Apparently the ROTWORLD NPC generator broke during an upgrade some time in the past. The generator was fixed earlier today and is once again functional.
So, I finally managed to run Rot World for a group during my semi-annual power gaming weekend. The attendees were given a choice between AD&D or Rot World. The overwhelming choice was to play RW. I honestly didn’t expect it to get played so I was minimally prepared and I only used the minimum portion of the system needed — character ability and skill checks on the action table. All book modifier tables were ignored in favor of simple difficulty adjustments by the Corpse Master. I love that term.
The players were allowed to pick and choose skills, backgrounds, and place attribute rolls to fit their interest. My major forcing point was to pre-set why they were a group at a county fair in the middle of summer. The group ended up having one ex-military guy, a side show ax and weapon tosser, and a security system specialist.
As for the scenario, it was a pure one-off, use every trope in the zombie genre. I essentially took Dawn of the Dead and relocated it into small, plains towns with minimal entry/exit points. The game opened with a tanker wreck in the heart of town at the intersection of the two major highways. The tanker was leaking an unknown fluid and the cab had been subject to a significant explosion. The players along with a large group of locals went to investigate but were rebuffed by the local authorities. Many hints were dropped that the driver of the tanker should no longer be alive but was still moving. [Exponential decrease in exposure to reanimation].
From that point forward, it was pure sandbox. The military escort planes arrived and blew up key points along the highways , effectively trapping the party from just leaving in a vehicle. Soon afterward, heavy hauling C130’s dropped ground troops and vehicles to reinforce the initial perimeter. Being a town, there will still many avenues for the characters to escape.
They chose to go overland on stolen ATV’s from the fairgrounds but paused as an early perimeter defense sniper took out civilians who left ahead of them. Due to several very, very lucky rolls they managed to escape the original perimeter but paused long enough for a larger, more efficient military force to take up positions well outside of the original demarcation line. I likely railroaded them a bit more during a break by telling a player they were very unlikely to escape the situation.
Prior to leaving the city, the characters were well aware that the high school was an ‘evacuation site’. They were in possession of local security radios and captured a military radio later. After hitting a few different road blocks, they chose to go back into the city and try to work the military as an escape mechanism. The idea of fleeing on foot almost got them captured and detained. They would have been penned up except for great rolls by the ex-military guy and his high personality.
Upon the return, they were looking for supplies so ventured into the heart of town. Being nearly 2 days later, the city was completely overrun with infected but most were contained in the softball field near the high school during the quarantine period. A few zombies were fought but easily overcome. As they were looting the local gun shop, they received a radio transmission from the high school. The force that had been in charge of the quarantine were now trapped and left by the commanding force. The party had to choose between surviving or rescuing people they saw as having screwed them earlier. To up the tempo, I tossed in the nugget that the city would be fire-bombed (napalm) in four hours. That was the last communication the stranded military had.
The party decided to rescue the military guys even though they knew they could get out of the bombing zone. It involved visiting the local farm equipment dealership, a tractor, a HMMVV, and a couple of crop sprayers. It was chaotic with numerous roadblocks to hinder them but they managed to effect a rescue. Once they accomplished the rescue, the party turned to leaving the city to escape destruction.
And again, pure sand box style, the ex-military guy with a phenomenal personality tossed kick the CM worthy die. His roll allowed them to approach and leave the containment zone. That allowed us to wrap up the session in an effective manner.
Of course, given the trope-filled night. At least one zombie escaped to continue the infection.
I was aware of Welcome to Mortiston, USA: An All American Zombie Apocalypse as a project. I was not aware of it being a Kickstarter project until today. Mortiston is either a standalone or drop in setting for the zombie apocalypse. From the blurb…
“Welcome to Mortiston, USA” is a multi-system zombie apocalypse set in an “average” American town. The setting is licensed for five different RPG game systems. All game stats are included for immediate integration into any game of Outbreak: Undead, Savage Worlds, The Modern Path for Pathfinder, Rotworld and OGL Modern. Mortiston needs heroes who can step up to the challenge, or only the dead and the damned will walk the streets, or something far, far worse…
The Kickstarter project’s goal is to get the book printed not to develop and release it. The work is already completed — something quite unusual for a project. Plus it supports multiple systems out of the box including ROTWORLD, which I like but have yet to play. If you are familiar with any of the systems, it would be trivial to convert to another system you’d prefer for the game.
As of this writing, the project is a mere $89 from fully funded. The books will be released in June. A release date within a month is instant gratification in the project world. Like most, Mortiston offers many levels of support are available with oodles of extras.
If you’ve been considering a zombie game but holding off due to a lack of a setting, this project could be a perfect match. Give it a look.
Big shout-out of thanks to Mark C. for pointing out the ROTWORLD NPC generator was broken. During the optimization of the city name generator a few days ago, I changed the database schema but failed to update the RWNPC page.
More code I need to re-factor so it can fail on one element without causing the entire process to fail. Code can always be improved. Especially hobby code that I don’t spend sufficient energy on.
Thanks again, Mark, I truly appreciate you taking the time to let me know.
ROTWORLD scenario is finished. Okay, close to finished, may have to tweak a bit more. Labyrinth Lord session is nearly there. That’s all I’m going to prep for VisionCon. I’m going to play more than I run but figured it would be useful to have some things ready to roll should the opportunity strike .
While I was in that process, I did a massive amount of code for some new generators. Neither of them are done. I went tangential on both generators. Tangents add interesting bits but defeat a completion target. Tangents win. My personal efforts have no deadlines.
It is 2012. I’m going to game more and code less.
Three weeks to go.
Game prep always leads to thoughts on random generation. Up to bat are zombies. More specifically, I’m pondering zombies for ROTWORLD. I have already hand-crafted a dozen that will be featured in the game. Still, I’m going to need filler at some point.
My needs are more fluff than crunch. Good information on a random set of the folks behind the scenes so I can expound when needed and just cross them off the list as they’ve been terminated.
The bare bones process I’ve worked up includes sex, general age range, ethnicity, hair color, hair style, wound locations, wound severity/descriptions, and clothing style. Not all of the elements are well defined yet. Wound descriptions and clothing are still in progress.
I may add information regarding the rigor stages for the newly undead along with decomposition states as defined within ROTWORLD. Even those are mostly fluff. Usable information with little impact to game mechanics.
For the crunchier bits, I could add occasional occurrences of differing ability scores, movement, and specialized attacks. Doing so is trivial but all zombie worlds vary so I am leaning against it. The same goes for different intelligence levels and talents.
Do you need zombies? If you do, would you like options to enable the crunchier bits of the ROTWORLD system? Are there descriptive elements I have missed?
My most popular post of the year was the review of ROTWORLD. The post ROTWORLD – Gut Reaction happened to be the first review of the system. I didn’t even consider it a proper review — just a semi-organized impression of the system after reading it quickly.
The runner up was my introduction of the Labyrinth Lord Resource List. Compared to the current list, the original post was very sparse. The current list spans 5 different pages including everything mentioned in the 4th runner up post, 60+ Labyrinth Lord Modules.