This week’s seed is for Outbreak: Undead. I am not that into zombies as a pervasive source of entertainment, but I think how this game was put together stands apart from the rest…swaying a bit… before rushing you and tearing your face off with its teeth.
The Casting Shadows blog offers Saturday Seeds and campaign starters every Saturday (go figure…). Seeds from the blog also appear on Ancient Scroll.
The characters are aboard an international flight, dimly aware of a public health scare in a population center far from where they live. The media were not making a big deal of it when the characters were headed to the airport, and no restrictions, other than the ongoing TWA Striptease requirement, have been placed on travel. Their knowledge of the situation improves between the first and second meal service. The vague public health threat is not the threat they need to worry about.
Planting the seed
This seed is intended as a first experience with the game and really will not work with an existing set of survivors. The characters need a reason to be on an international flight and that is all. If you are having the group play themselves, you might set things up so that they won tickets to a huge con somewhere, or are travelling to take advantage of a Kickstarter reward. Keep things grounded in the fun but plausible.
Set up is simple. The characters interact a bit before getting on the plane, they wonder as players what you are going to spring on them after they land, and you must encourage that belief. The players must buy into the idea from the very start that the game is set in the destination. They will travel there in a time-compressing sentence, and boom: the world they left behind will have become Zombieville while they were in the air. Sell it. All your pre-game talk is to be about the destination.
With no preamble get their trays in the down position and serve them up a furious zombie attack just as you wind up that time compressing travel sentence. Their characters are still wrestling with the idea of chicken or fish, and boom – Outbreak: Undead!
What’s going on
The path of contagion for this outbreak has unfortunately crossed the ranks of several major airlines, customs officials, baggage handlers, and ticket agents. It incubates quickly in the blood, but can also be passed more slowly, through less invasive means.
Airports around the world, several planes en route to global destinations, and the city where the infection began, start experiencing the outbreak around the same time. If the characters survive the initial onslaught of ravenous, carnivorous flight attendants – and the flight crew does as well, there are three threads from which to spin fear: eventually you have to land at an airport which could be in far worse straits, who among the passengers is infected and how long does the infection take, and finally – planning for surviving the landing in a world that will be wholly different from the one you know.
Darken others' doors: