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Again, I know, I know. However, in the spirit of Halloween I wanted to get a call out there to see where a zombie apoc could surface in SR and what it would be like. I know, again, the holiday has passed but I was out partying with friends and away from the computer before this was able to get up. I'm thinking something along the lines of another arcology meltdown.
Well, you could bring back Deus, and have him create a crapton of cyber-zombies. That would be pretty easy to manage. And cyber-zombies are tough enough to challenge almost any running team if you give it a bit of thought.

Saint Hallow
Chi-town. Insect drones inhabiting the bodies of dead victims...
Or you could have an extra virulent strain of the Kreiger virus start spreading quickly through Seattle. For extra fun, you could have some characters (NPCs and PCs) with an innate resistance/immunity to said virus, leading to some interesting "Is he infected or not..." sort of moral quandaries. This would be super-awesome if your players didn't know that they were going to play a Zombie-outbreak.

Here's the start of a comic by a rather strange friend of mine.

The PCs are survivors in LA, ones who didn't fall hundreds of feet into caverns. The Zombies are the ones who didn't survive the fall. And there are quite a lot of them.
Doc Chase
A bioweapon hits Asamundo and they retaliate in the worst possible way.

First Africa, then the world. Just like Infectionator. biggrin.gif
I just pulled a Resident Evil and released the T-virus. The outbreak occurred in Seattle and of course all the neighbors built walls to keep the infected in and the UCAS abandoned them to their own devices. No magic, just science gone wrong. The corpses have no brain function so no stun tracks to worry about. I did fudge the rules a little bit and used the critter rules for swarms/mobs though. Made the zombie outbreak much more challenging for my players.
Man these are some really good ideas. Thanks guys! BTW they have no idea what kind of run they're getting into. I'm thinking a meeting with a Johnson goes wrong when the power goes out at the Seattle arcology. Hmmmm, super infectious Kreiger strain, one arcology, a city in chaos. Should serve for a few sessions.
QUOTE (Doc Chase @ Nov 3 2010, 08:38 AM) *
A bioweapon hits Asamundo and they retaliate in the worst possible way.

First Africa, then the world. Just like Infectionator. biggrin.gif

Just when I thought I had kicked that habit, know I'm jonesin' to spread some zombie virus across the globe.
QUOTE (jaellot @ Nov 3 2010, 09:06 PM) *
Just when I thought I had kicked that habit, know I'm jonesin' to spread some zombie virus across the globe.

I know its contagious....mmmmmm....brrraaaaiiinnnssssssss!
Personally, I've had the highest compliment from my group that can be given: "When the apocalypse happens, I'm hiding behind you."
Doc Chase
QUOTE (jaellot @ Nov 4 2010, 04:06 AM) *
Just when I thought I had kicked that habit, know I'm jonesin' to spread some zombie virus across the globe.

Moo hoo ha ha.
Prime Mover
One master shedim who's poisoned the water supply of a small town, the inhabitants now all low force shedim.
Deaders who are easy enough to deal with for a SR team and and a master as the BBEG for a finally.

Edit: I ran a one shot campaign something like this. Team had to go to a smuggling outpost in the rockies to find a missing SR team. What they found was an abandoned town and the bodies of the missing team locked in their disabled vehicle. As night fell the Shedim started pouring out of the surrounding buildings....FUN.
Rotbart van Dainig
QUOTE (capt.pantsless @ Nov 3 2010, 05:42 AM) *
Or you could have an extra virulent strain of the Kreiger virus start spreading quickly through Seattle.

"extra virulent"? RAW is sufficient for "28 days later".
If you need it faster, use Loup-Garous.
I thought Ghoul was the fastest virus?
It's almost unresistable, and it spreads by contact.

Rotbart van Dainig
So does Number 2 your chances are even worse and it has an interval of one hour.
QUOTE (Rotbart van Dainig @ Nov 4 2010, 11:28 AM) *
"extra virulent"? RAW is sufficient for "28 days later".
If you need it faster, use Loup-Garous.

Fair point - but then why isn't Seattle already in a Ghoul Apocalypse? There needs to be some sort of trigger to change the existing equilibrium. Maybe a corp is spreading in on purpose for some godforsaken reason.

