Gamma World: The Wanderlost

Mad for Gasoline

This adventure takes place chronologically before the Steading of the Iron King.

Some time after leaving the lair of Krankor the Serf behind, the merry band of mutants finds themselves in what is likely going to be a long-term problem: they are out of gas.

Fortunately, the newest member of the team (a shanghai result of a botched robbery), the hyperactive man-cat named Neeford, knows of a town called Kolbee that possessed a working pre-Mistake fuel station. In between his jobs as a freelance bandit, Neeford would stop there to resupply. The townsfolk were farmers by trade, using the gasoline stores to power large farming vehicles to work their lands. Leaving Oscar and Crash to guard the immobile RV, the rest of the gang heads off to pay Kolbee a visit.

When the group arrives at Kolbee, they find the town recovering from a recent raid on the town. Inquiries reveal that Kolbee was attacked by a horde of advanced robots that methodically came in and excavated the subterranean fuel tanks from the old service station. Being farmers and not warriors, the townsfolk are helpless to do anything about the raid. Instead, the town leaders make a deal with the mutants, saying that if the group can recover the stolen fuel tanks, the Kolbee citizens will give them as much gasoline as they can carry. Naturally, the characters readily agree.

Ricky is able to pick up the trail of the robots, following an assortment of tread marks and heavy, even footprints up into the surrounding prairie. Within hours, the party comes across the decimated town that looks as though the buildings have been systematically torn apart and broken down into raw materials. Continuing to follow the trail of the robots, the band finds the site of an excavation, where a half dozen robots, including hovering spherical security bots and a squat barrel-shaped worker drones, are busily rooting around the area in search of salvage. A heavy metal fence surrounds south side of the site while massive towers of raw material block travel from the other directions. In the center of the site appears to be a set of recently constructed stairs leading into a basement of sorts.

The mutants take cover and sneak forward as stealthily as they can, most of them making it all the way to the fence before George absently picks up a stray barbell and munches noisily on the metal. The robots respond instantly, with the worker drones plowing through the fence to attack George with built-in power tools and the security bots lingering the back to take pot shots with a mix of bullets, tasers, tanglewire, and mini-napalm packets.

Neeford draws the attention and the fire of the security bots, distracting them enough that Ricky is able to pick them off at long-range with his trusty carbine. Nitro and Woodrow move to help George, using a surprisingly effective mix of self-immolation and psychic nightmares to weaken the worker drones enough for George to finish off with a combination of magnetic bursts and horny headbutts.

With the first batch of robots destroyed, the party continues down into the depths of the excavation site. The room they end up in is pitch black but fortunately enough of the mutants have chem-sticks or flashlights to make due. The walls are lined with crude shelving stuffed full of small technological components – wiring, metal plates, oil, grease, worn tools, etc. – and at the far end of the room, where a wide passageway stretches out, stands a battered but massive robot towering three times the height of any of the mutants.

The group moves in slowly and understandably cautiously, wary of the big robot, though the thing doesn’t look fully functional. Instead, more labor drones rush out from behind its bulk to attack the group. Another, much larger and more sophisticated security bot hovers in the background and what appears to be a gardening robot buzzes along the ground on three threaded feet to slash at the mutants with a built-in weedwhacker and pruning shears.

Neeford tries a clever trick and attempts to shove the giant robot down on top of the robots but he isn’t quite strong enough. Thinking this is a good idea, the labor drones try the same trick…with better results. Fortunately, the nimble Neeford is able to get out of the way of the falling robot. George comes up alongside the cat-man in time for the labor drones to surround them.

Ricky tries to sidle along the wall to get into cover but discovers that the shelving is rigged to collapse at a command from the security bot. The hapless dabber finds himself buried beneath several hundreds pounds of salvaged debris and spends most of the battle struggling to get free. He only succeeds by using his telekinetic powers to violently thrust all the debris away.

