Savage, Z+21: Let’s Talk About Bex

Posted: 7 December 2012 in 28 Months Later
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"She was a creature of the wildest paradox, this warrior lady of Joiry, hot as a red coal, chill as steel, satiny of body and iron of soul. The set of her chin was firm, but her mouth betrayed a tenderness she would have died before admitting."
– C.L. Moore, Jirel Meets Magic

Here’s the Savage Worlds version of the third training encounter for ATZ. Statements about gameplay and SW rules are in normal text, things about ATZ are in italics, and in-character writeup is in blue text in block quotes. You’ll get the hang of it, trust me.

Don will get one experience for each of the following he achieves: Getting off the board alive and uninfected; picking up at least one Item or Food Unit per team member before leaving the board; killing at least one zombie. I’m not giving him any points for recruiting a follower, as the scenario special rules ensure he will get at least one.

I see that Mike and Don are a bit out of synch at the moment; never mind, I’m sure it will sort itself out.

January 11th, Z+21. Don is fully tooled-up now, and has all his significant belongings with him. He needs to cross the board from section 1 to section 9, where he’ll recruit a follower of his choice, then return to section 1. If I were Don, the first person I’d collect in the zombie apocalypse would be my girlfriend; so here’s Rebecca "Bex" Smith, a girl he met at the local gun club. This will show you my conversion guidelines in operation, which so far have been under the bonnet (or hood, for those of you west of the Pond)…

Under ATZ, Bex is Citizen 9 on the 4-6 table, which means she is a young female with Rep 3, Pep 1, Sav 2, the Hard as Nails attribute, a shotgun and one food unit.

I’m using Rep to derive combat and physical stats, since that’s what it covers in ATZ. I use a die type of double the Rep for Agility, Strength, Vigour, Driving, Fighting, Notice and Shooting, those being the most obviously necessary traits. I’ll use Pep for Persuasion and Sav for Repair – Sav would cover Lockpicking as well, but I think that’s only appropriate for Gangers. Sav 2 becomes Repair d4, and Pep 1 becomes d4-2 (untrained) as there is no d2 die type in SW. Smarts has nothing in particular to change it from the human average of d6.

The only thing requiring a little thought is her attribute, Hard as Nails. Comparing the description of that to SW Edges, it looks closest to Hard to Kill. To have that, she must be a Wild Card with Spirit d8. I roll for her personality on the table for allies on p. 81 of SWD and get 18 – Fearless. I decide to give her the Brave Edge as well to reflect this. I can see why Don wants her watching his back.

So, here she is – I’m using an asterisk to denote her Wild Card status, and as she progresses I’ll add a Z for each zed she kills, an H when she hurts someone living, and an F when she sees the feast; at that point, she’ll be another Survivor. Those skills look to me like something you might learn growing up on a farm, so I mentally tag Bex as a farmer’s daughter for later scenarios. As recommended by the core rulebook, since she is an NPC, I’m not worrying about balancing points.

Rebecca "Bex" Smith *

  • Attributes: Agility d6, Smarts d6, Spirit d8, Strength d6, Vigour d6.
  • Skills: Driving d6, Fighting d6, Notice d6, Repair d4, Shooting d6.
  • Charisma: -. Pace: 6". Parry: 5. Toughness: 5.
  • Edges: Brave, Hard to Kill.
  • Hindrances: None.
  • Gear: Shotgun, 1 Food.


Don and Lisa enter the board from the top left corner and move their normal Pace (6").

I now place zombies and Possible Enemy Forces.The ATZ rules place three PEFs; PEF3 in section 3, PEF6a in section 1, and PEF6b in section 2 – the numbers in those designations reflect their Reps. I also roll for initial zombie placement; as this is an urban area, there are 1d6+1 zeds per human, in this case 5. For each one, I roll 1d6, double the result, and place them 12" from Don reading the score as a clock face direction, moving them around clockwise until they fit, if necessary.

Since it’s now after Z+20, as per my house rule the zombies are out of ammo and won’t shoot; but they can still run. Don has three bennies as a Savage Worlds PC, and thanks to his Natural Leader edge he can share those with Lisa. The bad guys currently have one benny (one per PC plus two per Wild Card).



