Monday, April 8, 2013

The Parasol Affair : Our Last Best Hope

The Parasol Affair

Our Last Best Hope

It was a Sunday night with one of the group missing, so we opted for a one-shot dose of fun.  Given that my partner, Rocky, had yet to try Our Last Best Hope, this was an opportunity to change that.  I quickly loaded my pdf copy of Our Last Best Hope and went through the basic rules with them.  I explained the three basic scenarios and after toying with the idea of Space for a brief moment, it quickly became clear that the group was gunning for a game that resembled The Walking Dead.    So our Threat, Limit and Plan became this:

And yes, that is the lovely Yoshi posing in the photo.
Zombies!  Hive Mind!

Scientific Expertise of the group was unique.

1) Get Subject Alpha
2) Bring to Parasol Labs
3) Release Cure
4) Profit from the Cure!

1) Shotgun and Shells
2) Short-wave radios
3) Reinforced Van
4) Psych-ward containtment head-thingie
Later Asset) Antidote, small doses.

With that out of the way, we quickly decided on our roles:
Gotta love them index cards.

Rachelle was one of my newer players (she portrayed Cassandra Caine in the Castle Falkenstein game) and she opted to portray Sam Jackson, the Soldier.  Sam brought his Guerilla Training and left his Brothers-in-Arms.  Sam was afraid of going against zombies who were once people he knew.  He felt that Engineer Bob made him Crazy, while Scientist Rhodes helped him stay sane.  The secret Sam kept from the others, however, was that he was never deployed.  His death card was to die when he refused to listen.

Erich was the Scientist Jeff Rhodes who brought with him his zombie-detecting dog, Wally.  He left behind his rival, his fiancee.  His fear was a very vibrant fear of snakes or to quote the player: "Snakes.  Zombie snakes.  Living snakes.  Snakes on a plane.  Snakes."  Sam Jackson drove him crazy, while Doctor Doom helped him stay sane.  The secret he hoped never to reveal, however, was that he had sold the virus to the highest bidder, to pay for an expensive engagement ring and wedding.    Jeff Rhodes was to die by his own hand.

My partner, Rocky, played Bob the Engineer.  He brought with him his Multi-Tool and left his Cat, Precious, behind.  He felt Rhodes helped keep him sane, while Sam Jackson drove him crazy.  Deep down he was terrified of Zombie Clowns and his secret was that he used to be a woman.  Bob was to die helping a friend.

Finally, I was Doctor Danny Doom, who brought with me my love of horror movies and left behind my immense wealth.  Just like Bob, Rhodes kept me sane while Jackson drove me crazy.  I held a deep fear of dying alone, and my secret was that I had created the zombie virus.  I was fated to die by another's hand.

The story begins with me, the Captain, calling for everyone to gather.  M.I.M.I.C. had just informed me that the original plan of bringing Subject Alpha will NOT work.  As we consult M.I.M.I.C. we discover that the reason it won't work is that there's the possibility that the virus has altered in an unexpected way due to the fact there were multiple Patient Zeroes.  And unless we located each patient zero, who were infected by the original strain, any antidote we created was unlikely to work.

The group was feeling pretty distressed about this.  I, however, had an idea.  Without asking the group, I asked M.I.M.I.C. if it could locate individuals via facial recognition once it had access to records that contained the patient's names.  While the group pondered over what new course of action to take, the first threat surfaced as other armed survivors emerged from the street with guns and pitchforks in their hands.  Jackson quickly began shooting them down with Rhodes' help while Bob used the radio to call out in coming threats.  They clear the street and are pretty pissed at first because I wasn't helping out.  To their surprise, however, I tell them I have the addresses of the two Patient Zeroes.  When they ask how I was able to get it, I divert their attentions by calling out Engineer Bob's secret about formerly being a woman.  While the others gasp at the revelation, Bob spits back, "You broke my heart bastard."

