Wednesday, 30 June 2010

My ATZ Campaign - Day 6 - Looters

Day 6 of my ATZ campaign saw things taking a turn for the worst in Mayhem City as riots broke out, people started to leave the urban areas and power cuts began, causing further chaos. The police and the military were placed on alert status. As for our heroes, Vampifan, Big Sill and Gap, they had to contend with the police inquiry into the deaths of Gap's parents. No charges were brought against Vampifan and Big Sil. Afterwards there were funeral arrangements to make. The bodies of Gap's parents were hastily cremated on Day 5. By then, too many dead bodies had reanimated in hospitals and morgues for the authorities to ignore.
This scenario is an original one that I designed but it takes inspiration from the Exodus scenario on p.44 of the ATZ:Haven supplement. I wanted Vampifan and his friends to be confronted by a gang of looters. The Exodus scenario had a good set of rules for using looters. I decided that they would be a mandatory encounter in this scenario and that I'd roll on the Obstacle Table on p.45 of ATZ:Haven for two more initial encounters prior to the game starting. This meant that Looters could appear twice or, Heaven forbid, three times at the start of the game!
They didn't. They only appeared the once and the photo above shows them lining up for the start of the scenario. The rules on p.46 of ATZ:Haven tell you to generate 3+1d6 Looters. I rolled a 4 to give me a total of 7 Looters. Next, I had to roll on the Looters table on the same page to ascertain their Reps and weaponry. From left to right they are a Rep:2 unarmed Small Punk; three Rep:2 Punks armed with improvised two handed weapons; a Rep:3 Looter armed with a Pistol (you can't see it because it's tucked into the back of his pants... and no, he's not really carrying a Molotov cocktail!); a Rep:3 Looter armed with a BA Pistol and a Rep:4 Ring Leader armed with a Semi-Automatic Rifle. The leader could potentially pose a real threat to our heroes! Incidentally, these were classed as Civilians not Gangers as some might think, given their criminal intentions.
The first of the two random obstacles that I rolled for was a Moving Vehicle. This was a sedan car driven by a Rep:4 male Civilian with a Rep:3 female Civilian as his passenger. Both were unarmed and their objective was to exit the opposite side of the board. It was a task that ought to be easily achievable, although I kept their speed to 9" per turn instead of 18" as it was driving in a heavily built-up urban area.
My second random obstacle was Lost Children and as soon as I saw them I just knew they'd be trouble! I had to roll for how many would appear and their Reps on p.47 of ATZ:Haven and I ended up with a Rep:3 Little Girl and a Rep:2 Smaller Girl. The Little Girl moved 2" less than normal, i.e. 6" per turn and the Smaller Girl moved at 3" less than normal, meaning just 5". That's slower than a zombie, who normally moves 6" per turn. I rolled 1d6 to see if they were sisters. They were, so they'd stick together and move at the slower speed. They have a very nasty special rule. If they see any zombies within 12" of them they will scream, counting as 3 shots for attracting more zombies. The Little Girl would continue screaming each turn until Rallied and the Smaller Girl would continue screaming until she couldn't see any more zombies that were still active. Their objective was to exit the board at the opposite side. Who wants to bet on them making it?

