Wednesday, December 18, 2013

ATZ Campaign, Day 60: A Way Out, Part 2

"Tell me again why we are going after this car?" said Chaz as she and her partner quietly skulked between houses and down streets in their neighborhood.  The young redhead was hunched over in a crouch as she loped along.  In her hands was a red plastic gasoline can.  Across her back was strapped a long black assault rifle.
Robb stopped at the corner of a building and peered carefully around it.  In his right hand was a squat, gray pistol.  In the other, a battered black machete.  He whispered to her, "Ultimately it gives us options.  Things are pretty bad right now in the city, but for all we know they could get worse.  The car could help us get out of town in a hurry if we needed to."
Several weeks ago Robb and Chaz had found the keys to the red Volkswagon while rummaging through an abandoned house.  The car, however, needed fuel.  "Okay, that makes sense," Chaz said.
Rob frowned slightly.  "Yeah, only I've begun to wonder if the car battery might be dead at this point.  If that happens, we're screwed."
"God, you can be a ray of sunshine sometimes," Chaz groaned quietly.

It's part two of my homegrown scenario in which Robb and Chaz are trying to recover an automobile they encountered several sessions ago.  They have already succeeded in the first part, having acquired a supply of gasoline.  Now they have to get it to the car, refuel it, hope it starts, and then drive it off the table.
The rules for this encounter are simple.  Like before, the target, in this case the car, is in the middle of the table.  Once there, one PC has to spend two activations refueling the car.  Then, if circumstances dictate, there may be a "The Car Won't Start" (ATZ, pg. 40) roll.  If the car does start, then the PC's have to drive it off the table to succeed in the encounter.
PEF's and zombie placement is normal.  The area is a suburb with an ER of 2.

Initial PEF's were: Red REP 3, zone 3; White REP 5, zone 4; Blue REP 6, zone 1.
Rolling for starting zombies, I got a 6 for Robb, then another 6 for Chaz!  For the random placement, it turned out to have five to their left, five to their right, and two roughly in front of them.  That is a horrible turn of events.






Turn 1: Robb 1, Zombies 3

"There's a whole gang of them over on my side!" said Chaz as she looked over her shoulder.
"And I've got another group over here," replied Robb glumly.  "We need to run for it."
Robb moved towards one of the lone zombies down the street between him and the car.  He aimed his pistol, pulled trigger twice, and the gun clicked twice.
"Didn't you just reload that thing?" asked Chaz incredulously.
Robb grumbled under his breath.

Ten zombies seems like a team-killer to me, so I decided to move them towards the smaller pair, and hope I could outrun the mob.  Unfortunately I rolled two 1's for Robb's two shots and that meant he was out of ammo until I could reload.  Chaz was hauling the gas can, so I assumed she couldn't fire her rifle but had her tire iron out instead.

Turn 2: Robb 6, Zombies 6
Turn 3: Robb 5, Zombies 5

Robb slapped another clip into his pistol.



Turn 4: Robb 4, Zombies 6

Robb fired two shots, one at each of the zombies in front of him.  Both tumbled to the ground.  "Let's get a move on," he said.
"You think?" Chaz wheezed as she continued to haul the gas can.

Two shots, two hits, two Obviously Dead results and no zombies summoned.  Add to that no activation for the mob, and that was the kind of break I needed at that moment.
The white PEF came into view, but it only passed 1d6, ratching the ER to 3.

Turn 5: Robb 5, Zombies 1

With the mob of zombies continuing to close on them, Robb and Chaz made it to the car.  "I'll fuel it up, you hold them off," said Chaz.



Turn 6: Robb 1, Zombies 5

Robb pointed his .45 at an approaching zombie and snapped off two shots as Chaz began emptying the gas container's contents into the car's tank.  The creature's head flew apart and he fell to the ground.

No zombies were summoned by the two shots.  Chaz completed her first of two turns of refueling.

Turn 7: Robb 3, Zombies 6

Another zombie had staggered into view, and Robb fired two more shots, bringing it down.  Two more zombies closed in from around the houses in the area.  "All done," said Chaz, closing off the gas cap and moving around to the front of the car.
"You better hurry," said Robb in a low voice as he eyed the mob down the street.

Robb shot twice at the zombie that had been summoned by his previous round of firing and killed it, but the two shots summoned two more zombies 12" away.  This is a stroke of terrible luck because the mob was still over 12" away but now that two were close by, Chaz would have to roll a "The Car Won't Start" test.  If no zombies were nearby, the car would start automatically and they could leave.

Turn 8: Robb 4, Zombies 4

Dark clouds began to roll in.

Rolling a 17 on the random event (I realized later I didn't need to, the ER was 3, not 4), means that bad weather will come in on 1d6 turns.  In this case, five.

Turn 9: Robb 4, Zombies 2

Chaz tossed her assault rifle onto the passenger seat in the front and sat down behind the steering wheel.  She cranked the key in the ignition.  The engine sputtered, but failed to turn over.  "The car won't start!" she said in a panicked voice.  Robb fired twice towards a nearby zombie, but his aim was rattled and both shots missed.
"Try again, but make it quick," he said.



Chaz rolled a 5 on "The Car Won't Start," meaning, well, it didn't start.  Robb's two shots both missed, and what's worse, another zombie appeared in the general vicinity of the mob moving down the street, raising its number to 12!

Turn 10: Robb 5, Zombies 4

Robb began hacking away at the zombie closest to him with his machete.  It fell it its knees and toppled over, but Robb could tell its head was still intact.  Inside the car, Chaz was trying the ignition again when an arm suddenly smashed through the passenger side window and began grabbing at her.  With wide-eyed terror she grabbed at the assault rifle next to her.  Her hand found the handle and she pulled the trigger and held it down.  Suddenly the car was filled with the deafening noise of gunfire and bullets whanged through the car door and window.  One of them must of found its mark, because the zombie fell away.  Smoke and the smell of cordite assailed Chaz's nose.
Outside, Robb stepped away from the still-stirring zombie and send to more shots into the approaching mob of zombies.  Two more fell down and didn't get up.  "What's going on in there?" he shouted over the roar of gunfire.
Chaz cranked the ignition again.  The engine rumbled briefly, then died once more.



Ugh.  This wasn't a good turn for the zombies to go first.  One was close enough to engage Robb outside the car, another to approach from the opposite direction (attracted by gunfire) and assault Chaz inside.  I didn't bother firing as the zombie approached Robb but went into melee combat.  Robb beat it 5:1, which normally would be enough to make the kill, but I rolled a 6 for the KD.  Inside the car Chaz passed her Being Charged roll by more than the zombie and got off a full three shots with the assault rifle before it got to her.  One hit, and she managed to get the Obviously Dead.
On the PC's activation.  I decided to have Robb step away slightly from the knocked down zombie (it would get up on its activation) and fire two shots and the very close and very large mob instead, hoping to take out the closest ones and widen the gap.  Thankfully he managed to do that.
On the downside?  The five shots between the two of them summoned four more zombies.

Turn 11: Robb 4, Zombies 4

A few feet away, lying in the gutter of the street.  A cellphone buzzed to life and began ringing loudly.  "What the hell is that?" Robb asked no one in particular.



