Tuesday 30 October 2012

ATZ-FFO Campaign, Game 7: Rally! (Part 2)

...continued from part 1.

Pike and Pavel were not dead, as Iain feared they might be.  Instead, they had seen the newcomer and his dog.  Figuring that the heavily-armed stranger couldn't be worse than the zombies, they ran towards him, calling for help.  Pavel sprinted like an Olympic athlete but Pike couldn't match his friend's pace and was grabbed from behind by a couple of stray zombies as he ran past.  In a panic, Pike jabbed the first zombie with his elbow; the blow connected with something vital and the zombie was killed (Pike barely outclassed the zombie in melee, 2 dice + an automatic success versus the zombie's 3 dice, but he managed to beat it by 1 point and then roll a '1' to dispatch it.  There was a lot of that happening during this game!)

Even the short delay was proving difficult for Pike, as more zombies approached him.  By this time, Bomber had walked down the street close enough to be in shotgun range.  He fired and blew 2 of the zombies from just behind Pike's shoulder; the civilian just felt a cold hand clutch at his arm before the blast tore it away.  Pike struggled frantically against the 2 remaining zombies that attacked him from behind.  Again, his sharp elbows served him in good stead as one of the attackers was killed and the other was knocked down.

Round the corner of the garage, Iain and Goofy heard the shot.  "Someone's got a gun!" exclaimed Goofy.  "Come on!  Safety in numbers!"  He dashed out and ran down the street towards the noise.  Iain, taken by surprise, was left alone briefly before he followed as fast as he could.

Back near the run-down basketball court, Bomber charged a lone zombie straggler.  He'd emptied his shotgun, but rather than take a turn to reach for his bat or to reload, he felt confident enough to take on a single zombie in hand-to-hand.  Clancy ran in beside him joyfully.  Pavel felt the need to impress this rough stranger and overcame his earlier fears; he too charged into the melee, though being 3rd behind 2 tough fighters, he might be forgiven for thinking that his presence was merely to show willing.
This zombie must have been someone like Jackie Chan or Chuck Norris in its previous life, though.  Firstly it fought Bomber to a standstill.  Next, it fended off the wolfhound with such a vicious blow that Clancy's teeth were heard to clash together; the dog dropped like a stone, stunned.  The rampage only ended when Pavel hit it from behind with his tricorder, beating it by 1 point and... (you know the rest!).

Where did they come from?

As Iain and Goofy sprinted along the road trying to catch up with the other humans, more and more zombies appeared.  Mostly they came from the far side of the police station, though stragglers were appearing from all directions.  Goofy fended off a couple of zombies that got close to him; it looked as if he would be able to break through the mob and join Bomber's group.

Goofy ran as if pursued by the devil himself after he knocked down the zombies who tried to stop him.  Iain tried to follow, but just couldn't keep up.  Perhaps his cricket pad was hampering his leg movements?
Everyone held their breath as Clancy stood up after being stunned and rolled his "Harry, are you OK?" test.  The dice came up a '6', so the big wolfhound was fine, if a little wobbly on his feet.

The mob caught up with Iain at the corner of the Motor Repair Shop.  For a moment it looked as if he wouldn't make it, but he smashed the skull of the first attacker and knocked down the second zombie.  Iain then broke free from the third creature to clutch at him and continued to flee.  Thank goodness he'd kept the cricket bat from his school days!

Bomber, Clancy and Goofy ran for the cover of the gun shop, followed by Iain.  Pavel and Pike couldn't resist a bit of looting on the way and investigated the vehicles that were parked by the side of the road.  Pavel had already found some groceries in the back of a sedan, but it was Pike who thought he'd struck the jackpot.  "Hey, someone left the keys in this motorbike!" he called to his friend.  He flicked the ignition switch; the bike engine gave an almighty, noisy cough but failed to run properly.

"You haven't got time for that!  Run!" shouted Pavel.  He could see the horde approaching faster than he imagined possible.  Pike glanced over his shoulder and started to move just as the leading zombie reached for him.

The skies were really dark now; the storm finally broke with a lightning strike (a random event).  The bolt hit a pine tree near the garages, but it didn't stop the zombies.

