In Friday’s third and final slot, I ran the sequel to the game I ran last year: “…And a Little Child Shall Eat Them.” It’s a zombie setting in which the zombie apocalypse breaks out first amongst the worlds children rendering them fierce predators with supernatural strength. Imagine, a toddler with the strength to tear a car door from its hinges. Worse, that toddler is hungry… and strained peas ain’t gonna do the trick. We call this type of zombie a Growler.
Their bite is poisonous. Surviving an encounter with a Growler, but bearing a bite renders the survivor a shambling horror all its own. These are the more traditional, shuffling zombies that we all know and love. We call them Moaners.
Friday night’s game took place one year after the events of last year’s game. The survivors have been holed up in a bunker some 30 miles away from the sleepy town of Calhoun, where all this began for them. Resources are tight. In fact, food, water, medical supplies, ammunition, etc. – all are scarce commodities. In their “safe hide-a-way” the players learn they are matter of weeks from exhausting the last of their food.
Civilzation has crumbled. No one’s coming to the rescue.
No organized government is apparent. Other than a few other such safe-houses communicating via shortwave radio, it would be easy for the survivors to believe they were all alone. Good news burst across the radio just a day ago…
A scout team from another safe house reportedly found the cure. And then went missing. In a town called Calhoun.
The players, then, had the mission to find this scout (or at least his notes) and to forage along the way.
Among my table of six players, one was a returning player from last year, (Chris Mais, second from left above) reprising his role of high school teacher Peter Badger. The players bought into the setting quickly, and we were having fun right from the get-go.
I used Eden’s All Flesh Must Be Eaten rules, but added the Bennie and Initiative system from Savage Worlds. Because they’re cool.
I was a little concerned about the length of the slot. Four and a half hours. That’s a long time to keep a table entertained. I do feel like it is the GM’s responsibility to fill a preponderence of the time scheduled. I mean if you run a two hour game in a four hour slot, that’s two hours that the players have on their hands with nothing to do since all the other slots are already in progress. That’s a commitment I take pretty serious.
I wanted to get their buy-in right away. So instead of railroading the players into a plan, I instead stated the objective and gave them a couple of maps. I let them figure out what they wanted to do after that. The players got into it quickly, asking questions, studying, formulating plans. It really helped to boost energy.
We started off with a big set piece as the players had to escape the bunker just to start the mission! Zombie fun ensued.
During the game, I felt confident that I was engaging the players. In retrospect though, I think there was more I could have done for one or two of them.
Because I plan on running this scenario for my players at home, I won’t get in to too many specifics about how things unraveled. Suffice it to say that the guys had some great ideas. And even better heroic death scenes. I particularly enjoyed Chris’.
His character, the High Schooleacher, and the Farmer decided that it was too dangerous to walk into the hospital to seek out medical supplies. So, they drove their blue 2008 Ford Mustang complete with racing stripes into the hospital as far as it would take them. It got them in quick. Once they dead ended into the main nursing station, though, there wasn’t enough room to turn about.
The Farmer stayed at the wheel while the Teacher searched out supplies within the dark depths of the hospital. Did I mention there was a pediatric ward here?
Long story short, Chris’ character got into a tussle with a Growler taking a vicious bite in the ribs.
Back at the car, The Farmer was dancing with his own Growler which he managed to escape. He full out fled on foot from the hospital. The Teacher, Mr. Badger, returned to the nurse’s station climbing into the Mustang.
Throwing it in reverse, he gunned the accelerator rocketing the car out of the hospital and into the parking lot where his companions fled the scene amongst a sea of Moaners. Badger took a moment to douse the backseat with gasoline. Lighting a cigarette, he plowed the car into a crowd of nearly 100 undead.
When the car would go absolutely no further with zombies grinding in the axles and as the throng of Moaners clawed at the car, he took a final, slow drag on the cigarette.
“This isn’t Calhoun anymore,” He exhaled the smoke, “This is Badger Town!”
He tossed the cigarette into the back seat.
Blocks away, the fleeing survivors saw the ball of flame erupt into the sky.
I really enjoyed the game. Can’t wait to run Two Years Later at FtC3.