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    Firbolg in the Playground
     
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mephibosheth View Post
    I had thought about this and haven't completely made up my mind. On the one hand, it's always good to inject some variety into the campaign so that the players don't get bored. I definitely don't want to hear, "oh no another zombie *sigh* I'm so scared" in a deadpan that belies the words, so I'll definitely mix things up a little bit. On the other hand, "elite" or "evolved" zombies have always struck me as somewhat arbitrary. If some zombies can be this way, why aren't all the zombies more powerful? What causes the mutation? So, I guess my jury's still out on this one, though it's definitely something I'm considering.
    Maybe that's why they eat the flesh of the living? They convert the devoured flesh into magical energy that powers their evolutions.

    Granted, I'm just throwing out ideas here. I don't particularly care for evolved zombies, either.
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  2. - Top - End - #32
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    Interlude: Musings on Money

    This most recent weekend those of us living in the United States, including me and my local gaming group, celebrated Thanksgiving. Thus, we were unable to get together to have another session, meaning I have no new campaign developments to post. However, I thought I would fill the gap with some thoughts on campaign design that have occupied me over the past few weeks.

    The Problem
    In any campaign like mine, where limited resources and difficult decision-making are a large part of the campaign, the problem of rewarding your players for their efforts will inevitably arise. Normally, it’s easy to provide monetary rewards by inserting treasure hordes, wealthy NPC’s, and all the other tricks DM’s use to provide wealth to the characters. In this context, however, the main antagonists carry little if any gear, the players have a severely limited range of motion, and the complete destruction of normal society makes the “ye olde magick shoppe” model improbable at best.

    The main dilemma as I see it is twofold. First, the point of the campaign is to limit the players’ resources, meaning that the DM needs to walk a thin line between rewarding the players enough that they enjoy the game and keeping with the tone of the campaign. Second, the nature of the main antagonists and the catastrophic effects of zombie apocalypse on the economic life of the city make it difficult for a traditional D&D economy to function. How does one reward players in this circumstance?

    Dilemma One Solutions?
    In most cases, the first dilemma can and should be addressed out-of-character. DM’s planning on running this sort of campaign need to make it clear to their players that the campaign will probably result in less material wealth than they may be used to. In my case, I presented the campaign idea with this as the main concept of the campaign, emphasizing how resourcefulness and adaptability would be encouraged. If you lower your players expectations of wealth, it frees you up to be more creative in the rewards you give. As always, however, DM’s should be aware of whether their players are having fun. Even if you mention it in advance of the campaign, players may still dislike their newly-tight-fisted DM and you may want to rework the campaign or ratchet up the gear.

    Dilemma Two Solutions?
    Of these two dilemmas, the second is easier to address in-game and the solution, at least at low levels, lies in emphasizing creative and non-traditional rewards. The key is to provide your players with tangible rewards for their efforts. XP and treasure are the traditional rewards, but in this sort of non-traditional campaign, DM’s should get creative. Perhaps, after a long session in which the intrepid PC’s concoct a brilliant plan and venture outside of their safe-house, they stumble upon a bakery that has been overlooked by looters and zombies. The bread, flour, water, and other foodstuffs inside aren’t usually considered “treasure,” but for a group of individuals stuck on the roof of an apartment building for a week, this food is definitely a reward. In this context of scarcity and desperation, simple things that are normally overlooked can become crucially important and providing a safe place to sleep, enough food to keep everyone healthy for another week, or materials to build a simple shelter can take the place of normal treasure.

    Eventually, however, players are going to outgrow the time when these alternatives are exciting and you’ll need to start providing more traditional treasure. I can think of a couple of options here.

    The first (and easiest) option would be to simply dangle some good looting opportunities in front of them. Have someone stumble upon an armory, guard barracks, or old wizard’s tower. Maybe the zombies themselves still have some valuable items even though they don’t consciously use them. Either way, this could provide a quick gear fix and inject some variety into the campaign.

    Ultimately, however, looting becomes unrealistic rather quickly. The imperative to verisimilitude would dictate that, unless the no other groups of survivors are left alive within the city, substantial looting would have already occurred, especially of items that would be useful to PC’s. Any items still left would probably be too well-guarded to be easily-obtainable, though breaking into a wizard’s keep or magic item shop could provide an interesting change of pace from the rest of the zombie-filled campaign. There might be tons of items available, but the PC’s already own most of it and can’t sell redundant items. What do you do when your PC’s have exhausted the looting opportunities the city provides?

    At this point, it is likely that the PC’s presence in the infested city is a conscious choice. PC’s have the resources to easily escape the city by level 5 (when Fly becomes available), possibly earlier if they make a concerted effort to escape. Depending on the scale of your outbreak, this could be a solution to the rewards problem. If the outbreak is limited to one city or region, the PC’s can simply leave that region for easier and more prosperous areas. If the outbreak is global, the PC’s can find some place to weather the storm or seek new places to explore and fight. Either way, their travel will provide you with opportunities to insert lost tombs, crumbling ruins, mobile bandit groups, and other possible sources of plunder.

    If the PC’s have chosen to remain in the city, you still have the problem of how to provide them with rewards and how to facilitate their use of money and treasure. Keep in mind, however, that in this circumstance it is likely that the PC’s aren’t the only group with similar goals and that these groups could easily meet up in a secure or floating location to trade, barter, buy, and sell. The establishment of a floating market could easily solve your reward problems and provide opportunities for roleplaying encounters, new plot hooks, new NPC’s and PC’s, and anything else your plot may require.

    The Case of XP
    Because XP is so integral to the d20 system and so coveted by players, I feel it deserves special mention.

    While my first session involved mostly straight-forward combat encounters, I expect that future sessions will be far less combat-focused. This means that alternative methods for determining XP will become increasingly important. Yes, the PC’s will fight zombies during most sessions, but a lot of the action takes place in the context of non-combat maneuvers. Sneaking around the neighborhood to find useful buildings or resources. Developing creative fortifications to shore up the defenses. Dealing with the effects of disease/exposure/fatigue/starvation. These are real challenges and can become the meat of the campaign, but don’t fit within the traditional formulas for granting XP.

    The Dungeon Master’s Guide outlines some alternatives for granting XP. DM’s should familiarize themselves with these methods and employ them where appropriate. I recommend deciding how quickly you want the PC’s to advance and awarding more or less XP for each session based on that approximation and the action that occurred. Particularly eventful sessions should result in more XP. PC’s that actively venture out of their safe house overcome more significant challenges and should advance more quickly than those that play a conservative strategy and venture out only when necessary.

    Finally, it is important that DM’s maintain a degree of parity between their PC’s. Certain PC’s have skill sets that lend themselves to this sort of campaign and would obviously be chosen more frequently for expeditions that result in XP gain (clerics and their anti-undead abilities, rogues/bards/rangers and their stealth and movement skills, etc). DM’s should help players make plans that incorporate all members of the party and should provide encounters that lend themselves to the talents of the less useful (for lack of a better term) party members, ensuring that the party advances more-or-less together. If your players don’t object, it might even behoove you to grant XP for the entire party after each session, even if each character didn’t contribute equally to the events of the session. After all, just surviving for one day in this environment is a challenge.

