Friday, July 27, 2012

The Armory

So I decided to try to build a cardstock building with an interior, using World Works Games' "Mayhem Armory" set.  It's not build to have foamcore walls, however, but instead is some sort of "TerrainLinx" set up where the walls are made of folded-over cardstock.  I didn't pay too much attention to how the whole Linx thing worked; I figured I would just adjust the set-up to accommodate the foamcore walls.  It was a little trickier than I thought, for one thing the interior walls are strangely shorter than the exterior ones.  But here's the final result of my first effort.

Not super-great, but a good learning experience.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

THW Games

Two Hour Wargames, which made All Things Zombie: Better Dead than Zed (the game the story of Robb and Irene use) has announced that they are coming out with a new version of the game called All Things Zombie: Final Fade Out.  Over at TMP, Ed from THW said the following:
ATZ-FFO will be compatible with all ATZ supplements. It will be compatible with After the Horsemen, New Beginnings and heck, even Long Rifle.

ATZ-FFO is not being updated to be like CR 3.0 as CR 3.0 is a bare bones game. The melee, shooting, In Sight and Reaction Tests will be upgraded to those in New Beginnings and After the Horsemen which are a bit more advanced than CR 3.0.

Then there's the add ons in those rules not found in CR 3.0 such as Skills and Attributes to personalize your Stars.

Plus there's the zombie rules, very different than ATZ-BDTZ plus campaign info upgraded and more.

ATZ is one of the last old school sets that doesn't have any of the newer stuff found in current rule sets (Muskets and Mohawks, Long Rifle, ATH, Star Army, New Beginnings, etc.)

BTW – Final Fade Out refers to the last edition of ATZ and not the end of the world..
 I'm glad he addressed my primary issue--namely whether the new rules would work with the additional supplements for ATZ.  Vampifan had said in his review of After the Horsemen that the In Sight and Reaction tests were more complicated, which sounds like ATZ is moving up to that level.  I am curious about how zombies are going to operate differently, however.  I guess time will tell.

Naturally, I could just stick with the old rules.  There's little wrong with them, and I abandoned the "newer is always better" mantra back when I turned 40 or so.

In other news, I built a second shell building; I didn't bother with pics this time since it looks so much like the old one, just shorter.  I'm also working on making a Mayhem Armory building, but with foamcore walls.  We'll see how that works out.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Abandoned Building

I decided I really needed to add to my terrain collection for River City, the locale of my ATZ campaign.  Plasticville buildings are okay, but aren't that cheap.  I've seen some nice work with cardstock, but I don't have a ton of experience in this regard.  So I'm easing into it with some easy scenery projects for World Works Games.  For $3.50 you can get the "Abandoned Building" which is good for making simple "outer shell" buildings."  Rather than just use cardstock I built a box with some foamcore I had lying around, painted the corners black, and then just glued the panels right onto the box.  Easy as pie, and a good way to "bulk out" the city.  I also bought the Mayhem Armory with the intent of using it to make up some stores as I get more confident with the craft.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The (true life) story behind the machete

About fifteen years ago I was the director of a camp program operated by the Episcopal Church in western Virginia.  The way the camp worked was the people, usually youth and adult chaperones, would come and spend a week repairing and renovating the homes of severely impoverished people in Appalachia (for those outside of the US, that's the mountainous region between roughly Pennsylvania and northern Georgia best known for its small, coal mining communities).

At one of these camp sessions a guy drives up in a shiny new SUV and drops off his daughter who was to be a camper that week.  Interestingly enough, she's outfitted with a frame backpack and rather than bringing construction tools (which is pretty normative), she is only wielding this black machete.  A quick conversation with the girl's father, a somewhat older (for a teen parent) gentleman reveals that he thought this was a "backpacking the Appalachian trail" camp, not a work-project camp.  He's not upset, though, in fact he thinks the whole idea is a great one, and asks if there's any available openings for another adult (his daughter, as you might imagine, was less than thrilled to hear dear old dad would be sticking around).

