Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Wasteland wackiness

The Fallout games have always been big on humor, though in my opinion some installments (I'm looking at you, Fallout 2) went a bit overboard, with all too obvious pop-culture references or just plain pubescent foolery breaking the immersion. But at its best, Fallout manages to incorporate a healthy dose of humor in its universe, tongue-firmly-in-cheek probably being the way to go with a setting that features such silly things as talking animals, robot dogs and intelligent plants (but I think we all want to forget that part, even the devs don't consider it canon).
None of my players are familiar with Fallout (After the first session, consensus seems to be that the universe is a post apocalyptical wild west, with sheriffs, tribals and cattle ranches) so they'll probably be in for a bit of surprise when the weird hits the fan! The plan is to try and inject a little of that typical Fallout humor in my sessions. So far it has been limited to a Firefly reference which mostly went by unnoticed, but more zaniness is waiting for my players just beyond the horizon. :) Upcoming wackiness will include: A decrepit old Ghoul whose legs were nibbled off by coyotes during the night, a hold up by a cyberdog with a human brain implanted, and after listening to this hilarious radio skit from the '50s by Stan Freberg called "St George and the dragonet", I got an idea for a Wild Card NPC Joe St George, grizzled mutant and deathclaw hunter. More weirdness to follow, without a doubt. :)

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

No session this week

Unfortunately this week's session was cancelled due to scheduling conflicts, so I won't be putting up a summary this week. This does however give me some more time to work on some of the locations the party is likely to visit in the coming weeks. Next up will be Dayglow, an officially existing location in the Fallout canon, but apart from the name and a few lines in the Fallout bible there's nothing known about it. Lots of gaps to be filled, ideal for the overzealous game master. :) So expect my own spin on it in a few days!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Random encounters

Travelling around the Fallout world is dangerous, all kinds of hostile creatures wait to ambush the unexpecting party... though some friendlier faces are to be seen as well. I compiled a short list of possible random encounters, based on the Survival skill of the party the encounter has a chance of being more beneficial or special. Basically these events can be as little as a small detail to make the world come alive a bit more, to a possible hook that could end up taking up an hour, the session or even longer, depending on how much you want to put into it and how the players react to it. Of course you can also just pick a result from a certain list if you have a particular sort of encounter in mind.
In a month of ingame travelling, the party would on average encounter: 6 hostile, 6 neutral, 4 locations, 2 distress, 2 friendly and 0 to 1 special events.

Survival check
Hostile: roll d20
Location & Remains: roll 2d20
or: Neutral: roll d20
Distress: roll d12
or: Friendly: roll d20
Two raises or higher
Special: roll d12

Hostile: d20
-A pack of dogs/coyotes
-A nest/swarm of giant insects
-A pack of pig/mole rats
-A giant anthill
-A group of stampeding wild Brahmin
-A mutant creature
-A group of mutant creatures
-A lone scout
-A band of ruffians
-A group of raiders
-A group of slavers
-A highwayman
-A group of raiders, fighting some wastelanders
-A group of slavers, beating up a wastelander
-A group of feral Ghouls, feasting on human corpses
-A group of Super Mutants, fighting some wastelanders
-A group of cannibals, ambushing some wastelanders
-Two Super Mutants with a captive
-Three Super Mutants with five captives
-A Super Mutant raiding party

Location: d20
-A cavern at the foot of a hill
-A copse of gnarled, dead trees
-An unusual rock formation
-A burnt-out car wreck
-An overturned, rusted Nuka-Cola truck
-A ruined house
-A wooden shack
-A small, forgotten ghost town
-A burnt-down homestead
-A burnt-down factory
-A burnt-down farm
-An abandoned homestead
-An abandoned scrapyard
-An abandoned dumping site
-An abandoned barn
-An abandoned warehouse
-An abandoned gas station
-An abandoned garage
-An abandoned fallout shelter
-An abandoned campsite

Remains: d20
-Previously looted/trashed

-Extremely weatherworn/dilapidated/overgrown
-Signs of recent struggle
-Signs of recent occupation

