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Author Topic: [Zombie] Request for Feedback  (Read 2275 times)
Demonspahn
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Posts: 158


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« on: October 24, 2005, 11:11:12 PM »

Zombie


You are a zombie.  You travel around and eat people.  Thatís the basic setup of the game.  What follows are some thoughts and ideas on how I hope to make it work.  Iíd really like some feedback.  If I can put something decent together, Iím going to try to pitch it to Politically Incorrect Games and use their simple but flexible genreDiversion i system.  Game mechanics are written with that in mind.

Abilities 

Fitness (overall strength and agility) would be the only attribute.  The others (reasoning, creativity, etc.) would all be 0. 

Injury/Death

gDi uses an injury death spiral, two of them really, one for fatigue (blunt trauma), the other for serious injury (fire, edged weapons).  5 grades of ftg/inj are the max before unconsciousness/death. 

Iím thinking that zombies would be more resistant to blunt trauma, so 5 grades of ftg would only knock them down.  5 grades of injury would knock them down, and cause a debilitating injury of some sort (punch a hole through the chest, or cut off a foot or hand).  This wonít stop the zombie of course, but it may slow him down some. 

An attack to the head (the zombieís weak spot) would be a called shot that would require a higher difficulty.   

Characters could spend Life Points (see below) to reduce damage from injuries.

Skills

A handful of skills would be determined by whatever vocation the zombie held in life, but the rating for each would be a 1 (the lowest). 

Powers

Zombies would have several innate powers that help them stalk the living.  Each power requires the expenditure of Life Points to activate.  Each Life Point spent lowers the difficulty of the task. 

Creep Ė uncanny ability to sneak up on people. 

Strength Ė strength boost

Lurch Ė sprint/running boost

Heat Sense Ė The ability to sense living things.

Vibe Ė The ability to get other zombies to follow you, or alert them to the presence of humans.   

The Epiphany

Weíve all seen it.  The zombie watches the terrified human climb up the ladder to safety.  The zombie stares at the ladder, then at his hands, and slowly, awareness begins to filter in.  Then, one rung at a time, he starts to climb. 

Epiphanies would be used in situations where the zombie could learn something new.  The epiphany must take place immediately after the zombie witnesses the event.  If the epiphany involves a skill the zombie possesses, he may now use that skill. 

Simple epiphanies cost 1 Life Point.  These include most physical epiphanies, like climbing a wall, avoiding a trap, or figuring out that you can walk across the bottom of a lake.

Difficult epiphanies cost 5 Life Points.  They include tool and firearm use, and basically anything that involves a small amount of problem solving (turning the knob to open the door).

Complex epiphanies cost 10 Life Points.  These include things like punching a few keys on a computer or starting and driving a car.  Note, that the zombie still drives like a zombie and will likely crash the first time he tries to make a turn, but that might be just enough to bring down the barricade protecting a bunch of unsuspecting humans.

Life Points

Life Points are the gameís currency.  You receive Life Points from, well, from eating people.  Specifically, their internal organs.  The larger the person, the more points you receive.  Say anywhere from 3-6 for full grown adults.  Which is one reason why you donít want a lot of zombies coming around to help you. 


Packs

Player characters travel together in a pack, wandering the countryside searching for food, or perhaps they donít know what they are searching for.  This allows GMs to drop them into practically any scenario.   

Scenarios

The GM sets the scenario in an isolated locale, just like a typical zombie horror movie.  The goal of the game is to devour all those pesky humans holed up in your current hunting grounds.  Itíll be up to the GM to devise a good scenario full of challenging tasks (like crossing a ditch filled with spikes or discovering a way into the locked basement) and dangerous NPCs (Farmer Joe with his trusty shotgun). 

In Summary

Obviously, Zombie isn't intended for long term play.  I see it as a one shot (hence the idea to pitch PIG for gDi), with zombie characters that could be used in future scenarios, assuming they survive.  I had also thought about having players make more than one character just in case the first one bites it early (a la Sean Wipfliís excellent Dead Meat RPG).   

I had originally envisioned it as a Resident Evil-esque type video game, with you playing the role of one of the poor, hapless zombies.  You would have a ďheat meterĒ that would alert you to the presence of prey, and then would have to find your way to it.  But, I barely know how to check my email, so video game design is a bit out of my field. :)

Anyway, Iíd appreciate any comments or thoughts.  Right now, itís looking like a very Gamist game, and Iím not sure how much fun that would be, or how to make the game more interesting.  If you have any ideas on how to expand what the zombies might do, Iím all ears. 

