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Dedications:

To me.
It's been a long road.

To Judy, for your faith in me, your patience, your support and your love.
It means more than I can possibly say.

To my family, for always being there and supporting me through


thick and thin.

To THE WEZ for introducing me to the worlds of role playing games.

To AJ Pickett (aka The Mighty Gluestick) for being a constant source of


inspiration, and for opening my eyes to possibilities.

To Stuart, for being my hard-right conservative ideas man, and always telling
me when I've gone too far.

To Jet, because it blinks.

Acknowledgements

Many people have helped to make this book a reality, with advice, feedback,
proof reading, ideas and much more. You have my sincere gratitude for your
generosity, effort and goodwill.

Richard Hawkins
Andrew Head
JJ Parus
Todd Wilkins
Pete Chua
Pete Petrusha
T. Julian Bell
Bradley Clark
Gary London
Kim Penny
Matt Hardware
Carl Rosa II
Written, Typeset, Art-Directed and Designed by: Oliver R. Shead

Adventure "Give me Liberty" Written by: Caleb Harris,


Co-Authored by: Oliver R. Shead

Short Story "Rules Of The World" Written by: J.J. Parus

Proof Reading and Editing: Scott Vandervalk

Cover Art (and Interiors): Andy Walsh

Other Artists: Jeremy Corff, Joshua Meehan, Alexander Chelyshev, Bram “Boco” Sels,
Maarten Hermans, Tom Fayen, Jon Pintar

Playtesters and Assistant Game Designers:


Stuart Holbrook, Daniel Milne, Jet Liberson, Rein Drafall

Infected!
Copyright ©2016 Immersion Studios, All Rights Reserved

No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed


or transmitted in any form or by any means, including
photocopying, recording or other electronic or mechanical
methods, without prior written permission of Immersion
Studios.

www.infected.immersion-rpg.com
www.immersion-rpg.com

First Printing 2016


ISBN 978-0-9946287-1-8
Contents
1 - Introduction 8 4 - Character Creation 55
What You Need to Play 9 Character Creation Process 56
Example of Game Play 9 Example Character 57
Gaming Parlance 12 Attributes 67
Skills 68
2 - Outbreak 15 Circumstances 71
Year 5 — This Is Now 26 Advantages and Disadvantages 79
The Infected 28 Vital Statistics 93
Materiel 29 Experience 103

3 - The Basics 33 5 - Equipment 105


Rolling a Check 34 Money 110
The Character Sheet 38 Hardness Rating 113
Passive/Opposed Rolls 46 Vehicles 115
Bonuses and Penalties 47 Weapons 117
Bungles 48 Armour 124
Spiritual Attributes 52

4
8 - Narrator’s Section 213
6 - Actions 127 The Basics 214
Sample Actions 128 Storylines 217
Combat 132 Sample Characters 224
Combat Manoeuvres 138 Scenario "Give Me Liberty" 229
Situations 147 Non-Player Characters 238
Animals 242
7 - The World As We Know It 151 Prices 243
The Infected 152
Infection Of Calera Virus 154
Rules of the World 157
NORTHCOM and NORAD 158
Los Angeles 161
San Francisco 173
Las Vegas 183
The Red Hand 196
Pappa Doc's Railway 204

5
Well, well, look at you, strung up like a prize turkey. Woah, no need
to struggle, I’ll cut you down. There you go, mind the spikes. Typical
cannibal trap — you’re lucky I came along. What’s that? Oh, don’t act
all shocked. You’ve got a lot of prime quality meat on you pal, and that
sort of protein is hard to get ‘round these parts.
Do you have a place to go? No? That’s okay, I know a place. It’s safe
enough.
Don’t trust me? Fine, have fun out there by yourself...
Yeah, thought so. Come on then, I’ll take you there. It’s starting to get
dark though, so we’d better keep quiet. I know the streets ‘round here
seem quiet enough, but you just need to know what to look for.
You see over there? Yeah, that big bunch of industrial buildings in the
distance? That’s a government settlement. At least, they call themselves
the government, but then again so do a few other groups around here.
They’ve been fighting each other for years, that’s why the city’s so
wrecked.
No. Screw that. We’re not going over there. What would be the point?
Their market’s pretty shabby and the prices are steep. Plus, it’s almost
dark already, and do you really want to be caught on the streets in the
middle of the night? The night’s the time when the Infected come out.
Trust me, you don’t want them to catch your scent.
Look! See that? Yeah, bones. But see how the skull’s been cracked open,
and the bones are split? That’s Infected. They eat everything man. Your
marrow tastes pretty good — so do your brains. There are enough of
them around here to give me the creeps. Let’s hurry. They might be
watching us even now.
You’re kidding right? How many movies did you watch? Well, I’ll tell you
something, the Infected aren’t like that. Yeah, they’re crazy and they’re
strong, and they’ll kill you pretty quickly. But they’re not stupid. Think
of them as really evil, really smart monkeys. They can move silently,
watching and listening — and smelling you. And when they find you,
they’re likely to get a whole bunch more of them before they attack.
They might even wait until you’re asleep.
That’s something for you to learn, and learn well. Don’t ever
underestimate them. They know all the tricks in the book. They can
open doors, climb ladders, throw things at you, use bait to lure you in.
Some of them can even speak. That’s the worst... I heard a little girl
calling out to me once. I went into this building to look for her — and an
entire pack was in there, all shrieking as they closed on me.
I should have died that time. Lucky for me I have a .45. It’s a worthwhile
investment. What’s that? Oh. No... not exactly. I was there with a girl
called Alice. She was great, looked out for me — heck, she’d told me not
to go in there in the first place. But she was just so damned loyal! She
followed me in there, despite her misgivings.
Yep, that .45 got her right in the knee, and she struggled just enough
that the Infected didn’t bother to chase me.
Don’t look at me like that, you know you’d do the same. You wouldn’t
be here if you hadn’t done some terrible things to survive. It’s been over
five years. Everyone who’s still around is a tough bastard.
Heck, just finding food these days is hard enough. Most people tend
farms like cabbages were made of gold. They’re all fenced in, guarded,
fought over. But that’s hard work, for little gain. Many towns are
constantly on the edge of starvation. If you ask me, that’s inefficient.
Oh, here we are. Yeah I know it looks empty. Wait, I’ll just knock.
All right, come on in, you’re just in time for dinner.
Hey fellas. Yeah, I’m back. Look what the trap caught. You got the fire
going? Good. This guy’s plump. He’ll last us a week or more.
How can I do this to you? Quite easily, I assure you.
Now hush, you’re upsetting the children.
Chapter One
Introduction

I
t is the end of the world.

In the ruins of civilisation, survivors cling on,


hoping only to live another day.

But despite the near-total collapse of


everything, society is not totally
destroyed. Out of the ashes, in the
ruins of cities and towns, hunted
and besieged by frenzied hordes
of the Infected, there is life. There
is hope.

Through the ruins of society,


struggling to find food and live
another day, the survivors must
often make brutal choices — choices
that could inevitably decide if they
become like the monsters they’re
fleeing from.

Role Playing Game


Welcome to Infected!, a tabletop
role playing game — also called
an RPG.

What is an RPG? Well, think of it as a natural


extension of traditional storytelling. Almost
anyone who has sat around the fire and
listened to a truly great storyteller spin his tale,
or who has read a really great book that they just
can’t put down, has also occasionally wished that
they, too, could live the adventure.

8
Well, now you can. protagonists are great warriors or brave adventurers,
but will they really be able to overcome the odds
A role playing game puts your group of friends in
thrown up against them? A good author or director
command of the story and the outcome. But the fate
will be cunning enough to make the end uncertain.
of the story's characters are never certain in an RPG
After all, in real life good guys can die — and do.
— because their fate is decided by the Players.
This uncertainty, or chance factor, is represented by
In any story or movie there are protagonists,
a system of rules involving dice and statistics. The
secondary characters, antagonists and a plot, right?
statistics represent level of skill, strength and the
What You Need to Play like — the natural properties of a person or thing,
You only need a few things to get ready to play. like the difference between a cannonball and a tennis
• The Infected! rulebook ball, or a commando’s firearms skill and an amateur
• 10-sided dice (2 minimum, but as many as 5 can
be necessary) paintballer’s. The higher the statistics, the less chance
• Paper there is of failure on any given attempt. For instance,
• Blank character sheets or pre-made characters, a commando’s skill may be rated at 8 out of 10, whilst
for all the players
• Pencils and an eraser the paintballer’s might be just 4.
• Two or more people to play the game (one of
them to be the Narrator, who runs the game). The dice represent chance, luck, and the million
• A quiet place to play (such as the kitchen table or things that can go wrong between your deciding to do
lounge room) an action, and it taking effect. This chance of failure
• A few hours to play the game (3 or 4 is optimal)
is, naturally, increased when one attempts to perform
more difficult actions — for instance, it’s fairly easy to
In an RPG one person, called the Narrator, sets the
shoot a barn door from ten feet back, but trying to hit
scene and directs the story, working out the setting
a tin can at a hundred paces can be a bit harder!
and the plot, and plays the parts of the secondary
characters and antagonists, called Non-Player The Narrator is the arbitrator and referee, ultimately
Characters. Meanwhile, the other people in the determining whether an action succeeds or fails,
gaming group, called the Players, take on the role of and what the exact effects are. However, it is very
the protagonists, which are called Player Characters important for the game to be one of cooperative
or PCs, act them out verbally, direct their actions, and storytelling, where the players also take a role in
decide how they react to the situations given them by creating the way the story unfolds. The players can be
the Narrator. very creative in their backgrounds, their histories, in
suggesting ideas to the Narrator that would further
Of course, if everyone could just say what they
the story. The whole idea is for the story to be as
wanted their characters to do, there would be little
gripping and thought-provoking as possible, and it is
excitement and plenty of arguments. For instance, if
certainly not a game of "Narrator-vs-players."
the Narrator described a scene where “Three hundred
angry soldiers are converging on you,” the players For example:
could just say, “Oh, we kill them all, no problem.” This
Stuart, Tom, Elaine and Jet have decided to play
gets into a situation of “You can’t do that!” “Yeah we
Infected! Stuart is most familiar with the rules, and
can!” and ruins the point of the whole thing.
has a good idea of an adventure he would like to run,
What makes a story exciting, riveting, and tense so he takes on the role of the Narrator, telling the
enough to make you grip the edge of your chair, or story and helping the others to play in it. The rest all
shout at the movie, or keep turning the pages? The create characters (how this is done is explained in
uncertainty of the outcome. Sure, you know the Chapter 4: Character Creation) and begin the story.

9
Tom makes a former soldier called Mark, haunted by the traffic increasing, as merchants pass you on their
his past (and what the army made him do), who has way to Branxton.
been struggling over the past few years, going from
Elaine: Can I ask one of the merchants if he’ll let me
town to town and offering his services, or working in
travel on his wagon?
the fields.
Stuart: Sure. You talk to a wizened old farmer as he
Elaine makes a fiery young girl called Angela, who
clips on by with a truck-wagon pulled by a couple of
has grown up through the worst of the outbreak and
cows. The vehicle’s engine, and any excess weight, has
seen everyone she loves die or vanish. She despaired
been removed so the cows can pull it, but they still
for a long time, until she found her calling as a delver,
seem to be having a hard time. What do you say?
searching the ruins for valuables. Sadly, she’s fresh out
of work right now, and hungry. Elaine: I give him the “poor innocent girl” look. “Oh,
please sir, would you mind if I rode on the back of
Jet makes a Russian former motorbike gang member
your cart?”
called Bosko, who was an “enforcer” for them back
in the day. He still remembers his own skills, and has Stuart: He gives you a skeptical look. “I don’t know
often found employment “protecting” people. Sadly, dear, these cows are having a hard enough time as it
his last employers didn’t like his “protection” and is. They’re not oxen you know! Every pound counts.”
sent him on his way — with a high-calibre
Elaine: I smile as charmingly as I can. “The road is
incentive! He’s now looking for more work.
long, and dull, and I am a good conversationalist! I
The story has already been underway for can even sing.”
some time, and all the characters have
Stuart: He chuckles, but he
joined together out of a common desire
seems to have warmed
to get to a local town called “Branxton”.
up a bit. “No, don’t sing.
This is the major settlement in LA, and
Don’t need to attract any
they all think that if they reach it, they might
more attention.”
find employment of one sort or another.
You keep talking to him, and
Of course, there’s a lot of ruined city to cross before
should now roll a check to see if you’ve persuaded
they get there!
him — I’ll give you a bonus because of the good role
Stuart (Narrator): The streets have been eerily empty playing.
for the past few days, as you passed through the
Elaine rolls the dice, with a bonus to the roll, and does
ruined outskirts of LA. In the first couple of days,
quite well with her check, getting 5 successes.
you saw people only occasionally, and they lived in
ramshackle villages that were filled with dirt, squalor Stuart: He finally relents, waving you up into the cab.
and the gaunt faces of people close to starvation. “Okay fine, come on up then.”

All of them watched you suspiciously, but you Tom: Hold on a second! I want to come too. I hustle
managed to trade, gain a night’s stay here and there, up beside them, “Hey buddy! Would you mind giving
though you slept with one eye open, just in case they me a lift as well?”
were tempted to thieve — or worse.
Stuart: Roll a Tact/Diplomacy check.
You don’t know who rules these areas, if anyone, (Skill checks are explained on page 34.)
but you kept your head down and stayed out of
Tom rolls, and fails.
trouble. As you draw closer to the town, you find

10
Tom: Whoops! I failed. I guess I come across a bit Stuart: Jet, roll Tact/Deception to convince him.
strong eh? Probably reminding the guy of every other Tom, you can roll Awareness/Deduction to avoid
soldier who has tried to rob him. being duped.

Stuart: Yeah that souds about right. The man’s beard Jet rolls badly again, and once again, Tom’s character
seems to bristle a little bit and he gives you a hard understands clearly what’s going on.
look. “No,” he finally says.
Tom: I point the assault rifle at him, from the hip.
Tom: (Speaking as Mark) “What? Okay fine! Forget “You really think you could take me down like that,
the both of you then! Ungrateful little... ” Bosko? Huh? You think I’m that stupid? I should put a
bullet in you, you traitorous son of a—”
Elaine: I laugh down at Mark, “Hey, do us a favour and
shut up.” Stuart: At that exact moment, you both hear a sound
of movement from beside you. Some rubble clatters
Tom: (Chuckling) I storm off moodily. “Whatever.” I’m
down, followed by a small river of dust and debris.
going to go off into the nearby ruins to cool off. I don’t
want to make a scene. But out there I’ll kick rocks, Tom: I look up.
smash some stuff for a while.
Stuart: For a moment there’s nothing but darkness
Jet: (Speaking in a thick Russian accent) “Zese from within the ruined building, then you both see
Americans are eediots, time for Bosko to do what 'e a hunched figure emerging, its face disfigured with
does best,” I’m going to follow him as he goes into the boils, its skeletal body oozing with sores through its
ruins by himself. rags. It lets out a low snarl.

Tom: Uh oh. Do I see him coming after me? Tom: Oh my god! I open fire at it.

Stuart: Both of you roll checks. Jet: I'm going to take a shot too.

Both of them roll. Tom gets 7 successes for Mark, Stuart: Both of you, roll for initiative.
which is an excellent roll. Jet, however, rolls a Bungle,
Tom and Jet both roll for initiative — to see who
which means it’s a critical failure. Jet laughs.
reacts first . Jet wins, followed by Tom, and then the
Stuart: (Speaking to Tom as his character) Mark, you Infected.
hear him coming up behind you, trying to be stealthy.
Stuart: Okay Jet, your shotgun roars and bucks into
He kicks over a small pile of rubble, curses softly in
your shoulder. Roll to strike!
Russian, then starts moving up behind you.
Jet rolls. It’s an average shot with 3 successes.
Jet: I’ve got a piece of wood in my hand to knock him
out with, and I’m being really sneaky with it... except Stuart: It sees you raising your shotgun, and goes to
for snagging it on a wall. “Sheet!” duck behind the rubble. Stuart rolls for it, getting 4
successes. Your shotgun round tears into the wall,
Tom: I turn around, my hand casually draped on my
spitting out chips of brick and dust.
assault rifle. “Hey man. How you going?”
Jet: Dammit!
Jet: “Oh? Me? Err... fine. Yes, I am fine! Just making
sure you are fine... also... ” I play with the piece Tom: I take my shot!
of wood as though I had just picked it up to keep
Tom rolls, getting 5 successes to strike and puts a
amused.
bullet into it — but the damage is not quite enough to
Tom: “Yeah. Sure you were.” kill it.

11
Stuart: Your gun roars and the Infected drops with is the supreme arbitrator and “author” of the story.
a muffled shriek. You hear it gasping and panting up What they say, goes.
there, but it’s now out of sight, quietly bleeding out.
Player: One of the people playing the game, who is
Tom: I turn to Bosko. “Right! Just what did you... ” not the Narrator. Players control characters who are
like protagonists in the story that’s being told. Their
Jet: I have my shotgun out, grinning at Mark, “What? I
characters are known as “player characters” or “PCs”
come to help you. But I can see you are fine. Da?”
to distinguish them.
Stuart: Once again both of you are cut short when
Player Character (PC): The character in the story that
you hear a horrific shriek rip up from the top of that
a player is role playing. This character is not being run
pile of rubble. You recognise that awful sound. It
by the Narrator.
echoes fitfully through the ruins — then is suddenly
answered by another shriek, then another and Non-Player Character (NPC): This is a character being
another. run by the Narrator. These are
the people in the story
Tom: I’m out of here! Go! Go! Go!
who interact with the
And so the adventure continues. player characters.

It is possible to have from 1 to 6 Players as well as Dice or Die: All


one Narrator, but 2 or 3 Players is usually the best. the dice (singular
Any more than that and it becomes difficult for the is “die”), we use
Narrator to properly engage each person in the story in the game are
and give them the attention they require — it can end 10-sided dice (also
up quite exhausting for them, and too slow for each known as a “D10”).
of the Players. However, having just one Player is also
not recommended, because let’s face it, how much
more fun is it to play with your friends?

Now, despite there being a whole set of rules which


may seem quite imposing, there are just a few things
to remember. This is a storytelling game, and is
designed to make for an intense, interesting story for
you and your friends. So if you see any rule which you
would like to change, go right ahead.

Gaming Parlance
Narrator: The person “running” the game. This
is also known commonly as a “Game Master” or
“GM”, as well as other names like “Storyteller”,
or “Referee” depending on which game you’re
playing.

The Narrator tells the players what


happens in the story, plays the role of
everyone the players interact with, and

12
Roll/Check: Whenever a character attempts Scenario/Adventure: A scenario (also commonly
something that has a chance of failure, the player or known as an “adventure”) is a story that the Narrator
Narrator must “make a roll” or “make a check” by runs the players through. This is typically like a short
rolling the dice and comparing or adding them to any story — it has a very definite beginning, middle and
of various statistics. Whatever they roll determines end.
the results of their actions.
Campaign: A longer game with a continuous storyline,
much like a novel or TV series. Some campaigns have
a very definite beginning, middle and end, which the
Narrator plans out beforehand. Others stretch on for
a long time, and are mostly dependent on what the
players decide to do in the story. Most are a series of
interconnected scenarios, each independent of
the next.

Scene: A period of time in which a single


dramatic event unfolds — like a blazing
gunfight, car chase through a ruined
city, climbing a mountain, just like
in a movie. It could be a long
or short period of time

13
There were riots in some cities, hospitals overflowing with people,
and now people were dying. I tried to call Klara, but the line was
dead. That was when the fear started to hit me. I was truly alone.
I had to do something, so I set out for her place, hoping against
hope that she’d be okay.
No one answered when I knocked on the door, but it wasn’t locked.
The rooms had a sickly smell to them, the air close and dusty. It
was gloomy in there because none of the lights were on. I heard
a sound and headed towards it. For some reason I could feel the
hair prickling up my spine. I stepped into the living room and heard
something move. I turned on the light.
It was Klara. Only, it wasn’t. She whirled to face me, crouched over
her parents like some sort of animal, the skin stretched tight over
her bones. Her eyes were feverish and so bloodshot they were
almost completely red. She was a skeleton. And she was dripping
with blood.
She had been eating them. Eating her own parents. Klara. Gentle,
beautiful Klara… I still can’t understand it. I just hope they had
already died of the sickness.
The worst part is that some part of her recognised me.
Just a second before she tried to eat me too.
I ran so damned fast, but she came after me, shrieking like a
demon as she smashed the doors out of the way. I climbed onto
the shed and I heard her right behind me. I snatched up a brick. As
she tried to grab me I struck down with it — again and again and
again... until she finally stopped moving.
Then I started running again.
I haven’t stopped since.
Chapter Two
Outbreak

D ay One
The virus comes out of nowhere. Initially
appearing vaguely similar to a potent strain
of the flu virus, it appears first in China, then rapidly
spreads to Mexico, Brazil, Europe, North America —
everywhere, really.

Theories for its origins point to several individuals


who may have been some of the first to be
exposed. However, within hours of their exposure
their symptoms made the virus airborne, as they
coughed and sneezed, spreading the sickness on to
countless others.

Within a day, upwards of two hundred


people are carrying the virus. At least three
of these get onto international flights,
and whilst in the air, their symptoms
emerge and the airborne particles
saturate the planes, infecting
hundreds more.

As of yet, no health
organisations have any clue of
the virus's existence.

Day Seven
Already, the virus has spread
dramatically, with over fifty thousand
people infected. By now, the medical
authorities from several nations have
started to notice it — because after
several days one of its most obvious
symptoms emerges, as the victims
break out in itchy, pus-leaking sores.
15
After a week, the sneezing has stopped and the virus urging people with symptoms to go to quarantine,
is no longer airborne. However, the pus and blood there is simply not enough space for them. The
from those sores is far, far more infectious. Should hospitals are already crammed to capacity, while
any of it enter a person’s mouth or bloodstream, they makeshift tents are rapidly erected all around them.
will almost certainly become infected themselves. Still, the conditions are cramped, hazardous and
highly charged with fear.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) issues a memo
advising investigation begin on this new “Super Flu”, The WHO issues a pandemic alert. But it is already too
soon known as the Calera virus. The name stemmed late.
from the tiny Mexican town of La Calera, where many
investigators traced the virus back to — not realising Day Fourteen
it had begun even earlier in China.
Just when it seems it can't get worse, the infection
gives its next surprise. En masse, patients start
Day Ten
slipping into comas. As the days pass by, they begin to
The outbreak has now reached across the entire waste away and die.
globe. Hundreds of thousands are infected and the
Everywhere, on news reports that speak of little
rate of expansion is exponential. Health organisations
else, there are coloured depictions of the hot spots,
are left scrambling to react. Still unsure of the full
where the outbreaks are worst across each city and
nature of the epidemic, the nations of the developed
country. Some cities and towns, further away from
world immediately begin strict quarantine rules in all
the population centres, are still uninfected, but as the
hospitals. Medical personnel dress in hazmat suits
days continue on, more and more of them report an
and instigate stringent new procedures for all those
outbreak, and then the cases start to climb.
found to have Calera.
There are tens of millions of cases across the globe.
People are worried and the media plays up to that
Thousands are dying every single day and the super
fear, updating people on the latest progress of the
flu is now seen for what it is: the worst killer since the
sickness and the number of new cases as they soar up
Black Death.
into the high hundreds of thousands, then millions.
The symptoms of those with the illness continue to
Day Eighteen
worsen and include horrendous joint and muscle
pain, nausea, vomiting, and internal haemorraging. Quarantined buildings are now being covered in
The first deaths are now also reported — at first just a enclosing scaffolding to preventing access in or out
trickle, then a flood. except by health authorities in hazmat suits.

The number of cases are completely overwhelming There are posters and constant announcements
hospitals. Despite broadcasts from the government over TV and radio telling people to bring infected

“It is the End Times people! It is the End!” the soapbox preacher brayed at the small crowd. A week ago, the
man had been a beggar, and his feet were still bare and dirty where they stood on the milk crate. A card-
board sign hung around his neck, saying, ‘THE END IS NIGH.’
Last week the preacher had been on his hands and knees, with a sign that said, “HOMELESS, PLEASE HELP.”
But he had seen what was going on around him, and he was determined to do the Lord’s work.
“There are unbelievers among you! That is what is the cause of this great scourge. UNBELIEVERS!”
A few people laughed. Most moved on. He had been saying that for weeks — today, however, some of the
watchers had masks on.

16
individuals to the huge quarantine centres around National Guard and Reserves to try restoring some
the hospitals. Massive makeshift facilities are set up semblance of order out of the looming anarchy.
in major gathering points, like stadiums but it’s still
too soon for an effective response — Calera is just Day Twenty-One
spreading too quickly.
Something incredible now happens. As impossible as
People stay inside, and only go out when there's it seems, some of the infected people start to wake
no other choice. Even then, they cover their faces, up. They are thin; the virus has burnt away much of
wear masks and move furtively. Every cough, every their muscle and fat. Their eyes are sunken into their
sneeze is cause for alarm. A runny nose and a sniffle head and sores ooze pus over sallow skin.
could mean death. The police are working overtime
For a moment, hope rises in those around them. They
trying to bring in those who have not reported to the
have survived!
quarantine centres — but rumours abound that the
centres are often brutal places, where the nurses are But it’s their eyes that shows the true change in them.
so overworked that patients are often left alone for They’re bloodshot, wide, and empty of recognition.
days at a time. There is nothing there except a terrible hunger.

Most businesses have closed, along with all schools. The virus has nearly killed them, but it is still
Here and there, looters smash things and take what consuming their body. Whoever they once were is
they want. In the developing world, bloody riots are gone, replaced by the animal within. Their only drive
flaring into life in city after city and there is no putting now is to hunt — they must feed the virus, or it will
them down. totally consume them.

Countless people make runs on the supermarkets, The waking Infected launch themselves at the nearest
stocking up on canned food, bottled water, petrol, and people and attempt to feed. They bite and scratch in a
any supplies that might be useful. Banks close as their frenzy, tearing at flesh with a strength that should be
customers try to withdraw all their savings. The stock impossible. And there is just so much blood.
market starts to spiral downwards, sending yet more
If there was panic before, now it goes through the
economic woe through society and further fuelling
roof. Horrified, governments rapidly close up security
the rush for comestibles and equipment.
on the hospitals and many began euthanising infected
Many people miss out on food stocks, on water, and patients en masse. They try to keep it hushed up,
their fear rapidly turns to resentment and violence. moving the Calera patients to secure buildings, where
Looting becomes commonplace — as does armed they slaughter them by the dozen, then burn or bury
robbery, hijackings and murders. Police respond with the piles of bodies.
force, and full-scale riots flare into life.
But nothing of that scale can be totally hushed up.
The image of frenzied mobs outside blazing buildings Word gets out. A rumour, but a persistent one.
rockets around the globe. And when the people go
At this stage, only some 5­–10% of most populaces
outside, into their streets, many of them can see the
have been infected, and it is thought that they
smoke, hear the sounds of the violence. It’s no longer
can contain it with harsh quarantine methods. But
happening “over there”, it’s happening in their own
those numbers are still immense — out of the USA’s
backyards and neighbourhoods.
population of some 350 million, over seventeen and
Desperate, the United States, along with many other a half million people are already infected. In a small
countries, declares Martial Law and calls in the city of a million people, there would be some fifty

17
thousand cases, scattered all across the city. And The military is only present in a few areas, however,
those are only the ones they know about. and whilst there are a lot of safe zones, there are not
nearly enough for everyone. There are long queues
The governments act fast to try to round up and
to gain access, but most people are turned away
exterminate the sick, shut down quarantined areas
— there’s simply not enough space, food or other
and create safe areas called "Green Zones".
supplies for them.
Despite the horror of it, it works. The virus slows.
Shock, upset and fear rapidly turns to hate. It’s not
But it does not stop. a pleasant experience to realise that you and your
family are expendable. In these countless undefended
Day Ninety areas, the military and police make patrols, try to
stem the violence and cull the Infected — but the
The world’s governments are doing their best to keep
people there are pretty much on their own. Finding
the media hushed up, prevent panic, and to combat
food is tough. In some lucky places there are food
the spread.
handouts for a while, but these grow less and less.
By now, millions of Infected are loose, attacking at will
Most people try to hunker down and wait it out. But
throughout densely packed cities and towns, hunting
the world outside is like a battleground, and it’s hard
and striking with all the cunning of wolves. The police
to wait forever. When you start to starve, when your
and military are stretched thin trying to protect
water stops, when your electricity dies, you realise
massive population centres.
how dependent you are on the system. And the
Checkpoints, blockades and vast walls are set up system has now failed.
across cities and towns throughout the world. Huge
Many have realised that the cities are effectively
Green Zones have been erected, where the military
death traps. Over the past couple of months, there
presence is strongest, and where they can be
has been an exodus from all major cities. Highways
absolutely sure that Calera will not penetrate. From
are clogged, and bodies litter the roadside along with
here they spread outwards, setting up nearby walled
the detritus of countless possessions.
districts, cordoning off street and suburb, one by one,
in an attempt to keep things under control. These hordes of people descend on outlying towns,
flooding them beyond capacity and bringing horror
The walled districts are made with pre-fabbed metal
with them. The virus spreads rapidly in these cramped
plates or concrete blocks put in place, usually about
conditions, leaving countless impromptu tent-cities
3–5 metres high and often topped with razor wire.
as nothing more than ghost towns, filled with Calera
Some are large enough to have walkways, or have
victims — many of whom later wake up, starving.
watch towers installed, and they impose a formidable
There is also a wave of crime as hungry, panicked
obstacle to those wanting to get in.
people take what they need.

“The Lord has spoken! He strikes down the faithless, the wicked, the vile!”
The homeless preacher had an actual crowd now. Most wore masks and they eyed each other carefully.
“Repent, for the End Times are upon us! Repent, and cast down the non-believers! We must purge the
heretics with fire. Only fire will cleanse the filth. Heed my words! Heed me! We must cast them down or
we will all suffer accordingly. Fire will rain from the sky — the Lord will punish us for our sins. We can no
longer harbour the faithless! We must purge them!”
The crowd listened, but it was silent. Some shuffled uncomfortably and moved on, aware of the looks they
were receiving by the others on the street. But the air was charged now. They could taste the fear.
And so could the preacher.

18
19
In some small villages and towns, far away from major survive Calera, and in fact that with the right
population centres, people have started banding medical attention, their chances of surviving it are
together to keep their homes safe. Some are rejecting dramatically increased. Even better, once someone
newcomers, setting up their own barricades on the has overcome Calera, their chances of being re-
roads. Sheriffs and local military forces are finding infected are dramatically reduced.
that there are no orders coming down. They scale of
But few areas still have sufficient medical supplies and
the problem is horrendous. No one knows what to do,
peronnel to treat victims of the virus. Though people
except try to hold on.
are urged to bring the sick to quarantine, everyone
And all the while, the Infected strike and flee like knows that it’s a death sentence.
wolves hunting a flock of sheep. Though the armed
The military is fighting desperately just to keep order.
forces constantly patrol and engage them, the
Places where there aren’t yet any walls, and no
creatures seem to have enough remaining intellect
lines of battle. The infection is riddled deep into the
that they try to flee before retaliation can arrive.
woodwork, and it’s like fighting an insurgency, which
Other times they attempt to lure these exhausted
is everywhere, and unrelenting.
soldiers into ambushes.
By now, it is estimated that some forty per cent of the
Day by bay, one by one, casualties start mounting.
world’s population is infected. Globally, that is nearly
three billion people. Across the USA, that figure is one
Day 150
hundred a forty million.
The world is slipping into anarchy, one baby step
It is well known now that only about twenty to thirty
at a time. Society is resilient, people fight on with
per cent of those infected with the virus actually wake
everything they've got — but the writing is on
up, hungry and frenzied. But that is still a very, very
the wall.
large number of people.
Again and again, an area is cleared, only to have the
In some areas, where control is tightest, the virus is
virus pop up yet again, forcing people to go back
not too bad. Harsh, stringent quarantine is the only
in, check as many people as possible for the virus,
solution. Within the walled townships, absolute
remove anyone infected, then check those who had
martial law is the order of the day. Every scrap of
been exposed to them for signs of the virus. But there
food, every sip of water and every last bullet is
is no handy test to show the troops whether someone
rationed. Most are in contact with their neighbouring
has certainly contracted the virus or not, so half the
townships and local leaders — and that’s it. The rest
time they’ve either got to leave the suspect behind,
has almost completely broken down.
or shoot them on the spot.
There’s no TV, no radio, intermittent power and water
There is no longer any secret as to the fate of those
supply is shaky. Still, living outside the townships
who are sick. If the military doesn’t do it, everyone
is worse. There is no law there. The Infected are
else will. In the filthy, garbage-strewn apartment
growing in numbers and they roam in packs through
blocks and walled townships within the cities,
gutted, rubbish-filled streets. The roads are littered
countless infected people are killed by terrified mobs.
with wrecked and burnt out cars. Countless buildings
Some are even burnt alive. Sometimes the military
lie empty, shattered. Soldiers move with armoured
stops them — usually not. Most are too exhausted to
vehicles, patrolling the streets and killing any Infected
care.
they see. They keep some sort of order where they
The horrific thing is that doctors and scientists are are, respond to sounds of violence, and generally are
now discovering that many people can actually the only safe points in a sea of trouble.
20
That is, of course, where there is any military at There are other areas that the Infected alone rule —
all. All too often, the troops are so dramatically where there are too many for anyone to deal with.
overwhelmed by the sheer numbers around them, These places are gutted wrecks, and the Infected
that they can barely make an impression. shelter there whilst they hunt down fresh prey,
attacking vulnerable areas close by, and spreading
Most people are essentially on their own. There is
their virus yet again.
no food except what they can scavenge. There is no
law and order. Armed thugs rule, travelling between Realising that some areas are totally overrun, the
districts is dangerous, and if you go into the wrong military has started bombing these places, but while
area, you’re liable to wind up in a beating or worse. their attacks devastate structures, they are not
nearly as effective as the chemical weapons that are
The streets are quiet, not only because most people
unleashed. These are typically used without any sort
try to stay inside, with their doors barricaded, but
of warning and cause heavy civilian casualties.
also because so many people have either died or left.
Countless buildings lie almost empty, ruined by the The death count from the virus is astronomical.
conflict, filled with rubbish and the signs of human Everyone knows people who have died. Everyone has
habitation. Where dozens of families once lived, now seen the countless bodybags, and the corpses that lie
there are but one or two left. in orderly lines under sheets, or under nothing at all.
Most people have seen the burnings — where dozens
Some areas of the cities have been totally claimed
of infected people are shot then immolated.
by the Infected. The subways are often such an area.
Dark and hard to defend, they make the perfect Countless more people are dying from starvation,
delivery system for Infected to move across cities privation and a variety of common diseases. Outside
and find fresh victims. Because of this, most subway the walled townships and the Green Zones, many
entrances are blockaded, walled up and generally desperate people wait in impromptu shanty towns,
obstructed. Few people ever go into the subways, hoping for a chance to get in. These makeshift
unless they’re truly desperate. settlements are a sea of tents, lean-tos and sleeping

21
bags, rank with the stench of sewerage, cook fires and Troops in the cities and towns are exhausted, low on
fear. ammunition, on starvation rations, and pushed to the
absolute limit, trying to stave off the Infected at every
Every day in these tents, people die. Sometimes the
turn. Whole cities are turning into mausoleums.
Calera virus gets in, and if the military doesn’t come
out and start their brutally efficient executions, then In most major cities, the militaries hold on in their
other people will. Green Zones and walled townships, and try to
maintain control of their closest areas with intense
Sometimes, too, woken Infected (also known
patrolling. But the numbers of people getting infected
as “Screamers” for their terrible shrieks) attack
every day is only increasing.
these camps. Usually in the middle of the night,
when everything is dark and panic is easy to start. Whole city blocks are now empty, derelict, filled
Sometimes this starts a stampede on the townships with rubbish and only picked through by looters,
— and the soldiers open up on everyone outside. scavengers or packs of Infected. These become known
as the Black Zones.
The shanty towns are hell.
The Infected are often known as Screamers in these
Day 270 days, for their chilling shrieks, calling others of their
kind to the hunt. There is no longer any disputing
By now the outbreak has changed from a pandemic,
their intelligence. They might be nothing more than
into something far worse — an apocalypse.
animals, but if so, then they're like wolves.
Despite the most brutal of quarantines, despite the
The packs of Infected eat anything and everything.
military cracking down, despite walled townships and
They tear through the rubbish, consume the dead,
Green Zones, Calera continues to spread. There are
eat cats, dogs, rats and birds. Anything they can catch,
just too many people and not enough men or supplies
they will consume, down to the marrow.
to protect and control them all.
Their assaults are unpredictable, savage and
Some sixty per cent of the entire world is now either
unrelenting. They never assault hard points, defended
infected from the virus, or have perished from it or
by troops, instead going for whatever vulnerable
other causes. That’s over four billion people.
targets they can reach. By the time troops can
respond the Screamers have already fled again,

“Burn the nonbelievers! Burn them all!”


The sign still hung from the preacher’s neck. It was wood now, with bright white lettering saying, THE END
IS NIGH. He didn’t wear a mask, though almost every other member of the burn mob did. They formed a
dense crowd outside the scaffolded building. Most were armed with a motley array of weapons, including
bats, iron bars and petrol bombs. The scaffolding was to keep others out and it had a very prominent
biohazard symbol on it. But the mob had no intention of entering the building.
Half a dozen police stood nervously in front of the mob, masked and armoured in riot gear. But they were
heavily outnumbered.
“Step aside,” the preacher told them. “Do not defend these creatures. These... things! They are the spawn
of the Devil, and they must be destroyed.”
Distantly, there came the rattle of gunfire, echoed hollowly through the tall streets.
“Step aside,” the preacher said again. “Or we will burn you along with them.”
The mob started shouting, jostling forward and brickbats started peppering the men.
They had seen enough of these mobs in the last few weeks. They left.
The mob cheered, and the rain of petrol bombs began. \
22
sometimes dragging their victims back with them to themselves getting robbed, murdered or raped, and
their lairs. those who survive quickly learn to be on their guard.

By now, however, there are few soft targets left. Those Food is the most valuable asset here. There is
not in walled communities have barricaded their nowhere near enough of it and everyone is starving.
homes and are armed, forcing the Screamers to work Honest people now consider killing for a can of beans,
hard for their meals. or a hunk of meat.

Many people realise that the only way to survive Hunger does terrible things to people.
this is to band together, and defend communities
Around these refugees are the signs of carnage.
on their own. Such places build their own defences.
Bodies lie stiff and silent on the road. Some have
The ones that survive tend to keep themselves in
been eaten. Columns of smoke smear the sky from
one large building. The entrances are barricaded,
bombings, fires and wars.
and armed guards keep a lookout from on high. This
keeps the Infected, thugs and the army out. They are, And that’s the other thing. As the central
essentially, a city within a city. governments start to lose control and millions of
refugees cross borders, new groups start springing
It's the scouts and salvagers who keep these
up. Generals, commanders, thugs and petty warlords
communities alive, slipping out into the rest of the
seem to crawl out of the woodwork. Cities, towns,
city to find food, supplies and equipment. Though
districts, and even whole states are claimed by these
things are going to hell, there are still plenty of people
new leaders, who typically use their newfound
living in the cities, outside the walls. Danger is high
freedom to crush any resistance to their rule. Many
for salvagers, because gangs control different areas
are looted by the very people coming there for
and will likely attempt to take their goods — not to
sanctuary. There are simply too many mouths to feed.
mention the possibility of running into an Infected
pack. But it’s more than worth it to keep their loved Most governments are already overwhelmed, but few
ones safe. want to cede whole territories without a fight and so
crucially needed troops are turned about and told to
Even with scavenged supplies, this is not nearly
reclaim territory. At first, they have the upper hand,
enough. Many communities fall apart, starvation
but with Calera continuing to spread out of control,
being the final straw.
their operations break down, more troops desert, and
The military are in street-to-street battles with packs anarchy spreads.
of Infected. Many units are, finally, breaking down
These battles continue on and off for months, with
from sheer exhaustion, stress and a non-existent
a savagery and desperation beyond anyting else to
supply chain. Vehicles run out of fuel in the middle
date. But for every town the government reclaims,
of the street, men find themselves down to their last
another is taken by rebels, another district breaks
few bullets, with few additional supplies forthcoming.
away, another military commander suffers a mutiny.
Sheer exhaustion grinds them down.
Worse, all of this conflict does nothing but increase
In many areas, military and police are now mingled the amount of people infected, and their numbers
with refugees, as lost and desperate as anyone else. rapidly escalate out of control. Where different
At night people huddle around fires with strangers, or factions were vying for dominance, now both attempt
people they just met on the road. They stay together to merely survive — and all too often, fail.
as long as they trust each other, and as long as they
Within the Green Zones and walled townships,
provide common protection. Many naive souls find
starvation, disease and privation are becoming

23
intolerable. Despite martial law and the promise of The bombings have slowed, if not stopped altogether.
lethal force for any troublemakers, some areas stage Fuel is getting scarce and supply lines have all but
protests against their brutal treatment. Most are disappeared in many cases. There are countless
summarily dispersed with high fatalities. The military processes required to get the oil out of the ground
is out of patience — if the people don’t like the walls, and into the planes and tanks, and after nearly a year
then they can bloody well live outside them! of the outbreak, these just aren't happening.

Beyond the walls, people live as refugees in their A sense of siege has settled into the surviving
cities, hiding in the ruins, barricading themselves communities. Most still send out patrols, but they're
in, listening to the roar and thunder of artillery and in force, and they rarely go out without coming under
hoping it doesn’t fall on them. attack. Soon, only armoured vehicles are safe.

Connection with nearby communities becomes


Day 500
stretched, and sometimes fades out altogether.
It’s been around a year and a half. No one knows the
Scavengers leaving their fortified communities must
deathtoll anymore. It’s irrelevant. In fact, the rate
move carefully and quietly through the empty, eerie
of new infection has actually slowed — in large part
streets. The Infected leave sentries and scouts — and
because so much of the population already wiped
they are cunning.
out in the outbreak; getting new hosts is now more
difficult. It’s a deadly game of cat and mouse to find a meal
in these places — for many people, other people are
Those who are left are hardy, and have hunkered
that meal.
down for the long haul. They cling to life in their
defensive settlements, with tough quarantines a Some nuclear reactors have started to meltdown
part of life. Those who don’t keep such rules rapidly over the last few weeks and months. With no one to
become a statistic. tend them, and with war, disaster and the Infected
obstructing any attention to them, the worst comes
Even so, the numbers of Infected continues to grow,
to pass. With that comes a pall of grey and a light
as more and more are woken from their comas.
radioactive fallout in the closest areas. The fallout
These numbers in some places prove telling. They
turns the rain to sulfuric acid, burning skin, creating
overwhelm districts and assault settlements, again
vast amounts of discomfort and killing plantlife.
and again, probing for weakness. They are as
desperate and as starving as everyone else. If food was hard to find before, now it is impossible.

In most cases, such mobs are still defeated by strong Added to the reactors melting down are the
walls and high powered guns, so the Infected retreat, bombings. Nukes are no longer considered to be such
and wait. a bad idea. The destruction of whole cities buys some
time and slows the infection. But it does not stop it.
Most military units are down to the very last dregs of
their supplies. Still, they hold on. The cities around Global starvation is now the major threat. There are
them are gutted wrecks, destroyed by months of few crops being grown, and export and import has
fighting to contain Calera and retain order. Despite ceased to exist. Populations have to be totally self-
this, and despite the sheer numbers of Infected, many sustaining, or they simply don't make it.
people still live in these ruins. The military still does
Some communities pull together, fishing, hunting,
their best to protect these people, though now they
creating farms and doing whatever they can to
find themselves targeted by gangs, over-protective
keep their people fed. But the land is poisoned and
gunmen and zealots.
24
desperate people watch as crops wither and die, trees Scavenging for supplies is no longer a viable option. If
lose their leaves and animals sicken. you want food, you’re going to have to get it the old-
fashioned way. Find it yourself, or find something to
This is a slow, agonising way to die. There is never
trade.
enough food. Someone is always going hungry,
leading to desperation, fighting and, in many cases, Countless towns and settlements live on in the ruins.
outright conflict. Most Green Zones no longer have any connection
with their parent governments. They are just as on
The leadership of such communities now becomes a
their own as any other group.
dangerous, mercurial thing. Assassinations, coups and
even outright battles rage. No sooner is one leader In many places, it is the gangs and cartels that have
made than they are torn down, murdered or cast out. kept the most order. These groups are now gaining
incredible tracts of territory. They are strangely
You might think that there are no governments in
effective, both in hunting down the Infected, and in
such a time. But in fact, there are. Many remain,
policing their communities. Their methods are brutal
keeping control of key areas and keeping anarchy at
— but so are the times.
bay — but still only just.
The civil wars and unrest are, however, at their most
Year 3 intense. Governments unable to take back some areas
decide instead to blast them into oblivion. Some
The world has changed almost beyond recognition.
units respond in kind. Ground forces pound cities and
New forces have taken power. Governments have
each other with the utmost savagery. Some cities are
splintered beyond repair, but they persist in trying to
locked in brutal sieges for months. Safe zones are
maintain control, even though the world has fallen
annihilated. Inevitably, Calera gains a new foothold,
into a state of almost absolute feudalism — every
and more victims. But most people know how to
town for itself.
prevent catastrophic outbreaks, and so the wars
The cities are, by and large, quiet, empty places. The continue, even while supplies dwindle.
rubble slumps into the streets, slowly getting covered
But those supplies, those settlements and regions of
with weeds, grass and vines.
infrastructure are now more crucial than ever. Armies
need oil, mines, food and people. For a government

“Tell me. Are you believers?” The preacher leaned forward, staring at the two prisoners kneeling before him
and his men. The tunnel they were in was graffitied with countless tags from hostile gangs that had ruled
this area over the past few months. But now the Faithful had claimed it.
They looked up and for a moment they scrambled to understand what he meant.
“Yes!” the boy said. He couldn’t be older than twenty. Had he ever even shaved?
“Then recite the Lord’s Prayer,” the preacher replied, smiling thinly.
They tried. But his patience ran out after the first stumbled line. What desecration!
“Take them away.” He waved his hand dismissively. “Hang them. With signs.”
The girl let out a sob, falling as they reached forward to drag her up.
“Hmm... Jesus knew compassion,” he said. “I will let you live, girl, so that you may spread the word to your
kin. The Faithful claim this city. Bow before Heaven or the Lord will strike them down.” He smiled, stroking a
hand down her cheek. If he had not sworn himself to celibacy, he would have been sorely tempted...
“Go, woman. And pray for God’s mercy.”
As they were led away, the preacher turned to his lieutenant. “I think his sign should say, ‘LIAR.’ What do
you think?”
25
to accept the loss of a region is like accepting its own fortify themselves, the Infected grow desperate and
demise. swarm them. Sometimes they are repelled. Other
times they overrun a community.
Now, however, no one is quite sure who the
government is. When the top echelon is long dead, It is, tragically, one of the first thing survivors ask
which of a dozen groups has the strongest claim? In about — is that settlement still standing? Oh, it’s
many cases, only violence will tell. gone... all of it? Oh my God.

Survivors know to fear these conflicts. Travellers are Society is also changing. It seems that with the world
welcomed for their news. They speak first of the falling apart, people’s ideas have changed too. There
infection, and next of the fighting — who has won a are new cults, religions, dogmas, groups, clans and
battle recently, and what this will mean to them. rules. There are rules on salvage, right to claim, right
to property, consequences of breaking the laws.
The Infected are, in some places, almost completely
Throw out the lawbook. Splitting hairs in a law court is
eliminated, though in others they roam in massive
no longer a viable tactic — stealing a man’s cow could
packs across large distances, looking for fresh prey.
mean a person gets branded on the forehead as a
Others dominate extensive regions of a city, keeping a
thief and thrown out to face the wilds on their own.
stranglehold on settlements there. When the people

Year 5 — This is Now


The outbreak is effectively over. Though most of In some places they have been flattened or shoved
the world is gone, the Infected have been similarly aside by tanks, making narrow trails through the
obliterated. They haven't vanished, but their numbers wreckage.
are comparatively few. Their packs hide in the ruins,
Despite over ninety-nine per cent of the world
living in the dark places of the world, where they have
perishing, there are still numerous communities. Life
refuge from the retribution of survivors. The deadly
finds a way. The siege by the Infected has lifted. The
game of cat and mouse continues.
fallout from contaminated areas has largely passed,
The Infected are true parasites and simply cannot and plantlife is resurging once more.
survive without a human population. Humans provide
Though in many places there is nothing but ruins,
their greatest, and most preferred, source of food.
there are still dozens of communities left standing in
When people leave an area, the Infected leave soon what were once super-cities. Many of these places are
after, looking for their next meal ticket — to stay only a suburb away, but are effectively mini city-states
would mean starvation. in their own right.

The society that has survived these past five years With many communities comes a constant stream
is nothing like what it once was. Cities have become of traffic. Trade is vital, and merchants willing to risk
quiet, desolate landscapes, with rubble piling against themselves on the roads can be well rewarded. Some
the sides of once-great buildings, now shattered and roads are short, well-used and relatively safe, while
broken, their windows staring out at those who scurry others are long, empty and perilous. But it is usually
on past. Grass and foliage are steadily encroaching the perilous journey that also presents the greatest
on roads, submerging cars and swamping buildings. opportunity.
Countless vehicles quietly rust on highways and
beside roads, their paint fading, windows shattered.
26
Most communities revolve around their markets, Redundant military equipment is now being put to
no matter what size. Strangers from out of town are different uses. Washing lines are hung from old tank
usually observed carefully to see if they carry Calera, barrels, aircraft carriers are used as floating farms and
but most survivors are at least somewhat resistant to communities, beached ships make great defensible
it now, and know they are passing a death-sentence settlements.
on themselves by entering a community with the
With society still alive, and with so many disparate
sickness. Once the strangers are cleared, the people
groups, it is also inevitable that politics and intrigue
gather around to hear the latest news and try to
play a constant role in survivor communities. Rival
bargain for what they need.
factions support one power broker, then another.
While bartering is one of the major systems, there Warlords sweep in, taking over a swathe of territory
are also a few fairly-well accepted currencies. Aptly, before falling in bloody ruin. Governments try to
one of these is bullets. Ammunition is valuable, useful regain their power, with promises, bribes, threats and
and becoming fairly rare. Almost no one through the creation of rebels against their rivals.
is making it anymore. In fact, anyone They have lost none of their cunning, and they
with common sense will gather up still have enough resources that few individual
their shell casings for reloading communities can resist them alone.
or trade — why waste valuable
There are more political players
resources? The availability of
than community leaders,
ammunition for weapons is
however. There are trade barons,
now a very important factor on
information brokers, spymasters,
whether people keep them
military leaders, mercenaries,
or trade them away. People
bandits and the like.
may have ammunition calibres
that they can't use, or firearms There are also the leaders of
that can't use any of the new philosophies, cults and
calibres they have For this sects. Some are based on older
reason, the more common and religions, while others seem to
standardised rounds (like the have sprouted out of nothing.
NATO 9 mm and 5.56 mm) are These people cannot be simply
prized. ignored or stamped out.
Some have tried. The results
Gold, silver and precious stones
are usually a prolonged and
are also still valuable commodities.
dedicated insurrection — killing
For some reason, people have always
a messiah is only certain to turn
considered such baubles to be valuable,
them into a martyr.
and so they are still — just not nearly as much.
Community politics can be a confusing mess
While most people developed a healthy paranoia
of ambitions, lies, spies and betrayal. Loyalty is now,
through the outbreak, it has been around a year since
above all, a priceless commodity.
the worst chaos died down. The old reflexes, the gas
masks, the precautions are all still there, but people Despite this, communities that live in these ruins are
are starting to relax and learn to live again. Danger forced to help each other to survive. No one makes it
and violence are out there, but most communities are on their own. People need food, ammunition, petrol,
fairly safe, even if their living conditions are tough. cars, and any other type of supplies you can think of.

27
Over the months and years, they have come to the “Alphas”, have held onto some of their ability to
understanding that they may not like their neighbours reason and, like a cunning wolf, they plan their attacks
— but if they don’t work together, they’ll all die. with frightening precision. Even more bizarre is that
some of these theorists even claim that the Alphas
Of course, there are plenty of people who think they
will seek to preserve themselves and do not attack
can take what others have without any consequences.
with the same frenzy as others. Faced with a difficult
Sometimes they get away with it. Other times they
target, many will apparently retreat, or will send
find themselves dangling from a tree.
another Infected to attack something they desire
Not all townships have the resources to build a whilst they wait and watch.
comprehensive wall, so they rely on other defences.
This is, naturally, a wild theory from those with
Everyone barricades their doors and windows at
minimal scientific and medical understanding. There
night, when the Infected have a high chance of
are also some who postulate that certain Infected can
sneaking in. The Infected are far more active at night
still speak, even hold small conversations with people,
time, when they can strike without warning.
or mimic their voices.
When an Infected pack is near, often the best defence
Clearly, the theories of deranged individuals.
is to hunt them down. Where there are too many, the
only solution is to dig in and stay alive. What is certain is that the Infected are still
omnivorous. With most people fairly inaccessible
The Infected behind high walls and barricades, the Infected will eat
anything and everything else. Early indicators of an
It appears that the Infected operate in some sort
Infected pack in the region are the disappearance of
of cohesion with each other. Some people have
stray animals and crops vanishing.
even claimed that they have a hierarchical “chain
of command” just like a pack of dogs. Though these With a lack of food sources in their vicinity, a pack
theories are largely scoffed at, there are even wilder will go into a form of hibernation, gathering in small
theories that credit some of the Infected with great groups to sleep and conserve their energy, whilst only
residual intellect. Apparently these leaders, termed a few maintain a vigil. At the slightest disturbance,
28
however, the entire pack will wake, ready to feed However, they are sturdy devices, so with a bit of care
once more. Meanwhile, they also send out small they can often be brought back to life. This makes a
numbers of Infected called Hunters to find more food. salvager's job potentially very lucrative.
When they locate their prey, they return to the main
Those using automatic weapons almost never make
pack and lead the entire group to the new source,
use of the function. They take individual shots,
where they attack in concert. Unlike most Infected,
carefully placed, and they count how many they've
Hunters rarely stay together with other Infected. They
used. Unless you’re sitting on a stockpile, every round
are fast — frighteningly so — but they rarely attack
is to be treasured.
prey by themselves, unless starving, desperate or
confident in their success. Noise is the other great problem of firearms. Letting
off a burst near a Black Zone is likely to wind up with
As the Infected get older, their bodies come under
a pack of Infected hunting you down. Better hope you
increasing strain from the virus. They slow down,
find a township in time — and that they let you in!
growing heavier, their bodies becoming covered in
pus and fluid-filled sacs. The worst of these tend With such grim thoughts in mind, some survivors
to be on their heads and shoulders, and the truly prefer to use much quieter weapons such as bows,
old Infected have absolutely massive sacs bulging crossbows, axes, swords and spears. Spears are
from necks, face, shoulders and back. Under impact, actually some of the best weapons, as they allow one
these will burst, spraying highly contagious fluid onto to stay at a distance, and avoid getting any blood or
anyone standing close by. Such Infected are known as pus onto themselves.
Bursters — or Shamblers when they are particularly
Another problem for survivors is transport. Fuel is
old and immense (for obvious reasons).
now an absolute luxury. Even for those in settlements,
The Infected also occasionally use weaponry. Poles, petrol is not something to be wasted. It’s just too hard
rocks, bricks, bits of timber — whatever’s to hand to get more of it. That being said, if you’ve got ready
at the time. Some people even claim they’ve seen access to a reservoir, it could last you a really long
Infected using the occasional tool, even creating time.
things like pitfalls, punji stakes, and other rudimentary
Vehicles are also highly cherished commodities. Those
traps for their prey. Whether this is true or not
who have them are unlikely to part with them, except
remains to be seen, but it is certainly the case that
at an exorbitant price. Even then, a bike is really your
the longer people observe the Infected, the more
best option in the cities, where so many roads are
they see an eerie reflection of humanity itself.
completely blocked or too rough to traverse.

Materiel Military vehicles like tanks, are becoming too


expensive in petrol to even move. Many tanks use
Guns are also growing uncommon. That doesn’t
four litres of fuel to the mile — a prohibitive amount
mean they’re rare yet, but there are only very few
when you’re thinking long term. For this reason many
places still making them and countless numbers of
are becoming stationary pillboxes anchoring defences,
firearms have been lost, buried or destroyed in the
unmoving for months or years, until their tracks are
fall. Those that are left are usually cherished and
completely overgrown with weeds, and they’re half-
their ammunition is hoarded, while old stockpiles
sunk into the earth.
are constantly sought, with the intensity of miners
searching for gold. Countless numbers of military vehicles are left
where they stopped, sometimes in vast convoys
There are also a lot of guns just left lying around,
stretching for miles across roads that are slowly being
in the dirt or the rubble — lost during the battles.
29
There was a shriek from nearby, and Kiera dropped flat. She heard figures coming, heard the soft growls
between them, and felt like her heart was going to lurch out of her chest. There was a burnt-out car beside
her, half over the footpath and she crawled underneath it, feeling her hands shake.
Another growl. One of them was close. Metal tinkled. A rock pattered against the side of the car.
Her bag was still outside. She had crammed it with supplies for her trip to Bayside. Food that she was
determined to husband over the days she took to get there.
Damn it! Why hadn’t she paid more attention?! She had thought the area was clear. There wasn’t a Black
Zone for quite a way. But there were always packs.
She let the bag go, hoping they wouldn’t notice it. Oh God, please don’t notice it!
She saw feet. Ragged, dirty feet, all bloody and covered in pus. Shoes were still laced on, though the soles
had worn away, along with most of the pant legs.
It hit all fours, started sniffing. Let out a growl that sounded almost like a noise a person might. Almost.
The other one made a deep growl, and the first one scrambled away. Kiera turned her head to look at the
second Infected as it shuffled on past. It was heavy, disgustingly so, all bloated and fat, covered in sores and
boils that leaked fluid.
A sign hung around its neck, chained to a metal collar.
White letters were faded on the wood, but still visible.
THE END IS NIGH.

assimilated back into the wilds. Within a year, they or just sitting quietly at their stations, they are still
are covered in dirt, rust and patches of grass. Within waiting for crews that will never arrive.
ten years they may be nothing more than strange
With fuel being such a problem, most people travel
humps of grass and weeds, with the occasional
by foot or horseback. There are, in fact, small tribes
barrel sticking out through the mass of foliage — yet
of horsemen forming in various places around the
another relic of a bygone age.
globe — returning to the old ways of bow and spear.
Planes are even rarer. The military used plenty of Those who never left these ways are truly in a unique
them during the opening stages of the outbreak. position. Of course, biofuels are not that difficult to
Fleets of bombers were sent out again and again, to make, but not everywhere can grow the right sort
demolish the very cities they were originally built to of crops for it, and the amount needed can be quite
protect. Missiles, nukes, napalm, gas — they tried it an obstacle. On top of this, people have to make the
all. And it all required an immense amount of petrol choice of whether to use the fuel for their vehicles or
and resources. When the support structure for these their community.
things collapsed around them, there was no way that
they could keep going. The Night is For Hunting
Many powerful cities and remnant nations still have Something that few people in the developed world
helicopters, and even a few planes, but they grow fully realised until the outbreak, was that the night
more and more difficult to maintain and supply. The is truly very, very dark. Electricity gives one a control
amount of fuel they use in a day could keep a fleet over darkness that simply does not exist without
of cars moving for a month. Few can afford such it. Fires and lamps provide poor substitutes. They
extravagance. require fuel to burn. Many settlements don't have
central power, and virtually no one living in the wilds
Now most airfields lie barren and empty, casually
has any power either.
scattered with aircraft, like the discarded toys of some
massive child. Slumped on their sides, piled into each The night is dark. And it is a time for hunting. The
other, rusting and blackened after devastating fires, light of a campfire can be an incredible comfort, but

30
it will also advertise your presence — even a light as seamen and are unlikely to come after you. But this
small as a candle is bright enough to be noticed from then begs the question — where do you plan on
hundreds of metres, if not kilometres away. Only the getting your fuel from? How about your food? Water?
foolish advertise for trouble.
Then there's the problem of pirates. Countless people
Many survivors living in houses have already blacked with guns have access to small, high-speed boats,
out and barricaded their windows. But this also blinds and these require but a little fuel, as far as ships go.
people to what’s out there. Fear and closed-in spaces Pirates are a very real threat. They want your food,
don’t mix well. More than one group of survivors have your fuel, your guns, and your women. And they’re
ended in madness. more than prepared to murder you for them.

Night is also the preferred hunting time of the Sail ships are becoming once again far more popular.
Infected. It’s their best opportunity for striking Small sloops and yachts are now very desirable
without being seen. craft, able to transport large amounts of supplies
at no cost but the wind itself. For merchants, such
People lock and barricade their doors at night and
transportation is priceless.
usually take no notice of anyone outside during those
hours. No amount of begging or pleading will make
Immunity?
them open up.
Amazingly, there are actually people who are able to
Escape to The Sea survive the virus. A tiny portion (some 0.01%) seem
to pull through without medical attention. With
The other major form of transport in the world is by
extensive medical care, that rate of survival is often
sea, but sadly, a ship is a very confined space, usually
increased to about five per cent, but few communities
with air conditioning systems pumping through every
have the resources to spare on victims of Calera.
room, so it is also the ideal breeding ground for the
infection. Calera caught so many people unawares, Even if patients survive, the physical cost of the virus
whole vessels were stricken before anyone truly had a can be heavy, leaving them scarred and disfigured —
clue what was happening. By the time people started and sometimes carriers of Calera themselves.
showing the sores and were quarantined, they had
already infected dozens around them. These people
then spread it to many more before they showed the
sores as well — and so it went until whole vessels
were utterly contaminated.

