Tuesday, September 20, 2016

On Down the Road

"We should find a car."  Dawn said as she and Jack walked along the country highway.  The sun was just peeking over the trees in the area, promising a hot June day ahead.
"Or a truck.  Hell anything with wheels."  Jack agreed.  "Maybe some more people too."
Dawn walked in silence for a bit before responding.  "Only if they're heading our way."
"I'm with ya there.  We're heading for that farm of yours."  Jack stretched out his arms as he walked and continued.  "It's going to be a long trip and more eyes to watch our backs would be nice.  Maybe not sleeping in a wrecked Suburban again for a while also..."

It is morning of Day 60.  Dawn and Jack are walking east, making for the farm where Dawn's friends are living, a couple hundred miles away.  They have left the immediate area of the FEMA camp, and are looking for a vehicle to use to make the trip quicker and easier.  They could also use supplies, and anything might be useful.  The area is rural, ER 2, with three PEFs, zombies appear on a 6,  and there are two zombies already on the board.  I am using very tight ammo and scarce looting rules.

Success for the scenario is surviving, finding either a usable vehicle or supplies and escaping the table.  They both must exit the table on the road opposite from where they enter.
Dawn and Jack walking down the road
The zombies are fairly quiet, they will simply wander around until the survivors make some noise.  Dawn and Jack get to move ahead without much worry.
Passing some wrecks, they spot an ATV
Check out the cabin?
Walking past some burned out wrecks, Jack spotted a small ATV parked nearby a cabin just off the road.  "Maybe we check out that?"  Jack pointed to the small multi-wheeled vehicle.
"I don't know how far it can take us."  Dawn countered, considering.  "It would be better than walking though..."
"Let's check the cabin, maybe the keys are in there."  Jack suggested.
The cabin has occupants!
Dawn and Jack make short work of them.
 After they storm the cabin, outside one of the PEFs moves closer.  Dawn and Jack spend a turn searching, but come up empty.  When they go to leave, Dawn decides to expose the nearby PEF.  I'd rather trigger it before it moves closer.
Something lurks in the road
Dawn wants to find out what it is!
Dawn stepped out of the cabin, the quiet morning air broken by a thump just beyond the low stone wall nearby.  "Stay with me, I think I heard something."  She whispered to Jack and jogged to the road.  Rounding the corner of the wall, she skidded to a stop as three zombies staggered along the roadside in front of her.  Leveling her pistol, Dawn took aim at the trio...
Dawn finds zombies
The PEF resolves as three zombies.  It's been quiet, but Dawn shoots, hitting and killing two zombies.  Finally some great dice!  Jack jogs up to Dawn and finishes off the third zed.  Of course, now two more zombies appear...
Jack finishes off the zombies
Two more appear near the cars
The zombies go first the next turn, closing in on Dawn and Jack.
Zombies move closer
Jack and Dawn shoot the zeds
Predictably, one more zombie arrives, another moves closer (getting stuck in the pond), and a PEF moves closer.  Dawn gets a chance to reveal the PEF, and moves forward.
Dawn sees a chance to check the pond
What lurks by the trees?
The PEF is nothing, but it does increase the ER to 3.  Jack moves up and checks the sedan parked in the road.
Jack checks the car
As dawn watched the zombie struggle through the waste deep water of the pond, Jack checked the black sedan to see if it could run.  Quickly he checked the back seats, and aside from some stains on the tan leather, the car seemed empty.  Looking at the steering column, Jack could see it had been hot wired before.  "Looks like it could be drivable!" he yelled.
"We should look for more gas."  Dawn replied, watching the zombie splashing through pond ahead.
"There's only a couple of the dead here.  Let's take 'em down real quiet and then search that house.  There's bound to be something useful in there." Jack suggested.
Dawn waits by the pond
The next turn, the survivors go first, Dawn moves close to the pond, waiting for the zombie to crawl out.  Jack moves up to cover her back.
Dawn faces a soggy zombie
With a wet slapping sound, Dawn swung her machete through the skull of the zombie as it clawed its way out of the sucking mud of the pond.  The lifeless body fell into the reeds along the shore.  Wiping the jellied gunk from the zombie from her machete, Dawn nearly retched.  "Ugh.  That was even more disgusting than usual."
"Damn woman, you've seen worse than that."  Jack said over his shoulder, taking aim at a lone zombie wandering just across the driveway.  "Want me to just plug 'em?"
"No.  Wait, I'll handle it."  Dawn said, twirling the machete in her hand, anxious to to get to the undead.
One left
Dawn charges the undead farmer
 Dawn wins the melee after charging the last zombie.  The board is clear of zeds, and there is a lone PEF in the house to deal with.  It hasn't wanted to move yet, and it stays put as Jack and Dawn head to the garage and investigate.
Dawn and Jack head for the garage
Dawn checked the door to the garage, it was unlocked.  "Let's check in here.  Hopefully we can get some more gas for the car."
Carefully opening the door, Dawn let her eyes adjust to the dim interior before moving very far.  The hot stale air of the garage held an odor of oil and hay.  Crates and barrels, plus tools and other odds and ends were scattered through the building.
"Looks like it's empty."  Jack whispered.  "Let's hope there is some gas at least."
The sound of a shotgun action racking cut the silence.  "You may want to rethink that."  An older man said, raising up from behind a set of crates.  "This is my farm, and you are not welcome here..."
Entering the garage, the deck reveals a lone survivor
Meet Zachary, the farm owner
The meet and greet goes poorly, Dawn and Zachary each get three successes.  They exchange pleasantries, and that's all.  I decide they can trade as well, and Jack trades his luxury item for 2 units of fuel for the car.  It's enough for now, so they leave the farmer alone and check a gas tank nearby, heading for the car.
Reckon we got us some gasoline?
I make quick ruling that the tank has 3 - d6 units of fuel, so 0-2 possible.  I roll a 1, and they find 2 units!  Sweet, they have most of the gas they need to get some distance in the car.  As they head back to the car, they stop and check the wrecker truck for anything useful.
The truck proves to be empty
Jack tossed the empty can in the trunk after filling the car with fuel.  Jumping in the driver's side, he worked the ignition, starting the car.  "It's been sitting for awhile, but seems fine."  He said, looking over the dash and then backing into the road.
"Let's make it a bit more bearable in here."  Dawn said, turning on the air conditioning.  Cool air flooded the car, slowly cooling the hot interior as they drove down the highway.
Driving down the road
They found a car and got some fuel.  We'll call it a success.  Dawn gets two successes versus one for Jack on keeping it together.  Jack will stick around, plus we don't need to check after the next mission.  They need to find some more fuel to be able to 'travel', but at least they are a little more mobile!

