The Cody Book Club

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1×01: Day One

  • John Heinlein, upon seeing his son with bruises and his baby-momma’s boyfriend chastising the boy, presumes the worst and beats the man down before absconding with his son. Heading south toward the Wind River Reservation, he hears the Amber Report go out across his police scanner and realizing that his intended route is likely patrolled, he tries a different way … and his car dies. They walk from here!
  • Damien Chandler, an Australian expat currently working for the US Forestry Service, is off-roading and happens to see Heinlein and his son abandon the car. He calls this in and learns about the Amber Alert; he’s instructed to remain in place and wait for backup.
  • Deputy Sheriff E. Reece Burroughs, who has known John for years, races to untangle this mess before his old friend puts him in deeper trouble. From John’s ex, Julia, the deputy sheriff learns that her son, James, was in a fight at school, which is why he has bruises, and John overreacted without thinking. When Chandler’s report comes in, Burroughs heads straight there, but following standard procedure, also calls in EMT support.
  • Jules Pratchett-Wells, a local EMT, is getting lunch with his partner, Tucker Charleston (who has the odd nickname of “Turk”), when the call comes in, so they load up and head south to hook up with Burroughs and Chandler.
  • The three manage to easily catch up with Heinlein and his son as John is thoroughly loaded down with gear. A tense stand-off ensues that is only exacerbated by the sudden arrival of Bob, another deputy sheriff, who has his gun drawn and is shouting for John to drop it and get down!
  • And then things get weird. John suddenly wakes up and finds himself face-down, handcuffed, and lying on a body. He is nauseous and dizzy, and has no idea whatsoever how he got into this situation. Everyone else gradually regains consciousness as well, equally confused with missing time. They all quickly determine that their electronics are fried, prompting several of them to theorize an EMP strike of some sort. It is also now morning. Chandler hikes toward a nearby campsite, while Burroughs and Heinlein put Deputy Bob into a body bag which they place in the now powerless EMT van. The Aussie returns on a bike after checking in with campers.
  • The group begin hiking toward Meeteetse, reaching it soon after the sun has gone down. There, they discover that everyone else is experiencing the same memory loss following the blackout and power is out everywhere. John continues to deal with persistent dizziness, much to his frustration.
  • In the morning, Chandler seeks out a local tractor that is really old and manages to get it running; the team use this tractor and a trailer normally used for ‘hayrides’ during festivals to return to their dead cars to retrieve gear (and a body bag.) They pick up several locals at the campsites as well and take them to Meeteetse.
  • From there, they start making their way toward Cody via the slow tractor. En route, they note a number of strange contrails in the sky and then later discover a strange-looking meteor that has crashed to earth, shattering the road and carving a great furrow in the dirt. J.P. takes a sample from the bizarre meteor before they all continue toward Cody.
    Soon after, they discover a rolled bus that has crashed off the side of the road; it bears a Federal Depart of Corrections logo and Burroughs recalls that the U.S. Marshals were supposed to be transporting some federal prisoners yesterday. He investigates, finding a dead marshal but no prisoners.
  • Onto Cody they press, discovering a city on the verge of panic due to the missing time and loss of power. The first place they head for is the hospital so they can put Deputy [WHATSHISNAME] in the coroner’s office and have John checked out at the same time; Heinlein will be later identified as suffering from minor radiation sickness!
  • Checking in with his boss, Burroughs learns that John’s ex and her boyfriend are (inexplicably) not pressing charges against Heinlein, but more importantly, before the blackout, he (the sheriff) heard … multiple cities like Denver and Seattle were hit by unknown parties…

Player Notes:

  • And thus, this “season” of Earthfall begins.
  • During character creation, we intentionally decided to all have last names of famous sci-fi authors. This naming goes back to a different game Gigermann ran in a face-to-face group that I was a part of, wherein we were the “Gun Show” and every PC had the last name of a gun manufacturer (so we had a Barrett (briefly before the player had to drop due to work), Colt, a Remington, a Smith and a Wesson).
  • It’s early days so we’re still getting a feel for our characters as of yet and, in retrospect, there are a couple of things I could have done with Heinlein to better be “in-character” – I intentionally did not have him struggle more after we woke up since the GM established that he was persistently dizzy during play. So he was biding his time and trying to avoid throwing up. It does occur to me that he probably doesn’t actually live in Cody but rather, lives on the Wind River reservation, so he likely doesn’t have a home in the city…
  • Being quite aware of what “Earthfall” means in the GM’s context and having played in his previous “post-apocalypse” game, I’m probably more aware of what’s coming than everyone else … which will fit with the character’s backstory. Still, I could not help but notice the amusing similarities to Jericho which oddly puts Heinlein in the Jake Green roll in a lot of ways.

See the Daniverse Blog for the GM’s post-game debrief.