Tuesday, 31 July 2018

On the outskirts of Anson.

I was in need of a little "light relief" after the trials of the last couple of weeks, and wanted to ease myself back into "normality", so I threw down my 'Lidl grass mat', plonked my most recent 'terrain project' (a tarted up charity shop find) in the middle, and played out the latest ATZ:FFO episode which I'd cooked up in my head during the trips up and down the motorway.

After leaving Doc Littlelake's surgery with the RV, the group drove out to where they'd hidden the pickup and Jeep. Amy was still in severe shock after seeing her zombiefied father, and then having to walk through the mess that had been his brains, on her way to the fire exit as they made their escape.
Despite Amy's condition, and Zac moping over his broken pistol, the encounter had definitely been a success - they just needed to rest up for the night.

The following morning, Brad headed the convoy west (route markers) with no clear plan in his mind, but an instinctive urge in his gut, to find some "space". He needed time to think, and time to discuss the options with the group, and heading towards open country just seemed the best thing to do - and anyhow, IF they decided to make for Nevada, they were going in the right direction!
A note on the timeline.
The previous encounter, "Back to the 'burbs" took place on Day 16 of the outbreak. Resting overnight on the outskirts of Jacksboro means the journey starts on Day 17, and though the distance is only 200 and something miles (which would normally take maybe 4 - 5 hours) with current conditions, avoiding contact etc, "proceeding with extreme caution" it takes a day to reach their current location and the group arrive on the 'Outskirts Of Anson' on Day 18.
Day 19 is spent "resting" and deciding that the general area seems quiet enough to try and set up a camp - they can try and find out how the government are dealing with the infestation by contacting  the authorities in nearby Lubbock.

Day 20 - Brad, Zac and Nate have taken the Jeep on a supply and scouting run. They need to replenish the water supplies and find a site further off the beaten track to set up the group's base.
Spotting an overgrown sign saying "Gas & Grits" at a junction, they  turn off the road and follow the track, arriving at an old gas station after about a mile.
They switch off the engine and step out of the Jeep to take a look around. There are a couple of lone zeds approaching from the woods on either side of the track (They haven't spotted the group of zombies behind the building) and Zac's eyes light up - first of all as he admires the abandoned motorbike, and then when he spots the baseball bat in the hands of what might have been the bikes previous owner! Currently having no weapon (His pistol broke in the previous encounter), he prised the bat from the Deadmans Hand.
The group had won the initiative roll for turn one, and the zombies and PEF's now moved.
Brad thought there was something behind the sign board, but it was just a bad case of nerves and it turned out to be nothing. (passed no D6 - PEF removed) 
He was sure there was SOMETHING out there though, when he was certain he'd seen movement over by the old wrecked car! (passed one D6 - ER rating increased by 1, PEF removed)

Nate also spotted something behind the approaching zombie........
..... a group of citizens! (passed 2D6 - Contact! which turned out to be "the Kirkmam family" after rolling on the 'what' and 'how many' tables)
The Kirkmans were armed, but looked more scared than aggressive - they'd been hiding out in the woods since the outbreak, and the noise of the Jeep's engine had been the sound of salvation to their ears! (the 'Meet & Greet' went in the group's favour, resulting in the citizens asking to join them)

The situation at the end of turn one.
The  zombies won the initiative roll for turn two, but with a "6", none would activate.
Hefting his new baseball bat, Zac advanced on the zed as it stood confused - not knowing which way to turn with human flesh in front and behind it! Nate moved up in support, while Brad called over to the Kirkmans to keep cool.
With a wet crunch, Zac felled the zombie with blow that smashed it's skull and it collapsed like a puppet that'd had its strings cut!
Turn three started with "doubles" rolled for initiative, so an event card was drawn from the deck -
the re-roll once again resulted in the zombies remaining inactive.
Heading around the front of the gas station, Brad decided to take a shot at the other lone zed, rather than wait for it to approach, or move over towards the trees to take it on in hand-to-hand.
The shot rang out and the biter bit the dust.
No zombies are attracted by the shot (thanks to the Event Card), but it's still 'Days 11 - 20'  and the cops might respond.
I say "might" because I've tweaked the rules and will be dicing each turn for their arrival, starting on the turn specified in ATZ:FFO - in this case 1D6 plus 1D3 (Turn 8)

