Act 1: And so it came to pass…
The maiden voyage of the Pinnacle cruise ship has turned into a disaster on the seas, as the outbreak of Living Dead spreads throughout the near 3,000 passengers. After being discovered at the scene of all the outbreaks so far, the characters were forced to work with Jason Kirkman— the head of ship security— in finding out what’s causing passengers to die and reanimate as flesh-eating ghouls. Unfortunately, the situation went from bad to worse when the Living Dead confined to the medical suite were released and attacked passengers throughout the corridors. Faced with a situation spiraling out of control, the characters’ lives are about to be made even more complicated when mercenaries hired by the owner of the Pinnacle attack the ship, all to cause it to sink for insurance purposes.
What do you do when the Living Dead inherit the Earth? More importantly, what do you do when you’re trapped on a cruise ship, in the middle of the ocean, with the Living Dead spreading rapidly throughout nearly 3,000 passengers? Welcome to Act 2 of the War of the Dead campaign! What was supposed to be a vacation aboard the maiden voyage of the Pinnacle cruise ship has turned into a nightmare. An unknown source has turned passengers into the Living Dead, and is spreading at an alarming rate. The characters have stumbled onto a plot by the ship’s owner, Mr. Forthington, to hire a mercenary team to sink the cruise ship. Unfortunately, a battle with the Living Dead destroyed the Bridge and left the vessel without navigation or communications. Furthermore, after establishing a temporary infirmary in the Security Suite, the characters discovered their primary source of intelligence, safe haven, and weapons overrun by the Living Dead. Left with little place to turn, and with passenger morale deteriorating, the characters are now forced to make a stand against the Living Dead as a new threat emerges: the survivor factions forming amongst the passengers.
All hell has broken loose on the Pinnacle cruise ship. What should have been a fun-filled maiden voyage to the Bahamas has instead turned into disaster. In a matter of hours, the Living Dead have infected the entire ship. Thousands have been turned into flesheating ghouls. The ship has been damaged and is without power, navigation, or communications— rendering it dead in the water. As if that wasn’t bad enough, the surviving passengers have begun losing their minds. One faction, lead by the religious zealot Ms. Hartten, have started believing that the end of days have arrived and that only human sacrifice can appease God. Choosing to sacrifice Mr. Forthington, who confessed his plans to sink the Pinnacle for insurance purposes, the characters now find themselves in the middle of mass insanity. With morale at an all time low and tensions high, the nerves of the passengers have reached a breaking point as the greatest threat is no longer the Living Dead—but the living people around them.
The characters barely survived the outbreak aboard the Pinnacle cruise ship, and watched as the rest of the passengers and crew became Living Dead. After escaping in a life boat, they managed to ride the waves back to the United States—coming upon a small marina. Upon disembarking from the vessel, the characters discover the place deserted. A brief encounter with the Living Dead, however, shows them that whatever is happening isn’t just confined to the cruise ship. The characters encounter a man and his wife living in a house near the marina. There, they learn about what is happening across the world, and get a little rest and relaxation. Unfortunately, their rest is cut short when a biker gang rides into the area looking for supplies—and are prepared to do whatever it takes to get them.
After surviving the outbreak of the Living Dead on the Pinnacle cruise ship, then making their way to the Calm Seas Marina in Fairport, North Carolina and taking refuge, the characters quickly realized that the greatest threat was not the Living Dead—it was their fellow man! The characters managed to learn something about what was going on in the world at large. The Living Dead were a global pandemic, spreading across every corner of the world. In the first day alone, over a quarter of the U.S. population was infected; and within the past week all television broadcasts had ceased. Henry and Eleanor, an elderly couple that lived near the marina, offered the characters food and lodging. The characters were getting some much-needed rest when the arrival of a motorcycle gang put them into motion once again. Captured and held prisoner by the gang, the characters were told that they would serve as bait to distract the Living Dead in Fairport while the gang looted supplies. If they survived, they would be set free. If they refused, they would be killed on the spot. As we begin Act 5, the characters are out manned and outgunned, and have little choice but to go along with the gang.
