"Tonight the city is full of morgues, and all the toilets are overflowing. There’s shopping malls coming out of the walls, as we walk out among the manure. That’s why I pay no mind."
January 18th, Z+28, and it’s all gone to Hell out there. Mike and his family are leaving the city, but first they need to stock up on supplies – Mike missed the Week 3 involuntary encounter while he was in jail, so doesn’t get the automatic recruit of his choice from that, but might pick up someone useful while he’s scavenging.
Mike has the Full Monty with him by now; shotgun, crowbar, knife, backpack. Jenny and James are also with him, in their finest panoply – namely, Jenny has a pistol and James has a shotgun. ("The family that shoots together, loots together.") They enter from the left hand pavement in section 8 and move a full 8" move onto the board. (I have tried coming on in corners, but this makes the zeds bunch up in herds, and if you fail a couple of activations you’re zed food.)
It’s daytime, but fortunately the Blackmans rolled a 10 for number of hours slept last night, so there are no penalties for being tired. This is a Search scenario, so the Blackmans need to leave the board having either recruited a new grunt or found some resources/items. To get a chance to improve their stats, they must also kill at least one zombie and escape without having gone Out Of the Fight or Runaway.
I roll 1d6 for the location of each of three PEFs, and take the better of 2d6 for the Rep of each one; this gives me PEF6 and PEF5a in section 6, and PEF5b in section 4. (The numbers in those designations reflect their Reps.) For the first time I also roll for initial zombie placement; as this is an urban area, there are 1d6+1 zeds per human, in this case 13. For each one, I roll 1d6, double the result, and place them 12" from Mike reading the score as a clock face direction; those that won’t fit on the board, I rotate clockwise until they will.
"…and this, Virginia, is why you stay out of cities in the Zombie Apocalypse."
The full rules are in force now. It’s gruesome out there.
Turn 1: Activation: Mike 5, Zeds 6 – nobody moves.
Turn 2: Activation: Mike 2, zeds 1. In a Search scenario I need to enter buildings, but whenever I do there will be up to 6 zombies inside. If I pick the closest building, the rest of the zeds already on the board will break in while we’re still fighting those inside, so Mike and team fast-move across the road to the building opposite. I roll 2d6 vs leader’s Rep (3); 1, 4 = pass 2d6, so we move twice the usual 8". Mike moves up to the door, while Jenny goes for the window to look inside, and James covers their backs. The PEFs all close in. The zeds in sections 4 and 7 bounce off walls and wind up as a single herd near the alley between the two sections. The PEFs in section 5 move towards the Blackmans, which they can see. The ones in the building in section 6 leave it (zeds generated by noise or initial placement in buildings always leave the next time they activate) and as they can now see Mike, turn towards him.
Turn 3: Activation: Double 4, random event - 10. Jenny realises she brought the wrong ammo; when her pistol needs reloading, she won’t be able to do that.
Turn 4: Activation: Mike 5, zeds 1. Oops. One of the zeds that just left the building is close enough to get into melee with Mike, so it’s time for a Charge Into Melee test. Zeds always pass 1d6 on this, and Mike rolls 5d6 looking for successes (rolls of 1-3); 3d6 for Rep 3, +1d6 for Rage, +1d6 for being a Survivor now. He rolls 66612 and gets 2 successes, so he can fire his shotgun at the zed as it charges home, then it will move into melee if it still can. Mikes fires three shots, and rolls 1d6 + Rep for each, scoring 6, 9 and 7. The 6 and 7 both miss as any result of 7 or less always does, but the 9 hits. Mike rolls 1d6 vs weapon Impact (2) and gets a 4, knocking the zed down.
I roll 1d6 for each shot, with scores of 4-6 generating another zed; 142 so we get one zed, 12" away, and since I roll 6 for direction, it’s at Mike’s 12 o’clock.
