BotRE is inspired by Thundarr the Barbarian (largely), He-Man, Transformers, Mad Max, etc.
Over two thousand years ago the world was torn asunder when an alien planet crashed into our moon, utterly shattering it. Destruction rained down from the sky, nearly annihilating all life on Earth. Humankind persevered, but the Earth was forever changed as alien matter mixed with our own and a new, bizarre world has risen from the ashes of the old; a world of depravity, stupendous science, and nefarious sorcery!
Not content with a life of mundane toil, you have cast off the chains of oppression and travel with companions, brave and bold, pitting your cunning, bravery, and talents against the forces of darkness and tyranny!
We created characters and jumped right in to the action. Each class has starting equipment, and a d8 table to generate an interesting trinket and life event that the player can quickly build off.
Chad– Medical Robot (named Marko Tron), rides a Giant Snailbadger. Life Event: Has trouble understanding why humans whine so much, has mouthed off about it and been chased out of several villages. Trinket: World War II army helmet.
John– Barbarian (named Dagor)- rides on a Giant Snailbear. Life Event: Mother was killed by croc-men when he was a child. Now he fights for the underdog! Trinket: Silver dagger given by his father.
Liam– Sorcerer (named Fulgur Tenebris) Crazy Sorcerer appearance- grey skin, grey hair, cat eyes, jagged nails, yellow teeth, body changes color with emotion (50 shades of grey), has a metalic staff with spider web etching. Power manifestation black orbs with grey lightning. Life Event: Family was pushed out of village because of your birth. Trinket: Golden necklace given to denote remarkable birth. Rides one of the last Ancient Earth elephants (also has grey skin and yellowing tusks). Rules for Spellcasting here.
Nate– Vek (Anthropomorphic dinosaur- raptor- pretty feathers. Named Valeran the Vek). He thinks humans are savages. Life Event: Father was a brilliant Vek who understood Stupendous Science. Father was eventually killed by a Sorcerer. Trinket: Headdress of bone, wood, and feathers. Rides a camel.
Fletch– Urchin class (wasn’t able to play today). More on this character later.
After characters were rolled I used a table from my Starrunner Kit that allows the player to roll on a chart and create a memory. The categories are tragedy, life is easy, make a friend, something went wrong, etc. I took a page from Beyond the Wall and told the group that their story would involve another player and that is how they met and bonded. The players rolled and I gave them a few minutes to figure out what happened. We told our stories and then moved on.
Team! The Sounds of Battle!
We started the session with the group wandering through the wastes of southern California (near modern day Santa Monica), looking for a nearby settlement called Route 66. It was named after an Ancient Earth route system (upon which the group was currently traveling).
The group came up over a hill and saw Route 66 in the distance. Dilapidated, wrecked cars were stacked 3-4 high and formed a wall to protect the city. Ancient Earth storage containers were stacked inside the wall and looked as if they were being used as housing.
The sounds of battle met the characters ears and an explosion went off, and a tower of six cars toppled inside the wall. Nate found an Ancient Earth lighting pole, climbed up and saw robots attacking the villagers. The Vek jumped down and shouted this information to his compatriots, but John was already riding hard on his giant snailbear towards the settlement.
The group charged into Route 66 to aid the humans and faced off against five robots, and a group of 10 smaller, twitchy-looking robots.
When combat broke out, I decided to try a variant for Initiative inspired by Drunkens and Dragons.
When combat breaks out, the GM rolls a die. If the result is even, initiative favors the players. If the result is odd, initiative favors the enemies and act before the players. Once favor has been determined, every player rolls a 1d20 and the player with the lowest roll goes first. Once that player has taken their turn, initiative continues in a clockwise fashion.
When initiative favors the enemy, if a player critically succeeds on their roll (rolling a 1), they get the drop on the enemy and can act before them. After players that have critically succeed have taken their turn, initiative returns to normal with the enemies attacking, then the remaining players.
Initiative is rolled once per combat.
We all really liked this initiative order. It was easy to shout out the order people went and it freed me up from having to remember shit and avoided zig zagging, etc.
For the robots I used mook and horde rules, see below:
Mooks are foes that are there to be mowed through and make the heroes feel epic and powerful! Mooks should die in one hit, as long as they take 1 point of damage (they may be wearing armor, have protective shielding, etc.). Give mooks HD, as it will determine their damage die against the heroes.
When there are several mooks banding together to attack their foe (attacking as one), their overwhelming numbers make it hard to move out of harm’s way. The defender rolls with Disadvantage to avoid a hordes attack. The mooks, if the attack is successfully, roll damage with Advantage. A horde can have up to 20 different members in it. Each HP of damage is a number of minions killed in the horde. When it is down to 3 HP or less, the horde is now treated as individual mooks (see above).
The battle went pretty quickly (probably 20-30 minutes), and the group took some good knocks before dropping all the robots.
After the fight, the leader of the village, named Chad 2.0 (I basically described Chad, one of my players, and named him Chad 2.0). Chad 2.0 thanked them profusely for saving them and the rest of his Highwaymen. He offered them shelter in one of their buildings, which was five storage containers fused together.
The group was given food, water, and told that Route 66 had recently found a strange device in an abandoned Ancient Earth warehouse. It pulsed with energy. One of the villagers tried messing with it and was vaporized. Chad 2.0 felt this was too dangerous to leave alone.
Somehow the witch Grenzel found out about this device and begun attacking Route 66. Her first several attacks were repelled by the Highwaymen. And she retreated to her stronghold. Two weeks ago a strange object fell from the sky and crashed into her stronghold. The Highwaymen hoped that this was the end of Grenzel, but she showed up today with an army of robots and took the object from Route 66.
The group agreed to go to her stronghold and defeat her and retrieve the artifact. The old wise woman said that Grenzel’s lair was located four miles to the south east and was an Ancient Earth structure where people used to go to worship a great powerful being called “Consumerism.” The old wise woman called the place a “ShopING Ma-all.”
The group rested for the night and left in the early morning for Grenzel’s lair.
About quarter mile from the lair, the group found a cultist guard station. They attempted to sneak up on it, but found only a tiny fire and no guards. Arrows began peppering them as cutlists that were hidden on the ridge began shooting at them. The group sprung into action.
The battle was quick, and the cultists didn’t stand much of a chance. However, one of the cultists pulled out a glass vial and held it over his head, “May the darkness take us all!” and smashed it on the ground. A billowy black substance surrounded the cultist and Nate. The group heard a sickening gurgling noise from both of them. When the smoke cleared the cultist was a mummified husk and Nate was sick and panting on the ground (he suffered 1d6 points of Constitution damage).
The group collected themselves and decided to take a rest. They could see the shopping mall in the distance and a strange saucer-shaped object smashed into the western building.
We ended here for the night and will hopefully do another session at the end of March.