27th June 2020.
Saturday evening is here and I'm logged into Skype on my laptop, sitting in my living room and ready to play in Matakishi's Wasted Hack campaign.
Our intention was to go back to the underground complex and continuing exploring.
We stocked up on flash lights, flares, ammo, grenades and more flash lights.
Derek reconfigured to transportation mode and drove us to the headland.
Leaving the Warhound and Bradley at the top of the cliffs, we proceeded down the vertical air shaft and descended into the complex.
Once again, we went into the north pipe and into the circular room. As we were brandishing more light, the humanoids could not surround us and retreated out of the other exit from the room.
Now that there was no immediate threat, we had the opportunity to examine this chamber. As well as the other exit, there was a vertical shaft in the centre of the ceiling and much like shaft that we used to enter the complex. We could faintly hear music drifting from the shaft?
The ceiling in this chamber was about 10 metres up and infuriatingly, we had no way to reach the shaft.
There was only one way to go and that was through the other exit. This passageway led us to another chamber. As we entered, our light drove the humanoids away.
There was nothing in this chamber but multiple exits. Some could only be crawled down, many were too small for even that and one exit alone could be walked down.
None of us fancied encountering any of the humanoids whilst crawling, so there was really only one choice.
Walking along the tunnel, it went through a couple of corners before branching off into more multiple routes. There was no obvious way, but after some examination we found tracks that only went one way.
We followed this 'main' route and eventually it ended in a manmade wall, however a portion of the wall had been pushed in, granting us access to the room beyond.
This room contained two upturned empty oil barrels, next them were some sticks. No doubt they served as makeshift drums. Despite Max's eagerness, we did not beat these drums.
There were two ways out of this room, a way down and a way up.
It was clearly visible that a layer of a substance similar to grease was coating the path along the downward route.
So we decided to take the upward route.
The tunnel was long, parts of it had appeared to collapse and we were forced to clamber over several obstacles. The tunnel rose for some thirty to forty metres and ran for several kilometres before it ended in the blazing golden glow of what could only be sunlight.
Upon reaching the tunnel's end, it opened up into a wide blue sky and a lush jungle vista. The tunnel had bought us back to the mainland.
Leaving the tunnel behind, we noted a large concentration of humanoid tracks here. Clearly they made frequent use of this tunnel. They despised the light and would only make use of the tunnel at night. It was just before midday, so we had eight or so hours of daylight left.
Continuing on out into the jungle, we saw the barest remains of buildings from the world before. Their height could be measured in centimetres and they were mostly covered in verdant foliage.
The further we went, the more frequent the ruins became. Not only that, the bigger and taller they became.
Amongst these taller buildings we encountered patches of freshly cultivated land and planted crops. There must be people living here? But we had seen none of them?
Then, we caught a whiff of smoke and fire on the breeze, a campfire perhaps?
Zoning in on the origin of the smell, we did indeed find a campfire amongst the tallest buildings. It had been hastily extinguished, embers still glowed and small flames still licked the fireplace.
Whoever they were, they were close and had to be watching us.
Seeing no harm in trying: We shouted out. "Hello. We come in peace.".
There was a long pause before the reply came. "Who are you? Why are you here?".
We explained that we came from Haven, a nearby settlement and that we were exploring the underground complex and looking to deal with the threat from the strange humanoids that appeared to inhabit it.
Someone appeared from a building. Dressed in a rudimentary loincloth and vest, he was armed with a spear and a bow. When he spoke, his voice seemed less guarded and he introduced himself as 'Zac Doolittle'. Zac explained that Doolittle was a word from the world before and meant 'talks with animals'.
Agent Pip was sceptical of this; so Zac gave a whistle and a giant alsatian, far larger than any we had ever seen before. Zac said, "Hello." to the dog who replied, "Hello!".
"This is Don." Said Zac, pointing at the alsatian! Don chose not to talk to us.
Once Zac realised that we posed no threat, he invited us to meet the leaders of the settlement.
We agreed and were taken up the tallest buildings, this was where they had made their homes. There were walkways the crisscrossed the gaps between different buildings, allowing the entire settlement to reside up here.
We conversed at length with the leaders and discovered that they were frequently raided by the humanoids who came and tried to kidnap people to eat.
The leaders called the humanoids C.H.U.D.s. Apparently Chuds were known to people from the world before and the name meant Cannibalistic Humanoid Underground Dweller.
The leaders would help us defeat the chuds in any way they could, but would not enter the underground complex.
They were also keen to open a trade route between Haven and their own settlement 'Home'. They hoped to trade their exotic plants and medicines for Haven's technology and knowledge, but they had always been hesitant to approach Haven, fearful of being attacked. We agreed to help and accompany them to Haven and grant them entry.
They introduced us to Zirra Camay. Both Zac and Zirra would journey with us to Haven. Zirra was carrying many samples of their medicines.
Our plan was simple:
Return to Haven.
Retrieve our robots.
Return to Home
Deal with the chuds.
What could go wrong?
By the time our dialog with the leaders had drawn to it's conclusion, it was mid afternoon and we shared a meal with them. Unusually, we noticed that they were vegetarian.
We left for Haven immediately after the meal.
Zac and Zirra were our guides. The flora and foliage in the dense jungle was thick and obfuscating and the paths that Zac and Zirra led us down were winding and twisting. But it was clear that they had a knowledge of the region and these paths that we could not hope to match.
We travelled along these paths for three hours until both Zac and Zirra abruptly halted.
Ahead there was a clearing of sorts, neither of them had expected to find a clearing here and they were instantly suspicious.
We carefully approached the clearing and realised it was not a clearing. It was more like some sort of road that ran perpendicular to our course?
The 'road' was straight as an arrow. A closer examination revealed some interesting facts. The road was a result of something extracting all of the vegetation, everything from trees to blades of grass and been removed. What remained was exposed earth.
