Word has reached what’s left of your ears: Cougar and her partner Blazer are pulling off a job. They say they’re in it to find a better life for their kid, but who buys that kind of sentimental bullshit these days? You go way back with Blazer, though it seems it’s mostly Cougar who’s running the show this time, and you don’t know her all that well. But you’re in. You have your own reasons for joining up, and maybe you’ll be upfront with those reasons or maybe you won’t, but what with one thing another, you decide to head down to the rendezvous in Huntington’s Bitch and see what happens.
But it'll be a bit of a trip, depending on where you're starting from. If you happen to be north of Los Angeles, you'll be coming by way of Hollywood. If you're currently to the south, you'll be passing through San Diego. And if you're starting from Points East, there's no real way to avoid coming through Riverside.
Blazer and Cougar recognize the risks you're taking to come out here, so they want to make the trip worth your while. If you've been out here any length of time, you know that old world money is useless (the paper stuff burned and the coins are so small they keep sliding irretrievably under the back seat), but a pure barter economy isn't practical, since nobody will trade mutant chickens for bullets if they happen to be allergic to radioactive feathers or freaked out by two-headed birds, so the state currency out here is a natural choice: license plates. Common enough to be useful, just scarce enough to be valuable, hard to lose under the seats if you hang them by a chain from your rearview mirror or wear them around your neck (Blazer, you may remember, hammers them into an ever-growing helmet around his scarred skull for safekeeping). Always remember to collect license plates from your vanquished foes, both the two from their vehicle and whatever ones they're keeping as trophies and currency themselves. Fifteen (15) license plates apiece will be awarded to each and every Driver who successfully makes it to Huntington Beach, and you can use those plates to purchase more gas (when we find a vendor) or weapons, ammo, and upgrades.
So where are you coming from?
1. Hollywood. The nukes were relatively kind to this part of L.A., but there was no shortage of freaks and mutants there already anyway. Now that all 3.8 million residents (except for you and your neighbor Drivers) have been turned into flesh-eating radioactive zombies (thanks, Chelsea!), you have your work cut out for you mowing your way south through their grasping, wriggling, gnawing masses. Sounds easy… except there are 3.8 million of them and only one of you.
Mission Cost: Gas. (Reminder: Scouts get 40 miles per gallon, Escorts get 20 mpg, Mules and Mechanics 10 mpg.) You all start with full tanks (10 gal for Scouts, 20 for Escorts, 40 for Mules, 50 for Mechanics), so everyone has a range of 400 miles except Mechanics who can go 500 miles on a full tank. But fuel consumption is expensive for Mules and Mechanics. Hollywood is 40 zombie-choked miles from Huntington Beach, so Scouts will use 1 gallon, Escorts 2, and Mechanics and Mules 4.
Risks: 3.8 Million Zombies, depending on your SPeed and ManeuVerability there is a ~0.1% chance of encountering each one. (L.A. is a big city.)
For each you encounter, there is a 10% chance of causing dents and scratches, and a 2% chance of more serious damage. If, by some small misfortune, you should get Bitten By A Zombie, do not fret overmuch. We surviving Drivers are naturally fairly resistant to the Zom-Virus, but bitten-off fingers will, alas, reduce your ManeuVerability stat by 2 for each finger removed.
2. Riverside. Nobody bothered to bomb Riverside, the Land of the Dirt People, so at least its denizens don’t glow in the dark, and what teeth they have aren’t in danger of falling out when they get embedded in your skin. But they are hungry, and intelligent, and armed. And they’re tenacious. Having always wanted to see an ocean (and perhaps another planet), there’s a decent chance some might get close enough to hitch a ride on you all the way to Huntington, which would be socially awkward at best and likely result in immediate combat upon arrival against the hitchhikers by all Drivers from Riverside. While everyone else looks on and laffs.
Mission Cost: Gas. Your fill-up point in Riverside is 60 miles from Huntington, so Scouts will use 1.5 gallons, Escorts 3, and Mechanics and Mules 6.
Risks: 25 Hitchhiking Rednecks with a 25% chance of hitting you with weak/no weapons, but 10% chance of making a hitch.
4 Pickup Trucks Full Of Rednecks, 50% chance of a hit but small damage. 5% chance of critical hit.
If you survive the above having lost less than 40% of your HP, a monster truck may be (depending on the dice) awoken from its slumber and you enter vehicular combat. Hope that doesn't happen. They grow 'em big in Riverside.
3. San Diego. America’s Finest City was largely submerged by the rising oceans. Your journey north up Interstate 5 puts you at risk of swamping by rogue waves, attack by giant mutated amphibious sea-monsters (especially near the “decommissioned” San Onofre Nuclear Power Plant, whose glowing “nipples” to this day still have not gone dark), and the odd sortie against the occasional carnivorous (and tire-munching) gilled surfer.
Mission Cost: Gas. Your fill-up point in San Diego is 100 miles from Huntington, so Scouts will use 2.5 gallons, Escorts 5, and Mechanics and Mules 10.
Risks: Several rogue waves that will hit you, but probably won’t do much damage. Number of waves depends on your ability to outrun them (speed and maneuverability). The damage caused by the ones that hit you depends on your armor and your torque (which helps you stay in control as the road washes out from under you). There's a 1% chance of TOTAL WIPEOUT - per wave that hits you - which is heavy damage, not necessarily death.
Two (2) Sea Monsters, 25% chance of tentacle strike, 2% chance of potentially massive critical hit.
Between 4 and 20 Gilled Surfers, with a 5% chance each of popping a tire.
If you survive the above having lost less than 25% of your HP, you obviously veered too close to San Onofre and are now Irradiated. That will leave a mark.
Here's a handy map for you visual learners, drawn by the Wasteland's Master Cartographer, @penguinchris :
Click to embiggen and animate, if it isn't already wiggling at you!
Safe travels, everyone! See you at the rendezvous at the corner of Skylab Road and Astronautics Drive in horrific Huntington Beach, California!
EDIT Forgot to mention: Mission Choices are due tomorrow evening, Sunday at 8:00 PM PST. Post your Mission choice in this thread, along with whatever tale you have to tell.