    Obviously, these aren’t the only possible solutions, but they do provide DM’s with a few options for building resource-tight survival-focused campaigns. Hopefully this has been enjoyable and helpful. We will return to our regularly-scheduled programming early next week.

    Mephibosheth
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  3. - Top - End - #33
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    Session 3: Safety?

    And we’re back with another zombie apocalypse campaign update! We were able to get together last night after our two week hiatus, so on with the journaling!

    We left the party in the middle of a mad dash for the shelter of the Swagat Inn, a fairly standard low-priced inn only one or two blocks southeast of Khaat Bazaar (where all the action from session 1 occurred). The party and their cart have arrived across the street from the inn, only to find a desperate situation here too.

    The inn itself is three stories tall, with the third story slightly smaller than the second and first, creating a balcony of sorts. The front door of the inn is closed only by a saloon-style swinging door (so, not a likely place to barricade) and there are large windows looking in on the first floor. Several of the panes of these windows are broken as if by thrown rocks or arrows and a corpse lies across the threshold of the door, with several more bodies in the street between the party and the inn.

    A rasping moan draws the PC’s attention, and they see some of the zombies they recently rolled over lurch to their feet. Meanwhile, more zombies are approaching from almost all directions, and it’s clear that they’ll be overwhelmed if they stay outside.

    As initiative opens, Javāsa and his riding dog (Kata) dash toward the inn and bound through the door. At this point, they are able to see the action inside, and the situation isn’t pretty. There are several corpses lying amid upturned tables and chairs, and three zombies are lurching toward the stairs at the back of the room, where two men are clearly attempting to defend the stairs. Both look to be wearing the armor of the city guard, and one wields a makeshift club while the second has a longspear readied against any charging zombies.

    As Javāsa takes this all in, the rest of the party begins to make their way toward the front door as well. Orlčans and Malthenniel take the time to tie up the cart and pony to a hitching ring before darting into the inn and joining in what is quickly becoming a desperate battle.

    One of the three zombies is brought down by crossbow fire from up the stairs (apparently there are more survivors in the inn than just the two guardsmen), Javāsa and Kata charge another and Bracken moves up to engage with the third. Bracken’s waraxe continues to be effective, and a couple of mighty swings lay the zombie out on the ground. The other zombie, meanwhile, has managed to get a hold of Javāsa and tries to bite the halfling and drag him from his mount, but Javāsa manages to break free of his grip before any real damage is done.

    Just as the party is beginning to feel somewhat secure (with only one zombie left standing and the other two coup de grace’d, it looks pretty good for them at the moment), one of the many zombies outside lurches through the swinging doors and more are beginning to crowd behind it. Malthenniel moves toward an upturned table and begins to push it toward the door to make a barricade while Bracken, Kilian, and Javāsa all move to engage this zombie. After only a few rounds, Kata manages to knock the zombie to the ground with her jaws latched around its throat while Javāsa brings his sharrash down through its temple (critical hit)!

    Malthenniel is about to push the table in front of the door when Orlčans and Bracken let out simultaneous cries of “NOOOOOOOOOOOO!” It seems that a cask of ale is among the many items still sitting in the cart outside, and the two of them are frantic to get the beer safely inside. Bracken, quickly weighing the options with his slightly-less-than-stellar intelligence, steps outside into the horde of zombies, hoping that Orlčans and the others will follow and help him cut a way through to the beer.

    He only makes it a few steps, however, before a zombie latches on with an iron grip and, at the beginning of the next turn, takes a vicious bite out of Bracken’s neck and shoulder. In pain and anger, the dwarf summons up a supreme effort and wrests his holy symbol from his belt, holding it high and channeling the power of his god to cow the undead. He fails to actually turn them, but the zombie holding him cringes away from the light momentarily and he is able to break free. Surrendering the ale to its fate, he squeezes back inside the inn and Malthenniel rolls the table in front of the door. The group dashes to the stairs and onto the second floor while Javāsa and Bracken hack the bottom three steps to pieces with their weapons. Abandoning the first floor to the zombies, the group retreats upstairs.

    The door is quickly barricaded, and the PC’s turn around to face two city guardsmen with spears pointed at their faces backed up by at least 10 civilians, many of whom are armed with light crossbows. The lead guard gives the PC’s an appraising glance and lingers on Bracken before demanding that the dwarf be either killed or tossed out the window, since the bite mark on his shoulder is plain to see. A quick diplomacy check from Orlčans gets the PC’s permission to stay on the third floor, provided they kill Bracken as soon as he turns into a zombie. There is some debate about whether this will occur, since the PC’s haven’t seen a bitten person degenerate into a zombie yet, while the patrons claim they have. One of them also notices a smaller bite mark on Kata’s flank. Apparently the dog had been bitten in the mad dash to the inn and no one noticed, so now the PC’s have two potential zombies to watch and Javāsa may have to find himself a new animal companion.

    The PC’s retreat to the third floor and begin to hole up. Malthenniel seems obsessed with finding useful items in the rooms and goes around closing curtains and raiding the linen closet for sheets and pillow cases to make into sacks and bandages. Javāsa, Kata, and Bracken move into one of the bedrooms and work at tending their wounds and, after an hour or so, it becomes clear that both Kata and Bracken are suffering from some sort of disease-like ailment. Orlčans and Kilian venture out on to the roof of the second floor to appraise the situation, but move back inside quickly as their presence seems to attract more zombies to the inn.

    The cask of ale is still sitting in the remains of the cart, and Orlčans and Bracken are reluctant to simply let it be. They decide to tie Orlčans to a rope and have Bracken lower him down and haul him back up once he has the cask. Orlčans is able to avoid attacks of opportunity from the surrounding zombies and get the cask, but the obvious presence of still-living humans attracts even more zombies, and the group seems reluctant to venture out again, even hesitating to look out the windows. They decide to wait until morning to see what will happen to Kata and Bracken and in hopes that the situation will calm down and they’ll be able to formulate a plan.

    Under the combined care of Javāsa and Bracken (both of whom invested in the Heal skill), Kata and Bracken make it until almost dawn before they finally feel the effects of the zombie bite. Both of them feel their insides wrenching and their muscles seem to atrophy slightly. Their skin seems to adhere more tightly to their bones and their eyes become bloodshot and sunken. Neither has died yet from the disease, but it is clear that something is wrong.

    And that’s where we left the session, with the party finally in a safe location but low on food and supplies and with no plans for how to escape. Water won’t be a problem what with at least three casters preparing Create Water, but it will only be a few days before food becomes an issue and they still don’t know how long Bracken and Kata will make it.

    I hope this has been more interesting and enjoyable than my last post. I appreciate any comments you have.

    Mephibosheth
    Last edited by Mephibosheth; 2008-12-08 at 04:51 PM.
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    Default Re: A Zombiemageddon Campaign Journal - Please read and comment!

