Thursday, March 20, 2014

GURPS Magic Notes 18: Zombies

“The Far East Triad lets everyone know they are into human trafficking, but what they really specialize in is what happens with expired goods” - Killian Tarmikos

Basically magical automations. The hungry zombie is just a zombie inflicted by its mage with uncontrollable appetite (since they are re programmable). They are tools, and much of what made them human became fuel and material for creating the magical automation.

The template explains most, or you can just skip it on to the Template Notes. 

Zombies Template

202 points
Attribute Modifiers [-90]: ST+1 [10]; IQ-5 [-100]
Secondary Characteristic Modifiers [58]: HP+4 [8]; Per+5 [25]; Will+5 [25]
Advantages [135]: Does not Breathe (B49) [20]; Doesnt Eat o Drink (B49) [10]; Doesn’t Sleep (B50) [20]; Immune to Metabolic Hazards (B81) (poisons, disease, sickness) [30]; Immune to Pain (B81) [15]; Injury Tolerance (B61) (unliving, no blood) [25]; Unfazeable (B95) [15].

Disadvantages [-345]: Amnesia (B123) [-25]; Appearance (B21) (unattractive) (universa, +25%) [-5]; Bad Smell (B124) [-10]; Cannot Learn (B125) [-30]; Dependency (B130) (Ambient Mana) (Common, Constantly; 1HP per minute) [-50]; Meta-Trait (B263) (Automaton) [-85]; No Sense of Smell/Taste [-5]; Reprogrammable [-10]; Short Lifespan 4 (B154) [-40]; Social Stigma (Valuable Property) [-15]; Supernatural Features (B157) (Pallor, No Body Heat) [-15]; Unhealing (Partial; Repaired by Magic) [-30]; Wealth (Dead Broke) [-25];

Features :
  • Affected by Turn and Control Zombie,
  • Pentragrams and various magical wards
  • No Mental Skills (until they have their sapiens mostly restored), Physical Skills still exist but degraded (half the points)
  • Zeroed (Legally Dead)

Zombie Template Notes

  • Their appearance makes them look really sick. Make up is needed to hide their symptoms.
  • This zombie is pretty much like a machine, you can kill it by shooting at vitals. In WBH organs are converted into something that processes and stores ambient mana.
  • No Biological Living habits: no breathing means no chest rising and falling, except when talking, No sweat, no warmth, no blushing, etc… assume Supernatural Features covers all this.
  • Slave Mentality and Automaton - they can be programmed, so treat it like a pretty sophisticated computer. Averaging IQ5, its a pretty powerful computer.
  • Magical Repair. Assume there is equivalents of the Healing Spells in Necromancy with worse prerequisites of up to 2.
  • As a template note how the person died, if they were crippled, the zombie gains the same disadvantages.  Blind zombie can be useless unless the mage does significant repair.
  • Automaton and Slave Metality is slow. They need to be updated after every command. Typically commands are programmed. 
  • More notes on Weak Dedicated AI (UT26):  
    • Coordinating zombies is a teamwork perk specialized with (zombie). Use IQ or Soldier. Complex commands may need a check, or to have less rolling the zombie will interpret it poorly. Typically commands have end statements and conditions, and drills were used to see the parameters of the zombies comprehension.
    • Zombies need to be "primed" typically soldiers need to issue commands, followed by confirmations of command receipt. Its complicated and hard, but drills are meant to make it very easy and intuitive. Without Familiarization, penalties of controlling a zombie in combat conditions can be hard to staggeringly impossible.
    • Note Language Considerations means, Zombies coming from the poor and uneducated Haven, or possibly african refugees will require different commands. See Modifications.


How to Modify Zombie

  • Zombies can be modified. It takes skill and magic to do so. Fleshcraft is a Hard Technique that defaults at -4 from Surgery or Artist (Sculpting) used to modify the Physical form of the zombie. Anima-Craft is a Hard Technique that defaults -4 from Psychology (familiar with behavioral sciences) -5 or Programming (AI) -5.   
  • Modifying a zombie can be treated as an enchantment activity - either quick and dirty or slow and sure. 1FP can modify up to 5 character points worth of changes to the template. The maximum modifications on any one zombie is Fleshcraft skill x2 in FP or Anima-Craft skill x2.
    • An Expert in Fleshcraft would have a 15, allowing up to 150 character points of alteration.
    • An Expert in Anima-Craft would have a 15, allowing up to 112 character points of alteration.  
  • The material costs for such modifications is an additional $10 per FP.  

