Dec 21, 2012

Highway to Happiness
Sept 12, Z-Day + 283

Tehachapi to Lost Lake Resort.

4 Thugs Killed
0 PCs Killed

Sept 12, Z-Day + 283

Marcel and Joanne participate in a ritual to ask Papa Legba some questions about their mission, Xanthos adds some obscure religion knowledge, and there is some various planning of their route south.

The group loads up the bus including a scavenged bathtub from the burn down home across the street. They fashion a pater and wax plug for the drain and fill it with water and use plastic garbage bags and duct tape to seal the tub up as best they can.

It is late morning when the bus inches out the front gate. Coming down the road is a small group of people. The ranch hand at the gate tells them that these are the “Redistributionists”. They are led by a former aid worker named Andy and there goal is to spread around the ostrich “wealth” at the ranch. Obviously the owners have been resisting the calls to pass out ostriches to people.

Bill comes out and argues with the people telling them that they don’t even know how to raise ostriches let alone are owed ostriches by the ranch. Trevor eases the bus forward onto the road. Dr. Graves notices that the leader is none other than A-Money. The despicable loser from the early days of the apocalypse that fled the fire station and stole their ride with all it’s supplies. Joanne recognized him too. They decided that their mission was too important and too immediate to do anything but drive away.

Lord Xanthos
Sept 12, Z-Day + 283

An old friend, Lord Xanthos, arrives at the ranch in the morning. His entrance is shockingly humiliating as he is dragged by the stirrup alongside Tragina his horse. He meets Marcel and a few ranch hands at the gate and introduces them to his knights Sir Broncanus and Sir Lazoid.

They spend the day sharing information among themselves over some ostrich eggs prepared by Sarah. Lord Xanthos put his own twist on it but here is the gist of the story.

For awhile he was in with the “Archangel” Michael. Michael called him The Templar because of his esoteric knowledge and that he rode around with a sword on a horse. What Xanthos gathered was that Michael was a survivalist with a gun store before Z day. The Reverend Jeremiah Thompson met him and convinced him that God had a plan for him. They had plans to start a church. Then Z day happened and Michael got progressively more delusional. He thought that he was actually the Archangel Michael sent to earth to lead God’s army.

To make a long story short a large mythology built up around Michael and the Reverend. Things fell apart rapidly after his army led zombies into the survivors to purge the wicked unbelievers. There was a coup and Michael and his hardcore followers fled north to the little resort town of Lake Isabelle. At some point, Michael and the Rev had an awakening. The Christian God was actually the great deceiver and had hoodwinked the world for two millennia. God was actually the devil but Michael figured it out.

The true God revealed himself to them. It goes by many names. Gozer is one name and if you pray to him, he will answer. At least that is what they say. Basically what is left of Michael’s army has become a cult. You try to stay far away now. Michael is too unstable.

He also knew that the Rev became an itinerant preacher trying to gain converts around the valley. You saw him yesterday headed north, pedaling furiously on a bike.

And Xanthos was pretty sure that some of Michael’s child soldiers have been planted around the area to keep an eye on things.

Then they make a trip back to the prison to talk with some former lieutenants in Michael’s Army. That filled out the story a little bit. It is thought that Michael has about 30 hardcore followers left with maybe half of them being kids.

Xanthos made plans to join them on their quest to the Center of the World.

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.

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


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.

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!

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

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

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.

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

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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