Monday 29 December 2014

ATZ: Short stories - the thief


It's been a long while since I played a game of All Things Zombie and I really miss it!  The reason for this delay is that the last game which involved the B-Team (here) required a hospital for the follow-up scenario.  Although I have started to build such a piece of terrain (here), it's a long way from being complete and I cannot continue the story without it.  I had resigned myself to a gap of many months before I carried on with the B-Team.

A couple of days ago, my eldest son asked if we could play ATZ during this holiday season.  I carefully explained that I wasn't ready to continue the main plot arc of my campaign.  In return, he pointed out just as carefully that we could use some other characters, either as a sub-plot for the main story or as a one-off game.  So why didn't I think of this rather obvious possibility?  D'oh!

Nicky the Thief

Those of you with very good memories for detail may remember that a small time crook called Nicky appeared briefly in one of my earlier B-team adventures.  He was locked up in a cell in a police station that was in danger of being overrun by zombies (here).  The B-team managed to release him from captivity before the zombies entered, but Nicky repaid this favour by fleeing into the darkness without making any attempt to help the other humans.

This game follows the little crook and shows what happened to him after his escape.

Since we had 2 players (both of my sons), I needed to introduce another character as well.  Here is Vince, along with a bonus sidekick, Tracy.  They're acquaintances of Nicky, but they don't know he's in the area or that he has escaped from jail.
  • Nicky, REP 4 ganger, greedy
  • Vince, REP 4 ganger, born leader (I suspect that this skill is manifested through his biting sarcasm and occasional use of his fists, rather than via any more uplifting means!)
  • Tracy, REP 3 ganger, rage

The Scenario

  • Nicky starts at one corner of the board, whilst Vince and Tracy begin at the opposite corner.  Nicky's goal is to find food, weapons and/or a vehicle so that he can escape from the area.  If he can meet up with friends with similar intentions then so much the better!
  • The area is in the suburbs, so zombies spawn on a 5 or 6.
  • Initial encounter level is 3.
  • There are 3 PEFs, randomly placed (though when we played, they all ended up in or next to the bookstore near Vince and Tracy).  It is possible that one of these will be Inspector Lestrade, the heroic detective who escaped from the same police station as Nicky.  Lestrade is a REP 5 star cop with a shotgun, though he doesn't have any reloads at the moment.   Lestrade will be placed instead of the first PEF that resolves as "Contact!" on a d6 roll of 5+, or on a 3+ for the 2nd or further contacts.  If he does appear then Lestrade will attempt to re-arrest Nicky, along with anyone who assists the offender.  Note that the players do not know about the possibility that Lestrade will appear!
  • A scattering of zombies are placed as normal.

The Game

Nicky strolled forwards, intent on investigating the interesting-looking convertible that appeared to have been abandoned in the car park.  However, he was soon spotted by a couple of zombies; they started to move towards him.

On the other side of town, Vince and Tracy crept forward very slowly.  They were dismayed when a zombie walked round the corner, right in front of them.

The couple fled along the street and tried to seek shelter in a nearby gun shop.  However, the door was locked and they had no way of breaking in to the well-protected building.  On turning round, Tracy saw another zombie blocking their path.  With a scream of rage, she flung herself at the creature, intending to take out all of her frustrations on the decaying, reanimated corpse!

Sadly for Tracy, rage (and a handbag) proved to be insufficient to defeat the zombie.  Instead, the undead housewife bit deep into her attacker's arm before tearing chunks out of the now-dying woman's face.

"Stupid cow!" Vince muttered, before he turned and jogged on the other way.

As Nicky trotted along, keeping just ahead of the trailing zombies, he thought he saw a familiar figure running in the other direction.

He swerved into the park and finally caught up with Vince, just as the other paused for breath.  "Hey, Vince!  I thought it was you" said Nicky.  The, seeing the look on his friend's face, he subsided.  "Tough day, eh?" he muttered to himself.

Just then, 2 men got out of a nearby parked car (PEF 1 had already resolved as "there's something out there - increase the encounter level by 1.  PEF 2 now moved straight for the players and ended up over the car, where it resolved as a random "contact!").

Mark and Ted were workmates who had become lost and were hiding out in the hope that they could make a break for it when the zombies left the area.  When they saw other humans, they decided that making contact with them might be a better plan.  However, as they scanned the newcomers, they concluded that Nicky and Vince weren't very likely to assist them.  In turn, the unarmed gangers looked at Mark's pistol with covetous eyes, but decided with trepidation that their odds of acquiring it were poor (in other words, the talk the talk rolls were tied, so both sides would go about their business separately).

In any case, fate intervened before either group could act.  A pair of zombies charged at the civilians from behind.  Ted heard something and didn't wait to find out what was behind him.  He fled and ducked behind the nearby hoarding.  Finding himself alone, Mark fought with the desperation of a trapped man; he managed to knock both zombies to the ground, hard.

As the 2 zombies lay winded on the ground, Mark used his machete to decapitate one of them.  Ted recovered his nerve and ran back up to his friend's side.  With a muffled apology to Mark for leaving him in the lurch, Ted jabbed his tyre iron into the second zombie's eye socket and silenced it forever.

