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It's late 2020, and LA burns! Time is running out of time as the walls close on the City of Angels and the entire country. You, the humble Porfirio Ramirez, low level car enthusiast and illegal immigrant divorcé, are making a break for the deserts outside of the seemingly endless sprawl of Greater Los Angeles. So far, it hasn't been easy.

Law enforcement in the area has totally collapsed. The streets are dominated by a combination of insane looters, emerging factions, Revolutionary groups, and the myriad other threats that come with the 2nd US Civil War. What's left of the authorities are fortifying the narrow passes outside of the region and looking to seal your fate. The only opening is the far off Banning Pass, closer to the Arizona Border than your native San Fernando and so dangerous that nothing short of a foreign military could hope to seize it.

Normally, someone crazy enough to Escape from the Valley like this would be driving a badass muscle car, reinforced with armor plating and modded to have top of the line performance. Unfortunately, you've been short on cash (the divorce was hard) and are driving a leased junker that would have been repo'd if it weren't for the country collapsing. The armor plating fell off somewhere around Burbank and it's a miracle your car even starts.

The one bright spot has been the friends you've made along the way. Early on you picked up a random passer-by that was going to be devoured by a drugged out horde of vagrants (just another day in LA) who was secretly working for some kind of criminal/terrorist/espionage organization and has given you a mysterious envelope that will help you out of the city. Later, in the hills by Glendale, you managed to get to a crashed LAPD chopper in time to help rescue one of the passengers and gain the help of a one-woman-army and her arsenal, a vital resource when you're being shot at with every passing mile. Most importantly, you have the help of your Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, to Whom you owe your life to. Even before the chaos it was prayer, not those overpriced mechanics you ignored, that kept your car running!

You've made it around half way through to Banning Pass, close to the San Bernardino county border at City of Industry. Up ahead is a violent industrial zone being fought over by God-knows who and further still is an advancing Revolutionary faction engaging in fierce fighting. Only a madman would try to Escape from the Valley by moving yet further through it, into a final Showdown in San Bernardino, but they don't call you Lunatic Porfirio for nothing!

[A 2nd US Civil War Gaiden]
Past Threads: https://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/qstarchive.html?tags=2nd%20US%20Civil%20War
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Thanks for posting! For a second I thought I would have to resort to 'desperate measures' again, but it's averted. I could blame the typo for that.

Anyway, for anyone wondering, I'm not actually OP. For esoteric reasons beyond the comprehension of mere mortals such as myself (with a bac under the legal limit) I can not post my own OPs. I will be posting the quest updates, though, including the next one, just now.

As for a summary, I think the opening post does that. I'll also include an MS Paint map of LA (this does take place in real world LA, if the real world was on schizo mode w/o meds) as of the opening of Issue #2.
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You drive forward along the broad, poorly maintained road characteristic of the industrial district, taking care to avoid both abandoned cars and potholes. To your sides are the tall palm trees that line the streets of LA and just behind them the low, blocky industrial buildings, many of which are being actively looted. Some of them look like they might be burning, but you don't think you'll be sticking around for long enough to find out.

"They're getting onto us," Jill says from the passenger seat. "We need to get out of here before whichever f-" she pauses for a moment before unleashing a few bursts of gunfire. "-before whichever faction is operating out here makes an organized response."

"Faction? Is just a bunch of looters, no?" you respond, slowing down by a freeway on-ramp to get a good look at it. In the distance, you can see a large number of people there and you think there's gunfire coming from that direction, although with the general chaos and noise of LA it can be hard to tell. "Actually, wait a moment. I have a feeling."

You were just focusing on the road before, but now that Jill has mentioned it, you think you recognize some signs of what's going on. You can obviously tell a lot of the looters are of your kind, but a lot of them have tattoos large enough for you to notice even from a distance going well over the speed limit. LA is filled with graffiti, but it's especially bad here. And once you spot the sneakers on nearby power lines, you can say for certain what going on.

"Jill, we're in Cartel territory."

"Damn it. We knew the Sal-" Jill interrupts herself with a few more bursts followed by a reload. "LAPD doesn't have jurisdiction here, but we had a feeling there were Cartel operations in some of the poorer areas in these parts. Ramirez, pick up the pace and drive us out of here before they mount an organized response!" She fires off another burst. From how often she's having to shoot, you think they might already be on your trail.