Naval vessels were no exception. Many were


completely compromised, along with whole naval
bases, long before they were given the order to go
to sea and escape the mayhem there, in complete
isolation — they are uniquely designed to be
completely defensible inside and out, but even so,
locking oneself away in a room is only a good idea if
you’re on the bridge and you have some way out.

Despite such immense losses, if one can completely


effect a quarantine, then a ship is really the safest
place you can be. Infected are notoriously bad
31
The soldiers had occupied the mall. And they had all the food inside, as well as a hundred people who
were little more than slaves. The ground outside was a blasted dead-zone, scattered with dozens of
corpses that were now bloating in the sun, promising more diseases for everyone.
They seemed content to stay in there too. But I wasn’t content to let them. I was hungry. And they
were bastards who thought they didn’t have to share. Besides, there weren’t enough of them to guard
the whole building.
I went in with Jack and Zim. I'd known them for ten days, and that was long enough for me to trust
them in anything. We’d watch each other’s backs.
The mall was black and creepy. I had been there six months ago, before the infection. It had been nice
then, with massive glass-fronted shops on all sides, and thronging patrons. Now the glass crunched
underfoot, and those patrons were quietly rotting on the escalators. Dust covered everything like a
grey pall.
We should have waited longer. God knows, we had barely cased out the place before we were trying
to sneak in. And others must have tried the same thing. But there was no other food anywhere. The
soldiers had cleaned it all out.
We worked out that they were on the top level, and we decided that we needed to create a distraction
to bring them out. One of us could slip in and load up on as much food as possible. We knew we had
to be quick, because there were probably Infected down in the darker levels… and we didn’t want to
tangle with them. No thanks.
Jack walked onto a mine without ever suspecting it. One minute he was fine. The next his leg was lying
beside him and he was pumping red everywhere.
A moment later we heard the soldiers coming. There wasn’t a lot of noise, but we could hear the scuff
of boots, the crunch of glass.
I dragged Jack away. He was screaming his lungs out, giving away our position. Zim tried to make a
tourniquet out a bit of rope, and that seemed to work for a minute. But then the soldiers located us,
and the bullets started to fly.
They had ammunition to burn. There were sparks everywhere, chips of stone and puffs of dust ripped
up from the floor. Zim and I made ourselves as small as possible, and the shooting stopped — just long
enough for some of them to reposition. We could hear them moving. And when we looked at each
other we knew we were dead.
Then we heard the shrieks. They came from up above. Those same gut-churning screams we knew so
well. And there were lots of them too.
Ambush.
Cunning bastards. How could the Infected be so damned smart? They had waited until the soldiers
were spread out across that top level before they came spilling in from a side-level leading to the car
park. In seconds the sounds of shooting were a whole lot more frantic. Then other screams joined the
Infected as soldiers were dragged down.
I don’t know who won. I don’t bloody care. We got the hell out of there as fast as we could. We
dragged Jack with us. There was no way we were going to leave him behind. Besides, we both knew he
wouldn’t live long. And then we wouldn’t need the soldiers’ food.
Chapter Three
The Basics

S o what are the rock-bottom basics of Infected?


How does it work?

Here are the essential elements of the rules,


so you have a good idea of the mechanics when
getting started.

Characters have statistics.

These are: Attributes, Skills, Circumstances, Vital


Statistics and Advantages/Disadvantages.

For New Players


New players may be wondering
what the rules are all about, but
here’s what it is in a nutshell:
the rules represent a
character who is controlled
by one of the players in
your gaming group. That
might be you, or it might
even be your Narrator,
who runs everyone else
in the story (think of
the Narrator as a movie
director in charge of everyone
but the main characters).

Statistics
In order to determine what characters
can or can’t do, they have statistics (which
represent their abilities) and dice are rolled
with those statistics, to represent the factor of
luck.

33
Statistics, or “stats” are broken down into several are far enough away that you have a good amount
main sections: of distance to hit them with your first shot), or
spectacularly (you reload in two seconds flat).
Attributes: The “main” statistics of a character.
The statistics that show who they actually are, their Failing a roll can mean that you simply don’t succeed
talents and inherent abilities, as opposed to learned on your action, or it can mean that something has
skills. These are such things as Brawn and Intelligence. gone wrong and your character is in jeopardy.
Attributes range from 1–10.
Failing catastrophically (known as a Bungle — see
Skills: The myriad things a character learns in life. page 48) means that the Narrator gets to say what
These are such things as using a gun, running fast, happens — generally it means that you fail the action
persuading people to do things, and so on. Skills range with a complication.
from 0–10.
Below are several tables that might be of use for
Circumstances: The situations a character finds Narrators when trying to work out what happened
themselves in. Are they rich or poor? Famous or with the Bungle.
nobody? Important or irrelevant? Circumstances
range from 0–10. When To Roll a Check
Advantages & Disadvantages: These are the The Narrator will tell you to make a roll at a dramatic
quirks and oddities of characters that make them moment, when there is a reasonable chance of
unique. Odd abilities that make someone better failure. Again, think of the director of a movie
at one particular thing (like chatting up a romantic example. Routine activities are a part of the story
interest), or bad at something (like being a sucker for and provide the opportunity for plot and character
a pretty face). They range from 1–10. development, but are not dramatic.

Vital Statistics: The core elements of a character


How to Roll
that show how physically and mentally healthy they
are. These are Health and Morality. Health ranges
from 2–40, Morality ranges from 1–10. Most Actions Roll 2D10
1D10 + Attribute/1D10 + Skill
Rolling “a Check”
Target Number is 11
Many things don’t have a chance of failure. Driving to
work every day doesn’t do much to tax you. Reloading Almost every action in the
a handgun while you’re relaxed at a firing range will Immersion RPG system
not have any chance of failure. But trying to reload uses 2D10 to determine
before a pack of Infected reach you does have a its resolution. Sometimes
chance of failure! there can be more than two
(for instance, when firing long
You make “a roll” or “a check” to determine the
bursts with assault rifles you can add Skill dice to the
results of an action. The Narrator will tell you when
roll to strike), but there are rarely less.
you need to make a check, and what sort of check it
needs to be. One die rolls for the Attribute, the other one rolls for
the Skill.
There are various levels to success. You could succeed
only barely (such as reloading just as the Infected
are on you), or you could succeed well (the Infected
34
The Attribute is always referred to first, and the Add each D10 Individually to a
Skill or other statistic being rolled with it is always statistic
referred to second.
1D10 + Attribute/1D10 + Skill
Also, the player must specify before rolling which
Target Number is 11
die is for which statistic (i.e. “The purple one is for
Attributes, the blue one is for Skills.”). That will help Each D10 is paired individually with a statistic (usually
clarify what is being rolled ahead of time. an Attribute and a Skill).

Usually one die is rolled for an Attribute and one You roll and add the number on the first die to the
for a Skill; however, there are occasional situations number of the Attribute and see what you get — 11
where the roll is made with an Attribute and a or over is successful.
Circumstance, or two Attributes together.
Then you add the number on the second die to the
At least one Attribute must always be rolled in
any action. Skill (or other statistic being used). Again, 11 or over is
Occasionally the player may be able to roll with an successful.
Attribute, Skill and Circumstance, getting 3 dice for
Either die can attain successes. If one die fails, the
their action.
other can still succeed.

Primary Dice 10 or below is a failure, 11 is 1 success, 12 is 2


successes, 13 is 3 successes and so on. See the table
The first 2D10 used are called the Primary Dice.
on page 37.
Sometimes you will roll more than two dice, but the
most important dice in that case are the
Primary Dice. This is important for
Bonuses (on page 47),
as the bonuses
apply to the
Primary
Dice.

35
Sample Roll

Roll 1D10 + Attribute vs 11


Roll 1D10 + Skill vs 11

+ Brawn 5 = 14 4 Successes

5 Successes Total

+ Athletics 7 = 11 1 Successes

Example:

Jackson is rolling a check for his character, who has an Attribute (Brawn, denoting raw muscle) of 5, and a Skill
(Athletics, denoting fitness, ability to handle oneself physically) of 7.

He rolls a 9 and a 4. The first die is added to his Attribute (Brawn) of 5, getting a 14 (4 successes).

Your Roll Successes


10 0
11 1
12 2
13 3
14 4
15 5
16 6
17 7
18 8
19 9
20 10

36
Gradients of success
The more successes you get, the better your action is. This means that you might do the action faster, more
efficiently, with more power or more skill. At the bottom of the scale are Bungles (see page 48 for more on
them), and above that the successes go through poor, average, great and just keep on going. When you make
a roll, you should then tell the Narrator, “I got 4 successes” or “I got 6 successes”. They will then tell you
the results your actions have (though feel free to get creative yourself! Check out page 213 for cooperative
storytelling).

Gradients of Success
Successes Result

Epic Bungle Catastrophe


(0 successes and roll 2 natural 1s)

Bungle Failure With Complication


(0 successes and roll a natural 1)

0 Fail
1–4 Fair Success
5–9 Good Success
10–14 Great Success
15–19 Incredible Success
20+ Perfection

Narrator Determines Result


Once an action has been rolled for, the Narrator determines the result. This might
result in new complications, if the roll only barely succeeded — or it may succeed
magnificently, with no problems. It's up to the Narrator to determine exactly how the
action unfolds.

37
The Character Sheet
This sheet contains all of the information about your
character, from their physical abilities and combative prowess,
to their ability to coerce, woo, impress and lead. Here is a
brief rundown on the character sheet, while the following
chapter has more information on how to build a character in
full.
Attributes
1–10
Attributes are who and what a character is when it all boils
down. Smart or stupid, weak or strong, brave or cowardly,
it’s all here. Attributes represent a character’s basic ability,
but not their training.
Most rolls require an Attribute and a Skill. Sometimes an
Attribute and Circumstance are rolled, or an Attribute
with another Attribute.

Skills
1–10
Skills are what a character has learnt through training. It's
your hard-earned knowhow. While you might be quick with
your hands, you still won’t be able to hit your target with a
pistol unless you’ve trained in how to use it.

Base Initiative
2-20
Your Base Initiative determines how quick you are on
the draw, how fast you are to respond in a moment of crisis.
This is made up by combining your Dexterity and Awareness
Attributes. Weapons and situations in a combat can further
modify your initiative score. See page 133..
Morality
1–10
Your Morality determines your humanity, your ethics level,
the degree to which you have degraded as a human being. It
is also a barometer of sanity. See page 100.

Health
2–40
Health represents how much physical damage a character
can take before they’re injured, incapacitated or killed. Your
Base Health is formed from Brawn combined with Luck, and
can be increased with Extra Health (which has a maximum
level equal to Base Health).
See page 94.

38
Name, Rank and Serial Number!
This information is stuff like the name of your character,
their Disposition (optional personality type — see page 64),
the player’s name (that’s you) and the campaign you’re
playing (a major story that you’re playing).

Experience Costs
x1 or x2
This is the amount of Experience it costs to purchase a
statistic. At character creation, if you want to start with your
Athletics Skill at level 7, it will cost 7 Experience. If you want
your Brawn to be 6, it will cost 12 Experience.
After character creation, each new level must be individually
purchased (so, to go from Athletics 7 to 8 would cost 8 Exp).
See page 61.
Circumstances
1–10
Circumstances represent the situations the character is
in. Wealth, reputation, allies, contacts, team mates, pets,
weapons are all Circumstances. Sometimes these influence
the game and story, other times they can provide bonuses or
even be rolled as an Extra Die.
See page 71 for Circumstances and page 78 for Extra Dice.

Advantages & Disadvantages


1–10
Advantages & Disadvantages (or A&D), represent the
unique quirks, abilities and failings of individual characters.
Such things as a glass jaw, excellent hearing, an addiction,
an enemy and even being an irritating person can all be
Advantages & Disadvantages.
Advantages cost Experience like any statistic. Disadvantages
give bonus Experience (but only at character creation).
Characters can gain most Advantages or remove
Disadvantages through game play, or with Experience,
though some can only be taken at character creation.
See page 79.

Experience
These two boxes represent your total amount of Experience
gained and your unused Experience. Every time you gain
Experience, you should add it to the number in the right
hand box. The number in the left-hand box is Experience
you’ve earned but not yet expended on increased statistics.
See page 61.

39
Attributes
Innate qualities and abilities of a character. Costs x2 Experience.

Levels:

1–2 Poor 3–4 Average 5–6 Proficient 7–8 Expert 9–10 Masterful

Attribute Summary Example of Use


Hand to hand combat, melee combat, pushing, lifting, carrying,
Muscle, strength,
Brawn climbing, absorbing damage, flat-out sprints, kicking down doors
endurance
and even intimidation
Physical

Blocking, dodging, parrying, hiding, sneaking, crawling, getting


Nimbleness, speed
Dexterity through tight spaces, diving through windows, running through
and grace
rough terrain, shooting ranged weapons

Charm, Sheer force of personality — charming, selling, conning,


Presence magnetism, force seducing, awing, terrifying others — the steely gaze, the
of personality charming smile and physical attractiveness or lack thereof
Social

Skill with words,


One’s ability to use words, talk, connive, twist truths, persuade,
argument,
Tact persuasion, use logic and force of reason, charming with talk, barbed wit,
conniving subtle insults, insinuated threats and lies

Detecting the presence of a hidden watcher, noticing something


Perception,
that just doesn’t seem right, seeing the subtleties of an implied
Awareness keenness of the
senses and mind threat, detecting a lie, finding tracks in the wilderness, detecting
an ambush
Mental

Working out how to construct a defensive wall, organising a body


Smarts, mental
of troops, working out a fugitive’s escape trail, figuring out what
Intelligence aptitude and
a rival’s next move is going to be, using logic, prediction, planning
acumen

Patience, overcoming pain, managing to sleep, enduring mental


anguish and suffering — can also be spent temporarily to gain a
Focus, intention, bonus of +2/+2 on a single roll, to negate damage penalties for a
Resolve drive, willpower scene, to automatically overcome shock, to act while dying and
so on. See page 52
Spiritual

For good fortune in searching, or just to determine if something


Fate, good fortune, good (or bad) happens. Can be temporarily spent to prevent
Luck blessedness a Potential Bungle, to gain a reroll of a non-Bungled roll, or to
automatically have something lucky happen. See page 52

40
Skills
Things a character has learnt. Costs x1 Experience.
1–2 Poor 3–4 Average 5–6 Proficient 7–8 Expert 9–10 Masterful
Note that players should characterise what field their expertise is, if they are using a Skill that is very broad (such as
Knowledge). Describe what they trained in — if someone is trying to do something that is technically part of the Skill, but
that they likely have no knowledge of or ability with, then the Narrator should simply give them a penalty to their roll.

Skill Examples of Use


Animal Handling Taming, commanding, working with animals

Athletics Running, jumping, climbing, swimming, crawling

Command Leading people, controlling groups, planning and organising, taking charge

Construction Building, mechanics, electrical, weapon and armour smithing, making clothes

Deception Lying, bending the truth, thinking fast, conning and tricking

Deduction Detecting untruths, sensing true motives, predicting someone, investigating, searching

Diplomacy Talking, persuading, convincing, cajoling, seducing, bargaining, earning trust

Dodge Ducking out of the way, avoiding strikes, weaving, bobbing

Domestic Organising a settlement, cooking, farming, mending clothes, handling supplies

Hand to Hand Fighting without weapons. Punching, kicking, headbutts, elbows.

Intimidation Frightening others, being imposing, staring down a bandit pack

Knowledge Local and academic knowledge, political knowledge, technical knowledge

Language Speaking a different tongue

Medical First aid, medicine, natural medicine, preventing infections, binding wounds, operating

Melee Using close combat weapons — knives, swords, axes, spears, sticks, glass.

Military Understanding tactics, code words, setting up ambushes, laying mines.

Observation Using natural perceptions of the body — seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting.

Perform Singing, dancing, playing music, making a profound speech

Pilot Driving cars and trucks, piloting planes and ships, riding horses, riding bikes

Ranged Shooting pistols, rifles, shotguns, bows, throwing javelins or knives.

Stealth Sneaking, hiding, sheltering from gunfire, following someone surreptitiously.

Rogue Picking locks, picking pockets, cracking safes, finding black market contacts

Wilderness Hunting, tracking, making shelters, surviving in the wilds

41
Circumstances
Situations around the character — people they know, stuff they own, their wealth and influence.
See more detail on page 71.
Costs x1 Experience.

1–2 Poor 3–4 Fair 5–6 Enviable 7–8 Impressive 9–10 Legendary

Circumstance Examples of Use

Asking allies for information, to broker a deal, to come to your aid, to lend you
Allies
money, to find out who wants to kill you and why.

Equipment Kit, gear, medical supplies, food, vehicles

Having soldiers, servants, slaves, workers — telling them to attack someone, to back
Minions
you up, to menace somebody, to search for something or be part of your network

Having well-trained animals loyal to you — pets may be used to attack someone, for
Pets
defence, to sniff out a scent, to track down quarry or to detect Infected

Frightening or awing someone with your name alone, making a grand entrance,
Reputation
being really impressive

Status Pulling rank, commanding troops, being a diplomat, having station or privilege.

Team Mate Having a buddy to back you up

Buying things, bribing people, organising a trade, living affluently (or just getting by),
Wealth
being a “big deal” or an impoverished vagabond

Weapons Firearms, armour, swords, bows, grenades, ammunition, artillery.

Attributes Help Determine “Character”


Attributes determine who a character really is, deep
down. They give clues for role playing, and help to
make it that much easier to depict characters.
For instance, having a character with a high
Intelligence naturally means they’re quite smart,
but also having a low Resolve will mean they’re
somewhat scatterbrained, forgetful and sometimes
foolish.
Having a high Tact and a low Awareness can mean
that a person keeps talking well past the point that
they should. They don’t notice when their audience
has gone cold.
These are all different tools for the Narrator and
their players to breathe life into their characters,
and the world.

42
Vital Statistics
The physical and mental health of a character.
Extra Health Costs x2 Experience

1–2 Poor 3–4 Fair 5–6 Enviable 7–8 Impressive 9–10 Legendary
Stat Description

A character’s physical toughness. How healthy they are and how much damage they
can take and still keep functioning, or stay alive.
Combine Brawn and Luck together and you will get your character’s Base Health
(from 2–20). You can add to this initial value by purchasing Extra Health (Extra
Health costs x2 Experience, just like Attributes). Extra Health has a maximum level
equal to Base Health. Health is divided as evenly as possible into three categories:
Health
2–40 Battered, Injured and Wounded.
When damage is received, it is first subtracted from Battered Health, then Injured
Health, and finally Wounded Health.
Battered Health has a chance to heal once per day, Injured once per week and
Wounded once per month.
Characters on 0 Health are dying.
Characters who go negative in Health more than their Brawn Attribute are dead.

Your character’s sanity, honour and humanity (optional stat).


Choose your Morality level from 1–10.
Morality Characters who act against their Morality may be forced to make Morality checks
1–10 or lose points. The lower a character's Morality, the more insane, evil and mentally
unstable they are.

Advantages & Disadvantages


Quirks, oddities of a character, unique traits, merits, flaws, perks and penalties.
At character creation Advantages Cost x1 Exp per level, Disadvantages give a bonus of x1 Exp per level.
During game play both cost x3 their level.

1–2 Poor 3–4 Fair 5–6 Enviable 7–8 Impressive 9–10 Legendary

Stat Description

Certain strengths unique to the character. A hard head, a nose for profit, an
Advantage unshakeable will, can all be represented by taking the appropriate advantage, which
will give bonuses to certain rolls, or allow unique abilities.

Weaknesses or flaws of a character. Gullible, a guilty conscience, a weak eye, missing


Disadvantage teeth, a bad back can all be represented by taking the appropriate disadvantage,
which will give penalties to particular rolls, or force checks to be made.

43
statistic Levels
All statistics range from 0–10, which span the limits When they decide this, they should tell the player,
of human ability. It is technically possibly to get above “Make a Brawn plus Athletics check” or “Make a
10. Here is a quick way of interpreting what those Presence plus Intimidation check”.
levels represent.
Of course, sometimes the player’s views on the check
Statistic Levels won’t fit with the Narrator’s, but in that case it’s the
Narrator that makes the final decision.
Level Description
See page 128 for examples of different actions and
0 Completely Unskilled what stats they use.
1–2 Poor
Overlap of Skills
3–4 Average
There are many Skills that can potentially be used for
5–6 Proficient
the same action — just performed in different ways.
7–8 Expert You could use Stealth to follow a target from afar, or
9–10 Masterful Deception to pretend not to be following them in a
crowd. The way the player describes how they are
performing the action is what the Narrator should use
Note that few characters will ever reach 7 or 8 with to determine what statistics to use in the roll, as well
most of their statistics, let alone 9 or 10, which as how the action turns out.
would be considered virtually impossible. Individuals
who have the discipline, drive and diligence to train Rolling More than two dice
themselves into that high a level are few and far
Sometimes you will be able to roll more than two
between. A character with a statistic at level 7 or 8
dice. Usually this is if you have a significant advantage
would be a high level professional — an Olympian,
in some way — it could be when using an automatic
champion boxer, a veteran sniper. A character with
weapon on fully automatic, or when using a
a statistic at level at 9 or 10 would be a legend
Circumstance to give you an edge.
like Achilles, or Musashi — individuals considered
superhuman, and about whom stories, movies and
legends are constructed around. + Tact 6 = 10 0 Successes
The Narrator Determines What Stats to Roll
+ Diplomacy 5 = 11 1 Success
When faced with a dramatic situation that demands a
check, the Narrator is the one who determines what
sort of roll the player needs to make. + Wealth 8 = 15 5 Successes
The players should describe what they are doing, 6
to best set the scene and give the Narrator a good Successes
idea of what sort of check would be fitting — which Total
Attribute and Skill would be the best combination.

44
Example: Felicia is a tycoon, with her Wealth
Circumstance at 8. She tries to persuade a settlement + Awareness 6 = 16 6 Successes
guard to let her pass (rolling Tact/Diplomacy), and +1 (for natural 10)
adds a little monetary “incentive” to the mix. Because
of this the Narrator lets her add another die to the + Diplomacy 5 = 12 2 Successes
roll, at the level of Wealth (1D10+8). 9
So now she would roll Tact/Diplomacy/Wealth. Successes
Total
Her Tact is 6, her Diplomacy 5, and her Wealth 8.

She rolls a 4, 6 and 7.


Example: Jacqui peers into the corn field, trying to
Ending up with 6 successes total. In this case, the
make out movement. Her Awareness is 6 and her
Narrator decided that a passive roll could be a made
Observation is 5. She rolls a 10 and a 7!
(one in which the player rolls against a set target of
successes, rather than having the opponent make a The 10 plus her Awareness of 6 is a 16, so would
roll to resist her — see page 46 for more information). normally give 6 successes, but because it was a
natural 10, it gives a +1, so it’s 7 successes.
"Natural" The 7 plus her Observation of 5 reaches 12, so that’s
another 2 successes.
Whatever a die actually rolls is called its “natural”
number, as opposed to a number gained from a 9 successes total.
modifier. If you roll a natural 10, or a natural 1,
these can cause you to automatically succeed She sees movement, clear as anything — and then the
or automatically fail with that die, as mentioned glint of metal... which appears to be a scope!
below.
Rolling a Natural 1
Rolling a Natural 10
Rolling a natural 1 is an automatic failure for that die.
Rolling a natural 10 means you’ve done particularly No matter the number of bonuses, it will not succeed.
well. At this point you can pump the air and shout,
“Natch TEN!” + Intelligence 10 = 1 Fail
Rolling a natural 10 gives an additional +1 success.

This will automatically result in at least 1 success, no + Knowledge 7 = 11 1 Success


matter if you would normally have succeeded or not 1
(unless no check was possible). Success
Total

Example: Nick is passing through a region and sees a


local gang sign painted on the wall. He wants to know
more about the gang, and so the Narrator allows him
to roll an Intelligence/Knowledge check to see what he
finds out.

45
Passive rolls can have penalties, if
they are difficult. See page 48.

3
5 −2
Annabelle
Penalty

Nick is Example: Annabelle wants to persuade a local farmer


an absolute to part with his crops on “loan” because she has no
genius, with trade goods. The Narrator decides that this is a bit
an Intelligence difficult, so gives her a penalty of −2. She manages to
of 10, and get 5 successes total, so 3 successes after the penalty.
Knowledge 7!
Fail
Unfortunately,
Nick rolls a 1 and
a 4. 3 −4
1 plus the 10 equals 11, Jackson Penalty
which would ordinarily be a
success, but a natural 1 is always a failure, so that die
Example: Jackson is running across a field, and is
gets no successes.
trying to get to the other side before a passing car
Luckily, the 4 +7 totals 11, which equals 1 success. comes over the ridge, and the people inside get a
chance to see him. The Narrator tells him he has a
Passive/Opposed Rolls penalty of −4, as it’s quite challenging.

A roll can either be passive or opposed. He only fails by 1, so is just a few metres from the
treeline when the car comes over the ridge behind
Passive Roll him... and the passengers see a figure disappear into
the woods.
Most rolls are passive rolls. Passive rolls are where the
player makes a roll and no one attempts to oppose it.
Opposed Roll
The only roll made is that by the player.
An opposed roll occurs when the player rolls against
In fact, most rolls are passive and require only 1
the Narrator’s roll (or another player’s). The Narrator
success. However, for particularly difficult actions,
will usually be rolling for another character in the
the Narrator can determine that more successes are
game, who is attempting to oppose the player in
needed.
some way.
This is generally used when the player is trying
In this case, successes from each side cancel each
to perform an action that does not involve living,
other out. Whoever’s still left with successes manages
resisting opponents — such as climbing a tree,
to achieve their action, to a greater or lesser degree.
running, finding food, or similar actions. It can also be
against unimportant NPCs (Non-Player Characters —
characters controlled by the Narrator).
46
with a scope and with a lot of time to aim would be
1 easier than shooting without a scope at a distant, fast-
3 moving target!
2
Joe Bandit To represent this, Narrator assigns bonuses and
penalties.

Example 1: Joe is attempting to shove a door


Bonuses
shut with his shoulder, while a bandit tries to stop
him. Both of them roll Brawn/Athletics. Joe gets 3 For favourable circumstances that make an action
successes, while the bandit gets 2 successes. Joe's easier, bonuses can be given to the roll. These are
final tally is 1 success, so he slams the door shut. given to the Primary Dice, and are divided between
them as evenly as possible.
Fail
These look like +1/+0, +1/+1, etc.

6 7 For example, +1/+0 would add +1 to the first die (the


Attribute), but no bonus to the second die (the Skill).
Lucy Infected
+1/+1 would give +1 to the Attribute, and +1 to the
Skill.
Example 2: Lucy tries to shoot an Infected as it ducks
behind a wall. She gets 6 successes but it gets 7 to Level of Bonus
dodge, meaning that she misses and hits the wall
instead! Bonus Description

+1/+0 Minor
2
+1/+1 Moderate
5
3 +2/+1 Major
Garth Bandits
+2/+2 Dramatic

Example 3: Garth is driving flat-out down a freeway


filled with old abandoned cars, while a bandit crew
pursue in a beat-up pickup. Garth rolls Dexterity/Pilot
+ Presence 6 (7) = 13 3 Successes
vs the bandits’ Dexterity/Pilot. He gets 5 successes,
while they get 3, meaning that he has beaten them by
2. That’s a poor level of success, so he’s gotten ahead + Knowledge 7 (8) = 12 2 Successes
of them, but not by much.
5
Bonuses and Penalties Successes
Total
Certain things can make an action more or less
difficult. For instance, jumping over a moderate gap Example: Jillian is talking to a young man from her
would require a check, but diving from a moving town who she’s trying to convince to shoot a couple of
train would be far more difficult — and leaping from thugs who have been giving her some trouble. She’s a
one train onto another, while concussed, would be former model, with a high Presence and the
extremely difficult. Likewise, shooting at a target Advantage “Striking Looks”. He is awed by her, so the
47
Narrator gives +1/+1 on her Presence/Diplomacy Level of Penalty
check.

Her Presence is 6, which becomes 7, and her Penalty Description


Diplomacy 7., which becomes 8.
−1–2 Mild
The Narrator decides to make it a passive roll, needing
−3–4 Challenging
as many successes as the young man’s Resolve, which
is 4. −5–6 Very Difficult

She rolls a 6 and a 4, getting 5 successes total (6 + 7 = −7–8 Heroic


13, so 3 successes. 4 + 8 = 12, so another 2 successes.
−9–10 Impossible
The kid is impressed, doesn’t know what to say, and
eventually agrees.

The bonus on a die can never get higher than +10.


Bungles
Penalties
No Success and Natural 1 = Potential Bungle
Things that make an action more difficult are
No Success and two Natural 1s = Potential Epic
represented by penalties, which are subtracted from
Bungle
the total number of successes made by the character.
A Bungle is a stuff up. A major mistake. Dropping the
Fxample: Jillian is trying to hide from a group of
grenade on your foot, shooting your pal by accident,
looters going through a building she’s in. However,
getting a gun jam or some other catastrophe.
she hurt her knee earlier, which is affecting her. She
is suffering −1 to her Dexterity-based actions. Rolling If a character gets no successes on their roll, and also
Dexterity/Stealth to stay hidden, she gets 5 successes. rolls a natural 1 with at least one of the D10s, then it's
She takes 1 success off this, and gets 4 total. a Potential Bungle.

Spend a Point of Luck


+ Dexterity 6 = 12 2 Successes
To prevent the Bungle from happening, the character
may spend a point of Luck. If they don't, then the
+ Stealth 6 = 13 3 Successes Bungle takes place.
−1 Successes
+ Dexterity 5 = 1 Fail
4
Successes
Total + Athletics 6 = 10 0 Successes

If penalties reduce a roll to 0 successes or even less, Potential


then the action fails. Bungle

Example: Garth is running from charging Infected. To


see if he can evade them the Narrator has him roll a
Dexterity/Athletics check. The Narrator rolls a
48
Dexteriy/Athletics check for the Infected as an
opposed roll. + Awareness 6 = 1 Fail
Unfortunately, Garth rolls a 1 and a 4. Not only did he
get 0 successes with one die, but the other die was a + Deduction 6 = 1 Fail
natural 1! That makes it a Potential Bungle!
Epic
Garth doesn’t have any Luck left, so he has no chance
Bungle
to prevent the Bungle from taking place. The Narrator
decides to use the chart on page 50, and has Garth
Example: Garth is trying to work out what a new
roll 1D10. He rolls a 3, which is a Faceplant. The
player in town is after. The guy seems like a hard type,
Narrator determines that Garth has slipped on some
who just wandered in from the ruins, but when he
loose rubble and sprawled flat. The Infected are now
talked to Garth before he seemed to be an okay guy.
right on him and autima gain the initiative.
What’s his story?
How bad the Bungle is can be
In talking to him, Garth rolls an
determined by rolling a D10
Awareness/Deduction check to see
with 1 the worst result and
what he can determine about the
10 the best possible result.
guy. His Awareness is 6 and his
See the chart on page 50
Deduction is 6, but unfortunately
for some ideas.
Garth rolls two 1s!
The Narrator should
Now Garth faces a potential
use their logic when
Epic Bungle. To stop this he
determining the effect
would have to spend 2 points
of a Bungle. A clever
of Luck, but he decides to save
Narrator will use a Bungle
them for later.
as a complication to further
enhance the story. It can make This means that it is indeed an
the situation more gripping, Epic Bungle, and Garth hears only
more intense and dangerous great things about this new guy. In fact, they
and add further problems to the characters’ get drinking together, and Garth comes to trust him
adventures. They can also be fatal... implicitly... never realising that this guy is a cannibal
looking for fresh meat — and he’s just found his next
Epic Bungle target.

An Epic Bungle occurs when you roll two natural 1s,


Narrating a Scene With Bungles
and no successes (in case you were rolling three or
more dice). If this happens, the only way you can The Narrator needs to use their judgment as to how
reduce the action to a mere failure is by spending two and when to apply the results of the Bungle. For
points of Luck. example, just because Garth had an Epic Bungle does
not mean the results are immediately applied. Nor
does it indicate the manner in which the Bungle
will occur. So the dubious individual Garth was
questioning may wait until the story takes them to
a point where he can betray the group, or it may be

49
that the guy is normally fine but goes off the deep
end (to Garth’s detriment) any time a trigger event
occurs — eating certain foods, asking him to do Expanded Descriptions
particular things, and so forth.
Injure Self or Friends:
Players should also ensure they keep "in character"
when they roll a Bungle. While they may know that Shooting or striking self or friend.
the scary men in the woods are certainly up to no
Making an enemy out of a friend — deeply insulting
good, their characters trust them anyway, and walk
an ally.
blithely on to their dooms... let it run out. Things that
are obvious to people watching the movie or reading Completely mistaking someone’s intentions and taking
the book are not always obvious to those in it. That it way too far (too friendly, too outraged).
doesn’t lessen the interest of the game though!
Cracking, snapping or mentally breaking down in the
middle of a stressful encounter.
A Bungle Table
Getting utterly ripped off by a dodgy merchant, and
Below is a table that gives you some possible types of
thinking they got a bargain (and buying stolen goods
Bungles. If the Narrator chooses to use it they should
to boot).
have the player roll 1D10 and compare it with the
chart, then create an appropriate effect. Bear in mind Falling over directly into a sentry’s view while
that this may not suit every situation perfectly, so we sneaking.
advise you to use it as a source of ideas, rather than
Climbing down a cliff and creating an avalanche.
something to be strictly adhered to.

Bungles Bad Fumble:

Stepping in a hole while running (and badly jar or


Roll Description
1D10 break leg or sprain knee.).

1 Injure Self or Friends Slipping and striking something solid while in combat.
Painful, will give penalties for subsequent actions in
2 Bad Fumble
the round and limit movement.
3 Faceplant
Talking to an ally and flirting with their wife/husband/
4 Painful daughter/them and possibly giving them a grudge for
later.
5 Fumble
Buying the wrong item in a bargain, or buying
6 Backfire
something “extra” that is useless or does harm when
7 Complication attempted to be used.

8 Later Entanglement
Faceplant:
9 Surprised
Tripping over in the middle of the combat, leaving
10 Embarrassment themself stunned on the ground.

50
Trying to make a deal with a local power broker to let Climbing down a cliff and jump for a handhold — only
them pass — and promising something very valuable to have it completely break off in their hand.
that they simply don’t have.
Ask an ally for help and speak to someone who is an
Climbing down a cliff and getting bitten by a snake. informant for the character's enemy.

Making boasts to an ally that make the character Pay a bribe to someone who works for the authorities,
look like a pompous fool and embarrass the ally in and now facing hard labour, exile, or maybe even
front of others. execution.

Tring to buy something that is illegal in this town or in


Complication:
some way gets them into serious trouble.
Weapon gets stuck.
Painful:
A piece of valuable equipment falls off their body/
Striking something that harms self instead pack, or something valuable breaks inside it.
of opponent.
Sneaking into a compound, but trips over a sleeping
Trying to get information out of a prisoner, but soldier, or gets caught in a booby trap.
as interrogator leans closer the prisoner bites the
When talking to an ally character mentions a secret
character's ear.
they weren’t supposed to tell, or imply they can
Flirting with a power broker’s daughter and she do something or have something that the other
decides a beating from her bouncer will give the person wants/needs — when the character simply
character some respect. doesn't orcan't.

Climbing down a cliff, fall on something sharp. Driving a car and it stalls as they're going around a
sharp bend, or a tyre blows out, leaving them spinning
Fumble: (and maybe going down a cliff).

Weapon jams or drops weapon.


Later Entanglement:
Say the wrong thing to an ally and now need to give
Something may come back to haunt them later.
lots of assurances, promises and bribes to make them
compliant again. Unexpected reinforcements arrive, a weapon jams,
something flammable breaks in a backpack, a pack of
Running from Infected then kick own ankles and land
Infected arrives.
in a heap — in front of an angry bull/bear/gang.
Have to do something that must now be kept a secret,
Interrogating an informant and leaving self tongue-
or have angered someone who's now coming for
tied, confused and sure that they've actually got the
revenge — or the character is ready to snap, and will
wrong person.
at the next disastrous moment.

Backfire:
Surprised
Something breaks off from weapon, spraying shrapnel
Blinded or shaken by something in their own attack.
in the character's face and disabling the weapon.
Something comes into the fray unexpectedly — don’t
An ambush gets seen and now the character finds see an attacker, a steep drop, a mine.
themself ambushed instead.

51
Ally reminding them that the character owes them Embarrassment
money, or a local warlord realising that the character
Drop their pants, make themself look the fool,
chased him out of town a few years ago, or running
accidentally unload their weapon, snag their
into Infected face-to-face, or other survivors, or falling
equipment, or otherwise act in a foolish way (not
into a deep pit.
physically harmful, but painful to the pride).

Spiritual Attributes
Spiritual Attributes are the deep wells of inner slight amount of movement and action. However,
fortitude that separates player characters from strenuous actions like combat are not possible.
normal people. Generally only Player Characters
Example: Jann uses a point of Resolve to gain +2/+2
and important Non-Player Characters (particularly
to her Presence/Command check in front of the whole
antagonists) can spend Spiritual Attributes. At the
town, trying to convince them to back her for leader.
Narrator’s discretion, though, anyone can spend
Her Presence is 4 (+2, so now 6) and her Command is
Spiritual Attributes.
3 (+2, so now 5).
These are spent temporarily to gain a bonus, a reroll,
Example: Davis is down to Wounded Health and is
negate a penalty and so on. However, they only
suffering −2 on all rolls. He gets attacked again by
recover at a rate of 1 per day, so spend them wisely!
a band of reavers, so to fight them off he spends a
point of Resolve and has no damage penalties for the
Resolve
remainder of the scene.
Resolve represents a moment of pure intention, focus
Example: Victor is dying. He’s been reduced to −2
and willpower, enabling a character to better perform
Health and is about to go unconscious when he
a single action or overcome pain and exhaustion.
spends a point of Resolve to keep functioning. Even
Spend a point of Resolve to gain +2/+2 to one roll. then, he's on −4 to all rolls, and can only crawl and
move very slowly.
Spend a point of Resolve to remove damage
penalties for a scene. Luck
Spend a point of Resolve to be able to function for a Luck represents the fickleness of fate, of some
scene while dying (though at −4). peoples' ability to defy horrendous odds and come
out unscathed. It enables characters to prevent bad
When gaining the bonus, spending the Resolve must
things from happening to some slight degree.
be declared before you make the roll (you say, “I’m
going to spend a point of Resolve,” then you make the Spend a point to prevent a Bungle.
roll).
When you roll a Potential Bungle (no successes and
If you make a reroll with Luck, of a roll that you had a natural 1 rolled), you may spend a point of Luck to
just used a point of Resolve on, then the bonus prevent it, and instead make it just a failure.
doesn’t count on the reroll.
Example: While shooting at an Infected, Alex rolls
Spending a point of Resolve to continue to function a 1 and 4 — no successes and a natural 1. That’s
while dying is an act of supreme will that enables a a Potential Bungle. To negate that, she can spend
a point of Luck and just make it a failure, with no

52
disastrous consequences. She decides to do so, Spiritual Attributes
meaning her shot merely went wide, and nothing
disastrous happened. Resolve
Spend a point to gain a reroll. Spend a point to gain +2/+2 to one roll

You may spend a point of Luck to gain a reroll of a Spend a point to remove damage, pain or
non-Bungled roll. It could be a failure that you would exhaustion penalties for a scene
like another chance at, or even a moderate success Spend a point to be able to function during a
where you wanted a greater success. scene while dying (−4 on all rolls)

The second roll is final. Luck

Resolve bonuses do not count on Luck re-rolls. Spend a point to prevent a Bungle

Bungles cannot be re-rolled. A Potential Bungle which Spend a point to reroll of a non-Bungled roll
was reduced to a failure by spending a point of Luck
(as above) is not considered to be a Bungle, and can
be re-rolled by spending a second point of Luck. Recovery:
Example: Alex gets only 1 success as she jumps for a Spiritual Attributes recover at a rate of 1 point per
ledge. She was trying to be quiet, but that poor roll day.
will mean she makes a lot of noise. Instead of that,
she decides to spend a point of Luck and roll it again Awarding Points
— this time she gets 5 successes and is much more
Narrators can award players with a restored point of
quiet.
Resolve and Luck for performing some particularly
Example: Richard spends a point of Resolve to give heroic action, surviving something suicidal or
himself a +2/+2 to his roll to charm a local warlord. something equally inspiring.
However, he failed on the roll, meaning he will come
A point of both is recovered when this occurs.
across like a total bootlicker. To stop that eventuality,
he decides to spend a point of Luck and gain a reroll.
However, this time he doesn’t gain the +2/+2 Resolve
bonus to the roll.

Example: Andrew has Bungled his attempt to sneak


past an Infected pack. If he wanted to reroll it, he
would have to spend 2 points of Luck — the first to
prevent it from being a Bungle, and the second to gain
the reroll.

53
The shotgun rang out with the harsh barking of a hammer on gravel. The bullet-chewed doorway
was filled with writhing figures as one Infected after another fell. Blood was everywhere, and that
terrified Dorman. He figured he must be immune to the airborne virus — but he didn’t want to take
chances.
He racked the slide and fired again, and another shrieking creature dropped, its head half gone in a
red spray. It was his last round. The realisation was a like a cold knife in his spine, travelling down his
arms to prickle his fingers with icy needles. He reached for his bandolier and slipped a shell free as
another frenzied shriek came from down the hallway.
How many were still left in the pack?
He was backpedalling when the first of them came through from the front — but a sound from
behind made him whirl. Hideous, discoloured mouth agape, an Infected came at him in a single
bound. It was barely recognisable as having once been human. An old bullet had taken one eye, and
many of its fingers were dislocated or broken — but it cared not for such things. Dorman saw plenty
of teeth left in that gaping mouth, and he knew well the strength her emaciated limbs would have.
One in front, one behind. He had no time to think.
He dropped flat and the fiend sailed just over him, scrabbling claws raking down his back. Something
tore. He felt a numbness there that meant she'd struck home. Did she get through his jacket?
He rolled to his feet as the other one came barrelling towards him, arms flailing. Dorman screamed
and kicked out, connecting solidly. It flew back under the impact, squealing with rage, too light to
stay upright.
Dorman stepped away, back into another room, and jammed home the shell, racking the slide —
too late. The woman was on him, all claws and hissing teeth. Swinging out with he shotgun butt, he
smashed most of those teeth out of her head and knocking her for just an instant before she grabbed
hold of him. He held her back with one arm — which she sank her last few teeth into, trying to tear
through tough leather. Despite her teeth not getting through, the pressure was horrendous.
Then the man was rushing in again. He was gibbering, slobbering spittle and blood everywhere.
There was blood all over him. Some dried, some not.
Dorman twisted as the man came in and fired one-handed at point-blank range, blowing a red hole
six inches wide through the creature’s chest. Blood spattered over his face. He kept his mouth closed,
squashing his horror as the woman flailed and beat at him with all her considerable strength. Claws
raked down his face and she drove him back against the wall, crumpling it in with a puff of white
dust.
Screaming, trying to get her teeth off his arm, Dorman finally managed to draw his hunting knife. He
stabbed it into her side again and again, but there was little effect. Only when he buried it in the side
of her neck did she finally release him to collapse, choking and gurgling.
Dorman didn’t wait to see if she was really dead. He scooped up the shotgun and fled out the back
door, knowing he had only minutes until the numbness of his injuries wore off.
He was covered in blood. His own, and theirs.
It was time to test that immunity.
chapter four
Character Creation

W
ho are the people living in these
perilous times? What charater will you
play in the eerie, brutal stories of the
post- outbreak world?

This is where you make that character, decide who


they are, what makes them tick, what their history
is, their motivations, their personality, their
abilities and strengths as well as their foibles and
weaknesses.

The Narrator would be wise to take this step


with an ounce of care, and go out of their way
to help new players create their characters. It
is recommended that new Narrators at least
familiarise themselves with the process before
attempting to guide others through it. Make
sure each player has a copy of a character
sheet (located at the back of the book and
on our website) in front of them, as well
as a pencil and eraser (No pens! You’ll
regret it later.).

Once everyone is familiar with how


the rules basically work (see the last
chapter), go over with the players
each section of the characteristics,
explain what each individual statistic
represents and help them get a feel
for their options and what sort of
characters they wish to make.

Something for every player to


bear in mind when creating

55
a character is that these are actual people. Even if noticeable differences among them — you wouldn’t
they’re larger than life, they will have much more to enjoy a game where all five survivors were clones of
their motivations, personality and abilities than what Indiana Jones!
sort of gun they shoot, or how they fight. Also, every
The first step then, before creating the character’s
single person in the world will have contradictions
statistics, is that the player must first get an idea of
about them — and this is a cool thing! Perhaps
what sort of character they want to make. Once they
they’re a brave soldier, who hates killing. Or they’re
know who the person is, they should start in with the
soft-hearted puppet ruler of a community, who is
character creation. Don't worry if your idea of the
too “nice” to those around him, but can be brutal to
character changes as you work through the character
those under their power. Games are more interesting
creation step — think of it as a process of evolution.
and offer more possibilities when the characters have

Character Creation Process

1) Narrator Selects Starting Experience 5) Select Circumstances


Work out what situation the character starts in. Do
Choose from Novice (175 Exp), Experienced (200 Exp),
they have allies, friends, equipment, money? Or
and Veteran (225 Exp).
do they have nothing but the shirt on their back?
Experience costs x1 the target level.
2) Formulate Character Concept
Get a basic idea of who you want your character to 6) Select Advantages & Disadvantages
be. There are some charts that can help you with this.
Further tweak your character by the addition of
Advantages and Disadvantages that represent the
3) Select Attributes
oddities and quirks of that person. Experience costs
Choose your Physical, Mental, Social and Spiritual x1 the target level.
Attributes, which will define who and what your
7) Calculate Vital Statistics
character is in essence. These cost Experience x2 of
the target level. Now that you have your Attributes selected, you can
determine your character’s Health, and can choose
4) Select Skills their Morality. Extra Health can be increased at a cost
of x2 the target level.
Choose from the array of Skills available to the
character, to represent abilities from practice and
training. Skills cost experience x1 the target level.

56
Example Character

To show how the whole character creation process is began. During it, he was lucky enough to get into a
done, here’s an example! government Green Zone, which helped him survive
the first year or so. His mother survived with him, but
1) Narrator Selects Starting Experience when the zone finally collapsed into anarchy, she was
brutally murdered by the gang that took over. They
Daniel is playing a game of Infected!. He wants
enslaved Johnny, putting him to work under brutal
to make a character, and so his Narrator decides
conditions. Many people died, others were tortured,
that Daniel starts at Novice level, giving him 175
raped or murdered before Johnny escaped.
Experience to spend.
He managed to kill one of the guards, and put out
2) Select Character Concept the eye of another one, then he fled into the ruins. It
was hard to make a living, and he was forced to steal
Daniel decides to roll on the character background
for food, though that was likely to end up with him
charts on page 64.
getting shot. Instead, he turned a very slim talent with
To start with, he rolls on “Body Characteristics” and the guitar into his meal ticket, travelling from town
gets Skinny, Starved. Then he rolls on “Disposition” to town, playing for food, board and money — and
and gets Rebel. Thirdly, he rolls on “Before” and loosening a few pockets on his way.
gets Felon. It’s an interesting start. He next rolls on
One day he saved a man by hiding him in his small
“Family” and gets Loving.
home when others were trying to apprehend him.
He decides that his character was a felon before the That man turned out to be a professional killer, who
outbreak, with a loving single mother that he rejected has sworn to repay the favour one day.
after getting involved with a gang. His mother was
Cooper has never forgotten his hatred for the slavers,
utterly poor, he had to scrounge to survive and lived
and found that when their own group collapsed in
in a tough neighbourhood.
anarchy a year or so ago, they coalesced once again
He then rolls on “Surviving the Outbreak” and gets into a dreaded reaver group in the region. He swears
Government Zone. On “Harsh Times” he rolls and gets that he will have his vengeance one day!
Enslaved. Not quite what he was planning on, but he
decides to go with it. 3) Select Attributes
He next rolls on “Making a Living” to see what his Daniel has a maximum of 85 Experience to spend on
character does these days. Surprisingly, he gets Attributes.
Performer. Again, it’s not quite what he had initially
• Looking his Physical Attributes over first, Daniel
thought, but again he decides to go with it and see
decides his character is lean and tough. He gives his
where it takes him.
character Brawn 4 (8 Exp) and Dexterity 5 (10 Exp).
On “Contacts” he rolls and gets Contract Killer, then
• For Social Attributes, he figures Cooper’s learnt to
finally, for “Twists” he gets Fell in Love.
use his mouth to survive. He gives him Presence 5 (10
From this, Daniel works out a bit of a storyline. His Experience), and Tact 6 (12 Experience).
character, Johnny Cooper, was a juvenile delinquent,
who broke into cars, did some drugs and was on
the wrong side of the law when the outbreak
57
• For Mental Attributes, Cooper is sharp and • Cooper is not a very skilled tactician, though he
perceptive, so Awareness 5 (10 Exp). He’s of average knows how to move and how to escape trouble
intellect and has Intelligence 4 (8 Exp). before it starts. Military 2 (2 Exp).

• For Spiritual Attributes Johnny is quite intent • Cooper is fairly alert. Observation 5 (5 Exp).
Resolve 5 (10 Exp) and fortunate, Luck 5 (10 Exp).
• His bread and butter is his skill with performing.
Total Experience Spent: 78 Johnny has a beaten up old guitar that is his meal
ticket everywhere he goes. Perform 6 (6 Exp).
4) Select Skills
• He’s also learnt to drive a car, though never really
• Cooper knows little about animals. bothered much. Pilot (Light Vehicles) 3 (3 Exp).
Animal Handling 0.
• He’s learnt basic firearms usage. Ranged 4 (4 Exp).
• Johnny is good at running and getting away from
• Cooper knows people high and low, he knows how
pursuers. Athletics 5 (5 Exp).
to pick a lock and break into vehicles. Rogue 5 (5 Exp).
• He’s not much of a leader. Command 3 (3 Exp).
• Hiding is important. Stealth 4 (4 Exp).
• He’s okay at fixing things when he must.
• Cooper has survived in the wilds for years, travelling
Construction (Mechanical) 3 (3 Exp).
from town to town looking to trade his goods.
• He’s learnt to lie with ease. Deception 6 (6 Exp). Wilderness 5 (5 Exp).

• Being forced to deal with the slavers has made him This has cost a total of 88 Experience.
wary of others’ intentions. Deduction 5 (5 Exp).
Total Experience Spent: 166
• Cooper is a great talker. Diplomacy 5 (5 Exp).
5) Select Circumstances
• Cooper is good at escaping harm. Dodge 4 (4 Exp).
• Cooper has a very small stash of silver, trinkets and
• Cooper is good with his money, but has never learnt
other bits of trade that can see him through a lean
farming or how to organise. Domestic 2 (2 Exp).
month. Wealth 2 (2 Exp).
• He’s fought in a few brawls and can more than hold
• Cooper’s got an old .380 revolver (a light pistol) he
his own. Hand to Hand 3 (3 Exp).
keeps tucked into his belt, as well as a couple of dozen
• He's tough, but not scary. Intimidation 3 (3 Exp). bullets. Weapon 4 (4 Exp).

• Cooper knows the local area. Knowledge 4 (4 Exp). • Cooper also knows a bunch of locals in various
nearby towns, contacts who will organise for him to
• Surviving in the harsh post-outbreak gangland of LA
play, or give him a place to stay or do other work. One
has given him cause to learn a few words of Spanish.
of those is his contract killer friend. Allies 4 (4 Exp).
Language (Spanish) 2 (2 Exp).
This has cost a total of 10 Experience
• He’s also learnt a lot on how to treat wounds and
infections. Medical 4 (4 Exp). Total Experience Spent: 176

• Cooper keeps a knife on him, and he’s used it when One point over his total Experience!
threatened. Melee 5 (5 Exp).
To solve this, Daniel now looks at Advantages and
Disadvantages.

58
6) Select Advantages & Disadvantages • Daniel decides to make Cooper tougher and
increases his Extra Health to 4 (8 Exp).
• Cooper helped to save that contract killer a
while ago, so it is only fitting that he takes it as an This makes his Total Health 13.
Advantage, so he can call on the killer to do him a
He divides that into thirds as evenly as possible, then
service — Favour, a level 5 Advantage (5 Exp).
puts them into the Battered, Injured and Wounded
• He takes Soft Hearted, a level 5 Disadvantage (+5 health boxes. Because the number is uneven, he puts
Exp), because despite his cynical nature, he really the larger number in the Wounded box
hates to see innocent people harmed — particularly
Battered 4, Injured 4, Wounded 5
after his mother was murdered.
• He starts off his Morality at 4. He’s
• He also takes Vengeful, a level 5
Selfish. Hey, he’ll look out for others,
Disadvantage (+5 Exp), which
but he knows to look after himself
ties in with his character
first. This is a dog eat dog world.
perfectly. He can’t wait
to get revenge on those Morality costs nothing, and is
slavers. put at whatever level the player
desires.
• Finally, he takes
Enemy for the slavers Total Experience Spent: 175
(because they’re
And then he’s done!
steadily hunting him
down). The Narrator Character Finished!
decides that’s a level
And so we come to the end of
4 Disadvantage (+4
character creation, and we have
Exp).
Johnny Cooper, a tough street
This gives him kid who survived the outbreak
back a total of +9 only to be enslaved and suffer
Experience (because terribly. He’s tough, a fast-talker
at character creation and a good musician, who
Disadvantages give makes a living busking in towns
you Experience equal and playing for food. He knows
to their level — unlike how to look after himself though,
during play, when they with a revolver never far away, and
don’t). friends in high places and low.

Total Experience Spent: Cooper’s quite cynical at heart, hates


167 rules and will give lip and sarcastic
comments to anyone seeking to control him.
7) Calculate Vital Beneath this he is soft-hearted and cares for the
Statistics people around them — he just doesn’t want anyone
to know.
• With Brawn 4 + Luck 5, Cooper has a total Base
Health of 9.

59
60
1) Narrator Selects Starting Experience

When a character is created, they get a certain people, and gives players a taste of the terror and
number of starting Experience Points which they can anxiety they would experience in such a situation.
spend to gain levels in their various statistics. Most
Experienced
statistics can be purchased with Experience, though
Vital Statistics work a little differently. Toughened from years of fighting on the front lines,
being exposed to harsh conditions, having constant
The starting Experience level of the players’
reaver attacks and forced to adapt and improve,
characters is usually determined by the Narrator. We
the Experienced character is tough. Life is still very
advise to let the characters start off as Novices who
dangerous, but they have more specialities and a
have survived the five years of the outbreak.
broader range of abilities than the Novice.
Novice
Veteran
The character is a greenhorn, a newbie, someone
A hard-bitten old salt, the Veteran has seen and
a bit tougher than the average, but still struggling
lived through the most terrible of experiences. Some
to survive in this harsh world. They will struggle to
become harsh and uncaring, others manage to retain
overcome even minor antagonists. However, this is
their humanity somehow. All are tough as old leather
also an excellent level of Experience to start playing
boots.
at, because it is closer to a “realistic” level of most

Novice Experienced Veteran


175 Experience at character 200 Experience at character 225 Experience at character
creation. creation. creation.
Limits: Limits: Limits:
x1 Attribute level 7, x2 level 6 x2 Attribute level 7, x2 level 6 x1 Attribute level 8, x1 level 7
x1 Skill level 7 x1 Skill level 8 x1 Skill level 8
Max 85 Exp spent on Attributes Max 100 Exp spent on Attributes Max 110 Exp spent on Attributes

While most statistics are restricted, Circumstances Circumstances = x1 level


can be as high as level 10, though the Narrator must
Advantages & Disadvantages = x1 level
use judgement to work out if what the player wants
(x3 level during play)
is balanced and whether it fits the story. It may be all
very well for them to have a hundred minions and a Extra Health = x2 level
nuclear missile at their command — but how did they
get them? At character creation the Experience costs are times
the target level.
Experience Costs:
Example: You are starting your Brawn at 7, so it costs
Attributes = x2 level
14 Experience Points.
Skills = x1 level

61
Example: You are starting your Athletics at 5, so that Together, you can also work out where your statistics
costs 5 Experience Points. come from — in particular, a high statistic represents
years of dedication and hard work. It is likely to be the
Example: You are starting with the Advantage
focus of a person’s entire life. The gunman who can
"Daredevil". As this is a level 9 Advantage, it will cost
shoot from the hip and hit their targets at extreme
9 Experience.
ranges is someone who has practised for thousands
During the game, the Experience Costs are times upon thousands of hours — they’ll practise their
each new level. moves when they’re waiting or bored. It is their life.

Example: During the course of the game you want to Be flexible with your ideas and be willing to add to
increase your Intelligence from 5 to 6. That will cost them or change them. You could include Advantages
12 Experience Points. and/or Disadvantages too.

Example: You are in your third game and want to Example: Lucy has her character's Wealth
increase your Deduction from 2 to 3. That will cost 3 Circumstance at level 10. As such she needs to work
Experience Points. out where those funds have come from.

During the game, Advantages cost x3 their level. The Narrator suggests that the wealth she has may
have come from a successful bit of banditry that she
Example: During the game you want to get the
did when she fell on hard times and joined up with
Advantage "Agile", which is a level 7 Advantage. This
some local reavers.
will cost you 21 Experience.
Lucy thinks this sounds really cool, and it adds a dark
Check Your Character With the Narrator element to her character’s past. However, she figures
that seeing as she is good at heart, she could not have
It is best to run your character past the Narrator,
stayed as a reaver for very long. Perhaps there was a
who can work with you to make sure it best fits the
massacre of the merchants? And she was so sickened
campaign you'll be playing.
and ashamed that she fled from the reaver gang that

62
night, when the rest of them were drunk... and she Lucy agrees, then decides that she should also take
stole all of the goods! the Disadvantage “Dark Secret”, to represent the
terrible act she was a party to. No doubt somebody
The Narrator loves the idea, and tells her that she
knows about it, which will mean she has some
knows the gang would love to catch up with her for
awkward explaining to do later on...
their revenge, so she should put down the “Enemy”
Disadvantage at level 5 for the “Mad Cat Reavers”.

2) Formulate Character Concept


There are many ways to work out what sort of More experienced players might already have an idea
character you wish to play. Initially you must just have of what kind of character they want to make, but even
a kernel of an idea. Sometimes you might see a cool then it can help to roll on these charts and come up
picture and think “Oh! How cool would that be to with new angles and ideas that you hadn’t thought of.
play!” Other times, you might have a sudden thought
By the end you should have an idea of who your
of what might make a great individual or story.
character is, what they’ve been through and the
It may help to outline these things and provide people they know — and you’ll be ready to start.
them to the Narrator so they can construct more
Note that the statistics mentioned are those that the
interesting storylines, plot twists, NPCs, situations,
character may have some good traits in. If it is advised
moral dilemmas, and so forth to improve the game
to reduce a stat, or have a stat low, it will say so (i.e.
experience. Unless your group has been together for
“low Morality”). If an Advantage or Disadvantage is
a long time, it is likely that not all of this information
recommended, it will be in italics.
will be known by your compatriots — the players will
inform others as the game unfolds and part of the For example:
game is learning more about the others in your group.
Criminal — Brawn, Tact, Deduction, Deception,
Observation, Ranged, Hand to Hand, Intimidation,
Character Background
Melee
Infected is designed so you can make any sort of
This advises that a character with a Criminal
character you want, with total flexibility. It has few
background might have a high Brawn, lower Tact and
limitations other than your imagination. However,
a bunch of other Skills.
that blank canvas can be a daunting prospect to a new
player who isn’t really sure what is possible or not! We recommend rolling on all of the charts and
working out the background of the character before
To help with that very problem, we have created a
working out their statistics.
loose series of guides to aid you through the character
creation process. Roll 1D10 or 2D10, depending on
the size of the chart. This will give you a random
selection, and guide you in the possibilities available
for your character. Feel free to mix and match, use the
process to come up with new ideas, and add to your
character’s history and backstory.

63
Body Characteristics Disposition

1 Skinny, starved Builder — “We stand a better


2 chance together.”
2 Well-built and athletic
Commander — “Come with me if you want
3 Hunched or twisted 3 to live.“

4 Slow, clumsy, short, sluggish Conformist — “Things are this way for
4 a reason.”
5 Short, diminutive, petite
Enthusiast — “This is going to be awesome!”
5
6 Hefty around the middle, but powerful
Jokester — “It’s better to laugh than go insane.”
6
7 Freakishly big and strong
Laid Back — “Take a chill pill man.”
7
8 Tiny, delicate, fragile
Lone Wolf — “I’m better by myself.”
8
9 Elegant, graceful Opportunist — “One man’s tragedy is
10 Swaggering 9 another man’s good fortune.”

