Monday, November 1, 2010

Day One: A New Beginning...

Since my characters all got killed playing Day One the first time, I'm starting over again.  This time though we're sticking together and shortening up the plan for the day.  The plan is to collect Doc (location 1), stop at Lowe's for supplies to barricade the house (location 2), get gas and groceries (location 3 - it's a one stop shopping center) and head home to hole up and wait this thing out (location 4).  Let's see how it turns out...

Location 1:  Collecting Doc
This takes place in an urban setting but it will count as suburban for generating zombies as per the Day One rules.  The objective is to get to Doc's house, get him and his stuff and return to the car to go to the next location.  Making the trip are:
PDoid - Rep 4 Civilian; Attributes: Athlete and Fencer (house rule - see previous posts); Weapons: Shotgun and Cricket Bat
Sweetpea - Rep 3 Civilian; Attributes:  Slow; Weapons:  2 BA Pistols
Monkeyboy - Rep 3 Civilian; Attributes: Athlete; Weapons:  Pistol and Hockey Stick
Doc, if we find him, is a Rep 3 Civilian with no attributes and armed with a shotgun and an axe.

I'm going to take a shot at making this batrep more narrative in style so I won't be mentioning any rules or dice rolls.  Feel free to ask rules questions about the situations you read about if you want to know the gaming details.  Here goes...
                                                                                                        
We couldn't believe what was happening.  The news sounded like something out of a movie, a movie we were all too familiar with.  Zombies?!  Really?!  We'd always fantasized about what we'd do in this situation, but when faced with it in real life we were just like everyone else:  terrified.  I called my buddy, Doc, and together we decided to hole up at my place.  We thought it'd be better to travel in groups.  Rather than him coming to us alone, we decided to go pick him up and bring him to our house.  Besides, we needed to stop for supplies if we were going to see this thing through.
We arrived at Doc's street without incident.  A lot of crazies were on the road but we managed to avoid getting tangled up with them.  Unfortunately, at the entrance to Doc's neighborhood, someone had set up a couple of cars to block the street.  I don't know if they were planning to defend the neighborhood or what but we had to go the rest of the way on foot.  I tried to call Doc's cell to let him know we were close but there was no service.
It wasn't far so we started jogging along the street.  The neighborhood was quiet.  It was eerie.  There was no one around.  We could hear traffic noise from the main street and what sounded like gunshots in the distance but otherwise it was very calm.  In other circumstances it might have been a beautiful, sunny, fall day.  Nothing moved except a slight breeze stirring the trees.
We passed between some parked cars, sticking to the middle of the road, spreading out a bit to keep an eye on things around us.  I was proud of my wife and son.  They didn't protest or argue anything I told them.  We all knew this was life and death.  I looked over at Sweetpea and smiled as we jogged along, thinking we might be able to pull this off without a hitch.  Huh!  Famous last words, right?
Suddenly, from the house on the right, we heard the bang of a door slamming open and a group of terrified people poured into the street, heading right for us.  They were out of their minds and barreled right into us.  I was taken by surprise and knocked off my feet.  It all happened so fast!  I think I must have blacked out or got hit on the head or something because I don't remember what happened next.
 
I came too with Sweetpea kneeling over me and Monkeyboy standing nearby shouting curses at a mob of crazies running up the street.  Thank God for Sweetpea's medical training or that would have been the end of the day for me.  I staggered to my feet and watched the terrified civvies running towards my car.  I checked my pants and felt the keys safely stowed in my pocket.  'It's locked,' I said to no one in particular, 'they won't be able to take it.'  We turned and headed again towards Doc's house.


We reached Doc's front door without further incident.  I was still a little shaken and I felt nauseous but otherwise I was fine.  I went to the door and knocked, calling for Doc.  Sweetpea and Monkeyboy moved to cover my rear, each facing away from the house to be sure no one sneaked up on us.  We weren't going to let anymore terrified mobs surprise us.
 
