Session Log – Solo Exploration

Something a little different for this post; a session log from a brief solitaire expedition that I ran tonight with Charlie Roxx, Boogatti, and Professor Dogface.

There’s a lot of ‘blank hexes’ to the south of Tau. It seems doubtful that these would remain unexplored for long unless there was a compelling reason to avoid them. (The truth is that no players has ever expressed an interest in exploring this region.) To remedy this, I took three PCs who have been more-or-less ‘abandoned’ by their players, and sent them to check things out.

I was also trying to figure out why all my playtest characters end up as mutated freaks, while the PCs in my recent sessions have remained pure and uncontaminated. I made sure to equip each character with a new rad tab before setting out, to give them some hope of avoiding Creep if caught by surprise.

Executive Summary: Some hexes got explored, some characters got mutated, and I figured out that I’ve been too kind to recent parties because of their damned Geiger counter.

In total, the Expedition Team was on the surface for ten days. They first set out north, then turned west once they were past the barren desert areas (2 days travel). On days three and four, they continued south and entered new terrain. Near dusk on day four, Boogatti managed to avoid a potentially dangerous encounter with a pack of feral coydogs. On day five, the party wandered into a Creep zone to the southwest of Tau. The Lore checks were failures, and even with the rerolls granted by the rad tabs, only Charlie Roxx remained free of contamination. (The party was attentive to their rad tabs, but it was already too late to backtrack once they discovered the danger.) Boogatti managed to score the coveted “Ultravision” perk, while Professor Dogface is now saddled with the “Environmental Sensitivity” flaw.

When I was contemplating these results, I managed to figure out why the hell the other PCs have managed to avoid mutation. I have not been using the Geiger counter correctly! The Geiger counter was intended to be a “perpetual rad tab”, which is not consumed once used. It was only supposed to provide a second Lore check to detect Creep, not allow them to avoid the hazard entirely!

On at least two occasions, the Eden Prairie team has wandered into a Creep zone – and both times I’ve let them off the hook by warning them of the threat instead of forcing a saving throw! No wonder they’re all still pure-strain humans.

I must be more vigilant in the future…

Anyways, back to the session log. Deciding that their exploration was sufficient, the party wisely decided to turn back after this unfortunate incident. They spent the evening of day six in the abandoned missile silo. On day seven, Boogatti (who was scouting ahead at the time) was attacked by a vulchling. By the time Charlie and the Professor reached the scene of the battle, Boogatti was incapacitated and near-death. They managed to slay the winged marauder, and spent a day-and-a-half nursing Boogatti back to consciousness (day eight). On days nine and ten, the party hightailed it back to Tau.

Summary and Experience

This adventure was much closer to my previous playtest sessions. The party faced grave danger exploring the wastes, several PCs suffered mutations from Creep exposure, and there was one near-death from combat. They were lucky that there were no rad storms, and they managed to avoid becoming lost. Since the PCs did not explore any ruins, there was no loot obtained and thus no treasure returned to Tau.

The party managed to explore a significant amount of new terrain. The Campaign Map will be updated to reflect their discoveries – and now there’s a good reason why the terrain directly south of Tau remains unexplored… it’s heavily Creep-contaminated.

In terms of experience; Boogatti earned 400 XP for avoiding the coydog pack, while Charlie and the Professor gained 200 XP apiece for defeating the vulchling. I also awarded 10 XP per hex for newly-explored terrain; at 19 new hexes, this means 190 XP for the party. I also decided to ‘sell off’ the eight electronic parts that Charlie had collected in a previous mission – this was enough to bump his XP to attain 2nd Rank. With the +10% pure-strain bonus (for Charlie) and the aforementioned spare part sell-off, the final total was 265 XP for Charlie, 500 XP for Boogatti, and 160 XP for Professor Dogface.

5 Responses to “Session Log – Solo Exploration”

  1. Lau Expedition Control will now be providing fresh Rad Tabs free of charge to all Surface Expedition Teams when embarking on a mission.

    It is expected that all surviving Scavengers will surrender their Rad Tab for inspection upon return to Lau. Failure to do so will result in penalties.

