Dispatch #2 – Give Me Shelter Battle Report
Give Me Shelter
(A Battle Report for This Is Not a Test)
The wasteland is a dangerous place, especially the strange and unpredictable weather. One of the more deadly phenomena are dust storms that kick up radioactive debris. Those unlucky enough to be caught in such a storm are struck by gale force winds and stinging detritus and even temporary exposure to the fallout from the storm can be deadly. The safest bet when such a storm hits is to seek strong shelter, such as an underground vault or a reinforced building.
In this scenario two factions are crossing the wastes with little intention of combat. Scouts for both parties recognize the atmospheric pressure drop and dark clouds that presage a rapidly approaching radioactive storm. Though this part of the wasteland is mostly empty, both factions spot a building in the distance. Wasteland rumor tells of an underground shelter in the building. It is unknown how many models can fit within its confines.
Both warbands clash as they race for the safety of the shelter as they know to remain outside is certain death. No quarter will be given and none will be asked for.
Models are listed by name and their character type is in parenthesis.
Wasteland Troubleshooters (Caravanners warband)
Played by S. Camarano
Searching for lost-tech to sell, Mel Gibson, the trader also known as the Road Warrior, looks to do what he does best, staying alive. If he can keep his fellows in the same state, all the better. He is less considerate of his would be allies.
Mel Gibson (Trade Master), as the Road Warrior: machine pistol, small blade, mesh armor
Larry (Caravanner): assault rifle
Mary (Caravanner): machine pistol, small blade
Bandanna Dan (Caravanner): submachine gun
Black Widow (Caravanner Guard): light machine gun
The Legion (Raider warband)
Played by J. Camarano
A simple bandit with a grand vision of his place in the wastes, the Centurion sees himself as the heir of the ancient Roman Empire, a distant tribe from Pre-Fall history. He has been paid well by the Road Warrior for escort, but no job is worth dying for.
The Centurion (Warlord): pistol, small blade, mesh armor
Scipio (Raider): assault rifle, small blade
Aelius (Raider): machine pistol, small blade, shield
Antonius (Raider): submachine gun, small blade
Octavian-Bot (Freelancer Depend-o-Bot): submachine gun, small blade
McKenzie’s K-9’s (Peacekeepers warband)
Played by J. McKenzie
Marshall Reyes leads the K-9’s, a so-called peacekeeper group more concerned with strong-arming traders and settlers than honest work. Much to his chagrin, he has been forced to employ the services of primitives to help scout this new area for marks to offer “protection services” to.
Marshal Reyes (Road Marshal): assault rifle, light weapon, combat armor
Brick (Officer): machine pistol, light weapon
O’Brian (Officer): shotgun, light weapon
Boom-Boom (Tactical): grenade launcher
Prisoner #1 (Sacrificial Lamb): light weapon and teddy bear (no game use)
Fairfax Tribe (Tribals warband)
Played by D. LaRochelle
The Fairfax Tribe is rumored to be from the far south, beyond the Capital Deadzone, but like all of Tall Hat’s claims, this appears more boast than truth. He also claims that bullets cannot kill him and the current situation may finally prove this assertion true or false.
Tall Hat (War Leader): plasma pistol, small blade, mesh armor
Large Oak (Tribal Warrior): shotgun, small blade
Granny Hawk (Tribal): rifle
Light Feather (Tribal): rifle
Fat Bear (Tribal): crossbow
Author’s Note: The above groups are not representative of full warbands. Rather they are intentionally limited for game length and demo purposes.
All warbands deploy six inches onto the table, roughly equally distant from the ruins. The Legion and Troubleshooters together come from the east, but the Fairfax Tribe and K-9’s split with each coming from the west and south flanks respectively. This Is Not a Test does not require models to remain in coherency, but all warband leaders have Motivator, a skill which gives all friendly models within 3 inches a bonus to activating.
Turn 1 – The sky begins to darken.
The Fairfax Tribe makes good use of the building to completely block line to their enemies and double move towards the building. The Troubleshooters are unsure of the battlefield and head down the road in a disorganized fashion hugging the cover of a derelict bus. In game terms one of their models failed an Activation test and a result that model only gets one action and play passes to the next player. No worries though as the other models in the warband will get to activate.
The K-9’s approach the building, but hug cover as they hunt their quarry. As with the tribals, the Legion knows that time is of the essence and runs towards the remains of the large office building.
