Monday, October 30, 2017

GURPS Gamma World, 20th Homeland - Session 14 - Factory Reboot

Yesterday was a session of our Gamma World aka Gamma Terra GURPS game.

"Caveman" - demo/EOD
"Hillbilly" - medical specialist
"Love Handles" - demo/EOD
"Short Bus" - computer programmer

In reserve:
"Barbie" - demo/EOD (MIA)
"Fatbox" - demo/EOD
"Momma's Boy" - computer programmer
"Princess" - cryptographer/sniper
"Oinker" - demo/EOD

We started in our "base." We took care of a few things - stabbing folks with anti-rad pens, trying to find something usable as armor (an 18 on Scrounging put paid to that), and Caveman working on using the "headlights" since Momma's Boy was feeling a little under the weather and wouldn't make it out of the base security roll. Momma's Boy, Oinker, and Fatbox had base security this time.

Meanwhile, poor Love Handles has been feeling a bit dizzy and light-headed, ever since that problem with the Holk back in Boomtown.

We headed out to the college campus, this time avoiding the vegepygmy-choked coastal road and taking the faster interior roads. We slogged through heavy red snow. It was bothering Love Handles, especially when I kept asking the GM if it was more snow-like or worm-like, if it wriggled, if it was like snow but more slimy and wriggly than regular snow, etc. Heh.

When we reached the first intersection, though, there was a barricade with nine Little Monks behind it. Two had no weapons, two had glass globe grenades that they lit to ignite, and five had big belly-crossbows. We chatted and decided we didn't want to waste ammo in a useless fight against people we didn't want dead. We sent up Love Handles to emote at them. He tried good ol' New Jersey "You're blocking my path forward, move your barricade" gestures but they emoted back, "LEAVE" pretty strongly. So Love Handles came back a bit and said, well, now what?

Hillbilly said, "Okay, let's shoot them." Caveman said, "What happened to not wasting ammo?" Hillbilly, "This is what it's for - shooting people in our way."

So that's what we did. We opened fire. As usual, Love Handles got shot in the arms and had his hand pinned to his gun and got pierced through, and got some psychic brain damage from one of the unarmed guys. Hillbilly shot down one of the grenadiers and he lit himself and his nearby friends on fire. Caveman shot one of the unarmed guys, the big LEAVE emoter. He dodged, though. Short Bus crouched behind his shield and drew his pistol.

They shot more, bouncing a bolt off of Caveman and injuring him with a psychic blast. Hillbilly tried to shoot the other grenadier but missed and he tossed his grenade back. Hillbilly's unbelievable luck continued and the grenade hit his arm and bounced off, and shattered a few yards away harmlessly. Short Bus and Caveman shot their targets.

Hillbilly shot his target and missed and he ducked. A second later, Hillbilly put a full-auto burst into the barricade where his target had ducked. Love Handles one-hand shot his M16 and hit one of them, as did Short Bus and Caveman. Suddenly no more were in view, so Short Bus and Hillbilly charged as the others reloaded and moved up. SB and H reached the barricade and looked over, seeing one of the unarmed guys and a few crouching guys reloading. The grenadier that had ducked too some rounds from the through-barricade shooting and was down. Hillbilly put the next-to-last round from his gun through the chest of the unarmed guy. Short Bus shot another one who was a potential threat (I can't recall which.) Then we shot the remaining reloading guys and bayoneted the wounded but still living. We burned the weapons we didn't take, after Hillbilly hacked them apart.

We put maybe 50-60 rounds downrange to win this. We can't do that too often, but it was useful here as it saved us a long detour. We headed to the next intersection and found another, bigger barricade. We saw some shapes but no clear targets. We split into a flanking group (Hillbilly, Caveman with one of the grenades from the previous group) and Short Bus coming at them behind his duralloy shield. As we got closer, though, there was a keening wail from the barricade. The snow suddenly swirled up to red-out conditions. We had to wait for Short Bus to find us and we advanced hand-on-shoulder to stay together. The keening never got louder as we advanced . . . and we never found the barricade. We managed to figure out a rough "north" and found the way out of the intersection and moved away. As we looked back, we saw no barricade through the snow. Uh . . . visual illusions and a telepathic sensor scout?

Who knows.

We moved on and eventually found our way safely to the college campus. We met with Colonel Jezza and found out there was a clear civil war going on. The Little Thieves were fighting each other. Ahah, so we didn't anger the Little Thieves as a whole, we just exposed a rift between the General (as we called him) and the more peaceful elements. Now they were at war. We also found out that the Little Monks regarded the mall as their holiest of holy places. Also, they were deliberately driving the pine-headed vegepygmies into our area for "self defense." Yeah, thanks. Makes sense, but it means we're better off cleaning out pockets of Little Monks as we find them to avoid getting overrun with vegepygmies. Oh well. We don't want to wipe them out, although Colonel Jezza seemed to think we might - he said he regarded "indiscriminate slaughter as a human trait." Ooh, species-ist much? Well, they're the species-ists we're allied with.

We also asked about computers - sure enough, the campus had a 64-blade computer. It was totally disused and the Fit had never even bothered with it - they had no interest in it! We found the room, and Short Bus and Caveman cleaned up and carefully opened the room and took out the blades. We put them in special 6-board carrying cases and wrapped them further in padding acquired from the Fit. Specifically from Squire the Squirrel.

Armed with those, we arranged for Node the Owl to fly around and scout for us. We moved back to the factory, avoiding patrolling Spike-Shouldered Little Thieves. We eventually reached the Factory without incident. They were very pleased to see us - they'd barricaded the place up as best they could and looked armed and ready, but waved us in.

