Sunday, 6 October 2013
ATZ FFO supplement - High Rise to Hell
HRTH is a scenario pack that takes place in the Prosperity Corporation headquarters situated in an urban centre wherever your campaign is set. The goal of the player characters is to search the building in the hope of finding the Cure to the zombie virus that has affected so many. Whether there is a Cure to be found there or not remains to be discovered. If it does exist there, it won't be easy to find.
Each floor of the building is a separate encounter with six storeys above ground and three underground. Access to the upper floors is via stairs or elevator, whilst access to the underground section is restricted to elevator only, and then only with a key card or a computer override.
The scenario features a wide variety of opponents to be dealt with. Most are hostile but some are friendly or neutral. Opposition includes the obvious - Pro Corp security personnel and scientists and of course, the ever present zombies. Smart zombies and Ragers, both of which were first detailed in the I, Zombie supplement, are also present, although their rules have been slightly tweaked to make them fit in with the high rise environment. The oddities that can be found include vampires, werewolves and aliens. The vampires are not of the traditional supernatural kind of legend but are genetically modified humans known as Stage One Vampires and the more powerful but rarer Stage Two Vampires. The aliens include a smattering of races from THW's 5150 universe. I'll say no more, so as to not spoil your surprise. Strictly speaking, the werewolves are also another alien race from the 5150 rulebook - the Lycaons. An important point to remember about Lycaons is that their wolf form is their natural form and they can transform into humans. They are not humans who can transform into wolf-like creatures. Human survivors, gangers and magic users (known as Casters) are also present. Full rules for all opposition are provided along with the option of using any of them beyond this scenario. Indeed, some of them could join your party to aid them in future encounters.
The scenario includes five pre-generated Grunts to be led by your Star, if you want to use them. There are one each of civilian, ganger, military, police and survivor. I'd imagine most folk would want to use their own crew and that's fine. However, by using the pre-generated Grunts, it allows some of their backstories and motivations to come to the fore when they meet certain characters in the high rise.
HRTH opens the world of ATZ to a host of exotic races and creatures, which can be a good thing or a bad thing depending on your point of view. Those looking for more variety in their campaign or tougher opposition when their crew are all Rep:5+ will most likely welcome the challenges brought by the fresh blood. However, some of you may decide that there is no place for anything but zombies in a zombie apocalypse. If that is the case, then this supplement is not for you. On the other hand, if you can accept the premise of a zombie apocalypse it isn't too big a leap of faith to accept vampires and Lycaons. The way the new races are introduced and presented has a logic to it that makes sense. My personal opinion on the matter is that I can accept the concept of HRTH as canon in the world of my own ATZ campaign. However, it is not a scenario that I'd want to play until at least one year of campaign time had elapsed. HRTH is not a scenario for starting characters. One of the things that I particularly like about this supplement is that if you do successfully complete the encounters, there is scope for further encounters involving Pro Corp and the aliens.
Another big plus about this supplement is that it addresses what I felt was a major omission from the After The Horsemen rulebook, namely the lack of rules for the likes of vampires and werewolves. I also think it is a good idea introducing some of the races from the 5150 series. They add even more variety to the mix.
A PDF version of HRTH costs $17.00 from the THW webstore, whilst a hard copy costs $20.00. I ordered the hard copy and got the PDF version for free. I'd like to leave by mentioning a new ATZ project that Ed has just launched on Kickstarter. This is for a range of 28mm scale figures, including casters, vampires and werewolves found in HRTH as well as zombies, smart zombies and assorted human types. You can find them here - http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1377449800/28mm-all-things-zombies-and-more-miniatures?ref=email
I've already made my pledge for it. The sculpts look very good indeed. Ed's Kickstarter project for the 15mm ATZ figures was a success, so hopefully, this will be too.