Maybe there's a slightly different strain that only turns people into very feral ghouls, e.g. ones without any compassion or significant intelligence.

Either way, it could be a fine path for the campaign, i.e. news reports of increased ghoul sightings, the authorities vowing to respond, people panicing, the PC's getting attacked in their own homes by a swarm of ghouls. Good times.
QUOTE (sabs @ Nov 4 2010, 05:53 PM) *
I thought Ghoul was the fastest virus?
It's almost unresistable, and it spreads by contact.

Ancient History (who wrote the most recent canon entry about ghouls) already stated that he got the rules wrong on that and that the disease shouldn't be too hard to resist and not be spread by contact.
Rotbart van Dainig
QUOTE (capt.pantsless @ Nov 4 2010, 07:18 PM) *
Fair point - but then why isn't Seattle already in a Ghoul Apocalypse?

Because there is no quality assurance that checks implementation (rules) against concept (setting definition). Sometimes I'm not even certain there is a stringent concept at all.

It's the same with Fake credentials of any kind — 6 is supposed to pretty much indistinguishable from the original, but the rules give a snowballs chance in hell.
QUOTE (Grinder @ Nov 4 2010, 05:21 PM) *
Ancient History (who wrote the most recent canon entry about ghouls) already stated that he got the rules wrong on that and that the disease shouldn't be too hard to resist and not be spread by contact.

sure but where's the errata smile.gif

We can go with AH's house rules.. or we go by RAW.
AH's house rule then. What a question. nyahnyah.gif
Some general notes I made a while back on a message board, copied and pasted for folks thinking about using zombies. Not SR specific but should be adaptable:


Just a little something to ponder.

In Call of Cthulu, (the chaosium version) zombies were your pretty bog standard mindless undead.

However, unbeknowns to us when our party encountered some, piercing weapons, and ordinary bullets, only did one point of damage, no matter what.

We had no idea. There we are, filling these damn shambling things with spears, throwing knives, and bullets and they are still coming! According to our dice rolls, the damn things had taken 100s of points of damage and they were still shambling towards us, seemingly unstoppable.

Had we but known, a couple of blows with a machete, or a good blast from a shotgun, and the things would have dropped, but did we know that? Nooo.

It was a defining moment - the despairing screams of "god dammit, why won't these damn things die!"

We did kill them in the end, but if we had died, it would have been our own stupidity and stubborness that killed us.


The point? Don't tell your players everything. Don't give them un-necessary clues. If there is a specific way to kill a zombie in your game - the head shot, for example, let the players figure it out for themselves.


How to do that in D20? A really simple mechanic might be to simply rule that a "head shot" is represented by a weapon rolling above a specific number.

Say 10, on a 2D6 weapon.

Under these rules, no amount of cumulative damage will drop a zombie, but as soon as the weapon damage rolls its magic number, the beast drops. doesn't matter if thats the first shot or the 10th.

Describe all other shots as plowing into chest, limbs, etc, doing massive tissue damage, but the thing just keeps coming!! Pretend to be crossing off HP as normal, but only when the damage froma single attack is better than the magic number does the critter fall.

When the players twig, and start aiming for heads, you can reduce the number - maybe to the average roll on the damage dice. This saves messing about with to hit modifiers - after all, the heroes in the films didn't have much trouble hitting the slow moving critters in the head once they new that they had to.


Another way to incorporate both fast and slow zombies into your game:

How about the initial disease causing "28 days later" style crazies - who are not necessary cannabalistic, but do go on adrenaline-fueled hysterical rampages, killing and destroying at random. At this stage, they are still able to use (simple) weapons, open doors (but not locks), dismantle or break-down barricades etc.

But all the while, the disease is killing them - they wont last longer than 12 hours in this state, at which point they collapse and die.

Shortly afterwards, they get back up, now as more conventional zombies.


Also - you know how cold hearted some players can be - rather than tend the NPC wounded, in the faint chance they might recover, you know full well they will give them a bullet to the brain as soon as they get bitten.

So, lets make the zombie bite be less than 100% infectious, maybe only 75%. Thus a PC will be less inclined to deliver the "final mercy".