Turn 2 – The sun has retreated behind heavy clouds.
The K-9’s win initiative and get to go first, but only to fail their very first activation roll. The sole model moves forward, but only slightly to remain near his fellows. It appears that Lady Luck has abandoned the wastes as the Legion go next, but they to fail their activation roll.
Going next Granny Hawk of the Fairfax Tribe reaches the parking lot of the building and Light Feather is the first model to enter the building, heedless of any lurking dangers. Big Bear uses more caution and circles towards the back.
Black Widow goes next and is the first of the Troubleshooters to break over from the bus. She opens up with her trusty light machine gun and appears to score a hit on Officer Brick. In This Is Not a Test, when a model is hit they are marked by a token or dice and the game continues on until play passes to the next player. So models are never sure if they actually killed their target and have to balance pouring fire into a single target to ensure its doom or spread out the carnage and hope for the best. Officer Brick makes his to-wound roll, but fails the subsequent Grazed test. As a result he narrowly avoids death, but dives behind cover to avoid further fire.
The peacekeepers come up next, but again fail their activation role. Even though he only gets one action, Officer O’Brian bravely attempts to returns fire only for his well-worn shotgun to dramatically jam.
The Faixfax Tribe goes next. Large Oak shoots on the fly and misses. The loud retort of his shotgun is worth the loss of expensive ammunition. Tall Hat now enters the building and the tribals officially control the building.
Play passes back to the rest of the K-9’s who are now wary for good reason and they continue their slow advance towards the building, but still refuse to break from behind cover.
The Legion, perhaps sensing the K-9’s trepidation, engages the peacekeepers and Scipio opens up with his assault rifle, but to no great effect. The rest of the Legion clings to the outskirts of the building. Octavian-Bot breaks from the main group to move towards the dumpsters behind the office building.
To end the turn, the Troubleshooters continue towards the building along the road with Mel Gibson bravely commanding from the rear.
Turn 3 – The winds begins to pick up.
The Troubleshooters throw caution to the wind and rush away from the cover of the derelict bus and head towards the trees in to the left of the office building.
Black Widow lays down withering fire at Granny Hawk and Large Oak, hitting both. The Troubleshooter’s player miraculously rolled two criticals, which caused both attacks to automatically hit. Given the high strength of the light machine gun, it is no surprise that Granny Hawk and Large Oak are felled. The tribals lose 40% percent of their warband, but they bravely stay put after passing their Morale tests.
Though taking heavy casualties, the Fairfax Tribe are far from done. Light Feather emerges from cover and returns fire at the Black Widow, scoring a resounding hit. Fat Bear leans into his crossbow and shoots at Scipio, scoring another hit. Tall Hat not liking his view of the battlefield crawls to the second floor of the office building. Despite her amazing performance, Black Widow falls to the ground after being shot by Light Feather; he shouts a victory call that is returned by the rest of the tribe. Scipio fairs better and the crossbow bolt dings his armor, but does little damage. He bravely keeps his calm and refuses to dive to cover.
So much activity has drawn the attention of other inhabitants of the wasteland. Three great rats scurry from their home in the garbage pile between the back dumpsters, a razor rattler emerged from its burrow along the road, and a solitary radroach comes onto the roof from somewhere in the air conditioning vents.
Turn 4 – The winds are now howling as the storm approaches.
The Tribals win initiative and Fat Bear takes another shot a Scipio, this time his bolt breaks through his armor and Scipio falls flat. Tall Hat for his own reasons climbs to the very roof of the building and shoots a blast of plasma energy at the rad roach to little effect. Light Feather targets his rifle on Larry of the Troubleshooters and hits him square in the head with a critical. Both Larry and Scipio ultimately fall in combat after both lose their opposed to-wound rolls.
The Troubleshooters are now wary and Mary stays close to the bus in an attempt to retrieve the light machine gun from Black Widow’s corpse. This Is Not a Test purposefully allows for the looting of the dead, but any attempts to use said loot suffers a -1 penalty due to a lack of familiarly. Play passes after Mary fails her Activation test and can only move once.
The K-9’s pick up speed as Prisoner #1 tries to show a little initiative, but fails his activation roll and only manages to reach the billboard.
The Troubleshooters begin again and Bandanna Dan takes a potshot at Light Feather, but misses, and then dodges into the building. Mel Gibson is the last to go and follows right behind him.
