Character Creation

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Game Concept|Rules of Play|Character Creation|Scene Setting

Zombie_Army_by_Vermyn_N_crop_02.jpgCharacter creation is fast and simple. For each character, fill out a character sheet, following these three steps:

1. Give Name
2. Assign 2+ Physical Description Traits
3. Living: Rank Basic Goals and Choose Optional Special Goals
OR
3. Undead: Select Gimp(s)

Character sheets and more detailed explanations follow.

Character Sheets

Left-click and choose “Save Image As.” (.jpg)

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Living Character Creation

To create a living character, proceed through the following steps. Goals are explained after the three steps.

1. Give Name

Give the character a unique name, such as Georgette, Wilson, or Antoine W. Lafayette III.

2. Assign 2+ Physical Description Traits

These add flair to the character. Assign at least two.

Examples: cowboy hat, faux hawk, yoga pants, left pinkie finger missing, horn-rimmed glasses

Note on Character Equipment: Characters begin with no useful items: no weapons, no medicine, no tools, etc. Other than these, characters may be given any items which seem appropriate and enhance the flair of the character, such as a stethoscope for a doctor or a backpack for a college student.

3. Living: Rank Basic Goals and Choose Optional Special Goals

Living characters (only) must rank their Goals in order of priority from highest to lowest, with 1 as the highest and 4 as the lowest. This creates the character’s algorithm.

Goals are general motivations. Living characters act as intelligently as possible to fulfill these Goals. They always act in such a way as to advance the highest-priority Goal currently Available, meaning some reasonable action may be taken to advance it. If a character’s highest Goal is not Available, the next highest Goal that is Available is pursued. If none are Available, the character wanders randomly.

In addition to determining behavior, a character’s #1 Basic Goal grants a special ability or bonus unavailable to other characters.

Basic Goals

The 4 Basic Goals are: Avoid Danger, Seek Pleasure, Gain Status, and Get Stuff

Avoid Danger
Motto There is a fine line between bravery and foolishness.
Behavior Given a chance to avoid a Threatened square or other possibility of injury, the character takes it.
Bonus Ability Sneak. Once per Scene, the character is able to move through the line-of-sight of other characters entirely undetected until the end of the Round, temporarily ignoring Threatened squares. If the character makes some loud noise or otherwise attention-getting action, the effects of Sneak are negated. An action deemed too attention-getting may be challenged by Player Vote. Attacks automatically negate the Sneak.
Seek Pleasure
Motto Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die.
Behavior Given a chance to snag some item of materialistic pleasure (booze, cigs, twinkies, or just a nice clean shirt), the character takes it.
Bonus Ability Infectious Charm. The character may be foolhardy, but something about their joie de vivre reminds others of what they’re fighting for. If the character manages to lay hold of an item of materialistic pleasure, the character may use Infectious Charm, which gives all living characters a +2 bonus to Courage Rolls until the end of the Scene. The item must be picked up in game play, not simply “found” in the character’s own pockets. An item not deemed “pleasurable” enough may be challenged by Player Vote.
Gain Status
Motto Brothers and sisters, lend me your ears!
Behavior Given a chance to enhance their reputation or show off in front of other living characters, the character takes it.
Bonus Ability Take Charge. Once per Scene, the character may Take Charge, barking a simple, single-sentence command to fellow living characters, such as Follow me! or Everybody out of the building!. This command overrides their algorithm until the end of the Round. It also dispels any effects of Panic. Commands must be simple enough to state in a single sentence, and must stand a reasonable chance of being followed (e.g. you can’t command others to commit suicide without a very good reason). Commands deemed too complicated or unreasonable may be challenged by Player Vote.
Get Stuff
Motto There’s a right tool for every job.
Behavior Given a chance to obtain an item of significant utility to themselves or a companion, the character takes it.
Bonus Ability Makeshift. Once per Scene, the character can take 2 or more apparently useless items and MacGyver them into something of value, such as making a tuning fork and some piano wire into a slingshot, or a napkin and a bottle of Everclear into a molotov cocktail. The items must have been explicitly picked up during game play, not simply “found” in the character’s own pockets. Any Makeshifted items deemed too unbelievable by other players may be challenged, triggering a vote with ties resulting favorably for the Makeshifted item.

Optional Special Goals: Bonds and Rivalries

At the player’s option, a living character may be given a single Special Goal: either a Bond or a Rivalry with another living character. The player must name a specific living character as the object of the Bond or Rivalry. Bonds and Rivalries grant bonuses but also liabilities in certain situations.

Bond
Bonus Whenever the named character is seen to occupy a Threatened square or experience Panic, the character with the Bond gains a +2 bonus to attack and automatically succeeds at all Courage Rolls until the named character is no longer Threatened or Panicked.
Liability The character with the Bond must try to get to the named character and help him or her, no matter the odds, until no longer Threatened or Panicked. This overrides all Basic Goals.
Rivalry
Bonus Whenever the named character is seen to fail at a specific action type, such as destroying zombies or jumping over obstacles, the character with the Rivalry gets a +2 bonus to attempt the same specific action type and automatically succeeds at all Courage Rolls. This effect lasts until one of them succeeds or the Scene ends.
Liability The character must seek out and attempt the action type at the earliest possible opportunity, no matter the odds. This overrides all Basic Goals.

