Friday, July 4, 2014

Riverside Rest

"I saw people over there, they don't look too bad."  Allen coughed as he gestured towards the river ahead.  "I know its a risk, hell, that ambush we went through was only an hour or so east of here.  This could be home base for that gang..."  He coughed, wiping away blood.  "The bridge checkpoint is open, maybe these people can help."
"Besides, you need to rest, and we have no idea where anything approaching 'safe' can be found."  Mark said, rather grim.  "With all the trees its hard to tell if those are people, or the creepers.  We need to be careful as we approach."
"I don't like the idea of going in there."  Horace said flatly.  "If they are good people, why are they here?"
"Have you looked around?"  Dawn asked incredulously "The safest places are away from cities.  This could be perfect - they have a river and lake nearby, plenty of cover with the trees, and not an easy way to approach."
"I know, I just don't like it.  Our luck hasn't been that good, not in a while."  Horace replied.  "Still, it would be nice to have some new people to talk to for a change."
"We'll be careful.  Keep your eyes open, and if there is trouble we'll fight our way out."  Mark said.  "Horace, drive us in there."

The group is crossing the Wisconsin River, in central Wisconsin.  They have avoided one voluntary encounter, but have an involuntary encounter at the river bridge.  Rather than set up a standard encounter, I have set up a series of PEF markers, and as the group approaches each one (drawing line of sight within 12") they have a basic check to pass, which will help decide what the actual encounter is (good/neutral/bad).  At each point I will also roll to spawn models, but they will not trigger any tests until the last marker is activated.
Starting setup
Examples of Bad/Neutral/Good cards (these are examples, I have 5 different ones of each category.)
They need some work...
The basic chart for rolling is here:
So I made things a bit more complicated than they needed to be, but its all for fun.  I played around with the cards and the chart a bit, and I plan to reuse this system for future encounters.  It all makes sense as the game unfolds.

It is morning, in a rural area.  No PEFs or zombies start on the board.  Zombies will only appear after doubles have been rolled to start the turn, and then on a 6.  That can change depending on what the final marker reveals for the scenario as well.  Allen is active, but is only a rep 3 instead of rep 4 for this scenario.
The group enters and sees the first marker
"Well, it seems quiet."  Dawn offered as the SUV turned into the corner.  "I don't see anybody yet."
"Just go through the cones."  Mark said to Horace.  "We will head to the house."

The group passes 1D, and discards one each of good and bad cards.  They pass 2D and nothing spawns.
Turning the corner, they see marker 2
Horace guided the SUV around the wrecked truck.  Slowly driving down the road, Horace avoided the barricades in the road.  "It seems someone is trying to discourage visitors."  
"The trees are getting thicker here, its hard to see anything."  Mark replied.

Again the group passes 1D.  They also pass 2D for the spawn check, and nothing appears.
Marker number 3
Everyone was getting nervous, the silent trees could be hiding anything.  As the SUV turned through the T-intersection, a figured slowly emerged from the trees.
"I think I saw someone along the road when we turned!"  Allen said, a bit shocked after not seeing anyone.  "I didn't get a good look, but I think he was armed."

This is getting crazy, again the group passes 1D, and 1D for the spawn.  This time 1 figure appears, an apparent ganger.
Moving towards number 4
"I Still don't see anyone, but I swear it feels like we're being watched."  Dawn said, checking her SMG.  "Maybe we should just get out of here."
"It's too late for that.  Turning around isn't an option, and backing up will be tough too."  Horace said, eying the road and parked trucks.  "This looks like someone is ready to roll out of here in a hurry if needed."