    Are zombies the only undead? Really, you could pass off different types of corporeal undead as "higher" zombies easily enough. Ghasts, ghouls, vampire spawn, etc.

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    Default Re: A Zombiemageddon Campaign Journal - Please read and comment!

    now you need to decide whether you want the PC to survive being bitten. depending on your choice the feel will change, and so will the players actions. if they survive the are going to be bolder and to consider the Zombies less of a threat, however if they die they will instead be much more cautious.
    both have upsides both have downsides. however I would choose to have them die, after some time, in order to keep the fear level of the zombies high
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    Hey now, here's an idea. Did you ever see Evil Dead 2? If not, for shame. But, in the movie, the character Ash gets posessed by this evil spirit lurking in the woods by this cabin, right? Twice throughout the movie, Ash loses control of his body to the spirit, wreaking havoc.

    I told you that story to tell you this story idea. Why not have it where the PCs, since they can, presumably, be kinda healedish by the other party members, only partially succumb to the disease? The most basic version of this would perhaps instead of being able to eat as normal people, they would need raw food to sustain them, at first. As the PCs go longer and longer without food (by being holed up, for example), perhaps the bitten PC and dog need to make checks to avoid looking at their party members like delicious steaks.

    Or, to take it a step further, craft a Half-Zombie template for them. Basically, taking what I just said and adding a few things to it, or setting more limitations. I like the idea of having these half-zombies have "The Craving" every so often, be it a certain number of hours/days or where story appropriate, having them have to make concurrent checks to keep from feasting upon their party if they can't get something bloody and meaty into them.

    OH! Or, taking one step further, have the half-zombie template be a slowed-version of the actual virus, so that this template will keep the PC and dog as PC and Animal Cmpanion alive longer than the average commoner, so as to perhaps be able to research how to reverse the effects.
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    I've always considered breakfast to be evil. Looking at me with it's bacon-smile, and it's sunny-side-up eyes. I know it's plotting something.
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    ..thank you, Deth Muncher. My life is richer for being aware of this. And weirder. ("You destroyed my friends! I will have my vengeance! Face the fury of my pelvic thrusts!" "Oh yeah? LAZOR!")
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    I say let him die. He was foolish enough to charge into a horde of zombies, so he should suffer the consquences. Besides, you're looking to create a survival horror feel to the campaign, no? It's going to be very difficult to keep that feel if the PCs realize that they are "special" and will never die.

    My vote: Bracken and Kata both get zombified. You can promote one of the city guards in the inn to PC status for Bracken's player, and Javasa can find a new animal companion later.
    Quote Originally Posted by Winterwind View Post
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    Default Re: A Zombiemageddon Campaign Journal - Please read and comment!

    I don't think the Zombie-via-possession is the way Meph wants to go, Deth. At this point in the game, it might be best for Bracken's player to take control of one of the survivors in the inn, most likely one of the two guards after he croaks.

    Something I might offer as advice in regards to the xp problem for keeping the characters low level but giving them rewards could be to break the gestalt into a more granular system where you advance from 1//1 to 2//1 then to 2//2
    Something like:
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    {table=head]XP|Gestalt A|Gestalt B
    -500|1|0
    0|1|1
    1000|2|1
    2000|2|2
    4000|3|2
    6000|3|3
    9000|4|3
    12000|4|4
    16000|5|4
    20000|5|5
    25000|6|5
    30000|6|6[/table]

    It'll inflate the value of XP a bit since it takes more XP to get to the same class features but you could always change the XP values to fit the rate at which your characters progress.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kyace View Post
    I don't think the Zombie-via-possession is the way Meph wants to go, Deth. At this point in the game, it might be best for Bracken's player to take control of one of the survivors in the inn, most likely one of the two guards after he croaks.
    Well, I didn't literally mean them being posessed, more like the taboo-esque things presented to ghosts in Ghostwalk, but I see your point.
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    ..thank you, Deth Muncher. My life is richer for being aware of this. And weirder. ("You destroyed my friends! I will have my vengeance! Face the fury of my pelvic thrusts!" "Oh yeah? LAZOR!")
    Quote Originally Posted by golentan View Post
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    A side effect of allowing PCs to resist turning would be changing the morality of killing zombies willy-nilly: If PC zombies are still partly human then those 20 zombies they just ran over with their cart isn't likely a Good action. :P
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    I vote for the PCs turn and they get replaced by NPCs.

    The only other alternative would for the PCs to very slowly (but clear degenerately) zombify or fall into some sort of coma. Then there is some sort of rumor about a cure that they PCs are allured to, but it doesn't sound like that is what you want to with it.

    The nice thing about these sorts of games is the funniest things become the greatest type of treasure. A fancy weapon and cure potions might not be that good but PCs, Bags of Holding, Endless Decanters, or even potion of invisibility are certainly worth more.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Prometheus View Post
    The only other alternative would for the PCs to very slowly (but clear degenerately) zombify or fall into some sort of coma. Then there is some sort of rumor about a cure that they PCs are allured to
    I'd caution against that even more than against just turning them Necropolitan or something. If the PCs are comatose for the rest of the adventure, then they might as well be dead for all their players care. In effect, you've only managed to accomplish one thing by upgrading their conditions: You've made the risk of death less present, as there's always the chance they can be saved if they get bit.

    You also throw in a few things that are dangerous to the setting as a whole. You've got a big, glaring continuity error: Why does this guy get to go comatose when everyone else goes zombie? You've also introduced the concept of a cure very early in the game. That shifts the focus from "survive" to "find the MacGuffin"--which is a viable option, but the OP probably wants to focus on "survive" until the PCs are strong enough that it's no longer a challenge.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mephibosheth View Post
    Under the combined care of Javāsa and Bracken (both of whom invested in the Heal skill), Kata and Bracken make it until almost dawn before they finally feel the effects of the zombie bite. Both of them feel their insides wrenching and their muscles seem to atrophy slightly. Their skin seems to adhere more tightly to their bones and their eyes become bloodshot and sunken. Neither has died yet from the disease, but it is clear that something is wrong.

    And that’s where we left the session, with the party finally in a safe location but low on food and supplies and with no plans for how to escape. Water won’t be a problem what with at least three casters preparing Create Water, but it will only be a few days before food becomes an issue and they still don’t know how long Bracken and Kata will make it.

    I hope this has been more interesting and enjoyable than my last post. I appreciate any comments you have.

    Mephibosheth
    Have you see Night of the Living Dead 3?
    If so then you've seen the Zombie Girl who still remembered her friend and didn't kill him.
    She killed others, but not him.

    So, that got me thinking, the players could choose to still be zombies, but they get a will save DC (10 +1/2 HD + 1/day they haven't feed) every moment to resist the feed. Could make them roll every morning and certain situations you deem (like when a person is attacked/bleeding)
    Yes, this means the higher level, the higher the DC.
    A remove disease gives them an extra week before rolling.

    They get +2 resist when surrounded by allies.


    Basically, they lose Con mod to hps while in the zombified state (and the RP issues of no one trusting them). Just an idea.

    You tell them they can choose to continue trying to play their characters , but the urge to feed is great and they might succumb any moment.

