Session 3: Safety?
And we’re back with another zombie apocalypse campaign update! We were able to get together last night after our two week hiatus, so on with the journaling!
We left the party in the middle of a mad dash for the shelter of the Swagat Inn, a fairly standard low-priced inn only one or two blocks southeast of Khaat Bazaar (where all the action from session 1 occurred). The party and their cart have arrived across the street from the inn, only to find a desperate situation here too.
The inn itself is three stories tall, with the third story slightly smaller than the second and first, creating a balcony of sorts. The front door of the inn is closed only by a saloon-style swinging door (so, not a likely place to barricade) and there are large windows looking in on the first floor. Several of the panes of these windows are broken as if by thrown rocks or arrows and a corpse lies across the threshold of the door, with several more bodies in the street between the party and the inn.
A rasping moan draws the PC’s attention, and they see some of the zombies they recently rolled over lurch to their feet. Meanwhile, more zombies are approaching from almost all directions, and it’s clear that they’ll be overwhelmed if they stay outside.
As initiative opens, Javāsa and his riding dog (Kata) dash toward the inn and bound through the door. At this point, they are able to see the action inside, and the situation isn’t pretty. There are several corpses lying amid upturned tables and chairs, and three zombies are lurching toward the stairs at the back of the room, where two men are clearly attempting to defend the stairs. Both look to be wearing the armor of the city guard, and one wields a makeshift club while the second has a longspear readied against any charging zombies.
As Javāsa takes this all in, the rest of the party begins to make their way toward the front door as well. Orlčans and Malthenniel take the time to tie up the cart and pony to a hitching ring before darting into the inn and joining in what is quickly becoming a desperate battle.
One of the three zombies is brought down by crossbow fire from up the stairs (apparently there are more survivors in the inn than just the two guardsmen), Javāsa and Kata charge another and Bracken moves up to engage with the third. Bracken’s waraxe continues to be effective, and a couple of mighty swings lay the zombie out on the ground. The other zombie, meanwhile, has managed to get a hold of Javāsa and tries to bite the halfling and drag him from his mount, but Javāsa manages to break free of his grip before any real damage is done.
Just as the party is beginning to feel somewhat secure (with only one zombie left standing and the other two coup de grace’d, it looks pretty good for them at the moment), one of the many zombies outside lurches through the swinging doors and more are beginning to crowd behind it. Malthenniel moves toward an upturned table and begins to push it toward the door to make a barricade while Bracken, Kilian, and Javāsa all move to engage this zombie. After only a few rounds, Kata manages to knock the zombie to the ground with her jaws latched around its throat while Javāsa brings his sharrash down through its temple (critical hit)!
Malthenniel is about to push the table in front of the door when Orlčans and Bracken let out simultaneous cries of “NOOOOOOOOOOOO!” It seems that a cask of ale is among the many items still sitting in the cart outside, and the two of them are frantic to get the beer safely inside. Bracken, quickly weighing the options with his slightly-less-than-stellar intelligence, steps outside into the horde of zombies, hoping that Orlčans and the others will follow and help him cut a way through to the beer.
He only makes it a few steps, however, before a zombie latches on with an iron grip and, at the beginning of the next turn, takes a vicious bite out of Bracken’s neck and shoulder. In pain and anger, the dwarf summons up a supreme effort and wrests his holy symbol from his belt, holding it high and channeling the power of his god to cow the undead. He fails to actually turn them, but the zombie holding him cringes away from the light momentarily and he is able to break free. Surrendering the ale to its fate, he squeezes back inside the inn and Malthenniel rolls the table in front of the door. The group dashes to the stairs and onto the second floor while Javāsa and Bracken hack the bottom three steps to pieces with their weapons. Abandoning the first floor to the zombies, the group retreats upstairs.
The door is quickly barricaded, and the PC’s turn around to face two city guardsmen with spears pointed at their faces backed up by at least 10 civilians, many of whom are armed with light crossbows. The lead guard gives the PC’s an appraising glance and lingers on Bracken before demanding that the dwarf be either killed or tossed out the window, since the bite mark on his shoulder is plain to see. A quick diplomacy check from Orlčans gets the PC’s permission to stay on the third floor, provided they kill Bracken as soon as he turns into a zombie. There is some debate about whether this will occur, since the PC’s haven’t seen a bitten person degenerate into a zombie yet, while the patrons claim they have. One of them also notices a smaller bite mark on Kata’s flank. Apparently the dog had been bitten in the mad dash to the inn and no one noticed, so now the PC’s have two potential zombies to watch and Javāsa may have to find himself a new animal companion.
The PC’s retreat to the third floor and begin to hole up. Malthenniel seems obsessed with finding useful items in the rooms and goes around closing curtains and raiding the linen closet for sheets and pillow cases to make into sacks and bandages. Javāsa, Kata, and Bracken move into one of the bedrooms and work at tending their wounds and, after an hour or so, it becomes clear that both Kata and Bracken are suffering from some sort of disease-like ailment. Orlčans and Kilian venture out on to the roof of the second floor to appraise the situation, but move back inside quickly as their presence seems to attract more zombies to the inn.
The cask of ale is still sitting in the remains of the cart, and Orlčans and Bracken are reluctant to simply let it be. They decide to tie Orlčans to a rope and have Bracken lower him down and haul him back up once he has the cask. Orlčans is able to avoid attacks of opportunity from the surrounding zombies and get the cask, but the obvious presence of still-living humans attracts even more zombies, and the group seems reluctant to venture out again, even hesitating to look out the windows. They decide to wait until morning to see what will happen to Kata and Bracken and in hopes that the situation will calm down and they’ll be able to formulate a plan.
Under the combined care of Javāsa and Bracken (both of whom invested in the Heal skill), Kata and Bracken make it until almost dawn before they finally feel the effects of the zombie bite. Both of them feel their insides wrenching and their muscles seem to atrophy slightly. Their skin seems to adhere more tightly to their bones and their eyes become bloodshot and sunken. Neither has died yet from the disease, but it is clear that something is wrong.
And that’s where we left the session, with the party finally in a safe location but low on food and supplies and with no plans for how to escape. Water won’t be a problem what with at least three casters preparing Create Water
, but it will only be a few days before food becomes an issue and they still don’t know how long Bracken and Kata will make it.
I hope this has been more interesting and enjoyable than my last post. I appreciate any comments you have.