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[WOTD] Game Journal - Ongoing
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DGMiller
Seasoned


Joined: 25 Jan 2012
Posts: 218
Location: Myrtle Beach, SC

PostPosted: Fri Nov 09, 2012 12:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Season 1, Episode 12 - Season Finale

The cast:
Mike Fulmin - ne'er do well misguided youth
Alison Gandry - classically trained ballet dancer
Bryce Winters - successful businessman, taught karate at the YMCA
Sean MacGregor - professional photographer/cameraman born in Scotland
Thomas Odenson - Marine stationed at Camp LeJeune
Brooklynn "Brooke" Abrams - spoiled rich socialite
Thomas "Trip" Gordon - Irish Gypsy
Dr. Fabiana Winters - Bryce's wife, a doctor originally from South America


Notes: This session almost didn't happen. I originally cancelled for the week because we couldn't find a day that most everyone could get together. Then, dealing with my parents' health issues started taking a toll on me, so I decided I really needed an escape, and all but one of my players said they could make it on Sunday, so I scheduled it. Then, with only hours to go, people started canceling. Fabiana Winters' player was the one who I knew wouldn't be there. Then, Sean MacGregor's player bailed because it was taking him longer than anticipated to get back into town from National Guard duty. Still, not too bad. Only minutes before start time, Bryce Winters' player called out because his wife was sick. Trip Gordon's player was a no-call/no-show. By this time, I'm sitting at the table with the remaining four players. I gave them a choice: We could go ahead with the game or play a zombie board game or Fiasco or something else. They were enthusiastic about playing this and I rewarded them by going ahead, since they showed up. Therefore, we ran it with the players of Mike Fulmin, Alison Gandry, Brooke Abrams, and Thomas Odenson present.

Returning to Pink Hill after their raid on the Beulahville Home Depot, the group and townies began unloading the supplies from the vehicles. Thomas was eager to get back to work on their vehicles, so they could get out of town before the horde arrived, so he rejoined Trip and the other Marine from the motor pool back at the garage. Bryce and Alison set to work inventorying and packing their supplies. Mike decided to sneak around town and try to find anything useful he could "procure" from the town. Brooke took a walk, alone, to the diner to see if they were still open.

Brooke and Mike were about 4 blocks away from each other when they heard a scream that turned their blood cold. Rushing towards the location where it originated, about halfway between them, they found a gruesome scene. Four of the sprinters were tearing into the bodies of two townies, a man and a woman. The woman was obviously the source of the scream, but the things had finished her off while Brooke and Mike were running towards the scene. Unfortunately, the sprinters sensed fresh meat approaching and advanced on Brooke and Mike. Mike fought a withdrawing action and left Brooke to fend them off while he set up to use Henry's rifle to his advantage. Brooke was holding her own against the things, but it was only a matter of time before one would get lucky and get through her defenses.

As Mike was preparing to open fire, a group of Marines on patrol came on scene. Overly gung-ho and hungry to kill a few of the things, the Marines started tossing grenades at the ones who were not close to Brooke. After badly missing with the first grenade and bouncing the second harmlessly off a building to land in the middle of a side street, the third package was the charm. The detonation mangled two of the things and the rest were finished off with bullets to the brain. The two dead townies also got the same treatment.

Back at the garage, Thomas and Sean heard the sound of the blasts and knew by the sound what they were. They both dropped their tool and grabbed their weapons, heading towards the sounds.

As the four Marines, Mike, and Brooke were conferring about what happened and how the things got into town in the first place, since the horde was still a few hours away, Timothy Hickman arrived, breathless and pale. He asked if anyone had seen the girls. He couldn't find them anywhere. He was talking about his daughter Samantha, and Bryce's daughter Kimmy.

According to Tim, Thomas' fiance Sarah Beth and Bryce's sister Jessica were watching the girls. He knew they took them to the town meeting at the elementary school auditorium, but nobody had seen them since. Thomas and Sean arrived on the scene to hear this news and they came up with a plan. First, they would go back to the elementary school and search the area, talking to any townsfolk nearby. The Marine patrol would gather a few more of their buddies and start making a circuit of the town to look for breaches and see how the things got through the barricades in the first place.

Back at the elementary school, Mike started checking the exits to see which ones were secured. He found that the only ones that weren't chained and padlocked were the main doors to the auditorium area, and a small door leading to the kitchen. Looking in the kitchen, he could see that something was recently dragged through the area.

The others talked to townsfolk nearby, learning that several people had seen them sitting near the back of the auditorium. They found someone that said the girls had fallen asleep during the meeting and that they saw Jessica and Sarah Beth sitting with them while they slept even after almost everyone else had left.

With that info, the group entered the auditorium, focusing on the approximate area where people said they had been sitting. After a few minutes of searching, they found some discarded syringes under the seats near that area. The four of them had been drugged. Judging by Mike's discovery, they had then been dragged out through the kitchen exit to a waiting vehicle.

Leaving the school, most of the group decided to check out the doctor's office, while Sean looked for the mayor. At the doctor's office, they found the door locked and the lights off. Actually, they realized then that most of the town's generators had been shut off to conserve fuel before the horde's approach. Mike put on his night vision goggles to look through the window. He could barely make out a pair of legs sticking out of a doorway within. With that news, Brooke picked the lock and the group entered.

Searching through the doctor's office turned up nothing except the body of the nurse, Ann. Her throat had been slit. She started to rise as the living dead just as she was put down. There was also no sign of Fabiana, and the last anyone had seen her, she was helping the doctor prepare for the attack on the town. Things were getting worse by the minute. The group decided to go check the building where the mayor's secret meeting had been.

Meanwhile, Sean talked to several townspeople, but nobody knew where the mayor was. They did see the sheriff going into the sheriff's office a few minutes ago, so Sean went that way. When he arrived, Sheriff Wilson was field stripping and cleaning his weapons. He glanced to Sean, quickly returning to his work, while telling him he's welcome to take as many 9mm and 12 gauge rounds as his group needs. Sean told him about the missing girls, just as two townies entered the office behind Sean, the bell over the door tinkling a hollow welcome. The sheriff, without looking up, asked if they checked the auditorium, as he saw the girls there. Then he asked if they checked the doctor's office. Sean explained what they found at the school and that others were checking the doctor's office.

Finally, the sheriff looked up. Frustration and anger clearly showing on his face. He slammed down the pistol he iwasworking on. "Dang it! It's one thing to use newcomers or some nameless soldiers to keep the things passive, but innocent children?!? This is just too much!!! They have the things contained over at..." A single shot rang out as one of the townies put a bullet between the sheriff's eyes. Turning around, Sean drew his own pistol and a fierce gunfight ensued. He ended up taking both of the men down and ensuring they wouldn't be rising again.

The group found nothing in the building where the mayor's meeting had been held. The room was much as it was the last time Mike was here. The group returned to the streets, finding Sean and Major Morgan. Sean told the group about the encounter at the mayor's office and told Major Morgan that everything in this town wasn't as it seemed. Convinced that the doctor was hiding the undead somewhere in town, they started searching building to building, but turning up nothing. In frustration, several of them grabbed a nearby townie on patrol duty and confronted him with what they knew, asking where the doctor was and what was going on in this town. The man, scared for his life, said he'd seen the doctor leave town a while ago, headed out the south gate.

The south gate led towards Beulahville. The map in the meeting room with Beulahville marked. There were other towns overrun, but only Beulahville was marked. The Home Depot. The guards in the warehouse lot across the street. They weren't guarding just The Home Depot, or their post would be in THAT parking lot, not the one across the street. The Home Depot would've been cleared. They were guarding the warehouse across the street! Major Morgan made preparations to pull his men from the defense of the town as soon as the group returned with evidence that the town was compromised. Thomas, Brooke, Alison, Mike, and four Marines loaded into a Humvee and sped to the warehouse outside Beulahville.

At the warehouse, The group confronted the guards with the full threat of the Marines' M-16's and the mounted .50 cal on the roof. Still, the guards refused to back down. The firefight was over in less than two minutes. All four guards were dead and the Humvee rammed the gate. Inside the parking lot, the group unloaded from the Humvee, leaving two Marines outside to guard the vehicle. Since it was light outside, those two gave their night vision goggles to Brooke and Alison, so that everyone would have a pair.

Inside the warehouse, it was indeed dark. They found several coffin-like metal containers on the main floor and began opening them. Inside, they discovered a wealth of scientific equipment, including laptops and a full portable lab set-up, with blood spinners and the whole works. While they were searching, the dark warehouse suddenly lit up with many flashlight beams from the catwalk above. A voice told them to drop their weapons, and over a dozen red dots found them, targeting them. In the chaos, Mike managed to sneak away to the rubber swinging doors at the end of the room and made it through them without being seen.

Back in the main warehouse, Thomas tried to get them to identify himself, and everyone was looking to him. The standoff grew incredibly tense. Nobody was wavering. While Thomas stated his case to the men with the guns, several of them became very caught up in his oration, but the remainder were not fooled by his words. Someone above ordered him to stop the nonsense, and two flash-bang grenades were tossed into the group from above. The order came again, "Drop your weapons!" Finally, Thomas and the others set down their weapons and stood down.

Through the rubber doors, Mike found a hallway that ended in another set of double doors. Looking through the glass panes, he found a guard post with several more guards standing in front of another set of doors. Hearing the commotion in the warehouse, he moved back to those doors and peeked through, seeing his friends being searched. He did his best to hide his MP-5 in the hallway and his set of lockpicks on his person, then came out and surrendered as well.

As they were being disarmed and searched, Alison was reluctant to give up the fire axe she'd taken back on the cruise ship. It was her weapon of choice and her psychological anchor as well. In the confusion of taking this weapon from her, Brooke managed to hide her pistol and her nail file in her clothing and the guards forgot to search her, not even realizing their mistake, thinking everyone had been searched.

The group was led into the guard post Mike had seen earlier and down a set of stairs in that room, to a basement area that had been converted to a makeshift jail. Cell doors had been poorly and hastily cemented into concrete block alcoves that had been created along the walls. There were 5 women in the cells already. Four of whom the group didn't know. Those four looked like they had been kept prisoner here for some time, suffering abuse at the hands of the guards as well. The fifth woman was a groggy Dr. Fabiana Winters.

The group are locked into individual cells and all of the guards leave except two. In a few minutes, Dr. Lewis arrived with two more guards. He told the group that Kimmy, Samantha, and Brooke haven't just been dealing with the flu. He told them that the virus has an airborne component and that they are all infected. Everyone in this room, everyone in the world, will rise as the living dead when they die, even if they haven't been bitten. Everyone that is, except Samantha, Kimmy, and Brooke. And if they are immune to the airborne virus, Dr. Lewis has every reason to believe they will also be immune to the pathogen-borne virus, a concept which he plans to test. He ordered the two guards to unlock Brooke's cell, so he could take her up to the lab to continue developing the cure which will make him not only a very wealthy man, but also a king.

After Dr. Lewis left, the two guards moved to unlock Brooke's cell and she decided to go with them willingly, knowing she had her pistol concealed and hoping to get a shot at the doctor. Mike quickly picked the lock on his cell, and Thomas began slamming himself against his cell door, seeing the chips of concrete fly off, rewarding his efforts. As the guards got Brooke to the door and the stairs beyond, Thomas, now free from his cell, the door slamming against the floor of the room, charged them, tackling one down onto the bottom steps. Mike freed the others while Brooke took out the remaining guard, then fired a shot just past Thomas' head, killing the guard he was pinning, and saving his life. As she helped Thomas up, he grabbed her by the shoulders and planted a kiss on her lips, thanking her for what she had just done.

With that, the group hurried up the stairs, took out the two guards in the guard station and found all of their gear stored there. After re-equipping and adding a few flash-bang grenades from guards who would no longer be needing them, the group moved through the doors into a long hallway containing decontamination stations and biohazard suits, finally arriving at a door with two small wire-mesh reinforced safety glass windows. Looking through, Mike could see a lab. He motioned the group forwards and Thomas looked in as well. Inside the lab were seven more guards, along with Dr. Lewis. Strapped to operating tables in the center of the lab, and hooked to a number of machines lie the unconscious bodies of Samantha and Kimmy. There was no sign of Jessica or Sarah Beth, until one of the guards came into view holding a reanimated head. The had was that of Sarah Beth! As the guard moved towards Samantha and Dr. Lewis, Thomas' now deceased and reanimated fiancee's jaws opening and closing, Mike opened the door just wide enough for Thomas to toss a flash-bang grenade through the crack. Once the thing went off, they threw the doors opened and began taking out the guards with carefully placed single shots to the head. The plan was ruthless and efficient. When the smoke cleared from the second flash-bang, the stunned and blinded Dr. Lewis was the only one standing.

The group freed Samantha and Kimmy from the tables, while Mike checked out the strange door on the opposite side of the room. Looking through the window, he could see a roomful of the living dead things. As they milled about, a face pressed itself to the window, trying to bite him through the glass. He winced back for a moment, realizing quickly that it was the face of Jessica, Bryce's sister. Thomas, looking through the glass, also caught a glimpse of their missing Marine.