The objective of this scenario was simple - Team Vampifan must defeat the Looters. This scenario took place during the evening of Day 6 in an urban area of Mayhem City where Vampifan lived. If I rolled double 1 or double 6 on the activation dice I'd roll for a new encounter on the Obstacle Table on p.45 of ATZ:Haven. Zombies would be attracted by gunfire and loud noises as usual and would appear on a d6 roll of 4, 5 or 6. Note that any page numbers that appear below refer to the ATZ:BDTZ rulebook unless otherwise stated. Just to recap the stats of our three heroes, Vampifan was a Rep:4 Civilian armed with a BA Pistol and a combat Knife. He had the Nerves of Steel and Slow attributes. Big Sil was also a Rep:4 Civilian. He was armed with a Machine Pistol and a combat knife. He had the Knifeman attribute. Gap was a Rep:3 Civilian armed with a Pistol. He had no attribute.
TURN 1.   ACTIVATION - Vampifan=5, Looters=3.
Vampifan, Big Sil and Gap were on the lower patio, watching the sunset. Because their Reps were lower than 5 none of them could activate this turn. The Looters advanced down the side street to the back door of Vampifan's house. The sedan car and the two girls made their first move and advanced down the main street. Rather than class them as separate groups for activating I just moved them at the end of each turn.
TURN 2.   ACTIVATION - Vampifan=3, Looters=2.
Hearing a commotion at the back of his house, Vampifan led his two colleagues to investigate. They all drew their firearms when thay saw the Looters. Vampifan wanted to shoot at them but before he could, the Looters had to take an In Sight test (see p.12 and p.13). I'm going to explain this in some detail as this is one of the things that newbies find so difficult about THW's games - the concept of moving/reacting when it's not your side's turn. In Sight tests are always taken by a side that is inactive. You roll 2d6 and apply the result to everyone in the group. I rolled a 6 and a 2. This ensured that all the Looters passed 1d6, as they had Reps of 4, 3 and 2. If, for example I'd have rolled a 4 and a 3, the Rep:4 leader would have passed 2d6, the Rep:3 Looters would have passed 1d6 (on the 3) and the Rep:2 Punks would have passed 0d6 as the 4 and 3 were higher than their Reps. Got that? Good! A result of passed 1d6 on the Civilian Reaction table meant that all could not fire - a great result for Team Vampifan! If any of had passed 2d6 they could have snapfired at Vampifan before he had a chance to shoot.
There was no question about who Vampifan was going to shoot - the Ring Leader with the Semi-Automatic Rifle. Rolling a 5 on 1d6 and adding his Rep of 4 to it gave him a result of 9 on the Target table - a hit (see p.18). For damage, Vampifan rolled a 6 on 1d6, which was higher than his BA Pistol's impact of 2 (see the Ranged Combat Damage Table on p.18). This meant the target was Knocked Down and had to immediately take the Recover From Knock Down Test (see p.13 and p.14). The Ring Leader only managed to pass 1d6, which if he had been wearing Body Armour, would have just Stunned him. As he wasn't wearing Body Armour he was Out of the Fight. This had a knock on affect, causing the rest of the Looters to take the Leader Lost test (see p.13 and p.14). I rolled a 4 and a 1, meaning they all passed 1d6 and that they would Halt and chose a new leader when next active.
Big Sil was next to shoot. He fired a three round burst at the two Punks with baseball bats and the Looter with the BA Pistol. It was asking too much to score three hits and only one of his bullets found a target. He rolled for damage against one of the baseball bat wielding Punks and scored a 4. This resulted in a Knock Down, just like Vampifan had caused. However, when the Punk took the Recover From Knock Down he passed 0d6, which meant he was Obviously Dead. Nice one, Big Sil! Gap fired one shot from his Pistol at the Looter with the BA Pistol and missed him completely.
Now it was the Looter's turn. They could not move because of the Halt result of the Leader Lost test. The looter with the BA Pistol took up the new leadership reins. The Punk holding the crowbar attempted to prise open the back door using the Challenge rules (see p.52) and he scored a stunning success by rolling snake eyes (double 1). I didn't think they'd gain access so easily but you can never tell what's going to happen once you roll the dice. The two Looters armed with firearms did not shoot back as they had no chance at all of hitting their targets. With Team Vampifan being safe behind cover they'd need a 10+ to hit them. As they were only Rep:3 the best result they could achieve would be a 9 if they rolled a 6. Plus, firing needlessly would only attract more zombies.
Speaking of which, I rolled 5d6 for the 5 shots Team Vampifan had fired this turn and scored 1,2,5. 6 and 6, meaning that three zombies were generated this turn. I moved the sedan car and the two girls further onto the board then rolled a scatter die to see where the zombies would arrive.
TURN 3.   ACTIVATION - Vampifan=6, Looters=3, Zombies=1
Yet again, Team Vampifan could not activate. The Looters could, and they all moved into the kitchen of Vampifan's apartment. Not one of them bothered to check if the Ring Leader really was dead. They just assumed he was. What price loyalty, huh?
This is where I placed the three zombies at the end of last turn. They moved towards the Looters that they saw entering the apartment. The sedan car and the two girls made further progress. As there was no shooting or loud noises this turn there was no need to roll for further zombie reinforcements.
TURN 4.   ACTIVATION - Vampifan=2, Looters=4, Zombies=5
Vampifan led his two friends back inside to meet the intruders. Neither the Looters nor the zombies could activate this turn. The two girls continued to make slow progress but the sedan car had almost reached the opposite side of the board.
The photo above shows the zombies and Looters temporarily halted.
TURN 5.   ACTIVATION - Vampifan=2, Looters=6 (3), Zombies=6 (1)
An activation roll of double 6 meant that I got to roll for a new encounter on the Obstacle Table. Rolling 2d6 I scored a 5, indicating a lone zombie appeared. I randomly determined which board he'd appear on and got the car park board. He followed in the footsteps of the two girls and you can see him in the photo above.
With an activation score of 3, the Looters were the first to move this turn and they congregated in the lounge, eyeing up possible goodies to make off with.
Vampifan, followed by Gap and Big Sil, dropped down a floor to the guest bedroom.
The three zombies discovered an unexpected treat - an unconscious human! Feeding time! I rolled 1d6 to see how long their feast would last (see p.31)  and rolled a 4. The two girls had reached the front of Vampifan's apartment by now and the sedan car was a mere 3" from the edge of the board. The lone zombie closed the gap on the girls.
TURN 6.   ACTIVATION - Vampifan=5, Looters=1, Zombies=3
It's yet another turn when Team Vampifan fail to activate. Ho-hum! The three zombies at the back of the apartment continued to feast on the Looters' Ring Leader. The solo zombie moved closer to the little girls, who were totally oblivious to his presence as they concentrated on the road ahead of them. The Looters moved up the stairs to the master bedroom. The sedan car exited the board. The two girls moved along the side of the apartment, unaware of what lay around the corner.
