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Tyrmatt
2008-12-15, 09:35 AM
With the recent release of Left 4 Dead and us finding a copy of the Zombies! board game, I've taken into my head the idea of making a zombie themed game-world with a group of survivors against a city full of zombies. Or possibly even more post-zombapocalyptic.
The problem is finding a system to set it within. I've got a copy of All Flesh Must Be Eaten and it seems a little clunky to use. There's also the potential to bring some new folks into our little fold and so I want it to be accessible to people who have never picked up a dice in their life.
So does anyone have a particular flavour they like to use for fighting hordes of the undead in contemporary modern society. I'm guessing there must be some D20 Modern variants that folks have come up with. However I'm also of the bent to take the core concepts of 4.0 D&D (daily powers, healing surge-style health regen)and turn it to a more modernised setting.
So just wondering if anyone has a particular favourite they would share with me?

Satyr
2008-12-15, 09:51 AM
I think AFMBE is much easier to understand, play and direct as a game than any version of D20, mostly because of the much more consistent set of rules and the even more so organic character creation and development. Class and level systems are a lot less intuitive than organic pool-based systems for new players, because they require much less suspension of disbelief. Based on my experiences it is one of the smoothest games you can hope for and definitely the Magnum Opus of undead-related RPG's.

I have heard that Palladium was or is going to publish an own Zombie-based RPG, All Flesh Must Be Ripped Of or something similar, but I don't even pretend to be interested in it.

JellyPooga
2008-12-15, 10:58 AM
d20 most certainly does not lend itself to Zombie Apocalypse IMO. Too heroic, too "here's a list of things you may do, you may do nothing else". Zombie games should be about improvisation, quick-thinking and careful planning, not high attack bonuses and special abilities.

I'm not sure why you think AFMBE is clunky...fairly stats-lite/rules-basic IIRC, but I didn't think "clunky" myself.

Given that you're not fond of All Flesh, I could suggest GURPS because, you know, you can play anything in GURPS, but I think GURPS is an aquired taste and it could potentially take a lot of effort to get it up and running.

The best advice I could give is to go with something very basic, like (Advanced) Fighting Fantasy (use the rules, not the setting) or Risus. Make the players think about character potential and roleplaying rather than bad-A character builds or min-maxing. Trust me, Zombie games should be harsh and gritty, where survival is the name of the game, not wading hip deep in gore having killed those suckas for the second time (as cool as it might be on occasion, it does not make for an enjoyable and lengthy game when that's all there is to that game).

Just my opinion though...

Mark Hall
2008-12-15, 11:15 AM
Palladium recently published "Dead Reign", a zombie game using the Megaversal system.

Tsotha-lanti
2008-12-15, 11:24 AM
If you don't like AFMBE, I will crack open your fragile skull and feast on your-

Uh.

If you don't like AFMBE, try BESM, maybe. Somewhat similar but even simpler system, easy to customize for all kinds of stuff.

Tyrmatt
2008-12-15, 12:42 PM
Two reasons for my dislike of AFMBE, the first being that I've only played one game of it as a player before and the game fell apart due to inter-player antagonism rather than anything else, so we never got far. Bad juju there.

The second reason is it's not so much the actual execution of the rules of AFMBE but rather the fact it goes to what seems to me to be great lengths to make a nasty zombie movie style and then goes and throws in the "Inspired". All that setting and build up to be told "Oh yeah, some folks have magical powers or the ability to call down miracles from God".
It's really irritating me for some reason I can't understand. I love fantasy based magic(arcane and divine), even futuristic techno-magic stuff but for some reaon the zombie genre feels ruined and cheapened by it. I believe the Voodoo and magic roots of zombies need to be left alone and stick with the infectious vector in a modern setting.

Is it possible to just rip the Inspired out of the game without leaving too much to panic about in terms of repelling hordes or healing up? I'm about to come into a major amount of time to do this kind of thing like rebalancing a game mechanic so if anyone has any thoughts on that it would be great.

@Jellypooga: Thanks for the advice on D20 Modern, I'd assumed it was a more flexible system than that. GURPS is always the old standby for making anything happen so I'll keep that in mind. Risus also looks really handy and a friend has also mentioned Fighting Fantasy (in those exact words you used...) so I'll look into that as well.

