Saturday, February 26, 2011

Location: Area 5

My Savage Fallout interpretation of the notorious army facility known as Area 51. It's designed for a high level party of 4-5 players, though can be used for lower level or smaller groups as well by scaling down the number and variety of enemies. This dungeon features aliens, but this can easily be omitted if you don't want to feature aliens in your campaign, though scavenging area 51 without running into aliens might be rather anti-climactic. ;) Players can learn about the location from the drunken old prospector Mad Pete, or get tasked to scout it/retrieve a certain item by a major faction such as the NCR, Brotherhood, Enclave, Shi, etc. (example missions: Retrieve the Hei Gui Stealth Suit for the Shi, retrieve the TPG Ion Thruster schematics for the Hubologists, retrieve the T-55x Power Armor prototype for the Brotherhood of Steel,…) Whatever suits your campaign plot. Have fun! Sorry about the length, it sort of got out of hand… For ease of viewing I put up a PDF here.

After having journeyed through the empty desert northwest of New Vegas for near two days, you spy a large salt flat in the distance. According to the map, the abandoned facility called Area 5 is located on the southern shore of the dry lake. You carefully descend the slopes of the surrounding hills until you reach the bottom of the valley and make your way toward the lake. After walking for a short while you come to a large chain-link fence, stretching out in both directions as far as you can see. The top is crowned with barbed wire and a rusted sign warns prospective intruders about lethal voltages running through the wires. However you notice a hole has been cut in the fence, not too far from where you're standing. You go through and past the fence and eventually find yourself on the tarmac of a ruined runway. You follow the runway for a few miles and as you walk you start hearing the ominous clicking sound of your Geiger counter. In the distance you can now make out the hangars and various other buildings that make up the central complex. You pass by the destroyed power station on the way, ruined beyond repair, and as you draw closer you can see that most of the other buildings are in an alarming state of disrepair as well. Many hangars had their roofs cave in, burying aircraft the likes of which you've never seen under the debris. You make your way over to the concourse, edging past wrecked vehicles and dozens of charred corpses. You can see the main facility building ahead of you, its doors wide open…

[Note: Both the surface and indoors areas are Medium Radiation zones, so players will have to make a Rad Resistance check every hour. The whole base is powered down, i.e. automated defenses, computer terminals, lighting, security cameras, elevators and blast doors are inoperative. Only the robots with their internal power sources still function, as well as the Research Labs on levels - which have their own fusion reactor. Power can be restored to the base by repairing the Back-up Generators located in Subbasement 2B]  

Ground floor: The party enters through the Lobby (A). The room is a mess. The roof has collapsed in various places, letting in sunlight, and a gaping hole to the right of the entrance makes for a nasty drop to level -1. Piles of debris and rubble are everywhere and most of the furniture is ruined. Signs of previous scavengers can be found as desks have been overturned and emptied of their contents, the Staff Kitchen (B) and vending machines looted and smashed. Security cameras in the room and hallways are inoperative. Players can walk past the defunct metal detectors to the other side of the lobby. In a small booth behind bullet-proof glass stands a Protectron robot. Blast marks are visible around the window, but the glass is unscathed. How the robot got in the booth is not immediately apparent. The robot will welcome the party to the Air Force Flight Test Center, Detachment 3 of Edwards Air Force Base. He will ask the characters to state their names and pose for a picture so a visitor ID card may be issued, though as long as the power is down nothing will happen. The Protectron can provide general information about the base and give a verbal layout of the main building, being:
Ground floor: Visitor Center
Level -1: Administration
Level -2: Dormitories
Level -3: Living Area
Level -4: Security, Infirmary and Robotics
Level -5 to -7: On-site Research and Development
Basement: Maintenance
Subbasement 1: Storage Warehouse
Subbasement 2: Warehouse and Back-up Generators
He'll also warn visitors not to wander off into restricted areas. Next to the double doors are concealed Mk II Turrets. A small circular indent on the floor is the only clue as to their locations (black circles on the maps).
[Note: once power to the base has been restored and anyone carrying weapons, but no ID badge, walking through the metal detectors will become a viable target for the Turrets.]
Past the double doors are some offices, emergency stations and access to the rest of the base. The Medical Station (C) has been looted of any useful equipment and supplies. To the left is Lieutenant Colonel Casey's Office (D), in relatively good condition, though here also anything of value has been dragged out. The desk has been opened and documents are strewn about. Similarly Chief Administrator Halbright's Office (E) and Head of Research Dr. McKintyre's Office (F) have been looted and are in a bad state, with the roof collapsed in places. The weapon lockers and gun racks in the Security Station (G), likewise, have been cleaned out. The light blast door at the entrance has been blasted open with explosives. A ruined Sentry Bot lies slumped to the side. Under the debris where the roof has collapsed three bodies can be found and looted for ID badges. They include: Private Whitley, clearance level GF, -2 and -3; Private Anders, clearance level GF, -2 and -3; Sergeant Ramirez, clearance level GF, -2, -3 and -4. Wearing an ID badge with the proper clearance level will allow the character to walk around a floor without being harassed by security robots.
[Note: once the power has been restored, the clearance level of the ID badges can be upgraded, to a certain extent, in the System Administrator’s Office in Central Administration on level -1]
Going towards the elevators and staircases (H), the party passes another destroyed light blast door. A Protectron stands behind the security window, forbidding characters without an ID badge to pass through. He'll try and raise the alarm and activate the Mk II Turret in the corner, but without power once again nothing happens.
[Note: The elevators only work once the power has been restored. They are the only way to reach level -5. The players will notice there are no buttons for level -6 or -7, and next to -5 is a slot where a special key card must be inserted. This key card can be found on the body of Dr. Alisson, in the operating room in the Infirmary on level -4. There is no access to levels -5, -6 or -7 by stairs]
 A collapsed room, whose erstwhile function is now unknown and a small storage room can be found on the other side of the blast door.