TURN 7.   ACTIVATION - Vampifan=3, Looters=5, Zombies=2
This time it's the Looters who can't activate. Oh dear, how sad! Normally, when a group of heroes enter a building and find it occupied by humans they can choose to roll on the Meet and Greet table (see p.45) or ignore it and Walk the Walk instead (see p.46). This did not apply in this case as the Looters were clearly intent on mischief. Once Vampifan walked into the room he fired once at the Looter with the BA Pistol with his own BA Pistol and rolled a 4, which was added to his Rep to give a score of 8 - a hit. I followed this up with a roll of 1 on the Damage table, indicating he had automatically killed the miscreant.
Big Sil let rip with his Machine Pistol and his three round burst gave him d6 scores of 6, 6 and 4. The two sixes ensured that two of his shots hit two of his three targets. He rolled a 2 and a 5 on the damage table, which meant both Looters were Knocked Down and had to take the Recover From Knock Down Test. The Rep:3 Looter armed with the Pistol passed 1d6 and was Out of the Fight. However, the Rep:2 Looter with the crowbar passed 0d6 and was Obviously Dead.
Gap moved to the corner of the bathroom and fired a single shot from his Pistol at the Punk at the top of the stairs. He rolled a 5 to hit, which when added to his Rep of 3 gave him a hit. The 3 that he rolled on the damage table meant that the baseball bat armed Punk was Knocked Down. He too, passed 0d6 on the Recover From Knock Down Test, which gave Gap his first kill of the campaign. That was an impressive turn for Team Vampifan!
The three feasting zombies continued to gorge themselves on the Ring Leader. The solo zombie had reached the car park by now. As the two girls reached the corner of Vampifan's apartment they saw a sight that they could not have imagined in their worst nightmares - three zombies devouring a human being! Both began to scream. Their screaming would count as 6 shots for the purpose of generating zombies at the end of this turn. They had to take the See The Feast test (see p.33) and sadly, they passed 0d6. They had to Retire and then take the Sanity test. For them, the nearest cover within 12" was across the street, and so they ran there. They took the Sanity test and both passed 1d6, meaning that they would Hunker Down. Their screaming would continue until someone Rallied them or they suffered a wound that put them Out of the Fight or worse.
Now I had to roll 11d6 for zombie reinforcements - 5 for the shots fired by Team Vampifan and 6 for the girls' screams. I ended up with 5 new zombies, which wasn't too bad in the circumstances. I rolled on my scatter die to see where they'd appear. Two arrived at the front of Vampifan's house. In the photo above you can clearly see one of them at the corner of the house opposite Vampifan's place. The other is in the shadows by the red car.
The placement of the other three could not have been worse for the poor little girls. Two ended up practically on top of them and another was just across the street from them. It looks pretty grim for them, doesn't it?
TURN 8.   ACTIVATION - Vampifan=1, Looters=2, Zombies=4
The three zombies that were eating the Ring Leader of the Looters finished their feast this turn. The two zombies that were only an inch away from the girls charged them. This meant that the girls had to take a Being Charged test (see p.13 and p.14). I rolled a 2 and a 4 for them, meaning both girls passed 1d6. Because they were Hunkered Down and unaware of the new threat, they counted as being charged to the rear. They could still melee but would suffer a -2 penalty to their Reps. This was bad! The Little Girl would now fight as a Rep:1 Civilian but the Smaller Girl was now classed as Rep:0, meaning she had no dice to roll in the combat. She had to pray that the zombie would fluff his attack. Sadly, he didn't! He scored an Out of the Fight result on her, which was the same fate as her sister suffered. Once again, it was feeding time for the zombies. The female zombie would take 6 turns to devour the Little Girl, whilst the male zombie would finish off the Smaller Girl off in 3 turns. The other zombies on the board moved towards the feasting.
The unarmed Rep:2 Punk decided that this was not a safe place to be and turned tail, scurrying back downstairs to the lounge. Vampifan was the first to catch up with the intruder. He decided not to shoot him as the Punk was clearly unarmed. Instead, he drew his combat knife and told the Punk to defend himself. He charged the Punk and because he was a Star he chose to pass 2d6 on the Wanting to Charge test. The Punk passed 1d6 on the Being Charged test and was able to melee normally. Vampifan rolled 5d6 in the contest (4 for his Rep and 1 for having a higher impact weapon than his opponent). The Punk only rolled 2d6 for his Rep so it was no surprise that he lost, with Vampifan scoring 2 successes more than him, a result that left the Punk Obviously Dead. As there was no shooting this turn and both girls were Out of the Fight and unable to scream, there were no zombie reinforcements to roll for.
TURN 9.   ACTIVATION - Vampifan=6, Zombies=5
A rare turn in which no one could activate. Hey, it happens!
TURN 10.   ACTIVATION - Vampifan=3, Zombies=4
Another female zombie joined in the feasting of the little girls. The three zombies at the back door of Vampifan's house must have heard something from inside as they all entered the kitchen. The other three zombies moved closer to the two feasts.
With the smell of rotting flesh assailing his nostrils, Vampifan moved into the kitchen, followed closely by Big Sil. "Silent kills, big buddy," he ordered. " I see more zeds outside."
Again, Vampifan passed 2d6 automatically on the Wanting To Charge test. Big Sil had to roll but he also passed 2d6. Vampifan concentrated on one zombie and rolled 5d6 against its 1d6 to win the contest easily. His heavy bladed combat knife neatly decapitated the male zombie. Big Sil was confident of taking out both remaining zombies and he split his 6d6 attack dice into two 3d6 attacks. It almost worked. He scored two successes more than the first zombie and killed it with ease but against the second he scored a draw when both combatants earned one success each. The fight would continue for at least another turn.
TURN 11.   ACTIVATION - Vampifan=2 (6), Zombies=2 (2)
The double 2 meant I had to roll the activation dice again. As a result, Team Vampifan could not activate this turn. The zombie attacking Big Sil lost the fight this time as Big Sil was able to use all 6d6 against him in the melee. Its head was separated from its body. The zombie feasting on the Smaller Girl finished his feast and joined in on the devouring of her older sister. He was joined by the first of the other trio of zeds.
TURN 12.   ACTIVATION - Vampifan=1, Zombies=4
As the feasting of the Little Girl continued, the remaining two zombies got a lot nearer to the gorefest. By the time they'd finished there wouldn't be enough of her left to reanimate! Vampifan cautiously stepped outside to retrieve the Semi-Automatic Rifle lying next to the bloody mess that was once the Ring Leader of the Looters. Then he slipped back inside his home.
TURN 13.   ACTIVATION - Vampifan=3, Zombies=6.
After quietly closing the back door (thanks to the Looters it couldn't be locked) Vampifan moved inside to chat with his friends about what to do next. Staying in the city was becoming more and more dangerous. Perhaps it was time to leave.

