A bunch of friends requested for a Fallout inspired game session. I decided to run them a one shot using Apocalypse World and a number of online playkits to try and create the Fallout experience. I will admit I wasn't that huge a fan of the game (not by choice but by circumstance) so I hoped I did the game justice.
The characters in the game are as follows:
Fifi, played by Lem (Gunlugger)
(Concealed, Mismatched armor, sad face, hard body. Visual peg: Vincent Valentine)
Hard 3, Hot-2 (Cool)
Insano like Drano
Lemieux, played by Yong (Savvyhead)
(Man, utility wear plus tech, expressive face, quick eyes, fat body. Visual peg: Kevin James)
Weird 2, Hard -1 (Weird)
Snow, played by Jonas (Battlebabe)
(Man, Showy armor, Handsome face, gorgeous body. Visual peg: John Snow)
Cool3, Weird-1 (Hot, Cool)
Skinjob, played by Angel (Synthetic)
(Droid, hi-tech skin, no face, glowing eyes)
[Built to Kill] Hard 2, Hot & Sharp & Weird 0 (Hard, Cool)
(Lemieux) Savvy head is the master
Serve and Protect
Sieze by Force
Seduce or Manipulate
Read a Person
Whisper, played by Rocky (Boy and his dog)
(Body, way to big wear, strong face, soulful eyes, compact body, knives)
Sharp 2, Weird -1 (Sharp, Hard)
Bond of Loyalty
Don't Fuck with my Dog
Somewhere Over the Wasteland
Max (dog) : Bloodhound, Independent
(Mangy and mutie four eyes) Mean
Harm 1, Armor 0
The group is in Vault number 15. With a tiny population of less than 20 souls, the overseer Corbett isn't feeling too well. Given the place is composed of 4 elderly, 10 adults, and 6 kids (and a dog), their supplies were running low and soon in desperate need for restocking. And there's the synth which Lemieux had reprogrammed to help them.
The scene opens with Skinjob recognizing there is a metal bar through his chest and an arrow through one wrist. A boy and his dog charges as a guy fires his guns at all directions. Another man swings a katana and screams. A third fires a magnum at those closing in, smoke still leaving the end of the sniper rifle behind his back. Dead bodies are all around them. Other humanoid yet not quite human things keep coming at them. He attempts to make sense of the events and loads the files of the previous events and quickly tries to play through it again.
Blue lights. A man in another room illuminated by the blue light watches the scene through the camera feeds. He presses a few buttons and allows the door to open and smiles as the scavengers begin screaming at each other to hurry through.
One hour ago.
Skinjob's featureless face stares at the scene before him. Lemieux had just fixed the speaker system and now music pipes through the complex. It is a welcome break after the nearly two years of silence in the vault. For some of them, the last two years were about adjusting to life here after waking up. For others, like the boy and his dog, they had arrived from outside and made a new home here. With food stores going low, Corbett insists that everyone has to just wait. He believes this is part of a larger program and the next shipment should be on its way. Others, however, feel they might be on their own and must find food somehow. Snow is bothered that there has never been any shipments in the last two years. Fifi wonders if the vault food supplies have dropped that low. Snow asks the Whisper about any possible towns outside that they can scavenge, but the boy merely shakes his head and admits, "You wouldn't handle it." Snow tries to gain his favor by handing him some of the remaining chocolate hoping Whisper talks more. "Well, now you're one of us. If we run out of food, you'll suffer too. This is your chance to contribute." Whisper however turns him down, insisting he only cares about him and Max. He gives in, however, in the end, and starts talking about the ruins of a warehouse around two days walk from the vault. There were what looked like traps all around the location. Skinjob tries to find any information that might help in his databanks, especially in the unexplored areas. He finds a similar chamber to the vault in his database.
