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[WotD] Ongoing game report - Spoilers alert
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Wibbs
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PostPosted: Tue May 15, 2012 6:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Hey there.

I've been keeping up with this for the most part and it sounds like your players are having fun with this.

I had a question though. I haven't gotten the chance to look into the books yet, but I think I might like to eventually and I was wondering: how well can the setting be adapted to a different area? My idea is to have the group play through the game in familiar locales around here where I live, and maybe even start in the very house we play at to emphasize the appropriate feelings of dread and loss. (they won't play themselves, but it might be cool to start in a fictionalized version of the very room we're playing in)

Although the various encounters in the first two chapters can be placed pretty much anywhere you want, the issue you would have with this idea is that the whole adventure kicks off with the players onboard a cruise ship. This would mean you would pretty much have to rewrite the first 3-4 weeks completely to allow for them starting in a house on dry land.

I know that the author, Lee, has said that there are plans to release alternate campaign starts in the medium term though, and this material may be more along the lines of what you want to do.


Last edited by Wibbs on Tue May 15, 2012 6:17 am; edited 1 time in total
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Wibbs
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PostPosted: Tue May 15, 2012 6:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Huh. This sounds like it played out amazingly close to "as written." I suppose I've been so used to my own player group and its dynamic (or, at least, the dynamic of certain of the more regular players) that I've taken it for a given that someone would end up "adopting" Samantha and thus making it a lot harder for Caitlin to just move into "adoptive mother" role (and ultimately be responsible for Samantha's peril and safety throughout a lot of the adventure).

Indeed, and noone was more suprised than me Razz

I think the fact that at least two of the group were on 2 fatigue and close to passing out was a major factor though and Donald, who had been closest to Samantha to this point, had crashed due to coming down off the drugs he had taken.
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Jordan Peacock
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PostPosted: Tue May 15, 2012 7:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

tigerguy786 wrote:
how well can the setting be adapted to a different area? My idea is to have the group play through the game in familiar locales around here where I live, and maybe even start in the very house we play at to emphasize the appropriate feelings of dread and loss. (they won't play themselves, but it might be cool to start in a fictionalized version of the very room we're playing in)


Mostly, I'd say, "What Wibbs said!" Wink

Hmm. I have a few thoughts about converting WOTD to "start on land," but that might be more appropriate for its own thread, as it's going to have absolutely nothing to do with Wibbs's ongoing report. Wink
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Wibbs
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PostPosted: Mon May 28, 2012 6:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Session Summary

Dr. Miller

Dr. Miller woke to find himself in some sort of medical clinic, with a statuesque, black man dressed in combat fatigues sitting by his bed who introduced himself as Commander Morrison. During the course of the exchange that followed, the Dr. was assured that Samantha was safe, and that the accusations about drugging survivors in Sanctuary was not true. He was also made aware that the McCurdy's were suspected of resorting to cannibalism, explaining the lack of children in the group that he had met in the sewers.

The doctor was asked to accompany the Commander and his men back down into the sewers to help rescue his companions, who were thought to be being lured into a lot of danger. The doctor agreed and was quickly kitted out with a weapon, armour and night vision.

With a split group, I decided to keep this as simple as possible, and this was an easy way to get the Dr. back in the action as soon as possible.

The Ambush

The session started off with the group still running from Unimed dogs. Chasing a fleeting glimpse of a small child up ahead, they redoubled their efforts, but unfortunately stumbled into a horrendous ambush at a T-Junction in the sewers - shamblers in one direction, sprinters in another, with the Unimed dogs hot on their heels.

Jeff McCurdy was quickly taken down by two leaping sprinters, but they were quickly dropped before they could cause any more problems. Donald had the presence of mind to put a bullet in the head of recently deceased Jeff to stop him turning.

Hugo quickly made is way over to a door part way along the left tunnel of the T-junction, whilst the dogs suprisingly ran straight past the group, splitting their attacks between the large hordes of shufflers and sprinters.

Donald backed up the dogs attacking the shamblers, whilst the rest of the group made their way to the same door as Hugo, positioning themselves to keep the area clear.

Over the course of the next 20 or so seconds, the group found themselves fighting alongside the Unimed dogs, who were more than holding their own against the hordes of zombies. It took this long for Hugo to attempt to pick the lock of the door. Unfortunately the pick snapped at the worst possible moment, fouling the lock completely and stopping any further attempts.

A beautifully timed critical fail from Hugo here meant that he couldn't benny his lock picking roll. This was made worse by the fact he had +2 to the roll for a Joker that round, and +2 from having the Thief Edge, neither of which mattered with the critical fail.

With the lock fouled, the group moved to plan B, and eventually shattered the lock with a slug from Jim's streetsweeper. By this time the dogs were gradually being decimiated by the neverending onslaught from the zombies. Donald disappeared through the door, finding a room with a wide channel of dirty, dark water running down the middle, and only a very narrow rail providing a way across.

At around the same time the group became aware of rapidly approaching footsteps from the direction they had initially come from. Dr Miller, Cmdr. Morrison and 18 other men rapidly approached, and after a tense exchange between the Commander and Victor where the group's trust was eventually earned, they set about establishing a perimeter for the rest of the group's withdrawl.

On seeing the arrival of the Commander and his troops Ian McCurdy tried to make a run for it, but was stopped in his tracks by Donald. The extra firepower now present made the withdrawl relatively safe apart from a close call with Hugo and a couple of sprinters.

