Another KONTRABAND AAR
Second day of an expedition in the deep Zone. The crew’s search for artifacts takes them to the Bulat Depot, a small outpost that serviced military vehicles in the pre-Incident days. Nine Points of Interest Locations and two Anomalies, our characters must not only extract more artifacts but salvage much-needed supplies.
(*Live off the Land rule in Kontraband. No quick pop to the shop between missions out here)
Successful first mission under their belts, the crew advances on the depot, ready for another easy sweep. The Professor heads straight toward the first Anomaly. “Wait… Isn’t that the 107?” Wasn’t that back down the road at Krasny Rog?”
“Maybe.” Hound shrugs. “Best not think on it too hard, Professor. Concentrate on that artifact, eh?”
The rest of the team fans out and goes on Alert (over watch) as a matter of principle while the Professor easily snags navigates the anomaly and grabs the artifact.
*Equipped with a Detector and and Extractor, Scientists usually make quick work of tasks like this.
Radiation-absorbing ‘Sponge’ artifact safely contained, the Professor moves confidently toward the first POI near the guard hut.
Finch grins at Hound. “Did he just try to swagger?”
Hound rolls his eyes and turns toward a stand of trees outside the fence.
Which is good, because no sooner does the Professor disturb the body of an unfortunate Stalker than shots crack out those same trees: Bandit Ambush!
The Professor ducks for cover as a nasty firefight ensues. There’s a mob of the thieving bastards but Finch, Hound, and Raven acquit themselves like the professionals they are. (Good body armor helps too. As does Hound’s Steady Hands and Red Dot Sight) A few close calls, a Med Kit*, and some very solid Ranged Attack rolls give our Zone heroes a win.
*In Kontraband, wounds remove an Action from the character’s pool rather than immediately incapacitate them.
Ears ringing, Raven reloads his AK-15. “Might want to be a bit more careful next time, Professor. Check before you rush in, right?”
The professor swallows, nods, then heads slowly toward the panel truck.
Meanwhile, Hound heads over to another corpse, further up the road. “I’ll show you how it’s done.”
“Hey, don’t split the party,” Finch yells.
“I got this.”
Raven and Finch exchange a look and follow after the Professor. “You’re on your own, then,” he calls out. “And if you die, we’re not coming to help. It’s the only way you’ll learn.”
Finch frowns, puzzled.
“You know what I mean,” Raven says.
A radiation spike. Those Haz-Mat suits may not have Kevlar, but they do protect against gamma rays. The Professor grabs more salvage. And then, self-esteem back up, he arrows straight for the Anomaly in the clear area on front of the fuel tanks.
Over on the road, Hound gets tangled in Zone Cobwebs. (sting exposed skin, cause temporary paralysis) He stifles a groan of pain. “All good here!” he says to no one in particular, and keeps rifling the corpse with a numb arm. Eventually he fumbles his way to a couple useful items and gets himself back together. Back on his feet, he brushes away the last strands and looks around to make sure no one saw him.
The longer you stay in an area, the greater the chance a deadly Zone Event occurs. Simple procedure: Roll a D10 at the start of each turn and add the value of the turn to the result. (so turn 3, add 3. Turn 5, add 5…) Total of 10 or more = Zone Event.
Sorry to say, the team rolled up a BAM: Big A$$ Mutant. An Alpha Predator who arrives at the table edge closest to the players the start of the following turn. (you’ve got one turn to get ready)
The Professor is concentrating on the Anomaly. Finch and Raven go on Alert. Hound shoulders his battle rifle and heads toward the low wall. The Mutant charges straight for the Professor.
Shots ring out but the big guy is an Alpha Predator for a reason: armored, three wounds, massive melee damage. Raven, Finch, and Hound open up and eventually their combined firepower takes him down – but not before the Professor get the stuffing knocked out of him.
Another turn, another Zone Event roll results in a 16! Vermin Stampede coming in one turn.
Finch eyes Hound and Raven. “We’re done here.”
They agree and haul the dazed Professor to his feet. “You got the second artifact. It’s time to go now.”
So they did.
Quite different than the previous day at Krasny Rog. Dice rolls and POI cards add that element of randomness that really ratchets up the tension. Things can go from a stroll in the sun to a horror show in one turn.
Writing and testing ZONA ALFA – KONTRABAND is progressing nicely and these test missions are a huge help. I’ll post more information as the situation develops. To start your Zone adventures, be sure to pick up a copy of ZONA ALFA at Amazon, Wargame Vault, or the Osprey website.