Christmas Special session right after the festive days of 2021.
We set our scene in Club Lavender, in the midst of a snowstorm. Icy winds are howling outside, and even the hardiest wasters hole up for this day. Same with Snips, Wyndham, Martine Eloise, Royston, and the retainers Kendal and Singapore, who are huddled together close to a radiator, sipping on hot beverages… when all of a sudden the door to Club Lavender bursts open, and within a gust of ice-cold wind and a rush of snowflakes, a stranger with a mighty beard stands there, and calls for help:
It is Ruprecht, the helper of Razor Clause. His cargo flyer, a red AV with some extra bells and whistles, has crashed! Not too far from here, actually, right in the unruly parts of town. Someone needs to go and help, or the supply run for Club Lavender will never come in.
Most wasters present shrink away from the call, but Snips feels her responsibilities as a shareholder of the Club weighing on her, and she says yes. Wyndham is a bit more practical and asks for a reward. 5000 gold, says Ruprecht, with a slightly disappointed air. And so the team sets up to prepare.
The crash site is right in a Raider’s block, which is bad.
But we have a snow storm, which is good: Even the Raiders feel the cold, and will stay indoors – for a while.
Snips is a midwestern girl, so she knows a bit about snow. She starts taking chairs apart to improvise snow shoes with the material. The barman tries to stop her and is not even impressed with her pointing to her status as a shareholder. No, broken chairs need replacement, he remains adamant. Wyndham and she split the cost and buy 12 chairs to break apart and use for flat shoes as well as for rigging some sleigh skis for the cart — just to be sure and have an alternative transport. And they take Costa the drone with them.
Wastes in White
Soon they set out, going east first, south second. And as advertised, they meet no active threats. All gang members, wasters, animals, and whatever else typically crawls around in the wastes and tries to kill our heroes, they have hunkered down in cover. And yet, dangers remain. The group must traverse giant dunes of of snow as they pile up in the lee of houses, and finally dig their way through a huge snow drift that covers a whole street intersection. Wyndham goes first and is almost buried under the powder, so Snips rigs everyone else together with a rope and we watch out for each other. A good thing, as Royston gets buried and must be dragged and dug out.
All traverse, and Martine Eloise also gets buried, but can be rescued in time thanks to the rope. The cart can’t get through the snow, so it must remain behind.
The wind slowly abates and the sun glares on the fresh snow cover. Singapore and Snips hear noises, and Snips verifies with a Radio Scan that there are 4 bots buried in the snow. The team attempts to circumvent them, but they notice the proximity of fresh customers and explode out of the snow to attempt selling “gifts for loved ones” with deadly zeal.
Luckily, the team was ready, and is able to destroy the bots. One of them seems salvageable, so they pack him into Costa for later repair and reuse.
They find a human-looking person sitting up on a traffic light .. an unusual spot, and in this weather deadly for humans, so they know it is not one. Snips ponders eliminating him from a distance, but since he reacts to a Costa flyby, the group decides to talk with him.
It turns out he is a weirdo, dangerously broken by the death of its owner, Robert. Robert has told the Synthetic to collect valuables, and store them, and that is what it will keep doing as long as it exists – but without harming humans, as it explains that it follows Asimov’s laws of robotics. But it is not interested in joining, or doing any other job, or getting bought or inherited after Robert’s death. It will just continue its silly job until it falls apart.
Important bit: it freely admits to have been the one to shoot down Santa’s AV! But it says that it used its last rocket for that, and now the RPG-launcher is empty. Snips asks about that launcher, if it is free for taking now, but the Snyth says no. It is valuable, so it will protect it. How? By “holding thieves”.
That sounds unpleasant in this cold! And in this place. We are in Raider territory.
The Synth indicates where the AV went down, and that “three ghosts” (of Christmas?) have been picking up the dropped Parcels that fell out of the AV. Why it shot the AV despite Asimov’s laws: It says it saw no humans.
The team decides not to trust the Synth, and rather try to overwhelm and re-program it.
Martine-Eloise uses a malfunction function, and the Synth drops down into the snow. Then the team runs up to the robot in human guise and pin it, while Wyndham and Royston connect cables to its head and go about to reprogram it. Which means, overcoming the security system.
Which is …. a Devil Dog!
Wyndham and Royston struggle with the deadly program, first in peace, then while the Synth shakes off its condition and comes to its senses. Round after round the Synth struggles to throw off the group that holds it down, but round after round they manage to hold on.
Still, in the end both Wyndham and Royston are thrown out by the Devil Dog; their Avatars shredded, but their bodies still alive. They are stunned too, and will need a turn to get back to hacking. Holding the struggling Synth down for a whole turn is too much. Snips orders to release it at the count of 3 and give up; to part on a live and let live basis.
But alas, the Synth has lied.
It does not give two farts about Asimov. Instead, it digs out a sledgehammer from under the snow and comes for Martine Eloise, with the intention of breaking her head like an egg. Luckily, Martine Eloise manages to evade the attack, which has enough force to crack the pavement under the snow.
Everyone opens up on the Synth with gunshots and slicing weapons, but it is tough and strong. Luckily, they all do really high damage, so it gets frazzled. Martine Eloise is deep in melee, and expects death, and has nothing but a simple knife to defend against the mechanical brute.
But skill beats strength! Martine Eloise stabs the knife in just right, and the Synth’s servos are broken. Whirring and sparking, it falls into the snow, bleeding hydraulic liquid. That was close!
The team digs up the Synth’s treasure and packs it up, to take it by right of conquest. And the RPG launcher. Wyndham would like to repair the Synth, even though most of the team find the idea unsettling. Luckily, fate decides: The machine is broken beyond repair… and that through the small knife of a hacker.