Lemieux fiddles with the radio, hoping to find any other music station. A woman comes up to him, asking if he's French, and he just teases he just likes French food. The woman asks if Snow is seeing someone. The girls throw stories back and forth about him, even goes as far as thinking he might be married and the boy with the dog is his son. The girls head away when Skinjob comes over, smashes a nearby box, and yells at the women to leave the room. The Skinjob impresses the importance for the Saavy head to dig into his memory banks and search for specific information that might help. As he works on seeing how he can access the data banks, he realizes he can remove the physical locks that keep Skinjob from accessing his database directly. As the locks are removed, Skinjob begins to tap into older memories. He recalls people fearful of him as he once had broken the neck of a woman. He remembers them fighting him, and eventually disabling him to the point he was reprogrammed to function in their favor. Lemieux removes the memory chip that hindered memory access and closes him back up. Skinjob confirms his original programming was to protect the vault, and his actions were only because some of them were not listed in the roster of who was meant to be in here. Skinjob shares with Lemieux the information he uncovers, choosing to keep it between them only.
Elsewhere, Corbett talks with Fifi how he feels people seem to be seeing Snow as his replacement, but they don't realize they're only falling for his charisma. Corbett doesn't want Snow dead or anything, but he does feel Fifi needs to consider taking a bigger role in the future for the Vault's survival. Fifi chooses to remain silent, though. Whisper insists they can't handle the warehouse with its traps and mutants, but Snow does think it might be best to do what the Synth has suggested. When Skinjob complains he told Lemieux to keep it to themselves, Snow smiles in how he got them to admit they were keeping information from them. Corbett asks Lemieux what he has in mind and Lemieux decides exploring outside the vault would be best. He shows them the sketch Skinjob made of a possible vault with supplies. Skinjob gets angry, having wanted to keep this a secret. Lemieux reminds it these desperate times require desperate measures. Skinjob grabs the sketch back, insisting he will navigate. Corbett looks at Fifi, who nods. Stacey, the woman in charge of food, reminds them all to be careful that whatever they find doesn't trace them back to where they are. Corbett decides they will have to lock the vault behind the team after they go through. He gives Lemieux the instructions on how to override the lock later to get back. After quick preparations, they head off.
They open the vault door and move to the deeper tunnels. The air, surprisingly is clear and maintained. Their lights shine ahead but reveal no dust particles in the rays. Stacey wonders aloud if the Synth should lead even as Whisper and his dog, Max, hurry off on their own without waiting for confirmation. Snow recommends Skinjob goes up front, but the synth counters he can do his job among them, despite Snow arguing to them that the boy shouldn't be up front. Lemiuex stays behind the synth. The first fifteen minutes are pretty uneventful, with the Skinjob giving them directions as they move through the long dark yet damp tunnels. The metal floor hums as if a machine is running in the distance. Soon they reach a new obstacle: a large door similar to the vault door they have in their own place. The Vault is labeled 51. Fifi stays alert, watching their rear. He tries calling out to ask Max to help him watch the area - which Whisper finds to be a shock. Whisper drags Max back to his side, telling the dog to stay away from the others. Fifi doesn't like the bad feeling he has about things. There might be something in the distance, a glint of some sort. He decides to go close to it without telling the others. Skinjob surveys the area and finds an insert port to connect to it. Snow draws his rifle as well, not feeling too safe about things either. Whisper remembers hearing about a Vault 51 in the past. He seems to recall it was said to be claimed by someone. Skinjob opts to open the door. Snow asks Whisper, "Claimed by who?" Whisper mumbles, "The Collector?"
The door begins to open. Snow remembers the Collector is very selective of who would be allowed to visit his vault and is quite suspicious of visitors. Fifi reaches the reflective thing and realizes it is paint on the wall. It reads: Go back! Not safe! He looks back and sees the open door and tries to yell, "Don't!"
A man with a rifle stands at the open doorway, training the rifle at Lemiuex and his group. Skinjob mutters, "We come in peace." Lights flicker on to reveal many others with weapons in their hands. One yells at them to drop their weapons as the others start training weapons at the others. Fifi realizes there are four in the group and upon reading the Sitch but realizing the door might close he starts moving closer instead. Lemiuex drops his crowbar on the floor. A woman with a gas mask, finding them too slow, moves to smash the butt of her rifle on his face. Skinjob moves, disconnecting from the vault door, and zaps the woman to protect Lemiuex. The closest guy panics, swings his rifle at Skinjob's face. Skinjob catches the rifle with his palm. Fifi fires a warning shot. Everyone turns to see Fifi in the distance with the rifle.