After brief negotiations about what to do, Dr. Lewis was shoved through the door to the containment room. At the last second, Thomas put an intact grenade in the man's hand, so he could choose that end if he could get the pin out before the things killed him. Then, they hurried from the warehouse, back to the Humvee. The Marines back at the Humvee saw several of the guards escape from the other side of the warehouse, but held their ground. As the group climbed into the vehicle, they heard a final, small explosion from the warehouse.

Returning to Pink Hill, the group found the repair work finished on the vehicles, with the Marines guarding the garage. The group and the Marines boarded their vehicles and rolled out of Pink Hill with the horde only about a half hour away. A short distance out of town, the Marines, including 1st Sergeant Hauser and the final motor pool Marine, leaving Bryce and Fabiana and their daughter Kimmy, Thomas, Brooke, Mike, Trip and Sarah (Brooke's friend, mutilated by Spiderbait) and Trip's buddy David, Sean, Alison and her friend Heidi, Sean, and Timothy and his daughter Samantha.

The group begins heading west, loaded with tools and supplies, but low on food and fuel.

---

This concludes Season 1.

We'll be starting starting Season 2 with a modified version of the one-sheet The Dead of Night, this evening.
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Jordan Peacock
Legendary


Joined: 08 Sep 2007
Posts: 2464
Location: Orlando, Florida

PostPosted: Fri Nov 09, 2012 3:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Pretty intense! This particular scenario was pretty harsh on any NPC "loved ones" who might have the misfortune of being in the wrong place at the wrong time ... but then, WOTD has a LOT of places where if you don't keep your dependents close to hand (never, EVER let them be off-stage!), a stack-full of Bennies won't do you or them a bit of good. I suppose that adds to the proper level of fear and paranoia, in the big scheme of things.

I thought it was an interesting (if dark) twist on "honor" for Thomas to let the doctor have a grenade as an option for how to go out, considering how he'd just found his fiance and all.

How did the players take all these developments? (Oddly enough, I have an easy enough time being rough on NPC sidekicks/dependents if it's "on camera," particularly if the PCs aren't doing a very good job of keeping them protected -- but a lot harder time with going through with something happening to them "off-stage" while the PCs are away. In my own campaign, things got so thoroughly derailed in Dalesbury that I wasn't quite put on the spot, so I managed to make a cowardly dodge around that particular situation.)
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DGMiller
Seasoned


Joined: 25 Jan 2012
Posts: 218
Location: Myrtle Beach, SC

PostPosted: Fri Nov 09, 2012 4:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jordan Peacock wrote:
Pretty intense! This particular scenario was pretty harsh on any NPC "loved ones" who might have the misfortune of being in the wrong place at the wrong time ... but then, WOTD has a LOT of places where if you don't keep your dependents close to hand (never, EVER let them be off-stage!), a stack-full of Bennies won't do you or them a bit of good. I suppose that adds to the proper level of fear and paranoia, in the big scheme of things.

I thought it was an interesting (if dark) twist on "honor" for Thomas to let the doctor have a grenade as an option for how to go out, considering how he'd just found his fiance and all.

How did the players take all these developments? (Oddly enough, I have an easy enough time being rough on NPC sidekicks/dependents if it's "on camera," particularly if the PCs aren't doing a very good job of keeping them protected -- but a lot harder time with going through with something happening to them "off-stage" while the PCs are away. In my own campaign, things got so thoroughly derailed in Dalesbury that I wasn't quite put on the spot, so I managed to make a cowardly dodge around that particular situation.)


It was definitely the strongest episode so far.

I spoke with the two players in advance this time. I don't always do that, but I let them know I was considering something bad happening to their NPC's. Thomas also has the added guilt that he was no longer in love with Sarah Beth, but had fallen for Brooke back at LeJeune (the players had only hinted around their characters' intents). Bryce's player was fine with that particular NPC suffering a bad ending. Bryce's daughter Kimmy is also immune, so she won't be killed off yet...

I al trying to eliminate the "deadbeat" NPC's that get no "screen time" have no or very little personality, and aren't doing anything for the story.
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DGMiller
Seasoned


Joined: 25 Jan 2012
Posts: 218
Location: Myrtle Beach, SC

PostPosted: Sun Nov 11, 2012 12:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Season 2, Episode 1

The Cast:
Bryce Winters - The father of Kimmy and husband of Fabiana Winters is just trying to protect what's left of his family.
Dr. Fabiana Winters - Wife of Bryce Winters, the doctor's goal is to help find a cure.
Thomas Odenson - This Marine decided to stick with the group, rather than leave with Major Morgan.
Brooke Abrams - The former party girl is dealing with her strange fevered dreams and her attraction to Thomas.
Trip Gordon - This Irish drifter is finding a place in this group that he's never found with people before.
Mike Fulmin - Always a rebel, Mike is now battling a budding drug addiction along with the walking dead.
Alison Gandry - The lithe dancer is finding herself well-suited to getting into and out of difficult situations.
Sean MacGregor - He's getting the photos of a lifetime, if there is anyone left to appreciate them later.

Supporting Cast:
Kimmy Winters - The young daughter of Bryce and Fabiana shares a bond with Samantha Hickman and Brooke Abrams.
Tim Hickman - A former chemistry teacher who is trying to protect his daughter Samantha, the only thing he has left.
Samantha Hickman - Tim's daughter has grown inseparable from her friend Kimmy.
Sarah Sherman - The former party girl was disfigured by Spiderbait, but has fallen for Trip's strange charms.
David Norris - This drifter and jack-of-all-trades is Trip's reluctant sidekick.
Heidi Simpleton - Long Alison's best friend, she now clings to Alison for support in the face of this threatening new world.


Notes: I chose to begin Season 2 with the one-sheet The Dead of Night to show the group that not everyone they encountered was a bad guy. I did modify it a bit and used the Modern Working Farm from Fabled Environments for the maps of the farm. I also started the episode "in media res" with a description of their ordeals getting past North Carolina's population centers, subtracted some ammo, and made them choose which vehicles to ditch as the fuel ran out. I began the episode by having each player describe their character's mental state and how they were dealing with their ordeals, including character goals, hopes, and attachments. The only player not present was Sean MacGregor's player. He is a part-timer and has missed probably 3/4 of the episodes. This should improve a bit, as he just retired from the National Guard this week.

Making it past the population centers of North Carolina was not easy. The two weeks since leaving Pink Hill and splitting off from Major Morgan and his Marines were a desperate blur of running, scavenging, fighting, surviving. They barely had time to process the atrocities they'd faced in that small town. Everyone was dealing with Dr. Winters' seeming betrayal to the town's ruthless Dr. Lewis in a different way. Her husband Bryce didn't really blame her for confiding in the doctor. He knew that she was only trying to do what was best for their family. The others weren't so sure.

The first thing to go was the little station wagon. It didn't make it past Fayetteville. Everything else in the convoy was diesel and it just didn't make sense to have to search for two sources of fuel. Before ditching the car, the group siphoned what little gas remained in the tank and filled the tanks of the motorcycles in the back of the panel van. They also stripped anything useful that they may need later.

Somewhere between Fayetteville and Charlotte, Trip's pickup truck was ditched to save fuel. Everything in the back and in the toolboxes was crammed into the panel van. The truck was stripped and hidden off the road.

Getting around Charlotte, NC wasn't easy before the dead started to walk. Now, it was an even more terrifying ordeal. Somewhere north of the city, the group decided to save fuel by ditching the Humvee, first removing the mounted .50 cal machine gun and as much of the mounting assembly as possible. They also stripped out the radios and all other useful parts and equipment. It really broke Thomas' heart to leave her behind, so they found a stretch of trees and wedged her in there, covering her with camouflage netting and branches, in case they came back through.

The final obstacle was Asheville, NC. Getting around the city and through the mountains in which it rested was no easy task. The roads were impassable in many places. The roads that were clear, or could be cleared with some effort, did not permit easy scavenging for food or fuel. Breaking through into the less populated areas in the heart of the Great Smoky Mountains was a major accomplishment for the group, and the going became easier, though supplies became no more plentiful.

A little more than 12 miles east of Maggie Valley, NC their luck, and their fuel, ran out. They were on a winding mountain road in the middle of nowhere. Night was approaching quickly. On the right hand side of the road, they could see a driveway leading to some farm buildings set back from the road.

Thomas and Brooke kept watch from the roof of the RV while two groups went to check out the farm. Trip, Mike, and Alison snuck through the woods to investigate the chicken coops, hog houses, and barn. Bryce, Sean, and Tim took the direct route up the driveway toward the main house. Each group carried a radio to signal if they were in trouble.

Bryce's group found two vehicles out front; an old rusty pickup truck and another old flatbed stake truck. Approaching the house, there were no signs of habitation, but the door was locked. Bryce put his shoulder to the door, forcing it open, and found a dusty, deserted home with the furniture covered with sheets and nothing in the way of food or supplies, but also none of the dead things. It looked like the farm house was abandoned long before the crisis arose.

Trip's group found the chicken coops and hog houses empty of both livestock and useful items. They found the barn door barred from the outside, so Mike climbed up the old planks and made it to the opening into the hayloft. Sneaking to the edge of the loft, he looked down on a scene of dead horses and about a dozen of the dead shambling around the barn, trapped inside. He climbed down and informed the others. Around the side of the barn was a tank of diesel with almost 20 gallons still inside and a few old, rusting pieces of farm equipment.

The two groups merged back at the house and reported their findings to each other, then walked around the house, looking for a storm cellar or other basement. They found the angled metal doors to the cellar around the side of the house. There was no lock on the doors, but Trip saw numerous footprints leading to the cellar. They called out and heard no response.

From the top of the RV, Thomas and Brooke saw a few dozen of the shamblers approaching on the mountain road. Due to the terrain, the things were pretty close when they were spotted. Thomas quickly signaled everyone to return to the RV. Moving quickly away from the house, the group followed the footprints back to the stake truck and found that it had a little bit of gas, just barely above the "E" on the guage. They hotwired it and rode back to the RV and the panel van.

Once at the vehicles, the group gathered their easily portable necessities, the .50 cal machine gun, and a motorcycle and jumped on the back of the stake truck for a short ride back to the cellar doors. They decided to take their chances with who or whatever was dow there as the horde, now looking to contain close to 200 of the things, approached.

Back at the house, they tied rope around the door handles and pulled them open from the sides. They moved down the stairs cautiously to find a group of about 20 dirty, disheveled, and extremely frightened folks huddled in a back corner of the cellar. They pulled the doors shut and pulled the bolt from the inside, wondering why the group down here hadn't done that in the first place.

The survivors in the cellar did not have a single weapon larger than a butcher knife or a hatchet among them. There were no firearms present. They were extremely hesitant to talk about how they got there or how long they had been there, and the group quickly surmised that they left someone outside who had barricaded the shamblers inside the barn and was likely still out there. Meanwhile, Thomas set-up the .50 cal on it's ground mount at the foot of the steps.

After a short time, a dozen gunshots were heard echoing from the area between the house and the road. Bryce and Thomas climbed out of the cellar to check it out, sneaking along the house and keeping to the bushes, trees, and longer grass. Scattered along the driveway were the corpses of a dozen of the things, each with a clean shot to the head from a large caliber handgun, fired at fairly close range. They could see the main horde still out on the road, mostly clustered around the vehicles, probably still smelling the living humans who had so recently been occupying them. They could also see several more of the things approaching down the driveway, likely drawn by the gunshots.

Bryce took three out with his crossbow, and the remaining ones were getting close to where he and Bryce were hiding behind the bushes almost under the front porch, when another gunshot echoed from the area of one of the hog houses and another of the things crumpled, with half of its head missing. The shooter then yelled out, "HYAAA! C'MERE PIG!" The remaining things moved towards the yell. Another gunshot dropped another one, and Bryce finished another with his crossbow.

As he approached the hog house, Bryce heard a voice behind him say, "Nice shootin' pardner." Turning, he saw a man dressed in the black outfit of a sheriff from the wild west. Huge old Colt revolvers hung from his twin gunbelts. The handles of kukri-like old machetes protruded over each shoulder. In his hands was an old Springfield 1903 rifle. At the man's urging, they collected Thomas and moved back to the cellar as more of the horde began to find its way towards the vicinity of the house.

Back in the cellar, the man in black, who identified himself as Lucas Waller, told his story. A former rancher and collector of vintage weapons from Pinebox, Texas with a Masters degree in history from East Texas State University (ETSU), Lucas lost his ranch when the economy collapsed. He fell back on his history degree, and his love for the wild west, taking a job as an "interpretive historian" at the Ghost Town In the Sky in Maggie Valley, NC. When the dead started walking, he reasoned that the park, accessible only by chair lift, would be the safest place to go, but he couldn't get people to listen at first, until he donned his sheriff's outfit from his job as a re-enactor... I mean, "interpretive historian" at the park, grabbed his guns, and took on the persona of the old west sheriff he was so used to playing. "Sheriff" Waller had spent the weeks since then traveling to as many of the nearby small towns, villages, and collections of buildings that passed for civilization in these parts, collecting what survivors he could and transporting them to the Ghost Town In the Sky. In that time, he had earned the apparent animosity of the local hordes of undead, who seemed to be following him from place to place by now. The best he could hope for was to stay one step ahead of the hordes. This time, he didn't have enough gas to make it to Maggie Valley, so he stopped at this abandoned farm and got "his people" into the cellar, locking some wandering undead into the barn, before the group showed up and ran out of gas.