In the earth we saw tracks, a large number of tracks running in parallel along the earth in a straight line, creating the road
It reminded us of something we had witnessed before; the zig-zagging tracks we had seen on the headland cliffs at the coast. This made sense, the road that stretched to the right would head in the direction of the coastline.
Whilst we reflecting on this information, Don began to growl, he was sensing something coming from right side.
Pulling back from the road, we hid in some greenery and waited.
We did not have to wait long for an extraordinary sight to come travelling the road. It was a giant ant, so giant in fact that it was larger than Derek's minivan, probably faster too!
It was carrying some vegetation and went past us without stopping.
Now we knew what was creating these strange tracks, we speculated where the giant ant was going to and didn't like the answer that we speculated.
Despite this discovery, the plan had not changed. We still needed to reach Haven.
We crossed the track and continued on. An hour later, Don began growling again. This was trouble!
Searching around we realised that a giant ant was tracking us somehow? It was not approaching us directly, it was following the same winding route that Zac and Zirra had taken us. It must be following us by scent!
It was unlikely that we could outrun it, so we prepared for the worst.
Agent Pip and I hid in the foliage, whilst Max, Aoxo and the others climbed trees. When the giant ant appeared, it made straight for Agent Pip!
Yelling loudly, Max leapt out of a tree and landed on it. He proceeded to blast it with his shotgun. The battle was joined and the giant ant secreted some of chemical that burned our skin and eyes.
We fought on and soon the giant ant was defeated.
This was not the end of things however. There was the sound of something crashing through the foliage. From his vantage point up a tree Aoxo could see not one, but two giant ants heading for us, one from either side. But something was different. Instead of following a scent or path, they were heading straight for us, trampling through anything in their way.
We moved off and hid. The two giant ants arrived and began circling around and examining the dead ant. They appeared to pay no attention to us.
Quietly we moved off, keeping an eye behind us to ensure we weren't being followed. We most certainly did not want to lead them back to Haven.
It wasn't behind us that we should have been watching...
Zac and Zirra informed us that we had left their territory behind and this was unknown land to them. Our progress suffered as a result.
Continuing, we heard a whirling, whizzing noise from above us? Looking up, I saw something falling towards me. I didn't have to consider anything, only time to dodge to one side. Two strangely dressed individuals crashed into the ground, clearly unconscious or dead from the fall!
Max also managed to dodge falling people, Agent Pip was not so lucky and Aoxo was particularly unlucky as one lands on Agent Pip and three of them landed Aoxo, crushing him to the ground in a heap. The attackers took no time to start trying take bites out of Agent Pip and Aoxo.
"Zipline cannibals!" Zac yelled, pointing at the zipline, a moment too late.
The battle was short, but brutal. We targeted the leader and once he went down, the remainder ran for the zipline and fled.
We continued and marched through the night. After some time the forest began to thin out and soon after that we crested a hill to catch sight of Haven in the reddening dawn light.
It was not until the afternoon that we woke from our sleep, recovering somewhat from our injuries.
Zirra began her trade negotiations with Haven's leader, whilst we went with Derek to retrieve our robots. It was late in the day when we returned.
The next morning we were ready to depart.
During the previous evening, we had discussed matters with Haven's leaders and came to an agreement: Zirra would remain here and conclude her negotiations. The rest of us would investigate the situation with these giant ants. Zac was happy to accompany us as this issue would also affect Home. As a parting gift, Zirra gave some of her more potent medicine kits to Jasper.
So it was that we departed in the morning for the ant road. After we found it, we turned inland and followed the road in parallel. The forest was thick here and the going hard. It took a couple of days to travel thirty or so kilometres. We were untroubled by giant ants during this time.
During the second day we came to the source of the giant ants and it was not good. We had reached vantage point that gave a view of the area ahead.
There was an anthill of massive proportions, so large was the nest, that it had 'consumed' most of a nearby large building. We could only imagine how far underground the nest went.
Observing the nest, we saw that the part of the building that was still visible contained two nuclear cooling stacks rising above the nest. The realisation came that this was once a nuclear power plant.
It was the cause of the giant ants and was probably still pumping out radiation even now.
Continuing our observations, we saw multiple roads leading out of the anthill in multiple directions. We even observed some giant ants travelling along the road we had followed towards the nest. They were carrying the dismembered remains of crab creatures. The ants had reached out into the coast.
In the long term, this ant nest represented a most serious threat to Haven and Home. We considered issues for a time and there was no strategy we could think of that would allow us to deal with this threat at this time. There was nothing else for it, but to leave it alone for now and address the chud threat.
Turning back and after carefully crossing over the ant road we headed for Home. Our journey was without mishap; from there we returned to the tunnel entrance into the underground complex, now with Bradley and the warhound in tow.
We found ourselves back in the room with the makeshift drums and the 'greased' way down.
I was highly suspicious of that passageway and felt that going down it was a 'one way trip'
Max however, was determined to explore it. He took a rope and anchored it to the warhound and got it to lower him down the greased passageway.
It descended for about twenty metres before ending at a flooded cavern of some sort. The gap between the water level and the ceiling was about two metres, it was impossible to tell how much further down the cave went and how deep the impenetrable pool was.
Max lobbed a flare into the water, hoping to get better view. As the flare sunk, Max caught sight of something briefly moving in front of the flare, a silhouette of some sort swimming rapidly through the water. In that moment it was hard to gauge, but the silhouette seemed massive in size.
A second later, several monstrous reptilian heads rose clear of the water, one of them turned to glare at Max!
Just as Max ordered the warhound to pull him up, the head lunged at him. It struck him solidly and bit at the rope holding him. Luckily for Max, the rope did not break and he was hauled up and out of the monster's range.
After getting back to his feet, Max threw a grenade down the tunnel. We heard an explosion ring throughout the cave followed by a weird howl. Max then rolled the makeshift drums down the tunnel for good measure.