The Ragers

Moving quickly through the sewers Commander Morrison filled the group in, who learned about the cannibalism, as well as more information about a thinking zombie, thought to be controlling the hordes above and below ground, and the group of children working with him, including the thinker's son when he was alive.

After travelling for some time the group found their way to a ladder and man-hole cover, and quickly left the sewers to find themselves deep in the city of Fayettville and some way from the safety of Sanctuary. With the light fading, Commander Morrison ordered his men into formation, with the group protected on all sides.

After a short way the sound of gutteral growls could be heard from deep within the shadows of the ruined buildings on both sides. With this, the group were ordered to run and not stop under any circumstances.

Hugo, who was wearing his night vision, caught a glimpse of these new creatures; 7 or 8 feet tall and moving quickly, they were a terror to behold.

After breaking into a run, the soldier at the back of the group was picked off by one of the creatures, moving at lightening speed. Seconds later the top half of the soldier's body was thrown back and landed on one of his fellow combatents. Despite their orders, a number of the troops stopped to return fire.

And that's where we left things, with the group a good few blocks from safety, and a new terrible foe readying to attack.

Other comments

This session went really well, with the ambush taking up most of the time. Given this was the case, I decided to cut the chase/encounters before the group got out of the sewers.

The other thing that went was the whole encounter with Brandon and Edward Russo. This was a tough decision, but with the way the group had set themselves up, there was no way I was going to be able to engineeer a whole group capture. The suprising effectiveness of the dogs didn't help here, as it wasn't until the third or fourth round of combat that the group were properly threatened.

In the end though I didn't mind simplifying things, and it was great to end on the cliffhanger with the new threat of the Ragers to hit them with next time.
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Jordan Peacock
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PostPosted: Mon May 28, 2012 7:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sounds like it went pretty well! Smile I'm sure things will work fine without the scripted "capture event." If anything, it's something you might be able to hold in reserve (in some form) in case things go unexpectedly badly for the heroes at some point in the future.
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Wibbs
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 11, 2012 6:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Unfortunately two of the players (Donald and Hugo) couldn't make this session, but with three players we had just about enough to go ahead. We also had issues with the venue, which cut the session significantly short.

Session Summary

Things kicked off in the heat of the action, with the group, Commander Morrison and his men emerging from the sewers and finding themselves in the midst of a new foe, Ragers!

Their 'introduction' was seeing one of these beasts running so fast they were only a blur, snatching one of the soldiers and tossing back the top half of their torso. Commander Morrison very clearly gave everyone the order to "run and not to stop under any circumstances".

This went reasonably well until a manhole cover came flying frisbee like from one of the buildings, smashing into another of the soldiers and dropping him immediately. As the group progressed at a controlled run towards the safety of Sanctuary, regular attacks by Ragers kept things 'interesting', and saw the deaths of three more soldiers, and five of the Ragers. Victor was particularly effective, taking down three at range.

Once within range of the gun emplacements on the walls of Sanctuary, they let rip, forcing the pursuing Ragers to give up their pursuit. The front gate opened, giving a place of safety.

I thought this went really well. The Ragers clearly terrified the group, and I was able to demonstrate the full range of their tactics. A couple of the players were actually extremely lucky with the majority of their damage rolls, which is why five of the things fell, but I would like to think that they now have something of a healthy respect for the Ragers and their potential to rip people in two Very Happy

Stripped of all their weaponry for probably the first time since the outbreak started, the group were escorted to medical processing, where they went through a number of tests and examinations. After about an hour's wait, one of the doctors returned with the good news that none of the group were infected, and they were free to go.

Once outside, they were met by Commander Morrison who filled them in on some of the background about why Sanctuary existed and how living arrangements, supplies etc were dealt with my Unimed, who managed the place. They were soon led to where Samantha was seated, happily enjoying her breakfast with some other children.

Soon afterwards, the group were shown their accomodation, a repurpsed pharmacy, and told to rest and relax for the day and following night. Victor took the opportunity to scope out the defences around Sanctuary, and was impressed with how efficiently things were set up - Commander Morrison clearly knew what he was doing. Jim managed to get hold of some M-16 ammo and tools, and spent the day adjusting the bullets to be more damaging. Dr. Miller just slept.

At around 9pm the group were disturbed by a lot of noise coming from the front gate. Going to investigate further, they found a heavily modified RV, around which were gathered a group of soldiers struggling with four children that had been dragged up from the sewers. Taking control of the situation, Commander Morrison made arrangements for them to be sedated and taken away.

The group were then interrupted by a humvee, which pulled up alongside. Out stepped four soldiers and an immaculately presented man dressed in what looked like a bespoke suit. Introducing himself as Carl Parker, he immediately gave orders to the Commander for Donald and 'the girl' (presumably Samantha) to be taken into custody immediately due to their immunity for protection and further study. Naturally, the group and Caitlin were extremely unhappy with this, and physically put themselves in the way to prevent it. Just as things were getting heated, Sanctuary's alarms started and a call came out "they're attacking the eastern perimeter!"....

Other Comments

Not more to say really. We didn't manage to get through very much of the story, but the players seemed to enjoy what we did do. I'm getting a little frustrated with the slow pace we are progressing at, but that's just my natural lack of patience coming to the fore Laughing
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Wibbs
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 09, 2012 7:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Another session with players missing - Victor's player has gone home for the summer, whilst Dr. Miller's had other stuff they needed to do.

