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Archive for February, 2013

druid-british-by-william-stukeleyBeginning with a tale of yore, my first dungeons and dragons character Schmuckley Shillelagh, and eventually continuing with observations on the evolution of the druid through its many incarnations, this tiresome, long-winded series of articles is a tribute to the class of characters known as the Druid.

My fascination with the druid began in an unlikely way. Watching a television show from the 70s, M.A.S.H. at one point, the shows funniest character when asked his religion on a military form responds that he is a druid. He was my favorite character, played by Alan Alda, who has gone on to become one of my least favorite actors, but as a child I idolized his flippant form of cutting humor, barbed with truth, so I went to the encyclopedia, and found that druids were an ancient religion who worshipped trees, namely the oak.

Do not worry if your job is small
And your rewards are few.
Just remember that the mighty oak
Was once a nut, like you.
(anon.)

This poem was taped to the wall in my childhood bedroom, left over from a birthday card perhaps, and between the druids, and this poem, I became a tree hugger. It was only natural that my frst d&d character should be a druid.

At the beginning of seventh grade, after a year of trying to learn dungeon mastering with my friends, junior high brought me in contact with a new friend who had learned to play with his older, wiser brother. He had a tackle box of lead figures and stacks of books to prove it, including notebooks full of house rules. He also wanted to be the dungeon master, and I was only too happy to oblige as we formed a new larger group of friends throughout our first year of middle school. Roge was a great friend, and a great dm, a little stiff at times, but very smart and earnest. Eventually the group would divide its time between him and I as the dungeon master, until I eventually became the full time dm. I looked him up on the internet one time and he was pastor of a small church in a rural town around here.

Roge was lucky enough to dm the Dragonlance campaign for us, but that was a year or two later, and my character was the duelist Alec Le Font. His ability to parry the death blow was legendary and he also was a disguise expert – before there were skills! Another famous Roge campaign was our Star Frontiers game, where I played Yossarian the Yazarian, a goggle wearing flying monkey man mechanic or something. One additional coolness factor of this game was that we played through the 2001 and 2010 adventure modules when they first came out, like right after we saw the movie 2010, which also corresponded to around the time 2001 was released on beta-max or laser disk or some other incredible new technology. Anyway it was big, and fun in a weird way. Fodder for later tales of yore, all, but for now we must discuss the druid.

Schmuckley Shillelagh was a druid who lasted for a year or so of regular play, and which saw him raised to seventh level. He wielded a scimitar, because they were awesome, and he wore a tray that held potted plants, like a beer seller at a ball game. schmuckley’s specialty was plants, and his token move was to hurl a potted plant at an enemy and cast the spell entangle. by this means he brought verdure and growth to the dankest of dungeons. I used to imagine all the different species I would power-plant through the use of entangle.

Schmuckley disdained the use of metal armor, and even metal weapons in fact, except for the scimitar whose curved blade is sickle-like. He carried a sling for the occasional ranged attack, and kept a staff, or walking stick at hand. The scimitar sheathed until attacked. His cudgel was useful for his namesake spell Shillelagh.

The druid was neutral, and attempted to maintain the balance between law and chaos, good and evil. Schmuckley would not kill an unthinking animal if it could be helped. Nor would he set fires to living plants, to y comrades chagrin whose usual answer to all problems was to set bigger and bigger blazes. I was literally protecting the forests of this fantasy realm. Schmuckley came to hate the use of fire due to these barbarians he travelled with.

Other spells of note include Goodberry, once the Unearthed Arcana came out and Heat Metal. The aforementioned Shillelagh was great in conjunction with Faerie Fire which Schmuckley was using long before drow made it popular.

As he grew in level, Call lghtning became a favorite, and Tree was better the Feign Death. Produce Flame, Warp Wood, and Obscurement were a lot of fun to use.

druid5

This was the druid I grew up playing, and he formed the foundation of a lot of ideas, including a life-long love of trees, and for the look and smell of mistletoe. Protecting the innocent and the neutral, by means of heating metal, warping wood, and calling down the lightning, calling woodland beings, and handing out healing berries (that keep!) to allies in need. Schmuckley had no animal companion, but would befriend the natural creatures through every area he passed.

He would speak with owls whenever possible and would sniff the ground to learn of its passers-by. Schmuckley loved fresh soil and believed it to be a healing agent. He would astound villagers with his knowledge by proving it with a demonstration. He would find a child with a recent bee sting and make a mud pack. It would draw the stinger out as the mud dried, proving the healing qualities of good fresh soil.

He never turned into a bear that I recall because he had other offensive tools like Flame Blade, but he was known to turn into a bluebird or a fox a time or two before he was retired (it was my turn to DM the Temple of Elemental Evil) to live out the life of a hermit in the bole of a great oak tree in the center of a grand old forest.

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Step right up to the zombie apocalypse!

Step right up to the zombie apocalypse!


Each week the success of our zombie apocalypse survival horror campaign continues to amaze. There have been issues for sure, many of them related to the sudden shift out of heroic fantasy and into something more modern, gritty, and “realistic,” but despite these bumps, the game is providing tons of fun for me and, I hope, the players as well.

On the menu this post-Valentine’s was meat and bread, with optional cheese. More steaming, dripping, details would do well to spice up the savory meal, but that should be left to the reader’s imagination, as the story must go on. Let it be said that all present were well sated, and that with good company, good food, and good drink, good times must perforce progress. Even an incompetent zombie master such as yours truly is counted amongst the capable when such circumstances prevail — which said zombie master knows well, and is thus able to contrive his own success beforehand, thereby putting truth to the lie. Or something. On the other hand, it was the player of dr zara zhar who brought such bounteous meat, and that of buzz lombardo who supplied the loaves, so while the key to a successful evening might well be in the hands of the incompetent master of dungeons, the many doors and locks insure that real success lies in cooperation, in life as well as in a role playing game.

Enough philosophy, let us bust some heads.

When the survivors escaped from the Broadway bridge the previous night, Buzz Lombardo and Scarlet Harlowe were separated from the rest. Scarlet and Buzz made their way across the highway and to the swanky apartment of Scarlet, Briarcliff Meadows, which stood on a bluff overlooking the river and the city and the highway. As the night progressed, they had a view of the chaos spreading, and watched as the infected victims clogging the highway below turned into a maniacal mob. They could hear the screams as the thousands of stranded fought and struggled against the initial wave of green-eyed infected. The TV continued to warn of dangerous weather fallout, until local news switched after midnight to a call from the mayor for anyone without decent shelter to make their way to the center of downtown. Then the lights went out and they knew they had to flee.

Dressed in the warmest clothes they could find, they set out into the night on Buzz Lombardo’s motorcycle. The problem was that the apartment complex was surrounded on all sides by the highway system, which was crawling with crazed lunatics who seemed unimpeded by the frigid temperatures, though the skin of these unfortunate victims turned various shades of blue from the cold. The more they drove, the more zombies the bike attracted, until they found an underpass and made it into the nearby suburb of north kansas city. by this time they had attracted a large mob of zombies staggering slowly after them.

Outside the hardware store, the rest of the survivors were finishing packing necessities into the newly absconded Cadillac escalade sport utility vehicle. They heard the approaching motorcycle and were re-united with the co-passengers of ill-fated google flight 666 from the nigh before. Safety lay in numbers, and after all the escalade comfortably seats 10. Lombardo didn’t want to lose his harley though, and so he and Amber quickly found and mounted a small trailer as Lombardo’s mob of zombies began appearing at the end of the street. the survivors pulled out onto the street with time to spare.

It was 10 am, and as dark as 10 pm. The temperature was well below freezing, and the sky was a mass of roiling dark clouds, full of black ash from the passing asteroid. All night long snow and sleet had glazed the world in a dirty grey layer of ice and driving was treacherous.