We suspected that the chuds came here either to feed the thing or to provide it with a sacrifice and those drums were part of the ritual. Well, Max never got the opportunity to play those drums and now, neither would they.
Leaving this cave behind, we returned to the circular room with the musical vertical shaft. We discussed how to deal with the chuds.
Fighting them would be a long, drawn out affair. They would avoid our light at every opportunity and fighting them without light would leave us at too much of a disadvantage. So we came up with a plan.
We knew that the chud would try and sneak up on us from any direction in which we did not shine any light.
So we exited the circular room, not shining any light behind us, hoping to draw them in. At the same time we threw four grenades into the room behind us and ducked!
The explosion in the pipes was unimaginably loud. Once the dust had settled, we entered the room. It was a horrific sight, the tactic had been murderously effective: Chud bodies were mangled and scattered throughout the room, blood and gore was splattered even across the walls. There were a few barely left alive and grimly we dispatched them.
After this we decided to return to Haven, rest and restock ourselves. We were done for the day.
20th June 2020
Saturday night in the living room, logging on to Skype on the laptop means that it is time for the latest chapter of Matakishi's Wasted Hack RPG.
Since our safe return from the laboratory complex, we had been resting and recuperating from the experience. It was not long however, before we were summoned before the settlement leaders once again.
They thanked us for our efforts: The facility's power source was still fully functional and was providing the settlement with the opportunity to charge all of their batteries.
As a reward... the settlement leaders tasked us with another mission.
Four of the townspeople had headed east to the coastline to do some fishing, somthing done commonly as it represented a good source of food for Haven. The four townspeople did not return.
Initially, they sent out the 'so-called cyborg' Derek 19.4.0 to investigate. Derek went to the coastline, he did not find them, conducted a scan of the region and returned to Haven with the results.
Derek provided us with a printout of his scan. It didn't look much like a printout, it looked more like it was hand drawn..?
Anyway. The 'printout' showed a tall headland with a vertical chalky cliff. There were also a couple of tall chalky stacks nearby. Close to the sea level were three caves, one cave in the headland and two in a stack. Derek had designated these as 'deep cave', 'small cave' and 'big cave'. Derek had also marked an area with fallen rocks and a pipe of some sort.
Finally, Derek's printout marked far out to sea the 'boat raider islands'. These were very tall buildings that rose out of a now flooded city from the 'world before' that had been consumed by the encroaching ocean and was home to 'boat raiders'. These boat raiders considered the people of Haven to be savage sub-humans and mutants that lived amongst the radiation soaked wastes. If encountered, they would kill us without hesitation.
We agreed to go and search for the fishermen, Jasper, Crimson, Bradley and the Warhound would accompany us.
Derek explained to us that it was ten kilometres to the coast and he could drive us halfway there, once he had reconfigured his 'cyborg chassis' for transportation mode.
This involved Derek going and getting his minivan and giving us a lift..?
Anyway. After walking the final five kilometres, we arrived at the headland. From our vantage point we studied the area through binoculars. The entire region was seemingly uninhabited, there was no sign of the fishermen.
Derek's scan had also noted some 'strange tracks' on the cliff on the headland. We searched the spot and found that some of the vegetation had been been eaten, there were also tracks. The tracks 'zig-zagged' across the grass before going over and down the cliff. Try as we might, we could not figure what the tracks meant?
Whilst we were contemplating our next move, we saw a hot air balloon floating up high and out to sea, it was being carried inland on a brisk ocean breeze?
As it drew closer, it was apparent that it was being piloted by three lovely ladies?
As the balloon drifted by, they waved at us enthusiastically and parachuted a little package down to us?
Within the package we found soap, lotion, toothpaste and various other personal sundries?
The hot air balloon continued it's journey?
Our next course of action was to climb down to the shoreline and explore the caves. This was not so simple though, neither Bradley nor the Warhound were built to traverse vertical surfaces.
In the end we had to proceed without the Warhound. Even though Bradley could not climb, the Warhound was strong enough to lower him down on a rope.
We left the Warhound on the cliff top with 'guard mode activated'.
Now that we were at the shoreline and close to the the 'deep cave'. We could see that the lower parts of the chalky rock here were discoloured. This was caused by seawater and the highest part of the discolouration indicated the highest point of the tide. From this we learnt two things.
At high tide, the seawater goes into the deep cave and partially floods it.
It was currently at low tide.
Upon entering the deep cave, it was obvious that it was a natural formation. We went deeper until the cave turned southwards.
That's when the situation changed.
As the cave continued south, it narrowed into a tunnel. Unlike the cave this was not a natural formation. Even though it was rocky and uneven it was clearly man made.
The tunnel ended in a concrete wall!
This concrete wall spanned the enter width and height of the tunnel and there was no way past it.
We examined the wall thoroughly; there was definitely no way past it, no secret door or switch, nothing! Nor could we dig past it, the wall was thick and it even if we had the right tools for the job, it would still probably take hours.
We had no choice, but to leave and explore another cave.
By the time we returned to the shoreline, it was ankle deep in seawater. The tide was coming in.
Next we decided to explore the 'small cave' in one of the stacks further out from the shore. This meant crossing over, luckily the sea was shallow and easily waded.
The small cave was, like the deep cave a natural formation and indeed small. Searching it did not take long and there was only one thing to find and it was a gruesome find.
There were dismembered corpses here. It seemed that they had been torn apart and entrails were splattered across the cave floor. Even worse, the corpses were missing the 'fleshy' parts of their bodies, these parts had somehow been sliced off! Cannibals?
After our examination, we counted the remains of four people. The presence of fishing equipment would seem to confirm our worst fear. These were the remains of the four fishermen from Haven.
As we were deciding whether to immediately return to Haven or not, the cave darkened.
