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.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Dinner Time

One thing The Event hasn't changed is family dinners. Well, the misses likes to joke they're less controversial now.

You remember all that - one hell of a political s--- storm. The idea of the government paying families to have dinner together. Just a stipend or reward - and checked through the sphere, voluntarily. Seemed common sense enough - eat at home, save the travel expenses, be nice to people and encourage togetherness.

Other nations were instituting rationing levels not seen since world war two to deal with the loss of petroleum fertilizers. A few actually were going into outright civil war.

But no, the simple changes are always the hardest. Its government interfering in personal business, its encouraging a welfare state, its taking business away from suffering restaurants and entertainment destinations, we shouldn't panic the people that supplies are gone.

Overhauling the whole vehicle fleet was easier than that and took no debate. Oil got too expensive, the free market made people buy other cars. Getting them to agree on what car - well, the government just said screw it and let each state decide on electric, bio-fuel or what. They tried to network some trains, and to their credit, the High-speed Electric Rail System still works in some parts of the country. Though you got to admit, when the acronym is pronounced like "hearse" someone must have been trying to undermine it to the last.

I don't know what they do up North, but here its a lot of bread, greens, potatoes, peanuts - PB and J is a nigh daily staple. Cow's milk is sorely missed, but you find beans and fruit or pretend you aren't disgusted by the stuff other animals produce.

I hate goats.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Green Flu Interpretation Part One

Open a new tab or window, and check out a music video on  "The Escapist" called "The Dead Don't Shuffle". Bookmark that site while you're at it - many of the the other songs by this artist are good as well.

Back? Good. Fell psyched up about doing a zombie game? Even Better. 

Shall we see what it takes to convert what you've just seen into Dead and Back?

The Left4Dead Wiki has more information for those who want to replicate this video game. Unofficially of course, I have no affiliation with Valve Software - though I do like their products. 

Common Infected
Although numerous, the average Green Flu infected is only a minor challenge for the prepared. A few handgun bullets to the torso or a good swing with a melee weapon will take them down easily enough. These are an excellent example of a simple one Necropoint unnatural creature, with a low SDI.

Over confidence is dangerous, however, as the song points out, these are running and somewhat athletic creatures. It is not unknown for them to fall twenty feet and keep running when seeking prey.

Common Infected Stats:
  • Stregnth: 3
  • Tech: 2
  • Quick: 2
  • Wits: 1
  • Close Combat: 3
  • Ranged: 1
  • SDI: 1
  • NecroPoints: 1
  • Speed: 7 (Human Jog)
Of course, they don't come one at a time. This is the sort of thing the D&B horde factor is for. Groups of ten  might be HF2/NP1 - two attacks, and need at least two hits of 2 damage to break up the group. With an SDI of one, a good burst of assault rifle fire or a pipe bomb will do wonders.

Further complicating matters are the occasional uncommon types - people who succumbed to the plague while wearing protective gear. Simplest to replicate are former police officers and soldiers in anti-ballistic vests - simply raise the SDI to three or four to show how its harder to land a telling blow without armor piercing weapons. Government personnel in Haz-Mat suits are immune to fire, in addition to having a higher SDI than normal - three would suffice.

Special Infected:
Recreating the special infected takes a little more thought. As of yet, there is no point buy balance system for the abilities of creatures - without more feedback or time, its a bit unlikely. However, like all rules in an RPG, those are more guidelines than requirements, and a good GM can manage the game as they see fit.

The Boomer is a corpulent walking bomb. It spits a noxious bile that can partially incapacitate humans, and acts as a powerful attractant to bring on additional infected. Failing that, being killed at close range or falling from a large height will cause it to burst, releasing its noxious bile over a wide area. Its rather fragile and slow however, with the main threat coming from its ability to bring other creatures into ambush positions.

