d-Day Minus 5
Today’s extra large extract from Outbreak! is the opening scene of the adventure. In your classic three reel movie, this happens just after the opening credits and quickly establishes the characters, their situation and their goal. In game terms, the encounter prompts the players to take a good look at their cards and think how they can be used. As almost everyone playing will be new to 6d6, this is an important part of learning to play the game.
Part 1: The Horror Begins
Before starting, ensure all the players have read their handouts, have looked through their character decks and are paying attention.
The opening scene mostly contains background and sets up what is to come, but important information (the reference to Channel 55) is contained in the text. The bus crash gives the players a first chance to use their cards and gets them thinking about what their character can or cannot do. The final scene of Part 1 places them face-to-face with a zombie and normally ends with at least one character infected.
A Last Hope
What follows is the introduction for the characters. It is recommended that you read it several times so that you can ‘get’ the three voices talking. When you have finished this section, you should be able to move to the Crash!
Read this as straight narration:
It’s been a tough few hours for the bus. Who on it has experienced the most pain? Who, in the last few hours – when the world had gone to hell and the flesh eaters had begun to rise from the dead – has suffered the worst?
Cherry didn’t think it mattered too much. They had all seen total depravity by the time they’d arrived on the bus. Her high school was a killing zone and she’d only escaped by the pure grace of God.
They weren’t the only survivors. Somehow KBFL held on and had been spouting emergency support for hours. They had barricaded the doors and continued broadcasting non-stop since the outbreak, giving advice about how to survive on your own, telling people how to do things like scavenge for food and where it’s safe to sleep.
Then, the radio had come through loud and clear as the bus climbed the hill.
In your best cheesy American radio DJ voice, Mikey McCann begins to speak:
Ladies and gentleman this is Mikey McCann here! We’ve just been in contact with the government! Yes folks, Uncle Sam still exists! In this last hour we’ve found that plans are underway to begin the saving of the country! The man I spoke to ten minutes ago, General Koby Bryce has this advice for you:
Koby Bryce is the voice of the American military and should sound like he comes from the 50s. He begins:
People of America, Please remain calm. We know that most of you have lost families and friends and for that we apologise for not acting sooner. For now we ask that you hang on to hope, goodness and the American way. Our advice to survivors is to find somewhere to hunker down, somewhere they can protect…
Then switch back to straight narration:
As he said this, the bus had reached the top of the hill and in the distance they had seen the house across the valley, nestled back into the woods, lights blazing like a beacon in the oncoming dark. The bus could easily reach it before nightfall.
Then return to Bryce’s voice, but more demanding, like a public service announcement
And if you have a television set, please turn to channel 55. That’s channel 55. It will broadcast updates from the government on the situation plus more details of the threat we face.
Finally switch back to narration:
That’s when the bus had swerved to avoid the little girl in the road and lurched on to two wheels. Suddenly the house seemed miles away. Cherry grabbed hold of Clint and screamed.
It’s suggested that you practice the speech at least once so you can get the changes correct.
The bus is crashing. It is a scene of complete anarchy. Things are flying everywhere, the bus is sailing along towards the woods on two wheels and everyone is holding on for dear life.
Outside, Mary suddenly sees a bus bearing down on her from out of the darkness and going up on two wheels as it swerves.
Most of the group will be diving for cover / protecting each other. Mary meanwhile must avoid the bus bearing down on her.
Surviving the crashing of the bus is a unique test that that requires each of the players to contribute to a group score. Each characters can play up to four cards. Be generous and allow players to use almost any cards they can justify as being useful to survive the bus crash. The purpose of the scene is to help players get to grips with the cards.
Going round the players, including Mary’s player, each character rolls their dice and takes a note of the score. The Game Leader now rolls 2d6 per player and adds them together to form an impact total. If the impact total is greater than the players’ total, one or more characters have been hurt.
The difference between the impact score and the players’ score is the total amount of damage done by the crash. This is dished out in four points chunks. Roll randomly to select a character who takes four points of damage. Repeat this process until there are no points left, even if there are only one to three points left in the final round.
The bus swerves on to two wheels and is just about to topple over when it sideswipes a tree. Glass breaks, metal tears, the engine whines but the tree bounces the bus back on to all four wheels. Otto slams on the brakes and the bus slides to a stop in a cloud of rubber smoke.
The bus has skidded half off the road and the engine has stopped. It will not restart. Many of the windows down one side are smashed and the metalwork badly dented. Any NPCs (unused characters) were sitting on that side of the bus and have been killed, impaled on branches or suffering similarly gruesome deaths.
Woodlands cover both sides of the unlit road and the sun is now setting. The house they saw from the top of the hill is out of sight but the characters can remember where they saw it. It is no more than 20 minutes walk through the woods. (This is not Mary’s house and Mary cannot remember where her house is).
As the characters take stock of their situation and decide what to do next, the Game Leader should sit back and wait for a plan of action to form. Organised players will check out the state of the bus while others may search it for weapons.
Checking the bus out isn’t difficult. Allow characters to use up to four cards to make an assessment of its condition.
|5+||Apart from broken windows and dents the bus is reasonably unharmed. The only problem is that the road is covered in diesel. There must be a major fuel leak somewhere.|
|7+||A quick check underneath the bus reveals that the fuel tank has been punctured but it would be possible to fix it. All they need is duct tape to fix the hole and some diesel to refill the tank.|
There is little equipment on the bus. Most was lost in the prisoner break-out and the escape from the city. On a successful search check there is a possibility of finding a Tyre Iron and the Bus Keys. The keys are found automatically if a character specifically remembers to take them.
A note to the Game Leader: While it is possible to ‘win’ this scenario by the party finding what they need to repair the bus and fill it with diesel, this is just one possible outcome. If the team fails to check the bus and assumes it’s gone, don’t panic.
The players will probably decide to push on to the house via the woods described in If You Go Down To The Woods Today…. They may think about it and decide to take the road a bit further and turn off, taking the shortest route possible through the woods. This is described in the Takin’ The Long Road section. Both events are similar but have some differences that reward the players for thinking up a better route.
The group might decide not to go towards the house. Given that this adventure is a one shot with prepared characters, most players should be fine with going with the genre theme and heading to the house. Dropping a few hints about the house being the only civilisation for miles around will help. Should they stubbornly persist along the road start attacking them with zombies, building up the number of zombies until one character gets infected. Then allow them to discover a house by the side of the road which most certainly isn’t the house they saw on the hill. No siree, it is a completely different house. Now turn to The House In The Woods.
Whichever route the party takes, remind the players to reorganise their pools. As they head off into the gathering darkness they will want to be alert and ready for action. The characters should place themselves into the order they plan to walk. On the road there is plenty of space to spread out but heading into the forest they may only go single file or risk becoming separated in the darkness.