Session II: The Pastor's Wife
The session begins with the group, including five other high school kids, hold up on the second floor of the pastor's house. The house is surrounded by over two dozen zombies, one of the jocks very likely murdered another boy before everything went to hell and there's apparently a young girl who's broken in a window downstairs and trying to get inside the house.
Sunday 2:00am, April 27th, 2008.
Charley decides anything other than climbing over the barricade to help the young girl downstairs is unacceptable, especially in light of her Duty complication. She springs forward immediately to vault over the barricade. Moses decides to back her up but his Elderly complication makes the climb over the make-shift barricade take a bit longer than he would have liked. He's still struggling with it when Charley hits the first floor running. Alice is too Cowardly to go down there were zombies are and Rita is far too paranoid to abandon the safety of the second floor to her school mates, who she is certain are all plotting to get rid of her.
With the two most senior members of the group gone downstairs, Rick tries to take the handgun from Rita, arguing that she should step aside and let him guard the stairs. Rita resists and easily avoids his attempt to grab the gun. He doesn't persist but the two begin arguing viciously.
Moses finally clears the barricade and delays his Initiative until Charley gets out of the way.
Upstairs Alice jumps back behind everyone else, trading places with one of the jocks.
Charley throws open the door with her hunting rifle shouldered to check the room and spies the girl, no more than nine years old, still trying to climb through the broken window without cutting herself. She can see movement in the dark outside the window just behind the girl. She steps over, grabs the girl and easily yanks her through without injuring her before putting her on her feet and nudging her toward the doorway.
Moses arrives in the doorway and takes the girl in hand to get her up over the barricade to safety upstairs.
The zombie Pastor scrambles through the window, moving much more quickly and easily than the zombies they've witnessed outside so far. Taking to his feet he finds Charley on hand and turns to attack her. Charley barely fails her dodge but drops 1 Plot Point to make it a success.
Upstairs Rita's Paranoid complication is in full bloom. Responding to Rick's attempts to take her weapon she turns the handgun on him, threatening to shoot if he doesn't back off. She's more than a little anxious at this point.
The little girl who just got yanked through the window begins screaming that her brother is outside with the zombies!
Rick isn't a complete idiot, so he tosses up his hands and tries to reason with Rita at first before becoming belligerent again only moments later.
Charley steps back beside the doorway to fire over the little girl at the zombie Pastor's head. She's surprised when the zombie Pastor utilizes innate defense (not exactly dodging but moving quickly enough not to be an Easy target). Her head shot still hits but proves to be a glancing shot at best and hardly goes noticed by the zombie. She fires a second shot, missing completely, and a third head shot, dropping 2 Plot Points on it, missing yet again.
Seeing that Charley isn't having any luck dropping the zombie growling and preparing to spring at her, Moses shoulders his rifle and fires off a headshot of his own. When he misses as well, he drops 2 Plot Points on a second headshot and drops the zombie Pastor before he can grab again.
Unfortunately Moses recognizes the Pastor, knowing him from the local church scene. Seeing the man as a zombie and dropping him with a head shot proves especially traumatic. Failing a mental health check, Moses takes a crushing blow to his psyche from this.
Upstairs Rita is still holding a gun on Rick while everyone begins raising their voices trying to calm everyone else down, which doesn't help in the least. Rita's a bit flaky at this point but not quite willing to start shooting people yet. As she and Rick continue arguing about the gun the door to the nearby bedroom springs open behind Michael and the elderly woman who recently lay quite dead in there earlier snatches him through. Before anyone can react the door is slammed shut again and they hear a loud thump and crash against the door, followed by Michael screaming in terror.
Down in the study Charley checks the window from a safe distance and confirms that at least two zombies are moving up to it just outside. Hearing the ruckus break out upstairs she tells Moses to take the girl and go check it out while she looks for the girl's brother through the window.
Moses heads to the barricade on the stairwell and calls up to see what's happening. When he discovers the elderly woman has just snatched Michael and hears the screaming going on in the bedroom up there, he begins climbing (again slowed by his Elderly complication) over and up. The little girl doesn't follow, no wanting to abandon hope that her brother will come through the window nearby soon. She stays at the barricade to watch Charley through the doorway.
