Sunday, February 18, 2018

Shelter from the Storm

Traci sat in the gloom of early morning, the rhythmic breathing from Jack and Dawn the only sounds in the room.  She shifted in the chair slightly, glancing at the window facing the driveway, lost in the murky purple of the night.  It had been a long day and she longed for more sleep, but someone needed to keep watch.
“Oh Beckie.”  Traci whispered, once again feeling the pain of losing her closest friend.  “I wish you were here.”  Traci cried again, the loss still fresh and painful.  She watched the night as she remembered how Beckie was always on her side.  “What can I do?”
Traci spent hours looking and thinking of her situation.  As the world lightened, turning to deep blues before pre-dawn light began to return the world to color, Traci looked at the farm around her.  “I’m no farmer.”  She mumbled, thinking of all she had done to survive before.  Shivering at some of her memories, Traci worried for her future.
As the morning sun finally lit the bedroom, Jack and Dawn stirred from their sleep.  Traci yawned, asking “Well, what do we need to do first today?”
Early morning at the farm
It is morning of Day 67.  There are 6 zombies in the area and the ER is 2, with zombies appearing on a 6.  The group has decided to stay and recover in the farm they found the day previously.  This will be a modified secure the area scenario, they must successfully complete several tasks, and the time it takes to finish will impact the next scenario.
The task list:
1.       Secure the area: Four PEF markers are placed roughly 12” from each corner.  They will not move and need to be ‘checked’ by approaching with 6” of them.  They will be handled as a PEF when checked.
2.       Clear the house: It will take 8 turns of activity by one character in the house and another 8 turns moving to whatever location is chosen outside the house to clear the dead from the house.  The designated disposal location must be at least 8” from the house.
3.       Search the house: A thorough search of the house will allow for 10 search draws.  The group will automatically gain one luxury item each from completing the search, regardless of what, if anything, is found.
4.       Check the barn: The barn needs to be explored.  It will be treated as a normal empty building.  It will have 2 areas to check for occupants and searching.
5.       Generator: One unit of fuel needs to be transferred to the generator.  One character needs to pass a savvy check to start the generator correctly.  The generator when running rolls 3 dice for zombie spawns.  On any of the savvy checks, a result of all 6’s will cause a fire, with catastrophic results.   Three savvy checks by characters within 4” of the generator will reduce the noise output and reduce zombie spawning by 1 die for each 2d success.
6.       Water: One character needs to pass two savvy checks to get fresh water running in the house.  As a bonus, a third check will give hot water as well.
7.       Check the jeep: The jeep needs to be searched for a total of 4 turns (1 character for 4 turns, 2 for 2 turns, etc.).  Once searched, each character gets a number of chances to roll a 9+ on a d6+rep to gain insight on the jeep’s origin.
8.       Stage the car: The groups car needs to be parked somewhere, this will be its default position in future scenarios at this farm.
9.      Barricade the house: There are 4 windows (DV0) and 2 doors (DV1) to be barricaded.  Per the normal rules, these can be improved by spending 1 turn working on them.

This is going to be a busy day.  There is a chance that they manage to get everything done in the morning, or this could drag out all day.  To simulate this, each time doubles come up for initiative; it will signal a time change is imminent.  D6 turns after the doubles, the time will change.  This cannot happen on the first turn, nor can it happen on the turn following a time change.  Instead of setting a number of turns or playing until I’m done, I will play with a 60 minute (real time) time limit.  At one hour, I will call the game and evaluate the success/failure.  It should keep me moving!

There are separate rewards for each task:
1.       Required for victory.
2.       + 1 success on Keeping it together rolls while in the area.
3.       + 1 success on next meet and greet.
4.       Required for victory.
5.       + 1 success on Keeping it together rolls while in the area.
6.       + 1 (+2 if hot water) success on Keeping it together rolls while in the area. 
7.       + 1 success on next meet and greet.
8.       No additional bonus.
9.    No additional bonus.

