Friday, 19 August 2016
Other Dust solo - Part III : The thing in the darkness
Chaos: Out of Control (d8)
Setup: more recon
NPC List: Ling, Horsey, Kaz, Taf, Norna, Fitz, Junemay, Assia, Marguerite, Oggie
Threads: mission, escape
The next morning Junemay has gone to find Ewa sleeping up on the street level. She briefly considers kicking her to get her attention, but realises that might accidentally get her shot. She instead picks up a rock, and is about to throw it at her when Ewa wakes up in alarm.
"Dammit," says Junemay, dropping the rock, "I can't even have my petty revenge with you!"
"Sorry," yawns Ewa.
"So... you care to grace us with your presence this morning? Good. But check that rifle, soldier. You're not to fuck up today, so I don't want to hear 'it jammed' when I ask why you lost another scavver." [inquisitive - command - weapons]
After a joyless breakfast of dried fishcakes and gruel, Junemay leads her entire band up to the pier entrance. This time she's sending Ewa, Ling, and Horsey to explore. The rest will watch from the street. Assia, Marguerite, and Oggie elect to watch from the beach.
[Wisdom/Perception roll 9+ for Ling: 6+0=failure]
The pier still seems entirely still and deserted. The three women slowly make their way towards the boarded-up yellow building. Ewa holds her rifle at the ready, Ling has a revolver, Horsey a battle axe.
After a brief search of the building, they find the sole working door, lacking a handle and painted the same blue as the wood stopping the other entrances and windows. Horsey forces it open as Ewa and Ling wait with guns trained.
"Ohmygod that smell!" cries Horsey, swooning.
"What smell?" says Ewa.
"Shut up!" says Ling, antennae twitching.
"I'm not being funny," says Horsey. "but I need a minute or I'm going to be sick."
"It's dark inside," says Ling.
"I'm not going in there without a light!"
"We can prop the door open," says Ewa. "There's plenty of crap on the floor."
Ewa jams the door open with a piece of twisted metal, and the three take their first tentative steps into the building, moving only as quickly as their eyes adjust to the half-light. The stench of death and decay is overpowering. Horsey's eyes are watering and she can barely suppress a gag, Ling's antennae still quiver with revulsion, and even Ewa feels something wrong in the warm, humid air.
[Surprise check: party's Wisdom/Perception +0 vs. ???'s Dexterity/Stealth +1: 3+0 vs. 7+1, Horsey and Ling are surprised since Ewa cannot be.
Initiative Ewa 5, Assailant 7]
Ewa is suddenly overcome with dread. She wheels about to shout a warning just in time to see a hulking black form emerge from the darkness behind Horsey. It touches her shoulder with a long, black rod, and there is a flash of electricity and the smell of burnt flesh. Horsey convulses once and collapses to the floor. Ewa discharges her rifle at the mysterious assailant, but the shot goes wide.
Stepping fully into the light, the attacker is revealed to be an ancient security robot, an imposing, dull black humanoid with a squat, neckless "head" and a retractable stun baton extending from its right wrist. The robot's voder/speaker unit is visibly cracked, and the baton is sparking with blue electricity.
[Security bot (AC 4, Move 20, HD 3, Atk +4/1d8*, Skill +1, Save 13+, ML 12) *the bot's stun baton is faulty and inflicts lethal damage]
The robot lunges at Ewa with the baton. She dodges backwards, and the baton just barely brushes her coat, seriously jolting her with electrical current and making her arm feel numb [it hit her for (1d8=7) 2 damage, leaving her with 6hp]. Ewa casts aside her rifle and takes the crowbar from her belt as she backs swiftly away from the robot.
Ling releases a blast of laser energy from her eyes. It burns two neat holes in the robots carbon-fibre. Sparks fly from within, but the robot continues its relentless assault [2HD damage reduced it to 1HD].
The robot lunges towards Ewa, but manages to catch its baton in a rusted lighting fixture dangling from the ceiling, producing another shower of sparks [it rolled a natural 2, so the weapon's condition downgrades (-1 to hit/damage).]
Ewa hits it over the head with her crowbar, but it just rebounds off the resilient surface [miss].
Ling puts another laser blast in its back as it tries to extricate itself from the hanging wires. There is an audible pop from within, and it ceases to struggle, crashing to the floor moments later [2 more HD damage destroys it].
"If that thing had power..." says Ling, and flips on the light switch beside the door. But she almost immediately wishes she hadn't. The one intact lighting fixture in the ceiling flickers thrice and then comes on, revealing a scene of unspeakable horror. There is a now-doorless security office at one end of the front room, and within the office a holding cell. The cell is full of mouldering bones and oozing corpses, piled so high they have filled the cell and are spilling out into the office itself. Taf's lifeless body lies sprawled atop the pile.
