Sunday, November 23, 2014

New Friends, Old Problems

Minneapolis, before the apocalypse
 Sitting in the grimy light of the bar, Kelly told the summary of the past month in Minneapolis.  Dawn felt the atmosphere of the bar fit the mood perfectly.
"It started out, well, probably about the same for everyone.  You remember, it was just some disease and crazy people.  I was a nurse downtown, and after a couple of days, I ended up stuck at the hospital."  Kelly took a swig of water.  "I couldn't get back to my husband, he was at our apartment..."  She broke off in tears, Dawn comforted her.

 "It's okay, I'll be okay."  Kelly said, getting a drink of water.  "Everyone has lost somebody..."  Gathering herself, Kelly continued.  "As things got worse, I was stuck at the hospital.  The police kept bringing in people, I was lucky early - many nurses and doctors were bitten.  After a couple of days, we all knew better, and we could still function as a trauma center.  A couple of weeks ago, I was tasked to a special ward.  It was set aside nearly from the beginning, by some outside doctors.  They were working with various infected people, trying to save them.  I really thought we had a chance to cure this!"
"I am guessing by that comment, you didn't."  Mark said as dug out a granola bar to eat.
"Not exactly."  Kelly said, shrugging.  "They tried all kinds of drug cocktails and surgeries, I did see someone get an arm amputated that didn't turn.  I don't think that is a great long term solution..."
"Not really, but it may be useful to remember if the worst happens."  Allen said, biting into a apple.  "Why aren't you still in the hospital?"

"I can help answer that."  Larry replied.  "I was a janitor at the hospital, and I was stuck there from nearly the beginning.  The suits that took over the ward, they didn't want to clean up any messes, so they had me there for weeks.  I didn't mind, it was safe and I didn't have to deal with the zeds on the streets."  He took a drink of water from his bottle.  "It was fine until a couple of days ago.  The military tried to evacuate the hospital, and didn't like that the company men weren't leaving.  In the gunfight that followed, I ran out of there with these three.  We've been running and hiding ever since."

"I wish I had been there longer."  Nadine said quietly.  "I had been stuck in my apartment for weeks, luckily I had some food and the water stayed on.  About a week ago, these guys in hazmat outfits came through my building, gathering people to go to the hospital.  They made sure to separate anyone they thought was bitten, but brought me along anyway.  It was nice to feel safe for a change, at least for a time when I got to the hospital."  She looked away from the group.  "I didn't realize what they were going to do until Mike grabbed me when the shooting started, and saw the other rooms..."

Mike started "I was an IT guy, guess I still am, and a good one.  These guys from Phoenix Techsystems showed up a few weeks ago at my data center.  I was managing to keep the network running, and access to internet solid for our customers.  I was living at the center, so many people had been calling in, and while I knew some of what was happening out there, I wasn't paying attention."  

Mike grabbed a few crackers and snacked on a few ad he continued.  "Anyway, these suits offered me a ton of money to manage a server farm for them, and to keep network access up.  I jumped at the idea, not realizing how crazy everything had become.  Well, they brought me to the hospital, and I got the network up and running.  They had me connect all kinds of security cameras and internet feeds, they were sharing it with other facilities.  what they didn't know was that I could see that they were intentionally infecting people to test out cures."
"Those bastards!"  Allen said and thumped the table.  "They should have been saving people, not experimenting on them!"
"Believe me, I felt the same way.  There wasn't much I could do, but I did get a bunch of footage of the experiments and some of the documents up loaded to wikipedia a few days ago.  I also saw the military when they arrived.  They were trying to relocate the medical staff to the airport, and the old fort they have taken over.  They had no idea about the special ward, and I saw the first firefight breakout.  I knew if any of us were leaving, this would be our chance.  I grabbed my laptop, a couple of bottles of water and found Nadine first."

"Kelly, how did you do that?"  Dawn asked, shocked.  "What kind of monster would infect people?"
"I didn't know.  I wasn't in the isolation room areas, except for a couple of surgeries.  When I saw Mike grab Nadine, I ran after them, and I saw the isolation rooms.  I wasn't going to stay after that regardless.  Luckily we ran into Larry, and grabbed some food and got out of there."