By now, the group could hear the unmistakable, chilling sound of one of the zombie babies outside. Frighteningly, it seemed to be directing the horde, as they apparently searched the property, first rampaging through the house, directly above their heads, then using their mass to demolish the barn and free those trapped inside. Before they could come back around, Lucas turned to the group and asked them to do him a boon. He would draw the horde off if they would promise to get his people to the Ghost Town. They agreed and gave Waller the keys to the motorcycle and two molotov cocktails to help him make his escape.

The last they saw of Lucas Waller, he lit the two molotovs, threw open the cellar doors, and started yipping and yelling. They heard him gun the motorcycle and thread through the horde, which followed him inexorably into the night. Barring the doors, the group got what sleep they could until morning, when they led Waller's "people" out to the truck, divided the diesel between the three vehicles and dropped them off at the entrance to the Ghost Town in the Sky. As Waller's "deputies" fired up the generators to the chair lift, they were allowed to take a little more fuel for their good deed. The group told the "deputies" that the sheriff had led the entire horde off on his motorcycle and that he was out there somewhere, hopefully to return soon to the Ghost Town In the Sky.

<Fade to black>
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DGMiller
Seasoned


Joined: 25 Jan 2012
Posts: 218
Location: Myrtle Beach, SC

PostPosted: Wed Nov 21, 2012 1:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Season 2, Episode 2

The Cast:
Bryce Winters - The father of Kimmy and husband of Fabiana Winters is just trying to protect what's left of his family.
Dr. Fabiana Winters - Wife of Bryce Winters, the doctor's goal is to help find a cure.
Thomas Odenson - This Marine decided to stick with the group, rather than leave with Major Morgan.
Brooke Abrams - The former party girl is dealing with her strange fevered dreams and her attraction to Thomas.
Trip Gordon - This Irish drifter is finding a place in this group that he's never found with people before.
Mike Fulmin - Always a rebel, Mike is now battling a budding drug addiction along with the walking dead.
Alison Gandry - The lithe dancer is finding herself well-suited to getting into and out of difficult situations.
Sean MacGregor - He's getting the photos of a lifetime, if there is anyone left to appreciate them later.

Supporting Cast:
Kimmy Winters - The young daughter of Bryce and Fabiana shares a bond with Samantha Hickman and Brooke Abrams.
Tim Hickman - A former chemistry teacher who is trying to protect his daughter Samantha, the only thing he has left.
Samantha Hickman - Tim's daughter has grown inseparable from her friend Kimmy.
Sarah Sherman - The former party girl was disfigured by Spiderbait, but has fallen for Trip's strange charms.
David Norris - This drifter and jack-of-all-trades is Trip's reluctant sidekick.
Heidi Simpleton - Long Alison's best friend, she now clings to Alison for support in the face of this threatening new world.

Notes: All of my players were present for only the second time. This necessitates a "kid's table" for the last person to arrive. It still worked pretty well. Getting the group into this episode was one of the biggest sticking points I've had to far, moreso than the scripted captures and some other scenes I've seen discussions about. Sure enough, my group "scavenger" and "hunter" players complained about being low on food and the group "mechanic" player complained about running out of fuel in the vehicles. I tried to paint the area, very subtly, as under control of raiders and thus already looted quite thoroughly and that with a lack of human food in the area, the zombies had been eating or at least driving off the potential game animals. It didn't go over all that well, but since the group is having a LOT of fun, they gave me a pass on this one and we got into the episode. I got lots of compliments on this episode from the players, but it felt very "railroady" to me. I just keep telling myself, "Brontosaurus."

Somewhere in western Arkansas, the last two vehicles were low enough on gas that the group had to abandon them. The remaining motorcycle was already near empty from continued scavenging runs. It was two weeks since they had encountered Lucas Waller in the North Carolina mountains and left behind the Ghost Town In the Sky.

They could see the roofs of houses in the distance, so it appeared a town, or some vestige of civilization was up ahead, so they got the RV and the panel truck off the side of the road, gathered some mud and branches, and made them look like they had been there for a while. They also smeared muddy handprints on the insides of the windows, so it looked like there might be undead within the vehicles. Mike secured Henry's old hunting rifle to the roof of the RV and switched the scope over to his M-16. Everyone grabbed some basic supplies and some weapons and set off on foot for what looked to be about a 2 mile walk to the houses they could see in the distance.

The houses turned out to be a gated subdivision that looked like it had been abandoned in the early days of the outbreak. The neighborhood of nice one and two-story homes was surrounded by a 12-foot high brick wall. An abandoned guard house sat behind a pair of sturdy iron gates. The lettering next to the gates proclaimed the community to be Skyler Estates.

The iron gates of Skyler Estates were secured from the inside by a large tow chain and large Master lock that both looked brand new. From the outside, there appeared to be no residents remaining in the community, but that shiny new lock and chain seemed to indicate otherwise.

Mike climbed to the top of the wall, while Thomas and Trip walked a circuit around the exterior perimeter. As they were walking the perimeter, Mike whistled loudly, which elicited no response from the community, but did serve to summon a few of the local living dead populace to start shambling in the direction of the place.

As everyone gathered before the gates, the lock was picked and the group quickly moved through the gates while they were locked behind them. Most of the initial wave of shamblers received the pointy ends of knives or fire axes before the group moved further into the neighborhood.

Past the enpty guard house, the group saw that every single house on the first cross street had an "X" painted on or near the front door in dayglo orange spray paint. Trip opened the garage door of the first house, and while it didn't contain a vehicle, it did contain a wheelbarrow, which was used to move a large number of the shamblers outside to the ditch across the street, though more were still arriving as they worked. Finally, they abandoned the corpse removal and ventured into one of the houses near the entrance. They moved carefully, covering both entrances to the house and finally hearing the telltale moaning coming from the master bathroom area of the house. They found the ubiquitous orange "X" sprayed on the door to this room as well. Thomas tried to kick the door in, so he and Bryce could dispatch the shamblers within, but it bounced off one of the undead and rebounded shut, after which those shamblers in the room began piling against the door.

Leaving the house behind, the group began to check others, finding nearly the same scenario, or some variation, in every house in the neighborhood. Every house, that is, except one single story home in the back corner, farthest from the gate. There was no orange "X" on this door.

Entering carefully, Trip took the lead, whistling and talking loudly to himself, trying to project that the group wasn't looking to harm anyone. The group followed, methodically beginning to clear the house. Sean and Thomas went down the back hall. Sean broke down the first door on the right, which turned out to be a bathroom, but as soon as he went through, Thomas found himself looking down the business end of a shotgun. In close quarters, this looked like it could get really ugly, really fast.

The bearer of the shotgun was an extremely attractive woman, who looked confident and steady as she approached and told the group to drop their weapons. As she advanced from a bedroom doorway, another door opened and two young girls stuck their heads out. The woman told the girls to get back in the room and called out to another person for help. A man responded to the summons, coming out of the same room the woman appeared from.

After a few tense moments, everyone lowered their weapons and introductions were made. The strangers were Caitlin and Jeff Murray and their daughters Barbara and Lina. Bryce and Fabiana soon introduced their daughter, Kimmy, and Tim brought his daughter, Samantha, inside as well. Once Caitlin saw the group had children along, the two sides found some common ground and began swapping stories of the post-apocalypse world and their experiences.

The houses of this neighborhood were all strangely without vehicles, and without most obviously useful supplies. Using a ladder found in a garage, the group set up a watch post on the roof to keep an eye on the undead gathering outside the wall.

The group set up watches during the night, but the only thing that disturbed the group's peaceful rest came from within the bedroom where Fabiana was having a little slumber party with the girls.

Kimmy and Samantha, and Brooke, who was sleeping on the living room couch, had another of their dreams. In this dream, they saw four men on horseback. One was dressed as a fireman in full firefighting gear, another as a police officer. All four looked friendly and helpful, and gave off a soothing aura. Somehow, the girls knew that they were supposed to go with these men, that if they didn't go with them and help them, the men would die. Samantha, who was a bit older than Kimmy, and Brooke, also picked up that they could save these men, but doing so could put their own group in some danger. Otherwise, the night passed peacefully, though after the dream, Brooke joined Thomas in the master bedroom.

In the morning, the group decided to send out a scavenging party to check the nearby area for potential fuel and supplies. The group doused any flammable liquids they could find on the living dead that had gathered outside the walls of the neighborhood, and lowered two scavenged bicycles over the wall. Bryce used the crossbow to take out the walkers nearby, and Trip and Sean used the bikes to lure a large number of them away before lighting the horde on fire, which spread to large numbers of them. After turning the undead horde into a flaming undead horde, the two circled back around and were joined by Thomas, Bryce, Brooke, Mike, Caitlin, and Alison, while the rest of the group (Tim, David, Heidi, Sarah, and Jeff) stayed behind with the kids.

About half a mile from Skyler Estates, the group passed a road leading to the south. On that road, just off the road the group was on, were four men on horseback, looking stunned to see a large group of living people on this road at this time. None of them were dressed as police officers or firefighters, but Brooke could tell that these were indeed the men from her dream.

To be continued...
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DGMiller
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Joined: 25 Jan 2012
Posts: 218
Location: Myrtle Beach, SC

PostPosted: Wed Nov 21, 2012 1:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just some quick side notes:

The reason I used the prophetic dream on the party is to foreshadow the danger to the group, especially to Samantha, which she fully realizes. It also helps mitigate a problem I'm having. One of my players (Bryce's player) has become an angry person in general. It isn't related to the game, really. He just has some stuff going on in his life right now. We've all been there. It's reflecting in his character who, at the end of Season 1, swore to never help another person as long as he lived. He was adamant about leaving the helpless group that Lucas Waller was protecting in Season 2, Episode 1, to fend for themselves and not escorting them to Ghost Town In the Sky, but he was outvoted by the group, and only went along because he felt he didn't have a choice. His daughter is now giving him a reason to help others again, and between Lucas and Caitlin, he seems to be a little more level-headed now. The whole reason I threw Lucas Waller in there was to show that some people were deciding to become heroes in this new world.

Also, for Hirshbeck Estates, I'm using Google Earth view of Pioneer Valley Cohousing Community in West Acton, MA (http://www.cohousing.com/) and changing the name to Snyder Farms. The farm house is the building in the extreme lower left corner of the aerial photo on the link, and the church/community center will be the large building with the red roof (actually the community center, and it will be to some extent). The church will still be run by Father Kenneth, who is a former Navy chaplain who still dresses in priestly garb and goes by "Father" even though he is no longer officially a member of the Catholic Church. He is a rather more liberal sort who ministers to his flock in this progessive, communal neighborhood.

To me, this gives the community a stronger raison d'etre. It has survived because these people are used to depending on each other. They are a tight knit community who watch each other's backs. They also are used to helping others. It also gives them some sustainability. I'll give them the solar and some wind turbine power, along with the crops and livestock (including chicken and eggs) from the small farm on-site. These people are perfect for the apocalypse, until you add the raiders to the living dead and then one of their own comes unhinged. Then, it's more of a betrayal when part of the community strikes off on their own.
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Wibbs
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Joined: 02 Jan 2011
Posts: 647
Location: London

PostPosted: Wed Nov 21, 2012 3:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sounds like a good session. I had similar grumblings about taking away most of the group's hard earned resources at the start of chapter 2, and it's definately one of the more railroady bits I've been through.
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DGMiller
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Joined: 25 Jan 2012
Posts: 218
Location: Myrtle Beach, SC

PostPosted: Wed Dec 05, 2012 9:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Season 2, Episode 3

The Cast:
Bryce Winters - The father of Kimmy and husband of Fabiana Winters is just trying to protect what's left of his family.
Dr. Fabiana Winters - Wife of Bryce Winters, the doctor's goal is to help find a cure.
Thomas Odenson - This Marine decided to stick with the group, rather than leave with Major Morgan.
Brooke Abrams - The former party girl is dealing with her strange fevered dreams and her attraction to Thomas.
Trip Gordon - This Irish drifter is finding a place in this group that he's never found with people before.
Mike Fulmin - Always a rebel, Mike is now battling a budding drug addiction along with the walking dead.
Alison Gandry - The lithe dancer is finding herself well-suited to getting into and out of difficult situations.
Sean MacGregor - He's getting the photos of a lifetime, if there is anyone left to appreciate them later.

The four horsemen raised their hunting rifles at the group. Thomas and Mike raised their weapons in response. Neither Brooke nor Bryce raised their weapons, as they were both aware of the dream that Brooke and the children had the night before.

