“Flashlights off,” whispered Brandon with tension in his voice and a rising sense of panic in his mind.
Click. Click. Click. Three flashlights went dark in seconds.
Brandon’s mind was racing. Who’s coming? Is it the landowner? Is he going to shoot them for trespassing? Who else could be down here? What should they do? Should they run deeper into the tunnel?
The beam of light from the mysterious person’s flashlight appeared brighter as the person moved ever closer.
Brandon tried to calm down and think. It was pitch dark so he couldn’t see the faces of his friends, but he could feel their tightly-coiled tension; it emanated from them like a radio wave – invisible, but powerful. Every neuron in his amygdala screamed for him to flee yet he knew it was no use. They couldn’t go back the way that they came as they would run headlong into the person approaching. Going deeper wasn’t really an option either as they wouldn’t get far without turning their flashlights back on and of course the lights would give them away and they’d quickly be caught anyway. Not to mention, they didn’t know the layout of the tunnels beyond where they stood. As Brandon’s mind calmed a bit, he realized that the best course of action was to just allow whoever this person was to confront them and hope for the best.
Brandon clicked his flashlight back on and at the edge of its light beam he registered the tightly drawn and surprised expressions on the faces of his companions. The look in their eyes was an accusing [i]what are you doing[/i], but Brandon knew this was the only viable option.
The light from the most recent intruder into the tunnel stopped moving and Brandon realized that was because the person had seen the light from his flashlight.
Suddenly, a man’s voice rang out from around the corner and despite the quieting effect all of the surrounding dirt should have had on the volume of the voice, it still seemed booming in the taut silence of the tunnel.
“This is the Taylorsville Police. Stay where you are.”
Not that being pursued by the police was a good thing, but Brandon breathed a small sigh of relief that it wasn’t some trigger-happy backwoods type with a double-barreled shotgun.
“I’m coming around the corner. Keep your hands where I can see them,” the police officer’s voice sounded again.
As the voice registered in Brandon’s mind, it dawned on him that the voice sounded familiar.
Within seconds that felt like long minutes, a figure appeared around the corner and it was indeed a police officer. He was tall and had to stoop slightly to move through the tunnel. He held a flashlight in his left hand and his right hand rested on the butt of his holstered pistol. The beam of his light quickly darted back and forth among the three companions who all stood with their hands raised in front of them. Then the light darted back to Brandon and stayed there.
“Weston, is that you?” the officer asked Brandon. Weston being his last name.
With a sudden wash of realization, Brandon understood why the voice had sounded familiar. It belonged to Charlie Anderson – one of his high school classmates.
“Yeah, it’s me,” Brandon replied sheepishly. “How you doin’ Charlie?” Brandon added, feeling stupid even as the words left his lips.
“Hi Charlie,” Chas said from a few feet away. “Long time, no see.”
Charlie’s flashlight swung to Chas. “Reynolds? You’re here too? I should have known where I found the one I’d find the other.”
Now that he knew who he was confronting, Charlie was more relaxed and he removed his hand from the Glock at his side.
“My name’s Tyrone officer,” offered Ty. “Tyrone Collins.”
Charlie shined the flashlight over to Ty and acknowledged him with a curt nod. “Just what in THE hell are you all doing down here?” demanded Charlie of the group.
“Just doing a bit of exploring,” Chas quipped.
“I read about the sinkhole and the tunnel on WTAY’s website and we had to come check it out,” explained Brandon.
“This area is a safety hazard and is off-limits to the public,” Charlie shot back. “I have orders to make sure no one is skulking around down here. I ought to cite all of your asses for criminal trespass.”
“What?” Brandon asked sounding worried and incredulous at the same time. “We aren’t hurting anything down here. We were just nosing around a bit. Can’t you just let us leave?”
Charlie took a few breaths and seemed to ponder this for a few seconds. “I’ll tell you what, Weston. I’ll cut you a break this time. You’re lucky that I know you and realize that you’re relatively harmless. You leave with me now and I’ll forget that I found the three of you down here.”
“Thanks Charlie,” said Brandon sounding relieved. “I appreciate it.”
Chas and Ty echoed Brandon’s gratitude.
“You better,” said Charlie with a snort. “Don’t let me catch any of you down here again. Let’s get out of here.”
