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Thread: Zombie Survival Guide/ World war Z

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    Default Zombie Survival Guide/ World war Z

    Having just read the above books, and not having seen the film, I am inclined to start to sketch out a campaign for my group based on these stories. I will be starting the players in a small town where hey will all be ex high-school friends going on a weeks hunting trip in a lodge. On return to there town they will find the start of a Z outbreak. I am hoping to not let the PCs be aware of the nature of the campaign until we begin playing, I will drop hints that this may well be a modern day Cthulhu game initially.

    I am fairly au fait with the BRP rules having used them to run an 'Only War' 40K campaign as well as homebrew Steampunk.

    My question to the forum is how to simulate the effects of a zombie bite in the game without making it too deadly. In the books any bite is eventually deadly. My first thoughts would be to give the bite a POT that would stack with each bite over a time period allowing some survivability for the PCs if they get nicked in a small battle.

    The second issue is how to determine Z stats. I think that STR/CON/SIZ will remain as for a human. DEX will become D6 with INT fixed. Attacks would be grapple only at a fixed 25% or so to simulate the slow movement of the creature.

    For HP I was thinking of doubling the values for all body parts apart from the head allowing the zombie to function normally until the body part reached zero. This would be to simulate the lack of pain etc.

    In the books the Zs moan could damage the morale and SAN of the humans. Not really sure how to model this unless making a single Z's moan not too much of an issue but add penalties with numbers and duration.

    Anyone else done something similar and/or any ideas gratefully received?

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    My idea for the zombie bite is this:

    Make resist to zombie bites and scratches a CON check by levels of zombie bites recieved, first time easy, second normal, third hard, 4th and onwards is at base CON rather than at con*5. At a final level that requires great luck and many bites to get to, the bite is always something that results in zombification.

    Furthermore, if a zombie bite is active as a major wound, then dying by any means save your head blown off will cause reanimation. This may extend to being at any level of zombie bite.
    Last edited by Link6746; December 9th, 2013 at 19:17.

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    Thanks Link, I like that and had a similar idea in mind. I am also toying with the idea that once bitten the host is infected and even if he/she passes the CON roll they will become a zombie if killed by any other means within a 48 hr period when the virus is live. In this case if attacked again the zombies will bite but not necessarily feed as the flesh will already be tainted. This may well explain why there are so many Zeds and why there are not many Zeds wandering about that have been half eaten.

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    Make sure the CON roll to resist the virus is done by the Game Master and NOT the player to add suspense. The character should never know if their infected.

    Rod
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    I don't know how it is in WWZ (haven't read the book in a long time, and don't recall from the film), but in the Romero movies it works like this:

    Anyone who dies from any reason turns into a zombie
    The bite of a zombie is venomous, and deadly, unless the affected area can be amputated before the poison spreads (see Day of the Dead)

    So, I'd do something like make the zombie bite poisonous, requiring CON rolls to stave off the infection.

    Start at CONx7. Fifteen minutes after the bite, make the roll. Fifteen minutes later, roll again at CONx6. Then CONx5, etc.

    If the character is bitten again in the interim, immediately have him make the roll again at the next lower level.

    And, of course, whenever the roll is failed, the PC starts coughing up blood, collapses, and in 2D10 rounds comes back from the dead.

    Of course, if someone dies from any other reason, they'll come back, too.
    Please note I do not actually work for Chaosium; I just do the occasional freelance editing work for them.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cdr Vimes View Post

    For HP I was thinking of doubling the values for all body parts apart from the head allowing the zombie to function normally until the body part reached zero. This would be to simulate the lack of pain etc.
    I wouldn't change the hit point formula from the established method. Instead change how the zombie reacts to the damage that has been inflicted.

    For example, this is a slight modification as to how I have zombies written up for Classic Fantasy. You may want to start with something like this as a base and modify from there.

