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.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Citizen Helicopters

Physics is physics, so citizen aircraft don't look all that different from human ones in the major ways - wings, jet engines, tails, rotors, and the like. Differences tend to be more from points of doctrine than anything else. For example, most of their aircraft are designed for short rough field performance or as flying boats to facilitate operation from small islands or boats. Believe it or not, the old 1950s "Sea Dart" interceptor is a fairly good match to their most common fighter, though the wings are extended, with canards, so for those fans of classic warbirds - think a dart with the wing to cockpit root extensions of a F-18 Hornet and the canard whiskers of a IAI Kifir C-7.

But I'm not really here to talk about fighters - chances are you won't see them up close. Citizen choppers, are pretty common on the other hand.

One running theme you'll see in most of these designs, is a resemblance to flatfish, rays, perhaps airplanes that have been stepped on and had the wings removed. Partly its the different weapons used, and what they feel is safe. In human attack helicopters, the design is often pilot in back, gunner in front to keep the design as narrow as possible, thus presenting a smaller target when facing the target head on. Citizens prefer side by side seating, either just two people together, or a pilot in the middle and gunners on either side.  This presents two advantages. First - each crew member has only a specific sector to watch, rather than the entire field. Secondly, the wide body shields the top mounted engines and a large section of the rotor disk from laser fire, as well as masking the exhaust from infrared missiles. 

Most commonly seen is the flounder shaped utility helicopter - one of the three person models. It seems to have a cargo bay, complete with which underneath it, but no one has observed it carrying passengers. Its comparable in size to a late model UH-1, but the coaxial five-blade rotors and proportionately larger engines give it a much greater under-slung cargo capacity, and fiarly impressive speed for something in its class.

Furthering the comparison to the UH-1, there is an armed version of this copter as well. Fortunately, there are some clear differences that allow an observer to tell the two apart - but it is highly advised to find cover first, and then confirm the model! Each of the two side crew have a rotating laser turret beneath them, and the fuselage is notably pinched behind the cockpit, giving them a degree of view to the rear - about 340 to 350 degrees of the machine can be covered, with only directly behind being safe. The long internal cargo bay is divided into three bomb-bays, each carrying missiles or actual bombs - estimated to be in the fifty to one-hundred kilogram range. (Interestingly, unlike the common human practice - citizen helicopters almost never use unguided rocket pods.) Increased drag from the turrets, as well as the weight of armor, batteries, and munitions  make this version notably slower.

One of the weirder machines to accompany the aliens is their high speed transport craft. Its a strange amalgamation of helicopter, swing wing jet, manta ray, and another abortive aviation project - the AH-56 Cheyenne. It has a pusher ducted fan, pop-out wings, and a single six blade rotor. (Anti-torque seems to be more ducted jets in the tail, rather than a side rotor.) Apparently the craft takes off vertically, with the wings retracted out of the rotor down-wash, but once it accelerates, the wings pop out to provide some or most of the lift, unloading the rotor hub and allowing it to provide mostly thrust. Actual capacity seems to be quite limited to just soldiers, since all that equipment engines take up space and have weight of their own. On the other hand, it has both for and aft laser turrets, and is quite effective at what its designed for - dashing into enemy territory to deliver a commando team, or dashing out with rescued personnel.

Of course there are more sundry transports of various sizes, and a second type of attack helicopter, but the former are not often seen outside Citizen territory, while the later seems to be a newly designed machine with little information available, so this report will have to suffice for now.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

KC on Survival Tools (Part One)

There is some wisdom in the talk about "Never rely on anything that needs charging, feeding, or sharpening". Only some. Frankly, I'm a believer in finding every advantage you can get, and technology is one of them.

