Friday, January 11, 2013

ATZ Campaign, Day 21, part one: A Friend in Need

“Robb, I have a question,” said Irene quietly as Robb entered the room.
“What's that?” said Robb.
“Do you think I should have given him the bat?” asked Irene, looking up from where she was sitting, the bat in question resting across her legs.
“Excuse me?”
“Monty. He asked if he could have the bat. I didn't give it to him, but then I never used it once when we went out to look at that truck. Maybe if he had been holding the bat, he wouldn't have died.”
Robb sat down beside her. “Irene, there's no way of knowing that might have happened. Monty could barely take care of himself as it was, and we certainly didn't cause his death. If anything, he was safer with us than on his own. Did you see those two zombies that came out of the house next to the truck? That was his house. If he hadn't been with us, then they might have gotten him, and then we'd be having to fight him off instead of his being with us. But what's done is done, and you and I are still okay.”
“But we're going after that other person?” asked Irene, looking up.
Before Monty's death, he had shown Robb and Irene how to access the city-wide wifi system despite their not having an account. The local news media hadn't updated their articles for over a week, and the final posts had been full of conflicting and unhelpful information.
But many of the articles had comments posted at the bottom of each page.  And over the last few days, Robb and Irene had seen a person in River City posting regularly, someone named "Erin" who appeared to be holding out across town.  But she was alone, and was reaching to any one else left in the city.  After some discussion about the risks involved, Robb and Irene had decided to try to make their way to where Erin was holed up.  Much of their decision had been influenced by the guilt both of them were wrestling with over Monty's death.
"Yeah, we're going," said Robb as he pulled his overcoat on and rested his hat on his head.  "Are you ready?"
Irene snapped on her helmet and tugged down the edge of a light blue tank top.  She had not put on her practice outfit, but had instead opted for her official uniform.  "I'm pretty," she said with a slight smile.

This episode will be using the "Escape" scenario from All Things Zombie: Final Fade Out.  The heroes have to move diagonally across the board from zone 1  to zone nine.  Having done that, the group will automatically gain a new teammate.  They then have to re-enter the board at zone three and make their way across to zone seven, diagonally the other direction.  Time to move fast and not get too stuck in with distractions.

Robb and Irene's stats are now featured on a separate page for the blog.  I'll update them as we go along in the campaign.  In case it changes later, both are currently REP 4 Star Survivors.

The Encounter Rating for the session is 2, for being a suburb.  There are three PEF's: Red (Rep 5, zone 3), White (Rep 6, zone 2), and Blue (Rep 2, zone 4).  I noticed the instructions of the scenario have the heroes starting in the PEF zones, which seems odd since most of the time you don't, but I'll see what happens, even if it means I have three PEF's very close by.

Rolling 2d6 for starting zombies, I got four.  I use a d12 now to determine location, rolling 12, 12, 11, and 8, and place them accordingly.  A low zombie count at the beginning is a good sign.

Turn One: Robb 2, Zombies 1

Robb and Irene moved down the street cautiously.  They immediately saw the zombie ahead of them, and one over by the building to their left close by.  They moved closer to the zombie to their left, Robb raising his Colt 45 and firing two shots.  The first caught the zombie in the shoulder, but the second one took its head off.    Irene took aim at the one down the street with her shotgun, blasting it away.  From their new vantage point, they could see three more zombies lurking behind the building to their right, while another was farther down the street to their left.
"We need to get moving before something bad happens," said Robb, "I'm getting a bad feeling about this."

Robb fired twice, hit twice, but got a Knock Down on the first shot.  The second shot, however, got an Obviously Dead.  Irene rolled 6d6 and kept 3d6, but the zombie was too far away from the others to catch more in the blast, so she had to get by with only killing one.  The 5d6 in noise summoned two zombies.

The White PEF moved into LOS, but only got the result of +1 to the ER.  The Red PEF also came into view, but generated nothing.  The Blue PEF only passed 1d6 so it moved farther away.

Turn Two: Robb 3, Zombies 3

Robb turned in surprise to see a dog running down the road, six zombies in pursuit.  "Oh, that's all we needed!" said Robb angrily.

Thanks to the ER now being 3, the doubles created a random event, in this case a dog appearing 6" from the heroes (rolled randomly for location) with 1d6 zombies 12" behind it.  I rolled a 6, which made the situation even worse.

Turn Three: Robb 1, Zombies 1

Turning to run from the dog and its pack of hungry zombies, Robb felt his ankle take a sharper twist than intended as it fell in a small pothole.  He shouted in pain.
"What's wrong?" Irene asked.
"It's my ankle," said Robb through gritted teeth.  "I think I sprained it."
"Are you kidding me?" shouted Irene with exasperation.

