So I am indeed NOT dead, though I have been on extended hiatus from this blog for much longer than I would have liked.
For those of you following along, I’ve moved from the south-east coast to the pacific-north-west in pursuit of… well, something new. A new scene, a new outlook, new places and people.
One such person is the lead at the local gaming store where I take my son every other weekend (when he’s not in trouble with his schoolwork). I asked him about the local tabletop games and made passing mention that I was an experienced DM and he jumped at the chance to get someone to run D&D games for the shop. The usual guy was getting burned out, working six days a week and using his off-day to run three games for not only the people who come into the shop but for his friends too.
So we met a couple of weeks ago to work up and hash out a few ideas for the new game since the previous DM just finished up the recent “Murder at Baldur’s Gate” series from Wizard’s and were looking for something fresh. I brought up one of the old games I ran years and years ago, where I used statistical averages to determine ability scores for my players and local maps to develop our playing field to create a survival zombie game. It was like someone had put tacks in his chair he sat up so fast. I pitched a few other ideas to him, high fantasty to D20 future but everything came back to the zombie invasion game I led with.
Here is the most accurate real-life to D&D stat generator that I’ve come across that doesn’t require spending some serious time soul-searching and looking through statistics, and is probably going to be the one I’ll use with the new game once it starts. Maybe you’d like to pitch this to your gaming troupe as well, it really wound up being a fun, scary game that had everyone on their toes and fighting for their lives through the whole time. Here’s my pitch:
The first thing everyone noticed was the earthquake.
The worst one since the early 2000’s, and even then never so close to the Columbia. The pavement groaned and dishes fell, a few windows even cracked and shattered out of their frames and car alarms went off.
Then came the sound.
At first it was like rolling thunder on a hot summer night, but it never crashed, just thundered down the valley, rebounding and growing until the houses seemed to tremble with the roar of it and what windows that didn’t break when the earthquake hit exploded inward as the rush of air behind the sound hammered at our homes.
From the smoke a lot of people thought Mt. Saint Helen had finally blown, but we were wrong.
Then it was news crews.
Then the scientists.
Then the military.
For days the air was filled with chalky smoke and dust that settled onto the cars and streets and stained everything a sickly yellow. The dust that covered everything smelled of bitter pungent sulfur and stale smoke and painted your hands green and yellow where you touched it.
A week went past before the black choppers stopped cutting through the air all day and night and things started to go back to normal.
Then they came.
At first it was rumor and rare reports, whispers of strange sounds and savage murders. Government cover-up and corruption in the police force hiding the truth. Then it wasn’t rumor and speculation anymore. It was in your yard. Stumbling down the street and through the parks, faces you once knew half gone and hanging in red ruin from gnashing teeth. And the sound… oh god the sound they made…
I guess the only question left is… can you survive?
I focus heavily on survival and avoiding the zombies in this game, taking a map of the local area and cordoning off sections like hospitals, grocery stores, hardware stores and the like that would be the first places people would go during the outbreak and have those be high concentration zones based on area population. I’m currently living in a rather small town so the concentration wouldn’t be terribly high, but you would still run into more zed-heads at the grocery store than you would at a bank.
Then comes the idea of how to make these zombies into unique and scary creatures, I mean modern day horror movies and video games have shown that a rag-tag group of strangers can often take on a horde of the undead for quite some time until they are over-run. Well then you have to get a little creative. The same old shuffling zombies all day every day can get a little tedious after the new “Dawn of the Dead” runners and the multitude of hordes and breeds in games like “Left 4 Dead” and “Dead Island”, so we mix it up a little. What made your every-day Joe into a flesh starved ghoul anyways? Radiation? A plague? Parasites?
In this case I’m going with radiation myself. The impact of a meteorite has released radiation into the surrounding area, and those that are affected by it slowly die and change into mindless killing machines. The radiation also has a terrible effect on their physiology, causing mutations based on proximity and length of exposure. This also adds an extra danger to our party as these irradiated zombies now make even staying someplace where they are defeated deadly after too long.
All of this plus limited resources will put our brave survivors in terrible straights and proves to be delightfully deadly and entertaining crawl through your own neighborhood and I hope will be lots of fun for the local D&D and D20 fans in my new homestead.