"You've been reading a phone book?" asked Erin.
"I didn't even know we had a phone book," said Irene.
"We've been cooped up in here for so long, I know everything that is in the house," said Robb. "And I found two places relatively near each other. One place might have bullets for my pistol and Irene's shotgun. The other might have food."
"Food? Food's good." said Erin.
"And bullets is even better," said Irene. "How far away is it?"
"Far enough. It'll be a bit of a hike, so we should start early to make sure we have plenty of daylight."
Irene grinned. "I'll just be glad to get out of the house. I can't stand being cooped up in here."
It's the end of the first month, and Team Robb really needs to stock up. By my notes they have three food items, which they will expend at the end of the month. If they don't have food during a given month, then retaining grunts (like Erin) becomes more difficult. As a Rep 4 Grunt, Erin is already difficult to retain, even with Robb's "Born Leader" attribute. In addition, both Robb and Irene suffered a "low ammo" situation as as result of rolling double ones and random events in the previous scenario. So for this game, if a double one is rolled on either Robb's BAP or Irene's shotgun, that weapon is out of ammo until it is replenished through looting a location.
For this encounter, the two target locations are the newly-created food market, and the gun store I built earlier. Locations are not easy picking in ATZ:FFO, however. First, each building can have randomly generated zombies, the same as rolling 6d6 against the type of community, which in this case is a suburb, meaning a zombie on a 5 or 6. If you get zero zombies, you then treat the location like a PEF, meaning another chance at zombies or the rare human occupant. Hostile humans are one of the most dangerous things in the game, so there is more than a little risk involved. My hope is to either eliminate the initial zombies or at least seriously thin them out we the group can get to stores without difficulty. PEF's have so far not been a problem because of the low ER rating of the town. Then a clean sweep of the stores, and acquire some loot. As a special rule (just to give Team Robb a chance), any "food" results in the gun store will count as ammo. Passing 2d6 will count as either ammo or a gun. In return, they can only find food in the food market. The real tragedy would be getting through all that and getting no loot at all...
Scenario background: Robb and Irene are at this point both Rep 4 Star Survivors. Erin is a Rep 4 Grunt Survivor. The town is a suburb with an ER of 2. It's day 28 of the Zombie Apocalypse.
The Red PEF is Rep 6, and in zone 3. The White PEF is Rep 4, and in zone 1. The Blue PEF is Rep 6, and in zone 1. All are out of sight, but the high Reps mean they will be appearing earlier rather than later.
Team Robb began their initial "from the edge" move by rolling for a Fast Move and passing 1d6. That meant they could go 12" in from the edge (and aren't we glad Robb's ankle has healed?). Rolling 3d6 for starting zombies got us nine, about average. Rolling my trusty d12, I placed them about the table. Using a d12 means that they are more scattered than just using a d6 and doubling it.
Turn 1: Robb 1, Zombies 5
"The streets are crawling with zombies!" said Erin. She saw a lone zombie nearby and shot it with her rifle. The round plowed into the zombies chest and it fell backwards but was still twitching.
"Head shots, dear," said Irene as she fired into a crowd of zombies, one of whose heads flew apart. She expelled the round from the shotgun. "And...I'm out."
"Out? Already?" said Robb incredulously.
"Yes, I had one round and I used it. Is that a problem?" Irene replied fiercely.
Robb gritted his teeth. "I guess not." He fired twice into the same crowd of zombies, hitting one in the head and another in the shoulder. It staggered and dropped to its knees.
I moved Team Robb closer to the gun store. They would need to address the ammunition issue before tackling the food store, or the many zombies on the table. Erin shot once with her rifle and hit, but rolled a 6 and just got a Knock Down result. Irene got only 1 hit from the 6d6 on her shotgun, but got the Obviously Dead result from the Easy to Kill rule. Unfortunately that bad round of shooting had two 1's in it, and she was out of ammunition for the shotgun. Thankfully she has the bat and her backup BAP.
Robb fired at two different zombies this time, hit both of them, but only got one OD. The other was just a knockdown.
As a result of all the gunfire, three more zombies were summoned, however, meaning that Team Robb had a negative gain for this round.
Turn 2: Robb 2, Zombies 2
Robb suddenly felt a stab of pain shoot through the ankle that had been injured the week before. He let out a cry of pain and staggered a bit. "It's my damn ankle again!"
"Seriously?" said Erin, half in despair, half in anger. "She's out of bullets, you're dragging us down again. It's like I'm living the same nightmare all over again!"
"Robb didn't to get hurt again," Irene snarled, "and for your information, they are cartridges, not bullets!"
Doubles on activation, and at or under the ER of the location means a random event, and the dice came up with the twisted ankle situation once more. And again, the random die roll landed on Robb. He must have not have taken it easy enough over the past week and it hasn't healed all the way.
That's two rough turns in a row for Team Robb.
Turn 3: Robb 2, Zombies 1
With the mob of zombies closing in, Erin fired her rifle into the crowd but missed. Robb fired his pistol, but the pain in his ankle threw off his aim and his missed both of his shots. Irene pulled out her large pistol and fired twice as well, but like Robb cleanly missed any of the zombies comings towards them.