The mutants consolidate their attacks. Woodrow feeds the robots nightmares about rust and car crushers while hurling demonic blackfire at them. Nitro uses her computerized brain to hack into the robots and scramble their operating systems. In one case, she is able to take control of gardening robot long enough to have it do some damage to its fellows before it re-asserts control. Neeford and George use claws, horns and magnetics to whittle the drones to scrap. And eventually, the robots are all destroyed.

The mutants continue down the corridor into a final chamber. Here they find the two stolen fuel tanks, each hooked up to a portable generator. Next to the largest generator is a massive combat robot, a hulking, four-armed gorilla-shaped monster with a heavy plasma cannon for a head. With it were eight combots each moving on a single tire and equipped with four arms ending in humming vibroblades as well as a pair of squat, six-limbed assassin robots.

The robots moved quickly to assault the invaders but a timely gravity mine by George slowed their advanced enough for the mutants to take cover behind George. While the mutants made short work of the blade combots, the heavy combat robot closed in and blasted all whole assembled group with its plasma cannon, sending them sprawling and burning. Nitro was pounded by the robot until she went inert but as she went down Woodrow was able to scramble the logic circuits of the robot, causing it to attack everything around it, ally or enemy.

George charges and shatters the large generator, hoping to take out the source of the robots power but without luck. Instead, he is swarmed by blade combots and one of the assassin bots. Fortunately, Neeford is able to work his way around to aid him and the pair destroy all of George’s attackers. The rest of the party tries keeping their distance from the main combat robot, peppering it with ranged fire and their best Omega Tech weapons. Though the robot takes down Ricky as well, the group is finally able to destroy the robot.

With the enemy bots rusting on the scrap heap, the mutants claim the fuel tanks as their prize. They return to Kolbee with the recovered fuel and end up carrying off most of a one of the tanks in a mixture of containers. They return to Oscar and Crash and fill the RV’s gas tank to full. With the mission a success, the band of mutants continues down the open road in search of more adventure and perhaps one day their way home.

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Steading of the Iron King - Part 2

The party took a couple hours to reset and recover from their injuries before pressing on. They could hear scrabbling sounds and the voices of angry and frightened badders from down the wide stairway at the rear of the entrance. Moving cautiously and alert for trouble, the group descended into the depths of the steading.

As they reached the bottom of the stairs, they spied a thick overturned table with a pair of badders armed with crossbows huddled behind it. Another badder was nestled into a small alcove a few paces behind the first pair. As soon as the party came into view, the badders opened fire.

Neeford and Crash rushed forward, using speed and teleportation to strike and fade back quickly. Nitro rushed forward and let herself explode, tumbling the badders like furry tenpins and disintegrating their furniture cover. The rest of the party closed in, dropped two of the badders with relative ease.

The third badder retreated around the corner into another room where another group of badder were waiting. In the center of this room was a churning, humming machine from Ancient times that glowed with a strange yellowish light. Along the south wall was a rough cage made of iron rods penning four listless humanoids clad in rags. The four people did not react to the battle around them.

One of the badders, a heavy-set boss of some sort, stepped up and unleashed a psychic attack against the clustered mutants. A paralyzing blast of raw fear swept over the group, stopping most of them in their tracks. Neeford suffered the worst, crawling under the remnants of the shattered table and staying there for most of the combat.

The mutants rushed the badders, who gave ground as they could, falling back to the Ancient machine. As the badder came closer to the machine, a few of the party noticed that even the most severely wounded of the badders seemed to be healing rapidly under the light of the machine. George charged the badder boss, goring him painfully on his horns…and discovered that the machine also drained the life energy out of those nearby! Under the machine’s rays and the badders’ counter-attack, George collapsed, dying from his wounds.

The mutants tried to press forward but a second badder boss crippled their momentum with another fear wave, allowing the badders to fall back to behind the machine. Ricky braved the deadly aura of the machine to close in and toss a Razor Grenade into the midst of the retreating badders, killing two and badly wounding a boss. Ricky then withdrew when he saw Nitro fall beneath a critical blow from the first boss, pulling her to the first room and out of harm’s way.

