Eastern Wastes of America [Post-Apocalyptic: OmegaLite20]
#1
PROLOGUE:

The Second American Civil War was not fought over civil rights. Nor were lines drawn between economic classes, religious beliefs, or even loyalty to an organized political party. No, the Second American Civil war a battle over technology and scientific advancement and its application within human society.

And it was over within a week!

By the end of the third decade of the twenty-first century, American politics was in shambles. The needs of the citizens were a long-forgotten ideal as the Supremacy of the Political Party took center stage. Leaders were less concerned with ending poverty, fighting crime, protecting rights, and defending the borders, and more about making sure they were as uniquely distinct from their opponents as possible. Campaigns were no longer an exchange of ideas but a mish-mash of insults, criticisms, and blame all intended to convince the public that a candidate’s opponent was unfit for office while deflecting attention from their own shortcomings. Voters were eager to forgive the sins, failures, and opinions of those they supported (even when contrary to their own core beliefs), while quickly condemning their neighbor should they support someone else. Division grew, love lessened, and the rest of the world waited for the county to implode.

Fortunately, alongside this turmoil, the Anti-Party movement was formed. This grassroots movement grew in prominence until it reached national attention and the Anti-Party Amendment to the Constitution was passed, outlawing the formation and fundraising of any group organized for the purpose of supporting multiple candidates in several races. This didn’t solve the problem right away, since the party concept carried on, if even unofficially. However, without an officially recognized body directing its members how to think and vote, the party remnants began to splinter and dissolve. As individuals began examining issues themselves and relied less on a single source to feed them its own agenda, they found that they had much more in common with their neighbors than they thought. Societal walls came down and divisions lessened, and by the middle of the twenty-first century, there was a sense of unity and fellowship throughout the land.

Beneath this renewed sense of brotherhood, however, a new division was slowly growing.

Great strides were being made in the areas of technology and science. Advances in medicine and biology led to new ways to treat diseases and bodily damage. Genetic research, though still slow and uncertain, continued to offer promises of human engineering and the possible development of new life forms.  Computers became faster, smaller, and more integrated into every part of daily life. The military developed advanced weaponry that harnessed the power of lasers and sonic waves. Artificial intelligence, while far from anything resembling the self-aware androids often portrayed in digi-novels or holo-feeds, had become reliable enough to safely perform many tasks without human supervision, such as drive cars and fly planes, operate and troubleshoot all of a building’s electronic systems, perform janitorial duties, tutor students or teach entire classes, take out the trash or walk the dog, or any other menial or repetitive tasks. The goal of Big-Tech was to lessen the burden on mankind and fill it with a more healthy, leisurely existence.

With these advancements, however, also came those wary of the new technology. First and foremost were obviously those whose livelihoods depended on human labor or input.  As more employers purchased or installed computerized systems, more human-based jobs disappeared. Beyond that, many people whose jobs weren’t threatened still found reasons to be concerned. How dependable were these systems? What safeguards were in place to keep them from being hacked? Was biological experimentation being done in an ethical manner? Was a shift from work to leisure actually beneficial, or did it breed laziness, apathy, and lethargy? One of the biggest divides was within the military. While many in leadership considered fully automated defense system a way to protect the country while saving the lives of soldiers, others raised concerns of foreign cyber-infiltration or the inability of Mili-Tech, as it had come to be known, to react adequately to ever-changing conditions on the battlefield as well as a critically-thinking human could.

Gradually, this split in ideology manifested itself in a physical split geographically. In the early 2000s many technological and research companies were located in the western portion of the county, while the east was home to many factories, manufacturing plants, and military bases. As new industries developed or relocated they gravitated to “friendly” states. As a result, by the later half of the century the tech industry, including Mili-Tech, was primarily located in the most western portion of the United States, while manned production and military could be found east of a line reaching from Louisiana to Minnesota.

Surprisingly, the nation’s leaders recognized the growing division early and took steps to avoid the same polarization that came with the old party system. Foremost in this plan was to reassign the roles of the President and Vice President. The two were given nearly equal power. The President was assigned to oversee human-based ventures and concerns while the Vice President's focus was on tech and science interests. The idea was to have two individuals working toward different specific interests, yet of one mind concerning the overall interests of the nation. The hope was that debate, compromise, and agreement could be handled civilly at the highest government office. It was even decided to move the office of the Vice President, as well as a portion of congress, to the west coast. In a moment of wit, someone suggested the new capital should also be in Washington, thus the city of Spokane became the second seat of the United States government.

