Bullets & Gasoline

Okay, I’m doing this thing. I’m going to start with the character system stuff, because it’s spring break and you can’t stop me.

Okay, no, I’m starting with a summary.

Bullets & Gasoline is an ACKS and Car Wars mash-up by Cameron. He’s still working on the rules document. I’ll posts it when I gots it.

Also, this is a filler campaign. C wants to run Q and I in Galaufabonne again, but that campaign took a lot of energy, and it’s not something he’s up to right now, so: filler. Hopefully freakishly amusing filler.

There will be mutants, and biker gangs in improbably spiked armor, and young Mel Gibson, and guns in ACKS that do way too much damage. C has specifically and repeatedly said that it will not in any way be game-balanced, and he said this so often I think he was trying to convince himself that it was okay. It will be okay. Q and I are probably going to die horribly in a flaming wreck, and you get front row seats!

In the meantime, Q and I rolled first pass characters.

These were Q’s ability score rolls, because she is a horrible person:

12, 18, 15, 15, 10, 15
11, 12, 12, 8, 6, 11
12, 8, 7, 12, 15, 9
10, 9, 13, 12, 16, 10
12, 13, 11, 9, 10, 10

Don’t you hate her? Go on, guess which one she’ll be playing?

“Frost” Sharon Cauldron: STR 12, INT 18, WIS 15, DEX 15, CON 10, CHA 15. Scout. A young Victoria Cohen in tattered biker leathers. She’s planning to drive a motorcycle.

These were my rolls, because I am an humble soul who does not require exceptional ability scores to play the game:

8, 10, 11, 8, 14, 5
5, 14, 9, 13, 8, 8
15, 10, 8, 12, 10, 15
15, 9, 9, 14, 9, 14
12, 9, 11, 8, 5, 15

“A.Moral” Aine Morales: STR 15, INT 9, WIS 9, DEX 14, CON 9, CHA 14. Road Warrior. Michelle Rodriguez with a buzzcut, heavy-duty camo pants, and a kevlar vest. I see her driving a rusted, beat-up Dodge Viper with a machine gun mounted on the front, a trailer trash hunk of junk.

C has said that there will be five classes to cover the basics: biker (barbarian), road warrior (fighter), scout (thief), sniper (assassin), and trader (venturer with no magic).

I was tempted to be a sniper, but I persuaded Q to be a scout, and the sniper has too much overlap there. I was also tempted to persuade Q to play a trader so I could play a sniper, but then we don’t have any real muscle at all.

Frost and A.Moral are ex-slaves of a biker gang based out of Sweetwater, Texas and led by a mutant-ish military experiment (an ogre in ACKS, but C says he’s tougher than a normal ogre) named Gul. We stole cash to buy our freedom, and now we’re trying to scrape together enough money to leave town entirely.

We’ll have already “acquired” cars, but unless we want to live in the wastelands (hint: tall glass of nope), we need to fill the gas tanks to reach the Amarillo, the nearest safe haven other than Lubbock (Gul’s brother Dyer lives in Lubbock).

Okay, now you know what I know, except everything that C said that I totally forgot because spring break.

Ask questions! Ask! Ask! Otherwise I’ll never remember.

Oh yeah, I did forget something. Psionics are available as proficiencies using the spell-like custom power rules, but if you have one, you’re a mutant with a -1 on reaction rolls.

Okay, I probably forgot lots of somethings, but that’s the one that I just remembered.

Hmm… I was thinking while looking at doing a scifi ACKS conversion that I’d probably keep firearm damage down in line with that of ranged weapons in ACKS as it exists, with the primary advantages of firearms being penetration of archaic armors and cover, range, rate of fire / ammunition capacity, and ease of use (much easier to become a reasonable marksman than a longbowman). If you’ve got any further data on equipment I’d love to hear it.

This sounds like it will be entertaining and a good setting-fit for ACKS’ assumptions. A post-apocalyptic domain game could be neat…

Also also, some obvious questions: we’re using ACKS for everything but car-to-car combat, and Car Wars for car-to-car combat. A car-mounted machine gun does 4d6-3 damage in B&G ACKS. $40 in Car Wars is 1 GP in ACKS. Only bikers wear anything heavier than leather armor, because Texas weather. And there won’t ever ever ever be an interdimensional portal through which Vulfelind manages to acquire an armed winnebago . . . probably.