As the two zombies move jerkily to the window and begin to climb through clumsily, Charley has time to take proper aim and spends the next few turns dropping the two with successful headshots. Moses reaches the second story and finds Rita still holding a gun on Rick, now all the more anxious and irrational with all the screaming going on nearby. As Rita is too lost in her paranoia and Alice too Cowardly to act, Moses attempts to open the door and take aim at whatever is causing all the horror in there. He only manages to open the door any inch or two and is surprised to find the chest of drawers seems to have been shoved into the door to wedge it shut. He can hear Michael's screams of terror and agony inside nearby, though. As well as a disturbingly evil cackle from what he assumes is the elderly woman.
With the window seemingly clear of zombies for the moment, Charley reloads before carefully checking the full range of view outside the window for surprises. She doesn't detect any more zombies on this side of the house at all but does spot a young boy across the road, crouching in the shadows at the corner of the church. Waving to get his attention she gestures for him to run over quickly. After a moment's hesitation he does so. Charley clears the window of glass to make it safer to yank him through when he arrives.
Upstairs Michael's screaming soon tapers off to a death gargle before stopping altogether. The group can still hear wet ripping and tearing noises for a while before even that comes to an abrupt end. Moses continues to have no success pushing the door any wider, due mainly to his Bad Back and Elderly complications. The two young men are too stricken with fear to pitch in until it's too late.
Once Charley has snatched the young boy through the window she can already hear zombies outside coming around the corners of the house to seek him out. She brushes his frantic questions aside and ushers him to the stairs. There he is reunited with his sister and the two are nearly tossed over the barricade in Charley's haste to secure them and get upstairs to see what's going on up there. When she arrives she finds Rick and Dillon have finally overcome their terror and pitched in with Moses to shove the bedroom door open wider.
Through the door they can see Michael quite clearly dead, his body ripped to pieces and blood splattered on nearly every surface of the room. There isn't any sign of the elderly woman within, though the north window is wide open where once it was firmly shut. Along the opposite wall, written large in Michael's blood, are the words, "Welcome to Slaughter."
Charley immediately shuts the door again to spare the rest of the kids the sight and reduce the potential of having to deal with their hysteria. She redirects everyone to the issue of Rita holding a gun on Rick when she arrived in order to further put it out of their minds. When she discovers that he's demanding a weapon she makes it clear to him that she still considers him under arrest for probable manslaughter and resisting arrest. If she sees him with a gun, she warns, she'll simply shoot him herself and shoot to kill. Charley then ignores Rick and turns the two young children over to the Dillon in order to give him something to do.
With that settled Moses turns everyone's attention to the fact that zombies seem to be climbing through the broken window downstairs. He and Charley then take position at the top of the stairs again, joined by Rita now that she's somewhat mollified at Rick being put in his place. She's still rather paranoid but recognizes the zombies as the immediate concern.
Though it takes a short while for the zombies to wander into the hallway downstairs, everyone stays focused until they do (with an occasional threat tossed over the shoulder to keep the panicking teens behind them quiet.) When the three zombies that wander in turn and spot them, then head for the barricade, Charley and Moses both take their time aiming for solid headshots and drop all three before any of them can reach the second story. After a few more moments it would seem there aren't any more zombies making use of the broken window downstairs and they can still hear the rest of the horde busily beating on various other doors and windows down there.
With that avenue seemingly somewhat secure again they reload and turn their attention back to the second story. Moses stays on the stairs while Charley and Rita check the upstairs rooms again for possible threats. They take a moment to shut the open window again, though this requires stepping over and around various bits of Michael's corpse in the process. This experience pushes Rita to the edge, having failed both Willpower checks to deal with the horrors so far. Despite dropping 2 Plot Point tokens on her latest Willpower check, she becomes Depressed and Numb in addition to her Paranoia, with her Mental Health now at only 1 point.
