2-point Physical Quality or Drawback
This Quality/Drawback must be purchased separately
for each sense: sight, hearing, touch, smell or
taste. Normally, the five senses are represented by the
Perception Attribute. Acute or Impaired senses indicate
one or more senses that are higher or lower than
normal for a person with that Perception Attribute.
When bought as a Quality, an Acute Sense gives
the character a +3 bonus to any Perception-related
Test or Task that relies on that sense. If acquired as a
Drawback, an Impaired Sense gives a similar -3
penalty to Perception-based Tests or Tasks.
Some Impaired Senses (hearing and sight in particular)
can be easily corrected in the modern age
through the use of glasses, hearing aids and similar
devices. If the impairment is eliminated by the use of
such devices, the Zombie Master should reduce the
value of the Drawback to 1 point. It is possible to
have more than one type of Acute or Impaired Sense,
or, for example, to have Acute Hearing and Impaired
Eyesight, or a similar combination of senses. For
obvious reasons, a character cannot select both the
Impaired and Acute versions of the same sense.
Variable Mental Drawback
An addict craves a substance and must have it,
even against his better judgement. Most addictive
substances eventually impact on his health. Many of
them are also illegal, and using or purchasing them
may land the character in jail should he be discovered.
Those concerns matter little to the addict, however;
when the craving hits, he can rarely resist it. He
often does things he would normally never consider
in order to satisfy his need, from cheating and stealing
to committing serious crimes to selling his body
or even betraying his friends
When an addicted character hasn’t gotten his usual
“fix,” he suffers from debilitating withdrawal symptoms.
Most mental actions (e.g., any Tasks or Tests
using Intelligence, Perception or Willpower) are at a
penalty equal to the value of the Drawback (so, a
character with a 2-point Addiction suffers a -2 penalty
to most mental actions) until the addict can get
what he needs. The most severe drugs (like heroin)
also produce strong physical effects; such addicts
have a penalty of -3 to all physical actions in addition
to the above penalty on mental actions.
The value of this Drawback is determined by the
severity of the addiction and the relative effects of the
drug or substance. A detailed description of the
effects of different addictive substances would fill an
entire book or more. Chroniclers should adjudicate
the game effects of a “high” on a character. This can
range from a small action penalty for being slightly
“buzzed,” to the complete stupor of a heroin trip. In
the game, as in real life, drugs are dangerous and
unpredictable, and an addict character is often unable
to control himself.
The Addiction Point Value Table gives guidelines
for the value of a given type of addiction. Zombie
Masters should modify these values as desired.
Addiction Point Value Table
Habitual drinking or smoking: 1 point.
Heavy drinking or smoking, light use of marijuana
or LSD: 2 points
Heavy use of marijuana or LSD: 3 points
Alcoholism, habitual use of barbiturates or
cocaine: 4 points
Habitual use of heroin, heavy use of barbiturates
or cocaine: 5 points
Heavy use of heroin: 6 points
Variable Social Drawback
At some time in the past, the character has made an
enemy, or he belongs to a group, race or nation that
automatically attracts the enmity of others. An
Adversary is more than somebody who dislikes the
character, however. He, she or they wish nothing less
than the destruction of the target, either by killing or
The more powerful the Adversary, the higher the
value of this Drawback. Chroniclers should determine
if an Adversary is appropriate to the game in
question. If the Adversary is unlikely to appear frequently,
the Chronicler can reduce the point value or
disallow it altogether. Individuals are worth 1 to 3
points as Adversaries, depending on their resources
and abilities. A normal person would be worth 1
point; a Green Beret or a multimillionaire would be
worth 3 points. An organization may be worth 2 to 5
points, depending on its power. A gang of thugs
would be worth 2 points, the police department of a
city would be worth 3 to 4 points (depending on its
size and competence), and a large national agency
like the CIA would be worth 5 points or more.
The player should have a good reason why his
character has earned the enmity of the Adversary. The
Zombie Master can then weave this enemy into the
plot of the Story in any way he sees fit.