Oscar realized that the machine was severely hampering the team and so hurried forward to try to disable it. He found a control panel and started working through the cryptic menu selection, all the time suffering the life-draining effects. George, patched together by Crash, came over to help but in his haste instead set off a dangerous chain reaction that injured everyone nearby. Finally, Woodrow, after dispatching the last badder boss, found a power switch and threw it, turning off the deadly machine.

The mutants took time to tend their wounds and resuscitate their fallen comrades. They chose not to further disturb the strange machine and instead took stock of the imprisoned humanoids. All four possessed the same mark of the Archivists that the wandering stranger on the road did, and all seemed to have the same mindless demeanor. Ricky determined that the poor people had been fuel for the Ancient machine for a long enough time that it had destroyed their minds. Perhaps with professional help and lots of patience time, they could be saved but for now, they were gone.

Neeford and Oscar adopted one of the former Archivists, naming him “Dave” and brought the man with them as they explored the chamber. They found that the badders were in the process of expanding the subterranean steading, as a wide, twisting tunnel led out the back of the room. The tunnel was rough but showed signs of stabilization and construction as recent as a few months ago. While traveling the tunnels, the mutants encountered another of the shambling, poorly constructed robots trundling up the tunnels toward the steading. Wary of explosions this time, the mutants pressed themselves up against the walls and allowed the robot to continue past.

Soon the mutants came to a chamber lit by patches of faintly glowing blue moss. The small chamber had a passage leading into a larger chamber. An earthen spiral ramp curled downward into a dark pit, and more carpets of the luxuriant blue moss covered the room. A number of skeletons, probably the remains of previous explorers, lay on the moss, glowing with a sickly green light. A pair of moths the size of dogs fluttered at the rear of the chamber, and a number of blood red birds lifted off from perches in the stone walls.

Oscar and Neeford sent “Dave” ahead first and the mindless Archivist drew the attention of one of the moths. The creature blasted “Dave” with bursts of radiation from its eye, vaporizing the hapless minesweeper. The blood birds swooped in to pounce on Oscar and George, latching onto the mutants and pecking them viciously. When a swarm of smaller birds emerged from the back of the room, Crash utilized a psychic illusion, creating an image of “Dave” that the blood bird swarm attacked…only to be badly wounded by the mental backlash.

Ricky rushed forward, using his mutant speed to kill the blood bird latched on to George and wound the second gamma moth. Neeford, worried about the pit and perilous ramp, created a mental force field over the whole area, allowing his teammates to proceed forward without fear of slipping or falling. Woodrow was able to wound Oscar’s blood bird enough for the engineered fungoid to pull free and kill the avian. Oscar and George wielded their strongest Omega Tech to finish off the blood bird swarm. Ricky discovered to his chagrin that dying gamma moths explode in a deadly cascade of radiation…but in the end of the party was able to defeat the monsters.

The only way out of the chamber seemed to be the spiraling pit, and Ricky was able to confirm that the robot tracks emerged from the pit. Proceeding carefully, the party eased themselves down into the pit, which emptied into a worn permacrete tunnel with numerous small niches. Then corridor seemed to lead straight to the north.

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Steading of the Iron King - Part 1

A couple weeks have gone by and as comfortable as an RV makes traveling on the open roads, it turns out that they don’t go very far without gasoline. They have a brief boon when a mutant cat turned road warrior tries to rob them, only to realize that he’s outnumbered. Thus Neeford Speed and his sedan end up unwittingly joining the team. The party scraps by scrounging trickles of fuel from Ancient ruins but the liquid only goes so far. Soon the group is forced to leave the RV behind and continue on foot with as many empty containers as they can carry, looking for a new source of salvaged fuel. Fortunately, Oscar still has his trusty draft beast – a mutant land octopus named Slurpy – an a wagon.

