"I don't even want to think about what that means," said her boyfriend Robb. "It could range from 'really bad' to 'catastrophically horrible.'"
Robb and Irene had been holed up in their house for days, listening to the occasional broadcast on the radio with news of the zombie epidemic. People were, at least in River City, being told to stay in their homes. The National Guard was apparently attempting to organize around the university campus, and they could hear sirens at odd hours day and night. Otherwise there was little activity that could be seen except the rare zombie wandering around out doors.
"We still don't have enough food to last us for very much longer. I think we need to try going out again to see what we can find." said Robb.
"We'll wait until it is broad daylight, and then we'll do some shopping," said Irene, beginning to scrounge around for her protective pads.
Using the new All Things Zombie, Final Fade Out rules, I decided to do the "Week Two-Robbery!" scenario which could feature a specialized PEF chart.
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). With the new rules, she'll need to take an action to swap out weapons, however.
River City is a suburb with an Environment Rating of 3.
For PEF's I used three poker chips, red, white and blue. Red was REP 6, White 5, and Blue 3.
For starting zombies I rolled 2d6 (1d6 per person) and got seven zombies: two up the street from Robb's house, three across the street, and 2 behind the house.
Turn 1: Robb 3, Zombies 1
Robb and Irene quietly exited their house, and glancing up the street saw the five zombies starting towards them. "Take out the bigger group first, but keep the others at a distance!" shouted Robb as he fired twice at the group of three zombies standing in front of the store. He hit one and it went down. Irene pointed the shotgun at the group and pulled the trigger, and the other two went down. They darted across the street towards the store.
This was pure plucky gamesmanship. Robb and Irene were essentially surrounded at the beginning, and I hoped that by taking out one group and then moving in their direction, they would put some distance between them and the other two groups.
Robb fired twice, hit once, and got an Obviously Dead thanks to the "Easy to Kill" rule. Two zombies were immediately summoned, however, twelve inches away.
Irene fired once, but got the best 3d6 of 6d6, easily dealing with the other two. Now, and here's a question for the rules lawyers out there. There doesn't appear to be the rule saying that shotguns are particularly louder than regular shots now, and the rules for summoning zombies say check once per shot. This seems to make the shotgun damnably useful, provided you don't run out of ammo. Someone correct me if I'm wrong. In any case, no zombies were summoned.
Shooting at this point in the timeline means the police will be summoned, and the die roll said it would happen in two turns.
The remaining zombies all moved in towards Robb and Irene, who were thankfully out of range.
White and Blue PEF's moved away, while Red moved 12" closer.
Turn 2: Robb 1, Zombies 6
Robb turned towards the other two zombies on the street, who were now very close. He shot twice, dropping one of the zombies, while Irene again blasted away the other. "You're only about half good with that thing," said Irene with a grin.
"Big talk from the girl with a scattergun," replied Robb.
Robb again fired two shots, hit once and got an OOF. Irene got a similar OOF with 3d6, and summoned one zombie.
Turn 3: Robb 6, Zombies 4
Robb and Irene looked around nervously. Zombies had begun to appear out of every alleyway and back corner of the buildings. They had seriously underestimated how bad it was.
Suddenly an SUV roared down the street, lights flashing but without a siren. The black-and-white vehicle was clearly a River City police car. It pulled to a stop and two patrolmen got out, pulling their pistols from their holsters. "Hey! What's going on here?" shouted the larger of the two policemen.
Robb shouted "What's it look like? We need help!"
"Hang on, we'll be right there!" said the first policeman as he beckoned his partner towards the surrounded pair.
The zombie moved in around Robb and Irene, who were certainly lucky to get some reinforcements.
Sgt. Spinelli was REP 5, PEP 4, SAV 3 and Dim. Pvt. Jackson was REP 3, PEP 1, SAV 2 and Agile. Both had BAP's and nightsticks.
Robb passed an amazing 4d6 on the "Meet and Greet" to Spinelli's 0d6! These guys would do what they could to help.
The Red PEF moved into sight almost right next to Robb. I rolled on the special "Robbery" table but got a single zombie.
