Monday, June 24, 2013

[Q&A] Mark Rein•Hagen (I Am Zombie)

[19:02] <+mark> Hi, my name is Mark Rein•hagen and my latest RPG, I AM ZOMBIE is on Kickstarter now.
[19:03] <+mark> Its not a game where you run away from or kill Zombies, in this one you are the Zombie, with the final outbreak on the way, but not yet arrive. A lucid Zombie, you are the one in ten thousand, a conscious social monster.
[19:04] <+mark> "The world is poised at the brink of an abyss. The final outbreak is coming. You are leper, outcast & contagious. YOU ARE ZOMBIE..." 9done
[19:04] <+mark> (done)
[19:04] <+Abstruse> Do you prefer an * or a - if we can't get a •? I've always wondered that.
[19:04] <~Dan> Thanks, Mark!
[19:04] <+mark> I'm not a damn star! I'm a hole.
[19:04] * ~Dan chuckles
[19:04] <+Abstruse> I thought it was a bullet.
[19:04] <~Dan> Rithuan, would you like to start us off with your question?
[19:04] <+mark> I call it the null, others called it a bullet, I never have.
[19:04] <+Rithuan> Yess
[19:05] <+locutus> oh, the Q/A! i drop in at the right moment!
[19:05] <~Dan> Heh. Well done, locutus. :)
[19:05] <+Rithuan> Hope you dont mind, but my question is not related to your new (awesome) project. Is about Wraith. Do you see a 20th anniversary edition? Would you work in a project like that?
[19:07] <+mark> probably not, I like to start new things, not shine them. I have a lot of ideas for Wraith however, but those ideas are probably going to make it into other games. I certainly think there some very fun and unique ways for players to share or trade characters or just generally makes each others lives miserable for everyones entertainment. 0done)
[19:07] <+Abstruse> What brought you back to game design after you left White Wolf?
[19:07] <+xyphoid_> so what does a default zombie adventure / session look like
[19:07] <+xyphoid_> like, what do zombies do together
[19:08] * +Abstruse puts on his Orson Wells voice and says "Try to take over the world!"
[19:08] <~Dan> (Question pause after xyphoid_'s question, please.)
[19:08] <+mark> I had a good idea, a big one, a few years ago and I didn't want to work on it, but late at night I kept working on it, I couldn't help myself. I'd dream about it. In meeting I would make bizarre doddles. In any case, eventually I just decided, screw politics, I need to do THIS.
[19:09] <+Rithuan> thanks for the answer Mark
[19:09] <+mark> Zombie is the first game in this series. It is self contained, it doesn't related directly to the other games... Well, except for game two, BLEACH - where you play the drone like Federal Agents who hunt Zombies.
[19:10] <+mark> Anyway, its the ideas that always move me forward, motivate me. (done)
[19:11] <~Dan> Did you see xyphoid_'s question, Mark?
[19:11] <+mark> First of all you need to undersand one thing, Zombie have a single overriding concern, how to get rid of Odium. Odium is a byproduct of the Scourge, the "disease" which afflicts them. Everytime they take damage the Scourge heals you, in part, but you take Odium. If you have sex you get odium. If you do or witness something horrible you take Odium.
[19:12] <+mark> To get rid of it you need to go to Purgis, a monthly ritual of cleansing... run by the Profane, a group of Thrall owners who live in Hospices who are trying to run everything.
[19:14] <+Le_Squide> What happens if you OD on Odium? :O
[19:14] <+mark> So just like in Ars Magica you can live in a hospice as your home base, or you can be a group of ferals, roving the city. Of course more likely than not BLEACH has already marked you, with radiation, and they track you if you try to leave the city. Certain cities, run down cities, have become massive quarantine zones. (done)
[19:15] <+mark> If you OD on Odium you get a Syndrome Card. If you get more than 5 of those you become a Skag. A mindless zombie. Syndrome cards give you special powers, like no heartbeat or no need to breath... and physical potence, but they also make you permanently Zombie looking.
[19:16] <+Le_Squide> Hmm. So what's the 'least zombie' a PC looks like?
