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All Tomorrow's Zombies
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 09/08/2017 08:44:54

In space nobody can hear you scream... but that doesn't mean that there isn't something to scream about. Although they can arise anytime, anyplace, in some ways zombies are science fiction, with Frankenstein being regarded as the first science fiction novel. This book is the science fiction sourcebook for All Flesh Must Be Eaten, with new rules for creating characters and playing in science fiction settings, five full-blown settings and a whole bunch of other ideas. After explaining this, Chapter 1: Introduction runs through the standard conventions of presentation, and provides an extensive list of books and films to mine for inspiration.

Next, Chapter 2: Starship Shamblers provides specifically science fiction rules to enhance your game, starting off by defining various technology 'types' or broad classifications - biotech, cybertech, space travel, nanotech and the far reaches of space opera - that can be used to categorise your game. It then looks at character creation, noting that standard characters do just fine but you may want cybernetic enhancements or something, ot play a non-human alien sentient. There are rules to accommodate all that, along with new skills, qualities and drawbacks appropriate to a science fiction game. You can even be a robot - at least you won't have a 'brain' for zombies to munch on... and this presents the interesting concept of running a game where it's robots rather than zombies which are on the rampage!

And now on to the full-blown settings. The first is cybertech mixed with Mad Max. Then there is one in which nanotech gone rampant leads to the fall of nations and a resurgence in religious belief, followed by an Aliens style setting in which the party is sent to investigate a colony which has gone silent. Another is purely virtual, taking place in a digital realm... but you cannot escape zombies even there, and finally there is a space opera setting complete with warring empires. Plenty there to choose from - but if that's not enough, there is a selection of other ideas that will need further development but could do nicely for a short-term game even if you don't want to build them into a full campaign.

There's no reason to leave the zombie menace in the past. Encounter them in the future, on other worlds as well.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
All Tomorrow's Zombies
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Worlds of the Dead: A Collection of Deadworlds
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 09/05/2017 08:37:19

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.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Worlds of the Dead: A Collection of Deadworlds
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City of Heroes RPG Quickplay Pack
by Jonathan S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/01/2017 15:34:25

I have played both CoH and CoV, either one was good. Placing it in RPG form is an undertaking, although I find some areas to be unrefined but that happens at the beginning of each game and their collective genre. The skills section seems to lack something since they cover so much. I suggest for each skill to have 2-3 subskills that a player is able to utilize well.

Hope this helps if it can, otherwise the game is heading a good direction.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
City of Heroes RPG Quickplay Pack
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Mystery Codex
by Drake S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/01/2017 13:14:45

This game is fucking amazing, I really enjoy playing it with my friends and find it to be a good way to calm myself



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Mystery Codex
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The Waking Dead
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 07/19/2017 10:04:02

This contains all you need to have a go at All Flesh Must Be Eaten apart from a few polyhedral dice and some ready-meals for your zombies... er, I mean players. It starts of by explain what is one of the main selling points of this game line: it has no setting! That sounds a bit odd, but what it means is that if you want to play a game about zombies, you can set it anywhere - past, present, future, fantasy, whatever - using these simple rules and maybe one of the array of setting books that are available. The adventure here is set in contemporary America, and it's suggested that for best effect the GM (or Zombie Master as he is known in this game) does not let on that the group is about to play a game about zombies, just hand out the Archetypes provided!

Next comes an outline of the rules - a version of the Eden Studios Unisystem - beginning with the concept of Archetypes, the way in which player-characters are described in the game. There are brief notes on what the character sheet means, then a collection of six - a doctor, an FBI agent, a gang banger, a good ol' boy, a marine and a soccer mom - are provided. A motley lot, perhaps, but the idea is that they are thrown together by circumstance and have to work together to survive. They are followed by some more rules stuff: task resolution, luck, getting scared, and of course combat.

Then comes the adventure itself, 'The Waking Dead'. It starts with our motley crew waking up in hospital after a mysterious disaster of which they seem to be the only survivors... and things go downhill from there. It's well constructed to both provide a thorough introduction to the workings of the game and be quite exciting in its own right! Neatly, it starts off pretty linear and becomes more freeform as it goes on, allowing the Zombie Master to take it in any direction - and use it, if desired, as a campaign starter rather than merely an introduction to the game.

The party awakens without equipment or indeed clothes apart from hospital gowns (the sort that leave your rear end hanging out!), so they will have to scavenge as they explore. There's an added twist that they are having strange dreams which may lead them to safety, but there are decisions to be made here, which sets this above many introductory adventures with a real feeling of accomplishing something, of getting somewhere.

