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Sass & Sorcery

[Transdimensional TMNT] Episode 01: The Phantom City

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Theorizing that one could travel between dimensions, Sariel and Piski were pushed through the trans-dimensional portal and vanished...

They found themselves in a basement. A musty, dusty, old basement, filled with boxes of stored junk from twenty years ago. Indeed, the house it was attached to was also musty and dusty, with decor twenty(-ish) years old. The televisions they came across had no signals, the radios playing music and automated disc jockey "banter." Of people or animals, there was no sign. Sariel, being the auto-savvy coyote he is, found keys in one of the abandoned vehicles and discovered the increasingly eerie suburb was, in fact, their home city, via the map in the glove box.

The pair drove around, semi-randomly, looking for an in-service gas station. Also, life. (Life, yes; gas station, no.) En route to nowhere, the pair spot a humvee with what appeared to be people inside. Sariel decided that moment was a good time to introduce himself. Unfortunately, the soldiers felt it was a better moment to skedaddle.

Wary of their next move, Piski and Sariel figured that the military base facility and the prison they were held in back home was in the same physical location and, just perhaps, there would be evidence of their quarry. Then, an encounter with a second (armed) humvee; hilarity ensued.

This combat, ran rules-as-written, took nearly two hours of real time. I had forgot my NPC stat-sheet at home, and looking at them now, the NPCs were underpowered compared to how they "should" have performed. I use this term loosely, as they were far, far tougher than I had intended. And they weren't even 'full'-statted NPCs.

With four unconscious soldiers and a new vehicle, our 'heroes' set up shop and interrogate a prisoner: Jones, the leader of the little unit sent to find the strange animals roaming around. After the interrogation, they learned several interesting tidbits.

  • 1) In this world, the Soviet Union never fell and instead the Cold War ended with some hot lead.
  • 2) The sleepy suburb fell victim to a flu-like plague, the people quarantined in a makeshift base, and the limits walled off by the military.
  • 3) The plague apparently caused spontaneous mutation in the wildlife, notably in the dog population. (Rumors of rats in the sewers proved inconclusive.)
  • 4) Sariel makes constant pop culture references. (Sorry, reference. Singular. He only had the one.)

Hearing all of this (especially Sariel's 'army dude' impersonation. over. and over. and over), Piski went on a scouting mission. Perhaps these dog-mutant-things had better information.

Meanwhile, back in the hideout, Sariel saw some suspicious shadows skulking outside. Which turned out to be ... giant rats! Five of them crashed through the windows and back door, looking rather crazed. The coyote did his best Rambo voice, to no effect; the rats were unimpressed. And possibly hungry. They attacked.

I tweaked the stats a bit for the rats, cutting their SDC out entirely; for non-Palladium folks, this cut their ability to take damage by two-thirds. I also gave them a fixed damage output, averaging the d6's output for a flat amount. The long burst rules made those changes irrelevant, in any case :P

Piski returned to the house in time to chase off the remainder of the rats. And find inside a bunch of dead rats, a coyote with a still-smoking gun, and poor Jones stuffed in the fireplace. At the same time, across town, the military base was being overrun with rats, apparently from the sewers. Seeing a chance to slip into the base, the pair and Jones gear up to storm the castle, so to speak.

Inside the base, the small military presence was vastly outnumbered by the Rattus mutati. Radio chatter held the barracks, where the civilians lived, were most heavily under attack, so the trio heads in to help. Then, onto the science facility, conveniently constructed directly over sewer access, wherein they discover a huge rat and its henchrats. (Also, this rat had a gun.) Boss Fight!

More regular rats, with one much larger rat NPC for the finale. I used a modified Otto Rattus, Doc Feral's own Igor, for the boss rat; he may have proved more effective had I not modified him :P This fight saw the d20 for what it is: a horribly swingy random number generator, as I rolled 20s far and away more than I'd ever rolled them in a single session before. Heather, on the other hand, consistently rolled under 8 for a majority of the night. I also did something I really didn't want to do - run an NPC sidekick against NPCs - but I'm not sure the fight would have ended well without him. We'll see next session, where I will remind myself not to do that :P

The rat threat stopped, the world went white and Sariel and Piski found themselves ... somewhere else entirely.

On the Next Transdimensional TMNT: Technosaurs dance! And turtles eat pizza!
Stay tuned~

Taking a cue from, I think either Narrative Control or This Modern Death, I asked for scene framing as a teaser for the next session. It'll be interesting to see how these get integrated into the next world ^_^

Overall, this wasn't the best session, though it was still pretty fun. Palladium's armor rules made the stuff either useless or next-to-useless, so we discussed some better options. Also, initiative changes each round quickly became too much rolling, and as such we decided to only roll for new initiative if something major changes the fight. What I liked was Scott trying to stunt his way through the boss fight, though my command of the system wasn't enough to fully realize the consequences of improvised maneuvering. If only we were using FATE, heh ...

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