Monday, September 11, 2023

Savage Gamma World #6

A few weeks after their return, our heroes received disturbing news regarding the army that they had encountered at Titan's Beach - another band of the soldiers, calling themselves "Humanity's Restoration" (HR), had taken over the mutant village of Gundity, driven the older and weaker mutants out, and enslaved the adults, forcing them to work and threatening to harm their children if they refused.

Batte, Kong, Rangup, Rex, and Xi Xi (see PC profiles here) were sent to rescue the villagers.

Arriving at the walled village at night, our mutants infiltrated the village and established contact with the captives using Batte's telepathy power. Together, they planned a multi-prong attack, with Xi Xi sneaking into the army's leader's house to incapacitate him, while would neutralise the soldiers in the barracks, while Rangup and Kong would take out the guards at the gate so allow everyone to make a quick escape.

However, the plan fell apart as Xi Xi was detected by the soldiers' leader, who shot and wounded the mutant. The gunshot raised an alarm, and our mutants were forced to launch  their attack prematurely. Fortunately, forewarned by Batte's communication, the captured villagers rose against their captors, and all the soldiers were overpowered and killed, with only one managing to escape.

Our mutants then learned that the soldiers had been using the villagers as labourers as they worked to restored a cable car that led into the mountain above the village. Our mutants decided to take the cable car and explore where it led to, thinking that they may be able to find some technology or weapons that will aid them in the future conflict with the HR.

The cable car took the party high up into the mountain, eventually arriving at set of steel doors set in the side of the mountain. Using the access card they took from the soldiers at the Titan, they were able to open the door. The door led into a corridor with steel walls and floor, which led to what appeared to be a long-abandoned research facility. The floors of the facility was curiously clean, and our mutants soon found the reason: a functioning cleaning robot had carried on its duties despite the disappearance of its previous masters.

Exploring deeper into the facility, our mutants found a set of broken steel doors, seemingly forced open from within. Inside they found a large number of cages, now all open and empty. Nearby was another set of broken steel doors, this time forced open from the outside, and again leading into a room full of empty cages.

At this point another robot appeared - but this one was a security-bot, which began attacking the party with laser guns mounted on the ends of its arms. It was soon joined by the cleaning robot, which grappled Rangup. After a short fight, our mutants managed to put both robots out of commission.

Further exploration led to a garbage pit in the deepest recess of the facility, where the party found old human and animal bones.

With no weapons or tech to salvage, our mutants returned to the cable car, and made their way back.

Prepping and Running the Game

This session was a mash-up of two scenarios from Gamma Zine. The liberation of the village was supposed to be just the opening encounter for the scenario, but as the players took a long time in planning their attack, it took almost half the session before they decided on a plan... which fell apart because Xi Xi's player, a total newbie at RPGs, failed his Stealth roll despite using up all his Bennies, and nearly lost his character.

I had to drop a few of the combat encounters I had prepared for the rest of the session to allow time for the party to explore the facility.

There wasn't much loot to be had from the session, but during play one of the players asked to use a dead/dying soldier's hand to fire his rifle, and I ruled that that would work, which effectively gave the mutants one way to bypass the "mutant lock" on the rifles.

Although we are only two sessions into the campaign, I am enjoying how the players are engaging with the setting.

Friday, September 01, 2023

Savage Gamma World #5

After the defeat of the Army of Dawn, our mutant heroes returned to their village and led them across the Barrier Peaks to set up camp near Truffaut's bar.

Not long afterwards, mutants from nearby villages reported being attacked by human raiders with firearms, who would drive the villagers off before seizing their food and materials - those who resisted were killed. Some mutants tracked the raiders back to their lair, and learned that they were based inside a half-buried metal giant at the place the locals named Titan's Beach. At Traffaut's request, Ah Meng, the head of the mutants, sent Kong, Rangup, Rex, Tom, and Vik (see PC profiles here) to eliminate the threat of the raiders.

After traveling for two days, our mutants arrived at Titan's beach as the sun was setting. There they found a metal giant, perhaps a hundred yards tall if he stood on his feet, almost completely buried in the sands of the beach, leaving only his head and two hands exposed. A semi-circle of stone obelisks surrounded the Titan. As they watched from the distance, a patrol of a dozen soldiers exited the mouth of the Titan via a rope bridge, and began their trek north.

As the mutants planned their next move, they were approached by an old woman, who called herself Mama Clay. Mama Clay told them that she had lived at Titan's beach for many years, and her peace and quiet were broken by the arrival of the humans a few weeks ago. When she learned that our mutants were here to get rid of the humans, she offered them a healing potion, and information about the newcomers.

