Desperation: A Zombie CYOA

After hearing good things about the Role Playing forum here at escapist magazine, I've finally decided to try my hand at a new story. For anyone unfamiliar with this structure of story, A CYOA is basically a Choose Your Own Adventure likes the children's books of yesteryear. What will happen is every time after I post an update to the story, you'll be presented with a set of choices that will determine the plot and even characters' fates.

A little bit of info before the story begins though, the zombies will vary from comical Dead Rising durability to the near invulnerability of walkers from The Walking Dead. I feel this helps to lend a sense of unpredictability to story. So without further adieu, here we go....


John barricades his door with anything he can find lying around his apartment, all hell has broken loose in the world outside. That very morning, a shambling wave of what appeared to be cannibals emerged from the woods, descending upon an unsuspecting town. The initial reaction was to call in the National Guard, but they were too late to respond.

Even when they finally arrived, they were horrified to discover their weapons had no affect on the continually growing army of cannibalistic beings. Mere hours later, the town had been besieged by a threat some had perceived as impossible. The living dead, zombies have come to life, hungering for the flesh of the living.

John was at work when the initial mob struck, forcing him to flee without properly preparing. He reached his apartment twenty minutes later and has been there since. Freakin' zombies, how in the hell is this possible?!

He is currently taking refuge within his home, frightfully awaiting a rescue he knows will not come. This leaves him with few actions. While waiting however, the phone begins to ring, bringing him to wonder who in the world could be calling.

Health: 100%

Inventory: Nothing
Entourage: Nobody

A) Answer the phone, it could be someone who's in desperate need of assistance
B) Ignore it for now, John has more pressing matters to attend to
C) Forget this entire situation and climb out onto the fire escape, John can flee the building after collecting whatever useful supplies he has lying around
D) Tune into the television, perhaps the news broadcast will have some useful information

I know this is short, but I want to get the story going in a solid direction before I start writing lengthy updates.

Any votes at all?

Being the genre savvy beast that I am, I would find a relatively painless way to end my existence so that the walkers would not pose a painful threat to myself.

Given the choices that we have though, I'm going with A. Use electronic resources while we still have them.

I'm going to go with A as well.

A)Answer the phone.

A) You're not going anywhere anytime soon.

Against his better judgment, John reluctantly picks up the droning phone. "Hello?" He chimes cautiously. "H-hello?! You're actually speaking, thank god! I've been dialing a list of people that live here in the apartment, trying to find help. I'm trapped on the fourth floor, the bastards have nearly broken through the door." It is a woman speaking frantically, her voice laced with fright.

"I'm down on the second floor, stuck in a similar situation. What do you want me to do?" John unnecessarily asks, he knows exactly what she is going to request. "Well, I was hoping you could....come get me. Please, you can climb up the fire escape and come in through the hall. There aren't that many of them, but there are too many for me to fight. Please...." She quivers on the last sentence, choking back a quiet sob.

Oh man, what the hell am I going to do?! The only weapon John possesses is a wooden baseball bat he purchased in case of burglars. It wouldn't be too hard to climb up the fire escape, it's the prospect of bloodthirsty flesh eaters awaiting that make John a bit uneasy. "Well?" The woman asks once more, still hopeful.

Health: 100%

Inventory: Nothing
Entourage: Nobody

A) Tell her he'll do it, John can't abandon a person in need
B) Hang the phone up, better to not hear her as she submits herself to her fate
C) Hang up then unhook the phone, John doesn't want her to harass him again
D) Lie and say he'll do it, it'd be better than simply rejecting her
E) Ask for more information, John should at least find out more about the situation before answering her though she doesn't seem to have much time left

I'll try to make the updates a bit meatier from here on out.


If she's specific enough to know there aren't that many, but still says it's too many for her then she must know a number at least.
Also, narrow hall makes swinging motion of a bat difficult, assuming that the hallway is narrow of course.

Furthermore I'd prefer to know whether she is in a committed relationship or not, and therefore the appropriate level of attractiveness on a scale of 1-10.

E) Ask for more information. Going in without the full picture won't do anyone any favors.

Oh, God, are you kidding me? D. We have no tools, no weapons, not so much as a baseball we can throw.

