Yesterday we played in Radarless' third Dead World zombie apocalypse game. "We" meaning me, James, Sam & Tracey; in the last two sessions, we had played avatars of ourselves, fictionalized game versions of "Mordicai," "James," "Sam" & "Tracey," but this time the decision was made to create whole new characters, united by...living in the same apartment building in Dyker Heights. I decided to play the building super, & thus Benji Lansky was born. I needed a "hook," you know, a third dimension to the character, so I ended up making him a failed film student. Not that he was a failure, so much as the economic crash failed him;in fact, with Dexterity OOOO he had steady hands & Composure OOOO gave him steady nerves. He would have been a great wartime video journalist...but instead he couldn't find work & had to take a job working as the super in a building his uncle owned. I decided going into it that I wanted to be one of the guys in the horror movie that you yell at for making sub-optimal decisions, so Benji wanted to make the great documentary of zombie occupied New York. I was the guy who stays behind too long, shooting footage. Not Hud from Cloverfield but like, the kid from American Beauty in Cloverfield. I gave him some weird Merits like Quickdraw & Stunt Driver, to reflect not guns but cameras; I can drive & film! I can whip my camera out at a moment's notice! Also, I can brain you to death (again) with big wrench; both are in my big superintendent's tool belt. James was Salim, the Best Buy shop clerk who was studying for his pilot's license, & still had his dog Poe with him. Sam was Carl, the college linebacker who lost his temper on the field in front of a scout, ruining his chances of going pro, leaving him to find work as a warehouse foreman. "He's Darryl from The Office!" I said. Tracey was Susie, the...well, to use Tracey's words, the "Butterface Brooklynite." Susie was sort of dumb, but very athletic; kickboxing, softball, she had it covered. Also, Susie had tremendous instincts; her Danger Sense saved us more than once. We were a crew of Might Have Beens!
The zombies were...well, symptomatic of something greater happening in Brooklyn. The metal had rusted out. The food had rotted. The vegetation was out of control, & warped. If this was my first Oubliette campaign I would have muttered "it's a Great World. Great World." Our other characters, our "self" characters, had learned that what had happened was that Hell was expanding. New York was the new, Tenth Circle. A really clever idea, I thought. So, here we were, trapped in our apartment building. We'd blocked off the stairways, traversing the building by fire escape. Sure, these zombies could climb, but our characters don't know that! Benji is a film buff, he's thinking of movie shamblers. "Would you say," I said to Radarless, keeping an eye on James, "that we are Stuck in our Home?" We'd also swept the rooms; we were clear...but we only had enough food for three more days. Sticking around wasn't an option, but Carl had a big cargo truck from work, which we could take, if only it was okay, so we went up onto the roof to take a look at it. No binoculars, but my video camera had a zoom feature! The truck was no-go. Rusted out, tires burst, consumed by the supernatural rot. Being on the roof did mean, however, that the giant flock of zombie pigeons saw us! & I saw them; I got a great shot of the black cloud of decayed birds swooping in, & kept them framed as Carl picked me up & carried me back in the building. Time to go! The attack of the zombie pigeons had drawn the attention of the zombie humans, who were mobbing up to come attack us. We went out the back, down the alley, & trained the zombies after us. We ran for the water, since that was our only idea; I was cracking skulls with my trusty spanner, Carl was driving a wedge by plowing through them like an offensive lineman, Salim had a truncheon & was smashing in faces...until the zombies grabbed him. Susie saved him by shooting the one that had gotten him; she had her ex-boyfriend's gun! We were booking it, but everybody except Susie got clawed up...claw wounds that healed. I smashed a zombie's skull in & it crumpled like eggshell & the undead jerk kept coming; not all of them are head-shot instant kills!