What can be Modified

  • Physical Modifications: Appearance and Bad Smell. As well as some of the damage the body sustained in death.
    • Increased Strength and Toughness.
    • some features like Payload (a very common practice in haven - typically carrying explosive or gass bombs.
    • Partial DR. Some Mages have gone as far as to insert subdermal armor plates and sew the zombie back up. They vitals are protected and allows them to take more damage. Use partial DR rules Or just pay the cost of the armor.
    • Zombies which have fuller Sapience (like Zombie companions; IQ6+ and Slave Mentality and Automation is removed) can have increased speed and dexterity.
  • Mental Modifications brings the Zombie closest to its original form at great cost. A lesser skilled Mage will probably trade off the Automaton, Reprogrammable and Automation with Phobias, Compulsions, Flash Backs and Phantom Voices and many other psychological syndromes from the brain damage of death. A Zombie cannot have full memories restored and at best have Partial Amnesia (B123).  
    • Removing the large, -5 IQ penalty, or Reducing it.
    • Cannot Learn needs to be removed in order for the Zombie to learn more about its former identity.
    • Modifications cannot grant skills, although once the ability to learn and remember is restored they can start practicing and learning again.
    • Cannot Learn Magic or Magery! the zombie’s new form despite how modified has focused most of its resources in animating itself and cannot accomplish that of Ghouls and Vampires in magic and independence.  
    • Language Modification requires spells. See Gift of Tongues (M46) 50fp * cost for enchantment. This can be the most expensive part of the zombie.

Zombies Companion

-27 points
Attribute Modifiers [10]: ST+1 [10];
Secondary Characteristic Modifiers [8]: HP+4 [8];
Advantages [120]: Does not Breathe (B49) [20]; Doesnt Eat o Drink (B49) [10]; Doesn’t Sleep (B50) [20]; Immune to Metabolic Hazards (B81) (poisons, disease, sickness) [30]; Immune to Pain (B81) [15]; Injury Tolerance (B61) (unliving, no blood) [25].

Disadvantages [-165]: Amnesia (B123) [-10]; Dependency (B130) (Ambient Mana) (Common, Constantly; 1HP per minute) [-50]; Flashbacks, Minor (B136) [-5]; No Sense of Smell/Taste [-5]; Short Lifespan 1 (B154) [-10]; Social Stigma (Valuable Property) [-15]; Supernatural Features (B157) (Pallor, No Body Heat) [-15]; Unhealing (Partial; Repaired by Magic) [-30]; Wealth (Dead Broke) [-25];

Features :
  • Affected by Turn and Control Zombie,
  • Pentragrams and various magical wards
  • Zeroed (Legally Dead)

My Other Notes

This can be a lot of fun, a bit of Trans-humanism in my Modern Fantasy is a way to vent some of my sci-fi urges with out changing the game. I also realized a show called Resurrection also has some interesting ideas that can be applied to the zombie template.

PC should expect Zombies to be the very versatile tools of many baddies, as well as their ally (Cheng Dao). There are many ways to play with them, and use them for encounters.

Zombie, the better Drone

Treat them like a drone. A Zombie fire team lead by a soldier, or one zombie with one soldier. Zombies designed to take the hit and act as cover. They have IQ5 or improved, thats pretty much a sophisticated computer. They could be wearing improvised metal armor (cheap modern, heavy plate torso $500 DR8 3.5kg or 8lbs). Assume they are trained in formations and some carry very durable shields. Weighed down, they probably move-2 or 3.

Scary, would be armored BOMB delivery drones. Soldiers with pre-set detonation charges on the zombies can order them to charge (countered with area jammers) and blow them up on hard points. They can be used for bomb disposal.

I have two factions in WBH that uses zombies with technology as part of doctrine. I've used them in the background as Swarm delivery and insertion.

Identity Theft

Zombies have former Identities. There is a lot of crime that can be used with having an animated dead person giving their ID credentials to open a bank account or funnel money. Suffice to say, this is pretty much the standard criminal activity - from voter fraud, money laundering, and inheritance stealing.

Body Harvesting

Africa is a great resource for Zombies, especially because of the human tragedy that goes on. Expect this to be one of the major underground industries occurring in the continent and in Haven.

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