"That's right," said the young man who had approached Robb and his girlfriend Irene a few days ago during their encounter with the National Guard. His name was Monty, and for the past few days he had been hanging out at Robb and Irene's house. "I've been following all the news websites, forums, et cetera, not to mention chatting with my friends from various online games. This outbreak is everywhere. And in some places the army hasn't managed to contain it. There's whole cities that have been overrun with zombies. Everything is falling apart."
"You can hear sirens sometimes, but there's still plenty of zombies walking around in our neighborhood," said Irene softly.
"Okay, I think we can safely say this isn't going away any time soon," Robb said as he gathered up his gear. "That means that we need to keep looking for supplies. The fact is we simply don't have enough. And it wouldn't be a bad thing to try to organize some sort of community watch program or something. Get people together. Monty, we're going back out there to look for stuff. I saw a semi rig parked a few blocks away. Those guys often have a lot of supplies with them while they are on the road. If the owner didn't bail with everything, there might be some good stuff in there. If not, there's plenty of other buildings and houses in the area. I've not seen a lot of other people that haven't been infected out there, so I think we can assume that they are either dead or have moved on, maybe to one of the shelters the National Guard has put together."
"Speaking of which, why aren't we doing that?" asked Irene.
"I don't think the police and the National Guard can handle the crowds. Remember Katrina? All those people crammed into a football stadium? Now imagine if a few zombies got in there and started attacking. We're better off taking care of ourselves and being smart about it. Again, this is a quick out-and-back-in-again trip. Grab anything you can and head back here."
"Hey, I only have this knife. Can I have a gun?" asked Monty.
"You ever fired a gun before?" asked Robb.
"I played a lot of first-person shooters."
Robb rolled his eyes. "No, I'll keep my gun then."
Monty looked over at Irene. "Can I have your bat then?"
Irene's eyes went wide and she clutched the bat to her chest. "Absolutely not! A girl needs protection out there."
Robb frowned. "Just stay behind us. If you get into trouble, run as fast as you can. If you have to fight, get them under the chin and into the brain. And for God's sake be careful."
It's day fourteen of the zombie apocalypse, and I'm doing a simple Explore scenario.
Robb is a REP 4 Civilian Star with People 3, Savvy 2, Initiative and Born Leader. He is armed with a BAP (his trusty Colt 45 ACP) and a one-handed weapon he's wielding in his off hand (the infamous machete)
Irene is a REP 4 Civilian Star with People 2, Savvy 3, Fast and Logical. She is armed with a shotgun and a two-handed weapon (the even more famous baseball bat).
Monty is a REP 2 Civilian Grunt with People 0, Savvy 1, and the attribute "Poser." He is armed with a knife.
River City is a suburb with an Environment Rating of 3.
Rolling 3d6 for starting zombies I got eight: three behind the school, two in the cottage next door to Robb's house, two on the street, and one across the street.
The red PEF is REP 3 and is by the school. The white PEF is REP 5 and is down the road. The blue PEF is REP 6 and is behind the police station.
Turn 1: Robb 2, Zombies 6
Robb stepped out onto the street and fired twice at the zombie down the block, hitting it squarely in the head. Irene fired at the second one, tearing it apart and it too fell. "We're off to a good start," said Irene confidently as they carefully walked down the road.
Robb fired twice, hit once, and got an OD using the "Easy to Kill" rule. Irene fired 6d6, got 3 hits, and an OD result as well. Rolling 5d6 (2 for Robb and now 3 for Irene's shotgun), one zombie was summoned.
Turn 2: Robb 1, Zombies 1
With a growl, the zombie Irene had shot just moments ago stood up and charged towards her. Irene yelped with surprise and batted at the zombie with her shotgun, knocking it back to the ground.
Two ones mean a random event. I rolled a "14," indicating that the closest dead zombie wasn't dead after all, which meant Irene's previous target. Irene only could roll 1d6 on the charge and passed 0d6, meaning she couldn't fire. The zombie only got 2 successes in close combat to Irene's 5, and Irene knocked it down.
