In an ongoing effort to catch up on my blogs, I am filling in some blanks from the last several sessions. I won’t go over everything, but hit some highlights.
Now, the players are playing an awesome adventure called War of the Dead.
This adventure is very nasty, and a lot of fun. The only problem is that it is a railroad, and the party needs to work along the story line. This will work for most groups, but when the party kills a non-player character who is supposed to live, it makes it kind of hard to get back onto the rails. This party makes DM’ing fun. They take the game off the rails, so I have to work fast to figure out how to make the adventure work.
Over the last few game sessions, the party continued on from where they left off, running from the marina. Now they killed, or allowed to be killed two NPC’s who were supposed to remain alive until the story said they were supposed to be killed later in the story.
Also, Brian ended up causing the bikers to shoot up the 2006 Itasca motorhome. This was supposed to be the way that they were going to continue the adventure.
That is OK. I stitched some stuff together, and the party was captured by the biker gang. Hell Fuery, the gang leader, introduced Spiderbait, his girlfriend, to the party. Now, Hell is a piece of work. Spiderbait is even more nasty. She likes to use her knife to cut skin off her prey. She has some quality time with the party.
The party finds out that they are going to be used by the biker gang to clear out the town of Fairport. Fairport is full of zombies and the party was stripped of all weapons, food, and anything useful, and once the zombies follow the party, the biker gang will pillage anything in Fairport that is left.
Now the way that the adventure is *suppposed* to go is that the party goes into the town, and has several adventures. The bikers were to leave Spiderbait and three bikers back with all of the motorcycles. The rest of the bikers would follow and loot when the party started drawing the zombies towards them. Then the party was supposed to be influenced by the still living Henry to go back and take several bikes, damage the rest, ride back to Henry’s house and rescue the still living Elanor while leaving in the still working Itasca motor home.
In the process, the party was supposed to kill Spiderbait, which was going to lead Hell Fuery into a killing rampage.
Well, when the party ends up allowing the early killing off Henry, Elanor, then their actions shoot up and destroy the Itasca motorhome…. and then they don’t bother going back to kill Spider bait (because Henry isn’t alive and can’t tell them to double back and get some motorcycles…) the adventure is officially off the rails.
The party goes into town, and starts adventuring. This particular adventure allows the DM to draw some playing cards, and depending on what card is pulled, the party gets to have some specific fun, or another specific fun.
Now, *fun* may be a relative term.
So the party sees some interesting things in the town.
At one point, the party starts looking for a car that works. The first car that they find is unlocked and has the keys in it. Good thing. Collin jumps in, and tries to start it. The key won’t turn over the engine. The battery is dead. Bummer. Evidently, the car has been sitting long enough that the dome light and maybe the radio wore down the charge on the battery.
They continue to look for another vehicle. They find one that has a corpse seatbelted into the passenger seat. Collin jumps in and realizes that the corpse is a zombie. He brains it with a tire iron that he picked up. There is zombie goo everywhere in the car. Now no one has any skill at driving. To make things interesting, the party had little or no control over the vehicle as the careened from one side of the road to the other of the road popping tires, so the car was running on rims.
The group was rolling along and heard a girl scream. She was eaten alive by zombies, and the party just went “meh”. Now, if the party had helped the girl, she would have brought them back to her house, where her gun nut father (now dead) had a gun case full of full auto awesomeness, along with enough bullets to clear the town several times over. But did the party help? No. They were having too much fun driving the rimmobile around.
Towards the end of the session, the party is rolling along, and sees something, and decides to stop the car. They are quickly surrounded by dozens of zombies. As they are trying to get the car going, they hear a loud roar from the sky, and see an Apache gunship fly over, shooting its minigun at the crowd. The pilot doesn’t’ discriminate between living and undead. He just shoots the shit out of the area, killing too many zombies, and seriously critically damaging Shari.
Now, Shari took four wounds from the minigun. she then failed her health check, so she was “dead”. I threw the party a bone, and put a hypodermic needle with adrenaline in it, hoping for something like the following:
The party chose to go another way. Collin and Eric shoved her out the window and drove off. Eric and Collin found the hypodermic later. I figured that a compassionate group would say “We gotta save her!”, then start looking around the car for something useful. Did Collin and Eric do this? No. They didn’t. They threw her bloody corpse out the window like yesterdays’ trash.
