Game 3 ended with our group making the decision to drive until they found a plane and fly from there to Camp Nova.
Game 4 begins during the group's first pit stop, their goal being to source enough fuel to replenish all of the vehicles and to locate a food source to prepare for the long journey ahead.
There are some scattered zeds about but no more than our travellers can handle...right???
Fender dressing ahead
Something lurks behind the bar
Coach's pickup leads the way and flattens a whole gaggle of zeds into the tarmac. Cornetto and Joe's Camaro, however, gets caught in a group on zombies that won't budge.
Smudge avoids denting his humvee and instead pulls up to the nearby garage with Cpl Blake hopping out to investigate.
"Try and get that open."
Smudge exits the vehicle and heads around to the rear of the bar. As he confronts the zeds that are lurking there, the female lets out a piercing shriek (Tales of Dread 'Siren' type zombie), alerting all nearby zombies to his presence and generating a few more...including another Siren!
Smudge gets a reality check
Meanwhile, Coach and company contend with some persistent zeds attacking the truck while Cornetto and Joe take care of their own attackers.
Coach gets jammed up...
...by some hungry zeds.
Cornetto and Joe clean the car
During the course of the excitement in the streets and behind the bar Cpl Blake opened the garage and skewered the two zeds inside on his bayonet. The garage was the proverbial jackpot as it contained a fuel pump and Blake set about filling empty gas cans for the convoy.
Cornetto makes a beeline for the gun store, blowing the door open with his shotgun but finds the place completely looted and crawling with zeds.
Joe follows his instincts and enters the open bar. He finds it zed free and even manages to locate a unopened bottle of hooch (not that he's fussy).
After finishing off the gun store zeds, Cornetto joins Shovely Joe in the bar and searches the place a bit more thoroughly than Joe.
On the wall is a flyer for 'Pine Bridges Hunting Lodge', a hunters retreat in the nearby woods...could be a useful source of food.
"Just one little drinkypoo"
"Thought I'd find you here"
Coach and the neighbours park up by the abandoned lorry and Jasper posts himself on the roof to keep watch. Coach makes his way over to check the containers.
Keeping 'em peeled
Across the road, Smudge is approached by a solitary zed who throws off its dirty rags to reveal himself actually to be another survivor posing as a flesh-eater (another excellent random event). Peter was a local meter maid who was so unpopular that, with a little wardrobe magic, even the zeds ignored him.
"I'm not one of them!"
Cpl Blake has spent several turns of activation filling jerry cans with fuel and begins transferring them to the vehicles.
This'll keep them going
Smudge decides to spare Peter the Meter maid and puts him to work filling jerry cans in the garage so he and Blake can explore elsewhere.
Get to work
With most of the zeds taken care of, a lone Siren steps out into the road. Jasper makes himself useful and one-shots the special infected from his perch across the lot.
Blake searched the NASCAR by the garage and found himself a sawn-off shotgun.
Peter the meter maid dutifully filled the jerry cans while the group discussed whether or not to take him with them. Another mouth to feed...
"Gotta love rednecks!"
Lupe pulling her weight
With a few uneventful turns of activation elapsed and some assorted supplies forraged, two more random events are drawn.
It became clear that a distant storm was making its way over to them and the group resolved to spend the night in the empty bar (two more events totally complimenting one another - I love this deck).
Storm's coming. Better get indoors
Blake links up with Brandi and Coach and pulls Brandi aside for a chat. He produces some wet wipes (Z-poc essential kit) and chocolate and engages the young cheerleader in some non-apocalypse related conversation. Brandi is quite taken with the young guardsman and loans him her iPod as a token of gratitude. He's in there.
The chatty youngsters catch up to Coach, Blake trailing behind enjoying some tunes:
Blake is impressed with Brandi's taste in music
Back at the garage, Cornetto checks in on Peter via the rear door to the garage and takes the last of the jerry cans out to the Camaro. However, an unseen group of zeds approach the garage from the front, unbeknownst to our kindly copper who leaves the way he came in.
And Peter takes a well-earned break...
Gathering up the fuel
That'll do, Pete...
I should point out that although our players' God-eye view of the table should have prevented Pete the Meat's demise there was a meta decision to let the game decide. Phil (Smudge and Cpl Blake) convinced most of us throughout the game that the extra drain on resources warranted him being left to his fate when the job was done anyway.
And I, the blood-thirsty GM, didn't take much convincing.
So after the drama of the Pete feast. Our group settled down in the bar for some light rest and revelry. All except Shovely Joe who took his previously pilfered bottle outside to drink alone.
Coach quietly stood watch on the bar roof.
The rest of the party got busy chatting:
Smudge and Lupe revisited their prior conversation and the ex-soldier managed to win the flight attendant over.
Blake sat alone at the bar, smugly enjoying more of Brandi's music.
Jasper, having noticed the iPod in Blake's possession, began a quiet-yet-obvious argument with Brandi in the corner.
"How you doin'?"
Blake chills out
Jasper gets jealous
The ambivalence of the military men toward the gruesome death of Peter left Cornetto and Shovely Joe fearing for the safety of their soldier prisoner (remember him?).
With the rest of the gang enjoying some merriment away from storm outside, Joe took matters into his own hands...
Joe grabs a bike from the back of the abandoned camper...
... and sends the soldier peddling on his way.
The following morning the group mount up and hit the tar, Smudge indignant once again at the decision to spare the treacherous soldier.
