February 13, 2009

Zombies: Edges and Traits

Filed under: General — bilbo @ 10:48 am

I had an idea when I was thinking up The System for Zombipocalypse. I wanted some mechanic to help characters stand out and help reinforce a certain level of “I am special” feeling. This is generally a good philosophy if you are designing an RPG system. I had an old system I wrote some 20 years ago called “Bizarre Tales”. Very light weight stuff but it had Schticks. Schticks were essentially “Things you character could do”. So, (and this was pulp genre) you might have Iron Jaw and be able to resist interrogation by physical means. Or you might be a Crack Shot and able to shoot the cigarette out of a mans mouth at 50 paces. So, I thought, this would be a good mechanic for Zombipocalypse.

Then a much better system designer than I, Clash Bowley over at Flying Mice Games, laid the smack down on me. He outlined how he does Traits and Edges. Yeah, he credited another designer but I usually am referencing Clash on design points so he gets the credit. Anyway, I started noodling on how to split schticks up.

I ended up with Edges being extensions of skills. You will have a required skill and rank, so, to be a Crack Shot you must have a Ranged Combat rank of 4 or higher. Also, Edges are powered by Action Points which are a derived stat from Spirit + Mind and give a range of 2-20.  So, Edges are a resource management mechanism for extraordinary skill actions. Have Athletics (Running) and want to run up that wall like Jackie Chan? Have the Monkey Run Edge and spend an Action Point and there you go.

Traits are always on, definitional abilities. So, you might have a “Loved One” Trait that gives you any Skill you need to save your loved one. For instance, you have a shot gun and your daughter is being attacked by the Infected, you suddenly can fire that shot gun. After the fight, you have no idea how you just did that but hey, it worked. Traits also come with a Detriment. This is chosen from a list linked to the Trait. So, for loved ones it would be:

  • Loved one is handicapped
  • Loved one is younger than 12 years old
  • Loved one hates you or does not return your love

There may end up being more but then you would pick one. This allows the linking of the Detriment to the Trait and it can make a bit more sense. It should be noted that the player can choose not to take any Traits or Edges.

So, I think that is the way I will be heading for Edges and Traits in Zombipocalypse.

Thanks Clash!


  1. You’re welcome! You’ve definitely put your stamp on it though! Zombipocalypse is looking better and better! 😀


    Comment by clash bowley — February 19, 2009 @ 8:14 am

  2. Couldn’t have done it without out you man. Thanks!

    Comment by bilbo — February 19, 2009 @ 10:28 am

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