Gothic Text files Zombie - Reanimator's Grimoire

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

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

                           - Reanimator's Grimoire - 


This section of the book is for the Reanimator. He or she is the person who referees the adventure. There is nothing secret in this section, but if you are a player you will enjoy the game more if you don't know the rules and figures which govern your adventures.

The Reanimator's Grimoire also contains a complete adventure which you should not read unless you are going to run one of them as this would spoil your enjoyment of the game.

The Reanimator's job is to be both game master and judge. He or she will be responsible for organising the adventure, and for keeping the adventure moving once it has begun.

The Reanimator's jobs are as follows:

  1. Gathering together a group of adventures and/or a group of actors who are all available on the same day.
  2. Writing a challenging, interesting, and entertaining adventure.
  3. Selecting props to represent specific items on the adventure, and acquiring any special effects.
  4. Running through the adventure with the monsters (if there are any) before the adventure begins.
  5. Checking and recording the details of the players - testing weapons and players props for realism and safety.
  6. Making sure the adventure runs smoothly, safely and enjoyably.
  7. Allocating Gristle Points at the end.

Organising a game on Public Land

Live role playing does take place on a public land. It's not usually more noisy than a game of football, and as most games take place in the woods or in long grass away from the general public, it is unlikely to disturb anyone. There are, however, are few rules which you should keep in mind:

  1. Be conscious of the 'public' around you. If you are too loud, acting in a dangerous or thoughtless way a complaint could be brought against you and you will almost certainly be prevented from continuing the adventure.
  2. Some parks and woods have by-laws which may forbid the use of 'firearms' or even costume!
  3. Always try and contact the park authorities or local council and get permission for the game well in advance. Some places have on official form, requiring one adult signature, which will give you the necessary authorisation.
  4. Don't leave a mess or you won't be welcome back.
  5. Don't use pyrotechnic devices on public land.

If you are lucky enough to have a private site to run the game, you will be able to do a lot more in the way of scenery and props, but it is possible to run a very professional and visually interesting game on public land.

Private land that does not belong to a player should never be used without permission - aside from the fact that you will be trespassing, many old air raid shelters, tunnels, and caves are very dangerous, never climb over fences or enter places that have been closed off for safety reasons.

How to run your first game
Let us assume for one moment that you have got together with a group of like-minded friends, and decide to run an adventure. You have got together all the props and costumes and now you are about to run the adventure.

Hopefully if you have any monsters, they will have had a chance to read through the section on combat, i.e. they should have a working knowledge of how to fight safely. if not, this is the first thing you should explain.

If you have monsters, your most important job is to walk over the adventure site, following the route or routes your players might take, and tell the monsters what is going to happen, and what roles they will have to play. This is known as 'briefing' the monsters.

As you walk round, props, treasure, traps, and scenery should be put in place. If you are away from the general public you could set any traps at this stage. Finally you should distribute any personal props and costume to your monsters and wait for the players to arrive

There are lots of things you need to explain to the players: Firstly you must make sure they know how to fight safely and understand all the safety rules. Blows must be pulled, and blows to the face and side of the head are not allowed.

Secondly you should explain the following terms:

When the Story Teller shouts 'GAME ON', then the game is underway, you should be in character at all times.

When the Story Teller shouts "Time Out", then the game is suspended, you no longer need to be in character, but should listen to his/her instructions. It may be a rest break, it could also be a combat sheet, or a pause to allow members of the public to pass.

When the Reanimator shouts "Stop", then the game is halted. You should remain where you are, stay in character and listen. The Story Teller will use this instruction before describing something to you, or giving you useful information.
When anyone else calls 'Stop' it means there is a problem. It could mean members of the public are passing by, or it could mean that someone is hurt. Act accordingly.

When the Reanimator shouts "Time Freeze", then the game is frozen. You should remain motionless, close your eyes, and hum. This is to enable something to happen 'immediately' - it may be that some creature has appeared in your midst, it could be just the Reanimator wants to freak you out!

If there has been an accident and someone is really hurt then anyone can call 'MAN DOWN!' At this point the game is immediately halted until the injured person has been helped.

Thirdly you should tell the players that any monster with his/her hand held in the air is invisible and should be totally ignored.

Filling out a Combat Sheet

Each player needs a combat sheet. This is a piece of paper which you use to record the name, tribe, skills, and AREA and HIT POINTS of the character. It should look something like this:

Tribe: Skills: Gristle Points

HIT POINTS               |-------|
                         |       |
                         |       |
                            | |                   Items:
               R ARM |--||-------||--| L ARM
                     |  || Chest ||  |
                     |  ||       ||  |
                     |  ||-------||  |
                     |  ||Abdomen||  |
                     |__||       ||__|
                         |  | |  | Upper Leg 
                         |  | |  |
                         |--| |--|
                         |  | |  | Lower Leg
                         |  | |  |  
                         |--| |--|

For new zombies the HIT POINT TOTAL is 30 and each AREA has 12 points.

How to Judge Combat

At the end of a battle you should call TIME OUT and judge the combat. This gives your monsters time to prepare for the next encounter. It also gives the players a chance to get their breath back, and in order to prevent this, you should judge the combat as quickly as possible.

Run through the combat sheets, calling out each character name in turn. Ask them if and where they were hit, how many times, and with what weapons.

For each hit you will have to reduce the character's AREA and Hit Points. Follow these steps:

Find the area where the character was hit.