Unfortunately, even these best laid out plans were doomed to fail. Tensions continued to grow between the two groups, more commonly referred to as the Techs and the Humanitarianists. The President and Vice President found balancing the desires of their individual constituents while maintaining National interest more difficult than anticipated and, instead of coming together, the two offices grew increasingly contentious. Each side did what they could to put pressure on the other. Eastern manufacturers withheld products and resources necessary for the Tech companies to assemble their computers, robots, and other equipment. In a countermeasure, Tech-West either raised prices on components and software necessary for manned businesses to continue to function or refused to ship at all unless certain agreements were made or laws passed. However, despite these maneuvers, each group depended upon the other and neither was able to gain full independence.

Tech-West, however, held the advantage in this battle.

The eastern states could do little to develop their own science and technology industries in a short period of time, but western states could certainly build new manufacturing plants in a couple of years and develop relationships with foreign countries to import raw materials. Once western manufacturing reached a point that they could sustain themselves, they officially broke all ties with the east and outright stopped all scientific exports, including medical. The President declared the move an act of treason. The Vice President challenged him to do something about it. The result was war.

Tech-West struck hard. Within hours of the declaration, AI-controlled Mili-Tech aircraft were launched and heading east. Their first target was the military bases. Even though these bases primarily housed the majority of the nation’s soldiers, each had its own arsenal of Mili-Tech. Still, the armada from the west outnumbered them and by the end of the day, the eastern military was neutralized.

Less than twenty-four hours later, large cities, industrial centers, and transportation networks were attacked next. Nuclear weapons had been outlawed and dismantled years ago in a rare global display of planetary concern, however, the west still had plenty of conventional and biological bombs at their disposal. The bombing was relentless and non-stop for two days. Explosive weapons destroyed buildings, bridges, roads, and rails. Biological weapons covered vast areas with clouds of chemicals, many of them experimental. Some of these were poison, killing many who breathed them in. Others contained fast-acting mutagens which twisted and deformed all who were caught in their path, human and creature, alike. 

As damaging as this blitzkrieg was, western leaders knew many people would survive. Furthermore, many smaller towns were unscathed. For this reason, they launched one final attack to clean up and control this remnant. Survivors watched as large transport ships landed all across the eastern United States. Cautiously, they approached, primarily hoping the ships were dropping off relief supplies, but also willing to surrender if it meant they would be taken to safety outside of the warzone. Neither of these was the case. Transport doors opened and armies of android warbots and mutated beasts poured out to slaughter the survivors. 

By the end of the week, the President was dead and the eastern half of the United States was devastated and in ruins. Survivors, some still human, others mutants, gathered in whatever towns remained or hid in the wilderness. Transports returned to the west coast leaving behind their horrific cargo of robots and beasts to continue to terrorize those left alive. Around the globe, the rest of the world sat back and watched as this once great nation and world super power tore itself apart.

The Vice President (now promoted to President) and what remained of congress were quick to make moves to show the world that the United States of America was still a strong political power. A big part of that was retaining the ideology of a united nation. Unfortunately, the reality of the civil war suggested otherwise. The solution, however, seemed easy. America could still be a coalition of united states, as long as statehood was revoked from those defeated by the west. 

Therefore, mere weeks after the end of the Second American Civil War, congress unanimously passed a resolution declaring the states west of the ninety-fifth degree of longitude the new United States. As for the rest of the county, from then onward, would be known as the Eastern Wastes of America.


GAME INFORMATION:

Welcome back, reader, and thank you for your interest in my next solo campaign. My next story will have a post-apocalyptic theme. As you can probably tell from the prologue you just read, I’ve put a lot of thought into the background and setting. I didn’t want to just set my characters down in a random wasteland and send them off with little to no explanation as to why the world is the way it is. Nor did I want to simply fall upon the trope of the entirety of civilization being destroyed in some generic world war. So I spent a lot of time coming up with and writing an explanation before even a single die was thrown or oracle or table consulted, an explanation that frankly may not even play much of a role in the campaign other than giving reasons for the types of creatures and enemies the characters will encounter.

