GURPS After the End, Session 102

Dramatis Personæ

John Cromartie (Rigil Kent)
Korbin Savage (Mike E)
Nicholas Biermann (WxMan)
Wes Johnson (DefiantBudah)

Catching Up

23 Apr 2013, ~08:30

bushongchurchThe Crew piled into the formerly-abandoned church, and set the still-unconscious Kesler down on the floor. Matthew West, the Nurse from the show, immediately stooped to check on Kesler—apologizing, he informed the Crew that he was dead. They had no idea when it might have happened, or why, or how long he may have been dead, except that he was alive when they left the bunker around two hours past. After a pause, Matthew expressed his puzzlement at the Crew’s escape from the bunker, as he had been a part of the crew futilely trying to free them; at mention of the earthquake, he admitted he had experienced no such thing here.

MWestMatthew began to answer the question of what had occurred: 28 days ago, the morning after the incident at the bunker, he was jogging to clear his head and passed straight out mid-stride. He came-to in what would be later revealed to be nearly twelve hours, as did, apparently, everyone else. Anything with a circuit board was fried; the obvious conclusion was EMP, which suggested an attack of some kind. It was revealed that just before the Blackout occurred, there had been breaking news on TV of some kind of “statue” in numerous cities, followed by a trumpet-like noise. As a result of the Blackout, there were numerous accidents and crashes, resulting in injuries and deaths, and he and the show’s Doctor and the medical crew went immediately to work helping out those that were not beyond saving. Meanwhile, the show’s Scientist and some of the production crew left in an old pickup that still functioned to head to Topeka for news—they returned hours later saying that Lawrence had been nuked.

The Nurse’s story was interrupted by Ann, as she collapsed to the floor, unconscious, for no discernable reason—looked just like Kesler. After checking for vital signs, he mentioned that this was not uncommon since the Blackout—these “aftershocks”—and that she would likely snap out of it in a while.

Matthew continued: Around twentyfour hours after the Blackout, the dead began to stir. There was brief elation at the return of the deceased that turned immediately to horror as the deceased began to attack the living mercilessly—like some kind of zombie movie. As more were killed, more would rise. Everyone known to be dead had returned to plague the living, less than an hour after the fact, including the sick old local man whom he had been checking in on since before the Event, and had not been bitten or attacked at all—but not Kesler, who had been in the bunker during the Event. Additionally, Matthew had observed that nearly everyone was behaving in an excessively hostile and aggressive manner—moreso than the situation warranted—resulting in fighting amongst the production crew, and many leaving the camp on foot. A couple of weeks in, a few military vehicles came through the camp and started shooting up the place, killing indiscriminately, for no reason he could fathom—the additional deaths would later, predictably, exacerbate the zombie problem. Matthew kept his head down, still trying to gather and tend to the living when he could, until a couple of days ago when the sick old man finally died for lack of medicine, and then rose and attacked. No one who had left the camp or town had returned.

Moving On

bushongtowerNow, as informed as they could be, there was one primary action on everyone’s mind: getting out of this town. This would require a functioning vehicle of some kind. Korbin and Nick volunteered to climb the town’s water tower they had passed on the way to the church, and scout for an accessible and appropriately-old vehicle—anything recent would have a computer, which would be useless. (Although Wes was the expert auto mechanic, there was no way he was climbing that water tower.) As the church was surrounded by the dead, they would have to clear a path, first. After some scouring of the church building, Nick came up with an old box of light bulbs, and some lawn-mower fuel, and created a couple of flash-bombs; using borrowed surgical tubing, he catapulted them out of an upper window to draw the zombies away from the church—which worked, if only briefly, enough that the two could get clear of the building. Atop the water tower, Korbin and Nick spotted what looked to be a 1970s Ford F100 in good condition on the other side of town. However, their run to the tower had attracted some zombie attention; a handful of walking-dead had gathered around the base of the tower. They waited at the top for a bit, hoping the dead might lose interest, then with a bit of noisemaking, and running about to draw the zombies away, they were able to get clear of the tower and head back to the church to get the others. Meanwhile, those at the church secured Kesler’s body in the basement, and kept watch for the others’ return.


