9 hours ago
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Ever sit down to a movie or television show...or even a book, and after you've delved into it a bit you find out it's not at all what you initially thought? Most of those surprises aren't all that welcome. Most are utter shite.
Last night though was an exception. Our Tuesday night 4E group met with the understanding that we'd be starting up a new group of characters. If you've been following at all you'd be well aware that the previous band of dastardly do-gooders had bit the proverbial bullet in a knock down drag out fight with some...wait for it, ghouls! "Ah" you say to yourself, there's the undead reference.
But you'd be mistaken. Back to the point, we sat down around the table last night and started introducing our characters to one another. As you might imagine we started in a tavern; Staid but nearly necessary in a game of Dungeons and Dragons. Around the table we went, first the dragon born paladin, then the eladrin ranger, then me... Oops, nope.
That's right when our DM Wes, piped up and said, "The front doors crash open and a man stumbles in holding his hands to a gaping wound on his neck. Screaming at the top of his lungs, 'You've got to help me'." The doors swing shut, and then Boom! back open again. Another human comes hurtling towards the wounded citizen, knocks him to the ground and starts munching. Uh oh!
This is accompanied with screams and madness from out in the streets. What's happening? Bet you guessed by now. Yeah, zombie apocalypse. Soon we're absolutely over run w/ the rutters. They're everywhere; Coming in through the windows, the doors, everywhere. We're surrounded and are forced to make a stand.
We end up doing pretty well. Laying the initial wave of flesh eating monsters low is quickly accomplished. But that's just the beginning. Our paladin crawls out on the roof after our fight in order to recon the situation. The light of dusk reveals that the entire city seems to be over run. They walk the streets now like stately Sunday strollers...unless they see live bait, then they double time it like a drunken sailor on speed. It's pretty grotesque.
Well it's obvious, we can't stay here long. The whole party gathers on the roof to survey the damage and plan how we're going to get out of this mess alive. Not too far off lies the temple to the Raven Queen, it's burning. Drats! To the east of us lies another large church and it looks like there's a bit of resistance going on there. That's our target we decide. And about this time, more screaming erupts from down below in the bar.
Looking down through the chimney reveals that a few of those "dead" bodies have stood back up and are briskly chasing their meals around. The paladin acts in accordance with his creed and leaps down to save the innocent, while the rest of us stand up there scratching our asses and mumbling about getting the hell to safety. It doesn't take long and the paladin's in a bit of a spot.
Our warlord leaps down to aid him and get the three survivors out of there. They're successful but not before the paladin takes a nasty wound to his arm. (more on that later) With their emergence back on the roof it's decided that we'll use the eladrin's teleport ability and go from rooftop to rooftop and see if we can't possibly make sanctuary at that large church.
We're pretty careful as a group and we seem to work well together. Not everyone agrees all the time, which is natural in a large group (6), but we act in concert for the better of the whole. Not a bad way to get things done. Eventually we make our goal and are standing on a roof top across from a boarded up church.
The eladrin sends an arrow wrapped with a message through the stained glass window facing us. Soon a face appears in the hole and waves. We signal back and send another shaft with a rope attached. It gets tied down and off we go. Soon we're standing in the church with about 40 - 50 survivors.
Long story short, there's enough food for about a week, maybe a week and a half if they really ration. There's plenty of water though, as there's a well in the church proper. The clergy is as confused as we as to what's caused this odd outbreak. Oh, there's a star in the sky too...something we certainly noticed way back when we first emerged upon the roof of the tavern. The mage seemed to know something about a reference to some old story of the coming of a star and the end of the world. Great.
Well if it has happened before there has to be some way to turn it back. That wound on the paladin's arm is pretty nasty. Can't be healed with the normal means and even low level magical seems to be ineffective. There's got to be a way to heal it though, so now we've got a couple of quests ahead of us.
First: Get some food for the refugees in the church so that we can make our escape and head for the capital city for help. I'm not sure that they've faired much better but the attempt has to be made.
Second: Find some kind of cure for this disease that these nasty zombies carry. A library or a sage maybe? Not sure...but we have to try, otherwise the paladin's a goner.
By the end of the session I was a grinning fool. I love this kind of thing and personally I think 4e will work well with it. I'm not going to get into it here, but I think that 4e lends itself better to a strong story-type game, and not well to the looser aspects of a sandbox campaign. Anyway, I'm excited. This is going to be a hoot. Kudos to our DM for surprising us like that. Being old and jaded is more of a burden sometimes than it should be, and things like this make me feel young again.