The PEFs all try to close in, but can get no closer without being seen. This is the first time James and Jenny have seen zeds up close, so they each roll 2d6 vs Rep on the Zed Or No Zed test; James gets 2, 3 and is OK, Jenny rolls 1, 2 and is also OK. Great, that’s that one crossed off. Once they have killed 3 zeds each, injured a human, and Seen the Feast, they can become Survivors or Gangers; since they are not Stars, they don’t get the automatic promotion on Z+21.
Turn 5: Activation: Mike 4, zeds 5 – nobody activates except the PEFs, and PEF5b gets bored and wanders off.
Activation: Mike 3, zeds 5. I now need a way of deciding whether doors are locked or not, and decide that on a 1d6 roll of 1-3 they are unlocked. A roll of 1 means the one in front of Mike is unlocked, so the team piles inside and closes the door behind them.
As this is the first time we’ve entered the building, I roll 6d6 for zeds, and as we’re in an urban area, each score of 4-6 means there is one present. 452153 = 3 new zeds, which I allocate one per team member. Now for surprise; the zeds roll 1d6+3 because there are three of them, and get a 4; Our Heroes each roll 1d6+Rep, with Mike scoring 6, James 4, and Jenny 7. I decide I will roll in descending order of scores, although strictly the action is simultaneous.
Jenny rolls 1d6 vs Rep, rolls a 2, and since this is less than her Rep she can shoot – she fires her pistol twice at the approaching zed, scoring 9 and 6, then rolls 2 for damage – since this is not less than the Impact, and the pistol is an Impact 1 weapon, the zed keeps coming. Not only that, the noise generates two more zeds.
Mike can choose what to do, and shoots his zed three times, hitting it once and killing it outright (by rolling a 1 for damage). This fails to generate any more zeds.
James rolls 1d6 vs Rep: 5, so he must move away – but he may now declare a fast move. He has only moved 4" to date, and passes 1d6 on his fast move test, so can move another 8", and makes it to the other door; however, this proves to be locked, so he turns at bay as his zed moves 4" after him, which brings it back into melee range.
That all done, we move on to melee. Everyone rolls Rep d6, except Mike who rolls an extra die for Rage, looking for successes (rolls of 1-3). Humans get +1 successes when fighting zombies. Jenny rolls 261 = 3 successes (remember the +1 for fighting a zed) while her zombie rolls 223 and scores 3 successes. They are evenly matched.
James rolls 312 = 4 successes, while his zed rolls 466 = 0 successes. James rolls 1d6 for damage; 1, which kills his zed. Mike has no-one left to fight.
Outside, the knocked down zed stands up, and the rest close in, so he and and a couple of buddies tear at the door. The average building door has Damage Value 1, and up to 3 zeds can batter it down; I roll 1d6, get a 4, and since this is more than the number clawing at the door, it stays closed. The PEFs all move in as well.
Activation: Mike 5, zeds 3. The zeds outside roll a 2, reducing the door’s DV by 1 and so breaking it down. They start to move inside, triggering a Charge Into Melee test for Mike. The zeds pass 1d6 and Mike passes 3d6, so he can fire, and sweeps along the zed front line giving them one shell each. He hits the one closest to Jenny and knocks it down, then the other two barge in and he is reduced to melee.
Jenny rolls 251 = 3 successes. Her zeds roll 562 and 143 respectively, so she beats them both off. She rolls 1d6 for each one, looking to roll below the number of successes more she scored; she rolls 5 both times, so merely knocks them down. Mike rolls 6434 for 2 successes, his zed rolls 663 for 1 success, and he now rolls for damage – 6, so his is knocked down too. So far so good, but everything now hinges on the next activation roll.
Turn 8: Activation: Double 4, random event – 3: No more zeds are generated for the rest of the encounter. Oooh my, it’s shopping time… If we survive, that is.
Turn 9: Activation: Mike 1, Zeds 3. The zeds stand up again and return to melee, pouring into the building. Jenny rolls 3 successes, her zeds roll one each, and she kills one and knocks the other down again. Mike rolls 4 successes, his zeds roll two and one respectively, and he knocks both down.
