In the Dead Reign campaign setting, the collapse is only a short time in the past (or still ongoing, depending on when the campaign begins), so scavenging through ruins for food and other basic supplies is a viable survival strategy. A character can choose make a Survival roll to scavenge, no more than once per day per character. This roll can only be made in an urban area. On a success, the character draws a card to determine what useful goods he has discovered. Scavenging takes 1d6 hours.
The GM then draws a second card to see if the hero has suffered a random encounter, whether the Survival check was successful or not; on a clubs card, a random encounter occurs. If a 1 is showing on the Survival skill die, the hero draws two cards and takes the worse one. If the character rolls snake eyes on this Survival check, the GM keeps drawing encounter cards until a clubs card appears.
Some locations, known as dead zones, have significantly higher chances of zombie encounters. In an area labeled as a dead zone, the GM draws two cards for an encounter and takes the worse one; a 1 on the skill roll means to draw three cards and take the worst. If more than one card is an encounter, the GM automatically takes the zombie encounter if there is one. Should the heroes be unlucky enough to roll snake eyes in a dead zone, the GM draws encounter cards until two zombie encounters are showing and the heroes must face both of them.
Characters can make Survival rolls to find food and water as normal (see above), but in an urban area this always results in a random encounter draw, just as if the characters were scavenging.
Survival rolls to scavenge take the following penalties:
- Urban area, depopulated: +0
- Urban area, picked over: -1
- Urban area, heavily scavenged: -2
- Highway or other major thoroughfare: -2
- Rural area, depopulated: -3
- Rural area, heavily scavenged: -4
- Country road or minor thoroughfare: -4
- Wilderness area: -6
Some areas also have greater likelihood to draw certain kinds of items. In these areas, keep drawing cards until a card of the appropriate suit (or Joker) is found. If more than one card is being drawn, the second (and later) cards to be drawn can be from any suit as normal. When a Joker is drawn, it has its usual effects, except that the redraw is done until a card of the appropriate suit is showing.
- Supermarket: Hearts
- Hospital: Special (see below)
- Military Base: Spades
- Mall: Clubs
- Highway: Diamonds
Hospitals: Hospitals are always dead zones (see above), but they can also be very valuable troves of medicine, food, and water. A successful scavenging roll in a hospital automatically draws until a Hearts card is showing, then draws the normal scavenging results.
Suit: Type of Gear
Spades: Weapons and Ammo
Hearts: Food and Water
Diamonds: Vehicles and Fuel
The GM has more information on the exact results of card draws for scavenged goods.
Searching for a Specific Item
PCs can search for specific items by making a Notice test. The PCs should add the location’s salvage value to this test, however they will also subtract a number based on the rarity of the item, as described below. The rarity of the item also determines how long the PCs spend searching before they find the item. With a raise, they cut this time in half. If they fail, they spend the maximum time searching and don’t find the item.
- Very Common: +0, 1d6x10 minutes
- Common: -1, 1d6 hours
- Uncommon: -2, 2d6 hours
- Rare: -4, 1d4 days
As with general scavenging, an encounter card should be drawn to determine whether or not an encounter occurs during the search.
Heroes in zombie apocalypse stories are largely motivated by the need to replenish their supplies and stay one step ahead of the walking dead. Because of this, heroes are required to keep careful track of food, medicine, repair parts, and ammunition; to keep the hassle to a minimum, all such consumables are broken into abstract units.
While it is important for heroes to keep track of their ammo, the process of holding on to it is abstracted for a Dead Reign campaign. Ammunition is found in “units”; one unit of ammo is equal to 10 small bullets, 5 medium bullets, or 1 large bullet, decided by the survivor when he receives the ammo unit. The GM can instead give specific kinds of ammunition to heroes, but when found as units, the player characters get to choose. Ammunition weighs 1 pound per 10 units.
Weapons and gear break down all the time, but under normal conditions a character could just go to the store and buy parts or even a new gadget. In the harsh landscape of the zombie apocalypse, such objects are few and far between. Repair components are needed for every use of the Repair skill, such as fixing a damaged or broken weapon, building a new weapon out of spare parts, or cobbling together a useful item. Components are divided up into mechanical components, electronic components, and chemical components. See the scavenging rules for more about what a survivor can do with various kinds of components. Components weigh 1 pound per 10 units.
Food and Water
Each character consumes 1 unit of food and 1 unit of water per day to operate as normal. A survivor can go on short rations, requiring only half a unit of food each day. A character on short rations must make a Vigor roll each day. Failure means the character gains a Fatigue level. Not eating at all forces a character to make a Vigor roll at –2 for every 12 hours without food after the first day (see the core book rules on Hunger). A successful Survival roll to find food produces 1d6 units of food and 1d4 units of water, doubled on a raise. Five units of food or two units of water weigh 1 pound.
