Pulled and pushed from pillar to peril by machines and mercenaries – tough times for the characters
Yellow Dawn – The Age of Hastur, first published in 2007, is an RPG written by British Science Fiction & Dark Fantasy author David J Rodger – it blends the Cthulhu Mythos and cyberpunk genres in a post-apocalyptic setting. It also has three novels set within it: Dog Eat Dog, The Black Lake and The Social Club.
RESUME 28th APRIL YD+10
1 a.m. the team are somewhere on Libyan coast. Just encountered a PARC. They’re about to get shredded. Brendan recalls the prophetic words of the girl he practised sex magic with back in the town of Celeste – about talking to a machine but his friends would not be so lucky.
A 6 metre monster military robot has erupted from its self-dug hiding place in the sand; large calibre weapons snapping out into place as it flexes giant arms: a digital voice BOOMS: “YOU HAVE BREACHED MY BOUNDARY. THIS IS A CORPORATE TERRITORY. PLEASE IDENTIFY YOURSELVES OR YOU WILL BE TERMINATED.”
Samir shouts, “You know what, I am having a REALLY bad day.”
The PARC takes a threatening step forward.
Samir shouts: “Don’t shoot! We need to inform you about a terrorist camp nearby and an outbreak at the camp. We need to meet with your superiors immediately or a great deal of damage could be done”
The PARC rotates at the hip but keeps weapons equally spread across all the characters. It feels like staring into the emotionless face of a meat grinder that is about to get busy. It says, “Voice lattice recognized. My database considers it appropriate for me to make a codex call-up request. I require further data to complete this. Identify yourself. You have 4 seconds.”
Brendan shouts: “My name is Dr Brendan Black, professor of Comparative Mythology and Folklore, Dublin University. You’re very tall. What’s your name?”
The machine ignores Brendan, although they get the clear impression it has the barrel of a micro-rocket pointing at Brendan’s head. It seems to lean a little closer to Samir, “Two seconds.”
Winter shouts: “We are on the UDP protected species list. Any harm done to each specimen could give your parent corporation a fine up to 5 Million credits. Please stand down and don’t interfere with the local wildlife of this area.”
Samir says: “Gordon Mcdonald! I am identifying Gordon Mcdonald!”
The machine eases back on quick hydraulics. Then says, “You are not Gordon Mcdonald.”
The minigun’s gatling barrel starts to whine as it abruptly rotates…
Samir screams *Trying not to lose his composure* “I am Samir Hassan. I report to Gordon McDonald.”
The whine of the minigun dies down. The PARC seems to settle into its joints a bit. Certainly the danger isn’t over but neither is a mincemeat ending entirely imminent. Its not clear if it was Samir or Winter who caused this to happen.
Then a holographic projector beams out from a section of the thorax and a human figure materializes beside them on the sand. The figure is early 40s, blonde, craggy features that would have been good-looking when he was younger. Still has a thick head of hair that could be blonde, although it is hard to tell with the projected light. Part of his background if visible in the projection; he is in a similar landscape to the characters. He is crouched beside what looks to be a tent. They can see the edge of some kind of small, squat, military-looking aerodyne poking out from beneath IR cammo webbing. In his lap is a control console, possibly for the PARC. He peers out and says, “Which one is Samir? Samir! I know Gordon and I know you! What the hell are you doing out here? Are you working for Bino Bit now? Eh? You always were a slippery fish. Never knew what side of the fence you were on until you jumped. So you’re in theatre are you? What are we going to do with you eh?”
[ player recap ] Bino Bit has been mentioned twice now. First time was by the militia leader, Mohammed Ali: Bino Bit was the corporate entity that has moved into the area, used private mercs to suppress local survivor population and force people into working the mines for resources. Mohammed was building an army to fight Bino Bit. Second time is now.
[ note ] Samir later explains that the man in the hologram is Karl Denning. A high-level corporate fixer and organiser of dirty tricks, often working for conflict investment funds in stirring up the hate amongst the small people so the big boys can cream profit from sale of weapons, logistics and medical supplies.
Denning wants the characters to walk with his PARC to meet up with some “assets he has on the ground”.
Turns out this is Mohammed Ali and his men. Team explain that Mohammed and militia were killed by an Infection outbreak. Denning is very suspicious about the story and the fact the characters all survive. Denning wants the team to go to Mohammed Ali’s camp with the PARC and “recover all weapons and equipment, there is a LOT of investment lying around there and I want it back to repurpose and to certainly stop it falling into the wrong hands.”
The team walk with the PARC back towards the camp they escaped from only hours ago. Tense times as they know the area is now littered with Infected. They grab front row seats on a rocky outcrop whilst the PARC wades in to the midst of 30 plus Infected. Mayhem and carnage. A close call. The PARC is only just able to shred, blast and crush all of them without getting caught out by a zombie surge.
They find Mohammed Ali alive and well. And very happy to see the characters – even though he wanted to sell them as slaves a few hours earlier. How loyalties shift. Mohammed corrects Winter’s assumption that he is working for Karl Denning. “More benefactor than an employer.”
They load up one jeep with stacks of recovered assault rifles, pistols, ammunition, grenades, machetes and other supplies. Careful not to get Infected blood on them.
Mohammed lets the team grab some of the gear from themselves. Mohammed drives the main jeep. Samir and Winter drive another, loaded with fuel, and Brendan drives a third.