Snow can see they're very tense. Whisper and Max leap at the leader of the enemy group, but the man fires his gun at the dog. Max thankfully only takes a flesh wound. A speaker blares as a voice demands they drop their weapons. The group begins to comply. Fifi finds a wall mounted camera and realizes the speaker is probably somewhere distant. "Turn around and show me your neck," the speaker blares again. The speaker commands the savvyhead to open the synth's flaps, and while he does so, the two quickly whisper to each other if they should act. Lemiuex recommends Skinjob doesn't do anything for now. The Collector's mobile camera identifies Skinjob's model and proclaims he wants to see them in. They are welcomed to his vault, "I do hope your journey has been a kinder one." When asked for the group's leader, Snow volunteers himself as the face of the group. He denies they have a leader. Stacey shakes her head as Snow mentions they are from Vault 40. "Make yourselves at home. You are among my collections now. There is nothing to be afraid of."
The four with weapons escort the group further in, and after passing the second security door, they find how different this vault is from theirs. While their own vaults are given a personal touch, here, the place feels like a museum. Each room is devoid of furnishings. The four people place the weapons aside into locked cabinets, then switch back to their jumpsuits. They're lead to sterilization chambers to check their radiation levels and ask them to place all their gear in plastic baskets. When Snow asks to speak with the Collector, they are warned that the procedures are necessary before anything else can be done. Whisper growls at anyone to goes to close to him and Max. They learn their items are now locked out at the area outside the sanitation area. They are given yellow jumpsuits to wear, a color differentiating them from the others since they are not from this vault. When a man tries to force a leash and collar around Max, Max attacks the man and they discover the man does not bleed. He's a synth just like Skinjob.
The people that greet them speak with an almost sing-song voice. Music is piped through the rooms. Tall layers of sandwiches and tall glasses of milkshakes and soda are on the tables. People are happily socializing, or working on machines, adjusting dials and cleaning rooms. They are lead to the elevator and are told the Collector is waiting for them down below. Skinjob does not feel this is a trap. It does feel wrong, though. The elevator takes them nine levels down into a long corridor with two people walking about. One of them is a pregnant woman. She greets Skinjob as "Wonderful" upon seeing him, and like the other residents, gasps upon seeing Max and asks what it is.
Past another glass window, they see five people inside sitting among the couches. Two people are kissing in one side of the room. They separate after a few seconds, then rejoin and kiss once more. Mechanically. Choreographed perfectly. They talk about a barbeque later today. They exchange wonderfully diplomatic and proper greetings. The feeling of the whole place being a museum is just undeniable. Fifi also notes how everything is tremendously clean. They begin to notice, none of the residents are breathing. Whisper notices the people are moving in a patterned cycle. He even catches the sight of cameras all around. The see the mobile camera on a track, hanging from the ceiling like an extended stem, still waiting for them to go to the door. A woman talks to Skinjob, amused at his model and offers to inspect his condition. He allows her to.
The group sees a single room with a single chair. On the chair, a man in a jumpsuit sits. His suit has a white collar. He is slightly chubby, with glasses and a thin wisp of hair. He says hello, identifying them as from Vault 40. He finds Max curious, calling it a mutated canine, to which Whisper growls back that he's a mutated canine. He asks where the specimen is and the group realizes Skinjob is no longer among them. Fifi reads the stich and notes the man is human, unlike everyone else. The closest exit he could identify is the same way they went in. He introduces himself as the Collector and he speaks to Snow, finding his name fascinating. Snow explains they want to get out and that they were just hoping to get some supplies such as food. "60 watts," the Collector replies. He explains a standard light bulb requires around sixty watts. In Vault 42, there are no lightbulbs greater than 40 watts. He shares there's no way to get to it as they destroyed the pathways to it from above. But the tunnel is still functional. The Collector admits he's never been to Vault 40 and asks which way is it to get there. Snow admits he can't answer that since they don't know if he's hostile or not. Asking if they are hungry, he offers to serve them all lunch first. Snow reluctantly agrees. Once again, he says the dog is such a lovely creature. "Almost like Vault 108. Everyone there is named Gary."
Lemieux faintly has recollections of once being addressed by a man in a gas mask telling him he does not have to be "Gary" even as sounds of gunshots ring in the background. "You don't have to be one of them." His hand trembles. He thinks he used to have come from that Vault.
The Collector leads them to a room where they can have lunch, stressing they have a lot of food. The mobile camera moves, following them again.