The rules system I will be using for this game is OmegaLite 20, a MicroLite20 variant based on the Omega World RPG. The system is similar to 5th Edition Dungeons and Dragons in that combat is based on a d20 roll (adjusted for skill bonuses) against an armor class, damage is calculated by a weapon’s dice type, and success or failure is determined by a skill roll against a difficulty class. In typical form, I will give a brief explanation of the rules the first time a particular system or mechanic is used in the game, After that, I will rely on some type of short hand for the remainder of the campaign.  If you want a more detailed explanation of OmegaLite20 or any of the Microlite 20 games, the reference material is free and available online.


GM EMULATOR:

One of the few benefits of the pandemic is that a lot of game companies gave away products for free in an effort to entertain gamers while they were stuck at home. One product that I picked up was the PDF version of the GameMaster’s Apprentice Card Deck created by Nathan Rockwood and Larcenous Designs.  Each card in this deck is divided into several sections, each providing information the solo gamer can use to answer questions, create scenes, get inspiration, develop characters and NPCs, and even roll dice. Instead of printing out a physical set of cards, I will be using an image viewing program to randomly display an individual card when it’s time to draw. (Individual images of each card are included with the PDF version of the deck.) Like the rule system, I will explain how I am using the emulator as it comes up in the story, but there are a few items I wish to touch upon before we begin.
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Dice: While the cards do have a section to determine dice rolls, I will not be using that feature, at least not for regular dice rolling. I will be using physical dice (my preferred method) or a digital dice roller, such as the one included in RPGSolo.com’s game engine.

Oracle:  The oracle printed on the cards seems pretty straightforward at first glance, but it does have some intricacy and specific rules that I will establish right upfront. As with most oracles, you ask a question and choose a card to determine a yes/no answer. GMA does offer a Likely Odds option that allows the player to sway the outcome based on how likely a “yes” answer is expected: Even is a 50/50 chance, Good offers a 75% chance of yes, Bad offers a 25% chance of yes. 

Each option, yes or no, has two possible results: Yes or YES!, and No or NO!.  The YES! and NO! are intended to be emphatic results, but I will use them to add the “and” or “but” modifier. Whenever I pull one of these options I will roll a d2. A “1” will add “and.” A “2” will add “but.”

Random Events: Whenever I ask a question of the Oracle I will also check for a random event. For this, I will use the Difficulty Generator, or the number on the card just to the left of the Oracle. Each scene will have a Tension Level. Whenever a question is asked of the Oracle I will compare the Difficulty Number against the Tension Level. If the Difficulty is equal to or less than the Tension a random event occurs.  The method I will use to set the Tension Level is a simple progression. Tension will start off at “1” in the first scene. Every scene after that the Tension will raise by one until a random event occurs. When that happens, the tension will reset to “1.”

I will also use the GMA to determine the details of each random event. While my method might change or evolve over the course of the adventure, I am going to start off with the following steps. First, I will draw a Norse rune. The deck instructions have a table that provides descriptions and story seeds for each rune. That will provide a broad idea for the event. Then I will draw further cards and consult the appropriate generators (Verb/Adjective/Noun, catalysts, sensory snippets, tag symbols, etc.) to come up with the details.

Searching; Whenever I have to search an area, container, body, etc. I am planning on using the cards to determine the result of the search. Primarily, I will be using the Tag Symbols. These are ten different symbols that can be used in many different ways. For searching, I will draw a card and randomly choose a symbol. (Each card has three symbols, so I will roll a d3.) The resulting image will tell me if there is anything to find and what type of item it is. I have two sources for loot that I will be using for this game. One is a random post-apocalyptic item table I found online that produces mostly common, mundane items. The other is OmegaLite20’s relics table, which produces more significant, powerful finds. Using the Tag Symbols, one system might be a crown, sword, shield, or wand results in a mundane table roll; a tower or target results in a relic roll; while anything else results in nothing being found. Once again, this could always be adjusted based on the situation in-game or how well the system works in general.


