That Time I Ran A Zombie Survival Campaign And Got The Hang Of It

I think I’ve stated this before, but the reason why I’ve fell in love with Solo RPG games is not only does it mean I get to play all these interesting games by myself, but also because they serve as a great writing tool most of the time, but on those really rare occasions, roleplaying solo turns into… less of an RPG and more of a TV show or story you’re reading as it unfolds.

While A Flower for Mara will always be my Solo RPG darling for having a huge, unnerving narrative about grief and revenge, I want to reminisce about a campaign I played solo that felt like its own television mini-series. I even gave it a name: One More Day Before the Storm. The premise was that, taking place after my D&D 4E game where Malareth had defeated the heroes and uses a powerful skull he has to zap me to parts unknown.

I said in the last post that my writing style had become similar enough to my current writing style that I could switch between what I had said already and what I wanted to say. For this, though, I could just as easily copy-paste the entire campaign onto this site, I feel like recapping the events would make this nine-chapter story brisker. Though, if you ever wanted to read the original text on this site, feel free to request it. If I get enough (about 5 sounds good), I’ll do just that.

The major purpose of this campaign was to play with Mythic again after not being able to use it much for the 4E game. This was before I recently found out how to twist the module so that it can be used with a solo engine, but that’s another story for another time. I also wanted to test out the Mythic Variations tables, which has different random event tables for different genres. The first one was an example, involving Zombies.

So, I placed myself in a zombie setting, where every question asked ended up being judged by the Fate Chart. This results in my character defeating his first wave of zombies on accident, asking Mythic (the AI that he spoke to in the 3.5 game) if he’s joking about fighting zombies. He also obtained brownie points for that. Actual Brownie Points from the Ghostbusters RPG. Yeah, I used Ghostbusters for my campaign, as I had recently watched a review of it and loved how it played.

The next scene has my character testing out the world’s magic by creating a bakery just by asking if there is one, and even having it be locked by asking if it was. It was here that I rolled doubles and, as per a rule I put on myself, doubles equal random event. It’s here that the truth is revealed about this world: it’s the Nentir Vale (the setting for D&D 4E) set 1,000 years in the future after Malareth used an army of zombies to take it over, leaving just a small scant of humanity left.

My character ended up encountering one such member of humanity, who saw him trying to break into his bakery. This guy, Lee Tinemen, explains that bites and scratches don’t lead to zombification, but the two are interrupted by Malareth trying to fight some zombies. Lee goes to help and I called him out for wanting to save the man who caused the apocalypse. Lee believes I’m blaming him and runs off, leaving me to follow him.

During Malareth’s fight with the zombies, I briefly used the Mythic RPG for him, namely because of the in-story justification of him being the ruler of the realm, and thus working on a completely different scale compared to the heroes’ Ghostbusters system.

As Lee is frozen in fear, my character fought off the zombies before rolling a random event. It was a close thread event where the thread in question was “find a way home”. Since that was the overall goal for my character, I decided to skip that and instead have Malareth lose a weapon, an event exclusive to the Zombies Event Focus chart.

After fighting the zombies, Mareth, Lee and I went back to the bakery. Lee had us stow our weapons away and have us explain our stories. Malareth lies about who he is, being a court magician who ended up a thousand years in the future. Fortunately, Lee doesn’t trust Malareth, but he doesn’t trust my character as well. This is when Mythic introduces the concept of Brownie Points to my character, using them to help bolster by die roll by adding a D6 per Brownie Point. However, this also leads to the introduction of the Ghost Die, where a one results in bad stuff happening.

Lee notices that my character mentioned a skull and offers me to help him find it. Malareth, however, reveals the true story, that the skull is what created the zombies in the first place and how it can alter reality through yes and no questions. He summons some zombies for the group to fight. The two were outnumbered and Lee sacrifices himself to save me and requesting that I bring Malareth to justice.

After that scene, I switched out the Zombies Focus Chart for the Horror Focus Chart. As soon as my character hits the outskirts of town, he comes across a person who is the next person to join his party. A self-proclaimed professor by the name of Ken Gorisaki who has been working on a means to eradicate zombies. Ken lives in a mountain up above that discourage zombie attacks.

Speaking of, zombies attack, but Ken killed the horde with a miniature nuke and while it’s a small enough dose not to kill anyone, the ammo is finite and Ken is looking for a way to create a more efficient weapon. The scene ends with me incorporating an Emotional Stress die that add to a result.

However, we soon encountered an avalanche upon climbing up the mountain (after tempting fate to have an avalanche come down) and we get into a cave with a ton of effort on Ken’s part, knocking down a bunch of zombies at the bottom in the process. Mythic speaks to Ken about the Brownie Points and how, not only can it be used to bolster dice for a dice pool, but also increase stats and even alter the answer from the Fate Chart.

 The two spend their time in a cave (after I muse that Mythic should make the skeletons found in the cave come alive) before coming out to a zombie ambush, though they survive it. The two then go up to the top of the mountain thanks to asking Mythic, only to find Malareth there. I land a punch on him after using Brownie Points to make a no into a yes for the question of “Do I hit Malareth?”. Malareth is angry that Mythic is helping me, but Mythic insists that I’m no good to them dead. He summoned some Zombies, then runs off in the chaos while Ken and I fight the zombies off. During the battle, I ask Mythic if Ken has his weapon made, only to get a 99, an exceptional no and a random event.

