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The Apocalypse Then Campaign Hero’s Maid
Version 1.4 Hero’s Maid is an ‘Apocalypse Then’ campaign scenario set in the Illinois, for starting PCs. It provides the first critical Plot Point for the Atomic Highway: Dark Future Apocalypse Then campaign. It assumes that the PCs are Sanctioned Operatives, and have some mode of transport. While the scenario is set in Illinois, any American city can serve as its starting point. wants the car and everything inside it, towed back here as intact as possible. If the PCs question ‘J’ he is not willing to give up more information. If asked about Grant he will tell them that he believes he is dead, and that he was in breach of a prior contact. If asked if he is looked for anything specific in the car, he will tell them he is not, but wants the car and all its contents if the PCs are to be paid. He is willing to pay $12,000 for the car, but will try to negotiate for less. He will give an advance of $1,200 if pressed. Assuming the players accept the deal, he passes on a temporary Datanet address and says he looks forward to hearing from them when they have recovered Ursula, before retreating into his car and driving off. PCs may wish to check out the story ‘J’ gave them, either through legwork or using the Datanet. Local gossip will confirm that Horatio Grant is a Sanctioned Operative who worked out of Chicago on occasion and did own a red G-Mek Interceptor called ‘Ursula’. Spending $5,000 on the Ratcatcher Service will not only confirm that his last known location of Springfield, Illinois, but also that there is a $6,000 bounty currently placed on his head by GenTech, Chicago. No further details of the bounty are posted, but as ‘J’ wants the car and GenTech want simply want Grant dead, PCs may feel they can be paid twice. Finally, no gossip or even paying for a Ratcatcher trace provides any information on ‘J’, it is as if he simply does not exist. The drive to Springfield is uneventful, although the PCs will see a bunch of a local cykegangs known as the Knights of Illinois (Outriders, page 102) participating in some sort of group beating as they cruise down the Interstate. PCs who have Datanet access through a Satellite Uplink can determine none of the participants has current bounties. While the Knights outnumber the PC two-to-one, they are not looking for a fight with well-armed Sanctioned Ops, and so will flee in the face of gunfire. The target of their attention is Karl Welty, who was travelling to meet his sister in Springfield when the Knights of Illinois caught him and decided to convert him into their cult, if rescued he will be very grateful and offer the PCs free lodging in Springfield with his older sister, Shirl.
His name was Horatio Grant, a Sanctioned Operative from Chicago with a decent reputation for getting the job done. One of his specialties was surveillance, and it was for this role that ‘J’ a fixer working for a Corporation known as Thorn Industries, hired him. Grant’s target in this case was Tomo Itokazu, a GenTech middle manager working in the Corporation’s compound in Chicago. Grant tailed Itokazu for weeks, recording his movement using his Cyber-eyes, and directly sending the files to ‘J’ across the Datanet. All this changed a week ago, when Grant followed Itokazu into a bar in the Chicago NoGo, where Itokazu and a group of people he met their descended into the cellar. Grant followed and recorded Itokazu taking part in a Gangcult ceremony, which Grant recorded on his Cyber-eyes. Fearing he had recorded far more than was good for him, Grant fled and ran to ground, smashing the Satellite Uplink in his car and fleeing into the Illinois desert. Now, in an effort to retrieve the data that Grant has, ‘J’ has hired the services of another firm of Sanctioned Operatives. This is where the PCs come in. The meeting between the PC’s and ‘J’ should take place in one the Filter zones of a city. Any city will do, but one reasonably close to the Illinois desert, such as Chicago, Milwaukee or Indianapolis would make the most sense. ‘J’ requests that the PCs meet him in a truck stop car park, neutral ground patrolled by Security Guards where no one is likely to make a false move. About ten minuets after the PCs show up, ‘J’ pulls-up along side their vehicles in an armoured black Lincoln and steps out dressed in a black Medolucci Suit and mirror shades. The job, he will describe is simple, he wants the Operatives to retrieve a red G-Mek Interceptor belonging to operative known as Horatio Grant. Grant was last seen in a nearby Bartertown named Springfield, and his car is named ‘Ursula’. ‘J’
A bit of recent history
