This Mythic session was run on Friday the 22nd of August, 2008. Greg and I started with the opening premise I posted on the 18th. The idea was a Gamma World discovery adventure which would probably be classified as a science-fantasy rather than Post Apocalyptic setting – in much the same way as Planet of the Apes and Logan’s Run are. This session presented more difficulty for us than others have. It may have been that we were not on exactly the same page on this setting. It may be that, as Greg has suggested, there were insufficient NPCs to interact with. Another possibility is that we were seeing the session in a traditional dungeon-crawl light, and maybe Mythic just isn’t good for that. Mind you, we may have just been off form for any number of unrelated reasons.
Still, it turned out to be another great session, even if it did seem to be hard going at the beginning. The following is a narrative of what happened. The result surprised and delighted us both. Neither Greg nor I had any inkling of the final conclusion to the adventure before we started.
We were the nephews of the leader of the community, a man who was (the Une chart told us) a Devoted Governor. A few rolls on various tables told us that we were in some way part of a privileged class, so this explained why we were chosen to investigate. We discovered that we had simple agrarian tools as weapons (grain fails and the like), and bows. We learnt that the community had treasure in the form of an ancient slot machine, 10 metres of copper wire, 2/3 ton of Mygnyl Chorts – still fresh in their wrappers (thank you Gamma World v1. We still don’t know what this stuff is, but it was a relief finding that we had plenty of it), and an expansive foam fire extinguisher that still worked.
On the day we were to leave there was a festival atmosphere. People assembled in the paddock where the mysterious hatch was found and stalls were set up. The Governor stood on a platform and made a speech and then the old women of the town gave us: some fresh baked bread, a religious symbol, and a flask of spirits. And with the addition of a very long rope and some lanterns we started the long climb down the shaft.
After descending 59 metres we came to the bottom. We turned the wheel in the door at the bottom and an iris snapped shut above us. Within the room we were powerfully aware of the smell of pepper (from my sights, sounds and smells tables). Inside this room we found a desiccated corpse, a functioning pistol (a mark V, no less!), some kind of light but strong material and some walkie talkies. We were already the richest men in the community and it was tempting to just leave, but we could not work out how to operate the iris valve so we continued our investigation.
On one wall of the room we managed to get a display up that showed what we believed to be a map. It showed a huge expanse. But since we could not read the writing it was impossible to tell what the scale was or even if it represented any kind of physical relationship at all.
Scratching our heads we turned to the only other door out of the room – the one we had been too afraid to go through. As we stepped out of the room we saw we were in a curving corridor that stretched away to left and right. The wall in front of us was transparent (OK, it was some kind of glass) and within the chamber it showed an enormous machine. It stretched five stories up and the bottom floor was three below us. Lights flickered across its surface like faulty neon tubes. Some parts were dark and lifeless. A deep electrical hum filled the air. More remains of humans were littered on the floor. They had the distressing look of being in radiation suits.
A lone figure moved erratically in the engine room. A robot (randomly identified from the Star Wars Essential Guide to Droids), rolled from place to place in a regular pattern, never showing any variation. We went down one of the many stairwells and entered the engine space and were just about to try and blast the robot – because he was so alien to us – when we noticed that we looked unaccountably older. What was this place? How much time had passed? How did these corpses die? We felt fine, we just looked older.
The robot saw us and spoke, but we could not understand it. Then it beckoned us to follow and led us into an auditorium. Once inside and seated the lights dimmed and a presentation began that seemed to show the development of this facility, the scientists that worked on its construction, the bills and petitions that appeared to have gone through some legislative process, and news reports. At the end of this the robot invited us to push a representational button. We concluded (with help from the Mythic random table) that the robot was replaying its last moments: when the machine was officially declared operational. But what did it do?
We had been speaking to the robot constantly in the hope that it was a learning machine and eventually were rewarded with some simple dialogue. The machine was the culmination of Project FluKe (Flux Kernal), a matter transportation device that was designed not only to facilitate instantaneous travel around the planet but also to unlock the stars at a fraction of the cost of conventional travel. But something had gone wrong when it was made active. Not only did it transmit matter, it altered time.
What went wrong? (Brewer’s Dictionary of Phrase and Fable came in handy here many times as we tried to piece together the puzzle.) After a search we found a main control room and discovered, as we had come to suspect, that the system had been sabotaged at start up. There was evidence of a bomb blast. So when the system went live everyone on the base aged a thousand years in a few moments. Perhaps the whole facility had snapped to this location from another planet – we had no way of knowing.
It was then that we started to ask other questions. How long do we live? (Emphatically) the normal age. Everyone in our community that was built over his facility live in good health for precisely three score and ten years, and then drop dead. This malfunctioning facility was the cause of our health. So we could not shut it down. We could not allow anyone to come here and shut it down either, even by accident.
So we hatched a plan to treat the site as a holy place to keep people out, and so made our way out again, pausing only to bake the robot so it didn’t blab to anyone else foolish enough to come down here. When we reached the surface we found that several months had passed and we had been assumed dead. A coup of sorts had taken place and the community was in chaos. Just perfect, we thought, for us to exploit and establish ourselves as the new religious dictatorship of FluKe.
So all’s well that ends well for the age-old human causes of venality and ignorance.