Turn 3: Robb 3, Zombies 4
"Stay down!" said Irene, smashing the butt of her shotgun into the zombie's skull. Another zombies came around the corner of the nearby school, and Robb took two shots at it with his pistol, both bullets crashing into its head.
"Look out behind you!" said Monty as two figures staggered out the doorway of the cottage in front of them.
Irene got an easy OD on the prone zombie with her improvised weapon. The red PEF came into sight and the tables showed one zombie. Robb shot twice, hit twice, and got the Obviously Dead result.
The two zombies in the cottage came out, but were a mere fraction of an inch shy of connecting with the heroes.
The white and blue PEF's came into LOS, but both turned out to be nothing.
Turn 4: Robb 3, Zombies 4
The two zombies that had emerged from the cottage charged towards them. Robb fired his pistol, killing one while Irene shot the other. Before they could congratulate themselves, a third zombie ran up and attacked Monty. Monty flailed at it with his knife and fists, but only knocked the zombie to the ground.
"The kid's in trouble!" Irene shouted.
"I got it," said Robb, who came up and shot the zombie in the head.
Robb and Irene both passed their Being Charged tests and both got Obviously Dead's on their results. But between the shots, three more zombies were summoned, one behind the school again while two more south on the road. While Monty passed his Being Charged test 2d6, he had no firearm and so went right into melee, getting a surprising three successes (REP 2, one-handed weapon) with an additional bonus success for fighting a zombie. The zombie got one success, but Monty only managed a knock down result.
Robb was not in melee at the time, and so could approach the zombie and "pop the weasel." No zombies were summoned.
Turn 5: Robb 5, Zombies 2
A moaning zombie ran towards Irene, who smacked it squarely in the skull with the butt of her shotgun. Bone crunched, and it fell to the ground.
Irene passed her Being Charged 0d6, so could not fire, but got 2+1 successes to the zombies 0, and managed to get an Out of the Fight result, making the zombie Obviously Dead.
Robb's side did not activate.
Turn 6: Robb 4, Zombies 2
The street swarmed with zombies from all directions. "Let 'em have it!" shouted Robb as he poured fire into the crowd. Irene fired as well, and two of the zombies' heads flew apart. Monty rushed forward with his knife, ramming it into the face of the closest zombie. With a gurgle it fell to the ground.
"I got one!" said Monty with glee.
"Great kid, but don't get cocky!" growled Robb back. He hacked one zombie down, but Irene managed to only push her opponent to the ground. It clambered back to his feet.
Robb and Irene both charged into melee, firing as they went. Robb only managed to knock down his target, but Irene got an impressive Obviously Dead on two. Shotguns are nice that way. One zombie was summoned, however, and there were a lot coming towards them.
In melee, Monty got only 2 successes to the zombie's 1, but rolled a 1 for a result and killed it! Irene got 3 successes to 0, but only got a knocked down, while Robb got a remarkable 5 successes to 2, and killed his.
Turn 7: Robb 3, Zombies 6
Robb ran over to the zombie and started hacking at it with his machete, but using his left hand made for clumsy work. "My turn to take care of business," said Irene. She placed the barrel of her shotgun against its head and pulled the trigger.
"We have got to get you a smaller firearm. That things makes a huge racket." said Robb.
"Oh, I don't know. I'm getting kind of fond of it." said Irene with a grin.
Robb entered melee with the zombie, getting 3 successes to 1 but only a knocked down result. Irene, however, could "pop the weasel" (just as Robb had done earlier) but her shotgun blast summoned yet another zombie.
Turn 8: Robb 1, Zombies 3
"Hop up there and take a look inside the truck," Robb said to Irene. "We'll cover you down here."
"Okey, dokey!" said Irene, who nimbly climbed the side of the vehicle. "Knock knock!" she said with a smile, throwing open the door and pointing the shotgun inside.
A flood of rotted arms reached out of the cab and grabbed for her. Irene pulled the trigger of the shotgun reflexively as several zombies pushed her back out of the truck. She landed hard on the ground, slamming her head and back on the pavement as she fell.