3-point Mental Quality
Some people have a natural gift for producing
astounding works of art, even if they lack formal
training. Geniuses like Mozart and Picasso had the
ability to create true art seemingly without effort. A
character with this Quality has the talent to become a
famous artist. Artistic Talent affects only one form of
artistic expression, such as Painting/Drawing,
Sculpture, Singing, etc. It is possible to buy this
Quality multiple times; each additional purchase
grants the bonuses to an additional type of Fine Arts.
Further, Essence bonuses (see below) are cumulative
Whenever a work of art is created, the character
receives a +3 bonus to all related Task attempts.
Additionally, even if the Task is failed, a minimum of
one Success Level is always acquired -- even a failure
by the truly talented still has artistic merit.
In most All Flesh Must Be Eaten settings, true
artists have very strong souls. A character with
Artistic Talent adds 12 Essence Points to his pool, to
represent the power of his spirit. In some worlds, this
also makes artists more likely to be targeted by entities
that feed on Essence, which may explain the often
tortured existences of true artists.
Variable Physical Quality or Drawback
This Quality or Drawback determines the character’s
looks (or lack thereof). The average person has
an Attractiveness of 0, which means the person looks
plain and undistinguished unless he takes steps to
enhance his appearance (clothing, makeup and poise
always make a difference). Positive values in
Attractiveness indicate pleasing features, while negative
values indicate ugliness, scars, or unpleasant
characteristics. The character’s Attractiveness value
can be added to or subtracted from any Test or Task
that involves making an impression on other people.
In some cases, negative Attractiveness values can be
useful. When trying to intimidate or scare people,
positive Attractiveness values have no effect, but negative
ones count as bonuses! For example, a character
with an Attractiveness of -3 would add +3 to any Task
where intimidating people is a factor.
Note that the physical Attributes of a character
determine exactly how his Attractiveness is
expressed. For example, a character with Strength
and Constitution of 3 or 4 and a Attractiveness of 4
appears extremely athletic, likely tanned from outdoor
exercise, with a well-muscled body. A character
with a Constitution of 1 with the same Attractiveness
rating is probably a delicate-looking, pale person with
almost doll-like features.
Purchasing Attractiveness costs 1 point per level if
bought as a Quality, or adds 1 extra character point if
acquired as a Drawback. After character creation,
Attractiveness can change only by events that modify
the character’s entire appearance, either through scarring
or plastic surgery.
Attractiveness can range from -5 to +5 in humans.
A +1 or +2 make the person stand out in a crowd and
attract attention unless the character somehow hides
his features. At +3 or +4, the character can easily
make a living through looks alone, as a model or
entertainer. At +5, the character would be as comely
as the top models, beauty pageant contestants and
movie stars in the world. On the other hand, at -1 or
-2, the person has homely features, or unsightly blemishes
or scars. At -3 or -4, the character’s features are
downright repulsive. At -5, people will be taken
aback by the character’s appearance; looking at him
will be a source of discomfort. Beings with inhuman
features can have levels as low as -10.
Variable Mental Quality or Drawback
This trait represents the personal magnetism and
leadership qualities of the person, ranging from -5 to
+5. A character with a Charisma in the negative range
is instinctively disliked by most people he meets.
People are naturally inclined to antagonize or avoid
him. Charisma can be added to any Task where the
character is trying to influence other people. Negative
Charisma, of course, reduces the chance that any
attempt to influence people will work.
1-point Mental Drawback
The Clown refuses to take things seriously, and is
always coming up with jokes and wisecracks, even
during the most inappropriate moments. Perhaps the
character is deeply insecure and tries to gain other
people’s acceptance through humor, or he simply
delights in keeping people off-balance with his comments.
The biggest problem these characters have is
that they cannot keep their mouths shut even when
they know a joke will only work against them.
Clowns are generally accepted and liked during situations
where their quirky humor is not out of place
(parties and other social gatherings, or among
friends). Their sense of humor gets them in trouble
during tense and dangerous situations. Another problem
the Clown faces is that people often do not take
him seriously even when they should.
Variable Social Quality
The character has friends or allies who can provide
him with information, warnings and even help,
should he require it. The more helpful the contact is,
the higher the Quality’s point value. For any and all
Contacts, the Zombie Master determines whether or
not the Contact is available at any given time.
Generally, the more time the character has to reach or
get word to his Contact, the more likely the Contact
is to come through.