Skinjob zaps the woman, stunning her lower motor functions, and feels for her console port. She hisses they are not of the same model, but rather than explain what he's doing, Skinjob goes aggro on her and smashes her head against the wall. The sounds carry through the corridor, catching Whisper's notice. As the boy runs (with his dog) towards it, Fifi reaches to grab hold of the Collector with the intention of snapping his neck. Lemiuex grabs hold of the Collector's hands to help Fifi. As Fifi twists, the Collector mutters, "Don't do this... the overseer-" but his voice is silenced as his neck is broken. Terrifyingly, the man rattles on the ground, still alive, coughing as he warns them not to let the overseer see what they are doing. Fifi breaks the man's neck completely, and he drops flat on the ground. The group gathers, the elevator not too far away, as they map out their next movie. Stacey isn't too happy, thinking the Collector was about to offer them food. Skinjob tells them to follow him. They make their way to the elevator doors. Stacey gasps when the others toss the dead body of the Collector to the ground. Getting to the elevator, Skinjob plugs in. Snow tries to calm Stacey down and he explains the Collector clearly plans to make them his next exhibit. Snow explains to her no one here is alive.
Fifi and Lemiuex look up at the mobile camera, wanting to tear it down from the ceiling, but its too high. Whisper draws out a concealed knife, flicking it at the camera to break its lens. It stops moving. Skinjob tries to map out where the main control of the Vault is. He discovers there's a place called the Overseer Control Center. He notices a datastream that is not his own and recognizes it to be the data identity of the woman earlier. Skinjob tries to decompile her code, visually assaulting her as if he used a sawed-off shotgun. Part of her code explodes into bits. She transforms into a red icon and identifies him as an intruder. Skinjob realizes he is being locked out. Sirens begin to blare as the alarms go on. Snow hits the console, hoping to make the elevator move back up. It stops, however, halfway up at the fifth floor, then continues after a delay.
"Someone is coming," Snow alerts the others. The group unnervingly attacks any of the robots along the way, bothered by how they remain happy and courteous despite the group hoping to find their way out. Lemiuex notes the marks of the Collector's on their creation. He even finds recordings of the Collector giving them instructions to act as "the Lovely Couple" and other roles. It was as if he was trying to create a utopia in the world. Fifi bashes the robot open, drawing out parts the group can use as weapons or tools. Snow keeps calling for everyone else to run back and join them in the elevator. The computer system tries to lock them inside, but Skinjob tries to exit the cyberspace connection but he fails to notice the digital tendril that attempts to latch on to him. It fails to take hold!
Fifi holds the separated arm as a weapon with him as he runs to the others. Lemiuex has the head of the robot that appeared as a pregnant woman. They hurry to join the others, however, Max begins growling, unwilling to join them in the elevator. Whisper wonders if there's anything wrong with the elevator. The doors begin to close, Max rushes inside. Fifi tells Skinjob to override the elevator or something. They begin to move towards the ground level. But all realize they are now at the mercy of the controls of the device. Lemiuex tries to override the elevator and make sure it skips all other floors. He struggles to make adjustments with his fingers. The Skinjob opens a panel of false skin which hides his toolkit and gives it to Lemiuex to use. The work takes more time than he anticipates, however. The elevator stops at the fifth level, and figures with gas masks and guns approach them. Skinjob tears off his hand to reveal an implanted sawed-off shotgun. Fifi follows behind the synth, using him as a shield to join the battle. Whisper and Max rushes out the very moment the door opens, charging for the gas masked men. Snow forwards, stabbing the closest figure with the blade penetrating where the man's lung would be. A shot is fired, hitting the wall near Lemiuex. He yells for help. Fifi tries to disarm the man, hoping to take his rifle. He enters a tug-of-war against the masked man, lifting Fifi off his own feet and slamming him against the nearest wall. More shot ring out as the rifle fires a few more times. Stacey yells out a warning as a barrage of shots are fired at Skinjob! The strike blows open Skinjob's midsection. Whisper and Max tear into a robot, not caring as it opens fire in response. The shot clips Fifi's arm. The robot falls, exploding from the coordinated strike.
