Saturday, February 21, 2015

A Nice Neighborhood (Part 1)

Smoke drifted over the ruined landscape as the mid-May sun rose over the ruined highway.  Dark packs of zombies still roamed the roadway, looking like insects from the fifth floor perch Dawn was watching from.  "It's been almost a week.  The worst of the pack seems to have moved away from us, I think it's time to look around and get our supplies sorted out."
"I agree, I am getting tired of Doritos from the vending machine."  Larry said, looking at Anna.  "Thanks for sharing by the way, too bad there wasn't a bit more variety."
"The machines were pretty full when I hit them, but we've gone through most of the food I had."  Anna finished a bottle of water and continued.  "We still need to decide where we are going to go.  That farm you mentioned sounds great, but can we even make the trip?"
"If we want to get there, we need to make sure we have plenty of supplies.  Let's see what we can scrounge up around here, and then see where we can go."  Dawn said, standing up and checking her weapons.  "We'll find it easier to get out of town if we don't have to stop and look for food and fuel every few miles."
"That makes sense."  Anna replied.  Loading her rifle, she looked down to the street below "There's a few of those things out there.  Looks like we'll have to fight our way to the other buildings."
"Well, no time the present."  Larry said and picked up his shotgun.  "Let's get this done."

It is day 35, the group has watched the zombie horde disperse from the relative safety of the office building they are living in.  They are trying to get the supplies together to make the trip back to Ella's family farm in Wisconsin, about 300 miles to the east.  They have only started forming a plan, and need supplies to be able even try to make the trip.

This scenario requires the group to search either all the buildings or find 3 resources (any successful search) and return to the central building with no active zombies within 6" of the group.  It is morning, the ER is 5, zombies spawn on a 4+, there are 3 PEFs and 17 zombies to start.
A quiet morning street
The group starts out coming out the front doors, I decide to head towards the Starbucks and empty building next to it.
The group walks out into the morning air...
Blasting the nearby zombies!
Gunfire echoed in the streets, and zombies fell from the concentrated fire.  As the rotting remains tumbled to the ground, the sound of low moans and rough shuffling could be heard in the sudden silence.  More undead shambled from the corners, or rose from the trash littering the roadways.
"They are all over out here!"  Anna yelled, trying to look in every direction at once.  "I'm not sure this was a good idea!"
"Head for the shop!  We'll get inside and try and find a way to loose these things."  Dawn yelled, snapping off a burst from her SMG.
More zombies!
From 12 dice for zombie spawning, 9 zombies appeared!  The group only killed 3 zombies from their shooting.  At this rate, I might run out of zombie figs!  Time to try be more quiet...

At the start of the next turn, one of the PEFs moves to contact.  What now?
PEF moves up
Meet Gary, survivor
A figure ran from the nearby eatery.  He brandished an assault rifle and was yelling.  "Get out of here!  These things are everywhere!"
"Hey, calm down!  We're trying to leave town.  Are you looking for a way out?"  Dawn yelled as the man ran towards the group.
"You people are crazy!  I'm safer on my own!"  He paused and fired on nearby zombies.  "Stay away from me!"

The meet and greet went against Dawn and team.  At least he didn't try to walk the walk.  I decided he would just try and run for the nearest board edge to "escape".  His name is Gary and is Rep 3, armed with an assault rifle and has the initiative attribute.  He will activate with the team, but not be a part of it.  Too bad, another rifle would be helpful.

Dawn leads the way into the Starbucks.
Zombies in the coffee shop!
Four zombies were inside the coffee shop.  Dawn shot one and then the group went to melee.
Fighting in the shop
"We need to clear this out and lose some of the zombies!"  Dawn yelled as she struggled with a former barista.  "There's too many of them on the street!"
"I've got the door!"  Anna replied as she finished off an undead shop patron, turning to pull closed the glass door.  "We should be able to head out the back."