Session Summary

The sirens went off, piercing the night and interrupting the stand-off between Carl Parker and the group over Donald and Samantha. Cries coming from the defensive walls indicated a significant rager attack at the eastern gate.

Caitlin stayed back with Samantha in case Carl took the attack as an opportunity to steal the girl away, whilst the rest of the group were given M16s, clips, night vision and kevlar and ran to help the defence. Once the defensive perimeter was within sight, the scale of the attack became clear. Numerous ragers were at the gate itself, attempting to flatten it, with others climbed the fence either side.

One of the players suggested Caitlin should stay with Samantha, which I was more than happy to go along with. In the subsequent rager attack, she is going to be conveniently wounded (superficially), by one of them as required by the plot as written.

The group established defensive positions along with 15 other troops at their section of the wall. Making good use of two fixed machine guns , it started off well, with the first wave of ragers easily taken down. Even panicked soldiers, their morale broken by the ferocious beasts were able to rally and return to the battle.

By the time the gate and inner fence fell, it would have been easy for the defenders to think things were going to be easy. However, a second wave of the monsters, making use of their extreme speed, quickly closed to melee range, killing one of the soldiers with a single blow.

After a few further waves, it became clear that the ferocity and magnitude of the attacks was dropping. Above the chaos of the battle, the group heard screams and gunfire coming from back towards the centre of the residential area. Donald and Hugo quickly broke from the defence and found that a second group of ragers had attacked from the other side of the settlement, ripping the door off of the building where the children were kept. At around the same, time the attack on the eastern wall was called off with a high pitched shriek deep in the darkness outside of Sanctuary.

My usual bad luck with rolling came to the fore throughout this battle, hence only one soldier dying. I deliberately focused attacks away from the PCs where possible, as I wanted to show how nasty the things were without killing them all....oh well Laughing

Once regrouped, the group learnt that Caitlin had valiently tried but failed to prevent a group of ragers from taking five children, including Samantha, and freeing those that had been brought into the settlement earlier in the evening. Assuming that the attack had been some sort of retaliation, Caitlin launched into a tirade at Alexander Cortez, who refused to believe the ragers would be involved with the children, who afterall were being protected by the undead.

Commander Morrision quickly took control of the situation, and there were plenty of volunteers for the three teams of ten (each including two attack dogs) he put together for the rescue mission. Setting off to the west, in the knowledge that the darkness of the night would mean almost certain contact with further ragers, the three teams spread out looking for a trail.

Hugo quickly picked something up, and was rewarded with the discovery of a shoe, then a sock followed by a second shoe from Samantha. It seemed that she might deliberately be leaving a trail for them to follow. After travelling for a while further the group turned onto a small side street with a dead end, and an open manhole in the road.

Moving cautiously forward, the group made it about half way to the hole before all hell broke loose. Groups of sprinters flooded from alley ways to the left and right, whilst ragers attacked from the hole and jumped from buildings behind, cutting of the group's escape route.

The resulting fight was brutal, showing once and for all that the sprinters and ragers were working together. Despite inferior numbers though, the group fought effectively, blowing up abandoned cars to take out their foes at the start of the fight. Donald was lucky to survive first contact with the sprinters, and Jim was hit by friendly fire as Caitlin attack with no thought for the safety of those around her. The tide turned by this point though, and with the loss of only a single soldier, the last of the monsters was felled.

This battle turned with the fortuitous dealing of a Joker to one of the players, who also happened to have five NPC soldiers acting on the same card. With just his turn they managed to kill 3 of the group of ragers attacking from the rear. The exploding cars did damage to the front group of ragers and sprinters, and coupled with some good tactics, the group found this fight much more straightforward than I had intended.

Other comments

This was a great session to run, and everyone had a lot of fun. The combat was certainly easier than I had intended, but the bennies were flowing readily, which is always a good sign. At the end of the day though I wasn't too disappointed with the turn of events, as I know what they are going to be facing in the next session #gunbattle Twisted Evil
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Wibbs
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 01, 2012 6:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

So, after far too many months laid up with a badly injured back, I finally managed to get this game running again, and we had our first session tonight.

We have one new player, who's character Nathaniel is a paranoid, narcissistic conman/cult leader whose cultists saw the outbreak as a sign that they were ready for ascension and commited mass suicide. Wracked with paranoia that he would be blamed for this, he struggled to survive during the early days of the outbreak, before finding his way to Sanctuary.

Anyway, onto the session...

Session Summary

After the bruising ambush by the Ragers and Sprinters, the group took a few minutes breather, with Dr Miller working his magic on Jim. However, it wasn't long before Commander Morrison got a message on his radio that one of the other teams had found what they thought was the entrance to the sewers where the children had been taken.

A quick trip through the night utilised one of the soldier's local knowledge to avoid any further trouble, and everyone descended on the ruins of a florist, where a large hole in the ground had been found. The other two teams had also been hit by ambushes, loosing 7 soldiers and all of the attack dogs in total. On further investigation there was no easy way to descend the 40 foot drop to the sewer floor, and Victor and Jim scouted the local area for manhole covers that might prove to be an easier way down. These were soon found, and the now combined group entered the sewers.

The sewers were dark, dingy and moist, with ankle deep 'water'. Following the echoing cries of Samantha the group set off at a quick pace, hampered slightly by the lack of ambient lighting. They soon stumbled on a man who had been forced into a corner, down to his last 3 shotgun shells, bodies of zombies strewn all around him. Dressed in a tatty set of priest's robes with a thick unkempt beard and covered in the grime, Nathaniel explained that he'd been trying to find his way into Sanctuary, but had quickly got lost. Given little choice as to what to do next, he joined the group as they continued their search for Samantha.

