I’ve been busy with my top 100 list and Halloween for the past couple of weeks, so I haven’t written much about Dungeons and Dragons. Today I’m getting back to it and look at creating an NPC for Dungeons and Dragons. This is a topic…
The name says it all really, we’re going to be doing a zombie apocalypse. However, we aren’t going to be playing the game where the players are trying to stop it. Instead, we’re going to pull from things like The Walking Dead, Dead of Winter, and Shaun of the Dead to find out how to survive and how people act in a zombie apocalypse.
This is definitely going to be grim fantasy setting where you are dealing with some fairly heavy issues. Much like the show The Walking Dead and game Dead of Winter deal with humans who are causing problems to the other humans.
So, we have a small group of survivors who are our players. They are going to have to look for a safe haven. Whether they all know each other before the apocalypse is up to the players, but it’s possible that some of them could be an outsider to the group. I think that would be a way to cause tension in the game quickly by planting seeds of doubt, whether the person can be trusted fully or not.
You can also set this up by having an DM PC, something that I would say never do, in the party where you have a character, but really they are a reoccuring NPC who is going to screw over the party some night. They are using the party for their own good, but then they decide that the party isn’t useful for them, so they are going to take what they want and then leave. I’d make this a lower level bad guy for them to deal with, while still having to fight zombies often or try and sneak around zombies. You could even, if they don’t track down the NPC and kill them, have that character build up into a larger bad guy.
If they do kill the NPC, then create a new one who has a rival gang fighting for resources and doing a scorched earth policy to keep other people from following behind them and getting the zombies to follow those people and getting to them. However, this would obviously have a very negative effect on other survivors beyond the more resourceful PC’s.
Eventually, I think the big bad of the campaign, besides the zombies, should be a wizard or lich who has a controlling rod that they build after the apocalypse has started. This rod is what they are using now, to control zombies and take over territories and subjugate people. Taking out the lich/wizard won’t solve the problem of the zombies, but will at least give people a fair chance.
I’d make it so that the BBEG is either the only who who can control the zombies, or that the rod is something like a crystal ball so that the players won’t likely get the magical item that allows them to send zombies away or keep them away from an area. Or at least cause that as a threat for the players and the players can either decide that destroying the control rod, which would then cause the zombies to attack the BBEG as well as the players might be an object, or try and figure out how and use the control rod.
Maybe give it to the players, now that I’m thinking about it, or give them a chance to get it, because then you could narrate a cool ending where the players could use the control rod to create a little oasis of safety for people to live.
With all these kind of major points, I’d also have the players dealing with survivors, dealing with injured people, dealing with bitten people who haven’t turned yet, and things like that. I would nerf a few healing options, basically only wish should be able to stop the zombie virus as it takes over the body where it could be argued that Greater Restoration or even Lesser Restoration might be able to normally.
Now, would I want to run this game? I think it could be interesting to run. I think the big focus of this game is going to be putting the players into situations where there isn’t a good outcome. This is supposed to be a dark fantasy scenario, and you don’t want them to be too heroic. I’d throw them up against situations where it’s about surviving. With that, though, I’d also give them a saving throw against turning into a zombie, but I would expect some PC’s to die along the way.
Would you want to play in a dark fantasy game?
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