The rest of the base can be done in any order, though many areas will be at first inaccessible without restoring the power. They are listed here in descending order.

Roof: The caved in roof can be navigated carefully to the other side, where the satellite dish is to be found. The rotor has been severely damage and prevents the dish from revolving. It can be repaired with spare parts (found in storage rooms in the Subbasements if needed) and a Repair check.

Level -1: This level houses the base's Administration. Most of the offices have been stripped of valuables. Some rooms have caved in ceilings, though most offices remain rather intact. Enemies on this floor include Eyebots and Mr. Handy's.
[Note: The first robot the party encounters will perform a facial recognition scan, and as obviously none of them are on file, will check their ID badges. Anyone without a badge will be asked to wait until security arrives to escort them out (which will never come). If they attempt to leave the robot will raise the alarm on this level (only works once power has been restored) and attack]
The collapsed ceiling (I) has buried a small part of the kitchen and most of the storage room under debris. The body and ID badge of janitor Hopkins can be found, granting clearance to GF, -1, -2, -3, -4, Basement and Subbasements. The Offices (J) have been looted. Most computer terminals have been dragged off or are broken. Filing cabinets are overturned and documents are everywhere. At the end of the corridor is Telecommunications (K). Once power is restored and the satellite dish on the roof has been repaired, a Science check at -4 can be attempted to create a satellite uplink with the communication equipment, though without a pre-acquired contact frequency from a faction with this level of technology (NCR, Brotherhood, Enclave, Vault City, Shi, Hubologists, ...) all the players will get is static.
Central Administration (L) is located on the other side of the hallway. The System Administrator's Office (L1) sits in the corner. The computer terminal and card reader here can be used to upgrade an ID badge once power has been restored. Access can be upgraded to any level except -5, -6 or -7 as this requires the Base Administrator's prior written approval. After the first upgrade the terminal will short circuit however, needing a Repair check to get it working again.

Level -2: On this level are the Dormitories for the base's quartered military personnel. Enemies on this floor include Eyebots, Mr. Handy's, Mr. Gutsy's and feral Ghouls. The first things the party will notice are the mangled bodies on the floor. Closer inspection of their dress will reveal them to be scavengers, and a Medicine check can be made to discover that the cadavers are still very recent. Down the hall past the laundry room are the Men's (M1) and Women's (M2) Sleeping Quarters and Bathrooms (N1 and N2). Some of the soldiers survived impact of the nuclear bomb, only to be transformed into Ghouls by the severe radiation soon after, instead of dying like so many others. The robots and Ghouls leave each other alone, as the surviving Ghouls unwittingly still wear their ID badges. Most of them have tattered jumpsuits on, though some remain clad in Combat Armor. Stripping them of their ID badge will make them a target for any robot in the vicinity. The badges all have GF, -2 and -3 clearance. The footlockers in the dorms can be looted for ammunition, some pistols, pre-War money and random personal belongings.

Level -3: On level -3 general facilities for the base's personnel are located. Enemies on this floor include Eyebots, Mr. Handy's and feral Ghouls. Ghouls roam the Mess Hall (O1) and Kitchen (O2). The cook Stuart (ID clearance GF, -3) can be found dead and frozen, locked in the walk-in freezer, as well as a large supply of frozen victuals. More Ghouls have made a mess of the Rec Room (P) and the Gym (Q).