-Strange footprints
-Dusty bones
-Blood splatters
-Infested with vermin
-Infested with giant insects
-Valuables left behind
-An animal corpse
-A human corpse
-A couple of human corpses
-A couple of mangled corpses, a creature nearby
-A Super Mutant corpse
-A couple of Ghoul corpses
-An unidentifiable, grotesque corpse
-A hanged man
-A couple of hanged Ghouls

Neutral: d20
-A grazing Brahmin herd
-A lone animal
-A lone trader
-A trader with animal and/or robot companion
-A small caravan
-An Eyebot
-A travelling bounty hunter
-A drug runner
-A lone traveller
-A couple of travellers
-A couple of travelling Ghouls
-A wandering party of scavengers
-A scavenger, hauling some loot
-A group of travelling mercenaries
-A group of raiders returning from an attack, defeated and wounded
-A group of raiders returning from an attack, victoriously with plunder
-A group of slavers, looking for escaped slaves
-A group of slavers, with some captured slaves
-A group of men, fighting over loot
-A group of men, fighting over water

Distress: d12
-A wounded man in a minefield
-Two men, trying to navigate a minefield
-An escaped slave
-A couple of escaped slaves
-A group of escaped slaves, chased by slavers
-A group of travellers, attacked by creatures
-A robot, broken or damaged
-A creature, caught in a trap
-A man, dying of thirst
-A wounded man
-A wounded Ghoul
-A Ghoul, captured and harassed by bigots

Friendly: d20
-A lone Ranger
-A motorized Ranger patrol unit
-A Ranger patrol unit, in pursuit of some raiders
-A lone, friendly Super Mutant
-A knowledgeable hermit, in pursuit of enlightenment
-A travelling performer
-A travelling troupe of performers
-A travelling wasteland doctor
-A lone mercenary, looking for work
-A couple of mercenaries, looking for work
-A lone robot, its owner killed
-A lone dog, its owner killed
-A hunting party, trading fresh game
-A group of cannibals, trading strange meat
-A young Tribal, on an initiation into adulthood quest
-A lone Follower of the Apocalypse missionary
-A group of Followers of the Apocalypse
-A group of Hubologist proselytizers, giving free zeta scans
-A lone Regulator vigilante
-A group of Regulators, stringing up some raiders

Special: d12
-A talking cyberdog
-A mysterious figure in purple robes
-A talking Deathclaw, disguised in plain brown robes
-A garbled radio transmission
-A mysterious crash site
-A crater with an unexploded nuclear bomb
-A small, verdant grove with fresh water
-A crashed vertibird
-A Brotherhood knight, ambushed and outnumbered by raiders
-A couple of Brotherhood paladins and scribes, investigating a crash site
-An Enclave scouting party, questioning some wastelanders
-An Enclave patrol, boarding a vertibird and taking off

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Location: Landfill

The next installment in the locations series, we'll take a look at the settlement of Landfill.

