Monday, February 22, 2016

A Little Bit of Shelter

Dawn pulled the SUV off of the train tracks, the rhythmic thumping from driving over the rail bridge finally stopping as the vehicle moved onto the muddy ground.  As she drove towards the nearby road, Dawn was glad to be back on  solid ground.  "I thought that drive was going to shake my kidneys loose."  She said to Tina.
Tina looked out the passenger window as Dawn drove onto the road.  "It looks like there are some homes scattered around out here.  Farms too."
Dawn paused and glanced at the sky.  "It's going to be dark soon, we should find a place to crash for the night.  Maybe find some gas and rest a bit."
Tina checked the pistol Dawn had given her, glancing out the window at the scene ahead.  "Maybe we can find some more people.  Maybe there aren't as many zombies here."
Dawn considered what Tina had said for a moment before responding.  "Let's be careful.  If we can find a place without many dead maybe we can stay for a while, rest up for the trip across the state."
Dawn drives into the area
Dawn and Tina have crossed the St. Croix river into Wisconsin.  It is late afternoon of day 41, they need to find a place to spend the night, as the daylight is fading.  There are 4 zombies on the board, this area has an ER of 4.  There are three PEFs, one in each solid "house", they will not move, instead they will represent possible inhabitants.  The area counts as rural, with zombies appearing on a 6 from gunfire or noise.

As it's getting late, the first turn that has doubles for activation will trigger night fall.  That will reduce sight to 24" and then by 2" every turn until it drops to 12".  Dawn and Tina are looking for a place to spend the night, they can clear any buildings that are intact (not ruins).  If they empty them of any hostiles (living or undead) and there are no zombies with 12", they can consider it secure for the night.  Note that they do NOT have to trigger all the PEFs.

I will be using the scarce searching rules, finding anything requires a matching card on a second draw from the risks & rewards deck.  If the group secures a place to stay, they can spend the next day doing a thorough search, which will give normal search results once for each room in the building they stay in.  After a thorough search, the area will be 'fished out' and further searching will result in nothing.

I will also be using slightly modified new melee rules from Two Hour Wargames.  For the most part, it will work as written in the update.  I am adding an effect that when a melee has rounds that exceed the rep of the living character, they will need to check for infection (the "Harry are you okay?" rule) the next time they activate.  However, they will slowly loose rep, losing one point every time doubles come up for activation.  Once their Rep drops to 3 (or if they are already 3 or less, at the first doubles) they turn into a zombie.

On the first turn, the survivors win initiative.
Zombies close in
Dawn pulled the SUV to the side of the road near a wrecked Subaru.  "Let's check this cabin first."  She said to Tina as she moved to get out, grabbing her pack from the back seat.
"There are several of those things around here."  Tina replied, readying her pistol.  "Let's hope we can stay in one of these places."

Not much happens to start.  The survivors park their SUV near the small stone cabin, turning off the engine.  There's no combat this turn, the zombies stroll closer, and the turn ends with one more zombie appering from the engine noise during the turn.

Next turn, Dawn charges the zombie nearest the cabin.  Tina is still a citizen, and suffers from the "Brown Pants" rule, so I don't want to expose her to much chance of melee.  It's going to be tough when they enter the buildings though.
Dawn charges!
Dawn charges the first zombie and easily wins the combat.  She rolls 7d6, five for rep, plus 1 for wielding her machete one handed and plus another 1 for being protected.  The zombie only rolls 3d6, and Dawn wins on the first round.
Tina leads the way to the cabin
Dawn and Tina head into the cabin on the next turn.  Once again, they win initiative.  I love getting to go first, but it does tend to lull one into complacency...
Knock, Knock
Small one room cabin
Dawn pulled open the door on the cabin, stepping into the dim interior.  The earthy smell of wood and stale air greeted her.  Pausing to let her eyes adjust, Dawn slowly scanned the single room.
"Whew.  This must be someone's hunting shack."  Tina said as she poked a blaze orange jacket on the floor.  "Looks like its been empty for a long while."
Dawn relaxed slightly, looking at the dusty floors and furniture.  "Take a look around, I'll watch the door."

