View Full Version : Pandemic: Survival Horror Table-Top RPG

2008-10-12, 08:35 PM
I start this sorta as a community thing and as a jump start for some of the ideas I have had floating around in my brain. For the past few months me and a pal of mine have been thinking about a dream game. It first came in the form of a MMO (to be more accurate, a Survival Horror MMO mixed with third person combat/shooting). We spent a whole night writing down ideas for this game but ultimately decided that the chances of making a game like this would be far outside our reality...


We turned to the cheap and easy world of Table-Top RPGs. :smallwink:

We basically translated some of our ideas over to a Table-Top format and have started the spitballin' process. However, I fear that my relatively inexperience with Table-Tops (I play DnD 3.5 but even so I have only played for about 2 years so I lack the in depth understanding of some of you dinosaurs out there) will threaten to make this game filled to the brim with cheese, cheese, and more cheese. Let's just say i'm more of a dreamer and less of a Let's get down and technical kind of man...

So I come to you playground to see if you can throw any ideas in the pot. I have seen some absolutely brilliant homebrew stuff made on this site so I know you all have the creative juices flowing.

But first, here are the basics:

1. The game is set in a near future. A post apocalyptic world (think the Fallout video games in terms of scenery) where a virus has spread as a result of biological warfare. The United States was the first to be hit by these weapons during a sort of Cold War era stand-off. However, it is believed that mostly all other nations have been hit and infected as well. The game takes place on a fictional east-coast island in America called Black Mesa (yes, I stole the name. You gotta admit, it's a good name. If anyone can think of a better name then throw it out there). where time has passed to reveal groups of survivors forming new communities and settlements as they continue to fight off these "undead" predators.

2. As I have stated, the land will resemble (somewhat) the post apocalyptic setting a described above. Ruins of once proud industrialized cities are starting to be overgrown with new wildlife. Some areas still remain a barren wasteland. The new cities themselves (where the survivors live) resemble a somewhat steam punk setting. This sort of, dirty industrial like world (if you have heard of it, try to imagine the cities in the upcoming Borderlands video game).

3. Undead are not restricted to just zombie-like humans but also mutated humans and creatures.

4. There are six classes: Brawler (melee fighter), Soldier (ranged gun wielding character), Engineer (A jack-of-all trades able to create many useful items), Hunter (one trained and equipped to hunt the undead specifically), Medic (a character trained in healing and using special vaccines to combat some undead), and Splicer (basically this is the same as the Splicers from Bioshock. Again, it's something too cool to pass up).

5. There are no unique races but there are 4 bloodlines. Each bloodline has it's ties to the classes described above. These bloodlines are: Plano, Survivalists, Plague Bringers, and The Union.

The Plano bloodline draw it's past back to those people who had to band together in small groups in order to survive. These were mostly poor and middle class families. To defend themselves some used melee and improvised weapons (Brawler class) while later on, many trained themselves and disciplined their bodies to fight and resist the undead (Hunter class).

The Survivalists comprised of mostly upper class military families and anyone who had access to vast resources and/or firearms. They put their back against the sea and fought off the undead with their advanced weaponry while surviving off of their large supplies. There were those who fought (Soldier class) and those who helped rebuild civilization. In the end, they became the largest stable community in this post-outbreak world.

The Plague Bringers embraced the coming of this virus as a divine act. Others saw it as a leap in scientific research. There were those who embraced becoming infected or living amongst the infected seeing it as an act of god. And then there were those who realized the untapped power in harnessing the virus itself. This gave way to a small society of biologically corrupted citizens (Splicer class).

The "The Union" bloodline was a joint effort between the skilled craftsmen and specialty trained peoples to rebuild a better world and to protect their families from the undead. There were the builders (Engineer class) and the menders (Medic class) who helped survive against the outbreak.

Each bloodline acts as a normal race would in games such as DnD. They describe the society in which the people live in, their relations to each other, their ethics and beliefs, etc.

Okay, well that's just a little bait to see if anyone is interested. If anyone wants to add some ideas or get some more out of me then let me know. Otherwise, I just wanna see how many people are interested in the concept.

2008-10-17, 01:28 PM
Anyone wanna throw in some input? I'll just bump this once, then let it die if not. Don't want the admins to kick meh in the face : X. hehe

2008-10-17, 02:21 PM
The big problem is that I'm not seeing anything really spectacular with the choices right now. I'm in a post-apocalyptic world with zombies. I choose one of six classes, and one of four "bloodlines", although two of them are either evil or want people being eaten by zombies. My job is to... kill zombies, and not die, I guess.