This ended the scenario. Team Vampifan was victorious. There was one Looter in the master bedroom who was still Out of the Fight. Vampifan and Big Sil threw him out onto the streets after disarming him. As he staggered off into the night a horde of zombies caught him and ripped him apart. Gap got to replace his Pistol with a BA Pistol that once belonged to the Looters' second-in-command.
Vampifan met all the requirements for a Rep increase - killed at least one zombie, did not receive an Out of the Fight result, did not Hunker Down and he found a resource (the Semi-Automatic Rifle). I needed to roll higher than his Rep for him to advance to Rep:5. Alas, I only rolled a 3. Sorry, Vampifan, no increase this scenario. Big Sil was unable to roll because he never found a resource and Gap couldn't roll because he never killed a zombie. However, both Vampifan and Big Sil met the requirements for changing class (see p.5) and so became Survivors instead of Civilians. 
Sadly that's it for now. I'm hoping to play some more of my campaign in August if all goes well. Keep watching and don't worry, the time will soon pass.

Saturday, 26 June 2010

Black Orc Games Zombies 02

Here's part two of my review of the Black Orc Games' range of 28mm scale zombies. In part one, the figures were sculpted by four different sculptors. However, these 11 that I'm showcasing here, were all sculpted by the same guy - Darren Greenaway. I think he is exceptionally gifted as a sculptor. Let's take a closer look at his work, starting with the five figures in the two photos above.
At the far left is very spectacular, near naked zombie that the website describes as a Zombie Cheerleader. I dare say she could be, but I see her as a stripper/pole-dancer. I like the way that her mini-skirt has blown up to reveal her bare bum, although she's probably wearing a g-string. You can't fail to notice what an impressive pair of shoulder boulders she has! Her wounds are very interesting. Two fingers have been bitten off her left hand. Much more noticable and far more gruesome is the fact that the flesh has been stripped from her face to reveal her skull. Ouch, nasty! She is quite tall; 33mm from sole of feet to top of head. She costs a mere $1.25. Great value for money for such a beautifully sculpted figure.
Next to her is a zombie nurse whose costume appears to have come straight out of an Anne Summers catalogue. For non-UK readers, Anne Summers is a chain of high street stores specialising in sex aids and sexy lingerie. This is another exquisite sculpt that really shows just how talented Darren is. She only has the one wound but it's a nasty one as her neck has been so savagely bitten thet her head is lolling to one side. She is a perfect 28mm in height and she costs just $1.15.
The last of Darren's female zombies is listed as Female Zombie Teen. My first thought when I saw her was "trailer trash!" followed closely by "my God, she is incredibly skinny!" I added a small amount of modelling putty to her left hip and backside to make her more curvy. The flesh has been almost completely stripped from her left leg and foot. She'd make a great addition to anyone's zombie horde. I like her a lot. She retails for $1.25.
I've lumped the next two males together as they both appear to have shared a similar fate - death in the bathroom. The slightly overweight zombie in the dressing gown and boxer shorts is holding a rolled up towel in his right hand. Most of his intestines are now hanging on the outside instead of inside his stomach. His pose is very static but I really like him. He is listed as Male Zombie 002 and he costs $1.25.
The fifth figure out of this group shown at the far right of the two photos above is listed as Male Zombie 001. It looks the zombies caught him when he was taking a shower or a bath. He is completely naked and only the large towel he grabbed hold of before he died covers his private parts. Just like the previous zed, he has been bitten in the stomach. There aren't enough naked zombies on the market, in my opinion, so I welcome his inclusion in the range. You can buy him for just a dollar, making him exceptional value for money.
This next batch of six zombies, shown in the two photos above are all male and apart from one, perfectly scaled at 28mm. At the far left is someone who probably worked in an IT department. He is well dressed in his suit and tie and he still holds on to his laptop computer. Whether he can still operate it is highly unlikely! His upper left arm has been so badly chewed that all that remains is bone. Awesome! He is listed as Male Zombie 003 and is seriously underpriced at $1.00.
To his left is Dr. Z (Zombie Doctor) still dressed in his surgical scrubs. He is holding what could be a medical chart in his left hand but I painted it up as an x-ray photograph. The blood on his smock could be from a patient or his own. as his lower right arm has been bitten. He'd fit in well with the Studio Miniatures zombie doctors' set. He costs a very reasonable $1.25.
Next up is "Slim" who is perfectly named. He is very thin. This figure did not grab me as much as the rest of the figures that Darren sculpted and I have two criticisms to make of him. First up, his head is far too small. It looks like a child's head on an adult's body. Secondly, his feet are so small you can barely see them. What went wrong, Darren? I have countered both problems by the addition of modelling putty. I bulked his hair out and gave him a pair of training shoes. those two "fixes" improved the figure no end. From the front he looks unharmed but just look at him from behind and you'll see a huge chunk of flesh has been stripped from his back to reveal his spine and ribs. Despite my criticisms, I would still recommend this figure to you. After all, he only costs $1.00.
The fourth figure in line is listed as Male Zombie 004. There is a large wound to his chest and a smaller bite wound to his right lower leg. Once again, his is a static pose, but I can find no faults with him. He's well sculpted and he's ideal as an extra in a zombie horde. He, too, costs no more than a dollar.
The white haired African-American zombie is curiously described as a Lazy Zombie. Huh?! How can a zombie be lazy? Does he refuse to attack anyone because he can't be arsed? You could describe all zombies as lazy, because none of them does a scrap of work! I wonder why Black Orc Games singled this guy out as being lazy? I can think of many adjectives for him but lazy would not be amongst them. Anyway, that aside, he is another great sculpt from Darren. There is a deep wound to his left upper chest and shoulder and his T-shirt hangs in threads. He also costs $1.00.
Last in line at the far right is a zed described as Male Zombie Waving. Yeah, I suppose he could be waving but I think he's more likely to be reaching out to grab hold of a victim. On his T-shirt I painted "I heart MC." The MC stands for Mayhem City, scene of my ongoing ATZ campaign. He is slightly taller than the other figures in this range but not by much. His only wound is a deep and nasty looking bite to his lower right arm. He's another zombie retailing for just $1.00.
I should point out that of the 12 zombies that Darren has sculpted for Black Orc Games that there is one missing from my collection. He is listed as Male Zombie Tough Guy (price $1.00) but he has been sold out for months and months now. Every time that I check on the Black Orc Games' website he is always listed as being sold out. I 'd like to get hold of him just to complete my collection.
Darren Greenaway is undoubtedly a superb sculptor and I have no hesitation in recommending this complete set of figures. I can overlook his one slip-up with Slim the Zombie simply because the rest of his zeds are so good. On top of that, just check out those prices. Ranging from $1.00 to $1.25 where else are you going to find such fine quality white metal zombies? If these sold at four to five dollars each, I'd have still bought them and liked them just as much. But as most of them cost a mere dollar apiece how can you not want to add them to your own horde? They are fantastic value for money in a world of so many overpriced figures.