A massive silhouetted form had crossed in front of the cave entrance, blotting the sun out.
As it lunged forward to attack, we saw it was some sort anthropomorphic monstrous half human half giant crab! It had a strange shell skin like giant pincers that clicked menacingly.
Our reactions were lightning fast and we peppered it with ranged attacks as it closed on us. It was not enough to put the beast down and it swung at us with its massive claws.
At this time crabs burrowed out of the sandy beach outside and scurried in to join the melee, fortunately they were a mere metre across! They barely constituted as a 'giant enemy crabs'!
We were able to defeat all of them without much mishap. Looking at the crab-monster pincers, it was apparent that it was responsible for the demise of the fishermen. There was nothing else of importance here.
Leaving the small cave, we entered the 'big cave'. This too was a natural cave formation, it was also empty and searching revealed nothing.
There was only the fallen rocks and the pipe left to explore.
Approaching, we found the open end of a circular pipe nearly 3 metres wide. It had partially been covered in what must have been a rock fall of some kind, perhaps part of the stack had collapsed?
Looking in the pipe, we saw that it was flooded. It was pitch black inside except for a faint glow coming off of the water? There was a stretch of some sort of greenish slime floating in the water that was the source of the glow
Shining our flashlights in the pipe, there was movement of some kind! Just beyond the slime we caught sight of a floating body just as it sank into the dark water. Beyond that there was the glint of machinery and metalwork reflecting the light and sitting on some sort of spot raised out of the water. This might be valuable salvage.
As we were looking for a way to cross the green patch and we noticed a green liquid slow dripping into the green patch. That part of the pipe was buckled inwards, no doubt there was a split in the pipe caused by the weight of the rock fall that allowed the liquid to get in.
It was decided that I, being the most 'nimble', should run across the curved inside of the pipe and leap over the green patch and reach the machinery.
Unfortunately, things did not go to plan. There must have been an unseen slippery spot on the pipe and I tumbled into the green patch.
Upon landing in the water I immediately felt a biting pain throughout my body. The green water, it must have been corrosive. Even worse, I then felt something gripping my foot and pulling me in deeper!
Agent Pip reacted quickly and threw me a rope, I managed to catch it and she pulled me back. As I was dragged out of the water, we saw what was gripping me.
It had an alluring female head that was attached to a strange naked sludge body? As we pulled it out, several more rose out of the water and advanced on us.
Grabbing our weapons and readying ourselves against their attacks, we were surprised to feel a strange sensation and hear soft voices in our heads. Voices that compelled us to walk into the water, even through it was dangerously corrosive.
It proved impossible to resist for some of us - particularly those of us of the male persuasion. Meanwhile the siren-like creatures attacked the remainder of our team.
Over the next few moments we managed to resist their psychic charms and haul ourselves out of the corrosive water and dispatch them.
Now that the area was free of threat, we checked out the machinery. It was junk, all of it was junk. It must have been put there to lure unwitting explorers such as ourselves.
During the fight we had taken a few knocks, so we took the opportunity to tend to our wounds.
We were in two minds about what to do next: Try and continue down the pipe or see if there was anywhere else to explore here.
In the end we decided to explore around the other side of the stack. This bought us to a empty raider boat that had been dragged ashore and camouflaged.
The crew was nowhere to be seen and all their equipment was gone. There was only one place they could have gone - the pipe? Perhaps the body we saw sinking into the water was the last of the boat raiders, fallen victim to the sirens.
Realising that we had a use for the boat, we laboriously dragged it into the pipe and pushed it into the water. It floated over the corrosive water, allowing us to use it as a platform to avoid it.
We pressed further on into the pipe. After about another twenty metres, we reached a steel wall that blocked about two-thirds of the tunnel. Only the top third was open.
There were rungs embedded in the steel wall that would allow us to climb up and over it.
Unfortunately, Bradley could not climb ladders and we were forced to leave it on guard mode here despite the protestations of Agent Pip.
Climbing the rungs to the top of the wall allowed us to look over it. The pipe turned downwards and continued into the darkness, the rungs also continued down the pipe.
As we climbed down, it dawned on us that this could not be any sort pipe, it must be an air shaft.
We reached the bottom of the rungs, the bottom of the shaft opened into the ceiling of some sort of dark room.
The floor below was a three to four metre drop, directly beneath the shaft was a puddle of sludge, no doubt caused by a very slow drip from above.
The drop into the room would be fairly safe to jump, but getting back up would not be so easy.
A pair of ropes were tied to the bottom rungs and we climbed down, avoiding the puddle.
The room was circular with four exits, each one at a ninety degree angle and perpendicular to the others.
The 'south' exit was blocked, there was a barricade constructed of sheets of steel. It was built from this side to keep something out. The same was true of the 'west' tunnel.
This left us the 'north' and 'east' exits to explore. We decided to go north.
The tunnel was actually another pipe, tubular and the same size and shape as the air shaft. Walking down the tunnel, we caught the reflecting glint of several sets of eyes in the periphery of our flashlights, their height ranged chest height to waist height. Whatever they were, they scuttled away out of the light before we got a look at them.
A little further ahead, the pipe ended at another circular room. Cautiously we stepped in and played our flashlights across the room, looking for the scuttling creatures.
They could not move quickly enough to entirely evade the light here. They were hunched, pale and naked, stooped humanoids with large eyes, long fingernails and sharp glinting teeth.
There was a lot of them.
Hissing they backed away to the edges of the room, always retreating from the light.
Before we had a chance to decide on how to approach them, they had circled behind us. No matter how we shone our flashlights, we could not keep them all at bay and they charged us!
Max was caught unaware and lost his bearings, the rest of us attacked. It wasn't enough and they began swarming us.
Each of us was attacked several times. I took a heavy hit from one of them: Between this and my injuries from the corrosive water, I was in a bad way.
