Zombies in the Night

June 1, 2010

Roll Dem Bones

by Alan Meranda

Once again we are delving into an intriguing posting at the Savage Worlds Yahoo Group for Savage Worlds.


> Hi Fellow Savages,

>I’m trying to model the kind of zombies seen in films like 28 Days Later, and was wondering if anyone had any suggestions. So rather than the slow, groaning walking dead of the George Romero sort, these guys are really fast and really angry 🙂 I want a group of 3 or so to be a challenge even for a veteran (40 XP character. I already have a mechanism for the infection (it’s not nearly as fast as the movie, more a slow, gradual thing with the possibility of a cure).

 > Also, does anyone have good general tips for how to scale the opposition to be an appropriate challenge to a group of PCs? For example, are there any guidelines for how much toughness, parry, and damage an opponent should have for a PC of a given # of XP?

 >Thanks for any help,

 > Manu



In the Game Aids section of the Savage Worlds forum I posted a Zombie Escalation table. It’s brutal, but the intent is to perpetuate the hopelessness of fighting a growing swarm of undead.

 The Gang-Up rule from Savage Worlds Explorer’s Edition states: “Ganging up on a foe allows attackers to flank, exploit openings, and harass their outnumbered opponent.
Each additional adjacent foe adds +1 to all the attackers’ Fighting rolls, up to a maximum of +4.” This is huge when a mob of zombies attack.

 The Zombie Mechanism
Another concept to realize about zombies is soft tissue disease and infection carried by zombies. Zombies smell their prey. The soft tissues of nasal passages and throat are diseased and corrupted. When a zombie smells something beyond its undead stench, it triggers a surge of electrical activity that inspires them to action. Instead of shambling the zombie chases after the prey it smells. Because of the cellular corruptions of the soft membranes; the zombies have a heightened sense of smell (bonus to the Notice roll). When the zombies “smell” prey it also triggers an endorphin rush (bonus to Agility based rolls) and adrenaline surge (bonus to Strength based rolls). The zombies also have a bump to their ability to hunt down their prey (bonus to Tracking roll equal to the bonus given to the Notice roll).

Characters encountering the zombie, by smelling the zombie stench, risk infection. A small burst template would be the area of potential infection. The test is a Vigor roll. A Failure means the infection takes hold in several hours equal to a roll based on the infected characters Vigor. A Critical Failure is much worse. The infection occurs within minutes instead of hours. One further necessary check is a Guts check after the character realizes they have been infected.

The bottom-line goal is to make zombies a fearsome creature to be avoided.

 ~Horror Master Noire


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