The Savage Worlds combat system is fairly abstract to begin with. While zombies in the movies can often only be killed by headshots, putting players in a position where they have to take a –4 penalty to hit whenever they want to kill an enemy isn’t fun for anyone.
Because of this, the Dead Reign setting assumes that when a zombie Extra is Incapacitated through normal attacks, the damage to the body was serious enough to also impact the brain (or at least to tear it to enough pieces to keep it from being a threat any more).
Zombies remain vulnerable to called shots to the head, however. A called shot to the head inflicts +4 damage as normal, and some zombies are even more vulnerable to them.
A common trope in recent zombie movies and games has been the idea of people who are immune to the zombie plague. They can still be killed by injuries and such, but a zombie’s bite does not transmit the lethal plague that turns humans into the walking dead. Because of this, there is a random chance that any given player character will be immune to zombie plague. Additionally, for heroes who want to avoid the possibility of losing their character to a random bite, there is a new Background Edge for the Dead Reign campaign setting: Immune Survivor.
For random immunity, at the beginning of the campaign and after everyone’s characters have been made, secretly roll a d20 for each player character that did not take the Immune Survivor Edge. The character that received the highest roll is naturally immune. Unlike a character with Immune Survivor, this character does not know about his immunity because he has never been exposed before. A day after the first time the character is bitten, he suffers a level of Fatigue (as though he had succumbed to zombie plague). Each day, he attempts a Vigor roll or suffers another level of Fatigue; a successful roll does not eliminate existing levels of Fatigue. Once he becomes Incapacitated from Fatigue, he stops making Vigor rolls and simply recovers a level of Fatigue for each day of rest.
After determining the guaranteed immune survivor for the party, secretly draw a card from the Action Deck for each other survivor (as well as for new survivors that join the campaign later). On a Joker, the character is immune as above.
A common problem in the zombie apocalypse genre is that a hero’s gear suffers damage with use and need to be repaired or replaced. In the Dead Reign campaign setting, if a hero rolls snake eyes (a critical failure) on an attack roll with a weapon, it becomes damaged (in addition to any other consequences); rolling a 1 on the skill die (regardless of the Wild Die) makes a damaged weapon broken. A damaged weapon suffers –2 on attack rolls with the weapon, while a broken weapon cannot be used effectively until repaired or replaced.
Fixing a damaged weapon requires a Repair roll and 1d6 hours of work, in addition to the components needed (see above). A raise on the Repair roll halves the number of needed components (minimum 1). Fixing a broken weapon doubles amount of time needed for the job and increases the number of necessary components by 1. A survivor can choose to break down a broken weapon for parts rather than repairing it. A successful Repair roll turns a broken weapon into 1 component of the appropriate type.
As noted in the Healing section (SWD 78), attempting a Healing check on an injured person requires basic supplies. In the Dead Reign setting, these supplies are medicine units.
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 (as per “no medical attention”). Being given 2 units of medicine counts as +1 medical attention, while 3 units counts as +2 medical attention.
The Dead Reign campaign setting uses the Savage Worlds Adventure Deck. Characters draw one card per Rank at the beginning of each session, and may play one card per session. A character may spend a Benny to play an additional card from his hand if he has more than one card available. Characters with the Destiny’s Child Edge draw one extra card per session.