Sunday, May 29, 2022

The Chase - Part 2

This is a sequel to a game played last year.  "The Chase" can be found here.


The old man took off his orange hat.  There was much commotion at the farmstead; members of the farm clan scurrying about, too many soldiers in too small a space.  He stood in the front room of the dwelling, flanked by two of the soldiers, as the sergeant ordered them to bring him into the next room.

"Move", one of the soldiers pushed him, rather unpleasantly, "go!".  The old man stumbled forward; while the lieutenant reminded the soldier that they served the people, and invited the old man to sit down in a chair.

The old man cracked a smile, and considered that they were in a wasteland, with no nations, no governments, no society really.   Yet there was a soldier pushing the old man around, as if he had any more right to be in charge, than the old man.

"Something funny?"  Asked the sergeant.  Now there was a piece of work.  Litterally.  He seemed a decent man, direct, all business, and sporting hardware not of the wastes.  They called him Sergeant Hand, and the old man wondered if that was actually his name, or if he was named for the cybernetic hand and forearm that the sergeant sported.  He also had a partially fabricated head.  Something you didn't see everyday.

Sergeant Hand.

The sergeant had experienced something very traumatic, losing part of an arm, and part of his skull, only to have have them replaced with fabricated metal parts, integrated with his biology.  An application of technology that was beyond that of the Before, as well as that of the wastes.  The old man was very curious about Sergeant Hand.  He'd have to look into the sergeant more, when he wasn't busy being interrogated.

The mother was conflicted, caught between the joy of having her two young children returned to her, and the horror of realizing that she would not likely see her oldest daughter again.  He watched as the the soldiers received the gratitude for his effort, not that he cared so much as again, he found humor in the situation.

"Well, lets get to it", and the sergeant began the questioning.  The old man explained in detail, how he came across the two young children, who explained that three men had taken their sister and left them in the wastes,  and how the old man had decided to track the kidnappers, with intention of returning all three to the mother.

The Sergeant seemed to think the idea a bit unlikely, asking the old man how he planned to do that.  The old man explaining only that "he would look for an opportunity".  The sergeant was mildly flustered by the response, but didn't give it too much thought.  The old man would simply do what he always did; that which needed done.

As the questioning went on, the old man began to think about the upcoming pursuit.  He could move much faster now that the two little ones wouldn't be tagging along with him.  And the kidnappers were clumsy, leaving  so obvious a trail that a blind man could follow them.  He just needed to wrap the interrogation up.

The soldiers released the old man, even offering him a ride back to New Clovis, though he declined.  He intended to head in a different direction.  He also spoke to the father of the missing girl briefly, asking a little about her, and explaining that he still hoped to find the girl.  

The father had already given up, and looked at the old man blankly, giving short answers to the questions.  The mother finally thanked the old man for his part in returning the children, and continued to alternate between joy and sorrow.

The old man saw the agony in the mother, and saw that the Confederation troops considered the situation resolved.   But it wasn't really; it was left undone, and the old man hoped to still make things right.  He felt sure that he could find the girl, and hoped to return her to her mother.  

Placing his orange hat back on his head, the old man picked up his gear and left the farmstead, trekking back in the direction of the krags.  It took less than a day to pick up the trail of the three men and the girl. For two additional days, he followed through the wastes, as always, enjoying the beauty of the land, frequently reminded by the remnants of critters that had come before him, that they were of the land, and not the reverse.

The table from the southwest.

At one point he came across a dirt road that had seen a lot of travel recently, clearly including vehicles.  He had not seen anything like this in quite a long time, and wondered about it for a bit.  Intrigued, he made note that he would have to return to explore the trail further.

It was getting late, and he decided to make camp; he needed a little rest.  He was after all, an old man.  He lay there in the wastes, staring at the night sky, unchanged through all of his years.  He loved the night sky, when he looked up at it, it took him back to the before, to when he was a child, to what used to be California, all of those years ago.  He wondered what might be there now, if anyone he once cared about might still be alive, and finally, the old man went to sleep. 

He finally caught site of the men on day four, three of them and the girl.  The men were well equipped, conspicuously so, soldiers given their uniforms, but not of the Confederation.  Their equipment was... better, more advanced.  A tremendous anomaly given when and where they were.  These were strangers, and considering their actions, they were very much in a land strange to them.

The three soldiers and the girl.

