I am creating this post with the purpose of recruiting two to three players (we already have 3 committed) who would like to participate in a zombie apocalypse RP. I tried this once before and it failed so I am going to lay down a few more controls up front to try to head off any problems.
The zombie genre has a lot of variation so I think it is key to establish a well defined setting so all participants have a similar initial perspective.
The story will start on May 31st 2012, Z-day +19, or 19 days after the initial worldwide outbreak. For reasons still unknown, on May 12th the recently dead began to rise from the grave and attack the living. The rising happened across the world at pretty much the same time. Society effectively collapsed a few days later as the dead began to outnumber the living.
By Z+19, there are no television or radio broadcasts left and most locations have lost grid power. Government has ceased to exist and the sounds of large scale battle have faded away. The initial panic and slaughter has somewhat settled down as the living are either consumed or fortified in their shelters.
The players will be forced for one reason or another to abandon their current shelter and head out on the road in search of other survivors, which is where our little RP picks up.
The game will start in the small town of Potosi, MO. It is a generic Midwestern town with some interesting locations nearby, including a hospital, a few big box stores, a lead mine, a prison, and an Army base not that far away. I want to use a real town so people can hop on Google Maps and get a good layout on their own. For instance instead of generics like “I approach from the north,” players can be more specific: “I approach from the north along Main street and stop at the brick wall at the intersection with 3rd avenue.”
This was a point of confusion in the last game I tried. People seemed to jump back and forth between Romero zombies, Resident Evil zombies, and whatever they thought up on their own. We need a good fixed set of rules so I have outlined what I could think of below:
Unless otherwise stated the zombies will behave as those shown in the Romero stories (like Dawn of the Dead) with the exception that they can run and are capable of limited mechanical operation. IE they may figure out how to climb a ladder or pull a door latch, but they can’t use tools or think beyond an animalistic level. The reason I went away from the typical lumbering zombie is that I find the ‘fast zombie’ to be much more threatening, which adds to the overall level of fear I hope to generate in the RP.
Here are a few basic zombie rules that at this point each player’s character would know:
1. The only way to kill a zombie is to damage its brain. This could be accomplished by a shot to the head, severe blunt force trauma, complete combustion, or a powerful electrical shock. Decapitation will leave an angry head, and breaking the neck will stop movement below the break but it will still be ‘alive’.
2. The zombie infection is spread by biting or direct fluid transfer. There are rumors that splattered blood or flesh that lands on an open wound may cause infection, but it hasn’t been confirmed. Once bitten, an otherwise healthy person will die within 24 hours. Once an infected person ‘dies’, they will rise again within one to five minutes.
3. Only those who are infected and then die will rise again. Those that die while not infected are just dead.
4. Zombies will attack any living thing, but generally ignore machines.
5. Zombies seem to hunt by a combination of scent, sound and sight. They have been seen digging in the ground in an apparent attempt to find burrowing animals.
6. Infected animals die almost immediately and do not return. Eating infected flesh will infect the consumer just like a bite.
What we are looking for:
We (myself and another Elliquiy member that is helping me out with this project), are looking for people who want to play a character interacting with others in this zombie filled world. The focus should be on the interpersonal relationships after laws and society have collapsed and all people have is each other. I feel that was the main focus of the Romero movies and one of the most enjoyable parts.
This is not a text based shooter. If your goal is to slaughter zombies by the thousands and build an zombie proof stockade, go buy Left 4 Dead. Sure there will be some zombie killing and some construction but it won’t be the focus of the game.
Characters should also be a reflection of real people. What made the Romero movies interesting is how they took normal people and thrust them into extraordinary situations. Characters might have some useful skill set, a doctor, a cop, a solider, a thief, etc but they should also have some flaws. We aren’t looking for superheroes; as much fun as James Bond is in a movie, he would be a very boring zombie survivor.
All those who are interested in playing should send me a character brief via PM. I have included a good example below. The brief should include character traits that will remain hidden from the other players and they will be scrubbed from the bio before posting to an OOC thread. Finally the brief should include what happened to the character since Z-day, how they survived, and what caused them to leave their original shelter to seek other survivors. Treat the history as a writing sample to show off what you can do.
