Maybe it was happenstance, maybe it was fate. I begin writing for a gaming blog, and the creator of said blog has a thing for zombies. Shortly following that, the characters in my campaign die, leaving unfinished their quest to rid their homeworld of an undead threat. And then, when I ask them what kind of campaign they would like to play next, their answer?
So I did what any good GM would do: I found a way to infest the world with zombies. The original undead problem has been caused by Atropus, one of the Elder Evils found in the WotC book of the same name. Usually these Elder Evils will just destroy the world when they’re not stopped, but I figured there was no fun in that, so I changed Atropus’ nature to have it start a zombie apocalypse. I also wanted to make sure that my players really felt like they were in a zombie movie, so I added a few houserules to help with that. As an aside, we’re playing in the Pathfinder rules (slow leveling track), and the campaign setting is The Forgotten Realms.
In every zombie movie of note, as resources run out, the characters have to improvise. In Pathfinder and D&D, using an improvised weapon adds a -4 penalty. To keep the spirit of the zombie genera alive (undead), I eliminated that penalty, and generally assigned damage to an item based on its size relative to a similar, actual weapon.
Everybody knows that to put down a zombie, you take its head. So here’s where the -4 penalty comes back in. Want to aim for the head? No problem, but you take a -4 to the attack. Any hit to a zombie’s head (unless stated otherwise) is considered to be a critical hit which uses the wielded weapon’s usual crit modifier, x2 in the case of the improvisied weapons mentioned above.
Kill of the Moment
If you’ve seen Zombieland, you know that they rank their kills. If someone kills a zombie, or group of zombies in a particularly creative/gruesome way, then they’ll be awarded some bonus XP for it.
Other Alternate Rules
As I’ve listened to other groups’ gaming sessions and heard the houserules they use, I’ve adopted some of them for my own games.
- * Bennies – Players start each session with two Bennies to let them re-roll any roll.* Fuck You, I’m Awesome – Players start each session with one Fuck You, I’m Awesome token, which will let them turn any one failed roll into an instant success.
* Banking – Players may bank a number of the above tokens equal to their level.
* Critical XP – Players gain 100XP for each Critical Hit, and 50XP for each Critical Failure.
* Crit Hit/Crit Fumble Tables – Players and Enemies have the option of choosing normal weapon Critical multiplier, or taking normal damage and rolling on the Citical Hit table when not fighting a zombie. Players can roll to see results before choosing. A Critical Fumble table will be used for all Critical Misses.
I know that there are probably better systems to use for a zombie game, and I know that I’ll have to play fast-and-loose with the rules at times to make it interesting, but we had our first session this past weekend, and we had a blast. I recorded the audio of the sessions and posted it to The Gamer’s Haven. As soon as it gets posted, I’ll post a recap of the first session and link you all to the audio. Feedback is appreciated.
[tags]rpg, campaign, zombies, gaming, All That Remains[/tags]