Thanks,

Pete
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Graham W
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« Reply #1 on: October 25, 2005, 08:29:08 AM »

That's hilarious. A couple of things...

What do I do in this game? I mean, I know I lurch around and eat people, and, don't get me wrong, that's worth a lot. But if it's just:

a. Burst into room
b. Eat occupants
c. Repeat for all rooms and buildings

It's a little dull. Are there tactics involved? What sort of an adventure would a GM put together, apart from a town full of inhabitants?

The Epiphanies are superb. I'm not sure about just spending a Life Point to get one. It would be nice if there was something more random about them: so they weren't completely within the players' control.

Are Epiphanies just about the zombie learning skills? Or are they about it reconnecting to its previous human life? Is there any kind of Frankenstein's Monster thing going on, where the zombie learns about the world and - what am I talking about? They're zombies. Forget I asked that.

And I'm not totally sure about the injury system, either. Since they're zombies, there's so much opportunity to say things like "A zombie can't die unless you cut off its head" or "Even if you cut off body parts, they all start running around separately". So putting it into a hit points system is a bit of a shame.

Oh, you probably know this, but I understand that there's a video game called Stubbs The Zombie, with a fairly similar premise. So that might be worth checking out.

Graham
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Demonspahn
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« Reply #2 on: October 25, 2005, 12:37:38 PM »

Hi Graham,

Thanks for the questions.

Quote
What do I do in this game? I mean, I know I lurch around and eat people, and, don't get me wrong, that's worth a lot. But if it's just:

a. Burst into room
b. Eat occupants
c. Repeat for all rooms and buildings

It's a little dull. Are there tactics involved? What sort of an adventure would a GM put together, apart from a town full of inhabitants?


In a small town, I would focus on one or two locales, say a library where people are hiding.  Life Sense would tell the zombie there are humans inside the library.  He would try to get in by banging on doors and windows, possibly attracting other zombies in the process.  Together, they force their way in only to find the humans have turned over a bunch of bookcases that need to be traversed (ability + skill use to avoid damage).  The humans are on the second floor and have barricaded the staircase.  Enough zombies could clear the barricade eventually, but the humans are on the other side striking them with makeshift clubs.  If the zombies make it through, the munching can begin, but there might be other tactics involved such as humans jumping out windows to escape.  I think there would have to be a few problem-solving instances (for Epiphanies) to throw at the players to keep it interesting.

I would vary the locales as much as possible.  An apartment complex, a skyscraper, a mall, an amusement park, an ocean liner, a cabin in the woods, etc. 

Quote
The Epiphanies are superb. I'm not sure about just spending a Life Point to get one. It would be nice if there was something more random about them: so they weren't completely within the players' control.

Are Epiphanies just about the zombie learning skills? Or are they about it reconnecting to its previous human life?

Epiphanies occur when the zombie is confronted with a problem, so they are not toally under the player's control.  If they happen to involve a skill the character had in life, he can now use that skill. 

Tactics would revolve a lot around Epiphanies.  The zombie's life sensing ability might tell him that there are humans nearby, but getting to them might be a problem.  If they're hiding in an attic, the zombie has to find a way to get up there.  Otherwise, the pack just mills around inside the house.  But then, one of the zombies stumbles the storage room where there is a step ladder, and somewhere in the dim reaches of his mind, he remembers what ladders are used for.  And then hey, he has a (5 point) Epiphany and drags the ladder to the crawlspace. 

Keep in mind, I've had this idea for all of 3 days now, ever since watching Romero's Land of the Dead, so I don't know exactly how a scenario would play out, and I don't know how long it would take before the novelty of playing a zombie wore off.  You can only have so much moaning and groaning at the table before it gets old.  :)   Which is why I'm open for suggestions on how to keep the game interesting.  I like the idea of reconnecting with your human life.  Perhaps that might make a neat long term goal, remembering all the skills from your life and returning to whatever it was you used to do.  I like that. 