A Contact that only provides rumors and hearsay is
worth 1 point. If the Contact usually provides reliable
information and will help the character out in small
ways (offering a ride, letting the character spend the
night at the Contact’s apartment), this Quality is
worth 2 points. Actual allies who will help the character
in any way they can are worth 3 to 5 points,
depending on the Contact’s resources.
1- to 3-point Mental Drawback
A Covetous character wants certain things and is
prepared to go to great lengths to acquire them. He
may be motivated by love of money, lust for sensual
satisfaction, hunger for power, or the search for glory.
Whatever he desires, be it fame, fortune or influence,
he will do almost anything to get it, limited only by
any sense of caution or morality he may have -- and
in some cases, not even by that. A Covetous character
usually refrains from breaking his own moral code or
the laws of the land in the pursuit of his goals, but if
a golden opportunity presents itself, the temptation
may be just too great.
There are four types of covetousness, based on
what the character wants: Greedy (money and
wealth), Lecherous (sexually attractive people),
Ambitious (power and influence), and Conspicuous
(fame and renown). It is possible to covet two or more
of those things, but each additional source of desire
adds but a single point to the value of this Drawback.
The Covetous Drawback has three levels of severity,
worth 1, 2 and 3 points respectively.
Level 1: The first level is relatively mild. The character
knows what he wants, and he spends a great deal
of time and effort to attain his goals, but he won’t
break his own rules or those of society to do so. His
desire otherwise dominates his life, however. Most of
his actions should be directed towards achieving his
objective, directly or indirectly.
Level 2: The second level is stronger -- presented
with enough temptation, the character may act even if
it goes against his better judgement or morality. He
may resist if the action he contemplates is truly wrong
and reprehensible -- stealing credit for a heroic deed
performed by a friend, for example -- but resisting
requires a Simple Willpower Test, at a penalty of -1 to
-3 if the temptation and possible rewards are great.
Level 3: The third level is the strongest -- a desire
so strong that it often overwhelms any scruples the
character may have. When presented with temptation,
he can only avoid acting by passing a Difficult
Willpower Test, with penalties ranging from -1 to -5
depending on the size of the “prize.” For a high
enough reward, the character will turn on friends or
loved ones, and even betray his cause or principles.
1- to 3-point Mental Drawback
A Cowardly character is easily scared and intimidated.
Furthermore, he is very reluctant to take any
risks; putting his neck on the line always strikes him
as incredibly foolhardy. Note that this does not mean
that a Cowardly character will not fight if necessary.
Such a character usually tries to stack the odds in his
favor, however, before resorting to violence. He
would have no compunction (except as determined
by other Drawbacks) against attacking others if circumstances
minimized the danger. Acoward can hide
his Drawback from others very easily, as long as he is
not involved in a situation that is clearly dangerous.
Only then may his limitations become apparent.
This Drawback has three levels of intensity, worth
1, 2 and 3 points respectively. The level of the
Drawback acts as a modifier to any Willpower Test or
Task to resist fear, intimidation or bullying. For
example, a character with a 2-point Cowardly
Drawback incurs a -2 penalty to any Fear Test (see
Getting Scared, p. 96).
Level 1: At the first level, the character avoids taking
unnecessary risks, but fights when cornered (or
when he thinks he has the upper hand). Simple
Willpower Tests are necessary to avoid fleeing or surrendering
when confronted by what the character
considers to be superior foes. The same goes for taking
even small chances, like confronting the boss,
asking for a raise, complaining about some problem,
or the like.
Level 2: The second level of this drawback is
stronger. The character needs to pass a Simple
Willpower Test to fight back even when he thinks the
odds are in his favor, and needs to pass a Difficult
Willpower Test to avoid fleeing dangerous situations,
or taking chances.
Level 3: The last level is the worst, requiring
Difficult Willpower Tests to get involved in confrontations
or risky situations even when the character
has a good chance of succeeding. Truly dangerous
or heroic acts are simply impossible; the character
never knowingly or willingly endangers himself, and
may actually even betray his friends if he thinks he
will save himself in the process.
1- or 3-point Mental Drawback
Cruel people enjoy making other people suffer. The
truly evil derive satisfaction from anybody’s pain.