Checking out ‘J’
Atomic Highway - Hero’s Maid
Springfield is briefly described in the appendix/sidebar, and is a well-fortified Bartertown, mainly used as a supply point by haulers traversing Route 66. As with all Bartertowns, dollars are next to worthless here, although bullets, smokes, drugs and water can all command a good rate of exchange. There is a distillery here making crude fuel from the polluted lake, as well as a bar named ‘The Still’ and a impromptu market where small item’s can be bartered. There are a number of significant NPCs that the players may wish to talk to here: Players wishing to use the Datanet without a Satellite Uplink can barter with Kenny Gee for access. A smartly dressed Japanese man, Kenny is easy to find, as one of the Bunkers has ‘Kenny Gee’ spray-painted on it in foot high letters. Kenny himself does not know that much of interest, although he did see Grant was in town recently. One of the gang leaders of the Knights of Illinois, Haught is a giant of a man clad in biker leathers and bits of custom-made plate armour. Anyone asking members of the Knights of Illinois in Springfield will be directed to Haught if they make a difficult Appeal/Persuade roll. Of course if the PCs got involved in fighting the Knights during the Interlude, they don’t even get to make the roll and will be met with open hostility instead. Haught knows a lot of what is going on, he arranged to meet Horatio Grant four days ago in a canyon east of Route 66. While Grant never made the meeting a bunch of Plague Riders did turn up later and drove the Knights out of the area, which has prevented Haught from looking for where Grant got to. If asked Haught will mention that Grant had arranged to meet him so the Knights could protect him from someone else, and that Grant had agreed to pay them with some electronic file or other. Haught may even be willing to barter something to get a copy of the file, reasoning it must be pretty valuable. If the PCs agree to this, Haught will supply them with a Solar-powered 10 Meg hard drive to store the file on. Anyone checking can discover that Haught has a $3,000 bounty outstanding, placed by the BoeCore Corporation in Milwaukee.
Illinois on their way to Springfield, then Shirl will happily answer all their questions. Otherwise, she will be very guarded, knowing that Grant was on the run. The PCs will have to somehow prove they are going to help Grant before she will cooperate. Shirl knows where Grant planned to meet Haught, and can draw the players a map. She also knows the password to Grant’s computer and the fact he was working for a man named ‘J’ before he went on the run. If the PCs follow directions recovered from either Haught or Shirl, have them make an Understanding + Survive roll to locate Ursula, success means they locate the car within a few hours, while failure means they arrive after nightfall. The car itself has clearly crashed into a large rock and looks immobilised, while a pack of Coyotes are dining on the remains of the driver. This presents three problems. The first problem that the PCs may come across is that Ursula’s defences are still running. Any vehicle going within Short range will be locked onto by the Automated Fire Control, which will then fire Ursula’s turret mounted Heavy Machine Gun at it. The computer has been set to fire at vehicles, not living beings, so the PCs and Coyotes are free to approach without being shot. Due to the battle with the Plague Riders earlier, the Heavy Machine Gun is down to its last 5 shots. The computer has Attribute 2 and Skill 2. The second problem is the Coyotes (Medium Canine, page 108), who are rabid and psychotic with flecks of green foam around their mouths. They will attack any living thing that approaches, and will fight to the death. The third problem, which will be apparent only when the PCs get close enough to Ursula to look inside, is that Grant was killed by a large drum fired through Ursula’s windscreen. The barrel is dented and has a biohazard symbol marked upon it. The disease in the barrel is not normally fatal, anyone coming into contact with moisture containing the disease, including breathing within Ursula or being bitten by a coyote, must succeed on an Extreme (2 Successes) Toughness Attribute roll. Failure results in them suffering from dizziness, nausea and general feelings of illness starting the next day and continuing until medical treatment in a hospital or clinic is achieved. If all the dice come up one, after 24 hours the character dies unless kept breathing by an external force. The safest way to deal with this is to burn the barrel and the Coyotes, and only enter Ursula in a Gas Mask.
