Sunday, March 1, 2015

Chapter Three: End of Days (Atomic Highway Solo Playthrough)

The following is copied directly from my GoogleDoc record of the game, including my own notes at the time of writing. I try to keep with mistakes as part of the learning process, so there are some of those as well. The notes are in blue for ease of reading. Anything I add for this blog will be in green. Here we go!

Marcus is trying to scout out the source of the lights coming from Walsenburg. It's just starting to get dark, and he's traveling light - just him and Winona and his multi-tool - until he finds out more. If necessary, he can shed his clothes and go stealthy, using his chameleon abilities. If there are people there, and if they're friendly to mutants like Marcus, and what they'll think about a working vehicle and so much diesel fuel, are all things he hopes to find out with as little interaction as possible.

Chaos Factor is 6, representing the encroaching dark, unknown destination, and Marcus being relatively exposed.
Rolled a 4 for Scene Modification: An even roll less than CF is an interrupt scene.

Before rolling on the Random Chart for a totally different scene I want to update my character list: The Browns, The ex-Bunkermates, The Nomads, Marcus' Fans, Creatures, Environment. Okay.
(I always try to include both flora and fauna - "Creatures" and "Environment" here - in my character lists because it can lead to some great scenes!)

Event Meaning Action: (35) Return, Event Meaning Subject: (84) Status Quo. Hmm.

There's a couple things that could happen that mean a "return to the status quo" here, which I'm interpreting to mean what things were like before Ender. a) Marcus transforms back into a human, b) He discovers that, for some reason, this settlement is pretty much untouched by the asteroid (a bit of a stretch since that's what he was -going- to do), c) A completely random and fairly meaningless find.

[E's roll - B!]
(lol - I let one of my daughters roll for me since they like rolling dice. Name omitted because I'm raising my children off the grid to facilitate their rise to superhero status later in life)

The city of Walensburg appears to be totally unaffected by Ender. Lights are on in some of the homes and along the streets. There is no visible damage whatsoever... but something is not quite right. There are NO PEOPLE anywhere to be seen!

Chaos Question 1: "Does Marcus get attacked?" (Somewhat Likely) - (6) Exceptional Yes. [Nuts.]

I think if Marcus survives this I'm going to allow him a full day's worth of scavenge rolls for Christmas, and then an extra two rolls on the Military table. If he lasts through Christmas Eve. He'll probably have to move on then though, with maybe a little wardrobe change or shower or something, because the whole thing is kind of creepy.
(Word. One of my favorite scenes ever. It comes up again later.)
So what's an Exceptional Yes on being attacked at night like this... outnumbered? Like maybe that bloodhound from the farmhouse followed Marcus with a couple buddies. Good thing Marcus has full fortune. Perhaps I'll burn it all up to have the bloodhounds inexplicably die as soon as they cross the city limits... That would up the creep factor for sure. (See? Told ya.) Add a weird dream sequence and some looting in the morning then get the flip outta there. Ooh... add some things to allude to the people just vanishing - piles of clothes, televisions still on, etc. Very Twilight Zone.

So the rolls for the next morning then. He'd probably focus on kitchen stuff, so we'll go with four rolls on Foodstuff, 2 Housewares, and 2 Military:

Foodstuff rolls: 4/4(1 can of meat), 6/6 (2 packets of black pepper), 5/5 (1 bottle ketchup), 1/5 (6 bags dried beans)

Housewares rolls: 2/4 (2 rugs), 2/5 (1 pillow)

Military rolls: 1/4 (2 light rifles), 3/1 (1 light ballistic vest - medium armor)

Cool. I'll give him the stuff I rolled for the other, three-years-into-the-future version too (Um... I think this was another game I was playing...? I don't remember.). And, like, a duffel bag or two for all this that he can hang from the tractor to carry, and some matches. Sort of reminds me of Indy in the mock town for the A-bomb test.


Marcus gets an eerie feeling as he gets closer to the city. There's plenty of light - as if nothing bad has happened here at all, no evidence of Ender. And yet... something is wrong. There's no traffic, no movement. Finally it dawns on Marcus: "No people at all."

A few meters from the Welcome to Walsenburg sign he hears a familiar sound - the howl of the hound from earlier in the day, and he brought friends. Marcus sprints for the nearest shelter but it's at least a dozen yards away, inside the little welcome center booth. The creatures are in close pursuit and nearly at his heels when, suddenly, they come to a screeching halt, whimpering and sniveling before bolting away. Marcus slows his pace and turns to watch them flee. "Well. That's probably significant somehow."

He spends the next few hours investigating the town before settling in the basement of one of the smaller houses near where he entered. It's as if everyone simply vanished, leaving televisions still on and pots of coffee still brewing. It takes a while to sink in but finally Marcus realizes something even more odd about Walsenburg. There's no ash anywhere. It's probably the only place on the entire planet that isn't covered in the debris that was kicked up from Ender's impact, and it makes things even creepier than before. He sleeps uneasily before doing a little looting and heading back to his tractor. Finding assorted bags to carry the haul is easy - walking the three-quarters of a mile back is not so much fun. It's much safer in the daylight though, and that's an important lesson to surviving in the post-Ender world.


Aw, man. I feel like I could write a whole campaign around Walsenburg. Such an awesome turn of events, and it's all due to just letting the narrative wander after the dice. Good times.

With Brightest of (The total Deadpool moment when the dogs turn and run away is priceless. Significant indeed!) Greens,

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