Now Team Blackman activates. James applies the Universal Key (namely a 12-guage) to the doorlock, and I decide if he hits at all that will be enough to blow it open. He does, and sniggering at the thought of not rolling for zed activation any more, he fast moves 12" up the board into section 6. Mike and Jenny withdraw from melee and run after him, all using the same roll as James was within 4" of Mike.
"That was close… too close!"
Turn 10: Activation: Double 4 – random event 12, the obligatory barking dog, 4" behind Jenny. Since I have already rolled "no more zeds this game", and to fit the dog’s zed collection on the board I’d need to rotate the whole ensemble clockwise, I decide the dog is coming up the alley towards Mike, and as it runs past the zed pack, it draws 1d6 (6) of them behind it. I’ll move the dog as if it were a Rep 4 Neutral NPC.
Turn 11: Activation: Mike 6, zeds 1. Oops. I could really have done with another activation of moving away. Oh well. Fortunately, the zeds pursuing Jenny don’t have enough movement to catch her up, but if we don’t go first next turn they’ll be all over her. Fenton the dog, pursued by a small horde of zeds, wants to move away from Mike – but since this means turning into the horde, I decide he does this by running through the tactical group and up the edge of the board. All the PEFs close up.
Turn 12: Activation: Double 1 – random event 7, which can’t happen without placing more zeds, so I reroll and get 9 – an argument breaks out between Mike and James. However, since that could only draw generate more zeds, which an earlier event ruled out, I decide to ignore it and move on.
Activation: Mike 5, zeds 4. Charges into melee all round, then; the PEFs are already as close as they can get without breaking cover, although PEF5b moves 12" away, and Fenton very sensibly keeps running away.
Zeds automatically pass 1d6, so it’s just Mike and Jenny – James isn’t in line of sight to any zombies. Mike rolls 5d6 (Rep 3, Survivor, Rage) and gets 64231 = 3 successes, meaning he fires as many times as his target rating (3) and then the zeds charge home. Jenny fortunately rolls a 2 on the Citizen Brown Pants test, so can defend herself, and rolls 2d6 (Rep 3, Citizen) 12 = 2 successes, so she likewise fires at the incoming wave of zeds.
Mike rolls 1d6+Rep for each shot and scores 457 = 0 hits. Jenny rolls an 8, which misses because the target was charging, and 9, which hits. She rolls a 5 for damage, so the zed keeps coming. (I really have to get Jenny a proper gun, if she lives.)
The zeds get in each other’s way, and pouring through the building door slows a lot of them down (it costs 2" of movement to cross an open door, and zeds only have 6" to start with), but even so three get into melee with each figure.
Mike first. The zeds are rolling 3d6 each looking for successes, and he rolls 4d6 (Rep 3, Rage). Mike first; 6241 = 3 successes (remember the extra success vs zeds). Zed 1: 156 = 1 success, so it is knocked down, and Mike rolls a 1 vs Impact so he kills it. Checking p. 42, I see that we now move on to another attacker. I think Mike rolls again in this situation, so I do so – 3126 = 4 successes. Zed 2 rolls 543 = 1 success. Mike rolls vs Impact (3, as he scored 3 more successes) again, gets a 3, and puts the zed Out Of the Fight – which for a zed, is dead. Mike finally rolls 2616 = 3 successes vs zed 3, which rolls 345 = 1 success, and with a roll of 5, merely knocks that one down.
Jenny, meanwhile, rolls 145 = 2 successes. Zed 1 rolls 433, also 2 successes – they are Evenly Matched. As Jenny didn’t lose, the melee continues with zed 2’s attack; and zed 2 now gets an extra die as she is evenly matched against its colleague. Jenny rolls 415 = 2 successes, the zed rolls 2611 = 3 successes and wins. The zed rolls for damage and gets a 2; since this is more than its effective Impact, Jenny is knocked down, ending this turn of melee, and has to take a Recover From Knocked Down test. Fortunately, since Mike is within 4" she can use his Leader Die as well. She rolls 2d6 vs Rep, 65 = pass 0d6; Mike rolls 3 = pass 1d6, and she can add that passing die to the total she passed – so overall she passed 1d6. Jenny is now Out Of the Fight, which does not bode well as there are already three zeds in contact with her.
