Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Moving Day

Grasping hands wrapped around Mark's throat.  He could feel the breath going out of his lungs, almost like he was underwater.  Zombies shambled all around this blasted ash choked wasteland.  No matter how he struggled, the grip stayed firm, his breath leaving him gasping...
Mark woke with a start and coughed up a huge clump of phlegm.  Spitting out onto the ivory carpet of the upstairs bedroom, he could see the ruined neighborhood outside.  Smoke still billowed from the ruins of the nearby homes, a pond had formed in front of the house, covering the street near where a fire hydrant had been yesterday.  The sun was high in the sky, but the whole area had a washed out, gray look from the ash and smoke.
Everyone was starting to wake up, coughing much like Mark.  "We look horrible!  We sound horrible too..."  Dawn said as she stretched out and coughed from the smoky air.  "Looks like moving day."
"We need to talk about our plans.  Where do we go?  Who do we trust?"  Ella asked as she folded up her bedroll.  "I don't know where is going to be safe - do we try the FEMA camp?"
"I am not going there."  Mark said flatly.  "I have never heard a good thing about those setups, and think, this is everywhere." Gesturing out the window.  "I am not sure it matters where we go, we are best just taking care of ourselves."
"I'd like to go home.  See my family."  Allen said quietly.  Everyone looked at him, and could see his apprehension.  Allen hadn't heard from his wife in nearly three weeks, and news reports last week mentioned Minneapolis in ruins.  "I..."  Allen turned away and finished packing his bag.

So the group needs to decide what to do for the future.  Overall the neighborhood is a disaster, and barely livable (in a post-apocalypse sort of way, it would be fine, but not just yet) so it is time to go.  Most of the group are locals, but Allen has family in Minneapolis, which is about 300 miles away.  Regardless of what the group decides, they will need to gather their supplies, pack their SUV and leave the house they are in.

A new day dawns

For this scenario, the group needs to loot one of the remaining houses.  There need to be 2 successful searches in the garage (doesn't matter what is found) once the group returns to their house, three characters will need to work on packing and modifying the SUV for the trip.

The two new members of the group are Gene (Rep 3, SMG) and Horace (Rep 4, Shotgun and pistol).  The figure for Gene is a Wargames Factory Survivors: The Men build.  He is a pretty straight build, although I had to cut a hand/pistol down to get the SMG in his hand.
Gene, with SMG
 Horace is a Terell, Zombie Survivor from Reaper Miniatures.  He is based on a Secret Weapons "Urban Streets" beveled base.  I have quite a few of these bases, and I am big fan of their quality and look.
Horace, BAP and nightstick
The game starts in the morning, with 17 zombies on the board, 3 PEFs and an encounter rating of 4.  All the normal rules apply, although there will be no police response (even though this is day 18) zombies will spawn from noise (gunfire, running vehicle, etc) on a 5-6.

To start out, the group shot up the zombies to the east, as well as a few close ones to the west.  Mark finished one off in melee.  Most the spawned zombies appeared to the west, opposite where I wanted to go.  The group moved around the pond (which will slow movement by half) and cleared a path to the red house.
Cleared out a few
So far, so good
Time to storm the house
With an echoing click, the shotgun was empty.  "Reloading!" Horace yelled.
"I'll cover you.  Everyone else head in!" Allen said as they ran to the house.  "We'll be in once we deal with our unwelcome friends."
Mark crashed through the door, Dawn and Ella right behind him, Gene following in last.  They paused in the front room, getting themselves oriented.  "What's that?"  Ella cried out as zombies swarmed the room...
Greeting visitors in the house
Nothing is ever simple.  The group entered the house and found 7 zombies.  The group was surprised, but managed to fire, not killing a single zombie!  sigh.  It's going to be one of those days...

Hand to hand went better, with Gene killing his opponent, and Ella dropping one of hers.  Mark only knocked down the two he was facing, and Dawn knocked one down, and was evenly matched with another.
Stay Down!
Outside, Horace reloaded and he and Allen held their fire as zombies approached.
The next few rounds saw the fighting in house see-saw back and forth.  The group just couldn't kill the zombies, they just kept knocking them down.