Lovingly dubbed Landfilth or simply “The Filth” by its inhabitants, the former Green Acres Waste Management and Disposal Site is now home to a tiny community of destitute squatters and NCR rejects. Far to the south-west of The Hub, the influence of the NCR here can be called liminal at best. At almost a thousand acres large, the enormous wasteyard, a testament to an era of prosperity and wasteful consumption that's long gone, can be seen and smelled from miles off. Three large mountains of refuse loom over the rest of the spreading dumping site. Now, the trash of the 21st century serves as the only source of income for the two hundred-odd souls that dwell in the shanty town called Landfill, and many more fortune seekers, coming and going, hoping to salvage functional parts or unearth forgotten treasures in the deep recesses of the mountains of garbage. For many years the yard was scavenged willy-nilly. More organized groups excavated long winding tunnels in the bigger heaps of trash in the hopes of reaching older layers with more valuable findings. The situation changed some twenty years ago however, when a small-time businessman by the name of Harlan Clint showed up with a gang of armed toughs and forcefully seized control of the yard. Restoring the outer fences and having guards patrolling the perimeter, Clint now runs a profitable business charging would-be scavengers an entrance fee to the yard, for which they can in return haul as much salvage out of it as they can carry. With caravans passing Landfill being few and far between, Clint used his newfound influence to ensure that all trade into Landfill would pass through him first, taking first pick of the trade goods and hoarding most of the drinking water.
The settlement is made up entirely of small, dilapidated shacks, improvised out of sheets of plastic, corrugated metal or wreckage dragged from the yard. One building, partially out of brick and mortar, stands out: the local watering hole called The Hill, a two storey edifice dedicated to every vice man can think of: alcohol, drugs, gambling and prostitution. The proprietor is a man called Shane Donaldson, bar keeper and self proclaimed mayor of Landfill. Donaldson runs a tight ship, employing a small gang of bruisers to keep the bar and surrounding area trouble free, simultaneously providing the town with its only semblance of law and order.
Points of interest and story hooks
*Locals: the town is lousy with beggars asking for some water or caps. Drug dealers offer their wares. A woman will accost the party and beg them to look for her husband who went missing in the wasteyard tunnels. A party of three Ghouls, experienced scavengers, plan on going for a big haul and generally act rather adversarial and disdainful towards the PCs.
*Joe's Supplies: Joe sells all sorts of equipment a scavenger could need. Shovels and pickaxes, buckets, barrels or bags, Joe has it all.
*A few stalls scattered around the town sell food, mostly suckling pig rat caught in the yard, one trader buys and sells the more valuable artefacts found by more fortunate scavengers.
*The Hill: a smoky, seedy place filled with raucous drunks, addicts, gamblers and scavengers, The Hill is run by local strongman Shane Donaldson. Owning the only bar and half the townsfolk being deeply indebted to Donaldson, he’s widely regarded as the man in charge of town, a view he likes to encourage. Donaldson has his fingers in all the pies in Landfill and not much happens without his knowing or approval. Lately, Harlan Clint has become a thorn in Donaldson’s side. If the party is receptive, he’ll ask them to take Clint out, in the spirit of “free enterprise”. Not afraid of some fair, friendly competition, Donaldson believes Clint is getting too big for his boots and will soon start monopolizing all the in- and outgoing trade. He’ll offer a sizeable amount in caps for the deed. Alternatively, if the party was asked to kill Donaldson by Clint, he’ll make a higher counteroffer for the party to kill Clint instead.
*Wasteyard: for a small fee the party can enter the landfill to try their luck at scavenging. The outside consists mostly of contemporary rubbish. The tunnels leading into the mountains of trash are a three-tiered dungeon. Enemies encountered here are pig rats, mole rats and a few giant albino rats. On the deepest level in a tunnel dripping with toxic sludge awaits a centaur. Loot consists of many deposits of spare parts, equipment from died scavengers and some damaged pre-war weapons, such as a laser pistol. The trio of Ghouls encountered in Landfill will shop up and attempt to kill the party.
*Clint’s compound: the only entrance to the wasteyard opened to the public. Anyone caught trying to climb the fence around the yard will be shot on sight. A few larger shacks near the entrance serve as bunkhouses for Clint’s toughs, storage and Clint's office. The water tank, holding a few hundred gallons of drinking water, is guarded at all times by one or two of Clint's men, it being the only real water storage the settlement has. On occasion, Clint has some water distributed for free, in an effort to gain some popularity with the locals.
If the party went in the tunnels and returns, Clint’s men will ask them to come with them to Clint’s office to discuss a business proposal. Clint reveals he’s planning on turning Landfill into a respectable town and having the wasteyard exploited to its full potential, which would provide many with honest, fulltime jobs, according to him. The first step in getting the approval of the NCR however, will be in removing the blight of Shane Donaldson and his sinful establishment. Clint will offer the party a sizeable amount of caps to kill Donaldson. Alternatively, if the party was asking to kill Clint by Donaldson, he’ll make a higher counteroffer for the party to kill Donaldson instead.