Again, I forgot that we were just ER 3, not 4, and rolled an 13 on the random events chart, meaning a ringing cell phone that would force me to roll 3d6 each turn for new zombies until it was turned off, which would then be treated like a PEF, only making human PEF encounters zombies instead.  One appeared this turn from the ringing.  Like I needed that.

Turn 12: Robb 5, Zombies 3

The zombie at Robb's feet staggered up.  Robb swung his left fist and clocked it with the butt of his machete and it fell down again.  "C'mon c'mon c'mon..." Chaz repeated to herself as she tried the ignition a third time.  Again the engine rumbled slightly, but failed to catch.
Robb continued to fire into the oncoming mob whose ranks seemed to swell with each passing second.  There were so many he couldn't fail to hit something at head height, and two more went down.  It seemed to have no impact on the zombies' numbers, however.  He knew they were running out of time.  "It's time to go!" he shouted to his partner.
"No!  I almost got this!" Chaz shouted back as she fiddled with the keys in the ignition.



The zombies went first again, and were now literally inches away from Robb.  He dealt with the one whom he had knocked down previously, but only managed to knock it down a second time.  I felt comfortable with Robb facing one zombie; it was the horde that was too close that I was really worried about.  I again had him fire into the crowd to try to remove the closest ones, and again got lucky.
Chaz, though, for a third time failed on "The Car Won't Start."

At this point, I had a choice to make, one that could have a huge impact on the adventure, and the campaign.  Based on those choices, four outcomes could occur.

Option A: I could lose the activation roll, and Robb and Chaz would be overwhelmed by zombies.
Option B: I could win the activation roll, have Chaz start the car, and they could head away in the other direction.
Option C: I could win the activation roll, have Chaz fail to start the car, and if the zombies activated, would have the two of them overwhelmed by zombies.
Option D: I could win the activation roll and just run away.  The session would be a failure, which could result in Chaz leaving the group in the denouement portion of the story.  A slight risk, but it has happened before...

So, as with all dramatic moments in this blog, you can find out what happened after the break.


Tuesday, December 17, 2013

ATZ Campaign, Day 60: A Way Out

"...so Happosai gets to drink the magical water, the wedding is postponed until the engagements can be sorted out, and the series ends with Ranma and Akane going back to school together."

Chaz finished her story with a contented smile.  Robb stared at her with puzzlement.  "Wait, you mean he never gets married?"

"Nope," said the young woman sitting across from Robb in his small cottage.  "But you know Akane is the best match for him."

"I can't believe I listened to that whole story and he never gets married," said Robb wearily.  Chaz had turned out to be a welcome companion after his girlfriend had died several weeks ago.  She was clearly glad for someone to talk to, and had been regaling him constantly with discussion about movies, comic books, and a host of other topics.  Robb gazed distractly towards the drawn curtains, where vague shadows moved slowly.

"Are you thinking about going out?" Chaz asked.

"I'm thinking about a lot of things.  First, I'm thinking about the helicopter that flew overhead the day we met, and where it might be going.  There's really no way to tell how far off it could be, however.  I'm also thinking about that car we found, and how we might gas it up in case we need to get out of here in a hurry.  The zombies haven't been too bad, but it could get worse.  Third, I'm still wondering about the other people out there.  I've met a few others, but they didn't seem interested in sticking together.  Maybe now they feel differently."

"If they are still alive," Chaz pointed out in a matter-of-fact way.

Robb grimaced slightly.  Erin had left under bad circumstances, but for good reason.  He hoped she had somehow managed to find her family, even if that seemed highly unlikely.  "Well, the only real problem I can address is the gasoline situation.  There's a filling station not too far from here, and I think we can scrounge a few containers.  We'll get some gas, get to the car, and then drive it back here.  Hopefully the noise won't be too big a problem."

Chaz thought for a moment.  "Some food wouldn't hurt either."

After a very long hiatus, the All Things Zombie adventure of Robb & Co. continues!  To kick things off, I thought I'd try my hand at creating my own scenario, in this case a two-part story.

In part one, the heroes must make their way to a gas station in the middle of the table.  One hero must spend two activations pumping gas (while the other does whatever is necessary), and then make it off the table.  Because they are hauling a heavy load by hand, they can not Fast Move after getting the gasoline.  The table is ER 2 (suburbs), and the PEF's and starting zombies are handled normally.

In the beginning, there are three PEF's: Red (REP 4, zone 4), White (REP 3, Zone 4), Blue (REP 5, Zone 3).  Starting zombies for Robb are 1, Chaz 6 (bummer).  They are placed using my d12 home rule (where I roll a d12 rather than 2d6 for more variation).



Turn 1: Robb 4, Zombies 2

Robb and Chaz began to make their way towards the local gasoline station.  They had not gotten far before they noticed they were attracting a lot of attention.  Several zombies began closing in from different directions.
"So much for this going quietly," Robb sighed.  He drew his Colt .45 ACP and fired off two shots in the direction of a pair of zombies.  One shot went wide, while the other plowed through the skull.  Chaz fired her assault rifle, and the shot caught the zombie in the thigh.  It stumbled to the ground.
"Head shots, de-.." said Robb reflexively, but then caught himself.

Robb continues his steady average of 50% when it comes to killing zombies with two shots, one hit, and one Obviously Dead.  Chaz fired once (I'm antsy about running out of ammo and the noise) but only got a Knocked Down result after hitting it.  No zombies were summoned by the shots.

Turn 2: Robb 5, Zombies 1

"Damn, there's too many of them!" said Chaz as the zombies closed in.  "Get behind me!" shouted Robb as he moved between the young woman and the two zombies that had managed to get close enough to start clawing at him.  He swung up the black-bladed machete he called Belle, but he was clearly out of practice.  He connected with one and it staggered back, but his strike hadn't done any damage to the creature's brain.  The other one began grabbing at his right arm, trying to manage a bite.
As Robb wrestled the zombie off him and to the ground, the other zombie was getting back up.  Chaz quickly ran over and battered it back to the ground with the butt of her rifle.



On the zombie's activation, two make it into close combat (the heroes have moved towards them, trying to tackle them piecemeal.  I had deliberately moved Robb, who was REP 5 and had a decent hand weapon (albeit in his off hand), into close combat over Chaz, who was REP 4 and had only the improvised weapon of the assault rifle.  In close combat with the first zombie, Robb had only two successes to the zombie's one, and didn't roll well enough on the result to get anything but a KD.  Worse, the second zombie managed to tie Robb at 2 apiece, and he was locked in combat.
On the heroes' activation, Robb was locked in combat and got 4 successes to 3, knocking that one down.  I moved Chaz into melee with the zombie that had been knocked down (hoping the one die advantage would help) but only she only got a 2:1 and another KD result. I should have popped the weasel this turn, but I thought Chaz might have a chance.  Close combat was not going as well as I had hoped.

Turn 3: Robb 1, Zombies 6
Turn 4: Robb 1, Zombies 5

"Enough of this!" said Robb angrily as he fired a quick shot into the head of the zombie on the ground.  Chaz followed suit with the second zombie.  "We need to keep moving before we are completely surrounded," she said.
"Then let's warm up the band," said Robb, walking briskly towards the gas station, firing as he went.  One of his shots caught a zombie in the shoulder and it tumbled down.  Chaz's aim was better, catching another in the head.