The guy's name was Alexander Bell (no relation).  He had been born in Africa, the children of British colonialists, for lack of a better word, right before World War II.  When the Nazis over-ran the area where his parents lived, his parents fled their home and were taken in by African tribesmen.  They lived with the tribesmen for years, even after the war had ended.  Eventually his parents returned to Great Britain with their son who was put into a British school after having spent most of his life in the African bush.

He must have done well for himself because he ended up getting accepted with a scholarship to UCLA in the United States.  The scholarship just covered his classes, however, not his housing, and with no money to speak of Bell spent the first couple of years at UCLA living on the streets of Los Angeles as a homeless person while still attending classes before finally scraping up enough money for a place to live.
After graduation he got a job working in the automotive industry, finally making his way to being a senior executive before retiring.  "The SUV out there?  I get one every year from the company to drive--whatever the newest model is."

At the end of the camp, Bell gave me the machete and the toolbelt he bought for himself to use that week.  I still have both, now that I've been reunited with the machete.  So my zombie apocalypse weapon, both in real life and ATZ, comes from bad-ass stock.

On an unrelated note, I figured Irene and I were due for a Rep increase despite not having recovered any resources, but not getting OOF on the last day.  A six on my die on and a five on hers means we are both Rep 4 civilians now.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

ATZ Campaign, Day 1, Part 3: Conclusion

Bruised and battered, Robb staggered away from the store and looked over at his girlfriend Irene.  "I've got a great idea," he said with effort, "let's just get home in one piece."
"Sounds good," she said.

Final location for Day One: Home (returning from the first location)
Robb is a Rep 3 Civilian Star with Agile, Born Leader, and a BA Pistol.  Irene is a Rep 3 Civilian with Athletic, a shotgun, and a very, very useful baseball bat.

Turn 19: Robb 6, Zombies 6
Turn 20: Robb 5, Zombies 3
Turn 21: Robb 1, Zombies 6

"Let's see if we can pick up the pace this time," said Robb wearily.  He took a few tentative jogging steps then faltered.  "Okay, I can't."

A seven once again means zombies, three this time, two towards the top, one off to the left.  Robb attempted a fast move and failed 0d6, meaning they move normally.

Turn 22: Robb 5, Zombies 3

The zombies draw closer.

Turn 23: Robb 4, Zombies 1

A guttural moan announced to Robb and Irene the arrival of more the dreaded zombies.  Irene quickly bashed one with her bat, but she and Robb found themselves once again desperately try to fend of one of the undead.

Quick note: I totally forgot to roll to see if they could shoot, but went straight to melee combat.  At least I wouldn't be summoning more zombies this time.  Irene defeated one, and tied the other.  Rob tied his zombie in combat and it would go to the next turn.

Turn 24: Robb 3, Zombies 3

Robb continued to try to hold off the decaying corpse that was trying to eat him.  Irene shoved her zombie back with her shoulder and then smashed it with a backhand from the bat.

Robb again tied, while Irene defeated hers.  Having a weapon makes all the difference in this game!  I also decided not to mess with the doubles.  I don't know how a three-way fight would work out, and I figured that my Star had his hands full as it was.

Turn 25: Robb 6, Zombies 4

"Get away from him!" Irene shouted as she smashed the bat down on the head of the zombie wrestling with Robb.  "Thanks," Robb said, wondering how many he owed his girlfriend at this point.

Irene easily managed the final zombie.  I keep getting lucky with Robb's rolls--he's come too close to losing melee combat while unarmed.

Turn 26: Robb 4, Zombies 6
Turn 27: Robb 4, Zombies 5
Turn 28: Robb 1, Zombies 4

Hearing another moan from behind them, Robb said, "okay, now I can run" and the two of them began racing down the street.  Irene decided she would not get too far ahead of Robb, despite easily moving faster than he could with her skates on.

Robb passed 1d6 on a fast move, giving the two of them some comfortable distance between them and some of the pursuing zombies.  It did mean they were moving closer to one between them and the house, however.