Resolving the PEF results in a nothing result, not even an increase in the ER.  Dawn and Tina swap places, and the next turn, Tina searches the cabin.
Zombies move towards the cabin
Dawn covers the door while Tina searches
Unsurprisingly, Tina doesn't find anything.  I plan on Dawn running out and taking out the two zombies by the trees, and Tina can shoot the other as they make their way to the next location.  Of course, the next turn the zombies activate, but the survivors don't.  Sigh.
Zombies swarm the door
Dawn stood in the doorway as the zombies closed in.  "Tina!  we have to move!"  She yelled over her shoulder.
"I can't find anything!"  Tina yelled back.  "Come on, they don't have anything here?"
Dawn swung her machete through the air, preparing to face the undead.  "Get ready, here they come!"  She yelled.
Dawn faces three zombies
Dawn is facing three zombies, this combat should be a bit more dangerous than the first melee.  Things start off pretty well, and Dawn wins by 1, killing one zombie.
Round 1
The next round is a tie.  The rules don't specify what happens with a tie, but I am choosing to count it as a round of melee, which may make a difference for a potential infection check.
Round 2, a tie
 Dawn wins the next round again by one, killing a single zombie.
Round 3
Round 4, Dawn wins
Dawn narrowly misses having to make an infection check, luckily she killed the last zombie on the fourth round of combat and never lost a round.  In my modified version of the melee rules, if the number of rounds of melee exceed the rep of the character, they have to make an infection check on their next activation.

On the next turn, the survivors go first, jogging out to the road.  Tina takes a pair of shots and kills the last zombie in the road before it can charge.
Tina shoots the last zombie
As the echoes of the gunshots faded into the afternoon air, Dawn and Tina could feel a sense of calm in the area.  "I think that was the last of them right here."  Dawn said, looking along both roads.
"Let's check that house up there."  Tina pointed with her pistol a ways up the road.  "I bet it is more comfortable than that cabin."
Dawn looked up to the rapidly sinking sun.  "We need to find a place to camp for the night.  Let's go!"

Dawn and Tina have eliminated all the active zombies on the table.  The sun hasn't started to set yet, and instead of just staying in the small cabin they found cleared, they are checking a bit larger house nearby.
Jogging to the next house
The next house is a much larger building, it is multi-floored and has several rooms on each floor.  I check the PEF and it indicates 4 zombies.  Instead of them all being inside the front door, I will search room by room, drawing a card for each room from the risks and rewards deck until all of them have been killed.  On each turn after a fight or when the zombies win initiative, I will draw another card to see if any zombies 'wander' into where I am (they will get +2 on surprise rolls).  As an added bonus, the sun starts to set as Dawn and Tina enter the house. 

I didn't model out the whole house, and while the toy I am using on the tabletop has an interior, it's just two open rooms, not very exciting or realistic.  I have drawn out a floor plan on some card stock, and I'm using that for the house layout.  I think it works out okay, I do need to paint some more of the dollhouse toys I have for furnishings though!
Entering the house
Glancing over the shot-up pickup truck, Dawn considered checking to see if the truck would run.  "It looks like there was a gun fight around it."  she said to Tina.  "It may still have gas though."
"What do you think this means?"  Tina asked from near the front door of the house.  "It's like one of those markings from Hurricane Katrina."
Dawn stepped up next to Tina at the front door.  A black spray-painted 'X' had some letters and numbers marked around it, across the whole door.  "I don't know.  It does look like some sort of emergency marking though."
Shadows grew up the side of the house as the sun began to set.  Dawn tested the front door, finding it unlocked.  "Let's check this place out in a hurry.  The sun is setting and we won't have light for much longer."
Family room clear
Nothing in the dining room
Dawn holstered her pistol, turning on her flashlight on her phone.  Attaching it to her arm, Dawn moved to the bathroom door.  "I swear I hear something moving in there."  She whispered as she opened the door.
Two zombies
Dawn finds two of the zombies lurking in the bathroom.  As an added twist, I have two child zombies, and encountering them requires a Zed or No Zed check.  Who wants to kill a kid in combat, even if it's a zombie?
Dawn passes her check with 2 successes, and the charge test as well.  She moves right to melee, rolling 8d6 (rep 5, two handed melee weapon, protected) versus 4d6 for the zombies.
Dawn wins by 1 the first round...
...And wins the second round easily.
Leaving the bathroom, Dawn leads the way to the living room attached to the dining area.  They find a lone zombie stumbling over the furniture and Dawn charges into melee.
Dawn faces a lone zombie
Dawn kills the single zombie easily.  After the combat Tina and Dawn search the kitchen and head into the basement, before going upstairs.  Having to draw to find the last zombie lends some tension to the game, and it takes me quite a few turns to move around, checking room by room until the last zombie appears.
Last zombie in a bedroom
The last zombie is another child, and Dawn misses her Zed or No Zed check this time, and counts as unarmed for the first round of combat.  Her rep of 5 carries the day easily though, and she kills the zombie on the first round.
The house is cleared
Night has fallen and the team has secured a place for the night.  I decide they will clear the dead zombies out and do a quick search of the place before I end the game.  Surprisingly, Tina manages to find a luxury item!  They barricade the doors with furniture and block the stairs, before holding up in the master bedroom upstairs.

