Actual Play: Shotgun Diaries

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Actual Play: Shotgun Diaries

Postby Charlie_EN » Wed Oct 28, 2009 3:18 pm

My group had their first session last Thursday. I thought I'd throw out the results here. It was good fun and way less effort than I thought it would be. For tomorrow's session I have a map of our hometown, Brighton, England. We used mainly iconic locations for the city and ran with it that way. Most of us, like all reasonable people, have zombie contingency plans. It was interesting that none of their real life ones were tried, but it all went crazy from the start.

Here's the rundown of events, starting with the group:

Ax = (Fast) Mahmoud, a taxi driver
Sh = (Clever) Ace Flight, a pilot
An = (Strong) Frank Zap, a burned-out rocker
J = (Sneaky) "Chris" a con artist
Ste = Sir not appearing in this movie

Brighton Station

All on a train, mostly disgusted with the stocky, aging roadie. The train stopped and they saw crowds charging at them from the station. A crowd of humans, then a crowd of zombies. Chris stood back in the train and shut the door, Ace kicked a zombie feasting on a person in the head and it attacked him, smashing him against the train door. The group opened the door and Frank smashed the zombie's head in. They sealed themselves inside that carriage, barely pulling an old lady to safety. As zombies pounded on the glass on that side of the train, Chris tried bandaging the bite wound on the old lady. She turned, attacking him and Frank threw her through a window. They all fled down the tracks and I spent a complication to have the train start up. They were all running along the viaduct, but when Frank rolled a fear-based success with the train, he hit the tracks so it kept going towards London Road Station and he ran down Preston Park. With the other side of the tracks blocked by a stopped train, Ace was hit and killed when Chris shoved him out of the way, and Mahmoud was nearly killed, instead being knocked out. The 11 survivors they were with became three as the train ploughed over them. When Chris got up, he saw Mahmoud staggering about, covered in blood and attacked him, thinking he was a zombie. While they agreed on what the outcome would be of this (as no zombies were involved, they weren't rolling), Ste arrived, helping my need to get Frank back to the group.

The viaduct

Sh = (Strong) Austin Criley - A simple boxer, still wearing his gloves
Ste = (Dangerous) Dan Zekel - A chav, recently broken out of juvie

Dan and Austin were running towards Frank and away from a massive horde of zombies. They ran right past Frank who reminisced about festival crowds that size, and asked if the police were after them. Dan's gun ran out and they started fleeing alongside Chris and Mahmoud. They had decided that Chris would let the NPCs attack the "zombie" first, being a coward, so Mahmoud threw them off the viaduct, thinking THEY were zombies. With that confusion over, they charged to London Road Station and failed their first search for sanctuary, The Open House pub.
Their second attempt (the pub over the bridge from there) was aided by Dan throwing a brick at a zombie, distracting the pursuing crowd. They still failed, and as Mahmoud got a fear success, he ran indoors, sealed the entrance and as Dan shouted at him, a pair of zombies burst out between the pair. Mahmoud ran upstairs to flee, but had two zombies charge/fall on him and was torn to shreds.

Duke of Yorks (and part of the fire station to the right)

The Duke of Yorks wasn't much more help. Frank was spaced out enough, but seeing the giant pair of legs sticking out of the roof entertained/weirded him out. Dan smashed the doors in and when they failed their Sanctuary check, Chris found a crowd of zombies scattered around the screen, where Night of the Living Dead's final scenes were showing. The zombies started clambering after him and he barricaded an entrance, then fled upstairs to the bar. During this time, Frank had been missing. He went to the fire station and rather than look for Sanctuary, he stole a fire truck.

Ax = (Dangerous) Jacob - An off-duty fireman.

Jacob grabbed onto the fire truck and didn't manage to warn Frank in time that honking the horn was a bad decision. Zombies flocked from all over Preston Circus, running at the cast from London Road. Chris jumped onto the top of the truck from the balcony of the cinema, Dan stopped looting cinema snacks, and Austin got into the cab first, grabbing an axe. They ploughed down London Road, finding a police frequency broadcasting an emergency message to stay calm and in their homes. The group finally made a Sanctuary roll with the Palace Pier.

Palace Pier

They swerved the truck around to block off the entrance, turned on all the power and started enjoying the rides & arcades. Dan played House of the Dead, Chris made molotovs, Jacob cooked and Frank went to Horatio's, where he slept the night. They all wrote diary entries and relaxed. The next morning, Dan woke to find a fat chavette zombie wandering the arcade. He saw the blonde extensions and the rotund figure with a powder-pink puffy jacket and just said "Mum?" then attacked her with a Guitar Hero guitar, beating her to death and running off. Realising they'd been compromised and zombies were climbing over the fire truck, they jumped onto the stairs down and fled to a boat. Pushing it made too much noise and while the group almost all got on the boat, Frank was left behind. One 'truth' written down was that like Frank, zombies didn't like water, so while they sailed off, he stood a few yards from the shore, with a massive crowd of zombies stood, watching him and waiting.

The boat's engine broke two miles from the shore, and their clever survivor was splattered by a train earlier. Luckily, inside the boat was:

An = (Clever) Lavender - Frail, emo kid

The boat belonged to his friend "Steven" who went away a little while ago and didn't come back. Despite being clever, he was of no help to that situation, scaring Dan with his overt gayness. They fixed it enough to get to the marina for fuel and found other survivors. Shooting at them.


