Monday Night Massacre - The Set Up

The Monday Night Massacre is a game that I am running for some old friends down in the mighty, MIGHTY town of Oxford, where men are Men and women are Women and a night out is Hardcore Awesome. In fact it would be well timed for me to state that Oxford, while having not studied there (or at least not in an academic sense) learned some very valuable life lessons and also managed to discover a community of people that were simply some of the finest a person could be honored to know. In short, if you're in Oxford and you're looking for a real pint and some alternative music then you REALLY need to get your behind in to the Gloucester Arms pub just so that you know where to start the evening, if you don't end it there too (which I have done, on many an occasion). Ahem... where was I...? Ah yes, Monday Night Massacre. MNM is initially planned to be a 'throw away game' using the All Flesh Must Be Eaten game by Eden Studios, a fantastic game concept (because of it's sheer simplicty) with a remarkable system (for the same reason). What I'm going to be doing with this section of the Ferg-Log is to document the events of the game, telling the story from a third person perspective and adding the occasional Zombie Master note in there for prospective GMs that fancy a go at running this simple 'Dash 'n' Splat' game. Firstly, it's important for both the players and the ZM to realise that this is exactly that: a 'throw away game'. We have another very capable GM who is very much looking forward to running another AMFBE campaign but requires a little more time to set up and get his ideas down for it - and I absolutely respect that, especially given his ability as a GM to move a story along with minimal player-pushing or having to crack out the Plot Club (because, and let's be honest here, sometimes the players can be notoriously stupid and miss the most obvious of plot points). But still folks wanted a game, in a hurry and I just happened to have the material ready to go - with some tiny tweaks to boot. The starting point (but certainly not end, I hope) is an utterly unimportant village / town slap-bang in the middle of nowhere - erring toward the premise that isolation will make for a good introduction to the campaign (especially since one of players I'm expecting is brand new to RPGs) and I really want to focus on the characters' ability to survive the initial incursion. I've opted for the rural landscape of Arizona to start out: gorgeous and distinct, desolate yet intriguing. To subconsciously suggest to the players that this immediate starting location is going to utterly trounced within a couple of chapters or so, I have given it the innocuous name of 'Clump', alternatively referred to by the locals as 'Little Shithole' which should give the players a distinct impression to what they're going to be dealing with to begin with. Before the session begins, I explain to the players that the characters they are creating or acquiring will be first meeting in the town which comprises of the following: A petrol station and garage at the north end of the town A general store where a plethora of provisions (including a VERY limited ammunition stock) will be available A diner-by-day / bar-by-night A rotting, dilapidated church that, while out of character for the town, is considerably older than the town itself A motel of suspiciously low standards A sheriff's office with a grand total of three cells, one of which is often used by the sheriff About two dozen trailers in various states of disrepair, not necessarily occupied. Like I said, it's a Clump. Essentially, the idea is to leave elements of annoyance, depression, submission and as much apathy as possible with the players as quickly as possible. Why? Because I want them to feel like they're going to achieve something with every session of surviving the onslaught. If they escape Clump, it's going to show. It will hopefully draw out a sense of ambition, especially if the characters they make haven't previously HAD any sense of ambition OR had their previous aspirations ground in to the dirt; the moral of the story being: 'Chances are you're already surrounded by mindless, bloodthirsty, sub-human wretches; an actual zombie apocalypse would just give you an excuse to do something constructive.' So here goes, remembering that these players are in 'sandbox mode' and I am not intentionally going to try and prevent them from doing they want to do. Speaking of the characters, the first evening introduces us to: Greg 'Hilly' Hill - the Mechanic and gas station attendant: he's a dab hand with a wrench and a shotgun. Earl - the Soldier - was a career forces man until 'stuff' happened and... well.. now he ain't. Norman Hendrix - the Scientist - it's his first piece of field research for years... and they sent him to Clump. 'Hammy' - the Radio guy - To be honest, he's just chasing the signals.... straight to HELL!!! :D There's another player coming in for the next session playing a rambunctious young boy scout.... it just keeps getting better. So, I'll start at the beginning...