As the window are all secured Charley opts to leave the doors in the upstairs hallway open from now on so they can hear anything opening them from outside. She ushers all the teens into the opposite bedroom and sets them to work constructing a hasty barricade in one corner to keep them safe (and busy) for a while. She then returns to Moses and Rita at the stairs while Alice stays with the group, where she figures she's safest.
No one fails to notice that Charity has become visible ill as time has gone by, taking on a disturbing pallor and becoming more and more lethargic and confused.
Charley, Moses and Rita barely have time to settle in at their post before conflict erupts from the teens in the nearby room. Already Rick is pointing out that Charity is clearly very sick and claims she's turning into a zombie. As he's insisting on forcing her to go downstairs a huge argument has already broken out. Half of the teens are furious that Rick is so willing to abandon his girlfriend while the other half promote the practicality of doing just that. Charity is clearly frightened and confused, beginning to become slightly hysterical at the suggestion that she's turning into a zombie.
Charley again takes the lead, charging into the room to assure everyone that the next person to raise their voice above a whisper will be thrown head first out the nearest window. She utilizes her So Say We All asset successfully (despite an Out of Luck re-roll) to get everyone in line, then chooses the general "staying calm" task as the group goal in order to use her Plot Points if needed. Once she has everyone in line she gets them back to work and takes Charity to the stairs with her (both to calm her down and keep an eye on her personally).
When Charley returns to her position at the top of the stairs with Charity in tow, everyone suddenly realizes all the banging and thumping downstairs has stopped. Listening intently no one can hear anything going on down there at all. After listening for a few moments to be certain, the team decides to check out the situation downstairs. With Moses so far proving unable to scale the barricade quickly and Rita on the edge of breaking with reality completely, Charley again is forced to take action herself. Alice, meanwhile, is still working with the other teens to move furniture around in the bedroom.
Charley climbs over the barricade of kitchen appliances again to check downstairs, finding no sign of zombies at any of the windows she can see. After deciding to be bold and check the broken window the young girl climbed through moments ago, she can see no sign of them within her field of vision.
While Charley is busy doing this Moses takes the opportunity to question the two children (who have so far refused to leave the company of the grown ups with guns) about the church across the road. They are surprised to find that the two are the grandchildren of the pastor who lives in this house and were visiting overnight when all this happened. It would seem the pastor, their grandfather, had company tonight when the zombies starting roaming in from the nearby graveyard. After the hour of craziness that followed, the man who was visiting, Billy Jackson, went nuts and accidentally killed the pastor while attempting to flee the house. When their grandmother started hitting him and chased him upstairs he shot and killed her as well, then forced the children to leave with him.
When they found their escape blocked on all sides by aimlessly wandering pockets of zombies they fled to the church to hold up there. Inside the church they managed to keep the zombies out easily, as the building is difficult to break into. The man had apparently gone completely around the bend in the process of all this, however, and has been abusing the two all this while. This prompts Rita to check them for injuries and she confirms they've both been beaten and bruised a good bit. She also suspects the abuse may have been more than mere beatings from the subtle clues the two children drop. Presumably Billy Jackson is still in the church across the road with his hunting rifle and the children can only reiterate that he's gone completely nuts when asked about his intentions.
Alice meanwhile takes advantage of the absence of the two eldest members of the group. She begins using her Influence and Persuasion to gain control of the other teens, keeping in line with Charley's orders. She soon has them under her thumb and constructing the barricade to her specifications in order to show herself a good leader. Not to mention insuring a proper barrier is constructed to best protect her from zombies. She also makes a point of proving to Jenny that she's far better at this than she is, making Jenny even more displeased with her than before.
Charity's confused mental state leads her to wander back to the other teens and start pitching in with the barricade again.
When Charley returns to the stairway, having checked as carefully as she can at all the windows in that room and finding nothing, she's surprised to find a horde of zombies inexplicably shambling down the hallway from the kitchen. By the time she spots them and leaps for the stairs before she's cut off, Moses and Rita have just become able to see them off the stairs as well. As Charley vaults over the pile of kitchen appliances to dash up the stairs, the zombies all begin moaning loudly at having spotted something to eat. Once she reaches Moses and Rita's position they're already beginning to pile up at the barricade.