    If they choose so they keep their mind temporaily (until fail check).

    I love the story so far.

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    I wish the campaign I'd been in was so skillfully done. The DM started us out on an undead-infested world, but stopped after a handful of sessions (and the introduction of an epic wizard as our benefactor).

    I took over the campaign, and what I ultimately decided was that the epic wizard (who was from a different setting, as were a few of the PCs) was actually there for the purpose of quarantine only, and wouldn't interfere much in the affairs of the players; mostly she was working with other epic wizards to cut this world off from the rest of the multiverse. She could allow trans-planar trade at exorbitant prices, or allow the party to exit in order to trade, but they would be watched closely and kept separate from others.

    Dunno if that'll help you with the loot idea, but there's an option. I wish I could tell you it worked out well, but we disbanded for other reasons after a year of play. I wasn't really that experienced at D&D either so I'm sure I botched some things, but it was a lot of fun for all of us.
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    I would at least let the player make a fort save vs the disease.


    If you want to introduce tiers of zombies, you can have the zombies start eating each other once the streets are free of living prey. Eating another zombie results in more power, maybe even to the point that the most successful zombies regain sentience, and are powerful zombie lords.

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    I say Zombify them. Scare the players a bit. If they decide to hole up, Have the zombies either slowly lose intrest and leave or have them break down the reinforcements in a hunger frenzy.
    Not forgetting Yldenfrei and the wonderful avatar she made.

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    Thanks for the replies everyone! I'm glad there's still interest in my humble offerings.

    Quote Originally Posted by LurkerInPlayground
    Are zombies the only undead? Really, you could pass off different types of corporeal undead as "higher" zombies easily enough. Ghasts, ghouls, vampire spawn, etc.
    At this point, zombies are the only undead, if only because the PC's are still 1st level and have only just encountered the beginnings of the outbreak. I may end up breaking out different types of corporeal undead as things progress, but the jury's still out on that for me. I think it'll depend largely on how long the campaign progresses and how powerful the PC's get.

    The main problem a zombies-only campaign presents is boredom on the part of the PC's. It's hard to get excited or stressed or scared in combat when you know you're going to be fighting the same thing you've been fighting for the past 10 sessions. The challenge for the DM becomes providing the players with interesting and unique challenges within the context of the broader campaign. In this circumstance, the DM can do this by framing encounters in non-traditional ways. Sure, the players are still confronted with zombies, but the goal isn't to simply kill the zombies and move on. The goal is to avoid fighting the zombies at all or to find a way to eliminate the zombies as quickly as possible. The focus becomes creatively using whatever resources you have to find unique solutions to these problems. In most cases, the zombies can almost be seen as difficult terrain in the sense that they restrict what the PC's feel capable of accomplishing and they provide obstacles for the PC's to overcome. If the DM views the campaign in this light, it's easier to make encounters fresh and interesting while still using the same opponents.

    Quote Originally Posted by vegetalss4
    now you need to decide whether you want the PC to survive being bitten. depending on your choice the feel will change, and so will the players actions. if they survive the are going to be bolder and to consider the Zombies less of a threat, however if they die they will instead be much more cautious.
    both have upsides both have downsides. however I would choose to have them die, after some time, in order to keep the fear level of the zombies high
    Indeed. I decided even before the campaign started that I wasn't necessarily going to pull punches. As you (and other posters as well) have mentioned, the only way to make the zombie threat credible is to maintain a real threat of PC death. And the only way to maintain this threat is for PC's to actually die.

    When Bracken's player decided to step outside the door and into the street, I warned him that his character might very likely die. I also told the group at the beginning of the campaign that PC death was a distinct possibility. Finally, I emailed Bracken's player yesterday to ask about his thoughts on the character dying, especially since it is only the 2nd real session of the campaign. He is completely ok with the character dying for many of the reasons that have been mentioned in this thread. I'm sure we'll be able to work out some way to introduce a new character or come up with a solution that works for everyone.

    But ultimately, I will probably let the character die. I think it's better for the campaign as a whole.

    Quote Originally Posted by Deth Muncher
    Hey now, here's an idea. Did you ever see Evil Dead 2? If not, for shame. But, in the movie, the character Ash gets posessed by this evil spirit lurking in the woods by this cabin, right? Twice throughout the movie, Ash loses control of his body to the spirit, wreaking havoc.

    I told you that story to tell you this story idea. Why not have it where the PCs, since they can, presumably, be kinda healedish by the other party members, only partially succumb to the disease? The most basic version of this would perhaps instead of being able to eat as normal people, they would need raw food to sustain them, at first. As the PCs go longer and longer without food (by being holed up, for example), perhaps the bitten PC and dog need to make checks to avoid looking at their party members like delicious steaks.

    Or, to take it a step further, craft a Half-Zombie template for them. Basically, taking what I just said and adding a few things to it, or setting more limitations. I like the idea of having these half-zombies have "The Craving" every so often, be it a certain number of hours/days or where story appropriate, having them have to make concurrent checks to keep from feasting upon their party if they can't get something bloody and meaty into them.

    OH! Or, taking one step further, have the half-zombie template be a slowed-version of the actual virus, so that this template will keep the PC and dog as PC and Animal Cmpanion alive longer than the average commoner, so as to perhaps be able to research how to reverse the effects.
    Unfortunately, I haven't had a chance to see any of the Evil Dead movies *hangs head in shame*.

    I don't think I'm going to go this route, if only because, as others have said, it makes the PC's seem special and removes the credibility of the zombie threat in the minds of the players. True, the characters won't know that they should have died and didn't, but the players will innevitably be aware of the plot gymnastics I went through to ensure that the character remains playable, which will ruin the suspension of disbelief.

    If I were to go this route, there are a couple of methods I could see using. There's a couple of templates or feats that fit the bill. The Corpse template from the Book of Vile Darkness would work, or I believe someone's mentioned the Necropolitan template. Tomb Tainted Soul might be another option. Or I could go with something homebrew. Your suggestion (and Starbuck _II's, which seems pretty similar) is an interesting one, where the "zombie" character has to constantly resist the urge to feed. I could also homebrew a half-zombie template. But ultimately, I think that the "disease" following its normal path is better for the campaign.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kyace
    I don't think the Zombie-via-possession is the way Meph wants to go, Deth. At this point in the game, it might be best for Bracken's player to take control of one of the survivors in the inn, most likely one of the two guards after he croaks.

    Something I might offer as advice in regards to the xp problem for keeping the characters low level but giving them rewards could be to break the gestalt into a more granular system where you advance from 1//1 to 2//1 then to 2//2
    Something like:

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    {table=head]XP|Gestalt A|Gestalt B
    -500|1|0
    0|1|1
    1000|2|1
    2000|2|2
    4000|3|2
    6000|3|3
    9000|4|3
    12000|4|4
    16000|5|4
    20000|5|5
    25000|6|5
    30000|6|6 [/table]

    It'll inflate the value of XP a bit since it takes more XP to get to the same class features but you could always change the XP values to fit the rate at which your characters progress.
    This is an interesting idea, and I would definitely consider something like this were I to start this campaign over again from the beginning. However, I don't really feel comfortable introducing a house rule like this in the middle of the campaign. It's important that your players know what house rules you're using at the outset so they don't feel surprised and (to an extent) betrayed when you invoke a rule that works differently than they expected. I do, however, think this is an interesting solution for the problem of too quick advancement that still provides players with tangible rewards for their actions at a rate they're used to.

