Session Log – Solo Exploration
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.