This leads to Ken’s project being broken and Ken getting angry at me over it, to the point where, were it not for Mythic bribing him, he would have left me to die to the zombies. Once the zombies are taken care of, Mythic creates the project for us and it turns out to be the Proton Packs from Ghostbusters.

After that, I went to the Action theme, which establishes itself as such with Ken and my character blowing up a bunch of zombies in an explosion. Ken gets the idea to go back to the town to round up the survivors. While there, my character notes that Ken isn’t as good with firing the Particle Thrower as he is and offers to take up the role of hired gun. Ken, however, is interested in finding survivors, leading to an exchange with Mythic that results in it saying “I’m not your radar”, before telling the group about goals and how last session, Ken one Brownie Point for making the Proton Packs.

Ken decides to throw the one brownie point he earned to trigger a random event, involving the assistance of the public. They find an office building being attacked by zombies and charge in, noting how the front door is unlocked and concluding that the survivors are upstairs. So they go up and introduce themselves to the survivors, but they refuse to come with them and would rather stay holed up in the office.

An old man pissed my character off by saying how Lee came a few days ago and mocked that he might have gotten himself killed. He then makes a speech to the survivors about how staying inside will make them more dead than going out. Here’s how it went:

If you sit in this tower, you’re just reinforcing a reminder to yourselves. That your life is controlled by mindless corpses. That you’re just birds in a cage. If you stay here, you’ll eventually die. Starvation? Likely. Thirst? More likely. If you manage to cheat both those things, eventually the zombies will come and get you. I’ve seen some making mountains from their bodies. They’re dumb, but they at least know how to scale. I know some of you are scared for your life. For this, I present to you a war cry from where I came from: They’re the food. We’re the hunters. Ken is willing to give one of you the newly made weapon if you’re willing to hold it like a flamethrower. Stay with the old man if you want to die. Come with us if you want to live. We can’t guarantee safety, but what we can guarantee is a chance for victory.

The speech prompts the crowd to rise up, but the person who takes up the Proton Pack turns out to be Hinako, a character from a series of OVAs that began as a training video that I previously reviewed. With a new party member, the trio go to attack the zombies. While training Hinako with how to use the Proton Pack, the recoil caused them to get hurt and in the path of a zombie.

However, Ken, with the help of a random event he triggered with some brownie points (using them to lower the result to an 11), used the Proton Pack to rip a zombie’s soul out. My character suggests a Ghost Trap and the group gets out, only to bump into Malareth. While my character tries to hit Malareth, he uses the skull to alter Mythic to not be hit.

My character resolves to take back the town and intimidates the zombies to surrender (which they do)… only for a skeleton to mortally wound him with its sword. Mythic decides to tell him that he may lower one of his stats to increase his Brownie Point to 20. After he is healed, he tells a woman that the city belongs to humanity now and that if zombies do threaten them again, that she should raise the very sword that the skeleton tried to kill him with as a reminder.

The group depart, with my character declaring them as the Go-Busters, along with telling Ken what’s really going on. I swap the Focus to Mystery. The mystery they’re trying to solve? Who is the DJ that’s on the radio that’s offering cool weapons. The only reason my character ever decided to bite the plot hook was because Ken decided to check it out for himself even though he was warned it could be a trap.

Along the way, they come across wounded survivors who were ditched by the old man. My character tries to go back to kill him, but Ken insists on finding the DJ, Rap Rat. Upon hearing that the Rap Rat was these survivors’ last hopes, it caused my character to think it could be someone from that one Mythic 3.5 game he played. So they go to a cave called God’s Mouth where he is broadcasting from.

During a zombie ambush, Ken abuses the Mythic System enough to get a few random events in a row, enabling one of the wounded survivors to sacrifice themselves and buy the group time to get to the cave, only to find that the man isn’t Haruto, but rather an aged man. My character figures out from the small pen-like device he has that he’s one of the Doctor’s incarnations. However, he isn’t sure which one and the Doctor insists that it’d cause an imbalance if he told them. Suddenly, God’s Mouth starts to digest the group, though with quick thinking my character crossed the streams to blow a hole in the cave.

They get out, only for a random event that Ken triggered to summon a wyvern. After that I decided to limit the number of times Ken does that because, honestly, it was getting annoying and was detrimental to his Brownie Points. But back to the wyvern.

Long story short, he’s the Evil Queen’s brother who wanted revenge on Snow White who ended up being turned to stone. My character tries to question this stoning, but the Doctor insists not to, as the timeline is already wibbly wobbly as it is. It turns out that the wyvern, Maliss, was the cave and that by using the Proton Packs, they managed to turn him back. It also turns out that Lee and the old man, Bill, used to work together, and that Bill got too drunk off power to consider coming with Lee to survive.

Just then, Malareth causes Maliss to turn back to stone, though Maliss manages to knock the skull out of Malareth’s hands before he could guarantee my character’s death. The group run off and after they gained some distance, Mythic tells the group that the Doctor’s incarnation was chosen because it’s the one no other Doctor would miss. The Doctor brings up that Malareth’s survival tipped him off that something was off about the timeline, as his death was always guaranteed.

And so, I decide to end this recollection of events with the cast going towards a large mansion with its owner, Lord Dante, telling his butler, Brenda, to gather the maids. Next time, I’ll tell you how I managed to make a comedic break in the middle of this zombie survival RPG by switching to a different system for one session. What system? Well, you’re gonna find out soon, but you’ll probably know already from the beginning of this paragraph being a major hint.

Until then, Bon Voyage, Gamers.

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