Looks like E has won, arming yourselves with more knowledge may prove wise.

I'm going to need more information before I even consider this. "All right, can you give me a number of how many are outside your door? I need more information if I'm going to do anything." John replies over the phone, taking the pragmatic route rather than the altruistic alternative. "I counted four when I looked out the door through the peep hole." She gives him what is hopefully an honest answer, though John has no way of knowing if she is telling the truth. I guess I'll just have to take her word for it. No way to find out without actually going up there.

"Okay, do you have any form of weapon in your apartment? A knife of any kind?" He begins prepping the woman to defend herself if necessary. "Uh...yeah. I have a cleaver in the kitchen. I'll go grab it." John hears the sound of the phone being set on the counter, a solid thumping sound emanating from the background as zombies continue to pound at her door. A few moments later, she returns to the phone, cleaver in hand. "I've got it. But.....oh no! They're getting through the door. Please, you have to hurry. I don't know how much longer it'll hold. I'm in room 408. Oh my god, stay awa-" The receiver clicks as the line goes dead. Shit, they must've gotten inside. Is she even still alive?

John rushes to retrieve the baseball bat from his room before stopping to consider his options. What am I doing? I'm safe here for now. But can I really leave her to die? John hesitates while pondering how to proceed.

Health: 100%

Inventory: Nothing
Entourage: Nobody

A) Get his baseball bat and proceed to the fourth floor, John might be able to handle four zombies if he plays it smart. Hopefully.

B) Leave the woman to fend for herself, it will weigh on John's conscience but better her than him....

C) Try calling the woman back, maybe John can instruct her on how to escape over the phone though it seems like a long shot.


The option Z is something interesting I like to do every once in a while. Basically, it's Create Your Own Answer. Offer up a possible path for John and I'll tell you whether it's possible for not. Also, I don't know if anyone is going to notice, but this scenario was the direct result of John waiting to talk on the phone more instead of acting. I just wanted to show everyone that each choice is going to go have a set of consequences, whether they be good or bad.

Z - Grab any weapons and supplies and get the hell out of there. If they're breaking into apartments huddling in this one is just going to get John killed. She's dead or will be by the time he gets there, there's nothing he can do to save her.

B)Leave. There's nothing more we can do. Head for the parking lot.

Run up the fire escape. If she is still alive, take her and run. Go to the roof and see what's around.

I need a tie breaker if I'm going to be able to update.

A) Even if you can't save her, the more rooms you clear out the safer you'll be in the long run.

I'm going with A. Couldn't live with knowing that I could have saved somebody and didn't try. Besides if it looks too much to handle, he doesn't have to go all the way into the apartment.

I'll try to update tomorrow morning if I can. For the record, would anyone like to see a picture of the woman before John goes after her since it appears A has prevailed?

Sure, that's fine.

This is not a shameless bump. Nope. Not at all.

Sorry for just letting this thread fall to the way side. I've been working two jobs for the last month and it's been hard to find some down time to write an update. I'm hoping to have one completed by this time next week so be on the look out.


Can't believe I'm even considering this... John rushes to retrieve his baseball bat from his room, his heart beginning to pound at the thought of what he is about to do. After grabbing the bat from his closet, he returns to the window beside the fire escape. He glances around his apartment one last time, not knowing whether he will see it again. "Well, here goes..." He says aloud as he opens the window and leaps out onto the rusty metal platform.

The sky overhead is as bleak as the state of city. Gray clouds roll by as John sprints past the third floor, his heart pounding even faster than before. He arrives at a possible entrance to the fourth floor, a window that leads into a darkened room. He can't see inside due to the shades being drawn, forcing him to take a gamble by going inside. He raises the window silently, relieved to find it is unlocked. He gently pulls the shades aside to peer into the apartment. It appears deserted as well as ransacked, overturned furniture and open cabinet doors give the impression its tenant has already vacated. Maybe this'll be easier than I though.