Doubles again meant another random event, this time one of the heroes would suffer a twisted ankle and be -2" for movement and could only pass 1d6 with Fast Movement.  Moreover if they rolled 0d6, they would fall down.  I couldn't imagine a worse thing to happen, given this scenario.

Turn Four: Robb 2, Zombies 6, Dog 6

"We got to try to keep going," said Robb as he grit his teeth and began to trot with a painful limp away from the mass of zombies gathering on the street.  Irene easily zipped along behind him.  Some of the zombies had turned their attention to the dog, while others were still following them as they hobbled along.

I risked a Fast Move, passed 1d6, and moved Robb and Irene 9" from the zombies, barely more than what they could have done with a normal move.  I've learned the hard way, though, that running from zombies makes a lot more sense sometimes than standing and fighting them.

I added the dog into the activation list for the time being, but decided not to count him towards doubles.

Turn Five: Robb 5, Zombies 1, Dog 4

Robb saw an alley across the street.  Hopefully, Robb thought, they could lose them in there.  His ankle felt like it was wrapped in hot copper wire.

The dog continued to run away from the zombies pursuing it, but others close by had begun to circle around, pinning it off.  With a moan, they lurched towards the animal.

The dog has a Rep of 4, but it attracted the attention of some of the zombies generated earlier in the game when it went by, and they drew within inches of it.  Others continued to close in on Robb and Irene down the street.

Turn Six: Robb 3, Zombies 2, Dog 6

"Go, go, go!" urged Irene as they continued to run awkwardly for the alley.   Down the street, the zombies began to grapple for the dog, but it growled, skittered, and lunged at them, knocking several down with its blows before becoming entangled up with another.

Robb passed his Fast Move 1d6 again, and I ran both of them 9" to the lip of the alley.  Irene could easily have made it off the board by now if she went alone, but she would never do that.

Four zombies entered melee combat with the dog, rolling 3d6 to the dog's 4d6 (I counted him as having an improvised weapon).  The dog managed to knock down two of his assailants in combat (thanks to the +1 for fighting a zombie rule) but tied the other two.  Sorry, pooch, but this doesn't look good.

Turn Seven: Robb 3, Zombies 6, Dog 4

A shooting pain shot up Robb's leg, causing it to buckle beneath him.  He fell to the ground with a cry of agony.  "Robb!" shouted Irene with alarm, stopping suddenly to avoid running into him.

Meanwhile, the dog pounced atop one of the zombies before jumping onto another, ripping viciously at its head and ripping it open.

Robb passed his Fast Move 0d6, meaning he takes a Knock Down but is Carry On.  The dog fought the two zombies with which it was locked in combat, getting another Knock Down result with one, but getting a lucky Obviously Dead with the other!  Go dog go!

Turn Eight: Robb 5, Zombies 4, Dog 5

Slowly the zombies scattered around the growling, snapping dog stood up.  Other zombies moved towards the downed Robb as Irene readied her shotgun.  "Time for a last stand?" she asked.

The zombies' sole activation meant that they all got up, or moved closer to the heroes.  Things were getting very tense.

Turn Nine: Robb 5, Zombies 6, Dog 5
Turn Ten: Robb 5, Zombies 5, Dog 5
No random encounters because the roll was over the ER.
Turn Eleven: Robb 2, Zombies 2, Dog 4

Farther down the road from the alley, a cell phone began to ring somewhere in the vicinity of a red car.  Irene glanced at it quizzically.  "It's Lady Luck calling," said Robb drily.  "She's calling to say she's pissed at us."

Another random encounter, this time a cell phone.  Rolling 3d6 for the noise, no zombies were summoned.

Turn Twelve: Robb 1, Zombies 5, Dog 2

"Let 'em have it!" shouted Robb as he pointed his pistol at the closest zombie and pulled the trigger repeated.  The slide moved back and forth with a clack, but nothing else happened.
"I'm out?" Robb said disbelievingly.
"Oh for the love of God.  Let me handle this," said Irene.  She turned her shotgun towards the crowd of zombies and fired.  One single zombie staggered and fell, but the shot had clearly landed low.
"Not saying anything," said Robb flatly.

Elsewhere, the poor dog had been finally wrestled to the ground by a pair of zombies.  They began to tear and claw at its flesh.  The dog howled briefly, then fell silent as the zombies began stuffing flesh into their mouths.

Robb fired twice, but rolled two ones.  By the "Tight Ammo" rules for campaigns, that meant he was out of bullets until he tried to reload.  Robb was truly snakebit this game.  Irene fired her shotgun but only hit one out of 6d6, and what's worse only knocked it down.  No zombies were summoned, though.

The dog lost the first combat with the pair of zombies and was knocked down.  With a second zombie attacking him, it was over and the dog was Obviously Dead.  Rolling 1d6, the zombies would be feasting for two turns, but were so far away that they had lost sight of anyone else.