GEOGRAPHY:

Unlike my past campaigns, this story occurs in a real-life location. Even though it is approximately 50 years in the future, locations, civilizations, and the land itself doesn’t change that drastically. I am not extremely familiar with the part of the country in which this story takes place: the northeast United States. I spent my early childhood in New York and, of course, I’ve visited or driven through many places in the northeast, but I certainly don’t know it anywhere as well as my current state and the state I’ve lived in for the last 46 years or so of my life. Therefore, I’m not going to make any claims of accuracy regarding my settings. I plan to consult maps, street view sites, and other resources to get a general idea of the locations I am writing about for at least a modicum of reality, but this is not intended as an ultra-accurate, highly researched novel. It is a fun roleplaying game that is primarily fanciful and I will be treating it as such. All this is to say, please bear with my ignorance of the places I am writing about and try to avoid critical posts and emails about how I’ve gotten everything wrong. (Now, the ones that offer some humorous insight, constructively compare my fantasy to reality, or generally leave us laughing or feeling good are always welcome and encouraged.)


POINT OF VIEW:

Finally, I am going to try something new with this adventure. I am going to try to present this story in the first person, at least for the scenes that involve the main character. (Scenes that don’t involve them will be written in typical third.) Not having written a solo-roleplay like this before, I’m not sure if this will work. I don’t see why not, but if it becomes too cumbersome I will just switch to what works best.

That’s about it. With all this background and planning you might think that I’m ready to start or have already played out a few scenes. Well, you would be wrong. I have a general idea about my primary characters and their backgrounds and how this whole story starts, but that’s it. As I mentioned before with the prologue, I haven’t rolled a die or consulted a single table yet. I still need to generate my character sheets, make up a few random encounter lists, and possibly even create a map or two before I start to play. Hopefully, I can get the first chapter out in the next two to three weeks.

Stay tuned. 
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#2
Awesome! I'm looking forward too it. I've enjoyed the post apocalyptic genre ever since discovering Project Zomboid on Steam and watching the old Colony reality show (info about the series here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Hv4ADUr-0E)
Unfortunately, they yanked the show when someone died during making of season 3 or something.
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#3
CHAPTER 1: LEAVING WOODVILLE

SYSTEM: OmegaLite20
TOOLS: GameMaster’s Apprentice Base Deck ; The Post Apocalyptic Forge; Artbreeder 

Preliminary Odds-and-Ends:

The information in this section is intended for solo roleplayers and anyone else who might be interested in my gaming process. If this isn’t you, please feel free to skip ahead to “Scene 1.”

As I started playing this campaign, it wasn’t long before I realized that while the OmegaLite20 system is intended to be a complete ruleset, there were times I needed additional information. Sometimes that was due to my unfamiliarity with the base MicroLite20 rules. Sometimes it was because the rules were unclear. And other times it was simply because I don’t have a lot of experience playing TTRPGs within the post-apocalyptic genre. In these instances, I consulted the following resources in this order:

1. The rules and additional material for Microlite20, primarily found in the Microlite20 RPG Collection.

2. For questions specifically related to post-apocalyptic tabletop gaming, I consulted any Gamma World rules and resources available online.

3. Online resources related to d20 tabletop games in general, such as the Hypertext d20 SRD

Skill checks in OmegaLite20 are a d20 roll plus any modifiers against a Difficulty Class, or DC. In a traditionally run tabletop game, the Game Master sets the DC for any challenge. Since, as a solo player, I have to set my own DC. I will be using the following scale as suggested by several d20 resources. 

  5   -  Very Easy
  10  -  Easy
  15  -  Moderate
  20  -  Hard
  25  -  Very Hard
  30  -  Near Impossible

If you have read any of my previous campaigns you probably already know how I run things. If not, here are things to keep in mind.  Assume that any names of fictional people and places are randomly generated unless otherwise noted. Whenever I use a tool or table to assist me in telling the story I will usually mention it, or at least add a [RG] tag after a specific item to indicate it was randomly generated. Anything not so noted is more than likely a product of my own creative imagination.

Finally, all character portraits have been created using Artbreeder. Thanks to Gerard over at the Alea Iactanda Est blog for introducing me to this amazing creative tool.  