Sorry I post so much. I’ll try to be more organized when I actually start chronicling.

  • Hand-held ranged weapons will be what you just said. A heavy pistol deals 1d6 and a rifle deals 1d10 (I don’t know any others). Car weapons, though . . . eeek!

  • He picked Car Wars instead of something else because the economies lined up well with each other. He explained it more than that, but, uhm, blah blah trade caravans can be used straight blah living costs are similar blah blah 1 gp = $40 and here’s the book with equipment in it (pounce).

I suck, sorry.

Also based on what he said, I think it’s going to be more like an ACKS re-skin, with a Car Wars mini-game, than a total retrofit. Which is kind of good, cuz I wanna play this century.

Sounds fabulously interesting!


That’s awesome. I <3 Car Wars.

I’ve said it before probably on this very board but in a perfect world Car Wars quickstart rules would be included with every Hot Wheel/Matchbox car sold.

OMG. Car Wars is one of my favorite games of all time. One of my longstanding goals in life is a post-apocalyptic ACKS. Amazing!

How is the “interface” between ACKS and Car Wars being handled? How do hit points transfer into Car Wars hits, DEX/level to Reflexes and to hit rolls, and so on?

I am marking this for reply when I have an answer, cuz I can guess, but I’m not the DM =^.^=

I’m pretty sure that 1 Car Wars hit is 3 ACKS hit points, though?

Haha, I was so full of it when I thought I’d be able to answer questions reasonably well.

Uhm… =^.^=

ACKS is the “reality.” Where they disagree, ACKS is the authority. Car Wars is a mini-game we’ll play when ACKS puts us in a position where we need to.

1 DP = 3 hit points, but hand guns are special somehow? They’re ending up between 1d6 and 1d10 somehow – the real advantage is that armor AC is halved against them, and they only take a -1 penalty per 120 feet of range, so a crossbow’s maximum range is medium range for a pistol.

DEX adds to attack rolls and Reflex rolls. It doesn’t add to control rolls or HC: that’s the car’s “dexterity.” But a DEX 18 still makes “a deadly *&^%ing duelist.”

For the “and so on,” I got no clue. I’m reading the Car Wars books and… I got no clue.

Okay, here’s A.Moral’s car, and this will probably raise as many questions as it answers =^.^=

Rattler (armed Dodge Viper). Subcompact (extra-heavy chassis, heavy suspension, medium plant, driver, fine computer, solid tires). Armor (F60, R45, L45, B45, T30, U21; AC +4). HC 3, curb 276+15 st., move 5/90 with 1 st.; 5/75 with 59 st.; 2.5/55 with 261 st. MG (4d6-3, +0 to hit) front. Price 261 gp.

enormous picture

Now, A.Moral can’t actually afford that (and that’s the used price!), so she bought a rusted hunk of junk POS Rattler with way too many miles on it and a soggy suspension for half price. That drops the HC to 2 and gives a -1 to all attack rolls, but brings the price down to 130 gp, which she can afford.

A.Moral has a DEX of 14, so she gets a +1 on Reflex and ranged attack rolls, and she has the Driver proficiency, so she doesn’t suffer any extra penalties for trying to drive a car, and her quickness with the gun compensates for the tendency of the car to sag and sway when firing it.

She’s got more than 1 st. in gear, so she’s pretty much stuck with an accel of 5 and top speed of 75 (which is a move of about 1,100 ft. per round in ACKS). She can get it up to 90 (rattling and screaming the whole way) if she dumps most of her gear.

Sweetwater, Texas covers a six-mile hex and has 5,500 people (1,100 families market class IV), but except for armed camps (like Gul’s gang), most of the town lives clustered near H84 and H70. Since it’s a class IV market, there’s a 25% chance that something like A.Moral’s Rattler is available for sale (or has a buyer) in any given month.

