Wednesday, 16 June 2010

My ATZ Campaign - Day 2 - Minding the Gap

Vampifan looked at the clock and stifled a yawn. It was 10.32pm. He was about to head upstairs and settle down for the night when the phone rang.
"Who the hell can this be?" he mused as he picked up the receiver.
"Vampi, I need your help!" said a startled voice.
"Gap? Is that you?" Vampifan enquired. He thought he recognised the voice but it seemed more high pitched than usual.
"Aye, it is," Gap confirmed. "I'm worried stiff about my folks and I can't get through to the paramedics. Can you and Sil come over?"
"No problem, mate," Vampifan replied. "We'll be right over in no time."

And so began Vampifan's second adventure of the zombie outbreak. This scenario is one that I modified from the Domestic Disturbance scenario on p.5 of the ATZ:Haven supplement. It was written as a police encounter but with a bit of tweaking I adapted it for my Civilian heroes. Note that any page number references in my batrep apply to the ATZ:BDTZ rulebook unless otherwise specified. Lets take a look at the cast of characters taking centre stage in this scenario.
From left to right we have Vampifan, a Rep:4 Civilian, armed with a BA Pistol and a combat knife. Being a Star, I was allowed to choose two Attributes for him (see p.6). I chose Slow (meaning he treated pass 2d6 as pass 1d6 when taking the Fast Move test) and Nerves of Steel (meaning he was not subject to Duck Back). Given that I could choose his Attributes you may wonder why I chose Slow, which is one of the negative choices. I felt it more realistically characterised Vampifan. Someone that fat should not be able to run fast. I know he's only a fictional character and I could have made him more powerful but truth be told, I much prefer playing characters who are flawed. Watching the underdog progress is far more satisfying than watching an uber-hero progress.
Next up is Neil S. (surname redacted to protect his identity) aka Big Sil. This biker fan was a Rep:4 Civilian armed with a Machine Pistol and a combat knife. As he was just a Grunt, he was allowed one Attribute but I had to roll 2d6 to determine what it was on the chart on p.7. I rolled an 8, which meant he could be a Knifeman or an Athlete. I had to roll 1d6 to determine which one. I rolled a 3, which meant he was a Knifeman. A good choice and one that I was pleased with. Seeing as he is as fat as Vampifan I just couldn't see him being an Athlete. The figure I used to represent Big Sil is from the EM4 Near Future range of 28mm scale bikers. He is 069 Fat Biker, and is priced at £1.25. To be honest, he should be taller than Vampifan but in every other respect he is Big Sil. Yes, he is based on a real person - a former gaming colleague of mine.
The long streak of misery in the centre of the group is Rob T. (again, his surname has been redacted to protect his  identity). His nickname was General Apathy, which was usually shortened to Gap. I rolled on the Civilian Lists on p.9 to determine his Rep and what weapon he'd start out with. The results were Rep:3 and a Pistol. If he survived this scenario he'd be joining Vampifan's team, which made him a Grunt as well. However, when I rolled for his Attribute I got a result of Vanilla, meaning he had no Attribute. Somehow, this seemed appropriate for Gap. The figure I used for Gap is a converted 28mm scale Black Hat civilian although in reality, he is closer to being 35mm. I cut his baseball cap off and added the hair and glasses. On the Black Hat website he is MM101D Civilian 9 and is priced at £2.50. He may seem overly large to some of you but in real life Gap is very tall. Yes, he too, is based on one of my old gaming colleagues, noted for being the most apathetic person I have ever met.
The final two figures in the group represent Gap's parents. One of them has recently turned into a zombie, the other just looks like a zombie but which is which? The zombie would be Rep:4 and the civilian Rep:3. They are both part of the Mega Miniatures range of 28mm scale zombies.

