The Tabletop Report – Session 5

It’s time for Tabletop Report! For the uninitiated, Tabletop Report is a new series chronicling the adventures of my DnD group as I run them through a custom campaign and ruleset based off of Microsoft’s Gears of War universe.

Disclaimer: I don’t own Gears of War, and I’m totally not claiming otherwise. I just really love the universe, and have wanted to run a campaign set in it for the longest time. The system I built is entirely my own, and this game is a test-run of its viability as a full tabletop system.

This is the report summary for session 5. Prior sessions will be listed before the break if you need to catch up. Some knowledge of Gears of War‘s greater universe may be required. Now, let’s see what happened to our players after last week!

Session Four – Act 1, Chapter 3 Part 1

When we’d last left our players, they’d just finished helping Ray of Ray’s Scrapyard clear out a particularly bothersome infestation of Wild Tickers, and in return collected some weapons better than the Civil Defense stuff they were using. They’d also leveled, and the first near hour of the session simply became the group leveling and then figuring out exactly how to divvy up the loot they’d collected (along with a bit of confusion, as we’d somehow lost a piece of paper detailing part of their inventory).

Dividing up the inventory was pretty key, as the group had managed to come out ahead with a couple of pretty decent weapons … at least compared to what they already had. Of particular interest to the group was a battered Hammerburst MK I rifle (the battering meant that it was less accurate and took longer to reload) and a battered Boltok Pistol (dealt damage to the player firing it). While the Boltok was divvied out fairly quickly, multiple players were interested in the battered Hammerburst, and it took a bit for them to work it down to one player. A few other players picked up the Snub pistols, and one player took a Police Rifle (which is a stripped down MK 1 Lancer) and affixed his somewhat broken bayonet to it. They then spent the rest of the next two days the group was camped at Ray’s practicing with it (which means I need to give them some skills in that regard).

Oh, yeah, the group also spent the next two days at Ray’s because the group’s armorer wanted to spend some time putting some scrap ablative armor together. She was a little bummed about the amount of time it was going to take, but eventually settled for building two ablative upper-arm pauldrons (for guarding the front side of your body while firing) and some extra ablative armor for her own police vest.

While she was doing that, another player assembled a sturdy wagon out of materials from the scrapyard, while the team’s roboticist studied Ray’s sentry guns and began putting together plans to build his own, and the party’s designated map-keeper got information from Ray on the surrounding area and, most importantly, the location of nearby radio towers that Ray wanted the group to set his hijacking relays on.

At this point, the group got into another debate, as the various members of the party all had different ideas about where to go next. Some wanted to head northwest to a large town called Clint that was situated near a major highway fork and therefore home to a large truck stop, while others wanted to head northeast instead toward Jin, a smaller town that’s main claim to fame, at least as Ray put it, was a food-processing plant and some tourism. Still again other party members wanted to head straight east, into the mountains and toward a remote and unmanned large radio tower in the mountains that also was home to a remote weather monitoring station—which would allow the party to get weather updates for the region via radios. If they had any, which they didn’t.

Lastly, some of the party wanted to go back south to Bedel and hook up the radio station there first as a test, as well as check the town for any more supplies they could make use of, which included—get this—bicycles.

See, the party wanted a faster method of transport, but at the same time, had been warned about car engines attracting the Locust (which isn’t entirely accurate, but also not false, as it does raise the chance of a random Locust patrol finding them). So, after talking about it for a while, they decided that what they needed was a bunch of mountain bikes!

Pretty clever on their part. And so with the bikes as a carrot and some really bad inspire skill checks on the part of those who wanted to go elsewhere, the group elected to head south back to Bedel.

Amusingly enough, they avoided the stranded camp there and instead beelined for the radio station. They found it abandoned but still sound and running an emergency test signal. They spent some rolls wiring Ray’s hijacker into the main relay, and presto, the station’s radio tower was theirs. Well, Ray’s. They spent some time listening for signals, but didn’t find much outside of some odd, beeping tones and a distant COG-related channel that faded in and out. Bored, they holed up for the night and set a watch.

That night, Keela’s stranded camp got hit. The gunfire alerted their watch, who then woke the party leader, who, not knowing anything other than “someone’s shooting over there,” decided to stay put. After a few minutes the gunfire died out, and the party rested until morning, at which point their shopping trip commenced.

Yup, shopping trip. The group was determined to find bicycles, clothes, electric motors and parts (for sentry guns), and other assorted odds and ends. And find them they did. I’ll keep it brief, but before going to see why they could see and smell smoke from the school and a remote view almost looked like there was a funeral going on, they hit—

  • A general store, where they collected more binoculars and some hardware. And one player took ever dollar they could find from the registers.
  • A hobby shop, where they took every radio-controlled car they could find (six in total).
  • A bike shop, where they found four mountain bikes (SCORE!) and two bike trailers, plus some bike helmets that could work as armor.
  • A gun shop, where they found some ammo, but unsurprisingly everything else had already been looted.

After this successful trip, they finally went to see what had happened at the old school and found that during the night a few Locust had attacked the place, and the camp had lost a few people before killing their attackers. They’d then burned the bodies, and were using the ash on their garden beds. The camp guards were a little down as a result … though very happy that they had radio contact with Ray again. Upon finding out that the group had done that, they were even happier. Though they offered to let the group stay the night, the group declined and pushed out for Ray’s once more … after debating, right in front of the guard, whether or not the camp was doomed and how likely the Locust were to come back.

One guard’s alarmed complaint of “Uh, you know we can hear you, right?” was ignored. Poor Keela camp. They’re actually pretty nice, but the group wants nothing to do with them, which is hilarious.

Anyway, the group made it back to Ray’s shortly after dark without incident (had a number on a dice roll been 1 digit lower, however …) and decided to push for the east radio tower, the one in the mountains with the weather monitor station, next. But it was late, and so after a long session of roleplaying, they called it good.

Thanks for reading, and I hope you’re enjoying the adventure so far!

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