72f150It was unanimously decided to make a break for the truck. There was nothing more they could do for Kesler, and they had not the time nor equipment to bury him properly; the best they could do is leave him in the basement of the church, where the body would be safe from “predators.” Then, as a group, including Matthew, they hasted toward the residence on the other side of town, carrying Ann on a proper stretcher (that Matt had liberated from the medical building), encountering naught but a wandering zombie or two that they easily avoided. Korbin and Wes looked over the truck, and tried to find a spare key, while Ann was placed in the open truck-bed, and the others entered the house to scrounge for whatever they could use. The home appeared to be the residence of an elderly couple with grandchildren, who had left with what they could carry, leaving much behind; the group found a racing dirt-bike on the back porch, along with an old bicycle-built-for-two, and inside, an old-but-functional radio/tape-player, along with some random sundries and household chemicals—all secured in the truck-bed. The truck’s key was discovered in the wheel well, and it was determined to have a three-quarter tank of fuel remaining—Korbin in the driver’s seat turned the key, and the truck roared to life without a hiccup. Everyone piled in where they could, and they set out.


They passed the production camp on their way out of town; they were tempted to see what could be recovered, but there was a mass of walking-dead clogging the road into the camp—the Crew were still finding it difficult to think of them as inhuman, and moved on, rather than run them down with the truck. They were planning to head to Topeka, but after some discussion at the intersection of US56, decided better of going anywhere near Lawrence, and instead, turned left, toward whatever lay in that direction—including the incoming thunderstorm. Around fifteen minutes down the road, they encountered Council Grove—a much larger town than Bushong, but that’s not really saying much—and as they drove through town, they spotted a Napa Auto Parts store, with a liquor store across from it, and decided to make a supply stop.

Zombie Lore

  • Not everyone Rises, but most do
  • Infection doesn’t necessarily require contact or attack
  • Is attracted to noise
  • Is attracted to the living, through some other sense
  • Is slow, but not that slow
  • Makes no noise, but by its movement—no moaning, growling, hissing, etc.

GM’s Notes

  • Kesler’s player decided to back out of the game, so I siezed the opportunity of his absence to reveal the “not everyone rises” factoid; there’s a reason for it, but that’s for later
  • Again, the session was a bit short on content; I was a little disappointed with the pacing, and should have pushed a fight in there somewhere
  • I’m starting to see a problem with the random systems I currently have in place; a little too feast-or-famine—I have some plans for improvements
  • I made a lot of use of the tarot cards this time, for clarification of details and whatnot—I may come to rely more on tarot than traditional die-roll-tables for content generation, especially as I grow more proficient in reading them

2 thoughts on “GURPS After the End, Session 102

  1. Phil (aka Rigil)

    I didn’t think the pacing was all that bad, especially given our general tendency toward goofing off. Adding a fight in there with characters who are very clearly not geared toward actual fighting could have been bad – and we had plenty of almosts, what with the crazy high school teacher and the professor who expressed a sudden desire to go streaking. Through in the fact that Mike critically succeeded on that PER check while driving … hell, we might have smooshed that lady zombie and FUBARed the truck straight away.

    Not so sure about the random item thing. Seeing as to how I have no idea about how you’re doing that, I can’t say how best to fix it, but it does seem especially limited. I’d be tempted to use it for only special cases.

    Really quite curious how you’re using the Tarot cards. Is there a pre-existing mechanic somewhere?

    1. Gigermann Post author

      Using the Scavenging rules from Reign of Steel, but it (a) assumes a higher TL, (b) results didn’t quite match the situation, and (c) rules only allow for one “find” per roll, which didn’t make any sense here. Probably works better in RoS. I’m working on a table/system to determine some basics of how much/what can be recovered from some typical places.

      As for the tarot: not working from any existing mechanic, really, except as inspired by the old Twilight 2000 “NPC Motivation” thing (it used regular playing cards for random determination). I’m just mentally asking questions (like “Will he find what he’s looking for?”) and “reading” the cards, as if I were divining someone’s fortune. Also, for NPCs, I’ve done a three-card, “past, present, future” draw. Can have some weird effects. For example: the scavenge roll came up with a bike, and I pulled “The Lovers”—so I decided on the two-man bicycle.

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