In the spirit of the Fallout ending sequences where the impact of the player on the world is recounted, here some ideas for how Landfill could evolve (you’d have to mimic Ron Perlman’s voice yourself) ;)
Power struggle in Landfill: Endings
Clint killed: With Clint out of the way, Donaldson took control of Landfill and slowly turned it into a large, prosperous town, dedicated to gambling, drinking and prostitution. Donaldson ruled with an iron fist. To protect his business interests, the streets of Landfill are being kept clean and orderly by his force of bruisers and own frontier brand of justice. In time, the lights of Landfill would be rivalled only by those of New Vegas and New Reno themselves.
Donaldson killed: With Donaldson out of the way, no one was left standing in Clint’s way to take full control of Landfill. Banning all gambling, drug dealing and prostitution, the renamed settlement of New Green Acres would become an orderly town, in time becoming a full member of the NCR. Clint had the wasteyard exploited professionally, with many of the locals now working sixteen hour shifts at minimum wages, being reduced to slaves in all but name. Thanks to your help, New Green Acres stands as a shining example of humanity's determination to rebuild civilization in the Wasteland.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Location: Camptown

In these sections I'll give an overview of the locales that pop up in the course of the campaign. Some of it might be canon, others are just the product of my addled imagination. ;) I'll kick of with the setting of the last session: Camptown.

Camptown is a small settlement of some three hundred permanent inhabitants and about as many caravaneers temporarily camped on the outskirts of town at any given moment. Advantageously located on a spot where caravans out of The Hub and NCR Capital meet on the way east, Camptown grew spontaneously fifty-odd years ago around the small tent camps that the passing caravans put up. As trade with New Vegas increased, so did the number of caravans passing through the area and the temporary tent camps became almost constantly occupied, with new arrivals stopping and others leaving again on a weekly basis. Entrepreneuring traders and craftsmen smelled opportunity: catering to the caravans, with the increasing traffic and the absence of any other major settlement, guaranteed profitable business. The first permanent structures were erected, first out of wood or corrugated iron plates, which later became the downtown area and replaced with sturdier clay brick buildings. Over the years more and more simple folk, down and out of luck or looking for new opportunities, came and took up residence in Camptown. A town council of the foremost townsmen and women was formed to govern the little community, with an appointed sheriff to hold up the law, fashioned after NCR example.
  Without any natural resources to speak of, namely the absence of a fresh water supply and soil too poor to cultivate, the caravans are Camptown’s lifeblood. If the caravans would cease stopping at Camptown for some reason or take an alternate route, Camptown would not be able to sustain itself and most likely empty in a matter of months. Afraid of such a scenario, the town council has a strict policy of neutrality in the affairs of the caravan groups and seeks to avoid any hint of favouritism. Camptown is actively soliciting to be recognized as a NCR town in its own right, the promise of NCR rule of law protecting the town from the political manoeuvres of the merchant guilds outweighing the downside of trade taxation that comes with membership. Lately, the Water Merchants have launched an aggressive campaign in a bid to make the council accept a resolution to turn Camptown into a company town. Voices in favour say protection from the Merchants will help keep Camptown safe of possible threats and assure the future patronage of the caravan groups; opponents fear the Merchants will pester the other caravan groups away with unreasonably high taxation, bar private enterprise and only allow Merchant run stores, with a restrictive rule of law by a Merchant officiary and high taxation.