Initiative matters immediately, with half a dozen zeds close by; Don draws a 6 of Diamonds, the zeds a Joker. The PEFs go first; 6a and 6b move closer, into the building near Don and Lisa, while PEF3 runs away, out of the building opposite and into the corner. The zeds go next; those hidden from view by the building walk the way they were going before, and hit the corner, with two turning to shuffle along the street and one going around the other side of the building. The ones facing Don and Lisa run at them, adding 1d6" (4) to their basic Pace of 4".

Don and Lisa both fire at the ones in front of them, now only 4" away; Don rolls Shooting d6 (3) and Wild d6 (6, which is the maximum possible and thus an "ace", meaning he rolls again and adds the scores; he gets a 5, for a total of 11). I choose the better of those – the 11 – and add +2 for a shotgun; Don has a total of 13, 9 more than the target number of 4, so has hit with two raises. Alas, only the first one does anything for him, giving him an extra d6 of damage. A shotgun at this range does 3d6, plus 1d6 for the raise is 4d6; Don rolls an incredible 27 thanks to raises, and no zombie shambles away from that; it suffers 5 wounds and is gone – the odds of soaking 5 wounds with a single benny to get a Vigour d6 roll for the zed are roughly 1 in 200, so it’s not worth it.

Meanwhile, Lisa rolls Shooting d4 (she’s not very good) and gets a 3 – adding +2 for the shotgun gives her a 5, which is a hit. (+2 on trait rolls is a big deal in SW.) She rolls the basic 3d6 for damage and gets 7; as that is exactly the zombie’s Toughness, it is Shaken. In SW, figures are up, down, or off the table, so I use the Hex Map Pro flip feature to turn the token over to its grey side, signifying a shaken state.

I roll 1d6 per shot, with a 4-6 meaning a new zombie appears; I roll 1, 1 and get nothing.


Turn 2: Initiative: Don Spade 5, zeds Joker. PEF3 runs right into the corner, PEF 6a and 6b are already as close as they can get, and the zeds move towards the gunfire, except the shaken one which must make a Spirit d4 roll to recover from shaken; it rolls a 5, and succeeds, which means it will spend this turn recovering. However, it can still move half its Pace towards Lisa, and does so on general principles. Since each person searching a building has a chance to find loot, but only the first time it is entered, the best plan seems to be to pick up Bex first, then hit the buildings on the way back. There are no consequences for running now, so Don and Lisa run past the shaken zed and towards section 9. I roll a 5 on the 1d6 running die, and they move 6+5=11".

Turn 3: Initiative: Don Diamond King, zeds Diamond Ace. Bah. As I’ve made a tactical error in movement, the newly-unshaken zed is close enough to catch Lisa; it charges and makes a wild attack. He rolls Fighting d6 (1), +2 for Wild Attack, -2 for running, and gets a 1 – a total miss. Lisa doesn’t even notice as she runs blindly after Don. The other zeds walk towards where they heard shots, meaning one of them can see Don and starts running. PEF3 meanwhile scrabbles frantically in its corner, trying to flee further.

Turn 4: Initiative: Don Heart 6, zeds Joker. Now this is just unreasonable; the zeds go first and are at +2 for all die rolls. Two more zeds catch up and lay into Lisa, getting a +2 gang-up bonus. One hits normally, two hit with a raise, so Lisa takes a 1d6 hit and two 2d6 hits; the zeds roll 1, 4 and 5 respectively, but that bumps up by +2 because of the Joker. Good thing Don gave her some armour last week; Lisa is a delicate flower, with Vigour d4, so even with the kevlar that’s shaken twice. However, Don gives her one of his bennies, which she uses to remove the second shaken condition before it can escalate to a wound and incapacitate her. She’s still shaken, though. Don now steps in close to Lisa, inserts his shotgun in one of the zed’s ears, and lets fly; he hits, barely, and shakes it. Better than nothing. Best of all, the noise doesn’t generate any more zeds. Don makes a Fear check as this is the first time he has Seen the Feast; he rolls Spirit d8 (9) and Wild d6 (9) and succeeds with a raise; clearly he has seen worse in his time, and one shudders to think what it was.