I wasn’t feeling particularly well, so I ended the session shortly after that.
The next session, we had several new characters. Shari brought in an 8 year old girl who was very possessive about her stuff. She brought Bill, who is playing a hardboiled private eye detective.
Now this one seemed to go better than the last session. First of all, I felt pretty good. Second, I had some time to figure out how to stitch the adventure back together.
Shari’s new character knew where the party could get to her father’s fully stockes 2006 Itasca motorhome. The father and mother became zombie food. Bill’s character was new, and we were trying to figure out what the connection was.
At one point, Mike and Collin come back, and the party keeps hearing an odd thumping coming from the trunk of the car. Now I would think that in the zombie apocalypse, that if strange noises were coming from the trunk of the car, and you didn’t need ANYTHING from the trunk, that you would walk away. This group? No. A zombie was in the trunk. It didn’t do anything other than create a nasty mess in the middle of the large group of zombies at the motorhome. Beyond the zombies are two patches of horror, where mom and dad are now spots of goo, blood and bones left in the road. There are 20 zombies. The party goes forth and kills off the zombies. Bill lights a Molotov cocktail and torches most of the zombies. The party drives away as fast as possible.
But, in the aftermath, Collin and Mike lose the rest of the party, and spend a lot of time searching around the area looking for the motorhome. I am still not sure why Collin and Mike drove the rimmobile off, but the did, and didn’t leave a trail of breadcrumbs to get home. Eventually, the rimmobile and the motorhome come together again, and everyone gets into the motorhome.
The party leaves town, not doubling back to steal bikes, not doubling back to kill Spiderbait. I need to find a motivation for Hell Fuery to come after the party with a vengance. After all, he is a pivotal character to the ongoing plot. Maybe he is just a control freak who has found that the party’s lack of sticking to his well designed plan has driven him over the edge, and now he must get his vengeance?
After all, the cinematic end of this adventure was supposed to go like:
The Living Dead had found food! Nearly a dozen of them ripped muscle, intestines, kidneys, and other succulent morsels from the still-warm bodies. Blood covered their hands and mouths, but they didn’t care. Only one thing drove them: a hunger for flesh!
A single gunshot ripped through the nearest ghoul, exploding its head in a spray of thick, blackish goop. The others moaned. Almost as though of a single mind, they turned to confront whatever it was that had interrupted them.
Hell unleashed his fury, the M-16 vibrating his arms as it sent a hailstorm of death into the creatures. Skulls shattered and limbs tore away from bodies as the other men followed his lead. Hell’s eyes were wide with rage and spittle flecked the
corners of his mouth.
When the last of the beasts had fallen, Hell walked cautiously over to the bodies. He kicked a few with his boot to make sure they were dead— yet again. Satisfied, he stepped over them in his search for something of particular importance.
He found it upon the ground on the far side of his motorcycle, and his heart pounded against his sternum as his eyes settled upon it. Her chest and throat had been torn open, the blood already thickened. He stared, jaw clenched, as he raised the automatic rifle and pointed it—waiting. Moments later, the eyes opened. They were glazed and distant. Her lips parted, but the damage to her throat prevented a moan from escaping. He exhaled slowly and squeezed the trigger. A single shot entered her forehead. The body stopped moving.
Hell bent down and retrieved a ring from the ground near her head. It was the ring that had once pierced her navel.
“I want those bastards found,” he said quietly, clenching the ring in his left hand and keeping his back toward the men. “I want ‘em found, and I want ‘em alive.”
“How do you know they did this?” One of the bikers asked.
A terrible anger flared within him as he placed the ring within his hip pocket. Then, without a word, he spun and fired several shots into the biker’s chest.
“We’re missing friggin’ bikes, and the corpses sure didn’t ride ‘em outta here! Now, anyone else wanna ask me a stupid question?” His eyes blazed as though the fires of his namesake burned within them. No one said a word. Everyone was too scared to
even move. “I want ‘em found! I don’t care what it takes, how long it takes, or where you have to go. I don’t care if you have to go into a city full of corpses. Find ‘em, and bring ‘em to me.”
“We’ll find them,” another biker said finally, struggling to keep his voice strong. “Don’t you doubt it, man.”
