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War of the Dead game report - Updated 4/16 - Final Session
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DGMiller
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Joined: 25 Jan 2012
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Location: Myrtle Beach, SC

PostPosted: Fri Nov 09, 2012 2:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh, and I also just updated my game journal thread.
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jcayer
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 22, 2012 6:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

For your Thanksgiving pleasure, Session 5:

Tonight's session was very interesting. As an important note, this battle ran over three hours, so I may have a few details out of order, left out entirely, or just wrong.

The survivors had just taken out a few of Hell's boys and were heading back to the Marina clubhouse to rescue their loved ones. The session opened and I told them they had around 25 minutes in the vehicles till they got back to the marina. I knew they could spend hours developing a plan, so I basically set a 25 minute time limit. I also stressed that it was likely Hell was 20ish minutes behind them, but they had no idea if that was true.

They discussed numerous options, and proposed four different plans. They knew there would be ten bikers at the clubhouse. They assumed the bikers would be holed up in the Marina where they last saw their loved ones. The first option was to split into two groups. A small group of two or three could sneak into the basement of the Marina clubhouse through the basement window which they had smashed previously. Bob had hidden two Glocks with 60 rounds of ammunition in the bodies of the dead there. They could reclaim those weapons and sneak up into the house through the basement. Joel had hidden a glock in a ceiling tile of the second floor. Jeff had hidden a glock in Lt Dan's wheelchair. Meanwhile those in the second group would start a firefight and a distraction outside. The small team on the inside could distribute their weapons to their fellow hostages, increasing their numbers from 7 to 15. The second option consisted of a frontal assault. The third option was to ram their Humvee through the front window of the clubhouse, perhaps accompanied with a makeshift bomb. The fourth option was to bury a can of gasoline near the clubhouse and set it off after luring the bikers outside. They agreed to go with the first option.

In the end, they decided to park at Henry's house, which was a five minute walk to the marina. Then things started to go bad....the entrance to Henry's driveway had a couple of trees cut down blocking the drive up. The trees had been cut down recently. The road had not been blocked when they left. While surveying the situation, they heard a gun shot and someone cry out in pain. They left their vehicles hidden in the woods and walked to Henry's house. Slowly advancing through the brush, they eventually were able to see the front of Henry's house. There were 2 bikers on the porch. Lt Dan's wheelchair was 15 or 20 feet from the porch, and Lt Dan was lying motionless further out. The 2 bikers were taking pot shots at him. He appeared to have some superficial wounds, but was definitely taking a beating. He was unresponsive and bleeding. It was clear that the bikers had relocated to the cabin. It was time for a new plan, but with Hell potentially 15 minutes behind, time was short.

The group decided to split and flank. One group with Mike, Bob, Joel, and Adam approachedfrom the front of the house. Jeff, Kris, and Henry approached from the right side of the house. Then there was a scream. With a double raise on his notice check, Bob immediately recognized it as Andrea. A moment later, there was another one, likely MaryLou, the very attractive political activist . Her scream was punctuated with a couple shouts of, "No, NO." With Andrea's scream, Bob lost all sense of tactics and immediately took off for the house. I have to admit, as the GM, I was baiting him a bit. Bob likes to take a lot of time to analyze, plan, and reanalyze. I wanted to run this encounter without a lot of analysis since it's a shootout. Bob's major hindrance was his wife Andrea. I knew he would do anything to make sure she was safe. This was relatively effective.

Before the party could take any other actions or position themselves further, even before they were able to attempt to sneak up on the cabin, Bob flat out fired at one of the bikers. In his rage, he didn't even bother to aim. He lost all sense of self preservation.

We dealt the cards and combat began. [Bob drew an Ace. The bikers and Spiderbait came next. Then the rest of the party would follow. The survivors had a guardian angel watching them as Bob exploded on both his hit roll (17) and damage (16), dropping the first biker. Not caring about anything but his wife, Bob then used his same turn to run toward the entrance of the cabin. He dropped a glock at Lt Dan, unsure if he was still conscious and able to use it. He ran as far as he could, and then did not drop prone. It would have been ugly here with the ten bikers coming next, but Bob decided to play the adventure card that he had been dealt: "...NOW!" This card allows all of your party members to act on your turn as if they had drawn your card in the initiative. Suddenly, the entire party was now able to act before the bikers could. Mike followed that up with the same result. Mike's three round burst exploded on the second biker. Within the first 2 turns, the guards on the porch were dead. Another biker broke out some glass on the second floor facing the side Jeff, Kris, and Henry were approaching from. Jeff opened fire and did the same thing, multiple dice exploded for hitting and damage. It was so high, even though he couldn't see the biker, I had to give it to him. Biker 3 down.

After such an amazing start, I was afraid this encounter would collapse in upon itself. That was not the case, as things now started to go bad for the players. Bob continued to recklessly advance his mind only on the possible harm to his wife. He was hit, but was lucky enough to soak the damage. Most of the other players advanced, or were pinned down with suppressive fire. Another 2 gunners took places upstairs, facing Jeff, Henry, and Kris. Spiderbait took a spot on the second floor overlooking the front of the house while 2 more bikers flanked the front door. This was very difficult for the players. Both Joel and Adam had a hindrance that gave them a pace of five and a run of d4, and they simply weren't fast enough to get the house without being considerably exposed to gunfire.

The next round was a devastating one for the players as a grenade came out the front door toward Bob. As the only person not taking cover, all the bikers laid into him. At the same time, the other biker on the floor opened fire on him. Bob managed to shake another wound, but in the end, was completely cut down in the middle of the drive for 31 points of damage. Bob asked if I might be willing to grant him a benny for playing to his hindrance, and I agreed. But it didn't help. You'd have to be an expert Yatzee player to soak 31 points of damage on a single benny. Bob fell to the ground, blood bubbling from his mouth as he spoke his wife's name for the final time. He became the first casualty in the War of the Dead.

For a couple more rounds, combat stayed flat with people going prone, aiming, and working from cover until a few things happened all at once: Kris decided to try to advance, making his move, he was hit, but shook it off. Likewise, an unseen biker made a dash for the RV on the far side of the house. Joel responded heading for the RV to try to cut him off. Spiderbait pealed off a 3 round burst at Joel, hitting him. Fortunately, Joel managed to shake the hit and keep going.

