Blackman, Z+35: Better Lucky Than Good

Posted: 14 December 2012 in 28 Months Later

"They’re all going to end up like that. Bio-mechanical weapons driven by meat batteries. Never have to be fed or recharged. They just keep going…" – Return of the Living Dead 3

Now, does that refer to the zeds, or to the survivors, I wonder? Let’s see…

25th January 2013: Z+35. Mike Blackman is going to run out of food soon – he doesn’t have enough to get to the next area on foot. So, like it or not, he needs to go back into town. This last few days, he’s taken to talking to himself. More muttering, really.

"Jenny dead. James gone, blaming me for it. God knows I blame me for it. I’ve got nothing left to lose that I care about. So bring it on, zombies. I got shells here with your names on ’em."

He chambers a round and walks into town, moving like a machine, thousand-yard stare sweeping the streets.

What he has forgotten is that in the Zombie Apocalypse, it’s not the zombies you need to worry about…


Mike is still in the city, and needs to get a vehicle or another food unit before he can safely move on. He’s not sleeping so well these days; he rolls on the Lack of Sleep table and I see he only got 4 hours’ sleep last night; however, he rolls 2d6 vs Rep (3) and gets 2, 2 – he passes 2d6 and so suffers no ill effects.  He enters the board from the road in section 8.

PEFs: Sections 5 (Rep 2), 1 (Rep 6), 2 (Rep 6). Zeds: 5, at 4, 12, 4, 8 and 6 o’clock, rotated as necessary to fit.

Mike can immediately see the PEF in section 5, so I resolve it. This turns out to be three gangers; numbers 10, 5 and 8 from table 1-3 (I’ve decided that characters in a given group should all come from the same encounter table in future; you’ll see why soon enough); the boss has Rep 4. He can also see the PEF in section 2, which is another three gangers; numbers 3, 4 and 3 from table 1-3; the boss has Rep 5.

Six gangers and five zeds? Bring it on. Mike’s past caring.



Turn 1: Activation: Double 5 – random event 11, Mike twists an ankle. Obviously, he is not fully recovered from his earlier leg trouble; his movement is now 6" and he can pass no more than 1d6 when fast moving.

Turn 2: Activation: Mike 4, Opposing Forces 5. The group of gangers in section 2 activate and roll on the NPC Movement table, scoring 4, 4 and passing 2d6. As they are currently neutral, they move towards Mike and try to interact. However, it seems reasonable that on the way they deal with the zombie right in front of them. G4A moves up behind the zed and "pops the weasel", rolling the minimum number of dice allowed for his Big Ass Machine Pistol (which I assume is one), and killing it automatically. Such are the benefits of getting behind a zed in ATZ: FFO. The gunshot generates another zed, 12" from G4A at his 6 o’clock; this happens a lot in town, you basically move the zeds around – if the one you kill is closer than 12", this can be a good trade-off. The remaining PEF leaves its building and sneaks up to the corner, that being as close to Mike as it can get without somebody seeing it. Nobody else moves.

Turn 3: Activation: Mike 6, OpFor 4. Mike is still watching the oncoming gangers, judging their intentions. PEF moves up to the corner of the next building. One group of gangers passes 1d6 and moves up to a building to enter it, presumably to search for loot; the other continues to approach Mike. Those zeds who can see humans move towards the closest ones; the rest stay put. (Zeds have Rep 3, but activate as if Rep 4 when they can see food, i.e. people.) I think 5" (which I consider to be 10 yards in real distance) is close enough to interact, so we go to the Meet & Greet table. Mike rolls 2d6 (Rep 3, -1d6 for being outnumbered at least 2:1) and the gang leader rolls 5d6 (Rep 5), both looking for successes (rolls of 1-3). Mike rolls 1, 4 and scores one success; the ganger rolls 35125 and scores 3 successes. The gangers choose to Walk the Walk and draw their weapons; we go to the In Sight test.

The gangers roll Rep d6, less 1d6 for being the active group. Mike rolls Rep d6. All are looking for successes. The gang leader rolls 6131 = 3 successes. His sidekicks are both Rep 2, and score 6 and 6 respectively – no successes for them. Mike rolls 35 and gets one success. The gang leader goes first, and fires his BAMP at Mike – three shots. He rolls 1d6+Rep for each, and scores 11, 7, 8. The 11 hits; the 7 misses because a 7 always does, and the 8 hits because the ganger is still firing at the same target. This draws one more zed at G4A’s 12 o’clock.