The two heroes were moved closer to the zombies up the road, again trying to catch them in small groups rather than all at once.  Robb fired twice, hit once, but got a KD.  Chaz fired once and got the OD instead with the Easy to Kill rule. Unfortunately, all three shots ended up summoning zombies to the area.

Turn 5: Robb 2, Zombies 3

Robb took a deep breath and began to focus on what he was doing.  He fired two shots at two zombies closing in on his side and both their heads splintered with the impact of the bullets.  Behind him, Chaz was having less luck.  Her shot at an approaching zombie had missed, and now the zombie had drawn up to her.  It's mouth opened with a horrible moan, but then caught the stock end of her rifle.  It tumbled backwards onto the ground, but the blow hadn't much strength behind it.

Robb's two shots were good, but Chaz's miss summoned yet another zombie.  The neighborhood was a lot more crowded than Robb had hoped!  The sole zombie in range fought with Chaz, but lost 2:3 to the costumed heroine.  It only suffered a KD, though.

Turn 6: Robb 3, Zombies 4

Robb pivoted in place and fired two more shots.  Two more zombies went down and were still.  I could do this all day, Robb thought with a grim smile.  Chaz fired her rifle from the hip, putting down the zombie she had shrugged off.
"I knew there was a reason I picked you to be my sidekick," Chaz said with a grin.



Chaz again popped the weasel, and thankfully no zombies were summoned by any of the shots.

Turn 7: Robb 5, Zombies 3

"Kid, I'm pretty sure the middle-aged guy with the big gun is the mentor figure!" said Robb as he continued firing at the approaching zombies.  Two were hit, but only one went down.  "Not the chippie in the spandex!"
Chaz flipped the switch on her assault rifle.  "I'll show you whose got the bigger gun, Inspector Gadget!"
She fired off a burst of shots at a nearby zombie, and it flew apart.

Three more zombies were summoned by the shots.  At the rate is was going, the heroes were failing to kill more than they brought to the fight.

Turn 8: Robb 4, Zombies 6

"Okay, 'Penny' let's get what we are here for," said Robb as they ducked into the gas station's main building.  Inside, two former customers and a woman in a polo shirt with the station's logo wandered inside, their dead eyes turning towards them as the small bell on the door jingled.
"I need twenty dollars on pump number three," said Robb as he fired at the two closest customers.  Both their heads snapped backwards, but the slide on the gun stayed in the back position.  "Guess you're done for now," Robb said to the empty pistol.
The decaying attendant lurched with unexpected speed towards Chaz.  She brought up the rifle across her chest to try to push back the zombie, but the dead woman kept coming at her.

Rolling 6d6, I got three zombies for the interior of the building.  Robb rolled a 5, added his REP of 5 for his reaction result of 10.  Chaz rolled a 1 for a total of 5, and the zombies rolled a 6, which was added to three (the number of them in the building) for a total of 9.  So the order is Robb, zombies, then Chaz.
Robb fired and hit twice, but rolled two ones on the "Easy to Kill" rule, meaning he was out of ammo and needed to reload.  The lone remaining zombie attacked Chaz and the two tied at 2 each.  The zombies continued to do well in hand-to-hand combat this game, and they were locked in combat.

Turn 9: Robb 6, Zombies 6
Turn 10: Robb 2, Zombies 6

Robb pulled the zombie away from Chaz.  The two of them grappled each other, trying to get the upper hand.  Chaz charged into the zombie, knocking it to the ground.



Robb entered melee to assist Chaz, but only managed a 3:3 tie himself.  Chaz squeaked out a 4:3 win, but only got the KD result. It is hard to kill zombies in melee combat.

Turn 11: Robb 3, Zombies 6

Chaz reared back, leveled her rifle, and fired a quick shot into the zombie's head.  "Did you actually make a pop culture reference a minute ago?" she gasped at Robb.

A zombie was summoned, naturally.

Turn 12: Robb 2, Zombies 5

"I didn't grow up under a rock, you know.  I watched the cartoon, you know.  Not that Matthew Broderick crap." said Robb.  Chaz grabbed a gas can.  "I'll fuel up, you hold them off," she said as she headed back out.
Robb reloaded his pistol and followed her outside.



This turned counted as one of the two for the purposes of pumping gas, since Chaz didn't do anything while Robb reloaded.

Turn 13: Robb 1, Zombies 6

"Fresh bullets.  Get your fresh bullets here!" said Robb as he stepped outside and fired a shot into the head of a nearby zombie.  Chaz moved to the pump and began filling the red plastic container.

I noticed that the zombies had actually failed to activate for five straight turns.  That more than makes up for the dodgy luck in close combat.  By the way, no zombies were summoned with the single shot.

Turn 14: Robb 5, Zombies 3
Turn 15: Robb 4, Zombies 4
Turn 16: Robb 4, Zombies 5

"I got the gas.  Let's get out of here," said Chaz as the zombies on the street drew closer.  Robb charged towards one of them, swinging the machete.  He landed a hit that would have killed a living man, but only stunned the ghoul.  Chaz swung the rifle around at the second and crushed the side of its head.



I was getting a little worried about the number of zombies that were closing in from the south, so I decided to risk melee combat again.  Robb won 4:3 for a KD result.  Chaz got an impressive 5:2 win and on Obviously Dead result.

Turn 17: Robb 1, Zombies 3

Robb and Chaz ducked into the space between two houses across the street from the gas station.  There was a faint noise, and Robb turned quickly to face a man wielding a samurai sword.  Robb quickly took in the man's clean and intelligent appearance and stepped back.  "We're alive," he said calmly.
"I can tell," said the man, who was bald and wearing a gray hoodie.  "You're making more noise than a demolition derby."
Robb winced slightly at the word "derby" but pressed on.  "I'm Robb, and this is Chaz.  We're trying to make our way to a car.  You're welcome to come with us, if you want."
The man looked at the two of them and frowned.  "No thanks.  The two of you are way to careless.  You'll attract every zombie in the city with the racket you're making.  I'm better off on my own."
Robb started to try to argue with the man, but Chaz tugged at his coat.  "They are still right behind us.  If he doesn't want to come with us, that's his problem.  Let's go."
Robb relented and followed her towards the red VW beetle.



The remaining zombies were too far away to catch Robb and Chaz before they moved off the table, but there were two PEF's that had made their way to the far edge, and were now in sight.  The first one just passed 1d6 and raised the ER of the session, but that allowed the second to become an encounter.  I lucked out and rolled a single Survivor and brought out Peter, whom I had just painted.  A random die roll on the Survivor chart showed him to be REP 5, which wasn't a good thing because it would make it harder for him to be recruited.
And sure enough, Robb failed to beat Peter by 1 success, meaning they would just exchange pleasantries and move on.  Given Peter's preference for quiet weapons and the number of zombies I had summoned with gunfire, I figured Peter wouldn't care for Robb's loud tactics.  Hopefully he would change his mind later.  But Robb's success with recruiting other people hadn't been that great throughout the campaign.