We could not allow them to completely surround us and were left with no choice but to retreat back into the pipe, dragging a dazed Max with us. Fortunately it was only a few steps away and was a bottleneck that allowed us to use our flashlights to keep them at bay.
From there we retreated back to the room with four exits. The only remaining open pipe is the 'east' pipe.
Whilst Agent Pip guards the north pipe, the rest of us conducted a preliminary scouting of the east pipe and encountered a series of branching routes.
We did not think it was a wise move to try and explore the east pipes with an active threat behind us and who were aware of our presence. Unfortunately we just did not have the equipment to to deal with the situation. So it was decided to regroup in Haven and return with more equipment and more firepower.
We climbed back up the vertical shared, ensuring that we pulled up the ropes too and return to the surface.
As we were about to leave the stack, we saw a boat approaching, it was boat raiders, six of them. We hid out of sight in the big cave as they drew closer.
This would not work though, there were clear signs of footprints leading in and out of cave, that they could easily use to track us.
Agent Pip used her lure/deter power to scare the leader away. It worked.. for a while anyway. The leader ordered his raiders to turn around and leave. They obeyed, albeit in a confused manner - straining their necks to look back at the stack as they moved off.
Pretty soon however, the leader came to his senses and the boat swung back around to the stack.
We waited until they were much closer to the stack and opened fire with out ranged weapons, we even had the warhound on the headland open fire!
The fight persisted for a few moments as we exchanged fire with the boat raiders. In the end though, we managed to deal with all of them bar their helmsman, who was desperately looking for a way to escape his predicament.
Unfortunately for him, I used my shift power to teleport Max aboard the boat and take him prisoner at gunpoint.
Max ordered the raider to beach the boat. After that we secured our prisoner and scavenged their equipment - which was generally better than ours. Then we returned to Haven.
When we had more appropriate equipment and weapons, we would return to the stacks.
13th June 2020
Saturday evening, in front of my laptop, in the living room and logged into Skype.
This means that it is time for some RPG fun! Tonight, Matakishi will be running the first session of his 'Wasted Hack' game.
The Wasted Hack
No, this is not an RPG about drinking too much.
This is in fact an post-apocalyptic RPG that was developed out of 'The Black Hack'. Thus, like The Black Hack, this is a 'rules-light' RPG that looks a bit like a old D&D clone, but actually plays in a quite modern manner.
There are no skills in this game, instead all actions are tested whichever is the most appropriate of the game's six attributes using a d20.
There are four classes; damage and hit points are based on these classes, as are 'specials'.
Specials are unique to The Wasted Hack. Specials come in the basic and advanced variety for each class. Characters gain these every time they level up.
There's also the chance to gain a mutation after every level up. Mutations sort of fit the roll that was filled by magic.
The Wasted Hack is a little more 'crunchy' than The Black Hack and of course has been hacked to fit the setting, but if you've played one, you'll be familiar with the other.
Time to begin play.
Few remembered the details of the 'ancient age', the 'time before' or whatever they chose to call the past. But only 'the now' mattered, the day to day struggle to survive in a world with a scarred, ashen sky and a scorched, dehydrated landscape.
Haven was a bastion against this struggle and a home to my companions and I:
Agent Pip; an Infected. Played by Michaela.
Max Zanzibar; a Veteran. Played by Kevin.
Aoxomoxoa; a Savage. Played by Mark.
Sal Vige; a Scavenger. Played by yours truly AKA Giro.
We had been summoned by Haven's leader to his office, with him was Derek19-4-0, a cyborg.
Derek was covered with various pieces of circuit board and panels of metal. He had been introduced as a cyborg. But to us, it seemed as those various metal pieces has simply been attached to Derek's skin? We decided against remarking upon it.
Derek went on to explain that whilst exploring a canyon, he had come across a building of some sort. There was a door and Derek went to investigate, but something began interfering with his circuitry, so Derek returned to Haven.
Upon his arrival, Derek spoke with Jasper Prune and Crimson Pluck. The pair of them went out to investigate and had not returned.
So it was to us, that Haven's leader had turned to investigate. We of course, agreed and Derek came along as our guide.
The reinforced main gates of Haven slowly opened before us with squeal of old rusted metal. It opened into a blasted rocky landscape; The Wasteland.
We followed where Derek lead us. He took us through the barren land to the north west for around ten kilometres before we arrived at the edge of a fairly deep canyon.
Derek led us into the canyon, within it was cool and shaded. For two or three kilometres we travelled before we came across the site of some geographical upheaval or subsidence.
This event had revealed part of a metallic wall or structure of some sort, something lost from the world before and now revealed.
As Derek had described, there was a door here and it's construction was also metallic. The door had visibly been welded shut from the outside? Stress or weight had caused it to buckle and warp, splitting open.
The split was wide enough for a person to squeeze through. Jasper and Crimson must have gone through.
We peered through the gap, there was faint and wavering orange light and perhaps something moving in there?
Aoxo went through the gap and found himself at the edge of a room of sorts. In the flickering light he saw that along one side, a rockfall had crashed through the ceiling, collapsing part of the room. The rocks had spilled into a pile of rubble.
Along another side were some chairs, a desk and a dead computer console. On that wall and close to the desk was some sort of door.
Most strangely of all, in the centre of the room was a camp fire. Next to the camp fire were Jasper and Crimson, both were were in a sitting position and tied up.
Close to them were four desert raiders, they had not noticed us and were standing there, simply watching the camp fire over their prisoners, their weapons discarded next to the camp fire.
I followed Aoxo into the room. Jasper and Crimson noticed us at this point and began frantically gesturing at us with their eyes, but it was undecipherable to our us.
Neither Aoxo nor I made a move, we both had the same thought; 'this had to be a trap'. We studied the room intensely and in the dim light, something seemed to be moving behind the rubble. Aoxo silently circled the room hoping to get a better look at the situation, meanwhile Pip and Max entered the room.
