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DM Style Playthrough Discussion

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So I, along with I'm sure others have thought about a more DnD style playthrough.One of which has a non-player as a Dungeon Master. This non-player will lead the survivors through scenarios customly crafted by the non-player (I will, for the most part, guide player through as the game does). I would imagine this play style will involve more creatures. This will lead to more items, and probably a slightly different combat/health system which may be played with polyhedral (DnD) dice. I'll show an example of what I mean:

You narrowly escape the tanker as it crashes into your vehicle. The tanker crushed your vehicle as if it were a made of bittle aluminum. The tanker turns over and spill fuel everywhere. With the sparks and flames it is only a matter of seconds before the whole thing blows. You sprint for a second and jump for cover, without a moment to spare the tanker explodes, briefly lighting up the night sky. There is no time to rest as the sound attacks nearby zombies.

~A flaming zombie is place closest to the survivor(s), with 4 others down the road. Every turn has more zombies crawling into the map.~

What will you do?

~The survivor(s) decide to run past the flaming zombie.~

Roll to Evade: d20

  • 1-4 Roll Failed: Bitten
  • 5-8 Roll Failed: Bitten, push zombie back
  • 9-12 Roll Success Evaded Zombie
  • 13-16 Roll Success Push Zombie
  • 17-19 Roll Success Push Zombie, Zombie Falls and becomes a Crawler
  • 20 CRITICAL ROLL Push Zombie on the Ground & Head Stomps, Killing Zombie

~Rolls an 18.~

The zombie lunges towards you, however you are too fast and the zombie, in such a rush to sink his teeth into you, trips itself and falls to the ground.

~Survivors make their way down the road and decide to shoot the zombies.~

Roll to Shoot: d20

  • 1-5 Roll Failed: Zombie staggers toward the survivor(s) 2 positions, if Zombie is in the same position, instant bite.
  • 6-10 Roll Failed: Zombie moves towards position, if in same position roll to evade.
  • 11-15 Roll Success: Body Shot, 1 Damage
  • 15-19 Roll Success: Body Shot, 1 Damage, Pushes Zombie
  • 20 CRITICAL ROLL Headshot! 3 Damage

~Rolls an 15.~

You aim your weapon at the zombie and fire. The bullet finds its way into the shoulder of the zombie. While it doesn't look like you did much damage, the zombie staggers back.

~After firing a couple times the survivors defeat the zombies and move on~

You make your to a door, above it says, "Kendo's Gun Shop" and decide that's as good of a place as any.

If Kendo is a part of your team: (More items are revealed)

Kendo is relieved that his shop isn't in shambles. Being the owner of this shop he tells them where his ammo stashes are. [GO TO: If survivors grab ammunition]

If Kendo is not a part of your team: (NPC)

You open the door, hoping to find weapons, and you do. However this weapon is pointed right at you.

Kendo: "FREEZE!"

You hear the cocking of a shotgun. As you stare further down the barrel you see a man. He is a bulky man who looks like he could have held his own in a fight.

Kendo: "Who are you!? What are you doing here?!"

~Survivors explain~

Kendo: "Ooh.. Sorry about that... I thought you were one of them."

~Survivors can ask what happened~

Kendo: "I don't have a clue. By the time I had noticed that something was wrong, the entire city was infested with zombies."

~Or ask how to get to the RPD~

Kendo: "You can take the door over there in the corner, you'll have to do down a couple alleys, but I'll take you to the Police Station."

~If survivors grab ammunition~

As you grab the 15 rounds of handgun ammunition you hear the crashing of glass. 4 zombies have broken the standing window glass and make their way into the shop.

~If Kendo is an NPC~

One grabs Kendo from behind and bites his neck. He jerks his shoulder and smashes the zombie in the face. He fires off a round blowing the zombie's chest cavity into bits of bone and pulp. However the other three walking husks grab on and overpower the big gunshop owner and bring him down. You hear his screams deafen into a gargling silence as their teeth tear into his throat and body.

~If survivors decide to just leave~

You exit the building and make your way down an alleyway. You hear glass breaking not far in the distance. Followed by a gunshot, then a scream, and then.... nothing.


This is all obviously works in progress. Especially the dice rolls. I'm open to ideas and critiques. The game will play pretty much as the standard game. Move 4 actions, 2 max for attacking. Zombies will move towards you after each turn. The combat is the biggest change. The tension deck remains but only the non player draws and he can make decisions/story based on the card drawn. Please share your thoughts and ideas! Sorry for the long read/post.


EDITS: Hero's suggestion of having the zombies constantly spilling in at the very beginning to give the players a sense of dread and urgency.

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3 minutes ago, HeroQuestFrance said:

More zombies in the first street : 2 flaming zombies + zombies.
The player must fear the lethal danger to be surrounded since the first second after the accident !

Yeah that's good! Every turn have them start spilling into the map.

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I had a thought in the same vein as this, but nowhere near as thought out as Lickerbait's full on campaign style setup.

Rather myself setting up and "running" the game for others to play, and placing the tiles, doors, miniatures, item tokens & corpse markers as they go. Also keeping the scenario sheet out of their sight. This way they don't know the layout from the start, can't see things until they get to them, and have no idea how big the scenario is when they first sit down. Everything is revealed as they progress in real-time with no advance information on any part of the game.

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If you want to play the game as well and not just be watching as a GM you could create a table with all room tiles on which you will roll whenever you open a door. Then another table to determine the threat (33% green, yellow and amber) and which monsters are initially in the room ;)

A way to end the scenario could be to either agree on a number of rooms to clear after which you exit the scenario and win or having to achieve a certain target (kill 20 zombies, find the precinct key, kill the GMutant etc).

So in short : spawn the group on a certain tile and get all the other tiles that match thematically and every time you open a door

  • roll on the room table to select the next room and doors
  • roll on the threat table to determine the threat and monster spawns
  • roll on the loot table for item spawns and corpse markers

This is a very simplistic approach and will lack a lot of the lore and story telling that @Lickerbaits idea provides, but at least you get some form of replayability and randomness beyond the original campaigns. Please let me know what you think!

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Yeah I also had similar thoughts though obviously not as detailed as op. I thought a dm could replace the tension deck using cards at will. But man that's a thorough example of how many ways this game can be played. 

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