25 November 2014 | The End of the World RPG

Beyond the Apocalypse

Preview the Scenario Structure of Zombie Apocalypse


“I mean, are we talking brain-eaters? Demon possession? Rage zombies? How does it transmit? Through bites? Scratches? Blood? Bacteria? Radiation? Rock music!? I need to know what I’m dealing with!”
   –A survivor who’s seen far too many movies

In Zombie Apocalypse and the other books of The End of the World roleplaying game line, humanity as you know it ends forever. Deadly threats arise with each passing day. Zombies may shamble out of ancient crypts, or our machines may become sapient and attack. Only a team of survivors that works together will be able to survive the initial outbreak.

The apocalypse doesn’t have to be the end, however. If you and your fellow survivors are cunning, you may live past the zombie apocalypse, long into a new world order. Each Zombie Apocalypse scenario offers an Apocalypse and a Post-Apocalypse, giving you the chance to fight for long-term survival in a world that has changed forever.

Today, Zombie Apocalypse developer Tim Flanders offers his insight into the unique Apocalypse/Post-Apocalypse structure used in The End of the World scenarios!

Tim Flanders on the Apocalypse and the Post-Apocalypse

In The End of the World: Zombie Apocalypse, you and your fellow players play through what is, as the title suggests, the end of the world. But in many ways, it’s not the literal end of the world. It’s the end of humanity in its current shape. Everything is changing, everything as you know it is collapsing and reorganizing itself into something entirely new. In Zombie Apocalypse, we offer five distinct scenarios in which the world is destroyed, but each scenario plays past the end of civilization. For this chaotic aftermath, each scenario describes a “post-apocalypse” in which mankind has done its best to survive amidst the wreckage of the zombie apocalypse. Between the two main sections – Apocalypse and Post-Apocalypse – Game Masters and players nearly endless options for roleplaying amid the timeless struggle for survival. After all, no one expects the post-apocalypse to be easy, do they?

The Apocalypse

Each of the five scenarios in Zombie Apocalypse provides Game Masters with the information and inspiration to construct entertaining and engaging (if not outright terrifying) survival horror experience for the players. Each scenario begins with the Apocalypse section. This section offers a discussion of what you and your fellow players may have seen in the time leading up to the beginning of the apocalypse. Of course, the content of this section differs between one scenario and the next. In some cases, there might be small, tell-tale signs of the coming apocalypse in the day-to-day life of your fictional self, but in other scenarios, there may be no foreshadowing before everyone sits down to play. This initial section of each Apocalypse is called The Experience, and it’s all about what you experience and encounter first hand. It’s about the perception of the apocalypse, which means it reflects how you interact with the end of the world. This section doesn’t contain the truth behind the apocalypse, it just contains events as you and the other players perceive them.

For the facts behind the events, you’ll turn to the next section within the Apocalypse: The Truth. The details of how events play out, from the first signs of the coming danger to the end of the world as we know it are described in this section. Unexplained events and outright untruths first discussed in The Experience are brought to light for the Game Master here, including narrative details about the zombies themselves, how they spread, how they can be “killed,” and the forces that guide their seemingly mindless actions. To help you keep track of these details, we’ve included a detailed timeline of events from the beginning of the end through the post-apocalypse for each scenario. These timelines offer you plenty of ideas and inspiration for the sorts of events that you can inflict on your players.

Of course, these events wouldn’t be all that exciting without actual zombies to fight! That’s why we’ve got plenty of NPC profiles at the end of each Apocalypse section. Scenarios re defined by the sorts of zombies that run rough-shod over mankind. To make one scenario feel distinct from another we’ve given each one unique zombie rules, governing how they react to damage, how they can be killed, and their special attacks. Game Masters can even play off the players’ limited knowledge and keep them guessing about exactly what sort of zombies they’re dealing with until they’ve faced the zombies in battle several times. We also include NPC profiles for plenty of non-zombie NPCs the Players might encounter as they fight to survive the apocalypse – whether survivors, government personnel, or even more unusual characters.

The Post-Apocalypse

The Post-Apocalypse is structured in much the same way as the Apocalypse portion of each scenario, though with less emphasis on building the tension and dark forebodings. The Post-Apocalypse of each scenario offers a concise guide for Game Masters, providing them with the information they need to foreshadow things while running their Apocalypse sessions and providing GMs with enough detail to continue the story into the aftermath of the apocalypse. To do this, each Post-Apocalypse section describes what mankind did to overcome the undead horrors that walk the earth. In some cases, the threat has entirely passed, but in others it has been replaced with something altogether more horrifying. Of course, clever players might see the warning signs during the Apocalypse and do their best to save mankind (or just themselves) from taking a darker path to survival.

The Post-Apocalypse is all about the denouement of the scenario and the payoff for groups of players who find a way to make it through the worst parts of the Apocalypse. Although each scenario features zombies in the Apocalypse, each Post-Apocalypse plays out very differently, sometimes in unexpected ways. The Post-Apocalypse takes the circumstances of the Apocalypse to their natural (or unnatural) conclusion. Of course, one staple of zombie apocalypse fiction is that, ultimately, mankind is the real monster, and that theme can be found in a number of the Post-Apocalypse scenarios. When the whole world falls apart and things look bleak, can you trust your fellow man to see you through? Your group and every other group of survivors will have to decide that for themselves.

End of the Road

Of course, what fun would playing through the end of the world be if it was actually the end? The real tension and excitement comes from knowing that your actions have consequences and there may be safety at the end of the road, if you have the wit and the will to survive.

Are you ready to make your way through the post-apocalypse and beyond or will you find yourself among the masses who fall when zombies walk the earth?

Thanks, Tim!

The path to survival in Zombie Apocalypse and the other books in The End of the World leads you past the Apocalypse and through the Post-Apocalypse. Can you survive the terrors that rise when zombies walk the earth? In our next preview, you’ll get a closer look at just one of the scenarios that awaits within Zombie Apocalypse.

Pre-order Zombie Apocalypse at your local retailer today!

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