Another random event!  In his haste to climb into the red camper van and hide from the mob, Pavel twisted his ankle.  He grimaced with the pain as he sat for a moment in the driver's seat, before realising that the van wasn't a useful sanctuary at all.

At least Pavel was spared the sight as Pike was surrounded by a crowd of zombies.  His sharp elbows again managed to kill one of the attackers (against the odds) and knock down another - but there were just too many of them.  Pavel cowered down in the van's seat as he heard his friend's screams come to an abrupt halt.

Bomber and Clancy had run right through the gun shop and out the back door before they realised that no-one else had kept up with them.  They turned back and re-entered the building.  "Come on!" he shouted to Goofy.  "We have to go!"

Pavel used the momentary distraction while the zombies crowded round the body of his comrade to climb out the other door of the camper van.  He hobbled as quickly as he could towards the gun shop's front door and entered the building (it's just as well he didn't fail his Fast Move test, else he'd have fallen over and been stunned; sprained ankles can be dangerous!)

Meanwhile, Iain was searching the building, despite the calls from Bomber and Goofy to flee.  He encountered a single zombie on the first landing but batted it aside with practiced ease.  There was a pile of merchandise lying on the floor, so Iain grabbed something at random before retreating.  It turned out that he had picked up a telescopic sight, still in its original packaging.

A further random event occurred just as the zombie mob finished feasting on Pike's corpse.  They had seen live humans enter the armoury anyway, but they now moved towards it with a doubly renewed purpose.

Even as the zombies battered on the front door, Bomber hustled the remaining survivors out of the back door and away to safety.  At least, to somewhere else; there's nowhere safe in the city any more...


Iain and Pavel were thoroughly shaken with the day's events.  They willingly agreed to follow Bomber and become part of his group, though they were probably not that happy when he told them how his previous group had been scattered.  Clancy was very quiet for a few hours, but soon regained his boisterous confidence.  Goofy remained taciturn and sullen, as always.

Monday 29 October 2012

ATZ-FFO Campaign, Game 7: Rally!


In the previous game (here), the small community at Golden Hills was scattered by a huge horde of zombies.  As this happened, a couple of members were out scavenging for supplies, unaware of the destruction of their base.

The Game

Goofy (survivor, REP4, Shotgun, knife) and Terry (survivor, REP4, unarmed) are out searching for food and weapons to take back to the Golden Hills community.  They are on a standard "scavenge" mission (though that will probably change at some point as I pull the rug from under the players' feet!).

There were 4 players present for this game; obviously we needed some extra characters beyond Terry and Goofy.  I decided that another small group of scavengers would enter from another corner.  It remained to be seen whether they would help or hinder the 'main' characters or simply ignore them.  The other group were: Iain (civilian, REP4, cricket bat), Pike & Pavel (civilian, REP3 Star Trek re-enactors, effectively unarmed):

Early Moves

To start with, Iain, Pike and Pavel ran over to the side door of the police station.  Iain tried the handle.  "It's locked!" he said, sounding surprised.
"Can we break it down?" asked Pike.
"Maybe" replied Iain, uncertain.  "But surely there must be easier ways to find some loot?"

On the other side of the road, Goofy and Terry went along the row of garages, testing each door as they went.  This was a bit cheeky as there was a zombie standing motionless in the middle of the street.  It was looking towards the police station and didn't see the two men (wrong line-of-sight and lots of poor zombie activation rolls!)  Nevertheless, Terry kept a sharp lookout whilst Goofy tried each handle.  All the units were securely locked, so they didn't find anything useful.

By this time, 2 of the 3 PEFs (Possible Enemy Forces) on the board had been resolved as just nerves, though the encounter level had been raised from a comfortable 3 to a nerve-wracking 5.  In this context, it was not too surprising when a random event occurred.  Using my event deck, it was resolved as Foresight, thus allowing the players the advance knowledge that the 3rd PEF was just litter blowing in the breeze.  Indeed, the town became very quiet and even though it was early afternoon, the streets darkened as storm clouds began to cover the sky.

The players were all feeling confident now that the PEFs had all been removed as a threat.  Iain, Pavel and Pike came round to the front of the police station, intending to walk in through the front door.  As they did this, they saw the lone zombie standing in the street.  The group conferred briefly, but decided that they had to deal with the creature before moving any further.  "Come on!  Let's get it!" called Iain as he charged forwards.  However, both Pike and Pavel failed their citizen's "brown pants" rule and stopped after a few steps.  Iain didn't even notice that he was alone as he ran up and delivered the perfect swing; with a sickening crunch he flattened the zombie.