James sees it first, as he’s standing there trying to get a clean shot on one of the zombies attacking his parents. Mike has his hands full, with zombies clawing at him left and right, so he doesn’t notice until he hears the screams. Screams that will stay with them both forever.
"Run! I love you both! Run! Aaaarrrgh…"
I roll 1d6 for the duration of the feast: 6 turns. On the plus side, all the zeds not already in melee will move towards the Feast and join in.
Mike and James now roll 2d6 vs Rep for Seeing the Feast – an essential part of their development as characters, although I had hoped it wouldn’t be Jenny they practiced on. Mike rolls 13 and passes 2d6, James rolls 23 and also passes 2d6. They are both stunned when next active, but can react normally.
Turn 14: Activation: Mike 4, zeds 2. PEF6 stays put, Fenton turns around and runs back, PEFs 5a and 5b swap places. All zeds except the one already fighting Mike dive onto Jenny. Mike scores 3 successes to the zed’s 1 in melee, then rolls a 2 vs effective Impact, sending it OOF which (as it is a zed) removes it from play.
Turn 15: Activation: Mike 6, zeds 5. This matters even though no-one except the PEFs activated, as the Feast continues (4 turns left), and Mike and James will miss their next turn. The PEFs all close in as much as they can. Fenton runs away.
Turn 16: Activation: Double 6 - random event 10, wrong ammo. When Mike runs out of ammo, he won’t be able to reload. Feast has 3 turns left. Fenton runs closer.
Turn 17: Activation: Mike 5, zeds 1. PEF 5b runs away again. Feast has 2 turns left. Fenton runs away.
Turn 18: Activation: Mike 5, zeds 4. PEFs 5a and 5b swap places again. Feast has 1 turn left. Fenton runs away again.
Turn 19: Activation: Mike 1, zeds 3. PEFs 5a and 5b swap places again, while Mike and James recover from their stunned state – and not before time! Fenton runs away, hits the edge of the board and turns left.
Mike and James roll to fast-move; 16 vs Mike’s Rep (3) gives them a 12" move, and they leave the board by the right-hand edge, failing the encounter. (Whatever else happens, if you see your wife or mother ripped apart and eaten by zombies, that’s a failure.)
Both Mike and James failed the encounter. Mike rolls a 5 so his Rep is unaffected, but James rolls a 1 and his Rep is reduced to 2.
I now roll for Keeping It Together; each of the diminished band rolls Rep d6, but Mike rolls one less die as a party member went OOF (and then Obviously Dead). Mike rolls 52 and passes 1d6. James rolls 15 and passes 1d6. They pass the same number of successes, and since the last encounter was a failure, James leaves the group. My guess is that as a Rep 2 Citizen he won’t last long on his own.
- Mike Blackman:* Rep 3 MM Survivor, Pep 2, Sav 1, Poser, Rage. Shotgun, crowbar, knife, backpack, 1 food.
"It’s your fault she’s dead," James says, with a deadly coldness worse than any shouting. Mike sits on the doorstep, weeping quietly, hugging himself, rocking gently to and fro.
"We had a car. We had enough food for weeks. We could’ve left, and found somewhere safe. But no, you had to go shopping one last time. I’m taking the car and half the food. You like the city so much, you can stay here. Maybe you can find another wife at the box store."
James goes inside the house, and stuffs things into a bag. After a while, he comes back out, bag slung awkwardly over his shoulder, shotgun in one hand, car keys in the other.
"James," Mike begins, but his son cuts him off.
"Don’t talk to me. She’s dead, and it’s your fault."
Mike shuts up, and sits still, watching him drive off. What can he say?
The kid’s got a point.