The First Holdup
23 Apr 2013, ~11:00
Council Grove, Kansas was a ghost-town, or looked like it, at least. The storm coming in from the West looming dark overhead, and the distant thunder, promised an “interesting” day ahead. The Crew pulled the truck over at the Napa Auto Parts store, and split up to look for supplies: Wes and Korbin went into the auto parts store to look for stuff to keep the truck running; Nick and John went across the street to the liquor store to look for stuff to keep them running, having gone eight waking hours without any booze (in Nick’s case) or nicotine (in John’s and Wes’ cases); Matt stayed in the truck-bed, keeping an eye on Ann, in case she woke up.
The door to the liquor store was unlocked, and John and Nick entered. Nick heard some scuffling behind the counter, and was about to suggest they leave to get the others’ help before six Latino youths popped out of hiding and pointed various firearms in their direction, demanding they “get their hands up.” The two froze for a moment, having never been mugged before. Nick, having the most experience with such things—being an alcoholic—noticed telltale signs of slight inebriation amongst their assailants, and supposed they had been into the stock already; he kept his mouth shut and let John do the talking. John, speaking passable Spanish and recalling his movie-cop experience, tried to talk them down, and find out what they wanted/intended. The banditos declared they intended to take the truck, and all it contained, but were content to leave the Crew alive; they relaxed, somewhat, as John’s smooth-talk convinced them the truck might not be worth the bother, and they demanded the two lead them outside to have a look at it—as requested, they also allowed John a pack of smokes, and tossed Nick a bottle of peppermint schnapps (that they had no desire to consume—nor anyone else, apparently).
The two left the liquor store with guns at their backs, back into the street, John chattering away, trying to keep the situation “light”—it appeared to be working. They found Matthew still in the truck-bed, unbuckling Ann from the stretcher, now conscious; the thugs bristled again, and demanded they get out of the vehicle and put their hands up as well. John kept talking, convincing them that the new guys were harmless, and got them looking around for another vehicle that they might be able to get running—they had spotted one a block down the street that was in good condition. They admitted they needed the truck because they had a lot of stuff to carry around.
Wes and Korbin finally heard the commotion outside and witnessed the developing situation. From his experience as a teacher and coach in an inner-city, Los Angeles, public high-school, he immediately recognized the youths as gang-members, though he didn’t recognize the gang. Keeping low, he and Wes started looking around the parts store for usable weapons; on a whim, Korbin reached under the counter for a gun, and (to some surprise) produced a sawed-off shotgun, which he tossed to Wes. Then they took up position behind some store-displays and observed the scene on the street, waiting for their moment to intervene. Korbin could make out the discussion outside enough to work out that they were looking to get a vehicle running, at which point he grabbed a mostly-complete set of tools from the shelf, and proceeded out of the store like nothing was wrong. Speaking Spanish, he asked to be led to the other truck, fully intending to get it working; half the thugs followed him down the street, with hardly a second thought.
A few minutes later, Nick spotted some movement between and behind the liquor store area—a handful of zombies, presumably attracted by the noise of the truck. The three gang-bangers that had remained behind turned around and advanced, unloading their weapons into the walking corpses—pretty much like one might expect from wet-behind-the-ears, untrained shooters, who have seen a few too many action movies. The zombies were barely touched as they approached. At the same time, John and Ann ran back into the Napa store to find some sort of weaponry, while Nick followed behind thugs and “encouraged” them. Upon hearing the shooting from half a block down the street, Korbin took charge of his group, and they followed him back to the scene at a gallop, arriving just as the others had expended their on-hand ammunition, and they began firing, in similar fashion. Nick and Korbin inquired where the thugs might have more guns and ammunition; between ineffectual shots, they replied that they had assorted firearms in a sleeping-bag in the back of the liquor store, but they were too afraid to go back in. Korbin and Nick ran past the zombies, into the store, where they found the sleeping-bag, as described. The two fetched guns from the bag: Nick, a pump shotgun, and Korbin, a .38 auto-pistol. They emerged from the liquor store as the zombies had the thugs, guns empty, backpedaling toward the truck. The two rushed up behind the zombies to touch their gun-barrels to the zombies’ heads before pulling the trigger, just to be certain—everyone who’s ever seen a zombie movie knows to shoot for the head—as the zombies were intent on other prey. But the gang-bangers morale was already broken, by their failure with the zombies and their now-armed “victims” (which now included a sawed-off–wielding Wes who finally emerged from cover in the auto-parts store), and they scattered in all directions; one attempted to slide over the hood of the truck and didn’t quite clear it, and was nearly bitten by the last zombie. Nick was following close behind it at a jog, trying to smash it in the head with the butt of his shotgun, before Wes stepped over and blasted its head at close range. The nearly-caught youth bolted immediately to catch up his buddies. The situation was over.
Knowing all the shooting would undoubtedly attract more zombie attention, the Crew wasted no time, but set about gathering what they could as quickly as possible: a couple of complete sets of auto-mechanic tools; belts and hoses, some gas cans, and assorted replacement parts for the truck; as much tobacco and liquor as was left in the liquor store—not much; and the banditos’ sleeping bag, full of food, guns, and sundries, was dragged out to the truck as well (as Ann was digging through it to see what was there, she found a wallet full of cash, that had pictures of a family that was not in any way Hispanic—clearly stolen).
Then the Crew all piled back into the truck and continued to the West. They stopped to check out the SUV the gang-bangers had pointed out, a Lincoln Navigator; its electrics were completely dead, and the vehicle useless, so they siphoned off the fuel. They also stopped across the street at a gas station, to pilfer a map. Again, continuing down Main Street, they crossed the river, into downtown Council Grove, and immediately pulled into an open garage to get out of the way of the oncoming storm that was bearing down on them.
- GM Confidence: 4 of 5; I hit my comfort-zone, and felt generally good about it afterward, though there were some bits I wish had gone better. Knowing the Social Engineering situation was coming, I should have been better prepared. When the shooting started, once again, I had people thumb-twiddling, when I should have had them playing someone else—zombies, bandits, or maybe Matthew
- In retrospect, I could have also had some zombies show up in the back-area of the Napa store, giving those inside something to fight, or at least, flushing them out
- The bandits were completely random-rolled. The Event Generator came up with 6 marauders/bandits in ambush, and the tarot cards generated the story: they were immature, flush with success and overburdened by it, and celebrating. All together, the liquor store “accidental ambush” made perfect sense, and combined with the fact that they were slightly drunk, slightly tipped a potentially-deadly situation in the PCs’ favor. I went with Latinos as a hat-tip to Mike’s zombie one-shot game, where we ran afoul of a roadblock run by similar folk—before the tarot stuff, I intended to rip it off more “directly”
- Per Tactical Shooting, the banditos were using Guns at default; at average stats of 10, with -1 DX for Tipsy, that put them at Skill-5! They weren’t going to hit anything they intended to except by accident
- Regarding the standoff: it felt like there was some real tension there, like the PCs might actually lose the truck—they were in a truly bad position—but I did expect John to be able to talk his way out of it
- They’ve been lucky so far with the zombie numbers rolled—that won’t last forever 😉
- Now the PCs have some food, some guns, and some gas; should be able to really get going now…once the storm passes, which is going to be a doozy