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Thunderchild

Clarification on NPC stress.

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Hello all I'm looking for some help clarifying exactly how NPC stress and death is handled as I'm struggling to get my head around it.

 

Little bit of background, I am completely new to RPG's, this would be my first. I've never taken part in any roleplay as the character creation and the compiling of a back story was always a bit daunting to me, so when I found out that you play as yourself for this series I figured that it would be the perfect rpg for a newcomer to try and so picked it up the moment it was available.

 

So my question is this. Say a PC engaes in combat with an NPC in this case a normal zombie, the book states that once all rolls and tests have taken place and modifiers applied the target suffers the appropriate amount of stress and follows all the normal rules. Now the part I'm not quite understanding is does this mean that to sucessfully kill a zombie outright the PC would need to fill the targets physical stress track completely? This seems a bit much to me as a combat could then last multiple turns and greatly increase the chance of a PC getting bitten/infected depending on the scenario. This is certainly realistic for sure but I don't really want my friends dying the moment they they encounter their first zombie.

 

I'm sorry if this is a stupid question but it's the one thing that's stopping me getting a game going with my friends and as I'm new to being a GM I want to have as solid an understanding of the rules as possible so that our first game is smooth and fun.

 

Any help/advice would be greatly appreciated.

Edited by Thunderchild

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Yes, but weapons give damage bonuses. And you could determine how much "hit points" to give the zombies. Right now, in my game, my zombies have just 2 stress tiers, so its 6 hp. With guns, they usually go down after just 2 attacks. My platers are also new, but they are getting a hang of the system, so ill probably bump the zombies up to a full stress track- 9hp. Also, when the zombie attacks, it suffers its own uncancelled stress, so that helps.

I really like the system alot.

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A normal stress track is 3x3. You can adjust this to 2x3 or 1x3 making it easier to take them down. Or if you want to keep the resistance to stress by tiers in there you could do 3x2 or 3x1. The latter would have them still go down but if it isn't quickly they would gain more resistance. A 2x3 zombie that takes 3 points of damage would have a stress resistance of 2 (1 from "It won't die' and 1 from being damaged in the first tier) on the next successful attack. A 3x2 zombie that takes 3 points of damage is damaged into the second tier and has a stress resistance of 3 against the next attack. There are some different ways you can work the zombies depending on the effects you want.

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This seems a bit much to me as a combat could then last multiple turns and greatly increase the chance of a PC getting bitten/infected depending on the scenario.

I completely agree with Eyeless and Merc, but the other thing to bear in mind is that you WANT the fights to be very dangerous. You shouldn't be encouraging your players to dive into combat if there is any alternative. This is survival/horror, not tactical combat.

As to the concern of a PC getting bitten early on. I definitely get wanting to protect your PCs from that, at least for a while. That's no fun for the player: bit in the first session, booted from the game. My solution for that is to make the "Bite of the Living Dead" rolls behind the screen. That way I can cheat for them until they get their feet under them and have seen an NPC turn from a zombie bite.

Edited by TagalongFriend

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Yeah, and the rule book supports this in some senarios, where you roll to see if the zombie bit the character. Just because a zombie deals stress to a character doesnt mean they they got bit. Maybe it wrenched their arm with a death grip, or caused them to trip and sprain their ankle (in which case there is more to worry about) etc. 

Edited by Eyeless1

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Really appreciate these responses guys, I was leaning towards altering the stress tracks to suit your needs but couldn't see it stated anywhere in the combat section of the book and I really want my first play through to be as 'by the book' as possible. The thought of hiding my NPC rolls never occurred to me. Many thanks all!

Edited by Thunderchild

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Really appreciate these responses guys, I was leaning towards altering the stress tracks to suit your needs but couldn't see it stated anywhere in the combat section of the book and I really want my first play through to be as 'by the book' as possible. The thought of hiding my NPC rolls never occurred to me. Many thanks all!

 

I can understand wanting to play "by the book," especially if you're new to RPGs or GMing in general.  However, the looser the game engine, the more you'll need to improvise simply because the book doesn't hold your hand that much.  EotW is a *very* loose engine, btw.

 

If you need more dice, make up positive (or negative) modifiers that sound plausible to make it happen.  Worry more about being dramatic than being consistent, in the end that's probably where you want the focus to lie.

 

If a character is about to die and you don't want them to die, have them fall off a bridge or otherwise make a hasty exit.  As Mr. Herbert so eloquently put it, in Dune: "Do not count a human dead until you've seen his body. And even then you can make a mistake."  You can even pull this trick with a PC, assuming the player is amenable.

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