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Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Random Stash Generation

So your characters have wandered off the main path of the adventure, they are exploring the derelict wastes of the Exclusion Zone, climbing the decrepit buildings and scaling the rusted steel frames of an abandoned ferris wheels or cranes. You want to reward them for getting involved in the game, for taking the time to get involved with the world. But how do you do it? One of the points about STALKER as a game, and Stalkers as characters, it the nomadic nature of everyone in the Exclusion Zone. They wander this alien landscape, sleeping under tattered blankets and huddling around communal campfires in abandoned factories on cold nights. A Stalker must always travel light, but he often requires far more kit than is feasible to carry. So the Stalker stashes his gear somewhere safe, maybe the mouth of a dried up chemical pipe in a dense woodland, or hidden in the trunk of an abandoned car on the third floor of a multi-storey car park.

 Should your players stray from the areas you've planned to explore the details of the world, you should perhaps reward them by having them find another Stalkers Stash. Of course, you wont always have one prepared, and that's where the Stash Generation tables come in handy, to give you a quick list of general useful items that every Stalker relies on; Food; Ammunition; Survival gear; Medicine; maybe even a backup firearm or Stalker Suit.

 In the setting book, I have included some charts and tables for on-the-fly stash generation. For explanation, I'll run through the generation of a Stash here;

First off, determining the quality of the stash:
Rolling a d10, I get a 7. I check the 'Stash quality' table and see that this falls in the '5-9: Average Stash' range. So its nothing special, just an average Stalkers gear, no heavy machine guns or suitcases of money here.

Locate the Step guide for your stash type and follow its instructions:
So for an average stash, I find the heading labelled 'Average Stash' obviously enough. Each step guide is like an algorithm; it provides a step by step instruction for what to add to the stash, and in some cases, which dice to roll to add some randomness to each stash, so no two Average stashes are exactly the same.

For an average stash; 1d10x200 + 400Ru. I roll a 3, so a total of 1000 Rubles in this stash. This might seem like a lot of money, but its roughly about 30 Dollars.

2 Rolls on the General Gear table
The general gear table is random equipment, rope, bandages, batteries, flashlights, bits and pieces that makeife in the Zone a little bit easier. The general gear table is a 1d20 roll, so rolling twice I get 15 and 2. Checking the table this is; A pistol holster and a pair of binoculars. And odd combination, but still useful equipment for a Stalker.

1d100 Roll
The next section is broken up into percentage chances futher down the lists, the items provided of a rare or higher quality have less chance of being found in a stash. This means you could find an average stash with just a few bits of good quality gear, or one with just one or two pieces of really excellent gear. I roll a 76, this falls in the 75-90 range, so I move to that and follow the steps.

1 Roll on the rifle table
This is good, some Stalker has stashed a rifle here, which is always a good find, as it might be better quality than the one you are carrying, or perhaps you could sell it for a tidy profit. The rifle table roll is a 1d20, and I roll a 12, an AK-74SU, a compact and lightweight Kalashnikov uses  paratroopers and special forces. I roll a 1d6 on the 'Weapon Quality' table here to see what state this weapon is in. I get a 1. Ouch. The weapon is broken, not usable and probably not worth much, though I might find a mechanic whose looking for parts, so I take it anyway.
1d4-1 Boxes of Ammo for this
I roll a 2, so I get just one box of 5.45x39mm ammo (The type used by the 74SU) for this. Luckily this is a pretty common ammo type, and I can use it with my own (Hypothetical ) gun.

2 Rolls on the Food table
I roll 1d6 twice on the food table, and get 1,1 so I find 2 Tourists Delights, the nickname for military rations used by Stalkers. They are light, and a decent meal, so thats good.

2 Rolls on the Drugs table
This is a 1d20 roll, and I get 19, 2. I scored Vinca and Hercules, Vinca is an artificial Vitamin K and coagulant, useful in battle and Hercules is a fast acting steroid, which increases my strength by 1 die type for a short period.

1 extra roll on the General Gear table
The 75-90 range has an additional roll on the Gear table, so I roll again (1d20) and get a 17, A Steel Framed Hikers Pack. Very good find, as this can be attached to some Stalker suits to allow a more balanced distribution of weight carried, and thus, allowing a higher load limit.

In Conclusion
So taking time to search has proved fruitful. While exploring the ruined factories in the Wild Territory, Maestro the Stalker discovers a stash hidden in the grating below a ruined and rusted machine press. It is a hikers backpack. He pulls it out eagerly, rummaging around inside the pack, he pulls out a small ziploc bag, with blisters of Vinca and Hercules, a battered pair of binoculars, and a thousand roubles in notes, tied with an elastic band. He rummages deeper and comes up with two Tourists delights, the stencilled use-by date is almost worn off, but he hasn't eaten in two days, so it does not matter to him. The Side pockets of the backpack are stuff with about a box worth of ammunition, the same calibre as his weapon. Tied loosely with string to the shoulder strap of the backpack is a leather pistol holster, the owner obviously wanted to keep his sidearm on hand. The ammunition intrigues Maestro, he wonders why it would be left here, when the Stalker who owns the Stash could need it in a hurry, so he gets down on his stomach and reaches deeper into the opening, seeing if anything had fallen out of the pack and rolled under the machine. His hand touches cold metal, and after some wriggling, he pulls loose a broken AK74-Su. He tuts in disappointment as he looks it over; the owner hadn't covered it properly, water running from above had ruined the internal mechanisms, rusting them away and eating at the barrel. He had a battered AN94 and that was doing him just fine, so he tossed the gun across the room, where it landed with a loud bang. Slinging the backpack over his shoulders he set off for the Bar.

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