Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Damnation Alley (Part 4) "Detour"

Anna screamed in agony, clutching her arm where she had been bitten.  "It feels like razor blades moving through my veins."  She worked a loop of a belt around her arm, trying to create a tourniquet to fight the effects of the zombie bite.  "I don't want to die..."
"Just hold on!"  Dawn yelled.  "Hang on Anna, we're going to get help.  I promise, if we can save you, we will!"
Larry hammered the accelerator on the Humvee, trying to coax every ounce of speed out of the lumbering truck.  "I can still see the other Hummer.  I think we can catch them!"
The chase begins!
Anna has been bitten, and the team of agents is driving away with the doctor and a potential cure.  This scenario is a chase, along with a negotiation (as Dawn tries to get them to voluntarily help/give them the cure) and Anna 'fighting' the infection.  I'll explain each of the mechanics I'll be using for these conflicts.
Tracking the chase
Rules for the chase:  As each vehicle is the same (a Humvee in this case) speed is less of an issue.  Getting slowed down due to obstacles will make a bigger difference.  Each turn the vehicles will roll for the road ahead to determine the difficulty of maintaining top speed.  Also each turn, the drivers will roll a number of dice equal to their Rep (or drive skill) looking for successes.  Each turn, all of the successes from the driver roll, and the various obstacles that are successfully passed are added up.  The vehicle with the higher total moves ahead in relation to the other by 1 section.  Once one vehicle is 4 sections ahead, a pass 2D check by the driver in front means they have ‘lost’ the other vehicle.  If both vehicles are in the ‘same’ section, either side can initiate an encounter.  This will move to a normal table layout and play.
The chart for the obstacles is:
1 – Clear, roll for extra speed (keep all successes)
2-3 – Minor debris, roll for speed (keep all after 1D)
4 – Obstacle, pass 1D or bash 2 collision
5 – Obstacles, pass 1D, twice or bash 2 collision (each time)
6 – Major Obstacle (I modified this as I played)
      1-3 – Pass 2D or bash 4 collision (bash 2 if pass 1D)
      4-6 – Pass 2D or bash 6 collision (bash 3 if pass 1D)
Anna and the Infection tracker
Infection Tracking:  Normally an infected model gets d6 turns and then becomes a zombie.  I am giving Anna a fighting chance, but still keeping it moving.  She has 6 stages to pass through, with stage 6 being dead/undead.  Each turn she will roll 2d6, looking for successes.  For stages 1 and 2, she only has to pass 1D to stay in that stage.  For stages 3-5, it will require her to pass 2D. 

Tracking the discussion
Convince:  I am using a similar mechanic to the decision to stay or go, from "A Brief Interlude" where the group split over heading to Minneapolis.  Instead of convincing people, this is just to ‘win’ over the other side.  Each turn one member of each team (in this case it will be Dawn and Agent Johnson) will argue their points.  They each will roll dice equal to their People score, and compare successes.  Whoever has more success will add the difference in the total to their tracking pool.  The first to have five successes wins, either Dawn convinces the agent to stop and exchange medical treatment for his injured agent, or Agent Johnson decides the mission is more important and stops listening.

"I heard them talking about a doctor and some sort of samples." Dawn said, turning the agents radio over in her hand.  "I'll tell them we want a straight exchange, their agent for the cure."
A cough came from the downed agent.  "If you want to live at all don't mention the cure over the radio."  He managed to sit up, even with bound hands, he seemed threatening.  "There are some out there who will kill to keep it suppressed."
"What are you talking about?"  Blake said, looking confused.  "What, some other company is trying to keep the zombies going?"
"Not a company.  Some other group.  They are very well equipped, and are ready to act...violently when needed."  The agent answered.  "I'm not sure, but I think they were some sort of international group."
A brief silence filled the Humvee, everyone exchanged glances, not sure if they should believe the story.  "So what do we do, just follow them?"  Larry asked, and Anna groaned.  "I don't think she will wait that long."
"Just tell them you want to hand me off.  If they will stop, you can talk in the open.  That should be safe enough."  The agent didn't look too convinced.  "When he asks, tell him the code is panda."
"Larry, get us close, and keep us with them."  Dawn said picking up the radio.  "Here goes nothing."

