Author Topic: The Zombie Virus  (Read 3539 times)

Offline Brother_Brimstone

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The Zombie Virus
« on: November 26, 2011, 11:20:37 PM »
After re-watching planet terror, I had an idea for a character based on Bruce Willis' character <MILD SPOILER ALERT>

He plays an ex-army soldier whose troop were accidentally hit by a chemical weapon by their own side, which turns them into 'zombies'. They use rebreathers filled with a short-term antidote to keep them from deteriorating completely, and are in search of a way to return themselves to normal (their government abandoned them and denied their existance due to not wanting to admit to use of fairly horrific chemical weapons). Without the rebreathers, their minds and bodies deteriorate until they are the steretypical brainless cannibal zombies.

The idea I had was of an Ordo Sepulturum Inquisitor who gets hit by a strange mutated zombie virus, never before encountered by the Imperium (or at least not according to official records). He and his warband become infected and are fitted with various grimdark technologies to slow, if not completely halt, the effect of the virus. However, the development of such technology took some time, and by then, he and his warband were already some way towards phyiscal decomposition. Now, little more than a bag of rotting flesh and bionics, injectors and life support, the Inquisitor and his half-dead companions scour the Imperium, searching for some way to repair their ravaged bodies, be it through the healing power of the Holy Emperor or.... less official powers. (the character would be a Thorian, believing that if he can find the secret to repairing himself, maybe he can use it in some way to repair he who sits on Terra). He is still a member of the Inquisition, being technically alive, and having done nothing outstandingly wrong (officially), but obviously being a foul mutated half-zombie has somewhat impaired his interactions with other servants of the Imperium...

What do people think? Does this sound plausible? I posted it here because I have no rules, as such, for him as of yet, and am currently just looking for feedback on the character concept and backstory.

All comments/criticism appreciated.

Offline MarcoSkoll

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Re: The Zombie Virus
« Reply #1 on: November 26, 2011, 11:41:57 PM »
It sounds like a brilliant idea and I can't see any problem with the concept at all.

As a suggestion rules-wise, perhaps they're fairly easy to injure (being partially rotted as such), but all the life support means they can tolerate those injuries better?

I'd probably have it affect each slightly differently, but perhaps one penalty might be -1 to BIV, like the Rotting (or whatever it's called) mutation, but bonuses might include True Grit or something like my Pain is Nothing/Feel no Pain rule. (Which gives a 50% boost to toughness for the purposes of System Shock and Consciousness, and halves any speed penalties, rounding down, as a result of injury)
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Offline Brother_Brimstone

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Re: The Zombie Virus
« Reply #2 on: November 27, 2011, 12:03:02 AM »
I was thinking about this myself - I was thinking about maybe giving the Inquisitor himself a 'rotting' rule, as you say, but perhaps Regeneration, to represent that he has the best and most advanced systems which actually work to repair the decay and destruction of his body. Obviously, his warband wouldn't be so lucky with their equipment, but, as you say, they are slow to feel the damage they do take. I was thinking that as part of their condition, they all auto-have 'true grit'. Sure, they're formidable, and you can never be quite sure if you've put them down or not, but then again, they're mechanically enhanced zombies, with systems in place specifically to stop their bodies degrade.... Withstanding bodily injury is pretty much their speciality!

I was thinking of having their illness affect them in different ways, as you hinted at. For example, one character would have the 'psychopathic' ability (from the CSM article), representing the fact that he is already some way into mental degeneration etc...

To make the story more interesting, i was going to have it hinted that the virus that hit him was actually engineered and/or purposefully used by another, radical Sepulturum Inquisitor as an experiment, setting up plot hooks for future story development.

Thanks for the input.

Offline Ynek

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Re: The Zombie Virus
« Reply #3 on: November 28, 2011, 09:40:42 AM »
Regeneration, to represent that he has the best and most advanced systems which actually work to repair the decay and destruction of his body.

Hmm. I'm honestly not entirely sure about regeneration in this case. Dead flesh, by and large, does not regenerate (which is one of the main reasons that it actually decays – it fails to replace damaged cells and degraded cellular structures,) so if anything, your characters would have below-average regenerative abilities.

The medical technology which helps slow/halt the virus's progress would probably help with damage on a cellular level, but it would probably have minimal effect on an organismal level. On this basis, it might be reasonable to postulate that the characters have a very high resistance to toxins and poisons. (Because their near-dead flesh would have a slower than normal metabolism, which would mean that the characters would metabolise the poisons far slower than it takes for their built-in medical systems to filter it out.)

I agree that the bonus to toughness for the purpose of system shock and consciousness is a good way to represent the natural resilience that comes from being part-zombie. However, it might be worth taking a glance over the daemonic traits in the LRB. I can’t remember the name of it, but there is a daemonic trait in there which gives the character doubled toughness for all injuries to all locations but the head, and halves his toughness for the purposes of head injures. This just SCREAMS ‘zombie’ to me, since zombies are supposed to be especially vulnerable to head injuries.