That’s about it for the boring stuff, but I appreciate it when other solo players include this information in their own posts so I will continue to do the same.  Now on to the story.


Scene 0 - Background:

Idiot!

That’s what he must be. A stupid idiot. I mean, who else would refuse company and wander down a torn and ruined highway alone?

But then again, look at me. A 17, almost 18-year-old teenage girl following blindly after someone I don’t even know. Who’s the real idiot?

I guess I’m just ready to get out of Woodville and I’ll use any excuse. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it) I became trapped in our cellar after our town was bombed. Why West Tech would want to bomb a small Pennsylvanian town is a mystery that may never be solved, but they did. Anyway, by the time I was able to dig myself out everyone who wanted to skip town had. Whoever remained was simply content to stay put. I guess they felt safe.

Not me. I knew eventually any supplies we had would run out and we would need to look elsewhere. That would be a problem since most of the people still in Woodville seemed incapable of surviving away from home. That is why they stayed behind, after all. And what if armed raiders come through? No. I had to get out. But I knew there was safety in numbers so I bided my time until a group passed through that was willing to take me with them.

It’d be my luck that no such group came by. Oh, that’s not to say that people didn’t wander into town. They did. But most were either tired of traveling, specifically looking for other survivors to hunker down with, or just saw a source of easy resources. Whatever the reason, they either set up camp or found an empty residence and moved in. Woodville, Pennsylvania. Hundred-something residents and growing. A veritable population boom and I was stuck in it.

That is until He wandered through.

About two months after the bombing, this mysterious, dark-haired man came traveling east along Interstate 80. I just happened to be taking a run down by the interchange when I saw him. I hid behind a burned-out car and watched him.  Instead of passing by, he took the off-ramp that led into town. He must have been interested in the truckstop and other stores that bordered 80 as he proceeded to search the already thoroughly looted convenience stores, fast food joints, grocery store, and other shops. 

This man was unlike most travelers I had seen. For starters, he looked like he was on a mission. He had somewhere to get to and wasn't interested in a place to settle down.. The other thing was he looked like he could handle himself. He was tall and muscular, something that was clearly visible beneath the khakis and green t-shirt he wore. He was traveling alone, which meant he could survive. However, what stood out the most was the flattened barrel of a sonic rifle slung over his shoulder. 

I had only seen a sonic rifle on the holo-vision. No one in Woodville owned one and none of the other wanderers carried any relic guns. Typically, you had to be military or a member of a big-city security force to own a sonic rifle. Woodville Security could only dream of acquiring one. But this man had one, which meant he was either military, security, or, more likely, lucky enough to find one abandoned.

When the sun began to set and the shadows grew he walked over to an abandoned motel and entered one of the rooms, closing the door behind him. An hour passed and he didn’t come out. I assumed he had holed up for the evening. It was dark, growing cold, and I knew I couldn’t stay here all night, but I didn’t want to chance coming back in the morning only to find he had left. So I took a chance.

I crossed the parking lot and stopped about twenty feet short of the door.

“Hello,” I called out.  “Hey, mister. Can we talk?”

I waited, my heart pounding in my chest. 

Nothing.

“Hello?”

Suddenly, the door burst open and I was blinded by a bright light shining in my face. I put an arm up to shield my face. I couldn’t tell for sure, but through my squinting eyes, I thought I could see,saw the sonic rifle pointed in my direction.

“Get away!” He ordered. “Run! Fast!”

“Wait!” I begged. “I . . . I just want to talk. Are you heading west?”

“I’m counting to ten.”

“I want to go with you. I need to get out of here.”

I never heard him count, but I did hear a loud thump that I believe came from the rifle and a nearby car bucked up, its windows shattering into a million glittering jewels.

I did what I thought was my wisest choice at that moment.  I turned and ran.

And I ran all the way to my home. But I didn’t stay there. Instead, I grabbed the backpack I had previously prepared with some supplies and my weapons: a long-bladed knife, a crowbar modified with several spikes along its shaft, and a handgun with a full magazine. I threw on my leather jacket, slung the pack on my back, and returned to the motel. Screw the cold and screw his warning. I was following him whether he liked it or not.

[Time to introduce you to my main character.

