Before starting a game, each Player must first create a character that he will guide through the adventure. This character will be the player's alter ego in the world of Zombiepocalypse. This character will have a number of attributes used throughout the game.
Unlike many other role-playing games, characters in Zombiepocalypse are not over-burdened with a plethora of attributes, stats or other numbers to keep track of. There are no special numbers to determine how "strong" or "intelligent" a character is. There aren't even any hit-points. All character start out with the same health and skills; the system is designed so players can create a new character in minutes, or even seconds. In fact, there's only one real attribute – the Players Option – that the player need worry about, and even that does not need to be selected at the start of the game.

Player Character Sheet
In order to keep track of the character's attributes, Player Character Sheets can be provided to each player. This briefly lists all the important facts about the character, such as what skills he knows, how injured he is and what equipment he is carrying. However, because Zombiepocalypse is purposely designed to be simple and streamlined, many players may choose to keep track of all the details in their head. An example Player Character sheet is provided below.

             Example (blank) 

             Example (blank) 
Name and Description
Every character needs a name. This can be anything from the player's own name (for the unoriginal) to something as unusual as “Joe-Bob the Mad Knifer”. This will be what the other players use to refer to the character so it needs to be a name you are comfortable with.

In addition to a name, the player can optionally think up a description brief for his character. (e.g., "a student", or "a policeman"). This description will have no effect on gameplay other than as a guide for players in role-playing. Players can add as much detail to their character's history as they want, although it is recommended that they keep things simple. Not only does it speed up character creation, the sheer lethality of the game means that most of that work is likely to go to waste when the character dies and you just have to create a new one!

Players Options
The one bit of customization that the player need worry about at the start of the game, and that's his Players Option. This Option allows the player to modify the character by giving him a single skill. This can be anything from knowing how to pick a lock, to being a better shot with a pistol or even knowing how to fly a plane. A selection of example Players Options is listed below; however, neither players nor GameMaster should feel limited to these.

Unlike many other RPGs, the Player Option does not have to be declared during the character creation stage; in fact, it can be declared (or invested, as it is commonly called) at any time during the game. The player can chose a Players Option when he first creates the character, or hours into the game. It can even be used to modify the results of a die roll after it has been rolled! However, once the player declares what he wishes to use the Option on, he cannot revert it or change it to any other skill.

Remember, Player's Options can be declared at any time - even after the die has rolled! - although any completed actions will not be changed. That is, a player can roll a "3" on a Skill Check to determine if he is holding a door shut, then declare he is "investing" it in the Strong skill – which gives a+1 bonus to any strength-based Skill checks - to turn that failure into a success. However, this purchase does not change the outcome of any Skill Checks made prior to that purchase.
GMs and players may think of other uses for their Players Options and should not feel restricted to only using the examples below. However, a Player's Option will never give a player more than a +1 bonus to any die roll and will be fairly specific (e.g., it may give a bonus to using pistols, but not all weapons).
Players Options can include (but are not necessarily limited to) the following skills:

  • Weapon Skill: +1 "to hit" with one specific weapon type (pistol, rifle, etc.)
  • Ammo conservation: +1 ammo per "clip" (additional round of firing before reload) for all weapons
  • Lockpicking: can pick easy locks automatically, +1 to Skill Check on harder locks
  • Strong: +1 to any physically demanding Skill Checks, such as forcing doors or lifting heavy objects. Does not effect weapon damage
  • Throwing: +1 to any throwing-based Skill Checks. Grenades can be thrown six hex.
  • Good Driver: +1 to any (road-based) driving Skill Checks
  • Climber: Can make easy climbs without Skill Check, +1 bonus for harder climbs
  • Pilot: knows how to drive one type of unusual vehicle (tank, plane, helicopter), +1 Skill Check when driving similar vehicle (e.g., tank->bulldozer)
  • Fast Shooter: Player can attack twice as fast with one particular type of weapon. However, this consumes double the ammo.
  • Fast Reload: So long as player has the ammo on hand, he does not have to take a round to reload. This ability is not specific to only one type of weapon but may not be applicable to all weapon
  • Explosives Expert: Character knows how to handle explosives safely; +1 to any Skill Checks
  • Medical Expert: Player receives a +1 Bonus to healing rolls, can heal with makeshift medical supplies
  • Electrical Expert: The player is familiar with electronics and can repair or hotwire common electrical devices without difficulty.
  • Hacker: The player is an expert in all things computer and gets a +1 in any Skill Checks using a computer.
  • Runner: The player is fast on his feet and can move 1 faster than other characters (4/7 instead of 3/6; see section on Movement for details)
  • Stealthy: The player's character is light on his feet and is better able to sneak past observers. While sneaking, all perception rolls of the enemy are penalized by a -1 (see section on Perception for details)
  • Searcher: The character has keen eyes and notices what other characters often miss. If he fails a Perception check, he can roll a second time, albeit with a -2 Penalty to the second attempt.
  • more to come...