I didn't need to roll to see if Chaz stuck around, since I had the guarantee from the game last March.  Rolling for REP increases, Robb failed to increase his REP, but Chaz rolled a 5, raising her to Robb's equal. Perhaps our Star might end up eventually a sidekick after all!

Well, Robb and Chaz made it through the first half of the two-part scenario.  Now to see if they can make it to the car, and if all of their trouble will be worth it in the end.

Comments always welcome, and it is good to be back!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

McTavish, Survivor(?)


Another Copplestone Casting Future Wars figure, this one a middle-aged, portly fellow with a Luger pistol.  I have thought if using him as a survivor, but I also considered using him as the boss of some organized crime gang that has been managing to do well for themselves in the zombie apocalypse. 

Speaking of which, I think it is time for Robb's misadventures in a world gone to Hell to continue sometime soon, don't you think?

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Book Review: Fighting to Survive by Rhiannon Frater



So as I was hanging around Thanksgiving break with a broken ankle and thinking about the upcoming ATZ demo game (see previous post) so I thought I would get in the mood by reading a zombie novel, in this case Fighting to Survive by Rhiannon Frater.  It's the second in her "As the World Dies" trilogy, the first being The First Days.

In broad terms, the book is about a community of survivors of the zombie apocalypse who are living in a fortified construction site.  They decide to expand into a nearby luxury hotel in order to create more space and nicer accommodations.  In the meantime, a roving band of gangers becomes more and more of a threat to them.

The book's two protagonists are Katie and Jenni.  Both lost their families in the first days of the zombie attack, and both are developing new relationships in the survivor community.  For Katie this means overcoming her grief of losing her wife and realizing that she is falling in love with Travis, a leader of the group.  For Jenni this means dealing with the trauma of her previously abusive spouse and the death of her children.  Jenni isn't the most stable of individuals, and her sanity gets more precarious as the book goes on.

I have said in other reviews that for me the mark of a good zombie story--book, movie, or other--is how it handles the people element, not the zombie gore.  What this book does right is explore how a small, isolated community like this one has to cope with the challenges in a post-zombie world.  Some members of the community struggle with the collapse of class distinctions.  The question of how to address crime within the group is gone into detail.  There is also the issue of the role of vigilantism and the post-zombie social contract.  It's not dissimilar from what is going on right now in The Walking Dead with Carol being expelled from the TV series' community, and it what makes the book particularly interesting.

That's not to say the book doesn't have its grisly moments, but they are not gratuitous in nature.  In terms of pathos, the book is actually pretty light in tone, which could either be a plus or a minus, depending on the tastes of the reader.  There's distinctly a romantic overtone to the book as well, which wasn't a negative per se for me but might not be everyone's cup of tea.

A good read for hanging out by the pool in a leg cast.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Pics from the convention game

Saturday evening my church hosted a board game night, complete with a Munchkin tournament.  I ran a demo game of All Things Zombie with six players taking on the roles of six survivors while I ran the zombies.  I made a point of using some of the survivor miniatures that never made it into my campaign.  The scenario was a simple one: the six survivors had to make it from one end of the table to the other, stopping off at building to attempt to acquire at least one resource before exiting the table.
I ended up running the scenario twice that evening, both times each group made it off without difficulty, although there were plenty of tight spots including one pair of survivors jumping from one office building roof to another to flee a horde of zombies!
Pics below, and as always click to see a larger version.




Sunday, November 24, 2013

Amber


Like I said in my previous post, I'm on a roll right now.  This is another Hasslefree miniature, a nice young lady armed with pistol, a pistol-grip shotgun (I'm assuming--it is in a sheath on her back), a knife, and a hockey stick.  She's ready for anything!  I let my daughter name her, and she called this miniature "Amber."

Zombie Survivor Peter

Has it really been since March since I updated this blog?  Well, if you have been following my other blog, you'll know I'm laid up with an ankle injury.  That means more painting time.  In addition, I'm planning on running an ATZ display game at a local gaming convention, so I need to get my roster built up!


This is "Zombie Hunter Kev" from Hasslefree, but I'm naming him "Peter" after a friend who wanted be in my ATZ campaign.  Of course, that means I need to start up my ATZ campaign again...

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

ATZ Campaign, Day 44: Requiem, part 2

So it's been a while since the last installment, the first part of Robb's first day alone in the zombie apocalypse.  For those who have forgotten, Robb's girlfriend Irene was killed by zombies while their friend Erin left the group to search for her family.  Wandering the streets alone, Robb has run into more than his share of trouble and was nearly killed.

At this point, the encounter is at ER 4, but a special event roll has meant that Robb will not summon zombies as a result of gunfire, noise, etc.  I have decided that zombies can still be found in buildings, however.  But that is still a pretty sweet deal, and I want to capitalize on it.

Turn 22: Robb 1, Zombies 5

Leaving the store behind, Robb began to make his way towards a row of houses.  While he had managed to find some food, nearly at the cost of his life, Robb thought he could still make time to check a few other places.

Turn 23: Robb 3, Zombies 3

Robb continued to walk along.  Unbeknownst to him, in his struggle against the zombies the handful of spare clips had fallen out of his pocket.  He was carrying only the ammo in his pistol.



Doubles and less than the ER of the encounter meant a special event (again).  I rolled a total of 10, meaning that when Robb's primary weapon (his BA Pistol) runs out of ammo it stays that way for the end of the encounter.  Bummer.

Turn 24: Robb 6, Zombies 2
Turn 25: Robb 5, Zombies 4

Robb carefully walked over to one of the houses and tested the door carefully.  It was unlocked.  He swung it open slowly and peered inside.

As a reminder, Robb is REP 4, but activates on a 5 because of his Initiative attribute.

Turn 26: Robb 5, Zombies 5

Inside the house, Robb could see a person moving around the living room, a young woman with bright red hair.  The woman spun suddenly, pointed an assault rifle at Robb.  She let out a scream.
"Wait, wait!  I'm not a zombie!  I'm alive!" Robb said, holding up his hands.
The woman looked incredulously at the layer of blood and gore on the front of Robb's shirt and coat.  "Are you sure?"
Robb looked down at his attire and sighed.  "Yeah, this..." he gestured at his chest "none of this is me."
He looked at the woman.  She was wearing a two-tone gray bodysuit with a leather jacket.  "What are you wearing?"
The woman looked indignant.  "This is my Motoko Kusanagi costume.  From Ghost in the Shell?  I'm...I mean I was into Japanese cosplay.  You got a problem with that?"
Robb shrugged.  "It's the zombie apocalypse, sweetheart.  Wear whatever you want."  He looked around.  "I'm sorry, is this your house?"
The woman shook her head.  "No, I left my place a while back when it was overrun.  I was just looking around for supplies.  What about you?"
Robb's face went slack.  "I was just going for a walk.  My name's Robb, by the way."
The woman smiled.  "I'm Chaz.  You by yourself or with other people?"
Robb frowned.  "No," he said.  "There's no one with me."
"Maybe you'd have more luck if you didn't look like one of them."
Robb grimaced slightly.  "I just need to get home and get cleaned up.  You're welcome to come back with me.  I've got some food and stuff.  Beats wandering around by yourself."
Chaz shrugged.  "Good point.  Besides, if you really can handle yourself, I could use a sidekick."
Robb cocked an eyebrow.  "'Sidekick?' Whatever.  Hey, where'd you get the assault rifle?"
"Found it," said Chaz as she began to root around the house.