[19:16] <+mark> Thing is, after Purgis, you get a couple of days where you are the perfect you, the idealized you (as they say, "The Scourge wants you to be happy") and you get to live like a Rock Star.
[19:16] <~Dan> On one piece of artwork, there's some kind of giant worm in the background. Are there other creatures involved in the setting beyond zombies?
[19:16] <+mark> "Over the years however, we tend to collect Syndromes... and slowly begin to fall apart and fade away"
[19:16] <+locutus> i'd like to ask a question about Zombie in regard to classic WW style
[19:16] <+locutus> can i ask?
[19:16] <~Dan> Fire away, locutus!
[19:16] <+mark> ok
[19:16] <+locutus> what strikes me is how close this game is in a lot of ways to oWOD, especially Vampire. A game about immortals who need to sustain themselves in gruesome ways, a path of gruesome descent of losing yourself and a secret society in which they 'live', completely fitting the 'personal horror', how do you plan to differentiate Zombie from that and to innovate from something which is arguably 20 years old now?
[19:16] <~Dan> (And question pause.)
[19:17] <+locutus> (i hope i didnt misunderstand the game and say something stupid :))
[19:17] <+mark> This is no a game of personal horror, this is a game of body horror.
[19:17] <+mark> Another core difference is that you are NOT masters of the universe, the humans, at least the authorities know you are there, and are hunting you down.
[19:18] <+mark> Only the treaty protects you, the treaty the Feds only signed when they realized their "underground nuclear testing" wasn't killing the Carrionfiends who live beneath the Hospices anymore.
[19:19] <+mark> In any case I see this game as Grindhouse  meets Lovecraft on a Romero set.
[19:19] <~Dan> Nice.
[19:19] <+xyphoid_> so what stops you purgis'ing all the time
[19:19] <+mark> But is it a secret society... yes. It is a powerful conspiracy secretly controlling the world... eh, no.
[19:20] <+Cassandra> Can you tell us more about the Federal Agent types?
[19:20] <+Abstruse> Which Romero? Night, Dawn, Day, Land, Diary, or Creepshow?
[19:21] <+mark> BLEACH come in a couple different forms. They actually send uniformed agents, MIB to Purgis to "observe" but most of them wear special armor suits. It is rumored that they buy Skags because that is what their Agents actually are... converted Skags.
[19:21] <+mark> By the terms of the treaty, if you start an outbreak, they can hunt you down and kill you. However usually you are '
[19:21] <+mark> "Supermaxed".
[19:22] <+mark> Most supermax prisons are actually special Zombie prisons, where the study the scourge. They are very worried about a final Outbreak, as well they should be.
[19:23] <+mark> BLEACH also has a long and old relationship with the Inquisition... which has been fighting Zombies since the black death, which was in fact a Massive world wide Zombie Outbreak, since covered up.
[19:23] <+Rithuan> In the kickstarter there are a lot of accessories to the game (like cards and chips). What is the essential to play I am Zombie? What level of pledge do you recomend?
[19:23] <+mark> Romero night, dawn.
[19:24] <+mark> Purgis only works at certain times, and it carefully controlled by the hospices. However if you have the cash, you can arrange for a special private gathering... But even then it won't be as completely "fulfilling" as the one with hundreds of Toxic attending.
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[19:25] <~Dan> (Welcome, WJWalton!)
[19:25] <+mark> You don't need the cards or chips if you are old school and love character sheets. You just need the book. However I think the cards are pretty amazing and lend themselves to a whole new kind of roleplaying.
[19:25] <+mark> The chips are really useful as well, but you can make your own if you want to test them out.
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[19:26] <~Dan> (Welcome to #rpgnet, Demonicuss_Krinn! Here for the Q&A?)
[19:26] <+Abstruse> Your original game designs were focused on well-crafted characters using point-buys and really influenced the entire industry. This game, character generation in this seems to be completely random through cards though. Why the shift?
[19:26] <+mark> Thing is I think the whole narrativist vs. Simulationist thing is a bit screwy. No one in their right mind things you can simulate reality with D20, or D10 or D6... what those people really want is a game experience...
