Gothic Text files Zombie - Players Handbook

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                               The Gibbering (tm)                             
                             Version 1.0 a 14/9/94

                  An undead-role-playing game set in the world of
                    macabre-and-sometimes-drunk-subculture (tm)

                              - Players Handbook - 


Have you ever wished you were dead? To lie in the cool sleep of death, listening to the rain slowly eat the wood of your dark coffin? The darkness! Oh, the darkness! The remains of your flesh, slowly degenerating, rotting, mouldering as the worms creep in to devour your flesh!

But how can this be? You remember your death quite clearly; the shock causes panic and you scrabble frantically at the inside of your coffin, trying to get out. Your elongated fingernails smash through the decayed wood and dig towards the surface, towards the light....

Welcome to the world of macabre-and-sometimes-drunk-subculture (tm) where you can play part of one of the unfortunate creatures of the undead. But this is no ordinary board game with cards and dice, nor is it a role-playing game with numerous polyhedral coloured plastic dice and hundreds of weighty tomes. This is a LIVE ACTION UNDEAD ROLE PLAYING GAME.... Zombie - The Gibbering(tm).

Players, Monsters, & The Reanimator

In order to play a game of Zombie the Gibbering(tm) you will need a group of players, and a referee called "The Reanimator". For some adventures, you will also need a group to play the various "Monsters" in the game; the monsters are sometimes Zombies in their own right, but on occasion they are living people, Magicians, other undead, or creatures from beyond...

The Reanimator should read through the player's section and then progress to the Reanimator's Grimoire to read the dark secrets of his or her forbidden craft.

Character Generation

In the basic game, you can only choose to play a Zombie. You will have to purchase several thin and costly supplements in order to play the part of a living person or other type of undead. However, even with one type of character to play, you have choices to make.

Who were you?

This is the most important aspect of your character. Who you were when you were alive will motivate your undead character. Many aspects of your previous existence can come through in your decaying alter-ego, making him or her a fully rounded creature from the grave.

How did you die?

Again, the method of your death will have some bearing on the way you behave as a zombie.

Now you know who you were and how you died, think of a name for yourself and then pick a 'tribe' to join.

Which Tribe do you belong to?

There are a number of different Zombie Tribes which you can join. Read the descriptions below and decide which one you would like your character to be a member of:


" remember the knife ripping through your flesh. The screams searing your throat as the metal speared your heart. Screams that never end..."

As a member of tribe Revnant, you have returned from the dead to exact vengeance on the person(s) who did you in. Shambling from town to town, you wander looking for the killers. This is made more difficult due to desiccation and the pre-mortem injuries, but hey, you're a zombie!

tribe:              Revnant
Nickname:           Bangers
Quote:              Ullllnngghhh

Characteristics: Shambling mass of rotting flesh


"...hey, got a light?..."

As a member of tribe Voudon, your secret shame is that you are not _really_ dead. You are the slave of a psychotic zombie master who uses you for her evil bidding. You are just as utterly mindless as other zombies, but if they ever found out your secret, it's brain pate for you.

tribe:               Voudon
Nickname:            Mash
Quote:               Yessss Misstressss
Characteristics:     Shambling mass of sallow flesh


"...I love you Tina, I just want..your..BRAINS..."

As a member of tribe Craven, you are a traditional brain sucking zombie. You are the author of your own fate, but at a terrible price: you must survive on the brains of the living. This makes keeping a job difficult, but you manage to survive just fine. You are also very stupid.

tribe:                Craven
Nickname:             Haggis
Quote:                Send more cops
Characteristics:      Shambling mass of sallow, rotting flesh

Each of the tribes has its own hierarchy, aims, political structure etc. Again, you will have to wait for the hardbound supplements to come out in order to find out more. Suffice it to say, that for the first couple of steps on the ladder to becoming king of the zombies everything is pretty much the same. Each tribe is waiting for the time of the gibbering, when all the zombies will come together in a great land and fight for a great prize. In the end, there can be only.... etc.

Skills and Abilities

Now you have selected your tribe, you can select some skills and abilities which shape your zombie and make him or her different from all the others.

As you survive an adventure you will gain a number of gristle points (gps) which you can use to develop your zombie skills further. (Think of it as a sort of class credit system from the University of Death).

Initially you have 3 gps to 'spend', these represent the help that your tribe will give you to come to terms with your undead state. Select from the following list:

(All these skills may be taken by any zombie - including voudon, who although they still have living brains, are accorded zombie status)