After a couple of hours of tromping across the scrub and prairie, the party comes across a thin man dressed in rags wandering aimlessly across the road. When they stop him, he barely responds to their words, only repeatedly mumbling, “Iron King…Stupendico…Iron King…Stupendico.” Closer study reveals a pyramid-and-eye tattoo on his upper arm, revealing him to be one of the Archivists, a cryptic alliance that seeks out Ancient technology to worship. Knowing little else to do with him, the party loads him up with up with some extra baggage and tie him to the back of their wagon, dragging him along as a pack mule.

They soon come to a run-down town called Burly-Ten. The town is surrounded by a rough makeshift defensive wall constructed of broken chunks of timber and concrete. They wander into town and look for a place to rest of the night, trading in some of their Ancient Junk found in Krankor’s lair in exchange for comfortable rooms. George trades in his shiatsu foot massager for deluxe accommodations but Neeford is forced to sleep in the stables with Slurpy.

Since she didn’t need to sleep, Nitro explored the town that evening and discovered a large pile of battered and broken robot parts behind the wall to the north of town. Closer inspection revealed the word “StupendiCo” stamped on several of the parts. Searching her databanks, Nitro suddenly remembered that StupendiCo was the name of an Ancient cryptic alliance that created all manner of powerful (and often destruction) technology. The damaged man they had discovered earlier must have been interested in StupendiCo. She shares this information with her comrades the next morning.

Around midday, the party overhears a ruckus caused by dozens of the townfolk gathering on the northern edge of town. Curious, most of the group follows and finds some sort of betting pool going on with an old slate board erected with distances and odds listed. Not knowing what was going on doesn’t stop Oscar and Neeford from going ahead and placing some bets of their own. The reasons soon become clear as a human-sized, poorly constructed robot comes shambling and stumbling from out of the foothills. The betting is apparently on how close the robot will get to the town. As the mechanoid approaches about 100 feet from the town (and close to Oscar’s wager), it suddenly lifts one clanking arm and fires a rocket at the gathered crowd. There is a brief heartbeat of surprise then the townsfolk scatter. The rocket veers wildly and finally impacts with the wall, blowing an ugly six foot hole in the stone and metal. The robot gives a shudder then explodes where it stands. Oscar collects his prizes.

As the town’s panic winds down, the party spreads out to check around town for rumors, especially about the brain-fried Archivist and the strange robots. They learn that a small group of Archivists passed through Burly-Ten a few months back. The visitors asked a lot of questions about robots, whether the townsfolk had seen any active ones or if any ruins with robots had been found in the foothills. Naturally the answers were ‘no’ at the time. These robots had been showing up a month or so after the Archivists’ visit. They always stumble close by but explode or collapse before they reach the town. Entertainment being a luxury, the town turned the robots into a bit of a game. However, today was the first time one of the robots had showed any offensive capability.

The party also finds out that a local group of badders have a fort somewhere nearby. For the last couple years, the badders have made periodic raids on the town, though they rarely did much damage as long as the townsfolk just hunkered down and stayed out of their way. Badders aren’t known for any particular mechanical skills, especially with something as complicated as robots, so none of the townsfolk figure the badders are responsible for the robots.

The party decided to follow the robot’s trail back into the foothills, hoping to discover where they came from and see if the maybe there was some treasure or (preferably) gasoline for their RV. Ricky was able to follow the clumsy trail easily, though after traveling for the remainder of the day, they still had not found anything. They rested for the night and continued in the morning. They were just breaking camp when another robot came stumbling down the path, heading in the direction of the town.

Curious as any cat, Neeford raced over to the robot and ran circles around it, trying to see what it would do. He spotted the word “StupendiCo” stamped on the robot’s exterior and made the mistake of reaching out to touch it. The robot gave a violent convulse and exploded, sending the hapless cat-man flying and burning him badly. After patching up Neeford, the party unanimously decided that they would leave any further robots alone.