[19:27] <+mark> that employs tactical and strategic thinking. They want to PLAY a game. Well, with character cards you are constantly rearranging your stacks of cards to prepare yourself best for what is coming.
[19:27] <+mark> Random? What do you mean?
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[19:28] <+Abstruse> The way it seems from the Kickstarter description and other places, your dealt cards that build your character.
[19:28] <+Abstruse> *you're
[19:28] <+mark> These characters are completely refined and well crafted, they just employ powerful archetypes and tropes to define themselves.
[19:28] <~Dan> Yes, maybe it would be a good idea to describe how character creation works, Mark?
[19:28] <+Abstruse> So we're picking out the cards rather than shuffling and dealing them?
[19:29] <+mark> You PICK your cards. You can do it randomly as a lark, but you almost always pick them.
[19:30] <+mark> One way we do it is we deal everyone 6 cards, and you keep 2. And then we keep doing that until you have 9 you like. However, in the end, the players are just trading cards... LOL
[19:30] <~Dan> Heh. Cool. :)
[19:30] <+mark> A lot of playtesters spend hours at home trying to figure out the "perfect character" but a newbie can just pick up a deck and make a character based on the pictures and the name... and this is crucial, in just 5 minutes. Not just any character, but a character they truly understand.
[19:31] <+mark> I've gotten all kinds of non gamers to try it out.
[19:31] <~Dan> Sounds like fun. :)
[19:31] <+Abstruse> How are you planning to release this once the Kickstarter's done? Boxes set with cards/chips, just the book? Are you looking for distribution to stores or mainstream market outlets like chain bookstores?
[19:31] <+Abstruse> *Boxed (okay, no more vodka for me tonight)
[19:33] <+mark> Stores will, hopefully, carry the books, decks of cards, and rolls of chips. Since gamers don't really buy books anymore, ahem, except fancy collectors editions of books they already have, we are trying to monetize things through the cards and chips. Most of the information you can get in the book will be free online on our well organized website.
[19:33] <+mark> Or thats the plan.
[19:33] <+mark> No boxes.
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[19:34] <~Dan> (Howdy, fantomx11!)
[19:34] <~Dan> Mark: Did you see my earlier question about that giant worm critter and non-zombie monsters?
[19:34] <+mark> I wrote this game to try to breath some fresh air into RPG's, which is why I choose Zombies to start with. Eventually we will get into chain stores, at least I hope so, probabably with a box set, but thats not in the near future.
[19:35] <~Dan> "I wrote this game to try to breath some fresh air into RPG's, which is why I choose Zombies to start with." That's a damned funny statement if taken literally. D
[19:35] <+Abstruse> So I want to play this in a year. I go on your website and get the basic rules and decide I want to play. I go to the game store and I pick up a stack of chips, a deck of cards, and the rulebook all separately?
[19:35] <+mark> RPG's are clearly dying as a hobby, and I hate that. GAMA is telling stores not to carry them, Kickstarter is doing well for RPG's, but mostly for new editions of very old games... We need new blood, young players, to keep it alive.
[19:36] <+mark> For me its all so much more vivid than others. I've been gone nearly 15 years. When I went back to Gencon last year I was SHOCKED at how few people under 30 were roleplaying.
[19:36] <+Abstruse> Do you mean RPGs in general or independent RPGs? Wizards of the Coast and Paizo both seem to be doing fine.
[19:36] <+mark> Yes, they are all sold seperately.
[19:37] <+mark> Its called the Axiom system, the core ideas is mix and match, use what you want to make your own unique game.
[19:38] <+mark> Even the Paizo rooms at cons are full of older people. Sure they doing well, we all have more money now to spend! However, as the first generation of roleplayers retire out of the hobby there are not enough new people coming in to replace them.
[19:38] <+mark> Its slowly (or not so slowly, industry expert differ) contracting.
[19:38] <+Yalborap> That's definitely an interesting topic to look at in and of itself, Mark. I don't want to take away from your actual product Q&A, but I'd love to chat with you about it if you end up sticking around our weird little corner of the internet.