The team decide that their next stop should be Pine Bridges Hunting Lodge and with the location marked on their maps they get moving, a spurned Brandi and smitten Lupe joining the military men in the Humvee.
Oh, and Cornetto pinched a Freelander.
The new order
Our group arrive at the edge of the woods with the intention of approaching the lodge on foot. The charming, rustic structure is visible from the road and the thin woods seem relatively free of zeds.
Off we go...
The group arrive...
...at Pine Bridges Hunting Lodge
Cornetto presses into the woods alone and despatches the two zeds that blight its air.
That's one down
Hiding behind the bush
With the woods cleared in short order, the rest of the group form up around the lodge and make a plan to reconnoitre its floors from the outside.
Coach brings the ladder...
...and pitches up over the porch
However, the group's caution is all for naught as the door to the lodge swings open and out steps the owner, Bridges.
"Well howdy, fellas. Feel like gettin' down off my roof?"
A conversation with Bridges yields some pleasantly positive results. He offers the group short-term board and carte blanch to hunt on his land. The game should be plentiful with so few to hunt it these days. A good hunt should also provide enough food to last a good while.
So I suppose we're going hunting.
For the deer hunt I implemented some house rules to make it more thematic. We'll get to the 'combat' rules in a bit but first I had the guys choose who would go. We eventually agreed on what can only be described as the most combustible ensemble possible:
The already petulant Jasper, now sore over his possible breakup.
Lothario Cpl Blake making no effort to hide his intentions. (I took control of the character this time)
and Smudge, the most volatile member of the group who is now, having spent days on the road with kindred spirit Blake, well and truly buddied up.
Lets do this...
That awkward moment
The goal of the hunt would be to bag a deer and carry it home. The rules we used for hunting are as follows:
- Single shots only.
- Misses spook the deer into running 2D6 inches in a random direction.
The prize buck
Smudge takes the lead, stalking his way into the dense forest, leaving two points of the love triangle to stare each other out.
Blake breaks the frigid atmosphere by charging a nearby zed with his bayonet and skewering it against a tree.
Jasper surges into two more zeds, clearly taking out some frustration as he brutally runs them both down.
I see you
Jasper watches angrily...
...and kills one zed...
Up ahead, Smudge takes a shot at the deer. He completely whiffs it and the deer takes off.
Sadly I didn't get good enough photos for the next bit (the camera had been playing up since game 1) so here's some exposition:
With Smudge occupied and out of sight I carefully sneaked Cpl Blake around behind Jasper, resolving that he now sensed an opportunity to make life a bit simpler for Brandi and himself.
A failed physical challenge to pike Jasper in the back of the head caused the rich kid to turn and confront Blake.
Jasper began the altercation by asking what the hell Blake thought he was playing at and to leave Brandi alone.
The smirking Blake simply argued that Brandi being a big girl could make her own choices.
Blake's attitude of indifference sent Jasper off into a fit of rage and the two began a fist fight that lasted a couple of turns.
Eventually Jasper dealt a hammer blow and Blake hit the dirt hard.
"Sit your ass down"
As Blake crumpled to the floor, the injury dice were rolled....
Blake was dead!
Jasper dragged Blake's corpse over to the pile of dead zeds and reclaimed Brandi's iPod from his pocket, frantically concocting a story to tell the others about his demise.
Meanwhile, Smudge faced off against his nemesis once more.
A slightly better placed shot clipped the deer's leg so I decided that it would now move D6 inches in a random direction per turn.
This didn't last long though as Smudge charged the beast with his Golok.
So Jasper catches up to Smudge and tells him there was an accident and that Blake was killed by zeds. A disbelieving Smudge leaves Jasper to retrieve the deer and sets off to get his buddy's body.
All hell broke loose back at the lodge...
Blake's body was taken inside by Cornetto and Bridges while a crowd gathered outside as Smudge accused Jasper of foul play.
Jasper stuck to his zed story but Smudge wouldn't let it go.
Jasp looked set to wind up like Blake until Coach stepped in to mediate. Something was clearly amiss with Jasper's story but Coach, sensing the boy was lying out of fear more than malice, coaxed the truth out into the open.
Jasper explained to the group that Blake had tried to kill him and that he had acted in self-defence (somewhat true, I suppose).
Coach was content with Jasp's explanation and the others followed suit. Smudge on the other hand was out for revenge and was all for lynching the pampered fop when Cornetto emerged from the house and tossed Blake's open pack onto the floor in front of him.
So what's in the bag?
Cornetto, having checked over the body of the late Cpl Blake, decided to have a look through his kit.
Inside he was shocked to discover jewellery, wallets and assorted trinkets, all belonging to unknown civilians...and some still stained with blood.
Also tucked away were various items that were likely used for making booby traps.
It would seem the corporal was not all he claimed to be......and maybe our group trusted the wrong soldier.
Faced with this new intel, the group divined that Blake had been the one who had ambushed the military vehicles back in Little Leith and had probably had plans for Cornetto back at Drake's too.
This in addition to the disturbing collection of valuables he'd stashed in his pack all pointed to him being part of the rogue military element that had been terrorising survivors up and down the country.
In light of the new situation, a disillusioned Smudge storms off alone to his Humvee.
And there ends Act 2.
I hope you're all still awake (like we were). A couple of light and interesting games have left an impression on the group now and tensions are simmering.
See you in Act 3...
Intro, Act 1, Act 2, Act 3, Finale