With so many people moving, Mike saw a chance and played Run for It, an adventure card that allowed everyone to run(maximum roll) as a free action. Joel got much closer to the RV, Adam advanced on the house, Kris made it to the house, and Jeff got halfway there. With their turns still to go, most of the survivors made it to the house. Mike opted not to run, but instead took down the biker who was going for the RV.

Joel managed to pick off one of the bikers by the door quite accidently, as he used an M16 with full auto and fired a hail of bullets at the two bikers standing at the porch. This led to an interesting situation. Joel's shooting skill was a d4 only. He took three shooting rolls from full auto. And took a -2 to hit due to recoil. He took another -2 for being at medium range. Under the rules, a 1 or 2 with an automatic weapon automatically hits an adjacent bystander. Thus, if he rolled a 1,2,3, he would be guaranteed to hit an enemy. The combination of his low shooting skill combined with the full auto miss rules truly worked to his advantage. Though he missed his intended target, the stray bullets riddled the biker nearby him, and Kris was able to snipe the other one through the side window.

Seeing that his friends had made it to the house, Mike chose to advance. He made it to Bob's fallen body and dove into the dirt next to it. This was good timing, as the lone biker on the porch fired a grenade at Mike. Mike pulled up Bob's kevlar vest-clad body as the grenade went off, and managed to somehow soak two wounds.

Spiderbait and the two other upstairs shooters went silent.

Jeff made it to the back door and peaking in, saw the two thugs dragging Andrea and MaryLou out to use as human shields. He withdrew to see how things developed. Mike thrust a knife into Bob's lifeless eye socket, ensuring he didn't rise again. Then he ran for the house. Spiderbait made it down the stairs and was all but invincible as Mike, Adam, and Kris all took shots at her, hitting her time and time again. The dice were with her as she soaked wound after wound after wound. I think I burned 5 or 6 bennies on her. She should have been dead four times over until Adam finally put her down. Before dying, Spiderbait unloaded with full auto on Mike, who soaked another wound. As this was transpiring, Mike yelled, "Bob is dead!" For the cost of a benny, I let someone control Andrea(NPC, Bob's wife) for a turn. Mike tossed me his chip, and promptly aced her roll. The good old stomp on toes and elbow to the gut, shook the biker and allowed her to get away.

Further complicating things for the bikers, MaryLou managed to escape, and Jeff came around the corner, burying a pair of bullets in him, leaving him shaken. He recovered and made a break for it once Spiderbait went down. Another biker fired rapid fire - six bullets from his Glock into Jeff, who managed to soak one wound. The other biker wasn't able to shake it and just made it out the door when Jeff opened fire on him, killing him.

The last biker was gunned down by the group, ending a 3+ hour tactical combat. This was our first real go at a big battle using the grid. Much to my surprise it took far longer than I had hoped or expected. What was even more surprising was it wasn't like a typical 4E battle. There was no grind and everyone pretty much stayed focused. We did have to look some rules up in the book but that didn't slow us down that much.

Overall, it was an interesting session, leaving one player dead as we learned a great deal about how Savage Worlds plays on such a large scope.
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jcayer
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 22, 2012 6:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sorry, dupe

Last edited by jcayer on Thu Nov 22, 2012 9:22 am; edited 1 time in total
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FightingForLife
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 22, 2012 8:09 am    Post subject: War of the Dead: The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly, 11/20 Reply with quote

Good:
Two rough-looking men with beards stood at the porch of the cabin. They had rifles and were taking pot shots at an inert form in the road about sixty feet away. They would pause occasionally and laugh when the hit the unconscious man.

Suddenly, the head of the biker on the left exploded in a fine pink mist. His partner stopped and looked at his friend, astonished. What the hell was this? He turned to walk back inside. A shot rang out. The biker fell to the ground, shot through the heart. Stone cold dead.
From within the bushes, the group advanced on those who held their loved ones captive…

Bad:
Mike stood just ten feet away from Spiderbait. “Give it up. We have you surrounded,” he told her. She shook her head. “We’ll take out as many of you as we can. We’re not going without a fight. Let us go and maybe we won’t kill your people.”

“Go ahead. I don’t care about them,” Mike shot back defiantly.

“Well then. Maybe you care about yourself.”
Spiderbait unloaded her assault rifle on Mike at point blank range, unleashing a hail of bullets.


Ugly:
He heard her voice clearly through the trees. She was screaming in pain. His wife of just two years. The love of his life. Bob was normally a very thoughtful fellow. Careful. A good planner. But all of his thoughts were replaced with a burning white hot rage at what these monsters were doing to his wife. The bastards were RAPING her! He ran forward, firing, heading straight for the building with no thought to his personal safety. He pulled his trigger and saw one fall. Then two. He kept running. A third fell from the second floor. He had to get to Andrea. He had to stop them! One part of his mind flashed a memory of a movie he went to with her just four weeks ago. He reached for her hand and they held hands, even until he started feeling pins and needles. Now he was racing into a hail of gunfire brandishing an automatic rifle in his hand. It was absurd. How the hell had this happened?

The porch was just before him now. He was going to find whoever was hurting the love of his life and end them. He felt something enter his arm, his neck. An insect bite, maybe, he shook it off. It didn't matter. Blood trailed from several bullet wounds in his neck.
Suddenly he couldn’t see through his right eye. He couldn’t form thoughts. He looked forward and caught a glimpse of black curly hair. The floor rushed up to him. A perfect hole formed in his head right through his eye. He felt her hand, warm in his own, in the darkness. His mouth bubbled blood and formed the words….”Andrea…”
He knew nothing more.

Player Quotes:
(1) Josh: Can you hear us okay, Kris? (trying to make sure Kris could hear us on Google hangouts)
Jeff: Kris. My voice is my passport. Verify me.

(2) Bob: We can switch the Kevlar with Kris and Jeff? If Jeff is going in. Will it fit him?
Josh: It will fit but not well.
Adam: So just like someone from Waterbury. With just the belly sticking out.

(3) Bob: We could use the call the cavalry card. It could summon zombies into this firefight.
Josh: It may not be zombies
Adam: It could be the third party gang faction.
Joel: Great. They’ll see we stole all their stuff.?
Jeff: Uh, sorry about destroying your Camaro. Here are your guns back.