They soon found themselves in at the edge of a flooded square chamber, with deep, dirty water and a lattice of ancient pipework covering one side of the walls. Donald used his spear to establish that the water was at least 6 feet deep, and one of the soldiers volunteered to try to climb round to the other side to set up a rope to help people get across, using the pipes as hand and foot holds. Unfortunately, about half way round he fell in, and suddenly disappeared from view. Pulling frantically on the rope, it was clear there was something holding him under, and when he eventually surfaced he made it clear there were zombies standing at the bottom. A rope system was eventually set up and despite it struggling with the weight of some of those who used it (Victor in particular), the group managed to get across without further incident. That is apart from Caitlin confronting Donald about the fact he'd hidden his and Samantha's immunity from the rest of the group. She pulled a gun on him and fired a shot, which zipped past his ear to make her point.

Donald's player critical failed on their Persuasion roll, which caused Caitlin to draw her gun. Luckily I rolled for her smarts, and she deliberately missed her shot just to scare him.

Once everyone was safely across, the group recommenced their search, and it was not long before their skills were again tested. This time they encountered a large circular chamber, with a network of pipes covering the walls and disappearing upwards obscuring the ceiling. The group smelled a trap, and split up accordingly. Their fears were well founded, and once they'd got to the half point they were ambushed by 8 ragers. Dr. Miller and Nathaniel managed to react quickly to the danger, but despite quickly dispatching two of the beasts, the monsters ripped into Alexandro's men, killing two of them instantly. However, with well coordinated, focused fire the group were able to dispatch the remaining ragers with no further losses. After Alexandro and his men had paid their respects to their fallen comrades, the group moved on again.

After what seemed like an age, with no clear trail, the group eventually stumbled on a large room, seemingly filled with large, noisy machinary. On closer inspection the group found a large number of shufflers, sprinters and ragers milling around, who suprisingly did not immediately attack. Making their way further into the chamber, the group noticed Brandon Russo and a couple of other children watching something just out of view. The children stepped back to reveal two shufflers, one of which was a child that had been abducted from Sanctuary. Their mouths and hands were covered in fresh blood, and on the floor beside them lay Samantha, covered in blood with bite marks all over her.

Brandon ranted at the group briefly, before quietly giving the order for the assembled hoarde of monstrosities to attack, and shufflers, sprinters and ragers turned as one, ready to bear down on the group......

To be continued.

Other Comments

I was very, very, rusty for the game, and the combat went a lot more slowley that it would normally, particularly given the large number of extras there were in the game. This was inspite of them being controlled by the players. Everyone seemed to have fun though, which was good, and I'm looking forward to the climactic rescue of Samantha next session.
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Jordan Peacock
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 02, 2012 7:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good to see that this is still going! Smile
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DGMiller
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 04, 2012 12:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jordan Peacock wrote:
Good to see that this is still going! Smile


I agree! So happy to see that you're playing again! Very Happy
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FickleGM
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 04, 2012 3:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I really hope that you and everyone running WotD continue to post reports.

I'm a bit jealous, as I know that a couple members of my group would not go for this type of game, which means that I won't be running one.

I do love me some zombie apocalypse, though. I just watched season 2 of The Walking Dead on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday (7 episodes on Wednesday to close it out - kept me up late, since I still had to work the ole day job), so I'm in zombie overdrive right now. Very Happy
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Wibbs
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 04, 2012 4:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks all for the encouragement. I was laid up for about three months with a really bad back, and have just recovered enough to be able to run games again - it's great to be back at the table Very Happy
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Wibbs
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2012 7:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

So, a quick update...

Unfortunately I've had to cancel the game with this group for complicated reasons. However, I am still running it with a second group every other week, and will continue this thread as a record of their play through.

The Cast

Jerico Malice A strange and shadowy character with no morals, who was experimented on by the folks at Dalesbury and has more than a hint of rager about him.

Cassandra Kain One of the originals on the boat, has been through a lot. Her husband died, she was shot in the head at close range and developed a slightly unhealthy need to look after Samantha. She is also immune.

Isaiah Irons A firebrand religious type who is convinced the zombies are the end of days.

Saphy A loner who joined the party when they encounter Hell Feurie for the first time. Has a habit of wandering off by herself and getting into trouble.

Major John Douglas A former military medic who has a singular (and possibly unhealthy) drive to find a cure for the 'infection'.

Samantha Hickman as written in the campaign apart from the fact she was introduced on the ship at the start rather than being a Hickman.

The Story so Far...

This group has a habit of splitting up at the drop of a hat, which has made my life interesting. There have been three PC deaths; two as they escaped the ship, and one around Jacksonville.

They've been in Sanctuary for a few days and are about on week 7, which puts them roughly at the same point as my other group before it died.

The attack to kidnap the children happened as scripted, with Samantha et al taken. The only difference was that Caitlin was with them at the time. I ruled that she was knocked unconscious by one of the ragers who was more interested in getting the children than killing her.

We join the story as the characters arrive on the scene...

Session Summary

Major Douglas quickly got to work on Caitlin, bring her around so she could describe what had happened. She confirmed that the ragers had headed straight for the children and then left in a hurry. Fatigued from the blow to her head, she demanded stimulants from the doctor, but instead he gave her a sedative, as he thought she would be more of a hindrance in her current state. She realised what he'd done but was too far gone, and just before she fell unconscious she vowed to kill him.