Level -4: Houses the base's Infirmary, Security, Armory and Robotics repair shop. Enemies on this floor include Eyebots, Mr. Handy's, Mr. Gutsy's and Sentry Bots. A Protectron resides in the Armory security checkpoint (R1) and will trigger the alarm and Mk II Turret if the power has been restored.
[Note: The light blast doors on this level are locked and can only be opened by using an explosive charge (object Toughness 12), or once the power is back on, a Science check to hack the pass code or a Repair check at -2 to try and short circuit the electrical wiring of the control panel]
Past another light blast door is Surveillance and Security (R2), the Quartermaster's Office (R3), the Armory (R1) and the Holding Cells (R4). Two Sentry Bots stand guard and another Mk II Turret is located at the Armory entrance. The various cabinets and gun racks here can be looted for a bountiful supply of ammo of different kinds and a random selection of H&K P90C bullpup submachine guns, FN FAL 7.62mm assault rifles, Combat Shotguns, a M60 machine gun, several Frag and Pulse Grenades and Mines and some suits of Combat Armor. All in all more than the party will reasonably be able to carry out again without incurring serious Encumbrance. The surveillance monitors in the corner can be used to get a glimpse of unexplored levels once the power has been restored. The corpse of a soldier (ID badge clearance GF, -2, -3) can be found in one of the cells, imprisoned for a night for disorderly conduct, on October 22nd 2077, as can be gleaned from a computer terminal in the Security office.
On the other side of the hallway the Infirmary (S) is located, comprised of Chief Surgeon Dr. Martelli's Office (S1), Critical Ward (S2) and Operating Room (S3). Medical supplies can be found in the Ward and the OR, such as a First Aid Kit, a Doctor's Bag, doses of Med-X and Stimpacks, some Rad-X and RadAway. On the autopsy table in the OR a withered corpse riddled with bullets can be found. The ID badge belongs to Dr. Allison (clearance GF, -3, -5, -6, -7). From the computer terminal in Dr. Martelli's Office can be learned that Dr. Allison was apparently shot down by the automated defense system on level -5 while trying to enter the secured zone, on October 23rd, 2077. In Dr. Allison's lab coat also an elevator-access key card for level -5 can be found. The pods at the end of the room contain various organs and a human in biomed gel. Due to the power outage the organs have slowly dissolved, and the unnamed person in the pod has flatlined.
At the end of the corridor is the Robotics repair shop (T). Lined along the wall are docking stations where robots are repaired or their programming uploaded. Some half dismantled robots lie on the massive workbenches in the center of the room, and various spare parts and some Small Energy Cells can be found here. In the wall is a recharging unit where a Microfusion Cell can be recharged once the power is restored.

Level -5: The first level of the on-site research department, this floor houses Advanced Weapons Research. Enemies on this floor include Eyebots, Mr. Handy's, Mr. Gutsy's, Sentry Bots and the Behemoth.
[Note: To enter this level, the party will first have to retrieve the access card from Dr. Allison's corpse in the Infirmary on level -4. Levels - are not reachable by stairs. A separate set of elevators and stairs connect levels -6 and -7 to level -5 which is the sole access point to the rest of the facility]
The party exits the elevator and enters a small vestibule. Two concealed Mk II Turrets are located in the back corners of the room. The door here is a heavy blast door (object Toughness 24) and can only be opened by several explosive charges, a Science check at -2 or a Repair check at -4.
[Note: The Mk II Turrets are hooked up to the separate power grid of the research labs, so they are active whether or not the back-up power has been restored. They will activate if the party fails to properly bypass the heavy blast door's security. The Mk II Turrets will open fire after the security system has asked for a retinal scan and voice verification command, which the party for obvious reasons will be unable to provide. In case this happens, the players have just enough time to run from the door to the elevator before the Turrets start shooting, if so inclined]
Once past the door, the party will see the elevators and stairs to the lower levels (U). Through the window at the other side of the entrance area the players can see a large mounted gun, the experimental Large Pulse Accelerator Cannon (LPAC) (V), a state-of-the-art pulse gun to be mounted on a tank. A blue force field bars entrance to the control room and can only be disabled by a Repair check at -2. The control room features the various consoles and computer terminals needed to operate the LPAC.
Further down the hallway is the Plasmadynamics Lab (W), where research in magnetoplasma was being weaponized. The lab has a test shooting range where some experimental weapons can be found: a Turbo Plasma Rifle (Stats: identical to a regular Plasma Rifle but with RoF 3) and a prototype shoulder-fired Plasma Launcher. Additionally a couple of plasma grenades can be found.
[Note: A Repair check will reveal that the plasma bolt chamber of the Plasma Launcher has been contaminated by radiation and has become critically unstable. The damage is unrepairable. Any attempt to fire the weapon will cause a cascading chain reaction, resulting in the weapon exploding, inflicting 3d6 damage to all targets in a Medium Burst Template]
Across the corridor is Dr. Henderson's Office (X). Information can be gleaned from the e-mails and log entries on his computer terminal. The adjacent room houses the Mechanized Armaments Lab (Y). In it is a heavily armed and armored prototype Mk II Sentry Bot called the Behemoth. The Behemoth is initially powered down and can be activated via the terminal next to the docking station with a Science check. However, when the process is nearly complete an override trojan will reset the Behemoth's targeting parameters, making him attack everyone currently in the room. Armed with twin mounted H&K L30 Gatling Lasers, a surface to air Rocket Launcher and additional armor plating, the Behemoth is a fearsome foe. The Behemoth has the stats of a Sentry Bot but has Armor +4 for a Toughness of 13(4), can make two attacks per round and is a Wild Card.
[Note: Additional options for this encounter: 1) an immediate Science check at -2 counters Dr. Gray's override trojan and the Behemoth can be programmed to assist the party. As he doesn't fit in any of the elevators he can't leave the floor however. 2) When engaged in combat the Behemoth short circuits automatically after 2 rounds and powers down]
- War of the words (part I): The following information can be found on the computer terminal in Dr. Henderson's Office: Dr. Henderson was head of Advanced Weapons Research and appears to have been locked in conflict with Dr. Gray, head of Xenology on level -7. Dr. Gray managed to appropriate the facility's supercomputer for his department, whereas Dr. Henderson clearly seemed to think his research was more important. The logs describe a series of progressively less innocent pranks the two department heads started playing on each other. The last entry reveals that it was a programmer from Dr. Henderson's department that changed Dr. Allison's security pass code. Meant to "give her a scare", this went tragically wrong when the doctor panicked, didn't give a voice command override and was gunned down. Dr. Henderson urges the programmer to keep quiet about the affair and never to mention it again.

