Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Safe House 2014 - Act 2 AAR (Game 4 - Game 5)

Act 2 - The Easy Life

Game 4

After clearing the safe house, the cops of Lily Ave resolved to establish a more permanent safe haven in Bloom. But they needed resources. And the more people that showed up, the more they’d need.
The rest of the city was tapped out or too dangerous to scavenge. It was time to move to the ‘burbs. Well, temporarily at least. The small town of Springvale lies virtually empty a few miles outside the city and there was bound to be plenty of useful items that’d come in handy back in Bloom Turns out some of the local deputies had stayed behind there too and Officer Diggs had been keeping communication going with them. With the promise of a little help when we got to town, the cops handed us a map, a couple of areas circled in magic marker, and the keys to a camper...and off we went.

So Act 2 takes our group from the confines of the city to a "quieter" time in the suburbs, searching out useful items for the new outpost in Bloom. It's off to Springvale.

The cops have asked us to collect resources in the form of building materials, car parts and medical supplies (for a reward, of course). I introduced the rule that these items could only be found in certain places: building materials could only be scavenged in sheds or garages, car parts could only be found in garages and cars and medical supplies (these are separate to the medical supplies normally used by characters and therefore are not interchangeable with them) were only available in houses.

In a literal change of scenery, encounters in Springvale took place using custom-made, laminated floor plans from Tiles of the Dead to represent the houses, sheds and garages. Characters entering buildings had to clear each room/enclosed internal area one at a time in order to search the entire thing.

Here's a look at the part of Springvale we were playing in and more of the fantastic Walking Dead game soundtrack to enjoy as we did:

East side

Small two storey house

Large, extended two storey

Anyway, on with the encounter.

Our group entered at the west side of town in their camper. Ross decided to bring Felicity along for her first outing and I wanted to give Jake another go in the hope of getting his Rep up. Jim stuck with Jim.

NOTE: There was quite a big gap between the end of Act 1 and the beginning of Act 2 and during the inter-act bookkeeping, using one of the many luxury items - we had been pretty indecisive about what they were so far - that we had scavenged as a group, I decided to give Jake a bow sight (since missing with the only shot you get is tantamount to him not being there at all). We agreed that it would behave like a scope (rolling 2D6 to hit and picking the hightest) but without the increase in range.

Jake used the trusty ladder and climbed up on top of the camper to scout the area and revealed two PEFs, increasing the encounter rating by 2.

The rest of the group split up with Jim heading for the garage to the south and finding some car parts inside. Felicity went in the opposite direction to investigate the Porsche nearby and found some more car parts.

We're having a good day.

The group arrives in town

Jim finds car parts in the garage

Felicity strips the Porsche's engine 

Jim leaves the garage and breaks into the small two storey house it belonged to via the back door. Jim finds Deputy Sally O'Reilly in the kitchen and the pair greet one another with a sigh of relief.

Across the street, Felicity killed a zombie that had been getting too close for comfort with her baseball bat and pried a garden rake from its cold fingers (she wanted to fashion a trap for future use against pursuing zeds).

Felicity then disappeared from Jake's line of sight to investigate the shed behind the large, extended house. What she hadn't realised was that someone had locked three zeds inside!

Jim meets Deputy O'Reilly and they hit it off immediately

Felicity is surprised by three hungry shed zeds

Back in the small two storey, Deputy O'Reilly agreed to search the bedroom upstairs (Jim, you sly dog) so they left the kitchen and entered the entrance hall. However, Deputy O'Reilly's partner, Todd Finn greeted them in the hall so a dejected Jim led them both to the downstairs toilet instead, where he hoped to at least find some medical supplies for the Lily Ave cops.

Jim delicately picked the locked door, ready to shoot if there were zeds inside, but was instead met by the frightened faces of two cowering survivorsPhil and Maya. The young couple were nice, if a little Dim, but they chose to stay in the safety of the tiny bathroom instead of coming with our group.

Satisfied that he'd achieved enough for one day, Jim left the house and made his way back to the camper. Outside, however, Jim and his friends were accosted by five charging zeds but Deputy Sally expertly dropped all five with her shotgun before they even got close.

Jim and the deputies find Phil and Maya hiding in the toilet

Jim and Co leave, clearing the path of zeds en route

To the northFelicity was caught off guard by the zeds in the garden shed, who dragged her screaming to the ground.

Jake (who finally activated!) abandoned his lookout spot when he heard his friend's screams but alas, he arrived too late and the zeds were gleefully feasting on Felicity's still-warm corpse.

Horrified, Jake killed the preoccupied zombies with his buck knife and put an arrow in Felicity's brain to spare her the indignity of turning into one of those things. Poor girl.

Heading back to the camperJake nails two more zeds with his bow, bristling with anger.

Felicity become the zeds' latest feast

Jake does what he has to do

Felicity's death was a bitter end to a day that had begun so promisingly. The remainder of the group leave in the camper, making no effort to avoid the lone zed blocking their path.


The drive to the Sheriff's station was mournfully quiet. Felicity had begged us to let her go on that run and we'd all agreed. All for some spark plugs and a radiator hose. She was just a kid...

