Featuring a cast of ones…

by mshrm

It has been a while, hasn’t it? My original plan was to put a bunch of work into the upcoming post-apocalyptic campaign, but… y’ever heard the one about making plans? So, yeah, none of that work happened. Instead, we had all manner of domestic upheaval — some good, some bad, but all survived and more-or-less settled now — plus a chunk of overtime at work plus the loss of a player to a work-related schedule change. It has been a time.

But, we soldier on.

This past weekend, we got most of the players together for character creation for the post-apoc extravaganza. The player that we’re losing is also the one who has the stomach for keeping detailed records, so I fear that the campaign may not be as nitty-gritty resource-driven as expected. It’s possible that this is a blessing in disguise. We managed to get character concepts and nearly all the character creation finished.

Here’s our starting cast for the end of the world as they know it:

Bob T. Builder

Quite possibly a placeholder name, though I get the impression that the first name, “Bob”, is solid.

Bob is something of an everyman. He’s a general contractor with a lot of talent and experience with the building trades. He’s a skilled carpenter and mason, and if you need a door unlocked with a sledge hammer, he’s your man. He seems to have gone back to school and picked up a degree in electrical engineering, as well.

Bob lacks obvious troublesome disadvantages. He’s a “salt of the earth” kind of guy: honest, trustworthy, handy, and hard-working. He’s also got some points left to spend, so he may be picking up some further capabilities.

Cyprys Hil

Another likely alias, though in this case, it could just be because the guy doesn’t give out his real name. Cy is a likable young hipster with a guitar and a pack full of squandered potential. He’s a nice guy who makes friends easily. He’s a talented folk singer — well, teller of stories while strumming the guitar, which is almost the same thing as being a folk singer.

The problem is, he’s so lazy that he can’t properly apply his considerable talents. Furthermore, on the rare occasions when he does get a bit ahead, he always ends up giving it away to friends in need. All he has is his cheap guitar and a sleeping bag.

Farrah Fawcett-Adler (No relation)

Farrah is a fitness instructor. Some have said, I’m sure, that she’s the Fitness Instructor From Hell. She is aggressively fit. She knows her way all around a gym. Since that includes the boxing rings and the self-defense courses, I think Farrah might be the best-equipped character thus far in a fist-fight. Looks like she’s filling the “ninja” role, to the extent that it can be filled at this level.

Aside from her wide-ranging and useful skill set, however, Farrah’s got some issues. She’s a compulsive calorie counter, in a way that’s great for maintaining one’s weight in a 21st-century civilization, but quite possibly fatal in a world of limited food resources. She’s also impatient and abrasive to those around her. Finally — and worst of all, in the opinion of the rest of the group — she’s got a drinking problem.

Hanna Marlow

Hanna is a skilled auto mechanic who rides a bicycle to work. Clearly a Portland native.

She’s a friendly dreamer who’s maybe a little over-trusting, but with a core of level-headed horse sense to keep her from disaster. In a word, she’s nice. Hanna is kind to both people and furry woodland creatures in need. She’s cheerful to a fault.

Aside from her top-notch mechanical skills, Hanna appears to have spent some time up on the mountain. She’s in good physical condition, and skilled in climbing and mountain survival techniques.

When the world ends, Hanna’s going to have one of the more effective sets of equipment. She’s kitted out for the commute, so she’s on her bike, with a full canteen, pockets fulls of energy bars, multi-tool in case of mechanical trouble, and a tire iron for personal protection. (I imagine her describing it as protection from cougar attack, though. She doesn’t seem the type to expect the worst from people.)

H. Oxford Killingsworth III

A self-described “1%-er” from West Linn. He’s a businessman and lawyer; as I recall, his current job title goes something like Assistant Executive Assistant to the Director. He’s a natural aristocrat, for both better and worse.

On the one hand, Oxford is intelligent, well-educated, forceful of personality, and knowledgeable about the better things in life. On the other hand, enjoying those finer things has given him a bit of a spare tire, and left him a snob with more luck than grit.

* * *

They’re an interesting bunch. Looking at the group as a whole, there are some things I notice…

As expected, they’re not a fightin’ bunch. They’ve got a barehanded scrapper, a couple of folks who can swing an improvised weapon, and somebody who can tell which end of the gun to point towards the bad guys. They’ve also got a couple of folks whose go-to maneuver in a real combat will be Do Nothing (Wet Self). Nobody tried to talk me into allowing Combat Reflexes, but not everybody is a Reluctant Killer, either.

Only two characters invested any points in Driving, neither heavily. I wonder if they’re maybe expecting the zombie* apocalypse to clog the roads.

Out of the entire group, only one character has any skill in the day-to-day, cookin’ and cleanin’ stuff that keeps folks alive before the zombies* show up. I see one character with any kind of medical training. It’s entirely possible that these guys might evade the zombies*, establish a safe zone, and then die of food poisoning.

That said… They’re a lucky bunch, really: more than one purchased Luck. There are a couple of other “meta-gamey” advantages in play, as well, which could make a big difference. They’ve got scroungers, an organizer, a “face”, and a wide range of practical skills.

If they live long enough to get their feet under themselves, I can see the seeds of an effective band of survivors.

* I promise, no zombies! Zombies for example purposes only! No Zombo!

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