Shirl Welty, a buxom market trader with straw-coloured hair, was Grant’s main squeeze in Springfield, who hid him in the town for the three days between him fleeing Chicago and heading off out west. Most of the traders in Springfield’s market know this, and will be happy to pass it on to any customer’s inquiring about Grant, providing they buy something first. Shirl is Karl’s brother, and if players rescued him from the Knights of
Horatio Grant is not only dead but also mainly digested, ripped apart by the coyotes after they dragged him out of Ursula through the windscreen. His light pistol (half loaded) can be recovered, as can his knife. Characters
Atomic Highway - Hero’s Maid
willing to get gore on their hands can also recover his Cyber-eyes, which have survived undamaged. One these hazards are overcome, the PCs are free to take the car. The crash has demolished the front wing and collapsed the wheel arch, meaning it can no longer be driven. Apart from the crash damage and the missing windscreen, the rest of the car is fine apart from the Satellite Link, which someone has comprehensively demolished, apparently from inside. Players searching the glove box will find a copy of the ‘LA Times’, about a fortnight old. The headline mentions the food riots there, while on the margin of the page, someone has written in biro ‘Disc crashed in Rachel, NV’. The PCs may decide to screw over ‘J’ and simply abscond with the car at this point. If so, they can have six rolls on their choice of the Automobile, Military or Sporting Scavenging tables, as well as Ursula itself.
Recovering the Car
The Plague Riders are one of the larger Gangcults in Illinois, and the PCs may run into them at any time they are traversing through the state. The closest group to Springfield is the same group that killed Horatio Grant recently, offering the PCs a change of revenge. As well as their normal mix of bikes and dune buggies, one group of the Plague Knights has a pickup truck upon which they have mounted a trebuchet. However, rather than firing boulders, the trebuchet fires barrels of Biohazard Waste the Plague Riders have scavenged from a disused hospital. The plague from these containers is the same as the one in Act Two.
Stealing the Car
Plague Rider Pickup
Muscle 4 Nimbleness 2 Toughness 3 Speed 2 Passengers: Driver+4 Weapons: Trebuchet (fixed, forward) Customisations: Off-Road capable Health: 105 Total Cost: 18
Customized G-Mek Interceptor
Muscle 3 Nimbleness 3 Toughness 2 Speed 4 Passengers: Driver+1 Armour: 8 Weapons: Heavy Machine Gun (pivot, roof, turret), Light Grenade Launcher (fixed, forward) Customisations: Automated Fire Control, Oil Slick Dispenser, Onboard Computer Health: 75 This will result in ‘J’ sticking a $6,000 bounty on all of them for double-crossing him, as will Tomo Itokazu once he realises they have the car. It will also make getting further work more tricky, as nobody likes untrustworthy operatives. Players who wish to copy the files from Ursula’s hard drives must know the password for the machine, which they may have obtained from Shirl. Alternatively, this can be bypassed by characters with the Datanet Use skill, or by hiring Kenny G or another Datanet hacker to do so. The only interesting thing on the computer is the recording of ceremony that Tomo Itokazu attended. See the Epilogue for more details if the PCs are unlucky enough to watch this.
The Duchess of Hazzard
There are approximately a dozen Plague Riders in each group (Raiders, page 103), including the Pickup crew. Assume the leader of any group of Plague Riders has at least a $6,000 bounty outstanding, payable by a random Corporation.
