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At Necronomicon 2017 (October 20-22, in Tampa, Florida), I ran three Fallout-themed games using the Savage Worlds RPG.  For miniatures, I used several conversions of Reaper and HeroClix figures.  For terrain, I used Secret Weapon Miniatures "Tablescapes" tiles, O-scale Bachmann Plasticville buildings, some McDonald's Happy Meal Pixar "Cars" toys, some laser-cut MDF pieces from Warsenal, and an assortment of other "scatter" items.


Scenario #1 was dubbed "All You Can Eat."




The "centerpiece" was the "Wok-a-Doodle" restaurant, created by taking an incomplete Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles play set I picked up at the thrift store, disassembling it further, and then combining it with some putty, cardboard, paper elements, the facade of an O-scale building, and some "Mars Attacks" scatter terrain pieces to make a street scene piece.  It doesn't make much SENSE in several respects: the Wok-a-Doodle front statues impede the right-of-way on the sidewalk, the buildings are too crowded together, and the sidewalk is too narrow to walk on, on the side-streets ... but as a bit of shorthand for "there are ruined old-timey buildings here," and as something I could fairly easily transport without fear of parts breaking off in transit, it worked splendidly.



(Closeup on the "entrance": The "Wayside Village" sign is just a bit of Photoshoppery with some textures and some retro typefaces.  I hunted around for images of shopping centers, and was inspired by an image of the sign for the Lakeside Village "Complete Shopping Center" in Elyria, OH.



I obviously didn't go for an authentic recreation, but just enough for a quick job (I was a bit pressed for time at this point) of something I could print off, glue to some foam-core illustration board, and turn into something that would help set the tone for the area.  The "street facade" is at odds with the idea of this being a "shopping center," but ... eh, nobody complained, so I guess I got away with it.


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My concept for this scenario was something I described to friends as an "open-air dungeon."  That is, it's not some labyrinth, but rather a central area with several mini-locations around it.  I didn't plan on lifting up the buildings to reveal interiors when someone went inside, but rather I could employ a limited amount of "theater of the mind" for any action taking place inside one of these smaller buildings.  After all, it was safe to say that any enemies encountered inside would be within the Pace of a single move, and easily within short range for attacks, so there's no need for special maneuvering if someone says, "I attack the radroaches" or "I get behind a counter and toss a grenade," or whatever.  But I COULD still lift a roof off and put a figure inside, or use some other such visual shorthand to keep track of which character had gone where.  (Simply putting the figure on the ROOF of the building as an abstraction of being inside wouldn't work, because the PCs spent a good portion of the adventure actually climbing up onto rooftops.)


Behold!  The Poseidon Energy "Fusion/Coolant" stop.  This is actually an older terrain piece I had used last year, and had to patch up a bit to use this time around.  I did some more Dremel work on the "fuel/coolant island" piece and gave it a wider base so that it could actually stand on its own without having to be glued down to a terrain tile.  I also added a power armor / engine rack, made from assorted bits (a Hirst Arts sci-fi crate lid for the base, some sort of construction-set "arm" piece from a thrift store for the main support, and then a 40K "bulldozer" bit for the support arms).


The "FUSION COOLANT" sign was just made with a label maker, and anything I "print" using those things ends up with letters that randomly jitter up and down.  I painted the trapezoid shapes around them (alternating between graphite gray and blue) to try to turn it into something that looks stylized and intentional.


In the back is a Reaper dumpster, painted rusty orange and then spackled with a dingy green color, and then spattered with lots of gray-brown paintbrush wash-water scraped from the bottom of the paintbrush water dish.


I had intended that this spot would be the place to go to find a suit of power armor, plus a good assortment of tools and items that could be turned by any of the mechanically-minded or explosively-minded members of the group into makeshift weapons, explosives, and traps.  Alas, nobody dared go inside during the game.


Edited by Jordan Peacock
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Next up was the location responsible for most of the woes related to this adventure: "The Bird is the Word" -- a retrofuturistic hatchery.




