Enter the Zombie (All Flesh Must be Eaten RPG) - PDF Free Download (2024)

There were five of them in total, one had the bow and arrow, the others all had swords. Magic and explosions had failed Wu-Han, it looked as though he was now going to try dismemberment.

ENTER THE ZOMBIE

There was a dull impact in the center of his back. Mr. Nagaki looked down to see the tip of an arrow protruding from his chest. He spun -- his claw fingers at the ready -- to see figures emerging from the snow, charging towards him. One of them was notching another arrow in his compound bow. They’d buried themselves and waited for him.

Another arrow caught him in the throat, lodging itself halfway in his neck.

I T W A S A G O O D .D .A Y. T O B E U N D E A D Enter the Zombie is a supplement for the All Flesh Must Be Eaten RPG. In it, you will find: • Extended rules for martial arts mayhem, new Character Types, special chi powers, and new zombie aspects. • Zombie player character creation. • Adventures involving gun-slinging thugs on the streets of Hong Kong. • Details on magic and martial arts in modern San Francisco. • Background for stories set in ancient China. • A arena where undead battle to the death. • Archetypes for each setting provided.

Text, Text, artwork, artwork, icons, icons, personalities, personalities, tradedress tradedress and and characters characters copyright copyright © © 2002 2002 Eden Eden Studios, Studios, Inc. Inc. CJ CJ Carella’s Carella’s The The Unisystem™ Unisystem™ copyright copyright © © 2002 2002 CJ CJ Carella. Carella. Used Used under under exclusive exclusive license. license. All All Rights Rights Reserved. Reserved.

EDN8002

$20.00 $20.00 (US) (US) EDN8002 EDN8002 ISBN ISBN 1-891153-83-8 1-891153-83-8

E D E N

S T U D I O S

P R E S E N T S

E n t e r

A

T h e

S H Y / V A S I L A K O S

Z o m b i e

P R O D U C T I O N

TM

E D E N S T U D I O S Director G E O R G E V A S I L A K O S Authors A L B R U N O I I I R I C H A R D D A K A N J A C K E M M E R T Additional Authors C O L I N C H A P M A N D E R E K G U D E R G E R R Y S A R A C C O Editor and Developing M . A L E X A N D E R J U R K A T Proofers C . T Y L E R D O D D D A N I E L D . H O L M E S Director of Photography G E O R G E V A S I L A K O S Visual Effects S T O R N C O O K C . B R E N T F E R G U S O N D W G R O S S F R A N C I S H O G A N M A T T M O R R O W C H R I S T O P H E R S H Y G E O R G E V A S I L A K O S Producer

Playtesters

R O B B E C K A N D R E W C I O T T I D A V I D T O D D K R A U S E T H O M A S M A C A L U S O

F I S H M A N D E R E K G U D E R G E R R Y S A R A C C O

Based on an Original Concept by

C H R I S T O P H E R

S H Y

a n d

G E O R G E

V A S I L A K O S

W W W . A L L F L E S H . C O M Eden Studios

3426 Keystone Avenue #3, Los Angeles, CA 90034 Enter The Zombie ™ ,

All Flesh Must Be Eaten ™ , icons and personalities are © 2001 Eden Studios The Unisystem™ Game System © 2001 CJ Carella. All art © 2001 Eden Studios. All rights reserved. Produced and published by Eden Studios, Inc. The Unisystem™ is used under exclusive license.

No part of this book may be reproduced without written permission from the publisher, except for review purposes. Any similarity to characters, situations, institutions, corporations, etc. (without satirical intent) is strictly fictional or coincidental. This book uses settings, characters and themes of a supernatural nature. All elements, mystical and supernatural, are fiction and intended for entertainment purposes only. Reader discretion is advised. Eat more Sushi. You’ll live longer. Comments and questions can be directed via the Internet at www.allflesh,com, via e-mail at [emailprotected] or via letter with a self-addressed stamped envelope. First Printing, January 2002 Stock EDN8002 ISBN 1-891153-80-3 Printed in the U.S.

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Z TABLE F C O N T E N T S contents O M B I E S table

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Chapter One: Corpses Rising ........................4 Chapter Two: Tao of the Dead ......................28 Chapter Three: Hard Boiled Corpses............64

Chapter Four: Flesh Eaters in Little China. . . . . . . . . . 8 6 Chapter Five: Once Upon a Corpse in China.....................114

Chapter Six: Undead Kombat.......................136

Appendix....................................................162 Index..........................................................165

2T h e

D e a d

R i s e

C H A P T E R 1

CORPSES RISING

A Recipe For Vengeance There is a recipe for vengeance: a hundred year old candle, the dirt from an unmarked grave, a handful of placenta, a pinch of ram’s blood, a copy of the blasphemous scroll The Song of Tian-gou, and of course, the body. There must be a body. It must be a young man, it must be no more than three days old and it must have died of violence. The body lay on the warped floorboards of a squat stone edifice. The walls were black with soot and grime, snow drifted in through the holes in the sagging roof. In more prosperous times, this place had been one of the City’s finest breweries; those prosperous times had been nearly a generation ago, however. It did not matter where the invocation was performed, but the positioning of the body was critical. The body must be lying on its side, its arms and legs curled close to its chest. The candle is placed near its head; the placenta is ground into a paste and smeared on its bare feet. The supplicant must recite the entirety of The Song of Tian-gou while sprinkling the dirt and ram’s blood over the body. Jason Magwier did not have a copy of the foul scroll—that was unnecessary. He could recite the Song of Tian-gou from memory. As he neared the final quatrain, the body began to quiver. There was a sound like the rustling of leaves, the candle sputtered and went out, plunging the chamber into shadows. By the time he had lit another. the body was standing before him, careless of its nudity and swaying on its feet. “Who has summoned me?” it said, its voice a peculiar jumble of confusion and rasping menace. “I have, Dread Lord Nagaki.” Magwier replied matter-of-factly. He reached beneath clothes that were strewn over the back of a nearby chair.

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“You again?” A look of distaste crossed the dead man’s features at the sight of the Westerner, “What year is it?” “Does it matter Lord Nagaki?” “No. I suppose it doesn’t.” He examined the body—his body, for now. It was strong and there was relatively little decay. Slowly, he ran his hands over the smooth skin of his torso, a tattoo of a dragon covered the width of his thick muscular chest. For a moment, his touch lingered at the quarter-sized entry wound near his heart. He traced the edges of the wound—it was cool and gummy to the touch. “And that’s Mr. Nagaki . . . none of that Lord crap.” “As you wish.” Magwier handed the dead man a black knapsack. Mr. Nagaki took the bundle and opened it to find a pair of holstered 9mm pistols and a wakisashi. Jason Magwier may have been an impudent Westerner but at least he knew how to equip an assassin. Reverently, Mr. Nagaki drew the short bladed weapon from the knapsack and let the scabbard clatter to the floor. He took a few practice swings at nothing, testing the balance and smiling slightly at the sound it made cutting the air. “What do you require of me?” “The woman I loved is dead.” Magwier looked over to the corner where a supine form was covered with a stained sheet. “Everyone dies.” With a swift flick of the blade, the dead man cut a deep furrow into the side of his right leg. Blood welled up half-heartedly at the wound. “Not like this. She should have died in her sleep.” The Westerner’s face tightened, he inhaled sharply, fighting back tears, “Now I’m alone.” “We’re all alone.” With a single, well-practiced motion, he thrust the wakisashi deep into the

Chapter One

wound, the metal of the blade whispered against his femur. That done, Mr. Nagaki turned his attention to the twin 9mms. He examined each of the pistols carefully before setting them on the ground before him. By the time he was done, the skin and muscle of his leg had sheathed itself around the wakisashi. “I don’t believe that.” Magwier handed him the clothes: slacks, shirt, boots and a leather trench coat, all black. Mr. Nagaki preferred to wear dark colors; they concealed the evidence of a busy night all the better. “We could have grown old together.” “So you want vengeance? That’s a first for you.” “I want justice.” The dead man dressed himself quickly, “Not in this world.” “The man who did this to her calls himself the Gray Mandarin.” The Westerner’s hands curled into fists, he began to pace, “He hides like a coward behind a fake name and a fake identity.”

“No?” Mr. Nagaki sighed with resignation; it could never be that simple with Jason Magwier, even his revenge had to be grandiose and needlessly complex. The man would get dizzy if he had to walk in a straight line. “I want him to suffer. I want him to know misery and desperation.” Magwier said. “I want you to pick his world apart piece by piece. Then, and only then, do I want you to kill him.” “A tall order.” Magwier drew closer, “You’ve done much worse in your time.” “Far worse,” Mr. Nagaki agreed, “Is this by your command?” For a moment Magwier hesitated, knowing what he was about to unleash. “By my command.” And with those words spoken, the dead man bowed to his summoner and headed out into the City.

“I can see why that would upset you ‘Jason.’” Magwier ignored the jibe. “He controls the City’s exports and imports. Everyone pays him tribute.” “Why can’t you just say he’s with the Triads?” Mr. Nagaki looked up from tying his shoes, dead fingers dancing deftly around the laces. “Because his power has transcended organized crime. Even the governments fear him.” The Westerner’s sullen gaze returned to the motionless, sheet-covered form in the corner, “Powerful magic protects him.” “So naturally,” Mr. Nagaki picked the 9mm pistols up off the floor and slipped their holsters over his shoulders, “you want me to stroll into his living room and kill him.” “No.”

Corpses Rising

7

Blood and Snow It began simply, with two men of little repute. They were minor players in the Gray Mandarin’s organization—a courier and his armed escort. They drove through the City’s snow-choked streets. It was quiet; the storm had driven most of the pedestrian traffic from the roads. The constabulary forces were busy chasing after accidents and directing traffic at the clogged intersections. All in all, it was a perfect night to make a drop, at least in Liko’s opinion. The young courier wanted nothing to go wrong tonight. A quick exchange—the briefcase for the money—and it would be done. He shifted in his seat, checking his reflection in the passenger side view mirror. The car slowed to a crawl as the chauffeur/bodyguard inched his way around the vehicles parked on either side of the street. A snowplow had been through recently and each of the vehicles was half-buried under a mound of snow. Shing leaned forward in the driver’s seat, his thick hands tensing around the steering wheel. “I wish you would just go to an eye doctor!” Liko sighed. “I don’t need glasses.” “You’re squinting!” “I said I don’t need glasses.” The imbecile has probably never even heard of contact lenses! Liko chuckled at the thought. “If you think its so damn funny,” Shing grumbled as they crawled past a double-parked taxicab “You can drive.” “Just get us there. This is taking all night!” “Worried that you’re going to miss all the fun?” “Look,” Liko was worried, he wanted to get there before the buffet and the whor*s where all

8

picked over. “Don’t make me late just because you weren’t invited.” Shing rounded on the smaller man, his expression a snarl. Before he could say anything, however, a sickening thump sounded. He slammed onto the brakes. The car skidded in slow motion, inching to a stop. “You—you ran someone over! You stupid motherf*cker!” This was nothing short of disaster. Liko got out of the car and approached the figure lying spread-eagled in the middle of the street. It was a young man with a long ponytail. The snow was already peppering his black coat and clothes. Liko drew closer. It wasn’t anyone he knew—thank heavens for that at least—but whoever it was, he was lying perfectly still. He wasn’t even breathing. So much for the party, Liko thought as he watched Shing kneel over the prone man and check for a pulse. He drew out his cell phone and started to dial Emergency Services. They couldn’t just leave the man lying here in the middle of the street, not if they wanted to work for the Gray Mandarin again. The boss was very particular about how his agents behaved in public. “At no time,” he had once lectured, “should our affairs interfere with the daily comings and goings of the common citizens. If you so much as crack a window, I want you to pay for its replacement.” Well, this was a hell of a lot worse then a broken window. Visions of payments to grieving relatives and personal apologies danced in Liko’s eyes. The man in black moved suddenly, his arm lashing out in a whip-like motion. There was a loud crack and Shing went flying. The cell phone clattered to the ground as Liko grabbed for his Glock. It was a set up! A frigging set up! The man in black stood, arching his back in a serpentine motion. He turned on his heel, his

Chapter One

cool eyes meeting the courier’s, “Ah,” he said, “There you are.” Liko fired twice, the bullets striking the man in the upper chest. The man in black didn’t go down. He didn’t even make a sound, he just stood there, patiently waiting. “I can’t move my legs.” Shing’s voice was trembling, childlike, “I can’t move my legs.” The man in black sprung on Liko. The courier got off one last shot—as ineffective as the others— before he was knocked to the ground. The Glock was wrenched from his grip and he started screaming, “The briefcase is in the car! Just take it!” Shing was screaming too, “Somebody get a doctor! Somebody!” Liko’s cries became gurgles as he was lifted off the ground by his neck. The man in black handled him with ease and threw him into an alley. Tumbling end over end through the air, Liko had time to think, This can’t be happening. This must be a dream. Then he struck a dumpster with bonejarring force and slid to the snowy ground. Through watering eyes, he watched the man in black enter the alley, dragging Shing behind him.

Shing back against the cold brick wall, “I want you to remember and then I want you to tell everyone . . . “ “Anything—I’ll do anything!” The cold numbed Liko’s hands. Every breath was a rasping agony. Had he broken a rib? If he could just get back to the car, if he could just get away. “I want you to tell everyone that you saw Mr. Nagaki. I want you to tell them that you saw no mercy in his eyes.” At the sound of that name Liko froze in midcrawl. Mr. Nagaki? The Dread Lord? He knew that infamous name and he knew what it meant. Nagaki was a demon, a demon of vengeance. Liko tried to crawl faster but a single well-placed kick to the ribs rolled him onto his back. He started to wail, tried to beg, but his voice was cut short by the wet crunch of Mr. Nagaki’s expert hands shattering his skull like cheap pottery. As the chewing noises began, Shing thanked the gods for blighting his eyesight with a stigmatism.

“We work for the Gray Mandarin!” Liko tried to shout but the pain in his ribs robbed his voice of its strength. “If you cross us, you cross him, and if you cross the Mandarin, you’re a dead man!” The man in black smiled at this. “I know,” he said as he propped Shing up in a sitting position. “Please,” Shing scrabbled at the man’s black trench coat, “Please!” Gritting his teeth against the blinding bolts of pain it sent through him, Liko raised himself up on all fours. He had to try and get away, had to tell the Mandarin there was a new player in town. “I want you to watch,” the man in black pushed

Corpses Rising

9

The Party’s Over Powdered gold covered everything. It set the food on the buffet table sparkling. The exotic sushi, garnished with little gems, the endangered Ortolan birds, roasted alive and served on tiny platters of engraved silver. The gold dust clung to the furniture and tapestries. The passage of a score of footsteps sent it swirling across the room and coated the celebrants’ shoes. It also traced glittering paths over the oiled, nude bodies of the whor*s that lounged at the poolside waiting. A woodwind quartet was seated in the center of the wide room, filling the air with ghostly melodies. Everyone on the Mandarin’s payroll was there, from the street level dealers to the politicians on the take. Tonight, on this night of nights, men whose paths would never ordinarily cross ate, drank, and caroused like a band of brothers. From his perch a rooftop away, Mr. Nagaki stared through the skylight, surveying the celebration. Liko’s memories were rattling through his skull, dutifully attaching a name to every face. The Mandarin’s bodyguards were milling about, looking conspicuous in their cookie-cutter outfits. There was longhaired Shi Entian—parttime philosopher, full-time pimp. He was talking to Niztche and a bored-looking Constable named Kong Zhimu. Kong’s partner and lover, Zhu Jiaoming, was busily stuffing himself at the buffet table, eating the delicate, pan-fried Ortolans one after the other. Mr. Nagaki let his eyes roam over the sea of career criminals, musicians, hired killers, lawyers, mystics and computer programmers. Wu Han, the Gray Mandarin, was standing in a quiet corner of the room, speaking with a Westerner wearing mirrored sunglasses, a cheap suit and alligator boots.

10

Jack Diamond—Mr. Nagaki wrung the name from the last burning ember of Liko’s soul. The only man the Mandarin really trusts. The only man the Mandarin confides in. The hit men all say he’s a stone cold killer, the mystics all say he’s a devil in the flesh, the lawyers all say he’s a disaster waiting to happen, the girls all say he keeps a cannon down his pants. Drawing the two pistols from his jacket Mr. Nagaki stepped onto the ledge. As he stood there, poised, he allowed a little smile to tug at the corners of his cold, dead lips. In a strange way, he loved moments like this. He leapt from the rooftop. The skylight shattered into a rain of wood and glass, the buffet table collapsed under his weight. Mr. Nagaki fired five times. Four of the bodyguards died instantly. A fifth fell to his knees, his fingers struggling to stem the blood spewing from his throat. “Jason Magwier,” Mr. Nagaki’s voice rumbled, “sends his regards.” Suddenly everything was happening at once. The whor*s scrambled for their clothes as the politicians and entertainers dove for cover. The rest drew whatever weapons they had and stood their ground, forming a wall between Mr. Nagaki and his quarry. To his credit, the Mandarin stayed in his seat. His narrow features curled into a mask of rage. The man called Jack Diamond waited at his side. Swarms of bullets peppered him, tearing holes through his arms, torso and face, spraying the wall behind him with curdled gore. There was pain to be sure, but it was distant, like the memory of the voice of someone long gone to dust. In a way, it made him sad.

Chapter One

Mr. Nagaki returned fire. The first bullet tore a hole in the side of Constable Zhu Jiaoming’s head. Blood and bone shards blinded Kong Zhimu as his partner and lover collapsed into his arms. The second shot sent a hired killer of a dozen men stumbling backwards into the pool. Again and again Mr. Nagaki fired, emptying both clips, trading bullets for lives. A thundering boom filled the chamber. A sledgehammer-like impact knocked Mr. Nagaki off the buffet table. He hit the floor with a surprised grunt. There was a grapefruit-sized hole in his belly. What in the Nine Hells was that? He wondered as he crawled to his feet, leaving the spent pistols on the floor. The thunder sounded again, another impact sent Mr. Nagaki sprawling. This time he spied Jack Diamond in a wide-legged stance, gripping a Desert Eagle automatic pistol in his tattooed hands. The girls were right, Jack Diamond did keep a cannon down his pants. “I don’t know who or what you are.” The Gray Mandarin spoke coolly, “But you cannot hope to succeed here. Magwier has sent you on a fool’s errand.” “You are the fool! No quarry has ever escaped Nagaki.” he crawled to his feet, organs slopped from the fist-sized wounds, vertebrae scraped and clattered loosely. “Whoop-dee do.” Jack Diamond said as he fired again, this shot catching the dead man in the face, tearing away skin and muscle and shattering bone. It sent him spinning. Shi Entian led a quartet of toughs over the buffet table and after the intruder. They were armed with knives and clubs and a predilection for brutality.

They rained blows down upon him; cutting deep furrows into his clothes and his flesh. Mr. Nagaki let himself go limp. Somewhere under the din of his attackers’ jeers and curses he could hear Jack Diamond hurrying the Gray Mandarin to safety. Good. The dead man thought, Let him run, let him hope. There was a mass exodus in the wake of the Mandarin’s escape as the more gentle-natured partygoers rushed for the exits, trampling each other mindlessly. Soon the only people left in the room where the five thugs. They kicked and beat and stabbed at the man in black. Mr. Nagaki let them have their fun for a few moments longer. The flesh of his fingertips was splitting apart, curling open. The bone beneath was impossibly jagged and unyielding. When the fingerblades were ready, he lunged at one of his attackers, digging in and tearing upwards. Shing stumbled back, sobbing breathlessly as the thick, purple coils of his intestines bulged out from the rents in his flesh. The others lasted no longer. When it was over Mr. Nagaki took a moment to survey the room: the shattered skylight, the toppled buffet, the bodies lying sprawled here and there. He wondered briefly what Bao would think of him if she could see him now. Would she be horrified? Would she understand? Enough of this! He chided himself. I’ve been asking myself that question for centuries and I’ll never know the answer. The dead man took a moment to retrieve and reload his weapons, then he moved on. His night was just beginning.

Corpses Rising

11

Sacrifices The Spire, located at the heart of Shartok’s Circle, was one of the Brotherhood’s crowning achievements. Through a combination of architecture, geology and sorcery, the tower had been created from a single slab of bedrock and anchored in the center of the City. Almost seven hundred feet in height, the Spire was, until recently, a secret institute for magical study. Students of the thamaturgical arts from around the world and beyond came here to study under the greatest minds in the occult sciences, as well as sample the City’s catalogue of unearthly delights. Students who graduated from this institute were ranked among the most promising in the field; many went on to become great Magi in their own right, others still went on to become legends. Thirty years ago all that had changed. A duel to the death between two of the Brotherhood’s junior members triggered a massive internal investigation. When it was over at least ten Brothers had lost their lives and several more had been coerced into “stepping down.” It was under the terms of his early retirement that sole ownership of the Spire was bestowed to Wu Han, former prelate of the Brotherhood. In the year that followed his humiliating defeat at the hands of a mere apprentice girl, Wu Han worked quickly. The Institute was closed and teachers and students were sent scurrying into the streets. For almost a month, the tower was quiet and dark. Many wondered if he had committed suicide and made the Spire his mausoleum. But on a brisk spring day nearly all the leading powers of the City’s criminal underworld turned up dead. Those that survived swore allegiance to a new master—the Gray Mandarin. The Constables, the Sentries, even the Regent were

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afraid to act against him. He knew that in a handful of nights the City would be his. But now Wu Han was watching all that fall apart. The TV screen before him showed a security camera’s grainy black and white picture. The two guards manning the Spire’s front entrance had been . . . filleted. He stared long and hard at quivering, husks of boneless meat. It might have been a trick of the camera, but he could swear they were still moving. “Damn you Magwier.” There was a keypad before the screen. He pressed a button changing the view from camera one to camera two. An empty hallway. “Seal the Spire.” Jack Diamond said. “Seal every goddamn door.” “Do you honestly believe for even a moment that such trifling measures will stop the Dread Lord Nagaki?” “No, but it will slow him down, give me time to invoke the Overlord’s Serpent.” “A sterling point. Has Kong finished laying the plastique?” “He’s just wiring up the detonators now, he’s a smart boy. I’m going to miss him.” “He wants vengeance, it was the least I could do.” With a stroke of the keypad the Gray Mandarin locked the Spire’s automated doors. He turned his attention from the TV screen and surveyed the chamber Jack half-jokingly referred to as their “War Room.” A waist-high window stretched around the chamber, offering them a 360 degree view of the City. Every room of the Spire and several key locations as far away as Nooker Street could be observed via the bank of security and monitoring devices that dominated a quarter of the room. It was also from here that radio and television signals could be sent and

Chapter One

received. To the left of that, a rune-encrusted computer sat unused on a mahogany desk, its cursor blinking mindlessly. A featureless black table with manacles attached to each of the four corners occupied the center of the room, flanked on either side by cabinets full of medical equipment and unrefined jewels. Close to the chamber’s only door was a long weapons locker, its contents ranging from simple knives and revolvers to much more exotic instruments. All the other furniture in the room had been pushed into the corner to make room for the bodies. Many members of his organization had fled to the Spire, seeking protection. Some had brought their wives and their children. The men and children soon fell prey to the drugged food and wine and now lingered, unable to move, but fully conscious as Jack Diamond arranged them in strange patterns on the floor and painted their bodies with a paint made from steric acid. They had also made use of the women. The legends all told that a Dread Lord can be gravely wounded by a knife made from the femur bone of a murdered woman. They had enough blades to face a dozen Dread Lords now. “He’s coming.” Kong Zhimu ran back into the room. He was shirtless and shoeless. He passed the detonator to Jack Diamond. “We are aware of that fact,” the Gray Mandarin turned his attention back to the monitor screen, “Damn!” “What now?” Pocketing the detonator, Jack Diamond grabbed Kong by the upper arm and led him into the center of the bodies. They were draped over one another like cordwood. “The barracks. He’s already surmounted the barracks.” The picture became a wild, fractured kaleidoscope image. Wu Han leaned in close. He

could just make out the bodies; they crumpled this way and that, twisting in and upon themselves as one divided into another. “Do you hear that?” Jack Diamond looked up from wetting his paintbrush, “Can you bring up the sound?” The speakers issued a squall of static, all three men flinched. Beneath the electrical hiss they heard a single lonely sob. Kong hissed with pain as Jack Diamond sketched strange symbols on his chest. “That stings!” “Wait’ll it sets in.” “Are you sure this will work?” Wu Han’s fingers danced across the keypad, images began to flash by, “No one has ever rebuffed a Dread Lord . . .” Jack Diamond looked up from his work, “No way is some half-assed zombie-demon whosawhatsit gonna take me down. f*ck that! I’ll eat his friggin’ brains! I’ll set his goddamn dick on fire!” “Eloquent as ever Jack,” Wu Han said, his eyes never leaving the screen, “But I am certain that our researches at the Athenaeum of Seth the Blind have borne fruit. The Dread Lords you see are no mere monsters, they are divine agents of retribution.” Jack Diamond went to the weapon’s locker. “They’re the f*ckin’ Crow on steroids, that’s what they are. The Celestial Kings decided that they didn’t want to get their hands dirty protectin’ the world anymore so they make these guys instead. They make them out of human souls and not just any souls either, they . . .” “Uh-huh,” Slowly Kong sank to the floor, his eyes watering from the pain, his torso lightly smoldering.

Corpses Rising

13

smoke. His clothes were peppered with bulletholes, his leather coat still smoked from impact and exit wounds. Blood caked his fingers. He unslung the shotgun from his shoulder, “Wu Han! I will not be denied.” “f*ckin’ poser.” Jack Diamond grumbled to himself. “Did you honestly think you could escape?” The avenger fired at the security station. The equipment exploded in a shower of sparks. He pumped the shotgun, the spent cartridge clattered to the floor. “No one escapes from me.”

“Just go with the pain.” Jack Diamond said, “Pain is just overwhelming pleasure. Concentrate on your revenge.” “Uh-huh,” he replied, breathing shallowly. The screen stopped flickering. A guard lay face down on a stairwell, trails of blood trickling down step by step. Wu Han’s expression tightened, “The armory.” “It’s almost Showtime.” Jack Diamond stepped up to him, bearing a knife made from bone, it was still dripping marrow, “Sorry I didn’t have time to gift wrap it.” The Gray Mandarin examined the weapon grimly, “Such a waste.” “Now get going.” Jack Diamond said, “I’ll take care of things here. I’ll catch up with you at the Carillon. Meng is already waiting there.” The Gray Mandarin turned to go, “You be caref-” Without warning, Jack Diamond pushed his commander behind the security station. Kong slumped to the floor, his quaking hands wrapped around the detonator. The door exploded inward, steel shrapnel shattered the monitor screen. Mr. Nagaki strode in through the billowing white

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Mr. Nagaki’s voice trailed off as he spied the pile of bodies laid over one another in a vaguely helical design. He recognized the phrases scorched onto their chests—they were all from The Song of Tian-gou. Jack Diamond began to chant. The bodies began to shiver. The shivering became a writhing as they drew closer to each other. Huddling close as though they were trying to warm themselves. They all began to sweat as one. Jack Diamond’s chanting became fevered. “Is this supposed to impress me?” Mr. Nagaki fired wildly into the fleshy heap. Blood spattered but there were no screams. If anything, it seemed to accelerate the process, the myriad bodies began to melt, seething into one another. The Gray Mandarin made a run for one of the chamber’s exits, Nagaki pumped the shotgun again. Another shell casing tumbled through the air. He drew a bead on the escaping figure. A sudden movement alerted him—he spun but Jack Diamond was a half-second faster. The bone knife dug deep into his cold flesh. The pile of bodies churned and thrashed. Limbs boiled away, faces became distorted and inhuman. It began to uncoil itself. With each move-

Chapter One

ment, the nightmare jigsaw of skin and sinew became more and more defined as the parts that made up its monstrous whole merged together like liquefied wax. Jack Diamond wrestled the shotgun from Mr. Nagaki as he stumbled back. Impossibly dark, syrupy blood was beginning to flow from the wound. The pain engulfed Nagaki, eclipsing his thoughts. The Gray Mandarin was already gone, escaped . . . no one had ever escaped him before. “Who’s! Your! Daddy?” Jack Diamond said, punctuating each word with a stab. A warped, glistening shape reared up, casting the Dread Lord and his tormentor into its shadow. Jack Diamond sent Mr. Nagaki stumbling backwards with a single well-placed shove. Thick, fleshy coils caught him up and began to squeeze. The sound of his shoulder popping from the socket was like a gunshot. “The thing that is about to end your miserable joke of a pseudo-existence . . .” Jack Diamond paused long enough to lick the black ichor from his bone knife, “ . . . mmmm is called the Overlord’s Serpent. It uses the same kind of Hac Tao that brought you into the world. It’s gonna torture you until I can get clear then I’m going to blow up the building.” “You . . . can’t . . .” the coils tightened, his pelvis cracked. “I just did.” he turned to go, “And that’s why you don’t f*ck with Mrs. Diamond’s oldest boy!” The Overlord’s Serpent coiled tighter, Nagaki struggled a bit but he was held fast. “You killed my lover,” the Serpent said in a chorus of whispers, “You killed him like it was nothing.” There was no time to puzzle over what the monstrosity was gibbering about. He had to get away. While a Dread Lord might not be able to die, he

certainly couldn’t do much when he was buried under tons of rubble. He wrestled his left arm free, reached around and tore his right pant leg. “Is that fear I see in your eyes Dread Lord?” the Serpent cooed, “Or shame, shame at failing?” The Serpent spread its mouth open wide, it’s jaw unhinging. It slavered in anticipation of what was to come. Mr. Nagaki tore the wakisashi free of his leg and swung it in a wide arc. The blade pierced the bottom of the Serpent’s jaw, rammed though entirely to protrude out of the top of its head. With a chorus of screams the Overlord’s Serpent began to flail wildly about the room. Mr. Nagaki was thrown free; he rolled along the floor and came to rest against one of the windows. The pain. He thought dreamily, I’d almost forgotten. Standing woozily Mr. Nagaki ran for the exit, he had to get out of here before it was too late. The Overlord’s Serpent reared up, it’s snout bloodied, it’s hodge-podge eyes narrowed with rage. When he was a safe distance away, Jack Diamond turned back for one last look at the Spire. He pulled the detonator from his pocket and pressed the button. There was a chorus of muffled thumps. The Spire wavered drunkenly and slowly began to collapse, loosing itself in a cloud of dust and debris. Jack Diamond tossed the detonator with a selfsatisfied smile, “And this is just foreplay motherf*cker. This is just foreplay.” Ignoring the crowds and general panic erupting around him, Jack Diamond dropped to his knees and chanted a prayer to Sun Wu-Kung. As he chanted, he slipped the razor from his boot and began to carve invocations into his skin.

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Riddles in the Dark He began to dig before the dust had settled over the mounds of rubble. He dug even though he did not know which way was up. He dug despite his fractured skull and crushed spine, despite pain the likes of which he hadn’t felt in generations. He dug because he was a Dread Lord and if he failed, all his sacrifices and atrocities were for nothing. But what if he had already failed? What if the Tian-wang had already abandoned him and cast Bao into an eternity of torment? That thought made him dig all the harder, his crushed fingers scrabbling at the chunks of shattered stone. Bone protruded from his skin in dozens of places and as he squirmed and crawled, they scraped against the debris. He had been lucky, lucky to escape from the Spire before that bastard Jack Diamond had set off his explosives, lucky only to have been buried from the fallout of the blast and not beneath the ruins of the Spire itself. That thought tasted like bile in his mouth—a Dread Lord should not have to rely on luck. Slowly, painfully, he found his way back to the surface and lay on his back like an overturned bug. The sky was heavy with smoke. He couldn’t see the stars and for a strange moment he worried that he still had miles to dig ahead of him. Then his dead eyes adjusted to the murk and he scanned his surroundings. The Spire, as well as several buildings for blocks around it, had been destroyed. The vibrant bohemia of Shartok’s Circle had been transformed into a desolate, almost alien landscape. Stranger still, no Constables, no Sentries, no crowds of Citizens had come to gawk at the destruction. He was alone.

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Except for the baboon. It surveyed him from atop a heap of wreckage, its flame-red pupils glinting. Mr. Nagaki tried to speak but his lungs had collapsed along with most of his ribcage. The baboon approached him, its spindly form loping down the mound of debris. It sniffed at him. Mr. Nagaki could see the baboon’s teeth were crooked and misshapen, protruding from the sweaty confines of his snout. He tried to speak again but all he managed was a guttural whisper. That alone was enough to send the sickly-looking creature skittering for cover. Mr. Nagaki closed his eyes and concentrated, calling upon the power the Celestial Kings had invested in him. He felt the warm itch of bones realigning; the subtle tickle of damaged sinew stretching over opened wounds. With a defiant roar the baboon shambled back into Nagaki’s field of vision hefting a chunk of rubble over its head. “Wait!” he said in a panicked whisper. The baboon paused, still holding the chunk of debris over its head. It regarded him quizzically. Mr. Nagaki continued, “I am an agent of the Tianwang, the world protectors . . . you dare not . . .” The baboon’s laughter was harsh and barking. It sprayed spittle when it spoke, “I am Sun WuKung, the Monkey of the Mind! I care little for the ways of the Celestial Kings and even less for the ways of their little ghosts.” It laughed again, spittle flying. “I have been summoned. Gifts have been promised. All I must do is tear you to pieces until I can no longer tell the part that speaks from the part that pisses. An easy night’s work!” “But don’t you . . . don’t you remember me?” “Of course! And that will make the smashing all the more fun!” It laughed again, hopping from foot to foot.

Chapter One

First the Overlord’s Serpent, now the Monkey King. What have you gotten me into Magwier? Even under the best of conditions there was no way he could physically defeat the twisted old spirit and this was certainly not the best of conditions. The sickly-looking baboon raised the chunk of stone over its head once more, “Farewell Dread Lord Nagaki, of all the Tian-gou . . . you were the least annoying.” “Farewell Handsome Monkey King. It is better that I die then see you debased so.” “What?” the stone tumbled from its scabby, pink fingers, “What?” Mr. Nagaki struggled to keep his voice steady, “If I have existed long enough to see the Monkey King reduced to a common assassin then I have lived long enough.” “No! I am Sun Wu-Kung! I am the Monkey of the Mind! I am no mere assassin.” the baboon’s nostrils flared. “You were sent to kill me, weren’t you?” “How can I kill you when you’re not really alive?” “I could say the same thing about you—assassin.” “No! I was summoned, gifts were promised.” “I was summoned as well, it makes no difference.” “It does!” “Once, long ago, you declared yourself the Great Sage before the Jade Emperor himself. Now you obey the orders of a petty mandarin? I’m disappointed.” “No! I am the Monkey King!” Its grubby hands shook with frustration, “I am born a stone egg! I stole the sacred peaches from Lao Tsu! I am wiser

then the gods and more beautiful than the sky!” “Then prove it.” Mr. Nagaki forced himself to sit up, “I propose a contest of riddles.” “Riddles?” The baboon fell to the ground, convulsing with laughter. “We will ask each other riddles, each riddle must be in a different language of man. The first one to answer incorrectly or fail to answer loses. If you win, you destroy me. If I win, you go away and leave me to my business.” “Oh Nagaki, you fool!” “Do you agree?” “Agree? I insist!” the baboon laughed. “You will envy my wisdom before I destroy you.” “You honor me,” Mr. Nagaki held himself steady with his relatively undamaged right arm. “I’ll go first.” “Riddles!” the baboon shouted and capered through the ruins, “He dares test me with riddles!” The Dread Lord spoke in Cantonese, “It never was and always will be. No one ever sees it and no one ever will, yet it is the confidence of all who live and breathe. What is it?” “Tomorrow.” the baboon flipped head over heels, “The answer is tomorrow! What fun! Yours will not be so easy Nagaki.” “I expect nothing less.” The baboon’s shape began to blur, shifting in the shadows. This was another of its little tricks, the mastery of form. Where there was once a sickly primate now stood Jason Magwier. The effigy spoke in Japanese, “What eats rocks, levels mountains, rusts metal, pushes clouds across the sky and can make a strong man weak as a kitten?” “Time.”

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“Clever.” The ersatz Magwier hissed, its shape shifting to that of a tall figure wearing golden armor decorated with runes of the Dragon Kings. “Clever for a dead man.” Mr. Nagaki spoke again, this time in Latin, “At night they come without being fetched and by day they are lost without being stolen.” “Obvious.” An angry chittering erupted from inside the golden armor, a few moments later the reply came, “The stars. It’s obvious.” “Correct.” The golden armor melted away to reveal WuHan’s haughty features and drab robes. It spoke in Laotian, “What has two backbones but a thousand ribs?”

the smug features of Jack Diamond. The resemblance was uncanny, even down to the capped teeth and the alligator boots. Korean flowed freely from its lips, “Now it is my turn. It has no top or bottom but it can hold flesh bones and blood all at the same time.” “A ring” Mr. Nagaki felt his ribs snap back into place, when he spoke again it was in French, “Squeeze it and it cries tears as red as flesh, but its heart is made of stone.” “These are children’s riddles Dread Lord. Children’s! The answer is a cherry.” “The night is young, Handsome Monkey King.”

For a moment all Nagaki could do was stare dumbfounded. He had battled so many strange beasts in his lifetime. Had he ever known a creature with two backbones and a thousand ribs? Was this a reference to the Overlord’s Serpent? No, that was too obvious. It was a trick question— they were all trick questions when you got right down to it.

“No, the night is not young and I grow tired.” Its shape shifted as easily as his language, its features becoming soft, feminine. Jack Diamond’s hair turned dark and flowed down to waist length. The face became painfully familiar, the dark eyes, the gentle expression. The very sight of robbed Mr. Nagaki of his strength. When the effigy spoke again it was in Tibetan but with Bao’s voice, “There is a crime, that if attempted is punishable, but if committed is not.”

Gleeful chuckling interrupted his train of thought. “You look worried Dread Lord.”

Voices lost generations ago swam though his mind.

Mr. Nagaki answered slowly, “A railroad?” “The luckiest of guesses!” It tore off Wu Han’s robes, tore off Wu Han’s face revealing a slender, humanoid shape with a simian face and a curling tail. It wore silk robes and a sash made from the pelt of a tiger. “Perhaps.” The dead man said, his cadence shifting to the familiar patterns of the Chinese Hakka dialect. “Both mother and father, seldom still but never wandering, never to birth, never to nurse.” “A tree!” It snapped, its hairy face shifting to

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“Please, You must listen.” I know all I need to know. “You don’t understand.” Get out of my sight whor*. “You don’t mean that . . . you can’t mean that.” From this moment on you are dead to me. Cold tears traced paths down his gritty face. He sobbed the answer, “Suicide. The answer is suicide.” “Correct Dread Lord.” The feminine countenance melted away revealing a white-furred

Chapter One

baboon wearing an iron crown. It gibbered and danced his crimson eyes full of malice. “Painfully correct I would guess.” “Damn you, how did you know?” “About your sweet lost Bao? I could have found out on my own for I am the Monkey of the Mind but my faithful disciple Jack Diamond told me.” “He did, did he?” “Oh yes! He told me all about the sacrifice you made for your lost love.” “Really?” Mr. Nagaki pushed himself to his feet, forced himself to stand still, “He told you everything?” “Of course!” it clapped his scabby fingers together, “I found the whole thing quite . . . romantic.” “Romantic.” Mr. Nagaki repeated the phrase in English, rolling it around on his dead tongue, “Tell me, oh Pi Ma-Wen-” “What? What did you call me? I am no stable boy!”

The baboon skittered backwards, kicking up clouds of dust, “What can be found at the beginning of eternity and the end of time and space? At the beginning of every end and the end of every place? There is only one thing it can be! Chaos, pure and simple.” Mr. Nagaki let the baboon get halfway through a victory jig before he said, “Wrong answer.” “What?’ it froze, “What?” “I said, ‘Wrong answer’.” the Dread Lord’s spine reshuffled itself with a whispery crackling, he shuddered and stood straighter, “Now if you’ll excuse me . . .” “You lie! You lie!” the baboon stomped and snarled. There was a desperate sheen to its red, red eyes. It grew smaller, deflating like a balloon. In moments it would be gone, “That could only be the answer!” Mr. Nagaki turned and started walking in the direction of Kissos Lane. The drone of the wind drowned out the Monkey King’s squeal of rage.

“Tell me Pi Ma-Wen, what can you find at the beginning of eternity and the end of time and space? At the beginning of every end and the end of every place?” The white-furred baboon hissed; its snout foaming, its teeth bared “You dare call me stable boy? I stole the sacred peaches from Lao Tsu!” “Thief, assassin, and stable boy. Your mother must be very proud. Now answer me or leave me to my business.” He stepped towards it, “Don’t forget to reply to me in English now.” “English! The language of liars and fools.” “If the riddle has confounded you, just say so.” “Riddle? You dare call that offal you spoke a riddle? The answer is as obvious as my superiority!”

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The Definition of Hell For as long as there has been a City, there have been cats. Some legends say that they are the keepers of the City’s secrets. That they know all and tell nothing. Others believe that they are the souls of the City’s original inhabitants, forever reincarnating in feline forms. More modern-minded thinkers theorize that they were drawn to the City because of the powerful alpha waves produced by its citizens. Over the centuries, laws had been passed to protect them, parks had been set aside for their use and whole religions had sprung up in the wake of their mystery. Mr. Nagaki never gave them much thought—he went about his business, they went about theirs. But now he found himself standing before the locked gates of the park on Kissos lane, led here by the last dwindling fragment of Liko’s memory. Everywhere there were signs warning that trespassing in the park was punishable by death. Only felines were welcome here. Death, however, was the least of Mr. Nagaki’s worries right now. He scrambled over the cold, slick wall to find himself knee deep in snow. In a matter of steps, he left the City behind. The park grew wild with trees as tall as houses and blades of grass so long that even now the tips protruded from the drifts like stubble. Cats padded in and around the trees, so many that he quickly gave up all hope of making a count. They seemed to be following him, watching him. Up ahead, in the center of a grove of wilting elms, he spied the Carillon. It was a tall, elaborate edifice of stone and stained glass. The wide sloping walls were carved with images of cats. Decades of neglect had taken their toll. The walls were pitted and discolored, the stained glass windows were cracked and broken. He had to give Wu Han credit. This was a perfect hiding place. The

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ornate bell tower had once been a haven for cat worshippers, modern day disciples of Bast. They made the mistake of offending the Regent in some small way and as punishment had been hunted down and slaughtered. The Regent, however, hadn’t been mad enough to raze the Carillon and burn the park. No one wanted to repeat the mistakes of doom-shrouded Ulthar. Bao . . . he found himself thinking as he approached the wide brass door, Bao always liked cats. There was a dull impact in the center of his back. Mr. Nagaki looked down to see the tip of an arrow protruding from his chest. He spun— his claw fingers at the ready—to see figures emerging from the snow, charging towards him. One of them was notching another arrow in his compound bow. They’d buried themselves and waited for him. There were five of them in total, one had the bow and arrow, the others all had swords. Magic and explosions had failed Wu Han, it looked as though he was now going to try dismemberment. Another arrow caught him in the throat, lodging itself halfway in his neck. Then the swordsmen were on him. He blocked two of their attacks with the hardened bone of his forearms. The third swordsman swung at his legs, cutting deep into the muscle. The fourth moved in and disemboweled him. Another arrow grazed Nagaki’s half-flayed face. The thick loops of intestine slithered from the hole in Nagaki’s gut and grasped hungrily at the throat of the fourth swordsman. The archer fired again, but this time Nagaki was ready and he ducked down to let the arrow pass over him and catch the third swordsman squarely in the right eye.

Chapter One

The fourth swordsman dropped his blade and flailed mindlessly at the strangling intestines, eyes bulging, his face turning purple. The first swordsman moved to help him and Nagaki darted his head forward and clamped his teeth down on the vulnerable softness of his neck. The second swordsman swung wildly at the Dread Lord, all skill lost to panic. Mr. Nagaki backhanded him, pulping his nose. The first swordsman screeched like an animal. Nagaki held on, shaking his head like a frenzied dog. The archer fired again, another arrow embedding itself in the Dread Lord. The first swordsman pulled free, a fine spray of blood jetting from his neck in time with his every heartbeat. Mr. Nagaki’s intestines released the fourth swordsman’s limp form. Blood flecked the snowy ground as the first swordsman staggered drunkenly, crimson bubbles seeping from the wound in his neck. Another arrow sailed past Mr. Nagaki; he ignored it, turning his attention instead to the second swordsman—the last swordsman. His fingerblades reduced the man’s face to ribbons, his eyes to a weeping ruin. Mr. Nagaki let him fall to the ground. He pulled the arrows from his neck and chest, throwing them into the snowy Earth. The last swordsman was stirring, trying to fight, trying to live. Mr. Nagaki turned him on his back with a single well-placed kick to the ribs. He raised a booted foot and stomped hard on the swordsman’s shoulder, the collarbone broke with an audible snap. The last swordsman’s cries became shrill. He stomped again, grinding the clavicle beneath his boot heel until the bones had been reduced to shards. As he worked, a half dozen more arrows flew past him; all fell wide of their mark.

When it was over, Mr. Nagaki looked up at the trembling archer. He was trying to load his last arrow, but his hands were shaking too hard. When he realized the Dread Lord was staring at him, he dropped the bow with a yelp. Mr. Nagaki’s glare deepened. “Boo,” he said. The archer ran screaming into the woods. The dead man retracted his intestines before opening the Carillon’s tarnished brass doors and stepping inside. There in the half-light the Gray Mandarin was waiting for him and he wasn’t alone. The sight of her sent a ragged gasp from Nagaki’s tattered lungs. “Bao?” No! It’s another trick of the Monkey King. An illusion! But this was no trick, no illusion—she was real and she was walking towards him. He could hear the soft pad of her footfalls, see the gleam of the moisture on her pale red lips. Her capillaries were flushed from being in the cold. There was no fear in her eyes. “Bao,” he said again. The Gray Mandarin smiled thinly, “An offering for you Dread Lord.” “Bao is in . . . paradise.” “Paradise?” she said, “Paradise without you?” His every instinct screaming for him to attack, for him to fulfill his covenant, he could only speak, “I don’t understand . . .” “The Celestial Kings prevaricated, Dread Lord Nagaki.” Wu Han leaned against the grim-coated wall, “There is no Heaven, nor is there a Hell. Only the infinite recursion of the psyche.” “I don’t believe that,” the dead man shook his head.

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She was right in front of him now. She reached out to stroke his cheek, “Look at the world around you, not a single leaf goes to waste. Why would a soul?”

“They said you would never see her again, another falsehood. You can be happy again.” Wu Han approached the dead man, “Do you even remember what it was to be happy?”

Mr. Nagaki flinched away from her touch, “How did you find all this out? How did you find out about—”

The Dread Lord swayed, “I—I can’t—This doesn’t—I need-”

The Gray Mandarin stroked his chin as he spoke, “The legends about you are abundant, if diluted. That, in tandem with magic and supposition, are all that I required. It was Jack Diamond who found her. We realized that her soul would be searching for you, reincarnating again and again in an ineffective bid to find you again. She was so close, all along she was so close and the so-called ‘world protectors’ never told you.” “They helped me remember,” she placed her delicate hands on his gore streaked chest. “I know what you sacrificed for me . . . I know what you’ve been through . . .” Mr. Nagaki reeled at her touch, “I never meant-I’m-” The gray mandarin drew closer, “I have a proposal for you. The Regent is corrupt, he places his own interests above those of his Citizens. I mean to supplant him, but I need your support. You can strike at him in ways that no one else ever could. If you do this for me, I will produce a new body for you, a living body” “A Dread Lord cannot betray his covenant.” Mr. Nagaki whispered, “I would be annihilated. Bao would . . .” “But Bao is here,” the Gray Mandarin said with a waggle of his finger, “The Tian-wang professed to you that if you availed yourself to them, she would be spared Hell. Don’t you see? They lied.” She drew in close deluging him with her warmth, “I forgive you.”

