Author Topic: GURPS Open World Zombies help?  (Read 12186 times)

paintknight

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GURPS Open World Zombies help?
« on: March 29, 2013, 06:37:53 PM »
Hey All!  I'm brand new to the forum, so first of all, hello!

I'm a long time RPG player but have to say that the times I've tried to run games have generally just been draining experiences, but I'm thinking about trying it again.  I've really loved the idea of Zombie apocalypse survival with the following aspects:

-The titular zombie survival itself
-Resource scavenging
-Base building
-Travel
etc.

I sent in an e-mail and Ross gave me some suggestions.  One of the suggestions he gave me was running the game in GURPS  (as well as AFMBE and a few others).  GURPS looked interesting and sounded a lot like Tri-Stat dX in the way that it's a full point-buy system.  I'm looking for a few suggestions:

1.  What's the best way to go about setting up an open world for that kind of scenario?  Start with a town, some woods, maybe a few farms?  Include a major city too?  Highways?  And then how much detail should go into those?

2.  I'd like to drive the players toward making a really elaborate base somewhere remote.  We're talking, at the end of the day, clearing a large amount of space (Acres at least), building fortifications around the property, building a building or two to start, towers, secret entrances, etc.  What's the best way to accomplish this with the rules and whatnot?  Any fun ideas for building mechanics such as mini-games of sorts?

3.  The zombies - Are there good, simple zombie templates?  What's the best way to run them?  Of course you have the herds and whatnot, but also there could be varying types such as the basic slow, perhaps a runner, perhaps larger zombies that have higher muscle mass, etc (just to add variety)?  Suggestions for great ways to accomplish awesome, easy-to-use zombies would be great!

4.  Player characters - This will be the first time I've ever done anything with Gurps and on top of that it might be a game run via a virtual tabletop (probably using Roll20.net).  I've seen suggestions that characters should be 50-75 points; I was also thinking as high as 150 or so.  What's a good way to go as far as limiting the players but not going too far?  Suggested limitations / off-limits things?

Also, I'm absolutely open to other suggestions and tips you guys have.  My goal is for this to be a very open, player driven (for the very most part) game that's more of a sandbox for them to play in than anything else.  Looking forward to hearing from you all!

Thanks!  ;D   

Flawless P

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Re: GURPS Open World Zombies help?
« Reply #1 on: March 29, 2013, 06:54:24 PM »
Something I've been toying with.

Make all the players immune to the zombie virus. This helps with continuity. If you feel like you'll be missing out on suspense just get a piece of paper and write IMMUNE or INFECTED (All of them will say immune but the players won't know that.) Then seal each one in it's on envelope, and write each characters name on the outside.

If the player gets bitten give them the envelope and after the "alloted" time in game for transformation comes up... you have them open it.

The suspense this would build up should be suffceint to keep things interesting, plus if the other players get twitchy enough they might not make it to opening the letter.

As far as GURPS goes, build the PC's using a low stat level and maybe lesson the penalty for trying to aim a shot at the head.

Guns should do minimum damage to anywhere struck other than the head.

The good thing about GURPS is that there is a skill for anything.

So you'll find something good for "building fortifications" in there somewhere. Either way I think 75 points would be a happy medium for what you are trying to accomplish. Semi-compentant survivors with useful skills that won't just get out right murdered.
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clockworkjoe

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Re: GURPS Open World Zombies help?
« Reply #2 on: March 30, 2013, 02:15:08 AM »
A few years back, I played in a play by post GURPS zombie campaign - I joined during the game so I wasn't there for the entire campaign but this goes on for thousands of posts - should give you some ideas http://forums.somethingawful.com/showthread.php?threadid=2636788

Of course, you may need to get archives access to the SA Forums, but I think it's worth it.

If you want a truly epic play by post game that's still active, Blackbird Dreaming is nearly 6 years running at this point, uses GURPS, and is post-apocalyptic in nature http://forums.somethingawful.com/showthread.php?threadid=2545278


paintknight

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Re: GURPS Open World Zombies help?
« Reply #3 on: March 30, 2013, 05:07:53 AM »
Awesome, thanks guys! Heck, maybe I'll try getting into a play by post game first just to get used to things. The envelope idea is fantastic btw! I'll write more here soon; just gotta be up early. If you guys know anyone else who could contribute at all to this thread, by all means send them this way, I'm as hungry for input as a zombie is for... Well, you know :P

Ezechiel357

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Re: GURPS Open World Zombies help?
« Reply #4 on: April 02, 2013, 07:39:47 AM »
For a "Building system", I used two variants in my own game:

- First one, the PCs spent XP points ot "buy" features for their bases. It is on a voluntary basis, hence putting a little tension: do I keep XP to make myself stronger or should I spent it to make our base better ? And to justify the XP expenditure, I describe it as the PCs spending time to improve the base.