[19:39] <+mark> Certainly the glory days of many big companies are over. However, we can change that.
[19:39] <+mark> sure thing.
[19:39] <+mark> I've written an essay about it actually and am going to release it once I make my minimum on KS.
[19:40] <+mark> "A call to arms"
[19:40] <~Dan> Cool.
[19:40] <+Abstruse> Thanks for the heads up so I can start on my rebuttal early :p
[19:40] <+mark> Good stuff.
[19:40] <+Catseye> mark: What do you think of your old company now? Wit5h what it has become and such.
[19:41] <+mark> Tragic
[19:41] <+Abstruse> In what way?
[19:41] <+mark> White Wolf is dead, WOD is being repacked and sold by another company, and the bloody MMORPG isn't even out yet.
[19:43] <+Rithuan> (shock)
[19:43] <+Abstruse> What do you think of their new business model of PDF-only except for marquee Kickstarter releases for limited edition print runs?
[19:43] <+Catseye> I take it that it is not the future you wanted for White Wolf.
[19:43] <+mark> And I don't even get to enjoy the memories, so many places I go online people tell me I didn't have anything to do with WW, or I didn't create WOD... I suppose I deserve it by going AWOL, but hell, it sucks that I don't even get my memories or a legacy. I always thought WOD would live forever, but to me these latest releases seem like a.... last hurrah.
[19:44] <+mark> Sure hope I am wrong on that, and there is a chance I am.
[19:44] <+mark> Of course I can watch TV and see a lot of my idea living on the screen!
[19:45] <~Dan> There is that. :)
[19:46] <+mark> I think it is a very smart and practical business model, but it clearly points out what is wrong with Roleplaying as a business and a hobby. Old farts buying memories ;D but not many "living" game in sight.
[19:46] <+mark> I love indie games, they bring a smile to my face. Fiasco is genius, a truly new thing.
[19:46] <+Catseye> I've got my own set of books I eventually want to market. But the state of the industry is giving me a lot of pause. So your views certainly have impact on me and my future works.
[19:47] <+mark> You can't sell books, you have to sell something else WITH books. Which is why all FFG has weird dice and miniatures... so you can't just download books from Pirate Bay.
[19:48] <+fantomx11> do you consider Fate old or new?
[19:49] <+mark> I am convinced that Cards are the future of roleplaying. Character Cards, not equipment or fate cards. Wait till you try it, they fit like a glove and they are something that are better bought than downloaded. Which is the future all all game stuff in the end.
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[19:49] <~Dan> (Welcome to #rpgnet, CptSqweky!)
[19:49] <+mark> Fate is pretty new, at least to me!
[19:50] <+mark> Fudge is certainly new.
[19:50] <+fantomx11> fudge is new?!
[19:50] <+Catseye> Fudge has been around for a lot of years.
[19:50] <+Abstruse> 2003 I think? Or 2004?
[19:50] <+mark> Both are innovative and very interesting. I haven't played, but I've played around with them and like the. However, what is missing are "Deep Setting" games, like the kind I love.
[19:50] <+fantomx11> no, early to mid 90s
[19:51] <+Abstruse> God, 1992...
[19:51] <+fantomx11> for fudge
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[19:51] <+mark> LOL, so not so new... What is new then?!!!
[19:51] <+Abstruse> FATE's 2003.
[19:51] <+mark> What is happening to my beloved hobby!
[19:51] * ~Dan chuckles
[19:51] <+Cassandra> Gemnin is new, Hey Gemnin. :)
[19:51] <+mark> I thought I left it in good hands!
[19:52] <+Rithuan> haha
[19:52] <+Abstruse> Marvel Heroic was pretty damn awesome.
[19:52] <+fantomx11> yeah, fat is a good 10 years old
[19:52] <+fantomx11> fate*
[19:52] <+mark> I do like Marvel Heroic, Doom pool is cool.
[19:52] <+Abstruse> I think they're using the same system for Firefly.
[19:52] <+Le_Squide> Do you primarily blame piracy, Mark, or somthing else?