Terry strode across the street to congratulate the stranger, though Iain was preoccupied with the sudden realisation that his buddies had bottled out; he barely acknowledged Terry's words.  Before any further arguments could occur, Goofy called out "Heads up, guys!  We're not alone!".  The zombies were finally on the move down the street and a small mob was approaching fast.

The humans started to back up the road slowly.  As he went, Goofy fired several shotgun blasts.  Even though he felled a few zombies, the noise started to attract larger numbers of them to the area.

Another random event occurred; this time it was obvious that the main door to the police station was completely impassable.  The men could only guess at what might have happened inside that building to require fortifications of that magnitude, but right now they didn't have the leisure to let their imaginations dwell on the subject.

Terry and Goofy, followed by Pike, decided to run back round the police station.  They hadn't realised that a large mob was coming up the alley from that direction and they were taken completely by surprise when the first zombie attacked them.  Terry didn't get a chance to utter a sound as one of the creatures grabbed his head and broke his neck (Eww!  Terry lost the melee by 1 point, but the zombie then rolled the '1' necessary for an 'obviously dead' result).

In shock, the remaining humans ran from the scene, whilst the zombies congregated on the warm corpse to feast.

Iain and Terry found themselves together, hiding down the side of the block of garages.  "Where are Pike and Pavel?" hissed Iain.
"Who?" replied Goofy.
"My friends...did you see what happened to them?"
Goofy didn't answer.  He wasn't much of a talker at the best of times and the sudden death of his friend had unsettled him.

Unknown to both men, just at this moment Bomber and Clancy arrived at the far end of the table (Bomber is a REP6 survivor with brawling, shotgun and baseball bat; Clancy is a REP6 Irish wolfhound).  They had come as fast as they could from Golden Hills to find Terry and Goofy.  Although Bomber didn't know that some of the residents of the retirement home had been left behind in the scramble to evacuate, he still thought it important for the scavenging party to return immediately.  He had no idea what he was walking into.

To be continued...

Wednesday 24 October 2012

Full Thrust: Weapons Testing in the Neutral Zone

Captain's Log, USS Invincible, Stardate 31627.4

"We have crossed into the Neutral Zone near to Regulus III in support of the new Federation carrier, the USS Gemini.  There we will conduct fleet exercises to test the effectiveness of her fighter squadrons.  Admiral Bellamy has chosen this remote location to reduce the likelihood that passing merchantmen will observe our latest weapons in action and then sell such data to a hostile power."

Klingon Defence Force, Sector 5 Headquarters

"The Admiral Kang and her escorts are to proceed into the Neutral Zone towards Regulus III .  Her maiden voyage will thus be far from prying eyes who would report the existence of the new battleship to our enemies".

The Battle

The 2 opposing fleets stumbled over each other from opposite sides of an asteroid belt.  This field of rocks would encourage caution, but both fleet commanders needed to eliminate the opposition before news of their presence could be relayed back to their political masters.

On the face of it, this was a straight-up fleet fight.  However, I always like to do something a little different to keep my players on their toes.  This time, I wanted to test out my prototype Full Thrust Random Event deck.  The inspiration for this comes from the Doctor Who Miniatures Game (DWMG).  At the start of the game, each side is dealt 3 cards from a deck of random events.  1 card (maximum) may be played by each side in any given turn.  My Full Thrust deck has a mixture of possible events drawn from real-life naval battles and from Star Trek & other science fiction shows; hopefully this would add a bit of flavour to the proceedings!

How it went

Both sides advanced cautiously to start with.  The Federation carrier held back a little and launched 4 squadrons of fighters, whilst the Danube and Intrepid veered off to face the small Klingon flanking force.  An early Torpedo Malfunction card was played by the Klingons when the USS Intrepid fired at long range on the IKS Relentless.  The event would have caused the torpedo to miss automatically, with a chance that it would home in on the firer instead.  However, the Federation admiral took no chances and cancelled the malfunction with an That's Not Fair event card of their own.  The torpedo wobbled a bit, but then scored a direct hit on the Klingon battlecruiser for 6 points of damage.