Finally the K-9’s resume their march, but not very far. Marshall Reyes appears to be cautious to a fault.
The great rats leave the garbage pile and swarm Octavian-Bot, but their sharp teeth and claws are no match for his hardened armor. The rad roach strikes at Tall Hat with its pincers and strikes true. Tall Hat is bloodied, but laughs off the wound as if child’s play. Tall Hat started the game with the Hard As Nails skill, which once per game allows him to reduce the Strength of one hit against him by D10. Tall Hat’s player rolled well and reduced the Strength to 1, leaving no doubts to the result. The snake leaves its burrow but has not yet attacked any prey.
Turn 5 – The storm is now near with only minutes left.
The Fairfax Tribe claims initiative and they continue the search of the bottom floor of the office building for evidence of the shelter, but come up empty by failing their activation.
The Troubleshooters begin their activation with Mary retrieving the light machine gun from Black Widow’s warm corpse. Bandanna Dan opens fire with his submachine gun and shoots at Light Feather, hitting him twice. Mel Gibson notes signage pointing out the direction of the fallout shelter and heads towards the back of the bottom floor. Bandanna Dan’s prior shots strike true as a bullet drops Light Feather with a heavy thud, the player having scored a critical on the first to-wound roll and the last roll is unnecessary.
The Legion are up next as Octavian-Bot activates and tries to skewer some rats, he misses and the rats push him backwards so they can charge him on their turn for a melee bonus. However, this may not have been a wise move for the rats, as now Octavian-Bot can freely blast away with his submachine gun. It manages to drop a rat in the barrage of shots. The remaining members of the Legion move into the building. They are not content to let the Troubleshooters have access to the vault by themselves.
Tall Hat is the remaining tribal to go this turn and attempts to stab the rad roach, only to miss.
The K-9’s finally join the action in earnest as Officer Brick takes a shot a Bandanna Dan and hits him in the back. Marshal Reyes brings his assault rifle to bear only to hear an ominous clicking sound as he pulls the trigger. The poor player rolls a jam. Bandana Dan though hit in the back, manages to escape serious injury as the bullet only manages to put a hole in his jacket. Though taking heavy fire, Dan refuses to go prone, the Trouble Makers player passing the Grazed test on a critical.
With the players done, play passes to the wasteland critters, which always go last. The razor rattler charges Antonius and manages to land a blow with its fangs. The attack fails to wound Antonius, but now the snake’s venom is coursing through his veins. The rad roach attacks Tall Hat again, only to miss. Tall Hat pushes the radroach back with the hope of shooting the insect later on. Again the rats try to break through Octavian-Bot’s armored body, but once more they are denied the precious and delicate circuitry inside.
Turn 6 – The storm has arrived with only seconds left to reach safety.
The Troubleshooters go first and Mary springs into action. Now armed with the light machine gun, she rolls her activation and promptly fails. With no targets in sight, Mary simply hoofs it towards the office building keeping the trees between her and the oncoming peacekeepers.
Next is the Legion and Antonius also flubs his activation roll. He takes a swing at the rattler, but misses. It should be noted that in the midst of the game, the Survival test for the effects of the poison was forgotten. When a model is hit by a weapon with the Poison ability, such as the snake’s bite, the model is given a Poison token. During the end phase of that turn the model must take a Survival test, which is a D10 roll plus their Mettle stat. They need a 10 or higher to pass so nothing bad will happen. On a failure the model receives an automatic D6 Strength hit as the poison ravages their system. The Poison token is discarded after the test and in almost all instances all counters, tokens, etc. are taken off the board at the end of the turn. Now back to the action.
The Peacekeepers are still advancing on the building. Officer Boom-Boom now sprints towards the building as fast as he can and Marshall Reyes clears the jam in his weapon. Officer O’Brian brings his shotgun to bear on Bandanna Dan, but the shot scatters wildly. Officer Brick on the other hand kicks back with the machne pistol and scores a solid hit on Bandanna Dan, who will ultimately succumb to the bullet in his back. Prisoner #1 moves forward to engage Mary in close combat, but Marshall Reyes has other plans. Seeing an opportunity, the Marshal triggers the explosive collar around the sacrificial lamb’s neck and both Mary and he are caught in a frag grenade explosion. Mary escapes unharmed, but is knocked prone by the explosion. The prisoner is obviously not so lucky and is now a fine paste upon the ground.
