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I and a friend are trying to craft a new ruleset and accompanying world to go with this general idea. The portion above is kind of the most basic introduction to the game and will kind of be the bedrock upon which we build our game. I know there are a lot of highly intelligent people on this site and there is a great interest in zombie RPG's so I thought I'd see what kind of feedback I could get and post updates as I make progress. Maybe eventually run some playtests...
This game is in its earliest of stages and could quite possibly be abandonded but I've got to run with it while I've got the drive. I guess I'll start off by outlining some of the game elements I've most clearly defined.
Overall, I want the world to feel very dark and bleak; kind of like every zombie survival movie you have ever seen where the group of adventurers feel like they are the last humans left on Earth. Living in a world where life is not a sure thing can make for a very interesting story, and I plan to highlight this by designing the mechanics to leave players thinking their chances are grim. Only the incredibly intelligent (and in rare cases, lucky) will survive to see the next day, and even then they have to do it all over again.
I think that this approach to zombie survival lends itself to several specific story paths that all utilize the same mechanics, but are incredibly different in setting and offer an array of plots to GM's.
Bio Domes: This story path focuses mainly on the life of an everyday person in one of the 12 Bio Domes around the Earth. It highlights the human struggle in a confined area where millions of people who are not really policed are starving nearly to death and bubbling over with violence.
Near Wastes: This story path focuses on the life of those who either venture out of the Bio Domes or maybe lived there from the start. Regardless, the adventurers in this story are about hardy everyday citizens who travel into the relatively close Wastes around Bio Domes looking for "riches" and supplies.
Deep Wastes: This story path focuses on the life of those employed by Gladius. Whether they be soldiers, doctors, scientists, or even unlucky civilians these humans are the ones who confront the strangeness of the Wastes in their entirety. Born deep into enemy territory by the only remaining and functioning aircraft, these individuals will face the dreaded E-RAC's, hyper mutated zombies.
My vision for a character in this game ends up being something similar to D20 Modern. The players would start out with "broad" character templates that give them a basic set of skills. As they level up they can enter into various careers that provide them with more specialised (and useful) skill sets that will increase their survival chances.
I want this game to kind of evolve into different editions that progress the canon of the world by about 10 years at a time. Under great stress humans evolve and adapt like almost no other creature can and I intend for that to be reflected in the editions. Each addition will ultimately offer higher levels, but also alternative career options.
Edition 1 is going to be the most "normal" of the editions and will restrict humans to the realm of the mostly possible, while hinting at and offering advancement options for future editions.
Edition 2 pushes the realm of the possible even further and builds on the previous edition's technology levels. Also, Edition 2 will introduce a "magic" type mechanic to the game that I am calling Psy. Also, the conflict with E-RAC's will have escalated significantly and humanity will be on the breaking point.
Edition 3 is when humanity starts to "win" and push back the boundaries of RAC territory. This is due mainly to the fact that humanity has drastically increased its technology capabilities and mastered its use of Psy; going so far as to link the two. The main focus for this game is going to be the addition of the ability to pilot the War Reaver Mobile Weapons Platform through a spiritual connection between man and machine.
More to come on this but anyone have any thoughts?
Sounds interesting, but wouldn't GLADIUS prohibit non-employees from reentering the Domes if they've been into the Waste? The possibility that even one infected person could bring down an entire Dome should be enough for them to impose a draconian quarantine, and the
War Reaver Mobile Weapons Platforms
WRMWPs must have enough firepower to enforce the corporation's will.
I like the flavor of your setting, and given the alterations that the gene pool would've gone through, rapid evolution isn't unlikely. It would be more common in the Waste, though, due to the culling of the gene pool (only the strong survive), toxins (causing genetic mutation), and inbreeding (higher chances of certain traits appearing). You might consider lengthening your editions from decades to generations to add verisimilitude; it would also add an interesting political element if only the people born post-Uprising were able to use Psy.
Starvation and crime in the Domes are spot-on, especially if GLADIUS demanded the Dome-dwellers surrender their weapons prior to entry. I imagine there'd be a lot of improvised weapons, both inside the Domes and without.
Thank you for the feedback! I was getting scared no one would respond. I definitely like the idea of stretching the time in between generations and would like to use it if that is okay with you.
As far as transit between Wastes and the Domes goes, I was thinking characters might need to obtain or already have licenses. Transitioning frim one area to the other would involve a time quarantine where subjects' symptoms will manifest before they are allowed to rejoin the general population. Possessing a license is a sign of "wealth" as holders are given access to all manner of supplies that those within the Domes are not. I think doing it like this could lead to some interesting smuggling stories.
We have narrowed down and possibly defined the core part of our mechanics and I will update them to here probably sometime tomorrow.
For our core mechanic we are going to be using a d100 system. We feel that the d100 is going to allow players the greatest degree of control over their equipment and abilities while at the same time allowing us to balance things out with easy computation of percentiles.
These tests are rolled for anything that is not combat related. Examples include bartering, jumping a small chasm, breaking a door, and deceiving someone. In these types of tests, players will roll a d100 modified by an appropriate skill group and any other modifiers the GM believes are applicable in an attempt to beat a number set by the GM based on the difficulty of the task. The higher the roll, the better the result so GM's simply have to range their tests from 1-100. 1 Being easiest, 100 being hardest.
Attacking in our system is going to be pretty straightforward. There will be differences between ranged and melee attacks but this is generally how it is going to work.
