Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Tommy's Take on War of the Dead: Chapter Two Week Ten

The final four weeks of Chapter Two begin, directly after the Fall of Sanctuary...

Immediately on the heels of last week's retreat from Sanctuary and return to the overtaken military base, the group has to figure out how to break back in and get supplies for their trip to Colorado, where they hope to find the new seat of government.

We get an extended Mass Combat scene with heroes who are HEAVILY outnumbered, but they have the advantage of being intelligent, armed and no longer Novice. It would seem that, by this point, the survivors shouldn't be in too much danger of losing, unless the dice are *really* mean to them. However, this is likely to drain their resources, which should be enough to convince them to leave the base at a plot appropriate time (because when the massive wave of reinforcements come down, the smart option will be to get the heck out).

We get more drama with Caitlin, who has the opportunity to confront her now dead husband, as well as an opportunity to show that her grip on everything is perhaps slipping just a bit, as the survivors get a chance to take some prisoners of the raiders that the group dealt with the first time through...(that Caitlin's husband joined, taking away the girls when he did).

Caitlin wants to kill the raiders and is ultimately proved right, with Commander Morrison reluctantly agreeing, giving a Rick Grimes-worthy speech about deciding what you're willing to do in the world now, and still call yourself human.

Unlike several weekss, this one doesn't have a big cliffhanger (indeed, the author says up front that the final four weeks are meant to be slowed down and relatively self contained, and that's certainly true this far).

Despite a big mass combat, you can definitely feel momentum shifting off of the breakneck pace that is has been in the past. It's not quite a throwback to the immediate post-cruise ship episodes, as there was still a sense of "WTF?" and "We're gonna die!" that has certainly diminished by this point. By my math, you're looking at a ballpark of around 40+ experience for the characters at this point (assuming an average of 2 pts per episode, without counting the freebie adventures, your mileage may well vary), armed and armored, with real, competent allies. As far as dealing with the Dead goes, it should be getting down to BAD luck and stupid moves and not much else. Suddenly, scavenging isn't so scary...although, ironically, that train of thought right there is probably the easiest way to get someone killed at this point.

At least one of the major NPCs seems like they are about to crash headlong into a breaking point, but I also don't really see that happening in the final three weeks...in fact, I could be wrong, but I don't see many big setbacks left in the final weeks of Chapter Two, since I bet Chapter Three is a whole new level of ugly.