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ALYSSA GARNER  
Pure human female.  Age: 17  Level: 1
STR: 12 (+1)   DEX: 13 (+1)   MND: 12 (+1)  Mental Defence: 11
Melee ATK: (+2)   Ranged ATK: (+2)   Mental ATK: (+2)
Primary skills (+3 bonus): Subterfuge, Knowledge 
Secondary skills (+1 bonus): Physical, Communication, Survival, Tech
Armor: Jeans and a leather jacket (AC: 13)
Weapons: Knife (1d6), Crowbar w/spikes (1d10), Handgun (1d6)
Gear: 31 bullets, 1 week rations, 1 healing kit, backpack with 10 rolls of duct tape and 
         7 paperback novels.
Any other details will be revealed during the course of the story.

The fictional town of Woodville is located in Pennsylvania, north of Interstate 80 at the location on the map currently occupied by the real town of Buckhorn. (Sorry, Buckhorn.) So, why Woodville and not just use the real place? That’s simple. When I was in high school I used to write a lot of short stories and several were set in my fictional town of Woodville, Pennsylvania. So of course, if I was going to set another story in Pennsylvania you know I’m going to incorporate my beloved Woodville. When I looked at Buckhorn in Google Streetview, I saw that this real-life town had the same feel as my fictional town (which in reality was based on the city I grew up in during most of my school years) and it felt like a good match.

While technically not a hexcrawl (I didn’t prepare any maps on any hexagonal graph paper), I will be running the travel portion of this adventure in a manner similar to one. First, I determined a destination for this portion of the PC’s travels. Next, I randomly rolled how many miles they had to travel to get there. (The result was also key to where I located Woodville.) For each mile traveled, I will roll on several tables to determine what they encounter. The first table is road condition: zero to mild damage, moderate damage, or severe/total destruction. The next table is a landmark, which can vary from one or more buildings, vehicles, other structures, objects, or nothing at all. Encountering a landmark doesn’t imply that said landmark is the only one in the vicinity, just that it is of particular interest to the story. For example, if I roll a vehicle, that doesn’t mean that is the only vehicle on the road. I would suspect there might be many. It only means that for some reason the vehicle is significant. Finally, I will make an encounter roll (1 in 6 chance). I will also be adding a weather option, but for this first chapter, I’m just considering the weather to be clear.

I am tracking my progress on Google Maps and will be posting progress images throughout the story. Another benefit of using Google Maps and a real-world location is that I can use Street View to inspire the story. While this story takes place approximately 50 years in the future (sometime in the 2070s), from experience I know that even after that much time certain aspects of geography don’t change very much. This gives me the freedom to be inspired by the sites along U.S. 80 as they exist today or change them up as necessary, chalking it up to progress, development, or just natural changes over time.]


Scene 1 [Tension Level 1]:

Mile 1: mild road conditions, vehicle. (Encounter rolls will be kept secret till reveal)
[Is the vehicle a car? Yes  Is it out of gas? No  What’s wrong with it? Immaculately/Unholy]

So that is how I ended up here, walking along I-80 on a brisk late April morning, following a couple of hundred feet behind a stranger carrying a bad-ass gun.

He knows I’m here. He’s glanced back several times but hasn’t acknowledged me (which sucks) or pointed his gun in my direction to scare me off (which is good). We're a couple of miles from the interchange and the furthest I’ve been away from Woodville since this whole thing started. I guess that means I’m committed. No going back now.

The pavement was in pretty good shape. A pot-hole here and there but no significant damage. Every now and then we’d pass an abandoned vehicle or two, but most had flat tires, broken windows, or were stripped for parts weeks ago. That changed when the man stopped to examine a white, three-wheeled vehicle that more resembled a dune buggy than a car. It was in much better shape than the other cars we passed and I could only guess that it was just recently abandoned. He opened the gas cap and took a whiff. It must have had gas because next he checked the dash and suddenly grew excited. I guess that meant the manual I.D. key was still in its port.

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By the time he climbed into the driver’s seat I was close enough to see the red angel wing and halo logo on the car’s side. That explained why the car might have been abandoned. My suspicions were confirmed when I heard the high-pitched screech and loud clacking come from the engine. This was a Compagna [RG] Angel, a vehicle that won unofficial awards for being the worst vehicle of its year. The design was flawed and the engine would stop, seize up, or sometimes even explode for no reason at all. The joke all over the Nets was that it should have been called the Fallen Angel, as it was obviously cursed! 