[19:52] <~Dan> Mark: Did you see my earlier question about monsters?
[19:52] <+mark> Also it pulls in a new crowd, maybe.
[19:52] <+fantomx11> the reason I asked is you said only old games were having succesful kickstarters
[19:53] <+Gemini> hey Cassandra
[19:53] <+mark> Its both piracy and the lack of new gamers coming in. They just have so many other things to do, computer games have gotten so amazing, and RPG's just haven't innovated in the same way that board games have. Which is what I am trying to change with IAZ.
[19:54] <+mark> Reprints do great, D20 does great, Pathfinders does great... new games, not so much.
[19:54] <+mark> Monsters Dan?
[19:54] <+Rithuan> I want to know the answer for Dan's question.
[19:54] <~Dan> Yes -- I asked earlier about the giant worm critter in one of the gallery pictures, and whether that was an indication that there are monsters other than zombies in the setting.
[19:54] <+xyphoid_> have you seen Last Stand - it uses the same card-based chargen
[19:55] <+xyphoid_> (to create a character choose one card from deck A and 6 cards from deck B)
[19:56] <+mark> That is a Carrionfiend. During each Purgis they gather the Odium that Zombie shed when the undergo the ritual. In fact during the "Shamble" to Purgis Dreko sweep the streets to collect every last little bit. Its turned into Ichor and then much of it is fed into the Maw, a hole, which is in each hospice.
[19:56] <~Dan> Are they the Lovecraftian element that you mentioned?
[19:57] <+mark> The maw leads to the ever growing Carrionfiend who lives beneath and protects the hospice. What they are no one really knows, so few even know how to make them anymore... "but without them the human would surely have killed us all by now."
[19:57] <+mark> Yes, only instead of them driving you mad, you are the "cultists" who worship and protect them... and if you are lucky, might even get to "take them out for a walk"
[19:58] <+mark> Some are not so big, the size of a small car, others are old and massive.
[19:58] <~Dan> Do they all look like giant worms?
[19:59] <+Cassandra> Being a cultist is not all its cracked up to be. Yep. :)
[19:59] <+mark> Not at all, each one is completely unique. Depending on what core materials were used in its initial conjuration/fabrication.
[19:59] <~Dan> Ah. Cool.
[19:59] <~Dan> So I take it that the origin of zombies is very much a supernatural one?
[19:59] <+mark> We have not yet come up with the primary types, though I do have some ideas on how to do it. That comes after KS, if there is an after KS.
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[20:00] <+mark> I plan on rereading all of Lovecraft of course.
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[20:01] <~Dan> Heh. :)
[20:01] <+mark> But then going my own direction. However I don't mind at all if people say I am flipping Lovecraft on end and letting the players be the bad guys, not just the cultists, but the "monsters"
[20:01] * +Melum meeps
[20:02] <+mark> Actually no, its not supernatural. I already did that with WOD, which has a spiritual core principle. Whatever is believed mostly strongly is true. A principle most clearly seen in Mage and Wraith.
[20:03] <+mark> I AM ZOMBIE is a science fiction game. Set in our universe, or one much like it, with laws of physics and such. I am taking certain minor liberties, but I can and soon will explain everything in terms of natural law and natural philosophy.
[20:03] <~Dan> Huh... The zombie powers posted on the website seem pretty supernatural. Is this some form of "sufficiently advanced" scientific weirdness?
[20:04] <~Dan> Interesting.
[20:04] <+mark> Clarks law applies of course: "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."
[20:04] <~Dan> So the zombies who study ancient lore are really studying these mysterious scientific principles?
[20:04] <+mark> yes
[20:04] <~Dan> Cool.
[20:05] <~Dan> So what are the game's mechanics like?
[20:05] <+mark> they have a who science built on older technology they are having trouble adapting to the new. So they have these souped up 60's computers that can talk... but don't know how to connect them to the internet.
[20:06] <~Dan> Ah, so there's weird zombie technology?
[20:06] <+mark> You roll dice like with Shadowrun or Storyteller, but on a smaller scale. Generally you roll less dice. However, players can save success turn to turn, and using them as a team in conjuction with one another is an innovation I've borrowed from cooperative board games.