Turn 29: Robb 1, Zombies 1

Three people were running down the street in the opposite direction.  "Coming through!" Irene shouted and she plowed into two of them.  Robb shouldered his way past one and kept running.

Doubles again, for the upteenth time.  Three panicked civilians.  Robb handled one, while Irene handled the other two.  

Turn 30: Robb 5, Zombies 3

The zombies (moving at a slower clip) pursued from behind, while the one in front of them drew closer.

Turn 31: Robb 3, Zombies 4

More zombies appear, four this time.  Two to the right, one at the bottom, and another on the left.  The one in front was right on top of them.

Turn 32: Robb 6, Zombies 4

Robb skidded to a halt at the sight of the zombie just in front of his house.  He quickly drew his Colt .45 ACP and loosed a wild shot, missing the zombie as it lurched towards him.  Irene stepped in front and clubbed the zombie to the ground.

Robb passed his "Zed or No Zed" test and his Being Charged test 2d6, but then missed completely his shot with his BA pistol.  Irene easily handled the zombie, however, rolling 4d6 to his 1d6.

Turn 33: Robb 4, Zombies 2

The remaining zombies drew every closer, now inches behind Robb and Irene.

Turn 34: Robb 4, Zombies 5
Turn 35: Robb 4, Zombies 6
Turn 36: Robb 2, Zombies 6

Robb and Irene bolted into their house, slamming the door behind them.  A glance outside showed several of the zombies milling about.  They watched in terror until the zombies, now apparently unable to locate them, began to move towards other targets.
"Too close," said Irene.
"Tell me about it.  You still uninjured?"  
"I'm fine.  The bat is pretty badly gunked up, though.  I wonder how many I killed?"
"No idea.  I'm going to go check the garage to see if I can find anything I can use for a weapon myself."
"That's fine.  Say, it looks like a package was delivered on the front stoop."
Robb quickly opened the door and grabbed the package, then shut the door quickly.  "It's from Ohio," he said.  "I wonder what it is."
He opened the parcel.  Inside was a black machete, it's blade spotted with bits of old debris and rust.  
"It's the machete we left with your friend back in our own hometown," Robb said.
"She must have found it and mailed it back to us," said Irene.
"Good timing," said Robb as he examined the weapon, "because I think we're going to need it."

Author's Note:
After I started blogging the campaign, the true life friend of ours read the notation where Irene mentions having left the machete that I used to own with her back in our old hometown.  She had been using it to help control the weeds and the like around our house while it was still on the market.  When she saw that "Robb" and "Irene" had missed it, she sent it to our new house.  I was glad to have it back, both because it has an interesting history involving a man who lived in the African bush in WWII, was later homeless on the streets of LA, and finally became a major executive for an American automotive company, but also because I could have claimed it as a weapon in ATZ if we had possessed it in the house at the beginning of the campaign.  In honor of our friend's willingness to send it back (and because he desperately needs it), I'm adding the machete to Robb's arsenal.

Monday, July 9, 2012

ATZ Campaign, Day 1, Part 2: Outbreak

With Vampifan putting us all to shame with is epic assault on the police station over at his blog, I felt inspired to go ahead and see what happens to Robb and Irene.  Robb is a Rep 3 Civilian with Born Leader, Agile, and a BA Pistol.  Irene is a Rep 3 Civilian with Athletic, a shotgun, and a baseball bat (which will come in real handy this session). 
As a side note, the real Irene sat in and watched how it all went, so we're featuring real commentary today!

Turn 1: Robb 1, Zombies 4

With a groan, Robb pulled himself up off the sidewalk outside the big box store.  He went over and with a heave untangled Irene from the pile of shopping carts where she had fallen.  A quick glance inside the store showed the place to be in shambles.  "This place is a total mess," Robb said grimly.  "Let's head for that small locally-owned grocery store.  It's only a few blocks away and might not be as bad."

Turn 2: Robb 6, Zombies 4
Turn 3: Robb 3, Zombies 1

Robb and Irene began walking cautiously towards the store. They slowly began to walk down the street.

