12/20 Note: I briefly pitched this idea of mine, several years old, to someone. I had it on Google Docs and porting it here. That said, I'm open to any others. Note the RP specific information is at the bottom. This may be done as a non-sexual RP. What is below is technically out of date as I have other ideas in addition to what is below. For example, the cause of the Dark Wind and a long story without a second act. Ever had good scenes in your head but can't connect the two? But since this is geared for an RP, it is perhaps best if I don't tie too much down.
I am not what you would consider a major zombie fan, but I do like certain films, TV shows, and games involving them. That said, I wonder if anyone had made a well established setting where 1) zombies are not flesh (or brain) eating and 2) consider what it will actually be like being one. That got me thinking and, so far, this is the result. Its not perfect, but its done enough I am open to others taking a peek. I added a third fraction - in addition to humans and zombies - for a little more variety and conflict. Very much a work in progress, but usable as is.Setting
The world is similar but not our own. On a certain day an event occurred. How, why, and what exactly happened I haven’t given much thought of. The reason is the setting is focused on ‘the day after tomorrow’. Still, it bugs me I haven’t considered what has caused the Dark Wind. What the audience needs to know is this event caused an immediate consequence to, say, 30 to 35% of the population and a continuous unending consequence to the weather.
First, humans and other animals exposed to the initial event mutated. Their bodies grew in size, and while they kept their skills and intelligence, lost all personal memories. Second, it started the Dark Wind phenomenon. At the ‘present’ for the setting, the world is in near constant darkness as this wind storm blows worldwide, blocking all sunlight along with the moon and stars. It is of no consequence to the mutants who are immune, but to humans it cause zombification. It technically kills them yet keeping their brains alive... though broken. Sunlight comes out an average of twice a week for a few hours before the Dark Wind returns, allowing humans to gather supplies or other things to survive.Mutants
Conceptually and by design, mutants are the polar opposite of zombies. When they were created, without memory of who they are or who their family or friends were, conflict between human and mutant started almost immediately due to fear. Now a different species of humanity, they live separate from the rest of humanity. During the early years one might say they were at war. But as time passed the two groups drifted apart and the war is more of a conflict over resources. They do not view the rest of humanity as the enemy, though they are apathetic to them. They do see themselves as superior and have no emotional attachment either way. However, it is possible for personal vendettas or even friendship to develop between a mutant and a human, but the latter is very rare.
While they are immune to the Dark Wind, having larger bodies mean they need more food and being omnivores, like humans, they tend to prefer meat over plants. Mutated rabbit farms are common to both as they reproduce quickly. All prefer mutant meat for the same reason: more of it per kill. Mutant carnivores like wolves tend to have a larger evolutionary boost. Smarter and limited bipedal for example, they may be viewed as a form of werewolf or similar creature, but still more animal than ‘human like’.Zombies
Zombies are created by a specific form of death of a non-mutant. When a human is exposed to Dark Wind, it starts to change them till they ‘die’. During periods of sunlight, when the Dark Wind approaches breathing in a little wouldn’t harm them that much. Its when one is exposed either long enough or with a big enough dose that zombification occurs. They do have air masks to help them survive for a while. If zombification does happen, they will appear to fall asleep then wake up with a clean slate. Their brain is the only thing that still works, and even it is damaged. They don’t bleed, feel pain, or need to eat. Slowly their personal memories return in the form of nostalgia. They need and desire, literally, thing to help trigger their memories.
Skills work the same way. They might not know what a gun is till they see one. And then they might remember how to use it, assuming they used one when alive. They will need to be retrained, but it will come back to them quickly. if they lack a skill before zombification, they might know ‘you do this’, but they would not know or remember the fact they lacked the skill. This can cause extreme frustration for the zombie, as they might keep trying to do something in hopes of remembering.
For example, lets say a zombie sees a piano. He plays on the keys knowing that is how one creates music with it. However, he does not remember his pre-zombie self was never trained to play the piano. so he keeps banging on it in hopes of remembering. Personal items of their pre-zombie selves, like pictures, are things they treasure greatly. Finding or loosing such items can make a zombie highly emotional.
Skills requiring high thought processes that are not intuitive is very difficult or impossible. They can understand most spoken languages but can’t speak them or read. They can appreciate music and perform music if there pre-zombie selves were trained in doing it (intuition), but learning to play a new instrument well is beyond them, though they may try. For this reason they may seem like simpletons or act in weird ways because they partially understand something but not know why.
While they are not mindless flesh or brain eaters, they do have one flaw. They can’t heal. (Destroying the brain still kills them, but otherwise stay alive) For this reason, they do need to harvest body parts if needed. And since they want to reconnect with their humanity, this is a huge ethical problem. See Human/Zombie ethics below for more on how I view this. They don’t get the human-mutant divide and since they don’t need food, mutants often ignore them. As such, one might see a zombie helping a mutant but rarely the other way around unless a personal trust is built first. And zombies might be middle go-between for the two fractions. Some might rather try it alone, avoiding both human and mutant. As such, zombies, while leaning slightly towards humans, are the most unpredictable.
