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House Rules

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We started modifying the game after our first session and after Zombies, Aliens, Gods and Machines we are still modifying. The system begs for house rules honestly. I don't mean that as absolute condemnation, in fact the system is so streamlined that it makes house ruling pretty easy, but we did find it necessary to get a clean game out of it.


Just wondering what kind of house rules you guys are using?


Heres one we added first game -


Cross category Stress and Feature/Trauma Effects - wherein Stress can affect another category besides the one being used for a task and the effects of a Feature or Trauma can come into play where categories other than the typical one are in play.


For example - a guy has to shoot his buddy that just turned into a zombie and suffers a Stress during the attack - we stick it on Mental as anguish for having to shoot his friend. OR - a character has "Long Distance Runner" as a feature, typically a physical boost, but he is permitted to use the bonus dice in a Willpower roll when trying to stay awake during guard duty as a product of his self discipline.

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Yeah.  We did sort of that.  I've actually got a "system" for it, Specifically, i bought this from amazon and the different colors are different things:

Success - Green

Physical - Blue

Mental - Purple

Social - Yellow

I started it up during a "revolt of the Machines" game when someone was holding off a Robot and was as good as dead, and someone else wanted to fire a M203 grenade launcher into the robot killing both the guy and the robot.  In his defense, they were also attempting to save a bunch of Orphaned teenagers who had been fighting with them against the robots.

Anyway, the guy who was doing the shooting had "true friend" under social and had a bullet wound from a previous battle he was recovering from, so the question came up how to do the stress.  So, I invented the system.  He took 3 positive dice (1 for base, 1 for being a veteran, 1 for the M203 being his "baby" which he loved pretty much since he found it) and 4 negative dice.  2 From his "moderatly severe" bullet wound, 1 from True Friend, and 1 extra because him and the guy were super-bros throughout the entire apocalypse.

We've also sort of had to "homebrew" hand-to-hand combat rolls as well since the "combat" system is very... vague and you'd be surprised how often it ends up someone fighting against a robot trying to strangle them or zombie trying to eat them.

I'm looking for a better option, but right now what we do is:

Say a dude is fighting a standard zombie in melee with say, a fireaxe.

Zombie gets 1 base D6 for situation.
Then, Zombie gets a second D6 for unyielding
Zombie takes a negative d6 for Mindless since it's not "the best" at attacking

and a second negative D6 for shambling since it's not the "fastest" thing out there.

For the Zed, the extra stress D6s don't really do anything except negative successes.

The player, would get the following:
1d6 for the situation

1d6 for "athletic"

2d6 for Large Bladed Melee
1 Negative Physical for a recent pulled muscle trauma
1 negative mental for "easily frightened"

So, the zombie rolls say, a 1 and a 4
Then, the sombies negative die is a 3 and a 6  So he's got 1 success

Playyer rolles his 4d6 positives, his 1d6 physical and 1d6 mental  gets a 3 4 5 5 4 and 1.  the 4's eliminate since one 4 is physical negative leaving a mental stress and 2 successes (assuming a strength of 4)  That's 5 damage he deals the zombie, which isn't enough to kill him  but, he also gains a mental stress from being afraid of the zombie.

It doesn't seem to bad for this, but I feel like, it's very... clunky.

For our purposes, the Zombie then attacks on his "turn" the same way.  With mostly the same dice on each side.

My concern for my system, is that I feel like it's giving an "advantage" to the stronger opponent all the time.  For 1v1 zombie fights it's probably not a problem, but they are going to be facing a horde soon, and I don't want them to think they can just "put their back to a wall and constantly-counter" the enemy target.

I've been thinking of making it just a regular "check" instead of an opposed check, but I feel that "cheapens" the thematic components of a fight when you can just run up and score enough to insta-kill someone, especially if they end up fighting another player in fisticuffs (happened once in a diff campaign over a water disagreement, ended with both getting stun-gunned by someone guarding the food).

So, I'd be interested in hearing how you do melee combat.

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So far we handle melee pretty straight up RAW. The attacker builds his die pool then adds negatives based on the nature of the opponent. I do allow for the opponent 'defending' and adding another negative or two based on their comparative traits. Lets say a guy is attacked by a Zombie, his Vitality is higher than the Zed's Dexterity to I let him add a negative to the Zombies attack. If he had a shovel to use I might give him another, and maybe even another if he was trained in combat or something. Its not an opposed roll really but I allow for some of the opponent's abilities to factor in. Similarly if a guy was attacking one of the infected rager types, I would give him a negative for the Rager's Relentless Pursuit feature and maybe even another for single minded - making them really dangerous in melee as both of these would be Stress Dice and not just Negative Dice .

Another house rule we use is to differentiate between Negatives that just makes thing harder and Negatives that threaten you with Stress.

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One rule I have used that I wonder about is dropping the number of Stress Tiers for NPCs. 9 stress to kill something seems pretty high for mobs. My typical Zombies for example have only 2 Tiers and Ive considered the really old, dragging, falling apart ones getting only 1. Similarly I have given gang members and such only 1 Tier before so as to let them get offed pretty quickly, either running away wounded or dying outright. Its a bit of an advantage to the players but in this game they need it.

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For me, I kill the enemies when it seems "thematically" right.  So, the PCs who are dealing it 1 or 2 damage a turn might not kill it quickly, but a new zombie that a PC super-succeed on will sometimes one-shot them (even if it wasn't enough damage).

I did run into that sometimes during Revolt of the Machines, where the PCs were spending boatloads of time beating these tiny modulons up, despite them being glorified toasters individually.

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