“If the wings are traveling faster than the fuselage, it’s probably a helicopter… and therefore, unsafe.” – Anon.
Merry Christmas to all readers! Here’s the last post before Christmas Day…
2nd February, 2013: Z+43.
"Bex? About those contrails you wanted… Does a chopper on fire count?"
"Sure. Let’s check it out."
"You want to swap that shotgun for the other assault rifle?"
"No thanks. I prefer this for close work."
Metagaming: The shotgun has nearly a 50% chance that at least one damage die will ace, while the AR has less than a 25% chance of that. So although when the AR is burst-fired it appears to have roughly the same chance to hit and average damage, the SG is a little more likely to take down a zed in one shot, and makes less noise doing it (one die roll for extra zeds instead of three). The range in my encounters is short enough not to be a factor. I’d switch Don back to a shotgun as well if I had another one, mostly because that matches the figure I have in mind for him. If I ever get around to painting it…
Admin: It’s the start of a new month, so Don and Bex reduce their stocks of food by one unit per person – from 5 to 3. They’re OK for a while yet. I check for an involuntary encounter by rolling 2d6 vs the area’s Encounter Rating (1); 6, 4 – no encounter this month. I roll for lack of sleep by rolling 2d6 and get a total of 8, meaning 8 hours’ sleep the night before the next encounter; whatever they’re getting up to in that watermill, they’re sleeping soundly enough.
This is a daytime Search encounter in a rural area. Having settled in, Don and Bex are scouting the area for useful items, resources such as food, and possibly other survivors to join their little band. Don’s objectives, worth one experience point each, are: (1) Survive the encounter without either Don or Bex being Incapacitated or turned into a zombie; (2) find at least one item, or recruit one new member; (3) kill at least one zombie. I’m especially interested in getting Bex some body armour.
However, this time they’re not searching buildings – they’ve found a crashed helicopter, one of those black choppers that occasionally turn up as random events… I spent some time looking for a suitable picture and doodling in Hexographer, and then decided to Just Play the Game and make a big token for the chopper wreck. The map is The Crossroads from Cry Havoc Fan, in Hex Map Pro as usual.
Turn 1: Don and Bex can immediately see two of the Possible Enemy Forces, which resolve as a case of nerves and three survivors, respectively. The survivors are numbers 2, 7 and 8 from table 1-3. The Opposing Forces draw a Club Jack to Don’s Spade 8, and go first. The remaining PEF moves into the chopper. The survivors are currently neutral, and move closer to Don and attempt to interact. The zeds all run at the closest human. Survivor 7A has an assault rifle and Shooting d10, so sweeps across the incoming brace of zeds, two shots on one and one on the other; this does no damage to anyone, but at least it doesn’t draw any zeds. Don puts one zed down with a well-aimed burst, and Bex shakes one. I decide interaction can wait until the zeds are all down.
Turn 2: Don draws a Heart Queen to the others’ Heart 3. Trusting Bex to handle the zed on his left, which she kills, he turns and shoots one of the zeds assaulting the survivors shaking it. PEF5 sneaks up to the edge of the crater and lies in wait. While the survivors and the zeds go simultaneously, I decide that bullets cross the 4 yard gap faster than raging zombies, so the three survivors combine fire on the zeds and kill them both.
Turn 3: Initiative doesn’t matter this turn, as Don, Bex and the survivors meet to talk. Don (Persuasion d6) makes an opposed Persuasion roll with the survivors’ leader (Persuasion d8); Don can’t do better than match their roll even after spending two bennies, so they exchange pleasantries but that’s all. Looking at the stats for the Survivors 1-3 table, it looks like they are OK as far as food and luxury goods are concerned, and have enough women not to kill Don for Bex, but they are interested in medical supplies and need a medic – more on this approach to loading PEFs later, when I’ve worked the kinks out of it. They agree to look inside the chopper wreck and divide the loot.
The leader of the group, a man in his twenties with a large-calibre SMG and the scars on his knuckles that mark him as an experienced bare-knuckle fighter, eyes Don up and speaks.
"You claiming the chopper?"
"No. Just curious, that’s all," Don replies.
"Good," the opposing leader says. He thinks for a moment. "My crew goes in first, and we get our pick of what’s inside. Agreed?"
It’s Don’s turn to think; them going in first means they’ll take all the good stuff, but it also means they have to deal with whatever is inside.
"Agreed. I just want to know where it came from.”
The opposing leader looks at him curiously, but says nothing.
Turn 4: Initiative matters because of who looks in the chopper first, and the survivors get first dibs, which I use to justify the exchange above. Everyone moves up, and the PEF is resolved; there’s nothing there.
"NAVY," Don reads from the side of the wreck. "Thought so. Makes sense."
"How’d you work that out?" asks the survivors’ leader. Don shrugs.
"Nuclear-powered ships," he says, "Especially carriers; sometimes they don’t – didn’t – touch land for months. Probably at least one missed the infection, and now they’re looking for somewhere safe to resupply. No power ashore, so no radio; so they send choppers."
Turn 5: Don and Bex go first, but go on hold while the survivors cautiously enter the burned-out chopper. There’s a lone zed inside, but they make short work of it, and search the wreck. Whatever they find, they don’t tell Don about it. Turns stop mattering now, as the survivors cautiously move off.
Don enters the wreckage and searches it himself, in case they missed something useful.
"Nothing," he says as he emerges. "Just one body inside; should be more than that, so maybe the rest got away. Be interesting to talk to them, if we can find them."
“Wait a minute,” says Bex. “How did that guy get infected?”
Don shrugs as they walk back to the motorbike. “Like I say, be interesting to talk to them.”
And there’s the next encounter, easy as that.
Two experience for Don, taking him to 14. Bex rolls a 6, so advances; she’s using the shotgun a lot, so I boost her Shooting.
A very short, quiet encounter to wind down before Christmas; but that happens sometimes, even in the Zombie Apocalypse.
Don Savage * Attributes: Agility d6, Smarts d6, Spirit d8, Strength d6, Vigour d6. Skills: Driving d4, Fighting d8, Healing d4, Intimidation d6, Knowledge (Battle) d6, Notice d6, Persuasion d6, Shooting d6, Stealth d4. Charisma: –; Pace: 6; Parry: 6; Toughness: 7/9. Edges: Command, Natural Leader. Hindrances: Code of Honour, Loyal, Vengeful. Gear: Kevlar vest, assault rifle, crowbar, backpack. XP: 14. Advances: Strength, Fighting. Progress: ZZZF but using ATZ Survivor tables if necessary; as a PC ("Star") he was automatically promoted on Z+21.
Rebecca "Bex" Smith * Attributes: Agility d6, Smarts d6, Spirit d8, Strength d6, Vigour d8. Skills: Driving d6, Fighting d6, Notice d6, Repair d4, Shooting d8. Charisma: -. Pace: 6". Parry: 5. Toughness: 6. Edges: Brave, Hard to Kill. Hindrances: None. Gear: Pump shotgun. Advances: Vigour, Shooting. Progress: ZZZF – still using Citizen tables, in case it ever matters.
Team Resources: Food 3, Fuel 0, Lux 4, Med 0, SMG, Assault Rifle, Motorcycle.