Sunday, 20 June 2010

Black Orc Games Zombies 01

Black Orc Games are a miniatures company that offers amateur sculptors a chance to sell their wares, a policy that I fully applaud. Their figures tend to be very cheaply priced but do not confuse cheapness with poor quality. Far from it. Whilst it is true that their range of figures is a mixed bag, there are some gems to be had. Naturally enough, I am going to concentrate on their zombie figures, so let's get on with the review.
The five figures shown in the two photos above were all sculpted by Mario Zecca. At the far left is a zombie asylum orderly. It has to be said about Mario's figures that they could all be used as humans or zombies. There is not a bite or scratch on any of them. If you wanted to, you could buy two of each for the before and after versions. Not surprising, I have painted all of mine as zombies and I went over the top with the blood on this figure. I figured he'd be at the frontline of the action once the outbreak began and having to deal with so many wounded and infected patients he was bound to get covered with their blood. Be aware that this figure is about 32mm tall. He's not the best of sculpts but for what he is, he isn't too bad and I can live with him being taller than most 28mm scale figures. He is priced at $1.25
Next up is the hunchback nurse, who probably works at the same asylum as the orderly. It is unusual to see a hunchback figure, nevermind a hunchback nurse. She is a perfect size for any 28mm scale range of figures you may be using. A white costume just cries out to splattered with blood, so I assumed she'd been recently feeding and blood had spilt down her chin onto her pristine uniform. I also smeared blood over right hand where she'd been holding her "food.". This nicely sculpted figure costs just $1.00.
In the centre of the group is a figure described as a zombie WW2 war veteran. I'm sorry, but when I looked at him I didn't see war veteran - I saw either an ice cream salesman or a fast food server. In the end, I went with the fast food server and made him an employee of the Southern Fried Chicken (SFC) chain of outlets. He must have been a good worker as he has four gold stars on his jacket! I drilled a small hole in the right side of his belly, indicating a bullet or knife wound. His hands and face were smeared with blood. As a war veteran I don't like him at all. As a fast food salesman, I like him a lot. He is quite small, roughly 25mm in scale, but he is very fat and his hat adds about 3mm to his height. He costs $1.50.
Next up is the zombie skinman. His coat has been fashioned from the skins of human victims. The website picture of him shows him wearing a flesh mask in a style reminiscent of Leatherface from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre films. I decided to leave his head bare to better show off that he is a zombie. He is a most unusual figure and he retails at just $1.00.
The fifth and final figure in this group is listed as Cool Zombie, supposedly because of his slight resemblance to the Fonz. To me, however, he will always be known as Rogzombie, simply because my friend Roger O'Dell uses a portrait of him for his online avatar. He is roughly the same height as the asylum orderly but once again, that didn't bother me. I like to see diversity in the heights of my figures. I painted a small patch of blood on his T-shirt, hinting at a much larger wound that is hidden by his leather jacket. He costs $1.25.
These six zombies shown in the two photos were sculpted by three more amateur sculptors, with each one sculpting two figures. First up, at far left is Jerry the Jogging Zombie as sculpted by Mikko Merlainen. Those of you who follow the Dawn of the Lead blog-site will certainly know who Mikko is and I was thrilled to receive both his sculpts for free when he made a generous offer on his blog last year. Jerry was an overweight slob who clearly needed to exercise. Given his absence of bite wounds perhaps he died of a heart attack whilst running from a zombie horde. Columbus in Zombieland was right - Rule One: Cardio! I like this dude, simply because there aren't enough fat or overweight zombies available. He is 28mm in scale and costs $1.25.
Mikko's second sculpted zombie is Zeek the One-Armed Zombie. It does what it says on the tin - it's a zombie who has had his left arm ripped off at the shoulder. He is much more badly injured than Jerry. Part of his face has been bitten and his rib cage shows through a huge gaping wound to his left side. Before being zombified he looked like he was a surfer dude from his clothing and long ponytail. I think he deserved his fate just for having such a ridiculous ponytail! I like him but not as much as I like Jerry. He too, is 28mm in scale and only costs $1.00.
The two figures in the centre of the group were sculpted by Gerald Evans and first up is what has to be the most comical zombie I have ever seen - Toilet Seat Ned. With his trousers at half mast and a toilet seat wrapped around his neck, this guy had never heard of Columbus's third rule - Beware of Bathrooms! There are no wounds visible on the figure so, perhaps, he died of a heart attack as well... or maybe he got bashed over the head with a toilet seat! The figure is absolutely beautifully sculpted and he just brings a smile to my face every time I see him. He is worth far more than the $1.00 Black Orc Games are asking for him!
Next to him is a figure called Zombie Bob From Accounts. Clearly he is an office worker who succumbed to the zombie plague. A large chunk has been taken out of his lower left leg, which may explain the way he is dragging his left foot. I painted him as an African-American as I have far too few ethnic zombies. He is slightly smaller than 28mm and he too, costs a mere $1.00. I think he is underpriced as well but why complain when there are so many figures that are vastly overpriced?
Juan Montano is the sculptor of the last two figures in the photos above. The lady in the crimson dress is Zombie Lizzy. I see her as being a former psychopath whose lust for slaying men has not diminished despite her joining the ranks of the undead. She holds a long, blood-stained knife in her left hand, which she is trying to hide behind her. A large bite has been taken out her lower left arm and right knee. Her right hand is smeared with blood as it reaches out for her next victim. The sculpting of her is a bit on the crude side, making her possibly the weakest figure I've reviewed today. She costs $1.25.
For the last figure of this review let me quote from the Black Orc Games' website - "Fred, the Colonel´s favorite employee, was working on a popular restaurant of chicken when the holocaust happened, unable to flee in his costume, Fred was an easy prey of the first zombies. Now he has discovered the Fan-tasty flavor of the human meat and … it taste like chicken!" This amusing zombie figure is called Kentucky Fred Zombie and I think he's great! From the soles of his feet to his eyeline he is 28mm, but his costume makes him look a lot taller. The zombies did quite a number on him when they caught him. His most obvious wound is that to his belly as his intestines spill out. There is a large wound to his lower right arm and a much smaller one further up the arm. There is a deep cut to his upper left arm as well. For the amount of metal you are getting with this figure I feel he is underpriced at $1.50.
This range may not appeal to everyone as some of the figures may appear too crude and/or lacking in detail and quality but I disagree. They have considerable merit for me and what must not be forgotten is that these were sculpted by amateurs. Show them your support. It's the least they deserve. And you certainly can't complain about the price of them.

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

My ATZ Campaign - Day 2 - Minding the Gap

Vampifan looked at the clock and stifled a yawn. It was 10.32pm. He was about to head upstairs and settle down for the night when the phone rang.
"Who the hell can this be?" he mused as he picked up the receiver.
"Vampi, I need your help!" said a startled voice.
"Gap? Is that you?" Vampifan enquired. He thought he recognised the voice but it seemed more high pitched than usual.
"Aye, it is," Gap confirmed. "I'm worried stiff about my folks and I can't get through to the paramedics. Can you and Sil come over?"
"No problem, mate," Vampifan replied. "We'll be right over in no time."