The leader of the four men, James Caden, asked the group who they were and what they were doing. Bryce responded by asking is any of them were a police officer or a firefighter. After exchanging strange glances with his fellows, James replied that he was a firefighter, and that one of the other men, a bald man named Michael, was a police officer. James then asked Bryce how he knew this detail, to which Bryce responded, "Just a hunch, I guess."

As introductions were made, the group noticed that the walkers nearby seemed to be heading down the road past them, towards the town or city that was off in the distance. James admitted that he and his people had been seeing this behavior for a few days already, in increasing numbers. He reckoned that their must be some food source or something drawing them in that direction. The group opted to trust these men with their predicament. Actually, Fabiana spilled the details of their vehicles back on the side of the road and the children and others left back at the walled subdivision. Upon hearing of the children, James invited the group to gather the others and accompany them back to their community of Snyder Farms.

Once the entire group was assembled, the men helped the children up onto the horses and the entire group walked the 6 miles to Snyder Farms. Upon arriving at the community, the group noticed several things. First, all of the houses had solar panels on the roofs, and there were a number of wind turbines placed throughout the small community. They walked past a small farm and numerous community gardens on the way into the community, and saw the residents gathering to watch their arrival. Those gathering did not seem hostile, just suspicious of the group.

James led the group to the steps of a large building that was front and center in the community. It seemed to be a combination church/community center. James and Michael introduced the man who came out of the building to greet the group as "Father Kenneth." As the group would soon learn, "Father" Kenneth was not a Catholic priest, but still the community's spiritual leader. The land once belonged to his family, and he had built the curch/community center to re-learn how to use his body after suffering severe wounds from an improvised explosive device he had encountered as a medic with the 101st Airborne in Iraq. As spiritual leader of the community, he found that it was easiest to assume the traditional priestly title of "Father" and wear the traditional Catholic priestly garments, though he ministered to all faiths, and the church included areas for the worship of several divine entities, including pagan shrines outside.

Several of the group asked if the community had any vehicles or diesel fuel to help them retrieve their vehicles that had been left several miles down the main road. James recommended that they use Harry Ross' Wagoneer and that they could spare a couple of gallons of diesel from the tractor shed to get the vehicles to the community. As a few of the group members set off with James, Michael, and a somewhat intoxicated Harry Ross to do that, the rest of the group began taking HOT showers and settling in, while "Father" Kenneth defrosted a few more venison burgers from the large freezer downstairs.

They group was pleasantly shocked to learn that the town had functioning electricity and fresh well water. "Father" Kenneth also produced several personal hygiene kits with toothbrushes, toothpaste, sample packs of shampoo that looked like they'd been looted from a hotel, shaving razors, and all the necessities. They also found that there was a laundry room in the basement of the church where they could clean their clothes if they wanted, though most garments were so worn, they weren't ever going to look much better.

The one thing the group was alarmed with was the lack of walls, though those had done precious little good for LeJeune or Pink Hill. All this place had were barbed wire fences, some ditches, and a gate across the road.

After the vehicles were brought into a community parking area, the group assembled for a dinner of venison burgers and fresh vegetables from the community gardens. Some of the members of the community introduced themselves, or were introduced. Thomas was excited to meet young Ben Cooper, who had been studying electrical engineering at the nearby University of Arkansas - Fort Smith before the outbreak. Fabiana was introduced to Alice Stillman, who was suffering from lymphoma, and had at most, six months to live. She quickly went to Mike, who was recently discovered to have been pilfering from the group's meager drug supply, as well as getting drugs from elsewhere, to beg for some pain pills for Alice. She also asked Mike if he might be able to scrounge up some marijuana from somewhere for her. Mike later gave her a little of both and kept quiet about his sources. The group also learned that there were a few children in town.

After dinner, "Father" Kenneth offered them the old farmhouse at the edge of the community for the group to stay in during their time at Snyder Farms. It had once belonged to his grandparents and was still kept up as a guest house for the community. As they were settling in, Mike came by with some hunting rifles and asked if anyone would be up for hunting for more deer in the morning, since they would now use up the community's supply more quickly. Several of the group offered to take him up on the offer.

The group was awakened in the morning by an argument between Jeff and Caitlin about the wisdom of going hunting with this "total stranger" or even staying at this place. Several of the group trudged up to the room and told them to keep it down, with a healthy dose of "Jeff, stop being an idiot" thrown in for good measure. After this, the hunting party departed.

During the hunting trip, the group came upon several walkers, and also bagged three deer. As they were hauling the deer up to be cleaned, the radio clipped to James' belt came alive and one of the border guards told him, through much static, that the guys that had taken the nearby military base, Fort Chaffee, were incoming in several camo-painted pick-up trucks. With this warning, the weary James spread the warning. "Father" Kenneth shepherded all the non-combatant women, elderly, and children into the houses in the community's inner ring, while the community's combatants arrayed themselves in upstairs windows of the outer ring and other vantage points. When the group asked James what their plan was, James responded that they planned to kill the raiders, indicating that this wasn't his first rodeo with these guys, and the group was free to assist as they saw fit.

The group quickly deployed on the two most likely areas of approach, with Thomas and Brooke taking the .50 cal they had scavenged from the Humvee before they abandoned it and mounting it on its tripod along the side of one road, while Bryce and Alison took the other road. Sean and Mike served as advance scouts in the woods just outside of the community. Tim, David, and Fabiana stayed with the children in the farmhouse, though David wondered aloud why they hadn't joined the community's other families in the inner ring of houses. Trip, meanwhile, went to the church to see if he could somehow prepare food or welcome the raiders to the community in some way to make them less hostile to the people of Snyder Farms. As gunfire erupted, it quickly became obvious that a peaceful solution was not to be found with this group. Jeff also tried to advocate with Trip for a peaceful solution, but in response, Trip threw a deer heart at him, splattering his chest with gore and ran off, leaving Jeff shaking his head and muttering aloud that he was the only person in the group who wasn't a gun-nut or just plain crazy.

As it turned out, three trucks approached on the road manned by Bryce and Alison, and two more approached on the road where Thomas and Brooke were set-up with the .50 cal.

The first truck on Bryce and Alison's road tried to run the two of them down, and barely missed Alison, but as they fired at the truck, the driver lost control and went flipping off into the woods. The second truck sped by, but missed the curve into the community and rolled off into the woods, killing all of its occupants as well. The third truck on that road made it past the duo and made the turn into the community.

Meanwhile, on the other road, Thomas opened fire at the approaching trucks with the .50 cal, causing one to go out of control and disabling the second. Upon coming to a stop, the occupants took cover behind the vehicle and engaged Thomas and Brooke in a fierce shootout. Thomas sensed that Brooke was in trouble and dove across the road to her position, knocking her out of the way and taking the hail of bullets that were meant for her.

With Thomas barely clinging to life, Brooke dragged his body into a ditch behind a fallen tree and returned fire. Though Brooke also sustained serious wounds in the firefight, the raiders were eventually all dispatched.

Back in the community, the residents who had a clear shot at the truck that was now in the community parking area, began taking a few shots, but the driver was fairly good. Trip ran towards the truck, yelled "GRENADE!!!" and threw a rock into the truck bed. All of the raiders in the bed were completely fooled and lept from the speeding truck. Everyone finished off the truck's remaining occupants, and Trip cleaned up the final survivor, one of the leapers, with a well-placed rock to his head from a distance.

With the threat dispatched, the community began to come out of hiding, and Fabiana and "Father" Kenneth ventured out to treat the wounded.

To be continued...
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Jordan Peacock
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Joined: 08 Sep 2007
Posts: 2464
Location: Orlando, Florida

PostPosted: Wed Dec 05, 2012 10:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

DGMiller wrote:
James admitted that he and his people had been seeing this behavior for a few days already, in increasing numbers. He reckoned that their must be some food source or something drawing them in that direction.


Boy. I'm glad you mentioned that. In my Chapter 2 "shuffle," I totally forgot about that. I really need to make some dream handouts for the "sensitive" characters in my play group (now that I have THREE of them), and make some sort of reference to "migrating" undead.

DGMiller wrote:
During the hunting trip, the group came upon several walkers, and also bagged three deer.


For some reason, I get the mental image of a Polaroid snapshot of a post-apocalyptic hunting party, proudly posing next to a few propped-up deer and some head-shot zombies. Very Happy

DGMiller wrote:
Trip ran towards the truck, yelled "GRENADE!!!" and threw a rock into the truck bed. All of the raiders in the bed were completely fooled and lept from the speeding truck.


Haw. Very Happy Ya know, it makes me think that those gimmick grenade-shaped lighters or paper-weights, etc., might some day be useful in fighting off the post-apocalyptic raiders for a one-time distraction. (And of course, once the raiders figured out the first one was a ruse, that's when you use the REAL grenade you've been saving.)
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DGMiller
Seasoned


Joined: 25 Jan 2012
Posts: 218
Location: Myrtle Beach, SC

PostPosted: Wed Dec 05, 2012 10:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jordan Peacock wrote:
Boy. I'm glad you mentioned that. In my Chapter 2 "shuffle," I totally forgot about that. I really need to make some dream handouts for the "sensitive" characters in my play group (now that I have THREE of them), and make some sort of reference to "migrating" undead.


I neglected to mention that my three sensitives (1 pc and 2 child npc's) felt the urge to "migrate" in the same direction as well.

Jordan Peacock wrote:
For some reason, I get the mental image of a Polaroid snapshot of a post-apocalyptic hunting party, proudly posing next to a few propped-up deer and some head-shot zombies. Very Happy


Since one of the PC's, Sean, is a photographer, there was likely a photo taken. Wink

Jordan Peacock wrote:
Haw. Very Happy Ya know, it makes me think that those gimmick grenade-shaped lighters or paper-weights, etc., might some day be useful in fighting off the post-apocalyptic raiders for a one-time distraction. (And of course, once the raiders figured out the first one was a ruse, that's when you use the REAL grenade you've been saving.)


It was a brilliant Smarts Trick, and he rolled well (11, I think), so I had everyone dive out of the truck. Two were killed by the impact and the remaining two were shaken. It was a great moment, especially for a character with very little in the way of combat-related skills.
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DGMiller
Seasoned


Joined: 25 Jan 2012
Posts: 218
Location: Myrtle Beach, SC

PostPosted: Sat Dec 15, 2012 11:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Season 2, Episode 4

The Cast:
Bryce Winters - The father of Kimmy and husband of Fabiana Winters is just trying to protect what's left of his family.
Dr. Fabiana Winters - Wife of Bryce Winters, the doctor's goal is to help find a cure.
Thomas Odenson - This Marine decided to stick with the group, rather than leave with Major Morgan.
Brooke Abrams - The former party girl is dealing with her strange fevered dreams and her attraction to Thomas.
Trip Gordon - This Irish drifter is finding a place in this group that he's never found with people before.
Mike Fulmin - Always a rebel, Mike is now battling a budding drug addiction along with the walking dead.
Alison Gandry - The lithe dancer is finding herself well-suited to getting into and out of difficult situations.
Sean MacGregor - He's getting the photos of a lifetime, if there is anyone left to appreciate them later.

NOTES: This was one of those times when having a huge group is extremely helpful in actually getting to play at all. We had to skip last weekend's regularly scheduled game because of availability issues (I need more than half of the group to run the game, and the majority of those available must be among the "core" players), but we were able to reschedule for this past Wednesday night. We were still missing the players of Trip, Fabiana, and Sean, but everyone else was present. We are playing this week's game tonight. You will also notice that I skipped some scenes in this episode. I am a big proponent of reading my group and making changes on the fly, so some things just seemed unnecessary or redundant, given the mindset at the table. Finally, we were quite efficient, getting to exactly where I wanted to finish in time to wrap up at a reasonable hour.

After the fight against the goons from the military base, Thomas lay bleeding in a ditch in the woods near Snyder Farms. His body was riddled with gunshot wounds, and Brook was nearly in shock from the firefight, and from watching Thomas take the bullets that were meant for her. Thankfully, Dr. Winters, "Father" Kenneth, and Sean reached them quickly, and Fabiana was able to get Thomas patched up enough to move him back to the farm house. "Father" Kenneth guided Brooke to the farm house, while Bryce and Sean loaded Thomas onto a makeshift stretcher and carried him back. Meanwhile, Mike and Alison made sure the dead raiders wouldn't start walking again, and with Trip's assistance, they scavenged what they could from the corpses and their vehicles. With the help of the community, the corpses were dragged to the field across from the church/community hall and burned in a large pyre. If the raider's comrades could see the smoke from the fire, they would either take it as a sign that the community was burning, or as a warning not to mess with Snyder Farms. Either way was acceptable. Mike did sit by one of the raiders, and as he began to become one of the things, he cut off the head to take back to Fabiana for study purposes.

Back at the farm house, Fabiana remove the bullet fragments from Thomas and sewed up the wounds, with only the few antiseptic supplies on hand and no anesthesia other than some of the dwindling supply of painkillers. Brooke sat quietly by his bedside, drifting in and out of consciousness herself.

