Sunday, April 17, 2016

Journey of Jack, Day Three (Apocalyptia Solo Playthrough)

And here's the last entry for Jack. The Apocalyptia guide recommends dividing the day into quarters and assigning shifts. For a solo character (and I'm still kind of unclear how comrades work... I think it's more a GM thing) I still try to maintain that as it allows me to plan a day and then roll for what happens. I did try going hour by hour one time, rolling a d6 for encounters and adding a modifier for every hour an encounter didn't take place. It was interesting, but, again, as someone who focuses more on storytelling and less on the rolling it was essentially asking for extreme circumstances that I wasn't ready for. It might work better with a more developed character or something but a lone fresh PC can't handle a lot of what's out there in the Wasteland.

Sometimes even a submachine gun and buddy aren't enough to help, as you'll discover in this entry. I've run mini-games using this system upwards of a dozen times and despite that there's no statistical reason for it to have happened, I always end up running into Cannibals before long. During Jack's third day (below), he was given a partner and told to clear the building. I was really turned off when his partner was basically felled in one hit. I felt... disappointed? cheap? ineffectual? So that's why I'm on the fence about continuing with Jack or starting anew - he obviously has some good character development potential (including a clear Vendetta against the Cannibal faction) but... meh. I lose interest easily. Take a read:


Well, the goal for today was simple - head into town, forage for whatever food we could find and try to score something to store water in so we don’t have to make daily trips out to the creek. Things were hampered a bit when we awoke to some rather foreboding weather - a dust storm was coming in from the West. It hit just about just about daybreak, which made visibility almost nil outside for several hours. We didn’t get into town until after lunch as a result. Addie didn’t much like the idea of checking inside the school either, so we were told to just take our time, be safe, and check the other buildings in the area. We parked at the post office again since it was so central and fanned out from there in two-person teams. I was paired with Angela this time - Angie for short. She’s younger than me by a couple winters for sure but I wouldn’t want to be on her bad side. Oh, she’s cheerful enough, all things considered, but something tells me Angie’s worse than Amie if you get her riled up. Something about the way she cusses out the walkers even when there’s none around. More about Angie in a minute.

Everything was covered in a thin layer of dust - less thin in some places. To be honest, it sort of reminded me of Fall back home. A couple inches of snow that lasts the afternoon and melts before supper. We worked our way through the houses one by one. And then… I don’t know exactly what happened. We were in this basement, covering ourselves as best we could, and then a ton of guys and gals just charge out of nowhere - they must have been waiting for us. Some came from a closet, some from behind furniture. They were everywhere. They mobbed us and one sunk his machete deep into Angie’s shoulder. She never got up. I ran. Four started tearing off Angie’s armor for some reason I don’t want to think about and the rest chased me. All but one gave up and went back. I had shouted so the others could hear me but this guy wasn’t going anywhere. He ran right up to me and I got a good hit in with my hatchet but it must’ve been a clearance item because the head fell off the next time I swung at him. Maybe it was the adrenaline, I don’t know, but I managed to dodge his swings and eventually brought him down with my knife just as Addie and the others arrived from the other buildings.

There’s this code in the Wasteland, that you help each other out if you can, or not, but no one likes the flesh-eaters. Most folks’d just shoot them on sight for what they’ve done. The look in those Amazon’s eyes when they asked about Angie… I’ve never seen it. The lot of them just broke into pairs without a word and surrounded the house. Once it was secure, they broke in windows and, well, I can guess what happened next. There was screaming, from the rednecks, and the quiet sound of MP5’s working for about ten minutes. They all came out carrying what was left of Angie - which was somewhat less than when I had seen her last, her armor all torn off and stained - and rigged up something to carry her back to the house. Alissa tossed me the keys to Angie’s bike and I followed them back at a respectful distance.


