The third session and part two of the mission the group started the previous time. I was a bit surprised about the rate of progression for the story thus far, as I originally intended it as a one shot adventure to introduce all the players to the Fallout universe, but it ended up taking up three sessions already. This session covered most of the middle part of the cattle drive and lacks a proper beginning and ending. Also Craig's player couldn't make it this week, so we were down to two players. They managed to avoid most of the hazards along the way thanks to some clever thinking (and good rolls), so all in all the second leg of the journey was rather uneventful, as befitting the life of the caravaneer, even all the Brahmin made it through this one alive ;) Note: the menacing Necropolis suddenly gets a lot less ominous when you start debating the intricacies of the ghoulish condition and their reproduction. Right now the party is split between capturing Ghouls to perform experiments on them and just plain shooting them. Ghouls beware!
- Dexx: Experienced thief and pickpocket, schooled by life on the streets of the Boneyard. Self-professed hater of Ghouls and honest/less lucrative work;
- Rhiannon: Vault 21 outcast, looking for her place in the outside world and studying its strange new sights and inhabitants with remarkable curiosity;
After their encounter with a swarm of giant mantises, the party hurriedly continued their course south east, having lost one bull to the creatures and another one seriously injured. Fortunately the mutant insects didn't put in a new appearance. Progress slowed, the wounded Brahmin lagging behind and eventually sagging down at the side of the road, stalling the group even more and wasting precious hours of daylight. A tad disheartened they made camp that night, enjoying a fine steak dinner, though Jacob seemed to begrudge every bite of it. Having lost too much time the previous day, the group decided to set out as early as possible the next morning. An unpleasant surprise waited for them however, as right before they set out Craig announced he would temporarily take his leave from them, after having been visited by an apparition during the night, to wander out into the desert alone on his vision quest. This didn’t sit well with the others who tried to persuade him to stay, but the Super Mutant obstinately refused and promised to meet up with them again before nightfall. One man down, the group started on the road again for a long day’s travel. Shortly afternoon they passed by Rockvale, the last settlement worthy of the name before they would emerge on the other side of the desert again. From here on out the vast open and emptiness of the Mojave stretched out before them, the road withering to little more than a trail.
As taking the most direct route to the Longhorn ranch would take them past Necropolis, the party decided to stop early, before dusk settled, still miles away from the city. None of them very much fancied the idea of passing the Ghoul infested ruins by night, and they were rewarded for their caution, making it through the night without suffering an attack from any roaming Ghouls. Rising early again the next day, the caravan continued further south east, keeping Necropolis well to their right, with the city looking ever so gloomy even in the full light of day. To their surprise their scout Pyal returned to the main group after some time, signalling two men heading in their direction, apparently coming from Necropolis. Dexx and Pyal decided to meet them head on, away from the others, if necessary ready to deal with them at the first sign of trouble. The figures turned out to be two Ghouls, one palish white and reasonably intact, the other in rather bad condition, with most of his face and skin rotten away or mortified. The sight of these creatures quite unnerved the tribesman Pyal, but Dexx already had some unpleasant experiences with them. Clearly his past encounters had left him with little love for Ghouls, as he warned the two travellers to keep going and no one would have any trouble. The Ghouls took the hint and went on their way, cursing these bigoted smoothskins under their breath.
The rest of the day’s journey went by without the group spotting another living soul, or anything else of interest apart from a few rocks and shrivelled shrubberies. To make up for lost time the party decided to press on during the night. Luckily Jacob had had the good foresight to bring some torches, as our heroes were entirely without means of illumination, save Rhiannon’s lighter. The caravan continued in this fashion for a few hours, with Dexx and Jacob arguing if it even made sense to keep going if they weren’t sure they were still heading in the right direction, until Rhiannon absentmindedly remembered she could tell their bearing by observing the stars. Down to their last torch, they went on, not aware of the dangerous nightlife lurking about. Soon enough two giant radscorpions assailed them, looking for easy prey. But they didn’t manage to catch the group off guard; while Rhiannon lighted the last torch and proceeded to attack one of the radscorpions with it, Pyal and Dexx made short work of the other one. Apart from a few frightened Brahmin, the group emerged unscathed from the ambush. Jacob remarked the stingers of the radscorpions can be used to brew an antidote for their potent venom, so Rhiannon wisely decided to cut them off and take them with them. Shortly thereafter they made camp, deciding who’d get a few hours of rest and who’d have to stand guard with the throw of a die, with Jacob and Pyal being the unlucky two appointed by fate. Tired but fit enough, the group set out again at first sign of dawn.
Not too long after they met with another lone traveller and his companions heading in the opposite direction, a travelling salesman by the name of Stan, his dog Louie and a rather worse for wear looking Mr. Gutsy unit. The threesome had been ambushed not too far south by a gang of raiders calling themselves the Rattlesnakes, who as of late had become much more aggressive and reckless. With her vast experience Rhiannon easily managed to fix the robot’s damaged combat inhibitor, happy for this memento to her old life. The travellers gratefully departed and the caravan set on, all the while without their enigmatic Super Mutant friend Craig, who was still nowhere to be seen.