Rolling 6d6 to see if there were any zombies within the building, I was surprised to have none appear.  That meant we moved onto a "Defining Moment," which is resolved like a PEF.  With the ER now 4, I rolled a 2d6 on the PEF table, meaning Contact!  The roll on the "Days 30+" table showed a Survivor, and the "How Many" table came up with one.
Determining her stats, I found she was a REP 4 Survivor.  I had "loaded up" several Survivor characters based on friends of mine.  The person who is the real life Chaz had picked out the miniature by Hasslefree Miniatures based on Motoko Kusanagi, a miniature armed with an assault rifle.  Since the real life Chaz is into cosplay, it only made sense that her alter ego would be as well!  On the "Meet and Greet" Robb scored more successes, and Chaz would join the group.

Chaz is REP 4, People 3 and Savvy 2 with the Brawler attribute.  She's armed with an assault rifle.

Rifling through the house, Robb managed to locate some camping equipment including a sterno stove.  Chaz found some dried goods in the larder.  "Good deal," said Chaz cheerily.
"Maybe things are looking up," said Robb with a faint grin.  "Want to look around at the other places?"

Rolling against the ER 4, Robb found a luxury item with 2d6, Chaz food with 1d6.

Turn 27: Robb 4, Zombies 6
Turn 28: Robb 4, Zombies 3

Robb and Chaz stepped out of the house and moved on down the street.  Robb paused at a red Volkswagon Beetle and peered inside.  He tried the door, found it unlocked, and looked in.
"What are you doing?" asked Chaz.
"I have an idea," said Robb.  He togged the button that released the trunk, went around, and rummaged in the back.  He came out wielding a large tire iron.
"You don't look like you have a melee weapon, and sometimes I don't think we'll want the noise of a machine gun," he said, tossing her the tool.



I'd misread in earlier sessions that you don't have to check for vehicles like you do for buildings when it comes to zombies (thus explaining the weird "four zombies in the cab of a semi" moment a while back that nearly killed Irene and did kill Monty).  But you can check for stuff, and I had Robb look, passing 2d6, and finding a luxury item, in this case a hand weapon for Chaz.

Turn 29: Robb 1, Zombies 1

Suddenly both of them stopped.  Overhead, they could hear the sound of a helicopter.  The black vehicle passed by, heading west.  "Do you think we should try to flag it down or something?" asked Chaz.
"I don't know how we would," said Robb.  "Odd that it is heading west.  The big city is east of us.  I wonder where it is going."

Random event.  It would affect zombies, if there were any.

Turn 30: Robb 6, Zombies 2
Turn 31: Robb 1, Zombies 2

Robb and Chaz entered the next house.  Inside, the decor featured kitschy country nostalgia that once might have been called "Americana."  A zombie was staggering about in the living room, while a second moved in the kitchen, visible through an opening to the living room where meals could once have been passed.  Both of them seemed to not notice Robb or Chaz, and Robb drew his pistol and shot the one in the living room through the head.  He turned and shot the second, but the bullet went lower than intended and the zombie staggered back against the island countertop.  Chaz fired a round from her rifle, and the zombie's brain scattered across the kitchen cupboards.
"Anyone else?" Robb asked.
"Not that I can see," said Chaz.  The two began to look around.  Robb found more foodstuffs that still looked edible in the kitchen.  Chaz grabbed a set of keys from a hook.  "These have a VW symbol on them.  Think they go to the car outside?"
"Worth checking out," Robb said.


Rolling to see what was inside the building, I got a total of two zombies.  I rolled a one of the zombie surprise roll for a total of three.  Since Robb and Chaz both had higher REP's, they would go first automatically, but a die roll gave Robb a total of 10 and Chaz a total of 5.  Robb shot twice and hit twice, but only killed the first zombie and knocked down the second.  Chaz "popped the weasel" with her activation, ending combat.
Robb got 1d6 for searching (meaning food) and Chaz 2d6.  I was interested in adding a vehicle to the team, so I went with keys for the car outside.  It didn't hurt that its noise wouldn't summon zombies.

Turn 34: Robb 3, Zombies 5

Robb and Chaz returned to the VW Bug.  Chaz got in and tried the ignition.  The lights came on, but the engine failed to start.  "It's out of gas," she said.  "Someone must have drained it or something."
"But it works, or it might," said Robb.  "Hang onto the keys.  If we find some gas of our own, we might come back."

Still on foot, but feeling distinctly better, Robb led Chaz back towards his house.
"So, do you like anime?" asked Chaz brightly as they walked.

After Day 30, the chance of a car having fuel is only a 1-3 on a 1d6.  A roll of four meant no luck.  It was worth the risk, and I could justify coming back later.
With no real areas of interest left, and wishing to wrap things up, I called the session to a close.

Well, it feels a little bit like the campaign is back on its feet again.  I was pretty disheartened about everything when Robb lost his entire team, including his original partner.  Writing a character's story when they are alone isn't quite as interesting for me, and it seemed likely that Robb would die anyways without support.  So I took a break for a while and focused on other projects.

Eventually I decided to take another shot at it and got lucky running into another character.  Finding Survivors or even Gangers isn't that easy in ATZ:FFO, especially in low-ER environments.  This reflects the lesser population density and it generally less threatening for other reasons, but if you need to replenish a team, its a long slog of a process.

But, at least Robb has another person with him, and she's not a bad teammate in terms of abilities and equipment.  The real life Chaz is a fun person to hang out with as well, making it easy to write her character in-story.  Here's a close-up of the newest member of Team Robb.



There's more than one additional Survivor (and quite a few Gangers) on the painting table, so hopefully they will be making an appearance soon!


Final note: Rolling to see if a REP increased occurred, I rolled a 5 for Robb, meaning he would finally increase, but only a 2 for Chaz.  In the "Keeping It Together" post-game roll, Robb got a whalloping four successes to Chaz's one, meaning not only would she stick around, but she wouldn't need to check the next session.

Monday, February 4, 2013

ATZ Campaign, Day 44: Requiem, part 1

All day Robb had stood by the window, peering out at the empty streets of his neighborhood.  Empty, like his house now that his girlfriend Irene had perished at the hands of a zombie who had nearly killed him and Erin, one of the few people they had met still alive in River City, had left him then to go find her missing family.  For hours he had stood, motionless and silent, looking out the window.

Robb glanced down at the black-bladed machete he held in his hand.  It's dull blade reflected the evening light.
"What's that Belle?  You want to go for a walk?" he said to the long knife.  "Okay."

It's day 44 of the zombie apocalypse, and Robb desperately needs some good luck or else this might be the end.  Basically I'm going to have him go out and explore in hopes of getting some potential teammates either through the PEF's or by getting a "Defining Moment" in a building.  The chances of that are so low, however, that I'm more concerned that Robb will be overwhelmed by zombies in buildings instead.

