View Full Version : Zombie Apocalypse Initial (incorrect) Premise

04-07-2012, 03:52 PM
I've been wanting to run a BRP modern game that would, during the first game session, devolve into a zombie apocalypse. My problem is, I don't want it to start as a zombie apocalypse game. Rather, I want it to start as "x" game that turns into the former, hopefully shocking the players. However, I can't figure out what the initial premise would be for players to create normal, everyday investigators without giving the real premise of the game away. I've gotten a few ideas online (prison, school, college, supers, film crew, class reunion, Survivor or survival, The Sims) but that still doesn't give me my initial (false) premise, my "This is what the game is going to be about."

I feel like I'm explaining this badly. When you start almost any game, one of the questions is "What kind of game is it?" The answer is fantasy, horror, or the like. I need that initial fake premise that will get the players interested, get them to make normal people as their characters, and leave them completely blind-sided when zombies start showing up when they shouldn't even be in such a game. The premise should be 20th century <what>.

Here's a good example that worked in play. Year of the Phoenix started out with the characters part of a NASA anti-terrorist space force in 1999. Characters were part of the military but trained to pilot shuttles and deal with terrorism in space. However, during the initial scenario, when they take the shuttle Phoenix to the international space station, which has been taken by terrorists, the space station explodes as they close to dock. Everything goes black. They wake up on the shore and guess that they managed to get out of the shuttle. Turns out they are probably in the Soviet Union (which still existed in the game) and help some rebels fight against them. However, by the end of the mission, they find that they are actually in the 24th century and the Soviet Union now runs the world.

Any advice or ideas are welcome. Thanks.

04-09-2012, 03:51 PM
Per responses on other threads across the vastness of the internet I'm leaning more, now, towards just starting out telling my players we're doing a BRP modern game and that the premise will become clear soon enough. Perhaps even telling them if they don't know the premise in advance, they will more likely have a more enjoyable time. I'm hoping that will be enough.


I'm also tempted to use triffids instead of zombies ...

04-10-2012, 11:39 AM
I had originally went to post on this but lost my post. So let's see if I can recreate that magic!:biggrin:

OK, so I recently ran a 1 shot game, that hopefully will one day become a regular zombie apoc game. For my game, I used BRP, because I really like that system best for most things except for SuperHeroes.

I told the PCs that magic/psionics existed in the world, because I had patterned the game world after a play by post game I had been involved with over at the AFMBE forums. It was a lot of fun!

I made the characters think it was going to be something along the lines of either Kolshak the Nightstalker or Grimm. Unfortunately, I didn't have all of the players start out in the same place and as players can be, they were a pain to get together.

You'll want to enforce some kind of method other than what I did. If I were to do it again, I would have made them all part of a neighborhood watch group or something along those lines where they'd know each other, but not have to be friends.

Good luck with the game.

04-18-2012, 12:09 PM
All I can say is I wouldn't lie to them. Just tell them its "modern setting brp"

I've known some players who complained of past GM's that promised one thing then butchered what the genre was supposed to be...like it was supposed to be a 'zombie survival horror', next thing you know there's furry humanoids casting Magic Missile and players started leaving.

04-20-2012, 04:02 PM
Here's my newest idea on how it could work:

Starts with meteorite falling in graveyard or possible bioweapon test by foreign power in nearby town. Investigators are sent to investigate.

Alien or biological virus (probably alien) that starts, when it is first released on meteorite’s crash, as an airborne virus that lives for several minutes and moves quickly to encompass roughly a one-square-mile area. All humans (sapiens) in this area die within a few minutes, usually too quick to even call for aid. Virus within human bodies (that caused their deaths) mutates at this point, making it no longer airborne. It powers and raises the bodies and then creates aggression against non-zombies in the people in order to further spread. The virus is now spread by bite or blood, fluids, or saliva entering the bloodstreams of others. Bites, if not immediately fatal, fester quickly and spread, resulting in death in less than a week. Amputating the bit area might save the victim.

The virus, though not self-aware, is able to control the dead body to the extent of trying to spread itself. It is somehow also able to stave off rigor mortis and power the body as well, acting as the bodies new nervous system.

Virus continues its mutations. First zombies created by airborne virus are fairly slow, but those zombies created by being bit or the like tend to be faster and more in control. They can sprint. They are a bit smarter. The initial zombies are shamblers but those that they infect end up as runners.

It should be noted that some in the area of the initial airborne infection sometimes survive due to their environment (disinfected or the like) or situation (those on oxygen or completely cut off from the outside world are safe) or even physical condition (certain physical affects (being drunk, already diseased, or something - unsure what yet - think Andromeda Strain). The airborne virus only has a lifespan of a few minutes or so, after which it dies and becomes inert.

At end of first scenario, the investigators are greeted by seeing meteors falling in the distance and reports of a “massive meteor shower” across the western hemisphere as the planet passes through a “debris field” of some kind. The shower continues for over 24 hours, peppering the entire planet.

09-08-2012, 01:32 AM
I'm assuming here that you've read World War Z and/or the Zombie Survival Guide by Max Brooks. I like your premise of a meteorite falling and I'm inferring that it carries some sort of alien virus which in turn contributes to the oubreak, but I have one thought: what is it that you intend for your players to investigate/discover? What I'm saying is, at the end of the game, assuming they've survived and determined the source of the virus, there's very little playability. There's also a simultaneous sense of 'well that's scary- a meteorite can carry alien viruses (etc)' and "there's been meteor strikes on Earth for eons. Not too much we can do about that." What I might suggest here (and I apologize for putting in my two cents where it might not be wanted) is some sort of nanomachine that acts like a virus (see Zombie Survival Guide - although it doesn't say 'nanaomachine,' the manner in which the virsu, Solanum, operates leads me to that assumption). The virus/nanomachines/whatever could have been part of a government/corporate/shadow government project that went kablooey, leading the players to new and perhaps scarier challenges if they survive. Obviously there are so many ways to go with this, and that's just my thoughts