Monday, September 12, 2016

A New Path

The air was heavy from the humidity and morning sun.  Dawn sat drowsy on the riding mower's seat as Jack finished a bottle of water, sitting nearby on a bag of potting soil.  Birds chirped outside, giving the impression of a normal early morning.  "Well, let's hope today goes better for us."  Jack offered.
"I hope so."  Dawn sounded weary.  "It can't be worse.  Well, I guess it could be..."  She shuddered.
"We ain't done yet, sweetheart."  Jack said, flashing a grin at Dawn.  "Let's get moving, you'll feel better doing something besides thinking about what went wrong."
Sighing heavily, Dawn brushed off her pants and stood up.  "Where do we go?"  She asked Jack, adding "The house, head east for my friends, or somewhere else?"
Jack rubbed his chin for a moment, then looked at Dawn.  "Let's see where the zombies are, and just go the other way."

It is morning of Day 59.  Dawn and Jack start roughly centered on the table, in a shed they have spent the night in.  The area is suburban ER 5, there are 4 zombies on the board (2d6) and 3 PEFs.  Victory conditions are pretty straightforward - survive and exit the board on any roadway.  They are just trying to get away from the immediate area, they will head either back to the safe house or just continue on towards the east once they escape the table.

Doing a quick inventory, Dawn has a backpack with a unit of food, a shotgun, a SMG and a unit of luxury.  This plus her body armor, BAP and Machete.  Jack has an SMG and a knife, plus a pack with food, luxury and a BAP.  They don't need to panic yet about supplies, but they will need more if they want to get back to the farm.