Reigniting their flashlights, the three friends turned to begin filing down the tunnel back toward the sinkhole. With all of the light illuminating the interior of the tunnel including Charlie’s powerful light, something caught Brandon’s eye as he turned. Something just beyond the small chamber where they stood. With that he turned and began walking with the others, Charlie walking behind them to ensure they vacated the premises.
On the walk back through the tunnel and back to his car, Brandon could think of nothing else but what he saw during that last moment in the tunnel. What was that…?
Wasteland Express Delivery Service is the depraved brain child of mega designer Jon Gilmour (Dead of Winter), Matt Riddle (Fleet, Back to the Future) and Ben Pinchback (Fleet, Back to the Future), brought to technicolor life by award winning comic artist, Riccardo Burchielli (DMZ, Batman Black and White).
Take on the role of drivers inhabiting a post-apocalyptic wasteland riddled with outrageous, unhinged and otherworldly characters set on unleashing mayhem at every turn. In order to survive in this deranged universe, drivers must deliver food water and guns between the handful of settlements pockmarked through the Wasteland. If you want to survive you’ll have to battle through the insane raiders who occupy the void between cities. You’ll take on missions from the three factions that have divided up the last of civilization and gain favor with them: the fascist New Republic Army which is hellbent on bringing the world to heel for its own good; the heretical Oracles of Ceres who have turned their attention to the worship of the land; and harvest, and the technologically obsessed Archivists who cling to the old ways and the hope of restoring our lost civilization. But what the f*&% do you care? You’re here to get paid and live another day free. Outfit your truck, hire some insane riders to help fend off raiders. Add some storage, and just keep truckin’.
The game will come complete with a emergent narrative story that will take place interactively over the course of 10 games. Each scenario will begin with a beautifully illustrated comic book introduction setting up the story line and the constantly escalating stakes and challenges set in front of players. Or players can dive in with a randomly generated scenario that will play out over the course of a single emergent story driven game session for infinite replay possibilities.
More info: Wasteland Express Delivery Service
It had been dark maybe 10 minutes when Brandon edged his car into a secluded field surrounded by woods. Chas and Ty were both waiting for him.
“It’s about time,” grumbled Chas jokingly as Brandon climbed out of the car.
“Yeah, the two of us were starting to think you had lost your nerve,” added Ty.
“Sorry guys,” Brandon apologized and then added, “Not all of us are complete slackers at work who can just leave whenever we feel like it.”
This drew a laugh from Chas and Ty and Brandon chuckled along with them, but their laughs belied their nerves and the anxious tension among the trio was palpable.
“Does everyone have a flashlight?” Brandon asked pulling his bright LED light out of his pocket.
“Yeah, we’re both good,” Ty replied.
“Alright then, let’s go,” Brandon said as he headed off toward the sinkhole.
Chas and Ty fell in line behind Brandon. They were parked about 200 yards from the police tape that cordoned off the sunken area. They walked toward their objective with their flashlights turned off; navigating only by moonlight. The moon wasn’t full, but was bright enough to see where they were going once their eyes adjusted.
Not much of the surrounding area was visible in the darkness, but Brandon was familiar enough with this area to know that there wasn’t much to see anyway. He was pretty sure the ground they were on had once been a farm, but the fields hadn’t been tilled in years and were now derelict and overgrown with weeds and scrub brush. The several acres of fields were bordered on three sides by woods and on the fourth side by the road they had all traveled to get here.
Once they got within 50 yards or so of the sinkhole, it was easy to make out the bright yellow POLICE tape by the light of the moon. They headed toward it cautiously, but with purpose. Less than a minute later, they were gathered around the police tape, the blackness of the sinkhole gaping up at them like a monster waiting to swallow them.
Brandon said, “Let me go down first. I want to make sure it’s safe before the two of you come down.”
Chas and Ty gave Brandon doubtful looks telling him they didn’t like him going down there alone, but they grudgingly agreed, as they knew it made sense. If something went awry, Brandon would need someone to pull him out of there or get help; it didn’t do any good for all three of them to be trapped down there.