It will require some works from you to come with a list of improvement and their costs. They are structural improvements (tougher walls, better security systems, & cie), services improvements (having a workshop, a lab, a arsenal, a hospital...) and allies (troops, specialist like doctors and so on).
Each of this items can translate either in some bonus to test, the ability to perform certains actions (like having a lab to work on a cure) or having access to some competences when no PC has a skill.
Maybe calculating the value of XP to have a certain competence or a certain bonus, then add a -50% (or more ?) modifier because it is static and linked to a location ?

- Second one, the project system. When PCs want to achieve something, assign a difficulty to the test and a value to reach for completion of the project. Every X days or weeks, each PCs contributing to the project can role a test. In case of success, tally the margin. Once the total margin of success reach the cap, the project is completed.
The second system is more adequate if timing is important and PCs need to make choice on where to focus their effort. Also, because of the mechanics of adding several results, it avoids that a single role determine the outcome of weeks or months of effort.
The Second system values also some survival competencies that are often set aside, like all crafting skills, Architecture, masonry and so on. When I used this system, I also add the option of taking voluntary malus to increase speed: each -1 taken as penalty to work faster translate in a +2 bonus on the margin in case of success (the way to interpret it, the PC is taking more risks, no double checking is work, increasing his chances of failure, but in case of success, build it faster).
Again, you have to do some work upfront to gage/decide how much point is worth a 3 meter electrified fences around a whole perimeters.

Finally, there might be a third option. From time to time, I use some GURPS books as they are a gold mine of information of specific topics. They are rules for Gadgeteering and building magical items, maybe also to build some more "basic stuff" can be found and adapted to to build a base.

Good luck. From a couple of experience where my players had to build their base (or covenant since they were mages), they enjoyed that part.

Ezechiel357

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Re: GURPS Open World Zombies help?
« Reply #5 on: April 02, 2013, 09:06:16 AM »
Since I run a Apocalyptic campaign recently, including base setting and improvement, maybe here are some ideas for you.

Initial base: instead of giving them a base, let them choose amongst a few options (three bases), with different pro and cons for each.
Example:
- a military bunker in a forest: easy to defend, but no land to grow food around, possible contamination with chemicals, high presence of zombie. May or may not have some spare supply, usually include generators and even water purifier (but are they running, are they contaminated ?)
- a farm converted by a sect retreat (like Waco tragedy), with a decent fence, farmable land. Not as sturdy as the military base, but more potential for autarcy. Far from the next city - gas consumption will be a limiting factor to organise raids to retrieve missing goods.
- a luxurious 6 story building in the middle of the city. Good security system - however some glass walls on the ground floor should be quickly replaced by sturdier materials. Proximity of the city and relative ease of access to retrieve goods. No cultivable lands, however a glasshouse and hydroponic farm on the rooftop could be installed since there is already a swimming pool.

Depending if you consider having magic or not, an aura or some source of power can also be additional advantages.

Your campaign will go through three phases (or maybe even four depending when you start).

Phase 0: during the apocalypse -  the PCs have to survive the raise of the dead, whatever triggers the Zombocalypse. Very likely, they are limited with what they have on themselves or in-house when it started. Survival is based on a daily (even hourly) basis. You might skipped this phase, or run it as an introduction scenario with disposable PCs (which may or may not be immuned - if they survive, they are  ;) )

Phase 1: after the apocalypse. They are survivors. Now, survival is planned on a weekly basis. Pillaging for food, gas, ammo and locating a place to settle. It should become obvious than staying on the run is not sustainable: having to always move means you never have a strong shelter and you need to find gas on a weekly basis if not more, and if you have wounded people, it becomes even more a strain. Do they pick up some people that most of the time will be a responsability and a burden (more mouth to feed and to protect), but could from time to time provide some unnexpected help (having a unique skill; surgery, speaking a dead language, having some visions or other supernatural ability). Fresh food availability is decreasing rapidly as after a week or so it naturally spoils.