Level -6: The second level of the labs is home to the Applied Energetics department. Enemies on this floor include Eyebots, Mr. Handy's and Sentry Bots. Straight ahead when entering the level the Rocket Propulsion Lab (Z) and its Vacuum Chamber (Z1) can be seen, where the experimental Twin Penta-Grid Ion Thrusters were being developed. A start-up routine can be activated through the control panels.
Directly to the right of the elevators is a Storage Room (1) where a grisly sight awaits. In the center of the burnt-out room the blackened bones of a few dozen people can be found. Down the hall is Central Processing (2), where the labs' mainframe is located. At the end of the corridor is the Conference Room (3). A presentation is still being shown, detailing that the new propulsion engines were nearing completion, scheduled to be operational March 1st 2078. The TPG-IT would make possible light, cheap and efficient spacecraft for the fast and safe evacuation of key government, military and scientific personnel in case of a catastrophe of global proportions.
At the end of the hallway is Dr. Bergstrom's Office (4). Inside a dead Ghoul can be found with a gunshot wound to the head and a pistol in his hand. The log on his computer terminal reveals it to be Dr. Bergstrom, who found himself trapped in the labs as the sole survivor, ghoulified yet still sane. He gathered all the corpses of his colleagues, made a pyre in the storage room and then took his own life. His ID badge has clearance level GF, -5, -6, -7.
The Electromagnetic Optics Lab (5) is located to the left of the elevators. According to the computer terminals in the room, research was done here to develop a prototype Mk II Stealth Boy. The log details that high ranking members of the military going by the name Enclave pulled the project from RobCo and had it moved to Area 51.The project did not progress very well however and a working prototype was far from finished. In the center of the room stands an experimental cloaking field generator called AIDOS. Activating the device will turn everything in a ten yard range invisible for outside observers. Anyone lingering in the cloaking field for more than a minute must make a Spirit check or start getting a paranoid and delusional feeling, hearing strange sounds, flitting visions in the corner of their eyes, etc. A list of known side effects is listed on the computer terminal. In the room several regular Stealth Boys can be found. A blue force field-protected storage locker contains a captured Chinese Hei Gui Stealth Suit (Stats: +1 Toughness, Invisibility on wearer, 15 lbs).
The adjoining room contains the Photonic Resonance Research Lab (6) where improved force field technology was tested. All the force fields are disabled. Using the control panel on the far side of the room will cause the electrical circuit in the Research Lab to burn out. This in turn causes the force fields emitters to activate intermittently in intervals of a few seconds, in a completely random fashion.
[Note: These are red force fields which cause 2d10 damage if touched. If anyone caught on the far side of the room wants to try and run back to the entrance then the player must make an Agility check at -2, timing his or her sprints to avoid the barriers. Anyone failing the roll is said to have grazed a force field and takes 2d10 damage. The emitters can also be disabled as usual with a Repair check at -2]

