Murderland Bites!


A roleplaying game of death and zombies for 2 or more players (but I’d say the ideal number is 3-4)

 

The facility was established long ago, hidden away from the world in a place known only to the crows. At first it had no name, but it soon picked one up among those who knew of it- Murderland.  Its mission was to create the ultimate agent of death- and with the creation of the nevermore virus, it succeeded. The virus causes the infected to rot and die, even as they carry on as zombies. You’ve been infected. It won’t be long before you become another one of the mindless abominations that wander the facility even now. Your only hope lies in the main facility- but legions of zombies and countless crows hungry for your rotting flesh lie between you and the chance for salvation.

Murderland is located in a vast and lonely forest full of crows and ravens. The actual facility is located underground beneath a village of locals nestled in the center of the wood, now almost entirely composed of zombies. The inside of the facility is full of cutting edge scientific and medical equipment. Not long ago it was bustling with the constant activity of hundreds of scientists, guards, businessmen, and other staff, although now it is trashed and shot up, occupied by solely by zombies and thousands of crows that have gotten in to feast upon the dying flesh of those infected by the nevermore virus. (This includes your character, by the way…). During play, players will narrate scenes however they want, and are encouraged to add any details to the environment they deem appropriate.

Conflict Mechanics: This game uses conflict resolution to determine the outcome of scenes. The characters intention is always assumed to be either fighting or escaping from the crows or zombies. To determine the outcome of a conflict first determine how many bullets (toothpicks) to use. Each one adds one to the roll, and you have to pick how many bullets to use before you roll. No take-backs, to use a bullet you have to break the toothpick, and there’s no going back after that. After you decide how many bullets to use, add any bonus from your role and add it to your d6 roll. If you get equal to or more than the target number (listed on the chart after the steps of play) you successfully achieve your goal, otherwise you fail in the attempt somehow.

Steps of Play

1.       First, gather the required materials for play: ten toothpicks per player (representing bullets), one piece of beef jerky per player (representing rot, this starts at one and is torn into another piece each time the value rises), a feather (to signify the active player), and at least one six sided dice per player.

2.       Each player picks one of the following roles to define their character. More detail can be added as you see fit, and specifics like equipment or specified skills can be added to taste but have no mechanical impact. Note that more than one player can play each role, and not all roles need to be filled.

A scientist, working directly on the development of the virus or on some other project in murderland. Scientists receive a +1 bonus on escaping rolls.

A soldier, either working for murderland as a guard, or here infiltrate it for some other organization.  Soldiers receive a +1 bonus on fighting rolls.

A subject, either willingly brought into murderland or captured, and subjected to numerous experiments. Subjects receive a bonus on resisting rot.

An executive, in charge of overseeing, funding, or otherwise backing murderland and its activities. Executives receive a +1 bonus on escaping and fighting rolls, but receive a penalty on resisting rot.

3.       Every player rolls one dice. The player with the highest value receives the feather, signifying that it’s their turn.

4.       The active player rolls the dice and compares the value to their current rot (which starts off at one, and rises during play) to determine the challenge they face this round. If the roll is over their rot, the challenge is zombies, if the roll is under their rot the challenge is crows and if it equals their rot they face both.

5.        The active player then frames a scene of their character facing off against the specified challenge (The active players character must face each challenge alone, although they may have other characters present in their scene for descriptive effect only) They then decide to either try to fight or try to escape- at this point another player may spend a bullet to force their choice by describing how one outcome is unavailable. Also, if the active player is out of bullets, they must attempt to escape the challenge rather than fighting.

6.       The player then decides how many bullets, if any, are to be used. They then roll the dice, add the number of bullets spent (as well as any bonuses from the chosen role) and compare the result to the target number of the challenge (Listed in the chart after these instructions). If they roll equal to or over the target number they can narrate a victory. If they roll under they narrate a loss and gain one point of rot. Note that even though you might lose, you won’t actually be able to die until the endgame.

7.       At the end of the turn the player rolls one dice, and if it’s at or above the target number (3 for soldiers and scientists, 4 for subjects, and 2 for executives) they gain one point of rot as the infection spreads.   

8.       Finally, the active player narrates a quick internal monologue or flashback by the character addressing one of the three questions (answer one per scene): How did you become infected? What do you value most of all? Why did you come to murderland?

9.       The active player then passes the feather to the player to their left, and they repeat steps 4-9 until all the questions have been answered by every player, which triggers the endgame.

 

The Endgame

 

1.       Once everyone has answered all three questions the endgame begins. Everyone rolls, and the high roller frames a scene in the main facility at the heart of murderland, where everyone is present. There are three objects of interest in the main facility: the cure (cures you of the infection-probably), the advanced strain (which morphs the character into a raven lord zombie), and the button (which causes the entirety of murderland to be wiped off the face of the earth).

2.       Starting with the player to the feather holders left, each player announces which item they’re going after.

3.       If more than one player chooses the same object they both choose either escaping or combat and roll against each other using their bonuses to that kind of activity (they can also use any bullets they have left). The high roller narrates the outcome of the conflict, which includes them getting to the object first. They may narrate the fate of their opponents, up to and including killing them.

4.       If anyone chose the advanced strain they become an advanced zombie known as a raven lord, capable of controlling the thousands of crows that call murderland home. Everyone left alive rolls against them, using their fighting bonuses and any remaining bullets. The raven lord player receives a +2 bonus on this roll. The highest roller narrates the outcome of the conflict, which may include the fates of all players involved (that is to say, everyone). If the raven lord wins, it most likely kills the other players and becomes a local legend famous for its grisly murders. If the other players win, they can narrate the outcome of the fight and the final outcome is dependent on what other objects (if any) were taken.

5.       If anyone chose the cure, they’re freed of the virus and can return to their lives. However, there’s only enough to cure one person, and it fails to work for characters with a rot of five or more.

6.       If anyone chose the button, murderland enters self destruct mode. Players may attempt to escape with an escape roll against a difficulty of 3. However, if the advanced strain was chosen that fight must be done first, and escaping after that raises the difficulty of escaping to a 5. Regardless of whether anyone escapes, murderland is destroyed and the nevermore virus is contained….unless some of the crows managed to escape….

7.       Finally, any survivors can narrate a short account of their lives outside of murderland. If no one survives, players can narrate a quick news story about the events.

 

Rolls required for defeating enemies:

Name

Difficulty to fight

Difficulty to escape from

Zombies

5 or 6 if you tried to escape last turn

3 or 4 if you tried to escape last turn

Crows

4

5

Zombies and Crows

6

6

 

Combat modifiers for the different roles:

Name

Fighting bonus

Escaping Bonus

Scientist

+0

+1

Soldier

+1

+0

Subject

+0

+0

Executive

+1

+1

Each bullet spent on a conflict

+1

+1