A voice booms as the Collector addresses them, congratulating them on their determination to escape. But he assures them his duty is to contain them. He warns them all he needs to do is disengage the emergency locks to the elevator, given they are five levels up. Whisper flings a knife at the camera, shattering it. Snow leaps for the rifle, taking it from one of the robots. Calmly, Snow fires it and blows off the back of the robot's head. White gunk splatters out like milk. Stacey screams and they see a robot has grabbed her by the hair. "Cease your actions immediately!" Snow does not hesitate, turning to fire the rifle and blow its head off in a single shot. Fifi shoots at one of the remaining robots, then swings around to hit a second one in the distance. He sadly only clips the first one, despite bringing down the second one. Skinjob released the elevator is about to fall. He shoves Lemiuex out of the elevator, and it cuts off Skinjob's arm as he plunges down to the lower floors. The group stares at the elevator doors, now closed, with the Skinjob left inside. The group decides to head for the stairs, but some are thinking maybe its best to split up? Some to look for the synth while others to head up? Another mobile camera from the ceiling descends. The Collector addresses them with a deal and Fifi quickly stops Whisper from tossing another knife. The Collector offers them a chance to leave the Vault safely if and only if they leave immediately and leave the synth behind. Snow asks them if the Synth would help them if he was in their shoes. Whisper yells, "No deal!" and hurls the knife to shatter the camera again.
The elevator has stopped falling. Skinjob hears from the Collector via the speakers and is told that Vault 51 is a Perfect World and that he can stay with them. Skinjob ignores the voice, plugs back into the console to try to find the others. The Collector tells Skinjob that they are more alike than he realizes. That they are both vast intelligences surrounded by a dying race. He tells them he designed the Vault and that Skinjob has no true power here. He identifies himself as the Overseer. He shows Skinjob a digital feed of Floor Seven and Floor Eight. Machines are constantly working on the sleeping people on the seventh floor, configuring their bodies and faces to all match to one person's. All of them becoming "faces" for the Overseer. Skinjob tries to secretly override and take over the signal and take over the control of the facility.
Stacey screams at them, shocked that they want to go back for the synth. Fifi insists he is going back down. Snow asks is Whisper going down too. Whisper throws the question back, clearly planning to head down. Snow insists no one is going to be left behind and they arm themselves with the weapons the robots had. They hurry down the stairs as quickly as they can.
Skinjob connects to the datastream to try and take over the systems. He acts as quickly as possible, choosing not to be careful in hopes of accomplishing things faster. The Overseer now admits he's identified Skinjob's tag and knows he's really from Vault 15. He's even retraced the route the others took to get from that Vault to this one. "It is only a matter of time for us to find our way to your Vault to add to the Collection."
The others move through the floor, and discover the chamber filled with all these sleeping people. They see the machines butchering them and realize they need to do something to this room. Need to shut it down or something. Fifi asks Lemiuex if there's something he can whip up to trash this place. Snow suggests they start destroying the machines instead.
The Overseer shows Skinjob the video feed of the synthesis chamber, and asks if he would want to warn his friends they are threatening the lives of over 200 people. Skinjob is at 15% control of the facility, and continues to quietly try to break through. "You are endangering the people here. They are living humans. You know what to do... you know what to do... everything is in your hands.." Fifi turns to see if Whisper had plans to shatter it again, but smiles upon seeing the boy wondering how to shatter the full video wall. Fifi reminds them they're because they are short on supplies, "Are we really going to add two hundred more people to feed?" Skinjob tells them to head back. That he'll follow back some other time. Snow tells them to ignore the voice and continue smashing everything else. The group continues to attack what they see around them, bringing the Synthesis Chamber down.
