Savage Worlds of We’re Alive!

I am a lover of audio drama. I listen to it at work and in the car on my commute. In the past seven years, I’ve listened to literally thousands of hours. One particular audio drama that stood out, one that I’ve now listened to three times is We’re Alive: A Story of Survival.

This was a series that wrapped up a few years ago, though they do still have plans to continue with side stories that would help flesh out the world they created.

In a nutshell, it is a zombie apocalypse story and in that respect it is fairly common. What I liked about it was the production quality. It has a full cast of voice actors, custom sound effects and original music. They fused the old time radio show with the modern feel and style of the new audio drama scene.

And like most things that I’ve really liked, I envisioned using the world of We’re Alive as a backdrop to a game setting.

As with my earlier posts about Deathlands, I originally started this as a D20 system conversion. Now I have scrapped that to present a Savage Worlds setting toolkit. Not a full blown setting book per-se, but the framework of a setting that the reader can use to flesh out their own zombie story.

This isn’t going to be nearly as big as my Deathlands posts as 90% of all the information is right there in the Savage Worlds Deluxe book. It is modern day, outside of the zombies, there are no supernatural elements. So all the vehicles, gear, weapons and character creation rules for the deluxe rulebook are used without any change.

What I will provide is the various foes and the few additional rules, edges, etc. that help to present the world of We’re Alive. The best thing to do is to go and listen to the series to get a true feel of the setting.

Don’t worry, I will present enough to get you started even if you haven’t listened to the show.

The story takes place in Las Angeles, California and focuses on a group of survivors, three of whom are army reservists, who hole up in a high rise apartment building. The first two seasons take place with the apartment as the focus. The story begins with the sudden emergence of the zombie infection ravaging the city. Within the first season, it becomes apparent that this plague hit most of the world pretty much at the same time.

The players all take on roles of average people. If they want to be military, let them, but make them reservists, and cannot be more than two or three years in the military. No 20 year veterans. Keep skills relevant to what is reasonably expected for average people. No auto mechanics that have fighting, notice, shooting and stealth all at d6 or more. That just does not make sense. For most, fighting would be d6 at best unless they have a specific, believable reason for it to be higher. Most people would not have the shooting skill, or if they do, it would likely only be at d4.

At the start, all the zombies that are encountered are the average zombie. After the first 3-5 days sprinter, jumper or smart zombies start to be seen, though rarely. The Big Ones would not come around for at least a few weeks and the little ones don’t show up until the third season of the show, about 4 months or so after the initial outbreak.

Again, the main focus for the first two seasons is a high rise apartment building that is used as the survivors safe haven. Like most zombie films and shows, the zombies are not the only thing to fear. A prison nearby had a massive number of prisoners escape and hole up in a strip mall a few miles from the tower. These “mallers” become obsessed with finding the location of the apartment, intending to take it over as their new, safer base of operations. While the survivors are trying to avoid the mallers, they also start piecing together that there are different types of zombies. A few rumors suggest that there is one zombie in particular that is leading and to an extent, controlling all the other zombies. This one they call the Tattooed Man seems to be far more intelligent than any others. Before they can learn too much, the mallers find the tower and attempt to lay siege. Using a trick they learned about, the tower survivors manage to draw in a large horde of zombies, routing the attack and seemingly wiping out the mallers.

So, that’s the basic outline of season one and a bit of season two.

 

THE SAFE HOUSE

The following are some folders that I set up to share a few layouts of apartment buildings that you could use in your game.

High Rise Apartment: This cool 15 story building is a luxury high-end apartment.

Four Story Apartment: This is a more typical four story apartment building that could also be a cool little safe house.

 

THE ZOMBIES!

At the heart of the series are the zombies. There are several types of zombies in the setting. The basic zombie is the most common type. Next are the runners and jumpers. The big ones and smart ones are the next most common.  The little ones (which grow into the tall ones) are very rare, only a dozen existed in the show. The Tattooed Man and Randy are two unique zombies.

Infection: Anyone bit by a zombie must make a Vigor check at -1 or contract the zombie virus. 1D4 rounds after failing the vigor check, they turn, becoming a zombie. If the first check succeeds, they must make an additional Vigor check each hour until the afflicted limb can be amputated. Alternatively, the wound can be burned out with a red-hot piece of metal plunged into the wound or by using the gunpowder from six bullets poured into the wound and lit. This causes 1D6 damage to the target but burns out the virus. This must be done within the golden hour.