This is going to create an 'interesting' situation when she comes too, and I'm not sure yet how its going to play out. Caitlin will be furious but she isn't stupid. I'm half thinking that she'd be so angry she wouldn't travel in the same group as the doctor...

Saffy did her usual thing and went off on her own, tracking the ragers a little way away from the perimeter and safety of Sanctuary. Oh yeah, she didnt have any weapons either. She quickly found herself isolated and in danger. Jerico sensed something bad was happening and hailed her on her radio. She tried to hide from whatever was after her but ended up in a building with a feral close to hand. She then decided to leg it, pursued by three ferals in total.

Cassandra, Jerico and Major Douglas got to the fence in time to see her sprinting towards them about four blocks away. A couple of accurate shots felled the pursuing beasts to end the encounter.

Jerico and Magor Douglas found the closest beast, who was incapacitated but alive, and came up with an idea. They reasoned that as the ragers had shown no interest in hurting people, there might be the possibility of bargaining for the children's release. Instead of killing the creature, they patched it up in the hope it would go back to General Russo.

The discussion that led to this was really interesting and completely unexpected that's why I love this campaign!

Unfortunately, Cassandra had other ideas, calmly walking up to them and putting a bullet in its head before they could stop her. An argument predictably ensued...

The role playing here was fantastic and the highlight of the evening. Everyone at the table was completely focused on the situation and in character. Cassandra in particular was brilliantly played, her bloodthirsty hindrance coming to the fore I just sat back and enjoyed the spectacle!

Meanwhile, Commander Morrison had reached the scene and proceeded to give Saphy a viscous dressing down for going off on her own. Isaiah watched the whole scene bemused, wondering why they were patching up a creature that was obviously a demon. He was happy when Cassandra did her thing.

Back in the safety of the perimeter, plans were discussed. The party was split, with some arguing to go after the children, but others arguing that they should wait until morning. The group spent a while weighing up the value of the children against the risk of going after them at night. This was particularly difficult, as certain people were not convinced the children were actually in any danger. After much deliberating, Commander Morrison decided to wait until daylight, when the ragers would cease to be a danger.

Another long discussion, but I let it run because it touched on many of the issues at the core of the wider situation. I found it very difficult to decide how the Commander would react, particularly given his Heroic hindrance. In the end it took some serious Persuasion rolls to do it, but they just about convinced him that waiting would be the better option for Sanctuary as a whole.

Everyone prepared to retire and get some sleep apart from Isaiah, who was furious with the Commander's decision, and Jerico, who had left earlier to get more sleep. Isaiah proceeded to go around telling anyone he found of the decision the Commander had taken, including residents, sentries etc. A large group quickly formed around him as he whipped them up to a state of fury. Commander Morrison and the other characters arrived on the scene and proceeded unsuccessfully to try to defuse the situation. It ended with the Commander changing his mind, asking for volunteers to go after the children straight away. The PCs each put their names forward, and arrangements were quickly made. Jerico was predictably extremely unhappy with this, making the point clearly that he thought they would be walking into a trap.

This part was so unexpected, and completely brilliant. Again, I struggled a little to work out what was going on because there were some many conflicting actions. I figured that given the Commander was only just convinced not to go in the first place, the weight of fear/anger from the crowd was sufficient to get him to change his mind.

The group, made up of the five PCs, Commander Morrison, Alexandro and his team, six soldiers and four attack dogs left, with Saphy tracking ahead.

I simplified this part, getting rid of the other two groups of soldiers and combining everyone important into one group. My reasoning here was that I couldn't see why the three groups could be justified given how clear the tracks would be. Having deciding this, I figured that the 19 people would be around the largest practical group that would travel as one.

Progress was quick, but the lack of any aggression towards them was strange, and strengthened fears that they were walking into a trap. After finding Samantha's two shoes on the floor one after the other, the group were on high alert for a possible ambush.

The group were so paranoid at this point that it was funny.

A little way further on Saphy followed the tracks to a manhole missing its cover. The group followed a little way behind, convinced an attack was imminent. They were not wrong, and a combination of ragers and sprinters converged on them from all directions...

And thats where we broke for the evening.

Other comments

A fantastic session with great role playing, and once again the players completely suprised me with their actions. We actually got part way through the last combat before we had to stop, but I will write the whole thing up as part of the next session.

I had intended to make the confrontation with Brandon Russo and his chums more meaningful by giving the group the chance to save some/all of the children if they got there in time, but given how long the delay was before they got going I'm now going to kill them all and make sure Brandon lets them know it was because they got bored. Oh, and I'm also going to let Samantha die from blood loss Twisted Evil

Coming back with no kids is going to send Caitlin over the edge, speaking of which...

One thing I could do with ideas for is how to play Caitlin's response to being drugged against her will by the doctor. Things I have considered...
- her leaving the group, particularly when they come back with no children...
- her holding a major grudge and trying at some point to hurt/kill the doctor.

However, I'm not convinced by either of these ideas, and I'm sure there must be a more interesting situation I can create given the drama of what's happened.

Thanks all,

Wibbs
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Wibbs
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 18, 2012 7:33 am    Post subject: Assistance with planning the next session... Reply with quote

Okay,

So I would appreciate some help with figuring a few things out for the next couple of sessions with this group....