And so began Vampifan's second adventure of the zombie outbreak. This scenario is one that I modified from the Domestic Disturbance scenario on p.5 of the ATZ:Haven supplement. It was written as a police encounter but with a bit of tweaking I adapted it for my Civilian heroes. Note that any page number references in my batrep apply to the ATZ:BDTZ rulebook unless otherwise specified. Lets take a look at the cast of characters taking centre stage in this scenario.
From left to right we have Vampifan, a Rep:4 Civilian, armed with a BA Pistol and a combat knife. Being a Star, I was allowed to choose two Attributes for him (see p.6). I chose Slow (meaning he treated pass 2d6 as pass 1d6 when taking the Fast Move test) and Nerves of Steel (meaning he was not subject to Duck Back). Given that I could choose his Attributes you may wonder why I chose Slow, which is one of the negative choices. I felt it more realistically characterised Vampifan. Someone that fat should not be able to run fast. I know he's only a fictional character and I could have made him more powerful but truth be told, I much prefer playing characters who are flawed. Watching the underdog progress is far more satisfying than watching an uber-hero progress.
Next up is Neil S. (surname redacted to protect his identity) aka Big Sil. This biker fan was a Rep:4 Civilian armed with a Machine Pistol and a combat knife. As he was just a Grunt, he was allowed one Attribute but I had to roll 2d6 to determine what it was on the chart on p.7. I rolled an 8, which meant he could be a Knifeman or an Athlete. I had to roll 1d6 to determine which one. I rolled a 3, which meant he was a Knifeman. A good choice and one that I was pleased with. Seeing as he is as fat as Vampifan I just couldn't see him being an Athlete. The figure I used to represent Big Sil is from the EM4 Near Future range of 28mm scale bikers. He is 069 Fat Biker, and is priced at £1.25. To be honest, he should be taller than Vampifan but in every other respect he is Big Sil. Yes, he is based on a real person - a former gaming colleague of mine.
The long streak of misery in the centre of the group is Rob T. (again, his surname has been redacted to protect his  identity). His nickname was General Apathy, which was usually shortened to Gap. I rolled on the Civilian Lists on p.9 to determine his Rep and what weapon he'd start out with. The results were Rep:3 and a Pistol. If he survived this scenario he'd be joining Vampifan's team, which made him a Grunt as well. However, when I rolled for his Attribute I got a result of Vanilla, meaning he had no Attribute. Somehow, this seemed appropriate for Gap. The figure I used for Gap is a converted 28mm scale Black Hat civilian although in reality, he is closer to being 35mm. I cut his baseball cap off and added the hair and glasses. On the Black Hat website he is MM101D Civilian 9 and is priced at £2.50. He may seem overly large to some of you but in real life Gap is very tall. Yes, he too, is based on one of my old gaming colleagues, noted for being the most apathetic person I have ever met.
The final two figures in the group represent Gap's parents. One of them has recently turned into a zombie, the other just looks like a zombie but which is which? The zombie would be Rep:4 and the civilian Rep:3. They are both part of the Mega Miniatures range of 28mm scale zombies.

The objective of this scenario was simple - to ensure Gap's survival. It took place in an Urban area of Mayhem City at night. Big Sil and Gap were subject to the Zed Or No Zed test. Vampifan was not. Having passed it once on Day One he never had to take it again. Zombies would not be generated by gunfire or any other loud noise but any in the house would react to such a sound. If the Activation dice resulted in double 1 or double 6 a passing zombie would enter the house. As was the case with the Day One scenario, certain things worked differently here from the normal rules. Turn 1 began with Vampifan and Big Sil automatically activating first. No one else was situated on the board.
Vampifan and Big Sil got out of the pick-up truck and walked towards the front door of Gap's house. Both men were armed with their guns and knives but all weapons were holstered and sheathed. Their first task was to determine the status of the front door. To do that, I had to roll 2d6 on the What's Inside? table (see p.6 of ATZ:Haven). The result was a 7, meaning no answer at the door. It was open and they could see inside.
They entered the living/dining room and found it empty. The lights were on and the furniture had not been disturbed. So far, everything seemed normal. The door to the kitchen was ajar but not enough for them to see inside, although they could tell that the kitchen light was on.
TURN 2.   ACTIVATION - Vampifan=2, Zombies=4
Looking at the Activation dice, you'd expect the zombie to move first. After all, I mentioned in the intro that one of Gap's parents was a zombie. However, in this scenario the zombie in the house does not activate until Vampifan or Big Sil have discovered him or her. So, Vampifan and Big Sil were able to search the kitchen without any interference. It was empty, but rather worryingly a drawer that held cutlery was on the floor with its contents scattered all over the floor and worse still, there were bloodstains on the floor and sink unit.
TURN 3.   ACTIVATION - Vampifan=4, Zombies=3
Moving cautiously, Vampifan and Big Sil ascended the stairs. There were no lights on in the upstairs landing but there was enough illumination coming from the kitchen for them to see. They noted that there was light coming from beneath the door that led to the small bedroom.
"Hey, Gap," Vampifan said in a loud whisper, "are you in there?"
TURN 4.   ACTIVATION - Vampifan=1, Zombies=5
Vampifan opened the door to Gap's bedroom and stepped inside. Gap was cowering behind his bed, looking scared witless. He did not appear to be armed. At this point, having come face to face for the first time in this scenario, Vampifan and Gap had to roll on the "Halt!" table (see p.7 of ATZ:Haven). Vampifan rolled 4d6 for his Rep and an extra d6 for outnumbering Gap by one, as he was accompanied by Big Sil. Gap only rolled 3d6 for his Rep. No other modifiers applied. As in melee combat, every 1, 2 or 3 rolled counted as a success and every 4, 5 or 6 as a failure. Vampifan scored 3 successes, whereas Gap only scored 2. Vampifan had scored one more success than his opponent, meaning that Gap, being an unarmed Civilian, would obey Vampifan's instructions. It was the best result possible as it avoided any unnecessary combat.