    Zombies have no CON, and thus are immune to attacks and hazards that target that characteristic such as poisons. They are very hard to kill and they cannot be incapacitated. Zombies do not possess a total hit point score, only locational hit points, requiring them to be hacked to pieces. Their locational hit points are based on their SIZ as if it were a total hit point score. They are immune to bleeding Special Successes, and impaling weapons do only half damage, however arrows, bolts, and bullets do only 1 point of damage after armor reduction, unless the hit is a Special Success, in which case they do 2 points, or a hit to the head (brain) which does full damage (double damage with a special success). Destroying the abdomen renders both of the zombie’s legs useless and destroying the chest causes it to helplessly thrash around on the ground, unable to move. A limb reduced to 0 damage becomes useless, while being reduced to a negative score equal to the limbs total hit points causes it to become severed or maimed as normal. A zombie with a useless or severed/maimed limb suffers no negative effects other than the loss of said limb. Only by destroying the head (brain) is the zombie truly destroyed.

    Hope that gives you some ideas.

    Rod
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    Excellent ideas. I like baseline stats that people are suggesting.

    Off-topic...how did that Only War 40K with BRP go?

    -STS

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    My two cents, estimations of actual value may vary:

    Zeke hit points - These would remain the same as a normal creature, however, only called shots to the head would do actual damage. I would use traditional called shot rules of Aimed Attacks (pages 212 and 213) which would make shots to the head Difficult and players being able to spend 5 DEX ranks "Taking More Time" or if you are not using that set of rules, just another action to offset the modifier. You can then cinematically play out limb damage as appropriate flavor text without having to break out the abacus to track each limb in combat. I am torn about the reduction of Special Circumstances. It is logical not to use the Bleed special circumstance but I think this is true of all residual damages on undead that are not going to die due to circulatory system problems, but the others are fairly logical (again sans the residual damage from Impale).

    As far as Sanity rules for the Zekes, it depends on how mentally crippling you want them to be. WWZ is very much a great picture of how people can/will 'break' so using Sanity rules would be important to me. If you are wanting this to be a longer running game, not just a one shot, I would likely go with something like:

    Seeing a Zeke (not doing anything particularly aggressive) - 0/1d3 SAN
    Being attacked by a Zeke (regardless of outcome of the attack) / Hearing other people being attacked and killed by Zekes while the character is safe and does nothing - 0/1d4 SAN
    Seeing Zeke(s) feeding on a corpse or other living person / Seeing a body reanimate / seeing a child Zeke doing something creepy - 1/1d6 SAN
    Being charged by a group (5 or more) of Zekes / Being bitten (and being aware that this causes reanimation upon death) - 1/2d4 SAN
    Seeing a Zeke horde (50+) - 1/1d10 SAN

    I would very much use the Growing Numb to Horror rules (page 321). As well as allowing people to regain some SAN through GM award, skill mastery, defeating Zekes, and Psychotherapy and/or other moral boosting events (such as seeing one of the propaganda films from the book, which I can't remember the name of, or watching one of the US' new weapons being tested against zombies or getting ahold of a LOBO). In terms of more permanent sanity if you are wanting to stay true to the books you could have people become the zombie groupies (again can't remember the exact term), or become LaMOS (Last Man on Earth Syndrome). The book has lots of great insanity type scenarios. Two of my favorite are the guy that hated dogs pre-outbreak which ends up becoming a military dog handler and running a dog shelter after his experience seeing the Zekes surrounding the neighborhood pet store, or the guy that once they retake his home town, goes and sits in his recliner and commits suicide. So if you are really going for a clone, pull from WWZ to make it as canonical as you can.

    But regardless, it sounds fun!

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    I would say that the virus shouldn't be live for just 48 hours. If you look at the zombie survival guide, even antibodies can lead to developing the virus. As a result, once bitten I would make any cause of death save the head being blown off cause zombification even after the initial threat of dying from the disease is over.

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    Thanks for all the ideas guys, keep 'em coming.

    STS - The Only War game worked really well. Interestingly I was working on a Dark heresy BRP version, just about complete but was stuck perfecting the Psyker rules. I was then given the Imperial Guard books by a friend and decided to run an IG campaign. This was done just before Only War was released. I have not seen the Only War rules but my BRP version had all the PCs having a NPC they controlled related to there character type, ie sniper had a spotter, a gunner had a loader of vehicle driver etc. The rules worked well and the first scenario I ran was a food/tax collection run to a small village on a Chaos rebellion world. On reaching the village the game turned into a Magnificent 7 scenario as the PCs helped the villagers defend themselves from a band of Chaos Marauders.

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