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Blayde
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Infected Suggestion Box

Fri Mar 30, 2007 11:27 pm

Okay, this is where I want to discuss game mechanics and suggestions for Zombie Infection. Discuss amongst yourselves.
Consistency - It's not just a river in Egypt.
 
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bitweever
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Fri Mar 30, 2007 11:32 pm

Braiiiiiiins....
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oathbinder
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Fri Mar 30, 2007 11:32 pm

brains
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Wolfgod
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Sat Mar 31, 2007 6:55 am

Brians.
- "Don't assume you are safe because there is a rational explanation for all of this."

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KnightFall
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Sat Mar 31, 2007 8:34 am

Liver!....uh...I mean...braaiiinnnss
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Blayde
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Sat Mar 31, 2007 10:27 am

*sigh*

brains
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bitweever
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Sat Mar 31, 2007 12:47 pm

Neeeeds more braaaiiiiiins....
The thermal exhaust port of your Death Star™ plays a critical role in the dissipation of excess waste heat produced by the Death Star's energy reactors. Under no circumstances is the thermal exhaust port to be covered, obstructed or modified in any way.
 
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Wolfgod
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Sat Mar 31, 2007 1:00 pm

I like Brains. Yeah.

Some things to consider:

'First looters' are pretty much going to have their pick of stuff. It might be a good idea to restrict 'random loot tables' to places that have already been picked over. Otherwise it feels like you're getting shafted on the whole gear thing - 'We're the first ones in the fully-stocked quickie-mart ... but all I found was this cup of yogurt'.

Also, restrictions on mobility are very important in this setting. Because we had multliple large vehicles, we were able to simply drive to the best looting sites and take what we needed. Characters who don't have access to their vehicles - like if there cars are in the Wal-Mart parking lot , which is wall to wall zombies - will have to work harder to get around, and to move things.

There is an old RPG system called Twilight 2000. It dealt with surviving in post-nuclear war Europe, but it had all kinds of rules for things like running vehicles on alcohol, scavenging for food, fuel, and ammunition, and so on and so forth. Running on fuel alcohol severely restricts a vehicles top speed and endurance ... might be something to look into for your late-state games.

Finally the PC's need an objective - either a time limit, or a place to try and get to, or something. Even if it's just getting to the local hydro-electric plant or whatever, they need a reason to keep moving; or a reason to fort up. Otherwise they'll be difficult to prepare for.
- "Don't assume you are safe because there is a rational explanation for all of this."

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Blayde
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Tue Apr 03, 2007 7:35 am

Truthfully, objective has been something I've been wrestling with since the inception of this little project. My vision is basically that the objectives will be whatever the GM wants, and that the Infected will basically be just a force of nature, or another struggle. Obviously, in a classic Stage 1 Infection, the basic objective is going to be get the heck out of Dodge, with the bigger picture objectives coming through in Stages 2 and 3.
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Blayde
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Tue Apr 03, 2007 7:37 am

Mobility is also something I'm dealing with as well. In the first playtest, it wasn't a problem. We had two PCs, and they were cut off from their car by about 12 Infected. They opted to run rather than fight, which was probably wise. However, gamers being the independent minded group that they are, the possibility of multiple vehicles becomes a real issue, as is overcoming psychological attachment to said vehicle. I swear, you give a character a car and it's like it's a paladin's warhorse or something.
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Wolfgod
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Tue Apr 03, 2007 10:38 am

Well, in modern culture most people *are* attached to their cars, and almost everybody has one unless they're in a large city like New York or Chicago.

If you're looking at assembling this as a kind of module or rule set, you're going to need a list of suggestions and scenarios designed to part PC's from their usual gear. For example, what if the zombie attack hits Cabo San Lucas or Jamaica while you are on holiday? You might own a car, but chances are you don't have it with you. A confined area like an island would give the PC's an objective - get off the island alive.

I suppose getting out of populated areas crawling with infected is an objective. Much like Twilight 2000 though, you're going to need to explain to the PC's what they have to shoot for, otherwise they're just playing for time until they run out of tinned food, shotgun shells, or gasoline. Playing for time is all well and good, for a few sessions, but if you wanted to run the 'grand campaign' taking your heroes from stage 1 through stage 3, surviving isn't enough. Like Mad Max, eventually they'll either be killed or become very successful and accustomed to surviving in their world. Humans adapt.

The challenge you are hitting comes from your source material. Movies, as much as we like them, are rarely epic in scope. They generally focus on a small group of characters over a relatively short period of time; more akin to a short story than a novel. Survival is fine in a short story, but if the characters *do* get out of town alive, with a 2.5 ton truck, three thousand rounds of ammunition, a still for fuel, and food for three months ... what do they do now?
- "Don't assume you are safe because there is a rational explanation for all of this."

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Blayde
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Tue Apr 03, 2007 10:58 am

You mirror my thoughts exactly. It's the epic scale that concerns me. Of course, there's always researching the cause behind Infection and trying to find a cure. The government black ops program lends itself to that in particular, tired a plot idea as it can be. Also, Zeds won't be the only problem you're facing. You've got insane cultists who believe this is the end of the world and trying to help it along, you've got your road warrior types (See the 1978 Dawn of the Dead for the archetype), in addition to regular difficulties, terrain, weather, etc.
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nfguinn
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Tue Apr 03, 2007 12:27 pm

Coming up with an plot arch is not too hard.