Turn 4: Robb 6, Zombies 3, Police 5
Spinelli and Jackson began to shoot at the zombies moving towards them. Both were clearly trained men, and three zombies dropped, bullets in their heads. But there were still more zombies on the street, and two of them staggered towards Robb and Irene. Robb shot wildly, clipping the zombie in the torso and making it fall, while Irene shot even more wildly, missing entirely.
With a growl, the zombie lunged at her, but Irene dodged out of the way, swinging the shotgun desperately. The clumsy blow knocked the zombie to the ground, but it wasn't out.
Spinelli shot twice, hit twice, and scored two Obviously Deads. Jackson fired twice, hit once, and got another dead. Amazingly, no zombies were summoned.
Robb passed his Being Charged by 1d6 and fired once, but only knocked it down (no zombies summoned). Irene cleanly missed with the shotgun but managed to summon another zombie in the process. She got 4 successes to the zombies two in melee combat, but only managed a knocked down result. Not a good turn for her.
I forgot to move the PEF's this turn. Not surprising, given the number of variables in play now.
Turn 5: Robb 4, Zombies 1, Police 5
The two police officers shouldered aside Robb and Irene and calmly fired a single round into each of the prone zombies' heads. "You two better get inside somewhere safe," safe Spinelli.
"Good idea, officer. C'mon Robb, we'll duck into this building," said Irene with a purposeful look at her boyfriend. The Chinese restaurant had been their goal all along. Robb opened the door and stepped inside. From behind the counter a mangled, bloody figure raised its limbs and ran towards them. Rob fired off a quick two shots, catching the former cook in the face and causing him to collapse in a heap.
"The place looks pretty good," said Irene hopefully. The two of them quickly searched the restaurant's storeroom, uncovered several canned goods which were quickly stashed in pockets and backpacks.
"I wonder what's going outside?" Irene wondered aloud.
Outside, Spinelli and Jackson surveyed the south side of the street. Unbeknownst to them, two zombies, attracted by all the gunfire, quietly lurked behind their police vehicle.
The two police activated first and "popped the weasel" on the two zombies that had been knocked prone but had not had a chance to activate first.
Robb and Irene entered the building and, rolling 6d6, had only 1 zombie appear, a bit of good luck. The zombie's surprise total was 6, Robb's 7, and Irene's 5. Robb managed to fire twice, hit once, and again through the Easy to Kill rule dropped the zombie. Both Robb and Irene scored finding food on their search rolls for the building.
Outside, zombies approached the two police, but I ruled the intervening SUV and the positioning of the police blocked LOS.
The White and Blue PEF's both move closer.
Turn 6: Robb 3, Zombies 4, Police 6
Jackson felt the two zombies slam into his back before he heard them. He rolled slightly with the blow, shrugging one off and clubbing it with his nightstick, but the second clamped onto the back of his neck, and with a howl he dropped to ground in pain. Two vicious bites later, and Jackson was dead.
Spinelli turned in shock to see his partner being torn apart with a spray of blood. His mind went blank and he tore off down the street, ducking behind a parked car. Spinelli's stomach churned and he began vomiting on the ground behind the car.
Robb and Irene had heard the noise and came out to take a look. "My God!" said Robb, "get back inside!" He shoved Irene back into the restaurant and slammed the door shut. "That policeman is dead!" said Irene in horror. "He was trying to help us!"
The police fail to activate at all, so the zombies charge the closest person, REP 3 Officer Jackson. Jackson takes a penalty for being charged from behind and ends up passing 0d6. In the melee combat, Jackson passes 3d6 to the zombies 1d6 and gets an Obviously Dead result, but on the other combat passes only 1d6 to the zombie's 2d6. What's more, the zombie got an Obviously Dead result. A roll showed that the zombie would only feast for one turn, however.
Spinelli passed his "See the Feast" 1d6 and would Duck Back and be stunned for 3 turns.
Robb and Irene each also only passed the See the Feast 1d6 and Ducked Back into the store to be stunned for one round. (I could not remember them ever seeing a zombie eat a human before in the campaign. I will have to go look and see if I was right.)
Blue PEF fails to move, while the White PEF moves away (again).
Turn 7: Robb 2, Zombies 1, Police 3
Robb and Irene glanced out the blinds in the windows of the store in horror as the zombie continued to devour the dead police officer.
"We have to do something!" said Irene.