Caitlin's reaction to being drugged by one of the PCs

The PC in question did this because they felt she would be more of a hindrance than a help if she were to come and help rescue Samantha and the other children. What I am struggling with is how she would respond, particularly if the group comes back with no children alive.

One thing I am considering is the fact that the PC who drugged her has Enemy as a major Hindrance, and I haven't yet worked out who this is going to be. One option would for it to be Caitlin, but I'm struggling to see how I would adapt the ongoing storyline to work her in in a suitable way. My understanding of the Hindrance is that she would want him dead. If she was to stay in the group then I guess there would be room for her to try to manipulate things/pin the blame for unpleasant events on him, but this all feels very complicated.

Another option, whether Caitlin becomes the PC's enemy or not is for her to simply leave the group, as she would find it impossible to travel with the PC. By itself this feels very anti-climactic though.

On a side note, if Caitlin doesn't become this PC's enemy then I'm struggling a bit with who would in her place...

Following through the PC's decision to delay going to rescue Samantha and the children

So, the group effectively delayed the rescue by a good hour or two based on some really dodgy assumptions about why the children were taken and I want to show the impact of this decision in some way.

The most obvious thing to do would be to kill off all the children and Samantha before the characters get to them. This goes against the plot of keeping Samantha alive, but I can see ways of working around this pretty easily. The only concern I have is whether this would seem fair to the PCs having fought through lots of zombies/ragers to get there.

And on this one, that's where my inspiration runs out. Again, I would welcome any thoughts on how I can drive home their decision to effectively gamble with the childrens' lives without necessarily having to kill them all off.

Thanks in advance for any help with this,

Wibbs
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Jordan Peacock
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 18, 2012 8:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Samantha Alive/Dead:
Having Samantha dead seems fair to me. She's already scripted to be doomed by this episode, anyway. Sure, Samantha is "immune," but that's small consolation since she can still bleed to death. In a way, I think this makes for a better story than the deaths in the RV in Week 13, because it flows from the PCs' actions, rather than just being from a drama that unfolds to some extent in the background that player actions do nothing to alter.

Compared to the fate that Samantha would have had otherwise (our heroes "rescue" her, but all she gets to do is linger for a few days, clinging to life, and slowly turning into a monster), ending it here is hardly as cruel to the PCs. (They just have no way of knowing that.)

As for WHY Samantha would die, perhaps it's simply that our Zombie General has a personal grudge against anyone who's immune. Maybe he can SENSE it. At first he's fascinated by this person who does not get sick from the infection ... but ultimately he just goes into a rage and kills her personally.

Either that, or he just leaves her to die from all the wounds inflicted by zombies nibbling at her before deciding that she "tastes bad." It's the same end result, really.

Maybe Samantha was really the ultimate target of the raid (and the reason for the other children being abducted was just because, well, having the Ragers get that SPECIFIC child was far more difficult than just having them grab every child they could find, in terms of directing their actions). Whoever else is immune in the party might be deliberately targeted (ineffectually, we hope!) by attacks, further underscoring that this person is "special."

In any case, if Samantha dies and /does not reanimate/, then that at least tells the heroes something by example. (I suppose this might even lead into a new drama: Samantha was immune after all! What do we do now? Bury her? Burn the body? Take her body back so the UniMed scientists can study it "for science"? This could lead to possibly more reasons for Caitlin to hate the doctor, depending on how it plays out.)


Caitlin = Enemy:
If there were a chance to go back and edit "War of the Dead," this is one area that could use some touching-on at the start: How should the GM treat the "Enemy" Hindrance? Perhaps "the first competent NPC you cross is going to be your lifelong adversary" works. ;D

Possibility: When the group comes back, and all the children are reported dead (or worse), Caitlin reacts to this with barely bridled fury, perhaps asking quietly to be left alone, and then going into a screaming rage and tearing apart whatever room she's in. After she's done "venting," she comes out, the picture of complete calm and sobriety, calmly stating that this is just the way things are, there's nothing that could be done about it, etc., etc., and putting on a sheer facade of extreme reasonableness.

Privately, she wants revenge. She secretly blames the one who prevented her from doing something (because maybe she could have convinced everyone to go right away rather than dawdling, or she could have just set out on her own, etc. -- the reasoning need not be logical, since it's not like she's going to share it with anyone for feedback). On the surface, she might make the appearance of being a friend and ally to the doctor -- if there are any group disagreements, she'll ALWAYS side with the doctor. In fact, if you're in the practice of letting players "control" NPCs, the doctor's player would get to take care of the Caitlin sheet/card. (The GM reserves "veto" option on NPC actions, however; no marching your NPC off to do suicidal things!)

But in private, when no one's looking, she'll be acting against the doctor. It might start with little, petty, or threatening things. When he wakes up in the morning and gets out of his tent, there's a dead zombie head pinned to the ground, and carved into its forehead is the message "YOU'RE NEXT." If there are any of his possessions that are left unattended, they will be sabotaged.

If you're rewarding Bennies for Hindrances, you might give the player a Benny the first time his "Enemy" Hindrance comes into play during the session, as a minor compensation for being "singled out."

If you aren't already treating Caitlin as a Wild Card, she ought to at the very least be promoted to "Henchman" status (gets to roll a Wild Die), so she's more believable as a competent threat. (Extras don't make very good arch-enemies, as they can't reliably pass a basic trait roll.)

