Yellow Dawn Game 1

First Yellow Dawn adventure.

Part One

The game itself played out as follows:

The principle characters were based on those in the original scenario. Not all of them had names, so I'll give you their 'professions'. First up we had the Biker turned Survalist Guru, who maintained a small commune/compound at the southern tip of the settlement, defending it against zombies with his small but growing Church of Redemption. Second we had the town's Farmer, provider of most of the town's food. Next we had the Blacksmith, who also believed in the Norse gods, and regularly read the runes to predict how the day's event would fair. We had a Policeman, who had salvaged plenty of riot gear, though he more frequently employed a baseball bat with a nail through it. Finally there was a character who'd been just six years old when the Yellow Dawn occurred, and was now a teenaged scavenger, or Freerunner, acustomed to nipping into Chester across roof tops and walk-ways, to get needed supplies.

Non-player characters included the ex-charity worker turned Priest (of the All Christian Church), the Town Mayor (an old headmaster), the Doctor (who used to be a vet), two brothers who were Traders, the lady who ran the stables, and various unnamed characters.

The game began with one of the traders running into the local pub, where the characters had 'congregated' to alert them that the Mayor, returning to town from the hospital, had been attacked, his throat ripped out by a "rabid wolf". The character ran to the scene of the attack, where the mayor's (inept) body guards were in a state. the Biker suggested cutting the mayor's head off, in case the wolf had been a zombie wolf, and that his remains be taken to his compound prior to arranging a burial. The farmer's dogs picked up the trail of the wolf, and the characters followed the trail to the nearby zoo.

It was a dark night, and the zoo was unlit, though the gates appeared to have been ripped open at some stage, hanging at an angle. Some of the characters ventured in, the Freerunner climbing atop a ticket-booth, but unable to see much within the darkness. The Policeman tossed a flaming torch into a cage in order to see if there was anything alive inside, though there seemed only to be the carcass of a deer. After much consideration, and the realisation that the dogs were being a bit freaked out by the various scents in the zoo, the characters retired to the town, to get some rest and plan for the next day.

Part Two

The following day the Blacksmith examined the runes. They suggested a day that would be on the whole negative, but that they would learn something to their advantsge. Along with the Farmer he then arranged some meat, spiked (literally) so as to cause anything biting into the meat a great deal of pain. Whilst this was prepared, much of the town were still in shock about the mayor's death, with the Priest and Doctor being most vocal about finding some replacement in order to keep matters back in the town under control. The Policeman sepped in and suggested the Doctor take on the responsibility until the whole wolf situation had been resolved.

The characters returned to the zoo in daylight. Using a map, they made their way to the Wolf's Enclosure, seeing nothing still alive, the carcasses of the elephants now just giant skeletons, lying where they had starved, unable to climb out of their enclosure. Planting meat along the way, the players found the wolf's enclosure deserted, and the attached shed containing a carcass and a lot of insects.

At a loss for a moment, further searches revealled most of the supplies missing from the zoo's offices. The characters burnt down the nocturama (full of insects, snakes and bats) in order to see if it was serving as the hiding place for anything. It wasn't. They also caught sight of a monkey watching them for a tree, but it seemed too scared of them to get any closer.

One of the Blacksmith's clients, a courier whose horse he had shoed, came to the zoo, calling them back to the town, where there had been further deaths. Whilst the men had been discussing matters of importance in the pub, and the woman and children had been in the church, a couple of girls had been playing in the churchyard when they were attacked and savaged by the wolf.

The characters returned to try to restore some sort of order. The Biker suggested they hold some sort of Christian burial for the mayor and children, and had a go at the Doctor for not being particularly good as the temporary leader. As preparations for the burial began, the Blacksmith attempted to work out whether there were any ghosts or demons lingering nearby (there weren't, at least none that he could detect). Following this he attempted to consult the runes again. On a roll of 01 he had a vivid impression of a dripping red wolf in the woods immediately to the north. At the same time the Freerunner was attempting to see anything from the church spire, but it was getting dark, and he failed to do so.

As the burial service came to a close, the Farmer and Blacksmith headed out on horse-back, the Freerunner following on foot. At the end of the service the Biker followed on his little-used bike, accompanied by the Policeman.

In short, the Farmer and Blacksmith tracked down the wolf, following east through the woods alongside the cannal. As they split up and tried to surround the wolf, which seemed to be anticipating their attempts to trap it, it jumped, snapping its jaws shut over the Black-smith's knee. The Blacksmith and Farmer both managed to fire off a shotgun balst at the wolf, wounding it, but as the farmer prepared another shot he rolled 00, and his gun failed on him.

By this time, the Policeman had had an arguement with the Biker, and had headed back towards town as he heard the gun-shots. The Biker had caught up with the Freerunner, and was giving him the spiel about his Church of Redemption, in which the Freerunner seemed to be interested in. However, as they snuck along, the Biker failed a Luck roll. Already sneaking through the woodland he was swallowed up by the darkness completely.

With one player wounded by the wolf, another struggling with his gun, a third now 'missing' and a fourth returning to town, there was just the Freerunner, who was running in the direction of the wolf. The wolf, by coincidence, was running back his way, away from the shotguns. The Blacksmith, struggling with his own gun and a wounded knee-cap, rolled to shoot the wolf once more. He rolled a 99, stumbling, falling, the blast carried above and beyond the wolf, catching the Freerunner in the throat.

The cliff-hanger in place, no-one quite knows what's going on. Is it a zombie-wolf? Is it a werewolf? Are there more than one wolf? One one player had been tipped off in advance, with a secret agenda and, well, he's not telling, not yet.

