Friday, May 23, 2014

Starting West (part 2)

"I'll take a look behind the wrecks!"  Mark yelled as he ran towards the bridge.  Rounding the back of a blue car, he ran into a pack of zombies.  "Zeds!  Coming across the bridge!"
The rest of the group spread out behind Mark, bringing their guns to bear.
Picking up where I left off, Mark moved up towards the car wrecks, triggering the final PEF.  It turned out to be 7 zombies lurking behind the cars.  Luckily I had won initiative, and the rest of the group moved up behind Mark.
Firepower thins the zombies out.

Gunfire echoed across the river as the decayed zombies lurched forward.  The bullets shredded them, bone and rotting flesh spilling onto the gray pavement.  One zombie, shot through at the shoulder, stumbled through the storm of bullets and grappled with Mark.
"Great shooting!"  He yelled at the group.  "One of these should be no problem!"  Mark kicked the zombie in the left knee, crashing it to the ground.  Smashing down with the bat, he ended the threat.  "Looks like a couple more coming!"
Mr. Zed attacks Mark
Two more zombies approach
Mark charges the newest zombies
Allen steps up to finish off the last zombie
So I did handle the zombies a bit wrong, they acted after I revealed them from the PEF.  The last zombie shouldn't have moved until the next turn.  Minor point, and one I didn't pay much attention to until I was writing this up.  It didn't really change anything, so no big deal.

With no more zombies appearing, the table was again clear.  The groups spent two turns with the wrecks (I ruled a chance for a zombie in each on a 5-6, but they were empty) and managed to get the red car to a point it could be pushed out of the way.
Searching the wrecks
"Well, the wrecks are clear.  It's pretty quiet."  Horace said as he climbed out of the ruined Subaru.  "Nothing in these but bad memories."
"That looks like a car repair shop on the corner.  Maybe we should look through there and see if there is anything useful."  Dawn suggested.  "Those other folks looked like they had grabbed stuff from the drug store, I wonder if they hit the other places earlier."
"We are going to need gas, and who knows, maybe there is something else we can use."  Allen added.
Stretching out with the bat, Mark simply said "Let's check it out."

Ignoring good advice to just pack it up and get across the bridge, I decided to have the group check out the service station.  Any loot and occupants would be random, but the group does need fuel, and they are not going to find it without searching various places...
Approaching the service center
Two zombies!
The door opened with a creek, and a ringing bell.  Mark led the way into the darkened interior of the shop, dusty light filtered from the open door and front window.  Dawn and Horace followed close behind, weapons at the ready.  Allen held the door with his hip, holding his pistol with both hands.
"Maybe its empty."  Horace barely whispered.
A heavy sliding sound startled the group and two human forms lurched from behind a display of wiper blades and car cleaning accessories.  Gray hands stretched out and the jaws of the zombies chomped in anticipation.
"No luck there!"  Mark shouted.  "Shoot 'em!"

The zombie surprise roll goes very well, and Horace and Dawn each shoot and kill a zombie each before they can act.  Hey, that was easy!  The group proceeded to loot the store, coming up with two luxury items and one unit of food.
Looting the store
Let's check the garage!
Seems quiet
The group entered the garage in the same way as the store, but spread out a bit more.  Four zombies were inside, and the surprise roll went better for the zeds.  Horace couldn't fire, Dawn did manage to kill two, but Allen just knocked down one with his BAP.  Mark elected to go straight to melee with the last zombie.  He only managed to reach an evenly matched. 
This could be a problem
Mark wrestled with the zombie, barely avoiding the bloody jaws as they snapped at his face.  "Crap!  This one seems strong!"  
As the echos of the gunfire died away in the bloody smelling garage Mark continued to fight the zombie.  A second zombie staggered back to its feet, its lifeless eyes staring down the barrel of Allen's pistol.  "Boom."  Allen said as he pulled the trigger, shattering the zombies head.  Headless, the zombie fell to the floor like an empty sack.
A sickening crack came from where Mark finally completed a full swing of his bat.  The zombie he had been fighting crashed to the floor, its head caved in.  "Finally.  I thought that thing was going to rip me apart."
Time to search the garage
Looting the garage gave me 2 units of fuel, a machete and a grenade.  What the...?  What an odd mix of stuff to find together.  This gave me a bit of an idea for the campaign...