One thing that I do is a little brain storming on things that will unite the players.

Here are some ideas I just came up with...they are pretty vague so that they can be combined and twisted as you see fit.

Going to a known refuge
finding the source
protecting the refuge (scalable)
closing the borders
isolating a problem
Saving a: person, people, place, or thing
Desperate rally to: escape, break in, break out, etc...
vehicle breaks down
- subnote: EMP field
- emp burst
find a cure
going to get components to a cure

These are all pretty standard. A good plot will take a scaled version of some of these ideas and mix them together.

Here is an example:
The heroes are told by a dying man about a refuge to the north. Perhaps one that only the man knows anything about. Old Government installment that is stocked for war but everyone who knows about it is gone.

It is a long way away in a mountain pass and winter is coming. Unreachable once the first snow hits. Or some time related issue.

In the mean time during the trip the car breaks down. Parts must be retireved.

Radical militia in one area is led by a crazed mountain man. He demands that you become part of their commune. They use a pit with zombies in it as capital punishment for people who break the rules.

The place seems nice till the first non-player breaks the rules.

etc...

These are just a few ideas. If you want more help I would be happy to send them to you. Since I won't be playing for a while. If any of you guys need ideas for your games I would be happy to email about them when I have time.


Hope this helps.
Suki desu kada Nihongo de hanashitai desu.
 
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Blayde
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Tue Apr 03, 2007 1:11 pm

Actually, this is quite helpful. I've been thinking about it from a bigger picture point of view. I need to break it down into literary devices and build from there. That's been a recurring problem through development. I'm a big picture thinker and details often escape me. Probably why I married Cory. She's good with that sort of thing.
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nfguinn
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Tue Apr 03, 2007 1:33 pm

Like I said. If you need ideas. I can help with those.
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bitweever
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Tue Apr 03, 2007 2:07 pm

It might be cool -- instead of government black ops or some other origin (which you wanted to avoid) -- to have a more sinister reasoning for the 'virus'. i.e. geneticist wants to bring his dead girlfriend back, ends up creating walking dead virus, or marketing company tries their hand at some sort of subconscious-targeted advertising, ends up 'hacking' the brain, or gene lab infected hits the water supply, only those of us on well and bottled water are safe.
The thermal exhaust port of your Death Star™ plays a critical role in the dissipation of excess waste heat produced by the Death Star's energy reactors. Under no circumstances is the thermal exhaust port to be covered, obstructed or modified in any way.
 
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Blayde
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Tue Apr 03, 2007 2:49 pm

I'm basically leaving the origin of Infection to whoever's running the game. Personally, the origin I like is the Pandora's box/mankind messing where he was never meant to mess theme. Something like Dead Alive except a lot less Peter Jacksonesque.
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bitweever
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Tue Apr 03, 2007 4:00 pm

A more extreme version of this may be interesting source as well...
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Blayde
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Tue Apr 03, 2007 4:09 pm

I'll post my "scientific findings" later as to how I explain Infection. What's really frightening is that I came up with all this BEFORE I ever read the Zombie Survival Handbook, but Max Brooks' ideas and my own are almost identical. Freakish. Anyway, as I get more time, I'll put the science that I have out here so you guys can get a better idea where I'm coming from. Oh, and . . .

brains
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Wolfgod
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Tue Apr 03, 2007 7:33 pm

I don't think you should leave the source of the infection up to the GM. I think you should establish a source, and then list several possible variations depending on the kind of campaign.

For example, the default source might be a weaponized WMD developed during the Cold War.

Variant #1 is the same virus, but carried in on a comet and therefore incurable by human science, for those who don't want the infected curable.

Etc.
- "Don't assume you are safe because there is a rational explanation for all of this."

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Blayde
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Tue Apr 03, 2007 9:40 pm

I see your point. It would help direct things a little better, especially for people who are new to the system.
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oathbinder
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Wed Apr 04, 2007 12:06 am

I like the “Modern Prometheus” angle. Scientists manipulate viruses or human genes for “the good of mankind”, accidentally creating the Zombie virus. From there, there are dozens of ways for the virus to escape.
“Promise me… whatever happens, where ever you go… don’t let them eat my dog.” Lewis Gates- Last of the dog men
 
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oathbinder
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Wed Apr 04, 2007 12:20 am

Chris, as far as the People getting attached to their cars goes; I sold “Wilma”, my 68 Camaro over four years ago and I still occasionally catch my self saying “I miss my car”.
“Promise me… whatever happens, where ever you go… don’t let them eat my dog.” Lewis Gates- Last of the dog men
 
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Blayde
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Thu Apr 05, 2007 10:36 am

Just wanted to let you guys know that Billy won't be able to attend this Friday. He's got some lame excuse about having 2 papers to write back to back or somesuch. . .
Consistency - It's not just a river in Egypt.
 
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Wolfgod
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Thu Apr 05, 2007 10:45 am

You fool! You told him Clay was coming to the game, didn't you?

There are three rules about game night:

Don't ask Nick to demonstrate anything,
Don't mention Mutants and Masterminds,
and
Don't tell anyone about Clay.

Three rules! That's all!
- "Don't assume you are safe because there is a rational explanation for all of this."

Wolfgod

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