If you are new to All Flesh Must Be Eaten this makes an excellent introduction. Likewise, if you want to kick off a contemporary zombie game in great style, this will serve very well - just add in whatever you need to steer the action in the right direction!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Waking Dead
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ARRGH! Thar Be Zombies!
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 07/06/2017 08:40:48

Diving straight in with Chapter 1: Ahoy Matey, we are first regaled with some atmospheric fiction in which the 'pirate lingo' is mercifully kept where it belongs in direct speech followed by an Introduction that sets out the purpose of this book: to provide an age-of-sail setting for All Flesh Must Be Eaten focussed firmly in the Caribbean. As such, Voodoo features large (it is, after all, one of the better-known ways to create zombies) and overall there's a greater air of magic here than in other published settings. This chapter also contains plenty of general seafaring information, or at least the terminology to allow you to sound like a seasoned seadog as well as a timeline and some pointers to inspirational materials.

Then Chapter 2: Ye Pirates and Privateers deals with the fine detail of what is and isn't piracy including a history of piracy through the ages, as well as covering chatacter creation. There is also an interesting discussion about why people choose to be pirates in the first place. Although the main focus of this book is the Caribbean, there are some notes on Asian piracy as well. Another gem in this chapter is some detailed swordfighting rules aimed at duelling, but excellent for anyone wishing to swash their buckle a bit. It's followed by Chapter 3: Th' Tools o'the Trade which provides everything the well-dressed pirate needs: weapons, equipment, ships (a bit essential...) as well as notes on life at sea and ship-to-ship combat. There's also a mechanism for generating crews for your ships - there are far too many folk on a sailing ship for you to create them all individually. Then Chapter 4: Vodou provides all you need to enable Inspired characters to perform Vodou miracles. Note that the Abomination Codex for C.J. Carella's Witchcraft has a different way of presending Voodoo within the UniSystem game mechanics: you can choose which version you prefer.

We then move on to three main settings and one chapter of less-developed ones. Chapter 5: Voodoo Queen of the Shrouded Isles. This involves a dark tale of revenge that has resulted in a veritable plague of zombies carried worldwide by sailing ships. The party is likely on a ship roaming the waves looking for plunder and zombie-free sanctuary ashore in equal measures. There are a few adventure seeds, but that's what it boils down to... with perhaps the chance of finding out how to eliminate the zombies for good and all.

Chapter 6: The Black Fleet tells of the fate of a fleet of treasure ships that had amongst their loot an artefact they really ought to have left alone. Cursed, they vanished... but occasionally appear to haunt the high seas. With background and adventure ideas aplenty, this is possibly the closest to Pirates of the Caribbean if you want to bring that style into yourg game.

In Chapter 7: Islands in a Dark Sea, Galileo - armed with some of Da Vinci's drawings - fled the Inquisition and discovered space travel, which he called the Dark Sea. Now the party has the chance to explore this exotic setting, that knows the limits only of your imagination. There are loads of ideas to get you started, and this is a magnificent opportunity to mix in all manner of materials from other sources...

Finally, Chapter 8: Pieces of Eight gives brief outlines of some possible Asian settings. Mixing in elements of Enter the Zombie would be appropriate here. There are Vietnamese and Chinese possibilities - or the party could be European seafarers exploring the exotic East. Here you'll find several story ideas, a timeline and some Asian weapons to supplement (or replace) the ones introduced earlier... and of course plenty of zombies. If that's not enough, an Aztec setting is also provided complete with its own backstory and ideas.

Pirates and zombies. What is there not to like in that mixture? For groups who like either, this is well worth exploring.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
ARRGH! Thar Be Zombies!
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The Book of Archetypes 2
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 06/30/2017 08:10:15

Diving straight in with but an almost-hidden note that the archetypes herein were created by fans of the game (and may not be completely compatible with the rules) - it's buried in the credits page - we have a collection of forty-three new archetypes. Most are contemporary folk who could easily get swept up in a zombie apocalypse, but there are a few from the Old West and other settings if that is what you are playing. They're useful if you need a character in a hurry (maybe the zombies got your last one and you don't want to spectate for the rest of the session) or maybe to give you ideas for characters if you are wondering what to play. They also make good detailed NPCs if needed. There are also a few new pieces of equipment and rules additions at the end.