The old man closed on them for another day, finally getting within rifle range, as the group began to slow their pace.  He sensed that somehow, the journey must be ending, but was at a loss as to how, given that they were in the middle of bone dry nowhere.

The table looking west.

He still hadn't been seen; these men did not know they were being tracked.  They kidnapped a person, left a sloppy trail, and didn't seem to consider that they might be followed.  It was all very odd; they simply weren't where they belonged.

The old man in the wastes.

He climbed up on a rock which gave him some cover, leveled his rifle, and decided to take a shot.  He fired; a clear hit, but the man didn't fall.  The target moved out of view, but the leader came into view,  so the old man fire again.  Another hit, but again, the man simply moved out of view.

Gaining some cover from which to fire.

The group taken under fire from the old man behind them.

He moved off of the rock and found another position, a bit closer to his targets.  They had moved into cover, and after a couple of minutes, one of the men showed himself, mostly concealed, but trying to find the shooter.  The two men fired almost simultaneously, the old man missed, but the stranger did not.  The energy bolt from the laser was partially absorbed by the old man's armor, but still burned intensely.  

The old man recoiled out of view, and investigated the wound.  It was deciedly unpleasent.  But more upset that he missed an easy shot, than that he had been hit, he moved to engage again.  The two men exchanged shots, missing repeatedly.  The old man was clearly affected by the wound.  It had been decades since the last time he missed four consecutive shots.

He was lucky that his adversary was equally ineffective.  The girl and the other two men stayed out of view.  The old man wa pretty sure that they couldn't escape without him seeing them, so he found the situation a little curious.

The group taking cover and exchanging fire.

He moved around, trying to find a position that gave him better advantage, but it was not to be had.  Some minutes passed, and then he saw the man that had been hit first, and fired and missed again.  

Another shot missed the old man, and then something strage happend.  An armored truck came into view.  Like something directly out of the Before.  It moved into a position to give the group some cover, likely allowing them to mount up.  The old man took a shot at the windshield, where he suspected a driver to be.  A hit, but to no effect.  He fired again, this time at a tire, and hit.  Again, with no noticeable effect.

One of the soldiers is the blurry spot at the base of the rock to 
the left, the armored truck comes into view.

A better view of the truck and soldiers.

The vehicle then turned away from him; he fired again, sure that he had hit another tire, again to no effect, and then it was gone.  they were all gone, leaving the old man alone in the wastes.

The truck drives away.

He was tremendously let down; he had failed to rescue the girl.  Something he was sure that he could do.  He just sat there for some time, then further tended to his wound, which looked absolutely nasty.  It was seriously going to leave a mark.

A few days journey, and the old man made his way back to the farmstead, without further encounter, and explained what had happened to the girl's mother.  She seemed to take the information better than he expected.  Maybe hoping that her daughter would live, and maybe even be taken care of at least.

The old man heads home.

The old man intended to explore the origin of the strange soldiers and their armored car further.  Holding on to the chance that he still might find the girl some day.

He spent a night at the farm, then headed home the next day, looking forward to the comfort of his perch atop the little rocky column in the middle of the desert.  He would take a couple of days to heal,  then head into New Clovis, and report his experience to someone there.  He figured the Confederation would probably like to know that they weren't alone in the wastes.


This game took form a year ago, but took until this past weekend to play as  ideas associated with the game evolved (factions, stories, and models).  I ended up creating or sort of pencil and paper set of "chase" rules, experimeneting with several ideas as components of the game.  The tabletop game came about, once the old man could close on the target.  

It is kind of ironic that so much effort was invested in what turned out to be such a simple and short scenario on the tabletop.

It suspected that given the way it rolled up, that getting the girl back was too much of a reach, and then, when he had the string of missed shots, it was kind of sealed (the old man is an exceptional shot).  The arival of the truck, could have been much more prolonged, but rolled up with almost the shortest wait possible, which really limited the old man.

In any event, the whole process was fun, both the paper and on table chases. And, I got to round out some background for several storylines and factions.  


  1. You know you have the basis (outline) of a novel here, don't you?

    1. Hadn't really considered it, but I guess maybe so. Might be fun to sort of explore the process, though I seriously doubt that I could pull off something like that.

    2. Well, I have plenty of online sources to help if you ever decide to write a novel.

  2. Lovely scenario but the terrain is absolutely fabulous.