Yesterday was Radarless' zombie apocalypse game, so I met up with fordmadoxfraud & we took ourselves over to Sam & Tracey's apartment, fresh faced & ready to game. toughlad met us there, & the die was cast. The anonymous Mister Radarless had decided that we'd make roleplaying characters based on ourselves. Nothing unusual for me-- if you recall my long running Vampire: The Masquerade character was based on a "worst case scenario" version of myself. Sam & Tracey, as the gamer couple, have also made characters for themselves in just about every system. For James, David & Mister Radarless, this was new territory. I advised Radarless to force us to make characters using the starting character rules, because otherwise we'd spend eight hours arguing about our stats & skills, but I ended up regretting that advise, actually. First I regretted it when I built my character's statistics-- really? Those are really supposed to be my stats? Average? I spend a lot of time in the real world working on my "statistics," reading & going to the gym & being a social butterfly. I spend my "experience points" on my "stats" so to speak. I have at least a three in everything. I'm above average across the board. Come on. That bit of self-flattery aside, when I got to Merits I was stymied. First, I wanted to take supernatural merits-- I am a warlock & lonesome nephilim, you know-- but Tom nixed that. Given my frequent rants about supernatural Merits I couldn't blame him, but I didn't want like, Hunter Endowments, just like, "Sleepwalker" from Mage or something. I ended up picking a bunch of crap merits, just to finish my sheet up. On the plus side, it re-invigorated my desire to re-imagine Merits. Lastly, because our characters were "weaker" than we are in real life, there were things that I would have done that the character of Mordicai couldn't do-- I didn't have enough dots to put one in Stealth, for instance, & didn't have a high enough attribute, essentially making me a klutz, so why bother?
The first half of Radarless' game was a claustrophobic zombie uprising. Our character-selves were all at Sam & Tracey's apartment playing role-playing games, while our significant others were all upstate in Sleepy Hollow in a cabin. Suddenly, a popping, a whooshing, & an explosion! I called 911, to no answer, assuming that some LaGuardia-bound airplane had crashed, the same as it had in Park Slope in 1960. We ran outside to check it out-- well, David & James & I did-- when a wave of gas knocked us unconscious. Waking up, we checked in, found that Radarless was missing, & that New York City was burning. The evidence seemed to point to multiple meteor strikes-- our intrepid Storyteller kept saying "comet" & I successfully resisted interrupting him to explain about meteoroids/meteors/meteorites. We found a dead Radarless on the stairs, as well as a dead landlord on the first floor-- just about the time we heard the rioters. It turns out, lucky for us, Sam & Tracey's landlord have about two dozen doors in the hallway, for some reason. Tracey & I tarped up the windows with plastic & duct tape on account of the gas, then James & I nailed up the doors & reinforced everything with furniture, moving the refrigerator to block the front door, &c. Up on the roof, David & Sam saw the mob eating people, & before too long we figured-- yep, zombies. Weaponized rabies? Undead? Meme war? Who cares, zombie is as zombie does. Oh, but we saw them rotten & shambling. Yep, that kind of zombie. We had water-- Tracey had filled up the tub-- & a secure location, along with tons of food & nine molotov cocktails. Weapons, since Sam & Tracey honor the fine geek tradition of keeping swords & such around the house-- Sam too a (full tang) katana, Tracey the trident, I claimed a crowbar, James got a tire iron, & David had a hammer. We stayed tight, kept away from the windows, listened to the news reports quietly, & all the while, outside, hundreds of zombies loitered about, pell mell. Talking. Laughing. They were sentient, albeit psychopathic.