Skills and Description

Extra Sanity
One of the problems associated with being a flesh eating zombie is the stress it can cause on your dead brain. In extreme cases you can 'loose-it-completely' and fade away and become a wandering spirit. Extra Sanity Points help to protect you from the undead equivalent of living in the suburbs. You may 'buy' this skill as often as you like.
Combat I
This skill represents a very basic course in self defence and attack. With it you will be able to use any weapon you may come across (iron bars, guns, chainsaws etc.) in order to achieve your aims (whatever they may be)
Ever wanted to see in the dark? Well with this skill you can see the heat of both people and other zombies in the dark! (To represent this skill in a dark place use a battery torch with a green bulb or cover). Players and monsters without the skill must ignore the beam of light.
Strength I
This skill enables you to crash through wooden doors and plaster walls as if they were not there. (Note to run through brick or reinforced walls requires Strength II)
This skill adds to your undead strength and makes it harder to knock you down and incapacitate you. Remember an incapacitated zombie is a zombie waiting to have his or her head cut off!
Living Skill
This is a skill that your character had when he or she was alive. Perhaps they were a research chemist? If so, get them into a lab and you can start manufacturing explosives, or try to find a cure for your state. If they were a soldier perhaps their combat skills will be better! Discuss this skill with your Reanimator before the game and work out the details.
If you lose an arm or a leg in battle, this skill will enable you to patch up the damage and 'grow' a new one. Obviously you will need to buy it again each time you need to replace something.
With this skill, you can repair all non-serious damage by returning to your place of burial and waiting for one minute. This will not re-grow limbs which have been destroyed, but it will restore your zombie body to full health. If you move during that minute, the skill has no effect. The skill can be taken more than once, and can be used once per adventure for each time you have bought it.

Once you have selected your skills you will need to think about Costume, Props and Weapons!

Costume, Props, and Weapons


What is the well dressed zombie of tonight wearing? Usually old clothes (sometimes period dress) covered in mud and dust. Sometimes little more than a shroud! What ever you select, try pouring a box of talc or flour over it to give it that 'just risen from the grave' feel.

You should also consider investing in some white foundation and black eyshadow. Mix the two to add a wonderful light grey effect. Top this off with some black and red eyeliner and purple/blue lipstick for that perfect straight from the grave look. You may also wish to mix in some blue, green and purple. For make-up tips ask big sisters, goths, and members of the armed forces.


The Reanimator may need to put together a set of props for the game, but in your case, if you have any weapons you will need to make them, if your character was buried with any property you will need to represent those items. Anything that is likely to be used in combat counts as a weapon (see below), otherwise it is entirely up to you.


As Zombie the Gibbering (tm) is a Live Combat Role playing game, the weapons need to be made safely so that you don't hurt each other while you are playing, and also so you don't attract the attention of your local armed response unit and get shot dead in the middle of the night on account of being mistaken for crack heads or veterinary drug abusers.

There are three types of weapon: Melee Weapons, Thrown Weapons, Firearms.

In the UK we don't have a problem (at the time of writing) with people suing each other for anything and everything. But at this point the authors would like to disclaim any liability for anyone who gets hurt, arrested, maimed, killed, dismembered, taken to court, or gets on TV as a result of using these rules. If you don't trust your friends, get insurance!

The following sections explain how to make or simulate the various types of weapon. Once you have made the weapon, read the section on How To Fight and How to Judge Combat carefully.

Melee Weapons

Iron Bars, Bits of Wood, Chainsaws, basically anything you wack or cut someone with is a melee weapon. In Zombie - the Gibbering (tm) these items are represented by plastic and latex covered foam rubber copies.

Here's how to make a basic 'stick' weapon - the more complex ones are up to you:

You will need the following components:

Plastic overflow pipe for the hard but flexible part of the weapon. The pipes can be bought at plumbing or DIY shops. You should never use metal or wood as it is very dangerous.

Pipe Lagging or Camping mat - for the padding and shape of the weapon. Pipe lagging can also be found in DIY shops (it is used to insulate pipes) and Camping-mat is sold in most camping shops.

Double sided tape, or strong glue - to hold the plastic and padding together.

Latex - Latex can be bought from sculpture supply shops. Brown or Metallic WATER BASED paints to colour the latex Latex thickener

Making a Melee Weapon

Place a length of plastic overflow pipe inside a length of pipe lagging leaving an inch and a half of lagging at the business end. Tape it firmly in place with the double sided tape or glue. Block both ends with some more foam to make sure the plastic edges don't come out.

Cover the weapon with several layers of metallic coloured latex, and allow to dry.

For wooden weapon, cut a wood-grain effect directly into the pipe-lagging (using a soldering iron if you have one as this melts the padding rather than tearing it) and then coat with 5 layers of brown coloured latex. Finally, highlight the wood grain with a black permanent marker.

Care of latex weapons

Latex 'perishes' over a time and is affected by water. To look after your weapons they should be dusted with talcum powder and wiped with a dry cloth. This process should be repeated before each adventure and if the weapon gets wet. You should also avoid extremes of heat as the latex can melt.

Thrown Weapons

These are represented by soft foam balls or tennis balls depending on how much you like being bruised.


Assuming you are not playing in an area which precludes this sort of thing, you can use cap-guns to represent firearms. They make a suitable bang, and flash nicely after dark. In order to 'hit' your target, aim the weapon at them, and call their name and where you are aiming before you pull the trigger. If they haven't ducked out of the way by the time the shot has been fired - they are hit. This system relies on your honesty rather than theirs as you able to see if they are still where you were firing. The further away they are, the harder it will be to hit them!

If people making loud explosion noises after dark tends to upset the local law-enforcement agencies (ie if you are on public land) then you could use brightly coloured water pistols, or dayglo plastic guns which fire ping-pong balls or whatever. Again this is up to you. With these weapons, the ball or water has to hit the target for the shot to count.