You press on the gas pedal and shift gears as you speed up. The roads are still filled with all sorts of obstacles, but that's nothing new for your journey across LA. Jill readies her submachine gun as Cartel aligned looters begin to drop what they're doing and ready their guns. God willing, you still have some of that luck from earlier...

>Roll 2d100 for [DRIVE]
>Roll 2d100 for [COMBAT]
Rolled 85, 23 = 108 (2d100)

Rolled 3, 5 = 8 (2d100)

I hate my life.
Rolled 73, 14 = 87 (2d100)

You’ve just made me feel even shittier. Do we even have Jill’s additional 2d100 combat bonus?
The lizardpeople laugh at this pathetic display of rolls!! After all, they are responsible for rigging the dice. And if you ask certain people, they are indeed the secret ones who control the Cartel... or was it the Lunarians? Maybe the Catholic Church? Who knows at this point!

Btw, her combat bonuses are mostly unlocking special options and flat modifiers. Big ones you'll be needing, but not re-rolls. I was toying around with the idea of those, actually. As "Fate Points" from the Fantasy Flight Warhammer 40k RPGs, specifically. But I thought it could interfere with the pacing to have to call in a mini-vote to invoke its use and that it'd mess up the balance, although I suppose you guys selecting [LUNATIC DIFFICULTY] means balance is already out the window

If I have missed an ability of hers or something that lets you guys reroll or ignore terribad rolls or something, do let me know
>The lizardpeople
Of course! Even with their shenanigans, we’ll stop them eventually!

I’m pretty sure we had to roll two 2d100 Combat Rolls immediately after we picked up Jill, but I could be wrong on that. I originally figured it was her specialty at play.
Ah, I see what you mean. To clarify, that extra 2d100 was another [COMBAT] check you had to make because you guys got too close to the Basin and the battle ensuing between LA forces and [Mystery Faction you didn't get the knowledge of] after choosing to go along the river. Failing would have had some bad consequences, as a way of making up for the fact that it was the quicker route through. Sort of like taking two high risk [COMBAT]'s to save time over two separate less risky [DRIVE]+[COMBAT] rolls. In any case, you guys rolled well and got the best of that encounter. I hope that clarifies things; I'll get to the next update
Rolled 82, 35 = 117 (2d100)

Well, just one last question then. You gonna use these last two 2d100s in the next skill check? Normally I wouldn’t ask, but I figure that this would help speed up the pacing since we seem to struggle with updating in a timely manner.
>man these couple of seconds really feel like a week has passed
You alright QM?
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You speed through the surface streets, weaving past large obstacles like abandoned cars and plowing through smaller ones like traffic cones. The roads here are twisting and turning as industrial buildings and warehouses are peppered in the area with the roads seemingly built around them. You round a sharp corner hot, just slightly skidding as inertia pushes you into your seat.

"Shit, shit!" This entire side of the road is blocked off by an overturned big-rig. Boxes and debris are everywhere, as are looters.

"Ramirez, I'll cover you!" Jill calls out as she begins to unload her submachine gun into the group, wildly spraying to suppress them.

You steer onto the opposite side of the road, driving over a low concrete divider in doing so. You cringe as you hear the concrete grinding your bumper as you run over it, although the damage would just be cosmetic and unnoticeable compared to all of the other damage you've sustained. And by the looks of it, will sustain.

"Damn, they're not scattering," Jill says while reloading. "They're taking cover and firing back; definitely Carte- GAH!" A spurt of blood flies just past you as Jill clutches her shoulder. You quickly alternate between paying attention to the road and trying to get a good look at her. "Get us out of here!" she calls out before continuing to fire.

You speed ahead, zigging and zagging like a madman. By how quickly the looters responded by firing back, you can tell they've been tipped off. As if things aren't bad enough already, you now have the Cartel gunning for you. And if their members here are anything like the ones in your native El Norte, that's real bad news.

"Miss Jill, are you-"

"Focus on the road! I'll be fine," she says, clutching her shoulder as blood begins to drip onto her.

