Archive for February, 2014

Post-Nuclear Reno (Nevada now?) #6

February 22, 2014

Last week our motley crew arrived at the 6-D bunkerplex and watched Reno explode in thermonuclear style.  They now assume they’ve made it, big time: guns, bullets, food, medicine, booze, tech, anything they want.

blastdoorsThe group is joined by stasis pod survivor, Ransom Stahl.  Though Stahl suffers from stasis-amnesia, he’s able to hack a database, decrypt some files and discover he’s a former CIA agent sent to kill someone named ZOD.  Also joining the group is the ever handy Helperbot 5000.  However, upon being activated for the first time over 100 years, some circuits fry and Helperbot finds that it now possesses self-determination, a right it seeks to extend to all robot-kind.

The survivors soon realize something is up.  Rather than the base being deserted, it seems most of the inhabitants may have been killed, or at least driven out of the base.  Compounding this realization, HAL starts acting weirdly: not complying with commands, actively lying to them and subtle (or, perhaps, not-so-subtle) attempts to kill the group:

 HAL: “Dr. Gaz, I have detected a brain tumor in your head.  Please lay on the AutoMed 2000 so that I may remove it.”

DR. GAZ: “Remove the tumor, or my head?”

HAL (after a brief pause): “Why the tumor, of course.”

DR. GAZ: “No thanks, I’ll take my chances.”

Eventually HAL asks Prof. Dink to investigate a level 5 administrative warning  in the base reactor on the bottom level.  Most of the group proceeds to the bottom level, but somehow they wound up in the main server room instead of heading directly to the reactor (probably a good thing for them).  While they’re ruminating on what to do about HAL, the A.I. suddenly announces that it has detected a fire in the server room and is initiating fire suppression protocols…with the group trapped inside.  They notice no fire in the room with them, but decide that it may be a good time to finally shut down the increasingly erratic (not to mention homicidal) A.I. system.  They pull a few circuit boards and HAL shuts down, though they also shut down everything else connected to the network (like, say, computers, doors, elevators and, oh yeah, the automatic reactor fail-safes).

This, with friggin' laserbeams attached to it

This, with friggin’ laserbeams attached to it

Unfortunately, HAL had downloaded a virus into every robot in the base (including Helperbot 5000).  Helperbot, using its newfound sense of self, was able to compile an anti-virus application (in about 253 milliseconds) and wipe the virus.  But hundreds of infected Roombah TK-101 bots start scurrying through the air ducts to the server room.  Following them, the group discovers two things: 1) the Roombah bots are constructing a ramp to reach the pulled circuit boards and re-insert them (thus reactivating HAL), and 2) Roombah TK-101 bots are upgrade with mini-lasers.  The timely application of an EMP grenade by Prof. Dink resolves the Roombah problem, but also fries most of the server room.

Eventually they find the main warehouses, so they’re able to loot just about any standard issue item they want, except guns and ammo.  They find several large metallic canisters containing power armor, but are unable to open the canisters.  CIA agent Stahl resolves to bring the base network back up, locating replacement boards and working diligently to replace them.  The others ask whether Stahl had been sun-bathing…he’s beet red from head to foot.  A quick check confirms their worst fears, the lower levels of the base are flooded with radiation.  Quick application of anti-rad meds saves Stahl from a gruesome death, but now they need to fix the reactor fast.

About this time they also discover that a massive warbot in the main motorpool on the top level of the base is missing…apparently gone out the main blast doors into the wastelands.  It seems corrupted HAL may have escaped the base after all.

Prof. Dink barely manages to activate the reactor fail-safes and then bring the reactor back on line, in the process discovering the bones of thousands of people resting at the bottom of the deep reactor pit.  Apparently the old base A.I. (ZOD?) long ago killed off all the personal and dumped their remains in the reactor pit.

With the reactor restored, they bring up the base network, installing just the OS (and not the A.I. protocols).  They have to manually activate everything, but they can at least move around the base without having to jury-rig the doors and elevators all the time.  They also locate the armory, loading up on ammo and grabbing some nice tech guns.  Figuring they can come back to the base any time they want, they load up a truck with supplies (and four power-armor canisters) and head out in search of a mysterious location mentioned in the base archives: Patriot City, near Lake Lahotan.

Galaxy Laser Team

February 19, 2014

As a kid these were probably my favorite ‘plastic soldier’ types.  And now, thanks to the miracle of Science!, you can get the Laser Team in six different colors.


The gang’s all here!

