Dec 21, 2012

The Reverend
Sept 9 - 11, Z-Day + 260 - 282

The group spent a few days decompressing at the ostrich ranch. Joanne and Trevor volunteered at the prison hospital. Milhouse spoke with animals. Marcel helped with the ostrich ranching. Dr Graves made himself scarce and studied. Sammy continued fighting the rodent problem.

They met with Mayor Weidemam who recognized Marcel. They updated him with some of the things that they have done and seen but he didn’t seem to believe their story. He did agree to have any arriving Rosicrucians directed to the ranch.

On their way out, a dirty, disheveled man in a robe waved a sheaf of papers in their faces. He told them to repent. He told them to pray and the One True God will answer. About then Trevor and Marcel realized that the crazy man was actually the Reverend Jeremiah Thompson, the former right hand man of Archangel Michael. Clearly he had fallen on hard times. Marcel laughed at him. Then the Reverend gasped. He pointed at Milhouse and said, “You’re the worst!” Poor Milhouse was shocked and maybe a little hurt. His gaze moved to Marcel next. “Second worst!” They started insulting him and he responded by telling them he was Saved. He said that he had been a con man working for a crazy man. Now he knew God. “You need to repent!” Joanne pulled off her mask and intimidated the man. He squealed and thrust a fistful of papers at her then ran off.

Back at the ranch, Dr Graves thought that some of the ravings showed that the guy knew something of the occult. Looking at the papers Marcel and Trevor remembered something Milhouse had said back at Lake Tahoe after the fight. They showed him and he pointed to one of the symbols. He said that the Stabby Poo man with the knife had that symbol carved in his body. Then he started sniffling because he remembered that Hasty and Growler died in that fight.

That night Voorman contacted Graves with a Sending. He told his pupil that he finished at Lake Tahoe and did not see an organized threat. They had done what they could to redirect Rosicrucians south and he was on his was to Tehachapi.

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The Return to Where it All Began
Sept 8, Z-Day + 259

Tehachapi!!

The group returns to where it all began for them after 3 months away. Their last night in town they snuck away as the Archangel Michael’s Army of God took over the area. https://dec-21-2012.obsidianportal.com/adventure-log/june-4-midnight-z-day-163

They drove in from the east taking a convoluted route due to the fault line severing the main highway. There was a group monitoring the wind farm and mesmerized zombies from the west but they didn’t pursue. The English bus stayed on the southern end of the valley where it was the least built up. The area seemed calm and free of zombies.

They didn’t spot people again until the Banducci road checkpoint where there were some well concealed firing positions and someone on the hill above watching them. They halted when the stop sign was raised and someone approached. He asked a bunch of questions and walked through the bus taking notes. He told them that things were pretty good here. Michael’s leading of the zombies through the valley was the beginning of the end for his army. Not long after, there had been a coup and Michael fled north to Lake Isabel with the Angel Trudy and his most devoted followers. Mayor Weideman was still in charge although technically California was still under martial law. The US civilian government had moved to Denver. He told them to check in at the prison soon and let them through.

They reunited with Bill and Sarah at the ostrich farm and caught up with the couple. Sammy Whiskers the rat catcher was still there also. The place was in good shape and had a lot of people employed although the herd had been somewhat depleted by Michael’s people when they left. And they discovered something incredible. Bill and Sarah knew where Felicity was located! It is a town of 2 people built by an eccentric Frenchman down near the California/Mexico/Arizona border. What luck!

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A New Set of Wheels
Sept 8, Z-Day + 259

They traveled south until the van ran out of gas. After some debate they decided to lock it up and hike down the road in search of a vehicle to hot wire or drain of fuel and return to the van that contained so much of their supplies.

Along the way they met a lone man walking north. The grizzled individual told them a little of the south including that Michael and the Army of God were more of a cult now and that south of there they should watch out for roving bands of Mexicans both civilian and army that were fleeing Mexico.

When they arrived in Pearsonville they found it well looted already but did recover a vintage English double decker bus that was being restored in a garage. Joanne put her skills to use and finished adding the cow catcher to the front bumper and chicken wire to the lower deck windows.