Things looked really grim, as more & more zombies joined the fray...but then we heard the chopper! Well I for one expected evil zombie cops in that chopper, but no! They opened up with machine guns, covering us, telling us to go down the street, go, go, go! We went! Not before I stopped to get footage of the helicopter strafing the undead, though. We got to a police station, where the officers hurried us in, covering our tracks with bleach. They checked us out for bites, but none were found; my Carhartts had saved me, never mind the tears, & the same for the other's leather jackets! Of course, that was a lie, but hey we weren't coming clean, though I think Salim wanted to. The cops had about thirty other refugees & seemed like decent guys...until the High Threat Response guys started giving orders. Essentially the S.T.A.R.S. from Resident Evil, those guys were exactly the dudes in the movie where you are like "oh great, the Bad Cops." We whispered among ourselves-- I went into the bathroom with Salim & took footage of him cutting his arm & healing it instantly. Whatever that meant was immaterial to Benji; he's just the video camera, he's just documenting. I had the camera audio rolling for the cops being jerks, too; Carl was black & Benji was one of the Occupy Wall Street people who took video of cops punching protestors, so we were uncomfortable at the station. Some of the other civilians were messing with us, trying to get us to steal the helicopter-- which Benji had thought of, but really only as a thought experiment-- or just acting sketchy. We told the cops about brain-less zombies & zombie pigeons, & they neglected to mention the intelligent zombie SWAT cops that were out there, which one of the other refugees clued us in on. Great! Eventually we negotiated with the police; we'd go out on a food, medicine & supply run, & in exchange they'd give us a lift to the marina in the chopper. Sounds great! We get to get out of there-- a scene we knew would go sour-- & even get to some boats. Right on, right on!
So off we went to the Key Food. Just a few blocks away, no sweat. We doused ourselves in bleach & took more with us; the cops were convinced that the undead's sense of smell was a factor, & we had no reason to think they were wrong. Carl went so far as to swab bleach under his armpits. It seemed to work; we got to the abandoned grocery store without incident. The place was a mess; the meat section was one big pink slime & maggot trough, cans were swollen & burst from botulism, vegetables were rotten & filed with fruit flies, just a huge disaster. Way creepier when you remember that the power is out, so the whole thing is pitch black. "Oh! I turn on night vision on my camera!" I thought it was brilliant, Radarless thought I was a dork for not thinking of it earlier. Not my fault! In real life I'm not a camera guy, & Radarless is, so of course he thought of it before I did. None of us lost our lunch going in; we're made of stern stuff, this group. Composures from OOO to OOOOO all around. We started ransacking it for non-perishables. The shift manager was still in the place-- as a zombie-- & Mister Wrench took care of him nicely. Oh but that was the least of our troubles; Susie spotted the zombie SWAT cops (ZWAT?) coming in, & then the wall was a mass of red dots. Great! Laser sights & machine guns! The "TINK, Tink, tink..." sound? That was the tear gas! Even better. Carl knows loading docks, so he was using the manual release to open the back gate, with Susie & Salim's help. Benji? You better believe he stuck around to get film footage of those smart zombie cops coming through the tear gas. Then he bolted; he's not suicidal. We got out & bolted from the place, fighting off a few regular, dumb zombies & dumping bleach behind us &...it worked? Thanks largely to Tracey rolling like, seven successes on her perception check, & seeing those undead SWAT guys before they could sneak up on us.
The police were as good as their word. We gave them the supplies & they loaded us into the helicopter. There was some moral pains as we left the rest of the refugees; Salim wanted to take the kids, but they wouldn't leave their parents & what...they should come with us on our weird fairytale mission of "escape"? Benji...well, Benji figures they are doomed, but he wants aerial footage. Even if they die, maybe someone will find the footage afterward, he figures. Up they go, & down they come; in the chopper it is just a quick pop up & over to the Hudson. Finding a boat isn't that hard, nor is making sure it is all fixed up; we've got those skill sets. What we lack is...any nautical expertise whatsoever. Salim can sort of fly a plane. We made him watch the 'copter pilot, in case we ever get a shot at that. Not that it would really help. Benji is a good driver, but...this isn't a car. Well, we set off under diesel power; the engine & the steering wheel are sensible, but the sails are a mystery. We read the manuals, Susie & Benji, & sort of get something rigged up-- Susie read about it in Fifty Shades of Gray-- but we know we're not really doing it right. As long as we go north, though, we're sitting pretty. North! They say the rot isn't as bad that way. So off we set, up the Hudson. Until...well, until we are attacked by...a demonic undead great white shark. Great! Just great. It Jaws the boat, smashing into the keel. Salim is thrown overboard, but is saved by the leash tied to his waist; his dog Poe is thrown into the rail with a yelp, but Salim is able to climb back on board. I start steering the boat to the west bank, as it hits again, & Susie gets knocked in! Radarless shows her a picture of the shark...& it freaks Tracey out. Radarless asked about all of our fears when he started the campaign, to put them in to scare us-- I don't know how sphinxes will work, but that is mine-- but Tracey is full on phobia about sharks. Talking about them was okay, but the picture was too much. That is alright, we're nearing the end anyhow; Carl gets Susie with the gaffe before anything happens to her & we ground the boat in the shallows & get off it safely. & we head north again, along the Amtrack rails...