2nd February 2013, 3:25 PM
Zombie RP brainstorming Thread
(The idea and wish thread is a bit too broad for my subject but if this thread breaks a rule that I missed then please let me know)
So, there have been quite a few role plays that have an undead apocalypse or two but what does it take to make a GOOD one? Should pokemon be in it? What about weapons, skills and food? Should the players be seperated or forced to work together? (or even pitted against each other?) Are playable zombies overpowered and game breaking?
I will not consider any idea to be too farfetched to possibly be workable in a perfect zombie RPG.
2nd February 2013, 4:37 PM
I like the intention behind the Idea and Wish thread, but only 2% of the ideas that show up in there actually get to be made into RPs, even though I've spent quite a bit of time trying to help people get their ideas off the ground. Truthfully, nothing says "you wasted your time" better than spending almost an hour researching their ideas and what it's based off of, coming up with good solutions and ideas, and then having the person say nothing or do nothing with what I said and never launch the RP anyway. Instead, it's just "I feel like starting a <Insert generic anime title> RP, would anyone be interested?" and then not start the RP regardless of what anyone says. That's like waking up Christmas morning to a bunch of wrapped presents only to discover every single one of them is empty.
So yeah, I think people that are serious about their ideas should get their own discussion threads. Those that just want to throw some random idea out there into the blue just to get it off of their mind... yeah, they can use that thread instead.
For a good zombie apocalypse storyline, you need the feeling of entrapment and desire to escape. However, accomplishing that escape plan needs to be difficult. Resources need to be low, being able to contact anyone from the outside for help needs to be shut off or difficult to accomplish (or they've left you for dead and don't want to head back into the danger zone), and of course, the zombies need to be a threat and can't be easily eliminated in mass droves. Whatever weapons or equipment the survivors have should be just enough to endure the situation, if not a little less just to make them sweat. If they're only packing baseball bats and other common items turned into survival weapons, then the zombies shouldn't be that overwhelming. But if they're packing high-powered assault rifles, shotguns, and the like, then you need to turn up the heat by having more and/or tougher zombies show up. Of course you can turn up and down the heat depending on what the characters' situation is like. If they're getting beat up and running out of ammo, cool things down, but if they're skipping around with rocket launchers and machine guns, crank up the dial.
Zombie games and movies tend to show that those who doesn't stick together tend to die. As far as making zombies playable, that's fine, but don't expect for any zombie character to live a very prolonged life. Left 4 Dead versus mode has a great setup where four players are the survivors and the other four are playing as the special infected zombies, but the four playing as the infected are constantly getting killed and then respawned as a new zombie. If you plan on going this route, you'll probably need to implement the same thing, where their character's life is brief but they'll get a new one if and when they get killed. Or, you could have some overlord person(s) managing all the zombies and creatures and decide what they do and who they go after. But in this scenario, people should be accepting of the fact their character may die and be open to the premise of character death. Of course, make it possible for them to make new characters that may join up with the rest of the group later on.
In terms of bringing in skills to the RP, it depends on how deep you want your RP to go. If it's the standard zombie survival RP and you're not having anyone manage hit points, inventories, or whatnot, you don't really need skills. Someone's ability to perform first aid won't really matter if hit points are not in the equation. Neither would repair if there's nothing to determine whether a vehicle becomes damaged. Even a proficiency in guns won't matter if there's no dice roll to determine if it's a miss or a hit or exactly how much damage it does to the zombie. But if you do want to incorporate those kinds of elements of HP, hits/misses with dice rolls, and so on, then definitely use skills and have people who are using those skills derive some more additional benefit than those without the skill, such as the guy with first aid being able to heal more HP, or the guns guy being able to get better chances to hit. Survivalist guy could have a better chance at finding food, goods, and supplies through some kind of "Scavenge" action, while repair dude could take a beat up car and turn it into a 40HP mobile transport. As long as each skill has a quantifiable benefit to have, then it's worth having it in the RP.
Bringing in the element of food starts to make things go deeper as well, and for this, you would need people to manage inventories. You could dictate a rule that states a character must have food and drink every five or so posts, or they start some kind of starvation countdown. With an inventory system, it's clear how much in terms of supplies people have, and no one is pulling anything out of a hat to conveniently bust them out of a messy situation, such as a laptop or an extra gun they never said they had in the first place. If they have an inventory, then anything they don't have that they want to search for will have to be determined through luck and/or the decision of the GM/overlord. And yes, it should be implied they'll have a better chance finding something like food in a grocery store than in a subway, or a firearm/ammo in a police station than a restaurant.
Bringing Pokémon into it is up to you, but if you do go that route, they too should get their own HP values (doesn't need to be on the scale of the Pokémon games). And yes, it should also be implied that the more Pokémon a person wants to pack with them, the more mouths they've got to feed, especially if they're fully evolved. In this case, for the purposes of keeping things easy to follow, I would only apply HP values, the type chart relations, and only level-up moves. So instead of using billions of stats, just say a trainer's Flareon has about 8HP, is considered a Fire type, and can only use level-up moves. Anything more than that and you're going to make things too complex to manage.
Again, it all depends on how deep you want to go. I think it would be much better to have it more complex than the standard, run of the mill RP, personally. You could do a lot of interesting things with it.
4th February 2013, 6:52 PM
Pretty thoughtful response and a lot of good ideas! If someone did make something like this, I think the hunger/ food angle would be a great fit. One bit that I am conflicted on is that I want to encourage cooperation but I would also like to see a 2 sided zombie RP, since I have not really noticed anyone be able to make a solid one of those yet. (although I did see a couple that came awfully close)
I would want to keep it casual but hopefully not make it too simple.