Before the Outbreak 10 Organiser — “I’ve got it all worked out…”

11 Partier — “Enjoy it while you’ve got it.”


Office Worker — Domestic, Diplomacy,
1 Knowledge, Intelligence, Tact Pragmatist — “Hey, bad things happen to
Police — Deduction, Diplomacy, Ranged,
12 good people. Get over it.”
2 Awareness, Brawn, Presence
13 Rebel — “Screw your rules, I’m doing it my way.”
Artist — Awareness, Presence, Perform,
3 Knowledge 14 Saviour — “There’s yet hope!”
Athlete — Brawn, Dexterity, Resolve, Athletics,
4 Dodge, Medical, Hand to Hand 15 Survivor — “Don’t slow me down.”
16 Schemer — “There’s always an angle.”
Military — Brawn, Awareness, Resolve,
17 Charmer — “I like people. They do what I want.”
5 Athletics, Ranged, Hand to Hand, Wilderness,
Stealth, Command, Melee, Diplomacy
18 Brute — *Growls*
Doctor — Dexterity, Intelligence, Tact,
6 Diplomacy, Medical, Knowledge, Observation Callous — “Meh. So a few people died.
19 Happens all the time.”
Priest — Presence, Intelligence, Luck, Fighter — “I get knocked down, but I get up
7 Diplomacy, Knowledge 20 again. And then you’d better run.”
Prepper — Luck, Awareness, Wilderness,
8 Knowledge, Ranged, Construction
Teacher — Intelligence, Tact, Diplomacy,
9 Knowledge, Domestic, Command, Deduction
Criminal — Brawn, Tact, Deduction,
10 Deception, Observation, Rogue, Hand to Hand,
Intimidation, Melee

64
Family Harsh Times
1 Foreign Descent — Language 1
Disfigured — Hideously Scarred, Chronic Pain,
possibly Headaches, One Eye or Missing Limb
2 Unemployed — Resolve, Observation
Rough Childhood — Awareness, Dexterity, 2 Left Someone Behind — Low Morality, Dark Secret
3 Hand to Hand, Dodge 3 Got Infected, but survived — Immune, Luck
Rich — Lavish Lifestyle, Tact, Diplomacy, Survived Genocide — Luck, Resolve, Nine
4 Deduction, Knowledge 4 Lives, Stealth, Deception
Military — Resolve, Military, Language, 5 Tortured — Resolve, Hideous Scarring, Nervous or Gutsy
5 Athletics
Enslaved — Nightmares, Enemy (the slavers),
6 Brawn, Allies (from fellow slaves), Vengeful
6 Educated — Intelligence, Knowledge
7 Criminal — Dexterity, Deception, Rogue 7 Terrible Trauma — Partial Amnesia, or Harrowed
Left for Dead — Resolve, Brawn, Wilderness,
8 Loving — Presence, Tact, Diplomacy 8 Talent for Survival, Act of Will, Injured Arm/Leg

9 Poor — Domestic, Observation Indentured Worker — Enemy (rulers),


9 Athletics, Brawn, Domestic, Body Scars
10 Sporting — Brawn, Athletics,
10 Ruled by Fear — Coward or Cursed or Sticky End
Surviving the Outbreak
Making a Living
Stayed on the Move — Dexterity, Awareness,
1 Athletics, Observation, Wilderness, Stealth Farmer — Brawn, Awareness, Domestic, Knowledge
1 (Farming), Observation, Animal Handling
Government Zone — Tact, Resolve, Domestic,
2 Diplomacy, Deduction, Deception Doctor — Intelligence, Dexterity, Medical,
2 Knowledge, Diplomacy, Sawbones
Fought in an Army — Brawn, Luck, Athletics, Soldier/Reaver — Brawn, Awareness, Ranged,
3 Ranged, Intimidation, Wilderness, Stealth
3 Athletics, Military, Stealth, Wilderness, Friends
Starved — Dexterity, Awareness, Resolve, in Low Places Allies (fences, spies, scouts.)
4 Deduction, Wilderness, Observation Performer — Presence, Intelligence, Perform,
Made Powerful Friends — Allies, Team Mate, 4 Diplomacy, Deception, Deduction, Stealth,
5 Presence, Intelligence, Diplomacy, Deception Charmer or Seductive or Silver Tongue
Delver — Dexterity, Awareness, Deduction,
Became a Rebel — Brawn, Awareness, 5 Athletics, Stealth, Nose for Treasure
6 Athletics, Intimidation, Ranged, Wilderness
Informant — Intelligence, Awareness, Deduction,
Became a Troglodyte — Brawn, Dexterity, 6 Diplomacy, Rogue, Ear to the Ground
7 Wilderness, Melee, Athletics, Stealth
Crim — Presence, Brawn, Rogue, Deception, Allies,
7 Wealth, maybe Minions (prostitutes, dealers, thugs.)
Lived on a Boat/Remotely — Awareness,
8 Intelligence, Construction, Domestic
Hunter — Dexterity, Awareness, Wilderness,
Became a Reaver — Resolve, Low Morality,
8 Ranged, Stealth, Animal Handling, Patient
9 Ranged, Intimidation, Reputation
Trader — Tact, Intelligence, Diplomacy,
9 Deduction, Deception, Rogue, Domestic
Saved a Community — Tact, Intelligence,
10 Medical, Diplomacy, Ranged, Wilderness, Craftsman — Dexterity, Intelligence,
Domestic, Reputation, Social Status 10 Knowledge, Construction, Diplomacy

65
Contacts Twists

2 Scum of the Earth 2 Road to Redemption — Morality, Role Played


3 Found Religion — Resolve, Presence
3 Local Soldier/Officer
4 Turned Cannibal — Low Morality, Dark
4 Town Leader Secret
5 Lover/Partner 5 Addiction — Addiction, Smoker, and/or
Alcoholic
6 Orphan
6 Sadistic — Low Morality, Eerie Presence
7 Informant
7 Saved by a Pet — Pet, Animal Handling
8 Prostitute 8 Found the Motherlode — Wealth

9 Crime Boss 9 Lost Everything — higher or lower Resolve


10 Terrible Accident — An injury Disadvantage
10 Mercenary
11 Fell in Love — Higher Morality, maybe Team
11 Trader Mate

12 Cannibal 12 Usurper — Minions, Status, Enemy


13 Lost Someone — Vengeful
13 Contract Killer
14 Starved — Resolve, low Brawn
14 Mountaineer/Sailor/Wilderness Scout 15 Killed a Family Member — Callous
15 Scavenger 16 Owes Money — Enemy

16 Delver in the Ruins 17 Killed Someone for Food — Low Morality


18 Found a Good Cause — Allies,
17 Black Market Dealer 19 Rescued — Allies
18 Drug Pusher 20 Redeemed by Innocence — Higher
Morality, Dependent
19 Trader
20 Power Broker

66
3) Select Attributes
Choose what levels each of your Attributes will be, Presence
from 1–10. Few characters have more than a single 1–2 Insignificant — You are rarely noticed or
7 on any Attribute, so to have more than that, make listened to, if people observe you at all.
sure you have a good explanation for what sets your
3–4 Average — You can grab and hold the spotlight,
character so apart (they have a Strength of 8 because
but you’re no professional speaker.
they’re a body builder and they spend all their time
doing that). This trait should somewhat define who 5–6 Noticeable — You find it easy to get attention
they are. and make yourself noticed. You can lead people easily.

Remember, a maximum of half your Experience may 7–8 Charming — The life of the party, when you
be spent on Attributes. speak, others listen. Where you lead, others follow.

The cost is x2 the target level. 9–10 Magnetic — You dominate a room with your
mere presence, and can weaken knees with a smile.
Brawn
1–2 Puny — You have the strength of a child, and Tact
couldn’t do a single chin-up. 1–2 Inept — You have the subtlety of a hammer.

3–4 Average — You don’t turn heads when you 3–4 Average — You say most of the right things at
take your shirt off. the right time.

5–6 Strong — You are well built and have 5–6 Subtle — You win most of your arguments,
exceptional strength and endurance. and can “politely” humiliate others.

7–8 Massive — You could be a professional body 7–8 Suave — Your words are smooth, and utterly
builder and have arms like some peoples’ legs. compelling. You could be a professional liar.

9–10 Inhuman — You could wrestle a bull to the 9–10 Silver Tongue — You could persuade someone
ground and crush skulls with your bare hands. to betray their country, change their political faction
or even their religion.
Dexterity
1–2 Bumbling — Stay away from sharp objects. Awareness
1–2 Oblivious — See what?
3–4 Average — You’re not a klutz, but you’re no
gymnast. 3–4 Average — You notice things most of the time,
but finer subtleties are lost.
5–6 Agile — You’re graceful, swift and blindingly
quick with your hands. 5–6 Observant — You see most small changes
around you and rarely zone out.
7–8 Olympian — You could dive out a second storey
window and just roll with it. 7–8 Sharp — You are distinctly aware of the world
around you at all times, and wake when someone
9–10 Poetic — Your speed and coordination is
tiptoes into your room.
otherworldly. People watch on and marvel.
9–10 Alert — You notice everything — every tiny
detail, subtlety, inconsistency, trace or sign.

67
Intelligence 5–6 Firm — You control your life, push through
1–2 Dense — You don’t learn too well. barriers and carry on despite the odds.

3–4 Average — You’re smart enough to get by. 7–8 Determined — You are one tough bastard.
Torturers would have a hard time making you crack.
5–6 Quick — You learn quickly and easily, can solve
problems and swiftly predict eventualities. 9–10 Resolute — You can persevere through
setbacks others consider impossible. Your will is iron.
7–8 Smart — You are one of the smartest people
you know. You solve hard puzzles easily and think ten
Luck
moves ahead in chess.
1–2 Unlucky — Things never seem to go your way.
9–10 Genius — You could pick up a language in a few Don’t take risks.
weeks of training. You could do high level equations in
3–4 Average — You aren’t lucky, but you’re not
your head.
unlucky either.

Resolve 5–6 Lucky — You win more than you lose.


1–2 Weak Willed — You get easily pushed around,
7–8 Fortunate — It’s not gambling if you know
bullied and controlled. Some might call you spineless.
you’re going to win.
3–4 Average — You can push through most
9–10 Blessed — You glide your way through life,
obstacles, so long as they’re not tortuous.
with things somehow always going right for you.

4) Select Skills
Choose what levels your Skills start at, from 1–10. Athletics
These are things your character has trained in, from 1–2 You’re not much of an athlete, though
how to fire a crossbow to how to talk persuasively. you’ve given it a go a few times.
You don't have to have levels in every Skill. These 3–4 You’ve done your fair share of sports
cost 1 Experience times the total level at character and training, but you’re no athlete.
creation (or 1 Experience time the new level in game 5–6 You are exceptionally fit and active.
play). 7–8 You’re fit, and do regular exercise. You
could compete in a marathon.
Animal Handling 9–10 You're as fit and skilled as an Olympian.
1–2 You have a little experience with
Construction
animal training.
1–2 Basic understanding of building.
3–4 You can teach some tricks and manage
3–4 You have some general building skill,
animal behaviour.
and specialised knowledge.
5–6 You can control animals better than
5–6 You are a professional in some line of
some, but you wouldn’t go into a
work such as electrical or engineering.
lion’s cage.
7–8 Master tradesman.
7–8 You can control wild, angry and
9–10 You could go into the jungle with a
trained animals.
toothbrush and superglue, and build a
9–10 Animals are your friends. They do as
shopping mall.
you ask without question.
68
Deception Hand to Hand
1–2 Clumsy liar. 1–2 Swinging for the fences.
3–4 Believable grifter. 3–4 Scrapper. You have knockout power.
5–6 Slick talker. 5–6 Professional fighter.
7–8 Con artist. 7–8 Frightening. You can throw grown men
9–10 Master of lies. around like rag dolls.
9–10 Left hand hospital, right hand morgue.
Deduction
1–2 Slow and gullible. Knowledge
3–4 You can follow obvious clues, spot 1–2 You have a smattering of knowledge.
clear lies. 3–4 You’re as well-informed as most.
5–6 You’re hard to fool and even harder to 5–6 You have a wide range of
shake off a case. understanding.
7–8 Bloodhound. You can smell a lie from 7–8 Walking encyclopaedia.
thirty paces. 9–10 You have vast wells of professional,
9–10 The tiniest of traces, the smallest of specialised, technical and/or hard to
facial expressions, the merest fractions find knowledge (such as secret passes
of data are huge, flashing signs for you. over the mountains, rumours in a
community, or oil processing secrets.).
Diplomacy
1–2 You spit when you talk.
3–4 You can get by.
5–6 You’re one smooth individual.
7–8 You pick up friends, lovers, and allies
like you pick up jackets.
9–10 When you speak, the room hushes.

Dodge
1–2 You can get out of the way.
3–4 You’re hard to hit.
5–6 You’re usually not there.
7–8 You’re a ninja.
9–10 You could dive through a hail of
gunfire holding a martini.

Domestic
1–2 What's a budget?
3–4 You keep your home, your fields
and yourself in good condition.
5–6 You are tidy, well-organised
and competent.
7–8 Organisational genius.
9–10 You could turn a struggling farm
into a thriving town in a couple
of years.

69
Language Pilot
1–2 "Bonjour y'all." 1–2 You crash easily.
3–4 Conversational. 3–4 You can fly, but you lack experience.
5–6 Fluent. 5–6 Skillful.
7–8 Natural. 7–8 Experienced.
9–10 You could correct a native speaker on 9–10 Masterful.
their grammar.
Intimidation
Medical 1–2 Worrying.
1–2 First Aid. 3–4 Respected.
3–4 Nurse. 5–6 Impressive.
5–6 Paramedic. 7–8 Frightening.
7–8 Highly experienced doctor. 9–10 Terrifying
9–10 World-class surgeon.
Ranged
Melee 1–2 You’ve gone shooting a few times.
1–2 Wild swings, little finesse. 3–4 Militia, or civilian enthusiast.
3–4 You’ve survived a few melee combats. 5–6 Professional soldier.
5–6 You can hold your own with the best. 7–8 Marine. Ridiculously accurate.
7–8 You are terrifyingly fast and effective. 9–10 Stone cold killer. You can take shots
9–10 Grand master. You could take on an others just don’t believe.
entire sword school... and win.
Rogue
Military 1–2 Amateur.
1–2 Rough tactical knowledge. 3–4 Pickpocket.
3–4 You have workable tactical ability. 5–6 Safecracker.
5–6 You are an accomplished tactician. 7–8 Master.
7–8 You are a military genius, and 9–10 Artist.
could rapidly train raw recruits into
Stealth
hardened professionals.
1–2 Obvious.
9–10 Napoleon’s got nothing on you.
3–4 Hard to spot.
Observation 5–6 Sneaky.
1–2 Blunt. 7–8 Shadow.
3–4 You notice enough. 9–10 Ninja.
5–6 You’re sharp.
Wilderness
7–8 You pick up what most others miss.
1–2 Greenhorn.
9–10 You notice the tiniest change in
3–4 Hiker.
temperature, moisture, sound.
5–6 Wilderness survivor.
Perform 7–8 Survival expert.
1–2 You need practice. 9–10 God of the woods.
3–4 You can do a solid performance.
5–6 Your performances are top notch.
7–8 You’re breathtaking.
9–10 Standing room only.

70
5) Select Circumstances
Circumstances are the situations surrounding a with her words, so she rolls a Tact/Streetwise/Allies
character. Most characters do not live as mere check — that’s three dice.
penniless vagabonds wandering the wilderness,
1–2 Few — You have a few friends in high places
friendless, alone, without even shirts on their backs
and low, but not nearly enough.
— but that is what they would be if they chose not to
take any Circumstances. 3–4 Meagre — You know more people than most,
and have friends who will do things for you most of
Most Circumstances reflect such things as friendships,
the time. But if it comes to sticking their necks out for
finances, fame, and so on. They do not advance the
you... that might be a different story.
character themself per se, but they do make life a bit
easier for them. 5–6 Friends in Low Places — You know a lot of
people — people who owe you favours.
The nature of Circumstances is broad enough to
take into account all possible characters and their 7–8 Connected — Your friends are everywhere.
situations. As such, players should feel free to People don’t mess with you, because you know a guy,
customise them to suit themselves, but should check who knows a guy... who owns a bloody big gun.
with the Narrator as to how many points their choices
9–10 Power Broker — Your people are everywhere
will take.
and either owe you a lot, or are incredibly loyal. You
never have to do messy jobs yourself — you have
Allies
people for that.
Taking this Circumstance means you have a number
of allies scattered across a community, or several
Equipment
communities. They’re people who’ll look out for you,
This defines what stuff of value that you own. cars,
sell your “acquired” equipment, give you information
planes, medical equipment, survival gear, food or
on current job prospects, look out for you when
tents. Depending on when the game begins, society
someone’s out for your blood (“You mess with them,
may still be functioning, in which case some of these
you mess with me.”) and so on.
things will not be legal, so if a character has a small
Coming to a new place, you can roll a Presence/Allies garage of tanks, they’re going to need some amazing
check to see if you have any in the local region. The other Circumstances to allow for it (unless they stole
Narrator should feel free to apply penalties of −2, −4, it from someone… in which case they should take the
−6 or higher for remote regions where the character is “Enemy” Disadvantage…).
unlikely to know people.
You can take this Circumstance several times. Each
Furthermore, asking allies to do things that could risk time it can be for a single piece of equipment (like
themselves will incur a penalty to the roll. a car or truck), or for a bunch of items (like medical
supplies, drugs, survival gear and tradeable items).
Example: Jenny has just come into possession of half
a dozen assault rifles, courtesy of several very dead Ultimately, it's up to the Narrator’s discretion what
Red Hand members she bushwhacked down the road. level a piece of equipment is, but below is a good rule
She decides she wants to sell these guns for more of thumb.
easily tradeable items and some food. She is carefully
choosing who she talks to and is being circumspect

71
1–2 Cheap — Food enough for a week, a few She agrees, and writes them down on her character
medical supplies, a portable stove, several litres of sheet like this:
fuel, military webbing.

3–4 Affordable — Valuable, but not ridiculously


so. A moderate amount of medical supplies, fairly
good survival gear, food enough for a month, a dirt
bike, a horse, fifty litres of fuel, or a small home.

5–6 Expensive — Good kit! Extensive medical


supplies, very good survival gear, a solid vehicle, a
defensible home, a secret cache, six months’ worth of
food, a hundred litres of fuel or extensive military kit.

7–8 Enviable — You have the top of the range


equipment. Several hundred litres of fuel, plentiful
Minions
and extensive medical supplies to fit any situation,
Minions are others whom you have to do your
a defensible bunker home, a humvee, or the best
bidding. These could be soldiers under your
military kit in town.
command, gang members beneath you, pimps,
9–10 Stockpile — You have an enviable amount prostitutes and drug pushers — you name it.
of supplies and gear. A veritable storehouse of food,
Minions are incredibly useful, and usually quite loyal,
medical supplies, military equipment, machinery, fuel
but they are not suicidal. Most minions will try to do
agricultural supplies. A tank or an extensive military
their leader’s wishes, but will always have an eye out
bunker home.
for their own interests.
Example: Jackie decides she wants to have a train
It is up to the Narrator and player to jointly determine
as part of her Equipment. She decides she wants the
who exactly these minions are, and how they relate
front carriages to be armoured, with a gun on top
to the character. The Narrator could use the stats for
and several carriages in the back for her travelling
NPCs at the back of the book, or just consider that
group of gypsies, smugglers and part-time bandits.
most of their stats will be at level 4, with a couple of
The Narrator decides that would be a 9 in Equipment
specialities at around 5–6.
(which will cost 9 Experience).
Caution: This Circumstance should really only be taken
She decides that’s fine, and then also decides she
with the Narrator’s agreement, as it can drastically
wants plenty of fuel and general supplies for her
affect the way the game is being played. If Jack has
travelling cavalcade. She lists out the basics, and
five minions, Sherry has a platoon, and both Bill and
doesn’t want supplies to be an issue — at least for
Ted have a criminal network apiece, you can see
quite a while. This would be an “Enviable” amount, at
how the game is not so much about the characters
level 8 (which costs 8 Experience).
anymore. Also, it can be that one character has
She decides to also go for some survival gear for hundreds of people under their command, so they just
herself, for when she’s out in the field — just basics, dominate the story.
like webbing, a flashlight, firelighters, flares, a
The Narrator and players should work out what sort
portable stove, sleeping bag, backpack. Again, her list
of story they want to play, and how the minions can
stretches on a little bit, so the Narrator puts it at level
factor into that without it disrupting the gameplay
6 — "Expensive" (which costs her 6 Experience).
itself. For instance, they could be a background
72
operation, people who the players can call on, people character has taken, or give the character a bonus
who provide supplies and intel. Or it could be a fully when using Animal Handling with it (up to a maximum
military campaign, with battles and tactics. of +2/+2).

If some players aren’t interested in playing a game 1–2 Yappy — You have a small, minor pet who
with lots of minions, or feel it would be disruptive, can help you in “innocent” ways, such as a Chihuahua
then it would be best to not use minions (or at least you’ve trained to sit on your chest and wake you if
not have them exist in such a direct manner). anyone approaches...

1–2 A Couple — You have x2 minions per point. 3–4 Fido — A guard dog, loyal mule (it knows its
own way home) or an old horse.
3–4 A Group — You have x4 minions per point.
5–6 Big Fido — You have a well-trained animal
5–6 Gang Leader — You have between twenty and
(+1/+0 on checks), or a rare animal like an eagle or
thirty minions.
horse, or several averagely trained animals.
7–8 Commander — You have between fifty and
7–8 Yee Haa! — You have a really well-trained
sixty minions.
animal (+1/+1 on checks), or a pack of averagely
9–10 Warlord — You have several hundred minions. trained animals.

9–10 Woah — You have a freaking lion, a


Playing the Warlord magnificently trained animal (+2/+2 on checks with it)
If you want to play a game where the Players
or a small herd of averagely trained animals.
control an actual army of several thousand
people, or a large settlement or city, then this
can certainly be done. In this case, they should Reputation
take a 9 or 10 on Minions to represent the Reputation is a character's level of fame or infamy. It's
people directly under their command who they not merely how well you are known, but how much
can rely on. you are feared, dreaded or admired. This is celebrity,
To further flesh out the situation, the Player making you someone to take notice of, one way or
should also take other Circumstances such as another.
Social Standing (to represent their station), Allies
(other leaders they’ve brought to their cause), Reputation can be used in combination with social
and Equipment (to represent what equipment skills to make a character more feared, respected
their army has — this in particular will be much or liked. It can be used to gain admission to areas
more extensive than how it is represented earlier, otherwise forbidden, or permission to speak with
because those levels as given for an individual’s
people who would otherwise be beyond them.
equipment level, not a king or leader).

Pets
Pets are trained animals that the character owns.
These could be something as small as a talking parrot
to a pack of Dobermans or a Chihuahua guard dog.

This can either be a group of animals who are of


average training, or a single animal that is highly
trained. If only a single pet is taken, the Narrator
should increase the stats of it for the levels the
73
will go on and they'll have to fight hard to keep their
Gaining Reputation own head intact.
Characters can actually gain reputation through
their actions during game play (and the spending 1–2 Somebody — You are a step above the
of Experience). The Players can choose to put common herd. Someone with authority, but at the
levels into Reputation (so long as they have done bottom rung of the power structure.
things worth gaining reputation over — or they’re
just really good at spinning a tale), and it will cost 3–4 Significant — You’re a minor leader, someone
them Experience just like putting up a Skill. most people have to listen to.
Alternately, for really impressive feats, or acts of
devastating brutality, the Narrator can also award 5–6 Important — You’re of considerable standing.
them levels in Reputation for no Experience cost You might command a company of soldiers, a small
— heck, they’ve earnt it! settlement, or a significant portion of a major
settlement.

7–8 Powerful — You’re amongst the top of a large


1–2 Known — People have heard of you.
community, or even the head of a medium-sized
3–4 Famous — Your exploits for good or ill are community. You might command a regiment.
widely known. People might think twice before
9–10 Monarchical — You're a general, a king or
tangling with you.
dictator. The ruler of your domain. Others bow, scrape
5–6 Celebrity — You are very widely known, and and grovel. You speak, and they obey.
feared or celebrated.
Team Mate
7–8 Hero — Your exploits are told in stories around
A Team Mate is someone who will stick by you
campfires, and whispered of in hushed tones.
through thick and thin. Someone who is there with
9–10 Legend — Surely the tales told about you you on the firing line, will back you up when the
can’t be true? People watch you with awe and Infected are screaming towards you, and will likely be
wonder in their eyes — or a mixture of terror and there to the very finish.
dread.
Team mates can actually be secondary characters
created by players, or can be more loosely created by
Status
Narrators keeping in mind their general stats and key
Status reflects who one is in the society. Are you a
abilities.
nobody? The average Joe on the street? Or are you
perhaps a person of standing, or even the leader? 1–2 Greenhorn — Your team mate is
inexperienced. 100–120 Experience (if created), or
This is a loose method of generating social standing,
more loosely, most stats around 3–4.
and relies on the Narrator’s judgement more than
anything else. This will greatly determine how people 3–4 Novice — Your team mate has been around,
respond to you in the society you live in. Are you a and will start with 150–160 Experience or most stats
nobody they can just kick out of the way, or are you between 4–5, at least one area of expertise at 6.
someone they have to listen to — or even obey?
5–6 Experienced — Your team mate is tough, and
Characters should have appropriate Social Attributes starts with 170–180 Experience, or most stats around
and Skills to back up their position. A weak ruler 4–5, with several 6s and at least one 7.
won’t last long before they get toppled. Even if
7–8 Veteran — Your team mate is keeping you
they’re strong and good-hearted, the power struggles
alive. They start with 190–200 Experience, or most
74
stats around 5–6, with several 6s, a couple of 7s and time soon, and you have enough wealth to provide
possibly an 8. for a few luxuries. You might have twenty to thirty
cattle, and a nice dwelling in a good section of your
9–10 Elite — Your team mate is the best of the
community, or a steady stream of goods from your
best. They start with 210–220 Experience, or many
vice of choice — drug den, prostitutes, thugs.
stats at 6s, several 7s and a couple of 8s.
7–8 Wealthy — You are someone with means. You
Wealth have an extensive cattle herd, crops, or income from
Gold, silver jewels, food, slaves, salvage and tradeable prostitutes, drugs, standover men or whatever else
commodities — do you have valuables, a home, an makes a buck. Gold, food, friendships, agreements,
income, or are you a destitute nomad? flows in to you in a steady stream. You have the
means to buy loyalty, friends, lives and power. Though
The basic sort of wealth your character has should be
others might be starving, you rarely go without.
worked out with the Narrator. Sometimes people may
not accept the kind of wealth you’re offering. 9–10 Extravagant — You own a serious amount
of real estate. Many properties in a settlement,
Income can also continue to be generated by this
hundreds of cattle, and/or a magnificent dwelling
Circumstance, as it can represent the ebb and flow
in the best part of town (or a mega-secure bunker
of trade, the gaining of new calves in the spring,
complex deep in the mountains... ). Your wealth is
fresh crops to harvest, and so on. Exactly what sort
legendary
of wealth the character has will determine whether
this is possible. Canny Narrators and players can also
Weapons
use this as story hooks — there are disasters and
Guns, swords, knives and rocket launchers —
opportunities that can befall such sources of wealth.
meant to protect you and kill others. Usually this
Wealth is never a static thing, and chances are they
Circumstance is taken for each weapon, however
will have to be fairly proactive to keep up their level
some Narrators may like a more loose approach, and
of income.
let players take the Weapons Circumstance once and
1–2 Poor — You have a meagre amount of wealth, select a range of items and ammunition.
enough to keep you fed for a month. Your home is
For instance, if you took your Weapons Circumstance
little more than a shack or leaky room — but it’s
at 8, the Narrator might just decide that you have
better than nothing. You have a dribble of income
half a dozen guns of good value, as well as a pile of
coming to you from your small crop, herd or vice
ammunition and some excellent body armour, leaving
dealing. Enough to keep you alive, with nothing to
you to work out the details.
spare.
1–2 Cheap — An axe, bow, crossbow, pistol or
3–4 Essentials — You’re not poor, but you sure
homemade light rifle with a couple of dozen rounds/
as hell ain’t rich. You might have half a dozen cows,
arrows. Leather jacket (motorbike armour), sports
or trade goods worth enough to get you by with only
armour or tyre armour.
the occasional lean patches. You have a basic, but
satisfactory dwelling. You have a moderate regular 3–4 Moderate — Machine pistol, light rifle,
income from your herd, or farm patch, or your dealers double-barrel shotgun or submachine gun and half a
on the street, trading flesh, drugs, threats or whatever dozen clips. A sword (think katana), or a compound
is it you sell. bow and a quiver of quality arrows. A bulletproof vest
(light ballistic armour) or poor steel plating.
5–6 Comfortable — You have more than most,
and for that you can be thankful. You won’t starve any
75
5–6 Powerful — Several grenades, or a light Increasing/Decreasing Circumstances
assault rifle, shotgun or heavy rifle, with several
Circumstances are the only statistics that can be
magazines. Medium ballistic armour, riot armour, riot
increased with Experience, and through role playing
shield or good steel plating.
in the game itself. However, they can also decrease
7–8 Kitted out — Heavy assault rifle, sniper rifle, during play.
missile launcher, mines or higher-quality lighter
weapon (with a good scope, grenade launcher mount, Through Experience
laser pointer, excellent balance and spare barrels).
Increasing them through Experience reflects the
Heavy ballistic armour, or a ballistic shield.
character spending their time and effort on building
9–10 THIS is a gun — Heavy sniper rifle, anti-tank up their contacts network behind the scenes, or
missile launcher, grenade launcher or artillery piece. plying their trade with assets, or with making new
Excellent ballistic armour. friends to help them out.

This should always be checked for approval with


the Narrator, and it is strongly encouraged that role
playing also accompany this, to show how they've
increased their Wealth, or Equipment. This will usually
require some rolls and at least some role playing and
storyline to work out how this is done.

Some Narrators may require players to always role


play how they increase these statistics, making them
earn them. This lends itself well to great storylines,
sticky situations and quick-thinking by the players!
Do they really want to get an M1 Abrams main battle
tank? Well, those tanks aren't just sitting around.
Sure, you’ve got the Experience needed for it...
but how are you going to get it? The game rolls
from there.

If the players fail to achieve their aims, then


they can’t increase the statistic yet... and
they may be in all sorts of other hot water
to boot!

76
Through Role playing This is also up to the Narrator’s discretion. If they
choose, they can allow that the Circumstances
The Narrator can also choose to allow characters
will later return, because they have already been
to increase Circumstances through role playing
paid for. But this is not the advised method, simply
alone, without the expenditure of Experience. This
because Infected! is a game of survival, or husbanding
generally happens when the player has exerted a lot
resources and being careful with your lives and the
of effort to achieve something, or has legitimately just
lives of your friends. If you get people killed, or are
gained something that would increase their Wealth,
careless with your stuff, you are in short order going
Reputation, or Status (marking down the level of
to be alone, with nothing (and likely in a shallow
Equipment for items you own isn’t necessary beyond
grave).
character creation, but such things as Wealth certainly
are). All of this is meant to provide a fluid system for both
players and Narrators to assist with role playing and
For instance, a player character might have just
storytelling. Use it as such. And if you find a way you
killed an opponent and found they had a backpack
like more than what’s written in the book, then use
crammed full of bullets... well obviously, the player
that way! This is just a guide of possibilities.
character now has those bullets, which may also
increase their Wealth.
A Circumstance Check
Or they may have just led a town to victory against
Sometimes a Narrator may get a player to make a
some marauders... well, it would be fair to say that
check with one of their Circumstances. In this case,
they would have some level of Reputation in that
they would roll an Attribute/Circumstance check,
area, both among their friends and enemies.
rather than Attribute/Skill/Circumstance check, as
Consider this a tool, not a hard and fast rule. Apply it
where it makes sense, and can reflect the position of
the player characters.

However, such is the nature of Circumstances that


they can change both ways. If a character suffers
losses of their good name (like a smear campaign,
or the revelation of some terrible secret.), they may
lose Reputation — or more likely, it may change to
being a bad Reputation! If characters make a
bad deal, get robbed, lose everything... well
naturally, their Wealth Circumstance is
going to go down! If a character has their
faithful dog gunned down before them —
it’s gone! The Pet must be taken off the
sheet (or perhaps it’s crippled and now
of less use — though it would have more
character, that’s for sure).

77
they’re testing the relative strength of that He would normally roll Tact/Deduction, but in this
Circumstance, rather than enhancing an existing roll. case, as he’s using his contacts for info, he rolls Tact/
Deduction/Allies as three dice.
Example: Alice has just arrived at a new region, after
rapidly fleeing the last community she had been His Tact is 6, his Deduction 5 and Allies 6. He rolls a 6,
to. She has Allies of 6, but this community is a fair 4 and 10 respectively. That means his Tact reached 12
distance from her previous haunt, so the Narrator has and got 2 successes. His Deduction got 9 (0 successes),
her roll a Presence/Allies check to see if she has allies and his Allies got 17 (7 successes thanks to the +1
in the local area. bonus for rolling a natural 10)! That’s 9 successes
total for a very impressive roll (thanks to the Allies
She manages to score 3 successes, which means she
die).
does indeed have people in the area who know her
and are willing to support her.
+ Brawn 5 = 7 0 Successes
An Extra Die
Some Circumstances (as well as some Skill actions, like + Intimidation 5 = 1 Fail
firing bursts) can sometimes used as an Extra Die for
a roll. In this case, it counts as a third statistic, and the
+ Reputation 6 = 15 5 Successes
level of the Circumstance adds to the Extra Die just
like a Skill or Attribute.
5
When attempting to use a Circumstance as an Extra
Successes
Die, the player should explain to the Narrator how
Total
they’re using the Circumstance, and ask if that can be
added to the roll. Example: Blake is stepping forward to stop a fight
between several angry townsfolk and one of his
Note: If two different Circumstances could be rolled
friends. One of the townsfolk points a gun in Blake’s
as an Extra Die for the same check, choose the higher
face and threatens to blow him away.
of them to roll. The Narrator may also choose to give
a bonus to the roll. Blake stares him down and says, “You’d better hope
you kill me. The last man to point a barrel in my
+ Tact 6 = 12 2 Successes face got more than he bargained for.” The townsfolk
had already heard of his fearsome reputation (and
possible cannibalistic tendencies), so the Narrator
+ Deduction 5 = 9 0 Successes allows Blake to add his Reputation die to the roll. In
this case he rolls Brawn/Intimidation/Reputation. His

= 16 6 Successes
Brawn is 5, his Intimidation 5 and Reputation 6.
+ Allies 6
+1 (for natural 10) It’s lucky he got the third die, because he ends up
9 rolling a 2/1/9. That’s 0 successes for Brawn, 0 for
Successes Intimidation but 5 for Reputation! Phew!
Total
In return, the townsfolk get 3 successes on their own
Presence/Intimidation check, and so Blake ends up
with 2. They back off warily, but they’re not terrified.
Example: John is attempting to find out who paid
to have him assassinated in his local settlement.
78
straight away, unless he wants to earn a whole lot of
+ Presence 6 = 10 0 Successes trouble.

Seeing as her station could give her an advantage in


+ Diplomacy 5 = 11 1 Success handling the boatman, the Narrator allows her to roll
Status as a third die.

+ Status 4 = 13 3 Successes She rolls Presence/Diplomacy/Status. They are 6, 5


and 4 respectively. She rolls a 4, 6 and 9, meaning she
ended up with a 10 (0 successes), 11 (1 success) and
4
13 (3 successes). So 4 successes total, thanks to the
Successes
Status die!
Total
Example: Anna has come into a position of authority Overlap of Circumstances
in the small town of Ship, nestled within, of all things,
It is fairly common for Circumstances to overlap
a beached tanker. Her Status is 4, meaning she’s
with each other. You might take a high level of
someone significant in the hierarchy, and is listened to
Equipment, and detail having a large number of guns
(she’s a chief farmer and a correspondent with several
or ammunition as part of it, rather than separately
local communities).
taking the Weapons Circumstance.
One day she finds the boatman charging double the
Or you might have a high Wealth and detail in it
price to ferry people over. Incensed, she challenges
having several horses you use to ride the countryside.
him on it, and tells him that he’d better change that
Again, that should be fine — just check it with your
Narrator.

6) Select Advantages & Disadvantages


Advantages and Disadvantages form a special part of the character to gain that Advantage. The Narrator
Circumstances. They represent those individualities should see to it that in-game actions are done to gain
of a character that cannot always be expressed in just the Advantage. People generally don’t “suddenly”
the normal statistics. These are their foibles, vices, gain a talent in something. That would be quite... odd.
special talents, unusual abilities — even madnesses, So make sure it makes sense in the game.
illnesses and the like.
One can acquire Disadvantages through grievous
At character creation Advantages and Disadvantages injury or going through a terrible experience. This
cost x1 their total level. is covered on page 100. It is generally left to the
Narrator to choose an applicable Disadvantage for the
During game play, they cost x3 their total level (to
character if they end up getting one.
purchase Advantages or remove Disadvantages).
If one does acquire a Disadvantage during the game,
Some Advantages, of course, cannot be taken during
they provide no bonus at all in terms of points to
the game. For instance, if you suddenly decide to take
spend. These apply only at character creation.
“Large Size” it would be impossible. Your body is not
going to suddenly grow to that size. Furthermore, it Characters should also be able to justify the removal
should make sense in the story that you’re playing for of Disadvantages (and role play them). You can’t

79
just suddenly get rid of a Disadvantage and yet have Advantages, this is always for players to choose.
gone through no real attempts to handle it during Some Disadvantages acquired during the game will
the game. Also, some Disadvantages are completely be at a level determined by the Narrator. Where an
permanent. A missing limb is simply gone. That’s it. Advantage or Disadvantage has a level range, this is
always indicated (Lvl 1–10, Lvl 4–10, etc.).
Level Range

Some Advantages and Disadvantages have a level


range. At character creation and when taking

Advantages
Level 1 starts again, they cough out the water, they rise from
what had seemed a deadly fall...
Patient
The character can also use the Skull Advantage as an
The character gains +1/+0 on rolls for actions that
Extra Die for life-and-death rolls, such as checking to
require patience and sustained concentration.
see if you survive the Calera virus, or if you recover
from a wound that has put you on negative Health.
Skull (Lvl 1–10)
The character is a Skull, a fanatic who believes that It is quite likely that the person’s body will be badly
every time they defy death, they gain power over it, damaged from what has happened to them, and
and attain some level of immortality (see page 183). sometimes they might still, inevitably, die later (there
of course are many situations where death is simply
The character can only gain 1 level of this Advantage
inevitable), but the Narrator should use this loosely,
each time they perform a Defiance (and survive
and primarily as a dramatic story aide.
death). For example, if a character lives through fatal
wounds as if by some miracle, then they could take
Immunity (lvl 1–10)
Skull at level 1. If they survive another one, they may
The character has developed an immunity to
increase that level to 2, and so on. However, that first
the infection. Usually this happens after they've
Defiance must be done on their own, without the aid
contracted Calera and miraculously survived it.
of this Advantage, which makes it that much more
difficult (but not totally impossible). Immunity can be taken as a level, from 1 to 10. It is
then used as an additional die in rolls to resist future
When the character is reduced to 0 or negative
infections of the virus, and also in rolls to avoid being
Health, or is otherwise in a situation that has
noticed by the Infected (such as Stealth rolls), because
rendered them almost certain to die (run over by a
the character now doesn’t smell quite like a normal
bus, falling off a tall building, drowning), the character
human.
has a chance to miraculously return to life.

If the character is going to die, they may make a roll Level 2


with Resolve/Skull. The Narrator may inflict penalties
for particularly grievous amounts of damage or Hardened Constitution
other issues. If successful, the character somehow, +1/+1 on all checks to resist getting drunk or drugged.
impossibly, has come back from the brink. Their heart

80
Machine A Nose For Treasure
The character may always ignore the first check they The character gains +1/+0 on all rolls to find valuable
are required to make to endure fatiguing actions. items when delving in ruins and searching through
garbage/rubble.
Level 3
Double Jointed
Analytical +1/+1 on all Dexterity based checks involved with
+1/+0 on all rolls where Intelligence may be used escaping wrestling holds, slipping bonds, getting
to assess situations analytically. The player should through tight spaces.
characterise how they are being analytical in their
approach in order to gain the bonus. Ear to the Ground
The character gains +1/+0 on all checks to uncover
Born Leader information, investigate leads and discover secrets.
On all Presence checks where the character is leading
or attempting to lead others, they gain +1/+0. Favour
The character knows someone important, powerful,
Favoured Arm skilled or rich, and that person owes them a good
On all Brawn-based rolls involved with either the right turn. This is something that should be characterised
or left arm, the character gains +1/+0 (this includes by the player and Narrator. Work out who it is that
damage when using weapons with just that arm). owes them, what the character did to earn it, and so
on. This can likely only be used once, so be sure to
Light Sleeper make it count!
The character receives +1/+0 to all Perception checks
related to waking, or noticing something whilst Friends in Low Places
asleep. The character gains +1/+0 on all checks to fence
stolen goods, purchase contraband, arrange illicit
Strong Legs dealings and the like.
When making Brawn checks for actions involving legs,
such as lifting, climbing, or even leg wrestling moves, Gutsy
the character gains +1/+0. The character gains +1/+0 on all Resolve checks to
overcome fear, nervousness or intimidation.
Sense of Balance
+1/+0 to all Dexterity checks having to do with Prepared
balance — walking along the top of a fence, running The character reasons well and plans what they're
along a gangplank, balancing on a window ledge. doing before committing. At times when this may
be advantageous, the Narrator can have the player
Level 4 make an Intelligence/Deduction check to learn more
information or hidden problems.
A Nose For Profit
The character gains +1/+0 on all rolls to bargain, trade Seductive
and deal with money in ways that could lead to profit. +1/+0 on all checks based on seduction, lust and
attraction.

81
Born Liar Striking Looks
+1/+0 on Tact checks when lying. Prerequisite: Presence 6

The character is exceptionally attractive and can easily


Level 5
turn heads as they pass by. This makes it easier for
them to charm, seduce and get under the guard of
Innate Skill
others. They gain +1/+0 to all such actions.
The character is just naturally good at something. It
could be running, fighting, shooting or playing the
Sawbones
banjo. Whatever it is, under specific circumstances
The character is a skilled, if brutal, surgeon. The
the character can gain a bonus die to their roll, at the
character can reroll one Medical check with each
level of their Skill, and choose the highest.
patient, but even if successful will cost the patient
The player must choose in what conditions their a Disadvantage of some sort (like brutal scarring,
innate skill will apply — perhaps they’re a good shot chronic pain).
in the dark, or in clear light, or when lying down. Or
they’re good at fast-talking other fast talkers. Talent for Survival
The character has a knack at staying alive in the wilds.
Lie Detector
The character can roll two dice for the Wilderness Skill
The character can smell a lie. They gain +1/+0 on all
and choose to use the highest.
Deduction rolls to detect lies.

Level 7
Silver Tongue
The character gains +1/+0 on social rolls to
Agile
persuade people.
The character uses their speed and agility to great
effect in combat. They may roll using Dexterity instead
Level 6
of Brawn for Melee and Hand to Hand strikes (though
there may be occasions when the situation may still
Fearsome
require Brawn to be used, to be adjudicated by the
+1/+0 on rolls to inspire awe and fear in others
Narrator).
(usually Intimidation checks).

Ambidexterity
Felon
The character is equally skilled with both hands, and
For all checks to understand felon cant, initial checks
can use either to perform any task. This means they
to speak to them (to prove that you’re a fellow crim,
no longer have any penalties for using a weapon in
not an outsider), and such things as finding a dealer,
their off-hand, and when using two weapons (if your
or organising a job (usually Rogue rolls), the character
Narrator allows it) only has −2 on the rolls, rather
gets +1/+1.
than −4. See page 142 and 145 for information on
paired melee weapons and paired ranged weapons.
Jack of all Trades
Three times per game session, the player can roll
Blind Fighter
two dice for a non-combat Skill, instead of just one.
The character is skilled in fighting in the dark or
They may choose to use the higher of the two dice as
without their vision. Normally the penalty for being
their roll.
blind is −10. In their case it would be −5.

82
Charmer Thick Skull
+1/+1 on all checks to charm, impress and use one’s The character can absorb attacks to the head as
personal magnetism to affect people. normal — whereas normal people cannot absorb
head strikes at all.
Large Size
Prerequisites: Brawn 6 Level 8
The character is seriously big and towers over others.
Act of Will
This means all smaller people suffer penalties when
Prerequisites: Resolve 6
fighting them in Melee or Hand to Hand (generally
they will suffer −2). Also, the character can use larger The character possesses an intense, all-consuming
melee weapons (gaining +2 normal damage for such will.
weapons). They might also gain a +1/+1 bonus to
The character can spend a point of Resolve to operate
Intimidation rolls, depending on the circumstance.
at full capacity (no damage penalties) even when on
The downside is that they’re very noticeable, and
negative Health. They will suffer penalties only from
find it hard to hide behind cover or be sneaky (−2 to
undeniable physical damage — such as a missing eye,
Stealth checks).
severed leg, or snapped knee.

Preferred Weapon Of course, the character may suffer additional damage


The character has practised extensively with one from these actions, and will still have to make their
particular weapon. For instance, they have an old, checks to avoid dying, as covered on page 95.
beaten assault rifle that they know all the quirks and
peculiarities of, so it works perfectly for them. Man, I Just Flow!
The character can spend a point of Resolve to perform
When using that exact weapon (not that type of
a Hand to Hand or Melee attack that flows from one
weapon), the player can roll two dice for their Skill
combination to the next, in a blur. They must declare
and choose the highest.
they are doing this before making their attack, and
the point of Resolve spent does not give a bonus to
Presence of the Lawman
the rolls (it is just the cost to use the ability).
Prerequisites: Presence 7
If they succeed on their first strike, they may make
The character is a lawman of some sort — so much
another strike at no penalty. If they succeed on that,
so that they have a palpable presence about them.
they may attempt a third strike at no penalty, and if
Others can feel that this person is the law about these
they succeed on that they may attempt a fourth strike
parts, and respects (or hates) them for it.
at no penalty. Four strikes maximum. Note that they
The character gains a bonus of +1/+1 on social rolls could potentially use a ranged weapon during this as
made to awe, inspire or intimidate others based on one or two of their attacks.
their position as a lawman. However, others will tend
to “just know” that this character is a lawman. If the Nine Lives
character is attempting to hide their identity, they The character can have three re-rolls per campaign.
suffer a −2 penalty on any necessary Deception rolls. These can be used to reroll anything, including a
Bungle or a failed Luck reroll.

83
Level 9 reached, such as them being on a ship or deserted
island, then no followers will reach them (a sweet
Dardevil state of peace for the messiah!).
The character may spend 1 Resolve, and add their
The fanaticism of these followers is not to be sneered
Luck to a roll as an Extra Die. Thus, if they were to
at, and most will be extremely loyal. However, they
roll Dexterity/Pilot to leap a gorge in their car, they
can certainly cause their own issues. How will the
could spend 1 Resolve and roll Dexterity/Pilot/Luck.
character feed them, house them and take care of
However, should the action fail, it is automatically
them? An uncaring messiah may disillusion their
considered a Bungle.
followers and make them resentful, angry and even
threatening.
Lucky Bastard
The character may roll their Luck instead of Brawn This is endless fodder for role playing, and should
for absorb checks. This die may always be rolled, be used in that light. Sure, they could be an army
even against Hardness Rating attacks that would not of conquest — but they will also present their own
normally allow absorption (see page 114). problems.

Magnetic Level 10
Prerequisites: Reputation 7
The Devil’s Own
The character attracts followers like bees to honey.
The character can automatically change any one roll
They may be skilled or unskilled, useful or not, but
once per game session — this can be the Narrator’s
whatever else they are, they have come to follow
roll, or their own. They can either make a reroll and
their leader, come what may.
accept the better of the two results, automatically
Every week, the character should make a Presence/ make a successful roll a failure, or automatically
Reputation check. Every success gained means one succeed on a roll by 1 success. This does not
follower has arrived on their doorstep to follow them. permit the character to perform actions that would
They now count as a Minion. Of course, if there is no otherwise be utterly impossible (like jumping onto a
feasible way that the character could be located or grenade, or shooting down a helicopter with a rock).

Disadvantages
Level 2 Impatient
The character suffers −1 on all actions that involve
Annoying waiting and patience.
−1 on all social interaction rolls.
Morbid
Far-Sighted The character is so used to seeing dead bodies that
−1 on all Awareness-based checks for sight at their behavior around them becomes disturbing or
distances within five metres. even frightening to others — such as bad jokes on
deceased comrades, or being careless while moving
Hoarse Voice corpses. This must be role played, but the Narrator
−1 on any roll that requires shouting (such as can inflict a penalty of –2 on social interaction
Command checks to rally troops). rolls when this occurs.

84
Near-Sighted results in −1 to all Intelligence checks and −1 on all
−1 on all Awareness-based checks for sight at a Awareness checks for that day.
distance greater than ten metres.
Missing Teeth
Weak Constitution −1 to Presence checks based on a first impression.
−1 on all checks to resist getting drunk or drugged.
Nervous
Level 3 −1 on all Resolve checks to overcome fear. The
Narrator can also require Resolve checks to be
Awkward made during times of worry, concern or doubt —
−1 on all social rolls with people the character does failure indicates the character is jittery, unable to
not already know. focus properly, unable to sleep and should suffer a
minimum of –1 on actions that could be affected by
Body Scars this.
The character’s body is hideously disfigured, whether
by burns, lacerations or some form of torture. When Sheep
these scars are visible, their Presence counts as −2 for The character is a natural follower and suffers −1 on
friendly social interaction, but they gain a bonus of all Command checks based on leadership.
+1/+0 to Intimidation checks.

Fatal Attraction
−1 on all rolls to resist seduction attempts.

Frail
The character gets tired easily and must make
checks to avoid exhaustion more often than other
characters.

Headaches
Every day the character must make a
Brawn check −2 or suffer a headache
for the rest of the day. This

85
Weak Limb family, they have history together or have something
The character suffers −1 on all Brawn checks that else that fosters strong bonds of love and loyalty.
involve their weak arm/leg.
Drinker
Level 4 The character struggles with a dependency on
alcohol. When faced with available liquor, the
Angry character must make a Resolve check at −2 or get
−1 on all checks to resist provocation. If the character stuck into it. This can naturally result in getting drunk.
fails, they might snap and become enraged.
Furthermore, should the drinker be deprived of liquor
for extended periods, they will go through painful
Bad Back
withdrawals, prompting them to go to extreme
The character suffers −1 on all checks to lift heavy
measures to obtain relief.
objects.

Also, the character must make a Resolve check daily Eerie Presence
to suffer through their pain and get a good night’s There is something creepy and weird about the
sleep. If they fail, they will be tired and crotchety, character. They suffer −1 on all rolls based on trust,
suffering −1 on all social interaction rolls, and if they charm and friendship.
Bungle then they will be so tired that they suffer −1
on all rolls. They may spend a point of Resolve to Enemy (LVl 4–10)
automatically succeed on this. The character has an enemy — someone who’s
coming for their blood, their money, or their hide
Badly-Healed Jaw (literally).
−1 on absorb checks for attacks striking the head.
The power of the enemy depends upon the severity
of the flaw the character takes. A four-point enemy
Brutally Honest
would perhaps be a local gang, a pack of cannibals,
The character is bluntly honest, to the point of
brigands or anarchists who are after them. An eight-
insulting others. They see no point in mincing words
point enemy would be a large group, or a seriously
or trying to soften the impact. It is what it is! And so,
dangerous individual — a powerful bandit, the mayor,
they’re going to tell it like it is. If you’re somewhat
a dangerous killer. A ten-point enemy might be a
overweight…well to them you’re just fat, man!
government leader, a warlord, a large and influential
This must be role played, but it also gives the sect or cult. Whoever they are, there are probably
character −1 on all Tact rolls. many of them, and they are really, really dangerous.

This relies entirely upon the back story created by


Dependent (Lvl 4–10)
the character and/or Narrator, but is a fantastic tool
The character has one or more dependents, people
for any adventure, and can even be the catalyst for a
who rely on them and whom the character must
whole campaign.
support, protect and provide for. These people have
some life skills, but not enough to be truly useful
Harrowed
in this violent world — such as an elderly grandma,
The character's mind is rather fragile after all the
infant, baby, or paralysed sister. There is also a reason
terrible things they have lived through. They must
that the character is looking after them and hasn’t
make a Resolve check (or spend a point) when bad
abandoned them. Generally this is because they’re

86
things happen that remind them of the horrible things Smoker
that happened in the past. The character enjoys a pipe or some other form of
smoking. Unfortunately, this means their lungs are
On a failed roll, the player should role-play their
not what they used to be, and they swiftly tire and
reaction. They might go gun-crazy, shooting until they
loses their breath.
have no ammunition left; they might hide in a corner,
sobbing helplessly; they might just stare into space, The character receives −1 on all Brawn-based
or throw up, or any of countless different reactions. Athletics checks. They will also need to continue to
They will not be able to act normally for the rest of feed their habit, or they’ll suffer withdrawals.
the scene.
Sucker
Honest to a Fault The character suffers −1 on all rolls to bargain and
The character suffers −1 on all checks to lie, deceive, negotiate. They rarely haggle and tend to get the
misdirect and leave out pertinent information. worst deal.

Impulsive Weak Stomach


The character will leap before they look, diving into The character can’t handle the sight of blood.
situations before they fully check things out. This
The character must succeed at a Brawn check or feel
should be role played, but at times the Narrator can
sick at the sight of blood or gore (with a −1 to −4
also make the player make a Resolve check (or spend
penalty for particularly sanguinary occasions). Failure
a point) not to obey their impulsive behaviour.
means the character is sick, suffering −2 on all rolls for
the rest of the scene.
Nightmares
The character is plagued by nightmares most nights.
Level 5
For every night of sleep, they must make a Resolve
check (alternately, he can spend a point).
Cold
If they fail the check, then they have a restless night The character is distant and unfeeling.
and are fatigued the next day, suffering -1 on all rolls.
−1 on social interaction rolls based on trust and
friendship.
Partial Amnesia
The character can’t remember an important part
Attractive Blood
of their life. It may be that they have angered an
The Infected get +1/+1 to all attempts to smell and
important warlord, killed somebody — anything. They
track character if they have any blood or cuts on
just woke up one day in another place, having no
them. Even if there is no blood exposed, they can
recollection of several days, weeks, months or years
smell it through the person’s very skin, and get +1/+0.
(Narrator’s discretion).

This usually means they have suffered some sort Bad with Words
of trauma during the blocked-out time. It must be The character stumbles over words, phrases, and
cleverly factored into the game by the Narrator (be social niceties. They've been out in the wilds too long!
as devious as you wish — but remember it is level 4 When requiring eloquence, careful wording, and
Disadvantage). subtlety, they suffer –1 to their roll.

87
Dark Secret others and is likely to result in severe backlashes from
The character has done something terrible, and is others. At the appropriate time, the Narrator can
determined to keep it a secret (though someone, inflict a penalty (of at least –4) on social interaction
certainly, knows the truth). Should it come out, they rolls.
will not only be shamed, but their life will probably be
in grave danger. They might have became a cannibal, Missing Finger
sacrificed a friend, told a deadly secret, betrayed a −1 on any Dexterity or Brawn checks based on
sacred trust, or were involved in a terrible massacre. grip with one hand, or which relies on the fingers
This will affect the story and must be role played. heavily (such as climbing a rope, striking with a knife,
shooting a pistol one-handed or grappling). If more
Glass Jaw fingers are removed, increase the penalty by an
If the character takes damage to their head equal to additional −1 per finger. If four fingers are missing,
half their Brawn (rounded up), they are knocked out. then it is simply not possible to grip with that hand.

Greedy Soft Hearted


The character lusts after money, valuables, riches, When faced with an innocent person in need of help,
wealth, prosperity. They are sorely tempted to pursue the character must make a Resolve check −2 or feel
these things no matter the cost. This must be role that they absolutely have to do something. Still not
played. following their instincts will result in Morality checks.

Despair Trusting
The character sometimes feels that there is no hope The character believes others at face value and suffers
and they should just give up. When suffering reversals −1 on all Deduction checks to detect lies, avoidances,
and failures, they must make a Resolve check (with hidden agendas and so on.
a possible penalty). If they fail, they cannot spend
Resolve until the next scene (or until the Narrator Gambler
deems they have recovered their equilibrium). The character is a gambler, who can’t resist a throw
of the dice, a game of chance, a high risk venture
Hideous Scarring or activity. This can be role played in the form of
The character suffers −2 on all rolls to seduce or gambling with money, or with the character regularly
charm and tends to have people stare at them a lot. choosing the option with the highest risk (and highest
However, they gain +1/+0 on Intimidation rolls. reward too). A gambling general might risk everything
on a dangerous assault, or on a long trek over the
Injured Arm/Leg mountains, with no supplies.
The character has suffered terrible damage to a limb,
The Narrator should have the player make Resolve
and has −1 to all rolls with it.
checks (with appropriate penalties) when they're
tempted with an opportunity to gamble.
Macabre
The character has gotten to the point where they love
being around dead bodies (humans or animals). They
will collect dead parts, or use corpses to take selfies
(if they have a working camera of course), play board
games with them or do theatrical plays. This of course
must be role played, but it can be utterly horrifying to
88
Level 6 than a few days, they must start making Resolve
checks, with a cumulative penalty of –1 each day.
Addiction They also suffer that same penalty on all their rolls
The character is addicted to some sort of vice and during that day (as they suffer “withdrawals”). Failure
needs to partake of it several times per week. means they are compelled to find meat as soon as
Without their fix, they will start suffering withdrawals. possible. A Resolve point can be spent to negate this,
but the Resolve won’t recover until the character does
For the first day that they don’t get their fix, they’ll
finally satisfy their craving.
suffer a penalty of −1 to all rolls, get angry, twitchy
and feel in pain. They will suffer a cumulative −1 each If faced with a tempting moment or opportunity, they
day beyond that. must also make a Resolve check or spend a point of
Resolve. A Bungle on any of these rolls will indicate
The period of time in which these penalties occur
that the character has a psychotic break and is willing
could be every few days, or even every week, if the
to commit murder to get the flesh they need.
addiction is minor (Narrator’s discretion).

Faced with this agony, the character will wind up Chronic Pain
doing almost anything to get a fix. This requires role The character has an injury or body issue that causes
playing. When given an opportunity to get the source them chronic pain. This is taxing on their willpower,
of their fix, the character must make a Resolve check energy and patience.
to control themself. This may result in them resorting
Each day the character can choose to spend a point
to lying, theft or even murder and can definitely result
of Resolve to negate the effects of the pain (or take
in lost Morality.
strong painkillers). If they choose not to, they will
Overcoming the addiction takes weeks, maybe suffer −1 on all rolls for that entire day (representing
months of “drying out” and requires numerous their fatigue, constant irritating and inability to
Resolve checks to be made. Even if they succeed in concentrate).
beating the habit, at the first sign of severe stress, or
If the Narrator wishes, they can impose the chronic
when put back into the same environment they were
pain at particular times, instead of just each day. For
in before, they will have to make Resolve checks or
instance, the person may only get the chronic pain
start the habit again.
from their old leg wound if they walk for a long time,
so in that case they will only need to spend a point if
Amnesia
they walk long enough to inflame it.
The character has a total memory loss of most of their
life, no doubt blocking out some incredibly traumatic Under this constant strain, the character can also
experience. sometimes “snap” and just get mad for no apparent
reason. This should be role played.
The character has a Knowledge of 0, and can only gain
levels in it through Experience.
Lavish Lifestyle
The character enjoys their creature comforts and
Carnivore
“little luxuries”, and simply can’t do without them.
The character no longer gains satisfaction from
They spend lavishly and truly can’t help themself!
vegetables and craves raw meat. In fact, they have
an unnatural obsession with it. The character will If they try to resist spending their money or resources,
eat dogs, cats, birds... even other people. If they are they must make Resolve checks (with penalties for
forced to endure being without raw meat for more increased duration of a poor lifestyle).

89
Short of Breath Unruly
The character has troubles breathing — they might be The character doesn’t do well with downtime and
asthmatic, have a problem with their lungs or have an tends to boil over, drinking and carousing heavily,
old wound. They suffer −1 on all Brawn-based checks getting into fights and letting off steam through
to do with endurance. making trouble.

Thick Vengeful
The character is a little slow in their thoughts, and The character takes revenge very seriously. When
may have been bashed on the head a few too many dealt any sort of bad turn (cheated out of a deal, or
times. They suffer −1 on all Intelligence-based checks not dealt with fairly), they become obsessed with
to do with quick-thinking and wits. levelling the score. Their motto is “an eye for an eye, a
tooth for a tooth”.
Social Stigma
Alternately, they might have an existing score that
The character has a perceived social stigma in a
needs to be settled — something that is likely to get
given community, such as a physical deformity or
them in a lot of trouble. The targe of their vengeance
rumoured cannibalism. The character suffers -1 on
could be someone important: a general, a mayor,
Presence checks for charm, seduction, persuasion
gang leader or a slaver. The character will do almost
and leadership checks while interacting within that
anything to see them pay.
community.

90
Weak Heart horrors they have experienced), and will be fatigued
−1 on all Brawn-based Athletics checks. throughout the next day (−1 on all rolls).

Additionally, in times of stress and at the Narrator’s


Paranoid
discretion, the character must roll a Brawn check with
The character is constantly unsure of others’ motives,
a penalty of −2 or they'll suffer from heart-strain. This
fearing the worst and expecting attack or betrayal
effectively exhausts the character, giving them −1 on
from any quarter. They might shore up their door with
all rolls per level the check was failed by. This recovers
bricks, cover it with locks, sleep with their rifle, be
at the end of the scene.
unable to rest deeply, or mutter under their breath

Level 7 At certain times, the Narrator should have the


Paranoid character make Resolve/Awareness checks
Coward (possibly with a penalty) or they will be overcome
Any time they succeed on a Resolve check, they must with suspicion, worry and a certainty that someone
roll again — the second roll counts. is up to no good. This might result in them attacking
that person, or fleeing, or taking extra precautions.
Nightmares
Every night the character must make a Resolve Rager
check with a penalty of −2. If they fail, they have If provoked, frustrated or foiled, the character must
been overcome with nightmares (probably of the make a Resolve/Intelligence check (typically with
−4), or fly into a rage of smashing and breaking stuff.