The Overseer asks Skinjob if he really wishes to protect these people, who have just condemned 215 people to die by destroying the Synthesis Chamber. Skinjob wonders how to reach out to them without tipping off his hand on trying to take over the facility. Lemiuex creates a bomb using the power pack of the disabled robots and leaves it there, charging it to explode in due time. The group hurries off to run further to the lower floors, hoping to find Skinjob. The group discovers the next floor looks identical to the storage room back in their own Vault! Snow tells them to decide for themselves whether the supplies go first or Skinjob. The group checks the panel and they attempt to override the security panel in the room. The door opens and they see rows upon rows of food stores. All untouched. They also see a massive wall with a strange machine with a glass globe in the middle, almost shrimp-like body, with two large shoulders and large legs. The group studies it and realizes it might be some kind of machine or device they can use. A hissing sound emerges as the door is opened and they see the thing: a Walking Suit. Standing over twenty-five feet tall, the thing can contain a single pilot. Fifi congratulates Whisper for finding it. Whisper, though, is busy finding a way to get inside. He slips inside, and the thing begins to power up. Whisper presses the biggest button he can find, and the Suit rises to stand. The group scatters as the Suit nearly stomps on them. They note it has weapon systems, though does not seem built to carry things. Panels open on its shoulders, revealing round things. Fifi yells at all to duck as tiny metallic bees fly out, leaving trails of smoke in their wake.
Skinjob peeks at the group and finds the supply room in flames. A massive robot thing is moving about amidst the smoke and fire. Skinjob considers engaging the sprinkler systems to help them, but also considers their other options. He realizes if he uses high-pitched sounds, he can lure Max to his direction. That, too, would go unnoticed by the Overseer.
Whisper sees his dog rush out of the chamber. He steers the Walking Suit to follow, even as the sprinkler system kicks in the supply room. Fifi and Lemiuex tries to salvage what he can from the supply room, while Snow chases after the suit. Max stops at the elevator door, wagging his tail excitedly. Whisper exits the suit and tries to pull Max away, but Max presses both paws to the door. Whisper tries to shove the elevator doors open, but just isn't strong enough. Snow hurries to help him out and pulls as well. Skinjob decides to go for it and slides the door open!
The Overseer sees this, but when he tries to cancel the door movement, he realizes he's lost command over the Vault's functions! The Overseer screams as Skinjob locks him down and tells the others the Vault is theirs. He uses the robots of the facility to start gathering the supplies with the others, and the group eventually makes their way back to their Vault with a good fresh batch of supplies. Stacey returns, bringing their stuff with her, and the group feel once more empowered with their own things. Skinjob hears the program tell him he's become the Overseer. Skinjob tells the group they have fifteen minutes to gather everything, then he's shutting the place down. Fifi suggests the place can be additional living space, especially now that he has control. Skinjob admits he's not sure if the other can still take over. The Overseer warns Skinjob that the Collector will not let him get away with this. As the group makes their trek back to their vault, Stacey admits she feels this is a day they can consider a success. Skinjob muses he has access to directions to other Vaults. But for now, they just gather all they can to bring home with them, including getting back into their own clothes.
"Is this the part to tell your friends goodbye, or is this the part you let me regain control?" the Overseer asks Skinjob as he reaches the Vault's entrance. Skinjob realizes if he leaves, the original program would take control of the vault once more. He decides to bid them all farewell and chooses to watch over the Vault for the time being. It would be as if someone is watching their Vault's back door. He sends them the information of the other Vaults, but the information seems to vanish from the data he can access. Skinjob wonders if the problem stems from hardware issues, with his body not being able to contain all the data needed. Knowing Lemiuex gave him sentience, he asks the Savvy head if he's done his job enough to stay here and watch over the Vault. Lemieux agrees he's done enough and offers to help better integrate him with the Vault in the future. "I'll be visiting you often for maintenance of this Vault."
Cameras zoom out of watching the group. The group makes their way back and on the monitor, the timer continues to track the time. The viewpoint pulls back further, revealing multiple monitors with identical displays, showing around 50 different scenes unfolding. All of them are labeled Vault 14, however, but each have their own unique identifier. The man with glasses nods and marks on his charts that "Vault 15-1 specimens have opted for violence," and the monitor shows the earlier intro with the group struggling to survive the mutant assault, "While specimens of Vault 14-2 have opted for control." The group continues to walk away as Skinjob closes the door. "Both specimens have proven to be more effective than earlier specimens. We conclude the two-year observation and begin the third phase of our experimentation." The man pulls Corbett's file from the wall and nods, "Activate Synthetic Alpha Corbett. Termination Subroutine." On the monitor of Vault 14-2, Corbett wakes up from a deep sleep, his eyes flickering to another color. He begins attacking everyone in the Vault, adult or child. The Collector smiles, eager to see the results of phase three when the group gets back.
Life is hard when you're just a batch in a larger unfolding experiment.