The initial premise of the game was that this ruined remnant of an off-Route-66 shopping district had been turned into a stopping point for caravans making the long trek between the relatively civilized lands of the NCR (New California Republic) and the wilder domain of New Vegas and smaller settlements of the Mojave Desert.  This former stretch of famed Route 66 was now known as the "Long 15" (for I-15), and traveled by merchants with pack-animals laden with goods, or pulling carts, rather than cars, given the broken and intermittent state of the highway system.

Enter the Wok-a-Doodle, a rebuilt restaurant catering to weary caravan travelers.  The proprietor, who claims (dubiously) that he is Mr. Wok A. Doodle the 4th (Esquire) and that the restaurant has been in his family since before the Great War (200 years ago), SOMEHOW has an endless supply of "chicken" for his famous all-you-can-eat buffet.

As it turns out, the "Bird-is-the-Word" Hatchery is the not-so-secret source of his "chicken" supply.  I boarded up the windows with craft sticks, and pasted on little paper cut-out signs meant to represent every scavenged sign "Mr. Doodle" could get his hands on that might somehow convey the message of "STAY OUT."  After all, many post-apocalyptic survivors CANNOT READ, but one tends to learn to recognize various warning signs that accompany old-world sites of peril.


This is another O-scale Plasticville building, with a printed sign covering the embossed "PLASTICVILLE" name and other details.  I think this was originally a "5-and-10 store."


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Next Up: The Radiation King Discount Appliance Outlet Store!




This store has semi-intact windows (cut-and-scored blister plastic) and I wanted to depict an interior.  I made a counter out of some foam board and heavy paper, made a floor with some illustration board and a printed 'tile" pattern, and assorted boxes and TV sets are just simple papercraft designs I made.  The oddly-shaped "entertainment system" out front is a modified paper model of the Kuba Komet Entertainment System, as shared on the Papermau papercraft blog.  I just included a "Please Stand By" screen image, and increased the size of the CRT area.  It doesn't look like anything in the Fallout games, but its retro-"futuristic" weirdness still felt like it wasn't THAT far off.

http://papermau.blogspot.com.br/2016/03/kuba-komet-entertainment-system-paper.html )




The cars in the foreground are converted Happy Meal "Pixar Cars" toys -- "Flo" is the one in the foreground, while the bubble-topped car to the left was a "Ramone," but with the roof replaced with part of an "acorn" capsule from a coin-op machine.

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And here is the "food court" area:




The Frosty Bar featured some commercialized "cryo" technology -- still functional, even 200+ years later, because things like that happen in the Fallout universe -- relied upon by a scavenger/merchant to sell soft-serve ice cream to road-weary travelers.  (In-game, the significance of this was that a mechanically-inclined character could subvert the safety features and use the cryo-tech for offensive purposes.)  Both it and the Diner are more Plasticville buildings.  

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Adventure #2, on Saturday, was a different scenario, presented as "The Nuclear Family."




This was a particularly weird scenario, and at least initially did not rely upon combat as a concern.  I gave the players roles from a made-up TV show, "The Nuclear Family," focusing upon the "life, love, laughs and lessons" of a post-apocalyptic family living in a little slice of suburbia brought back to life with the help of the Vault-Tec "Garden of Eden Creation Kit" -- or some such nonsense.  We started with a "script" with speaking parts for each character, which I used as an opportunity to set the off-beat mood and introduce each of the PCs.  Each player had "goal cards" with printed images, most of them focused upon finding some excuse to make an in-character "plug" for a brand-name product of the Fallout universe (e.g., to find an excuse to extoll the virtues of Abraxo Cleaning Powder, or to wax eloquent about how much you love the sugary crunch that's part of this well-balanced breakfast, with Sugar Bombs).


