Thursday 23 July 2015

ATZ Short Stories: The Rescue


It's been quite a while since we last played All Things Zombie, so here's a game just to show that we haven't forgotten about it.  If the terrain looks a little familiar, that's because we used essentially the same table that we had set up for Scooby Doo and the Death Knight; we didn't feel like creating a new layout!

The Scenario

The swiftness of the zombie apocalypse has caught out a number of people as they try to carry on with their regular lives.  At one country club & golf course, the members and staff have been preparing to evacuate when someone remembers that there is an old woman (Mabel) who lives alone in a nearby cottage.  She needs to be evacuated as well, so a small band of volunteers is put together to find her and return to the relative safety of the clubhouse.  Simple, really - what could go wrong?

The Rescue Party

  • Catriona: REP 4, golf club, brawler.  A keen amateur golfer and current ladies champion.
  • Melanie: REP 4, shotgun, initiative.  Head of ground-keeping staff, though she prefers working alone in the wilder parts of the estate over keeping the fairways and greens tidy.
  • Scott, REP 4, pistol, attractive.  A college student earning some money with a part-time job cleaning toilets and the like.
  • Mary, REP 3, golf club, dim.  Another member, though she's really in it for the social life and the club's shop rather than the outdoor exercise.

So, what happened?

The would-be rescuers ran along the north of the area, trying to stay behind cover.  There were quite a few zombies in the location, though only a few had seen the people.  The rest just wandered aimlessly through the woods or along the banks of the stream.

Briefly, the humans wondered if they could climb into the ruined tower from behind.  They reasoned that it would be good cover and - if the worst came to the worst - could be defended more easily than many places.  However, none of them managed to scale the 6 feet high back wall [I gave them a challenge vs. REP, but no-one passed 2 dice.  Also, it didn't occur to the players to ask if they could help each other up...].

After this, they jogged on towards the wooded, hilly area.  In theory that should provide cover for much of the trip towards the cottage.

[Note that the yellow markers are "Possible Enemy Forces", or PEFs.  These stalked the rescue party for several turns and made them quite nervous, though in the end all three of the PEFs were resolved as just figments of the characters' imaginations]

Round the back of the woods, however, the party ran headlong into a couple of zombies that they hadn't seen until then.  "No shooting!  We don't want to attract any more" hissed Melanie.  "We can take them - there are more of us than them".

Although everyone in the party had elected to charge, only Catriona passed her "brown pants" test and actually ran forwards.  The other 3 all had second thoughts when they were close enough to smell the rotting flesh and see the dead faces with strips of flesh hanging off them...

Catriona swung her golf club enthusiastically at first - she knocked down one of the zombies before the other one attacked her.  She knocked down the second one as well, but by then the first one had regained its feet and was threatening her again.  "Damn it!" she cried out in frustration - this was not going the way it was supposed to go.

After several turns where Catriona fended off first one zombie and then the other, Scott plucked up enough courage to charge into the melee.  He'd have done better to stay out of it, for the zombie he attacked clawed at him and sent the young man reeling with blood streaming down his face.

The distraction did finally give Catriona the breathing space to brain the other zombie, though her driver would never be the same again.

Before Scott could recover, the remaining zombie was upon him, biting and tearing gobbets of flesh away from his head and torso.  The 3 women were horrified; they scattered, running this way and that in a panic.  Other zombies were approaching from several directions to join the feast, so the humans ended up running through the woods and away from the awful scene.

The rescue party became strung out as they ran, with the fitter Catriona reaching the bridge before Mary had even cleared the woods.

However before she could cross, a gaggle of zombies appeared from the far side and blocked her way.

They were close enough to smell, but the zombies hadn't quite made contact.  Thinking quickly, Catriona called over her shoulder "Hide somewhere!  I'll draw them off and rejoin you."  Certain that the zombies had fixed their attentions on her, she fled across the open ground towards the tents.  Nearby, Mary and Melanie hunkered down behind the abandoned tractor, out of sight.

The plan may well have worked, but for a truly bizarre incident.  The lead figure on the bridge shouted out "Wait for me!  I'm not a zombie, please help me!"  He was Willie, a local hobo who had been mistaken by the zombies for one of their own.  But now he had revealed himself...