The jazz singer Zooey Zubizu took the wheel and navigated the vehicle through town. Their goal was the local amusement park, Worlds of Fun, where Mary Sue’s church youth group were stranded. Unfortunately the softball star was ill in the back seat the entire episode, due to an unfortunate encounter with a meatball sub, but she, as well as the player who played her, were there in spirit. (The show must go on!)

Zooey pulled the lumbering SUV onto the main thoroughfare in front of the hardware store. The streets were abandoned, and power was out most everywhere. Cars were stranded in the road or on the side, many with their doors open or with shattered windshields. Occasionally they would spot a silhouette or two lurching along in the darkness. They did not slow or stop for any of these forlorn figures. Once or twice they spotted headlights down a side-street, until a big truck, a hummer actually, pulled up behind them and started flashing its lights and revving its engine.

Zooey was not about to stop, so Buzz Lombardo rolled down the window and was like ‘what?’ a man’s voice shouted for them to pull over. he was like, ‘i dont think so’ and the guy said ‘i want that harley’ and rammed into the back of the trailer with the harley. luckly, it was secured well, and rattled around but the trailer and the bike survived the impact.

Zooey accelerated as best she could as the hummer rammed them a second time. it was clear they needed to give fight or flight. Rummaging through the plastic tubs from the hardware store, the scarlet harlot found a nail gun. It fired five round bursts, and after a quick argument, she ended it by rolling down her window, and firing at the wheels of the hummer. incredibly two nails struck the tire and caused the hummer to swerve and slow down momentarily as he fought for control. then his window rolled down and a shot was fired. Two bullets tore through the back door of the escalade, one of the bullets grazing the thigh of Italia d’Italia. His next shot blew out one of the back windows, just above the crouching form of J the video store clerk.

All bets were off. Buzz and J both unleashed their guns on the hummer, and though most rounds missed, one bullet put a spiderweb of cracks through the windshield of their pursuer. it was all the Scarlet Harlot needed. she unleashed another five rounds of nails into the cab, blasting through the cracked windshield, and the truck quickly decelerated, turning away. Zooey did not give it a second thought but gunned the engine, leaving the stranger in their dust.

A few minutes later they were out of the town and overlooking the plains upon which Worlds of Fun was situated. Though the day was dark as a moonless night and most of the city lay in darkness, the amusement park was lit up in all its glory. Roller coasters, a giant ferris wheel, carousels, and all the other dazzling attractions of the fun park were on and turned to the max. Somehow even from this distance, they felt like they could see and hear the screams of children on that ferris wheel of doom. It was at this point that more than one survivor suggested abandoning the plan of saving the children and seeking shelter instead.

The goth chick believed she was in tune with the spiritual world, and tried to sense if there were safety or danger below. she got a big no on the safety and a big yes on the danger. Buzz Lombardo was not a fan of church groups, and besides, the chick who wanted to save the kids isn’t even here! They decided to save the kids but it was dicey there for a moment.

Then they noticed the odd site taking place in the fields behind the amusement park. A military base had been set up complete with an airfield, and lines of stealth bombers were landing and taking off. It was known that there was a secret stealth bomber base near the city, but that did not explain why they should be in this unusual spot. Besides the jets, there was a flurry of activity on the ground and there were guard towers and barbed wire strung around the perimeter and many soldiers. The camp was situated so that it was shielded from the city and the nearby highway by the amusement park, and they were using that as camouflage for their activities, or to keep the zombies away. The other thing they noticed was a long line of semi-trucks with flatbed trailers, protected by soldiers, waiting in a long line to be offloaded onto the bombers. Whatever large objects they carried lay hidden under tarps, two to a truck, two to jet.

They cautiously approached the highway, driving off-road, and found it to be heavily congested with dead vehicles, but very few if any people. they wove between cars, and saw the answer to where the people went as they crossed over to the other side and saw lines of infected individuals standing at the chain link fence that separated the amusement park from the highway. hundreds of people were lined up along the fence or staggering alongside, looking for a way into the bright and shining amusement park.

Many of the survivors knew their way around the park, and Didi the raver and Zara the scientist had a common friend who worked there, Jeffrey the technician.

wofThey drove towards the rear entrance, which butted up against a neighborhood, rather than the main entrance which was surrounded by acres of parking lot, as well as heightened military activity. as they approached the padlocked gate, a nearby military guard tower spotted them with its spotlight. A voice told them to turn back, they were entering a dangeroud and off-limits area. Zooey ignored the sound advice and gunned the engine straight through the front gate, blasting it open as the escalade surged through and into the main courtyard. A machine gun from the guard tower chased them with its bullets.

From here they could see the ferris wheel at the long end of a winding lane full of fanciful fun. There were chidren on the ride, huddled up and screaming, as the wheel spun relentlessly around, for what must have been the past twelve hours. The evidence of that time of terror were visible in the form of a zombie, limbs torn from its body as it got caught in the turning struts or another empty car was filled with blood and gore, but no sign of child or zombie. below the children, staggering around were dozens of zombies. Many of these zombies were the parents of the children but there was no telling why the children should be left alone on the ride in the first place, while their parents became zombified.

The children being here at all was due to a special private party arranged for the youth group months in advance. Without warning of the asteroid until it was too late and the party was begun, the children were simply, tragically forgotten, and they had no idea of the sudden evacuation the previous evening until it was too late. It was also a fact known to the journalist Scarlet and J the video store clerk, that the missouri senator and previous mayor of kansas city, Emmanuel Cleaver, was holding a birthday for his grandchild here the same night. Many of the zombies looked too well dressed to be parents of a church youth group.

The plan was to turn off electricity to all but the ferris wheel, and then to find a way to get the children out and safe. To turn off the power, thy needed to go to the electric room, which, thanks to Jeffrey, zara knew to be in the back of the house of mirrors. This was the old ‘festhaus’ building on the map, which was close.

Aside – here a small argument broke out as a number of players mentioned that 1, there was no house of mirrors at worlds of fun, and that there was little chance the main power supply room is in either the actual festhaus or the so-called house of mirrors, and that nonetheless there would be a back door. I responded calmly that yes there was a house of mirrors and that yes in fact they were going into it. I added that it was directly across the street from the clown tent. clown tent? clown tent.

They pulled up in front of the house of mirrors. The eight of them emptied out of their vehicle in front of the clown tent, no sign of clowns, that was good. Zara was in the lead as they entered the house of mirrors.. (aside – she was the winner of the valentine’s day easter egg) As she wound her way through the mirrors, her head appearing large, then tiny, then suddenly she had huge feet a tiny waist and incredibly long ears, then there were ten of her, then she heard a groaning sound a a mirror near her wobbled and fell, she saw a dark form lurch behind it. she pulled out her bowie knife, from the hardware store, you know how they always have those knife displays, and she stabbed. she wasn’t very strong, or very good with a knife, and her wrist was grabbed in a big hot grip. she heard and felt heavy breathing on the side of her neck as a dark figure leaned in toward her.

‘Hey hey hey, you dont wanna go stabbin’ Jeffrey now do ya?’ he said before their eyes met and electricity flowed between them. zara remembered a time years back when she was a sophomore in college and finally went to a frat party which she always hated. this time was different and she met this handsome, charismatic, though rotund young black man named Jeffrey. They shared a bottle of wine and a night together, and she spent the next year at college trying to track Jeffrey down but never saw him again. until now. She saw the same memories flash through Jeffrey’s eyes. He lets go of her hand (do you continue to plunge the knife? um, no) and took her in his arms in a big bear hug. Zara! Jeffrey! Will you help us? Sure, can i come with you? sure!

inspired by zombieland

inspired by zombieland


He mentions a second group of kids on the wooden roller coaster, the Timber Wolf, and he tells them how after midnight the military rounded up the people, put the kids on the roller coaster and the ferris wheel, as distractions, and left the parents to their fate as they cordoned off the area. They turn off power to tho park, and they leave power on to the rides with kids on them.