91
Sometimes that involves people — particularly if they Level 9
roll a Bungle.
Cursed
Unlucky Lady Luck has turned her back on the character and
On a roll of a Potential Bungle (a “1” and no misfortunes of all sorts befall them. The character
successes) the character may not spend a point of cannot use Luck to gain re-rolls.
Luck to prevent it being a Bungle.
Disabled Limb
Level 8 The character has impaired use of or is missing an
arm or leg.
Carrier
For a disabled leg, all checks that involve physically
The character is immune to the Calera virus, but at a
moving a distance suffer a penalty of half their
heavy cost — for the virus is still active in their system
successes, or –4 if using a crutch.
and they are now infectious.
For a disabled arm, the limb can't be used, and the
If anyone gets exposed to the character's blood/pus
character has penalties when use of that limb would
then they must make a check just as if they were
inhibit the character's actions (generally a –2 penalty).
exposed to the blood of an Infected (see page 154).

Level 10
Limp
The character badly injured one of their legs once and
Impaired Vision
it’s never quite healed properly. Now it hurts fiercely
The character has a problem with their vision. They
when they walk, slowing their pace.
either can't see well, or can't see at all.
−1 on all Dexterity based checks involving use of the
For impaired vision, the character can only move
legs — this includes Hand to Hand, due to the lack of
slowly and suffers –4 on all checks that are affected by
stability the character has.
sight (so most physical actions).

One Eye For being completely blind, the character suffers


The character has lost one eye and now suffers from –10 on all such checks. Ranged attacks are almost
lack of depth perception. The character receives −2 impossible, and at ranges beyond a few metres won't
on all sight-based Awareness checks, and any actions be at all effective.
that would be hindered by this — such as driving
Sticky End
cars, shooting, fighting, dodging through a crowd, or
judging a jump. The character is fated to die. They feel it in their
marrow — death is coming for them.
Weak Willed
The Narrator can force the character to reroll a single
The character has had their will all-but broken by their
successful check once every game session. This is
experiences. They might have been strong of mind
typically done only on crucial actions — the character
once, but no longer, and they have no confidence
dives for a ledge, successfully dodges a lethal attack,
in their ability to triumph over odds. Any time the
or other actions that put their life on the line.
character uses Resolve to get +2/+2 to a roll, they only
get +1/+1 instead.

92
7) Calculate Vital Statistics
Morality Morality Check
1–10 When a character does something (or permits
A character’s level of humanity, ethics, decency something to happen) which would violate their
and compassion. Those with a high Morality tend Morality, they should make a Morality check (roll
to hold life in high regard and act to help those 1D10 and get under Morality). Failure indicates the
around them. Those with a low Morality become character has permanently lost a point, and may
increasingly cold, distant and harsh. suffer a Disadvantage. See page 100.

Morality Health
2–40
A character’s physical durability is measured by
Base Health Health their Health.
Vital Statistics

Brawn + Luck To get your Health levels, combine Base Health


and Extra Health, and then divided as evenly
as possible into three Health boxes: Battered,
Injured and Wounded. Health is usually about
+ = 8 for an average adult human being.
Exp x2

Total Health
Extra Health Base Health
Div
Base Health is calculated by
Extra Health adding Brawn and Luck.
ide

Extra Health can be purchased by Experience at a cost of x2 the


int

total level (at character creation), or x2 each new level (during


o3

game play). Extra Health has a maximum equal to Base Health.

Permanent Health Current Health


This is the Health that the character has This represents how healthy
permanently. They might get beaten you currently are. When you
down, but they’ll usually heal. take Damage, these numbers
go down!

Health
Battered Permanent Health Current Health

Bruises, scrapes, scratches,


Battered

small cuts. Damage Penalties


Injured Penalties to all actions
Fractures, gashes, concussions, due to sustained damage.
torn ligaments. −1 Taking any damage in a
Injured

Wounded Health box results in the


Breaks, muscle tears, shattered penalty listed (if any).
bones, deep wounds, internal They are cumulative.
Wounded

−1
damage, hemorrhaging.

93
Vital Statistics measure those things that are the very At character creation, this costs Experience x2 the
life and soul of a character. target level of Extra Health.
Example: Joey wants to start with 4 Extra Health. This
How much physical injury can the character take
will cost 8 Experience.
before they die? How close is the character to death
in any given instance? During game play, this costs Experience x2 each
new level.
How moral is the character? Are they a twisted and
blackened being inside, or are they a virtuous and Example: Joey has 4 Extra Health. Now during the
kind person? game he wants to increase that to 5. It will cost him
10 Experience to go from 4 to 5.
Vital Statistics are broken down into Health and
Morality. Once you’ve calculated your Total Health, you then
need to divide it in thirds as evenly as possible — with
Health the larger numbers going in the Wounded and Injured
boxes. These thirds represent the different levels of
Health represents physical wellbeing and how
your Health.
much damage one can take before they are injured,
incapacitated or killed.
Battered
Total
Injured
Base Health = Brawn + Luck Health
Wounded
Extra Health costs Exp x2 (x2 total level at
character creation, or x2 the new level during
On your character sheet it will look like this:
game play). The maximum Extra Health that can be
Permanent Current
purchased is equal to the character’s Base Health.
Injured Battered

Total Health = Base Health + Extra Health


Health is calculated by taking Brawn and Luck and
adding them together. This represents not only how –1
physically tough someone is, and how much sheer
punishment their body can endure, but also the
oddities of fate that mean the person is only battered –1
Wounded

or grazed, and not killed.

Life can be weird like that. There have been cases in


the world where people have been shot repeatedly,
sometimes at point blank range and even in the head, Damage suffered is first deducted from Battered
and still managed to survive — while others have Health, then Injured Health, and then finally
fallen over, cracked their skulls and died instantly. Wounded Health.

The “Permanent” box is for the level of Health that


Extra Health
the character normally has, when uninjured. The
Extra Health is purchased with Experience, either “Current” box is for how much Health the character
at character creation or during game play, just like has after suffering any form of Damage.
purchasing Attributes.

94
Healthy the dramatic scene they're in. This means they can
attempt to tend their wounds, drag themselves
First, the character is Healthy and has suffered no
somewhere, or talk to someone, etc.
damage.
To perform difficult actions (such as crawling up a
Battered ladder, or shooting a pistol at someone), they must
spend a point of Resolve each time the action is
If the character is slightly damaged, they'll have lost
taken. No multi actions are possible and the character
Battered Health. They’ve got some nasty bruises and
suffers −4 on all such rolls (or more if their existing
shallow cuts and grazes, but nothing serious.
damage penalties are worse).

Injured Further Resolve cannot be spent to negate these


penalties.
If the character suffers more serious injuries, they
will lose Injured Health. Maybe they’ve fractured a Beyond dying... a character is dead.
bone, torn ligaments, received deep bruises or lost
teeth. The character is in substantial pain, but can still Taking Damage
function fairly well.
Every point of damage a character suffers subtracts
At this point, the character will suffer −1 successes to a point of Health. These are taken from the left box
all rolls. first (Battered), right box. So Battered is reduced first,
then when it is at 0, Injured starts getting reduced,
Wounded then Wounded. If the damage received is more
than the damaged Health box can sustain, then the
When the character suffers possibly life-threatening
damage carries over to the next Health box.
harm, then they will lose Wounded Health. They
might have broken bones, been concussed, stabbed, However, occasionally someone may be in a situation
bleeding. This is serious damage, and is usually when where they suffer a serious wound, with no other
people go to the emergency ward. damage taken (i.e. you’re strapped to a chair and have
your thumb cut off... ouch). In this case, the damage
At this point the character will suffer an additional −1
might go directly to the Injured or Wounded boxes.
successes to all rolls.

Damage Penalties
Dying
The moment a character receives even a single
Beyond Wounded (0 and negative Health) is dying.
point of damage in a Health box, they then receive
A character can have negative Health equal to their the penalty inside that box to all rolls. These are
Brawn Attribute. cumulative. So if you have Battered and Injured
damage, you will suffer −1 to all rolls. If you have
The character is unconscious, crippled, unable to act
Battered and Wounded damage, you will also suffer
in any way and likely to die without expert medical
−1 to all rolls. Having Injured and Wounded Health
help. See page 99 for information on recovering
damage means you will suffer –2 to all rolls. Having
from dying.
just Wounded damage means you have −1 to all rolls.

Spending Resolve

If the character spends a point of Resolve, they


will be able to continue to act in a limited way for
95
Example: Lucy has 5 Brawn and 6 Luck — 11 Health
−1 −1
total. 0 0 4
This is divided as evenly as possible into: 3 Battered, 4 Battered Injured Wounded
Injured and 4 Wounded Health.

LUCY
A short while later she gets hit by another survivor
Total for 1 damage (she’s really having a bad day). Her
11 Health Wounded Health goes down to 3 and she is now
suffering an additional −1 on all rolls (−2 total).
−1 −1
3 4 4 −1 −1
0 0 3
Battered Injured Wounded
Battered Injured Wounded

Lucy jumps from a high ledge and lands poorly, taking


3 damage. She is bruised and a little hurt, and her This is getting pretty bad for Lucy. She’s bleeding
Battered Health has been reduced to 0. heavily and her skull has been battered by the hit she’s
taken. She’s stumbling, finding it hard to keep going
She is scraped and limping, but as yet is not suffering
— in general, she’s a mess.
damage penalties.
She then receives another 2 damage, from a knife
−1 −1
0 4 4 stab! The knife pierces deep into her side. She is down
to 1 Wounded Health! She gasps, staggers, lurching
Battered Injured Wounded away from her attackers... She is still suffering −2 to
all rolls.

In running from Infected, she takes another 2 damage −1 −1


from crashing through a glass window. The Narrator 0 0 1
decides she has suffered a deep cut from the glass, Battered Injured Wounded
and is now bleeding. As a consequence of this, she’s
suffering an additional penalty to use her gashed arm,
and will lose more Health if she doesn’t tend to her There is no reprieve. Some nasty person kicks her
wounds (the Narrator decides about 1 Health per half whilst she’s down, and she loses her last point of
hour). Health!

She is now suffering −1 to all rolls. −1 −1


0 0 0
−1 −1
0 2 4 Battered Injured Wounded

Battered Injured Wounded


Bad news Lucy... she’s on 0. She lies in the gutter,
bleeding, alone... dying. And her Health will continue
She loses another 2 damage in a fight with an Infected
to drain away (see page 99).
and is now down to 0 Injured Health. She is still
suffering −1 to all rolls. Ah! Miracle! Her friends find her when she’s on −2
Health. They manage to get 6 successes on their
96
Medical check, which is exactly how many they need, Simply put, if a character takes a lot of damage (half
and after about twelve hours of her life hanging in the their Total Health) to a specific body part, then it’s
balance she comes back to 1 Health (again, see pages likely that the body part will be crippled.
97–98 for healing rules).
In this case, the Narrator can inflict penalties when
−1 −1 using that body part, and have some logical effects
0 0 1 such as blood loss, a crippled limb, concussion, and so
Battered Injured Wounded on.

Stunned/concussed: Happens from blunt trauma to


the head. Confusion and lack of coordination. −1 to all
A day passes. She gets to make a Brawn/Medical
rolls for Injured damage, −2 to all rolls for Wounded
check, and gets 3 successes, which returns 3 points to
damage.
her Battered Health (as this recovers first — see the
next section, Healing). She is still suffering −2 on all Crippled limb: The limb is badly damaged and doesn’t
rolls. function properly. For Injured damage the limb should
suffer −2, for Wounded damage the limb should suffer
−1 −1
3 0 1 −4. Having a crippled leg will mean the character can
only limp at half their normal speed, or crawl if the
Battered Injured Wounded damage is severe.

Blood loss: The victim is gushing blood from a wound.


Now, Lucy is feeling a little better... until they have a They will lose an additional −1 Health every minute
car accident and she takes another 2 damage! What (or every ten minutes or hour if the Narrator deems
shoddy luck eh? the wound less severe) until the wound is staunched
with a successful Intelligence/Medical check at −4.
−1 −1
1 0 1 Blindness: The victim can’t see — the eye may be
Battered Injured Wounded damaged, or merely blinded with blood, or too
bruised. The character suffers −1 on all rolls, and −4
on sight-based Observation checks.
This latest damage is subtracted from her Battered
Health. It is minor, in the grand scheme of things, Healing
though she is still very close to death and suffering −2
Brawn (+Medical)
on all rolls.
Fortunately, bodies do heal.
Optional Rule:
To recover Health Points, roll a Brawn check
Characterising Damage
(+Medical, if medical attention is being provided and
Instead of using the global penalties of −1 per Injured the character is resting. Even if they are stitching up
and Wounded Health boxes, the Narrator can choose their own wounds, it is necessary for them to stop to
to characterise the damage received. This is just do so, and to have the equipment necessary to do it.)
thinking on your feet, and working out what would
Every 2 successes gained on the roll recovers 1 Health
kind of make sense.
(damage penalties don't count on this roll).

97
The time it takes to heal depends on the severity of Over the next three days, she rests and sleeps and
the character’s injuries. The following is how often tends to her gunshot wound. It’s a deep, nasty graze,
they may roll a healing check: and she stitches it up with some twine, then puts on
a tight bandage. Her Battered Health fully recovers
Battered: Once per day.
the next day. On the morning of the third day, the
Injured: Once per week.
Narrator has her roll a Brawn/Medical check. She gets
Wounded: Once per month.
5 successes, and heals back to full.
If a character is not able to properly rest for the
−1 −1
duration of that Health box's recovery time, then 3 3 4
the Narrator may give them penalties to their
healing checks, to represent the added stresses and Battered Injured Wounded
aggravations they are inflicting on their wounds.

Example: Sarah has 10 Health, divided into 3


Optional Rule:
Battered, 3 Injured and 4 Wounded.
Different Healing Times
−1 −1 There are a few different ways the Narrator can
3 3 4 run healing times aside from the usual, gritty,
method.
Battered Injured Wounded
Brutal:
Battered: Once per three days.
She gets shot by raiders, and takes 6 damage. Her
Injured: Once per month.
Battered and Injured Health boxes have been wiped
out.
Wounded: Once per three months.

−1 −1 Gritty:
0 0 4 Battered: Once per day.
Battered Injured Wounded
Injured: Once per week.
Wounded: Once per month.
(these are the normal healing times)
She flees into the hills.
Heroic:
A day later, the Narrator has her roll a Brawn/Medical Battered: Once per hour.
check. She is attempting to treat the nasty gash she Injured: Once per day.
got, but doesn’t have anything to treat it with, so the Wounded: Once per three days.
Narrator gives her a penalty of −2 on her roll. Despite
this, she gets 4 successes and heals 2 points back into
the Battered Health box.

−1 −1
2 0 4
Battered Injured Wounded

Her Injured Health box is still at 0.

98
concussive impact and less blood loss, losing -1 Health
Different Health Levels every day. It really depends on the circumstance.
If you want to play games that are more heroic
and have the characters able to survive near- To recover on their own, the victim can spend a point
death experiences time and again — or, if of Resolve and make a Brawn/Luck check at −4, with
the standard Health system is not brutal and an additional −1 for each point they are negative.
realistic enough for you (you are one tough If successful, the character returns to 1 Health and
dude), then try these optional different Health miraculously stabilises.
levels.
If the victim goes negative more than their Brawn
Brutal level, then they die.
(Realistic)
Extra Health cannot be purchased. Others can assist the character by making an
Intelligence/Medical check, with the same modifiers
Gritty as above. If they are assisting the dying character’s
(The usual method of play) roll, then every two successes gives +1/+0 to the
Extra Health costs x2 the new level. dying character’s roll. Success indicates that the
character has recovered to 1 Wounded Health. They
Heroic
can make one check every time the character is
(A Hollywood movie)
At character creation, characters automatically about to lose another Health from dying (so every
gain Extra Health equal to half their Base minute, hour or day — or whatever the Narrator has
Health, rounded up. This doesn’t cost any determined as an appropriate time period).
Experience.
For particularly brutal wounds, like a slashed artery,
(So if your Base Health is 10, you would get an
extra 5 Extra Health at no cost.) severed limb, brain injuries or that sort of thing, the
Extra Health can be purchased for the following Narrator should apply an additional penalty to the
costs per point: roll, from −1 to −4.
Total Health up to 10 = 3 Exp
Total Health 11–20 = 5 Exp Example: Jamey has just been stabbed by a bandit
Total Health 21–30 = 7 Exp and robbed. He’s left bleeding and dying alone. He’s
(So if your Total Health is 17 and you want currently on −3 Health. The Narrator decides that he’ll
to increase it to 20, it would cost 15 Exp. If lose another −1 Health every ten minutes.
your Total Health was 22, and you wanted to
increase it to 25, that would cost 21 Exp.) Jamey has 4 Resolve, and 5 Brawn. He spent 2 Resolve
during the fight, so he only has 2 Resolve left, and
Recovering from Dying therefore two chances to recover on his own.

When dying, a character is unconscious and helpless Ten minutes goes by and he spends 1 Resolve and
and not likely to recover without outside help. rolls Brawn/Luck against a penalty of −7. He gets 3
successes, so he fails, dropping to −4 Health. Another
Characters on 0 will lose an additional –1 Health
ten minutes goes by and he spends his last Resolve to
every minute, hour or day, depending on the severity
roll Brawn/Luck again (against −8), but again he fails
of their wounds (Narrator's discretion).
and drops to −5 Health.
Some injuries kill more swiftly than others. A
He’s only got ten minutes left to live and no way to
character with a severed limb is likely to suffer –1
recover by himself anymore — when out of the blue
Health per minute, whereas a character who fell off
come a group of survivors who tend to him.
a building may slip away more slowly due to more

99
They make an Intelligence/Medical check with a Some examples:
penalty of −9 and get 10 successes! It’s just enough.
Severe head injury: Chronic headaches. Roll a Brawn
They staunch the wound, Jamey returns to 1 Health
check –2 every day, or suffer a headache all day, with
and stabilises. What a miracle!
–1 on all rolls.

Permanent Injury (Optional Rule) Shot in the hand: Less control in the hand. Suffer −1
when the hand is under strain (Narrator’s discretion).
If a character suffers Wounded damage then there is a
fair chance that they could suffer permanent injuries. Severe facial wounds: Scarring and missing teeth.
−1 to some Presence checks, though +1/+0 to some
To see if the character has been permanently injured,
Intimidation rolls. Has difficulty eating.
roll a Brawn/Luck check against the amount of
damage received in the attack that did Wounded Stabbed in the eye: Character acquires the Missing
damage. If several attacks did the damage, you could Eye Disadvantage (see page 92).
just roll against the amount of Wounded Health that
Shot in the leg: Limp, −1 to running checks (at
was lost or against the largest attack.
appropriately dramatic moments).
If the roll fails, then the character suffers a permanent
Massive limb trauma: Hideously scarred (−1 to some
injury. The severity of which should be determined by
Presence checks) and has difficulty with that limb, −1
the amount they failed the check by. This should be
on all rolls that solely rely on that limb.
written down as a Disadvantage. You can choose an
appropriate one from the list, or make one up (though Smashed fingers: −1 to checks that involve fine work
it won’t give any extra Experience to the character like with the hands.
Disadvantages do at character creation). It should fit
Smashed in the back of the head: Dull. Loses 1
the type of injury received.
Intelligence permanently.
Note that medical attention could prevent many
Immolation: Hideously scarred. −1 to some Presence
of these injuries from taking place. But that would
checks, +1/+1 to some Intimidation rolls. Suffers
require a hospital with sufficient supplies and skilled
constant pain and stiffness, so −1 Brawn or Dexterity.
surgeons to do operations.
Broken spine: Takes a while to recover. Afterwards −1
on some Brawn checks that involve heavy lifting (or
wrestling).

Smashed jaw: −1 on Tact rolls that involve speaking.

Morality

Morality is an index of a character’s mental wellbeing. A character’s Morality guides them in everything
It is their sanity, as well as their scruples. they do. It is their yardstick for how they respond to
situations. A highly moral character is not necessarily
A character’s starting Morality sits wherever the
just someone innocent to the ways of the world —
player wishes. The character can be a paragon of
but they are someone who is willing to do something
virtue, or a bitter and twisted individual.
about what they see around them.

100
Those who sit by and watch as others are killed, 5–6 Moral
harmed or suffer, will slowly have their Morality drop. This is a good person. Someone who
The more Morality reduces, the more willing the knows the world is a harsh, unforgiving
character will be to do depraved, terrible or selfish place, and that sometimes bad things
things. But the more it will weigh upon such an do happen — but they try their best.
individual as well. Sure, they slip sometimes, but their
heart’s in the right place. They’ve had
The following is a loose moral code for the levels of
hard times, but they also know that
Morality. There can, of course, be exceptions to these
friends are what make those hard
guidelines — like the black-hearted bandit with a
times a whole lot easier.
strict code of honour. Again, we leave these nuances
7–8 Honourable
totally up to you.
The person is highly ethical, has a strict
code of conduct that they follow, and
Morality Level:
always tries to do the right thing. Such
1–2 Brutal a person gives and expects deep loyalty
The character has seen and done and friendship. They tend to keep their
terrible, terrible things. Others aren’t word, rarely lie and do the right thing
really living beings to them, but rather even if it’s difficult, or even fatal, for
obstacles to shove out of the way them. Their word is their bond.
or manipulate however they desire.
9–10 Saint-Like
Murder, betrayal, torture, rape — it’s
This character has the moral fibre of a
all in their repertoire.
saint. Not only do they do no evil, but
This sort of character is definitely not
they spread good around them like
recommended for Player Characters —
confetti. They never lie, their word is
this is more like a bad guy!
like iron, their loyalty is never broken.
3–4 Selfish Such a person truly understands why
The person has seen and done things people do harmful acts, and grieves
that they’re not proud of. They’re cold, for them, for they know that the evil-
distant and know in their heart that doers inflict ever more harm upon
they find it hard to get close to people. themselves.
This sort of person knows that dirty
Morality Checks
work sometimes needs to be done,
and while it’s distasteful, someone’s If a character ends up acting worse than their
got to do it. Morality level indicates, they must make a Morality
check. Note that if their Morality is already really low,
they would have to do something truly despicable
(according to their current level of morals) to warrant
a Morality check.

Making a Morality Check:

• Roll one die.

101
• If it is Succeeding on the Morality Check
equal to
If a character succeeds on their Morality check,
or greater
they will be overcome with guilt and regret for what
than the
they've done, and will certainly not want to ever do
character’s
such a thing again. This is something that should most
Morality,
certainly be role played by the player. If the player
the character
doesn’t role-play this, and instead carries on doing
loses a point
such actions, then the Narrator should just have the
of Morality
point of Morality automatically removed.
permanently.

Failing the Morality Check


• Narrator may
add penalties to the If a character fails their check and loses a point of
roll for particularly Morality, they will usually grow colder, slightly more
harsh acts. This makes bitter, cynical and harsh.
the target number of the
This can also result in insanities (which can be
Morality lower.
represented by Disadvantages), or other undesirable
(For instance, if the character
social and mental effects. For example, the character
murdered another in cold
may stop wanting to talk to people, giving them a
blood, the Narrator might give
stilted, cold aspect — and a penalty on their social
them –2 to the roll. In this case
actions.
they've now got to get 2 below the
level of their Morality). This is all fodder for role playing, and can be done in
an infinity of different ways.
Example: Charlie has a Morality of 6,
meaning he’s a really good guy, who
Recovering Morality
ordinarily wants to help people and
do the right thing. However, he’s been Recovering Morality can only be done through role
starving for days by the time he sees a family playing. The character will have to, in some way, make
with a shopping trolley loaded down with some up for the damage they have done. This should not
food. He runs out with his pistol and robs them of be easy. Actions speak louder than words, so the
several cans. Fleeing again, he feels a terrible sense of character will have to do something to show their
remorse, as he remembers the look on the mother’s changed ways — such as rescuing someone, exposing
face, and the two children. The Narrator has the themself to danger, or helping someone.
player roll 1D10, and decides that he’s going to inflict
There is also an Experience cost to recover or increase
a penalty on the roll of −2, meaning he’s got to get 4
Morality equal to x2 the new level (the same as
or less! Charlie rolls a 5 and fails. His Morality drops to
Attributes).
5 and he thinks, “Ah stuff ‘em, they were going to die
anyway!”
Advantages of High Morality
If a character does something strongly against their
Highly honourable characters can have some
moral code, then the Narrator can determine the
advantages. When characters do the right thing
character immediately loses one or more points. How
no matter the odds and stand up for others, they
much is up to them, but it is advised to reduce only
can acquire for themselves points in Reputation at
one point unless it was a truly heinous act.
102
no cost (Narrator discretion on how much to add). of character; they might gain Presence of the Lawman
Additionally, characters can gain Advantages from to show their sheer aura, or Act of Will to represent
such actions. For instance, they might gain Fearsome their determination no matter the odds.
to represent their impressive reputation or strength

Experience

Characters start with a certain amount of Experience, • Defeated an enemy: 1–5 Exp
to show how much they already know, and how many
• Surviving combat (whether or not they won): 1 Exp
skills they have developed (see page 61). But after
character creation, as they survive the days and weeks
How Much Experience to Award
of the outbreak, they will adapt, improve and change.
This is represented by getting more Experience, and The Narrator can give as much or as little Experience
increasing the levels of statistics with that. as they deem fit. A realistic level of advance would be
very, very slow — somewhere on the order of one or
Experience is how characters improve over time,
two points of Experience per month, when training,
learning new abilities and enhancing on those they
and possibly three or four points per month when in
already have. Experience is awarded by the Narrator
combat or other highly intense situations.
after every game session, or if the game sessions are
really long, after a significant part of the game. However, for the sake of character advancement
and fun (and let’s face it, it’s no fun if your character
Experience Points given to characters can be stored
doesn’t advance), we advise the Narrator to give an
or used immediately, depending on the wishes of the
amount that will allow the characters to put up a Skill
player.
or Circumstance each game, or an Attribute every
couple of games.
When to Award Experience
That should between 3–10 Experience per session.
The Narrator could choose to award Experience for
any of the following things (and with the following • A little: 3 Exp
rule of thumb):
• A lot: 5 Exp
• Played in the game: 1 Exp
• Heaps: 8 Exp
• Played in character well: 1–2 Exp
• Cream on top: 10 Exp
• Achieved something despite danger: 1–5 Exp
• Wow: 15 Exp
• Achieving an important goal: 1–5 Exp
• Massive: 20 Exp
• Saving other members of the group: 1–3 Exp
• Saved the world: 25 Exp
• Successfully using Skills: 1–2 Exp

• For being heroic in the face of danger: 1–5 Exp

• Using wits and smart ideas successfully: 1–3 Exp

103
The stolen humvee tore down the highway at full speed, veering alarmingly around burnt-out cars and
trucks, and jouncing through the occasional crater. The bitumen had great gouges torn through it by the
passage of heavy treads and here and there a car was squashed almost flat.
Jane screamed a warning that was lost as they careened against the highway’s railing with a horrendous
jolt. The wheel fought her as the humvee veered back out again, threatening to spin out of control.
Alicia cursed at her, “You’re going to bloody kill us!”
“I’ve got this! I’ve got it!” The humvee swung back and forth, then steadied again, just in time for her to
veer around another car.
There was a heavy chattering from behind them, and the back of the humvee exploded in sparks and
shrapnel, heavy bullets chewing straight through and out the side again. Blood sprayed, flecking the
windscreen, and the cab was filled with screams and panic. Someone was dead. It didn’t matter. If they
didn’t get away soon, all of them would be feeding the birds.
To come so far, and die here? She had survived everything else thrown at her. She had seen everyone she
ever care about die. She had left friends behind when they slowed her down, and killed a lover who had
stolen food. She had eaten people and killed Infected by the score. Jane refused to die here.
Her own fifty-cal barked into life in response, a frantic metallic thumping that rained smoking shell-casings
down into the cab. More gunfire replied, kicking up dust and bitumen, drilling holes through nearby cars,
and splashing the occasional wild shot into their vehicle. The heavy rounds blasted through the humvee’s
armour like it was not even there. Jane hunched over the steering wheel, and a moment later her headrest
exploded in a flurry of grey stuffing. The window was riddled with massive holes, so crazed that she could
barely see through it. They crunched into the median strip, bounced over it and carried on. Someone was
screaming in the cab, but Jane barely noticed it or the cuts on her face and hands. She was staring at the
rise ahead of her.
It was a gentle slope, but high nonetheless. And squatting atop that rise was the brooding silhouette of a
tank. It was still grumbling into position. A long barrel swung over to face them.
Jane screamed her defiance, the accelerator pedal flat on the floor. They rose up the slope. The pursuing
humvees dropped back, tyres screeching. But their heavy guns kept on pounding, and holes punched
through Jane’s roof.
Then the tank opened fire. There was a stab of flame and a long belch of smoke, then an explosion ripped
up the road behind them. They swerved, almost lost control, and accelerated on.
The cannon fired again. There was another explosion further down the highway. Jane felt the concussion
deep within her chest. Her ears were ringing and her vision swimming.
She slowed to a halt just beside the tank. Its sloped armour plates jutted down past them, half-concealing
caterpillar tracks and wheels. Opening the door, she lurched out out, limping on wobbly legs to the back
of the humvee, to stare down at the vista beyond. The tank’s top hatch opened with a squeal of protesting
hinges, and a helmeted head appeared. He had a ginger beard speckled in grey, which was the only colour
in a face smeared in grease and dirt.
“Here." He tossed down a packet of cigarettes. “They’re some of my last ones. But you deserve them.”
She only saw them when they were already on the ground. Her hands were shaking too much to pick them
up. The tank man didn’t say anything.
Beyond, the two destroyed humvees continued to burn, spilling black smoke into a blue sky.
Chapter Five
Equipment

Y ou’re going to need stuff to survive. Military


hardware is now an essential commodity in the
post-outbreak world. You may have carved out
a small safe haven for yourself and your friends, but
others will take it all from you if you can’t protect
yourselves.

But more than that, there are countless pieces of


equipment that can mean the difference between life
and death in the day-to-day business of surviving in
this harsh new world. Water filtration is no laughing
matter, and neither is sanitation, washing facilities
and farming tools.

The problem is, even though most of the world is


now dead, a vast amount of equipment has been
used, abused and destroyed in the five years of the
outbreak. So while cars litter the roads, very few
are in working order. Fewer still have petrol,
working tyres, or any of the countless
components that are required for a fully
functioning vehicle.

Some enterprising survivors come


upon tank
graveyards.
Massive hulks sit
in fields, beside roads and in
old defensive positions. Many
are burnt out or blasted wrecks,
but countless others are just
left there, abandoned by
crews who either died or
could no longer bring the
armoured vehicles with
them.

105
These days they are mostly just scrap metal, quietly obtained by scavenging, or by making a good-enough
rusting away in immense graveyards. Parts are replacement.
useful, and get scavenged. But few people know how
As the years pass by, any survivor with a firearm is
to repair such a behemoth, much less keep them
likely to have a kit full of spare parts salvaged from
running. And then there’s the question of resources
whatever weaponry they could get their hands on.
— even if you could keep them running, how much
Any of them worth their salt will also have their own
would it require?
repair and maintenance kit. As their career extends,
they gain more and more “useful” items that jostle
Guns
around in their kits. With some imagination, luck and
Guns are one of the most valued commodities ingenuity, these items can be used to fix everything
around. Every community, every traveller, every from spare barrels to firing pins.
merchant and farmer wants one. They mean security,
Automatic weapons were fairly common in the pre-
safety, peace of mind and status. But they have also
outbreak world, and the same is true now. But their
become a premium item — with the cost only ever
bullet-guzzling ways are a real problem for survivors.
increasing, as ammunition and parts grows scarcer.
With one squeeze of the trigger you can pelt a dozen
The thing is, almost no one is still making guns. And it rounds at your enemy, hopefully obliterating them...
wasn’t like everyone just died and the guns were left but now you’re twelve rounds poorer.
lying on their shelves. There were years of bitter wars,
There are many survivors who have simply disabled
gang conflicts, and bombings that not only ensured
their weapons’ automatic capacity. Few people still
every available weapon was taken up, also that
use such an option very often, or if they do, it’s not
countless of them were destroyed, along with their
for long. Even shooting at someone to keep their
ammunition.
head down is considered folly. You shoot when you’re
These days even brass casings are precious. Many confident of hitting, and not before. Never use two
survivors have rigged up devices that store the casings bullets where one would be sufficient. Ammunition is
as they’re ejected from the firing port. Others spend a no longer meant to last a firefight, but a lifetime. Each
long time scouring battlefields hunting for that telltale bullet brings you closer to your last.
gleam. They’re valuable trade items, and hand-
Many firearms are also homemade, improvised,
loading brass is the only way to get new ammunition.
slapped together from whatever materials are on
The quality of ammunition also varies greatly from hand (they’re often known as “zip guns”). They don’t
smith to smith. In this day and age, it’s all about look pretty, they don’t fire so well — many only have
reputation. Dealers will emboss their own logo onto one round and are difficult to reload. But often one
their ammunition boxes, or sometimes even on every round is enough (again, Narrators should feel free to
round, to ensure the buyers know just where these apply penalties when using such weapons).
rounds came from. But that still doesn’t stop imitators
Another issue with firearms is their noise. The
from etching counterfeit marks, so they can increase
Infected are attracted to such sounds, particularly
the price.
because they know it to mean dead bodies and
Firearm parts were all created by machines in people hiding in dark boltholes. Guns mean food,
factories, to exact minute specifications and incredible but they also mean danger, and the Infected are well
precision that can no longer be matched. With no or aware of what bullets can do to them. Again, for this
few factories still running, these parts can only be reason, people are sparing with their shots. Don’t
open fire if a pack could be nearby. Don’t give away

106
your position unless you have to, and in truly dire It’s also worth noting that many people are starting to
situations, make sure you leave a bullet for yourself. return to buckskin and other animal pelts, as well as
cloaks — they’re easy to make, and effective!
Weapon Customisation
Medicine
Weapon customisation is now the norm — Medical equipment is hugely valuable — because
everything from shortened or lengthened stocks
most of this stuff simply can’t be replaced. Virtually
and barrels, to using unusual bullet calibres or
modifying melee weapons with spikes, rivets or nowhere is still capable of creating medicines, so
whatever they fancy. existing supplies are always dwindling. The only
This can be easily handled by slightly modifying a solution for most people is to go delving and discover
weapon's stats. more stockpiles.
A smaller, lighter weapon might increase
initiative, but increase the penalty when using This also means that medical operations are expensive
bursts. — if they can be undertaken at all. Many are now
A longer barrel will increase range but may incur done by Saws — badly-trained camp doctors who
an initiative penalty. are greatly feared. Their treatments usually involve
Using unusual bullet calibres may increase lots of liquor and brutal cutting — straight out of
damage but wear through materials faster or give the 19th century. Post-operative infections are very
a penalty to strike. common, and often fatal. Shot in the arm? Chop it
Putting nails through a baseball bat (or turning
off. Shot in the gut? Pull the bullet out and hope for
an aluminium bat into a "pineapple" of cut-out
spikes) may make the bat count as Hardness the best. Shot in the head? Let's just put you out of
Rating 2 against soft targets (see page 113). your misery.
The Narrator is encouraged to keep the bonuses
The sheer agony of such treatments without
or penalties small — we recommend no more
than +1 or –1 per mod, and remember that anaesthetic doesn’t really bear contemplating. It’s
getting a bonus in one area may give a penalty in often worse than the injury was. But at least there’s a
another. Keep it logical. chance of recovery that way, no matter how slim!

The only good news though, is that with less people,


Clothing
a big stockpile can last for a long time. The bad news?
Clothing is becoming harder to create and maintain. Most stockpiles have been raided, bombed or hidden
Any item of clothing is not something to be discarded, long since.
but instead cherished as life-saving commodities,
There are other tools of medicine that involve
which are repaired again and again.
detection of the virus. Calera has specific symptoms
Not having the right clothes for the right weather and effects on the blood that can be detected by
might give you a penalty to certain rolls, or subject some types of medical equipment. The most basic
you to the possibility of sickness. On the other hand, are blood tests, which can take a few minutes to
having camouflaged gear will give bonuses to Stealth show results, while the more advanced systems have
rolls. Something like a Ghillie suit (a suit covered in individuals breathe into a straw. The computer scans
material that looks like foliage) will give a substantial their breath for traces of Calera, then alerts with a
bonus to Stealth(+2/+2, but it’s hot as anything and red light if they’re positive, or a green light if they’re
also costs a fortune). negative. Few people have them, fewer still have the
power and equipment to keep them functioning, but
those who do treasure such equipment.

107
Power and Light For instance, old motor oil, finally replaced when a
new oil filter is discovered, is carefully drained and
What could be more prized than power? Running
not a drop is wasted. Instead, it is now transferred
electricity is like nirvana in these post-outbreak days,
to oil lamps in the community, and sold for valuable
cutting a sharp line between the haves and the have
trade resources.
nots. Those places with power attract people like flies
to honey. Of course, keeping that power running is Old, deflated tyres can be chopped up and used as
another thing entirely. For those communities who footwear, or even as improvised armour (rubber is a
have lost their power, the night is very dark indeed, good defense against the Infected), or for countless
and the danger of incursions by Infected and reavers other purposes.
is much, much higher.
While many people want to armour their vehicles,
Even places that have power rarely have it on all the this poses its own problems. Heavy armour will
time. That would be ridiculously wasteful. Instead slow a vehicle down, forcing its engine to work
they are usually on for a few hours at peak times or harder and burn more fuel. After burning through
during emergencies, and turned off at other times. the petrol week after week, many survivors opt for
lighter armour to protect the windows and keep
Most communities have either diesel generators,
out Infected, rather than try to make themselves
jury-rigged wind turbines or, more rarely, solar panels.
bulletproof.
Even then, technical issues are commonplace, the
costs of maintenance and use can be prohibitive, Planes and helicopters are a definite rarity now, but
requiring constant spare parts and work. they're not unknown of. Government groups can
still make use of them, and with their much larger
Candles and lamps are becoming far more common.
resources, they have the means to keep them fuelled
Often created out of animal fats from cooking
up and their parts in order. But even these groups
(nothing is wasted), they really stink, but they’re
struggle as the needed repairs mount up. Fleets of
better than going without.
vehicles are left grounded, and slowly cannibalised for
their parts.
Vehicles
Additionally, even though government factions have
Once one of the most common parts of our world,
powerful missiles and other armaments for their
the automobile is now a symbol of power, wealth
craft, these weapons are increasingly rare, every one
and luxury. Most people walk wherever they want
lovingly stockpiled and inventoried. They are simply
to go. Only the affluent can afford a car and keep it
irreplaceable.
running, and can defend it. Even then, you need open
roads for them to be effective. In cities, vehicles are Early on in the outbreak, whether government
often a liability, getting stuck behind massive jams of owned, or corporation owned, (or pirate owned)
destroyed vehicles or piles of rubble, being noticed many ships functioned as a “safe place” by sitting
with their loud engines and getting ambushed. in the harbour at anchor as floating fortresses.
Many cities have a few roads that are kept open by They needed to replenish supplies and periodically
everyone. Going off those roads is a recipe for getting refuel, but the consumption of fuel running ship
trapped and killed. services alone and not propulsion is very low. Easily
defended, very safe against the Infected, many
The grease monkeys who look after vehicles truly
have since become their own “city-states” and offer
have their hands full keeping them in working order.
accommodations to those who could afford them, as
Almost nothing is thrown out. Everything can be
well as jobs to those who could provide the needed
repaired, recycled, fixed and made useful again.
108
services — engineers, cooks, general maintenance crawl, and reduce the number of towns you can visit
personnel, doctors and electricians. The ships in turn in the same amount of time.
become places where skills can be taught (for a price)
Most people go for a tradeoff, with the first few cars
and from where skilled individuals can be sent to
given plating (the locomotives, which are the most
other sites at a much higher price. So there is some
important part of the train anyway), and the rest of
“business” with people in the port city where those
the train left unprotected.
ashore make a living servicing the needs of the ship,
as they did before the outbreak. It’s worth bearing in mind that electric trains are now
quite useless in most places. Diesel trains are what
Sailboats are also of incredible use. Most such vessels
most operators use, with perhaps a few more unusual
are small, but their power costs nothing and never
variants thrown in there (like "green" trains that
goes away. Sail (and rowing) boats are becoming
power batteries with diesel generators and then use
increasingly common sights down rivers and along
those batteries to power the locomotives). There are
coast lines — both from traders and raiders.
also some trains that have been retro-converted into
Ironically, horses, donkeys and mules are now very coal powered locomotives.
popular modes of transport. Their fuel is grass.
They don’t require changes of parts, and when their The "FU" Device
usefulness is at an end they make an excellent meal.
An example of the great ingenuity of this new
Generally, donkeys and mules are pack animals, used
age, the FU device serves as a booby trap and a
to transport large amounts of goods, while horses are final opportunity to give the finger to whoever it
beasts of travel, helping people get where they want is who has you bottled up in your vehicle. These
to go at a fast gallop. Of course, horses can’t gallop devices are basically explosives wired to a det-
everywhere all the time, but even their walking speed onator — in case of emergency, put the wires
is faster than humans, and their strength allows you together and watch everything disappear. Hey,
to bring a few extra kilos of gear to save your energy. you don't want your beloved baby falling into the
hands of the enemy!
Robust, large, and able to haul huge amounts of Sometimes this can be detonated by remote —
weight for a relatively small amount of fuel, it's trains which is intensely satisfying.
that are rapidly returning to their position as the most
important links between communities. Those who
control the trains have an immense amount of power. Oil
Because of this, train lines are hotly contested areas, Oil comes out of drill sites that require skilled
and those who would sabotage or attack train lines personnel, highly technological equipment, and an
rapidly find themselves with a lot of enemies in local initial amount of fuel to get their machinery running.
communities, who rely on merchants and traders They also need power.
coming down those lines.
Without having an engineer specially trained in such
Armouring trains can also be done, however, they also facilities, there’s almost no chance that anyone could
require much more specialised skills and equipment extract oil and process it — and so it has proven, as
to fit out, as well as resources. Additionally, there almost every plant in the world has shut down.
is the matter of weight. Locomotives can only pull
However, cunning individuals have also realised
so much, and armour-plated train cars are a heavy
that so long as they have these specially-trained
burden. The same applies for heavily laden cars —
engineers, then they have the keys to the kingdom. A
hauling fifty cars of coal will make your train slow to a

109
motivation is food. Every community functions only
because the people there can keep fed and watered.
The moment the food dries up, society breaks down
and people move on to the next area.

A common idea in cities is to convert parks to farms,


which works so long as the entire crop is fenced in
and well-guarded. There’s also the matter of precious
seedstock. Out of every crop, they need enough
remaining stock to plant more next year.

As a community grows though, their demand for food


increases, leading to the prospect of starvation. It is
under these conditions that trade with the outside
world becomes absolutely vital. Fortunately for larger
communities, they attract traders from their wider
petrochemical
region. Smaller communities don’t really have that
engineer
option, and so have to produce everything they need
is a valuable
on their own.
commodity indeed.
The control of trade routes in this day and age is more
The battle for
important than ever. If a faction takes control of the
control of such people
roads and rail lines, they can divert traffic to their
is blisteringly intense.
own community and effectively strangle the other
Government factions,
group. Of course, this can then make them a target for
armies and powerful
everyone in the region, and only the most powerful
groups seek them out at all
groups can get away with such tactics for long.
costs. They promise them
riches, fame, glory, women Most caravans are well-armed, but even despite this,
— or threaten them with they make a tempting and profitable target to bandits
slow, painful deaths if they and reavers who use hit and run tactics, then sell their
don’t comply. Meanwhile, stolen goods on to a local fence or black marketeer.
other factions try to steal Communities often know that a trader is fencing
these individuals away, or goods from such reavers, but turn a blind eye to it.
assassinate them so their
oppositions can’t begin Money
their own operations.
Barter, precious metals, weapons, goods and basic
services have replaced standard currency. Prices,
Farming
commodities and comparative value also fluctuate
Farming and its wildly from settlement to settlement, with silver and
equipment is now gold being the most reliable.
one of the most
Money is usually handled by the Wealth Circumstance
important aspects
to take care of how much stuff you have, and how
to society. Wherever
much stuff you can buy. Want to buy something
you are, your primary
expensive? Make an Intelligence/Wealth check (or
110
perhaps roll using Presence, or Tact, or even Brawn/ Rules of Thumb:
Wealth, depending on how you’re conducting the
1–2 Incidentals: minor value items — the cost of
action), against a number of successes determined
living for a week to a month. A day to a week’s wage,
by the Narrator. If you succeed, you can purchase
a minor bribe, food and accommodation for a few
that equipment. However, the Narrator may have
days or a couple of weeks, most tools, a light to
you temporarily reduce your Wealth Circumstance.
medium load of common ammunition, a pistol or
It will slowly recover (usually a point per week, or
homemade gun, melee weapons like knives and axes.
per month, depending on just how much they've
spent). This means that as you spend, your Wealth 3–4 Valuable: expensive items. Living the high life for
Circumstance decreases — and as you acquire more a month. Several months’ work, or a couple of weeks
funds, it will recover again. of high-danger wages — a good payoff from salvaging,
or escorting a convoy. A very high level bribe, a
This system totally relies on the logic of the players
good quality weapon (assault rifle, rifle, grenade) or
and Narrator. For those times where raw survival is
a couple of rounds for a high-powered weapon. A
at stake (such as being stuck out in the wilderness
donkey or cow, up to a horse.
with limited equipment, and being hunted by packs
of Infected for days on end) it is best to keep an 5–6 Significant: things of great value. The cost of
accurate track of the valuables that the characters living like a king for six months to a year. A year’s
have on them, and their equipment. In that case, wage for a labourer, several months’ high-paying
the state of equipment tends to lend itself better wage or to hire half a dozen mercenaries for a job.
to the role playing, as the players will have to think A very high level bribe or jackpot scavenging find. A
logically about what supplies they have, getting fresh, costly weapon (a rare type of assault rifle, a missile
uncontaminated water, and trading what limited launcher, a heavy machinegun), or a stockpile of
finances they have for the meagre supplies that will ammunition. Several horses or donkeys, or a car.
keep them going.
7–8 Rich: a fortune. Money to keep a whole family
For games that involved the characters having lots fed and housed for ten years, or ten years’ wage. A
of Wealth and running large groups, armies or bonanza of a scavenging find. A truck full of weaponry
even nations, they don’t need to keep track of their and ammunition. A tank. A herd of livestock, the cost
personal equipment so tightly. After all, their flow of of hiring a small army.
money and supplies will be massive, and constantly
9–10 Inconceivable: more money than you can shake
changing. In this way, it is actually far easier to
a stick at. The cost of many lifetimes’ work. Enough
make a Presence/Wealth roll, Luck/Wealth roll, or
money to live like a king, and be a king, almost
Intelligence/Wealth roll to sort out whether you can
indefinitely. The cash to buy anyone or anything.
purchase something, or have enough funds for an
activity, or can bribe somebody. In case you want more detail than that for the finance
aspect of your game, there's a more extensive list of
Essentially the rule of thumb is: the richer the PCs
equipment prices on page 243.
get, the less they need to keep track of minor matters
of wealth, and the more they focus on larger-scale The Granular Method
matters. The moment they are “poor” (even if just for
The granular method involves keeping track of all,
a day), then keeping tighter track of the wealth (and
or at least most, of your equipment and wealth, and
equipment) is a good idea.
keeping track of the costs of things you buy, exactly
how many bullets you have. In this sort of system,
you don't abstract the money to levels — instead,
111
just write down the wealth and equipment you have Common Currency
and change it as you buy and trade things or spend
A Scrap: This is a tiny chunk of metal, for our
ammunition.
purposes generally weighing about a gram. A scrap of
silver is effectively worth $1 (the price of half a dozen
Gold and Silver "Currency"
eggs, or to get your shoes shined). A scrap of gold is
Silver Grams: Silver is really one of the cheapest then worth 50 times that (so $50 — the value of two
sorts of valuable metal. The ratio is roughly 50 grams chickens or twenty five common-calibre bullets).
of silver to 1 gram of gold. A gram of silver is the
A Ring or Coin: For our purposes, these weigh about 5
equivalent of $1 (the smallest basic unit of currency).
grams. Therefore, a silver ring would be worth 5 silver,
A gram of silver or gold is about the size of an SD card.
while a gold ring would be worth 250 silver.
Most prices are measured in “silver”, by which is
A Bracelet: This is generally 100 grams (a fairly solid
meant silver grams.
chain bracelet), but it can be more or less depending
Gold Grams: These are usually worth 50 grams of on the Narrator (gold jewellery bracelets are usually
silver. much less, as gold is so valuable). A silver bracelet is
worth 100 silver, but a gold one is worth 5000 silver
— a small fortune.

Encumbrance
Carrying a great deal of equipment can make a person The Narrator could choose to allow such equipment
more clumsy and unable to easily move. This inflicts a to reduce the penalties by −1 or −2, or simply to allow
penalty on all their physical actions so long as they are more equipment to be carried.
so heavily encumbered.
Encumbrance Penalties
The following is a basic guide for how this works.
Having heavy and/or bulky equipment is going to Penalty Description
give penalties to your physical actions (see the chart
−1 Lightly Encumbered
below).
−2 Laden
Having good packs and carrying equipment will
help. Military webbing (also known as load bearing −3 Heavily Loaded
equipment) in particular is very effective at this.
−4 Overloaded

112
Hardness Rating

All objects, including humans, have a Hardness Rating. HR 3
This ranges from 0 to 5, and represents how capable
Armour piercing weapons.
something is of dealing or withstanding damage. For
instance, no normal man could punch through solid Things that can absorb HR 3 damage includes
steel, or even significantly harm it. On the other hand, most military armour, sandbags, armoured cars
if an unarmoured person was shot with a firearm, or and very solid metal.
stabbed, they would be unable to absorb the impact
at all. HR 4
Whenever damage is dealt, you should compare HR HR 4 weapons are powerful enough to blast
to see if the target can absorb the damage or if the down buildings, punch through brick, concrete
weapon can actually harm the target. and metal. These are heavy firearms — .30
calibre machineguns, napalm, .50 sniper rifles,
grenades and so on.
HR 0
Objects that absorb HR 4 damage are armoured
Soft targets — humans and animals. personnel carriers, military armoured cars, light tanks
Unarmed strikes. and other vehicles that are largely bulletproof, as well
as very thick banks of earth or stonework.
HR 1
HR 5
Hard, blunt objects.
HR 5 weapons are
Weapons include bats, bricks, sticks, clubs.
monstrous, able to destroy
Low speed impacts.
houses, large buildings and even blocks at a single
Sport armour, wooden doors and plaster walls strike. HR 5 weapons include missiles, bombs, mines,
can absorb this sort of damage. artillery and main battle tank cannons.

Objects that can absorb HR 5 damage are immune to


HR 2
small arms and can lumber through a battlefield with
Light firearms, knives, axes, bows, hammers, impunity. These are such things as main battle tanks
spiked knuckledusters, high speed impacts. and battleships.

Light ballistic armour, light metal plating,


metal doors and vehicles can absorb this sort
of damage.

A Rules Light Method


If you don’t like the HR rules, or find them too complex, then feel free to simply not use them or just
use this simplification: People can’t absorb damage from weapons unless the Narrator deems it logical
that they could do so. Same thing goes with armour. If the Narrator thinks it should be able to absorb an
attack, then it can — but otherwise it can’t. The attack will simply go through.
Another option is to allow the armour to absorb half from certain attacks. Again, only if deemed logical.

113
Examples of HR
Handgun (HR 2) vs Humvee (HR 4) Fist (HR 0) vs Metal Door (HR 2)
The handgun can shoot at the humvee all day, Defender A man pounds at a metal door, kicking and
but it’s not going to do anything but make a few 2 thumping, but is unable to actually damage it
Above
scratches. No damage is possible. — though could perhaps break a lock.

Assault Rifle (HR 3) vs Humvee (HR 4) Bat (HR 1) vs Car (HR 2)


An assault rifle fires into a humvee. The humvee Someone smashing at a car (not its windows,
is heavily armoured and 1 HR level higher Defender but the car itself), would do half their damage
than the assault rifle. If the assault rifle did 12 1 to it (rounded up). Then a roll could be made
Above
damage, then it would be halved to 6, and then for the car, with each success negating 1 point
the humvee would get an absorb roll. of damage.

Fist (HR 0) vs Person (HR 0) Assault Rifle (HR 3) vs


Someone punches another person, dealing 5
damage. The defender can roll Brawn to absorb,
Equal Ballistic Vest (HR 3)
A bandit with an assault rifle shoots a soldier,
with each success negating 1 damage. dealing 7 damage. The soldier rolls to absorb
and gets 6 successes, absorbing 6 damage.

Compare Hardness Ratings

Defender 2+ HR Above Attacker cannot deal damage

Defender 1 HR Above Attacker deals half damage

Equal HR Deal damage and absorb as normal

Attacker 1 HR Above Defender absorbs half

Attacker 2+ HR Above Defender cannot absorb

Assault Rifle (HR 3) vs Bat (HR 1) vs Human (HR 0)


Bulletproof Vest (HR 2) Attacker Someone takes a bat to a survivor, dealing
An assault rifle fires at someone wearing a 1 8 damage. Ouch. The defender rolls to
absorb with their Brawn and manages to get
civilian bulletproof vest, designed to stop light Above
pistols. If the defender absorbed 5 damage, 5 successes! Sadly, this is reduced to 3 (half,
that would be reduced to a mere 3. rounded up), so they end up taking 5 damage.

Handgun (HR 2) vs Human (HR 0) Heavy Machinegun (HR 4) vs


An assault rifle fires at someone wearing a Attacker Car (HR 2)
civilian bulletproof vest, designed to stop light
pistols. If the defender absorbed 5 damage,
2 A heavy machinegun fires into a moving car. It
Above does 15 damage, and the car cannot absorb any
that would be reduced to a mere 3. of the damage.
114
Vehicles
Handling: Some vehicles handle better than others, hiding behind the engine may give you more cover
and when called upon to do a speeding handbrake than hinding behind the door, but that is up to the
turn around a corner, some vehicles can pull it off, Narrator on how they want to handle it.
while others will flip over and destroy themselves.
Being inside a tank can be both good and bad for you.
This doesn’t represent flat-out speed which should
If an attack does damage that is not absorbed), the
be worked out with logic (a sports car is faster than
characters inside should probably roll a Luck check
a humvee). Rather, it represents their ability to move
(with a penalty for large hits or extensive damage) to
nimbly around obstacles and perform manouevres.
see if they are hit, or to see if something vital inside
The Narrator should feel free to apply situational the tank is hit.
bonuses for vehicles that would do better under
Specific areas of a vehicle can be targeted for a
particular circumstances — like a four-wheel-drive
penalty to strike, to cripple the engine, radiator and
pushing through mud, compared to a sports car.
so on. The Narrator should just give the appropriate
Absorb: When attackers are shooting at characters penalty to strike. Also, in cases where a character is
who are in a vehicle, the vehicle's absorb roll can be being targeted through a vehicle's window, or in a
used to defend them. convertible, on a bike, and so on, then there would be
no absorb possible.
If the occupants are also wearing armour, then the
vehicle should only roll 1 die to absorb, and can be Example: Alex and James are in a van when they're
rolled together with the armour. shot at by six bandits. The Narrator decides to resolve
the attack all in one roll, so he rolls six dice to strike
Hardness Rating (HR): Most civilian vehicles are
(all at the level of their Skill, see page 141 for Mob
HR 2, whereas armoured vehicles are usually HR 4.
Attack rules) and ends up doing 12 damage in total.
For the rules on Hardness Rating, see pages 113–114. The van gets to absorb at +3/+3 and so they manage
to absorb 1 point of damage, taking 11. Alex, James
Damage Points (DP): This is the health level of
and the van each take 11 damage.
the vehicle. How much damage can it take before it
stops working? The simplest way to handle this is to Example: Craig, Thomas and Angelina are crewing
only worry about DP loss when a vehicle’s engine or a light tank in a battle with a group of Red Hand
other crucial mechanical parts are being targeted. See anarchists, and are sending them scurrying for cover
page 116. when a heavy machinegun (HR 4) opens up on them
from the distance. It hits and does 15 damage. The
Shooting at Vehicles tank Absorbs 6 damage and ends up taking 9.

Vehicles take damage just like a person. You can keep The Narrator tells the players to each make a Luck
track of this if you wish, and apply penalties when check at –2 or get hit. Angelina and Thomas make
a vehicle has become substantially damaged (you it, but Craig fails, so he takes the full 9 damage. He’s
can assume it takes whatever damage is dealt to its bleeding, crippled and goes unconscious.
occupants). If you don’t want to keep track of it, then
The Narrator decides that the damage to the tank is
just apply what seems appropriate.
not catastrophic (it still has over 20 DP), but its optics
People can hide inside vehicles, with some areas are now not working properly, giving the characters a
providing better cover than others — for instance, penalty on any Awareness-based checks.

115
Targeting Vulnerable Areas
Play Up the Drama
Being in a vehicle during a firefight can be a Armoured vehicles are often virtually invulnerable —
dramatic event. If you’re not sure what the rules but there are still ways of damaging them with not so
are for how much damage the vehicle takes, or powerful weaponry.
its absorb, then just don’t worry about them.
Always play up the drama. For instance, a grenade will not stand much chance of
Sparks fly, glass explodes, people are screaming, damaging a heavy tank, but if it were wedged under
blood sprays as someone gets hit, the vehicle is a track, it might destroy the track and immobilise the
bouncing, going out of control, or accelerating vehicle. Likewise, a heavy machinegun can’t hope to
through the madness of it all. destroy a main battle tank, but one could be used to
hit the radiator at the back, overheating the engine.

In all these cases, the attack would be difficult,


incurring a penalty to strike of at least −4, and also
requiring the attacker to be in the right position and
close enough. However, if successful, the Narrator
should allow either the tank’s HR to be reduced by 1
in that region, or the attack may cripple the engine,
scramble the sensors, or cause other issues.

Vehicles
Name Handling Absorb HR DP Examples
Sedan – +4/+4 2 20 Toyota Corolla
Van −1 +3/+3 2 20 Toyota Tarago
Sports Car +1/+1 +3/+3 2 17 Lotus Elise
Small Car +1/+0 +3/+3 2 15 Honda Civic
Pickup Truck – +5/+5 2 20 Ford F-150
Truck −1 +5/+5 2 20 Firetruck, Garbage Truck,
Box Truck
Articulated Truck −2 +6/+6 2 25 Peterbilt 386 Tractor
Jeep – +5/+5 2 20 Range Rover
Civilian Armoured Car – +7/+7 2–3 20 Improvised metal plating,
or high-level pre-outbreak
protection.
Military Armoured Car/Truck −1 +10/+10 3 20 Humvee, Bushmaster,
Kamaz Typhoon
Light Tank −1 +7/+7 4 30 M111 APC, SK-105 Kurassier,
BMP-1, Warrior Tracked Vehicle.
Medium Tank −1 +8/+8 5 35 T-55, T-64, M551 Sheridan, M60 Patton,
Leopard, M41 Walker Bulldog

Main Battle Tank −2 +10/+10 5 40 M1A1 Abrams, Leopard II, T-72, T-90

116
Weapons

Example: Jackson has a heavy assault rifle (an AK-47),


A Rules Light Method
If your focus is more on story and less on which does 6 damage. He manages to hit a bandit,
combat, you might want to go rules-light and getting 2 successes to strike. To this he now adds the 6
follow this simple rule of thumb: damage from the assault rifle, for a total of 8 damage
Hand to Hand fighting (fists, kicks, knee, . The bandit only had 8 Health total, so his shoulder
elbows): +0 Damage, HR 0 disappears in a spray of red.
Light Melee Weapon (stick, knife, hammer): +1
to +2 Damage, HR 1–2 Range: This is in 4 categories: short, medium, long
Heavy Melee Weapon (bat, club, axe, sword, and extreme. The range categories are fairly self-
spear): +2 to +4 Damage, HR 1–2 explanatory. If a pistol (short range) is being fired at a
Light Firearm (pistol, submachine gun): +2 to +3
target that is fairly close by, then the Narrator doesn’t
Damage, HR 2
Medium Firearm (heavy rifle, assault rifle): +4 apply any penalties. If it’s being fired at a target who
to +6 Damage, HR 3 has a bit of distance, then it’ll have a penalty. If the
Heavy Firearm (sniper rifle, machinegun): +6 to target is far away, then the pistol can’t hit it at all —
+8 Damage, HR 4 though a rifle could, and probably without a penalty.
Massive Firearm (grenade, tank cannon,
artillery.): +9 to +10 Damage, HR 5 For a rule of thumb:
Modifying Weapons
For faster weapons, give a bonus to initiative. Short (S): 10 m effective range.
For more accurate, well-balanced weapons, give Medium (M): 50 m effective range.
a bonus to strike, (and/or a bonus to parry for
melee weapons). Long (L): 100 m effective range.
For particularly clumsy weapons, give penalties
to initiative, strike and/or parry. Extreme (E): 200 m effective range.
For things like blowing up buildings or vehicles,
Weapons can fire at twice this for a penalty of −4, or
just use common sense. Was it shot up by a .50
calibre machinegun? Well then the vehicle is at four-times that range for a penalty of −8.
likely destroyed. Was it riddled with small arms
fire? Well then it’s probably a mess of holes but Scopes: A scope reduces the penalties to strike for
still driveable. long ranges by −2 or −4, depending on how powerful
it is.
Terms:
ROF (Rate of Fire): This explains whether a
Init (Initiative): The penalty or bonus to initiative.
weapon is capable of single shots only, or if it can fire
Strike: The penalty or bonus to strike with the up to Short, Long or Full Clip Bursts.
weapon.
Mag (Magazine): The number of bullets or
Parry: The penalty or bonus to parry with the melee missiles in a single magazine or quiver. If a weapon
weapon. has a “belt” then they have several hundred rounds.
However, they use double the amount of rounds for
Damage: The amount of damage a weapon does.
every burst.
Add a weapon's damage modifier to the successes of
a roll to strike. HR: The Hardness Rating of the weapon or armour.
See pages 113–114.

