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Unread postPosted: Fri Aug 07, 2020 6:58 pm

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Yeah, The Publisher Guy

Joined: Mon Apr 26, 2004 5:18 pm
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An answer about S.D.C. and Zombies

I recently wrote this response to someone asking how S.D.C. works, especially in the context of zombies in Dead Reign®. I thought I would post the answer here for others to see and enjoy.

S.D.C. on people works the same as Hit Points. Think of it as a first layer of protection that the character can afford to lose. The loss of S.D.C. does not mean serious impairment, injury, or impending death, only bruises, aches and pain.

Think boxer or wrestler, and most well-conditioned athletes. They have muscle and training that enables them to take a beating or punishment that would floor the average person like you or me and most gamers after just a couple of punches, but they have built up this extra layer of physical toughness and protection: Physical S.D.C.

When a character takes damage it is subtracted first from S.D.C. When S.D.C. is reduced to zero, the damage starts coming off the Hit Points and the character should start to worry. The loss of Hit Points should be a red flag that the character is taking serious punishment. As Hit Points dwindle it will eventually lead to death! When a living character’s S.D.C. is gone (reduced to zero), an attack to any part of his body does Hit Point damage.

Zombie are not truly alive, or barely alive. So they have a small amount of Hit Points compared to living people. Instead, they have a lot of S.D.C. (Structural Damage Capacity). As always, an attacker must first deplete the zombie’s S.D.C. before the Hit Points are affected.

Zombies get S.D.C. by location for body parts (hands, arms, legs, head, etc.), because they are animated dead and, in combat, it may be advantageous for a living person to chop off the hand or arm to escape, or to blow off a zombie’s foot or leg to slow the monster down or block a doorway or to cause other zombies to stumble and fall over it.

To chop off or destroy a zombie’s hand, arm, foot, leg, etc., the attacker must take aim and make a Called Shot to the specific body part he wants to hit. Let us say it is the zombie’s arm. When the S.D.C. of that arm is reduced to zero or less, it is chopped off or destroyed! HOWEVER, because the zombie is not truly alive and does not feel pain, it keeps coming and attacking with its other arm and biting attacks.

Worse, the zombie’s Hit Points are not touched by the loss of that arm. There is no damage done to the zombie’s Hit Points unless the attack is leveled at the creature’s Main Body, i.e. the trunk of the body/its abdomen and chest. The only other way to kill a zombie is to blow its head off (reduce the head’s S.D.C. to zero). You know, the classic destroy its brains.

Note: I have talked to some players and Game Masters who seem to think zombies should be easier to kill than the Dead Reign® RPG allows. Personally, I disagree and I have not found the zombie’s S.D.C. and Hit Points to be a problem. However, if your G.M. thinks they should be easier to kill, reduce the zombie’s S.D.C. and Hit Points by half and that should work well. Personally, I do not recommend this, but it is an option. Smart players do not stand and fight against 20, 40, 80, 160, etc. zombies. That’s the point of the Zombie Moan and Convergence. Characters need to be sneaky, cautious, and smart. When zombies moan and begin to converge – their numbers doubling every few melee rounds – the character(s) need to run like hell. The Convergence creates a sense of life and death urgency. Run or die. Think fast or die. Save your fellow survivor or teammate character fast or die, because soon there are too many to fight.

And it works great. This is the zombie apocalypse, you are outnumbered 10,000 to one! Unless you play with cunning and resourcefulness you are a goner. Think fast on your feet! The trick is to stop the Zombie Moan when there are only a few of them moaning by making quick, silent kills or getting away fast while you still can. The Zombie Moan and the Convergence create a lot of fun drama in these games.

I hope this addresses those of you who may have been scratching your head with the same questions about S.D.C.. Have a great time playing Dead Reign®. You will find it is often a thinking person’s game of survival and cunning, not a flat out combat hack and slash game, though there is plenty of opportunity for that. Oh, for those of you unfamiliar with Dead Reign®, it is our modern, Zombie Apocalypse RPG. However, the various sourcebooks, especially Hell Followed and In the Face of Death, really push the envelope and goes beyond the usual zombie tropes. Those are there too, but there is much more nuance and strangeness and fun in Dead Reign. It is one of my favorite game settings and I run it at conventions and game events all the time.

Good luck surviving the Zombie Apocalypse and have fun.

Dead Reign RPG: ... n-RPG.html

That Publisher Guy,
Kevin Siembieda
August 7, 2020

Copyright 2020 Palladium Books Inc. All rights reserved.
This Murmur may be reprinted, reposted, linked and shared for the sole purpose of advertising, promotion and good will.

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