As the zombie begin piling into and clumsily over the barricade on the stairwell Charley, Moses and Rita open fire. Meanwhile in the side bedroom Charity is startled by the zombie moaning at the stairwell and suddenly begins choking, then collapses.
With the zombies seemingly constricted to a single file line and taking a moment to topple over the barricade of kitchen appliances, Moses spends the first round taking aim for a head shot at the leading zombie.
Rita holds her fire as Charley orders her to do so unless both she and Moses miss. She spends the turn aiming for the head of the lead zombie just in case.
Unable to get a clear shot at the zombie behind Moses' target, Charley takes aim at the lead one as well in case Moses misses. As they're both evenly matched in rifle skill a hastily exchanged tactical discussion has them agreeing to take turns firing first, with the other covering and Rita providing a last ditch backup.
The two young children practically at their sides are ordered off to the side of the stairwell, out of sight of the zombies and any chance of causing a distraction.
While they take careful aim the first zombie struggles clumsily up onto the barricade.
In the side bedroom Charity is on the floor, already looking rather zombiefied and apparently having fainted or simply died outright. Alice is busy trying to lead the rabble of jocks and cheerleaders but isn't quite willing to actually check her out. She tells Rick to do it, calling him a coward (ironically enough) when he proves unwilling.
Dillon moves cautiously forward to nudge Charity with one foot, at least willing to appear somewhat brave. Rick continues to refuse to approach Charity, even backing away a bit, though he grows visibly furious at Alice's insinuations.
Jenny seizes the opportunity to usurp Alice and accuses her of cowardice, taunting her to check on Charity since she seems to have appointed herself everyone's leader. Though angered at Jenny's very insightful accusation Alice still isn't willing to take a single step closer to Charity until she knows she's no zombie. Maybe not even then. She tries to bluff a deflection and succeeds enough to keep her position of assumed authority for the moment. She simply shrugs off Jenny's remarks saying that the Rick should be taking care of his girlfriend in the first place.
Though the lead zombie isn't making any effort to dodge it is moving about a lot trying to climb over the barricade, so it's no Easy target and takes Innate Defense. Moses decides to hold his fire until it clears the barricade and takes to its feet again so he has an Easy target. Charity and Rita likewise agree with that tactic as it will hopefully add a layer to the barricade once they've piled up a few dead zombies on this side.
Rita and Alice likewise continue aiming as the lead zombie clears the barricade and flops to the floor. It slowly gets to its feet and moans at them again.
In the bedroom Alice encourages Dillon while snapping at Rick for letting his friend take all the risks.
Dillon is bold enough to edge a little closer to Charity to nudge her properly with one foot but gets no response.
Rick begins cursing Alice and she in turn decides to ignore him from here on since she isn't able to accomplish anything with him.
Jenny surprises Alice by huffing at her and stepping boldly forward to nudge Dillon out of the way. Though she's clearly wary she reaches down carefully to check Charity's pulse and announces she can't find any.
With the lead zombie on his feet and the second one behind already up on the barricade Moses opens fire with the head shot he's been aiming for all this while. He lands the head shot solidly and the lead zombie slumps unmoving to the stair instantly.
Rita turns her attention to the next zombie, taking aim to back up Moses and Charley.
Charley likewise begins taking aim on the next zombie, preparing to fire once it's cleared the barricade.
The second, now leading, zombie flops over the barricade and takes to its feet with a loud moan as well, nearly standing on top of its predecessor while another climbs on.
Nearby Alice warns Jenny away from Charity since we still don't know whether or not she'll turn into a zombie.
Dillon takes Jenny's lead and crouches next the Charity as well, checking for a pulse and also not finding one. Charity seems to have died after all.
Rick is still angry over Alice's disrespectful tone but otherwise takes no action until Jenny snaps back at Alice, apparently feeling she's shown Alice up with her bravery. She insists that even if Charity does become a zombie she'll move as slowly and clumsily as the others do and won't pose much of a threat all by herself. Standing up again she starts issuing orders to the two boys to move Charity across the room from the barricade they're constructing.