Points of interest and story hooks
*At the camp sites of the three major guilds the PC’s can sign up for a job on the caravans or pay to be travel along with them. The Water Merchants offer the worst pay, but are well equipped and well guarded. The Far Go Traders offer decent pay for generally low to medium risk runs. The Crimson Caravan specializes in the dangerous New Vegas route, they pay the best wages but their caravans come under frequent attack. They are always on the look out for more guards. Players can also travel along doing odd jobs, looking after the animals, hauling equipment etc, this pays a minimal wage. The Traders currently have a small caravan returning to The Hub. The Caravan is heading to New Vegas.
  -Vance McPherson, the foreman of the Water Merchants site, will ask the players, if they’re from out of town, to gauge the atmosphere in town about the upcoming vote. If the foreman deems the party trustworthy, he’ll ask them to pressure some prominent townsfolk to see things his way. Members of the council include: Doc Thompson, pastor Alesius, sheriff Bill Rhames, store owner Hank McCreedy, store owner Rafe Smith, grocer Mabel Miller, tradesman Benjamin Hull and tradeswoman Sarah Philips. If successful, he’ll ask the party to “deliver a final warning” and start a fire among the tents of the independent caravans.
 -Over at the camping grounds of the independent groups, a few thugs from the Merchants are threatening some of the caravaneers. The party can learn that this has been going on for quite a while already and seems to be increasing.
*The bazaar is the place for the characters to stock up. A lively hubbub of traders from many different parts, it is filled with merchants selling all kinds of wares and food and townsfolk or passing caravaneers looking for a bargain. The bazaar is a set of narrow pathways and alleys with most stalls being simple tents or temporary constructions of out corrugated iron and wood. Prices are generally about 10 to 20% higher than in major towns, but price and quality of the sold wares varies.
*The downtown area has some sixty-odd houses, stores and other buildings out of brown clay brick, with the more important ones having white plastered facades. The outskirts of town have smaller houses, with some being erected out scrap iron or wood. The center of town features some stores, a bar, a library/school building belonging to the Followers of the Apocalypse, town hall and the sheriff’s office. The doctor is located on the east side of town. On the town square stands a statue with the inscription: The hero of Camptown, the man they call Blaine, Blaine being a sort of local hero who once held up a large Merchants caravan returning from New Vegas, and dumping the money on the square before mysteriously disappearing.
 -In The Last Stop bar the party can meet up with Jacob, who will offer them the Jefferson job. Local rancher Obediah T. Jefferson needs to fulfil on a contract and his ranch foreman has fallen ill. He needs capable hands to deliver six Brahmin bulls to the Longhorn Ranch, about six days travel to the south east, near the settlement of Landfill.
 -When asked, pastor Alesius will express his fears for the future of Camptown and bring the characters up to speed on the situation with the Merchants.

In the spirit of the ending sequences of the Fallout games, here some possible scenario's for Camptown, though many different outcomes are possible depending on what the PCs precisely did.

Power struggle in Camptown: Endings
Party sided with the Water Merchants: Having been given a mandate by the council of Camptown, the Water Merchants turned Camptown in a company town, run solely by them. Imposing ever increasing taxes, they drove away all their competitors and impoverished the local populace. Under the harsh, bureaucratic rule of Merchant officiaries, Camptown dwindled, its former potential a distant memory.
Party sided with the townsfolk: Camptown stayed its course of strict neutrality. A tense peace between the different trade guilds and the townsfolk continued to exist. With the routes east becoming more and more important as the NCR expanded eastwards, Camptown soon became a thriving trade center for the entire region.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Session 1 summary

The transcript for the first session with the whole group (three players). We had a lot of fun as the players got a feel for the world and the strange characters that populate it. None of them have ever played a Fallout game before, which both has benefits and drawbacks. It does present you with lots of interesting possibilities as a GM and the players view of the world is often quite refreshing. The characters they came up with pleasantly surprised me, as I had expected them to all roll some sort of Mad Max clone. I'm looking forward to slowly introducing them to the tried and true factions of Fallout, such as the Brotherhood, Enclave, Slaver's Guild etc. After a brief introduction to the Followers of the Apocalypse they're already quite convinced that they can't be as altruistic and decent as they seem. ;) The first session focused on getting the characters together, meeting in the town of Camptown. Camptown is a town grown out of a camping site from caravans heading east, that eventually became a fixed stopping point and more permanent building were erected. It is situated a ways east of Junktown and north east of The Hub, not too far from Necropolis.