As I try to make all three fractions different, I decided as ‘children of the Dark Wind’, sunlight when it does come out burns their skin. Of their senses, eyesight and hearing they still have without problems. They can feel what they touch if skin is there, but can not feel pain. They lack taste and smell. They don’t require food, and if they think eating is enjoyable and try to eat, they will find it tasteless and will just regurgitate it later if they eat too much. If the human before zombification loved eating, this can be very upsetting to him as a zombie.
Finally, as they lack blood flow, they have no to little form of physical enjoyment though the knowledge of sex might still be there. However, despite the fact they are no longer sexual, they might still act affectionate, like hugging, for emotional enjoyment or support. In other words, they behave as romantic asexuals.Humans
They are unchanged from the normal us except for one or two things. By default I don’t view them from Earth, as the setting is instead a planet similar to ours changed forever. (This can be changed as be assumed to be Earth) The second is the fact Dark Wind zombifies them. They do view themselves at war with the mutants despite the mutants not seeing it the same way, and fear they will be used as meat to mutants. If a mutant learns of this, they will be horrified humans will even think of this... but the result is just more anger against humans just for having such morbid thoughts! Initially they feared zombies much like mutants till, with time, they found them to not be dangerous. As such, they will first treat a new zombie with suspicion but later be more accepting. Still, some might not trust any zombie and not every zombie is human-friendly.Human/Zombie Ethics
When a human knows he or she is near death, a choice may be given. If the human group is particularly friendly to a number of zombies or having zombies, they can go to the Dark Wind to die or have a natural death and be basically an organ donor for allied zombies. For the zombies allied to humans, humans willing to be ‘skinned’ is treated in what might be viewed as religious honor. Preserved dead is treated with high respect and ceremony.
Zombies that lack human allies - by chance, choice, or lack of any personal memory triggers - is far different. They won’t kill humans unless desperate (killing a mutant is harder by far), but if one finds a dead or dying one, such of a zombie might not bother with respect and just cut the needed parts off. This can be done then cold-heartily and more like the traditiona’ zombie story except the zombie is harvesting instead of eating a living or not quite dead victim. To him its just part of the game of survival. Or, if this is a zombie who rather not go to such extremes and want to reconnect with humanity, it can be a traumatic psychological experience and a real test of that zombie’s personal ethics. Harvest one unwilling and undeserving to keep functioning, or spare him, waiting for someone willing or deserving while at the same time not make new enemies?
Since I started this with a non-bloodthristy zombie in mind, I prefer to play a zombie male myself. Note for RPs with sex, zombies, who lack blood flow, have bodies that won’t get aroused but will remember how to please others... eventually. Mutants, being larger, will have everything in excess. The polar opposite of zombies, they can go longer and have bigger climaxes. Where zombies will be romantic, mutants will be more forceful. I am also open to playing a female, sex-light/no sex, or receiving feedback to grow this idea.I am also open to playing the role of a GM
since this setting is my idea.Human x Human
: A post-apocalyptic survival pairing. Attitude toward zombies will have to be decided. If by themselves, I would like to work out how and why these two are together. Rather I prefer they be part of a group and have a cast of minor characters to play with, as our primary two will stay inside most of the time.Human x Zombie
: Not really much of a difference if by themselves or a group. Human will stay inside while the zombie goes out. Could be a master x pet sort of a pairing if alone, as the zombie will have to take care of the human OR if the zombie is a clean slate the human taking care of the zombie.
Human x Mutant: More than likely, the human will be captive to the mutant(s) in this case. This can be a master x slave or the mutant(s) using the human as a plaything. Alternatively, the mutant could show they are not enemies. Note though mutants should not really care about humans. They rather they act more like the zombies, obey and fall in line. Optionally, there is a chance a mutant might be disgraced and living in exile.Zombie x Zombie
: Tied for the most freedom. If alone they can forge their own adventures together and have lots and lots of softcore lovemaking! Though they will never get aroused. Which might frustrate them. So if you are looking for hardcore sex... um... you may want to pass on this. A group of zombies is a bit rare as they need human or mutants to prevent going feral. That said, I do see a city full of them with some human caretakers.Zombie x Mutant
: Similar to Human x Mutant except both know where each stand. Least preferred unless they are alone and just traveling together (mutant exile). Otherwise, its similar to Zombie x Zombie.Mutant x Mutant
: The other that offers the most freedom. But being bigger, smarter, and smug, a single pair might leave behind a lot of trouble even if they don’t realize it. As part of a group it will be more like Human x Human except they don’t need to stay inside and who knows what they might bring in to play with.
My personal preference in order:
- Zombie of either gender with another zombie or another human
- Male human with any female (but not a mutant with a group)
- Male mutant with human female
- Female mutant with any non-mutant
Also open to FxF pairing, but not sure where that might fall before or after Female mutant (being a male, as I am one, still preferred). No MxM unless strictly non-sexual. Me playing minor characters will happen and open to my partner doing the same once he or she gets a feel for the setting.