Brandon leaned down and shined his flashlight into the sinkhole. It didn’t appear to be too far down to solid ground so he sat on the edge and shimmied himself down. After a drop of five or six feet, his shoes sunk into the earth below. He had come down on top of what used to be the earth between the ceiling of the tunnel and the surface. He pulled his feet loose and took a step forward into the tunnel. Once he was on the actual floor of the tunnel, he was surprised to find that the it was at least six feet high and he could stand comfortably. He immediately shined his flashlight out into the mysterious blackness ahead of him. The light penetrated about 25 feet ahead, but he couldn’t see what lay beyond. Brandon walked a few more steps and shined his light up at the ceiling to see if the tunnel looked stable. It did. He didn’t know what made that one small section collapse, but the section that he was looking at now seemed solid. The walls and ceiling were just packed soil and seemed to have no structure holding them up; no beams or supports of any kind. They looked to have been hand dug through the Earth.
“Okay guys, you can come down,” Brandon called up to Chas and Ty. Ten seconds later, they were both standing in the tunnel behind him. “Come on,” Brandon whispered and they headed into the foreboding unknown of the tunnel.
Brandon could see the anxious tension on the faces of his two friends and he supposed that they could see it on his face as well. He wasn’t scared so much as on edge. Heading into the darkness brought out those primal survival instincts that had kept early Humans alive. He could feel the regular thump-thump of his heart and knew that his pulse and blood pressure were elevated. Despite it being a cool evening, clammy perspiration had formed on his hands, face, and neck. His body was tense and ready to spring into action at a moment’s notice.
The tunnel was only about four feet across so they had to travel single file. Brandon led, with Chas behind him and then Ty brought up the rear. The trio made steady progress down the tunnel and after about 20 feet, Brandon thought he saw an earthen wall and began to think that the tunnel was going to dead end just ahead. After going another 10 feet however, he realized that the tunnel made a sharp turn to the left. When he got close enough, he shined his light around the corner; holding his breath in expectation of what might lie beyond the turn. All he could see though was the tunnel stretching out before him.
Brandon looked back at his friends and whispered, “Should we keep going?” Both Chas and Ty nodded, resolute looks on their faces. He could tell that they were just as curious as he was about what might be down here. It was now obvious that someone had dug this tunnel, but for what purpose?
The group continued down the tunnel another 40 feet and then the tunnel made another sharp left turn. About 10 feet further on, the tunnel began to curve to the right and gradually got wider. Pretty soon they found themselves in a small room about 10 feet long and 15 feet wide. Brandon stopped and began shining his light around the room. Chas and Ty turned on their flashlights and followed suit.
“Wow, look at that,” Ty exclaimed as the beam of his light danced across walls and a ceiling lined with bricks.
“Yes, very interesting,” Brandon agreed as he began scanning the other side of the room. As he moved the beam of his light down the wall to the floor, he noticed something shiny reflecting the light back at him. “What do we have here?” Brandon quipped as he headed over to check it out.
Chas and Ty were close behind as Brandon bent down to see what had caught the beam of his flashlight. He sifted through some loose soil and several inches of dust to reveal a brown glass bottle.
“Check this out,” Brandon said as he cleaned off the bottle and held it up to inspect it.”
“It looks like someone’s garbage,” Ty commented.
“I think it’s more than that,” Brandon responded as he ran his light over it.
“I agree with Brandon,” Chas offered. “That bottle looks quite old. It has been down here for a long time I’m guessing.”
Chas shined her light back down to the spot from where Brandon had retrieved the bottle and noticed something else there. She reached down into the dirt and pulled out a dilapidated piece of wood about nine inches long and three inches wide. The one side seemed to have some lettering stenciled on it, but it was difficult to make out.
With Brandon and Chas both engrossed in inspecting their discoveries, Ty walked back to the room’s entrance and looked back the way they had come. A few seconds later, he was rushing back to their sides. “Uh guys,” he whispered urgently, “ it looks like someone is coming.”
This trick-taking game ends when one opponent has been injured to the point of death. The player with the most health is then declared the Tournament victor!
Numbers aren’t worth anything in NMBR 9 unless they’re off the ground floor and looking down from above.
The game includes twenty cards numbered 0-9 twice and eighty tiles numbered 0-9; each number tile is composed of squares in some arrangement. After shuffling the deck of cards, draw and reveal the first card. Each player takes a number tile matching the card and places it on the table. With each new card drawn after that, each player takes the appropriate number tile, then adds it to the tiles that they already have in play, with each player building their own arrangement of tiles.
The new tile must touch at least one other tile on the same level along one side of a square. A tile can also be placed on top of two or more other tiles as long as no part of the new tile overhangs the tiles below it; new tiles placed on this same level must touch at least one other tile, while also covering parts of at least two tiles and not overhanging.