Some people are perfectly normal and nice most of
the time, but when angered or given offense, make
their enemies pay -- and love doing it.
This Drawback has two levels or degrees of intensity.
The second level is best restricted to villains, as
it indicates a serious mental problem that may make
most characters unsuitable for the typical campaign.
As always, the Zombie Master has the final say.
Level 1: This character would never hurt a friend
or a loved one. Enemies, especially those who have
really angered him, are a different matter. He enjoys
inflicting pain (mental or physical) on those he feels
“deserve what they get.” Characters with this level of
cruelty are capable of committing atrocities under the
right circumstances, but will not go out of their way
to find opportunities. This is a 1-point Drawback.
Level 2: This person is a true sadist, and never
passes up the chance to inflict pain on others. Even
friends and loved ones are not safe from him. When
it comes to enemies or those who get in his way, he
enjoys nothing so much as their utter destruction or
humiliation. When no enemies are available, he uses
his “talents” on those around her. This is a 3-point
Drawback; people with this Drawback will rarely
keep any friendships, and will quickly gain enemies.
Level 3: Your a sick mother fucker. (my words level three wasn't in the book)
Variable Mental Drawback
Delusions are beliefs that have no basis in reality.
The character refuses to abandon such beliefs even in
the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary, or
at best comes up with rationalizations to explain away
any contradictions. Some examples are given below.
Prejudice: The belief that a group of people
(racial, ethnic or national) has certain characteristics
(positive or negative). While everyone has some prejudices
in some way or another, a delusional person
staunchly holds to these beliefs. In some cases, the
person refuses to trust or befriend any member of
such a group, regardless of the merits of the individual
person. Such a Delusion is worth 1 to 3 points,
depending on how intense the belief is, how large a
group it applies to, and how it dominates the character’s
life. At the 1-point level, the character could be
an “Archie Bunker”-type bigot; at 3 points, he would
be a rabid white supremacist.
Delusions of Grandeur: This person thinks he is
somebody far greater and more powerful than she
really is. In extreme cases, the character thinks that he
is a historical or mythological figure like Napoleon or
Sherlock Holmes. The more common type has an
exaggerated sense of overconfidence: “I am a genius,
but nobody understands me -- which is why the best
job I’ve held is cashier at a 7-11” (1 point); “I am the
Messiah; prepare for the Second Coming!” (3 points).
Phobia: A Phobia (however defined) counts as a
Delusion, worth -1 to -3 points depending on the
severity. So, claustrophobia would be worth -1 if the
character is uncomfortable in enclosed spaces and -3
if the character is unable to enter an elevator without
suffering an anxiety attack.
Weird Delusions: Any strange belief that flies in
the face of reality. Some examples: “Aliens talk to me
through my wristwatch,” “I have to wear this tin foil
cap so the laser satellites don’t make me kill again,”
“Dogs are the Spawn of Satan, and must be
destroyed.” The value depends more on what the
character does about the Delusion than about the
Delusion itself. For example, if the character in the
last example simply refuses to pet dogs, and avoids
being next to a dog, a 1-point Delusion would be sufficient.
If he tells people about his beliefs all the time,
and keeps pestering any dog-owning friends and
neighbors about the dangers of keeping such monsters
around, a 2-point Delusion would be appropriate.
If he carries his insanity to its “logical” conclusion
and starts hurting or killing dogs, the Delusion is
worth 3 points and he is likely to get in trouble with
the law (assuming any law men are left alive).
Variable Mental Drawback
Those with Emotional Problems react in unreasonable
ways to some situations and problems. The reaction
can be anger, pain or anguish, typically more
extreme than normal. Maybe a traumatic event in this
life (or even in a previous life) has made them this
way. These emotional problems can be triggered by
distressful but relatively ordinary events in normal
life; they prompt a very strong reaction from a disturbed
character. Some situations that can trigger
emotional problems are discussed below.
Fear of Rejection: This person is afraid of rejection,
and when he experiences rejection (or thinks he
has been rejected), he feels hurt and angry. People
with this problem may be afraid to make friends or
approach people they are attracted to, and if their
fears come true, will harbor a great deal or resentment
and anger. This is a 1-point Drawback.
Depression: This character’s emotional problems
make the very act of living seem like a hard chore.