They are followed by the PARC. Drive several miles down the coastal highway then turn off into a small gorge. Exit vehicles, the PARC gets them all to drop their weapons. They are approaching Karl Dennings command post. Abruptly an aerial drone tears through the sky overhead. Characters dive for cover. Mohammed Ali sprints off. A few seconds later there is a dull crump of an explosion nearby. Characters spend a few moments discussing options. Then the PARC returns and is now controlled by Mohammed.
Transpires Mohammed was working for Bino Bit. He called in the drone strike once he knew Denning’s location. Now he’s got control of the PARC he rounds the characters up and calls in transport. A massive cargo helicopter arrives. A squad of 20 mercs, heavily armed and dressed in Bino Bit gear disembark and secure the area. The characters are bound and dragged into the chopper, along with the PARC, then ferried a few miles to a Bino Bit compound.
They are “interviewed” by a Captain Chambers. He tells Samir that he will be taken outside in the morning and executed. “You’re a risk to this operation, being who you are and work with.” Chambers is happy that Winter and Brendan are unwise to the bigger picture and will let them live. Samir can’t actually believe he is going to be killed. Chambers treats him to a coffee and cheeseburger from the base canteen.
Samir tells Chambers the WHOLE STORY, Baron Toten Reich in Aigues-Mortes – to Prudence and Magnus Hardstrom and the plot involving the meteorite mineral – to the location of the last known sample of meteorite ore. Captain Chambers is aware that this could make all of them rich. “I’ll be sure to build a memorial to you somewhere nice, Samir.”
One of the intel guys in there as part of the interview excuses himself. Samir and the others are locked back in a cell. An hour later there is a chemical smell from beneath the cell door. They back away. A moment later the cell door opens up and man wearing a gas mask walks in, he is carrying a gun and a brace of gas masks in his other hand – which he tosses at the characters. They follow him out into the main corridor of the prison bunker – and see all the armed men are unconscious. Gassed.
This is Lukasz. He was in deep cover and recognised Samir. He wouldn’t have broken cover but the story about the meteorite and the incredible value of it made Lukasz consider this was worth breaking cover to acquire. He helps the team escape the compound, in one of the jeeps recovered by Mohammed Ali. Three hours of hard-driving later, with dawn starting to paint colour into the sky, they are gunning down the coastal highway towards the location marked on the map – for where they hope to find the Polar Isis – and the last remains of the meteorite. They are wary that Tengo Gin and Hardstrom might be there already. However, a Bino Bit patrol has spotted the jeep and is now bearing down on them. The patrol opens fire. Winter returns fire, full auto suppressive and manages to drive the jeep back, three times this happens in fact; at one point the patrol fires a grenade launcher detonated a frag round right beside the team nearly killing them. Winter and Lukasz both take wounds. Finally the patrol is driven away, but Lukasz is suspicious and quickly pulls over. Everyone out. They walk from here. Some time later a Bino Bit helicopter thunders overhead looking for them, but they manage to avoid being spotted.
They spend 2 days slogging 80 miles to the map location.
A bridge spans a wide shallow river gorge. A teenager with a crappy crossbow is watching the bridge and demands copper for letting the character cross. He also tells the characters he has be asked to tell men nearby if people like them approach. The characters use the teenager’s stupidity and greed to their advantage and outbid their rivals. The teenager tells them where the men with guns are. Tengo gin and four mercs are in a dry tributary leading off the river gorge. There is a trail, 200 metres away, leading down the side of the gorge to the river. The characters could also cross the bridge. They suspect there is one man up high, observing, and one man on prowler guard duty.
30th April 2pm, Winter, Samir, Brendan and Lukasz (NPC) are by the bridge, with the teenager, working out a plan of attack. Winter has spotted a private yacht moored several miles along the coast (Hardstrom?).
<> NO RANK ROLLS HAVE BEEN DONE FOR 1st March session.
<> Brendan STILL NEEDS TO DO A RANK ROLL FOR 8TH FEB SESSION
<> All money is up to date. The team were paid 10 days advance for the Libya trip by the Baron (600 copper).
<> Bela has some raw components and specialised components he scavenged on the way to Prudence.
<> Bela has a special ops gel suit, although armour is wrecked over heart and right thigh.
<> Samir has bruising from being beaten up in Aigues Mortes, and knife wounds from the ship’s engineer.
<> Brendan has an assault rife with 24 rounds remaining.
<> Winter and Samir have a acquired a large number of firearms and ammunition, plus heavy weaponry, from Mohammed’s camp and the gasses mercs at Bino Bit compound.
<> Team have 12 litres water, 1 day of food, all their money AND all their equipment back.
<> NOTE: Bela is not with them. He is acting lawman at Celeste.
After literally years of playing scenarios where the characters have been rummaging through squalor for basic supplies – and combat being restricted to a few (expensive) firearm rounds but mostly down to close-quarter fighting, it was really great to open up the weapons chest and let the – players – have a big old shoot out. The two jeeps blasting down the coastal highway with automatic weapon fire and grenade launchers was a real epic movie scene. Good test of the rules for mobile cover; suppressive fire; vehicle damage and risky driving. I am very much looking forward to the next session, which promises to be an monster conflict between the characters sneaking up on the highly skilled Tengo Gin and crew. Will the characters be able to exact final revenge on him for the murder of their fellow characters? Will they be able to find a track back to Magnus Hardstrom and get justice for the numerous lives destroyed by his nefarious Deep Core Injection plant? Tune in to the next Yellow Dawn session (end of March if all goes well).
Djr, up in the Sky Bunker, Bristol – England.
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