Dead... and Back is a survival horror Role Playing Game. The Anarchy Zones is its official setting - aliens, reanimates, and the ruins of 2055 America.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Undead Tracking 101

Attention! All right, at ease - take your seats gentlemen ...and gentle women.

As you might have inferred from the blackboard, we're talking about trackn' Reanimates. Its actually a pretty simple process, you just need to ask the right questions.

Question the first - Why the F-- am I doing this? Aren't the ones that just beat down our gates or jump out of old buildings enough? Well, its hard to argue for greater numbers, the important thing to remember is they are an awful lot like driver ants. Usually, there is a large group in one area, they send out feelers, and when there is no prey left, they go in a big cluster in a fairly straight line. So if you can track them, you can get their bases, or you can warn others what direction the things are heading in.

Mind you, that is an imperfect analogy. There can be free patrolling ones, and sometimes they just go dormant rather than move. Some patrols have returned with real horror stories of a pass that is clear all summer, just to have reanimates out the wazoo when the weather turns bad. Better to think of them as minefields with crafty engineers shuffling them about than purely dumb ants.

OK, so you want to figure out where they are, or where they're going. Well, there are two general things to look for, travel, and damage. Damage is the bit easier one, less ambiguous if it was a person or not. Fist of all, how do they get in and out.

Basic type ones lack even the ability to use tools, so they just bang the doors, windows, or anything else. If they get in and get to a person, it usable takes a couple of them to take the person down, and they will bludgeon the person into submission first, so there is usually signs of a big struggle, and at least some blood spatter from an occasional cut - though since they don't use knives and still have rather human teeth and jaw muscles, don't expect much.

Alphas can use tool, but only in a basic manner. A crowbar to them is just additional leverage to hit things, not a way to pry open hinges. If they get something sharp, they will cut with it, and if they find guns - that is a good sign its a reanimate actually. Humans will use suppressive fire - holes everywhere, or intentionally shoot off hinges. Reanimates only shoot at what they see, without wild fire nor do they ballistic-aly master-key doors.

Twos and Betas are stronger, and somewhat less human in ability. They can carry off a grown man without blood trail, and smash in light doors without much trouble. People killed by these things and not dragged off tend to be rather more mangled - broken arms, claw slashes, necks twisted three-hundred or more degrees around. Twos are fast, so they often go for attacks on open terrain lesser ones wouldn't, and then basically half knock down, half drag the victim away. Betas are more jumpy, and will often try to climb roofs and find skylights or other ways from above, so they tend to leave less visible signs of forced entry, at leas when you initially look at the doors.

You sir in the back, got a question. Reanimate blood? That is a good one. Its strange, but they don't really bleed much. It has a more gel or toothpaste like consistency, so it doesn't really flow out unless its a really major wound. Even then it stops quickly, and unless you actually remove the head, they can re-attach the limb. A limb actually. I've seen them use ones that weren't originally theirs. That includes Betas replacing their stretched and talon like appendages with a normal human arm, and type ones with a type three's. How that adapts after-wards... your guess is as good as mine.

On to type three. If the twos are assassins, agile and picking off the vulnerable, threes are ...hmm. No, better analogy - Betas are a katana or rapier. Elegant, one stroke, quick in and out. A three is like a mace or claymore - big, destructive, break the lines. You just don't want to see the bodies they leave behind. Or it may just be the ones they leave behind are those too damaged to reanimate, and where they were careful we don't see. But what we do - arms ripped off completely, heads flattened, spines broken in no less than three places.

As to the signs of a Lambda reanimate.

Scorch Marks.

These don't take prisoners. And they use anti-tank weapons, or simply toss around two hundred kilo objects like child's toys. Either you plan well and keep out of their way, or your remains fit in a soda can.

Scorch Marks.

Take a break and let that sink in. We'll reconvene in ten to discuss following them around.

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