I realize that the concept behind zombie apocalypse is rather dull: it's mostly about not getting eaten by the zombies. As such, you should allow it to cover most situations easily, from the initial outbreaks to the aftermath "endgame". You probably don't want to strongly support a specific cause, so that both virus-zombies and voodoo-zombies are equally playable. Focus on the background details, like what kinds of organizations there are, and what life is like post-apocalypse, so that your idea stands out. Right now, there isn't much beyond "society is destroyed, zombies are everywhere", and even that is vague.

2008-10-19, 02:41 AM
Have you looked at D20 Apocalypse? There are rules for mutated creatures and it seems to be exactly what you are looking for. http://ww2.wizards.com/Company/Products/Default.aspx?doc=880460000

You can add a setting like "All Flesh Must Be Eaten" which uses the Unisystem but can be adapted to D20 to add the zombies. If you aren't interested in that, you could try "Year of the Zombie" which is a D20 Modern product.

There have been a number of homebrews on zombies based on movies like 28 Days Later or the George Romero Living Dead movies.
For example: http://www.dandwiki.com/wiki/Zombie_Rules_(D20_Modern_Variant_Rule)

Other sources available are Zeta Kai's excellent "Resident Evil" d20 and a google search should show up other sources.


Zeta Kai
2008-10-19, 08:43 AM
Other sources available are Zeta Kai's excellent "Resident Evil" d20 and a google search should show up other sources.

Damn, I was going to shamelessly plug myself, but Debby beat me to the punch. Her advice is seconded, though, as they are all pretty good systems. AFMBE & my RE:D20 are both especially good. :smallwink:

2008-10-19, 10:59 AM
I know the idea is rather dull from the perspective that I gave but that is what I intended, I wanted to see some people throw out their ideas. How do you think the life in this world should be? How do you see this world as. And what are you're ideas for this sort of game world. I made many of these things vague so to get some great ideas out of all of you. I don't wanna give anyone too much to work with so I just gave the basics of which that should not be changed (classes, bloodlines, etc.).

So if there is anyone out there with some decent ideas let it be known! If anyone out there has made a sort of game like this then spread some of your ideas out to me.

2009-09-23, 07:56 PM
Your idea intrigues me, however the only thing I would put into the game would be people who have completely blended with the zombie virus, but live from it. People who are immune, but no so immune. They could acquire special abilites out of it, like Pyrokinesis and such.

2009-09-23, 08:40 PM
Recently finished a D20 modern campaign based on zombie apocalypse. Modern day, all players are playing themselves. It's been some of the most fun I've had roleplaying in years.

Easy way to throw some twists in there. The virus is mutating ala Resident Evil. If someone is bitten, they might collect a mutation or two that could change things. One of our players started seeing the way the infected saw, sort of. He was still human (I guess) but started 'smelling' people as food. Start throwing out enemies from Left4Dead and RE. In fact RE gave us a whackload of different viruses with different effects.

The big thing to remember is, in survival situations, things go crazy. In an RP setting, survival becomes a canvas for player motivations to come out on. But they have to have a reason to splash that canvas with some paint, or they won't.

Inventory is major important in these situations. Food is scarce. Water is scarce. Most of your characters might not have had a hot shower in weeks. Perhaps there is a journey somewhere. Traveling is perilous. Uses up resources. Other towns might attack travellers, some towns might not.

You could toss out an overlying threat. Some AI computer that has been experimenting and throwing out more viruses. New ones. Said AI might also have a database of cures. 'Virus' might actually be nano-machines under AI control. Which means they have an off switch.

Just some thoughts.

2009-09-23, 11:09 PM
Another thing you need to think about is are the PC's Immune or just running from the virus? If they don't know if they are immune, make them roll percentage dice to see when they get bit. Also if you do choose to do that, then you need to choose what % of humanity is actually immune to the virus.

2009-09-24, 07:04 PM
We did it as a fort save every bite. However, depending on what bit you and how long it had been since infection (we are currently at 5 weeks from infection), the save did potentially increase. However, on player brought up the rules on disease, is that if you save from it once, that means you have antibodies to fight that strain, not counting magical diseases. I don't know if thats how that was supposed to work, and we eventually ignored that as simply part of the homebrew. Most of the party is now fully immune from the common infected. The mutated or special infected however, have much higher save DC's vs their bites or spewed blood, or anything of the like.

2009-09-24, 10:42 PM
Have any of you seen this: Pandemic d20? Here's the link: http://www.freewebs.com/grimgrin4488/Pandemic_d20.pdf

Just thought I should mention it.