    Quote Originally Posted by Prometheus
    The nice thing about these sorts of games is the funniest things become the greatest type of treasure. A fancy weapon and cure potions might not be that good but PCs, Bags of Holding, Endless Decanters, or even potion of invisibility are certainly worth more.
    I agree. This is one of my favorite things about this type of campaign. It encourages the players to view certain items as valuable resources that they would otherwise shove in their handy haversacks and disregard. Finding caltrops suddenly becomes a fantastic discovery. Masterwork weapons are like gold, far beyond when they would normally be exciting. Players actually use their Craft skills for interesting stuff. Zero-level spells are hoarded and conserved instead of being spent willy-nilly. I'm really excited to see what my players come up with now that the initiative is on them.

    Quote Originally Posted by Starbuck_II
    Have you see Night of the Living Dead 3?
    If so then you've seen the Zombie Girl who still remembered her friend and didn't kill him.
    She killed others, but not him.

    So, that got me thinking, the players could choose to still be zombies, but they get a will save DC (10 +1/2 HD + 1/day they haven't feed) every moment to resist the feed. Could make them roll every morning and certain situations you deem (like when a person is attacked/bleeding)
    Yes, this means the higher level, the higher the DC.
    A remove disease gives them an extra week before rolling.

    They get +2 resist when surrounded by allies.


    Basically, they lose Con mod to hps while in the zombified state (and the RP issues of no one trusting them). Just an idea.

    You tell them they can choose to continue trying to play their characters , but the urge to feed is great and they might succumb any moment.

    If they choose so they keep their mind temporaily (until fail check).

    I love the story so far.
    Glad you're enjoying the story.

    I think this could be a interesting solution if I had decided to keep Bracken alive rather than letting him die. I like the idea that more powerful characters find it more difficult to resist the urge to feed. It speaks to some interesting characteristics of the "disease" that fit moderately well with the ideas I have for the future...

    Quote Originally Posted by Talanic
    I wish the campaign I'd been in was so skillfully done. The DM started us out on an undead-infested world, but stopped after a handful of sessions (and the introduction of an epic wizard as our benefactor).

    I took over the campaign, and what I ultimately decided was that the epic wizard (who was from a different setting, as were a few of the PCs) was actually there for the purpose of quarantine only, and wouldn't interfere much in the affairs of the players; mostly she was working with other epic wizards to cut this world off from the rest of the multiverse. She could allow trans-planar trade at exorbitant prices, or allow the party to exit in order to trade, but they would be watched closely and kept separate from others.

    Dunno if that'll help you with the loot idea, but there's an option. I wish I could tell you it worked out well, but we disbanded for other reasons after a year of play. I wasn't really that experienced at D&D either so I'm sure I botched some things, but it was a lot of fun for all of us.
    I played in a campaign with a similar solution. In ours, a mercane merchant had set up shop in a city overrun by demons, allying himself with a group of war trolls and using the chaos of the city to loot valuable magic items for interplanar customers. He also used our party for this purpose and facilitated exchange and found items for us in exchange. At higher levels, this is definitely a viable solution, and it can be rather elegant and bring in some interesting plot elements.

    Ultimately, the issue of how to allow some sort of economic activity is only going to come up if the PC's get powerful enough to require more expensive and rare items. At low levels, they can still be supported by looting and small-scale barter with isolated bands of survivors (where possible).

    Quote Originally Posted by quick_comment
    I would at least let the player make a fort save vs the disease.


    If you want to introduce tiers of zombies, you can have the zombies start eating each other once the streets are free of living prey. Eating another zombie results in more power, maybe even to the point that the most successful zombies regain sentience, and are powerful zombie lords.
    The players don't get fort saves to fight off the "disease" completely (I want the "disease" to be more powerful and mysterious than that, and only a completely irresistable disease could result in a disaster of the proportions we're discussing) but they can make fort saves to stave off the effects for a time. The "disease" requires fort saves every hour to avoid 1d4 Constitution and 1d4 Intelligence damage. The saves start low and increase by 1 for every save, whether or not the character is successful.

    I also like the idea of survival-of-the-fittest undead. It seems less arbitrary than other explanations for more powerful undead, and the PC's can actually watch it happening. If I decide to go the "elite" zombies route, I may end up adopting this. Thanks!

    Quote Originally Posted by Frigs
    I say Zombify them. Scare the players a bit. If they decide to hole up, Have the zombies either slowly lose intrest and leave or have them break down the reinforcements in a hunger frenzy.
    I have some ideas for disrupting the safety of the PC's fort, but part of me thinks they won't stay there very long. This group seems pretty restless and I expect a lot of forays into the city for various reasons. The main question, if this is the case, is how they intend to travel without attracting every zombie in the city.

    Thanks a lot for the comments everyone! I think I touched on everything. I'm happy to hear that people seem to enjoy my journal.

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    It’s been a while since I’ve updated this journal. We haven’t been able to get together of late, what with the holidays and busy schedules and what not. So, I apologize for any inappropriate threadomancy. And now on to…

    Session 4: Probes

    Dawn breaks over Dekhi on day two of the crisis. The rising sun shimmers on the river, its apparent peacefulness belying the chaos that so recently overtook the city.

    On the third floor of the Swagat Inn, things are beginning to look dire. The group is barricaded in on the third floor with only enough food to last for a few days. Even worse, two of their number, the dwarf Bracken and the riding dog Kata, have been bitten by the zombies. They’ve managed to survive the first day of the zombie attack, but their margin of safety is thin.

    The group awakes to a hacking cough from Bracken and a pitiful whine from Kata. The two are just beginning to feel the effects of the zombie bites. Their skin seems to adhere more tightly to their bones and take on a distinct grey-ish tinge, their joints swell, and their eyes seem to sink deeper into their sockets. Bracken is plagued by a hacking, painful cough that brings up small amounts of blood while Kata is restless and shivers in the corner.

    The group realizes they need to do something soon. Orlčans and Bracken have a hurried conversation in Dwarven and Bracken seems committed to going out in a blaze of glory. The two formulate a tentative plan to find some sort of goal and let Bracken either carve a path through the zombies or serve as a distraction while the rest of the group sneaks away.

    A quick discussion between Orlčans and Javāsa (with some information from the DM) reveals that there is a bakery a few blocks to the northeast, a hardware store a few blocks east, and a blacksmith a ways to the southeast, all of which would be useful to reach. Even farther east is the docks and possible escape from the city. That is a goal for the longer term, however. The more immediate problems are Bracken and Kata’s imminent demise and surviving until the end of the day.