(4) Jeff: Pabst Blue ribbon may buy Hostess and start making Twinkees.
Adam: That’s great news!
Jeff: Or as I call it – Brunch.

(5) Adam: Are we walking in or are we sneaking in?
Jeff: Walking in.
Mike: Well, we may roll you in.

(6) Josh: Here is a map of the trees across the road that block your path. They have apparently been cut. Each square is a yard.
Mike; Apparently they grow redwoods in Virginia. Because those trees are huge.

(7) Josh: Lt Dan is on the ground, the bikers are making pot shots at him.
Adam: At least he’s prone, and they are at minus 2 to hit.
(8) Josh: If a character has a radiation symbol, it’s a wildcard. You guys are wildcards.
Jeff: Did you know they are phasing out the bio-hazzard symbol?
Adam: Why?
Jeff: Too many idiots with biohazard symbols tattooed to their bodies.

(9) Josh: You see a window break. A muzzle sticks out.
Kris: (plays The good, bad and ugly song on his computer) Now it’s getting ugly.

(10)Bob: I take cover and drop prone. No, wait, (sighing) I don’t. I’m thinking about my wife’s scream from inside. I’m not thinking tactically. I remain standing.
Joel: He’s tactically thinking about not thinking tactically. I like that.

(11) Bob: What’s Lt Dan’s status? Is he shaken?
Josh: No – he’s done. He’s bleeding. Unconscious.
Jeff: Maybe they hit him in the legs! (Lt Dan is unable to use his legs and is in a permanent wheelchair.)

(12) Adam: The speediest guy in the party just got killed. That’s what did him in because he was first.
Mike: It was his hindrance that caused the problem. He heard his wife scream and he lost it. He just charged the house.
Bob: I would go crazy if I heard my wife screaming and put all tactics to the wind. What if she was being raped when I heard that scream? I had no choice.
Jeff: Well, maybe she was cooking at the stove and she just burnt a finger?
Joel: Maybe she looked out the window and saw a zombie?

(13) Mike: Hey Adam, how far is twelve squares if you move me north?
Adam: About here.
Kris: Hey, isn’t that where Bob died?

(14)Mike: If I run up to Bob’s body, can I use Bob for cover?
Adam: He is wearing a Kevlar vest!

(15) Joel: Hey, don’t forget if you lie next to him and take cover, he could turn into a zombie.
(whole group gets quiet)
Adam: Oooh…

(16)Josh: Spiderbait hits you with a raise. She rolls damage. Two ones and a six.. twelve..fifteen points to Joel. That’s shaken with two wounds.
Joel: I will use a benny to soak the damage. Two sixes. Six again. Fifteen.
Josh: You somehow took no damage Joel. You’re fine.
Joel: If this were a game of craps, I would be walking home with a couple hundred bucks.
Bob: How much is your life worth?

(17)Josh: The biker throws a grenade at you. He isn’t perfectly accurate. The grenade goes southwest of you. It will do 2d6 damage.
Mike: What are my options?
Josh: You could do an agility check to dive away.
Adam: Or you could pull Bob’s corpse on top of you.
Jeff: Have you checked to make sure he’s dead?
Mike: No.
Josh: What do you want to do?
Mike: I pull Bob’s body over me.

(18) Joel: I run for the RV. I roll a d4 on my run. I got a four. I exploded! Do I roll again when I roll my run speed?
Josh: No.
Bob: If you exploded forty seven times consecutively, you could run from Connecticut to California in thirty seconds.
Jeff: Like the Flash?
Bob: You could arrive before you left! The secret to time travel is exploding on your run roll!

(19) Josh: You see one biker come out. He’s got the gorgeous political activist, Mary Lou, in front of him. Her shirt is completely ripped away. He’s holding her in front of him as a hostage.
Adam and Jeff (simultaneously): Do you have any pictures?
Josh: The other is using Andrea, Bob’s wife, as a human shield. Her face is bloody, severely beaten. Someone has used a knife to etch a spiderweb on her eye and right temple.
Adam: Wicked.

(20)Mike: As I am prone with Bob’s body on top of me, I am very sad. I pull my knife and drive it through the eye socket of Bob’s eye to make sure he doesn’t turn.
Bob: I just want to say for the record, I completely approve of this action.
Adam: Shut up – you’re dead.
Bob: Oh.
Jeff: Chalk up another kill on your kill list.
Adam: Congratulations, you killed Bob.
Mike: I’m going to put a red circle on that kill for Bob.

(21)Bob: Jeff, remember you can trick the biker and possibly shake them.
Josh: And if Kris tricks them again, then they take a wound.
Adam: No, you can’t create a wound with a taunt.
Josh: Clearly you’ve never spent any amount of time with small children!
Bob: Sticks and stones can break my bones and names can wound you if you successfully taunt first?

(22)Joel: I keep running to the RV.
Bob: That’s crazy. It takes Joel at least three turns to walk from one end of the RV to the other end of the RV.
Jeff: He could drive the RV to the house from 200 feet away quicker than he could run there.
Bob: Crazy.

(23)Josh: Adam, if you want to make an opposed agility check, you can do a reach around and fire.
Jeff: Who’s doing the reach around?

(24)Kris: I use the taunt card on Spiderbait.
Josh: Are you trained in Taunt?
Kris: No.
Jeff: I think any younger brother must take a rank in taunt.
Kris: “Spiderbait, I wouldn’t touch you even with Jeff’s ten foot pole!”

(25)Kris: Anyone who has kids: Do you know how hard it is to pick up a kid who doesn’t want to be picked up? It would be hard for these hostage takers to take human shields.
Adam: Do you know how hard it is for an adult not to comply when they have a gun pulled on them?

(26)Adam: We need to leave now. Oh. But we need to bury Bob.
Jeff: Ocean. We bury him in the ocean. Bob was a surfer. He loved the water. He lived by the ocean.

(27)Jeff: I step back, raise my glock and fire at almost point blank range.
Josh: His head explodes in a pile of rubbery goo.
Bob: That’s very Pulp Fiction. Well done!

(28)Josh: You find the rest of the men tied up in the basement with Adam's wife..
(pauses)
who is is gagged and tied up in the basement.
Adam: That’s my wife.
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Jordan Peacock
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 22, 2012 9:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

(... a moment of silence for Bob ...)

