In a post-apocalyptic game “what to loot” becomes a very interesting question, even more so than in other RPG (let´s face the facts, PC are grabbers and profiteers). No matter how realistic or cinematic a setting is, loot is usually omnipresent and easily available… right after the apocalypse, that is! Soon after that, all the easy grabs are already gone and in the hands of those that came first, yet unclaimed loot will only be left in locations that are largely unoccupied, isolated, dangerous in their own right or hard to reach. This blog post centers on one of the latter cases: buried cellars, and how to fill them with Mutant Future(tm) compatible loot.
When houses become ruins, cellars may become buried, and that is a good thing for the GM as it makes it more realistic to still find loot in there (or let us at least agree that it will help to suspend disbelief).
First, the characters will have to dig out the entry and to clean out enough space to enter. This will take time, tools and sweat. Realistically, there is the risk that the whole cellar will collapse (calling for supporting polls and all the other trappings), but that may be a touch to much realism for a game about monsters, mutations and grabbing artifacts. The GM may just as well define a time (in hours) that it will take to remove the debris (1d6+1 hours might a good idea, but so is any other “dice +1”) and divide it by the number of characters that remove the rubble. Those who want the Strength Bonus to matter may add or subtract it as a “tenth digit” to the “1” from the “per character” to define the work force of an individual character: a lone character with STB +3 and a 3-hour-dig ahead of himself would do the job in 2,3 hours (3 divided by 1,3) while he would take approx. 1,4 hours if his STB (-2) friend would help him (3 divided by the sum of 1,3 and 0,8).
As digging around in the ruins for hours is a good justification for a random encounter, the GM is free to throw in something to surprise the PC there. If the rules for exhaustion (and the according penalties) are enforced by the GM, the PC may see the point in hiring workers for the digging so that they can act as guards.
After the entrance to the cellar has been cleared, the GM needs to determine the possible loot. For a title of mine I came up with the following random potential content generator:
Loot in the cellar (d12):
1-4: Nothing of value (everything is either destroyed, useless or has been junk to begin with)
5-7: Canned food, 1d12 items (durable reserves of food do not have to take up space in the kitchen, right?)
8: Synthihol, 1d6 bottles (same is true for the reserve of strong drink, for the occasional surprise guests)
10: Drugs, Chemicals … (one roll on the table on p.109; perhaps somebody tried to be prepared).
10-11: Power sources (one roll on the table on p.108; those may either be “full” or only have d100% of their original charge left: treat plutonium clips either as minifusion cells or radioactive batteries).
12: Gizmoes (one roll on the table on p.109)
Et violá! There we have loot in the cellar and a very perfect reason for a group of post-apocalyptic adventurers to venture into the next ruins on their own, with shovels and picks.