[20:07] <+mark> I like game play, so I'm using the best simple and elegant game play rules out there... board game.
[20:07] <~Dan> Is this an attribute + skill system?
[20:08] <+mark> Yes, but they are written on the top of the cards. And you can only combine traits from cards that are on the same stacks. Which is why how you organize your cards in front of you is so important.
[20:08] <~Dan> Is there a character sheet posted online?
[20:09] <+mark> Not yet
[20:09] <~Dan> No problem. I was just curious to see the attribute breakdown.
[20:09] <+mark> The reason each cards is TWO sided, which art and traits on both sides is because when you take "damage" you flip over to the Zombie/Odium side.
[20:10] <+Catseye> mark: Just so you know. Roleplaying is very much alive and well in venues like Second Life. It is litrerally that place's most common activity. Nothing else is done more there. And I'm sure that is something you might be interested in taking advantage of in some way.
[20:10] <+mark> Its a good idea, I will post one in a few days.
[20:10] <+mark> I've never managed to get very far there!
[20:10] <~Dan> I think so. I can usually tell a lot about a game based on the character sheet.
[20:11] <~Dan> What are the attributes, and how broad are the skills?
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[20:11] <+mark> But I should make it clear roleplaying will never die, its intrinsic to human nature. However tabletop roleplaying games certainly might, and those particular kind of RPG's are very important to me. Because of their creativity and storytelling flexibility.
[20:11] <~Dan> (Howdy, Wondy!)
[20:12] <+Catseye> I help run several RP groups in SL.They get interest daily, almost every hour on the hour. I'm just pointing out that the hobby itself is very much alive. Though its most popular form right now has jumped into an all new arena. It's certainly mutating, evolving.
[20:12] <+mark> Pretty standard. You can see what they are like on all the example cards pictured on the KS page.
[20:12] <~Dan> Really? Hmm...
[20:13] <+mark> Strength, Rage, Lawless, Tech, Security, Guts, Bullshit, Brawl.
[20:13] <+Le_Squide> (Could you throw up another link to the kickstarter?)
[20:13] <+mark> (Link:
[20:14] <+xyphoid_> do you think the ease of distributing indie games is going to help with keeping them alive? seems like it's never been so easy to sell a PDF and talk about it
[20:14] <~Dan> So what attribute would govern, say, firearms?
[20:14] <+mark> Roleplaying will NEVER die. But published tabletop games might drastically decline, even further.
[20:14] <+mark> I divided firearms into Pistol and Rifle.
[20:15] <+CptSqweky> So, i got here late. Have you heard of the passing of Richard Matheson yet?
[20:15] <+mark> for game balance reasons... Of course Zombie are partially immune to bullets, similar to wearing armor. Which is why they like to fight each other with chainsaws and Axes.
[20:15] <+mark> and HtH.
[20:17] <~Dan> CptSqweky: I haven't. That's a shame.
[20:18] <~Dan> Mark: But what attribute(s) pair with the Pistol and Rifle skills?
[20:18] <+mark> Iain Banks and now Matheson.
[20:19] <+Yalborap> Wasn't Vance this year too, or was he the tail end of last year?
[20:19] <+mark> Ah... well, perception if you have time to aim. Dexterity if you don't. Rage if you are trying to suppress fire or distract etc...
[20:20] <+mark> You actually can roll different color dice, based on the colors of the cards. Red is Mayhem, Yellow is Mind, Blue is physical and Green is social. You can only USE as many successes in a turn as you have cards of that color. so If you have no mayhem  you can't, on purpose, try to kill someone, its just not in you.
[20:20] <+mark> Similarly, some people couldn't convince a Skag to follow them into battle.
[20:21] <+mark> In any case, the color of the dice you have saved up limits how they can be used, not only this turn but later. Social dice can be use to help another player make their roll. "Look! Sniper to your left!"
[20:21] <+mark> Mental can take away another players ones (which take away successes) "Just calm down now"
[20:22] <+mark> Physical can give them a boost "Let me help you up"
[20:22] <+mark> Mayhem only lets you hurt people.