0 Zombies Killed
0 PCs Killed

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In Search of the Center of the World, or at Least Some Safety
Sept 8, Z-Day + 259

They once again contacted Papa Legba through a ritual and though the loa did not know the specifics of the Morturom Demonto’s ritual, it did answer that the “Center of the World” was in Felicity, California.

Trevor gifted Max 5 buckshot and the team bid farewell to Taylor, Max, and Voorman and took the van into South Tahoe hoping to find the location of Felicity, CA at the visitor center. Thanks to Trevor’s good driving the van sustained only mild damage. They did not find any hint of a location called Felicity or other variations of that name. Marcel even discovered a Lonely Planet guidebook to Baja California and looked there to no avail. Disappointed they got back in the van after killing another two runners and got on 395 South.

There were some obstacles but nothing the group couldn’t get around. For the downed tree across the road, Joanne pulled out a survival saw. It took an hour but they cleared the tree and kept going.

Mono Lake, Yosemite, Lee Vining, Mammoth Lakes all passed without incident. After Mammoth Lakes they picked up a follower on a motorcycle or dirt bike. The rider was catching up but Milhouse and Joanne crawled to the back doors and took aim. Graves and Marcel switched places. Milhouse took aim and shot through the window making the 200 foot shot to destroy the front tire. The rider kept control but obviously the chase was over.

The van continued south passing signs for Bishop, Big Pine, Kings Canyon, and Death Valley into the evening.

9 Runners Killed
1 Impaled Stick Zombie boy
0 Watchers Killed
0 PCs Killed

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Dr. Graves, always Dr. Graves
Sept 7, Z-Day + 258

That night as exhausted defenders packed supplies and rearranged gear, Voorman and Dr Graves disappeared. This was hardly noticed and those that did winked and smiled.

The knowing smiles disappeared at the sound of a muffled scream that must have come from Dr Alex Graves. Everyone rushed back into the main house as fast as the heaped bodies allowed. Silence.

A thud from the basement. An unintelligible shriek of abject terror. Ready for the worst, everyone ran to the basement door and threw it open. Downstairs in the dim light two figures were visible. Christopher Voorman stood over the incoherently babbling Dr Graves. Alex was squatting in the fetal position and Christopher was holding his shoulders.

“Nothing to see here.” said the elder magician. “Rosicrucian business.”

Soon Dr Graves recovered his composure and assured them everything was alright. Both Rosicrucians smiled.

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Army of the Dead part 4
Sept 7, Z-Day + 258

Reggie warned them that something big was coming through the woods. It seemed to be pushing trees aside or perhaps it was a tree swaying back and forth.

Marcel reached out with his Necromancy and commanded the ravenous man-dog-tracker zombie to block the open door and let nothing enter. The tracker zombie abandoned eating Milhouse’s leg and did as ordered. Milhouse crawled closer. Suddenly things didn’t look so bad to everyone.

The defenders performed a fighting retreat up the stairs with Marcel carried Milhouse up to the top floor.

Suddenly there was a huge crash and Reggie screamed. He was snatched out of the master bedroom by a large black branch. Everyone else ran out and Max closed the doors behind them. Reggie’s screams stopped suddenly and a tremendous crashing noise came from inside.

While this was happening the others fought the corpses coming up the stairs. Someone shouted for Dr Graves to use the book – it must be The Watcher. He agreed but the Morturom Demonto had been left in Voorman’s keep and he had been cut off from the retreat up the stairs. The Rosicrucian vampire was currently fighting where the hall opened into the living room.

Trevor and Milhouse hopped the railing overlooking the dining area and living room. They lowered themselves and dropped down to the first floor.

Now Voorman had some backup but it might not be enough. He was fighting a losing battle surrounded by skeletons and the lanky misshapen creature that had earlier punctured Marcel’s ballistic vest.

Joanne arrived to help and the creature responded by stabbing it’s right claw into her guts. It even lifted her off the ground. Dr. Graves rescued her from his spot on the stairs. He blasted the thing’s arm once, then again. The second wound severed the limb impaling her. She was free and Voorman escaped through the crowd and made it upstairs. He was very fast.