TURN 5.   ACTIVATION - Vampifan=6, Zombies=5
The Activation dice meant that no one could move this turn but that didn't stop them from talking.
"What the hell's going on, mate?" Vampifan asked with concern in his voice. "You look like death warmed up."
"It's my dad," Gap replied as tears welled up at the corners of his eyes. "He came home late this night looking dreadful. He attacked my mum. I can't believe it, but he bit her! He bit my mum, Vampi! We managed to get him into his bedroom and that's when I called you. I tried calling 911 but it was engaged. I can't get through to the emergency services at all."
"Don't worry, Gap" Big Sil said cheerfully, "We're here now. We'll sort it out."
TURN 6.   ACTIVATION - Vampifan=3(4), Zombies=3(2)
The numbers in brackets on the activation dice are the second set of numbers I rolled, having intially rolled doubles. Vampifan unholstered his BA Pistol and Big Sil unsheathed his combat knife. Being the closest to the master bedroom, Big Sil opened the door and stepped inside. The room was in darkness but moonlight from the window showed Gap's mother silhouetted against the window and Gap's father right next to the bedroom door. As this was the first time they had come face to face they had to take the "Halt!" test that I mentioned earlier. Vampifan's group rolled 5d6 as before (4d6 for Rep and an extra 1d6 for having one more figure than the other side. Gap now counted as part of Team Vampifan). The parents rolled 5d6 as well. 3d6 for their Rep. Although technically speaking, Gap's father was a Rep:4 zombie his true status had not been confirmed yet, so he counted as being a Rep:3 Afflicted Civilian. They gained a 2d6 bonus for being in a darkened room when confronted. The parents scored one more success than Team Vampifan, meaning that both would charge. In addition, Gap's dad would add +1 to the Zombie Surprise Total on the Meeting Zombies test found on p.44 of the main rulebook. The zombie rolled 1d6 and added +2 (1 for the number of zombies present and 1 for its bonus from the "Halt!" test). Big Sil would roll 1d6 and add his Rep score to it. The zombie rolled a 4 giving it a total of 6, whilst Big Sil rolled a 2, giving him a total of 6 as well. In the result of a draw, the human cannot fire and the zombie is allowed to melee. Big Sil now had to take the Zed Or No Zed test. He rolled double 3, passing 2d6. But because he rolled doubles the zombie was classed as a friend (true, actually) or relative so he counted as having passed 1d6. The Zombie would charge and Big Sil would have to take the Being Charged test. He passed 1d6 and could fight as normal. Note that Vampifan could not make a Leadership roll to help him out on this test. Leadership rolls only apply if the leader leads from the front. Vampifan was behind Big Sil so he could not make the Leadership roll.
In addition, Gap's mum was also charging Big Sil, so he'd have to split his melee dice in the confrontation. He had a dice pool of 6d6 (4 for his Rep, 1 for having the Knifeman Attribute and 1 for having a higher impact weapon than his opponents). Gap's mum was armed with a pair of scissors, which counted as being a one handed improvised weapon with an Impact rating of 1, or 1 less than Big Sil's combat knife. Big Sil split his dice pool evenly - 3d6 against each opponent. He scored two more successes than the zombie, thus gaining an Obviously Dead result. The zombie only rolled 1d6 in melee combat so it seemed like a safe bet that Big Sil would win but against Gap's mum both sides rolled 3d6 apiece. This could go any way. Fortunately for Big Sil, the dice gods looked favourably upon him and he scored one success more than Gap's mum. As she screamed "leave my husband alone!" he punched her on the jaw and rendered her unconscious.

At this point, the scenario was over but there was still an aftermath to deal with. Gap's mum had been bitten by her husband and was infected. Being the most knowledgable about zombies, Vampifan broke the bad news to Gap and told him that she had to be killed. That meant destroying the brain. He asked Gap if he wanted to kill her but Gap could not bring himself to killing his mum. I rolled against Gap's Rep on 1d6 to determine if he was up to the task. Whether it was a good thing or not I'm not sure, but he failed the roll. Vampifan told him to go downstairs with Big Sil and get a cup of tea or coffee. As Mrs. T. lay on her bed, Vampifan placed a pillow over her head and put a .44 calibre bullet through her brain.
Although the scenario was a success for our heroes, in that they saved Gap, it did not feel that way. This was a hollow victory. No one was eligible for a Rep increase. Vampifan and Big Sil spent the rest of the night with Gap. Later on, in the next day, they persuaded him to move in with them. They made a vow to see the crisis through together.
Next time - looters!

Sunday, 13 June 2010

Horrorclix Ghosts and Spirits

There is one type of undead creature that this blog has not mentioned yet - ghosts. I'm going to review six of the ghostly types produced by Wizkids for their dearly departed Horrorclix range. In the Horrorclix game they are mainly called Spirits. Ghosts or spirits, whatever you call them, they are the same class of creature.
In the two photos above, the ghost at the far left is the spirit form of the Executed Convict found in the basic set. To denote his non-corporeal form, Wizkids have done something very clever - they have moulded him in transparent plastic. I think this is a great idea. It is a technique thay have used on all six ghosts and it works brilliantly. You may have seen this figure before in an earlier review as I painted him up as a zombie. See
Next up, is the Lynch Ghost. He is one of the six figures that come with the boxed starter set that contains the rulebook. His hood and noose remain in corporeal form, whilst the rest of him has transformed to non-corporeal status. He is a very nicely sculpted figure.
The last of this group of three ghosts is an Asylum Spirit, and he can be found in The Lab expansion set of figures. Like the Lynch Ghost, part of him remained corporeal (his strait jacket), whilst the rest of him did not. Note how he is emerging from a swirl of ectoplasmic fog. It's a nice touch that adds to his other-worldliness.
The green hued ghost at the far left of the two photos above is a variant of the Scarecrow figure found in the basic set. The green plastic is translucent but I gave it a dry brush of Citadel Scorpion Green to better define the surface detail. He is a very animated figure caught in mid-charge by the sculptor as he wields his scythe with deadly intent.
In the centre of this group of three is the Skeletal Maiden. She also came from the basic set and is moulded in translucent red plastic, which I have dry-brushed in Citadel Tentacle pink followed by a dry-brush of Citadel Skull White. Note how the dry-brushing has picked out the details of her skull-like face and bony back. Just like the Asylum Spirit, she hasn't fully formed yet. If you were to repaint her, she'd make a fine banshee to use in a Vampire Count's army for Warhammer. Just a thought.
Finally, we come to the ghostly Dire Wolf - the spirit form of the normal Dire Wolf as found in the basic set. You can tell from his size alongside the others that he is a big beast. I had to fit him on a 30mm diameter slottabase as he was too big to fit on the 25mm slottabases that I normally use for my figures.
Of all the figures of ghosts and spirits available on the market, these six are my favourite. Yes, the sculpting of all six is very, very good but that isn't the main reason why I like them so much, although it is a contributory factor. My main reason for liking them so much is because they have been moulded out of clear plastic. If you were to mould these in white metal or resin they would not work quite as well. It is the transparency of the plastic that gives these critters their cutting edge. If you don't have them and would like to get your hands on them, they frequently crop up on internet auction sites. Do a Google search and you ought to strike lucky. They shouldn't be that expensive.

Okay, I suppose many of you were hoping to read about Day Two of my ATZ campaign after my batreps for Day One went down so well. Well, you won't have too long to wait as I plan to post it this coming Wednesday. I just wanted a short break before posting it. Batreps take a lot more time and effort to produce than figure reviews. The Day Two scenario will be entitled "Minding the Gap." See you soon!

