The Game: Outlive Outdead
The Publisher: Happy Bishop Games
Degree of Familiarity: None, I'm reading it.
Books Required: Just the one.
I backed this game on Kickstarter a long time ago, and never got around to reading it until now, which is a shame because I'm in it.
My friend Branden was kind enough to give me a theme song, and I like it!
This is a pretty good "breakdown of society" sort of song, though it's got kind of an intimate feel that's appropriate to a zombie story.
This game starts off asking us to consider when in history the rise takes place, and just roll a d10 for it (well, really, you can agree, the GM can choose, or you can roll for it). I'd roll, but I think I want to keep it modern, or maybe late 70s/early 80s punk scene? That'd be fun.
So, we also need to consider Apocalypse stage, which tells us how far into this we are. I'm gonna pick again and say it's "just started," so we've only got a few zombies and the vector of transmission and how to kill them isn't well known yet. As such, I'll skip Vector and True Death because my character wouldn't know them.
Jumping ahead to the actual "create a character" bit, we start with name and background. My character's name is Big Joe. Big Joe is, as the name implies, a large man (6'5" and very wide). He owns a bar call The Teeth; it's rowdy, the crowd is young, and of late the punk scene in Wherever This Game Is Set has gotten big, so The Teeth is getting packed every night. Big Joe used to play drums in a band when he was younger, but this punk aesthetic speaks to him and reminds him of the 60s (figure it's now early 80s). He can't play anymore - he got stabbed in a bar fight and he can't close his hand all the way - but he's here for the younger punks wanting to break shit.
Except now there are zombies. That's...a twist.
Attributes. I have six; Control, Fight, Flee, Hide, Repair, and Scrounge. I figure Big Joe is going to be good at Scrounge, Repair, and Fight, and not so great at Flee or Hide. I start with a target number of 12 and a breaking point of 18 in each (you want low target number, but high breaking point; you want to roll over the first but under the second) and I can subtract points from one to raise another. Hokay then.
I want to drop Scrounge and Repair to 9, which means I'm subtracting 3 from each, meaning I need to raise others by 3. I'll pump Hide and Flee up by 3, just to keep the math easy (which means they're both 15). I'll knock Fight down to 11, but up Control to 14, I guess (I actually kinda think Control should be better, but eh).
OK, now breaking points. They all start at 18, but same thing applies. I'll reduce Fight to 16 (Joe has a temper), and raise Repair and Scrounge to 19. I'll reduce Hide to 16 and raise Control to 20 (he's not great at Control, but he keeps himself under control). That leaves Flee at 18, which is fine.
Talents. This is basically a stunt; it's a break on a target number in a very specific circumstance. I'll take a Control Talent in Intimidation; I get a -2 to Control to scare someone into doing something.
Serendipity: It's a big pink sea mons- no, wait. It's just a little luck-trick I can do. I get an auto-success on a given roll (I assume it's like once a session or something, but I don't see that here). I'll take Not This Time (I prevent a break regardless of the roll).
Setback: A little piece of bad luck I can cause to befall others. That's pretty meta, I think; it's nothing intrinsic to Joe so much as something that just happens. I'll take Distracted (one NPC Zombie cannot act this turn).
Motivations: What motivates Big Joe? Normally you'd have an old motivation (pre-Rise) and a new one, but since in this case the rise just started, if I were playing Joe I'd leave "new" blank or think about what it will be once the situation becomes clear. Joe's old motivation is "give the kids a place to rock out." His new one is "protect the kids." (To Big Joe, a "kid" is anyone under the age of 30.)
Starting equipment: Joe has a pistol, and some alcohol, since it's on the list and Joe owns a bar.
And that's it!