From his new position, Aoxo was shocked by what he saw.
From each of the four raiders, there was a weird tendril, running from the back of their heads to the rubble!
Aoxo's eyes followed the tendrils from the raiders to behind the rubble and they ended at some sort of amorphous protoplasmic blob!
At this point, whatever was in this room had stirred into action. No doubt it had realised that we had not fallen for it's trap. The four raiders began shifting towards us in an ungainly manner.
We sprang into action.
Aoxo and I leapt forward, hacking at the tendrils, when they were cut, the raiders slumped to the floor.
Max ran forward and released Jasper.
Then with snaking speed, tendrils whipped out from the protoplasm and reattached themselves to the fallen raiders who clambered back to their feet.
Realising that cutting away the tendrils would not solve the problem, I lunged for the beast and struck a glancing blow at its body with my machete.
Max freed Crimson as Pip and Aoxo tangled with the desert raiders.
The creature flung a tendril out at me and I was unable to avoid it. I felt lancing pain as it stabbed me, but worse than that, I felt the strangest of sensations as I felt something pushing at my mind.
Before anything else had time to occur, Max flung a flaming torch at the creature. The result was immediate: The creature withdrew it tendrils from the desert raiders and I, it then 'melted' into the rubble and we heard a metallic sounding twang. The raiders dropped to the ground; dead as can be.
Things had calmed down and we took stock of our situation.
Now that the fighting had stopped, Derek came in and joined us.
The room appeared to be some sort of foyer. The console on the desk did not work, nor did any of the other panels or buttons; there was no electricity.
The door was made of glass, we could make out a room beyond it. It was a largish room and we noticed an air vent close to the ceiling on one wall. In the centre of the room was a table there covered in past world technology. There were also seven other doors leading out of the room.
We spoke with Jasper and Crimson and they told what had occurred. After speaking with Derek, they came here to investigate. They entered the through the broken door and whilst they were examining the room, they were ambushed by the raiders.
They were tied up and a camp fire was lit. The raiders were discussing what to do next, the creature appeared and took control of the raiders. It was not too long before we entered the scene.
We discussed what to do next and it was decided that this creature - whatever it was, could not be left to roam free. Lacking the tools to reseal the door, we had no choice but to hunt it down.
The glass door was our way further into this complex, but without electricity the door would not open. Despite our best efforts we could not force the door open or smash the glass. It was some sort of security door.
We were stymied and needed to find an alternate way in. Max went over to the rubble into which the creature had melted through and cleared it away. Beneath, there was an air vent in the floor. There was also an air vent other room, maybe this would lead us there.
Despite my reservations about crawling through air ducts when they were also being used by weird crawling protoplasmic creatures; we went in and were joined by Derek, Jasper and Crimson.
After some crawling, we found the vent to the room, pushed the grate and dropped down.
We were in.
The room was filled with artefacts from the world before, but none of it worked. Either it lacked power, or we just did not comprehend it.
Even so, all of it had a high trade in value.
There were seven doors to explore and a protoplasmic beast to find, so there was no time to waste.
We found a bathroom, a 'luxury' from the world before. None of the taps or toilets appeared to work. The water supply must have dried long ago.
The next room we entered, looked like some sort of 'power room'. There were a few rows of instrumentation and dials here. There were also two distinct toggle switches.
We flicked the first toggle and nothing happened.
When the second toggle was flicked, red lighting filled the room - and other parts of the complex as well. It seems that we had triggered the emergency lighting.
The other toggle was probably for main power, it was then that we noticed a close by keypad, no doubt the toggle also required a numeric code to function.
Moving on, we encountered was some sort of medical station or first aid room.
We searched the room thoroughly and found a few meagre supplies of bandages and medkits. Everything else was either broken or decayed beyond use.
Continuing with our exploration, we came across an office, with a desk and chairs. It was a mess, littered with files, folders, letters and the like.
Now we did know too much about the people from the world before; but we did know that they were terrible at remembering pass codes - and this was exactly the kind of place they would keep them written down!
We searched the desk and found a piece of paper containing a string of numbers. Returning to the power room, the numbers were punched into the number pad.
With an audible click and a hum, lights flickered into life all over and the red hue was replaced by cold white glare. Whatever power source this place had still functioned.
Pressing on with our exploration: Next there was a 'janitor's room'. In here was a 'Bradley-bot', an anthropomorphic cleaning robot. The robot was inactive, no doubt it's power cell was completely depleted.
We had power now and the Bradley-bot could be recharged. It was plugged into the wall socket and a small red light winked on, it would take time to recharge.
The janitor's room was also filled with bottles and containers. I knew enough to know that these might contain some sort of alcohol. After some effort I managed to mix together a Molotov cocktail, given how the creature reacted to fire, it might prove useful.
The final door we encountered was sturdy and securely shut and there was no way we were going to open it.
Examining the door led us to spot a panel with a thin slot. The door required some sort of 'security card' to open.
Returning to the office, we searched it and found what must have been a security card. Taking it back to the door and fitting it into the slot proved successful, the door slid open.
What was on the other side was something we were not expecting and there was a lot to take in.
The door had opened into a laboratory. The ventilation duct from the previous room continuing through the lab here. There was also an air vent in that duct and the protoplasmic creature was hanging out of it. It had about a dozen tendrils reached out to what once might have been scientists, but were now clearly dead?
There was smashed equipment and apparatus across the room. At one side there were five transparent and undamaged flasks.
In each flask was a undulating and pulsing ooze which - save for their colour were similar to the protoplasmic creature.
There was but a moment to take it all in, then the moment vanished and everything seemed to happen at once.
The scientist-zombies split into two groups. Five moved towards the flasks, then grabbed and smashed them. The remainder came in our direction.
Derek fled out of the room and went and hid in the janitor's room.