Common symptoms of Depression include sleep
problems (either oversleeping or bouts of insomnia),
severe procrastination (to the point that the sufferer
may lose his job), and a lack of interest in anything.
A character with Depression is at -2 to most Tasks,
and tends to avoid becoming involved in anything.
This is a 2-point Drawback. A severe shock may snap
someone out of this state for a while (a life-threatening
crisis will do it), but the character will sink back
into inactivity afterwards. Certain drugs and psychiatric
treatment can reduce the effect of this problem
(which will also reduce its value).
Emotional Dependency: These types tend to be
“clingy” and overly dependent on others. Once they
make a friend, they want to hang around him all the
time. When involved in a relationship, they are excessively
needy. This behavior tends to annoy people
around them. This is a 1-point Drawback.
Fear of Commitment: Whenever this character starts
feeling too close to somebody, he becomes afraid and
starts pulling back. Maybe he is afraid that if he lets
somebody get too close, they will hurt him, and it’s not
worth the pain. Or perhaps he fears that if he reveals too
much about himself, the other person will see the “real
him” and will be appalled or disgusted. This makes it
very difficult to have a healthy relationship with either
friends or lovers. This problem is a 1-point Drawback.
Overcoming an Emotional Problem: A common
theme in fiction involves characters who in the course of
the plot manage to overcome their flaws. Emotional
Problems can be overcome by characters during play.
Fast Reaction Time
2-point Mental Quality
Unlike most people, who are easily surprised and
blindsided, these quick individuals can often anticipate
their enemy’s moves and counteract them. They almost
never “freeze” in a dangerous situation. In combat, contact
sports or other physical confrontations, characters
with this Quality can act first without needing to check
for initiative, restricted by common sense (Fast
Reaction Time will not help the target of a sniper half a
mile away, for example). This Quality also provides a
bonus of +1 on Willpower Tests to resist fear.
Hard to Kill
1- to 5-point Physical Quality
Characters with this Quality are extremely tough, and
can withstand an amazing amount of damage before
going down. Even after being severely wounded, medical
attention has a good chance of reviving them,
scarred but alive. This Quality is bought in levels. Level
5 is the highest possible for human beings. Each level of
Hard to Kill adds 3 Life Points to the character’s Pool.
Additionally, each level adds a +1 bonus to Survival
Tests (see Survival and Conciousness, p. 112). For obvious
reasons, this is a very useful Quality for Survivors
and the Inspired.
1- to 3-point Mental Drawback
The Honorable character follows a code of honor,
and will not break it lightly, if at all. The more restrictive
and rigid the code is, the higher its value. The
character with the code of honor should almost never
break its rules, no matter what the cause. In a life-ordeath
situation where honor must be ignored, the
character might do so, but even then a Difficult
Willpower Test is necessary to pass the psychological
barriers reinforcing the code of honor. Players whose
characters ignore honor for the sake of convenience
should be penalized for poor roleplaying. The levels
of the Honorable Drawback are discussed below.
Level 1: These characters do not lie or betray
friends or loved ones, or people they respect.
Anybody else, especially people from groups they
dislike or are prejudiced against, are fair game. This
is a 1-point Drawback.
Level 2: This code of honor is more complex, and
applies to everyone, friend or foe. The character
always keeps his word and does his best to fulfill any
promises he makes. He will not betray the trust of
others once he has accepted it. Note that the character
may be reluctant to give his word except in a good
cause, because once it has been given he will abide by
it. This is a 2-point Drawback.
Level 3: This person lives by a strict set of rules
that control most of his actions towards others. In
addition to all the other restrictions above, he will
refuse to participate in acts of betrayal such as
ambushes, striking a helpless or unsuspecting foe, or
cheating in any way. Lying is anathema, and he will
only lie in cases of extreme need. Even then, he will
feel guilty and will not do a very good job at deceiving;
any tasks requiring lying will have a -2 to -6
penalty, determined by the Zombie Master.
1-point Mental Drawback
The Humorless character lacks the ability to laugh
at life, and takes everything with the utmost seriousness.
Other people’s attempts at humor leave him
cold or annoy him. Most people find this facet of his
personality to be unattractive or bothersome. Clowns
and practical jokers most likely select the Humorless
as their favorite target.