    While all this is going on, Javāsa decided to take Kata into another room and end her misery rather than let the zombie bite slowly kill her. Lacking any other real option, he tearfully drops her body out of the window, staying to briefly mourn her passing. After only a few moments, Kata’s body begins to shake and the dog gets up and lurches away, another member of the zombie horde.

    Meanwhile, the group has decided to make their way over the rooftops toward the bakery, starting with the nearest building. This building has stores on the first level (jewelry stores, a tempting looting target under any other circumstances) and apartments above. It contains three long, narrow “units” per floor, with three fire escape-style staircases reaching from the ground to the roof on the back of the building. The building is only 20 feet away from the inn and the same height, so the jump shouldn’t be too hard.

    Quote Originally Posted by DM Note
    Once again, the importance of clear, precise, detailed description is underscored. The image in my mind of the adjacent building is one of staircases climbing the outside of the building from the ground to the roof. Apparently the players either thought that the stairs didn’t go all the way up to the roof or that they started on the 2nd floor with ladders to the ground, like actual fire escapes. Either way, they thought that the zombies couldn’t make it all the way to the roof. A couple of them mentioned later that, if they had known, they would have tried another plan. In my case, I think this is simply inexperience talking – I wasn’t sure exactly what information to give. I also think that situations like this are good reasons for players to ask lots of questions.
    Bracken has the highest Jump modifier and the highest weight, so he ties a rope around his waist and easily clears the gap. Javāsa finds a post hole in the inn roof and sticks Bracken’s waraxe in the hole, securing the rope on this end. Bracken simply braces himself against the short railing on the second roof and uses his strength and mass to hold the rope taut. Orlčans is last over, and he brings the axe with him, swinging across the gap and being hauled to the roof by Bracken.

    All this activity has attracted undead attention, and zombies start to swarm around the building, with some of them taking the stairs to the roof. Looking over, the group sees three zombies on the next roof, and starts to feel trapped. Javāsa begins to hack at the stairs to keep the zombies from coming up, but it’s apparent that this method is too slow, so Malthenniel take out a pillowcase and some flint and steel and sets the case on fire before dropping it on the stairs, trying to burn them down. The pillowcase catches and doesn’t go out when dropped but the stairs aren’t yet on fire, though one zombie lights up and falls to the ground. Javāsa picks up on the idea and between the two of them, Malthenniel and Javāsa have flames burning on all the staircases in only a few rounds. Killian and Bracken, meanwhile, worked to hold back any zombies that made it to the roof, both of them having close shaves but only Bracken sustaining any additional bites.

    Quote Originally Posted by DM Note
    As far as I know, there’s no real mechanic for an object catching on fire as a result of contact with open flame. I think the assumption is that it happens automatically if the material is flammable. If I’m wrong, someone please enlighten me.

    In this case, lacking time to peruse the rules in depth, I ruled that there’s a 15% chance of the wood catching from the torch-sized flame (remember, there wasn’t much in the way of kindling and the fire was just dropped onto the stairs). For each additional round of exposure, the chance increases by 5% (so, after two rounds it would have a 20% chance, etc). If a second source of fire, the chance increases by an additional 15% but still only increases by 5% for each additional round. That’s how I ruled and it seemed to work well.
    After a few rounds, with the stairs burning merrily, the group realized that they’re pretty much out of options other than retreat. The stairs are on fire and the ground is swarming with zombies. The next building has zombies already on the roof and the same problem staircases. Faced with no options, Javāsa ties another rope around his waist, casts Jump on himself for a much-needed boost (he doesn’t have any ranks in Jump to speak of, and the speed penalty is a killer), and launches himself back toward the inn.

    He needs to hit DC 20 to make it and has a +8 modifier to his roll. His player rolls and…it’s a 5 for a total Jump check of 13. However, because they’re on the roof, the players suggest the possibility that Javāsa finds a window in the third floor and dives through. It’s just too cinematic to pass up and could save the party from certain TPK. So, with a loud crashing sound, the halfling bursts through the window and rolls out into the hallway, bracing himself against the wall as quickly as possible. Meanwhile the others in the party, starting with the other halfling, slide along the rope and into the hallway, where they help hold the end and make it possible for the party to escape. And so the group survives (barely) to fight another day!

    I hope you've enjoyed today's installment, and (as always) appreciate any comments.

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    Hey y'all, I'm the PC Javasa. (Meph, let me know if you don't want me reading this. I'm trying to skim over the spoiler parts. Also, you know I'm good at not metagaming.). So far the campaign has been a lot of fun. These first few sessions have been a kind of learning experience, both for our PCs and ourselves. After the death of Bracken and Kata (I'm super bummed about Mounted Combat being a wasted feat for a while), we're starting to get that this is not your typical hack-and-slash game. Meph has done a great job impressing the severity and (hopefully apparent) impossible nature of the situation. I think the newbies in our group may be a bit frustrated, but I've been a gamer for 10+ years and quite frankly it's really refreshing to be in a situation so dire. I've been wracking my brains trying to think of ways to get out of that damn inn. Right now the only thing I can think of it to parlay with the NPCs downstairs, now that all the obviously infected members of our party are dead.

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    Cool, we get a player to mess with.
    I think that the fire escape is your fault, Meph.
    You said how the store below was a jewelry store, and I don't think a jewelry store(or any where else for that matter), would give a random person off the street access to their roof.
    In fact, stairs just seem excessive for anywhere.
    If these are normal, we don't have to care about everyone and fear lawsuits people, there would more likely just be a ladder down the side of the building with a cage around the bottom.
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    I wouldn't say it's anyone's fault per se, it was more of a cultural misunderstanding. This campaign has a heavy Indian (like from India, not Native American) flavor, and apparently that kind of archetecture is very common. Meph has the distinct advantage of being the only member of our group to have actually gone to India.

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    Quote Originally Posted by wadledo View Post
    Cool, we get a player to mess with.
    I think that the fire escape is your fault, Meph.
    You said how the store below was a jewelry store, and I don't think a jewelry store(or any where else for that matter), would give a random person off the street access to their roof.
    In fact, stairs just seem excessive for anywhere.
    If these are normal, we don't have to care about everyone and fear lawsuits people, there would more likely just be a ladder down the side of the building with a cage around the bottom.
    Yep. You're right. It was my fault entirely. I had an image in my mind and didn't do a good enough job translating that image into description. Both during the session and here, apparently. I'm chalking it up to inexperience (this is my first real campaign, after all) insofar as I'm just not accustomed to DM'ing yet and haven't yet gotten completely comfortable with off-the-cuff descriptions. Plus, I had to go into this session completely unprepared (the initiative for the campaign has shifted to the players now that they have a safe haven). Hopefully next session will be better. Everyone seemed to enjoy the session despite the difficulty (or at least so they said).

    Like pjwaring mentioned, I am basing the architecture in Dekhi on the style of architecture I saw in India. These buildings are essentially pre-fab, almost identical buildings that have long, narrow stores on the ground floor and long, narrow apartments above. In this case, to save space on the inside, these imaginary buildings have their stairs outside (the actual buildings they're based on may or may not). Because I had such a strong image of the buildings in my mind, I didn't do as good a job as I should have in describing them. I'm going to try to make sure that this sort of miscommunication never happens again.