I can’t find the definition of a BAMP in the rulebook, but the difference between a normal pistol and a BA pistol is +1 impact, so I decide a BAMP must have Impact 2. The ganger rolls 1d6 for each shot that hit Mike, trying to roll under that Impact. He rolls 6, 1; the 6 knocks Mike down and he must immediately take a Recover From Knock Down test. Mike rolls 2d6 vs Rep, 64 = pass 0d6. As a Citizen, that means Mike is Obviously Dead; time to break out the Star Power dice. Mike rolls Rep d6, and gets 311 – three successes, which reduces the OD by three steps, to OOF, to Stunned, to Carry On – Mike is just prone. The second hit rolled a 1, which is always Obviously Dead; Star Power dice to the fore again, and Mike rolls 363, reducing the OD to OOF then Stunned. Mike can’t do anything until he has spent a full activation recovering, so he can’t shoot back.

The two other gangers in that group fail to act, having rolled no successes for In Sight.

Turn 4: Activation: Mike 6, OpFor 2. The unengaged gangers enter their building and encounter 4 zeds. The engaged ones move up to Mike’s prone body to check him over, with five zeds closing in. Two of these will get into melee if not stopped, so the group fires at them. The two Rep 2 gangers pick one zed each and fire; both miss. Their boss fires one round at each of the three closest zeds; he rolls 554, adds his Rep and so gets 10, 10 and 9. The 9 misses as that was the third target. He rolls 1d6 for each hit, using the Easy Kill rule on p. 50 since he is not being charged, and rolls against his Rep rather than weapon Impact to drop the other two. He rolls a 3 for the first and a 5 for the second – easy meat. The gunfire draws another zed, 12" away from him at his 12 o’clock.


The group now has Mike at their mercy, which is probably non-existent, so I use the Cheating Death rule (p. 6) and end the encounter. Mike is whisked from the table as if by magic, which has the dual advantages that the gangers don’t kill him and don’t steal all his stuff.

Mike is knocked over by the bullet impact, but for some reason only dazed. The gangers close in, shooting down approaching zeds with ruthless precision. They stand over him, and the leader lines up his machine pistol on Mike’s head. Suddenly, there are screams and shots from along the street – those looting the building are under attack.

The three standing over Mike run to help their friends, and somehow Mike manages to force himself to his feet, limping away down the alley before the rest of the zeds can get him.

The screaming and gunfire behind him go on for a long, long time.


Mike’s luck goes from bad to worse. He is still alive, but using the Cheating Death rule reduces his Rep by one point. Since he failed the encounter, he rolls 1d6 to see if he loses any more Rep, and rolls a 1; that would reduce his Rep by a further point, but as per p. 71, Rep can never be less than 2. Neither of his skills exceeds his Rep, so they don’t go down either.

Mike’s next encounter will be in February. I may as well do the campaign admin while I’m at it; Mike burns a food item. He also travels to a rural area (which would cost another food item as he is on foot, so therefore he is on half rations this month; that would reduce his Rep by one, but it can’t get any lower than it already is). Rural areas have an Encounter Rating of 1; I roll 2d6 vs ER to see if he has an involuntary encounter, and get 6, 6 – definitely not. There’s no point rolling for lack of sleep before the next encounter, since the worst it could do would be to reduce his Rep, which can’t get any lower – I may as well take advantage of that where I can.

There’s nobody left in the city now, so you get to see a new map next time!


Mike Blackman:* Rep 2 MM Survivor, Pep 2, Sav 1, Poser, Rage. Shotgun, crowbar, knife, backpack.

Statblocks for ATZ Stars are really compact, no?

  1. Jim Marzullo says:

    Wow Andy. That’s brutal. I see you’re no quitter; allowing the gangers to pop the weasel on Mike would have been rather merciful. The next encounter is definitely going to be interesting, in a “car wreck” kind of way. Can neither stand to watch nor take one’s eyes away.

  2. graydo says:

    Brutal is the right word. If Mike can endure it will be an epic tale…

  3. Hugh Duggan says:

    Indeed, that’s harsh. Mike will either sink into obscurity and become one of the unliving horde himself, or he’ll rise to become a legendary road warrior or survivor hero. I’m hoping for the latter!

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