Montag, Oktober 08, 2012

The Undead Dwarf Massacre - Undeath Rules (RSP-Karneval)

Der erste Folgeartikel zum Oktober-RSP-Karneval-Knüller The Undead Dwarf Massacre (TUDM). Den ersten Artikel mit einem Überblick zum Setting und Hausregeln findet der geneigte Zombiejäger hier.
Hier geht es um den Untod und was er mit Spielercharacteren anstellen kann.

Click here for the introductory article The Undead Dwarf Massacre!


These are alternative house rules for Undeath and the Undead. Be sure not to mix up existing rules with The Undead Dwarf Massacre, unless you're opting for a grim, gruesome and gritty horror style. This old school halloween horror madness blends dark humor with zombie guts and elf-brains in the tradition of pulp novels and exploitation movies. The protagonists are either heroes, or normal people who have to shrug-off their normalcy in the face of abysmal horror. Most of them are going to die before their life has ended. So, what does undeath mean for player characters?

Dead Bodies, and their remains are animated by the Evil Undead Dwarf's magic power, and are controlled to do his bidding, and fulfill orders of the Undead Dwarf's Henchmen.
Undeath is not contagious, instead dead bodies have to be animated by magic. Unfortunately there seems to be a source of powerful magic that animates the dead of the graveyard of Starshine. And on top of that, the undead minions drag and carry their fresh victims to a place where the spell affects those dead bodies, and brings them into unlife. Will your player character return from the graveyard as a dumb zombie, or retain some intelligence, and skill as a ghoul, or a powerful undead champion? Don't worry, you are going to find out.

1HD Undead

Be sure to use the #1HDattacks house rule stated in the first article. As a reminder: some weapons, and special items grant characters to make a number of attacks per round against 1HD undead (!) equal to the #1HDattacks score listed with the weapon, or item. These do all add up, and are cumulative with multiple attacks of higher level fighters, as well.
Is this madness to you? It is only the beginning.

They all come back, if affected by the Undead Dwarf's magic spell: rabbits, cats, your pet dog, squirrels, and cute tiny hamsters (search for pictures on the internet yourself.) They count as < 1HD undead. Some really big animals may be counted as 2HD or more. Let the DM be the judge when your horse is slain and returns to feed on his owner's hand.

1HD AC 8 #Att 1 dmg 1d4 Save 17 Move 6 XP 15
Zombies are slow, dumb, animated corpses. They can follow simple objectives, but cannot solve puzzles. They need orders. They can use objects only if ordered to do so by a controller and only as long he concentrates on the individual zombie. Other than that they can move, follow, and attack. They pursue and fight as long as they are aware of their victims, and until they drop down due to the damage taken. They may attack, and bite, and eat parts of their victims, but do not actually feed on them. It may be a sort of reflex: bite and nibble away to see if its edible.

They may eventually turn into skeletons which are easier to control, lack the cumbersome flesh and are therefore faster.

1HD AC 8 (or armour) #Att 3/2 dmg 1d4 (or weapon) Save 17 Move 9 XP 20

Ghouls are slightly more frightening. They're not just animated dead bodies, they retain some sort of intelligence and can work together to get things done. In fact, they are more close to actual unlife than zombies or skeletons. Level characters are more likely to turn into ghouls, and keep some of their abilities, which is favourable to the Undead Dwarf. He can use some fighters, or undead spell-casters.
Ghouls feed on the dead, and almost dead bodies, can pursue, solve puzzle, and use objects (weapons, tools, keys) although they are still slower than most people. They do not need orders, and can care for themselves. They may retreat or flee, and try another tactic if opposed by strong enemies.

1HD AC 8 #Att 1 dmg 1d4 or weapon Save 17 Move 12 XP 15
Skeletons are dumb animated corpses without the flesh. They are easy to control since the flesh does not interfere with movement. Glowing eyes and evil chuckles are all part of the show if the Master makes use of simple cantrip spells, or something to that effect. Usually skeletons can carry out simple orders, are fast, and sometimes use weapons, but usually attack with their bony fingers. Some skeletons wear armour, and carry a shield but effective use of both needs concentration by the Master.

Skeletons may scare, round up, and fight the living, and will kill them if they fight, but unless they have special orders they couldn't care less. They carry dead bodies to the graveyard.

The Undead Dwarf's Spell of Undeath

When the characters come under the Undead Dwarf's Spell of Undeath they have to make a saving throw. Remember: to be affected by the spell they have to be dead. Your character is dead when the spell affects him. The saving throw determines what kind of undead the character turns into.