when the power is off, the speed off to the ferris wheel, crash through the low fence and Zooey starts running down zombies, and smashing them into the platform, then backing up and running down more, while the windows roll down and each of the survivors tries to take down as many zombies as they can. the scarlet harlot uses a nail gun, the video store clerk, low on ammo, uses hairspray and a lighter, and ends up fighting a flaming haired clown from out the back window.

guns fire, wheels squeal, zombies lurch, and Zara and Jeffrey leap out onto the platform. zara uses her kung fu skills to knock zombies off the platform while Jeffrey works the gears, first turning off the incessant music, then the lights, then finally slowing it so they can remove the kids and toss them through the open window of the escalade, until all eight kids are rescued.

Zombies have come up to the open windows of the escalade and grab for those succulent living within, but the survivors manage to fend off their attacks, taking out over a dozen of them before speeding off towards the timber wolf. in the sudden silence, they can hear the sound of treads tearing up the sidewalks of the amusement park. they catch sight of a rumbling tank as they zoom through a cross-path and narrowly avoid getting blasted to the moon. we wrap it up with them getting the kids off the timberwolf (hand waved, it was getting late) and rescued another four kids. There are now 12 kids between 8-11 in the vehicle, plus the 8 adults, that is a car full of twenty living bodies. Everyone has a kid on their lap, and kids are stuffed into every nook and cranny as they speed out of the park and into the parking lots surrounding the main entrance.

As they drive off, victorious, they catch sight of the semi trucks and realize that under each tarp is a massive nuclear warhead. there are hundreds of them. they must be the warheads from the nuclear missile silos dotting the mid-west, but what are they doing, loading them onto stealth bombers, and why now?

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westlake

So the game night fell on my 41st birthday, which was pretty cool. I got me some presents, also cool, and got to pick one of my favorite meals, choosing taco crunch, which is basically like taco salad but with tortilla chips. yum. Not as much gaming got done as
I had hoped but that was mostly my own fault, for having too much fun, oops. Thanks to my players, who keep coming back.

So anyway, we ended the last session with safety found, when the survivors arrived at the softball princess Mary-sue’s house, and foreboding, when she remembered that her entire church youth group was trapped at the local amusemment park, and must be saved. But first, they must wait out the night. Zooey was injured – a pretty deep scratch, and no one was prepared for what lay ahead.

They made sleeping arrangements and set up for the night. mary-sue, zooey and amber shared the one bedroom, and were kept awake by branches scratching the window. The curtains were drawn and furniture was piled against the window, but the scratching continued and eventually grew worse. a thump and something else was scratching at the glass. it was the corpse bride’s hand, scratching at the peeling wood around the edge of the windowpane. Mary-sue eventually filled a cooler with water and wrestled the hand into it. it was frozen solid the next morning, the cooler quietly thumping about.

The television continued to warn of dangerous weather fallout from the meteoric event, with plummeting temperatures and dark skies. local news broke in after midnight with the mayor proclaiming that the downtown area was being converted to a safe zone and that anyone who could, should make there way within the perimeter, naming off the streets where all police officers, firemen and other rescue workers should report. This however , was all happening south of the river, and the bridges were all impassable. At 3 am the station stopped transmitting, and bad weather prevented satellite and cell phones. They were cut off but thankfully still had power.

The next morning, rifling through mary-sues closet revealed boxes of matching pink and purple sweat suits advertising 8 years of Bible Thump Baptist Youth Camp. thus they set out. a corpse groom staggered down the middle of the street, his rotting top hat still clutched in a skeletal hand as it dragged its feet slowly along. though the world was covered in a grey sheet of ice and it was at least 20 below freezing, the flesh of the corpse was blue and moved as if it werent frozen, what little remains. the cracking of its bones could be heard from the front porch.