Also - whilst bitten, instead of fever and rambling, there are no effects other than a mild rise in temperature, and perhaps some irratablility. After a 12 hour incubation period, they flip out, suddenly.

An NPC (or even a PC) fearing the "bullet to the head" treatment might even keep secret the fact that he has been bitten in a minor scuffle with zombies, only to flip out later at some vital point. Throwing in a touch of the paranoia engendred by "The Thing".



Expanding on the above

To recap: Initial infection causes a mild rise in temperature, and irritability. But a zombie bite is not 100% infectious - maybe only 75%. So not everyone who is bitten is infected.

If you are infected, 12 hours later (approximately, probably varies with fitness of individual and maybe a little randomness thrown in too) the victim goes suddenly beserk - whilst still possesing human awareness, they are possesed of hysterical strength, and immunity to pain, and the desire to destroy and kill.

They stil have enough of a survial instint to attempt to evade zombies and to prevent them from wandering blithely into traps and ambushes, though.

12 hours after that, they die. Then, they get up again, now as a more conventional, dumb, lumbering zombie.

What impact would this have upon a zombie uprising?


1) Damage

I just watched the original Dawn of the dead, and in some ways, I thought the main protagonists had it a bit easy. The zombies are not interested in randomly smashing and breaking things, and so the mall was totally intact.

By having the rampage of the crazies first, there will be more property damage. Useful equipment that was just lying around for our heroes to use will be scarcer. More windows and doors might be broken down, making it harder to keep an area secure. Power supplies may be damaged, meaning zombie avoidance is something you have to do in the dark, where you can't see anywhere near as far.

You can cheerfully leave you genorator running or your escape vehicle parked in a non secure area, and zombies will most likely totally ignore it. But imagine when you come to make your escape and you find some nut-job has taken a fire-axe to your vehicle, smashing the doors and slashing the tires.

An important part of the game will thus be finding and protecting undamaged equipment and food supplies.

2) Security

In the original Dawn, a few planks, or a shop window of thoughened safety-glass was enough to keep the zombies at bay.

But with the crazies, security is no longer a matter of keeping the door shut, as a closed door or simple barricade might keep out wandering undead, but a crazy will go straight through it, not only being a threat himself, but giving the zombies an ingress.

And the crazies can jump, climb, throw things, leap onto the bonnet of your car and smash the windscreen to get to you, pick up a sledgehammer to break though that glass safety door etc.

Being fast, and hysterically strong, and able to ignore major wounds, the crazies are probably reasonable safe from zombies, unless they get totally surrounded and overwhelmed. But you can bet that the noise they make will attract every wandering undead in the vicinity. Every whooping lunatic will have his own entourage of zombies dogging his every footstep. Even when those footsteps lead them through your barricades...

3) Brains!

They are smart(ish). If they were one of your group before they went nutzoid, they know where your secure zombie-proof shelter is, or that you use the ventilation shafts to move around safely. And you can bet that even in their insane rage, there natural instints to find shelter will send them battering on the doors of your safe haven - gettting angrier and angrier at the fact that you have locked them out, getting more determined to get in at every passing minute.

Even if they don't know where you are hiding, they will be a threat. They won't be content to lumber around a mall drooling. Oh no, they will be poking their inquisitive little heads into all those little nooks and crannies that you thought were safe.

4) Hard targets

The crazies won't stand around waiting for you to shoot them in the head. And every second you spend trying to shoot one is a second that the lumbering horde will be gaining on you.

5) Speed!

You can't rely on outrunning them any more. In the original Dawn, the speed of the zombies was a known factor in teh plans of the protagonists - they knew they could, as long as the zombies were not tightly packed, runs straight through them.

Throw in the crazies, and there you are, jogging through the zombies unscathed on the way to pick up some fuel for the generator, when wham, out of left field, a rabid crazy is right on top of you. Even if you are able to defend yourself against him, he is slowing you down - every second you spend fighting him of is another second for those zombies to lurch towards you.

6) Medical Care

Care of the wounded. Somebody who has been bitten might get better, which means you may not want to kill them out of hand - especially if they have useful skills. But if you don't, then you are going to need to find somewhere inside your secure area to confine them - or at least tie them up. And probably have somebody watching them - a man with hysterical strength who doesn't care about pain can cheerfull escape from handcuffs, for example, even if it means breaking every bone in his hand.

