This being the Friday before St Patrick’s day (he was a saint!) we celebrated Irish style, and on the menu we had corned beef and cabbage, lots of it. Two point-cut briskets baked in the oven were the main course, while a pair of cabbages, one green and one purple, were cooked to perfection 3 different ways. I steamed cabbage by putting it in a colander over a pot of boiling water, with butter and salt. I sauteed cabbage in a large pan with grilled onions and butter, and finally, I tried a new way. I put cabbage in the pan with the baking brisket for the last hour. This type of cabbage I referred to as ‘slaw’ since it contained some bits of fat, brisket, and other tidbits. It was arguably the best of the three.
Having found out this week that I am half Irish on my mother’s side, Hatfield of those Hatfields, this was an especially important holiday get-together for me. With some rolls and cupcakes provided by guests, we had a great irish feast. There was a lot of cabbage left at the end of the night, but only a pile of pink fat where the briskets once reposed. Good food, good times. Oh, and we also played some role playing games.
The group was a little smaller and more laid back this week. For awhile now, I have been using a new method of play, where I focus on the players at the table and don’t wait around or go in search of anyone who wanders off from the table. This method seems to work wonders, everyone who stays at the table is interested and having a good time. Even during combat, if it is somebody’s turn to go, and the seat is absent, I move on to the next person. They might just be away for a moment, in which case we assume the character “delayed their turn” until their return, but if a round has come and gone, then delay turns into missed turn. To offset this, “absent” characters are rarely attacked or harmed. I like to think of them as the ghost-form of a character, standing there doing nothing, like some online games use when the character is dead or incapacitated. Their character blinks from transparent blue into vivid color the moment the player sits down and asks what they can do.
Okay then, onto the game for real this time.
The survivors left the bleak house of the suicide serial killer and his yard full of undead hookers poste haste after burning the body and banishing his evil ghost. They drove all night and as dawn broke, the clouds began dispersing, warming the land and melting the ash-laden snow that covered everything, they arrived at their destination: The Church of the Prior Day Saints.
This church was a mostly unknown offshoot of the Church of Latter Day Saints(C) which was founded in the Kansas City area. The Prior Day Saints believe that the savior walked among our neanderthal and cro-magnon ancestors. Otherwise, they are a pretty crazy, cultish bunch. This building was the churches main chapel, and it looked like a small gothic cathedral tucked onto the corner of main street and Mayberry in downtown Smalltown America, an actual town in northern Missouri. Across the street was the town hall, and next door was a bar, the Winchester, and next to that was a free clinic. Around the far side of the street could be seen zombies of ill repute, like drug addicts, junkies, hookers, pimps, and teenage girls. Around the other side of the street were zombies wearing t-shirts and bearing placards with slogans such as “We believe in creation!”
The chapel was surrounded by a black wrought iron fence and the gate was locked. The church itself was stone, with thick iron-reinfoced oaken doors, and tall narrow windows. It also had a small cemetery in the back yard, which held the remains of the churches earliest members. Well, not the cave man ones, but a hundred or two years old. They were once buried there, but now holes in front of the gravestones attested to the dozen or so skeletons meandering on the wrong side of the fence. The skeletons looked black, with a supple leather skin covering them, as though their dessicated flesh had mummified. The scientists in the group pondered the unlikeliness of this situation, but they were reassured once an explanation was made, regarding very dark energy and very dark matter that has been “ionized” by the Zeta radiation emitted from the near miss of Asteroid Z.
So, the group formed a corridor of two fighters on each side, while the dozen or so children were passed over the locked gate from the roof of the escalade. Each fighter was attacked by a skeleton, on one side we had the Scarlet Harlot with her customized nail gun (it ran on hate and rage) and her protector, the dauntless Buzz Lombardo, the unsuccessful second cousin of Buzz Lightyear. He flunked out of astronaut training and spent the next 12 years at the university, mostly going to frat parties, while attempting to get a masters degree in Humanities. He will never complete his degree now.
However, they fought well together, and more than once, they helped one another. The scarlet harlot blasted a zombie in the skull with her nail gun just before it bit into Buzz’s neckbeard. Another time, She hit a zombie in the temple with a high speed nail, but it didn’t slay the beast. One of its green glowing eyes started flickering, but the other eye glowered as menacingly as ever. Buzz had a shovel (a fine melee weapon, used similarly to a bohemian ear spoon in close combat) and he used his shovel to pound the nail further into the skeleton’s skull, shattering it.
On the other side of the line stood Dr Zara Zhar and the the video clerk one-eye Jay. They combined forces in much the same way, with Zara blasting limbs off the skeleton with each karate strike, and then Jay would blast their skulls to smithereens with his twin 44 mags. One of the last skeletons was attacking Buzz, and Scarlet was unable to help since she grappled with a fiend of her own. Dead eye Jay turned around, and tried to aim through the children as they were being passed between them. Child, child, child, SPACE, child, child, child, SPACE then BOOM its a hit, the last skeleton’s head exploded into dust.
They front door was locked, so Buzz tried picking the lock… with a fireman’s axe. It wasn’t working, so they went around back and found an unlocked fire exit. They also heard faint praying coming from a tiny cottage in the back corner of the lot, and in it was Father Mmkay, the priest of the chapel. He seemed dazed and said he had seen no one since the dead came to life and has been on his knees praying for the past day and night. He also feared for Abbot Scotty, his assistant priest.
They went inside and checked the ground floor. No zombies, just a big empty chamber with pews, a stained glass window, and an ancient looking stone cross, that looked like a cross with a small circle inscribed near the axis. It was one of the foundational icons of the Church of Prior Day Saints.
Upstairs housed a small domrmitory with bathroom and showers, as well as the abbot’s chambers, which were empty, his bed unslept in. Downstairs had a kitchen and a room for playing bingo, and a locked steel door that led to, you guessed it, the crypt. Four levels of buried dead, all peacefully resting in. Riiiiight…
Luckily, the priest assured them were nothing more than ashes in urns.
The survivors debated whether they should search all four sub-basements, and in the end, they decided it was worth it to be sure. Every level was just row upon row of ash-filled urns, until the very bottom, which was empty except for a stack of crates containing unused urns. Next to that was an old dusty deep freezer. The power was out, so whatever was in there would surely be bad, right? Dr Zara Zhar opened the lid to find out.
It was bad. What happened next has been deemed to vile to ever mention again, so let us wrap this up with the knowledge that while none of the survivors were killed by what leapt shrieking and mewling out of that deep freezer, none were left unscathed, either.