Oscar, an NPC with a gun, wasn't too keen on letting them in their 'secured' turf. He brought up Stone and Seth, a crusty and a way too neat man in light brown courdoroy trousers. Seth took Chris to ASDA to get food. Lavender was left to roam free, being mostly harmless, so he went to the Calvin Klein store for clothes. The others siphoned fuel from a few cars and found most had been drained, and the few boats left were empty, too. Seth introduced Chris to his pet zombie, who was chained up in a fridge. Seth wanted to get Chris bit, so that he would be fresher than the other zombies who he'd f**ked. He wanted them dead, but didn't want them falling apart while he had his wicked way with them. Seth lost a fight against Chris and was shoved into the fridge with the zombie. As the group went back to their boat, Oscar was leaving in it. There was a stand-off with him and Dan, which led to Dan shooting him in the head and falling on the controls, so he swerved back towards the marina. As that happened, Stone pulled a pistol on Dan and we cut to black.

To be continued...

A few things:
* NPCs - I decided against having allied ones for this session. I assumed they would add whatever archetype they came from, but I didn't want to screw with the experiment at this point. The opposing ones were the same as complications when they acted. My problem with this was how I couldn't actively roll anything, and that might do something with the start of the next session. I was hoping the boat would go away so they were stranded on the marina, but narrative control went to the player, so I'll just suck it up.
* The Isle of Wight - Scarily the land of my birth was the only other place than France that they were thinking of sailing to. Ugh.
* Helpless characters - A few little issues. They never roll dice. So they don't roll for Sanctuary but they count as one person towards the amount of sixes needed?
* Sanctuary rolls - I made it so that if they failed and someone got a fear success, something bad would happen, like poor Mahmoud panicking and shutting himself in the zombie-filled pub. It's still not easy to get Sanctuary. They might just have got screwed with the rolls, but they went a long way across Brighton before being safe.
* Stress - The group felt it was chaotic and uncontrolled, that they were constantly on the run and constantly fighting the attrition of the zombies eternally being after them. That's the right feeling for the game. I wonder if they realise that the feelings of the characters are being pushed on the players by the rules system (fitting that Sorenson three laws of RPG design thing about the mechanics encouraging behaviours in a game).
* The Horde - Some people have wondered about how when the zombie clock goes up, it's that many zombies getting in. That doesn't seem as fun as the massive swarm of zombies breaking in, or as doom-filled. When the clock was full, I let The Horde descend, finally breaking through things and such.
* Left 4 Dead - Oh yeah, and I didn't use L4D zombie types, or getting the group infected. I hope to infect someone tomorrow night.

What will follow are the diary articles I could find from the little notepads I gave out. This is the first time I've read some of them, and unfortunately some of the dead characters are missing theirs from being torn out and thrown away before I could scavenge them.
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Re: Actual Play: Shotgun Diaries

Postby Charlie_EN » Wed Oct 28, 2009 3:42 pm


Day 1

Austin Criley
Mickey said I was ready, that I could take him in a fight. I lost. But I fucked him after, ran him over with the work van.

Hey. I'm writing in this diary so the conductor won't check if I have a ticket. If you look busy they ignore you. Not like I can't afford it, just... old habits die hard. I'm Chris, and I just conned £200,000. Yeah, I know. I'm good. No, I'm better than good. I'm an epic conman. And I got £200,000 in a briefcase to prove it.

I am Daniel Zekel. I an dangerous.
Dear Diary,
Fuck college, fuck the future, what's the point if I ain't gonna have no degree? Screw it.
I've been kicked out, so I just told em to bite me and jumped the fence, at least I was always good at high jump.

Frank Zapp
Dear Diary
I am Frank Zapp, well no I'm not at all but that's another story. I've got everything I own on my back since it didn't work out in London but I'm strong so no prob.

Jacob Smith
I've been working as a firefighter for almost ten years now. Never seen anything like what's been happening. Seen enough zombie movies to know one hit takes 'em out, I'm dangerous with an axe.

Mahmood Amajhan
I've been visiting my family living in London and am travelling home to Brighton where I work as a taxi driver. I've another day of vacation before I start my shifts.

Day 2

Austin Criley
It's all gone to shit, the donkey's gonna choke on this one. Least I've got some people to help me, I mean they're all useless, they'll be great zombie food. Zombies? Well they're dead at least. We're on the pier, on the water, they can't get us here. Things just got real!

Today was horrific. Zombies. Exist. I cannot believe it. I have seen death and destruction on an unprecidented scale. I had never seen a corpse before, but now I have seen several. And they move. I have joined a group of survivors, and have formed a friendship with Jacob. He is good at finding and preparing food.

Dear Diary. I met up with these crazy fucks, Frank, Austin, Chris (frog), Jacob and a dead dude called Mamood. That Frank can drive a fuckin' truck. We're holed up in the pier now. Beat my score on House of the Dead an' everyfin.

Frank Zapp
Gaytown's freaky wild shit. No kinky boots but an immense red bus that's groovy. French guy is sneaky but he lived so that's gotta count. I hear zombies hate water so we're safe here for a bit.

Jacob Smith
I was holed up in the fire station until a bunch of other survivors turned up. We've nicked the truck and blocked off the Pier. So far we've got Chris the Frenchie, Dan the punk kid, Frank the old guy and Austin... A boxer? Thank god zombies don't climb.

Random Player Note:
"I don't mind dying" - From the person who made it to the end of the session with the same character. I explained that's kind of tacit in this game.

A couple of these had no underlined or highlighted entry, and I couldn't find the opening entry for the late, great Ace Flight. Still, that's an insight into the players and their diaries so far.
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Re: Actual Play: Shotgun Diaries

Postby JohnWick » Wed Oct 28, 2009 6:10 pm

Awesome! Keep it up!
The Reverend John Wick, PhD, D.M., KoAL, G.M., ST, Narr., G.A.M.E.R., Master Mason
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