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27

Well, to a degree "more than surviving combat" is what you put into it... But here's some good ones I own and have read or used. All Flesh Must Be Eaten uses the Unisystem like most of Eden Studio's games; it has a large number of supplements for everything from kung fu zombies to wild west zombies. It's a toolkit game where you can make the zombies work ...


13

I agree that you need to show the players (i) that they will all die if they don't investigate, and (ii) if they do investigate, they may live. Here are some ideas. (i) Give a rather insane person a MacGuffin that makes the zombies avoid them like, well, a plague. This shows that there is something useful to discover. Since this person can wander around at ...


13

The problem is that zombies are pretty strongly typecast into survival horror, so you have to do something which breaks the mold. Something should happen which doesn't fit the typical zombie game... something unusual and mysterious, which prompts investigation. The most basic idea is a cure. For example, make one character turn out to be immune, and have ...


11

Treat Them Like Swarms The first thing I thought when I read your question was - "It's not an army - it's a swarm!" Several game systems have mechanics for dealing with swarms - adversaries comprised of many smaller entities. I would look at gurps first. I remember swarm rules in GURPS as early as the late '80s, so I'm sure they're there. It's been a ...


8

If you're doing the "reveal" of the zombies in a typical survival-horror way—zombies jump out and start trying to eat the PCs—then the players are going to follow that trope. If you can break the expectations of the survival-horror genre then you'll have a chance to supply story developments to communicate that this is an investigation game. This is ...


6

The answer starts from the thinking man's response to zombies presented by John Ringo here. Zombies, fundamentally are dumb. (or if they're not, we lose.) Attracted by noise, etc. The first trick is to insure that the characters don't know it's a zombie game. Instead, they're, for example, police, investigating an IED in a cemetery with a remarkable ...


4

All Flesh Must Be Eaten is the huge zombie apocalypse RPG, and it uses Eden Studios' Unisystem which is d10 based. Any given roll only uses one or two, but since there are often hordes of zombies your d10s all get their exercise. It is a BIG game line that has something for every subgenre (Kung fu zombies! Wild West zombies! Pirate zombies! Military ...


4

I'd suggest to introduce something that gives the idea of "time running out" or, in general, of their hopes being constantly eroded at every turn. Something akin to a "global faith hit points score" which keeps getting down. Bit like the famous Doomsday Clock. It may be a clock-like device which you will have to manually set at every narrative turn to show ...


4

Some possible aids: Don't let the room be the familiar room you play in. Even if it's the same actual room, try covering the walls with dark cloth, for an added touch, make the room as small as possible to create a 'trapped' feeling Don't let the lighting be comfortable. Overhead lighting and eye level lighting are comfortable for people, which is why we ...


4

I'd suggest using a success-based system (many dice, one target number per die). Each success with an offensive skill would have an abating effect on the horde, for example pushing it back or letting you move some distance through it. The horde would attack as a normal character with more than one position and several attacks. To simulate zombie density ...


3

Alright, this is in a bit of a different vein then most of the answers given: GURPS. The Complete Zombie Survival Guide focused very much on a real-world examination of how different weapons and survival conditions would work in a fictional war against the undead. World War Z mostly continued this, with some rather unfortunate misunderstandings of how much ...


3

Extend the threat. Part of the reason that zombie-outbreak results in immediate hiding and barricading on the nearest, self-sufficient island probably lies in the sheer ruthlessness of the mechanics of expansion and infection. Make it very clear from the get-go that the infection rate from this infection is not going to immediately take over the continent: ...


2

Hot War has zombies (or things very much like zombies) in it, and it uses a very interesting relationship mechanic that ensures that the players will try to make the scenes about each other, their loved ones, their rivals, their enemies, etc.


2

I've never tried the "OMG Zombies !!!" chronicle (even if I would like to play one), but if you are familiar with the systems and have access to the following books, you should have everything needed: World of Darkness World of Darkness: Antagonists : p22-29 : Rules for Zombies World of Darkness: Mirrors, p154+ : The chapter "The World of Darkness ...


2

Greg Porter's EABA game has a supplement called Dark Millennium that covers zombie horror in the Dark Ages (11th century). A modern supplement called "Code:Black" could probably be used to focus on zombie horror instead of a wider palette of "supernatural modern horror" that is its basic premise. I have played in an extended zombie campaign using Porter's ...


2

One of the things that would mess things up as far as existing RPG systems is the nature of combat. Zombies are only taken out with a shot to the head. Humans will eventually become Zombies with just a scratch, or even a bullet going through and grazing them. There'd be no need for hit points or anything of the sort. If a Zombie touches you, you're out of ...


2

Jagged's suggestion, that players have personal objectives that means thay are strongly disposed to investigate, is good, but requires some handling. Now if you were playing in Glorantha, it just so happens that Humakti death cultists have a religious obligation to exterminate undead... Something simpler is to let the players barricade themselves, where it ...


2

D&D 4e has a monster concept known as a swarm. You can change the size of the swarm as you see fit, from medium, large, humongous etc. If you ever need a member of the swarm to break away, you can pop out zombie monsters or minions as desired. Swarms work as follows: swarm [keyword] A swarm is composed of multiple creatures but functions as a ...


2

I would suggest the book Undead by AEG games. It was printed for 3.0 DnD and while it does have crunchy-rules bits for DnD in there, it also has a lot about creating "ecologies" around undead. This would be how they come into being and how long they last afterwards (some rot away and some don't). Sardathrion gave some really good options, I would also ...


1

In real life, one society that may help you is Haitian Voodoo -- particularly the bokors sound like your necromancers. Wade Davis's The Serpent And The Rainbow is a must read. You will even learn how to make zombie powder. The film of the same name, while a good horror story, is not that accurate. On a side note, look at legends of ghost around the ...


1

I think it depends on the mood that you're intending to invoke. If you're going for the action-adventure mood, you might look into Feng Shui (as suggested above) - the Mook rules work perfectly for those hordes of zombies that just have to be hit to be killed - they have defenses, but no staying power, and one hit takes them out. I'd also suggest the ...


1

Twist the zombie threat. Make your player characters immune to the cause of the "zombie disease", and do make them aware of this. Show that even if they wanted to, they can't become zombies, and zombies are utterly uninterested in them. An example of how to explain this: They have just arrived in a metropolis - and the zombie plague affects / can spread to ...


1

I would tackle this by ensuring each character has one or more personal objectives that ensure they won't want to just hide away. If you feel creative you can turn these into mini-games and offer rewards for their completion. This can work well for one-shot games but for longer campaigns you'd need to ensure they were worked well into a character's ...


1

I've run a Zombie game set in the real world (players pinned down in a stately home in middle-England) using The Pool. The Pool is simple and doesn't get in the way at all. Many games can't be easily run using The Pool, but Zombies can I think - the key is that the zombie meme is likely well-known enough by all players that they can really take part in the ...


1

AFMBE is well respected for the genre. For a slightly lighter version of the same engine, Army of Darkness uses Unisystem Lite (same as the Buffy & Angel RPGs), and so those can be made into supplements for it. Under a Serpent Sun is the Burning Wheel setting for post-holocaust; it's OOP and supposedly under revision Radz is by Deep7 games... it's a ...



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