Thankfully, no zombies were summoned by the phone.

Turn Thirteen: Robb 2, Zombies 3

As the zombies drew even closer, Robb turned back towards the alley.  "This way," he said.
"No," Irene said, tugging him towards the car.  "We've got to stop that phone ringing before it draws every zombie in the neighborhood."
Robb didn't feel like arguing, but instead slapped another clip into his pistol.  He realized as he fumbled around his the pockets of his trenchcoat that he didn't have another one.  "Um, hon?" he said quietly, "after this one, I'm out."
"Out?  Jesus, Robb, what were you thinking before you headed out today?"  Irene picked up the cell phone lying on the ground and immediately turned off the ringer.  She'd figure out who was trying to call later.
Robb lips tightened into a frown.  "Fine, I'm sorry."
Irene glanced back at the zombies continuing to come after them.  "Never mind.  I'll give you my pistol if you run out again.  We have to keep going, though."

I resolved the cell phone like a PEF, but once again got nothing but an increase of the ER to 4.  Robb reloaded, but passed only 1d6, meaning he could not reload again.  The Blue PEF moved away again.

Turn Fourteen: Robb 2, Zombies 1

Robb began firing his fresh clip into the zombies, backing slowly away from them.  "I'm not sure I'm up to running."
One of his shots collapsed a zombie's head.  Irene fired as well, taking out another.

Robb fired twice, hit once, and got an Obviously Dead (this seems to be statistically the norm for him).  Irene fired, hit two, and got an Obviously Dead and a Knocked Down.  Their shots summoned one zombie, this one behind the others.

Turn Fifteen: Robb 1, Zombies 3

Robb continued to back away, firing continuously and killing another zombie.  Irene was more lucky this time, catching three in her shotgun's blast.  Two were killed immediately, while the other staggered to the ground.  "That's the lot of them," Robb said.  "I feel like I might be able to run if I needed to."

Robb fired twice, hit once, and killed one.  Irene hit three and got two OD's and a KD.  One zombie was summoned, this one in the way that they needed to go, however.
The PEF didn't move.

Turn Sixteen: Robb 6, Zombies 4

Turning around, they saw a zombie moving across the grass of the empty lot towards them.  Robb sighed heavily.  "Want me to hit him with my bat?" asked Irene.
"No, the way things are going he'd kill both of us," said Robb.

The zombie moved closer  Other zombies got back up that had been knocked down.  The PEF moved away, but was at the corner and wasn't going anywhere.

Turn Seventeen: Robb 2, Zombies 5

Robb raised his pistol and fired twice, hitting the zombie squarely in the skull.  He and his girlfriend continued through the field.

Robb fired twice, hit once, and got an OD.  

Turn Eighteen: Robb 6, Zombies 2

Behind them, the zombies shambled closer.

Turn Nineteen: Robb 3, Zombies 3

Irene felt in the pockets of her small bag around her waist to check and see how many shotguns shells she had.  Her fingers sifted through several large bullets.  Bullets?
"Robb, honey...Listen.  It looks like I only brought bullets with me for my pistol.  I don't have any shotgun shells left when I'm out."
"Not saying anything."

Again with the random events, this time telling me that a random hero had backed the wrong reloads.  If it was Robb, it wouldn't really matter since he was out anyways.  Unfortunately it was Irene, so her shotgun would be out when she rolled double 1's.  I was surprised it hadn't happened yet, given that she was rolling 6d6 every time.

Turn Twenty: Robb 2, Zombies 1

Irene glanced around at the street signs at the corner.  "We made it.  We're almost there."
"Thank God.  I really need to get off my feet." said Robb wearily
Behind them, the zombie they had been outpacing moaned sadly, its meal having gotten away.

I risked another Fast Move, and got the two off the board, the zombie right behind them.  Now, they'll re-enter on another corner, this time with another team member, Erin!

Comments welcome.


  1. Very characterful - lovely story! I lost count of the number of threats from which the couple were fleeing, but it seemed like a lot. Shame about the dog, though.

  2. Fantastic! What I particularly like about this scenario is that half way through you automatically get a new recruit of your choosing. Cool! Your batrep is real edge of the seat stuff and I can't wait for part two. Hopefully, Erin will prove to be a worthy addition to Team Robb.

    1. I was kind of bummed out to get "Attractive" as an attribute, since the real Erin is nursing student, which could have come in real handy.

  3. the twisted ankle random even is a nightmare when you don't plan to fight but flee.

    Very well done on the dog, it added a lot to the encounter.

    1. My kids were very unhappy to hear the dog died. I may have to try to wrangle getting a dog on Team Robb soon.

  4. Brilliant!! Look forward to meeting the new member and what tale that is unfolding!!

  5. Great story, very tense - not one of their luckier exploits though.