Comments: I am having trouble coming up with a game session that involves the undead. I have been watching movies like Resident Evil, Shaun of the Dead, Zompieland, and a few others to get some ideas. But every time I write it seems to fall flat.
Can you guys help me out here?
Setup: Group has been commissioned by local church leaders to eradicate the infestation of undead that have suddenly appeared in a cathedral that is located in a small vale up in the mountains and most of the inhabitance there have been wiped out.
How do I Make this game fun without constantly throwing zombies and skeletons at them??
Gamer Forge & Terron James Response:
A good thing to remember when writing an undead campaign is how you want to pace it. Do you want a survival to the last running at top speed to get to safety game, an atmospheric scary crawl where the characters are wondering what’s behind every corner, or do you want one where they can feel true power plowing through wave after wave of thoughtless beasties. Here’s some thing’s that came to mind during my mindless rants on the show:
1. Make the story unique and avoid cliché’s. We’ve all played /seen the, “Necromancer spell gone wrong” campaign to death; as well as “opened a gate way to (blank).” Make it fun like that commercial about weeklong blackout causing some milk to go bad and the guy drank it anyway causing him to become “patient zero” and starting the zombie outbreak. Or better yet don’t have a fully fleshed out reason why the dead are raising sometimes these things happen without reason. Leave subtle bread crumbs hinting as to what could have caused it.
2. Pacing will be the key to making this campaign work. You want to set an atmosphere where the players are going to scare themselves. Take your time don’t just drop them in a town with a horde of undead in the middle of town square. Start off with the town being empty make them thing that it is abandoned get them sucked into exploring all the houses trying to figure out where everyone is then when they least expect it BAM! Hit them with a crawling, legless zombie or ghoul catching their healer by surprise.
3. The unknown is your friend. The less you give your players the more intrigued they will become. The element that is going to scare your players more is their own imagination’s filling in the blanks.
4. Show the danger’s in dealing with the undead. Have a NPC come along with them who will die soon into the story and have s/he turn right in front of their eyes. Show them that if you go down or die here you’re going to become one of them.
Other sources to get more ideas:
The “Paranormal Activity” movies are a great example in pacing. (PA2 and 3 don’t watch 1 that one sucked.) Play Silent Hill 2, Amnesia: The Dark Prophecy, Half-life 2 “We don’t go to Ravenholm” chapter, the “Evil Dead” movies are a good way to do a poltergeist, and a good on line vid that talks about horror in video games but is still relevant is Extra Credits “Where did horror go” (http://penny-arcade.com/patv/episode/where-did-horror-go)