Once all the cards have been drawn and the tiles placed, players take turns calculating their score. A tile on the bottom level — the 0th level, if you will — scores 0 points; a tile on the 1st level above this is worth as many points as the number on the tile; a tile on the 2nd level is worth twice the number on the tile; etc. Whoever scores the most points wins! NMBR 9
“Okay, this is it. We need to kill him this round. We won’t survive his attacks. What do you need to roll Brandon?”
Brandon looked down at his cards, reading silently to himself and making mental calculations. “Uh, it looks like….I need a 9 to hit him and then I can use my critical strike ability to do an extra damage and finish him off.”
“Well that shouldn’t be too hard,” mused Chas with a sarcastic smile. Brandon responded with a roll of his eyes.
“Would you just roll already man?” quipped Ty. “The suspense is killing me.”
“Okay, here goes,” says Brandon as he shook the d20 in his hand. He threw the die into the dice tray. <Sound of a die rattling against the wood and felt>…”Shit, I rolled an eight!” exclaimed Brandon in disgust.
“Brilliant,” Chas chimed in with a shake of her head.
“You asshole,” chided Ty with a teasing chuckle.
“Hold on, hold on, wait, wait, wait,” Brandon pleaded, thinking. “I can discard this lucky charm item to reroll my attack.” Brandon quickly picked up the d20 and threw it into the tray again. “YEAH!!!!!! FOURTEEN!” Brandon exclaimed joyously as he collected a dual fist bump from his two friends. “I’ll just use my critical strike to inflict an extra damage and that kills the evil necromancer.”
“It sure does,” agreed Chas as Ty nodded his head in consensus.
“Great job, Brandon,” congratulated Ty. “I knew you could do it,” he added with a laugh. “Never a doubt.” The three friends all laughed.
“Alright, next week is at my place,” reminded Chastity (known to everyone but her mother as Chas) as the three friends began cleaning up the game.
“Sounds good,” replied Ty. “Just let me know what you’d like me to bring.”
“Yeah, sounds good and ditto,” agreed Brandon as he finished putting the game away.
“Okay, then I’ll see you losers later,” teased Chas as she headed for the front door of Brandon’s house.
“Good night sweet princess,” Ty yelled after her, which got an appreciative chuckle from Brandon.
“Whatever,” replied Chas as she headed out the door, but she turned and gave a warm smile. “See you guys next week. Thanks Brandon.” With that, she disappeared through the front door.
“Alright, well I guess I’m out of here too man. Thanks for hosting. I’ll catch you next time,” Ty said as he extended his hand to Brandon.
“Sounds good, buddy,” replied Brandon as he shook Ty’s hand and patted him on the shoulder. “Take care.”
“I will. You do the same,” replied Ty looking back as he walked down Brandon’s sidewalk.
Brandon watched Chas pull away in her sporty Lexus as he looked after Ty headed for his Ford SUV. Brandon had known Chas since high school. They were both the quiet, introverted type around strangers and didn’t officially “meet” until their sophomore year although Brandon saw Chas every day in the halls of their school. Back then, she was a gangly teen with braces, green eyes, and dark hair who spent a lot of time alone or with a few girlfriends. Someone at their school started a D&D club and when Brandon showed up to the first meeting, he was surprised to see the shy, demure Chastity there. She was the only girl and Brandon could tell she felt a bit uncomfortable, so he introduced himself to her. Over the next two years, the pair became good friends; with Brandon learning that Chas wasn’t nearly as shy once you got to know her. She could rib him and bust his chops as well or better than any of his male friends. They were like two kindred spirits. When they went off to different universities, they kept in touch and got together over breaks to hang out and play some D&D. After college, they had both moved back to within 20 minutes of their hometown and their friendship grew stronger. Chas was intelligent, witty, successful, and attractive, but Brandon had never felt anything but friendship toward her. He thought of her like a twin sister and as far as he could tell, Chas felt the same way in return.
