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, August 21, 2012

Nailing Down Vehicle Stats

I'm trying to prepare a proper list of vehicles encountered in the zone and how to handle them - as well as background material about auto-drive and new fuel sources. The multitude of numbers to juggle with for each vehicle just seems to keep climbing. This runs somewhat counter to my desire to keep things simple, and the fact that D&B isn't a war game. (Though I have a few notes about how to make one with its systems.) However, it seems that I'm better off erring on too many factors and giving the paranoia and worries of a multitude of things that can go wrong, rather than making it too simple.

There is now a Dead and Back sub-forum on and my email continues to be Flanker39 on Gmail. Feel free to stop by and start a conversation about level of detail, questions about vehicles, or anything else on your mind.

A new use of the scarcity mechanic - suggested by Rob Lang who has been graciously play testing the game in England - this is a measure of the vehicle's physical construction, separate from part integrity measured in hit points. When you try to do something out of the ordinary - jump a chasm, carry an overweight load, push vehicles out of the way, or crash through a barricade - the abuse die is rolled to see if the vehicle continues to operate.

This is a "phased scarcity" roll, with each failure reducing the size of the die - until a d4 roll, which indicates that the vehicle is well beyond any reasonable repair.

Unfortunately - abuse also applies to animals. Horses are not motorcycles, and trying to keep them galloping for too long, failure to let them cool down, poor care, or lack of feeding threatens to kill the poor creature.

All the Stats

  • Abuse (Scarcity Roll)
  • HP (Speed Track Squares and if its Convergent or Divergent)
  • Fuel (Scarcity Roll)
  • Speed (Possibly with a rate of degradation if its not uniform across the track)
  • Agility (d6 attribute)
  • Crew and Passenger Capacity
  • Over-Drive Points (Like Deadening)
  • Aim Bonus and Weapon Stats (d6s added to Ranged Combat Score - if applicable)
  • Technology Stat/Subsystems (d6s added to attribute rolls - an ambulance helps medicine for example)
  • Wits/Sensors/Initiative Modifier
  • Strength/Towing Capacity
  • HP Thresholds (scarcity roll to see if something breaks or passengers are injured when the vehicle is damaged) 

Simplified Form
For those who want to par down the numbers for ease of reference, the most important numbers are probably abuse, agility, capacity, and fuel.

  • Abuse can stand if for all sources of damage, with possible adjustment to die size for strength or type of source. 
  • Agility can stand in for most of the other physical stats of a car. When trying to escape, its the fancy maneuvers to get to the open road or shake the tail that make a difference. Generally speaking, monsters can't outrun cars and once in the open its pretty obvious what types of vehicles have the speed to flat out get away. Players move from point to point at "the speed of plot" so max and cruise figures aren't too important. Unbalanced loads or damage can be simulated by adjusting the number of dice rolled.
  • Capacity still matters because it determines how many people can escape, and how much they can bring with them. Cars are not infinitely large pack-mules and players should be faced with though limits on what they can take.
  • Fuel and supplying the vehicle is a major concern when the usual support mechanisms of society are not feeding the gas pumps. Speed, as mentioned above, isn't much of an issue when out running a problem - but getting far enough away certainly is. This also presents more tension and tragedy than than simply declaring gas runs out when the plot demands.
Let me know of the forums or E-mail which version you prefer and why. I should begin my exposes on individual vehicles starting tomorrow to make up for the week of posts I missed earlier this month.


  1. "Players move from point to point at "the speed of plot" so max and cruise figures aren't too important." I think this sums up why the second set would be preferred. If players want to make the vehicle part of the part of the plot, you have the options to do it, but if they just want to move, the basics have everything covered.

  2. My thoughts are on the forum! I'll prod my players into joining in the discussion.

  3. Thanks for the prompt replies. Simpler seems to be winning so far. I'm working on a long response over at 1km1kt since some of these changes have ripple effects on combat and the like.

    Also, as pointed out by Rob, I forgot SDI - the vehicles resistance to damage.