Origins of the Zed-Plague
It started innocently enough. On an otherwise lovely autumn day at a pharmaceutical research facility in Kirkland, Québec, mild-mannered laboratory technician Ivor Goat was bitten by “Chloe”–an adorable but highly contagious rhesus monkey–during testing of the experimental anti-aging virus Z149x. It wasn’t much of a bite, and he thought very little of it.
Within 24 hours, however, Mr. Goat–later known as “Patient Zero”–began to suffer severe flu-like symptoms, coupled with irritability, a blank stare, and excessive drooling. Within 72 hours, despite intensive medical treatment, he was pronounced dead at Lakeshore General Hospital.
A few minutes later the corpse reanimated. The creature groaned once at the shocked medical staff, and then launched into an unthinking murderous rampage against all it encountered, feeding on their very flesh. Those who did not die immediately soon underwent the same hellish transformation.
Such was the first known case of zombification, and the origin of the zed-virus plague While some women and an even smaller proportion of men are resistant to its effects, no one is immune. Today more than 99.9% of humankind has been destroyed.
As Conservative federal governments had warned for years, Montréal paid price for years of strict firearms control and was soon overrun by hordes of slavering undead. The plague defied efforts to contain it, carried by refugees fleeing the city, travelers, and even by visiting members of the Boston Bruins (returning from a particularly brutal away game against the Canadiens–a game which, with the collapse of civilization, will likely forever hold the record for the most penalty minutes for biting).
Once more exhibiting the sort of heavily-armed emergency preparedness and social solidarity evident during Hurricane Katrina, the United States succumbed to the zombie onslaught too. So too did the rest of the Americas, Europe, Asia, and Africa. Only on the small, distant island republics (for which the zed-plague meant, ironically enough, respite from the prior existential threat of global warming) might fragments of civilization have persisted.
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ZoMbIeS is–generally, but not always–a cooperative skirmish game for one to six players, set approximately one year after the first onset of the zombie apocalypse. Each player represents one (or more) of the 0.1%–that is, one of the rare survivors. Amid the ruins of civilization they must find refuge, scavenge for supplies, search for loved ones, seek others with whom they might cooperate, and cling to the desperate hope that somewhere, somehow, there is a safe haven from the undead blight that stalks the earth.
Beware, however! Not only is the world overrun with animated corpses seeking to engorge on the entrails of the unwary, but many of the few surviving humans can be just as deadly. Some would cheat or rob to survive. Others might kill as readily as they would expire any zed. Tuvalu, Vanuatu, or the Maldives are all so very, very far away.
In a game players might have a particular destination to reach or task to accomplish, or might simply be on a search for much-needed supplies. Generally players cooperate to achieve these, but in some cases survivors may have secret personal objectives, or be pitted against each other.
Players must try to achieve your goals while keeping keep their survivors alive–and uninjured, if possible. At all costs they should avoid being bitten, for it is in that way that the devastating zed-virus is spread.
Each survivor may have a number of traits that modify their abilities. Positive traits enhance these, while negative traits impose penalties.
There are four basic types of zombie:
- Shufflers are the most common form of zombie, generally moving at a walking gait but capable of slow bursts of speed. They are constantly driven by their need for living flesh, without which they will slowly grow weaker. They are similar to the zombies encountered in Night of the Living Dead.
- Ankle-biters are zombies that, due to disability during their prior life, subsequent injury, or lack of feeding since zombification, are especially weak and slow. While less dangerous than other sorts, they are still fully capable of infecting a victim with their bite. Ankle-biters resemble the “zombie in the grass” first encountered by Rick Grimes in Walking Dead.
- Runners are especially fast and dangerous zombies. Their speed makes them difficult or impossible to outrun, and their frantic, vicious attacks are especially deadly. These zombies resemble those of 28 Days Later and 28 Months Later.
- Boss zombies are more intelligent than others, having retained some rudimentary knowledge from their previous lives. This zombie is inspired by “Big Daddy” from Land of the Dead.
The actions of zombies are generally determined by the game rules. However, if a player loses all of her/his survivors in a multiplayer game, they may continue play as a boss zombie, or as other survivors.
The zed-virus but does not cause zombification in animals, but can cause illness or increased aggressiveness. At times, therefore, survivors may encounter packs of vicious feral dogs that feed upon survivors and decaying corpses alike.
h/t: Artwork above taken from the comic Zombies: Feast (click pic for link)