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Her hand slipped beneath his shirt, her touch leaving warm trails in its wake as she gently fingered his wounds. “I need you my beloved . . .” she cooed, “I need to feel your touch . . . over me . . . in me.” Mr. Nagaki smiled gently at her. Then, he closed his eyes and broke her neck with blissful ease. “What?” the Gray Mandarin gasped with horror, as cold, greasy loops of intestine slithered over him, restraining him. He struggled wildly as they drew him closer to the Dread Lord, “But that was Bao!” “And you, you talk about Hell as though you understand. Do you know what Hell is, Wu Han?” Mr. Nagaki loomed over him, watching him writhe. With his fingerblades he began to cut into the Gray Mandarin with a surgeon’s precision, “Hell is to love no longer.”

A Darkness Unyielding He waited an hour longer than he was supposed to before making his way to the boathouse. It made no sense. They’d had the Dread Lord dead to rights but death was the only thing that would have kept Wu Han and Meng from their rendezvous. Hefting the two valises full of bank notes, Jack Diamond wondered where he would go to now. He didn’t relish the idea of starting over again. The Gray Mandarin had put a lot of work into the City and he had put a lot of work into the Gray Mandarin. He’d grown comfortable here, perhaps too comfortable. He wondered briefly if the Brotherhood would have him back. He sneered at

Chapter One

the thought. With what he’d learned here, he’d be running the place in a week. Something squelched underfoot. He cursed, as if his alligator boots hadn’t been through enough already. When he reached the door of the boathouse, he paused to look back at the City, with its minarets, domes and towers, with its dark wonders and conspiracies, with its magic and mystery. It was a damn shame to loose it all. It was a f*cking tragedy to loose all of that because of Jason Magwier and his mouthy girlfriend. Unlocking the door he headed inside. Wu Han’s ash-colored sloop wasn’t much to look at but it would be enough to get him to a quieter port of call. The ocean was choppy and streaked with pollution. He stepped carefully onto the bow of the boat, already making a mental checklist of things he needed to do before he could get underway. He wondered to himself if there were enough supplies for an extended voyage. Not that it mattered of course, there was no way he was going back out there. Not on this night. Making his way to the bridge, he set down the valises and sniffed the air. What in the name of the Handsome Monkey King was that stench? It came shambling from below decks before he had the time to react, swatting the Desert Eagle from his hands and pinning him to the floor. It was the Dread Lord but he was blackened with rot, the flesh was peeling away from his bones in slimy, foul-smelling chunks.

“No. No. No.” The Dread Lord spat the halfchewed curl of flesh away, “Stop struggling, it’s all over now. I just wanted to know, who she was, she was such a good likeness.” Jack Diamond screamed and cursed, he tore at the dead man’s flesh, ripping it away in clumps. Chuckling with amused exasperation, Mr. Nagaki moved in and gnawed off Jack Diamond’s nose. He did it slowly, taking long pauses between bites. “I said who was she?” “Meng.” Jack Diamond’s voice was slurred and bloody, “An actress.” “Ah, her performance was uncanny. Award winning. She only made one mistake, you all only made one mistake.” “You can’t do this! I am protected by the Monkey King—” With a click of his teeth, Mr. Nagaki silenced him, “You see that’s why I have to be certain you die, because you did come so close. I did indenture my soul to the Celestial Kings to save Bai Rong Bao from the torments of Hell. I did this because I loved her more than I loved life itself.” “Then why aren’t you dead?” Jack Diamond shouted, “We had you, we had you dead to rights!” The dead man leaned in close again, his crumbling teeth brushing tentatively against Jack Diamond’s carotid artery. He whispered, “Bao was my daughter.”

“Almost time to go,” the nightmare of putrefied sinew and bone whispered. “The darkness calls me back, to wait until I am summoned again.” A protective incantation flowed from Jack Diamond’s lips, but before he could finish it the dead man leaned in close like a lover and bit off his lower lip with a snap of his decomposing teeth.

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i n t r o d u c t i o n Introduction introduction They do not show mindless but fun movies on Saturday afternoons anymore... ...at least not like they used to. No more Creature Feature or Kung Fu Saturday to wile away the afternoon when the lawn needs mowing or the gutters cleaned. Now it is all crappy teen movies from the 80s, Zena clones, and old Stallone flicks. What has the world come to? Where are the groaning zombies hungering for human flesh? Where are the badly dubbed kung fu masters fighting to prove whose style is better? Well . . . they are right here, of course. Even better, they are both here in the same package. For the most part, those old monster movies and chop-sockey flicks lived in different worlds, even if they shared adjacent time slots. But that need not be the case. Why not mix them up a little, and see what happens? Can the master’s Drunken Fist stave off undead hordes hungry for brains? What happens when the ancient founder of the Golden Tiger style rises from the grave? Who can stand in the way of Hong Kong triads backed by undead musclemen wielding Glocks in each decaying fist? These are the questions that have kept right-thinking folk awake at night for what seems like decades. These are the questions this book answers. This supplement to All Flesh Must Be Eaten opens whole new vistas for a walking dead campaign. This tome brings together the thrills of Hong Kong action films and the excitement of flesh-craving horror. The match of these two genres may not seem obvious at first, but the pleasures that arise from it are undeniable. After all, zombies and Hong Kong style action make a perfect fit. What better match is there for a relentless series of lightning kicks and a hurricane of bullets than a target that cannot die? The pulse-pounding danger just never stops. Besides, what martial arts master worth his salt does not ache for the ability to use his own intestines as a deadly whip? For the undead, no problem!

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Chapter Summary

Inspirational Material

Chapter One: Corpses Rising includes these introductory remarks.

Movies provided most of the inspiration for this book. In addition to the zombie flicks listed in All Flesh Must Be Eaten, players are encouraged to check out at least some of the following action films (Hong Kong and American) for proper inspiration and awesome entertainment.

Chapter Two: Tao of the Dead presents new rules for incorporating all the wild moves and death dealing techniques of action films. This chapter covers martial arts, special chi powers, and plenty of abilities available only to the undead. It includes full rules for creating zombie martial artist characters. Chapter Three: Hard Boiled Corpses is inspired by equal parts John Woo and George Romero. This setting deals with undead gun-slinging thugs on the streets of Hong Kong. Chapter Four: Flesh Eaters in Little China is a mixture of Chinese magic, the undead, kung fu fighting, and modern day San Francisco. This setting is inspired by John Carpenter’s classic Big Trouble in Little China. Chapter Five: Once Upon a Corpse in China is set in ancient China where rival martial arts schools fight to prove whose master is the best, even if he is dead. This captures the feel of the classic kung fu movie with the added joy of voluptuous, flesh-eating zombie sisters. Chapter Six: Undead Kombat is inspired by a certain genre of video game and by the classic martial arts film formula. The setting details an otherworldly arena where warriors living and deceased battle for the future of humanity.

How to Use Enter the Zombie Enter the Zombie is designed in part for players and in part for Zombie Masters. These introductory remarks and all the material in Chapter Two: Tao of the Dead are intended for all players. The last four chapters are setting descriptions and may be reserved by Zombie Masters who wish to surprise their players, or shared by those who wish to build off the plots detailed. Each setting chapter includes a set of four ready-to-run Archetypes that may be used to begin play immediately, modified as desired by the players, or simply used as examples of Cast Members appropriate for that setting.

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A Better Tomorrow (1986), John Woo, director Big Trouble in Little China (1986), John Carpenter, director The Bride with White Hair (1993), Ronny Yu, director Bullet in the Head (1990), John Woo, director A Chinese Ghost Story I (1987), Siu-Tung Ching, director A Chinese Ghost Story II (1990), Siu-Tung Ching, director A Chinese Ghost Story III (1991), Siu-Tung Ching, Hark Tsui, directors Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000), Ang Lee, director Deadful Melody (1993), Min Kun Ng, director Doctor Lamb (1992), Danny Lee, Hin Sing, “Billy” Tang, directors Fong Sai Yuk (1993), Corey Yuen, director Fong Sai Yuk II (1993), Corey Yuen, director Full Contact (1992), Ringo Lam, director The Ghost Snatchers (1986), Ngai Kai Lam, director Hard Boiled (1992), John Woo, director The Heroic Trio (1992), Siu-Tung Ching, Johnny To, directors The Heroic Trio 2 (1993), Siu-Tung Ching, Johnny To, directors The Holy Virgin Versus the Evil Dead (1990), Wu Wong Yam, director The Killer (1989), John Woo, director Mortal Kombat (1995), Paul Anderson III, director Naked Killer (1992), Clarence Yiu-leung Fok, director Naked Killer 2 (1993), Jeffrey Lau, Ricky Lau, directors Once Upon a Time in China (1991), Hark Tsui, director Once Upon a Time in China II (1992), Hark Tsui, director Once Upon a Time in China III (1993), Hark Tsui, director Once Upon a Time in China IV (1993), Bun Yuen, director Once Upon a Time in China V (1994), Hark Tsui, director Once Upon a Time in China and America (1997), Sammo Hung Kam-Bo, director

Chapter One

Conventions Text Conventions This book has different graphic features that identify the type of information presented. This text is standard text, and it is used for general explanations.

Certain text is set off from the standard text in this manner. This is sidebar text and it contains additional, but tangential information, or supplemental charts and tables. Other text is set apart in this way. It details Supporting Cast or Adversaries that may be used in Stories at the Zombie Master’s discretion.

Dice Notations D10, D8, D6 and D4 mean a ten-sided die, an eight-sided die, a six-sided die and a four-sided die, respectively. When a number appears before the notation, that number of such dice should be rolled, and their results should be added together. For example, 2D6 means roll two six-sided dice, and generate a result between 2 and 12. Multipliers are expressed after the dice notation. For example, 3D10 x 4 means roll three ten-sided dice, add the results together, and multiply that total result by 4. This generates a number between 12 and 120. A number in parentheses after, or in the middle of, the notation is the average roll. This number is provided for those that want to avoid dice rolling and just get the result. So the notation D6 x 4(12) means that players who want to skip rolling just use the value 12. Some notations cannot provide a set number because their result depends on a variable factor. For example, D8(4) x Strength is used because the Strength value to be plugged into that notation will vary depending on who is acting.

Gender Every roleplaying game struggles with the decision about third person pronouns and possessives. While the male reference (he, him, his) is customarily used for both male and female, there is no question that it is not entirely inclusive. On the other hand, the “he or she” structure is clumsy and unattractive. In an effort to “split the difference,” this book uses male designations for even chapters, and female designations for odd chapters.

Measurements This book primarily uses U.S. measurements (feet, yards, miles, pounds, etc.). Metric system equivalents appear in parentheses. In the interests of ease of use, the conversions are rounded relatively arbitrarily. For example, miles are multiplied by 1.5 to get kilometers (instead of 1.609), meters are equal to yards (instead of 1.094 yards), pounds are halved to get kilograms (instead of multiplied by 0.4536), and so on. If a Zombie Master feels that more precision is necessary, she should take the U.S. measurements provided and apply more exact formulas.

About the Author Born in the wild islands off the coast of West Florida, Richard Dakan has trained his body, mind and soul since birth for this moment. A student of the martial arts, an author of the written word and devotee of the necromantic arts, Richard, or Ricko as he is known in certain dark circles, desperately seized the opportunity to write this book. Author of over three dozen RPG products, including the Anatomy of a Zombie and Worlds in Hell chapters of the much-lauded All Flesh Must Be Eaten core book, Enter the Zombie may be one of Ricko’s final contributions to the pen and paper RPG genre. By release of this book, he has begun a new life by moving to California to form a computer game company (yipe!).

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C H A P T E R 2

TAO OF THE DEAD

Gregor’s hip creaked and his knees popped as he settled into his fighting stance. I’m getting too old for this, he thought. Five hundred years of fighting take their toll on a body, even an undead one. He raised his arms in a classic on-guard stance, eyeing his opponent. Twenty feet away the challenger, a young warrior named Chu, dead only three years, executed a well-practiced series of martial gesticulations, designed no doubt to intimidate Gregor. The wizened warrior remained unimpressed. Flash and form mattered little in the heat of battle. When their eyes locked, the duel began. Chu advanced, eyeing Gregor carefully. The veteran held his ground, although his gaze focused on the enemy’s chest, not his eyes. The eyes could lie and distract. The body could do neither . . . if you knew how to read its movements. Now just five feet separated them and still Gregor had not moved a muscle. Chu grew impatient, as young fighters often do. With a quick step, he fired a low kick at Gregor’s knee. Without shifting the rest of his body an inch, Gregor lifted his leg clear of the blow and placed it back down as soon as Chu’s foot retracted. Yes young one, I really am that fast, he thought. A moment later Chu followed the kick with a backfist to Gregor’s head and a rapid series of knife hands to the throat. Gregor ducked under the fist and swatted the knife hands away until he grabbed hold of Chu’s wrist. A pull, a twisting of the hips, and a flexing of muscles later, Chu flew through the air, landing hard in the dirt ten feet away. Gregor turned slowly to face him, waiting for the boy to get up. Even more wary, Chu took his time closing the distance. Again, he came within five feet or so before making a move. He feinted another low kick, but Gregor wasn’t fooled. Unfortunately for Chu, the young man had already committed to his follow-up attack—a slashing blow to Gregor’s face. The older zombie blocked it easily, countering with a short, vicious blow that broke Chu’s breastbone and knocked him back once more. Unfazed by the counterpunch, Chu came right back at Gregor with more low kicks. Gregor sent a few jabs towards Chu’s head as he nimbly avoided the kicks, but Chu blocked them easily. Then, for the first time, Chu surprised him. The flesh on the young warrior’s right arm peeled back to reveal a razor-sharp bone blade. The edge bit deep into Gregor’s shoulder, severing muscle and bone. Not feeling the pain but appreciating the severity of the damage, Gregor kicked high and hard, finding space between the two of them to shove his foot up into Chu’s jaw and knock the bastard away. Well, he thought, this one’s got some fight in him after all. Not enough though. Courage renewed, but no fool, Chu paused for a moment to collect himself and analyze how much damage he’d caused Gregor. The veteran played more hurt than he was, holding his “wounded” arm against his stomach as if in pain. The foolish young zombie wasn’t so far from life yet that he’d remember that the undead feel no pain. The flesh of Gregor’s taught abdomen gave way to his touch, allowing him to grasp the end of his small intestine. It writhed in his grasp. As Chu started to advance, Gregor pulled hard on his intestines. They spilled out in neat coils, as animate as a deadly snake. Before the young opponent knew what was happening, Gregor struck with his rope-like guts. Using them like a whip, he ensnared Chu about the neck and yanked the boy into his grasp. Chu tried to cut at the leathery tendril with his arm, but Gregor was too fast. The intestinal tendril squeezed of its own accord as Gregor pulled on it, crushing Chu’s neck and spine until his head lolled uselessly to one side. After that, it was a simple matter of giving the head a good yank to pull it free and then coiling his guts back into his stomach. He had survived, if not lived, to fight another day.

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Chapter Two

i n t r o d u c t i o n Introduction introduction Before embarking on a journey into the deadly, kung fu-fighting, zombie-kicking, brain-munching world of Enter the Zombie . . . . . . a few things must be learned.

Most importantly, kung fu characters need to learn how to fight. Presented here are all the rules necessary to create and play martial arts masters, be they living or dead. But wait . . . there’s more. Martial arts can mean more than kicking, punching or using fingernails as shuriken. In today’s modern age, let’s not forget about guns. Not only is kung fu covered here, but also gun fu—incredible maneuvers and techniques for pistol-packing, tough guys of either the live or dead persuasions.

New Character Types As already explained in the main rulebook, the first step in character creation is deciding what Character Type to play. In the basic All Flesh Must Be Eaten rules, three choices are available: Norm, Survivor and Inspired. Any of those types of characters can be used for stories based on the settings in this book. If that’s the case, read no further. The rest of this is for the cool people. Alright, now that those wussy types have left, two new Character Types take center stage: Martial Artists and Shooters. Martial Artists are not guys who have been taking karate since high school, compete in the local tournaments and wash old cars for their teachers. These are men and women who have devoted their entire lives to the study of martial arts. Sure, they may not have much of a social life, but they have developed abilities far beyond the dreams of the average strip mall dojo student. They are a rare breed, but not so rare that everyone in a gaming group cannot be one if they want to. In fact, for most of these settings, they probably should be. Either that or these next guys. Shooters know how to do one thing very well—shoot. Okay, two things—shoot and look damn cool doing it. They do have more of a social life than the kung fu kids, but not much. They can do really amazing things with a gun though, and hardly ever miss (until they start shooting at each other, then things get tricky). Think Chow Yun Fat. Think Clint . . . nah, just think Chow Yun Fat. But wait, there’s more. Cool kung fu and shooting is not just for the living. As long as it is okay with the Zombie Master, players may choose to be zombies. Zombies with martial arts training may gain really nifty abilities that normal, incredibly powerful Martial Artists do not possess. Zombies can also learn gun fu tricks. That is pretty cool, especially since zombies do not really mind getting hit with return fire all that much.

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Martial Artist “I have studied and trained my entire life for this moment. My body and mind are as one. The spirits of my ancestors watch over me. My master’s teachings echo through my body. I know the Five Animal Forms as well as I know my own breath. There can be no defeat, no failure. I am the Dragon reborn. Ohmmmmm. “Now then, what do you mean exactly when you say zombies?” Martial artists have devoted their lives to the martial arts. These are not the people who go to the karate studio every Tuesday and Thursday night for hour long lessons from Master Steve. These guys and gals are the real deal. They have mastered not only the physical side of kung fu fighting, but the mental and spiritual aspects as well. They are very driven, focused people. They do not have a lot of time outside training. That’s all right with them though because training provides them with almost everything they need. For them, the martial arts are a life journey, not just a means to defend themselves. Martial Artists are not unlike Survivors. They are tough and hard to put down. However, they also have access to Special Chi Techniques, amazing martial arts attacks analogous to the abilities of the Inspired. These techniques rely on the user’s Essence for power and focus much like other Metaphysics. These characters must use Skill Category Points to purchase the basic Martial Arts Skill. Furthermore, additional points can be spent to buy other basic techniques. It is entirely possible, and not uncommon to create a character that has no, non-martial arts skills. That’s cool though. Martial Artists have 25 points for Attributes, 10 points for Qualities (and up to 10 points for Drawbacks), 15 points for Skills and 20 points for Metaphysics. Martial Artists must buy the 5-point Gift Quality and some level of the Essence Channeling Quality (see p. 38) with Qualities or Metaphysics Points. When using the Optional Skill Point Generation System (see AFMBE, p. 29), Martial Artists start with a base 5 Skill Points (but are otherwise treated as Inspired for Campaign Level purposes—see Zombie Master’s Screen, p. 41).

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Chapter Two

Shooter “I’m a cop. Some might say I’m a jaded cop. That’s not true though—actually I’m an idealist. “Ideally, we wouldn’t have to waste time with courts and judges when it comes to scum like the Triads. Ideally, I could hunt them down where they live or shoot them in the street. I’m doin’ a pretty good job of living in that ideal world. “This new gang though—these bastard undead—no problem with the courts there. They’re already dead, right? So what if they can walk. Nothing me and two .45s can’t handle.” Shooters are more well-rounded than Martial Artists since they often have day jobs, like cops or killers or bodyguards or . . . gun shop owners. They are usually experts with a gun. Heck, using their own Special Chi Techniques, they can do some pretty amazing things with guns—stuff that defies logic. But they do not obsess over guns the way Martial Artists do about their bodies. For the Shooter, a gun is just a tool. Their real passion comes from whatever it is they do for a living: hunting down criminals, hunting down cops, running arms to rebels, or just guarding bodies. Shooters gain 20 points for Attributes, 15 points for Qualities (and up to 10 points for Drawbacks), 20 points for Skills and 15 points for Metaphysics. Shooters must purchase the 5-point Gift Quality and some level of the Essence Channeling Quality (see p. 38) with Qualities or Metaphysics Points. When using the Optional Skill Point Generation System (see AFMBE, p. 29), Shooters start with a base 10 Skill Points (but are otherwise treated as Inspired for Campaign Level purposes—see Zombie Master’s Screen, p. 41).

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Martial Arts The martial arts rules that follow are designed specifically for Enter the Zombie. Although compatible with other Unisystem games, they are intended to simulate the amazing and diverse martial arts abilities of movie masters, not “real” martial artists. As such, characters made with these rules will be more powerful than martial artists from say, CJ Carella’s WitchCraft. That does not mean Enter the Zombie characters cannot be used in WitchCraft, just be aware that these guys kick butt.

Martial Arts Skill As noted in the basic rules, purchasing the Martial Arts Skill costs 2 points per level to level 5, and 5 points for every level above that. Martial Arts gives a +1 bonus to damage per skill level for all unarmed attacks made with the skill.

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Purchasing the Martial Arts Skill (whether or not the Martial Artist Character Type is used) grants access to three core Combat Moves. The variety of martial arts schools is astounding, and no attempt is made here to categorize them. Each player should simply review the list of Combat Moves and decide which three make up the core studies of his school. Common moves are Punch, Kick and Breakfall, but there is no reason why the character could not be part of an eclectic dojo that emphasizes Heat Butt, Back Kick and Flip as core maneuvers. Each of the core Combat Moves is automatically learned at the same level as the Martial Arts Skill. For each level of Martial Arts Skill, the character gains 3 Combat Move Points to purchase additional Combat Moves. Each level of each additional Combat Move costs 1 Combat Move Point. Thus, a character with Martial Arts 3 would have 9 Combat Move Points to spend.

Chapter Two

No Combat Move level may be higher than a character’s Martial Arts Skill level. The Martial Arts Skill is increased just as any other Special Skill (AFMBE, p. 119). Such an increase also raises each core Combat Move. A Martial Arts Skill improvement also provides 3 Combat Move Points to spend on additional Combat Moves. Otherwise, additional Combat Moves may be improved as Regular Skills. New additional Combat Moves may be learned at the cost of 6 points for level 1. For example, Genna is an accomplished fighter with a Martial Arts Skill of 5. She chooses Punch, Crescent Kick and Roll with the Blow as her core Combat Moves. Each of these defaults to level 5. She also has 15 points with which to purchase additional Combat Moves. She decides on Arm Lock 3, Counterpunch 4, Stabbing Hand 4 and Trip 4. Later, Genna accumulates 7 experience points and decides to raise her Martial Arts Skill to 6. Punch, Crescent Kick and Roll with the Blow automatically rise to 6. She also gains 3 Combat Move Points to spend on her additional Combat Moves. Genna raises Arm Lock to 4 and Counterpunch to 6.

Combining Combat Moves Each Combat Move is a separate action. More than one move may be performed in a single Turn, but multiple action penalties apply if the normal allotment of one attack and one defense action is exceeded (see AFMBE, p. 100). This rule may be avoided if the Combat Move description provides otherwise.

Combat Move Descriptions These are the kicks, punches, karate chops, and flips students can learn in any martial arts school. They take time and effort to master, and can really hurt when done correctly (remember that damage for all Combat Moves is increased by the combatant’s Martial Arts Skill level). Most martial artists would not consider them “basic.” Compared to the Special Chi Techniques coming up (see p. 37), however, they are not so special. Arm Lock: The character must have successfully parried an attack or executed a Grab move to use Arm Lock. Once successfully applied, damage may be inflicted once each Turn, without Test or Task, until the Arm Lock is broken. Breaking free requires a

Resisted Task between the defender’s Difficult Strength Test and the attacker’s Strength and Arm Lock Task. A Strength and Martial Arts Task may be used in place of either roll. Damage: Strength. Back Kick: This move allows the character to attack targets behind him with out turning around. On a failed Dexterity and Back Kick Task, the character must succeed at a separate Dexterity and Martial Arts Task, or he becomes off-balance (-2 to all combat actions for the next Turn). On an attack roll of 1, the character must pass a Dexterity and Martial Arts Task or he falls down (-4 penalty to most combat action until he spends an attack action to get up—defense actions may still be used that Turn but incur the -4 penalty). Damage: D4(2) x Strength. Breakfall: Each level of success in a Dexterity and Breakfall Task reduces the damage multiplier from falls by one level. Once the multiplier is reduced to 1 (or if it starts there as in the case of Judo Throws and Trips), remaining Success Levels decrease the damage 1 point each. Damage: None. Counterpunch: A quick follow-up punch to a successful parry. Each level of success in the defense Task adds +1 to the immediately following Counterpunch attack roll. Damage: D4(2) x Strength. Crescent Kick: A powerful circular kick. This attack suffers the same unbalancing risks as the Back Kick Move, except the Dexterity and Martial Arts Task suffers a -2 penalty. Regardless of success, the combatant suffers a -2 penalty to any defense action that Turn, or the next. Damage: D6(3) x Strength. Disarm: The Dexterity and Disarm Task is resisted by the target’s Dexterity and Weapon Skill. If the attacker wins, the weapon is dropped or tossed away. Damage: None. Flip: When prone, the character may attempt a Dexterity and Flip Task to get up without using an action. If successful, the character may act normally that round (performing both an attack and defense action). Failure uses a defense action, and the character remains on the ground. Damage: None. Grab: Much more than a quick clutch or tenuous grasp, a Dexterity and Grab Task secures a limb or the torso in a solid hold. A successful Grab allows the attacker to employ one additional Combat Move in

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the same Turn without incurring a multiple action penalty for that move (see AFMBE, p. 100). A Grab may also be combined with a parry or Dodge defense action with no multiple action penalty to the either maneuver. Damage: None. Head Butt: On a failed Dexterity and Head Butt Task, the attacker suffers the damage. This attack may be performed when the combatant’s hands are occupied or otherwise restrained. Damage: D4(2) x Strength. Jab: A light, fast punch that can be used twice in a turn without incurring extra action penalties (see AFMBE, p. 100). Damage: D4(2) x (Strength-1). Judo Throw: The character must have successfully parried an attack or executed a Grab move to use Judo Throw. A successful Dexterity and Judo Throw Task knocks the target down, imposing a -4 penalty to most combat actions until he spends an attack action to get up (defense actions may still be used when prone but suffer the normal -4 penalty). Damage: D4(2). Jump Kick: Damage: D6(3) x (Strength+2). On a failed Dexterity and Jump Kick Task, the character must pass a Difficult Dexterity Test or fall down, suffering D4(2) points of damage, and incurring a -4 penalty to most combat actions until he spends an attack action to get up (defense actions may still be used that Turn at a -4 penalty). Kick: Regardless of success, the combatant suffers a -2 penalty to any defense action taken that Turn, or the next. Damage: D4(2) x (Strength+1). Punch: Damage: D4(2) x Strength. The combatant gains +2 to any defense action taken the same Turn that he uses the simple Punch move. Roll with Blow: This move may be used whenever the character has been successfully hit in hand-tohand or melee combat. It is tested immediately after a blow lands

but before damage is calculated. Each Success Level in a Dexterity and Roll with Blow Task reduces the damage multiplier of the attack by 2 (if the multiplier is reduced to 0, no damage is inflicted). Whether successful or not, using this move sacrifices the combatant’s next attack move. Damage: None. Roundhouse: The combatant suffers a -2 to any defense action during the same Turn that he commits himself to this heavy blow. Damage: D6(3) x Strength. Stabbing Hand: Damage: D4(2) x (Strength +1). Shove: This move uses Strength and Shove in a Resisted Task against the target’s Strength and Dexterity, or Strength and Martial Arts Skill. If the attacker wins, the target is pushed back one yard (meter) per Success Level, and must pass a Simple Dexterity Test minus the Success Level of the Shove or fall down. Downed characters suffer a -4 penalty to most combat actions until they spend an attack action to get up (defense actions may still be used that Turn but incur the -4 penalty). Damage: None. Spin Kick: This attack suffers the same unbalancing risk as the Back Kick move. Regardless of success, the combatant suffers a -2 penalty to any defense action taken that Turn, or the next. Damage: D4(2) x (Strength+2). Sucker Punch: If the attacker wins a Resisted Task (Sucker Punch and Intelligence against a Simple Perception Test), the target cannot defend against the punch. Damage: D4(2) x Strength. Trip: When the attacker succeeds with a Dexterity and Trip Task, the target is knocked down, imposing a -4 penalty to most combat actions until he spends an attack action to get up (defense actions may still be used that Turn but incur the -4 penalty). Damage: D6(3).

Special Chi Techniques The Chinese call it chi, the game rules call it Essence. Either way, it is the life energy that courses through the body of every living being. Masters of the martial arts learn to manipulate their chi in seemingly miraculous ways, allowing them to perform feats of martial prowess undreamed of by lesser folk. The following Special Chi Techniques are available to all characters, living or dead, as long as they first purchase the Gift Quality (see AFMBE, p. 48). Indeed, it might be said that having such abilities in life makes it more likely that one will survive into unlife. The truth of that statement is left to the Zombie Master. The mystical martial arts abilities discussed here are simply one way to approach the genre. Players may wish to consult the Tao-chi abilities presented in Mystery Codex, a WitchCraft supplement, for another take on the subject.

Stomping PUDs Whether they are called Squids, Mooks, Redshirts, PUDs (as we do) or something else, these clowns are a dime a dozen and drop like ninepins in action-oriented stories. Normal Unisystem combat rules are too good for these dorks—gives them too much credit. For those desiring a high action type of game, with PUDs flying around left and right, any of the following rules may be applied. The Danger: PUDs are mostly an annoyance. They are around to take, not cause, damage. Still, they should have some chance to hit a Cast Member. Let’s give them a 1 in 10 chance (10 on a D10). Remember a PUD is nothing without 5-10 buddies. Alternatively, PUDs could be assigned a level—1, 2 or 3 (for the heavyweights). That level can be the chance to hit. Level 3 PUDs hit on a 10, 9 or 8, for example. Skills: What skills? PUDs can hit or shoot, that is about it. Don’t sweat the skills.

Buying Techniques Special Chi Techniques are bought with Metaphysics category points during character creation. The character point cost is equal to the Essence that must be expended to use the Technique per time period given. For example, Balance of the Cat costs 1 Essence Point per Turn, and 1 character point to purchase. After character creation, new Techniques may be learned by spending experience points equal to twice the Essence cost of a Technique. For those Techniques with a variable Essence cost, the character point cost is 3 and the experience point cost is 6.

Using Chi Techniques Each Technique has an Essence Point cost. The character must spend this many Essence Points from his own internal pool before gaining the benefits of the Technique. Accessing internal Essence Pools is no mean feat. Most are unaware that they have Essence, or that it may be used to affect the world. Many of those who realize that Essence is a source of power are little able

Damage: There are number of ways to handle taking down PUDs. 1. Give each PUD 10 Life Points. They should go down in one—at most two—attacks. This is easy. Still, Life Point damage must be tracked. 2. Have a PUD’s fate rest with the number of Success Levels in the Cast Member’s attack roll. One Success Level knocks the PUD down (he can get up the next Turn). Two Successes knocks him down and causes half damage. Three and the PUD is out for the duration. 3. The PUD’s level (see The Danger, above) equals the Success Levels needed to take them down. For example, a level 2 PUD would hit on a 10 or 9, and would be taken out by two Success Levels. Zombie Masters can make the Success Level damage inflicted cumulative, or just require it all in one blow.

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to gather it without elaborate and time-consuming rituals. A few know their own power, and have a facile means to bring it to force. The latter possess a Quality called Essence Channeling, which is crucial for the most proficient of martial arts masters. Once the points are gathered, they are spent immediately as the Technique is employed.

Essence Channeling Essence Channeling is a Supernatural Quality that may be purchased at or after character generation. This ability allows the practitioner to manipulate his internal supply of Essence and project the strength of his soul into the material world. Martial arts masters spend countless hours in training or meditation honing that ability. Essence Channeling is bought in levels using Quality or Metaphysics Points. The levels determine how many Essence Points may be drawn from a character’s internal pool each Turn. They also indicate how many Essence Points are recovered every minute. The cost, in either character or experience points, of each level of Essence Channeling is found in the nearby table.

Essence Channeling Cost Table Level

Cost

1-5

2 points per level

6+

5 points per level

For those with lower levels of Essence Channeling, or those using high Essence cost Special Chi Techniques, some time must be spent gathering the necessary

power. Strange postures, careful examination of stances, wary circling with guards raised, soft hums or clicks deep in the throat—all this might seem mere trappings, but it usually masks the meticulous gathering of Essence needed to power whatever Technique will be sprung on an opponent.

Defensive Essence Then again, all that pre-strike posturing and maneuvering may also hide an Essence conflict. Those with Essence Channeling can throw off their Essence to disrupt patterns and concentration. For each point of Essence expended in this way, 1 point of an opponent’s gathered Essence is neutralized. So, a martial artist with Essence Channeling may use his gathered Essence each Turn to disrupt an opponent’s gathered Essence and hopefully avoid the effects of whatever Chi Technique the opponent has in store for him. Of course, using Essence defensively means the warrior has no power for his own Techniques. Then again, with sufficient high levels of Essence Channeling, a master may disrupt his opponent’s Techniques, while still retaining enough for his own. These masters take some time before striking, but when they do, the battle lasts for only a short time.

Combining Techniques Special Chi Techniques may usually be combined with each other (as long as the necessary Essence has been gathered), or with Combat Moves. Each counts as a separate action, however. Multiple action penalties may apply if the normal allotment of one attack and one defense action is exceeded (see AFMBE, p. 100). Some Techniques may not be used in combination with others, and those are identified in the relevant descriptive text.

Special Chi Technique Descriptions The following descriptions provide a full range of Techniques for either Martial Artists or Shooters. Remember, for those Techniques that cause damage to an opponent, Martial Arts Skill levels grant damage bonuses. Also, some Techniques require another Combat Move, or a gun to use effectively. Finally, those Techniques that involve ranged attacks most often mention guns, but can be used with any distance attack weapon (bows, throwing knives, etc.). The actual number of Special Chi Techniques are endless, limited only by the ZMs’ and players’ imaginations. These examples may be used as guidelines for creating any number of additional Techniques.

Acrobatic Shooting Essence Cost: 2 per Turn Firefights are seldom static events; opponents rarely stand still and exchange bullets like Napoleonic armies. Instead real gun-fu masters are always on the move, leaping across tables, sliding down banisters, flipping over railings, swinging on wires, and balancing on windowsills. All the while, they let loose a storm of lead against the other guy. With this ability, the shooter can perform amazing feats of acrobatics and fire as normally (or using any other Technique). This takes some agreement from the Zombie Master, but in general it means the shooter gets to move in some cool, unexpected way that makes everyone shooting him suffer a -3 penalty during the Turn, but imposes no penalty to the ranged attack. Alternately, the Technique lets the character do some seemingly impossible maneuver while shooting, such as walking a tightrope. In these later situations, opponents suffer no penalty (except being intimidated by how cool the shooter is).

Ain’t Got Time to Bleed Essence Cost: Varies Who has time to do more than wince when struck by a sword, or hit by a bullet? A master, that’s who. He has places to go, punches to throw, bullets to

shoot, people to kill. Sure, that last roundhouse nearly took his head off, and that last hit blew a hole the size of a golf ball in his arm, but that shouldn’t slow him down much. Every time the character takes damage, he can decide to use this ability. For every 5 points of damage sustained, he can spend 2 Essence Points to totally ignore the effects of the damage. The damage still gets subtracted from his total Life Points but he suffers no other ill effects. Once the character reaches -20 LPs, all damage effects apply (knock down, stun, unconsciousness and Survival Tests).

Balance of the Cat Essence Cost: 1 per Turn Although most martial artists have amazing dexterity, those with this technique have developed their ability to such an extent that by focusing their will and chi they can do seemingly impossible things. While this Technique is active, the character can walk on ropes or rails, climb ropes, balance on the top of poles, and immediately recover from being thrown without having to make any action. Furthermore, he can move about at full speed while performing these feats of balance.

Be Like the Water Essence Cost: Varies The sensei says, “Be like the water, ever shifting and impossible to pin down, ever adaptable to whatever conditions exist. Can you punch a river? Can you grasp the ocean?” All hyperbole and metaphor aside, this ability allows the fighter to dodge multiple incoming attacks. For every 2 Essence Points spent per Turn, an extra defensive Dodge Task may be taken.

Blind Firing Essence Cost: 3 per ranged attack In his years of shooting folks, a gun-fu master develops a kind of sixth sense about where the enemy is, even when he cannot see them. Characters with this ability can home in on any target within range even if it is pitch black, or they have a blind-fold on. This Technique eliminates all penalties for poor lighting. In total darkness, the shooter only suffers a -3 penalty to strike Tasks.

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Blind Strike Essence Cost: 2 per close combat attack Those who prefer close combat can also develop their own special sense for locating enemies. Using this ability, the martial artist knows exactly where an enemy is, if he is within his Speed in yards (meters). This Technique eliminates all penalties for poor lighting. In total darkness or when blindfolded, the shooter only suffers a -3 penalty to strike Tasks.

Catch Bullets Essence Cost: 3 per Test Focused chi and focused mind increase the body’s perception, dexterity and strength for a vital moment. As a defensive action, the character can deflect or catch an incoming missile weapon of any type, even a bullet. This requires 3 Essence Points and a Difficult Dexterity Test. By gathering a large ready pool of Essence, the character can spend extra points and make extra rolls to catch additional bullets in a single Turn up to a number equal to his Dexterity. Additional Essence may also be spent to grant a +1 per point bonus to the Dexterity Text. This amazing ability offers little protection against shotgun or bomb blasts since there are too many projectiles too close together. In earlier times, the name is Catch Missiles (no bullets, eh?).

Chi Block Essence Cost: 4 per close combat attack The master focuses his chi and thrusts an open hand blow into an opponent’s torso. This blow does normal punch damage (D4(2) x Strength), and temporarily disrupts the flow of Essence throughout the body. The latter decreases the amount of Essence that the opponent may be channeled per Turn by the attack Task’s Success Levels for a period of time equal to the Success Levels in Turns.

Chi Bolt Essence Cost: 5 per bolt By summoning up the chi within him, the warrior can actually project this energy out against his enemies. The bolt of energy can appear however the master wishes (or his teachers taught him). Typically, it resembles a ball of blue fire, but can also be like a

40

spinning disk, a laser bolt, or even invisible to the naked eye. No matter what it looks like, the damage is the same: D6 x 4(12). The person throwing the bolt uses a Willpower and Martial Arts Task to attack, and can strike enemies up to Willpower x 10 yards (meters) away (no range penalties).

Chi Drain Essence Cost: 4 per close combat attack Chi Drain “bleeds” an opponent’s chi out of him. When used with an attack (which causes regular damage), this Technique siphons D6 x 3(9) Essence Points. The target recovers these points normally. The Essence lost becomes ambient and may not be added to the attacker’s Essence Pool without using an Aspect or Technique that allows the character to do so.

Chi Punch Essence Cost: 3 per close combat attack The concentrated energy of the martial artist’s chi coalesces around his fist in a visible aura. The aura remains until the character successfully strikes something, either his target or a solid object of some kind. The blow does D10(5) x Strength.

Chi Shout Essence Cost: 1 per close combat attack Shouting or making some special sound while striking is a common technique within the martial arts. It helps the practitioner focus his mind, breath and body on the attack. True masters can use this simple skill to enhance the effects of any attack. Chi Shout, when used with any normal close combat attack, adds a +2 bonus to the attack Task, and +2 to the damage.

Combat Sense Essence Cost: 3 per Turn Even when they seem to be doing something else, the senses of masters with this technique are working overtime, looking out for trouble. Dangers such as ambushes, ticking bombs, etc. rarely surprise them. Characters gain a +3 to all Perception Tests or Tasks when using this ability. Further, the master gains a +2 to initiative rolls, if applicable.

Chapter Two

mal Speed. By expending an additional 5 Essence Points the next Turn, the martial artist can remain in the air.

Crippling Hold Essence Cost: 3 per Turn Characters who have mastered this Technique know how to focus their attacks and chi on vulnerable energy meridians and accupoints within the target’s body, causing increased damage. First the warrior must Grab the opponent (see p. 55). Immediately thereafter, the Crippling Hold’s damage—D6(3) x Strength—is automatically applied. Each following Turn, the hold’s damage may be applied again, but only if the Essence necessary is available to be spent. If insufficient Essence has been gathered, the hold may be maintained but no damage is done. The victim’s only recourse is to try to escape. Escaping requires a Resisted Task between Strength and Martial Arts Tasks (or Difficult Strength Tests).

This ability can also be used at the last instant to cushion and eliminate damage from a long fall. Roll a Willpower and Martial Arts Skill Task. Each Success Level halves the damage multiplier of falls.

Flying Chi Kick Essence Cost: 2 per close combat attack The fighter leaps into the air and flies towards his opponent, leading with one foot. The kicker can travel much further than normal, up to twenty feet (seven meters) in a straight line. The defender may dodge or defend against the attack as normal, but if the foot lands, it does D8(4) x (Strength +2) damage.

Flying Windmill Kick

Drunken Punch Essence Cost: 3 per close combat attack

Essence Cost: Varies

By bobbing and weaving, and generally moving like an out-of-control, unpredictable drunk, the character can launch an almost unblockable strike. Targets defending against the Drunken Punch do so at -3 to their defense Tests or Tasks. Furthermore, the drunken chi of the martial artist infuses the target, causing the same penalty to all defense actions during the next Turn. The strike does D4(2) x (Strength + 1) damage.

This Technique combines elements of both the Flying Chi Kick and Hurricane of Kicks. The maneuver is executed like a Flying Chi Kick (costing 2 Essence Points), but for every additional 2 Essence Points spent (up to a maximum of 10), the master can make another kick attempt that Turn without multiple action penalties. Each successful kick must be defended or dodged as a separate attack. Damage per kick is D8(4) x (Strength + 2).

Eagle Eye

Great Leap

Essence Cost: 2 per ranged attack As good as this shooter is, it does not matter how far away the target is. Focus, vision, and instinct allow the shooter to fire at targets up to the ranged weapon’s (usually a gun) maximum range without range penalties.

Flying Essence Cost: 5 per Turn This is one of the most amazing applications of chi force, and few possess it. It is more controlled leaping than actual flying, but who is really going to argue the point? The character leaps into the air just like he was jumping. The difference is, for the remainder of the Turn, he can maneuver while in the air, just like a bird. He moves at a Speed equal to four times his nor-

Essence Cost: 1 per leap By focusing chi into his legs, the character can leap distances that would make an Olympic long-jumper green with envy. From a standing position, the martial artist can jump either six yards (meters) vertically or 12 yards (meters) horizontally. With a running start of at least three yards (meters), he can jump 12 yards (meters) vertically or 24 yards (meters) horizontally. Of course, a jump of smaller distance is also possible.

Golden Bell Essence Cost: Varies By focusing chi at the moment of contact and dissipating its effects, the martial artist can absorb the damage from an incoming attack without harm to

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himself. This action counts as a defense action and need only be used after the opponent successfully strikes. The character then lets out a focused shout to help deflect the harm and spends up to 5 Essence Points. For each point spent, the damage is reduced by D4(2) x Willpower. Unfortunately, this power only works against blunt force weapons like hands, kicks, clubs and so forth—not swords, claws, or bullets.

Healing Touch Essence Cost: 3 per touch Chi can do good as well as harm. Through a combination of massage, pressure to accupoints and energy meridians, and infusion of his own chi into the wounded target, the character can actually heal wounds. He can even use this ability on himself. For every 3 Essence Points spent, the martial artist restores D4(2) x Willpower in Life Points to the target. This ability is only partially effective on undead flesh—zombies gain Dead Points equal to the Willpower of the healer.

Hurricane of Kicks Essence Cost: Varies The martial artist lashes out with a series of quick, powerful kicks almost too fast for the human eye to see. For every 2 points of Essence spent (up to a maximum of 8), the fighter launches an extra Kick Combat Move that round. The target can only defend against as many kicks as he has defensive maneuvers, usually one. The kicks cause normal damage and cannot be combined with any other Chi Techniques or Combat Moves.

Instant Reload Essence Cost: 2 per reload Who has time to slap in another clip or fit more bullets into that six-shooter? For a gun-fu master, reloading scarcely gets any attention. The character automatically reloads his gun without even pausing to take a breath. In effect, it takes no time to reload. The shooter can keep on firing as long as he wants and as long as he is carrying extra ammo somewhere on his person. The ability does not create bullets out of thin air, it just gets them into the gun quicker than the eye can see.

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Iron Palm Essence Cost: 2 per close combat attack Rigorous training has allowed the master to momentarily harden his hand to the resiliency of iron. Not only does this cause more damage in combat, it is particularly effective against inanimate objects. When the character strikes a target, he does D6(3) x Strength damage if the target is living or undead. If it is an object made of stone or wood, he breaks it, leaving a hand-sized hole in stone walls, splintering wood doors, and splitting beams in half. This technique does not help against iron or steel doors (although aluminum will yield to the Iron Palm should that ever be applicable).

Multiple Shooter

knocks an opponent back two yards (meters). After all kicks are complete, the opponent (if still conscious) must make a Difficult Dexterity Test to stay on his feet. Failure means the target is knocked down and suffers a -4 penalty to most combat actions until he spends an attack action to get up (defense actions may still be used when prone but suffer a -4 penalty).

No See Blow Essence Cost: 4 per close combat attack This special blow to the sides of the head seems insignificant at first, as does only punch damage (D4(2) x Strength) initially. However, the strike also causes a temporary disruption of an opponent’s optic nerves, blinding them for (strike Task Success Levels x 2) Turns.

Essence Cost: Varies

One-Inch Punch

One thing that separates the average goon with a gun from the truly great gun-fu masters is the ability to blow away lots of people in very small amounts of time with grace and accuracy. Most gunmen have trouble keeping their weapon under control after that first shot, as muzzle climb quickly ruins accuracy. Focusing his will, the gun-fu artist avoids this problem. For each Essence Point spent, the character can employ another ranged attack at one or more targets at no penalty (instead of the normal cumulative penalty for each additional attack, see AFMBE, pp. 100, 102). Furthermore, the penalties do not start adding up until the master stops paying Essence. For example, Chan wants to shoot bursts at four punk-ass zombies in one Turn. She spends two Essence Points so that the first three bursts have no penalty (remember the first shot never has a penalty) and the final burst only has a -3 modifier. The exact modifier to be applied depends on the type of ranged attack and weapon used.

Essence Cost: 1 per close combat attack

No Shadow Kick Essence Cost: Varies This is an advanced form of the Flying Windmill Kick. The initial attack costs 4 Essence Points, and for every additional 2 Essence Points spent (up to a maximum of 10), the master can make another kick attempt that Turn without multiple action penalties. Each successful kick does D8(4) x (Strength + 2), and

By using force generated in the hips and focusing his chi, the character can release a devastating punch from only an inch (2.5 centimeters, but that makes for a silly sounding attack) away. This Technique can be used while the martial artist is being grappled by an opponent without first breaking free of the hold. It is also used by less savory sorts to attack unsuspecting people in crowds, or to strike quickly and discreetly. The target and witnesses must make a Difficult Perception Test to notice who attacked. Additional Essence Points can be spent to decrease that Perception Test by -1 per point. It cannot be used in conjunction with other Chi Techniques. The One-Inch Punch causes D4(2) x (Strength +1) damage.

Penetrating Shot Essence Cost: Varies This ability allows the gun-fu master to penetrate body armor without the use of armor-piercing ammunition. Somehow, they always seem to be able to find kinks in the armor, places where there is no armor, etc. Indeed, the character’s command of chi allows total penetration—all armor protection is ignored. The Essence cost is two points for all forms of armor up to chainmail, 3 for plate, Class I armor and riot shields, and 4 for Class II, III and IV armor.

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Power Flick Essence Cost: 3 per “flick” The warrior can actually use the enemy’s bullets against them, or transform small pebbles or coins, even grains of rice, into deadly weapons. The martial artist simply concentrates his will on the small projectile and then flicks, throws, or even blows the item at an enemy. Hitting the target requires a successful Willpower and Martial Arts Task, and does D6 x 2(6) points of damage, at the following ranges: 3/10/20/60/120

Quick Draw Essence Cost: 2 per draw He walks into the nightclub, right up to the mark. He stares the loser in the eye, face blank. The look on his face lets all know who’s the man in this situation. Then, it all comes down to who draws first. With this ability, it’s gotta be the shooter. The gun-fu master’s draw is so quick that the gun magically appears in his hand, ready to shoot—even if it’s tucked into a boot, a backpack, or laying on the floor under the table. If any gun is available within six feet (two meters) of the character, he can have it in his hand instantly with this power. No actions are expended, and the warrior can fire immediately. Two masters after the same gun perform Resisted Simple Dexterity Tests.