Before going to worlds of fun to rescue a dozen screaming kids, the survivors needed to equip themselves. in the neighborhood was a small convenience store, named chang’s, and a tavern called the winchester. At the end of the street was a cadillac dealership, a pawn shop, and a westlake’s hardware.

chang’s was a funny incdent. a bunch of corpses outside the door but the open sign is lit up. ding-ding, they enter to see an old chinese man with a shotgun behind the counter. ‘no shirt no shoes no life no service!’ he shouted. They bought gloves and some snack food and went on. about this time I gave up and let them go shopping. first of course was the escalade, then came the guns in the pawn shop, and a radio. they tuned to the local stations but could only hear confused shouting between emergency workers about containing a riot.

Then they moved on to the hardware store, and whatever crazy thing they thought up I had them make a survival + attribute check to find. there was some pretty good stuff,which i made sure they wrote down – if it isnt written down you don’t have it! Of course they all thought that meant whatever they wrote down they had. That is the kind of players I have.

Oh at some point they raided the subway next door and made 24 footlongs, and a crate of 50 uncooked sandwich hoagies. Mental note – next week should be footlong week.

One funny thing, Italia’s player was like, yeah I want a chain with nails in it! And i was like, ok you can get length of chain and a bunch of nails, then later on you can put them together. and she was like, oh…

They got all sorts of stuff, loaded up the back of the escalade, which seats 9 comfortably, and then we ended, since we managed to waste a whole session (or half of one really since we started so late) on such shenanigans. Still fun though.

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zombieteam-fanpop

Here we go. This was it. The dead have risen.

Stuck on a freeway clogged with vehicles into darkness, the Survivors had no choice but to flee into the dark shadows of the railyard. Already they had faced the crazed infected and could hear screams and violence from up and down the highway. The scientist Dr Zara zhar had lost a shoe in their flight, and Zooey the jazz singer had on only a sequin dress and high heels. Luckily they had some bandages from a lost medical kit, and so fashioned some padded footware for the journey. Zooey did not want to damage her favorite heels and Zara felt chagrin at the lost of her cross-trainer. She had to special order them, where would she find a replacement? A bubbly blonde in a softball costume chance met on the highway promised her house was just on the other side of the railyard, in North Kansas City. It was a two bedroom walk-up with a chain link fence. She pointed across the railyard to the lights of the suburb, like stars in the darkness. They set out.

After crossing a slow moving coal train, they came to a space of a hundred yards between tracks. The next train was a cattle car, clanking and creaking in the dark. The sky above was becoming overcast, hiding the black expanding scar high in the atmosphere above the clouds, the meteor’s trail. It was very dark, with only a few railyard lights high and far between to light the place. It was becoming increasingly cold and windy, and grey flakes of snow mixed in the blown dust. The weather was interfering with cell phones, and the last radio message before leaving the highway was a public service announcement advising everyone to seek immediate shelter sue to extreme weather “fallout” from the passing meteor. No mention of infected maniacs surviving gunshot wounds and trying to feast on the brains of the nearest uninfected.

As the snaky line of survivors reached the middle of the field the jazz singer head a scuffling in the gravel in the darkness to her left. A low moaning sound followed. Peering into the darkness, she saw the outline of a cow, its head lowered, and whispered “just a cow” to the others. The line continued. At the word “cow” the mighty bull raised its head, showing a rack of horns hidden previously, and charged. The horns nearly caught Italia d’Italia, but Zooey was not so lucky, and she was gored and lifted high in the air. She grabbed its ear in one hand and its ringed nose with her other and attempted to pull herself from the horn as she was whipped around but lacked the strength.

Suddenly two shots rang out as the quiet kid with the backpack full of dr who videos let loose with two fist full of fury. Two red blossoms bloomed on its shoulder blade. Another crack sounded as the erstwhile softball princess broke the bulls foreleg. The bull staggered Zooeys daughter Amber was able to pull her mother of with Dr Zhar’s aid. They pulled her clear of the bull and watched, mesmerized as the bull slowly toppled face first into the gravel. It snorted and pawed with its back legs, slowly inching itself forward muzzle first and they saw a pale green reflection in its eyes. It was infected.