Out mutants neutralised the two soldiers guarding the mouth of the Titan by means of distraction and surprise, but found that their rifles were locked from use by mutants. Vik began to get a throbbing headache, which he knew was caused by the proximity to non-organic source of energy. The mutants descended the ladder that led from the Titan's mouth down its throat. The ladder led to a large chamber with a glowing glyph on the floor; a large metal beam around a foot wide pierced the ceiling of the chamber and entered the floor, piecing through the middle of the glyph. Two mechanical creatures in the shape of spiders were working at the beam, trying to cut through it with some sort of tool that formed their mandible that emitted a bright light. When they noticed our mutants, they stopped their work and attacked, but were quickly disabled.

Our mutants found two doors that led from the chamber, one with the symbol of a helmet upon it, and the other one with a hexagon upon it. They decided to go through the door with the helmet symbol.

The door opened into a corridor that led to a smaller chamber whose floor was crisscrossed by a number of metal pipes, some of which are leaking a warm, opaque yellow liquid. A rhythmic, whooshing sound could be heard coming from the pipes, and more yellow liquid would leak from the pipes with each "whoosh". Two doors led from this room. Our mutants split up to explore: one door led to a ladder that led to a small room where there was a throne-like chair and a helmet suspended above it by a cord hanging from the ceiling; the other door led to a corridor that led to the soldiers' barrack.

Our mutants decided to try wearing the helmet, but as it was designed for humans, only Tom could wear it. As soon as he put the helmet on, Tom's body became paralysed, and his vision went dark; but as his eyes adjusted he realised that he was looking through the eye of the Titan! He found that he could move his eyes to look around, but not his body. The other mutants managed to rouse Tom by removing the helmet.

Our mutatns then made their plans to attack the six soldiers resting in their barracks. Rex charged into their room and leapt onto the table where the soldiers were sitting around and released his paralysing gas; all but one of the soldiers were felled by the gas, and when he tried to reach for his rifle he was knocked out by Rangup, who wore a gas mask he scavenged earlier. After searching the belongings of the soldiers for loot, our mutants exited the chamber from the door at the other side of the barrack.

The door led to a long corridor that led to a large chamber with a domed roof. Here they could see the metal beam once more piercing the roof of the chamber and through a large machine on the floor of the room. Pipes led from the walls to and out of the machine, which a few soldiers were repairing. When they noticed the mutants, the leader of the officer cried out an order for his men to attack.

Vik charged into the chamber first, and using his mutant power disintegrated the leader, and then fell unconscious himself from exhaustion. The other mutants followed, and after a hard fight managed to dispatch all the soldiers.

But before they could rest, the chamber began to lurch as the machine on the floor began to hum rhythmically. As our mutants struggled to keep their footing, they realised that the Titan was moving!

Kong hoisted the unconscious Vik over his shoulder, and together the party returned to the helmet room, where Tom once again put on the helmet. Once more he saw through the eyes of the Titan, and found that the Titan had waded into the sea. But as soon as the helmet had rested on Tom's head, the Titan stopped moving. This time, Tom found that he could control the movement of the Titan. He turned the Titan around, and walked back to shore. It took the mutants no time to decide that they should walk the Titan all the way back to their village, and use it as their new base.

Prepping and Running the Game

As Season 3 of our Savage Gamma World campaign follows the story of our previous campaign closely, I have decided to continue the numbering for our session reports.

One new thing I am trying out for this season is the use of a Mutation Deck to quick-generate new characters for players joining the campaign. I give a player a choice of playing a mutant human or a mutated animal, and a choice of psychic or elemental power (those are the choices provided in the cards). They draw two cards for the base mutation type and have the choice of one, then a choice of drawing two power cards in any combination and keeping one.

The scenario is from the OSR zine Knock! #1, and was originally more fantasy in flavour than sci-fi, but as with Expeditions to the Barrier Peaks showed us, genre-mixing was present in the early days of the hobby, and is something embraced by the current OSR community.

I was quite happy that the players managed to gain control of the Titan at the end of the session and wanted to use it as a home base for their village. However, they understood that a fully functional mecha will make them overpowered, and accepted it when I said that the Titan will run out of power once it reaches their village. They did ask about finding someone with the knowledge of reactivating the Titan and bypassing the lock on the rifles, which delighted me as now I have two story hooks and threads to use for future sessions.