Thursday, May 5, 2016

Nu World Session 1

I started a new After the End game, titled "the Nu World", last night. The basic premise is that after a global nuclear/biochemical exchange, the remnant populations have spent the last seventy years trying to rebuild, only to be knocked down again by raiders infected by a persistent toxic meme complex. It's inspired by Fallout and Gamma World, and is meant to be a bit over the top and gonzo. The campaign wiki is here.

The specific setting is the Boston Commonwealth, which is stolen from Fallout 4, but in this case represents a 100 mile by 100 mile square reaching from Cape Cod to the end of Rhode Island, and from Nantucket to Cape Ann. The Commonwealth has about two dozen major cities that were hit by nukes, biochem, or ultratech wonder weapons, and about sixty post-Fall settlements ranging in size from a few thousand people around Gillette Stadium to a few hundred people living on a beached cruise ship. It's a pretty good setting, I think: large parts of Fallout 4 mixed with the Pitzburke Allegheny from Gamma World second edition.


Boston Commonwealth Settlement Map

I've only got four players so far. Conceptually, it's a pair of trader/scavengers and their bodyguards, exploring the waste:

When a Star Falls

At the start of the game, the group had just completed a fairly unsuccessful scavenging run in the ruins of Milford and were working their way northeast towards Boston, with the intent of resupplying in Boston City. They saw a meteor streaking west to east across the sky, and then breaking off every few seconds into secondary meteors that burnt out after a few moments. The last of those meteors burnt out somewhere over them, and then blossomed into an orange parachute that drifted towards the ground into a forest to the north of the PCs.

Ben'n is supposed to be intensely curious, but Eric didn't even bother rolling the dice to resist: "Let's go find what that is!" They quickly stashed and camouflaged Ben'n's wagon and took the horses and Rabbit's mule into the woods. Half an hour of searching and they found the orange parachute draped over some trees, suspending a scorched black and metallic egg, about two yards long on its long axis and around four feet in diameter. They tied off the animals and approached (well, Wash went past and starting looking around in the woods).

Closer examination revealed the egg to be a USAAF marked escape pod, likely from some kind of space craft. Rabbit started hitting switches and the egg popped open. Inside was a survival kit and an apparently dead astronaut who looked something like Ben'n: clearly a family resemblance, but since Ben'n was an orphan who didn't know his family, that was something of a dead lead. Rabbit noticed a kind of white frosting on the dead astronaut's nostrils, eyelids, mouth, and ears, and surmised that she was actually in nanostasis: so dead, in a lot of ways, but revivable if they could find a TL9 medical complex with the correct nanobots. Admittedly, they didn't know of any facilities like that, but there was always a chance they could find one somehow.

We're Not Alone in These Woods

Around this point, Wash spotted a dozen or more figures in black and white moving through the woods and hid. Soon, nine Redeemers - a local gang with a serious hatred for mutants - were at the scene. Luckily for the PCs, Ben'n is charismatic and has a good reputation, and the gang leader, a Brother Wilton, reacted well enough  that the gang didn't attack immediately and Wilton even offered Ben'n a place in the gang if he'd just stop associating with Edwin. All through this discussion, everyone had their guns low - ready but not aimed - but it was clear that tempers were ratcheting up. As Ben'n has a Sense of Duty to his friends, he refused to abandon Edwin and Brother Wilton ordered his riflemen to cover the PCs while the rest of the gang beat some sense into them. Muskets and SMGs were brought to the shoulder as well as the PC's rifles and shotguns.

Of course, Wash was hidden behind the Redeemers with a longbow and anticipating that things would go south, so he shot the Redeemer with the SMG first, putting an arrow in his kidneys and dropping him instantly. A general melee broke out, with several of the Redeemers but none of the PCs surprised by the sudden turn of events.

Edwin dashed forward to take cover behind a tree and then remembered he had the Crazy Legs mutation that gave him a 7 yard standing broad jump and a move of 12 yards per second. He then jumped on a Redeemer musketeer with his taloned feet out, dropping him. Another three Redeemers, including Brother Wilton, attacked Edwin, but their puny pistols and weak melee attacks were no match for his inherent DR and light plastic body armor. It wasn't quite that every second Edwin put another Redeemer in the ground - Brother Wilton dueled him for a good eight or nine seconds - but more that the Redeemers didn't have any weapons that could noticeably harm him (even a blast of birdshot to the eyes didn't slow him down) while Edwin could easily crack their armor.

Another Redeemer charged Ben'n, only to take a .30-06 round to the gut from Ben'n's single-shot rifle. Ben'n reloaded and covered Edwin's fight, but decided that beating people up with shovels was cheaper than firing expensive bullets at them.

Wash played hide and seek with the other Redeemers, dropping their other leader with arrow to the heart. One of the Redeemers exercised discretion, grabbed the SMG from the fallen gunner, and fled north. Wash took some shots at him but either missed or failed to penetrate his coat lined with flattened cans, I forget which.

Rabbit exchanged some long range shotgun fire with a Redeemer and then hid while the Redeemer closed the distance. A short range shotgun blast to the face mostly missed, except for a single errant pellet that caught the Redeemer in the lungs and immediately dropped him.

Aftermath

Four Redeemers managed to flee and meet up with another three or four that had been lost in the woods. Wash wisely broke off pursuit to avoid being ambushed and returned to the escape pod where the other PCs were grabbing some loot.

The PCs were pretty happy with their haul: a collection of hatchets, chains, and derringers, two Enfield style muskets, a pair of .36 caplock Colt revolvers, two more double barreled shotguns, a scattering of ammo for the same, and several suits of armor ranging from "tin can lined coats" to "steel plate forged from speed limit signs." Plus the escape pod and its electronics, the astronaut, and a survival pack that included some MREs and the like.

After some discussion, the PCs decided to continue on to Diamond City. They had enough loot to pay for a scavenge license that would let them scrounge in the ruins of Boston as well as pick up a bunch of other critical equipment (Rabbit is entirely lacking in the various equipment kits that an inventor really needs) and there was some hope that someone in Diamond City might know where to find a nanostasis revival tank.

Evaluation on Play

This was a good introductory session. I knew that the Redeemers weren't going to be dangerous threats because I'd done a solo run with similar foes against similar PCs already. With most of the Redeemers focusing on Edwin, the other PCs would be fairly safe though it wasn't entirely risk free: a lucky hit by a .41 ball would easily break through everyone else's DR 2 armor for some damage. Sadly for the Redeemers, they never got that far.

Everyone role-played pretty well. Nothing was really outstanding, though I was glad that they grabbed the parachute lead and went with it. I have a vague storyline in mind from this point on, but it's up the PCs to pursue it, or not, as they please.

What Next

Next week will be scavenging in the ruins of Boston, so I'll have to prepare something for that. It'll give us a chance to put the scrounging in ruined buildings rules from ATE2: The New World to the test, and I'm looking forward to that.

Interested in playing? We've still got space available! Email me! We play on Wednesday nights, 5:30 pm CDT until 9:30 or so.

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