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Author Topic: Zombie survival game.  (Read 2814 times)
Azrael
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« on: April 11, 2014, 04:20:01 PM »

I was thinking of making a setting where the only survivors would be those in small towns off the beaten path or those out in the woods away from civilization in general. I was thinking of getting a hold of a map of my home town. It would obviously be humans only. I think a knife and bow starting with normal clothes for hunting. The zombies are virus or bacteria or parasite based. Not sure yet I think parasite seem like the best idea. Its injury infections only and there is a chance that a bite might not be a death sentence. I think it will start off with the basic slow shamblers and slowly build up with a few fast and a few tanky zombies. Not as bad as L4D or L4D2. Just less of the standard slow clumbsy zombies and more of a shift to keep them on their toes. as for the characters. I think around 250pts is more then enough for some well rounded characters. They would also have homes in the city but I will leave it up to the dice if they are looted or overran with zombies or left alone. They will also have a small amount of food left over from their hunting trip.
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« Reply #1 on: April 11, 2014, 08:51:10 PM »

I think around 250pts is more then enough for some well rounded characters.

Understatement of the year right there. 250 points is way, way more than enough to make some well-rounded characters, putting them squarely into Dungeon Raider / Navy SEAL territory. Which is great if that's what you want, but if you want a game where realistic slightly-above-average weekend athletes/sportsmen confront the apocalypse you'll need to dial it back a notch or two.

They would also have homes in the city but I will leave it up to the dice if they are looted or overran with zombies or left alone. They will also have a small amount of food left over from their hunting trip.

Suggestion: Why make it a hunting trip? You could have them coming back from camping, fishing, photographing geological features, etc with no weapons and make the first challenge figuring out how to get past a bunch of shamblers before they can tool up at home or the sporting goods store. I know the idea of starting a violent game unarmed is jarring to a lot of traditional gamers, but that'll just shock your players up front with the emphasis that this is an Action/Horror campaign, not an Action/MoreAction! campaign. Also, this will probably be your only chance in the entire game to present the shamblers as a credible and frightening threat in anything less than overwhelming numbers, especially after you introduce tanks and zoombies, so you might as well milk that a little while you can.
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Bill
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« Reply #2 on: April 11, 2014, 11:30:20 PM »

I've done this where the party came back "from a three hour tour" on a yacht. 

The yacht gives them a starting base that's reasonably safe.  Beyond that . . . they're on their own.

But, as for above-average characters, 100 points characters are pretty well-rounded.  150 are exceedingly competent.  250 are amazing.
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Azrael
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« Reply #3 on: April 11, 2014, 11:34:09 PM »

Okay thats a good point start them with no ranged weapon and maybe a tire iron in the trunk of the car between them. The basic zombie does tend to suck at killing. I guess I could make them more like the walking dead's zombies. They vary in speed some of them can straight up sprint at you. Still want them to start with just the tire iron. thats at best a improvised weapon that is clumsy as hell and inaccurate. I think I will give them 125pts just because they are reasonably new and will probably not min max all that much just yet.
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« Reply #4 on: April 12, 2014, 04:37:52 AM »

I was picturing something more like forcing the PCs to improvise a distraction than forcing them to fight with substandard weaponry... You can still have that, of course, if you be sure to demonstrate that fighting the zombies with a tire tool is a really bad idea before they try it; otherwise new gamers are likely to assume that the threat can be beaten with the weapons they're given by the GM if they are given weapons at all.
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Azrael
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« Reply #5 on: April 12, 2014, 04:02:47 PM »

XD well I wasn't going to point out its in the trunk unless they searched it in the first place. o-o I was just going to tell them what they do have. If they ask and say they are looking. I will tell them that attacking what appears to be a insane man gnawing on someones body with a tire iron might not be the safest or smartest idea.
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« Reply #6 on: April 12, 2014, 07:34:55 PM »

Better yet, show them, don't tell them, what happens if they enter melee combat. First rule of writing. Let them find the tire tool, congratulate themselves for being smart, and then witness a brave survivor with a very similar weapon (from behind some sort of barrier to intervention) beat the absolute snot out of a shambler, totally win without taking a scratch, and then turn right in front of them because he got spraying blood in his eye or something.
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« Reply #7 on: April 12, 2014, 10:27:18 PM »

XD that would be epic and scare the shit out of them :3 I like it. That is so going in the very first part of it.
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Christopher
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« Reply #8 on: April 13, 2014, 03:20:09 AM »

I don't think GURPS is really the system to capture the feeling of Zombie horror.  Combat is simply too slow.  Also hit points are too high in relation to the general deadliness of getting anywhere near a Zombie in almost all the film versions.  You really don't get beaten down by Zombies and then die... you either get away or you get bit and you're un-dead.

The other problem with Zombies in RPGs is that most of the zombie issues in movies are set ups where the environment is crucial and um, the plot is written down before hand.  There's really so much going against making zombies interesting RPG fodder for this reason.

That being said, I've been playing in a zombie game for over a year that is pretty damn awesome. 

(1) It uses Savage Worlds which resolves combat so much faster than GURPS, we can have multiple set piece fights with dozens of zombies and 5-7 players in a 3-4 hour session.

(2) Zombies get upgraded over time.  Sprinters, Zombie infants that are like little demons that are fast and stealty, Zombie Trolls, Smart Zombies that coordinate, etc.

(3) Zombies are not the most deadly thing.  Other survivors are.

(4) Confinement and resource scarcity is what makes it difficult.