Step 1: Attacker rolls 1d100--> 89
Step 2: Compare Result to target's (Defence (65) - Attacker's Modifier (15)) --> 89 - 50= 39
Step 3: Apply Damage to target's Health --> 100 - 39 = 61
Defence: Much like in DnD, Defence is a total reckoning of a character's or npc's ability to defend themselves. This includes but is not limited to armour, dodge, and misc. modifiers. Weapons designed for fighting defensively such as a shield can increase this further, as well as equipment designed to provide added survival.
Attacker's Modifier: This a stat generated by determining the sum of a character's ability to do damage. All weapons have a basic modifier that represents their over all lethality; from damage to accuracy and everything in between. If a player possesses the knowledge required to use this weapon effectively they receive the full benefit. If they have Mastery over the weapon they get an added bonus. If the character is not trained they simply receive no benefit when attacking. In addition to this, melee attacks receive bonuses from physical attributes. Ranged weapons can be further modified to provide a bonus as well.
Health: Health is represented as a percentile in this game. 100% means that your character is fit and healthy and 0% means that your character is dead. These numbers can be augmented by taking certain skills (I'm still working on this part) that allow you to fight below 0%, take off a static amount of damage for every hit taken, or other things besides.
End Result: I really like this method of doing things because it simplifies the rolling and calculation required to go through combat. In the long run this will allow us to include actual moves that player's can do instead of just rolling the same attack over and over.
The to hit and damage roll are worked into one dice roll. If the attacker rolls below the target's Defence, the attack is a miss or is absorbed by the target's armour depending on which of the two they are heavy in. If the attacker rolls above the target's Defence, the difference in the roll result and Defence end up being the damage caused. In this way, heavily armoured characters cannot be killed outright unless they are fired on by weapons with Devastation (Multiplier to End Result), take multiple hits (From a machinegun for instance), or are critically hit.
I started on character creation and am assembling some of the more "broad strokes" rules as I go along.
I got a little frustrated with the format I was using and it was just too hard to organize my thoughts on here. So I decided to use charts instead. I think these are more reader friendly as well.
The first page of this pdf is just a summary of what makes a character a character and the order in which those categories will be addressed.
The second page is a list of the 5 "races" available to players to pick one time only. Each race is a classification of the character's career before the Uprising and determines starting skills, equipment, and abilities.
The third page is a summary of the occupations or "classes" I have so far. What will happen eventually is there will be trees for each race that determine the occupations available to that character. After this has been selected and the character has earned xp, they can move into new occupations that are related to their first choice, gaining access to more powerful skills and abilities. You can kind of see how I will group them but there are a few exceptions and there are some occupations that you just wont get until I complete their entries.
Each "Tier" represents the character further moving into the world and control of Gladius. At first Tier the character has just entered the Bio Domes and has been classified by Gladius based on their skills. As these individuals progress and demonstrate skill, more specific and specialized careers become open to them. The third tier will have the most options and be the most complicated as far as how the occupations tie together.
Let me know what you think.
On a side note I am looking for some writers to assist in fleshing out the world, occupation entries, and general writing. I'm handling most of the mechanics but experts are always appreciated. Just PM me if you are interested.
I don't have time to get too in-depth with fleshing things out, but I'll swing by from time to time to offer advice/comments.
Licensing and quarantine makes perfect sense, and should be a good fit.
The base mechanic looks like it should do well, since a GM can easily adjust things to produce the desired difficulty. I'm interested to see how you determine base attributes, since they'll prove critical to how effective the characters are. Even if you decide to go with a random method of stat generation, including a point-buy option will please the people who are frowned upon by the Stat Dice gods. As one of said people, I'm a fan of point-buy because it's no fun playing a "normal" in a party of "heroic" characters.
Sounds like zombie fall out. Could be interesting (granted, fall out had zombies of a sort, but... it depends on how you do it).
Would be even cooler if you could have your own warband or tribe. 4Xing... eh... probably not recommended? If you want it to remain gritty, players shouldn't handle all of the combat by themselves - the one thing I found silly about fall out was simply roaming the wasteland by yourself.
Of course, the thing that also made fall out 3 good was checking out all the neat dilapitated post-nuclear holocaust places, but salvaging for items and weapons got old for me.
It also depends what direction you want to take in combat. Is it going to be mostly shooty? Vehicular? Think about needs to be involved and then find a way to apply it.
I have also determined the Attributes I will be working with.
Now that I have a workable base for creating a character's occupation and general idea of the Attributes involved, I have started in on the various systems that will be present in the game. Combat is a major one but I also want to do a pretty heavily important system for surviving in the day to day. This is what I have so far for survival:
Hunger, fatigue, and despair are the constant enemies of those in the world of 2032. Large populations, high crime, and the threat of RAC's force characters to constantly be on guard against these three evils and they must actively take steps to avoid death at their ever persistent hands.
A few random answers to questions that may have popped up during the reading of those rules...
There are a few instances in the Hope system where having a lower Hope score is actually beneficial. This mainly only concerns "Prodigy" and "Exemplar" occupations. These two occupations are the ones that I have designated as the most influenced by the early bits of "Psy" and are the most out there in terms of realism. For characters that see this and want to use it, there will be an Ability called "Creature of Evil" which will effectively turn the Hope system on its head. Such characters cannot go Catatonic and be removed from the game, but they start to display some...side effects. More coming on that. The general idea is that not all characters in those occupations will be content to just safeguard humanity selflessly. A few become power hungry individuals. When you're living at the edge of the laws of the Universe, its understandable.
As always, any questions or comments are greatly appreciated.