Round Two: Twelve months and quite a few home games later I got to run another AFMBE game at CONduit here in Salt Lake City, Utah. Although all of the players were well prepared for a zombie survival horror game, I did shock a few of them with my bag of tricks and stage props. I should be able to combine both of these adventures (see my con-report #1 from last years CONduit 10) plus next years into a minor trilogy of zombie horror. I'll give ya'll a hint, there is a Cajun Witch Doctor behind the undead problem in Southern Louisiana.
I would like to point out that the Zombie Master Screen published by Eden, Inc. runs circles around my homebred version, but I do like how my small screen looks on the table. I must have little-phobia, 'cause its always the small stuff makes my skin crawl. And I finally purchased a copy of the WitchCraft RPG ... highly recommended for any ZM out there. Another interesting item since last year is that the AFMBE game is up against industry giant DnD3e for the Best Roleplaying Game of 2000 Origins Award. Three grunts for the underdog, brains, brains, brrraaiinnnssssss ... (and don't forget to vote for AFMBE right now on the Origins Awards web page)
On with my second AFMBE report...
The Setting: Again I used a bastardized module written by someone else. (OK, so I'm not the worlds greatest at coming up with my own stuff ... but I do a bang up job, IMHO of rewriting the material to fit my gaming style and ongoing deadworld campaign. Just wait till you see the handouts.) This time it was, *Dead On Arrival 2: The Dead Next Door* by John B. Monroe, with Lynn Wills from the Call of Cthulhu non-mythos Blood Brothers 2, 1992 source book. Yes, that is the same Mr. Monroe who wrote the Zombie Masters Screen adventure, *Coffee Break of the Living Dead* (I know, its already been plugged!)
Anyhoo ... once again the cast members find themselves in south/central Louisiana but this time they are all totally aware of their surroundings. Projections estimate the zombie population to be around 4000 to 1, so its a good thing they start off in a walled compound. Although this is a different set of cast members, we do hear a radio announcement about the first adventure. NOTE: No player knowledge of the previous adventure is required, but they are tied together for those who are interested in such things. (Like me 8-)
The Cast Members: The party is made up of three soldiers and three scientists, allowing for either three or six players. Albeit the majority of character information is taken directly from the Blood Brothers 2 book, I did toss in a few hooks here and there along with fleshing out their Qualities / Drawbacks and Skills. Of note, there is an even mix of characters with two Survivors (both Soldiers), two Norms (both Scientists) and two Inspired (one of each with powers of healing and faith) in the retro-fit Unisystem cast. I made a specific point of "over-powering the group" in general so access to arms and armor is practically unlimited and Qualities & Metaphysics are very advantageous, where as the Drawbacks add directly to the story-line. Just to make a point, the Soldiers drive around in a fully armored APC that is all but impenetrable to zombie attacks and has a roof-mounted flame-thrower turret.. Still, you'd be surprised to see how often a seasoned gamer/soldier forgets to call for a shot to the known weak-spot when shooting his side-arm.
The Shambling: While the soldier practiced the standard bait-and-trap to round-up a few zombie geeks (ya gotta catch 'em ... alive) out in the APC, each of the scientists has a secret experiment/project to work on back at the lab searching for the cause. Eventually something goes wrong somewhere and the cast is exposed to ever increasing zombie powers ranging from Leaping zombies, to Detachable Body Parts and Explosive Personalities. Although I tired to keep the entire cast alive throughout the adventure (thinking that folks came to play) I did manage to infect two of them and freak out the other four into being afraid of any contact with the two carriers. I've also increased my number of lead figs. to push around the table. (Why is it so hard to find normal looking figs. as modern day zombies, sans the battle axe and chain-mail that is?) By the end of the scenario, attrition is again at an all time high due to the hoard of dead, but mostly because of the cast members themselves.
As in part one, the above scenario fits very nicely into the 4 hour time slot for prescheduled games at the con.
Zombie Master's Rant & Raves: I am totally psyched with AFMBE and looking forward to my games at GenCon 2001. I'll be sure to bring my bag of tricks and props ... updated at that. And last but not least I would like to thank Alex and George from Eden, Inc. for providing prize support to all three AFMBE games at CONduit 11. Now I just need to hunt something down for the final chapter at next years con...
The dead keep coming back in a bloodthirsty lust for human flesh. --NotLD.