Turn 5: Initiative: Don Heart 2, zeds Diamond 3. The last remaining zed gets into melee, and goes for Lisa on the grounds that he can’t reach Don. Since Lisa’s Parry is only 3 (Fighting d4, sadly), both zeds hit her, shaking her twice. There’s Loyal, and there’s Stupid; Don can only save Lisa now by giving her both his remaining bennies, and if he does that, the odds of them both reaching Bex alive are not good. Don is more loyal to Bex than Lisa, so he moves away, and shoots what he can shoot: Lisa, killing her outright. Better that than being torn to bits by zeds, he reasons. The noise generates another zed at his 4 o’clock. Those zeds already in contact with Lisa begin a feast which will last 4 turns, until the end of turn 9.

Turn 6: Initative: Don Diamond 5, zeds Heart 3. Finally! Don rolls a 2 on his running d6 and so runs 8" around the building in section 7. This brings him face to face with the new zed, and he shoots it, rolling Shooting d6 (8) and Wild d6 (5), +2 for shotgun, -2 for running. he hits with a raise, does 10 damage, and since this is more than its Toughness (7) but not at least 4 more, he Shakes it. The other zeds feast, and the PEFs move closer.

Turn 7: Initiative: Don Diamond 2, zeds Club 6. The shaken zed stays shaken, the others are still feasting, PEF3 runs away and the other PEFs move in. Don runs 12" this time, around the shaken zed.


Turn 8: Initative: Don Club 9, zeds Spade 10. Much like last turn from the Opposing Forces side, and Don runs 10" into section 9.

Turn 9: Initiative: Don Club 3, zeds Spade 7. Zeds and PEFs continue to repeat turn 7, and Don walks off the board to pick up Bex.

TURNS 10-19

Turn 10, I decide, is when Don and Bex meet up and prepare to return across the board. You can imagine hugs and kisses or draw a veil over them, as you prefer; at least he doesn’t have to explain Lisa to her any more. Meanwhile, both shaken zeds recover, and they all shamble off in whatever direction they were facing last.

Turn 11: Initiative doesn’t matter this turn. Don and Bex move up to the back door of the building in section 9; as per my new house rule, I roll 1d6 to see if it’s locked – on a 3, it isn’t, so next turn they can barge in. While doing this they gain line of sight on PEF3, and it resolves as four gangers; number 8 on the 4-6 table, and numbers 8, 7 and 8 on the 1-3 table. They’re about 50 yards away, too far for interaction, and currently neutral.

Turn 12: Initiative may matter this turn, depending on what’s inside the building; Don draws Heart 6, the zeds Club 8. The zeds go on hold so they can react to whatever Don does this turn. Don and Bex open the door and step inside the building; I now roll 6d6 to see how many zeds are inside, with each score of 4-6 being one zed. Blimey, six of ’em; not good! Bex takes a Fear check as this is the first time she has seen a zed up close; she rolls 4 on both her Wild and Spirit dice, and is unaffected.

Don and Bex decide to thin them out a bit, and open fire. The zeds attempt to interrupt the humans’ turn and go first, which calls for an opposed Agility roll; I give the zeds a group roll (SWD p. 63) and they get a 4. Don and Bex are both Wild Cards, so roll Wild Dice as well as Agility dice; Don gets 9, Bex gets 5 – both of them beat the zeds’ 4, so the humans go first. Don rolls snake eyes and gets a disconcerting clicking noise – I decide that as per ATZ, snake eyes means out of ammo, rather than tracking ammo in detail. I also decide that this is a Bad Idea when facing six zeds, and spend a second benny to reroll; 13, that’s more like it – 19 damage and the zed goes down. Bex meanwhile rolls a 5, hits in a workmanlike manner, and also kills her zed. Four left inside, and the gunfire draws another, 12" away at Bex’s 8 o’clock. All other zeds move towards the noise, and the gangers stand still, wondering what is going on; the four in the building with our heroes move into melee, making wild attacks – they don’t run, to avoid the -2 multi-action penalty. One hits Bex, but its 4 damage (2 rolled, +2 for wild attack) fails to beat her Toughness of 5 and she’s golden.


Turn 13: Initiative definitely matters. Don draws Club 7, zeds Diamond Queen. The Gangers move towards the nearest building to them, intending to take shelter and loot. The PEFs are as close as they can get. The zeds outside march to the sound of the guns; fortunately in SW they only move 4". Inside Don’s building, we’re reduced to melee. Wild attacks and gang-up bonuses mean one hits Don, and two hit Bex. Good lord; the one hitting Don rolls 11 for damage, success with a raise, and Wounds him; the two facing Bex roll 23 and 5 damage respectively (they get +2 for the wild attack).

