Don’t roll to hit; roll to Kill

Outlive Outdead will use an original “rules-light” system. In creating this system, we get to decide which attributes are necessary.

Attributes are the statistics used in describing characters and they often form the core of the game’s rules. Many roleplaying games use attributes that cover everything a human can do, such as “Body, Mind, and Soul” from Triune or the classic D&D sextuplet, “Strength, Dexterity, Constitution, Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma.” Others get a little more esoteric, such as Paranoia‘s “Management, Stealth, Violence, Hardware, Software, and Wetware” or 3:16 Carnage Amongst the Stars‘ “Fighting Ability and Non-Fighting Ability”. Some like Don’t Rest Your Head don’t even use attributes.

Outlive Outdead will be more of the esoteric variety. Instead of generic attributes to cover every possible action, our attributes will cover actions that would most likely be taken during a zombie apocalypse. Human characters will have six attributes:

  • Control: Exerting control over other people or yourself. Can you really put a bullet in your wife’s brain after she’s been bitten?
  • Fight: Physical combat, be it with fists, knives, or guns. Can you headshot that zombie? Perhaps more importantly, can you wrestle a gun away from your friend who’s about to commit suicide?
  • Flee: All aspects of running away. Can you break free from a zombie’s grasp?
  • Hide: Both hiding yourself and hiding things you might not want others to know about, such as that suspicious bite mark on your arm.
  • Repair: Fixing things and people. Can you get that car to start? If not, can you rig a brace so you can walk on that broken leg before the zombies get you?
  • Scrounge: Finding useful things and information. Can you find ammo for that nice gun you got there? How about a way out of this warehouse that’s not blocked by zombies?

Zombies are a bit more simple than humans, so zombie characters have four attributes:

  • Chase: Shambling and grabbing your prey. Can you sneak up on that pair of humans arguing over their dead friend?
  • Kill: Eating people. So you grabbed yourself a human. Can you get past his flailing arms and bite him?
  • Notice: Finding people and where they went. Did you hear that? Is that some food running behind you?
  • Think: Remembering basic skills from your human days. Can you remember how to turn a doorknob? How about climbing some stairs?

We feel these cover what players will want to do with their characters in a stylish, setting-specific way. Don’t make a Dex check; make a Flee check. Don’t roll to hit; roll to Kill.

EDIT: Changed the Paranoia “Agility” attribute to “Stealth” because that’s correct and I was wrong.

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