  • Strength: 2
  • Tech: 2
  • Quick: 2
  • Wits: 1
  • Close Combat: 2
  • Ranged: 1
  • SDI: 2
  • NecroPoints: 1
Opposite of the slow and fragile boomer in almost every way, is the the huge Tank. It is dangerous with out allies, by upending cars, pavement, or simply smashing survivors with its bare fists. Rather than an ambush predator, it is a battering ram going straight for the target.

It definitely counts as an Abomination type of creature., rather like the anarchy zone's Type Three or Lambda. (Perhaps a little less dangerous without the built in technical upgrades seen in the latter though.)


  • Strength: 8
  • Tech: 2
  • Quick: 2
  • Wits: 1
  • Close Combat: 6
  • Ranged: 2
  • SDI: 4
    • O O O
    • O O O O
    • O O O O
    • O O O O
  • Speed: 6, -1 per at half health

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

We Meet Again, Dr. Kurtz

Why hello - we meet again. You're the one who like Vivaldi - right? Don't look so nervous. I don't hold a grudge against you for escaping - quite the opposite. Remember the old jingoistic war movies - "the first duty of a captured airman is to escape"? Well, it takes guts and bravery to make it out of a raider camp, and we respect you for that. Not that we really intend to let you do it again, of course.

Aside from being captured by raiders for a second time - has the zone been treating you well? Is one of the fine vehicles in that lot yours?


Really - how interesting, we're looking for some replacements too. You don't really find good American Made off-road vehicles these days. Not in this part of the country at least. I for one voted against the idiots who decided to let individual states decide on alternate fuels. Fine for Illinois and Montana to produce corn for ethanol, and New Mexico to go solar-electric.


Yes - this does have a point. What is your hurry anyway? I need to be technically knowledgeable about the vehicles before I pick one - making a technical is a bit more complex than just welding some machine guns to a stock chassis. And as to the second part of that snide comment - well I did the good citizen thing. Right up until the event. A government is there to serve its people, and when it can no longer serve that function, in no longer deserves loyalty.

No helicopters showed up to break up the reanimates when they came to our town, nor to mount a rescue. If they had only pulled six people out as a show of good faith - well, I might not be around to understand - but no help, no radio acknowledgment. That is when we knew the only ones to rely upon are ourselves.


That is my point exactly. Mine was not the only city to befall such a fate. If there are too many towns that the government can't protect, then perhaps those places shouldn't have been charted. Shouldn't a group that allows for settling a flood-plane at least have plans about what to do about flooding?

Don't take this as me playing for your sympathy, nor am I retroactively justifying my choice of lifestyle. I'm not doing this for fame or popularity. But compared to living out my days locked in a cage of my own creation within an old arcology - no, there isn't any comparison really. For good or ill, we are making a choice.

-what? Oh yes, right. Um - I don't know - let the mechanics decide which ones. Thank you.

As my adjunct points out, this really isn't the place for debating lifestyles of liberty and legacy. If you'd be so kind as to join us back at the bivouac, we'll open a bottle of peach schnapps and roast a chicken. We've been brewing it ourselves, and its gotten quite good after the first few failed batches.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Running on Steam

Mr Mauser you say? From the government? Well, I certainly glad that they've taken some interest. Better late than never I guess. But you can tell them straight away - we don't need them. Our town's doing quite well on our own.

Now, now - don't go feeding me no party line. I'm sure they've got all sorts of offers up their sleeves, from surplus supplies, tank escorts, to making one of us governor of the new territories once their all set up. Thing is though, we didn't suffer a failure of imagination. Not that I'd expect expect some hide-bound bureaucrat touring the zone in a suit to know what imagination even is. I'm just ribbn' yah, but that is the key.

So many people are too attached to the past. They find an old car, and then go out of their way to provide the infrastructure to make it work again. find parts to replace the burned out motors, set up solar panels to charge the battery, find tools to fix the transmission. Brother - there be four good wheels and a chassis - just strip out the old five hundred pounds of broken engine and hitch a horse to it! Why go all over creation to fix the damn thing?

