Posts tagged “guns

Freshly Sketched: zDayz Character

zDayz Me

I’ve unearthed some characters that I had long forgotten about. Think of this as an exposé into my gaming roots. Every piece of artwork has a story behind it so rather than just post random pictures that no one other than me and a handful of people know about, I’ll include a bio as to the origin of the particular character. This has high levels of geek in it (hence the Geek Zone pairing) but fear not, it’s entertaining at least… if you’re into zombies and such (AMY). As always if you’re not interested in reading you can just view the artwork. Makes no difference to me. I like talking to myself. I once had an argument in an empty room so don’t worry about offending me by not reading.

…but at least comment if you have something worth while to interject… hehe

zDayz MeGame Name: Untitled
Game System: Improvised
Genre: Zombie Horror
Character Name: Ian E.
Game History: This was the first classic pen & paper RPG I ever played way back in the days. Oddly enough it was my father (of all people) who not only got me into it but ran the game. I know, it sounds unlikely but it’s very true. My pops is probably as big of a zombie fanatic as I am. He corrupted me on the brain munchers at an obscenely young age. He’s awesome like that. Anyway we had a good number of zombie movie watching under our belts and I recall us having those long overly-precise conversations about the subject. You know how it goes – we’d be driving around and comment on which places would be best to hold up in, which areas of the city would be overrun, where the best place for weapons would be. At that time I had just started reading about another roleplaying game system and figured why couldn’t we just run a game ourselves?

The makeshift system we had relied more on storytelling and decision-making than dice and stats. We primarily used dice as a sort of chance factor. Certain tasks required a higher or lower roll depending on the complexity of what was trying to be accomplished. We had d10s (a 10 sided die) so basically insanely hard or nearly impossible tasks required a roll of 8 or higher while average difficulty feats were around 5 or higher. It was pretty simple.

The Character: Since this was my first official character it was my easiest to play because it was myself for the most part. The story took place in the then present time right at the start of a zombie outbreak. The particulars about why or how it happened were always left to speculation. You can pretty much surmise any conclusion based on any zombie movie you’ve seen. It was a fast paced game in that I woke up to “the shit going down” and had to work from that premise forward. I was by myself at the start and was inside my apartment building. While some of you uninformed individuals out there might see this as decent place to begin, let me say that my pops was merciless and made full use of the fact that the neighborhood we lived in housed more than 10,000 residents in a 6 block area. He wasn’t absurd and didn’t make them all undead, but if you can imagine the panic of a catastrophic event like that happening in such a confined area littered with drug dealers and unsavory characters it has the makings for a chaotic start to a game.

After a long series of unfortunate events and narrow brushes with death I managed to escape the housing projects but didn’t get too far before I was forced to take refuge. Ironically enough I ended up holing myself in the convent across the street from my elementary school. I was familiar with the area and knew that the convent was one of the more secure places around. It was mindracking trying to make sure I had everything fortified but thankfully there wasn’t anyone inside I had to “deal with”. Once I felt that I was secure it became a waiting game with the supplies that were left in the building.

After several days of listening to people screaming, cars crashing, sporadic gunfire and explosions the city began to eerily get quiet. Soon the only thing that could be heard was the persistent moan of the undead as they prowled the streets in an endless search for anything living. The secret to my success was lying low, staying quiet and remaining out of sight. These zombies were old school in that they didn’t run but they had a little bit of getty up in them if you got them riled up. Get enough of them around you and you’re meat. I hadn’t been out since the first day of the outbreak and now food and supplies were running dangerously low. I would have to venture out and start foraging if I was to survive.

With a bat and kitchen knife in hand I set out to the local convenience store to see what I could salvage. Looters had already ransacked the place like a horde of locusts so there wasn’t much to take. Evading the undead wasn’t that hard. They have more sight-based tracking than anything else and their vision was comparable to the living so as long as you kept to the shadows you were fine. The area wasn’t as densely populated with them  as it was. I had assumed many of them followed the people who were trying to flee which meant the highways and bridges must be infested. That was sort of a relief considering my apartment building was quite literally next to the 59th Street bridge. More than likely that area became a death trap.

On my way back to the safe house I got caught in a serious moral dilemma. Darwin preaches “survival of the fittest” and I’m Gloria Gaynor when it comes to saving my own ass. However en route back  I caught sight of a young girl being assaulted by a group of stumble monkeys. She foolishly jumped into an abandoned car as a last-ditch effort to escape from them but doomed herself in the process. They would hang around and pound on that car for days – weeks even – until she eventually died of starvation or whatever injuries she may be suffering from. It plagued my mind replaying all the panicked screams of help I’d heard over the past week and change so I strayed from better judgement and decided to try to rescue her. It was a gruesome fight. Luckily I had the element of surprise on my side so I was able to dispatch a couple of them almost instantly. The rest swarmed like kids to the ice cream truck. She wasn’t an idiot thankfully and used my distraction to not only escape the vehicle but assist me as well.

