A zombie apocalypse makes a thrilling background for a role-playing game adventure. Whether you're playing a zombie-specific game like "All Flesh Must Be Eaten" from Eden Studios or a classic horror game like Chaosium's "Call of Cthulhu," players enjoy the tension of struggling to survive against the shambling hordes of the walking dead.
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One of the classic zombie narratives is the siege. Definitive zombie films such as "Dawn of the Dead" and "Night of the Living Dead" centre on sieges, with human survivors holed up in an environment with limited resources while the undead roam outside. For a scenario based on a siege, describe the central location in detail and allow the players to improvise defences for it. Play up the tension of the situation: classic zombie siege stories rely on the tension to pit the characters against one another.
Another classic zombie scenario is the escape. Films such as "Land of the Dead" and "Zombieland" put their protagonists on long journeys through zombie territory, hoping to reach a goal. For an adventure based on the escape model, pay careful attention to movement and terrain. Force your players to make tough decisions, such as whether to leave wounded comrades behind for fear that they might slow the party down. If your game uses vehicle rules, consider giving the characters a special vehicle. Also consider wrecking it spectacularly.
Every zombie apocalypse has to start somewhere, and yours is no different. The conspiracy thriller zombie adventure sends the player characters in search of the source of the contagion, even as the zombie plague spreads through society. Antagonists in an adventure like this one would include not only the zombies themselves, but the sinister corporation, government agency, witch doctor or mad scientist responsible for creating the zombies. Challenges in a conspiracy thriller scenario should centre around stealth and infiltration.
Sometimes, nothing will do but a gore-soaked slugfest against wave after wave of marauding zombies. To make this type of scenario interesting, vary the power level and abilities of your zombie antagonists and set the battle in some kind of characterful setting such as an amusement park or oil rig. This type of scenario is action-packed fun, but not a good basis for a long-term campaign, since if you're doing it right all the characters are likely to die.
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