Or if you are not in a secure area, but on the move, you can't just shoot 'em and abandon them (well you can, but what will their friends think?). No, you have to find a way of transporting your wouded *and* protect yourself from them at teh same time. When every hand is needed to fight off the zombies, can you afford to tie him hand and foot when he is currently perfectly ok? And if you do, and during a fight the zombies get to him...

7) Paranoia!

Has one of your team been bitten? Did he really just cut himself on broken glass, or is that a bite mark? If you have been shooting the possibly infected on the off chance, you can bet that the newly wounded aren't going to 'fess up. And if the symptoms are just a high temperature and irratabillity - well, after a long day fighting the zombie hoardes, who *isn't* going to be hot and irratable?

Are crazies infectious too, or not? Maybe crazy-bites are perfectly safe, but how do you tell the diffence between a zombie bite and a crazy bite? Even if there is a difference, will your players know it or work it out? Or will they quarantine perfectly healthy people, cutting down on valuable manpower and breeding resent?


The trick, I think, will be to make sure there is a means of allowing in a constant stream of survivors who might - or might not - be infected. More survivors, perhaps, than in Dawn, people who are naturally gravitating to places they think are safe. If you don't let them in, and leave them to the zombies, can you live with yourself when you hear the screams?

If you don't let them in, you add fully functional, intelligent, technology-using human beings to your list of enemies (can your defences cope with molotovs, rifle-fire, or having a Mack Truck driven through them?).

But if you do let them in, how safe will you feel? Especially since the incubation period probably differes - 12 hours might be the average, but maybe in some cases it is much less, or much longer. Have you got the space to quarantine people for 24 hours? You can't keep them all in the same place, since if one does flip out, he might kill all the others.

And what if you have filled up your quarantine space - will you let out a couple of people who look OK early, to let in some new arrivals?

Even if you can find a good way to weed out the infected, at some point, you will reach capacity - the point where you simply can't feed any more mouths, or just physically don't have the room. When more survivors arrive, what do you do?

What would *you* do?


I deliberately didn't specify any mechanics - wouldn't want the players knowing what they have to roll higher than, now, would we...?

I'm thinking of basing the game around an inner-city mall, just like "Dawn". (Ive not seen the new version though).

Unlike the original Dawn, the PCs will not have so easy a time of it.

The basis will be that they have been holed up in a small, safe area for a while, but now food etc is runnig out and they must venture outside or starve.

Unlike "Dawn", the place will be a lot less intact. More shop-windows broken, goods swept off shelves and trodden underfoot, and, most importantly, no power.

The PCs will have to obtain the following:

Food: Loot from shops

Water: Loot from shops

A generator: Assuming they want power, that is. There will be an intact petrol driven one in the hardware store.

Fuel for the generator: This is nasty - they will have to enter the dark, claustrophobic underground car-park, and syphon it out of abandoned vehicles. Line of sight will be severely restricted, both by lighting, and also by the parked vehicles, making it very easy to fall prey to wandering undead. Did we mention that the outside entrances to the underground carpark are wide opne, with no doors, and practically impossible to secure?

Of course - they will need to find Jerry-cans, plastic tubing, and torches first.

Weapons: I'll be kind, and set it in the US so that they can obtain firearms. Although the shop will be partly looted already - survivors who couldn't make it to safety will have headed here to find protection. Other sources of weapons will be hardware and sporting good shops - but these will have been looted too, by other survivors and also by crazies looking for simple weapons.

Ammunition: From the gunshop, but ther will be very few intact cartons - live ammo will be scattered over the floor, due to the actions of desperate surviors trying to load as fast as possible, and also by the destructive rampages of crazies. Gathering large quantities will be very time consuming.

Medicines: With not everyone automatically dying from infection, they will want to loot the pharmacy for drugs and medicines.