Rain of Fists Essence Cost: Varies The martial artist lets loose a barrage of chiinfused strikes that move so fast they blur together. These blows are almost impossible to defend against. For each point of Essence spent (up to a maximum of 5), the character gets to make one extra Punch Combat Move a Turn. The target can only defend against as many attacks as he has defense actions, usually just one. The attacks do normal Punch damage and cannot be combined with other Chi Techniques or Combat Moves.

Running the Gauntlet Essence Cost: 3 per Turn

attacking in any way during a Turn, the master starts running, bobbing, weaving, ducking, sliding, and jumping at his normal Speed towards some goal (usually some real cover or a little child caught in the crossfire). All the while he fires his gun in the general direction of the enemy, causing them to duck or flinch or just stare in awe. All attacks against the mover are made with a -6 penalty, and those that hit suffer a -1 Multiplier.

Speak Nicely to Betsy Essence Cost: 3 per attack Experts with this Technique have a specific hand weapon or gun they prefer to use over all others (even others of the same brand!). They have become attached to this specific weapon, and somehow, it has become attuned to them, almost as if it is an extension of their arm. When using this Technique with their weapon of choice, a master gains a +2 Task bonus. It is possible to use more than one signature weapon (such as a matched pair of wakazashi, pistols, uzis, etc.). The Essence cost of using both at the same time is doubled, however.

Super Throw Essence Cost: Varies While many martial arts incorporate throws and sweeps, only chi masters can use this amazing technique. First, the warrior must Grab his target. If successful, the martial artist can immediately execute this dramatic throw. Instead of merely flipping the subject to the ground, the character sends him flying away in any direction he chooses. The distance is equal to Strength plus Martial Arts Skill in yards (meters). Such a throw costs 1 Essence Point, but additional points may be spent to increase the distance one yard (meter) each. When the target does land, assuming they did not go flying off some cliff or building, he takes normal falling damage (see AFMBE, p. 108). Furthermore, the opponent is now prone and suffers a -4 penalty to most combat actions until he spends an attack action to get up (defense actions may still be used that Turn but suffer the normal -4 penalty).

Sometimes the best bet for a character is to get where they are going without getting hit. Instead of

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Chapter Two

Trick Shot Essence Cost: Varies A keen eye, years of practice, and an unbelievable focus allow the shooter to do amazing things with his bullets. This can be anything from shooting a chandelier so it falls on the bad guy’s head, to opening electronic doors just by shooting the control panel (something that would not normally work), to ricocheting bullets around walls and even knocking another bullet out of the air. The Zombie Master determines the difficulty of the shot and the Essence Point cost. In general, average shots (like knocking down that chandelier) require one Essence Point, challenging shots (like opening the door) cost two Essence Points, difficult shots (like ricocheting the bullet around a corner) require three Essence Points, and near-impossible shots (like trying to knock a bullet out of the air) requires five Essence. Whatever the case, with the expenditure of Essence, these attacks suffer no penalties for difficulty.

Two-Fisted Firing Essence Cost: 2 per Turn This classic Technique allows gun-fu masters to focus their chi and seemingly do the impossible: fire equally well with a gun in each hand. Each Turn the character uses this ability, he suffers no penalties from firing with two hands, or from making two ranged attacks (although both must be aimed at the same target). Firing more than once with each hand incurs the usual penalties for recoil.

Wave of Chi Essence Cost: 4 per wave Instead of focusing his chi against a particular point or target, the fighter releases it in a great wave of energy. All within three yards (meters) of the martial artist’s front (i.e., anyone he can see with his head facing forward) must make a Difficult Strength Test with a penalty equal to the master’s Willpower, or fall to the ground and slide back two yards (meters). Regardless of the success of the Strength Test, everyone takes D4 x 2(4) damage. Furthermore, any opponents are now prone and suffer a -4 penalty to most combat actions until they spend an attack action to get up (defense actions may still be used that Turn but suffer the normal -4 penalty).

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Playing Zombies “My work in this world is not yet complete. My teacher, my family, my friends—all of their spirits cry out for vengeance. They shall have it. Even though the breath has left my body, the spirit fights. A true master can never die. “And yes, to answer your question, I still want your brain . . .” —Zombie Martial Artist “I always figured living this lifestyle would get me killed. After all, how many gang members do you know that live to be thirty? I expected death, hell part of me probably wanted it. I lived hard and fast and took more than a few of the bastards with me when I went. “What I didn’t expect was that I wouldn’t stay dead. Well, I guess I’m still dead, but I’m also doing a lot of walking around and shooting too. What’s up with that?” —Zombie Shooter Martial artists and shooters rise from the dead too. In fact, their advanced training in life makes them extra deadly in death. Zombie masters usually have some sort of grudge they have carried back with them from the grave. Whether to defend their living loved ones, avenge some wrong done to them while they still drew breath, or something else, this fixation drives them beyond death.

For those who have not noticed, All Flesh Must Be Eaten Character Types (other than the Norm) are built by dividing 70 points between the Attribute, Quality, Skill and Metaphysics categories. A zombie character draws from a 90-point pool, but must spend roughly 20 points getting to a level of cognizance that normal humans take for granted (Problem Solving and Long-term Memory). Still, given the powers available to zombies via Aspects, and the greater flexibility afforded to move points between the categories, zombie characters are almost always a bit more powerful than beginning, and still living Cast Members. ZMs may limit zombie player choices to curtail min-maxing, or grant additional points for a more high-power game.

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Chapter Two

Creating Zombie Cast Members

Zombie Character Creation, Par t I

The following rules should be used for creating zombie Cast Members in Enter the Zombie Stories.

Jeremy decides on a zombie character and the setting being played uses the Basic Zombie from the main rulebook with a Weak Spot: Brain addition (+6 Power). After adding Long-term Memory and Problem Solving, the Cast Member’s Intelligence increases to 2, and the Power level becomes 31.

The Basics Zombie characters start with the basic zombie template relevant to the setting contemplated. The player adds the Problem Solving and Long-term Memory Aspects (see All Flesh Must Be Eaten, p. 156), unless they are already part of the basic zombie’s make-up. This boosts the Power level by up to 20 points. The result is a playable Cast Member— one that engages in basic human reasoning and can retain learned skills. From there, players may spend 10 points on Attributes following the usual spending patterns (1 point per level up to 5, 3 points per level after that). Note that human maximums do not apply to zombies. Each point spent on Attributes increases the Power level by one. At this point, Speed and Essence Pool should be calculated as normal. Dead Points are calculated as Life Points, but only if the Weak Spot: All is applicable. Other Weak Spots impose their own Dead Point number. Endurance Points are ignored. Zombies do not do endurance. Now, subtract the zombie Cast Member’s Power level from 90. The difference is the number of character points the player has available to spend on Qualities, Skills, Metaphysics and Zombie Aspects. Up to 10 points of Drawbacks may also be accepted.

Qualities Qualities (and further Drawbacks) are purchased as in normal character creation. Zombies may purchase any Supernatural Quality or Drawback desired. Additional Dead Points may be gained through the Hard to Kill Quality. The Essence Pool may be supplemented by the Increased Essence Pool Quality. Qualities or Drawbacks that affect Endurance Points may be taken but no points are gained or lost. It would seem that any zombie would have the

Jeremy spends his 10 Attribute points increasing the character's Attributes as follows: Strength 4, Dexterity 5, Constitution 3, Intelligence 3, Perception 2, Willpower 3. The new Power level is 41. Just to even things out, Jeremy decides that his walking dead follows a code of behavior. This 1-point Honorable Drawback results in a Power level of 40. Subtracting the new Power level from 90 results in a total character point pool of 50. Jeremy can now begin buying Qualities, Skills, Metaphysics and Aspects.

Recurring Nightmares Quality, but that would have no game effect and thus would not supply additional character points.

Skills Skills may be purchased at the regular prices. Depending on the state of the corpse (e.g., Missing Limb Quality, lack of Language Aspect), certain skills may be unusable. Zombie Cast Members may not employ the Optional Skill Point Generation System. Their advantage lies in the flexibility to move points among categories (other than the Attributes). That feature undermines the applicability of the optional system. Zombies may benefit from the Age Quality (see Zombie Master Screen, p. 43) and its additions to the character creation categories.

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Metaphysics Metaphysics may be gained at regular cost. Note that the Gift Quality remains a prerequisite for such abilities, and must be purchased. Inspiration must also be purchased if Miracles are desired.

Aspects Aspects not already settled by the basic zombie template for the setting at issue may be purchased from Chapter Five: Anatomy of a Zombie of the main rulebook, or from those listed in other supplements. In general, this means that only special features, and Intelligence Aspects may be chosen. Core Weak Spot, Getting Around, Strength, etc. Aspects may not be added. For example, if the basic zombie template of the setting has the Strong Like Bull Aspect, the Monstrous Strength Aspect may not be purchased (but Strength may be raised using the 10-point Attribute Pool discussed earlier). The Special Strength Features, like Damage Resistance and Flame Resistance, may be gained.

More important zombies, such as principal Adversaries, Supporting Cast or Cast Members, may heal by consuming—you guessed it—flesh (or whatever it is they feed on). For each allotment of sustenance consumed above the required amount to avoid starvation (see AFMBE, p. 154), the zombie regains a number of Dead Points equal to the Power of its Sustenance Aspect. For example, a zombie with the Weekly Sustenance Aspect (Power 4) must consume 24 ounces a week. If it consumes 48 in any given week, it will heal 4 Dead Points. 72 ounces heals 8 Dead points, and so on. Zombies with the Who Needs Food? Aspect (Power 8) recuperate 1 Dead Point per minute, as long as they can access their source of reanimatory energy. Otherwise, they regain nothing. Depending on the setting, or certain Aspects chosen (e.g., Regeneration, AFMBE, p. 159), zombies may be restored in other ways. All zombies regain Essence Points as other characters do (see AFMBE, p 114). As they have no Endurance Points, recovery of those points is irrelevant.

The Power level of an Aspect equals its cost in character points.

Effects of Damage Zombies suffer no degradation in abilities due to Dead Point loses. Damage affects them only as provided in the main rulebook (see AFMBE, pp. 147, 152-153). The downside is that once Dead Points are extinguished, the zombie goes down. Unless specified by a particular Aspect, no zombie may have negative Dead Points.

Zombie Recovery

Zombie Improvement Zombie characters earn experience points just like the living. These points may be spent in the same way to increase abilities. New Aspects are gained at double their Power cost, and a Story rationale for such a significant change should be devised by the Zombie Master and player.

Most zombies do not recover Dead Points. They get one unlife, and they better preserve it.

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Chapter Two

Zombie Character Creation Par t II Jeremy decides his undead protagonist is master martial artist who has studied some ninjitsu techniques. First, he purchases the Gift Quality (5 points), 3 levels of Essence Channeling (6 points), 5 levels of Increased Essence (5 points), and several Special Chi Techniques: Balance of the Cat (1 points), Chi Punch (3 points), Combat Sense (3 points), Iron Palm (2 points), One-Inch Punch (1 points). This reduces his character points to 24. He then decides to grab four levels of Hard to Kill, increasing the Dead Points of the character's brain to 27. His character point pool is reduced to 20. For Drawbacks, Jeremy chooses Obsession (Learning New Techniques) and Reckless, earning 4 extra points. The character point pool rises to 24. Most core zombie Aspects are determined by the setting zombie template. Still, Jeremy decides that Language (Power 1) is necessary, and Iron Shirt Body (Power 3), Regeneration (Power 2) and Shuriken Nails (Power 1) sounds cool, and spends another 7 points. With his remaining 17 points, Jeremy purchases a few basic skills. Martial Arts 4 (8 points) is crucial, as is Stealth 3. Hand Weapon (Ninja-To) 2, Dodge 2, and Throwing 2 round out his skills. Finally, he gets Brawling 2 for free as part of his basic zombie template. Thus ends the supply of character points. The final zombie character looks like this:

Undead Martial Artist Strength 4 Intelligence 3 Dexterity 5 Perception 2 Constitution 3 Willpower 3 Dead Points 27 Speed 16 Endurance Points n/a Essence Pool 45 Qualities: Essence Channeling 3 (6), The Gift (5), Hard to Kill (4), Increased Essence 5 (5) Drawbacks: Honorable (1), Obsession (Learning New Techniques) (2), Reckless (2) Skills: Brawling 2, Dodge 2, Hand Weapon (Ninja-To) 2, Martial Arts 4, Stealth 3, Throwing 2 Metaphysics: Balance of the Cat (1), Chi Punch (3), Combat Sense (3), Iron Palm (2), One-Inch Punch (1) Attack: Bite D4 x 2(4) slashing damage Weak Spot: Brain Getting Around: Slow and Steady Strength: Dead Joe Average Senses: Like the Dead Sustenance: Daily; All Flesh Must Be Eaten Intelligence: Problem Memory; Language

Solving;

Long-term

Special: Iron Shirt Body, Regeneration, Shuriken Nails

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New Aspects Once a character rises from the dead, a whole new world of opportunities open up. While any master pushes his body and talents to its limits, a zombie master can use his body in new and exciting ways. Pain no longer matters. Blood no longer matters. Broken bones do not even matter all that much. The body becomes a tool to be used nearly without fear of the consequences. A disadvantage (being dead) is turned into an advantage (the ability to kick ass or shoot in spectacular new ways). Many warrior zombies have developed a new and special relationship with their weapons of choice, actually integrating them into their undead forms, dead and death dealers joined as one for all time. Ain’t it romantic? Note that where a zombie Aspect causes damage through an attack, each Martial Arts Skill level adds one to the damage total.

Bloody Mass

Power: +4

Sometimes the best defense is not being around to be hit at all. The zombie has such incredible control over its undead form that it can cause itself to break down into a bloody mass of blood, bones, and sick goo. This puddle is fully animate and moves with half the zombie’s normal Speed. Although the zombie cannot attack, it is immune from all physical attacks except fire, explosives, and acids while in this form. It can seep under doors, through grates and even stay cohesive under water. The zombie can fall into the form instantly, even using the technique as a defensive action to avoid an attack. However, it takes a full two Turns for it to reform into a solid body.

Bone Blade Kick

Power: +2

Some zombie martial artist masters have added a special kicker to their kick. As the zombie’s foot rockets towards its opponent, the flesh peels away to reveal the bones of the foot, fused into a jagged blade. As soon as the foot begins to withdraw, the flesh slides back over the blade, covering it again by the time it touches the ground. The Bone Blade Kick does D6(3) x (Strength + 1) slashing damage.

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Bullet Sponge

Power: +2

Few zombies really mind getting hit by bullets (unless it hits them in their Weak Spot). Some zombies actually like it. It means they don’t have to go looking around for ammunition. Bullets that strike the zombie do damage as normal (if applicable), but then go through the strangely evolved organs of the zombie, making them good to go again (including cartilage casings and organic gunpowder). The zombie can excrete these at will from its hands, or if its got a built-in gun, directly into the weapon. Recycling’s so important in this modern day, it’s touching to see the undead involved too . . .

Burrowing Finger

Power: +5

This deadly attack works best against living foes and those zombies with a particular weak spot. Using only its index finger to attack (regular close combat attack), the zombie jabs the digit deep into the target’s flesh. Once it penetrates, the finger breaks off and begins to worm its way through the target’s body, causing massive internal damage. It makes its way towards the target’s heart or brain, depending what the zombie wishes. The finger then works its way out and crawls back to the owner, who may attach it again with no penalty. The zombie can only use one finger at a time in this manner. The initial finger attack causes D4(2) x Strength damage. Each round after that, it moves six inches (15 centimeters) towards the target’s vital organs, causing an additional D6 x 2(6) damage each Turn. When it reaches the heart or brain, it causes D8 x 6(20) damage each Turn until the target dies.

Buzzsaw Torso

Power: +4

The skeleton within the zombie is highly animate, “dying” to get in on the fighting action. The ribs and other bones of the torso work with the flesh to create a bizarre but deadly attack. The ribs shift and expand through the flesh until they protrude in a circle out from the spine in the middle of the zombie’s chest. From the top, it looks like the spokes of a wheel (since all the ribs extend to the same length). Then they start spinning—really, really fast, like the blades of a helicopter. These super-strong ribs slice and dice

anything that comes near. It is hard to attack with the torso, however, so a zombie must first Grab or grapple (Resisted Simple Dexterity Tests) an opponent before pulling them into the spinning bones of death. Once a victim comes into contact, D12 x 4(24) points of slashing damage are delivered per Turn.

Chi Suck

Power: +4

Chi Suck is related to Soul Sucker (see AFMBE, p. 155). Zombies with this ability border on being vampiric, although blood is not what they suck. Once a zombie Grabs, grapples (Resisted Simple Dexterity Tests) or bites someone, it can hold on and start sucking out the person’s very life essence. In games terms that means, well, Essence. Each Turn the zombie sucks in D10 x 3(15) Essence Points, adding them to the zombie’s own Essence Pool. Any Essence absorbed in excess of the zombie’s normal Essence Pool level dissipates after 24 hours, but may be used until that point. This Aspect does not serve to raise the zombie’s permanent Essence Pool level.

Crimson Spray

Power: +1

Not only does the master zombie have unbelievable control over its dead body, it can also control the stagnant, stale blood that lies in its veins. The zombie can, at will, fire spurts of blood from anywhere in its body. These jets have a range of just three yards (meters). In combat, their greatest use is to temporarily blind or distract an opponent. The zombie can use this Aspect and make one other attack in the same Turn without incurring multiple action penalties. Striking a target in the eyes requires a Difficult Dexterity Test. If successful, the target is partially blinded and suffers -3 on hand-to-hand attacks and 6 on ranged attacks.

Decaying Bite

Power: +3

The zombie carries special, supernatural parasites that devour flesh. Fortunately for the zombie, this Aspect renders its own flesh immune to the parasites. Others are not nearly so fortunate. Whenever the zombie successfully bites someone (causing at least 4 points of damage), a number of the nasties get passed to the victim. They immediately start to eat away at the target’s flesh, starting with the location of the bite.

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The consumption spreads at the rate of one inch (2.5 centimeters), causing one point of damage, per minute. Eventually, it devours the entire body—be it zombie or human—unless the victim cuts out the infected area or scours it with flame or acid. Of course, the treatment causes its own damage, but no one said this was going to be easy.

Entrail Whip

Power: +2

Digestion is all well and good, but certain undead masters have learned to put their internal organs to other uses. Tearing open their own stomachs (which causes no damage), they pull out their small intestine, which has become leathery and tough in death and makes a perfect whip. The whip extends up to thirty feet (10 meters) and can be used to swing from chandeliers, inflict stinging blows on an opponent, or entrap a target in its undead grasp. Since it is part of the walking dead’s body, it is also somewhat animate. It can grab onto things with its own strength rather than relying on simple momentum like a plain old inanimate whip. The zombie can use the whip simply to attack, causing D4(2) x (Strength - 1) damage. Making a grappling attack requires targeting a specific location on the target’s body (damage is still suffered). If successful, the whip ensnares the body part and does not let go until cut (10 points to sever), removed (effective Strength 4) or withdrawn by the zombie. The entrails have an armor value of D6 + 1(4).

Fighting Flying Head

Power: +3

The secret to winning any fight is using one’s head. Certain zombies take this adage very literally. Those with this Aspect can remove their heads and let them fly and attack on their own. The zombie’s body continues to fight without any penalty as long as the head remains within line of sight. The head itself can fly at a rate equal to three times the zombie’s normal Speed. Attacks against the head suffer a -5 penalty. Unless the brain is a Weak Spot, damage short of total destruction (30 non-weapon/60 weapon) is ignored. The flying head has an unlimited range and can attack with a bite or head butt that causes D4(2) x (Strength - 1) damage.

52

Fingerblades

Power: +1

The bones in the tips of the zombie’s fingers can extend through the flesh at will, becoming razor sharp bone blades capable of severing flesh and muscle with ease. These retractable blades stretch out as far as eight inches (10 centimeters) and cause D4(2) x Strength slashing damage.

Flesh Fist

Power: +4

Some of the most effective techniques in the martial arts involve grabbing a hold of the opponent in some way, but often this maneuver is more easily said than done. The Flesh Fist combines the damaging power of a punch with a grab that does not require the zombie to use its hands at all. The flesh on the zombie’s hand slides forward along the forearms and stretches out, wrapping around the target and grasping it tight. Zombies with this power automatically perform a Grab Combat Move on an opponent whenever they successfully strike with their fist (unless they do not wish to). This allows them to execute any throws or lock moves on the same Turn without multiple combat action penalties.

Flesh Holster

Power: +1

The zombie, either through some quirk of undeath or by design, has one or more pockets of flesh in its body. The skin covering these pockets looks perfectly normal, at least normal for a walking corpse. However, the zombie can, with no harm to itself, reach into the pocket with ease to put something in or pull something out—something like a knife or gun. This happens as fast as a normal person would draw a gun from a holster. The pocket can range from wide and deep (roughly the size of a high-velocity handgun) to long and slim (for a katana or the like). Larger weapons cannot be stored.

Grasping Feet

Power: +5

Throws, locks, and chokes are an important part of any martial arts attack, but first the opponent must be grappled successfully. Undeath has loosened the zombie’s feet up a bit, allowing the bones of the feet and toes to grasp a target as effectively as

Chapter Two

a hand. The zombie can make a normal kick attack but instead of pulling the foot back after the strike, it latches on to the target. Zombies with this power automatically perform a Grab Combat Move on an opponent whenever they successfully strike with their feet (unless they do not wish to). This allows them to execute any throws or lock moves on the same Turn without multiple combat action penalties.

Hand-Gun

Power: +3/+5

In this guy’s case, they couldn’t pry the gun from his cold, dead fingers. The zombie forces a stripped down gun into his hand, parting flesh and bone to make it fit. While this makes the hand pretty useless for anything but shooting, that’s okay, who wants to do anything else anyway? At the higher Power level, the gun merges with flesh, and cannot be distinguished until bullets start popping out of the back of the hand. Each gun can be fired eight times before reloading, a process that takes one Turn per bullet to accomplish since the zombie must peel back a flap of flesh to insert new shells. Alternatively, the zombie can swallow the bullets and they are channeled to the proper places in one hour. The guns have a range of 3/10/20/60/120, and do damage depending on the shell inserted (up to 9mm, see AFMBE, p. 134).

Horns, Tusks, and Spikes Power: +2 Control over the body, the key to success for all martial artists, has developed in undeath to the point where the zombie can cause spiky protrusions to grow from its body. Horns from the head, spikes from the elbows or knees—anything the zombie desires. Even better, the spikes spring forth with the speed of a stiletto and retract just as fast. On the down side, the zombie can only create one large or two smallish spikes at a time. The spikes increase the multiplier of an attack by one, or grant a D10(5) damage if no damage would be done normally.

In-Bodied Armor

Power: +6

While sticks and stones and guns might not hurt a zombie as much as they do living folks, they still take their toll after a while. A little extra protection never hurts. Zombies with this Aspect have steel or kevlar plates sewn into the fleshy parts of their body, usually the torso and sometimes the legs. This acts just like normal body armor except that it cannot be taken off and is not immediately obvious to the casual observer (although it does give the zombie an extra bit of bulk). Protection is (D8 x 3) + 18(30).

Iron Shirt Body

Power: +3 Melding

In life, masters can protect their bodies against harm through the use of chi. In death, this effect requires no Essence expenditure. The flesh hardens to the strength of iron, yet remains supple enough for the zombie to move. The result: a natural armor rating of D8 + 8(14).

Just a Flesh Wound

Power: +5

A zombie with this Aspect may restore all those nicks, dents, gouges, cavities and severed limbs that add luster to a walking dead’s appearance. The Aspect allows a zombie to regain 2 Dead Points per day, but more importantly missing body parts and other cosmetic blemishes (say, gaping holes in the chest, pealing skin on the face, etc.) slowly return to normal. The exact time frame is up to the Zombie Master, but the Zombie Restoration Table may be instructive.

Mind Eating

Power: +3 per level

A mind is a terrible thing to waste. Zombies with this ability actually absorb the knowledge and skills of the people they attack. After a successful bite attack to the head of the target, the knowledge-hungry zombie makes a Resisted Test pitting a Willpower and Mind Eating Level Task against the victim’s Difficult Willpower Test. For every Success Level of the zombie’s Task over those of the victim, the zombie gains either one key fact or one level of skill from the unwilling donor. If the zombie consumes the victim’s entire brain, 10 facts or skill levels are absorbed. The newly gained facts or skills last a number of days equal to the level of this Aspect. For an additional 2 points per level, the absorbed knowledge is permanent.

Power: +3

This truly disgusting technique immobilizes both the zombie and its target. First, the zombie must successfully Grab or grapple (Resisted Simple Dexterity Tests) the opponent, bringing his body into close contact. Then, the flesh of the zombie becomes soft and gooey and begins to meld with the flesh of the target, seeping through any natural or fibrous clothing (plastic, rubber, or metal bars the meld). The two bodies become inseparable and both fall to the ground. The zombie then tries to bite, eat or otherwise inflict a close combat attack (+4 bonus). A victim can try to tear away by succeeding at a Resisted Simple Strength Test. If successful, both the victim and the attacker suffer D10 x 5(25) points of damage. The zombie using the power can undo its effects at any time. Few masters possess this Aspect, but some lesser zombies have it, sacrificing themselves to effectively immobilize an opponent while their master carries on with other business.

My Body is a Deadly Weapon Power: +2 Sometimes in a fight, a weapon would be useful but none are handy. For some zombies, this possesses no problem—any arm or leg will suffice. The zombie can detach one of its own limbs and use it as a weapon. Any master capable of this trick has no problem balancing on one leg and hopping around at half its normal Speed. An arm acts as a club and does D8(4) x Strength damage. A leg acts as a big club and does D10(5) x Strength damage. Both can be used two-handed if desired (except of course when one arm is being used as a weapon).

Zombie Restoration Table Damage

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Restoration Time

Missing Ear, Lost Cheek Flesh, Small Bullet Hole or Weapon Damage (.22, knife, foil)

3 days

Large Gouge, Missing Portion of Skull, Large Bullet Hole or Weapon Damage (9 mm, wood axe, bat)

6 days

Severed Limb, Missing Portion of Torso, Huge Bullet Hole or Weapon Damage (7.62 mm, chainsaw, halberd)

12 days

Chapter Two

Prehensile Hair

Power: +3

Many masters keep their hair long either out of vanity or as a sign of devotion to their art. In death, these long locks serve them in new and exciting ways. Undeath makes the hair strong as piano wire and totally animate. Using this preternatural third limb, the zombie can make grasping and throwing attacks, wield small weapons (knives, shuriken) and throw objects. Plus, it’s really cool at parties. Zombies with this ability often hide weapons in their hair until the moment to strike comes. The hair has a Strength 2 less than the zombie’s normal Strength (minimum of 1) and provides the zombie with an extra attack action each Turn.

Ribs of Doom

Power: +3

Zombies who like food that really sticks to their ribs love this Aspect. First, the undead warrior has to get in nice and tight next to his opponent. Then, its own ribs extend forth and latch onto whatever is in front of them, usually the body of the zombie’s opponent. The ribs not only pierce the opponent’s flesh but grasp him tightly as well. This attack leaves the zombie’s hands free for other things, usually tearing away at parts of the hapless victim. A successful Grab or grapple (Resisted Simple Dexterity Tests) entangles the zombie’s victim, and does D4(2) x Strength crushing damage in addition to whatever other attack the zombie launches. Each Turn thereafter, D4(2) x (Strength - 1) damage may be caused, as well as whatever other attack the zombie launches. Escaping the ribby grasp requires a successful Resisted Task or Test (a Simple Strength Test, or a Strength and Martial Arts Task, whichever is higher).

Shifting Bones

Power: +3/+5

Skilled martial artists know to strike soft flesh and muscle rather than bone when they punch. With some zombies, however, the exact location of the bones is never a sure thing. Undead masters with this ability can swiftly shift the location of portions of their skeleton in order to help block incoming attacks. Worse still, the bones grow through the flesh in the form of damaging spikes. The zombie must make a Difficult Willpower Test in order to maneuver its bones to intercept an incoming attack. If successful, the bone meets the blow. If an unarmed attack was

blocked, the zombie suffers no damage, and the attacker incurs D4(2) + their own Strength damage points. If the attack was with a close combat weapon of some sort, the bone acts as (D8 x 2) + 8(16) armor. At the higher Power level, the bones’ protection applies to ranged attacks, including bullets.

Shot-Arms

Power: +4

A variation on the Hand-Gun Aspect, the zombie instead imbeds a stripped-down, single-shot shotgun in each arm by forcing it between flesh, cartilage and bone. The zombie can still use its hands normally, and until the gun fires (or someone uses a metal detector), no one can tell that the guns are there. Firing one of the guns rips a hole in the zombie’s palm, which may cause 1 point of damage depending on the Weak Spot chosen. Each gun can only be fired once before reloading, a process that takes two Turns per shell to accomplish as the zombie must peel back a flap of flesh to insert new shells. Alternatively, the zombie can swallow the slugs and they are channeled to the proper places in one hour. The guns have a range of 5/25/50/100/200, and do damage depending on the shell inserted (see AFMBE, p. 134).

Shuriken Nails

Power: +1

Why carry around unwieldy, pointy throwing stars when fingernails are always handy? The zombie’s nails have become hard as steel and sharp as a razor in death. They are also detachable. With a flick of the wrist or ankle, the zombie can send one fingernail or toenail flying with the speed of an arrow. Of course, the zombie only has a total of 20 of these projectiles, but if retrieved, they can be put back in place. If the zombie also has some unnatural healing capacity, the nails grow back in 48 hours. The nails have a range of 3/5/8/10/13, and cause D4(2) x Strength slashing damage.

Snake’s Spine Lunge Power: +2/+4 Despite the name of this Aspect, the zombie does not actually have the spine of a snake. Rather, for the duration of this bizarre yet devastating attack, its spine kind of looks like a snake. The spine actually extends up out of the body, telescoping out up to a distance of four yards (meters). At the end of the spine is, of course, the head, which bites (D4 x 2(4) slashing damage) or head butts (D4(2) x Strength

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damage) on a successful Simple Dexterity Test, or Dexterity and close combat skill Task. At the higher Power level, the head acts as a bludgeoning flail weapon, and causes D10(5) x Strength damage. This all happens as quickly as a snake strikes (thus the name) and can be a devastating attack against unwary opponents who think they are out of reach (-4 to defense actions on the first attack, -2 on the second). This strike takes the place of a regular attack action.

Spying Eyes

Power: +2

Not so useful in actual combat, this technique allows crafty warriors to spy on their enemies before the fight ever begins. Simply plucking out an eye activates the Aspect. The floating eye moves at a rate equal to four times the zombie’s normal Speed to a distance of Willpower x 10 yards (meters). It not only lets the owner see whatever the eye sees, it lets them hear as well, strangely enough. The zombie can concentrate on what it sees through the flying eye or what it sees with its remaining eye, but not both at once.

Strength in Numbers

Power: +6

Traditionally, zombies have always found their greatest strength in numbers. While individual master zombies can be quite formidable on their own, sometimes they find the classic ways are the best. In order for this Aspect to work, each participating zombie must possess it. The zombies actually meld their flesh and bones into one another, creating a larger, more powerful zombie creature. When two or more zombies join together they can add extra limbs if they wish or simply fuse their masses together to make a bigger body. No more than five zombies can join together in this way. It takes one full minute for each zombie to join the fleshy monstrosity and only one can join at a time. The first zombie’s stats serve as the base for the rest of the creature. Every additional zombie that joins in adds 1 to all of the zombie’s physical Attributes (which may affect Secondary Attributes depending on the Aspects held by the base zombie). Optionally, it can forgo one physical Attribute bonus, and choose to add another pair of limbs instead. For example, two zombies with physical Attributes of 3 join together. They decide they want to have four arms and so lose one Attribute bonus (they choose Dexterity). The new creature now has four arms and Strength and Constitution of 4.

For each extra set of arms, the zombie gets an additional attack and defense action that Turn without multiple action penalties. Additional legs allow for two extra kick attacks each Turn but slow the zombie’s Speed by two per pair (it’s really hard to move with extra legs). The zombie can only use Qualities, Skills, Combat Moves, Metaphysics (including Special Chi Techniques) and Aspects held by the base zombie. Once the zombies decide to separate again (which takes one minute per zombie), divide whatever damage has been suffered equally between them.

Sword-Arm

Power: +2/+4

The zombie has removed the flesh from one of its arms and fused the bones there into a single sharpened mass. On a successful close combat attack, this sword bone causes D8(4) x Strength slashing damage. At the higher Power level, the flesh of the arm actually peels back, revealing the bone blade only when desired. This allows the zombie to hide the true extent of its abilities. After it has finished using the blade for whatever slice-and-dice work is at hand, the flesh closes back around as if the sword arm had never existed.

Theft of the Body

Power: +5

A zombie’s body is simply a tool for its ends (eating brains, for instance). Some zombies can upgrade their set of tools, making additions by stealing cool parts from their friends and enemies. The newly attached limb functions perfectly normally, no matter where the zombie places it. Unfortunately, the attachment only lasts for about an hour and then the process starts to fail. Still, during combat there’s nothing more annoying to an opponent than chopping off his arm, sticking it in the middle of your chest and using it to punch him. Each additional arm allows the zombie to make another attack or defense action that Turn without multiple action penalties, if the arm is located somewhere were it can reach the opponent. Additional legs are a little more unwieldy—each one allows for an extra kick attack each Turn but slow the zombie’s Speed by 1 (it’s really hard to move with extra legs). Chopping off a limb requires targeting the body part (see AFMBE, p. 104), and doing damage equal to one fourth (round down) of the target’s total Life

Points with some sort of slashing weapon. Tearing it off requires that the zombie have a Strength equal to twice the target’s Constitution and do one third (round up) of the target’s total Life Points in damage to the arm.

Trapping Flesh

Power: +3

Decomposition and rot have left the zombie’s body in an almost gelatinous state. Through sheer force of will, the zombie holds itself together and looks relatively solid (for a walking corpse). It can, when struck, release some of this concentration, causing the blow to sink into the disgusting, rotting mass of flesh. Things get real tricky when the zombie solidifies itself again, trapping the hand, foot, or weapon inside its body. Attacks against the zombie cause normal damage, but all close combat attacks against the zombie’s torso result in the attacker getting caught within the zombie’s body. The weapon or limb remains unusable until pulled free. This requires a Resisted Test—the attacker’s Simple Strength Test against the zombie’s Simple Constitution Test. In the meantime, the zombie is free to engage in any close combat attack desired, particularly those which require a Grab or grapple action. The walking dead can release the hold at any time.

Turret Torso

Power: +1

Sometimes, following a running target with an automatic weapon is difficult. Other times, running one way and shooting another can be a problem. Zombies with this Aspect do not suffer from such hassles. Their torsos are unrestrained by the traditional limitations of the spine—they can turn a full 360 degrees. This added flexibility allows the zombie to easily keep its eye and gun on the target, even while its feet are headed somewhere else. It also allows the zombie to better aim since it simply extends an arm like the barrel of a gun from a tank, fixes its head and aims head and gun as one. For zombies, this is an easier way of doing things (cuts down on pesky hand-eye coordination problems). The zombie gets a +2 bonus to hit targets when it is standing still, and suffers no multiple action penalty from moving and shooting at the same time.

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Undead Flexibility

Power: +3 Wall Crawling

The constant struggle of every athlete—building strength while keeping limber and loose. Death makes it that much easier to loosen up. The zombie can bend all of its joints in any way it pleases. Elbows and knees can bend backwards, hips rotate beyond the normal extremes, and even the head can spin around 360 degrees. The advantage of all this? First, the zombie’s Dexterity increases by 1. Secondly, the zombie can squirm through any opening large enough for them to get their body mass through in some form (note that for those with a Weak Spot, that portion must come through relatively intact). It’s a slow process, but that cat-flap, vent, or chimney, is now access enough to the tasty humans dwelling within. Also, the zombie gains a +3 bonus when resisting locks, grabs, or throws, or performing Escapism Tasks.

Venous Defense Power: +2 Zombies do not usually need blood to keep going, making all those veins and arteries useless under most circ*mstances. This Aspect allows the shambling horror to control and animate its veins and arteries and use them as weapons. The veins separate and poke out of the body, writhing about like worms. Tough as leather and sharp as needles, these veins form a kind of sparse, animate fur all over the zombie’s body, extending three inches out. They provide D6 + 1(4) armor. Also, they burrow into and tear at the flesh of anyone that comes into contact with the zombie. As a result, anyone grappling with the zombie suffers automatic attacks (D6 x 2(6) slashing damage) from the zombie’s veins.

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Power: +2

A combination of undead claws and the stickiness of rotting flesh allow the zombie to move over almost any surface with ease, regardless of incline. In other words, the zombie can move up walls and even across ceilings as easily as it walks. This gives the zombie unparalleled maneuverability in combat, since it can fight from a wall or hang from the ceiling with ease. This ability also lets it move up and down ropes, vines, and other hanging means of conveyance with ease.

Whirling Cyclone Kick Power: +3 Sometimes a skilled martial artist spins his body around as he kicks in order to increase speed and power. However, the way the body’s joints and bones work limit amount of spin and the motion of the leg. For a zombie, joints and bones no longer limit movement. The zombie can twist its torso a full 360 degrees. When using this Aspect, the zombie kicks out and lets the force twist the lower portion of its body around and around. His lower body spins like a top, balanced on one leg while the other swings around and around with cyclonic speed. All the time the zombie’s torso remains erect and unmoving, allowing it to use hand and head normally and direct where it moves. While spinning, the zombie can move its normal Speed. As soon as its leg makes contact with something the spinning stops as the full force of the attack is unleashed. The whirling cyclone kick does D10(5) x Strength damage. The zombie must spend one Turn building up speed before it strikes an opponent.

Chapter Two

Martial Arts Weapons The following weapons expand the list available to Cast Members. They may be more suitable to an Enter the Zombie Story than the usual assortment of knives, guns and lead pipes. Note that the availability designated in Martial Arts Close Combat Weapons Table (see p. 60) reflects a modern-day setting. Stories situated in other times may require adjustment of the availability stat.

Weapon Descriptions Note that Chinese weapons have been written in the Cantonese, rather than Mandarin dialect. Balisong: Originating in the Philippines, the balisong is more commonly called a “Butterfly Knife,” and consists of a small, razor-sharp knife blade and two slender handles. The handles fold around to enclose the blade when not in use, and form a single handle when opened and brought together. Now a common street weapon, it is still taught to many practitioners of Escrima. Dai Choy: Also called a “Meteor Hammer,” the dai choy is a Chinese weapon consisting of a 15foot (5-meter) length of cord, weighted at each end with a fist-sized metal sphere. Like the kusari, it can be spun to entangle a weapon or strike an opponent, but has greater reach, often giving wielders an Initiative advantage over users of shorter melee weapons. On the other hand, the cord is easier to cut than a chain, and is more likely to get fouled when an attack misses (on a Rule of 1 result). Similar weapons include the seng biu “rope dart,” a 15-foot cord weighted at one end with a blunt metal dart, and the sing choy “flying weight,” a 15-foot cord weighted at one end with a metal cone.

cm) long, four-inch (10-cm) wide blade, curved on its single sharp edge. The blade is attached to a handle protected by an iron bar forming a simple knuckle guard. A small tine projects from the top of the handle, at the back of the blade, allowing it to parry and catch weapons. Fong Ben Chan: This ancient Chinese weapon is known as a “monk’s spade,” and greatly resembles its namesake—a flattened spade head of polished metal, with a curved edge, attached to a sixfoot (two-meter) pole. The pole is usually topped with a slender, crescent-shaped blade, affixed to the pole midway along the crescent. Fu Chow: The fu chow was used extensively in China to hunt tigers, hence its common name, the “tiger fork.” This trident has a four to six foot (up to two meter) pole topped with three sharp prongs. Fu Tao Seung Ngao: Otherwise known as a “tiger hook,” the fu tao seung ngao is a bizarre, sword-like weapon, often used in pairs. It resembles a narrowbladed, double-edged sword, save that the last quarter of the blade is bent over at a 45-degree angle to the blade, forming a hook. In addition, the handle of the sword has no traditional guard, but is protected by a sharp, crescent-shaped blade that is attached by two short bars at the top and bottom of the handle, points facing out, on the same side of the sword as the hook. Fung For Lung: This exotic Chinese weapon, the “wind and fire wheel,” is formed from a flat metal ring, 12-inch (30-cm) in diameter, a quarter of which is wrapped in cloth to form the weapon’s grip. Spaced evenly around the outside edge of the rest of the ring are three to six short blades, often shaped like short wavy flames. This weapon is generally used in pairs.

Dao: The dao is commonly called the “Chinese broadsword,” and is a curved, single-edged sword, almost scimitar-like in appearance, usually decorated with a short, colored silk sash on the pommel. Some Chinese broadswords are further decorated with nine metal rings along the back edge of the blade.

Gao Jie Bien: The “nine-section whip” is a Chinese weapon, formed by nine, slender iron bars, each about six inches (15 cm) long, linked in a line, weighted at the tip, and attached to a handle. The gao jie bien can be whipped with great speed and force, and is relatively easy to conceal.

Darn Do: A popular traditional kung fu weapon, the darn do, is also often called a “Butterfly Knife or Butterfly Sword,” but should not be confused with the balisong. Used in pairs, it features a 12-inch (30-

Gim: This traditional Chinese sword is straight, slender, double-edged, and features a simple crosspiece, with a colorful tassel hanging from its pommel. An elegant weapon, it is often referred to as a

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Martial Arts Close Combat Weapons Table Weapon

Damage

EV

Cost

Aval

Balisong Dai Choy Dao Darn Do Fong Bien Chan Fu Chow Fu Tao Seung Ngao Fung For Lung Gao Jie Bien Gim Jo Kama Katana Kozuka Kusari Kusari-gama Kwan Dao Kyoketsu Shogi Li Kwei Fu Tao Naginata Nekode Ninja-to No Dachi Nunchaku Olisi Pa Pu Dao Sai Sam Jie Kwun Shuriken Tetsubo Tonfa Wakizashi Wah San Yawara

D4(2) x (Strength - 1)** (D4+1)(3) x Strength D8(4) x Strength**& D6(3) x Strength** D10(5) x Strength**@ D10(5) x (Strength + 1)**@ D8(4) x Strength** D4(2) x Strength** D6(3) x Strength D8(4) x Strength** D8(4) x Strength& D4(2) x Strength** D10(5) x Strength**& D4(2) x (Strength - 1)** (D4+1)(3) x Strength varies D12(6) x (Strength + 2)**@ varies D8(4) x Strength**& D8(4) x (Strength + 1)**@ D4(2) x (Strength - 1)** D6(3) x Strength**& D12(6) x (Strength + 2)**@ (D6+1)(4) x Strength D6(3) x (Strength - 1) D10(5) x Strength@ D10(5) x Strength**@ D6(3) x (Strength - 1) D8(4) x (Strength + 1)@ D4(2) x (Strength - 1)** D12(6) x (Strength + 1)@ D6(3) x Strength D6(3) x Strength**& varies@ special

1/1 2/1 2/1 2/1 6/3 6/3 4/2 2/1 2/1 2/1 2/1 2/1 2/1 1/1 2/1 2/1 10/5 2/1 2/1 6/3 1/1 1/1 8/4 1/1 1/1 6/3 6/3 1/1 2/1 1/1 6/3 2/1 1/1 10/5 1/1

$15 $40 $150 $100 $175 $150 $75 $60 $50 $200 $30 $30 $500 $20 $30 $100 $150 $50 $75 $150 $30 $200 $1,000 $30 $15 $100 $200 $30 $50 $10 $100 $20 $250 $150 $10

C R U U R R R R R U U U U U U R U R U U R U R C U R R C U C R C U R C

** Indicates a stabbing/slashing weapon (see AFMBE, p. 105). & Weapon may be used two-handed (see AFMBE, p. 105). @ Weapon must be used two-handed. Damage modifiers have already been accounted for in the formula.

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Chapter Two

“tai chi sword” due to its widespread use among practitioners of that art. Jo: Created to effectively combat the katana, the Japanese jo is a short, heavy staff, around four feet (.75 meter) in length, usually made from a dense, heavy timber, such as whitewood. It is quicker and easier to use in enclosed spaces than a normal staff, and can be used one- or two-handed. Kama: Developed from the Okinawan farming sickle, the kama features a stout, 18-inch (45cm) wooden shaft, topped with a ten-inch (25-cm) long, single-edged metal blade. The blade is affixed at a right angle to the shaft, sharpened on the under-edge, and projects from a single side. Taught in several schools of Karate, the kama is an effective weapon, commonly used in pairs. Katana: A slightly curved, finely made blade roughly three feet (one meter) in length. Highquality katanas gain a +1 to the damage die roll before applying multiplier. Kozuka: Carried in a small pocket on the saya (scab-

bard) of some katanas and wakizashis, the kozuka is a small, slender knife, which can be thrown at an opponent’s face, hands, or throat, in desperate circ*mstances. Kusari: Also known as a gusari or manriki-gusari, this chain has two weighted ends. It can be used to entangle weapons: a successful hit on a weapon (targeting penalties apply) does no damage, but entangles it. On the next attack, the wielder may try to disarm the target. Resolve this as a Resisted Task, using the wielder’s Strength and Hand Weapon (Kusari) Task against the target’s Simple Strength Test. Alternatively, the wielder may attack with one of the weighted ends or another weapon; the victim cannot use the entangled weapon to parry until he disentangles it (using the same Resisted Task as above).

Kusari-gama: The kusari-gama is a curious combination of kama and kusari, and was a very effective weapon of Japanese peasants and law enforcers. Essentially, it is a kama, but has a four-foot (.75 meter) length of chain attached to the back of the kama’s head. The end of the chain is weighted, just like a kusari. Although the weighted chain can be used to strike like a kusari, it is typically used to tangle an opponent’s weapon, allowing the user to close in and strike them using the kama. This weapon has the same capacities and damage as the kama and kusari, and may be used as either. Kwan Dao: The kwan dao, or “General Kwan’s halberd” was named after the famed Chinese military leader, and is a formidable weapon in the Kung Fu arsenal. It consists of a six-foot (two-meter) pole topped with a two-foot (.6-meter), slightly curved, single-edged blade, designed for chopping. The back edge of the blade often bears a decorative tassel. Kyoketsu Shogi: Bearing some similarity to the kusari-gama, the kyoketsu shogi is a weapon and tool associated with the Ninja. It consists of a heavy, twobladed dagger (one blade forming a curving “sickle” like a crude kama, the other projecting from the handle in the normal manner of a dagger), attached to a long length (up to twelve feet/four meters) of stout cord that is weighted at the end with an iron ring. The two-bladed dagger can be used to strike, or as a crude grappling hook, while the cord can be used to entangle, spun to strike with the weight, or used to climb with. It does damage equal to a large knife (see AFMBE, p. 132) or kusari, depending on how it is used to attack. Li Kwei Fu Tao: Named after the legendary axes of the Chinese hero, Li Kwei, these weapons are used in pairs, and are elegant, single-bladed axes mounted on 24-inch (60-cm) wooden shafts.

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Naginata: This Japanese polearm was often learned by women in feudal Japan, for effective defense of the home and family. It is essentially a stout five-foot (1.6meter) pole, topped with a slightly curved, singleedged blade similar in size to that of the wakizashi. This weapon uses the Hand Weapon (Staff) Skill. A blunt end and short punch may be employed, doing damage as normal (see AFMBE, p. 132).