"Look at these two corpses, they are in fatigues.  They don't have regular markings though - where are the name tags?"  Mark asked as he looked at a couple of the bodies.  "Something bad happened here."
"You got that right brotha."  Horace said coldly, hefting the grenade he found duct taped to a can of fuel.  "Did you see the remains of this zombie?  Its hands are duct taped behind it's back, and the legs are covered in bites and cuts."
"Who would do this?"  Dawn barely breathed out.  "Did these two let the other get bitten?"
"This is some messed up shit, man.  Are they related to that other group we saw?"  cleaning off the machete Allen asked Mark.  "I say we get our truck and get the hell outta here."
"I think that might be a good idea..."
Get to the truck
Hey this might have fuel
Mark and Dawn grab fuel from the dead SUV
Allen gets the truck into position
The group ran out of the garage, and I decided to to check the SUV I had parked near.  I rolled, and it had 2 units of fuel but no keys.  Mark and Dawn spent a turn gathering the fuel and Allen started moving their SUV into position to push their way through the wreck.  With the SUV running, zombies started appearing...
Zombies approach the wrecks
Finally the wreck moves

Zombies move in closer
Allen gave the SUV a bit more gas, the engine revving up with a dull rumble.  The sports car wreck finally moved back, thumping into the bride rail.  "Looks like that's all the farther it will go."
"We've attracted some attention!"  Horace said, looking out the windows "I think the gap is big enough, swing onto the bridge and let's go!"
Allen twisted the steering wheel, gunning the powerful V-8 and shifting into high gear.  The plastic front of the car shredded as the SUV clipped it with its grill bars, scattering debris onto the bridge.  Allen drove down the middle of the bridge, avoiding a zombie swaying along the right side.
Dawn stuck her SMG out her open window,  firing a long burst that splattered the zombie, tossing it into the river.  "Looks clear now!"
Almost across the bridge
The zombies fall behind
The group got across the bridge, and on their way towards Allen's family.  They didn't get a ton of loot, but have enough fuel to cover two areas of travel now.  After finishing this, I made rolls for keeping it together, and everyone is going to stay for at least two more scenarios!  Mark rolled 4 successes, and doubled up everyone else.

When the group looted the garage, they found an odd assortment of gear, and it got me thinking how could this have all come together?  Finding a grenade meant a military (or para-military) group, and the fuel and machete?  I have been watching too many 'evil government agency' shows for my own good.  I very quickly thought of a cover up for a botched operation of some kind.  Looks like I need to paint some "evil" soldier/contractor figures...

Now, is the group moving away from this sinister group, or further into their territory?

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Starting West (Part 1)

"...So we have some fresh eggs, a few fried chickens and several loaves of bread.  Should be a good couple of meals before we are stuck back on our packaged foods."  Mark packed a cooler in the back of the SUV.  "Let's just remember to eat that stuff first, it won't keep."
"Are you sure you won't stay?"  Ella asked again.  "There is plenty of room, and we can be pretty safe here."  She tried again to convince everyone to stay at the farm.
"I can't stay.  I would love to, but I can't until I know if my wife and daughter are safe, or..."  Allen said, choking up at the end.  "Maybe we can make it back this way."
"You will be welcome if you can make it back,"  Ella's father said.  "Thanks for helping get Ella home.  I wish we had more to send with you, but you have a few good meals at least.  Stay safe."
Dawn hopped up on the running board, sliding into the passenger seat.  "We will.  I know we'll see each other again."
Allen started up the SUV and the group rolled out onto the road, heading west...

I have done a bit of campaign planning for the trip west to Minneapolis.  The group is currently in north east Wisconsin, near the city of Appleton.  I have broken the trip into 4 areas of travel, so they will need a total of 24 units of fuel for the SUV to travel between those areas.  They currently have 10.  I have the areas divided up by geographic zones, with each being an area between major rivers.

For each of the major overland areas,  I will roll four times for a 'random' encounter.  These will be from several different scenarios, based on road encounters from I, Zombie, Haven and from some encounters I have designed.  At the end of each day of travel, which will cover one area, the group will need to succeed on a take and hold type scenario.  They will also need to locate fuel, either along the road or as part of a scenario in the area they are in.

Area 1 will be from the Fox River to the Wisconsin River (roughly located about 80 miles west) the first scenario is crossing the Fox River in a small town near the farm.

Approaching the bridge
This scenario starts in the morning of day 22, with an ER of 4.  There are 3 PEFs, 10 initial zombies and two wrecked cars blocking the bridge.  This is a suburban area, and zombies will appear on 5-6.