The Living Dead had found food! Nearly a dozen of them ripped muscle, intestines, kidneys, and other succulent morsels from the still-warm bodies. Blood covered their hands and mouths, but they didn’t care. Only one thing drove them: a hunger for flesh! A single gunshot ripped through the nearest ghoul, exploding its head in a spray of thick, blackish goop. The others moaned. Almost as though of a single mind, they turned to confront whatever it was that had interrupted them. Hell unleashed his fury, the M-16 vibrating his arms as it sent a hailstorm of death into the creatures. Skulls shattered and limbs tore away from bodies as the other men followed his lead. Hell’s eyes were wide with rage and spittle flecked the corners of his mouth. When the last of the beasts had fallen, Hell walked cautiously over to the bodies. He kicked a few with his boot to make sure they were dead— yet again. Satisfied, he stepped over them in his search for something of particular importance. He found it in the woods beside the road, and his heart pounded against his sternum as his eyes settled upon it. Her chest and throat had been torn open, the blood already thickened. He stared, jaw clenched, as he raised the automatic rifle and pointed it—waiting. Moments later, the eyes opened. They were glazed and distant. Her lips parted, but the damage to her throat prevented a moan from escaping. He exhaled slowly and squeezed the trigger. A single shot entered her forehead. The body stopped moving. Hell bent down and retrieved a ring from the ground near her head. It was the ring that had once pierced her navel. “I want those bastards found,” he said quietly, clenching the ring in his left hand and keeping his back toward the men. “I want ‘em found, and I want ‘em alive.” “How do you know they did this?” One of the bikers asked. A terrible anger flared within him as he placed the ring within his hip pocket. Then, without a word, he spun and fired several shots into the biker’s chest. “Our bikes are fuckin’ destroyed, and the corpses sure didn’t do it! Now, anyone else wanna ask me a stupid question?” His eyes blazed as though the fires of his namesake burned within them. No one said a word. Everyone was too scared to even move. “I want ‘em found! I don’t care what it takes, how long it takes, or where you have to go. I don’t care if you have to go into a city full of corpses. Find ‘em, and bring ‘em to me.” “We’ll find them,” another biker said finally, struggling to keep his voice strong. “Don’t you doubt it, man.” Hell ignored him and kneeled down next to Spiderbait. He stared at her for several heartbeats, then leaned forward and gently kissed her dead lips before closing her eyes with his left hand. He remained there beside her, chin against his chest, and fought back the tears. He would find those responsible, and they would pay a terrible price. If it took him to the ends of the Earth, he would see to it that they paid. After a few more moments, he rose from her side, slung the M-16 over his shoulder, and got in to his car. “Let’s roll,” he said. As one, the Ghost Riders rode away from Fairport.
The world around the characters is dying and rising as flesh-consuming Living Dead! After being introduced to the outbreak aboard the Pinnacle cruise ship—stranded in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean—the characters managed to escape back to land, only to then be taken captive by an outlaw biker gang led by a bloodthirsty man named Hell. Used as live bait to distract the Living Dead in the town of Fairport, the characters managed to turn the tables on the gang and make good their escape. Learning of a Rescue Station and military presence in Jacksonville, North Carolina—approximately 60 miles from their location—they headed in that direction. On the road, the characters are witness to the bleak devastation that the rise of the Living Dead is causing. Roads are cluttered with wrecked and abandoned cars, towns have been transformed into shambling graveyards, and the few survivors that haven’t been infected are on the brink of insanity. After a few encounters, they finally arrive at small church where survivors have taken refuge. How long will the stronghold last with the Living Dead converging on a ready food supply—and the characters discovering a new type of horror in the War of the Dead?
The world is descending into chaos as the Living Dead consume all major population centers. Barely surviving the outbreak aboard the Pinnacle cruise ship, the characters were lost at sea before making their way back to the coast of North Carolina. After encountering a friendly, elderly couple that offered them shelter, food, and information, a biker gang calling themselves the Ghost Riders soon took the characters captive. Forced to act as live bait in the infected town of Fairport, the characters managed to escape—making mortal enemies of the bike gang in the process. Following their daring escape, the characters took refuge in a small church with other survivors after their vehicle suffered a break down. Discovering a new form of horror within the church, the characters quickly realized that the slow-moving Living Dead weren’t the only form of Infected. Escaping from the church and battling their way past a Living Dead horde, the characters have finally made it to the military Rescue Station in Jacksonville, North Carolina. As the characters approach the city, they see total chaos. The Rescue Station has been overrun by the Living Dead, and the military is fighting a losing war. Hundreds of civilians flee in every direction, and several try to over take the characters’ RV. After losing the vehicle, the characters and their allies are forced flee on foot. Discovering a nearby distribution warehouse, they take refuge with dozens of other survivors.
It’s been a little over 2 weeks since the characters were introduced to the outbreak of the Living Dead aboard the Pinnacle cruise ship. Since that time, they’ve survived: weeks at sea with minimal provisions, being taken captive by an outlaw biker gang and forced to serve as unarmed bait for a town of Living Dead, being trapped in a lone church with two new forms of zombies, and escaping from the city of Jacksonville with thousands of Living Dead converging on them. After all that, and with the survivor and military allies they’ve met along the way, they finally had a plan and a destination. After being forced to react to the world dying around them, it looked as if they were finally going to be able to act first. Then it all came crashing down around them—or, more accurately, an Apache helicopter came crashing into them.