  2. Moses Says:

    I think it is safe to say that a major reason that your campaing groups have not suffered creep issues is becouse of me. I have played my chaercters like I want them to survive to see tommrow and not die in some amazing fashion. I am not opposed to taking risk, I am and play cautous. I happen to clean wounds right away, if I was not doing that there would be MANY more creep rolls.
    For the last few mounths I have been in all the parties and have talked some party members (mad viking dude leaps to mind) out of doing things that might be unwise. (Steckel in the ‘healing’ coffin is a exception.) We have avoided creep because I have felt the party was not prepared to explore that hex. I assure you that I WANT to explore some of those areas, but I think a rad suit or three would be nice.
    It is worth noting that the Geiger counter made more noise than normal while we were ‘interacting’ with the Ogre, but that did not keep us away. (In the spirit of full disclosure- the Geiger counter was not going nuts, but it was noisier than normal.)
    Also I think the Geiger counter has been used just like it is intended to be used. They are supposed to give warning to the user that you are going into a danger area, not say (after the fact) you are IN one. This is what happened. The closer we got the more the thing made noise and the louder the noise got, so we decided to NOT go there.
    If I understand how rad tabs and Geiger counters work correctly, the first says how much one has BEEN exposed to and the later tells one how much there IS and if it is getting WORSE in the direction you are going in. That is two vary different things. Creep is more than just radiation I know but…. It appears to me that both have been used like they should. One changes as you spend more time exposed to creep and the other says that there is more creep that away. In other words one gives advanced warning and the other says it is time to leave. Neither one protects you from creep, it is just a matter of what the PC dose with the knowledge given and how soon she/he gets it.
    So you can have both and they tell you two different things of equal value. If we would have spent the night/week/month on/under/next to the Ogre we might have accumulated enough creep to force us to make a roll. This same thinking can apply to creep zones; Rad tabs say you have been exposed to too much and the Geiger counter says ‘bad mojo over yonder’.
    This also could change how and when you have creep rolls made. If a rad tad tell the accumulated creep exposure, then when it turns black you have to roll. Until you spend a certain amount of time getting “clean” turning in your badge dose nothing. The Geiger counter just says how much more quickly your badge is going to turn black.
    While this might sound self serving I wish to point out that I have on more than one occasion pointed out things that were not to the advantage of me or the party, (WD40 being one example) but that I knew you had forgotten/wrong/etc.
    Finally I think you are just unhappy because you have not had cause to mutate anyone. You have made those charts for us to roll on and they are not being used. I know for a fact that you are unhappy when a session ends and no one has died or been contaminated. While you are not vociferous in your unhappiness you are not quite about your disappointment. Sour grapes me thinks.
    By the way who was running the 3 PC’s? You or someone else??
    I will once again say I love this game and you run a FUN and usually challenging game, I have said this both privately and in this form; so while this post might, to some, seem a bit harsh, it is not meant to be.
    Enough from me. If you want to run a SOLO game again, email me as I would love to play.

  3. It was solo as in “solitaire” (I’ll adjust the post to make it clearer).

    I’ve put some thoughts into the risk of various activities; I think it’ll be the subject of another post.

  4. Moses Says:

    I have been giving this more thought too, and I think I agree with you that the Geiger counter and rad tabs are being used wrong, though perhaps not for the same reason as you.
    I think that the Geiger counter is the thing that says “Danger Will Robinson danger”, and rad tabs say you have been in the danger zone for too long NOW start making save rolls.
    If they were to be used in this fashion, I think a few things this would happen that are to date not happening, or at least there would be a greater possibility of certain things happening.
    First it would mean that the party would be able to explore creep zones for a bit before needing to worry about making a save. (Setting aside any rolls due to danger, for this I am focusing on just the walking and looking.) Second it would alow Lau to moniter their exploration teams for acumalted creep danger. Much like people who work around raidoactive materail can tell by their rad tabs if they have had too much exposure for the year/month, and if they have they are not allowed to work around the stuff for a bit of time. Lau might say a- you must take a break, or b- we assume that you are no longer fit to live within the walls becouse of your accumlated exposure to the outside world.
    This later view could open up a whole new set of issues for the game. For example Steckel has had his creep level removed by Eden but if he were to stay out too long Lau might just believe that he must be contaminated (the odds) due to his having been out for so long and that we (Lau) are unable to find the mutation. So to be safe we ‘MUST’ for the safety of the rest of Lau bar him from entering anymore. Some in Lau might urge/demand that explorers not stay out so long yet the elders push them to do just that. Th Elders are despart to know more about the outside world. No I am not saying that I want to roll play that out, but think how that might impact the PC’s. And remember Xavier already thinks the Elders are wrong about their hiding from the outside world. What happens if some teams are not allowed back in for having done their job for too long? New groups will tend to view those as contaminated and that they made some mistake and therefore should not be listened too. Among other things.
    If Lau demands that people only stay out for a certain amount of time and then MUST take a break, what then? Some might truly feel that they must stay out to protect ‘the homeland’, and others, (like Bart) might feel that they can not come back and take a unknown amount of time off. Personally I do not think Bart would obay that command. And I am sure he would encourage others like Jerome to stay out too.
    Just some more of my thoughts.

  5. Moses Says:

    By the way I figured it was you running them, that was kinda my point.
    However if either of them go to the healing booths in Eden can they get healed? Or maybe one but not the other?

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