John gingerly steps through the window, taking care not to disturb the scattered debris beneath his feet. He is able to silently navigate to the hallway but realizes he has no idea which way to go. He checks the room number to find he has entered by way of room 406, merely two rooms down from the damsel in distress. He quietly pumps his fist at the turn of good fortune before remembering the prospect of facing down four of the undead. John gulps loudly as he skulks through the hall, quickly arriving at the woman's apartment. The door is ajar as he expected, but it is strangely quiet inside. Peeking around the corner, John sees two of the zombies are slowly rapping on a closed door while two others are feasting on what seems to be human flesh. Oh god, am I too late?

John almost retreats before hearing a loud whimper from within the apartment. She must've locked herself in her bedroom. Smart woman. All four of the zombies have their backs turned, gifting John with the element of surprise. He'll need to proceed carefully if he wants to rescue the woman safely.

Health: 100%

Inventory: Baseball Bat
Entourage: Nobody

A) Sneak up inside the apartment and begin assaulting the zombies, hopefully John can get the drop on a few of them before they realize he is there.

B) Attempt to draw them out into the hallway, there are glass bottles scattered along the floor that would suit this purpose nicely.

C) Yell from afar for the woman to open the door, maybe she can distract a few of the zombies as John charges in.


Consider the choices before you vote, John has no idea how strong the zombies are, but he also doesn't know how many are in the hall. And here are a few pictures of the woman I'd promised previously:

I'm bored, so why not?

B) Glass bottles are good for throwing, and if you get caught anyway, you've still got something to hit the zombies with.

Z) The bottles will distract the dead at the door nicely, but we will have a hard time drawing the others away from their meal. Before using the bottles, I suggest quickly taking the chewers out and slipping back into the hall.

Also, good to see you back.

I agree with RanDM G. The zombies who are busy eating aren't going to be drawn away by the bottles. Though we've got to be prepared in case the ones are the door here the fighting going on.

So Z)


I go with the Z) option as well.
If we can bash their heads in while they're eating we may be able to distract the others away.

Though I commend everyone on experimenting with the Z option, the way you've presented it is essentially a combination of A and B. A stealth attack might be possible with a blade, but a baseball bat is too loud for such an action.

They don't know I'm here, so sneaking in might be my best option. Here goes nothing... John steels himself for his first direct confrontation with the undead. He takes several deep breaths whilst tightening his grip on the bat. The sight of a glass bottle on the ground gives John an idea however. He grabs the bottle and slips it into his pocket as he enter the apartment. The carpet muffles his footsteps as he makes his way toward the zombies feasting, his bat at the ready.

He begins his assault by clubbing the first zombie with a hefty swing, sending it to the ground with a sickening thud. He then hops to the side, following its head. He brings the bat crashing down on its face with all his might, caving in its skull. The other zombie rises to its feet after the death of its cohort, its dead eyes as gray as its decomposing skin. The sight sends a chill down John's spine, rooting him to the spot momentarily. He quickly shakes the feeling off though as the zombie lunges at him, its arms outstretched. John shoves his bat in its chest in an attempt to defend himself. The zombie staggers back, afford John an opportunity to strike. He bashes the zombie in the temple and uses his momentum to strike once more. A loud crack signifies the zombie's death as its body falls limp to the floor.

The noisy altercation soon draws the ire of the other two zombies, much to John's dismay. Time to put this bottle to use. John draws the glass bottle from his pocket then breaks it against the wall, arming himself with a small but jagged weapon. The first of the zombies is a gangly man with untrimmed facial hair and a ragged overcoat, possibly that of a homeless person's. He shambles toward John while letting out a ghastly moan, but if fails to faze John this time. He takes the offensive by charging the zombie and jamming the broken bottle into its head, propelling it to the ground. John doesn't have time to verify its death as the final threat remains.

The last zombie is a woman in a tan blouse and blue short shorts, John might even describe her as attractive if it weren't for the whole being a zombie deal. She assails him in the same fashion as the others, raising John's confidence as he prepares to counter attack. He sidesteps her grasp while striking the back of her right leg. She falls to one knee, allowing John to execute her with one last blow to the head. Her body slams into the wall as John wipes the sweat from his brow, amazed that he managed to defeat all of the zombies without a scratch. I got lucky this time. All of these zombies were malnourished and could barely stand. I'll have to be more careful from now on.

