Dead... and Back is a survival horror Role Playing Game. The Anarchy Zones is its official setting - aliens, reanimates, and the ruins of 2055 America.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Using -1 Difficulty

Some people have asked me about the long range shooting rules. Using a gun in close combat is just fine - at a bonus even due to closeness, but calmly lying sown with a scoped rifle on a bench rest risks breaking the weapon in addition to range penalties.

The answer is: That isn't part of the genre.

Dead and back is not so much a simulation of a real life-outbreak of flesh eating ghouls, as a chance to star in your own personal horror film. Of course, movie logic is quite different from what occurs in real life.

-1 difficulty is for actions that are ill advisable - either from sheer danger, or because they don't fit with the Game Master's story. Its not a blanket excuse to openly antagonize players, but a chance to bring in complications and new scenes.

How often do characters in a show call the police, rather than take justice into their own hands? Use a handgun with a proper two handed grip at only a few feet range? Of course they have to split up and give the serial killer a better chance - or it wouldn't be much of a danger. And then there are all the ways explosives are misrepresented.

On a less general note - it rarely proves possible to eliminate all the ghouls at range, regardless of how one tries. If fact, the noise of the shooting is likely to bring several more for each one that goes down. Thus failure indicates that simply more creatures have show up. Or perhaps, the new guest is a human opponent who notices the precision shooting, and decides they want that sniper weapon for themselves.

Depending on the situation, any failed rolls with -1 should help lead to new sub-plots. If a failure leads to a team mate getting injured - then finding  medical supplies, or a doctor becomes a new goal. Perhaps wading back into the horde to rescue them is a chance for good roleplaying and a heroic scene. Getting lost might lead to new locations of potential friends, except for the fact they have their own problems they need help with first.

Of course, a game master could discuss their expectations for the game beforehand, and hopefully everyone is on the same page about genre expectations, meaning -1s don't need to come up much. conversely, they can acquiesce to the players' desire for action and not penalize stunts - even reverse the situation and punsih those who are being repetitive and boring..

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