We’re closing in on the finale of our Savage Worlds War of the Dead campaign. We pick up with our heroes after they escaped the relocation camp run by the army just outside and broke into the CDC buildings. There, they are greeted by a few of the surviving employees and brought down into one of the sub-levels of the CDC Headquarters in Atlanta.
In a situation room, they learn that the remaining scientists and technicians have recruited their loved ones to help, given that there are so few of them. Two of the original characters from the start of the campaign are here, a doctor and a lounge singer, now hardened by the events of the last few months.
The loved ones learn that Khan (patient Zero who started the infection in New York City and then on the cruise ship the PCs were on) has been captured and brought here. He was being studied by their scientists, as well as interrogated by the General. The General in particular was fascinated by this man who had survived the infection and now appeared almost invincible to all disease and injury.
They have learned that the infection is unlike any they’ve seen before. It is incredibly infectious, causes a fever that almost always kills the patient, then starts regenerating bodily systems and brings the body back to life – but with an animal-like intelligence, only interested in attacking others and spreading the infection.
But, they have seen in Khan’s case, and heard cases of at least a couple others, surviving the infection with their intellect intact, and gaining a regenerative system that protects and heals them from all disease, poison and injuries.
Only by damaging the heart can they stop the process – for a time. Eventually, even heart damage will heal up and the dead will walk again. Only complete incineration is a final solution.
A couple days ago last couple days, Khan broke free from his secure holding area and is somewhere in the building. The General views him as the biggest threat there is. He blames Khan for all the walking dead who are massing around the walls of the relocation camp and CDC. There are hundreds of thousands now and the General seems to believe that by killing Khan, he can somehow end this disaster.
As such, the General has put the CDC under quarantine, surrounded it with troops and vowed to activate the facility’s self-destruct system, a nuke embedded in the building. He believes everyone left in the building is contaminated and will shoot and burn anyone who tries to leave.
However, their research on Khan and the information provided by the memory stick and hard drive the heroes recovered from the cruise ship (from Khan’s possessions – he was an VP with a bio-tech firm and was trying to smuggle the information on a new project out of the country to a secret buyer, but feel victim to it), they are close to finding a cure. In the secure lab on the next level below, a lone scientist believes she can stop the virus.
While the CDC Director is explaining this to the PCs, an alarm goes off – two breaches detected. One of on Level 2 – where the self-destruct control terminal is located and one on the main level (where they had entered themselves). They quickly discuss what to do and decide it is likely the General’s soldiers trying to activate the nuke, so head to Level 2, arming themselves with the remaining CDC Security Station weapons.
On Level 2, the elevator doors open and they see the control room, but three walking dead are here.
The heroes decide to keep quiet and holster their pistols, instead using knives and a fire axe to go to work on these zombies. As they do so, the kid scoots past them, grabbing a mop as an improvised weapon and harasses them from behind.
They suddenly hear automatic gunfire from behind the door across the room. The kid breaks off and runs to the door, listening closely (and rolling an 18 on his Notice roll!). He hears a group of men talking in hushed whispers, “Don’t put too much, we only want to open it, not blow up the whole place!” Wisely, he dashes away from the door into the corner, but shouts out, “Hey guys, I think there’s someone at the door!” to his friends (Big Mouth disadvantage).
The next second, the door is blasted open and a flash bang grenade is thrown in, blinding the herbalist.
One of the girls runs across the room, grabbing the re-killed security guard’s pistol as she goes, hiding in the other corner.
The soldiers go next and unload their rifles at the group, spraying them and the zombies as they burst into the room, running for cover on either side.
The Corporal in charge runs toward the corner with the girl, laying down suppressive fire on the main group as he goes, but misses seeing the girl. She pops up and unloads her pistol into him, scoring a head shot and dropping him instantly.
Meanwhile, two of the soldiers are in the other corner with the kid. He’s hiding and they haven’t noticed him, concentrating their fire on the main group who are now caught between shooting back and dealing with a couple remaining undead. The kid pulls a flash bang grenade from one of the soldiers, pulls the pin and shoves it back in the soldier’s pocket. BANG! Soldier down.
The burglar meanwhile is struggling with the zombies and pulls off a double-move, grabbing one of the zombies and using it as cover while she shoots at the soldiers. Unfortunately, the zombie breaks free and bites the arm that held it, chomping down hard and knocking down the burglar. The other zombie bites at the herbalist and connects with her shoulder, she screams and is taken down as well.
The doctor shoots the soldier still outside of the room and hits him, knocking him down, then races forward to finish him off, but his shot hits armoured kevlar and looking up he sees there are more walking dead moving in, so decides to abandon the soldier’s fate to the zombies and get out of there. He sprints back into the room, just as the lounge singer who has been exchanging shots with the soldiers to the south is hit by a burst of automatic fire and is almost killed on the spot.
The soldiers turn their attention to the console and one begins starting the nuclear weapon activation sequence while the other covers him. The doctor sees this and stops to open fire on them, unfortunately hitting their armour.
The rest of the group sees the horde of walking dead approaching and decide they need to get out here now, the kid, the girl, the lounge singer all sprint to the elevator, pulling the zombie off the burglar and into the elevator too. As the door slides shut, the soldiers continue the arming process as zombies pour into the room, overwhelming the doctor who is busy trying to shoot up the console and dodge the covering soldier’s bullets. He is overtaken and the door closes.
The doctor is overtaken as the elevator door closes and the session ends.
The next session will likely be the last when we’ll find out:
Was the nuke activated?
What happened to Khan?
And, what about that cure?
GAME PROP NOTES
This session, I used the third basement level from Dramascape’s The Bunker for the main sub-level and situation room and then their City Sewers map for the Level 2 control room. For minis, I used the usual assortment of Heroclix and a bunch of painted minis borrowed from one of our players, Michel (thanks!).
I also used the Stuffer Shack counters for keeping track of the various soldiers and zombies, as well as the Shaken (S), Wounded (W) and other (X) notations as needed. This allows me to run a combat with almost no paperwork, other than marking off when someone is killed. I highly recommend them.