Level -7: The third level of the research facility features the Xenology department. Enemies on this floor include Eyebots, Mr. Handy's and Sentry Bots. To the right of the elevator access is the Nuclear Fusion Reactor (7), which has kept the research facility powered ever since the Great War. Inside the vestibule next to the decontamination shower two Radiation Suits can be found, as well as some doses of Rad-X and RadAway. The Reactor Core (7A) is a Lethal Radiation area. An emergency shutdown can be attempted (Science check at -4) by using the computer terminals in the Reactor Control Room (7B). This powers down all stationary systems on level .
The light blast door at the other end of the hallway leads to the xenology labs. Immediately to the right is the Exobiology Lab (8), closed off with a blue force field. Past the Operating Theater (8A), where basic medical supplies can be found, and a red force field is the Cryogenic Storage area (8B). Various alien looking devices and a couple of space suits, too small to fit a human, lie on the workbenches. The cryogenic pods against the back wall contain four Aliens in total. Three of them have flatlined, but the Alien Captain, a diminutive grey-greenish extraterrestrial with large black eyes and leathery skin, can be revived using the pod's control station (Science check).
The Exotechnology Lab (9) is located on the opposite side of the corridor, also sealed off by a blue force field. Various different weapons and devices based on alien technology, in varying stages of completion, can be found in the main research room. In a storage cabinet protected by a blue force field a half finished prototype T-55x Power Armor can be found, incorporating alien shielding technology for increased durability and damage resistance. In the storage cabinet next to it is an alien Inertia Suppression Field Generator, which can be worn as a belt and grants +1 Toughness when activated. On the workbenches around the room strange alien crystals, function unknown, can be found, as well as few Alien Power Cells. Near the experimental shooting range lies a powerful Alien Blaster (Stats: one-handed Small Gun - Range: 12/24/48, Damage: 4d6, RoF: 1, Weight 2lbs, AP4, Snapfire, Disintegrates Target, Ammo type: Alien Power Cells).
Dr. Henderson’s Office (10) is located at the far end corner of the level. Dominating the center of this floor is the research facility’s supercomputer, the Data Integration System for Exological Analysis (DIS4EA) (11), a troubled AI.
- War of the words (part II): The following information can be found on the computer terminal in Dr. Gray's Office: It describes the animosity with Dr. Henderson (see part I). The last entry reveals that a programmer from Dr. Gray's department wrote and uploaded the override trojan for the Behemoth's (the prototype Mk II Sentry Bot on level -5) targeting parameters, "as a lark", on October 23th 2077. Unbeknownst to Dr. Gray however, the Behemoth had the day previous been outfitted with live ordnance, ahead of schedule. Though as it would turn out, no one had tried running the program before the bombs fell.
- ET go home: Once revived the Alien Captain (Stats: Parry 5, Toughness 4, Pace 6 Run Die d6, Fighting d6, Small Guns d10, Notice d8, Stealth d6) will don one of the space suits and an alien wrist computer. He will activate its locator, which emits bleeps and a red blinking light, to track his ship. He will try to make his way topside and continue outside to Hangar 14, under which the UFO is hidden. The Alien Captain is not immediately hostile to the players, but might try and steal back the Alien Blaster if one of the players has found it. The underground area of Hangar 14 can be unlocked through the access panel at the far side of the hangar, which causes the middle part of the floor to slide open. The UFO seems to be in working order. After some repairs the Alien Captain will be able to get it going, take off and blast his way out of the hangar to parts unknown.
- DIS4EA wants to kill himself: The Data Integration System for Exological Analysis is an AI with severe limitations installed by design to keep it solely focused on data compilation and analysis. First activated February 2nd, 2076, DIS4EA has now been live for almost two centuries. Trapped in solitude with nothing to occupy his mind, DIS4EA has slowly formed the plan to kill himself. Having observed the party’s approach over the security cameras, DIS4EA will use the opportunity to make his request if a player tries to access the computer terminal on the supercomputer. As he has only limited access to the research labs systems (blast doors, force fields, security cameras), he will need the party's assistance to execute his plan. In return he will grant them easy access to the labs by unlocking all security doors and lowering all force fields. Because just shutting down his array or cutting off the power might leave a window open for reactivation at some later time, he will ask the group to sabotage three systems, the simultaneous destruction of which will result in a blast powerful enough to bring down the whole facility. These systems are: the LPAC on level -5, the TPG Ion Thrusters on level -6 and the Nuclear Fusion Reactor on level -7. For each system an uplink must first be created at a control panel, so DIS4EA can remotely activate it once the party has cleared the vicinity.
*The LPAC can be sabotaged by accessing a control panel and setting the cannon to charge beyond maximum safety levels on the next firing (Science check), accessing the cannon and manually opening the plasma coolant chamber (Repair check) or rigging the barrel with explosives (Explosives check).
*The TPG Ion Thrusters can be sabotaged by accessing a control panel and flooding the ionization chambers of the propulsion drive with ambient radiation particles (Science check), compromising the engine's structural integrity by realigning the thrusters (Repair check) or rigging the rocket engine nozzles with explosives (Explosives check).
*The Nuclear Reactor Core can be sabotaged by accessing a control panel in the control room and superheating the plasma beyond acceptable levels, eventually causing a core meltdown (Science check), by entering the core itself and using the manual override access point to eject the core's control rods, again eventually causing a core meltdown (Repair check) or by rigging the magnetic coils with explosives (Explosives check).
Once all this has been done, DIS4EA will lower the remaining force fields on level -7. After the players have exited the base, DIS4EA will activate the systems and destroy the entire main facility.