Marker 4 comes up, and the group passes 1D yet again.  They pass 1d for spawn, and another figure appears near the first ganger, this time a survivor.
A survivor joins the ganger
The final marker
The group moves forward and triggers marker 5.  This time they pass 0D, which means I either draw from the smallest deck (which is either the good or bad cards - both at 1 card) or combine the smallest and largest and draw.  With two decks the same size, I will roll to see which deck is the 'smallest'.  Randomly rolling, I will have to draw the Bad deck.  I choose to add the smallest and the largest and draw.  After shuffling, of course, I draw the remaining bad card anyway.
Well Great.
I roll a 6, so 10 more 'family' members spawn.  I get them into groups of three, just to make things easier to setup and control.  The Family members are all rep 3, with whatever the model is armed with, or a pistol.  There are a few exceptions - the survivor and the ganger are rep 4 (still armed as they appear) and the leaders - Mr. and Mrs. Evans are both rep 5 (and each armed with a BAP, and wearing body armor.)
The Family Appears
"It looks like a pretty big group."  Dawn said as figures came out of the house.  "Is that old guy waving us in?"
"I hope this isn't a trap."  Mark said, checking his pistol.
 Horace guided the SUV towards the end of the driveway.  The wheels crunched to a stop on the broken pavement, and everyone got out, approaching warily.
"Hello!  I am Greg Evens, this is my family retreat."  Gesturing around to the large house and docks.  "We've been trying to help folks who come by.  Is there anything you need or want to trade?" 
"Sorry if we don't just trust you folks right away."  Mark said, resting one hand on his holstered pistol.  "We have had some... unpleasant encounters recently."
The group meets the family

I used a standard meet and greet, and both sides scored 2 successes.  As the scenario starts to unfold, each time someone is split off from the group, or if the group member enters a different area (building or room, some of the road sections) they run a meet and greet, if they score more than the family, they figure out something is wrong.  How they react will depend on the situation.

"Oh my!  You look like you've been shot!"  The older woman said as she saw Allen.  "Please, let Doctor James help you!"
"I'll be fine."  Allen said through gritted teeth.  "I've had worse, and at least its not a bite."
"Nonsense!  Please, let the doctor treat you."  Greg said as he pulled out a walkie-talkie.  "Doc, you have a patient."  Without waiting for a response, he continued "Sandy, why don't you and the boys take our guest to Doc James."
"Well, if you have a doctor..."  Allen said, sounding exhausted.
"Allen, maybe we should stick together."  Horace said.
"Nah, I'll be right back.  He can patch me up and I'll be good to go."  Allen said and walked with the group into the house.

The group scored zero successes to three for the family.  Allen goes willingly with three family members into the house.
Allen has left
Leading Allen through the house
Allen walked into the house, facing stairs to the upper floor.  Sandy turned left through the dining room "We're going this way.  Are you holding up okay?"
"I'm fine.  The doc works in the back?"  Allen asked as he looked around the dinning room.
"We try to keep him safe, not many doctors out there!"  Sandy laughed.  "Besides, I think likes being close to the kitchen!"

Aww, come on!  Allen scored 1 success to 3 by the family with him.  He lets them lead him through the house to the basement stairs and down.  Meanwhile, outside things don't go any better...

"Say, its Dawn, right?  Why don't we join the other girls?"  Mrs Evans offered to Dawn.  "I'd love to hear about where you have been and what has happened to you all."  She began walking down the driveway.
"Sure, we can chat about our trip so far."  Dawn said as she walked along with the older woman.  As they walked away, another group of family members passed them, heading towards the house.
Mark and Horace stood chatting with Greg, discussing the food and fuel situation, not paying attention to the family members beginning to surround them.
Dawn wanders off
The group scores 1 success to 2 successes for the family.  Dawn moves down the road, and scores zero successes against 2 successes by the family members.  Apparently nobody has a clue!

Continuing the theme, the group separates further, but they still can't get anything better than even rolls.  Mark made 2 successes to 2 success for Greg (the Family leader.)  Dawn made 1 success to 2 as she is led towards a small stone building.
Dawn is led away
Still no idea
Allen walked through the kitchen, following Sandy down the stairs into the basement.  As they rounded the stairs into the dimly lit room, Allen sensed a problem.  "You guys keep your doctor in the basement?"
"It can be the safest place."  Sandy offered, turning to face Allen.  "Its nice and quiet as well."
Allen paled.  "So that's how it is..."
Allen finally senses a problem
Allen finally passes 2 compared to the 1 for the family.  Unfortunately he already has two models in melee distance, and they attack.  I rule Allen has been caught flat footed, and will count as unarmed for the first round of combat.  The family are attempting to capture, not kill at this point, so will try for non lethal attacks.
Allen rises to the occasion
Sensing the attack, Allen pivoted and shot out his good left arm.  He caught the first attacker just under the chin, snapping his head back with a crack.  The lifeless body hit the floor with a dull thud.  The second family member swung a bat at Allen, who managed to dodge the blow and throw a punch in return.
Sandy shook her head, pulled out her radio and broadcast one word.  "Bulldog."

