Characters in Dead Reign don’t buy starting supplies. They might have had guns, camping equipment, or other useful gear lying around their homes; they might even have been soldiers or police with access to heavy weapons and emergency equipment. But when things went nuts, people just grabbed whatever they could find. So the characters don’t get to pick and choose—they start the game with whatever gear they’ve managed to scavenge.
To scavenge starting gear, draw two cards for each character, plus one card for each success and raise on a Smarts roll. If a player rolls snake eyes, his character gets only one card for gear. Players can spend Bennies on this roll. Just take them out of their bennies for the first session.
Each character background also carries along some bonus equipment, based on what is likely for the character to have had access to because of his training, experience, or work.
At character creation, a player may choose a character archetype for his character. An archetype is a broad description of the sort of character you might see in a zombie movie or other story, a shorthand way of saying “this is the sort of character I want to play.” Mechanically, an archetype has a minor requirement in order to qualify for it, and in turn gives the character a bonus piece of equipment or bonuses to starting scavenged equipment.
The character archetypes include:
You were a petty criminal of some sort before the Fall. Maybe you were trying to get your life back together, or maybe you were heading down the road to something worse. Either way, it was suddenly pretty useful to own a gun and not be afraid of using it on people. Your experience with stealing also made it a little easier for you to loot your way into some decent survival gear.
Requirement: Lockpicking or Stealth d6+
Benefit: You draw one extra card for your starting equipment.
You used to make a living behind the wheel. Maybe you were a trucker, maybe a courier, maybe a car thief. Regardless of the exact nature of your profession, no one knows vehicles better than you. When the Fall came, your first thought was to get behind the wheel and get the hell out of Dodge. Unfortunately, gridlock and lack of gas made that basically impossible. You still have your car—even if it’s beat to hell.
Requirement: Driving d6+
Benefit: Your starting equipment includes a vehicle of your choice. This vehicle has three Wounds and Out fuel level. If you draw a vehicle as part of your starting scavenging draw, the vehicle instead has only one wound and a Low fuel level.
You’ve done a little bit of this and a little bit of that—a little bit of nearly everything, really. You’ve never been great at anything, though… at least, not until the Fall. You’re pretty great at surviving. Your broad base of knowledge has proven more useful than most other people’s specialized skills. The fact that you were working a dead-end job when everything fell apart also means that you weren’t anywhere that things got really awful. Just lucky, you guess.
Requirement: At least four skills at d6 or lower.
Benefit: Your starting equipment includes a toolkit and 2d10 components of your choice.
You survived the Fall by following one simple rule: “Look out for number one.” You don’t see a point in being nice about it either. Everyone you meet is probably going to die, so all the old social niceties are just wasting your fucking time. As long as you can live another day, you don’t care if anyone else thinks you’re an asshole. Of course, you’re still going to make yourself useful—at least, as useful as you need to so that you don’t get left behind.
Requirement: Mean Hindrance
Benefit: You gain +2 on your starting equipment Smarts roll.
Despite not being old enough to drive a car, drink, or vote, you’ve managed to survive when all of the so-called “grown-ups” around you got turned into zombie chow. All the other kids too, actually. You’ve gotten through the Fall—maybe on your own, maybe with some others, but you’re still here.
Requirement: Young Hindrance
Benefit: Your starting equipment includes either a loyal pet (like a dog) or a memento from your loved ones. A loyal pet is an NPC extra, while a memento gives you +1 to Spirit checks to resist fear. Either can be lost in the course of play.
You are a medical professional, but not quite a full doctor. You might be a nurse, a physician’s assistant, a medical school student, or something similar. You have most of the same training and abilities as a doctor, but you weren’t called in to the hospitals during the Fall to help with patient overflow—so you survived when all of the hospitals in the world turned into deathtraps. Count yourself fortunate.
Requirements: Healing d6+
Benefit: Your starting equipment includes a first aid kit with 1d6+1 units of medicine.
You were something of an outdoorsman before the Fall. At the least, you liked fishing or hunting on the weekends. You never thought you’d need to use your hobby as a means of survival—not that your skills are all that useful in an urban area. If you can just convince everyone to head for the wilderness, you’re sure you’d be a big help…
Requirements: Survival d6+
Benefit: Your starting equipment includes a hunting weapon of your choice (such as a hunting bow or hunting rifle) and 1d6+1 units of ammunition.
You were wearing a uniform when the Fall happened; you might still be wearing it now. Whether you were a cop, a soldier, a firefighter, or something else, you should have been one of the people on the front lines when everything went to hell. Why weren’t you there? No matter the reason, you survived when almost everyone else wearing your uniform didn’t.
Requirements: Code of Honor or Vow Hindrance
Benefit: Your starting equipment includes a weapon appropriate to your position; if it is a ranged weapon, it includes 1d6-1 units of ammunition.