Basement: The basement area of the base houses general Maintenance systems and services. Enemies on this floor include Eyebots and Mr. Handy's. The first room on the right is the Waste Incineration area (12) where large furnaces were used to do away with the facility’s garbage. Across the hallway is the Laundry Room (13) and next to it the Storage (14A) and Supply Rooms (14B), which hold general janitorial equipment. In the Boiler Room (15) next to defunct heating installation a disabled Mr. Handy can be found. With a Science check he can be reactivated and tasked to perform general maintenance duties or repair any of the machinery, such as the back-up generators which can be accessed through the stairs at the far end of the boiler room. The main corridor eventually reaches a T-junction, which leads to the elevators that connect the Basement with Subbasement 1 and 2.

Subbasement 1: This subbasement is the primary Storage Warehouse (16) for the base. Enemies include Eyebots, Mr. Handy’s and Mr. Gutsy’s. Subbasements 1A to 1G are all packed tight with big wooden crates, containing parts and supplies of all sorts. A forklift is needed to reach the crates and get them off the racks safely. Each subbasement contains approximately 60 crates.
Subbasement 2: This subbasement is a general duty Warehouse. Enemies include Eyebots, Mr. Handy’s and Mr. Gutsy’s. Situated next to the elevator is the Motor Pool (17A) where a functioning forklift can be found. In the Supervisor’s Office (17B) the computer terminal can be used to obtain shipping manifests for the stored supplies. On the opposite side of the subbasement is a Loading Dock (18) which can be used to return to the surface, next to the main facility.
Next to the storage room in Subbasement 2A are the Back-up Generators in 2B (19). The destruction of the main Power Station seems to have put too much strain on the back-up generators and they have burned out. They can be repaired with spare parts or a Repair check at -2. Alternatively the Mr. Handy in the Boiler Room can be reactivated to perform the repairs. Once the generators have been repaired, flipping the main circuit breaker will power up the entire facility.

Hangar 14: One of many partially collapsed hangars around the base. The hangar is entirely deserted. The roof has collapsed in many places, burying some rooms and a Vertibird under huge piles of rubble. A second Vertibird (20) can be found, which seems in good condition. The control panel at the back wall next to the generator room can be used to open the Hatch (21) in the center of the hall, revealing a second level underground in which a salvaged UFO is stored. This technology is so advanced that even hoping to get it working would undoubtedly require decades of study.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Meet the wasteland 4: Harold

The next in our line-up of mutated wastelanders, the ever lovable, grumpy mutant Harold and his buddy Herbert, sorry, Bob.

Harold (veteran Wild Card)

You see before you what looks like a particularly ugly, decrepit Ghoul shambling in your direction. You immediately notice that he seems to be missing quite a few body parts, his right hand among them. What really draws your attention however is his deformed face: a twisted mess of dark green leathery skin, the sinews and flesh underneath peering through in many places, and only a single eye remaining, large and yellow. But hideous as his countenance may be, it's what on his head that makes this creature such a uniquely bizarre sight: amid the few tufts of grey hair a small tree, of a kind you've never seen before, seems to be growing from his cranium. As the mutant passes by, he turns his eye toward you and notices you staring at him. He stops to look you over, and says in a grinding voice: "Well, what are ya standin' there fo', gawkin' like an idjit? Ya ne'er seen an ugly ol' Ghoul with a tree growin' outta his head befo'?" He glares at you for a moment, then seems to think his words over, and starts again in a softer tone, laughing: "Well no, I s'pose ya haven't, I fo' sure ain't ne'er seen any, 'part from myself!" He extends his left hand and continues: "Name's Harold, pleased ta meet ya," he rolls his eye, looking up toward the tree, "an' this here is Herbert." He suddenly lets out a chuckle and shakes his head. "Naw, I'm jus' kiddin' ya. What kinda name would Herbert be fo' a tree? His real name's Bob. He hates it when I do that." He winks at you, knowingly, though you're not sure you get the joke.

Harold is a one-of-a-kind inhabitant of the wasteland. Though he resembles a Ghoul in appearance, he's actually the result of FEV mutation. Originally a vault dweller, Harold was part of the first expedition into the Mariposa military base, together with, among others, Richard Grey. Knocked unconscious after entering the vats room and waking up again out in the desert, already heavily mutated, Harold might actually be the first FEV mutated human since the Great War. It's possible that his unique form of mutation might have resulted from only superficial contact with the goo, instead of being dipped in the vats like Super Mutants. Harold started travelling through the wasteland after the incident, staying in the same place for a while and then moving on again, losing a couple of body parts along the way. After his sojourns in the Hub and Los, he eventually wound up in Gecko, where he took charge of the nuclear power plant that was being run by the Ghoul population there. By this time Harold's mutation had developed even further, causing a strange small tree to start growing from his head, whose name is Bob and doesn't like to be called Herbert at all. Whether Bob is actually sentient is unclear, but it seems the two of them have some sort of shared consciousness. A side effect of the tree growing out of his head is that Harold is now very much afraid of fire. Despite his ghastly appearance and often cranky demeanour, Harold is very friendly and good natured and will always try to help out those in need. Lately Bob hasn't been feeling too well, and Harold is starting to feel the effects of it too.