If either 1 or 4 is not completed successfully, the scenario will be a failure, and the group will need to find a new place to try and rest.

"Let's start with cleaning house."  Dawn said as the group finished their breakfast of canned fruit and crackers.  "We'll dump the bodies in the field behind the silo."
Jack nodded, brushing crumbs from his mouth.  "Sounds good, this place is already stating to smell from those things."  Rubbing his nose and grimacing at the smell.  "I'll check the genny when I can also."

I figure they are starting in the house, they all might as well grab a dead zombie and get the clearing started.  They move out of the house, Traci not quite keeping up with the other two on the second turn.
Dawn and Jack dump the first two bodies
One of the nearby zombies manage to get to Dawn on their turn.
Dawn faces her first zombie of the day
Dawn finishes off the zombies and Traci moves up to dump her first body off.  Things are going well enough, and then I get my first doubles.  The morning goes by quickly!
Traci drops off her first
There's not a penalty for moving through the day for this scenario, but if gets dark that will limit visibility.  I get very lucky with the random event from the doubles!
Well that is a great development!
This effectively makes shooting free, no chance of zombies appearing.  This will make things much easier, and move faster.
Zombies close in
The zombies get a free turn and close on Traci and Dawn.  The next turn, Dawn runs around the tires and checks the first PEF.  Traci runs back to the house, she and Jack will both be cleaning out the house.
Dawn checks the PEF
The PEF is nothing, and the next turn, Dawn charges the zombies closing in on the designated dumping ground for the dead.
Dawn attacks the zombie
Jack runs out and dumps a body and the next turn, the zombies go first.  Two charge Dawn but she handles them easily, shooting one and taking the last down in melee.
Dawn handles two zombies as Jack dumps a body
The zombies go first the next turn, I added a shot of the timer as it's been a quick 15 minutes.  I still need three PEFs and the Barn checked.  Luckily there is only one zombie left on the table.
One quarter of the way done
Dawn leveled her pistol at the undead farmhand's head.  Squeezing off a shot, she watched it slump to the ground, dead.  Jack flashed a "thumb's up" as he ran back into the house.  Traci hauled another body to the field, dumping before heading back herself.  The noon sun was getting hot, the June day feeling very summer like.
"I'm checking the barn!"  Dawn yelled at Traci before turning and jogging towards the structure.
Dawn checks the second PEF
The PEF increases the ER by 1, now it is 3.  Otherwise, nothing...
Dawn enters the barn
Inside the barn was dim and stuffy.  Boxes and sacks were seemingly stacked haphazardly around the floor, creating different areas.  Dawn cautiously moved through the barn, looking at the various tools and parts scattered around.  A small scuffing sound brought her alert and as she rounded a small stack of barrels, a middle aged man with a rifle huddled against the wall.
"I ain't lookin for any trouble."  He said with a drawl.  "Just let me walk away and we won't have any problems."
Dawn stayed guarded, but relaxed her aim.  "No trouble.  We're clearing out the farm to stay for a bit.  My name's Dawn."
"Victor."  Came the reply.  "I ain't stickin around here.  I'm moving north, last I 'eard the guvment had some safe spots up near the border.  They say the dead freeze, so I'm counting on winter."  Victor relaxed, shouldering his rifle and slinging a pack.  Picking up an axe, he added "If you're interested, y'all can come with me."
Dawn shook her head, and answered "No, we've got friends east of here.  We're heading there."
Dawn meets Victor
Dawn finds one area empty, and a survivor in the second.  He is Rep 4, armed with a bolt action rifle.  He scores 4 passes and Dawn only 3 in the meet and greet.  Darn, another set of hands would have been helpful!  He will leave the area over the next few turns, not a threat and adding nothing to the teams successes.
Dawn moves out as Victor leaves