In And the Dead Shall Walk the Earth (Act 9), the characters are rescued from the wreckage by a patrol team from the nearby town of Dalesbury. After receiving some much needed rest and medical attention, they are offered shelter and security by the town’s Mayor. In exchange, the only thing that’s required is that they adjust to the new order of the world, and pull their own weight by contributing to the welfare of the town. Assigned to help with patrol duty around the outskirts of the town, the characters discover a horde of living dead heading in the direction of Dalesbury. The horde will arrive within a day. Meanwhile a group of soldiers – the remaining survivors of the Jacksonville massacre – have arrived in town, causing a lot of tension between Mayor Lewis and Major Morgan.
No good deed goes unpunished, and no place is ever truly safe. Those words have never been more true than in relation to the main characters in War of the Dead. After escaping from one catastrophe after another, all beginning with the characters’ first encounter with the Living Dead outbreak aboard the Pinnacle cruise ship, the group has been storm tossed and battle torn every step of the way. First, they managed to survive a cruise ship full of the Living Dead, only to be stranded at sea for 2 weeks. Once they reached land, they encountered a friendly couple that provided them with food, shelter, rest, and information. Even that peace, though, was not to last as an outlaw biker gang soon rolled into the area and forced the characters to act as bait in a nearby town full of the Living Dead. After escaping the biker gang, the characters experienced vehicle trouble and were forced to take sanctuary in a nearby church. It didn’t take long for circumstances to again catch-up with the group, as not only the biker gang discovered their location, but also a new type of infected—a monstrous newborn—hunted them throughout the darkened building. The characters managed to escape the church with the help of new allies, and arrived at the Rescue Station in Jacksonville just in time to see it overrun by thousands of Living Dead. Barely escaping with their lives, the characters were rescued from a car accident by a patrol team from a town called Dalesbury. Taken back to the town and nursed back to health, the characters were allowed to stay within its fortified borders as long as they contributed to the town’s welfare. For some, Dalesbury seemed like the perfect place to call home in a world full of the Living Dead. Shortly hereafter, a military convoy that survived Jacksonville arrived in town. However, the Mayor saw the new arrivals as a threat to his position. Fortunately, an event once again conspired to prevent a power struggle between the Mayor and the military. Unfortunately, that event was the arrival of a horde of hundreds of Living Dead. During the chaos of the Living Dead invasion, the characters learned that Samantha—the 9-year-old girl taken care of by Joe Recht from the church—had disappeared. A search of the town indicated she had been taken to Mayville. There, Dalesbury’s Mayor and his brother (the town’s doctor) had reputedly established a facility wherein they maintained captured Living Dead— which they kept placated by feeding new arrivals to Dalesbury. Rushing to Samantha’s rescue, the characters were ambushed by guards in the facility and they are in a bad position as we draw close to the end of Chapter One.
Act 11 – Chapter Ending
Dalesbury burns behind you as the Living Dead turn the town into a massive graveyard. The sheer number of the creatures loose upon the world has made it painfully obviously that unless something is done, humanity will soon become an extinct species. Nearly everyone you’ve met so far—maybe even the family you left behind when you first went on the cruise—have all become creatures hell-bent on devouring humanity and increasing their numbers. The military is in shambles, the government has been forced to flee, and everyday more and more of the Living Dead inhabit the Earth. Only one thing might stand in the way of humanity’s end: Samantha. Somehow, the child possesses immunity to what Doctor Lewis called the “Armageddon Virus”. The future of the world might very well exist within the body of a 9-yearold child. The question is: what are you going to do?
Act 1: Sanctuary and loss
It’s been one month since the characters witnessed the fall of Dalesbury and the deaths of their allies. Barely able to escape the Living Dead, they were forced to take to the road— with 9-year-old Samantha Hickman as the sole survivor of their extended group. Low on supplies, the characters are attacked by a group of Living Dead. With almost two months having passed since the initial outbreak, the Living Dead population has risen dramatically. More and more often, the characters are forced to avoid entire groups of them as they seek out much needed supplies. After managing to escape the most recent attempt on their lives, the characters discover a gated community that looks as though it can provide adequate shelter, and hopefully at least a few supplies. What they discover is another survivor family— much needed allies against the Living Dead. The community is quickly surrounded by Living Dead, however, and the characters are forced to flee on foot in search of less decayed surroundings. Eventually, they come upon another small community— this time populated and open to other survivors. After a month on the road with little food and less rest, the characters have finally found a real place to recuperate. The question is: will they trust their new benefactors enough to not destroy the peace they’ve discovered?