Content warning: Cannibalism.
Star Crossed Zombie Apocalypse
My friend Candace met me early for the biweekly Story Games Glendale Indie RPG Night, for some chit-chat, but as it turns out: also for some 2-player love dread! Alex Roberts’ Star Crossed is the two player tower-based RPG about two people who really want to, but really shouldn’t, or really can’t.
Our world: A “zombie” apocalypse had broken out. Zombies aren’t the living dead, but instead are people infected by a disease that makes them cannibals. In fact, zombies often fight and eat one another, meaning they are strong and fierce. Those humans who aren’t infected have gone to live in hiding, many underground, and surviving off scraps; they are starving and weak, and in constant fear of being found by the strong zombies that hunt them.
The Lead: Dr. Haus (played by Candace), a scientist that isn’t infected, who is looking for a cure. She has laid a trap to capture one of the infected, so she can experiment on them because she has a lead on the cure. What she things is her most attractive feature: her optimism. What are two things about her that she doesn’t realize are attractive: her eyes, and her intelligence.
The Follow: Cleaver (played by Tomer), an infected, strong and handsome, currently full, so is in a relaxed state. What is his most attractive feature? A kind face. What are two things he doesn’t realize are attractive? His compassion, and his well-fed physique.
What has brought us together? Cleaver has fallen into Dr. Haus’ trap. What is keeping us apart? Cleaver eventually won’t be able to control his hunger.
We started with Cleaver strapped to a medical cart, and Dr. Haus pointedly ignoring him. But before long they started to establish connections; both intelligent and well-learned, in a world which no longer cares. Our mild-manner Cleaver began to win her over in part, but not enough to allow her to loosen his restraints. Just at a moment when the doctor was trying to hide them from some of her people, noisy, exploring, and willing to kill the captured infected if he was found, we have a sexy moment of her on his lap behind a curtain, hiding, but with his hand now loosened from the restraint, dangerous. But he is stuck by a needle again, and awakens restrained further. They go back and forth, and the story ends with a moment in which the two appear to embrace for a kiss, but with his hand loose again, and her hand behind his back, needle in hand.
As always, this was a fantastic little journey. I’ve played this game half a dozen times, and it never gets old.
The Warren and A Town Called Malice
We were joined by some friends I was excited to introduce to the meetup: Chris Grey and David Kizzia and more. David was very interested in playtesting his new game: A Town Called Malice. On the positive side we had enough people join for two full tables. Unfortunately I got called into action to run, which meant I’d have to play Dave’s game another time! (Interested? Dave appears to be interviewed about it here in the Everything Horror Podcast.)
I ran The Warren for a group of three. It’d been some time since I’d run this little game of rabbits, which creates stories of the sort you’d find in Watership Down. In our case we played in the grand park of a big metropolis. We played out two seasons, as it turned out, following a group of rabbits as they attempted to save a small group of missing rabbit children from some other predators. But one of our main characters was a break-out from a lab, and there were rumors of disease. We found a section of the park cordoned off, and in the second season we find that pest control appears, dressed very much like the people from the lab, and there to spray and kill off this grand warren under the old tree with poison gas. There was injuries and a mad scramble, and a brave escape for most of the residents. The epilogue included a disease being spread to the humans, so perhaps this was just the prequel to Planet of the Rabbits.