Session 1

- Craig the Spirit Hunter: good natured Super Mutant shaman with a profound dislike for violence, on a spirit quest to find his true life's purpose;
- Dexx: streeth youth from the Boneyard who likes to indulge in less savoury endeavours, legally speaking, and fancies he can communicate with animals;
- Rhiannon Adare: computer and mechanical whiz, only just out into the Wasteland after fleeing her home, Vault 21, after a failed uprising;

After spending some time recuperating back at the Tribal village and attending the ritual immolation of Ticlop's body, which was retrieved by a few of the other tribesmen, Rhiannon felt strong enough to try setting out again the next day. Later that day a feeling of liveliness came over the mourning village as a few of the children ran through the village, announcing that Craig had returned. The Super Mutant, clad in his thick cloak made of all different sorts of pelts, made for a very astounding sight for Rhiannon, having lived her whole life in the mutant-free environment of the Vault. She was soon put at ease however, as the Tribals welcomed Craig as their friend and esteemed guest and prepared a little celebration in his honour. A long trestle table was improvised, song and dance performed and a rich table laid out, Craig and Rhiannon being given places of honour next to the village elder and medicine man. With some reservation about imposing on their guest, the elder soon solicited Craig's help in a matter of some concern to the tribe. One of their hunters, a man named Pyal, had left a fortnight ago to the settlement of Camptown, a few days to the south, to try and sell some pelts and barter some medical supplies. He still hadn't returned however, though he was expected back some days ago. Seeing as none of their tribe was very familiar with the town, she asked Craig to travel to Camptown and investigate Pyal's disappearance. Craig readily agreed to look into the matter and Rhiannon decided to make the journey south along with her strange new acquaintance, clearly one who knows the wastes and can take care of himself. Before turning in for the night, the medicine man Reyli invited Craig to his tent to discuss his vision quest. Wandering about the wilderness for some time, Craig said to have seen and talked to various spirits, looking for their guidance and council. The medicine man remarked that he felt Craig's future would soon take an unexpected turn, and that his fate was being decided this moment. Reyli then prepared a dried datura leaf with an unidentified white paste, and bid Craig ingest it before going to sleep. Craig, having returned to his own tent, followed the medicine man's instructions and soon fell into a deep sleep. In his dream he was visited by a ghostly coyote, who told him he saw Rhiannon playing an important role in Craig's future, and also to be on the lookout for a yet unknown third companion, who would guide him on the path to his destiny. The next morning Craig and Rhiannon set out for Camptown, the gathered Tribals seeing them off.
Meanwhile, a hundred odd miles away, a lanky young man by the name of Dexx travelled east along with a Water Merchants caravan heading for New Vegas. After staying in The Hub for the last few months, Dexx started to feel the breath of the local law enforcement down his neck and deemed it more wise to lay low for a while, out of town. After about a week's journey the caravan arrived at Camptown, one of the principal stopping points on the trade route east. Stopping for two days to resupply and rest up, the caravan set up camp outside of town on the site allotted to the Water Merchants. Free to wander the town at leisure, Dexx decided to head over to the bazaar, a maze-like warren of tents, wooden shacks and stalls made out of corrugated iron plates. Less interested in all the colourful wares the vendors went about hawking than finding an easy mark, he wandered the little paths and alleyways. Eventually he made his move on a thickset man with a coin purse dangling rather conspicuously from his belt, engrossed in conversation with a trader. Waiting for an opportune moment, with the ease of many years of having honed his skills, he cut the purse clean of the man's belt and vanished in the crowd in a matter of seconds. The purse revealed to contain a sizeable amount of money, more than enough to enable him to buy some water and iguana-on-a-stick from an Iguana Bob's concession stand. Leisurely strolling through the town proper he noticed some of the townsfolk hurrying towards the same direction, speaking in excited voices. Rumour had it a Super Mutant was spotted near town. Curious, Dexx followed the locals along to the outskirts of town, where a small crowd had gathered as the sheriff had gone to meet the Mutant and his companion. After some conversation the sheriff deemed Craig and Rhiannon trustworthy enough to be allowed into town, warning the Super Mutant not to cause any trouble. Inquiring after the missing tribesman Pyal, the sheriff informed them that he was locked up in the town jail, after getting in a bar fight with some of the locals and hitting one of them a bit too hard, which left the man in a coma, teetering on the brink of life and death at doc Thompson's medical practice. Craig and Rhiannon, with Dexx tailing them from a distance, subsequently paid the unfortunate Tribal a visit. Pyal, only being used to a life outdoors, urged his friend Craig to find a way to get him out of his tiny