.

.

.

All right then! Thanks for the update. Smile Too bad about Bob. Sad At least he went out in heroic, dramatic fashion, rather than just a random zombie bite out of nowhere.

I love the "thinking tactically about not thinking tactically" quote. Very Happy

So, is there a plan for replacement characters? Promote an NPC to PC status? (You'd probably have to "rebuild" the NPC as a viable player-character if that were the case, since the standard "survivor" NPC profile is worse off than a 0-XP Novice.)
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ValhallaGH
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 22, 2012 9:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

jcayer wrote:
Then there was a scream. With a double raise on his notice check, Bob immediately recognized it as Andrea.

Way to earn that Evil GM membership card. Razz

jcayer wrote:
Joel's shooting skill was a d4 only. He took three shooting rolls from full auto. And took a -2 to hit due to recoil. He took another -2 for being at medium range. Under the rules, a 1 or 2 with an automatic weapon automatically hits an adjacent bystander. Thus, if he rolled a 1,2,3, he would be guaranteed to hit an enemy.

Huh? How? He needed to roll an unmodified 8 to hit his target, or an unmodified 1 or 2 to hit an adjacent character (a generous GM might rule that the guy on the other side of the doorway was "adjacent") if using the Innocent Bystander rule is dramatically appropriate.
Still, it sounds like a fun scene. Which is what really matters. Smile

jcayer wrote:
There was no grind and everyone pretty much stayed focused. We did have to look some rules up in the book but that didn't slow us down that much.

That does seem to be the real strength of Savage Worlds combat. It's not that it's fast (it can be and often is), but that it is always interesting. Putting the fun in FFF.
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jcayer
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 22, 2012 10:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I will admit to not spending a lot of time looking at the automatic fire rule when this was brought up. It was late, and I was ready to move the combat along....I really wanted the players in the house. I wanted to see a close quarters shoot out. It didn't quite workout that way, but I'm fine with the resolution.

Evil GM? Maybe a little. The question is will there be a next? and Who?
There were several times players took 2 wounds and managed to soak them both. If the dice had been a little different, Bob would not have been alone.

When we started this, I let everyone make up a replacement character who is an NPC. Some of the guys didn't, some did. Bob did not. That being said, I left a couple NPCs unnamed, so he can claim one, or it is simple enough that they could find someone on the road leaving Henry's house.
I'm waiting on Bob to send me the character so we can figure that out. I expect it 1-2 days before next session....he likes to mull over options for a while. I know he didn't have an NPC because he had too many ideas to choose from.
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ValhallaGH
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 22, 2012 11:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

jcayer wrote:
I will admit to not spending a lot of time looking at the automatic fire rule when this was brought up.

Did everyone have fun? If yes, and it sounds like yes, then you did good. Which was most of my point.
The rules talk was mostly to negate confusion in people reading along.

Quote:
If the dice had been a little different, Bob would not have been alone.

I hear that. Last time I killed a PC, the dice were just a couple of points away from killing one or two others.
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Wibbs
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 22, 2012 11:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Similarly. I never seem to be able to kill just one and leave the rest fit and well. I think the last death I had there were two of the other PCs on 3 wounds and a third on 2.
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 23, 2012 12:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Everyone did have fun, which is all that really matters. But I do need to revisit full auto.

I think everyone else managed to soak everything. There was something like 2 bennies left on the table. I burned all mine(so many with 6 players), and like I said, they only had a couple left.

It sucks having to wait another 1.5 weeks to play.
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Jordan Peacock
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 23, 2012 5:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

jcayer wrote:
Everyone did have fun, which is all that really matters. But I do need to revisit full auto.


I didn't mention it in my write-ups, but my group has had some stumbling over full-auto, "innocent bystander," and suppression fire, and I've not quite figured out the best way to handle it.

To avoid the phenomenon of "I have a better chance of shooting my buddy than hitting any of those zombies":

* If you roll a 1 (or 2 in the case of automatic fire or shotguns) when firing into melee, you have a chance of hitting a random target in the melee, but only if your total attack roll is enough to hit SOMETHING in the group. (E.g., due to the Wild Die, or due to +2 from buckshot or 3RB, you still manage to hit a TN of 4.) If you can't manage even that (due to range modifiers, cover, etc.), then the shot just goes wide.

* If the original attack was a Called Shot (e.g., aiming for the zombie's head), ignore the Called Shot modifier when determining if you are capable of hitting anything. This attack will no longer be considered a Called Shot, if it hits anything.

* The new target is randomly distributed among all targets adjacent to the original target. Yes, this means the original target might still be hit (but if it was a Called Shot, it won't be anymore).

...

This "patch" still has some obvious problems with it, but it at least deals with the "I'll hit if I roll a 1!" problem. At least we still have the "Firing into a Crowd" setting rule (but it's up to the GM to determine what constitutes a "crowd," and I wouldn't think that 3 bikers on the porch count as one).

I've been toying with some other combat options as well, for ammo-happy heroes to blow through their clips more quickly and less efficiently, but they're in need of some "play-testing."
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jcayer
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 06, 2012 8:50 pm    Post subject: Session 6 Reply with quote

The bodies of dead bikers lay strewn about them. The group had taken back Henry Stephenson's house, but not without losses of their own. After finishing off each biker with a sharp stick through the eye, the survivors quickly looked to patch up Lt Dan who was in dire straits. While Mike and Kris worked on him, Lt Dan told them what had happened after they left the Marina clubhouse:

"Right after Hell left, Spiderbait took a walk through the Marina and found all the MREs. She radioed someone and 30 or so minutes later, a pickup truck arrived. They loaded it up with the food and left. After searching the rest of the marina, she was satisfied there was nothing of value left there. She also realized there wasn't a lot of comfort either. Heck, there were only a handful of wooden chairs in the building. So she sent a couple guys out to look around. One of them returned with info about Henry's house. Spiderbait moved the group there, subduing a woman who lived there with little effort.

After setting up base, she said it was time for some fun. She locked everyone in the basement except me, MaryLou, and Andrea. MaryLou was to be an "outlet" for the boys. Andrea, her next "Masterpiece", and I was to be sport for whoever needed to blow off some steam. Andrea and MaryLou were brought upstairs while I was wheeled out front. After dumping me down the stairs, they found the glock that was hidden in my chair and decided to use it to teach me a lesson. I've been in some bad spots but I didn't think I'd make it out of this one. Fortunately, you guys arrived shortly after it all began."