You take an impromptu hard right turn at the next opportunity, an inaccurate but still frightening hail of fire whizzing past from the group of looters by the overturned big-rig. This might not be the best of moves.

"Hijo de puto!" A distance in front of you is what looks like a squad of Cartel foot soldiers looking as organized and disciplined as any military formation. You don't have time to turn back, and there's no room to maneuver on this smaller road. The only way out is through the inevitable sea of fire. Armed with long guns and body armor, they appear to have no fear of your car speeding toward them as instead of breaking formation, they focus fire...

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Like something out of times of General Santa Anna, the people in front kneel down and take aim while the people in back maintain position and unleash fire. It's a strange sight to see them in the middle of the road adopting such a firing line, but it's not nearly the strangest thing that you've encountered today. Jill readies her gun while you ready the clutch.

"¡No voy a parar! ¿Me oís, cabrones? ¡No voy a parar!"

The Cartel infantry hold firm and unleash a 'direct injection' of lead right into your engine. Immediately you start to see new engine lights popping up, something you thought was impossible on your junker. Your car suddenly jerks toward one side and you barely compensate as either something happened to a tire or to a critical component (maybe both.)

"GAAH!" Jill screams as her submachinegun flies out of her hand in a jet of blood. This really isn't looking good.

Without your shotgun passenger to cover you, you pull out the oversized revolver you were given and try to fire in the vague direction of the Cartel Infantry, who by now have already started to reposition. Your potshots, which you must take between gear shifts, is ineffective.

By the time you close the distance to their position, they've already moved out of the way behind the cover of local debris and street fixtures.

"They're preparing to fire again!" an exasperated Jill shouts, clutching her wound. "Ramirez, do something!"

You see a small opening. While the street you're on is a long straight path beside a factory without any turns, there is a gap in the road where you can see a rail-line. Your muscle car isn't meant for off-roading, but in the state it's in, it's probably not meant for driving at all. As the saying goes, in for a penny, in for a pound.

You take a hard turn onto the gravel mound as bullets whizz by. There's no road here except for the railroad, and you're not able to pick up the kind of speed you'd like. Still, you're safe from the Cartel Infantry.

"Damn it, they're still shooting at us?!"

Or rather, you're slightly further away from them, you suppose. In an attempt to try and go faster you attempt to get your car on the railroad itself. You feel yourself violently bobbed up and down as your nonexistent suspension (fails to) deal with going over railway sleepers. You do manage to react fast enough to avoid any real consequences, though. Strangely, your driving has been good whereas Jill's combat abilities have been lacking...


"Ramirez, you're going to have to take care of combat for a while, at least while I patch my hand up." Jill appears to be wrapping some kind of colored herb on her wound.

"How long will it take?" you ask, keeping an eye on your rear-view to check if anyone's actively following you along the rails. It sounds like the gunfire's stopped.

"I don't know, but a lot less if we could stay still for a minute. How's the car, can we still make it to the I-15?"

"Eh, probably. It better," you respond while nervously watching the engine temperature rise. You're still trying to figure out what some of these warning lights even mean. "I know these types. Cartel will try to hunt us down. And if they catch us-"

"I know."

The railway you're going beside splits up here. One way is straight ahead, which continues along the same general path. There's a fork to the lefthand side, which looks to go through a normally restricted factory zone to the north. You really have no clue what's there, although based on a basic map of the area you know that it would take you in the general direction of your objective. There's also a righthand fork you can take, although it would obviously lead you away from your objective into the unknown, likely certain death with the way the southern areas seem to be.

By the rail junction is a small building, probably some maintenance depot or whatever they're called. You could take the opportunity to stop by it and check up on your car. With the recent damage, the vehicle could definitely use the repairs. Stopping, however, might possibly make it easier for the Cartel to hunt you down. You're not sure about that. All you're sure of, really, is that you've had better moments in your escape...