Rick then starts becoming belligerent himself wondering aloud why he and Dillon are taking orders from a couple of dumb cheerleaders. He urges Dillon to drag Charity across the room, ignore the girls and help him build the barricade. Rick is obviously angling to lead the group now as well.
Moses spends the turn taking aim on the new lead zombie, backing up Charley in case she misses.
Rita likewise spends another turn taking aim for a head shot on the next zombie.
With this foremost zombie already on its feet this side of the barricade, Charley opens fire after aiming for only one turn. She misses. Unwilling to waste a round on an unaimed shot she waits the next turn in case Moses and Rita miss their follow up shots.
The lead zombie staggers forward a step, only an arm's length away from Charley and Moses now while the next zombie behind flops over and another still climbs up onto the barricade.
Alice isn't about to let Rick, who practically murdered poor Jimmy in cold blood then ran away, take over and tell her what to do. Likewise she's feeling a bit of personal animosity toward Jenny, especially as she seems to be angling for Dillon a bit too obviously. She launches into the whole group, giving a quick but passionate speech about cooperation and teamwork, insisting they all work together and stop bickering. She makes her Influence/Persuasion check against all three quite soundly and takes position as top dog again. She puts Rick to the task of dragging Charity safely out of the way while Jenny gets to work on the barricade again. She and Dillon will then quickly go look for something to use to defend themselves while the upper level is still clear.
No sooner has Alice issued the last of her sternly worded orders than the window directly behind her shatters. In leaps the elderly woman, still drenched in Michael's blood and cackling madly! She moves to grapple Alice the instant she lands on her feet. Though a clumsy attempt after leaping through the window, the elderly woman lands the grapple on Alice.
Dillon leaps forward to come to Alice's rescue and grabs at the old dead woman, landing his own grab easily. He yanks but can't so much as budge the cackling zombie.
Jenny is clearly startled and shocked at the suddenly madness. She is stunned for the turn.
Rick screams and dives behind the partial barricade to hide.
Moses hears the trouble breaking lose in the bedroom nearby and goes ahead with his shot, hoping to ease matters on the stairwell enough for someone to check out the ruckus. He lands a perfect hit that vaporizes the zombie's head and it slumps to the floor as well.
Rita takes aim at the next zombie in line.
Charley tells Rita to check out the bedroom and spends the turn taking aim on the next zombie just stepping up from the barricade.
Rita abandons her aim, turns and darts into the bedroom to take in the situation there.
The new lead zombie steps up to take its predecessor's place just out of reach of the Moses and Charley while another flops over the barricade behind it. Another still begins climbing over. It's becoming apparent that one miss by both Moses and Charley will result in a zombie latching onto one of them.
Alice knows she's an Easy target for the old woman zombie howling in her ear so she drops three Plot Point tokens on an attempt to get away. She fails but she's desperate so she makes a second attempt, again dropping three Plot Point tokens. This time she snatches free before the old woman can bite her. Having the madly cackling, old-smelling, blood-drenched zombie in a torn nightgown burst through the window and grab her from behind forces a Willpower check. She fails badly and takes a hard hit to her mental health that pushes her past her limits. Alice spends the last of her Plot Point tokens after the fact to reduce her mental health damage (currently enough to render her catatonic). This leaves her with just 2 Mental Health points and Depressed as well.
Rita, having arrived on the scene and spying all the action, likewise is hit with a Willpower check. She rolls well however and barely makes the check despite her current penalties (rolling eight on an Average check). Rita immediately starts taking aim on the old woman's head for a shot next turn.
The old woman isn't waiting around to be shot and is more than eager to cause trouble. Rather than attack anyone she throws back her head and cackles all the louder, this time surprising everyone by announcing her intentions to eat everyone's guts. This coupled with some truly bizarre and maniacal behavior causes everyone to make yet another Willpower check. After wrestling with Alice her attempts are a bit clumsy however and it's an Easy check. No one fails.