Allen won the first combat 1 success to 0.  He then scored an obviously dead.  Apparently he has been saving his good rolls!  The second combat was evenly matched at 1 success each.  Sandy chose to alert the family that there is a problem in the basement.

With a crackle, the radio on Greg's belt came on and a woman's voice said "Bulldog."  Horace looked Greg in the eyes, and saw them change from friendly to cold.  For a brief moment, their eyes locked.  Horace knew everything had just changed.
"Mark, Take the left!"  Horace racked his shotgun and spun around.

The radio launches the groups into a showdown, and we do in sight tests.
Mark gets the drop on everyone
I get a little lucky on the in sight test.  Two members of the family scored zeroes, one of which is Greg (rep 5) which is a help.  Mark goes first, then Allen and the 'ganger'.  Two other members will go after that.

Mark wheeled around pulling out his pistol.  He saw one of the men raising his own pistol.  Without thinking, mark fired twice, watching his target drop to ground, yelling from two gut shots.
Mark shoots one
Horace leveled his shotgun on the family members.  He fired a blast from the large gun, and two members dropped from the shot tearing into their bodies. 
Horace evens the odds
Mark hits the ganger, but only stuns him.  Horace spreads his shots across the last two active members, and gets 2 kills.  The remaining family members pass 2D for the man down check.  Nobody else for the family will act in the in sight phase.

Dawn goes through an in sight test as well.  She is tied with one family member, and two of the three remaining will go after her.  They are spread out, so she will not be able to shoot at more than one at a time.

With an electronic crackle from the radio Dawn heard "Bulldog."  Everyone stopped moving, and she heard weapons being drawn.  "Just take it easy, dear."  Mrs Evans said, trying to sound calm.  "You don't need to worry over those nasty men any longer.  We will love to have you join us!"
"I don't think so."  Dawn said and raised her SMG.
Dawn is in a bad place
Dawn fired at the teenager aiming a pistol at her.  She squeezed off a burst, and saw the girl flop over onto the ground.  At the same time she felt a bullet hit her in the chest, knocking her down.
This can only be trouble
Laying on the ground, Dawn braced herself for the shooting she knew was coming.  Shots barked out from one pistol, bullets danced across the pavement, but missed Dawn.
Shots from Mrs. Evans miss

Dawn's luck doesn't hold
Dawn was knocked down from the first shot, passing 2D, and Carrying On.  Two family members continued to shoot at her, with the first, Mrs. Evans missing completely.  The second family member managed to hit Dawn, but only got a knocked down result - this time Dawn only passed 1D, and goes Out of the Fight.

