on the limbs - Love Handles had a biceps speared right through and a thigh nearly so. Their gunfire did little except clip leaves. Fatbox drew his chain-sword and went to town. He cut up a couple but took more damage, eventually getting an arm crippled. Meanwhile, Momma's Boy came running down from the upper level with the headlights - the force field generator and laser we'd found on the obb-killed corpse a while back. He fanned a laser across the plants and cut off a lot of fronds. Eventually he managed to get in front of Fatbox since his armor was heavy enough to be immune to the plants. He lased a few more, then swapped for Fatbox's sword and just spent a good 10-15 minutes chopping all of the hostile plants into bits.

"Great, we just massacred the morning commuters." - Fatbox. "Never forget 5/7."

That ended the excitement on the ferry. We reached shore and concealed the boat near a 2000' space needle looking thing. It hummed with power - and we found our battery-charged objects were just charging up. Momma's Boy could use the laser and force field with no energy cost, too, off of the ambient charge. Oooh, broadcast power. Neat.

We bushwacked though some old ruins, wasting a good hour or two searching for "treasure" in the ruins. We found a stuffed tiger/panda looking toy. We eventually worked our way to a clear road and moved down it, Caveman and Hillbilly carrying the boxed supplies between them.

We sought out the first of the active electrical sources - it turned out to be a piece of modern art in front of the Sector 30 Bank. Well, bank, bridal shop, and glass collectibles shop. It opened and let us in. Long story short, folks looted the bridal shop of a gown and some wine (hundreds of years old, it was just sludge and dust), failed to convince the self-service bank vault or ATMs to open, and otherwise putzed around. Oinker tried to open a bank account, didn't have personal ID on him, and was shown were the police station would be if hadn't been nuked down centuries ago.

Then our outside scouts reported six Uggies - what we named these little kimono-and-sandal clad sword-and-shield armed dwarves with twin-lobed heads. Hillbilly tried to talk to them with his megaphone but they startled at his voice. He tried Spanish and Bal'Kree, but they wouldn't respond. Two of them looked at each other and fled. Another pointed a big crossbow at us, aiming at each person in turn as if not sure who to aim at. Hillbilly said, "Ignore them." That's pretty much what we did. We probably started them because we speak Robot, aka English, aka the language of the ancient machines. The hope was they'd get more people and either we'd have a big grenade-worthy battle or they'd talk.

We got back to work on the bank. Momma's Boy lased open an ATM and damaged the power receivers, because the building power started to fade. He lased open the other two and we took out a good 2500 domars.

We tried the bank vault with the laser - no good. Hoopslayer could scratch it, but even lasing the scratch didn't do anything. Not a surprise, we'll come back to it sometime if we need it.

We moved on to the ferry depot, which would make a good base and emergency escape point. But as we did, those four braver Uggies ran into the bank. We headed back. Hillbilly's idea was, let's get close and talk. We got close - and one of them used some kind of Psi attack on Momma's Boy. MB is impulsive and angry, so he said, "One of them attacked me!" We switched to combat time. Hillbilly called out "We come in peace!" but MB shot at one as did Oinker. The fight was on. We eventually shot up two of them, but not before they got Oinker with some pyrokinetic power and started to heat him up from within. Once we'd killed off that pair, it went quiet. Oinker stabbed himself with a healing pen, and then Hillbilly, Fatbox, Short Bus, and Momma's Boy moved up from either side so we could see inside the bank. Short Bus and Fatbox spotted two crouched down in the back. One tried some psionic attack (I think) but in two seconds Short Bus put three rounds from his 9mm into one, then three rounds into the other. Fight over.

Two of them were alive but bleeding out. Fatbox face stomped them to death, and we found they had two brains apiece. Neat. Their gear was well-made but low-tech. We took their crossbow, Momma's Boy tried to let the bank scan one's head (no effect) before the power was completely dry, and then we moved back to the ferry terminal and bushwacked our way inside.

We ended there.

* Hillbilly comes from the Fry school of negotiation. "My fellow fish-monsters, far be it for me to criticize your stupid civilization or its dumb customs . . . "


- Hillbilly is the medical specialist, but that just means he has Diagnosis and has learned Electronic Operations (Medical Devices). Yet some people call him, "the doctor here" and complain when he's only as good at First Aid as they are. Yeah, he's not a doctor, he does triage and bandaging. He's a doctor like the EOD guys are bomb designers or the computer guys are electronic engineers.

- I leveled up again this session, since this was my 10th session. I rolled a +1 to ST, which is what I'd have asked for anyway. ST 16! I've got 4 points saved, earned MVP, and will get 5 more. So, 4 points to raise Wrestling to DX+2 and 6 more to improve skills I use, or go right for ST 17, my eventual goal? Tough call, I need to think about it. The skills makes more sense, but raising ST has been really helpful in oh-so-many ways. And I prefer big buys. But more Boating, more Wrestling, more Electronics Operation, etc. might be helpful.

- Momma's Boy rolled Arm DX +1 for one arm only, his right. Heh. Appropriate.

- Turns out the Badders are more bad ass than I'd thought. Neat. Hopefully we can keep building friendly relations with them, get some trade going, recruit some of them to fight if we get a war going. I was disappointed when they asked for our help smashing their enemies and didn't have one handy.

- Shucking my armor for the fight was fun. Hillbilly didn't fight well, but he fought a cool fight. The badder beat him, they can feel good about their melee prowess, and Hillbilly got to fight stripped down to his combat boots and camo pants in a howling circle of post-apocalyptic mutants. WOOOOOOOO! Either win decisively or fight cool, that's how you impress people in a duel. Make it win-win for yourself.

- I'm sorry the cornering of the Uggies lead to a firefight. Momma's Boy is vengeful and impulsive. Had we been able to just get some communication I'd have been happy. It was a mistake, in Hillbilly's mind, to corner them. We could have made them dead at any time; it didn't help us to do that. It's much less likely we'll get a peaceful co-existence with them now.

- Next session it's unlikely Caveman will be able to make it, but Princess might. So we ruled he's on the boat, and we can just go get him next time and have Caveman guard our ferry base. It was good having Caveman back even if just for a guest appearance.

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