Allen turned the first corner, driving close to a crashed school bus.  "Damn, that looks horrific.  I hope the kids made it out."
The rest of the SUV was quiet as everyone looked at the blood stained school bus.  A lone knapsack with books and papers spilling out was just visible inside.  Smears of blood covered the windows in places, and the emergency door looked torn open.
"Well, at least I don't see any bodies..."  Mark offered.
Abandoned bus
The zombies didn't move, and a couple were spawned from the SUV driving around.  The next turn, Allen lined up the zombies in the street and drove into them.  Once stopped, everyone got out, I didn't want to try and fight from inside the SUV.
Driving into the small crowd

Everyone hops out
Zombies crunched under the impact of the SUV, the emaciated bodies crumpling from the impact.  "Take that you creeps!"  Allen laughed as he drove through several of them.  He skidded to a stop just through the intersection with the bridge.  "Everybody out!"  he yelled.
"Looks like we will have to move some wrecks."  Mark commented, glancing at the bridge.  "Hopefully they will push out of the way easily enough for us."
"Plenty of wandering zombies around here.  Let's clear out some of them before we try the bridge."  Horace offered.
"Yeah, good idea.  I think there is something else out here..."  Dawn commented nervously.

After getting out, the zombies began to close in on the group.  Dawn triggered one of the PEFs only to see the ER raise to 5.  The other nearest PEF moved away, before moving back towards the group.  The PEF on the bridge sat still for most of the game, but did eventually move down the bridge a ways.  Of course, this is where the group doesn't get to activate for a turn.  Standing by a running vehicle in the zombie apocalypse is not a smart move...
Zombies close in
A PEF moves into sight
 Across the intersection, the front door to the Med Stop opened up.  "Looks like something's coming out!"  Horace yelled.  Zombies slowly continued to shamble closer to the group, blocking them against the SUV.  "It's people!"  Horace shouted in surprise
A pair of men and a lone woman came out of the drug store, hefting a couple of sacks.  They looked around the scene in the street, gesturing towards the group and a yellow SUV parked nearby.  "Good luck!" one of the men shouted.  The three of them fired at a nearby zombie and ran for the yellow SUV, ignoring the group.
Another group of survivors

One PEF exited the Med Stop store (a free card building made by Tommygun, I love his stuff by the way) and revealed to be a group of 3 civilians.  The meet and greet went rather poorly, with the group not scoring a single success to the other group scoring 2.  They chose not to 'walk the walk' and I randomly determined they had completed looting the drug store and were leaving (I rolled to see which vehicle was theirs.)  I ran them as a separate group for the rest of the game.
Everyone clears out some zombies
The zombie spawns the next turn from the shooting lead to a fun incident.  One zombie from Horace's shooting was right on top of the SUV.  I figured it was an injured companion of the second group, who had turned before they could get back with supplies.  Funny how random events can seem almost planned.  I made the second group pass a zed or no zed test versus this zombie (again, trying to keep things interesting) when they opened the truck and found him turned.
Zombie in the SUV
Time to clean out the car
A terrified scream came from the yellow SUV, followed by several gunshots.  Horace looked down the street in time to see one of men pulling a corpse from the truck.  "Either they are car jackers, or they had an unwanted passenger!"  He said , firing on a nearby zombie.  "I think they are leaving."
"They don't matter - let's clear this area enough to see what these wrecks are going to do to us."  Allen said as he moved through the intersection, following Mark who was caving in the head of a zombie with his bat.  "We just need to get across the river before we are eaten by these things!"

The second group didn't hesitate, they passed their checks easily, and shot the zed down.  It did take 4 shots (poor rolling for kills by pistol) and I ruled one fig would spend a turn clearing out the zombie remains before they would leave.
Mark's group moved into the street a bit, he charged and killed a zed in hand to hand, the others took pot shots at zombies as they appeared.  I was trying set up the group to have some clear lines of fire for zombies coming from behind the service station (a few had spawned there - I didn't quite get them in the pics.)
More zombies!

Starting up the Yellow SUV
Zombies behind the service center
The yellow SUV started with a rumble, the deep sound echoing through the dead streets.  More zombies shambled from the shadows, closing in on the sounds of the engine and the gunshots that split the quiet morning air.
"Like I said, they're leaving."  Horace said with a grunt.  "Good riddance, I mean, who doesn't at least offer to help?"
"Looks like more zombies.  Stay alert, let's move back towards our wheels, we need to get that bridge opened."  Allen said, punctuating his directions with a shot through a decayed head.  "I don't think these are going to stop showing up!"