Mile 2: Moderate conditions, Group of buildings

We left the Angel behind -- actually, he left the car behind and I just followed -- which may have been for the best as the highway’s condition grew increasingly worse. At that moment a vehicle could have still maneuvered the larger holes and buckled asphalt, but I felt the conditions were signs of even worse damage ahead.

I looked up from checking the back seat of a vehicle that was stuck in a hole and saw the stranger walking off the side of the road. At first, I assumed he was taking a pit stop, but then I saw what caught his attention. Along a service road that ran parallel to the interstate stood several houses and he was going to check them out.

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[This was a nice surprise. I rolled “group of buildings” first, then, when I checked Google maps, guess what I saw at my current location? Five private homes lined up along a small two-lane road. Perfect!]

Of course, I followed him off the road. If there was anything useful to be found in these homes I wanted my fair pick of the spoils.  Having seen his anti-social side, I hoped he didn’t get a settler’s mentality and try to claim the house for his own, but if he did there were four other homes I could . . .

Without warning, the stranger stopped, pulled out his sonic rifle, and looked around.  I had no idea what had spooked him. I didn’t see or hear anyone or anything. Another second and it appeared he had keyed in on something because he widened his stance and aimed his weapon. I still didn’t see anything. Was he hunting ghosts?

That was when the ground burst open several feet in front of him and . . . Oh, Crap! . . . A giant shark leapt out and lunged at him.  [Successful encounter roll. The result from my modified OmegaLite Encounter Table was one Sep, or Land Shark. Only the Man made a perception roll to “feel” the rumble of the earth as the creature approached. Sep is randomly targeting the Man.]

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[Initiative is based on a DEX roll.  Order of action for this encounter is Sep (16), Alyssa (10), Man (5)]

With a look of determination, he followed the beast with the barrel of his gun and squeezed the trigger. That determined look changed to one of concern when the rifle failed to emit any pulse. I ran forward as the shark plowed into him, teeth biting into his shoulder. Using his hand and the butt of the gun, the man beat the thing’s nose until it released him and burrowed back underground.

[Round 1 - attack rolls use a d20 plus any modifiers
Sep attacks with a bite at +8.  4+8=12 vs. AC 9.  Hits for 2d4+6 damage (13)  Man has 19 hp. remaining
Alyssa begins running. She is 100’ away and it will take her two rounds to reach the battle.
Man: Sonic rifles fire a 30’ cone and always hits . . . unless you roll a 1. On a 1 the power cell is drained and the weapon doesn’t fire. The Man rolled a 1.

Note: As long as the condition of the characters is the same at the end of each round, the narrative will not always follow the exact order of initiative but instead be presented in a way that best tells an interesting story.]

The man tested his arm to make sure it still worked and, other than wincing with pain, he appeared okay. He quickly ejected the spent power cell and dug into his pack for a fresh one. I took the cue and pulled my handgun from its holster as I continued to sprint across the service road.. (Yeah, I carry my gun in a holster. My hope is that people will be intimidated by the sight of it and I won’t actually have to use it.)

[Round 2 
Sep remains underground for 1 round before its next attack.
Alyssa pulls out her handgun and continues running.
Man: Changes power cells.]

As soon as the new power cell is locked in place the shark emerges again and moves to clamp down on the man’s leg. He moved aside, but not before the creature raked its teeth across his thigh. Before it can burrow again, the man aimed the rifle and fired. This time the weapon emitted a satisfying “thump” and the shark’s skin rippled from the impact of sonic waves. By then I had reached the battle and took a shot at the fleeing monster with my own weapon. Unfortunately, it had disappeared under the earth a fraction of a second earlier.

[Round 3 
Sep randomly attacks the Man: 14+8=22 vs AC 9  Hits for 11 damage. Man down to 8hp
Alyssa shoots: 11+2=13 vs AC 15.  Misses
Man: Automatically hits for 3d6 = 2+1+3+6   Sep has 30hp remaining

How far are they from the nearest house? (d10x10)  60’  If they immediately run for the door, the Sep will get one more attack right before they reach it

Round 4:
The PCs run while the Sep burrows.]

