Wednesday, October 2, 2013

[Actual Play] Our Last Best Hope - Zombie Apocalypse: Infertile Land, Part I

As I had hoped, I managed to get a group together to play Our Last Best Hope at GUGS's second round of taster sessions last night. We ended up going with the Zombie Apocalypse Mission, and created the following scenario:

THE CRISIS: The remaining survivor population is too small to sustain a second generation, the only hope for humanity's future is to rescue genetic engineering stocks from a facility before the zombie hoards destroy them.

THE LIMIT: Our team is immune to the zombie virus, but have been made sterile by it.

THE PLAN: Reach the facility, grab the genetics tech, get out.

Our team consisted of the following people:

Dr Lorna McQueen (played Heather Williams): A scientist who brought with her a terrible guilt relating to the crisis somehow, and left behind her sunny personality.

Prof. Dawcey Brannigan (played by Ray): Another scientist who brought along his cold-hearted logic and left behind his recent heartbreak at the death of his ex-wife.

Dr Simon Butterworth (played by Chris): A doctor who brought along his trusted first aid kid, and left behind his wife.

Sgt. Richard Brannigan (played by Mike Cugley): An ex-military officer who brought along his trusty service weapon, and left behind his granddaughter.

Mairi McDoggett (played by me): A cheerful engineering whizz who brought along her trusty spanner and left behind her older brother.

Assets: A Humvee, Sgt Brannigan's weapons arsenal, explosives, adrenaline shots, and a bottle of high-alcohol volume absinthe (yeah, I don't know why that's even in there).

The mission begins with the team finding that the bridge they have to cross to reach the facility has been destroyed by floodwaters. MIMIC presents two alternate routes: they can take the mountain road which will take longer, or they can head upriver and hope the bridge further along fared better. They choose to try the other bridge.

The first spotlight scene has all of the characters (except for Mairi, who's busy driving) discussing what they expect to find at the facility. Things heat up when a landslide threatens to bury the team in rock. They take some minor injuries as the landslide buffets the humvee, but with the aid of Sgt Brannigan and Prof. Dawcey, Mairi is able to negotiate a path through the falling rocks and barely squeezes the humvee through to safety.

The second spotlight scene is a flashback, where Sgt Brannigan meets up with his friend's son, Dr Simon Butterworth on the way to the survivor camp. He is looking forward to seeing Simon's father, and is distraught when Simon reveals that his father turned on the first day, and he was forced to kill him. When we return from the flashback, a new and terrifying type of zombie emerges, blocking their path. They're rather more deformed and inhuman than normal zombies. Luckily Sgt. Brannigan is able to gun down a few, and Mairi plows through the rest with the Humvee.

The next spotlight has the crew stop to switch vehicles with one of the discarded vehicles on the bridge, as the bridge is too damaged to risk adding the Humvee's weight. Simon and the professor discussing the coolness between Sgt. Brannigan (the professor's brother) and Simon. Simon reveals that the reason Richard is so angry with him about killing his father is that they were lovers. Which is when the party are attacked by zombie cats, which really don't prove so hard to kill.

They arrive at a gas station, and Sgt. Brannigan, Prof. Brannigan and Mairi head inside to activate the pumps to refuel their requisitioned vehicle. While inside, Mairi tells the professor she doesn't trust him, because she knows that he left his ex-wife to get eaten. Meanwhile, outside, Lorna and Simon are attacked by a strange zombie with glowing eyes and an intelligence behind them, who gestures for a pack of zombies to attack them. Lorna takes the threat, as she decides she recognises the 'smart zombie' and with Simon's help she dispatches the pack with some of the explosives.

Mairi comes running out to see what happened, and is very distraught both by the use of explosives close to a gas station and by the revelation of this new kind of zombie. Luckily, Simon calms her down and suggests they get out of there.

Before they can leave though, a little girl comes out, screaming - having been frightened by the explosion - and Mairi must calm her down, being the most friendly of this band of survivors. With Simon's help she's able to calm the girl, and they get her in the truck and leave before the zombies arrive.

There's another brief conversation, and then it turns out the girl has been infected, as she suddenly turns and bites into Mairi's throat, killing her WHEN WE LEAST EXPECT IT. The girl is immediately shot in the head by Professor Brannigan, who thought they should have done that to begin with.

The group has to get out and head for the facility on foot, talking along the way, and then a building begins to collapse which will block their path to the facility if they don't make it through in time. Luckily they dart through the falling debris and dive into the facility.

At this point we rolled our Event Pool to see how our Choice worked out for us. We got the worst possible result, losing all of the team's Assets, everyone took 3 harm from the debris shower and found the most direct route to the crisis blocked by decaying infrastructure, forcing the team to take a new route that would expose them to more zombies...



In theory, we should have been able to wrap up the mission in one session (I've seen the designer, Mark Diaz Truman, do it with five players in about 3 hours on G+), but we wound up having to stop play at the end of Act I, possibly because we stopped for lengthy periods explaining how the rules worked at points. You'd think having two players who've played before would streamline that side of things a bit, but apparently not. I opted for an Act I death for my character in order to speed us along to Act II, since we were running short on time, but it didn't really help that much in the end. Anyway, we're going to pick it up again at Saturday GUGS, which means I'll need to reschedule my playtest of Mike Sands' Too Many Draculas scenario for Monster of the Week until later in the month.

I've missed out some details about the threats we faced and some of the story cards which were played, as I didn't think to keep the used story/threat cards for future reference when writing up the scenario.

The group did have a lot of fun playing, it's just a shame things overran the way they did. Will have to work on that in future sessions.

1 comment:

  1. You're lucky I did then ;)