Having no place to go she followed me back to the convent. This was both a blessing in disguise but also a nightmare come true. My shady little nook had avoided attention for all this time but now I had woken up the whole neighborhood to my presence there. The addition of an extra body – especially a female one – made the trade-off somewhat even. You know one hand – army of zombies, the other – live-in hotness. What can I say? I’m shallow. Sue me. It was a game. ;p

As time went on the two of us ended up become a great zombie-bashing team. We even started rescuing more and more local people and bringing them back to our zombie compound. With more people came more responsibility but also more opportunity. Over time we raided abandoned police stations and armories amassing a substantial arsenal of weaponry. After several months of defending our turf we had accumulated a following of 23 people. The downside to that was the once spacious former convent was like Guantanamo prison now. There was virtually no space for all of us to be housed there. We had been clearing the region block-by-block for weeks in an effort to foolishly put and end to the zombie threat. No matter how many we would clear in a day, more would show up the next. We needed a place that had limited access but enough space for use to expand our operation.

We decided to take over Roosevelt Island.

That was no easy task by any stretch of the imagination. The logistics of it were staggering to comprehend but it was our most viable option. It was surrounded on all sides by the East River and had only one bridge in. Having to guard just the one choke point would make defending ourselves that much easier. The biggest problem (aside from other organized bands of survivors) would be clearing the island of threats and taking care of the 59th Street bridge that crossed over the southwestern portion of the island. We couldn’t very well have deadheads falling on us from above or make available the threat of repelling raiders so we decided to do the impossible and blow up the part of the bridge that crossed over. We had collected a disturbing amount of explosive material over the months so we had the supply and a couple of people with the know-how (or at least believed they had the knowledge) so it was just a matter of execution. Six of us were to go to Roosevelt Island (in two-person pairs) and clear it out while the rest would escort and stage the demolitions on the bridge.

We knew the demolitions squad was going to take quite a while to execute the game plan so we decided to clear the southwestern side of the island first and move northeast so that we would be out of the way when the roof came down. By this stage of the game I was incredibly arrogant, cocky and feeling invincible – which is why I didn’t foresee this as being too difficult. I pulled off a great number of accomplishments with the aid of good dice rolls and creative thinking on my feet the entire time we were gaming and I’m certain my pops saw me getting too big for my britches. He did something that changed gaming for me forever. While my partner-in-crime Maureen and I were in the condemned remnants of a mortuary I was cutting a lot of corners with regards to operating protocol. When dealing with zombies you have to always be vigilant and stay faithful to the guidelines and tactics that have kept you alive the whole time because they do not learn and will capitalize on the slightest deviation from procedure. I was lazy and wasn’t watching my corners and blind spots when all of a sudden my failure to check something came back to haunt me. One sneaky little pussbag crept out from the shadows and took a chunk out of Maureen. We quickly gave him a prison beating but by that point the damage had been done. We’d seen what bites, scratches, heck even accidentally getting a little blood in your mouth can do and she had a full-on gaping wound.

I was pissed, more with myself than what had happened. It freaked me out how ‘attached’ I got to this character and knowing I killed her bummed me out big time. A sobering last conversation with her ended with having to put two into her head. I couldn’t shake the feeling of hitting the reset button even though this was a live game. I didn’t want to play anymore and in true suck-ass teen fashion I ended the game. The attention I had drawn to myself attracted more and more maggot factories to my position. I didn’t care anymore at this point. I sat down next to my oldest companion and waited for them to come. As they started to surround us I popped the pins on a couple of grenades and gave them a profanity riddled last statement before committing character suicide.

It’s Worth Noting:

  • This was the first game that I experienced character attachment. It’s an unexplained phenomenon in gaming where people inexplicably become attached to their character and the ones that surround them. I would learn later on when I started running game how to use this to my advantage to steer a campaign and write good dialogue. You know you’ve succeeded in your storytelling when people reminisce about characters like real life people.
  • This game was an inspiration to the zDayz first-person blog style narrative I wrote.

The power of the force has stopped you, you hosers.

