Barhah History Month II
Editor's Note: This issue covers early RRF history, starting with the assault on Hildenbrand Mall to Dia de los Muertos
Countdown to Brains at Hildebrand
- Taken from an account by Papa Petro himself
Back in the day, the science of Urban Dead was still at a fairly primitive level. We were still in the process of learning, for example, that barricading was a five to one advantage for survivors. We were used to smashing everything that was in our path by simply wearing out the enemy with numbers. Part of what helped us was that the survivors were also utterly inefficient about how they dealt with us, with far too many shooting us out of the mall before barricading back up or even closing the doors.
Back then, when you APed out you could still see the map, and state of the art sophistication in siegecraft was to AP out in a mall quad and then continually refresh and post the health state of the defenders, so those without the scent/diagnosis skills would know who the soft targets were.
(Giddings, SE quad, all fucking day long. But that's another story.)
So we hit Hildebrand. Initially, the plan had been to hit both Hildebrand and Woodroffe at once, with each Group, but Hildebrand bogged Group 2 down enough that I brought the whole horde in to drop the hammer.
Now, somewhere around the end of Nichols, I had a notion that the only coordination we really would need was an attack timer. So one of our members, Deathray I believe, coded up a java thingy that would do a countdown, at the end of the countdown revealing a target (for SOOPER SEKRIT STUFF). The Blork Corps put its own timer to good use in hitting Mayo Row, but the field usage for mall sieges was less than spectacularly successful. In fact, it rather sucked.
Hildebrand was a much stiffer fight than Nichols. We were starting to get some compression effect of refugees fleeing and stiffening defenses as they moved back. Furthermore, they still thought they could stop us, so they were willing to hang tough.
As an aside, Hildebrand was also where a matter with Lisa really started to get to be a pain in the ass. She'd fled to Nichols with her alt, only to have us attack Nichols. So when she fled to Hildebrand, she was PKed as a zombie spy OMG. So when we announced the attack, word got around that we were attacking the mall in retaliation for Lisa's PKing. This was a load of shit, because if we'd caught her survivor character ourselves we would've eaten her. As I said at the time, we didn't (and still don't) operate with any concern for what happens to members' survivor alts. Completely separate existances, what?
It took Lisa's alt a good while to shake off that doombringer rep, and it was actually pretty damned funny. Except to her, naturally.
Having a covert timer worked quite well for coordinating the Blork Corps attacks, and our first two uses at Hildebrand also were quite promising. We'd jam twenty to thirty through the doors, which was a good breach in those days, kill a bunch of people, then get evicted.
On day three, though, we learned a good lesson. They'd gotten wind of the timers, and when the horde attacked, they spent all their APs rebarricading. A few got through, and were ignored as the defenders continually rebarricaded. For the most part, though, we simply APed out outside the walls.
It was an excellent strategy on their part, as was noted at the time, and bought Hildebrand another day of existance. Afterward, we played some games with the timers (attack an hour before the deadline, etc.), and after about five days, we had worn them down and crushed them. The Hildebrand barricading allowing them to put up such a good fight was something that would come back to haunt us later at the first battle of Caiger.
But that was far away, and the highwater mark of the hordes for 2005 was ahead of us- Giddings, the legendary grave of the Many, home of PARA, and alleged by all to be unbreakable.
Or alleged by most, anyway.
Hildebrand: My First Day on the job
- Taken from an account by DM
I learned about the game in early October and choose a medic for my first character. I spawned in Roachtown. I didn't really know how to play the game and had no idea that Roachtown and Central Malton were completely overrun with zombies.
I spent half of my AP searching for items outside to fight all the zombies around me. Getting a little frustrated, I decided to find a place to stay since there were zombies everywhere. I finally found a building that had no zombies in it, but it did have a few bodies. I thought the bodies were there for flavor, so I decided to spend the night there and logged off my character. Well low and behold I am dead before morning.