Below I have the zombie types statted out, including the Tattooed Man and Randy, two unique zombies from the series.

 

Normal Zombies

These walking dead are typical groaning fiends looking for fresh meat.

Attributes: Agility d6, Smarts d4, Spirit d4, Strength d6, Vigor d6

Skills: Fighting d6, Intimidation d6, Notice d6

Pace: 5; Parry: 5; Toughness: 7

Special Abilities

Claws: Str.

Bite: Str + infection

Fearless: Zombies are immune to Fear and Intimidation.

Undead: +2 Toughness; +2 to recover from being Shaken; called shots do no extra damage (except to the head).

Weakness (Head): Shots to a zombie’s head are +2 damage.

 

Runners

Thin and muscular, these can sprint like a cheetah, capable of running at incredible speeds for short distances.

Attributes: Agility d8, Smarts d4, Spirit d4, Strength d6, Vigor d6

Skills: Fighting d6, Intimidation d6, Notice d8

Pace: 8; Parry: 5; Toughness: 7

Edges: Fleet-Footed (run die d6)

Special Abilities

Claws: Str.

Bite: Str + infection

Fearless: Zombies are immune to Fear and Intimidation.

Undead: +2 Toughness; +2 to recover from being Shaken; called shots do no extra damage (except to the head).

Weakness (Head): Shots to a zombie’s head are +2 damage.

Sprint: Once per hour, can sprint, increasing base speed by +2 and gaining a run die of d12 for 1D4+1 rounds.

 

Jumpers

Stick thin and very tall, standing on average seven feet tall. These can jump extreme distances.

Attributes: Agility d8, Smarts d4, Spirit d4, Strength d8, Vigor d6

Skills: Fighting d6, Intimidation d6, Notice d4

Pace: 8; Parry: 5; Toughness: 7

Edges: Feet Footed

Special Abilities

Claws: Str.

Bite: Str + infection.

Fearless: Zombies are immune to Fear and Intimidation.

Undead: +2 Toughness; +2 to recover from being Shaken; called shots do no extra damage (except to the head).

Weakness (Head): Shots to a zombie’s head are +2 damage.

Jumping: can jump 1D6+4” up, or 2d6+10″ lengthwise

 

Big Ones

These are huge, hulking brutes that stand nine to ten feet tall and weigh fifteen hundred pounds. They can tear through walls and rend through steel. Their attacks are considered heavy weapons.

Attributes: Agility d4, Smarts d4, Spirit d4, Strength d12, Vigor d12+1

Skills: Fighting d8, Intimidation d8, Notice d6

Pace: 6; Parry: 6; Toughness: 16(4)

Special Abilities

Claws: Str + d6 (heavy weapon)

Bite: Str + infection. (heavy weapon)

Fearless: Zombies are immune to Fear and Intimidation.

Undead: +2 Toughness; +2 to recover from being Shaken; called shots do no extra damage (except to the head).

Weakness (Head): Shots to a zombie’s head are +2 damage. A called shot to the eyes (-4 to hit) will bypass the tough hide, allowing a normal weapon to harm the Big One.

+2 Size increase. +1 to be hit, +2 toughness

Tough Hide: +4 armor (heavy armor)

 

Smart Ones

It is believed that the smarter you were in life, the smarter you are as a zombie. Smart ones are the remains of people who were unusually smart. They have retained some of their former intelligence now that they are undead.

Attributes: Agility d6, Smarts d6, Spirit d4, Strength d6, Vigor d6

Skills: Fighting d6, Intimidation d6, Notice d6, Shooting d6,

Pace: 5; Parry: 5; Toughness: 7

Edges: Level Headed

Special Abilities

Claws: Str.

Bite: Str + infection.

Fearless: Zombies are immune to Fear and Intimidation.

Undead: +2 Toughness; +2 to recover from being Shaken; called shots do no extra damage (except to the head).

Weakness (Head): Shots to a zombie’s head are +2 damage.