The next turn starts with a random event.
A case of the nerves?
A random roll indicates the survivor that chose not to join the group is the one who fires.  At least that goes my way...  The zombies activate first, and one stumbles through the front door of the coffee shop.
They let anyone in here!
He might be wishing he had gone with the group
Gary fired into the zombies starting to surround him.  He didn't see any fall, and ran for the nearby alley.  "I gotta get out of here!  Those fools are going to call the whole city down on us!"  He thought as he ran.  The zombies slowly shuffled after him, chasing his retreating form.
Unnoticed a lone figure in the shadows ahead moved towards Gary...
Gary runs for it!
The group moves to the back room
Having dispatched the zombies, the group moves to the back room area of the coffee shop.  They search the building, but don't find anything useful.

On the next turn the survivors activate but the zombies do not.  Gary finds a new friend when the zombies spawn from shooting...
Zombie appears right on Gary!
Gary illustrates the exact reason you don't shoot and then move (especially fast move!)  As one zombie appears right on top of Gary.
An unfortunate end for Gary
Dawn led the group out of the back door of the coffee shop, into the alley.  Running through the garbage strewn street, they kicked a few cans and bottles which skittered through the junk.  As they ran between buildings they could see more zombies coming towards them from across the street.
"We'll clear this next building, and head out the front.  Hopefully that will throw the zeds off our trail."  Dawn said as she tried the door.  "We'll have to break in, this door is locked."
"No problem."  Larry pulled out a crowbar, and pried open the door with a wrenching sound.
Entering the next building
The next turn the survivors go first, and enter the building.
A lone zombie is inside.
It's easily dispatched.
Gary does prove useful in another way...
Let the feast begin!
For one turn, the survivors search the empty building.  They manage to find a unit of meds.  At least something useful!  The zombies expand their feast, and they move into the alley the team was moving in.

The zombies activate for two turns without the survivors being able to act.  This results in a predictable concentration of the zombies...
The zombies are searching...

and eating...
When the group gets the chance to move again, they run across the street.  Unfortunately the zombies get to activate and a few begin to follow the team.
They make a break for it
Zombies start following
At least the feast ties up a major chunk of the zombies.  The team continues to run, trying to gain some space.
Ducking around a corner
The survivors activate for a turn without the zombies.  They try to make a sprint between buildings while the horde is still busy with their feast.  They don't quite make it in one turn.
Not quite to the next building
Where will the horde head next?
The group is hoping to get past the second skyscraper, and then make their way back to their own building. 

To be continued...

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Scenery: Modified Cardstock Coffee Shop

What building is on almost every corner? (at least it seems that way here in America)  - Starbucks.
Morning Zombies

Taking a look at my selection of buildings, I found a rather large gap in the collection, I don't have a Starbucks or any coffee shop.  Being rather cheap, and wanting to try and get something built quickly, I decided to go for a card building.  Also being cheap, I used a free model from the internets!

I used the Microtactix Horseman's Deli as the basis for the building. I have built this a couple of times before, it makes a nice basic building.  As presented, it does not have an interior, and I wanted to change that.  I also decided to replace the 'glass' with some clear plastic for a window effect.

I should have done a better job with my photography skills, as I fumbled the in process pictures.  I do have a few from various part way through.  Imagine glue, bits of paper and various swearing all forming a cloud...that is pretty much how this went to start!
Scene Missing
I am using scrapbook/craft paper from a chain hobby shop (Hobby Lobby I believe) I chose a fairly neutral green with a burlap pattern.  I hope it gives some interest without overwhelming the senses.  I printed off the building at full scale, and matched the walls to the paper, cutting pieces for the interior.

For the front and back, I cut the windows and doors out through both the outside and the inside walls.  I printed off the doors on a separate page.  I should have just printed another full page, but I tried to be clever and did just a screen grab of the doors, with one mirrored.  They didn't scale correctly, and as a result my front door is slightly over sized.  It's not too bad, but I won't make that mistake again.

I did manage to print the roof at a larger size, so it would overhang the walls, as opposed to being recessed on the standard model.  I have plenty of clear plastic packaging set aside for the windows, so it was pretty easy to just cut a piece to fit the door and window.  I did choose to NOT do the window over the front door, it doesn't look too bad.

A piece of advice, if you are installing clear plastic for the windows in this card building, I recommend using the absolute minimum amount of glue.  Be prepared to clean up glue overrun if you put very much glue on.  There is not much space for the hinge for the front door, I used just a small piece of paper glued to the door (between the front and back) and the interior and  exterior walls.

Are they still open?
I have some of my half finished figs pictured with the building.  Kind of a work in progress in a couple of ways...
Front, with windows
 I made some basic box shapes using Excel, and added some pictures and wood textures.  I used a picture of a Starbucks for behind the counter.  It looks like shelves and a couple of chalk boards.  It's passable.  I also made a small box shape, gave it a chrome texture, and a picture of a coffee machine.  It won't be easily visible, but it works.
Cropped and printed it looks okay.

Front above showing some of the interior
I used some found pictures from the net for the Starbucks logo.  I made signs to hang below the roof line, allowing me to still remove the roof to get to the inside.  The sign is a little tall, but it works out as unmistakable signage.
Should be able to find that sign from blocks away
The building is more or less completed.  I am going to add some more details, tables and chairs, trash can, etc. when I get the chance.  As it stands, it will usable for my next game...
The standard building is on the right
Well, some good, some bad.  I'm thinking of trying some other variations on the shop.  I will go with much smaller signs, and just on the front.  I can place them together for a strip mall effect.

The front is a bit of a pain to do the glass trick with, but overall this was a good model to try it out on.  It would be nice to have a bit more space next to the door.  I'll need to get better at making the doors the right size as well.  For a first go, I feel it turned out okay.

Please any suggestions, comments or ideas are welcome!

Monday, February 9, 2015

A New Dawn

As Dawn is taking over as my star, I decided to give her a new miniature.  I have chosen to use the Dark Reaper miniature "Mira" who bears more than a passing resemblance to Alice from Resident Evil fame.
Dawn, looking a bit more Post-Apocalyptic
While the mini is armed with a pistol and kukri, (the mini has options for two of either, or a mix/match like I have done) and this is a fair match for what Dawn is armed with.

I went with an earth tone palette, and a natural leather look for her trench coat.  I did go with red hair instead of blonde (from her original model) as I liked its look better.
It's a Big Pistol...
All the rage in PA fashion!
I have the miniature mounted on a Secret Weapons "Urban Streets" base, whose bases I am a fan of.  I went with a pretty bland gray rubble/pavement scheme for the base.  It works with my street tiles pretty well.

Also I managed to find some Horrorclix and have started the repaint/rebase of those miniatures.  They will appear in some of the next batreps or just join the growing horde of zeds and survivors...

Dawn's group shot:
Time to face the zombie horde!

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Movin' On Up

Swerving around dead cars and wrecks, Dawn hammered the engine of the yellow hatchback, driving towards the highway.  "We came in on the interstate, the bridge should still be open.  We'll cross there and head east as far and as fast as we can go."  Dawn jerked the car right as she clipped a zombie.  "It had better be open..."
Larry looked out the passenger side window.  "Is that a helicopter?"  he asked and turned on the cars radio.  "The military broadcasts warnings if they are flying in certain areas."  Larry said as Dawn looked at what Larry was doing.  The radio beeped and scanned through the channels, stopping after a few seconds.
"...civilians are advised to avoid the I-494 corridor.  Military maneuvers are ongoing and no warning shots will be fired.  Move away or stay indoors if you are near this area.  Once again, The US armed forces are active and civilians are advised to avoid the I-494 corridor..."  Static crackled in and out as the message repeated.  Larry turned off the radio as Dawn reached the on ramp for the interstate.
"We should stay away, the military will shoot up the car.  I heard about gangs trying to hit convoys with car bombs, the grunts shoot first and ask questions later now."  Larry said as Dawn stopped the car.
A dark mass of zombies filled the roadway a few miles away.  Stragglers were shuffling along the road, and dark plumes of smoke rose in the distance.  Both could see helicopters circling and firing into the horde, their shots not having any apparent effect.
Larry looked around, seeing zombies shuffling closer, and some of the helicopters coming near their car.  "I think we need to get off the street.  All we need is for the flyboys to decide to hit us with a rocket."
"I agree."  Dawn gunned the car across the overpass, leaving the highway behind.  "I have an idea, hang on!"  Dawn turned off the avenue, down a smaller side street with office buildings lining each side.
"Where are you going?'  Larry asked.  "This is just office buildings..."
"We need a place that had few people, and hopefully no zeds right now.  I doubt many people ran back to work after the first few days."  Dawn smiled and continued.  "Right there.  We'll head up stairs in that small office building.  Looks like some of it is empty even.  Perfect!"
Dawn swerved the car hard to the left, avoided a light post, drove up a small walkway and crashed through the glass doors to the lobby.  "We're here!"  she yelled as she shut off the car.  "Let's get out and see what we have to deal with."