The second group started their SUV, and more or less just drove off the board to the east.  The clipped a couple of zombies, but otherwise all they did was summon more with the sound from their engine.  Mark's group moved back towards their own SUV, clearing up zombies so they could investigate the bridge.  The PEF moved forward, hiding just behind the car wrecks.  I wonder what it will be...

The second group exits
Mark's team advances on the zombies
More zeds show up
Mark smashed the bat into the head of another zombie.  It made a satisfying crunch as the body fell to the pavement.  He heard a startled yell from Dawn just behind him.  "There's more coming from across the street!"  She yelled and let loose a burst from her sub-machine gun, spent cartridges tinkling on the pavement.  "Keep shooting!  They're still coming!"
Mark wrenched the bat back from the head of the dead zombie.  "I'll help in a sec!"

Again the dice decided the group didn't need to actually act.  I had two turns in a row of zombies acting, but the team standing there, doing nothing but reacting.  Luckily, everyone is a survivor now.  Previously, with the citizen brown pants rolls and lower reps (everyone is at least a 4 now) I figure at least half the group would have run off.  Now they stand and fire, or end up in hand to hand.
They shoot a few
Zombies stumble through the tires

Zombies move down the street
Zombies shuffled down the street, oblivious to the bullets hurtling through the air around them.  Slowly they moved through the debris in the street, stumbling into Dawn and Allen.  Soon their yells combined with moans of the zombies as they fought for their lives.
Zombie Charge!
Zombies are shot up
  Dawn fired another burst from the SMG, and another zombie slid to the ground.  "They're still coming!"  She yelled, taking aim at another zombie stumbling around the corner.  Her gun chattered a couple of times and fell silent.  "Empty!  I'm reloading!" she yelled as she grabbed for another magazine.
Mark belted out a war cry and charged into the group of advancing zombies.  Swinging about with his bat, the withered bodies crumpled to the ground, but started to rise until he smashed their heads.  
Horace stepped behind Dawn and fired his pistol into the threatening zed, blasting its rotting head to pieces.  "Ha!  Take that bastard!  Get reloaded, I'm sure there are more coming!"

As the zombies crashed into the group, they got shot up pretty good, plus Allen carries a machete for hand to hand.  He and Dawn made short work of the four zombies that charged them.  The next turn, the group gained initiative, unfortunately Dawn ran out of ammo, and Allen missed his two shots.  Horace moved up, and used his pistol to kill the nearest zombie.  Mark was fighting two in hand to hand and knocked one down and killed another.

The zombies get a free turn, and a second zed attacks Mark, with a spawned zombie sneaking up behind Dawn (who is still trying to reload!)  Mark kills one zed, and fights an evenly matched with the other.
Sneaky zombie!
Allen watched as Mark fought the two zombies, waiting for an opportunity to fire.  He glanced at Dawn, who was struggling to get her sub-machine gun reloaded.  Just by chance, his peripheral vision caught movement behind them.  "Look out behind you!" He cried as a zombie stumbled closer.
Not wanting to risk hitting Dawn, Allen charged into the zombie with his machete.  Singing through the air, the machete cut into the zombies neck, severing the head easily.
"Wow!  I didn't see that one coming!"  Dawn said as she closed the action on her SMG.  "I'm ready to rock again if we need."
"Looks like the street is clear, but I think something is behind the wrecks..."  Mark said as the group turned to the blocked bridge. 
Allen finishes off the last zombie
The group has managed to clear out the streets.  They still need to resolve the last PEF, and figure out how to clear the wrecks.  Can they resist trying to find useful items in the nearby buildings?

Friday, May 16, 2014

Zombie War Plan

I'll have a bat rep very soon, but I just had to share this:

Pentagon Zombie War Plan

It sounds like government spending gone amok, but its not like a REAL war plan.  Of course they'd never tell us that...

Time to put the tinfoil hat back on.

Here's a random fun pic from the internet:

Hell Yes.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

A Brief Interlude

"Its a long trip to the Twin Cities.  Before we decide to go, I want to see if my parents are still alive."  Ella said to the group.  "They have a small farm just east of here."  Choking up a little, she continued.  "Even if the worst has happened, it should make a good place to decide on our plans."
"Fine by me.  I want everyone to see their families again."  Allen said as he guided the SUV around a wreck, clipping a zombie that shambled out.  "Getting off the road to figure out how head west will be easier than trying to do it on the fly."
Following Ella's directions, Allen drove down a few country roads.  The zombies thinned out, and the countryside looked normal.  "Hard to believe its the end of the world."  Dawn said as she looked out the window.  "Everything seems peaceful out here."

The group is going to Ella's family farm.  I randomly determined who would have a chance to have family nearby to check on.  This will figure later when the group discusses where to go.

This is a rural area, the encounter rating is 2, it is afternoon.  Normal zombie spawn rules apply, with them appearing on a 6 from noise.  There are 8 zombies and 3 PEFs.  One PEF is inside the house, with slightly special rules.

The PEF in the house may be an encounter, per normal chances.  If it is an encounter, civilians will be Ellas parent(s), instead of national guard, it will be gangers, and if zombies, Ella must pass zed or no zed for each one encountered in the house.

Starting setup
Approaching the farm
The group entered on a country road, lined with trees.  Two zombies  were in the road past their turn off, so I ignored them for the moment.  Luckily, the group won initiative the first couple of turns, and Allen slowed down and turned into the driveway.  The group shot and dropped a couple of zeds as they drove towards the house.

Running and Gunning
Zombies foolishly stand in the way...
...And get run down.
Pulling into the yard

Allen ran down three zombies, the rotting bodies crunching as they hit the ground.  He turned around in the yard, kicking up gravel and dust that pinged against the nearby shed.  "Got a few!  Should be safe enough to get out now."
Everyone threw open the doors and jumped out, ready to face a threat.  Ella broke from the group, running for the house.  "Mom! Dad! Are you home?"  She yelled as she ran to the front door.
Everyone into action

The welcoming committee

Mark finds nothing
Storming the house

Ella ripped open the front door, to find her parents waiting for her.  "Mom!  Dad!"  She cried, tears streaming from her eyes.  "You're alive!"  She collapsed into their arms, everyone breaking into tears.
"Honey, we were so worried.  With everything falling apart, we feared the worst."  Her mother said, between sobs.  "I'm so glad you are here!"
"We'll clean up out here."  Mark said, hefting his bat.
"Once you are done, come in, we would like to meet our daughters friends..."  Her father yelled as the group moved against the nearby zombies.
Ella's parents meet her at the door

The rest of the team deals with the zombies
Gene triggers the last, empty, PEF

" there we were, buildings exploding and zombies everywhere."  Ella finished her story as everyone sat around the family dinner table.  "It was a miracle we survived that day!"
The smell of fresh bread mixed with the coffee and fried chicken in the house.  It had been weeks since any of the group had eaten so well.  "Thanks again for feeding us!"  Mark enthusiastically said as he finished a portion of chicken.  "I never thought I would get to eat fried chicken again."
"Well, fresh chicken is one advantage we have here on the farm."  Ella's father replied.  "If you decide to stay..."

So the scenario to get to the farm was pretty quick, and pretty much a walk in the park.  Now the group has to decide what to do.  I have divided the group into three groups.  First is Allen, who wants to hit the road.  Second is Ella, and her parents, who want to stay.  The remainder of the group is undecided.

What I decided to do is have a basic initiative roll, Allen and Ella each roll a d6, highest goes first.  Each turn, they could try and influence or oppose the other side's influence.  Each would roll versus People skill (figured it was a good use for it.)  Mark, Allen, Ella and her parents would have 2 successes to start off, meaning to change their stance to just undecided, it would take three successes.

Once everyone was out of the undecided category, there will only be d6 turns to try and influence people.
Discussions begin

Ella grabs Gene
After a couple of rounds, Allen manages to get Mark
Dawn decides to go
Horace decides to stay
 I rolled for three turns remaining to influence each side.  Allen managed to win initiative for two rounds.
Horace moves back to undecided
And then decides to go
There were a few times where each side cancelled out the others.  I tried a couple of times for each to influence to other (Ella vs Allen, etc.)  This didn't work very well.  Overall, I liked the interaction to make the decision, not just a single roll (like keeping it together) for such a major campaign decision.

Ella and Gene are going to stay at the farm.  They can help make it more defensible, and in a worst case scenario, it may make for a safe haven to the traveling group to get to.  The group will part on good terms, and the travelers will have a couple of days to get supplies and plan a route.