     The areas are: HEAD, CHEST, ABDOMEN, UPPER ARM (Right or Left),  
     LOWER ARM (Right or Left), UPPER LEG (Right or Left), LOWER LEG 
     (Right or Left).

Work out what damage was inflicted depending on the weapon:

     One Handed Weapon (Iron Bar, Plank)               5 points
     Two Handed Weapon (Long Iron Bar, Tree Branch)    8 points
     Firearm                                           6 points

Subtract the damage from the AREA points Subtract the damage from the Hit Points. Work out if the character is still alive, incapacitated, or injured

If an 'Area' is reduced to 0 it stops working. This will disable the player in some way until the end of the game.

If a character's Hit Points reaches 0 he/she is incapacitated for five minutes of game time. At which point the zombie body heals itself and they are restored to full strength.

During the Game...

The Reanimator has a number of functions during the 'GAME ON' part of the game. The most important one of these is to tell the story.

You tell the story by describing to the players what they can see around them (if it is different from their actual surroundings), and judging the results of their actions.

For example you might explain that a piece of cloth hung between branches is a shimmering doorway, the player's imaginations then take over.

If a player decides to pick up a brick and throw it through the doorway then you should describe the effect (in this case the brick disappears though the door).

You must decide what is and is not possible. Common sense and a good knowledge of the game system will provide you with all the information you need to judge the player's actions. If a player tries to knock down a 'door' with a twig, then they fail. If a group of players try to knock down the same door with a battering ram, then you can decide whether it works or not.

You should also point out obvious facts to the players if they are about to attempt something impossible.

Until all the players have an extensive knowledge of the game system you will also have to explain the effect of combat and tell them what they can see or feel and point them in the right direction. Particularly with new players, you may need to spend time with them explaining how they should react to getting injured, other players etc.

Your main function as Reanimator, therefore is to set the scene, answer any questions the players might have, and give as little prompting as the players require.


If you are playing the monsters on an adventure then the quality of that adventure rests as much on your shoulders as it does on the story teller's. Even a poorly written hack-and-slay adventure can be brought to life by intelligently played monsters.

Don't be afraid to talk to the players (assuming that the creature you are playing is able to communicate). If you are a guard or a hunter or a magician this should be made obvious to the players without you actually telling them 'I am a guard' or 'I am a wizard'.

Clever players should be able to talk their way around combat either by persuading you that their intentions do not interfere with your duties, by bribery, or by tricking you if you are stupid. For a trick to work it must be at least slightly believable and be cunning enough for you to think it might work - in this case you are the judge and jury (and possibly the executioner too!)

In battle you should maintain your character as far as possible. Very few creatures will act in a suicidal way. Self-preservation is important and you should not think twice about running away. Any party worth their salt will chase after you, but you might escape to ambush them at a later stage in their adventure when they are weaker and less able to defend themselves.

Remember also that if you are attacked or if your brief calls for you to attack then you are expected to try and kill the adventurers. Many monsters make the adventure too easy by holding back and letting themselves be easily destroyed. Give them a run for their money and they will enjoy the encounter and the whole experience more. An adventure which is little more than a duck shoot might as well not take place. Terrify them, fight furiously, and then die, run away, or stand victorious over the corpses like a hero.

Sometimes you will be acting a part while playing a monster. In these cases you should have some briefing material from the Story Teller. Study this information, and ask any questions well in advance. These parts are very important as often they have information which is fundamental to the players quest. Don't be afraid to refer to your briefing sheet if necessary, it is better to look at the script than divert from the plot!

Monster Combat

During the adventure briefing, the Reanimator will tell you how many hits each monster you are playing has. If you are a 10 hit monster, then you can take 10 hits of damage before you fall over.

Allocating Gristle Points

At the end of an adventure you may award each surviving player between 0 and 5 Gristle Points. On average, a player should expect to receive 2 GP's unless they have played very well. Only in the most extreme cases should the maximum of 5 points be awarded.

These points are given out according to how well the player kept in character and played the role of a zombie - Not for how many brains he or she ate or how good at combat they were.

Alpha Test Notes

As you can see, although the basic mechanics have has been described, quite a lot needs to be done to flesh out the game. Please feel free to e-mail questions, corrections, ideas, submissions, supplements, or adventures for Zombie: The Gibbering(tm) to:
     Trade Mark Violations (Zombie)

                                 King's Cross
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        (  - \\,  \\,  \\, \\,/   \\,         ~-____,   \/\\  \\,  \\,\ 

                                   An Adventure
                                (for new players)

Outline Only:


This is a simple basic adventure for new players which should give them a taste for running around in the dark screaming for the brains of the living. There are basically two groups of players and two individuals, but you can add additional groups of zombies, or living humans as you see fit.

Group 1:

Description: A bunch of humans having a party in the graveyard Objective:

  1. 1) To Survive
  2. 2) To Save the world from Brain eating zombie menace

Group 2:

Zombies: Zombies of various clans
  1. Brains
  2. Brains
  3. More Brains

Individual 1:
Name: Jerez Noir
Job : Zombie Hunter
Objectives: Destruction of Zombies

Individual 2:
Name: Dr Ernest Splotz
Job : Scientist (Quite Mad)
Objectives: To capture a zombie for experimentation purposes.

Notes: Players, zombies etc. need to be fleshed out a little in order to allow for more interaction between them. Perhaps Dr.Splotz can persuade some of the living/zombies to work for him in exchange for money/brains/ help? Perhaps Group 1 will team up with Jerez Noir? Perhaps the Zombies will convert the Scientist and use his skills against the living?