Monday, March 17, 2014

Won't You Be My Neighbor (Part 1)

Dawn sunlight was streaming through the cheap yellow curtains, giving the family room a buttery glow.  Mark stretched out from his sleep on the carpeted floor.  He was disheveled, but cleaner than yesterday.  There wasn't much in the house, but the showers worked.
Gathering with the others in the kitchen, the group had a short breakfast of peanut butter and crackers.  "We need to check the neighbors out.  They will see us here eventually, and we don't need the cops coming here looking for looters."  Mark said between bites.
"That's a good idea.  Maybe some folks will be willing to trade for some stuff.  At the very least, some information."  Cindy said to the group.  "Hopefully the neighborhood isn't hostile to newcomers.  Before... whatever this is, this was a great place to live."
"Well, let's see if anyone wants to be our neighbor!"  Allen chuckled.  "Its early, but some people are bound to be up by now."

The group has found a house for sale that was sitting empty.  It had nothing of value, as far as loot.  The utilities are still on (I am rolling each day - pass 2d means things on, after day 10, if they go off they will stay off) so at least everyone could get cleaned up, and get plenty of water.  The local neighborhood consists of 6 other homes:
Pleasant Hills Neighborhood
The scenario takes place in the morning of Day 4.  The goal will be to visit each house, meet the occupants and not have anyone die.  Occupants for each house will be generated when contact is made.  A simple 2d check will determine if anyone answers the door.  2d = answer, 1d = no answer, but sounds of occupants, 0d = no response.  To determine if the house is occupied, I will roll 2d6, a result of 5+ indicates it is.  Then I will roll 1d6 for the type : 1:gang, 2-5:citizens, 6:zeds; these are all generated as if they were PEFs.  Its only day 4 (seems like it should be later!) so the law is still active, and will respond in 1/2d6 turns if any shots are fired.

A successful scenario will be contacting each house and nobody being killed.  As a bonus, I am placing newspapers at various places (including 2 at each house) any team member can try and pass 2d and pick up one of the papers.  If I can collect 6 different papers I will get a free piece of loot (random draw).  Just something to make things interesting.

Board set up has 5 vehicles (all wrecks) and 6 zombies.  I am only using 2 PEFs, this is supposed to be a quiet suburb.  The encounter rating is 2, but random events will occur only on double 6's.  No zombies will be attracted by gunfire, they will only appear from the PEFs or from finding them in homes (or cars - they will be searchable as well.)

Okay, that about covers the rules I am using.

A new day dawns
"Let's check that blue house Dawn."  Allen said as he jogged across the street.  Dawn quickly took the lead as they moved to the house.  Her twisted ankle was feeling better.

Zed comes towards the group
 To start I had the team break into three groups.  First was Allen and Dawn, second was Cindy and Ben and finally Mark was on his own.  I planned to use Mark as a 'fire brigade' supporting each group as needed.  I want to avoid shooting if possible, as dealing with the law will be difficult.

Allen and Dawn trigger the first PEF, which increases the ER by one to 3.  The next turn Team mark wins initiative and Mark charges into the mass of zombies.  I want to try and do this quietly, and this fits in perfectly so far.
Letting out a growl, Mark charged into the mass of zombies.  Mark quickly battered down one rotten corpse, ducking under the clumsy swipe of the second.  With a brutal back swing, Mark crushed the skull of the second zombie like a hollow egg shell.  The third zombie pressed forward, its eternal hunger driving it forward.  With a sharp crack, Mark smashed the last zombie's head to the pavement.
"We'll check the house!"  Cindy cheered as she and Ben ran past Mark as he caught his breath.  "It looks clear from here!"
Hey! The street is clear!
Allen and Dawn reached the front door of the first house.  Knocking gained no response.  Unable to tell if anyone was home, they tried the door and found it locked.  Repeated knocking still brought no response.
Nobody home?
Dawn and Allen searched for clues or news, but found nothing useful (only one success each.)  Still no sign of occupants.  They consider breaking down the door, but that doesn't seem very neighborly.

A hollow electronic two tone doorbell rang as Cindy pushed the button.  The pad of footsteps came to the door.  A small face peeked out the side light next to the door.  "Hey there!  Are your parents home?"  Cindy waved at the child as a thump sounded upstairs.
The sudden crash of broken windows and the sound of raining glass shattered the quiet.  The dull thump of something heavy landing next to Cindy startled her.  Disoriented, she didn't realize the zombies had broken out the side lights as well.  Five zombies began pawing at Ben and Cindy.
"Gahh!  Look out Ben!"  Cindy cried as the first zombie staggered upright and lunged at her.  Without thinking she fired off a burst from her SMG, spraying bullets into the roof of the front porch.
Zombie Family!
Checking the house resulted in 5 zombies.  I rolled a surprise, and Cindy and Ben both lost by 2 dice.  the front door was closed and locked, so I ruled zed had just crashed the windows.  Normally things would move straight to melee, but I gave the survivors a charge reaction roll.  Cindy got to fire, and missed horribly.  Ben didn't even get a chance to shoot.

Melee started out very scary.  Cindy got an evenly matched on the first zed, with 4 successes each.  She managed to knock down the other two, but didn't get any kills.  Ben killed one zed and fought to an evenly matched with the other.