Dawn has taken over for my star, she was already Rep 4, armed with a SMG and machete with 'Logical' as an attribute.  As a star I get to pick her second attribute, and I choose 'Tough as Nails' which allows her to ignore the first human inflicted OOF or dead result per game.  Larry is Rep 4, and I roll for an attribute for him (I didn't have one generated for him previously) and get 'Attractive'.  This gives him a +1 on people rolls with the opposite sex.  Larry is armed with a shotgun and BAP, plus a baseball bat.

This scenario is Dawn and Larry trying to find a place to hole up for a few days to let the zeds calm down in the area.  Dawn has crashed through the doors of a five story building, and the scenario is the two of them clearing the building.

There will be a few special rules for this game:
1.  Zombies spawn from gunfire, but not more than twice per floor.  I have three different sets of zombies, so I can keep this straight.  It is still an urban setting, so zombies will appear on a 4+
2.  Zombies will spawn at 6" not 12" away.  If the direction is outside the building, they will be just inside, in the direction indicated, even if closer than 6".  This applies to appearing in blocked in areas as well.
3.  Each floor will be considered a PEF, and when opening the door the floor's inhabitants will be determined.  I am going to draw the risks and rewards card for the number of zombies for the floor.  Some floors may have additional rooms which will have separate checks for zombies as well. The elevators are stuck on random floors.
4.  One floor will be a special floor, and will include a PEF, which may be a survivor, gangers, etc. per the standard rules for a PEF.  Which floor this is will be randomly determined by rolling a number equal to or less than the number of floors explored on a d6 when the floor is explored.
5.  Before opening the door for any floor, there is a 1 in 6 chance of d3 zombies attacking the group in the stairwell.  Shots will generate zombies from this encounter, but they will not count towards the max number of zombies for the floor.
6.  Searching for items will be using the risks and rewards deck, but two cards have to be drawn, if they match, then the item is found.  The Carolee card is a 'wild' card and counts ass a match for anything.  This is a test of an idea I had for more scarce resources.

Each floor is a 12"x12" area, and is based on a piece of scrapbook paper.  Each floor has elevators and the stairwell in common locations.  Most of the office decorations are from Tommygun (excellent stuff if you haven't seen it!) and a few parts are my own creations.  Most appeared back at the start of my campaign in the office setting for the second report I had.

Glass still made tinkling, popping sounds as Dawn got out of the car.  She tossed the keys into a nearby potted plant.  "We'll leave the keys here, just remember that's where they are."
A low groan and shuffling sounds sounded in the empty lobby.  "We have company!"  Larry yelled as several zombies wandered towards the car.
Is this a legal parking space?
Dawn and Larry moved through the lobby firing at the zeds as they appeared.  Undead office workers shambled out of the shadows, reaching for the living intruders.  "They're all over!"  Larry yelled as he fired his shotgun.  "We need to move!"
The first three zeds are down
More zeds appear
Larry put his shotgun away and pulled out his pistol, running from the zombies rising from the lounge area.  "I'm out!  Those things are right here!"
"Just keep moving, we'll fight them near the stairs!"  Dawn yelled, blasting the nearest zombie in the face.  Once it's clear, we can head up."
Head for the stairs
Almost clear
Larry knocked down the last zombie, finishing it off with a stomp on its head.  "That was the last of them down here."
"Let's look around and finish clearing the building."  Dawn said, checking her ammo.
Quick search of the lobby
Finding nothing useful, Dawn led the way into the stairwell.  Stairs going up and down greeted her and Larry.  "We'll go down first, no sense going all the way upstairs just to come back down."
"It looks like it will be dark down there."  Larry said, reloading his shotgun, but putting it back in his pack.  "Do you have a plan for that?"
Dawn was already putting on her phone, putting it on an athletic armband.  "This should work as a flashlight well enough."  The light was pretty bright from the phone, and the pair walked down the stairs carefully.
Entering the basement
Two maintenance zombies
Opening the door to the maintenance area in the basement, Dawn and Larry could hear the zombies shuffling around before they saw them.  In the moving light from Dawn's phone, the pair lined up the zombies and shot.  The gunshots sounded like thunder in the dark basement.
"Got 'em!"  Larry yelled in victory.
A dark form rose behind Larry, a form the pair didn't see as they entered the room...
A zombie appears right between Larry and Dawn!
The zombie attacked Larry, who just managed hold off the biting jaws as it grabbed him from behind.  Larry turned around, struggling with the zombie.  Dawn heard the struggle, and turned to see Larry fighting to stay alive.  "Hang on!" She yelled and charged with her machete.
Dawn and Larry face the zombie
They finish off the zombie, and do a quick search, but find nothing.  There will be useful items, just not anything from the risks and rewards deck.  The pair start back up the stairs...