Each archetype - neatly provided on a single page, especially useful for PDF users who can print just the page they want - contains a full-length sketch of the character, their game statistics and a delightful in-character monologue that tells you enough about them to be able to get a good feel for that character. If you intend to play one, just about all you need do is supply a name. Naturally, you can tweak them a bit if they are not precisely what you want.

The archetypes are quite diverse - administrative assistants, bomb squad, a hacker, a lunatic who's escaped from the nearest asylum... and many more. Some of the backstories they tell could suggest adventures or even a whole campaign if you are so minded.

The new equipment is based around items that some of the archetypes have with them, providing the extra information that you need to use them in game. Likewise there are new Chi abilities, qualities/drawbacks and so on to explain some of the entries... but of course they can all be used for characters of your own devising as well.

If you go through characters real fast or see the need for a large supporting cast of NPCs, this book is likely to come in very useful.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
The Book of Archetypes 2
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Dungeons & Zombies
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 06/29/2017 08:46:29

Opening with fiction detailing a typical fantasy dungeon delve encounter with zombies (and its aftermath), Chapter 1: Delving Down talks about how everybody - not just players of role-playing games - indulges in fantasy from time to time, but of course gamers do so more intensely than most. Here however, 'fantasy' is defined more precisely, it's the swords and sorcery sort, the kind where you go dungeon delving... only in this book there are, of course, plenty of zombies added to the mix.

These opening remarks are followed by Chapter 2: Swords, Sorcery and Shambling which explores character creation for heroic fantasy All Flesh Must Be Eaten games, as well as new rules and game mechanics necessary to make the game work in this genre. This is followed by no less than four settings taking you on a wild trip through 'classic' role-playing fantasy, literary fantasy J.R.R. Tolkien-style, the world of King Arthur, and an Asian-influenced one, as well as a complete dungeon delve ready to run. As you can imagine, apart from Chapter 2, this material is intended for the Zombie Master rather than the players.

In Chapter 2, we meet two new character types: the Adept and the Talented Hero. The Survivor and Inspired character types are also appropriate for this style of play. The Adept is the wizard or mage, leaving Inspired for clerics. As it's fantasy, you can also play a non-human, and there's a system of Profession Qualities to enable you to set up the classic 'character classes' if you want - or just build a character normally with the skills you want him to have. There are some new Skills appropriate to the genre, and the timely reminder that zombies can, like player-characters, be of any race available in your setting, not just humans. Some new combat rules are here too, dealing with the use of the mediaeval-style weapons and fighting styles common to fantasy. There is a basic magic system here as well, but those after more detail are referred to two other Unisystem games - Armageddon and WitchCraft - although there is quite a lot to be found here, including some excellent Necromancy spells that will let the practitioner raise and control zombies...

The chapter rounds out with some thoughts on creating fantasy settings and a few archetypes, then we move on to the provided settings, beginning with Chapter 3: Dead Gods and Demon Lands. This is a grim pulp fantasy setting where heroes go adventuring primarily because that's their way of having a good time. Think Conan the Barbarian here. Plenty of background to aid you in bringing it all to life... and three different kinds of zombies to harass honest adventurers as they go about their business. Several story ideas finish this chapter, along with a few more Archetypes.

Next is Chapter 4: Dawn of a Dead Age. This is an epic fantasy setting, where the deeds of a small band has great effect within the vast sweep of the struggle between good and evil, determining the very fate of the land. This setting is all about an ancient and terrible power reawakened, how it threatens the land and how it is stopped... by the party, of course. A vast sweep of background underpins the rise of a Dread Lord and provides the means to defeat him once more, assuming the party can find said means, that is. His rise is what has caused the zombies, hopefully his defeat will eliminate them. Rather than story ideas, there's a campaign outline that lays out the epic tale you'll tell in this setting.

In Chapter 5: Death of the Round Table, zombies are introduced into the world of King Arthur. There's a discussion of what that world really is, from the historical possibility to the romantic fantasy it became - you pick what kind of setting you want. There's a code of chivalry to which every knight ought to subscribe, and a fair bit of background to help you set the scene. As for the way this setting's zombies are created... shall we say that the chalice from the palace has the pellet with the poison? The Round Table has been perverted under the leadership of Mordred, and the party must embark on a quest to put things right.

Then Chapter 6: The Eastern Dead puts an Asian spin on things. This could be with profit read alongside Enter the Zombie, and it brings the flavour of the far east to a mediaeval style fantasy world - with samurai and ninjas and warrior monks mixing it with each other and any zombie unwise enough to raise its head... even if the poor mindless thing is just hungry! A rich and exotic setting is laid out, with background and story ideas aplenty to enable you to make the most of it.