The group won the initiative for turn four, but this turn the zombies will activate!
Heading around to check the opposite side of the shack, Brad spots the group of undead, and quickly gets the guys with melee weapons to the front. The bunch of three advance directly towards them, while the fourth zed, still out of line-of-sight moves to the right, behind the fence where it last saw its human prey.
Once again the zeds win the initiative roll, but fail to activate.
As the walking corpses pause in a confused huddle, Brad takes the fight to them with Zac and Dave while Nate, Hillary and Christine take up covering fire positions in case the fight goes badly.
Dave thrusts his hunting knife into the putrid head of his opponent and it's instantly killed, Zac swings his bat at the big lass but only manages to knock her down - Brad delivers the killing blow to her temple and the machete slices off the top of her head  like opening a boiled egg (except the contents oozing out did not look anything like as appetizing!!)
Turn 6 and the zombies win the initiative roll and activate!
The remaining zed makes a lunge for Dave, but he side steps and knocks it to the ground....
......where Zac lays in with his baseball bat, raining a flurry of blows to its head and reducing it to pulp.
Meanwhile, the last of the zombies has moved around the fence and is now making its way towards the noise.
Turn 7 sees the group win the initiative again, though the zeds will also activate.
Hillary has spotted the approaching zombie, and calls out a warning to the rest of the group. After a quick look around, Brad leads the rest over - "Let's take it down and see what we've got here"
With its arms grasping, and slavering jaws snapping, the last zed heads straight for the group.
Turn 8, and I make the first check for the cops - no response this turn, so they get a plus one on the dice next turn. The group wins initiative roll.
Brad steps forward and makes a two-handed swing with his machete - decapitating the remaining zombie.
Turn 9. Still no police response.
Brad wastes no time and heads straight into the gas station with Nate, while the rest of the group watch their backs out on the front porch.
"Nobody's home", and they left a crate of beer behind!
Post Encounter
Brad sent Nate off in the Jeep to get the rest of the group from the camp, while he and Zac had a chat with the new guys, as well as taking a closer look around the new site.
By late afternoon, the convoy had arrived and parked up. After the introductions had been made over a meal washed down with a beer, Brad posted a sentry duty roster and the group settled in for the night.
So, Brad has made it to the end of Day 20, and the group has expanded and established a camp. On reflection, I now feel a little ashamed about just throwing down the terrain for such a pivotal game!

Definitely a 'success' for the group, and Brad had no problems on the "Keeping it Together" checks afterwards - pretty much in line with how I'm feeling as I hope to get back into gaming and blogging.
Many thanks for dropping by, and as always your comments or questions are most welcome!


Tuesday, 17 July 2018

Trouble at'Mill

Just a quick 'heads up' that my hobby time is temporarily on hold.

My brother in law was rushed into hospital on Monday and it's "all hands to the pump" - unfortunately, regular visits mean a 140 mile round trip.
Apologies in advance for the dip in blog posts, and though I'll try my best, I might not get around to commenting on fellow bloggers sites until things return to "normal".

Just remembered something else - has the "notification via email" that someone's posted on Blogger completely disappeared, or do I have to reset something somewhere??
Not having the notification is an inconvenience because I like to acknowledge comments asap, but it also proved to be a great tool warning if spammers had posted "inappropriate" content so i could remove it (before inadvertently breaking Bloggers rules about "hosting" such comments).

Just to end on a lighter note, Saturday saw me and SWMBO "broadening our horizons" by attending a local Steampunk event at Papplewick Pumping Station - here's just a few photo's.......

