Friday, February 4, 2011

Location: Landfill Waste Yard

A more detailed description of the waste yard tunnels dungeon. Enjoy!

The sprawling waste yard at the edge of the Mojave desert, which gives its name to the shanty town of Landfill nestled at the foot of one of the giant trash piles, is truly a sight to behold in the desolate wasteland. Almost a thousand acres large, with three enormous heaps of refuse jutting out like the peaks of a mountain range, the landfill can be seen, and smelled, from miles around. A testament to an era of prosperity and wasteful consumption that's long gone, the waste yard is ironically the largest man-made structure in the area to have survived the Great War intact.
When Poseidon Energy surveyors scouted the terrain in 2051, they discovered a vast natural cave system, far away from human habitation and prying eyes. It was deemed a perfect disposal site for the large quantities of toxic and radioactive waste that were the unfortunate by-product of the country's increasing reliance on nuclear power plants to sate its energy needs. Thousands of barrels containing the hazardous green goo were dumped in the subterranean caves in the span of a few years, before the site was reappropriated by E.C.O. Recycling, a subsidiary of Poseidon Energy, as a landfill. Dubbed the Green Acres Waste Management and Disposal Site, the area was converted in a rubbish dump, covering up the underground caverns. By 2077 about 37% percent of the garbage produced yearly in the California - Nevada - Arizona tri-state area was dumped at Green Acres.
After the Great War the waste yard became a veritable gold mine for prospectors. Though less lucrative than looting abandoned military facilities or the irradiated ruins of bombed cities, scavenging the trash mountains proved all in all much safer. As the surface was picked clean in the course of time, more organized groups started digging rudimentary tunnels through the refuse to reach deeper, untouched layers, rich with the promise of valuable pre-war artifacts. Over time a small permanent settlement of mostly destitute prospectors grew around the waste yard. In 2251, some twenty years ago, 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, in return for which they can haul as much salvage out of the tunnels as they can carry. Clint also introduced work contracts, allowing scavengers to go in the tunnels for free, but having to relinquish their finds for a small finder's fee to him. As Clint controls most of the town's water and supplies, the contracts have created a group of semi-indentured labourers.

The waste yard is a dungeon for about three Novice to Seasoned characters. Enemies that can be encountered in the tunnels consist are Radroaches, Pig Rats and Mole Rats. In the toxic caves a group of Centaurs has taken residence. (Loot and number of enemies should be revised for larger groups.)

For 30 caps or 20 NCR dollar per person the party is admitted to the waste yard at the guarded chain-link fence. Signs warn that intruders will be shot on sight. A short distance away from the fence and the barracks of Clint's bruisers is a shack called Joe's Supplies. Here standard prospecting gear and ammo can be bought, as well as some
homemade roach-repellent (nuka-cola bottles containing a yellow-greenish liquid, to be thrown and shattered) for 10 caps or 7 NCR dollar. Joe will give first-timers some pointers about the tunnels, warning them about the wildlife that inhabits the upper tunnels, which start to roam and come out of the tunnels at nightfall, to feed off fresh garbage outside. He will also mention the rumours about strange creatures in the lower levels, said to be the cause of many a disappearance.

There are three entrances into the tunnels, from different sides of the trash mountain. At the entrance, an overpowering smell wafts from the tunnel. All players must make a
Vigor check (modifiers for Fatigue apply). If unsuccessful the character suffers a -2 penalty on Notice checks while down in the tunnels, on a critical failure the character gains a Fatigue level. Close to the entrances the tunnels are supported by shoddy wooden beams or metal girders, but as the party ventures deeper the tunnels are just hewn or dug out of the compacted trash with very little in the way of load-carrying supports. The corridors are in most places rather narrow, allowing not more than two characters to walk abreast. Using explosives in the tunnels comes with considerable risk: in the upper levels there's a 1 in 2 chance of the tunnel collapsing; in the lower levels this will happen inevitably. In case of a collapse, a character has to make an Agility check at -2 to try and dodge any falling debris or get hit for 3d6 damage. Clearing away the debris takes 1d4 hours with proper tools (shovels, pickaxes). Naturally there is no lighting in the tunnels, so the -4 penalty for pitch darkness applies if the party does not have some form of illumination. 

Immediately past the southern entrance to the left is a common room of sorts, with improvised benches and tables, where some prospectors can be found at all times. The upper level contains nests of 3d4+2 Radroaches. They are initially non-hostile and shy away from light. They will however attack if the players try to rummage through the trash piles in the nest. The trash piles on this level generally contain low value loot (broken equipment, tattered clothing with some caps) or just trash. Anyone with a Repair skill of d6 or higher can make a Notice check to discover useable Spare Parts in the trash piles. Aggressive Pig Rats can be found burrowing through the tunnels, emerging behind the players to make sneak attacks. The party will likely meet some other prospectors as well, excavating further tunnels or chambers. The tunnels keep winding down away from the entrances, and three of them go down steeply to the lower levels.

The lower levels are the home of a pack of ravenous Mole Rats, which hunt Radroaches and scavengers that get too close to their burrows. A group of 2d4+2 Mole Rats has made their lair in one of the larger chambers. The room is littered with trash and the remains of less fortunate explorers, among them the fresh corpse of Bill, whose wife may ask the players to look for him when they arrive in Landfill. From the lower levels one tunnel leads to a set of (animal-made) dug out chambers below. A different tunnel eventually leads to the mouth of a limestone cavern. Barrels bearing the nuclear hazmat logo are strewn about. One of the barrels has burst and spilled green goo over the floor. Characters can jump over the sludge on a successful Strength check. If the substance is touched, human characters must make a Rad Resistance check or gain 1 level of Radiation Poisoning. Ghouls with the Rad Regeneration Edge may make a natural healing check.

The lower chambers are the nesting ground of a horde of 2d6+3 Mole Rats, led by an Albino Mole Rat (Wild Card). Apart from even more bones and trash, the wreckage of a car can be found. Searching the glove compartment nets an old first aid kit, including some Rad-X, Med-X, Stimpacks, first aid supplies and a bottle of pure water. In the trash piles which litter the place chewed-on Small Energy Cells may be found, as well as some intact ones. Spare Parts can be salvaged from a severely damaged robot.
The caverns are a Low Radiation area. Barrels are stacked high along the walls of the cave, some leaking luminescent green goo. Venturing farther down into the caves will lead them to the lair of a group of 1d4+3 Centaurs. Past the Centaurs a small makeshift campsite can be found in a corner of the cave, two dead, partially eaten, Super Mutants propped up against the cavern wall. A Medicine check will reveal them to have been dead for decades. Apart from the decaying leather-and-metal armor they can be looted for an assault rifle with a couple of ammo clips, some frag grenades, a sledgehammer, a Stealth Boy, some flares, a field radio and a holotape. The holotape can be played on any computer terminal or a Pip-Boy. It relates the journey of a small group of Super Mutants after their assault on Necropolis back to the Cathedral. Along the way they are ambushed by a patrol of men in Power Armor, who manage to kill all but two of them. Together with the remaining Centaurs they flee to safety, pursued by the men, and hide in the waste yard tunnels, where they eventually die of their wounds.


  1. Excellent stuff! I appreciate your hard work and willingness to write it down for all others to enjoy. Keep up the good work!