Z-Land beta 3.3

The new version of the Z-Land beta is now out and on its way to you!

This beta is the very definition of an update. After we removed the Perform Skill last time and Split Athletics into itself and Might, we figured that we might as well have a look at the entirety of the character generation.

For all of the character generation (other than the careers), each time you roll a lore option you will get two Skill options. This means that Skills are always given to you in pairs. As we checked over all the option, we found that certain skills were paired up more often than not. Fight and Shoot were nearly always given together, as was Will and Lore. This means that, at the end of the day, if you were good at Will you will also be good at Lore because they are given together so often. We wanted to make it more random and give your characters a chance to be good at one and perhaps not good at the other.

So went through and changed them where they paired up too often. It’s by no means perfect as is, and we might have another go at it down the line, but your characters should now have a less deterministic Skill set.

As an aside, we have also now added the character sheet as a standalone download to the DriveThruRPG Z-Land page, so if you already got the Beta, you can go and grab it.

Z-Land Beta 3.2

The new version of the Z-Land beta is now out and on its way to you!

This beta version adds in a small (relatively speaking) change that can have some serious ramifications. This is a change that has come straight from the playtesters and is why we are so grateful to have folks playtest the beta for us.

In this beta version we have removed the Perform Skill and have added in the Might Skill. There were a few reasons for this and some adjustments that had to be made.

The biggest reason is that performing some sort of art (whether musical, acting or whatnot) is simply not that important in an apocalypse setting. That is not to say you can’t create art in Z-Land, but rather that other social skills can handle it such as Diplomacy, Insight, Deceive, etc. In Z-Land it isn’t such a crucial thing to require its very own skill. The Perform Skill works in the Sigil System because Sigil is a generic system and so has to provide for any setting and genre you can think of; and it worked in the Runed Age because in that setting you played as a career criminal who (no matter whether you are stealing, assassinating or sabotaging) infiltrates wherever you go, so Perform is a useful skill as part of your disguise.

But in the Apocalypse, survival is far more important.

So we changed Perform to Might.

Might is the skill that covers everything to do with how strong you are, so in a more traditional RPG system this would be your Strength attribute. Adding in a strength skill meant we had to adjust how Athletics work. Previously, Athletics covered anything the human body does that is physically taxing, and this included feats of strength. Now that we split off strength to our new Might skill, Athletics has become our dexterity skill. Everything you want to do that requires you to be dexterous and nimble, such as running, parkouring, acrobatics, dodging, will fall under Athletics while pure acts of strength such as lifting and pushing heavy things and climbing will fall under Might.

Z-Land Beta 3.1

The new version of the Z-Land beta is now out and on its way to you!

It’s not a major release and deals mostly with typos and grammar fixes, but it is also the start of clarifying the rules and mechanics as we start to get more feedback from the beta testers. This is some of the most important “changes” we have and will be making to the beta as it is about making sure you as GMs and players know exactly what the rules mean and how they are applied to the game. After all, if you don’t know how the rules work, then how can you play the game?

The full list of changes and clarifications we made can be found in the changelog on page 3 of the beta, but to just pick out a few: we’ve clarified exactly how flanking bonuses work in melee combat (each flanker gets all the bonuses from all the other flankers), how the Sigil Threshold can be affected by in-session changes to your Luck Skill (it can’t), and what Skill Level the Skill Specialisations start at (the same Level as their Parent Skill).

The more feedback we get from all you beta testers, the more we will be able to clarify the rules to make it easier for you to play. So keep that feedback coming!

Also, we just ran a major playtest with the game design students at AUT’s School of Art and Design and we got a veritable boatload of feedback to work through, so expect some exciting changes to happen as we unpack all that feedback and critiques.

Z-Land Beta 3.0

The new version of the Z-Land beta is now out and on its way to you!

There’s a few minor things that have been added and changed in this section (such as adding in sample Infected character skill blocks, adding computing to the character generation’s careers and starting to add in archetype logos) but the main event for version 3.0 is scavenging!

In the post apocalyptic future you will always be either hungry, thirsty or both, so you will always be out looking for more food, water and other supplies. This is where the scavenging mechanic comes in. There are five main consumable resources and their scarcity will be different depending on what sort of environment you are in and what timeframe. What is rare and scarce in one environment might be common and plentiful in another; what you might find everywhere on the day the apocalypse happen might be in very short supply ten years later.

Scavenging is done quite simply: you roll an Investigation Skill Check and your GM puts a positive or negative modifier onto it depending on the scarcity. If you are successful then you find it, but how much do you find? That is where the Luck Skill comes in. If you have indeed found some food or water, you roll a Luck Skill Check to see if you have found enough to last you the next few days or just enough for the next meal.

