Campaign of the Month: December 2016
Gamma World 2754
An orphan of the wasteland taken in by Vault 57 and given a new life.
Rank: 9 (Master Sergeant)
Pure Strain Human
Current Status: one of the ‘stay-backs’ who remained at Ag-Station and did not embark on the Exodus to Heaven’s Gate. Nominally a Mormon, and son of Conrad Blackstone, Arik considers himself a ‘citizen of the NUF’.
- Scavenging – 74
- Survival – 40
- Lockpick/Safecracking – 20
- Guns – 25
- Energy Weapons – 15
- Precision – 15
- Two Fisted Fighter: Reduce penalty for wielding and attacking with two weapons from -3/-6 to -1/-3 (dominant/off hand), when wielding two ‘Quick Draw’ capable weapons. Examples: knives, tomahawks, pistols, s/o non-pump shotguns, tactical machine pistols, etc.
- Gunslinger: Half normal ‘Quick Draw’ penalty (-3 instead of -6).
- Holovid / Captain Cosmos: automatically figures out any energy pistol found (still takes time, but automatic success with no accidents or breakage); free 15 Energy Weapons skill
- Muzzle-loading Black Powder Weapons (shotguns, pistols, muskets, etc.)
- Semi-Automatic Rifles
- Lever-Action Rifles
- Bolt-Action Rifles
- Automatic Pistols
- Revolver Pistols
- Breech-Loading Shotguns
- Energy Rifle, Mark VII Blaster
- Energy Pistol, Laser
- Energy Pistol, Stun Ray
- Grenade Launchers
- Rifle Scope, Optical Day/Night Light Amplification
- Drug: Post-war Poison Antidote
- Drug: Stim-Dose
- Gas Mask
- Energy Cell: Chemical
- Energy Cell: Hydrogen
- Energy Cell: Solar
- Energy Cell: Atomic
- Metallic Scanner
- Vehicle: Military Motorcycle / Alcohol Engine
As a young boy Arik was part of an ill-fated caravan crossing the Utah Wasteland. When mutants attacked his clan’s wagon train he was pinned under an overturned and badly damaged transport and missed by the scavengers of the Raider war-party. He was able to dig himself out by the next evening to find his clansmen’s corpses stripped of valuables and to-a-man, without hands. Arks having butchered them off after the attack. being 8 years old he wandered the wastes scavenging food as a gatherer and drinking water from filthy puddles. Avoiding all other human contact, not knowing what patrols were Slavers or Reavers or other cannibal lunatics stalking the desert. He also had been reared to mistrust mutants and mutant animals and thusly took careful pains to keep clear of them whenever he spotted them.
Arik at approximately age 11.
In this manner he grew up in the wilderness for the next 8 years, picking through the wreckage and hiding in stormdrains and ruins and burnt out vehicles from the wars. Occasionally finding some useful scrap of technology, piece of armor, functional weapon and living off wildlife slow and small enough for a teenager to hunt. He survived across the years without human contact or socialization. Like a savage without a tribe.
Arik at approximately age 17.
Eventually some mutants caught his scent while hunting and tracked him down, cornering him in the ruins of an abandoned cannery and would have done for him then, 7 against one, save that a border patrol of vault 57 heard the mayhem and rolled in, slaughtering the Devo Near-Humes and Doolittle Monstrosities and saving him. Taken as a prisoner/refugee back to the vault village, he adjusted over time to a world where men and mutants and uplifted sentient animals cooperated in peace and became a contributing part of the community. Having survived 8 years alone in the wasteland had left whim with some promising skills that the military leaders of the vault chose to put to use by inducting him into the Order of the Scouts of Vault 57. Now that he is trained in the discipline of fighting men. He is a fresh recruit ready to venture out again into the wilderness, this time, with a band of murderers at his back. This time to become the taker and not the taken.
Arik today approximate age 26.
- September 2754 update: during the events of sessions 24-26 Arik was reunited with his father, who turned out to be a high-ranking Mormon Military Police Force officer, Commander Conrad Blackstone. Reverend Blackstone is therefore Arik’s uncle. Use of pre-war psychoactive interrogation drugs broke through Arik’s mental block regarding his family and events prior to the tragedy on the road to Spanish Fork (Arik was 7 years old at the time). Using this information, the Blackstones figure out that Odile Krenshaw, Conrad’s younger sister, probably orchestrated the murders to gain control of the Caravansary at Spanish Fork. ‘Aunt Odile’ was quickly apprehended and subject to truth drugs, revealing her as the central figure in the killing of Arik’s mother and older brother (who ran the Caravansary at the time). Arik was gifted by his father with ownership of the Spanish Fork caravansary saloon (“The Thirsty Mutant”), and a number of pre-war artifacts: a motorcycle, suit of tactical armor and a new laser pistol.