Starting off, the Red PEF is Rep 4 and in zone 4, the White PEF is Rep 4 and in zone 4, and the Blue PEF is Rep 2 and in Zone 5.  River City is a suburb, so it's ER 2.

Starting off, I roll 1d6 for initial zombies and get a lowly one!  It's off to Robb's right, behind a building.  We are off to a very, very good start.






Turn 1: Robb 3, Zombies 6

The streets seemed eerily quiet as Robb made his way down towards the small shops at the end of the street.  He was hoping to find something to drink.  He needed a drink.

The Blue PEF is immediately in sight, but a 0d6 on the result means it is nothing.

Turn 2: Robb 2, Zombies 6

Robb continued down the street, glancing around the corner.  He could have sworn he heard some noise, but there was nothing there.



Robb moved into LOS with both the Red and White PEF's, but both passed 1d6, meaning the ER of the encounter was now 4.

Turn 3: Robb 4, Zombies 3

Robb slowly entered the store, but not cautiously enough to keep the bell mounted to the door from tinkling. Within the small market, two zombies wheeled towards him.  Robb fired a shot in each of their general directions.  The first shot went through a zombie's chest and it fell to the ground, but the second clanged off a metal shelf.  The drooling figure lurched towards Robb, but Robb was there with the machete.  Robb's swing was too soon, and it barely scratched the zombie's chest.



Entering the building, I rolled 6d6 and got 2 zombies.  Not the zero I was hoping for, and now Robb's in for a fight.  The zombie surprise total was 6, Robb's was 9, so he'd get off a shot.  I thought I'd go ahead and split my shot between the two and hope to get two Obviously Dead's, but only one shot hit.  Despite the Easy to Kill Rule, I rolled too high and the zombie was just knocked down.
Melee began with Robb getting 2 successes to the zombie's 2, and the melee was locked in place.

Turn 4: Robb 1, Zombies 6

Robb kicked out at the zombie, knocking it backwards over his fallen compatriot.

In melee, Robb got 3 to the zombie's 2, and of course didn't roll a 1, so now both zombies are knocked down.

Turn 5: Robb 6, Zombies 6
Turn 6: Robb 6, Zombies 1

Both zombies got back to their feet and rushed at Robb.  Robb held one back with the hand holding the pistol, and managed to get the machete in his left hand up under the chin of the second.  It's face went slack and it fell to the ground.

On the zombie's activation, they recover from Knock Down and re-engage in melee.  Robb got 3 successes to 3 on the first, but 4 successes to 0 on the second, getting an Out of Fight that becomes an Obviously Dead in the case of a zombie.

Turn 7:  Robb 6, Zombies 6
Turn 8:  Robb 6, Zombies 3

Robb shoved the zombie backwards with the butt of his pistol.  It fell backwards again to the ground.

Robb beat the zombie 3:2, and once again got a Knocked Down result.  Can he capitalize on it?

Turn 9:  Robb 5, Zombies 5

The Colt .45 ACP in Robb's right hand barked out with a loud shot, and the zombie's head exploded in a gush of gore and bone.

Robb turned away from the still figure on the ground, walked behind the counter of the store, and grabbed a large bottle of brown liquid.  He moved back towards the store's entrance.



If there is one benefit to Robb's situation, it is that he as the "Initiative" attribute, meaning he reacts as if his Rep was one higher, IF HE'S ALONE.  Since the zombie is down, Robb can finally "pop the weasel."  What's more, no zombies are summoned.
Searching the building (now at ER 4), Robb passes 2d6 and finds a luxury item.

Turn 10: Robb 2, Zombies 1

Robb opened the door.  A zombie, dressed in the tattered remnants of some hospital gown roared at him with ghastly teeth.  Robb looked blankly at it, fired two shots, and then stepped over the slightly twitching body.

Robb opened the door to discover the one zombie at the beginning of the game had finally made its way to the building's entrance.  He fired twice, hit once, and got the OD.  No zombies were summoned.

Turn 11: Robb 6, Zombies 4
Turn 12: Robb 1, Zombies 5

With nothing else in sight, Robb moved across the street towards another small restaurant.

Turn 13: Robb 2, Zombies 5
Turn 14: Robb 4, Zombies 2

Robb pushed his way into the building.  The place looked empty, and Robb began to move towards the back where he hoped to find some food.  Suddenly from the coat room two zombies surged at him.  Robb swung out with his machete, knocking one of them back but the other enveloped him in its arms.

Again, the 6d6 showed two zombies in this building.  I guess it will be harder to find people than I had hoped.  The zombies surprise total came up 7, while Robb's came up 7 as well, meaning he wouldn't get off a shot.  In melee, Robb beat the first 3:1, getting a Knock Down, but tied the second at 3:3.

Turn 15: Robb 1, Zombies 1

The random event, generated here, was meaningless in this context.  I moved on.

Turn 16: Robb 5, Zombies 5

With a wordless growl, Robb heaved the zombie off of him.  It fell back against a table.

Robb beat the zombie he was locked in melee with 5:3, getting a Knock Down result.  It is very tough to actually kill a zombie in close combat, especially when you are Rep 4 and using a one-handed weapon in your off hand.


Turn 17: Robb 5, Zombies 3

Both zombies rushed Robb together.  The first managed to get himself tangled in Robb's left arm while the second fell heavily against him, driving him to the floor.  The back of Robb's head slammed against the floor of the restaurant.  His vision began to blur.  In the back of his mind, he could hear a voice calling to him...a woman's voice...



Robb remained in melee with both zombies.  He tied the first 2:2, locking him into combat.  The second one, however, defeated him, with Robb only getting 1 success and the zombie getting three!  The result was a Knock Down, which against zombies meant that Robb must now roll to see if he is infected (again)!  I took a deep breath, realized this could be the end, and rolled...

A five!  Robb would avoid being infected!  But now he had bigger problems!

By my understanding of the rules, Robb was now stunned and needed a full turn's activation before he could move again.  I ruled, somewhat on the spot, that if the zombies activated either on the turn he recovered being stunned or before he activated a second time, they would kill him and it would be over.  I began to think about a possible "After the Horsemen" campaign, and started rolling.

Turn 18: Robb 3, Zombies3

Okay, a random event.  Rolling no less than three 1's, the result would be that no more zombies would be summoned in this encounter.  That was great, but first I needed to have Robb survive the next few seconds.

Turn 19: Robb 1 Zombies 6

Robb's eyes fluttered open.  Above him, staring at him inches from his face, was the yellowed eyes of a decaying zombie.  His eyes widened in awareness of what was happening.

Robb's recovered from being stunned.  Now, will he get an activation, or will he meet his final end?  For the sole purpose of creating drama, you'll have to follow after the break.


The Split Level, and some Pre-Endgame thoughts

First, sharp-eyed observers may have noticed that there was a new house on the block during the episode "The Neighborhood Watch," namely the "Split Level" house by Stoelzel's Structures.




Not as easy a build as the "Raised Ranch House," and I'd suggest doing the Ranch House first if you are a beginner like I am.  The house has three levels: the ground level, a small second level off to the side, and a third level above the ground level.  It's a interesting layout, but challenging to build.  In particular, there is a cardstock stairwell that has to fit precisely in a gap that has three separate sides: the vertical wall, the floor of the second level, and the floor of the third level.  Do a better job pre-fitting these pieces than I did.