Finally, Chapter 7: The Tomb of Doom provides a ready-made dungeon to explore. There's a bit of background which explains, amongst other things, why zombies have started to appear and provides for the party to get involved very quickly in the action as the zombies raid the town the party is in (for whatever reason they or you come up with). It's not long before they are traced back to an ancient tomb, then it's time to grab your ten foot pole and delve...

If you like fantasy games but want to bring zombies into them, or you like zombies and fancy a fantasy setting for them, this could be the supplement for you. With well-developed ideas that bring the zombies into the very fabric of the settings and scope for epic adventures, it takes zombies firmly out of the classic movie settings they are normally encountered in and empowers a fantasy twist to your game.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Dungeons & Zombies
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The Little Town of Hamlin
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 06/27/2017 08:02:54

Described as an 'appetiser' for All Flesh Must Be Eaten, this is a complete adventure which ought to take one or two sessions to run. As it has a mediaeval timeframe, characters should be generated using the 'Dead at 1000' setting in the core rulebook. It's suitable for a one-off game, or it may be part of a longer campaign in that setting.

The plot is basically a retelling of the traditional tale The Pied Piper of Hamlin, with zombies instead of the rats in the original. The backstory links back to the 'Dead at 1000' setting with the Piper himself having been an acolyte of the fellow responsible for the rise of the walking dead in that setting, now travelling the length of Europe causing his own zombie plagues and then being rewarded handsomely for getting rid of them! A neat little moneyspinner... until he reaches Hamlin. For first of all the town is broke (due to somewhat shady practices on the part of the mayor) and secondly... well, the party is in town.

The idea is that the party arrives a few days before trouble erupts, so they have an opportunity to explore. Why they are there is left up to them (and you), but prominent figures and locations in town are described to facilitate them getting to know the place. There is building consternation as news of advancing walking dead is heard, and the mayor leads the town in making preparations to defend itself. Then the dead come...

When all seems lost, the Piper turns up and offers to lead the walking dead away, for a fee. The deal done, he indeed does so. There's a big celebration, then the next morning at an awards ceremony the mayor is hosting, the Piper arrives in search of his fee - which the mayor cannot pay! The Piper takes his revenge and it is up to the party to set things straight.

It's a neat retooling of a traditional tale, well presented and with plenty of action. Plans of Hamlin and the Piper's hideout are provided, along with plenty of detail about his endgame. This leads to the possibility of further adventure, should you so wish. Appetiser indeed, certainly makes me hungry for more!



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[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Little Town of Hamlin
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Atlas of the Walking Dead
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 06/26/2017 08:25:08

If you ever thought a zombie was just that, a zombie, think again. This book taps into traditions of the undead from around the world, presenting a vast range of different zombies from rotting, shambling brain-eaters that are driven by instinct and can be put down with a shotgun blast to undead raised by arcane (or scientific) means which have a purpose to fulful and won't be stopped until they have done whatever they were sent to do if then...

Obviously, this is a resource for the Zombie Master. It taps in to legends of the walking dead from a multiplicity of cultures, some familiar and others obscure. They are presented with appropriate game statistics, along with ideas for adventures involving them and other new material such as new Aspects culled from the new zombies here and made available to those who like to craft their own undead. Maybe your party has gone travelling, and encounters exotic zombies on their home turf. Or maybe the zombies have come along with living immigrants and can be found in your own neighbourhood along with ethnic restaurants and other more enticing parts of multi-cultural living.

There are a full eighteen different varieties of the walking dead presented here, and each has its own variations. Each comes with atmospheric fiction, game statistics and story ideas. Exotic animated Aztec mummies rub shoulders with Scandanavian draugr... and of course the female of the species is more deadly than the male, certainly when you meet an undead femme fatale. Traditional Egyptian mummies and vampires are also included. And you don't want to meet a gaki, a Japanese 'hungry ghost'...

A lot of the suggested plots involve archaelogical expeditions digging up more than they bargained for, or remains being disturbed during developments and road construction. A few make A Night at the Museum look tame. They all suggest adventures that should keep the party occupied for a few sessions, some could easily develop into a complete campaign. Some fit in with one or more of the settings presented in other books in the game line, others are less-specific or suggest a whole new setting of their own. There's even scope to spin some of them together - perhaps the party specialises in investigating unusual events in museums or at archaeological digs and gets called in to several of the plots from all over the world. That could make a good episodic campaign. Or maybe like the characters in the TV shows Supernatural and The X-Files, they go around investigating mysterious happenings in general.