So until I can get to Amarillo, or if I want to jump in a Division 5 Amateur Arena (which is gonna be a car worth less than a 100 gp), it’s probably what I’m stuck with.

One day, though, assuming I’m not carbonized spite buried in a monument of twisted metal, I intend to own a like-new Rattler with performance tweaks and a custom paint job… as my hobby car.

I think that the ACKS rules will fit a post-apocalyptic setting perfectly! Might be my next (collaboration) project after Barbarian Conqueror King…

We just wrapped up and I have thoughts, so I am going to share them.

This was a very different game

My first ACKS session was a dungeon delve, and we fought, retreated, rested, repeated. I’m not sure there were any sessions without a single fight until we got to the domain end-game.

This session was more like some of the all-thief action Vulfelind got up to later on: we robbed a dead man’s business, then snuck through a biker gang’s camp to pilfer buried treasure, then evaded highway encounters.

We haven’t actually used a weapon yet. (Technically, one shot happened off-screen and pre-game.)

Although since we’re near-broke and all we have is our cars and a little gas, we may be entering an arena next session to pay for stuff.

I’m not saying that’s a bad thing, I’m just saying it was different.

Also, so much dialog.

Guns are scary

When I was character building, I was thinking, “Ah, guns are awesome.” I kitted A.Moral out and imagined the havoc Vulfelind could wreak with an armored van.

In-game, we’re poking around inside a storage and we hear a pick-up truck crunching gravel outside and we know the owner of the truck’s going to be angry . . . and the pick-up’s gonna do 4d6-3 minimum to my 8 hit points . . . and my Rattler, rusted and broke as she is, is a quarter-mile away because nothing says stealth like bringing a car along.

I won’t lie, I broke into a sweat in real life. That smell? Oh, just my new perfume line, Eau de Peur.

My character is evil

I didn’t intend it that way, honest. Vulfelind was pragmatic and capable of being vicious, but she had a good heart and she cared for people. She was mean to bad people.

A.Moral cares about A.Moral, Frost, and 3Dog, in that order, and 3Dog’s only on there because he’s Frost’s. This was the dialog that I think cemented it:

A.Moral: So what do we do now?
Frost, sighing: We do a bad thing.
A.Moral, eager grin: Yeah?

I’m going to blame the setting and the grease-and-grit, low-fi, trailer-trash feel. I’m hoping I find a spark of heroism in her before she gets to the levels where she’s got real power.

Texas is scary after the apocalypse

The DM brought maps, told us what (little) we knew about the various areas off H84 and H70, and gave us mileage range numbers for our cars, and then just let us figure out what we wanted to do.

Areas highlighted with green were fertile (towns on the map still exist), areas highlighted orange were the mutant wastes, red stickers were known high-power biker gangs, and bright blue lines were major trucker routes.

Awesome? Yes, so awesome.

That sounds awesomely awesome. I love post-apocalyptic RPGs. Knowing Cameron this will be amazing!!

Y’all ready for a treat? Cameron wrote this sessiomn!

The other part of the treat is that I wasn’t going to write it up for, like, days yet, so this is technically early. I’M A TERRIBLE PERSON.

Also also, I’m really sorry that he hasn’t come around the forums himself. I don’t think he’d want me to talk about his illness, so I won’t, I’ll just say that he pretty much lost a year, and he’s been very, very tired, and he sees the forums as a way to expend energy rather than to recoup it.

So… he’s running a game for me and Q, and he’s resting, and he’s (at least for this session) writing. That’s a win in my book, okay?

Enough of the prequel, here’s the narrative:

Road to Amarillo
A dry summer day in Sweetwater, Texas, just outside Rolling Plains Memorial Hospital. Two young woman and a dog slumped outside. The blonde went by Frost, the brunette by A.Moral. The dog’s name was 3Dog, but he went by whatever Frost called him.

They’d parked Frost’s custom cycle and A.Moral’s rusty Dodge just outside. 3Dog was lounging the cycle’s sidecar, waiting for his humans to stop mourning.

Frost glared at the pavement, “So. You shot him.”

“In the foot! I shot him in the foot!”