Nekode: Another Ninja invention, the nekode (“cat’s claws”), also known as shuko, consists of a strip of iron-reinforced leather bound around the palm and wrist, projecting three to four short iron claws from the palm. While mainly used for climbing (add +2 to Climbing, when used on appropriate surfaces), it could also be used as a crude slashing weapon. Ninja-to: The sword of the Ninja, the ninja-to resembles a katana, save that it is slightly shorter, has a straighter blade of far inferior quality, and has a longer handle. As versatile as the Ninja themselves, it has a strong tsuba (guard), allowing it to be used as a short step-up to look over walls. The saya (scabbard) often has a removable endcap, allowing it to be used as a breathing tube while underwater, and is often wrapped in cord that can be unwound and used to climb with. In addition, the handle of the sword often contains a small secret compartment, useful for storing a single vial of poison, lockpicks, lubricating oil, or similar useful items. No Dachi: The justly feared greatsword of Japanese samurai, the no dachi is a mighty weapon, and resembles a katana scaled up so it is five feet (1.6 meters) in length.

Pa: Obviously based on the common rake, the traditional Chinese pa is simply a six-foot (two-meter) pole topped with a solid metal rake head. While it may bemuse an on-looking Westerner, it is nonetheless a traditional and effective weapon. Pu Dao: This bladed Chinese polearm consists of a curved, single-edged, two-foot (.6-m) chopping blade, affixed to a two-foot (.6-m) wooden haft. Sai: Often used by law enforcement officials in feudal Japan, the sai was designed to disarm troublemakers using such weapons as the katana, and served its purpose admirably. The sai consists of a slender, tapering iron bar, one foot (.3 meter) in length, attached to a handle. An iron tine on either side of the bar forms a three-pronged array, useful for parrying and disarming. Contrary to popular belief, the central iron bar was blunt , and was used to strike and poke, rather than pierce flesh. Several schools of Karate teach the use of paired sai as weapons. Sam Jie Kwun: The sam jie kwun, also called a “three-section staff” is another traditional Chinese weapon, and resembles a nunchaku, save that it has three sections of wood, rather than two. Each section is nearly two feet (.6 meter) in length. Used in both hands, it can strike with force, bind a weapon, or strike with a substantial reach, as well as parry effectively. Shuriken: The famed “throwing stars” of the Ninja, shuriken are not particularly effective, but handfuls were thrown to deter pursuers. Shuriken come is a variety of shapes, with many being throwing spikes, as well as stars. Range: 3/5/8/10/13, Cap: n/a.

Nunchaku: Termed “nunchuks” or “chuks,” this famous Okinawan weapon derived from the agricultural grain flail, and consists of two short lengths of hardwood connected by a short length of cord or chain. For such a simple weapon, the nunchaku can be surprisingly devastating, as it can be used to strike with great speed. It poses as much of a threat to the user as anyone else in untrained hands. Olisi: This slender length of rattan, usually 24 inches (60 cm) long, often used in pairs, is effective for lightning quick strikes and thrusts.

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Tetsubo: This staggering Japanese weapon is a mighty club, nearly six feet (two meters) in length, of stout timber, tapering slightly away from the head. Reinforced by nailed-on strips of studded iron running from the top down along half the length of the club, the tetsubo is large and heavy, usually only used by stronger individuals. This club can inflict massive crushing blows. Tonfa: Another Okinawan development, the tonfa, also called a “tui-fa”, was derived from the handle used to turn a rice mill. Simple yet versatile, the tonfa consists of a two-foot (.6 meter) long wooden shaft, with a short wooden handle projecting off-center from one side of it. This creates a remarkable parrying weapon, as well as a good weapon for striking. The night stick used by many modern police forces in the Western world is a direct copy of the tonfa. The traditional tonfa is still taught in many schools of Karate, and is usually used in pairs. Wakizashi: The shorter brother of the katana, the wakizashi is essentially a shortsword version of its larger brother, and was carried as part of the Japanese samurai’s “daisho.” While generally only used as a backup weapon, Miyamoto Musashi was famed for using the daisho as paired weapons. Wah San: The Chinese “long stick axe,” the wah san polearm features a single-bladed axe head on one end of its six-foot (two-meter) wooden haft, and a spear head on the other end. It does damage like a spear, or a battle axe (see AFMBE, p. 132) depending on which end is used to strike. Unlike a spear, it is not a suitable throwing weapon. Yawara: A recent Japanese innovation, the yawara is a six-inch (15-cm) wood or iron rod, each end tipped with small metal balls. It is held in the user’s clenched fist, like a roll of quarters, adding impact to the user’s punches. Add one to the user’s Strength multiplier when calculating punch damage. Traditional brass knuckles, studded gloves, gauntlets, and sap gloves (leather gloves with lead weights sewn into the knuckles) use the same rules. The yawara is far less obvious as a weapon though.

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C H A P T E R 3

HARD BOILED CORPSES

Chang dove for cover behind a squad car, narrowly escaping the twenty or so 9mm slugs speeding in his direction. The car took the worst of it, windows shattering and bullet holes perforating the entire left side. Scarcely pausing in his movement, he reloaded the Glock and rolled forward. He jumped onto the next car’s hood, sliding off as another barrage tore at the car below him. He came down hard, grimacing from the impact, but immediately spun around and rose up, gun blazing. Five shots tore into his attacker’s chest, center mass—a sure kill. The guy never even blinked. His Uzi sprayed fire and death as Chang ducked back behind the car. Astonishment slowed him a fraction too much: a bullet tore through his left bicep. He bit down on his lip to stifle a groan. At least his shooting arm was sound. He could hear the shooter moving, slowly and deliberately, his footsteps crunching on the glass of the shattered windshields. The bastard was acting like he had all the time in the world. Must be wearing body armor or something. Well, he had a solution to that problem—shoot where the armor isn’t. Trying to move as quickly and quietly as possible, Chang slipped underneath the car as the shooter approached. He watched the guy’s boots move purposefully around the car and heard the Uzi open up again, strafing the ground Chang had just abandoned. He aimed and fired four quick shots, two into each of the guy’s ankles. He saw him start to go down and scrambled out the other side. Now at last he had the advantage. There was no way Mr. Uzi could move. Chang rose to his feet and crouched on the other side of the car, blood pouring down his left arm. He had to act fast, before the shooter recovered from the shock of being shot. He rose and turned, his gun ready to bear down on the prone shooter. Except the bastard was, unbelievably, standing right there. The guy fired again, but this time Chang was faster. He flung himself backward, firing as he fell on his back. He got off two shots, one ripped through the shooter’s neck, the other caught him in the cheek bone. Chang hit the ground hard, banging his head on the cement. As he lay there, dazed but relieved, the last thing he expected to see was the shooter clambering onto the hood of the car, his feet bloody stumps, his neck torn wide open and the left half of his face dangling by a flap of loose skin. “What the . . .” were the last words he spoke before the shooter’s weapon drowned him out in a roar of bullets. The thing (for surely no man could take such punishment and still move) slowly stepped down off the car. Dropping its weapon to the ground, it knelt beside Chang’s lifeless form, and sunk its teeth into the dead man’s head. Powerful jaws punched through bone. The thing tore a piece of skull and scalp away with its teeth, spitting out the bloody mass. It reached inside the exposed skull, pulling at the gray mass within. After hungrily devouring the contents, it picked up its weapon and rose again, shuffling off into the streets of Hong Kong.

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HK in 2K Founded by British merchants, populated by Chinese entrepreneurs, and famous as one of the world’s great bastions of capitalism, Hong Kong today finds itself in the somewhat awkward position of existing under new rulers, namely mainland China. Despite being technically a part of the world’s only Communist superpower, Hong Kong retains much of the identity it has built for itself over the past century and a half. It is still a place where business gets done and everyone is out to make a buck. It still has a seamy side—the strip clubs and bars, drugs and booze. It also still has, no matter what the totalitarian regime on the mainland says, organized crime, or as the locals say, the Triads. The Hong Kong Triads work like their brethren everywhere in the world. They run illegal enterprises, buy off police and judges, and threaten or kill anyone who gets in their way. Sometimes they shoot each other, sometimes they shoot innocent bystanders, and sometimes they shoot the police. Yes, the police. While the Triads might buy off a cop here and there, the police remain the largest threat the Triads face (except maybe each other). There are good, loyal, crusader cops out there who view their job as bringing these bad guys down.

For a few years after China took Hong Kong back, both the Triads and police played it safe, waiting to see what changes the mainland rulers would institute. As it turned out, other than a few procedural alterations, things ran as they always had. The criminals still had room to commit crimes and the police still had to try and stop them. One difference for the police came from the change in ultimate authority. With the coming of Communist rule (if not Communist institutions), the police suddenly found they had more leeway. Their new Communist masters were not nearly so concerned with civil rights and due process as the old British Governors. Thus, the Hong Kong of today looks very similar to what everyone is used to. The same cops patrol the streets and the same criminals steal and sell drugs. However, below the surface, things have begun to change. The Chinese government wants to rid Hong Kong of the Triads once and for all and it is willing to use extreme measures to accomplish that goal. Indeed, their new plan for destroying Triad activities in Hong Kong would be a public and international relations nightmare if word ever got out. On the plus side, if it works, they will never have to worry about drug traffickers in China again.

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The New Smack Rumor has it the CIA, for some evil, inscrutable reason, developed crack cocaine and introduced it into the poor black neighborhoods of America. Who knows whether this is true. The Chinese certainly do not care, but one man, Colonel Tsai Hsing—a high ranking Communist Party member charged with solving the organized crime problem in Hong Kong— thought it was a pretty inspired idea. With government funds and backing, he formed a team of scientists and drug enforcement experts called Operation White Thunder. Their mission: create a new and improved heroin, something so addictive and dangerous that it would kill off it users, as well as the very people responsible for selling it. As if heroin were not addictive enough, the researchers of White Thunder scoured the Earth looking for compounds and chemicals they could use to boost the new drug’s potency. Among the more controversial toxins they found was an industrial waste by product that Chinese nuclear plants were producing by the barrel every year. The scientists discovered that a small amount of this substance added to normal heroin increased its effects ten-fold. They understood that the side effects were extreme but scarcely paused to determine them. The health of the user was the least of their concerns. Eager to get his plan operational, Tsai Hsing ordered the compound made and then shipped in massive quantities to the streets of Hong Kong. Using contacts within the Hong Kong police and the Asian drug trade, the White Thunder team began substituting their brand of heroin for the old fashioned kind. Furthermore, they flooded the market with the stuff, driving prices down and making it affordable for anyone and everyone who wanted a hit. White Thunder was a wild success with the addict population. Even better, a slight whiff or taste was enough to get someone hooked. All those drug dealers who tested their stuff with switchblades and a quick taste found themselves liking it more than was good for them. Soon, there were addicts in every level of the Triads that controlled the city’s drug trade. Not too long after that, they started dying. Not too long after that, they started rising up again.

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The Zombie Problem As it turned out, one of the side effects of this new drug is zombification. The radioactive sludge and other chemicals form a compound that permeates the body, granting a strange reanimatory effect. Anyone who takes enough of the stuff over any period of time becomes a perfect candidate for zombiedom. Although the exact amount varies with the hardiness of the user, it takes at most a few weeks of use for the compound to integrate itself into the user’s body. There is a good and a bad side to that. About half the folks who get hooked on the White Thunder die too soon because it is so easy to overdose. The other half the drug kills start popping up as zombies. These newly risen dead have many of the memories and abilities they possessed while living. They still move and think like humans, although they are often a little dazed and confused (but that might just be the drugs). Of course, as zombies, they no longer feel pain and can take a bullet like nobody’s business. As long as their brain remains functional and intact, they can continue to live a sort of normal life. In fact, at first no one realized what was happening. After all, it is not easy to tell the difference between a strung out heroin addict and a zombie. Only when cops and Triads alike tried gunning a few of the desperate cadavers down did they realize something was going on here. Even then, it would not have been much of a problem if the damn things did not need to get high all the time. The zombies still crave the smack that they love. In fact, the only way to get past the need for that sweet high is to find another source of massed dopamine (the chemical whose production is stimulated by White Thunder). Now, the best place for real, highquality dopamine is at the source: the human brain. Thus, the zombies must have either a regular fix of the special White Thunder heroin, or human brains. Of course, as drug addicts, the zombies have no problem going and getting what they want, no matter who gets hurt in the process. Being a drug-addicted zombie means never having to say “I’m sorry.” It also means that a way must be found to keep getting drugs, or brains, or both. Most of these addicts have a single avenue to fulfill their needs:

Chapter Three

crime. In the early days of White Thunder, many of the zombies tried to return to their old gangs. A few of them even escaped notice for a while, but sooner or later some smart guy figures out that good old Johnny Chang is not breathing anymore, and smells really bad no matter how many times he takes a shower. For whatever reason, the living seldom feel comfortable around the walking dead and such discoveries invariably ended up in a hail of curses and bullets. With no one else to turn to, the zombies found each other. Comparing notes, they discovered that the heroin had something to do with their current undead state. Although this pissed them off, they could do little about it. Once a person is addicted and dead, no one wants to know her anymore. The only thing left to do was make the best of a bad situation. Without further ado, they formed their own Triad organization with one goal: control the source and flow of White Thunder. Like any gang striking out on its own, the zombies needed to put together some cash and make a name for themselves. They attracted citywide attention with a series of daring daylight robberies—stealing jewels, robbing banks, and even knocking over an armored car. In the last job, a gang member walked out into the street in front of the vehicle. As planned, the driver was unable stop in time and ran the guy down. He and his partner got out to see if they could help, but the poor guy was dead. Unfortunately for them, he had been dead for weeks and it had not slowed him down much. He and his cohorts swarmed the guards. The armed drivers found their guns useless as the attackers ignored the bullets, killed the guards, took the keys and drove off with the whole car. Unfortunately for the zombies, the whole event was caught on video, and quickly sold to the highest bidder.

as yet no one has been captured. One prisoner died in custody but the body mysteriously disappeared. Morgue attendants swear it got up and walked out on its own and now people are starting to believe them. The Triads have a better idea of what is going on, but they are having an even worse time of it. The zombies, angry that their former gangland pals have rejected them over a little thing like being dead, have launched an all out street war against the Triads. They are taking over the street level drug operations as well as the import and export business. The Triad bosses have locked themselves away tight, fearing reprisals from undead gunmen who seem unstoppable. They desperately want to find the source of this insanity and put a stop to it. As of now, they have no idea that the Chinese government is behind it all. Meanwhile, the zombie problem continues to get worse. Living and breathing criminals were bad enough, but this undead variety is a real bear. Sure, the average junkie might rob, or even kill to get money for drugs. For these dead guys though, killing allows access to brains and brains mean a momentary respite from the “need.” The police are feeling the heat to do something and do it quick. The Triads need to do something or they are out of business. The secret government program that is behind the zombies . . . well, they are not sure what they are going to do.

While officials continually stated that the zombies wore body armor and were just normal criminals, the police and the White Thunder task force (which had moved operations to Hong Kong in order to oversee the program) realized that something very strange was going on. All over the city, criminals were reported taking bullets, knives, and other deadly harm and just shrugging it off. Three patrolmen died in fatal shootouts with particularly resilient thieves, and

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Spreading the Love Hard Boiled Zombies cannot spread the love. That is accomplished through the White Thunder drug. Anyone using, tasting or even breathing around a large quantity of the drug must succeed at a Difficult Willpower Test or become addicted. Thereafter, whenever using the drug, the addict must succeed at an Easy Willpower Test or she overdoses and dies. If the addict uses the drug without overdosing for a number of weeks equal to her Constitution/2, the reanimatory aspects of the substance take hold. The character quickly dies after that point (D10 hours), and rises in D6 hours.

White Thunder Addiction

Hard Boiled Corpses Zombies Strength 2 Intelligence 2 Dexterity 3 Perception 2 Constitution 2 Willpower 2 Dead Points 15 Speed 18 Endurance Points n/a Essence Pool 13 Skills: Brawling 1; as desired by Zombie Master Attack: Bite D4 x 2(4) slashing damage Weak Spot: Brain (6) Getting Around: The Quick Dead (10) Strength: Dead Joe Average (0) Senses: Like the Living (1) Sustenance: Occasionally; Braiiiiiins or White Thunder (0) Intelligence: Language (1); Long-term Memory (5); Problem Solving (15) Power: 43

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If used as a Drawback before the reanimatory effect kicks in, Addiction (White Thunder) is worth 6 character points. After rising from the dead, the addiction turns into the Sustenance Aspect of the zombies, and no character points are granted as a result. A White Thunder addict needs a dose of the drug (roughly $100 street value) every three days. Alternatively, consuming a human brain will suffice. Otherwise, the regular addiction penalties apply (-6 to mental Tasks or Tests, -3 to physical Tasks or Tests). For zombies, the starvation rules from All Flesh Must Be Eaten (see Daily, p. 154) kick in as well. Furthermore, if the zombie does not get a hit, it starts jonesing bad. Each hour, it must make a progressively harder Simple Willpower Test (-1 per hour passed) to avoid going off after the nearest living person and cracking open their head to get at that sweet, juicy brain inside.

Chapter Three

The Four Factions Four different groups have a vested interest in this whole heroin-zombie situation. The police want peace and safety for all. The Triads want their business back without exposing themselves to the police. The zombies want drugs and brains. The White Thunder operatives actually like the way things are going so far. They just want to find a way to gain more control over the zombies.

to have something to do with this new drug, looking for clues as to how these crazy thugs manage to walk through gunfire and stop trucks with their bodies. Team Two patrols the streets and leans on known Triad members, trying to find the source of this new drug and which Triad gangs are responsible for the new crime wave. The ultra-secret Team Three has

The Police The Hong Kong police have a long history of dealing with the Triads, but this new breed of criminal is something else altogether. Thus, the special Heinous Crimes Task Force (HCTF) has been formed specifically to deal with the problem. Made up of the cleverest investigators and toughest street cops, the Task Force represents the best of the best from Hong Kong’s police force. Strangely enough, the force has gotten very little support from the Chinese government. Requests for military aid have gone unanswered, as have inquiries with the mainland security forces about possible similar crimes. Unbeknownst to the HCTF members, the secret White Thunder operation has been using their influence to interfere with the police’s efforts to get help from off the island. Inspector Sammy Deng leads the HCTF. A grizzled veteran of the decades-long drug war in Hong Kong, up until recently Deng thought he had seen it all. He has put together a team of cops from all over the city, trustworthy men and women who have stood up to the Triads in the past. Having lost his right leg to a shotgun blast three years ago, Inspector Deng no longer hits the streets like he used to (although he is still an amazing shot). His Deputy Inspector, David Chung, spearheads operations in the field. Chung has moved up and down the police ranks like a yo-yo. He is man of action and a risk taker, not the kind of guy who lets regulations get in the way of catching (or killing) bad guys. At present, the Task Force is in information-gathering mode, trying its best to figure out just what the hell is going on. Inspector Deng has divided his cops into different teams, each with a different responsibility. Team One investigates crime scenes that seem

Inspector Deng Strength 3 Intelligence 4 Dexterity 3 Perception 4 Constitution 2 Willpower 5 Life Points 36 Speed 10 Endurance Points 35 Essence Pool 35 Qualities: Charisma 2, Contacts (Hong Kong Triads) 2, Essence Channeling 2, The Gift, Hard to Kill 2, Increased Essence Pool +10, Nerves of Steel, Resources (Middle Class), Status 3 Drawbacks: Honorable 2, Humorless, Missing Leg (Prosthetic) Skills: Brawling 2, Bureaucracy 3, Dodge 3, Driving 3, Guns (Handguns) 5, Instruction 3, Intimidation 3, Notice 5, Questioning 4, Research/Investigation 4, Streetwise 3, Surveillance 3 Powers: Ain’t Got Time To Bleed, Blind Firing, Eagle Eye, Quick Draw, Trick Shot

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Charlie Jeng Strength 3 (1) Constitution 2 (0) Dexterity 3 (0) Intelligence 2 (0) Perception 4 (1) Willpower 2 (0) Dead Points 24 Speed 18 Endurance Points n/a Essence Pool 16 Qualities: Essence Channeling 2 (4), The Gift (5), Hard to Kill 3 (3), Multiple Identities (2), Resistance (Other Drugs) 4 (4)

David Chung Strength 3 Intelligence 3 Dexterity 5 Perception 3 Constitution 4 Willpower 4 Life Points 53 Speed 18 Endurance Points 32 Essence Pool 32 Qualities: Essence Channeling 4, The Gift, Hard to Kill 5, Increased Essence +10, Nerves of Steel Drawbacks: Reckless, Showoff Skills: Acrobatics 2, Brawling 4, Climbing 2, Demolitions 1, Dodge 4, Driving 2, Electronic Surveillance 2, Escapism 1, First Aid 2, Guns (Handguns) 6, Guns (Rifles) 5, Guns (Shotgun) 4, Notice 3, Play Instrument (Clarinet) 1, Stealth 3, Streetwise 3, Surveillance 2 Powers: Acrobatic Shooting, Ain’t Got Time to Bleed, Running the Gauntlet, Two-Fisted Firing

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Drawbacks: Emotional Problems (Depression) (-2), Secret (Zombie) (-3) Skills: Acting 3, Brawling 2, Cheating 1, Dodge 2, Gambling 3, Guns (Handgun) 4, Guns (Shotgun) 2, Lock Picking (Mechanical) 3, Notice 2, Research/Investigation 3, Stealth 4, Streetwise 3 (31) Powers: Blind Firing (3), Quick Draw (2) Attack: Bite D4 x 2(4) slashing damage Weak Spot: Brain (6) Getting Around: The Quick Dead (10) Strength: Dead Joe Average (0) Senses: Like a Hawk (2) Sustenance: Occasionally; Braiiiiiins or White Thunder (0) Intelligence: Language (1); Long-term Memory (5); Problem Solving (15) Power: 95

Chapter Three

members known only to Inspector Deng and his secretary Tsu K’ung. These undercover agents have infiltrated several of the Triad gangs in hopes of getting information from the inside. Unbeknownst to the Task Force, one of the Team Three members has succeeded well beyond expectations. Unfortunately, he is at a loss as to what to do about it. Charlie Jeng has worked undercover since he left the academy. While on assignment, he was forced to take a small dose of White Thunder or risk blowing his cover. As can be imagined, one thing led to another and now he is one of the walking dead. Although he still feels loyalty to the police and wants to fight crime, he has his addiction to feed, his death to deal with, and this unwholesome craving for brains. For now, he is lying low and working with the zombie gangs. Team Three has lost contact with him. No one knows just where his torn loyalties will lead him.

The Triads Hong Kong once hosted dozens of Triad organizations large and small. In the wake of Chinese government crackdowns, gang wars, and the new zombie menace, that number of significant powers has been reduced to five. Although all are of approximately equal power, one figure stands as the most revered and powerful organized crime figure in Hong Kong: Ting Sui or Nine-Finger Ting, as he is known to most of the city. In his late sixties, Ting is a slightly built gentle-looking man who has personally killed dozens and ordered the deaths of hundreds more. As his nickname suggests, he has only nine fingers, having lost one as a youth under circ*mstances he refuses to discuss. He runs his criminal empire from a spacious three-story apartment in one of the city’s most exclusive high rises (which he owns). With hundreds of street level soldiers and thousands of connections, this “Godfather of Hong Kong” has his fingers in every pie in the city. Because he had largely moved out of the drug business and into more reputable and profitable ventures like arms dealing and day trading, Ting’s gang has suffered little at the hands of the new zombie Triad. When the other, drug-dependent gangs started feeling the undead squeeze, they all came to Nine-Finger for help. Seeing a golden opportunity to bind the whole

city to him, the criminal lord agreed to organize, arm, and lead the effort to get rid of this new group of dead gangsters. Unfortunately, his generosity has had more negative repercussions than he imagined. The zombies have refused to go down as quickly as he thought and now, knowing full well who they are up against, the cadaverous thugs have turned their attentions on Ting-controlled operations. The other four Triad gangs retain their autonomy and plan on following Ting only so long as it is in their best interest. Although relieved to have Ting’s support at first, they are slowly growing weary of his domineering ways and ineffective tactics. Ting has given the job of keeping the gangs in line and ending the zombie threat to one of his deadliest killers, Victor Cho. A tall, brooding type who dresses all in black and seldom has less than four handguns on his person at any given time, Cho has a well-earned reputation as a killer throughout Asia. He says very little, seems incredibly calm and yet sometimes unexpectedly shoots those who displease him in even the smallest ways. Then again, sometimes he keeps his guns in their holsters. Keeps everyone on their toes. All are aware that this dangerous new game involves zombies, but no one knows what to do about it. The first priority is to find a reliable way of taking the bastards down. The second is to find out why the hell they are coming back from the dead (although they suspect the newest White Thunder drug craze is behind it). The third is to discover the source of all this new heroin. It is certainly not any of them. Or is it? Can they really trust each other? These are the concerns that plague every living gang member in the city every day.

Triad Tough Strength 3 Intelligence 2 Dexterity 3 Perception 2 Constitution 2 Willpower 2 Life Points 15 Speed 10 Endurance Points 26 Essence Pool 14 Skills: Brawling 3, Gambling 2, Guns (Handguns) 3, Hand Weapons (Club) 3, Pick Pocket 1, Stealth 1

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Nine Finger Ting Victor Cho Strength 4 Intelligence 2 Dexterity 5 Perception 3 Constitution 5 Willpower 4 Life Points 55 Speed 20 Endurance Points 44 Essence Pool 33 Qualities: Essence Channeling 3, Fast Reaction Time, The Gift, Hard to Kill 3, Increased Essence +10, Resistance (Poison) 4, Situational Awareness Drawbacks: Cruel 2, Paranoid Skills: Acrobatics 3, Brawling 2, Climbing 2, Demolitions 3, Driving 2, Escapism 3, Guns (Handguns) 5, Guns (Rifle) 6, Guns (Submachine Gun) 3, Notice 3, Stealth 4, Streetwise 4, Surveillance 4 Powers: Eagle Eye, Instant Reload, Multiple Shooter

Operation White Thunder Hidden away in a Kowloon warehouse, Operation White Thunder keeps careful tabs on the events on Hong Kong’s streets. Colonel Tsai Hsing and his crew of scientists and soldiers have kept a low profile. Of course, the Hong Kong authorities have no idea that they are in the city. Even the

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Strength 2 Intelligence 5 Dexterity 2 Perception 4 Constitution 2 Willpower 6 Life Points 26 Speed 8 Endurance Points 35 Essence Pool 21 Qualities: Charisma 4, Contacts (any and all that he might need) 4, Photographic Memory, Resources (Multimillionaire) Drawbacks: Cruel 1 Skills: Bureaucracy 4, Cheating 4, Gambling 5, Guns (Handgun) 3, Humanities (Business) 6, Haggling 6, Instruction 2, Intimidation 5, Notice 5, Questioning 5, Smooth Talking 3, Storytelling 2, Unconventional Medicine 3 Chinese military (to whom they report) has only a vague idea of their mission and operational status. For example, no one above Tsai in the chain of command has an idea that the experimental drug happens to raise the dead. Tsai figures they are better off not knowing about that particular development for the foreseeable future. The entire zombie issue caused more than a little consternation within the ranks of White Thunder initially. First, no one believed it was true. They heard rumors and even saw the video footage, but until they began seeing zombies with their own eyes it was hard to admit they actually existed. Tsai wanted some tests

Chapter Three

done anyway, just to see how well the drug worked in the field, so he ordered his operations specialist, Meng Shan, to take her team of urban commandos and grab a few junkies for the doctors to examine. A grim, tough, and beautiful (naturally) babe of a soldier, Meng Shan followed orders, although it proved a tougher assignment than expected. They tracked down two zombie thugs, and shot them full of tranquilizers. The drugs appeared to have no effect. She lost two men in the effort to subdue the seemingly unstoppable addicts.

just Colonel Tsai. Tsai figures that, eventually, this whole thing is going to blow up in his face. Thus, he has decided he needs an escape plan. By skimming off money from the drug sales that finance the whole operation, and by using his own zombie force to commit crimes, he has built up quite the little nest egg for himself. None of his subordinates know what he is up to yet, but if they did, they might well turn against him, or demand a cut.

Once they got them back in the lab, it did not take long for the White Thunder team to conclude that, yes indeed, these guys were zombies. The natural reaction of several of the scientists was along the lines of “Hey, this is amazing, we have to tell the world! We’ll all be famous!” Colonel Tsai’s reaction went more like “If this gets out, my career is over and I’ll probably hang!” The debate between these two obviously opposing viewpoints ended quickly when Tsai put a bullet through the head of one scientist who demanded to speak with his superiors back on the mainland. Since then, everyone in White Thunder has decided that secrecy probably is the best policy (a feeling supported by the fact that several other dissenters have since disappeared). Tsai’s current plan is to let things burn in Hong Kong for a while so he can see what happens. He has, wisely enough, cut back the supply of White Thunder to just a trickle in order to keep the drug from spreading into other parts of China (or the rest of the world). Meanwhile, he wants to gather as much data on these zombies and how they work as he can. Meng Shan leads nightly forays into the city to capture the risen dead and bring them back to the White Thunder warehouse. Her teams have become quite adept at both handling zombies and silencing any witnesses unfortunate enough to see them in action. Tsai has actually managed to subdue some of these zombies and bring them into his own service. His doctors do a little brain surgery to break their wills and erase memories, while Tsai keeps them supplied with the drug they crave. In return, they help guard the warehouse and do other little jobs for the Colonel. Although Meng Shan is incredibly competent and loyal, that loyalty extends to the whole of China, not

Colonel Tsai Hsing Strength 3 Intelligence 4 Dexterity 3 Perception 3 Constitution 3 Willpower 5 Life Points 49 Speed 12 Endurance Points 44 Essence Pool 21 Qualities: Hard to Kill 3, Nerves of Steel, Situational Awareness Drawbacks: Covetous, Cruel 1 Skills: Brawling 1, Bureaucracy 4, Computers 2, Demolitions 2, Guns (Handgun 3), Intimidation 4, Notice 2, Occult Knowledge 1, Questioning 3, Research/Investigation 3, Sciences (Biology) 3, Sciences (Chemistry) 3, Smooth Talking 4,

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White Thunder Agent Strength 3 Intelligence 2 Dexterity 2 Perception 2 Constitution 2 Willpower 2 Life Points 34 Speed 10 Endurance Points 29 Essence Pool 14 Skills: Brawling 2, Guns (Handgun) 2, Guns (Rifle) 3, Intimidation 2, Notice 2, Stealth 1

White Thunder Scientist Strength 2 Intelligence 3 Dexterity 2 Perception 3 Constitution 2 Willpower 2 Life Points 36 Speed 8 Endurance Points 23 Essence Pool 14 Skills: Brawling 1, Notice 2, Sciences (Biology) 3, Sciences (Chemistry) 3

White Thunder Zombies

Meng Shan Strength 3 Intelligence 4 Dexterity 5 Perception 3 Constitution 4 Willpower 4 Life Points 38 Speed 18 Endurance Points 28 Essence Pool 33 Qualities: Attractiveness 4, Essence Channeling 4, The Gift, Increased Essence +10

Game stats for those zombies working with the White Thunder Operation are the same as those of the Hard Boiled Corpses Zombies (see p. 69) or the Zombie Triad Thugs (see p. 78).

Drawbacks: Honorable 2 Skills: Acrobatics 4, Brawling 4, Driving 4, Escapism 3, Guns (Handgun) 6, Guns (Rifle) 5, Hand Weapon (Knife) 3, Piloting (Small Prop Plane) 4, Questioning 3, Sciences (Chemistry) 2, Stealth 5, Swimming 3, Traps 2 Powers: Acrobatic Shooting, Instant Reload, Multiple Shooter

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The Zombies Now that the drug-addict zombies have gotten organized, they have truly become a force to be reckoned with. Even better, they have lucked into a damn clever leader, making them all the more formidable. Shen Lu Chua was, while he still lived, a high-ranking lieutenant in one of the city’s leading Triads. He was also one of the first to succumb to White Thunder when it came to the city, becoming addicted after he had a small taste to test purity during a routine drug deal. Shen died in time and rose quickly, preserving much of his intelligence and memory intact. For a while he went a little crazy, as most dead folks do, but eventually he came around, especially when he started running across other dead druggies with similar problems. Today, Shen Lu Chua is undisputed leader of roughly ninety percent of the zombies in Hong Kong. While a few other, small gangs exist, most of those shambling dead simply lost too much of themselves in the transformation from corpse to walking corpse. They have either been overcome with depression, had some kind of bizarre religious epiphany, or, most commonly, simply gone stark raving mad. Shen has no use for any of these. He only wants zombies who can still think enough to follow orders and shoot straight. Shen’s primary mission in life is to figure out a way to control the source of White Thunder—the drug he and his undead followers so desperately crave. Not only do they need a regular supply to keep functioning, but also to keep order. When his men start jonesing for a hit, it becomes almost impossible to control them. They run out and suck down the nearest brain they can find rather than waiting for him to give the order. This is both bad for morale and brings unwanted attention. With both the police and the Triads gunning for him, Shen needs his fellow zombies to remain in control and ready for whatever demands he makes of them. The series of audacious daylight robberies was Shen’s idea, a warning to the other powers in the city that he was not a man to be trifled with. Plus, he needed money to buy weapons and drugs for his troops, not to mention his new base of operations.

Shen Lu Chua Strength 5 (1) Intelligence 4 (2) Dexterity 3 (0) Perception 3 (1) Constitution 3 (1) Willpower 4 (2) Dead Points 27 Speed 18 Endurance Points n/a Essence Pool 38 Qualities: Charisma 3 (3), Essence Channeling 3 (6), The Gift (5), Hard to Kill 4 (4), Increased Essence +15 (3) Drawbacks: Paranoid (-2) Skills: Brawling 2, Cheating 3, Disguise 3, Dodge 2, Gambling 4, Guns (Handgun) 6, Guns (Shotgun) 5, Intimidation 5, Lock Picking 3, Notice 3, Stealth 4, Streetwise 3, Swimming 3 (46) Powers: Blind Firing (3), Trick Shot (3) Attack: Bite D4 x 2(4) slashing damage Weak Spot: Brain (6) Getting Around: The Quick Dead (10) Strength: Strong Like Bull (5) Senses: Like a Hawk (2) Sustenance: Occasionally; Braiiiiiins or White Thunder (0) Intelligence: Language (1); Long-term Memory (5); Problem Solving (15) Special: Bullet Sponge (2), Flesh Holster (1), HandGun (5), Trapping Flesh (3) Power: 132

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The Zombie Triad operates out of a series of boats tied together in the harbor. They appear to be rickety looking Chinese junks that are falling apart at the seams. In fact, they are quite seaworthy and they allow Shen and his brethren to take advantage of a simple fact: they do not need to breathe. Isolated on the water, the zombies can come and go from their nautical base without attracting any attention. They simply lower themselves into the water and walk or swim beneath the surface to come up somewhere else in the city. In the past month, Shen’s troops have strung lines of cable across the bottom of the harbor that serve as guide lines for the zombies as the come and go. They have found numerous underwater sewer entrances that allow them to penetrate deep into the city itself without being seen.

Zombie Thug Strength 4 Intelligence 2 Dexterity 3 Perception 2 Constitution 2 Willpower 2 Dead Points 15 Speed 18 Endurance Points n/a Essence Pool 15 Skills: Brawling 3, Disguise 1, Guns (Handgun) 3, Guns (Shotgun) 2, Hand Weapons (Knife) 2, Lock Picking 2, Swimming 2 Attack: Bite D4 x 2(4) slashing damage Weak Spot: Brain (6) Getting Around: The Quick Dead (10) Strength: Strong Like Bull (5) Senses: Like the Living (1) Sustenance: Occasionally; Braiiiiiins or White Thunder (0) Intelligence: Language (1); Long-term Memory (5); Problem Solving (15) Special: Bullet Sponge (2) Power: 60

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While all this aquatic travel does leave the zombies wet, mildewy, and stinking of sea and sewer, they do not mind because they all smell pretty bad to begin with. Shen also keeps a number of dry land safehouses for his troops—places where they can change clothes, store weapons, or just hide out before it is time to pull a caper. While several witnesses have reported seeing zombies leaving crime scenes by entering the sewers or the harbor, no one in the police or Triads suspect that the zombies might be water-based. Operation White Thunder does know about the zombies and their base, having learned its location from captured corpses. They, however, do not plan to do anything with that knowledge for the time being. Now that Shen Lu Chua has consolidated his undead criminal empire, he is beginning to focus his attention on finding the source of the drugs he craves. At the moment, he assumes the source to be Nine-Finger Ting and his newly united Triad organization. He has gone on an all-out offensive against the Triads, shaking down everyone he can for information on White Thunder. He tries to stay out of the way of the police, although the zombies gladly gun down any cop who gets in their way. Should Shen ever learn of Operation White Thunder, he will switch his efforts towards them, but that will not stop the Triads from coming after him.

Chapter Three

Scenarios The following scenarios can be played as is, modified to suit the Zombie Master, or simply used as examples of the many approaches that may be taken in the Hard Boiled Corpses setting.

The Thin Blue Line In this scenario, the heroes take on the roles of cops in Hong Kong. Actually, if the group is already playing some other Hong Kong-oriented RPG, the Zombie Master could easily and secretly integrate this into the existing campaign. Otherwise, have the players generate characters as normal, either according to the basic All Flesh Must Be Eaten rules, or the Shooter Character Type from the rules presented in this book. At the Zombie Master’s discretion, the players might also make Martial Artist characters, although why such a person is on the police force needs to be explained (or not—as seen in a lot of Jackie Chan movies). The player characters have all recently been transferred to the new Heinous Crimes Task Force. They probably have not worked as a team before now, but with the dramatic escalation in brazen, violent crimes, the city is pulling in everyone it can to work on this case. The team’s first assignment is to investigate a

fresh crime scene and follow the clues wherever they might lead. The crime scene in question consists of the remains of a rather one-sided fight between a trio of Zombie Thugs and half a dozen Triad Toughs. The living gangsters got the worst of it and now lie in a bloody mess outside a local noodle shop. Examining the crime scene and listening to the reports from the forensics guys gives our hero cops a few clues to go on. First, all six of the victims died from gunshot wounds but received post mortum attacks to the head resulting in their brains being ripped from the body and removed from the scene of the crime. Second, there is blood from the crime scene that does not match any of the victims. The forensics guys think it was brought to the scene because it has congealed far more than the fresh blood of the newly dead (this makes sense given that the former owner of this mystery blood has been walking around dead for five weeks). Third, witnesses report that during the gunfight members of the trio responsible suffered obviously painful gunshots

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wounds which seemed to have little effect on them. Finally, a search of one corpse reveals that he had a small package of heroin bearing the Chinese characters for White Thunder (the zombies did not bother to search their victims for drugs, they just went straight for the brains). About the time the Cast Members finish asking questions and start talking over what to do next, two different interested parties show up to take a look at the scene. First, some Triad members make an appearance, wanting to know what happened to their buddies. This is just what the zombie gunman with the high-powered rifle on the roof across the street has been waiting for. He opens fire on the Triad punks, killing two and wounding the third before anyone has any idea what is going on. The forensics guys take care of the wounded thug, leaving the characters to head off after the gunman. In the resulting chase across the rooftops and through the streets, the Cast get their first taste of dealing with a dead perp. The zombie has orders not to engage the cops. During the pursuit, the zombie can jump or fall from great heights and walk away (Dead Point damage to any location but the brain is ignored) while the player cops have to deal with being normal humans. Eventually the zombie makes it to the harbor and jumps in, disappearing from view and impossible to follow. From this exciting beginning, the party gets involved with all of the major players in the undead street war that has engulfed Hong Kong. They can learn from the wounded Triad thug about White Thunder and the current war (although he shies away from the zombie parts). More importantly they get a fix on a street punk who is still selling the stuff. Chasing and shaking down the dealer leads the Cast to his supplier and possibly to Operation White Thunder itself. Meanwhile, the zombies continue to terrorize the city and more and more hints lead the characters to believe that their base of operations lies somewhere near or in the harbor.

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As they close in on Operation White Thunder, Colonel Tsai begins using his influence to interfere with their investigation. Orders come from on high for the Cast Members to drop the case. Do they follow orders when they are obviously so close to the truth? Not if they are good, heroic, damn-the-system cops. Cut off from the Hong Kong police, they need another support network. Perhaps, that support could come from Nine-Finger Ting and his Triad gangs—an uneasy alliance in the face of the greater threat. Meanwhile, if the zombies get word that the players have a line on where the drug comes from, they try to kidnap and question one of them, torturing him for the info while his comrades rush to save him. Ultimately, it should all come down to a big-ass gunfight, maybe two or three of them. The Operation White Thunder warehouse seems the most likely location, with police, triad, zombie, and government gunmen all converging on the place to duke it out with one another. In a haze of smoke and bullets, the heroes must make their way through and see that justice is done. Another cool location for an important shoot-out is the conglomeration of junks the zombies use as their base. With boats bursting into flames, police cutters circling in the harbor and zombies popping up from underwater like sharks, the excitement potential is pretty high. Any way it plays out, the characters ultimately have a shot at righting all the wrongs in the city, particularly uncovering the Chinese government’s role in the whole affair. Maybe then somebody can get those zombies into rehab. Just hope they do not eat their councilor’s brains. If for some reason the characters end up trying, or being exposed to, White Thunder, well, things probably do not go so well for them. Odds are they end up junkies or worse. Of course, the Zombie Master can proceed right away to the next scenario . . .

Chapter Three

I Want a New Drug In this scenario, the players take on the roles of zombies—poor unfortunates who have found themselves addicted to White Thunder and/or human brains. They are not bad people really, certainly they never asked to be zombies (except maybe that one guy in the back). They are just trying to get along as best as they can in a world extremely, and maybe unfairly, prejudiced against the living dead. The characters should make zombie characters as detailed in Chapter Two: Tao of the Dead (see p. 47). The gun-toting tough guys can either be part of the big zombie gang that has its sights set on running Hong Kong, or they can be their own little gang unto themselves. The latter choice is really more fun, since it means they do not have to take orders from anybody. Also, the ZM can throw opponents at them from any of the four main groups. The characters know that the drugs are behind their recent reanimation but, like everyone else, they have no idea where the stuff is coming from. Therein lies the challenge. As independent operatives (or members of Shen Lu Chua’s gang), the zombie Cast’s primary goal is to ensure a stable supply of that stuff they crave. Otherwise, they have to resort to eating brains. For the player characters, that should always mean trouble. Anytime they kill someone, the Zombie Master should make sure there are consequences. Kill a civilian and the cops should come knocking. Kill a Triad member and the cops and the Triads come a calling. Kill another zombie, and, unless he is holding, little is gained in staving off the craving. Even so, the zombie gang will come looking for revenge. As zombies looking for a solution to their unlife dilemma, the Cast Members face a number of obstacles. If they are not part of Shen’s gang, he is going to be after them to join once he finds out they are not just crazed psychotics. Saying “no” to Shen can be very unhealthy, even for the undead. Whether they are part of the Zombie Triad or not, they still have to deal with the human Triads who

are gunning for zombies like gangbusters. Also, Colonel Tsai’s Operation White Thunder continues to hunt down and capture zombies for their own evil purposes, so no corpse is ever safe. Finally, the cops want to round up everybody and lock them up, if only they could figure out what the hell is going on. The one ray of light in all these troubles lies in the fact that Operation White Thunder continues to leak its deadly drug onto the streets. Once the player characters find a source, they are on their way to finding the source. The source is of course the Operation White Thunder warehouse itself. Even knowing that answer does not mean the troubles have ended. The heavily guarded warehouse holds a good supply of White Thunder heroin—enough to last the player characters until they rot, but certainly not enough to meet the needs of every zombie in the city. The pure stuff still comes in from a lab in mainland China. Colonel Tsai and his men just cut it and distribute it. If the Cast takes down Tsai and his crew, do they hoard their prize or share it with their fellows? Where will they ever get more? Do they follow the trail back to China? This scenario presents a number of particularly interesting twists. Although they might have criminal backgrounds, the characters are actually on the same side on many issues as the police. After all, Operation White Thunder is really responsible for the whole mess. The police want to get a hold of the drug suppliers just as much as the Cast does. Clever and resourceful zombies could well try to work out a deal or some sort of alliance with the cops. This could lead to some really interesting roleplaying as the characters explain their situation and current undead state to skeptical policemen. Then they have to convince the cops not to lock them up and perform experiments on them. Exactly what rights does a walking corpse possess under the law anyway?

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Loose Cannon (Cop) Shooter Str 2 Dex 4 Con 3 Int 3 Per 4 Wil 4 L P s 39 E P s 32 S p d 14 E s s e n c e 20 Qualities/Drawbacks Addiction (Heavy Smoking) (-2) Adversary (HK Triad) (-3) Contacts (Informants) (2) Cruel (-1) Essence Channeling 2 (4) The Gift (5) Hard To Kill (3) Honorable (-1) Nerves Of Steel (3) Reckless (-2) Situational Awareness (2)

Skills Brawling 1 Bureaucracy 1 Dodge 3 Driving (Car) 2 First Aid 2 Guns (Handgun) 3 Guns (Shotgun) 3 Intimidation 3 Questioning 3 Streetwise 3 Surveillance 3

Powers

Personality Loose cannon? Who are you calling a loose cannon? I get results! I’ve brought down twice as many sickos and scumbags than those namby-pamby, by-the-book twerps that get promoted ahead of me. But I’ll never make Lieutenant. I’ll never get a citation for valor or a photo op with the mayor because for every crime ring I bust, there’s usually around ten grand of collateral damage to erase any goodwill I might have earned. Personally I don’t see what the big deal is. That’s what insurance is for right? Now we have this White thunder crap going down. I’ve seen these undead bastards wade through a hail of bullets and chow down on the brains of the cops that were shooting at them. A lot of the guys on the task force are worried. They wonder how they can stop these things? How do you stop a criminal that isn't afraid of arrest or death? The answer is simple. We have to make them afraid of us.

Quote “He had to be a zombie! He was shambling!”

Ain’t Got Time To Bleed (3) Instant Reload (2) Multiple Shooter (3) Running The Gauntlet (3) Two-Fisted Firing (2)

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Triad Enforcer Shooter Str 3 De x 5 Con 2 Int 3 Per 4 Wil 3 L P s 39 E P s 29 S p d 14 E s s e n c e 30

Personality One of the facts of life in this business is that you wind up having to off one of your co-workers. Worse, sometimes it’s someone you like. They use it as a test of loyalty. Perfect example is the Chang brothers. Great guys. A party wasn’t a party without them. They were efficient and ambitious . . . but not too ambitious if you know what I mean.

Qualities/Drawbacks Addiction (Heavy Smoking) (-2) Cruel (-2) Essence Channeling 2 (4) The Gift (5) Fast Reaction Time (2) Hard To Kill (3) Humorless (-1) Increased Essence (2) Nerves of Steel (3) Reckless (-2)

Skills Brawling 1 Dodge 3 Drive (Car) 1 Guns (Handgun) 3 Guns (Submachine Gun) 3 Intimidation 2 Lock Picking (Mechanical) 2 Questioning 2 Stealth 2 Streetwise 4 Surveillance 2

Powers Acrobatic Shooting (2) Eagle Eye (2) Instant Reload (2) Multiple Shooter (3) Quick Draw (2) Two-Fisted Firing (2)

Turns out the Chang boys were helping themselves to free samples of White Thunder supplies. So the order came down for me to eliminate them, and not just that, I had to make it ugly—as an example to the others. I didn’t want to do it, you understand, but it was business, it wasn’t personal. The oldest one, the smuggler, I hung him with a noose made of piano wire. The middle brother, the fence, I shoved him off a roof and watched him fall. The youngest, the lawyer, I had him sealed inside an oil drum then had one of those trucks that empties out the honey wagons back up it’s contents into the drum, drowning him in raw sewage. Those killings made me respected and feared. I tried to enjoy it but the parties just weren’t parties anymore. A few weeks ago my phone rang, the voice was raspy and wet but very familiar. Then someone smashed in the window of my Porsche and left a severed jawbone on the driver’s seat. Last night I came home and found my girlfriend in pieces. Written on the walls was a one-word message “SOON.” So now I know, the White Thunder brought them back, made them into those things. I guess I’ll just have to kill them again. The first time was business. This time, it’s personal.

