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"Survivors hard to simulate..." Topic

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1,359 hits since 29 Nov 2012
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Ark3nubis Inactive Member29 Nov 2012 11:54 a.m. PST

About 4 years ago now I started to write my own zombie apocalypse game, designed for 28mmm minis, and now extending into 15mm individually based figures too. The game is really nice, has random events, group progression, group survival strategy settings that determine the theme or purpose from one game to the next etc etc etc.

However we realised that after a while, although killing zeds was great fun, there was something missing. Other survivors!! I have expanded the random events to now include survivors popping up, ranging from tramps holding out on their own, families and survivor groups, through to military actions. However, the easiest are probably the military to simulate, but other survivors are really tricky.

To sum up I have a Fel stat that each group of survivors rolls against. This can be modified by the traumas they have suffered, food levels, having a place of safety and so on, and takes both sides to pass the test for them to be amicable, both to fail to be aggressive, and likely end in hostility. However, what about the liars, the old harmless looking woman who leads you to the personal stash of Walkers so that they can eat you and she can take your supplies etc. So many outcomes, so hard to model in the game without tons of charts or over-complicated system.

Bottom line, does anyone out there know of a system that models human interaction reasonably well between groups that have only just met, might be desparate, might be willing to help etc. I am trying to get as near to a role play game, but not actually be a role-play game and keeping it strictly table top war/survival game. My game is very much 'Walking Dead' than 'Lollipop Chainsaw'.

Any thoughts? Thanks in advance, game on!


79thPA Supporting Member of TMP29 Nov 2012 12:10 p.m. PST

Was it Traveller that had some kind of contact table in which you rolled 2D6 and got a reaction from xenophobic to best buds?

Lfseeney29 Nov 2012 12:38 p.m. PST

Star fire had that as well.

Two Hour Wargmes also has that interaction.

Ark3nubis Inactive Member29 Nov 2012 12:48 p.m. PST

Hmm, yeah ATZ from what I can tell seems nearest to what I have created (I have only read a couple of reviews on line though). That said, a simple table like that seems OK, although I might try to work up something a bit more elaborate, I am thinking of maybe 'they SEEM ok John, shall we see?…', but later on another test to see if they really meant it.

I suppose I am trying to simulate the 'will they, won't they' situations you see in programs. The best I can think of is the two guys in the bar in Walking Dead S2 that came in on Glenn, Hershal and Rick. You didn't trust them, even though they seemed like they might be OK, just a bit quirky maybe or weird. Its the tension that sort of situation I am trying to create in the game. I have suceeded in other areas, so I will in this area too I'm sure. Thanks for the help chaps, any other suggestions welcome (commercial or home grown ideas very welcome!)


corporalpat Inactive Member29 Nov 2012 1:00 p.m. PST

Bottom line, does anyone out there know of a system that models human interaction reasonably well between groups that have only just met, might be desperate, might be willing to help etc. I am trying to get as near to a role play game, but not actually be a role-play game and keeping it strictly table top war/survival game.

The best "system" to achieve what you want is a GM. You have a lot of RPG style elements already, like group progression, interactions, and food levels, that will need adjudicating. You need a GM. That way you can include all sorts of devious stuff! I would go with a simple Traveller style reaction table, like 79thPA suggested, with scenario driven situations with you, as the author of the rules, doing duty as GM.

Sounds like you have a fun set of rules going. Good luck with the project.

PJ Parent Inactive Member29 Nov 2012 1:09 p.m. PST

I think you have to have something the characters really need (like insulin) so that they have to take chances with groups otherwise its a smart bet to never trust anyone.

Did Twilight 2000 have something like this or was it all module driven?

I too think you need a GM

skippy0001 Supporting Member of TMP29 Nov 2012 2:04 p.m. PST

Twilight 2000 used a deck of cards for npc motivations. Easily done, use the number cards for common actions, face cards for special adtions, Ace and/or Jokers for those special events/personages/vehicles etc. The Suites can be a variance also.

PJ Parent Inactive Member29 Nov 2012 2:25 p.m. PST

The cards would also allow some variation in a group – if you met 5 people you could draw five cards and see how they all acted towards your group.

Ark3nubis Inactive Member29 Nov 2012 3:55 p.m. PST

Hmm, I see what you mean, great suggestion PJ. Well I have photoshop and have started to make cards to ease game play. I had everything on charts before which is a real pain in the bee-hind to keep rolling during a game but now it's all balanced out I can make the cards do the work.

Thanks to the rest of you too, I think you are much more RPG experienced than me. I am really trying to not have a GM (as it would be me anyways) and I don't have the time to invest in working up scenarios. I also like the idea the game has it 'covered' and we just fill in the blanks using our gaming experience to the full. That way we have equal share in how things go (actually saves arguments or disagreements)

The game is a co-op, so we all (ideally) play a game against the game itself and help each other (the survivors are modelled on our families, great fun!) so making it that the game is the GM if you like. There's more to do and things but the mechanics are good and with things like stamina to track it means you are pushed to make choices at key times when your strength starts to go. Might post on here if I get it done enough.

Thanks all,


Maxshadow29 Nov 2012 5:27 p.m. PST

You could still use a simple die throw. With normal results of "Friendly" to "Unfriendly" but also includes an "Unsure".
Unsure is friendly for a random period then is retested. That gives you a friendly encounter but also the tension that maybe they aren't. It also makes you want to get away from them which is the feeling those people always give me. :o)

BrotherSevej29 Nov 2012 8:53 p.m. PST

Have you tried two phase tests? Identify the most interesting encounters, roll 2d6 to determine. May be something like:

2 Hostile
3-5 Demand you to help
6-8 Neutral, move at fast as possible to random table edge
9-11 Will help you
12 It's an old friend you can 100% trust

On 3-5, you can roll for random request. If you refuse you roll again on this table with -1 modifier to your roll, but another demand you to help result will cause them to be hostile.

On 9-11 once you reach your objective roll again on a table that will decide whether they will help, demand share, or outright attack you. If they truly want to help you, may be next time you roll on 12 they will come up.

Ark3nubis Inactive Member29 Nov 2012 9:51 p.m. PST

Freaking great! That's the sort of thing yeah! I kinda feel I was halfway there, but that sort of sums up what I had been thinking. Thanks loads, will get back to you with my results!


Justin Penwith30 Nov 2012 12:42 a.m. PST

You might want to also include "motivations" for the groups/individuals.

For instance, maybe one group is desperate for food and will either trade for your or attempt to steal yours. Maybe their motivation is to enslave those weaker than themselves…and they are gauging your abilities.

These can be prioritized, maybe they Require food, Need ammo, but want liquor. With each increase in priority adding weight to the modifier.

The level of detail is purely up to you as in how many variables you want to track. With the cards, then it would be fairly simple, as each group/individual gets three cards drawn (in my example) when it shows up in an encounter. If you are running a campaign where factions remain intact from encounter to encounter, you could remove any motivation that is resolved (like finding ammo) and then draw another from the deck.

If you do flesh out the system to where you are liking the result, please share it. Better yet, if you haven't created one, blog it.

I will be starting an ATZ campaign my sons just after Christmas and will be blogging that when my desktop is back online and I hope to link it to others who are doing the same.

Good luck…

Also, if you haven't read Day by Day Armageddon, do so. It not only helped me get excited about a zed post apocalypse game, but also gave me scenario ideas and, yes, motivation ideas.

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