Phase 2: settlement. They have found the place they believe is suitable. They need to reinforce it and plan for the longer term: how to become self-sufficient for food - pillaging super market might only last so much. Fuel is not hit by peremption date, but securing it might requires taking more and more risks. This is where crafts and technological skills become more prevalent: how to install solar panel - impossible to make new one, but salvaging is very much an option, how to heal fractures, wounds and diseases, how to repair a water well and so on. Ammo can become scarces. Training with other, more primitive but easier to maintain weapon might be required.

Phase 3: expanding. The daily life might not be bright, but at least food is sufficient to prevent starvation and the protection of the settlement from zombie hordes has been proven. The PCs are not anymore on survival mode, they can start thinking on the future: how to reclaim more territory, finding out other survivor camps, what did cause the zombocalypse and can it be stopped, is there a mystical ritual to banish the invasion from the dark dimension ?

As zombies varieties, there is an excellent book called "Zombies of the world"  :D.
For my campaign, I had those various types (all undeads):
- Basic zombie: stupid, slow, hungry, but relentless, more or less blind but gifted with the ability to sense living people within a certain radius. Easy to avoid alone, easy to outrun, but PCs needs to sleep, they don't. Adjust their ability to track to your taste/need;
- the ghoul: faster, more agile than a human, cunning (but not intelligent), rare. In group of 3 to 10. Have talons and can climb walls, tears tile from a roof. More dangerous than zombie and useful to test a security perimeter. Cannot carry mission, only driven by hunger;
- the bloated corpse: a huge (3 to 5 meters - 9 to 15 feet), obese, monstruosity moving as fast as a human (hence slow for its size), able to "discharge" zombies from its belly. Cunning, but still not intelligent. Able to take controls of zombie around it - range of the ability up to you to decide (sight, 100m, 1 km, or more);
- the hunter: intelligent, as agile as a human, rarer than ghoul, able to raise dead animals (especially dogs/wolf) that it uses to track people. Act usually alone. Can set trap. Good for harassing a small group of PCs.
- the mist bearer. Similar in appeareance to a regular zombie, but intelligent and more agile, rare. Surrounded by a green, heavy mist which raise dead bodies. Can control every type of zombie. Motivation to be decide by the DM - or simply driven by hunger;
- the delicious corpse. Look very much like a living human, including a warm body (although no pulse). Exudes strong pheromons at will, which makes people form both sex fall for it. They are not contagious except when exchanging bodily fluids. Intelligent. Rare. Used by power behind the scene to enter and weaken stronghold. Their victims don't turn immediately into zombie, the process takes several days, during which they behave like human, but follow order from the delicious corpse. After 7 to 10 days, they rot and becomes mindless zombies.

The three first types can easily be seen as variant of the basic zombie type and can go with more or less any setting. The three next one are more suitable if there is a power behind the scene to explain their existence - and magical background is almost a requirement to justify their existence.

That's it for now.

Gorkamorka

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Re: GURPS Open World Zombies help?
« Reply #6 on: April 02, 2013, 01:18:18 PM »
If you have any GURPS spesific questions, then feel free to ask.
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SamualArredondo

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Re: GURPS Open World Zombies help?
« Reply #7 on: February 14, 2014, 04:38:02 AM »
Since I run a Apocalyptic campaign recently, including base setting and improvement, maybe here are some ideas for you.

Initial base: instead of giving them a base, let them choose amongst a few options (three bases), with different pro and cons for each.
Example:
- a military bunker in a forest: easy to defend, but no land to grow food around, possible contamination with chemicals, high presence of zombie. May or may not have some spare supply, usually include generators and even water purifier (but are they running, are they contaminated ?)
- a farm converted by a sect retreat (like Waco tragedy), with a decent fence, farmable land. Not as sturdy as the military base, but more potential for autarcy. Far from the next city - gas consumption will be a limiting factor to organise raids to retrieve missing goods.
- a luxurious 6 story building in the middle of the city. Good security system - however some glass walls on the ground floor should be quickly replaced by sturdier materials. Proximity of the city and relative ease of access to retrieve goods. No cultivable lands, however a glasshouse and hydroponic farm on the rooftop could be installed since there is already a swimming pool.

