d-Day Minus 4
The third and final installment from our launch adventure Outbreak! takes us to the very end of the game.
Because Outbreak! follows the tropes of classic zombie films such as a Night of the Living Dead, the adventure is written with the expectation that the party will fail and all be killed. However, failure is not a problem. Outbreak! is cinemagraphic in its style and as long the game finishes with a suitable zombiesque final scene, the adventure has been success.
Part 3: Endgame
How the game ends is up to the players.
During the development of this adventure, the ‘correct end’ is where the party repairs the bus. Escape has only been achieved once in six different games. That’s not to say that anyone has been playing the game wrong. A bad dice roll here, a poor choice there can have a huge impact on the outcome.
The following chain of events is needed to achieve the planned ending:
- Someone must find the TV Remote and switch to channel 55.
- The group must find the Toolbox (Garage), Petrol Can (Bunker) and discover the boat with its diesel.
- Channel 55 must advise the characters to go to the government centres. This is mostly up to the Game Leader but if the players never return to the Front Room, they cannot be told.
- The group must survive the attack of the zombie boy scouts which starts shortly after the announcement on channel 55 or about 30 minutes before the scheduled end of the game.
- Having drained the fuel from the boat, the survivors must make their way back through the woods in complete darkness whilst being pursued by zombies. If the Saucepan (Kitchen) and the Old Paint Can (Garage) are used instead of the Petrol Can, multiple trips through the woods are needed.
- At the bus they need to repair the leak. This is easy using duct tape but takes five minutes and zombies will be coming out of the woods.
- The lucky survivors can now drive away into the sunrise.
If you get a group who achieves all of this, it’s a small miracle. At least half of the group will be killed or become infected before the house is fully explored. Those infected players will turn into zombies at inconvenient points and probably kill at least one more player character.
But it doesn’t matter whether the players manage to escape or not. The right ending for the group is one that fits the players and brings the game to a close in a suitably cinematographic manner.
During play-testing, endings have included:
- A lone survivor running into the woods.
- Hiding in the attic and surviving the night after one of the group sacrifices themselves to draw the zombies away.
- Blowing up the house with the zombies and everyone in it.
A scout jamboree was taking place in the woods when the zombie apocalypse struck. After an encounter with a infected squirrel, hundreds of boy and girl scouts have lost their interest in woggles and developed a taste for human flesh.
The arrival of the scouts heralds the beginning of the end of the adventure. Throw them at survivors about 30 minutes before the scheduled end of the game. They should also be deployed when the players have either decided to hunker down in the house or when they have explored the house fully.
If the players have turned the TV to channel 55 they should have received the news of the government shelters before the scouts arrive. Players should be given at least a chance to organise themselves for the trip to the bus before the attack.
The initial assault should be of a group of scouts equal to the number of survivors plus three. They will surround the house and enter from all directions at once. (One of the less appreciated skills of zombies is excellent cinematographic timing). Unless anyone is in the Conservatory or looking out of the front or back windows, the first warning the players get is when the zombies crash through the Conservatory, front door and front window.
Play the zombies to their maximum potential. In numbers, the Zombie Hug goes from dangerous to an outright killer. With all the exits covered even running from the zombies is problematic. Generally, any sense of party unity falls apart at this point and it reverts to everyone for themselves.
Should the players manage to survive this attack they will buy themselves a few minutes. Enough perhaps to grab the fuel can and make a run for the bus. Or perhaps to head for the attic or cellar. However the characters will be able to hear more, many more, boy scouts coming out of the wood. A second wave will strike the house and this attack won’t stop until the party is dead.
The idea for zombie scouts is to motivate the players into understanding the house is NOT safe and that they have to find a way out. It’s also a way of playing out all the tension. If there any infected players at this point, pile on the infection rolls and cards, making them change quickly because it’s dramatically appropriate.
Should characters simply flee into the woods, it is the Game Leader’s call on whether they escape or not. There are plenty of more zombies in the world they can meet but maybe it’s best to let them have their victory, ending the game at this point.
Back to the Bus
The race back to the bus should be chaotic. It is dark and the woods are full of zombies, plus one or more of the party is probably infected. If the players are lucky they are carrying a full Petrol Can and a Toolbox.
The Game Leader should decide at this point whether they want the players to finish the adventure and make their escape.
If the party are badly mauled with key people (such as Otto the bus driver) dead or vital equipment missing, then end it in the woods. A never-ending supply of boy scouts lunging out of the darkness, picking the characters off one by one has a suitably dark feel to it.
Alternatively, if one or two of the characters have a chance of escape, allow them to reach the bus reasonably unmolested for a final showdown around the bus.
Fixing the bus requires someone to crawl under the bus and spend five minutes patching the hole with the duct tape. This is not easy to do with zombies all around trying to drag the unlucky mechanic out. Then someone has to stand outside the bus and pour the fuel into the tank after it has been repaired. Finally, survivors need to get back on the bus and start it. Who had the keys and are they still alive?
The bus itself is not secure. The crash smashed many of the windows and the zombies will start to scramble through them …
The Game Leader decides how hard this last scene is. A supply of non-specific zombies sheets to use at this stage can be found at the end of this adventure. If any player character zombies are still around, allow them to turn up and harry the survivors as well. If you wish the characters to escape, only send one or two zombies. To finish the job, send hundreds to surround the bus and end the game with players trapped in or under the bus with no hope of escape.
Outbreak! and 6d6 Core will be launched on the 4th July and available from the 6d6 RPG store.