See, despite the movies, there are just so many easy ways to defeat traditional zombies.  The fact that they are mostly mindless and lack dexterity makes for easy tactics.  Even if you're alone.  Raid an REI, get a harness a bit of rope, and a few pieces of gear and you spend your nights up in a tree or hanging in or on a building.  Zombies can't climb.  Dig pits, put up trip wires. A turnstile or spiral staircase is usually enough to foil a zombie.

Heck, if you want some nice digs, get a house boat on a lake and put a balance beam entry.  Zombies don't swim.

One of those golf range carts and a sharpened putter is enough to turn you into a modern zombie tank.  Anything airborne is unstoppable.

See, Zombies aren't really that scary unless you rail-road the setting... which is what I'd recommend doing.

Start the game on a moving train, an airplane, a boat, a subway train.  Escape from there is limited... i.e. you're in a dingy or life raft or you're under-ground in a tunnel in the dark, or there is no escape and you have to land the plane or engineer a make-shift parachute, etc.

And from there keep it urban.  Zombie horror is essentially the horror of big congested cities where you have no choice by to be near other people who shamble around to and from their lives during some form of transit.   This is why even when they end up in the country, Zombie shows almost always focus around infrastructure and close-quarters.  The Prison. The train lines. Making it down the road.  You never see Zombie horror driving across Wyoming or Northern Utah.  Big clear vistas and miles of nothing.

On the other hand, a zombie outbreak that begins at a rowdy sporting event in a congested arena .... How long before anyone notices that the hooligans are eating each-other instead of just fighting... and how do you get out and then you're in an bad urban neighborhood.  Mobs of people, idiot cops, street gangs and rioters all before you even see a zombie.

Can you get back to Manhattan from the Meadow Lands?  And what happens when you want to get out of New York?  Do you go for the tunnels, the bridges? Hide out in Central Park?  Fortress Skyscraper?  Hijack a corporate helicopter?  Sandbox Manhattan might be just the ticket.  Guns are hard to come by, travel is hard, you can have "wilderness" and urban, tons of people for fodder.  Maps are easy to come by.
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« Reply #9 on: April 13, 2014, 05:00:41 AM »

I don't think GURPS is really the system to capture the feeling of Zombie horror. 

[the Mortal Kombat theme rises in the background...]

Just kidding. I think the ideal system for Zombie Horror depends on your priorities for the game, mostly. The detailed personality-build system of GURPS, for example, is perfect for any game that's going to have a lot of tense psychodrama (those wacky other survivors) IMHO, but I can see how a fine zombie game could be run with Savage Worlds also.

Combat is simply too slow. 

GURPS has ways to speed combat.

Also hit points are too high in relation to the general deadliness of getting anywhere near a Zombie in almost all the film versions.  You really don't get beaten down by Zombies and then die... you either get away or you get bit and you're un-dead.

On the other hand, those HP are really hard to get back in a realistic setting with no easy access to professional medical care, and settings in which people turn from a single bite can be modeled easily with a fast Cyclic Follow-Up Toxic IA attached to the bite attack, Resistible or not to suit taste. All it takes is losing more than 2/3 of your positive HP (7 for an average human) in one fight to be totally screwed with 1/2 Move and Dodge in the next, and the next. Plus you can use the realistic bleeding rules if you really want to make wounds that would be small in DF much more deadly.
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« Reply #10 on: April 13, 2014, 05:08:47 PM »

I've been playing GURPS for how many years now (seriously what year was it when Doug ran his space game?), and we've never ever even once had a fast combat.   It's not the strength of the system at all.

GURPS would model the British TV series "Survivors" wonderfully.  That's post-apocalyse and very much like zombie horror, but there are no zombies... just a sickness that killed most people and then the aftermath of that.

But the whole zombie genre really works against GURPS.  That doesn't mean you can't make zombie horror more appropriate.

But really most of the flavor comes from video game style play with heavy railroading and confined spaces and limitations on everything.
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« Reply #11 on: April 13, 2014, 05:39:52 PM »

I've been playing GURPS for how many years now (seriously what year was it when Doug ran his space game?),

I think that was summer/fall 2008.

and we've never ever even once had a fast combat.   It's not the strength of the system at all.

I can't speak for everybody who's GMd, but I've been with the group slightly longer and I've never ever even once had a request to experiment with the faster combat rules... I personally enjoy using all the fiddly options, looking something up if I don't know it, etc (witness the entire sessions I've gleefully dedicated to it), and I have my head up my ass in general when it comes to other people, so I'm not going to notice if something like that is killing your fun unless you tell me.
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« Reply #12 on: April 13, 2014, 05:43:03 PM »

If anyone's interested, I'd be happy to run some Zombie horror with Savage Worlds.  I liked the Manhattan idea enough that I've thought some more about it and would like to run it.

I'll upload a Savage Worlds deluxe PDF so you all can read it, I'm sure Matt will be an expert in no time.  It's very simple and I'll make some sample characters that take advantage of the rules.
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« Reply #13 on: April 13, 2014, 06:26:21 PM »

If anyone's interested, I'd be happy to run some Zombie horror with Savage Worlds.  I liked the Manhattan idea enough that I've thought some more about it and would like to run it.

That sounds fun, sure. Manhattan Island could also provide a zombie apocalypse microcosm like a smaller 28 Days Later if you wanted it to... If the outbreak seems to be confined to the island, it's possible that the government would just write off the island's people but not its infrastructure, blocking or destroying the bridges and tunnels and attempting to shoot down anything that flies out while they look for a vaccine/cure so they don't have to tacnuke the place. All the PCs have to do is get off the island, but getting off the island is a solid gold bitch...
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Bill
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« Reply #14 on: April 15, 2014, 04:34:32 PM »

Wait . . ..

Isn't that the plot for Left 4 Dead both 1 and 2?
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