Welcome To Lazarus

Instead of a "BANG", humanity is passing away with the shuffling of dead feet, and hungry moans. Desperate men and women fight against the rising tide for the newly risen dead.Sometimes, though, the undead are not he most dangerous things out there. Civilization has failed the test; the only thing left is survival.

Lazarus is just one of many places where humanity holds on by a thread, and life and death come as easily as a roll of the dice.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Reach Out And Touch Someone - Spec Ops Shooter

A lot of noise can bring down a world of pain, these days.  So can a big crowd.  There are times when a lone survivor, with special skills, can do more than an entire truck load of yokels loaded for bear.  Here's just the man for the job.

This is another mini from Black Cat Bases. I bought it because it's a neat fig; the pose is a little constricting for game play, IMO, though. I wish they had a version of him moving, with the rifle at the hunt position.  I finished painting it, sat back, and asked myself , "What the heck an I going to do with it now?"

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

"Tooth and Nail" by Craig Dilouie (Book Review)

"Tooth and Nail", by Craig Dilouie is not your typical undead zombie novel.  It falls squarely in the "28 Days" rage zombie camp.  Still, this is probably one of the best zombie genre novels I've read in a long time. 

The Plot:
The action centers around a company of US Army soldiers in the middle of Manhattan, after an emergency redeployment from Iraq.   They find themselves, still shaking Iraqi sand out of their boots, guarding a hospital as New York, America, and the rest of the world deals with a flu pandemic the likes of which has never seen.  Things quickly go from bad to worse, as a small percentage of flu victims become violently aggressive.  These victims ferally attack any non-infected person they find; in turn infecting more and more people. These infected people become no more than vicious, mindless zombies.

Their mission morphs from one of security to one of survival as things unravel quickly.  With a population of over 500K, Manhattan becomes a nightmare landscape, as bands of "Mad Dogs" roam the streets attacking any uninfected they come across.  The Battalion that the company belongs to is tasked with rescuing a stranded doctor, who has unlocked the secrets of the "Hong Kong Lyssa" virus.  She may very well hold the key to the survival of mankind.  I won't go any deeper, because I really think it would only diminish the reading experience if I did.

First The Negatives:
There are always good and bad points to every story.  I will start off with the bad, as I see them.  There are only two things I would even remotely consider as being in the negative column. The first is that the zombies are not your atypical undead variety.  Purists may find this a deal breaker; for me it really didn't matter.  The zombie's behavior is consistent with the genre, and does make for a compelling threat to the main characters.  The second thing I would consider a negative is that the storyline is sort of formulaic.  I mean you can see major turns coming, because the story really couldn't go any other direction.  Upon reflection, almost all zombie fiction falls into this trap.  It's one of the pitfalls of the genre; there are only so many ways you can write of a zombie apocalypse, and any one who is an avid fan will most likely have run across the varied plot devices and hooks in some previous story.  I don't think that either of the negatives I mentioned detract from the book one bit.

And Now The Positives:

Now onto the positives.  The first is that this is a rip roaring action book.  The author sets up the story and then dives in.  The action is hard and heavy, yet evenly paced.  The lulls make sense, and he uses them to drive the narrative forward.  The second positive is that unraveling of society makes sense.  Nothing happens in the story that made me go, "why that makes no sense and is just dumb".  While formulaic, as mentioned before, nothing jumps out, and it all fits together well.  It really turns me off when post apocalyptic writers make these huge jumps in logic when dealing with how things fall apart, simply to drive a story forward.

Thirdly, and this is a big one for me,  the author has at least a passing knowledge, if not practical, of how the Army works.  As a military veteran, nothing drives me crazy, or turns me off more than an author who obviously has no clue when writing about military characters or action.  Everything from improper nomenclature and equipment to action that absolutely would not take place in a US military unit, even during an apocalypse, are things that simply drive me batty.  There is only so far I can take suspension of disbelief.  There are some things that he gets wrong, and at least one sentence that is obviously an editing error. Still the author here does  a great job of steering clear of that pitfall by and large. 

The last positive I'll note is the one that simply makes this book for me; the characters.  The author does a fantastic job developing them into people that you can empathize with.  You've got the various archetypes you find in every action and/or zombie story.  The warrior, the goofball, the reluctant leader, the lost, etc.  They are more than simple cardboard cut outs, though.  He does a great job of fleshing them out; giving them real feelings.  I found myself thinking, "Man, that's how I think I'd feel, if it were me", or "that's completely understandable, given the situation".  There are some real poignant moments as they contemplate the idea of their loved ones suffering hundreds of miles away or deal with the fact that their fellow citizens are now the enemy.  The passages that made me go "Wow", was when the unit dealt with fellow soldiers who had become infected.  They will strike a cord with anyone who has ever felt the camaraderie that is present in a tightly knit military unit.  In the end, you'll care about all of the main characters, and even feel for the "zombies" as well.