If the players recover Ursula, Katherine Hazzard will plan an attack upon it, assuming that Horatio Grant is alive inside it. This of course will not happen if the players somehow prove that Grant is dead, such as displaying his corpse around Springfield, or getting in touch with GenTech to claim the bounty. Katharine specialises in remote assassinations, i.e. ones that do not involve her being around the target. If the players spend any time in Springfield with Ursula, she will send a couple of hired thugs (use Bartertowners, page 100) to plant a bomb on Ursula, while if they camp out in the wastes she may try and set up a sniper position, and shoot Grant when she sees him, or the PC that she mistakes for him. If these attacks fail, she has one last card up her sleeve. An old G-Mec Interceptor she has stripped out and filled full of computers and explosives. She will try to get this remote-controlled killer as close to Ursula as possible
Atomic Highway - Hero’s Maid
before detonating it. Note that strictly speaking, using explosives indiscriminately to collect a bounty on a target guarded by other Sanctioned Operatives is not a hundred percent legal and that the PCs could try to claim compensation from her in the courts, if your game is that way inclined. Assuming the PCs have recovered Ursula and have managed to get it back to the Filter zone where they met ‘J’, then the hand over should go without a hitch. ‘J’ will pull up in his car, and if assured that Ursula is intact, (i.e. is not stripped of everything valuable) will hand over the money as several workmen load Ursula into an unmarked trailer. He will then thank the PCs for their work and depart. If the PCs try to renegotiate the contract at this stage, around thirty guards with pumpaction Shotguns will appear and ask the PCs to leave, without either Ursula or their pay. If the PCs refuse, a firefight will ensue, with the guards being quickly reinforced with the Filter’s security staff and an attack Helicopter using Maxiscreamer and Tear Gas. Tomo Itokazu dies three days after the scenario is completed, regardless of the outcome. He suffers a tragic accident occurring during an impromptu site visit to an acid processing plant. The ZBC Newscast reports that the GenTech Detective Corps have discovered no evidence of suspicious activity and have officially rated it accidental death. If the PCs decide to watch the recording of the ceremony, then they have problems. The recording is what Grant saw when he followed Tomo Itokazu down into the cellar of a Bar in Chicago’s NoGo, where he and a group of Gangcultists communed with what looks to be a fungal creature of living flame. There is not enough detail from what Grant saw to replicate what the Gangcultists were doing, but the terrifying and alien nature of the flame being is enough to give anyone watching it a Point of Psychosis. Should the PCs wish to investigate the bar in the recording, they will discover it is a charred shell, and asking locals will reveal a rumour that an unidentified cykegang recently firebombed it.
The fiery-haired Duchess of Hazzard is a Sanctioned Operative working out of Pittsburgh, infamous for her cool demeanour and calculating approach to her work. Katherine is meticulous and careful, preferring to engage her targets in situations where they cannot effectively fight back, such as long-range ambushes, explosives and unmanned drones. Rearing: Remnant (Pittsburgh PolicedZone) Pursuit: Road Warrior Muscle 2 Understanding 3 Tenacity 4 Appeal 3 Nimbleness 4 Toughness 2 Senses 3 Skills: Athletics 2, Brawl 2, Datanet Use 2, Drive 3, Lore 3, Melee 2, Notice 2, Persuade 3, Shoot 4, Stealth 2, Tech 3 Attacks: As Weapon / Armour: 2 / Health: 16 Armour: Light Weapons: Submachine Gun (fully loaded), Heavy Rifle with Scope (fully loaded), Knife Gear: Gas Mask, Geiger Counter, Toolbox and Tools Cyberware: Datanet Plug
Watching the Ceremony
Customised G-Mek Interceptor
Muscle 3 Nimbleness 3 Toughness 2 Speed 3 Passengers: Driver Armour: 8 Weapons: Heavy Machine Gun (fixed, forward) Customisations: Automated Fire Control, Onboard Computer, Robotic Drive, Satellite Uplink, Self Destruct System (this does 30L damage). Health: 75
Written by Alexander J Bateman Atomic Highway by Colin Chapman Dark Future by Richard Halliwell and Mark Gascoigne Playtested by James Day, Sarah McClennan, Dave Perry and Ian Wilson ‘Atomic Highway’ Copyright Radioactive Ape Designs. ‘Dark Future’ Copyright Games Workshop Ltd 2000-2011, variably registered in the UK and other countries around the world. Atomic Highway and Dark Future used without permission. No challenge to their status intended. All Rights Reserved to their respective owners.
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