“I still can’t believe you shot him.”

“I still can’t believe he died from it.”

Mr. Johnson, small-time hustler and all-around bad dude, still owed them pay.

A.Moral spat and rolled off the hood, “So what do we do?”

Frost leaned her head back, eyes closed, then sighed, “We do a bad thing.”

A.Moral grinned, “Yeah?”

Frost’s lips twitched, almost a smile, “Yeah.”

Well after dark and across from McCoy’s Funeral Home, the two women prowled a ruined storage facility. Johnson made his office here out of one of the unbroken storage units. A swamp cooler hung its butt out of a thin, hand-cut window, the only entrance besides the locked roller door.

It was dark: Johnson never spent a dime on electricity or gas he didn’t have to.

Frost’s bolt cutters made short work of the padlock, but she missed the alarm wire. Within minutes of stepping inside, they heard Mrs. Johnson’s beat-up pick-up crunching the gravelled entrance.

A.Moral ripped the cash register out, and the lockbox and shotgun beneath the counter. Frost flipped the bed in the back and threw the stash beneath into the blanket on top. A.Moral grabbed the blanket, tossing her take in, and began running. Frost paused only long enough to grab the canister of gasoline by the generator.

They split up, ducking and dodging Mrs. Johnson through the maze of storage sheds, and reconvened at the Deep Six Motel.

The stash was pretty good by A.Moral’s standards: a canister of gasoline, high-quality wool blanket, two cases of beer (and a Rebecca Creek pre-crash whiskey!), a six shooter with spare bullets, shotgun, a candy bar still in the wrapper, cash, and a lockbox.

Frost was working on that last item now, brow furrowed in thought. A.Moral was working on a shot of whiskey, and feeding 3Dog a strip of jerky.

An audible click, and Frost finally flashed a real smile: more cash, receipts, a working ink pen … and tucked under the other items, a map with directions to a dollar sign sigil.

A.Moral perked up at the map, “You think it’s a treasure map?”

“I think it’s smack dab in the Gul Gang.”

“Huh. Wish I’d known Johnson had a bone to pick with Gul.”

“Everyone has a bone to pick with Gul.”



A.Moral’s smile showed entirely too many teeth, “Think we could do it?”

Frost took a long look at her partner, “If you don’t get distracted. We just get in, grab whatever’s there, get out.”

“Hey, I don’t wanna die.”

“Okay, then.”


Gul’s Gang was a group of bikers who’d moved into the Chapparal Mobile Home & R.V. Park. Twenty-two trailers and two houses (a one-bedroom and a three-bedroom), with roughly 2-3 gangers per trailer. Most of the trailers were retrofitted with a gun or two, but unarmored: no cycle gang has that kind of money.

Gul himself was an ogre: a pre-crash military experiment who escaped his holdings during the collapse. He rode a massive hog and lived in the “big house.” He and his cycle gang “knights” claimed ownership of all of Sweetwater, though in practice this amounted to little beyond a protection racket. Frost and A.Moral had both grown up as slaves in the gang, and bought what limited freedom they had with stolen cash.

The treasure map pointed at a trailer a bit behind the big house, and exposed on every other side … but there was a path via the trees between the big house and the treasure trailer.

Which was where Frost and A.Moral were now.

Frost was a good ten yards ahead of A.Moral, silent as death. A.Moral was following slowly and carefully, keeping an eye on Frost’s one ungloved hand - the only thing she could see.

A frantic wave of the hand, stay back, down, and then the hand disappeared.

A.Moral lay flat and waited. And waited. And then watched as Gul stepped out of the big house, walked right past the spot she’d last seen Frost, and took a leak into the bushes.

A brief war of thoughts. Gul was vulnerable now. Weak. But he was still an ogre, and she might kill him, but not before he could shout for help. And then … She lay flat and waited.

Gul walked back into the house, the hand reappeared, and the two young women continued to crawl along the brush, then under the trailer.

A brief consultation of the notes on the map, and the two began quietly digging at the ground with trowels. An hour. Two.

A.Moral wiped sweat from her scalp, and whispered, “How much deeper?”

