“This should be decent cover.” Dawn said to Jack as they walked around the station wagon, parked on an overgrown gravel driveway. The house had burned, and several trees had gone with it, but the rest of the area was covered in weeds and scattered trees.
Jack threw a few branches over the roof, scattering more around the car. “Yeah it will do fine.” He said, standing back and looking over the scene. “I wish Traci had shown up. I really thought she would come back.”
Dawn shook her head, adjusting her pack and checking her SMG. “She made her decision. We need to find food and fuel and keep moving. She had a week to change her mind, plus we left that note.”
“I know.” Jack said, also checking his gear. “I had just hoped she would come to her senses.” Looking around, he pointed to the burned out subdivision ahead to the right. “We should cut through there, the ruined homes should give us cover and we can take a peek at that camp we saw before we get too close.”
“Sounds good.” Dawn replied, looking ahead down the road. “Hopefully they are friendly and want to trade.”
Slowly the pair moved down the road in the muggy morning air.
|Dawn and Jack approach the camp|
It is morning of Day 81, Dawn and Jack have moved on from the wayside where Traci had left them a week ago. She didn’t return to the group, so they are continuing towards the east. While they have plenty of guns, they need food and fuel and are approaching a small town, hoping to find some supplies. They have scouted the edge of town a little, and found a camp they have decided to approach.
The camp is in a city park, behind some hastily built junk walls. There are four tents and one camper, scattered around some trees and a small pond. There is also a generator, which will not be running. At the start of the game, a ‘blank’ PEF is placed in the center of the camp. Once one of the survivors can draw line of sight to it, I will determine the camp make up. The PEF will automatically resolve as an encounter, and each tent and the RV will each have a roll for occupants as well. I’ll explain it when it happens.
There are three more PEFs on the table, treated normally. There are also 4 zombies on the table, wandering as they have no active targets to start. It is morning and I will be using really tight ammo rules, but normal looting rules. The area is suburban and has an ER of 5, zombies will appear on a 5+.
|Dawn and Jack look for a vantage point|
“Let’s try that house up there.” Dawn pointed ahead as the pair moved around a burned out shed. “Those stairs look rickety, but we should get a better view from the second floor.”
Jack looked towards the house Dawn had pointed out and nodded. “Good idea. Though I think I saw something moving just east of here.” Jack pointed with his SMG to their right. “Let’s be careful.”
|Dawn and Jack on the second floor|
The first few turns are uneventful, zombies wander randomly, though one does get close enough to detect Dawn and Jack, and starts moving towards them. The PEFs move around, moving away and then moving closer. There is a ruined house with stairs to its ruined second floor. This will give good sight lines towards the camp, and Dawn and Jack move to it and climb up.
|Dawn sees the camp|
Scorched boards creaked as Dawn stepped through the ruined house, passing through what might have been a bathroom. She stepped out towards the east edge of the second floor and looked out across the street, over the low ramshackle wall that had been built around the camp. The morning sun still cast long, deep shadows from the trees in what had been a park. As Dawn watched, three people walked into the center of camp. They didn’t appear armed, and one of them stopped and pointed towards Dawn.
“Here goes nothing.” Dawn muttered, standing up and waving to the people. The three seemed to be confused and had a quick discussion amongst themselves before one waved back. Dawn relaxed a bit and said to Jack “They seem friendly. Let’s approach the wall.”
Giving a snort Jack answered “Well they didn’t shoot. I guess that’s a start.”
|Moving towards the camp|
Dawn triggers the Camp PEF and I roll for occupants. I get three citizens. What an odd find after day 30, I didn’t expect that. Each tent and the RV have a 50% chance for occupants, I get two tents and the RV and rolling for those, I get survivors, more citizens and zombies. I decide the zombies are actually citizens – I don’t need to have a separate battle in the camp to deal with.
The long distance meet and greet goes okay, Dawn wins by 2 successes. That means the camp isn’t initially hostile, but we need to do a meet and greet at close range to get a final result.
She also triggers the nearest PEF and finds 3 zombies, who move towards the camp...
|Moving closer to the camp|
|Zombies attack the barricade|
Dawn and Jack picked their way through the ruined house, their movement kicking up gray clouds of ash as they crossed the burned yard. As the sun rose into the morning air, the humidity rose as well, making the day uncomfortable. “This is like moving through a wet ashtray.” Jack said, wiping away grime from his face.
Dawn nodded, glad when they finally stepped onto the pavement of the road. “Let’s head around that car, it should shield us from the zombies over by that gas station.” She said and pointed ahead.
“Right with ya.” Jack said, checking his SMG. “I’ll watch our back and you talk with the nice folks.”
Commotion from the walls ahead made them pause, and Dawn saw a woman stand up on the barricade and fire an arrow, killing the nearest zombie. A man in a mix of camouflage and hunting gear moved to the wall with a bayonet on an old rifle, making short work of the last zombies threatening the walls.
Taking a deep breath, she stepped out from behind the pickup truck...
|Dawn meets the camp|
Holding her SMG down, Dawn stepped from behind the wrecked pickup truck towards the woman on the barricade. “Hello! We’re not looking for any trouble!” She called out.
“Stop right there.” The woman replied, holding her bow ready, but not drawn. “You need to leave. Now.”
Dawn was surprised and disappointed. “We’re just passing through, we won’t cause any trouble.” Dawn let her SMG hang on its sling and held out her open hands. “Do you have any food or fuel to trade? We can offer a couple of guns.” Dawn suggested.
The woman shook her head waved off Dawn. “No, we have nothing to spare or trade. You need to go, right now.” Looking around towards town she turned back to Dawn. “Whatever you do, don’t fire those guns or they’ll be coming after you. Just go, if they catch you, they will kill you!”
“We can handle the dead.” Dawn said, shrugging and checking her weapons. “We’ll leave you alone, but we’re going to at least check the gas station for fuel.”
“Don’t be stupid! Just leave while you can!” The woman yelled back, before her attention was drawn into her camp.
So the meet and greet goes poorly. Dawn only gets one success and the survivor gets four. At least they don’t draw down on each other. Why the survivor is so hostile is a bit of a mystery, I tried a PEP test to get to barter and Dawn failed at that as well. Not a great turn. Time to move onto the buildings, maybe there is something worth salvaging.
|Dawn and Jack move away from the camp|
“Well, let’s check the gas station, hopefully we can get some gas.” Dawn said to Jack as they walked away from the camp walls. “I wonder why they are so unfriendly.”
Jack shrugged, looking at the barricades. “Well, those walls aren’t all that sturdy, maybe they just want to keep the dead away and stay safe.” Giving a short laugh he added, “Maybe they have had to deal with some people coming in and taking their stuff.”
Dawn nodded. “That’s true, we have certainly met our share of assholes on our trip.”
Jack laughed again. “Maybe if we show we’re not, they might be more friendly.” Jack moved to cover at a car wreck and became more serious. “Sounds like some dead moving around here. Better be careful.”
Dawn moved next to Jack, hearing the same tell-tale movement in the grass. “I’ll check it out.”
|Dawn and Jack moving in the street|
Dawn and Jack move off, picking their way from car wreck to car wreck. The last two PEFs move up, almost together. I figure now is as good of a time as any and Dawn steps out to trigger them. The first is two zombies, but the second is three gangers. It’s time for another meet and greet…
|Dawn sees the dead and the gang|
Dawn stepped out from the car wreck, expecting to find zombies wandering towards her. Instead a loud voice boomed out at her. “Just stop right there sweet pie!” It was followed by a gruff laugh. “See I told ya, Zeke would find something.” The other men laughed. “You were warned if we found any of you outside the camp, there’d be hell to pay!”
“Darren! She’s not with us! She doesn’t know!” The woman yelled from the barricade of the camp.
“Shut up Mary!” Darren yelled back, ignoring the zombies that now seemed interested in the humans. “The rules are the rules!”
Dawn looked warily at the three people, just beyond the pair of zombies they had apparently been following. They were a rag-tag looking group, the leader, Darren, was sporting a wicked looking machine pistol, and the guy to his left was carrying a shotgun. The last man had a pistol at the ready, clearly watching for zombies sneaking up from behind.
“We’re just passing through. I’m not looking for any trouble.” Dawn said, tightening her grip on her SMG.
“Well you sure found trouble!” Darren laughed and gestured to his companions. “Brett what do you think?”
Brett with the shotgun gave a half smile and looked Dawn up and down. “I bet she could be fun to play with.” Brett ran his hand down the slide on his shotgun and gave a lewd look at Dawn. “Been a while since I got to play.”
“Whach you think T-Diddy?” Darren asked the man with a pistol.
“Rules are rules. What you say goes Darren.” T-Diddy replied, glancing around.