And that'd be three turns in a row. At least no zombie was summoned from five shots. In addition, the Blue PEF showed up, but turned out to be nothing. It raised the ER to 3 though.
"Quick, into the store!" said Robb, pushing the door of the store open. The three scrambled inside, pulling it behind them.
The gun store had clearly been ransacked of most of its inventory by someone, the glass display cases smashed and racks of supplies mostly empty. A figure moved from behind a counter, black drool falling onto his brown overcoat. When it saw the three standing by the door, the lunged for them. Irene was the only one fast enough to get off a shot, but it sailed past the zombie and thunked into a poster on the wall behind him. The zombie plowed into Erin, nearly knocking her over. She screamed and tried to beat it back. Irene clumsily struck the zombie with her bat as she wielded it with her left hand.
Robb pulled the zombie back with his right arm and swung the black-bladed machete with his left. It sunk into the zombie's head.
I moved Team Robb into the gun store. Rolling 6d6 for zombie occupants, I thankfully only got one. Next though, I had to roll 1d6 and add it to the number of zombies in the building. I rolled a 5, making the "zombie number" 6 for initative purposes. Now I had to roll a 1d6 for each of the humans, to see if any of them could get a higher number. Robb got a 1 for a total of 5, Erin a 2 for a total of 6, and 4 for Irene, getting her a total of 8. That means that only Irene could fire before melee, and she missed.
Rolling to see which person the zombie would attack first, Erin became the target. I was stunned to see her pass 0d6 to the zombies 1d6 and then get a Knocked Down result. Rolling for recover from Knock Down, she only passed 1d6, meaning she was OOF and maybe infected.
Then, I realized I had forgotten the "+1 success if fighting a zombie opponent" rule (ATZ:FF), p. 31). Erin was now only tied. Back from the brink!
Irene rolled fairly badly as well, getting 2 successes to the zombies 2 and they were tied. This lone zombie was one tough hombre!
Robb won his 3 to 1, however, and rolled a 1 for a result, killing the zombie. Score one for Belle the machete!
Turn 4: Robb 2, Zombies 4
"Irene, lock that door. And then let's find what we came for," said Robb.
Irene threw the latch and then everyone began tossing the store. Robb went to the boxes of bullets and pulled out several marked ".45 ball" and pocketed them. Opening another box, he began stuffing bullets into the several clips he had on him.
With a squeal of glee, Irene found the shotgun shells and began stuffing as many as she could into the various pockets of her belt pouches and quiver. Erin looked around, grabbing various additional boxes as she came across them.
Outside, a large, overweight zombie looked through the bars of the front door, seeing the three tasty humans inside.
Robb, Irene, and Erin all passed their loot checks 1d6 (not bad, considering they had to roll a 3 or lower). That meant Robb and Irene were not suffering from the tight (or nonexistent) ammo situation anymore, and Erin's bonus find meant that they would ignore the next double-one roll this game.
Zombies were beginning to gather at the front of the store, though, which meant it was time to review the "battering down doors" rules.
Turn 5: Robb 5, Zombies 2
The large zombie began pounding away at the door of the store. Everyone jumped and looked over at his direction. They could see more zombies coming up behind the first. "That door is not going to hold for long," said Irene.
Zombies can batter down a door by reducing its DR to 0. The locked door had a DR of 1, and with one zombie pounding on it he failed to do any damage. Team Robb needed to get an activation, however.
Turn 6: Robb 5, Zombies 2
More zombies appeared at the door and began hurling themselves against it. With a crack, the lock gave way and they began scrambing over themselves to get in.
"We need a plan, and now!" said Irene.
Up to three zombies can strike a door at once, and rolling 1d6 versus that total, I rolled a 2 and the DR of the door was reduced to 0, meaning it was effectively open now. And there were a lot of zombies about to pour through.
Turn 7: Robb 1, Zombies 5
"Out the back door! Now!" Robb commanded as he made his way to the rear entrance of the store. He smashed into the crash bar and it flew open. The three rushed out, only to see two zombies standing mere feet away from them. Irene leveled her shotgun and pulled the trigger. Both zombies fell backwards, the spray of the shotgun's shell piercing both their brains.
"And she's out of the penalty box and back in the jam!" Irene exclaimed with a wide grin.
Finally, a lucky break. The zombies wouldn't activate, and Team Robb could get away. There was two zombies (summoned from earlier gunfire) lurking out back, and Irene hit with 3 of her dice and easily got two Obviously Dead results.
Turn 8: Robb 1, Zombies 2
"Around the back, there's probably a rear entrance to the store next door. Hurry!" said Robb as they ducked around the back of the food market. Inside the gun store, a half dozen or so zombies were knocking over display stands and scattering loose merchandise and they rushed towards the back entrance.
Robb and his two friends raced around the back corner of the store, trying to get out of sight. Suddenly, a voice said, "Who're you?"
Cliffhanger! Who is waiting behind the back of the store? Stay tuned to the next part of our story! As always, comments are welcome.