Often survival will require more than running and fighting; sometimes the best tactic for survival is simply not to be seen.
Assuming there is clear line of sight, any zombies will notice any living characters who are within 120' feet (12 hex) and immediately start heading in their direction. Any zombies between 130 to 600 feet (13 to 60 hex) will not notice the characters unless they attract attention to themselves in some way (shouting, shooting guns or flashing lights, for instance). To determine if a zombie has noticed a character, a Perception roll is made and the following table is consulted. If the distance between the undead and the characters is less than 120' but there is no clear line of sight between the two, make a Perception roll as you would were they 120' apart.
- Die RollEffect1-3Ignore4-5Alert6Aggressive
A result of Ignore means the zombies do not detect the noise and continue with their regular activities (or inactivity) as usual.
A result of Alert indicates that the zombies have noticed the disturbance but have not connected it with the presence of the living. Any future Perception rolls are made with a +2 bonus for the zombies.
A result of Aggressive means that the zombies have noticed the players and are moving at their best speed towards the noise with intent to kill.
Like most rolls, the GM may afford various Difficulty modifiers to the Perception Roll; for instance, he may grant -3 penalty to the monster's Perception roll if the players' characters are sneaking by in complete darkness. As with any Difficulty modifiers, there is a maximum of +/-3 to the roll. Unlike other rolls, a result of 6 always indicates that the zombies have noticed the players, regardless of whether or not the modifiers would have reduced this to a lower number.
The Living – including the player characters – have the same chance of noticing a foe as the zombies, with one crucial difference; rolling a natural 6 does not automatically mean they have noticed the enemies. However, zombies – being malodorous, mumbling shufflers – never attempt to hide and give the living a +1 bonus to all Perception rolls.
Every additional 120 feet between the zombies and the players' characters adds an additional level of Complexity to the check; that is, another Perception roll is required, to a maximum of three. Thus, to detect a character 260' away, the zombies would need to make three successful Perception rolls.
Any character can make an attempt to hide at any time. By declaring that they are Sneaking, the characters add additional modifiers to the monster's Perception check. These stack on top of any other modifiers. Characters with the Sneaking skill force a -1 penalty to the monster's Perception roll. The GM may also take into consideration -and apply bonuses or penalties based on this – what the characters are wearing or carrying, whether there are any obstructions between the characters and the monsters, and the current environment and light level. While Sneaking, the characters move at 1/3 their normal speed and they cannot perform any other action or attack (if they do either, they lose their Sneaking bonus). The GM should make the Perception roll as usual, but should not announce whether the characters were successful or not (in order to maintain the drama, whether they are successful or not should become obvious through the gameplay). There is purposely no official listing of modifiers for Perception rolls in order to keep the game from getting too bogged down with rules and tables.
Surprise (Optional rule)
A properly executed ambush can give the attackers the upper hand by allowing them to catch their opponents flatfooted. Characters caught by surprise act as if Staggered for a single round, and cannot make any attacks, actions or move. This advantage, however, only works amongst the living; the undead can never be caught unaware in this way. And with one exception – the Lurker zombie – can the undead ever surprise the living.
In order to Surprise a character, the ambushers must obviously be hidden prior to the attack. The GM should roll a Perception roll on behalf of the ambushed prior to the start of combat; if the roll indicates the attackers were hidden, then the attackers gain a full round during which the ambushers cannot react. Surprise attacks cannot be initiated while in combat.
Scavenging is generally only necessary when the characters are searching an unfamiliar location that has been looted or otherwise ravaged, or if they are searching for one particular item amongst many. Finding a can of soup amongst a shelf full of cans of soup does not require Scavenging; the characters must only go up to the shelf and pick up the item. Locating the last remaining unopened can buried on a shelf covered with empties does. Similarly, Scavenging is usually something done while under pressure, whether from time or impending attack. Hoping to find some ammo or medkits in a closet before the zombies down the hall finds the characters would require a Scavenging roll; searching that same closet after ensuring the house is empty and secure would not.
Simply looking around in a very orderly room or for obvious items does not require a Scavenging roll.
However, if the Players' Characters are forced to search in a rush or while under threat, a Scavenging roll will be required. Characters can search one shelf, cabinet or backpack at a time. Each attempt to Scavenge will require 6 rounds (36 seconds) of searching . Searching through multiple shelves, cabinets, etc. would require multiple searches.
Success at Scavenging is not always automatic; in their rush, the characters may miss noticing the vital equipment. A die roll is used to determine the success of their search; a roll of 4, 5 or 6 indicates success. A successful search reveals one item on the shelf (e.g., a weapon, a clip of ammo, a medkit, one ration of food, etc) has been located. If there is more than one item to be found on the shelf, additional attempts at Scavenging will be required. Located items are not automatically added to Inventory.
Bonuses to the Scavenging roll can be added by searching more slowly. A +1 bonus can be added by doubling the time of the search.
Scavenge Results Table
- Time SearchedBonus to Scavenge Roll6 Rounds (36 seconds)none12 Rounds (72 seconds)+124 Rounds (144 seconds)+248 Rounds (288 seconds)+3
Ten minutes of scavenging will automatically reveal all items on a shelf or cabinet without necessitating a roll or requiring multiple searches for that location. Once searched, anyone aware of the shelf's contents will not have to search again.
Penalties may be applied as usual for things like darkness; bonuses if the shelf is particularly orderly. If an item is purposely hidden it will also force a -1 penalty to the roll.
Alternately, characters can also Ransack a shelf or bag. This is a much faster, albeit messier and louder search. This search only takes one round to complete, but is only successful on a roll of 6. Any nearby monsters must also make a Perception roll with a +1 bonus to determine if they heard the characters. Furthermore, ransacked shelves, etc. will need to be searched again if item is not immediately picked up.
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