Guarding the door

This place needs remodeling
Zombies out of the pool
Finally cleared out
Horace leveled the shotgun at a group of zombies.  The buckshot shredded through the rotting flesh and bones of the zombies, destroying the brains and dropping them to the ground.  Allen fired his pistol and dropped another zombie as it tried to grab him.  "Inside, let's get what we can and get out of here!"  He yelled.

Allen and Horace entered the house, and split up with the rest of the group to search the rooms.  Mark and Dawn went to the basement, Ella and Gene went upstairs and Allen and Horace went for the garage.  I wish I had left the SUV that was here instead of using it as a roadblock, but too late to worry about that.
Time to search
Zombies start to enter the house

More zombies close in
I played lead the zombie through the house.  The rest of the group loaded up gear in a wheelbarrow in the garage.  I treated the wheelbarrow as a shopping cart, with Allen pushing it.  Gene would open the garage door - Mark was bringing up the rear.
Zombies fill the house
I get initiative to go my way a few times, and the group moves back towards home.  Zombies slowly start following out behind them.
Get the truck ready
Once the group gets back to the truck, I roll a 4 for number of turns until ready.  Just need to hold out for a bit and the group can take off.
Shotgun kills a bunch
Just two turns left
 As the zombies closed in, Allen was yelling "Almost got it!  Blast those deadheads and get in!"  Allen slid behind the wheel as Gene hoisted the last of the supplies to the roof.
Gunfire echoed through the neighborhood as everyone fired at the zombies scattered around the house.  Bullets ripped up the decaying bodies, tumbling them into the ash covered landscape.
Firing at the zombies
Horace ran out of ammo for the shotgun, but otherwise it was a decent round of shooting.  The truck was finished, and everyone piled in.  Allen took the wheel, and the group drove out of the neighborhood.
Modified truck hitting the road
It even goes off-road!

Last view of the neighborhood.
The dead shambled through the ashes and ruins of the neighborhood.  The rumble of the SUV was swallowed by the swirling wind and clouds of ash from the ruined homes.  Allen skidded across the driveway and through the side yard.  The burned ground crunched under the wheels, and the truck lurched as he turned back onto the road.
"Last chance to take a look back."  Allen said, and paused as he was driving.  "It was good while it lasted."
"I'm going to miss that place."  Dawn replied.  "It was great!  At least until we lost power."
"And the fires.  That ash got into everything!"  Ella complained.  "Still, we were safe for a time..."
"Any port in a storm.  Cindy did a good job finding us this place."  Mark quietly said.  "Hopefully we can find another port someday..."
Allen cleared his throat.  "Well, where are we heading?"

The group finished the grab and run scenario.  It wasn't terribly difficult, although it did prove that even crossing the street during the zombie apocalypse can be dangerous.  Now the hard part is answering what to do next.

Does the group help Allen get home?  Do they try and get to a refugee camp?  How about just finding a new place to make a stand?

Friday, April 25, 2014

The Longest Day (part 3 - Evening)

Casting menacing red light, the sun sank in the west.  The last rays of sunlight passed through the heavy smoke from three burning buildings, and the world sank into darkness.  The steady shuffle of zombies dragging themselves through the streets continued as night began to fall on a world being conquered by the undead.

Inside the house, Mark hefted his bat.  As the sunlight failed, he moved towards the zombies clawing their way through the shattered windows.  If he didn't start killing zombies, the next sunlight would find him shuffling along with the already turned...
Evening starts
As evening started, 3 new PEFs were generated.  One was between zombie groups, and would become more zombies.  The other two were both quite close to the rest of the group, making it easier to get to them (I was hoping for more survivors to use for reinforcements) and finish the day.