After carrying Thomas to the farm house, Bryce and Sean set about the work of towing the raiders' trucks out of the woods and moving them to block those dirt trails into the community. Those trails were also set up with barbed wire from the community's supplies, to make traversing them more difficult for any more raiders, or walking dead, that would try to use them. Finally, they added the trunks of felled trees to the makeshift barricades.

Finally, with the community a little more secured, James thanked Bryce for all the group had done to help the community, letting him know that it wasn't required of them, or even expected that they would go out to meet the raiders head on, but that he and the entire town were thankful for it. James told Bryce that he knew they wouldn't be able to stay there forever, but that they were holding out as long as they could because it was easier to get people to defend their homes and community, along with their electricity, running water, and crops, than it was to go hole up someplace with strong walls, but no comforts that the people were not passionate about. It was more than surviving. James wanted to also let his people "live" for as long as they could. Bryce couldn't disagree with that rationale and the two agreed that the community would have to be made as secure as possible as soon as possible. More barriers, whether they were ditches with barbed wire, felled trees, or whatever, were necessary. Also, James let Bryce know that the town's perimeter patrols would be increased. Also, the next supply team that went to the community's supply source would put in a request for materials to make the town more secure. Harry Ross and his men were in charge of supply runs and would be notified in the morning.

That night, as everyone was settling to sleep, except those on guard duty, the now familiar sounds of a barely stifled argument began to emanate from Jeff and Caitlin's room upstairs. Bryce made his way upstairs and knocked on the door. He could hear them talking quietly, and the sounds of Caitlin's footsteps as she moved to answer his knock. When Caitlin asked if she could help him, Bryce told her in no uncertain terms to knock-off their arguing, so people could get sleep, especially the children. Caitlin smiled at Bryce and told him to kindly mind his own business and allow her to take care of hers. Then, she closed the door in his face. As Bryce contemplated his next move, kicking in the door perhaps, he became aware of someone standing behind him. He turned, ready to defend himself, only to find the Murray's older daughter, Barbara, standing there. She was cradling one of the stuffed animals that had been scavenged from the walled subdivision and looking up at him with wide, uncertain eyes.

Barbara asked Bryce if "Mommy and Daddy" were fighting again, and he led her downstairs to the sofa in the living room. Barbara told Bryce that her parents always fought. She wished it would stop, but that they were going to get a divorce before the dead started getting up. She said that her Mommy was going to take them to Grandma's house to stay, but then everything happened. She asked Bryce if he thought Grandma had become one of those dead things. He told her he hoped not. As Barbara began to settle down and get sleepy again, the sound of a young girl's scream split the night. Bryce ran out the front door while Mike and others, including Caitlin, grabbed what weapons they could and raced through out into the night. Moments later, a woman's scream echoed through the community.

When the group arrived at the source of the screams, several members of the community were already there. James and several others were dragging somebody across the ground, away from a house. A near hysterical woman holding a young girl of about 7 was nearby, and a crowd was already gathering. The group recognized the woman as Jenny Cardile, and the child as her daughter, Cathy. James asked for help and Bryce pitched in, grabbing the struggling figure that was obviously a walker, and not among the living. He wanted to put the thing down right there, but James urged him not to do it in front of his wife and daughter, so they dragged the thing to some open ground next to the church.

While the men dragged John Cardile, Sr. away, Mike and Alison set about checking the area around the house for more walkers or even raiders. Caitlin checked out the house and saw "Father" Kenneth emerge carrying the body of a child who had obviously been bitten and was covered with a blanket. Apparently, someone had left a door open and the thing had wandered into "his" old home. His youngest child, 2 year old Brian, had greeted him with open arms and was bitten severely. Cathy's screams brought her older brother from upstairs, as well as her mother from next door, where she had been sitting with Alice, the cancer patient, and several other members of the community.

In the field beside the church, "Father" Kenneth said ecumenical prayers over the father and son. As soon as he was finished, several members of the community led Jenny and Cathy away while Bryce moved to finish off the walker that had been John Cardile, Sr. As he moved in, everyone heard a shotgun being readied and turned to see 15 year old John Cardile, Jr. holding the weapon. He told Bryce, "He was my Daddy. I was supposed to be watching them while Momma was out, so this is my job."

As Bryce made to protest, John, Jr. put the shotgun close to his father's head and pulled the trigger, splattering gore everywhere, then turned and quickly walked away. "Father" Kenneth then knelt over little Brian's body, said a quick prayer, while covering the top of the boy's head with his arm and sleeve, and punched a knife into the boy's brain to prevent his "turning" into one of the things.

Dawn found James out in the field near the church, digging graves for the bodies of John Cardile, Sr. and his son Brian. Bryce went out to join James and assist in burying the community's dead. As they talked more about the possibility of leaving the community, someone came running up to James to inform him there was trouble over at the Cardile residence again. Mike joined Bryce and James in going to check out the situation. In the upstairs hallway of the home, they found a wall spattered with blood near the corpse of Jenny Cardile. She had a length of rope trailing from a noose around her neck and her skull was bashed in with a hammer. The rest of the rope was tied around a ceiling beam. Nearby was a chair with a knife on it that had obviously been used to cut the rope. In the bedroom doorway stood John Cardile, Jr. who had seen his brother killed by his undead father, who he then shot in the head at close range with a shotgun. He was holding a bloody hammer and his little sister, Cathy, coward behind him in shock. As they tried to talk John, Jr. into handing over the hammer and coming out of the house, He told them that he had to "do it" because she was going to become one of "those things" just like Dad. At any approach, he held up the hammer to defend himself. Mike moved forward slowly, with his hands out, and persuaded John, Jr. to give up the hammer and come with him. John, Jr. slowly handed over the bloody hammer and began to follow Mike down the hall, with Cathy still cowering right against his back as he moved. As John reached his mother's corpse, and the chair with the knife, he swiftly grabbed the knife and moved to plunge it into Mike's back. Bryce, thinking and reacting quickly, disarmed the boy and pinned him against the floor. When asked why he tried to kill Mike, John, Jr. replied that it didn't matter, because they were all going to become those things, just like his Dad. They were all dead already. Mike and a few other men of the community grabbed John, Jr. off the floor and moved him out of the house. Cathy was brought to the farm house to stay with the other children and be watched over by Fabiana as much as possible. She was also given a low dose of sedative to help calm her.

After the second incident at the Cardile house, James asked the group to meet with him about the state of the community. In a meeting room at the church, James, Michael, and "Father" Kenneth gathered with Bryce, Mike, Trip, Fabiana, Alison, and even Thomas and Brooke ventured out of the house to attend the meeting. The only ones left behind were Jeff and David Norris to watch the children. It was decided that the community would have to be evacuated. Everyone would be gathered, given a short time to gather necessary supplies and essential belongings (ONLY essential things) and to load into vehicles to evacuate. James and the others then explained to the group about the secure survivor stronghold in the city known as Sanctuary. That stronghold was the source of many of Snyder Farms' supplies over the past 6 weeks. The people there supported local survivor communities with supplies and welcomed them to join them inside their fortified area if necessary. James told the group that the community would appreciate their help in evacuating to Sanctuary. They could then leave as they saw fit, and would be outfitted with fuel and supplies to continue their journey as they wished. The group agreed to this and then went out into the community to spread the word of a community meeting at the church/community center. They would leave it to the community's leaders to inform them of the plan and convince everyone to leave.

The one sticky situation was what to do with John Cardile, Jr. The suggestion was made to leave him in the community with a gun, ammo, and supplies, but it was decided that this would be essentially the same as killing him, because it would sentence him to death by either the walking dead, raiders, or his own hand. Mike and Brooke had a tense moment with Mike, when it sounded as if he was suggesting shooting John, but he was really defending keeping the boy alive and figuring out how to transport him safely. It was decided that he would be tied down in the back of the cargo van, in hopes that Sanctuary would have some mental health professional who could help him.

After the meeting, as the group was going around the community gathering the residents for the meeting, several people noticed a small horde of shamblers coming out of the woods behind the farm house side of the community. The group quickly took up defensive positions, along with Michael and James, to meet the walkers before they made it into town. During the battle, Trip and several of the others began to make their way to the farm house to check on the kids.

The battle was fierce, but in the end, the shamblers were all destroyed, though they did get close enough to get a hold on Michael, and almost bit him, but he managed to get away at the last second. Bryce waded directly into a group of the things, going after them with two knives and savage kicks to their heads. Caitlin took out the remaining one threatening Bryce, flashing him a smile as she did so that seemed to forgive the events of the previous night. Mike returned the favor moments later when one of the things moved in on her. She also turned and gave Mike a smile that conveyed appreciation for his marksmanship. Mike was really starting to like Caitlin.

Trip, the first one to arrive at the farm house as the battle was coming to an end, found his friend David Norris motionless on the floor in the living room. He didn't show any signs of being shot or cut, and he had a pulse, so Trip checked out the house. He found that the children, all of them, were missing. So was Jeff. He also found a note from Jeff. The note said that Jeff was convinced that this place was a death trap and that most of them were crazy, so he was taking the children to the military base, where they would be safer with the base's defenses and well-armed occupants.

When Bryce, Caitlin, and Tim discovered that their children, along with Cathy Cardile, were missing, they were enraged, and immediately started planning to get to the military base and recover the children. Inflicting a horrible death on Jeff would be a bonus.

TO BE CONTINUED...

NOTE: I am adding a player to the group tonight. This makes us a little more crowded, but also protects us against low turnout cancellations. The new player has been a member of the group for most of the 12 years the group has been together, so I didn't want to turn him away.
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DGMiller
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 16, 2012 2:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Season 2, Episode 5

The Cast:
Bryce Winters - The father of Kimmy and husband of Fabiana Winters is just trying to protect what's left of his family.
Dr. Fabiana Winters - Wife of Bryce Winters, the doctor's goal is to help find a cure.
Thomas Odenson - This Marine decided to stick with the group, rather than leave with Major Morgan.
Brooke Abrams - The former party girl is dealing with her strange fevered dreams and her attraction to Thomas.
Trip Gordon - This Irish drifter is finding a place in this group that he's never found with people before.
Mike Fulmin - Always a rebel, Mike is now battling a budding drug addiction along with the walking dead.
Alison Gandry - The lithe dancer is finding herself well-suited to getting into and out of difficult situations.
Sean MacGregor - He's getting the photos of a lifetime, if there is anyone left to appreciate them later.

And Introducing:
Waylon Stills - A long-haul truck driver before the outbreak, Waylon was recently captured by the goons at Fort Chaffee and forced to repair their equipment.

NOTES: This episode had terrible timing, with the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, but my group asked me not to pull any punches. I did soften some descriptions, but I kept the episode mostly intact. We introduced a new player (see the Cast above). The players of Trip, Fabiana, and Bryce were not present. I gave Caitlin, James, Michael, and Timothy Hickman (Samantha's father) wild card status.

After discovering Jeff and the children missing from the farm house, and reading his note, the group decided to go out after them. Dr. Winters, Trip, Sarah, David Norris, and Heidi stayed behind to pack the group's gear and assist "Father" Kenneth in getting the community prepared to evacuate to Sanctuary as soon as the group returned from the military base. After James and Michael outlined what they knew about the base, the group that was going prepared to leave Snyder Farms. They would be using one of the community's pick-up trucks and the one working truck they had recovered from the raider attack. As they were loading the trucks, Harry Ross and 8 others, including Ben Cooper and his parents, drove up in Harry's Wagoneer and told James and Michael that they were leaving. The group allowed them to leave, though James hated seeing their entire supply team abandon like that.

Bryce, Mike, Thomas, Brooke, Alison, Sean, James, Michael, Caitlin, and Tim loaded into the two pickup trucks and drove the 6 miles back to the main road, where they hid the trucks in the woods and decided to hike the rest of the way to Fort Chaffee. The clouds were rolling in a rain was beginning to fall. They made about four miles on foot, staying in the woods whenever possible and avoiding roads, the rain now a heavy downpour, when they heard the sounds of an engine up ahead. They all took cover as the Apache flew low overhead, slowed to a stop and came back to hover over them, shining its lights directly on several of them for about 20 seconds before speeding off in the direction the group had come from. They immediately decided to move a couple of miles in a parallel direction before continuing on towards Fort Chafee.

About 2 miles away from the base, the group spotted a Humvee through the trees. It was canted into a ditch on the side of a dirt road and looked abandoned, until Sean, Caitlin, Mike, and Alison moved up and saw the dead things trapped inside. They almost left it alone, but then decided to loot it for supplies. Sean moved up and used Bryce's crossbow to take out the thing in the driver's seat, while Alison moved around the front of the Humvee. Automatic weapons fire immediately erupted from the trees ahead, stitching a pattern across the dirt road next to Alison, and barely missing Sean, instead spraying the windshield of the Humvee and ripping into the walker Sean had just dispatched. Sean immediately took cover behind the engine block and left front tire of the Humvee as the group, with night vision goggles, returned fire on their attackers. All three of them were taken out quickly.