There is an unofficial ability kicking around on the Conclave whereby a character gains an additional ‘light’ injury level. This might be a good way to represent how difficult it is to do serious harm to a zombie. Perhaps say that the zombie-characters gain an extra light injury level to all locations except the head, which loses it’s light injury level. (So, in effect, the first injury to the head will be ‘heavy’.)

Maybe rules like Cannibal Hunger would be appropriate? Or perhaps the “Corpse Armour” rule from the Dark Magenta Hrud article, to represent the sheath of pain-immune rotting flesh that forms up the majority of the zombie’s body, protecting the vulnerable innards?

These are just a few ideas that popped into my head.
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Offline MarcoSkoll

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Re: The Zombie Virus
« Reply #4 on: November 28, 2011, 01:33:39 PM »
I think it's feasible that the Inquisitor's better equipment might offer repair on a more than a cellular level.

The Imperium does in theory have that kind of technology (nanomachinery, etc) - and while it's normally limited to members of the Mechanicus, an Inquisitor could potentially swing that kind of "upgrade". Not necessarily by official channels, mind.

Quote
I can’t remember the name of it, but there is a daemonic trait in there which gives the character doubled toughness for all injuries to all locations but the head
Daemonic: Invulnerable - but it's all locations except the head and chest.
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Offline Brother_Brimstone

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Re: The Zombie Virus
« Reply #5 on: November 28, 2011, 01:57:25 PM »
The Regeneration trait was meant to represent, as Marco said, basically the peak of the Imperium's restorative technology (if any non-mechanicus member were to be able to get it, surely the most likely candidate would be an Inquisitor? Inquisitors represent pretty much the top of the Imperial Hierarchy in many ways, particularly with regard to influence and contacts). The idea was that his technology was unable to repair the damage done by this particularly virulent Chaos-tainted virus, but it keeps the Inquisitor's body in the exact same state it is now in. He'll never get back the losses he made to decay, but his body will now require a hell of a beating before it can't go back to how it is now.

With regards to your suggestions, i like them. However, I do wonder about the half T to the head. While it has its advantages in terms of game balance, if we consider the myth of the zombie, the reason we're always told to 'aim for the head' isn't because the zombie's head is weaker than that of a human, but because its everywhere else is, for all intents and purposes, stronger (not stronger in a literal sense, but in the sense that a zombie can't be incapacitated by pain etc....) The zombie's brain is the point we aim for, not because it's unusually weak, but because it's all the zombie requires, unlike a human who requires most of his body to function (at least in the short term...).

Still, I was considering the Flesh Wound ability for them, as well as the Corpse Armour. As for Canniabl Hunger, because these characters are mainly bodily, rather than mentally degenerated, I can't see it being too much of an issue, but I am going to have a character who was particularly badly affected, whose sanity has 'taken one for the team', and he will have both Psychopath and Cannibal hunger, to represent the fact that he is a lot closer to zombification than his comrades...

Thanks for the comments.

Offline Kaled

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Re: The Zombie Virus
« Reply #6 on: November 28, 2011, 06:21:47 PM »
Regeneration does seems a bit much IMHO. I really like the idea that the technology keeps his body in the state it was when it was fitted, but the bit that seems a bit off is it would mean he can regrow lost limbs etc, which seems a bit much in the course of a game.

One thing I'd considered for a vaguely similar character was to give them Regeneration but without the clause that allows them to heal past the usual two levels. It'd still make them very hard to put out of action completely but repeated injuries would really degrade their abilities for the rest of the game.
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Offline MarcoSkoll

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Re: The Zombie Virus
« Reply #7 on: November 28, 2011, 09:07:48 PM »
Kaled's suggestion sounds good, actually. I imagine that the tech does have to obey conservation of mass, so if you start losing bits, it's going to be limited in how well it can heal you.

When I got around to try and justify Jax Lynn's ability to regrow lost limbs and organs, the only real explanation I could come up for breaching mass conservation was her regeneration being tied into the warp somehow (although not necessarily psychic) - so any variant tied into the laws of physics would probably have to be more restricted in what it could do.
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Offline Brother_Brimstone

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Re: The Zombie Virus
« Reply #8 on: November 28, 2011, 10:59:12 PM »
That's a good point. I think i'll probably implement it like that, then.

Models are made now, so after painting them, i can name them, stat them and flesh out their backstories a bit, and they'll be done.

Thanks for the input, all.


Offline Necris

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Re: The Zombie Virus
« Reply #9 on: November 28, 2011, 11:57:54 PM »
The way I did Atavus's regeneration was within game situations he can recover anything below Serious as per the regeneration ability but above that and he needs to do nothing but regenerate so has to spend time out of action recovering.

It tied into his background of taking serious damage that would kill a normal man six or seven times over and then vanishing for long periods while his body recovers (i thought of his like Wolverine but alot slower and able to take horrendous injuries) 
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