The next turn started up and the team gained initiative.  Mark charged in and took out two zombies, Cindy won her melee against the last zombie she faced, and Ben knocked down his last zombie.  When the zombies activated, Ben finished off the last zed in melee.
Well, it seems
The last zombie kicked a tinkle of glass across the front steps.  Mark heard the distant wail of sirens.  "Time to go!  Back to the house!"  With a push, Cindy and Ben started running for their house.  Allen and Dawn were already ahead of them, dodging up the drive towards the front door.  More zombies were shuffling towards the house, with two slowly moving through the trees in the back yard.
As Dawn ran through the yard, a sudden thumping sound echoed through the neighborhood.  A black helicopter flew overhead, and the zombie in the street stumbled back to the intersection.  
"Let's get inside!"  Dawn waved towards Cindy as the sirens got closer.  "Head for the back!  The cops might not see you!"
Keep Moving!

Two squad cars roared down Springfield Road.  The lead car clipped the zombie in the intersection, not even pausing.  The police continued through the neighborhood...
The penalty for jay DEATH!

So I rolled double 6, and drew a black helicopter random event.  It moved only one zombie (the others were beyond 12" from the nearest survivor).  As the police entered the board, they failed to activate for three turns.  Ridiculous!  I figured the cars would follow the road, not just drive forward and crash.  I know the rules say they can turn to avoid obstacles, etc, so I figured this was okay.

Meanwhile, the team entered the backyard, with Mark charging the zombies.  Once again, he pretty much destroyed the zombies without much trouble.
There should be a grill out here.
Mark slammed the last zombie to the ground.  The police sirens were echoing around the house, and he could hear the squeal of the cars on the road.  Quickly turning and running, Mark dove through the back door, kicking it closed behind him.  "I don't think they saw me!"

The police rolled down the street, just missing the wrecks and finally activated long enough to stop outside the house where shots were fired.  Four policemen jumped out to investigate the scene.
The police have arrived.
So now what?

I stopped at this point, I have no interest in fighting the police, it won't end well.

My plan for the next step will be to continue the same scenario - still have to visit each house, etc.  However, now I have to get the successes on the news (6 different locations, pass 2d) or Mark will have a -1d on the keeping it together roll.  I will move the time to daytime, same day.  Instead of any starting zombies, I will have 3 PEFs, and the first doubles roll under the ER (which will start at 3) will cause 1+d6 zombies to enter from a random board edge.


  1. Great batrep. I'm glad I found you. I'll spend the next few days trawling through your back issues. Interesting times to come for that gang. Keep it up.

    1. Glad you dropped by! Hopefully you find the story developing well, with any luck it will continue for some time...

  2. Awesome stuff and I loved the little extras such as the newspapers, very cool indeed

    1. Thanks! I have a rather plain board to play on (for now) and I had the thought of "newspaper confetti" to help simulate general debris/junk. I am going to experiment more with it I think.

  3. A very interesting scenario, a breath of fresh air from the usual "we walk up the house, kill the zombies, loot the place and head off to the safety of the edge of the table" that I seen a lot of.
    I really like you gritty approach "realistic" approach to the apocalypse - with your survivors not having become homicidal maniacs iin the first week.
    I too have found issues with FFO's vehicle rules (or lack of them) .

    A cracking read, great set-up and storyline, very impressive and inspiring.

    1. I'm glad you approve Z. I am trying to keep the apocalypse somewhat personal for now with this group. Hopefully that keeps it going.

      Vehicle rules with the activations are difficult. Not sure how I would really change them. Maybe as the campaign progresses I will get the chance to experiment with them more.

  4. Wow, it almost looks like a trap. Almost the moment your characters step out of doors there is a black helicopter overhead and multiple police cruisers on the streets!

    I like your neighbourhood as well. I can see that the components are simple, but the way they've been combined is very effective.

    1. I hadn't thought of that, although a mysterious helicopter and sudden police response...Hmmm it does sound like a conspiracy of some sort. Maybe that will make an interesting story element.

      I have found a bunch of the plastic doll houses. Some I have as ruins, and the others I like to represent the generic subdivisions in suburban America. The backs still flip open, so I can use the limited interiors if I feel like it.

      They are handy if you can find them cheap.

  5. Very nice batrep dude. Liking the setup and the house rules. Cool story to keep running with. Good luck with the rest.

    1. Thanks, I am glad you like the setup. Hopefully the group continues to entertain.

  6. Great twist! I'm looking forward to what will happen with the police. Will the survivors exit back door and run for their lives? Much drama! :D

    1. With some luck, there won't be any problems with the authorities. It's still early and the apocalypse will be keeping the law busy (hopefully...)

  7. Nice game report and a cool idea for a scenario. Looking forward to the next instalment.

    1. Thanks! I am hoping to have a few games in this neighborhood. We will see how it works out.

  8. Very nice report. I love the storyline and real behavior of the characters (not breaking in, avoiding fight with police). Hopefully they will be able to build a safe place for the next weeks of game time.

    1. Thanks for reading! Hopefully the story stays interesting.

      We'll see if they can make this place safe enough to stay in, at least temporarily.