Sunday, October 30, 2011

[Festival of Fright] Dangerous Encounter: Dusk Of The Dead

This encounter best takes place on the road as the PCs travel to their next adventure. They should hear gunfire coming from up ahead. When they arrive on the scene, they'll find a man standing over another man laying face-up in the road. The standing man will be seen shooting the prone one in the head. There will be another victim laying nearby, a spreading pool of blood forming under their head. The man, panting heavily will look up when he hears the party approaching. When he sees their weapons (or if they make any noise), he'll wave them silent, trying to keep them quiet.

"Shhhh! You'll attract more of those!" he'll say, pointing to the dead men. "The dead walk in this area, and you need to be alert for them!" The two dead men are covered in blood with several obvious bite wounds on their arms and neck.

If the PCs ask, the man will explain that his name is Darion and that he and his family live in a nearby farmhouse. He was out gathering firewood when he says he heard groaning nearby. He says he stumbled across two of the Walking Dead (MF rulebook, pg. 101) and was just finishing them off when the party arrived.

"And where there's two, there must be more nearby! C'mon! My home is this way!" He'll point to an overgrown trail leading off the road while he also checks the ammo in his pistol. Satisfied that he's got plenty left, he'll begin running up the trail, motioning for the party to follow.

Darion is only telling half the truth. Yes, there are Walking Dead in the area. It just happens to be Darion and his family. Darion and his "family" are Walking Dead who happened to retain their human intelligence after they turned. Knowing they would be destroyed when discovered, Darion moved his small zombie clan to the isolated farmhouse. To keep the zombie virus from spreading out of his control, he and his family feed, then shoot their victims in the head to keep them from rising. When the party arrived, Darion had just finished off two unfortunate victims he had attacked on the road. And the PCs arrived just in time to feed the rest of his family.

Darion plans to lead the PCs back to the house where his clan lies waiting. They have not fed in a while and are borderline feral with hunger. However, the Mutant Lord should keep in mind that these are intelligent Walking Dead who have managed to survive this long through guile and subterfuge. When the party arrives, the the "family" will be seen cautiously looking out of the home's windows. "They're with me!" Darion will shout. "Let us in! There are Dead about!" The family (his "wife", "brother", "uncle" and two teen "sons") will eagerly unbolt the door and welcome the party.

Walking Dead (6) (AL C, MV 120' (40'), AC 8, HD 5, #AT 2 (rend/bite), DG 1d6/2d6, SV L4, ML 7, mutations: none)

Darion and the family will make a big production of barring the door and watching out the windows for other "zombies in the area." The family will try to separate the party. ("You stay here at the front window, and you come upstairs with me.") When the PC's guard is down, that's where they will attack. Darion is the only one armed with a pistol, but he will hesitate to use it as his ammo is running low and he plans to use the bullets on the PCs once they've been defeated, eaten, and before they turn as well.

This encounter could potentially turn very deadly, so the Mutant Lord is encouraged to give the PCs every opportunity for heroic life-saving actions. Perhaps one of the family could snap under the pressure and attack the party prematurely before they are separated. Or the party could hear moaning and groaning from the basement and, upon inspection, they find a future victim tied up for future feeding.

If things go badly, Darion will abandon his family and escape. He could become a threat if not tracked down as he may create a massive Walking Dead army just for revenge upon the PCs. These newly created zombies may not have Darion's intelligence, meaning the zombie plague could run wildly unchecked throughout the Mutant Future!