2-point Mental Drawback
This character just does not like to work and is
always looking for ways to avoid hard work. This
limits how much he can learn or accomplish in life. A
Lazy character must roleplay an unwillingness to
work, except in situations where the work is extremely
important, and even then he will try to shirk his
duties or select the easiest task. More importantly, the
character has a hard time learning skills, due to his
inability to spend the required time and effort.
When determining and improving skills for a Lazy
character, the character point cost becomes higher
after reaching a certain level. This level is determined
by the character’s Attributes. ALazy but intelligent or
dexterous person can learn a great deal with little
effort -- at least at first. Skills are purchased normally
until their level is equal to the Attribute most commonly
associated with them. Combat and physical
skills would be linked to Dexterity, technical and
scholastic skills would be associated with
Intelligence, and so on. After reaching that level, any
further improvement costs double the normal cost.
Lazy people are unlikely to ever excel at anything.
For example, Gert is a near genius-level woman
(Intelligence 4) who has never had to work very hard
to be successful. She could have been a great computer
programmer, but has instead settled for being a
very good one. Gert’s Computer Programming Skill
can be bought up to level 4 in a normal manner. After
level 4, however, the cost to raise the skill is doubled.
It takes 10 points to raise the skill to level 5, and 12
points to raise to level 6! Indeed, Gert never goes
beyond level 4, too lazy to transcend this limit
1-point Social Drawback
A Minority character is considered a second-class
citizen because of race, ethnic group or religion. He is
a member of a small or disadvantaged group, disliked
by the mainstream. People of the dominant group
tend to act in negative ways towards him; many will
be automatically suspicious, fearful or annoyed at
him for no reason other than what he is. This
Drawback has a 1-point value to reflect the relatively
enlightened early 21st-century America, where people
cannot be denied service in a restaurant because
of the color of their skin (in most places, at least). In
other settings, where prejudice has the full weight of
the law and tradition behind it, this Drawback might
be worth 2 to 3 points.
2 points/Identity Social Quality
Some characters have more than one identity. This
false person comes complete with such records as a
birth certificate, a social security number, and a credit
rating. Only characters with criminal, espionage or
law enforcement connections are likely to have this
Quality, because convincing papers require access to
good forgeries and computer records. Each fake identity
costs 2 character points. Note that characters traveling
under aliases or who have purchased a fake driver’s
license do not need to purchase this Quality.
Each Multiple Identity grants a set of papers and
records that pass all but the closest scrutiny. Most
police organizations will be fooled by the fake identity;
an all-out investigation by such agencies as the
FBI or NSA would reveal the truth.
Nerves of Steel
3-point Mental Quality
A character with this Quality is almost impossible
to scare. Whether he is too dumb or too tough to be
frightened is open to question, but he can keep his
cool even in the face of unspeakable horror. Only the
most bizarre and terrifying situations make an
impression on a fearless character, and even then he
has a good chance of not succumbing to panic. The
character must make Fear Tests only when confronted with the strangest supernatural
manifestations, and gains a +4 bonus to his
roll even then.
2-point Mental Drawback
A particular person or task dominates the character’s
life, to the exclusion of most other things. To
pursue his Obsession, he will go to almost any
lengths (as limited by his morality). He may neglect
other duties, both personal and professional, to pursue
that which fascinates him. The Obsession may be a
person (who may or may not be aware of his feelings,
but who almost certainly is upset about their intensity)
or a task (like getting revenge on somebody, or
performing some important or notorious feat).
2-point Mental Drawback
“They” are out to get you. Trust no one.
Everything is a conspiracy, everyone is keeping
secrets. This character never knows when somebody
is going to turn against him. A paranoid character
expects treachery at every turn, and rarely trusts even
his friends and relatives. Note that in the some
worlds, where secret organizations have run centuries-
old conspiracies, being paranoid is somewhat
healthy. However, a character with this Drawback
sees conspiracies and danger everywhere, including
places where there are none. This makes his stories
and beliefs less likely to be believed, even when they
are true. Paranoid characters often suffer from
Delusions and Emotional Problems (their point values
are determined separately).