117
Ranged Weapons
Weapon Initiative Damage Range ROF Mag HR Examples
Bow –2 +4 M Single 1 2
Crossbow +2 +6 M Single* 1 3
Pistol, Light +3 +2 S Short 18 2 9 mm Glock 17

Pistol, Heavy +2 +4 S Short 8 2 Colt 1911 .45 pistol

Submachine Gun +2 +4 M Full Auto 30 2 MP5 Navy

Machine Pistol +2 +3 S Full Auto 30 2 Uzi

Assault Rifle, Light +1 +6 L Full Auto 30 3 Colt M4A1

Assault Rifle, Heavy – +7 L Full Auto 30 3 AK-47

Rifle, Light +1 +3 M Single 5 2 .22 Longrifle

Rifle, Heavy – +7 L Single 5 3 .308 Rifle

Sniper Rifle – +8 L Single 10 3 M40 Sniper Rifle

Sniper Rifle, Heavy –1 +10 E Single 5 4 Barrett .50 cal sniper rifle

Shotgun +1 +8 S Short 8 3 Mossberg 500

Double-Barrel Shotgun – +5 S Short 2 2 12” Birding Shotgun

Machinegun, Light – +7 L Full Auto Belt 3 M249 Light Machinegun

Machinegun, Heavy –1 +10 E Full Auto Belt 4 M2 Browning

Missile Launcher –2 +10 L Single 1 4 RPG-7

Anti-Tank Missile
Launcher –4 +10/+10 E Single 1 5 FGM–148 Javelin

Grenade – +10 5m blast – 1 4 M61 Grenade


Doesn't go out. See page
Petrol Bomb –1 +6/+6 S Single 1 2 149 for rules on fire
Mine, Anti-Personnel – +8 5m blast – 1 3 M18 Claymore

Mine, Anti-Vehicle – +10/+10 5m blast – 1 5 M19 Mine


M242 Bushmaster,
Artillery, Light –4 +10 1m blast Long Belt 4 105mm howitzer
10m 120mm tank shell,
Artillery, Heavy –6 +10/+10 blast Single – 5 155mm howitzer

Bows and Crossbows Bows and crossbows are making a comeback in the
post-outbreak world. Simple, relatively easy to make
and repair, they also have ready-made ammunition
which is virtually silent.
Compound Crossbow
Crossbows have the advantage of ease of accuracy,
though they take a long time to reload (three rounds
for a standard crossbow, one round for a compound
crossbow).

Crossbow Compound bows and crossbows tend to have much


Bow Compound Bow
greater range, accuracy and power than standard

118
variants. As such, Narrators could apply a bonus of Machine Pistols & Sub-machineguns
+1/+0 strike, and +1 Damage for such weapons.

Note: Homemade or “zip” guns are fairly


Sub-Machinegun
common, usually cost much less than “real”
firearms, but are prone to malfunctions. Machine Pistol

Every time a Bungle is rolled with a zip gun, it will


have some sort of malfunction. The firer should
roll a Luck check to determine how bad it is. If
they were firing a burst the Narrator should apply
a penalty. Machine Pistol Zip Sub-Machinegun
If they jam, it will require a Dexterity/Ranged
check, or possibly a Dexterity/Construction check While very common before the outbreak, machine
to get it working again. pistols and sub-machineguns are among the least
If the roll was really bad, the gun might even popular weapons in the post-outbreak world. This is
backfire or explode altogether, dealing damage because they guzzle bullets and are relatively short-
to its wielder. ranged when compared with rifles.

Still, dedicated sub-machineguns like the MP5 Navy


Pistols
are still of use, and their ammunition is fairly common
(though still quite expensive).

Machine pistols do have one great advantage though


Light Pistol Heavy Pistol — concealability. They should have no penalty for
Stealth rolls to stay hidden under a jacket.

They are most favoured in tunnels and close confines,


as well as civilian urban environments.
Zip Pistol
Light Pistol
Assault Rifles
Pistols are still in wide use after the outbreak, though
they are increasingly becoming customised, altered
and homemade.
Light Assault Rifle
Homemade pistols are prone to jamming (on a
Bungle), which then requires a Dexterity/Ranged
check –4 to clear. They also tend to be less accurate
Heavy Assault Rifle
and so should have a penalty to strike of at least –1.
Some homemade pistols also take longer to reload —
from two to three actions.
Light Assault Rifle
Revolvers: Have from 6–8 rounds, but do not jam. As Still extremely popular since the outbreak, assault
such, when using a revolver a character may ignore rifles vary from light (generally chambering a 5.56 mm
the first Bungle they roll each scene. round) to heavy (chambering a 7.62 mm round).

Assault rifles have excellent range and rate of fire


(though are often used to fire single rounds). Though
heavy assault rifles should have an additional –1
119
to strike on bursts, due to their kick. Some civilian Shotguns
assault rifles are limited in their rate of fire, so can
only fire Short Bursts. This can be remedied by a
skilled mechanic (with an Intelligence/Construction Shotgun

check –4).

Rifles & Sniper Rifles Sawn-Off Double


Barrel Shotgun
Shotguns are not as widely used as rifles, but are still
Light Rifle a very popular weapon. Simple, sturdy and robust,
they don’t have much range, but they do have a lot of
stopping power. Many gangs and impoverished
bandits utilise shotguns — patching them together
Sniper Rifle from whatever they have to hand.

Shotguns can also have their barrel sawn off, which


reduces their range to Short. They also don’t have a
stock, so suffer an additional –1 to strike on bursts
Heavy Sniper Rifle
(but can be concealed beneath a jacket).
Rifles are probably the most popular form of firearm.
Using bird-shot reduces the damage to HR 1.
They’re relatively cheap, robust, simple to use and
repair, have excellent range and most have great A special six-shot revolving shotgun can also be used,
stopping power. Most are bolt-action weapons, both independently, or as a mounting underneath
meaning you can fire once per action, but that’s an assault rifle or rifle. This is extremely effective for
acceptable in an age where every bullet is precious. door-busting or for stopping Infected at close range.

Some sniper rifles are semi-automatic, allowing Short


Machineguns (Light & Heavy)
Bursts, though the heaviest (such as the .50 cal sniper
rifle) can still only fire once — and once is enough.

Scopes must be used for any sort of accuracy beyond


about a hundred metres (300 feet), but they pose
their own dangers — you can be jumped from close
range more easily. Light Machinegun

In close confines, such as tunnels, indoors, places


where one needs to turn suddenly, the Narrator
should apply a penalty of from –1 to –4 to initiative. Light Machinegun

The magazine sizes of rifles varies dramatically,


particularly with gun customisation these days — they
tend to range from 5 rounds to 20 rounds.
Heavy Machinegun

Machineguns are support weapons with large


amounts of ammunition and the capability to put
down heavy fire for sustained periods. Most have
belts of ammunition, each belt holding a few hundred

120
rounds. In practice, a machinegunner will tend to fire Mines
far more rounds than a rifleman with an assault rifle.
When firing a sustained burst, the machinegunner
gains an additional die to strike on bursts (so, +2 dice
for a Short Burst, +3 dice for a Long Burst and +4 dice
Improvised Anti-Vehicle Mine
for a Full Auto Burst).

If they do that, then they a Short Burst will use


approximately an eighth of their belt, a Long Burst
will use a quarter, and a Full Auto Burst will use half
the belt.

Heavy machineguns are not usable except from a


vehicle or prepared emplacement. Anti-Personnel Mine

Mines are explosives laid in or on the ground and


Missile Launchers
detonated either by remote, or when an enemy steps
Anti-Tank Missile Launcher on a trigger, or trips a wire.

Many such devices are improvised — meaning they


are made out of a variety of ordnance and are jury-
rigged to blow on command.
Missile Launcher
In truth it’s impossible to say how much damage an
Designed to destroy armoured vehicles, tanks, improvised explosive will do — they can be connected
bunkers and the like, missile launchers fire a highly in a “daisy chain” of half a dozen or more explosives,
destructive explosive — sometimes guided, capable of tearing down a building. At that point,
sometimes not. One of the most effective is the there is little point in calculating points of damage,
Javelin, which targets an armoured vehicle from as whatever is in the blast radius will be annihilated.
above, piercing its lighter armour. Anti-tank missiles However, those on the periphery will suffer lesser
have incredible accuracy and range, and can in fact damage. The statistics listed in the chart are for a
“lock on” to a target (takes two rounds, but gives the single charge or explosive.
firer +2/+2 to strike).
Rolling to strike with any sort of mine can be done
Anti-tank missiles in particular are very expensive with Intelligence/Military. The number of successes
weapons, with no manufacturing facilities occurring gained will also be the successes needed by defenders
anywhere. A few artisans are skilled enough to to spot the mine (with Awareness/Deduction).
manufacture unguided missiles (listed as “missile
launchers” above), but anti-tank missiles are a rapidly- Tank Guns and Artillery — Extra Die
vanishing resource, to be cherished.
Heavy weapons like artillery are quite capable of
levelling a house, or a block of houses. By "artillery"
we mean all large-calibre guns, whether on tanks,
howitzers or even ship cannons.

To represent their massive levels of damage, some of


these weapons have Extra Dice for damage.

121
For example, heavy artillery does +10/+10 Damage.
Narrating Artillery
This means that when you roll to strike, then you can
These weapons are not things that player char-
add +10 damage (as per usual), but you also get to roll acters will be able to stand up to — a direct hit
an Extra Die at +10, and add that as well. will always kill them. A good way to run such
weapons is to dramatise their concussive impact
Example: Captain Soames fires a round of heavy
and the spraying shrapnel, rather than just killing
artillery at an approaching tank. He gets 4 successes your players outright. In all likelihood, a tank shell
to strike and adds +10 Damage to that. That’s 14 won’t get a direct impact anyway, unless they got
Damage. However, he now also gets to roll an Extra 10 or more successes to hit.
Die at +10. He rolls a 6, so does an extra 6 Damage — In this case, have the weapons do half or even
20 Damage total! a quarter damage. That way the characters will
suffer the shock of the impacts, and the terror of
the bombardment, without sudden death. If they
get a direct hit... then it’s good night!

Melee Weapons
Weapon Init Damage Strike Parry HR Notes
Pen/Pencil +1 +0 – – 1
Knife +1 +1 – – 2
Liable to break on a
Kitchen Knife/Cleaver – +2 – –
2 Bungle
Combat Knife +2 +2 – –
2
Knuckle Dusters – +1 – – 1
Broken Bottle – +1 – −1 2
Sword – +6 – +1/+0 2
Machete +1 +3 – 2
Hatchet –1 +4 – −3 2
Axe –2 +7 – −2 2
Garden Implements –3 +3 −1 −2 2
Hammer –1 +1 – – 1
Maul –3 +8 – −3 2 Armour suffers −1 HR

Club – +2 – – 1
Crowbar –1 +2 – – 1
Bat +1 +5 – −1 1 Two–handed

Spear +3 +4 – +1/+1 2
Staff +2 +2 – +1/+1 1
Chainsaw –4 +9 −1 −4 2

122
+0 Damage then it will itself suffer some form of harm — it might
get bent, blunted, or snap off a point. This can be
Some very small weapons, like a pocket knife or
represented by applying a penalty of –1 to one of its
pencil, do no extra damage. However, they are still
statistics — Initiative, Strike, Parry or Damage.
deadly because they increase the HR of the attack.
If a weapon strikes or parries with successes double
Reach its Damage statistic, then the weapon will break
outright (shatter, snap off or severely warp).
In melee combat, longer weapons have an advantage,
so long as they remain at a distance. For instance, a
sword against a knife has a great advantage so long as
they’re not in a clinch.

In situations where one weapon has more range


than another, the Narrator should give it a bonus
of from +1 to +4 on Initiative, depending on its
comparative size.

For instance, a knife vs an unarmed fighter should


gain +1. A sword vs a knife should get +2, a spear vs
a sword should also have +2. A spear vs an unarmed
person should get +4.

On the other hand, getting in really close to a longer


weapon will render it less useful, and the Narrator
should apply a penalty accordingly.

Extenders
Some devices have been created to "extend" weapons
or even tools — the best can be extended at the push
of a button, with a powerful spring or even small
explosive charge that fires the segmented pole out.
This will automatically increase a weapon's reach, as
well as surprise an enemy (giving an additional +2 to
initiative).

Melee Weapons Breaking


Swords, axes and other melee weapons tend to get
damaged from use — particularly if that use involves
cutting into armour, striking others weapons or
people.

The Narrator should use logic to determine when


the weapon is taking damage, but the recommend
rule is that when a weapon strikes or parries another
solid item with successes equal to its Damage level,
123
Armour

Armour Absorb/Parry HR Movement Awareness Notes


Penalty Penalty
Leather Jacket +3/+3 1 – –
Hockey, fencing, motorbike
Sports Armour +6/+6 1 −1 – armour

Tyre Armour +7/+7 1 –2 –


Padded/Riot Armour +7/+7 2 –2 –
Poor Steel Plating +5/+5 2 −2 –
Good Steel Plating +6/+6 3 –3 –
Light Ballistic Armour +5/+5 2 – – Bulletproof Vest

Medium Ballistic Armour +7/+7 2 −1 – Riot Armour

Heavy Ballistic Armour +6/+6 3 −2 – Military Armour


Experimental
Excellent Ballistic Armour +7/+7 3 −2 – “Dragonskin” Armour
Riot Shield +5/+5 or +2/+2 2 – –
Ballistic Shield +6/+6 or +1/+1 3 −1 −2

Absorb/Parry checks. This is generally −2, but the Narrator can


change it if they feels it is warranted.
This is the statistic to either absorb damage, in
the case of armour, or to parry an incoming attack
Bypassing Armour
(in the case of a shield). However, attempting to
defend against firearms with shields should roll to People can attempt to bypass the armour altogether,
absorb instead. by aiming for unprotected areas. This generally gives
them a penalty of −4 on the attack, depending on the
Movement Penalty type of armour (Narrator discretion).

The movement penalty of a suit of armour affects all Of course, if the armour doesn’t protect the headm
Dexterity rolls that involve movement. legs or arms, these can be targeted as normal, and
there can be no absorb attempted, because the
Helmets armour simply isn’t there. To target these areas see
page 146.
Helmets protect only the head, and give an absorb
rating for attacks there. They don’t give any
Taking Damage Despite Armour
movement penalty. However, any helmet that covers
the face will give a penalty to Awareness-based There are many circumstances where an individual
will take damage to their Health despite having

124
armour on. For example, if someone were wearing cumbersome and heavy. Homemade steel plating
heavy armour and fell off a high building they varies greatly in quality. Poorer quality materials are
would die anyway. Also, if a mob attacked them but usually heavier and increase the movement penalty.
they were wearing heavy ballistic plate (Hardness
Light ballistic armour was designed as civilian
Rating 3), they would appear to be invulnerable to
protection — with kevlar that can stop most pistol
their kicking, punching and bashing (which is HR 0).
rounds, but won’t stand up to assault rifles.
However, it is likely they would take damage anyway.
Think about it logically. They would be dragged to Ballistic shields are designed to protect an assault
the ground, kicked, jumped on, bitten, and generally team as they move through a dangerous area. If a
assaulted. The armour’s HR 3 rating is to stop bullets, carrier of a ballistic shield is also wearing armour,
but won’t stop a determined beating and doesn’t then the ballistic shield will simply add 1 die to their
shield all the parts of the body. absorb roll. The HR of the total absorb roll will be at
the highest HR level.
In such a case, roll to absorb as though they were
equal HR, with each success reducing a point of Example: Jackson is wearing light ballistic armour
damage. (+5/+5 Absorb, HR 2) and is carrying a ballistic shield
(+6/+6 Absorb, HR 3). He gets tagged with a shotgun
Ballistic Armour for 8 damage. To absorb this he now rolls three dice —
+5/+5/+6, but all three at HR 3.

Riot shields are designed to protect against melee


impacts, blocking people, rocks, sticks and so on. They
cannot stop bullets, and their HR drops to 1 against
ranged attacks.

Armour Damage
Heavy Ballistic Armour Armour can and does get damaged. Every time it
Homemade Steel Plating suffers a hit that does more damage than its highest
absorb level, it should lose –1/-0 to its absorb.

Example: Mary is wearing steel plating (+5/+5


Absorb) and suffers a hit from a rifle that does 6
damage. This buckles a plate and reduces her Absorb
to +5/+4.

Example: Tom is wearing heavy ballistic armour


(+6/+6 Absorb, HR 3) and he gets hit with a baseball
Light Ballistic Armour Ballistic Shield bat for 8 damage (HR 1). That does no damage to
the armour or Tom, because of the comparative HR
values.
Ballistic armour takes forms in the post-outbreak.
High-quality military armour is prized above all, but is This is certainly something that the Narrator can just
growing rarer and more expensive as the years pass. use their judgement on. A character takes a big hit,
Those who don’t have access to such riches tend to and the Narrator feels it would damage the armour,
opt for metal plating of one form or another. Some so they decide its absorb level reduces a point..
are quite ingenious, while others are crude,
125
Jackson knew his campfire had been a risk. He had told himself that it would just be for a short while. Just so
he could cook his food. But after a month of this, his discipline had relaxed. He was getting higher up in the
hills every day, and that made it cold. Mist came from every breath and the ground was layered in frost every
morning. Maybe, he thought, there was no one around. He was in the middle of the woods, after all. But then
the stranger had arrived.
“Hope you don’t mind if I share your campfire,” the man said, even as Jackson reached for his pistol. There were
only four bullets in it, but it was a Beretta, and they had a remarkable effect on anyone he pointed it at.
The stranger did not seem perturbed.
“I don’t mean any harm,” he said. “I’m just passing through.”
Jackson said nothing.
The stranger smiled placatingly. “I’ve got food to share.”
“Let’s see it.”
With exaggerated care, the man brought forth a small bag, which he opened with equal care to bring forth
strips of dried meat.
“What is it?” Jackson demanded.
“Dog. You want a piece?”
Jackson eyed it. For a moment he thought of taking all of it, but then he shook that off. “Okay. Put it over the
fire.”
“Do you mind taking your gun off me at least?” The man found a stick and stuck three strips of meat on it, then
held them over the fire. “Look, you can see where my hands are.”
Jackson stared at him for a long moment, then nodded. The gun rested in his lap, his hand still on it.
“I heard it on the radio. There’s a city out there. Branxton. Sure gotta beat the last place I stayed at.”
Jackson shrugged. “Hadn’t heard of it. I was thinking of pushing on to San Fran.”
The stranger laughed. “Not worth your trouble I’m afraid. There’s a lot of fighting there. Lot of killin’.”
Jackson shrugged again, but as he did, he saw the stranger’s eyes flicker past him for a moment. Cold shock hit
Jackson in the guts.
He lunged sideways and rolled. There was a blur of motion. He saw an axe come chopping down out of the
night and a leering face painted freakishly by the firelight. The axe struck Jackson’s shoulder and agony
exploded through him, jarring down his collarbone. It was like nothing he had ever experienced.
“Get him! Get him!” the stranger was shrieking, jumping up as he reached into his bag.
Jackson rolled onto his back and fired once, winging the axeman and spinning him, then fired again and
dropped him. The stranger appeared over the other side of the fire, then dropped as Jackson fired again.
Gasping, Jackson scrabbled away, tracking backwards and forth with his gun. There was only one bullet left.
The fire was blazing, blinding his night vision. But he could see beyond it that the stranger was sprawled there.
He bit back a curse, and a wave of dizziness struck him, pulsating outwards from his shoulder. The wound
was hot and wet and he wanted to scream. He staggered closer, watching for breathing, the gun wavering as
his strength faded. There was blood on the frosty ground — and no motion. He sighed with relief and turned
away. As he did, the stranger rose, a knife gleaming dully in one hand. His left ear was a mangled ruin where
the bullet had tracked its course. There was hate and hunger written across his face as he lunged at Jackson’s
slumped back.
The Beretta roared, and the stranger dropped limply.
Jackson lowered the pistol. “Stupid bastards,” he muttered.
Chapter Six
Actions

I
f you’ve read this far, you should have a fairly
good idea of how actions are determined
in Infected, and also when they are rolled.
Really, that can be enough for you to play a game.
However, there are a lot of specific situations that
you may run into that you will need some fine-tuning
to handle correctly, while keeping the pace and flow
of the game.

With all specific rules on actions, the idea is to use


logic in combining your Attribute and Skill (and
sometimes Circumstance). The player should
put forward the way they're tackling
the action, and then the Narrator
determines what should be rolled.

If some situations would give the


character an advantage, then they
gain a bonus. If there’s something
that puts them at a disadvantage,
then they suffer a penalty.

Those, in a nutshell, are


the basics of how to run
the game. If you can’t
remember the rules in this
chapter, or don’t want to
spend the time looking for
them, don’t sweat it! Just do
what seems logical, work out
what statistics to roll with,
apply bonuses, penalties or
whatever fits the situation, and
keep the game flowing, and the
drama high!

127
Rolling With Two Attributes a Skill, but is instead just some raw quality of the
individual. In that case, generally you can just roll with
Sometimes there are situations where a Skill doesn’t
two Attributes.
fit. For instance, it’s not something that involves

Sample Actions
Sprinting flat-out over a short Jumping high to catch a high ledge
distance Dexterity/Athletics −2.
Brawn/Athletics. If outrunning someone else,
opposed by their Brawn/Athletics. If one has a Jumping or climbing an obstacle
headstart then they should gain a bonus of between Dexterity/Athletics.
+1/+0 and +2/+2.
Pulling open a stuck window
Running through ruins Brawn/Athletics.
Dexterity/Athletics. If being pursued by someone,
opposed by their Dexterity/Athletics, as above. Creeping past a sentry
Dexterity/Stealth, opposed by the sentry’s
Running long distance Awareness/Observation.
Brawn/Athletics. This is usually a Passive Action,
requiring a number of successes within a certain Spotting Someone Attempting to Hide
number of rolls. For instance, 20 successes in 3 rolls, Awareness/Observation, opposed by
with a penalty of −1 on the second roll and −2 on the Dexterity/Stealth.
3rd (for fatigue). Failure means they don’t get there
in time. Hiding in the dark
Dexterity/Stealth, opposed by other person’s
Awareness/Observation. Unless the observer has a
light, they will suffer a penalty to their roll.

Finding food in a ruined city


Awareness/Deduction −4.

Firing a gun
Dexterity/Ranged.

Ducking away from an attack


Dexterity/Dodge, opposing attacker’s
strike roll.

Punching someone
Brawn/Hand to Hand.

128
Defending yourself whilst lying on Noticing snares before you step in
the ground them
Dexterity/Hand to Hand, opposed by attackers’ Awareness/Observation, opposed by the snare-layer’s
Brawn/Hand to Hand (attacker has +1/+1). Intelligence/Wilderness.

Tailing someone Boarding up a doorway


Dexterity/Stealth, opposed by Awareness/ Dexterity/Construction (requires tools).
Observation. Or Presence/Stealth, if attempting to
appear like an innocuous pedestrian, opposed by the Setting up an ambush
target’s Awareness/Deduction. Intelligence/Military. When actually hiding, Dexterity/
Stealth. The more successes gained on the Military
Convincing other survivors to join you roll, the better the position of the ambushers —
Presence/Diplomacy, needing at least 5 successes. protection, fire angles, lines of retreat, steep hillsides.

Staring down a pack of thugs Cooking food without any equipment


Presence/Intimidation −2 (the penalty is due to being Intelligence/Wilderness or Domestic −4.
outnumbered), opposed by the thugs’ Presence/
Intimidation. Surviving in the wilds
Intelligence, Brawn or Awareness/Wilderness
Constructing a shelter (without equipment, −4).
Dexterity/Construction, roll three times, needing 10
successes (otherwise it will leak, fall down and so on). Hacking computer systems
Lack of tools will incur penalties of −1 to −4. Intelligence/Knowledge, needing
a number
Hotwiring a Car
Dexterity/Rogue, with penalties depending on the
sophistication of the car.

129
of successes determined by the sophistication of the Singing/Music/Acting
computer. 1 is simple, 5 is firewall protected, 10 is Presence/Perform.
professionally firewalled, and 20 is government. May
be given up to three rolls, dependingly. Throwing
Dexterity/Athletics.
Perceiving a threat
Awareness/Deduction opposed by the other person’s Climbing a Cliff
Tact or Presence/Deception. Dexterity and Brawn/Athletics, needing a certain
number of successes to get to the top (in a certain
Scamming and Lying number of rolls to do so in time). Limited or no
Presence or Tact/Deception, opposed by victim’s equipment will give penalties.
Awareness or Intelligence/Deduction.
Forcing Entry
Thieving Brawn/Athletics or Rogue. More than one success will
Dexterity/Rogue to pick pockets and open locks. be required for tough areas. Some places cannot be
Intelligence/Rogue to crack safes and sophisticated broken into without specialist tools.
machinery or security measures.
Staying Awake
Persuasion Brawn/Resolve, sometimes with penalties.
Presence or Tact/Diplomacy, needing either a number
of successes equal to opponent’s Resolve, or opposed Enduring Pain
by a major character’s Tact or Presence or Resolve/ Brawn/Resolve (or spend a point of Resolve).
Diplomacy, depending on how the action is taking
place. Enduring Heat/Cold
Brawn/Luck, with penalties for poor clothing, or
Seduction overexposure. Failing a roll will mean increased
Tact/Diplomacy or Deception for breaking the penalties until recovery. If the character doesn’t reach
ice, introductions, flirting. Presence/Diplomacy or help in time, they could die (for instance, if they reach
Deception for raw charm and irresistibility. total penalties of −10)

Intimidation Overcoming Fear


Brawn, Presence or Tact/Intimidation, against target’s Resolve/Intelligence (or spend a point of Resolve).
Resolve. If the target is in a vulnerable position (i.e.
tied to a chair) or the intimidator has a weapon Sleeping Despite Fear
or anything else to stack the advantage, then the Sleeping can be a problem, but if you stay awake for a
intimidator will gain a bonus. If they have a high long time you wind up with increasing penalties. Roll
Wealth or Status, they could add that as a die if Resolve/Brawn.
they’re pulling the “Do you know who I am?” card.
Surviving Physical Trauma
Calming an angry mob To not receive permanent physical damage, Brawn/
Tact or Presence/Diplomacy or Command, depending Luck, against the amount of damage taken in
on how it’s done. Wounded Health.

130
Overcoming Insomnia Finding out who sells contraband
Resolve/Brawn. Tact/Rogue, needing a number of successes
depending on how scarce or restricted it is in that
Overcoming Sickness area. 1–2 = easy, 3–4 = moderate, 6–8 = hard, 9–10
Brawn/Luck. A sickness generally imparts penalties = very difficult. Failure might mean that others know
on the character, and sometimes kill them. Many the character is sticking their nose in.
sicknesses cannot be cured without medicine. This is
best role played. Dazzling someone with good looks
Presence/Diplomacy, as a Passive Roll against their
Wound Infection Resolve.
Brawn/Luck check against the amount of damage
received. Failure means infection, which may not be Shooting at a distant, moving target
curable without medicine. Generally, an infection will Dexterity/Ranged −10.
given penalties for using some area of the body, or
penalties for all actions when they get bad. Shooting While Blind
Dexterity/Ranged -10.
Driving a Car
Dexterity/Pilot: Light Vehicles. Selling goods over several days
Presence/Diplomacy (to impress people and make
Hunting them interested), Intelligence/Domestic (to manage
Dexterity/Wilderness (with penalties for scarce or your finances well) and Awareness/Deduction (to see
difficult game in that area). scams and know what your goods are worth). Use one
or all of them — could make three rolls, needing a
Tracking minimum of 10 successes.
Awareness/Wilderness (can be a longer action,
There are a variety of rolls that could be made for
requiring 10–20 successes within 2–3 rolls to reach
this, including: Tact/Deception to con people, Tact/
someone in time).
Diplomacy for convincing sales talk, Presence/Perform
to make a big speech, or play music, Tact/Rogue if
Managing Finances
selling sneaky goods under the table. And many more.
Intelligence/Domestic for being economical, Resolve/
Domestic for not spending it up on fast cars, fast
Building a weapon in a short period
women and fast guns.
of time
Make three rolls, needing 20 successes minimum.
Bribing a Guard
Some possible combinations of rolls: Dexterity/
Tact or Presence/Diplomacy (+Wealth).
Construction (for skill with the hands), Intelligence/
Construction (to know how best to proceed and
Getting a good deal on a purchase
organise it), Resolve/Construction (to keep working
Tact/Diplomacy, opposed by bargainer’s Tact/
over long periods of time without rest).
Diplomacy (or as a Passive Roll, neeeding a number of
successes equal to the target’s Intelligence).

131
Managing Time
There are several ways to manage time in Infected. it might be a period of time in which the character is
The most important point is always the drama, the trying to convince a whole bunch of villagers that they
story and using the rules to enhance those elements. must join them and look for new land.

For those purposes, there are a couple of main “units” The Narrator is the arbiter of where a scene starts and
of times that we use. ends.

The first, and broadest, is the Scene. The second, shorter period of time is the Round.

A scene is, much like a movie, a continuous period of This is a short few seconds during a combat or a
time in which a single event or incident takes place. dramatic moment, in which people act and react with
This might be a chase followed by a gripping fight. Or great speed. This is detailed much more on page 132.

Combat
Combat is a very particular set of actions. Because it is these rounds to clearly work out what can be done,
often life and death, there are a few more rules to it. and to work out the order characters can act in.

Rules Light Combat A round is a short period of time during the frenzy
of combat. However, due to the nature of such high-
For very simple, fast combat make an opposed
speed situations, it’s really impossible to accurately
roll using any of the martial Skills (Hand to Hand,
say how much time passes in the time it takes people
Melee, Ranged), with a bonus for good weaponry or
to do things. When looking back, most people can
positioning. Each success a character gets deducts −1
barely even remember exactly what happened in a
Health from the target.
fight, let alone how long it was — it could have been
five seconds or thirty, they’re usually not sure.
Warning Therefore, we’re pretty flexible on how long it takes
Combat in Infected! is brutal and often very fast, to do something in a round. We usually put it at
just like in real life. Characters will not survive between two to six seconds. But it could be longer. It’s
long if they don’t think tactically and logically. about enough time to perform one substantial action.
Narrators should be sure to warn their players
about this and advise them to use caution when During a round, a character is normally only able to
approaching a combat. perform one basic action (called a Standard Action,
If you want a more heroic style of game, where see below).
the players will live through hails of gunfire, then
try our heroic level Health on page 99 and heroic
healing times on page 97

The Round
In combat and other tense situations, it’s not always
easy to work out whether a character is going to able
to do an action. Hence, we have “rounds”. We use
132
The sequence of a round is: The first action suffers –1 per the total number of
actions being performed. Each subsequent action
1) Roll for Initiative
suffers an additional –1.
2) Roll to Strike
Multiple Actions
3) Roll to Defend
The first action suffers −1 per total number
4) Add Weapon Damage of actions being performed. Each action
5) Roll to Absorb beyond that suffers an additional −1.
Actions Penalties
6) Deal Damage
While only one in-game action may have happened
2 –2/–3

in a round, such as a single punch, this is only 3 −3/−4/−5


representative of the number of blows, punches,
4 −4/−5/−6/−7
sidesteps, curses and blocks that might occur during
those few seconds. A character might actually have 5 −5/−6/−7/−8
been hit three or four times, but we still only roll
once — the details of what happened we leave up Opposed Actions: These are a type of Standard
the player and Narrator, the rules only try to loosely Action or Defensive Action. They’re simply an
represent it, not recreate it blow for blow. Opposed Roll done within a round (see page 46). For
instance, shooting at someone who attempts to
Actions dodge, is an Opposed Action. If they get more
successes than you, then you miss. If you get more
Characters can perform one Standard Action per
successes than them, you hit.
round without penalty
Example: Maxine sees two Infected charging at her
Standard Action: Anything that takes
from different directions. She decides to put a single
concentration to perform — throwing a rock,
bullet in each one and suffers −2 to strike the first and
punching someone, firing a gun, drawing a knife.
−3 to strike the second.
Standard Actions take place in your own turn.
Example: Andrea is throwing a grenade over a wall,
Free Action: Things that take no time at all. Like
and then attempting to dodge gunfire from a soldier
dropping something or shouting a warning. These do
— and then after that she wants to kick that soldier in
not cost actions.
the head! She suffers −3/−4/−5.
Defensive Action: Attempts to defend against an
incoming attack, by blocking it, or getting out of the Combat Sequence
way. So long as one hasn’t acted yet in a round, and
so long as they are aware of the incoming attack, 1. Roll for Initiative
they can abort their action and do a Defensive Action
1D10 + Base Initiative + Modifiers
instead. That Defensive Action can count against all
incoming attacks, with a –1 for each beyond the first. Everyone rolls 1D10 + their Base Initiative (Dexterity
+ Awareness added together) plus any modifiers for
Multiple Actions: Characters can perform more
weapons or situations.
than one action in a round. These are each Standard
Actions or Defensive Actions, but they have penalties. Narrator should give bonuses or penalties for
advantageous and disadvantageous situations, range,
133
high ground, surprise, ambushes and so on. This can jerks back, clutching at his eye. The Narrator gives
often be the difference in a previous Skill check (such him a penalty of −2 on all actions while his eye is
as a Stealth roll, opposed by another’s Awareness, damaged, and he loses the initiative, meaning Julie is
the winner may get to add their successes to their perfectly poised to attack again.
initiative roll).
Losing the Initiative
Gaining the Initiative
Initiative can also be lost by rolling a Bungle, falling
Initiative order remains the same each round unless flat on your face, tripping over, or anything else that
one of the characters does something to "gain the would cause you to waste a couple of moments,
Initiative". They can do this by defeating an attacking giving the other person the upper hand. That
character by 4 or more successes on a defensive roll, character now goes last. If multiple characters lose
putting themself in a more favourable position. Or the initiative in the same round, they will go in order
by doing an attack to knock the other person down, of their Base Initiative level (roll a tie break, do scissor
put sand in their eye, stun them. If this happens, the paper rock or flip a coin if that level is equal).
winning character is now in a higher initiative position
Example: Angela was beating down on an Infected
than their opponent.
with a heavy candlestick, and had it backing away —
Example: Fraser has lost the initiative to Billy the when she Bungles her roll and drops it. She flinches,
Brute, a thug of some renown. Billy lunges at Fraser losing the initiative, and allowing the Infected to lunge
and tries to throttle him. He gets 3 successes to strike. at her once more. Uh oh.
Fraser dives aside, getting 7 successes on his dodge
Example: Jerry and Carmichael both lose the initiative
check, meaning he beat Billy’s roll by 4. Now, next
in the same round. Jerry’s Base Initiative is 10 and
round Fraser has a higher initiative than Billy, and
Carmichael’s is 9, so next round Carmichael will go
goes first. The Narrator says that Fraser has side-
last and Jerry will go second last.
stepped so well that Billy goes totally off-balance,
stumbling.
2. Roll to Strike
Example: Julie is being attacked by a crazed cannibal
Anyone wishing to attack can roll to strike in their turn
out in the wilds. She has lost the initiative, and though
order.
she keeps dodging his attacks with a bat, that is also
stopping her from counter-attacking. So this round she For Ranged attacks this is Dexterity/Ranged.
tries something different — she does Multiple Actions,
For unarmed attacks, roll Brawn/Hand to Hand
dodging and then eye-poking. It’s a risky manoeuvre.
(punching, kicking and wrestling). For melee attacks,
She gets −2 on her dodge roll, and for her troubles the
roll Brawn/Melee (knives, swords, axes).
cannibal hits her, bashing her shoulder for 3 damage.
Then she rolls for the eye-poke, suffering −4 to strike
3. Roll to
such a small target, and another −3 because of the
Defend
second action, so −7 total. However, she decides
to use a point of Resolve to balance it out, gaining Defenders may roll
+2/+2 to strike. Ultimately, she gets 9 successes, to defend if they
which reduces to 2 after the penalties — but she’s wish (and if they are
gotten him! He can’t defend against it, because he aware of the attack).
has already attacked this round, and didn’t do a multi- Even if they declared
action to also defend. He shrieks from the pain and that they were doing

134
a different action, they can abort to a Defensive If the character is wearing armour, they may roll two
Action. dice to absorb. Brawn may be added to that as a
third die, if the Hardness Rating of the attack can be
Roll Dexterity/relevant Skill.
absorbed by Brawn.
This may be Dexterity/Dodge, to physically avoid the
Remember to also compare the HR of the attack
strike, dive behind a table, or Dexterity/Hand to Hand
and the HR of the armour. See page 114 for the
to block a punch, Dexterity/Melee to parry an axe
ramifications of this.
with a chair or a golf club or bat.
Example: Neil is wearing heavy ballistic armour
The Defensive Action costs them their action that
(+6/+6 HR 3) and he gets shot with a small handgun
round. Unless they declared at the beginning of the
for 6 damage (HR 2). The damage is immediately
round that they would be performing a multi-action
halved because the armour is 1 HR level above that
(and in which case, they would suffer penalties on the
of the pistol. So Neil takes 3 damage. Now he rolls to
roll).
absorb with two dice at +6/+6. He gets 4 successes
Every success gained by the defender negates a and so receives no damage at all.
success by the attacker.
Example: James’s car goes out of control and
The defender wins ties. plummets off a bridge into a river. He braces for the
impact, so rolls Brawn/Athletics to absorb, instead of
A Defensive Action actually defends against all attacks
just Brawn. He takes 10 damage at HR 1. He gets 7
in the same round. Apply the same level of success to
successes to absorb, but halves this down to 4 because
all attacks, with a −1 for each beyond the first.
the damage is 1 HR level above his own (unarmoured
humans are HR 0).
4. Add Weapon
Damage Example: Sarah is wearing light ballistic armour
(+5/+5 HR 2), when she gets set upon by a mob. The
Attacker adds the
mob beats her to the ground kicking and beating her
weapon’s damage
terribly, doing 12 damage. Because it’s a mob, and her
level (if any) to the number of
armour doesn’t totally cover her, the Narrator decides
successes gained in the strike. That
that the HR difference doesn’t count in this case
is the total damage inflicted.
(normally her HR 2 armour would ignore the mob’s
Some weapons do +0 damage. However, they can still HR 0 damage). However, she can roll to absorb with
be dangerous because they increase the Hardness the armour and with her Brawn of 4, so she rolls three
Rating of the attack, making a victim unable (or less dice — +5/+5/+4. Even despite this she only absorbs 6
able) to absorb the damage. damage and takes 6 to her Health.

5. Roll to Absorb 6. Deal Damage


Brawn (+Athletics) or Armour/Armour or Brawn/ The victim receives whatever damage is not absorbed
Armour/Armour directly to their Health. Battered Health is deducted
first, then Injured, then Wounded.
If possible, the victim can roll to absorb the damage.
This is done with Brawn, (+Athletics if the character See pages 95-–100 for information on taking damage
braces and uses a Defensive Action). and healing.

Each success removes one point of damage.

135
Sample Combat
Trevor and Garth finally throw down over the last can of spam. It’s on! Trevor goes for his pistol, while Garth has no weapons. They’re
both standing beside what is left of the bar, and others around them scramble for cover.

1. Roll for Initiative


Trevor’s Base Initiative (Dexterity + Awareness) is 12, while Garth’s is 9. The Narrator gives Trevor a bonus of +1 as the instigator, as
he surprises Garth a little.

Trevor Garth

+ 13 = 17 + Base Initiative 9 = 11
(Base Initiative 12 +1)

Trevor Wins Initiative

With the initiative in his favour, Trevor draws his pistol and decides to shoot Garth. The Narrator decides that there’s no roll needed
to draw the pistol, but because it’s a little more difficult to draw and shoot, he’s going to have −2 to strike.
Garth decides to dodge, diving behind the bar to avoid the hail of shots.

2. Roll to Strike
Trevor
+ Dexterity 6 (7) = 14 4 Successes
Trevor rolls to strike with his pistol. He (+1 for pistol)
rolls Dexterity/Ranged to strike. His
Dexterity is 6, his Ranged is 4. The pistol
gives+1/+0 to the roll. + Ranged 4 = 8 0 Successes

4
Successes to
Strike

3. Roll to Defend
+ Dexterity 4 = 6 0 Successes
Garth
Garth dives behind the bar.
He rolls Dexterity/Dodge + Dodge 3 = 11 1 Success
to defend. His Dexterity is
4, his Dodge is 3.
1
Success to
Dodge

136
4 Strike
−1 Dodge
=3 Successes Total

4. Add Weapon Damage 3 Strike +2 Pistol Damage


=
5 Damage

5. Roll to Absorb + Armour 6 = 11 1 Success


Garth
Garth is wearing a light kevlar vest, which gives him
+6/+6 Absorb at HR 2. The pistol is also HR 2, so he + Armour 6 = 8 0 Successes
can absorb it at the normal rate. Without the armour
he couldn’t absorb an HR 2 attack at all because it’s
2 HR levels above his own (humans are HR 0, most 1
guns HR 2 or 3). Successes to
Absorb
Garth rolls a 5 and a 2, getting just 1 success to
absorb, and taking 4 Damage.

6. Deal Damage Garth

Garth takes 4 damage in a wicked gash, Total


which is partially stopped by his kevlar. 10 Health

He is now suffering −1 to all rolls, and is


bleeding and hurt, but still able to fight.
3 3 −1 4 −1
He has dived over the bar, and next 0 2
Battered Injured Wounded
round can use it for cover.

Round Over
The round is over, and now a new round starts. Trevor still has the initiative, and can choose to act first. Garth does not get to strike
back in this round, because he used his action to dodge, and did not perform multiple actions (see page 133).
Garth has a few options to fight back against Trevor.
He can do multiple actions, dodging then attacking, but suffering penalties on both (−2/3 for two actions). If that attack knocks Trevor
down, stuns or blinds him, then Garth will gain the initiative. Otherwise, Trevor will still have the initiative.
He can dodge or otherwise defend against Trevor’s attack, and beat him by 4 successes or better, thereby gaining the initiative (see
page 134). Or he can just take the damage from Trevor’s attack, making no attempt to defend himself, then strike back. This last
method is almost a guaranteed way of being seriously injured though, so is not recommended!
Unless he can do one of those things, he will continue to go last and Trevor will have the upper hand.

137
Combat Manoeuvres

Movement in a Round Dodging Ranged Weapons


Optional Rule:
You may note that we don’t specify how far someone If the Narrator wishes to make his game more ac-
can move in a round. This is because the way we play curately represent harsh reality, then they should
the game is about role playing, story and drama more give a penalty of −10 at close range, and −4 at
than about tactical miniatures and hex grids. longer ranges.
Note that this tends to make games much
However, it can still be used in that way if you prefer. more lethal.
Assume that all players can walk roughly 2 metres per
round as a Free Action. If they use a Standard Action Taking Cover
to walk then they can cover about 10 metres, and if
Roll: Dexterity/Stealth
they run they can cover about 30 metres.
When a character has taken cover, they may be
In either case, running or moving quickly is considered
totally hidden, in which case most attacks won’t reach
to be a Standard Action, so if a character is running
them, or they may be partially hidden. If a character
and shooting, say, then they should suffer penalties
is partially in cover, then any shooters should have
for Multiple Actions accordingly.
penalties of −2 for light cover (most of body exposed)
and −4 for heavy cover (only head and shoulders
Defensive Manoeuvres
showing), up to −10 for shooting blindly through a
wall at someone.
Make One Defensive Roll
Alternatively, a Narrator can call for a character to
To make a combat simple, when a character makes a
make a Dexterity/Stealth roll. The successes gained
Defensive Action, it should count against all incoming
would apply as a penalty against all incoming attacks.
attacks that round, with a −1 for each beyond the
first. Note that this can also represent a long period of
time. You’re bunkered down opposite an enemy for
Dodge six hours. You’re both shooting at each other over
that whole period. If it’s not up close and personal,
Roll: Dexterity/Dodge
you may not need to roll for every round, but instead
A dodge is where the character is attempting to dive make several rolls over the course of the engagement
out of the way of an incoming attack (as opposed to to see what happens.
blocking or parrying it).
Parry
One can only dodge an attack that they know is
coming or can actually get out of the way of. So a Roll: Dexterity/Melee
surprise attack cannot be dodged (it’s a surprise,
Parrying is when one uses a weapon to block a knife,
after all!).
sword, axe or other hand weapon. Anything one could
The Narrator should give a penalty for attempting to feasible stop or deflect with a weapon (or a shield)
dodge things with a blast radius. can be parried. This does not include bullets (unless
the character is really, really awesome). Parrying
ranged weapons is not possible.

138
Parrying Hand to Hand Attacks Against other Hand to Hand attacks, roll normally.

One can parry hand to hand attacks (such as a punch), Trying to block a melee weapon attack can be
with a melee weapon (like a knife). Roll normally. attempted, but it is difficult, and the Narrator should
Every 2 successes gained, whether the attack is give a penalty (typically −1 for small weapons like a
completely stopped or not, deals 1 point of damage knife and −2 for larger weapons like an axe or sword).
to the would-be attacker.
Example: A hungry cannibal has cornered James and
Example: Nahline is being grabbed by a bandit, is laying into him with a barrage of vicious punches,
but she defends his attack with her knife. He gets 6 getting 7 successes to strike. James tries to block
successes to strike and she gets 4 to parry. His strike is them, and gets 6 successes. The cannibal gets 1
reduced to 2 successes, but he also takes 2 damage! success through, which with the +1 damage for a
punch becomes 2 points of damage.
Block
Example: The same cannibal whips out a knife and
Roll: Dexterity/Hand to Hand goes to stab James with 4 successes to strike. James
still tries to Block. He gets 5 successes, but this is
Blocking is using one’s arms or legs to deflect or
reduced −1 due to the knife. This means he still gets 4
prevent an incoming attack. Each success gained
successes and knocks the weapon away. Lucky!
removes 1 success from the attacker’s roll. If the
attacker ends up getting zero successes, then the
attack is halted.

Hand to Hand Manoeuvres


If you want to add a little more detail to your elbow someone, and the Narrator should only allow
combats, feel free to use the following manoeuvres. If it if the character can close the gap sufficiently. If
you want to keep it more simple and rules-light, just further away, feel free to give a penalty (−1 or −2) to
use the punch details below (+1 damage, HR 0) for the strike and intiative.
Hand to Hand attacks.
Headbutt
Punch
Strike: Brawn/Hand to Hand
Strike: Brawn/Hand to Hand Damage: +2, HR 1
Damage: +1, HR 0 Modifier: +1/+1 strike, if close
Punches don’t do a lot of damage, but are still pretty
A headbutt is really dangerous, particularly up close
effective at dropping people and dislodging teeth. See
and personal. The bonus to strike only applies if the
page 146 for rules on getting Knocked Out.
character is almost nose to nose with their target. If
used from further back, it suffers a −2 penalty instead.
Elbow
Strike: Brawn/Hand to Hand
Damage: +2, HR 1
Modifier: −1 strike
An elbow is a little more difficult than a punch, but
hurts a lot more! Note that it’s not always possible to
139
Kick Sweep/Tackle
Strike: Dexterity/Hand to Hand Strike: Dexterity/Hand to Hand
Damage: +2, HR 0 Damage: 0, HR 0
Modifier: −1 Modifier: −1
Special Rule: Knockback Special Rule: Knockdown

A kick is powerful and can knock someone sprawling. A sweep is where a character tries to kick an
A kick’s damage counts as the successes gained opponent in the leg and knock them to the ground,
for the Knockback. See the rules for Knockback on trip or Judo flip them. Depending on the type of
page 47. attack, this could be dodged, or defended against with
Hand to Hand.
Push
If it is not successfully defended against, the victim
Strike: Brawn/Hand to Hand will be Knocked Down and made prone. Not only
Damage: 0 that, but they’ll lose any action they were going to
Special Rule: Knockback make that round. If the attacking was tackling their
opponent, then they will then wind up on the ground
Pushing someone back can be quite powerful,
in a wrestle.
particularly if they fall on their butt. This rule applies
to all forms of pushing, including shoulder ramming or Example: Theo was trying to escape from a bunker
charging someone down. stolen food, but Lysa, his former lover, tries to sweep
his legs from underneath him. She gets 8 successes on
This may be defended against with an opposed roll of
her attack roll, which reduces to 7. Theo only gets 2
Dexterity/Hand to Hand.
successes to dodge, and gets knocked to the ground,
losing his breath and spilling food everywhere. He

140
loses his action that round, and also now goes last on Health, then the defender can still use the limb at −1
initiative. per point of damage (maximum −4). Otherwise they
can’t at all (pop!).
See the rules for Knockdown on page 47.

Mob Attack
Wrestling
The Infected love to use good old fashioned swarm
Strike: Brawn/Hand to Hand
tactics, wrestling their prey to the ground then
Damage: 0
clawing, biting and beating them to death.
Modifier: −1
It is best to use this when a swarming sort of attack
Wrestling involved grabbling very closely, usually on
takes place, or when an attack of multiple lesser NPCs
the ground. There are short, hard strikes, headbutts,
takes place (like half a dozen gangsters shooting up
sometimes there’s scratching and hair pulling! To
the player characters). Roll one die for each attacker,
represent this is to just have both opponents roll
at the level of the Skill they're using.
Brawn/Hand to Hand, with the winner doing damage
to the attacker (+1, HR 0). If one person is in a good or
bad position, they will gain a bonus or penalty.
Hand to Hand to Hand to Hand to Hand to
Choke Hand Hand Hand Hand Hand

Strike: Brawn/Hand to Hand


Damage: Special
Modifier: −1
A choke is an attempt to cut off the air supply or
Example: Joe gets mobbed by five Infected. The
blood flow to the brain and knock someone out. If
Narrator rolls five dice for their attack, at the level of
the attacking character gets successes equal to the
their Hand to Hand (which is 4).
victim’s Brawn, then the victim goes unconscious.
This can take place over several rounds, with the They get 8 successes total. Joe tries to defend with
successes cumulative so long as the attacker keeps up Dexterity/Hand to Hand and gets 5 successes,
the choke and doesn’t stop to defend himself, or isn’t reducing their strike to 3. Adding +1 for the damage of
successfully defended against by the victim. the Hand to Hand attack (just like a punch, earlier in
the chapter), the Infected do 4 damage at HR 0.
Lock
Joe is wearing a light ballistic vest, which normally
Strike: Brawn/Wrestling gives him +5/+5 Absorb at HR 2, and would normally
Damage: 0 just negate that damage. However, there are plenty of
Modifier: −4 places where he can get bitten, smashed or stomped,
Special Rule: Crippling so the Narrator ignores the HR value, and just allows
A lock is where an attacker snaps an arm, dislocates a Joe to roll to absorb with the armour.
shoulder or pops a knee of their opponent.

Damage from a lock cannot be absorbed. Additionally,


the damage sustained from a lock is Crippling. This
means that it cripples whatever part of the body was
affected (inflicting a penalty, or can’t use it at all). If
the damage dealt was not to Injured or Wounded
141
Melee Manoeuvres

Using a Melee Weapon Paired Weapons


Strike: Brawn/Melee Strike: +1 Melee die
This encompasses all forms of melee weapons — Modifier: −4 (−2 with Ambidexterity Advantage)
spears, swords, axes, maces, cudgels and knives.
Using two melee weapons at the same time takes
Knuckledusters do not count as a weapon — they are
some skill and coordination, but can be deadly.
a Hand to Hand attack.
This gives +1 die to all Melee rolls, but gives an
Example: Jackson ambushes a cannibal and tries
additional −4 to these rolls (this reduces to −2 with
to hit him with a huge overhand axe chop. He rolls
Ambidexterity).
Brawn/Melee, getting 6 successes. The cannibal tries
to tumble aside and gets 4 successes on his dodge Note that neither of these weapons can be two-
roll. Jackson therefore gets 2 successes and +5 for handed weapons.
the axe = 7 damage total. He buries the axe in the
cannibal’s chest. Disarm
Strike: Dexterity/Melee
Improvised Melee Weapons
Modifiers: −1
Roll: Brawn/Melee Damage: None
Modifier: −1 to −4
A disarm is a special move, whereby one person tries
There are all sorts of improvised melee weapons that to knock the weapon from another’s hand.
one could pick up and use. Bricks, rocks, sticks, shards
If the disarm gets successes equal to the opponent’s
of glass, even books can be weapons.
Dexterity, then the defender drops their weapon.
These will do damage based on the following scale:
For a weapon held with two hands (like a bat or a
+0 = Tiny weapon (pencil, scalpel, nail file) sword), the disarm needs to get successes equal to
1.5 times the defender’s Dexterity.
+1 = Small weapon (brick, book, rock, stick).
Example: Jill has a cane, and is being attacked by
+2 = Medium weapon (sharp piece of metal, large
another survivor with a knife. Jill wins initiative and
shard of glass, metal pole, heavy tree branch, big
decides to disarm her attacker by whacking him in
rock).
the hand. The other survivor tries to dodge. Jill gets
+3 = Large weapon (bookshelf, massive rock, heavy 8 successes to strike, with −1 for the manoeuvre
piece of furniture dropped from a height). bringing it to 7, and the other survivor gets 2
successes to dodge, meaning Jill got 4 successes total.
HR is determined by what sort of attack it is. For
instance, attacking with a pencil would be HR 1, while The other survivor’s Dexterity is 4, so Jill has only just
attacking with a scalpel would be HR 2. Even though reached it and the knife goes sailing out of his hand!
they do no additional damage, it is harder or even
impossible to absorb their damage, making them
dangerous.

142
Leaping Attack If successful, then the attacker has gained the
advantage of surprise, and automatically wins
Strike: Brawn/Melee
initiative. Additionally, their opponent will suffer a
Damage: +2
penalty to defend of −1 per final successes gained by
Modifier: −1
the attacker.
A leaping attack occurs when a character does a
If the ambush is being done through being
running jump at another person. �e may be trying to
unobtrusive (i.e. just sidling up to someone whilst in
stab them, ram them, kick them — whatever.
a crowd), then the rolls would be Tact/Stealth for the
The attacker gains +2 to damage, but −1 to strike. attacker and Awareness/Deduction for the defender.

If the attacker gets more successes than the victim’s


Sneak Attacks
Awareness Attribute, then the victim cannot defend
Roll: Dexterity/Stealth or Tact/Stealth at all!
Opposed by: Awareness/Observation
Example: Aleksi has been jumped by a soldier, who
Effect: Surprise (can't defend)
was hiding inside a darkened doorway, and now leaps
Sneaking up on someone can give a would-be assassin out with a fireaman’s axe.
a great advantage.
The soldier got 6 successes on his Dexterity/Stealth
Roll Dexterity/Stealth, opposed by Awareness/ roll, and Aleksi got 3 successes on his Awareness/
Observation. Observation roll. The soldier won by 3, so he gains the
initiative and Aleksi suffers −3 to his rolls.

Ranged Manoeuvres
Improvised Thrown Weapons
Strike: Dexterity/Ranged Of course, the range of these objects is usually limited
Damage: +0 to +4 at about 3 metres. For any longer ranges (even just a
HR: Varies, typically 0–2 couple of metres), the Narrator should increase the
Modifier: −1 to −4 penalty to strike by another −2, −4 or −6.

These could be rocks, sticks or even a chair in a


Taking Aim
barfight. The damage of the weapon really does vary,
depending on its size and construction. The Narrator When a character takes time to carefully line up a
should use their discretion, but a few examples are as shot, it gets easier for them to hit. If a character takes
follows: a round or more to aim, they gain +1/+1 to strike.

Small rock: 1 damage, HR 1


Firing Bursts
Medium rock: 2 damage, HR 1 (−2 strike)
Brick: 2 damage, HR 1 (−2 strike) One of the advantages of modern weapons is that
Chair: 1 damage, HR 1 (−3 strike) they can fire rapidly. A burst is a rapid-fire series
Computer monitor: 1 damage, HR 0 (−4 strike) of shots, from a few rounds to a fully-automatic
Wrench: 1 damage, HR 1 (−2 strike) emptying of a weapon’s magazine. Bursts increase
Lead pipe: 2 damage, HR 1 (−3 strike) the chance of a hit, but decrease individual bullet
Hardcover book: 0 damage, HR 0 (−1 strike) accuracy.

143
Short Burst because it’s wildly ineffective — but novices will panic
when put under pressure and seek to fire as much as
Strike: +1 Ranged die
possible.
Penalty: −2
A fully-automatic burst gives +3 dice to strike at the
level of the appropriate Skill, with a penalty of −6.
+
Example: Adrian decides to open a can of whoop ass
Dexterity Ranged Ranged on a thug who’s giving him trouble. Adrian’s Dexterity
−2 Successes is 6 and his Ranged is 5. He fires his light assault rifle
A short burst is typically what is known as a “double- on a Short Burst. This gives him +1 die at the level of
tap”, the squeezing off of two to three bullets in a Ranged, but −2 to strike. He rolls 3 dice at +6/+5/+5,
tight grouping to kill one exact target. For a getting 6 successes. From this he subtracts −2 and
machinegun this is usually about 10 rounds. gets a total of 4 remaining successes to strike. He adds
+4 damage for the light assault rifle, doing 8 damage
A short burst gives +1 die to strike at the level of
to the thug.
Ranged, with a penalty of −2.

Long Burst + Dexterity 6 = 15 5 Successes


Strike: +2 Ranged dice
+ Ranged 5 = 9 0 Success
Penalty: −4

+ Ranged 5 = 11 1 Success
+
6 Successes
Dexterity Ranged Ranged Ranged
−2 (for spraying)
−4 Successes
A long burst empties half a pistol or rifle’s magazine, 4 Successes to Strike
or about a hundred rounds for a machinegun.
+4 Damage (light assault rifle)
A long burst gives +2 die to strike at the level of
Ranged, with a penalty of −4. 8
Damage
Fully-Automatic Burst Total
Strike: +3 Ranged ice
Penalty: −6

Spraying A Group
+
Strike: Long Burst or Fully Automatic Burst only.
Dexterity Ranged Ranged Ranged Ranged Penalty: −2
−6 Successes Special: Strikes one target per success

A fully-automatic burst is essentially spraying an area Spraying is when someone just opens up with an
with a huge number of inaccurate bullets. Probably automatic weapon, cutting loose on all these piffling
only a few will hit, but that’s usually all that’s thoughts of accuracy and ammunition conservation as
necessary. Trained soldiers don’t usually spray, they let their trigger finger take control.
144
This can only be done with long burst or fully- getting 1. To this she adds +3 damage and so does 4
automatic burst. And it can only be done against a to that one soldier.
group of people who are fairly close together.
Example: Carla has an Uzi machine pistol, and lets rip
Roll to strike once, with an additional −2. This attack at a group of survivors that have just pissed her off.
counts against a maximum of one target per level She does a Fully Automatic spray. Her Ranged is only
of the shooter’s Ranged Skill. Any defenders may 3, but despite that she manages to get 13 successes!
attempt to dodge as normal. Subtract −8 for the automatic burst (−6) and the
spray (−2), and she still gets 5! +2 damage for the Uzi
Note: in confined spaces (like stairwells or narrow
gives 7 damage total. However, this is only to 3 of the
streets), or when the targets are very close to the
survivors, since that is her Ranged level.
attacker, the Narrator may choose to lessen the
penalties of the spray, and possibly of the burst
Shooting Multiple Close Targets
penalties too.
Roll: Dexterity/Ranged
Conversely, it’s not possible to spray groups at ranges
Penalty: −1, −2, −3 and up
further away than your weapon’s effective range
(well, you can try... but you’ll only hit on natural 10s). When shooting at multiple targets that are close
together, it is quite easy to fire aimed shots at more
Example: Tom is attacked by half a dozen Infected
than one target in rapid succession. This will only
coming boiling up a stairwell towards him. He has a
work if they are really close together, and not widely
light assault rifle, and empties the clip into them with
spread out.
a fully automatic burst.
Roll to strike for each target. The first target has a
This gives him five dice to strike — one for Dexterity,
penalty of −1 to strike, the second −2, and so on.
one for Ranged and +3 for the full-clip burst. He would
normally suffer −6 to strike because of the burst, Example: Alex is faced by three Red Hand members
and another −2 for the spray... so −8 total. However, all bunched up. She has a light handgun (+2 damage),
seeing as the Infected are bunched up and very close and fires a single shot at each of them. Rolling to
to him, the Narrator instead gives him a penalty of strike three times, she gets 6, 3 and 2 successes to
just −2. It’s like shooting fish in a barrel. Tom’s Ranged strike. The first suffers −1, so drops to 5 successes
is 7, and there are 6 Infected, so he can hit them all. (with +2 damage, so 7 damage total), the second is −2
and drops to 1 success (+2 damage = 3 damage total),
After working out his rolls, he gets 14 successes, −2 =
the third is −3, so misses (as she only had 2 successes
12! He adds +4 damage for the assault rifle, so in the
to strike). One of the Red Hand is badly wounded, a
end deals 16 damage to each of them, leaving the
second grazed, and the third gets the fright of his life!
stairwell full of bullet-chewed bodies and gore.

Example: Angela sees four soldiers running towards Paired Firearms


her friend, who has been shot. She has a submachine
Using two firearms at the same time is not really
gun, and decides to spray them with a Long Burst.
possible to do effectively... however, if you don’t want
That gives her +2 Ranged dice and a total of −6 to
to be realistic and want to be a double-pistol wielding
strike (−4 for the burst and −2 for spraying). Because
badass, just add an Extra Die at the level of Ranged,
the group are a little spread out, in an open street, the
and increase all penalties to strike by an additional −4.
Narrator doesn’t reduce any of these penalties. She
Extensive training and the Ambidexterity Advantage
rolls and gets 7 successes, but with −6 she ends up just
could reduce this to −2 at the Narrator’s discretion.