Dawn is suffering from lack of sleep, and will be counting as Rep 4 until her first combat check.  Jack is his standard Rep of 4.  I am using scarce looting and really tight ammo rules as well.
Dawn of a new day
Starting off, two PEFs move closer to the shed.  Dawn fast moves towards the stone wall, and we reveal the first PEF.
The PEFs move closer
Dawn runs forward
Dawn stepped out into the early morning light, he eyes adjusted quickly from the dark shed.  She could see a couple of the dead wandering around, their attention drawn to the squeal of the shed door opening.  Keeping her pistol at the ready, Dawn trotted to her right, towards a low stone wall.  "Jack, head right and cover me."  She said as she moved forward.
Dawn's attention was focused on a lone zombie in the clearing past the wall, but movement caught her eye as she aimed.  A middle-aged man with a bolt-action rifle and a teenager crouched at the end of the wall, staring at Dawn.
"I didn't see you..." Dawn said slowly as the zombie shambled towards her.
"We're just passing through."  The man said.  "Me and my boy are just going to leave."
Two civilians meet Dawn
The PEF resolves as two civilians, one armed with a bolt action rifle, the other with a knife.  Both are rep 3.  They win the meet and greet and choose to just walk away.  Dawn shoots and misses the zombie, but Jack jogs up and takes care of it.
The zombie is killed...eventually
Three more zombies appear from the shooting.  The next turn has the zombies moving first, and one catches up to Jack.
Here they come!
One attacks Jack
Jack heard a dry dragging sound from just behind and quickly spun about.  Without even aiming, he sprayed his SMG at the undead postman sneaking up.  Several shots went wide, but several pummeled the corpse, one crashing into its head, killing it.
"That's how to do it."  Jack said with a short laugh.
Jack kills the zed
When Dawn and Jack get to move, they check the nearby campsite.  The tent and the truck both count for drawing occupants and loot.  They are both completely empty.
An empty camp
The man and boy move off, I am rolling their actions per the NPC movement rules.  The man with a rifle will fire on the nearest zombie if he has a clear shot each turn they move/activate.
The man shoots and misses
A lone zombie appears next turn, near the gas station building.  The PEF moves towards Jack and Dawn.  I'm trying to be cautious, but I'm hopeful for a better encounter from the PEF, so Jack reveals it.
Something moves closer...
Jack takes a look
 Stumbling through the brush was a lone undead teenager.  Jack paused when Dawn hissed at him "Don't shoot!  Let's stay quiet and get to the building!"
Jack nodded, breaking his aim and jogging with Dawn towards the gas station nearby.
Dawn charges the zombie
Jack catches up
Dawn and Jack are making their way into the nearby gas station, the lone zombie nearby slowly chasing them.  Meanwhile, towards the center of the table, the two civilians are looking like they may be in trouble...
Zombies close on the civilians

Jack and Dawn approach the rear door
The next turn, the civilians have a burst of speed, and they even manage to kill a nearby zombie!
They run, but the father stops to take a shot
And gets a kill!
Entering the rear door of the gas station, Dawn slowly let her eyes adjust to the gloom.  As she and Jack slowly walked through the room, small bits of debris were sent skittering across the floor.  Each time a bottle tipped or a wrapper crinkled, Dawn froze, expecting the undead to pounce.
"I think it's empty."  Jack said, relaxing after a minute.  "Maybe there's something we can use." he offered.
Dawn looked around, disappointed.  "This place looks like a mess and its been looted a few times already."  Shaking her head she continued, "Let's get going, there's noth.."
Jack stood up suddenly, a four pack of toilet paper in his hand.  "Jackpot!  Looks like they didn't get everything!"  He grinned at Dawn.
Dawn paused and couldn't help smiling, then even giggling a bit.  "Well it IS useful!"
Dawn and Jack search the store
The shop is empty, but Jack manages to find a luxury item.  They exit the front of the store, hoping the car out front is usable.
The car is out of gas, and so are the pumps..
The man and teenager make a break for the road.  Looks like they might be able to make it to safety.
The civilians make a break for it
The next turn starts with a random event.

The garage is secured
With the garage secured, a PEF close by and not much else to do, I elect to move off the board when the team activates.
Dawn and Jack escape down the road
It's a successful mission, and they start down the road to the east.  It will take some time to get away from the FEMA camp area, but they are on their way.  Now if they can find some wheels...

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Things Fall Apart, Part 2

Dawn looked around the cemetery, the long grass hiding more than monuments and head stones.  Zombies seemed to spring from empty fields.  Rising slowly out of the tall grass, zombies were appearing in greater numbers than she expected.  "We need to get moving!" she yelled, waving Jack forward.
"I hear ya!"  Jack yelled back.  "Looks like we've drawn a crowd!"  He yelled as zombies shuffled through the nearby open gates.

Zombies surround the group
Previously, the team had gotten strung out as they tried to move through the cemetery.  They had just moved into the cemetery and had a rather poor turn of shooting.  Brenda is stunned having just first seen the feast.  Not a great situation, but not too bad either.  The next turn, however, the survivors do not activate.

Zombies shambled forward, outstretched arms reaching for the living.  Screams echoed from the cemetery entrance, where Brenda huddled in fear.  Dawn's face paled as she watched the zombie grab Brenda, who couldn't fight back.  Dawn felt the horror creep over her as she saw the attack, but a groan from nearby brought her attention around to a zombie trying attack her too.  "Not today."  she said, leveling her handgun and firing into the head of the zombie.