The group starts one section behind the agents.  Let's hope Dawn can talk the agents into stopping.
Both vehicles have obstacles
Anna holds on

Dawn gets 1 success ahead
The first turn goes pretty well.  The drivers both have obstacles to dodge, and end up in a tie for successes.  Anna holds at level 1 of the infection.  Dawn gets 2 successes versus 1 for the agents, and starts making progress towards convincing them to stop.

Agent Johnson couldn't believe what he was hearing.  Those civilians had Agent Killian, and wanted to hand him off.  He smelled a trap, and kept driving.  "Smith, keep an eye on that other Hummer.  If we get the chance, we'll get Killian back."
"Roger that."  Smith said, popping out the top hatch and mounting the machine gun.

Next turn:
Anna fails a roll
The team has a mostly clear road
The group catches up!
The agents win big
The agents are not convinced!
Turn two goes against the survivors.  Starting off, Anna fails her pass 1D roll, and slips to stage 2.  They do catch up to the agents vehicle, which gives me the option of forcing a confrontation.  The conversation goes well for the agents, who get 4 successes to 1 from Dawn.  Ouch!

"Listen, we are not stopping for you to try and ambush us."  Johnson said into the radio.  "Of course I want my agent back, but for all I know he is already dead."  Dodging a wrecked car, Johnson looked to the other side of the highway at the other Hummer.  "Clear the channel, we are done!"
Dawn was frustrated.  "Damn it!  they aren't listening!"  She wanted to throw the radio down.
"Keep trying, they'll come around."  Blake said  "They won't want us to just dump him off in the middle of this madness!"

Turn three starts, I decide against going for attacking the agents.  
Anna holds on
Agents have an obstacle
The team face an obstacle
Dawn makes a comeback!
Turn three continues the roller coaster ride.  Larry keeps the team even with the agents, both face the same obstacle and end up tied.  Anna gets 2 successes, and holds at stage 2.  Dawn gets 3 successes versus 1 for the agents, tying up with three successes towards resolution for getting the agents to stop.

"We're not just going to drop him off on a street corner."  Dawn said into the radio.  "It will only take a couple of minutes, we both stop and head our own ways."  Dawn had been pretty convincing, they were not going to leave the highway until clear of the city.  The agent didn't have an answer for that, and clearly wanted his comrade back.
Anna yelled out, writhing in pain in the back of the truck.  "She's burning up!"  Agent Killian yelled.  "Don't leave me back here with her!  If she turns, I'm a dead man!"
Blake gave the agent a dark look.  "Then she better not turn."  He growled.
"Looks like trouble ahead, hang on!"  Larry yelled, swerving down the road.

Turn four, and the survivors face some extra obstacles.
Anna slips to stage 3
The agents get a chance to sprint, but fail

Larry manages the obstacles
Dawn rolls well, but the agents hold on
Turn four gets the team so close!  They just need one more success to convince the agents to stop, and then we can swap the agent for the cure.  They manage to stay even on the road, and even though Anna slips to stage 3, they are really close to getting her the cure.

"We're leaving the city, it will take just a minute to hand him off.  The road is bound to be clear soon, just stop."  Dawn said to the radio.
"You are certainly persistent."  Agent Johnson replied.  "I appreciate you keeping him alive.  Did he mention anything?"
Dawn paused.  "He said panda."  Dawn hoped this was the right move.