The second floor is a server room.  Only a lone zombie is present, some poor IT worker who got caught here during the apocalypse.
Nearly empty server floor
They move towards the zombie

Dawn charges the lone zed
Dawn chopped the zombie in the head with her machete, its lifeless form collapsing in a pile.  "It seems it was just this one."  Dawn said, looking around the room.  "Let's quick check for anything useful."
"Too bad there's no power, I wonder if we could get some sort of news from any of this."  Larry looked around the rather stark room.  "Do you suppose there is anything in these desks?"
Searching the desk they find some food
Time to check the bathroom
The bathroom turned out to be empty.  Dawn and Larry head upstairs to the third floor.

Steps echoing on the concrete stairs, Dawn lead the way up to the third floor.  The door was still open a crack, and waning daylight filtered from the windows in the offices.  "The door is open, I hope the floor is empty."  Dawn said as she reached for the handle.
A sudden thump from the stairs up made her pause.  Zombies stumbled down the stairs, emerging from the darkness into the light on the stairwell.  Stretching out their rotting arms, the zombies crashed into Dawn and Larry.
Zombies on the stairs
Dawn shoots one while the other attacks Larry
Larry cracked the zombie in the head with the bat, gratified at the splattering of brains and bone as it hit the floor.  "HA!  Got 'em!"  Larry gave a victory yell.
"Yeah, but there are more out in the offices."  Shuffling and moaning sounds sounded from beyond the door.   "We're not done yet!"  Dawn said, readying her SMG.
Zombies in the offices
Trapped on the stairs?
The zombies activated and the survivors didn't get to act.  Pretty quickly the zombies closed in on the stairs, trapping Dawn and Larry in the stairwell.
Shoot through the doorway
Dawn fired and managed to down one zombie, and Larry and her moved past the shambling undead into the office.  After moving, the zombies closed in again...
Not the best shooting
Plenty more zeds...
Dawn fired, killing one zed with a spray of bullets.  She ran towards the stairs, trying to limit the way zombies could get to her.  "Over here Larry!  We can't spread out too much!"
Larry drilled the two zombies near him, but only knocked them down.  "Damn!  They're getting back up!"  he yelled as he ran towards Dawn.
Here come the zombies
Better shooting but still plenty of zombies
Shots rang out, and several zombies collapsed to the floor.  The last few zombies closed in on Dawn and Larry, desperate to get to the living.  "They're still coming!"  Larry yelled as the zombies surged forward.
The first zombie reaches Larry
Larry knocks the zombie back
The zombies strike first
But are no match for the survivors
After the last zombie slumped to the floor, Dawn leaned against the wall, catching her breath.  "It seems clear now."  She gasped slowly.
"We'll take a quick look around then."  Larry said, smiling.  "Hopefully the vending machines are full!"
Empty?  Rotten luck!
Searching the floor yields nothing useful, not even from the vending machines.  The next floor turns out to be the special encounter, and includes one PEF.
Three zeds and a 'hidden' PEF
As I start this floor, doubles come up for activation, and I get 'Slippery Road'.  I mark out an area 4"x4"just inside the door.  This will make things more interesting...