Searching the bodies of the raiders, a teddy bear was found on one of them that was the same one Barbara had been holding the night before. Caitlin cursed that they had killed the men and repeatedly stabbed the corpse of the raider who was carrying the bear. Listening over the radio in the Humvee, the group could hear chatter about the people in the woods that had been seen by the Apache and that several teams had been sent out to find them. They could also tell from the radio chatter that the men at Fort Chaffee were not trained military in any way and that their efforts were not well coordinated. During the firefight, Caitlin had made an incredible shot to take out one of the raiders, so Mike asked her about what she "really" did before the outbreak. He had also seen the shot she had made back at Snyder Farms to take out a walker that was too close to Bryce, and he knew she wasn't a "stay at home mom" no matter what she said. Caitlin admitted that not only was her father a Pittsburgh cop, which the group already knew, but she was a S.W.A.T captain in the city before the outbreak. That explained a LOT. After looting the Humvee and the bodies, the group moved on.

Before they saw the base, the group could hear the Disturbed's "Down With the Sickness" and other music being blared over loudspeakers as throngs of people partied in the rain. There was a makeshift motorcycle track set up to the side of the main gate and motorcycle races were currently being held in the mud and rain. There were also obvious guards armed with automatic weapons stationed about every 60 feet in this area, with stationary gun emplacements about every 120 feet. Lights and bonfires could be seen all over the complex, and the whole thing was brightly lit, with huge spotlights everywhere and searchlights scanning the 12 foot high razor-wire topped fence. The lights also illuminated a number of tall poles, arranged in pairs, that each held a body strung between them. One of the bodies was Jeff Murray. He wasn't moving, so he either wasn't quite dead or hadn't yet turned into one of those things. Caitlin spat and her disdain for her husband was shared by the rest of the group. Curious about the rest of the facility, the group decided to make a circuit of the base, being careful to keep their distance and stay out of sight. Eventually, the group came to a hill on the side of the base that had another fence running along it. This interior fence was holding back throngs of the living dead, many in military uniforms. The back side of the base was left to the dead and unlit.

As they were finishing their recon, a patrol of two men came by the group about 40 feet away. Mike, Caitlin, Alison, and Sean snuck up behind the pair while Brooke ran in from the front, with her weapon tucked into her pants at the small of her back. Her t-shirt was clinging to her figure because of the soaking rain, and she breathlessly asked the men for help. As she did so, the others jammed guns into their backs and dragged them into the trees nearby.

Brooke asked the men where the children were and what was the best way to get into the base unseen. She really turned on the charm, and the weapons digging into their skin didn't hurt either. The men revealed that the kids were being kept in "B" Barracks, which was where prisoners were kept until they were no longer useful. The men admitted that the best place to get inside was to find a way through the fence as close to the walking dead enclosure as possible, since none of the men wanted to go near it unless they had to. Mike made a mental note that the men weren't wearing any formal uniform outside of tattered cast-off BDU's scrounged from the base, nor were they wearing an insignia or other identifying markings. This meant that once they got onto the base, it would be more easy to pass themselves off as belonging there, if they looked the part. After the brief interrogation, Thomas asked the group what they wanted to do with the men. Caitlin slit one's throat before Thomas had even finished speaking, so he did the same with the other and they moved toward the fence.

Using bolt cutters found in the Humvee, the group cut into the fence near the zombie pen and moved inside. Bryce, Michael, James, and Tim would make sure the escape route stayed clear and be prepared to weaken the fence into the zombie pen as soon as they were ready to escape from the base. The rest of the group split into three pairs, thinking it best to look like couples in search of a quiet spot for some horizontal fun as they moved toward "B" Barracks. Mike and Caitlin, Sean and Alison, and Thomas and Brooke were the pairs.

About halfway to the barracks, Mike and Caitlin were walking around a corner when a pair of guys almost walked right into them. Guns were leveled for a tense moment, and the men asked them what they were doing. Mike replied that they were looking for a quiet place to get together (though not so politely), and the two men asked if they could join. A single glance from Caitlin sent them on their way.

The three pairs finally came together near the barracks, which were arranged in a hexagonal pattern. The A, B, and C Barracks were still standing, though D, E, and F had apparently burned down, leaving the back of the hexagon open. The group could see the flames of bonfires and groups of tents off in the distance as they scouted the area.

Moving to the rear entrance to the "B" Barracks, Brooke easily picked the lock and gained entry. The interior was dark, with only minimal security lighting for illumination. Square holes had been cut into the doors, with chicken wire stapled over the holes. Scanning the makeshift cells, the group found four women tied to bunks, a single man in another room, and four of the five girls in the last room.

The lone man in the one cell started asking to be let out, but the group was hesitant to set any of the other prisoners free, wanting to release just the girls and get out. The man gave them some information about the guard movements and offered to share details of the place's vehicular defenses and such, since he was being forced to repair things like tanks and helicopters for the occupants of the base during the day. He also told them when the girls were brought in and that a walker had been brought in as well. With this, and since Sean thought he looked VERY familiar to him, Mike let him out of his cell. Caitlin and Alison began checking over the four children in their cell down at the end of the hall. Barbara, Samantha, Kimmy, and Cathy Cardile were in there. There clothing was torn and they had been bitten on the legs by the teeth of a small zombie. The older two, Barbara and Samantha, were in the worst shape.

Hearing some moaning coming from what looked like a supply closet near the girls' cell, Mike and Brooke opened the door and found Lina. She had a sack over her head, but was still recognizable by her tattered clothing. Caitlin's youngest was no longer among the living and had been turned into one of the walking dead. With a heavy heart, Mike closed the door and he, Thomas, and Brooke joined Caitlin and Alison and the girls.

Thomas told everybody to move out, but Caitlin told him she wasn't going anywhere until they found Lina. Thomas told her that she had been found, but was one of the things now. She demanded to see her. Thomas told her that he wouldn't allow that. Caitlin cocked her shotgun and again demanded to see her daughter. Thomas stood his ground, saying that she didn't want to see her that way. Caitlin asked if they at least had the decency to put her down, and when Thomas admitted that she hadn't been put down, Caitlin became furious. She said she would be putting her down before they left and that was the end of the discussion. With little choice, Mike led her to the closet where Lina was trapped and opened the door. Caitlin went inside, removed the sack from her daughter's head, holding the little girl's hair to avoid a bite, and after a tearful goodbye, ended the girl's unlife.

After finally deciding to release the rest of the prisoners and keep them with the group, they moved out of the barracks and back to their extraction team near where they had entered the base. As they were leaving the barracks, the newly freed Waylon told Mike that they needed to find his dog, Maggie. He also asked for a weapon to defend himself, though he understood if they didn't trust him with one. Thomas told him they didn't have time to find the dog, to which Waylon told them they had to, because he and the dog had a psychic link. Not sensing any hostility in Waylon, Mike handed him a shotgun and a few rounds. Once outside the barracks, a small bounding form ran out of the darkness and into Waylon's arms. He had found Maggie, or rather, she had found him. "See, I told you we had a psychic link."

The last thing they did before closing their entry point behind them was to weaken the fence enough to let the undead begin making their way through into the inhabited part of the base. As they watched the undead begin to move into the ranks of the living, Caitlin made a vow to return and make sure these evil men were wiped from the face of the earth.

The group carried the girls back to the Humvee and switched the radio over to the channel used by Snyder Farms in time to hear "Father" Kenneth calling for them over that frequency. When Brooke, riding shotgun, answered, he told her that they had been forced to abandon the community after it was attacked by a helicopter gunship. The Apache the group had seen on their way to the base. The whole place was now burning and they had gotten as many people as they could to safety. They quickly set a rendezvous point, retrieved the pickup trucks, and went to meet those that had managed to escape the community.

At the rendezvous point, the group met up with Trip, Fabiana, and the rest of their group. They had the RV and the panel truck. "Father Kenneth" had the 26 survivors of Snyder Farms loaded into the vehicles, which included 3 vehicles in addition to the panel truck and RV, and now the Humvee and two pickup trucks. John Cardile, Jr. was among those that weren't able to be saved back at Snyder Farms.

Completely emotionally drained and nearly in shock, the group silently made their way toward Sanctuary after all of the children, under Fabiana's close watch were moved to the RV. Fabiana needed desperately to save the girls. Though she hadn't had the chance to do the research she wanted, she began to draw blood from Brooke, Samantha, and Kimmy, as best she could in the moving RV, and use the equipment salvaged from Dr. Lewis' lab back at Pink Hill to get their blood types. She was hoping for a universal donor among those three, and counting on Brooke, Samantha, and Kimmy to actually be immune to not only the airborne version of the virus, but also to the infection from bites. If one of them was Type O negative, a universal donor, she would draw enough blood from them to begin to introduce the antibodies into the systems of the other girls.

Fabiana finally found what she was looking for on the road to a place called Sanctuary.

Brooke was O negative, a universal donor. Maybe there was hope for the girls after all.

TO BE CONTINUED...
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Jordan Peacock
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 16, 2012 7:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Pretty intense! Sounds like it's been going pretty well so far. Smile
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ValhallaGH
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 16, 2012 8:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Really intense session; it came through in the write-up.

Great job.
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DGMiller
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Joined: 25 Jan 2012
Posts: 218
Location: Myrtle Beach, SC

PostPosted: Tue Dec 18, 2012 9:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks, guys! It was very intense and moved very quickly.

I'm at an impasse of sorts in the game. We're starting to hit that saturation point that I've seen pretty much every iteration of this campaign hit: The point where the players' are really feeling the burden of the constant survival grind. Now, admittedly only 2 or 3 of my players are at this point, but I like to be proactive, so I'm trying to brainstorm.

What greater point does it serve to have Caitlin Murray's daughter (Selena, as written; Barbara in my version) die in the sewers under Sanctuary?

What if the group's doctor is able to slow the virus by injecting Brooke's blood into her? It's not a cure, because that would take a total transfusion, and possibly some other modifications. But what if Brooke's antibodies (or Samantha's or Kimmy's) slowed the virus somewhat in Barbara's blood stream. Obviously, they can't take ALL of Brooke's blood without killing her, so there is no cure or anything that can be easily replicated, but I feel that it adds a little hope for the possibility of a cure somewhere down the road. I'm thinking she can be rounded up by Unimed in the sewers and the group can see her when they reach the city, but she takes off in that chopper as the place is about to fall, or dies just before the fall of Sanctuary.

What do you guys think?

I really think current real world events are weighing everyone down and they need some small triumph or progress.

Thanks in advance for any feedback!
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ValhallaGH
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 19, 2012 9:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It sounds like the kind of stress-reduction your group could use. Especially if you make the successful treatment into a social conflict / dramatic task. Figure basic success gets her a couple more days, and each category goes up an order of magnitude (day to week to month to year). If they can get her to "years" then they have effectively cured her.

This puts her immediate fate into the player hands, but gives them a real and hopeful chance of true success. As long as they don't totally screw it up, they will have made a difference. And having that opportunity is a major aid to combating the mental fatigue of a campaign like this one.

Good luck!
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 19, 2012 11:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm with ValhallaGH. War of the Dead, as written, really lays it on thickly, across 52 installments. That might be fine for some groups (who? I have no idea), but I find that tolerance wears thin after a while.

I look at this as a guideline: This is the way the plot is going to go if your heroes are a bunch of uninventive slackers who will just go wherever they're led, fight whatever enemy gets dropped in front of them, and grab whatever meager loot they can find. It would take a pretty milquetoast group of adventurers to just follow the track as written: After all, Samantha is presented as pretty much the "mascot" of the group (perhaps even a relative of one of the PCs), and yet once Caitlin comes along, it's just assumed that the PCs will shuffle off responsibility for the kid to this NPC stranger -- something that is demonstrated to be a bad idea multiple times, as Samantha gets abducted on Caitlin's watch at least THREE times -- and the third time is fatal.

What's more, there's the matter of incentive for the heroes. By and large, War of the Dead doesn't present the heroes with a very compelling goal that works in RPG terms. If the goal is just "survive," then this is a losing proposition: Everyone dies eventually, so this just means we'll stick with this until the players get bored, or we run out of material, or you know, the PCs just all DIE. There isn't the perpetual "explore dungeons, kill monsters, get their loot" motivation that somehow works for certain fantasy games. The "loot" is pretty meager in this setting (unless you count yet another stockpile of M-16s and Desert Eagles wielded by the enemies).

So, that pretty much leaves it to the heroes to define their own goals, which might or might not correspond with the path of WOTD strictly as written.

I look at WOTD as an "idea seed" to get things going. It's also a bit of a fallback: This is a dark and gritty setting, more so than the typical games I run. If bad things are "scripted" to happen, it's not like I, as GM, have just arbitrarily decided to slap down the players (i.e., your stuff just got stolen, your favorite weapon just broke, your kid just got sick) with things they can't avoid. Somehow, I get a bit more "license" for bad things to happen to PCs when it's out of a module rather than just out of my head.

If a kid is "scripted" to die in the adventure, then there's a different dynamic -- especially of the players can be made to CARE about it. It can give the players something to FIGHT against. It's no fun, however, if this is a totally rigged fight that the heroes will lose no matter what they do, even if the GM has to have teleporting omniscient immortal villains to achieve his goal.