One final note; this game will be fairly slow paced. We don’t necessarily have time to post more than once every day or so. We don’t want two folks going off on a wild 60 post tangent between noon and 6pm so please try to keep that in mind. If you have any questions, please shoot me a PM or post them here.
Sample Character Entry:
Here is a sample of a good character submission. I admit I went a little overboard in the history department, but I had a good story going and just wanted to get it down on paper.
Name: Jake Curtis
Hometown: Paterson, NJ
Primary Occupation: Soldier (Staff Sergeant, M2 Bradley Gunner)
Secondary Occupation/Skill set: Mechanical engineer
Physical Description: Jake is a physically fit and well built man with dark skin and shortly cropped black hair. A thin layer of dark stubble covers his face. He wears well weathered ACU fatigues, a floppy camo boonie hat, dark sunglasses, combat boots and a large army issue backpack.
Notable Equipment: M4 Carbine, 3 full magazines (90 rounds 5.56mm), 6 empty magazines; M9 Pistol, 3 full magazines (45 rounds 9mm); Binoculars; Night Vision Sights; Ballistic Helmet; First Aid Kit; Portable Army radio.
“I was born in and grew up on the outskirts of Paterson, NJ. It wasn’t the best neighborhood in the world, but it was home. I started working in my father’s appliance store when I was 12, which is where I picked up most of my interest in mechanical and electronic devices. I knew it was what I wanted to do when I got older but when the time for college came around I couldn’t afford it. I could have stayed at my father’s shop, but I wanted to make my own way so I enlisted in the Army after high school.”
“I had hoped to do radio or electronics work, but for a variety of reasons I was slotted for the infantry. I managed to get assigned as a Bradley gunner, which was a little bit of good news. I was never a big fan of walking, and I did appreciate that extra armor even if it was a bit thin. I was deployed to Iraq with the 1st Cav, in early 2004. That was back in the early days of the war when things were pretty rough. We had a couple big battles, in Najaf and Sadr City; real rough street to street fighting. I was damn glad I was inside a Bradley for those battles.”
“I got out of the Army soon after I returned from the Sandbox, and used by GI Bill money to go to school and get an engineering degree. Now those were good days man. With the restrictions of military life behind me, I was free to do what I wanted and I had enough cash in my pocket to make it happen. When I got out of school I got a job and settled in to a nice relaxed life.”
Jake frowned and scratched the stubble on his chin as he continued, “Then shit hit the fan and I was recalled to duty as part of the ready reserve. I only had a few months to mothball my life before I was whisked away to a base in Texas to train up for another damn war in some sandy hellhole. We were just about ready to deploy when Z-Day hit. We had a few incidents on base, but it was mostly contained by nightfall. In a few days my unit was packed up and shipped to St. Louis to help control the horde.”
“I’m not sure why, but St. Louis survived the initial problems of Z-Day a lot better than most other large cities. Maybe their police were on the ball, or the citizens were better armed. Either way, they managed to contain their own problems, only to be flooded by refugees from further east. By Z+3, Chicago had completely fallen and millions of zedheads were sweeping west and overrunning the refugees. We were given orders to make our stand at the Mississippi River, and my group was assigned to hold the line at the Poplar Street Bridge, right where I-70 and half a dozen other highways cross the river.”
“We took position about half way over the bridge, with the screening team ahead of us to filter out the infected from the healthy refugees. By nightfall of Z+4, we got word the horde was only a mile or so from the river. We could hear the panic in the voices of refugees, and tried to get as many over the bridge and into the St. Louis camps as possible. The loud ‘thump-thump-thump’ of outbound artillery echoed across the terrain as we tried to slow down and break up incoming horde.”
“Around midnight the first ones showed up at the screening station and attacked those waiting to be checked. We pulled our guys back and set up behind the barricades. All I could do was look through my thermal sights and watch Zack attack the remaining refugees until we couldn’t tell who was who. At that point a wave of people infected and not pushed past our initial line and swarmed across the bridge.”
He paused his take for a bit, took a deep breath and continued, “Our unit was fairly small. We had maybe a hundred dismounted infantry, half a dozen humvees, two Bradleys and an Abrams tank. However the bridge was only 8 lanes wide which allowed us to focus our fire power. The swarm got within 100 meters of our line when the order came down to open fire. I hated doing it, I could see desperate women, children and families trying to get to safety, but we had to hold the line, or so we thought.”