"What the hell!" said Robb, turning around to see several rotted creatures clambering out of the vehicle.
Rolling 6d6 to see how many zombies were inside the truck (vehicles count as buildings, but can only be explored by one person), I got a frightening four zombies! That truck was a fricking zombie clown car! Irene passed 2d6 on the Being Charged, got three hits, but only killed one zombie (no Easy to Kill while being charged). I was counting on a better result, and now Irene was fighting three zombies on her own!
Irene beat the first zombie 3:1, but got a knocked down result. The second zombie was beat 3:1, but this time she got an obviously dead. But the third zombie beat her with three successes to her one! Irene was knocked down and stunned for one turn.
Turn 9: Robb 3, Zombies 2
Robb starting swinging his machete at the zombies surrounding Irene. "There's more of them!" shouted Monty as several more zombies charged at him on the street. While Robb's flailing machete failed to find its mark, Monty manage to again stab another in the face, but only hold off a second.
First of all, I had to check to see if Irene was infected as a result of being stunned in close combat by a zombie. I held my breath and rolled the dice: a 6! That made a total of 10, and Irene was fine (if out of combat this turn). Robb attacked two zombies, getting 3 successes to 1, and 4 successes to 3 on the other. He got a knocked down result on both, which was bad news because they were getting quickly outnumbered. Monty managed to get 3 successes 1 to one the first zombie, and impressively did get an Obviously Dead result, but the second zombie got two successes to Monty's two, meaning they were matched in combat.
On the zombie's activation, Robb's opponents got up, then were both knocked back down again. Monty knocked down his own.
Turn 10: Robb 6, Zombies 2
Irene painfully sat up, then got to her feet. She swung her shotgun at the back of one of the zombies, but it only bounced off. With a growl, it turned towards her.
"We've got to keep these guys from overwhelming us!" said Robb as he sunk the machete into another zombie's head. Monty plowed his shoulder into a zombie, tumbling it over, but couldn't follow up with the knife.
Irene had recovered from being stunned and was attacked by one of the zombies, getting 2 successes to its 2, meaning they were matched. Robb got 4:1, and squeaked out an Obviously Dead result. Monty got 2 successes to 1, but only a knocked down result.
Turn 11: Robb 3, Zombies 2
Robb and his friends found themselves being thrown into a desperate fight. Everywhere there seemed to be grasping claws and snapping, rotted teeth. In his panic, Robb just swung his machete wildly, opening severe wounds in his undead opponents, but never the critical blow to the head. Irene and Monty weren't having much better luck.
On Robb's activation, Irene beat her opponet 5:2, Robb 3:1, and Monty 3:2 but they all only got a knocked down. Melee combat is very, very difficult to win in ATZ:FFO.
On the zombies activation Robb only got 2 successes, which worried me greatly until the zombie flunked with 0. Irene got 5:2, but again did poorly on the damage roll, getting a knocked down again. Monty got a 2:2, meaning he was matched up. I didn't think he could break away from combat easily with his REP 2, so we stuck it out.
Turn 12: Robb 6, Zombies 6
Turn 13: Robb 2, Zombies 5
With a triumphant yell Robb slammed the edge of his machete on the zombies head. It collapsed to the ground. But Irene and Monty were still struggling with their opponents.
Robb got 4 successes to the zombies, 1, and finally rolled lower than the difference. Irene got 5:2, again with a knockdown, and Monty got a surprising 4:2, but again only a knockdown.
Turn 14: Robb 4, Zombies 2
"Okay, while they are on the ground, get them in the head!" said Robb as he brought his blade down upon another zombie. But Irene couldn't connect with the butt of her shotgun, only catching hers in the chest.
"Hold still, you..." said Monty as he tried to stop on the zombie's head. His foot glanced off the zombie's face, and it suddenly grabbed his ankle. Monty howled in pain as the zombie sunk its teeth into his calf, and he fell to the ground.
