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    Mephibosheth's Avatar

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    Jul 2005
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    Default A Zombiemageddon Campaign Journal - Please read and comment!

    Greetings gentle reader!

    Allow me to begin with a brief explanation. I, Mephibosheth, have just started DM'ing a new campaign for my IRL gaming group. I am something of a new DM, having only run about 7 or 8 sessions before this little effort. Additionally, I'm trying something a little bit different for my group. Instead of creating campaign with definite plot goals and a moderately clear objective, I've created a situation and plopped the characters down in the middle of it, letting them choose their direction and establish their own goals.

    With these two things in mind, I thought it might be a fun idea to keep a campaign journal here on Giantitp with the goal of soliciting input from the experts in the community and perhaps helping out other DM's by putting my successes and mistakes out in the open for the community to analyze. I'll probably make "DM notes" along the way of things I feel are important and I need to remember, and I would hope that others would contribute their input as well.

    Also, in case anyone's interested, one of my players is keeping an ObsidianPortal journal for his character. It'll be interesting to see how our perspectives on the campaign differ. That said, let's get started!

    Session 1: Character Creation

    This campaign is the first our group has played in a while. Our long-time DM has recently moved to a far away land and it kinda shook things up. But, we've all decided that we need to get some gaming back in our lives, so myself and one other potential DM came up with a few campaign ideas and we got together a few weeks ago to decide what we want to play. The idea that seemed most enjoyable to everyone was one of mine: a low-level, resource-tight campaign that would strain everyone's resourcefulness, adaptability, and creativity. I told everyone the campaign would have a adventure/horror feel similar to movies like The Mummy, Resident Evil, Underworld, and the like. They didn't know it, but I was planning on running a zombie apocalypse campaign. A little overdone, but we've never really done something like this and I thought it would be a nice change of pace.

    Quote Originally Posted by DM Note
    I didn't tell the players we'd be doing a zombie campaign before we started. I didn't want the players to all write-up anti-undead characters, since adapting sub-optimal resources to a dire situation is the point of the campaign. In retrospect, this has been good and bad. On the one hand, the characters are pretty well-rounded in their capabilities and have a number of tricks up their sleeves. On the other hand, I do have one character focusing on diplomacy and sneak attacks, which won't necessarily come in handy fighting hordes of zombies. For me, this is a challenge to include encounters that will interest this player and allow his character to shine within the broader zombie apocalypse context. More on that as the campaign progresses.
    Among the other campaign options was a proposed mid-level gestalt steampunk campaign and people seemed pretty interested in that as well. We decided to sort of merge the two and make my low-level campaign a gestalt campaign. This brings more resources to the table than I had originally planned for (all but one character have access to some spellcasting at 1st level, for example), but not an insurmountable problem.

    So, that's the campaign. A 1st level zombie apocalypse gestalt campaign focused on limited resources and fighting to survive.

    Other than making these decisions, we got a good start at character creation that first session. None of us had played gestalt before, so it was interesting to see how people dealt with the wider variety of character creation options the medium allows. The party ended up being as follows:
    • Orlčans de Lyon: A somewhat foppish halfling rogue//bard focused on diplomacy - His player is a new member of the group but an experienced gamer. It'll be interesting to see what he brings to the table.
    • Bracken: A dwarven cleric//barbarian of an as-yet-unknown deity. Somewhat gruff and combative so far, but RP has been a bit limited and his character hasn't been fleshed out yet.
    • Javāsa: A rustic halfling druid//fighter focused on mounted combat with his riding dog.
    • Malthenniel: A sun elf dragonborn archivist//wizard. Very squishy (and somewhat cowardly so far) but also has the potential to be extremely adaptable. We'll have to see how the impressive spellcasting works out.
    • Kilian: A human paladin//monk with the vow of poverty. The highest AC in the group but lower real damage capacity than most of the others. Also, his player is new to 3.5.

    Finally, I want to note that I've done a bit of homebrewing with the zombies I'm using as the main antagonists for the campaign. The details are spoiler'd below, just in case my players run across this journal.

    First, I reduced the damage on the zombies' slam attack and added a low-damage bite attack that transmits a zombification disease. I also gave the zombies the Improved Grab special attack and have ruled that, in order to make a bite attack, the zombie must have successfully grappled the target. This fits within my mental picture of zombies grasping at you before biting, and makes it a bit harder for them to hit with their bite attack. More on that little problem later.

    Second, I've made them a bit faster than normal. They can still only take one standard or move action per round, but their base speed is higher making them a bit harder to simply outrun.

    Third, I've made some changes that allow them to get up after being knocked into negative hit points. They'll actually die after a critical hit or after they've been brought to -10 hp, but they will remain something of a latent threat if they're between 0 and -10 hp.

    And that's as far as we got in that first planning session. More on the first actual session, coming right up.

    I hope people enjoy this campaign journal and that it's helpful to some. I encourage people to comment and make suggestions.

    Last edited by Mephibosheth; 2008-11-23 at 03:45 PM.
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