2-point Mental Quality
Those with photographic memories have an uncanny
ability to remember things. After reading a book,
they can quote passages without missing a word, and
they almost never forget anything. The Zombie
Master will provide information that the character
would remember whenever it is necessary. Also, characters
with this Quality receive a +1 bonus on any
skill where memorizing facts is useful; most scholastic
skills fall under this category. Furthermore, any
Tasks where memory can play a role gain a +1 to +3
bonus, at the Zombie Master’s discretion.
Variable Physical Drawback
This Drawback covers any physical problems
affecting the limbs of the character. A disabled character
may suffer from limb loss, spinal column damage,
and any number of tragic impairments. The possibilities
are discussed below.
Missing or Crippled Arm/Hand: The hand in
question cannot be used to grab or hold objects. Any
Test or Task requiring two hands is at a disadvantage
(-3 or worse) or simply impossible. This is a 2-point
Drawback. A character with a prosthetic hand can
overcome some of these problems, reducing the
Drawback to 1 point in value.
Missing or Crippled Leg/Foot: The character is
unable to walk or run normally. With the help of
crutches or a cane, he can move at up to one-third the
normal Speed value of the character. Hand-to-hand
combat Tasks are at -2. This is a 3-point Drawback.
Prosthetics can reduce the penalties, increasing speed
to up to half-normal, and reducing combat penalties
to -1. This reduces the Drawback value to 2 points.
Missing or Crippled Arms: Both arms are missing
or crippled. The character cannot use any tools
normally. Some people with this handicap have
learned to use their feet with great skill to compensate
for their loss. This is a 4-point Drawback.
Missing or Crippled Legs: The character is
unable to walk. Without the help of a wheelchair, the
best he can do is crawl or roll on the ground. This is
a 4-point Drawback.
Paraplegic: Both arms and legs are crippled or
missing, or the character is paralyzed from the neck
down. Almost all physical activities are impossible.
A special wheelchair, operated with the neck or
mouth, can help the character move around (if the
unfortunate has access to such instruments).
Someone needs to take care of all the basic needs of
the character, from feeding to changing him. This
highly debilitating trait is an 8-point Drawback.
2-point Mental Drawback
A Reckless character is supremely overconfident
and impulsive, willing to take incredible risks, often
without thinking of the consequences. Most of the
time, he never looks before he leaps -- and gets into
all kinds of trouble as a result. A Reckless character
prefers to act first and think about it later. He says
what’s on his mind with no consideration for diplomacy
or courtesy, rushes into dangerous situations,
and rarely wastes time on second thoughts. Reckless
does not necessarily mean suicidal, however. Acting
on impulse no doubt puts the character in jeopardy,
but doing something that is clearly lethal is not roleplaying,
it’s just stupid.
1-point Mental Drawback
This character is plagued by terrifying dreams that
relive some traumatic experience or are just frightening
and disturbing. Every night, the Zombie Master
may check to see if the character suffers from the
nightmare. This may be done at the Zombie Master’s
discretion, or may be rolled randomly (a roll of 1 on
a D10 means the character experiences a nightmare
that night). On any night when the character is afflicted
by the nightmare, he loses D4(2) Endurance Points
as the result of his inability to go back to sleep.
1-point per level Physical Quality
Some people are innately better at ignoring the bad
things that life (or the unliving) throw at them. This
ability allows the character to fend off the effects of
a particular type of harm. Each type of Resistance
Quality must be purchased separately. Some examples
are presented below, but others may be devised
by Zombie Masters and players.
For Resistance (Disease), the Quality level is
added to Constitution when resisting Contagion
Strength. For Resistance (Poison), the Quality level
adds to any Constitution Test required, and decreases
the damage caused per Turn (to a minimum of 1).
It could also be viewed as an “iron-clad stomach,”
and offer protection against eating bad or “off” food.
Resistance (Fatigue) decreases any Endurance Point
loss by its level (to a minimum of 1 per time period
involved). A Resistance Quality for pain would
decrease the penalties associated with severe
wounds, and add to the Willpower and Constitution
Test necessary to avoid being stunned.
Variable Social Quality or Drawback (2 points
/level, positive or negative)
The character’s level of Resources determines how
much material wealth he has access to. This trait
varies widely. Some levels are described below.
