24 Apr 2013, ~09:00
Bill Adams took the Crew aside; as they had a pickup, he advised them to hit some of the off-route towns and try to come up with some medical supplies. He suggested Wamego as a good target; everything within a twenty-mile radius of Harveyville had been picked clean already, so Eskridge would likely be a waste of time; Alma was on their projected route, but it wouldn’t hurt to check. Wes decided to remain with the convoy to see to some vehicle problems; Matthew would stay to tend the sick, though he supplied a list of useful drugs and where to find them; Rush held onto the Marti to work on when he got the chance. The rest piled into the truck and headed out, map in hand, taking their sleeping-bag full of gear with them (minus some food for the ones that remained behind); Korbin took the wheel.
Wamego would be a 45 mile trip, predicted to take an hour or so at less than the usual highway speed limits. They encountered little of note for the first twenty miles, as expected; Eskridge was a ghost-town. Just after the twenty-mile limit, they had to bypass a collapsed bridge at the joining of KS-4 with KS-99; no trouble without the trailer to bother about. Another fifteen minutes or so brought the Crew to the Alma city limits.
They stopped briefly at a gas station at the south end of town, but it appeared to have been pilfered already. Nick spotted a food processing plant a block or so to the East, so they went to check it out; as they expected, there was a rather foul smell of putrefaction emanating from the open door, so they moved on. They stopped to scavenge a car parts store, and came up with a jerry-can of gas that had somehow been missed by everyone else, buried in a pile of trash. A little further into town, they ran across a medical clinic—a potential jackpot. They piled out of the truck to see what they could scavenge. At the same time, they noticed a large gaggle of walking-dead up the road—maybe less than a hundred—initially moving to the East but, having detected the truck coming, starting to divert toward their position. Korbin got back in the truck and drove into the crowd, avoiding actually hitting any, honking the horn, in a successful attempt to lead them in a less-dangerous direction, giving the others more time to rummage through the clinic—which turned up nothing of interest. Korbin circled back to the clinic after fifteen minutes or so, and brought out his mechanics’ tools to help strip the wheels off an old Ford truck in the clinic parking lot—and in a freak accident, ended up breaking the lug-wrench in the process. With the zeds returning from their goose-chase, they abandoned the task at hand, got back in the truck and continued forward. As they did so, Nick observed that there appeared to be small-arms and explosives damage to many of the structures in town, suggesting a fight with “the living” had occurred here at some point. On the way out of town, they stopped just outside a motel that had some obvious defensive structures built up around it, but after a “warning shot” by the hidden occupants, decided to leave them be, and moved on.
Back on the highway, there was another fifteen miles or so to go. On the way, they encountered a derelict Winnebago at the side of the road, and stopped to check it out. Nobody was inside, but a man stepped out of the nearby treeline (appearing to have been answering the call of nature) and greeted them in a friendly manner. The man, Mario Rodriguez, coming from North-Western Mississippi, was a Catholic priest until recently, having lost his faith and gone wandering on his own. He traded a case of good-quality toilet paper for some fuel. It took some convincing, but John, with the others’ help, coaxed him into giving the Harveyville community a shot—they could really use the RV. They said they were headed to Wamego, and would be heading back this way in an hour or so, and would escort him back to the convoy; he said that he would stay put and wait for them, giving him some more time to think it over.
Back on the road, they stopped a few times to check out a derelict vehicle, but found nothing of interest. Some time later, they arrived at the Kansas River bridge leading into Wamego; they briefly considered stopping for water. In town, easily double the size of Council Grove, was in a poor state; the Crew spotted smoke from a few house-fires, and no sign of organized survivors—the place appeared to have been left to disintegrate. They followed the street-signs leading them to the local hospital, and found it, a rather small but intact facility, and prepared to go inside.
- GM Confidence: 4 of 5—I wasn’t very well prepared for this one, but I started getting more comfortable as we went on; there was a lot of tarot involved this week, which turned out pretty well, and I’m developing a system for dealing with urbanized areas
- Ann’s player was out sick this week, and Wes’ player was out of town; we decided to move ahead anyway, since the story was at a good place to allow for it
- In retrospect, I probably should have had Korbin make a Fright Check when dealing with the zombie crowd—I keep forgetting about that
- The broken lug-wrench was the result of a Critical Failure on Korbin’s Mechanic check to remove the wheels
- There is an expectation of finding derelict vehicles along the highway that wasn’t really playing out via the random encounter system, so I enlisted some Player help in working out a quick-and-dirty system for generating some for those long, quiet stretches of road. I’ve had a similar concern with zombie appearances, regarding which I just arbitrated that the random encounter system only generates those instances where they have to be “dealt with,” but they are always there in some numbers otherwise
- The encounter with the priest was entirely random; rolled up a derelict RV that was still “claimed,” plus a better-than-neutral Reaction, and the tarot did the rest. Now that he’s there, I have some plans for the guy for the future
- Ended a bit early, for a good stopping point