A little frustrated with the game and not really getting it, I started another character and spawned in Peppardville. This time I chose soldier because I wanted to shoot things. I walk up to a zombie, use most of my AP trying to shoot and punch them ( I think I shot them once and punched them twice). I then found a building with a few dead bodies to stay the night. This time, I decided to shut the door for safety, not realizing to dump the bodies. I woke up dead the next day...
I decided to give the game one more shot so I read the Wiki beforehand and learned that firefighter was a good starting class. I also learned that bodies can become zombies. This time I start a new character, attack a zombie, get 35 or so XP, and I find a lightly barricaded building to serve as a safehouse. What I didn't realize at the time that Stanbury Village was completely overrun and that my safehouse was probably the only one still there. Of course, I am killed during the night. I was pretty frustrated with the game at this point so I basically said 'screw it' and walked away from the game.
About a week later, I read a little more on the Wiki site, saw that Petro was heading up the RRF and so I decided to give Team zombie a chance.
Hildebrand Mall was my first RRF operation. For the start of the siege, we were pmed the location of the timers and told to rally at a spot NE of the mall. I shambled to the mall area and logged off to let my AP fill. Right before the attack, I logged into my character and noticed that I was on the ground (I didn't realize at the time that somone had revived me in a stack of something like 80 zombies).
I stood up, did something else for a few minutes, came back to my character and noticed that a few zombies had attacked me. I didn't think much of it, and moved to the mall at the attack time. We started bashing and I noticed that the zombies were attacking me. I figured that they were misclicking and hitting attack a zombie instead of barricades. I also noticed that the barricades were fluctuating wildly from open to VSB. I hit enter building at a point when I thought the doors were open and low and behold, my revived zombie walks into the building, no problems.
I start attacking the first person on the list and I was happy to see that my attacks were landing. It was at this point that I noticed the game text said punch and that there were no other zombies inside. I started to think: Why is my zombie punching instead of clawing or biting? Oh shit, zombies can't punch. Oh shit, it says survivor. Oh shit, I am not supposed to be in here.
As soon as I realized that I was a revived zombie/survivor, I left the building and just stood until someone killed me. And that was basically my first day on the job....
Giddings: Dia De Los Muertos
- Taken from an account by Papa Petro himself
The Minions arrived first, crushing the NT dead south of the mall. We took a little longer to get in since we tend to stream into these affairs, rather than arriving as a consolidated fist.
It was really a great feeling, as horde after horde threw in, ferals declared that they were on the way. Giddings had been the graveyard of the Many (depending on who's version of the September battle you take.) and really, it was our Rome to take.
The threads were hopping, not quite as fast as the Caiger threads or the strike threads, but still the rate of growth was incredible, page after page coming in of enthusiasm for the fight that was coming up.
Now, in the midst of this I get about a half dozen PMs warning me that good old Sgt. Whiskey Swiper is planning a cunning scheme to take Perryn, issue a challenge and see if he could lure any of the attackers away. At the time, I really didn't know Swiper from Adam, but I wasn't too concerned. Forts had fallen time and again, and it was starting to be understood finally that forts were largely indefensible. So other than sending a quick PM out here or there, I just let him do his thing. Swiper made his challenge thread (We're at Perryn! Come and get us!) to the excitement of exactly no one. There was much yawning all around as he declared that Operation Black Ice II would somehow awe everyone and change the game forever or somesuch.
He totally didn't understand that Giddings was a crusade, and would have to be beaten at the doors of the mall or not at all.
After the Minions crushed the NT, the Groups piled in together at the SW quad, if I recall correctly. What followed was two days of grueling fighting, clearing the bottom two quads. It was the largest horde in the field that had ever been assembled to date, and all day long the breaches were continual. There was some sparring with PARA as Sonny mentioned, when one of their members admitted to zerging with two characters inside the mall and one doing harassment ZKing outside. However, Kevar got on top of the issue and kicked him out, allowing the festivities to resume with a reasonable lack of inter-board flaming. I was free all day long, and every time I'd get a few AP, I'd stand up, wait for the barricades to come down, and then post target data for the thread at Desen until I was booted out again.