I look at it like this: If the PCs leave "Samantha" in the hands of Caitlin, even after the first one or two times she gets abducted while on Caitlin's watch, then they SHOULD NOT BE SURPRISED when it happens again. They might be a bit surprised that Samantha actually DIES as a result, but that just drives home that even kid characters don't necessarily have impermeable "plot armor." If a player has an NPC dependent or ally he or she really cares about, it's going to require some EFFORT to keep that character alive. This is the sort of thing that, if played carefully, can get a player more involved, more invested in the outcome, and get the pulse racing a little more when it looks like a real threat is looming. It also makes it all the more compelling when the hero scores a victory -- if it has been demonstrated or at least successfully communicated that, yes, failure *IS* an option.

Now, in this situation, it's a little different if the "Samantha" stand-in is indeed Caitlin's own child. The PCs can hardly be faulted for letting Caitlin take care of her own kid, right? Then, I'd look at this another way, though I confess it's a bit difficult to articulate quickly. (You might have noticed, I have trouble keeping it brief and to the point.)

By the "script," these events will happen, and by the time the heroes get there, the little kid is either dead or doomed. However, what if those events don't unfold exactly as planned? What if a hero, alert to possible danger, elects NOT to leave the vulnerable NPC(s) unguarded?

Or, what if, instead of carefully and stealthily pursuing, letting precious minutes turn into hours, some daring hero with amazing Tracking and/or Survival skills makes a mad dash after those Ragers?

That's sort of what happened in my own game when most of the PCs wandered off, but one PC elected to stay back at the camp. That didn't mean the PLAYER was out of the action; I just assigned him one of the NPCs to control, temporarily promoted to Wild Card status, so he could be involved in any "on-camera" action. And then, when the threat arose back at camp, and his Danger Sense went off, he had a chance to make a real difference. Rather than just having the camp get swamped by zombies "off-stage" while the PCs were elsewhere, there was a reason (PC with Danger Sense!) why the camp should have a fighting chance to avoid that situation.

At the risk of (sorry!) repeating myself, I am mindful of an old game in which the GM was very big on drama and "last-minute" saves. There was a ritual that was going to happen, with a bunch of bad guys, at the stroke of midnight. We knew that we hadn't a chance to defeat all of them, and we needed to find out more about their weaknesses, etc., to prepare ourselves. The GM went around the table, asking each of us what our characters would be doing. We allocated our time with the aim of arriving at the ritual location with time to spare, whether we succeeded in our preparations or not. Then, we got around to a player who declared that he really had nothing else to do, so he was going to scout ahead and go to that location and basically camp there all day so he'd already be there when the ritual was going to start.

However, the GM was very video-gamish in his approach to these things. Or maybe it's just how the adventure was written; I honestly don't know. As soon as that one PC set foot there, all the bad guys were there (never mind that "midnight" business), and a sacrificial victim was brought in (an NPC dependent of my character who'd been captured without us knowing it somehow), and there were mere rounds until she'd be sacrificed. There was no way for that PC to take them all on single-handedly. Of course, he could call us, but the problem was that it would take everyone -- spread all over -- at least minutes to get there, when there were only SECONDS to spare.

It was pretty evident to all the players what was happening here: No matter what we did, it was SCRIPTED that as soon as one of us got there, there would be "seconds to spare" to save the victim. She wasn't saved, incidentally. I was less than happy. It didn't make me any happier when the GM basically just told us that, yes, that's how it was supposed to go because, hey, that's more dramatic.

Well, that, I hope, helps to explain the way I feel about situations like this. I don't want to get in the habit of "fudging" things to the point where genre-savvy players realize that reacting to threats as they might in real life (rush to the scene; there's no time to lose!) actually works against them, and then they are encouraged to "game" the system.

How much TIME does it take for these Ragers to get the kids from the abduction point to their point of doom? How much SPACE do they cover? There are no parameters given that we can work with. For all we know, the PCs could wait a day before investigating, or throw all caution to the wind and rush there in a blind dash, taking heavy losses along the way AND IT WILL NOT MAKE A BIT OF DIFFERENCE.

I don't like to run things that way. I prefer to assume a baseline scenario: What is the expected, default, likely course of action if the PCs are just going with the flow? THAT is the situation under which things are going to unfold exactly as scripted (and the NPC meets his or her scripted doom).

If the PCs can't even live up to that standard (e.g., they dilly-dally, don't even go out right away to investigate), then the outcome might be even worse. If I don't play it that way, players may start seeing this as like an RPG video game where the world is supposedly in danger, but you can spend AS LONG AS YOU LIKE goofing off at the Golden Saucer, and it doesn't matter until you hit the final "plot trigger."

On the other hand, if they drop everything, cut corners, take personal risks, are willing to make personal sacrifices, and/or just make some awesome rolls that could justify getting there faster (Mr. Tracking manages to Ace his rolls...), then the heroes should get a chance -- improving the more they put into it. Cut corners and rush there fast enough, and you'll get there a few rounds before it's too late. Do that AND get some ridiculous-crazy Tracking rolls to let you get there without even having to rely on the "bread crumb" trail, and you've got MINUTES instead of rounds (which in combat terms is an awful lot), and maybe you can even save another NPC kid or two. Head them off at the pass by having a PC with the kid at all times who gets to witness the abduction as it happens, and the PCs might even be able to overtake the Ragers BEFORE they get to the point of doom (but a few Ragers slip away, in case the heroes want to give pursuit and find out where they were headed).

...

Back to our current situation, I think it's fine to introduce a way to slow the infection. I mean, in another campaign, someone introduced the idea that an injection of blood from an "immune" character could actually CURE the infection in someone (though not granting further immunity), and even then it's not as if it removed the threat entirely.

In some ways, this little "hope" can be a new curse of sorts. Do you keep this method a secret, or let others know? What happens when someone else gets infected? How do you ration out this slim hope? What if the chance of recovery isn't 100%? What if the chance of surviving having so much blood drawn out to help others isn't 100%? WHERE do you draw the line? And what do you do if where YOU are willing to draw the line isn't the same as some other guy who thinks you're consigning him to CERTAIN death by being unwilling to take another RISK?

That can lead to some new tensions, to be sure. You haven't robbed the setting of its punch. You've just introduced the possibility of NEW quandaries the heroes could get themselves into. If that's the price for giving your players a little bit of breathing room, then I think it's worth it.
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DGMiller
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Joined: 25 Jan 2012
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Location: Myrtle Beach, SC

PostPosted: Thu Dec 27, 2012 12:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Season 2, Episode 6

The Cast:
Bryce Winters - The father of Kimmy and husband of Fabiana Winters is just trying to protect what's left of his family.
Dr. Fabiana Winters - Wife of Bryce Winters, the doctor's goal is to help find a cure.
Thomas Odenson - This Marine decided to stick with the group, rather than leave with Major Morgan.
Brooke Abrams - The former party girl is dealing with her strange fevered dreams and her attraction to Thomas.
Trip Gordon - This Irish drifter is finding a place in this group that he's never found with people before.
Mike Fulmin - Always a rebel, Mike is now battling a budding drug addiction along with the walking dead.
Alison Gandry - The lithe dancer is finding herself well-suited to getting into and out of difficult situations.
Sean MacGregor - He's getting the photos of a lifetime, if there is anyone left to appreciate them later.
Waylon Stills - A long-haul truck driver before the outbreak, Waylon and his dog Maggie have been making their way to Colorado.

NOTES: Going in, this was, for me, one of the most problematic episodes of WotD so far. We have cannibalism of children following hot on the heels of the violence against kids back at the military base, we have the scripted death of a child as a result of that violence, and we have not one, but TWO scripted capture sequences (once by the kids and their undead "friends" and once by Morrison and UNIMED). This episode almost got ugly, but ended up being one of the best so far. My players were commenting on not feeling threatened, combat-wise, lately. This episode, Ragers show up. They were also grumbling about the predictability of the game thus far: meet a group of people, stay with them for a day or two, get asked to do something impossible, do it, then either the people betray them or the situation falls apart due to some invading force, be it zombies or humans. Then, they are TOTALLY caught off guard by things they didn't see coming. In short, this episode ROCKED! Anyway, the players of Thomas, Brooke, and Sean were not present. Adding Waylon's player back to the group after a 3-year hiatus was extremely helpful (he originally joined my group back in 2001). He is a phenomenal player. Hopefully, the things that caused his hiatus don't resurface.

On the road to Fort Smith, Arkansas and this place called Sanctuary.

Fabiana drew blood samples in the RV and discovered Brooke's blood type was O Negative. She carefully drew blood from Brooke and injected it into Barbara Murray and Cathy Cardile, hoping that the natural antibodies Brooke, Kimmy, and Samantha seemed to possess would at least slow the infection.

As they neared the city, James radioed up to the RV that he had established radio contact with Sanctuary and that they were instructed to take the Hwy 41 exit, which for some reason would be the last possible exit they could take, and turn right at the bottom of the ramp. They would find a salvage yard about a half-mile up on the right. Someone would be there to open the gate.

As the convoy neared the exit for Hwy 41, the group could see the outskirts of the city ahead. The overpass that was supposed to carry US 71 traffic over Hwy 41 was, as they had been told, impassable. The northbound lanes into the city had collapsed onto the highway below. The southbound lanes were clogged with wreckage and a line of abandoned vehicles that filled the highway as far as they could see in the rain and lightning. It looked like it stretched all the way into the city.

The condition of the highway was not the most disturbing thing they could see through the dark and rain. That honor went to the wall of living dead they could see in the distance. The RV and the rest of the eight vehicle convoy made the right turn on to Hwy 41. As they had been told, there was a salvage yard about a half-mile ahead on the right. Through the rain, they could make out a figure in a poncho pulling the gates back so the vehicles could enter. Here, they were closer to the wall of walking dead they glimpsed from the highway. The things just seemed to be standing there, moaning in unison. Their drone sounded like a didjeridoo. Occasionally, other walking dead, in groups or singly, would shamble out of the storm, approach the wall, and join its ranks. The line stretched off into the distance to either side. It looked to be at least a dozen bodies wide and stretched as far as they could see to the southwest and northeast. There was no getting through them. After the last of the vehicles pulled through the gates, the man in the poncho wheeled the rolling gate shut as several of the group ran out to help. In the distance, several of them could make out the howls of a large pack of dogs that seemed to be getting closer.

To those who had helped him close the gate, the man in the poncho introduced himself as Geoff McCurdy. His Ozark twang was quite pronounced as he told them to get everyone out of the vehicles and follow him to the drainage culvert at the back of the salvage yard. He warned them to be quick, so they could get out of the area before the dogs scented them. He seemed genuinely scared of these dogs, and intimated that they were more than just a feral pack; that they were trained "sniffer" dogs. Someone asked about the wall of zombies, and Geoff told them that they been standing like that for a while now, just moaning. Someone asked Geoff if they would attack people who approached and Geoff replied that nobody he knew had been stupid enough to try.

The group quickly gathered everyone and only the essential supplies from the vehicles and followed Geoff to the storm sewer in the culvert. Those who couldn't walk were carried. The huge steel gate to the storm sewer was opened from the inside by another man, who Geoff introduced as his brother, Ian McCurdy. The two men were intrigued by Trip's accent and asked if he was from Ireland, their "mother country." Trip verified that he was, and walked at into the storm sewer at the rear of the group with Geoff, as Ian led them into the tunnels as the baying of the dogs drew closer.

On their trip into the storm sewers, Trip, Bryce, James, Mike, and others asked many questions about the men and their survivor community. The McCurdy brothers told of the dogs, trained and likely even genetically modified by a giant pharmaceutical conglomerate called UNIMED. Apparently, UNIMED ran a huge compound in the city, centered around their corporate headquarters. Apparently, they provided for the needs of all the "sheeple" there, but denied them any basic freedoms and "prob'ly used them for experiments or sumthin'." The brothers told how UNIMED raided their camp constantly, capturing or killing their people. They told how UNIMED had captured most of the children from the camp, to use for "who knows what." After a few hundred yards moving through the wet tunnels, the group came upon the sight of a huge tent city in a large chamber in the storm sewer. There were dozens of people living here, under the city.

James remarked to Bryce that this Sanctuary was not "as advertised." Most of the group was very skeptical that this camp had been providing Snyder Farms and several other survivor communities with the amount and type of supplies they had been receiving. They conversationally asked the McCurdy's some pointed questions about supplies and diesel fuel and other things. Geoff told the group that they didn't keep those things down here at the camp, but since the dead had walked out of the city and joined that wall, the whole place, except what UNIMED controlled, was a giant supply dump, "ripe for the pickin'."

Geoff and Ian set the group up in several large tents within the camp before Ian left to tend to other business and Geoff went to get the group some food. Trip and Mike went out into the camp to verify what the brothers had been telling them. The stories seemed to hold up based on their scouting and information-gathering run. Also, confirming the reports of UNIMED capturing the camp's children, they found that there were no children under the age of 17 in the camp at all. When Geoff returned with stew for everyone, they found it delicious and devoured it ravenously.