Final thoughts: This was a short encounter and a bitter-sweet way to begin Act 2. After having such a productive start, our complacency over the relative safety of the suburbs compared to the urban environment of Bloom earned us a reality check; no one is safe in ATZ. Ross decided to leave Felicity dead (hence the arrow in the head) and save his Lucky B burn for one of his proven characters. And he could now create a new one: Sadie. It wasn't a complete loss, though. We made some new friends, populated our area with some new NPCs and got some goodies for the cops. Also, Jake increased his Rep to 5... and his new bow sight worked a treat.

Game 5

We chose to hole up at the Sheriff's station and radioed the cops back in Bloom to tell 'em what we found. They were grateful but we needed to find more so Sally showed us the quickest way to the other side of town on foot. We didn't take any chances this time around.

We were heading back to the previous area but entering form the west side for this encounter. And we were taking Team Ross's newest member, Sadie

West side

The group entered on the road and immediately turned their attention toward the low cost bungalow to the south.

Choosing safety in numbers over splitting up this time, our survivors moved to search the bungalow's shed and garage, undeterred by the line of zeds emerging from the backyard. 

Jake found some building materials and then dropped a couple of zeds in the yard with his bow. He then turned his attention to another two zeds approaching from the north. He charged the pair, knife in hand, but was unable to take them down so easily. 

Sadie found the garage empty and decided to stay out of sight but only after aiming her scoped crossbow and shooting a zed through the eye. In the meantime, Jim blasted three charging zeds with his shotgun.

Lets make this quick

Sadie hides in the garage

Jake has a hard time clearing the street

As more zombies moved in on Jake, the hunter found his footing and starting putting them down.

Jim ran into the road to help Jake in the melee, spotting a fellow survivor (PEF) on the opposite street corner. Jim called out to the survivor, Nick, to come with them and Nick made his way over to help.

Together, the boys despatched the remaining zeds in the road and hot-wired the parked VW Golf, making a sharp exit before the rest of the neighbourhood woke up.

Jakes finds his mojo

Nick comes to help out

Everyone hops in the Golf

We got what we needed and got out. The cops back in Bloom would just have to make do with what we got here. No sense in risking more than had to for a few nails. And we made a friend. A real nice fella called Nick. He came back to the Sheriff's with us and stayed there to help out. Guy just couldn't handle being alone no more, I guess. Been there, brother.
Final thoughts: Okay, if you don't say it I will; this was a bit of a boring encounter. It really was and believe me when I say that we had as much fun playing it as you did reading about it. I will say in our defence that this was all happening a little after the half way mark and tiredness was just beginning to set in (we even had the music turned down). The characters and zeds would go several turns without activating, we were whiffing silly dice rolls all over the place, the flocked paper was a nightmare as it was curling up and leaving bits everywhere and my photo record was pretty poor. It can't all be gold I suppose.

Anyway, Act 2 ends with a bit of a lull but it's time for another table change and a break. This was a relatively short act but I had intentionally designed the second and third acts to be somewhat sacrificial so that they could be as long or short as we needed them to be and not hurt the overall pace of the story.

Our survivors were rewarded for their efforts by the cops with some of the less abundant kit in ATZ, bagging a single body armour, a grenade and two silenced pistols. Groovy!

I will leave you now with a little more of the campaign narrative to preface the penultimate act. Enjoy:

We said our goodbyes at the Sheriff's station with the promise that we'd meet again soon. Sally, Todd and Nick were good people and it hurt leaving them behind. But we also had good people back in Bloom and they needed us more so, with the camper gassed and packed, we hit the road once again.
Diggs and Ramirez were real appreciative and they'd really made a home back in Bloom. We saw the first genuine smiles we'd seen in a long time on those faces. That's when we heard the noise.
One of the Bloomites was yelling up at the precinct roof, "You see it?" There was a lookout with some binos up there who poked his head over the edge and pointed to the horizon.
A small, black cross corkscrewed across the green blanket of Spring County, smoke trailing behind it.
 It was a chopper...and she was going down.

 Catch up on all of the Safe House action below:


  1. Not every act can be guns blazing. Still good entertainment, can't wait for the finale.

    1. I don't think you'll be disappointed, Bob. TBH game 5 was so short and inconsequential that it didn't upset the flow at all (I barely remember it).

  2. You have to take the rough with the smooth! Hopefully it being a short one mean things could only get better. Sounds like it was time for some strong coffee and snacks! Looking forward to reading more.

    1. Definitely! The daylight had gone at this stage so our bodies and minds were no longer on the same page.

  3. What makes this project stand out from all others is the fact that it took place within 24 hours. That's 24 consecutive hours! It's inevitable there'll be lulls in the action but they do not detract from the overall narrative and I do admire your stamina for carrying on for so long. Shame about Felicity but these things happen. R.I.P. bonny lass! At least she won't return as a zombie.

    1. It really wasn't a chore either. Other than some serious lows in our energy levels it was a good time throughout.

      we actually rolled on the "harry are you ok" table during the feast and got an infected result. It was legit mercy shot.

  4. Still though quiet it was another productive game. Looking forward to more.

    1. Yeah, it was the obligatory 2nd act cooldown after all.

      Act 3 will be up tonight. It has taken slightly longer than anticipated as I forgot how much went on (4 games!).

  5. It might have been boring in itself, but a pleasant change of surrounding from the urban area nonetheless.

    1. Definitely. Things are always so tense in urban areas and we're always reluctant to shoot zeds for fear of generating more than we kill.