Tuesday, January 15, 2013

2021: Day 1, Fionn


Fionn's usual morning routine, in preparing to go to work, was interrupted by the constant wailing of sirens, starting around 6:00 am. Losing that last, vital, hour of sleep makes for a day of crankiness, but his drowsy feeling is quickly swept away by the emergency broadcast on the television.

The weather report is very important on a foggy day, but this morning it was being interrupted by "breaking news." A cameraman, likely in a news chopper, was streaming live what looked to be a riot in Los Angeles. As Fionn was about to jump into the shower, the local news anchors, visible in the upper right corner of the video feed, gasped and one nearly screamed, as several of the rioters grabbed someone and began to bite them. These weren't small bites, no, the camera was zoomed in well enough to see great chunks of flesh being torn out of the hapless victim.

The news report quickly cut away to commercial...

The hair rose on the back of Fionn's neck and he picked up the phone from the counter, but there was no dial tone. Something was very wrong. He hurriedly got dressed.

Fionn now wished he had gone grocery shopping the night before, as his refrigerator and cupboards were nearly bare. Apart from the canned yams left over from Thanksgiving and a package of stale crackers.

As he did all of his banking online, including his bill payments, Fionn rarely kept any cash around the apartment. While there was loose change in the ashtray of his car, it wasn't nearly enough to cover his immediate needs, namely food.

"Dads!" Was his next thought. He knew that if he could get to his father's, about an hour's drive north, he wouldn't have to worry about food. He quickly threw some extra clothes into his gym bag, which still had his now dirty gym clothes inside (should have washed those the night before, too), picked up his car keys, and headed for the door.

Just has Fionn reached the apartment door, he stopped, turned around, and walked into his bedroom to grab the katana leaning against the wall in the corner. He had always appreciated this gift from his father, but had only "used" it in practice sessions and against the errant melon, now and then. It might come in handy after all. With this weapon in hand, Fionn headed out to his car.

The television was still on when the door closed...

 The nearest ATM machine was just around the block, and the on-ramp to the freeway was one street up from that. If all went well, he'd be on and off the road within the hour.


Fionn noticed that the traffic was heavier than usual for this time of the morning. Well, it was normally bad, but the lane leading to the freeway on-ramp was backed up all the way to the light adjacent to the ATM machine's location. Not a good sign, but as he glanced over at the machine across the street, he saw only a few people in line. Now, if the light would turn green soon enough.

Just as that thought crossed his mind, the cars in front of him started moving, even while the light was red. Ah, yes, people in his turn lane were crossing over, in front of the other lanes, attempting to cut into the line of cars waiting to get onto the freeway. Fionn had enough space to squeeze behind the car right in front of him, and made a u-turn, then a quick right turn into the parking lot.

As he brought the car to a stop and turned off the engine, he noticed the people in line start to run from the bank towards him. Apparently, something on the television inside the convenience store, outside which the ATM machine stood, had caused them to make a beeline for their cars.

Needing cash, badly, Fionn quickly headed to the ATM machine, which brought him directly into the path of the three panicked people.

Turn 1)
Player 2, Opponents 4

Fionn starts walking towards the cash machine..

Turn 2)
Player 4, Opponents 3

The panicked individuals continue to approach Fionn, one of them, a woman, fishes for keys in her purse.  But the first one, a large, heavyset man, attempts to knock Fionn down.

Fionn dodges back, swinging his sword up from right to left, in an instinctively defensive act. The still sheathed sword scrapes across the man's chest and smacks him in the jaw, knocking him out. (6,6,6,5,3,2) vs (6,3) A few teeth, or fragments of them, fly out of the man's mouth as he hits the ground, hard.

Turn 6)
Player 2, Opponents 4

Fionn angrily unsheathes his sword, and decides to finish off the man who attacked him; dead men cannot sue for damages.

Turn 8)
Player 4, Opponents 3

The woman, whose hair is all kinds of scary, swings her purse at Fionn, who ducks and thrusts his sword out at her, to push her away and give himself room. However, the sword is far too sharp to be used as a prod and, instead, slices through the woman; the tip exiting her back. (6,6,5,2,2,1) vs (3,1) Fionn withdraws the sword just in time to parry the briefcase of the third person, a guy dressed in an expensive suit. He then slams the pommel into the side of the expensive suit's head, whose eyes roll up as he falls stunned. (6,6,6,1,1,1) vs (6,2)

Turn 9)
Player 2, Opponents 3

Expensive suit guy starts to get up, but Fionn is in no mood to suffer fools, and stabs the guy through the neck...delivering a fatal wound.

Looking around, and seeing none to stop him, Fionn rushes towards the cash machine.