Only if the player appears unfazed by the string of ominous threats and near-misses should things escalate. (Caitlin's objective is to torment, not necessarily to murder, but if the doctor appears to be unaffected, her desire for revenge will compel her to up the ante, even if it means doing things that might catch others in the crossfire, such as cutting brake lines of whatever vehicle the doctor is riding in, etc.)

Anyway, Enemy is a Hindrance that puts a bit more of a burden on the GM, or else it's not much of a Hindrance at all. (There are some campaigns in which I've simply prohibited it, because the nature of the campaign was such that a recurring Enemy made little sense, or would be too much of a bother for me when the heroes had PLENTY OF ENEMIES ALREADY.)
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Wibbs
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 19, 2012 5:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow,

Some fantastic ideas Jordan. I think I'm going to go with all the children dying before the PCs get there - as you suggest, for Samantha in particular this is probably a better way to play it out than as written. I also hadn't thought about the fact that she wouldn't turn when dead, and I think that will give the doctor in particular something to think about regarding what to do with the body.

Caitlin is very much a Wild Card, and I love your take on how she should react. I can just see the players' faces when I play out the initial fury and then complete calm Laughing

Thanks again for the suggestions,

Wibbs
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 19, 2013 6:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

After a loooooooooooooong hiatus, I ran the next session of this tonight....

Session Summary

The group fought off the combined ambush by Ragers and Sprinters, but lost Chimelo and Terry, two of Alexandro's men, in the process. Once the last of the beasts were slain, Alexandro and Dallas paused by each of the broken bodies and said a few quiet words. On returning to the group there was a look of fierce anger and determination on Alexandro's face, and the group continued down the manhole.

The tracks of the Ragers were easy to follow, and their route gradually took the group downwards into an area of the sewers with increasingly complex pipe networks on the walls and disappearing into holes in the top of the tunnel. After what seemed like an age of the only sound being their footsteps, they were taken by surprise by someone clattering against some of the pipes above them. The sound echoed and reverberated around making it hard to work out where it had come from, and put the whole group on edge.

A little further ahead they heard the sound of footsteps running, but it was too far away to do anything. Again, further on a child's giggling could be heard in one of the tunnels above them. Saphy climbed up to see if anything could be found, but by the time she got there the tunnel was empty. After a short deliberation over whether to split up, the group continued as one, traversing a large chamber where the gantry across was missing, leaving the support posts and nothing much else. Taking their time they used ropes to move between the gaps, avoiding the large channel of water running perpendicular to their direction below.

They eventually made it to a second large chamber, dimly lit by some unseen source. Crawling around the room were numerous zombies that had all been ripped apart to a greater or lesser extent. Some had their entire lower torso missing, whilst others had absent legs and other body parts. As the group moved into the room they were met by Brandon Russo and a number of other children they didn't recognise, who were all crowded round a small body lying on the floor.

Brandon explained why they'd led the group there, and how Morrison being terrified was the sole purpose of the exercise. He then apologised to the rest of the group, commenting that his 'friends' needed to eat. He also stated that the delay in getting there meant that the 'girl with a funny taste' had probably died.

It was at this point that shapes could be seen coming into the room from the opposite end, which turned out to be a large number of Ragers. Jerico managed to get a shot at Brandon before he could duck out of view, and then all hell broke loose.

Cass, Saphy and Major Douglas raced in and scooped up the body, which turned out to be Samantha, deftly avoiding the part-zombies littering the floor, and then the whole group ran, chased by huge numbers of Ragers.

The chase lasted a good fifteen minutes before they reached the room with the missing gantry. Jerico got there first, seeing that where before the ground beneath was empty, it was now filled with shamblers. He immediately set about rigging a trip wire to catch the first wave of Ragers.

One by one the remaining characters arrived, and set about jumping the top of one support to another in order to avoid the zombies on the ground. Carrying Samantha's body, Saphy opted to take the ladder to the ground and swim the channel of water. She was joined by Cass, who was distraught at the loss of the young girl.

Part way across the water, Cass suddenly disappeared from view, her ankle grabbed by some unseen assailant. Luckily she was quickly able to break free and completed the crossing with no further incident. Saphy was next, managing to just about to get across with Samantha's body.

Meanwhile, the Ragers had arrived in the chamber, and Jerico's tripwire worked wonderfully, taking out 4 of the first group. One survived the fall to the ground, but the rest were less lucky. The group had been successfully jumping from support to support, and were about half way to safety before things started to go wrong.

Alexandro was the first to drop, badly injuring himself in the process, and Dallas Paxton was next. He was less lucky though, his neck breaking instantly on hitting the ground. Alexandro valiantly tried to escape the clutches of the shamblers, whose numbers had been significantly reduced by shots from above, but he was caught at the base of the ladder up, a chunk of flesh taken from his shoulder. With his last action he led the remaining shamblers away from Cass and Saphy, allowing them to escape unharmed.

The Ragers kept coming in waves, but were repelled by sustained fire, and the group finally made it to safety. Cass is in pieces, and Neil Russell, the only survivor from Alexandro and his men, is not much better.

Other comments

I pretty much threw away everything as written for this and started from scratch. As it was the first session for about 4 months, I wanted a more interesting set piece, and the escape across the gantry worked superbly. I wasn't expecting it to be quite so lethal though, and the loss of Alexandro will have a significant impact on the story coming up......much to thing about for future sessions.
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Jordan Peacock
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 19, 2013 9:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good to see this going again! It does sound pretty awesome, the way it played out here. I look forward to seeing more! Smile
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 22, 2013 11:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Seconded, sounds like it was an intense session.
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PostPosted: Fri May 03, 2013 7:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

For this session isaiah's player was unfortunately unable to be there, and I used our standard policy of just fading him into the background.