Fabiana set the children up in a central tent, along with Brooke. The young lady, already too skinny before the outbreak, was exhausted from the amount of blood she had given. While they were moving the children, Fabiana and Bryce noticed that Michael was bleeding from his right hand. When Bryce asked what happened, Michael told him that he'd cut himself back at the base, while cutting the fence open to let the shamblers into the main part of the base. On closer examination, Fabaiana thought it looked an awful lot more like a bite mark than a cut from the fence. Michael admitted he had been bitten. Fabiana knew she couldn't draw anymore blood from Brooke right now, so she asked Michael his blood type, which turned out to be AB Positive. Universal recipient. Excellent. They drew the blood from Kimmy instead and injected it into Michael, again hoping to at least slow the infection. They discussed cutting off part of his arm to see if that would stop the infection. Waylon was surprised to learn that the doctor had never tried that to save someone before. In the end, they decided it had been too long since the bite and let him keep the arm.

Bryce gathered Waylon and Mike and began discussing a trip back to the vehicles to make sure they were safe from the UNIMED thugs and dogs, and to gather more supplies. Trip advised that if they went back, UNIMED and their dogs would have either found the vehicles or not, and there was nothing they could do by going back, except possible attract attention to them. While this conversation was going on, there was a loud explosion back in the direction the group had entered from.

After the explosion, the camp began to erupt in panic. The chamber was filling up with gas. Waylon rushed into the gas to save as many people as he could. The McCurdy brothers were calling for people to run to the sound of their voices at the opposite side of the camp. In the darkness, they could hear dogs and see silhouettes of people running, of armed men firing weapons. Waylon, who was close in, and Trip, who had been on the receiving end before, recognized the muffled shots as beanbag rounds, or "less than lethal" ammo. There were smoke grenades and tear gas. Waylon also saw someone get tased. Trip grabbed a propane tank from the cooking area, knocked the valve off, and tossed it into the smoke, knocking down an armed man near Waylon. Seeing the man down, Waylon dove for his gas mask, but the man rolled out from under him and got away before Waylon could grab it. At some point, one of the propane tanks Trip was hurling exploded, causing the entire chamber to rumble. Chunks of concrete began raining from the ceiling, and it seemed like the entire chamber was going to collapse. Seeing retreat as their only opportunity, the group gathered the children as the armed men closed in and ran towards the tunnels where Geoff and Ian were leading the survivors. The McCurdy's were splitting people up between several tunnels to make it harder for the UNIMED thugs to catch them all. In the darkness and smoke, the group got split up.

Bryce, Trip, Mike, Waylon, Fabiana, Alison, Caitlin, and Brooke, along with Bryce and Fabiana's daughter Kimmy, and Cathy Cardile found themselves with Geoff McCurdy, running down a tunnel in the darkness. Trip called out on the walkie-talkie to the others and told them to establish radio silence. Alison was practically carrying Brooke, Bryce was carrying Kimmy, Caitlin was carrying Barbara, Waylon was carrying Cathy, and Trip was carrying a final propane tank. As they stopped to catch their breath, they began to hear the dogs in the tunnel behind them and started running again. Trip left his propane tank in the tunnel, and as they ran ahead of the rapidly approaching dogs, Bryce tossed a molotov at it right as the lead dogs approached it and the resulting explosion ripped into the dogs as the group began running again.

Trip, seemingly the fastest in the group, was leading the way, when he saw a child in the tunnel ahead. Seeing the child, Geoff McCurdy called out, "That's Dakota Givens, he's alive!" he mentioned to the group that Dakota was one of the kids captured by UNIMED. Trip, Caitlin and the others immediately ran after the boy, who sped off into the darkness of the tunnel. With the boy running right at the extent of Trip's vision, he suddenly ran out of sight and the group quickly came upon a "T" intersection. Trip quickly figured out that the boy had turned left. Looking down the right fork of the intersection, the group could just make out the forms of more dogs approaching from that direction. They followed Dakota Givens down the left fork and saw an approaching horde of the living dead. There were a couple dozen of the things approaching, including a few of the fast ones. Suddenly, the boy, Dakota, ran into the right wall of the tunnel and disappeared.

When Trip reached the spot where the boy had disappeared, he found a small access door embedded in the right-hand wall of the tunnel. With the moans and reaching arms of the living dead in front of them, and the barks, howls, and sharp teeth of the dogs behind them, the group ran to the door and managed to get through and get it shut just as the undead things reached it, pulling the last person through just as the horde arrived and slamming it shut.

Trip continued after the boy, and entered a chamber where he instinctively felt that *something wrong* was going on, so he hit the floor shoulder first and rolled to the side just in time to avoid a net that dropped from the ceiling. In the darkness, he could see the boy, Dakota, along with about seven other children, none older than eleven or twelve. Behind the kids stood a row of about a dozen shamblers, with more in the tunnel beyond the room.

The rest of the group entered the chamber and saw the kids and the shamblers and stopped. One of the boys, a larger kid about twelve years old stepped forward and said, "Hello, Mr. McCurdy."

Geoff fell to his knees and called out, "Brandon Russo, you're alive!" He was genuinely surprised.

Brandon told the group that the undead in the chamber and beyond are the children's friends. Bryce and several others, looking out into the tunnel beyond the room, notice a familiar looking face, though one that has been changed somewhat by death and reanimation since they last saw the man. It was none other the captain of the mercenaries who had boarded the cruise ship back when this thing first started, John Breckenridge. The group had last seen Breckenridge back in Beaufort during the decoy supply run they had been forced into by Hell Feurrie and his Ghost Riders. He seemed to have an "honor guard" of the things around him and seemed to be in charge of them somehow.

Breckenridge, whom Brandon identified as "Grandpa Breckenridge" seemed to be able to not only communicate with and control the other living dead here through some form of telepathy, which Brooke and Kimmy could also "feel" but also to be able to communicate with his grandson, Brandon, through grunts and gestures.

Brandon told the group the story of how, when the McCurdy's had run out of food for the camp, they had begun stealing the camp's children and using them as a food source, telling the rest of the camp that UNIMED had taken them. Caitlin immediately began throwing up, retching violently as she choked out, "The stew..." Several others also began to bring up that recent meal onto the floor of the chamber.

Breckenridge grunted again, turned and shuffled off down the tunnel, with his honor guard of shamblers accompanying him into the darkness, leaving the children and the dozen or so shamblers in the chamber, who began to sway rhythmically back and forth. Fabiana noticed that Kimmy and Brooke had also begun to sway in a similar fashion.

Brandon told them that it was time for their revenge on Geoff and that they would find Ian soon enough. As the group backed away from Geoff McCurdy, Bryce kicked him hard, knocking him unconscious. Then, the shamblers moved in on him and began to tear him apart, leaving only his head, which soon reanimated. Bryce and Alison held Kimmy and Brooke back from the carnage, as they tried to advance, as if they were compelled to take part in it. After the things were finished with Geoff McCurdy, Brandon told the group not to follow him, and the kids moved off into the tunnels, with the shamblers blocking any attempts at following the children, through they didn't seem to indicate any violence toward the group if they left the kids alone.

Trip broke radio silence and called for the rest of the group. A voice came over the radio telling them the rest of the group was safe above ground. UNIMED had them. By now, the sounds of the battle between the dogs and the walking dead out in the main tunnel had ended, and was replaced by the sound of footsteps. Mike cracked the access door open a a tiny bit and saw soldiers walking among the carnage, finishing off the zombies and putting any wounded dogs out of their misery. Trip lit a molotov as Mike shoved open the door enough for Trip to toss it against the ceiling, raining flaming alcohol on several of the soldiers as Mike prepared to open fire with his M-16.

As the soldiers also drew weapons, the man who appeared to be in charge yelled for everyone to "STAND DOWN!" And ordered his men to hold their fire. Mike held his fire and ordered the soldiers to drop their weapons. Their leader set his weapon down and backed away from it, with his hands in the air. His men soon did the same, as members of the group came out to collect their weapons. The leader introduced himself as Command Sgt. Major William Morrison, formerly of the US Army, most recently stationed at Fort Chaffee, now working with UNIMED to guard their compound here in Fort Smith. He told Mike that the rest of their companions, including a girl named Samantha, a Marine named Thomas, and a huge Scotsman named Sean, were now safe in their compound on the surface. Morrison offered to lead them to their friends, which the group accepted.

On the walk through the tunnels to the ladder they would use to reach the surface, Morrison told the group that the UNIMED compound was called Sanctuary and that The McCurdys had gotten one of their Humvees with a radio, which they found in the salvage yard, along with their dead men, before they raided the camp. The group was confused when they learned that Sanctuary was the UNIMED camp, and not the camp in the sewers, but things became clear as they put it all together. Morrison confirmed that some members of the Snyder Farms community were indeed "topside" at Sanctuary right now and that they had indeed been supplying them for weeks now, along with several other outlying survivor communities, along with the offer that they could evacuate to Sanctuary if necessary.

When they reached the top of the ladder, they were met with several other armed men from the UNIMED compound, and Morrison asked Mike, who appeared to be the leader of the group, if his men could have their weapons back to help protect them from any threats as they walked the few blocks to Sanctuary. Morrison offered to stay unarmed as a gesture of trust, and they set off down the deserted, ruined street toward the bright lights of Sanctuary that could be seen in the distance.

As they walked toward safety, the group noticed the heads of several of the undead things mounted on poles and whole bodies of the things nailed to telephone poles along the street. Morrison told them it was bait to draw their leader out into the open. The group told Morrison that they had met the leader in the sewers, which stopped Morrison in his tracks. They told Morrison about Breckenridge, former special ops, mercenary, excellent with tactics, and that there were some kids down there, including Breckenridge's grandson, Brandon. This explanation made clear to Morrison why the things had been using advanced tactics against his men.

As they resumed their walk toward the safety of Sanctuary, a roar echoed off the buildings behind them, followed by several more in quick succession, seeming to answer the first. Morrison looked around at the group and his men, real fear in his eyes, and yelled for them to RUN!

As they ran, Mike, ever the curious one, kept stealing glances over his shoulder, hoping to catch sight of whatever had made such an inhuman sound. Brooke was nearly in shock at this point, and Alison was practically carrying her. She seemed to be losing it again, her sanity cracking. Mike caught sight of a huge, muscled arm as something slid an abandoned car out of the way and grabbed one of the UNIMED soldiers, yanking him behind the car. As the group ran as fast as their legs would allow, the top half of the soldier landed on the ground in the middle of the group, with a loud "splat" and a spray of blood and guts. Mike could now see that they were being chased by at least a half-dozen of the things. They were huge, at least 8 to 12 feet tall, well muscled, almost like big mutant gorilla-men, but not hairy.

The first one tossed the car it had dragged the soldier behind, as if it were a trash can. Another of the things flung a manhole cover like a frisbee, cutting another of the soldiers nearly in half with the flying piece of steel. Mike stopped running for a moment and took aim at the closest one, pointing the barrel of his M-16 right between the thing's eyes from less than 30 feet away. He squeezed off a burst and hit the thing exactly where he was aiming, putting the bullets right between the eyes. The thing stopped, obviously affected by the shots, then slowly reached up and touched the wounds, feeling the blood, sniffing it, then it blinked, shook its head, and resumed the chase!

TO BE CONTINUED...
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Jordan Peacock
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Joined: 08 Sep 2007
Posts: 2464
Location: Orlando, Florida

PostPosted: Thu Dec 27, 2012 2:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow. That's a lot of ground covered in one session! I look forward to the "continued" part. Very Happy
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DGMiller
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Joined: 25 Jan 2012
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Location: Myrtle Beach, SC

PostPosted: Thu Dec 27, 2012 3:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jordan Peacock wrote:
Wow. That's a lot of ground covered in one session! I look forward to the "continued" part. Very Happy


I left out a few key details that allowed us to get through Weeks 5 & 6 in one episode. I felt like that Rager chase cliffhanger was a great ending for the episode, so I cut the chase/battle on the way to Sanctuary (the raiders were busy dealing with the zombies the group had unleashed on them and the helicopter was low on fuel and ammo), the actual fight against the dogs (my players are Resident Evil savvy... as soon as I mentioned "sniffer" dogs, they wanted to get out of there as soon as possible), the scene where (as written) Selina and Michael die (In my game, Lina is dead and Barbara is alive... also, they injected Barbara with Brooke's blood, so I am letting it delay the virus, also they did the same thing with Michael), the fight against the "General" and the kids' zombie contingent (they let the group live as long as they weren't followed), and the running battle with zombies on the way to the sewer exit ladder (it was instead a good time for role-playing with Morrison).

It was an excellent session. After reading the summary, one of my players vowed to never miss a session again, even if she had to break out of a hospital dragging her borken legs behind her! Another commented that there was a lot more role-playing than he expected for an episode I billed as "fast-paced" and "combat/chase oriented."

I can't wait to see what happens tomorrow night!
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