Zombies charge Dawn and Brenda
Zombies charge Jack and Joyce
Things really go sideways this turn.  The zombies swarm into the survivors, and the damage is done.  Brenda is stunned, and cannot defend herself.  She is killed outright.  This triggers 'man down' checks, which Tina fails completely, and decides to 'run away'.  Everyone else passes the check.  Joyce fails her brown pants check, tries to break off from combat and ends up fighting in melee as if she was unarmed.  The three zombies make pretty short work of her and she is killed.  Jack and Dawn both fire before melee, Dawn killing her attacker and avoiding hand to hand.  Jack kills one, and faces two in melee.  It takes a couple of rounds, but he ends up winning in hand to hand combat.
Things go bad
Very bad
This was one of the worst turns I have probably ever had in ATZ.  Brenda is dead, Joyce is dead and Tina is running away.  Dawn and Jack are separated by about 10", with 5 zombies between them as well.  They are going to need to stick together to get out of this alive.  

The next turn, the survivors activate, but the zombies do not.  Tina runs off right away, hopefully she'll show up after this game is over...  With so many zombies entering the cemetery, it really only leaves the opposite side open for Jack and Dawn to escape through.  There is a search marker on the way, with five left to reveal, I decide it's worth the risk to expose it.
Well, that stinks...
"Head towards that shed!"  Dawn yelled, running and dodging zombies trying to grab her.  "We'll get around the wall and head for the street!"
"Great, haul ass!"  Jack yelled back, kicking over a dead zombie as he jogged forward around a tombstone.  Movement ahead of him near the shed made Jack stop.  "What the hell?"
The door swung open and a woman came out with an assault rifle raised and aimed at Jack.  Two other men emerged from the shadows around the shed, weapons leveled and ready...
The search marker is an ambush, and three random gangers (all rep3) appear and we go right to in sight checks.  The gangers are armed with an assault rifle, shotgun and machine pistol.  Yikes!  That's a lot of firepower.  The in sight checks go better for Dawn and Jack, but they are still outnumbered.
In Sight Dice
Dawn skidded to a stop as she saw the guns pointed at her and Jack.  The gangers looked desperate and she didn't even think about what they might want.  Raising her pistol, Dawn drew a bead on a woman in a ragged jacket and fired.  The moans of the zombies were quickly replaced with the chatter of gunfire in the late afternoon air...
Dawn fires first
Dawn gets three successes in the in sight face off, and fires first.  She fires twice, hitting the woman with an assault rifle once.  She doesn't kill her, and the ganger passes 2d on her knocked down check and is stunned.  Jack and the ganger with a machine pistol both have two successes, and will shoot at the same time.
They each take three shots
Jack kills his target with one of his shots.  Jack is hit and not killed by the ganger.  Jack manages to pass 2d on his knocked down test, and is stunned, but alive.  The remaining ganger fires his shotgun at Dawn, getting two hits.  One is a knock down, the other is a kill result.  Dawn is hard as nails and it changes to knocked down instead.  She passes 2d on two checks, and being protected, carries on.
Shootout in the cemetery
Dawn felt the buckshot slam into her vest, a pellet grazing her right arm, drawing a line of fire across her bicep.  Crashing to ground she let out a yell of pain.  "Bastard!"  She screamed, rolling over and fixing the shooter with a fierce gaze.  "You're dead!"
Fumbling with the pump action on his shotgun the ganger's face went pale seeing Dawn unfazed by the shotgun blast.  Fearfully he reloaded and aimed at Dawn...

