ROTWORLD: Actual Play

Oct 5, 2012

So, I finally managed to run Rot World for a group during my semi-annual power gaming weekend. The attendees were given a choice between AD&D or Rot World. The overwhelming choice was to play RW. I honestly didn’t expect it to get played so I was minimally prepared and I only used the minimum portion of the system needed — character ability and skill checks on the action table. All book modifier tables were ignored in favor of simple difficulty adjustments by the Corpse Master. I love that term.

The players were allowed to pick and choose skills, backgrounds, and place attribute rolls to fit their interest. My major forcing point was to pre-set why they were a group at a county fair in the middle of summer. The group ended up having one ex-military guy, a side show ax and weapon tosser, and a security system specialist.

As for the scenario, it was a pure one-off, use every trope in the zombie genre. I essentially took Dawn of the Dead and relocated it into small, plains towns with minimal entry/exit points. The game opened with a tanker wreck in the heart of town at the intersection of the two major highways. The tanker was leaking an unknown fluid and the cab had been subject to a significant explosion. The players along with a large group of locals went to investigate but were rebuffed by the local authorities. Many hints were dropped that the driver of the tanker should no longer be alive but was still moving. [Exponential decrease in exposure to reanimation].

From that point forward, it was pure sandbox. The military escort planes arrived and blew up key points along the highways , effectively trapping the party from just leaving in a vehicle. Soon afterward, heavy hauling C130’s dropped ground troops and vehicles to reinforce the initial perimeter. Being a town, there will still many avenues for the characters to escape.

They chose to go overland on stolen ATV’s from the fairgrounds but paused as an early perimeter defense sniper took out civilians who left ahead of them. Due to several very, very lucky rolls they managed to escape the original perimeter but paused long enough for a larger, more efficient military force to take up positions well outside of the original demarcation line. I likely railroaded them a bit more during a break by telling a player they were very unlikely to escape the situation.

Prior to leaving the city, the characters were well aware that the high school was an ‘evacuation site’. They were in possession of local security radios and captured a military radio later. After hitting a few different road blocks, they chose to go back into the city and try to work the military as an escape mechanism. The idea of fleeing on foot almost got them captured and detained. They would have been penned up except for great rolls by the ex-military guy and his high personality.

Upon the return, they were looking for supplies so ventured into the heart of town. Being nearly 2 days later, the city was completely overrun with infected but most were contained in the softball field near the high school during the quarantine period. A few zombies were fought but easily overcome. As they were looting the local gun shop, they received a radio transmission from the high school. The force that had been in charge of the quarantine were now trapped and left by the commanding force. The party had to choose between surviving or rescuing people they saw as having screwed them earlier. To up the tempo, I tossed in the nugget that the city would be fire-bombed (napalm) in four hours. That was the last communication the stranded military had.

The party decided to rescue the military guys even though they knew they could get out of the bombing zone. It involved visiting the local farm equipment dealership, a tractor, a HMMVV, and a couple of crop sprayers. It was chaotic with numerous roadblocks to hinder them but they managed to effect a rescue. Once they accomplished the rescue, the party turned to leaving the city to escape destruction.

And again, pure sand box style, the ex-military guy with a phenomenal personality tossed kick the CM worthy die. His roll allowed them to approach and leave the containment zone. That allowed us to wrap up the session in an effective manner.

Of course, given the trope-filled night. At least one zombie escaped to continue the infection.


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