Now a lot can be said about the utility of the humble claw hammer in an undead Apocalypse - it can be used as a small crowbar, nail up barricades, break heads without going dull, and can be found just about anywhere - often with ergonomic grips no less. However, most reanimates don't use ranged weapons, and are quite beyond a person in close combat - so melee weapons aren't that great in the first place, and blunt ones even worse - blunt trauma and knocking the brain around inside the skull works terrible wonders on humans - but doesn't really work on the buried vonrable parts of the reanimate - for that you want to remove or crush the head entirely. Either use and axe or sledge hammer - something that fits on a tool belt just isn't enough.

You should know by now, I am anything but an advocate for carrying around a lot of firepower. If you look like you're expecting trouble, people are going to be more than happy to oblige and all that. (Guns just make some people too jumpy and others too overconfident - and when they meet - never a good thing.) Still, I keep a Kalashnikov derived rifle with me (a model 101 in 5.56mm NATO to be exact - people ask all the time.) though I hardly ever use it, and a hidden handgun too (.38 Super Colt 1911 derived target model - I st - liberated both guns from a collector's basement after the Event.)

Similarly - if you've got some plans - you don't need a big vehicle, or a lot of friends - but going alone and fast isn't for everyone.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Big Evil Plans

Somewhere among us is a person who thinks they are going to take over the world. The reasons and methods - oh let me count the ways!

The Event has winnowed out all the old and infirm, leaving them to lead the Darwinian fittest of the human race. They know how to march into Hoover dam or an old missile silo and take up the power to reduce anyone who disagrees with them to nothing. The Event was the true sign that democracy/electricity/fluoridated water/capitalism/nanotechnology was a weakness in our society at large. What is the worth of one human being when the universe is so large as to have other intelligent races like the Citizens? It is time for payback now that "The Man"isn't keeping them down.

By an large, the world isn't like that. Sure, there are a lot of people mad at the Citizens, but not everyone of them is a bug eyed invader seeking to steal our women. OK, they are are bug-eyed, and they are invaders - bad choice of words on my part - but there are good and kind ones among them. Nor did the war and rising dead universally choose only the naturally fittest - community, intelligence, and luck says we still have a cross section of the population similar to before, just far smaller. Control and leadership takes a lot more than one good archeological find or a simple philosophy.

But what scares me, is that they aren't wholly wrong either. The Crossbow team is used by the government to secure loose nukes, but it is unlikely that they have recovered every single one (Just the size of one of those weapons makes it seem a bit difficult.) Even if all those weapons are secure - there are chemical refineries and power plants that are not, and plenty of more standard military equipment lost by the defeated or retreating army.

I'm not expecting anyone to rebuild civilization by themselves, to liberate an entire NEST, or crush the forces of international communism wherever they lurk by throwing the hammer and sickle of power into the fires of a volcano (note to self - use that for next movie script). But in your little corner of the zone, you may have the chance to stand up to a megalomaniac, and save a lot of lives, even if the day before you were looking for scrap metal and very next day you go back to that.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Some Draft Notes on Internal and External

One of the big differences between an Internal and External mode game in the Anarchy Zone, is which characters drive the action. External games tend to be driven by the players - where they go in the zone and what gets done there is largely up to them. Conversely, are usually centered around Non-Player characters, with the player's being their agents or rivals. What might be considered safe is another inversion - External characters generally want to avoid city states, and Internal ones seek to avoid leaving.

Wandering the wastelands can be lucrative, interesting, and even fairly safe. Aside from the occasional battlefield or industrial accident due to the lack of human oversight or EMP - the land is actually not so much wasted as abandoned. So until they poke a hornet's nest of reanimates, pick a fight with raiders, or become embroiled in city-state politics - players are quite free to wander the Zone for their own goals. Getting back to their home across the country, exploring the area like a new pioneer, or showing up to help the helpless like the lone ranger are all perfectly valid motivations. Recovering old documents, weapons, machinery, or medical supplies can be big business. If one wishes to skip the middle man - gold and cash aren't too valuable, but the things they used to buy are available for the taking, just avoid some reanimates.

