The Volunteers (AKA The Dirty Half-Dozen, The Six Wanderers)

Bob Perce (Herodian)
Colt Riffle (Gigermann)
Dr. J. Turk (CommJunkee)
Lance Bennett (Ronnke)
Lenny Leonardo (Melissa)
Romeo Sylvester (Rigil Kent)

The One Where They All Left the Vault

21 December 2161

The Overseer called for some “volunteers” for an important mission and called those chosen into his office to explain the situation:

The Volunteers, none of whom had ever stepped outside the Vault before, were allowed to requisition whatever they might need from the Vault’s stores, and they packed up for a long journey into the Wasteland; there were no vehicles to be had, so they would be walking, taking only what they could carry. Sly packed a bit of extra gear for the group. In the morning, the Overseer escorted the lot of them to the Vault entrance, and after wishing them well, keyed in the code to open the massive door to the outside. The Volunteers stepped through, into a world they had never seen before, only heard of—a large cavern, in this case—and the Vault door was closed behind them with a thud.

Now outside the Vault for the first time, the Volunteers found themselves aghast, as further into the darkness they spied a handful of giant rats—around 4′ long, each—digging through some rubble at a bend in the cave-tunnel. Though the rats seemed to take no notice of them, they weren’t taking any chances; Bob, Colt, Lenny and Sly pulled their pistols and took careful aim at the rats, while Turk and Lance backed them up. The rats were dispatched with as little ammunition expended as possible; they all discovered how freaking loud Lenny’s .44 Magnum revolver was in the cave’s close confines. Beside the rat carcasses were a couple of dessicated human remains; Turk looked them over and confirmed that they had likely been dead for years, though the group didn’t want to stay long enough to determine a cause of death or identify them, beyond the obvious “not vault-dwellers” conclusion.


The cave’s exit was not far around the bend, and the Volunteers soon found themselves for the first time under a natural, clear sky they had only seen in pictures before—the lack of a proper ceiling and the non-sterile atmosphere took some getting used to, and a few had some initial troubles adjusting to their new surroundings. After gathering themselves up, they checked their Pip-Boy 2000 map displays, and set out across the mountainous terrain toward their destination, Vault 15, a couple of days to the South-East.

Some hours past midday, the Volunteers crested a hill to find themselves a stone’s-throw away from a pair of strangers arguing over the corpse of another man in the shadow of a ruined gas-station; with them, a ghastly-looking creature resembling a cow with two heads, bearing a burden of “junk” on its back. Sly led the Volunteers, and approached the men with hands outstretched and a beaming, friendly smile, while the others lagged behind and tried their best not to spoil his intentions; the strangers quickly raised their weapons at the approaching vault-dwellers and demanded they go away, that this “claim” was theirs alone. After a bit of back-and-forth, the strangers admitted to having killed the dead man over a “trade dispute,” and continued their sabre-rattling. Cradling his scoped rifle, Colt sarcastically asked if people in the Wasteland are taught to count, as the vault-dwellers outnumbered the strangers three-to-one; they responded with a boast of having killed many vault-dwellers and having found them little challenge. However, seeing the six Volunteers spread out and ready for a fight (excepting Lance, who was cowering behind a broken wall), they started backing off anyway, still insistent on their martial superiority to the vault-dwellers, and as they turned to flee, they vowed to return for their prize. Colt climbed up on the dilapidated building and covered the strangers’ retreat with the rifle, while the others took inventory of what had been left behind, and buried the dead man in a shallow grave. The bovine-monster’s pack included a lot of miscellaneous scrap, a few guns, and a bag full of bottlecaps—the Volunteers could only speculate at the purpose of the bottlecaps; perhaps a collector’s item of some kind? The benefit of a pack animal, however hideous, was not difficult to understand after the day’s hike, and they decided to keep it, loading it up with some gear of their own. As the day was winding down at that point, they followed Colt’s suggestion to camp atop a nearby outcropping and keep a remote watch on this place through the night, expecting the strangers’ return.

They set up camp for the first time, and agreed to two-man watches through the night. But the strangers never returned, and so the desert night passed without incident, except that the lights and wisps of smoke from some distant settlement were spotted. After discussing the find in the morning, since the settlement lay in the general direction of Vault 15, they decided to pay it a visit. They approached with caution, after the incident with the strangers the day before, half expecting to find them there, spying ahead with binoculars and gun-scopes, but saw nothing to indicate any sort of threat.


There were two guards posted at the front gate to the walled settlement, and the Volunteers decided to approach openly; Sly would do the talking. The guards were friendly enough, and answered the many inevitable questions, as they could; the settlement was called Shady Sands, an upstart farming community, and well-behaved strangers were welcome to take shelter here, though weapons had to be put away out of sight. Upon inquiry about Vault 15, the guard informed them that this place had been founded by residents of Vault 15, which was long abandoned some thirty years ago or so; he suggested they speak to Aradesh, the town’s founder, and pointed the vault-dwellers to where he could be found. Before entering, the group stowed their weapons on the “Brahmin,” as it was known locally; Lenny instead covered his holster with a towel over his belt, which seemed to be enough for the guards.


They found Aradesh at the “town hall” as directed, and he greeted them, though with some suspicion, answering their many questions and offering them food and drink. He told that he had indeed come from Vault 15, though it had been stripped bare since they left. As they ate the strange food before them—something to do with “geckos”—he informed the Volunteers that although they were unlikely to find a controller-chip at Vault 15, he did know of a man in Junktown who might have one; seeing an opportunity in the capable crew before him, he offered to elaborate in exchange for a service, to rescue his daughter, Tandi, from a camp of Raiders to the South. She had been snatched from the settlement—a not uncommon occurrence—and he expected them to sell her into slavery if he did not produce 5000 bottlecaps as ransom. He asked only that the Volunteers deliver the ransom and return his daughter. Bottlecaps, as it turned out, were used as currency (Lance admitted to having playfully flung a handful of theirs, in ignorance). Aradesh’s demeanor changed as the Volunteers discussed taking on the mission amongst themselves, after which they officially agreed to bring Tandi back; they would leave in the morning.


  • This is not Winston’s first time GMing an RPG, but it is his first running GURPS, and running for this group
  • We had a bit of a late start this session, due to some initial technical issues connecting with the game; we might have gotten a bit farther otherwise
  • Anyone who has played the first Fallout computer game will undoubtedly recognize persons and events that occur in this game; this is purely intentional. Most of the players here, in fact, are familiar with Fallout, though none of us expect it will detract at all from the enjoyment of the campaign—events will transpire quite differently given the six-man crew rather than the original’s “Lone Wanderer”
  • This would be the first campaign with this group for CommJunkee, who gamed face-to-face with Gigermann (myself) and Rigil Kent for many years around a decade ago, before moving away