Allen's group had completed their move around the east side of the board, and formed a firing line in the street.  They started firing on zombies heading for the house, which did distract some of the zombies from going into the house.  This helped take some of the pressure off of Mark and Horace.
They shoot, just not very well...
The zombies didn't activate for a turn, which gave me a great opportunity to thin out their numbers.  Allen and team formed more of a circle for firing, as zombies summoned by their fire last turn had revealed both PEF markers.  This turn they were a bit more successful.
Allen and friends find themselves surrounded
In the house, Mark and Horace make good use of their chance, and clear out the dining room.  They move to the front hall, to make the zombies from the kitchen move to them.  I used some Advanced Heroquest tiles for this house (quick and easy!)
Trying to clean house
The house shook, the thumping and pounding from the zombies was incessant.  Mark was exhausted, and tried to keep Horace moving through the house.  "We'll hold in the door, you watch the back, and shoot any that come around!"
"There's no time!"  Horace shouted as the front door caved in and zombies spilled into the hall.  "They're all around us!"
Zombies swarm the house
Just in case you had forgotten, the last deserter was hanging out a window, getting ready to jump from the gas filled house.  She had managed to not even activate for two turns, so even though the zombies hadn't all moved into the house, it was time to go.  She needed to pass 2d to drop to the ground and be able to move 4", pass 1d to drop to the ground and not move (but can move up to 4" by passing 1d on a second check) passing 0d results in an impact 1 hit, and no chance to move.
Passes 0
The deserter passed 0d, and hit the ground with a thud.  Being protected helped, she passed 2d on the recover from knock down.  Unfortunately, she gets charged by the nearest zombies.
Charged, she fires at the zeds, killing two.
Spotters say you got 27 with that blast...
Being charged, the deserter fired on the zombies, killing two, but detonating the gas filled house.  On the up side, she did kill nearly 30 zombies in one shot.  Too bad she died in the blast as well.  Of course, she did kill poor Frank, so I didn't shed any tears...

Mark and Horace were fighting for their lives.  Zombies grasped at them, stumbling through the broken remains of the house.  A muffled thump shook the house, sending already broken windows to the floor in a cascade of shattered glass.  "Sounds like another house exploded!  I hope the gas lines don't all go!"  Mark shouted as he swung his bat.
"We need to get out of here!"  Horace yelled and fired a blast from the shotgun.  "Everything is falling apart, let's just get the truck and go!"

Fighting in the hall
In the streets, waves of zombies continue to move towards the house and Allen's group fighting in the eastern side of the neighborhood.  They tried to shoot up the horde, but their shots were wild, and didn't get much done.
More zombies shamble into the area
Great shooting...sigh
Doubles come up and I drew the "No More Zombies" card.  I could actually see the end of the zombies, finally...  However, as the group continues to fire, zombies have piled into the Cole family house.  The Coles are two Rep 3 and one Rep 2 civilians, I figured parents and a child.

Zombies in the house and street
With a crash, the zombies came through the window, scattering broken glass and bits of window frame through the house.  "Stay back!" Rob Cole yelled at his daughter.   "Head for your corner!"  Rob kicked a table into the zombies, slowing them down.
His wife, Samantha, grabbed a knife and attacked one of the zombies.  "Honey, get outside and run!"
A zombie crashed around the table and grabbed Rob by the leg.  He crashed down into the gnashing teeth, blood pumping out.  Samantha screamed, slashing one zombie which collapsed to the floor.  A second zombie slammed into her, biting her shoulder and two of them crashed to the floor.
Maggie Cole scrambled to her 'secret' corner.  She could slip out between boards on the window, but she needed to hurry.  A zombie lumbered closer, Maggie screamed...
Maggie tries to escape
The family makes a stand, but only the little girl survives the first round of melee.  She runs for a corner as the zombies close in...
Allen and the gang fire on the zombies closing in, listening to the screams of their neighbors getting cut off inside the house.  The little girls scream curdles their blood, but there is nothing they can do to help from where they are.
Keep shooting
The zombies charge, and Dawn fails her citizen brown pants roll, and hides behind the house.  Allen knocks down the zombie that triggers Dawn's flight, as it tries to eat him.   
Dawn runs from the zombies
The gunfire attracted a couple more zombies, but I managed to roll a 6 for one of them, and no more zombies would appear from gunfire.  Now I just needed to roll the same for the zombies appearing each round, and the group could finish the day...