The fight was violent but now the dead were on the losing end. Upstairs though the bedroom doors opened and the mangled body of Reggie stood there. It looked crushed but it still held the shotgun which it raised and shot at the only person still in the loft. Max took half the shot in his side and dropped the Yankee Candle.

Graves wheeled around on the stairs and saw what happened. His Winchester annihilated his former ally. Max, not much help before, was now nearly mortally wounded and even less helpful. Downstairs though the house was almost cleared.

The Watcher moved to the side of the house and saw part of the fight through the window and open door. It reached through and swung its claw-branch at Marcel. Miraculously it strike was blocked. It struck again and this time the claws cleanly amputated Marcel’s arm. The limb was cut through in several places and went flying.

Everyone ran upstairs and The Watcher moved to the other side of the house. The defenders grouped up in the loft at the top of the stairs. The Watcher stretched it’s limbs through the front window but could not reach anyone.

Voorman thrust the book into Graves hands. The archeologist grabbed a fragment of Watcher claw from Reggie’s body and cleared his throat. The Watcher thrashed around trying to reach them in vain. Graves spoke the words, “Klaatu Verata Niktu”. The Watcher resisted and nothing happened. Voorman, now knowing the words, tried. His powerful voice rang out and The Watcher shrieked like a thousand trees exploding. It was gone.

1 Runner Killed
16 Skeletons Killed
1 Watchers Killed
1 Trackers Killed
1 THE Watcher Banished
1 NPC Allies Killed
1 Animal Companion Killed
1 PC Maimed
0 PCs Killed

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Army of the Dead part 3
Sept 7, Z-Day + 258

Everyone took advantage of the breather created by the Army of the Dead’s change in tactics. Christopher Voorman had already disappeared downstairs with the rapid advance of time which dearly sapped his Essence. The dead grouped under the deck or around the side of the house. Marcel guessed that they had been commanded to wait so when the next wave occurs they could lead the attack.

After everyone had topped off their guns and caught their breath, Marcel and Joanne climbed through the pile of bodies on the deck. Joanne examined the broken-in door constructed by the late Eddy. It seemed repairable to her. Marcel walked down the steps and peered under the deck. The walking dead were there waiting. He opened fire and the fight resumed.

Mostly the attackers were little more than skeletal remains trying to claw the cajun but there were a few fresher looking standard zombies in the bunch. Marcel was gunning them down but not fast enough. There were too many and Marcel and Joanne began backing up and slowly retreated to the front door. As the dead rounded the corner to get on the deck, Trevor used the borrowed SKS to shoot runners and Reggie his shotgun against the skeletons to help thin out the herd.

On the roof, the last remaining skeleton from earlier jumped through the broken upper window hitting the living room floor hard. Milhouse and Hasty attacked that one and disposed of it quickly.

This fight developed a little differently however. This time something new came from the woods. There were two creatures. One looked like a zombie impaled with branches and the other looked more like a tree than a man. Trevor had glimpsed them before but now they were in the open running for the deck. Additionally another dog-like tracker zombie broke from cover, running to the other corner of the building. Trevor and Reggie put shots on them and brought down the impaled zombie and the tracker.

The fight proceeded at the front door which was defended by Marcel, Joanne, and Dr Graves. The tree creature made it to the deck though and broke out some of the defensive boards nailed above the railing. A chorus yelled to wake up Voorman. The tree thing advanced and stripped away the boards over the bedroom window. The glass shattered next. As the defenders killed the undead in front of the door, the tree thing moved up again crushing a wounded skeleton. Behind it the dead were entering through the broken bedroom window. This was the same bedroom where the ravaged corpses of Sue and Growler had been laid.

Meanwhile Taylor reported that she heard breaking boards and glass from the opposite bedroom. Something was coming in that window. She ran downstairs to wake Voorman.