Dawn jogged through the fields, moving to check out a car wreck along the nearby road.  She heard Jack working on the generator, judging by the obscenities he was using, it wasn't going well.  Traci was dragging the last body out of the house.  Dawn checked the sky, clouds were moving in from the west, threatening the summery afternoon with rain.  Dawn shook her head and moved on towards the road.
Dawn checks the third PEF at the halfway point
At the half time mark, Dawn checks the third PEF and finds another 'something out there' and the ER moves up to 4.  There is one final PEF to check, just down the road from her position.  Traci hauls out the final zombie and moves to help Jack with the generator.  Each success (up to 3) they make after the generator is started reduces the zombie spawning from it by 1 (at 3 it becomes 0).
Jack gets the generator running as Traci dumps the last body
Things are going pretty well.  Dawn just has one final PEF to check and I will have gotten everything done for success.  Traci and Jack continue to work on the generator, I'd like to get that sound reduced for any future scenario here.
The last PEF
Sergeant David Collins checked his M-4 once again.  He looked at the rest of his 'squad' of armed survivors from the base.  They found the missing scavenger jeep at this farm, but several strangers were here.  There was plenty of fresh blood around, and plenty of dead zeds.  He felt uneasy, this could be trouble.  "Stay ready, we'll see if they stay separated."  He whispered to the former civilians.
As they watched, one woman made her way towards them, walking along the road.  She was cautious, but not very wary David thought.  Looking at her weapons, he was impressed - she clearly was ready for the undead, but maybe not the living.  "When she gets close, follow my lead, we'll see what they're made of."
Dawn walked along the road, her pistol and machete ready and her SMG slung on her back.  She was worried at the gathering storm clouds, that may be a major storm about to hit them.  Time to check the fence area...
"DOWN!  Throw down your weapons!" David yelled as his group sprang up from the culvert they were hunkered down in.  He watched the woman freeze, but she didn't drop her gun.  "Fire!" He yelled...
Dawn finds 5 gang members!
Well, *$%#&!  Dawn triggers the last PEF and it is a contact.  Of course its gangers, and I get 5 of them!  The leader is rep 5, armed with an assault rifle.  I decide he is another deserter and is also protected.  The rest of group are all rep 3, but one is armed with a shotgun and the others with pistols.  Of course the meet and greet ends up going to a 'walk the walk'.  At least Dawn pulls out a ton of successes in that!
Twenty minutes to go and a gang to fight
As gunfire erupts, Dawn shoots and hits the leader and the female ganger next to him.  She gets a killed outright result on the leader (rolled a 1 for result on her BAP) and knocked down on teh woman, who only passes 1d and is out of the fight.
Dawn shoots 2
The return fire is tough.  The two gangers with pistols manage to miss outright on all of their shots!  The shotgun is a different story.  He get 2 hits, one is an outright kill.  Luckily she has Hard as Nails, and suffers only a second knock down.  Dawn passes both knock down checks with 2d each and gets to carry on.  her body armor and rep of 5 have carried her through some amazing situations.
Dawn is knocked down, but not out
Traci and Jack both snapped up and turned at the sound of gunfire.  "Dawn was over there!"  Traci yelled, sprinting for the end of the house and towards the chatter of gunshots.
"Go! I'm right behind ya!"  Jack yelled as he grabbed his SMG and ran towards the sound, a few steps behind Traci.
Fifteen minutes left and Traci wins the insight check!
The gangers pass a man down check, sticking around.  Running up, Traci wins the insight check and takes aim at the only ganger who can return fire, the man with a shotgun.  She gets two hits, knocking him down.  He passes 2d on his first check, 1d on his second and goes out of the fight.
Another ganger down
Jack runs up onto the porch of the house, aiming down at the last two gang member.  He spreads his shots across both (he wins the in sight check as he has them out ranged) and gets one hit on the second ganger, knocking him out of the fight.
Jack takes aim
Somehow the final ganger decides to stick it out.  Dawn wins initiative, and shoots her down.
The gang is gone.
Whew.  Jack jogs back to the generator and Traci moves to check the jeep.  Dawn is going to loot the dead and I'll wait for Jack and Traci help deal with the OOF gangers.
Time is running out...
I have less than ten minutes, so I start to move quickly.  (I have fewer pictures, they aren't interesting anyway.)  Jack finishes off the generator, getting the third success needed.  Doubles come up again, and a storm is about to hit.  Great, it's getting dark and raining!
Jack and Traci check the jeep
Jack rifled through the jeep, turning out bags and opening the storage boxes in the back.  "It seems pretty empty to me!"  He said, flustered at the lack of anything useful.
"Look at this."  Traci held up a key with a large plastic oblong tag.  "It says Twi Lite Motel.  Seems to be in Bloomer."  She read the key fob as she looked at it.  "Maybe that's where these guys are from?"
Jack moves the jeep to the garage
Jack and Traci check out the jeep and get a clue to the home base of the gang.  Jack takes the jeep to the garage and Traci moves to help Dawn with the gang members that are down.
Under five minutes left, the downed gangers are being gathered at the house.
Dawn drags the last KO'd ganger to the house and Jack and Traci start searching the interior of the house.  Dawn re-positions the car and heads into the house to work on the water.  Not much to see for pictures, but she manages to get the three required successes and the group has hot water to enjoy!  The last actions are barricading each door to DV2.  Time runs out before they get any more done, but at least nobody can just wander in!
Time's up!
Searching the house yielded some interesting items.  From searching, they get 3 units of food, a unit of fuel, a bow and a SAW.  Per the scenario, they also get 3 luxury items.  From the gangers, they pick up another assault rifle, a shotgun and three pistols, plus one set of body armor.  They also have three prisoners...