Also the instructions suggest just making the roof out of cardstock.  No way.  I used a piece of taskboard, which is a sort of matte board that is easy to cut and sand but it still very thin, as the foundation for the roof, then cut two foamcore braces using the cardstock braces as a template.  It's a lot more sturdy than just a cardstock room, and you can barely see the edge.

Now onto some thoughts about the last session.  Looking back, I realized that I made a deliberate choice near the end to forego some shooting in fear of summoning more zombies, something that had happened all that day with remarkable frequency.  I had really hoped I could have Robb (and then later Irene) handle a single zombie, but that guy turned out to be one tough cuss.  I should have had Erin shoot him.

I have to say, despite losing both Erin (who I knew was a flight risk after she got a higher Rep than Robb) and Irene in a single encounter, I loved the dramatic feel to the whole thing.  It felt like a season finale of a zombie-themed television show.  I like how groups don't have stable membership, but instead constantly suffer at least the threat of people leaving either by death or departure, and how if the leader doesn't stay "large and in charge" the group will react accordingly.

As a side note, the real life Irene is glad she died trying to rescue me, and feels that the real life Erin would not only grow in ability quickly, being a very intelligent and resourceful woman, but would also have left me at that point to find her family.  Nice to see art imitating life.

But all this got me thinking about what the endgame of this campaign would look like.  There was a discussion about Rep 7 Stars over at Colgar6 and the Infinite Legion, and I've thought that hitting Rep 7 would probably influence game play a great deal, to the point where maybe it would get to be too easy.

So basically, I told myself I'd run the ATZ campaign until either Robb or Irene hit Rep 7, or both of them were dead.  We're halfway there now on the latter.  I have no idea if it is more likely Robb will find his untimely end or if he can scrabble through to epic hero-dom.  He seems almost incapable of getting a Rep increase, so I could end up throwing zombies at him for a long time.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

ATZ Campaign, Day 43: The Neighborhood Watch

All day, Robb and his two housemates had been on edge.  Someone had been spotted moving behind the curtained windows of their house, and a zombie had approached and began banging on the window.  When it didn't wander off, Robb's girlfriend Irene had rushed out with her bat and clubbed it to death and then ducked back inside.  The whole experience had rattled everyone, and as a result Irene had been even more hyper than normal, while Erin seemed to sink into a deeper depression.

Finally, Robb decided to act.  "We're going to work the neighborhood and clear out as many zombies as possible."
"Is that safe?" asked Erin.
"Not particularly, but it will thin out the number of zombies around us, and maybe we'll find survivors living in the nearby houses."
"And," said Irene with a grin, "there's always the chance to pick up stuff in other people's houses."

It's day 43 of the zombie apocalypse, and Team Robb is going to canvass the neighborhood.  This is a simple "Search" mission where the team is going to check a few houses on the table in hopes of finding loot or, even better, other survivors.

The table is a suburb, making it ER 2.  The red PEF is Rep 4 and in zone 1, the white is Rep 6 and in zone 3, and the blue PEF is Rep 2 and in zone 1.  Every one of the team has slept well and suffered no problems.




The 3d6 rolled for zombies at the start get us seven, four off to the right of the team, two straight ahead, and one off to the left.




In this encounter, Robb and Irene are Rep 4, which Erin is Rep 5.




Turn 1: Robb 1, Zombies 3

"There's lot of people out on the street today," commented Irene dryly.  She aimed her shotgun at the crowd approaching by the side of house to their right.  The blast took the head off of one and knocked down to others.  Erin aimed her rifle at another and took its head clean off.  Robb fired two shots at another, one of the shots clunking into its chest and staggering it into the ground.

Robb ran over to one of the zombies still standing and swung his machete into its skull, killing it instantly.  Erin fired her rifle into the skull of one of the zombies lying on the ground but still moving.  "We're off to a good start," said Robb.

Irene hit 3 but only OD'ed 1.  Erin got hers easily with her new Rep of 5, and Robb hit once with two shots but only got a knock down.  Between all the shots fired, a grand total of four zombies were summoned.  Not good!
In melee Robb got 3 successes to the zombie's 1 and got the Obviously Dead.  Erin "popped the weasel" on one of the Knocked Down zombies.




Turn 2: Robb 2, Zombies 1

One of the few zombies still on its feet rushed towards Erin, who fired off a shot from the hogleg and dropped it.  "There's still a few around," said Robb, "let's get inside quick."



Robb threw the door to the green house open and stepped inside.  Erin and Irene followed behind.  "Hello, if the zombie apocalypse happened tomorrow, would you be ready?" Irene quipped.
"Quiet!" Erin hissed.
Suddenly several zombies rushed out from a back room.  Erin got off a shot, killing one of the zombies.  Robb and Irene were too slow to fire, but Robb got his black-bladed machete up in time to take the head off the zombie rushing towards her.  Irene smashed another in the jaw and it fell back.  Erin stabbed another through the eye with her knife.

A zombie charged Erin, who easily passed her being charged test and got one shot, getting the OD easily.  The white PEF showed up, but it was nothing.  
Entering the building, I rolled 6d6 looking for 5's or 6's and got a shocking 4.  For the zombie surprise total, I rolled a 3 for a total of 7.  Robb got a total of 6, Irene a total of 6, and Erin a total of 9, meaning she was the only one who could fire.  She fired once with her rifle, getting an OD on the charging zombie.
In melee Robb beat the zombie 3 to 1, but managed to get an OD.  Irene beat her zombie 2 to 0, but got only a Knocked Down.  Erin beat hers 5 to 1, and got an OD.



Turn 3: Robb 6, Zombies 6
Turn 4: Robb 4, Zombies 5

Robb slashed down with his machete and killed the zombie that Irene had knocked to the ground.  "That's the last of them," he said.  "Let's look around and see what we can find."
A quick check found quite a bit of food in the kitchen.  The group stuffed as much as they could into their bags.  "Shall we look upstairs?" asked Erin.

Robb beat the prone zombie 4 to 2, and then managed to roll a 2 on the melee result, getting an Out of the Fight, which becomes an Obviously Dead for a zombie.
Robb, Erin, and Irene all got 1d6 on their looting result, meaning three food parcels.



Turn 5: Robb 1, Zombies 4

Robb tiptoed upstairs, trying to make as little as noise as possible.  At the top of the stairs of the split-level house, Robb spotted three zombies moving around in the hallway.  Irene quietly pushed Robb aside.  "Three all together like that?  That's tailor-made for my shotgun."
She fired, the closest two tumbling to the ground.  Unfortunately neither had been hit in the head.  Robb fired awkwardly down the hallway, missing both times.  Erin fired a shot past them both, killing the one still standing.  She and Robb ran forward and shot the two that Irene had hit previously, making sure that they stayed down.
They searched the bedrooms on the upper level.  Robb and Erin found stashes of chips and other snack food tucked away in the bedrooms, while Irene found several liquor bottles in the drawer of a nightstand.  "A little something to help them sleep, I guess."


