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"Prepping a zombie RPG campaign" Topic


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727 hits since 15 Oct 2019
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bpmasher16 Oct 2019 1:50 a.m. PST

Hello fellow survivors,

With my gaming hobby starting again with two newbies on board, I started looking at what stuff I have for miniatures games. I found zombies miniatures and survivors in my cupboard. Now they are on my apartment floor, waiting to get used.

I found rules for my game (RPG set converted into faster war game -format) but for miniatures games I'm wondering what sort of situations would evoke 1. the horror of realizing you're alone in a world where dead people are trying to eat you 2. the interpersonal horror of realizing your best buddy wants to shove you into the zombie-laden sidewalk to get access to your resources…

The game will be GM-run (by me), but I'm not set on my ways about this campaign yet. I have been thinking of stuff like this before, but it was mostly mechanics- and rules-oriented fiddling about.

Gameplay mechanics: I'm thinking of a funnel(OSR D&D -term) where both players get a handful of characters to run through the session, and the survivors get whatever goodies they can grab and some experience points to allocate.

I'm thinking that the first part of the campaign would be to find a home-base of sorts, where they can establish a resting zone (for ending sessions, character healing and advancement) like in traditional zombie stories.

The game needs a good kicker session, so I'm thinking isolation -> walking out into the wide dangerous world. The trick worked for Walking Dead, so it will work for me too.

I gotta make the players think we're playing something else if I want it to be a surprise, but it's not mandatory. They've seen my 15mm zombie minis so they might see this one coming :)

The combat will be deadly with disabling wounds, bleeding and other fun effects, so it should be a last resort -thing usually.

So what's left is the theater of mind and role playing between the players and their group. I need a campaign map probably to keep the players grounded in the session (since they're new to gaming) and make them choose destinations, and sprinkle encounters along the route to them. Give them a car at first, then make them walk to make a campaign map portion concrete for the game.

Survivor encounters should take precedence to zombie encounters in the first session, maybe make the two survivor -groups run into each other (make it a blind session for the players where they won't know when they run into each other) and decide what to do (player bias towards grouping up). Maybe they trade stuff at first (give one group weapons and the other one ammo) and get going to their first destination (a nearby town for instance).

I think that should do for the first session for now. I'd welcome your ideas and stuff that comes to mind from this prep work if you're interested in sharing.

CAPTAIN BEEFHEART16 Oct 2019 2:02 a.m. PST

All Things Zombie (ATZ) rules may be a good place to start. It can be played co-cooperatively, player vs player or solo. The important thing is that it is loaded with campaign ideas that you can easily cherry pick.

The actual game rules can be de-coupled from the campaign rules/ideas quite painlessly. This way you can keep your own game rules and role playing elements and have a campaign frame work to operate with.

Norrins16 Oct 2019 4:29 a.m. PST

I'd second ATZ as well for it's campaign rules. Also, it's on sale at the moment for $9.99 USD for the pdf only.

Redroom16 Oct 2019 4:41 a.m. PST

I like choosing an existing area, that way the PCs can do research and help lead where they go rather than require them meeting a wizard on the side of the road.

Depending how long the apoc has been going on, you might want to think about what can still be manufactured vs 'relics.' My brother-in-law makes his own ammo and reuses shells, but cant do anything without gun powder as an example.

Also, trick encounters like a broken down armored truck that still has $$ – PCs may want to loot it, but the $$ are probably worthless in the current economy. Do you pick up a new Tesla or a rusted out Honda? Where do you recharge the Tesla…

CAPTAIN BEEFHEART16 Oct 2019 8:40 a.m. PST

Redroom has some great points. Gasoline can turn to water after a while, food rots, etc.

bpmasher02 Apr 2020 8:22 a.m. PST

Yeah good points for campaign play.

I'm probably running a one-shot for my returning non-gamers.

I'll steal the beginning of the Walking Dead video game and make it the starting point of something. Police escort etc. Some banter and other stuff possibly before the apocalypse starts for the player characters.

I have a system in place, but I might still use ATZ if prep time becomes an issue.

Any good ideas for a minis scenario that starts in the woods with a crashed police car and zombified policeman trying to eat the PCs?

bpmasher02 Apr 2020 8:29 a.m. PST

Some stuff I thought about was getting out of the woods at first. Like having to sneak around not wanting to attract the zombie attention too much. Stealth rolls against the zombies nonexistent perception. I don't have to tell the players that.

Then coming into civilization, among suburbs, where everything is already at disaster levels. Empty houses to pillage, food, clothing etc.

The characters need motivations, why are they trying to stay alive. I could write these into premade characters so that the non-gamers won't have to do all the heavy lifting at start. Or choose a history for each of the premades before the start of the game.

They are probably both convicted of crimes, thus they could be proficient at some form of violence already. I should really make these characters special so the players will bond with them easily, and each other, maybe. They won't know each other, they were just being transported to the same place in the intro.

That's just off the top of my head. I will put some thought into this and probably post a play report here after we're done.

bpmasher03 Apr 2020 12:55 a.m. PST

Decided to use FAE to run the game. Seems fun and simple, plus the storytelling just is most important in a zombie game like this.

I rolled up the starting scenario and made up a zombie template. Now I need some characters to spice things up, and move beyond the starting forest scene.

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