We make our way downtown to the first location, after a few more struggles with the bridge being out, and later still, the tire blows.  I stay in the van and try to see if M.I.M.I.C. can delete all references of my name to certain net records, but M.I.M.I.C. informs me that cannot be done.  Once the tire is fixed, however, we hurriedly continue to the first location: the Zoo.  Finding the place where the patient was last seen, we discover the place is crawling with snakes!  Rhodes' panic strikes, but thankfully we are able to use our combined efforts to bring the things down.  We might not have enough time to capture all the patient zeroes.  At this point, the group demands I explain how I know about the patients, and my secret is revealed.  But the accusations thrown at me shift away when Rhodes' secret is revealed.  We fight, and eventually I inject him with the original virus which I've still had with me all this time. I had hoped to get the patient zeroes in time to synthesize a cure.  But given the events, we had to move forward faster.  I ask M.I.M.I.C. the percentage chance of synthesizing the cure with a freshly infected subject with the original virus.  Before M.I.M.I.C. could answer, however, Rhodes stabs me with the same virus.  With two original infectees, M.I.M.I.C. reports a very high percentage of success.  We had, however even less time now to develop a cure.

We head to Parasol Labs.
The first act ends with the group rolling very high on the white dice.   We not only recover from any Harm we've received, but we actually also get a new Asset added to the mix!  We write in, Antidote, and excitedly move into act two.

Act Two begins with us mapping out our plans on how to spread the antidote around the country.  I propose a crazy idea of injecting ourselves with the antidote, then allowing zombies to bite us, acting as vectors to spread the cure.  The others think its a crazy idea, given we'd end up dying before the cure takes effect.  A second idea comes, to spray the area with the antidote and release it as a liquid agent.  With the zombies having loads of open wounds, the infected should be cured in time.  Luckily, there was a nearby carnival tent which suggested there should be a plane that we could use.

We head there, find a plane, and quickly get working on it to carry the cure and release it properly.  While Bob and I work on the plane, a zombie clown enters the area with a massive grin on its face!  Bob falters in fear, but the group stays together, choosing to deal with it as one.  Jackson takes the lead, however, instead of Bob, and tries not to let panic overtake himself as fingers slide out of the fat clown's lips, pry the mouth, open, to have a second zombie clown crawl out of its body like some macabre display.  More zombies start to gather, perhaps drawn to the area by their hive-mind connection and of all that appears that moment is one of the soldiers that Jackson once trained with.  Seeing his old brother-in-arms, Jackson charges forward to face his fear and thankfully (using the Death Card), survives the ordeal.

Bob and I quickly board the plane and take to the air, spraying out the antidote to cover the first two blocks with a cloud of hope.  But trouble seems to follow us as the plane we've rigged fails that moment, and runs out of power.  With the plane on its descent, Bob reaches towards me with the sole parachute we have and reminds me to stay strong.  I am soon slowly descending with the chute while Bob crashes in the distance.  Bob's sacrifice saves me.

But only for so long.  Cause as I land, hordes of zombie dogs begin to charge in my direction.  With seemingly no hope in sight, I hold my head high and prepare to face the worst.

We cut back to the labs, and I emerge with cuts and wounds all over myself.  (I used my death card to survive.)  I calmly walk towards the two others and tell them about the plane crash.  I contact M.I.M.I.C. and ask it to email to any other still surviving humans that reach out to it the formula to the antidote.  Then I tell Rhodes to do me a favor, and shoot me.  I deserved to die.  Even with the cure.  I created the virus.  I should not be allowed to survive the zombie outbreak.  Rhodes agrees, shoots me, but before Jackson can do anything, he shoots himself in the head.

Jackson is all alone.  She stares at our dead bodies.
The camera pulls back into the darkness.

Even with Jackson failing to meet his death after cheating death, (that added +2 Black dice to the final roll), having the three of us meeting our deaths (with two Choosing our Deaths) meant having lots of extra white dice to the final roll when we Confronted the Crisis.  The group very easily won with a white result!


Within barely a year, the world has recovered from the outbreak.  Survivors everywhere praise the actions of the group for how they have found the cure to the outbreak.  The file name of the antidote is IMDOOM.  Jackson is praised as a hero.

The world endures.
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