It’s late in the evening after Encounter Two, and the new girl, Brown, can’t sleep. She wanders over to Reed and sits nearby while he’s on watch.
“Mind if I smoke?” she asks.
“Don’t strike the match where I can see it.” Seeing her put away her lighter and cigarettes, he explains. “No, I mean that literally. I don’t want to lose my night vision.” She takes them out and lights up, carefully, where he can’t see the flare.
“You’re Reed, right?”
“That’s what they call me,” he says, neutrally.
“So, where were you when it happened? Day One?”
“Most of us did things we don’t like to talk about.”
“I need more than that. I need to know what kind of people you are. You’re in charge; they’ll take their lead from you. What did you do, personally?”
“I went to get my daughter…”
* * * * *
So, I finally cracked and got All Things Zombie: Better Dead Than Zed, which is ATZ updated to the Chain Reaction 3.0 rules and with other changes, chief amongst which is that it starts on Day One, the day of the outbreak, rather than two years later. I’m thinking, what was Reed doing? Well, Reed represents me on the table, so what will I be doing on the day of the outbreak? You’ll recall that I set this according to the currently-popular Mayan end of the world thing, which makes it either 21st or 23rd December, 2012. Probably I will be at home getting ready for Christmas. My wife and kids will be too, there’ll be a fair amount of food and drink to hand, and in honesty at this stage I wouldn’t see the need for firearms, so why would I go out looking for trouble?
Aha. One of my daughters will almost certainly be at a party. So, into the car to recover her. Let’s assume I start as a Rep 3 civilian, but let me assure you, if I’m expecting enough trouble to go get her, there will be improvised melee weapons in the boot of the car. I’ve got a garden shed full of spades and edging tools; they’ll do. I’ll treat this as “spouse’s workplace” for game purposes. I look through the other list of locations on p. 64 and decide my second, and final, location for Day One would be home. The date rules out workplaces and schools, and the other locations don’t have anything I’d risk my life for on Day One – in reality, I think I’d stay home for a couple of days and try to ride it out. About Day Five, when we start running out of food, or whenever hordes of zombies start moaning “Brains…” outside the door, we’d wake up and smell the coffee…
I shall take Born Leader and Brawler as attributes, which retcons Reed a little, but so what. I base this on all the leadership courses employers have sent me on over the years, my 30 years leading teams, and my former martial arts hobby. (I plan to run some co-op ATZ with the family over Christmas, so their attributes will follow. Giulia ought to have Athlete, because she is very fast; and her mother is a great driver, so will get Transporter. More of that later.)
2d6 vs Rep 3 on the getting there table on p. 64: 5, 5. So I arrive one location later; my first location counts as location 2. There are 2d6 = 7 terrified civilians on the table who I must fight my way past. To represent fighting my way through the crowd, I must fight them in melee, one after the other. I’m a gentle soul, so this early in the outbreak I am probably just shoving rather than laying into people with a spade; however, they roll 2d6 in melee and I roll 4d6, as a Rep 3 Brawler, so it should still be workable.
I can’t figure out how to do the Zed or No Zed test – there being no zeds on the table yet – so I decide to skip it in the interests of speed.
Civilian 1: I roll for his Rep on the Civilian List (p. 9) and get a 2. Activation 1, 2 so we both activate. I roll higher so I go first and charge (as a Star, I can choose my result for this one.) C1 takes the Being Charged test; 2d6 vs 2: 5, 4 so pass 0d6 – he halts and may not fire (not that he has a gun anyway). He rolls 2d6 vs 3: 3, 4 = 1 success. I roll 4d6 vs 3: 2, 5, 5, 6 = 1 success. We each discard scores of 4+ and reroll. C1 rolls 6 = 0 successes. I roll 2 = 1 success. As I have one more success than my opponent, he is Out Of the Fight, which in this situation means he runs past me.
Civilian 2 is Rep 4 – fortunately he only rolls 2d6 in this fight. Activation 1, 3 so we both activate and again I go first. I auto-pass wanting to charge, he passes 1d6 on the being charged table so melees normally: 2d6 vs 3: 2, 6. 1 success. I roll 4d6 vs 3: 2, 5, 5, 6. 1 success. We each reroll 1d6. C2 rolls a 2, I roll a 5, and since he has one more success I am OOF and rendered unconscious. This location is over.
I wake up an unknown time later. The crowd has gone. No sign of my daughter. There is nothing to say the crowd has taken my keys, so I limp back to my car and head home. We’ll assume the mobile phone network is down as it became overloaded with calls; that’s what happened on 7/7 when I was in London. Staying here isn’t helping, so off to my second choice. A roll on the table on p.64 is now needed. 2d6 vs Rep: 1, 2 = pass 2d6. I arrive there normally, but I was late to the first location so it counts as location 3. There are no panicked civilians here, and the activation dice are kind, so I reach the house before anything untoward happens.
Hmm. Did my daughter arrive back? I decide to roll for her on the travel table as she will probably have had her own car with her – she usually does – and has no other locations to visit. She rolls 2, 5 vs Rep 3 = 1 success. Her Rep is greater than the location number so she reaches home while I’m still en route to the party house.
No matter, we’re all back home safe and can hunker down for the night. What would we do next? So far we’ve seen no zombies, so probably we’d go with the stay put option for the moment. Looking at the timeline on p. 53 for the first stage of the outbreak, sometime around day 10-14 we’d head out into the countryside. By about day 25 or so, we’d be living rough somewhere and looking for a safe area to use as a base. So, our first encounter of the campaign proper will be a Take Back encounter, in a rural area, during the daytime. Wish us luck.