I stayed out in the driveway while the others shared the news and buried the body. You could see the smoke from the house from the porch. It wasn’t a good night for anyone. No one talked with me but I understood - I wasn’t one of them. I gathered my things and prepared to leave in the morning. Addie did knock on my door to say they were leaving too, heading to another outpost in the South. She gave me Angie’s ice axe and flashlight and an extra water bottle and wished me luck. They were already gone when I woke up.

It's always tough to emulate an encounter with multiple enemies fairly. I definitely care more about my PC than an NPC (usually) but I don't want the enemies to be biased. I basically just went with an odds/evens roll to see who they'd go after. It worked out alright for Jack and I even started a fourth day but I'm thinking that if I pick up his story I'll re-write to go back into town and look for clues as to where the Cannibals might have come from. Really work that vendetta angle. We'll see. There's also the scenarios, which are interesting and can drastically change the atmosphere of a game, except I'm a little unclear how the special encounters work. Are they the only encounters you ever have or...? We'll see. Bonus content for today is the malware I seem to have picked up working with some drivers, so it may be a few days before I get another post up (or several months as usual, haha).

With Brightest of (the ice ax is an amazing weapon to have though, it's like the setting equivalent of a lightsaber) Greens,

BW

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Journey of Jack, Day Two (Apocalyptia Solo Playthrough)

Here we are, months later, and I'm only now getting around to posting the second day for Jack. I did three days in total and sort of lost the interest on the fourth day (I'll explain why when we get to it) but I was considering using the Undead Rising scenario to re-boot things and just figured I'd at least post what remained for Jack. I like using Google Maps along with Apocalyptia to track the actual distances traveled. You can mark things like places of interest or where events occured, as well as get inspiration (there's an airport nearby maybe, or a forest, etc.) from the actual satellite images. I really enjoy that sense of immersion and the challenge of keeping the story grounded in actual locations. Here's what happened to Jack after waking up the next day and, like last time, I'm not bothering to include my rolling - though I did use that Mythic GME variation I've mentioned before (Morning Coffee Solo Variations) a bit.

Last night was… restful. Got to know some of the other ladies in the squad. Their names all start with the letter “A” and I’m not sure if that’s just an amazing coincidence or something the Amazons do. Who knows what factions do for initiation? Addie took some of us into town to grab parts for water filters. There’s a creek nearby but nobody wants to end up a mutant so we need some kind of system to purify the water. They say they’ve done it before and showed me the parts we need. I can’t imagine the water will actually taste good but I suppose at least it won’t be a bacteria slushie. We saddled up - Addie, myself, Alissa, Anna, and Angela. The rest stayed at the house. They got some action when a few walkers showed up but we didn’t even get that. Some wild dogs took a run at us before Anna chased them away with some rocks and shouting. Again, the noise piece bothers me. Every time someone revs and engine or fires off a shot, or screams at a wild dog, I just imagine dozens of ears honing in on our location. It’s why I try to stay on the run.

So all in all, we were able to grab enough filters and piping to set up one of those gravity filtration things. They have to be changed every few weeks, according to Addie, so it’s only a temporary set up, but it’ll work for now. I can’t say I helped much - I held some of the piping while a couple ladies assembled all the important parts. It took a while and I think everyone was on edge because of the attack on the house but we finally finished just after sundown. We celebrated with some of the worst water I’ve had in years. Next thing on the list is food. There’s a school in town and those usually have something - vending machines, canned slop in the cafeterias, stuff like that - but no one I’ve ever met gets excited to go inside. The walkers were clearly just children and only raiders enjoy battling them. We’ll see what Addie has in mind.


Looking back, I can see where I was already grasping for a cohesive plot thread. There's also more focus on Factions and Settlements in the 1st Edition, and I hope to explore that more. Whether that will be with Jack or a new story altogether, I don't know.

With Brightest of (Bacteria Slushie) Greens,

BW

P.S. Yeah, I dunno why it didn't format the same as below. Probably Zombie Hackers.