Session Report – Underground Con
I ran a tabletop session last weekend at Underground Con, with three new players – Roger, Adam, and Jon. Six brave scavengers ventured into the wastes – Buick le Sabre (enforcer), Boogatti (scout), Gunnar the Bold (scout), Professor Dogface (thinker), Jerome Lemner (thinker), and Charlie Roxx (enforcer).
Fleeing from a massive rad storm, the party found shelter in an abandoned missile silo, and explored the environs therein.
Given that it was a ‘tournament’ scenario, I went with a railroad intro – mere minutes before being swallowed by the rad storm, the party discovers a heavy metal hatch set into the ground, with a ladder leading down.
After a bit of initial exploration, the group found a large elevator shaft leading down into darkness. The cargo elevator was long gone, but there was still a rusted metal stairwell remaining. Buick (in his 55-gallon drum armour) was sent to check for weak spots, and found them by falling through. (Luckily, he was tied off.) Eventually, the group set up a crude zipline, and made it to a heavy vault door near the bottom. It had a hole cut in it…
…which was just big enough for Buick’s armour.
Beyond the blast door the group discovered a strange oval hallway, extending left and right into the darkness.
Exploring to the right, the group found a bizarre side chamber. Spherical in shape, it was filled with all sorts of ruined machinery. After exploring for a while, they decided that it was some sort of air-blowing machinery connected up to ventilation ducts. Jerome stripped some spare parts, but there appeared to be little of interest here..
As they were leaving, however, Buick was suddenly wracked with incredible pain – inside his head!
The party fled back into the corridor and rested until Buick’s pain subsided. They still had no clue what caused the reaction…
Exploring further down the hallway, multiple side-branches were discovered. The party explored several giant metal pits, flooded and filled with strange scrap. (The group eventually discovered that these were antenna silos.) One of the silos appeared to be open to the surface – and full of mutant bats, enraged by the party’s flashlight! Wisely, they shut the door and turned back.
Turning back, the party discovered a fuel storage depot down a side passage. Luckily, they left their torches behind when the could smell the kerosene and diesel fumes. Next, they found a similar set of water tanks. Here, they were assaulted once again with the mysterious mental attacks. This time, they were able to figure out that the assaults were coming from something in the ventilation ducts…
Although the quarry fled, the party now knew to watch the vents.
Next, the group discovered the abandoned crew quarters. Here, they found a diary entry from the commander of the missile silo. Several of the entries discussed the rescue of an irradiated puppy from the surface, and its subsequent disappearance in the complex.
In the flooded room beneath the crew quarters, Gunnar was attacked by a giant acid worm. Swooning from the pain, he was dragged into the fetid water and nearly drowned. Luckily, his companions bravely dove in and hacked him free. A dismembered tentacle withdrew deep into the waters…
At this point, I was pleased. Several PCs became contaminated by Creep, and Gunnar was incapacitated. Things were looking up!
After a period of rest, the group resumed their exploration and reached the actual missile launch area. They first entered the Control Silo, but became nervous when they heard strange moans and groans from below. They checked another passage, discovering the actual missile silo in all its fallen glory…
Although not obvious from the photo, the top of the silo was partially open to the surface. Enough sand and debris had fallen in that an athletic scavenger could crawl up from here.
Turning back, the group heard more roaring from the command silo. Realizing that some gruesome beast was approaching, the PCs moved forward to engage it in the hallway. It was a massive mutant monster, with glowing eyes and sharp fangs!
After realizing how fierce the creature’s bite could be, the party drew it back into a larger chamber so they could surround it. After a fierce battle, the monster tried to escape and was swiftly put down by the PCs. After the fight, Professor Dogface performed an autopsy which found a corroded metal dogtag labelled “Survivor” – the creature was the same irradiated puppy which had been rescued from the surface during the Fall!
Afterwards, the group found the control room for the complex, and managed to jury-rig three nuclear batteries to reactivate the ventilation fans – hopefully dispersing the psychic rats which had infested the vent system. In this room they discovered a set of operating manuals, and a map depicting the location of other missile silos in the region. They also found a complete tool set and several intact rad suits in the maintenance area / fuel silo – as well as a mysterious set of goggles with drained batteries.
Then, the party ascended to the surface through the debris-filled silo, and (hauling an extensive collection of swag) returned to Tau as heroes.
Experience and Loot
The party gained full XP from the Survivor, and partial XP for the acid worm and cranial rats, for for a total of 800 XP from monsters.
The three nuclear batteries are near-dead, but still provide 100 XP each (300 total). The goggles are actually x-ray goggles, but are broken and have no batteries, and thus worth 375 XP. The three rad suits are worth 250 XP each (750 total). The toolkit is quite valuable as well, worth 200 XP.
Rounding up (for scavenged parts) and adding the +10% pure-strain XP bonus gives each character 450 XP.
Overall, I am pleased with how the session went. The players seemed engaged – especially once we got past the ‘railroady’ intro – and into the exploration of the complex. They were especially interested in the ‘persistent’ nature of the campaign, and that their actions would have an impact on future explorers from Tau.
I messed up when I was mapping, and it threw me off for a bit as I tried to figure out where to place some of the silos. Also, the journal entry came off as a bit hokey. I gave the players an actual crumpled up page to read, and bad writing sounds a lot worse when you hear it out loud!
I was very happy that the players signed up – I was competing against a lot of other RPG sessions at the same time. Also, I am grateful to Underground Con for giving me a chance to run this game.