Human intelligence: Can do complex problem solving, use firearms and remembers some skills from when they were alive. they each have d6 in a knowledge skill plus a d4 in one other skill they had in life.

 

#The Tattoed One (Seasoned 20 xp)

Bill Roberts was a highly intelligent paranoid schizophrenic murderer who had covered himself in tattoos of protective sigils. As a zombie, he has the ability to control other zombies and has even been able to create new ones (see the small ones and the tall ones).

Attributes: Agility d8, Smarts d8, Spirit d6, Strength d8, Vigor d6

Skills: Driving d6, Fighting d8, Intimidation d6, Investigation d6, Knowledge occult d6, Knowledge crime d6 Notice d8, Repair d4, Shooting d6

Pace: 5; Parry: 6; Toughness: 7

Edges: Level Headed,

Special Abilities

Claws: Str.

Bite: Str + infection.

Fearless: Zombies are immune to Fear and Intimidation.

Undead: +2 Toughness; +2 to recover from being Shaken; called shots do no extra damage (except to the head).

Weakness (Head): Shots to a zombie’s head are +2 damage.

Leader of the regional zombies. He is a smart one who has retained most of his memories and learned how to communicate with and control other zombies.

 

Little Ones

The young versions of the Tall Ones, these are natural predatory hunters with sharper nails and teeth and tougher skin. They can speak rudimentary words and are good at stealth.

Attributes: Agility d10, Smarts d6, Spirit d4, Strength d8, Vigor d6

Skills: Fighting d8, Intimidation d6, Notice d8, Stealth d6, Tracking d6

Pace: 8; Parry: 6; Toughness: 8(2)

Edges: Quick

Special Abilities

Claws: Str +d4

Bite: Str + infection.

Fearless: Zombies are immune to Fear and Intimidation.

Undead: +2 Toughness; +2 to recover from being Shaken; called shots do no extra damage (except to the head).

Weakness (Head): Shots to a zombie’s head are +2 damage.

Tough Skin: +2 armor

Small: Size -1. -1 to hit, -1 to toughness.

 

Tall Ones

These are the adult versions of the Little Ones. They are tall, standing nearly seven feet tall, very lithe and strong. They are excellent hunters and very good jumpers. Their skin is tough enough to resist most small arms fire. Most eerily of all, they can speak rudimentary words. Over time, they develop into increasingly muscular creatures.

Attributes: Agility d12, Smarts d6, Spirit d6, Strength d10, Vigor d10

Skills: Fighting d10, Intimidation d8, Notice d8, Stealth d6, Tracking d8

Pace: 8; Parry: 7; Toughness: 13(4)

Edges: Fleet Footed, Quick

Special Abilities

Claws: Str + d6

Bite: Str + d4 + infection.

Fearless: Zombies are immune to Fear and Intimidation.

Undead: +2 Toughness; +2 to recover from being Shaken; called shots do no extra damage (except to the head).

Tough Skin: +4 armor, +2 Toughness

Jumping: They can jump 1D4+3” up, or 1D6 +5″ lengthwise

Infection: Those infected by this type, change into another one like it rather than a basic zombie.

Weakness (Head): Shots to a zombie’s head are +2 damage.

 

#Randy(Zombie)

Once an army reservist like Michael, Angel and Saul, he was turned and started to haunt Michael for abandoning him. He is a modified smart zombie that can be used as an example for a unique zombie to be used as a recurring villain.

Attributes: Agility d6, Smarts d6, Spirit d4, Strength d8, Vigor d6

Skills: Fighting d8, Intimidation d6, Notice d8, Shooting d6, Knowledge Military d6, Tracking d4

Pace: 4; Parry: 6; Toughness: 7

Edges: Level Headed

Special Abilities

Claws: Str.

Bite: Str + infection.

Fearless: Zombies are immune to Fear and Intimidation.

Undead: +2 Toughness; +2 to recover from being Shaken; called shots do no extra damage (except to the head).

Weakness (Head): Shots to a zombie’s head are +2 damage.

Human intelligence: Can do complex problem solving, use firearms and remembers some skills from when they were alive. They each have d6 in a knowledge skill plus a d4 in one other skill they had in life.

 

Well, what do you think? I love the series and could see running my own stories in the world created by the We’re Alive folks!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: