Continuing from last week’s session, the “heroes” of Kelbyville awaken to find the settlement blockaded by a gang of 40 or so raiders, who had apparently followed their trail from the mutant spider cave the previous day. The raiders claim to represent the “Pit Boss” and have come to collect the town’s taxes. The townsfolk are somewhat indecisive, but the party, unwilling to part with any salvage, helpfully encourages them to fight to the death. The townsfolk are largely unconvinced. There is some talk of luring the raider boss into town for “talks” and then killing him. The townsfolk are unconvinced of this plan of action, as well.
The issue is forced when a slave in the raider group, a former mariachi, yells that someone from the town is getting ready to attack. A nearby raider, tired from an all-night march, turns in surprise and shoots a Kelbyvillsian off the town wall. The fight is on and, in the confusion, the mariachi escapes bondage, though not before taking a few moments to recover his stolen property (his guitar case, mariachi outfit and old guitar, absent strings).
Before long, the raider boss is dead, thanks to Dr. Gaz’s marksmanship and the rest of the raiders routed. The party loots and celebrates and Dr. Gaz goes into the radioactive moonshine business. Fast forward a week, and the party, with their new mariachi BFF, decides to visit a nearby settlement called Double R. They hear there’s a ‘gun guy’ there, plus it’s close to one of Pappy’s old salvage stashes. At Double R, the mariachi visits Larry the Gun Guy to trade in some looted gun parts for a functional piece (plus guitar strings and a few extra bullets). “Jim” goes looking for a bullet-proof vest; the only one in town is owned by the sheriff, and he won’t part with it for any price (well, not for any price “Jim” is willing to pay).
After trading, the party heads out to find Pappy’s stash, but “Jim” mysteriously decides to stay behind, declaring that he’ll catch up to the group later that night. Heading out, Dr. Gaz and the mariachi run into another group of raiders tormenting a young woman. They quickly dispatch the raider scum and free the woman, Klara. Dr. Gaz invites her to become his medical assistant. “But I don’t have any medical training,” Klara says, to which Dr. Gaz replies “Don’t worry, neither do I.”
A short while later the trio have located Pappy’s stash, hidden in the attic of a still standing house. The stash consists of a jerry can of gas, some canned food, candy bars, 5 packs of smokes and a stack of porno mags. While celebrating their newfound wealth, they quickly realize that something is moving down in the house below them. A quick inspection shows that they’ve been cornered by a pack of wild dogs. And no ordinary dogs these…they’re acting way too ‘tactical’ for the party’s liking. A few well-placed crossbow shots from the roof scatter the pack, giving the group an opening to run for it. And run they do.
Darkness is falling, a pack of ‘smart’ dogs is on their tail and they have no idea where “Jim” is. Somehow, though, they manage to stumble into one another in the gathering darkness. “Jim” is mute on his activities in Double R, but soon the party sees lights from a large group coming from the direction of town. Let’s call this group, for lack of a better word, a ‘posse.’ Hiding in the ruins, the party speculates that maybe the dogs and the ‘posse’ will wipe one another out, leaving them some easy loots. No such luck, however, as the dog pack retreats in the face the large, well-armed group from Double R. Soon the ‘posse’ circles back towards town and our heroes are alone in the cold, wasteland night.
Despite fervent questioning, “Jim” denies any wrongdoing while in Double R that night, though he does suggest the group may want to give the town a wide berth on their way back to Kelbyville. Wisely, the group heeds his advice.
Fast forward 24-hours, and a posse from Double R enters Kelbyville to speak with the sheriff. It seems that a group of strangers, claiming to be from Kelbyville, had passed through Double R the day before to do some trading. One in particular tried very hard to buy their sheriff’s bullet-proof vest, though the sheriff simply wouldn’t part with it. Later that night, the sheriff was found murdered, his vest and weapons missing. One of the Kelbyvillsians, someone with a thick accent, passed out the Double R gate only shortly before the sheriff’s body was found. Fortunately for “Jim,” he’s really good at hiding. A search of Kelbyville fails to turn up anything, though the sheriff promises to send word to Double R as soon as “Jim” shows up again.
That night the party concludes that Kelbyville has dried up for them. While “Jim” slips over the wall, the others pack up their pick-up-bed cart and head off for greener pastures. Looking at Pappy’s map, they see a major trade outpost called the South Exchange that’s not too far to the north. There is a raider base between them and the Exchange, but they can circle around and hit up a medical facility that’s marked on the map; apparently it has a locked vault in the basement.
First, though, they want to pick up a load of scrap metal so they have some scratch to trade at the Exchange. Not too far to the south is an old geo-thermal plant, which should have plenty of scrap metal (and maybe tools) lying around. Along the way they loot a leaf spring from an over-turned truck, reasoning it could be fashioned into some kind of sword with a bit of work. They arrive at the plant to discover three guys banging away on some machinery. Completely out of character, they party doesn’t ambush and murder these strangers and loot their cooling bodies. Instead, they befriend and even help them!
It seems these three young guys have read up on engineering and machinery and think they can get the geo-thermal plant working again. If so, they’d be able to sell power to nearby settlements. Plus, the plant would actually make a good, defensible settlement with a bit of work. With working power, it would be paradise. While some party members start gathering scrap metal the restorationists don’t need, “Jim” and Dr. Gaz decide to check out some farms marked on the map, hoping to purchase a beast of burden to pull their now heavily-laden cart.
Along the way they encounter an easily frightened mutant bear, that runs away when they yell and bang some metal together. The farmers are suspicious, but open to trade, especially when they learn that Gaz is a “doctor.” An exchange of ‘medical’ services, plus a few bullets, and the group is one mule richer. And that’s where we ended.
I started using a couple of props last night. The marked-up map of Reno seems to be a phenomenal success, giving the group plenty of juicy adventure leads and yet leaving the game completely sand-boxy. I told them they couldn’t tape up the disintegrating map, or write anything on it, until they’d acquired the appropriate materials in-game.
As of the game I hadn’t yet received my plastic bullets from Amazon, but one of the players brought a box of actual 9mm rounds, so we used those as currency props for the game. The players liked being able to see and hold their “money.” It made them think twice before firing a gun, knowing they’d have to hand a bullet in to the GM. In fact, maybe it worked too well, for they’re starting to rack up more bullets than I’d anticipated at this stage. Probably time to give them a good reason to use those bullets. 😉
I’d started working on a set of salvage cards as well. But as I was working on them, it occurred to me that I couldn’t possibly cover every possibility, a concern born out by some of the salvage requests players made during the game (such as the leaf spring, for example). However, they still seem excited by the idea of ‘loot’ cards. So instead of trying to make cards for every conceivable item, I’ll probably just use them for ‘junk’ loot and consumable items. We’ll see how they work out next week.