barred cell, the twosome reassuring him that they would do their utmost best to get him out of his predicament. The bail for Pyal stood at a hefty $150, together with the guarantee that the Tribal would return for trial if the comatose local died, and face charges of manslaughter. Taking their leave of Pyal and the sheriff, Craig and Rhiannon went over to doc Thompson, in the hope of learning a bit more of his patient's condition, once again being followed by a curious Dexx. The doctor proved accommodating enough. Rhiannon's peculiar outfit and arm-mounted Pip-Boy were of great interest to the good doctor, leading him to the conclusion that she was some sort of doctor out of Vault City; Rhiannon deciding it more prudent to leave him to his assumptions. Craig mostly possessing knowledge of natural medicine and herbal lore, the doctor's scientific explanation of the patient's condition proved not very enlightening. He then proceeded to invoke the spirits to shed some light on the fate of the comatose man. Soon enough an ethereal little bird appeared to him, whispering in his ear that the man's future looked very bleak indeed. Unsure on how to proceed, Craig and Rhiannon left the doctor's and were once again out on the street. They noticed Dexx sitting across the road a bit down the street, nonchalantly whittling away. A discussion sprung up between the two on how they would get Pyal out of custody, with plans ranging from earning some quick money, setting up an impromptu freakshow starring Craig with a $5 admission, to springing the tribesman from jail. Undecided they walked through the streets, hoping to find some inspiration along the way. Reaching the center, they came upon a long, low building with a white plastered facade, easily the largest building in Camptown. The symbol of a cross in a circle was familiar to Craig, who identified it as belonging to the Followers of the Apocalypse. Unsure what to expect, the two of them entered the building. The building was revealed to house a modest library, along with a room with some desks and a large, run down printing machine. There they were greeted by a robed figure, introducing himself as Father Alesius, the pastor of this community. Though the pastor could not provide any material aid, he did give them a valuable tip in mentioning that a man by the name of Jacob had been going around town earlier, looking for some capable hands for a lucrative job. They were told they could find this Jacob in the bar a bit further down the street called The Last Stop. Upon leaving the library they once again noticed Dexx, now sitting around the town square seemingly minding his own business, much as before. Rhiannon resolutely stepped towards him, demanding to know what he was up to, with Craig joining them after a short while. An animated conversation sprung up between the three of them, with some minor arguing back and forth. In the end Dexx convinced Craig and Rhiannon of him meaning no harm, and the mention of a lucrative job also tickled the man's interest. Dexx led his newfound companions to the local watering hole. After gruffly being greeted by the barman, who didn’t particularly care for Super Mutants, the party spotted Jacob and decided to see what he had to offer. Throwing himself up as the spokesperson for the threesome while Craig and Rhiannon sat down in the next boot, Dexx discussed the job offer with Jacob. He quickly learned that the latter worked for a big local rancher by the name of Obediah T. Jefferson, who urgently needed to fulfil on an important contract. His ranch foreman having fallen ill a few days earlier, Jefferson was looking for a few capable hands to transport half a dozen Brahmin bulls to the Longhorn Ranch, about a week’s travel away; agreed upon delivery date in six days time. The proposed payment sounding more than satisfactory, Dexx called Craig and Rhiannon over. Jacob at first reacted a bit hesitant, but after assuring him that Craig was a capable guard with great animal affinity and Rhiannon some sort of doctor/veterinarian - “animals and people are the same anyway” - and Dexx having some caravanning experience, the party convinced him of their merits and made the trip with him to the Jefferson Ranch, a few miles out of town.
The Jefferson Ranch proved quite impressive. Sturdy looking barns, stables, a beautiful wooden ranch building and pastures with threescore Brahmin made clear that Jefferson’s cattle farm ran well. Jacob showed them the pen with the bulls they’d be escorting. The appearance of a ghostly Brahmin seemed to be a good omen to Craig, while Dexx already seemed to be on speaking terms with one of them. The party was then summoned to Jefferson’s office to see if they could broker an agreement. Jefferson, a sweaty, corpulent man in immaculate white suit and ditto cowboy hat, seemed pleased enough with the ragtag band and after some haggling over their salary, he hired the threesome, to leave at the break of dawn the next morning, with Jacob as their guide. After taking their leave of Jefferson and receiving the friendly reminder they’d better not try to swindle him, the party returned to Camptown to shop for some last minute supplies at the bazaar and paid the bail money for the incarcerated Tribal Pyal. They then repaired for the night, with Dexx sleeping out at the Water Merchants tent camp and Craig, Rhiannon and Pyal spending the night under the stars, with only a few furs and a sleeping bag to keep them warm.