Session Summary

Back to safety?

The group emerged from the sewers battered and bruised both physically and emotionally. Morrison was clearly out of his depth, and Neil Russell, the sole survivor from Alexandro's team had clearly withdrawn into himself. Once back in the safety of Sanctuary, Morrison immediately ordered full evacuation procedures. The group were met by Dr Alicia Stone, who once she had got over the shock of realising how many hadn't made it back, quizzed them on exactly what had happened. Learning details of the creatures behavioural changes, she forcibly argued that the zombies were more than just undead and needed studying. However, the others were uninterested in her view, and focused more on the situation immediately at hand. She also laid into the Major for having drugged Caitlin without her consent, but he shrugged it off as being necessary to ensure the group had the best chance of succeeding in their mission.

As the discussion drew to a close, they also noticed Caitlin watching them from a distance, before turning and walking away. Cassandra, emotionally wrecked from the death of Samantha, followed to make sure she was Ok, whilst Saphy, Samantha's body still in her arms, went somewhere to clean her up. Neil Russell suddenly realised that he was the only person left to protect Alexandro's sister Damaris and also headed off.

Cassandra now has Haunted Memories as a replacement for Responsibility to Others (major) with the loss of Samantha. The trigger has been defined as anyone verbally suggesting Cassandra being required to protect anyone. I was more than happy to go with this, as there's plenty of potential for this to come into play at all sorts of interesting times.

The start of the end of Sanctuary

As the group split, the warning klaxons went off to signify attacks on all sides of the perimeter. Jerico and Major Douglas immediately went to sure up the defences at the main gate, scrounging a barrel of diesel that they went about using to create a 'firewall' to help hold back the oncoming horde.

I had to allow such a cool idea as this, which made good use of the Major's Mcgyver Edge.

The defence started well, the two of them helped by a number of Unimed soldiers, but by the time Cassandra joined them having made sure Caitlin was being looked after by Dr. Stone, the tide was beginning to turn. A number of the Ragers seemed intent on knocking over the perimeter fence, and it was only a matter of time before they were successful. With bodies of a number of the beasts littering the floor, the group were eventually forced to withdraw once the fence ceased to act as the only barrier.

The players' dice rolls during this section were obscenely good, and Major Douglas was incredibly lucky to avoid being cut down by an attacking Rager. He spent one benny to lose Shaken, a second to get the Extraction Edge for a round, and his final one to reroll the Agility roll, which he only just passed.

The withdraw rapidly turned into a rout, with everyone desperate to escape, and the oncoming ragers' speed meant they ripped through the remains of the defenders and into the centre of Sanctuary. His focus solely on rendezvousing with Morrison, Jerico forged ahead, and in his rush, he narrowly avoided the grenade of a soldier cut down as he pulled the pin. Meanwhile, Cass and Major Douglas took a little more time, attempting to rally troops they passed and helping any civilians they encountered. Given the situation, Cass had the first of her 'funny turns' whilst showing two of the civilians how to use handguns, imagining one of them to be Samantha. She was eventually snapped out of it by Major Douglas, but not before she'd completely freaked everyone out.

This was great roleplaying by Cass's player, and very much benny worthy.

Meanwhile, Saphy had joined Dr. Stone with Samantha's body, which she was keeping in the hope that there might be some clue in her blood as to why she was immune to the infection.

Escape!

Everyone arrived at the convoy being put together my Morrison, consisting of two tanks and five Humvees. Also, with the additional civilians and soldiers gathered en route, it quickly became apparent that another vehicle was required. Jerico didn't wait around, heading off through the sewers the way they had arrived in Sanctuary in the first place, arranging to meet up with the convoy once it was out of danger, his reasoning being that he could travel faster alone and on foot than the convoy would be able to. However, Cassandra, Major Douglas and Saphy had other ideas, and volunteered to set off on foot away from the convoy in the hope of scavenging something appropriate. They quickly caught up with Jerico, much to his annoyance, but after a short and heated argument, he left them too it.

Although I was ready for the unexpected here, I had not anticipated that none of the PCs would stay with the convoy. This leaves me with an interesting conundrum for next session in working out how badly the convoy does during its escape...

A vehicle was eventually found in the form of a Humvee, but it was embedded in the corner of a building, and clearly the only thing preventing the whole place collapsing. Saphy used her agility and speed to draw away the majority of the attendant zombies, allowing the Major, Cassandra and two civilians they'd picked up on the way to get into the Humvee. After a quick assessment, it was decided that the best approach would be to reverse as quickly as possible in the hope of avoiding any falling debris from the building. This was surprisingly successful, Cassandra only briefly losing control and taking minor damage to the bonnet.

Cass was driving at this point, and completely bodged her roll. However, the consequential rolls for Out of Control and damage from the collapsing building were just about as kind as they could have been, and they completely avoided any permanent damage to the Humvee.

And that's were we left things for the evening.

Other comments

I think this was the most fun I've had since starting this campaign. Lots went on, there was varied situations, excellent role playing and unexpected ingenuity from the players to keep me on my toes.

The most interesting thing I will have to deal with for the next session is the impact of there being no PCs with the convoy as it attempts to escape the city.........I think I'll need to mull over that one a little.
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