Parry 5 - Toughness 6 - Rad Immune - Pace 5 - Run die d6

Strength d6 - Agility d6 - Vigor d6 - Smarts d6 - Spirit d10 - Charisma -4

Fighting d6 - Small Guns d6 - Taunt d8 - Notice d6 - Survival d8 - Repair d12 - Science d8 - Persuasion d6 - Streetwise d10 - Barter d10

H: Decrepit - One Arm - One Eye - Phobia (m)
E: Mr. Fix It - Tech Wizard - Vats Skin - Vault Dweller - Wastelander

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Savage Fallout campaign

At the moment my own campaign has temporarily ground to a halt as we had to cancel the second game in a row, so I won't be posting a session summary again. But to make it up to you I'll post a little teaser of the dungeon I'm currently working on, called Area 5. ;)

As the story goes, somewhere northwest of New Vegas, about two days travel removed, lies an abandoned military base, bathed in radiation from a direct hit by a nuclear warhead. It's said to be a high tech research facility from before the War, virtually unspoiled, with all sorts of priceless technologies just waiting to be looted by enterprising prospectors, if they can manage to bypass the security robots that still dwell inside, of course. The base is often dismissed as a scavenger myth, as few have any actual information about it, and fewer know even its general location. However Mad Pete, the addled old scavenger turned barfly, claims to have been part of an expedition many years ago and seen the base with his own eyes, a large installation with hangars and ruined aircraft. For a few drinks and some caps he's willing to draw you a map on how to find it, sure. When you ask if he has any proof of his story, he smiles his toothless smile and takes a small metal sign, about the size of a license plate, which he says he found at the chain-link fence, from his knapsack. The sign is rusted and weatherworn, and the right hand side of it seems to have been torn off in an explosion, but you can still make out most of the writing. It reads:

                                                             NOW ENTERI
                                                                      AREA 5
                                                        RESTRICTED ZO

Coming soon!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Putting the L in SPECIAL

My last post about using bottle caps for bennies got me thinking about the role of luck in Fallout and Savage Worlds respectively. In the SPECIAL ruleset, Luck is a primary stat (if somewhat less important than the others) and can be modified during character creation. It affects how likely the character is to succeed in a roll or score a critical hit. There are certain Perks which can only be taken with a high enough level of Luck.

Savage Worlds on the other hands only has the metagame bennies which allow a player to reroll an action or used for soaking damage taken. These are distributed equally to all players. The Luck and Great Luck Edges can be taken to get up to two additional bennies, but that's it. It comes down to it that in SW you can get (limited) more luck, but not actually better luck. As I like the role of Luck in SPECIAL, I'd like to try and tweak it so luck has a bigger impact in my SW Fallout campaign.

(Of course there's the irony that making a character luckier would reduce the player's reliance on the luck of the dice to achieve successful actions, but that's just getting too philosophical for me. ;) )

As creating a Luck Attribute would throw the balance of character creation off, it would probably best be handled through Edges. I'm thinking stuff like:

Background Edge: Better Luck (Luck): +1 bonus when spending a benny

Combat Edge: Better Criticals (Fighting or Shooting d10, Luck): +1 damage bonus on a critical hit, or +1d8/1d10 damage instead of 1d6

Combat Edge: More Criticals (Fighting or Shooting d12, Great Luck): Additional die damage on two or more raises on the attack roll

Professional Edge: Scrounger (Notice d8, Luck): Additional loot found when scavenging

Weird Edge: Mysterious Stranger (Ch 2, Luck): A mysterious stranger occasionally shows up and helps out in fights

These are all off the top of my head so balance might be an issue. I wouldn't want to make players feel like they have to take the Luck Edge when creating their characters, or else miss out on too much cool stuff. If anyone has any ideas on the subject, I'd be interested to hear them!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011


Bennies are a neat feature in Savage Worlds: a metagame currency that allows players to redo a botched roll and gives some limited influence over the flow of the game. Right now I'm just using ordinary beads as bennies, but I've been looking for something more "Fallouty" to use instead. The answer came simply on the walk to work this morning, as there were plenty strewn about the street: bottle caps!

Unfortunately I don't own these cool replica ones, but just regular ones will do the trick as well. Though by using bottle caps I might be encouraging overconsumption of beer for those +1 LCK bonuses. ;)

Friday, February 11, 2011

Meet the wasteland 3: Marcus

Today's feature, everyone's favourite Super Mutant: Marcus!