Turn five starts up, and the agents have some trouble!
Anna stays at stage 3
Larry handles an obstacle
Trouble for the agents!
The agents miss their roll by 1D and face a collision with an obstacle.
Crashing through a wreck!
The hummer barrels through
Dawn misses one success
Who will win this?
Turn five keeps the team tied on the road, and Anna holds at stage 3.  The agents crashed through an obstacle, I hoped it would stop them (that would make it easier...I think) but I was so disappointed by the people rolls.  Dawn could only cough up 1 success versus 2 for the agents.  We're all tied up again, there is a good chance the conversation is settled in the next turn.

Agent Johnson had a bad feeling about the civilians.  They gave the proper code word, but something seemed off.  They must want something, and they had a lot of ground to cover to get to Delta Four.
"The median is clear ahead, let's stop."  Dawn said over the radio.
"I don't think so.  Just head out of town we'll come get him."  Johnson replied.

Turn six.
Anna falls to stage 4
Clear sailing for the agents
Larry handles the obstacles
The team falls behind
Larry manages the obstacles, but falls back against the agents being able to drive in the clear.  Not too far back, just behind by 1 section.
Dawn comes up short...
Agents win the negotiation!
GAH!  Even with two successes, Dawn can't quite pull off the win to convince the agents to stop.  Time to go to plan B - forcing an encounter.  Now it's up to Larry to catch up to the agents truck and hope for a good scenario.

"We're through.  Stop following us, drop our agent off and we'll come get him.  Goodbye."  Agent Johnson turned his radio to a different frequency. "Smith, we are completing the mission, then getting Killian."
"Roger that."  Smith sounded calm.  "That Hummer is still following along."
"Keep an eye on them."  Agent Johnson just wanted to get this done, he hoped they wouldn't try something crazy.

Turn seven, time to end the chase!
Anna continues to slip, now stage 5
Two obstacles for the agents
Larry has an easier road
Larry handles his obstacle easily, and wins the drive roll by three.  The team catches up, and forces and encounter the next turn!
Time to meet the agents!
"They are still right with us!"  Agent Smith yelled, covering the camouflaged Humvee with his machine gun.  "Should I engage?"
"Only if they come at us."  Agent Johnson replied.  "Keep an eye on them, and the zeds."  A bright orange cone ricocheted off the front of the truck.  "Looks like a construction zone ahead.  Doctor, please make sure you are buckled in."

Larry was running the Hummer all-out.  He could see the construction zone ahead, and an opening in the traffic wall.  "Here's our chance!"  He called out.
"Blake, take the rifle, cover us from up top.  When we get close, try and disable their Hummer.  If we have to, we'll trade our ride as well to save Anna."  Dawn said, checking her pistol and getting ready for the fight to come.
"Got it."  Blake slapped a magazine in to the rifle.  He patted Anna on the leg.  "Just hang on, we'll get you better in a jiffy!"
Anna groaned, her face pale and her hair matted with sweat.  "I'm about spent...better hurry..."

Turn seven gets the team close, and Plan B is to attack the agents.  Larry wins by three successes, so he finds a good spot in the road for the team.  Both trucks are entering a construction zone, which will allow them to cross over more easily.
Entering the construction zone
To be continued...

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Damnation Alley (Part 3) "Roadblock"

Larry studied the road ahead, trying not to watch the horrific scene of zombies feasting.  "That red car is going to be in the way.  I'm going to slow down when we hit it."  Glancing around the Humvee he continued.  "We don't want to crash."
"That medical tent and container should have some useful stuff."  Blake said as he pointed ahead.  "Most of the zombies seem to be chasing the agents on the other side of the road."
"If they leave us alone, we'll leave them alone."  Dawn said, looking at the agents fighting nearby.  "They can certainly handle themselves."

Dawn and her team have finally entered the roadblock area, starting the scenario.  The agents of Phoenix Corporation are trying to extract a civilian doctor as a primary mission.  Accompanying the doctor is a captured gang member, who is the girlfriend of the gang leader, Hatchet.  Dawn's team is just looking to move through the area, although getting to loot any of the containers or tents is a strong lure to spend a little extra time here.