...and the other 3 zombies immediately fell on the hapless man from behind, knocked him to the ground and started to devour his corpse.

Melanie had fired her shotgun once at the zeds on the bridge to try to save the revealed human, but without success.  The noise did attract some more shamblers though, so the women all relocated behind a small clump of pine trees and waited for the feast to end and the zombies to lose interest and lurch away.  They waited and waited and waited [it was extraordinary how many times the zombies  failed their activation rolls and the humans passed theirs.  Must have been 8 or 10 turns in a row...].

Eventually, after much slow feeding, the crowd of zombies began to drift away in random directions.  Some headed back into the woods, but 4 of them crossed back over the bridge towards the cottage.  Mary, Melanie and Catriona decided that they wouldn't get a better chance than this, so they tiptoed across the bridge, praying that the retreating walkers wouldn't look round.

The zombies paused, perhaps listening for sounds of further prey.  However, the 3 women dared not remain in the open; they crept behind the rotters and quickly hid round the back of the house.  At least they'd be safe here for a time, while they figured out what to do next.  They tried the 2 windows along the west side of the building, but these were shut firmly and the humans didn't want to draw attention to themselves by breaking the glass and making a noise.

The rescuers were so close to their goal now, when we rolled another random event.  In one of those you could't make this up if you tried moments, we drew the Barking Dog card.  A small, terrified and very, very noisy beagle ran gratefully up to the humans.  It was thrilled to find masters who didn't smell of death or try to eat it; perhaps they might even have some dog food?

Of course, all the existing zombies heard it - and another 4 were following hard on the dog's heels!

Realising that their plan was in tatters, the women turned to flee with the dog tagging along as well.  Catriona was at the back of the group; she felt the cold, clammy hands grabbing at her shoulders as the zombies caught up with the group.

As Catriona fell in a mist of blood, Mary and Melanie fled.  They ran and ran, not looking back and were only aware of the dog's presence because of the happy little "wuff" noises that it occasionally made.


Err, sometimes you win and sometimes you lose, right?  This was a bit of a disaster really, though not because of anything that the players did wrong.

We were playing in a rural area with encounter level of 2, so random events and newly-spawned zombies were a low probability.  However, I don't think that I've ever seen 2 random events occur which each ruined the player's plans so comprehensively!

So, we'll never know if the old woman is indeed hiding in the cottage and awaiting a rescue, will we?


  1. That was a damn good aar, very reminsicent of many incidents from some of my own. That damn dog seems to turn up allthe time too !

    1. Thanks, Joe. Yes, the dog does seem to get everywhere, though I've rarely seen it turn up at quite such an inappropriate moment :-) !

  2. Replies
    1. Thanks, Gordon. The game was thrown together in quite a hurry, but it worked quite well for all that.

  3. Very cool C6! Great little storyline, not everybody gets to make it.

    1. Indeed, not everyone survives - else where would all the zombies come from?

  4. The randoness its what makes ATZ great! Great AAR!

    1. Sometimes the randomness goes in the players' favours, but not this time!

  5. Other survivors (and their pets) are not necessarily your friends.
    Great (dark) comedy value.

    1. It's been said by others that the greatest danger in the zombie apocalypse (or any other form of apocalypse, really) is other people...

    2. There's a line of thought that there aren't really any zombies; just folk like the guy "surviving by blending in".
      And if everybody else adjusts their behavior to blend in?
      Well how far do you go to blend in? Everybody else was following orders, so I tagged along..

  6. I have always thought your cards added a great deal to the game. Good to see the dog card again. And let's be honest golf clubs are not such a bad weapon! Good enjoyable aar!

    1. Thanks, Clint. It's always a surprise to me that some of the cards have *never* been drawn "in anger", yet others (such as the dog) keep cropping up :-) .

      Yes, the golf clubs counted as "improvised weapons" and were quite effective - until Catriona was attacked from behind and couldn't use hers...

  7. Heh heh ... what could go wrong indeed. :)
    Nice batrep too ... the story-based kinds are the best ones.

    1. Thanks, F.E.M. ATZ almost writes the story itself; the rules are really good for that.

  8. What a wonderful report, many a chuckle was raised