@Satyr: You've obviously had some good experiences with the game as well so I'll be willing to make a deeper effort to hate it less when I see that folks have had a lot of good times with it

Other brainstorming with friends gave two other ideas, one of modifying the SPECIAL system a bit, using a post-apoc system a friend made instead converting it for zombies rather than nuclear war and one guy seemed enthusiastic about a comedy zombie game, lots of unlimited ammo and vicious punishing of people who say "I think we're safe now". I might run that as a after campaign loosen up anyway though.

So to summarise: Can I get rid of the Inspired in AFMBE? None of the rest of the players are fans of magic (two of them grew up playing Necromunder or something. Lots of WH40k with big guns I believe) and they annoy me as well so removing them and coming up with an alternative mechanism for healing. If so, I can plough on from there.
All other suggestions welcome guys, I really appreciate it :)

Satyr
2008-12-15, 01:02 PM
Is it possible to just rip the Inspired out of the game without leaving too much to panic about in terms of repelling hordes or healing up? [...] Can I get rid of the Inspired in AFMBE?

Absolutely. The inspired are only an additional feature that can be used or ignored. They are not necessary for the game at all (and probably the least interesting system for supernatural powers in the unisystem).
AFMBE is not only a zombie game, it is more like a universal game where undeads of all kinds are thrown in for fun. If you look through the splat books, you will find such diverse campaign setings as Arthus myth + undeads; here the inspired make absolutely sense, or a Star Wars vs. Super Zombies setting (no inspired but logically "Jedi" undead hunters with laser swords and Psi powers), and so on. Why they picked the Inspired as supernatural representatives for the core book and not the somewhat better fitting necromancy rules is beyond my understanding.

The game is also so not linked to modern times; there is a reason why there are source books for Zombie Westerns, Zombie Science Fiction, Zombie Fantasy, and Dungeons in Zombies. Right now, I am running an AFMBE / D&D campaign based on the glorious Midnight setting, because the system suits much better to the somewhat grim and gritty setting of Midnight (or Dark Sun, which I also converted, or Ravenloft) than the originally intended rules.

Other supernatural rules and a free version of the same set of rules as AFMBE can be downloaded for free in the form of the Witchcraft (http://www.edenstudios.net/witchcraft/WitchcraftCorebook.zip) core book. I highly recommend it, it is a great game and most likely the best game you wil ever get for free.

Attilargh
2008-12-15, 03:28 PM
I love the new World of Darkness's simple rules, and about a quarter of the Antagonists supplement is devoted to the brain-eaty. You could give that a spin.

Another_Poet
2008-12-15, 03:57 PM
I think you should use the Over the Edge core rule, which is basically this:

Every character has a main skill and two lesser skills.

For the main skill (Let's say, truckdriver) they roll 3d6
For the lesser skills (let's say deer hunter and armchair historian) they roll 2d6
Anything else roll 1d6.

If they have some kind of tactical advantage, let them reroll their lowest die once as a bonus.

Done, works very well for "normal" people without a lot of combat skills, hence great for survival horror.

ap

Tyrmatt
2008-12-16, 03:49 AM
Absolutely. The inspired are only an additional feature that can be used or ignored. They are not necessary for the game at all (and probably the least interesting system for supernatural powers in the unisystem)....a Star Wars vs. Super Zombies setting (no inspired but logically "Jedi" undead hunters with laser swords and Psi powers), a
Other supernatural rules and a free version of the same set of rules as AFMBE can be downloaded for free in the form of the Witchcraft (http://www.edenstudios.net/witchcraft/WitchcraftCorebook.zip) core book. I highly recommend it, it is a great game and most likely the best game you wil ever get for free.

Ahh fantastic, that takes a weight off my mind. Also I know a guy who would absolutely wet his pants over a Jedi Vs. Zombies game. I'll have to keep that in mind for a time when we're all drunk.

@Attilargh: I like the sound of simple rules, even if it means braving another trip to the local Forbidden Planet for a copy of the rules. It's the smell of the place, it...distresses me. I miss my old gaming shop which was like Aladin's Cave...sorry rambling.

@Another_poet: That seems like a nifty way to get folks into the system without too much effort. Depending on the final makeup of the group (nerds vs. norms) I may consider that as a simplistic way to bring out the inner zombie hunter in the less initiated.

AFMBE is back in the lead for now but I'll certainly look into all of these. WoD especially given it's of a zombie bent in amongst all the vamps and wolves.