Ty backed out of the driveway and waved to Brandon as he put his SUV into Drive and pulled away. Brandon had met Ty in college at – shockingly – a meet-up for a game club. They ended up playing D&D in the same group and became fast friends despite their differing backgrounds. Ty was tall and strong and carried himself with a kind of quiet dignity that immediately commanded your respect. He had grown up in a more urban environment, while Brandon had grown up in a small town. As their friendship grew and they discussed other things outside of gaming, Ty challenged Brandon’s beliefs about the world and encouraged him to look at things in different ways and from a variety of perspectives. Ty seemed to have an insight and wisdom well beyond his years and Brandon came to respect and admire that about him. Over time, Brandon opened his mind to many things he hadn’t considered previously. Ty had a way of pointing out things in a manner that wasn’t threatening or confrontational. They became very close friends over their years in college and Brandon wasn’t afraid to admit that Ty had made him a better person by helping him to see the world differently than he had during his younger years.
Despite growing up a couple of hours apart, when college graduation neared, both Brandon and Ty accepted job offers near Brandon and Chas’s hometown. It ended up that all three of them lived within 30 minutes of each other. After college, Brandon introduced Ty to Chas. He was very nervous about that initial meeting. These were his two best friends in the world. What if they didn’t get along? What if they hated each other? Brandon needn’t have worried though. Chas and Ty hit it off right away and it quickly seemed like they had been lifelong friends. That was 10 years ago. The three friends had been getting together for regular gaming sessions ever since.
Brandon turned off all the lights, checked that all the doors were locked, and headed up to get ready for bed as it was back to work in the morning. Good night sweet princess, Brandon mumbled to himself as he headed up the stairs; still laughing at Ty’s parting shot on Chas.
“Christ, I hate Mondays,” Brandon muttered under his breath as he finally caught up on the last of the issues from the weekend.” As a software administrator at a company that manufactured knee and hip replacements, there were always software issues of one type or another: access problems, systems running slowly, connectivity issues, you name it.” He picked up his coffee mug and looked into it – empty. Then, with his stomach growling, he glanced at the clock in the lower right-hand corner of his computer monitor. 11:52 already?! Holy shit, where did the morning go?
Brandon got out his lunch and began eating at his desk as he went to the local news site on his computer. Eating, he mindlessly scrolled through the site, not much catching his eye. He paused to look at the weather forecast and read a brief piece on one of his former high school teachers who was retiring. Then, as he got to local news, he saw something that immediately grabbed his attention. The headline read: Sinkhole Opens, Exposing Buried Tunnel. What do we have here, Brandon thought to himself, clicking to read the article. Brandon read the article transfixed. It turned out that a fairly large sinkhole had formed on the outskirts of Taylorsville – Brandon’s hometown. Upon investigation, it was discovered that the ground had sunk because there was some type of underground tunnel. Rodents had been ruled out as the cause due to the size of the tunnel. The area has been declared unsafe and cordoned off by police. Very interesting, Brandon thought.
He fired off a quick email to Chas and Ty with the subject: Who’s Up for a Real Dungeon Crawl that had a link to the article on WTAY’s website. He sent the email and went back to scrolling through the rest of the news from Taylorsville, which not surprisingly, wasn’t much. He had been joking when he sent the email, but something kept tugging at the edge of his consciousness. He really DID want to know more about the tunnel. It was obviously made by someone, but by whom? And why?
Brandon tried to put the sinkhole and the tunnel out of his mind and get back to work. He was beginning to answer an email that had landed while he was eating when another email hit his inbox. It was from Chas, RE: Who’s Up for a Real Dungeon Crawl and it read simply – So when are we going to check it out? Before Brandon could ponder Chas’s response another email came in; this one from Ty. It was a reply all to Chas’s email and it read: I’m up for it, let’s go. After a few more emails back and forth among the three of them, they agreed to meet at the site of the sinkhole just after dark. Brandon found himself excited and a little unnerved. He told himself that the tunnel was probably little more than an old cave that had collapsed, but his instincts told him that there was something more to it.
A mind-shattering journey into the world of HP Lovecraft and the Cthulhu Mythos warped into the shape of a Love Letter experience.
You’re not trying to gain affection from the Princess. You are trying to eliminate your rivals for power as you seek to understand the cosmic horror that lurks just beyond what we foolishly call “reality”.
In each round only one player will prevail. Use deduction and luck to eliminate other players or watch as their own madness consumes them.
Will you accept madness as the price that must be paid for Knowledge Man Was Not Meant to Know? Or will you attempt to hold the shreds of your sanity together in the face of eldritch nightmares attempting to enter and destroy our world?
We are happy to announce starting August 1, 2017 we will begin stocking Asmodee products!
Look for your favorite and new titles from these publishers starting in August.