After a few more hours while traveling through some seriously rocky terrain, the party began to approach a stone tower. The tower looked like it had once been a pre-Mistake convenience store or some sort, but recently wood and stone reinforcement had been added and a new second story was in construction. A pair of large metal doors served as the front gate and close by was a wide pit that glowed with a sickly green light.

The party slowed and approached cautiously – then they were challenged by a pair of badders armed with crossbows, who emerged from hiding atop a pair of large boulders. The badders warned the mutants away, claiming that the tower was the stronghold of the Iron King and that invaders would be dealt with violently. Remembering what the Archivist had been babbling, the party knew they were on the right track so they tried to convince the badders that they were explorers and traders with Ancient artifacts to share with the Iron King. But when they tried to show off some of their salvage, the badders decided that they would just kill the lot of them and take the stuff. The battle was joined!

Porkers emerged from the cover of the rocks to close with the party, though they were repulsed by Woodrow’s mental fear attacks and George horny headbutt. Neeford blazed ahead, trying to close with the badders but got too close to the pit and discovered a painful radioactive aura that tore into him as he went by. Ricky uses his speedy mutations to decimate a porker while Oscar and Nitro finished off another.

The group slowly began to advance on the badders and other porkers. One of the badders went down under a fusillade of gunfire and crossbow bolts from Ricky and Oscar. The other found Neeford pouncing into his face but he put his own crossbow bolt into the wounded cat and killed him! However, to everyone’s amazement, the corpse of the first badder suddenly sat up and regenerated, turning into a fresh and unwounded new Neeford! The cat-man waved the situation off as using one of his lives. The party was then able to finish off the last of the badders and porkers.

The next obstacle was the big door. It was simple construction, barred from the inside, and thus without locks to break through. Oscar tried to force the door but it wouldn’t budge. Finally, he started hacking at it with his plasma sword while Woodrow began cutting at it with his torch. Then George noticed that the ceiling of the tower was unfinished, leaving it open on the top. Thinking he could open the door from the inside, he activated his jet boots and leaped over the two story wall and into the tower.

He discovered a quintet of armed badders waiting for him as he landed. Each crossbow-wielding creature was hunkered down behind a wooden shield on elevated platforms. They peppered poor George with crossbow bolts as he stood in stunned surprise and dismay. And as if things couldn’t get worse, from a rough aerie near the back of room rose a giant lionine beast with wide wings. The yexil swooped down onto George, knocking him back with its wings and biting a large chunk of flesh out of his hide.

Spurring by George’s screams, the goat’s companions hurried to his aid. Neeford figured out the jump jets in his powered armor and vaulted to the top of the wall. Nitro pulled out her grappling hook and rope and hauled herself and Ricky up over the wall. Crash realized that he could just teleport through and arrived between the yexil and George. Yelping in surprise, he battered the beast with his plastic fists and teleported away again. George used the distraction to crawl to the gate and push the bar free, letting Oscar and Woodrow into the fray as well.

While Neeford and Ricky made short work of one flank of badders, the rest of the team piled on the yexil. At one point, Crash narrowly avoids death by the yexil’s laser eyebeams by teleporting away and leaving a hapless badder in his place. George unlimbered his Ancient flamethrower and Oscar utilized his deadly discthrower to grievously wound the yexil and drive it back. When the last of the badders were dead, the party concentrated fire on the yexil to finally bring it down.

After taking some time to salvage supplies and some treasures from the badders (George himself found a .45 Colt handgun with a pearl handle in the yexil’s nest), the party decided to rest of a bit before delving deeper into the Steading of the Iron King.

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A Really Bad Night

A half dozen people wake up to find themselves in a run down prison-like structure. Talking with one another, they discover that the last thing any of them remembers is going about their daily jobs then being attacked and knocked unconscious. This is where each of them woke up. Quick introductions are made:

- Oscar Fnord: An artificial human with fungus DNA who remembers working as an office manager in an accounting and trading firm.
- “Lucky” George: A half-man, half-goat who uses his magnetic mutations as an effective sentry and guard in his hometown.
- Mentok: A powerful psychic who operates as a roving judge and investigator under the pseudonym of “Mind-Taker.”
- Nitro-19: A synthetic woman built for scouting with a computer brain and an unhealthy love of self-detonation.
- Woodrow: A pessimistic but formal demon of nightmares who tries to make a living as a humble mechanic.
- Crash: A former crash test dummy who gained sentience and teleportation powers during the Big Mistake and made a living as a thief.