Tools: If they are going to build barricades secure enough to keep out both zombies and crazies, they will need tools and supplies. The hardware shop will have fixings and fittings, and tools (although they can only use power tools if they have gotten hold of the generator and plenty of fuel...), but not supplies of timber. Luckily, there is a source of timber in the area - a small flatbed truck with a full load. Downstairs. In the dark, claustrophobic underground carpark.

Communications: It may be that the group have reason to believe that though under seige, humanity isn't finished. If that's the case, they will want to re-establish communication with the outside world, which probably means radio equipment. Though they may not be able to find an undamaged transmitter with enough range, which means hoping that the mall's radio shack has enough parts for them to assemble into something useful.


Every time they venture out for supplies will be an adventure in its own right. They will need to prioritise - food and water are important, but it might be a lot easier to get if they have guns and ammunition. If somebody gets injured, first aid equipment will suddenly take a big leap up the priority ladder. Or maybe it turns out that one of the NPCs in ther safe area - the one who has essential skills, that they cannot afford to lose, has diabetes, and not much insulin...

Gradually they will want to expand their secure area - light will help them enourmously, but that means power, and fuel. After lights might come physical barriers, to make their living quarters larger and safer.

Of course, there is only so much they can carry in any one trip...


The NPCs with them are an important factor too. Some may have essential skills, some may be dead-weight. But even if the PCs are ruthless in whom they are prepared to let live and let die, some of the NPCs they need may refuse to aid them if they can't protect *everybody*. Or some of the NPCs might be useful, but have serious disagreements with how things are being run.

Maybe the three Country boys who own the only shotguns don't think that collecting baby formula for the baby girl belonging to the groups only doctor is as important as going to get more ammunition.

Or maybe one of the group is openly or secretly an alcoholic or drug addict. When left alone on guard duty, or supposed to be watching somebodies back, maybe they slip away to search for "supplies" of their own. And maybe they find them, too.

Run as a monster fest, the PCs will soon get tired of the same old monsters. But make it as much a tense psychological drama about a mis-matched group of people under severe stress, and you ought to have enough material to keep the sessions going for a truly epic campaign.


The easiest thing might be simply to treat zombies that must be killed with head-shots as Tiny (Head-size) creatures for the purposes of attacks made against them.


Most of the "Zombie Origins" stuff is concentrating on Viruses or Bio-weapons or somesuch. With D20 Modern, however, you don't have to stick with a pseudo scientific explanation.

Even if your campaign isn't full-on shadow, it would be possible to use either magic, or an extra-planar effect as the source of the zombie invasion.

You would still, most likely, want it to be contagious, else you end up with a fully functioning humanity vs a zombie hoarde, instead of a few desperate (and disparate?) survivors.


If it were a large area effect, it would even be possible to turn a campaign overnight into a zombie horror survival game. Most such games are forced to start with the thread already pretty well established, in order for there to be zombies everywhere.

Instead, given some kind of magical cataclysm, you could zap an entire city over into zombie-hood almost instantly, leaving only a few survivors who were somehow sheilded from the effect.

Whilst this may not be a particularly attractive thing to inflict on the average campaign, it might be worth looking at this as the goal of the BBEG. The BBEG wants to activate an ancient magical artifact that will zombie-fy 99% of the people within a 10 mile radius, and bring them under his control.

The PCs, of course, will be attempting to stop him. They may well succeed, which is how most such games are planned. But this option gives you a backup plan, in case the PCS stuff up - if they can't stop the BBEG in time, they can still kill him (the ritual leaves him weak) to prevent him controlling the hoardes.

Instead of a game which ends with the PCs failure - as might be the case in many games with an uber-powerful BBEG bent on destruction on a massive scale, the game can continue as a zombie horror survival game in which the PCs have to live with the consequences of failure until tehy can escape the "dead zone"


One more interestig point. Maybe you are running an ordinary game, don't want to change it into a full scale zombie horror game, but you are still somehow inspired by the genre.

How can you weave it into an ordinary game?

One way might be to have somebody go on a rampage in a mall, shooting people up at random, because he thinks they are zombies. Some form of mind altering drug or psychological experiment gone wrong. The first instance will be written off as a mad gunman incident. The second might be coincidence.

When more people turn up, going nuts in crowds that they believe to consist of flesh-eating zombies, the PCs are going to have to start investigating the root cause.

