At Adepticon this year, I ran the first 2 scenarios of our Walking Dead All Out War narrative campaign. I ran scenario 1 on Friday, and scenario 2 on Saturday. We had a full group of 6 players, including a number of players attending both games. I tried some new things with the group this time... I had them each choose a mini to use, and then had them vote on a group leader. The group leader was always first in initiative, and was expected to help drive the cooperative feel. Players were then provided precreated characters. At the end of each game, the group voted on the game's MVP, defined as the player who acted the most in service of the group. That player won a nice prize.
I have run many games and many conventions, and I felt like this was the most successful experience I have ever had as a GM. The group of strangers developed a remarkable level of cooperation over the course of the first game, and really worked to keep each other surviving through the 2nd game.
I also provided each player with the club email address, and asked them to send me their thoughts for the blog if they felt like it. I received one response so far, and am hoping for more. What follows is a narrative tale written by player Jason Ropp, from the point of view of his character, Biff Miller:
"Worth a Damn"
A Walking Dead all out war game report story.
Biff and Peggy:
Biff. His real name is Gifford Miller. A longtime alcoholic with a tendency to swear too much. Worked as a mechanic for his brother Butch until he puked into the engine of a '67 Chevy after a long night of binge drinking. His brother fired him on the spot and Biff responded with a left hook that made his knuckles sore for a week.
Biff moved in with his girlfriend Peggy. She wasn't much to look at but she could cook and had plenty of beer and drugs. She had gotten a lot of money from a settlement she got from a car crash that was mostly her fault, but they couldn't prove it. Blew most of the money up her nose and on shoes that didn't quite fit her.
One night Biff and his girl went out to shag on the top of a parking garage in downtown Chicago. Peggy's sister had also just moved in with her four kids after they had been evicted just yesterday. They needed privacy and the garage structure was kinda romantic in a slummy sort of way. After way to much blow and drinking like there was no tomorrow, Peggy passed out and Biff went to the side of the parking structure to pee off the ledge. He looked up at the sky and stroked his fiery orange beard, not knowing that there would be no tomorrow. At least not like any he had known before. Closed his eyes dizzy from all the substances in his system and then felt his body thud on the pavement.
Biff's eyes snapped open from the sound of a large explosion. He couldn't tell if his head hurt from the hangover or the concrete he was sleeping on. The sound of chaos was everywhere in the city. "What the fu..." he started to speak but then he saw Peggy standing against the guard rail. She looked like she was trying to walk forward like a video game character does when they ignore the fact that a wall was in there way.
"Bitch what do you think your doing?" He said. But then she turned to face him. White foam was pouring out of her mouth, her skin grey and blue. Her eyes had glazed over. "Damn, honey! Your gonna OD!" Biff was frightened. Had not felt that way since he was a kid when the neighbors dog almost bit him.
"Are you ok?" He shouted and all she did was hiss and gurgle. Biff ran up to his dented pickup truck to grab his bag. Peggy's corpse showed it's teeth and lunged for him. He blocked with his arm and her teeth went in deep. "AHH! YOU FUCKING BITCH! WHAT THE FUCK!"
He tore his arm away and ran for the elevator. She stood there chewing on a piece of his flash. He knew now she was no longer human. Smashing the elevator button he rushed to the bottom floor. As he got out he looked in the closest dumpster to find something to stop the bleeding. He found some old used syringes and a dirty rag. Quickly he strapped the wound and looked for help.
More walkers starting appearing in the streets. Two other men were bashing their heads in and shooting small arms fire. One ran out of ammo and the other tossed Biff a metal pipe. "Use this" he said. Biff knew now that the city must be over run and these walking dead were out to kill. Peggy fell from the top floor of the parking structure, only to peel her bloody body off the concrete to stand back up. "Oh fuck me!" He said as they ran the other direction.
As he and the other two survivors ran the searched and fought through the streets trying to find anything of use. An old cloak, more medications, anything. The world had ended but these last few had not. Biff had to smash a couple of these undead freaks with his boot after knocking them down. He looked back at Peggy's grotesquely mangled form, but it was lost in a crowd of more dead coming toward them.
"Head for the subway!" A new face shouted. But Biff was feeling a bit woozy. Taking the needle he found in the trash, he jammed it into his arm. The Drop or two left gave him a little boost. The black infection in his bite was starting to spread. One of the other survivors handed him some more meds as they ran.