This should have been a great opportunity: the zombies were all knocked down, and Robb's team went first, giving them a 2d6 bonus in combat. Robb only managed to beat his zombie 3:2, but surprisingly I rolled a 1 and killed him. Irene's zombie got a shocking 3 successes, but not beating her 4. The high number for the zombie meant it only stayed knocked down, however. Monty also only got a knocked down result, but on the zombie's activation it managed to beat Monty 2:1! Monty was knocked down and stunned for one turn. What's worse, I rolled a 1 on his "Are you okay, Harry?" roll, meaning he was infected!
Turn 15: Robb 5, Zombies 3
The remaining zombies staggered to their feet. One rushed at Irene, grabbing at her shotgun. Still dazed from her fall, she couldn't wrestle it away. Robb dodged the zombie's attack and swung his machete, but his blow fell short and only cut away at the zombie's leg. Monty rocked back and forth on the ground, clutching at his leg.
Damn! I needed Robb's side to activate, and they didn't. Irene ended up locked in combat 3:3, while Robb won 3:0, but couldn't seal the deal. Poor Monty was stunned this round.
Turn 16: Robb 5, Zombies 1
Irene head butted with her helmet the zombie grabbing her shotgun and it let go and fell to the ground. Robb swung his machete in a wide swing, taking the head off his opponent.
Irene beat her opponent with 4 successes to 1, but again got a damned knocked down. Could these things ever die? Robb showed Irene how it was done, though, getting a whalloping 5 successes to the zombie's 3, and with a relieved sigh I rolled a 2, get the Obviously Dead.
Turn 17: Robb 5, Zombies 5
Turn 18: Robb 3, Zombies 2
"For the love of God, die already!" screamed Irene in a desperate voice. She drove the barrel of the shotgun into the zombie's eye socket, and it fell to the ground.
"Irene, Monty, are you okay? Did any of them bite you?" said Robb worriedly as he checked Irene over, then turned to Monty.
"I'm fine, Robb. I probably got a hell of a bruise on my back from when I fell, though." said Irene.
"Guys..." said Monty weakly. They turned to look at him. He was clasping his leg right above where a grisly wound could be seen. "I got bit. They say there's no cure for this. I read that online. What do I do?" he asked plaintively.
Irene beat her opponent 3:0, and managed to finally roll low enough to get an Obviously Dead. I was feeling incredibly lucky because they had fought almost thirteen rounds of combat and the dice hadn't turned on either of my Stars.
Turn 19: Robb 2, Zombies 3
Robb was silent for a moment. "You can hold still," he said, and before Irene could stop him he pointed his pistol at Monty and pulled the trigger. Monty's head snapped back and he tumbled backward onto the sidewalk. Irene covered her mouth in horror.
"Wait here while I go look in the damned truck," Robb said to Irene as he picked his way over the bodies and into the cab of the vehicle. In a moment he emerged, holding a large pistol.
"Here," he said, handed it to Irene. He stopped to pick up the fallen knife from Monty's hand. "I'm sorry I brought you along, kid. This is all my fault."
Monty, though, wasn't as lucky, and although he hadn't turned, he had to be dealt with. Ironically enough, Robb's shot summoned another zombie, again behind the school.
Turn 20: Robb 4, Zombies 3
Robb and Irene heard the far-off growl of a zombie. "We're done here, run for it!" said Robb, and the two of them took off down the street.
The new zombie draws closer, but I decide I have pushed my luck far enough for the day, and Fast Moved it back towards Robb's house.
Turn 21: Robb 2, Zombies 3
Gasping and tired to the point of exhaustion, Robb and Irene dashed into their homes and barricaded the door once more.
I managed to Fast Move again, and the game had ended.
By far this was the most hair-raising game to date. Every time I rolled in close combat I knew that one of my three heroes' numbers could come up. I actually thought I had lost Irene until I rolled that six. Sadly but not surprisingly, Monty's tenure with the gang was a short one, but they did manage to find a resource, making the session a Pyrrhic success.