And if their investigation takes a wrong turn, and they end up in the clutches of the bad guys, they too might find themselves regaining conciousness surrounded by "flesh-eating zombies" - and require some hefty will saves to resist the urge to start shooting in self defence...


Taking a slightly different tack:

I was pondering what to do about the prediliction of players who have seen Zombie flics to immediately start shooting for the head.

Which meant considering an alternative. Which led me into an alternative zombie creation method.


An internal parasite of some kind. Either an alien invasion, or a genetic creation. It enters the body as tiny spores, probably carried in bodily fluids of all kinds. Then it grows in the intestinal area, whilst at the same time sending control filaments into teh spinal colum and upwards, towards the brain, from which it wrests control of the body. This takes anywhere between 12 and 48 hours from time of intitial infection.

In a living victim, the body remains fully agile, but now entirely under the control of the parasite. Whilsl ths is somewhat similar to the "Puppet Masters" in D20 M, this parasite is nowhere near as intelligent - its primary motivations are purely to feed, and breed.

Hence, in order to keep its host alive, it seeks out food. Being of intelligence only slightly higher than a dog, its definition of food is mainly restictred to ambulatory meat, the most common source of which is, of course, other humans.

Because of the parasites presence, the hosts capacity for food is not very high. So instead of gorging on one victim and then not feeding for a while, the infected host will eat small amounts, but will require feeding often.

Any victim bitten, but not killed, will almost certainly be infected by the spores. Although they probably won't realise it until too late.

There is also the possbility that the spores can survive for a certain amount of time in water, meaning that water supplies might become contaminated, aiding the spread of the infection.


Should the host die, the parasite can still apply some rudimentary control to the hosts nervous system, resulting in something akin to the more traditional lurching zombie. Even without access to the senses of its host, the parasite can still home in on prey using its own bio-electric sense that allows it to detect any living being within 50 feet.

In this stage of its life cycle the parasite is no longer trying to feed, but it is attempting to spread its genes to as many victims as possible. Victims are likely to be grappled, bitten, and then released. Lacking the means to bite, it will instead attempt wound its victim in some other way, although infection from this wound is much less likely.


A voila! A zombie that can either be fast or slow moving, a gradual incubation period so as to allow a "The Thing" like sense of paranoia, and a zombie that can be shot in the head or decapitated, and yet still keep coming. Instead, a gut-shot is required, and even then, unless you destroy the body, chances are that the spores will re-grow into a new parasite and resume their control within 6-24 hours (a shorter incubation period since re-establishing control is easier).

Even more fun - you can have gut-shots that kill the parasite, but not the victim, reverting them to their ordinary human persona - albeit a very, very traumatised one. The PCs may then spend valuable time and medical supplies on healing the ex-victim.

Knowing that the victims can potentially be saved might make the PCs a bit more squeamish about shooting them all. Especially if a loved one gets infected.

They might even begin attempts to save people by surgically removing the parasites.

But what they won't know is that there will still be spores in the blood and other fluids of even a rescued victim. Even with a 100% blood and lymphatic fluid transfusion, there will probably be spores lurking with the cerebral and spinal fluids. It will be almost impossible to erradicate all of teh spores from a victims body, and whilst there is no garantee that the victim will become reinfected, within 48 hours, probably less, possibly *much* less, a new parasite may have replaced the old one and its host will be up and about, seeking new victims...


It depends on what senses you reckon Zombies use to track their prey. Is something that isn't often explained in Zombie movies.

Scent? They are only equipped with the pretty pathetic standard issue human nose, does the zombification process improve this somehow?

Sight? The most likely, but how does a zombie tell a slow-walking human from a fellow zombie? There must be something else to it, unless their visual acuity is much better than you would think..

Hearing? Definately - they are attracted by loud noises (making shooting that one lone zombie when you know there are another 50 in earshot a bad idea).

Heat? Maybe. Maybe their heat-sense is better than human, but still very short ranged.

Something else? Humans may be resticted to 5 senses (at least in conventional wisdom, I could name at least 2 more without having to go all supernatural on you), but there are plenty of others available in the animal kingdom


I reckon they hunt primarily by sight, and cannot tell the difference between humans and zombies at range. This would explain why the seem to naturally congregate into groups, which they always seem to do. They track each other as if they were food, until they are close enough to tell the difference.