After all the noise, the party continues warily to follow the direction that the Synth indicated for the falling trajectory of the AV. Royston launches Costa, and the bot whirrs along the trail. It finds signs of life — three people in an old shop. Costa zooms in and identifies them as Raider-types with flobby face masks. These are the “ghosts” that took parcels. One of them sports a brand-new, shiny minigun with an ammo-box attached. The others have other items, but ogle the minigun with envy.
Singapore and Royston line out a plan to shoot them from the opposite side of the road and take the stolen parcels off them. Snips rejects the idea. It is Christmas, and they have found the parcels out in the open, so hey… why not let them have them? No need to kill if it is not necessary.
(apparently, neutral Snips develops a more and more lawful bend as she grows and matures.)
Costa whirrs on across the roof and finds the AV: It has crashed in a huge snow dune, and a person in a blood red tactical armor is busy working on its hoverdrives.
The party circles around the three Raiders and closes in on the AV. To avoid misunderstandings, they send Costa forward to make contact and explain the situation. That’s a good idea, as “Razor Claws” appears to be very well prepared to defend himself. Violence avoided, the team goes to him to offer their help and explain that Ruprecht sent them. He speaks of the person who shot him down, and the party informs him that this person is no longer a threat.
They also have, with Royston’s repair function and Kendal the Nomad, the means to help him repair the damage.
But it turns out Razor Claws does not need that help. He has the AV well in hand and will get it back into the air in no time. But he is worried about the lost parcels. They have to be collected, he insists, and the idea of Christmas spirit for Raiders is alien to him. He is lawful to a T, which means, presents have got to reach their intended recipients, not some hoodlums in the street. So maybe Snips is not so much going lawful, but more going Good.
[In the “Wasters” system, the 3 Alignments are actually Anarchist — Trader — Protector]
Part & Parcel of Life in the Wastes
The team goes back to check on the Raiders. Hard-won experience says that talking with Raiders is suicide, and it can be assumed that talking with Raiders wielding a minigun is more than folly. So Snips and Singapore creep up on their position outside, concealed in the snow, to take out the minigun-man with their sniper rifles, while the rest of the team waits SWAT-team-like right around the bend to swoop in in support. Kendal has got cone of fire shotgun ammo from Razor Claws, Royston has got a shock grenade ready.
The two sneaks have their “Hide in Shadows” ability doubled for the cover, and doubled again for the Raiders being distracted. Still, Singapore slips up and gets seen from the inside. And predictably, the minigun man opens up right away, mowing through the snowdrifts like a madman on crack.
And, alas, Singapore fails his save against suppressive fire and takes several hits. He is cut in half, and fresh blood sprays across the virgin snow. Sudden death, again, as we have seen it so often in these unforgiving wastes.
Snips, however, has managed to dodge the barrage, and now she centers her crosshairs on the laughing maniac. And notices that the “flobby face mask” that he is wearing is actually a face — a human face, cut off from a skull, and worn as a mask.
She sees Santa’s wisdom in denying them now. These are not random people who picked up some parcels, these are really naughty kids. She shoots and hits. Natural 20!!
Sadly, despite the natural 20, her damage roll is only a 2, doubled to a 4. Hardly worth writing home about. She botched it.
The team gets initiative, and she has another shot, but misses entirely. Luckily Kendal turns around the corner and “fires” in a literal sense, setting the minigun man and one of his pals aflame. Martine Eloise sprays the shop with bullets and actually takes down a man. Wyndham and Royston also shoot, and manage to down the minigun man! An important feat, as he would have been able to eliminate most of the team in one go, had he gotten to his action.
The last survivor shoots and scrapes Martine Eloise, almost, but not quite, killing her. In the next round, the team concentrates fire on the last raider and tears him to shreds.
They pick up all the stolen parcels and weapons and bring them back to Santa. He has managed to get his Sleigh afloat again, and nods in grim understanding as he sees the mortal remains of Singapore. He allows the whole team to pile into the AV and even agrees to an airlift of the cart they left behind on the way.
They hook the thing up and have a once in a lifetime experience for people of their social strata: flying high across the snow-covered wasteland and its roofs, with free view all the way over to the freeway or out to the actual desert in the east. Breathtaking impressions that otherwise only rich people with private AVs can enjoy.
… and to all a good night
As the AV touches down in the safe zone, Ruprecht awaits Razor Claws with great joy. The supplies for Club Lavender are unloaded, and everyone of the survivors of the rescue mission can pick a special gift. Snips picks special ammo. Martine Eloise picks a Tech Cyberdeck with extra speed. Wyndham takes a hyperjack, a boost for hacking. Royston and Kendal already have their gifts that they got out in the wastes.
Then they settle down for a night of drinking around the warm fireplace, together with Razor Claws himself, and toasting to the memory of Sinapore, and all the others who have fallen.
Snips 1 – Fighting Dogs
Snips 2 – Fighting Robots
Snips 3 – Fighting Swordsmen
Snips 4 – Fighting Kids
Snips 5 – Fighting Dreadnoughts
Snips 6 –
Fighting Running from the Boss
Snips 7 – Fighting Cops
Snips 8 – Fighting in the Pharmacy
Snips 9 – Fighting Cats
Snips 10 – Fighting Lions
Snips 11 – Fighting Code
Snips 12 – Fighting Chaos
Snips 13 – Fighting Words
Snips 14 – Fighting Mechas
Snips 15 – Fighting in Cubicles
Snips 16 – Fighting Fire
Snips 17 – Fighting Frogmen