Eight more zombies arrive from the shooting.  The gangers pass their man down checks, and will stick around.  The next turn, Dawn and Jack activate first, then the zombies and the gangers do not activate.  There is a huge mass of zombies closing on Jack, who will still be prone when they attack...
Dawn is NOT leaving a friend to die
Black spots ran across Jack's vision and his head ached.  A burning in his side told him he was alive, but also where the bullet had hit his ribs.  Focusing on his SMG, he picked it up, barely able to get to his knees.  Suddenly the setting sun was blocked out by Dawn standing over him, firing her pistol.  She was yelling at Jack, but all he could focus on was the swarm of zombies stumbling over each other just behind her.
"Run!  Get out of here!"  Jack yelled at her as she turned towards the undead.
"Not a chance!"  She yelled back, attacking the zombies as they lurched forward.  "Get your ass up and moving!"
Is this the end?
Dawn could have run away and probably made it without much effort.  No way is she leaving a friend to die if she could help out.  I have her move just past Jack and fire at the last standing ganger.  She gets a hit and an outright kill.  Eight zombies are going to charge her and Jack.  This is going to be a messy melee, and one that I am not very clear on how the rules handle.
I figure each round she manages to win, she can keep the zombies off of Jack.  Otherwise he will have to fight a round of melee with two zombies.  I'll have both his and her melee fights going simultaneously, and it is crazy confusing to try and write up!
Two zombies get shot!
Dawn manages to kill two zombies by shooting them to start the melee.  The first round of hand to hand has the zombies rolling 8d, Dawn rolls 7d.  She ties the first round.  The second round she loses by 2.  This reduces her rep by 1 and we go to another round.  Two zombies now attack Jack, who rolls 5d (rep 4 plus weapon) but the zombies roll 6d (+2d for Jack being prone)!  Jack ties his first round.
The next round Dawn ties again.  Jack loses by 1.  He isn't killed, and loses 1 rep, now rolling 4d.  Dawn manages to kill one zombie the next turn, taking some heat off of Jack.  Jack loses again by 1, dropping his rep again by 1 (now rolling 3d)!  Dawn ties the horde again (7d vs 7d) and Jack loses for the last time, going Out of the Fight.  Dawn finally wins a round the the next round, by 2.  The zombies win the next round, reducing her rep by 1 again, but then Dawn wins the next two rounds, by 2 and by 4, finishing off the zombies finally.
After a brutal fight
Dawn wiped the back of her hand across her brow.  Blood and ichor was splattered on her from the fighting she just finished.  Her left arm was sore, and she was afraid her shoulder was sprained.  Kicking over a dead businessman, Dawn heard a low moan and cough from Jack's prone form.  "Well, you're alive." she said, exhausted and surprised.  "Let's hope we can stay that way."
Looking around, Dawn saw dozens of zombies moving towards her and Jack.  Giving her aching body just a moment to protest, she grabbed Jack and started for a nearby fence.  "We came this far.  Let's hope neither of us have been bitten..."  she grunted and slowly walked away with Jack's unconscious body.
More zombies appear...
Dawn rolls a 6 for her infection chance.  She is not infected.  Jack manages a 5, and just dodges infection as well.  Now Dawn is dragging Jack, I'm trying to get to a board edge, and preferably not the same one I entered from.  The next turn Dawn goes first, then the zombies, then the remaining survivor.  First though doubles come up, which indicates the sun is setting, plus a random event.
Not very helpful
The only remaining grunt is the ganger.  If she gets to act, I'll treat her like a star.
Dawn moves away, but the zombies follow
Dawn moves towards the edge, but I can't quite get off the table.  The zombies follow along, plus finish off the ganger, who is just recovering from her stun.
Dead gang
Dawn manages to win initiative the next turn, and can easily escape the board.
Sometimes surviving is a victory...
Daylight was fading into darkness, Dawn dragged Jack to a small utility shed.  The shuffle and moan of the undead seemed just behind them.  Hoping for the best, Dawn pulled open the door to the small shack, finding it empty except for a small workbench, various garden tools, supplies and a riding lawnmower.  "This will do."  She muttered, pulling Jack inside and closing the door behind them.
Minutes passed into hours and the zombies lumbering about in the darkness didn't bother with the shed.  Dawn spent a long night keeping an eye on Jack and trying get some sleep.  As the first purplish light of sunrise shown through the small window of the shed, Jack coughed and sat up.
"We ain't dead?"  He almost laughed and winced as pain lanced through his chest.
"Not yet."  she whispered back, grim and depressed.
Jack looked at her gore-cover form and smiled back.  "Honey, you look like hell.  When it's light, let's get out of this shack and put some distance between us and this god-forsaken town."
"You want to stay together?"  Dawn asked, looking surprised.  "I have made some bad decisions, maybe you'd be better off withou-"
"Horseshit."  Jack cut her off.  "I'm with you 'til the end now."  Jack spit out a bloody chunk of phlegm.  "I'd have done the same in your shoes, besides, I figure I owe ya."

I roll the normal post-battle recovery check, Jack recovers, but Tina never reappears.  The keeping it together roll was tough.  Dawn rolls 1d, versus 2d for Jack.  She gets 1 success, he gets 0.  At least they'll stick together for a bit now.  I roll to see if either of them loose rep, but they roll a 3 and 4 and don't drop.

Now they need to figure out where to go next.