For the first session my group consisted of Cullen, the Savvyhead (probably will migrate to Coot when he has enough experience), Spot the Gunlugger, Setter the Angel, and Agent Chessman the, er, Agent. Not present for the first session but coming in later will be Kentucky the Ruin-Runner.
For the start-up, I drew a (crappy) relief map of Dam Big, the remains of the Hoover Dam, in an advanced state of disrepair. (It’s always been my favorite dam because it has hood ornaments. And a starmap!) Lake Mead became the Silt Sea, a lake with a large amount of silty deposits that contain radioactives and poisons; so long as nothing stirs up the heavy silts, the top layer is relatively safe, and a population of Skimmers live off of (sickly) fish they catch in this layer. Las Vegas became Lost Vision, a ruin squabbled over by several competing warlords and some resident grotesques. To the east is the Burn Flats (dry as a bone), to the north the Rag-Waste, to the northwest The Glow, to the west the Mud Flats, and to the south the Big Dry. The characters started out in Big Dam itself.
I started with Agent Chessman since it seemed the obvious place to start. He finds himself on top of the dam, in the middle. “This doesn’t look like Prague,” he thinks. He heads toward the west end of the dam and finds a barricade on the road there. He approaches an open service door and introduces himself to Rum and Grome, two watchmen. Rum scampers down to alert Spot while Grome keeps Chessman in the “Interview Room,” the room at the bottom of the stairs.
Spot grabs his 9mm and goes over to talk to Chessman. He starts off by shooting at him to intimidate him and then shoots at him whenever he gets an answer he doesn’t like. He wants to know where Chessman came from and who sent him, but Chessman keeps telling him he doesn’t have Clearance to know.
Setter hears gunshots from his infirmary at the bottom of the dam and walks up to see what’s going on and make sure they don’t need his services. He calms the situation, taking charge of Chessman while Spot paranoiacally goes to check the Armory to make sure nothing is missing.
Setter decides to find Chessman temporary housing in rooms previously occupied by people who’ve gone MIA. He tries to explain the local set-up to Chessman, including the concept of barter. Chessman misunderstands and gives Setter his wallet as a tip, keeping his cash and documentation.
Cullen arrives to work on the one remaining generator that still works (Generator 01). He runs into Chessman, takes his measure, decides he’s as nutty as the rest, and goes below with his helper Thuy.
While Thuy starts cleaning out the filters that keep the generator from getting silted up, Cullen works on some of his side projects, kept under tarps near Generator 01. Most of the hardhold’s people live in ramshackle accommodations on the rest of the generator room, which is a massive internal structure.
Thuy has problems getting one filter out. Cullen helps him lever up the filter and finds, in the mesh, a globe somewhat smaller than a bowling ball, colored green and glowing slightly in the near-darkness of the room. He starts checking it out.
Spot finds that, every time he checks the inventory of the Armory, he gets slightly different results. He’s the only one with a key (he’s Insano like Drano — who’s going to take it from him to make a copy?), so he’s obsessive about it. His inventory, of course, is a bunch of drawings in crayon on a dirty sheet of paper, so his accounting leaves something to be desired. He goes to talk to the hardholder.
I’d tried to keep the hardholder position undefined in case the absent player wanted to play one, but this forced my hand so it became Uncle, the one man Spot respects in Dam Big. Uncle appreciates his report on the newcomer, and offers to task one of his men to recheck the Armory inventory.
Uncle sees to Chessman while Setter is still there. Uncle does a short interview, trying to determine if Chessman has anything of value to offer the settlement. He comes away thinking Chessman’s the fruitiest fruitcake in the asylum; he also has a few hundred in Prague currency as a “tip.” Later on, there’s a guard posted on the corridor leading to that area, “just in case he’s really crazy.”
Setter decides to go out and scavenge the ruins nearby. He visits the remnants of the Hoover Dam Gift Shop, which is not in the Dam proper. He spots two bikes out in front and determines that there are two chopper gang members inside. He’s trying to figure out what to do when a shot rings out.