I have a compulsive habit of reading about the first 1/4 of a book, then flipping to the last page and reading the last paragraph.  I have no idea why I do this.  If the last paragraph doesn't grab me, at that point, my interest in a book will wane, and it will take me longer to finish, if I do at all.  If the last paragraph does grab me, then I dive right back in.  I did that with this book, and the my first though was "Yeah, I kind of saw that coming", quickly followed by, "Man that kind of sucks, I wonder how he (the author) got there?"  I then proceeded to finish the novel in the next 48 hours.  Closing the book I was very satisfied.

Weighing everything together, this book is a must read for any zombie, or PA, enthusiast.  You won't go wrong.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

We're Alive, Zombiepodcast - Chapter 23 on line

Chapter 23 of "We're Alive" ; all three episodes, is posted on line at zombiepodcast.com.

Again, if you haven't heard this podcast, check it out.  It's the story of a group of survivors in the LA area, post Zombie Apocalypse.  The zombies aren't your standard Romero-esque  types, so the purist may be disappointed. 

Chapter 23 is entitled "The Devil's Workshop", and finds our survivors trying to find a working aircraft so they can safely escape the city, searching for missing companions, and more.

It's all good fodder for your zombie gaming.

For the record, I have no affiliation with We're Alvie, I just find it enjoyable

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Who Are These Clowns?

You'd think that at the end of the world the Zombies would be the most dangerous things out there.  Most of the time you'd be right.  On other occasions, you'd find out that there are things much more disturbing, and dangerous, than the living dead.

For most, the fall of civilization was a traumatic affair; what with the walking dead and all.  For Bobo, though, it was liberating. Now, instead of curtailing his hunting to once or twice a year, he could do it when ever he wanted.  Better still, he didn't have to hide it anymore, either. In fact, the more zombies he killed, the better. The prey didn't react in a very satisfying way; no begging, or crying...no suffering.  They made up for it in numbers, though. Anyway, every now and then, there was a live one that brought back the old thrill.

Mr. Jangles:
Mr. Jangles liked his wine. Now, most, in fact all the parents didn't like it when he showed up to their kid's party sinking of Night Train, and slurring his speech. He found though, that once they talked to Mr. Beretta, the complaining stopped; permanently. If it weren't for the incessant crying of the little brats,it would have been a cushy gig.  Now that the dead had risen, the brats didn't cry anymore.  He could still find Night Train, and Mr. Beretta still did a lot of talking.

These are a re-post of minis I put up on at least one other forum, way back when.  Clowns tend to creep people out, so I figured I'd repost them here for anyone who had not seen them before.

They are rebased/repainted/mods of the Horrorclix Jester figure. Bobo is just a straight up rebase/repaint. Mr. Jangles was a bit more involved. He had the heads cut off and his arm repositioned. I used green stuff to fill the gaps, and gave him a semi auto pistol from a Foundry Street Violence fig. The knife was cut off and a bottle made from sprue. He was then rebased and repainted.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Timeline and Index Page Added

As they say, "Time marches on."  Well in Lazarus, so do the zombies.  As a tool to help keep things straight, and chronicle my campaign, I have added a static page to Welcome To Lazarus (that's it over to the left) that details a broad overview of the time line I am following in my campaign. 

ATZ fans will recognize it as the time line from the ATZ rulebook.  Never fear, Ed gave his blessings, so all is proper in Copyrightville.  On this page, the games I've played will be listed in order, so that readers can see where they fit into the big scheme of things.  Surfers will be able to go directly to this page and click on the campaign games in chronological order, and watch the world unravel.


Wednesday, July 6, 2011

A Walk In The Park - - ATZ Campaign Day 4

The lights of the patrol car flashed off the buildings in the gathering gloom.  Two patrol officers stood talking to a frightened man, watched by a small group of people.  "OK, OK, relax, and tell me what happened", Officer Hansen said to the wide eyed man.

"Well", he stammered, " Jimmy and I were taking the trash out like Mr. Keenan told us to.  While we were out back, these 4 bums came out of the woods.  They didn't look right, though; all bloody n stuff, you know?  Jimmy yelled at them to get lost.  Suddenly they attacked us.  One of them bit me on the arm", he continued holding up a bandaged fore arm. "I managed to get inside the store, but Jimmy couldn't get past them.  I saw him break free and run off that way", he said pointing towards the city park; which backed up against the store.  "They followed him into the woods.  A couple of minutes later we heard this, like, horrible scream.  Oh man, you think Jimmy is OK", the man said almost in tears.

"I don't know sir", Officer Gillian said.  He spoke into the radio at his collar. "Patrol 1, this is Patrol 13.  We need to search the park.  May be a victim of assault, and some violent types around.  We'll start in from the north, you start in from the east.  Keep in contact, and be careful; there's some crazy stuff going on these days, over"

"Roger that", was the reply, "Patrol 1 out."

Special Rules:

  • Each tree stand represents a dense copse of woods, movement is 1/2 while moving through them; LOS is 3 inches.
  • When entered, the police will roll a "What's Inside" searching the woods for the attackers.  They will search every turn while inside a copse of woods.
  • On turn 5 it gets dark, with all the assorted Die roll modifications.