Larry picked up the narration.  "We got out on the street as the army poured into the hospital.  I remember a few tanks and humvees, helicopters and all kinds of gunfire.  Zombies were everywhere, but with all the noise, we were able to sneak away.  The city was in chaos, and for the past few days we have been moving from place to place, dodging gangs and  just scrounging what we could for food and trying to survive.  The military has been broadcasting that they will take anyone to a FEMA camp, if they surrender to an outpost.  I don't trust those camps, I figure they are zombie buffets waiting to happen..."

"That medkit we found in the garage has some samples from the hospital.  I recognize the bag from one of the exam rooms."  Kelly mentioned, gesturing at the bag.  "Maybe we should leave it?  I would hate to have those corporate killers coming after us."
"We haven't found many crash kits like this, I think it may be too useful to just dump."  Allen said.  "I can't believe they would waste a bunch of people looking for one bag."

"Well, let's  get back to it.  Allen, lead the way - let's head for your home."  Mark said, getting up from the table.  "If we can find a truck or a couple of cars we can use to get everyone out of here, we should probably grab them.  Otherwise, we'll have to plan another way out of the city."
New group shot
Two of the survivors (Larry and Kelly) are straight Wargames Factory Survivors:  Men or Women builds.  These are great multipart models, they allow for a fair amount of variation and have some fun extras.  The other two models are rebased Heroclix - Nadine is a Checkmate Knight 007 from The Brave and The Bold set.  The other is a Rip Hunter 021 from the DC Crisis set.  I enjoy using the Heroclix for figs.  In general, they require little modification to make into a decent survivor.

The group is off towards Allens house.  They will try to find some transport, or at least some fuel for the pickup truck.  I am also going to have a chance for the Phoenix Techsystem corporate team to attack the survivors.  I will roll 2d6 at the start of the scenario, if I have 2 successes, the men in black will attack.  Just some more fun for the group to deal with.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Entering Hell, Part 2

"The zombies are right outside the door!"  Mark yelled.  "Allen, Dawn - we'll lead the way out the back here.  Did everyone see the bar up the street?"  Mark asked, and heard everyone agree.  "We'll head for that, let's hope it has a back door."  Mark cleaned his bat off quickly, bloody ichor plopped to the floor.
"What if they get to us?"  Mike asked.
"Just do what you have been doing for the past month."  Kelly said.  "Stay alive and kill the damn thing."
Time to leave the garage
The group is preparing to leave through the side door, move up the alley and seek shelter in a nearby bar and grill.  The zombies win initiative and crash through the first door.
One zombie stumbles into the garage
Dawn shot the lone zombie inside the building, and everyone ran out the side door.  The last person through spent the time to close and try to jam the door closed.  I'm hoping to stay out of sight, and confuse the zombies on where the survivors are.
The survivors try to sneak away from the zombies
Wining initiative, the group moves towards their objective.  Mark moves too far, and the nearby zombies start moving towards the group.
So close to the bar...
Here come the zombies!
Moving through the streets, Nadine hugged a damaged brick wall.  Zombies were wandering between wrecked cars, reaching out with putrid arms, trying to get to the humans.  Involuntarily, she shrunk back against the wall, wanting to get away from the undead.  With a rumble, a portion of the wall fell over, pinning her.  "Ahh!  I'm trapped!" 

The next turn starts with a random event.
Well, that's new.
Random chance gives me Nadine trapped.  At least the zombies are not right on top of her.  Still, it's going to slow everyone down.  The zombies win initiative, thankfully only Mark is close enough to actually be attacked in melee.  It goes well, and Mark kills the zombie that attacks him.
Can the zombies sense Nadine is stuck?
The zombies charge
Mark watched the wretched corpses stumbling forward.  One slid along the side of the trashed sports car Mark was behind, putrid hands reaching, hands twitching in anticipation of grabbing Mark.  In front of the car, more zombies scrambled towards the group.  "No guns!  We don't need any more of these things coming out."  With contempt, Mark shattered the head of the nearby zombie, charging at the next mob.
At least the zombies are outnumbered...
Need to keep things quiet
Mark killed one, and knocked down the other zombie when it was the survivors turn.  Allen charged, killing one more zed.  Dawn moved up to finish off the last zombie, she managed no successes in the unopposed melee, and the zombie survived.

