Hello. I'm running a game of ZA at work over lunch with four co-workers. The story opens with us all at work, so they will be motivated to find their family members to see if they have survived as well. I'm going with a twist on the meteor apocalypse event. Below is a timeline that I published to my players prior to our first game session.
Countdown to Doomsday
June 2003 – NASA reports discovering a rogue asteroid, approximately 12 miles in diameter, is headed for the earth. The asteroid that ended the Age of the Dinosaurs was estimated to be only 6 miles in diameter. It is classified as an extension event asteroid, and is so named as EE-2015 because it is estimated to strike the earth in 2015. The media picks up the story, and renames it Doomsday.
October 2003 – The American government officially absorbs NASA into the Federal Government and reinitiates the Saturn rocket program.
February 2004 – Construction of the Saturn VI rocket boosters officially begins. The Russians also begin construction of the N2 Gagarin rocket engines.
April 2005 – November 2008 – The American, Russian, and Chinese governments join forces to launch a series of nuclear missiles into Doomsday, with the intent to obliterate the asteroid into trillions of tiny chunks that will either ricochet off the earth’s atmosphere or burn up on entry.
Summer 2007 – Unconfirmed rumors on the internet report that the true size of the Doomsday asteroid as being nearly 1000 miles in diameter, and that the Federal Government has purposely kept the population in the dark in order to prevent a panic. The internet conspiracy theorists compare the size of the asteroid to the state of Texas.
December 2012 – September 2013 – An orange blossom in the sky can be seen during the day or night, depending on the season. NASA confirms that the nuclear missiles are successfully striking and pulverizing the on-coming asteroid. The nearly year-long series of explosions are designed to utterly destroy Doomsday.
December 2013 – NASA officially reclassifies Doomsday as a standard cloud of asteroid debris that will harmlessly pass by the earth.
New Year’s Eve 2014 – The world’s largest party! Six key peace treaties are signed on this day between The United States of America, Russia, and China; heralding a new era of peace on earth.
November 2014 to Present - The sky is routinely illuminated by bright streaks of tiny meteorites that burn-up as they pass through the earth's atmosphere. Life has returned to a mostly normal state.
I am trying to do a unique take on zombies. So I classify my undead as "Wights." Here are my notes on them. Obviously, these are secrets that I keep from my players. So why am I posting them here? Because I know my players do not frequent these boards. But I wanted to share them with other game masters who may be interested in using them.
Notes on the Undead – Wights
Each impact of a huge meteor results in an explosion. The resulting explosion is the primary reason that people are killed.
Each huge meteor also vents a thick gas that resists disbursement, resulting in a layer of gas 2’ deep on the ground, like thick pea soup fog.
The vapor is the catalyst that results in the reanimation of the dead.
The specialized form of zombie can be classified as a wight.
Due to the explosions, most of the wights are stripped of flesh and clothing on one or more sides. They also show signs of deep burns around the edges of remaining flesh.
The wights can run!
Wights have a supernatural ability to scale walls and inverted surfaces like a spider.
The wights also vent the same thick gas as from the meteors. It vents from their mouths and noses, and from any open wounds that expose internal organs.
Upon conversion, a wight compulsively scrapes his fingers against something hard and rough, (like a concrete or brick wall), until their finger bones are exposed like claws.
Because all of the survivors have also breathed in the gas, anything that results in the death of a person, (be it from a wight or not), that person’s corpse will become reanimated within two hours.
The reanimation is preceded by the lifeless corpse beginning to vent gas from the mouth and nose, or any open wound.
The wights all have cataracts in their eyes, so they are blind. Their hearing is very poor, and usually only react to sounds as loud as a gunshot or higher. But, a wight’s sense of smell is unparalleled within 20’ of each wight.
Many wights have bits and chunks of meteor rock embedded in their bodies. The meteor rock has some properties that are similar to crystal formations.
Some wights, if they survive long enough, have the crystal bits in their bodies grow and expand large enough to provide another layer of +1 Resistance to Physical Stress.
Dexterity = 4 Vitality = 3 Logic = 1 Willpower = N/A Charisma = N/A Empaty = N/A
Features: +Horrifying, +Fast, -Mindless, -Blind
Equipment: Clawed hands
It Won’t Die!: Wights have +1 physical resistance, as if they were wearing armor due to their inability to feel pain.
Frail: Due to the physical damage most wights incurred when explosive meteor fragments created them, wights are killed when they sustain only six points of stress.
Destroy the Brain: When a wight is attacked, if the attack test rolls doubles on uncancelled positive dice, then the wight’s brain is destroyed. The wight dies automatically, regardless of its current stress.