Destitute (-5): The character has no money, the
clothes on his back, maybe ten dollars’ worth of stuff
and maybe a shopping cart. Lucky to scrounge a few
dollars a month.
Miserable (-4): Owns about $100 worth of property
(including the clothes on his back). May live in
public housing, or might be homeless. Lucky to
scrounge $100 a month.
Poor (-3): Owns some $500 in property and lives
in low-income housing. Has an income of $500 a
month or what he gets from welfare.
Hurting (-2): Owns about $1,000 in property, and
lives in a small apartment in a bad part of town. Has
an income of about $1,000 a month before taxes.
Below Average (-1): Owns $5,000 in property
(including an old vehicle, perhaps) and lives in an
apartment. Has a pre-tax income of $1,500 a month.
Average (0): Owns $15,000 in property. Has an
income of $2,500 a month before taxes.
Middle Class (+1): Owns $50,000 in property
(will usually include a house or condominium, not to
mention vehicles). Has an income of $5,000 a month
Well-off (+2): Owns $300,000 in property. Has an
income of $10,000 a month before taxes.
Wealthy (+3): Owns $700,000 in property. Has an
income of $40,000 a month.
Rich (+4): Owns $2,000,000 in property. Has an
income of $50,000 a month
Multimillionaire (+5): Owns $5 million in property.
Has an income of $200,000 a month.
Each additional level adds an additional $5 million
in property and $200,000 to monthly income
Variable Social Drawback
There exists a dangerous and hidden fact about the
character. The more damaging the secret if it became
known, the higher the value of the Drawback. For
example, damage to one’s reputation and livelihood
would be worth 1 point; a threat to the person’s wellbeing
(he might be arrested or deported if the truth
were known) is worth 2 points; if the secret could
cost the character his life, it is worth 3 points.
2-point Mental Drawback
The whole world is the Showoff’s audience, and he
loves to perform for it. He never misses a chance to
cast the spotlight on himself or his accomplishments,
while quickly excusing or covering up his mistakes.
A Showoff loves to get public acclaim, or at least the
respect of his peers. Most of the time, he simply
makes sure people notice him, but on occasion he
might try a bit too hard to attract attention to himself
and his deeds. This Drawback is slightly more complex
than the Covetous: Conspicuous Drawback, and
the Showoff is less likely to betray his principles in
order to hog the spotlight.
2-point Mental Quality
The observant almost always know what is going
on around them, and can react with uncanny quickness
to the unexpected. These characters gain a +2
bonus to any Perception-based rolls to sense trouble
or danger in the immediate surroundings. It is very
hard to sneak up on them; the same bonus applies to
resist any Stealth Tasks to approach them.
Variable Social Quality or Drawback (1 point
/level, positive or negative)
This trait represents the standing of the character in
the eyes of the people around him. It includes any
fame, glory or notoriety the character might have.
Note that wealth and Status are often linked; a character
gets a bonus to his Status equal to one-half his
Resources level (if positive). 0 is middle-class
American; -5 is a homeless person, +10 is a member
of an ancient noble house, a movie mega-star, or the
hero of millions.
2-point Mental Drawback
The Talentless individual is totally lacking in creativity
and artistic talent. Maybe he is too stolid and
practical, or maybe he just doesn’t have the imagination
to do anything artistic. This Drawback does not
just affect his ability in the arts, but also in many
social skills where flair and creativity are necessary.
ATalentless character has a -3 penalty when trying
to do anything artistic. This penalty does not affect
Tasks where other people’s art is judged; many expert
critics are Talentless. When he does try to do something
himself, however, the best he can hope for is a
mediocre result. In addition to the penalty, the character
can never get more than one Success Level in
artistic pursuits, regardless of how high his skill or
roll are. People with this Drawback also make poor
liars, charmers or social butterflies. The same penalty
applies to such skills as Intimidation, Seduction
and Smooth Talking -- a lack of creativity affects the
ability to influence others.
3-point Mental Drawback
A zealot is a person whose beliefs (political, religious
or personal) are so strong that they dominate
his life and behavior. Zealots are willing to sacrifice
anything, including their lives (or the lives of others)
in service to the ideals they hold dear. These characters
are dangerous to themselves and others, and
show a total disregard for the law whenever the law
conflicts with their beliefs.