Quote “You betrayed me ‘Fred-san!!”

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Triad Infiltrator (Cop) Survivor Str 2 Dex 4 Con 3 Int 3 Per 4 Wil 4 L P s 45 E P s 32 S p d 14 E s s e n c e 20 Qualities/Drawbacks Addiction (Heavy Smoking) (-2) Contacts (HK Triad) (3) Charisma (2) Hard to Kill (5) Humorless (-1) Multiple Identity (Criminal Identity is second one) (2) Nerves of Steel (3) Obsession (Tearing down the Triads) (-2) Reckless (-2) Recurring Nightmares (Crimes Committed While Undercover) (-1) Resources (Well-off) (4) Situational Awareness (2)

Skills Acrobatics 3 (6) Acting 4 Brawling 2 Bureaucracy 3 Driving (Car) 2 Guns (Hangun) 3 Intimidation 2 Notice 3 Smooth Talking 4 Stealth 4 Streetwise 4

Personality Let’s get this straight. The only reason I took this damn assignment was to take down Nine-Finger Ting. No one’s ever gotten as deep into the organization as I have in the last four years. The things I’ve seen in that time—the petty feuds, the cold-blooded murders, and the money—my God, the money! More than anyone could ever spend, or need! Then this new gang came out of . . . well you know what it came out of. Damn zombies, devouring all the people I was on the verge of arresting. Next thing I know my whole investigation is scrapped and all my notes are turned over to some special Task Force. I started to hear scuttlebutt about offering Ting and some of his high-ranking cronies immunity from prosecution if they turn over all their data on White Thunder. Immunity? I was outraged. I wasn’t about to let him get away with it. I got my revolver—not my service piece, the unregistered one I kept for “emergencies”—and drove to Ting's manor. The zombies got there first, the gate was off its hinges, the guardhouse was an abattoir and the plush carpets were swampy with blood. Nine-Finger Ting was in his living room cowering before one of the zombies. The pigeons had come home to roost. Then he looked at me, his eyes pleading. Half a clip later I’d saved the bastard and his ugly kids. A thought occurred to me and it set my gut twisting. Had I reacted as a cop? Or as one of his henchmen?

Quote “We’re all friends here, you can trust me.”

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Independent Gang Member Zombie Personality

Str 5 Dex 4 Con 4 Int 3 Per 4 Wil 3 D P s 15 E P s n/a S p d 18 E s s e n c e 23

That damn poisoned blow. Nobody warned us. Nobody cared. They just left us to die. Left us with the hunger. The hunger is like the cold. You can’t get away from it. You can’t fight it. It’s everywhere—slipping in wherever your skin is exposed. I was going mad.

Qualities/Drawbacks

I bit hard into the madness and wouldn’t let go. I rode the hunger through the madness and out the other side. It made me strong. I learned to feed carefully. Striking only the vulnerable. When I could not feed, I stole the White Thunder. It sates the gnawing but not enough. You are still empty. There is no soft moist crunch.

Attractiveness (Bad Smell) (-2) The Gift (5) Essence Channeling 3 (6) Resources (Hurting) (-4)

Skills Brawling 1 Dodge 2 Drive (Car) 1 Guns (Handgun) 3 Intimidation 3 Stealth 2 Streetwise 4 Surveillance 2

Hiding now. In a building long abandoned. It reeks of old fire and piss. Rats pick at my scabs so I am not lonely. I am so hungry. Cold and empty in my gut, bleeding outwards.

Powers Speak Nicely to Betsy (3) Penetrating Shot (3) Two-Fisted Firing (2) A t t a c k : Bite D4 x 2(4) slashing damage W e a k S p o t : Brain (6) G e t t i n g A r o u n d : The Quick Dead (10) S t r e n g t h : Dead Joe Average (0) S e n s e s : Like the Living (1) S u s t e n a n c e : Occasionally; Braiiiiiins or White Thunder (0) I n t e l l i g e n c e : Language (1); Long-term Memory (5); Problem Solving (15) S p e c i a l : Bloody Mass (4), Flesh Holster (1), Just a Flesh Wound (5), Turret Torso (1) P o w e r : 90

Soon I must feed. Oh, how I will feed.

Quote “Shoot me . . . Shoot me again . . . Heh, not good enough.”

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C H A P T E R 4

FLESH EATERS IN LITTLE CHINA

Kurt Jackson hadn’t asked for this kind of trouble. First someone stole his bike—his bike, for God’s sake!—his vintage, Harley Davidson, six-years-ofblood-sweat-and-motor-oil bike! As if that weren’t bad enough, his friend Wang had lost his sister, kidnapped right out from under their noses by the same people who stole his motorcycle. But wait, it gets worse. The really bad part—the totally unbelievably bad part—was that the guys who stole the bike and the girl were zombies. Goddamned zombies! Kurt never did like San Francisco. “What’s the plan, Wang?” Kurt asked his friend. They were standing in a dark alley across the street from the Chuan Fa exchange, the supposed hideout of these zombie pieces of crap. “We go in and we get my sister.” “What . . . we just waltz in there like we own the place?” “Yeah, that’s the plan. Because before I’m through I’m gonna own every zombie ass freak in that place.” “Tough talk, Wang,” replied Kurt skeptically. For the fourth time in as many minutes, he checked to make sure his sawed-off double-barrel was loaded and ready to go. “It’s my sister, man. There can’t be any hesitation, or second thoughts. It’s gonna happen that way because I say so. If my body and mind are as one, I can accomplish anything.” “Well thank you, Deepak Chopra.” Kurt checked the gun one last time. “All right, screw it. Let’s do this thing.” They set off across the street, the rain pouring down on them. Kurt banged on the door with the butt of his gun. No answer. He started to bang again but Wang pushed him aside. “Let me knock this time,” said Wang. The trim Chinese man took a deep breath and focused his energy. He slammed his open palm into the steel door, blasting it off its hinges and sending it flying into the dark room beyond.

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They rushed inside, racing down the hallway. A door burst open and three dead-eyed men in black uniforms surged towards them. Kurt fired with both barrels, filling the hallway with buckshot and sending the creatures reeling backwards. Living men would have fallen dead, but these guys were already getting back up by the time Wang was among them, feet and fists flying. Kurt rushed two new shells into their chambers while Wang fought for his life. Blows to the neck that audibly broke spines had no effect. Kicks to the chest shattered ribs, but the zombies kept coming. His speed kept him just out of their grasp, blocking their punches and dodging their kicks. Still, he could not hold out for long. With all his might and focus he jumped, spun around and kicked a zombie in the head, tearing it from the body and sending the whole creature slumping lifeless to the ground. Unfortunately, he landed atop one of the others who immediately grabbed hold of him. Wang pushed at the thing’s face, desperately trying to keep it from sinking its gnashing teeth into his leg. Kurt raced forward, gun reloaded just as the second zombie moved to help its friend gnaw on Wang. Kurt placed the barrel at the base of the zombie’s head, angled towards the ceiling. He pulled the trigger and brains and buckshot exploded everywhere. Covered in blood, he moved to help Wang, firing the other barrel into the zombie’s chest, knocking it free of Wang. Even as the last zombie struggled to rise once more, Wang was upon it, grabbing its head and ripping with all his might. Already severely damaged by the shotgun blast, the muscles and bones gave way and the head came free. Wang fell back with the sudden release of tension, but quickly caught himself. “C’mon Kurt, we’ve got a long way to go,” he said. Kurt put two more shells into his gun. “Right behind you Wang.”

Chapter Four

Background San Francisco today is one of the shining jewels in America’s crown. More than just the birthplace of hippies, home field for the 49ers and resting place for that big orange bridge, it is also America’s gateway to the Far East. Here people from throughout the Pacific Rim come to work, play, and do business. At the center of it all sits one of the most famous ethnic communities in the whole country: Chinatown. For over a century and a half, Chinese immigrants have come to the United States through the port of San Francisco. Some moved on to other places, but many stayed and set down roots. Most simply wanted a better life than they had back in China—a chance to work hard and prosper while still holding onto their rich and distinctive culture. These neighborhoods took on the feeling of the old country, a place where cuisines, languages, and customs unseen elsewhere in the nation could flourish in relative peace and even a degree of isolation. Unfortunately, with every such mass migration, other, less savory elements arrived. The gangs and criminals, the sweatshops, the near-slave labor—all were expected, even anticipated, by some unscrupulous opportunists. Law enforcement knew about the

organized crime. Immigration knew that the illegal aliens came to work as indentured servants for nearly unlivable wages. What no one expected, and what few even dreamt existed, were the zombies.

The Sorcerer Hung Shao Yes, that’s right, there are zombies in San Francisco. Quite a few of them actually, but not many people know about them. What are they doing there? What keeps them from roaming the streets in search of the delectable brains of the living? Who says that is not happening now, and no one is reporting it? The answer to all of these questions can be found in one man, although little exists to identify him as human besides his shape. That man is Hung Shao. Born five thousand or so years ago in ancient China, Hung Shao came from an age when man lived in closer commune with both the natural and spiritual worlds. In those days, being a powerful sorcerer was not nearly as unusual as it is today. Back then, every grandfather knew a trick or two that would make Sigfried and Roy green with envy. Still, Hung Shao had more ambition than most. He came from a noble family with several potent magicians in its lineage. Everyone expected great things of him, including himself.

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And they were not disappointed. Well, some of them were disappointed, particularly those who hoped these much-anticipated “great things” would be of a kind and generous nature. Hung Shao was not (and is not) particularly inclined towards acts that benefited anyone but himself. He used his power to make himself lord of the region, forcing everyone else to serve him or flee. This was not an uncommon practice for powerful sorcerers of the day—most set themselves up as warlords of one kind or another. It is amazing how quickly causing an enemy warrior to burst into green flame with just a nod of the head wins the awe and obedience of most peasants. For a while, Hung reigned happily enough, enjoying the pleasures of power for a few decades. However, like most men, he feared death and like a few fellow sorcerers, he refused to accept it as inevitable. He set out to find the secret of eternal life. His quest led him to neglect his hard-won kingdom. Soon, he abandoned the realm, and traveled the length and breadth of China looking for a way to stop aging. For most people, this would be a sad story, a life wasted in the pursuit of eternal life. For Hung Shao, it is a happy story, happy at least for him. In time, he developed a potion, using a mixture of rare plants, powdered jade, and other ingredients that stopped the aging process completely. His fifty-year old body would live on forever.

The Golden Years Hung Shao spent much of the next five millennia exploring the world, testing his powers, and involving himself in countless nefarious adventures. In his time, he has ruled kingdoms and caused Emperors to rise and fall. He has commanded fleets of pirate ships, summoned demons, seduced and despoiled women, razed cities, built palaces, and been personally responsible for the death of some five or six hundred thousand people. He loved every minute of it. During this time, he discovered that, for the most part, he could not stand the company of other people. Their viewpoints were too limited, their imaginations too small, their cares too petty. In short, they annoyed the hell out of him. Even servants (an essential part of life) grated on his nerves with their need for food and water to keep them alive. In time, he decided to dis-

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pense with the living, and kept about him only servants of his own creation. They would not complain, did not need to eat, and were fiercely loyal. Of course, they were also dead, but for a sorcerer of his accomplishments that was not much of a problem. Hung Shao put his mind to it and came up with another little potion that would raise his servants from the dead—zombie servants. So it went until the end of the last century. Hung Shao lived his depraved immortal existence in relative peace. He even spent the last hundred or so years finally getting around to mastering the arts of wei chi, or “go” as it is known in the West. So wrapped up was he in a decades long game with a demon spirit that he hardly even noticed the goings on in China around him. In the meantime, the Europeans came and they came in force. Traditional China was slipping away, forced to do the bidding of these foreign devils. At the instigation of fervent Christian missionaries, a company of British troops came knocking at his palace door with cannons, asking where all the local girls between fourteen and sixteen had gone. Hung Shao hardly knew what to say. In the ensuing conversation, explosive shells reduced his palace to rubble and sent him fleeing into the night.

Coming to America A few more years spent on the run throughout Southeast Asia quickly taught Hung Shao that he had a lot to learn about this new, modern world with its ironclad steamers and machine guns. This was pretty interesting stuff! The real problem was that, while the white men and the modernized Asians still had a healthy fear for the rumors of Hung Shao’s evil doings, their reaction to that fear was the polar opposite of what most folks had done for the past 5000 years. Instead of cowering in terror and leaving the evil sorcerer alone, these foreign devils preferred to destroy anything that scared them or did not fit into their paradigm of how the world should work. Hung Shao was a threat under both criteria. Every time he tried to set up a new base using the model that had served him so well for so long, some interfering army with big guns and bombs would storm the place and blast it to smithereens. Often as not, they were led by some heroic blond-haired fellow with bulging muscles and no sense to mind his own business.

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Being evil and crafty, Hung Shao decided the best course of action was to hide where they would least expect him. He had heard of California—in fact a number of Chinese acquaintances had fled to the place in order to escape Hung Shao’s grasp. He could kill two birds with one stone. He would seek refuge in San Francisco’s burgeoning Chinatown and look up, eviscerate, and feast on the bones of the ones that had gotten away. Besides, he had always wanted to see America. Well, ever since he had heard of it anyway. So, in 1909, he set forth in a stolen luxury yacht, crewed by Greek sailors who sailed almost as well as they ever had, despite being dead. Like so many immigrants before him, Hung Shao arrived on United States soil with nothing but the clothes on his back, and a dream. Well, Hung did also have several cases of arcane texts and potions, and a few dozen zombies. Even in those days, the Triads and secret societies pretty much ran things in Chinatown. They watched the docks for newcomers, and anyone of Chinese descent who did not ally with one group or another found themselves in a lot of trouble pretty quickly. Dressed in his traditional, red silk robes, escorted by a bunch of foul-smelling, dim-witted servants (who would have guessed they were actually dead), Hung Shao attracted the attention of all the major groups within only a few hours. He had, through an agent, purchased a large warehouse deep in the heart of Chinatown. Although a seemingly worthless piece of property, Hung Shao had chosen it for its location in the spiritual world— it sat on the great Earth Dragon—and because its foundation rested on a system of natural caves he could expand for his own purposes. Before his zombies had finished unpacking, the first of the tough guys arrived. The leader, a smallish, dark man tried to extort protection money from Hung Shao. The man never left, although over the next few days pieces of him and the half dozen other visitors that day showed up all over town. When the number of dissected tough guys reached forty-seven, the local gangs decided they had better leave this Hung Shao person alone.

Daniel Hong and the Chuan Fa Importing Company Hung Shao is a patient man. He slowly but surely built up his power base in the city over the next nine decades. The Chinatown of the early twentieth century was a great place to hide, none of the “city fathers” cared about what went on there and the Chinese knew enough to mind their own business. As a concession to his recent problems with the Westerners in Asia, Hung Shao began keeping a much lower profile. Normally when he moved into a region, Hung cultivated a reputation as quite the local monster, kidnapper of children, practitioner of black arts, and anything else unsavory. This time, after his initial confrontation with the local gangs, no one heard from him for a long time. All the while his position grew stronger and stronger. He slowly siphoned off a small part of the local population, usually taking immigrants fresh off the boat. Once they had served whatever purpose Hung Shao had for them, they became zombie servants. The wretches toiled away endlessly in the caves below the warehouse, in the course of a few decades fashioning a fabulous underground palace for the sorcerer. Others served him in a factory he set up in the warehouse proper, making cheap clothing to sell to immigrants. With no need to pay his slow but tireless labor force, Hung Shao’s wealth began to grow. Hung Shao only used his power when necessary to influence events in the rest of the city. This helped maintain his low profile. The most notable case came when, through magic, bribery, and threat, he managed to get an entire underground sewer project rerouted since the original plan had it running right through his underground palace. The gangs and secret societies of Chinatown, and the rest of the city, he left to themselves. In 1964, Hung Shao stepped into the public eye, albeit in a very private way. He assumed the name and false history of Daniel Hong, owner of the Chuan Fa Import/Export Company. Located in a new building he constructed on the site of his original warehouse, the company specialized in trading all kinds of

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goods with Asia. Daniel Hong himself became famous in the city’s business circles. His company made a fortune each year. Hong personally donated millions to various local Chinese charities and to political groups, but he himself was scarcely ever seen. No one even knew for sure where he lived. Maybe once every three years, the mysterious mogul made an appearance in public.

Fickle Fortune All this business with the Chuan Fa Import/Export Company and the political donations was just step one in Hung Shao’s plan. He finally decided to make his play for total control of the city. He grew weary of keeping a low profile, he wanted to rule over mortals once more. The next step involved taking over organized crime in the city and that meant dealing with the local Triads, and more importantly, the secret societies. He thought his army of zombie foot soldiers more than up to the task and began a violent, all-out gang war to win total control of the underworld. The secret societies and gangs naturally fought back. Who knows what would have happened in those first few months of the war. Unfortunately for him, Hung Shao ran into a bit of a snag that caused him to re-shape his entire game plan. Shortly after he started the crime war, Hung discovered that one of the rare plants he imported from China to create his immortality elixir had become extinct. Environmental ravages in China due to indiscriminate use of chemicals and strip mining had wiped the plant off the face of the Earth. Never one to care much for such issues before, Hung Shao had no idea this was even a possibility. Without that plant, he would begin to grow old again, maybe even at an accelerated rate. He had to find a substitute. Hung Shao halted his offensive, re-grouped and focused all his attention on finding a cure for aging. As suddenly as it began, the war paused, and his enemies were just happy to have a minute to catch their breath. Hung Shao hoped the whole thing would just go away. He knew that the gangs and secret societies had not been sure exactly who or what they were fighting. As he would have known if he had bothered to pay much attention to humans during his long cen-

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turies of life, the secret societies and gangs were not about to let the matter drop. Hung had succeeded in scaring the hell out of them, and in the modern world, that usually makes people all the more eager to fight back so they are not scared anymore.

The Hidden Chinatown Revealed There is a lot more to Chinatown than restaurants, laundries, and well, Chinese folks. The world’s largest ethnically Asian community outside of Asia itself also houses a surprisingly large number of gangs, secret societies, kung-fu brotherhoods, and sorcerous circles. All of these groups operate just below the surface of polite society, some working for the forces of good, others evil. For a long while, the groups co-existed in relative peace, leaving each to its own devices. Hung Shao’s recent abortive offensive stirred everything up, however, igniting conflicts not only between Hung Shao and the community’s hidden elements but amongst the groups and gangs themselves. The Chinatown underworld is on fire, and no one knows what it is going to take to put it out.

The Secret Societies Historically, America has not been particularly hospitable to Chinese immigrants. Sure, a number of local businessmen were happy enough to use them as cheap labor, but in many cases they hardly treated them like human beings. In the face of rampant discrimination, the Chinese turned to each other for support. In many cases, they created mutual aid societies to help their local communities. Jealous, mean, and/or suspicious white authority figures more often than not would take umbrage at such gatherings, so the Chinese went ahead and formed their societies in secret. Today the descendants of these groups still exist in Chinatown, although many have changed form, some becoming rather unsavory in the process. The city’s two largest secret societies are currently involved in the conflict with Hung Shao. They are the Jade Friendship Society and the China Gate Society.

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Jade Friendship Society Chinatown’s largest and most established secret society, this group has several hundred members throughout the city, including many within the ranks of the city’s business elite. Much like the Freemasons or any other fraternal order, the Jade Friendship Society offers a chance for its members to network and help one another in secret, away from the prying eyes of press and stockholders. The Society’s greatest power is their hold on real estate within Chinatown. Its members own as much as fifty percent of the property in the region, and have influence over much more of it. In San Francisco’s cutthroat real estate market, such ownership gives them a lot of money and tremendous influence over zoning, appraisals, and the construction business. When Hung Shao’s zombies started showing up in member’s homes, the Jade Friendship Society pulled together and hired some of the best mercenaries they could find to help fight back. With no magic to aid them, they rely on having the biggest and best guns money can buy.

China Gate Society Originally founded to help new immigrants avoid exploitation at the hands of the white man, the China Gate Society has become one of the main exploiters itself. Where once it helped immigrants get work permits, good jobs, and homes, now it is one of the major people smugglers in northern California. Using its money and connections in China, the society sneaks people out who want to move to America, charging them tens of thousands of dollars a person and shipping them over in the holds of cargo ships. When they arrive, the China Gate Society gives them jobs in its own sweatshops and factories where they earn sub-standard wages as they try to pay off the cost of coming to America. Hung Shao has his own reasons for wanting immigrants, and although China is full of would-be Americans, the immortal sorcerer made his move against the China Gate Society in order to take over their business. The China Gate, not expecting such an attack, initially took heavy losses but now is recovering and looking for allies against the mysterious threat. They have made overtures to several Triad gangs as well as some of the local sorcerers for protection.

Secret Society Power Broker Strength 2 Intelligence 4 Dexterity 3 Perception 4 Constitution 2 Willpower 5 Life Points 26 Speed 10 Endurance Points 32 Essence Pool 20 Qualities: Charisma 3, Contacts (City Government) 5, Contacts (Business) 5, Good Luck 2, Resources (Multimillionaire) 5, Status 5 Drawbacks: Covetous (Greedy) 1, Honorable 1 Skills: Acting 2, Bureaucracy 4, Brawling Cheating 3, Gambling 4, Guns (Handgun) Humanities (Business) 5, Intimidation Notice 3, Questioning 3, Smooth Talking Storytelling 3, Streetwise 3

1, 1, 4, 5,

The rank and file secret society members come from all walks of life and have an enormous variety of skills and specializations. Zombie Masters may use any of the other Supporting Cast Member write-ups presented in this book, if appropriate, or may create their own society specialists as needed.

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The Triad Gangs

Crimson Fists

The Italians have their Mafia, the Japanese their Yakuza, and the Chinese have their Triads. The ruling organized crime syndicates in Chinatown (and much of San Francisco) are the Triads, a loose confederation of gangs made up almost entirely of ethnically Chinese members. These gangs are involved in all of the traditional organized crime operations: drugs, prostitution, protection, gambling, and assassination. Triad members join for life, and pledge utter loyalty to the gang’s bosses. All of the gangs have ties to larger criminal organizations oversees, not only in China, but throughout Southeast Asia. There are two main gangs involved in the battle with Hung Shao: the f*ckien Dragons and the Crimson Fists.

With their base of operations only two blocks away from the Chuan Fa Import/Export Company, the Crimson Fists have long known that their neighbor was more than he seemed. A neighborhood gang with strong ties to street crime, prostitution, and protection rackets, the Fists lost more than half of their members when Hung Shao’s zombies attacked. Their leadership dead and rank and file demoralized, the Crimson Fists decided to cut a deal. Hung Shao raised the leadership from the dead and now the Triad’s living and dead members work hand in hand as the first line of defense for Hung Shao.

f*ckien Dragons

Along with the immigrants came their culture and knowledge, including the ancient martial arts for which China is famous. Numerous masters and students have left their homes for America, fleeing the turmoil of twentieth century China. Still teaching the traditional ways, these masters of unarmed combat have carried on the legacy of their forbears. Chinatown today is home to some of the world’s greatest martial artists, humble men and women who practice their arts in secret, teaching only those worthy of such knowledge. Although commercial studios for the masses abound, the true secrets of the Chinese martial arts are only found in the Brotherhoods. These Brotherhoods (most of which teach men and women) exist as sanctuaries for those who wish to devote their lives to perfecting their body, mind, and spirit. Members live and breathe the martial arts, many of them as austere as monks. Three prominent Brotherhoods exist: the Golden Tigers, the Night Boxers and the Wind Dancers.

The oldest and most powerful gang in Chinatown, these tough-as-nails gangsters control much of the drug trade in the neighborhood. With active recruiting and a fearsome reputation, the Dragons keep their lower ranks filled with young men and women with no fear and short life expectancies. Meanwhile, the old men who run the gang live far away from the action on the streets, surrounded by high walls and well-armed bodyguards. The Dragons suffered only minor losses in Hung Shao’s initial attacks and have begun to feel out the enemy. A captured zombie has tipped off the Dragons’ leadership that there is something very unusual going on so they are playing it safe, sacrificing minor street thugs in suicide attacks to gain more intelligence on the mysterious Daniel Hong.

Triad Tough Strength 3 Intelligence 2 Dexterity 3 Perception 2 Constitution 2 Willpower 2 Life Points 30 Speed 10 Endurance Points 26 Essence Pool 14 Skills: Brawling 3, Gambling 2, Guns (Handguns) 3, Hand Weapons (Club) 3, Pick Pocket 1, Stealth 1

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The Brotherhoods

Golden Tigers Masters of the Five Animal styles of Shaolin KungFu (tiger, crane, dragon, snake, and monkey), the Golden Tigers have taught in Chinatown for over a century. The grandmaster of the brotherhood, Li Ho, is now in his late seventies but remains as healthy and strong as ever. The small man’s serene presence and incomparable skill inspire his students to greater heights, making the Golden Tigers the largest and most successful Brotherhood in the city. With close to

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fifty members, the Golden Tigers have sworn to turn back the evil emanating from the Chuan Fa Import/Export Company. Armed with traditional weapons and their own formidable abilities, the Golden Tigers seek to protect the decent Chinatown folk who make up the vast majority of the population. Thus far, they have had limited success.

Golden Tiger Member Strength 4 Constitution 4 Dexterity 4 Intelligence 2 Perception 2 Willpower 3 Life Points 42 Speed 20 Endurance Points 38 Essence Pool 29 Qualities: Essence Channeling 3, The Gift, Increased Essence Pool +10 Skills: Acrobatics 3, Hand Weapon (Staff or Sword) 3, Martial Arts 3, Myth and Legend (Chinese) 3, Occult Knowledge 2 Combat Moves: Counterpunch 3, Kick 3, Jab 3, Punch 3, Stabbing Hand 3, Spin Kick 3 Powers: Chi Punch, Combat Sense

Night Boxers The most secretive of the Brotherhoods, the Night Boxers teach fighting skills, as well as the art of moving through the city, and indeed through life, unseen. They are talented spies and assassins, but do not hire themselves out as mercenaries. Their leader, the enigmatic Madame Zhao, has her own agenda. She has used her two- or three-dozen followers to gather secrets about the other groups in the city. Thus far, she has managed to stay out of the conflict. It is rumored that she has discussed working with Hung Shao. Her ultimate plans remain a mystery.

Wind Dancers Under the guise of a public Lion Dance troupe, the Wind Dancers have recruited from the youth of Chinatown for decades. By teaching their students from an early age (as young as three), the Wind Dancers create extremely talented teenagers who can

Night Boxer Member Strength 4 Constitution 4 Dexterity 4 Intelligence 2 Perception 2 Willpower 3 Life Points 42 Speed 16 Endurance Points 38 Essence Pool 29 Qualities: Essence Channeling 2, The Gift, Increased Essence Pool +10 Skills: Acrobatics 2, Acting 2, Disguise 2, Hand Weapon (Staff or Sword) 3, Martial Arts 3, Stealth 5 Combat Moves: Breakfall 3, Counterpunch 3, Crescent Kick 3, Flip 3, Sucker Punch 3, Stabbing Hand 3 Powers: Balance of the Cat, Blind Strike kick serious ass. These young warriors aid their communities and families through the martial arts and performances for charity. Hung Shao thought little of the Dancers until a group accidentally stumbled upon a squad of zombies attacking an aged mystic. They fought off the monsters, earning the enmity of the ancient Hung Shao. After zombies started showing up at their homes, the Dancers decided they needed to take the fight to the source and now wage their own war against the evil sorcerer.

Wind Dancer Member Strength 4 Intelligence 2 Dexterity 4 Perception 2 Constitution 4 Willpower 3 Life Points 42 Speed 16 Endurance Points 38 Essence Pool 29 Qualities: Essence Channeling 2, The Gift, Increased Essence Pool +10, Situational Awareness Skills: Acrobatics 3, Dancing (Lion Dance) 3, Fine Arts (Pick One) 2, Hand Weapon (Staff or Sword) 3, Martial Arts 3 Combat Moves: Breakfall 3, Counterpunch 3, Grab 3, Judo Throw 3, Roll with Blow 3, Spin Kick 3 Powers: Be Like Water, Flying Kick

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Sorcerers and Mystics Although they rarely organize in groups like the underground organizations, Chinatown has more than its share of sorcerers, fortunetellers, alchemists, and mystics. Most are charlatans, playing on the fears and hopes of the gullible. Some are healers—men and women knowledgeable in the esoteric truths of Chinese medicine including acupuncture, herbalism, and chi cleansing. More than a few, however, practice true magic, consorting with spirits and demons, casting magic spells and curses, and even, like Hung Shao himself, raising the dead. Those with real power generally keep a low profile, but most of these wizards have reputations within their own neighborhoods, either as good and wise figures that help the community, or evil and dangerous spell casters that should be avoided at all costs. Two of the more prominent mystics in Chinatown are Eg Chin and Charlie Mak.

Eg Chin Publicly this old man is one of the most well known figures in Chinatown, especially amongst the lower classes. He makes his living as a tour guide and herbalist, but also runs a soup kitchen and shelter for the local homeless and a monthly mahjong tournament for the elderly. His multi-colored, thirty-year old school bus is a common sight throughout Chinatown as he shuttles tourists one way and home-

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less the other. All that and a powerful sorcerer too, although only few carefully chosen, and extremely loyal neighborhood Chinese know this latter fact about him. A master of magic, particularly divining and clairvoyance, he has kept a close eye on Hung Shao for the past two decades. Now he is trying to rally the community against the evil threat, although with everyone scared for their own skin, it is proving very difficult.

Charlie Mak Born in Chinatown seventy years ago, Charlie Mak was ten before he heard his first word of English. The youngest of eight children, his parents apprenticed him to a local healer and wizard who proved to be an abusive and stern taskmaster. Although Charlie learned the mystic arts well, he grew up a bitter, cold man. He sells his power and potions for a high price and cares little for the people he helps. If he had ever traveled outside of Chinatown, he might think of leaving it altogether, but he sees this place as his home and cannot be bothered to find a new one. When Hung Shao and his zombies began their offensive, Charlie Mak was one of his first targets, but the wily old magician managed to escape. Now he focuses his hatred on Hung Shao, although he still refuses to work with others except for his few apprentices and servants. He has decided to start raising his own army of zombies to fight Hung Shao, a secret program he plans to unveil when the time is right.

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Eg Chin Strength 2 Intelligence 5 Dexterity 2 Perception 5 Constitution 4 Willpower 6 Life Points 34 Speed 12 Endurance Points 41 Essence Pool 64 Qualities: Charisma 3, Essence Channeling 4, The Gift, Increased Essence Pool +40, Status 3 Drawbacks: Clown, Honorable 2, Showoff Skills: Acting 2, Cheating 1, Disguise 2, Hand Weapons (Sword) 3, Instruction 4, Language (American) 4, Myth and Legend 5, Occult Knowledge 6, Pick Pocket 1, Research/Investigation 3, Rituals (Chinese Magic) 5, Singing 3, Smooth Talking 4, Storytelling 5, Swimming 1, Trance 3, Unconventional Medicine 4

Charlie Mak Strength 1 Intelligence 6 Dexterity 1 Perception 4 Constitution 2 Willpower 6 Life Points 34 Speed 6 Endurance Points 32 Essence Pool 85 Qualities: Essence Channeling 5, The Gift, Increased Essence Pool +65, Photographic Memory, Resources (Wealthy) Drawbacks: Cowardly, Humorless, Lazy Skills: Cheating 3, Haggling 4, Language (American) 4, Myth and Legend 4, Occult Knowledge 6, Questioning 3, Rituals (Chinese Magic) 7, Sleight of Hand 3, Streetwise 3, Unconventional Medicine 4 Powers: Can cast any of the spells in the Magic in Chinatown section (see p. 104).

Powers: Can cast any of the spells in the Magic in Chinatown section (see p. 104).

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The Palace of Hung Shao The challenge has been laid down, the battle lines drawn, and war has come to Chinatown. What started with a blitzkrieg offensive of zombies has turned into a stalling action as Hung Shao strives to preserve his rapidly aging body. He grows physically older at the rate of about one year per month, and does not have long before his body of fifty-five gives up the ghost. Unfortunately for him, his enemies have come knocking at the door of his underground palace. Now, he races against time as his zombies try to hold the gates against all comers. The warehouses and offices of the Chuan Fa Import/Export Company sit in the center of Chinatown, away from any main roads. Truckers making deliveries to the large building always complain about the difficulty of navigating the neighborhood’s narrow streets just so they can get to the cramped Chuan Fa loading docks. The building itself takes up an entire city block and is surrounded on all sides by decades-old, run-down, low-income housing. Hung Shao has an unspoken agreement with the local residents: he keeps the area free of crime and they turn their heads the other way when it comes to his building.

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Hung Shao still has not made a full mental transition into the modern age. He does not have a state of the art security system, closed circuit video cameras, motion detectors, or any of the other fancy gadgets that guard most important places today. Instead, he relies entirely on the two things that have served him so well for so long: zombies and magic. The Zombie Warriors who patrol the building possess more ability than the scores of undead servants who make up the majority of the palace’s work force. They are smart enough to tell who should be there and nasty enough to send most intruders packing (if they are lucky enough to get away without becoming a meal). In the lower levels of the palace where Hung Shao makes his home, he has placed a number of magical traps and alarms to alert him and his guardian corpses of any intruders. The three-story building consists mostly of warehouse space, holding boxes piled high with everything from imported rice noodles to expensive art and furniture. The company has legitimate clients across the country that have no idea their main supplier is a millennia old necromancer, or that their boxes are hand packed by undead workers. The front of the building houses the corporate offices. Here, the company’s only living employees take care of all

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the paperwork and phone calls that keep a busy enterprise going. Two armed, living security guards man the reception desk, with a half dozen Zombie Warriors on immediate standby behind a hidden door in the foyer. Zombie Warriors patrol the inside of the warehouse and watch over the loading docks while worker zombies labor around the clock, loading and unloading crates and boxes.

the elevator plummeting twenty stories into a pool of salt water that quickly fills the elevator, drowning anyone inside unfortunate enough to require regular intake of air. Relying on the water, not the impact, to take care of unwanted visitors, Hung designed the elevator to cut through the water, allowing it to be reused after a dunking. Even so, the impact with the water causes D10(5) damage to anyone inside.

Tucked back amongst a number of boxes that never seem to get moved, in the corner farthest from the loading docks, an old, rickety freight elevator passes down through the floor. Two Zombie Warriors stand guard inside it at all times, just waiting for the wrong person to open the door. They attack anyone who does not carry one of the many protective talismans Hung Shao supplies for his trusted employees. The head of the living guards at the front door and several of the Crimson Fist gang leaders possess such talismans (which are simply jade discs inscribed with Hung Shao’s name and, as any mystic can tell you, enchanted). The elevator of course leads down into the palace itself.

Odds are intruders do not know the right button (although they do have a five percent chance of being right). Fortunately, the elevator has grown a little rickety since Hung Shao conceived of it forty years ago. The steel doors do not lock as tightly as they once did and daring guests have a chance to pry them open and escape (requiring a Difficult Strength Test). Still, they find themselves swimming in a sizeable pool in the bottom of the palace, with a number of Zombie Warriors on their way to check and see just what these wrong-button-pushing intruders are up to. From this point, they can make their way into the rest of the palace using the variety of corridors, slides, ladders, stairways, chutes, rope bridges, conduits, vents, and hallways that connect the various rooms of the palace.

The Underground Lair Once the elevator travels below the warehouse level, things start to get really strange. There are twenty levels to the palace, together comprising more than two square miles of floor space. The rooms vary from zombie-sized storage cells to a grand throne room with a high vaulted ceiling. Moreover, the precise layout of the palace changes on a regular basis. This is accomplished through traditional construction, magical alteration, and an ingenious built-in mechanical system that actually moves rooms from one place to another. As can be imagined, this makes finding one’s way around the palace a little confusing, especially for outsiders. Given the transitory nature of the place, no set map of Hung Shao’s palace exists. Once the characters get inside, where they go and who meet is largely up to Hung Shao, the insane architecture, and of course the Zombie Master. The entrance elevator, despite having twenty different buttons only opens to two places: the right one and the wrong one. Every day, Hung Shao decides which button takes the elevator to the Entrance Hall. Pushing any other button sends

Some of the more popular rooms in the palace that guests are likely to encounter are the Entrance Hall, Earth Prison, Laboratory, Factory Floor, Shelves and Throne Room

Entrance Hall Those who press the right button travel down about 80 feet (26 meters) and find themselves in the plush, elegantly appointed Entrance Hall. Red and yellow carpets cover the floor and classical Chinese statues and paintings line the walls. The long rectangular hall extends away from the elevator doors (which are faced with gold and ivory dragons from the hall side). Four Zombie Warriors stand on duty here at all times, cunningly disguised among the lifesized statues. Each is dressed in classical Chinese plate mail and armed with a spear. They make no move until an intruder (someone without a talisman) crosses in front of them. The hall extends for a hundred yards (meters) before ending in a 20-foot (seven-meter) high portrait of Hung Shao. Wooden doors, carved with his-

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toric scenes and images from Chinese mythology, are spaced along either side of the hall every ten yards (meters). Depending on the current configuration of the palace, some lead to other rooms, floors, and chambers, while others open onto darkness, stonewalls, or simply do not open at all.

Earth Prison The Chinese call their hell the Earth Prison, and Hung Shao has created his own version of that land of the dead. This area of the palace often takes up an entire floor and consists of scores of different rooms, each offering a different kind of torment. Hung Shao, always a sucker for tradition, hates the idea of having an empty hell, so even when he does not have anyone he needs tortured, he fills the rooms with zombies and zombie tormentors. While the zombies do not feel pain like the living, they are not big fans of the Earth Prison and its horrors. As commanded by Hung Shao, their screams of agony echo through the Earth Prison as flesh is flayed from bone, spikes are driven into bodies, brands applied to skin, and a thousand other torments inflicted. The sorcerer finds these sounds soothing and often walks through the rooms when restless in order to calm his nerves. Captured intruders usually end up here in the hands of the skilled torturers (who have stats like normal Zombie Warriors but also know a bit about human anatomy and how to make it hurt—add Sciences (Physiology) 3). The zombie prisoners take their punishment without trying to escape. Their tormentors do not accost intruders unless someone tries to interfere with their work.

Laboratory Here Hung Shao works night and day to try and discover a way to halt the aging process once more. It is also the place where zombies are born. This sprawling, low-ceiling room stinks of chemicals, strange herbs, and wild concoctions. Huge vats of foul smelling liquids line one wall of the lab, occasionally bubbling over and spilling some of their noxious contents on the floor. Inside the vats float corpses, future zombies who must soak for a few days before Hung Shao performs the final mystic rites of reanimation. Along the opposite wall rest

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ten-foot (three-meter) high sets of shelves filled to overflowing with various sized bottles containing herbs, dried bits of dead animals, powders, potions, and philters—everything a mad sorcerer could need to carry on his experiments. Two objects occupy the room’s center: a stone table stained with dried blood and other liquids where Hung Shao reanimates the dead, and a twenty-foot long table covered with alchemical apparati and the remains of Hung Shao’s most recent experiments (of late, carefully dissected human bodies).

Factory Floor This area is the source of cheap toys, clothes, and flatware, all guaranteed made in the USA. Buy American—even if the workers are undead illegal immigrants. Hung Shao’s factories produce inexpensive, shabby products that find their way into discount stores across the country, often under the label of some more famous brand. Zombies are the ideal workers; his factory runs twenty-four hours a day without break. All of the work is hand done— no great machines or industrial contraptions. The Factory simply consists of hundreds, sometimes thousands of dead people hunched over workbenches sewing jeans by hand, putting heads on dolls, or dyeing linens. For the most part, they use the same basic manufacturing techniques that have existed in China for thousands of years. There are no guards in the factory, nor is there any need for them. The zombies simply do what they are told. They ignore any attempts to distract them from their work. The finished products get packed in crates and taken up to the warehouse upstairs for shipping (a good way to escape without attracting too much attention).

Shelves Zombies may be tireless workers, but they do wear out eventually. The combination of rot, muscular atrophy, and the slow but devastating effects of friction are the biggest culprits. After all, zombies do not heal like living folks and their skin cells do not replace themselves. Most zombies quite literally work themselves to the bone, after which point they are just not useful anymore. In order to ensure productivity, Hung Shao likes to keep plenty of extra

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zombies on hand, mostly would-be immigrants he snatches right off the boat. They have a very long shelf life. The Shelves are a series of 60-foot (20-meter) high cubic rooms with human-sized cubbyholes lining all four walls. These holes are each large enough to hold a sitting adult body, which is exactly what most of them do. Room after room of zombies, sitting patiently in their cubby holes in ranks twelve high. Until activated by Hung Shao or some other magic force, they wait, ignoring anyone who comes into the room, even if the intruder physically harms them in some way. They do however stare at any movement. Is there anything creepier than walking into a room lined with staring dead people? Probably, but whatever it is would not be any fun either.

Throne Room The Grand Throne Room lies at the center of the Palace, the axis around which the rest of the rooms revolve. The marble floors, gold inlaid ceiling, priceless antique decorations and pure majesty of the room are a testament to Hung Shao’s age and power. Murals depicting his great victories hang on the walls. A squad of ten Zombie Warriors, dressed in jade armor, stand at attention at all times. The most impressive thing of all of course is the throne itself. How many emperors ever had a throne that moved? Resting on a dais raised two body lengths higher than the rest of the room, the throne consists of five zombies, each dipped in gold and enchanted to remain flexible. These zombies contort themselves into the shape of a throne, including armrests, a comfortable seat, and firm back support. The Throne can actually walk if it wants to, or freeze in position so well that it looks like a grotesque gold statue. Lately, in order to conserve strength, Hung Shao’s preferred mode of travel throughout the palace has been seated in his throne. If desired, Hung Shao can even have his throne separate into its five constituent corpses. These Golden Five represent the best of Hung Shao’s fighting zombies, utterly loyal and amazingly skilled warriors who have been with the sorcerer for thousands of years.

Hung Shao Strength 3 Intelligence 8 Dexterity 2 Perception 7 Constitution 7 Willpower 8 Life Points 34 Speed 18 Endurance Points 59 Essence Pool 90 Qualities: Essence Channeling 5, The Gift, Increased Essence Pool +55, Multiple Identities, Resources (Multimillionaire), Situational Awareness Drawbacks: Covetous (Ambitious) Skills: Cheating 7, Fine Arts (many) 5, Hand Weapon (Dagger) 4, Humanities (Business) 4, Intimidation 6, Myth and Legend 9, Occult Knowledge 9, Play Instrument (Oriental Flute) 4, Questioning 4, Research/Investigation 6, Rituals (Chinese Alchemy and Magic) 8, Smooth Talking 6, Storytelling 4, Survival 4, Unconventional Medicine 6, Writing 5 Powers: Catch Bullets, Chi Bolt, Flying, Golden Bell, Power Flick, Wave of Chi. Hung Shao can cast all of the spells in the Magic in Chinatown section (see p. 104).

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The Golden Five Strength 7 Intelligence 2 Dexterity 2 Perception 3 Constitution 2 Willpower 3 Life Points 45 Speed 18 Endurance Points n/a Essence Pool 30 Qualities: Essence Channeling 4 (8), The Gift (5), Hard to Kill 10 (10), Increased Essence Pool +10 (2) Skills: Acrobatics 6, Hand Weapons (Staff) 6, Hand Weapons (Sword) 6, Martial Arts 5 Combat Moves: Punch 5, Kick 5, Flip 5, Jump Kick 3, Spin Kick 3, Stabbing Hand 3, Sucker Punch 3, Trip 3 Attack: Bite D4 x 2(4) slashing damage Weak Spot: Spine (5) Getting Around: Quick Dead (10), Leaping (3) Strength: Monstrous Strength (10), Damage Resistant (5) Senses: Like a Hawk (2) Sustenance: Who Needs Food? (8) Intelligence: Language (1); Long-term Memory (5); Tool Use 2 (6) Special: Strength in Numbers (with other Golden Five only) (6)

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Individual Powers and Zombie Aspects: Zombie 1: Chi Bolt (5), Fighting Flying Head (3), Wall Crawling (2) Power: 130 Zombie 2: Drunken Punch (3), Bone Blade Kick (2), Undead Flexibility (3) Power: 128 Zombie 3: Hurricane of Kicks (3), Burrowing Finger (5), Shuriken Nails (1) Power: 129 Zombie 4: Super Throw (3), Grasping Feet (5), Sword Arm (4) Power: 132 Zombie 5: Chi Punch (3), Ribs of Doom (3), Snake’s Spine Lunge (4) Power: 130

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Zombie Worker

Zombie Warrior

Strength 2 Intelligence 2 Dexterity 2 Perception 2 Constitution 2 Willpower 2 Dead Points 15 Speed 4 Endurance Points n/a Essence Pool 12 Skills: Brawling 2, Manual Labor 3 Attack: Bite D4 x 2(4) slashing damage Weak Spot: Spine (5) Getting Around: Life-Like (3) Strength: Dead Joe Average (0) Senses: Like the Living (1) Sustenance: Who Needs Food? (8) Intelligence: Language (1); Long-term Memory (5); Tool Use 2 (6) Power: 37

Strength 4 Intelligence 2 Dexterity 3 Perception 2 Constitution 2 Willpower 2 Dead Points 15 Speed 4 Endurance Points n/a Essence Pool 12 Skills: Brawling 4, Hand Weapons (Knife) 2, Hand Weapons (Spear) 3, Hand Weapons (Sword) 3, Intimidation 4 Attack: Bite D4 x 2(4) slashing damage Weak Spot: Spine (5) Getting Around: Quick Dead (10), Leaping (3) Strength: Strong Like Bull (5), Iron Grip (1) Senses: Like the Living (1) Sustenance: Who Needs Food? (8) Intelligence: Language (1); Long-term Memory (5); Tool Use 2 (6) Power: 67

Sustenance and Spreading the Love Zombies created by Hung Shao do not spread the love. Zombies are created through magic and as long as the magician who created them remains alive, they have the sustenance they need. Once the magician dies, the zombies remain animated, but cannot regain lost Dead Points.

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Magic in Chinatown The following sections present a basic set of magic rules. This very simple system is designed to create fast and loose magic for the Zombie Masters. Most characters have no access to magic. Thus, Zombie Masters can pretty much make magic up as desired, especially if following these guidelines. For those looking for a much more detailed magic system, the Unisystem companion roleplaying game WitchCraft is ideal. The detailed and comprehensive rules presented in that book should more than suffice. (Of course, Zombie Masters could import another magic system from some other game, but then they would not be spending money on Eden stuff and that would make us sad.)

Essence and Magic Magic spells, like Inspired Miracles and Special Chi Techniques, are powered by the spell caster’s Essence. Magicians usually have more Essence than normal folks, thanks to a lifetime of cultivating and increasing their own abilities. An experienced wizard should have 30 to 40 additional Essence points (see Increased Essence Pool Quality, AFMBE, p. 48).

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Casting a spell requires the sorcerer to gather enough Essence. This is done via Essence Channeling (see p. 38). Once the proper amount of Essence is gathered, the sorcerer attempts a Focus Task. Each spell is a skill all its own, and they are generally combined with the Willpower Attribute (this may be varied by the Zombie Master). In general, only one Success Level is necessary for the spell effects to take hold, but the Zombie Master can raise or lower the number required, or the effect of extra successes, depending on circ*mstances. When the sorcerer succeeds at the Focus Task, he spends the Essence Points and the spell takes effect. If the Focus Task is failed, the Essence gathered is lost. Further, the sorcerer may be stunned (Difficult Willpower Test to avoid) by the backlash of mystic energies (-3 to all actions, cumulatively for a number of Turns equal to the Essence Points gathered). Sorcerers are rare and powerful and have lots of spells at their disposal. For starters, assume they have spells that mimic the effects of all of the Special Chi Techniques at the same Essence costs. Of course, this hardly extinguishes the range of possible spells. Those in the nearby sidebar may be used to supplement the powers available, and (of course) the ZM can and should make up stuff as desired.

