So, you are ready to run a zombie apocalypse but you're not quite sure where (or even when) those shambling brain-hungry monsters are going to show up? This book presents a full twenty-one concepts which can be run as presented or mined for ideas for a setting of your very own.
The settings are varied and imaginative. What if Von Richthofen, the Red Baron German ace of World War 1 was undead? Or did the Irish potato famine of 1846 give rise to a blight that poisoned the very land and caused those who died of starvation to rise again? Was the Man in the Iron Mask actually a zombie? Each begins with an outline of the situation and background, followed by several scenario ideas and a range of information - such as additional rules, NPCs (zombie or alive) - to help you turn idea into full-blown adventure. There are also suggestions for appropriate modifications to standard character generation, based on the situation. The material includes details of how the zombies came about in the first place, how they function and feed and how new ones arise. Even if you don't like the particular setting, you may choose to use the mechanism elsewhere, or vice versa.
There's plenty of choice. Arabia. France. Japan. Dates run from the Roman Empire to the future (in space, no less) with some fascinating stops along the way. What if Dr Frankenstein kept Queen Victoria going until she was 116? Or is she actually alive at all? What if some luckless archaeologist found that the Knights Templar he was excavating suddenly arose as zombies and chased him round the dig site? Not all the settings have a basis in reality, either. There's a truly strange superhero setting with a novel explanation of how the heroes got their powers. Perhaps McCarthy's UnAmerican Activities Committee was rooting out zombies rather than communists. And just what was in the Kool-Aid? Normal treats like ice cream and a visit to a theme park take on a horrendous twist. Medical experiements gone wrong, zombie hordes taking over... a dark future of ecological catastrophe... and finally an ark ship of cryogentically-frozen travellers who awaken to sheer horror.
All these settings are replete with ideas, and more spawn as you read through them - which is just as well, as each is only outline and suggestions. The work of crafting an adventure lies ahead, but you are provided with the tools, ideas and a core concept to help you prepare your game. Some may run and run, others are more suited to a one-off adventure or a short campaign. There's a lot of thought-provoking material here, so if you want zombies but are not sure when and where to set your game (and don't want the present day, which isn't covered at all) you ought to find something that inspires here.
Return to Worlds of the Dead page.
Reviewed: 5 September 2017