Depending if you consider having magic or not, an aura or some source of power can also be additional advantages.

Your campaign will go through three phases (or maybe even four depending when you start).

Phase 0: during the apocalypse -  the PCs have to survive the raise of the dead, whatever triggers the Zombocalypse. Very likely, they are limited with what they have on themselves or in-house when it started. Survival is based on a daily (even hourly) basis. You might skipped this phase, or run it as an introduction scenario with disposable PCs (which may or may not be immuned - if they survive, they are  ;) )

Phase 1: after the apocalypse. They are survivors. Now, survival is planned on a weekly basis. Pillaging for food, gas, ammo and locating a place to settle. It should become obvious than staying on the run is not sustainable: having to always move means you never have a strong shelter and you need to find gas on a weekly basis if not more, and if you have wounded people, it becomes even more a strain. Do they pick up some people that most of the time will be a responsability and a burden (more mouth to feed and to protect), but could from time to time provide some unnexpected help (having a unique skill; surgery, speaking a dead language, having some visions or other supernatural ability). Fresh food availability is decreasing rapidly as after a week or so it naturally spoils.

Phase 2: settlement. They have found the place they believe is suitable. They need to reinforce it and plan for the longer term: how to become self-sufficient for food - pillaging super market might only last so much. Fuel is not hit by peremption date, but securing it might requires taking more and more risks. This is where crafts and technological skills become more prevalent: how to install solar panels - impossible to make new one, but salvaging is very much an option, how to heal fractures, wounds and diseases, how to repair a water well and so on. Ammo can become scarces. Training with other, more primitive but easier to maintain weapon might be required.

Phase 3: expanding. The daily life might not be bright, but at least food is sufficient to prevent starvation and the protection of the settlement from zombie hordes has been proven. The PCs are not anymore on survival mode, they can start thinking on the future: how to reclaim more territory, finding out other survivor camps, what did cause the zombocalypse and can it be stopped, is there a mystical ritual to banish the invasion from the dark dimension ?

As zombies varieties, there is an excellent book called "Zombies of the world"  :D.
For my campaign, I had those various types (all undeads):
- Basic zombie: stupid, slow, hungry, but relentless, more or less blind but gifted with the ability to sense living people within a certain radius. Easy to avoid alone, easy to outrun, but PCs needs to sleep, they don't. Adjust their ability to track to your taste/need;
- the ghoul: faster, more agile than a human, cunning (but not intelligent), rare. In group of 3 to 10. Have talons and can climb walls, tears tile from a roof. More dangerous than zombie and useful to test a security perimeter. Cannot carry mission, only driven by hunger;
- the bloated corpse: a huge (3 to 5 meters - 9 to 15 feet), obese, monstruosity moving as fast as a human (hence slow for its size), able to "discharge" zombies from its belly. Cunning, but still not intelligent. Able to take controls of zombie around it - range of the ability up to you to decide (sight, 100m, 1 km, or more);
- the hunter: intelligent, as agile as a human, rarer than ghoul, able to raise dead animals (especially dogs/wolf) that it uses to track people. Act usually alone. Can set trap. Good for harassing a small group of PCs.
- the mist bearer. Similar in appeareance to a regular zombie, but intelligent and more agile, rare. Surrounded by a green, heavy mist which raise dead bodies. Can control every type of zombie. Motivation to be decide by the DM - or simply driven by hunger;
- the delicious corpse. Look very much like a living human, including a warm body (although no pulse). Exudes strong pheromons at will, which makes people form both sex fall for it. They are not contagious except when exchanging bodily fluids. Intelligent. Rare. Used by power behind the scene to enter and weaken stronghold. Their victims don't turn immediately into zombie, the process takes several days, during which they behave like human, but follow order from the delicious corpse. After 7 to 10 days, they rot and becomes mindless zombies.

The three first types can easily be seen as variant of the basic zombie type and can go with more or less any setting. The three next one are more suitable if there is a power behind the scene to explain their existence - and magical background is almost a requirement to justify their existence.

That's it for now.


Exciting ideas.. I have got my own Kill Zombie group and I would love to apply your ideas.. Thanks for sharing..
« Last Edit: February 15, 2014, 10:39:41 AM by SamualArredondo »