At the front door, the tree thing traded attacks with Joanne and Graves but did not step into the room where it would have lost the cover provided by the door jamb and been within reach of Marcel. It’s body seemed blackened with rot but it was at least somewhat resistant to weapons. Marcel’s staff in particular did not seem to be as effective as normal. The creature crashed to the ground and additional “conventional” undead continued the assault while a second tree-thing came up behind them.

Out of the bedroom shuffled a sickly looking ambulating bush with bloody roots followed by another of the tree things. The bush had rotting body parts entwined among it’s branches. The fight had gotten interesting.

The bush entered the living room and wrapped Marcel in a multitude of branches lifting him slightly off the floor. It began to squeeze the helpless man. The tree thing entered the room and swung; breaking Milhouse’s leg. Then a tracker ran into the living room and attacked Growler. Then skeletons from the first bedroom arrived. Seeing the odds dramatically change drove Joanne into a cold rage. All the lights flickered out. All electronics actually. Another creature entered the fight.

Marcel was constrained but Joanne had a machete for just that sort of job. She cut back that bush like a mad gardener. Hasty and the tracker zombie fought. Milhouse crawled away. Graves blasted with the shotgun and slammed the door closed. Upstairs Trevor and Reggie continued shooting as targets presented themselves.

Joanne finished mowing the bush down and the newly released Marcel began fighing the skeletons in front of him dodging blows from both of them plus a skinny yet hulking and mishappen watcher behind them. Voorman was on the stairs now and opened up one of the runners blocking the hallway. Sue wailed below. Hasty lost the fight and ended up dead in the gaping snakelike jaws of the tracker. Milhouse witnessed this and cried tears of healing that mended his shattered leg. Carny Magic!

Above Trevor, Reggie, and Max left the master bedroom and ran to the top of the stairs. Trevor’s nightvision goggles flickered and cut out en route. It was hard to make out what was happening below. Dr Graves took a couple steps up the stairs to get a better angle with the Winchester. Joanne and Graves finished the tree thing and it crashed to the floor, but before anyone could celebrate the tracker dropped the corpse of Hasty and pounced on Milhouse. It sunk its disgusting teeth deep into the man’s leg and vigorously shook its head crippling Milhouse again.

Both the door and reinforced window next to the door broke. More skeletal corpses reached for the living.

0 Runners Turned
8 Runners Killed
0 Skeletons Turned
19 Skeletons Killed
0 Watchers Killed
1 Trackers Killed
1 Impaled Branch Zombie
3 Tree-Things
0 NPC Allies Killed
1 Animal Companion Killed
0 PCs Killed

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Army of the Dead part 2
Sept 7, Z-Day + 258

The fighting continued at a high rate of ammo expenditure. Everyone with a gun was shooting as fast as they could in between reloading. Corpses were beginning to pile up almost as fast as spent shell casings. Given that the deck was raised and the ground sloped away the Army of the Dead couldn’t simply crash through the reinforced deck using their combined weight. Some did try to climb but were stopped by the motor oil applied to the edge of the roof. The defenses were sound and holding. The kills were racking up for the defenders.

Two additional fronts opened up. First a Hungry Dead scaled the sauna’s privacy fence near the bedroom window. Milhouse saw him hop over and moved to the small gate. Instead of coming through the gate though the captain entered the house through the bedroom door. It broke out the window from the inside and with help from the outside popped the boards. Sue heard the noise and warned the others. Also as more dead began crawling up the outside of the boarded up patio, it became a little easier for them to get on the roof despite the slippery oil.

Milhouse never got a shot on the hungry dead but did see a living human among the attackers. He was pale and skinny and had symbols carved all over his body. He carried a bloody chef’s knife and pointed it at Milhouse. “Stabby Poo” he hissed. Milhouse shot him in response and the man ducked away injured.

The Hungry Dead Captain moved to the bedroom door and flung it open. Sue was standing there at the top of the stairs. He ripped her apart. Other dead began entering the room. Milhouse shot the lunatic with the knife before he could come inside. Then Milhouse and his two young mountain lions raced into the bedroom to confront the hungry captain. Growler got a chest full of claw and died. His whimper was drowned out by Milhouse’s scream of anguish.