As the adventure progressed, I revealed to players that there was a certain amount of "dishonest narrator" involved here in my description of things, as it turned out that the PCs were actually living in an underground set piece, being filmed by camera-bots, and occasionally being subjected to a device known as the "Mesmatron" in order to keep them "in character."  Some of the characters had been wastelanders who'd been abducted by robots to play roles on the basis of their physical similarity to whomever had played the role previously, while a couple of characters were clones using the same experimental technology used in Vault 108 ... and hence had the lingering danger of mental instability.  Eventually, enough oddities happened that the PCs were able to snap out of the "Mesmatron's" effects, and they were subtle enough not to overtly clue in the robots that they needed another "zap," and to figure out where there were dead spots in monitoring, in order to hatch an escape plan.


As for scenery, this is mostly just down to Tablescapes tiles: the ruined street is a mix of "Urban Street (Clean)" and "Urban Street (Damaged)," while the patchy lawn segments are "Rolling Hills."  The house layout is done with some pieces of mat board with printed floor textures, the garage is a former Warhammer movement tray, and the walking paths are strips from a vinyl roll of "cobblestone" texture originally intended for a "winter village" set.

For interior furnishings, I used some "quarter scale" dollhouse furnishings from a local dollhouse store, plus an assortment of HeroClix terrain set elements (the desk and reel-to-reel computer), Hirst Arts (the "computer console" in one corner), and HeroQuest (a plastic top of a "bookshelf" that I turned into a stand-in for a table).


There were many possible escape routes, and many ways things could branch out.  In my original play-test, the PCs ended up blowing a hole in the "set" by detonating the fusion reactor of some appliances in the kitchen.  (That's a Fallout thing.  No need for a power grid when most of your appliances have their own little micro-fusion cores that'll last you the next 200 years or so.  But just be careful about too much stress to the shielding -- especially with cars!)

In this one, the PCs managed to trigger an event that let them slip through some doors on one set to lead into another one -- in this case, the set for the "Bad Part of Town."  I let my players go get some drinks during a "screen loading break," while I put away the tiles for the Nuclear Family house, and swapped out tiles for some "Junkyard" pieces to replace the yard.  The "Junkyard" pieces have a lot of "junk" elements in low relief, and I supplemented those with a few car fenders, hoods, and other elements created by making temporary Instant-Mold impressions of parts of O-scale toy cars, then making putty "casts" and deliberately stressing and warping them to make them look abused and bent, then adding them to the scrap piles (either just for a little extra "retro" look, or to cover up elements I thought might look TOO high-tech or modern-ish that it might look anachronistic for this particular setting).

The remainder is just a bit of scatter terrain, as the PCs dealt with some nasty super mutants (who'd actually been trapped here by the robots as well, but that didn't make them any friendlier toward fellow non-super-mutant prisoners).  As with so many of my games of this sort, that was mostly done via BLOWING THINGS UP (i.e., the cars).  The real challenge was for PCs not to kill themselves in the process.  The Reaper dumpster played a central role in this, as Atomo the Wonder Dog ended up seeking refuge in it when the cars started blowing up.  (Nuke the Dumpster!  it was lead-lined, see....)

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No, really, it's a different scene.




My third and last scenario was "Grand Opening."  The premise here was that a vault had been discovered 100 years ago to the day, and some explorers had been able to venture inside, finding all sorts of outrageous treasures.  However, they encountered a robot who shooed them out, and insisted that they were too early, and that they should come back again in 100 years to the day for the proper Grand Opening date.  The story was a bit EMBELLISHED, but the date was very specific, and as it turns out, the PCs are among those gathered in this little scavenger settlement on the day the tale claims it would open again.


The trouble is, some super mutants have learned of this tale as well, and THEY want to be there for a vault opening in order to get "pure-gene" humans to subject to the FEV (forced evolutionary virus) in order to create the elite strain of super mutants (i.e., the smart ones).