Of course, not everything is happy in the zone. Reanimates migrate about making areas less safe as time goes on. There is no ruin fairy happily restocking the canned goods in old houses - so supplies are going to run out sooner rather than later. Raiders or aliens might decide to take over the area, and city-states are always looking for outsiders to do their dirty work or blame for their ills.

Characters in an internal game usually start off content, but the trick is keeping it that way. From the beginning they have a home, more possessions than what just fits in a backpack, and possibly even a family (either all surviving, or a new one started after The Event). However, it takes a lot more effort to maintain a state than a little group of survivors, and many states are run by the people who took charge because they wanted to, not because they were qualified. Player need to hold some sort of job to keep their stuff, and may well experience first hand the power struggles that keep the city moving. Perhaps they act against someone to help maintain the status quo - or to avoid being evicted by the old leader.

Internal games run closer to the traditional concepts of a zombie game - struggling against others, with the threat of the hungry dead beyond the walls. Rather than an incidental problem when exploring, or a reason to leave an area rather than be too comfortable - reanimates are the wolves at the door and a constant danger to be avoided - by engaging in back hand dealings or other services for the community.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Join the Legion

When I was a young lad, a good thirty years ago - I liked broadcasts of this old show about mercenaries. One of them had the catchphrase "No Ma'am, we're not from the government, we're here to do what is right".

That really is the central tenant of our group. I'd love to believe that the old government is the best way to continue on from here and bring the country back to as it once was. Perhaps they even are. How many city state leaders have run anything bigger than church social? Not many. But on the other hand, the social triage the governments have run seems a bit too harsh.

So the legion steps in.

Most seekers work in small groups - using speed and stealth to recover a little here and a little there. We have the do more, to both retrieve the large equipment to get farms and factories running, and keep all those safe.

To get a nuclear reactor to work - you need critical mass - enough fuel to get a chain going, that grows and energizes. Be our fuel - help us get more done.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Azure Hunters

"Hey, Sing-Sing, quick question. If you found a friendly citizen - could they get a message into California?"
   "Chances are no. Actually, let me think. Definitely no. A snowball's chance in hell Diego would say."
  "Any idea why they're so hard to deal with?"
  "The ones holding the area are bastards"
  "Ahh, yes - Occam's razor - the simplest explanaition is ususally the right one."
   "Lots of Razors at least, not much occam. The area is held by the um, there really isn't a good way to translate the name. Flying blue hands of the sky is close, but misses a lot of the meaning. Beautiful demons that strike from nowhere with perfect accuracy leaving no survivors in their wake might be closer."
   "Ninjas from space?"
   "That might be a decent fit"
   "Ïs there anything helpful you can tell us about the?"
    "We've been over before what to mind with citizens. Are we guests on your planet, or were you just custodians waiting for our arrival. Are humans useful tools for now - or too dangerous to allow them to keep living. Do we make a new society, or reestablish the one we're used too. Well, the Blue Assassins are a mercenary guild, thus playing a big part in the old hierarchy, and by definition militant as well. They're ruthless and powerful."
   "And hate humans of course"
   "Limiting the influx is one thing, but I don't know if they would immediately wipe people out."
   "Why not?"
   "The biggest challenge for all citizens is set up - humans just need to restart all their factories, we need to build them from the ground up. Pilot production of somethings has probably begun but we haven't prospected mineral sources overly much - you know the whole war and walking abominations thing."
   "So - they're using slave labor or something like that to get ahead?"
   "I haven't been there either, I couldn't say. But either them, or the group in new Mexico are the most likely to go to war sometime soon, the rest should be cooler, even if not friendly."
  "Where does your group stand?"
   "We think the world belongs to us, but nothing good is going to come of trying to wipe out the humans, so we might as well try to work together. Would I get to be a radio personality if relations were anything less than ambivalent?"
   "I guess not. Though its piqued my curiosity - why blue?"
   "Given the spectrum we see - blue is considered bright, clean, righteous, the center. The sea is blue, the sky is blue, and all else is a contrast against that. Same thing humans have for white."