With Dan patched up, the group quickly gathered anything of value. On the bodies of the bikers they found:

10 M16s with 150 rounds of ammunition
11 Glocks with 100 rounds total
2 pineapple grenades
3 large knives
Several leather jackets, one of which Jeff put on

Henry assisted them in rapid search of the house, where they found:

One straight mason hammer (Jeff took)
One aluminum Louisville slugger (for Kris)
A Bottle of Glenlivet Scotch (the green bottle)
5 cases of water
A can of paint thinner
Three spray paint cans
Assorted towels and rags
A couple of shovels

Mike took the Humvee down to the end of the driveway and busied himself moving the trees so they could get the RV out. Fortunately, Henry had already packed up almost everything of value as he and his wife, Eleanor, were planning to head to the Citizen Relocation Zone via the evacuation center at Jacksonville. During this time, Kris noticed that Monica was once again running a high fever and that she was clinging to him like she might her father. Kris was distracted over his brother's death. He cared for six-year old Monica and she provided a good distraction from the knowledge his brother was gone. Bob's wife Andrea seemed to be lost in herself. She spoke very rarely. She had bandages around her temple where a bloody spiderweb had been carved.
A few minutes later, with little Monica comfortably tucked away in the RV, a small caravan of two vehicles crawled out of Henry's driveway. Mike was driving the Humvee with Jeff and Lt Dan in it, while everyone else piled in the RV, driven by Henry. Having been a D&D group, I joked it was an "RV of Holding". I think there were 15+ people stuffed in it. Henry and the RV took the lead as he planned to take them via some less busy roads in the hope of avoiding too many issues.

About 20 minutes later, Henry radioed the Humvee and informed them he was coming up on a vehicle that was off to the side of the road. It looked like an Outback, and there was a man on the roof, swinging a tire iron and kicking at a group of nine or ten shamblers that had surrounded him. Henry slowed down a bit and Mike, Jeff, and Lt Dan cruised by in the Humvee. The man was about six feet tall, he looked like he had at least two weeks of unshaven growth and some hard living. He wore a flak jacket that was labeled POLICE in yellow.

Despite this apparent hopeless situation, the man seemed to be grinning as he fended off the shamblers. As the party approached, the man shouted a greeting. "Nice weather we're having. If you folks wouldn't mind taking out the one on my right, I'll take out the nine on my left."

With the group's help, they made quick work of the zombies and the man introduced himself as Abraham Asch. Asch explained that he had been making his way for the past week and a half north from Florida. He said he had been in the Army National Reserves, on break from his third tour of the sandbox. As was custom, he found his own transport on a cargo plane, which was faster than going through direct routes. He noticed the pilot was under the weather; sweating and feverish, but he didn't think anything of it. The flight back to the states was uneventful; he slept most of the long way back. But toward the end he woke up to sounds of screaming from the cockpit and the last thing he remembered clearly was the plane going down. He lost a bit of memory, but when he awoke, he was the survivor of a crash just several miles outside of Elgin Air force base. He made his way there to discover the world had gone to hell in a hand basket. The base was overrun. Asch explained he had a teenage daughter in Manhattan, and he commandeered a vehicle and started making his way north from Florida. Aside from the shamblers, he hadn't yet seen a human soul. Mike asked him if he was a cop, and how he came by the vest. Asch said he wasn't an officer, but found it along the way. This is the replacement character for Bob who was killed last week. After some brief introductions, Mike was comfortable enough with Asch to arm him and put him in the Humvee.

A short while later, there was trouble with the RV, as a tire blew out. Henry was able to control it enough that no one was injured. However, a group of almost 20 shamblers heard the noise and started moving in. Mike, Kris, Joel, and Adam scrambled on top of the vehicles and took aim at the approaching mass. Jeff and Asch stayed on the ground, ready to engage anything that got close to Henry and Max, who were changing the tire. The zombies were 4 rounds away, so everyone took a round to aim and their rolls were like last week, everyone hit with at least one raise and their damage was also impressive. Everyone was double or triple tapping based on their gun, and Mike managed a shot so well placed, the bullets passed through one head, taking out another one right behind it. By this point, the old tire was off and the new tire was getting installed. The third round was split as some defenders took aim and others just squeezed off a few rounds. Asch bravely stepped away from the vehicles and attempted to draw some of the zombies away from everyone else. He managed to detour three of them. Lt Dan took aim at a shambler and despite his sniper training, missed wide. That's when Asch spoke up and shouted some encouragement. Lt Dan buckled down and took a second shot, nailing the creature in the head. With the tire nearly changed, Jeff fired his glock in close quarters, taking out the zombie right in front of him. Adam climbed down from the RV roof, blasting a zombie in the face, with his boot, sending it head over heels to the ground. Mike slid back into the driver's seat while Asch made a dash for the Humvee. Jeff managed to make his way to it as Henry and Max safely made it into the RV. With the tire changed and everyone safely in a vehicle, the caravan got moving again.

Coming up on a curve in the road, Henry radioed back to the Humvee that there was a jeep pulled off to the side, blowing steam out of the radiator. Mike radioed back telling Henry to keep going and that they would check it out. As the RV sped by, 4 men with shotguns stepped out from hiding behind the vehicle. Reacting quickly, Mike gunned it. The Humvee roared to life, flying past the 4 armed men and taking a small amount of cosmetic damage from a shotgun blast. The group decided not to go back, although Asch suggested they may want to take them out to prevent others from running into them. He seemed the heroic type. Mike took some time to explain to Asch the horrors the party had experienced in the past week, how they lost one of their own to a biker gang, and how they could even now be pursued by Hell Furie and his Ghost Riders.
Resuming their trip, the RV began to sputter. It did so several times over the course of a few miles before finally backfiring and coming to a complete stop. The problem was easy to find, a leaking fuel line, as fuel slowly dripped out, onto the ground. The survivors did not have anything they could use to mend the line. There was initial discussion of duct tape, but several members pointed out that the gas would eat right through it. The party vowed to start stocking spare parts for their vehicles in the future. Moments later, they heard a church bell a little ways off in the distance. Hopping back in the Humvee, Mike drove a short ways ahead and saw a church set back from the road. The bell was ringing there, an uneven ring, far too imperfect to be a recording. Additionally, there was a large sign out front saying, "Supplies and Shelter Inside", along with the current date! Having seen the Humvee approaching, a priest opened the door and shouted to the group to come inside and get some rest. Always suspicious, Mike yelled back to the priest to go back inside and he'd think about it. Driving the Humvee back to everyone else, they decided to try to push the RV to the church with the Humvee. They did make some progress, but the Humvee engine was beginning to overheat, and what progress they made was slow. Looking around, they realized the zombies were starting to close in. A minute later, the priest and 2 other men came out of the church brandishing shotguns and firing them into the approaching heard of zombies. The priest called for the survivors to come get cover in the church while the other 2 men drew the herd off. Knowing they need sanctuary and protection the group made a beeline for the church, while Mike parked the Humvee behind it. Everyone made it safely inside.

