Categorized | RPGs

Dungeons and Zombies Review

Posted on June 6, 2006 by Flames

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Swords, Sorcery, and Shambling!

Dungeons and Zombies is a supplement for the All Flesh Must Be Eaten RPG.

Written by Jason Vey, with additional material by Ross A. Isaacs, Dungeons and Zombies introduces high fantasy to the already impressive line-up of AFMBE (All Flesh Must Be Eaten) supplements. This book offers up plenty of new material for survival horror fans.

The book starts off with a short story and introduction. This sets the mood for the book and offers up some useful information on the how and why of the text. Moving right into character creation, D&Z offers a lot of new material for AFMBE fans. New Character Types, new Qualities & Drawbacks, new (and modified) Skills and more…

The new Qualities and Drawbacks help Players build high fantasy characters, including racial qualities such as Elf, Dwarf and Orc. Also included are profession Qualities like Paladin and Ranger. These packaged Qualities help round out a character by providing bonus Attributes and Skills (and some penalties as well). These are surely not the only races and professions you can build with the tools at hand, the variety of Qualities and Drawbacks here (and in other AFMBE books) allows you customize your characters in countless ways. There are references to other Unisystem books like Terra Primate and Enter the Zombie in this section as well, pointing you to more material for character creation.

The book goes on to add new Skills, new Combat, Economy and Metaphysics all appropriate to the fantasy genre. There is a ton of information packed into a few pages. The Shield rules are especially useful for adding some extra crunch to combat in the game. The Metaphysics section borrows heavily from other Unisystem games (namely Witchcraft and Armageddon) and does point to those as sources for more information. Included are some psychic, elemental and necromantic invocations. In my opinion this section could have been better organized with either restating some material from the AFMBE core book for clarity or references the appropriate pages a bit more clearly. All-in-all though, some of the new rules presented here have made Unisystem games a lot more fun overall.

Some new Archetypes lead us into my favorite part of the book, the fantasy Deadworlds. The Archetypes are mixed throughout the Deadworlds, offering up specific types of characters for each of them.

The Deadworlds explore several different styles of fantasy games. Each of them has plenty of detail for the Zombie Master to run an adventure with new monsters and plenty of challenges. Mixed in are new Qualities and magic weapons that can be used in just about any setting.

The Arthurian Deadworld, “Death of the Round Table” is a bleak and dangerous setting, but it offers the characters a chance to be real heroes as well. In it you’ll find write-ups for Lady Guinevere, Lancelot, Morgan Le Fay and more. The two Archetypes presented as part of “Death of the Round Table” are by far my favorite in the book. The Knight Errant and Young Druid offer up plenty of role-playing opportunities in this Deadworld (and others).

The most surprising Deadworld is “The Eastern Dead” which details Oriental fantasy through the eyes of AFMBE. New Qualities such as Ninja and Samurai, along with some new Chi Metaphysics flesh out the character options for this setting nicely. It is possible to combine Enter the Zombie and “The Eastern Dead” for even more options (Martial Arts, Chi techniques, etc). This Deadworld allows the Zombie Master to try something different from the more common fantasy setting and still provide some great adventure and/or survival horror for the players.

The final chapter in the book “The Tomb of Doom” is an adventure that allows Zombie Masters to jump into the genre and make use of the new rules presented in the book. A dungeon crawl featuring goblins, ghosts zombies and more, this adventure could make a start to an ongoing campaign or be a fun one-shot session. Included are maps of the dungeons and plenty of challenges for the characters.

Overall this is one of the most useful AFMBE supplements. Fantasy is a genre that had been missing from Unisystem games until this book (and Army of Darkness) was released. This allows fans of other games to explore new settings, races and other elements. With the d20 appendix in the revised AFMBE core book most Zombie Masters should be able to convert quite a few settings over to D&Z with little effort.

Buy this book. Even if you don’t play much All Flesh Must Be Eaten it has tons of useful information for any Unisystem game. Eden Studios has also provided a web enhancement on their website that offers up useful information on using D&Z with the cinematic Unisystem games (Buffy, Angel, Army of Darkness, etc).

Reviewer: Matt M McElroy

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