Hell ignored him and kneeled down next to Spiderbait. He stared at her for several heartbeats, then leaned forward and gently kissed her dead lips before closing her eyes with his left hand. He remained there beside her, chin against his chest,
and fought back the tears. He would find those responsible, and they would pay a terrible price. If it took him to the ends of the Earth, he would see to it that they paid.
After a few more moments, he rose from her side, slung the M-16 over his shoulder, and mounted his bike.
“Let’s roll,” he said as he started the engine and revved it several times.
As one, the Ghost Riders rode away from Fairport.
You see what that cinematic end does? It places a nice bookend on this part of the adventure, and sets the stage for the next part. Since the party decided to go it alone, they didn’t get to hear the wonderful prose above. Instead, they bypass it all, and don’t know why Hell Fuery hates them.
Now, that being said, there is no reason why the players would have heard Hell’s monologue if they had followed the rules, but we aren’t talking about that.
So the party moves on down the road. They find that the 2006 Itasca motorhome is fully stocked for food, bandages, guns, ammo and fuel. They drive down the highway, and after a while, they come across several trees blocking the road. After some careful investigation, they figure out that there is a WARN winch on the front of the motorhome, and on top of that, the person who apparently felled the trees was eaten alive by some zombies after making noise with the chainsaw.
The motorhome moved on. Collin was doing a good job of driving it on the road.
Then they had a flat tire. The party was able to replace the tire before another horde of zombies attacked.
Then they saw a man and a woman running towards the motorhome, yelling for help, waving desperately. What to do? What to do? Well, they decided to stop and let these people on the motorhome. Now, Skeeter Leroy and Patty Mae were hungry. They hadn’t eaten for a while. Without asking, they got into a can of Dinty Moore stew – without asking mind you.
Now Dinty Moore Stew was a favorite of Shari’s. Her dad went to a lot of trouble to get it from the ruins of the HEB after the world went to shit. Shari had a problem with this. After all, they weren’t helping themselves to a can of baked beans. They got into the Dinty Moore stew.
So Bill put his cigarette out on the back of Skeeter Leroy’s hand. Then things went bad. I may not have everything in the proper order, but at least the following occured.
Skeeter Leroy and Patty Mae pulled out pistols and started shooting. Skeeter Leroy shot wild and almost hit Collin, while Collin was faced the other way, driving the motorhome at 40 mph on the road. The bullet didn’t hit Collin, but it grazed the epaulette of his real leather Member’s Only jacket.
That was a damn nice jacket. It fit really well, and the cotton ribbing on the sleeves and waist were still in good shape. The shoulder looked like crap now. Collin was pissed. He started yelling to stop this shit now.
Gunshots went off. Eric pulled out a random weapon from his (bag? holster? we don’t know), but he had both a M1911 45 caliber pistol and a flare gun. He randomly pulled out a weapon, and it was the flare gun. He shot Skeeter Leroy in the chest, but it didn’t penetrate. The flare hit with a loud thunk, then fell to the ground burning the floor of the RV while a group of people have a running gunfight at 40 mph. Mike leaps at Skeeter Leroy, doing his signature inverted chimichanga split flip, but critically fails. He lands on the burning flare. I give Mike a choice, roll the d6, 1, 2 it burns your crotch, 3, 4, your chest, 5, 6 your face. He rolls a 6. Go big or go home. So the flare starts melting the lycra luchador mask that he is wearing to his face. Shari sends her dog in to pee on Mike’s face to put out the fire. That is successful.
Brian comes out of the RV’s bathroom, with his shotgun, and blasts Patty Mae into the next century. She crumples onto the floor like a used dishtowel. Skeeter Leroy loses it, and starts shooting at everyone, but everyone (except Collin who is still driving at 40 mph on the road, dodging zombies) shoots back at Skeeter Leroy. He goes down.
The party then does their best murder-hobo routine, strips the two bodies of anything useful and jettisons the bodies from the vehicle at highway speed.
After a while, the RV stops moving. It appears that the running gunfight caused problems, the type of problems where a gas line was cut by a bullet or shotgun pellet.
They roll to a stop at the bottom of a hill and look at each other. What to do? What to do. Collin goes up onto the roof of the RV with his Barrett 50 cal sniper rifle. Now, Collin may look as cool as the guy in the picture below, but he evidently never had any lessons in firing the 50 cal, as we shall see later in this blog. (That is called foreshadowing)
Now, you will notice, Loren, that to this point, no party member has been immolated by an invisible flying character. Surely, they did throw a dead member out of a moving car, but she was already dead.