Don’s hoarding his last benny. Bex spends one to soak her damage; four Wounds will Incapacitate her immediately if they get through. She rolls a 10, success with a raise, and soaks two Wounds; I spend a second benny to reroll that soak, but she only gets a 4. She keeps the last one for later. Both humans are shaken, so use their action this turn to recover – this is a Spirit roll. Don gets a 9, success with a raise, so he can do something else this turn; Bex gets a 4, success, so she spends her whole turn recovering.

Don decides the best use of his action is clubbing a zombie with his shotgun butt. Since the zed made a wild attack, its Parry is at -2 until its next action, namely 3. Don hits with a raise even with the -1 for Wounds and the -1 for using an improvised weapon, and rolls 2d6+1d4 for damage (Strength d6, weapon d4, raise d6). 12 damage and the zed goes down.

Finally, both were injured this turn, and must make Vigour rolls to avoid infection; Don rolls snake eyes, so uses his last benny to reroll and gets a 5, -1 for his Wound is a 4; just barely enough to succeed. Bex rolls a 14 and is clear.

Turn 14: Initiative matters again. Don draws Diamond 8, the zeds Diamond 5. Completely out of bennies, the couple decide enough is enough; they each select the Defend option, giving them +2 Parry, and Withdraw from Close Combat. Each of the zeds gets a free swipe as they go; one hits Bex again, Shaking her. She can still move at half Pace, though, and staggers away. She rolls an 8 on the Vigour check to avoid infection, but this can’t last forever. The zeds follow up, and two get into melee with Bex again. making wild attacks. Both miss, as Parry is unaffected by Shaken status, and Bex’s last action boosted it. The gangers move into the building; I can probably ignore them now. Other zeds and PEFs keep closing range.

Turn 15: Don draws Heart 7, zeds Club 9. Zeds close in, the PEFs get into the closest building to Don, and the gangers stay put. The two zeds in melee with Bex shuffle around so a third can get in, but luckily none hit as her Defend is still active from last turn, since she hasn’t gone again yet. Bex rolls to recover from Shaken and gets a 5, -1 for a Wound, equals 4 – just enough, but she’ll spend all turn doing it. Don wades into the melee to help, and manages to Shake one.

Turn 16: Don Heart 6, zeds Diamond Jack. No luck with initiative draws today! The zeds and PEFs keep closing, the shaken one fails to recover, and both the two in melee with Bex hit thanks to wild attacks. One shakes her again, which means she is now Wounded again as she was already Shaken; the other also Shakes her, but this has no effect since she is already Wounded and Shaken – only if you are simply Shaken does a second Shaken result cause a Wound. Another Vigour roll to avoid infection, and she gets a 23! Bex isn’t going down without a fight. She rolls to recover from Shaken and gets a 5, not enough as she now has two Wounds, which reduce her score to a 3. Don clubs another one, afraid to fire into the melee in case he hits Bex; he barely hits, as the wild attack has dropped its Parry, and rolls a 12 for damage, which kills it.

Turn 17: Don Spade 10, zeds Spade 5. Finally! Don steps in to clobber the last zed already in contact with Bex, Shaking it. Bex makes a Spirit roll to recover from Shaken, fails because of her wounds, but can still move half her Pace now she is unengaged, and staggers away behind Don. A zed enters the house, sees Don through the open door, and charges at him, but rolls low on its running die and doesn’t quite make it. Another zed rounds the corner of the building, sees Don, and charges into melee with a wild attack, fortunately missing him. At this stage the zeds may as well spend their one and only benny to reroll that; but it does them no good.

Turn 18: Don Heart Queen, zeds Diamond 5. Bex rolls to recover from Shaken, but fails. She staggers another 3" towards the edge of the board, because all they care about now is getting away alive. Don smacks the zed facing him, Shaking it, then uses his movement to back  away, covering Bex. The Shaken zeds fail to recover, but the rest close up, and two are close enough to engage Don in melee. Luckily both miss, as the +2 for their wild attacks is cancelled out by the -2 for running.

