TURN 9. ACTIVATION - Vampifan = 2, Ragers = 5.
At the start of Turn 9, two Ragers arrived on the board but were unable to activate this turn.
"Sil, Angie!" he called out in warning. "Zombies out the back! Take 'em out!"
Big Sil and his girlfriend, Angie Johannson, emerged from the back of the extra-large Folding Structure Unit (XLFSU) with their M16 Assault Rifles at the ready. Big Sil fired once at the second Rager and missed.
"Useless!" Angie chided him good-naturedly. "This is how you do it!"
Her shot was much more accurate. She also scored an OOF result. The Ragers fell to the ground but it was obvious they weren't dead. Meanwhile, Gap moved outside to where the wounded Rhiannon Marlow lay. He picked her up and carried her back inside, laying her down on a pale-grey sofa. She had been bitten by a zombie and had blacked out.
The lone zombie shuffled slowly across the warehouse loading bay, attracted by the sound of gunfire.
"What the hell are those things?" Angie enquired as she took a good long look at the creatures.
"I dunno," Big Sil answered with a shrug of his shoulders. "But they sure were tougher than any zombie I've seen so far. What do you think, Boss-man?"
Vampifan adjusted his glasses before replying. "I have no idea. A hardier breed of zombie, or something new entirely. Note how they look more human than most zeds. They don't look like walking corpses, do they? Now go and check out that shed. I'll cover you."
I rolled 3d6 for zombie reinforcements but none had heard the gunfire. Cool!
I immediately rerolled the Activation dice and scored a 4 and a 1, but seeing as there were no zombies on the board I ignored their Activation die and moved on to Team Vampifan. Vampifan climbed up onto the hood of his pick-up truck to provide cover for his colleagues. Big Sil kicked open the doors to the shed and winced as the smell of rotting flesh wafted out. I turned over the next card from my Risks and Rewards deck. Inside, were a one-legged zombie and one Resource - a set of Keys.
Although Team Vampifan could not move or fight this turn, there was nothing to stop them talking and Big Sil made a significant discovery.
"Hey, Vampi!" he called out excitedly. "These aren't car keys I found. They're for those container units over there."
"Hot damn!" Vampifan exclaimed as he glanced over at the large stack, clearly visible from his vantage point. "We'll check 'em out later but first I want to see what's in that warehouse. Gap, get your arse in gear! We're on the move."
"I'm coming," Gap responded. "Ri's still out cold, so I'll leave her here."
The team reached one of the two back doors to the warehouse, although Gap had to make a Fast Move to catch up with his colleagues.
Team Vampifan entered the warehouse and discovered three Survivors and a Luxury Item Resource, as can be seen from the Risks and Rewards card shown in the photo above. I rolled to see who between Vampifan and Angie found the Luxury Item. This time, Vampifan was successful. I determined that the Luxury Item was a jar of instant coffee. The first of the three Survivors was Rep:4 and was armed with a Semi-Automatic Rifle.
These are my stats for a Catapult: Range = 10"; Targets = 1; Impact = 1; and the weapon is silent.
The new Survivors were led by Hanna Vaughan. Her daughter was called Jamie, whilst her young son was called Billy. Billy was the one with the Catapult. Jamie had her Pistol in her backpack.
It was time to roll on the Meet and Greet table (see p.45 of BDTZ). Vampifan rolled 6d6 (5 for his Rep and +1 for outnumbering Hanna by one). Hanna just rolled 4d6 for her Rep. On the first roll off, Vampifan scored 4 successes, whilst Hanna scored 2. Discarding the failures, Vampifan then rolled 4d6 and scored 2 successes. Hanna rolled 2d6 and scored 0 successes. As a result, the Vaughan family would join forces with Team Vampifan on a permanent basis. Introductions were made.
Finally, I chose the Attributes that I wanted the Vaughan family to have. I know that I should have diced for them as they are only Grunts but I wanted them to have Attributes that I felt were most appropriate for them. It's all part of the story-telling process, okay? I figured Hanna had to be tough to survive the first three weeks of the Outbreak with two children in tow, so I gave her the Stone Cold Attribute (she'd roll 3d6 for all Reaction Tests). Jamie was obviously some kind of martial artist so she naturally got the Brawler Attribute (this gave her a +1d6 bonus in melee combat). As the youngest member of the family, I felt that the Wuss Attribute would be most appropriate for Billy (he'd only roll 1d6 when taking the Charge, Being Charged and Rally Tests).
Oh, dear! Another 7, another Rager. This one appeared in the centre of the bottom table edge, or Sector 8. I placed it 8" on the board. It was eligible to move this turn, but it had no LOS (Line of Sight) to any legitimate targets and no loud noises had been made in the previous turn, so it remained in place, waiting for something to happen.
Having initially rolled double 2 for Activation, I rerolled both dice and this time scored a 5 and a 1, in Vampifan's favour. Vampifan announced that they were going to check out some of the containers units as they'd found the keys to open them. Hanna and her kids agreed to follow them.
As soon as they stepped outside they spotted the Rager, but once again, they mistook it for a normal zombie. Vampifan fired a single shot from his Assault Rifle at the creature but rolled a 1 and totally missed. Big Sil fared better. His single Rifle shot hit the Rager in the chest but only knocked him down.
The Rager raced down street, moving a distance of 12", screaming all the way.
"Fuck me!" Vampifan swore as he hurriedly raised his Assault Rifle to his shoulder, whilst flipping its fire selection switch from single shot to autofire. "Is this thing on steroids?"
The Rager was only 2" away from him when he fired. Two of his three shots hit. His first shot scored another Knock Down result but his second shot was, thankfully, an Obviously Dead result. The Rager threat had been dealt with.
