The Laserburn Scenarios Part 2 – Sewerville Shootout

Its back to one of the Laserburn Scenarios that I managed to pick up from eBay late last year, ‘Sewerville Shootout’ by Tabletop Games (TTG) which is dated December 1981. Written by Dave Kelly, it is presented in a yellow A4-size-ish card cover with a couple of additional card inserts detailing the sewers themselves. My copy has two copies of the upper first and second level maps, one of which has pencil marks indicating previous use. My players guide has several pencil marks on the mercenaries list, which I may try attempting to rub out. The back of the cover has a map of the lower level, which is clean. In addition, two A5-sized pamphlets are provided, one for the players and one for the umpire.

The players handout (single piece of A4 paper, folded into half as A5, only three sides are used) describes the situation; set in a complex of old sewers, the Android Liberation Front (ALF) has established a base in the partially collapsed tunnels and the Imperial Inquisition wants the problem dealt with. Hence you (the players) as a bunch of mercenaries are being sent to capture ALF members before they launch a predicted attack. Payment is earned by bringing out ALF members and deducted by killing them. There is a brief description of the sewers and what movement restrictions are in place, along with what kit the players can use in the sewers. The remainder of the players information lists the eight pre-generated mercenaries that the players can use if they wish. Upon reading this, a thought did cross my mind why so many mercenaries? What lies below in the sewers….

The umpires handout reveals more on this; there are plenty of hazards to contend with in the sewers; gas pockets of which there are eight to choose from, resulting in various negative effects on the players. These range from uncontrollable vomiting, lung irritants, mustard gas to explosions! There are a good range of random encounters as well; robots, rats, outcasts and things with tentacles. There are a number of tables with stats for the different types of robots encountered and for the groups of outcasts. These are people who ended up in the sewers for various reasons who are out to attack the players and potentially eat them…

Kill! Maim! Be Nasty! (A snapshot of Tony Yates’s artwork from the umpires guide)

Navigating through the sewers isn’t easy either. There are three levels which have to be traversed using the inspection wells, which randomly may not open as easily as the players would want. The sewer ‘sludge’ will impede the players and there is a big risk in them simply drowning. The umpire sets up many of the locations of where the inspections wells are, the location of the ALF base and the random encounter locations.

The last half page describes the outcome to the venture and what the players expect to find if they are successful enough to get this far.

Sewerville Shootout has a simple enough premise; shove enough players into a claustrophobic environment with movement restrictions and plenty of things to get in the way of their objective. On reading what the umpire has to throw at the players, I did wonder if it was balanced too much in favour of the umpire with the huge choice (and large chance) of something killing or disabling several players. I would be very surprised if many (or any) players reached the ALF base reasonably intact.

Artwork is provided from what I can make out, by Tony Yates (signed ‘APY81’) which is in his style of line art, so I’m pretty sure he provided the art. The scenario is presented in typical TTG / Laserburn style; photocopied papers, slightly off-centre layout, the odd typo or spelling mistake here and there. For me though, thats part of its appeal; the ‘rough and ready’ look that doesn’t have lots of glossy production. Its gritty and gets stuck in.

If you’re able to pick up a copy of Sewerville Shootout and intend to play it, I would definitely recommend having plenty of characters to hand, this one might end up as a bit of a ‘meat grinder’ scenario and spit most of them out!

About AlegisDownport

Musings on the Traveller RPG world, technology, astronomy and digital art.
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