View Full Version : Keeping a Zombie-Survival game interesting?

New Cult King
08-03-2006, 04:30
It's been some time since I've had my GM pants on, mainly due to a string of games with some of the most psychotic gamers in Australia. You know all those funny web comics that mock the "stereotype" RP-ers? Yeah, I can totally relate.

Anyway, I have the new Spycraft rulebook, and it's a good, solid basis for a modern day roleplaying game, with stats for everything from power drills to vehicle-mounted anti-air missile launchers, and horse-drawn carts to aircraft carriers.

Instead of the usual James Bond/xXx style action game that one would run with these rules, I was considering a Dawn of the Dead/28 Days Later style game, where the players are among the last living people in their country, and must survive against the hordes of zombies, using chainsaws/shotguns/molotov cocktails... y'know, the usual :p

Once the novelty of blowing or hacking a zombie apart gets old, though, how could I prolong the interest/excitement of the game? There's only so many objectives I could give the players - raid a military base for weapons, get to a hospital for healing supplies, try cross the country to get to another bastion of civilisation...

Any help? I know a lot of you play Urban Dead, so maybe you could share what it is that makes that game so addictive.

08-03-2006, 13:51
You allmost have to have a threat besides the zombies. cause lets face it its not hard to deal with zombies in a rpg

unless you have a faer meter or sanity something like that and the PC has to react a certain way depending on the level of fear/sanity.

thats me 2 cents

Lord Lucifer
15-03-2006, 12:46
Infection. If no-one, not even the players, knows when they're going to turn Zombie, then it's always something to keep in mind.

Also, the single most versatile tool to create interest, intrigue, and conflict. People
Group dynamics and inter-group dynamics under an extremely stressed situation should prove interesting.

And having some sort of 'world plan' set out for any general events that will be taking place that alters the setting in any way, that the PCs may or may not have any effect on, at least gives the campaign a timeline context. A static world can get pretty boring pretty quick.

The biggest struggle, though, is getting the players themselves to actively care about their characters' wellbeing. Mortality is always a rather light subject in RPGs when immortality is practically assured through the generation of new characters once the old ones kick it and shuffle off the mortal coil.
Perhaps have any characters that die, play on as Zombies?
Your dedication, as GM, to killing off your players is not going to be absolute, as that prematurely ends your campaign. But the other players in the group will be more than eager to kill off their former comrades.
Just make sure there's an incentive to stay alive and not just leap at the chance to be a Zombie

New Cult King
16-03-2006, 01:51
Any character that becomes a zombie will fall under my control, so there's no real incentive for a player to become one.

I'm thinking of maybe expanding the game into a general survival-horror thing, chucking in some other supernatural nasties like Werewolves, but again, a PC who gets bitten and turns becomes an NPC.

16-03-2006, 02:25
Well I suppose the best way to keep it interesting is finding new ways for the dead *******s to crop up. On top of NPCs who are alive as livinging NPCs could be made far more erratic than the predictable undead.
Kinda both been mentioned before so I just thought I'd add support to them.

Plus personally speaking I have no problem making my character leg it screaming like a little girl if the situation is that or a "heroic" (read as stupid) fight back. :p

Hate Train
16-03-2006, 14:10
Variety in zombies. Differen't levels of intelligence, strength, and definitely appearance. Think Resident Evil.

Edit: Without the fixed camera angles.

16-03-2006, 17:07
where the players are among the last living people in their country
Why the last?
This should be true for the first few games but later on you could give them clues about survivours.
Maybe let them see a military helicopter which lands far off in the city who came to secure some secret military stuff.
The characters would have to reach it before it flies back to where it came from.
Don't let them get to it though but let it show them the dirction they have to go.
Have them repair a car, aquire fuel etc. et voilá, you have a roadmovie.
Soon they might find other living people and find that they are ahead of a wave of undead forces.
So they have to continue to run while thay find out that most of the people they meet are mad, canibals, zombiecultists in any thinkable combination.
Once they are on the road anything goes.
You could have a look at The Omega Man (http://imdb.com/title/tt0067525/plotsummary) or the Texas Chainsaw Massacre (http://imdb.com/title/tt0072271/plotsummary), maybe even deathrace 2000 (http://imdb.com/title/tt0072856/plotsummary) (Only if you want a humorous setting. Just replace Stallone and the others with Zombies) or A boy and his dog (http://imdb.com/title/tt0072730/plotsummary).

You should leave out the othe classic monsters.
On the other hand you could put them all in which would change the story quite a bit though.

New Cult King
16-03-2006, 21:08
Damn, some good ideas here :) Cheers guys. I may even start a test run here in the Roleplaying forum, and allow you all to be my guinea pigs :evilgrin:

16-03-2006, 21:13
If that's the case I'll have to get a regular net connection running.