Once he's caught his breath, John walks to the woman's room and says through the door, "It's safe to come out now. They're all dead....again." It takes a moment for her to open the door, but she finally emerges after more reassurances from John. "You did all this?! I can't believe it." She says as she steps into the room, surveying the carnage of the battle. She is wearing a black form fitting dress with black heels, the last thing one should be wearing in a zombie apocalypse. "It wasn't easy, but yeah. Just don't expect me to do it too many more times." John replies in a winded tone, his pulse still racing. The woman chuckles at John's remark, but an awkward silence soon descends upon them. "So...I just want to say thanks. I wasn't sure if you were actually going to come..." The woman finally reveals, a hint distress accompanying her words. "I'm going to tell you the truth, I almost wasn't sure either. But I wouldn't be able to live with myself if I left you to die." John says to alleviate a bit of her concern.

"I guess we should introduce ourselves, huh? My name's Deborah Gonzales." Deborah says while extending an arm. "John Dillon, at your service. I hope you don't mind, but I'm gonna take a seat before my heart pounds out of my chest." He tells Deborah. John makes it a point to close the apartment door before sitting on her couch, the last thing they need is another undead interruption. "Be my guest, you've earned it. But what are we going to do now? I know there's more of these...things in the rest of the building. It's only a matter of time before more of them find us." Deborah voices her concern about what to do next. "I don't know. I hadn't thought that far ahead. First thing's first though, you need to put on something more appropriate. We won't make it very far if you're running around in a tight dress and heels." John abruptly states about her outfit.

"You're right. I'll change into something more zombie friendly. Help yourself to anything in the meantime, you deserve it." Deborah retreats to her room once again to change clothes. Looks like we've got some time to kill. I honestly don't know if it'd be better to move out or try to fortify this room. She was right most likely right about there being more zombies in the building, but we'd barely have any weapons if we went out into the city. Shit, this is going to be one hell of a day.

Health: 100%
Current time: 11:52 a.m.

Inventory: Bloody Baseball Bat
Entourage: Deborah Gonzales: 100%, Unarmed

A) Scrounge up any supplies in the apartment and evacuate, it will only be harder to escape later on if they wait.

B) Hole up inside the apartment for a while, they're safe for the moment and John is in no hurry to leave if it means facing down more zombies.

C) Ask Deborah what she thinks they should do, John is willing to listen to any suggestion right now.


If you vote A, please choose what the destination should be:
1) McCoy's Lumber two blocks away, it is the closest location that would supplies as well as better weapons.

2) The sporting goods store three blocks away, it is further than the hardware store but might have better weapons as well as food.

3) The police station further inside the city, John doesn't know the exact distance but if anybody is organizing an evacuation effort, that is the place they'd be doing it.

4) The fire station across the street, they live right next to it but John never heard any sirens going off if anybody tried to flee from it.

5) Begin attempting to evacuation the city, they should try to evacuate the city as soon as possible though they lack numbers and supplies at the moment.

Deborah Gonzales: 40% (Fellow Survivor)

The approval will track John's current relationship with other survivors. You'll need to keep this in mind if you want other survivors to cooperate as a character with a low relation might present an obstacle later on.

Also, if anybody has any character requests, feel free to post them. I'll take characters from video games or original creations, whichever you want to see.

A) That fight was noisy, and it wouldn't be too unexpected to find more zombies moving towards the room at this very moment. So we should take what we can get, and leave.

For where we should go, I say 2). While I believe the hardware store would be better for getting sharper weapons that don't break as quickly, we don't have anything to carry them in. At the sporting goods store, we'll be able to find a backpack, some more weapons (probably blunt, but still), and some survival equipment (food included). We can stop at the hardware store afterwards if we get the chance.

That fight went as well as I expected. Luck was the plan.

While I think getting the Hell out of there is the best option, none of the destinations are that great. Police and Fire Stations are going to be crowded with confused survivors. The stores will already be looted for guns and ammo, or defended by owners wielding said guns and ammo. We're understocked for leaving the city on foot. If we're hoofing it, we should move through areas with less pandemonium.

Z) Take the stairwell up to the roof. Get your bearings and see where the crowds are.

A 2 sounds pretty good.


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