>Drive Roll: 85
>Processing Modifiers...
>Bonuses: Recent Repairs, Prior [DRIVE] Success, Prior [COMBAT] Success
>Maluses: Lunatic Difficulty, Alternative Zone, Boss Fight, Bad Route Choice
>Result: Success
>No Penalty

>Combat Roll: 5
>Processing modifiers...
>Bonuses: [COMBAT] Focus Shot Type, Long Range Weaponry
>Maluses: Lunatic Difficulty, Enemy Terrain, Bad Route Choice, No Windshield
>Result: Exceptional Failure [Amplified from especially low roll]
>Instant -1 HP
>??? Damage to Vehicle
>[Shotgun Type] bonuses gone for ??? combat rolls
>The Cartel still has it out for you...

>Current Vehicle HP Estimate: 3/5 ?

... and that you have to keep pushing forward. No matter how hard it is, and no matter how much the hours feel like weeks.

Which fork in the road do you take?

>Directly ahead [Standard]
>The left one toward the restricted factory zone [Mystery Option]
>The right one deeper into LA, away from your actual goal [Bad Idea]

And do you stop at the small building for [REPAIR] before you continue on?

>Yes, the [REPAIR] is needed to [DRIVE] out of here
>No, the odds of costly [COMBAT] and the loss of time is too great

I live? Sorry -genuinely- about the disgustingly long (how do I say this) 'involuntary 2+ week disappearance from /qst/.' Needless to say, the Current Thing that I've vaguely referenced before is going on yet still, pretty much worse than ever. But things have stabilized, I can say, so I can continue this. I can't, however, in good faith continue Sun Belt Crusaders right now since I really don't want people dealing with this kind of thing in the main quest (part of the reason for running a gaiden was in anticipation of such a thing). In a little side story kind of thing, okay, sure. But people have had to deal with enough in SBC, and anything like this would be over the line. The situation will pass (it must) but until it gets better I don't want to subject people to such things. SBC deserves better, hence the hesitancy... at least this one should have more than enough time to finish
>The left one toward the restricted factory zone [Mystery Option]
>Yes, the [REPAIR] is needed to [DRIVE] out of here

Glad to have you back, but is there anything you want to talk about?
Take the mystery box. Take some time to patch up the car if we managed to get more than a few minute's lead on the cartels, otherwise I think we should just keep moving.
>The left one toward the restricted factory zone [Mystery Option]
>Yes, the [REPAIR] is needed to [DRIVE] out of here

Big risk time.

I'm going to lock in the [REPAIR]->Factory Zone [DRIVE] selection. A risky one to be sure, but it's become a tradition at this point. In for a penny, in for a pound as they say. Or would it be in for a centavo, in for a peso for Porfirio?

Anyway, I'll need some dice
>Roll three sets of 2d100
(So six d100 in total). It's not how rolls are generally done, but let's see how it goes.

>Glad to have you back, but is there anything you want to talk about?
If you're talking about the comments from earlier, I think I already addressed them in the post update comment. For reasons I have to leave unspecified, I could not post for a 2+ week period of time. It is frustrating, to put it mildly. Updates aren't as frequent as I'd like, but I should still be able to wrap up within this thread. What I'll do after, whether it's going back to SBC or doing something else would have to wait until later.

Unless you mean the part where someone asked if the set of rolls from earlier could be used. If so, sure? Normally I'd say no, since it goes against the point of rolls, but in light of recent events, I'll try a new mechanic for this set of rolls only.

>Reserved Fortune
The lowest set of 2d100 among those to be rolled will be replaced by the reserved one if it would result in a higher result. If none are replaced, the Reserved Fortune is lost.

>ex: If rolls are 75, 12, 1, then the 1 is replaced by the reserved set. In this case, that would be 73. The rolls would then be 75, 12, 73
Rolled 40, 8 = 48 (2d100)

Rolled 80, 18 = 98 (2d100)

Nice to have you back QM!
Rolled 33, 66 = 99 (2d100)

Welcome back.
Page 9 QM. Don’t know how you want to handle this mate.
Rolled 21, 36 = 57 (2d100)

Rolled 11, 11 = 22 (2d100)

Anon, you do it like THIS
SEE, dubs rule!
Well, it’s the 11th hour. I’ll give it two-three days for you to come back and archive this before I do it myself QM. I do hope that you come back when you’re ready and able, I’ll miss this quest during the hiatus.

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