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.
Nobody really expected the end of the world. They certainly didn't expect it to end at the hands of the walking dead! But as the ravenous ghouls rose up from the grave, civilization tumbled into the empty grave they left behind. Before long, all that was left was the wreckage of once mighty cities, the ravaged corpses of the true dead, and zombies. Lots and lots of zombies. It was an apocalypse. It was the zombiepocalypse.
But before the end of all things, there were scattered survivors; scattered handfuls of the living struggling against the inevitable. Fighting, running, hiding – and dying; there was a lot of dying – these remnants of Mankind tried desperately to stay alive in a world turned abruptly hostile towards them.
These are their stories.
Zombiepocalypse is a fast-paced role-playing game set in a world where the Dead have risen from their graves and civilization has crumbled beneath the unexpected onslaught. The players take the role of Survivors who struggle against the hungry undead, hoping to stay alive for just one more day. Designed to be easy to pick up and simple to play, it is a quick-moving action/survival game unencumbered with excessive rules that slow down the game-play.
Like the movies and video games it emulates, Zombiepocalypse is a game with a high mortality rate for the characters. There are no heroes; anyone can die at any time. But just because a character (or even the whole party) dies doesn't mean the game is over for that player (or the group); character creation is intentionally easy because not only is death cheap in Zombiepocalypse, it's an expected cost of entrance.
What is Role-playing?
In simplest terms, a role-playing game (sometimes abbreviated as RPG), is nothing more than an codification of a game of “Let's Pretend” that everyone has played at one time or another sometime in their life. The core of the game is identical; you pretend to be somebody else and play out stories and adventures in your imagination. With a role-playing game, Let's Pretend is extended so you can play it with a group of friends, using agreed-upon rules to keep things fair and dice to add the unexpected (and thus drama!) to those adventures. Many role-playing games are set in realms of heroic fantasy, where the players do battle against dark wizards and deadly dragons; others are set in space, allowing players to fly starships and explore new and strange worlds. Zombiepocalypse is set on our own planet Earth, familiar in all details save one: the undead walk the earth and hunger for the flesh of the living.
In role-playing games, most players take the role of the Survivors, a small band of the still living, and guide them through a world being destroyed by the once-dead. This desperate handful are known as the Player Characters, sometimes abbreviated as PC. One player will take the role of the Game Master, sometimes abbreviated as GM. The GameMaster is responsible for creating the setting; he will describe the locations the other players will visit, and take the role of the Monsters (whether they are the zombies or the increasingly rare other survivors). The other players will respond to this setting and control their Player Characters in their struggle to survive. The GameMaster will adjudicate any disputes.
A role-playing game is often similar to performing improvisational theater, albeit with a somewhat different structure. The Players and the GameMaster will gather together, usually around a table to play the game. The GameMaster leads them through the session, typically referred to as an Adventure. The adventure lasts until the players agree to end the session, usually at a convenient pause in the action. In general, the GM sets the stage for the Players, the players tell the GM what their characters try to do, and the GM decides on whether they succeed and what are the results of their actions. The players then react to the new situation, and so on, moving the adventure on towards its eventual conclusion. The rule system helps the Game Master determine the likelihood of various actions, using dice to add a factor of unpredictability to the game.
To further clarify how a game of Zombiepocalypse plays, read the Example of Gameplay section. This transcript is typical of the sort of action that occurs during a game session
The Setting of Zombiepocalypse
The world the players through which the Players navigate their characters is similar to ours with one significant difference: the walking dead roam the earth, hunting and killing any of the living they come across.
Based on the numerous movies, graphic novels, video games and books of the genre, Zombiepocalypse is intentionally generic. The rules provide a framework for you to create the undead-haunted world of your own. Do the players want to hole up in a mall, hiding from slow-moving ghouls risen from the grave? Perhaps you envision a world ravaged by fast-running victims of an infectious, maddening disease? Or maybe the ghouls are strangely mutated creatures, bloated and twisted into strange and murderous forms? Will the players try to hide, run, or fight back? Does the adventure start at the beginning of the outbreak or years later, amidst the ruins of civilization. Rather than force a particular idea on the players, Zombiepocalypse is designed to allow both the Players and the GameMaster envision the end-of-the-world they have always dreamed of!
How is Zombiepocalypse different from other RPGs?