Session 0 summary

The first two sessions were sort of trial runs to try out some of the new aspects and combat with just one player. I'll give a quick summary of the plot events here:

Session 0


- Rhiannon Adare: inhabitant of Vault 21, skilled technician and science enthusiast;

Vault 21 was designed so the external sensors would unchangingly register lethal doses of radiation outside, basically confining its population to the Vault for all eternity. Special care was taken in choosing the original Overseer: a family history of mental instability, delusion, paranoid schizophrenic and aggressive tendencies, which were passed on to the next generations of Overseers. Over the years people would occasionally mysteriously disappear, after being deemed a (real of perceived) threat by the Overseer. By 2245 the population had dwindled to about eighty inhabitants, infertility and inbreeding becoming an increasingly real problem. In a desperate attempt to overthrow the Overseer, a handful of people revolted, among them Rhiannon's father. The rebellion quickly went south however. Her father, dying from a gunshot, revealed to her a very similar situation had occurred twenty years earlier and that her mother, being one of the ringleaders, had been banished from the Vault, sent out to die in the irradiated Wasteland and had not died giving birth as he had always told her. Rhiannon, having lost her last remaining family, fearing for her life because of her involvement, saw no choice but to try and escape, even if it would mean a slow death in the wastes. With the help of some of the other inhabitants she managed to elude security and open the great Vault door, leaving behind everything she had ever known for an uncertain future.
Outside, which turned out to be somewhere in Death Valley, she encountered a friendly scout of the Timbisha tribe, who invited her to his village. Spending some time there and learning that her mother had passed through there twenty years earlier also, she set out southwards. At dusk however, she and her Tribal guide Ticlop were ambushed by a raiding party of four from the neighbouring Macave tribe. Despite being a seasoned hunter and warrior, Ticlop soon found himself outmatched as the leader of the hostile Tribals ended his life with a forceful swing of his tomahawk. Rhiannon, not being accustomed to fighting, nevertheless fought with all the ferocity of a cornered animal, managing to brutally slash open two of her adversaries before being wrestled to the ground and bound. Planning to sell her to slavers, they started to lead her back to their own village. By now night had fallen however, and in their turn the tribals were ambushed by a snarling beast jumping out of the darkness. Being skilled hunters they quickly managed to dispatch the creature, but Rhiannon took full advantage of the confusion to make her escape. Hiding from her pursuers, she managed to throw them off and eventually made her way back to the Tribal village of Shoshünümü, hurt and shocked, but alive.

Handbook and Survival Guide

The first editions of the Overseer's Handbook for the GM and the players' Wasteland Survival Guide should now be up and available for download (fingers crossed). The first session of Savaged Fallout was everything considered a success. Everyone was already familiar with SW (but not with the Fallout universe) so we could start very quickly and we had a lot of fun getting to know the outlandish characters the players had come up with! A summary of the session to follow...