Wednesday, 5 January 2011

All Zombies on the Eastern Front [Session 2]

Session 2 of All Zombies... was a good few weeks ago now, so my recollections are a little dim, but I remember the broad details. Session 1 ended with the PCs (a group of escaped German, Italian, and Finnish POWs), after having roamed for a few days around a mostly deserted but somewhat zombie infested Siberian wilderness, commandeering a half track off an NKVD squad they ambushed. After a somewhat protracted discussion they agreed to head West back in the direction of their homelands, despite some (sensible, in my view) support for the idea of going East and ending up in Manchuria with the hope of catching a ship home.

These are seasoned players so, as they followed the Transiberian railway Westwards, they studiously avoided any of my attempts to lead them astray and into difficulties. I dangled a good few temptations their way - even a rumour of a crashed cargo plane with plenty of food on board - but they pushed on regardless in relatively pell-mell fashion, surviving a few encounters with roaming zombies and NKVD deserters. (They still aren't aware that the Soviets are pursuing a scorched earth policy and retreating both Eastwards and Westwards from the Tomsk area - the source of the plague - leaving any stragglers to their fate.)

Finally they made it to a river with a bridge, which they quickly assertained was being watched over by some of these NKVD stragglers, presumably in the hope of ambush. I listened with some amusement to their discussion of how best to proceed - they must have talked for about an hour; correctly, they've come to the conclusion that eventually they'll reach a blockade or firewall of some kind which the Red Army will have set up to contain the zombies, but incorrectly they seemed to believe for a while that this bridge constituted it. Eventually common sense prevailed and they realised any blockade would be considerably stronger and better fortified than this.

The result was a charge across the river via a nearby ford, in hell bent fashion, which resulted in a conclusive victory but the half track being pranged by a PTRD anti-tank rifle. This was a severe blow as it meant continuing on foot, which they did for the remainder minutes of the session - which lead them apparently towards the outskirts of a large settlement of some kind, though they're not sure what or where.

It was another fun session, though I have to confess I was a little frustrated by the gang's determination not to get sidetracked from their journey - I had a good few side scenarios lined up which will have to be scrapped now. They're unfortunately experienced enough to smell the DM's bait. But experience is a two-edged sword - it also means that they're willing to chip in with good house rule suggestions (using poker chips to represent amounts of calories when it comes to rations, etc.) and also ideas on armoured combat, which Cyberpunk 2020 apparently lacks detailed rules for but which became relevant when 14.5mm calibre weapons started being fired at half tracks.

Session 3 is this Sunday, so I'm in the planning stages now. I'm trying to decide whether a zombie woolly mammoth awakened from the permafrost is too gonzo or not...


  1. I'd forgotten all about this campaign. It's a fascinating setting.

  2. Perhaps you should try and find a less RPG-savvy group who wouldn't recognise the dangers and so would go along on side-quests? Sounds like it's a setting that should be explored a bit more!

  3. Re: Mammoth


  4. Rule of Cool - the mammoth stays in the picture.

  5. This sounds like an awesome campaign!

    I too know the pain of having too-seasoned players at the table. Of course, a player can be seasoned and still take the bait out of consideration for making "interesting" things happen in the plot.

    Interesting timing, there's a movie coming out soon (it's out in L.A. already, apparently) called The Way Back that's based on a true story of a group of gulag prisoners in 1940 breaking out and trekking through the Siberian wilderness. Unlike your group, they chose to head south and ended up crossing the Himalayas.

  6. Zak: My friend used to have that model back in my Warhammer playing days! Totally forgot about its existence.

    Roger the GS: We'll see what happens in Session 3...

    Sirlarkins: I'm one step ahead of you - saw it last week. It's a great flick. You can't go wrong with Peter Weir.

  7. Is this campaign still on? I love the setting and would like to hear from ir.