They backed away, applied a bandage to Zooey’s side – fortunately just a flesh wound, though her dress was ruined – and continued. The cattle cars were becoming more active, and booming sounds could be heard as the cows hurled themselves against the sides of the train cars. The survivors passed through safely and entered the outskirts of the town.

They passed through a silent area of factories and warehouses and into town. It was mostly empty but alarming sounds of chaos could be heard echoing through the streets: screams, gunshots, sirens, the screeching of tires, breaking glass, explosions. Turning into the residential district, they saw a four way intersection ahead. A police squad car, lights flashing, blocked the intersection, and an old station wagon idled in the middle of the street with a dark bundle in the pavement in ront of it. One headlight was out. The softballer’s house lay at the end of the street, they had the option of cutting through the small park to their left, an old cemetery actually, or to go through the intersection. Zooey, in pain, asked them to consider the short cut, but prejudice against the dead won out, and they came to the scene of an accident.

The police car was on but empty, its front doors left open. They could see a silhouette in the back. The other car had a crashed fron end and a body lay in the street. All four doors were open and standing around the body was a family of four. Two teens looked on in disinterest, as a middle aged man and woman argued about what exactly happened. They looked up and waved the others over to them, with a warning.

They had a strange tale. Mabel was driving, they were trying to get out of town for the holidays, when out of nowhere a someone popped up in front of the car. She slammed on the breaks but it was too late, and struck the body. It was a woman in a wedding dress. A woman who had obviously been dead for a long time, and was little more than rags and bones. Her skull lay crushed in front of the dented fender, arms outstretched, rotten silk trailing in the wind. There was no pale green light in those dark sockets. Bob and Mabel and family got back into their car after hearing the survivors tale of mayhem on the highway.

The players meanwhile were inspecting the police car. They found no weapons but a long flashlight. They planned to drive the police car down the street to the blonde’s house. Zooey waited int he drivers seat while teveryone got situated, including sticking the video store clerk in the trunk, ad her eyes were fixed on the corpse. She noticed a few fingers start to twitch, and the hand started dragging itself forward. She watched the fabric tear, speechless, as the arm pulled itself out of the socket and continued to crawly slowly toward her, free of its body.

“We gotta go people, we’re gonna have company!” she wailed as she looked up to the open gated of the Shady Rest park and cemetery. Dead bodies were pulling themselves from the dirt within and beginning to stagger out of the gates. Mabel apparently saw the same incredible sight, and hit the gas, leaping forward, crushing the corpse bride, and slamming into the back end of the police car. Thankfully no one was hurt but the axle was damaged and the wheel threatened to come free with every rotation. Zooey gave it as much gas as she dared, but the police car rolled along barely faster then the walking dead.

Six corpse made it out of the gate and into the street as the police car slowly rolled past. They reached out with skeletal fingers and grasped whatever they could, pulling themselves toward the windshields as the lost balance and were dragged along. Yhey clinked their rotting teeth against the glass trying to bite their way through. Somehow the disembodied corpse hand had found itself up onto the hood of the squad car and was gouging screeching scratches into the paint as it pulled itself toward Zooey.

Amber used some deft work with the wiper blades to fling the hand free of the car, while they timed a suddenly burst of speed with the opening of the car doors to fling the rest of the zombies free. It worked for all but one, who clung on the whole ride down the sreet to the blonde’s house. When they arrived, the were able to quickly exit the vehicle and get into the house before it regained its feet. It followed them up the front porch and started scratching against the door. They needed to do something about it, so with a bat and some well placed kung fu kicks from the scientist they reduced it to a quivering mass of rotting flesh and broken bone. It was still quivering though, so they got out the hose and washed it off the porch and into the yard. Who knows what that will do for the roses next spring.

Survived.

As they were sorting out sleeping arrangements, one of the survivors realizes with horror that her church’s youth group was having a lock-in at the local amusement park, Worlds of Fun, and that they needed saving. There was nothing she could do to help them survive the night, other than pray, but they had a plan for tomorrow – ad next week!

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