All the while, dust was accumulating, & the house was rotting-- what? Time travel war, that was my theory. Best I could come up with, any way. Our immediate worry now was-- what happens when Radarless animates? He'll sell us out! Well, first there was the battle of Coney Island. We could hear it happening. Then, Yonkers was declared a safe zone, not that we could get there. Cops were fighting cops in the street-- who knows why. Eventually though, the street was somewhat cleared. There were dead police officers with guns. & Radarless started calling Sam's name. Okay then, time to act. David & James & I went up to the roof, ran across to the farthest point we could get-- not wanting to give away our bunker's location-- & then made a blitz for it. Radarless dove at me, getting a hold of my arm, while David & James scavenged for weapons. I shoved Radarless off & James stoved in his head with his bike lock. More zombies were on their way...& Sam, who was on the roof, lit them up with molotov cocktails. Fwoosh. We ran into a house, left the door to the back open, ran up the roof access, & back into Sam & Tracey's...only to have the blazing zombies stumble into the first house after us, setting that ablaze...& eventually the whole row. Time to go. Luckily we were all packed up, so it was grab & go. Our first order of business was breaking in to the motorcycle shop that adjoins their block, & dressing up in the armor & leathers that dirtbike racers wear. We'd snagged firearms, ammo, & had a full melee suite. We were set. There are zombies in the back, but we get good at flushing them out-- I yank the door open, David hooks one with the crowbar, Sam & James maul its head, & I close the door till we are ready to reset. Except-- well, now the motorcycle shop is under attack by murders of crows-- & something bigger, flying, hitting, crumpling the rolled down gates. First order of business-- to Greenwood cemetery. Since everyone dead there was buried underground, we figured it would counter-intuitively be empty of the walking dead. After that we could try to to the water, then up the Hudson-- that was my plan, anyhow, to reunite with Jenny.
At Greenwood, everything changed, starting with our characters, then the cosmology, then the tone. The Storyteller informed us that we felt dizzy, then gave us +OO to Strength, +OO to Dexterity, +OOO to Brawl or Weaponry, +OOO to Firearms, some Physical Merits, & fast healing, along with supernatural powers-- some super-strength from Promethean, & then some choices-- I took Obfuscate & Auspex, natch. Those are my go-to powers in World of Darkness. What was going on? Why did we all get Buffy the Vampire Slayered? Well, suddenly who came up the graveyard's path but the local homeless guy. Thing is, he looked like a different homeless guy to all of us. Great. "Hobo wizard," I say. The Storyteller didn't like that. Well, sorry, he was! He introduced himself as the Wandering Jew, & then proceeded to act cryptic & tell us we needed to find the MacGuffin. He says behind everything is The Architect, a demon who plans on expanding Hell. She is eying Earth to be the Tenth level of Hell. "Does that mean there is a God?" asks James & we get more evasive nonsense, like "fear the Riddle-Maker!" David & I have had enough. If this guy is as immortal & invincible as he says, then he won't mind when we beat his skull in with crowbars. So we do. He dies, but then comes around the corner. Fair enough. We still don't trust him. Sam is convinced that he is behind everything-- after all, he can't touch the MacGuffin, which makes sense if they wanted to keep it from him. True enough. I don't trust him, & frankly, now that I have super powers, I'm going a little cracked. Hell on Earth, & might rightful powers returned? I'm not entirely sure whose side I'm on.
The MacGuffin is in Stravinsky's Tomb, the big pyramid in Greenwood-- where we happen to be already! First we bump into the Greenwood security guard. James & Tracey are super-fast-- James is to Celerity what I am to Obfuscate-- & they are harassing him. James tells him we're...the Olympic gymnasts team. Me, I'm just cracking up. All this is pretty funny now, now that I'm a sociopathic super-powered fellow. There are demons, reeking of smoke & feathers, swooping in & picking off zombies. Ah, a food chain! Well that isn't so bad then. We break into Stravinsky's tomb, no sweat, & my psychometry powers are only a little bit useful-- oh well, but we find the Nuremberg Clock! Which is when of course Death shows up. He rants at us a little. We've stolen from him. "No," I say, "I've stolen from Stravinsky." Oh, but Stravinsky made a pact for more life, & Death feels entitled. I'm feeling my oats-- we've got super-powers, so who knows, maybe we can take on death. I don't know, are we Hercules tough? He could wrestle with Death. Anyhow, Death is sort of a prick, & I don't like him-- so of course he closes my mouth, paralyzes me. Fair enough; Mordicai-player goes to wash some dishes & clean up a little. When I come back Radarless is like "you are unfrozen now, so you can play," & I'm like "I don't play with cheaters." Meaning of course, Death, for getting all Deus Ex Machina, not Radarless, who I advised to get Deus Ex Machina, if he felt that was appropriate. Never stat anything you don't want your Players to kill, & all that. So Death asks his riddles & we figure them out. Which is where we call the game for the night, extending a one-shot into a two-parter. David & Radarless & I walk home all the way from Tracey & Sam's-- well, I walk home, Radarless to the train near me & David even further. We dissect what happened-- Radarless is a little disheartened, but we all had fun, it was good & cool, but not what he expected. Ah, that is the pain of the Narrator. You build something wonderful, & Players ruin it.