"There's nothing we can do for him now," said Robb, "but we do need to get out of here."
Robb, Irene, and Officer Spinelli are all stunned, while the zombie is feasting.
I forgot the PEF's once again.
Turn 8: Robb 3, Zombies 1, Police 2
"Let's do this," said Robb. He strode out into the street and fired twice into the zombie just as it was getting up from its meal. Irene turned towards another zombie that had moved down the street towards them and fired her shotgun, but aimed low. The zombie fell, but quickly got back up again. "Damnit!" Irene shouted in anger.
Robb fired twice, hit once, and got another Obviously Dead (a common pattern). The shot summoned another zombie, this one across the street by their house.
Irene fired the shotgun, only hit once on 6d6, and only managed a knockdown result, which the zombie promptly recovered from on its activation.
The Blue PEF moved away, while the White PEF moved very close to Robb and Irene, but with no LOS. Both PEF's were dancing very close to the pair at this point.
Spinelli continued to be stunned.
Turn 9: Robb 6, Zombies 6, Police 4
Turn 10: Robb 3, Zombies 2, Police 1
Robb fired two shots at the zombie in front of Irene but missed both times. At this range, however, Irene practically couldn't miss. She bought the shotgun up and reduced the zombie's head to fine mist. Robb was so caught up with Irene's assailant that he didn't notice the zombie running at him from across the street until it was almost on top of him. With a surprised cry he swung his left hand up, catching the zombie's head neatly with the machete's blade.
A heavy-set man ran out of a house across the street. He was wearing a superhero t-shirt and wrinkled shorts. In his hand he clutched a large kitchen knife. "That was awesome! Are you guys okay?" He asked.
"Secure the area!" shouted a loud voice from behind the police SUV. Three men in military uniforms streamed around the vehicle. They were well armed, once of them scanning the street with a heavy machine gun. One of the men, obviously the leader, looked at Robb's gore-covered blade and barked, "what's going on here."
"Well, um, we saw that these policemen were being attacked and came out to help. We were too late to save this man, though." said Robb, thinking quickly and gesturing to the savaged figure at his feet.
The soldier looked at the three people in the street intently. His eyes caught sight of Spinelli, rising from behind the car, his uniform front covered in vomit. "Okay, but you all better head home right now," he said sternly.
"Absolutely," said Robb.
"Hey, would you mind if I came with you guys?" said the man with the knife. "You guys look like you know how to take care of yourselves."
Robb glanced uneasily at the man. "Err, I'm not sure..."
"Yeah, c'mon," said Irene. "I'm Irene, and this is Robb."
Robb shot twice at Irene's knocked down assailant, but missed both times (no zombies generated). Irene hit three times, getting an OD result. But that left one zombie on the field and close by, and he charged Robb, the closest figure. Robb passed being charged by a disappointing 0d6, meaning no shots would be fired. In close combat Robb rolled 4d6 (four for his REP, one for the machete, but minus one for it being in his off hand) and got a surprising four successes! The zombie only got two successes and lost the melee. Rolling damage, Robb got a "1" meaning an immediate Obviously Dead.
The two PEF both came into view, however, and required rolls on the special "Robbery" chart. The first revealed a single REP 2 Civilian armed with a knife, who I will need to work out later. The second revealed the "National Guard Checkpoint" which I wasn't quite sure worked with a PEF appearing where there had been nothing prior, so I just figured it was a Guard patrol. The roll showed three Guardsmen, two with REP 4's and one with REP 5. In the "Meet and Greet" however Robb won 4d6 to 3d6, so the Guardsmen told them to go home. With no zombies or PEF's left on the field, and food in Robb and Irene's pockets, I figured it was a good time to end the game.
ATZ: Final Fade Out is much more streamlined than its predecessor, but I feel like the shotgun has become a much more attractive weapon in the game. I can not figure out if that is a bad thing, or given its iconic status in the genre, a good thing. Regardless, it was remarkably effective in this scenario, making Irene much more of a shooter rather than a slugger.
I'm not sure how I feel about the addition of a REP 2 Grunt. On one hand, its another person to help fight and search for things. On the other hand, its another mouth to feed (although at this point I have three food items, so we're good for the month). It may be moot, since a REP 2 character probably won't last two long.