The zombies won initiative, and moved towards the group.
More zombies move up
Staggering, the zombie lurched upright, grabbing Dawn, pinning one arm, and forcing her against the car wreck.  Opening its mouth, Dawn could smell the foul rot from the creature.  Twisting, Dawn let the zombie crash past her, its mouth just inches from her neck.  Swinging her machete, Dawn sliced the zombies head open, killing it.
"More coming!  Let's get them!"  Dawn yelled, sliding over the hood of the truck, attacking the zombies with her machete.

Mark attacks first
Dawn finishes the last zombie
It took a few turns, but Nadine finally got free from whatever was holding her.  With a little luck, I figured the group could make the bar before the remaining zombies got to them.  Starting towards the bar, a random event came up.
The cure?
The random event was a "clue to the cure".  I hadn't planned on this in the campaign, but I figured I might be able to work it in.  The random item found was a medical supply in the garage.  I'll address this a bit later...

Without much trouble, the group approaches the bar.  They find the rear entrance, and Team Mark leads the way in to clear it out.
Quiet Streets
Zombies in the bar!
Mark led the way into the dim bar.  Tipped chairs and tables told the tale of a fight in the recent past.  Allen moved over the bar, scattering some empty bottles, which tinkled loudly in the shadows.  "Looks like we missed a party."  He said to no one in particular.
"Maybe there is still some useful stuff here.  At least we are off the streets..."  Dawn said, looking over a fallen table.  A hand grabbed at her ankle, and suddenly 5 zombies lurched from the shadows...

Investigating the bar, the team finds five zombies.  Dawn fails the surprise roll, but stands her ground and goes straight to melee.  Allen shoots one zombie, and Mark goes right to hand to hand.  Dawn killed her opponent in melee, Mark kills one and knocks the other down.
Mostly clear...
Mike takes action!
I manage to get the civilian Mike to activate and charge the down zombie.  He kills it, and the survivors search the building.  They find a unit food and a luxury item.  The zombies are all more than 6" from the building, and I call the scenario a success.
The streets return to a state of undead calm...
With four new members, I am going to use the normal rules for the civilians to advance.  Each civilian had a zombie kill, and found a useful item.  Each qualifies for an advance, I just wish I could justify moving them to 'survivor' status!  Kelly and Larry both advance, and go to rep 4.  Keeping it together goes pretty well, Mark scores 3 successes, Allen scores 3, Dawn, Kelly and Nadine score 2, and Larry and Mike score only 1 (which means they don't have to check after the next game!)  Allen rolled 5 dice, and will roll 6 after the next game, to represent his urgency to get home...

With the recruits, and a successful mission, the team has a bonus of 8 for the results when they get to Allens home.  I am going to go for one more scenario, and if successful, go for Allens home.

Setting up chairs in the dimly lit bar, Mark gestured everyone to take a seat.  "Let's take a quick break."  Handing out the package of crackers he was carrying, Mark continued.  "I'm glad we found you guys out there, maybe you can let us know what is happening around here?"
Kelly took a drink from a water bottle, followed by a deep breath.  "It's a long story, but I'll try and keep it brief..."

Details to follow...