The priest introduced himself as Father Raymond and told them the other two men where Zachary and Michael. He also said that they had experience drawing herds off and then circling back to return to the church. He went on to introduce the other people staying at the church. David and Jean Brooks were born and bred locals. David was an architect and Jean a real estate agent. Their 2 boys, Peter, age 8 and Gregory, age 12 were with them. Next up was a very pregnant Monica Cadrey and fiancé Timothy Hickman. Lastly as he began to introduce an older gentleman, Henry beat him to it. As it turned out, Joe Recht and Henry have been friends for decades and worked together at the Marina. They first met in Vietnam, and clearly enjoyed catching up with each other.

Father Raymond then suggested that everyone head downstairs for something to eat. There were a couple smaller rooms off the hall and the group set one up as a makeshift infirmary. Kris settled little Monica down for a nap and gives her what he can for her fever,which seemed to pop up once again after being gone for weeks. He and Mike then tended to Lt Dan, who was improving.

Settling in, the survivors swapped stories with the church residents about recent news. They didn't learn much, but Father Raymond was very certain the Evacuation Center at Jacksonville was still operating. While on that topic, the priest asked if the survivors would take them with them there. As part of the deal, Zachary and Michael offered to fix the RV. Michael is a mechanic and the two of them can run to his garage and get what's needed to fix the vehicle. Everyone agreed and a deal was struck. A couple of the survivors offer to go with Zach and Mike to get the parts, but they decline, saying they know the way and will be able to move quicker and quieter without anyone else. The two leave almost immediately.

In true movie style, pregnant Monica's water breaks, signaling it was time to welcome a new life into the insanity of the War of the Dead. After some initial joking, Mike offered to assist, having delivered a couple babies during his paramedic days. Father Raymond said he has delivered many while doing missionary work and leaves the decision up to Mike. Jean is already prepared to assist and Timothy follows, anxious to see his child come into the world. In the end, Mike decided he didn't "need to be up to my elbows in placenta", but would be available should help be needed. The group leaves the basement and heads upstairs to an empty classroom where they can have some privacy and not disturb too many people. Joe suggests playing some Texas Hold Em to take everyone's mind off what's going on. When asked what they'd play for, he thinks for a second and rummages through the kitchen, producing, the last bag of peanut M&Ms. The group seems to easily accept Asch as one of their own. He is friendly and doesn't seem to take anything too seriously, although he has in ingrained instinct to help others.

After playing a few rounds, those with good hearing could barely hear Monica's screams when David came rushing down. A group of bikers was out front demanding everyone exit the church or there will be Hell to pay. Cursing under their breath, Mike, Jeff, Kris, Adam, and Asch race upstairs and peer out the slightly open front door. Much to their displeasure, Hell and the Ghost Riders have tracked them down. Hell is yelling through a bullhorn that if they have to come in there, it won't be pretty for the women and children. Not wasting a minute, Mike, Adam and Asch open fire on Hell. Mike and Adam landed hits that would have killed a lesser man, yet Hell soaked the wounds and called for a quick retreat, promising that they will pay for that. I had to fight really hard not to say, "I'll be back."

With Hell momentarily in retreat, there is an ear piercing scream from upstairs. A scream that everyone recognizes as signaling something has gone wrong, horribly wrong. A minute later, Timothy enters the back of the church, his shirt is soaked with blood. He staggers in and looks so bad that David grabs a statue of the Virgin Mary, just in case Timothy is a shambler. Joe quickly stops David as he notices Timothy just keeps mumbling, "She's dead".

Mike and Asch immediately race up the stairs to the room where Monica was giving birth. The walls are covered in blood. Father Raymond lies dead, half his face and neck chewed off. But the true horror in the room is Monica. It looks like whatever was growing inside her ate its way out. They both succeed in their guts checks, but Asch does look a bit paler. Thinking quickly, Mike ensured neither Monica nor Father Raymond would rise again. Asch heads out the door. Jean was no were to be found. Following the trail of blood into the hall, Mike was unable to determine what blood was dragged out there by Timothy, whatever came out of Monica's stomach, or Jean, if she was still alive.

Returning to the main floor, Mike briefed everyone on what they had seen. The group promptly decided, it was time to go. With or without Michael and Zach, they could not afford to wait. The few cars still outside could carry most of the group. Jeff and Hector headed downstairs to retrieve Kris, little Monica, and Lt Dan. The basement had grown dark since most of the candles were out. Kris hadn't noticed since he was in the small office checking on Monica and Dan. He grabbed Monica and carried her out. Hector covered Jeff as he started pulling Dan's wheelchair, with Dan in it, up the stairs. Then it struck. A creature unlike anything they had yet seen. The low pitched moan was replaced by a high pitched wail and it moved at least as fast as a regular person.

