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Zombie Survival (Would love feedback!)

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cameronc5
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My idea is similar to D&D (and most other RPG's) in that everyone playing get's a character, there is a game master, and there is really no "winning" in the traditional sense.

The thought is that the characters would be survivors of the zombie apocalypse, and their goal is to survive. They can do this however they wish, be it building a walled town, traveling in a caravan for however long, setting off on their own, demanding tributes from other towns (npc or otherwise), etc.

The main difference is the mechanic of resource gathering and movement at the RPG level. In dungeons in dragons until the characters are in the dungeon they just kind of describe what they are doing. However, this game would require that characters (and the game master) know where those characters are most of the game time. In addition, resource gathering come into play. For instance, if one wants to build a wooden wall for their town, it costs x amount of lumber. Well, they have to go out and get the lumber. So a way to measure time spent gathering a resource, resources gathered, and the like has to be present.

Am I getting too complicated? Or is this more of a game for an MMO?

Dralius
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MMO?

MMO? It depends on how complex it will be. There are some very complex board games out there. Its a matter of audience.

I may not be willing to slog through a 50 page rule set but some people are and some people like complex systems. It gives them a big game space to explore.

Fhizban
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I like the idea - if its

I like the idea - if its gonna be a true pen-and-paper RPG. there are not many of them nowadays.

like D&D, fading suns, earthdawn and the like.

a nice rpg system (maybe fudge, d20, a homebrew system or something else) set in a zombie apocalypse setting. can't remember this has been done before!

yeah and mix it with "civilisation building" aspects as seen in computer games. let the players build their homebase, gather resources and the like between the adventure scenarios.

Personally - I would chew through a 50-100 pages rulebook (if its a good read and has some stories involved).

NASG
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A sourcebook or an RPG?

Sounds like you could easily produce this as a sourcebook for an existing system - GURPs, D&D (sounds contemporary Ravenloft) or d20, Call of Cthulu, etc. Which is kind of what Fhizban suggests. There's still quite a thirst for roleplaying games out there (we regularly play one called Blood and Treasure which is a lulu.com that is based heavily (read almost copied) from D&D).

In my experience roleplayers are more willing to read through lots of pages of rules for an RPG, than boardgamers would for a boardgame - but then they're very different beasts (the games and often the gamers! ;-)).

A quick search on google brought back some hits for forum roleplaying in this vein, but nothing published that I could see.

HTH

SinJinQLB
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I don't know if you're

I don't know if you're looking for ideas or not, and you probably already thought of this, but you could have a lot of fun with the damage system in your game. For instance, any time a character got attacked by a zombie during a battle, they could have some sort of count down until they themselves turn into a zombie (in which case you could have a new set of rules whereby they still play, except as a zombie and maybe attack the other teammates). Of course you would have to introduce some sort of cure or remedy that's fairly easy to make or obtain. I would think players would be getting bit and thus turning into zombies quite frequently, now that I think about it. How else would the zombies in the game attack other than biting?

BadStrategist
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Sounds interesting

Sounds like an interesting concept!

I'm not a die-hard RPGer, but I've played lots of different systems in bits and pieces. One that you might want to have a look at is Savage Worlds. While I don't think they've done the zombie apocalypse thing, they do have a campaign setting which is WWII with zombies. They may even have a Wild West meets zombies.

They've done some things really well - they built the system to revolve more around story than combat (though it does obviously have a combat system), and it is a pretty easy game for a Game Master to get an adventure going.

Anyway, thought it might be interesting for comparison purposes.

http://www.peginc.com/games/savage-worlds/

Good luck!

Cheers,
BadStrategist

cameronc5
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Thanks guys! I'm going to

Thanks guys!

I'm going to look into GURPS, Fudge, and some of the others your recommended and see if maybe I can just publish an RPG using those systems! I appreciate it!

GrimFinger
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cameronc5 wrote:My idea is

cameronc5 wrote:
My idea is similar to D&D (and most other RPG's) in that everyone playing get's a character, there is a game master, and there is really no "winning" in the traditional sense.

The thought is that the characters would be survivors of the zombie apocalypse, and their goal is to survive. They can do this however they wish, be it building a walled town, traveling in a caravan for however long, setting off on their own, demanding tributes from other towns (npc or otherwise), etc.

The main difference is the mechanic of resource gathering and movement at the RPG level. In dungeons in dragons until the characters are in the dungeon they just kind of describe what they are doing. However, this game would require that characters (and the game master) know where those characters are most of the game time. In addition, resource gathering come into play. For instance, if one wants to build a wooden wall for their town, it costs x amount of lumber. Well, they have to go out and get the lumber. So a way to measure time spent gathering a resource, resources gathered, and the like has to be present.

Am I getting too complicated? Or is this more of a game for an MMO?

Just some feedback off-the-cuff, but I don't think that it's so much a question of whether you are getting too complicated or not, as much as it's an issue of how you choose to present whatever degree of complexity is involved.

