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Old 06-13-2012, 10:37 AM   #11
JMD's Avatar
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Southern NH, USA
Default Re: Zombie Campaign Ideas

Originally Posted by kdtipa View Post
Player interest will come from the ability to achieve a goal. If you put them in a city, and tell them that you want to run a campaign to see how long they can survive, I think interest from players will be low. At least... I would lose some interest if there wasn't something I could really hope to achieve to "win" the scenario. You might consider the cliche (it's cliche for a reason) of the characters hearing of a place where survivors are gathering and making a go of it. Reaching that place can be a goal that gives hope so the players are interested.

Using a group of orphaned children as a moral dilemma is a risky thing for a GM. Not only might the characters ignore them, but really this one will depend on how invested the players are in the story. I play with a number of people that would laugh, and then start considering ways of using the children as a means of shielding themselves from zombie encounters... like tossing a kid to the zombies so they could keep running.

Finally... I'd find a way to make it so the infection isn't "yes" or "no". If you use a binary system like that, then a player gets bit or they don't. And you either keep tension up by killing off characters (or zombifying them), or you lose tension by the players starting to realize they're never going to get infected. I like the idea of something where repeated exposures mean increased probability of dying/"turning into a zombie". This way, you have something the players don't want to happen, but which you can use a few times. Keeps the tension up. The player will know things like "If I get bit one more time, I'm probably not going to make it".
I agree with everything written here. I've been in several games in several systems that rely on "staying alive" or the gm let's us direct the narrative. That is all fine and good, but unless there are some pretty clear goals then we are going to have flagging interest and a difficult time coming up with what we can do. In any situation like this, the unfortunate reality would be that people would hunker down and defend a position, leaving only to grab food if needed, or leaving NYC and living on a farm. Unless they have a reason to stay in the infected area, (such as saving/finding a family member [walking dead], being trapped in an interesting locale by the zombies[dead island], or searching for an installation where there is a cure [28 days later]) then you are going to have a really hard time keeping them in a well infected area, short of pure railroading, which can be annoying to the players, especially when they supposedly have free-reign.

My suggestion here would be to do what I do with every game: set up 3 main story points, one leading to the other. For each story point, make 3 story points within it. Now you have 9 adventure across three acts that could take up to 18 sessions or so. And because you made it sort of vague story points, the characters can have free reign still, just make sure that the story points are good enough to make them keep going.
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Old 06-13-2012, 01:21 PM   #12
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Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: near Houston
Default Re: Zombie Campaign Ideas

You could use slow zombies controlled by a zombie master, but it takes several encounters before the PCs realize there is a zombie master.
A generous and sadistic GM,
Brandon Cope

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Old 06-13-2012, 05:20 PM   #13
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Norrköping, Sweden, Europe, Earth
Default Re: Zombie Campaign Ideas

Getting them to round up survivors might actually be a good idea, gives you some interesting NPCs to portray and a chance to show that zombies aren't the only monster in the world. It also gives them some tangible sort of victory - they have actually saved people and increased the population that can rebuild by a substantial amount.
"Your reality, sir, is lies and balderdash and I'm proud to say I have no grasp of it whatsoever."

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