Biff found a gun on the floor of an old car he searched on his way to the subway. As they approached the subway even more undead came out of nowhere. "Are these things coming out of thin air??" He raised his pistol to fire and missed one. Just then a guy jumped over some broken down cars killing zombies with a 2x4. "Get out of here! I got this!"
"Don't need to tell me twice!" Buff exclaimed to himself as he ran into the subway station with all the other survivors. They had escaped the city, but what was next?
The last day.
The night was hard. It sucked. The black spread was so bad his hand could no longer move. The tendons in his arm felt like some sort of shitty beef jerky left out too long. The arm had to go. It hurt bad but luckily a woman in the group knew enough to at least stop the bleeding once the arm was removed. "Damn I could have used a drink." He thought. But they didn't have any alcohol, even though it would have taken a case of whisky to dull the pain. Biff was a big boy and had built up a pretty good tolerance.
They checked their gear the next morning. A couple of guns. Low ammo. A few heavy objects they could swing at things. They had a Molotov cocktail ready for use. Too bad it wasn't vodka or something stiffer.
They all had very vague ideas of what happened. Conspiracies? Aliens? Biblical implications? All Biff knew was that even though he lost an arm. He was more important than these bozos. They thought they had what it took to survive. The self proclaimed leader thought he could handle anything. All Biff knew was that the world went to shit and they stepped in it. He didn't even try to remember their names. They would not last another day.
So they started a journey through the tunnels avoiding the walking dead. They came out and followed some more tracks into the fog of the new morning. You could not see more then six feet in front of you. The sound of zombies loomed in the distance. A high fence separated "us" from "them".
A few walkers would bump into the fence as the party made noise on the gravel surrounding the tracks.
The "fearless" leader ran forward. Biff kept up. The other guy was a jackass but at least he was better fighting than the rest if the bunch. If he and Biff could stay together maybe they had a chance.
One of their party made the mistake of looking through the fence at one of the walkers. He shrieked and ran away in the opposite direction. The girl and one of the other men ran after him. "Fucking idiot! Where the hell do you think your going?" Biff and leader boy had no time for that shit. "Fuck him!" Let the bastards die out there.
Suddenly they notice a train ahead and the sound of someone working on it. The sound of Zombies were Everywhere. "Help me!" A female voice shouted. What was left of their group ran up to see who it was. Some lady was there trying to replace a broken piece of the train's engine. Biff didn't know much about trains and was no good without his other hand. They noticed the fence was about to break. The only thing separating them and an endless hoard from the city.
"Defend the mechanic!" The leader shouted and Biff ran up to stop some zombies that just broke through part of the fence. One of the other guys ran up to help the repairs while the girl came running in from the side. "What happened to the other two?" Said the leader. "I don't know! They hopped over the fence." She said. "We'll never see them again. Fuck 'em." Biff said as he pushed back one of the monsters.
Another part of the fence broke. More started getting in. "Biff take this side!" The leader shouted as he ran to the other side of the control house. After killing a few more of the creatures, the whole fence fell. The fog had started to lift revealing millions of the monsters. "Fucking shit!" They all backed up to protect the mechanic. Biff kicked back one of the walkers but another chomped his leg as it fell. The black infection reacted quickly. There were too many of them.
"Give me your gun!" Yelled the leader and handed Biff the 2x4. In the real world Biff would never make the exchange, but he had already made a decision. He was a big guy and could hold the hoard back all by himself for a few seconds longer.
The mechanic had just got the huge relic to start and only needed a few seconds to spare.
Biff knew that his life was doomed now. He was an asshole. A proud asshole. But these people didn't deserve to die today. The least he could do was give them a fighting chance. "Put that Molotov bottle in my pocket!" Biff shouted back as he tossed his pack of junk to the leader. The leader looked confused at first but knew what was going to happen. Biff was a goner and there was no time to lose. He shoved the bottle into Biff's pocket and lit it. The train jolted forward and everyone else climbed on. Swinging the 2x4 with his good hand Biff managed to push the zombies back one last time. As the train steamed ahead crushing zombies in front of it, the hoard fell on top of Biff. The zombies began to rip out his entrails and chew through his flesh. But as they did, the survivors saw Biff' s hand raise out of the carnage holding the Molotov.
Just as the explosion engulfed the entire area, Biff's last thought flashed before his mind. "At least I finally accomplished something in my life that was worth a damn".
Join us at Adepticon 2020 to find out what happens to the remaining survivors...
Awesome! One of the best parts of this hobby is inspiring such narratives! Glad to see this system back on the table too.
The reaction to these games was very inspiring to me as GM. It was a fun group!