It’s funny hearing about all the myths and misinterpretations regarding Canadians. Being a former New Yorker I too am guilty of either cracking jokes or being misinformed about at least a couple of them. I have the unique perspective of having lived on both sides of the fence of ignorance and I feel compelled to clear up the fog of confusion regarding the World’s Most Friendly Country:

  • It’s always cold in Canada and everyone lives in igloos – The latter is more playful ribbing than anything but one of the most popular misconceptions is that it’s always cold in Canada. The majority of the country is  along the same latitude as the United Kingdom yet you never hear any cold jokes about the Brits. Some of the northern regions are of course in the Arctic circle and tend to have rather frigid conditions but for the most part Canadians experience the same weather one would receive in any northern state in the US. In fact I can recall quite a few days just this past summer where highs Toronto beat out those in New York and Boston. Winters may last a little longer but the temperatures are pretty consistent. Here’s the averages in January from various locales across Canada:
    (Source: The Weather Network)  

    • Vancouver, BC: 32 / 43°Fahrenheit (0 / 6°Celsius)
    • Edmonton, AB: -2 / 18°F, (-19 / -8°C)
    • Yellowknife, NWT: -24 / -9°F, (-31 / -23°C)
    • Inukjuak, NU: -17 / -4°F, (-27 / -20°C)
    • Winnipeg, MB: -9 / 10°F, (-23 / -12°C)
    • Ottawa, ON: 5 / 23°F, (-15 / -5°C)
    • Toronto, ON: 14 / 28°F, (-10 / -2°C)
    • Montréal, QC: 7 / 23°F, (-14 / -5°C)
    • Halifax, NS: 16 / 30°F, (-9 / -1°C)
    • St. John’s, NF: 19 / 32°F, (-7 / 0°C)
  • Canada has better beer than the States – I’m not going to touch this one for fear of being hung from the gallows by overly-patriotic Americans. Everyone is proud of their nation’s beer. Germany is probably the world’s undisputed King of the Brew but as far as who follows after is dependent on each individual’s personal taste. I for one am not a huge beer drinker (heresy I know) so it doesn’t really matter to me. All I do know is that two of the American big guns, Budweiser and Coors, taste like someone spilled their crappy beer in some club soda. Labatte Blue (known locally as just a Blue) and Molson Canadian are far stronger beers and are way easier to down – that’s just a personal opinion though. While Canada may or may not rank in the top 5 worldwide I seriously doubt they fall below the US in that category. I invite anyone from abroad to come sample the ale before making rash judgments. You’d be quite surprised with the results.
  • Canada only has poutine and maple syrup as their only contributions to fine cuisine – Canada has a very diverse range of dishes that spans from coast to coast. Canada, like most large nations, is a melting pot of cultures so you can see a lot of Eastern European, South American, African and Asian influences in the cooking. Some examples of regional foods are:
    • From the East Coast – Irish Stew, Fish Chowders, Bangbellies (a pork/rice bun), Toutons (Pork Bread), and Duffs (like a dumpling), Molasses Tarts and Partridge Berry Coffee Cake, chocolate bread pudding, oat bread, Cape Breton scones, Creamed Potato Balls, Baked Stuffed Lobster
    • Native – Posole Stew (uses hominy), corn casserole, Frypan Fork Bread, Cornmeal pudding, Maple Fudge, Wojape (a berry pudding)
    • Quebec – Crème Caramel, French Onion Soup, Split Yellow Pea Soup, Garlic Pork Pot Roast, Cipate (Chicken, meat and vegetable casserole with biscuit topping), 3 crust blueberry pie, poutine
    • Ontario – Pine Nut Stuffed Quail, pickled yellow beans, apple butter, headcheese, smoked ham, creamed potatoes, vanilla pie, ice wine, BBQ’s, hot sauces, doughnuts, perogies
    • Prairies (I’m not too familiar with foods from this region of Canada) – Crusted Pork Tenderloin, Wild Mushroom Barley Ragout & Summer Vegetables, Grilled Asparagus, Saskatoon Pie
    • B.C. – Goats Cheese Terrine, Raisin scones with clotted cream, sablefish, Nanaimo Bars, Poached Salmon, Maple Glazed Chicken Breasts, Oysters, Flatbreads, Vegan cuisine and anything disgustingly healthy (i.e. tofu, miso soup, etc.)
  • Canadians always say “eh” and “aboot” – I can honestly say that I have never heard a Canadian utter the words “aboot” in the 10+ years I’ve been here. Course I’ve only been in the Ontario region for the most part so who knows what goes on in the rest of the country. I don’t know where it came from originally but I found it funny as hell when South Park would make fun of it (even if it was confounded). “Eh” on the other hand is something you hear quite frequently though. I’ve even mastered the dialect well enough to use it like a true Canadian as well. Oddly enough it’s not used any more frequently than New Yorkers use “yo” or “aye”. Basically all I had to do to fit in was replace my yo’s with eh’s and say cah-fee instead of cawfee when referring to coffee and all is well.