Ling rushes out the door to be sick. Ewa follows, dragging poor Horsey's corpse behind her. They both sit for a while, breathing in the sea air to steady themselves.
"Do we dare go back in there for Taf?" asks Ling.
"I don't think even I could," says Ewa. "Help me drag Horsey back to the street, at least."
"Ugh," buzzes Ling as she lifts Horsey's heavy, armour-clad arm. "She deserves better than this."
The two drag her back the same way they came in, as they aren't sure the decking will hold elsewhere. They briefly recount the sortie to Junemay, who thinks it over for a few seconds...
[Q: Does Junemay send them straight back in? 50/50: O6 C6 - Yes.
+Event: NPC action - Norna - Oppose / Jealousy]
"Well?" says Junemay. "I don't see a generator. Get back in there. bring [1d6=] Fitz to make up your number. Move!"
"Wait a minute," says Norna, "How come [1d3=] Ewa always gets to go in? I want a shot at the take too, y'know."
"She goes in cuz I say she goes in," says Junemay. "No one gets to keep nothing until we get back home and have earned a reward. Right, in you three go. Norna, you go wrap Horsey in something to keep the flies off."
[Q: Does Norna let it drop? Likely (3+): O2 C7 - No.
Q: How does it end? Carelessness / Rumour]
"Why you always play favourites, Junie? It ain't right. At least let me go instead of Fitz. I wouldn't let that one out of my sight if I was you, seeing how he's always saying someone ought to see you don't make it back from a run one of these days."
"Just saying what I hear. He ain't the only one what feels that way neither."
"Is that a threat?"
"Just saying what I hear."
"Explain yourself Fitz. Is this true? Did you say that?"
"Hey, uh, well," begins Fitz, "that's just... you know how things get taken out of context." [prejudiced - view - knowledge]
"That's a shite denial," says Junemay.
"Look, we get a batch of strong wine brewed, and we all start saying things we don't mean. Us scavvers hate you guards with your nice barracks and your spiffy guns and shiny armour. Geez, I don't think that's a big secret or anything."
[Fitz needs to roll a Charisma/Persuasion check of 8+ to defuse the situation: 6-1=5]
Junemay unshoulders her rifle and thrusts it into Kaz's arms. "Ev, take his sword. Fitz, put 'em up. You want at me, now's your chance."
[Q: Does Fitz relinquish his sword? 50/50: O6 C7 - Yes.
J win initiative. 11+2+2+6=hit. 1d2+2=4, 1HD damage]
Fitz hands his sword to Ewa, and raises his fists. Junemay assumes a fighting stance for a moment, then rushes straight for him. She throws a single punch, which breaks his nose and sends him reeling backwards. He falls dazed onto the pavement.
Junemay wipes the blood from her knuckles. "Gee, Norna, it's your lucky day. But since you pissed me off you gotta go get Taf. Fitz can wrap up her and Horsey when he wakes up."
The three make their careful way back to the building. Ling refuses to go back inside. Ewa goes in, but just long enough for her and Norna to drag Taf out with their crowbars. But Norna ducks back inside.
[treasure class=P5 (there's tons more but it's all ruined and corroded). cbt rifle, shield, power cell B]
Norna comes back out after a few minutes, bearing a combat rifle and power cell. "See?" she says. "Worth it."
"You're disgusting," gags Ling.
They drag Taf back to the street and Norna hands over the goods. Junemay (who is now wearing Fitz's sword) examines the rifle for a few moments, then pronounces it a good fine. She loads it with the spare magazine she carries, then hands it back to Norna.
"There's a building at the end, too," says Junemay.
"You can barely see the end of the pier from here," says Ewa. "You coming closer to keep an eye on us?"
"No, m'dear. I've just helped myself to your binoculars. I'll be right here keeping my eye on you, don't you fret."
"If this is just some weird ploy to check out my arse in these new trousers..."
Chaos: Out of Control (d8)
Setup: to the end of the pier
NPC List: Ling, Kaz, Norna, Fitz, Junemay, Assia, Marguerite, Oggie
Threads: mission, escape
There is about 140m of severely damaged decking between the first section and their target. Ewa, Ling, and Norna move forward at an excruciating crawl. They can hear the structure beneath groaning with the ebb and flow of the waves.
[Each of them must make a Wisdom/Perception check of 6+ to avoid danger. Only Norna makes her roll.
For their failure, Ewa and Ling need to make Evasion saving throws. Ewa's +2 for Danger Sense sees her through, but Ling rolls a 1...]
Norna picks a sure path through over the decaying pier, but the other two are not as lucky. Ewa's sixth sense saves her from putting all her weight on a board that disintegrates under her foot, and she hops back just as it gives. Ling is not so lucky, and crashes right through the decking.