145
Reloading For weapons with individual bullets, like a shotgun or
revolver, roll Dexterity/Ranged; each success reloads
Reloading a firearm or bow takes a Standard Action.
one round. Only make this roll if it’s relevant for the
If put under pressure, the character should make story (i.e. trying to reload before an Infected reaches
a Dexterity/Ranged check. Usually one success is you)
enough.

Targeted Strikes
Targeting specific areas of someone’s body can be Cripples
difficult, but can stun or cause harsh injuries.
This makes a limb unable to operate. If the damage
• Head: −2 strike, Knockout, Stuns, Can’t Absorb dealt to such a location deals Injured Damage, then
• Throat: −4 strike, Chokes, Can't Absorb, Bleeding the victim will suffer –2 to all rolls with that body part.
• Limb: −1 strike, Cripples. If the Damage was Wounded, then they will suffer –4.
• Hand or Foot: −2 strike, Cripples. If the attack was to a hand, then victims must make
• Groin: −2 strike, Stuns. a Resolve/Athletics check opposing the amount of
• Eyes: −5 strike, Blinds. Damage dealt or drop whatever they were carrying.
For the rules on Stunning, Choking, Blinding and
Crippling, see later in this section. Bleeding
Victims with bleeding wounds will lose more Health
Knockout
over a period of time. If the damage is dealt to Injured
Hits to the head will tend to knock someone Health, then the victim will lose 1 Health per hour. If
unconscious or give them concussion. If a character it is to Wounded Health, then the victim will lose 1
takes more damage to their head than their Brawn Health per 10 minutes. If the Damage dealt was more
Attribute in one strike, then they're knocked out. than the victim's Brawn Attribute, then they will lose
1 Health every minute (arterial wound).
Stunned
Attempting to staunch such wounds can be made with
Concussed, shaken, rocked — the character wobbles Intelligence/Medical at –2 for Injured Health or –4
on their feet, their vision swims. for Wounded Health. For arterial wounds the penalty
will be equal to the Damage sustained. The Narrator
Taking damage equal to the victim's Brawn Attribute
may increase these penalties for particularly serious
will mean the victim is Stunned and suffers –4 to all
wounds.
rolls for the remainder of the Scene. They may spend
a point of Resolve to recover. Note that any sharp weapons that cause Injured or
Wounded Damage will cause Bleeding.
Can't Absorb
Blinding
Attacks to these areas cannot be absorbed by the
victim's Brawn Attribute. Armour in those locations The victim can’t see. If the character has suffered
will absorb as normal. Injured damage to the eye, then they suffer −2 on all
rolls and −4 on sight-based Awareness checks. If it is
Wounded damage the character suffers −4 on all rolls

146
and −8 on sight-based Observation checks. This may another roll, and can keep spending Resolve so long
result in a permanent injury (see page 100). as they have it.

Other characters assisting the character being choked


Choking
may roll Intelligence/Medical, needing 1 success
Victims suffer –1 to all rolls per 2 points of damage per per point of Damage sustained. If they fail, the
sustained. If they suffer more damage than their character dies (unless they still have Resolve to
Brawn Attribute then they will pass out and suffocate. spend).

If there was damage dealt to Wounded Health, then If the character is still awake and using Resolve to
there is a chance that the character may die. They make Brawn/Luck checks, then assisting characters
must roll a Brawn/Luck check against the amount will give the victim a bonus of +1/+0 on their roll for
of damage dealt. If they fail, they suffocate and die. every 2 successes gained on their Medical check.
They can, however, spend a point of Resolve to gain Only one character can make these assisting rolls.

Situations
Situations are any of the messy conundrums that characters may find themselves in during a game. These are
all optional rules and are recommended for use only after you have a firm grasp of the basics. Additionally, if
you like a rules-light game, then don’t worry about this section.

Knockback Knockdown
A character suffering a knockback attack loses the If the victim of a knockdown attack fails to
initiative and will now go last. If they hadn’t yet acted successfully defend against it, they are knocked to the
in the round, they will suffer a penalty of −1 for each ground and rendered prone. This means they will lose
success the attacker gained on the knockback attack. any action they were going to make that round, will
go last next round.
Additionally, if the attacker gains more successes
than the victim’s Dexterity, the knockback becomes a
Prone
knockdown.
Attackers gain +1/+1 to their Melee and Hand to Hand
Example: Captain Winter has been captured by
strike rolls against someone who is prone.
a rebel soldier, who is now escorting him down a
stairwell. Winter twists and tries to ram the rebel to The character can choose to get up as a Standard
knock him down. He rolls Brawn/Hand to Hand (−4 for Action. Remember that if they also try to dodge,
being bound), and gets 4 successes. The rebel used his parry, strike or perform any other action at the same
action to resist with Dexterity/Hand to Hand, but only time, it will count as Multiple Actions.
got 1 success. Winter knocks him back, which sends
the soldier bouncing down the stairs. Execution
If a target is completely immobile and there is no
chance of error for the attacker, then it counts as an
execution. This is like shooting an opponent as they lie
helpless on the ground.

147
The attacker deals the maximum amount of damage time, so the Narrator makes him roll a Brawn/
possible for their attack (i.e. maximum successes Athletics check. He makes the first, but fails the
to strike). They may choose to strike the head, or second at −1. He’s now drowning.
whatever target they wish, at no penalty.
One of his friends gets him to the surface and applies
CPR, rolling Intelligence/Medical −4 and getting 6
Off-Hand
successes! Marty spits out water and coughs to life.
A character suffers a −2 penalty when using a weapon
with their off-hand. Speed
When a character is travelling very quickly, they
Evasive Manoeuvres
dramatically increase their chance of injury if they hit
When you’re running flat-out away from a shooter, something. In this case, the Narrator should roll for
you should use the Brawn/Athletics or Dexterity/ the damage they receive. A suggestion of how to roll
Athletics check as a Defensive Action, or you can roll this is below. Note that having armour will allow the
Dexterity/Dodge. wearer to roll 1 die at the level of the armour, and 1
die at the level of Brawn.
Difficult Target
Speed Damage
If a target is difficult to hit, the Narrator should
add penalties to strike. If they’re not sure what to Speed Damage HR
Slow +4/+4 1
apply, just have a look at page 48 for information on
Moderate +6/+6 1
penalties and apply one that seems appropriate.
Fast +8/+8 2
Insane
Drowning and Suffocation +10/+10 3

Falling
Holding Breath
When a character falls, the Narrator rolls two or more
People can hold their breath for about 30 seconds
dice for damage, and the player may roll to absorb if
per point of Brawn without making a check, after that
possible. If the character falls from a truly enormous
they should roll Brawn/Athletics every round (with –1
height (out of a plane, off a building) then they have
for each check beyond the first). If they fail, they start
virtually no chance of survival.
to drown or suffocate. If they don’t get air rapidly
(like, within a round) then they’ll go unconscious and Armour does not absorb falling damage.
start to die. Recovery will only be possible if they get
air (obviously), and if rescuers make a Medical check Falling Damage
to revive them (usually with a penalty of −4).
Height Damage HR
At the Narrator’s discretion, unconscious characters
Wall height +4/+4 1
who float to the surface could spend a point of
Resolve (or maybe Luck) to make a Brawn/Luck check
House roof +6/+6 2

at −4 (or whatever penalty the Narrator deems fit) to Apartment roof +8/+8 2
miraculously recover. Tall building +10/+10 3
Example: Marty has gotten his foot stuck while
underwater in the submerged lower level of a
skyscraper. He has been stuck under there for some
148
Fire In such cases, the Narrator should inflict a cumulative
penalty of −1 or −2 on the character every round or
If a character is in a fire, the Narrator rolls two dice for
minute (depending on intensity), as the drug takes
damage. The player may roll to absorb if possible.
effect. Once the penalties reach −10, the character
Depending on the size of the blaze, and the amount goes unconscious or dies.
of ventilation, the Narrator should consider making
Withdrawals
the victim also make several Brawn/ Athletics checks
for suffocation. If one check is failed, then they suffer Dependency on drugs, alcohol or other substances
from smoke inhalation and are can be extremely difficult to shake off.
on −2 to all rolls. If they fail
Characters with this tendency (usually represented
twice they are incapacitated
by the Disadvantage Addiction) must partake of the
and suffocating and will die
substance fairly regularly, or they will start to suffer
without assistance. A point
withdrawals.
of Resolve can be spent for
the character to be able to Withdrawals are extremely painful and debilitating,
keep moving at −4. If they get inflicting a cumulative –1 for every few days, every
out, then they'll recover in a few week or every month (depending on what sort of
hours or days. substance) that the character goes without their
fix.
Fire is HR 2.
It will also require the character to make
Napalm is HR 3 (and doesn’t go out).
Resolve checks at the same penalty, or do
Magma and molten metal are HR 4. whatever is in their power to gain access to
the substance.
The victim receives damage every round.
Should the character endure past –4
Fire Damage
penalties (or just –2 penalties for a less serious
Intensity Damage HR substance), then they will have shaken off the habit
and can operate normally without it. However, it
Low +4/+4 2
(oil lamp, jacket on fire) will likely still plague them to some degree, and the
Narrator should have them make Intelligence/Resolve
Moderate +6/+6 2
(petrol bomb, camp fire, big blaze) checks in future when they are tempted to take it up
again.
High +8/+8 3
(napalm, oil fire, petrol fire)
Insane +10/+10 4
(inferno, phosphorous weapons)

Poisons and Drugs


Poisons and drugs once successfully administered
tend to work pretty uniformly. However, they
are unlikely to work instantly. Even the strongest
sedatives will usually take a few seconds before a
person goes down.

149
The old subway was black as pitch and as quiet as the grave. Jurg picked his way
down the old aisle, scanning carefully with his pistol, while inwardly he cursed. He had
been caught unprepared. The target was a scrawny minor player for the Cortadores,
and Jurg had thought he would be easily nabbed — word was the little worm had
valuable intel on one of the Cortadores' gang leaders.
And now here he was, lit up like a God-damned Christmas tree, thankful that his vest
had stopped the knife just before it pierced to his heart. Symons hadn't been so lucky,
and was still bleeding on the surface. He would have preferred to be back home... ten
thousand kilometres away in Australia, with his wife. Instead, here he was.
"Hello?" a voice called from just outside the doorway.
Jurg swung towards it, finger curling around the trigger. The train doorway was all
rusted metal and shattered glass. The windows were like black eyes staring at him. He
knew how exposed he was.
"Help me... I'm lost... please... "
Jurg approached slowly, a scowl of concentration marring his brow. It sounded like
a woman, and he thought of Alice, of the sun in her hair, the way she smiled when
she looked at him. Sometimes he would stare at her, making her laugh and ask him,
"What? What is it?" He'd always just say "Nothing." But now he regretted not telling
her. He had never been good at expressing himself.
The voice started to sob, and Jurg reached the doorway. His flashlight tracked over
the gap between carriages, before finally stopping on a trail of glimmering red.
Jurg had tried hard... God he had tried to get back to Australia. But there weren't any
flights, no boats, no way for him to get there. He hadn't heard from her in five years.
Somehow, he kept telling himself she was still there, still waiting for him. Some part of
his own thoughts knew it was probably a lie, that he had no way of knowing whether
she was alive or not.
The other part of him wouldn't give up.
The trail of red snaked around the edge of the carriage and finally stopped at a figure.
It was Jurg's target, his face still twisted in a mask of white shock. The rest of his body
was swarming with the frenzied eating of half a dozen Infected. One of them grinned
at Jurg, its face all red and lurid in his light. It had been a woman once, in a summer
dress much like Alice used to wear.
"Help me," it said, then shrieked so loud that Jurg stumbled back, deafened. He didn't
even hear the shots as he put a bullet through the Infected's head, and he couldn't
hear himself sobbing as he turned to flee.
Chapter Seven
The world as we know it

T he world has returned to a more feudalistic


state. Warlords, government rulers, faction
heads, community leaders and even prophets
now command loyalty. Many people are still devoted
to the idea of their country, but what exactly is it
these days? Certainly, the world
is so fractured it’s hard
enough just keeping a
city united, let alone a
state or nation.

Globally, social
structures have
been shattered. The
outbreak itself, the
Infected, the inability of
government to function
and disasters both natural
and man-made have left the
world broken into pieces. Survivors
have gathered together in much
smaller groups, barely connected
with the outside world, so sections of
countries, cities and even suburbs have
become their own entities. Old borders
have been replaced by new lines of
demarcation, often following geographic
limits that now pose formidable obstacles.
Cities reeled with turf wars as groups rose
and fell, alliances were made and broken
and new groupings were formed for mutual
survival.

151
What follows are a few of the people and places that Note: It is also possible for a couple of particular Skills
exist in the ashes of the world. In this book we focus to be higher or lower than the average represented
in particular on the United States of America. for that category. For instance, a soldier might
be skilled with a harmonica, but otherwise quite
awkward (with a 3 in Social). In that case they might
NPC Stats
have a 6 on Perform, but still keep the 3 on the other
Below are a number of Non-Player Characters (NPCs) stats.
with stat blocks. Both are shortened versions of a full
Note: We have only included the levels of Advantages
character sheet — for the purposes of simplicity and
and Disadvantages or Equipment where relevant.
space. The major NPCs have more detailed stats than
minor NPCs. Remember, story matters above stats! Massively Powerful NPCs: Some NPCs have ridiculous
If the Narrator wishes to change or expand on any of levels of resources, manpower and wealth at their
these stats, then go right ahead. disposal. They control cities, armies and thousands
of people. In such cases, listing their exact levels
Abbreviations:
of influence is not really necessary, except perhaps
Brn = Brawn within their own structure. If the Narrator wanted
Dex = Dexterity them to use their Wealth or Status as an Extra Die, it
Int = Intelligence would usually be a 10 in such cases. Use your logic
Awa = Awareness and let the story dictate how things work.
Res = Resolve
NPCs Spending Spiritual Attributes: Most
Pres = Presence
minor NPCs (extras, goons, ordinary
Base Init= Base Initiative
soldiers) don't have the ability to
HtH= Hand to Hand
“spend” Spiritual Attributes to gain
bonuses on rolls or re-rolls, unless the
Minor NPC Stats:
Narrator deems otherwise. Generally
Attributes for the purposes of heroism and in
Physical = Brawn and Dexterity the interest of giving the PCs some
Social = Presence and Tact edge over the hostile world they
Mental = Awareness and live in, only they and important or
Intelligence particularly formidable NPCs can
Spiritual = Resolve and Luck spend Spiritual Attributes.

Skills
Physical = Wilderness, Athletics, Dodge, The Infected
Stealth, Construction, Pilot
The Infected are alive. They need to breathe,
Martial = Hand to Hand, Melee, Ranged
to sleep and to feed just like any other
Knowledge = Knowledge, Medical,
creature. In fact, it is their insatiable hunger,
Military, Rogue, Language
their driving necessity to feed the Calera virus,
Perception = Deduction, Observation,
as it relentlessly consumes their bodies, that
sometimes Wilderness Runner
makes the Infected what they are.
Social = Animal Handling, Command, Deception,
Diplomacy, Intimidation, Perform While in most places they aren’t nearly so numerous
as they were during the height of the outbreak, the
A&D = Advantages and Disadvantages
Infected still lurk in the ruins of society. Ironically,
152
they are just like any parasite, and simply cannot exist However, the difficulty with this is that not all the
without humans. In fact, when the human population Infected have the same level of intelligence. Some,
grows too small, giving little to no traffic for the known as the "Alphas" are clearly smarter than
Infected to attack and prey on, then they start to die others, and they lead the packs.
out. In their hunger, they have even been known to
turn on each other. The Inevitable Spread
The Infected will eat literally everything. Crops, Because the Infected eat their victims, it would seem
animals, bark, old corpses, bone marrow. One of the that there would be no new Infected to join their
early signs that an Infected pack is in the region is ranks. However, the bite of the Infected is not the
the consumption of all these things. Cats and dogs major cause for Calera’s spread — instead, it is the
disappear, corpses are picked clean, children and the airborne stage of the disease.
occasional adult start disappearing — by then there
Many Infected attacks result in people being mauled
could be dozens or even hundreds of Infected in the
or clawed, but not killed. Others get exposed to the
region, and the attacks will only
highly-contagious pus and blood, which sprays from
increase in scale.
their boils. In these cases, within hours the individual
Still alive, the Infected possess will begin to exhibit the first symptoms of the
limited intelligence. Most are disease — sneezing and coughing. The airborne
barely above the level of a virus can infect dozens of people extremely
smart dog or ape. They can rapidly, and then these people will rapidly
climb, break windows, use start contaminating others.
ladders, throw rocks, figure
This is why masks are such vital pieces
out patterns, understand
of equipment, why gas flaps are used
dangerous areas as well as
over doorways and why infected people
areas that are food rich. It's
are immediately disposed of or sent to
for these reasons that some
isolation wards. Many of those Infected will
people have figured out that
die within 1–3 days, choking and gasping as
the Infected are, to some
the brutal fever burns through them. Many
degree, capable of being trained.
are conscious for these first few days, and
The most basic level is essentially a
their cries for help are difficult for anyone
pain-response method, whereby the
to bear.
Infected come to realise that certain
stimuli represent only death and After this, the virus will send them into a
pain. This could be a noise, like a Alpha coma for anywhere from five days to three
particular siren, or a visual stimuli like weeks. At the end of it, they will either perish
a large skull image or brightly painted red or awaken. Those who wake are not dead —
vehicle. The idea is that after a while, and they are merely starving animals, with most
many casualties, the Infected will come to see or traces of humanity burnt away. At this point
hear such a stimuli and retreat from it. Conversely, if only their blood, saliva and pus are contagious.
one of those stimuli represents food, then they might As they age, they grow more and more disfigured
be attracted to it. Clever “trainers” aim to be able to and covered in boils, the virus slowly consuming their
make one sound and cause the Infected to flee, then bodies and seeking to spread. Getting exposed to the
make another sound and cause them to approach. pus of such boils is almost certainly a death sentence.

153
Infected Abilities Sometimes the Infected also use their shrieks to box
prey in. Several will shriek in different areas around a
Infected Skills fleeing target, making them think there are far more
Infected than there actually are, forcing them to turn
The Infected Skills are used within the context of
and turn again and finally get caught in an ambush.
being animalistic, instinctive and in controlling
other Infected. The Infected do not always scream, and quite often
the ones who are planning an ambush are silent right
For instance, an Alpha with a Presence of 6 cannot
up until they spring their trap. Naturally, Infected are
charm or communicate freely to people. Instead, the
very wary of firearms, and will not usually charge
Skill is used to cow and control other Infected,
suicidally towards entrenched positions. Instead, they
to frighten people or to communicate with
will hunt easier targets within the ruins, swarming
body language (something like, “This is
into confined spaces, where their numbers will
my territory!” much like an ape would).
rapidly overwhelm a target.
Similarly, Infected with an
The Infected will also retreat when they face a
Intelligence of 5 would use it to
foe who is too powerful. They want to eat and
figure out cunning tactics, patterns
hunt, not die.
of patrols, or plan an ambush.
Military would similarly be used to Infection
organise attacks, how and where to Roll: Brawn/Luck
place its “troops” and so on. Opposed By: Damage received, or successes
gained in the “splatter” strike. (Rule of thumb: 4
Infected usually cannot spend
successes minimum).
Resolve or Luck.
Getting clawed, bitten or getting sprayed with
Scream
contagious material will result in the victim
Roll: Presence/Command
possibly becoming infected.

1–5 Successes = A few Infected. One To determine the result of this, the victim must
Infected per success. make a Brawn/Luck check, opposed by the
6–10 Successes = A pack of at least two amount of damage received, or the successes
Infected per success. gained from the spray. If they fail, they're
Mimic infected, and only rapid medical attention will
11–15 Successes = Crawling with Infected.
give them any chance of survival (unless they
There are several dozen Infected coming!
somehow become immune).
16–20 Successes = They’re everywhere. There are
If the Narrator is not sure how many successes the
hundreds of Infected nearby, and their shrieks
character needs, they can apply a rules of thumb of 4
reverberate through the air.
successes minimum.
The Infected are also known as Screamers because
Unfeeling
they often communicate to each other by shrieking.
The Infected suffer no damage penalties, unless
It is the sound of discovery as they detect prey within
physically disabled (like with a missing limb or eye).
their area and summon more of their kind to the
hunt. Scent
The Infected have a heightened sense of smell and
can often detect the scent of blood and food when
154
no normal human could. Some Infected, such as the understand commands. Even more haunting, some
Hunter, have this so finely tuned that they can track Alphas seem to retain some concept of what they
people much like a bloodhound, tasting their scent on once were, collecting shards of mirrors so they can
the wind and leading the pack after them. stare at the horror they have become. Just how much
they remember is unknown, but some stories tell of
In this case, the Narrator should allow the Infected to
Alphas sparing former family members or friends —
roll Observation checks to detect hidden characters by
and more than one survivor has come close enough
scent and so on.
to them to see the tragic self-awareness in those
Hunters can actually track just bloodshot eyes.
like a dog can, and so should
be able to make checks to Sample Alpha
pursue the scent of prey. Few
survivors know that their Brn 6 Athletics 7 Intimidation 7
ability is so sharp. Dex 7 Command 6 Melee 5 Health
Pres 6 Deception 6 Military 4 4 4 4
This is primarily Tact 1 Deduction 6 Observation6
Awa 6 Diplomacy 3 Stealth Base Init
represented in 6
storytelling rather Int 5 Dodge 6 Wilderness 5 13
than rolling, but it Res 6 HtH 7
Luck 6
means the Infected
can pursue people Claws, Bite, Unfeeling, Scream, Infection, Scent
for a long time
without ever seeing
them, and then quite Runner
suddenly surprise them days
An Infected of between 1 to 2 years of age, the
or even weeks later.
Runners are fast and brutal and make up the mainstay
Claws of an early-stage outbreak. Most are emaciated,
Strike: Dexterity/Hand to Hand frenzied and constantly agitated.
Damage: +1, HR 0
Special: Infection Burster Sample Runner

Physical 5 Physical 5 Health


Bite Social 3 Martial 5
Strike: Dexterity/Hand to Hand −1 3 3 3
Mental 4 Knowledge 2
Damage: +2, HR 1 Spiritual 4 Perception 5 Base Init 9
Special: Infection Social 3
Claws, Bite, Unfeeling, Scream, Scent
Alpha
Terrifying in their level of intelligence, the Alphas are
Hunter
the greatest scourge of survivors. Most tend to use
other Infected to perform assaults and have the most Some Infected are sent out as scouts to find sources
self-preservation tendencies of all the Infected. Some of food and locate prey. They often go out in small
have even been known to speak a few words and groups and when they locate a source of food, one or

155
two of them remain in contact with it, while others Effect: −4 on all actions for 1 round per net success
are sent back to summon the pack. gained by the Mimic.

The victim may roll Awareness as a Free Action to


Sample Hunter
resist the effects of the Mimic’s shriek, but if they use
a Defensive Action to resist the attack they can roll
Physical 5 Physical 6 Health Awareness/Athletics.
Social 3 Martial 6
3 3 4
Mental 6 Knowledge 2
Sample Mimic
Spiritual 4 Perception 6 Base Init 12
Social 3 Physical 4 Physical 5 Health
Claws, Bite, Unfeeling, Scream, Scent Social 7 Martial 5
3 3 3
Mental 6 Knowledge 3
Spiritual 5 Perception 6 Base Init 10
Mimic Social 3
Claws, Bite, Unfeeling, Shriek, Scent
Unbelievably freakish, the Mimics are those Infected
who have somewhat retained their ability to speak.
Some are capable of pronouncing a couple
of words (“Hello?” “Help me!” or sobbing), Burster
while others have the capacity to use
The second stage of the infection is a
entire sentences. Some have even
bloating of the abdomen as it fills with
been rumoured to be able to talk
fluids and gases. Huge sacs of pus and fluid
with people. Whether this is true is
start to cover the creature, and it slows to a
not sure, but many people theorise
heavy, lumbering pace.
that the reason the Mimics
can speak at all is that it is an Bursters are well-named. Piercing
evolutionary means of gaining their abdomen will likely result in one
more food. exploding spectacularly as their built up
gases get released. This will spray highly
Mimics will often lure people into an
infectious material everywhere. If that doesn’t
ambush, calling them deeper and deeper
revolt everyone, the unbearable stink surely
into the ruins, until their pack is ready
will.
to strike.
The best way to deal with a Burster is to shoot
Some Mimics also have powerful
them in the head, though shooting one in the
voiceboxes, allowing their shriek to not
knees can also cripple them.
only deafen and stun people, but call other
Infected from a much greater distance.
Shambler Each time the Burster takes damage to their
abdomen, the Narrator should roll a Luck check
Mimics gather double the number of Infected for
(on the Burster’s Spiritual Attribute). If successful, it
their shriek.
explodes. The Narrator may give bonuses for repeated
or excessive damage.
Shriek

Roll: Presence/Perform
Opposed By: Victim’s Awareness (/Athletics).
156
At their discretion, the Narrator may choose to allow Their explosion is even more devastating than that of
players to spend points of Luck to prevent a Burster Bursters, and more contagious, inflicting a penalty of
from exploding. −2 on all checks to resist the virus.

Any Wounded damage to the abdomen will cause the


Shambler Burst
Burster to automatically explode.
Strike: +8/+8
Burst
Damage: +4, HR 3, 10 m area
Strike: +6/+6
Special: Infection
Damage: +4, HR 2, 10m area
The same other points apply as with the Burster
Special: Infection
(revulsion, penalties to dodge).
Victims attempting to dodge an exploding Burster will
suffer −4 to their roll if they are close to the creature. Sample Shambler
It is rather like a true explosion.
Brawn 8 Physical 3 Health
The Narrator may also choose to have characters Dex 3 Martial 6
make a Brawn/Resolve check (with at least −4) or be 3 4 4
Social 2 Knowledge 3
totally disgusted by the odour and the guts sprayed Mental 3 Perception 4 Base Init 6
around them. If they fail, they will throw up and Spiritual 3 Social 1
suffer shock (−4 on all actions for at least the next
Claws, Bite, Unfeeling, Shriek, Scent, Burst
few minutes). They may spend a point of Resolve to
automatically pass this check.

Medical Treatment of Calera


Sample Burster
Roll: Intelligence/Medical, three rolls (takes place
Brawn 7 Physical 4 over several days)
Health
Dex 4 Martial 6 Required Successes: 20 minimum
3 3 3
Social 4 Knowledge 4 Attempting to treat an infected individual can only be
Mental 4 Perception 5 Base Init 8 done with extensive medical supplies (drugs, IV drips
Spiritual 4 Social 2 and so on.). In this case, roll an Extended Intelligence/
Claws, Bite, Unfeeling, Shriek, Scent, Burst Medical check — 3 rolls, needing 20 successes total.
The Narrator should apply penalties of from −1 to −10
on each roll for lack of supplies or a more advanced
stage of the disease (trying to cure someone 3 days
Shambler
after they’ve contracted the virus is more difficult
The final stage of the infection is the Shambler. than if they have only just become infected).
Unbelievably grotesque, they are almost
unrecognisable as the people they once were.
Covered in immense boils, bloated with contagious
Rules of the World
juices and gases, they can only move at a very slow There are no true laws anymore, though local
pace, though they are hard to stop once they get communities each enforce their own — few with any
going. great level of complexity. However, there are a few
codes of conduct that people tend to follow. Never
truly laid down as a code, never strictly named or

157
even mentioned — still, these are something that Having a gun means you must be willing to defend
most people will tend to enforce. yourself at all times. Others may attack, ambush or
duel you, and unless they break one of the other rules
The rules of the world are fairly simple:
of the world, then there will be no repercussions.
1. Possession is nine tenths of the law On the other hand, those who are unarmed are not
fair game, and killing them is frowned upon and in
If you have it, you own it, unless you can prove
well-ordered towns, perpetrators will be lynched as
someone stole it.
murderers, or even hunted down with a posse.
2. Don’t eat your own kind

Cannibalism is growing more and more common, NORTHCOM and NORAD


but it is still considered as a depraved and vile act.
It was over three years into the outbreak by the
Cannibals are lynched. No one can trust them.
time the United States government truly started to
3. Travelling medics, performers and highly skilled collapse. It had a number of failsafe plans designed
tradesmen are off limits to deal with such events and for a time these kept it
going — but they were never meant to deal with an
There are many doctors, musicians, storytellers
apocalypse.
and skilled engineers or rangers who wander from
settlement to settlement helping as best they can. The real problem started early on, when the
These people tend to help indiscriminately — doctors government in Washington collapsed. The President,
tend whoever needs it, bandit, soldier, farmer, it Congress, the Joint Chiefs and other key leaders in
matters not. Weapon and armour smiths are also such their various bunkers were all lost, leaving the country
people. Do no harm to them. effectively leaderless.

4. Don't spread the virus There were two main forces that considered they
were the true voice of the government: NORAD and
Using the virus as a weapon or allowing it to spread
NORTHCOM.
with negligence, is never to be permitted.
NORAD (North American Aerospace Defence
5. Your word is your bond.
Command) was the organisation designed to defend
Giving a sworn oath, sometimes with spit on the the USA from any attack — and in particular to defend
palm, or with blood, is considered absolute. Do not its airspace. NORAD was the organisation that took
break your word. Similarly, giving your oath to a ruler command when everything failed. The only problem
is not to be violated — unless you defeat or replace was, their own command structure had also been
your former boss. wiped out.

6. Don't bring your disputes to town An organisation under NORAD's control was
NORTHCOM (United States Northern Command), a
Out in the wilds, violence, murder and revenge are
part of the US military set up to defend its physical
perfectly acceptable, but it is not permitted to bring
land areas from any threats. NORTHCOM and
these into a town. This rule is often broken, but if
NORAD were, in theory, prepared for these sorts of
discovered a perpetrator will often be beaten, have
events, and had Continuity of Government plans in
their valuables taken, or even be lynched.
place. These were designed to help the government
7. Anyone with a weapon is fair game continue in the event of a catastrophe, and at first
they held things together — but the plans depended

158
upon key pieces of organisations and systems to be Ultimately, NORTCHOM itself began to splinter.
existent and functional. Neither were true. No one knew who was in charge anymore, most
commanders were dead or long-lost and supply lines
Eventually the units began to splinter. Armies
totally broken down. All it took were a few moments
fractured, taking territory for themselves and
of anger and the structure fell into bloody ruin.
rebelling against high command — because the
Different sections struck out on their own and fought
command structure itself no longer functioned as
against each other, trying to claim as much territory
an entity. Lower echelon commands and deployed
as possible. Some were trying to uphold order as best
units were effectively left to their own devices to deal
they could — others just wanted what spoils they
with the situation on the ground where they were.
could get their hands on.
Communications and operational intelligence did not
function as planned. The last guidance they received NORAD held on, losing massive amounts of territory,
no longer applied to the problems they faced. Supply but somehow retaining some level of control in areas
lines were cut. The individual military units often across the country. However, it found itself resisted
became, in effect, the last vestige of government by the splintered NORTCHOM units and the situation
faced with the challenges of maintaining order and soon spiralled down into full-scale war.
their own survival.
San Francisco was gutted in the struggle, Chicago
reduced to smouldering ruins. New York was lost and
159
gained countless times, and now sits in a sort of siege. tribute, spies, wetworking agents and power is
Much of the midwest was witness to massed warfare proving resilient. If there is one thing NORAD’s good
as the juggernauts spent the last of their great at, it’s intelligence, and the moment they get even
strength on armoured warfare — thousands of tanks a whiff of a treacherous plot, their agents get to
and vehicles now lie in rusted, burnt-out ruin across work. There are also other ways to keep a seditious
those rolling green hills and flat prairies. Some just vassal in line. Forcing them to give hostages of family
lie empty in vast columns — running out of fuel, they members, keeping informants within their own
were scavenged and abandoned. camps, having other vassals who are ready to band
together and destroy traitors (and then take their
NORAD remained in the driving seat, but it was a
land, people and resources as their own).
pyrrhic victory, and it contributed to the collapse of
society more than anything else. Few people have To “reclaim” territories, NORAD is extremely cunning.
faith in the “government” anymore, and NORAD and Brute force is often unnecessary. Instead, they may
NORTCHOM are words synonymous with butchery offer to “stabilise” a region by bringing in a military
and brutality. force. Then that force will stay. If there is opposition,
they’ll find people within the enemy camp who are
NORAD willing to play ball, then assist them to depose the
former rulers.
Still based at Cheyenne Mountain in Colorado, NORAD
yet controls vast strings of bases all across the USA, They are also genius with rumours, blackening of
and even in Canada and Mexico. Of all the ruling reputations, finding dirty little secrets and generally
forces in the USA, NORAD has the most assets, the undermining an opponent’s character. If they
largest armies and the most influence. But that's not can’t depose them by force, they’ll turn them into
saying much these days. a monster that their own people won’t support.
They also often supply drugs and cheap alcohol to
With the collapse of proper industry that could
communities to undermine them and make them ripe
replenish their reserves, NORAD has been focusing its
for the picking.
attention on recovering what assets it can, and slowly
regaining some sort of manufacturing ability. It’s not
General Richardson
easy, but they still have technicians and processing
plants — the problem is, production is staggeringly
Physical 5 Physical 6 Health
below the rate of consumption, and their reserves are
Social 7 Martial 5
rapidly dwindling. 3 3 4
Mental 8 Knowledge 8
What this means is that NORAD is almost a spent Spiritual 5 Perception 7 Base Init 13
force, but even if their own military might is much Social 6
Morality 4
weakened, they still have their political muscle. Much A&D Circumstances Equipment
like a medieval king, NORAD now rules over a large Gambler Reputation 8 Light pistol (+2 Dmg, HR 2).
number of feudalistic lords, virtual kings in their own Light assault rifle (+4 Dmg,
Analytical Minions 10 HR 3).
right, who must supply NORAD with tribute, aid and Innate Skill: Allies 10 Excellent combat armour
military support. The remnant government force Military (+8/+8 Absorb, HR 3).
Wealth 10
keeps control of these rulers through the fear of its
reputation and through fear of the other vassals.
An opportunist if ever there was one, when the
The truth is, if everyone turned against them NORAD
outbreak started Richardson was an air force captain
would collapse, but the web of alliances, pacts,
in his mid-thirties frustrated with his stymied career.
160
As the country lost cohesion, he rapidly found himself his forces on the attack, moving from one unit to the
rising in the ranks because no one else was able to next, ensuring everything is done right.
make sense of the chaos. Thoroughly charming and
The only problems with this sort of approach is that
utterly ruthless, he cannot stand rivals or opposition
Richardson is prone to micro-management, bypassing
of any sort. He is a military genius who has a thorough
the structures of command in an apparent contempt
grasp of combined-arms tactics, and the use of
for his own officers. He is also prone to pushing his
politics to achieve military ends.
troops to breaking point, and is often slow to concede
Richardson is anything but conservative. Time and a losing position. Like a problem gambler, he believes
time again he has risked everything on a sudden, all their losses can be redeemed by just one more
daring assault. Hemmed in by superior enemy forces, lightning assault.
running out of fuel, his decision is usually to make a
Despite these flaws, Richardson is one of the most
lightning strike against a weak point, claim opposition
brilliant and feared warleaders on the continent.
supplies and fuel for his own, then continue to
When he arrives to personally oversee a battle, the
relentlessly harry his foe. He demands a lot from
enemy know that they're in for a fluid, hard-fought
his soldiers, from his diplomats and really everyone
battle filled with unpleasant surprises. His own troops
under his command — but he demands even more
know to expect exhaustion and impossible targets —
from himself. When on campaign, it's as though he
and victory, no matter the odds.
doesn’t sleep. He’s constantly on the move, keeping

Los Angeles

Much of Los Angeles is rubble, but still the Golden attitude to everything — “can’t do” are words he
Coast city teems with life. Infected packs prowl simply doesn’t understand.
through the subways and sewers, merchants travel
Month by month, the city around them grew bleaker,
from one community to the next, plying their
the condition of the people worse, the Calera virus
wares, and countless small towns do their best to
spreading further and further.
make it through each day. Despite their harsh lives,
society here is growing again — mostly thanks to The number of people seeking to get in was immense,
the protection afforded by one settlement and its but unlike most Green Zones, Branx chose to protect
garrison. Branxton. as many refugees as he could. Like many zones, this
one sprouted a camp around its walls and in the
Branxton crowded buildings beyond, and Branx tried to protect
these people as best he could. It was a hopeless task,
One of the first and largest Green Zones created
and one that proved immensely costly in lives, effort
during the beginning stages of the outbreak, its
and munitions. Ultimately, tens of thousands died, to
crowded inhabitants were defended by units of the
be burnt in massive ovens, and eventually just left to
National Guard and the regular army, helmed by
rot where they lay, the air filled with the buzzing of
Brigadier General Michael Branx. On this occasion,
flies.
they had picked the exact right man for the job.
A man in his late-forties, who had served several But despite all that, despite starvation, insurrection
combat tours overseas, Branx is a man who knows and the virus breaking out in the settlement time and
how to get things done, and has a truly military

161
time again, Branx’s zone somehow held on while all Branxton itself is a hub for merchants and trade,
others collapsed. with people travelling sometimes up to a hundred
kilometres to reach the legendary marketplaces
Now they call it Branxton, and more than five years
where apparently a fortune can be made or lost in
after the outbreak began it is a small city in the
an afternoon. Many never make it there, and for
ruins of Downtown LA. The centre of it all is the
those who do the legends never quite hold up to the
High Town, walling in several blocks of skyscrapers
crowded, filthy reality. Even so, fortunes can indeed
with five-metre high barricades and ominous guard
be made and lost here, and Branx does everything he
towers. Outside of that are the sprawling shanties
can to keep the roads safe for those coming to his city.
and smaller buildings of the Low Town, which has
For they are what keep it alive.
a ramshackle three-metre wall of concrete blocks,
metal and container boxes. Even outside the walls, The size of Branxton is its power, but also its greatest
there are thousands of people who make their home, weakness. They have built immense farms out of local
living in the ruined buildings, barricading themselves stadiums and parks, fencing them in and fortifying
in at night and surviving as best they can — with the them against Infected and roaming scavengers. But
promise that Branxton’s men patrol the streets and even so, these crops are not nearly enough to feed
keep them relatively safe. some fifty thousand people. It is the merchants
162
bringing their produce to town, and all manner of The Knives
supplies, that keeps the town going.
Branx’s personal insurance policy are his wetworking
Another major lifeline of Branxton is the railroads. agents. Less than fifty in number, they take on new
Unfortunately, much of the railways are underground members rarely, and only when a potential recruit's
across LA, meaning they're havens for the Infected, loyalty is beyond question. These men and women
but Branx really has no choice. With no electricity are loyal to Branx, and Branx alone.
to power the civilian trains, he has commandeered
Early in outbreak, when food was down to starvation
a number of heavy-duty diesel engines to transport
levels and the refugees were rioting outside, half a
supplies in and out of the town, and to enable him to
dozen officers decided to stage a coup. Their plan was
reach distant communities, providing much-needed
that with Branx out of the way, they could remove the
soldiers and protection for them, and bringing back
refugees by force, and get rid of most of the civilians
goods to the town.
with the zone as well.
The final important supply line for Branxton is the
Branx got wind of it and sent the first group of Knives
sea. Branxton lies several kilometres inland from the
to take care of it, and after that there was no more
nearest good harbour, in what was the former holiday
talk of insurrection. When the leaders of the nearby
destination of Terminal Island. Now Branx has set up
community of Torrance tried to subvert the loyalty of
a substantial shipping port there, which has sprouted
the other local communities, and planned to attack
its own densely packed tent city within its walls and
one of his trains, the Knives were sent in. Twenty
the buildings beyond — those buildings are each
seven people died in their sleep. And fear kept the
essentially fortresses in themselves. The port is used
other communities in line.
for fishing and for trade with communities up and
down the coast, and the train lines serve as the best Some say that members of the killers’ group each
line of connection between it and the main town. have a tattoo of a knife, with a number etched on the
blade. Most believe that is just a legend. Some don’t
The combination of sea trade, hard to find
even believe that the Knives exist — but there have
commodities and desperation has proved fertile soil
been enough quiet deaths in the night to warrant a
for pirates, thieves, the black market and racketeers
healthy fear that they do.
of all sorts.

These various supply lines are a highly-coveted target The Best Defence
of bandits and less scrupulous communities in the
By any standards in the post-outbreak world,
region, who know that netting a single convoy would
Branxton is immense, and it has a great influence on
mean they were set up for years. But it would also
the surrounding city, and even the rest of the state —
bring down Branx’s wrath upon them. Attack his men
because Branxton is not insular. The general knows
and he will come after you like a vengeful hurricane.
that to best form of defence is a good offence, and
To keep things in check, Branx employs a wide net is determined to keep his forces strong, and to keep
of agents to feed information back to him, as well as control of the surrounding territory with an iron fist.
several skilled wetwork teams. If you challenge him, Make no mistake, Branx is a general. He is the captain
you might get away with it for a time, but eventually of his ship, the ruler of his settlement, and he brooks
Branx will find you, and then his men will quietly no interference. This is not a democracy, this is a
come for you, no matter where you might be. dictatorship, and that is the way that he and most of
his soldiers feel it has to be.

163
Branx controls large sections of LA, and has avoided dying, but his wife was not so lucky, leaving
outposts, bases, listening posts and allied towns and him harrowed by grief, and his teenage daughter
communities scattered throughout the entire state without a mother.
and even beyond. Branx considers them to be on a
Branx is determined that both the Sunshine Army and
war footing at all times — and he is correct to think
NORAD will get what’s coming to them, but for now
this way. Aside from dangerous groups opposing
the only way that he can ensure Branxton’s continued
him within LA, there are the far more real threats of
survival and independence is to play them off against
government factions who still believe he and his men
each other. Their diplomats are poorly-disguised
are under their jurisdiction, and they know just how
spies and assassins, but he has to endure them in
vulnerable Branxton is.
public, even honour them, while behind the scenes
With nearly a thousand men under his command, they each wage a deadly war of spying, assassination,
dozens of vehicles, several heavy artillery pieces and subversion and threats.
even a few civilian aircraft and military helicopters,
Brigadier General Michael Branx
Branxton would seem a tough nut to crack — except
for that tenuous supply line. Physical 6 Physical 6 Health
Social 7 Martial 5
3 4 4
Branxton is also very porous. Because of its large Mental 6 Knowledge 6
population, nobody knows everybody and there's a Spiritual 6 Perception 6 Base Init 12
constant stream of people coming and going. Spies Social 8 Morality 5
and information brokers are rife, and though Branx
A&D Circumstances Equipment
has his own agents, there are countless different
Fearsome Reputation 8 Light pistol (+2 Dmg, HR 2).
groups vying for their own slice of the pie. Criminal Light assault rifle (+4 Dmg,
Patient Minions 10 HR 3).
kingpins run highly lucrative brothels and drug dens,
Allies 9 Excellent combat armour
mercenaries bid for jobs, killers and thieves rub (+8/+8 Absorb, HR 3).
Wealth 10
elbows looking to turn a profit.

Every day there are new bodies in the gutters. The


The General, the Boss, the Top Brass. Tall, imposing,
unfortunates. Those who didn’t make it. Victims of
with greying military-short hair and a strong
crime, starvation, disease, or coming off second best
physique, Branx is known for a booming voice and an
against a rival. They are quickly burnt or buried, then
unflinching manner. Most of his men would die for
the city moves on. It’s a busy place.
him — even though they know he’s a cold-hearted
son of a bitch, they can be sure he won’t waste their
Diplomats
lives. He is familiar with each of his men, and makes it
NORAD wants Branxton as its own, as does a National his business to also know their families — and to keep
Guard remnant known as the Sunshine Army (see them close.
page 171), and both nominally list it as part of their
Branx legitimately believes that Branxton is one of
territory. Branx thinks they can both go to hell.
the best shots that California, and the USA, has of
The only problem with that is both the Sunshine Army recovering from the outbreak. He can see the way to
and NORAD have a lot more planes, guns and men a new, resurgent America, and that vision leaves room
than he does. for little else.

Branx can’t easily tell them what he thinks of them


— not after NORAD bombed his own residence in an
attempt to take him out of the picture. Branx narrowly
164
Jurg Steiner Jurg is not exactly a stable personality. He rarely ever
has an “off” switch, and when his tensions do finally
Brn 6 Athletics 6 Medical 6 Health boil over, he is liable to drain several bars dry, get into
Dex 8 Command 5 Melee 7 unruly fights and cause a heck of a lot of trouble. But
Pres 4 Deception 5 Military 5 5 5 5
Tact 4 Deduction 6 Observation6 while many senior personnel have asked Branx to
Base Init
Awa 6 Diplomacy 4 Ranged 6 discipline or demote him, but he refuses. He knows
Int 5 Dodge 6 Stealth 6 14 who has his back when the chips are down.
Res 6 HtH 7 Wilderness 5 Morality
Luck 5 Intimidation 7
4
Unfortunately this comes off as favouritism, pure and
simple, and so Jurg has plenty of enemies. Still, that’s
Circumstances Allies 8 Minions 5 Wealth 4 okay with him. He also has plenty of friends — and
Advantages Innate Talent: Melee the General is the biggest one of those.
Hardened Constitution Daredevil
Jurg is intensely loyal to Branx, however Branx knows
Disadvantages Callous Unruly Gambler that Jurg would leave in an instant, if he ever finds
Enemies (many) Drinker a way to return to Australia. He considers that the
Equipment
Steiner can have whatever equipment he wants, but favours General judges him as he is, and not by everyone
a ballistic vest (+6/+6 Absorb, HR 3), heavy pistol (+4 Dmg, HR else’s standards. But Branx has also stood up for him
3) and above all his combat knife (+2 Dmg, HR 2).
when everyone else would have been content to have
him exiled or worse.

A quiet, unassuming man, Jurg is the mysterious


Phillip Teenstra
leader of the Knives, though only a few know that
this is in fact his role. Most know him as the head of Brn 4 Athletics 4 Medical 3 Health
Branx’s bodyguards — all of whom are actually Knives. Dex 6 Command 4 Melee 4
Pres 5 Deception 6 Military 4 3 3 3
When the shit hit the fan in the outbreak, he was Tact 7 Deduction 6 Observation6 Base Init
an Australian Army soldier participating in a survival Awa 5 Diplomacy 7 Ranged 5
training exercise with the US Army/Marines in the Int 5 Dodge 5 Stealth 5 11
Res 4 HtH 3 Wilderness 5 Morality
remote wilderness and so was not initially aware Luck 5 Intimidation 5
that the outbreak had occurred. After learning of 3
outbreak, he tried everything in his power to get Circumstances Allies 7 Minions 5 Wealth 7
Equipment 6
out of the US and return to Australia to be with his
family. However to date, he has not been able to find Advantages Talent for Survival Born Liar
a means of returning over such a large distance. The Disadvantages Gambler Greedy Coward
stress of not being able to return to his family has led Equipment
him to drinking heavily when he is not on duty. Whilst Teenstra disdains fighting, but if necessary will wear as
much protection as possible (+8/+8 Absorb, HR 3), and
he still maintains a fighting fit physique, the drink and wield a submachine gun (+2 Dmg, HR 2).
age have led to his reactions not being as quick they
once were.
Who says hardship can’t breed opportunity? For
Branx recognised Jurg’s particular skillset, and noticed
Teenstra, the outbreak was the best thing that ever
that he had no concerns with dispatching targets.
happened to him. Whereas before he was a part-time
He soon became Branx’s go-to man for people that
construction worker and full-time drunk, now he is a
needed removing, and thus began the Knives.
wealthy dealer in the underbelly of Branxton.

165
Sure, he lost his wife and son. That sucked. But he’s whispers. It is also a common first stop when a group
nothing if not pragmatic — and with the wealth he arrives in town, or a last stop before they leave.
now has at his disposal, there are girls aplenty, and
Winter knows most of the comings and goings
also a lot more children that might be his. Whatever.
throughout the town, and is adept at playing people
Teenstra is a dealer in exotic goods. If you want it and off against each other. Despite that fact that the
it’s rare and hard to find, chances are he’ll have one Cortadores (see next section) own most of the
or know where to get it. He started off as a delver brothels in Branxton, Winters pays no homage to any
himself, looking into the black, waterlogged ruins ruler — he just makes sure he provides them with
of the massive cities, but he now has several teams valuable information, and has enough armed men
that do all that heavy lifting for him. The casualty rate and allies to make any takeover attempt difficult.
is high, but he has no shortage of volunteers. One
The Den: A narrow establishment beneath a shabby
of his favourite innovations is the use of children to
tenement block in the Low Town. Inside the Den are
explore dangerous areas. Not only can they get into
dozens of filthy beds, where junkies can get their fix.
smaller spaces, but they’re also the canary in the coal
Many desperate people meet their end here at the
mine — the Infected are liable to eat them first, giving
end of a dirty needle, air bubble or overdose, and
everyone else enough time to get away. The kids
the Den’s hideously crippled owner, Hunch, does a
don’t get paid much, but there are plenty of urchins
good trade in cadavers to whoever wants them (a fair
keen to step up their place in the world — and if he’s
number end up as cheap soup in street kitchens... told
short of volunteers then no one cares if you take one.
you not to ask where the meat came from).
Teenstra is also a keen gambler, and is often waking
The Gun Rack: Staffed by Steve Chang, an army vet
up with a powerful hangover and a deep debt to
who lost his right leg and left eye from a shell that
some shady individual. It’s all in the job description
came “a little too close” during the outbreak, the Gun
really...
Rack is a small fortress, protected by several armed
The Bang For Your Buck: A very popular, very guards day and night. And with good reason — Chang
boisterous bar, hotel and brothel in the Low Town. has more weapons than you can shake a stick at. He
The building is five storeys tall and very decorative, often commissions delvers to go out into the ruins
hailing from the turn of the 19th century. It was and find him some more — and in particular specialty
already rundown before a shell tore through its roof items that fetch a premium.
and lodged in the third storey bathroom. It was a big,
Adam Alexander: The owner of a large and cramped
big shell, but it was also a dud, and still sits in the
junkyard, Adam is an older African American man who
bathroom to this day.
tells most people that he prefers his own company
The building leaks in the rain, is infested with lice and and those of his dogs — they’re better company than
rats, and also turns more tricks than a stage magician. most people anyway!

Jonathan Winter is the proprietor of "the Bang". A Despite that, Adam is regularly busy with people
tall, thin man with a disapproving frown that seems to seeking to sell or buy his scrap — all of which tends
have been inherited with the building. He has a dozen to get Adam angry. Adam doesn’t much care for
heavies who keep the peace and make sure rowdy customers — they can spoil a nice lazy afternoon.
customers are turfed out — minus anything of value
That being said, Adam does have a softer side if you
that they own.
know how to get through that bristly shell (he finds it
All sorts of people come to the Bang. Some for hard to be mean to young girls since they remind him
the drinks, some for the girls — and many for the of his daughter, lost during the outbreak). And he can
166
be quite useful if you get him talking. In fact, he can wind up dead in gruesome ways — and serving them
fix just about any machine with his scrap — he’ll keep in the afterlife.
your car going with blu-tac and string if he has to.
It's a common tactic of the Cortadores to leave occult
marks for their enemy to find — on their door, their
The Cortadores
bed, their gun. The message is simple: do what we say
One of the thorns in the side of Branxton are the or else.
Cortadores — one of the more successful gangs
While on the surface Branx is in a state of war with
that have emerged in the post-outbreak world.
these vicious characters, beneath that he realises the
Predominantly formed from the remains of a Mexican
impracticality of trying to stamp them out. Instead, he
drug cartel, their name in Spanish is Los Cortadores de
deals with them when he must, and insists that they
Garganta, meaning “the Throat Cutters”. They often
don’t screw him and his settlement over. If they do,
just called the Cortadores — the cutters.
he'll make their lives difficult.
The problem with the Cortadores is that they're
And so there's a loose understanding between them.
rather like a bad venereal disease — they spread
It is a deal with the devil for Branx, for he and the
everywhere and no one wants to talk about it. If the
top echelon practically turn a blind eye to the brutal
business is corrupt and makes a lot of money, you
going-ons of the cartel, ignoring beatings, extortion,
can bet that the Cortadores have their hands in it one
murder, rape, torture and countless other crimes, so
way or another. They have spread not only all through
long as they don’t make too much of a splash. If the
the ruins of Los Angeles, but also up and down the
Cortadores get too out of line, then Branx sends in the
coast and even inland. Their agents deal with the
Knives to remind them of just who's in charge.
underbelly of NORAD and NORTHCOM, and have a
strong presence in Las Vegas (see page 183). Despite this, or perhaps because of it, there are
constant skirmishes between the two forces. On the
Their assets aren’t really land and armies — though
surface it seems to be a brutal war against a merciless
they have military muscle too — but instead
crimelord, and many minor players are taken down
influence, knowledge and wealth. Nothing happens
and executed, exiled or maimed as punishment for
without the Cortadores hearing about it. No major
their crimes. But behind the surface, the status quo
deals go down without their approval. Risk their ire,
remains fairly stable and the Cortadores respect
and you will wish that you hadn’t made it through the
most of Branx’s claims — they know what they can
outbreak at all.
get away with, and have no desire to instigate full-
The Cortadores have earnt their name through their scale war.
ruthlessness, but also through their occult beliefs.
However, nothing remains the same forever. Both
Those who defy them are liable to wind up with a
sides are also constantly seeking more information
bright red smile — and with a webwork of spells to
on each other, trying to undermine their power
apparently curse them, their families and enslave
structures and put into place agents and spies. For
their very souls to the Cortadores’ wills.
Branx, discovering the structure and hierarchy of
Whether any of this actually works seems to be the cartel is of great significance. That way if he ever
besides the point, because it’s creepy as hell and has need to go to war with them, he can make one
enough people believe it for it to be taken as true. All immense strike and cripple the entire group. So far,
of it just adds to their horrendous reputation. Don’t he's mapped much of their structure, but hasn’t been
go against them or you and your whole family will able to track down their leaders — should he actually

167
do so, he may order a full-scale purge to rid his incredibly dangerous to lightly-armed communities,
settlement of these parasites. but of little real threat to a true military. However,
their numbers can prove quite telling, and some are
The Cortadores on the other hand seek to gain access
former military, so they really know their stuff.
to the men and women of Branx’s power structure.
The more they can manipulate these people, the The higher players in the Cortadores are fabulously
more agents they can plant close to Branx, the more wealthy, able to buy anyone and anything they want.
control they gain of him and his forces. Should the Most others scratch a living and are content to get
need arise, they could remove him — or gain enough perks from their membership. Some become rich,
blackmail to ensure he does exactly what they say. others become dead. The Cortadores have a one-
High on their list of priorities is to kidnap his daughter strike-one-bullet policy.
and keep her somewhere secure.
The wealth of the Cortadores comes from a number
Resources of different rackets — extortion, large prostitution
rings, black market trade in drugs, slaves, forbidden
The Cortadores have plentiful resources, though they
vices and really anything unsavoury. Also, they often
are spread far and wide across their various zones
buy up weapons, drugs and liquor direct from the
of influence. Gathering them for a major action like
supplier, then mark up the prices steeply at Branxton’s
a battle would be extremely difficult, and they know
markets. Those who don’t want to play nice are liable
that should Branx order a purge on them then he
to receive a visit from the Cortadore thugs — and
could cause incredible damage before they have the
then lose one of their family members as “insurance”.
chance to respond.

In physical resources the Cortadores have small arms Influence


and ammunition in plenty. Many of the weapons
The real power of the Cortadores is their influence.
dealers in Branxton pay them a fee through a proxy
No one knows who’s in their pocket, or who's been
(most of the thugs, “protectors” and fee collectors
blackmailed by them.
pay their own dues back to the cartel). They also have
access to armoured vehicles like humvees, and in Hostages are a very common tactic of the cartel
some of their major bases there are even tanks and — taking a son, daughter or spouse to ensure that
helicopters — a raw display of power and wealth. someone remains loyal or does what they say. The
tragic thing is that many of these people are then
In Branxton there are dozens of Cortadore heavies.
mistreated terribly. Daughters are often turned into
Most are Latin American, heavily tattooed former
prostitutes, sons become little more than slaves, or
cartel members. In particular, many of their tattoos
are indoctrinated into the cartel so they know little
are occultish in nature — depicting pentagrams,
else. There is little anyone can do about it even if they
spells of protection and complex patterns that will
knew.
apparently ward off everything from bad luck to
bullets. Who has been bought? Who has been blackmailed?
Who is an informer, hit man or secret member? These
In many other towns there are also small gangs of
are the questions that keep most people quiet, and
Cotadores, or those affiliated with them — and it is
keep the Cortadores in business.
not hard to gather a fair number more of them if a
point needs to be made.

Few of the Cortadores are armoured, and most


are little more than brigands with assault rifles —

168
Pedro Cortez Pinto bit of an information broker and as a kindly fatherly
figure.
Physical 5 Physical 5 Health
Social 7 Martial 5 What few realise is that the four “worthless nephews”
3 4 4 he supports (and constantly whinges about) are all
Mental 6 Knowledge 6
Spiritual 6 Perception 7 Base Init 11 elite hitmen, and are there to ensure that the boss
7 doesn’t take a bullet in the shady backstreets of the
Social Morality 4
town. The house is actually a covert fortress, with an
A&D Circumstances Equipment
underground bunker and listening post, tapping into
Paranoid Reputation 7 Light pistol (+2 Dmg, HR 2).
Combat knife (+1 Dmg, HR 2). all of Branxton’s electronic chatter. It's also connected
Born Leader Minions 7 Submachine gun to a series of tunnels that travel all across the town,
Fearsome Allies 9 (+2 Dmg, HR 2).
connecting up with safe-houses, brothels and drug
Machine Wealth 9 dens.

Even most of those who work for him have little idea
There are few people who know that Cortez is in of his true identity. Couriers come to him and expect
fact one of two major leaders of the Cortadores. him to humble himself in front of them — which he
There are a number of leaders, but he, and Amelia does, to play up to his role.
Rodrigues, are one of the foremost. Such knowledge
In fact, Branx’s spies are aware that Cortez has a
is a dangerous thing — the Knives are looking for him.
connection to the cartel, but Cortez has told them
Cortez doesn’t live in the traditional way for a cartel that the gang has his only surviving son, and will
leader. In fact, he lives closest to his enemies, in a kill him if he doesn’t help them. He even gives
small, shabby shop in Branxton, where he sells old, information on the cartel to Branx’s spies — weaving
recovered books and sponsors delvers to go digging enough fact into the misdirections, fabrications and
into old libraries. He has inculcated a reputation as a half truths that he is wrongly considered a reliable

169
source. He'll actually get rid of problem members by is incredibly intelligent and sophisticated. It also
“informing” on them and letting Branx take care of means that she is thoroughly embedded in the fabric
them. This both enhances the believability of Cortez of the cartel, and her spies, informants and bought
and eliminates a problem without appearing to be officials are everywhere. Those loyal to her are richly
connected. rewarded. The others soon disappear.

Amelia and Cortez may both be part of the


Amelia Rodrigues
Cortadores, but they are rivals for power and
influence. Each would love to remove the other
Physical 4 Physical 4 Health and gain their piece of the operation and move up
Social 8 Martial 5
3 3 3 in the hierarchy to sole ruler. Amelia’s fortress like
Mental 7 Knowledge 6
Base Init 11 settlement is as much for protection from Cortez as
Spiritual 5 Perception 6
it is a base for her operations. She doesn’t know who
Social 7
Morality 3
he is or where he lives, which frustrates her to no
A&D Circumstances Equipment end. Instead she has to deal with numerous proxies
Light pistol (+2 Dmg, HR 2).
Seductive Reputation 7 Ballistic vest (+6/+6 Absorb, and has already killed a few of them in attempts to
Vengeful Minions 9 HR 3). make them talk. Needless to say, her relationship with
Callous Allies 10 Cortez is just a few notches below outright war.
Wealth 9
Amelia also encourages a thriving population of
Infected to live in the surrounding suburbs, feeding
Young and strikingly attractive, Amelia is also as cold them the bodies of her enemies... in fact, often just
and ruthless as a steel blade. She lives in a small releasing captives into their domain. Her settlement’s
settlement in the rolling hills overlooking the port at walls are too high for the Infected, who have soon
Terminal Island. There were once resorts and spas learnt to behave, in a manner of speaking — they
here that looked out from the red cliffs, and in the know that the walls are death, but there is regularly
high hills were rich homes with swimming pools and food available in the ruins just beyond, so that is
multi-car garages. where they thrive.

