Author: Daniel Proctor
Artist(s): Mark Allen, Daniel Cruger
Length: 64 Pages
Availability: PDF at RPGNow.
ROTWORLD is a zombie apocalypse survival game. The game uses the Action Table mechanic throughout. ROTWORLD does not feature a particular zombie type or setting. The exact nature of the flesh eaters and cause of the uprising are left open to the Corpse Master (CM). The book is split into 3 general sections: Character Creation, Action & Combat Resolution, and Setting Information.
I was not familiar with the Action Table as a mechanic other than in passing. As I began to read through the game, I kept expecting the actual table to be covered early on. Instead, it is included at the end of the book. I had read about 1/3 of the game and kept getting the urge to flip to the table. After the thought crossed my mind for the 3rd or 4th time, I decided instead to just finish reading the document before looking at the table to determine if the text can stand on its own. It does. Had I looked at the table earlier, it would have sped up my comprehension of the game. The Action Table concept boils down to how well a person succeeds (or fails) — its a differential metric.
The game only uses d10’s. Character attributes and skills are based on percentiles. Character generation is simple and should be relatively quick. Some skills do have perquisites but that is only a minor complication considering the short list of skills. The system includes a Luck attribute, which can be used in a variety of ways.
If the CM allows, characters can also have Paranormal Talents. PT’s are special mental skills a few individuals have (and perhaps a few rotters). The PT’s add flavor but can be completely ignored if the group desires to avoid mystical powers entirely.
Combat is round based with action declaration up front. Initiative is based on a group roll so you can blame the player tossing the dice when your character gets mauled. The entire combat process is well documented. A variety of tables suggest modifiers for actions. While useful, they could be skipped entirely in favor of CM rulings. I could run the system without a thorough re-read after only 2 hours of browsing the book.
The last third of the book focuses on setting but not a specific world. The text covers generating interesting non-player characters, suggestions on constructing a timeline since the collapse and picking how the rotters work in your world. Enough detail is given to get a game up and rolling quickly if you want. Alternatively, numerous starting points are given allowing a CM to craft a rich world full of diverse zombies. Ideas for the availability of items to be scavenged are available as well.
I only spent about 2 hours reading the book. I like the balance struck between specifics and generic options. I can imagine a wide range of settings and zombologies. The lack of a detailed world opens far more doors than a particular setting could have. I’m not an Action Table convert but it works for the system. After a few times of playing, the AT would become minimally invasive.
Table of Contents is detailed and accurate. Hurrah. Looks like a lot of fun. Time to craft some crazies.