Thursday, October 20, 2011

To PEF or not to PEF

     I've been busy writing up my Game 4 fiction and slowly getting towards publication. While passing the time I've been reading other battle reports, including Vampifan's at his site located in my "Reported Outbreaks" list below. Look for the "ATZ Campaign" label to read them; they're great in describing how ATZ works in detail.
     Anyway, I found something else I'd been doing wrong. Instead of having both starting zombies on the table as well as PEFs (Potential Enemy Forces) you're supposed to just have one or the other. Which brings me to something Oliver/Whiteface says on his blog (also below in the Reported Outbreaks blog)
     Basically, its whether or not PEFs are good or bad for the game. Originally I really liked them (they're in game 4 too) but I'm beginning to become concerned about how rough they are on play. Like Whiteface, I too ran into some problems in game 4 with them. Though they did provide some recruits they also caused some serious problems. For instance, I set up the 4x4 foot table and I only got my team into one building before having to run off the board! It was quite an action packed building to be sure, but still.
     I'm beginning to wonder though if I should go back to 'original' All Things Zombie and just have encounters within buildings and random Z's on the street. The idea of changing the PEF table was suggested on the THW yahoo group as another option. Perhaps reducing the number of PEFs to 1 or 2 might help as well?
     Has anyone else had these problems? If so, how did you fix them? Granted, Ed says in the books that there are games where you just can't win and have to run; and I'm cool with that. But I'm just concerned with the increase in danger the PEFs are creating...and I'm not even through the first week of the Zombie Apocalypse!

Zombie Chow


Whiteface said...

Oh my, blogger ate my long post!

It's not just that PEFs have a big effect on your team's survival, they also change the atmosphere of a campaign.
I would expect to meet a lot of living people in the first two months after the outbreak, but after that everything should be silent and empty (apart from the groaning and shuffling of non-breathing members of the community). I haven't done any work on my own PEF rules yet, because I was too distracted by SciFi and Barbarians.

PEF resolution should be something like this:
Month 1: horrified civilians (inside their homes and first refugees), helpful police & soldiers (outside guarding or on patrol), medical personnel, looters & gangers etc.

Month 2: less encounters, but maybe more aof them are on the outside (travelling / fleeing)cautious refugees, probably dangerous soldiers & cops, terrorizing gangers

Month 3+: almost no encounter outside of buildings. small groups of cautious survivors & marauding gangers, solitary travellers & sociopaths

Year 2+: less solitary travellers, more small groups and maybe some small refugee camps or gang hide-outs.

Oh, and from month 2+ on add the possibility of Ragers / Smarties.

Whiteface / Oliver
PS: No, I didn't even try to rewrite my lost comment.

Zombie Chow said...

Yeah, I have real trouble with posting comments via blogger. ;)

Good point, maybe the PEFs would work better with a new table after all. Still, I'm wondering if maybe randomly rolling the number of PEFs might help too; maybe 1d6/3 PEFs on table instead of the mandatory 3? I'd add starting zombies on the table as well to compensate. Hmmmm.

Thanks for the comments!


Kurt said...

I assume you're referring to the PEF Resolution table on page 58 of I Zombie.

I've modified that table myself. Result "A" is a non moving PEF. It may be a random event from ATZ or one of the Random events from Haven or just an empty building, a roll on the resource table or the wind blowing. I roll 1d6 to determine this.

Result "B" are NPCs and I use the ATZ Meet and Greet.

Result "C" are the hostiles, Gangers, Police, Survivors, zombies.

I think these results produce a lot PEF variety that may not always have a violent outcome. On the other hand you're basically playing outside any timeline such as described by Oliver Whiteface.


Zombie Chow said...

Hmmm. Interesting way to view it Kurt. I might try that system in my next game and see how they work. Have you noticed a difference in play? Hostiles vs non-hostiles?