[1d6=6, 2HD damage.
Q: Does she fall into the water? 50/50: O3 C4 - No, but... she will in 1d6=4 rounds]
Ewa and Norna drop prone and crawl over to the hole. They see Ling lying motionless on one of the rusting support beams.
"Shit!" says Norna. "Is she dead?"
"I can't tell," says Ewa.
"What do we do? She's slipping."
"Dammit. I'll try to get down there..."
Ewa drops her rifle and takes the crowbar off her belt, then begins to crawl into the hole towards the unconscious Ling.
[Strength/Athletics check 8+: +1str / -1 unskilled; 2d6+0=9, success. She will reach Ling on round 1d6+2=3]
Ewa climbs to within an arm's reach of Ling, who is starting to slide off the beam. She hurriedly takes a stim patch from her pocket and slaps it onto Ling's forehead.
Ling wakes up instantly as the Old Terran medicine courses through her veins. She is still groggy, but has the presence of mind to hold on tight to the beam.
"Can you get back up?" asks Ewa.
Ewa manages to scramble back up to the top, but when she looks back down, Ling has scarcely moved. [Athletics checks as above: E 8 ok, L 7 fail.]
"I can't make it," buzzes Ling.
"Jump into the water then."
Ling crawls a bit further down the beam, then rolls off and splashes into the water.
[Str/Athletics 6+ is needed: 8=success.
Q: Is the water dangerous? Unlikely (5+): O2 C5 - No.]
Ling swims out from underneath the pier and then slowly back to shore.
"So," says Norna, "we wait for Miss Buggyface or what?"
"No, Junemay doesn't like to be kept waiting. We continue."
"Blimey, what'd you ever see in her?"
Ewa pretends not to hear, and collects her things. They proceed even more cautiously to their destination.
Little remains of the structure at the pier's end but a burnt-out shell. They peer into it through an obliging hole, and easily spot their prize. The generator is nestled in a corner at the furthest end, barely visible save for the weakly flashing power light. It's little wonder it has sat here all this time without being scavenged; what sharp eyes their scouts must possess, they both think.
[Q: What awaits them there? Using a BOLD waylay to flesh out the encounter produced: Easy Foes - deputies. So, another Security Bot (AC 4, Move 20, HD 3, Atk +4/1d8stun, Skill +1, Save 13+, ML 12).
The party's Wis/Perception +0 (Norna) vs. its Stealth (+1): 4 vs. 7, Norna is surprised. Initiative rolls for Ewa and the bot are 6&6; PCs win ties.]
Ewa and Norna clamber through a gap in the wall to investigate the inside of the building. A security robot hiding amongst the detritus suddenly extends its stun baton and lunges at [1d2=] Ewa. A crackling voice issues from its speaker "Halt, intrudSKKKZZHZT--"
Ewa's shot shatters its voice box, cutting short the bot's warning with a burst of sparks and static [1d10+2=6, 2HD damage; the bot has 1HD left]. It comes for her with relentless determination, but she sidesteps its baton.
Ewa goes for her crowbar, and sidesteps the robot again. Norna recovers from her momentary fright, and raises the combat rifle, and fires a short burst into the side of the bot. It stumbles forward another few steps towards Ewa, then crashes to the ground, inert [burst fire uses 3 rounds and is +2 to hit & damage. 17+2+4(AC)=hit; d12+2=6: 2HD damage destroys the bot].
Ewa retrieves her rifle and reloads, but it is soon clear that there is nothing else lurking in the rubble. As they make their way over to the generator, something catches Ewa's eye.
[I gave her a Wisdom/Perception roll of 8+ to spot a random treasure: 2d6-1=10, success. Random item -- 20m rope TL1
Q: Is something tied to the rope? 50/50 (4+): O2 C3 - No, but...]
Ewa pauses to take up a length of old rope dangling down through one of the larger holes in the floor. She pulls it up to reveal a webbed, three-fingered hand and forearm tangled in the end of it.
"We're not the only ones after the generator, it seems. But this rope might be useful." She uses her knife to cut off the tangles at the end with their gruesome ornament.
[Q: Any trouble removing the generator? 50/50(4+): O3 C4 - No]
Ewa uses the rope and the remains of a door to fashion a crude sled. She and Norna drag the generator back to the street, making certain to retrace their steps across the solid decking.
"If that had fallen into the water, I'd have shot you both," says Junemay with a wink.
[There are no night encounters, but I thought it might be prudent to ask...
Q: Is there a betrayal by Assia's band? 50/50 (4+): O5 C7 - Yes
Q: Do they have reinforcements? Likely (3+): O3 C7
Well, then... (to be continuued)]