Side Mission 04 – The Bleeding Edge, Chapter 2

Written by: Wheeler          Played on: 04 Sep 2010
PREVIOUS: Mission 20 – Career Path – Part 2
NEXT: Side Mission 05 – Eco Trouble

This mission was run in place of our regularly scheduled game because Clint was not able to make it. All other team members were present.

Everything good starts with The Exchange. A program that receives info about a job and then gives it to one of its clients as a way of racking up favors.

Today our job was to pick up a couple of boxes from a place down the street and deliver them to a town out in old Minnesota. We then needed to pick up a few more boxes and return them to the original place. Easy enough.

So we all load into Thumper and head to the first place. The pickup goes without a hitch and we start heading out to old Minnesota; Pine Island to be exact. On the way there we pass a town called Big Falls only to find out that the road up ahead is blocked by a land slide. Lame.

We head back to Big Falls in an attempt to find a way around and not only do we end up having to walk anyways but we have someone else join the team. Deputy White is her name and wow was she helpful.

We also end up carrying a lot more supplies since the town we are headed to has been blocked off for quite some time now. Carrying all this stuff, we head out across the last 20 miles.

The land slide was my heavy handed and extremely railroading way of seperating the team from their heavy assault vehicle (Thumper) and also of introducing another character, Deputy Hannah White, who was played by our friend who has guest starred in several adventures including Wednesday in Wetwork, Pure and Simple, Red Herring in The Curious Conch and Delivery Assistance, and as Dr Lori Cardile in The Bleeding Edge, Chapter 1.

Along the way we come into combat only once with a dog like thing later explained to be a Barghest. We make it to the town of Pine Island and find that the whole place has been deserted except for the church where a single man is waiting for us to arrive.

As we step inside, we all watch as this last survivor hangs himself from the church bell rope and alerts the townsfolk now in the hills to our presence. Said townsfolk start streaming out of the trees, running straight for the church.

In a short few seconds we all figure out that they are zombies and all want to eat us for dinner. Thanks Exchange.

I had a rather involved series of rules I had written up regarding how the infected would try to break into the church and the ways the players could attempt to reinforce the entry points to keep them out. I had multiple points of entry (the front doors, a small rear door, and windows on either side) which the infected could attack and try to break down, with only a certain number of them able to attack each entry point at a time. The players could make rolls to reinforce those entry points to prevent the infected from getting access or they could fire out through cracks and breaks in the entrance to fight them off.

Of course, the team spent about one round doing that, then decided that was too much effort and instead climbed up to the roof, broke the ladder behind them and camped on the roof while executing the defenseless infected. Player ingenuity 1, GM plans 0.

For the next few minutes we go through the paces of killing every known person in Pine Island and keeping our team out of arms reach. When everything is said and one, we find a note that the dead man had written before killing himself that stated he had taken a group of people down to the mines.

We decided we would go check them out and see if there were any more survivors. When we arrived at the mines, we found that there were zombies milling around out side but that they wouldn’t go in. Also in the mine were some survivors and a very high energy laser type of thing.

During the first chapter of The Bleedign Edge, the players decided they wanted to destroy the facility and do anything they could to stop the spread of the infection. I had been caught by complete surprise that time and resolved not to be so again and included a machine the team could spend time to overload and destroy much of the moutain as well as bathe the area in infected killing radiation. The twist was that the longer they spent in the bowels of the mine trying to set up the overload, the more radiation they would take and eventually start suffering from radiation sickness.

Ultimately the team decided not to bite this time, possibly because I didn’t emphasize that they COULD try and do something like that with the machine and also I may have scared them as I explained that they started feeling the effects of the radiation sickness.

Some of the survivors look to be roughed up and one is even bitten but hasn’t turned yet, for some reason. Then, we decide that we will just take all the gear and survivors back and be done with this town. The only problem is that on our way back, we keep running into things to kill.

Humans, dogs, Levi, the usual. We also found out that once we were away from the radiation, the humans who were infected started to turn. Unfortunately for us, myself and Levi both get infected. When we arrive back at Big Falls we find that there were a bunch of people attacked here too and that the survivors have already been sent off to the hospital. So we decided to head there and finish the job and rid the world of another zombie invasion.

On the way there both myself and Levi turn on the team and wind up dead. Cho punches Marius for killing me and nearly kills him.

Its worth mentioning that, just as it happened between Marius and Clint last time, several team members suggested holding off on dealing with their infected teammates and instead searching for a cure. I thought this was a great bit of drama  to see, but eventually Marius, while driving, shot and killed Wheeler who was riding shotgun. Cho didn’t like that. In the back, Deputy White shoots and killed Levi after he turned. No one seemed to mind.

Many of the team were in pretty bad shape, Marius especially (though not as bad off as Wheeler and Levi). When Cho punched him I asked if she was just sort of “play” punching him, or all out hitting him. She wanted to all out hit him so I had her roll for damage. She knocked Marius clean out and the van crashed, messing up everyone inside even further.

We all end up at the hospital and they decide to just blow the whole place up since everyone is becoming infected. Dumping Wheeler, Levi and Marius off they blow the place to smithereens as they drive away.

Then we all take off the AR goggles and find that it was another game of Marius’s and we all wish he were dead. Man I hope that we never have one of those happen….. ever.

Of note, the team dropped off and LEFT Wheeler, Levi AND Marius at the hospital before blowing it up. Marius wasn’t dead, but nearly so. The players chose to do this WITHOUT knowing that they were in a VR game yet.

Its possible I may have pushed the players a bit too far, metagame wise, this time around. Marius probably pushed the other players a little harder than he normally would have since he was in on the gag.

Some of the players expressed some dissappointment at finding out the plot was a gag and that they had been playing a game, even characters who had died in the game. Possibly this was a result of building the adventure a little too hard and railroady, possibly this was dissappointement at finding out I wasn’t turning the Shadowrun game into a post-zombie-apocolypse world.

At one point, one of the players half-jokingly asserted that this was my way of ending the campaign as I had recently moved several hours away for a new job and was only able to continue playing with them occassionally during weekend visits or playing over the internet. The comment was made in jest, but it highlights the fact that I may have been pushing an obviously one sided challenge on the team without giving them many options other than “choose a target, roll your dice.”

PREVIOUS: Mission 20 – Career Path – Part 2
NEXT: Side Mission 05 – Eco Trouble

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