Consider the specific setting of this zombie apocalypse of yours, and the caravan concept that you want to incorporate. Where are your characters starting at, and where are they heading off to, and why are they heading there? A zombie apocalypse can encompass a multiplicity of different possible scenarios. You do the choosing between them, and then try to offer it to prospective players in such a way that their anticipation outweighs the cost to the player, in terms of time and thought invested to grasp a given rule that you incorporate.

In the very first sentence of your posting in this thread, you stated, " There is really no "winning" in the traditional sense." That bit prompted me to think, 'Hey, what if the object is to survive - over the long term, and not merely for the duration of a single game session.

In other words, players will strive to survive each game session, but each new session that they play, if their character(s) survived the last game session, they get to pick up where they left off.

How would you track that? What kind of map would facilitate that? Not that you should do that, or that you shouldn't do that. I am merely using that as an example to illustrate how to approach your particular take on a zombie apocalypse for gaming purposes.

If the game, itself, has high replay value, then an ongoing, perpetual game, of this sort, might work well. One aspect of game design may compliment another, and vice versa.

With regard to "a way to measure time spent gathering a resource, resources gathered, and the like," you could implement that via one of several different ways.

The first thing that I thought of to facilitate such was a track of some sort, maybe off to the side of the board, or as an individual track that each player has as part of their basic packet of player materials. Are players limited to a particular sub-set of possibilities? Or, since the game that you envision has a role-playing component to it, are the possibilities unlimited? For example, even though the setting is a zombie apocalypse, what if the player decides to build a casino or to try and create a moon base to escape the zombies?

The second mechanism that I thought about to handle this was a rolling of dice. Maybe the player in question rolls a dice, or maybe all players roll a dice, to provide a way to take into account luck and fate and chance impacting the amount of time it takes to accomplish a given undertaking relative to the localized threats and obstacles to achieving such. It's more abstract than gathering wood, but it might work (or it might not).

Just some thoughts that came to me.

cameronc5
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Yes, my thoughts were that

Yes, my thoughts were that the "goal" would be survival and partly civilization building.

I like the ideas you put forth, I'll have to think about them!

I was thinking of leaving at as open as possible. Maybe even letting the Game Master decide what they think is humanly possible. So maybe the second mechanic would work.

The problem I run into is managing game world time. Particularly outside of the combat. Inside of combat the D&D model works just fine for me.

The mechanic I was thinking of goes something like this: Each day is separated into 30 minutes segments or turns. So there are 48 turns in one full day (including night). Every character is given a certain amount of energy per day, depending on specializations, food eaten, and sleep. So I was thinking tasks could be a combination of these two resources. For instance, let's say players start with 20 energy, or something like that. Chopping down a tree may take 15 minutes and 2 energy. So they spend half a turn on a chopping down a tree. Or running a mile may cost 3 or 4 energy and 1 turn to a quarter of a turn depending on how long it takes.

Does that make sense?

I was thinking of maybe just putting those mechanics out there, and then letting house rules kind of take over. They can decide what it takes to build a fort, or fix a car, or build a moonbase. Maybe I could offer some basics, like a wood wall may take 4 timber, and tree typically provide 2 timber, and cutting down two trees takes 30 minutes and 4 energy. And then building the wall takes 30 minutes and 2 energy. So they've spent an hour and 6 energy to build this one timber wall.

I dunno, those were just some thoughts. My only thought is that it may be kind of boring!

Word Nerd
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Two cents

When I'm watching a zombie movie or television show, two things maintain my interest. In the short term, I get pumped when the zombies pour in on or surround potential victims, and I wonder how or if anyone is going to survive against seemingly overwhelming odds. In the longer term, I co-mull strategic considerations with the actors, yelling at the screen when some idiot proposes a stupid idea or expresses a naive wish.

This dichotomy of thrills would keep me involved with a zombie RPG as well. The day-to-day braining of zombies is overlaid on the tapestry of a greater plan or goal. If you don't want to have a single game goal, perhaps a battery of referee-variable scenarios would fit your bill. I recall once visiting a D&D-type website that could generate hundreds of unique and random quests for role-playing games. There's also an outfit called Wordplay Games (http://wordplaygames.co.uk/) which uses a freestyle method of character generation and description which might also help you solve your game time issue.

cameronc5
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Joined: 02/05/2013
I like the scenarios option.

I like the scenarios option. I think that's something that the Game Master can decide upon, or maybe scenarios can be published.

Your comment on what maintains interest with zombies is dead on. That's why I was struggling with what do in between combat. For me one of the most interesting parts is survival (so I guess the point would be survival). However, growing crops, building forts, developing lost technology, etc. is really hard in the table top format. I'll have to take a look at the Wordplay Games and see if it can help with this.

Thanks!

GrimFinger
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Word Nerd wrote:This

Word Nerd wrote:
This dichotomy of thrills

That's a nice way of summing it up.

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