That was the last act by the lone hungry dead however. It was the next to die between Milhouse and Voorman. Voorman ran to the window and began warding it.

Then the dead on the roof made there way to the second story window and crashed through it falling down to the first floor. Though damaged the fall didn’t kill any of them. Defenders needed to reposition to take care of the new threat inside the house. Milhouse and his remaining mountain lion took the lead.

The fight continued with the defenders holding their positions.

Suddenly the attack began to wane and the clouds raced across the sky. It began getting dark and Voorman yelped. It was as if time was passing lightning fast. The vampire rushed back downstairs. The others cleaned up but most of the remaining army of dead took shelter out of sight.

The defenders had won the first skirmish.

0 Runner Turned
46 Runners Killed
0 Skeletons Turned
64 Skeletons Killed
2 Watchers Killed
1 Human Lackey Killed
1 New Vessel Killed
0 Trackers Killed
1 NPC Ally Killed
1 Animal Companion Killed
0 PCs Killed

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Army of the Dead part 1
Sept 7, Z-Day + 258

After taking out the Vessel, the heroes regrouped. Everyone retreated to the fortified house as more undead – zombies and near-skeletons – arrived just outside the perimeter. The newcomers continued growing in number in a ring circling the property. They stayed well back from the tree line but it was obvious what was happening. Occasionally, they called to each other in rasping, barking calls.

The minutes turned to hours. After a couple of hours of waiting the assembled undead slowly began inching closer. They didn’t seem focused on the buildings but it was clear an attack was imminent. The defenders began shooting. Moments later, the dead snapped to attention and began charging the buildings.

The first ranks hit the numerous fishing line trip wires. The effect was inconsistent. In places the tripwires barely slowed down the advance and in others the dead fell and were buried by subsequent ranks also tripping. The defenders unleashed a fusillade concentrating on the zombies as the skeletal dead did not seem to take much damage from bullets. Soon the tripwires were a memory as the crowd surged toward the two buildings.

The defenders fired quickly but weren’t doing nearly the damage they needed to be doing while the dead charged. When the attackers reached the structures they halted. The Rosicrucian magicks held them back and allowed more to be shot down before a few forced their way through the warding. They were easy targets but there were so many. Fortunately half the group was attacking the garage + apartment and not the house. That effectively divided their numbers in half. That group seemed to have an eager watcher in it. It was a small, wirey creature reminiscent of Gollum. Joanne turned her attention to it while the thing attacked the rear door to the garage. She took it out while others began racking up tallies of zombies. Dr Graves discarded his AR 15 and switched to the shotgun and started dusting the much more dangerous skeletal attackers.

Shortly the good times expired. The warding failed on the garage first. The dead began attacking the empty building especially around the garage doors and the back door. Since there was nobody defending it, this was obviously directed behavior. Then the warding collapsed on the main house. Dead were still being shot down but now many were under the decking. Inside Sue finally woke Voorman by pulling on the string attached to his arm down in the basement. They had left the Morturom Demonto with him. The basement/storage/crawlspace had been his daytime refuge. Currently the outside door was being attacked but it was easily the sturdiest door in the house. Marcel had stopped shooting and called upon his budding Necromantic powers. He began ordering skeletons away. Though successful, it was one at a time. Upstairs, Max, the Rosicrucian stage magican, after much Channeling created an illusory duplicate of Graves in the woods. They hoped it would draw some of the dead away from the assault. And some of the latecomers did in fact notice it.

The fortifications were holding. The extra work they had done to enclose the porch and build a door to the deck had paid off. The monsters were struggling to enter and were easy targets.

1 Runner Turned
48 Runners Killed
3 Skeletons Turned
4 Skeletons Killed
1 Watchers Killed
2 Trackers Killed
0 PCs Killed

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Eddy's Moment of Courage
Sept 7, Z-Day + 258

Mid afternoon. Saturday.

