Friday, August 24, 2012

The Certopsian Situation - Checkers & Dr. Benway

It's guaranteed that the only way (ok maybe if you've given them a wand of lightning bolts or they're really crafty) that your party will beat the Serpentman manned, cuthonically enhanced, pair of armored triceratops guarding the front of the moribund Pleasure dome where the 100,000 GP prize is stored is with some armored back up. Well at least if they go about it in a stand up fight way.  I will post about my armor system when I work it out - but it'll be some sort of Structural Damage thing like Mekton or SpellJammer.  Basically your bullets, spears and magic missile will only serve to annoy an armor unit unless you manage to get very lucky. I'm aiming for that sequence in war movies where the tank just chases people down, bullets sparking off the glacis plate until its treads fill the screen - expect it's you wizard's carefully hoarded fireball that only manages to shake the monstrous beast for a second.

Old Steel Leviathan Doodle
Below is the obvious solution to a pair of twenty ton triceratops armored in coats of eldritch signs and sprouting grabby tentacles. An insane robot tank and its insane scientist mechanic. Yes, it's Science Fantasy Oddball.  When I played the scenario in its rough form the Steel Levitihan below was able to hurt the 16HD brutes pretty good before the caught up and gored Checkers onto its side (horns ripping through steel plate), dislodging Benway and stamping him to bits.  Both triceratops were hurt bad,stitched with .50 Caliber bullets and the party was able to get rid of their last few HP with magic missiles, a critical with a poisoned crossbow bolt and several blasts from the pneumatic dart gun on the dune buggy they stole.

The Certopsian Situation - Checkers and Dr. Benway

Directly across from the Supply Dump is a parked Steel Leviathan, a fine example of the semi-autonomous tank like weapon that the Unyielding Fist uses to crush opposition.  The head like turrets of the machine are pointed skyward as if basking in the sun, and a comely camp follower is washing its massive treads with a bucket of soapy water.  From behind the vehicle the sound of a badly played stringed instrument and a Dwarven love ballad (about the love of iron and cheeses, not a paramour) sung in a reedy, distinctly undwarven voice can be heard. 

If asked about the Leviathan Clerk Faro will state that the Leviathan is named "Checkers" and it's minder/mechanic one "Dr. Benway" of the Topsville Church of Science.  The Leviathan is indeed painted with rust orange and white checkers.  It also appears to have been modified (as with many Leviathans used for war) with the right, bearded head/turret mounting a cannon and the left the standard machine gun. Faro claims that the pair showed up a few days ago, and aren't attached to the 3rd, but brought a good haul of plundered dinosaur ivory and he keeps them friendly with food, drink and forged orders because having a Steel Leviathan parked in front of his tent gives him a certain amount of protection and intimidating power.  Faro also refuses to go with the PC's (and hence will demand a full 15 shares of gold for his aid/equipment) without the tank and Dr. Benway along.

Around the back of the Levitihan a skinny man with a cleanly shaved head and stubbled face sits in a hamock strung between a tread and a the broken off stub of a sapling.  Wearing only a dirty lab coat and a pair of bright green briefs he is strumming a Balalaika, eating a cheese sandwich and drinking scale brandy from a tumbler resting on his chest.

If disturbed he'll reveal he is named Dr.Benway, warn the players off claiming he's busy "drinking brandy and eating cheese, and catching some rays, you know."  If the characters are persistent, Dr. Benway will turn to the Leviathan which will repeat in a synthesized voice "catching rays".  Direct talk of plunder and showing the Dr. the gold bar will change his attitude, and he'll join up with a minimum of whining for five shares (3 for the Leviathan, 1 for him).  His argument as to why he's needed is that the force map clearly shows that the Pleasure Dome is protected by Armor and Checkers will add that "A Leviathan can give you a very nice... edge."

In combat Benway and Checkers, work as a team, Benway spotting for Checker's Weapons (+1 Initiative) while crouched behind a blast shielded cupola on the rear deck.  Checkers carries 20 rounds of Heavy Machine Gun ammo and 10 rounds of Cannon Shells in his turret and may be loaded between battles by Benway from 20 additional rounds that are stored (dangerously) on Checker's back deck.  Unloaded Checkers may carry up to 10 infantry hanging from rails and sitting on his side and rear.  If Checkers is hit there is a chance (Wisdom roll at point penalty of x2 damage in SP) that Benway can repair 1D4 SP of damage if allowed 1D6 hours of work per SP.

Checkers (Steel Leviathan - HD 7) - Light Armor* - AC 1,HP 70/SP 7 ATK 2 or Charge, DAM 1D10*(1SP)/4D10**(1D6 SP) or Charge*** (MV (60'), ML 11, Save F7.
*Suppressive fire as Heavy Machine Gun
** Medium AP Cannon, 10' radius damage +2 hit non-Armor targets, Armor Piercing.
*** Charge - Armor Shock attack for 1D6 per 10' Charged.

Dr. Benway (Thief 3) STR 10 INT 14 WIS 16 DEX 15 CON 8 CHR 11.  AC 6 (3 on Checkers) HP 12, ATK 1, DAM by Weapon, MV (40'), ML 11.  Leather Armor, Padded Helmet, Small Revolver (25 rounds), Short Sword.  


  1. The Burroughs reference is a bonus.

  2. The name "The Certopsian Situation" is great. Has a kind of instant iconic feel to it, like The Manchurian Candidate.

    1. @ Trey, Burroughs? What Burroughs - Oh you mean that everyone in the adventure is secretly junky insects? Nah seriously, I was kinda thinking a cross between Hunter S. Thompson and Oddball - but then the talking tank is Oddball - it's complicated.

      @Brendan, I was originally going to go with "War in the Sun" or "The Junctiontown Raid" but I like this name much better - it feels 70's heist movie.