The objective of this scenario was simple - to ensure Gap's survival. It took place in an Urban area of Mayhem City at night. Big Sil and Gap were subject to the Zed Or No Zed test. Vampifan was not. Having passed it once on Day One he never had to take it again. Zombies would not be generated by gunfire or any other loud noise but any in the house would react to such a sound. If the Activation dice resulted in double 1 or double 6 a passing zombie would enter the house. As was the case with the Day One scenario, certain things worked differently here from the normal rules. Turn 1 began with Vampifan and Big Sil automatically activating first. No one else was situated on the board.
Vampifan and Big Sil got out of the pick-up truck and walked towards the front door of Gap's house. Both men were armed with their guns and knives but all weapons were holstered and sheathed. Their first task was to determine the status of the front door. To do that, I had to roll 2d6 on the What's Inside? table (see p.6 of ATZ:Haven). The result was a 7, meaning no answer at the door. It was open and they could see inside.
They entered the living/dining room and found it empty. The lights were on and the furniture had not been disturbed. So far, everything seemed normal. The door to the kitchen was ajar but not enough for them to see inside, although they could tell that the kitchen light was on.
TURN 2.   ACTIVATION - Vampifan=2, Zombies=4
Looking at the Activation dice, you'd expect the zombie to move first. After all, I mentioned in the intro that one of Gap's parents was a zombie. However, in this scenario the zombie in the house does not activate until Vampifan or Big Sil have discovered him or her. So, Vampifan and Big Sil were able to search the kitchen without any interference. It was empty, but rather worryingly a drawer that held cutlery was on the floor with its contents scattered all over the floor and worse still, there were bloodstains on the floor and sink unit.
TURN 3.   ACTIVATION - Vampifan=4, Zombies=3
Moving cautiously, Vampifan and Big Sil ascended the stairs. There were no lights on in the upstairs landing but there was enough illumination coming from the kitchen for them to see. They noted that there was light coming from beneath the door that led to the small bedroom.
"Hey, Gap," Vampifan said in a loud whisper, "are you in there?"
TURN 4.   ACTIVATION - Vampifan=1, Zombies=5
Vampifan opened the door to Gap's bedroom and stepped inside. Gap was cowering behind his bed, looking scared witless. He did not appear to be armed. At this point, having come face to face for the first time in this scenario, Vampifan and Gap had to roll on the "Halt!" table (see p.7 of ATZ:Haven). Vampifan rolled 4d6 for his Rep and an extra d6 for outnumbering Gap by one, as he was accompanied by Big Sil. Gap only rolled 3d6 for his Rep. No other modifiers applied. As in melee combat, every 1, 2 or 3 rolled counted as a success and every 4, 5 or 6 as a failure. Vampifan scored 3 successes, whereas Gap only scored 2. Vampifan had scored one more success than his opponent, meaning that Gap, being an unarmed Civilian, would obey Vampifan's instructions. It was the best result possible as it avoided any unnecessary combat.

TURN 5.   ACTIVATION - Vampifan=6, Zombies=5
The Activation dice meant that no one could move this turn but that didn't stop them from talking.
"What the hell's going on, mate?" Vampifan asked with concern in his voice. "You look like death warmed up."
"It's my dad," Gap replied as tears welled up at the corners of his eyes. "He came home late this night looking dreadful. He attacked my mum. I can't believe it, but he bit her! He bit my mum, Vampi! We managed to get him into his bedroom and that's when I called you. I tried calling 911 but it was engaged. I can't get through to the emergency services at all."
"Don't worry, Gap" Big Sil said cheerfully, "We're here now. We'll sort it out."
TURN 6.   ACTIVATION - Vampifan=3(4), Zombies=3(2)
The numbers in brackets on the activation dice are the second set of numbers I rolled, having intially rolled doubles. Vampifan unholstered his BA Pistol and Big Sil unsheathed his combat knife. Being the closest to the master bedroom, Big Sil opened the door and stepped inside. The room was in darkness but moonlight from the window showed Gap's mother silhouetted against the window and Gap's father right next to the bedroom door. As this was the first time they had come face to face they had to take the "Halt!" test that I mentioned earlier. Vampifan's group rolled 5d6 as before (4d6 for Rep and an extra 1d6 for having one more figure than the other side. Gap now counted as part of Team Vampifan). The parents rolled 5d6 as well. 3d6 for their Rep. Although technically speaking, Gap's father was a Rep:4 zombie his true status had not been confirmed yet, so he counted as being a Rep:3 Afflicted Civilian. They gained a 2d6 bonus for being in a darkened room when confronted. The parents scored one more success than Team Vampifan, meaning that both would charge. In addition, Gap's dad would add +1 to the Zombie Surprise Total on the Meeting Zombies test found on p.44 of the main rulebook. The zombie rolled 1d6 and added +2 (1 for the number of zombies present and 1 for its bonus from the "Halt!" test). Big Sil would roll 1d6 and add his Rep score to it. The zombie rolled a 4 giving it a total of 6, whilst Big Sil rolled a 2, giving him a total of 6 as well. In the result of a draw, the human cannot fire and the zombie is allowed to melee. Big Sil now had to take the Zed Or No Zed test. He rolled double 3, passing 2d6. But because he rolled doubles the zombie was classed as a friend (true, actually) or relative so he counted as having passed 1d6. The Zombie would charge and Big Sil would have to take the Being Charged test. He passed 1d6 and could fight as normal. Note that Vampifan could not make a Leadership roll to help him out on this test. Leadership rolls only apply if the leader leads from the front. Vampifan was behind Big Sil so he could not make the Leadership roll.
In addition, Gap's mum was also charging Big Sil, so he'd have to split his melee dice in the confrontation. He had a dice pool of 6d6 (4 for his Rep, 1 for having the Knifeman Attribute and 1 for having a higher impact weapon than his opponents). Gap's mum was armed with a pair of scissors, which counted as being a one handed improvised weapon with an Impact rating of 1, or 1 less than Big Sil's combat knife. Big Sil split his dice pool evenly - 3d6 against each opponent. He scored two more successes than the zombie, thus gaining an Obviously Dead result. The zombie only rolled 1d6 in melee combat so it seemed like a safe bet that Big Sil would win but against Gap's mum both sides rolled 3d6 apiece. This could go any way. Fortunately for Big Sil, the dice gods looked favourably upon him and he scored one success more than Gap's mum. As she screamed "leave my husband alone!" he punched her on the jaw and rendered her unconscious.