Now those hills lie abandoned and destroyed. She also has a number of “pet” Infected she keeps in
The twisting streets are a dizzying maze riddled a pit beneath her home, chained by the neck and kept
with booby traps and watched over by sentries. hungry. They prove remarkably efficient interrogators.
On a perfect position to overwatch the harbour
sits the settlement itself — walled in and studded The Sunshine Army
with towers, the mansions and a dense sprawl of
Formed from the remnants of the 40th National
shacks and shanties now hosting crowded groups of
Guard Division (and originally part of NORTHCOM),
Cortadores, their families, slaves and vehicles.
the Sunshine Army is an alteration of the 40th’s
Amelia herself is the lynchpin of this whole operation, insignia of a blazing sun on a blue background.
spending much of her time in an extravagant mansion
The major remnants of the 40th had retreated to
above it all, watching the traffic in the harbour and
San Diego, in the immense Coronado Naval Base,
coordinating her various moves. Some have wondered
when the command structure started to fall apart.
how a woman runs such an operation, but once
Leaderless, being picked apart day by day, given
they meet her they no longer wonder. With an Ivy-
suicidal orders and brutal punishments for failure,
League education behind her, and years of following
over a thousand survivors decided that enough was
her daddy’s footsteps in the cartel means Amelia
170
enough, and decided to take the Coronado base now control a swathe of territory for several hundred
by coup. It was a bloody affair. NORAD and loyalist kilometres all around San Diego.
NORTCHOM forces controlled the base, though they
It’s still a fractured level of control. Alliances
had lost vast numbers to the Calera virus. The ferocity
constantly shift and change, like different coloured
of the coup took them by surprise. Though some
pebbles scattered amongst each other, no one is
tiny pockets held out fiercely, others switched sides,
quite sure which side what town is on. They have
meaning the final result was inevitable.
had regular clashes with NORAD forces in the region
Survivors who remained committed to the NORAD and those of Branxton in LA. It may, in fact, be just a
and NORTHCOM organisations were executed matter of time before a war erupts between these
or enslaved. The turncoats were separated and two regional heavyweights.
integrated into the rest of the units to avoid collusion
— with a watchful eye to ensure they would be loyal. Sarah “Shinobi” Takahashi

Perhaps originally their cause was worthy, but after Young, long-legged and elegant, Takahashi does not
taking Coronado in blood and fire, the Sunshine Army at first strike most people as a fighter, let alone a
simply became a force unto itself, a brutal feudalistic killer. However, she is at the sharp end of the blade
power. that is the Sunshine Army. Wilful, passionate and
quick to anger, Takahashi is also incredible loyal, and
Knowing that NORAD would counter-attack, the
above all, honourable. Family is everything to her, and
Sunshine Army recruited anyone who could hold a
though most of hers perished, her grandmother and a
rifle, with promises of the spoils of victory. When
number of cousins survived. Her grandmother berates
the counter-attack came, it was met by determined
her and gives her advice, and Takahashi dutifully
resistance and street-to-street fighting.
listens and dotes on her. She's also adopted several
After months of bombardment and hard fighting, dozen children, whom she treats as her own.
NORAD started to run low on munitions, willpower
Calling herself “Shinobi”, which is another word for
and men. They couldn’t afford such a protracted
“Ninja”, she is fiercely proud of her Japanese heritage,
struggle, not with their supply lines and forces
though she was born in America, daughter of a ninth-
stretched so thin, and they were forced to turn back,
generation Yakuza leader. An ink dragon writhes up
unaware that the Sunshine Army had been reduced to
her spine, testament to her endurance and status.
cannibalising the dead (and sometimes the wounded),
and was days away from total collapse. Takahashi is a duellist, warleader and head of a major
faction within the Sunshine Army. Many peg her as
But NORAD didn’t quit the field entirely — in their
the next leader, though she has never mentioned
wake they recruited regional allies to continue to
such a desire. At the moment she's content to amass
pen the Sunshine Army in. It worked for a time, but
her wealth, power and prestige as a kingdom-within-
with word of their victory spreading, a steady stream
a-kingdom.
of opportunistic recruits headed south, looking for
wealth, glory and slaves, and now the Army is a
Rumours and Plot Hooks
real threat to everyone in the region. A number of
NORAD’s regional allies have recognised that NORAD “Chang’ll take that there gun right out of your cold
is too weak to properly contest this region anymore dead fingers... that’s right, the owner of the Gun
and have switched sides. The Army is claiming more Rack has an eye for specialised weaponry, and if you
and more territory, making more and more towns, aren’t keen to hand over your piece for whatever he’s
settlements and smaller forces into their vassals, and offering, he might just take matters into his (and his

171
hired thugs’) own hands. More’n one fool got lured nonsense and that she’s just ill, but I know a guy who
to a quiet death by Ol’ Steve offering them a Delving told me the Cortadores are also sending men after
contract on a “sure thing” out there... didn’t take long her. If she’s out there, there’s not going to be many
for their weaponry to appear on his shelf. I’d never places to hide... every bounty hunter in the city will be
forget the look o’ that pearl-handled Desert Eagle coming for her!”
young Finlay used to wear.”
“Jurg Steiner’s been kidnapped... he’s the head
“Jonathan Winter (proprietor of the Bang For Your of Branx’s bodyguards, and someone nabbed him
Buck in Branxton) upset the wrong people... turns last night. Knifed two of his pals and took him from
out Winter swindled a local gang called the Face- the High Town. Branx thinks it’s the Cortadores,
Takers out of a drug deal. Now that gang is looking and is ransacking the Low Town and the Cortadore
for payback. I hear they got their name by cutting strongholds looking for him, but I heard someone tell
the faces off their enemies and posting them on their me there’s a new player in town, who wanted to set
walls — and there’s more than thirty gang members. them against each other."
Good thing he’s hiring more muscle. Maybe he wants
“I’ve got a very wealthy friend who needs a job
to get to them first?”
done... discreetly... all you’ve got to do is take this big
“Teenstra is sitting on a gold mine... I heard he won package down to the villa on the hill. Deliver it to Miss
the deeds to it in a gambling match that ended with Rodrigues. They’ll know who you mean. And tell them
the three other men bleeding in the gutter. Problem Conrad sent you... they’ll give you your reward.”
is, I hear the guy he won it off has a partner, and I
A pretty girl is hard to refuse... someone has run
also hear he’s looking for Pollard to square accounts.
afoul of the Cortadores. One of their red-light ladies
Might be an enterprising fellow could make a killing
saw a killing she just wasn’t meant to see. If Branx
out of this opportunity... literally.”
finds out who they just cut up, he’ll tear the city apart
“Branx is looking for a man... someone who stole to get to them. And she stumbles into the PCs just as
something really, really important, and now all of her murderous “friends” arrive.
Branxton’s powerful are hunting him down. I heard
A big mouth deserves a big bullet... coming in from
it was the codes to a fully functioning nuclear silo in
out of town, you don’t always know the movers and
the region — and that he’s the engineer. Branx was
shakers. And when a loudmouth punk kid in Branxton
keeping him secure until he could control the facility
disses the players and goes for his piece... well, one of
— but now he’s out. Whoever gets to him and the
them is going to put him down. Problem is, this punk
codes first could wind up controlling all of California or
kid was somebody’s son. Somebody really important.
even the West Coast!”
And now the PCs are on the run from a gang of some
“The Den is really a secret lab... ever wonder why fifty or more members!
so many people disappear there? Hunch is a scientist
Sunshine’s coming... the army, that is. Rumour has it
working on a cure — but he needs regular, live
their spies are in every marketplace and are behind
Infected specimens, and is willing to pay a premium
every bad turn in Branxton. Recently, artillery has
for them. Not sure what happened to his last group of
been occasionally heard in the distance, like some
catchers — maybe there’s a job opening?”
terrible thunder, and refugees are streaming in
“Branx’s daughter has run away... she’s a pretty from distant towns. Could a full-scale invasion be
young thing, and she fell in love with one of his underway?
bodyguards. Now they’ve run off into the city, and
NORAD is tired of playing games... they need
he’s sent men after her. Of course he’s saying that’s all
Branxton to come to heel, so it can be a lynchpin base
172
against the spreading Sunshine Army. An invasion hundred people, while the Sunshine Army slowly
fleet of a dozen ships are currently steaming towards closes in with dozens, maybe hundreds, of troops.
the city, and everyone’s in a panic. This could spell The PCs might be part of NORAD and working to get
opportunity or disaster, depending on your point of much-needed supplies through the net, or scouts
view. infiltrating the Sunshine Army’s positions to call
in airstrikes. Whatever their role, they mean the
A small NORAD base is under assault... less than
difference between life and death for these people.
thirty soldiers are defending a town of some five

San Francisco
Some five hundred kilometres to the north of A gentle mother in her forties, Cully brought a soft
Branxton and Los Angeles lie the ruins of San touch to the settlement — helping to organise things
Francisco. It is a far cry from the bright metropolis slowly, trying her best to understand others’ grief and
that stood here just a few years ago. Now the streets also to bury her own. She never intended to become
are filled with rubble, the buildings destroyed from a leader, but people listened to her. Before she knew
months of fierce shelling and street-to-street fighting it, a fresh sense of vigour and hope was in the air,
between the forces of NORAD, NORTHCOM and a and they began by laying out the plans for their new
brutal paramilitary group called the One Eye Gang. home. It would be walled and self-sufficient, a forest
home like something out of Robin Hood — high up in
Most people fled the city when they could. Those
the hills so that strangers wouldn’t find them.
who are left live in militant, squalid conditions.
But strangers did find them. Other survivors. In small
Of those who fled, many found their way to the thick
groups, in ones and twos, they heard about this
mountain woods to the north of the city. There, the
hilltop city in the redwoods, and they went to find it
forest helped to shelter thousands of survivors, who
for themselves.
banded together to make shabby tent cities and try to
eke some sort of life out of what they had. Some people felt they should turn the strangers away
— and if they wouldn’t leave, to use deadly force if
That first attempt was a disaster. The virus spread like
necessary. But Cully didn’t handle things that way.
wildfire through the cramped confines, killing with
She welcomed them and made them a part of the
impunity. Fear, hate and violence soon followed, and
community. Soft spoken and caring, she seemed to
the tent cities vanished, leaving behind countless
bring the very best out of people — and she had a
corpses to be slowly covered by leaves and dirt.
good head for planning.
But there were those who stayed in the woods, and a
Years on, Hilltop has expanded far beyond its original,
few dozen of these eventually straggled together into
tiny borders. It is now a miniscule town, all of it
a tiny settlement on the top of a hill, overlooking a
fenced in with high palisades of sharpened stakes,
wide vista. They called it Hilltop.
further protected by a ditch and a defensive mound
of earth. The wooden settlement is cramped but
Hilltop
well-organised, with well protected gates, and a
These, too, might have lost all hope, but for one very careful quarantine program that isolates any
Catherine “Cully” Parham. individuals arriving from outside the city for a whole
24 hours to observe possible symptoms.

173
There are farms, livestock, and hundreds of children. criminal kingpins in the region, leading to some tricky
Unlike most settlements, these children are usually situations.
laughing and playing. In fact, while life is tough, there
NORAD recently offered its assistance to Hilltop to
is a palpable sense of community for the whole place.
help defend it from aggression by a bandit group
People often just do things for each other, not for
called the Mongrels. They have attacked several
financial gain but just because they want people to
groups of people coming to Hilltop, and had even
do well. Fortunately, there are plentiful reserves of
ambushed a salvage crew just a few kilometres from
fresh water, for the Mt Tamalpais watershed is nearby.
the town.
Still, it's an endless chore to traipse down there with
empty buckets for filling, and clothing for washing. NORAD brought in several platoons of soldiers — over
ninety of them, in humvees and armed to the teeth.
Trade and salvage is what Hilltop needs above all
They tracked the bandits down and all-but annihilated
else. Their lack of infrastructure is causing no end
them.
of troubles, and they need medicine, seed stock,
weapons, clothing, bedding, oil, generators, vehicles Then they wanted to stay, and “ensure” that Hilltop
and really all the countless items that a community remained safe. It was a shock. Cully and the others
needs. They are careful to only send a few salvaging hadn’t realised that they were giving up their freedom
teams at a time into the nearby cities, for they suffer to these soldiers who only a year or so ago had been
high casualty rates, and the risk of infection with bombing San Francisco and killing anything that
Calera is immense. moved. No thank you!

Now that their numbers have grown so large (at There was a long standoff, and it looked as though a
least a thousand people), Hilltop is also coming to battle was inevitable, when Cully again stepped in.
the attention of bandits, military commanders and She persuaded the leader of the NORAD taskforce
that Hilltop would accept their control only so long
174
as the troops left, and Hilltop was allowed to govern Catherine “Cully” Parham
itself under NORAD’s authority. NORAD could keep an
emissary there — and that was it. Brn 3 Athletics 4 Medical 5 Health
Dex 4 Command 5 Melee 3
NORAD agreed, and now their emissary watches over Pres 7 Deception 6 Military 3 2 3 3
them, hated by all, bringing down edicts from his Tact 6 Deduction 6 Observation6
Base Init
commanding officers, which are mostly ignored, or Awa 5 Diplomacy 7 Ranged 4
carefully sidestepped by Cully. It’s a dangerous game, Int 6 Dodge 5 Stealth 5 9
but she’s playing for time, giving away as little control
Res 6 HtH 3 Wilderness 4 Morality
Luck 5 Intimidation 4
7
as she can, as NORAD steadily increases the pressure,
wanting to bring in more soldiers, checkpoints and Circumstances Allies 9 Reputation 6 Wealth 5
Advantages Born Leader Patient
“advisors” to oversee the settlement. They are keen
to increase the amount of food being sent to the Disadvantages Soft Hearted
NORAD base in San Fran, as it is facing starvation Equipment
On the rare occasion she needs it, Cully wears a bulletproof
— while most of those in Hilltop think they deserve vest and helmet (Absorb +5/+5, HR 2) and carries a light
nothing but contempt. pistol (+2 Dmg, HR 2).

Right now Cully is also courting another key member


The unelected head of Hilltop, Cully is a soft spoken
in local politics — a NORTHCOM remnant in the
woman in her forties, who somehow keeps everything
region calling itself the Ivy Pact.
going smoothly. She doesn’t believe in using violence
Made up primarily of remnants of the 4th “Ivy” to solve problems — and often tells people that with
Infantry Division, they were responsible for terrible great patience, as though there were disobedient
massacres in San Francisco, and the people of Hilltop children.
are violently opposed to them — perhaps even
Cully has a daughter, Isobel, but some say she also
more than NORAD. But if NORAD really escalates the
had a son and a husband before the outbreak. No one
situation, Cully might have to make a deal with the
knows what happened to them, and no one wants to
devil in an attempt to set them against each other...
ask, but many people think they were lost during the
the only problem is, one of them will eventually win.
war in San Fran. She often stares out of the forest, as
though waiting for someone.

Though Cully doesn’t believe in violence, she's no


pushover, and will resort to it if absolutely necessary.
And it is often absolutely necessary in this day and
age. Furthermore, she is rarely without an escort for
her own protection — no one trusts NORAD.

175
Timothy Klott borders. There are already a couple of hundred
militia in the town, but they are largely untrained
Brn 5 Athletics 6 Medical 3 and terrified of going on the offensive. Klott’s troops
Dex 6 Command 5 Melee 4 Health
3 3 4 have been out in the field for months, they know the
Pres 6 Deception 6 Military 4
Tact 5 Deduction 5 Observation6 terrain and they aren’t afraid to fight for their rights.
Base Init
Awa 6 Diplomacy 6 Ranged 5 They remember what it means to fight for a true
Int 5 Dodge 5 Stealth 5 12 cause.
Res 5 HtH 4 Wilderness 5 Morality
Luck 4 Intimidation 5
6
So far there have been a number of skirmishes with
Circumstances Allies 5 Reputation 4 Wealth 3 NORAD troops and bandits (in particular the One
Advantages Analytical Disadvantages Angry Eye Gang), and the Patriots have come off fairly well
Equipment in this exchange — but mostly because they are the
On patrol Klott is armed with a bolt action hunting rifle ones doing the ambushing. NORAD has pointed the
(+4 Dmg, HR 3), a bulletproof vest (+5/+5 HR 2) and a light
pistol (+2 Dmg, HR 2). finger at Hilltop but can’t quite prove it was them —
however it seems only a matter of time before things
A man well prepared for the end of the world, Klott start getting out of hand.
was a family man before the outbreak. It was a
Jeb
miracle he survived, though for him he considers it a
bit more like a curse — because he was the only one A quiet man, Jeb is Hilltop’s greatest delver, and also
of his entire family to do so. one of its most controversial figures. When the town
needs something, Jeb and a crew of delvers will head
Haunted by the tragedies he has been forced to
off to fetch it, venturing into the war-torn hell of San
endure, he particularly hates NORAD and the Ivy Pact.
Fran and its surrounds. The casualty rate is very, very
It was a stray shell from their battle that landed in
high. Even more so because Jeb consistently goes
the midst of a refugee camp and blew Klott’s world
into extreme danger to find what they need — and
apart. However, unlike many others, Klott is not
to look for something else. Something that he won’t
consumed with hatred — he’s just determined to see
tell anyone. Some say it’s a clue to his missing wife
that something good is salvaged from all this horror.
or child, while others say that he’s really a NORAD
Hilltop is that piece of goodness, and he's willing to
spy, or part of some other shady group. Certainly,
fight to his last gasp to protect it.
Jeb’s maverick behaviour has gotten a number of his
Not professionally trained, but very passionate and companions killed, and given him a black reputation.
persuasive in a way reminiscent of the American The problem is, he'll bring back what they need when
Revolution, Klott is a vocal opponent of Cully’s no one else will, and he's saved more lives out in the
pacifism, and a magnet for those with a mind to resist field than anyone else. They need him, no matter
NORAD’s intentions with the might of their arms. In what.
fact, he has a group of nearly twenty men and women
who are not only highly skilled at forestcraft, but also NORAD
well-armed. Their primary task is to patrol the forest,
NORAD’s presence in San Francisco was hotly
looking for Infected or people. Infected they shoot,
contested by the 4th “Ivy” Division, as part of
people they interrogate and escort back to the town,
NORTHCOM over two years ago. NORAD claimed
or send on their way.
control of several military units in the area, but the
But that’s not all they’re doing. Dubbing themselves 4th Division, whose motto was Steadfast and Loyal,
“the Patriots”, they've started conducting their own directly refused to shift allegiance. It was what
independent military operations to defend Hilltop’s
176
sparked off a fierce war between the two powers, the District. Several thousand people live here in
which continues to smoulder to this day. squalid conditions, hiding behind the battered walls of
what was once a Green Zone.
The battle swung back and forth. Both sides
committed terrible crimes on the human populace, The military presence here is strong, with several
executing thousands and just gunning down, bombing hundred troops, and a couple of dozen armoured
or gassing tens of thousands more. The city was vehicles. But supplies are running low. Exhausted
utterly ruined. Even its greatest monument, the from their war with NORTHCOM, and with no
Golden Gate Bridge, was demolished — as were all of resupply possible from their home base, the District is
the bridges in the region. withering.

Ultimately, NORAD won a pyrrhic victory thanks It’s also facing starvation, which is why troops have
to their superior air assets, but even with the 4th been sent out to force obedience from all the local
Division pushed out, it remains to be seen if NORAD communities, and to extract food and water from
can maintain its power. them. Many communities have learnt to fish on the
harbour, but the soldiers have no such intentions and
The District demand more and more from them, so they have to
work hard just to keep themselves fed.
The heart and soul of NORAD’s remaining forces in
San Fran is in the Financial District — now just called
177
There are still many small communities huddled in the out on patrol or in a dark alley, leading most of the
ruins of San Fran, but few of them are doing very well, troops to steer well out of his way.
and many of them are resistive to NORAD’s presence.
Even worse, corruption is so bad that many of the Dave “Scruffy” Giles
troops securing these supplies are bribed, or take the
tribute for themselves — and the rot rises straight to Physical 5 Physical 5 Health
the top. Social 6 Martial 5
3 3 4
Mental 6 Knowledge 6
There are also more and more desertions. Most
Spiritual 5 Perception 6 Base Init 11
of those who leave go on to become bandits and
reavers, and the word is that they are living like kings
Social 7
Morality 4
— attracting even more troops to them. A&D Circumstances Equipment
Heavy pistol (+3 Dmg, HR 2)
Angry 5
Reputation
Sub-machinegun (+2 Dmg,
The clashes are between the two groups are fierce, Minions 5
Paranoid HR 2).
and while NORAD has the upper hand right now, the
Nine Lives Allies 7 Excellent armour (+8/+8, HR 3)
deserters are gaining momentum and their morale is Born Liar Wealth 8
high, while the loyalists’ morale is at rock bottom. Equipment 9
Colonel Esanda is the ranking officer of the District,
and he lives in relative luxury at the top floor of one
Scruffy is one of many people to excel in this time
of the buildings. He is in constant anxiety, knowing
because he deals in the commodity everyone wants:
that his position is tenuous at best. He orchestrated
weaponry. Scruffy is an itinerant merchant who has
the “accident” that led to his predecessor’s demise,
informants and intermediaries in most of the major
and now he's sure the same will happen to him.
towns up and down the coast — and evidently he
He keeps control with a brute squad of what he calls somehow has access to plenty of hardware.
MPs, as well as through bribery and extortion — but
Cautious to a fault (some would say paranoid), Scruffy
despite that, he knows that many of the soldiers
is highly meticulous about every meeting — often
behave as they please. The worst of them are outright
going so far as to rig an area with explosives, booby
monsters, almost impossible to control. However,
traps or put in snipers just in case things go south.
Esanda won his position by a popularity contest, and
He’s also fond of using drones to make negotiations —
part of the deal was the tacit agreement that the
no need to stick his neck out! Scruffy also only accepts
civilians had no rights. He isn’t about to risk losing it
gold or silver payments. Anything else is a waste of his
all over a few “excesses” committed on the populace.
time.
After all, soldiers need to “let off steam” every once in
a while, right?
The Ivy Pact
Sergeant Stevens is probably the worst of the lot. A
The 4th OIvy" Division, already under tremendous
criminal kingpin, he has riddled the District with his
strain before the battle of San Francisco, collapsed
cronies, henchmen, paid men and various operations.
altogether in its wake. However, its remnants
Dealing in everything from prostitution to extortion
reformed as an independent force, tying together
and drugs, Stevens is thoroughly enjoying his position,
a string of towns, settlements and forces, calling
and doesn’t care who he steps on to keep things
themselves the Ivy Pact in tribute to their old division.
moving the way he likes. More than a couple of his
Pushed out of San Francisco, they still claim the city of
fellow soldiers who crossed him have had “accidents”
Sacramento, with an ivy leaf as their symbol.

178
The Ivy Pact are determined to uphold the honour of One Eye
their old division, choosing to believe that the mass
murders committed by them during the outbreak Physical 7 Physical 7 Health
Social 5 Martial 7
were not their fault, but rather were mostly ordered 5 5 5
by NORAD — they say that’s why they ended up Mental 6 Knowledge 5
Spiritual 5 Perception 6 Base Init 13
rebelling against them.
Social 6
Morality 3
Whether that’s true or not, the Ivy Pact still has a
A&D Circumstances Equipment
reputation for savagery, particularly against NORAD Heavy assault rifle (+6 Dmg,
troops and towns, and their influence is growing once
One Eye Reputation 6 HR 3).
Rager Minions 9 Ballistic armour (+6/+6 HR 3)
more. They pressure more and more towns to accept
Allies 8
their leadership, then extract tribute from them, and
soldiers when needed, just like a feudal lord.
The head of the One Eye gang, he is in many ways
Hilltop is one of the towns on the fringes of their
a brutal gang leader, willing to perform incredible
control and is in a key strategic position, commanding
atrocities against his foes, and exploiting people
the heights to the north of the city — conflict over
around him without any second thoughts.
this might just be the spark that ignites a second
all-out war against NORAD in the region. Only this On the other hand, One Eye looks after his friends and
time, the government forces are demoralised, lacking family to a fault. He knows that they are everything,
supplies and discipline. NORAD are still much more and is fiercely loyal — he is more than willing to lay
numerous in the region, with multiple bases and down his own life to protect them.
thousands of troops, but the Pact feels confident that
One Eye also has quite a presence, and can be a
if hostilities break out they could strike hard and fast
mesmerising speaker, stringing together passionate
and retake much of the city before NORAD forces
phrases that make him sound like a king of old. He
could gather for a retaliation. At least, that’s the idea.
hates what he sees as the total oppression of NORAD
and the Ivy Pact, and is willing to do anything to throw
The One Eye Gang
off their yokes. Secretly, he is planning to become
In recent months, a new gang has emerged, to prey King of the Bay, and while it seems totally beyond his
on the town and the soldiers. They are a hangover reach, he plots and schemes and talks confidently of
from the Red Hand, whose leader escaped the bullet- his future domination of the region.
chewed hell that was the fate of most of his men —
but minus his eye. It has taken him a while to rebuild, Blind
and he might never have done so if he hadn’t gotten
Blind is situated in a bunch of fairly large apartment
so many recruits from NORAD’s many deserters. For
blocks by the city’s old marina district, between the
him it is the ultimate irony, and he often laughs at
ruins of the Golden Gate and Oakland bridges and
how he is destroying NORAD with NORAD.
serves as an important hub of trade from vessels
The gang is based primarily in a settlement just down coming into San Francisco’s marina area. Traders
the road from the District, called Blind, though the travel from all up and down the coast, because they
gang has members in communities all across the city. know that most of the city is slowly starving. Much
They also have spies, toadies and paid men riddled of that trade is siphoned away into various pockets,
throughout virtually every community in the region — but enough makes it back to the District that their
even Hilltop. suspicions aren’t aroused, and they’re kept just above
starvation.
179
Filthy, lawless, ruled by gangs and plagued by Infected There are dozens of people chained up in massive
raids, the powerful here live at the top in fortified cages in the basement of his building. Men in one
luxury and protection, whilst the destitute survive cage, women in another, and children in yet another.
where they can. It’s not for their own welfare, but for his profit. It
stinks and it’s so cramped that there’s rarely space
The reason for its name isn’t sure — some say it’s
enough to lie down. Angus is always trying to acquire
because the blind lead the blind here, or because
more slaves than his cages can comfortably handle.
you’ve got to be blind to come here. Who knows?
Some of them die from the terrible conditions, others
Who cares? In Blind, you can buy almost anything,
contract terrible diseases, but Angus doesn’t care.
or anyone. It can also lead to opportunities that can
There are more slave dealers around here than he
exalt you to the high apartments, secure, waited on
can poke a stick at, and more people who want slaves
by beautiful girls or boys and well-armed soldiers. But
than ever before. He buys in bulk and knows there
more commonly it leads to a pale corpse in the gutter,
will be some losses on the way.
and yet another happy Infected.
Angus sometimes notices a person with particularly
Blind is claimed by NORAD, and is incredibly close to
striking looks or unique talents who could fetch a
the District, though it pays no direct tribute (there
high price, and takes matters into his own hands to
are, however, a lot of bribes).
"acquire" them. It's amazing how rapidly a club to the
Captain Jamieson is the nominal governor of head can change a person's fate.
Blind, sent in by NORAD to maintain control of the
Caine and Sons: A mercenery outfit with a difference,
settlement, along with fifty troops. Forty of those
Caine and Sons are a small group of killers. They won’t
troops have now either joined the One Eye Gang or
fight for you, but if you want someone removed, pay
deserted, and the remaining ten are nothing more
them a visit — via an intermediary, that is! Caine and
than armed stooges for Jamieson.
Sons are very discreet about their operations, and
Jamieson accepts bribes from everyone. In fact, he is few people are quite sure who is actually involved in
incensed if anything other than a bribe is offered. A the organisation — and that’s yet another reason that
petty man, easily angered though a coward at heart, they are terribly effective.
Jamieson melts before real strength, and reverts to a
Maximillian Hendrik: A burly tank of a man,
fawning sycophant.
Maximillian is Austrian by descent, and still has a
One Eye is truly Jamieson’s boss, though he still thick accent. He also sports an immense handlebar
reports to Colonel Esanda, saying all is well, but giving moustache which he is fond of twining around his
constant excuses as to why they can give no tribute. meaty fingers.
If Esanda really gets irate, then Jamieson sends him a
Maximillian is someone who knows where to
good bribe and things quiet down again.
find things. A scrounger, supplier and informant
The Flesh Dealer: Slaves gotta go somewhere, and the extraordinaire, he is useful because his information
Flesh Dealer is a place that has constant auctions, for is good and he sells it to everyone equally. He is,
any tastes or prices. in some way, an extremely popular double agent,
feeding secrets to everyone who comes knocking.
Angus is a bear of a man with a ravaged face. He and
his guards are well-armed, and have many friends in He also has extensive knowledge of the ruins of the
Blind. Buying from every bandit dealer around, Angus city, where every possible cache is known to lie and
knows a good deal when he sees one, and drives a the locations of most Infected packs. His secret? Kids.
hard bargain. He sends dozens of the little rogues out scouting,

180
salvaging, listening and watching. Few people suspect Still, there’s not much they can do about it... though
kids, and they are small and fast enough that they can Colonel Esanda has threatened them that if they do
get into many places undetected. not accept NORAD’s rule, then he will bombard them
with his artillery. It’s not entirely an empty threat,
Many of them suffer grim fates out there, but he still
though Esanda has precious few artillery rounds
has plenty of volunteers because the pay is good and
left and he doesn’t want to use them to destroy a
he looks out for them (most of the time, anyway).
community that he desperately needs intact.
Kristina Marie Butler: Not everyone in Blind is harsh
The Rock remains for the moment thoroughly
and uncaring. Butler has an orphanage in its grubby
independent. In fact, it is so independent that it
lower levels, where she cares for dozens of children.
doesn’t even have a governing body... or any real
She is well-known and respected for her selflessness,
rules. Most people are decent and fair to each other,
and has become something of an icon of invincibility
but it’s still a bit like the wild west — and serious
— she has been known to walk straight through a
disputes are often ended with one person lying in a
gang battle, with both sides parting to let her and her
pool of red in the Rock’s duelling pit.
gaggle of children through. By unspoken rule, no one
picks on Butler or her children, and everyone chips in The rule is simple — don’t kill people outside of the
to help them out. duelling pit. If you want someone dead, then either
prove that they committed some crime, or settle it
In fact, even One Eye owes Butler a debt he will never
in the circle. In there, combatants are each allowed a
forget, because she picked up his daughter after the
single knife — and there are no other rules.
brutal firefight that cost him his eye.
Sean Esterline is one of the most popular individuals
Ironically, many of the supplies that the people give
in the Rock, and in many ways is the glue that holds
Butler are stolen from other communities.
all the disparite people there together. A big man
in his early fifties, Esterline is also a pastor — and
The Rock
a crack shot with his double-barrelled shotgun. He
Out in the middle of San Fran Bay lies the old prison likes a joke, loves a beer and is no-nonsense about
of Alcatraz — also known as the Rock. For a long pretty much everything. If people come into the Rock
time it was nothing more than a museum, but since and start to cause trouble, it is usually Esterline who
the outbreak it has become the perfect place for a makes the call that sees them get chucked out or
community. given to the fishes. He’s not careless with lives, and
cares deeply for everyone who lives on the island —
The place has a number of solid structures —
which may be why he is so universally trusted. Not
in particular a prison that has now become
everyone agrees with him, of course, but they trust
accommodation, as have most of the other areas.
his word nevertheless.
Crops are grown on the roofs of buildings and here
and there where the rocky soil permits it, but trade Ty Wallis is another of the Rock’s polyglot of leaders.
is the island’s greatest lifeline. The Rock is one of the A practical man, Ty was a builder before the outbreak
most popular market centres for seaborne traffic and has proven himself invaluable in converting the
coming into the Bay. In fact, NORAD is particularly island for proper habitation. Friendly, cooperative and
irritated because the Rock is taking a lot of commerce truly enjoying the prospect of building up the Rock
that would otherwise have ended up at Blind, and into a stable, independent community, Ty can also be
then gone on to the District. Instead they have to deal ice cold to those who don’t pull their own weight, or
with the dregs, which tends to push prices higher. who are harming this community.

181
It was Ty who decided to institute the duelling pit, but he’s looking for tough guys who want to earn top
where life and death disputes could be settled once dollar. Hey you look pretty tough you know... ”
and for all.
One of the Patriots from Hilltop just got caught...
Ironically, the pit has become an attraction of sorts, they’re going to string her up tomorrow, but not
with famous disputes attracting large crowds to the before they torture out of her all the information they
island. Ty’s not sure what to make of that, and it has need on the group. They’re holding her in a small cell
sometimes been a security worry, but turning people nearby — heck, there aren’t all that many guards
away just results in people trying to sneak in by night, either! It probably wouldn’t be that hard to break her
and Ty hasn’t got the manpower to resist a veritable out. Only problem is the One Eye Gang have had the
siege — and besides, it's good for business. same thought...

The players just met one of their old adversaries


Rumours and Plot Hooks
on the Rock... and they’ve been challenged to the
An informant gives the players a package, then is duelling circle. Only way to back out is to escape the
gunned down just moments later by NORAD troops... island and never come back — or settle this dispute
they’re looking for something on his body, but can’t once and for all!
find it. Turns out the informant was a spy for Cully
A guy called Angus has hired the players to recover
on Hilltop, who had the terms of an agreement with
a “shipment” from some thieves... but when they do
the Ivy Pact just worked out. Problem is, Cully doesn’t
so, they realise that it’s a very human cargo. Do they
know it’s been worked out because NORAD just
let them go and make a powerful enemy (as well as
nabbed her messenger. This could be just the excuse
no profit) or keep them in chains?
NORAD needs to attack Hilltop — or the miracle Cully
has been waiting for. Either way, it’s worth a lot in the Maximillian Hendrik has a job for you... he’s found
right hands — but whose hands should that be? a map leading to an incredible stash of weapons.
It’s the motherlode. Only problem is it’s high in the
“Someone just shot up Scruffy... now the gun
mountains, in an old base near a lawless community
merchant is out for blood. Apparently they also stole
— and the base is swarming with Infected. Oh, and
a really, really important shipment. Don’t know who
the One Eyes have also heard about the same stash,
would have that sort of information and firepower,
and are following you there... just saying!

Las Vegas
Far away from San Francisco, several hundred its worst. Then it became an entirely different sort of
kilometres inland, lies what was once one of the ghost town.
greatest symbols of human vice and flamboyance on
The place is, however, a vital waypoint for people
the planet.
seeking to cross the desert — which has now become
Now, the City of Sin’s famous neon lights are mostly a very dangerous obstacle indeed. Fuel, supplies and
dead, and dust is steadily coating its buildings. But fresh water can be obtained in Vegas. For this reason
somehow, life carries on here. NORAD wants it desperately, to serve as a staging
point halfway between Cheyenne Mountain and
Vegas was hit hard by the outbreak. Its economy
the West Coast. So far, they've avoided a full-scale
disappeared in an instant, and the place became a
war with the Skulls, fearing it could drain too many
ghost town months before the virus ended up doing
182
resources and drag on. The Skulls aren’t likely to overlord of Vegas, Piotr Vasy, and taken a knife wound
surrender quickly, and there are thousands of them. straight to the heart before cutting Piotr’s head right
They don’t want to be combatting a determined off. The newcomer then collapsed, quite dead. They
insurgency. Instead, their plan is to make the Skulls were just dragging him out the front door when he
more amenable to NORAD’s wishes — and if that woke up again and started laughing.
takes a change of leadership, then so be it.
The stories didn’t end there. This man had also been
One of the things that has truly given NORAD pause, shot in the head, infected by Calera, drowned, thrown
however, is the popular new cult that has emerged off a building and run over by a truck. People had
from Vegas. Of all things, people are saying that an seen the scars. They believed.
immortal lives here, and that others can attain that
He simply couldn’t die.
same immortality. True or not, it's bringing thousands
of pilgrims to Vegas from all across America, and has This man told them a simple thing — death is a test.
inspired a fanatical devotion that would make any Defying death is possible. Spit in its eye. Claw your
invader think twice. way back to life, and you will grow stronger, until after
seven deaths and rebirths, you will be enlightened —
The Skulls and, so they say, immortal. This is what they call the
Seven-Fold Death.
No one really knows where he came from, but one
day he wandered in from the desert. On foot. With His name is Malisius, though most just call him the
a bullet scar right through his forehead. There were Immortal.
other marks too — the telltale pox of the infection,
His followers are known as the Skulls, because they
old boils that had burst and left him with their mark.
paint themselves with skull-faces and skeleton motifs,
And word soon came that this man had met the then-

183
showing death that they aren’t afraid to meet their 4. If there is a disagreement, it can ultimately be
fates. settled by a duel. Choose a pistol or a melee weapon.
No armour permitted.
The truly extraordinary thing is that the Skulls truly
do seem to be able to defy death. Nothing else can 5. Those who live through a Defiance are shorn of any
explain it — because the Immortal is not the only former crimes.
person to have come back from a certain end.
6. Those who fail a Defiance are not worthy of pity.
As a public display of how often they have defied Dig them no grave.
death (what they call “a Defiance”), the Skulls carve
Of course, the Skulls may seem suicidal, but they
an X into their forehead every time they see the other
generally aren’t. All are living people who wish to
side and come back to tell the tale.
survive, and murdering one of them then saying,
There is, in fact, a ranking system based on this — and “Well, he should have just defied death!” is a sure-fire
even rules. Skulls must witness a Defiance for it to way of getting yourself put in a shallow grave.
be “official”. For this reason, many Skulls will scream
In fact, the Skulls run across the full spectrum of
“Defiance!” to gain the attention of their fellows —
sanity, bravery and faith in the cause — though most
right before performing something that could almost
share one common denominator: faith. They believe,
be considered suicide.
because they've seen the incredible before their very
Ranks: eyes.

X — Skull Some of the Skulls are bullies and tyrants, using their
power in the worst ways. But many don’t stand for
XX — Defier
such behaviour, so the bullies had better be sure of
XXX — Bullet Eater themselves lest another Skull challenge them to a
duel.
XXXX — Risen

XXXXX — Awakened Skulltown


XXXXXX — Enlightened The Skulls have a “city” within Las Vegas, dubbed
Skulltown. Sitting smack-bang in the middle of town,
XXXXXXX — Immortal
it is a grim parody of the glitz and glamour that was
There are, of course, drastically fewer people at the once a part of this city. This was once a Green Zone,
higher levels than there are at the lower ones — and the town still makes use of its extensive walls,
though there are two individuals who have reached but though Skulls guard the tollgates, the walls
the status of Enlightened, and these are the most themselves aren’t defended with any sort of unified
powerful people in the city, except for Malisius presence. There are places where tunnels have been
himself. dug underneath, or where broken sections have
been poorly repaired — and these places tend to be
There are few rules for the Skulls, but they generally
subject to bandit raids and attacks from the Infected
go this way:
more than areas that are closer to the centre. Real
1. A Skull is above all others, and may not be punished estate is at a premium, even in the post-apocalypse.
except by another Skull. The streets are crowded with booths, shanties and a
thriving marketplace. Here there are virtually no rules,
2. Obey the Skulls of senior rank to you.
and there is access to almost any vice imaginable.
3. Do not harm another Skull. Vegas is upholding its reputation with a vengeance.
184
Most of the Skulls live in the remains of the massive array of personal weapons — from homemade rifles
MGM Grand hotel, a dark-blue building shaped like a and handguns to light rifles, assault rifles and even
gigantic cross, and quite capable of housing hundreds, a few machineguns (though ammunition for these is
if not thousands. Still with some working power from growing scarce). They also have dozens of personal
the mighty Hoover Dam to the north of the city, the vehicles, mostly cars that are somewhat armoured
MGM is a weird mix of gaudy lights and shattered — but there are also a few humvees, a couple of
grandeur, its grand foyers now filled with people, dirt armoured personnel carriers and even two hulking
and the mess of living. M1 Abrams main battle tanks. The tanks are rarely
used, because they burn through the fuel so fast, and
Despite plentiful fresh water available from Lake
also because no one has the training for them!
Mead, around forty kilometres away, the Skulls have
been having increasing problems with the amount The facts are though, the Skulls are a powerful force,
being pumped through. Some pipes are becoming and when they attack a foe, they do so with great
blocked, others are springing leaks, and there aren’t determination and fanatical courage.
nearly enough engineers to go around!
Their problem lies in their lack of organisation,
This is making it extremely difficult for the Skulls training and coordination. They fight like a mob.
to grow enough food to keep away starvation — While their spirits are high, they will be tenacious,
particularly with the brutally hot and dry conditions daring and take incredible risks. When their spirits are
of the Mojave Desert! They have converted a couple low, they suffer a heavy setback, are outflanked or
of large golf courses into farming fields, but few of the surprised, they are likely to panic and flee just like a
Skulls are inclined to do that sort of work, and fewer mob as well.
still even know how. Despite the nearby settlement
Malisius “the Immortal”
of Paradise having a thriving garden, the Skulls can’t
seem to make their farms produce enough to keep Brn 6 Athletics 6 Medical 5 Health
even a tenth of their population fed. Dex 6 Command 7 Melee 6
Pres 8 Deception 6 Military 6 5 5 5
The word has now gone out that the Immortal needs Tact 6 Deduction 6 Observation6
Base Init
the help of his faithful. Over the past year, dozens Awa 5 Diplomacy 7 Ranged 6
of teams of Skulls have headed out of Vegas in all Int 6 Dodge 5 Stealth 6 11
directions, in search of food, fuel, weapons and fresh
Res 8 HtH 6 Wilderness 7 Morality
Luck 5 Intimidation 8
4
converts — and thanks to these returning supply
convoys, Skulltown can continue to exist. Circumstances 10
Allies Reputation 10 Minions
10
Advantages Skull 10 Fearsome Nine Lives
There are others who have taken more forceful means Magnetic Immunity 10 Act of Will
to see that Skulltown gets the supplies it needs. While Disadvantages Chronic Pain Enemies (many)
Malisius sees no need to attack and subjugate those Body Scars Eerie Presence
around him, other Skulls have no such considerations, Equipment
and have begun a process of brutally conquering If armed he usually has body armour (Absorb +6/+6, HR 3)
and a light assault rifle (Dmg +4 HR 3), but he also uses blades.
and acquiring what goods they need from the towns
around.

The Skulls have a strong military force, with up to


Malisius is not a big man. Of average height and wiry
three thousand fighters able to be mustered, as well
build, he would not stand out from the crowd —
as at least a couple of thousand troops out on wide-
except for something truly magnetic about him.
ranging expeditions. Most are armed with a motley

185
When Malisius enters a room, all conversations cease Malisius’s followers are not all fanatically loyal. He
and all eyes turn to him. He isn’t prone to speaking has severe doubts about his two Enlightened, and is
beyond what is necessary, but with the flick of a hand watching them closely. Not only that, but there is a
or the nod of a head he can issue commands that will small but persistent faction known as Black Genesis.
be obeyed without question. He has done his best to eliminate these extremists,
who were founded by one of his first disciples and
Malisius has seven brutal Xs carved into his foreheads
someone he considered a very dear friend. The group
body has clearly suffered permanent damage from
has become an insurgency, and one that is very
the many injuries he has endured, though he shows
hard to stamp out (see page 193 for details on Black
little sign of it other than an occasional grimace.
Genesis).
In truth, Malisius is in constant pain. It is only his iron
Another complexity for Malisius is the presence of
will that sustains him. This is one of the reasons he
NORAD diplomat Elise Bradley. Malisius knows she
can fluctuate from friendly and warm one minute, to
is one part diplomat, one part spy and one part
short-tempered and cruel the next. Those who know
assassin. She wants Malisius to accept NORAD’s yoke
him well have learned to see when these moods strike
and to allow her to put a base there. He thinks that’s
him, and tread carefully.
a terrible idea, but is not so disconnected from reality
Malisius has a reputation of getting right to the heart that he doesn’t fear NORAD gunships or air strikes.
of matters. He will cut people off when they start to The government has grown weak, but compared to
ramble, and cares nothing for politeness or manners his rabble they are virtually invincible.
— what he cares about is honour, courage and
Another, unexpected, complication for Malisius are
conviction. He'll listen to someone who stares at him
the feelings he has for Bradley. She has done well
like an equal and says they are willing to fight Malisius
to get under his tough exterior and she has, in fact,
to the end. In fact, They are worthy of his respect.
become his friend. He figured she was attempting to
On the other hand, a supplicant who heaps praise on
manipulate him — but he never thought that it might
Malisius will find the Immortal’s scowl growing darker
actually work.
and darker. He has, on occasion, thrown people
from the windows of his audience hall, some twenty
storeys up. No one has yet managed to walk away
from that.

Ironically, Malisius never asked to be a cult leader.


People just seemed to gravitate towards him.
When Malisius tried to help them, he soon became
something to be worshipped. He has lived through
things that he knows no one else could, and is certain
that defying death is the only way to achieve such
feats. But at times he greatly despises the constraints
of this life. He was a wanderer before he came
here, and sometimes the urge to strike out into
the desert once more is nearly overwhelming. He
despises the constant chatter of people and the sheer
pointlessness of life in a city.

186
187
Elise Bradley “the Black Widow” death. It can be pretty hard to intimidate people who
seek out death rather than run away from it.
Brn 4 Athletics 4 Medical 4 Health
Dex 5 Command 5 Melee 5 So far she hopes to manipulate Malisius into agreeing
Pres 7 Deception 8 Military 5 3 3 4 to NORAD's wishes. They desperately need the
Tact 7 Deduction 6 Observation6
Base Init security of a Las Vegas base — the airfield is massive,
Awa 5 Diplomacy 6 Ranged 6 and the electricity and water supply from the Hoover
Int 6 Dodge 4 Stealth 5 10
Res 5 HtH 4 Wilderness 5 Morality Dam is simply priceless. If she can’t manipulate him,
Luck 5 Intimidation 7
3
she plans to remove him and replace him with one of
his Enlightened, who she believes will be much more
Circumstances 10
Allies 8Reputation Wealth 6
reasonable. Actually, she knows she should have done
Advantages Striking Looks Seductive Fearsome
it already, but something has held her back.
Disadvantages Headaches
Equipment
Heavy body armour (Absorb +6/+6 HR 3) Christie “the Battle Leader”
and a light assault rifle (Dmg +4 HR 3) — but she rarely
engages in combat (if so, it’s a last resort). Physical 6 Physical 6 Health
Social 6 Martial 7
Bradley is not who you would expect as NORAD’s 4 4 4
Mental 5 Knowledge 5
toughest enforcer. Young and personable, she can be
Spiritual 6 Perception 5 Base Init 11
extremely warm and friendly, laughing at jokes and
being the perfect hostess of a party — then giving the
Social 6 Morality 4
signal to a trooper to make sure one of the guests A&D Circumstances Equipment
Heavy pistol (+2 Dmg, HR 2)
never makes it back home. Skull 8 Status 8 Heavy assault rifle (+6 Dmg, HR 3)
Rager Minions 7 Grenade launcher (+10 Dmg, 10m
She has worked with NORAD for most of her adult Hideous Scars
area, HR 4)
Ballistic vest (+6/+6 Absorb, HR 3)
life, and believes that it is not only the true remaining
government of the United States, but also the only
An Enlightened One, just a rung below Malisius
hope that they have. She has always had an ability to
himself, Christie is tall, bald and fierce. She would be
see what needs to be done and then execute it.
beautiful without the six Xs cut into her forehead, and
When Bradley was sent out on her first diplomatic the skull paint — but shallow considerations of
assignment, she was tasked with bringing a rogue appearance are something she discarded long ago.
general to heel. Instead she appeared to go over to
A ferocious battle leader, Christie is very talented
his side, became his confidante — then cut his throat.
tactically, and has led a number of engagements
Mercy is for those who can afford it. Bradley finds against bandit groups, Infected packs and towns
she has a switch that she can turn off in her head, that were refusing to assist the Skulls and part with
allowing her to disconnect her actions with any their food crops. Christie brought them to heel,
emotions, while still allowing her to behave as and continues to do so. Most settlements within a
everyone expects. hundred kilometres now pay regular tribute to the
Skulls. Those who need a reminder of the Skulls’
When Bradley first heard about the Immortal
strength in the region need only look to the regular
at Vegas, she figured he would be another two-
bodies that have been nailed to telephone poles all up
bit bandit leader and nut job... but now she’s
and down the road. Those people thought they could
reappraising. She has seen these people push through
resist, and now they’re rotting in the sun.
pain and suffering as though it’s nothing — and even

188
Christie is utterly ruthless and seems to have a stone Christie has backed down. There's just something
for a heart. She will casually order the deaths of about Malisius that makes her feel... small.
people, sometimes in extraordinarily painful ways.
Still, she has been talking to Elise Bradley, who has
She is also not afraid to challenge the leader of a
insinuated that if Christie were to take the leadership
town or military force to a duel, to settle things. In
position of the Skulls, and accept NORAD control,
fact, once when walking out to such a duel, she was
then NORAD might even support her conquests. It is a
gunned down by a sniper. Her followers dragged her
tempting proposition...
away and the next day she came back again, limping,
bloody, but defiant.

Christie is extremely popular with the hard-line


element of the Skulls, who see her as the ultimate
military leader. She is critical of Malisius, and feels he
should unleash them all on a crusade of conquest.
Malisius has no interest in conquest and is angered
by her brutal raids and attacks on neighbouring
communities. This bone of contention has led to
massive rows between them, and more than once
they have nearly come to blows — in the end, though,

189
Jacques “the Eye” wooden sword, and with incredible focus shatters
both the bodies and the wills of his opponents.
Physical 6 Physical 5 Health
Jacques and Christie do not see eye to eye. She views
Social 7 Martial 6
3 4 4 him as yet another person too timid to do what
Mental 7 Knowledge 8
Base Init 12 must be done, while he views her as a hot-headed
Spiritual 5 Perception 6
madwoman, who should be reined in as soon as
Social 7 Morality 4
possible.
A&D Circumstances Equipment
Skull 8 Status 8 Bokken (+4 Dmg, HR 1) Jacques is quite aware of Elise Bradley’s motives for
Knives (+1 Dmg, HR 2)
Minions 7 Sniper rifle (+4 Dmg, HR 3)
being a diplomat to the Skulls, and knows that she's a
great threat. He is also aware that she has had secret
The only other Enlightened One, Jacques was a talks with Christie. Bradley has also spoken to Jacques
French Canadian in his previous life — a life that he and planted the seed of an idea in his mind that he
has almost forgotten. In it, he was a lieutenant in the could indeed become the next Immortal. And he is
National Guard, had a beautiful wife, several children intelligent enough to realise that with NORAD backing
and a glowing future. Then the outbreak happened, him, he could become very powerful indeed.
and he lost everything.
Paradise
Two years ago, during a battle with a rebel group,
Jacques took a bullet to the chest and was left To the south of Skulltown lies another community,
for dead in a shallow grave. He woke up in the known as Paradise. That was the name of the suburb
claustrophobic, suffocating darkness, and clawed it once was, when Las Vegas was still a city of lights.
his way out. In the middle of nowhere, barely aware Now Paradise is more like hell on Earth. Dusty,
of what exactly he was going through, Jacques crowded and brutal, it is ruled over by what are little
began walking. It seemed as if his life faded into a more than a bunch of gangs. These gangs are all fierce
dream state, and some interminable period later he rivals, who have been amalgamated by the presence
stumbled into a campsite. It was a group of Skulls of one man: Steven Godby.
— ironically, the very people he had been fighting
Cunning, quick-talking and merciless, Godby has
against — and they welcomed him as a brother. He
managed to bind together a community and make it
has never looked back.
into something. The main reason for their location
Jacques is a quiet man who is prone to deep thoughts is that is guards the southern approach to Vegas
and contemplation. Highly intelligent and with a and Skulltown, down the broad main highway.
deep network of spies, informants and assassins Their scouts can see approaching traffic long before
throughout Skulltown and beyond, he is a powerful it reaches them, and their barricades would stop
figure within the movement. anything but a tank getting through. They charge
tariffs on those coming through — or, if they see
Jacques is not afraid to get his own hands dirty, and
something (or someone) they like, they might be
is deeply interested in the ethos of the samurai. This
inclined to just take it.
may seem contradictory for someone who deals in
assassinations and intrigue, but on occasion Jacques It is possible, of course, to take different routes, but
will give someone the option to have an honourable many people don’t know about the tolls. Also, Godby
death — a melee duel with him. At these times, has organised to have many of the side roads leading
Jacques takes out his oaken bokken, a Japanese around their barricades filled with booby traps and

190
filled with destroyed vehicles, piles of burnt out tyres Slim, tidy, well-spoken and cold as ice, Godby was the
and broken glass. ideal man to weld together the different gangs that
had ruled in Paradise before he came. There were
The settlement itself has a little over a thousand
the Red Throats, the Perros Muertas (Dead Dogs —
residents, plus usually a couple of hundred people
they were a Dominican gang), the Inmates and the
passing through. There are some barricades to stop
Deadeyes. Now they all work for him.
the Infected and to hinder attacks from rivals in the
city, but by and large it's the fortifications of each Many of them are, in fact, Skulls. They seek the Seven-
building that keep attackers away. Fold Death — but it is their religion rather than their
political affiliation, and more than once they have
Situated in and around one of the grand hotels
come to blows with their brethren from Skulltown.
several blocks to the south of Skulltown, Paradise
itself is small and filthy. The place is awash with ripe Steven knows that the lifeblood of Skulltown comes
odours, furtive characters selling their wares and soul- from the waters of Lake Mead and the hydroelectric
weary prostitutes who have long since given up. The power of the Hoover Dam, and has begun diverting
Infected around here are a constant menace. They are it for his own needs. He is fortunate in that he has a
a regular threat to Skulltown as well, but somehow small crew of builders and engineers who worked on
the cunning ghouls seem to know that Paradise infrastructure in this region over the past couple of
is a far easier target. It is a regular occurrence for decades. The Skulls have no idea that they are tapping
someone to be taken in the night and dragged back into the precious water supply, and siphoning off their
to the pack’s lair. Of course, these are usually only the electricity as well.
destitute, or people who are new to the town, so no
He has managed the influx of water and power slowly,
one is very concerned.
so that it has appeared that he has wells, and has
Food would appear to be a problem for Paradise, but somehow got generators running. There are wind-
somehow they have managed to keep a large, thriving turbines in many places, which makes it appear that
garden going. There are also many merchants who sell those could be the reason.
meat — some of very dubious origins. Their gardens
Water is extremely valuable in the desert, so Godby
are set on an old golf course, with the sprinklers still
has also been keeping his own little reservoir, fenced
working and somehow still with enough water to
in and regularly patrolled. He sells it for a good
regularly soak the crops.
markup to people in his own community, travellers
and local, thirsty, communities — hiring well-
Steven Godby
armed truckers to ship the goods. The Skulls aren’t
Physical 5 Physical 5 Health particularly interested in sharing their own water
Social 7 Martial 5 supply, so Godby paints himself as a saint and makes
3 3 4
Mental 6 Knowledge 6 a killing at the same time.
Spiritual 5 Perception 6 Base Init 11
The Immortal has tasked Godby with guarding the
Social 7 Morality 4
southern approaches of the city and wiping out the
A&D Circumstances Equipment Infected here, but he couldn’t care less about such
Silver Tongue Status 7 Hunting rifle (+6 Dmg, HR 3). things. Instead, he's buying favours amongst the
Bulletproof vest (+5/+5
Born Liar Minions 6 Absorb, HR 2).
Skulls, acquiring needed items and building his power
base. He controls most of Paradise’s money-earning
already and runs his gangs and his businesses with
an iron fist, but now he’s also worming his way into

191
Skulltown. One day, soon, he’ll be the one pulling the there is a brisk trade, and Lobster is quite welcoming
strings — at least, that’s the plan. to all — just don’t try to cheat him.

Lobster keeps things secure at night, and is vigilant at


Thompson Enterprises
all times. He has a few armoured cars, jeeps and even
Directly to the east of Paradise is the McCarran an M2A2 Bradley infantry fighting vehicle (for our
International Airport, a massive complex of buildings, purposes a light tank — see page 116), which he uses
hangars and runways, now littered with planes in to bring supplies to the communities of Vegas.
various states of destruction and neglect — all are
As a small mercenary outfit, Thompson has over sixty
steadily being covered in a brown film of dust.
well-trained men and women under his command.
Though it looks desolate and abandoned — and in They are hired out to various communities in the
many places it is — this is also the home of Vegas’s region as protection, or to settle grievances, and their
most affluent “businessman”, Jacob Thompson. reputation is good — that’s why Lobster charges so
much for them.
Better known by his nickname “Lobster”, because
of how red he gets when he’s mad, Thompson has Of course, part of the deal is that the troops of
started up what he calls, “Thompson Enterprises”. Thompson Enterprises remain loyal to their employer,
It’s one part mercenary outfit, another part and they have a good reputation.
smuggling and racketeering, and a final part political
manipulation. An Ugly Truth...

Lobster controls the airfield, which NORAD The truth about Lobster’s “mercenaries” is that they
desperately wants, and he' the one who permits air are actually elite NORAD troops — and there are far
traffic in and out of the city — for a “nominal” fee. more than sixty of them. NORAD have been sending
Granted, there isn’t much of that traffic these days, him cargoes in small planes for the past few months,
but it can still bring in substantial profits. and each time they add a soldier or two. The troops
are well-disguised as hard-bitten mercenaries, with
The sheer size of the airfield means that Lobster’s
big tattoos and all second-hand hardware that looks
forces can’t possibly patrol it all, and a substantial
like it’s been through the mill.
Infected pack have established themselves in some
of buildings. While at first, Lobster spent months Lobster has agreed to work with them on the
repeatedly exterminating them, and slowly losing condition that they make him rich — but he didn’t
supplies and men, he's now taken a different view — really have much choice. While it appears that he
the Infected are the ideal deterrent to thieves, bandits gives the orders, the soldiers actually control him,
and spies. So now he constrains his extermination and are always “guarding” him to keep him under the
attempts to regions directly around his hangar. thumb.

From the airfield, the Infected strike out into the There are actually over two hundred NORAD troops
shattered Vegas streets, raiding Skulltown and in Vegas, both working with Lobster and scattered
Paradise, as well as the other little communities that throughout the various towns undercover. Lobster is
dot the city. It’s common for Lobster and his troops aware of this, because many of the troops who arrive
to hear faint screams in the night — sound travels far on the planes head off into town and never come
over the flatness of the airfield. Lobster’s hangar is a back out again.
popular place for merchants to come and purchase
They’re preparing themselves for the coup, and when
equipment, supplies, oil and ammunition — he has so
it comes it will be sudden and utterly brutal.
many of the things they desperately need. Every day
192
Black Genesis her carriages are battered, patched-together gaudily
painted with the goods and services she brings.
Malisius’ closest friend for over a year was a man he
met somewhere out in the desert — Charles Liddell. She runs along the many railways of the west, but also
No one really knows the story, but it is said that steadily expanding east as more tracks and struggling
Liddell guarded Malisius’ fallen body for over three communities open up. Vegas is her hub, her base of
days, stopping a pack of cannibals from feasting on operations, her safe-haven where her convoy stops
him. When Malisius somehow, impossibly, recovered over for several weeks at a time, picking up fresh
from his wounds, he thanked Liddell and made him recruits, making repairs to their engines, dropping off
his trusted deputy. Together, they spread the cult of supplies and making ready for their next expedition.
the Skulls, and were as close as brothers.
Rosie Price “the Merchant Queen of the Western
But then Liddell started to change. He started Rails”, “the Queen of Crazy Prices”
revelling in his cruelty, killing people slowly, with great
agony, and relishing the power he felt it gave him. He Brn 4 Athletics 5 Medical 3 Health
painted his face in black occultish symbols, and began Dex 6 Command 6 Melee 5
daubing them on his victims. He told his followers that Pres 7 Deception 6 Military 3 4 4 4
to do this was to gain strength, to gain a hold over
Tact 6 Deduction 6 Observation6
Base Init
Awa 5 Diplomacy 7 Ranged 6
death that was far greater than the Skulls’. He tried to Int 5 Dodge 5 Stealth 5 11
convince Malisius to join him, but the Immortal was Res 5 HtH 4 Wilderness 4 Morality
repulsed by his vicious ways. Luck 4 Intimidation 6
3
Incensed, Liddell attempted a coup. In one brutal Circumstances 9
Allies 8 Minions9 Wealth

night, he and his followers assaulted the Immortal’s Advantages Silver Tongue Born Liar Seductive
building, killing over a hundred and twenty people Disadvantages Callous Paranoid Hideous Scarring
before they were finally overcome. Liddell was never Vengeful Equipment
found, though some said that he was shot and fell out If armed she usually has excellent body armour (Absorb
of a window some twenty storeys up. +8/+8 HR 3) and a light assault rifle (Dmg +4 HR 3) or
whatever else she wants (she sometimes favours heavy
Whether Liddell survived or not, his cult did not machineguns and grenade launchers).
vanish, instead becoming more secretive. They are an
insurgency within the ranks of the Skulls — a hardline Tall, lithe and dark haired, with large, soulful eyes,
element that is responsible for unbelievably brutal, Rosie is magnetically attractive — but the brutal scars
ritualistic murders, bombings and other appalling down the side of her face show the costs of her rise to
crimes. Here and there, graffiti from their followers the top.
can be found — particularly in the poorer areas.
Rosie is a wheeler and dealer, always elegantly
Whenever they're located, they are destroyed with dressed, always smiling and charming as she hosts
the utmost force — but still, somehow, the cult guests aboard her mobile mansion of commerce and
remains, festering like some sort of cancer. vice. But behind that smiling face lies a roiling mind
that can also be a sadistic, unrestrained nightmare.
The Merchant Queen Well-spoken, imaginative and extremely intelligent,
Rosie is also a gifted actress; she's very talented at
Blowing in under a cloud of steam and a squeal of
masking what emotions she still possesses and at
brakes comes the train convoy of Rosie Price. Calling
hiding the memories of the horrors she has seen and
herself the Merchant Queen of the Western Rails,
endured.