“Well, I give you this chance.” Darren said turning to Dawn. “Toss down your hardware, you come with me and the boys to that liquor store over there and after we all get a tumble, we’ll let you go.” Darren gave a wide toothy smile. “If you play nice that is.”
Dawn gave Darren a cold stare. “How about we all just go our separate ways and everyone lives to see another day?”
“Ha!” Darren let out a loud laugh at Dawn. “You know that ain’t gonna happen, right?”
Gunfire erupted on the quiet street…
|Time to draw down|
What an odd development. Revealing the PEFs, I get 2 zombies from the nearest. The second PEF is three gangers. After this came up, I decided they must be the reason for the camp to not be friendly. There is gang in this town that is in control, and they are ruthless. This could lead to some other encounters, if we get through this game first…
Anyway, the meet and greet goes about as you expect, with the gang scoring more successes. We go to in sight checks and Dawn gets four successes (a good time to get a good roll!) and goes first. Jack is still behind cover, so will not participate.
Dawn fires, trying for all three, and gets two hits. Darren and Brett each get hit. I roll a one for Darren, he is Obviously Dead and a 4 for Brett. Brett is knocked down and goes Out of the Fight. T-Diddy fires and hits Dawn, getting an obviously dead result! Dawn’s Hard as Nails kicks in and she is knocked down instead. Passing 2D she carries on. Wow, what an in sight round!
|Dawn gets two down|
Dawn felt the punch of a bullet slamming her shoulder, spinning her around and down to the pavement. Rolling up she saw T-Diddy’s eyes go wide as he jumped for cover. Raising her SMG, Dawn pulled the trigger snapping off a single shot that went wide before the magazine dropped from the weapon. Cursing to herself, Dawn let the SMG hang from its sling and pulled her pistol.
|Jack finishes off two zombies|
Dawn passes 2D for received fire, and fires again, missing and going out of ammo (triple ones came up!) T-Diddy passes 1D for received fire and 2D for man down and elects to duck back, moving to the cover of the car behind him. Jack moves up and kills the closest zombies, but as T-Diddy has Ducked Back, he can't be seen so no in sight check.
A few more zombies appear from the shooting noise. It’s making the area a mess, and the zombies activate first the next turn.
|More zombies appear|
T-Diddy heard the two zombies closing in around him, watching the rear of the car, he saw an undead salesman step out, reaching for him. Firing quickly, T-Diddy killed the zombie, quickly shifting to the second zombie that just burst from the nearby bush. Grappling with the zombie, he managed to draw and plunge his knife into its skull, killing it before it could bite.
Looking over the car hood, he saw the crazy chick had drawn a pistol that looked like a small cannon. Some dude had joined her and was moving towards the car with an SMG at the ready. “Hell with this!” T=Diddy said to himself. Pushing the dead out of his way he turned and sprinted up the street, yelling behind him “You’ll all pay for this! We’ll be back for you all!”
Mary yelled back from the barricade “No! They’re not with us! We’re not breaking the deal!” She watched T-Diddy running away, a look of desperation taking over.
“Jack, we need to stop him!” Dawn yelled at Jack, pointing at the fleeing ganger.
“On it.” Jack replied, running after the young man.
|Jack takes his shot|
T-Diddy passes 0D to recover from Duck Back and will Run Away. Normally this is just the figure being removed, and T-Diddy almost makes it with a double move to the exit table edge. He is out of range of Dawn and only Jack has a chance to shoot him.
Running up, Jack fires and manages to hit T-Diddy once, knocking him down. T-Diddy passes 2D for knockdown and is stunned for one turn.
Four new zombies spawn, and go first the next turn. Unfortunately for T-Diddy, a pair of zombies are close enough to find him delicious.
|The zombies find the ganger tasty!|
Dawn watched as the zombies devoured the gang member. His screams were cut short in a wet stuttering gasp as the undead tore into his chest. Clearing and reloading her SMG, she waved at Jack “Let’s kill those things. Nobody should go out that way.”
Jack nodded, looking around to see Mary firing an arrow from the barricade. “You’re welcome!” He yelled and gave a mock salute before jogging off.“That’s not all of them!” Mary yelled. “They’ll be back and we’ll be the ones to suffer!” She watched as Jack and Dawn ran up and killed the zombies feasting on T-Diddy. “Why didn’t you just leave? Just go away!” She yelled.
To Be Continued...