Hopefully the zombies fall also...
Dawn walked out the door, taking aim on a zombie.  She suddenly slipped on some ball bearings scattered on the floor.  She hit the floor, and fired a burst, just knocking down the zed.  "Watch out, the floor is covered in bearings!"  She yelled to Larry.
"Got it!"  Larry carefully walked out, standing next to Dawn.  He fired twice, knocking over a nearby zed.  "They're down, but not out!"
On target, but not killing the zeds
One zed stays on his feet and attacks Larry
 Larry manages to dispatch the zed in melee.  The six shots bring five more zeds.  Great, just great.
More zeds enter the fray
Dawn and Larry move closer to the barricade and manage to kill only one zombie.  Larry does knock two others down.  He is on fire with hitting, but just can't kill the zombies.
Plenty of targets..
The survivors are pushed back to the barricade
 Three more zeds appear from shooting...
Dawn fired at the zombie in front of her, splattering it to the floor.  "Move!  We need some space!  Go!"  She ran across the floor, nearly tripping over on a ball bearing.
Larry followed close behind, firing as he went.  "Right with you Dawn!"
The zombies follow close behind
Larry climbed up on a crate as Dawn braced herself on the floor next to him.  "Keep firing!  We can take them down!"
They shoot a few
Zombies crash into the survivors
Dawn knocks the first two down
 Dawn and Larry found themselves surrounded again, dead, grey hands grasped and tore at them.  For what seemed like hours, the two fought against the hungry dead.  Larry crunched skull after skull as the zombies tried to pull him down from the crate he was standing on.
A zombie managed to duck a swing from Dawn's machete and crash into her legs, knocking her down.  Without hesitating, Dawn kicked out at the second zombie, shattering its leg and knocking it down before it could attack.  "Larry, a little help!"
Dawn is knocked down
Larry finishes off the zombies
I fight a couple of rounds of melee, but the last round is the most interesting.  Dawn is knocked down, but passes 2d for her check, and being protected, gets to carry on.  She manages to win the melee against the second zombie and knock it over.  Larry gets two hits and kills, clearing the floor. 

Time to check the PEF.  Larry switches back to the shotgun, and he and Dawn climb onto the barricade...
Checking the PEF
It's a survivor!
Dawn and Larry heard the safety click off of the assault rifle, as the young woman stood up from the barricade.  "That's far enough.  I don't have anything you want, just leave me alone."  The woman said threateningly.
"We're not looking for trouble.  We're looking for help."  Dawn lowered her SMG.  "The zombies are really active, and the military is shooting everyone.  We need a place to wait for things to calm down so we can get out of the city."
"You're leaving the city?"  The woman asked, lowering her rifle a touch.  "I didn't think there was anywhere to go."
"Let's talk about that..."  Dawn offered.

The meet and greet goes well, Anna joins Dawn and Larry.  She is a survivor, Rep 3, armed with an assault rifle and has the brawler attribute.

With their new friend, the group heads up stairs to the fourth floor.  It is another set of offices.
One zombie awaits the survivors
Dawn opened the door to the offices, and could see a lone zombie wandering the cubicles.  "I'll take care of it."  She said and walked over to the corner of the cubicles.  A single shot rang out and the rotting mass crashed to the floor.  Everyone else gathered with Dawn, watching for more undead to appear.
"Seems quiet." Anna said.  "Maybe that was the only one here."
"Well, let's look around."  Larry said, looking at the desks.
No more zeds appear
The floor turns out to be empty.  The top floor is another set of offices, with no zeds or other inhabitants.  The group checks the roof, and finds nothing of note there as well.  The group retires to an office on the top floor, making themselves as comfortable as possible, watching the horde a few blocks away on the highway.

It's a successful mission, but no one advances.  For the keeping it together roll, Dawn gets 2 successes to Larry's one and Anna's zero.  No need to check after the next scenario.

The newest survivor is Anna, a pretty straight Wargames Factory build.  Hopefully she is the first of many new friends for Dawn.
Dawn and crew
I am going to have the group stay in Minneapolis for a few scenarios.  There is too much happening there to just run away (although that is what they should do!)