The zombies win initiative, and charge.  Gene misses his brown pants roll, hiding near Dawn behind the house.  The rest of the group manages to shoot up the zombies, fight a couple off in melee, and then regroup by the back of the house.
The zombies have thinned out
Mark's grip on his bat was getting slippery.  It seemed he had been swinging the bat for hours.  Horace kept up a steady stream of shots from the shotgun.  Corpses and body parts littered the floor, creating a grizzly carpet that made footing treacherous.  "Just keep shooting, we will wear them down eventually."  Another zombie fell under the swing of his bat.
Mark and Horace make a stand at home

Mark presses forward
More zeds join the fun
Mark and Horace fall back to the kitchen...
...As more zombies shamble into the house
Maggie felt the fingers grasp her from behind, dragging her back into her room.  She kicked down on its foot, but got no reaction.  Screaming, she shoved backwards with all her strength.  The zombie fell over backwards, loosing its grip on her shirt.  Maggie turned around and kicked her dresser, just like her Mom told her never to do.  The old TV that was perched on top fell over and with a dull crunch, killed the zombie.
Grabbing her stuffed rabbit and backpack, Maggie wiggled out the window, and ran past a startled Ella, off into the darkening evening.
Maggie runs off
Amazingly, Maggie passes her brown pants roll, WINS the melee against the zombie that attacks her, and rolls a kill.  Tough kid.  The meet and greet with the group goes her way, sort of.  Allen manages zero successes, Maggie got 1, and just runs off.  I think she just might turn up again...
More zombies enter
As more zombies enter, I roll a 6 - this is the end of the horde!  They are spread out pretty well, the group just needs to organize to shoot them down.  I didn't mention it earlier, but everyone was suffering a -1 on rep for fatigue at this point.  I put that penalty into play when 5 turns of evening had gone by.
Horace knocks one down in melee

The shotgun clears out the back rooms and Mark moves forward
Zombies start clearing out
Dawn snapped out of her fear, running back around the house, emptying her magazine into the nearest group of zombies.  "Sorry about that guys!  I'll help sort these out!"  She was changing magazines, getting ready to shoot up the zombies still stumbling up the street.
"Glad you came around!  Hey, where is Gene?"  Allen asked as he fired off a pair of shots.  "I thought he was right here!"

So Dawn recovered from her duck back, but Gene failed his and 'ran away'.  I would have kept him on the board, like the other survivors earlier, but rather that deal with that, I removed him and will roll for him to rejoin the group after the battle.
Dawn comes back into action
Allens group moves forward, trying to keep zombies away from the house
Muscles burning from swinging the bat, Mark moved through the dining room.  Darkness enveloped the room, a deep blue light filtering in as the only illumination.  Mark kept hammering the zombies as he heard a constant crackle of gunfire from the outside. "Just keep swinging. Just keep swinging" Mark keep muttering to himself.
Horace yelled as the zombie closed on him.  His shotgun roared, and then clicked empty.  The headless zombie tumbled to floor.  "Got you!"  he panted and started reloading.
Cleared the house
Mark and Horace managed to clear out the house, and moved out the front door to rejoin Allen and the rest of the group, shooting down zombies in the street.
Back into the street

The zombies charge, but are overwhelmed.

The team regroups
 The team regrouped in the front yard of the house, as the zombies finished feasting on their neighbors, and burst out of the house.  With light failing, the team moved up and shot them, leaving just a last pair as night fell.
The last stragglers
Night fell at this point, limiting vision to 6".  No more zombies or PEFs would appear, and night actually only lasted a single turn.
The last scene at night
The group managed to clear the neighborhood, and survive another day.  The area is barely livable, so they will need to relocate.  Gene returned to the group, ashamed of his cowardice.  Everyone, except Gene, became a survivor after this day.  Dawn increased her rep to 4, Horace made Rep 4, and Gene managed to stay Rep 3.  Dawn will not need to check to stay next time, and everyone else elected to stay together.

All told, I played a total of around 40 turns (day, afternoon and evening were at least 10 turns each) and it felt like a loooong day.  Overall, I got the feel from the scenario I wanted, but it was ridiculous how long it took to play.  It was almost like playing three to four scenarios in one long chain.  I don't recommend trying something like this in one go, I should have split it up over a few sessions.

Night finally comes to the neighborhood
Exhausted, each person stumbled up the stairs, Allen and Gene moving tables and chairs to block the stairs off.  With disregard to safety or comfort, everyone found a section of floor to drop on and fall asleep.  Fires burned just north of the house, adding inky pillars of smoke to the dark night sky.  The continuing gurgle from the shattered fire hydrant was the only other sound beyond the crackle from the flames in the empty night.