How would you handle the consequences of the following situation…

How would you handle the consequences of the following situation…

How would you handle the consequences of the following situation…

There are four zombies attacking my group’s fighter. Three of the zombies are attempting to push him backward into a pit. I’m using a tug-of-war progress clock for that one. The remaining zombie is just trying to deal its damage and eat his brains.

Should I deal with the zombies as if they are two separate groups attacking the fighter? Or, one group and choose which to use for consequences on anything other than a 10+? If the advice is to treat them as two groups, is it as if I keep the spotlight on him for twice as long when it gets around to him? First make a move to avoid the pushers, and then if the fictional positioning still calls for it, separately ask him to do something to avoid the lone attacking zombie?

Thanks in advance for your wisdom.

4 thoughts on “How would you handle the consequences of the following situation…”

  1. Perhaps the group of zombies needs a custom move:

    Overwhelm Prey!

    You have a horde/group of zombies attacking The Fighter. They are collectively trying to eat the PC while effectively driving them toward the pit.

    Does the PC lay into the group with attacks and trigger Hack & Slash? Does the PC try to hold their ground and trigger Defend? Does the PC come up with another strategy entirely, perhaps triggering Defy Danger or some other move?

    I wouldn’t get wrapped up in deciding that a group of zombies is working at different purposes, or micromanaging how many are doing what.

    If the zombies deal damage, they deal base damage die +1 for each additional zombie. If instead they attack with their “Overwhelm Prey!” move, they drive the PC back or drag them to the ground.

    I do like the use of a countdown clock for being driven back toward a specific threat; but if the player finds a good way to narrowly escape that fate, i would be prepared to keep up other threats until the zombies have been dealt with.

  2. Remember that the monsters don’t take turns, so having “two groups” of zombies on the Fighter doesn’t mean that they get two goes at him or anything… he just has to deal with both of them in his response to you asking him “what do you do?”

    How the Fighter responds to the situation would go a long way to determine how you run it. If he says he’s going to attack the brain-biter without even worrying about the ones dragging him towards the pit, then they’ll probably drag him a fair way even on a successful Hack and Slash. If he mainly tries to resist being dragged, then he’s resisting the combined danger of being dragged and the one trying to nom his forehead, which will dictate the sorts of hard choices he might be given if he gets a 7-9 on Defy Danger. If he comes up with some tricky plan like flipping one of the dragging zombies forward over his shoulder to knock away the brain-biter, then the outcomes on Defy Danger will be different again.

    All that said, if the Fighter is in this highly dangerous situation and no-one else in the party is in in such a sticky spot, it makes sense for the Fighter to be getting more spotlight than the rest. But then again, if they’re at liberty to act, the other party members should be jumping in to help their companion…

  3. You got a pretty complex situation there, especially considering the type of monster.

    Are these intelligent zombies? And if so, is the fourth not helping his comrades on purpose? If not…

    Why not having them all do what zombies do, namely bashing, scratching and biting?

    Anyway, my advice is to manage the zombies from the point of view of the PCs:

    Fighter, this zombie is lunging at you. What do you do?

    Establish Fighter’s fictional positioning and move.

    Then whatever Fighter rolled and before narrating your part of the move result…

    Rest of the group, while Fighter is doing this you notice that three more zombies are about to tackle him from behind! What do you do?

    Establish everybody else fictional positioning and triggered moves.

    Roll and resolve any way you see fit.

    Combine the results.

    This “split” approach achieves a number of things:

    ▶ It feels like everything happens simultaneously while you’re still resolving things sequentially.

    ▶ Let’s you move the spotlight around.

    ▶ Encourages the notion that the party should operate as a unit.

    ▶ You can still choose to use the extra zombies as part of a GM move in response to a 7-9 or 6- because you only mention them after the Fighter’s roll.

  4. Robert Rendell This is more or less the situation. Both his cleric and wizard, separately and simultaneously just extricated themselves from their own messes. The group has had a long series of really bad rolls. The fighter had initially indicated he was only going to attack the 3 pushers, soI reminded him that to ignore the 4th would mean it just deals its damage and potentially its Zombie Rot. He decided to swing his messy, forceful two-handed sword in a broad arc through all 4 of them and did enough damage to rip them apart.

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