Then, at close range, some other sense kicks in, enabling them to tell the difference between the living and the living-dead.

If you don't want to stick to "psuedo science" you could have some mystical "life sense". Oherwise, you need another explanation. A short-ranged heat sense? Some very specialised hearing at can hear a heart-beat (or not) from 10 feet away? Some other short-ranged sense that could distinguish humans from fellow zombies.


Its something that needs to be cosidered, because, at some point, your PCs ARE going to try to evade zombies by stealth.

And making it something a little unconventional has a lot of entertainment value.

If the zombies are not reliant on sight and sound, for example, then drop your players into a dark, noisy engine room. Suddenly, its very hard to spot a zombie until it is very, very close.

Or watch the players try to come up with means of evading zombie senses. They might slather themselves in dung to throw them off the scent, or with cold mud (or use tin-foil suits) to try to conceal their body heat. Or it might be them wanting to make some background noise to stop zombies reacting to their tell-tale hearts...

Its not just hiding, of course. Once you know what senses zombie hunt by, you might be able to use that knowledge to provide distractions or "bait" - which beats volunteering to be the one bait yourself.

In the original Dawn of the Dead, for example, the protagonists bang on the glass doors and jump aroud a bit to attract the zombies to one end of the mall, so that they can safely grab stuff from the other.

If your players want to do the same with a big projecter + sound system, will it work?


It seems to me, WIS, that a lot of your premises leave out the "post-disaster" problems PCs will face. You seem to think that huge piles of useful stuff will just be sitting around, waiting for the PCs to pick it up. Your PCs are almost operating in a "disaster vacuum" in which only the immediate disater is considered, not its deeper implications.

But the fact is, in any kind of national disaster, things will not be so neat and tidy.

It takes a shedload of people to make an industrial nation viable, and when those people go away, the system breaks down fast. Streets will be blocked by abandoned or crashed vehicles. Fires will have started - and these fires will spread unchecked. Power is probably out. Gas supplies will be cut off. Fresh water will be extremely hard to find in a city. Food, likewise - as soon as those farm trucks stop rolling into the city, the inhabitants that are not dead yet will soon swallow up what food there was on supermarket shelves. Medical supplies will be scarce - stocks will have been used up during initial attempts to stop the "plague". Vehicles that have been left standing for a month or so are probably not going to start.

As soon as the police are too busy to stop them, looters will descend on anything worth having. The shortsighted will go for expensive stuff, but it won't take long for folks to realise that a gun is more valuable than a rolex or a widescreen TV. Unless the normal inhabitants were wiped out so quickly that they didn't have time to loot, the cupboard will be mostly bare by the time the PCs arrive.

Anyone who has survived will have probably have had to fight for survival, not just against teh zombies, but against other people who wanted the same food, fuel, water or shelter. When the PCs arrive, they are most likely looking at survivors who have grown used to shooting first, asking questions later.

Any areas that are genuinely secure will probably already be occupied by other desperate survivors who may not be willing to share their carefully hoarded food and water. Any "safe" area that isn't already occupied is probably not as safe as it looked, or has no water supplies, or is otherwise not suitable as a permanent respite from zombie attack.

Or, if your PCs do manage to set up a nice safehouse, other survivors may well find them soon enough, and want in. And they will get pretty aggresive if they are turned away...
Or you could have it all start out at a night at the Opera.
QUOTE (Faelan @ Nov 4 2010, 03:23 PM) *
Or you could have it all start out at a night at the Opera.

This is the route of the Eve Parasite, triggered in New York, yes?
I'd think ghouls, maybe with some limitation on quickness
QUOTE (Pollux710 @ Nov 4 2010, 08:48 PM) *
This is the route of the Eve Parasite, triggered in New York, yes?

Actually in Pittsburgh the birthplace of the Zombie Movie Genre. The songs are actually quite good. Including a scene where one of the lead characters has to kill her own brother. Brother who is infected begging to be put out of his misery: "It is not murder, it is mercy!" in full opera mode, gun shots ensue.
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