Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Spawn Of Devastation Drive-In — 'Maximum Overdrive' (1986) (Part 1)

(American One-Sheet)

Setting Seeds:  Morn Of The Murder Machines

According to legends (and sparse archaeological evidence), The Ancients lived in a wondrous world of technological marvels, where fanciful gadgets controlled all facets of life. But then, on one horrific day, the skies swirled with emerald energies...

...and the machines upon which humanity depended malfunctioned, and instead of operating as designed...


An entire Mutant Future setting can be shaped around a cataclysmal revolt of all devices—toys, appliances, computers, weapons, and even vehicles—against their makers.  The blame lies on a viridian nimbus (perhaps unleashed by extraterrestrial malefactors...?) that envelops the Earth.

The post-apocalyptic world is a primitive and brutal place, devoid of almost all useful technologies.  Only small vehicles—cars, motorcycles, motorboats—still operate as designed. Small clusters of Pure Humans, Mutant Humans, and Mutant Animals eke out a hardscrabble existence under the constant threat of mechanized death, and Mutant Plants thrive unchecked.  Androids and robots run amok (and are disallowed as PCs, for obvious reasons.)

Environmental Hazard:  Murder Machines

The all-purpose mantle of "murder machines" applies to each and every Ancient contraption powered by fuel, batteries, and/or energy (solar, atomic, etc.).  The green radiations imbued all devices with sensory awareness and all-consuming bloodlust, and they seek to harm as many beings as possible in the most spectacular, painful, and ironic of fashions.  Even non-lethal gadgets become dreadful irritants.  The Mutant Lord should find a way to turn each and every Artifact into an instrument of annoyance, mayhem...or death.

Advanced weapons fire at will on targets of their choosing, and don't work when wielded by PCs.  Medical devices inflict damage instead of healing.  And woe be to anyone who encounters a set of Ancient battle-armor....

Any time the Mutant Lord needs to roll for a Wandering Monster, or determine the contents of a treasure hoard containing technology of any sort, consult the table below:

Murder Machine Encounter Table
d20DeviceHDDescription / Effects
1Lawnmower2 HD
Moves at 90' (30'), and relentlessly pursues closest target. With successful hit, knocks down victim, doing a continuous 5d6 damage per round. Target must make an Ability Check Versus DEX at a +2 penalty to rise and escape further damage.
2Music Player1d4 hp
Player (cassette or digital) lies dormant until victim puts on the earbuds/headphones; seconds later, device blasts raw sound at maximum volume. Wearer takes 3d6 damage, and must make a Saving Throw Versus Stun. Success means they are Deafened for 1d10 days; failure means permanent hearing loss.
3Drive-Thru Menu2 HD
When PCs get within 45', speaker blares: "HUMANS HERE. HUMANS HERE." in computerized monotone until destroyed. Increases risk of attracting Wandering Monsters to 1-5 on 1d6.
4Vending Machine4 HD
When PCs get within 15', machine launches high-velocity flurry of soda canisters that deal 2d6 continuous damage per round to all targets in a 30' long, 20' wide cone. Continues to fire long after all targets have fled or fallen, out of sheer spite.
5Remote-Controlled Toy1d4 hp
Small AC 3 contraption continually rams feet and ankles, and gets underfoot.  Target must make an Ability Check Versus DEX to maintain balance; failure means falling for 1d4 damage. Prone targets must make a Saving Throw Versus Stun or get choked into unconsciousness as toy works way into mouth and esophagus.  Death occurs in 2d4 rounds.
6Video Screen1 HD
Assorted signage, billboards, marquees, etc. flash insulting and profane messages.  Irritates PCs.  (And perhaps drives them to wrath with a failed Ability Check Versus WIL.)
7Carving Knife1d4 hp
Lashes out at nearest target,  going for jugular or wrists. Does 1d6 damage with successful hit, and 1d4 continuous damage per round until bleeding stopped.  15' (5') movement limited to length of power cord (unless cordless).
8Hair Dryer1d4 hp
Blasts super-heated air, causing 1d4 heat damage. Ignites combustibles after 1d4 rounds of exposure.
9Clock1d4 hp
Digital timers prematurely set off explosives for maximum havoc. Alarm models blare incessantly, drawing Wandering Monsters on 1-3 on 1d6.
10Arcade Game3 HD
Screen shows mesmerizing display, hypnotizing all targets in visual range who fail a Mental Attack from WIL 13. Those enthralled move to the machine to touch it, and must make a Saving Throw Versus Stun; success means taking 6d6 electrical damage, while failure indicates death by electrocution.
11Sprinklers1 HD
Automated sprinklers/sprayers douse PCs with appropriate liquid (water, halon, fire-retardant foam, pesticide, etc.). Effects and/or damage determined by Mutant Lord.
12Jukebox2 HD
Always manages to play music most hated by PCs. Flashing lights and sound increase chance of Wandering Monsters to a 1-4 on 1d6.
13ATM / Coin Changer1d6 hp
Discharges d1000 units of currency or 5d1000 coins. Angrily.
Elevators, drawbridges, dams, etc. open and close and will, crushing any trapped within.  Can also create barriers, impasses, deadfalls, and other  hazards.
15Computer1 HD
Monitor taunts PCs with obscenities to distract them, while sending alert to 1d4 renegade robots that arrive 2d4 rounds later.
16Gas Pump2 HD
Discharges precious petrochemical fuel (Poison Class 4; causes Blindness for 1d6 days) in faces of PCs foolish enough to look down nozzle.
17Electric Shaver1d4 hp
Leaps up to 6' at target, targeting mustaches, beards, and/or hairstyles.  Victim loses -1d6 CHA until grown back.  The better the hair, the more determined the shaver.
18GPS1d4 hp
Displays detailed maps and instructions to closest safe zones, food stockpiles, weapons caches, fuel depots, etc...but info is utterly false, and leads to environmental hazards, traps, and/or monster lairs.
19Fax1 HD
Blares out ear-piercing Shriek (as the Mutation), affecting all targets in 20' radius. Prints out blurry photographs of gory human casualties to traumatize the weak-stomached.
20Marital Aid1d4 hp
Furious buzzing forces all observers to make Ability Check Versus WIL at a +5 penalty, or be paralyzed with paroxysms of laughter for 2d6 rounds and suffer 1d2 coughing / choking damage per round. Chance of attracting Wandering Monsters escalates to 1-5 on 1d6.