Frost glared at the earth around them, “Another hour. Then we quit.”

A.Moral shrugged, grinned, and started digging again.

At 15 feet deep, they found Johnson’s stash: a few pre-crash gold bars, a life’s savings of worthless dollar bills, a long-expired hoard of prescription bottles, and a 1-carat psi-augment sapphire on a thin silver chain.

Frost looked at the expiration dates, “He buried this right before Gul moved in.”

A.Moral, teeth white in the shadowed pit, “No wonder he was grumpy.”

Frost dug around listlessly a bit to make sure there were no further boxes deeper down, and then they snuck back out. As they passed Gul’s window, they heard Mrs. Johnson’s voice drifting out of the window …

“I don’t care about that anymore. Those two ****s killed my man, I’ll show you where it is, if you’ll take care of them for me.”

The women looked at each other, and gave up stealth for speed, sprinting until they reached their vehicles. Somewhere behind, they could hear Gul’s howl when he found the hole.

A.Moral, an unrepentant ear-to-ear grin, and wheezing with effort, “We gotta leave town.”

“No crap. Gul’s gonna hunt us like dogs.”

“But where to? We don’t know anyone who’ll take us in.”

“Well, maybe you could stop shooting people who hire us.”

“In the foot and he was being grabby!

“I know, I know, I’m sorry,” Frost pinched the bridge of her nose and shut her eyes, “No, we don’t know anyone, and we’re broke, and …”

Frost glared at the gold bars, “Okay, we’re not actually broke. We just can’t spend it here. Lubbock’s no good …”

A.Moral snorted, and Frost continued, “But we have gas for Amarillo, and there’s courier work between there and Albuquerque. We could make that, I think.”

Lamar out of Sweetwater turned into Highway 70 just out of town. They could have taken I-20 and gone north through Lubbock, but … Lubbock was run by Sherrif Dyer, another ogre with funny ideas about citizen rights.

Between the gas in A.Moral’s trunk, what remained in their tanks, and the extra bit Johnson had so generously “donated,” they could make 300 miles easy, and Amarillo was only a hair over 200.

So they push up to a blistering 70 mph down H70, dodging potholes and bits of metal and glass. Gul was sharp in their minds, and better a flaming wreck than capture.

At the one-hour mark, they passed a sleeping trade caravan. Friendly hand gestures, guns aimed down and away, and the caravan let them pass, but didn’t offer solace.

Half an hour after that, A.Moral spotted some wreckage and they slowed down to take a look. A pair of trucks, Vigilantes in bad shape but definitely repairable … then closer, two corpseworms – six-foot-plus maggots often found at kill sites – in the truck cabins.

The girls continued on.

Near the outskirts of Amarillo, the city’s concrete facade just visible on the horizon, a dust cloud in the rear view mirror catches the dawn light and Frost’s eye: a cycle gang! A.Moral grimly nurses her car along at its top speed, and hand-signals Frost to shoot ahead.

The cyclists come into range for potshots a hair before A.Moral gets into the circle of protection from the wall guns, and the Dodge Rattler takes a beating to the rear before the cyclists veer away.

A Danny’s Diner is blinking a welcome sign from just inside. A.Moral whoops and hollers, signs “eat” at Frost, and they both pull into parking for Danny’s famous backyard eggs.

A new city, a new life! With Johnson’s treasure in hand, they fill their tanks to the brim, buy a Texan King steak for 3Dog (and gnaw on it a bit themselves), crack open a few beers, and rent a tiny flophouse.

“Things,” opines A.Moral to Frost, “are looking up.”

As the sun rises into the sky, the two women and their dog sleep the sleep of the just.

Lest lack of feedback discourage further posting, I found this quite entertaining (especially the dialogue).

I’m exceptionally excited to watch this campaign unfold. I’ve actually emailed Cameron twice about it.

Car Wars + ACKS = I don’t even have a word for how awesome. Sublime?!

Again, I must say I love this!

Some versions of post-apocalypse would work well with ACKS, as population densities and agricultural productivity would possibly revert to medieval levels following a nuclear war.