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.


  1. Indeed it is. I could feel the fun while reading but actual play exceeded expectations.

  2. I agree, until you actually played it you miss some of the coolness of the mechanic. Do you have the supplement for it? Irradiated Freaks?
    I may have to get the Mythic Emulator.
    Since you have both Barbarians of the Aftermath AND Atomic Highway how do they compare? Could I use some of the BoA stuff in my AH games??

  3. I do not have Irradiated Freaks. I may have to get it because back in junior high I loved TMNT and After the Bomb.

    I wholeheartedly recommend the Mythic GM Emulator. Even when I'm preparing a traditional style game I use it for putting ideas together. It has totally changed how I game.

    Barbarians of the Aftermath is also very well done. Sticking with the core rulebook it covers a lot more of post-apoc spectrum and it's a great resource for creating your own setting. Like Atomic Highway it assumes that your game is going to be sandboxy but it provides more tools to build your own setting. I can easily see it being useful for Atomic Highway and vice-versa.

  4. Thanks Nathan,
    Irradiated Freaks is definately on my list, I too loved TMNT/After the Bomb back in the day.
    I don't have BoA (yet) I'm waiting on the print copy to be available. I was hoping the various setting tools and tables that I've heard are in the book would be useful for AH.
    Thanks for the info!

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