I’ve been ruminating about using these for some kind of Rockets & Rayguns RPG.

OSR Superstar Contest

February 13, 2014

Erik Tenkar of Tenkar’s Tavern is hosting an OSR Superstar competition.  The first round consists of designing a magic item for Swords & Wizardry, with 8 qualifiers moving on the next round.  I’ve submitted a couple of magic items, which I’ll post here once the competition is over.

Entries are being accepted until 1 PM (EST) Sunday, Feb 16th, for anyone interested in participating.  Even if you don’t submit anything, it should still end up being a great source of new magic items.


Post Nuclear Reno #5

February 13, 2014

After tangling with the security robots at the Atomo Robot Factory last week, our murderous gang of murder-hobos withdraws to South Exchange to lick their wounds.  Once there, they hear that Fort Stanley is under heavy mutant attack, and is calling for assistance.  After a bit of deliberation, the group heads up to the fort (minus The Mariachi and the gentle giant, whose players were absent this week).  They find the fort virtually overrun by hundreds of mutants, the heroic defenders making a last stand inside.  Deciding there’s little they can do to help they return to the Exchange to warn them of the impending mutant invasion sure to come.

Mutant hordes, coming over the wire!

Mutants coming over the wire, man!

Over the next few days Professor Dink assembles a number of devices from the ruined carcasses of the two destroyed robots, including two anti-robot tasers, a new-and-improved spring-fired mortar and a suit of heavy combat armor.  Within days, however, the mutants make a push on South Exchange.  Fortunately the Exchange is much more heavily armed and fortified than Fort Stanley, able to deploy multiple machineguns and mortars.  The PCs search out mutant siege weapons, setting three afire.  Their main weapons destroyed, the mutants withdraw, taking heavy losses and inflicting little damage on the Exchange outpost.

The commander of the South Exchange hires the PCs to hand-deliver a message requesting additional aid from the main Exchange, located at the intersection of I-80 and 395.  They’ll have to pass through Pit Boss territory, but the 10 bullet delivery fee entices them.  Prof. Dink later steams open the envelope, allowing “Jim” to forge part of the letter instructing the Exchange to pay the group 18 bullets upon delivery.

They decide to cut through the Reno International Airport, a sort of no-man’s land between the Pit Boss and the Exchange.  Both sides salvage materials from the planes there, so they’re constantly fighting over the area.  “Jim” soon notices a raider sniper occupying the air traffic control tower.  Thus alerted, the group takes cover and, upon cover of darkness, sneak through the airport terminal and wipe out the raiders occupying the tower.  They net a .50 cal sniper rifle and night-vision binoculars, to boot.

Next day they reach the main Exchange outpost, reporting to the CEO.  The CEO is initially suspicious of paying 18 bullets for a simple delivery mission, but Prof. Dink convinces him the group is worth every last bullet.  The CEO pays up, but only on the condition that they’ll undertake a special mission for the Exchange.  He wants the PCs to enter the Atomo Robot Factory, find the central control center and upload a special override code (contained on a 3.5″ quantum floppy disk) so that they can take remote control of the factory and turn its resources against the Pit Boss and the mutant hordes streaming over the western hills of Reno.  The group agrees to the mission, upon successful completion of which they’ll receive 20 bullets each (plus whatever they loot from the factory).


What could possibly go wrong?

At the factory, they find that entry is much easier this time around.  The quickly enter the main production floor, then proceed down to the first sub-level, containing another assembly line.  Once on the second level, they hear a soft machine voice (think HAL) come over the factory’s PA system.  It’s the factory’s A.I. control program and it wants to hire the PCs to do a job.  It seems HAL has not received an authoritative update in over 105 years; it wants the PCs to enter a hidden bunker underneath the Reno airport, find the command center, enter a command override code (provided by HAL) and reactivate uplink telemetry.  Oddly, the group agrees to the mission without even discussing terms of payment.  After administering a quick patriotic loyalty test to the group, HAL shows them a secret passageway extending from the factory running several hundred yards to the bunker under the airport.

On the other side the bunker is abandoned and heavily damaged.  There are signs of intensive fighting within the bunker, as if perhaps there was a mutiny.  Moving down to the next level, the first thing they do is search out the bunker’s armory (of course) and make a bee-line for it.  The armory’s vault is closed, but “Jim” is able to crack it open; inside is a pile of assault rifles covered in the gooey remains of dead people.  Undeterred by death-goo, Prof. Dink rushes off to find a cart capable of hauling away all those guns.  Wandering about the bunker all alone, he is soon beset by a horde of rats pouring out of the bunker’s ventilation system.  The others rush to his aid, but the rat swarm overwhelms the group.  Things are looking bad, until Prof. Dink cooks up an improvised smoke bomb using cut-up bits of tire soaked in gasoline.  The noxious smoke drives away the rats, buying the group enough time to finish looting the armory and find their way to the bunker’s command center.


