Mutant Year Zero Campaign – Part 4: Strangers Sighted

Session played: 14.12.18, PCs active: Dink, Toad & ‘K’

Having brought the Elder back to the Zone in the last session, our Mutants sought to consolidate this session, opting not to begin any new projects but press on with those already started: the museum, Toad’s statue and developing the cropland. ‘K’ worked on cobbling together an irrigation system for the cropland, moving this on another notch, and Toad sought to overcome Sixter the Fixer’s meddling with the Statue of the Elder, twisting it for his own ends.

The Mutants efforts were rudely interrupted by the sound of alarm coming from the Ark’s wall. Watchmen had noticed a group of humanoids on the horizon, approaching the Ark in the fog. Uneasy, the inhabitants watched and nervously planned how to respond: such visitations being a rare event. A twitchy line of defenders gradually formed outside the wall to await them. Although orders were to await instruction, nervous anticipation became too much. Amongst others, Jonats, one of Johammed’s Enforcers started to charge across the gap to repel the ‘invaders’, with Dink chasing after to ensure his safety.

Not having thoroughly explored the sector they were running into, their incautious rush led them scrubby marshland full of waving grasses between scattered gnarly bushes. In their hurry, none noticed the grass’ movement was independent of the wind, indeed there was no breeze, just still stale air. As they rushed into it, the waving arms reached out, entangling them, trapping them one by one. Somehow Dink managed to evade their clutches, but not so Jonats. Not worrying about his own safety, Dink strained to pull him free, succeeding but at the cost of his own entanglement. Straining under the acidic threat of the mutated grass, he managed to wrench himself free, the stress triggering within himself a new mutation, yet to be realised.

Finally the grass was overcome. Toad taking the plough previously fashioned by ‘K’ had sought to use slaves to drive a safe passage through the grass. Others simply took to brute force, burning the grass with torches and their own mutations.

As one threat was overcome in this fashion, the original threat was finally made clear. The distant figures were distant no more. The approaching company were the Wanderers discovered in the Mutants previous foray into The Zone, Maria and her four companions, who it seemed had found their way to The Ark through skilled tracking and the Mutants’ own descriptions of where they were from.

Inevitably this revelation led to fierce disagreement between Marlotte and Johammed, between the Youngers and the Olders. Should this ‘foreign’ company be allowed sanctuary within or repelled and kept beyond the walls? It was at this point that Maria revealed that within their wagon sat the Elder himself, spurring Toad to take on a ‘diplomatic’ role and trying amidst the row to bring him into safety. As he entered the Ark itself, the brewing tension overspills into a violent brawl between the two sides. Dink starts acting strangely, something or someone manipulating his vision…

Equally balanced, neither side managed to wrest an advantage over the other, the stalemate only disrupted by a surprise cry from within: Sixter sitting astride Toad’s Statue, now transformed from the Elder to a crude representation of himself screaming, ‘It is finished!’ Steered slyly by Toad, the two sides forgot each other and turned on him, demolishing the Statue as they did so, their distraction enabling the Mutants to get the Elder scurried away to safety.

Although destroyed, Toad was left standing satisfied by the rubble of his Statue. It has served it’s purpose well, a monument to unity.

Once again an enjoyable session, requiring little prep due to the creativity of the players and the generation of the setting and threats beforehand. The relationships drawn up in chargen helped, meaning I was able to use Jonats in the charge towards the Wanderers to draw the players into action, Dink’s player having identified their relationship.

We also tried experimenting with Blades in the Dark style clocks to track the conflict between the Olders and the Youngers. It sought of worked, and I’d use it again, but something wasn’t quite right.

The Statue, a project chosen by Toad’s player, also became a key driver in this session, becoming a character in its own right. Provided a lovely climax to the evening’s play. Somehow its destruction and decay, yet with hope and opportunity arising from it, seemed quite fitting for MY0.

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