Characters are turned into ghouls if they succeed at a saving throw, and start undead life with HD equalling their level, and are able to use their attack rolls, and motor skills. INT, WIS, CHA are all halved.
On a failed saving throw they are animated as zombies (and may turn into skeletons after a while of decay.)

Ghoulish player characters are controlled by the DM. There is a very slim chance that a ghoul or undead champion can be brought back to life but it requires a magic ritual. You character may want to look out for clues, just in case.

Undead Champion

If the saving throw roll is a natural 20, and a success the character turns into an undead champion with all his skills, and abilities plus some new special powers (1d8):
1 Level drain on successful touch attack.
2 Ethereal form, immune to normal weapons.
3 Ethereal form, become corporeal if desired (takes one round). Immune to normal weapons.
4 Cause fear (20' radius). Characters must save according to their Scream Type.
5 Feed on life. All hit points of damage caused to living creatures are added the the undead champion's temporary hit point total. Any hit points exceeding the normal total are lost after 1 turn after a fight.
6 Hide in Darkness, and become nearly invisible.
7 Walk in Shadows. May dive into one shadow, and come out another. (Do I hear evil DM chuckle?)
8 Roll for two different powers.

All undead champions can cast animate dead (re-animate undead) once per turn, and give orders to them. The maximum number of controlled undead with orders is equal to the champion's HD. A 5HD (former fifth level) undead champion can control 5 undead with individual orders.

Random Encounters

Ah! The pain! But you asked for it. Here are some random encounter tables. Do not overuse them. I know it feels tempting with all those multiple attacks, but there are going to be plenty of undead roaming Starshine before a few nights are over. You'll have plenty of time to roll all you want (attacks and random encounters, that is.)

Strange creatures roaming Starshine at night
1 1d4 zombies dragging a cart full of dead bodies.
2 1d4 skeletons fresh from the grave, not quite sure what to do.
3 1d4 ghouls recently animated, memories of wine, music and women still lingering in their dull brains.
4 A zombie puppy.
5 1d12 of undead mice.
6 2d4 skeletons ordered to scare, and chase victims into the arms of 2d6 zombies.
7 Just some tiny little animal. A live one.
8 A lone adventurer turned burglar, looting houses and dead bodies.
9 An insane tourist who came to find peaceful distractions at Starshine's night market, and now mutters about the Dead Ones of Old, and prophecies of a dark kingdom yet to come.
10 A stray zombie who lost his way.
11 A 4HD ghoul fighter with the determination to challange any blade-wielding opponent to a fair duel to the death. Will not cheat.
12 Just shadows. Creepy ones: save against Scream Type.

Near the Graveyard
1 1d4 zombies waiting for orders.
2 1d4 skeletons piling up dead bodies.
3 A cruel and bored 4HD ghoul fighter swinging at the legs of zombies and skeletons with his axe.
4 1d4 skeletons dragging dead bodies from one pile, and sorting some of them out near a large vault.
5 1d4 freshly animated zombie tourists still wearing their welcome scarfs.
6 A 3HD undead champion animating 3d6 zombies to help him clear a cabin in the surrounding woods.

Subdual Damage

Make use of Subdual Damage. Really, it is much more fun, if characters get knocked out, dragged to the graveyard, and then get to wake up among a pile of soon-to-be animated zombies, than just getting ripped-apart by ultra-violent undead supersoldiers. They may have to serve as a snack on the way, but what is a lost hand for the opportunity to live a while, and die on another random encounter?

Ghouls and Zombies attacking with limbs inflict half subdual half normal damage, which is okay, they like to feast on the living flesh of knocked out adventurers. Skeletons usually inflict normal damage. Undead champions inflict normal damage, unless they have orders, or their own motiviation to catch victims alive.

Read more on The Undead Dwarf Massacre in the follow-up articles!
More Encounter Tables (Yes!)
Maps (So cool!)
Adventure Hooks (You want some plot meat for your zombie fest?)
Gorgeous Ladies/Handsome Guys (More on my favourite horror house rule since the White Shirt Rule!)
More Weapons, and magic items! (Wow!)
Rules on Insanity (Creepy!)
Splatter Effects! (Maybe...)
Undead villains like the Undead Dwarf's Henchmen! (Yeah!)


Roger ( hat gesagt…

Great Job, again! Do you already know how many parts this series will be?

lars_alexander hat gesagt…

Thanks! I don't know how many parts the series will have by the end of October, but I want all the topics covered: maps, adventure hooks, stats and descriptions, and house rules, so that it can be played as one-shot adventure or mini-campaign on Oct 31st.