Turn 10-11)

Fionn quickly slides his little used ATM card into the machine and, with an impatience born from emergency, pushes all the correct buttons in response to the automated questions.

Cash withdrawn, Fionn races back to his car, not even looking at the three bodies laying on the pavement. With a quick glance around, hoping no one was paying attention to the happenings in the parking lot, Fionn pulls back onto the street, heading for the frontage road. A road that was empty, but which also eventually lead to a freeway on-ramp.


Time was not on Fionn's side, this morning, neither was the weather. In his part of the valley, fog was always a problem in the Winter and Spring months. Today, it was especially bad. He had gotten onto the freeway easily enough, after bypassing all those who hadn't thought of the frontage road, but he did not account for people too stupid to drive in the fog.

He was stopped on the freeway, and all he could see were breaklights, in the few yards of road that the fog allowed him to see.


The radio was not much consolation during the wait in traffic. Every station, of those few that were transmitting, played the same emergency broadcast message over and over. The blaring of the warning siren gave Fionn a headache, so he turned the radio off.

A small opening appeared between cars on front of him, and Fionn took it, only to wish he hadn't, as the car now directly in front of him had just been shut off and the driver was getting out. Some days, it just pays to sit in the longer lines...


The barely visible highway sign indicated that he had another 19 miles to go. From that point, it was another 11 miles to his dad's. There was not going to be enough time to stop anywhere else before dusk, not at the rate that the traffic was flowing.


6 miles to the exit. At least the fog had mostly burned off.


One more interchange to go. The moronic engineers who designed this particular intersection of three major traffic arteries in the largest city in the valley should be shot, stabbed, drowned, burned at the stake, shot again, and buried alive. One small accident at a crucial spot, causes traffic to back up on three freeways. And, of course, this is not a day of small accidents.


Fionn turns onto the street leading to his dad's house. The streets on this side of town have been eerily empty, probably due to the effectiveness of the local PD who had set up roadblocks throughout the town; he had been able to see those from the freeway leading into town. Luckily, they had not thought to block off the freeway exits.

Fionn feels utterly exhausted as he pulls into his father's driveway, three other cars already occupying it. He recognizes the cars as belonging to members of his family, "At least we're all here," he thinks, as his father and brothers walk out to greet him.

Lewts: 3 luxury

Notes: Fionn rolled a Rep 4 character for the campaign, but with the parameters of the Day 1 scenario, his Rep was reduced to 3 for the one time. I skipped a few turns of the report because neither side activated for several turns. Also, I had taken a few more photos, but they came out too blurry.

Fionn had really bad luck with his travel rolls. I had asked him and his brothers to each secretly write down the first three locations (with potential to make it to five locations) they wanted to reach, before heading to "dad's" and while everyone else was delayed, Fionn made it to the ATM without delay. THEN, he failed to pass any dice for the rest of his travel rolls, delaying him for up to 6 more locations. Since the objective was to reach "dad's" by nightfall, his only option was to keep driving.

Where he and his two younger brothers live, the fog is notoriously bad. In fact, a relative was killed on the major freeway linking his town with mine, about 25 years ago, in a rather large traffic accident which was a result of fog, and idiots driving too fast for conditions.

The rest of the campaign will not be as full of narrative as these Day 1 reports, but I do want to set the tone for the campaign with the starting scenario. I think the narrative helps link all of the players together, with their characters, into the family group we are and are playing as.

There are two more reports for the final two sons, but I may combine those into one. And then we have a series of reports for the large scenario we were able to play.

I do appreciate any an all comments. I am also open to suggestions as far as game play, items, or whatnot, as this is actually my first experience in playing a "zombie" game. I find the ATZ: FFO rules to be exactly what I would want in a game for my sons and I, and I recommend them to anyone interested in the setting.


  1. These are really great, you have some blood thirsty kids there!

  2. Ok, let's see. The young man deliberately killed 3 frightened civilians because he was having a bad day? Have I understood this correctly? I'm glad I don't live in his neighbourhood!

    1. No, everything went his way until after the action at the cash machine location resolved. The ATZ Day 1 scenario puts "crazed civilians" in the way of the players, which attack the player much like the zombies do. Fionn would have had to go weaponless for the combat to be bloodless, but that would have cost him dice and increased his chances of failing the scenario completely.

  3. Desperate times calls for desperate measures.

    1. In the zombie post-apocalypse, one's list of of trustworthy friends is short.

  4. I'm glad to see the buildings and trees made it to you in one piece. Great narrative, please try to keep it up.

    1. Did you not receive my email about it? Yes, they arrived, to much appreciation and gratitude!