How To Fight and How To Judge Combat

Disclaimers aside for one moment, it is perfectly possible to 'fight' with these weapons without any injury at all. Read the following rules carefully and practice, slowly at first, until you get the hang of melee combat.
  1. Do not strike to the face, the sides of the head, or the groin. Even a well padded weapon can hurt the more vulnerable parts of the body.
  2. Always 'pull' your blows. This means you should stop swinging the weapon before it hits your target and slow it down at the last moment. As the weapon touches the target pull it back. In effect you are only tapping the target.
  3. Never 'follow through' or swing wildly in the dark.
  4. If someone is on the ground (and you have established that they are not really hurt) hit them very gently - the same applies if they have their back to a wall or tree - they can't flinch and the blow will seem harder.
  5. If you are hit then step back and role-play the injury. Although zombies do not feel pain, you are simulating the force of the blow and staggering slightly
  6. If you are really hurt shout "STOP!"
  7. If someone shouts stop - even if you are not fighting them, cease combat at once and lend assistance. The game is immediately suspended and will not continue until the Reanimator says so.
  8. When using thrown weapons - do not throw them full force at close range, don't aim for the face!
  9. When using cap guns - do not use at close range, especially near the face or ears. If in doubt just say 'bang' - it's less dramatic but safer!
  10. When using a firearm which fires a ball - don't aim for the face and don't use it at close range - just say 'bang'
  11. All blows with melee weapons must start from at least three feet from the target (therefore you can't just tap your victim repeatedly from one inch away - the blows need to be 'full' to simulate the distance the weapon must travel. The one exception to this rule is a chainsaw which can be used this way.
  12. If someone is not pulling their blows, tell them. If they continue to fight incorrectly the Reanimator will remove you from the game.
  13. Never thrust directly with any of these weapons as the padding may not be strong enough to prevent the rod from bruising or worse; instead hold the weapon at an angle when you thrust - so it will be the 'edge' rather than the 'point' of the weapon which makes contact with your enemy.
  14. Practice pulling your blows as it is the most important skill in the game; it will enable you to play the game safely.
  15. All melee weapons must be approved by the reanimator before the game begins.

You now know how to fight. Now we will look at how this is dealt with in game terms. For the purposes of the game, the body is split into different areas.

Each of these areas has a number of life points. You also have an overall Hit Points total that can be depleted by loss of blood, fatigue, etc.

Whenever you are hit, the weapon that hits you will do a certain amount of damage to the area it hits and a few points of damage to your HIT POINTS. If your HP ever reaches zero you are incapacitated and will remain so for five minutes of game time. Until your undead body repairs itself.

If an area reaches less than -(what is was when you began) it is destroyed. This may leave you with a broken back, missing an arm or a leg. You can repair the damage with the repair skill at the end of the game.

If your head is ever separated from your body that's it - Game Over. Fin. You're gone!

How To Judge Combat

At the end of each combat sequence the reanimator will call a halt to the proceedings and quickly judge the combat. You need to tell him or her where you were hit and how many times. You will be told if you are still 'alive', incapacitated, or .... dead!

If you are playing a living creature, you will probably come back as a zombie about ten minutes after you die - unless your body is destroyed or your head is removed.

For a detailed explanation of how this works - see the Reanimator's Grimoire.

How To Play

At the start of each game, the Reanimator will set you an objective or series of objectives. It might be as simple as 'find brains and eat them' or as complex as stealing a secret from a rival tribe. Your mission is to complete the objective while playing your zombie character to the full.

Whether you are successful or not, you will be awarded GP's depending on how entertaining your portrayal of your zombie is. The better you act, the more terrifying (or funny, or moving) you are - the more points you will get.

The Reanimator will describe the location you are in, however, in general you can see what you can see, items that exist will be around you, and you can talk to, fight with, learn from, barter with, and generally interact with anyone else in the game.

What happens is largely up to you (within the general framework that the Reanimator has set up). The game ends when one group completes its objectives, or when everyone is dead, or when a solution is reached.

Your only limitations are the rules imposed on you by the Reanimator, the combat system, and the area designated for game play.

As a Zombie, however, there are other limitations that you should be aware of.

  1. You have a craving for human flesh as if it were food, and human brains as if they were the very elixir of life itself. Your addiction to live brains and living flesh is advanced to the stage where you feel physical pain as a withdrawal symptom. You are forever hungry!
  2. When the sun rises you must return to your grave or place of hiding. During this time you cannot feed, you can only move slowly towards your refuge. You are especially vulnerable during daylight hours as you cannot properly defend yourself.
  3. You may not enter a circle drawn with the intention of keeping you out.
  4. You may not leave a pentagram drawn around you with the intention of keeping you in.
  5. Salt burns you like acid and you will retreat from it. Nor may you cross a line drawn of salt. (For game purposes, bio-degradable paper fragments should be used to represent salt, as real salt may get in someone's eyes!)

Good luck and remember - keep lurching, stay hungry, and keep your head!

(c) Battlebridge Press 1994