Saturday, May 29, 2010

Atomic Highway Landmate Ponderings

After tonight's Atomic Highway session I started pondering how to handle Appleseed Landmate type mecha in the game. That might be fun.


Instead of Landmates we went ahead and statted up VR-052 Battler Cyclones from MOSPEADA/Robotech. The setting didn't quite jive with Atomic Highway so we decided to abandon the mini project. Not saying that it couldn't be done but too much retooling is necessary, in my opinion, of the core game. V6 is a heck of a system and looks incredibly flexible but there are already a good many irons in the fire.

Wrapped up Atomic Highway Storyline

Tonight we wrapped up our test run Atomic Highway story line.

As our characters screamed back to the 'stead ready to make heads roll they encountered a sole figure sitting on a motorcycle. Dak told Dinah to pull the charging handle on the M4. Turns out that the guy on the motorcycle wasn't an enemy. He was a settlement council member looking for help. He told the bounty hunter and the scavenger that there is unrest in the 'stead but not enough muscle to do anything about it - that the leader of the 'stead is the real strong man in the region. He went on saying that the settlement was established with a legitimate council but has since turned into a cult that has taken on the mission to repopulate the world. He tells them that in the nearby hills there is an old limestone mine converted over to a brood pen. He also tells them that they were sent to the bartertown so that they could be separated so that Dinah could be abducted and forced into the program.

The PCs sneak into the mine where they are stunned to see the extent of the "brood mare" operation. It is immense and sophisticated with midwives and honest to goodness doctors. From the outside it looked like it would be a dank and dirty operation reflecting the minds of those who thought it up. Originally the plan was to crack some skulls and break it up. Dak balked because he wasn't going to shoot old women and they both were unprepared to kill real doctors when living in a world with far too few. So they egressed out of the mine and back to their car to come up with another idea.

They came up with a new plan. Dak was going to use a disguise and an Optimus Prime voice changer that Dinah found a while back. He was going to take Dinah to the cult leader's compound within the settlement as a female prisoner to exchange for a bounty. That would work right? Dak saw something like that in a movie once. But after working out the odds of surviving the plan it was ditched for one that better stacked the odds in their favor.

Their new contact disclosed that the head of the 'stead goes to the bartertown every other day with his entourage of 11 body guards. They travel in two vehicles. An old F-150 goes in the lead as "troop carrier" and an old BMW of unknown model follows. Mr. cult leader rides in the passenger seat of the car.

So, the PCs sneak into the settlement at night right past the posted sentries. Dinah sabotages the thermostat on the beamer so that it will break down.

The roll for the task came up 4 successes! They knew exactly how far the car would travel before being forced to stop.

Dak and Dinah had already scouted possible sniper positions earlier in the day based on a set of estimates that Dinah put together. The plan was coming together. They easily sneak back out of the settlement and to position along the highway.

Just as planned, early in the morning, the two vehicles appear on the dusty highway, steam pouring out from under the hood of the car. It sputters to a stop while the F-150 continues down the road a ways without realizing.

Dak takes a deep breath. It's going to be a tough shot. It's distant and the target is behind cover. There is only a small window of opportunity. Literally. He squeezes the trigger but misses. By now the F-150 is backing up as fast as it can. A second shot is taken but to no avail.

The dice were against me!

The F-150 brakes to a rough stop with men tumbling out of the back fumbling into a security perimeter. Dak takes another breath and flips the rifle to burst. The old man cult leader panics, throws open his door and tries to climb onto the back of the pickup. "He's crazy", the bounty hunter whispers to himself as he exhales and pulls the trigger with his breath. This time luck's on his side and the cult leader twitches in a death throw. His body is roughly hoisted to the bed of the truck as it lurches out of granny gear and into second.

Behind Dak, Dinah stands and fires a whistling signal flare. From her vantage, beneath the rising morning sun she can see the settlement and from the compound rising wisps of smoke. Then flames.

The bounty hunter and the scavenger grab their gear and slide down the obverse side of the hill down to their car and again they're back on the Atomic Highway.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Went out for a spin on the Atomic Highway

Veeeery cool game. We fired it up along side the Mythic GM Emulator as per our new normal. My character is a bounty hunter and my wife's character is a scavenger. They work together to bring in bounties and to right wrongs along the way. Their car is an armored GTO Judge. Dak the bounty hunter is armed with a bayonet accessoried M4 and an Arkansas toothpick. Dinah the scavenger carries a crossbow and a short sword.

The characters found themselves on the hunt for a weasel who was ratting out a small settlement to the nearest tough guy who runs the nearest bartertown. The settlement elders offer a bounty for the traitor.

Upon nightfall, the PCs parked their car and snuck up to the little rathole walled bartertown. They found a small entrance but it was locked. Good thing Dak keeps Dinah around. She reached over her shoulder and handed over a crowbar which the bounty hunter put to quick use. He pried the door open with a single stroke of leverage revealing a surprised guard. A bolt zipped past Dak's head, launched from Dinah's crossbow. The projectile disappeared into the mouth of the guard slicing his ties to this world. He dropped like a rag doll.

This was our first indicator that the combat system could be deadly. The guard was surprised and he didn't get to act. Dinah's attack roll had multiple exploding 6s and the total damage was around 40 points which will kill a tough character twice over.

They ditched the body and pulled the door shut so as to not attract undue attention. Once inside, the PCs did their best to hide their weapons and to mingle amongst the inhabitants on the commerce side of town. The streets were lit with a mish-mash of different kinds of Christmas lights.

Dak puts his ear to the criminal ground to see if he could determine where their bounty was. He was pointed in the direction of the town's whorehouse so off they went.