    However, to justify the nature of the architecture, know that each building contains multiple stores and multiple apartments, meaning that the stores at the base level don't necessarily own the building and didn't necessarily have a hand in design and construction. The buildings need stairs on the outside because there's no room for stares on the inside. Sure, ladders are a possibility, but they can severely limit access for certain groups (elderly, young children, people with injuries/disabilities, etc).

    Pjwaring, go ahead and read. I don't think there are any major spoilers you haven't already figured out and I trust your ability to not metagame.

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    I have to say this has been an interesting read. Good that you killed the PC. Can't hold punches in these kind of games.

    Remember though, there has to be a sliver of hope here.

    "Should it be easy? Heck, no. Make 'em work for it.

    ... and renewal.

    This last part is the unexpected one.

    Yes, the world is hurt. Bad. But is it terminal? Are we ready to turn out the lights, close the door, and leave it to the rats and roaches? No.

    I repeat: you can't have hell without hope.

    In this case, the hope is that the characters can salvage something from the ruins - not just to sustain themselves, but to start rebuilding. The war was last year, not a decade or a generation ago. They aren't sitting around the campfires telling their children of metal boxes that once moved on wheels and glass spheres that lit the night without burning. They remember the glory and the power of civilization in all its finery, and while there may be a few barbarians who like things as they are, most of the survivors are going to want to recapture as much of what they've lost as they can.

    I say, let them try. Give them the tools and stand back and see what they can do. Do not assume that the only option is simple subsistence followed by surrender to the night."

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    Question: Will that middle building full of stores catch on fire after the stairs does or is the rest of it stone?

    You set a precedent by saying that zombies know to climb stairs (presumably without subsequently falling off the roof), now PCs will wonder if they can climb ladders, open doors, swim, use tools, or hide. I think it's better that way, to keep them guessing about the capabilities of those zombies.

    D&D doesn't seem to have any rules on things catching fire except that in D&D 3.0 you could make a Wilderness Lore check to start a fire. I don't remember the details, but anyway I'd call it a DC 5 or 10 Survival check with a -2 penalty for not having flint and steel, an additional -2 if they are using particularly poor tools to light a fire (although I don't think this would apply to pillowcases), an a penalty (-5?) if they don't use a full-round action in their attempt or otherwise leave the pillows alone.

    D&D does have extensive rules for the burn rate of objects. Fire damage deals regular damage and bypasses hardness in wood, the fire damage from a flame is 1d6/round. Stone and metal take half damage and then apply hardness, so aren't likely to be damaged except by magical sources of fire. Wood walls would have 10 hp/inch of thickness, which would include the floors of the stairs. When sections of walls are destroyed, parts that are rely on them (say are above) take 50% of their total hp in structural damage and other walls take 10% of their total hp in structural damage (so the sections of stairs below a destroyed portion would take 10% from the weight, whereas any section of stairs above would take 50%, and if the stairs is affixed to the wall, it would also take 10%). I'm not sure if there are rules for when an adjacent wall section catching on fire, but I ruled that this occurs when a wall takes 50% of it's health from fire when I had a fire on a ship in a recent campaign (which is how I know all this). That being said, I understand if you don't care for the extensive mechanics - it seems like it would have gotten a pretty reasonable result in this case. Probably takes one or two rounds to light the staircase on fire, a further round for the next level of the staircase to catch, another round or two for the top part of the staircase to collapse onto the next part - although zombies can still climb up at this point and they take 1d6 damage/round they stick in the fire and a further 1d6 damage from catching on fire (unless they are lucky enough to put themselves out). Than there is also rules for inhaling smoke if the PCs ever have to travel through a burning building.
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    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Hey I was reading it and loved the sound of your campaign. I was just wondering whether you have any templates for your zombies so that other (like me) could use them in campiagns. Also I was wondering whether you use figs or just imagination when gaming. Keep up the great DMing sounds epic fun! I will probably start my own zombpocalypse just because yours seems soo cool. (I am also obsessed with zombies, seen every zombie movie and play all zombie related games (Left 4 Dead anyone?)). Good work!
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    We use figures on a grid on this dry-erase map. That sounds a lot classier than it actually is. Our figures are a mismatch of stuff that best fits the role of whatever out of our small pool of models. It made me sad to see Backen fall, simply because his dwarf model has been used so many times for my previous dwarven companions in campaigns past.

    As far as a template, I'm not sure if Meph has one or not, but knowing him he'll probably make one shortly.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mephibosheth View Post
    After only a few moments, Kata’s body begins to shake and the dog gets up and lurches away, another member of the zombie horde.
    Something I have to point out, now that I've thought of it: you've shown, for certain, that animals can be zombified. This makes the zombie plague 100 times more dangerous than if it only affected humanoids. I instantly got an image of zombie rats gnawing their way through the inside walls of the inn....
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    Indeed, the implications of animal zombification are dire - it seriously may not be possible to renew the world. Human zombies aren't such a huge problem; animals tend to avoid people anyway - But a zombie dog is going to kill and zombify rabbits, which will zombify other things that live in burrows, and animals aren't smart enough to pull off the kind of fortification that gets you through a zompocalypse. There'd be eventual massive extinctions, unless your zombies can't survive being turned to mush by freezing solid in winter(And as far as the genre is concerned, it seems they can survive that just fine). And apart from that, a zombie animal is inherently more dangerous than a human, using your template - lacking hands, an animal must grapple with its mouth. If I was you, I would have Kata be found dead the next day at the base of the stairs - She wasn't zombified, she just survived the fall until the disease killed her; avoiding the issue.

    The zombie apocalypse genre is actually about the people, not the zombies. The tiers of threat in a zompocalypse are zombies<Lots of zombies<party members<scads of zombies<other parties of survivors. So I would recommend against upgrading your zombies. Right now, they've got to face a few zombies on supply runs, scout out a better hidey-hole, and then move their 18ish survivors there. They'll have to start going farther afield for supplies as they loot the nearer targets, multiplying the chance of being caught by the zombie horde - and they still can't afford to waste ammo or get bitten. Eventually, preserved foods will start to run low, and the party will realize that they've got to farm - and the new challenge is to take and fortify several acres of open field. Once they're comfortable with that - cue the other group of survivors who want what you've got.
    Last edited by tsuuga; 2009-01-09 at 10:00 AM.

  29. - Top - End - #59
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    Gaah! I had this whole long post written out, and the forum ate it. *sighs, starts re-typing*

    Quote Originally Posted by Salz - RE rebuilding
    I say, let them try. Give them the tools and stand back and see what they can do. Do not assume that the only option is simple subsistence followed by surrender to the night."
    As I've said before, whether they're able to rebuild or not is probably going to be a function of how long the players stay interested in the campaign. The city is surrounded by walls and water so it's entirely possible that the outbreak is contained and the PC's could simply escape the city and survive that way. On the other hand, I do have an overarching plot in mind that could provide them with options for re-taking the city and rebuilding.