While we waited for Doc to answer, not sure if he was even home, all hell broke loose!  'There's a bunch of people across the street,' Sweetpea said, 'at least I think they're people.'  'Ummmm...Dad?' said Monkeyboy, 'I think we need to get inside.'  I looked over my shoulder and saw the crowd moving between the cars across the street.  They seemed to be moving in an odd way.  Hmmmm, would I say they were 'shambling'?
Doc opened the door as the crowd began to make it's way towards the house.  There was a steady sort of hum coming from the group.  Were they moaning?  Really?!  It seemed a bit cliche but they obviously were.
One of them came very close to Sweetpea.  She seemed transfixed with horror.  We all knew what these things were but none of us wanted to say the word.  As the nearest one closed on Sweetpea, we were helpless to do anything about it.  The zombie lunged while she just stood there, mouth agap, arms hanging lifelessly at her sides.
Then, through some primal instinct for survival, just as the creature reached for her throat, Sweetpea swept her right arm up and brought her big pistol down.  The blow was fueled by pure animal aggression with no conscious thought from Sweetpea.  The butt of the pistol crashed into the zombie's skull and we all heard a sharp 'crack' as the bone gave way.  The zed dropped at Sweetpea's feet and did not move again.  Sweetpea stood screaming obscenities over her fallen foe.
And then the mob was on us.  They swarmed towards Sweetpea and in a berserker's frenzy she fired twice with her pistol, knocking one of the zombies off its feet.  But as soon as it hit the ground, two more were grappling with her.  I watched in helpless horror as she fought for her life...and failed.  In a matter of moments her throat was torn out and the two demons fell upon her body.  She lay in a pool of expanding blood as the zombies tore chunks of flesh from her and gorged themselves.  Just like that, she was gone.
With a silence that was more terrifying than any scream he could have uttered, Monkeyboy bolted from the scene, his eyes rolling wide with horror.  He pushed past me into the house and I followed right behind him, slamming the door.  He sat upon the couch in the corner, wide eyes staring blindly, transfixed by what he'd just seen.  A single tear rolled down his 13 year old cheek.

The smacking, wet sounds of feasting were all that was heard as I went to my boy.  I sat next to him on the couch and held him, but still he made no sound.  I didn't know what to do next.  I barely noticed Doc come back into the living room with a shotgun and a small backpack over his shoulder.  'We need to get out of here,' he said gently.  'We can go out the window in back.'  I started to pick Monkeyboy up to carry him.  'No!' he said, 'I can walk.'
As quietly as we could we made our way to the back of the house and climbed out the window.  We could no longer hear the sounds of the zombies feasting but none of us mentioned it.  I don't think any of us wanted to even think about it.  We turned to head across the back yards and make our way to the car.
 
Just as we cleared the first fence to get into the neighbor's yard, we heard the slam of Doc's front door being smashed in.  I looked over my shoulder and was horrified to see more zombies moving through Doc's backyard.  How had they gotten through the house so quickly?  Or was this a new group of the undead?  Regardless of where they'd come from they were hot on our heals.
As we rounded the neighbor's house, sprinting for our lives, another zed popped up in front of us.  'Keep moving,' I yelled, 'just get to the car!'  Doc and Monkeyboy needed no encouragement from me.
We sprinted up the side yard, making our way back to the street.  If we could just make it to the car!  There would be time for mourning later.
And then it happened.  God, it was like something out of a bad movie!  Just as we came around the bushes between the coffee shop and the last house on Doc's street, a cop stepped out from between two cars.  He must have seen our guns and the way we were running because without hesitation he drew his pistol and shouted, 'Halt!  Drop your weapons!'  Doc must have thought he was another zed because without even thinking he leveled his shotgun and fired on the officer.  There was a deafening roar as the 12 gauge barked it's defiance at the cop.  Through the smoke all I saw was the policeman lifted off his feet and slammed onto the ground.  'You killed him!' I shouted.  'You killed a cop!'  I couldn't believe how much my world had changed in the few short hours since I'd awakened that morning.
There was nothing else for us to do but get to the car, but as I ran I noticed the cop was moving.  We could have just left him, but I knew that was certain death.  Whatever humanity was left to me made me pause to help him.  He was struggling to get to his feet, pistol still in hand.  I was amazed that he was even alive.  He was in pain and he was pissed, to say the least, but even as he brought his pistol up to bear on me he must have seen the hoard of zeds on my tail.  That, and the shotgun I held leveled at his belly.  When our eyes met a swift, silent dialog transpired between us.  Then, without preamble he said, 'Let's get the hell out of here.'
The gunfire must have attracted every zed within a mile because in a moment we were surrounded by the shuffling, moaning monsters.  They were closing on the car and if we didn't get to it first we were going to be cut off.
We all started firing and running towards the car in unison.  I know we hit several of them but I don't if we 'killed' any.  There was smoke and noise all around and the steady moan of the zeds as they closed for the kill.  With no rhyme nor reason we piled into the car and I fumbled for the keys.  One of the creatures was pounding on the driver's window, blood and slobber smearing on the glass.  Taking a deep breath, I managed to get the keys in the ignition, despite my shaking hands and rattled nerves.  The car turned over and fired into life without hesitation.  It was as if it too just wanted to be away from there as quickly as possible.