[20:23] <~Dan> Oh, speaking of hurting people... we haven't discussed a PC zombie's dietary requirements.
[20:23] <+mark> Player are allowed to use ANY combination of Traits as long as they can explain it in a storytelling fashion that meets the approval of first the other players and second the narrator.
[20:23] <+mark> LOL, they don't all eat human flesh. In fact its forbidden. Many find it disgusting. Of course Skags tend to...
[20:24] <+mark> However, brains are a powerful drug.
[20:24] <+mark> "Screw heroin, brains are the ultimate drug: Live a whole life in one trip."
[20:24] <+mark> Brains: "Imagine every emotion SHE ever had.  Every moment of joy, sadness, desire, anger, triumph, lust... condensed into a single hour of bliss. So much better than a movie"
[20:25] <+mark> So some Zombie are drug addicts who collect lives...
[20:25] <+mark> It can have some very useful game uses of course, and makes a great plot device.
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[20:26] <~Dan> (Howdy, Kei!
[20:26] <~Dan> )
[20:26] <+Kei> hi, everybody!
[20:26] <+mark> hi!
[20:26] <+Kei> Dan! you rock!
[20:26] <~Dan> Thanks!
[20:26] <~Dan> (Q&A with Mark Rein*Hagen in progress! :) )
[20:26] <+Kei> mr. Hagen! so nice to meet you! I'll stop interrupting. ;p
[20:26] <+mark> np, nice to meet you.
[20:27] <~Dan> So, the setting seems pretty darn bleak... Is there any room for heroes at all? Or is it a given that the PCs will be some degree of bastard?
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[20:28] <+mark> Anti heroes mostly, but true heros as well can and do emerge from the most horrible circumstance. I am actually obsessed with that subject, I find it fascinating how heroic certain people can be in concentration camps, on death row, and near death.
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[20:29] <~Dan> Hmm... What would you see a hero doing in I Am Zombie?
[20:30] <~Dan> (Howdy, AWOLJoe!)
[20:30] <+mark> My new character is a Priest, an alcoholic atheist who has rediscovered his faith.
[20:30] <+AWOLJoe> (hello!)
[20:31] <+mark> Well... there are lot of terrible Cartels who need to be stopped. Locust is doing all it can to bring on the final outbreak, they are fascists. Solomonari are decadent thrall owners, who seek to enslave everyone. No matter what evil you might do, if you fight them, you're a hero
[20:32] <+mark> Certain Hopsices have a very strict moral code and have a particular mission they are on, such as protect humanity. Heroes are not hard to find.
[20:33] <~Dan> Cool.
[20:33] <+mark> We actually have a card called "Tox Avenger"
[20:33] <~Dan> Awesome. :)
[20:33] <+mark> A caped vigilantee
[20:34] * ~Dan chuckles
[20:34] <~Dan> Cool.
[20:34] <+mark> Another one is Feral Revolutionary
[20:34] <+mark> The game very much has a sense of humor. This is NOT World of Darkenss which took itself very seriously. This is Zombies. Zombie are intrinsically funny.
[20:34] <~Dan> Speaking of zombie caped vigilantes, have you heard of the game Rotted Capes?
[20:35] <+mark> No I havent', but I want too!
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[20:35] <~Dan> It's a game about a zombie plague hitting a superhero setting. The top tier supers are all zombie-fied. You play former sidekick types.
[20:36] <~Dan> Here you go: (Link:
[20:36] <+mark> Oh... I like that.
[20:36] <~Dan> Seems like your kind of thing.
[20:36] <~Dan> So you have "horde" zombies, and intelligent super-zombies.
[20:36] <+mark> Did it ever come out?
[20:36] <+mark> Yes
[20:36] <~Dan> Not sure, actually... I need to check back into that.
[20:36] <+mark> each hospice tends to have a lot of Skags. Owning Skags is a status thing.
[20:37] <+mark> Owning other Toxic, or at least having them "under contract" (indentured servant) is even more of a status thing.