Example of Ranked Goals and Bonus Abilities in Action

Leighton hides behind a Dodge Charger rusting away on blocks in a mechanic’s garage. There is a zombie up ahead. Leighton’s Second Goal is Avoid Danger, so he resolves to stay put. However, looking around, Leighton suddenly notices something useful on a bench on the far side of the garage: an aerosol can of spray paint. Having picked up a lighter earlier, he knows he can Makeshift the two into a flame-thrower. It’ll take two turns to move that far, and this turn’s movement will leave him in a square Threatened by the zombie. Even though it goes against his instinct to Avoid Danger, Leighton’s #1 Goal, Get Stuff, takes precedence. Leighton makes a dash toward the can, risking a zombie bite to do so.

Undead Character Creation

To create a zombie, proceed through the following steps. Zombie abilities and goals are explained after the steps.

1. Give Name

Names should be unique, such as Old Limpy, Pop-eye, or Haggis-face.

2. Assign 2+ Physical Description Traits

These add flair to the character.

Examples: lolling tongue, parchment skin, tattered ballet tutu, name tag that says “Hi my name is ________”

Note: Further physical description may be supplied by Gimps (see below)

3. Select Gimp(s)

What zombies lack in cleverness they make up for in Gimps, horrifying attributes that incite Panic in the living. Living characters within the movement range of a zombie must make a successful Courage Roll or Panic, and each Gimp the zombie possesses makes it more likely for them to fail the roll. Panicked characters not only lose all actions for the round, but also become easier to bite.

Each zombie starts with one Gimp. Additional Gimps may be gained in the following ways:

  • spending Spawn Points during the Character Creation phase of a Scene other than the first
  • taking damage

Taking damage in any location other than the brain (which would destroy the zombie) mutilates the zombie’s body, and is actually in the zombie’s favor: a more horrifying appearance is all the more effective at instilling Panic.

Gimp’s resulting from injury during game play may be assigned as dictated logically by the injury (e.g. a baseball bat to the leg may result in a broken leg). Otherwise, Gimps may be chosen at will, or rolled randomly on the Gimp Table below. Fill in the blanks as creatively as possible.

In terms of game mechanics, all Gimps are equal, but each has its own unique flavor of disgust.

  1. Missing/broken __________ (right arm, left leg, both legs, eyes, etc.)
  2. Impaled by __________ (road sign, shards of glass, tree branch, etc.)
  3. Dragging __________ (entrails, shopping cart, baby carriage, etc.)
  4. Entangled in __________ (barbed wire, brambles, christmas lights, etc.)
  5. Looks like __________ (raw hamburger, rotten banana, Ralph Nader, etc.)
  6. Smells like __________ (stinky feet, bleu cheese, an old lady, etc.)
  7. Sounds like __________ (a rottweiler, wheezing aesthmatic, whimpering baby, etc.)
  8. Wearing __________ (name tag, uniform, striking fashion, creepy toupet, etc.)
  9. Dripping __________ (saliva, pus, mucus, unidentifiable ooze, etc.)
  10. Covered in __________ (blood, maggots, flies, garbage, etc.)
  11. Riddled with __________ (boils, worms, see-through holes, etc.)
  12. Completely __________ (bloated, burned, flattened, etc.)

Spawn Points

In Scenes after the first, players may have Spawn Points to spend.

For each complete Scene a player has spent on Team Undead, he or she gains one Spawn Point. Each Spawn Point may be spent to buy:

  • +1 Gimp
    OR
  • an additional zombie character

Undead Abilities

Zombies are severely limited in their abilities. They only know how to do 2 things:

  • Move (up to 2 squares per round)
  • Attack (which is always a bite)

Zombies cannot use tools or weapons of any kind. Furthermore, if they attempt a Risky Action, such as moving down a steep slope or crossing a chasm, they fail automatically.

To make up for this limitation, zombies enjoy a number of supernatural attributes:

  • Incite Panic – any living character occupying or moving through a square a zombie can reach within one turn of movement is forced to make a Courage Roll. Each Gimp possessed by the zombie makes it more difficult to succeed.
  • Relentless – zombies never tire, and never give up
  • Keep on Comin’ – Zombies take damage from attacks, nasty falls, or other injurious situations, but unless it harms their brain, it doesn’t hurt them. In fact, it actually makes them more powerful by providing another Gimp. Like a Nietzschean nightmare, whatever doesn’t kill them only makes them stronger.
  • Herd Up – Zombies tend to stick close to other zombies, occasionally forming herds that can be quite effective in overwhelming the living.

Goals for Undead Characters

Unlike Living characters, the Undead do not rank Goals. Their algorithm’s priorities are fixed:

1. Eat the nearest detected live flesh
2. Stay within 3 squares of the nearest detected zombie
3. Wander randomly

In other words, a zombie will move to stick close to nearby corpse-cousins, but if live flesh presents itself, that takes priority.

Note that safety is not a concern. The zombie moves directly toward the live flesh, mindlessly ignoring all hazards and obstacles. If the most direct route leads into a wall or trap, so be it.

Note also that it can only chase live flesh that is detected, meaning it is within Line-of-Sight or has been so sometime during the current Round. Zombies have short memories, and forget everything at the end of each Round. At the beginning of the next Round, any characters no longer in Line-of-Sight may as well have never existed as far as the zombie is concerned.

If no live flesh presents itself, and the zombie is either already within 3 squares of another zombie or there are no other zombies around, then the zombie wanders randomly, again ignoring hazards and obstacles.

A Note on Zombie Physics

Some may wonder how zombies keep their cadaverous masses in motion. Such players are referred to the following two simple laws:

  • An intact brain is required to keep the zombie going.
  • There are no other laws of zombie physics.

In other words, hey, it’s a game – just go with it!

Character Creation

Go Zombie Go! BrandonDrowningInDice