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.