Since it's a Gamist premise, I was also considering some kind of win/loss system for particularly efficient zombies, but I'm afraid this might detract a bit from the "roleplaying" aspect.  Something like totalling Life Points at the end of the session, so 1-10 Life Points = Zombie Bottom Feeder, 11-20 Life Points = Typical Zombie, 21-30 Life Points = Zombie on the Rise, etc.

Thanks for the feedback.  And I hadn't heard of Stubbs, but I will check it out!  Thanks.

Pete

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Demonspahn
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Posts: 158


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« Reply #3 on: March 11, 2006, 08:24:33 AM »

Hi everyone,

Just dropping into the forums to thank those who contributed to these threads.† The game got picked up by Politically Incorrect Games and released as a PDF titled Hunger: Zombies Must Feed.† I've been offering free copies to those who contributed to the discussion. If Graham is still watching this thread, please send me an email so I can send you a link.† Thanks again for the help.†

Pete

Hunger: Zombies Must Feed
http://www.rpgnow.com/product_info.php?products_id=6602&
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Demonspahn
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Posts: 158


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« Reply #4 on: March 11, 2006, 08:37:23 AM »

Sorry, that link should have been:†

Hunger: Zombies Must Feed.†
http://www.pigames.net/store/product_info.php?cPath=23&products_id=184
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J Tolson
Member

Posts: 46


« Reply #5 on: March 11, 2006, 10:41:13 AM »

Quite an interesting concept there, Pete. Are you aiming for a strictly "Land/Dawn of the Dead" sort of feel to the game? In those movies it really is little more than "Zombies show up, humans run, humans die." However, you might be able to add a bit more variety to game play if you included the possibility for humans fighting back, ala the Federal Vampire and Zombie Agency (http://www.fvza.org/). This might shake up gameplay a little, so that when players get bored with busting through windows they can face a force actively trying to kill them (as opposed to merely surviving, in the case of other humans). Just a thought.

~Joel
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Demonspahn
Member

Posts: 158


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« Reply #6 on: March 11, 2006, 02:37:37 PM »

Quite an interesting concept there, Pete. Are you aiming for a strictly "Land/Dawn of the Dead" sort of feel to the game? In those movies it really is little more than "Zombies show up, humans run, humans die." However, you might be able to add a bit more variety to game play if you included the possibility for humans fighting back, ala the Federal Vampire and Zombie Agency (http://www.fvza.org/). This might shake up gameplay a little, so that when players get bored with busting through windows they can face a force actively trying to kill them (as opposed to merely surviving, in the case of other humans). Just a thought.

~Joel

Hi Joel,

Thanks.† I was aiming for a Land/Dawn/Day feel, but I put in other options for those who wanted a little more diversity.† Things like extreme zombie powers (detachable heads/limbs, animated intestines, etc.)† †and suggestions on starting as survival horror humans and then switching over to zombies once killed.† We also put in three optional power ranges, from dramatic, to heroic, to epic which limits the amount of glut (formerly life points) a zombie can accrue at one time.† Dramatic handles Night of the Living Dead scale, while Land of the Dead would be more Epic, with the humans being better armed and equipped.† I included about a dozen basic story seeds that showcase these ranges, some like you mentioned above with zombie hunter organizations.† Here is one from the PDF:

The Butchers

The Butchers are a band of zombie hunters led by the brawny Jeb Hardy.† The Butchers are exceptional in that, with food scarce, they have turned to the only readily available food source---zombies.† The Butchers carefully select only the freshest zombies, and have perfected the art of butchering them.† This meat is then traded to unknowing settlements and shelters for food, weapons, and other supplies and services.† Player zombies who run afoul of the Butchers are rounded up and hung on meat hooks in the back of a refrigerated truck.† When enough zombies have been collected, the process of butchering begins, however, a player zombie who experiences an epiphany that enables him to unhook himself might have a surprise waiting for the Butchers when they open the back of the truck.†


The ones in the PDF are all for a modern/post-modern-type game, but since Hunger is compatible with Politically Incorrect Games's other genreDiversion lines, I just posted a few more alternate story seeds for Coyote Trail and HardNova II - http://www.pigames.net/collaborative/index.php?action=read&page=182

The scenarios, opposition, and obstacles the zombies face are up to the gamemaster, but it still basically comes down to "zombies show up, humans run, humans die"---hey, this ain't rocket science.† :)

Pete
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