The Klingon battleship slowed down to enter the asteroid field, not wanting to take a chance on hitting a 500,000 ton rock.  This made it very easy for the Federation fighters to predict the ship's course and they swarmed it mercilessly.  At the same time, the carrier's escorts were concentrating their fire onto the nearest cruiser (IKS Ragnarok), inflicting heavy damage - most of her weapons were knocked out.

The flanking forces approached head-on at point blank range.  Obviously the first to fire would gain a considerable benefit.  Normally in Full Thrust, the larger fleet picks a ship to fire first, then firing alternates one-ship-at-a-time between the sides.  However at this stage both fleets had the same number of ships, so first fire would be decided by a dice roll.  All the players were cheering on as their respective admirals rolled.  Initially they both threw a '5' and so had to roll again.  On the second roll, the tension was enormous, but the Klingon rolled a '6' and beat the Federation.
The battlecruiser IKS Relentless was chosen to shoot first and the sneaky Klingons used another event card "Match their shield harmonics!" to neutralise the USS Intrepid's screens for this salvo.  The Federation battleship was gutted by the torrent of fire, helped by some high Klingon dice rolls  She was left with 3 hull points, life support was failing, the warp core was about to go critical and the engineer's secret stash of Arcturan Pornography was vapourised!

In return, the Federation fighters inflicted major damage to the IKS Admiral Kang.  As they took her past the 3rd threshold check (i.e. 3 of her 4 rows of hull boxes were destroyed), the opposing side played a Design Flaw event card.  This required the Klingon flagship to take an extra threshold check; failure would result in the ship exploding immediately!  Fortunately for the Klingons, a vigilant engineering officer saw the danger of a fighter attack on an unprotected exhaust port in time to close an internal blast door; thus preventing the damage from reaching the fuel supplies.  His action undoubtedly saved the ship!

The captain of the USS Intrepid ordered "Abandon ship!"; the broken battleship continued coasting towards the asteroids as escape pods erupted from her sides.  On the other side, the all-but-weaponless IKS Ragnarok accelerated away from the encounter; at least she would survive the fight.

One group of fighters broke off from pestering the Admiral Kang in order to attack the Relentless instead.  Initially they misjudged her location quite badly, but using the afterburners put them in attack range.  However, a point defence turret on the Klingon ship got lucky and destroyed most of the attacking squadron single-handed.

The remaining Federation ships and fighters hoped to deliver a death blow to the Klingon flagship as they passed by, but the IKS Admiral Kang cunningly played an "Evasive Manoeuvres!" event card to reduce the damage.  In doing this, the Kang forfeited her own chance to shoot, but she had very few systems still operational and this wasn't a big sacrifice.


We had to call time on the game at this point.  The Federation had definitely lost one battleship (the USS Intrepid was abandoned and about to hit the asteroid field at speed), whereas the Klingon fleet had one battleship badly damaged and one cruiser out of the fight (weaponless).

I'd say that the remaining Klingon fleet was well positioned, behind the Federation ships, but that pursuit would have been hampered by the Klingons' need to cross the asteroid belt safely (the USS Los Angeles and USS Invincible in particular were not in the asteroids and could just pour on the acceleration to escape.  Doubtless they would have taken some long-range parting shots, but they would probably have survived this).  The fighters had been potent early on, but were now reduced in number and short on fuel and weapons.  Overall, I'd give the Klingons a minor victory, I think.

Several Klingon officers are due for a medal, I think:
  • Maglus, tactical officer of the IKS Relentless receives the Order of the Bat'leth for neutralising the shields of the Federation battleship USS Intrepid and thus leading to her destruction.
  • Weapons Officer (2nd class) G'Vera of the IKS Relentless is mentioned in dispatches for her exemplary defence of the ship against Federation attack shuttles.
  • Engineer (1st class) Toragh of the IKS Admiral Kang is awarded a posthumous Star of Kahless; his quick actions saved the ship from a catastrophic explosion, though at the cost of his own life.
I was pleased with the test of the event cards.  They weren't overly obtrusive, yet could make a difference when played cleverly.  It's still in the prototype stage, but I'm encouraged to keep going with this idea.