[20:37] <~Dan> Anyway! I don't want to sidetrack your Q&A. Your vigilante zombie just brought that to mind. :)
[20:38] <+mark> I will check it out.
[20:38] <+mark> a very clever idea.
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[20:38] <~Dan> I'm assuming that IAZ is a gritty game? How does it compare to Storyteller in that respect?
[20:39] <+mark> Its gritty, but in a Grindhouse way, not a gothic-punk or Mafia way.
[20:39] <~Dan> So you can be a badass, but you'll take a beating in the process?
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[20:40] <~Dan> Like, Zombie Sin City, maybe?
[20:40] <+mark> Its more about survival than control, but you do have that aspect as well. Its a bit dieselpunk. And yes, you do take a beating... literally. As you flip those cards over you can feel the odium.
[20:40] <+mark> Sure, I like that.
[20:40] <+Kei> (I'm in if it's Zombie Sin City)
[20:40] <~Dan> Can you say a bit about the dieselpunk aspect?
[20:41] <+mark> But truly, every playtest we laugh more that I have ever laughed in an RPG, including Paranoia. Its just funny in a way I never expected when I first came up with the ideas and before that very first session.
[20:42] <+mark> Well, their glory years were back in the 50's and 60's so they souped up all the tech from back then and are now stuck with it. The soup it up with modified strains of the Scourge. So you can have souped up main frame IBM computers, and a souped up Muscle car.
[20:42] <+mark> such as this: (Link:
[20:43] <+mark> Fan art btw
[20:43] <~Dan> Nice.
[20:43] <~Dan> Very grindhouse. Very Tarantino.
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[20:44] <+mark> Yes exactly, I'm a huge Tarantino fan. And he, like me, is a huge Grindhouse fan.
[20:44] <~Dan> Indeed.
[20:44] <+mark> Mix in a little 70's Hong Kong marital arts and you've dialed us both in.
[20:44] <~Dan> What do you mean by their glory years, though? The glory years for zombie mad scientist types?
[20:44] <+mark> He also learned the storytelling craft from RPG's in high school.
[20:45] <~Dan> Did he really? Cool. :)
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[20:46] <+mark> After the Albuquerque Incident and the signing of the treaty there was a period where the Toxic were truly left alone. The Hospices were strong and the ferals were far less numerous and more easily kept in line. It is seen as an age when great advances were made in understanding the Scourge.
[20:46] <+mark> Those times are over.
[20:46] <~Dan> Ah, I see.
[20:46] <+mark> This is a central Grindhouse theme of course... a 70's theme... Things are falling apart.
[20:46] *** Aemilia is now known as Lioness
[20:47] <+mark> Of course, this is where the true heroes have to step in.
[20:47] <~Dan> So modern zombies haven't figured out how to soup up modern tech?
[20:48] <+mark> Not yes, though there are rumors of a souped up iphone and drone.
[20:48] <~Dan> I'm assuming these are all unique creations?
[20:49] <+mark> Well, we have a certain Archtypes. These things are so powerful they are cards as well, and can be made part of a character. So if you are the driver of the Zombie Muscle car, that would be an actual card. It might even come when you whistle.
[20:49] <~Dan> Heh. Cool. :)
[20:50] <+mark> The Zombie Glock is very fun. It has a mind of its own... and thinks of your arm as an extension of itself...
[20:51] <~Dan> We have about 10 minutes left in regular Q&A time. Now, you're welcome to hang out as long as you like, although I suspect you may want to get some sleep. :) That said, is there anything you'd like to bring up that we haven't covered so far?
[20:51] <+mark> The disadvantage on the card is that other players get to speak for it... which is so, so annoying.
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[20:51] <+mark> I'm pretty talked out.
[20:52] <+mark> Hope I didn't offend anyone, i was trying to be very direct, blunt and honest.
[20:52] <~Dan> Heh. No problem. Would you like to call it an early night, then?
[20:53] <~Dan> I think you did just fine, Mark.
[20:53] <+mark> Yes, thanks. I will try to say hello at some other time.
[20:53] <+mark> okay, bye.

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