The next turn Mark gets initiative, and he and Horace go on the offensive.
Mark confronts their attacker
Mark turned back to Greg, the older man had produced a pistol and was aiming at Mark.  "If only you had joined us, we would have welcomed you!"  Menacingly Greg continued, "Nobody harms my family and lives."
Mark's gun barked twice and Greg's head snapped back, spraying blood into the trees.  "Mine too."
Mark kills the leader of the family
With their leader down, the last standing family member decides to runaway - he passes 0D for the man down check.  Horace decides to check on Dawn, and finish off the stunned attacker.
Horace starts his run
Horace shows no mercy
Horace has Mrs Evans in his sights
After Mark's shot, Horace took off at a run.  "I'm going after Dawn!"  He ran towards the last attacker, struggling to get up.  Almost casually, Horace crushed the mans throat under his boot, killing him.  Boots crunching on the pavement, Horace ran back up the driveway.
"Horace!  Wait!"  Mark yelled as he watched Horace run towards the other group.
Horace paused in the road, and fired his shotgun.  Mrs. Evans dropped to the ground, blood pooling around her crumpled form.
Horace kills Mrs. Evans
Horace moved up, triggering another in sight test.  He won it with 3 successes to 2 for Mrs. Evans.The other models were out of range, so didn't matter.  He got two hits, one of which resulted in an obviously dead.  I was hoping the resulting man down check would see at least one of the remaining models to runaway - but they both passed 2D.
The remaining family members move up and attack
Horace lowered the shotgun, watching Greg's wife crumple to the ground.  He could see Dawn laying in the road, unconscious or dead.  "Dawn!  NO!"  he cried.
The pop-zing of pistol shots rang out around Horace and he realized the last two family members were moving forward and shooting at him.  Looking ahead, he saw a woman sling a chainsaw and pull out a shotgun.  The barrel looked like a tunnel as he watched her take aim.
"Mark, there's still two here!"  Horace shouted just before the shotgun fired.
Horace falls
The 'survivor' fired a shotgun, got two hits, one of which was an obviously dead.  Horace dropped to the ground, dead.  That left only Mark alive outside the house...
Allen holds on in the basement
Sandy, the family member charges into the melee with Allen.  He manages an evenly matched with the original member, and knocks out Sandy - She goes Out of the Fight.

The next turn, Team Mark gets initiative, and Mark moves up, triggering an in sight test.
Mark wins the test
Mark heard Horace yell out there were still two left before he thumped to the ground.  "Horace!  Hang on!"  Mark charged forward with his pistol at the ready.  He rounded the SUV and saw two family members taking cover behind a fence.  Running forward Mark started firing.
Mark kills one family member
The last family member missed her shot, but made the man down check with 2D.  Mark finished moving to the yellow SUV, taking cover for the shootout.
Close range shoot out
The family member shooting missed Mark.  I figure that gives Mark the advantage for next turn.  In basement, Allen fights to another evenly matched - three turns in a row now!
Still fighting
Team Mark wins initiative, and Mark wastes no time in killing the last family member.  He turns and runs for the house - maybe he can save Allen!
The outside is clear!
Mark doesn't bother knocking
Allen struggled with the young man trying to knock him out.  As they twisted the bit in each others hands, Allen felt a sharp pain in he right shoulder.  His gunshot wound blossomed out blood, giving Allens attacker an opening.  Darkness swam across Allen and he was knocked out, falling to the floor.
Allen is knocked out
Allen finally looses combat, and goes Out of the Fight.  This leaves one active family member and Mark to settle the issue.

Mark moves through the house (I rolled to see which way he would go) slowly clearing rooms as he moves.
Mark explores the house
In the basement, the last family member drags Allen to a cell.  The creaking door gives Mark a chance to figure out they are in the basement (which he does with a pass 2D check).
Allen goes into a cell
Mark moved through the silent house, expecting someone to jump out at any time.  He couldn't hear any movement from above, and he moved cautiously through the living room and kitchen.  Suddenly a loud metallic screech sounded out, clearly from the basement.  Mark rand to the nearby stairs, pistol at the ready,
As he rounded the bottom of the stairs, he could see one of the family members turning from an old rusty metal cage door.  Without hesitating, Mark fired twice, killing the man where he stood.
Mark surprises the last family member...
...and finishes him off quickly.
"Hey...can you help me?"  A weak voice called out from a cage.  "I need to get out of here."
Mark first checked on Allen, he was unconscious, but alive.  Mark walked past the cage, checking the final room.  It was clearly a slaughterhouse, with dried blood poorly cleaned up, still scattered about the room.  Mark stood for a moment, expression hardening, before turning back.  He stopped at the cell door.
"If you turn out to be one of them, I will make you suffer."  Mark said coldly.
"No way!  Let me out and I'll be your man!"  He coughed a bit.  "I've been here for days, these monsters kill and eat people!"
"I'll get you out."  The lock was simple enough for Mark to break open.  "I'm Mark."
"Issac.  I'm going to grab some stuff, you got a car?"
Mark meets Issac
 Mark runs a meet and greet with Issac (survivor, Rep 4, Initiative) and gets an offer to join.  I would consider looting, but Mark is just going to gather up Allen and Dawn and get them in the SUV.  With the creepiness of the family, Mark is not going to take any food.  There are a few vehicles, so I rule he can gather d6 fuel (I roll a 5!) and of course, any weapons that were used.  