Before they can organize themselves, a group of tough-looking porker guards shows up to take one of the prisoners. Fortunately Woodrow and George are able disable the locks to the two shared cells and Crash simply teleported out. The porkers fight back but a self-detonating Nitro rattles them and when Mentok sends one of their number tumbling through the timestream, the fight goes out of them. It was fortunate that the guards had forgotten to disarm their prisoners!

The group breaks out of the room and works their way out. Moving up the hallway, they overhear what sounds like a shift change, with veteran guards laughingly ordering a ‘rookie’ to stay behind and watch things while they go get a beer. Rounding the corner, the group finds a lone young dabber behind a wall of laser beams. Seeing the controls on the opposite side of the grid, the mutants trick the dabber into switching off the lasers then rush him. Seeing the oncoming rush of freaks, the dabber faints dead away. Having a soft spot for furry creatures, Nitro decides to take the dabber along with her.

Continuing on their way through the building, the group finds itself in a large industrial laboratory where a mutant rat creature operates a robotic crane over two bubbling vats of goo – one a thick brown and the other a translucent green. A pair of hovering sentry robots notice the escaped prisoners and attack. The rat throws some switches and a half dozen shambling humanoid mutants, all but brain dead and animated by robotic parts, burst from containers to join the fight.

The robots prove troublesome, dashing about with electro-blades to slice up anybody hiding in the back – particularly Mentok and Woodrow. Fortunately, the young dabber (whose name is Ricky) decides to throw in with Nitro and her allies and lends his sharpshooter’s eye (and a lot of bullets) to the fray. Nitro herself decimates the cyber-zombies with her explosions, though many of the mutants help drop those creatures.

George and Crash focus on the rat (one Doctor Chu), seeing him as the worst threat. Crash impairs Chu’s movements with a bit of Ancient tech called a grav shield and George uses his magnetics to drag Chu into one of the vats, slowing him further. But Chu proves troublesome by blasting poor George with his scattergun and nearly killing the brave goat. But between the grav shield and the green gelatin, Chu was slowed enough for the rest of the mutants to pile on and bring him down.

After taking anything of value from the lab, the mutants found a set of stairs and headed up, realizing that they were in a subterranean complex. They were intercepted at the entrance by an arrogant serf warlord who called himself Brigadier Krankor. Surrounding Krankor were several flying guardbots, and at his side was a giant orlen warrior named Jebidiah-Cletus. Krankor gloated over the would-be escapees, claiming that he had been kidnapping formidable mutants for months and using Doctor Chu’s technology to turn them into mindless drones for his army. The group would only be the next additions to his forces.

But the mutants had heard enough monologuing for one day and attacked. At first the battle was definitely in Krankor’s favor, as his invisibility and life leech mutations decimating the clustered prisoners. Jebidiah-Cletus was also a formidable foe, his four arms wielding both a pair of huge axes and a pair of large-bore firearms. Finally, Mentok uses his mental abilities to wheedle into the orlen’s double brain and psychically convince him that Krankor was a jerk and didn’t deserve his service. The orlen thought this made perfect sense and slapped the serf around for a bit before leaving the complex. Injured and alone, Krankor was not match for the collective mutant assault.

Escaping the complex at last, the freed mutants discover to their dismay that none of them knows where they are – they have all been taken far, far from their homes. Finding a battered pre-Mistake RV that apparently served as Krankor’s personal vehicle, the mutants decide to stick together while they try to find their way back to their individual homes.

(All except for Mentok, who chooses to stay behind and help ‘rehabilitate’ Krankor’s surviving army….)

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