“Have you ever seen what a Bradley can do? It started life as a glorified battle taxi and turned into a very effective killing machine. We started firing with our 7.62mm coax machine gun which was our normal anti-infantry weapon. We knew then that only head shots would do, so I tried to get short controlled bursts out at about head level. Folks dropped but a lot of them got right back up. The roar of all those guns managed to hold back the tide for a while, but it didn’t last.”
“At 50 meters I abandoned the coax and went to the cannon. If you haven’t seen one before it fires about 3, 25mm high explosive rounds a second. It was originally designed to engage trucks, or light armored vehicles but we used them against infantry more than once before. When one of those rounds hits a person, it explodes; leaving a pair of smoking boots and a fine pink mist.”
“The cannon blew huge holes in the incoming horde but there were just too many of them and not enough ammunition. The tank commander must have seen the same thing I did because he stopped firing into the crowd and starting using his main gun to blow through the bridge deck. He put some big holes in the blacktop but it wasn’t enough. The horde ran head long into our barricades and swarmed over us. My vehicle commander was pulled out of his hatch before I could seal the thing up.”
“Out of ammo and out of options, the driver and I just sat in our little armored box and watched as tens of thousands of them surged past us and into the city. We watched through our expensive optics as the refugee camps turned into feeding frenzies, and then we saw the worst part, the part that still makes my blood boil.”
“Out of the inky darkness of the Mississippi River came hundreds of zombies. In our idiocy, we had somehow expected the living dead to maneuver like a mechanized army, one that had to cross bridges at rivers or fords,” he stops and taps the side of head for emphasis, “but you have to think differently when dealing with Zack. He doesn’t need to breath, and doesn’t care if the water is cold, or moving. He just walked right into the river and popped out a while later down stream. We thought we had them forced into choke points we could hope to defend, when in truth the battlefront was just as wide and open as if we were in a prairie.”
“We could have sent the refugees on, but instead we clustered them into the ‘safety’ of the city. In the end we just made it easier for Zack to find everyone. As far as I know, that battle marked the end of organized resistance in that area.”
“During this whole fiasco, I just sat in my Bradley with Pvt. Kelly, my driver. We thought about trying to help out, grabbing a few people to shelter in the back or trying to fight, but we saw the situation was hopeless. Even if we could find someone who hadn’t been bitten, how would we separate them from the crowd? As for fighting back, we were down to a few rounds in our rifles and it was painfully obvious it wasn’t going to make a difference. The other vehicles that were with us pulled back in the initial chaos, leaving us alone on the bridge in a sea of screaming, moaning Zack.”
“We must have sat there for half an hour as the city burned and we tried to figure out what to do. For a while I listened to the radio traffic until one of the buggers broke my antenna. Eventually we decided to head west, and try to link up with any other elements of our unit. We drove right through the city, since the freeways were too clogged with cars to pass. Instead the side streets were clogged with Zack, but they are much easier to driver over than cars. We must have crushed thousands of them before we broke free onto a country road. I figure we got about thirty miles out of the city when we ran out of gas. That’s when we gathered what we could and started walking.”
“Two days later, I lost Kelly in a farmhouse. We were foraging for food in what looked like an abandoned house when he got bitten. Some little girl, the family must have locked in the pantry before they ran…or were killed themselves. She took a chunk out of his leg before I capped her…and then I shot him. I knew he was doomed and I didn’t have the stomach to watch him turn. I’ll never forget the look of fear and surprise on his face as I leveled my pistol at his head and pulled the trigger.”
(This section will serve to let us know any hidden issues that wouldn’t be made obvious in the introductory story but the GM should know about)
Jake used to be very optimistic and idealistic before the war but resented his government when he was recalled to active duty. He feels he did his time, put in his service, and they should leave him alone. Since Z-Day hit, he has slowly become numb to ideals and his own feelings. He knows all his family must be dead, and after his escape from St. Louis he has no problem killing anyone if they stand in his way of survival. It isn’t that he is evil, he just feels that the old rules and limitations no longer apply. In his mind the act of firing on the mixed crowd of civilians and zombies at the bridge condemned him to Hell, if there actually is one. He doesn’t think he can atone for his sins so adding another few shouldn’t matter. The result is that he will do whatever is necessary to stay alive and to enjoy himself in the time he has left.