  • Canada has no military – I’ve always made fun of the Canadian Armed Forces having to fight with sporks but the Canadian military is no joke indeed. This one institution consists of three main branches: Maritime Command (MARCOM), Land Force Command (LFC), and Air Command (AIRCOM), which are together overseen by the Armed Forces Council, chaired by the Chief of the Defence Staff. Their annual funding comes to approximately $21.8 billion (ranked 13th), and are presently ranked 74th in size compared to the world’s other armed forces by number of total personnel, and 58th in terms of active personnel, standing at a strength of roughly 67,000, plus 26,000 reservists, 33 warships spread out amongst 2 fleets, 391 aircraft (which is the third largest in the Americas) and over 3600 currently deployed in the Middle East. The statistics are truly humbling and I tip my hat to all those men and women across the world who are serving for their respective countries. It’s a thankless task but your efforts are truly appreciated by many.
  • Canadians are always nice – True to an extent. Every country has their fare share of assholes, douches and idiots. You tend to find them once you’ve lived there for a while. Canada just does a good job of not letting them be the face of the country.
  • Canada has no contributions to science – Blasphemy. In fact Canada has burned a trail in many fields and is a world leader in regards to contributions to scientific advancement. From Canola Oil to the Blackberry Canada has had it’s hands in the development of many of the technologies and medical breakthroughs we take for granted. I could probably ramble on for days about all of the innovations but if you’re really interested have a peek here and see for yourself.
  • Canada has no film industry – It’s hard to find a movie or TV show that isn’t shot in Vancouver or Toronto nowadays. Chances are if it’s shot in Canada, it has some Canadian actors in it as well. They’ve assimilated into Hollywood so well that many of you don’t even realize some of the best stars are in fact Canadian. From Playboy’s Pam Anderson to Star Trek’s William Shatner Canadians have infiltrated all facets of media. Okay so Keanu isn’t the greatest star ever, but you all ate the Matrix up with a fork and spoon so he did his job.The actual Canadian film industry is a budding one. It makes me laugh whenever I hear Canadians say “Yup, that’s definitely a Canadian film” having only seen a few minutes of whatever is on. It’s not from lack of effort. Despite many film and television projects being funded by the government, it nowhere near the same league as Hollywood in regards to financial backing. The Toronto International Film Festival, founded in 1976, l is one of the most prestigious film festivals in the world now. In 1998, Variety magazine acknowledged that “the Festival is second only to Cannes in terms of high-profile pics, stars and market activity.” If you think Canadians haven’t got their fingers on the pulse of the movie industry, you’re sorely mistaken.
  • Everyone speaks French in Canada – While that may be true to a degree in Quebec, the majority of the country does in fact speak English – well. In fact most Canadians are bi-lingual.
  • Canada’s national sport is hockey – True. In 1994, the Federal Government introduced Bill C-212 that officially made hockey Canada’s National Winter sport and Lacrosse Canada’s National Summer sport. Canadians are definitely passionate about their hockey but don’t believe for an instant that is the only sport accepted up here. Baseball, Football (American and Soccer), Golf, Curling, Boxing and MMA as well as pretty much any winter sport you can imagine from skiing to snowboarding.
  • Canadians have no guns or crime – Oh there’s crime here, believe me. And guns. Domestic violence and Robbery/burglary crimes seem to be the most prevalent. There are probably more guns in Canada than in the States based on the fact that this is a hunting nation with the vast majority of the country being wilderness. The big difference is that Canadians aren’t shooting one another. Their preferred methods tend to be fists and knives. It still strikes me as odd to read about small businesses being robbed at knife-point. You don’t hear about that much in New York.
  • All Canadian cops are mounties – That’s probably as ignorant as it gets. The RCMP (Royal Canadian Mounted Police) is the national police force of Canada, and one of the most recognized of its kind in the world. It is unique in the world as a national, federal, provincial and municipal policing body. The RCMP provides federal policing service to all of Canada and policing services under contract to the three territories, eight provinces (the RCMP does not serve as provincial or municipal police in Ontario and Quebec), more than 190 municipalities, 184 Aboriginal communities and three international airports. They’re like the Feds in the States. Every province has their own police service such as the OPP (Ontario Provincial Police) which are the equivalent of state government agencies such as the NYPD or LAPD. The RCMP have jurisdiction over them all. Cool, eh?
  • Toronto is the nation’s capitol – With over 2.5 million residents, it is the fifth most populous municipality in North America. I think the popular misconception is that Toronto is in fact the capitol of Ontario. Ottawa, the second largest city in Ontario, is the nation’s capitol.

My name is Ian and I am proud to call myself an AmeriCan. 😀