May 25, 2010

Why can't it be simple! I just want a zombie RPG.

I'm on a zombie kick recently.  I love playing Left 4 Dead 2 (want to play with me on steam?), I loved reading World War Z, and I apparently can't stop thinking about post apocalyptic settings at night.  Not to suggest I'm having nightmares, but still.

So I went to Games Plus this Sunday, I tried to find a good Zombie RPG.  I am sure I could find something online, but I wanted to support a business that has been doing a good job for years.

I saw two games there.  Unfortunately neither one really got to what makes any zombie game good: bare bone grittiness.

I forgot the name of the first one(edit: Hippe Mama reminded me below that is was called Dead Reign), but I knew I couldn't use it.  Apparently zombies don't carry an infection... they feed off of your "life energy" or something similar when they attack you.  That seemed way too mystical for what I wanted, and convoluted.  So zombies don't need to kill me to get what they want?  How are they dangerous then?  Why do they need to attack and kill?

The other one is All Flesh Must Be Eaten, which I had seen around before but never really read.  Once again, though, there was illusion to mystical super powers.  I figured I could avoid that but then the way the used the d20 system was needlessly complicated.  And I've played 3.0 D&D, so I do not say that lightly.  I didn't even want to try it out.

This is all I want from my zombie RPG: stats for zombies, stats for players, ways for combat, idea for making the setting interesting and not just try to recreate L4D (because it's a fun video game, but needs substance for an RPG)

I'm going to look for another one before I give up and make my own.  But I don't want one with magic, with weird stuff on how zombies feed on not people, or any other weird hokey pokey.  Just a fucked up world with zombies.


  1. You might want to try Zombi which is not only free but fairly simple to pick up and meets your criteria for f'd up world with zombies.

  2. I'll definitely check that out! Thanks for the lead.

  3. Honestly you should give All Flesh another look. Mystical powers and the d20 bit are a tiny part of the core book.

    The main system is Unisystem, which is nothing at all like d20. (The d20 stuff is in the appendix of the book). So AFMBE is nothing at all like d20 or D&D 3. If you know Buffy, Angel or Army of Darkness then it is a similar system.

    The "mystical" stuff is there to provide some background on why the rise is happening. But they also have technological, spiritual and disease based explanations too. Take what you like, ignore the rest.

    All Flesh Must be Eaten is the premiere Zombie game, it doe not get any better. The core plus the "Players" book, "One of the Living" will give you everything you could ever want for playing a zombie.

    If you want a zombie game then you should give this one a solid read.

  4. Was the first one you mentioned Dead Reign (by Palladium Books)? If so, run far away.

    If you don't mind supplying your own setting, I suggest using Tri-Stat DX. It's 100% customizable, as far as special attacks and everything else goes, and the pdf is free (a print copy will run you about $10 new).

  5. Tim-I didn't even see it was the appendix, i really was looking at character stats to get a feel, and I got overwhelmed by how many different things you need to calculate and regulate. Maybe I'll give it another go, but that's more likely to happen if someone who actually knows the system can guide me through it rather than me running it and not appreciating it from the get go.

    Hippie Mama-You're right! It is Dead Reign. The setting seemed to have some good ideas, but I'm glad I ran when I did. I'll look at Tri-Stat DX then. :)

  6. The system is a simple point buy system like GURPS. The mechanic is d10 + Ability + Skill in 99% of the situations.

    I will see if I still have a quick start.

    IF you like you can download the WitchCraft RPG for free. It uses the same system but has more magic.

    Hope that helps.