By August 29, 2005


This is going to be a bit of a link and run, but while Dysoning the house today I was thinking about my recent Maryland RPG gaming trip. I was lamenting the lack of paper RPG gaming, especially since the only game store in the area doesn’t have a very active (or friendly) LFG board.

I thought to myself, “Self, why not start your own RPG game?”

Damn, that is a fine idea.

“So, who could I recruit to play?”

I thought immediately of Lady Jaye, Bond, and his girlfriend, Cleopatra. They were all immediately local — although I really like the Captain’s role playing group, driving up to DC and back in one day is kind of a pain. The potential pitfall with that plan is that none of them (to my knowledge) have ever role-played, and who knows if they would even be interested. To help bridge the gap between real lifers and us role playing dorks, I thought about what milieu would be interesting to my theoretical group, and what rules system would best fit our personalities.

If you know me at all, the answer is obvious.

No, not sex in a cage. The other obvious answer.


So I thought about what rule set to use. The old skills-based system from West End games (which was leveraged by the original Star Wars RPG) was awesome in my book, as the skill rank system was a logical parallel to actual learning. Getting a basic working knowledge of something was easy; becoming a guru was nearly impossible, and would only occur at the expense of other learning. But I didn’t feel like converting the old WEG rules to a modern setting, and I don’t even know where I could get the out of print materials.

I thought of the D20/OGL rule set used most notably by Dungeons and Dragons 3.5. I really dislike the skill system, as I feel that the level-based nature of the rule set is unrealistic. There is, however, a ton of D20 material, and I knew in the back of my head that most likely someone, somewhere, had done a D20 zombie conversion.

Enter Year of the Zombie, a D20 rule set written by Tim Willard from the UK. 179 pages of zombie scenarios, rules, history, and equipment details. It was a $12 PDF download, so I went for it. Even if the game mechanics suck, $12 is a good amount of money spent for entertainment and ideas for whatever campaign I design.

So, Lady Jaye’s on board, and Bond is willing to give a shot, so that leaves Cleopatra, who will most likely join us as well. Good enough to start a game 🙂 The questions now are: what’s the best way to introduce my group to role playing, how should I schedule character drafting and story line introduction, etc.?

At this point, I am thinking that I’ll have everyone over for a character draft and explain general role playing concepts and mechanics to them. I’ll answer any questions they have; so far Bond has asked, “will it make me kill my parents and run away to the railroad tracks?” and Lady Jaye has asked, “so, how does the game end?” Both logical questions for new players 🙂

More importantly, do I have the chops to run a game? I haven’t acted as GM since high school. Plus, will the zombie setting get too boring after awhile? I guess we can burn that bridge when we come to it.

Stay tuned, I have a lot of bathroom reading to do to see if Mr. Willard’s system is worth the money I paid for it!

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1 Comment on "BRAAAIIIINS"

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  1. badmagic says:

    If it fails to rock, check out All Flesh Must Be Eaten.

    It’s more expensive ($30), but the rules are simpler than d20, and it’s custom designed for zombie-smacking goodness.