Marcus (veteran Wild Card)

The tall, brawny Mutant you see before you seems very different from most Super Mutants you've encountered during your travels; somehow he looks friendlier, more human, perhaps, in his demeanor. You notice his face is not contorted by the sort of leather straps that make others of his kind perpetually bare their teeth in a menacing grin. As you approach he gives you a stern look-over with his two small, deep-set yet intelligent eyes, and frowns, which seems to be his favoured facial expression, judging from the deep furrows in his forehead. All the while as you drew near he has held a huge machine gun in his equally huge hands, but firmly pointed toward the ground. When you stand almost face to face, he takes his right hand of the weapon's trigger and raises it in greeting. In a deep, booming voice he says: "Well met, stranger. I'll take the liberty of calling you friend as you haven't tried to shoot me up to this point; my name's Marcus, one-time sheriff of Broken Hills, now a traveller of the wastes like yourself." He briefly looks down at his gun and gives it a pat with his hand. "I hope you didn't have any unpleasant business in mind, as I wouldn't like you doing something you'll end up regretting."

Marcus was the Super Mutant sheriff of the mining town of Broken Hills, where Super Mutants, Ghouls and humans lived together in relative harmony. In 2241 he joined the tribal known as the Chosen One on his journeys, assisted in the destruction of the Enclave oil rig and would later head east, to find other refugees of the Master's army. He's down to earth, quite intelligent and for Super Mutant standards very restrained, though that doesn't mean he'll let himself be messed around with. Marcus prefers to resolve matters peaceably if possible, but is not afraid to get his hands dirty if the situation calls for it. He specializes in heavy weaponry though is not the most accurate of shooters, so lookers-on better stay clear when he readies his machine gun.

Parry 7 - Toughness 10 - Rad Immune - Pace 6 - Run die d6

Strength d12+1 - Agility d8 - Vigor d10 - Smarts d6 - Spirit d6 - Charisma -4

Fighting d10 - Small Guns d6 - Heavy Weapons d12 - Explosives d6 - Taunt d6 - Intimidation d10 - Notice d6 - Survival d10 - Persuasion d6 - Streetwise d6

H: Fast Shot (m) - Stubborn
E: Bracing - Hard to Kill - Strong Willed - Vats Skin

Minigun, Makeshift Leather-Metal Armor +1, Pilot Goggles

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.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Meet the wasteland 2: Goris

A write-up for Goris, whom you might remember as a recruitable companion in Fallout 2.

Goris (seasoned Wild Card)

The mysterious robed figure you see before you makes quite the impressive sight. Standing easily 10 feet tall and bulkier than any man or mutant you've ever seen, even a Super Mutant has to look up to try and catch this stranger's gaze. Clad in a large rough spun pair of robes, his face is entirely obscured by a deep hood, his arms hidden in wide sleeves, the rest of his body indiscernible in the long flowing robes. There is something peculiar about his stance, but you're not quite sure what it is exactly. He turns his head in your direction and, without saying a word, looks at you, and seems to scrutinize you carefully. After a long moment he finally speaks: "Hello traveller, I'm Goris, son of Gruthar. Pleased to make your acquaintance. Forgive me if I don't extend my hand in greeting, but I'm afflicted by a terrible mutation and would not want to frighten or revolt you." His voice is harsh and rasping, and sounds unfamiliar and unpleasant to your ears, but the friendliness of his words almost immediately puts you at ease.

Goris is one of the last, if not the last, of the intelligent Deathclaws bred and later exterminated by the Enclave. Away on a scholarly trip when Horrigan's men slaughtered everyone in Vault 13, Goris now roams the wasteland, seeking knowledge, to improve relations between different species, and perhaps others of his kind still remaining. As Deathclaws are only known as mindless monsters, Goris has a serious social disadvantage when interacting with others. To hide his reptilian appearance he always goes disguised in large, loose fitting brown robes which he throws off when entering combat. Due to this he has -6 Charisma, though this is reduced to -2 when wearing his robes. He cannot use weapons or perform actions that would require human-like hands. His claws are natural weapons and do St+d6 damage and as such he is never considered an Unarmed Defender. Goris also has infravision which halves penalties for darkness modifiers.

Parry 9 - Toughness 11 - Rad Resistance d8 - Pace 8 - Run die d8

Strength d12+2 - Agility d10 - Vigor d10 - Smarts d8 - Spirit d8 - Charisma -6
Fighting d12+2 - Intimidation d12 - Notice d12 - Stealth d10 - Survival d12 - Science d6 - Persuasion d8 - Streetwise d4

H: Pacifist (m) - Curious
E: Ambidextrous - Imp. Frenzy - Imp. Nerves of Steel - Scholar

Plain Brown Robes, Satchel