What few tribals remain go next. Fat Bear shoots at the Centurion with his crossbow. The shot lands, but is stopped by the mesh armor under the legionnaire’s tunic. The Centurion passes his Grazed test and refuses to dishonor himself by taking cover. Tall Hat, seeing the Legion getting too close to the vault for his comfort, takes a pot shot at Aelius from the roof, but misses and leaves naught but a glowing green hole in the ground.
Next up is the Troubleshooters go again with Mel Gibson opening up with his machine pistol on Fat Bear, felling him.
Afterwards Aelius attacks Tall Hat, only to miss both shots. Perhaps there is some truth to the claim that the old tribal cannot be harmed by bullets. Antonius then moves towards the vault to secure it for the Legion. Octavian-Bot tired of the tiny rat meatbags fires away them, dropping the two last remaining rats.
Finally, the critters go with the rad roach attacking Tall Hat only to miss, the roach is then pushed back out of combat. The razor rattler has better luck by moving to intercept Antonius and then scores a direct hit with his fangs. With its meal secured, the snake starts to drag the corpse away.
A d10 was rolled to see how many the vault can fit. Six souls can be saved from the painful death of radiation poisoning. With that the game is over.
Now to count the living and the dead. The Troubleshooters and the Legion claim a strong victory with the most models in the building. Mel Gibson, Centurion, Aelius, and Octavian-Bot make it to the vault. Using a combination of threats, charm, and pure bribery, Tall Hat manages to convince his one-time foes to let him into the vault. Mary and the K-9’s are left to their ultimate fates.
Since folks are curious about the effects of campaign play, I have randomly rolled on the Survival Chart for each model that was taken out-of-action during the game or that did not reach the shelter (per the scenario). A model that got a serious injury would then roll once on the Injury Table and those who were severely wounded would roll twice; injuries tend to be permanent and can build up over time. Banged Up models suffer a temporary penalty to dice rolls for the next game only, Close Call means nothing bad happens, and Lucky Break means that not only does nothing bad happen, they get free experience. A dead result is just that, the model is taken off the roster and all equipment is lost. Such is the harshness of the wastes.
Due to the effects of the fallout, I treated all models not in the shelter as if they went out-of-action due to exposure to radiation. When that happens, a D10 is rolled for each model. On a critical result of 10 they gain a random hidden mutation for free and their type changes to mutant. On a fumble of a natural 1, they gain a detriment and their type changes to mutant.
The results are listed below.
Wasteland Troubleshooters (Caravanners warband)
Larry (Caravanner): Banged-up – suffers -1 to all rolls next game.
Mary (Caravanner): Banged-up – suffers -1 to all rolls next game. Gains the mutant type, losing the human type, and gains the Poisonous Breath mutation for free.
Bandanna Dan Dead – Dead – Model is removed from roster and all equipment is lost.
Black Widow (Caravanner Guard): Seriously Wounded (Horrible Scarring) – Model gains the Fearful Reputation skill for free.
The Legion (Raider warband)
Scipio (Raider): Seriously Wounded (Long Recovery) – Misses next D3 games.
Antonius (Raider): Seriously Wounded (Shaky Nerves) – Gains Coward ability.
McKenzie’s K-9’s (Peacekeepers warband)
Marshal Reyes (Road Marshal): Seriously Wounded (Reckless) – Gains Frenzied ability.
Brick (Officer): Severely Wounded (Flashbacks and Weak Hands) – Model takes a test and if failed, they cannot be used for current game and -1 to melee and ranged stats when using a two-handed weapon.
O’Brian (Officer): Severely Wounded (Hardened and Bum Leg) – Gains the Brave skill and may only move once per game turn.
Boom-Boom (Tactical): Banged-up – suffers -1 to all rolls next game.
Prisoner #1 (Sacrificial Lamb): Totally dead, but replaced for free next game.
Fairfax Tribe (Tribals warband)
Large Oak (Tribal Warrior): Close Call – no effect.
Granny Hawk (Tribal): Dead – Model is removed from roster and all equipment is lost.
Light Feather (Tribal): Dead – Model is removed from roster and all equipment is lost.
Fat Bear (Tribal): Lucky Break – Model escapes harm and gains 1 experience point.
Thanks to the players for driving to World’s End Publishing HQ to play. A special thanks to J. Camarano for manning the camera. Miniatures in the pictures were painted by various folks, they know who they are, and are from numerous manufacturers. For a list of awesome companies go here.