After spying the Vessel in a stained straight jacket, a tree branch impaled zombie, and a tracker zombie standing at the property’s edge on the road, Dr Graves quietly ran back to the rear of the garage where Joanne was exiting with a load of stuff to transfer to the house. He alerted her and ran back to take another look at the zombies. Two had left the road and were approaching through the strip of woods. The tracker zombie appeared to be watching down the road to the east. The first two noticed Graves peeking around the building’s edge and started running. The Vessel left the woods and ran up the drive wielding an ax. He appeared to be alive and shouted “Give iiit tooo meeeee!”. The other continued running through the woods parallel to the drive. On the street the remaining undead thing began howling.

Dr Graves leveled his shotgun and sent two blasts of shot into the charging maniac. He didn’t flinch. Joanne arrived with blades drawn and behind her, Eddy ran between the buildings. Alerted by the commotion Trevor began firing from the house’s upstairs bedroom window. Trevor killed the thing on the road with three shots.

The axe man in the bloody straight jacket skidded to a halt in front of Dr Graves and swung his weapon in an overhead strike. Graves sidestepped and gravel arced from where the axe hit the drive. The doctor was using the corner of the garage for partial cover. He shot twice more but this time his opponent ducked one of the arm length blasts. The other took took off part of the Vessel’s face and neck. The man growled in pain. Trevor was joined by the Rosicrucian troubleshooter and they continued firing. Both the Vessel and the “branch” zombie were hit to little apparent effect.

In an uncharacteristic moment of courage, Eddy ran to the corner of the garage. He stepped through the open space between Joanne and the doctor and into position in front of the well muscled axe-wielding maniac. The maniac blocked the wrench swing from the little asian man. Milhouse and his two young mountain lions took up a position at the end of the house’s deck stairs. He threw a knife and added a cut to the Vessel’s body. By now the Vessel was bleeding profusely. The “branch” zombie exited the strip of woods along the road and charged toward the fight. Multiple shots rang out from the upstairs window. Most hit, but Trevor was deafened by his companion’s muzzle blast so close to his ear.

For his part the asylum escapee, now Watcher’s Vessel, remained resolute and pushed the attack but now his target was blocked by the garage on one side and Eddy on the other. He swung the axe in a powerful horizontal trajectory and caught Eddy. The axe cut and crunched through ribs, lungs, heart and sternum. Eddy was dead before his body hit the ground. The deadly swing continued toward Graves but he stepped back and it took a chunk out of the trim on the garage. Eddy’s moms were screaming from were they were watching at the window. Now the other zombie joined the fight. It’s body was impaled with tree branches and and it used them as weapons. A bad jab resulted in the breaking off the sharp tip of one on Joanne’s armor.

Graves fired his fifth and last shell into the murderous maniac. The tightly compacted wad of pellets transformed into a smoking hole in the chest of the Vessel. Even the plastic wadding was buried in the body. The hulking man collapsed. Graves took a few steps back, behind Joanne and prepared to reload his beloved Winchester.

How Marcel joined the fray as a handful of other dead reached the house. Joanne, Milhouse, the mountain lions, and now Marcel finished off the “branch” zombie with little additional effort while Grave reloaded.

Two runners and three near skeletal corpses reached the open area around the garage and house. Graves blasted the skeleton coming up between the buildings toward them from the back, and the other Rosicrucian warned that his shotgun slugs did almost nothing to the skeleton. He then put a pair of shotgun slugs through the nearest zombie and dropped it. The last three were killed as they arrived. Joanne correctly deduced that this was just a probing attack.

Poor Eddy was found to be dead and his body was deposited on the deck of the house after retrieving some items. The owners were horrified at the death of their son. Graves finished reloading and Milhouse picked up his throwing knife. Marcel squatted near the bodies and concentrated. The sounds of creatures crashing through the woods and running feet slapping the pavement could be heard from every direction.

Marcel looked at the Vessel with his Gift. He saw the spirit of the dead man and something else. Something evil. He drew upon his nascent necromantic powers but failed to harness them at first. Then he ordered the spirit of the man to leave and it did. Lastly, the cajun saw Eddy’s spirit floating away.

1 Tracker Zombie Killed
3 Skeletons Killed
2 Runners Killed
1 “Branch” Zombie Killed
1 Watcher’s Vessel Killed
1 PC Killed

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