Zombies in Fantasy land initiative takes a big bite out of my life

Note: If you want to follow the development of the Aruneus world, just click this.  Bookmarking that will bring you back to the latest news.

A while back I mentioned my Zombies in Fantasy land campaign initiative.  Since then, I’ve been letting the ideas percolate in the back of my mind while I take care of real life.

That percolating has done a lot of good.  I’ve come to a few decisions about this and am now starting to amp up the creative output.  I’d love to hear your thoughts on any of the below points.  Or on anything to do with zombies and fantasy RPGs.

I’ve decided that this will be a full fledged campaign, set in my own world but based on the rules set of an existing RPG.  Most likely that will be D&D 4e or possibly 3.5.  This will make this world accessible to anyone who’s already familiar with the D&D franchise.  Or possibly the d20 standard.  I’m vacillating between those three choices.

Having said that, I’m going to house rule this thing to death.  In essence, I plan on tweaking the rules to match the requirements of my world.  Not to the point of breaking a well balanced system though.  There will be a lot of balancing to be done.

To do this as a campaign, I’m going to indulge in a good deal of world building. I want the initial instance of this campaign to have enough background behind it to stand up very well.  The mythos, history and current political state need to be fleshed out enough so that the characters won’t be just existing in D&D with strange zombies but will be a part of a world firmly in the grasp of a zombie apocalypse.

I’ve also decided that the crux of this campaign will be the discovery of an elixer which, if administered shortly after a bite has been inflicted, can stop the process of zombification.  The PCs will be charged with protecting the methodology behind creating this elixer and in some cases distributing it.  It also means that they’ll have some of the stuff on them, so one bite to a human character doesn’t signify an instant character re-roll.

It’s going to be a world where the Cleric class is at the absolute top, schooled magic users are at the bottom and where the undead outnumber the living.  All races, all cultures have been strongly effected by this.  My PCs will be struggling through the skeletal remains of once proud cultures trying to restore a bit of hope and counter the undead threat.

I plan on posting most of the details here on TC.  Eventually I may put the whole thing together as a PDF for anyone else to download should they want it.

Lastly, I’ve but one player in my group so far.  So . . . if you’re in the Boston area and will be up for a game in a few months, drop me a line.

EDIT: I’m also toying with the idea of making this a “Low Magic” setting.  Magic exists but isn’t common. Magic users are also fairly uncommon (including full clerics with the ability to cast spells).  Even simple magical items are expensive and not easy to come by.

[tags]zombies, rpg, fantasy[/tags]

9 thoughts on “Zombies in Fantasy land initiative takes a big bite out of my life

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  1. Why are you using D&D for this when other systems can handle this sort of thing much better? Low magic, zombie apocalypse? I would either use Riddle of Steel or All Flesh Must Be Eaten, honestly.

    Also, I live in Southie and I’d be down for a game. I’ll send you an email.


  2. BTP,

    The reasoning is simply convenience. I’ve been out of the RP loop on newer stuff for a little while. I have all of the resources to develop this for D&D or d20 without having to drop a cent on new books and I’m familiar with the mechanics.

    Having said that though, I imagine it would be fairly easy to port this to another system.



  3. I commented about this topic last time (recommending, amongst other things, that you give significant upgrades to the undead, like being able to re-animate after a period of time following a reduction to 0 hit points so that dragons — especially carrion-eating species — do not represent a quick-fix for the hordes).

    I’m putting in a vote that you use 4th-edition — I’d love to be able to take some of your rules and drop my PCs directly into a zombie apocalypse. I am 100% against using All Flesh Must be Eaten (though I’ve never tried the Riddle of Steel system) — sure it’s already all about zombies, but the ruleset is weak and incompatible with anything else.


  4. Hey Ian,

    Thanks for dropping by again. I don’s see much of a problem with the dragons – but that has more to do with the world I’m constructing. Dragons are going to be creatures out of legend. They exist but not in large numbers – or at least, not where most folks can find them.

    As for the zombies, they will be a bit more formidable than standard, average zombies. They also will not die unless their brains are destroyed (think Romero zombpocolypse).

    I’ve not yet even looked at the two other systems mentioned so I don’t have an opinion on those but if they cost money, I won’t be looking at them for some time.


  5. I would absolutely love to be involved in such a campaign. ‘Course I’m practically on the other side of the continent from you, so I doubt it would work unless you included online participation. Alas.


  6. Alright folks, I need a little help here. I’m having some serious issues with 4e.

    I need to dig up some information on fire. I can find all kinds of references to Fire Damage, and even Damage Type: Fire. What I can’t find are specific references to things catching fire.

    You know. Doors, paper, party members, etc. I need rules regarding how things ignite, how long they burn and how much damage plain old fire does every round/turn.

    I can certainly create my own rules on it but would rather go with the stock, by the book stuff if there is any stock, by the book stuff.

    If you have references for the PHB or the DMG page numbers would be great!

    I’ve found various references to ongoing damage with fire. (Does 2d6 fire damage plus ongoing 5 fire damage). What determines how long this damage is ongoing? How does it end, and are there saves against ongoing damage period? Is whatever is suffering ongoing damage considered on fire and can they ignite other flammable things?

    And while I’m at it, what about Aimed Shots?

    I can find about 14 references to ‘aimed’ in the PHB and DMG but none of them paired with “shot”.

    Zombies without headshots or fire damage aren’t zombies in my book.



  7. I think it would be interesting to run a zombie apocalypse campaign that’s not ridiculously over-the-top humorous. The few times I’ve heard of similar campaigns/settings all the PC’s and NPC’s are caricatures of themselves, stupid weapons are introduced, and there are always zombie lords with crazy voices or weird quirks. It was creative the first time, but I’d like to see that genre taken seriously. Let us know how it goes!


  8. Hi David,

    I’m not aiming towards comedy here – but an interesting, vibrant world that is currently being choked to death by a horde of undead.

    I’m working on it as both a campaign and a world – it can be played in as it is or the GM (me in this case) can bring the characters through a long (lvls 1 – 15 or so) campaign which culminates in them leading this world towards a cure and an eventual purge of the zombies.

    Think Romero with swords, spells and dragons. 🙂

    I’m currently working on the political and religious side of things for background. I’ve got a basic world map and hope to have more info posted here soon(ish).



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