Turn 19: Don Spade 7, zeds Diamond 5. Bex rolls to recover, fails again, but is unengaged and close enough to the board edge to step off. Don uses Defend and Withdraw, and backs out of the melee; neither zed is able to hit with their free swing, and then he’s off the board, ending the encounter – the last picture shows the situation just before that happens.



That was an extremely tense game, and several times I thought they were all going to die. Don gets one experience for surviving, but failed his other objectives. Bex, however, rolls a 6 for advancing and gets an advance – she has needed Vigour more than anything this trip, so I boost that to d8.

Don now tries to heal the pair of them, using one unit of medical supplies for each attempt. For himself, he rolls Healing d4 (1) and Widl d6 (4), but is at -2 because the patient and the healer both have a -1 Wound penalty (even though he is both of them). For Bex, he rolls at -3 (she has two Wounds, he has one) – Healing d4 (3), Wild d6 (4). Well, that was a waste of time; they now move into natural healing, making a Vigour roll every 5 days – but at +2, because Don is a trained healer with 21st-century knowledge and supplies. Don rolls Vigour d6 (2) and Wild d6 (3), both at -2 for Wounds and +2 for his care; nothing, so he will enter the next encounter with one Wound already. Bex rolls Vigour d8 (5) and Wild d6 (3), with the same modifiers, and heals one Wound. She, too, will begin the next session with one Wound.

They need at least three more Food Units or a vehicle to get out of the city, so the next encounter will be a daytime Search in an urban area.

I make an opposed Persuasion roll to see if Bex stays with Don; he rolls a 5 on his d6 with wild die, she rolls snake eyes on her d4-2 with wild die, so he succeeds with a raise – she’ll stay with him for now.


Don Savage * Attributes: Agility d6, Smarts d6, Spirit d8, Strength d4, Vigour d6. Skills: Driving d4, Fighting d6, Healing d4, Intimidation d6, Knowledge (Battle) d6, Notice d6, Persuasion d6, Shooting d6, Stealth d4. Charisma: –; Pace: 6; Parry: 5; Toughness: 7/9. Edges: Command, Natural Leader . Hindrances: Code of Honour, Loyal, Vengeful. Gear: Kevlar vest, pump shotgun, assault rifle, crowbar, backpack. XP: 6. Advances: Strength. Wounds: 1. Progress: Irrelevant, as a PC (“Star”) he becomes a Survivor on Day 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 d6. Charisma: -. Pace: 6". Parry: 5. Toughness: 5. Edges: Brave (+2 vs Fear), Hard to Kill. Hindrances: None. Gear: Pump shotgun. Advances: Vigour. Wounds: 1. Progress: Z – still using Citizen tables, and I need to consider whether this actually makes any difference in Savage Worlds, as in SW she acts when the player acts and does what he wants. For later thought.

Team Resources: Food 1, Fuel 0, Lux 1, Med 0.

  1. lee says:

    What software are you using?
    And can it import a background image, if so what format?

    With that info, should be able to make you some maps. And adjust some older ones for you.

    Great. Report.

    • andyslack says:

      Thanks Lee – glad you like it, and that’s an extremely kind offer!

      I’m using Hexographer to make the maps (or using scans of boardgame maps), and Hex Map Pro to play the games.

      Hex Map Pro can import background images – that’s how I did this report – and I convert them to JPEGs first, although I think it can handle other formats. I just haven’t tried that yet.

  2. Jim says:

    Great report – looks like it was fun to play! I remember enjoying your contributions to White Dwarf (more than) a few years ago, and these are the nearest I’ve got to playing SW yet! They are definitely helping me understand how the rules work, as well as being fun to read.

    A couple of questions, though. What did Don and Lisa do in turn 3? It looks like the fight in turns 4 & 5 is where they got to on turn 2, so they didn’t move, but there’s no mention of them fighting back either? Did they just fluff attacks?

    And I think there’s a couple of minor errors in the final summary – shouldn’t Don’s strength now be d6 and Bex’s toughness 6?


    • andyslack says:

      Thanks Jim – glad you liked the report (and the WD stuff).

      Turn 3: Yes, they both fluffed their attacks, and I didn’t want to use bennies to reroll.

      Statblocks: Hmm, looks like I did a cut and paste on the wrong version! I’ll fix that.

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