The Safe House 2014 Team
Left to right: Jim, Ross & Simon (Me)
The time has come! As faithful followers will already be aware, Saturday 5th July played host to Safe House 2014, our 24 hour All Things Zombie marathon raising money for the Sick Kids Friends Foundation here in Edinburgh.
I would like to begin by saying a huge thank you to everyone who has shown their support by spreading the word or donating to the event. I truly can't thank you enough. Safe House has been a resounding success and we raised a whopping £754.35 because of your efforts.
Over the next few days I will be covering all of the best action from the event. I will be highlighting the main events of the games we played and laying out the story as it developed.
In this post I will be outlining some details about the players' characters, some of the rules we adapted for this campaign and the setting itself. I will be using some All Things Zombie jargon throughout but I will attempt to keep things as accessible as possible for the benefit of those unfamiliar with the system.
I will also be periodically including music in the posts that I highly recommend you listen to as you read. These will be the tracks we had playing in the background over the entire day and at specific moments that I hope will give you an impression of the campaign's atmosphere.
On that note, here is the fantastic soundtrack to Telltale Games' masterpiece, The Walking Dead, which we had running in the background to kick off the campaign (thanks to Zombie Ad for turning me onto this HERE):
All things Zombie has a great campaign system wherein the random generation of persons and events allows for an organically developing story and we were at the mercy of this system almost exclusively. I say "almost" as every 6 hours or so I nudged the story along a bit with a scripted encounter that pointed the players in a specific direction. This broke the campaign down into four distinct acts, which allowed me to keep things running on time for a grand finale at the 24 hour mark.
Now, since I knew in advance what the scripted events would be, my own characters' role in the campaign was more of a tactical one, providing support and direction for the other players and their characters and taking control of some new characters that were integral to the overall story.
The one thing guaranteed to ruin your day during a campaign is having a favourite character die suddenly and unceremoniously. Also, anyone who has played Necromunda will be familiar with the phenomenon of spending hours consciously trying to develop a character, through painting, converting or playing, only to have another seemingly ancillary character rise up and become a star.
So, with these things in mind, (and since Safe House won't be written by George R. R. Martin) I wanted to introduce a mechanic to preserve the life of one of these emergent heroes:
In addition to Stars' usual Attributes, each player has a single use of the Lucky B*****d attribute from Two Hour Wargames supplement High Rise to Hell (allows a character to ignore their first Obviously Dead result), to be applied to a single character of the owning player's choosing should the need arise.
Our group of heroes begin the game on a full stomach (i.e. they won't require a food unit for 1 in-game month or until they change area) and in possession of a fully fuelled vehicle.
Lets meet the stars of Safe House 2014. Character names are from left to right and I have added their attributes in brackets for those familiar with ATZ:
Jake, Eddie & A.J.
Jake is a handsome bow hunter (Attractive) who favours working alone (Initiative). Eddie is a surly Vietnam War veteran turned biker (Rage) and no stranger to a bar fight (Brawler). A.J. is a former Basketball star, quick on his feet (Fast) but angry at the loss of his fame (Rage).
Sunny, Ted, Felicity & Sadie
A young team of paranormal investigators. The cat-like Sunny (Agile) has a mean streak (Rage). Ted knows how to use his Katana (Brawler) and he's had enough of the living dead (Rage). Felicity is the happy-go-lucky eye candy (Free Spirit/Attractive). Sadie is a feisty teen (Free Spirit), favouring hand-to-hand combat (Rage) and the stealth of a crossbow.
Al, Jim & Carla
Al is a deceptively tough survivor (Hard as Nails) whose blood lust peaks to the roar of her chainsaw (Rage). Jim is the technically minded survivalist (Logical) who like to get in and get out as efficiently as possible (Fast). Carla is a nurse (Medic), jaded and steely-eyed in the wake of the apocalypse (Hard as Nails).
Location, location, location
The bulk of the action takes place in Bloom, an small industrial city in the eastern United States, but characters will be making trips to the outlying suburban town of Springvale and the rural outskirts of the city, Spring County. More to come on these locales as we play.
These three different environments will all have their own unique flavour to bring a different gaming experience to the players. For example, encounters in Springvale will be conducted using custom floorplans from Tiles of the Dead to represent each building and players will have to go from room to room scavenging. In contrast, rural encounters will be very small in scale and focus on a specific event or point of interest such as a military encampment or roadside bar.
For the sake of ease we were also using the All Things Zombie Risks & Rewards Deck to generate our PEF Contact! results and building occupants.
The corners of Lily Ave and King St, Bloom City
With all that said, lets play some games. See you on the other side, amigos.