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, February 25, 2011

Settings and Rule Integration

I have always seen "Dead... And Back" and "The Anarchy Zones" as two separate - yet closely related - projects.

When asked for advice on the forums, I vehemently hold the position "story comes first". If you can get people hooked on the awesome elements of the story, they'll overlook flaws in the rules. People generally do not come looking for new ways to roll dice and then just happen to like the setting. Rules are shaped to help bring out the strengths and themes of the setting.

Yet in this case, I seem to go against my own advice. D&B is is written in a general form. Examples in the text are just average scenarios not tied specifically to the AZ. The weapon chart might be a little different if I included the multiple settings of Gauss guns. Rules about SDI and armor durability might mention nanorehlogcial instant hardening liquid body-armor (this is a real substance currently under development). Character creation would mention the five year time gap and have some background tables moved from an incomplete option to a normal element.

For once I did come up with a system before the setting. This all started with the DR/SDI combat mechanic, and then I wanted a setting to show it off. It then stuck me that a zombie apocalypse was a target rich environment good for a combat focused game. In turn the zombie environment lead to the development of the Deadening/Lucidity, the theme naming, and a focus on a minimum number of attributes/skills to make attrition and replacement of characters easy.

The Anarchy Zones were just going to be a zombie setting with a bit of an alien twist, so the game didn't seem like a rip-off of All Flesh Must Be Eaten. Its evolved into a constructed world.

So, I would like to pose two questions to my readers. (I seem to do that a lot. I also seem to be in one sided conversations a lot.)
  • Should this be changed to "The Anarchy Zones RPG" powered by the "Dead... And Back" engine, or keep it as is, with the option to let GMs use alternate settings?
  • If I am to provide alternate settings, how often should I take a break from normal AZ content to deliver it? Twice a month? Every Friday? One week at the end?
Today I want to open up this idea with the first alternate setting:


Congratulations on your promotion to field agent. I am sure this opens up many questions - probably along the line of "Agent of what organization and in what field?"

I cannot tell you, because the agency does not exist, and the field is laughable pseudo-science so out there it does not even appeal to public access channel conspiracy theorists hawking perpetual motion.

But what I can tell you, is that those people who attacked you in the parking garage last month - were not normal. They are quite typical from our perspective - but you probably did not expect to meet something that was not technically alive. The Z word if you will.


For all the sappy songs - we are not unified by love. Rather, it is our fascination with undeath. Everyone of all types wants it for all reasons. Individuals want the power and knowledge it brings - just think - never give up control of the company so no one else can squander its assets. Governments of course want unfeeling shock troops, and corporations well - it is the ultimate in non-unionized labor.

We are a private interest named Ouroboros. We cordon off areas, release the creatures, and test their adaptability. There are reasons, you may learn with time, for why the creation of these things is not simply stopped. In fact, they may prove vital to the preservation of the human race, however counter-intuitive that may seem. But what we need for now is how to keep these things under control.

You survived being in one of our testing areas, and showed the skill and initiative needed to become a candidate. You will need to undergo a few more tests before you're the one conducting the research of course - but you will be present as a control - a known survivor compared to standard people.

The job is neither safe, nor glamorous. But in light of - recent developments - it is a very necessary one. You will be compensated for services rendered of course - but our main benefit is the pride of servicing humanity.

I will return in one hour with the drugs to restore your movement and prevent the necrosis process. By that time we will expect an answer on if you will be an active participant or - ahem - a silent partner.

No comments:

Post a Comment