Yesterday evening, I spontaneously joined the monthly RPG night at our friendly local game store Otherland. Without any real preparation I offered to run a game of Mail Order Apocalypse and actually got 5 players. To cope with the minimal prep, I again used the simple „let’s rob a train“ starter scenario that I also used at the last LasagnaCon. This is what happened:
A Barn Rodent, the Equity Scion Baron Monsanto-Unilever, his court Genealogist, a Preacher of the machine cult and one daring Post Robber faced the ugly truth that their small settlement only had enough cans of mediocre Chili con Tofu to last them over the next three days.
Being thoroughly sick of the stuff anyway, as this was the only food option they had for the last month, they decided to get proactive. The Post Robber got onto his motorbike to scout out the train tracks, and check if they could use the same ambush spot as last time.
The spot still looked useable enough, but there was also a squarish looking droid working on the tracks. The Post Robber made a daring jump from his speeding bike onto the back of the droid. There he could see the stencilled logo: „Grip-Master-3000“. Apparently, the box was busy making the tracks more „grippy“, so trains wouldn’t have to slow down on this slope — foiling just the thing the Post Robber used to exploit on past heists!
So, the decision was made: This droid had to die. Or at least be stopped! So he took his trusty halberd and smashed it right into the control panel — stopping the Droid dead on the tracks.
This apparently triggered some emergency notification system: For the next few minutes, signal flares got fired from the Grip-Master-3000, undoubtedly calling for more droids to help it.
Thankfully, this was also seen by the rest of the merry gang, who soon joined the Post Robber. Together, they soon came up with a plan: Use the Genealogists blowtorch to cut the tracks, make the grippy tracks extra slippery with the hydraulic oil from the damaged Grip-Master-3000 and thus make the next freight train run off the rails.
It wasn’t too hard to enact this, but in the middle of all the cutting and oiling, the Barn Rodent heard an electric whine of an armed surveillance drone coming closer steadily…
In the end, the group managed to defeat the drone, derail the train, disarm the trains self-defense mechanism, use dry ice to create an impromptu bomb, blowing up the second surveillance drone while hiding from the blast in king-sized fridges and made off with 144 cans of spam, barrels of light beer, half a ton of frozen peas, and novelty bow ties for everyone!
The players had a great time. Shifting the underlying rules from PbtA to the really simple OSR-rules of Into the Odd enabled me to get the players started within a few minutes with minimal introduction. My new random tables to pick archetypes and their gear gave everyone just enough things to have a feel for their survivors and the varied equipment made them come up with quirky solutions to the problems they faced.
I did realize though that the loot table needs to be seriously expanded to be not too repetitve, and some extra notes on how to create more complex scenarios need to be included too.
Nonetheless, I am very pleased about yesterday evening.