Waisting no time, I lit an arrow and shot it at the creature, it was a solid hit. Max then threw the Molotov at it and it erupted in flame, immediately retreating into the vent again, taking it's tendrils with it.
The scientist-zombies were no longer a threat, but now there five ooze-creatures closing in on us.
There was a thick ooze, a runny ooze, a sticky ooze, a red ooze and finally a sparkly ooze!
Max swiped his torch at the closest one - which was the runny ooze and it seemed vulnerable to fire.
I switched to my flaming torch and hit the thick ooze and set fire to it.
Agent Pip attacked the sticky ooze with her crowbar, it had some effect, but the ooze stuck to the crowbar and began climbing it!
Aoxo also tusseled with the runny ooze.
The oozes then counter-attacked. The red one struck Jasper and began sucking his blood. The runny one struck at Crimson. Both of them were in a bad way.
The sticky ooze continued crawling up Agent Pip's arm and then her back.
Jasper and Crimson were forced to retreat.
Max grabbed the runny ooze and sprinted. He dashed for the bathroom and threw it down the toilet and closed the lid: What a way to go.
Agent Pip tried squashing the sticky ooze by slamming her crowbar into the wall. But there was no particular benefit.
Aoxo also attacked the sticky ooze and I pressed my attack on the thick ooze.
The sticky ooze continued crawling over Agent Pip and injuring her. Unfortunately, there was no respite for Pip as the red ooze joined the attack on her.
The thick ooze missed its attack on me and we stayed out of range of the sparkly one.
Max returned with a liquid of sorts and hurled it on the sparkly ooze, the sparkly ooze sizzled and popped, it was not a happy ooze.
Agent Pip's and Aoxo's attacks were enough to destroy the sticky ooze and it fell to the ground, the red ooze then ignored Pip and began to devour the sticky ooze!
I pressed the attack and dealt with the thick ooze.
The sparkly ooze attacked, but we avoided it and the red ooze was distracted.
Max then threw a second bucket of liquid over the sparkly ooze and that finished it! As the red ooze was busy consuming the dead sticky ooze, we quickly did for it!
Things calmed down and searching the lab revealed nothing of use or value. It was then decided that we should take a 'short rest'. Agent Pip had suffered some injury from the oozes, as had Jasper and Crimson.
Not only were we revitalised from the rest, the Bradley-bot was recharged, we were ready!
There were five exits from the lab, so on we went, now accompanied by Derek and Bradley - who had been armed with a hand weapon.
Most of the exits led to unremarkable rooms, but one led to an elevator. We noticed that the air duct made its way through here.
The only way was down and down the elevator went for what we estimated was six storeys.
The door slid open with a chime into a rocky passage way. Cautiously we advanced until the passage widened into a cavernous room. We surveyed the area ahead.
In the centre of the cavern was some sort of spherical rock embedded in the cave floor. It was clearly different to its surroundings and seemed to be some sort of inert meteorite and perhaps the source of the protoplasmic oozes. We also spotted the protoplasmic creature, it was huddled beneath an air vent. There were also four scientist-zombies wandering this room, but they were not linked to the protoplasm via tendrils?
Finally, on the far side on the cavern was an exit.
We entered the room and the four scientist-zombies immediately turned and attacked! One them fell to our ranged attacks and Agent Pip and Aoxo met the others in melee. We instructed Bradley to also attack,
When the scientist-zombies were struck by our attacks, they would 'spit' small globs of protoplasm at their attackers! Agent Pip was hit by one and it crawled into her mouth! Agent Pip felt that familiar pushing against her mind. Bradley was also struck, but was unaffected being a robot.
Attacking the scientist-zombies was risky, we realised that we needed to deal with the source of the risk instead.
Max and I concentrated our attacks on the creature. Max unloaded his shotgun on it and I charged in with my torch. Our combined attacks killed the creature, the scientist-zombies collapsed. The fight was over.
Searching the cave revealed nothing of significance.
There was the exit on the other side of the cavern that led to another smaller cave.
Inside this smaller cave was a surprising find: A Warhound combat robot!
Like Bradley before, this robot was inactive. With some effort we managed to 'jump-start' the Warhound.
The threat of the protoplasm had been eliminated and we had finished exploring the complex. There was nothing left to do other than return to Haven.
7th June 2020
Sunday lunch time, I'm sipping an energy drink in my living room and sitting in front of my laptop.
This can only mean it's time for Matt's 50 Fathoms campaign.
It's early morning and we're at the Baltimus docks.
As we're pondering our next move, two sailors walk past us and we could not help but overhear their conversation.
They were talking about infamous pirate 'Francis L'Ollonaise'. He had taken someone prisoner and was demanding a ransom for him. They intimated that he was 'Alain Amemnus', the son of the dead 'King Amemnus'. He was being held at the town of 'Tulago'.
This was significant news to us. Alain may know where his father's sword was, or may even have possession of it!
It was vital that we headed to Tulago. We checked our maps and discovered Tulago was on the far side of the 'Cunavo', the very island we were on.
The journey to Tulago took less than a day. As we drew closer, we could see seven pirate ships moored outside Tulago.
This seemed strange, as far as we knew, Tulago was not some sort of pirate stronghold or refuge?
We chose to drop anchor further out from the shoreline and observe the situation with spyglasses.
Whilst watching, we saw there was a large gathering in what passed as Tulago's town square. There were about three hundred people, they were cooking and eating, drinking, playing music, dancing and generally having a good time.
With further observation, it was noted that these did not look like normal townsfolk, nor did we spot any women amongst the revellers?
All of this made us very suspicious of events unfolding in Tulago.
Continuing to watch, we then noticed one man, sitting in a throne and not partaking in the carousing. He was being given well prepared food by the cooks and wine. Could this be the pirate L'Ollonaise?