I handled the upper floor like a separate building.  Rolling 6d6, I got three zombies.  What's with all the 5's and 6's?  The zombie surprise total was 5.  This time, Robb got an 8, Irene a 10, and Erin a 7.  Irene shot first, getting to Knock Down's.  Robb missed with two shots.  Erin got one with her shot.  That Rep 5 is really, really nice.
With both zombies knocked down, Robb and Erin could "pop the weasel."  Finally the dice were a little kinder, giving me only one zombie summoned by the shooting.
Looting gave Robb and Erin another food parcel, while Irene got a resource.  I decided it would be a luxury item.

Turn 6: Robb 5, Zombies 1

Outside the house many zombies were gathering, attracted by all the gunfire.

Turn 7: Robb 3, Zombies 6

"Okay, we're done here.  Back downstairs.  Be careful."  said Robb.

On their activation, Team Robb moved back to the lower level.

Turn 8: Robb 4, Zombies 4

Robb and the others stepped back outside the front door.  They quickly took in the many zombies staring at them hungrily.  "Where did they all come from?" asked Irene.  She fired her shotgun at the most closely-packed group.  One fell back clutching its face, but the other two just fell backwards.
"It doesn't matter.  We can't let them overwhelm us." growled Robb as he fired twice at another.  It's head blew into pieces.  Erin shot another in the head.

Irene got 2 KD's and 1 OD her shot.  Robb shot twice and got one OD.  Erin got another one.  She was on a roll today!  But three more zombies were summoned by the shots.
Note: the zombies didn't activate because at the time of the roll, no humans were visible.  I'm not sure if that was the right call, but there it is.




Turn 9: Robb 2, Zombies 4

Erin fired at another of the zombies, but the shot went low and it just stumbled down.  She and the others took off across the street in the direction of the house next door.
"Let's get inside!" said Irene.

Turn 10: Robb 3, Zombies 4

One zombie stood near the front of the door.  "Let's get him, Belle," said Robb to his black-bladed machete.  He swung it in a wide arc, catching the zombie in the neck and removing the head.
The other zombies on the street rushed towards them.  Erin frowned and fired another shot from her rifle.  The bullet went in and out of its head.  Robb's shots were not to accurate, and neither found their mark.  Irene was too busy swinging around on her skates to get off a shot.

One of the zombies plowed into Robb.  He stumbled backwards, catching his feet on the curb and tumbled to the ground.  Robb cried out in surprise, and desperately tried to get the machete between him and zombie snapping and tearing away at him.
Irene shouted "Robb!" and rushed forward.  She began pulling at the zombie lying atop her boyfriend.

Robb rushed into melee, not wanting to risk summoning more zombies.  He got 5 successes to the zombie's 1, and got the OD.  On the zombie's turn, they rushed towards them, and Robb and Erin both passed 2d6 while Irene only passed 1d6.  Erin's shot got one, but Robb missed both of his shots.
In melee, a single zombie managed to get into melee.  In the tight confines it charged Robb.  Robb only passed 2 to the zombie's 3, however!  With a roll of 5, Robb was knocked down!  
Now it was it time for a very, very critical roll.  I needed a 5 or higher on a d6 or Robb would become a zombie.  Holding my breath, a rolled...a 5!  Robb would continue to live.  For now.
Irene moved in, but only got 1 success to the zombies 1.  They were tied.  For now.

Turn 11: Robb 1, Zombies 6

The zombie atop Robb reared up off of him.  He grabbed Irene's shoulders and sunk his teeth deeply into her neck.  She screamed in pain and terror.  Her cry cut off with a wet gurgle.   Erin pulled the zombie to the ground, stabbing at it with her knife.

Entering into melee again, Irene only got 2 successes.  The zombie got 3!  That meant the Irene had also lost combat!  Rolling to see the result, the die came up with 1, meaning Irene was Obviously Dead.  Robb, sadly, recovered from being stunned.

Turn 12: Robb 2, Zombies 5

Robb gaped in shock at the terrible wound in Irene's neck.  His mouth moved, but no sound came out.  "We have to get out of here now!" shouted Erin, firing down the road at a zombie staggering towards them.  Robb howled in fury and shot the zombie on the ground.
Erin pulled the protesting Robb away from Irene's unmoving form, and they hurried back towards their home.

Things had gone very badly.  Erin shot one of the few close zombies, killing it, which Robb "popped the weasel" on the one with which he was in close combat.
Robb passed a Fast Move check, and got 1d6.  Since he was within 12" of the table edge, he and Erin moved off and the encounter ended.




Epilogue

Robb stumbled into his home.  Their home.  He mindlessly staggered to the sink in the kitchen, and he heaved violently into the drain.  Erin, in the meantime, began gathering her things.
"What are you doing?" he said, wiping vomit from his mouth with the back of his hand.
"I'm leaving!" she shouted.  "I'm not going to just stand around here waiting for us all to get picked off one by one!  I'm going to Heart City and finding my family!"
"But, there's got to be millions of people there!  You have no idea where they could be!  Or if they are still alive!"
"I don't care!  I'm leaving!"
"But, it's too dangerous!" Robb said pleadingly.  "And you can't leave at night.  At least wait until morning, and we can talk about this."
Erin looked at him with steely eyes.  "Okay," she said softly, and walked slowly to her room.

The next day, when Robb awoke, Erin was gone.  He stood in the silent house, alone.

In the post game check, Robb failed to increase in Rep, while Erin rolled a 6, increasing her Rep to 6.  Then in the "Keeping It Together" roll, Robb rolled only 4d6 instead of 5d6 (4+1 for Born Leader) because he had lost combat.  In contrast, Erin could roll 6d6 for her Rep. Robb only got 2 successes, while Erin got 5.  At twice the total Robb had, Erin would be leaving (and would have poisoned anyone left behind, if there were any.)

What a brutal game!  Robb nearly died, and I lost Irene and Erin.  Now, Team Robb was just, well, Robb.  What will happen next?

Saturday, January 19, 2013

One question

First, I had a blogging question: is the plain text for narrative/italics text for rules interesting or helpful?  I sometimes find myself writing things like

Robb turned and saw the zombie down the street.  He fired twice with his pistol, and one of the bullets took the zombie's head clean off.
Robb fired twice with his BAP, hit once, and got the Obviously Dead result thanks to the Easy to Kill rule.
See, I'm basically saying the same thing twice, without a lot of elucidation.  Do I keep the italics for every action, noteworthy ones, or drop it altogether?

Comments welcome

Louise and Francis


These were a little bit of a quick and rough paint job, because when I rolled two civilians on the Day 28 encounter I didn't actually have anyone painted up for the job!  These two were only partially done, but I stopped mid-game, painted them up, and then put them into the game (clever viewers may notice that the two teens were flocked in the episode like they are now).

The two miniatures are from Reaper, "Denver" and "Joplin," whose names clearly come from the movie Zombieland.  Ironically enough, I was just in Joplin (the city) right before Christmas.  It's an interesting little town, and you can see still where the tornado hit.

I was really bummed out that Louise beat Robb in the "Meet and Greet" and went on their way, but I'll be keeping them around for a return appearance.