Games of Universalis will often wind up dragging in a fair number of cross genre elements. We’ve seen zombie westerns, zombies in space, even zombie ninjas (yes, ninja with an “s”, its somehow more appropriate that way). This group wasn’t messing around. The very first Tenet out of the gate was one word, “Zombies”.
The Tenet phase informed us that this game would involve zombies, Las Vegas, a brothel, an ancient curse on the city, a bus load of convicts, and of course…the King.
The first scene begins on a dark highway. The convicts have just taken control of the bus when they stop to pick up a lone hitch hiker in a white sequined jump suit. Its the King. He needs a ride. He suggests stopping off at a great place he knows on the way where the girls are all clean and real friendly.
When the bus arrives at the brothel they see a big sign that says “No Elvises allowed”. The convicts demand to know why, they’re all down with the King.
The madam explains about an ancient curse that lays on the city. Many centuries ago an evil tribal shaman put a curse on a kingdom that used to be located here so that the people’s king would turn into a zombie. The curse had laid dormant ever since that ancient kingdom collapsed. But now it has become active and is once again turning the people’s king into zombies. There’s since been a rash of undead Elvis impersonators plaguing Vegas.
Jack Quick the New York Pimp don’t wanna mess with no zombies. He’s all for getting back on the bus, leaving off Elvis right here and high tailing it out of the state in a hurry. But the rest of the convicts overrule him. After all, the girls are clean and friendly and Elvis offered to pay for everyone, he really is the King.
As the convicts all make their way into the brothel, we see one lone convict still on the bus. Carl the Cannibal locked in a cage. Even his fellow convicts weren’t about to let him out. Carl coughs up a paper clip, opens the door to his cage and makes his way alone down the dark highway.
Inside the brothel the girls really are clean and friendly and soon the convicts have all dispersed to private rooms. Jack the Quick is being hit on by a girl named Cinnamon. But Jack is totally smitten. Its not just about a “Quick” roll any more. This is the girl he’s always dreamed of. So while the rest of the convicts are off getting busy, Jack is talking too much, and Cinnamon is getting bored.
Suddenly, Jack sees Elvis down the hall. He is leaving one of the girl’s rooms. He is covered in gore and shambling slightly as he crosses the hall and enters another room.
Now we discover that the Elvis hitch hiker really was hit by the curse. It also happens that in the close quarters of the bus ride, all of the other convicts were infected too, and they’re all starting to turn into zombies.
The hookers are ready for them. This has happened before and they all have guns and weapons nearby.
Jack screams like a girl.
When Zombie Elvis enters the room across the hall he catches a shot gun blast to the head from the girl inside. The convict in bed with her promptly chews her throat out. There’s a huge gun fight. Bullets fly everywhere. The brothel is all shot to hell. Jack screams like a girl.
Cinnamon draws a big ass pistol from her purse and begins blasting away. Blood and gore fly everywhere. Jack screams like a girl.
Jack grabs Cinnamon and knocks the gun away. He’s turning into a Zombie too. He gnaws Cinnamon’s leg off at the thigh. Cinnamon is loosing buckets of blood but manages to get to her gun and blow Jack’s head off.
Jack dies screaming like a girl.
Finally the last of the zombie convicts are put down.
Alone in the night Carl the Cannibal is walking down the dark highway. He starts to shamble.
Featured Effect, Big Complications:
Of course the big fight at the end was one giant complication. The major Components were Zombie Elvis, the Zombie Convicts as a single group Component, Cinnamon the bad ass hooker, and the brothel prostitutes as a single group Component.
Interestingly one player wound up in control of Cinnamon and the Convicts while another wound up in Control of Elvis and the prostitutes. We decided to use a the alternative dice pool method that lets each player keep and roll their own Dice Pool. Thus we wound up with the above 4 main pools plus each of the other players had a small pool of their own.
In the end, the Prostitutes won. Interestingly, the same player who was spending Coins for Cinnamon would later be also spending Coin for the Convicts; and the same player who was spending Coins for the Prostitutes would also be spending Coins for Zombie Elvis.
It appeared like a hugely confusing tangle at first, but by carefully keeping each pool separate, remembering which Components went into which pool, and then narrating each pool one at a time in the proper order, the whole Complication got narrated out quite nicely.