(This was the first period where my contact list info started getting circulated widely, and one of the best laughs I had was Sonny declaring 'YEAH! Get Petro!') So I tended to soak a lot of ammo, which was fine with me.
It was Grim who broke things open. We'd been planning on APing up for a surge in the morning (American time), but in the middle of the night (American time), Grim was charged and declared 'I'm bored. Who wants to go in with me?' The resulting surge cleared the southern quads and started the tide into the northern quads. By November 1st, when I logged out in the NW quad, went to bed and woke up with it empty, and me still standing, I knew we'd won.
As Sonny said, the failings for the Giddings defenders were numbers, and also again, tactics. There were still too many trenchcoats who would shoot before barricading, allowing us to get inside and shift the AP ratios over to us.
And god, the aftermath. Everyone spread out in different directions, with the RRF taking the south and west and killing everything in sight. I don't think there's been a four-suburb killing spree like that since then, with the three major hordes, over seven hundred zombies, just moving out and killing everyone. It got around quickly that November 1st was Dia De Los Muertos in Mexico, and we had our highest moment.
(Though in my mind, our finest hour was yet to come. But that story is a bit down the road.)
A little-known zombie called Jorm joins the horde
- Taken from an account by Jorm
My favorite part of Dia de los Muertos was a post by Arcibi on the PA forums saying that he had 1 HP, 1 AP, and was infected. I believe the quote was "You cannot believe how helpless I feel."
That made my day.
I joined the horde at Hildebrande.
I had a survivor in the area (named, oddly, 'Jorm') who used the mall as a resupply and saw all sorts of warnings. However, I wasn't stupid, so jorm hotfooted it out of there like a bat out of hell.
Given that, I brought up satanbaby, my feral zombie, and joined the assault (Satanbaby was my RRF zombie until just before Caiger, when I threw jorm out a window, spent his banked XP, and switched them. Satanbaby is now my GoB survivor).
Hildebrande was a blur. The timers . . . I tried to follow them, but couldn't figure out the GMT offset. I know at least once I attacked with Joe Bailum - he said "RAM BARGGAGZ!" and so I did but it was dismal: I think we got three people inside. I AP'd out, and by the time I logged in again everyone was dead.
It wasn't until Dia de los Muertos that I got truly bloody. There, I killed and killed and killed and killed... it was a mass of chaos and gore and death rattle. I maxed out at Giddings.
On War, Peace and Infected Survivors at 1HP
- Taken from an account by Papa Petro himself
Yeah, the sad saga of Arcibi was truly a sight to behold. He ran into a building full of zombies, then APed out in the street trying to get away, and when he logged back in, he was down to 1 HP and infected. Then he edited the message several times, asking somebody to come heal him so he could get going on, as zombies moved all around him. Finally, one of them had a bit of mercy and finished him off.
Giddings was our most thorough massacre ever. I don't think there was a single safe spot for four suburbs, and high danger around those due to feral concentrations. It was really something.
The Horde looks West
- Taken from an account by Papa Petro himself
Now for the hard part of the story, the winter of our discontent, and many other metaphors.
Riding high off of the Dia De Los Muertos Massacre, we felt pretty damned invincible. The prevalent theory is that survivors could not win, anywhere, in fixed position fights, simply because Ankle Grab made it moot point to kill us. They knock us down, rebarricade, we stand up, they have to knock us down again.
Arrogantly enough, our concern at the time was that the next time we hit a mall with the three hordes, they'd run instead of standing, because the unbreachable fortress of Giddings had fallen.
As such, we began to put together the war plan for the first siege of Caiger. This was a lot more intricate and involved than anything we'd done previously. We wanted a massacre to exceed Giddings in both size and legend.
We got our wish, just not the way we wanted...