Friday, December 16, 2011

[Deja Vu Blogfest] Last Chance For Gas / Nanomite Swarm

(Today's bit of "Haven't I read this before?" is inspired by DL Hammons of Cruising Altitude 2.0 and his idea for the Deja Vu Blogfest - Day of the Do-Over!)

The following are two blog entries that received zero Comments, both of which I was pretty pleased with. So I'm resurrecting both to give folks who may have missed them two years ago a chance to use them.

Dangerous Encounter: Last Chance for Gas
(posted June 22, 2009):
This small encounter can be placed alongside any isolated, long-forgotten road or highway. In the distance, the party will see a small building just off to the side of the road they travel. Any party members who are familiar with Ancient Architecture or History will recognize it as a small gas station. But even those unfamiliar with The Ancients should be able to puzzle out that it’s a refueling depot of some kind (especially if gas-powered vehicles and tools are used in your campaign world).

The gas station is now the lair of a pair of Skin Stealers (MF Rulebook, pg. 95) who call this outpost their home. The Stealers can see the approaching party through one of the windows of station. If there are three or more members of the party, one will exit out the back armed with a crowbar (1d6 damage) to get behind the party while the other Stealer arms itself with a sledgehammer (two-handed weapon, 1d8 damage) and lies in wait inside the building. Once the party gets close enough, they’ll spring out and ambush the party.

If, however, there are only one or two party members, the Stealers will instead try to garner the party’s trust. They’ll come out of the building and welcome them to their home, offering them a place to rest and camp. They shall try to get them to lower their guard in hopes of eventually surprising them unaware and skinning them. (The harvested skin on both Stealers is currently wearing out and starting to deteriorate. The Mutant Lord may want to mention to observant players that the two nomads seem to have very dark and leathery hides.)

Skin Stealers (2) (AL C, MV 120' (40'), AC 6, HD 5, #AT 1 (sting or weapon), DG 1d4+poison or weapon, SV L5, ML 7, Mutations: toxic weapon, reflective epidermis (radiation), unique)

Once the Skin Stealers are dealt with, the party is free to explore the station if they wish. Over the years, it has been fairly well picked over and there isn’t much left to scavenge, but there are a few items of note to discover:
  • Hidden in a toolbox buried under some debris in a corner of the station’s garage are some of the items the Skin Stealers have collected from their victims. Within are 125 silver pieces, a Rad-Purge Shot, and one Healing Pack.
  • If anyone thinks of it, there is sadly no fuel in holding tanks, having been siphoned away a long time ago.
  • In a backroom storage area, the players can find two unopened cans of beef stew (someone's long-forgotten lunch) as well as a Visitor to the Area map. This pre-apocalypse map shows all of the roads, towns, and attractions in a 50-mile radius. Some of the attractions listed include things like Old Man's Cave, Mystery Hill, and other tourist traps. The current accuracy of the map is left up to the ML. Also the destinations listed could provide future adventure hooks for the party.
  • In the garage under one of the automotive racks, there appears to be a deep pit filled with old, filthy, discarded oil. This is not oil but rather a small-sized Black Pudding (MF Rulebook, pg. 62) that has taken up residence in the pit. The Skin Stealers treated it much like a “pet,” feeding it any animals they could trap as well as the discarded bodies of their victims. The Pudding never bothers the Stealers, but it may not take kindly to the strangers poking around the area.
Small Black Pudding (1) (AL N, MV 60' (20'), AC 6, HD 10, AT 1, DG 3d8, SV L5, ML 12, Mutations: toxic weapon)

If the Black Pudding is defeated and the pit is searched, the party will find many undigested bones of animals and humanoid creatures. They will also find a small metal box containing 24 copper pieces, 360 silver pieces, and 165 gold pieces. (The box belonged to one of the Stealers’ victims and was accidentally tossed in along with the owner’s body.)