TTFN, and thanks for visiting my humble blog. I'll see y'all just as soon as I can!

Friday, 13 July 2018

"Back into the 'Burbs" - continued.

Brad has brought the group back to the suburbs of Jacksboro in search of Amy's father (First two turns of the encounter here). During the game prep, I'd scribbled down a "decision tree" to determine Doc Littlelake's fate, but fate itself stepped in when the game started with a PEF in the Doc's surgery!
I decided off the cuff that the PEF would repesent Amy's dad. The PEF would resolve as "Nothing there" = signs that he'd been there but now missing, "Survivors" = the Doc alive and well, "Zombies" = undead Doc!

The group won the initiative roll for turn three, and Brad led them straight to the surgery door.
The door wasn't locked and Brad led the majority of the group inside, Travis and Nate were acting as 'tail end charlies' and remained outside in the doorway. Plenty of light streamed through the front windows, and he warned the group "We've got two of 'em in here!" as Amy cried out "Dad?!"
The PEF resolved as two zombies (the Doc and his assistant) and the group won the Zombie Surprise roll. I had Amy take the Zed Or No Zed test to represent the shock of seeing her father in this state - passing 0D6 she 'went into shock'
During the zombie activation phase, the pair of PEF's left the brownstone block and stepped into line of sight. ....
Something caught Nate's eye down the street - he looked closer, but it must have been his imagination because there was nothing there, hang on, what's that?! To his horror he saw another group of zeds heading their way!
The first PEF resolved as "A bad case of nerves", but the second was more (group + one = 7) zombies.
Before Nate could warn Travis about the zeds he'd spotted, a single zombie appeared from around the corner of the intersection and immediately made a lunge for them. 
Instinctively, Travis started swinging his trusty "axe" at the things head as it tried to claw and bite him!
Inside the surgery, what had been the doc and his assistant now staggered forwards and attacked Brad at the head of the group. Taking a two-handed grip of his machete, Brad was once again fighting for his life.
Outside, the hefty Ibanez guitar caught the zombie squarely on the side of its head, Travis's right-handed blow smashing it against the surgery wall, and the zed crumpled to the pavement.
In the surgery, Hannah grabbed the almost hysterical Amy and turned her away from the gruesome scene, as Brad made short work of his attackers.
Fortunately, Travis and Brad won their rounds of melee, initially, I was very worried for Brad as he faced both zombies on his own, but 6 dice for his Rep plus 2 more for his machete and a plus 1 success for facing zombies - versus 4 dice for the zombies Rep plus 1 more for the additional zed meant he managed to despatch them both in one round!
Here's the situation at the end of the turn.

The initiative roll for turn four came up with a double - and the brand new "Random Events Deck" made its debut in my campaign (Colgar6 Event Cards info)
The re-roll saw the group taking the initiative once again.

Brad headed straight over to check the rear exit, barking out the order - "Find the Doc's keys and grab anything that looks useful, but don't risk going upstairs and stay in sight!".
Zac took charge of Amy, telling Hannah "You go look for the keys while I check out my gun - it's jammed or something when I tried to cock the damned thing!"
Nate and Travis had retreated into the surgery, and Nate joined the search while Travis set about trying to secure the door as best as he could.
With the zombies approaching the surgery in numbers, it was now a race to avoid being trapped!
Sitrep at end of turn four.

Turn five initially saw "doubles" thrown for initiative,
I was hoping for a "2" when I rolled the D4 to determine which grunt would benefit form the temporary 'Star' status - I figured Amy needed all the help she could get at this point! It came up a "4" though, so Despite the horde gathering outside the building, Travis felt strangely calm and confident about the situation.
The zombies won the re-roll and closed in on the door and windows of the surgery.
Brad had found a bunch of keys in the Doc's jacket hanging by the back door - with a sigh of relief he ushered the group out, handing the RV ignition keys to Zac who bundled Amy into the vehicle before taking the drivers seat.
Brad and Hannah took up "guard" positions while the rest of the group made their way from the fire door to the RV.

