23 Apr 2013, ~14:00
While Korbin hunkered down in a back-office with the radio, scanning for signs of life, the others kept watch outside. There were quite a lot of walking-dead in the general area, but they were widely spread out (thanks, in part, to the Crew’s earlier efforts), and were not an immediate threat.
Matthew and Rush talked about what they did or did not see during the Blackout, and Rush revealed that he had heard, on the radio, that some people actually “dreamed” while they were out—no details, though, much less confirmation. He had heard about the Western US being overrun with the living-dead. He also recalled hearing a large number of reports of this-or-that city having been nuked, including around twenty more-credible accounts, including some overseas. His office was able to cross-reference and confirm a handful to some degree of certainty: New York City, Washington D.C., Los Angeles, Atlanta, Denver—and some like Lawrence, KS were known, but made no obvious strategic sense. Not surprisingly, the federal government was reportedly in complete disarray, and reports of military or paramilitary units going rogue were not uncommon.
Meanwhile, Wes finally got the chance to check out the motorcycle they had picked up earlier, but it turned out to be dead; they drained the fuel, and left it behind. John and Wes decided to explore the complex, looking for a new/second vehicle; though they did not succeed at their intended mission, they did find quite a few small trailers that might do the trick, at least, temporarily. As thirty minutes had passed, the hum of the generator (it was assumed) had attracted the attention of some of the nearby zeds, and a gaggle had formed, and was moving toward Korbin’s office position—the Crew decided they had best get moving, rather than try to fight them all off. While Ann signaled John and Wes, Korbin threw the Marti (radio) in the truck bed, and Nick started it up. They drove around the corporate-headquarters building to lead the walkers along, then met up with John and Wes, who were prepping the chosen trailer for hitching-up. The truck only had a factory hitch, so it wouldn’t likely stand up to long-term use; they got it connected and secured just in time to have to drive around the zombies in the parking lot that were flocking their way. They would transfer the contents of the truck-bed later, though it did rattle around quite a lot, while empty.
Nick drove them back to the intersection of US56, and they dickered a little about which way to go—back into town, possibly to check out the other radio towers, or just keep moving West, away from known nuclear strike-zones; they chose West. A mile or so down the road, they stopped to move their cargo around, and continued down the highway. Korbin slumped over in his seat, blacked out; Matthew determined he was in no danger, so they kept moving. As they drove, Ann and John kept watch for signs of life in or around whatever homes or structures they passed; another mile or so, and they spotted what appeared to be living humans around a large farmhouse complex, so they slowed the truck to get a better view before approaching. They discussed briefly what to do, and decided to go ahead and approach openly, to see if the stranger(s) had any news of what was going on. Nick drove the truck at a walking-pace down the driveway, while everyone else had their weapons out-of-hand (but nearby), and John did the talking; the one stranger, pointing a rifle of some kind, was revealed to be a total of seven armed folks. John made his case, that they had no desire for anything but information, and the strangers eventually relented, and lowered their weapons.
The scruffy-looking, ill-equipped band was led by Jack “Jack-El” Elliot, part of an organized patrol for a survivor-community in Harveyville, looking to catch up the rest of their patrol, having gotten separated some days back. John got the impression Jack was hiding something, and manipulated him into an admission that the separation might not have been “accidental” on the other patrollers’ part. Having grabbed an armful of maps back in Council Grove, John offered one; looking it over together, they determined that the strangers were just over forty miles off-course. John was feeling charitable, and the Crew really had nothing better to do, so after a quick bit of conference with the others (including some concerns about the strangers’ trustworthiness), offered to give them a ride back to Harveyville. Jack was reluctant, but his fellows had no desire to do any more hiking, so he accepted the offer on their behalf. The lot of them piled into the truck-bed and trailer, while the Crew glanced over the map to find the easiest route to Harveyville, and set off, back to the East.
It was a long, dreadfully-boring, highway ride—and not exactly comfortable for those in the back. Nick drove a bit more slowly than usual, for safety, and they stopped frequently to look over abandoned vehicles they passed on the way; at one point of the trip, they had to navigate a collapsed highway bridge, and Nick nearly lost the trailer. They learned that their new passengers were not very likeable folk, and it wasn’t hard to imagine why the townies might have wanted to abandon them. An hour and a half later, they pulled into the tiny town of Harveyville, to find the surviving populace packing up the town into vehicles in apparent preparation for an exodus.
- GM Confidence: 4 of 5; a little prep-work seems to make the difference—I need a bit of “direction,” at least to start. So noted. Next week, I’ve got the town to work with, so it should be good
- I decided, after last week’s session, that the group had gotten off a little too easy by having an hour of “activity” without any undead consequence, so I retconned a bit, and did the “hour of radio-scanning” over; the PCs’ avoidance of direct contact with zeds ended up cutting the time a bit short, but the end-result was the same.
- After further study, I determined that the complex where the PCs were was not a radio station, but a cable TV/Internet company; since I couldn’t find any specific info about the rest of the complex, I went ahead and let them keep the Marti—any number of reasons it might be there, and Rush’s office was obviously using it
- I have a random-roller for “rumours,” but I don’t have a good idea what to do with a situation like Rush’s, that is, his office spending weeks scanning the radio and collecting data—meaning, lots of rumours. I ended up using tarot to try to figure out what he might know—didn’t work as well—and then just giving them some of the basics
- Korbin’s player was absent for this session, so I had him work the radio instead of Nick (and after that was over, had him pass out)
- The encounter with the militia-guys was randomly rolled, the details of which were determined by tarot. I have to say, I’m really liking the way these tarot-readings are turning out, as I’m starting to get more proficient and comfortable with reading them
- The results of the above led me to base the lost patrol on the “Berserkers” from Falling Skies; bandits/marauders who were trying to assimilate into town-life but failing. They would likely have tried to rob the PCs of whatever they had, but a Critical Failure meant they saw the PCs as having nothing of any value—we decided they had seen the mostly-empty trailer and stopped looking
- During the Google Earth flyover of the route to Harveyville, we encountered a bridge out, apparently under construction; we decided to run with it
- Ended the session a bit early, as they reached Harveyville—good stopping point, and I wanted more time to figure out what their deal was—but I did a tarot reading for them there. Although I read the results a little differently after-the-fact, my on-the-spot reading was that the town was packing up to leave in case the ne’er-do-wells showed back up—they really didn’t like them 😛