With the survivors entering the table, I run a meet and greet - they can see each other across the freeway.  Each side scores 3 successes, and choose to ignore each other.  That's fine by me, the survivors don't want to fight the agents.
Larry drives the team into the roadblock
The gang wins initiative, although it has been reduced to just the leader, Hatchet.  The zombies will go second, the survivors go last.  The agents don't activate this turn.

Hatchet looked around him, the three zombies he had knocked down were writhing at his feet.  Dog had just run off amongst some nearby homes, leaving him alone on the street.  He could hear Trish being dragged away, and Hatchet knew he had to act.
"Hey!  You don't need the girl, let her go and we can all walk away!"  Hatchet yelled as he checked his handgun.  "I only want my girl back!"
Agent Echo looked around the highway, zombies were swarming the road, she had agents down and could see gang members bleeding out on the pavement.  She shook her head in amazement, yelling back "I think her best chance is to leave with us!  You should run while you have the chance!"
Hatchet finishes off the zombies around him
Hatchet steps into the street
Hatchet felt his rage build, he yelled back "Bitch, ain't nobody takes better care of my woman than me!"  He charged down the street, seeing the agents trying to get to their Humvee.  "I'll kill you all!"
Once again bullets filled the air as shots rang out.

 Hatchet runs forward, and triggers in sight checks.  He gets lucky and beats Echo, but only ties the agent in the Hummer, with a machine gun.  At least he will go at the same time.  I had hoped to be in a position to not be seen by the LMG, and still be able to to shoot the agents.  It was not to be I guess.
Hatchet meets his end
Agent Echo falls to Hatchet
"Echo is down!"  Agent Johnson yelled into his communicator.  "Control, Control, this Johnson.  Echo is down, Team Epsilon requesting emergency Evac!"
"Agent Johnson, this is Control."  An even monotone voice came back almost immediately.  "Take charge of the team and complete primary objective."  The voice of control betrayed no emotion, and calmed the agent.  "Proceed to location Delta Four for extraction.  Significant infected are closing on your position, you need to move."
Agent Johnson looked around the area, his decision was easy.  "Team, form on the Hummer, ignore the humans, engage only if they attack.  We need to get moving!"

So Hatchet dies from the machine gun, but his shots hit and kill Echo.  The agents pass their leader down rolls, and Agent Johnson becomes the new leader.  The zombies swarm forward into the disheveled agents...
Zombies begin to devour the fallen gang

Zombies attack the agents
Agent Finn struggled with the zombie, he could see more moving in to attack.  Twisting around, Finn swung his baton vigorously, trying to brain the flesh eaters.  "There's too many of them!"  He yelled as he fought.
Johnson shoots one, and knocks the other down
Finn falls to a zombie
It's been a hard turn for the agents.  They do manage to all pass man down checks, although another loss and they will have even harder times passing them.  On the other road, Dawn and the gang pause at the Hummer.

"Slow down!"  Dawn yelled as Larry swerved around the cargo Humvee.  "I see an injured man over there.  I'll grab him, maybe we can negotiate with the corporate goons."
"I'm going to hit that container, and be right back."  Blake said, pointing at a nearby green container.
"I'll cover you guys from the top."  Anna said as she checked her rifle and popped back up out the top hatch.
Dawn pulls the wounded agent away from the zombies
Dawn sees the agent knocked out by the explosion of the gang car.  There were zombies moving towards him, and the group isn't going to leave someone for the dead.  Blake runs to the container and searches, finding medical supplies and food.

The next turn the Agents get to go, with nobody else getting a chance to go.  Only the survivors Hummer moves, as vehicles move even when inactive.  Luckily they slowed down last turn, and don't move too far.

With a free turn, the agents try and make the best of the situation.  The doctor and Trish jump into the Hummer.  Agent Jake, carrying the samples, looses his battle in melee, falling to the zeds.  The remaining agents pass their man down checks.  The last heavy weapon agent only fights to a draw, keeping him from catching up to the rest of the team.  Johnson finishes off the zombie he is fighting and gets in the hummer, starting it up.  He backs up over a couple of zombies, and then starts forward again.
Agents on the move
Everyone activates on the next turn, with the zombies going first.  Both Hummers are moving, and go first.  As both will be active they have more control.  The agents are almost off the board, and the survivors slow down to let Blake and Dawn catch up.