But, no. Most folks want their old lives back, and will risk reanimate and space man to get the supply.

Around here, we adapted the past, but a more distant one. Turned old water heaters for plumbing into boilers to run steam engines. Sure the metal was light, but they withstand a lot, and even more when we set the things in concrete, and burred them 'cept for the top. Put some heavy gauge steel on top of that, and there you go. Well, you need to be careful, and it paid off that we have some engineers here to check our work - but we're all set. Underfloor heating, expansion engines, a small turbine - its all good.

Wood, running rivers, make your own windmill - doesn't have to be an air-turbine, just good for a mill stone. I tell yah - I've seen places with electric lights and running trucks, but you need to grind wheat by hand. Lot of good being able to see how hungry you are at night is doing them.

Now, I certainly am proud of the old US of A, but too little, too late. Now when the airplanes are flying again and satellites are back up, maybe we'll be dragged into civilization just like old Dead Wood was in the eighteen-eighties. But we are not going to grant allegiance just because some documents say its still the government. Prove they're the in control, and well, what other choice will we have?

Monday, September 12, 2011

Getting Tired

I have been trying to avoid  a succession of apologies, excuses for delays, and missed updates. And yet, now the blog is at least six or seven posts behind where it is supposed to be.

Quite probably, the project has gone on too long with little feedback, and its just plain flagging. I have a fifty item list of things to add, but when they're background ephemera no one asked for, the urge to produce a couple pages each is pretty much nonexistent.

It is time to reevaluate. While going slower is not going to catch up to where I'm supposed to be I'll feel better about this I we compromise on the rate. Starting September 15, I'm going to a Tuesday/Thursday twice a week scheduled. Hopefully, this will give me a bit more time to write stories I care about, rather than deadline skimming shorts.

There are some full fledged documents that I've been meaning to work on -most notably, the "Antagonist Archive". First of all, this will update the stats for reanimates and Eckaide,to include the Necrotic Threshold ability and to account for 1-7 stats and new vehicle multipliers. Official 2050 vehicles including - cars, motorcycles, tanks, and power armor will also get write-ups. Some sample towns, and the notes on the various raider groups will be included as well.

I'm looking into so play by post groups, so an announcement on that may come soon.

Thank you all for your interest.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

In the Office of Giants

It was like a bad dream. Chased by giants through dark and unknown terrain.

No. Worse. She had shrunk.

Every piece of furniture a ledge to mantle, a body's length to jump. Door handles just out of reach. Further seconds testing if it was push, pull, or locked as they grew closer.  Every sign written in gibberish giving little clue as to where the next exit was. There must be one amongst these huge desks, giant chairs, and broken monitors.

It was no dream. B#B#FD was being chased by abominations through and alien office complex. Everything was overgrown to human standards. On top of that, no power meant no lights other than her electric torch and what little sunlight filtered through cracked and marred windows. Sun that was rapidly turning orange with dusk.

Even with eminent danger, her mind wandered to the design of this place. Why so many little boxes? It was as if they grew workers like a garden in even rows. There were even sprinkler heads even spaced about the ceiling.

Focus. Humans didn't grow like that, at least not until they became abominations. And of those - well no Citizen caught by one ever returned.

Good, a hall. But which way? She had come in from the machinery areas to the left, her marks were there, and the path out. But the abominations were entering though the same open cargo doors she came in from. To the right was unknown, but there had to be another way out, humans weren't so strange as to have only one entrance to a factory - could they?

Friday, September 2, 2011

Professor of the Airwaves

Hobbes checked the time, adjusted his chair and equipment one lest time, then flipped the switch. "Hello Wasteland!  Today's lunchtime discussion brings us a recording from Professor Parkinson about the difference between arcology and megastructure, as well as the EDGE community concept.
   Pay close attention, because its taken a long time and a lot of effort to get this data here - and disproves the idea that the Lone Star complex is completely cut off from the world. Its only cut off if you don't have an ultralight aircraft, a daredevil pilot, enough firepower to shoot through a horde of reanimates, don't mind laser towers, and don't immediately get your equipment confiscated by US gov forces."