Each use of the Healing skill requires 1 unit of medicine. Not using any medicine units imposes a –2 penalty on the Healing roll. A character that is undergoing natural healing also uses 1 unit of medicine each week while recovering. Not being given any medicine during this time imposes a –2 penalty on the natural healing roll. Being given 2 units of medicine counts as +1 medical attention, while 3 units counts as +2 medical attention. Medicine weighs 1 pound per 10 units.
Gasoline comes in units like everything else. Vehicles have four fuel levels—Full, High, Low, and Out—with each level requiring one unit of gasoline. Motorcycles, small cars, and jeeps burn one fuel level for every 100 miles, mid-sized cars and Humvees burn one level every 50 miles, and large cars, trucks, and SUVs burn one level every 25 miles. During combat, if a driver draws a deuce, his vehicle’s fuel level drops by one at the end of the round. Chainsaws require gasoline to function as well; one unit of gasoline fills a chainsaw to Very High, and its fuel level drops by one at the end of every round of combat in which it is used. Gasoline weighs 1 pound per unit.
Using Scavenged Goods
Building Weapons: A character can build a new archaic weapon out of mechanical components. For an archaic weapon, the number of components needed is equal to the damage die of the weapon. (So, a sword that does Str+d8 damage requires 8 mechanical components to build.)
Building a new firearm takes twice as many mechanical components as its damage dice added together, plus a number of chemical components equal to its damage die type. (So, a firearm dealing 2d6 damage requires 24 mechanical components and 6 chemical components.)
Building a new weapon requires twice as many hours as the weapon’s damage dice. (So, 4d6 hours of work for a 2d6 damage firearm or 2d8 hours of work for a Str+d8 sword.)
An explosive requires half as many chemical components as its damage dice size, plus 1 mechanical component per die. (So, an improvised inflicting 1d6 damage requires 3 chemical components and 1 mechanical component, while a 3d6 damage grenade requires 3 chemical components and 3 mechanical components.) Thrown improvised explosives have a range of 3/6/12 and explode in a Small Burst Template.
Gasoline can also be turned into Molotov cocktails. One unit of gasoline and one mechanical component can make four Molotov cocktails. A Molotov cocktail has a thrown range of 3/6/12 and explodes in a Small Burst Template. The first does 2d10 damage on impact and has the usual chance of setting targets on fire (6 on 1d6). If a zombie catches fire but is not killed by the damage, the heroes must now deal with flaming zombies; on the plus side, the zombies are pretty much doomed, since they won’t bother trying to put themselves out.
A survivor enclave’s greatest prize is often its electrical generator. Keeping it active is a daily chore, though. A generator has fuel levels like a vehicle; it reduces one fuel level every 3 days. Keeping the generator in good working order also requires 1 electronic component and 1 mechanical component per week of operation. Each week without electrical or mechanical components requires a Repair check at –1 for each missing component type, and a cumulative –1 for each week of jury-rigged operation. A failed check results in an inoperative generator; it can be repaired with tools, a workshop, and 2d6 hours of work, as well as 2d6 electrical components and 2d6 mechanical components.
Generators cannot be built from scratch with components—that’s beyond the skill of anyone without access to a fully functional factory. Finding a working generator—or at least one only somewhat damaged—should always be the goal of an adventure or the result of a Joker draw.
Tools and Workshops
Repairing an object requires tools, while building a new one requires tools and a workshop. Improvised tools impose a –2 penalty on Repair checks, which is cumulative with a –2 penalty for an improvised workshop.
Repairing a damaged weapon requires half as many mechanical components as it would take to build it (round down). Each raise on the Repair roll reduces the number of components required, to a minimum of one component.
Repairing a damaged vehicle can be extremely expensive in components. Each wound restored to a vehicle requires half as many mechanical components as the vehicle’s Toughness rating, plus one chemical and electronic component per wound. So an SUV with Toughness 14 and three wounds would require a whopping 21 mechanical components, 3 chemical components, and 3 electronic components to fully repair!
A vehicle that has been destroyed through damage can be made operational again with a Repair roll that consumes the vehicle’s full Toughness in mechanical components and half that number in chemical components; this leaves the vehicle working but with three wounds. If a vehicle was suffering from a critical hit result, that critical hit damage is removed along with the wound that inflicted it.
A character can add armor to a vehicle with a Repair roll and mechanical components. Armoring a vehicle requires 1d6 hours per point of armor added, and half the vehicle’s current Toughness (round down) in mechanical components. A vehicle’s maximum additional armor is equal to its starting armor (listed next to its Toughness in parentheses). So an SUV with Toughness 14 (3) would require 7 mechanical components per point of additional armor, and could not add more than 3 more points of armor, for a total of Toughness 17 (6).
Additionally, every point of armor added to a vehicle reduces its Acceleration and Top Speed by 2. For the example above, an SUV is normally Acc/TS 20/40. Increasing its Toughness to 17 (6) would reduce its Acc/TS to 14/34. Adding armor to a vehicle does make it more expensive to repair and to add more armor, since a vehicle’s repair cost and armor cost in components are derived from its Toughness.