Sunday 21 October 2012

It's a Dog's Life

An Apology

I'm sorry, but I don't have any pictures of fluffy kittens to show you.  We live in the age of Web 2.0 and I realise how much I'm letting everyone down by not yet having posted any photos of baby mammals.  Instead, here are some 25/28mm models of dogs...

Gone to the Dogs

First up is Bomber with his Irish Wolfhound "Clancy".  Clancy came from the now-defunct Chariot Miniatures; the model is still available from Magister Militum.  He is a huge dog, more like the size of a small pony.  In All Things Zombie, I class him as REP 6 and add a "ferocious charge" ability (for ATZ:BDTZ this is +3 dice in the first round of melee; I haven't yet worked out the appropriate bonus for ATZ:FFO).  Let's see you survive that!

"Laddie" is at the other end of the scale.  He's a model of a collie from Mega Miniatures; in my ATZ campaign Laddie is the pet of John the photographer.  Laddie is classed as REP 2 and is definitely not a combat monster.  Indeed, he would be quickly lost if he didn't follow John closely.

Here are some larger dogs from Mega Miniatures.  From the left: Doberman, Rottweiler, Bloodhound.   I haven't yet decided whether they will belong to survivors of the zombie apocalypse.  Alternatively, they may form part of a feral dog pack.  Note that "Rex", the doberman, had a cameo appearance as a police dog in the quarantine game of my ATZ campaign
Finally, some smaller dogs, also from Mega Miniatures.  From the left: Scottie, Beagle, Dachshund, German Shepard.  Like Laddie above, these are mounted on 20mm round bases rather than the 25mm bases that I use for most people and the bigger dogs.


I had intended to show another dog model as well.  I have a Great Dane that belongs to some tall, skinny dropout, but the photographs of that one didn't focus properly.  Since I'd already packed away all the models and camera before I discovered this, it'll have to wait for another time.

Mega Miniatures has a huge variety of dog models and they're reasonably cheap, but in my opinion they are of variable quality.  The ones I've painted and shown here are some of the better sculpts - though I'm not totally convinced by the German Shepard.  There are a few dogs available from other manufacturers (mostly large hounds), but where else will you find this variety?!

Monday 15 October 2012

Scenery: Lock up garages


Lock up garages are a common sight in UK towns, often near the slightly older suburbs or housing estates.  They are typically arranged as a detached block, not directly connected to any house and can be found in back lanes or small areas of what would otherwise be waste land.  I don't know if such buildings are found anywhere else in the world, though perhaps any overseas readers could tell me one way or the other.

Originally they were intended for local residents whose properties were too small to have their own garage, but now they might be rented for other purposes.  I've seen local building & construction firms store spare lumber in a lockup, as well as hobbyists who keep a sailing boat or occasionally-used motorbike safe.  Lockups are even used occasionally to store the corpse after a particularly gruesome murder, though that's very much one of the less common things to put in them!

28mm Lockup

This is my paper and foamcore model of a lock up garage.  It's mounted on a 7" square tile and could easily be extended by adding other similar units to the sides and/or facing the doors.  This model is a kitbash; it draws heavily on the Armoury from Worldworks Games (the old Armoury kit, not the newer TerrainlinX one; though that might work as well).

The inside of the model is divided into 3 separate units.  For these, I just resized the walls and door from the repair shop that comes in the Worldworks Armoury kit.  If I was being adventurous then I could have decorated them with shelves, toolboxes and other such clutter, but I suppose I was lazy in this respect.  The floors are simple concrete textures; I cannot remember if they too are from the Armoury kit or from elsewhere.

The outside walls are also taken from the Armoury kit.  In this case, I've chosen to resize a plain brick texture for the sides and rear, though it would be entirely appropriate to have graffiti on some or all instead.

The front wall is probably the most heavily-modified piece.  It started as a plain brick wall, but I've added 3 door frames from the Armoury's garage, somewhat resized.  However, I wanted to make this block look old and tatty and so I didn't want the doors  themselves to be identical.  2 are from the Armoury kit, though one has been lightened up a bit.  The third door is a texture that I found on the internet and resized & cropped appropriately.  I found that searching Google for "metal siding" was the best way of finding such images, though even then it took some effort to find exactly what I wanted.