The group won the initiative for turn six (phew!)
With a nod from Brad as soon as everyone was aboard the RV, Zac sent up a silent prayer before turning the ignition key.
A big smile crossed his face as the big V8 engine fired into life and was running as sweet as a nut.
The noise attracted a couple more zeds to the scene,
but with the majority of the horde on the other side of the block, the coast was clear for Zac to reverse and turn the big RV and the group drove off to safety.
The situation (obligatory comic art) at the end of turn six before driving off the following turn with no "events" to stop them.
This encounter was played over the whole week, a turn at a time, due to work, other demands on time, or just plain "too hot to do owt"! Despite that, it lost none of its continuity between sessions, and gave me plenty to think about between turns!
They set out to find the Doc, and though he'd fallen victim to the 'zombie virus' (obviously, he'd gone for equipment and supplies to take to Nevada, but had stayed behind to try and help infected locals and got himself bitten in the process), the encounter rates as a "success" for the group.

I was looking forward to a weekend off to get this AAR posted, but a phone call asking us to replace another act who have been taken ill (I hope it's not zombie related!!) has scuppered that plan, so I hope this 'rush job' is OK.
Many thanks for reading it, and as ever, your comments and questions are most welcome.

Friday, 6 July 2018

"Back into the 'Burbs" -

The Search For Doc Littlelake.

The previous episode ended here East of Jacksboro part 3
The cops are tired, confused and more than a little stressed - they know Amy, so naturally wanted to take her with them to "safety". They couldn't go looking for her father since they were so busy on their own patch, and anyhow, Jacksboro was now under the jurisdiction of the National Guard.
Brad has agreed the group will try and find out what's happened to the Doc (out of Amy's earshot, the cops don't rate their chances - he's been gone a couple of days now, so he's probably on the road to Nevada.... or the worse has happened).
The group rested overnight at the Johnson's place before setting off early next morning in the pickup and Johnsn's Jeep, parking up before reaching the edge of town (and removing the rotor arms from both vehicles), and continued on foot.
Doc Littlelake's surgery is on the edge of town, situated between a pair of office buildings and opposite a diner. From a vantage point on their approach, the group can see the building and the Doc's RV parked behind it.......... it looks like he's not on the road to Nevada!

The initial set-up with the grey surgery building visible between the two office blocks - the street is clear, thanks to a jackknifed rig at the intersection.
Two PEF's are in the brownstone building, with a third  actually in the surgery. There's a single zed up ahead, with more out of sight beyond the row of buildings to the left and in the woods behind the diner to the right. Quite a horde has appeared in the bottom left corner thanks to throwing between "5 and 7 o'clock" for random placement!
Things don't look so bad from this angle,
and since the group wins the first initiative roll, they decide to press on, Brad gripping his machete in both hands as the lone zombie in the street lurches towards them arms outstretched with its jaws snapping,
fully aware that the rest are beginning to close in around them!
Both PEF's in the brownstone block made a half speed move towards the group (the change I made previously to the "move away" result), and the one in the surgery stayed put.
The group took in the scene with steely eyed determination, but Amy was looking visibly shaken by the undead as Brad swung his machete in an arc that cleaved the zombies skull.
Game on!

A long overdue return to the ATZ - FFO campaign, and the very last outing for my cork floor tiles! I've almost cured the warping problem, but the ink has really faded on the print-outs, so they're being retired and recycled after this game. It's also the first game using Hugh's (Colgar6) Event Cards, so a bit of "out with the old and in with the new" going on!

I hope everyone is managing to plod on as our heatwave continues - it's certainly affecting my painting and modelling  output. Thanks for calling in, and I hope you'll enjoy following this encounter which will have to be played over a couple of sessions due to work commitments.