As the storm lashed the house with rain a rumble of thunder shook the walls.  Jack turned a hall light on and off a couple of times, smiling at the electricity.  "We'll have power for tonight at least!"  He said, triumphant.
"I'm looking forward to getting cleaned up."  Traci said, carrying an armload of clothes towards the washer and dryer they found in the utility room.  "I'd feel better without the guests."
Dawn sat watching the captured gangers, tied hand and foot to each other.  They were sitting on a couch in the living room of the house, each hurting, but recovering from their wounds.  "Hopefully they stay guests and we don't have to do anything...uncivilized."

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Weary from the Long Road

Dawn glanced at the fuel gauge, watching it drop below a quarter tank.  Rumbling along the back country road, she continued to dodge wrecks, downed trees and other debris.  The late afternoon sun was casting longer shadows, night would soon be falling.
"We should stop soon."  Jack said from the passenger seat.  He had been napping on and off through the day as Dawn drove.  Traci in the back of the wagon sniffled as she looked despondently out the side window.
"I'm hoping we can find a farm house along here.  It should have a well so we can get some water."  Dawn said, looking ahead as she steered around a flipped over pickup truck.
"Sounds like a plan."  Jack said and winced as he checked his SMG.  "My side is killing me.  Remind me not to get shot again."
Dawn gave a short chuckle, slowing the car down.  "We should find a place we can hole up for a while.  We all need to recover."
Dawn finds a lone farm

Dawn has traveled quite a ways from the gang ambush, counting as having traveled to a new area, their car is down to 2 units of fuel.  Jack and Traci are wounded, and will be operating at -1 Rep for the game.  Dawn is tired, and will be at -1 Rep due to lack of sleep.  Once she is shot at, charged, or physically attacked in any manner, she will revert to her full Reputation until the end of the scenario.  Very tight ammo rules are in effect, but normal searching rules (I will draw from the risks and rewards deck).

It is afternoon of day 66, if doubles are rolled for activation, d6 turns later evening will start.  This is a rural area, and away from any urban centers, so the ER starts at 2 with zombies appearing on a 6+.  Success for this scenario is exposing all PEFs, checking each room of the house and dispatching any zombies in the structure and no active zombies within 6" of the house.