The board shows the northern edge of the Lazarus Memorial City Park, which backs up against a business district.  Patrol 13 (P13) starts in the NW corner f the board, and Patrol 1 (P1) starts in the SE corner of the board.

Video stills of Patrol 13 officers Gillian and Hansen (left) and Patrol 1 officers Abbot and Bryce just before they entered the woods.
Patrol 13 searches the first woods.
Turn 1:
Patrol 1 enters the first copse of tree and searches.  They find evidence of a blood trail, but no sign of any bodies or the attackers.  Patrol 13 enters and searches the trees nearest them, with the same result.

Turn 2:
Both patrols follow blood trails to the next copse of woods and find nothing, again.

Turn 3:
Patrol 13 dispatches the first Zombie
Patrol 13 continues to move through the large woods searching again.  They are jumped by 2 zombies.  Officer Hansen is surprised, and unable to get a shot off.  Melee ensues as one of the zombies attacks him.  After a brief struggle, he bludgeons the zombie to death.  Officer Gillian manages to fire his weapon at the other attacking zombie, hitting it twice and killing it.  Patrol 1 hears the gun shots and moves in a straight line towards them.  They move towards the sound of the gunfire, ending their movement in the open, between two sets of trees.

Movement through the first part of the up coming Turn 4. 

Turn 4: (Humans 3, Zombies 2)
Officers Abbot and Bryce (Patrol 1) find the frightened hobo.
Zombie Reinforcements: A lone zombie rises from the low grass 10 inches away from Patrol 1 at about 5 o'clock
Human Turn:  On the alert, Patrol 1 moves to the next set of woods.  They hear movement, and ready their weapons.  A disheveled hobo stumbles out of the underbrush.  Wide eyed he points the direction of the gunshots and mutters something crazy about the undead.   Meanwhile, Patrol 13 finishes the zombie on the ground off.  They then move to meet up with Patrol 1.

Patrol 13 meets it's grizzly end.

 They exit the  woods they were in and move quickly towards another stand of trees.  As they enter, they are surprised by 3 zombies (+2D6 in Melee).  The zombies attack them, and quickly overcome both officers, knocking them OOF.
Zombie Turn: The zombies begin feasting on the downed officers for 5 turns.

Turn 5: (Zombies 4, Humans 1)
Patrol 1 stumbles across the feasting zombies
Zombie Turn: As darkness falls, the zombies that just killed Patrol 13 continue feasting, and the lone roaming zombie joins them.
Human Turn:  The hobo with Patrol 1 looks in terror when they hear the dieing screams of the fallen policemen.  He takes off running the opposite direction.  Officers Abbot and Bryce move quickly towards the screams through the brush along the edge of the woods.  Suddenly they stumble upon a writhing mass of bodies.  In the fading light Patrol 1 can tell that the attackers are tearing the bodies of their fellow officers apart and eating them.  In terror, both officers duck back (both Pass 1 on "See The Feast").  The officers move into nearby woods.  Officer Abbot is looking to hunker down (Pass 1 "Sanity Test") while Officer Bryce is on the verge of a complete breakdown (Pass 0 "Sanity Test).

Patrol 1's fate is sealed.
As they enter nearby trees, looking for cover, they are attacked by three zombies.  Surprised, neither are able to fire (both Pass 1 "Being Charged"). Officer Abbot manages to bludgeon one of the charging Zombies to death.  Officer Bryce, in his terror is unable to defend himself; his throat ripped open, before he even knows what is happening (+2 Success in Melee for the Zombie).  The third zombie falls on Officer Abbot and after a brief struggle, overpowers him, knocking him OOF.

Aftermath: Police dispatch lost contact with Patrols 1 and 13 shortly after sundown. Despite the heavy volume of calls the department was getting, they managed to dispatch a couple of additional units to check out the situation.  They arrived to find the patrol cars several blocks apart, both locked, with the lights still flashing, and no one around.  It was dark, and witnesses said they saw the missing officers go into the woods, then they heard gun shots and what sounded like screaming.  Reluctantly, and without backup, as there was none to be had on this night, they went into the woods.  Not all of them came back out of those dark woods.  The tale the surviving officers told was one that in normal times would have stood out for all the horror it held.  As it was, it was lost in the flood of stories that were written across the city of Lazarus that night and in the following weeks.

WOW, it's been over a month since I played a campaign game!  Getting back into the swing of things, it might seem, once again,  that my having Humans as Rep 3 did them in.  That's not the case this time, believe it or not.  The Human die rolls, once the Zombies showed up, were so bad that the only way any of them would have survived was if they were a STAR.  I contemplated having Officer Bakkus (semi reoccurring character, at this point) take part in this game, but decided against it.  Good thing, too, or I would have had to start grooming another character to become a STAR, down the road.  All in all, it was a fun, quick game.

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