Of course, the zombies decide to make it interesting.
Agent Smith watches his ride driving away
Dawn and Blake have friends to deal with
Agent Smith watched the Hummer driving off.  Jake had just fallen, the samples case sitting in the roadway.  Zombies closed on Smith, and he could see Agent Harris being half dragged and carried by a civilian by the other Hummer.  At least they weren't leaving him for the zombies.  Two zombies grabbed at Smith, snapping him back to his own situation.
Smith looks surrounded
One dead, one knocked down
Agent Smith knocked one zombie down, and killed another.  He waved to the Hummer calling out on the radio.  "Clear the road a bit, I'll grab the case and be right there!"  Time to be a hero he thought.
Smith makes a run for it
Clearing the road
Agent Smith goes into hero mode!  He finishes off the zombie knocked down in hand to hand, shoots the one nearest the sample case, manages to grab the case, and runs up the road.  He is within one move of the Hummer, and I decide they will stop for him.  If they manage to win initiative, or at least beat the zombies, they have a chance to succeed on all their objectives.

On the other road, Dawn kills a zombie in melee, and then carries the downed agent to the Hummer.  She shoots a couple of zombies for good measure.  Blake finishes off a zed in melee, and gets to their Hummer as well.  Anna continues to fire on the zombies.  Next turn the team will speed off.
Everyone gets back to the Hummer
Zombies get to go first the next turn.  The agents Hummer is stopped, and doesn't move.  The survivors is moving, but slowly, it creeps forward about 1".  The zombies try and catch the agents Hummer, and swarm the survivors.
They can't quite catch the agents
Zombies swarm!
Two zombies managed to climb up onto the Hummer.  Three others fell under the wheels, killed.  One zombie tried to attack Larry, grabbing at him through the window.  Larry wins his melee, and the zombie falls off the truck.
On the top of the Humvee, the second zombie attacks Anna.  She loses in melee, and is knocked Out of the Fight.  When the team activates, Dawn fires twice and kills the zombie.  The team speeds off the board.
Speeding off to the north
Zombies thumped the sides of the truck, trying to reach the living inside.  Larry yelled and swerved, punching the zombie trying to grab him through the window.  "They're all over us!"  he yelled.
A loud thump echoed from the roof, and Anna fell into the truck, her rifle clattering on the seats.  A grim face appeared in hatch as a zombie tried to follow her into the truck.  "Anna!"  Blake yelled, cradling her head and pulling her away from the grasping hands of the zombie.
Two shots roared from Dawn's pistol, blowing the zombie back up and out of the top hatch.  "No free rides!"  She yelled, closing the hatch.

A low moan came from Anna.  "Check her out Blake, I'm going to check our new agent friend."  Dawn said, casting a worried look at Anna.  Larry continued to speed down the road, swerving to avoid wrecks.
Dawn confiscated the agents weapons, and found his radio.  She could hear chatter, and caught parts of the agents discussing a doctor and treatment.  "Wow, it sounds like they might be able to cure an infection."  Dawn announced to the truck.
"Do you think they will share?"  Blake asked, shaking and turning pale.
"Why, what's wrong?"  Dawn asked, looking worried.
Blake looked down, and Dawn followed his gaze.  Anna clearly had a bite on her arm, and already her veins were turning a horrific purple.  "No!  Anna, hang on!"  Dawn yelled.  "Larry - Catch that Hummer!"

The zombie knocks Anna OOF, and she fails her "Harry are you okay?" check.  She's infected.  Normally this is a death sentence, but I think we just got our next scenario!  The team will try and catch the agents and get the cure for the bite, hopefully saving Anna!