193
Rosie sees nothing but positive opportunities for and their trouble doesn’t come back to her. If it
herself and those who are willing to climb on board does... they’ll wish they’d never climbed on board.
with her cause. There’s a new empire to be made
in the remains of the world and the Queen of Crazy Lese Eurus
Prices can smell deals, resources and a power base to
be consolidated. Physical 4 Physical 4 Health
Social 5 Martial 4
3 3 3
Mental 8 Knowledge 7
The Queen of the Desert
Spiritual 4 Perception 6 Base Init 12
Rosie’s converted steam engine is called the Queen Social 5 Morality 2
of the Desert, and is a robust, heavy machine that is
A&D Circumstances Equipment
well-known for thousands of kilometres with its lurid
Eerie Presence Wealth 6 Taser, scalpel (+0 Dmg, HR
red locomotive and the advertising imagery painted 2) and a firearm if desired.
Minions 5 Rarely wears body armour.
Addiction
down each carriage — medicine, drugs, sex, food, (Experiments)
water, booze, ammo, guns, and whatever else people Macabre
want and need. It all runs like a slick supermarket/
pharmacy/hospital/fortress/brothel/nightclub/opium Rosie’s most feared “employee” is Lese Eurus, a
den on rails. A mobile bartertown that hails from the former Centre for Disease Control scientist — or at
end of the line. least, so he claims. He has an entire carriage to
himself, and uses it for his “tests”.
Rosie’s Crew
Smiling in an absent-minded way, Eurus’ cabin is tidily
Rosie has a lot of people on her pay roll. They’re loyal compartmented into his working room and a couple
because they’re paid and there aren’t many options of “storage” areas. One of these is, in fact, a holding
out there. They’re also loyal because she hasn’t got cell for his test subjects, while the other quite often
a soft bone in her body and the last person who holds live Infected. His working area is remarkably
disappointed her is probably still strapped to the front sterile and clean, though it is quickly transformed
of the train. into a place of frenzied screams and blood (but don’t
worry, his carriage is soundproof).
There are a plenty of opportunities to advance in the
organisation due to staff turnover, and the options are Eurus’ experiments are bizarre and varied. They are
plentiful. Rosie needs rangers to scout the lines and always horrendously painful, and he's always looking
check for damage, sabotage and infected; diplomats for new test subjects. He has heard that some people
to smooth relations with communities and petty can be immune to the disease, and greatly wants to
warlords; then there are her specialist wet-work test how this could be. Of course, that would require
teams who deal with trouble by “removing” it. She nothing short of vivisection and other horrendous
also needs repair crews for the rails, mechanics, things, but he has long since forgotten that people are
engineers, well-armed and armoured conductors, actually alive. They are more like... things...
cabaret dancers, medical staff, retail assistants,
He has told Rosie that he will be able to come up
accountants, hospitality staff, cleaners... the openings
with a cure to the disease, but so far that has not
for employment are endless.
materialised. Not to let a resource go to waste, Rosie
Many of the people who sign on with Rosie are uses him as her ultimate bogeyman. If anyone really
seeking to escape something — people with nothing irritates her, she’ll just hand them over to Eurus and
to lose. Rosie doesn’t care, so long as they’re loyal let him “play”.

194
Rumours and Plot Hooks something big... a map sewn into the lining of one
of her dresses, showing the blueprints of the MGM
The Queen of the Desert is stuck... out in the
Grand. Just what game is she playing at?
middle of the Rockies. The grand merchant train
has come to a halt outside the mining town known The head of Thompson Enterprises needs a favour...
as Pandemonium. Rosie Price herself has been Apparently someone has stolen something pretty
kidnapped, and her captors are demanding the train important from Lobster Thompson, and headed into
surrender, but so far every attempt has been repulsed the inhospitable, rocky terrain around the mighty
by heavy fire. Rosie doesn’t have much time, but no Colorado River. Those hills are crawling with Infected
one’s leaving without her. Looks like this is going to be for some reason — maybe because there’s some sort
a showdown! of activity going on up there. Investigation will find
that there have been trucks moving up old roads, and
The Immortal is gone... there was a coup last night.
lights have been seen up there. Just what is happening
Some say he’s been imprisoned. Some say he’s still in
up in them thar hills?
control. Others say he’s finally been killed, or has fled
and is now in exile. Still more say that he just up and Refugees have been coming into Vegas... telling
left — walked out into the desert just as he walked of a massive pack of Infected coming up from the
in. No one’s certain, but there was a lot of shooting south. Some say there are thousands, others say
in the hotel last night, and no one’s yet come out to there are millions of them. So many that they have
explain... though there are a lot of armed, soldierly- eaten through entire settlements and even armies —
looking types on the streets... but some people have said that this pack is only the
beginning. Because something sent them northwards,
Black Genesis are planning to blow up the Hoover
and once the pack’s done, that force will come in and
Dam... of course, the sheer size of the dam means
clean up the mess.
that they can probably only cripple it and destroy its
pipelines and machinery — but that would be enough Crusade to Vegas... the PCs have met a group
to bring Vegas to a crisis. They need to be stopped... of Skulls, and heard them tell of their leader, the
but to do so, there will need to be some special teams Immortal. Then one of the Skulls is apparently killed,
sent out. Teams that are good at tracking down only to rise once more, brutalised but somehow still
leads... teams like you. alive. The Skulls are bringing an oil tanker to Vegas
and they’d welcome the company of the PCs along the
The Black Widow is in deep trouble... it looks
way — because it will be a dangerous journey, with
like she’s been implicated in an attempt on the
bandits, Infected, soldiers and mishaps all along the
Immortal’s life. Of course, that failed — again. But
way. Once there, the Skulls say, the PCs will be greeted
the recriminations against her are so bad that she’s
like heroes by Malisius, the Immortal, and will come to
considering barricading herself and asking for an evac
see the truth of their Way.
from NORAD. She needs someone to clear her name...
someone not affiliated with her, someone who can Lese Eurus has something special planned... as the
be independent and track down whoever set this all scientist aboard the Queen of the Desert, he has
in motion. Saving her skin will mean you earn not been working on an epic experiment for some time.
only her gratitude, but that of NORAD itself — and Covered cages have been dragged into his carriage,
probably get significantly reimbursed. horrendous animalistic shrieks can be heard dimly
through its thick walls and there’s crackling machinery
One of Rosie’s girls has a big secret... she’s come with
in there. In truth, Eurus has found what he terms
the train into Vegas, but after that she met someone
a Queen — an Alpha who has aged to the size of a
and disappeared. Searching her quarters reveals
Shambler and which can call the other Infected to it.
195
He plans to use it as a beacon, to draw in Infected has been calling to Infected for days... and they’re
on targets as a form of attack. What he hasn’t quite coming.
worked out at the moment, though, is that the Queen

The Red Hand


Deep in the Midwest lies another major centre of They called themselves the Red Hand and their
the post-outbreak USA. It was swept with the virus philosophy was simple: Complete freedom. No rules
early on, and as the population declined, the ghouls’ for us. We do as we please.
numbers increased, until the city was under siege
After ravaging the settlement in Louisville, the
from within.
Guardsmen set up shop, heavily fortifying a large base
It was, finally, a group of National Guard reservists near the centre of Louisville and its vital bridge across
who came in to restore some semblance of order. the Ohio River. High walls protected them, and the
They attacked the town systematically, eradicating the people of Louisville were forced to feed and toil for
Infected street by street and house by house. What them.
they couldn’t take, they burnt, until Louisville was
Ironically, it created a relatively stable community,
engulfed in pyres of black smoke and surrounded by
and the Hands’ membership swelled as word spread
scorched heaps of rubble.
to countless other enthusiastic anarchists throughout
But it worked. At great expense of ammunition, the region. There is deep unrest among the civilians
Louisville’s packs of Infected were driven out or of Louisville, and an active insurrection is steadily
exterminated, their bodies burnt in massive heaps. building, but it is suppressed with absolute brutality.

The Guardsmen were greeted as heroes by the few The philosophy of the Red Hand has spread far
thousand people who still lived in Louisville — only to beyond the boundaries of Louisville and even beyond
find the Guardsmen turned on the town and began the Midwest. In fact, so popular is the idea that
to sack it. Drunk on a heady cocktail of mass murder, countless bandit groups, freedom fighters and rebels
terror and destruction, they took what they wanted, have become part of its movement from the ruins of
drinking, looting, murdering and raping with impunity. Los Angeles, San Francisco and Chicago to New York,
Virginia and Texas. Of course, what each of them
Even worse — they decided to stay.
believes they’re standing for is quite different — it
Their banner was no longer the stars and stripes, means different things to different people, and tends
but a painted red hand on a white background. A to warp over distance. In some places, the badge of
symbol that they wore on their sleeves as a badge the Red Hand is a symbol of liberty and help... but in
of honour. They had been through hell for the past all too many areas it is a sign of brutal oppressors and
couple of years, their brigade dwindling down to a those who care nothing for other people.
straggle of a few hundred desperate men and women.
Certainly in the Kentucky region, the Red Hand have
Their banner had seen them through the worst of
expanded their powerbase by force and a touch
it — through a vicious civil war between NORAD
of diplomacy. They have opponents, but with their
and NORTHCOM, and through uncounted packs of
swelling numbers (there are over three thousand
Infected.
armed troops in their army now, all across the region),
they are a force to be reckoned with. They have also
acquired a large arsenal of weaponry, scavenged from
196
battlefields and from old arsenals. Already dozens of fall with his whims and mercurial emotions. There
communities in the nearby towns have been overrun is rumour of an election every so often — then
and forced to pay regular tributes or face annihilation. something vital happens, like an invasion, or a nasty
accident to some of his political opponents... and all
The Louisville town is still a thriving place of trade.
of a sudden everyone’s forgotten about that pesky
There are steep tariffs and taxes, often exacted
election.
at the whims of the Red Hand, and changing
dramatically from day to day — but trade A harsh forty-something taskmaster who had
is desperately needed by the Red trained National Guardsmen for fifteen years,
Hand, and they don’t want to drive Pollard had served several tours before that.
merchants away. The rules in the He is known for a harsh stare and seething
town are simple — rifle-sized rages. He brooks no refusal, and has already
weapons must be stored at the shot a Red Hand for disobedience — and
gate, and don’t cause trouble with rumour has it that he has a trained group of
the Hands. Causing trouble with killers who deal with his political opponents.
them is met with the harshest penalties
Even so, Pollard doesn’t have everything his
(typically death, or torture followed
own way. The balance of power shifts daily,
by death), and there are plenty of
and is entirely balanced on the opinions of the
corpses hanging in gibbets from the
rank and file troops. Currently they obey Pollard
town’s walls. These people are bait for
because he seems to have all the power — but
the Infected — typically the Infected
if that should change, they would turn on him like
are allowed to gather and start feeding
wolves attacking a wounded buffalo.
on the person, and only when there
is a small group there do the wall
Captain Lipman
gunners open fire.
Physical 5 Physical 5 Health
General Pollard Social 7 Martial 5
4 4 3
Mental 6 Knowledge 6
Physical 7 Physical 5 Health
Spiritual 4 Perception 6 Base Init 13
Social 6 Martial 6
5 5 5 Social 7 Morality 3
Mental 6 Knowledge 5
Spiritual 5 Perception 5 Base Init 13 A&D Circumstances Equipment
Light pistol (+1 Dmg, HR 2)
Social 6 Morality 3 Enemies Allies 7 Light assault rifle (+4 Dmg, HR 3)
(Various) Ballistic vest (+6/+6 Absorb, HR 3)
A&D Circumstances Equipment
Heavy pistol (+2 Dmg, HR 2) Coward
Nine Lives Allies 8 Heavy assault rifle (+6 Dmg, HR 3)
Wealth 10 Ballistic vest (+6/+6 Absorb, HR 3) One of the other power brokers in Louisville is Captain
Lipman. Young, blonde-haired and handsome, Lipman
appears clean-cut and utterly charming. That is far
The leader of the Red Hand is supposed to be voted from the truth.
in every year, but the incumbent leader, “General”
Lipman is, if anything, more of a pimp and
Damon Pollard has held the post since they took
“businessman” than a soldier. Before the outbreak
Louisville. He is, in fact, a Sergeant, but his troops
he was training to be a lawyer and some people think
have nicknamed him their General. He still keeps
that must have addled his brain.
the military structure intact, though officers rise and

197
Lipman is also Pollard’s spymaster and quiet killer. He Sten
organises for “accidents” to befall Pollard’s political
opponents. Food poisoning, falls down steps, Infected Physical 5 Physical 5 Health
attacks in bedrooms... these things just happen Social 6 Martial 6
4 4 3
sometimes! Mental 5 Knowledge 5
Spiritual 6 Perception 6 Base Init 10
Lipman is fiercely hated by most of the civilians, who 6
Social Morality 5
see him as nothing more than a disgusting leech. He
A&D Circumstances Equipment
has forced dozens of young girls to work for him in Knife (+1 Dmg, HR 2) or work
his brothels. Often they were dragged from burning
Vendetta Allies 5 implement. On occasion he has a
(Lipman) homemade rifle (+3 Dmg, HR 3)
towns, their families cut down around them. Lipman Angry
says they’re lucky, and can work off their debt — but
most of the girls wish they had died instead. The leader of the insurrectionists within Louisville,
Sten is a quiet man in his fifties who is fired by hate
and the need for vengeance. Sten’s wife was lost
years ago, before the outbreak, leaving him to raise
his only daughter, Livia. She survived everything...
until at nineteen years old, Lipman saw the young
beauty and decided he wanted her for himself. Now
she is his plaything, his toy, and Sten is determined to
kill the man and all the Red Hand for it.

198
So far, Sten has few who are brave enough to go The Ghosts
against the Hands, but the few recruits he does have
If there is a thorn in the side of the Red Hand, it's
are willing to risk what little they have left — losing
another group known only as the Ghosts — and
their life isn’t much more to ask.
ghosts they seem to be, striking without warning,
In fact, the most extreme of Sten’s supporters are then melting away again. Often they have freed
quite happy to sacrifice their lives for the cause. These prisoners, vanishing with them into the forests and
people attack a target even though they know as soon rolling plains of the west. Other times entire platoons
as they’ve killed their man, they’ll be shot to pieces. of Hands have just vanished — trucks, humvees,
They blow themselves up along with a crucial bit of guns... everything, without a trace.
machinery. They're willing to do whatever it takes.
Of course, this has enraged the Hands beyond
Of course, the Red Hand are looking for him, and measure and the Ghosts have rapidly become target
their brutality gives Sten more recruits — while at priority number one. The Hands know they are in the
the same time filling some with deep resentment west, and they are scouring the countryside looking
for his movement. Informants are everywhere. But for them, torturing information from people, using
Sten’s followers are rarely taken alive, and those brutality and fear to do their work for them.
few that have been have refused any questioning,
But who are these ghosts?
dying on their torture racks. He’s already sent several
grisly messages to Lipman... and Lipman is becoming Two years into the outbreak, when a fierce civil war
steadily more paranoid and brutal. was erupting between NORAD and NORTHCOM,
it became apparent that the very fabric of society
Sean Easterline “the Padre” was breaking apart. It was at this time that retired
Delta Force operative Carl Straussberg was bitten
One of the most influential people in Louisville,
by an Infected. For three days he lay in a shivering
the Padre is a no-nonsense, bluff and friendly man,
coma, sweating, covered in weeping boils... then,
who cares deeply for the souls of all people. He
miraculously, he woke unscathed. He had survived,
understands the stresses and strains that leave their
and in later encounters with the Infected, he found
mark on the minds of people, and in an age where
that they paid him little attention. It was as if he smelt
people are slipping down the chute to insanity, the
like them now, and only close inspection would alert
Padre provides a bastion of relief for all who want it.
them to his true presence.
He thus far has kept aloof from the struggles in the
Straussberg was not the sort of person to let such an
town and instead focuses on helping and counselling
opportunity pass him by. He set out looking for more
those in need, establishing his orphanage and giving
people who had survived the virus, and before long
a place to stay for those with nowhere else to go.
he had recruited a team, which eventually spread into
Because of this, the Padre has achieved some level
several teams. Some of these already had military
of immunity to the strife that affects everyone else.
training, but those who did not were put through a
The Red Hand protect him, the townsfolk protect him,
sharp bootcamp — then they learnt on the job.
even bandit groups outside of town have given him
shelter before today. At first there wasn’t much of a plan. The idea was to
go out there, cull Infected in crisis zones, and help
However, he is also not above using physical force
to re-establish order. The problem was that in many
if necessary, and has a double-barrelled shotgun to
places there was no order, no structure and nothing
hand (and the last rites), just in case.
to keep rescued survivors from dying. So Straussberg
brought them with him, and soon created a small
199
community. It is deep within the Hoosier National of several hundred kilometres. There are also long-
Forest, some fifty kilometres to the west of Louisville, range scouts whose jobs it is to travel as far afield as
and is situated beside a freshwater lake. possible, locating resources and discovering the state
of the USA from coast to coast.
This town is known as the Estate. On the surface, it
appears to be much like many small towns. Defended Straussberg’s military forces are also scattered across
with a complex series of palisades, ditches and earth the Louisville region. These are small garrison forces,
walls, it also has a series of similarly-fortified crop set up to observe the movement of bandits and the
fields nearby. Red Hand, as well as particular Black Zones, where the
Infected are in critical numbers. There are relatively
The Estate is not a secret — though few people know
few troops in the Estate itself, though there is a large
its true nature, for the townhouses, supplies and
stockpile of arms and ammunition kept hidden in
feeds the Ghosts. Everyone there is part of a hard-
several large buildings and also in hidden caches
working team of people whose hidden purpose is to
around the forest.
keep the Ghost patrols going.
Communicating with his scattered forces can be
The problem with an increasing population though, is
a problem. Even with some long-range radios still
that it is hard to keep it a secret. Also, with more and
working in the Estate, quite often the teams won’t
more military hardware coming into their possession,
have access to any power, so their radios will die.
Straussberg knew he had to disperse it or the Red
Messengers have become critical.
Hand would soon discover him.
Not all of Straussberg’s troops are actually members
Currently, Straussberg has an excellent network of
of Ghost squads. These are just the elite of the elite.
informants and operatives scattered across a region

200
Sometimes they're split up amongst other squads, such things as a mechanic to maintain their vehicle
to be used as specialist scouts, moving into positions but also to evaluate, repair or scrounge from other
that no one else can get to — but some of the vehicles or machinery. An electrician to do the same
time they work together with other Ghosts, when with communication gear, lighting, certain appliances
they need to infiltrate a target truly crawling with and so on. A cartographer or navigator to make maps
the Infected. as they go and guide with compass and sextant. A
pioneer to manage the construction of makeshift
There are around six hundred men, women and
shelter, bridges, and occasionally defenses. There are,
children in the Estate. All are trained and ready to
of course, other skills and not every squad will have a
defend themselves as a town militia should the need
complete set of these skills.
arise. The very best and most trustworthy citizens are
formed into “ranger squads” to go out into the field.
Carl Straussberg
There are around sixty of these troops. Finally, there
are the Ghosts themselves, whose numbers are rarely The leader of the Ghosts, Straussberg is tall,
more than one or two dozen. powerfully built and frightening, with an eyepatch
and a host of brutal scars. He is incredibly direct,
Most Ghosts follow a generally good code of ethics
straightforward and honest. His troops love him for
but will not hesitate to kill when necessary. However,
this very trait. He can be cold, yes, but he has led
they do have three main rules that all must follow:
them to countless victories and they know he will do
• Never lead your enemies back to the Estate. what is right for everyone. Not only that, he is also a
• Never betray your family. moral man, in a time where ethics seem to have been
• Innocent lives matter above all else. Do what you replaced with barbarism.
must to keep them alive.
Andrew Craghead
Most squads operate in groups of five. They dress
down, rarely in overt military clothing or standard
weaponry. Everything is scavenged, customised and Brn 6 Athletics 6 Medical 4 Health
Dex 6 Command 6 Melee 5
patched together anyway — they're excellent at
making do with the resources to hand. Often they use
Pres 4 Deception 4 Military 5 4 4 4
Tact 3 Deduction 5 Observation6
a vehicle to manoeuvre into position, but just as often Awa 5 Diplomacy 5 Ranged Base Init
6
they need to leave it hidden to trek cross-country Int 5 Dodge 5 Stealth 5 11
into position. There’s nothing worse than driving into Res 4 HtH 5 Wilderness 7 Morality
Luck 4 Intimidation 4
an ambush — unless when you leave, you lead the 5
Circumstances Allies 5
enemy right to your home.
Advantages Immune (10) Innate Talent: Wilderness
The breakdown of most squads is as follows: Disadvantages Hideously Scarred Awkward
• A team leader Equipment
Heavy body armour (Absorb +6/+6 HR 3)
• A medic light assault rifle (Dmg +4 HR 3) or crossbow (Dmg +6, HR 3) with a
scope, camouflage fatigues and basic supplies.
• A sniper
• A demolition expert
• A driver/machinegunner Straussberg’s right-hand man is Craghead. A solid
trooper, Craghead is a full-fledged Ghost who has
These positions are the defined roles for squads, but
survived not one, but three Infected maulings. Some
to function outside their base, each member of a
say he's now so immune that he can walk right past
squad invariably has other needed skills. These are

201
them and they don’t blink — but that’s probably an gunned down, then his sister was taken by soldiers...
exaggeration. then, finally, the Calera virus took his father. Except,
his father came back, and nearly tore Markholm
Craghead is Straussberg’s trainer in the field — the
apart.
person he sends recruits who show promise after
their bootcamp, to turn them into full-fledged Somehow, he survived the infection, which ravaged
soldiers. Craghead’s reputation is harsh. It's said that his body still further. He’s now missing an eye thanks
if you survive your week’s training with him, then you to that dark day, and Markholm is haunted by his
have a ninety per cent chance of surviving whatever grief, by his failures and by the mystery of his sister.
else the outbreak can throw at you. The chronic agony from his wounds makes it hard
for him to sleep, though he never mentions it. The
Craghead is quiet, a bit like a wild thing himself — he
pain reminds him of failures he can never redeem,
seems more comfortable out in the stillness of the
and tells him why he fights. He couldn't save his own
woods.
family, but maybe he can save someone else’s.

Andreas Markholm When Straussberg found him, Markholm was living


like an animal, one of the last survivors in a town that
Brn 6 Athletics 6 Medical 4 Health had been gutted by bombs and ravaged by the virus.
Dex 5 Command 6 Melee 5
5 5 4 The Infected thought he was one of them.
Pres 5 Deception 5 Military 5
Tact 3 Deduction 5 Observation6
Base Init Outspoken in his opinions, Markholm doesn’t care
Awa 5 Diplomacy 4 Ranged 7
5 10 what others think of him. He’s here to make a
Int Dodge 5 Stealth 7
Res 6 HtH 6 Wilderness 6 Morality difference, he’ll do what he considers right no matter
Luck 6 Intimidation 5
6 what — and hey, if someone’s an idiot, he might as
Circumstances well say so, right?
Allies 6 Status 5 Reputation 5 Markholm has a powder keg of raw emotions
Advantages Immune (8) Talent for Survival
bubbling just beneath the surface. More than once
Disadvantages Chronic Pain One Eye Angry he’s snapped and beaten someone close to death
Soft Hearted Brutally Honest Guilty Conscience with his bare hands — but always it’s when he finds
cruelty or abuse. On the other hand, Markholm is
Equipment
Markholm keeps a small arsenal of weaponry, armour and quite willing to lay down his life to protect civilians
equipment around him and in his bases. He usually has and those he considers innocent.
body armour (Absorb +6/+6 HR 3) and a heavy assault
rifle (Dmg +6 HR 3), camouflage fatigues, grenades and This is why he's Straussberg’s Wraith Squad leader.
whatever else he considers necessary.
These are the Alpha squad, made up entirely of
immune veterans who go where none others can.
Straussberg knows that Markholm’s place is on the
Markholm was in his late twenties when the outbreak
front lines, where he will do good, and where his rage
started, but just a few years later he feels he’s aged
can be spent on the enemy.
a lifetime. His face bears the strain and his scars are
testament to what he has been through.

When it all started, Markholm’s first though was


to protect his family. A prepper from way back, he
had planned for this for a long time — but over the
months, he slowly lost control. First his mother was

202
Thom Shartle gathering as much information from them as he can.
He trusts none of them, knowing informants are
Brn 6 Athletics 5 Medical 3 Health everywhere — and sometimes he's been right. There
Dex 5 Command 6 Melee 5 was one occasion where he chased a Red Hand spy
Pres 7 Deception 5 Military 5 4 4 4
Tact 5 Deduction 6 Observation6 into the forest, emerging some five days later without
Base Init
Awa 6 Diplomacy 6 Ranged 6 comment, except to say that the job was done. Don’t
Int 4 Dodge 4 Stealth 4 11 mess with Shartle!
Res 6 HtH 4 Wilderness 6 Morality
Luck 4 Intimidation 7
4 Grayson “Rooster” MacDonald
Circumstances Allies 7
Advantages Fearsome Grayson was a police sniper in his forties before the
Disadvantages Callous Smoker outbreak, and it has served him well ever since. He
Equipment was found being mauled by Infected, right at the
If armed he usually has body armour (Absorb +6/+6 HR 3) beginning of the Ghosts. The Ghosts gave him some
and a light assault rifle (Dmg +4 HR 3), as well as his trusty
brief medical attention, then tied him up and left him
machete (Dmg +2, HR 2).
in a shed for three days. It was pure torture, but at
the end of it he emerged alive and immune.

A big, bluff fifty-something man prone to It turned out that it was the Red Hand who had
smoking terrible-smelling cigars and originally attacked him, shooting him in the
shouting at people like they’re face and leaving him for the Infected who
on parade duty, Shartle was were lurking nearby. Grayson had interrupted
an active sergeant in the Captain Lipman capturing several girls, who
Marines before the had fled the destruction of a nearby town
outbreak and often — and now he has a serious axe to
compares the hardships grind.
of today to what he
Some say it was Grayson who started
has suffered through. In
the undeclared war against the Hand,
short, he thinks people
but no one blames him for it. They see
should just harden up.
the anger in his one remaining eye each
Shartle is also a brilliant and every day. Grayson had seen a lot
organiser, the town of bad things happen by that point, but
“sheriff” (though he it was the girls that got to him. They
usually calls himself an MP, looked just like his two daughters... girls
because he considers that he had grown distant from since divorcing
there aren’t really any civilians their mother several years before the
here), and the one who deals outbreak. The regret of that still plays on his
with troublemakers in and around mind and he can’t bear to imagine the fates of
the Estate — in his spare time he runs the girls who end up in the hands of those anarchists
pitiless bootcamps for new recruits. in Louisville.

In recent months, the Estate has actually had a small Grayson is a shadow, moving from base to base,
but steady trickle of travellers passing by it, and outpost to outpost and informant to informant —
Shartle does his best to hide the true nature of the gathering news, making sure everything is functioning
town from them, while also being welcoming and well and handling problems. He is the eyes of the
203
Ghosts, and truly indispensable. To the men, he's people passing through — as well as drugged beer
affable, likeable and funny — but just as quickly can and sharp knives.
harden to stone.
The Black Zone was worse than they thought...
several Ghosts (PCs) have ventured into a Black Zone,
Rumours and Plot Hooks
where dozens of Infected had recently destroyed a tiny
Long range Ghost recon squad... the PCs are part of a community. They gear up to detonate the structure
long-range recon squad for the Ghosts. Their mission when they uncover a hitch... there are survivors on the
is to travel as far west as they can, then return with top level of the building... and there are hundreds of
intelligence of political factions, Infected Black Zones, Infected, not just dozens. Oh boy.
materiel caches, supplies. The road will be incredibly
Slavery... the PCs have been captured by the Red
long and difficult, the mission top secret and the
Hand and brought back to Louisville as slaves, where
dangers immense.
they are readied for auction on the block. The cages
The Red Hand have captured a Ghost... some say are cramped, filthy hell holes and it looks like the
that they caught Grayson. If so, that is a catastrophe. future is bleak. That is until one of the insurrectionists
Though he’ll try not to talk, under the blade of a cuts them a deal — we get you out, and you work for
skilled torturer no one can last forever. The PCs are us. They need people who can scavenge supplies and
the closest Ghost team who can respond — waiting make contact with people outside — but first they
for reinforcements will delay the attack by a day or need proof of the PCs’ loyalty. The only sure way to
two — but should they go in now or wait for orders? arrange that is to give them a sliver of information,
then let the jailors know they have it, and see if the
Cannibals in the woods... to the south of Louisville
PCs break or not.
there's a local settlement that has been preying on
travellers. Forced into starvation by the brutal levies of Taxation without representation... the PCs have
the Red Hand, the residents turned on people passing come across a Red Hand barricade, where they'll be
through. Once started, it was a route they embraced. stopped, questioned and “taxed”. In this case, the
Now they send out people to bring stragglers back tax is much heavier than they're willing to pay, and
to the town. They also have a welcome mat out for if there are any women in the group, the Hands will
want them too. What to do?

Pappa Doc’s Railway


Scattered across North America, coast to coast, Richard “Pappa Doc” Hawkins is a gregarious, often-
Canada to Mexico, is a most unusual settlement — it’s smiling African American man in his sixties who
known as Pappa Doc’s Railway and is a sort of city on has seen it all. Medic, Marines, Green Berets, three
the move. Across some eighty different train convoys, tours overseas and finally a quiet posting as a Special
dozens of supply ships and countless skeleton-crewed Forces Warrant Officer assigned to a Continuance
bases, scattered over thousands of miles of territory, Of Government (COG) unit — he thought his career
is an organisation that has an exceptional grip on the would just quietly end. Instead, the outbreak
power of this new world. happened, and he was in just the right place at the
right time.
It is at the same time one of the richest and most
influential new powers on the continent — and also At first, Pappa played by the rules, following the COG
one of the most vulnerable. standing orders — right up until he was told to send
204
troops and supplies to assist NORTHCOM in the siege equipment and large amounts of priceless trade.
of Washington. It was being held by NORAD forces at Well-defended, their main asset is the fact that their
the time and despite months of bombardment and routes are well-scouted, their allies secured and
bloody assaults, NORTHCOM couldn’t budge them. informants constantly feeding them information.
They demanded Pappa’s COG to give them further
Pappa’s reserves and stores are kept on a flotilla of
supplies and troops.
fat-bellied cargo vessels, which keep a low key. They
Pappa could see the writing was on the wall. It was drift down rivers to meeting points at dockyards,
every man for himself. A charismatic, fatherly figure, where the trains unload those stores that they are not
with a tongue seemingly made of pure silver, Pappa trading to settlements. This often includes military
continued to take supplies to his COG and never hardware and equipment, food, medical supplies and
sent them on. He took in refugees and defended his oil. From there, the ships either ferry it to another
position — but his policy was simple: work hard, or train that can make use of them, store them, or work
leave. He has no time or resources to spare for losers on them on-ship.
and troublemakers.
Having such a massive amount of wealth drifting
Pappa’s knew from his time in the special forces that around is a major attraction for bandits and thieves,
staying in one place was a bad idea. The best thing to who have tried everything from small-boat assaults,
do was to keep on the move, keep your opponents to damming up the river or choking it with debris
on the back foot, and always have something that and assaulting the ships from there. Some of those
people need. From his years as a COG officer, he assaults were successful, but most ended in bloody
knew that the best way to do this was through the ruin as Pappa’s forces brought the full weight of their
railways. Using a combination of charm, bribery, firepower to bear — including air support. These
trade agreements, threats and utter brutality, Pappa days, that firepower is growing less and less, and
managed to build up a fragile network of trains that many bandit groups are getting larger and much
criss-cross much of North America. better armed — Pappa knows that it is only his brutal
reputation that has so far kept things relatively calm.
Each train is an independent community in its own
right, with families, workers, technicians, tonnes of

205
If Pappa’s troops were interested in holding ground, a ship or train is docked, but in that case they had
then they would have been caught in the crossfire better be ready for some determined resistance.
of the NORAD-NORTHCOM wars and brought to
Likewise with huge existing stockpiles of crude oil,
ruin. Instead, while an occasional train, ship or base
Pappa isn’t interested in holding and garrisoning them
is destroyed or captured, the entire operation isn't
— instead, he just keeps the technical equipment
compromised — and thus Pappa Doc still has the
required to process them on his trains. When those
means to retaliate with maximum force.
trains and/or ships pull in, then the processing
Firepower is important. Pappa and his diplomats start starts — it’s at that time that they’re at their most
out with gifts and generosity, providing people with vulnerable, and they are also the most valuable target
things that they need and gaining their agreement for raiders.
to work with the convoys. This brings communities
Pappa has bases, railheads (rail depots) and allies
wealth, opportunities for employment, news from
scattered all across North America. He has just
the outside world and a sense of connection. But if
enough force to make even the strongest attackers
a community then turns on Pappa... well an example
think twice before poaching his trains, and so
needs to be made. Pappa will use whatever resources
many allies that he can literally bleed an offending
are at his disposal to make sure no one ever forgets
settlement dry for lack of supplies. Pappa often says
what happens to those who cross him.
that he doesn’t need to fight his opponents — he just
More than one town has become nothing more than starves them. His diplomats will sadly explain that a
a smouldering ruin, gas-choked grave or feeding pit settlement, bandit leader or warband, has broken the
for the Infected. While Pappa talks nice and smiles peace and attacked them, and they can’t return until
a lot, no tactic is truly beneath him — he does what that danger is removed. Settlements who had been
he has to do. It’s not sadistic, it’s simply and brutally used to small luxuries like toilet paper, a steady supply
practical. of oil, weaponry and food, suddenly feel like their
throats have been cut — and it doesn’t take them
The ports are the only piece of real estate Pappa
long to team up and destroy whatever it is that’s
wants to keep his claws on — that and the rail lines
upsetting Pappa Doc.
themselves. To keep control of them, he maintains
small skeleton crews on monthly rotations. Their job is It has been a hard road to get to this point though.
not so much to defend the areas, as to make any thief The first couple of years were touch and go. Slowly
or attacker’s job really difficult. Surrounding the base the COG supplies dried up. Troops would regularly
they stack shipping containers in gigantic walls, down desert, often stealing priceless equipment and
the roads they plant booby traps and bombs and with resources with them. Others attempted to take by
what scraps they have, they encourage a thriving force what Pappa had built. To these people, Pappa
Infected population outside those walls. The only was utterly brutal, using every resource at his disposal
safe way in is down the rail lines or waterways (both to destroy them — and even then it was not always
of which still require boxes to be moved). In case of enough.
a determined attack, the controls for the container
There were also actions by NORAD and remnant
cranes are able to be disabled and anything of value
NORTHCOM forces. When they realised that Pappa
either destroyed or taken with them as they evacuate
had quietly taken control of the railroads from them,
— then they simply move back in once their attackers
both forces were determined to bring him to heel.
have left, or just move to another port. Attackers will
Each of them were desperate for supplies and the
rarely recover much of value, or do enough damage
railway could give either side the edge in their life and
to warrant the attack — unless they attack when
death struggle.
206
Pappa jockeyed them back and forth, playing to one paper, clean sheets and clothes, warmth in the winter
camp and then the next, never quite giving in to and friends to make. Everyone contributes to the
either demands, asking for concessions, taking his community; most people have multiple jobs. Wives
time to reply — and only just keeping himself out of can settle down here, help the community, enjoy the
the grip of their operatives. Even so, their losses were company of other women, and not live in daily fear
huge and morale plummeted fast. for their lives.

Month after month, Pappa and his crews held on by This is Pappa Doc’s masterstroke. Bringing new people
their fingernails as they were attacked from the sky, into the railway, he lets them enjoy the comforts that
the sea and the land. Trains were boarded, crews the trains have to offer. After a few days or weeks
who resisted were executed, bridges and rail lines of that, few wish to leave. It has been the Doc’s
destroyed, allies suborned and bases besieged and observation that he needs to convince the women
bombarded into submission. Many abandoned his — once they find a place that really feels like a safe
cause, switching to NORAD or NORTHCOM, and their home, they’ll get their men to stay and do what it
railways still run into Pappa Doc’s crews occasionally. takes to fit in.

But finally, just as the railroad was close to complete Pappa takes his time to let people settle in. There
collapse, the war juddered to a halt. Their resources are three levels of clearance — red, for newcomers,
had dried up. NORTHCOM was shattered, NORAD with limited access and privileges; blue, for those
barely holding on, countless renegade armies were who have been with the railroad over a year and have
staking their own claims, triggering yet more conflict proven their loyalty; green, for those whose loyalty
and dragging attention away from the railroads. Pappa is beyond question. There are colours painted in
supplied all sides and reaped the rewards. different sections, and those without that clearance
are forbidden entrance — disobedience of this may
There have been countless enemies and vendettas
result in a warning, or a punishment. It can even
gained from these dark times. Many NORAD and
result in death. For a red-level person to enter a
remnant NORTHCOM forces believe Pappa to be a
green level, the usual penalty is three months of hard
traitor — but that’s nothing new, and for every group
labour, on half rations. Repeat offenders are either
that attacks him he has a dozen allies.
banished or executed.
Those who were turning against Pappa during these
Everyone on the railways has a job and contributes to
times were soon scoured from his organisation. They
their community. Everyone is considered a technician
had accidents, they disappeared or were assigned
first and soldier second — even those who might
to suicidal postings — but despite the purge, there
consider themselves civilians. A woman might work in
are still rogue units in various regions who have an
the kitchens and laundry, but she will still take training
axe to grind with the railway. Some were exiled by
on firearms, group tactics and possibly something like
Pappa, others were bloodily kicked out after failed
mechanical engineering.
coup attempts. Still, several of these groups continue
to exist, and Pappa is starting to think that at least a Pappa also rotates the crews. This is for security
couple of them might be supported by NORAD and purposes and to ensure that the whole railroad is
NORTHCOM, because they just won’t go away. a cohesive team. No one gets too comfortable in
their posts, no one is given the opportunity to gain
One of Pappa’s true abilities lies in the structure of his
their own powerbase, no factions can become too
organisation. He ensures each train is a comfortable,
independent or grow apart from the group.
pleasant place to live. Though they're constantly on
the move, there are kitchens, regular food, toilet

207
Pappa’s green level men and informants also provide the trains themselves by killing any and all that try.
a constant source of intelligence and information back Just like training a dog, they give them the message
to him, keeping each train bonded to the entire unit. that attacking the trains leads to pain, but staying
nearby leads to food — and to some degree it works.
It’s not an infallible system — some people are more
difficult to move than others. Some are needed
Richard “Pappa Doc” Hawkins
where they are and cannot be replaced. Sometimes a
specialist is killed, leaving an entire operation hanging Brn 4 Athletics 4 Medical 7 Health
in the balance. Dex 6 Command 8 Melee 5
Pres 8 Deception 6 Military 7 4 5 5
The arteries of the railroad are the rail lines Tact 6 Deduction 6 Observation5
Base Init
themselves. A destroyed line or bridge will completely Awa 5 Diplomacy 6 Ranged 6
halt a train and can of course derail it, causing massive Int 6 Dodge 5 Stealth 4 11
carnage and easy pickings for attackers. To prevent
Res 6 HtH 5 Wilderness 7 Morality
Luck 5 Intimidation 6
4
this, Pappa’s crews use aerial surveillance by way of
drones, massive helium balloons with high-powered A&D Silver Tongue Callous Fearsome Enemies
cameras, forward scouts, spies and outriders. Also, Equipment
If armed he usually has body armour (Absorb +6/+6 HR 3) and
his networks of diplomats are constantly riding ahead a light assault rifle (Dmg +4 HR 3) with a telescopic scope and a
of the trains, giving bribes, gifts, subtle threats and holdout pistol on his ankle (Dmg +1, HR 2).

whatever else is needed to keep the trains safe.


Dressing like Baron Samedi, the Haitian voodoo spirit
Pappa’s engineers are highly skilled at what they of death, Pappa wears coat tails and a top hat,
do, fixing the lines and rebuilding bridges with painting his face in the likeness of a skull, he appears
remarkable speed. They also often scatter food waste at once sharp and decidedly eerie. Quite why he does
near the lines, to encourage Infected to populate this is not certain, but the symbol of the skull
these regions. The hope is that the Infected will come proliferates amongst his people. Some say that the
to see the trains as food givers, thereby infesting the Doc practises Haitian voodoo and uses it to bless his
areas of the line where ambush is most likely — they community and bring down sickness and evil on his
also hope that it will teach the Infected not to attack enemies. It doesn't seem all that far-fetched.
208
Pappa can be affable, charming and joking one Major Julie Tremblay II
minute, then a cold-hearted ruler the next. A skilled
manipulator, Pappa will try to befriend everyone, Physical 5 Physical 5 Health
Social 7 Martial 6
learning their strengths, their weaknesses and their 3 4 4
dirty little secrets. Then he exploits that knowledge, Mental 6 Knowledge 6
Spiritual 6 Perception 5 Base Init 12
helping people to feed their vices until they’re in the
palm of his hand. Social 7 Morality 5
A&D Circumstances Equipment
On occasion this attitude has led the Doc to snub Baseball bat (+4 Dmg, HR 1)
Cold Social Status 8 Light pistol (+1 Dmg, HR 2)
someone who performed admirably, but who had
Wealth 6 Light assault rifle (+4 Dmg, HR 2)
previously insulted or angered him. Heavy ballistic vest (+6/+6 Absorb, HR 3)

The Doc is careful to keep his profile fairly low. He Tremblay was a major in the Military Police Corps
changes trains regularly, keeps no set schedule, after her start in law enforcement with the FBI as a
changes plans, disguises himself on occasion and does behavioural analyst, linguist and administrator. As a
everything he can to be unpredictable. It's an effective skilled negotiator Tremblay knows how to make
tactic, and more than one would-be assassin has been contracts, bargaining agreements and pacts of
foiled by a last-minute schedule change. nonaggression. The fiery redhead is known for citing
Pappa’s own rules and regulations at him, butting
The Doc is also deeply interested in learning about
heads against him time and again. She even warned
the behaviour of the Infected. He has discovered that
Pappa about Delia Symonds and Jack Uxbridge (the
they can be taught, though like a rabid dog they often
King and Queen of Richmond — see following
have to be put down. He has taken this so far that the
section), and helped to salvage the loyalty of his
he has actually come to know one of them. As bizarre
people in the aftermath.
as it sounds, the Doc spared an Alpha from a purge
once, for some reason believing that he saw a spark Tremblay’s new job is to oversee many of the
of intelligence in her eyes — only to find that she administration function between the unmanned
came back to that same place the next time the train bases. Her admin team “surveys” all other admin cells
came through. looking for discrepancies. She is Ms. Quality Control.

So far the Doc has kept a safe distance and he’s not In her thirties, very attractive, slim and petite,
sure just how much she’s understood, but on each Tremblay is an iron fist in a silk glove.
occasion the Alpha hasn't attacked him and neither
has her pack. Though he hasn’t spoken to anyone Jaxon Dane
about these meetings, more than once he has gone
A prepper and survivalist before the outbreak, Dane
by himself and returned unscathed.
came into Pappa Doc’s employ over two years ago,
The rumours that have inevitably gotten out say that and has proven his loyalty time and time again. He
the Infected obey the Doc, that he can speak with is now one of the Doc’s best scouts and “problem
them, that he has voodoo that can control them. No solvers”, moving from community to community
one’s quite sure what the truth is, not even Pappa ahead of one of the major train convoys.
himself. But he’s content to let the rumours swirl — it
Dane is tall and powerfully built, with a goatee and
never hurts to have a fearsome reputation.
often taken to wearing a baseball cap. A quiet no-
nonsense guy who loves nothing more than to be on
the road with his most trusted friend May the English

209
Bulldog, Dane has often said that May makes more Blue is also writing down the stories of survivors,
sense than most people, and is less stupid by half. trying to piece together what happened in the
collapse. He figures that society will recover
Despite this, Dane is good at dealing with people
eventually and then history of the event will be
when he must. Keeping quiet, with his ear to the
needed.
ground, Dane wanders into communities and out
again, keeping up an act as a wandering trapper and
The Kings of Richmond
fur salesman, while really sending information back
to Pappa Doc on the way things are looking in the One thing Pappa Doc definitely regrets, is not having
communities. taken the opportunity to kill Delia Symonds and Jack
Uxbridge.
More than once, Dane has found out about a planned
ambush or betrayal, saving many lives and a lot of Symonds was a troublemaker from the start. A
trouble. On occasion though, Dane is the only one beautiful woman in her late thirties, she blew in and
who can do anything about a situation — he doesn’t seemed to pass most of the tests required of her. But
like it, but if he has to get his hands dirty, he will. So before Pappa knew it, there were feuds starting up
long as it’s for the right reasons. To date, Pappa Doc left and right. Men fought over her, women fought
has never steered him wrong, but the leader can be each other because of her — and after one such
cruel, even brutal, when stamping out opposition to episode, a man was knifed to death while three more
his trains, and Dane dislikes that. Maybe one day he’ll were put in hospital.
start walking somewhere else — deep inland, maybe
When Pappa went to throw her out, she seduced him
all the way to the other coast, see what’s there. But
instead, and then things went really bad. Rumours
for now, he’s keeping the railways safe.
spread of her controlling him, of him abusing her, of
him sending her former lovers and those she disliked
Emmanuel “Blue” Tamayo
on suicide missions, or arranging to have them killed.
A smooth-spoken man, Blue is a wandering storyteller Indeed, not all the rumours were false. Still, he
and newsperson who has also served Pappa Doc and couldn’t throw her out — she was just hypnotic. In
many others with the information he brings. the end, Symonds also beguiled one of Pappa’s most
trusted soldiers, Jack Uxbridge, who then attacked
Ever the trickster, Blue delights in gossip, in intrigue
Pappa’s train with a platoon of soldiers, intending to
and in a touch of chaos. He will quite often spread just
kill him and take control.
the right the story to just the right people, to make
them think things are one way... only for them to get Pappa only just escaped. Uxbridge fled with the few
completely confused when they find the story is the men of his who were still alive and Pappa thought
other way around. his problem was over. Not so. It turns out that when
Symonds and Uxbridge ran into a brutal pack of
If people think they’re getting a straight deal out of
bandits, she bewitched their leader as well and is
Blue without paying him, they’re in for one of his
now pulling the strings behind a growing bandit
classic tricks.
faction that calls itself the Kings of Richmond. There
Apparently that’s also how he got his name, but the are a dozen or more different gangs who have come
specifics of it he won’t say — only that he’s proudly together for the express purpose of attacking Pappa’s
kept it for years now, as a badge of honour, a mark of bases and convoys, and reaping the rewards. Each is
just how much he can bemuse and befuddle. considered an equal, though Uxbridge has set himself
up as one of their warleaders.

210
So far, Uxbridge’s deep knowledge of the railroad someone’s predicted his route. He has no choice but
and the base means the bandits have been fairly to get the oil, or the railway will be out of fuel in a few
successful, attacking where they weren’t expected, months. No one yet knows there’s a massive ambush
causing heavy losses and looting valuable equipment. being planned, with a dozen bandit groups (organised
Though they started in Richmond, the small army by the Kings of Richmond) gathering to strike... can
roves about, keeping as mobile as Pappa Doc, the PCs save the railway?
meaning they’re like ghosts. On the surface they don’t
Railway diplomats... as scouts and emissaries of
have many allies, moving as they do through different
the railroad, the PCs visit many communities that
regions with regularity. Instead, they gain most of
lie along its path, checking the reaction of the locals
their supplies by raiding Pappa’s trains as well as an
and uncovering any plots or problems. In the town
occasional other community. In some ways they have
of Oxton there’s some sort of plot brewing — the
become a bit like Robin Hood, robbing from Pappa
railroad has to pass through, but though the people
and then giving away to others. This is how they’ve
there are giving permission, there are enough armed
painted themselves, and their David vs Goliath story
troops in the region to spell trouble. What can be
makes them very popular. Many communities will
done to stop the attack before the train gets there?
house and shield them from Pappa’s troops, in return
receiving a share of the booty. There’s a sensitive shipment... on a train, but
someone doesn’t want it to get through. They’ve
One of the disadvantages of Pappa’s unmanned bases
gone to the trouble of blowing up a bridge across a
is that Uxbridge can take them over, bypassing the
plunging gorge, and there are troops gathering from
booby traps and resident Infected, then setting up
all around trying to stop the train from getting away.
his own nasty surprises for Pappa’s men. If there’s
What’s all the fuss about? Turns out the daughter of
a garrison, he tries to seize it and either kill them
a local warleader has been whisked away by the train
all and display their bodies, rig them up with some
as “security” for safe passage. But they might have
sort of booby trap, or use them as hostages. He’s an
just bitten off more than they can chew!
inventive sort of guy. A couple of times he and his
force have posed as railway troops, letting a train or A train has broken during a firefight... and the parts
ship in, then attacking it in a well-coordinated strike. they need just aren’t here. There are more bandits
Each time the losses to the railway were absolute. coming and they could arrive at any time, so most
troops have to stay on the train — the PCs need to
Uxbridge has also got some quiet sponsorship
head out to a nearby town, find its railhead and
from NORAD, in the form of advisors, special forces
locate their vital supplies. Then somehow they need
operatives and occasional supplies of equipment.
to get the equipment back to the train, while avoiding
In return, he gives a share of the booty and targets
bandits (the equipment is also really heavy). Oh, and
specific areas that NORAD wants.
the town is simply crawling with Infected — all this
Pappa’s response to this is to put a generous bounty shooting is really riling them up.
on their heads and send out dedicated special-forces
Blue’s got a story that needs to reach Pappa... the
teams to try and remove the leaders one by one.
minstrel slipped it into one of the PC’s pockets just
before he was attacked and taken away by some very
Rumours and Plot Hooks
angry-looking bandits. The message is vital. The Kings
An oil processing plant is going to be attacked... of Richmond have found a way onto one of the big
Pappa is sending a small army with a train of crude cargo ships, where Pappa himself is staying... but can
oil into a massive processing plant in Texas. He does it the PCs stop the assassination attempt?
every year, varying the time and date — but this year
211
He knew they were getting close. They had been chasing him for the last two days. When they are in numbers
and you are alone, you must avoid, hide, escape, sneak, run, run, get away. If you can’t then you have to try to
turn it around. That’s what he had been doing.
The weather had swung wildly back and forth over the past several moons. Days of storms and torrential rains
followed by days of burning sun — and then blessed dark. He loved the dark, especially with fog. They were
like a cloak he could almost gather around him. Those hunting him were more dangerous when the conditions
favored them. Sight, sound, and smell all seemed to work better for them on the hunt in the light. It was light
now, and he was running.
He’d been alone for weeks. His last group, once nearly a dozen, was gone. One here, two there. Caught in the
open and killed. Trapped and then abandoned for the good of the group. Always other problems too. Even the
smarter ones often seemed like sheep. Too stupid for their own good. Never capable enough to survive on their
own. He’d never counted numbers in the group, never tried to know anyone. They were just part of the group
for as long as they were useful. Survival. Today. Now. Here. Rules of the world. Could they help you survive?
Could they help the group? Only things that mattered. Now… it was down to just him.
They were close enough now that an occasional sound, indistinct, unidentified would break the silence and let
him know they were still coming. He passed his first trap, a simple deadfall. Likely just get the one up front,
but it rarely failed him. One down, the rest to go. Would they slow? Some would, some would not. More
surprises waited. These “welcomes” likely would not get them all. Hard to tell when you don’t know how big
the group was or how they hunted. But he knew he’d get some. Maybe he’d get lucky and kill the leader.
He passed hives of stinging insects – bees? Wasps? He’d tossed a light line around them on their tree branches,
several days ago and staked it across the path. Crude tripwire, but effective. If he was lucky. If they hit the
string. One more surprise as they pursued him. Maybe they would give up. When focused on the hunt they
could be dogged. Other times they’d seem to just change like a breeze would. What went through their minds?
He continued to the stream. There was a path to cross, but it wasn’t the obvious one. He stepped into the cool
water. It was rushing more than usual from the heavy rains of the last few days. He stood there, knee deep,
eyes closed, perfectly still. There was something special about the water. Its feel. Its sound. This was as close
to peace as he could find. Even better than thick fog at night. Bits and pieces of memories rolled through
his mind, like an incoherent tumble of jigsaw puzzle pieces being poured onto the table. While he was here,
alone, listening to the rush of the water over the rocks, feeling the cool water rushing he wanted to stay
there. Rooted like a tree. Half buried like the rocks. No more running, no more hunting, no more groups of
less capable ones – just peace. There were noises off in the distance and he knew they had just tripped the
deadfall. Time to move.
There was still sound in the distance, but he had some time yet. He used it to his advantage, rigging the
stones so that they would overbalance. If not stepped upon perfectly square, they would dump his pursuers
into the fast-running water. One less. Maybe more if I’m lucky.
He could escape now if he wanted, but there was an opportunity to take down more of them. He crept away
almost like a beast of the forest and found his spot. He would wait, and watch.
*
Eventually the group reached the riverbank. Tyrone saw the tracks clearly enough, but now he hesitated.
Already Charlie's leg had been crushed, while Reese and Maria were so badly stung their swollen features
made them unrecognisable. Those had been God-damned traps.
"Getting late," Maurice muttered behind him. "What do you reckon? Keep going?"
Tyrone spat into the stream. "Still think they're just animals?" he asked — but didn't wait for a reply. "We'll
camp here tonight, go after it again in the morning. They wanted its head in a sani-bag, so that's what we're
going to bring 'em, okay?" With that he turned and started making arrangements.
Across the stream, the hunted Alpha bided his time. Rules of the World.
Chapter Eight
Narrator’s Section

W hile the Narrator is the referee and arbiter


of a role playing game, who comes up
with the stories and determines what's
happening in the world around the PCs, the story is
still very much a cooperative endeavour — one in
which the players have a very important role.

Every gaming group is different, and has different


dynamics, but often the most fun you can have is
when everyone is sharing in the creation that is
unfolding. The Narrator has an idea that they're
running the players through, then the players
take pieces of that and run with it —
elaborating on how their characters
are involved, introducing story
backgrounds, character goals, friends
and enemies they have known.

When everyone is creating it


together, the world becomes a
more rich, vibrant and real place.
It's also, frankly, pretty awesome
when players realise that they
can work out some cool detail
and then run with it.

Some Narrators have a


playing style that tends
to restrict most things
to the Narrator's power.
They decide who the PCs
know, who their enemies
are, their histories —
everything, really.

213
This has some validity, but by and large we tend to you just want to make a few notations, it pays to have
find that involvind the players in the storytelling some idea of what sort of story you want to tell.
brings to the table such a richness of ideas that it is
There are a number of different story ideas listed
wise to take note.
throughout the last chapter and a sample scenario
Ultimately, everyone's style is their own, and it will also included on page 229.
tend to change depending on who's playing the game.
But the excitement, interest and imagination of your 4. Be Willing to Make Mistakes
players is something you always want to stimulate.
Making mistakes isn’t something to be ashamed of.

The Basics If you screw up and the game is no fun, or the rules
were totally wrong, then just learn from the mistake.
There are a few basic elements for any Narrator to That’s all anyone can do. If you afraid of not getting
succeed at what they do. every game perfect, then you’ll end up not playing at
all. Get stuck in and iron it out as you go along.
1. Know the Rules
5. Have Fun
It’s important for the Narrator to have a firm
Remember, it's just a game, and a game is meant to
understanding of the rules, so they don’t have to keep
be enjoyed. So relax, and don’t get annoyed if your
consulting the book to check how things are done.
careful plan is unravelled by the players, or if they’re
But hey, if this is everyone’s first game then don’t
trying to use the rules in a way you don’t like. Adapt.
worry about it! Everyone makes mistakes. But they’re
Be flexible. It’s all about telling a great story and
only really mistakes if people notice them, or if they
having fun.
inhibit the enjoyment of the game. If you don’t know
a rule, and can’t find it in the book, just improvise.
Terms
Most of the book is based on a simple system —
get to know the basics of it, and then make it up as Game Session: This is where you sit down with your
you see fit. friends to play the game. Usually it goes for 3–6
hours, though 4 hours is a common enough amount
2. Have Conviction of time. There is no limit to how many players can be
in a game session at once, though 2–4 is common. A
This is one of the most important of all traits of a
story with just one player and the Narrator can also
good Narrator. It’s just like any good performer. If you
be a lot of fun. The less players, the more you can
see someone get on stage who’s squirming, fidgeting,
focus on individual plotlines and characters, while the
stammering, you’re going to feel uncomfortable just
more players there are, the more chance there is for
watching them. Any professional will get on stage,
teamwork and hilarious shenanigans!
squash any nervousness they feel, and look to all
the world as though they’re perfectly at ease, and as Story: Also known as an adventure or scenario, this
though they fully, one hundred per cent believe in is the basic unit of the game. It is literally a complete
what they’re doing. story, just like a movie or short story.

Campaign: A series of interconnected stories.


3. Have a Plan
Essentially this is the long, ongoing tale of the PCs
Have a plan for how you want the story to go. in the game world. It could be made up of lots of
Whether you want to make it super-detailed, with isolated stories, much like individual TV episodes,
every twist and turn in the story mapped out, or if or it could be a long story like a thick book, with

214
each section directly affecting the next, and thereby They have heard that another, local, town has food,
creating the story. and so they take their wares their in the hopes of
trading for it.
Encounter: A potentially dangerous event that
happens during a story. This could be a fight, a chance Complication:
to use diplomacy to handle a problem, a rockslide, or
Unfortunately, they find that another town has
whatever really!
already purchased most of the available food, and
their trade goods aren’t enough. They need more
Story
valuables fast!
Everything you're doing is telling a story. You as the
At this point they would have a choice — do they
Narrator are running a game for your players, who
want to ambush the convoy of that other town and
are each controlling a character. You tell them what
steal their food? Or try to find a legitimate way of
happens in the world around them, while they then
purchasing more food?
tell you what their characters do, how they react
and so on. This can lead to some really entertaining Attempted Solution (leading to another problem):
moments of high drama, comedy and usually a lot
A stranger offers to lead them to a cache of medical
of laughs no matter the situation. Don’t take it too
equipment in some nearby city ruins, in exchange for
seriously — it is, after all, just a game where you’re all
a cut of the proceeds. The value of it will be enough
making up what’s going on. The whole point is to have
to purchase food and seeds, as well as livestock.
fun and enjoy yourselves.
The Climax:
The basic unit of a game is what we call a “story”.
You can also call it an “scenario”. Essentially, it’s one With some difficulty and danger getting into the old
complete series of events, hopefully leading to some ruins, they find the cache all right, but they also find
form of closure at the end. that there are lots of Infected around here, and come
almost face-to-face with a bloated Alpha, who was
Think of a movie and you’ll have an idea for what
clearly once a part of a previous salvage team, and
is probably a fairly short story to play. A book, on
who now summons all the Infected around them.
the other hand, would be a much longer story — or
Trying to get out with the medicine is going to be
sometimes what we call a Campaign, a series of
difficult, in a deadly, ruined maze, with shattered
stories tied together.
floors, perilous drops and booby traps.
A very basic example of a story would involve the PCs
The Ending:
coming across some challenge, struggling against it,
then finally triumphing. That’s it broken down into They finally get out of the ruins, and hopefully have
absolute simplicity. enough medicine to sell and buy enough food for the
town. Now they also know that the Infected are a big
Here’s another example of what is essentially an
problem in this area — there are riches in the ruins
exploration and adventure story.
if anyone’s brave enough or stupid enough to go in
Sample Storyline there after them.

Objective: A Final Twist:

The PCs are part of a small town, and they have an As a final twist, if you wanted to put a dark spin on it,
objective: find food before the town starves. you could have the stranger who gave them the job
choose to betray them in some way.

215
This story should then give them enough interest with destroying it and capturing the bandits for
to move on to another story, along the same lines. punishment (or just killing them).
It could be directly related to what they did in the
first story, or unrelated, that’s up to you. However, Find the MacGuffin
we usually find that letting the story evolve from the
The PCs are tasked with finding something. It might
characters’ own actions is a good idea. You could
be that there's a cure, and the PCs have to hunt it
decide that the Alpha they saw follows them back to
down, or the plans to a secret military operation have
their town, laying siege to it so no one is safe. Then
been stolen, and they have to recover them. Usually
how do they plan to solve that?
there will be a few twists and turns as the valuable
We have also included an example of a story on item changes hands, or as the PCs gain and then lose
page 229, and there are example of plot hooks all it again.
throughout the last chapter. Many people have also
made resources online detailing how to make stories Whodunnit?
in RPGs, as well as pre-made stories for you to play
There is a mystery that the PCs have to investigate. It
through— some are for Immersion RPG, but there are
might be that the mayor of their town was murdered
a vast array for other systems and games. It is a good
and they have to find out why and by whom. The
idea to investigate as many of them as you can so that
clock is ticking. The PCs might be willing recruits, or
you can learn how to put together an engaging story
they may have no choice at all (for example, “Find out
for your players.
who took the bandit leader’s wife, or he’ll kill your
family”). It's a good idea to have a major twist at the
Plotlines
end — an unexpected culprit, someone they thought
Here are a few basic plotlines, which may give some was dead who has actually run away, a grieving
ideas, or show potential avenues of approach. husband/father who is really an evil cannibal.

Survival The Great Game


The goal of the PCs is to survive, pure and simple. This The characters want to gain in power and influence.
is particularly relevant if you are playing a Campaign They might be petty warlords, part of a military
set at the beginning of the outbreak, when the world faction or powerful merchants seeking a monopoly
is dying at a fast rate — however, it can also be for in their region. Whatever their ends, anything goes
the more standard Campaign world. There might be in this cutthroat game of politics. There may be
a pack of millions of Infected coming through the assassinations, threats, bribery, treachery, infidelity,
area, eating everything in their path, or it might be kidnappings, theft, wholesale destruction and even
starvation and the threats of bandits that they have to war. A great side-theme to this is to display the
overcome — ultimately though, the goal really is just human cost of such conflicts — how much of their
to survive until they can get to safety. morality are they willing to sacrifice?

Bandits in the Hills Narrator’s Resources


The PCs have to combat some exterior menace that To help the Narrator to come up with interesting
has been terrorising a local community. This could places, people, encounters and plotlines, we have
be a group of bandits who are attacking people, created a few handy charts over the following
with a base up in the hills. The PCs are tasked pages. Choose an entry, or roll a D10 to determine it
randomly.
216
STorylines Co