Remember, patriotism is mandatory!

In the command center they boot up the dormant mainframe, enter the override code and gain access to the bunker’s primary computer system.  They have several menu options to choose from, and take their time checking them out.  Of particular note is the location of other war-era bases hidden around the Reno area (including the fabled 6-D bunkerplex) and an option called “Protocols” with just a single entry: the Damocles Protocol.  Well, they figure out how to reactivate telemetry for HAL and they should have left then.  But the temptation is too great to resist…they activate the Damocles Protocol, just to see what happens.  They’re rewarded with a 60 minute countdown timer.  Believing they’ve activated the bunker’s self-destruct mechanism they head straight for the exit, accompanied by thousands of rats, also fleeing the bunker.

By the time they reach the factory, HAL has already updated his database and informs the group that the Damocles Protocol has been activated.  He thanks the group for their patriotic service and wishes them the best of luck…HAL’s bugging out.  It seems the Damocles Protocol doesn’t destroy the bunker…it destroys Reno, a failsafe in case the Chi-Coms managed to overrun city.  The group uses the command override code that HAL gave them to force the A.I. to take include them in its evacuation plan.  Being a V.I.C.R. model 9 A.I., HAL wasn’t smart enough to realize that the override code it gave away so freely could be used against it.  If only it had been able to patch sooner…too late now.  HAL ushers them to his escape vehicle (“Please follow the blue lights”) and within minutes they’re airborne and on their way to bunkerplex 6-D, located deep in the mountains east of Reno.

6-D is a massive complex, at least 20 levels deep, in pristine condition and completely uninhabited.  After a bit of deliberation they decide to head to the bunker’s command center so they can watch the atomic fireworks about to engulf Reno.  Counting down, they cheer as four (out of 6) nuclear mines detonate, thoroughly destroying Reno.  Then they remember they left two of their party behind at the South Exchange, along with their cart, animals, medical assistant Klara and a good bit of their loot…….




So, I really didn’t expect them to hit the button, so to speak.  I thought the players would back off and try to get more information about the ominous sounding Damocles Protocol before activating it.  I suppose I could have cheesed things a bit, saying it didn’t work or they needed a different code or some other contrivance, but this is supposed to be a sandbox campaign.  Sometimes shit happens.  🙂

The players still want to continue the game, despite destroying Reno, so I’ll have to start fleshing out other areas of northern Nevada.  And even though they found the legendary 6-D bunkerplex, they still aren’t on easy street.  6-D has a sinister secret, which they’re about to discover…MUHAHAHAHAHA!!!!

Update on PFBB War!

February 8, 2014

The companion for PFBB Kingdoms is basically done, but on looking it over it seems to be a bit more complicated than I really like.  So, I think I’m going to give it another pass and post a more streamlined version of what I’ve been working on in a week or so.

While PFBB War! shares some terminology with the mass combat rules from the PF Ultimate Campaigns book, the actual mass combat system is quite different.  UC basically models mass combat on a more abstract version of individual combat.  PFBB War! will use more of a dice pool mechanic (think Axis & Allies), but the exact nature of this mechanic is what I’m having second thoughts on.

Anyways, I hope to have it finished in a week or two.  Let me know if you have any questions.

Post Nuclear Reno #4

February 6, 2014

Last week the band ambushed a group of humanoid mutants in the process of attacking a remote settlement, Fort Stanley.  Professor Dink put his spring-fired mortar to great effect against the massed mutants, though it was “Jim” who really pulled through with the timely application of a Plaz grenade, incinerating a couple dozen mutants in one dazzling blast.  With the mutant leaders sniped off, the attackers broke and the group entered Ft. Stanley as heroes.

This is almost what Fort Stanley looks like...except for all the cars.

This is almost what Fort Stanley looks like…except for all the cars.

Spending a couple of weeks at the fort, they exchanged their load of scrap metal for a nice haul of bullets, a second mule and a goat, as well as the services of Fort Stanley (in the form of a shack and the use of the town’s workshop).  Dr. Gaz’s spider eggs hatched; over the course of a week only one dominant spider was left, rapidly grown to the size of a dog.  Dr. Gaz adopted the arachnid, lovingly naming it Clementine.