The pair of civilians were catching their breath, so the crooks ran past them.  "Hungry?" asked Vince.  "You bet!" answered Nicky.  The pair of them entered a nearby burger bar, but backed out quickly on seeing yet more zombies.  "Bugger this!" exclaimed Vince.  "Let's find a car and get out of here!".

The pair ran across the street and started trying the doors on the block of lockups.  "This'll be where they keep the good stuff" muttered Vince, though in reality there was probably no better loot in the units than anywhere else.  Unfortunately for the crooks, all of the garages were locked; without tools they couldn't force them open.

Nicky and Vince were so preoccupied with their attempts to break in that they failed to notice Ted and Mark running down the road, even though they looked terrified and were calling out a warning of "Zombies!!".

As they ran, Ted felt a sneeze coming on.  "I think I'm allergic to the undead!" he wailed.  However, before he exploded into his handkerchief, both he and Mark ran off the board (much to the disgust of the players.  Random events had been very sparse during this game and the sneezing fit had considerable potential to entertain, if the character had only stayed around!).

The thieves gave up on the garages and turned their attention to the small, green hatchback that was parked in front of them.  Nicky smashed a window to gain entry and started rooting around inside the vehicle.  Straight away, he found a spare can of fuel, so he kept searching (that greedy attribute can be bad news somethimes: Nicky was completely occupied with looting for 2 turns).

Vince turned his attention to hot-wiring the car.  With the practised efficiency of a pro, he had the motor running within just a few seconds, though he also was oblivious to the approaching zeds.

"Just like normal" though Vince, as he swung the wheel and accelerated.  "Gone in 20 seconds!"  There was a slight bump as he left the sidewalk.  "What was that?" he wondered, but he didn't even bother to look in the rear view mirror as they drove away and off the board.


For a small game, there seemed to be a lot going on.  The players never really got much of a chance to steal and loot; there were always at least a few zombies around and they didn't want to take their chances in melee with these creatures.  At least Lestrade didn't appear; the thieves probably would have been in even more trouble if they'd had to deal with him!  Finally, when all's said and done, they did manage to acquire a small car with a broken window and extra fuel...

So, Nicky is not eligible for REP advancement because he didn't kill any zombies, though he did fulfil all the other victory conditions.

Vince technically lost the scenario because a member of his party was killed (since he has the born leader trait, I think that this is a significant demerit to him).  He did steal stuff (the car) and did kill a zombie, even if he wasn't aware that he'd run it down.  We rolled to see if Vince would lose REP, but didn't get the requisite '6'.  I guess that he wasn't really that bothered about Tracy and wouldn't be losing any sleep over her demise...


  1. What a very entertaining aar that was, good to see you playing ATZ agai C6 with a very interesting scenario. I decided a long time ago to take a similar route of playing various "episodes" from my campaign of various groups, rather than follow a single group.

    1. Well, the scenario was really just a basic smash'n'grab, but thanks for your kind words anyway :-) !

  2. Excellent report! I enjoyed the smaller feel, and it was a very entertaining read. You board looks great, very well done. Glad you have a chance to play some ATZ again!

    1. Thanks. We enjoyed the game so much; I cannot think why I've held off playing for so long!

  3. Absolutely delighted you;re back playing this C6, and that you're posting AARs as well. Great game and fantastic write-up. LOL when Tracy bought it. I hadn't scrolled down enough to realise her fate but thought at the time that her rushing a Zed was a bad idea :-) I thought the smaller scale worked really well and if Kirkman can produce a spin-off "Walking Dead" series, no reason why you can't either. Hopefully we'll have some more of Nicky, Vince, Mark & Ted as a result. When's the next one :-)

    1. Tracy had a fair chance against a single zombie; I haven't calculated the odds, but they were definitely in her favour. However, the dice can swing...

      I might look back through some of my old reports to see which other minor characters could be given extra life.

  4. Good story! I, too, like the idea of following some of the minor characters a campaign can throw up. Really like your table set up. Might need to pinch some ideas for terrain!!

    1. Thanks also! I was pleased with how this fairly ordinary game turned out. Must do some more!

  5. Very nice aar C6! Nice to see ATZ played once more, this is my main area of interest after all. It's a very good idea to follow several groups of survivors, so when one group gets overwhelmed you don't have to start from scratch.
    Impressive board too dude!

    1. Thanks, Bob. I had never given up on ATZ, as my continuing, occasional painting of yet more zeds and survivors shows. It's that other things have been getting in the way for a bit and suddenly I realised just how long it was since we had played a game!

  6. A gripping read. I would enjoy more tails of the exploits of these two characters. (Should you get the time and opportunity). I feel sorry about Tracey though and Vinces very callous attitude. Still what can you do if you have handbag rage!

    1. Thanks, Clint. I'll *make* time and opportunity, I think.

      Indeed, I don't think that Vince is one of life's great romantics!

  7. What a great little game, and well written up. Interestingly one of the characters fell early on. Have a good new year and I look forward to more in 2015.

    1. Thanks, Irqan. None of the characters in my games are sacrosanct - if the dice go badly against them then they die! In this case, it was something of a surprise because the odds were very much in Tracy's favour, but still...

      Happy New Year to you and yours as well!

  8. Great report! Very nicely done as it brings the game to life.