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

My ATZ Campaign - Day One Part 4

Last time, I left the post on a cliffhanger. Vampifan tried to take on a mob of five Terrified Civilians. He defeated one but then was knocked to the ground after suffering an Obviously Dead result. Was it really game over for our hero?
Relax, of course not. When he defeated the first Terrified Civilian, any result of Out of the Fight or Obviously Dead was treated as "victim runs by you." So clearly the results in this fight were different to those in normal melee combat. If the hero received an Out of the Fight or Obviously Dead result he had been rendered unconscious (see p.65). What this meant for Vampifan was that this location was over for him and he was not allowed to enter the gunstore. To be fair, if he had defeated the mob of Terrified Civilians he only had a 1 in 6 chance of finding what he was looking for. Not good odds. The delay in getting to the car park cost him vital time. Plus, facing five hostile civilians did not help either.

LOCATION 5(6) - Home
By now Vampifan had had enough and decided to head back home. But first he had to get there and once again that meant rolling on the Getting There Table (see p.64). He only passed 1d6. Because he was in a vehicle he had to compare his Rep with the location number. He had a Rep of 3 and this was location 5. If his Rep was higher than the location number he would count as having passed 2d6 and would arrive as normal. Obviously, his Rep was not greater than the location number so he counted as passing 0d6. He would arrive one location later, i.e. 6 instead of 5.
I set up the board and rolled 2d6 to see how many civilians would be present. I scored rather low with a 4 and placed tham randomly across the board. Vampifan's pick-up truck can be seen at the top of the main road.
TURN 1.   ACTIVATION - Vampifan=1, Zombies=6
Cool! An activation score of 7. Could we see a zombie appearing on turn 1? Sadly, no! I rolled a 3 on the d6 to see if he turned up. I needed to roll a 5 or a 6 for the zombie to arrive. Vampifan slowed down and made a right turn into the car park in front of his apartment.
TURN 2.   ACTIVATION - Vampifan=3, Zombies=5
Vampifan parked his vehicle next to the front door of his apartment. If he could survive the next round or two he'd be safely home. What could possibly go wrong?
TURN 3.   ACTIVATION - Vampifan=5, Zombies=2
What could go wrong? Rolling a 7 on the activation dice followed by a 5 on the zombie appearance die to indicate a single zombie was closing in on him. I rolled my scatter die to determine where the zombie arrived and placed him 12" away from Vampifan. The zombie moved it's full distance of 6" towards the pick-up truck. Vampifan was unable to move this turn due to rolling too high on his activation die.
TURN 4.   ACTIVATION - Vampifan=2, Zombies=6
Vampifan switched the engine off and stepped out of his pick-up truck. He was going to retrieve his groceries from the back of the truck when he spotted the zombie. As the zombie was more than 3" away he could not take the Zed Or No Zed test. The zombie remained in place with its arms stretched out and emitted a low moan.
TURN 5.   ACTIVATION - Vampifan=4, Zombies=1
Suspicious of the hooded stranger, Vampifan stopped to see what he would do. The zombie charged him. When he got within 3" Vampifan took the Zed Or No Zed test and passed 2d6, realising what a threat the stranger was. This allowed him to Carry On, which unfortunately he could not do because his activation die was too high. So, he had to remain in place and take the Being Charged test. Fortunately, because he was a Star, he could choose how many dice to pass and naturally he chose to pass 2d6. The melee was over very quickly. Vampifan passed 1d6 and the zombie passed 0d6. This gave Vampifan an Out of the Fight result, which counted as an Obviously Dead result because his opponent was a zombie. A good solid punch to the head killed the zombie hoodie instantly. Way to go, Vampifan!
TURN 6.   ACTIVATION - Vampifan=1, Zombies=6
Not again! Another 7 on the activation and another chance for a zombie to turn up. Thankfully, the dice gods were smiling on our hero and I rolled a 2 on the reinforcements die. As Vampifan opened the front door of his apartment, his housemate, Big Sil, greeted him.
"Hey, Mr.S, you look all done in."
"You'll never believe the day I've just had!" Vampifan replied.

Day One was over for Vampifan. He had survived, but had he learnt from his experiences? The rule book does not state whether a character can improve his Rep or not after this particular scenario. It does state on p.61 that "after each successful encounter it is possible that a character can raise his or her Rep." Hmmm, does encounter mean each separate location on Day One? Or are all of the locations visited on Day One classed as one encounter? It is a grey area. I decided that because all of the locations on Day One were linked, it counted as just one encounter. So, was Vampifan eligible for a Rep increase? The four criteria for a Rep increase are:
1) Have killed at least one zombie. (Vampifan killed two.)
2) Did not receive a result of Out of the Fight. (Vampifan did not. He did receive an Obviously Dead result, whose effect was similar to being Out of the Fight but he did not recieve an OOF result. Another grey area here!)
3) Did not Hunker Down. (Never happened.)
4) The character found a resource. (Actually, he found three resources at his first location.)
Technically speaking, Vampifan was eligible to roll. You can argue point 2 all you like but I felt that Vampifan deserved his roll simply for making it to the end of Day One in one piece! So for Vampifan to go up a level he had to roll higher then his Rep on 1d6. I nervously rolled the die and let out a mighty cheer when I saw it was a 4. He'd scraped through by the skin of his teeth.
At this point I'd have liked to make Vampifan a Rep:4 Survivor but he had to remain a Civilian for the time being as he did not meet the criteria for a class change. See the section headed Choosing Your Class on p.5 of the rulebook. He only met one of the conditions required, i.e. he had killed a zombie. The first requirement was that the character had seen at least three zombies. Despite the fact that three zombies had appeared during the day, Vampifan only saw two of them - the one at the cash machine and the one outside his home. He never actually saw the female zombie when he was walking to the car park. But if he had, the third requirement would still have tripped him up. It states "you have had combat with an armed civilian, survivor, ganger or military character. This can be either ranged combat or melee." When Vampifan battled the Terrified Civilians they were all unarmed. So he remains a civilian.
I hope you have enjoyed my account of Day One of the zombie outbreak. I have two more scenarios involving Vampifan to post shortly with more planned for later in the year. Keep watching and thanks for all your comments. This has been an absolute blast!