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.
"Hillbilly" - medical specialist
"Love Handles" - demo/EOD
"Oinker" - demo/EOD
Present but on Security Detail:
"Barbie" - demo/EOD
"Short Bus" - computer programmer
"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.
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.