I slammed the car into reverse and with a squeal of tires we turned around and headed to anyplace but that street...
In the rear view mirror I saw a few zeds trying to keep up with us, but they were far too slow.  We drove about a mile in stunned silence before the cop said, 'Let me out here.'  Without a word I stopped and he got out.  Without so much as a look back he walked away from the car and headed up a side street.  I noticed he dropped his badge in the street as he went.  As I pulled out once again I said, 'we still need to stop at Lowe's.'  Doc looked at me from the passenger seat like I'd just grown another arm out the top of my head.  But then with a sigh he said, 'Yeah, I suppose you're right.'  Coming from the back seat, Monkeyboy's only response was the sound of a pistol's slide chambering a fresh round...

12 comments:

  1. this batrep was very well written it felt like i was reading a book.
    for a first day that was unlucky about sweatpea but i was surprissed you survived it seamed all was lost when sweatpea fell.

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  2. Very nicely done. Sounds like fun. Sorry about Sweetpea.

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  3. Wow, this must be one of the most intense batreps I've ever read! Exciting, horrifying and depressing (in a good way)! Sometimes ATZ feels like more than just a game.

    Sorry about Sweetpea, but congratulations on succeeding with your first Day One location. Did your wife comment on Sweetpea's demise?

    Whiteface / Oliver

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  4. Thanks for all the compliments! It was an exciting game. ATZ lends itself well to this kind of story telling. As I was writing up the report I found it very easy to put my own feelings into the story. That's the RPG aspect to THW and I like it quite a bit. Fun stuff! I'm looking forward to seeing how these characters develop as the campaign unfolds...

    @Whiteface: She doesn't know yet... ;)

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  5. PDoid - splendid work! Really brings the game to life and transforms it from a game to an experience! Am definitely looking forward to the next installment!

    I mourn the passing of Sweetpea too ... good luck for when the wife finds out!

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  6. That was an intense reading experience. I was so sorry to see Sweetpea fall to the zombies. Writing your batrep as a pure narrative worked extremely well and gave it a greater sense of tension. Will you continue in this vein for the rest of your batreps? I think you should.

    Best of luck for the rest of this scenario!

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  7. Based on the responses from you all I will continue to write batreps in a narrative style. Hopefully most of you who are reading this know the game well enough to follow what's happening rules wise as the story unfolds.

    I need to build a 'big box' store for the next installment. I've got some ideas but I'm wondering if you all have any suggestions for how best to do that. I'm not sure if I want to tackle building the interior and having most of the scenario take place inside or just have a shell and let the game be played out in the parking lot. Interior would take a LOT longer to model but it would make for a cool game...

    Thanks again for the feedback. I'm really looking forward to playing again soon. BTW, I told the wife that Sweetpea got eaten and she just shrugged. I think it is just a game to her...can you believe that?! ;)

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  8. Hmm, I am still waiting for the delivery of a Lionel O-Scale supermarket, but I guess that's not exactly what you would call a 'big box' store.

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  9. Not quite the start you wanted hey ? certainly wasn't what I expected, when sweetpea became toast, I thought you were all going to be on the menu, ahwell, the rest escaped. enjoyable read, like the format.

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  10. For the box store, it will take a long time to model the interior, but if you didn't glue it all in place you could re-use it in the future ... at some point all survivors hit the mall don't they? ;)

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