As a bonus, there is a generator (small black shipping container) and a propane tank (white tank) that can be checked for fuel, as if they were vehicles.  The propane tank will only work for the house, but will give a +1 success for 'keeping it together' for Dawn.  The generator can be fueled for use, which will give our group some creature comfort and maybe useful...

The game starts with the group driving into the area.  There are nine zombies on the table with three PEFs.  One of the PEFs is in the house, due to the peaked roof, it will be on the porch.
Dawn turns onto the driveway
Dawn slowed the car down, turning to squeeze between the gate and wrecked pickup that partially blocked her approach.  Sound from the rumbling car engine attracted the undead, who began to shambled towards the sound, seeking prey...

The first couple of turns are pretty uneventful, with Dawn driving towards the house, zombies closing in on the sound from the car.  A few more zombies appear, surprisingly, the PEF in the house leaves the building and moves towards the car.

Zombies close in
Dawn gunned the car down the gravel driveway, watching for any movement from the house.  After the gang ambush, she was nervous at being trapped in another attack.
"What was that!"  Jack exclaimed from the passenger seat.  He twisted in his seat, looking back towards the road.  "I swear I saw zombies in the trees!"
"Calm down.  you're just tired."  Traci said, sounding worn out.  "Let's just get this done so we can rest."
Is that something in the trees?
Another PEF emerges from the house
On the second turn, I expose two PEFs - both turn out to be 'something out there' and the ER moves to 4.  That's about the best I could hope for!  Dawn drives to the end of the drive and everyone gets out to start facing the zombies.
Stopping the car and start shooting!
Dawn stopped the car, turning off the engine.  Stepping out into the lat afternoon sun, she drew her pistol and shot at the nearest zombies, killing one as her boots crunched on the loose gravel.  A short burst from Traci's SMG made echoing claps from the house as she killed a zombie near a genertaor shack.
"I'll check the barn and pickup."  Jack said, checking his weapon and pointing towards the parked truck.
"Just be careful!"  Dawn yelled, as she drew her machete, facing down the mass of zombies moving up the drive.
Zombies shamble towards the parked car
Things are going pretty well, and that's always when it comes apart.  Jack moves towards the barn, shooting at the two zombies near the pickup truck.  He kills one, but runs out of ammo.  Dawn moves forward and shoots one more zombie, there are quite a few gathering along the driveway.  Traci searches the jeep, finding keys in it and 2 units of fuel in the tank.  Maybe things are going to keep going well...
Jack gets mixed results
Zombies all around!
Dawn heard Jack swear and hurriedly work on reloading his SMG.  Zombies growled and surged forward, trying to get to the living.  Dawn aimed and fired twice, watching with some satisfaction when one zombie's head exploded in a brown and black muck.  Her satisfaction was short lived as the horde slammed into her and she found herself fighting for her life!
Dawn is overwhelmed!
Slashing with her machete, Dawn swung at heads and arms and worked hard to keep the zombies at bay.  She struck hard on one zombie's head, smashing it open.  Suddenly she felt a hard pull and shooting pain shot through her right arm.  Shaking it loose, she struck again with the machete, kicking the legs out from under another zombie.  Dawn kept fighting, she would worry about her wound if she survived...
Dawn and Traci thin out the horde
Yikes!  Dawn fights a melee with seven zombies.  She ties the first round, wins by one on the second and looses by one on the third!  The combat seems to go forever, but Dawn eventually kills the zombies.  What a first melee combat to return to the campaign.  When she activates next, I roll a six for infection, and Dawn is luckily not infected.  She and Traci shoot up some of the remaining zombies in the open and Traci runs out of ammo!
Jack faces two zombies
Jack faces down two zombies, and manages to kill them both.  Time to get the group all back together I think!
Zombies keep coming
All the shooting keeps bringing more zombies, so I decide to have Dawn take down the nearest zombie in melee the next turn.  One on one is no problem and she kills it easily.  Both Traci and Jack find more ammo, but will run out if they suffer a second out of ammo this game.  Jack decides to check the pickup truck as he moves by it.
Jack checks the truck as he moves towards the house
Jack walked towards the rusty tan pickup truck as Dawn finished killing a zombie near the beat-up jeep.  "Hopefully this rust bucket has some gas."  He mumbled as he looked in the passenger window.
New friends?
Suddenly two men in camouflage uniforms sprang up from the back of the truck.  Both brandishing assault rifles, these looked frightened and unkempt.  They looked around the yard and one of the men barked "Throw down your weapons!  This is an army outpost!"
Jack looked incredulous at the pair.  He laughed as one of the men aimed his rifle at Jack.  "You ain't no soldiers!  Even if you are... or were, look around, the government is gone!"
The man at the end of the truck aimed his rifle at Traci.  "I'm not telling you again.  Throw down your weapons!"
Jack narrowed his eyes, bringing his weapon up, he growled "Not today."
In Sight checks
Checking the truck we find two 'military' occupants.  I check to see if they are 'survivors' or 'gangers' as we are well past the time for police/military encounters.  They turn out to gangers, but I keep the military feel - they are deserters or survivors from a nearby military outfit.  We go to in sight checks as they choose to walk the walk...
Dawn shoots the first deserter
Dawn saw the ragged men stand up, and rather than wait for the inevitable, she took aim and fired.  She saw one figure drop into the truck as Jack fired his SMG at close range into the other.
Jack finishes off the last deserter
That goes well, the gangers are killed and don't even get a shot off.  Even with body armor (following the deserter theory) they don't last.  Traci and Jack move to finish searching the truck and loot the bodies while Dawn finishes off the zombies in melee.
Dawn charges the first pair
The last zombies fall
Having cleared off the zombies, I head for the propane and generators, might as well check them for fuel.
Dawn finds the tank has some fuel left!
The generator is empty
Well, at least one of them has fuel!  They can use some gas from one of the vehicles to get some power and get the house livable again.  With the propane, they can have hot showers and cook at least!  Time to clear the house.
Is anyone home?
Dawn entered the darkened house, the sun outside low on the horizon.  She could hear shuffling from nearby rooms.  She waited just inside the door as Jack and Traci stepped in beside her, both with their SMGs ready.  "We'll go room by room.  Check the corners and under furniture, closets and anywhere these things can lurk."
"Sun's going down fast.  We're gonna run out of light pretty soon."  Jack mentioned.
Traci glanced at the family pictures on the wall.  "Looks like they had a pretty large family.  Let's hope they weren't all home when this hit."