I rush past the man and grab his elbow, pulling him in the direction of the house.

“Quick! Run!” I yell. 

He listens and runs with me, for which I was thankful as I didn’t relish the idea of having to drag him along against his will. 

Now I could feel the slight rumble of the mutated, air-breathing, aquatic freak hunting us for another attack. The rumble grew stronger and I knew we wouldn’t make it in time. The man had passed me and was just reaching the porch as I stopped and spun, raising my handgun. The beast burst through next to me. My shot went wild as it got a hold of my leg. I screamed and the man shot at the shark further down its body away from me. The shark let go and retreated underground once more.

[Round 5 
Sep randomly attacks Alyssa: 11+8=19 vs AC 13  Hits for 14 damage. Alyssa down to 20 hp.
Alyssa shoots: 5+2=7  vs AC 15.  Misses
Man: Automatically hits for 14   Sep has 16 hp remaining]

“Can you make it?” the man asked me. 

“Yeah,” I said, getting to my feet. 

He tried the door.  [Is it locked? (Even) Yes] “Damn! It’s locked.”

“Break it down!” I said, thinking this shouldn’t be a problem for him. I told you he was muscular, didn’t I?

[STR check against a DC10.  10 + 2 (STR Modifer) + 3 (Physical skill) = 15  Success.]

The man laid into the door with his shoulder -- the good one -- and the latch gave way. We both rushed in and closed the door behind us. Quickly, I moved to a window to keep watch. Several seconds later, the shark lunged one final time out of the ground and its head landed on the porch just outside the door. He worked his jaws, feeling around for anything it could grab. Finding nothing, it slipped off the porch and burrowed, never to be seen again.

[Image: _ioUwXLI-4tI6cPtCFZC7EGXWALrq3vh0fX7ErAc...dXzw=w2400]
Current Progress

________________________

Watch this space.
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#4
Thanks Teviko. This is really good stuff. I enjoyed this first session and the setting and first person perspective into a shattered eastern USA and I think it's awesome you're using google earth. I always thought it would make a wonderful resource for a modern/near-future earth-based setting.

I'm also digging the d20 system as I own and play a few d20 based games. Question about the man's AC of 9... Seems kind of low to me. I'm just guessing here that the AC is a combination of a base of 10 + armor + dex. From his description, I guess he wasn't wearing armor, but maybe he just a sucky dex stat? Does the OmegaLite20 system you're using add any kind of class or level bonus to the AC?

On a different note, that Artbreeder site is amazing! Never knew such a thing existed! I enjoyed messing around with it a couple of days back while on spring break with my kids. We about died laughing with some of the things we came up with. But very cool. I appreciate you sharing those links!

Anyway, I'm looking forward to the next episode.
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#5
(04-08-2021, 03:03 AM)Jingo Wrote: Question about the man's AC of 9... Seems kind of low to me. ... From his description, I guess he wasn't wearing armor, but maybe he just a sucky dex stat? 

Yes, you pretty much nailed it. He currently has no armor and a poor DEX. 

I will be posting his full stats in the next chapter, but in character creation stats are based on a roll of the best 3-out-of-4 (d6)s.  You roll up three STAT numbers then assign them to whatever STAT you want.  This character (Nate) had a 15, 11, and 8.  Since HP in this game is related to STR, I gave him 15 in that stat (because I like to pad a character on the side of health). Out of the remaining two, my background for this character would make him better at technology-related skills, so I put the higher number (11) to MND. That left 8 for DEX.

STAT modifiers are (STAT-10)/2 and round down.  8-10=-2. Divide that by two and you get -1.

AC is 10 + DEX Bonus + Armor bonus.    10 + (-1) + 0 = 9 AC.

In hindsight, considering the time of year I set my story and the geographical location, it is cold enough that Nate should probably have some kind of jacket, which could have been leather (which I am treating as leather armor for Alyssa), giving him a +2 for armor.  But I failed to think of that and since I've already started I will live with it. It shouldn't be too much trouble to pick up a jacket.

 Besides, I have a "T-Shirt" joke coming up that may not have occurred if it was covered this entire time.  Wink
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