Savage Menagerie: Nanomite Swarm
(posted August 18, 2009):
No. Enc.: 1 swarm
Alignment: Neutral
Movement: Fly: 75’ (25')
Armor Class: 7
Hit Dice: 6
Attacks: 1
Damage: Special (depends on type; see description)
Save: L0
Morale: 11
Hoard Class: None

During the final wars of the Ancients, military scientists were experimenting with nanomites - microscopic robots with limited artificial intelligence. The plan was to program these microscopic automatons to attack the enemy and heal the wounded during a combat situation. The nanomites worked as planned. However, in The Savage AfterWorld, these still-activated rogue machines pose a substantial threat.

A nanomite swarm contains literally millions of cellular-sized bots. Individually too small to be seen, a nanomite swarm appears like a fine black mist or a swirling vortex of smoke. Once engaged, this "mist" will sweep in and engulf the party. (See the Insect Swarm entry in the MF rulebook, pg. 77, for more information on how a swarm may react to the PCs.)

There are two classes of nanomite swarm that may be encountered in the Mutant Future:

Combat nanomite swarm: Combat nanomites were designed to attack an enemy from the inside out. Upon a successful hit, have the PC save vs. poison. If the roll fails, some of the nanomites have burrowed into the PC's flesh. They will attack the character on a cellular level, flaring up and burning out, delivering 3d6 hit points of damage as they destroy themselves to damage the victim. The only way to stop the attack is to escape or destroy the swarm.

Medical nanomite swarm: Medical nanomites were designed for quick healing and repair on the combat front. Now that the wars have ended, they still seek out the injured to assist. But DNA has changed a LOT over the years. Any pure human successfully "attacked" by medical nanomites will instead find that they have been healed for 3d6 hp. However, since the nanomites were not designed for mutant DNA, any mutant PCs successfully attacked should roll 1d4. On 1-2, the nanomites are able to puzzle out enough of the DNA's quirks to heal the mutant PC for 2d6 hp. On a roll of 3, the nanomites instead alter the DNA in some way, bestowing 1 random mutation to the PC. However, on a roll of 4, the medical nanomite does more harm than good. The PC will need to save vs. poison or take 3d6 damage. Since the nanomites were never programmed for artificial life, all androids and robotic PCs are unaffected by medical nanomites.

Just like an insect swarm, a nanomite swarm sustains no damage from weapons. (It'd be like trying to stab, club, or shoot a fog bank.) Attacks from fire, cold, or other energy-based attacks will deliver full damage to the nanomite swarm. Any electrical-based attacks such as from an energy baton, shock gloves, EMP rifle, etc., will deliver double damage upon a successful hit.

Nanomite swarms are typically encountered on Ancient battlegrounds, though a swarm may have "drifted" over the years to nearby areas as well.

Mutations: none


  1. ) Re: "Last Chance For Gas"

    I read a short story in a recent zombie-themed anthology that read almost exactly like your adventure. Since your post is well over two years old, you may have a "fan" out there inspired by your work! (I'll try to dig up the story--I read a LOT of anthologies, and I'm not sure which one it's in.)

    ) Re: Nanomite Swarm

    I could also see particularly nasty Medical Nanomites acting as if they had the Ancestral Form mutation. They would filter out a mutant's "bad" DNA, and strip away mutations one by one.... (Maybe they'd start with Defects, so as to not be too evil towards the PCs.)

  2. These games posts are fascinating. The detail, the complexity...

    Thanks so much for joining the Blogfest!

  3. This is not at all what I normally read, but I enjoyed it. I haven't really been a gamer since the Pac-Man/Space Invaders days. Looks like they've come a long way! :-)

  4. OMG, this is a game? I had to give them up when dreaming I was one of the Super Mario Brothers jumping over obstacles. My husband woke me up and told me I was grinding my teeth really loud. That was the end of playing video games for me. But these? Oh man, the one genre I can't handle is horror. I couldn't read past the part about the Stealer with the crowbar. Yep, it was actually making me nauseous. Am I a wimp? Yep, sure am!

  5. I'm not a gamer, but this was very fascinating! I almost re-posted two as well. It was difficult to choose.

  6. I'm a console gamer, but mostly shooters. This was a truly fascinating read and I admire the obvious attention to detail that you have created here! :)

  7. Sweet, I came across these individually while back browsing your blog & filed them both away for use actually so yeah, well worth the repost.

    Interesting it got so many hits from non gamers.