Zombiepocalypse is intentionally different from most other role-playing games on the market in several ways.
First, it is designed to be simple to play and easy to learn. Its core rules are concise, preferring to abstract most issues rather than attempt to simulate every possibility with hundreds of pages of tables and guidelines. It uses the common and familiar six-sided die rather than a multitude of polygonal dice. In almost every case, a roll of 4, 5 or 6 indicates a success while a 1, 2 or 3 indicates a failure. Character creation is intentionally simple and in fact can be completed by simply thinking up a new name. Common concepts such as Levels, Class or Hit-points – found in many other role-playing games – have been abandoned in order to keep the game moving quickly and not requiring either the players or the GameMaster to memorize hundreds of options. Players can start blasting zombies only minutes after starting a game, even if they have never played the game before!
Second, Zombiepocalypse is intended to replicate the unexpected brutality and high mortality common to the genre. There are no punches pulled for player characters; any one can – and probably will – die at any point in the game. But if a player character dies, they are easily replaced thanks to the streamlined character generation system. Even if the whole party dies – normally a death knell for most other game – a new band of survivors can be ready to take their place in minutes.
Finally, Because neither the players nor the GameMaster can depend on any characters (whether they are run by the players or by the GM) surviving for long, Zombiepocalypse does not lend itself to long-term adventures or campaigns. In fact, with the lack of levels or experience points (two concepts common to other role-playing games), the rules actually work against it. Rather, most games are one-shot adventurers and – in fact – can be played without any preparation beforehand. A random adventure generator is included to aid the budding GameMaster with running his game.
What You Need To Play The Game
Zombiepocalypse is a game for two to six (or more) players. One person will take the role of the GameMaster (GM), the others will take control their Characters through the adventure. Although more than six people can play the game at once, increasing the size of the group beyond that rapidly becomes unmanageable and is not recommended.
The game uses dice to determine the success or failure of certain actions. These dice are the common, everyday six-sided dice that can be found in any variety of boardgames or purchased seperately from most stores. Although the game can be played with only one die, it is recommended that each player have their own die. The GM may wish to have more than one to aid him in resolving large numbers of attacks.
The GM and the players may wish to have pencil and paper handy, both to keep track of their characters and any equipment they find, as well as to jot down notes or to make maps of the surrounding area. However, Zombiepocalypse is intentionally designed so character status is easy to keep track even without such aid.
Although it is not necessary to play, many gamers enjoy using miniatures to represent their characters in the game. These can be placed on a battle-mat (a vinyl mat with a grid of hexagons imprinted upon it that can be drawn upon with erasable pens) to better help them envision the layout of the surrounding environment. In lieu of miniatures, any sort of tokens can be used (for instance, pocket change can stand in for the player characters or monsters). However, these are all optional and the game can be played without the use of any such aids.
The Role of the Dice
The success or failure of most actions in Zombiepocalypse is determined by the roll of one or more dice. Using dice adds that spice of randomness and unpredictability upon which the game hinges. In Z6E, the common six-sided die is used for all rolls. This die is often abbreviated as "d6".
Zombiepocalypse is purposely designed to be simple to understand. A quick rule of thumb is that if roll of 4, 5 and 6 is good, and 1, 2 or 3 is bad. For instance, in combat you might be called on to roll a die to determine how deadly your attack was (this is called your "Damage Roll"; see the section on Combat for more details). A roll of a 1 would indicate the the attack was a weak one and your target is only staggered. On the other hand, if you roll a 6, your massive blow kills the target outright. Other rolls work similarly; for instance, a player might be asked to roll a die to determine if his attempt to hotwire a car is successful; a roll of 5 would get that engine started but a 2 would means he isn't going anywhere!
Some situations might provide certain bonuses or penalties that are applied to the die roll. These modifiers are added (for bonuses) or subtracted (for penalties) to the number rolled on the die. The total (roll + modifier) is then used to determine the result of the action. For instance, in our example above, the game-master may decide that a roll of 4 or higher is needed to hotwire the car but - because the player is attempting to hotwire the car in the dark - the player suffers a -1 penalty to his roll. The player rolls a 5 and adds the -1 penalty, for a result of 4; he still succeeds, by a hair. If he had rolled a 4, though, that -1 penalty would have made the end result a "3" and the player would have failed in his attempt.
(c) 2013 Spalls Hurgenson