It was necessary to explore the town, but it seemed just too dangerous to simply walk into Tulago. After some discussion, it was decided to wait until later. No doubt after too much food and drink, people would fall asleep or descend into a stupor.
This is indeed what occurred, it took until half-past midnight until events quietened down, everybody dispersed and stillness fell upon Tulago. We noted that the pirate who had sat on the throne retired to a large building in the north of the town
We moved our ships a half a mile to the east of Tulago and moored close to the coast line here. The settlement was close to the beach, but was surrounded by forest on all three other sides. Our plan was to approach Tulago from the cover of the forest. We landed some boats on the shore and told the sailors to wait on the beach and remain alert - in case we needed to make a speedy retreat.
The forest floor was uneven and it was dark, which made for slow going. It was close to an hour before we reached the perimeter of the village.
There were equal number of brick and wooden buildings in Tulago. It seemed unlikely to us that a prisoner would be kept in a wooden shack - it would be too easy for them to escape. So we decided to concentrate on the brick buildings.
Shia was concerned that Win and herself would not be able to 'blend in' if we were spotted in the town. Only Baxter and I entered Tulago. The others remained in the tree line.
We sneaked across some clear ground to the closest brick building and scouted it out.
Baxter looked inside, the interior was wrecked. The floor was littered with cutlery and broken earthenware. The place had been turned over, no doubt about it.
Quietly and carefully, Baxter climbed through a broken window into the room. Looking around, he found nothing. During his search, he did hear noise coming from upstairs.
He paused to a few moments and noises stopped, he could just about hear snoring.
This did not seem like a place to hold a prisoner, so we decided to move on. Luckily, the next potential building was just a few feet away.
Here too, the windows were broken and open. Looking in, we were not surprised to find a mess similar to the previous building and searching only confirmed this.
From here however, we could see another, larger brick building, just north. The windows were boarded up from the outside and each one also had three iron bars across the boards. This looked promising.
We reached the third building without mishap. From here, it was clear that there was a small hole in the boards of each window, perhaps to allow for air and light?
Before trying to gain entry, we cased the outside. We counted a total of eight boarded up windows, certainly the building was large enough for several rooms. More importantly, we noticed two guards at north west corner, by the only door in. Although both we slumped to the floor and propped against the wall with drooping heads, their chests rising and falling.
Choosing the window furthest from the sleeping guards, which was along the southern side of the building; we investigated. It was dark inside, but it seemed that there might be two people in the room.
Upon examining the barricaded windows, Baxter saw that the workmanship was quite shoddy. Without too much effort and noise, Baxter managed to pry one of the bars free.
This did however rouse one of the occupants. He seemed afraid and confused. We explained that we were here to help. During the conversation, he told us that there were ten prisoners here in all. Pirates had invaded Tulago and the ten of them had distracted the pirates well enough to allow their families to escape.
During this time, Baxter had been carefully removing the bars and boards until there was enough space to allow the prisoners out.
We had freed three men. They explained to us that they had been paraded in front of the pirates and tortured. And they did indeed bear the injuries of extensive torture. the pirates had wanted to know about their escaped families.
They said that the other prisoners were somewhere else in the building. We said that we would help them. We then told the three men to head east into the tree line, where they would encounter our friends, who would help them.
The three of them silently went to the trees, where they met Shia and Win, who used her Healing magic to ease their wounds.
Meanwhile we had moved to the south eastern window. Baxter once again managed to open up the window quietly.
Within the room were seven other men, they had clearly all received beatings, but did not display any signs of systematic torture.
The men explained to us that they were expecting to dragged out of the room one by one and tortured in the morning, before being slung in the other room.
We had found all ten prisoners, but none of them were Alain Memnus, so we asked if there were any more prisoners?
They told us that they had heard another prisoner in an adjacent room, but had no idea who he was and had never seen him. They heard pirates threatening him and were demanding something from him, which he quickly gave up.
We instructed them to quietly head east and into the trees to meet up with our companions.
After some deduction, we realised that the only window into this adjacent room was on the north side of the building and faced the town square. Not only would this leave us exposed, there were two guards sleeping just around the corner.
Baxter was concerned that the guards might wake up. So he went round the corner and gave each of them a gentle 'tap on the head', which sent them from a stupor into genuine unconsciousness!
Baxter then began removing the bars and wooden boards. As he was clearing them away, he saw a man sleeping soundly on the floor.
He was handsome, dark haired and extravagantly dressed. Might this be Alain Amemnus?
Once Baxter had cleared the window, he climbed in.
He then kicked the man awake, who promptly drew a breathe to shout! Baxter quickly slapped a hand over his mouth and told him to not 'panic'.
It took a minute, but Baxter convinced him that we weren't here to hurt him. Baxter removed his hand and then the prisoner immediately complained about 'being touched by a commoner'!
He was as we suspected Alain Memnus. Once Baxter told him that we were here to rescue him, he said we should leave without delay and tried climbing through the window, but tripped on the way out.
From the corner outside I saw Alain come out of the window and land squarely on his face. Baxter followed.
Now that we were all outside, Alain wanted to leave straight away. Alain seemed to be living up to his reputation.
We stopped him leaving and asked about his father's sword. There was perhaps a hint of shame on his face as he admitted that he gave up his sword to L'Ollonaise without any resistance.
We then told Alain to carefully head east and join the others in the forest. Instead of stealthy making his way there, he simply walked off. Utterly unaware of the risks.
When Alain reached the forest and met with Shia and Win, he asked what was going on. Shia explained that once Baxter and I returned with his father's sword, we would return to our ships and all escape.
Alain insisted that they make their escape now, however Shia refused and said that they would wait.
Back in Tulago, We knew that L'Ollonaise must have possessed the sword we had been searching for. We also knew where he was sleeping for the night. Unlike the others' L'Ollonaise was not drunk. Getting the sword would prove more challenging and a greater risk.
I play, I paint.