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Spells Animate Objects (Essence Cost 6): The sorcerer can cause normally inanimate things, like carpets, ropes, chair, and even statues, to come alive. The objects can attack, grapple, or otherwise annoy the enemy. After the initial Essence cost to animate, one Essence Point must be spent per Turn to keep an animated thing moving. The caster cannot use other magic while he concentrates on the object(s), but he can animate more than one item at a time (given the proper Essence expenditure). The Zombie Master should make up stats as he sees fit. In general, the more flexible a thing (like rope or a rug), the higher its Dexterity and Speed; the tougher an object, the higher its Strength and Damage Capacity. Brew Potion (Essence Cost 10): The sorcerer uses a mixture of herbs and spices, along with his own magical energy, to create a brew that increases one Attribute by one level for one hour. For each ten additional points of Essence spent, the sorcerer can add another point, to the same or another Attribute. Each brew has six doses, although a single person can only benefit from one dose at a time. Clairvoyance (Essence Cost 4): The caster can see into a faraway location. It must be either somewhere he knows well or someplace he has a connection to. For example, if he had a lock of hair from a person, he could see wherever that person is at the time. The more Success Levels in the Task used to cast the spell, the more details he sees and the longer it lasts.

Create Zombie (Essence Cost 20): This takes a few hours or days to accomplish, but in the end the magician revives a dead corpse, creating a basic Worker Zombie. For every additional ten points spent, the caster can supplement the zombie with five character or Power Points of abilities. As long as the conjuring magician stays alive, the corpse is provided with sustenance (zombies automatically gain Who Needs Food? Aspect). Invisibility (Essence Cost 5): The caster and whatever he is wearing/holding becomes invisible. An additional one Essence Point must be spent for every minute he wishes to remain unseen. In combat, the concentration is more difficult, and the cost rises to one Essence Point per Turn. Flaming Sword (Essence Cost 3): The sorcerer summons a flaming sword of pure magical energy to his hand. The mystic blade may be maintained by spending one Essence Point per Turn, and no other magic can be employed while wielding the weapon. The sword does D12(6) x Strength damage and has a 50% chance of setting flammable items it strikes on fire. Thought Control (Essence Cost 5): The sorcerer can control another person’s thoughts, making them do things and answer questions as long as they are within ear shot and line of sight. This power requires intense concentration and cannot be used during combat. Once the spell is successfully cast, the caster and target make Resisted Willpower Tests. The caster gains bonuses equal to the Success Levels of the Thought Control Focus Task roll.

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Scenarios The volatile situation in Chinatown’s underground offers scores of different opportunities for adventure, bloodshed and mayhem. With the various factions competing with one another and against Hung Shao, the players have plenty of sides to choose from. The Zombie Master should have the players make different kinds of characters depending on how he plans to involve them in the setting. Two examples of possible Flesh Eaters in Little China approaches are discussed below, and the types of characters appropriate for the setting are detailed.

A Night on the Town The players should create an average group of Survivors or Inspired, just as normal for All Flesh Must Be Eaten. In this scenario, the Cast Members are a group of tourists who end up getting involved in much more than they can handle one night while out on the town. The characters should be adventurous sorts, not the type of people who would run from a fight (because it would not be much of an adventure if it involved 60+ year old nuns, unless they were butt-kicking 60+ year old nuns). Some good ideas for groups include: a biker gang looking for some food and fun; U.S. Navy sailors on shore leave; a street

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gang from another city checking things out; a radical militia group on vacation; or even just an average group of fairly dangerous folks on a tour of historic Chinatown. Alternatively, the Zombie Master could have the Cast be a group of Martial Artists come to learn the secrets of Chinatown. He might even allow a few Shooters to join in the festivities to help round out the party. The group is going to a quaint, out-of-the-way restaurant that their guidebook says has the best Peking Duck in all of Chinatown. Finding the place is harder than they thought, and they have wandered into a maze of back alleyways and unmarked streets as they follow the directions a local gave them fifteen minutes ago, and a slightly different set that another local gave them five minutes ago. Things start to go wrong when a Triad gang, the Crimson Fists, spies the party and views them as easy pickings. The Zombie Master should establish ahead of time either a Supporting Cast Member that everyone is attached to, or some important item like a truck or motorcycle that the characters will do something rather rash to recover. Whoever or whatever that thing is, the Crimson Fists swoop in and snatch her/him/it. Of course, the Cast immediately dispute this claim, most likely with violence (hey, they could talk their way out the situation, but what fun is that?).

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The gang should look tough but not more than the group can handle. Quick action, they think, should end this situation without too much trouble. In the ensuing pursuit/fight, the heroes mix it up with some of the bad guys while the rest spirit off with whatever was snatched. Once the screening bad guys are dispensed with, the Cast has to figure out where the gang members took their cherished thing. Well, the Crimson Fist colors, and their lord and master (i.e., Daniel Wong a.k.a. Hung Shao, zombie master and evil sorcerer) are well known among the more secretive and the less savory elements of Chinatown. If the party needs a little help getting pointed in the right direction, the Zombie Master can involve one of the Brotherhoods, Eg Chin, the mystic tour guide, or some other colorful ethnic character. The pursuit involves the characters in a night-long adventure that takes them through the Chinatown underground. At the gang’s hangout, they encounter their first zombie, a Crimson Fist member that Hung Shao raised (a Zombie Warrior, see p. 103). From there, the trail leads to the Chuan Fa Import/Export Company and into the lair of Hung Shao himself. It seems that the person or thing proves somehow critical to his efforts to find a new cure to his aging problem. There, the heroes must try to save the object of their affection and get out of the sorcerer’s lair alive. That means fighting through all the Zombie Workers, Zombie Warriors and other surprises that Hung Shao has lined up against them. One or more of the other underground groups might weigh in for or against the Cast Members, and any of them may seek to use the characters to further their own agendas. The party might discover that the China Gate Society is secretly working with Hung Shao, selling him immigrants fresh off the boat so that he can turn them into Zombie Workers. The f*ckien Dragons might try to recruit the characters to help them against the Crimson Fists, and they rarely take “no” for an answer. The Night Boxers probably wish to have a word with the characters and find out what they know about Hung Shao, especially if they have been inside his underground palace and managed to escape alive. Any of these groups certainly complicates the situation, but more importantly might help the Cast out of a jam, for a price.

Attempts to alert the authorities meet with little success. One or the other of the underground groups has already paid the local cops plenty to look the other way. Hung Shao in particular has a lot of money and influence invested in the hall of justice to make sure they remain blind to whatever he does. A call to the police gets reported to Hung Shao’s servants and usually results in a couple of zombies knocking on the door, rather than officers and a patrol car. Seeing the lay of the land, the characters might decide to make a run for it early on, if they are “discretion is the better part of valor” sorts. After they have attracted Hung Shao’s attention, however, they will find they have a very hard time leaving the city. The key to running this scenario is to keep things constantly on the go. The players should have so much thrown at them that they scarcely have time to stop and think. The encounters should not be just zombies and gang members, but potential allies and mysterious characters like the Night Boxers. The more groups and bizarre Supporting Cast Members the Zombie Master introduces, the more interesting the scenario becomes. Eventually though, it should all come back to the core of the setting: dealing with, and perhaps eliminating, Hung Shao and his zombies. If things go badly, a Cast Member or two could be allowed to escape to gather a new party and return, this time with much more knowledge about what they are up against.

We Band of Brothers In this scenario, the characters start out just a little bit more in the know. They represent the majority membership or entirety of one of Chinatown’s secret martial arts brotherhoods. They should all create Martial Artist characters. The Zombie Master should put some work into devising the Brotherhood’s master/teacher, someone with even more kick-butt abilities than the Cast Members. Characters can come from a wide variety of backgrounds. One might be a recent immigrant who learned kung-fu in the old country and looks down upon these new-world wannabes and their delusions of martial arts prowess. Another might be the master’s child, trained since birth to take over the Brotherhood some day. Maybe one of the characters is the first non-Chinese ever to

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learn the system, making him the butt of many jokes and an object of scorn. Whatever their differences, all of them have two things in common: a devotion to their school and the ability to open up a can of whoop-ass on anyone who comes a-knocking. The scenario begins on a relatively normal day. The Brotherhood is training in its studio in the heart of Chinatown, as they do every day. Perhaps they are also doing something for the community or welcoming a new member to their august ranks (this could be one of the Cast Member’s first day training with the group). All is as it should be when, out of nowhere, a group of thugs break down the door and come charging into the room, all of them focused on taking out the master. If the characters do not leap into the fray quickly, the master might get seriously injured, perhaps even die. As the characters fight, it quickly becomes apparent that these are not ordinary thugs. They fight well and pain does not seem to bother them at all. What’s more, they are really hard to knock out. And . . . what’s that smell? Oh yeah . . . and they are zombies. After the Cast Members beat these undead attackers, they have to figure out just what the hell is going on. Well, Hung Shao has started his attack, and he is determined to take out all of the major players in the Chinese underground who might be a threat to him, including the martial arts Brotherhoods. Asking

around town, the characters soon discover that a number of similar attacks occurred at the same time and not everyone fared as well as the characters did. Under the direction of their master (assuming he survived), the Cast Members get to meet with a number of different groups, some more friendly than others. They also get a visit from the f*ckien Dragons who took heavy losses from the attacks, so heavy none of those involved in the attack lived to tell the tale. The Dragons want a word with these kung-fu punks who managed to beat the killers off and they expect to get some answers. This leads to a tense situation, but if the heroes keep their cool there need be no fight. Indeed, the Dragons should prove valuable allies. Over the next few days, the attacks continue, although no one new comes looking for the Cast. A number of Secret Societies, including the Jade Friendship Society try and enlist the aid of the now famous heroes to protect them from their hidden enemies. If they take on the job, the party meets up with plenty of zombies to fight. However, the attacks seem to have taken on a new focus: kidnapping. Men, women, and children suddenly begin disappearing all over Chinatown, including relatives and friends of the Cast. At the same time, rumors start flying that the mysterious Daniel Hong is in some way behind the recent attacks.

This gives the party a number of leads to follow, all of which eventually lead back to the same place: the Chuan Fa Import/Export Company (and its dangerous owner). That is where the attacks are coming from and that is where a witness or two has seen some of the kidnapped victims dragged. Of course, the party has no idea what this place is or why zombies seem to be operating out of it. As far as they know, it is just another warehouse. Once they start poking around though, they will figure out that they are probably in over their heads a little. Really brave, dumb, or lucky Cast Members might succeed in making their way in and back out again in one (relatively intact) piece, but they should not be able to kill Hung Shao or do to much damage to his operation on their own. After their reconnaissance and whatever discoveries accompany it, the heroes need a plan. Unfortunately, they have also managed to make Hung Shao notice them again, and this time he wants to take care of them for good. He decides first to send some of the Crimson Fist gangsters on a little drive-by. Assuming the heroes survive that (which they should, the triad gangs are not that tough), they gather that Hung Shao means business. When the street thugs fail, Hung Shao pulls out the big guns: two of his Golden Five, the elite warriors who comprise his Throne, come calling. They do not arrive for tea and crumpets.

Hopefully, the party uses its down time to make some new friends. Likely candidates include other Brotherhoods, maybe the f*ckien Dragons or the Jade Friendship Society, and hopefully one of the local mystics. With the help of a spell-slinger and some warrior allies to boost their power, the Cast has a chance to survive the two Golden Five, get into the Palace (maybe through some hidden underground passage) and defeat the nefarious Hung Shao, ending his immortal reign. They had better do it quick, especially if they want to save the kidnapped victims. Hung Shao is not turning them into zombies. He has figured out a stop-gap measure to halt the aging process. He is using the hostages as fodder, sucking out their life energy (Essence) and transferring it into himself. The younger the victim, the better the Essence transfer and the more longevity Hung Shao gains. Unfortunately, it takes about a person a day for the process to work, and Hung Shao knows he cannot keep it up forever. For now, it will have to do. Maybe by the time Chinatown’s empty, he will have figured out a better way.

Hired Gunman Shooter Str 2 Dex 4 Con 4 Int 3 Per 4 Wil 3 L P s 34 E P s 32 S p d 16 E s s e n c e 35 Qualities/Drawbacks Addiction (Heavy Smoking) (-2) Addiction (Habitual Drinking) (-1) Essence Channeling 2 (4) Fast Reaction Time (2) The Gift (5) Honorable (-1) Increased Essence Pool +15 (3) Nerves Of Steel (3) Reckless (-2)

Personality Please come in, have a seat. You’re not wearing a wire, are you? Of course not . . . but I have to ask. Would you like some wine? A beer perhaps? Very well then. So my sources tell me that you are planning a raid against Hung Shao? Not the wisest course of action to undertake in any circ*mstances but especially not now. I have heard rumors about what goes on in that palace of his—disturbing rumors. Several of my associates have entered into Hung Shao's employ and been profoundly changed by the experience. If I am to cross paths with him then my regular fee will be doubled. Yes. Doubled. I am not a coward but neither am I a fool.

Skills Acrobatics 2 (4) Brawling 2 Driving (Car) 2 Electronic Surveillance 3 Guns (Handgun) 4 Guns (Submachine Gun) 3 Notice 3 Stealth 3

Besides, I am worth every penny. You know that— why else would you be here?

Quote

Powers

“You think you’re worthy enough to call yourself an adversary? You’re a statistic, nothing more.”

Acrobatic Shooting (2) Ain’t Got Time To Bleed (3) Blind Firing (3) Eagle Eye (2) Instant Reload (2) Penetrating Shot (3)

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Wind Dancer Martial Artist Str 4 De x 5 Con 5 Int 3 Per 4 Wil 4 L P s 45 E P s 44 S p d 25 E s s e n c e 40 Qualities/Drawbacks Adversary (Local Street Gang) (-2) Clown (-1) Essence Channeling 2 (4) The Gift (5) Hard To Kill (1) Honorable (-2) Increased Essence Pool +15 (3) Obsession (Ridding the Streets of Hung Shao’s Evil) (-2) Obsession (Training for Hours a Day) (-2) Situational Awareness (2)

Skills Dancing (Lion Dance) 3 Escapism 2 Fine Arts (Painting) 2 Hand Weapon (Staff) 4 Martial Arts 4 (8) Streetwise 2 Stealth 3

Combat Moves Breakfall 4, Counterpunch 4, Grab 3, Flip 3, Judo Throw 3, Roll with Blow 4, Spin Kick 3

Powers Balance Of The Cat (1) Be Like Water (3) Great Leap (1) Golden Bell (3) Hurricane Of Kicks (3) One-Inch Punch (1) Speak Nicely to Betsy (Staff) (3)

Personality Shrimp. Short stuff. Runt. I heard it all when I was growing up. I sucked it up and tried to give as good as I got. When I hit my teens I tried out for the Crimson Fists, just like my two brothers had done before me. Turns out though they had an unspoken height requirement. So, I made my own way as best I could. I taught myself martial arts using books and instructional videos. Then my brothers died in a skirmish with Hung Shao’s men. I hadn’t spoken to either of them in almost a year but they were my brothers, damnit! I couldn’t take Hung Shao and his thugs on directly, but I sure as Hell could be a thorn in his side. I burned a business or two, and any dirt I could find went to the newspapers or the police. I suppose it was inevitable that they would catch up to me. I scrapped as best I could, but they just kept coming. I thought I was done for. The next thing I knew there were these six figures standing between me and my attackers. They fought with this unearthly grace—kind of like a dance. After they’d beaten back Hung Shao's men they took me in. They told me what was going really going on in Chinatown. They told me what had really attacked me in that alleyway. They offered to train me to make me one of them. That was months ago. Now I’m a fullfledged member of the Wind Dancers. We’ve been biding our time, waiting for the right moment to launch a full-scale assault. I hope I live long enough to see it.

Quote “When you’re a Wind Dancer, you’re the top cat in town! You’re the gold-metal kid with the heavyweight crown!”

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Bodyguard Martial Artist Str 4 Dex 5 Con 4 Int 4 Per 5 Wil 3 L P s 42 E P s 38 S p d 18 E s s e n c e 25 Qualities/Drawbacks Attractiveness (2) Charisma (2) Essence Channeling 2 (4) Fast Reaction Time (2) The Gift (5) Honorable (-2) Nerves Of Steel (3) Situational Awareness (2)

Personality No one ends up doing this on purpose; the field is nothing but reformed criminals and failed cops. Which am I? None of your damn business. All you need to know about me is that I’m a good shot and with a minimal effort I can leave even the most crazed stalker with a dislocated shoulder and pissing blood. Also, unlike some of my counterparts I don’t look like a thug, I look like one of the entourage. Rhiannon Lovecraft needs that kind of protection. After appearing on the covers of Rolling Stone, People Magazine and Playboy, she’s become the flavor of the month. Of course I’ve been with her from her first album. You know, the one that almost nobody seems to own?

Skills

Everything was going great until the Chinatown concert. After the show, these five . . . things attacked. They were painted in solid gold—they looked like f*ckin’ Oscar awards come to life! I tried to hold them back, but even bullets wouldn’t stop them.

First Aid 2 Guns (Handgun) 3 Martial Arts 3 Notice 2 Stealth 2

Combat moves Arm Lock 3, Breakfall 3, Disarm 3, Flip 3, Grab 3, Judo Throw 3

Powers Acrobatic Shooting (2) Balance Of The Cat (1) Instant Reload (2) Multiple Shooter (3) One-Inch Punch (1) Rain of Fists (3)

The police seemed to think the whole thing was a publicity stunt. I tried to find her myself but I’m no detective. These two guys I ran into, Kurt and Wang, they clued me in. Apparently some weirdo named Hung Shao has a thing for Rhiannon . . . or at least he has a thing for her eyes. We’re raiding his palace tonight, a kind of three-pronged rescue mission. Wang tried to warn me that I was going to see some pretty terrible things in there. I have to laugh at that, what could be more terrible than knowing the woman you love is in danger?

Quote “Not on my watch do you hear me? Not on my watch!”

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Chapter Four

Crimson Fist Renegade Zombie Personality

Str 4 Dex 4 Con 3 Int 3 Per 3 Wil 3 D P s 24 E P s n/a S p d 18 E s s e n c e 20

Running with the Crimson Fists, I didn’t really appreciate the value of life. Now that I’m dead, I understand. Being alive is siting on the beach with a six pack of cold ones and your best girl at your side. What I have now is like warm beer and the Playboy channel. Hung Shao told us we had to work for him now, that our souls belonged to him. For a while, I believed and I did some pretty “f”-ed up things as a result. Stuff I’m not proud of.

Qualities/Drawbacks Adversary (Crimson Fists) (-2) Attractiveness (-4) Cruel (-1) Essence Channeling 3 (6) The Gift (5) Hard To Kill 3 (3) Humorless (-1) Increased Essence Pool +10 (2) Obsession (Making Crimson Fists Pay) (-2) Physical Disability (Crippled Hand) (-2)

See—the other gangs didn’t belly up like we did. They fought back hard, like we should have. So Hung Shao decides that we’re going to kill their families, grandparents, parents, brothers and sisters, children.

Skills Brawling 2 Dodge 2 Guns (Handgun) 3 Intimidation 3 Lock Picking (Mechanical) 2 Stealth 2 Streetwise 3

I said no and I quit. Fought my way out of there like Jet Li on crack.

Powers Hand-Gun (3) Multiple Shooter (3) Attack: Bite D4 x 2(4) slashing damage Weak Spot: Spine (5) Getting Around: Quick Dead (10), Leaping (3) Strength: Strong Like Bull (5), Iron Grip (1) Senses: Like the Living (1) Sustenance: Who Needs Food? (8) Intelligence: Language (1); Long-term Memory (5); Tool Use 2 (6) Special: Bullet Sponge (2), Undead Flexibility (1) Power: 90

Now, I’m Hung Shao’s public enemy number one. I know too much and it’s only a matter of time before I use that information against him. He’s got half his guys, dead and alive, searching for me. Good luck, no one knows the streets of Chinatown like I do.

Quote “What are you gonna do? Kill me?”

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C H A P T E R 5

ONCE UPON A CORPSE IN CHINA

He must be seeing things. An Wu could not imagine any other logical explanation. Rubbing the sleep from his eyes, he sat up in bed, expecting the vision of loveliness to fade from view. No, she was still there. Wait! Even better, now there were two . . . no three . . . no five of them. Five beautiful women stood around him, moving seductively, swaying in the night air. How could this be? A present from his students? A gift from his fellow masters in congratulations for a job well done? Clearly someone wanted him to have a very pleasant evening. Who was he to refuse a gift? The master of the Striking Snake style reached out to touch the nearest woman, a lithe young thing whose body moved away alluringly beneath her sheer silk wrap. He rose from the bed to approach another of the girls. She too danced away from his grasp. Now the women surrounded him. Five girls. Hmmmm. Something seemed familiar about them. He was sure he had seen them before . . . “I know you, yes?” asked Master An Wu. “You do not recognize us, oh great and glorious teacher?” inquired one of the girls in a haunting tone. “Oh, how soon they forget their conquests, these men, eh sisters?” chided another. “We remember you very well, sifu,” whispered a third, just behind An Wu’s ear. “Mayhap if you see our faces, oh Master of the Striking Snake!” cried the fourth as she rose up in front of him. She pulled the veil away, revealing her beautiful yet horrifyingly recognizable face. “This cannot be . . .” whispered An Wu in disbelief. “Oh, but it can, An Wu,” said the fifth, her voice full of menace. “It is we, the Sisters Li!” An Wu knew immediately that he was in trouble. He and the others had killed these women. Yet here they, or their spirits were, obviously thirsting for vengeance. They would not have it. He was the Master, they but students of a dead teacher.

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The five converged upon him. He leaped into the air, somersaulting backwards over their heads and landing in a fighting crouch. He called out to his students for aid, but knew that for the moment at least, the fight was his alone. The two closest sisters lunged forward, hands outstretched like claws. He dropped low and swung his right leg in a lightning fast arc, sweeping their feet from under them. Unbalanced, the women fell back. A third sister jumped over the two and launched a flying side-thrust kick towards An Wu. The Master moved deftly to one side and grabbed the girl as she passed by, sinking his fingers into key nerve points that would leave her paralyzed before she hit the ground. Redirecting her force, he sent her flying into a nearby wall. The first two sisters had regained their feet and joined with the remaining she-demons. Now all four advanced on him at once, although he noted with some pleasure, more cautiously this time. He went on the offense, moving in amongst them with a flurry of strikes and punches. Summoning his Chi, he struck one girl in the solar plexus with a powerful palm strike, shattering her ribs and no doubt collapsing her lungs. A swift spinning kick impacted another girl’s jaw, ripping it out of its socket and sending her sprawling. They clawed at him mercilessly but found only air. He was too fast. Two swift rear kicks knocked the other two back, leaving him alone in the center of the room. Looking around to survey the damage, An Wu gasped in disbelief. The girl with the crushed ribs was already standing, apparently unhurt. So too was the sister with the broken jaw. Even the girl who should have been paralyzed for hours began rising to her feet. How could this be? “You did not think it would be that easy did you, An Wu?” asked one of the sisters. “One does not return from the grave without learning a few new techniques, neh?” As if on some silent signal, they all rushed him once more. He cried again for help, but none would come. His students all lay dead, as soon would he.

Chapter Five

Introduction The place is historic China, sometime in the last thousand years. The date does not really matter because the conflict illuminated here is timeless. It is the battle between good and evil, pure and corrupt, and yes, woman and man. It is the story of rival masters who devoted their existence to being the best of the best. It is a tale of longing and desire, of hate and love—joined into one. Most importantly of all however, it is all about the zombies. Once Upon a Corpse in China seeks to recreate the high energy, fist-flying action of the traditional kung fu movie. Although some of the better films have definite historical locales and even fully developed plot lines, many more of these chopsockey flicks have little to sustain them other than the amazing fights (and that is usually enough for most viewers). Here the classic elements of these time honored kung fu films have been combined, then enhanced with the equally prestigious zombie genre in what might well be the greatest kung fu zombie setting ever seen on the face of the Earth (well, a pretty cool one, anyway).

The Masters The secret arts of kung fu first came to China back in 527 C.E. when the monk Bodhidarma journeyed across the Himalayas and founded the Shaolin Monastery. Developed originally as exercises to increase the physical and mental capabilities of the monks, the martial arts soon became a self-defense form as well. Taking inspiration from the animal world, the monks (who had no weapons) based their martial training on the movements of animals (who also had no weapons but managed to do quite nicely, thank you very much). Over time, the menagerie of animal styles increased and other techniques developed as well, based on such intimidating models as The Five Elements or Drunken Boxers. While the monasteries gave rise to kung fu, the knowledge soon spread beyond their walls. Monks and would-be monks who learned the styles would sometimes leave the monastery (or be thrown out), taking their knowledge with them. Others would come to the Shaolin Temple simply to learn to fight, never having any intention of leading the contemplative life that Bodhidarma had assumed would accompany such deadly training. Eventually these amazing close combat fighting techniques spread all over

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China, with teachers and masters setting up their own schools and taking on students to support them. Trained martial artists were sought out as soldiers and bodyguards, a role even some Shaolin monks filled from time to time. As our story unfolds, a number of masters of different styles exist all across China. Some are jealous of one another, others get along well enough with their peers, while a few simply keep to themselves. While the masters are usually wise enough not to pick fights with other teachers, their students are another matter entirely. Fueled with pride in their new abilities and the man responsible for training them, many hot-blooded young martial artists openly proclaim their schools to be the best by far. This leads to inevitable clashes between schools, the deadliness of which depends largely upon whether the masters agree with their students. On more than one occasion, two rival schools have actually gone to war, with one totally eliminating another.

The Fall of the Flowering Lotus One school that fell to such a fate recently was the controversial Flowering Lotus School. The school’s master, Li Shai, studied as a boy at the Shaolin Temple. When his father and brother died, he left the monastery to help take care of his mother and five younger sisters. Li Shai had excelled at the martial arts, mastering all of the different animal styles taught at the temple. Not wanting to lose his abilities, he continued training at home even as he worked the family farm with his siblings. In the little spare time he had, he began teaching his sisters kung fu, a practice unheard of in most provinces. Martial arts were for men, not women. Soon the Li girls began bringing home other young ladies from the village to learn under their big brother. Then boys and even older men and women from the surrounding countryside sought to study and train as well. Soon Li Shai had enough students to stop farming and open up his own kung fu school. He named it the Flowering Lotus School. Although women had learned kung fu from time to time at various schools, they did so mostly in secret. Never before had a master so openly declared his willingness to teach any woman or girl who wished to learn.

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Moreover, Li Shai’s Flowering Lotus style taught kung fu designed specifically for women, using their strengths in speed, flexibility, and endurance to their advantage. Jealous and spiteful rumors began to circulate that Li Shai was sleeping with his students, turning his school into a bordello, and generally trying to corrupt the purity of the province’s young girls. All these were lies and the women knew it. The men however, especially those who ran or attended other schools, choose to believe the outrageous slanders. Envious of Li Shai’s growing fame and the obvious abilities of his female students, they began to conspire together to shut down the Flowering Lotus School. When a group of masters from six different schools came and openly challenged Li Shai, the master and his five beautiful sisters (who had grown almost to master level themselves) accepted the challenge. In the ensuing battle, the Lotus School techniques managed to overcome the five masters, driving them off shamed and even angrier than before. Where their fists failed them, the disgraced masters chose perfidy. They hired an assassin to take care of the problem. Posing as a new student, the young female murderer infiltrated the school and slipped a deadly venom into Li Shai’s tea. Then she moved on to the five sisters who sat in contemplative silence, performing their nightly meditations. The killer burned a toxic incense in the room, releasing a poison gas that robbed the five women of their lives. Thinking her job complete, the assassin crept from the school and reported back to the five masters that she had succeeded at her task.

The Five Sisters What no assassin could have known was that when the five Li sisters entered their meditative trance, their souls actually left their bodies to commune on a higher plane. They saw everything the assassin did to them and their bodies and followed her back as she reported to her employers. Unfortunately, as disembodied spirits, there was little they could do about it. They continued to watch as the five masters returned, renewed their challenge, and with no one there capable of defeating them, tore the school down and sent its students scattering. A few devoted disciples of the

Chapter Five

Flowering Lotus stole away with the bodies of the five sisters. They could not understand why the obviously dead had not yet begun to deteriorate. They thought it an important sign nonetheless. The fugitive students took the five bodies to a nearby cave and secreted them there, honoring their memory and transforming the site into a kind of makeshift tomb. The spirits of the Li women looked on, touched by the devotion of their followers but frustrated beyond sanity at their inability to stop the wicked masters. In their grief-induced madness, the five disembodied souls came together and united in purpose. They would have vengeance. They would rebuild their fallen school. They had trained their bodies, minds, and spirits to heights few human beings ever achieved. If they could not overcome death, no one could. Thus, through sheer force of will, they reentered their own dead bodies and, amazingly enough, found that they could move. They were alive! Well, not quite alive. Although the bodies moved much as they had before, blood no longer flowed through their veins nor breath through their lungs. One of the sisters, so repulsed by the experience, tried to pull out of the body but discovered that she was trapped. The others quickly learned the same harsh fact and the discovery drove them all a little more insane than they already were. When some of their former students arrived the next day to pay homage to the dead, they marveled to find the five women huddled together, apparently very much alive. They were even more surprised when the women sprang up and pounced upon them, killing the would-be mourners in their frenzy. One sister came out of her death-induced madness long enough to regret what she had done. Weeping for her fallen student, the poor girl’s blood still on her hands, the regretful Li sister bent down and gently kissed the fresh corpses. A spark of energy arced between the two bodies, dead and undead. A moment later the recently murdered student rose in her own right, a zombie just like the woman who had killed her. The sisters repeated the miraculous process on two of the three remaining dead students. The third had been too badly mangled (what with her head being ripped from her body) to be restored to unlife.

Sweet, Seductive Vengeance Now the five Li sisters rise to fight again and take their vengeance on the five masters who killed them in first place. Simple revenge would not be enough, however. They would repay every master of every school who ever turned away a young girl who wanted to study. Of course, no one keeps records of such things. Just to be on the safe side, the sisters have decided to go ahead and kill every master in China so they do not miss any misogynists along the way. First, they set their sites on the man they assumed to be behind the plot for their own demise, Master An Wu. The destruction of An Wu and his school set the pattern that the five sisters plan to follow for the rest of their campaign of vengeance. Dressed in long robes and veils, the five beautiful corpses approached the school’s gates late one night. There a pair of students greeted the women, informing them that they must come back tomorrow morning. However, as the robes fell away revealing the near nude forms of lithe young women the two guards had second thoughts. They called a few of their comrades to the gate to join in the fun. They admitted the seductive strangers into the compound, blood hot from lust for these mysterious temptresses. As is common with young men, they made to take the women into their arms. However, before the much hoped for coupling could begin, the surprised students found embraces turned to crippling holds and caresses transformed to killing blows. A moment later, the five women stood alone in the compound, surrounded by the bodies of their victims. They made their way to An Wu’s chambers. The sleeping master woke up to what he thought must be a dream: five gorgeous women approaching him. The seduction soon turned to battle, and the battle to slaughter. The zombies tore into him, literally ripping him to shreds after a fierce battle. Then, covered in the blood of their victim, they set upon the rest of the school, flashing through the night and killing anything that moved. By morning, every person in the school was dead, including the serving women, wives, and daughters of An Wu and the senior students. These latter corpses the five sisters took with them, raising them with delicate kisses and adding to their growing army of the dead.

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The Current Situation Word of An Wu’s demise has spread quickly and the other schools all wonder who could possibly have committed such brutal murders with such apparent ease against trained martial artists. Naturally, the schools have begun casting their suspicions on each other and paranoia runs particularly rampant within the ranks of the four remaining schools that participated in the demise of the Flowering Lotus. Although no one in their wildest dreams imagines the Li sisters might have survived, many suspect that one of the remaining four schools plans to destroy the other five so no one can attest to their role in the perfidious destruction of Li Shai’s school. Even as they fortify their own schools, the four masters have sent investigators to seek out information about what happened at An Wu’s training center. The Emperor himself has gotten word of the massacre and has sent a Judge with an armed escort to investigate the goings on. Some even think the Shaolin Temple itself has sent a monk to look into the matter, although no one has yet seen him. The major players in this unfolding drama are the Golden Tiger School, the Striking Crane School, the Flying Dragon School, the Fighting Monkey School, the Imperial Judge Wei, and the Shaolin Brother Chu. Each will be discussed in turn.

The Golden Tiger School Run by Ts’ao Wu, the Golden Tiger School teaches powerful striking and grappling techniques. Its students are renowned for their strength and ferocity. Ts’ao Wu is a giant of a man, standing well over six feet tall and weighing close to three hundred pounds (all of it muscle). He, in his pride, does not fear whoever managed to slay his former colleague An Wu. Although he does not regret helping the other masters overthrow the Flowering Lotus, he dislikes having to associate with them if he can help it. When the Li sisters strike again, Master Ts’ao begins to grow more concerned and even more iso-

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lated. Eventually, if the attacks continue, he walls himself and his students in their heavily fortified compound and fights off anyone and everyone who attempts to enter.

The Striking Crane School Master Kao Lin of the Striking Crane School is the oldest of the conspiratorial masters and some would say the wisest as well. He teaches Crane style to his students, counseling them to be wise and patient in battle but to strike with quick and deadly efficiency when opportunity presents itself. Concerned about An Wu’s murder, he not only sends his own students to investigate but dispatches a letter to the local provincial governor, requesting a judge to investigate the matter. He suspects Lwo Tong, one of his fellow masters, of performing the murder (the two have never gotten along). For now, he publicly works with the other masters, while privately turning the suspicions of the Judge and anyone else towards Lwo Tong.

The Flying Dragon School Steeped in mystical traditions and the arts of meditation, Master Lo Chen of the Flying Dragon School is the only master who believes that supernatural forces might be behind the mysterious murders. He suspects not the Li sisters, but the avenging spirit of their brother Li Shai. While he normally trains his students in the well balanced and powerful dragon style, he has begun instead to teach them something he calls “Spirit Boxing.” This eccentric and ineffective technique involves “punching with your spirit” and “blocking with you heart” rather than the use of hands. While it might be effective against ghosts (and even that is debatable), it will do them little good when the zombies come knocking. Still, Master Lo’s interest in the occult makes him the most likely to find out the truth about what has actually happened and how to deal with it.

Chapter Five

Ts’ao Wu Strength 4 Intelligence 3 Dexterity 4 Perception 3 Constitution 5 Willpower 4 Life Points 46 Speed 18 Endurance Points 44 Essence Pool 43 Qualities: Cruel, Essence Channeling 4, The Gift, Increased Essence Pool +20, Resources (Wealthy), Status 4

Kao Lin

Drawbacks: Covetous (Greedy) 1, Honorable 1

Strength 3 Intelligence 4 Dexterity 5 Perception 3 Constitution 4 Willpower 5 Life Points 38 Speed 18 Endurance Points 41 Essence Pool 44 Qualities: Adversary (Lwo Tong), Fast Reaction Time, Essence Channeling 5, The Gift, Increased Essence Pool +20, Resources (Wealthy), Status 4

Skills: Climbing 4, Fine Arts (Calligraphy) 2, Hand Weapons (Staff) 6, Hand Weapons (Sword) 5, Intimidation 4, Martial Arts 5, Myth and Legend 3, Running 3, Tracking 4, Unconventional Medicine 3

Skills: Climbing 4, Dancing 2, Fine Arts (Poetry) 2, Hand Weapons (Sword) 5, Hand Weapons (Knife) 4, Intimidation 2, Martial Arts 5, Myth and Legend 2, Running 5, Tracking 2, Unconventional Medicine 4

Combat Moves: Arm Lock 5, Back Kick 3, Disarm 3, Grab 5, Head Butt 3, Kick 3, Punch 5, Shove 3

Combat Moves: Counterpunch 5, Crescent Kick 5, Jab 3, Roll with Blow 3, Shove 3, Stabbing Hand 5, Sucker Punch 3, Trip 3

Powers: Chi Punch, Iron Palm, Super Throw, Wave of Chi

Powers: Balance of the Cat, Flying, Hurricane of Kicks, Power Flick

Golden Tiger Student

Striking Crane Student

Strength 4 Intelligence 2 Dexterity 4 Perception 2 Constitution 4 Willpower 3 Life Points 42 Speed 16 Endurance Points 41 Essence Pool 29 Qualities: Essence Channeling 2, The Gift, Increased Essence Pool +10

Strength 4 Intelligence 2 Dexterity 4 Perception 2 Constitution 4 Willpower 3 Life Points 42 Speed 16 Endurance Points 41 Essence Pool 29 Qualities: Essence Channeling 3, The Gift, Increased Essence Pool +10

Skills: Climbing 2, Fine Arts (Calligraphy) 1, Hand Weapons (Staff) 3, Hand Weapons (Sword) 3, Martial Arts 3, Running 2, Tracking 2, Unconventional Medicine 1

Skills: Climbing 2, Dancing 1, Fine Arts (Poetry) 1, Hand Weapons (Knife) 3, Hand Weapons (Sword) 3, Martial Arts 3, Running 2, Tracking 1, Unconventional Medicine 2

Combat Moves: Arm Lock 3, Back Kick 2, Disarm 2, Grab 3, Head Butt 1, Kick 2, Punch 3, Shove 2

Combat Moves: Counterpunch 3, Crescent Kick 3, Jab 2, Roll with Blow 2, Shove 1, Stabbing Hand 3, Sucker Punch 2, Trip 2

Powers: Iron Palm, Super Throw

Powers: Balance of the Cat, Hurricane of Kicks

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The Fighting Monkey School

Lo Chen Strength 4 Intelligence 3 Dexterity 4 Perception 4 Constitution 4 Willpower 4 Life Points 42 Speed 16 Endurance Points 41 Essence Pool 43 Qualities: Delusions (Ghosts Haunt the Schools), Essence Channeling 4, The Gift, Increased Essence Pool +20, Resources (Wealthy), Situational Awareness, Status 4 Skills: Acrobatics 3, Climbing 2, Hand Weapon (Staff) 7, Martial Arts 5, Myth and Legend 5, Occult Knowledge 3, Storytelling 3, Unconventional Medicine 4 Combat Moves: Counterpunch 5, Grab 3, Judo Throw 3, Jump Kick 3, Kick 5, Punch 5, Stabbing Hand 3, Spin Kick 3 Powers: Chi Shout, Crippling Hold, Flying Kick, Healing Touch

Flying Dragon Student Strength 4 Intelligence 2 Dexterity 4 Perception 2 Constitution 4 Willpower 3 Life Points 42 Speed 16 Endurance Points 41 Essence Pool 29 Qualities: Essence Channeling 2, The Gift, Increased Essence Pool +10 Skills: Acrobatics 2, Climbing 1, Hand Weapon (Staff) 4, Martial Arts 3, Myth and Legend 3, Occult Knowledge 2, Storytelling 1, Unconventional Medicine 2 Combat Moves: Counterpunch 3, Grab 2, Judo Throw 2, Jump Kick 2, Kick 3, Punch 3, Stabbing Hand 1, Spin Kick 2 Powers: Chi Shout, Healing Touch

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Lwo Tong, master of the agile and devious Fighting Monkey School, teaches his students to fight with tremendous speed and to attack from unexpected angles. He also teaches them that the other masters in the area are all fools. He believes that An Wu somehow caused his own death. Not that he committed suicide but simply that he made some stupid and careless mistake. For him, everything is business as usual for the time being. He does wish the Imperial Judge was not snooping around, however, especially in light of his recent involvement in the Flowering Lotus School’s destruction. Further, he suspects Kao Lin, his long-time nemesis, of having a part in bringing in the “law.” He has no compunction about selling out the other masters if it means saving his own skin.

Lwo Tong Strength 3 Intelligence 4 Dexterity 5 Perception 3 Constitution 5 Willpower 5 Life Points 57 Speed 20 Endurance Points 44 Essence Pool 35 Qualities: Adversary (Kao Lin), Cowardly, Essence Channeling 3, The Gift, Hard to Kill 3, Increased Essence Pool +10, Resources (Wealthy), Status 4 Skills: Acrobatics 6, Climbing 6, Hand Weapons (Double Jo) 6, Martial Arts 5, Notice 4, Running 5, Sleight of Hand 5, Swimming 4 Combat Moves: Arm Lock 3, Breakfall 3, Flip 3, Grab 3, Judo Throw 3, Punch 3, Roll with Blow 5, Sucker Punch 5, Trip 5 Powers: Balance of the Cat, Drunken Punch, Great Leap, Rain of Fists

Chapter Five

Fighting Monkey Student Strength 4 Intelligence 2 Dexterity 4 Perception 2 Constitution 4 Willpower 3 Life Points 42 Speed 16 Endurance Points 41 Essence Pool 29 Qualities: Essence Channeling 2, The Gift, Increased Essence Pool +10 Skills: Acrobatics 4, Climbing 3, Hand Weapons (Double Sticks) 4, Martial Arts 3, Notice 2, Running 3, Sleight of Hand 3, Swimming 3 Combat Moves: Arm Lock 2, Breakfall 2, Flip 2, Grab 2, Judo Throw 2, Punch 1, Roll with Blow 3, Sucker Punch 3, Trip 3 Powers: Drunken Punch, Rain of Fists

Judge Wei The Imperial Judges in China have much more power and authority than their modern day counterparts. They function not only as judges in the 20th century sense of the word, but also as investigators and prosecutors. When they learn of a crime, they both find the culprit and bring him or her to justice. Judge Wei has served in this esteemed and feared office for over twenty years and has a reputation as one of the most successful and noble men to ever hold the office. Sent by the Emperor to look into the destruction of An Wu and his school, Judge Wei plans to leave no stone unturned. He has with him a group of investigators to help gather information and twenty soldiers to help apprehend the criminals when he inevitably discovers who they are. A practical man, Judge Wei does not suspect the supernatural until confronted with strong evidence. He believes one of the other four local schools is responsible for both An Wu’s death and the murders that proceeded Flowering Lotus’ fall.

Judge Wei Strength 2 Intelligence 6 Dexterity 3 Perception 7 Constitution 1 Willpower 5 Life Points 30 Speed 8 Endurance Points 35 Essence Pool 24 Qualities: Nerves of Steel, Situational Awareness, Resources (Rich), Status 5 Drawbacks: Honorable 2 Skills: Bureaucracy 5, Disguise 3, Fine Arts (Poetry) 3, Humanities (History) 4, Humanities (Law) 5, Humanities (Psychology) 4, Instruction 4, Intimidation 5, Myth and Legend 2, Notice 6, Questioning 5, Research/Investigation 6, Smooth Talking 3, Storytelling 3, Tracking 4, Traps 3, Writing (all) 5

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Imperial Investigators Strength 2 Intelligence 4 Dexterity 2 Perception 4 Constitution 3 Willpower 4 Life Points 30 Speed 10 Endurance Points 41 Essence Pool 19 Skills: Bureaucracy 4, Humanities (History) 3, Humanities (Law) 4, Humanities (Psychology) 2, Instruction 2, Intimidation 3, Myth and Legend 2, Notice 4, Questioning 4, Research/Investigation 4, Smooth Talking 2, Tracking 2, Writing 4

imperial Soldiers Strength 4 Intelligence 2 Dexterity 4 Perception 2 Constitution 4 Willpower 3 Life Points 42 Speed 16 Endurance Points 38 Essence Pool 19 Skills: Bureaucracy 2, Acrobatics 2, Brawling 4, Fine Arts (Pick One) 2, Hand Weapon (Staff) 4, Hand Weapons (Sword) 4, Intimidation 3, Notice 3

Brother Chu The Shaolin Temple has indeed sent a brother to look into affairs in the region. Although the Shaolin monks have no authority over any of these schools, they do have an interest in anything relating to the martial arts. Furthermore, the Temple’s abbot has had a premonition that there is more to An Wu’s death than meets the eye. Brother Chu, skilled in both the martial arts and investigative techniques, has journeyed to the region with little fanfare. He plans to keep a very low profile, not even entering the local towns and villages. He watches from a distance and only intercedes when he feels it necessary. He does however pay attention to rumors he overhears of a group of demon women living in the forest. When and if he learns of the zombies, Brother Chu does intercede, maybe at the last minute. In other words, he is the Zombie Master’s tool, ready to save the Cast Members or at least throw a wrench in the works whenever necessary.

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Brother Chu Strength 4 Intelligence 4 Dexterity 6 Perception 6 Constitution 5 Willpower 5 Life Points 71 Speed 22 Endurance Points 47 Essence Pool 52 Qualities: Artistic Talent, Essence Channeling 5, The Gift, Hard to Kill 5, Increased Essence Pool +10, Status 2 Skills: Acrobatics 5, Acting 3, Climbing 4, Dancing 4, Escapism 3, Hand Weapon (Staff) 7, Humanities 3, Martial Arts 6, Myth and Legend 3, Notice 5, Questioning 4, Rituals (Shaolin) 4, Running 5, Storytelling 4, Survival 4, Swimming 3, Tracking 4 Combat Moves: Back Kick 6, Breakfall 3, Crescent Kick 6, Disarm 3, Kick 3, Punch 6, Roll with Blow 3, Spin Kick 3, Sucker Punch 3 Powers: Balance of the Cat, Be Like Water, Chi Bolt, Flying, Healing Touch, Power Flick

Chapter Five

The Sisters Li on the March Having successfully wrought their vengeance at least once, the Li sisters have finally come to terms with their undead state the only way they could— by going completely insane. They have decided that the only way for everything to work out is if they destroy every man in China. While that might seem a little unrealistic, they are on the right track for ultimate victory. Although they alone carried out the An Wu murders, their growing army of zombie women has great potential for causing mayhem. In fact, the sisters have taken a little break in their program of murder to train their newly dead recruits in the new ways of Undead Flowering Lotus kung fu style. These lovely undead maidens make their base of operations in and around the cave where they first rose from the dead. The small underground lair is barely large enough for a dozen people to stand in, so most of the new zombies bide their time and train in the surrounding forest. Under the direction of the Li sisters, the zombies have taken to the trees, building simple platforms and hiding places that are effectively invisible from the ground. A traveler can walk right

through the area without ever suspecting that a gaggle of gorgeous corpses hang in the trees above, waiting for the signal to pounce. Not surprisingly, the woods have quickly earned a reputation with the locals for being haunted. As they experimented with their undead powers, the Li sisters learned a few simple facts about their zombiehood. First of all, only the five of them have the ability to create other zombies. Their “children” cannot bestow the magic kiss of unlife. Secondly, although they do not seem to need food, rest, or any of the other inconveniences of a living body, their offspring need regular infusions of something to keep them going. That “something” can come in one of two forms: another kiss from a Li sister or the soul of a recently dead human. Since bestowing kisses tires the sisters right out (each kiss transfers 24 Essence Points to the zombie which are consumed as “food” sufficient for one week), they have decided the best course is to let their followers feed. The zombies have made repeated raids on both merchant convoys and surrounding communities. In each case, they come in the night and attack without warning, stealing the women and girls and feeding on the souls of the men. Whole caravans have disappeared and at least one small village now stands

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empty except for the chickens. While these disappearances do raise suspicions amongst the locals, no one has yet attributed them to An Wu’s murder or the Flowering Lotus School’s untimely demise. Most suspect bandits or some other supernatural cause. Local charm makers and “sorcerers” are doing record business selling wards against evil (which do no good at all against the zombies). Now that their ranks have swelled to some fifty female cadavers, the Li sisters figure it is just about time to go after their next target, namely one of the four remaining masters. They know that this time they will not have the element of surprise as they did before. After An Wu’s murder, they can count on the rest of their targets being prepared for an attack. No fools they, the sisters have set about gathering accurate intelligence about their various targets. Even as Judge Wei and the four masters look into An Wu’s death, the sisters themselves have ventured out to muddy the waters. Wrapped in tight fighting silks and seductive veils, the sisters travel amongst the communities surrounding each of the four schools (each school has one or two nearby villages). Using their sexy wiles or brute force, they have been gathering data about the comings and going of the students and masters of each of the schools. One sister currently investigates each school while the fifth remains at the cave to oversee and train the growing zombie army. The appearance of such beautiful women has caused much talk in the region but few know what to make of it. Even Judge Wei has begun to wonder who these women are and why they are asking so many questions. The sisters hope to find a weak link in the defenses of one of the four schools. While walking up to the door and flashing the guards probably will not work a second time, seduction remains a useful tool. Most of the masters hide away in their schools, their students still leave the compound to buy food, visit friends, or otherwise interact with the people outside. The sisters hope to seduce at least one of these young men and convince him to let her into the school. Then she will

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creep out in the night and fling the doors wide so her siblings and their small army of zombies can storm the place. That is the plan anyway. Master Lo Chen of the Flying Dragon School has, through his meditations and investigations, concluded that there is something very strange going on in the forest near Li Shai’s old school. He thinks that perhaps Master Li’s shade has fled to the woods and haunted them. Even as the sisters plan to infiltrate one of the other schools, Lo Chen readies an expedition to the woods to put Li Shai’s ghost to rest. Although the “Spirit Boxing” techniques will not have much impact on the soul-thirsty zombie women hiding in the trees, the students will probably come to their senses quickly enough to give the zombie warriors a good fight. Meanwhile Judge Wei has decided that he needs to talk with one of these mysterious veiled women. His keen judicial instincts tell him that they are up to no good. Judge Wei has ordered his men to find one of these women and bring her to him for questioning. This will no doubt prove more difficult than he imagines since any given Li sister is a match for five, even ten men. Still, should Judge Wei succeed in capturing one of the women, he may discover their secret. Of course, regardless of his success, he will bring down the vengeance of the whole Sisterhood and their followers upon himself and his men. Finally, there is Brother Chu lurking behind the scenes, waiting to find out the whole story before he makes his move. Although he quickly learns of the zombie encampment, his abilities allow him to sneak in and out of the area without the women noticing him. He alone has realized that the five mysterious women are in fact the Li sisters. Chu plans to find out how they died and lived again, and what their exact plans are before he takes action. It might turn out that the five women have very good reasons for doing what they are doing, although of course they must stop attacking innocents.