Arik has tentatively joined the Mormon faction and divides his time between various MMPF special missions and his saloon in Spanish Fork. Much loyalty still lies with Eagle Clan however and he is undoubtedly ready to venture out with his old friends in the ‘Special Operations’ team if called upon.
- History of Arik and the Blackstone family prior to Arik being lost in the raider attack 20 years ago (circa 2734)
Almost two decades ago, the Mormon woman Odile Krenshaw made a deal with the devil in exchange for control of the lucrative Caravansary business in Spanish Fork…the devil in this instance was a certain unscrupulous but power-hungry Kendo tribal hetman…“That sniveling punk” Kasey Blackstone, current owner of the Caravansary and a privileged son of the NSC/MMPF Commander Conrad Blackstone, was proving harder to push around than expected. Odile, a women entirely without qualms, contracted with the Kendo hetman to arrange an ambush of the planned convoy carrying Casey and Blackstone’s youngest son Damien from NSC to Mount Pleasant…"two birds with one stone, you might say". As Conrad’s sister, Odile would be next in line to take over the business.
The ambush didn’t go quite as planned. Unknown to Odile, Conrad’s wife Nelly made a last minute decision to join the convoy. In the ensuing carnage, Nelly was killed as well as Kasey…“Those foul Kendo also brought in their Ark allies…filthy creatures!” No trace of the eight year old Damien was ever found…"taken and eaten by those horrid Arks no doubt". This was more than Odile had bargained for, but her philosophy was to take the good with the bad and let the Lord sort it out. On the positive side, that pestilent Kendo Hetman was killed in the melee, so he wouldn’t be telling any tales. Sweating out the following days and weeks, Odile was somewhat surprised to have dodged all responsibility. The heinous crime was never linked back to her and a month later she assumed ownership of the Spanish Fork caravansary, now ‘Odile’s Caravansery’. Over the next 18 years Odile expanded the business, adding a general store, then a saloon, and finally taking over the vehicle repair works from “that senile old coot Edgerton”. He was nearing his time anyway…a little help out the door wouldn’t be noticed.
Commander Blackstone was apparently a broken man and disappeared from public view. Some months later Conrad strode in from the wasteland bearing new scars, to resume his position as Commander of the MMPF. Not knowing who was responsible for his misery, he punished all alike, especially any tribals or mutants running afoul of his justice. The tormented and embittered Blackstone continues on as the MMPF Commander to this day. Sometimes he is known in tribal and mutant circles by the whispered sobriquet ‘The Butcher’. Almost two decades later Conrad can still sometimes be seen atop the ancient Control Tower staring with empty eyes across the vast wasteland beyond.
- Prior Interlude between sessions 7-8, pertaining to these events
Normally when a Mormon caravan is visiting the Vault you tend to keep a low profile and avoid contact with them, letting Airy or Grek do the talking. Or Cassey…that really freaks them out. You can’t put your finger on exactly why you avoid the ‘Morms’…perhaps they are simply too well-fed, too smug and self-confident to be part of the same desperate world you inhabit. However on the bright windy day when Oni Chandra is climbing the cross, you can’t help but rub elbows with them among the press of visitors and vault 57 personnel craning their necks for the best view. Oni is lofted up as a ritual feast for the Carrin and the affair is over and done with. Turning away, you stare right into the slate-gray eyes and slab-sided expressionless face of a middle-aged large-boned woman, all dressed in black and gray as is the Mormon custom. You remember seeing this face somewhere…its Odile Krenshaw of ’Odile’s Caravansary’ fame in Spanish Fork. She stares at you with widening eyes. After you brush past she pivots her imposing bulk about and marches off in a hurry.
That night, your familiar nightmare pays a visit…funny you didn’t realize it until now, but you get these only when Morms cross your path. The dream is always the same: you are looking along a blazingly bright stretch of dusty roadbed from the shadows beneath some sort of vehicle which is pressing down on you, the taste of blood and dust in your mouth, the sound of gunshots and screams ringing in your ears. The things you see while pinned under that vehicle are now thankfully hooded in darkness. Then wet snuffling and blowing noises approach from somewhere unseen but near, followed by a terrible stink. A monstrous black face bearing huge canines appears, grunting and straining to reach you with long hook-like black arms. Gunshots sound followed by howls and yelps of pain. Then all mercifully fades to black. If only you could remember, but something deep inside gibbers uncontrollably at the thought of remembering, so you never do.