This supplement provides a wealth of ideas for any Zombie Master, and could prove fertile ground (providing you are up to doing any necessary conversions) to GMs of other systems who want to introduce a range of unusual and well-developed walking dead to their game.



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[5 of 5 Stars!]
Atlas of the Walking Dead
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The Book of Archetypes
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 06/16/2017 08:07:16

Thoughout the core rulebook and all sourcebooks, loads of so-called Archetypes - almost completely developed characters - have been presented, often tailored to fit a given setting or situation. The intention is that they should be used as examples or as a basis for a player-character, especially when the group is eager to start playing or someone turns up late or when a character dies and needs to be replaced mid-game. Here are some thirty-odd new Archetypes (many fan-generated) to pick through and possibly select as required. Add a name, personalise them to taste, and head off to find some zombies to flee from...

There is a cautionary note that numbers may not be quite 'by the book' and that the characters may not be cross-compatible with other Unisystem games, this being an artefact of fan-sourcing the Archetypes. But that's a small price to pay - and if you're obsessive about getting things absolutely correct, by all means play about with the numbers - for such an entertaining group of characters.

Conveniently occuplying a single page each (easy to print out and use as your character sheet), there are full game stats, a sketch and a delightful few paragraphs giving an impression of that character in his own words. They are all quite entertaining - and very diverse: archeaologists, corporate executives, firefighters... even some poor soul who was peacefully game-mastering an RPG for his friends when zombies started coming in the window! There are strippers, a terrorist, a garbage man - men and women from all walks of life, all reduced to the common level of having to survive.

If you don't want to play them they make magnificently well-developed NPCs for your party to encounter - perhaps on the road, or they could wander up to the party's safe enclave and ask to come in. Their reactions could be entertaining... especially when a Zombie Rights Activist comes by and tries to remind them that zombies are people too! Many of the stories these Archetypes tell can be a source of inspiration for an event, if not a whole adventure, in your campaign, too.

A motley assortment of new weapons, armour and other gear are also included, mostly drawn from what the Archetypes have with them. The same applies to the new Skills, Qualities and Drawbacks that are provided here.

Ultimately, there's nothing here that you need, but a lot could come in handy, provided your All Flesh Must Be Eaten campaign is set in the present day. Use as inspiration, and as fresh zombie-fodder when you need new warm bodies in a hurry...



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
The Book of Archetypes
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One of the Living
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 06/15/2017 10:46:51

You're alive, and wanting to stay that way. You believe your brain belongs between your ears, not in a zombie's mouth. This book, the Player's Handbook for All Flesh Must Be Eaten goes some way to aiding your survival. The opening fiction, though, takes a slightly different angle, with the protagonists reminising about their life before the zombie apocalypse, times when exam results and promotions at work (not to mention your love life) felt like life and death. Then Chapter 1: Introduction continues this theme by commenting that plenty of people's initial reaction to this game was 'Cool, we get to fight zombies!' but that they didn't see the potential for a long-running game, just a session of mayhem before they got back to more serious role-playing. To be fair, this game works well in that mode - but if you want, there's scope for more. As well as brains-craving undead, zombies can be a metaphor, a zombie story represents how any society stands or falls based on the decisions of its members... and that chaos is never very far away.

First, though, the rules bits, with Chapter 2: Prey No More providing plenty of new game mechanics - new skills, Qualities (and Drawbacks), and new Gifts for the Inspired and otherwise supernaturally-active folk. Maybe you'd like to document the zombie apocalypse: then the Camerawork skill is for you. If your eye is on long-term survival, Scavenging and Repair might be of more use. There are some Archetypes here as well, as inspiration or ready-made characters.

Next Chapter 3: Making It Up As You Go is a delight for the inner McGyver, providing both ideas and rules for improvising with whatever's to hand with detailed rules for jury-rigging, well, anything. It's followed by Chapter 4: More Implements of Destruction which contains a whole bunch of new weapons as well as ideas for ways in which to terminate those pesky zombies. Pass the nail gun, please. It's not just weapons, though, there is an abundance of useful items of all sorts here.