It would appear that too many of Team Vampifan were spending too long scrutinising the Rager corpse, so they came to a temporary halt. The lone zombie slowly ambled across the street, its milky white eyes seemingly focussed on Vampifan. It finished its movement just 3" away from the human leader.
"I'll get him!" Billy called out excitedly. To his credit, he did! The stone pellet from his catapult struck the zombie in the forehead and thanks to the Easy To Hit rule, killed him. I really love that rule! Better still, the shot was silent, so no chance of any roving zombies turning up next turn. The group crossed the side street and reached the XLFSU.
Vampifan and Big Sil were the first to reach the stack of container units. Only the three on the ground level facing the main street could be searched. The seven units above them were too high to reach and the nine at the back had their entrances covered by the nine at the front. Just like the trailer of a Big Rig, each unit would count as a single room for the purposes of searching.
Big Sil unlocked the doors. He stepped inside the pitch black interior, which was now illuminated by the rising sun. Vampifan accompanied him. The Risks and Rewards revealed that this was a total bust, with no humans, no zombies and no resources. Bummer!
By now the rest of Team Vampifan had reached the stack and they gathered around the second one in line as Big Sil fitted the appropriate key in the lock.
Once again, I had to reroll the Activation Dice to determine who went first... even though there was only one team on the board. Vampifan, Angie and Big Sil stepped inside and were confronted by three zombie children. The Risks and Rewards card also revealed that there was a Fuel Resource inside. It was hidden away at the back of the container unit so Team Vampifan would have to get past the three zombies to reach it. I rolled to see if any of the zombies was a Smart Zombie and one was. I rolled 1d6 on the Smart Zombies Weapon Table (see p.41 of IZ) and I rolled a 2, indicating he was armed with an Impact 1 Improvised Weapon. A hockey stick fit the bill perfectly for him. He would fight against Vampifan.
Next, I had to roll for surprise. I rolled 1d6 for the zombies and added a +3 bonus to the roll, which was 5, giving a result of 8. The +3 bonus came from how many zombies there were. The heroes also rolled 1d6, but they got to add their Rep score to the rolls. The final results were Vampifan with 8, Big Sil with 7, and Angie with 6. Seeing as none of their scores beat the zombie score, none of them could fire and they'd have to melee as normal.
Big Sil went next and he drew his Combat Knife. He rolled 7d6 to the zombie's 1d6 and he slaughtered the young girl by scoring 4 successes to her 0. He sliced the sharpened blade across the girl's neck and decapitated her.
Angie's combat went very similar to Vampifan's, taking two turns to resolve. Initially, she scored 3 successes, but the young zombie male scored 1 success. In round two, Angie scored 2 successes, whilst the zombie failed to score any. She used her newly acquired Machete to split the zombie's skull in two down the middle.
I rolled to see who out of the trio found the Resource and Big Sil beat the other two to it.
"Okay, we're done here," Vampifan declared. "Let's go and check up on Rhiannon and then get the vehicles under cover."
Seeing as there was nowhere else left to explore and no more opponents to defeat, this ended the encounter. It was a victory for Team Vampifan. However, there were still some very important dice rolls to be made.
"I don't want to die," she sobbed, "but I don't want to come back as one of those... things!"
"No, Rhiannon!" Gap cried, his voice full of emotion. Tears streamed down his face as he saw Vampifan draw his Desert Eagle pistol from its holster. "There's got to be another way! Surely?"
Despite having met her just over a day ago, Gap had developed a crush on the young Goth Girl. Vampifan caught his eye and briefly shook his head. He knew what needed doing and as leader of the group he felt it has his responsibility to maintain the safety of his group.
"I'm so sorry, Rhiannon," Vampifan said remorsefully, as he placed the barrel of the huge gun against her forehead. "You didn't deserve this."
The sound of the gunshot seemed unnaturally loud in the confines of the building. Rhiannon would not be returning as a zombie.
All that was left to do was to determine if anyone's Rep increased. Vampifan, Big Sil, Angie and Gap were all eligible for Rep improvement rolls (see p.61 of BDTZ). Gap needed to roll a 5+ on 1d6 to go up to Rep:5, whilst the others needed to roll a 6. May be the dice gods decided I needed some cheering up after losing Rhiannon but both Vampifan and Gap scored high enough to improve their Rep by 1. Vampifan had rose to the heady heights of Rep:6 and Gap was now even with Big Sil and Angie at Rep:5. I could have no complaints.
My final thoughts on this scenario are as follows. After going almost six months since my last game of ATZ, I was so desperately looking forward to this game. The way the game turned out made for an incredibly exciting and emotionally rewarding experience. The loss of Rhiannon was more than balanced by the recruitment of the Vaughan family and by Vampifan reaching Rep:6. I can tell you now, the next scenario in my campaign will take place soon - in June for sure, but possibly earlier.
Smart Zombies are not that big a threat. If armed with a firearm they only have a very slim chance of hitting. The extra die they get in melee doesn't make much of a difference but could if the Smartie was not alone in attacking. Ragers, on the other hand are downright scary! Team Vampifan did well against the three they met but with some different Activation rolls, things could have gone very differently. My advice in dealing with them is to fire as many rounds as you can into them before they get into melee range. Melee with Ragers is to be avoided at all costs! I tried to play this game straight in having the heroes not identifying the new threat for what it was and just treating Ragers as normal zombies. They'll know differently next time but only because they have learnt from experience.
To all of you who have read this batrep, my heartfelt thanks. Hopefully, it won't be too long before Team Vampifan rides again.