Coalescing out of the shadows, it attacked without warning. Lt Dan, the guy at the bottom of the stairs rolled a one on his shooting die...he panicked from the sight of the creature. Jeff was next, but holding the wheelchair with one hand and trying to shoot with the other left him off balance and he missed. The creature then had its turn and didn't waste any time in leaping on Dan and taking a huge chunk of flesh out of him. Unable to fight it off, Dan was killed almost instantly by the trauma. Hector was quick enough to realize, that with the creature focused on consuming Dan, he had a great shot and put a pair of bullets in its head. Jeff did the dirty work of making sure Lt Dan was "dead" dead.
Meanwhile upstairs, Mike had put on his night vision goggles hoping to catch a glimpse of the newborn, while they tried to gather everyone together and get out. He caught several flashes of activity, but never enough to get a shot off. Then finally, he saw something moving near the altar. Without hesitation, he fired, blasting Father Raymond's cat into a puddle of goo. While trying to get more information out of Timothy, he let slip that Monica has been bit, just before they got to the church. She had seemed ok, but apparently was not. Simultaneously, David was attacked by the newborn which took a chunk out of his forearm. Mike initially wanted to kill him, but Peter and Gregory would not leave their father's side, despite everyone's best efforts. In the end, Mike settled for amputating the arm. It took 4 gruesome whacks to remove it. Is David infection free or will he turn? Only time will tell.

By this time, Kris, Monica, Jeff, and Hector had made it out of the basement and everyone headed out the side door of the church, unsure what to do, where to go, or how to get there, but they needed to get out of the church. When they saw a pair of headlights coming toward then, they feared the worst, but karma finally paid up, and it was Zach and Michael driving the RV. That's when the bikers returned on the outskirts of the woods. They began spraying from a distance, getting closer. A subdued Asch asked who the hell these guys were, and the team reminded him that these were the bikers from earlier in the evening - a terrible threat.

Mike, Asch, Jeff, and Timothy jumped in the Humvee while everyone else piled into the RV. Jeff and Timothy sat in the back, with Timothy directly behind Asch. Mike was driving. At this point, Mike played an action card, Structural Failure, resulting in the church catching fire. With the building becoming an inferno, Henry led the group out. Moments later, as everyone was starting to wind down, Timothy opened his window, looking for some fresh air. There was a sound on the roof and a small creature crawled in the window and starting biting/eating Timothy. It was the size of a newborn, and it had row upon row of spiked teeth. It easily ripped the flesh from Timothy's body. Responding quickly, Jeff drew his glock and shot the creature several times before it was finally blown from the vehicle. Blood sprayed everywhere, ruining the car seat and peppering the back of Asch's head. Reaching across, Jeff opened the door and kicked Timothy's dead body out into the street.
"What the hell just happened?!" asked Asch, reaching at the wet stickiness at the back of his head, looking completely bewildered.

"Welcome to the group," muttered Mike. It was just another day in the War of the Dead.
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Jordan Peacock
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 06, 2012 9:18 pm    Post subject: Re: Session 6 Reply with quote

jcayer wrote:

Henry assisted them in rapid search of the house, where they found:

One straight mason hammer (Jeff took)
One aluminum Louisville slugger (for Kris)
A Bottle of Glenlivet Scotch (the green bottle)
5 cases of water
A can of paint thinner
Three spray paint cans
Assorted towels and rags
A couple of shovels


You know, this strikes me as something that would be useful as a GM reference for running a zomb-apoc game: Loot Lists. So, the group is looting after clearing out the building of raiders or zombies or whatever, and what do they find? X items of food & provisions, Y of potential weapons/ammo, and Z oddball WEIRD STUFF that it's up to the players to figure out if they have a use for (or if they should just leave it behind), with the weight listings and stats all ready to go. Just print, tear off or cut out a half-page or quarter-page to hand over to the players to figure it out among themselves, and the GM's work is done there. Sometimes the most fun things can happen when someone actually finds a creative use for one of those "Z" items.

I've tried to do that sort of thing, either drumming up quick "loot lists" in Microsoft Word or Wordpad prior to a game to have at the ready, or coming up with "loot cards" (individual interesting items to hand out if someone plays the "Shop 'Til You Drop" Adventure Card) ... but sometimes I wonder whether I'm being too stingy or too generous compared to what the PCs are expected to find in the course of events in War of the Dead.

Quote:
Having been a D&D group, I joked it was an "RV of Holding". I think there were 15+ people stuffed in it.


Heh. Yeah, it doesn't seem uncommon for the PCs and their entourage of NPCs (family members, rescuees from the ship, etc.) to be too many to "comfortably" fit into just that one RV.


Quote:
Asch explained he had a teenage daughter in Manhattan, and he commandeered a vehicle and started making his way north from Florida.


Hmm. Manhattan, huh? I suppose the campaign doesn't specifically set a direction in which the PCs must travel, at least initially, but I hope this doesn't create strife by trying to point the group into heavily-populated areas. (I suppose if the group actually DID try to go to Manhattan ... it'd be a grand excuse to take a detour into Pinnacle's "Zombie Run" for a bit. ;D )

Quote:
Everyone was double or triple tapping based on their gun, and Mike managed a shot so well placed, the bullets passed through one head, taking out another one right behind it.


Yeah, I've found that double-tap and three-round-burst are practically no-brainer options for NPCs, and even pretty significant for PCs, what with the obligation to take penalties for called shots to the head on a regular basis, even if it means using double or triple the ammo.

Quote:
That's when Asch spoke up and shouted some encouragement. Lt Dan buckled down and took a second shot, nailing the creature in the head.


Hmm. Common Bond?

Quote:
There was a sound on the roof and a small creature crawled in the window and starting biting/eating Timothy. It was the size of a newborn, and it had row upon row of spiked teeth. It easily ripped the flesh from Timothy's body.


So there were TWO of the things? Or did I misread something?

Anyway, it's great to read the update! I suppose I'll have to read back more carefully so I can piece together who's still with the group now (who's PC and who's NPC) that they've gone through several gains and losses.
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jcayer
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 07, 2012 8:13 am    Post subject: Cast Reply with quote

I should have included the cast as most of the other write ups do.

Original PCs still alive: Jeff, Adam, Mike, Kris, and Joel.
Dead PCs: Bob
Replacement PCs: Asch

That leaves everyone else as an NPC. Lt Dan was their favorite as he had a decent shooting skill, particularly when the party didn't. I had some plans to use him later on for something, but it didn't work out that way. I guess that's how the die rolls.

I have been using pictures for most of the NPCs. Once again, I shamelessly stole from Ferret who posted his "Rogue's Gallery" some time ago. I'd post a link but there are some spoilers in that thread, so I will leave it out.

The idea of a table of items/loot list would be fantastic. I suspect if enough effort was put into that, Lee would publish it as extra material.

