Saturday, February 5, 2011

Progress of the Zombie War, a campaign journal, and a poll

The latest installments of the Gothic Greyhawk campaign are over on Dragonsfoot:
Beedo's Campaign Journal.  There's an update for the kid's game as well.

Time for a new poll - should the campaign journals be posted out here on Dreams In the Lich House?  My original intent was to keep that stuff mostly separate - this place was for musings, design, ideas, etc.  But the Gothic Greyhawk game recap post was highly viewed, so maybe folks like the campaign journals?  (I'm sure it has more to do with Death Frost Doom than anything else.)

Progress of the Zombie War

Imagine you're part of a horde of 8,000 hungry dead - you've just overrun the town - what do you next?

I created War Machine statistics for the undead and the various military groups in County Lennox in southwest Sterich, and played out a small military campaign behind the scenes.  (War Machine is the simple mass combat for basic D&D that was published in the Companion Rules).  There were a couple of small watch tower keeps to defend, the castle at Mittleberg, the walled town and militia, and the mining camp at Beggar's tomb.

While the undead overran everything - eventually - damage to the horde was significant.  Since the undead were basically a leaderless mob, the fortifications and leadership on the side of the knights and soldiers allowed them to inflict 40% losses over the week-long campaign.  The initial horde of 13,000 undead is down to 1160 ghouls and 6600 zombies.

When I was discussing Ghoul Sickness, I hadn't decided if it was in scope for Gothic Greyhawk.  Let's assume that humans killed by ghouls *do* come back as ghouls (and casualties can also be infected with Ghoul Sickness).  Some of the ghoul casualties will be replaced by fresh risen dead.

Here's the gruesome part of the question - would 100% of the dead actually come back as ghouls?  Wouldn't some of the dead be, you know, kind of "too eaten" to get up and join the horde?  Maybe someone with a passion for that whole zombie apocalypse genre might have some ideas?

I do have numbers from the conflict.  Here are the casualties inflicted by ghouls, as opposed to zombies:

50 miners
21 soldiers
622 villagers

What happens to the horde next?  As a leaderless mob, do they start dispersing in random directions throughout the valley and turning vast swaths of land into a forsaken waste?  Would a powerful undead come and take control of the horde and lead it on a campaign of conquest, north, towards the peaceful settled parts of Sterich?

Exciting options.


  1. There's a cool italian RPG named Sine Requie in which you play the role of a survivor in a post WWII/Zombie Holocaust europe in the 50's. In that game there are plenty of "zombie" types: the ones that are not able to move or to harm anyone except if you put your hand in their mouth, the regular zombies, the fast one, the unaware ones (who resemble normal humans, aside the fact that they're dead), the über-brutal feral ones and the super intelligent, diabolical ones (which also have terrific supernatural and psionic powers). This is to say, why not putting some variety among your 8,000 zombies? This way you can still have the "if they kill you they turn you" and a good variation on theme without actually having to allow someone to Rest in Peace.

    Sorry for length...

  2. I would have the ghouls spilt off with mobs of zombies, out to cause as much havoc as they can. If I read your blogs right, these would be on the side of chaos, yes? So, spread a little chaos.

    As for the ghoul sickness: I'd go for 25% rise as new ghouls, the rest just too far gone to come back... unless you want disabled ghouls with no legs, or half a head, and so forth. Which might be an interesting variation.

    Glad I stumbled across this blog. Been reading your old posts with interest. :)

  3. Thanks for dropping by. I think coming up with a few ghoul variants - limping ghouls, crawling ghouls, etc, might be a good way to go. And maybe the 'undercover ghouls' like Il Male™ said.

    The ghoul and zombie army is definitely a force of Chaos. I've alluded to a god of Death, but I'm not sure that's actually a god or just a demon masquerading. Undeath violates order and Law.

  4. Gah! Why won't these people stop using the same name for things?

  5. Oh, and I'd say that, depending on orders, 25-40% of those killed would be too eaten, etc. to get back up. You might want to ask /r/zombies though.