The Roof

I made the roof for all 3 garages as a single piece; I felt it would have looked messy to create separate covers for each.  This piece is somewhat complicated because I've given it a slight slope from front to back.  Fortunately, my trigonometry is good and it wasn't too hard for me to work out the correct measurements and angles; if I'd been less confident then a flat roof would have been easy and would have worked almost as well.

The sides of the roof are covered with a pattern from a Worldworks kit (can't remember which), somewhat extended and reshaped.  I think they were some form of roof edging originally, so they work well for this purpose.  The roof itself uses more "metal siding" textures.


In games of All Things Zombie, I class each garage as a separate building for the purposes of discovering items or people.  Probably this is a bit generous; it's not that likely that you'd find people in such a storage area.  However, you might find all manner of common stuff, such as building materials (for barricades), cars (possibly part-dismantled!), large tools or who knows what else?

Wednesday 10 October 2012

Scenario: "Terror on Tapu Island"

The Competition

Recently, "jimjackaman" organised a scenario-writing competition on the Lost World Safari Yahoo group.  Some of my readers may already be aware of this, but I put forward an entry and when the poll was taken, I won!  Now this wasn't a big competition and there aren't any prizes, but I'm still chuffed to bits about the result.

The full rules can be read here (I think even non-members of the group can see these).  Paraphrased, they go something like this "design a Lost World adventure in no more than 500 words, using 6 packs of miniatures from Bob Murch's 'Pulp Figures' range, of which at least 1 pack must be PLT 08 Saurian Predators".

You can see the shortlist of entries here (and some very good ideas are in them, too), but below is my own effort.  Note that I've dressed up the formatting a bit and added some images (sadly, not my own).  This was obviously not possible in the text-only Yahoo group format, but hey - I'm recording this for posterity.  Here goes...

Terror on Tapu Island

A Lost World adventure for 4 players


Somewhere in the South Pacific, a small island is tapu (forbidden) to the natives who live on the nearby, larger islands. Word has got round that there is something extraordinary to be found there and several bands of adventurers with different motivations have set off to discover the secret of Tapu Island!

Forces (from the Pulp Figures range, by Bob Murch)

  • Dinosaurs (non-player force): 2 packs of PLT 08 Saurian Predators

  • Big Game Hunters: 1 pack of PHP 08 Safari Into Danger (minus Jim Remington, the guide)
  • Film Crew: 1 pack of PHP 01 Film Crew (plus Jim Remington from PHP 08, above)
  • Seamen: 1 pack of PSS 03 Tramp Steamer Sailors
  • Natives: 1 pack of PSS 11 Melanesian Island Warriors


Tapu Island is a 4' square-ish tropical island, with narrow sandy beaches and rocky outcrops alternating along the outside and lush jungle filling much of the inside. There should be a few more open areas away from the coast, along with many narrow paths/game trails. A few small streams wouldn't go amiss and a tall waterfall with a pool at the base would be excellent!

Randomly position 12 counters at least 8" away from the coast. If a character gets line of sight to a counter then roll a d6: on a 1 it's a large dinosaur; on a 2 it's a small dinosaur; on any other roll it's just nerves. A revealed dinosaur, or a counter if there is anyone within 6" of it, will move straight towards the nearest person on a 1-3, straight away on a 4-5 or in a random direction on a 6. Counters move 6".

Each player's forces start on a different beach, having just disembarked from a small boat or canoe.

Special Rules

  • The Big Game Hunters win if they kill a dinosaur, take a trophy from the carcass (takes 1 character a whole turn) and then escape by boat.
  • The Film Crew win if they shoot at least 2 turns worth of film that includes a live dinosaur (roll "to hit" for the cameraman to take the shots) and then escape by boat.
  • The Seamen win if they capture a dinosaur and then escape by boat. One of the seamen has an endless supply of bottles of chloroform; throw these as a grenade, a hit renders the target unconscious for 1d3 turns. It takes 2 men to drag a captured small dinosaur or 4 men to drag a large one. Dragging a captive is done at half normal speed.
  • The Natives win if they prevent any of the white men from leaving the island, either by killing them or taking all the boats. The warriors have rubbed their bodies with the berries of the punga tree; this causes a dinosaur to ignore them in disgust on a d6 roll of 5+.
  • Random events could include goats (as bait), snakes and typhoons.