Issac grabs a BA pistol and a melee weapon (an axe) and joins the group. Overall, the group gains 2 sets of body armor, a shotgun and another chainsaw, plus 2 BAP and 4 pistols.  No food, but the 5 units of fuel will help.

I never rolled doubles for activation, so no zombies have spawned.  With the gunfire, I figure zombies are on their way.  The group is hurt, and are going to have to find someplace to recover.  At least they can cross the river, removing one obstacle to their journey.  Rather than stick around, Mark torches the house and they drive off.

After the battle both Dawn and Allen recover, and stay with the group.  Horace was lost, but at least they met Issac, and made some progress.  The next scenario will be a take and hold of a small building they can stay in for a bit.

Sorry for the delay in this batrep, work has been keeping me extra busy the past couple of weeks...


  1. First rule of horror films - NEVER split up! The team did extremely well to survive that encounter as the initial dice rolls were so bad for them. Once they all got split up i really feared the worst for them. Losing Horace was bad but at least the team found a replacement and the loot gathered at the end will come in useful, especially all the fuel. Great batrep!

    1. Thanks! Glad you enjoyed it. I was quite afraid the dice were going to catch Mark in the end - once it was down to one survivor, I was worried. Luckily he carried the team through at the end.

  2. Another great episode dude. Great story line and action.
    I really thought the journey had come to an end at some points. RIP Horace.
    The system you used to whittle down the cards for the final encounter was inspired.

    1. I wanted to have a way to not know what the scenario was until it was 'too late' for me to do anything but react. I will try again with another scenario in the future to see if this does really work or if it just makes things more complicated than they need to be.

      Poor Horace, it was sad to see him go.

  3. A very, very interesting take on a what would otherwise have been a very bland or at the very least, a strightforward scenario.
    It really did feel like a horror film unfolding throughout and less like your typical zombie game and the group came out of it much better than I thought they would given their initial luck.
    Also given the gunfire and vehicle noise and the possible resultant spawned zombies I was a bit surprised that you didn't include them.
    I do really like the idea of the PEF static "triggers" and the way you handled them quite inspired. They are almost like pre-loaded PEFs and are a very good idea to work on, especially with the way you resolve them.

    1. Thanks, I am glad you found it interesting. As I said, I was trying to make it less of a straightforward encounter, and something that could be good or bad. If the game really doesn't start until the group is 'stuck in' it makes it more exciting.

      I probably should have just started generating zombies with the gunfire, but even just one could have changed the battle, or the post-battle standing. I used the impending zombie attack (and the general creepiness of the family) to explain why looting was at a minimum.

      If I ran it again, I would rule zombies appear after the first shots are fired. That would give it an even more desperate feel.

  4. Very great story. Good zombie campaign includes stories with horrible people and less zombies. Sometimes the monsters are not the undeads.
    Aside this, I really thought they were gone. Your random tables and cards built the story well and I am looking forward your innovations on the next encounter.

    1. This turned out to be an episode in the zombie apocalypse where there were no zombies. I guess its part of the second season of Walking Dead...

      There was always a chance the zombies appeared, they just had the day off I suppose.

      Glad you like the story so far!

  5. Very captivating story with a lot of suspence. Really like it.
    Your ideas for the Pefs and for giving random stories are goods.
    We want more...

    1. We'll see what comes up next. The group really needs a chance to regroup, so the next scenario is going to be less 'interesting' hopefully.

  6. Well that went all 'Cabin in the Woods' rather quickly! Very cool indeed!

  7. I should have had banjo music playing during the game. It would have been fitting... :)

  8. This has got to be the best game report so far loved the narration and the twists and turns of events create a lot of suspense! Awesome!

    1. Thanks Simon! I am glad to hear you enjoyed it.

      It did play out with building suspense, or at least it felt that way as I played it. Maybe in the future I will do something like this again.