At this point, the scenario was over but there was still an aftermath to deal with. Gap's mum had been bitten by her husband and was infected. Being the most knowledgable about zombies, Vampifan broke the bad news to Gap and told him that she had to be killed. That meant destroying the brain. He asked Gap if he wanted to kill her but Gap could not bring himself to killing his mum. I rolled against Gap's Rep on 1d6 to determine if he was up to the task. Whether it was a good thing or not I'm not sure, but he failed the roll. Vampifan told him to go downstairs with Big Sil and get a cup of tea or coffee. As Mrs. T. lay on her bed, Vampifan placed a pillow over her head and put a .44 calibre bullet through her brain.
Although the scenario was a success for our heroes, in that they saved Gap, it did not feel that way. This was a hollow victory. No one was eligible for a Rep increase. Vampifan and Big Sil spent the rest of the night with Gap. Later on, in the next day, they persuaded him to move in with them. They made a vow to see the crisis through together.
Next time - looters!


  1. Whilst Zombies and undead are not my thing Vampifan I am always in awe of the level of effort and enthusiasm you display in your posts. (imagine a little applauding icon in here) And I like the jazzed up look of your site - much easier to read with the wider post area on your new design too. Keep holding back those zombie hordes so I don't have to bother to. :) !!

  2. Thanks, Alan. For those viewers not in the know (i.e. those who don't follow Alan's blog site (now called Brandlin's)) it is with great thanks to him that my own site has been revamped. Sorry, pun definitely intended! I'm liking the new look as well. Now, if only I can persuade Blogger to give me a dripping blood font for the title and some scary sound effects like you suggested that would be awesome!

  3. What a clever modification of the "Domestic Disturbance" scenario! I've never thought about using it this way!
    The ending is true horror. This is not about happily killing hordes of nameless zeds, but about hard decisions. Oh well, the world will change for Vampifan...the zeds will be anonymous pretty soon and there will be enough for everyone. ;o)

    Thanks for this batrep.

    Whiteface / Oliver

  4. Thanks, Oliver. I quickly noticed that in Haven, Survivors were not as well catered for as the other groups in terms of scenarios. There was only the one, Exodus, written for them. I discount Nowhere Nevada as that is more of a campaign setting than a scenario. But looking at the other scenarios I realised it would be quite easy to adapt them for civilians and/or survivors. Heck, even Ed says on p.3 "Don't be afraid to set up the scenario and import your character into the situation." I plan on getting maximum usage out of this supplement so I will be using it for more converted scenarios in my campaign. Indeed, my next scenario about the looters is based on the germ of an idea in Haven.

    I totally agree that the ending of Minding the Gap was true horror. The decision to kill a loved one who has been infected can never be an easy one and who can say how we'd react if ever we were put in that heart rending situation?

  5. I'm late again! Thanks for the great batrep Bryan. I got a chance to sit down and relax and really enjoy reading the detailed report. I've never done the day one linked scenarios, maybe one day I'll take the clan through the paces as well. Once again, great job.

  6. Hey, Willy, better late than never. The decision to start my campaign on Day One was twofold. First it seemed the most logical place to start and secondly, I thought it would better help any newbies who haven't played the game get a better understanding of how the game plays. It's all about learning how to walk before you run.

  7. Again you did a nice job, Bryan, but I also like your story telling skills. Thanks for a very interesting report. If I ever get time to play ATZ I will definately be doing some research thru your batreps for ease of clarification.
    I like the idea of house rules too. After I learn a game throughly I always start to tamper with the rules, but you need to have a good idea of how its going to affect things. You seem to have it well thought out.
    Thanks again, too, for helping promote some of the lesser known figs by promoting them in your batreps and on the blog. I'm sure a lot of people would appreciate the nice but inexpensive zeds from Black Orc and Mega.

  8. I like house rules as well, Roger. Although I've dropped my one about heroes moving if there are no enemies on the board if they fail an activation dice roll. It made sense to me when Vampifan was only Rep:3 but less so once he reached Rep:4.

    I'm all for promoting the little companies out there. Many of them do outstanding work on a limited budget. If I can push some more business their way then that's job done!

    To make finding my ATZ campaign batreps easier to find they have all been tagged "ATZ Campaign."