Keeping it together goes well, Tina gets 2 successes, Dawn gets 3 and they decide to stay together for another day at least.

Dawn leaned against the door, facing Tina laying in the bed.  Bluish light from the moon filtered through the bedroom windows, giving a ghostly hue to the room.  Tina sat up on one elbow, looking at Dawn over the edge of the bed.  "Do we keep moving tomorrow?"
"We'll see what the day looks like.  Maybe we tear this place apart, see what we can find and then decide when we want to go."  Dawn said as she considered their position.
Tina laid back down, staring at the ceiling.  "I hope we can stick around a while.  It would be nice to sleep in a bed every night."


  1. Great stuff as always, Steve. Your house rule for making melee combat less risky for humans getting infected worked very well and gets my seal of approval. I will very probably use this rule myself.

    1. Wow, thanks! I was pretty happy with how they turned out. It is pretty minor modification to make the melee a bit less dangerous. I can't wait to hear how it works for you!

  2. Nice work mate, Dawn is an old hand at this now - I remember her naive SMG toting business suit days lol. I like the rule too, gonna add it to the game I'm going to play out today.

    1. Great, can't wait to see how it works for you. I was pleased with how the combat worked.
      Dawn has become quite the experienced zombie killer. I'm happy to see her come so far.

  3. Good straight-forward encounter, but I do like your rule additions. It's difficult to know if the new melee rules have any significant effects to the game overall though. I approve of the infection from melee rules, but keeping track of the number of melee rounds seems a tad tedious.
    love the table set-up btw

    1. Thanks, I'm happy to hear you enjoyed it.
      Things seemed to move more quickly compared to previous times playing, but overall, melee went pretty much as I would have expected under these or earlier rules. Tracking the rounds was a pain, but not any worse than tracking shots. It could get bad with numerous melee fights going on at once. They should each end before having to deal with another - so not too bad tracking rounds. I'll test it out a few more times to see if I can come up with a better way to handle it.

  4. Good encounter. I too like the revised melee rules. Your building models really play their part well. All over exciting and nicely set up for the future.

    1. Thanks! Dawn and Tina have a long road ahead, they'll have to be ready for the trip.

  5. It just goes to show that simple encounters with relatively few figures can be every bit as tense and exciting as a huge affair with a cast of thousands! Good story.

    1. The game was more tense than the write-up. Searching the house for the last zombie was fun and suitably frightening. It was pretty fun, but as I was writing it up, it felt pretty dull.

  6. Nice report as always mate. You interiors are inspired dude love the furniture!

    1. If I could just paint some more of the junk I have it would be better. I love finding old dollhouse toys to reuse for nefarious gaming reasons!

  7. Great batrep dude!
    Loving your table layout. Good to see the girls catch a break and find a comfortable shelter for the night.
    Interesting tweak to the rules, that may come in handy once I've got the hang of the original ones.

    1. Thanks!
      I was pleased with the changes to the melee rules, I'd prefer to have a little better chance in melee than having to check for infection after more than one turn of melee. Still makes it dangerous though - a big enough group can still take too long and cause infection.