All material up to here is player-safe, but the following is really for Zombie Masters only (assuming only one person in your gaming group runs the game). Chapter 5: Envy the Dead takes an interesting turn into the psychological and other effects of living through a zombie apocalypse. It's of particular use for Zombie Masters who are looking for a longer campaign and provides loads of ideas for setting up themes, balancing a real world where everyone knows how stuff works with the startling appearance of zombies. What will fail about you as time passes, things you take for granted just won't be there any more. Not just technology but society itself will crumble...

Then, Chapter 6: Blowin' Up Dead Guys provides more than you want to know (especially if you write reviews in your lunch break!) about how rotting and decay affects zombies. There's also plenty about new zombie capabilities for Zombie Masters to build new versions of their favourite weapon: the zombie.

Next Chapter 7: Sunset Falls provides a ready-made enclave of survivors that the Zombie Master can use. Perhaps this is the party's base, or a refuge they come across in their travels. Maybe it is a rumour and the focus of their journey... surely once they get there they will be safe! It is an organised small-town community that has built up its own ways of coping with the zombie apocalypse, complete with well-detailed inhabitants all ready to interact with the party when they show up. It's followed by Chapter 8: The Future is So Dark, which is a collection of six more settings in which you can run your campaign - replete with ideas on what to do in those settings, of course.

Finally, a couple of Appendices. The first discusses the important topic of surviving a zombie outbreak, covering things like picking a good stronghold and getting organised. Players may read this, indeed you might think that they really ought to, as there's lots of sound practical advice! The shopping list of survival items also provides a good resource for the Zombie Master: if they are running out of X you can built a whole adventure about finding more. The second covers government information. If there was to be a zombie outbreak, what would a government say to its citizens, what advice and support would they provide?

There's a lot here for both players and Zombie Masters to consider: it's well worth the getting particularly if you're looking towards a full-blown campaign rather than a night or two of swatting zombies.



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[5 of 5 Stars!]
One of the Living
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Zombie Smackdown
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 06/13/2017 10:48:50

Zombies and wrestling seem an unlikely mix - most zombies want to eat your brains not fight as an entertainment - but somehow this works. Opening with fiction describing the entry of zombies into the pro wrestling circuit, allowing unprecidented levels of mayhem as it is just so darn hard to destroy a zombie and attracting vast TV audiences, Chapter 1: Let the Bodies Hit the Floor talks about the lasting appeal of wrestling as a spectacle and entertainment and the addition of bloodcurdling horror that throwing zombies into the ring accomplishes.

Chapter 2: Rules of the Ring provides the game mechanics you'll need to run wrestling matches including combat moves and some new archetypes. Given that a pro wrestler is an athlete, a new Character Type, the Professional Wrestler, is outlined, leaving the standard Norms, Survivors and Inspired to take the other roles in the wrestling world. This lets you build a wrestler from the bottom up, yet is still compatible with the rest of Unisystem (although remember that pro wrestlers are somewhat larger-than-life regarding their antics in the ring). Naturally this can be applied to a zombie as much as a human being - although if you've a mind to it, you have the makings of a good simulation of wrestling even without the zombies if you fancy that. For those who want to use weapons in the ring (not, of course, legal under the rules...) a selection are provided. Speaking of rules, the rules of the ring are laid out for you along with a description of a wrestling arena. There's plenty more to help you make the bouts as excitng as possible, building up the atmosphere and engaging in plenty of role-play even during a contest as well as when the contestants are out of the ring.

Then on to the settings, beginning with Chapter 3: Babes and Barbed Wire. This is the American televised wrestling circuit with all the show-biz and larger-than-life contenders we know, but with the added twist of zombies. The campaign involves a touring show with an unscrupulous owner. This is followed by Chapter 4: Legendary Masked Men which moves south of the border to explore Mexican lucha libre wrestling. As luchadores are more athlete than body-builder, the fighting styles differ as does the whole style of the campaign: more ring-based with less role-play outside of combat. The last major setting comes in Chapter 5: Land of the Undead Rising Sun, where the zombies take up Japanese-style professional wrestling, a hardcore style that makes the ones explored previously look safe, tame even. These fellows are not martial artists, they are vicious brawlers. With demonic influence beind some, they only get worse. Each provides backstory and a reason for why there are zombies around at all, as well as a cammpaign outline. A further four mini-settings are presented in Chapter 6: And in this Very Ring.