So, as things opened, NPCs started scattering, and provided a target-rich environment for the invading super-mutants.  When a super-mutant champion of unusual size started *tossing* cars around, and I kept bringing in reinforcements every round, most of the PCs got the message that it was time to get INTO the vault rather than trying to take on an entire super mutant army.  The vault gate was something I cobbled together last-minute (well, last DAY, anyway), with some foam, popsicle sticks, part of a Clix base, a ramp section from an old "skateboard park" toy, plus a spare "dumper" piece from a Toy Story 3 play set.  I reused the "Junkyard" tiles, of course, but the "broken road" consists of some extra "Rolling Hills" tiles I got as part of a used grab-bag deal, and painted up in rusty wasteland colors, then used gobs of epoxy putty to create broken "pavement islands" to spell out a very, very broken-and-eroded-looking remnant of a highway.



The fun part was once they got inside.  The PCs all found brochures providing a map of the complex.




To represent the "cutaway" view, I used a Bat Cave toy playset I picked up at the thrift store.  I could have done a LOT more in the way of decorating, but ... eh, I was running low on time.  I used a few Reaper "Base Boss" bases to fill in holes created by removing some of the "big boot" knobs on various parts of the toy.  I supplemented things with a few Hirst Arts blocks, and pieces from other toys.  (The blue computer console is actually a piece from the back of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles play set.)

I toyed around a bit with the "working" elevators and such, just to be cute, but mostly this was an entirely IMPRACTICAL touch, just for the novelty factor.  Maybe I'll paint it up some more and use parts of it as a backdrop for some miniatures photos.  Originally I'd just gotten it because I thought I could tear it apart and use some of the floor sections for some sci-fi corridor/room interior tiles.






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For the vault interior exploration, it was a matter of using assorted floor tiles to represent specific areas where the PCs ran into trouble, rather than trying to represent the entire layout.  The PCs already had a map, after all.




I got some more use out of my Tablescapes "Urban Street" tiles -- which include a number of "building" base tiles that are about 1.5"x1.5" for each square.  They'd probably work nicely for HeroClix.


For tighter areas, I used a lot of Hirst Arts tiles, plus some wafer trays from a surplus store (approximately 2"x2" squares), as well as sections of plastic cross-stitch grid.  (Pictured here: a "boss fight" with a psycho "Mr. Gutsy" tasked with providing security.)

As for the adventure, the PCs discovered that this was a "demonstration vault" that wasn't fully functional at the time the bombs dropped, but there had been provision for it to be eventually be /converted/ into a fully-functional vault, if time permitted, as eventually there would be newer and shinier technologies in need of being displayed for the benefit of visitors that could warrant the creation of a NEW demonstration vault elsewhere.  As such, the robots had dual-purpose programming: either to serve as tour guides and demonstrators, OR to take on roles to actually welcome dwellers into the vault and get them situated into their new roles (including dealing with any panicked civilians who might want to LEAVE, rather than staying in the safetly of the vault).  Robot AI in the Fallout universe isn't strictly digital and reliable -- in fact, there's the implication that a small artificially-grown organic brain serves as the core of any AI system -- and hence robots tend to be a bit "off" when encountered after 200+ years of operation.  In this case, the robots began to blur their "demonstration" and "vault-operation" programming directives.  The vault door was opening every 100 years simply due to data corruption in the chronometer -- a Fallout version of the Y2K bug.  The original robot who'd shooed the explorers off was warning them to escape while they could, because the vault was going to be sealing up again at the end of the "business day," and the inhabitants would use extreme measures to prevent them from leaving.  Tales of treasures and such were largely embellishments (though the vault still has some good loot).

Alas, we ended up running short on time, so we couldn't fully explore everything.  The PCs ended up securing some foodstuffs and drinking water for themselves, then taking over the security section, and reactivated some defensive turrets in the entrance corridor to slow down the super mutants (who'd managed to break in after the PCs, and were trying to work their way through the complex).  Where we left off, it wasn't exactly entirely resolved, but the likely outcome was that the PCs would brace for a fight against whatever super mutants survived the "gauntlet" of turrets, and then, if the PCs prevailed, they'd be taking over the vault for themselves, as even as a mere "demonstration" vault, it had enough stores to keep them set for life.

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