Turn 4: Robb 6, Zombies 6

From the other direction, two people came hurtling at them.  One of the men shouted, "hey, they've got weapons!  Give them to us!"  And rushed at them.  Robb swung a fist out at one of them and the man thought the better of it and ran back.  The other wrestling with Irene's bat for a few moments before a hard kick to the shins had him limping away.  "Good thing I gave you that bat," said Robb.  "It looked like you were having some trouble there."

Doubles meant once again running into panicked civilians, and this time the dice came up a merciful two.  I divided them equally between Robb and Irene.  Robb made short work of his opponent, but Irene had to go several rounds before finally finishing off her opponent, despite the one die advantage from the bat.

Turn 5: Robb 1, Zombies 3
Turn 6: Robb 2, Zombies 2

Robb and Irene decided to abandon the road in favor of a shortcut across some back yards.  As they did so they heard a voice saying, "What are you doing skulking around back there!  Get away from our house!"
The screen door on the back of the house clanged open and four people came piling out at them.  The first one collided in with Robb, sending him crashing to the ground.  The man began kicking Robb's ribcage.    With a yell, Irene began laying into the crowd with her bat, nimbly hopping from opponent to opponent with the occasional shot from an elbow pad or a kick with a skate.  In a few seconds of furious activity Irene had driving them all back into the house.  "Come on, tough guy," said Irene with a grin as she helped Robb to his feet.
"When I get to the store I'm going to see if they sell baseball bats," said Robb with an embarrassed frown.  "At this point I'd settle for a frozen lamb shank."

 Doubles once again meant a frightened mob, this time four people.  Robb was rendered OOF by the first person he encountered, which meant Irene had to face all four with her bat, 4d6 to 2d6 each time.  Thankfully the odds stayed in her favor, and she managed to subdue all four.  But would their luck hold?

Turn 7: Robb 4, Zombies 5
Turn 8: Robb 6, Zombies 1

"We have to keep moving," said Irene impatiently and she looked about the back yard.
"Hang on, I think that guy bruised a rib or something," said Robb.

A seven on the activation roll meant that I had to roll for zombies.  On Day One it is 1/2 die for a suburban area (counts as rural), but that's per human, and I've got two.  I rolled a six, and another six, meaning six zombies would appear within 12" of the pair: two to the right, two to the left, and one top and bottom.  Things had just taken a turn for the worse.

Turn 9: Robb 6, Zombies 4

The zombies began shuffling towards Robb and Irene, who were oblivious to their peril.

Turn 10: Robb 5, Zombies 5
Turn 11: Robb 2, Zombies 1

Suddenly half a dozen gruesome figures entered into the yard from every direction.  "What are those things?" Irene shouted with alarm.
"That's what attacked me on the way home from work earlier today!" said Robb.
"What's wrong with them?" Irene asked.
"I don't know.  But I'm tired of getting my ass kicked today," said Robb as he pulled the Colt .45 ACP from his shoulder holster and fired two shots at the approaching figures.  One shot went wide, but the other hit its target and one of the misshapen bodies collapsed.  Irene hoisted the shotgun and fired off a blast which fell another.
Then the remaining zombies were upon them.  Robb knew immediately he was in trouble, but thought he would at least go down swinging.  He pummeled the first person to the ground, clouting the man across the head with the barrel of his stocky pistol.  But a second was immediately on him, snapping at his face with diseased teeth.
Irene found herself grappling with two of the figures at the same time.  Both of them seemed poised to over-power her at any minute.