As a wrestling game alone - particularly with the American pro-wrestling setting - this provides an excellent resource, and when you add in zombies (however made) it just adds to the fun. Particularly good for a mix of no-holds-barred brawling and role-playing, that American setting is the one to go for... if it's just the combat you want, the other two are fine as well.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Zombie Smackdown
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All Flesh Must be Eaten Revised
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 06/12/2017 08:35:57

The revised version of the core rulebook begins with an Introduction by Shane Lacy Hensley, in which he discusses the popularity of zombies in movies, books and role-playing games. This, like much of the content, is similar to the original core rulebook, but everything is honed by five years of development and feedback. Chapter 1: The Dead Rise continues in similar vein exploring what the whole zombie concept is about, including a fascinating history of zombie stories through the ages. It also looks at some of the innovative rationales that have been used in various films to explain why zombies are all over the place.

The first four chapters are useful for both players and Zombie Masters, but the last two are appropriate for the Zombie Master alone. Chapter 2: Survivors covers character creation using the Unisystem rules. Archetypes are provided if you don't want to grind through the entire process, but if you do it starts with Character Types (which lay out guidelines for the rest of what's needed), then you need to sort out Attributes, Qualities/Drawbacks, Skills, Metaphysics (if any magical or superpowers are available) and Possessions. There are three Character Types: Norm (like you or me), Survivors (extraordinary characters stronger and smarter than normal), and Inspired (complete with supernatural powers). Those seeking a scary game should opt for Norms, or you might prefer a mix of Norms and Survivors providing character balance isn't important to your group. If you really want to take the fight to the zombies, go for Survivors or a mix of Survivors and Inspired (who have the same number of build points, just distributed differently). Whichever you choose, you get various build points to use to create the characters themselves using a point-buy system. There are plenty of details and examples to help you through the process.

Chapter 3: Shambling 101 covers the rules you need to play the game (task resolution, combat, character advancement and so on). If you're already familiar with Eden's Unisystem you can skim through this, if you're new to it you will soon find it all falling into place... even those new to role-playing should not find it too much of a challenge although it helps if you have someone more knowledgeable to helo you get started. Then Chapter 4: Implements of Destruction provides the equipment and weapons characters need to survive.

In Zombie Master territory, Chapter 5: Anatomy of a Zombie discusses what zombies are like, providing a wealth of options to help you make your zombies distinctive. Depending on the nature of your zombies, they may have different vulnerabilities - perhaps a head shot doesn't do the trick, they have to be dismembered and burned before they'll stay down. Good for catching out those players who have seen loads of zombie movies and think they know it all. They way they 'feed' and how (if) they can infect others are also discussed. Finally Chapter 6: Worlds in Hell provides a full eleven settings in which to stage your very own zombie apocalypse. Each one includes an underlying rationale for zombies being there and plot ideas galore to get you started. Most are contemporary/near future, but there are also World War 2 and even a mediaeval setting to choose from as well. This is one of the great joys of this game: the only constant is that you have zombies - how they are created and what they are like is left to your discretion.

At the end of the book there are some excellent summary tables encapsulating all the information that you need to create and play characters (or zombies for that matter) as well as conversion notes for those who want to play using the D20 Modern ruleset instead of Unisystem.

You may have been wondering why a revised core rulebook was needed. There are no real changes to content but everything's been streamlined, honed, made more player-friendly without losing the appeal of the original. Be it a one-off game of gory mayhem or a campaign that you are planning, this will set you off on the right path. Good luck avoiding the zombies...



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
All Flesh Must be Eaten Revised
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Fistful o' Zombies
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 06/10/2017 12:30:25

A Fistful O'Zombies is a sourcebook which presents a fusion of zombies with classic Wild West themes. Chapter 1: Go West opens with a standard but well-told tale of a bounty-hunter in Texas, a tale that turns south when he bites off rather more than he can chew... then comes an Introduction that explains that zombies are all very well when you have a Uzi or a flame-thrower, but when all you have is a six-shooter, well, that separates the men from the boys. Indeed, that's what the Wild West is all about (fictionally, at least, and like previous sourcebooks, we're sticking to the cinematic): personal achievement, standing up against the odds and either surviving or going down in a blaze of glory. 'The West' is defined not only by that but by geography - North America west of the Mississippi (with Mexico thrown in for good measure) and the 19th century as a time-period. This is the Wild West of the movies, not the Old West of history, however, it's worth bearing that in mind. Of course, even in the movies, there were different styles, from the 1920s white-hatted singing cowboys, through John Wayne-style gritty heroes to spaghetti westerns Clint Eastwood-style - and each of these is presented as a possible setting for your game, along with briefer notes on several themes from the 1980s onwards.