So anyhow, as the party is trying to figure out what to do, they are surrounded by many zombies. and they hear the pealing of a bell from a church. Maybe they heard the bell first, and then were surrounded by zombies, it doesn’t matter.
From the woods nearby, three men appear. Two are dressed in camouflage, and the other has a priests vestments. The two guys in camo fire their guns several times into the air, and start moving off, firing their guns to draw the zombies away. The father approaches the RV and offers safe haven in his church. Father Raymond explains that the two people in camo are Zachary and Michael, who do this a lot, and the party shouldn’t worry about their safety. They will draw the zombies quite a ways away, then double back, leaving the zombies in another location.
After Father Raymond explains this, there was a tepid response from the party members like “Oh yeah, maybe we should be worried about Zachary and Micheal, but we didn’t think about that.”
Collin elects to stay on the top of the RV with his big gun, to keep the equipment safe inside.
The rest of the party goes to the church with Father Raymond. There are several groups of people within the church. These include a friend of Henry’s and Elanor’s, the people in the house near the marina. Even though the old guy talks about his lifetime friendship with Henry, no one tells the old guy that Henry and Elanor are dead. This is another problem with the plot, as the old guy is supposed to have a reason to hate … who? you guessed it, the biker gang, for killing his old buddy who served together in the Vietnam War. Lots of hints were given to the party, but they decided to play Henry’s demise close to the vest.
A couple had a nine year old girl who was very sick. The mother was exceptionally pregnant, ready to pop anytime. Now the child is important. The child was dressed all up in swaddling cloth because she had a major fever, and the parents were trying to do the best they could for her. Shari decides to go over and check the girl for zombie bites. This is where the nature of the beast of this party shows itself. Everyone who has an illness that involves a sniffle, a fever, a hangnail or possibly is a libertarian is suspect of being a zombie. Shari decides put a pretty yellow ribbon around the girls throat. She ties it a little too tightly, and misses her notice roll… And mamma bear comes back with a vengance, and bitch slaps Shari across the church.
It isn’t pretty. The daughter is precious to mamma bear.
Shari then goes out to the RV to get some stuff. She is able to go into the RV, and come back without Collin, the lookout even realizing that anything happened. Evidently, there were some starling sized mosquitoes buzzing around Collin, distracting him from being able to see or hear anything.
Time goes on, and the mother goes into labor. Cut forward. The mother dies on the table, giving birth to not just a zombie baby, but a supersized zombie baby due to Brian playing one of his cards… The baby moves fast for a newborn.
Long story short, once the zombie baby is born, Eric sticks his bowie knife into the eye socket of the mother, who dies a gruesome death. The baby skitters away really fast, and makes life uncomfortable for everyone else. Then the bikers roll into town.
Now Collin has a Barrett 50, along with a night vision scope. He shoots four shots, and epic-ally misses on each shot. Now he isn’t going to tell the party this. OF course those four bullets were put to good use. Collin runs from the RV to the church, and gets in just before the bikers get to the church door. Now here is the thing. The bikers may have been happy to pillage the dead RV, but instead Collin led them through the woods to the building’s front door.
Brian decides he needs to find a way out of there. He goes up to the bell tower, and starts cutting through the chicken wire that keeps the pigeons out of the bell tower. Meanwhile, the bikers are riding in circles around the church, shooting, and hollering for everyone to come out.
Now I was hoping for something like this, where the party and the NPC’s in the church would have an epic battle with the zombie baby inside. It wasn’t quite there, but it was close.
Where was I? Oh yeah, the epic battle.
Things got bad pretty quick. Shari went out side and decided to kick Hell Fuery in the nuts. She missed, he slapped her hard enough to do three damage to her. She chipped it, and came back and shot his ass, to which he ran away.
Then three bikers came into the church on their bikes and started shooting. Father Raymond came into the room as a zombie, and started attacking Eric. The zombie baby came in and attacked Collin. Things got real bad.
Long story short. This is getting to be a very long post, and I still need to write up my Call of Cthulhu post from last Thursday…
The bikers died. The church caught fire. The zombie baby died. Everyone ran away. Brian fired at some of the bikers, who returned fire in spades, which made Brian rethink the big damn hero thing.
Everyone got away, the bikers took off, and next Saturday, we will continue.