That afternoon you and Willy hit the range west of the Number 6 Secondary Bunker to sight in some light bolt action rifles you’ve been using for training – plentiful and no one cares when they malfunction. That’s Scout Company Master Sergeant Rick “Willy” Wintergreen, one of the best Recon/Sniper Scouts to walk the wastes. People say he’s a Kendo, what with those 3 triple scars along the left side of his head, but you’re pretty sure he just likes to scare the ‘normals’. He jokes about an unexpected visit last week from a young lady you know…Airyana: “She was wanting to know all about the Kendo tribe for some reason…kept staring at my scars, hehe. Hard to believe her parents are Scouts!” After rifle practice Willy leads you through a few quick-draw exercises with some old shooting irons taken from the pile of practice pistols. One day that might come in handy. While cleaning weapons later that evening you blurt out something to Willy about your run-in with that Odile woman. Willy doesn’t look up but mumbles a few words you barely hear, “if there was ever proof the devil’s a woman, she’s it…and steer clear of the ‘Hero Sausage’ at the Thirsty Mutant”.
First thing the morning you head across the canyon toward the ‘Jambles’ for some tactical exercises amongst the huge boulders. Passing by the Market Yard you see the Mormon caravan from Spanish Fork already staged and ready to head out the gates: four rackoxen and two functioning alcohol powered internal combustion vehicles, a rare sight this far south. While making a detour to avoid any Mormon contact, you hear and see some sort of altercation going on between several of the wagons. It’s Odile and several Mormon men arguing about something. Odile seems to be in a hurry and is urging them to get moving, she’s got important business back at Spanish Fork, etc etc. She spots you and stops cold, causing the two men to glance around and stare at you curiously. You quickly dodge behind an adobe hut and continue on to the Jambles.
A few hours later, as you’re leaving the Jambles with Willy, an old Mormon in a long black overcoat and circular black hat approaches…one of the men arguing with Odile that morning: “I’m Reverend D.R. Blackstone.” Over his shoulder, you can see the Mormon caravan is long gone, probably hours ago. “I feel it my duty to tell you something about yourself.” He reaches into his overcoat and pulls out a greenish glass disc, hands it over to you. “Look at me through that glass, son.” Taking the glass hesitantly, you hold it up and see a glowing symbol on Blackstone’s forehead…the ‘all-seeing eye in the pyramid’, much like the small blue tattoo on the right temple of all Mormons, but this one has some strange blocky characters beneath it, like letters. “You keep that. And next time you look in a mirror, take a look at yourself through it. Your real Mormon name is Damien…I don’t know why or how you got here, or what family you come from, but I wish you good fortune.” The man turns and strides off toward the canyon gate, alone. Moving as if in a dream you look over at Willy, who’s white as a sheet. Through the glass you see Willy’s got the eye and triangle on his forehead too, but no blue tattoo on his temple.
That night, hands shaking, you hold up a mirror and look through the glass disc. Sure enough that hideous blue eye stares out from a glowing pyramid on your forehead…then everything fades to black. When you come to, Willy is shaking your shoulder: “Yea, I knew…I’m the bastard son of a Mormon and a Kendo. I got out of there as soon as I could, because things are tough for a halfbreed. Technically they accept you, but the reality is different. I guess you didn’t know…you must be a halfbreed too, or else you’d be able to see it without that glass disc. True-bloods don’t need the glass disc to see it, only half-breeds like us. You don’t get the blue tattoo that everyone can see until you reach 18 years of age. But all Mormons are born with that invisible mark on their foreheads. It’s something that goes back to the Shadow Years, some kinda genetic stamp to guarantee no outsiders could masquerade as one of the ‘chosen few’. Anyway, fuck them. Tell you what…if you don’t tell no one, I won’t either.” You groggily agree that’s best and pass out…the nightmare does not return, that night or ever again. Questions burn in your mind. How the hell did Odile recognize you, and why? Why would that ‘Reverend Blackstone’ go out of his way to tell you all this?
The next morning you head out to the range with Willy, who comments that it’s starting to warm up…we can kiss the rains goodbye. That’s when you notice the glowing triangle and eye on his forehead…only this time you’re not looking through the glass lens.