Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Nu World Session 6

This is the last session of Nu World I ran before the cancer surgery, and it also neatly tied up the "rescue the Power Wagon" plot, so it was a good and fortunate stopping place.

Cast of Characters

Time to Leave

At the end of the previous session, the PCs had forced the pirates of the house containing the Power Wagon truck, and now just needed to figure out a way to move the truck across seventy or eighty yards of deep water. And they needed to figure that out in a hurry, because the pirates were going to come back soon.

Privately, I'd decided that the pirates were either going to take about 60 hours to regroup, or they were going to come back as soon as the PCs were ready to move the Power Wagon. Either the PCs would be forced to abandon the damn thing, or there would be a (hopefully) exciting chase scene. It didn't quite work out that way.

Rabbit stuck with his plan to use the astronaut's parachute as the basis of an inflatable raft. We looked up the numbers, did some math, and he spent about twelve hours in game furiously gadgeteering. Then he burnt his luck, made some rolls, and got the raft together. He also disarmed the shell in front of the garage, so that the PCs could easily move the truck out without having to destroy the back wall.

Trouble Coming

The PCs had finally learned and posted Wash as a scout, so as Rabbit was finishing up the raft, Wash could see several rowboat's worth of pirates approaching from the southwest. He relayed word to Rabbit and took some potshots at the pirates, but the range was pretty far even for him and he didn't want to waste too many arrows. Rabbit was forced to wait while the raft finished inflating.

Finally, the raft was ready. Ben'n drove the truck onto the raft, and then Edwin started poling the raft to the east. Meanwhile, the pirate boats swung around in a big loop and came in from the north east.

Action! Chase

I pulled out the chase rules from Action: Exploits. I had in mind an exciting chase, where the pirates would pull up to the raft, exchanging gunfire with the PCs, and then a few pirates would jump into the wagon bed and there'd be a melee. As it turned out, not so much.

Everyone involved had about the same skills, the same speed, and the same luck. No one managed to gain or loose any ground, so the PCs stayed at long range and no one tried shooting anyone else. At one point, one of the PCs use Serendipity to have a tree trunk fall across the canals, blocking the pirates (which counted as a Mobility Escape for the PCs). The pirates tried to portable past the blockage, and one boat succeeded while another got high-centered, but it gave the PCs a chance to escape. And then they were on dry land, and I'd already ruled that once the truck was on the dry road again, they could make a mobility escape because at even 30 mph, there was no way the PCs couldn't just drive the truck away faster than the pirates could pursue in boats or on foot.

So overall, what I hoped would be a tense, fun, exciting chase turned into a fairly pedestrian exercise in number crunching and reading charts. I was pretty disappointed. Next time, I'm just going to fiat that some of the pursuers get close enough that they can jump on the truck, and I think everyone will be okay with that, because it'll be more exciting and interesting.

Back to Diamond City

The PCs drove the truck back to Diamond City, where they ran into their next problem: they'd promised their sponsor, Ben'n's contact, that they'd give him 10% of the value of whatever they found in the unlooted house. Given that the truck had an approximate value of $200,000, and no one in Diamond City is readily reach enough to afford that, they couldn't easily sell the truck either and they couldn't exactly cut off a chunk and give it to him.

Finally, the contact took pity on them. Ben'n has a reputation for trustworthiness, so the contact offered to loan them the $20,000 if they promised to pay it back within a year at 50% interest. The PCs said "sure, sign us up!", much to my surprise. I'd expected a negotiating session and getting talked down to 25% or less - Ben'n surely has the skills to do it. But they didn't, and the contact was happy. Speaking of which, the contact needs a name but I'm hoping +Eric Schmidt will come up with one. It's his character's contact, after all.

Return of the Plot

One last detail was Rabbit finally had some time to spend to really concentrate on cracking the password of the laptop they'd looted from the house. He used his luck again and rolled well, making the machine usable again. I decided that the laptop had non-volatile memory (which is pretty reasonable, I think) and by some cosmic coincidence, had last been used to browse the biography of the astronaut the PCs recovered in session 1. I'd say "what are the odds" but three of the PCs have Serendipity and this kind of crazy chance is exactly what the advantage is for. At any rate, her bio revealed she was married to the administrator of the FEMA emergency cache, a long rumored store of wealth that had been lost during the apocalypse that created the Nu World.

The PCs quickly figured out what this meant: if they could awaken the astronaut, they could ask her the location of the FEMA cache and get stupid rich. They made some vague plans to head down to Uxbridge Farms, in hopes that the pre-Fall supercomputer there would know the location of a medical facility capable of reversing nanostasis. And with that, the game was back on my vague plot after the long, large detour to recover the Power Wagon.

Evaluation of Play

Like I said above, the chase sequence was a big disappointment that I'll handle differently in the future. The rest of the session went well, though I wish the players made more use of the campaign wiki to keep up on things like rumors and possible trade routes. Ohl well.

What Next

Obviously, the game was on hiatus through most of July thanks to my cancer surgery. We're going to start playing again tomorrow. Hopefully we'll have a fifth player. Her character will be an agent of Ben'n's unnamed contact, sent to keep watch on his investment and make sure the PCs don't do anything stupid and generally work toward paying that debt back. I'm pretty excited to have a new player but we'll see how it goes.

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