I'm not too worried about the Manhattan thing. I would assume it's safe to say anyone still alive is likely making their way westward.

There was only one newborn. It managed to get on top of the humvee before it left.
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Jordan Peacock
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 07, 2012 9:23 am    Post subject: Re: Cast Reply with quote

jcayer wrote:
There was only one newborn. It managed to get on top of the humvee before it left.


The reason I thought there were two was because of the bit where Hector put a couple of shots into its head, and I assumed that meant it was dead (even though the text doesn't say so) -- so I'm guessing it took two shots to the head but scampered off before it could be finished off.
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jcayer
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 07, 2012 9:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hector killed Jean who had become a sprinter, courtesy of the newborn.

There are so many NPCs it's hard for me to keep straight, never mind my poor players.
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Jordan Peacock
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 07, 2012 11:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

jcayer wrote:
Hector killed Jean who had become a sprinter, courtesy of the newborn.

There are so many NPCs it's hard for me to keep straight, never mind my poor players.


For purposes of keeping track of them on the TABLE, at least, I've taken to painting names on the rims of the miniature bases -- particularly necessary for the soldier allies (many of whom use the same miniature model, and a similar paint job). If the character dies, I can retire the mini to the general collection, and just scrape the name back off the base, or paint it over at my next convenience.

I've also devoted a miniatures box to be the "cast box." Regardless of my organization scheme for individual minis (I have them broken up in to separate boxes for the zombies, for misc. civilians, for militia/soldier/combatant types, animals, etc.), once a character (PC or NPC) joins the survivor convoy, the miniature gets moved to the "cast box," since I know right away this figure will see use in any given session.

Also, even if there is no miniatures combat going on, I still cluster the minis on the table based on who is with whom -- who's riding together in a vehicle (represented by clustering the figures together on a paper cut-out of a top-down view of the vehicle ... or, failing that, just a rectangular card to represent in abstract), who's together in a cabin, etc. It helps me as a visual to remember things such as -- oh yeah, so-and-so NPC is with the group and would have OVERHEARD that comment, and might have something to say about it. (Little things like that to remind the players the NPCs have feelings, too. Wink )

Often, the miniatures on the table serve as a shorthand checklist (one I can peruse at a glance) for remembering who's who just as much as they serve a more specific function to help me keep track of where everyone is during the action. Plus, it helps me as confirmation when there are disagreements among the players -- e.g., the PCs in group A find a stash of loot, and a greedy player in group B wants first dibs; I can point at the miniature on the table and note that, sorry, YOU ARE NOT THERE. If the miniature was in the "wrong" place, you should have said something before it became an issue.

Anyway, I'm not sure if that really addresses it (I've frequently had to keep reviewing a checklist just to keep the 12 NPCs my party recently rescued straight in my head, so I don't mix up their names), but it just came to mind.
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DGMiller
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 07, 2012 11:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I LOVE the idea of a loot list. For a few weeks now, I've been toying with the idea of making a WotD-specific version of the Scrounging tables from Deadlands: Hell On Earth Reloaded (starts on p. 102). They are excellent and this campaign would greatly benefit from those tables being modified to fit it.

I wouldn't know where anybody is without minis. Last week, we had characters in at least three different locations all separated by a few hundred yards or so, and NPC's in several more locations, with raiders coming in via 5 pick-up trucks. The huge battlemat and 1/44 scale vehicles REALLY came in handy, as did a satellite map of the general area I took from Google Maps and blew up to 11"x17" and laminated. We could pull out the areas from that map and represent them on the battlemat quickly. On the area maps, we just use mini dice to represent characters (each one has a number, if you use little d8's, then you can have each character 1-8 represented).

For the actual minis (thanks to Jordan's ideas, I rebased a bunch of Clix and Arkham Horror minis), I attach a little slip of paper to the base with the NPC's name (PC's have their own minis). Unfortunately, it can be like pulling teeth sometimes to get my players to place their minis on the mat or tell me where the characters are. Like this:

Me: "Where is Thomas?"
Player 1 (pointing in the general direction of the battlemat): "Over there somewhere."
Me: "No, EXACTLY where is Thomas? Put your mini there."
Player 1: "Near Brooke."
Me: "Okay, where EXACTLY is Brooke?"
Player 2: "Right next to Thomas."
Me: (Bashes own head with dice box)
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Jordan Peacock
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 08, 2012 11:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

DGMiller wrote:
I attach a little slip of paper to the base with the NPC's name (PC's have their own minis).


Aha! Much easier than writing with a paint brush on a base rim. Very Happy

DGMiller wrote:
Unfortunately, it can be like pulling teeth sometimes to get my players to place their minis on the mat or tell me where the characters are.


Don't I know it! Even something as basic as "What's your marching order?" is a mess. Ultimately, I just place the miniatures myself, and I try to be reasonable -- e.g., if there's some cover nearby, and there's a shootout (or a potential one), then I think it's only natural for a character to gravitate toward something he can duck behind rather than standing out in the open. The players, are responsible for correcting me if I've got it wrong, as anyone can pretty easily check and see what the board looks like.

Quite often, it's just faster for me to arbitrarily plunk down the miniatures -- never mind asking anyone where he or she wants to go. If the player really cares, he will tell me -- and quite often, the players just don't really care right off, beyond the obvious stuff like "I want to be far away from that stuff that will probably blow up" or "I'm driving" (for the guy with the Ace Edge). If the heroes are marching down the corridor, my default will be what I would think of as a commonsense plan -- say, sticking Stealthy Tracker guy up front, melee fighter right behind him, another fighter-type in the back, and the squishier party members in between.

For the players who don't care, we're all set: I don't waste time with a Q&A exchange to try to figure out where they want to be, when even they themselves don't have a strong opinion on it.

For those who DO have the strong opinions, those opinions will be voiced, and I'll shuffle things around accordingly. If players are busy chattering about non-game-related stuff and they're ignoring the minis setup and only belatedly (once a zombie has popped up and run over to attack, say) objected -- too late. Unless you've got a REALLY compelling argument for why you couldn't possibly be there, and why you didn't bother telling me sooner, you've had your chance.
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 08, 2012 1:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

With theater of the mind, we play location pretty loose. However, once maptools comes out, I plunk them down and if there are no complaints, we dive right in. I try to be sensible about it, so it's rarely an issue.
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