First, though, Chapter 2: The Good, the Bad, and the Dead presents an overview of Western history and the game mechanics necessary for creating appropriate characters, along with sample Archetypes. There are three eras of history to consider, firstly the Old West (1830-1865) where the land is unexplored never mind unsettled, with many strange creatures and only black powder muskets to hold them at bay. Then there's the Wild West (the main focus of this book, 1865-1900), with an explosion of settlers and the advent of more advanced weaponry; and finally the New West (1900-1930), where Indians are less of a problem but gangsters still rob banks and trains - even if they chase them with a Model T Ford rather than a horse! Towards the tail-end of this period, Prohibition kicks in with the inevitable booze-smuggling. There's an overview of history, with the Gold Rush, a war with Mexico and the American Civil War featuring large. Continuous skirmishing with American Indians, the advent of the railways and the growth of the cattle business also made their mark. The law and those who enforced it, the feuds between cowboys and sheep herders and more are also covered here. Then there are a whole bunch of rules to cover particularly Western characters and the skills they need - including using a lasso, riding a horse, fanning your revolver, engaging in showdowns (at high noon or any time of your choosing) and even getting hanged... and there's an array of appropriate weapons to choose from as well.

Chapter 3: Singing Cowboys draws its inspiration from early Hollywood depictions of the West, where implausibly good cowboys never cussed or even shot each other much, and burst into song at the drop of a (white) hat. These are the days of Gene Autry, Roy Rogers, and Dale Evans... and Champion, the Wonder Horse. In this setting, the player characters - indeed the players themselves - are encouraged to sing, and singing does grant additional effects a bit like a Dungeons & Dragons Bard's does. The party must also abide by the Law of the West, written by Gene Autry himself. There are a few other rules modifications and additions to help capture the flavour of this setting. We also learn the reason for the plague of zombies... and it's one that will bring the campaign to a juddering halt once the party figure it out, so this is a setting for a one-off game or very short campaign. Plots are based on the movies, and four are provided for you to use (and reuse). While the underlying comcept is a neat trick, it will annoy some players and bore others: consider your group with case before using this setting.

On to Chapter 4: True Grit. This setting is Westerns, John Wayne-style. Men are tough, standing no nonsense and hard to kill, they also drink hard and tend to look down on women as a 'weaker sex'... although they do get on with American Indians, at least those who are ex-Army scouts or similar. Set around 1880, there's a plausible reason for the presence of zombies and a campaign outline that starts with a normal Wild West game and introduces supernatural elements carefully, quite neat especially if you don't let on to your players that you are running All Flesh Must Be Eaten to begin with.

Next comes Chapter 5: Spaghetti with Meat, a setting that takes its inspiration from the so-called Spaghetti Westerns (think Clint Eastwood). Typical characters are hard-bitten drifters with a shady (although often unrevealed) past, the odd preacher or wise American Indian won't go amiss either. Decide for yourselves who is the good, who is the bad and who is the ugly. Set in about 1865, the reason there are zombies again is a plausible one; and this is coupled with a well-developed campaign outline to involve the party and enable them to deal with the problem - complete with notes on how to extend it beyond the specific instance of zombies that has just been dealt with.

Then, Chapter 6: Dances with Zombies is an intriguing setting in which the player characters are all American Indians, members of the Sioux tribe just after the Battle of the Little Bighorn in 1876 (Custer's Last Stand). Starting with a detailed account of the events leading up to and during the battle, the setting then diverges from history with Sitting Bull conducting a dark ritual that raises the 7th Cavalry (Custer's outfit) from the dead... that wasn't quite what he was aiming for, of course, and once he realises that they are as much of a danger to the Red Man as they are to the White Man, the race is on to deal with this menace. There's plenty of background on Sioux life and customs to help you set the scene, and a detailed campaign outline to get you started.

Finally, Chapter 7: Other Settings provides just that: several other settings complete with brief notes on what sort of adventures you might run there. Perhaps Bloody Muddy, set on a 1870s paddle steamer full of gamblers... or perhaps you'd rather be a bunch of US Cavalry in Here Comes the Cavalry. Adventurous types who don't mind the cold can go North to Alaska. Each has its own rationale for why there are zombies around. There are also conversion notes if you want to use the material herein with Deadlands (or the other way around) - an interesting touch bearing in mind that the creator of Deadlands also wrote this book!

Another great sourcebook, a fusion of two cinema staples, zombies and Westerns, that should appeal to fans of both. Explore new horizons and kill anything that doesn't have a pulse, pardner!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Fistful o' Zombies
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