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Entering Hell, Part 1

Rolling down the highway, the pick up truck was eating up the miles.  The heavy downpour was masking the rumble of its V8 as Allen swerved around the occasional wreck.  Just across the median, the westbound lanes were a graveyard of automobiles.  Mile after mile of traffic jammed into what once was the best path away from the Twin Cities.  Flailing shadows inside of the cars and vans betrayed the presence of the undead in each vehicle.
"Allen, slow down man, we don't want to plow into a wreck!"  Mark all but yelled.  "I know we're close, but the rain is starting to slack.  We need to stop and figure out a plan."
"We have a plan!  It's maybe ten, fifteen tops to my house!  We roll in, grab my family and roll out!"  Allen swerved around a wrecked Hyundai, clipping an undead college kid as he shambled around the car.  "Nothing is going to stop us from getting there!"
"Allen, the rain is starting to slack off.  Its been keeping the zombies from swarming us, if that stops, we'll lead horde right to your house!"  Dawn shouted.  "We need to find a safe way to get to your house!"
"Dawn is right.  Allen, let's get off the road and figure out how to get to your house, SAFELY!"  Mark said as Allen swerved around another dead car, the truck fishtailing as he brought it back under control.  "Please, we are so close, we don't want to blow it now!"
Allen gripped the wheel with both hands, nearly shaking.  "It's been so long, I have to get to them!"
"You will.  How far have we all come together already?"  Dawn asked.  "We will get there, but let's be smart!"  The rain started to slow down, the rhythmic drumming slowing down.  "Let's stop and look around before we charge in."
Allen drove on, desperate to get to his family.  An orange sign flashed by, announcing a construction zone ahead.  Slowly nodding, a single tear slid down his cheek.  "You are right.  We will pull off at the construction site, and see what we can find."
Allen guided the truck into the construction site, gravel and mud splattering the side of truck as he drove through the site.  "Looks like the site office over there.  Let's check that out, at least we will be out of the weather."  Mark pointed ahead to the right.  "We'll check out the area and get to your family."

The group has reached the Minneapolis metropolitan area, and need to decide on a course of action.  They are down to 4 units of fuel, so they need to find some more to get out of the city.  Entering the city, the group has stopped at a construction site to scout the area, and make a plan to get to Allen's family.

I have decided to make a random chance for what the group will find at Allen's house.  I have a chart, which I will roll against when the group can draw line of sight to his family's house.  The catch will be that I will use an 'explode' effect, if I roll a 6, I will roll and add to the result.  Plus, I will need to lower the result below zero to get a good result.  I have set a few actions that will give me a bonus - recruiting more survivors, completing scenarios, using up luxury items.  I will get penalties for failing a scenario, each OOF or dead result.  After each scenario, Allen will roll an additional die (cumulative) and if he gets the 'leaves' result, the next scenario must be approaching his home.

The group is going to walk through town, to avoid attracting unwanted attention with a noisy truck.  They each have a pack, where each has a unit of food, a luxury item, a BAP and a melee weapon.  Mark and Allen have a shotgun in their packs, Dawn is carrying two machine pistols.  Everyone has an SMG, BAP and melee weapon on them, basically the same load out they had in the last scenario.  The truck is disabled (and will require 2 activations before trying to be started) and they will leave any leftover gear with it.

Resting one night, day 29 starts with the group moving down the road into a commercial area.  It is an urban area, ER 5, 3 PEFs and 11 zombies are in the area.

Entering the city
Zombie and PEF welcoming committee!
The group entered on the southwest corner, with an initial mission of just crossing the board.  They need to find more team members, explore some buildings, and just be successful to get a bonus when they get to Allens house.  I decide to move into contact with the nearby PEF, might as well get this started!
Dawn pops around the corner
SMG at the ready, Dawn stepped around the ruined corner, anxious to see what was in the ruins.  A pump shotgun racking met her.  "Stay back!  We're armed!" A frightened young woman yelled out.  Four weary looking people huddled in the rubble, brandishing a mix of weapons.
"Hey, we're not looking for trouble.  One of my friends is just trying to find his family."  Dawn said, lowering her weapon slightly.  "We're just passing through."
Lowering her shotgun, the leader stepped forward.  "I'm Kelly, we've been on the run for days, weeks even.  If you can take us out of here, we'd love to come with you!"
"Hell yes, these zeds are too much!"  Mike, brandishing a bolt action rifle offered.  "Between them, the gangs, the military and everyone else, I want to leave!"  A smattering of agreement came from the other two civilians.
"Well, meet Allen and Mark!"  Dawn said, gesturing back at her companions.
What are civilians doing here on day 29?
I moved Dawn out to trigger the first PEF, as I was rolling for what the contact was, I realized just how much I hung Dawn out in the breeze.  Luckily it was 4 civilians.  How anyone could still be a 'civilian' 29 days into the apocalypse, in Minneapolis, I don't know.  I guess we'll find out what's up with these people as we go...

The group is joined by 4 civilians, all Rep 3 - Kelly (shotgun, Medic), Larry (Shotgun), Mike (Bolt action rifle) and Nadine (Pistol).  Nadine is also carrying one unit of food.  I am using some Heroclix figures to represent the group.  Adding in the new people, the scenario conditions changed, now the team has to secure a building to sort out the new folks.  This will mean no active zombies within 6" of a building that has been searched, and is empty except for the team members.

The next turn, one PEF moves up, in cover at the front of the truck wreck.  I decide we'll trigger this PEF as well, might as well get these revealed while everyone is fresh.
PEF moves up
Mark heard the rustle from the front of the truck.  He moved around the side, and saw a mob of zombies moving towards the ruined building.  "Allen!  We have company!"  Yelling, Mark charged the zombies.
Mark charges in
Allen grabbed the tailgate of the truck, making his way forward to the top of the cab.  He fired into the zombies.  "Dawn, maybe you and our friends could help out here?"  he yelled.
Allen on top of the truck
Dawn charges the zombies
I had forgotten how much "fun" the citizen brown pants rule is.  Luckily I get Nadine to activate, and charge the downed zombie.  She moved up and executed a 'popping the weasel' maneuver, killing the zed.

Nadine moves into action
Nadine kills the downed zombie
The new team members need to get some experience, so I move them up and around to try and get some shots on the zombies.  Larry moves up first with his shotgun.
Larry sizes up the zombies
Larry gets one
Kelly finishes off the downed zombie
I ran out of nearby targets, so the last civilian, Mike, moved up to the center of the group.  I figure when the zombies spawn and move up, he will get a shot or two in.  Eight more zombies spawn from the gunfire.

The next turn, the zombies get initiative and close in on the group.  Okay, time to pay more attention, I forgot how quickly zombies can appear and overwhelm the humans.  The group decides to move towards the nearby garage, to try and get off the street, and limit the zombies coming at them.
The zombies close in
Time to head to the garage
Mark charges into the mob, he will bring up the rear as they move to the garage.
Mark charges the zombies
Allen shoots the zombie in the ruined building, as Dawn falls back to clear the street.  I am trying to use Team Mark to drop the key zombies, I can't count on the civilians to be able to do too much, but they can still shoot.
Allen shoots
Allen and Dawn move back to the ruins
 The civilians run into the garage, hopefully it's empty...
Nadine leads the way to the garage
The civilians spread into the garage
Nadine threw open the door and ran into the garage.  The dim space felt empty, and she waved the others inside.  "Let's get off the street!"  She yelled.  Lead by Larry, the group ran through the door into the garage.  Outside the crack of gunfire echoed as Dawn and Allen fired on the zombies.
"I don't think we're alone..."  Mike started to say as a low moan and shuffling sounded in the garage.  From the dim corners zombies shambled out at the startled civilians.  "Shoot!"  He yelled and fired.
Entering the building, I draw a card for the occupants.  It's 5 zombies!  Against 4 civilians, this could get ugly quick.  Surprisingly, three civilians win the surprise roll, Mike, Larry and Kelly all get to shoot the zombies. 

That's a good round of shooting!
Nadine manages to fight the two zombies to a standstill, with each one a draw.  All in all, better than I expected.  The round ends with more zombies appearing on the streets from the shooting.
More zombies appear in the streets
The survivors win initiative, and keep moving back to the garage,  Allen runs in to help Nadine with the zombies, knocking one down, and killing the other.  Mark drops back to the doorway, giving the rest of the group a chance to get organized in the garage.
Allen takes down the zombies
Mark stops at the door

Mark fights one zombie at the doorway
The next turn, the survivors activate, but the zombies don't.  Mark moves into the garage, which is being searched.  Kelly and Mike find meds and fuel.  A second door opposite the entrance is available, which is what everyone will be using to leave.  My plan is to make for the bar and grill, secure that building, and hopefully get a successful scenario.
Regrouping in the garage
To be continued...

(On a side note, sorry for the delay in continuing the campaign; I have had some computer issues.  Things seem to be better, I will have part 2 up soon!)