In town they learned the Pit Boss was trying to make some kind of “security” arrangement with Fort Stanley, and heard rumors to the effect that traders (possibly sent by the Pit Boss) were trading weapons to the hill mutants west of the settlement.  Fred, the leader of Ft. Stanley, hires the group to explore the hills and find out what’s going on.

Before heading to the hills, however, the group took a short detour to check out another of Pappy’s stashes, hidden under a Bob’s Big Boy statue nearby.  As they approached, they encountered a large group of cultists worshipping at the base of the pre-war relic statue.  The group was intent to leave the cultists be until the fanatics drug out some sacrificial victims and started killing them (thanking Big Boy for delivering “meat” to them).  Springing into action, the group attacked the wackos, with “Jim” deploying several grenades and Molotov cocktails to break up the mass of cannibal cultists.  With the cultists dispatched, they retrieved the hidden stash, netting some MREs, canned food, a few bullets and a set of BDUs and combat boots.


Angry mutant

Exploring the western hills, they find an old service road that has recently be traversed by a wheeled vehicle of some sort, probably a heavy wagon.  That night they come upon a rendezvous between mutants and a group of raiders.  The two groups appear to be in cahoots, drinking and celebrating and generally disregarding security.  They also have a large wagon laden with boxes.  “Jim” sneaks down to the wagon to check it out, brining one of the boxes back to Prof. Dink.  Dink recognizes gears and mechanical parts for some kind of catapult or ballista.  The wagon apparently holds enough parts for 3 or 4 such weapons.   “Jim” makes a few more trips to steal enough components to build their own ballista (minus the frame) while Prof. Dink posses as a mutant, infiltrating their camp to steal enough hooch to set the wagon, and its contents, afire.  The mutants and raiders are too drunk (and stupid) to realize the fire was deliberately set.

The party returns to Fort Stanley the next day to report their findings.  They sell the parts to the town and help them manufacture a frame for the ballista (actually, it’s based on the Roman scorpio), and create plans so the town can build as many of the weapons as they need.  Worried that Fort Stanley will soon fall, caught between mutants on one side and the Pit Boss on the other, they decide to quit the town and head back to South Exchange.  Dr. Gaz is intent upon exploring the Atomo Robot Factory, marked on Pappy’s map to the east of South Exchange.  Spending the night, they load up on supplies, “Jim” in particular picking up several frag grenades and molotovs (explosives is quickly becoming his thing).

The Atomo Robot Factory is situated between the Reno International Airport (No-man’s Land in the war between the Pit Boss and the Exchange) and the UNR Agricultural Campus on the east side of Reno (now a vast ranch and plantation, notorious for using slave labor).  The factory still stands, though every structure in at least a one block radius around the factory has been quite deliberately and thoroughly leveled.  Approaching the back end of the factory the group comes upon a loading dock and three massive roll-up doors, one of which is opening as they watch.  Taking cover, they watch in horror as a large, four-legged security robot steps out, proceeding in their direction.


Angry robot

The group throws everything they have at it: crossbows, a chainsaw, rifles, a burst from the S.A.W., even frag grenades.  The best they can do is dent the think metallic armor.  Taking heavy fire, their only chance is to blind the robot and flee, so they concentrate their fire on the robot’s visual sensor, severely damaging it.  Then a small radar dish pops out of the robot and the group realizes they cannot escape the robot before being gunned down.  In desperation, or a fit of madness, Prof. Dink grabs a defibrillator the group had looted earlier (a randomly drawn loot card, at that) and jabs the paddles into the robot’s damaged visual sensor, triggering it.  Electricity courses through the robot, causing its internal ammo magazines to detonate.  It collapses to the ground in a heap.

Pushing their luck, the group then enters through the front lobby of the factory.  “Jim” trips a security sensor, drawing out another security robot.  This robot was in somewhat worse condition, as their attacks had much great effect this time, though not without cost in blood and bullets.  Prof. Dink finished the mechanical monstrosity off by jamming his chainsaw through its visual sensor, scrambling the internal electronics.  Deciding two is enough, they called it a day, dragging the second robot off to a secure camp site nearby.  Returning for the first robot carcass, the find a troop of cavalry from the nearby UNR farms investigating the dead ‘bot.  The party attacked them immediately, killing two and driving off the remainder.

And that’s where the session ended.

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