So things go badly here.  The zombies activate twice without Robb activating at all.  That means he first had to make a "Zed or No Zed" check, which he passed 2d6, and then a Being Charged Check, which he also passed 2d6, meaning he could shoot before close combat.  That was a very, very lucky break.
Robb fired his BA Pistol twice, missing once and hitting once.  Because he was being charged I couldn't use the "Easy to Hit" rule for zombies but had to roll damage normally.  Thankfully I rolled high and the zombie was OOF.  Irene's shotgun blast hit and easily destroyed her target, but I would have to pay for that later.
In close combat things were really dicey, because unlike panicked civilians, zombies have a weapon rating of 1, while Robb was unarmed at 0.  That meant that each zombie had two die while he had three to split between them.  I briefly considered having Irene split her three die three ways because she has a bat with a rating of 2, which would give her two die to every zombie's two die, but I thought that was kind of unchivalrous of him.  Robb beat the first zombie with his two die, but the second one was a nail biter: 1d6 to 2d6.  Thankfully they tied and he would go onto the next round.
Irene went 3d6 to 2d6 on one and 2d6 to 2d6 on the other zombie.  Interestingly enough, she tied both of them and it would also go to the next round.
The three shots only summoned one zombie, which hopefully wouldn't come into play.  Again, lucky.

Turn 12: Rob 1, Zombies 5

Robb rolled over on top of the zombie trying to bite him and clubbed him repeatedly in the skull until the undead monster stopped moving.  Irene heatbutted one of the zombies, sending him staggering back as she brought the bat to bear.  With a few quick swings, all the of zombies in the yard now lay still.
Robb looked at Irene with concern. "Are you okay?"
"I'm fine.  I thought one of them might have bitten me, but I'm okay."
"Good.  Let's get out of here.  We don't know how many more of these things there might be."

Robb was able to bring his full dice pool to combat the second zombie, and rendered him OOF.  Again splitting her base die 2d6 and 1d6 (with the 1d6 bonus) Irene was able to handily defeat the first, and narrowly beat the second.  The one zombie on the table failed to activate.

Turn 13: Robb 4, Zombies 2

Unbeknownst to Robb, a zombie quietly moved towards them.

Turn 14: Robb 5, Zombies 4

A zombie staggered into the yard.  "Yeah, like him!" said Irene.  Robb pointed his pistol and squeezed off one round at the zombie, hitting him in the chest and knocking him to the ground.  Irene ran over to the still-moving body and brained him in the skull with her bat.
"Head shots, dear.  Head shots."

The remaining zombie activated twice in a row, moving towards our heroes.  Robb passed being charged 2d6 and shot the zombie once, knocking him down (still can't use the "Easy to Hit" rule).  Irene moved into close combat and confidently finished him off.  It's always a risk doing that, but I thought 4d6 to 1d6 was pretty good chances, and I didn't want to risk the shotgun summoning another group of zombies.

Turn 15: Robb 5, Zombies 2

Another seven means more zombies.  I rolled a 1 and a 2, divided in half makes 1.  He appeared 12" towards the bottom.

Turn 16: Robb 5, Zombies 2

Yet another seven, meaning more zombies again.  A 3 and 1 on the die rolls means two more, towards the bottom and to the left.  The zombie summoned last turn moves closer.

Turn 17: Robb 6, Zombies 5
Turn 18: Robb 3, Zombies 4

As another zombie staggered towards them, Robb took aim with his pistol and fired another round, hitting him in the head and dropping him.  "Like that, right?"

"Seriously, let's move on," said Irene.

The zombie from Turn 15 made it into combat, but Robb again passed 2d6 on the charge.  This time I got lucky with an OOF result for damage.  The other zombies started closing in.  Robb and Irene used their activation to move to the store.

The store was a scene of chaos just as bad as the big box store.  Dozens of people continued to run about the store grabbing at things on shelves and from the hands of other people.  People continually spilled out onto the street, making it impossible to get inside.  After a few quick attempts to force their way inside, Robb and Irene gave up.

"This is impossible, and the store is wrecked.  We should just head back home."

Once again, 2d6 panicked civilians, eight in total.  Both Robb and Irene failed in their initial combats with the first people they met, despite the advantage.  This turn was done, but even if it had been successful I would have just had a 1-in-6 chance of getting anything, because the die roll at the beginning had indicated it would be treated as one location later, meaning fourth.

A close game, coming down on occasion to a single roll, including one 1d6 vs. 2d6.  We continue on as they close out the final chapter of the first day of the zombie apocalypse.