Last week our erstwhile band of wasteland rogues hit up a nearby geothermal plant to rack up some scrap metal, also scoring some tools and a mule from nearby farms. Prof. Dink took adventage of the downtime to work on a spring-fired mortar. After a couple of days of looting they set off for the South Exchange, their cart filled to brimming with scrap metal and pipes.
Along the way they spot a road-block (quickly circumvented) and, a short while later, hide from a passing group of raiders, eventually arriving at a ruined medical facility. Pappy’s map indicated that a locked, and therefore hopefully un-looted, vault occupied the basement. The map did not mention the dog-sized mutant scorpions (nor the one, horse-sized, scorpion trapped in the pharmacy…with the vault). After a harrowing scorpion fight, “Jim” manages to crack the vault (with the help of a salvaged stethoscope). Inside is a wealth of various drugs and medications…a veritable post-apocalyptic treasure hoard. Dr. Gaz also managed to salvage enough usable lab gear to make a serviceable chemistry lab.
Next stop, the South Exchange, to off-load some of their loot. While the South Exchange is not overly large, it is well protected and hosts a number of merchant stalls. They’re basically able to find most of the gear they need (within their price range, anyways), even locating a “quantum demagnetizer” for the boys back at the geothermal plant. They make arrangements for a courier to deliver the device to the plant so that they wouldn’t have to make a trip back themselves (aka: an adventure seed that didn’t work out quite the way I’d thought…oh well, it happens). They spend a few days at the Exchange, where Prof. Dink manages to isolate some radioactive material from giant scorpion guts by using Totya as an improvised human centrifuge. Dr. Gaz spends the time concocting a home-brew anti-radiation medication using some locally gathered herbs mixed with his trademarked radioactive hooch (as you can tell, this game isn’t real heavy on “science”).
Dungeons & Shopping fulfilled, the party moves on to Fort Stanley, where they’ve been led to believe there’s a high demand for metal. Moving up McCarren Blvd. they soon hear the approaching sounds of an actual, running combustion vehicle. Dashing behind some ruined office buildings, they observe what is essentially a ‘technical,’ complete with mounted machinegun, come around a corner and start driving down McCarren in their direction. Markings on the vehicle indicate these raiders work for the Pit Boss. Despite the raider’s heavy armaments (or perhaps because of them) the group launches a hasty ambush against the raiders. There’s brief talk of using Dr. Gaz’s assistant, Klara, as raider bait, but she won’t have anything to do with it and stalks off.
Prof. Dink finally got to field test his spring mortar, hitting several raiders riding in the back of the technical with a hail of rocks. Several attacks target the machine-gunner as well, but he’s a tough bastard and doesn’t go down; he spins the gun and hoses the area with lead. Attempting to escape the ambush, the technical driver floors it, but a well-placed gunshot by Dr. Gaz makes his head disappear; the technical crashes into some derelict vehicles, bursting into flames. Prof. Dink convinces the surviving raiders to surrender; the rest of the party acts quickly to retrieve the machinegun (a SAW) and what little ammunition remained before it all went up in flames. The surviving raiders are…disposed of.
The party spends the night in a well-secured office complex, setting bear traps and frag ‘nade booby-traps along likely access points. No one disturbs them, but in the middle of the night Dr. Gaz, on sentry duty, notices that Fort Stanley, only a few miles away, seems to be under attack. They decide to rush to their fort’s aid, hoping to burnish their credentials as saviors and general good guys (and, perhaps, out of a bit of guilt over the way the raiders were…disposed of). Rushing up McCarren they find that Fort Stanley is under coordinated attack by a sizeable force of humanoid mutants.
And the session ended with the PCs maneuvering behind the mutants to launch a surprise attack of their own.
This session I introduced the use of a ‘salvage deck’ for random looted salvage. It’s a mixture of consumable items (like food and meds), useful items (tools and equipment), components for making jury-rigged stuff (scrap metal, duct tape, wire and the like) and junk loot items that are suitable either as novelties for the characters or, more likely, can be sold to merchants for slugs. However, it doesn’t incorporate things like weapons and armor, standard rations or any custom items the players go looking for (there’s simply too much stuff for the deck to properly cover every contingency).
However, as a quick-loot generator it worked pretty well and my players seemed to really like it. It made it much easier to trade items between players. And when they use or sell the stuff, they just turn in the card to me, without having write down and erase everything they find. Personally I’m not entirely satisfied with the hybrid of card loot and traditional bookkeeping. If I could do it again, I’d try to base the entire loot and salvage system off of the cards, though it would take some contrivance to justify in-game. As I can’t really do it all over at this point, I’ll stick with the hybrid approach and take notes for using an “all loot card” system another day.
Another thing I noticed this session, while I actively encouraged players to wheel-and-deal with merchants, haggling for the best prices they can get, the process really bogged down when they went to the South Exchange. While some of the players really got into it, I could tell that other players, who aren’t big on haggling over every last shell casing, were starting to get bored. So I think next time they go someplace with a lot of merchants (like the Exchange) I’ll just say that all items are sold at list price, and the merchants buy at 1/2 list price – take-it-or-leave-it. That should hopefully speed up the Dungeons & Shopping portion of the game.