To be continued… (hopefully with a revelation of what evil is afoot)

Part Three

The story continues!

The Freerunner fallen to the floor, blood spraying from his neck, and the Policeman returning to the town, it was lucky that their players weren't present, and we didn't have to create any new characters. As the Freerunner bled to death in the dark forest, the Blacksmith attempted first aid on him, whilst the Farmer pursued the wolf with his shotgun raised. Taking a shot he brought the wolf to a halt, and closed in to finish the job, with the Blacksmith, resigned to the fact that his first aid wasn't working, foloowed.

With the Farmer and Blacksmith running towards the slumped form of the wolf, the Biker pulled himself out of the shadowy undergrowth, his arm nibbled by something, his jacket splattered with a green ichor. His first action was to attend to the still breathing Freerunner, but his attempts to save him also failed to do any good. He headed towards the other two townsfolk, who had blasted away and poked at the wolf until they were sure it was dead. Really dead.

After a brief discussion of events, with the Biker distrustful of the Blacksmith that had shot the Freerunner, and the Blacksmith distrustful of the nibbled and ichor-splattered Biker, they decided to head back to the Freerunner's body and the spot where the Biker had been dragged into the undergrowth by something unseen.

The Freerunner's body still lay there, pretty much dead by now (note to self - should have made the body 'disappear'). Parting the branches of the bushes and shorter trees, the three headed into the undergrowth, spreading wide in order to circle anything that might be there. The Farmer's dogs were starting to go a little crazy and the stench of an open grave was starting to well up. As the townsfolk headed deeper in, not successfully noticing the large tracks before them, I asked for Luck Rolls, and with the Biker's usual luck he found that he couldn't quite see through the trees, a particularly large one blocking the route ahead, a thick black silhoetted column disappearing into the branches of the trees above.

The dogs were going really crazy by now, though the Farmer couldn't see what was going on. Not for long. The Biker took a shot at the strange form, illuminating a tall dark figure, tree-like but with bark that looked too smooth and ridged, and with a number of snapping mouths, glistening with green saliva. Everyone's Sanity held, then everyone took shots at the creature. The creature began to move, its top 'branches' writhing just out of sight. And then it charged.

It hit the Biker, knocking him over, spinning him around and shattering his right hand with the initial impact. Then, looking around, it looked for another victim, and chased the Farmer towards the canal. By now, his dogs had long gone. The Blacksmith took shots at the creature as it ran past him, in pursuit of the Farmer, hitting its strange hoof-like legs as it crashed through the undergrowth, causing it to fall. As it fell, the tentacles that topped its body became aparrent, as it wrapped them around trees for support. Standing at an angle, it attempted to right itself up. Before it could do so, the Blacksmith decided to get in close and personal and do some real damage.

The Biker had been creeping up on the Blacksmith and tree-creature as he attempted to load and fire his shotgun. The Blacksmith turned in response to the two shots, already distrustful of the Biker. The first shot blasted a hole in the ground by the Biker's feet (on a '99' perhaps it should've been a bit more destructive), and the second shot cleared some leaves from some nearby trees. The Blacksmith made accusations, the Biker denied them. The tree-monster was shortly dispatched, and its body burnt.

Returning to town, with the bad news about the Freerunner, the Biker and Blacksmith were locked away for a while, each levelling accusations at each other and bearing wounds that might easily be contaminated, and displaying some suspicious behaviour. The farmer then went to his farm, to make sure his dogs had arrived safely, which they had, but with all the gun-fire in the nearby forest, zombies began to stray towards the town. Defending the farm for a while, they heard the church bell ring out a warning ('they' being the Farmer and a couple of 'extras' played by the players of the now-detained Biker and Blacksmith). They took pot shots at zombies from the roof of the farm-house, then returned to the church, to help out.

Because we were running short on time, I allowed a 'cunning plan' to save the day and wrap up the adventure. The farmer, acting as bait (and in the style of the Pied Piper), shouted at the zombies to draw their attention, then lead them towards the nearby canal, where, followed by armed townsfolk with shotguns, they were able to maneuver the zombies into the water, and shoot them whilst they struggled to climb the canal banks. It was all very quickly wrapped up, which is a bit of a shame - presumably there were some casualties as a result of this plan, not to mention the effects of zombie corpse blood flowing down-canal, but we can maybe look at that later.

In retrospect, I should've read over the adventure a bit more - the tree-creature described had a SIZ rating which made it smaller than I'd previously expected, and I didn't make it as resistant to shotguns as it should've been. This means the players got lucky this time. Unfortunately, they've used up a lot of shotgun ammo to maintain this level of luck.

Looking forward, I'd like to create some new characters for the next game. Being a planned 'one shot' some of the characters were too strong, and didn't really adhere to character-creating guidelines. That said, I'm happy for the players to dictate how their original characters shape the town. The Farmer, elected mayor in the wake of his successful plan to get rid of the zombies, elected to clear the canal side of trees, should anything else be lurking there (or arrive later). The Biker, as always, will be left to guard the southern perimeter of town, with some new recruits but a few more rumours in the town about secret agendas he might have, or whether his brush with the demonic tree-monster has infected him somehow. Similar rumours have sprung up about the Blacksmith with his wolf-wound (though both Biker and Blacksmith seem completely healed aof their wounds a month or so later). The Blacksmith spends much of his time now working on salvaging and creating weapons on the back of short supplies of shot for the shotgun.

As a footnote-note, the Policeman is working as a guard and sometimes advisor to the Farmer, with good advise ocassionally thrown in by the NPC Priest and Doctor.

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