Chapter Five

Combat Moves: Counterpunch 3, Crescent Kick 3, Flip 3, Grab 5, Jab 3, Judo Throw 5, Roll with Blow 3, Stabbing Hand 5 Powers: Balance of the Cat, Be Like Water, Chi Bolt, Flying, Healing Touch, Power Flick Attack: Bite D4 x 2(4) slashing damage Weak Spot: Heart (7) Getting Around: Life Like Movement (3) Strength: Strong Like Bull (5), Damage Resistant (5) Senses: Like the Living (1), Life Sense (4) Sustenance: Who Needs Food? (8) Intelligence: Language (1); Long-term Memory (5); Problem Solving (15) Individual Powers and Zombie Aspects Sister 1: Balance of the Cat (1), Bloody Mass (4), Chi Suck (4), Crippling Hold (3), Spying Eyes (2) Power: 146

Li Sisters Strength 4 Intelligence 2 Dexterity 6 (4) Perception 3 (1) Constitution 6 (4) Willpower 3 (1) Dead Points 45 Speed 24 Endurance Points n/a Essence Pool 39 Qualities: Attractiveness 4 (4), Essence Channeling 4 (8), The Gift (5), Hard to Kill 8 (8), Increased Essence Pool +15 (3) Drawbacks: Cruel 1 (-1), Delusions (All Men Are Evil and Must Die) (-5) Skills: Acrobatics 4, Beautician 3, Climbing 3, Disguise 3, Hand Weapon (Club) 4, Hand Weapon (Staff) 4, Martial Arts 5, Notice 3, Occult Knowledge 2, Seduction 3, Singing 2, Stealth 4, Tracking 2, Traps 3

Sister 2: Burrowing Finger (5), Fingerblades (1), Hurricane of Kicks (3), Undead Flexibility (3), Wave of Chi (4) Power: 148 Sister 3: Drunken Punch (3), Flesh Fist (4), Golden Bell (3), Prehensile Hair (3), Wall Crawling (2) Power: 147 Sister 4: Be Like Water (3), Bone Blade Kick (2), Fighting Flying Head (3), Flying (5), Trapping Flesh (3) Power: 148 Sister 5: Crimson Spray (1), Grasping Feet (5), Iron Palm (2), My Body is a Deadly Weapon (2), Whirling Cyclone Kick (3) Power: 145

The Sisters and Sustenance Unlike their creations, the Li sisters do not need to follow a particular feeding practice. The sisters “recharge” themselves from ambient Essence using their Essence Channeling abilities.

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Once Upon a Corpse in China Zombie Strength 4 Intelligence 2 Dexterity 2 Perception 2 Constitution 2 Willpower 2 Dead Points 15 Speed 4 Endurance Points n/a Essence Pool 14 Skills: Climbing 3, Hand Weapon (Club) 3, Hand Weapon (Staff) 3, Martial Arts 3, Tracking 2, Traps 2 Combat Moves: Counterpunch 2, Crescent Kick 2, Flip 2, Grab 3, Jab 1, Judo Throw 3, Roll with Blow 2, Stabbing Hand 3 Attack: Bite D4 x 2(4) slashing damage Weak Spot: Heart (7) Getting Around: Life Like Movement (3) Strength: Strong Like Bull (5) Senses: Like the Living (1), Life Sense (4) Sustenance: Weekly (4); Soul Sucker (5) Intelligence: Language (1); Long-term Memory (5); Problem Solving (15) Power: 59

Spreading the Love Zombies cannot spread the love. That “act of kindness” is only available to the Li sisters. They do it with a kiss, just as they help “feed” their zombie band.

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Chapter Five

Scenarios Wei Han, Judge “In tonight’s episode of Wei Han, Judge, our hero faces a threat they never prepared him for in law school: zombie vixens from beyond the grave!” In this scenario, the players take on the roles of the judge and his entourage as they investigate the mysterious martial-arts master murders. The characters should create Martial Artist characters as normal, with twenty or so extra points to allocate for investigation-oriented skills. One player can, if the group desires, play Judge Wei himself. In that case, the Judge gets only 10 points to spend on Special Chi Techniques but a whopping 60 points to spend on other skills. After all, he is Judge Wei—he knows everything. Alternatively, the Zombie Master can play the Judge as a remote but powerful figure who will aid the Cast Members but expects them to do the bulk of the work. As Imperial agents, the characters have a fair amount of authority and a Status of 2, at least. They can question anyone they please and arrest and detain those who do not cooperate. They can capture anyone who they determine has broken the law and, unless the person has a lot of influence or standing (like a

kung fu master or a local noble), sentence them to prison, to enslavement, to pay fines, or even to death. What they do not have is backup. Located far from any Imperial garrisons or other judges, the Cast must rely solely on their own abilities and the team of ten guards armed with spears who accompany them. The scenario begins a little earlier than described in the background, at least as far as the actions of Judge Wei are concerned. That is to say, they have just arrived in the region and have yet to question anyone. All they know is that the Flowering Lotus School closed under mysterious circ*mstances several months ago and that someone murdered Master An Wu and every man in his school very recently, kidnapping all the women and girls at the same time. When they arrive and ask around, they also find that there have been other strange disappearances and attacks on travelers in recent weeks. Master An Wu’s school stands much as it was after the murders, although locals have buried all the bodies in a makeshift cemetery beside the school (the villagers think the place haunted). Blood still covers the walls, the gate stands open with no signs of forced entry. An Wu’s bed chamber shows the most gore, with dried blood literally covering the floor and walls and pieces of flesh and bone still visible in the cor-

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ners. Here again there is no sign of forced entry. Judge Wei and the players can determine that whoever committed the murders had tremendous strength, yet managed to infiltrate the school without having to force their way in. The locals heard a few screams in the night but saw nothing. Over the course of the investigation, the Cast Members no doubt interact with the four remaining kung fu masters in the area. Each of them reacts as described. All of them regret their colleague’s death but none have much helpful information to offer. Likewise, they all try to avoid discussing the fall of the Flowering Lotus School, although they have nothing but harsh words for the former “women’s” school. They all deny having any knowledge of the death of Li Shai and his sisters, although Judge Wei might be able to discern that some of them are lying. Unfortunately, he cannot arrest such prominent men without some solid proof. As the Cast Members ask around among the locals, they hear of the disappearances taking place in and around the forest near the old Flowering Lotus School. Peasants in that area even claim that the ghost of Li Shai haunts the place. A quick walk through the forest reveals little unless the characters know what they are looking for. The zombie women remain hidden in their trees, unwilling to attack the intruders unless they somehow stumble upon the Li sisters’ cave or start climbing trees. Only one of the sisters is home in any event, since the other four are out trying to worm their way into the remaining schools. When the investigators ask around about the schools, they find that they are not the only ones asking questions. There are many tales of mysterious veiled women asking very similar questions. There are also tales that men who talk to these women are never seen again (the last stories are not quite true but the stories sound better that way). These suspicions alone might prompt the characters to try and find one of these veiled women and bring her in for questioning. When and if they do find a Li sister (which should not be too hard if they look in the taverns near the schools), she agrees to answer any questions they have but refuses to go with them or be taken into their custody. Her answers are evasive and of course all

Chapter Five

lies, and if pressed too hard she seeks to escape into the night. If the Cast Members do capture her, the other sisters learn of it and join together to set her free by any means necessary. This in turn could well lead the investigators back to the forest encampment. Whether or not the players make much headway in their investigations, events proceed without them. Whatever school the investigators are closest too finally succumbs to the Li sisters’ wiles. In fact, two of the sisters have managed to infiltrate their assigned schools at the same time. While one continues to “sleep” undercover, the other gives the signal for her remaining sisters and their army of zombie women to attack. The players hear the screams in the night but by the time they rush to the scene the carnage is mostly finished. However, they do have an opportunity to fight a group of normal zombies who are trying to kill a few of the escaping students. If the Cast Members act quickly and fight well, they save the students and thus learn valuable clues. They might also catch a quick glimpse of some of the Li sisters in action before they disappear into the night. The student witnesses tell Judge Wei and company that one of the other residents of the school picked up a beautiful girl in town and brought her back to the compound. That same girl was one of the leaders of the evil horde that slaughtered the master and killed most of the men in the compound. After the fight, the investigators also notice that all of the women are gone, even those who witnesses say died in the fighting. The zombies leave a trail of blood and footprints that heads in the general direction of the ruins of the Flowering Lotus School and the forest nearby. There are two possible climaxes for the scenario; either or both may be used. If the Cast Members saved the witnesses, they learn how the murderous undead maidens infiltrated the walled compound. If they act quickly, they have a chance to warn the other schools about this tactic. When they arrive at the closest school, they have just enough time to unmask the resident Li sister before she can open the gates. Of course, her siblings and their army attack anyway, making for a terrific kung fu battle. The other ending centers around a similar siege, although this time it is the Cast Members and any martial artists they can recruit laying siege to whatever remains of the zombie encampment in the forest.

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We Band of Sisters At the other end of the spectrum from good old Judge Wei sit the sisters Li. In this scenario, the players take on the roles of the zombie sisters themselves, seeking vengeance for their own deaths and the murder of their brother. The players should not feel bound to portray the sisters as entirely homicidal and insane as they were described in the background section. Perhaps, they simply want vengeance against the four masters. After that, they will give up their campaign of genocide against all the men in China. In fact, after that, they could become heroes of sorts, helping the needy and underprivileged across the land all the while trying to avoid relentless, evil zombie hunters. Instead of using the stats provided above for the five sisters, the players get to create them on their own. Character creation proceeds as normal for making zombies, although the Zombie Master might wish to give them some extra points to boost them up to the level of the she-demons presented earlier in the setting. If the group does not have exactly five players, the Zombie Master can either change the number of siblings or allow the players to create the non-player sisters for use if one of their characters gets destroyed. The scenario begins slightly earlier in the setting, right after the five zombie women have discovered their new powers but before they have sought to wreak their vengeance on any of the five masters responsible for their deaths. A lot of the fun in playing this scenario comes from plotting the demise of the dastardly kung fu masters. The first victim does not have to be An Wu, but since he was the leader of the cabal that brought them down, the sisters probably want to make him their first target. Although the Cast Members obviously do not have to use seduction as a weapon, the Zombie Master should make sure that they realize the option is open to them. Whether they wish to start recruiting new zombies is up to them. Their kiss is a powerful tool, make sure they use it wisely!

cover the Cast Members if they have not been careful. Killing Judge Wei only results in more Imperial attention, more judges, and larger contingents of troops. Likewise, killing Brother Chu brings more Shaolin monks, skilled martial artists who should each be a match for two or three of the sisters. In fact, the sisters do not have to make an enemy out of Brother Chu. If they explain the situation to him, he decides that it is fate’s hand at work and that these five masters deserve what they get. As long as the sisters confine their attacks to these men, he will not interfere. Judge Wei is not nearly so forgiving. The kung fu masters are prominent members of the community, and it is his job to bring these monsters to justice. Aside from the distractions Judge Wei and Brother Chu represent, the Cast Members’ greatest challenge lies with defeating the five masters. The Zombie Master should make each school a unique challenge. The same plan should never work twice. For example, the Flying Dragon School with its emphasis on the mystical might have magic of some sort it can use in its defense. The unpredictable Fighting Monkey School might be guarded by numerous traps. The bellicose Golden Tiger School should have scores of brave, strong warriors to overcome. The wily Striking Crane School might immediately figure out the zombies’ weak points, making them especially vulnerable to attack. Zombie Masters should let their imaginations run wild with the schools and what dangers they might contain for the sisters Li.

After they complete their first act of vengeance, the Cast Members draw some unwanted attention. The murder attracts both Judge Wei and Brother Chu to the region within the next week or so. They start asking around and looking into events and may well dis-

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Old Master Martial Artist Personality

Str 2 Dex 5 Con 4 Int 4 Per 5 Wil 5 L P s 40 E P s 38 S p d 18 E s s e n c e 40

I receive no respect. “Pay no attention to Myagi,” they say. “He’s a drunkard. He doesn’t even have a school.” Well, let me tell you something. You’d drink too if you were cursed with a goiter the size of an oxen testicl*! I am a true Shaolin master but no one comes to me for lessons. The other masters and their students mock me at every turn and children run from me in the streets.

Qualities/Drawbacks Addiction (Heavy Drinking) (-2 Point) Adversary (Pick a Master & his students) (-3 Points) Essence Channeling 3 (6) The Gift (5) Hard To Kill 2 (2) Honorable (-2) Increased Essence Pool +15 (3) Resources (Poor) (-6)

But now the schools are falling one by one, first that strange Flowering Lotus School and now the Striking Snakes have been slaughtered.

Skills Gambling 2 Hand Weapons (Staff) 4 Haggling 3 Instruction (Martial Arts) 4 Martial Arts 5 (10) Tracking 3 Trance 4 Unconventional Medicine (Herbal) 2 (4)

The schools are in the midst of a blood feud and I say let them die. When they are gone there will be nothing to stand in the way of me forming my own school. Students will come from all across China to learn my Lumpy Cat style of fighting.

Combat moves Arm Lock 5, Breakfall 3, Counterpunch 3, Disarm 3, Grab 5, Punch 5, Roll With Blow 3, Stabbing Hand 3

Powers

Quote

Balance of the Cat (1) Be Like Water (3) Chi Punch (3) Crippling Hold (3) Great Leap (1) Healing Touch (3)

“You mock my goiter because you fear my goiter.”

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Chapter Five

Undercover Magistrate Martial Artist Personality

Str 3 Dex 4 Con 4 Int 5 Per 6 Wil 3 L P s 38 E P s 35 S p d 25 E s s e n c e 40

How much longer must I walk among these damnable peasants? Can the fall of the Striking Snake school really be worth all this nonsense?

Qualities/Drawbacks Clown (-1) Covetous (Conspicuous) (-2) Essence Channeling 3 (6) The Gift (5) Honorable (-2) Increased Essence Pooll +15 (3) Reckless (-2) Situational Awareness (2) Zealot (Imperial Power) (-3)

Skills Acting 2 Bureaucracy 1 Disguise 2 Hand Weapon (Sword) 3 Intimidation 3 Martial Arts 3 (6) Questioning 3 Stealth 3 Surveillance 2

Combat Moves Breakfall 3, Counterpunch 3, Disarm 3, Punch 3, Spin Kick 3, Trip 3

These simpletons would kill each other over a bowl of rice, a scrap of cloth. They are one step above animals. I trained years to become a Magistrate, all in hope of escaping the manure and mud roads of the countryside. Now I am sent right back into the heart of it. My razor keen mind is wasted here; this is nothing more than an inter-school conflict gone mad. Apparently the four great masters in the area had some kind of a pissing contest with a fifth school, the Flowering Lotus. I am not sure how the conflict was resolved because no one, not even the village idiot will acknowledge the school even existed. They tell me the decrepit building on the outskirts of the forest is a whor*house that went out of business. I wish I was not forced to disguise myself and travel without our papers. All I would need is a handful of peasants and a set of bamboo shoots. Then I would have all the answers I needed.

Powers Catch Missiles (3) Flying Kick (2) Golden Bell (3) Power Flick (3) Rain of Fists (3)

Quote “Cretins! Since when do whor*houses go out of business?”

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Vengeful Student Martial Artist Personality

Str 4 Dex 5 Con 5 Int 3 Per 3 Wil 5 L P s 42 E P s 47 S p d 20 E s s e n c e 35 Qualities/Drawbacks Cruel (-1) Essence Channeling 3 (6) The Gift (5) Humorless (-1) Increased Essence Pool +10 (2) Nerves of Steel (3) Obsession (Avenging An Wu and the Striking Snake School) (-2) Reckless (-2) Recurring Nightmares (-1) Secret (Fled Striking Snake School During Attack) (-1)

One by one my fellow students are disappearing but still the Master does nothing. He knows the other schools have been suffering but he says we must be patient—that we must wait for our enemy to reveal itself. I know who our enemy is. You must suspect as well. Have you not heard rumors of the beautiful women seen wandering from village to village?

Skills Acrobatics 3 (6) Hand Weapon (Knife) 3 Hand Weapon (Sword) 3 Martial Arts 4 (8) Streetwise 3

I warned the master that merely closing down their school was not enough. Those women dared think they were equals to us. They needed to be humbled like errant dogs. Instead, we were lenient and they saw that lenience as weakness. Women thinking themselves the equal of men is an affront to the natural order of things. Now we must strike back, and put these women in their place once and for all. We will start with that farm girl, the one that slapped me. She is obviously in league with them.

Combat moves Armlock 4, Breakfall 4, Disarm 3, Flip 3, Grab 4, Jab 3, Stabbing Hand 3

Quote

Powers

“So you are not attracted to me? You must be one of ‘them’!”

Be Like Water (3) Crippling Hold (3) Flying (5) One-Inch Punch (1) Rain Of Fists (3)

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The whor*s of the Lotus “School” are hunting us.

Chapter Five

Vengeful Undead Student Zombie S t r 5 (1) D e x 3 (1) C o n 6 (4) Int 2 P e r 3 (1) W i l 3 (1) D P s 15 E P s n/a S p d 18 E s s e n c e 32 Qualities/Drawbacks Cruel (-1) Essence Channeling 4 (8) The Gift (5) Increased Essence Pool +10 (2) Obsession (Avenging An Wu and the Striking Snake School) (-2) Obsession (Destroying the Li Sisters and Their “Children”) (-2) Reckless (-2) Recurring Nightmares (-1)

Personality I will always remember the night I almost lost my virginity, for it was the last night of my life. I was out carousing with the other students. We were celebrating the fall of that whor*house disguised as a dojo. When we were walking back through the forest I lost my way, became separated from the others. As I wandered through the maze of trees, I spied a figure up ahead of me. So slender and so pale, at first I thought it was a ghost. When the shape spoke to me and I heard its voice I knew it was a girl. No, not a girl. A woman. She needed help, brigands had assaulted her. She was cold, she begged me to help her feel warm.

Skills

How could I refuse.

Climbing 3 Hand Weapon (Club) 3 Hand Weapon (Staff) 3 Martial Arts 3 (6) Tracking 2 Traps 2

She was relentless. My senses where overwhelmed with pleasure, this was more than I'd ever imagined. More than I'd ever hoped for. Then I felt a sharp tug. Pleasure became pain. There was no way I could stop the bleeding in time. I died but rage drove me back to the land of the living, back to my dead, castrated body.

Combat Moves (Based on Former School)

Powers Crippling Hold (3) Fingerblades (1) One-Inch Punch (1) Rain of Fists (3) Shuriken Nails (1) Undead Flexibility (1)

The dark sisters are fools if they think that only they are the ones capable of cheating death. I will revenge myself and I will find the one that struck me down that terrible night. We have unfinished business she and I.

Attack: Bite D4 x 2(4) slashing damage Weak Spot: Heart (7) Getting Around: Life Like Movement (3) Strength: Strong Like Bull (5) Senses: Like the Living (1), Life Sense (4) Sustenance: Weekly; Soul Sucker (5) Intelligence: Language (1); Long-term Memory (5); Problem Solving (15) Power: 90

Quote “I well remember the pain. And soon you will too.”

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C H A P T E R 6

UNDEAD KOMBAT

You train and you work and you dream, but you never think it will happen. I certainly never thought it would happen to me. I mean hell, I’m just a thirty-year old kung fu teacher from Hilliard, Ohio. I have a good life, good students and an unbeaten tournament record. I even had a feature about me written for Inside Kung Fu last year. All of which begs the real question: what the hell am I doing in the South Pacific fighting zombies in some crazy tournament? Unfortunately I don’t have a good answer. I guess I was bored. I’ve never done anything but teach and study martial arts. I opened my first school when I was seventeen and haven’t held any other job since. I train, I compete, I teach, I sleep, I wake up and do it all again. The only challenges in my life come from other martial artists. I’d competed in every tournament my sport offers and won them all. There was no challenger there for me. As for the only other way a successful martial artist can go—entertainment—well, let’s just say I have a face only a mother could love. So when this promoter approached me about participating in a televised, no-holds-barred martial arts tournament I listened to his story. He said it would be great. Free trip to Asia, $30,000 just for participating, $150,000 if I won. I had a mortgage payment due and, believe it or not, had never been outside the U.S. It seemed like the perfect opportunity. I trained like hell for a year, got on a plane, then a boat, and now I’m here. Well, this place isn’t what I imagined. It’s exotic sure, and there are plenty of cameras to catch all the action. And there are other martial artists, even a few I’ve heard of. And there are a load of freaks—monstrous, weird, and downright ugly freaks. At first I wasn’t sure what the deal was but I wasn’t too worried. I knew I could hold my own in a fair fight. But, of course, the first fight wasn’t anything like fair. It was me versus a freak and it turns out the freak is a zombie. Yeah, a freakin’ zombie. How do I know? Well, besides the fact that the guy who recruited me for this deathtrap told me, I don’t know how else you’d describe the thing I fought.

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He came in fast, trying to bowl me over with pure strength. I side-stepped and kicked low. I could hear the knee break. I thought “Hell, that was easy.” I heard it break but he must not have; he didn’t stop the fight. I’d slowed him down at least, or maybe he just had newfound respect for me. Either way, when he came again it was more slowly, cautiously. We feinted and jabbed, feeling each other out. He was fast but we both knew I was faster. He punched high and kicked low with the “broken” leg. I deflected the kick and trapped the arm, breaking his elbow with a palm strike and then knife-handing him in the throat. He scarcely felt it. He swung with his free hand, using it like a claw. I got an arm up but he scratched four furrows of skin from the back of my hand. I disengaged and jumped back. He came right after me, flailing his broken arm like a club. I moved back in, scooped him up and flipped him, driving his head down into the ground, breaking the neck and cracking his skull. “That’s gotta be it,” I thought. It wasn’t. He got up again, his head oozing some dark fluid and his neck twisted to one side. He was seriously broken but that didn’t seem to stop him for a moment. I hit him square in the groin with a front kick and followed in close with two powerful punches to the face, busting his jaw askew in the process. He staggered back but then came at me again. If it wasn’t so scary and impossible, it would have been funny. It went on like that for ten minutes. Eventually I beat him down, broke every bone in his body, and left him a quivering mass. He wasn’t dead though. Bastard was still trying to come at me. Finally someone threw me a machete. I cut the head clean—not hard since I’d broken the neck three times—and finally it stopped. I nearly pissed my pants I was so happy. Now I find out I have to do it again tomorrow. What the hell am I going to do?

Chapter Six

Old Soldiers Never Die General MacArthur once said that old soldiers never die, they just fade away. That is true as far as it goes, but as it turns out, they can also fade back in. Being a soldier carries with it a certain amount of karmic baggage. More specifically, being a soldier who actually gets around to killing other soldiers carries a great deal of karmic baggage. When one person kills another, a piece of the dead person’s soul attaches itself to the body responsible for its death. When a great soldier kills tens, hundreds, even thousands of other people, the web of connections can get pretty complicated. These karmic connections literally ensnare the soldier’s soul in a kind of limbo, stuck between this world and the next. The killer’s soul lies trapped in his own dead body, waiting for it to decompose and release him into the afterlife. Now this has been going on for as long as man has killed man, but of course no one ever realized it. How could they? The dead do not speak, right? Well actually, they do occasionally. Over the years, a few individuals have possessed the ability to commune with the spirits of the dead. They dis-

covered the fate of these lost souls. Still, even knowing the truth, there was little most of them could do about it. The exceptions were those powerful magicians who had other skills besides just speaking with the dead. In particular a group of Magi from the ancient Persian Empire realized that the inability of soldiers to efficiently shuffle off this mortal coil had great potential. The Magi became grave robbers, specializing in the corpses of fallen soldiers. Years of experimentation led them to discover that it requires the deaths of at least twenty other humans for a killer’s soul to become tied to the body. More years of experimentation passed and they discovered that as long as the soul was there, it still had a little bit of influence over how the body functioned. If they could somehow “jump start” the body, the soul could use it just like the old days. Elixirs were mixed, spells cast, dark gods consulted and in the end the Magi, now growing quite old, discovered how to breathe life into their cadaverous subjects. By sacrificing another life in conjunction with the right rituals, a decaying killer’s corpse could rise, and fight again.

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These experiments had implications far beyond the mere animating of the dead. The same technique could be used to ensure that the aged Magi themselves would never truly die. They could use their rituals to prolong their lives indefinitely, all the while served and protected by an army of highly trained undead killers. As far as they could see, the plan had no flaws. They had, in the course of their experiments, each killed hundreds of people so their soul were already bound to their bodies. The first of them agreed to commit suicide by poison so the others could resurrect him. He drank, died, and a few hours later (thanks to a human sacrifice) rose again. The process worked! Sure, his heart no longer beat and he hungered for the souls of the living, but he had beaten death and that was all that really mattered.

The Catch The rest of the Magi followed their trailblazing comrade into death and then undeath. Since they had only been dead for a few hours, they looked almost as normal as they did while they still drew breath (which is to say like a bunch of seventy-year-old Persians). They had around them several score of the bravest undead warriors Persia had ever produced, each willing to serve its undead master. The Magi thought little of the thirty or so subjects who had gone stark raving mad when reanimated and who they had been forced to destroy. Also, each of the remaining warriors was willing to serve the men who’d saved him from the hellish limbo of afterlife, but none was particularly interested in getting along well with the other undead.

The Magi returned to their “normal” lives with a renewed sense of purpose and strength. Their power grew and they began to carve out areas of the Empire to call their own. Then, roughly 25 years after they began raising corpses, they noticed something odd. The Magi had not counted on the fact that the human sacrifice used to bring these old soldiers (and themselves) back only keeps the body going so long. After a time, a new infusion of energy is necessary or it is back to the graveyard. Luckily this re-death is presaged by feelings of ravenous hunger and the zombie soldiers were quick to make their feelings on the matter known. They needed more souls. The Magi soon found that the original reanimation ritual did not satisfy the hunger. The Magi gathered to discuss the problem, each bringing a retinue of undead warriors as an honor guard. While the Magi closeted themselves and debated, the soldiers grew more and more hungry. Tempers flared and they resorted to their old ways, which is to say, beating the crap out of each other. The hungriest zombies attacked their comrades and low and behold, the victors in these desperate duels felt surprisingly refreshed. The hunger went away. Once roughly one half of the soldiers had killed the other half and everyone felt full, the fighting stopped. The Magi returned to discover the carnage and demanded to know what happened. Having heard the whole story, they determined that the unfortunate truth of the matter was that only by killing another could the undead satisfy their hunger. Worse yet, experiments soon revealed that only killing another zombie worked. This was a problem.

The Answer The Magi themselves wanted to live forever. More than that, they wanted to have something worth living for—their own private empire of endless pleasures and diversions. Winning an empire and keeping it requires an army, thus they had created their army of the dead. Now, it became apparent that maintenance of their empire required that they sacrifice a part of it. Some of their own kind must perish so that the rest could continue to exist. This fact raised the immediate question: who would end up on the losing end of this equation. Centuries before Darwin ever put pen to paper, the Magi came up with a solution: survival of the fittest. The answer was so obvious that it did not take long for this group of wise men to figure it out. The undead soldiers themselves had shown the way when, driven by their hunger, they had turned against one another. The Magi created a tournament wherein every soldier would compete against his fellows in battles to the death. The winner received the sustenance required to survive and helped weed out the weaklings from the pack. Of course, the Magi had to continue recruiting new soldiers in order to replenish their ranks and make sure the tournaments had enough contestants. That did not seem a problem since the human race showed no signs of giving up war or murder anytime soon. The Magi themselves would feast upon the souls of those soldiers who did not meet the tournament’s standards or anyone else amongst their followers they pleased. Their magic and authority ensured that none of the newly raised zombie warriors would challenge them. The only real threat came from each other. Realizing this, each of the Magi began to pull away from the group as a whole. They decided that each would take an equal share of the remaining soldiers and head in a different direction, claiming a piece of the planet for their own. There, the individual Magi could recruit from the local warrior population and establish their own base of support and sustenance.

case problems arise with the set-up of the tournament. Also, holding the tournament earlier than absolutely necessary means the combatants are not crazed with hunger and poor “showmen” during the festivities. Forcing all the Magi to engage their troops in a single grand tournament served several purposes. First and foremost, it made the event more exciting and excitement is something every immortal being needs from time to time down through the millennia. Secondly, it meant that individual Magi would not necessarily lose half of their soldiers every 20 years. If their troops did well in the tournament, they could come out with their force relatively intact. This added to the excitement of the event for the Magi, and it gave them a reason to bet on the results. Finally, if every Magi came together periodically, it would ensure that they could all keep tabs on each other. Down through the years some of the Magi either disappeared or tried to bow out of the tournament. Those who announce their intention to withdraw invariably found themselves attacked by the remaining Magi and ultimately destroyed. Some who tried to simply disappear were tracked down and eliminated. A few have disappeared without trace. Today only seven Magi remain, with three more unaccounted for. These seven Magi continue to hold the tournament, each in turn acting as host. They spend much of the rest of their time searching for new recruits and training the warriors they do have, supported by tremendous fortunes accumulated over the last 2,500 years. Now the time approaches for another tournament, the 150th contest of its kind. This one looks to be more exciting than any that have gone before.

The need to feed amongst the undead warriors comes only rarely, roughly every 25 years. The Magi agreed to come together and hold a tournament approximately every two decades. This is long enough to allow for the creation and training of a new batch of “recruits,” but builds in a cushion of time in

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Undead Kombat Zombies This template provides a starting point for the creation of these zombies. Still, Undead Kombat zombies retain the skills and abilities they held in life, and thus each is unique. Zombie Masters can use this template for generic zombies that arise in the game, but should "tweak" this base to individualize any Supporting Cast Member or Adversary who is important to the Story. Strength 4 Intelligence 2 Dexterity 2 Perception 2 Constitution 2 Willpower 2 Dead Points 30 Speed 4 Endurance Points n/a Essence Pool 14 Qualities: Hard to Kill 5 (5) Skills: Brawling 3, Hand Weapon (Club) 3, Hand Weapon (Sword) 3, Guns (Handgun) 3, Guns (Rifle) 3 Attack: Bite D4 x 2(4) slashing damage Weak Spot: Spine (5) Getting Around: Life-Like Movement (3) Strength: Strong Like Bull (5) Senses: Like the Living (1) Sustenance: Special (5) Intelligence: Language (1); Long-term Memory (5); Problem Solving (15) Spreading the Love: Special (-5) Special: Just a Flesh Wound (5) Power: 60

Spreading the Love Zombies cannot spread the love. Zombie creation is a three-step process. First, a proper corpse must be found (i.e., one that has the soul bound within as a result of killing twenty or more humans). Then a series of rituals must be performed over the course of two hours. At the climax of the ritual, a human must be sacrificed. The corpse awakens with all the capabilities it had in life. It also will not experience the hunger for nearly 25 years.

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Sustenance and Empowerment Zombies must consume an undead "soul" every 25 years or so. Around the 24th year, a hunger starts to grow within the zombie. It starts as a gnawing desire and grows over the course of the year into an all-powerful obsession. Once the hunger starts, the zombie must succeed at a Simple Willpower Test + 8 to avoid the call of the hunger. Each subsequent month, the zombie makes the same Test with a cumulative -1 penalty (Test + 7 after the first month, Test + 6 after the second month, and so on). Failing the Willpower Test requires the zombie to expend all efforts locating another walking dead and battle it to the death. They essentially become mindless killing machines. Killing another of the undead eliminates the hunger for roughly 25 years. Intra-species murder is more than just a feeding method for zombies. First of all, inbetween-meals duels to the death prove who is the superior combatant (no small thing for ageless warriors). Also, draining the soul of another walking dead triggers a moment of near ecstasy in the victor. Finally, taking another zombie’s soul increases the winner’s power. Each such killing grants the victorious undead 1 experience point to retain or spend as desired. A few of the more cerebral of the dead (not an overly common trait in those who kill enough to tie their souls to their body) have constructed a rough religion centering around ecstasy of consuming souls. They have devised an elaborate series of rituals to proceed the death match to bring themselves “closer to god.” The Magi are ambivalent about these activities: the matches decrease the number of followers yet increase the skills of those that remain.

The Tournament of Souls The rules and rituals of the Tournament of Souls have developed significantly since that first brawl two and a half millennia ago. In fact, the Magi spent more of their time developing and training their fighters for the tournament then trying to take over the world (or any other endeavor that might be expected of a power mad, undead wizard). At this point in their existence, all that matters is winning the next tournament. The only variation in this obsession comes when an individual Magi’s turn to host the event arrives. For him, all that matters is winning and putting on the best tournament ever. This year a Magi named Pharzuburra is hosting the tournament. Pharzuburra has been on a bit of a losing streak for the past several hundred years. A champion of his has not won the tournament since the 1500s, and since the birth of America he has always managed to lose more than half of his entrants (not that he feels the two events are related . . . much). This year, he hopes that the home court advantage will help turn his luck around (although it did not do him much good 140 years ago or 140 years before that). According to the customs of the tournament, the host is allowed to add one new innovation to the tournament each time he hosts it, just to keep things interesting. More often than not the Magi do not bother to change the contest’s format, but occasionally one of them has a brilliant idea that just needs to be incorporated. For instance, forty years ago the Magus Mardonius introduced the concept of ranking the warriors and seeding them, just like in any modern sports competition (he took the idea from tennis actually). While all the other hosts approved and adopted Mardonius’ innovation, other proposed changes were not accepted by the group. For example, Xeromenidies’ insistence that contestants fight while wearing iron boots in a hundred-foot deep pool of muddy water proved most unpopular and has not been tried since. Pharzuburra has come up with quite a novel addition, one that has never been considered before. In order to make the contest last longer and offer some variety (and hopefully even out the field so his warriors have a better chance), the Magus has decreed

that this year living, breathing humans shall compete along side their zombie counterparts. He and his fellows, eager to try out this new innovation, have spent the last ten years searching not only for the newly dead corpses of great killers, but the best living fighters they could find. Through promises and threats these fighting men and women will compete against foes the likes of which they never imagined. Should one of them actually win the tournament he must kill at least twenty men (dead and undead), making him a perfect candidate for eternal unlife, whether he wants it or not.

Rules of the Game The Tournament of Souls actually consists of two distinct phases. The Open Round takes place first, and every zombie is required to participate. Using randomly drawn lots, the Magi match each warrior against another for what are commonly called “feeding fights.” Always fought to the bitter end, these duels ensure that each zombie either gets fed or gets dead (permanently). Zombies never fight others from their own “stable,” (i.e., created and backed by the same Magi) so it is possible for a Magi to come out of the Open with a relatively intact or utterly decimated stable. Ultimately, however, it achieves the most important goal: keeping everyone fed. For the first few centuries, the Open Round comprised the entirety of the tournament. Still, although one victory satiates a zombie for more than twenty years, many of the warriors developed a taste for the souls of their victims. These warriors, especially the ones that had been successful for a long time, wanted the fighting to continue. They wanted more souls to feed on. The Magi, with their own lust for sport and diversion gnawing at them, agreed to create an extended, optional portion of the tournament. This second phase became known as the Conquest Round, where only the bravest and best undead champions dared to fight. Every Tournament of Souls now includes a Conquest Round, with each of the Magi usually entering somewhere between five and ten contestants. The Magi bet heavily on these events, wagering not only wealth and worldly influence (of which they all have plenty) but other zombie warriors as well. Since

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the Conquest Round is an elimination tournament only one zombie can survive. The Magi try to recoup these losses by winning non-contestant zombie warriors away from their rivals. A Magus who bets well and whose zombies make a good showing can easily win many more zombies than he loses. The only restriction on betting is that Magi may not bet against members of their own “stable,” since they might then order their warrior to lose. As for the warriors themselves, they have much to gain from winning the Conquest Round. First of all, a winner is exempt from future tournaments for a number of events equal to the number of zombies he defeats. Since there seems no limit to the number of souls a zombie warrior can imbibe and each one sustains the zombie for an additional twenty five or so years, a champion may be able to go a century or more before he has to fight again (if he wishes— many do not). Furthermore, most warriors, especially those good enough to fight in the tournament, have grown addicted to the taste of a dead man’s soul. They want as many as they can get. Finally, devouring the spirits of an enemy makes the victor stronger, and thus all that much harder to destroy.

The Human Element The addition of live humans to this year’s tournament makes everything different. The zombie warriors are not happy about it at all. First of all, it means that they will not be getting delicious, satisfying zombie souls with each victory. A dead human does them no good at all. Secondly, it means that a human could (theoretically) win the whole tournament and that would be a desecration of the sacred tournament. Most of these competitors have been around for centuries and regard the Tournament of Souls as the closest thing to a religious experience they are likely to have. Living beings have no place in it. As for the humans themselves, well, none of them have any idea what they are getting themselves into. Each has been told different stories by the Magi that recruited them, but in general they all believe they are coming together to compete in some sort of secret, underground martial arts tournament. The lure is big prize money at the end of the line and a chance to fight in no-holds-barred competition against the best oppo-

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nents on the planet. The Magi not only choose skilled and lethal contestants, but have spent the last year training them non-stop, sharpening and increasing their already formidable skills. A human has to be more than formidable to match a skilled zombie warrior. Some of the Magi informed the humans of the true nature of the Tournament of Souls. Those who tried to quit upon learning the truth died quick deaths (and a few were found suitable for reanimation). Others just trained all the harder, realizing what was truly at stake and understanding that immortality was the final prize. Other Magi have kept the nature of the tournament a secret, wanting to surprise their champions with the truth when the time comes. Either way, the Magi have kept most contestants incommunicado for the last year or two, hidden away in secret training camps until it comes time to journey to the Isle of the Dead.

The Isle of the Dead Pharzuburra has set aside an entire island in the Malay Archipelago for the tournament. Although technically part of Indonesia, in a country with over 10,000 islands no one noticed much when the Magus took one for his own purposes. The island lies off the coast of Sulawesi. The locals actually refer to the place as Turtle Island but Pharzuburra thought Isle of the Dead sounded more appropriate. He has told all the other Magi that name will be used to the exclusion of all others. Although the place certainly has its share of turtles, the coming of the tournament ensures that the dead shall soon play a most important role in the island’s history. The island has everything a Tournament of Souls demands: privacy, security, and varied terrain. Pharzuburra has made various special additions and modifications himself over the past twelve years (when he found the island). The oblong isle measures some four miles (6 kilometers) in length, running southwest to northeast, and varies in width between a mile and a third of a mile (1.5 and 0.5 kilometers). The terrain generally rises the further north one goes until it reaches the six hundred foot (two hundred meter) high rocky cliffs that make up the northern edge of the island. Thick jungles cover the entire island, hiding numerous streams and lakes beneath the foliage. The black, volcanic sand beaches of the

Chapter Six

island’s southern tip glisten in the hot equatorial sun, a popular spot for turtles to sun themselves.

The Stadium

Along the picturesque beaches, Pharzuburra has erected a number of state of the art residences, complete with running water, electricity, air conditioning, satellite dishes and a complete communications center for keeping tabs on the outside world. Most buildings resemble the architecture of feudal Japan, or at least how a theme park might interpret feudal Japan’s architecture. Each of the seven Magi has his own palace where he and his zombies stay during the Tournament. Although they no longer hunger for food, the dead warriors still have other needs, including carnal diversions. As host, Pharzuburra has made sure that none of them wants for anything.

Pharzuburra has gone all out to ensure that this year’s tournament is the best ever, especially in terms of actual arenas for the combat. For the Open Round, he has constructed a special stadium near the beach palaces, and called it, creatively enough, the Stadium. Modeled on the arenas of ancient Rome, this state of the art interpretation of a classic design incorporates modern technology into every aspect of the seemingly ancient structure. The amphitheater is small by modern standards, capable of seating only five hundred viewers. Located at equidistant points around the stadium sit the ringside boxes of the Magi, complete with video cameras for close ups, instant replay capability and networked computer terminals to aid betting between the seven.

Some of the Magi keep their humans with them in their respective palaces. Others, disdaining the company of the living, have taken advantage of the dormitory style setting Pharzuburra has provided. Here the living have nutritious if uninteresting food and all the other basic amenities they might need. These small, cement block rooms pale in comparison to the luxury in which the zombies stay. Pharzuburra saw little point in providing more for the humans, after all, no more than one of them will ever leave the island and even then he or she would be dead (albeit living dead).

Arrayed alongside each box are seats for those zombies not currently engaged in combat. They are the only spectators allowed in the Stadium (and the only ones on the island aside from the humans). Unlike sporting events in the mortal world, where more people come for the finals than the opening rounds, during the tournament the seats grow more and more empty as contestants fall in the ring. By the end of the Open Round just about half the seats should sit empty.

The arena floor itself consists of adjustable metal plates covered with about a foot (30 centimeters) of fine white sand. The two square yard (meter) floor tiles can shift and tip from side to side. A computer system controls the floor and randomly inserts shifts during the match. It also releases periodic gouts of flame, shoots six-foot (two-meter) spikes from the floor or walls, and even opens spike-filled pits. For zombie warriors, none of these are fatal, but can provide a distraction at a crucial moment. Each Turn of combat in the arena, each combatant rolls a D10. On a 1, the stadium computer triggers an event that affects that warrior. The character should roll a D10 on the Stadium Events Table (see p. 147) to determine the exact effects of the event.

The Tournament Fields Pharzuburra plans to use the Stadium only for the Open Round. The Conquest Round takes place all over the island in various specially prepared tournament fields. Each of these offers a few carefully designed viewing locations for the Magi and full video coverage for the rest of the zombies and humans to watch (shown on screens in the dorms, palaces, and in the arena). Pharzuburra has created dozens of these fields, letting his imagination run wild. The Zombie Master is encouraged to come up with his own diabolic examples. Some of Pharzuburra’s favorites are described.

The Flame Pits Constructed in a cave on the island’s north end, this large room (thirty square yards/meters) resembles a life-size chessboard. The only difference being that while the white squares are three square yard (meter) marble pillars, the black squares are similar sized, six-feet (two-meter) deep pits filled with fire. Contestants do battle on the solid squares hoping to take advantage of the pits to distract or damage their opponents. Often fights end up with both contestants aflame, still swinging and kicking to the bitter end. Nothing moves in the Flame Pits so no one should be surprised by events. Combatants should be aware of where the pits are at all times, and endeavor to avoid being pushed or tossed in. Entering a pit is dangerous for a living opponent, and embarrassing for an

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undead one (he will certainly hear about it over and over again for the next 20 or so years). If a combatant falls or is thrown in to a pit, he suffers D6(3) damage per Turn (to those susceptible). Combatants stuck in a pit suffer a -4 penalty to defense actions. It takes a Turn to climb out of the pit, during which no defense may be used. After two Turns in the pit, zombies ignite and burn for D6(3) Turns after they emerge (no effect on the zombie but it does not look pretty and the flames can be used to hurt a living opponent).

Hall of Long Knives Most of the contests take place with only whatever natural weapons the fighters possess. The Hall of Long Knives offers them a variety of deadly implements to choose from. A blocky, concrete building located in the jungle contains the hall, a thirty-yard (meter) square room with twenty-yard (meter) high ceilings. Bladed weapons of every sort are tied to the walls and hang from the ceiling by cords as thin and fragile as thread, or as resilient as fishing line. Some of the weapons are dull, some razor sharp, some brittle and rusted, some finely made and weighted. Contestants have no way of telling a weapon’s quality until they pick it up and try to use it. They must ask themselves if finding a good weapon (a title only about one-third of the weapons qualify for) is worth the time and risk or whether to rely on their own abilities. The Hall has been festooned with every and any bladed weapon imaginable. If the stats for such a weapon cannot be found in an AFMBE book, the Zombie Master should simply devise the stats based on those provided. Simply assume that the combatants can make a grab for any type of bladed weapon they desire. Once the desired weapon is chosen, the first test involves the attachment. Roll a D10. On a 1-5, it is held by thread and comes away immediately. On a 610, it is fishing line. In that case, the character must succeed at a Difficult Strength Test to pull it away. Failure leaves the weapon where it is, and costs all actions for that Turn. If the weapon comes away, its quality then becomes the issue. Roll a D10 and consult the Weapon Quality Table on page 148.

Chapter Six

The Stadium Events Table 1: Flame Strike! A geyser of flame erupts from the wall or floor. A Difficult Dexterity Test is necessary to avoid the flame. If it strikes, the fire causes D6(3) damage (to those susceptible) and imposes a -3 penalty on the combatant’s next action. 2: Shuffling Tile! The tile underneath the combatant wiggles and vibrates. The warrior is distracted and suffers a -2 penalty on his next action. 3: Spike Pit! The tile underneath the combatant falls away opening a six-foot (two-meter) pit filled with spikes. The combatant must succeed at a Difficult Dexterity Test to avoid the pit. If he drops, he is struck by a spike doing D6(3) damage (zombies roll a D10, on a 1-4, the spine is affected). Combatant stuck in a pit suffer a -4 penalty to defense actions. It takes a Turn to climb out of the pit, during which no defense may be used. A Difficult Strength Test breaks off a spike, which can be used as a Large Stick (see AFMBE, p. 132). 4: Gas Attack! The tile underneath the combatant emits a small cloud of toxic gas. Living or dead combatants must succeed at a Difficult Constitution Test. If failed, he is blinded for one Turn (treat as Total Darkness, see AFMBE, p. 102). For the next three Turns, the burning in the warrior’s eyes imposes a -4 penalty to all actions. 5: Spike Strike! A long spike fires from the wall or floor nearby. The combatant must succeed at a Difficult Dexterity Test to avoid the projectile. If it strikes, the spike causes D6(3) damage (zombies roll a D10, on a 1 or 2, the spine is affected). 6: Flame Pit! The tile underneath the combatant falls away opening a six-foot (two-meter) pit. The combatant must succeed at a Difficult Dexterity Test to avoid the pit. If he drops, he suffers D6(3) damage (to those susceptible). Combatants stuck in a pit suffer a -4 penalty to defense actions. It takes a Turn to climb out of the pit, during which no defense may be used. At the beginning of the second Turn after the combatant falls in the pit, it fills with flames. Those in the pit suffer D6(3) damage per Turn (to those susceptible). After two Turns in the pit, zombies ignite and burn for D6(3) Turns after they emerge (no effect on the zombie but it does not look pretty and the flames can be used to hurt a living opponent).