Inside, we met with Four-Armed Boo Boo and Two-Armed Someother Guy (may not be actual names). They pooled their empaths and were able to let us know they trusted us, we're the Ancients. I joked, "Well, that's not their first mistake, but it might be their biggest." They weren't happy that we caused a civil war, but they accepted it was on the General, not us. We showed proof that we'd killed the General. It turns out his "name" is something like "Iron Bull" or something. Caveman called him Iron Steer and Hillbilly raised that to Tin Cow.

We headed downstairs. Lots of Little Thieves followed us and stowed their metal gear aside. Aha, they knew about the rust monsters.* We got to the computer room but kept them out.

Rebooting the computer turned out to be simple - Caveman and Short Bus had rehearsed putting blades in on the other computer. They slid in the slots into the right sections, and the machine came back online. Hillbilly swooshed open the door and watched with amusement as the Little Thieves were in pandemonium.

We headed back up and met "VOX." Actually, PIA - Personal Interactive Assistant or something of that sort. She was very helpful. As the LTs ran around in excitement and fear and surprise in the glare of electric lights and moving MAMAs.

We learned:

- the war was 24-48 hours long, and started on May 1st, 2322. That was about 240 years ago - so it's 2562 or so. (Turns out May 1st is Short Bus's player's son's birthday, and he was very happy the world blew up in our game on his birthday.)

- the factory needs authorization from a colonel or up to give us command of the mechs. We have chips in our brains (!) with our rank on them.

- the factory needs a bunch of Mark V or better androids to run. If we bring some, they can be reprogrammed to suit. Hmm, that Pastorbot was a Mark VII . . .

- if we get the factory going, we can manufacture like 10 or so more mechs, or use the stores to make one of many autonomous utility robots. If we bring schematics for other vehicles they can be made.

- there are 18 mechs in total, including 8 in the below-factory floor level. We toured down there, but there wasn't much except big space, un-painted mechs, and stores.

- the LTs are in the way. They'd need to leave. So we'd displace them if we activated the factory. So we'd need to help them in some way since kicking them out in the red "snow" would be an issue.

So we had work to do. We left the LTs and headed back to the college.

We spoke to Colonel Jezza again. We could get androids from them, possibly - he'll put the word out. We also gave him the patrol routes of the mechs so they could grab and reprogram more of them. If we get the factory online, we'll still split the mechs 50/50. So that's 9 and 9, assuming we don't make more.

We talked about raiding the Mall, next, but it would start a war to the death with the Little Monks. The mall would have androids, though. Colonel Jezza offered us a mech if necessary. This led to what Hillbilly calls Operation Top Hat. Silly version: Put a big top hat on a mech. Hide under the hat. Ride the mech to the mall, go in, investigate, come back.

Caveman suggested a steel box instead. But the question is, will this start a war? Probably.

Only later, post-session, would I realize a way to try out Operation Top Hat safely. You'll see it next time if people like it.

In the end we headed "home" by way of three stopovers - the cemetery (to check if the Little Monk elder was there - he wasn't - and if there were buried colonels and up we could graverob for chips - also no), the memorial, and the SS Princess aka SS Cesium aka SS Cancer. After the failure at the cemetery, we headed to the memorials. We found three Spiked Little Thieves camped there, so Caveman, Hillbilly, and Love Handles snuck up to 100 yards or so away and shot them dead. We looted them, and checked the memorials. There was a big power armor hologram on one, and the others were just memorials to the war dead. It was clear the Little Thieves camped there a lot.

Hillbilly found a flat rock and carved, "In Memory of Everyone. May 1st, 2322." He placed it at the base of the northernmost memorial.

We headed back by way of the church, getting kite materials. Yes, it would have been better to go there first. We forgot. We made kites (Caveman and Love Handles) and Hillbilly flew it. We went to the floating ship and flew it around with a plastic bag full of water on it. After a while we brought it back and ran geiger counters on the water and kite - moderate radiation, the water was moderately hot.

We figured out how we'd get up and down to some degree, and then headed back to the base.

Next session, we'll try a dry run of Operation Top Hat and probably investigate the ship in full NBC gear. If OTH works, we'll investigate the mall.

* Hillbilly would later strip down to knife and pants and go hunt them all down, and then burn out their nests with the glass grenades we got off of the Little Monks at the roadblock.


Caveman leveled up and got +2 Will. It came in handy at least once. It's also why he got the headlights.

I had 10 points saved on Hillbilly, so I got a +1 to HT. He's now DX 14, HT 13, so I either need to invest 5 points in 0.25 Basic Speed (if I'm allowed to) to up my Dodge or save up for DX 15. I have skills that need raising too, though - but generally I haven't used them so I can't really raise them. Next session will be session 15, so I either roll to level up next session or the one after. Should be exciting, I'm about due for a lame result after two good ones. I hate being "only up my stats" guy, but I have most of the advantages I want (High Pain Threshold would be nice, though) and I'm so close to a +1 Dodge via +1 Speed.

Speaking of skills, Short Bus keeps thinking he needs Fast-Draw (Pistol). So this is a reminder note.

I may have mentioned before how much I appreciate the return of Caveman. Part of it is just because I like gaming with my friend, and this is the only time I regularly see him. The other reasons is his line of thinking is different from everyone else's. For example? He came up with the kite ("stone age drones") and that led to our discussions of ballooning for travel. Plus he has fun nicknames for the bad guys. I came up with Tin Cow, though.

Fun session.

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