How easy this part was is a reflection of solid character creation rules and the guidelines for the resolution system. My character had the skills that he needed and coupled with the notion that 1 success, unless noted otherwise, means that the story keeps moving forward. Simple but sophisticated enough to be interesting.

The PCs scouted out the whorehouse to see what they could see. Dak noticed that there wasn't a tough guy at the front door. Seemed strange. They also noticed that the place didn't seem big enough nor near busy enough. There wasn't an integral saloon as per usual nor was there one anywhere close. The hair stood up on the back of Dak and Dinah's necks. They know when they're being set up. Hoping not to draw attention they stepped out of the faint glow of the string lights and into the shadows.

Again, the resolution system is easy to use. I created the die pool for the best bad guy lookout and added a die for each helper. Each of the PCs rolled against the bad guy results and we narrated from there. Amazingly both of our rolls beat the bad guy's much bigger pool and our characters made their way back to the door in the town wall.

Once outside, Dak and Dinah found two fellas starting to strip their car. Shots rang out from out of the dark. Ambush!

Dinah loosed a crossbow bolt which crippled her first target. Dak lit up the attackers with his M4 knocking one of them out of the fight with amazing accuracy. All the while the two car choppers were still trying to break into the Judge.

The only remaining ambusher was armed with a heavy chain and it looked like he knew how to use it. Dinah drew her short sword and waded into the melee. Dak yelled to her that he was going for the car.

On the move, Dak ripped off a burst and knocked down one of the carjackers but the other was already inside. The bounty hunter broke into a sprint and made his way to the passenger side of the Judge. Just as he grabbed the door handle the car's engine roared to life and the vehicle started to roll. The carjacker put the hammer down and the car began to really take off. Dak ran along side and threw himself into the vehicle finding himself in the back seat leaving Dinah all alone to handle the chain wielding nutcase.

Dak pulled off his web belt and used it as a garrote to choke the driver. With all of his might he pulls back on the belt hoping to knock the driver out. By now they're traveling around 100 mph. The driver began to thrash. Trying everything he could, the driver caught Dak by surprise by slamming on the brakes causing the Judge to float all over the road. For a moment the bounty hunter felt weightless and then he crashed hard into the front dash collapsing in front of the passenger seat on top of his carbine.

Back and forth Dinah went with the chain wielding thug. Neither could find true advantage. Each rolled enough successes on their respective defense rolls to negate the other's attack. To note, both were very equal stat-wise.

Back in the Judge, the carjacker drew a pistol and pointed it at Dak who was still on the floor. The bounty hunter kicked at the driver's arm hoping to force the shot wide and he did. As he was kicking he struggled to get his weapon out from under him and managed to bring it to bear. Three time he squeezed the trigger at virtual point blank but to no avail. Each time, the driver managed to throw off his aim with his driving skills.

This part of the fight was incredibly dramatic. My PC should have been able to take the driver out but the NPC driver's rolls were amazing with exploding 6s that overcame my character's much bigger die pool. It was amazing.

Both driver side windows were obliterated by errant shots. Out of ammo, Dak took hold of the carbine like a spear and manage to sink it into the driver who while dying was still trying to pay attention to the road. The car was easily outpacing its headlights.

Somehow Dak was able to ease the car to a stop from the passenger side. I rolled 3 successes!

Dak kicked the now dead driver out onto the road and spun the car around putting the hammer down because he knew that if more bad guys showed up Dinah was really in big trouble.

Back outside the walled town, Dinah deftly dipped under the arcing chain and stuck the attacker in the abdomen with her sword. He fell to his knees and out of the fight.

Suddenly the door slams open and out steps an enormous figure. A former pit fighter and now the head of the corrupt bartertown. With him was an entourage fit for an MMA fighter. He intimidated Dinah on the spot and she froze unable to move, locked in fear. A spotlight from the town wall painted on the scene, Dinah enveloped in the pit fighter boss' deep shadow.

The pit fighter's intimidation roll was simply overwhelming and we went with it. The next few moments would determine whether Dinah would live or die.

Dak rips through the gears and brings the Judge to bear. From out of the darkness the GTO rockets like a guided missile slamming through the large man. The entourage that acted so tough a few moments prior scattered. Dak revved the engine, opened the passenger door and quipped, "Get in!"

Dinah pulled her door closed with a solid clunk and the car tore off, tires squealing into the moonless night.

The muscle car does a U-turn and slips back into the spotlight. Dinah jumps out and takes the pit fighter's head, throws it into the trunk and leaps back into the passenger seat. The two warriors barrel down the atomic highway headed back to the settlement with a score to settle.

We really like the system and the package as a whole. It's light yet detailed enough to be interesting. While playing I caught a whiff of SilCORE and ORE in the V6 vapors. Now, there's nothing explicit about either of those systems in V6 I just caught a bit of their spirit in the system.

We managed to pack in this much game play into an hour.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Hellas Princes of the Universe Kickstart

If you haven't checked out Hellas before you owe yourself the favor. The setting is extremely cool. Think The 300, The Iliad and the Odyssey and Clash of the Titans in space. That's right. Space. It freaking rocks.

Hellas was my first exposure to the Omni system. Omni is a pretty neat, tight little system and it's a perfect fit for Hellas. With this game you can play heroes on par with Achilles who alter the universe with the awesomeness of their deeds.

Princes of the Universe is an expansion for the core game with additional background info, mass combat, and more. The main book is in full color and it looks great. Khepera Publishing has put the project up on where if you're interested you can make a monetary pledge to help Princes see full color as well.