7: Shifting Tile! The tile underneath the combatant shifts violently and returns to place. The warrior is distracted and suffers a -4 penalty on his next action. If the combatant fails a Difficult Dexterity Test, he falls prone. This imposes a -4 penalty to most combat actions until he spends an attack action to get up (defense actions may still be used when prone but suffer the normal -4 penalty). 8: Flash Strike! The tile underneath the combatant emits an intensely burning flare. The combatant must succeed at a Difficult Dexterity Test to turn away in time. Other combatants must attempt a Simple Dexterity Test. If failed, the warrior is completely blinded for two Turns (treat as Total Darkness, see AFMBE, p. 102), and suffers a -4 penalty to all actions for two more Turns. 9: Raised Tile! The tile underneath the combatant rises six feet (two meters) into the air and forms a pillar in the arena. The combatant must succeed at a Simple Dexterity Test to jump aside or a Difficult Dexterity Test to ride into the air with the pillar. If either fails, the warrior is knocked prone. This imposes a -4 penalty to most combat actions until he spends an attack action to get up (defense actions may still be used when prone but suffer the normal -4 penalty). Attacks from the height of the pillar gain a +2 bonus to strike and damage. Attacks launched off the pillar gain a +4 bonus to strike and damage (before applying multiplier). Combatants who avoid approaching the pillar when their opponent is on top are jeered by the crowd and lose face regardless of the outcome of the match. 10: Flaming Tile! The tile underneath the combatant bursts into flame. The combatant must succeed at a Simple Dexterity Test to avoid the flames. Even so, he suffers D4(2) that Turn (if susceptible). If he fails, he suffers D6(3) damage (to those susceptible). Those in the flames suffer D6(3) damage per Turn (to those susceptible). Zombies ignite and burn for D6(3) Turns (no effect on the zombie but it does not look pretty and can be used to hurt a living opponent).

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Combatants may spend a Turn evaluating a weapon if no other action is performed. Success with a Hand Weapon and Intelligence Test reveals its nature.

Weapon Quality Table 1-4: Fake! As soon as it contacts the foe, the weapon shatters and does no damage. 5-7: Abused! The weapon is dull and poorly made. It does half damage, and the damage is regular, not slashing. 8-10: Jackpot! The weapon is a quality one. Add +1 to hit and damage rolls before applying modifiers.

yards (meters) and the process repeats. Success stops the character but imposes a D6(3) damage per threeyard (meter) section dropped to the living. Zombies suffer one-third this amount to their spinal column. This accounts for the strains and pulls of stopping such a descent. In combat, attacks from any type of higher position gain a +2 to hit and damage. Attacks from any type of lower position suffer a -2 to hit and damage. Cunningly hidden through the rope maze are knives, stress points and free strains. Finding one of these things requires spending an entire Turn and succeeding with a Difficult Perception Test or a Notice and Perception Task. The exact discovery is found by rolling a D10 and consulting the Heights Advantage Table.

The Heights Also on the north end of the island, a ravine cuts through the cliff wall, two hundred-yards (meters) deep and twenty-yards (meters) wide. A web of rope ladders, walkways, and hanging cords criss-crosses the ravine, creating a multi-level arena where warriors swing, jump, and fight to the death. The ropes extend all the way to the river at the ravine’s floor, making it possible for someone who falls to make their way back up (assuming they survived). Furthermore, there are plenty of things to grab onto on the way down to break one’s fall. The challenge of this field is not so much avoiding falling as it is fighting in three dimensions on constantly shifting terrain. The combatants start on either side of the ravine at the top. The Heights are sufficiently filled with climbable materials that any portion of the space can be reached. Nothing has been made easy, however. Even the rope ladders are oddly spaced and sized to increase the difficulty of moving. Movement in any direction can be made, but it all requires a Climbing and Dexterity Task and Speed rates are halved. Failure results in a fall. Combatants call be “encouraged” to fall by their opponents. The combatant falls three yards (meters) before he can attempt to stop himself. This requires a Difficult Dexterity Test. Failure drops the warrior another three

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Heights Advantage Table 1-3: Knife! This Large Knife does its usual slashing damage (D4(2) x Strength). It also may be used to cut through stress points and creating free strains nearby. Of course, it must be held in the teeth (or buried in a convenient body part) when climbing. 4-6: Stress Point! The six yards (meters) of rope maze directly below the stress point are all contingent on the stress point. If it is cut (automatic action with a sharp edge of any kind) a hole opens up in the web. Any combatant in that area automatically falls three yards (meters) and must engage in Dexterity Tests to stop himself. 8-10: Free Strain! A non-structural rope is only partially attached in one place. The character can break it away without difficulty and use it to swing to another area of the web. If his opponent is anywhere below, the combatant can perform a swing attack gaining the +2 benefit for attacking from above. The foe’s response suffers a -2 penalty for attacking from penalties. After the exchange of blows, the swinger comes to rest six yards (meters) away from his opponent.

Chapter Six

The Maze Inspired by the hedge mazes of Europe, Pharzuburra has created his own in the island jungle by building walls of bamboo and thorn bushes between giant trees and then letting the jungle grow in to fill the gaps. The result is a twisted labyrinth of trees and underbrush that meanders over a one hundred square yard (meter) area. Nowhere does line of sight extend more than three yards (meters), making it a dangerous, uncertain place to fight. Computer controlled sounds, lights, and traps only make the battlefield more unpredictable. Over a hundred cameras monitor the maze, providing blow-by-blow coverage of every match. The nearby maze diagram may be used for the combat, or Zombie Masters may devise their own. Indeed, if desired, a different maze could be supplied for each duel. Each “X” in the map is the site of an event. Event triggers will not be noticed unless the looker has the Notice Skill, and even then, the Notice Task suffers a -2 penalty (not including any lighting

X

Each combatant is equipped with a small monitor box tuned to the signal of a transmitter worn (or embedded in) his opponent. When the monitor is pointed in the direction of the opponent (regardless of intervening objects), it vibrates distinctly but noiselessly. Combatants who travel more than five yards (meters) from their transmitters trigger a self-destruct sequence that engages in two Turns unless the character returns to within the five-yard area. Once a transmitter is destroyed, the combatant forfeits the match and his life. Unless an event is in effect, poor lighting condition penalties (-1 to strike and Perception Tasks) are applicable.

X

X

X

penalties). Roll D10 on the Maze Events Table (see p. 150) to determine the result. Events reset themselves two Turns after they run their course. At the Zombie Master’s discretion, each trap could have one alternative effect (roll again on the Maze Events Table) that arises on a subsequent trigger on a roll of 1-4 on a D10. That should keep the combatants guessing!

X X X

X

X

X X

X

X

X

X

X

X X X X X

X

X

X X

X

X X

X X X

X X

X

X X

X

X

X

X

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Maze Events Table 1: Flame Strike! A geyser of flame erupts from a nearby hedge wall. The combatant must succeed at a Difficult Dexterity Test to avoid the flame. If it strikes, the fire causes D6(3) damage (to those susceptible) and imposes a -3 penalty on the combatant’s next action. The fire ignites a carefully controlled portion of the maze, which burns for five Turns. After the flames burn out, the burnt patch may be noticed on a successful Difficult Perception Test or Notice and Perception Task. 2: Vine Trap! A carefully concealed vine whips around the character’s legs and attempts to ensnare him. The warrior is distracted and suffers a -2 penalty on his next action. The combatant must succeed at a Difficult Dexterity Test to avoid the trap. If he fails, he is hoisted by his feet to the top level of the maze, clearly visible to anyone on the hedges. While trapped, the warrior may not attack and suffers a -6 penalty to defense actions. The vine binds his legs and he is immobilized from the waist down. The hold may be broken with three Simple Strength Tests, or the vine may be cut away in two Turns (if a sharp implement is handy). Once triggered, the vine trap remains sprung, and the vine may be used to scale onto the tops of the hedges (assuming the hedge roof has been activated). 3: Spike Pit! The area underneath the combatant falls away opening a six-foot (two-meter) pit filled with spikes. The combatant must succeed at a Difficult Dexterity Test to avoid the pit. If he drops, he is struck by a spike doing D6(3) damage (zombies roll a D10, on a 1-4, the spine is affected). Combatants stuck in a pit suffer a -4 penalty to defense actions. It takes a Turn to climb out of the pit, during which no defense may be used. A Difficult Strength Test breaks off a spike, which can be used as a Large Stick (see AFMBE, p. 132). 4: Bird’s Eye View! A vine drops nearby and a grinding noise is heard across the Maze. Strong loops tied to the vine allow an easy climb to the top of the hedges. A solid platform forms a roof over the hedges. Characters may walk carefully along the platforms wherever the tops of the hedges lead. Each Turn spent on top of the hedges, roll a D10. On a 1-3, the solid roof folds up and the combatant drops into the brush. A Difficult Dexterity Test avoids harm; otherwise, the character takes D6(3) damage from the fall (for those affected) and is suffers a -2 penalty to all action for one Turn as he disentangles himself from the bushes. The zombies delight in calling those who fall in “bushwackers.”

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5: Spike Strike! A long spike fires from the hedge wall nearby. The combatant must succeed at a Difficult Dexterity Test to avoid the projectile. If it strikes, the spike causes D6(3) damage (zombies roll a D10, on a 1-3, the spine is affected). 6: Flame Pit! The tile underneath the combatant falls away opening a six-foot (two-meter) pit. The combatant must succeed at a Difficult Dexterity Test to avoid the pit. If he drops, he suffers D6(3) damage (to those susceptible). Combatants stuck in a pit suffer a -4 penalty to defense actions. It takes a Turn to climb out of the pit, during which no defense may be used. At the beginning of the second Turn after the combatant falls in the pit, it fills with flames. Those in the pit suffer D6(3) damage per Turn (to those susceptible). After two Turns in the pit, zombies ignite and burn for D6(3) Turns after they emerge (no effect on the zombie but it does not look pretty and the flames can be used to hurt a living opponent). 7: Tree Slap! A sapling studded with nails has been bent and concealed by a nearby hedge wall. The combatant must succeed at a Difficult Dexterity Test to avoid the tree. If it strikes, the slap causes D10(5) damage (zombies roll a D10, on a 1-3, the spine is affected). 8: Show Time! The corridor surrounding the character, and all corridors adjacent, are filled with bright lights. The first Turn after the event is triggered, any combatant in the area suffers a -4 penalty to all Tasks that require vision. After that, all lighting penalties are nullified, and Perception-based Tests or Tasks gain a +2 bonus. The lights last D6(3) Turns and are clearly visible to those on the tops of the hedges. 9: Tag You’re It! The combatant’s monitor joins speakers placed in the brush in emitting staccato blasts of noise. As the character moves the noise moves with him. The blaring can be heard everywhere in the Maze, and lasts for D6(3) Turns. 10: Lights Out! Heavy, clinging, mildly toxic smoke fills the corridor surrounding the character, and all corridors adjacent. Bad lighting conditions apply (-4 penalty). Further, those living or dead in the smoke must make a Difficult Willpower Test each Turn to avoid coughing loudly and shutting their burning eyes (total darkness penalty). The smoke lasts D6(3) Turns. The smoke effects last one Turn after the combatant exits the smoke or the smoke dissipates.

Chapter Six

The Magi Each of the seven Magi has his own distinct personality and motivations, but all of them are just about equal in terms of power level (and stats). The Magi all appear similar: old men of Middle Eastern extraction with long white hair and beards. Their dry, dead skin pulls tight against their bones, giving them the appearance of a desiccated corpse (which is of course what they are). Each has his own fashion sense, ranging from modern handmade suits to ancient silk robes. Invariably, they have a number of weapons hidden on their person. All are proficient in their use. In all likelihood, the characters will come into conflict with at least one of these ancient zombie masters. The Magi should represent just about the toughest, scariest thing they have ever seen, especially if they are human. Their 2500+ year existence has made them some of the most powerful creatures on Earth. The players are advised not to take on a Magi directly. Only with a small army, another of the Magi as an ally, or serious planning/surprise/treachery (and preferably all three) should a Magus be attacked directly. You have been warned.

Pharzuburra As host for this year’s tournament, Pharzuburra has a lot on his mind these days. More than anything he wants his own warriors to win, not only in the Open but in the Conquest Round as well. He is a compulsive, detail-oriented man who becomes enraged whenever the slightest thing goes wrong. Although he plans to run a fair tournament, if an opportunity to cheat and get away with it presents itself, he does not hesitate to avail himself of it. He prefers modern attire and speaks in high pitched, staccato tones. His fellow Magi think he talks too much.

Xeromenidies Widely regarded as the strangest of the Magi, many of the zombie warriors think he has gone mad. His fellow Magi might suspect the same thing but would never say so out loud. He is entirely unpredictable, sometimes appearing in the splendor of an Emperor and other times in a bathrobe. He loves to play prac-

tical jokes on his fellow Magi and their zombies. He also makes rude comments during the fights. The most annoying thing for the other Magi is that, despite his apparent foolishness, Xeromenidies has a terrific record, winning many more bets than he loses.

Mardonius An admirer of the ancient Spartans (many of whom he met and recruited back in the early days of immortality), Mardonius focuses all of his energies on recruiting the best soldiers he can find and training them mercilessly. He and his zombies have the best record in the history of the Tournament, and the current reigning champion, Lysander, has won the Conquest Round seventeen times over the years (he does not compete every Tournament). Mardonius has little to say to his fellow Magi or anyone else, although he bets heavily with all of them.

Hazzura Once upon a time, the Magi were all important religious leaders within the Persian Empire. The others have forgotten their ancient beliefs, but Hazzura clings to them as best he can. His fellow Magi call him the Priest, and not without some derision. He believes that the Tournament of Souls exists as a purely religious act, to offer up sacrifices to the gods. He recruits zombies from religious sects and cults around the world, and inducts them with a complicated series of rituals and prayers. During the tournament, his warriors constantly sing hymns as they fight, a practice their opponents find really annoying.

Gygerras The whole point of this immortality thing was to rule the world. Now all everyone thinks about is the Tournament—everyone except Gygerras that is. He uses his massive wealth and power to influence events in the rest of the world. He only competes in the tournament to keep his brethren from turning against him. The rest of the time he manipulates stock markets, overthrows governments, and generally has fun with the humans, particularly in Southeast Asia. As might be expected, his stable almost invariably loses more than the others do. Gygerras compensates by having the best recruitment success of the Magi.

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Jerebes Zombies generally do not need to sleep. Jerebes really misses that aspect of life. While he still drew breath, he was a world class napper. Now he wiles away the years trying to recapture that restful feeling. Worldweary and morose, he is merely going through the motions of unlife. In fact, his trusted aid and champion warrior Kim Lee runs most of his affairs for him. Jerebes often closes his eyes and seems to nod off during arena battles and hardly ever attends Conquest Round fights in person. Rumor has it that Kim Lee hopes to do the unthinkable and actually replace his boss.

Rutulla Three hundred years ago Rutulla joined with another Magus, the now destroyed Umaru, in trying to leave the order of the Magi and abandon the Tournament system. When things started to turn against them, Rutulla betrayed Umaru and came back into the fold. He remains unsatisfied with the system as it stands, but fears too much for his life to do anything about it. For now he simply plays along and does as everyone expects him to do, waiting for the day when they take their suspicious eyes off him and let him make a move. He too often fairs poorly in the Tournament of Souls. He finds it hard to care.

Age Quality The Magi all have 25 levels of the Age Quality. That Quality accounts for their being alive for the last 2500 years. Further, the champion Lysander has been around for several generations. Some of the other zombies may also possess the Age Quality. More information about the Age Quality can be found in the Zombie Master’s Screen (see p. 43). Essentially, each level of Age adds 100 years to the character age. Each level also adds one Skill Point per Intelligence level, one Metaphysics Point per highest mental Attribute level, and one Essence Point per Willpower level. Each level also imposes one level of Secret or Adversary Drawback. These features have been worked into the Magi and Lysander templates.

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Ancient Magi Zombie Masters should add 10-25 Power or character points (for Aspects, Powers, etc.) to the stats below to individualize each Magus. These Magi have access to all the magical abilities described in Chapter Four (see p. 104). Strength 4 Intelligence 5 (3) Dexterity 4 (2) Perception 3 Constitution 3 (1) Willpower 6 (4) Dead Points 30 Speed 14 Endurance Points n/a Essence Pool 149 Qualities: Age 25 (125), Charisma 3 (3), Essence Channeling 5 (10), The Gift (5), Hard to Kill 5 (5), Increased Essence Pool +100 (20), Resources Billionaire) (20), Situational Awareness (2) Drawbacks: Seven Adversaries 4 (-3; rest imposed by Age Quality), Covetous (Ambitious) (-3), Covetous (Greedy) (-3), Cowardly 1 (-1), Cruel 1 (-1), Paranoid (-2) Skills: ZMs may dole out 125 Skill Points as they see fit, or just assume that the Magus has any skill desired at least at level 3 (and some much higher). Attack: Bite D4 x 2(4) slashing damage Weak Spot: Spine (5) Getting Around: Life-Like Movement (3) Strength: Strong Like Bull (5) Senses: Like A Hawk (2) Sustenance: Special (5) Intelligence: Language (1); Long-term Memory (5); Problem Solving (15) Spreading the Love: Special (-5) Special: Just a Flesh Wound (5) Power: 255

Chapter Six

Lysander The Champ Strength 6 (2) Intelligence 3 (1) Dexterity 6 (4) Perception 2 Constitution 6 (4) Willpower 4 (2) Dead Points 30 Speed 24 Endurance Points n/a Essence Pool 35 Qualities: Age 2 (10), Fast Reaction Time (2), Essence Channeling 4 (8), The Gift (5), Hard to Kill 5 (5), Nerves of Steel (3) Drawbacks: Attractiveness (-4), Covetous (Conspicuous) (-3), Reckless (-2), Showoff (-2) Skills: Acrobatics 4 (8), Climbing 4, Gambling 3, Hand Weapon (Axe) 5, Hand Weapon (Club) 5, Hand Weapon (Knife/Dagger) 5, Hand Weapon (Staff) 5, Hand Weapon (Sword) 5, Language 3 (Ancient Persian), Martial Arts 5 (10), Myth and Legend 4, Occult Knowledge 3 (6), Riding 3, Running (Dash) 5, Stealth 4, Survival 5, Swimming 3, Tracking 7, Traps 5 Combat Moves: Arm Lock 3, Grab 3, Counterpunch 5, Flip 3, Judo Throw 3, Punch 5, Spin Kick 5, Trip 3 Powers: Chi Punch (3), Combat Sense (3), Super Throw (3) Attack: Bite D4 x 2(4) slashing damage Weak Spot: Spine (5) Getting Around: Life-Like Movement (3) Strength: Strong Like Bull (5) Senses: Like the Living (1) Sustenance: Special (5) Intelligence: Language (1); Long-term Memory (5); Problem Solving (15) Spreading the Love: Special (-5) Special: Horns, Tusks, and Spikes (2), Iron Shirt Body (3), Just a Flesh Wound (5) Power: 168

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Conquest Round Contestant This template provides a starting point for the creation of these zombies. Still, Conquest Round zombies have increased in power over the years and duels and each is unique. Zombie Masters should “tweak” this base with roughly 10 character points (for Aspects, Powers, etc.) to individualize the combatant. Some Conquest Round zombies have visible mutations and Aspects that render them monstrous. Strength 5 (1) Intelligence 3 (1) Dexterity 5 (3) Perception 3 (1) Constitution 4 (2) Willpower 4 (2) Dead Points 30 Speed 18 Endurance Points n/a Essence Pool 24 Qualities: Essence Channeling 3 (6), The Gift (5), Hard to Kill 5 (5) Drawbacks: Showoff (-2) Skills: Acrobatics 3 (6), Brawling 3, Hand Weapon (Club) 3, Hand Weapon (Sword) 3, Guns (Handgun) 3, Guns (Rifle) 3, Martial Arts 4 (8), Stealth 4, Swimming 3, Tracking 3 Combat Moves: Three at 4; Four at 3 Powers: 5 points worth Attack: Bite D4 x 2(4) slashing damage Weak Spot: Spine (5) Getting Around: Life-Like Movement (3) Strength: Strong Like Bull (5) Senses: Like the Living (1) Sustenance: Special (5) Intelligence: Language (1); Long-term Memory (5); Problem Solving (15) Spreading the Love: Special (-5) Special: Just a Flesh Wound (5); 5 other points worth Power: 110

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Chapter Six

Scenarios Undead Kombat can serve Zombie Masters in a number of different ways. As a stand-alone setting, players can create zombie or human martial artists to compete in the tournament. This basically boils down to playing out a bunch of fights in bizarre locations against equally bizarre opponents. We present a few ideas on how to liven this kind of scenario up in a moment. Players can also integrate this setting into an already existing game. Perhaps the usual pack of werewolves or vampires gets wind of the event and enters as humans looking for a fight. Players involved in some other kind of Hong Kong style of action game, or even a super-hero game might also be drawn to the secret tournament as a test of their prowess. Imagine their surprise when they discover the place is full of zombies. With only a little modification (cut out the cameras and computerized betting), the Tournament of Souls can integrate into any fantasy campaign (or even sci-fi with a little work).

Undercover A classified United Nations task force has heard rumors of a secret, deadly tournament to be held somewhere in Indonesia. Word is, the tournament is

the only time a reclusive group of criminal masterminds known to Interpol as “the Seven” come together. Governments around the world have been after these mysterious arch-criminals for years but they have no clue as to their identity. They need to infiltrate the tournament and find out all they can, maybe even finally put these guys behind bars. All they need is a team of undercover agents to go in and do the job for them. Unfortunately, finding qualified competitors within the ranks of law enforcement for a tournament of this level is next to impossible. The characters represent the best of the best, the ultimate fighting champions, the finest fighters the world has ever seen. They may be movie stars, policemen, soldiers, or merely your neighborhood karate teacher, but they have shown themselves to be beyond compare in the martial arts. The UN task force approaches each of them to help, appealing to their patriotism, greed, charitable hearts, or whatever other lever they can find to motivate the players. They already have a contact who can get them into the tournament (one of the Magi has gotten a late start on recruiting humans and needs to find some qualified fighters right away). They can forgo the year of training and go straight to the tournament.

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Unless the players have characters suitable for such an adventure they should make them now. These should be powerful martial artists, with an additional 10 points for Qualities, 20 points for Skills and 10 more points for Chi Techniques. The characters should have a number of different reasons for undertaking the mission. One might do it for the good of humanity, another because her brother is missing and presumed part of the tournament. Another might actually simply wish to fight and hopes to win the thing. Different motivations heighten the roleplaying fun and can create inter-character conflict (which is always exciting). It is of course best if they have no idea that the adventure involves zombies. Also, make sure to have each player decide how many humans his character has killed over his lifetime (has the character meet the qualifications for zombiehood?). The journey to the island is fraught with secrecy and mystery. The characters meet together in Singapore where they board a boat crewed by tough, unfriendly seamen and captained by one of the zombie warriors (although they will not be able to tell that he is a zombie by looking at him). The crew searches the characters carefully, finding, but removing without comment, the tracking and communications devices provided by the UN. The boat is met at sea by a helicopter, and they are transferred to another ship several hundred miles away. The party sails around for a bit confined to their windowless cabins, and then is put, blindfolded, on a smaller boat. After three days of such roundabout travel, they arrive at the island, having no idea where they are. Should they somehow recover their tracking devices, they find the circuits fried. Now the adventure begins in earnest. Kept confined to the dorms for the first few days, zombie guards try to keep the characters locked up tight, but they can escape and have a look around. They might even get to see some of the fights from the Open or talk with some of the other, living contestants. They begin to get an inkling that there is more to this than just some martial arts tournament. If the Magi catch live ones outside the dorms, they simply return them and perhaps tie them up. After all, no living being will ever leave the island so it does not really matter what they might have seen. The Conquest Round begins after the seemingly

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endless series of Open bouts several days later. A grand review held in the Stadium is the first chance the characters get to see the Magi and all the surviving zombies assembled in all their majesty. Here they finally realize (if they haven’t already) that three are more than just fighters. Some of these guys look like monsters! The pairings are announced and the fights begin. Non-Conquest Round zombies usher the warriors to their respective fields, while the Magi either come along to watch or retire to their palaces to view the match on their screens. In addition to the characters, there are fifty-seven zombies and enough humans to bring the total to 100 competing in the tournament. In the first round, every human must fight a Conquest Round zombie. The Zombie Master should start the characters off against the less powerful foes, saving the champions for the final showdown. Ultimately, the characters are better off fighting as little as possible and trying to make their way into one of the palaces to use the communications equipment and summon the UN strike force waiting in Singapore. Of course, it takes them a few hours to get to the island, so the heroes have to survive at least that long. Then the whole thing ends in a massive fight between gun toting soldiers and the armies of highly trained undead warriors. The focus of this adventure is the fighting. Since so much of the scenario centers on these duels and the strange arenas in which the combatants fight, the Zombie Master should be as descriptive as possible when setting the scene and detailing the actions of the zombie warriors. Allow the characters to jump, spin, dive, duck, break, throw, and strike anything they want or can. Remember this is supposed to simulate an overthe-top action movie with zombies. There should be few limits. Also, try and keep the nastier zombie Aspects a secret as long as possible from the players. That way they will be surprised every time a new one comes up.

Welcome to the Revolution! The life of a gladiator can get pretty tiresome, specially when bouts are staged 20 years apart. Still, those fights really start to add up for an immortal undead zombie kung fu master. In this scenario, the players take on the roles of zombie warriors in the service of one or more of the Magi who have decided

Chapter Six

that enough is enough. They want out. Unfortunately getting out is not as easy as it sounds. The Magi do not let their servants leave and even if they did escape they would start to starve within the next twenty years. Since none of them know how to invoke the ritual to make new zombies, their food supply is limited to, well, each other. That is the dilemma facing our heroes as the adventure opens. How to escape the clutches of these mad, old wizards and strike off on their own without having to resort to eating each other some day? Finding an answer and acting on it is what this adventure is all about. First, however, the players need to create their own zombie warriors. All of history is wide open for them. They can create any kind of killer from any time in the world’s past up to around 500 BC. Each character gets a 140 character point total, instead of the usual 90 (see p. 47). Finally they need to decide which of the Magi they work for. They can either all be servants of the same master or belong to different ones. Either way, they have come together on the island for this year’s Tournament of Souls and each of them has made his dissatisfied feelings known to the others. The adventure begins on the first day of the Tournament. The characters each have their own room within the palace of their respective Magi. Although they may not leave the island, the zombies have few other restrictions placed upon them. After all, as far as the Magi know, everyone loves the Tournament and wishes nothing more than to fight and satiate their hunger. Hunger presents a problem for the characters as well; they are all feeling quite hungry. They are probably going to have to at least fight in the Open Round and win before they can do anything else. Luckily, none of them are matched against each other.

about a day in a boat or a few hours in a helicopter to reach the nearest large island, Sulawesi. The Cast Members have a number of options when it comes to escaping and ensuring their future survival. First of all, they can carefully ask around and see if any of the other zombies feel as dissatisfied as they do. At least a dozen others agree to join their revolt, if the characters can find them. Hijacking a yacht or helicopter is not too hard, but it ignores the ultimate problem that they have no way of feeding themselves in the future. Cold-hearted Cast Members might decide to kidnap a number of other zombies and bring them along as future food. Being zombies, a cold heart comes naturally and this is a perfectly logical solution. However, eventually the supply must run out and they only delay the inevitable. The real trick would be capturing one of the Magi. Then they could either force him to teach his magic to them or use it to create new fodder as the years go by. The Magi have quite a reputation for self-preservation and would no doubt help if properly motivated by threats of final death. Capturing a Magus is not as easy as it sounds. First of all, each surrounds himself with utterly loyal, very powerful guards. Luckily, towards the end of the tournament the number of available guards tends to decrease, especially if the Magus is on a losing streak this year. Even then the Magi are formidable opponents in their own right. Surviving 2,500 years does teach a body a trick or two. Still, if the heroes succeed in absconding with a Magus, they might very well convince him to reveal his secrets or at least help them. Then maybe some day they can be Magi in their own right.

The only way off the island is by helicopter or boat. All of the Magi have their personal yachts anchored offshore, guarded in shifts by zombie guards and crew who are not fighting just now. Regular helicopter flights shuttle back and forth to the boats bringing the warriors in to the Stadium and back again. Video monitors on the boats allow the zombie crew to watch all the exciting action on the island. Each yacht has its own chopper, crewed by zombies of course (presenting an annoying problem should all of a Magi’s trained pilots die in the arena). It takes

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Hero Cop Martial Artist Personality

Str 3 Dex 5 Con 5 Int 4 Per 3 Wil 5 L P s 51 E P s 44 S p d 20 E s s e n c e 35

Grandma always said I was cursed. Said I had a dark life ahead of me. Used to scare the bejeesus out of Mamma. The old woman must have been right though, why else would I be stuck in this terror? All I wanted to do was to help out the precinct. Some spooky-type rich recluse said that he would donate more money that I had ever seen in my life to the precinct or some other charity of my choice if I win this martial arts tournament he knows of. At first, I thought it was some sort of underworld extreme fighting championship, but none of my sources had even heard of it, so the chief got curious. “Go check it out,” he says, “you get to be an undercover cop now, congratulations.”

Qualities/Drawbacks Charisma (3) Bad Luck 2 (-6) Essence Channeling 3 (6) Fast Reaction Time (2) The Gift (5) Hard to Kill (3) Honorable (-3) Increased Essence Pool +10 (2) Nerves of Steel (3)

Skills Acrobatics 4 (8) Guns (Handgun) 4 Guns (Shotgun) 3 Martial Arts 5 (10) Notice 4 Investigation 4 Questioning 4 Streetwise 5 Surveillance 3

Now I’m on some island in the middle of nowhere, fighting against people who were just too damn evil to stay dead. I never liked zombie movies, so just how do you kill something that’s already dead?

Combat Moves Arm Lock 3, Counter Punch 5, Disarm 5, Grab 3, Kick 5, Punch 3, Jump Kick 3, Spin Kick 3

Quote

Chi Tec hniques Acrobatic Shooting (2), Ain't Got Time to Bleed (3), Blind Firing (3), Flying Kick (2), Great Leap (1), Hurricane of Kicks (3), No See Blow (4), Rain of Fists (3), Chi Punch (3), Be Like Water (3), Crippling Hold (3)

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“Look, all I wanted to do was help people, and I still don’t understand what’s going on here . . .”

Jaded Fighter Martial Artist Personality

Str 5 De x 5 Con 4 Int 3 Per 3 Wil 5 L P s 37 E P s 47 S p d 18 E s s e n c e 45

Hey, I know I ain’t pretty. Never have been, never will be. That’s okay, ‘cause I am the best you will ever see. Nobody can touch me. Never have, never will. Yah, I fought in all the standard bouts. Smoked them all. Got bored. Then I started on the more questionable circuits, if you know what I mean. Smoked them all. Got bored again. Finally, I said “screw this, guess I will go out on top.”

Qualities/Drawbacks Attractiveness (-3) Covetous (Greedy) (-2) Essence Channeling 4 (8) Fast Reaction Time (2) The Gift (5) Hard to Kill (3) Increased Essence Pool +20 (4) Nerves of Steel (3)

That was really boring. Lazing around with nothing to keep me sharp. Cost money too. Never realized I spent so much on living.

Skills

So one of my old backers crawled out from under his rock and hinted he might have the ultimate challenge for me. Tournament is only held once every two decades, he sez.

Acrobatics 4 (8) Cheating 3 Climbing 3 First Aid 2 Martial Arts 6 (12) Notice 4 Stealth 5 Streetwise 5 Swimming 3

Combat Moves Arm Lock 3, Back Kick 3, Crescent Kick 6, Grab 3, Head Butt 2, Jab 3, Judo Throw 4, Roundhouse 6, Sucker Punch 6

Chi Techniques Ain’t Got Time to Bleed (3), Catch Bullets (3), Chi Drain (4), Chi Shout (1), Combat Sense (3), Crippling Hold (3), Iron Palm (2), Rain of Fists (3)

Hey, that’s my kind of fight. I’m in. Sure, there are some ugly, rank jokers running around this island. Well, they ain’t seen ugly yet, and they ain’t seen me fight yet. They’ll learn.

Quote “Dead, alive. Don’t matter. I’ll smoke ‘em.”

Undead Kombat

159

Ninja Bent on Revenge Zombie Str 4 I n t 3 (1) D P s 30 S p d 20

D e x 3 (1) C o n 7 (5) P e r 4 (2) W i l 3 (1) E P s n/a E s s e n c e 24

Qualities/Drawbacks Essence Channeling 3 (6), The Gift (5), Hard to Kill (5), Obsession (Killing Magi that Created You) (-2), Recurring Nightmares (-1), Situational Awareness (2)

Skills

S p r e a d i n g t h e L o v e : Special (-5) S p e c i a l : Just a Flesh Wound (5) P o w e r : 140

Personality I can remember the smell of my mother, the smell of her blood when they killed her as she tried to shield me. The zombie warriors, the servants of the Magi, they came to my village and slaughtered everyone except the children. They took us away to train, to shape into candidates to be zombies.

Acrobatics 4 (8), Acting 4, Climbing 4, Disguise 4, Escapism 3, Lock Picking 4, Martial Arts 5 (10), Notice 4, Smooth Talking 3, Stealth 5, Thrown 4, Traps 5

I killed my first man when I was 11. I can still see the stain on my hands when I close my eyes, and the pain on the old man's face when I go to sleep. I can smell my mother’s death every time I kill someone else, and I’ve put so many in the grave that I can’t even remember their faces anymore.

Combat moves Back Kick 5, Crescent Kick 5, Counterpunch 3, Flip 3, Kick 3, Punch 5, Roll With Blow 3, Spin Kick 3

The Magi had his master martial artists train me and my brothers. He had me kill and kill and kill again until I could feel the weight of death on my shoulders. Then he finally took my life—and still I could not escape the nightmares.

Powers Balance of the Cat 1, Be Like Water 3, Blind Strike 2, Power Flick 3, Undead Flexibility 1 A t t a c k : Bite D4 x 2(4) slashing damage W e a k S p o t : Spine (5) G e t t i n g A r o u n d : Life-Like Movement (3) S t r e n g t h : Strong Like Bull (5) S e n s e s : Like the Living (1) S u s t e n a n c e : Special (5) I n t e l l i g e n c e : Language (1); Long-term Memory (5); Problem Solving (15)

160

I’m the only one from my village who survived the training, the killing, the death and rebirth. And I’ll be the one who finally holds the still heart of the Magi in my hands when this is done.

Quote “Now you die.”

Chapter Six

Rebel Leader Zombie S t r 6 (2) D e x 6 (4) C o n 4 (2) I n t 3 (1) P e r 2 W i l 3 (1) D P s 30 E P s n/a S p d 20 E s s e n c e 24

Problem Solving (15) Spreading the Love: Special (-5) Special: Buzzsaw Torso (4), Crimson Spray (1), Just a Flesh Wound (5), Shifting Bones (3) Power: 140

Qualities/Drawbacks

Personality

Acute Hearing (2) Adversary (Task Force) (-3) Contacts (Zombies) (5) Fast Reaction Time (2) Good Luck 3 (9) Hard to Kill (5) Multiple Identities (Respected Supporter of the Magi) (1) Obsession (Overthrow the Magi) (-2) Secret (Want to Become A Magi) (-3) Situational Awareness (2)

You’re not free! None of us are. We are herded and controlled and told what to do by the Magi, the dictators of our very souls! We cannot grasp the freedom that is our inherent right as sentient beings until we shake their yoke of oppression, my brothers! Until then they can command us to fight for their whimsical amusem*nt. They can threaten to starve us into submission or remove the magic sustaining our lifein-death (more of a life-in-bondage). Do you think our regular hunger is accidental? Of course not! What kind of tyrant would be dumb enough to not put a safety feature in his ultimate weapons so they cannot escape his control!

Skills Acting 4, Climbing 2, Computers 3, Demolitions 2, Disguise 4, Dodge 4 Driving 2, Escapism 3, Haggling 4, Intimidation 3, Hand Weapons (Knife) 4, Martial Arts 4 (8) Notice 4, Smooth Talking 4 Stealth 4, Surveillance 3, Traps 2

Come with me, my brothers, I have a network of free-thinkers like ourselves among the Magi’s undead legions. The time has come. The Magi, with their little tournaments of gladiator slavery, provide us with the very weapon with which to

Combat Moves Judo Throw 4, Jab 4, Kick 1, Punch 3, Stabbing Hand 2 Attack: Bite D4 x 2(4) slashing damage; Claws D6 x 6(18) armor-piercing, slashing damage Weak Spot: Spine (5) Getting Around: LifeLike Movement (3) Strength: Strong Like Bull (5), Claws (8) Senses: Like the Living (1) Sustenance: Special (5) Intelligence: Language (1), Long-term Memory (5),

strike them down! Even though they form special task forces to seek me out, they will not find me, they cannot stop the revolution from happening, their power must be overthrown!

Quote “Down with the Magi! The Magi’re keepin’ the brother’s down!”

Undead Kombat

161

Character Type Reference Table Type

Attr Pts

Qual/Draw Pts

Skill Pts

Meta Pts

20

10/10

25

15

Inspired

Traits: Must purchase The Gift (5) and Inspiration (5) Qualities Martial Artist

25

10/10

15

20

Traits: Must purchase The Gift (5) and Essence Channeling (varies) Qualities Shooter

20

15/10

20

15

Traits: Must purchase The Gift (5) and Essence Channeling (varies) Qualities Survivor

20

15/10

35

Traits: May not purchase certain Supernatural Qualities or Metaphysics

Zombie Creation Chart 1. Start with basic zombie template appropriate for setting. 2. Add Problem Solving and Long-term Memory Aspects, if not already present. Increase Power level by 20 (as applicable). Consider adding Language (1) Aspect. 3. Add up to 10 points worth of Attributes. Increase Power level. 4. Recalculate Speed and Essence Pool. 5. Subtract new Power level from 90 to get remaining character points. 6. Purchase Qualities, Skills, Metaphysics and Aspects from remaining character points. Supplement character point pool by accepting up to 10 points worth of Drawbacks.

Special Chi Techniques Table Technique

Cost

Acrobatic Shooting Ain’t Got Time to Bleed Balance of the Cat Be Like Water Blind Firing Blind Strike Catch Bullets Chi Block Chi Bolt Chi Drain Chi Punch Chi Shout Combat Sense Crippling Hold Drunken Punch Eagle Eye Flying Flying Kick Flying Windmill Kick Great Leap Golden Bell Healing Touch Hurricane of Kicks Instant Reload Iron Palm Multiple Shooter No Shadow Kick No See Blow One-Inch Punch Penetrating Shot Power Flick Quick Draw Rain of Fists Running the Gauntlet Speak Nicely to Betsy Super Throw Trick Shot Two-Fisted Firing Wave of Chi

2 per Turn Varies 1 per Turn Varies 3 per ranged attack 2 per close combat attack 3 per Test 4 per close combat attack 5 per bolt 4 per close combat attack 3 per close combat attack 1 per close combat attack 3 per Turn 3 per Turn 3 per close combat attack 2 per ranged attack 5 per Turn 2 per close combat attack Varies 1 per leap Varies 3 per touch Varies 2 per reload 2 per close combat attack Varies Varies 4 per close combat attack 1 per close combat attack Varies 3 per "flick" 2 per draw Varies 3 per Turn 3 per ranged attack Varies Varies 2 per Turn 4 per wave

Appendix

Page 39 39 39 39 39 40 40 40 40 40 40 40 40 41 41 41 41 41 41 41 41 42 42 42 43 43 43 43 43 43 44 44 44 44 44 44 45 45 45

163

New Zombie Aspects Aspect Bloody Mass Bone Blade Kick Bullet Sponge Burrowing Finger Buzzsaw Torso Chi Suck Crimson Spray Decaying Bite Entrail Whip Fighting Flying Head Fingerblades Flesh Fist Flesh Holster Grasping Feet Hand-Gun Horns, Tusks, and Spikes In-Bodied Armor Iron Shirt Body Just a Flesh Wound Mind Eating Melding My Body is a Deadly Weapon Prehensile Hair Ribs of Doom Shifting Bones Shot-Arms Shuriken Nails Snake’s Spine Lunge Spying Eyes Strength in Numbers Sword-Arm Theft of the Body Trapping Flesh Turret Torso Undead Flexibility Venous Defense Wall Crawling Whirling Cyclone Kick

164

Power +4 +2 +2 +5 +4 +4 +1 +3 +2 +3 +1 +4 +1 +5 +3/+5 +2 +6 +3 +5 +3 per level +3 +2 +3 +3 +3/+5 +4 +1 +2/+4 +2 +6 +2/+4 +5 +3 +1 +3 +2 +2 +3

Appendix

Page 50 50 51 51 51 51 51 51 52 52 52 52 52 52 53 53 53 54 54 54 54 54 55 55 55 55 55 55 56 56 57 57 57 57 58 58 58 58

Index Archtypes …….........… 82-85, 110-113, 132-135, 158-162 Bodyguard ................................................................. 112 Crimson Fist Renegade (Zombie) ............................. 113 Hero Cop ................................................................... 158 Hired Gunman ........................................................... 110 Independent Gang Member (Zombie) ......................... 85 Jaded Fighter ............................................................. 159 Loose Cannon (Cop) ................................................... 82 Ninja Bent on Revenge (Zombie) .............................. 160 Old Master ................................................................. 132 Rebel Leader (Zombie) ............................................. 161 Triad Enforcer ............................................................. 83 Triad Infiltrator ............................................................ 84 Undercover Magistrate .............................................. 133 Vengeful Undead Student (Zombie) .......................... 135 Vengeful Student ....................................................... 134 Wind Dancer ............................................................. 111 Aspects ............................................................... 50-58, 164 Character Type ................................................... 31-33, 162 Essence ............................................................................ 38 Essence Channeling ................................................... 38 Defensive Essence ..................................................... 38 Magic Spells .......................................................... 104-105 Martial Arts ................................................................ 34-36 Arm Lock .................................................................... 35 Back Kick .................................................................... 35 Breakfall ...................................................................... 35 Combat Moves ............................................................ 35 Counterpunch .............................................................. 35 Crescent Kick .............................................................. 35 Disarm ......................................................................... 35 Flip .............................................................................. 35 Grab ............................................................................ 35 Head Butt .................................................................... 36 Jab ............................................................................... 36 Jump Kick ................................................................... 36 Kick ............................................................................. 36 Martial Arts Skill ......................................................... 34 Punch .......................................................................... 36 Roll with Blow ............................................................ 36 Roundhouse ................................................................ 36 Stabbing Hand ............................................................. 36 Shove .......................................................................... 36 Spin Kick ..................................................................... 36 Sucker Punch .............................................................. 36 Trip .............................................................................. 36 PUDs ............................................................................... 37 Special Chi Techniques ...................................... 37-46, 163 Buying Techniques ...................................................... 37

Index

Combining Techniques ................................................ 38 Using Techniques ........................................................ 37 Weapons ..................................................................... 59-63 Balisong ...................................................................... 59 Dai Choy ..................................................................... 59 Dao .............................................................................. 59 Darn Do ....................................................................... 59 Fong Ben Chan ............................................................ 59 Fu Chow ...................................................................... 59 Fu Tao Seung Ngao ..................................................... 59 Fung For Lung ............................................................. 59 Gao Jie Bien ................................................................ 59 Gim ............................................................................. 59 Table ............................................................................ 60 Jo ................................................................................. 61 Kama ........................................................................... 61 Katana ......................................................................... 61 Kozuka ........................................................................ 61 Kusari .......................................................................... 61 Kusari-gama ................................................................ 61 Kwan Dao ................................................................... 61 Kyoketsu Shogi ........................................................... 61 Li Kwei Fu Tao ............................................................ 61 Naginata ...................................................................... 62 Nekode ........................................................................ 62 Ninja-to ....................................................................... 62 No Dachi ..................................................................... 62 Nunchaku .................................................................... 62 Olisi ............................................................................. 62 Pa ................................................................................ 62 Pu Dao ......................................................................... 62 Sai ............................................................................... 62 Sam Jie Kwun ............................................................. 62 Shuriken ...................................................................... 62 Tetsubo ........................................................................ 63 Tonfa ........................................................................... 63 Wakizashi .................................................................... 63 Wah San ...................................................................... 63 Yawara ........................................................................ 63 Zombie Cast Members ....................................... 47-49, 162 Aspects ........................................................................ 48 Basics .......................................................................... 47 Effects of Damage ....................................................... 48 Improvement ............................................................... 48 Metaphysics ................................................................ 48 Qualities ...................................................................... 47 Recovery ..................................................................... 48 Skills ........................................................................... 47

165

All Flesh Must Be Eaten TTM M

Name Character Type CHARACTER POINT S

SPENT

Primary Attributes STRENGTH

INTELLIGENCE

DEXTERITY

PERCEPTION

CONSTITUTION

WILLPOWER

UNSPENT

Secondary Attributes LIFE POINTS ENDURANCE POINTS SPEED ESSENCE POOL

Qualities

Points

Drawbacks

Points

Skill

Level

Skill

Level

© 2002 Eden Studios. Permission granted to photocopy.

All Flesh Must Be Eaten

Weapons/Hand to Hand

TTM M

Type

Range

Damage

Cap

EV

Sex Age Height Weight Hair Eyes

Possessions

Character History

© 2002 Eden Studios. Permission granted to photocopy.

Allies/Contacts

Ammo Record Forms Keeping track of ammunition is essential in a game of survival horror. Thus, the following ammo record sheets are highly suggested. Please photocopy and distribute them to the players so they may keep track of ammunition for each of their guns. Alternatively, a Zombie Master might hold these sheets and record the ammo as it is used. This enables Zombie Masters to determine exactly when their hapless zombie chow runs out of bullets.

Magazine

Magazine

Magazine

Magazine

Caliber_______

Caliber_______

Caliber_______

Caliber_______

Magazine

Magazine

Magazine

Magazine

Caliber_______

Caliber_______

Caliber_______

Caliber_______

100 Round Belt

100 Round Belt

100 Round Belt

100 Round Belt

Caliber_______

Caliber_______

Caliber_______

Caliber_______

There were five of them in total, one had the bow and arrow, the others all had swords. Magic and explosions had failed Wu-Han, it looked as though he was now going to try dismemberment.

ENTER THE ZOMBIE

There was a dull impact in the center of his back. Mr. Nagaki looked down to see the tip of an arrow protruding from his chest. He spun -- his claw fingers at the ready -- to see figures emerging from the snow, charging towards him. One of them was notching another arrow in his compound bow. They’d buried themselves and waited for him.

Another arrow caught him in the throat, lodging itself halfway in his neck.

I T W A S A G O O D .D .A Y. T O B E U N D E A D Enter the Zombie is a supplement for the All Flesh Must Be Eaten RPG. In it, you will find: • Extended rules for martial arts mayhem, new Character Types, special chi powers, and new zombie aspects. • Zombie player character creation. • Adventures involving gun-slinging thugs on the streets of Hong Kong. • Details on magic and martial arts in modern San Francisco. • Background for stories set in ancient China. • A arena where undead battle to the death. • Archetypes for each setting provided.

Text, Text, artwork, artwork, icons, icons, personalities, personalities, tradedress tradedress and and characters characters copyright copyright © © 2002 2002 Eden Eden Studios, Studios, Inc. Inc. CJ CJ Carella’s Carella’s The The Unisystem™ Unisystem™ copyright copyright © © 2002 2002 CJ CJ Carella. Carella. Used Used under under exclusive exclusive license. license. All All Rights Rights Reserved. Reserved.

EDN8002

$20.00 $20.00 (US) (US) EDN8002 EDN8002 ISBN ISBN 1-891153-83-8 1-891153-83-8

Enter the Zombie (All Flesh Must be Eaten RPG) - PDF Free Download (2024)

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