I am using a floor plan I had made for a previous game.  Each room has a chance for zombies, and I will roll for zombies from gunfire, this will replace any zombies being found from the searching.
They find one zombie right inside!
Dawn finds two more just down the hall
Traci finishes off the last one upstairs.
The sun had set, deep purple shadows were swallowing up the farmland around the house.  The silence that had been shattered earlier by the fighting was settling back, a quiet of the country coupled with the end of civilization.  Dawn stood in the front door, watching as Traci and Jack unloaded supplies from the car.
"We'll stay upstairs and sort out the house in the morning."  She said as Jack came back in the house.
Nodding Jack agreed.  "Sounds good to me.  It seems safe enough."
Traci paused on the porch, looking down the drive.  "I still think something is out there."
"I'll take a quick look before we loose all our light."  Dawn said, checking her pistol and machete.  "Just get upstairs and I'll see you soon."
Dawn chases down the last PEF
Yeah, I forgot about the last PEF, so Dawn heads out on her own to deal with it.  It is now evening, with vision restrictions for night kicking in.  I figure this is the easiest way to finish this off.
Dawn finds a lone zombie
Finding one zombie, Dawn finishes it off easily.  She walks back to the house, and we finish the scenario with a win. 
Dawn returns to the house
Whew.  Getting back to the campaign was rough.  I was happy it ended well, the keeping it together goes good, I don't have to check for either Traci or Jack after the next game.  Now they just need to get healed up and find some more fuel to try and get back to Ella's family farm...