    On a related note, I want to say that having an endgame in mind has been extremely helpful over the course of the campaign, especially in a campaign of this type. Having an idea about how and why the zombies exist can make certain decisions a lot easier and help everything hang together better when the PC's actually find out some of the information. It's not necessary to have everything figured out, but the basic details can be very helpful to keep in the back of your mind.

    Quote Originally Posted by Prometheus
    Question: Will that middle building full of stores catch on fire after the stairs does or is the rest of it stone?
    The buildings are almost all bult of mud brick with wooden roofs and stairs and some wooden framing. I told the PC's that there was a chance the building's structure would catch and the building would weaken, but it's by no means a foregone conclusion.

    I also like your ideas about lighting objects on fire with flint and steel. The equipment section of the PHB doesn't list a skill check for lighting a torch and I feel like this would be an everyday skill anyway, so I'm comfortable with it being automatically successful. However, in this case the PC's were just dropping flaming things onto the stairs and hoping the stairs would catch. In this more passive context I wanted to go with the percent chance rather than a skill check to reinforce that the PC's weren't really doing anything other than exposing the stairs to flame. If they had been actively trying to light the stairs, I would definitely go with something like yours.

    Thanks also for the info on burning objects. I've been using those rules so far, but it's always good to have a reminder, especially of those supplementary rules like smoke inhalation and damage to adjacent surfaces.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ricky S
    Hey I was reading it and loved the sound of your campaign. I was just wondering whether you have any templates for your zombies so that other (like me) could use them in campiagns. Also I was wondering whether you use figs or just imagination when gaming. Keep up the great DMing sounds epic fun! I will probably start my own zombpocalypse just because yours seems soo cool. (I am also obsessed with zombies, seen every zombie movie and play all zombie related games (Left 4 Dead anyone?)). Good work!
    Thanks for the vote of confidence. I'm glad your enjoying the journal. I haven't written up a formal template for my zombies yet, but I'll PM you my stat block after this post. It's pretty easy to extrapolate from there.

    Also, as pjwaring mentioned, we use a wet-erase (not dry-erase) map grid and miniatures (mostly old Warhammer figures). I've been thinking about doing some OotS-style zombie drawings on cards for use in the campaign, but haven't gotten around to it.

    Quote Originally Posted by NeoVid
    Something I have to point out, now that I've thought of it: you've shown, for certain, that animals can be zombified. This makes the zombie plague 100 times more dangerous than if it only affected humanoids. I instantly got an image of zombie rats gnawing their way through the inside walls of the inn....
    Spoilered, just in case...
    Spoiler
    Show
    I mentioned before that I have an endgame in mind for this campaign. Part of that endgame is that the zombie "virus" was created to bring about an outbreak like this. Having the "virus be intentionally created and spread makes it easy to make distinctions like these for metagame reasons. For example, I want there to be non-human zombies as a way of injecting at least some variety into the campaign, but I definitely share your concerns about zombification of things like rats. To that end, I decided that whoever created the "virus" developed it in such a way that zombies would attack "dangerous" creatures (sentient beings, dogs, wolves, etc) while ignoring "harmless" creatures(rats, cows, goats, etc). Obviously, zombie rats would have been a fantastic idea, but the creators were more concerned about zombifying sentient beings and more overtly-dangerous creatures. Is the distinction ultimately arbitrary? Sure, but so is the distinction between sentient beings and all other creatures, at least so far as non-brain-eating zombies are concerned (these zombies haven't shown any propensity to eat brains). I hope that kinda addresses your concerns.

    Quote Originally Posted by tsuuga
    If I was you, I would have Kata be found dead the next day at the base of the stairs - She wasn't zombified, she just survived the fall until the disease killed her; avoiding the issue.
    That would be a good idea, except Javāsa coup de grace'd her before tossing the body out the window. Ultimately, as I explained in the above spoiler, I have story reasons in place that explain what happened and,
    Spoiler
    Show
    I think that having the group encounter zombie Kata in the future would make for an interesting session

    Quote Originally Posted by tsuuga
    The zombie apocalypse genre is actually about the people, not the zombies. The tiers of threat in a zompocalypse are zombies<Lots of zombies<party members<scads of zombies<other parties of survivors. So I would recommend against upgrading your zombies. Right now, they've got to face a few zombies on supply runs, scout out a better hidey-hole, and then move their 18ish survivors there. They'll have to start going farther afield for supplies as they loot the nearer targets, multiplying the chance of being caught by the zombie horde - and they still can't afford to waste ammo or get bitten. Eventually, preserved foods will start to run low, and the party will realize that they've got to farm - and the new challenge is to take and fortify several acres of open field. Once they're comfortable with that - cue the other group of survivors who want what you've got.
    I definitely agree that other survivors make excellent encounters for a zombie campaign. Not only do they add instant variety, but they give our party bard a chance to shine! I'm definitely looking forward to when the party gets a bit settled down and starts to make more methodical excursions. There are a number of possibilities for safe (ish) movement through the city that they haven't tried and I'm hoping that they'll start looking harder for alternatives to more conventional hack-n-slash.

    As I mentioned above, how the campaign shakes out will depend on what the players want. I don't want to commit them to a year's worth of zombie sessions if no one wants to keep at it that long. If it does go long, however, forting and farming will definitely be interesting challenges to overcome.

    I hope that addresses everything, and that my little journal remains interesting and useful. Thanks a lot for the comments.

    Mephibosheth
    Last edited by Mephibosheth; 2009-01-09 at 12:09 PM.
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  30. - Top - End - #60
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    Mephibosheth- This is some great stuff that you have going here, I just read through all you journals and most of the comments so far and I have a few question just so I can get a better grasp on your game.

    1. How big in terms of population size is Dekhi? Have the PC unknowingly TPK their crew by holding up in the city during the first outbreak? Being penned in due to city walls with 50,000 zombies is a pretty dire place to be at level 1.

    2. What kind of ruling class existed within to city before the outbreak? Was this a military state? Is there hope of an kings army returning to save the city or a castle which has been cleared of zombies?

    3. In your game zombies occur through changes in their biology, not like normal D&D zombies which are magically created, so how long can the zombies remain active, does rotting affect them so they are no longer functional after two weeks? or is it part of the virus that slows the rotting down allowing them to remain a threat?

    4. Have you seen 28 days later? If so I was wondering how your virus work? Is the bite the only way to become infected? or is it in the blood? If so how fast would a change occur if it was just blood contact, IE a drop of blood in the eye like in 28 days?

    5. Lastly I was wondering about your port? Did the virus spread out of the town on ships, bitten people boarding ships? Entire crews becoming infected drifting the sea only to become shipwrecked on some unknowing nations shores? How long until other nation act to protect their kingdoms? Or is thing global and they are fighting it on their own turf?

    I am really into your story here and hope you don't mind all the questions. I love zombie stuff so hopefully I can be of some use if you need brain storming. I wish I could have a DM to run a game like this! Great work!

    Bendak Starkiller

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