"Hello Mr. Hobbes and Mr. Diego. Thank you for continuing to provide such a useful service and giving me time to share my piece. I just ask for a quick moment to announce that I am OK, and if my wife or friends can hear this, I am in the Lone Star Complex.

So, let us begin with a few quick terms.

Arcology is a combination of the words "Architecture" and "Ecology". The term originates back in the nineteen sixties or seventies, and it refers to the idea of a community built in harmony with nature. In many ways, its the antithesis of 50s brutalist architecture, housing developments, or the early thirties ideas about conquering nature with giant Frank Loyd Wright skyscrapers.

Mega-structure is just what it sounds like - a building over a hundred and twenty stories, or eight mile plus bridges, dams across major rivers. Generally you know it when you see it. Most modern definitions also include some level of self sufficient - water recycling or power generation on site for example.

EDGE is an acronym for Economical Design and Governance Enclosures.

   In theory, each of these is an answer to the problems of the concept that comes before it. Arcologies were meant to be an improvement over the standard city of little green-space and oppressively artificial atmosphere. Megastrcutures were supposed to be easier to manage than arcos, less demanding in terms of space, and still allows a lesser footprint than a normal town. Finally, the EDGE was an attempt to build small scale self-contained communities since a super-sized buildings were taking far too long.
   So far as we are concerned, things like the East coast NEST, project, Midwest Lincoln Towers, or the California Harvey Milk Dome are mega-strutures, and arcologies. They don't technically fit the harmony with nature aspect of arco - but since they're mostly self contained and try to minimize impact, we deem them as such anyway.
   An EDGE is where I find things getting interesting. They're a combination planned community, special economic zone, and futurist thought experiment. They often include a series of geodesic domes or underground areas to provide protected open space or contained industry, while microfactories provide materials to quickly create pre-fab housing units to fuel rapid expansion.
   We were very fortunate to have such places in the USA. Many other nations had to deal with overcrowding or shanty towns when rising sea levels and bad weather forced migrations. Indeed, if it weren't for the alien crisis and the following reanimate one - displaced populations would probably be one of the biggest threats to our way of life.
   An EDGE can have a population of anywhere between twenty-five and eighty thousand people, in theory at least. Many were over-built but didn't see much immigration, others people piled into desperate for a place. Most tend to be a combination of small homes and green zones, but unlike a megastructure full of apartments, there was a much greater allowance for larger dwellings or different styles - though most conform to the recent Robin Lynn era of architecture, being simple prefabs of rectangular, square, and cylinder blocks - though many have aftermarket additions to make them appear more like traditional houses than collections of pre-fab trailers...
"You know boss, as fun as this is, it really seems like time for us to move on."
   "What do you mean Diego?"
   "Don't you think the people know enough about the world yet? Shouldn't we be handing out missions and work assignments to help rebuild the world?"
   Hobbes shook his head, "Right after we compile a complete list of reanimate abilities and an official history of power armor and their equipment?"
   "People need to do something in the zone, and who besides us has an overview of everything?"
   "Its their choice that matters, not ours.Sure, I'd like the government to return, but its not wholly wrong to think they've dropped the ball and its high time to add a few new rules. Or perhaps screw it all - when is the next time humanity will see a frontier like this? The costs and difficulty of extrasolar exploration certainly won't mean space colonies are anything like the wild west"
   "Or for heaven's sake doctor - your profession was entirely reliant of management and regulations. Some order is going to reassert itself. Can we at least consider things to do and how to restore it without someone getting trampled?"
   "I know Obstetrics, not Human Nature. For that they should have sent a poet..."
   "Very funny."