There are also three special Players Options which are not skills or abilities but work the same way as regular Players Options. These provide various in-game bonuses but can only be used once per character.
  • Special: Reroll:Can only be used once per character. Any failed roll can be re-rolled a second time, with the same bonuses or penalties as the original roll.
  • Special: Instant Hit: Can only be used once per character! The character does not need to roll a “To Hit” to determine whether his attack succeeds or not; it is instantly successful. The Damage roll receives a +1 bonus.
  • Special: Instant Heal: can only be used once per character! Character can instantly remove 1 (and only 1) "wound" from any other character he attempts to heal, including himself

Certain skills, such as Weapon Skill, Pilot, or Fast Shooter, effect only a type of weapon or vehicle. A weapon type is one of the weapons described below in the Weapon List, regardless of the specific example of the weapon (for instance, whether it is is a Colt revolver or a clip-loaded Barretta, it's falls under the 'Pistol' type). The Pilot skills is likewise limited; a player may declare his character is a Pilot (Auto) which will give him skills with most cars, but not trucks or motorcycles. A Pilot (Plane) would not provide any bonuses when attempting to fly a helicopter.

OPTIONAL RULE: The GameMaster's Option 
This is an optional rule a game-master may wish to use to encourage role-playing in his game. The GM may, at his discretion, provide the player with an additional Player's Option, either by simply giving him a second Player's Option point to spend, or by directly specifying the bonus to be used. This can include any of the listed Player's Options above, any of the example GM Options below, or any thing the GM thinks of. As a general rule, the bonus should never offer more than a +1 bonus to one type of roll. These bonuses should be given out either as a reward for exceptional role-playing (and never more than once per character) or to help differentiate the characters or ensure the players have the necessary skills to get by a certain section of the adventure

GM Option Examples

* Holy: Once per adventure, the character and anyone associated with him can walk by a group of zombies without getting attacked or followed
* Sixth Sense: The character has an unexplained ability to sense the presence of the undead. On a Perception roll of 6, the player knows whether or not there are zombies in his immediate vicinity (6 Hex radius), regardless of any obstructions. He does not know the direction or number of the monsters, only whether or not any are nearby.
* Immune: The character is immune to Infection and need never fear the zombie's bite.
* Made of Sterner Stuff: The player can suffer up to four attacks per combat before becoming Seriously Injured
As the game progresses, the character will inevitable get into fights and battles. A very likely result of these conflicts is that the character will be injured, either by the tooth and claw of a zombie or the bullets of fellow survivors. Every injury causes a penalty to the player's die rolls (see the section on Injuries and Healing) and thus these need to be tracked. There is no maximum number of injuries a player can sustain, however. At the start of the game, the character will be uninjured.

Equipment and Weaponry
The Game Master will assign equipment to any new characters. As a general rule, each character is assumed to have his usual day-to-day clothing with him, as well as a handful of inconsequential such as his wallet or house keys. Anything beyond that is either assigned by the Game Master or found during gameplay. This includes weapons, ammunition, food or survival supplies. The GM may rule that the characters start empty handed or may give them weapons or equipment.

Finishing Up
All of the characters belongings are called his Inventory. This inventory is divided into Slots; usually, one item fits into each slot (some larger items, such as a tent, may take more than one Slot). Characters are limited in how much they can carry and at the start only have four Slots available. As they find bags or other containers, more Slots – up to ten – are made available to them. Regardless of how many Slots they have, characters can never carry more than four weapons. See the Equipment and Inventory section for more details. The GM will then place the character in the game.

Once the players have picked a name, selected a Players Option (or decided to save it for later in the game) and have been assigned any weapons and equipment, they are ready to play. Creating a character is intended to be quick and simple, so as to get the players into the game as quickly as possible.

Notice 1

ZOMBIEPOCALYPSE is still in development. Although playable, the system is not complete. Not all the rules have been written and those that have been are subject to change at any time. And editing for clarity and readability is low priority. Despite being made available to the public on this website, ZOMBIEPOCALYPSE is still considered to be in beta form. You have been warned.
Notice 2
The Roleplaying Game System currently known as ZOMBIEPOCALYPSE is being made available to the public for free for their enjoyment and use. However, the author maintains all rights towards its distribution and development. You are free to view or download the rules and make use of them in any game sessions for the personal use of you and your friends. You are not free to redistribute the rules in any way, nor are you allowed to make any derivative works from it.

In English, this means you are free to download this game and play it amongst friends. You are not allowed to give the rules away to anyone else (redirect them to this website instead), nor can you take these rules and create a derivative work from them.

For more complete licensing information, please see our License page.
(c) 2013 Spalls Hurgenson

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