Dillon is next in Initiative and, being the brave go-to guy on the ball, he snatches up the nearby end table and throws it at the crazy zombie, smacking her sharply and eliciting yet another howl from her.
Jenny is still paralyzed with terror and is staring slack jawed and google eyed.
Moses takes aim at the zombie's head right in front of him and waits for Charley to take her shot.
Charley fires and misses badly despite the turn aiming. She ends her actions for the turn and relies on Moses to drop the zombie.
Moses then fires his shot without benefit of a turn aiming and misses as well. He fires again, missing again. A little desperate to avoid hand-to-hand with the zombie, he drops three Plot Points on a third shot and hits, dropping the zombie cold. He attempts to quickly reload his rifle this turn but fails, carrying the action over to the next turn.
The second zombie in line, already on its feet and moaning loudly, shambles forward to step onto its fallen comrade, again just out of reach of the two. The next in line stumbles off the barricade behind it while a third begins climbing over.
With the crazy old lady zombie near at hand threatening to eat her guts and waggling her tongue at her, Alice goes with her Coward complication to earn a couple of Plot Points she figures she'll need soon. She turns and dives behind the barricade with Rick, squealing with fright and outright abandoning her hard-won position of authority over the small group.
Rita isn't willing to wait for the crazy zombie to bite someone or try to psyche them out again. She opens fire at the old lady's head. She misses wildly when the crazy old lady dodges the shot, despite having aimed last turn. Rita then abandons the effort to land a head shot and fires off another shot center mass, hoping the head shot thing isn't necessary for crazy talking zombies that waggle their tongues at you. She lands this shot but can't tell if it had any effect beyond angering the crazy zombie lady.
With a furious hiss the old lady zombie springs for Rita but doesn't have the Unarmed Combat skills to attack her this turn.
Without having had a chance to aim for a head shot, Moses spends an action reloading the rifle and fires off a hasty shot center mass at the zombie in front of him. He hits but doesn't seem to accomplish anything. He takes a second shot, aiming for the head this time and dropping two Plot Point tokens on it. He misses again.
Charley fires off a head shot, dropping two Plot Point tokens of her own. She misses as well, the bullet whizzing past the zombie's ear. She's feeling pretty desperate as well and fires off another round and misses again. A third shot empties her rifle and she's missed her last shot.
The lead zombie closes in on Charley and attempts a grapple. As Charley has burned through three actions this turn she hasn't the Unarmed Combat skill even to resist. The zombie latches onto her firmly.
Behind it another zombie steps up heading for Moses while a third thuds to the floor off the barricade and a fourth begins climbing over.
Alice peeks out from behind the makeshift barricade but doesn't take any other action just yet.
Rita drops four Plot Point tokens on a head shot on the crazy old lady zombie but misses badly anyway when she dodges. She drops her last three Plot Point tokens on another head shot and misses again. With only one shot left, no more Plot Points and no chance of success with the Mental Health penalties she's carrying, Rita gets desperate. She lunges forward and slams into the crazy old lady, trying to force her back and out the window again. She succeeds and pushes her to the brink but doesn't have any more actions to propel her forward any further. Though she has her at the lip of the window she's also in prefect grabbing range of the zombie.
The crazy old lady zombie cackles wickedly but doesn't latch on (having used up her actions dodging and resisting Rita's push).
Dillon again proves the hero and rushes forward to help Rita, giving the crazy old lady a hard shove and launching her cursing wildly out the window, to the ground below.
Moses decides it's time to fall back to the bedroom since they're getting low on ammo and the zombie have already gotten within grabbing range. He turns and fires a shot point blank into the head of the zombie grappling Charley, dropping it. He then leaps back through the doorway into the bedroom.
Charley follows Moses in and slams the door shut before the zombies can grab her again.
In moments the group can hear the zombies gathering around the door to slam, shove and beat against it, moaning loudly all the while. A pair of frightened screams from outside quickly reminds Charley and Moses that they've forgotten the two quiet, well-behaved little children who they left down the hall.
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