When last we left our…cough…heroes, they had successfully sneaked their way into the ruins of the city of Pineville and retrieved the occult book and laser weapons from their targets. In this week’s episode, a collapse in the sub-basement of the settlement requires Boomer and Ryan to go underground to do some repair work and see what caused the collapse. The settlement had temporarily put up a barricade in front of the collapse, as it had opened up to a subterranean tunnel and some of the workers heard strange noises coming up through the tunnels. So Snake tells Bomber and Ryan Walsh to get a team together of people they trust and get down there and make sure no critters come up.
So our party assembles, gets the repair parts needed, and starts down the tunnels. Boomer finds some piping that needs fixing and does so. As the party gets further into the tunnels, however, they hear a strange hissing sound echoing through the area. Ryan’s successfully realizes the group is being followed and turns around to see a strange humanoid form spying on them from around a corner. The form is albino, short, but definitely humanoid in shape. It simply remains crouched, apparently watching the party.
Realizing the humanoid was friendly, Ryan lowers his weapon and greets the humanoid in an effort to form an alliance with the strange underground race…
…Had you going there, didn’t I? No, he just fires at it in a panic.
He misses his target. The creature hisses loudly and scurries off deeper into the tunnels in the opposite direction. The party decides to continue their forward search for broken pipes instead of following the creature into the depths.
They finally come across an abandoned salt mine that never appeared on any of the settlement’s maps. Realizing the potential value, they start surveying the area to see what sort of condition the equipment is in. They are then attacked by a pack of the strange humanoids, which they had taken to calling CHUDs. The quickly dispatch of two of the humanoids with their guns, and the rest flee in terror of the loud weapons.
At this point, they decide to take the bodies back to the settlement with them to have someone perform autopsies on them to see what they are. They make their way back to the sub basement, put the barricade back up, and find Snake. They tell Snake what happened, and he freaks out. With the build-up to a confrontation with the RNT, they don’t have the manpower to go hunting CHUDs (note, they are NOT CHUDs, but that is what they were all calling them so we go with it). And if Harris finds out there is a sentient race of…something…living below the bunker, his fool ass will want to make friends or something.
Just then, they hear some of the CHUDs on the other side of the barricade. At first, it sounds threatening, but then they realize they sound…sad. Like they want their dead back. Snake says get rid of the bodies and blow that tunnel to close it for now. Once the RNT is dealt with, they can think about the mine.
So they decide to take the corpses to Mortimer, because if they take them to Ean’s father Dr. Redmond, he’ll tell Harris. Cross and Ean Redmond are transporting the corpses wrapped in tarp when they come across Dr. Redmond in the halls. Cross successfully fast talks the doctor (because Redmond’s son just stands there stammering) and they get the bodies into Mortimer’s lab.
Mortimer, Ean, and Cross conduct an impromptu autopsy and realize these creatures are in fact mutated humans, most likely the descendents of mine survivors who had been trapped underground when the bombs dropped. Forced to live off of mold, rats, and irradiated water, they had mutated horribly.
We will pretend the drunken declaration of a CHUD invasion from Ryan in the bar didn’t happen.
Anyway, the next day in the mess hall, the party decides they want…well…scrapple. WHY they decided this, I don’t know. But Vance tells them if they want scrapple, go hunt a wild boar or something. So they gear up and go hunting for a wild boar.
Unfortunately, the hunter (who decided that his name is Milton, for those wondering) completely fails his survival rolls and walks into quicksand.
Ryan then ties a rope to Ean, who goes into the quicksand to help Milton. But Ryan failed his Use Rope check, and when they went to pull the rope it came undone and now two members of the party were stuck in quicksand.
Why, you ask, did they just not throw a rope to the party members stuck in quicksand? I asked myself this as they tied off Ryan with the second rope and he waded into the quicksand to save the other two.
Now for some reason Ean, in his frustration, fired his handgun at the quicksand. Maybe he was having flashbacks to D&D and thought it was an ooze that had him. I don’t know. But the sound of the gun firing attracted the attention of a lion (yes, there are lions and other wildlife in the region because of the zoo animals freed during Hell Week. Remember your history, people!) The lion pounces on Drake, who is holding the rope tied to Ryan. After combat with the lion, the party finally manages to get their sinking companions out of the quicksand.
They do eventually track down a boar and kill it. Of course, nobody really though through how they were getting a 400 lb wild boar back to the base. So they tie the ropes to it and they all help drag it. Milton has another epic failure finding his way home, and they get lost. In the distance, they hear a strange roar. This time, Milton recognizes the sound has Vance has repeatedly warned his hunters about the DEATHCLAWS (sidebar-there will not actually be deathclaws in the final published game. The deathclaws are an inside joke). They get their act together and drag their boar back to the settlement while evading the deathclaws.
And so they live to fight another day. Obviously, they are surviving despite themselves…