Also due to popular demand, we have added in how long a turn in combat should last: approximately five seconds.

Have fun with 3.0 and get back to us any feedback you have!

Z-Land Beta 2.0

The Z-Land 2.0 has been released, and for those who already got into the beta it should be on its way to you right now. If you want to sink your teeth into the beta, you can now grab it from DriveThruRPG.

2.0 brings with it 2 major mechanics: Food Spoilage and Threat.

Food Spoilage is exactly what it says it is. It uses a very simple mechanic to track how long until the food you have spoils and can no longer be eaten. You already have to deal with hunger and starvation and now you have to worry about your good going off. Other than keeping you on your toes, the purpose of this mechanic is to keep you moving. If your food never went off or spoiled then you can happily set up camp somewhere safe, have a pint and just wait for the apocalypse to (hopefully) blow over. But if your food has a time limit that means you have to keep going out there into the ruins scavenging for food and that makes the game exciting.

The second mechanic is Threat. Threat deals with the consequences of going around scavenging or in general just making noise. Threat deals with how many individuals (alive, dead or undead) hear the noise you are making and how far away they are. Threat is also the first foray into our environment system as each environment deals with sound differently. Sound carries further in open plains than in a densely backed urban district, but there are far fewer people out on the open plains than in a city.

So stay on the move and keep your ears and eyes open!

As always, we love to hear feedback on these new mechanics and absolutely everything else in the Z-Land Beta. If you wanna chat to us you can email us at customerservice@stormforgeproductions.com or you can find us on the Rycon Roleplays Discord Server where you can chat to fellow beta testers about your experiences in the apocalypse.

Z-Land beta on sale now!

Due to popular demand, we have made the beta rules to Z-Land publicly available on DriveThruRPG, so CLICK HERE to get it! If you wanted to back the Kickstarter but didn’t get in on time, now is your chance! We will be updating the beta constantly with new rules and fixes and all that carry on, and through the magic of DriveThru’s website, you will automatically get the updates as we put them out.

Just bear in mind that the beta will only ever stay the beta. It will (eventually) have all the rules and mechanics for the game, but no lore or background or pretty art. It won’t transform into the fully completed book at any stage. If you get the beta, you get the beta.

Z-Land Beta 1.1

The first update to the Z-Land beta document is now being sent out to all our Kickstarter backers even as I am typing this. It’s a small update, mostly just fixing typos and grammar mistakes, but we have (due to popular demand) added in a new section called Starting Scenarios. As time goes by, we will be adding in Starting Scenarios for all three time frames, but for now we only have them for the D-Day time frame.

The Starting Scenarios are exactly what they sound like. They are 10 scenarios for beginning a campaign to launch you into the world of Z-Land. So if you are not quite sure how to start a game or you are wanting a challenge, have a look at the scenarios and customise them so they fit with you and your party.

This is just a small update because we have a bigger one in the works that should come out soon-ish. We’re looking to finish off the survival section so the next big update (Z-Land 2.0) should have rules for food spoilage to make your lives more difficult and rules for weather exposure.

If you still haven’t received a copy of the Z-Land beta document and you did back the Kickstarter, just send an email to customerservice@stormforgeproductions.com and just tell us your Kickstarter username and which level you backed so we can update our records and then we’ll get you your copy right away.

Z-Land Beta Document is out!

The first version of the Z-Land beta is now been released and should be on its way to all the backers of the Kickstarter campaign. If you pledged on the campaign, you should be getting an email from DriveThruRPG that will give you a download link to the Z-Land beta. The game is still faaaaaaaaar from finished and we will be updating the beta doc as we go along. Never fear though of missing out as each time we update the doc, we’ll make a post about it and you should get an automatic email with a link to the updated file.

If you have backed the Kickstarter, but for some reason didn’t get the email from DriveThru, first check your spam and trash folders and if you still can’t find it, give us a yell and we’ll sort it out.

We hope you enjoy it and remember that it is a beta. We need your feedback as much as we needed your pledges during the Kickstarter campaign. Together, we’ll make the best damn apocalypse RPG that’s ever been.

The Runed Dead Crossover 2

Last time on The Runed Dead, we covered what an undead apocalypse would look like in the Grand City of Middelburg inside the world of the Runed Age. Magical undead, faulty and broken runic arrays and undead that can sniff out a trace of magic a mile away.

This time, instead of bringing Z-Land to the Runed Age, we are bringing the magic of the runes to the post-apocalyptic wastelands of Z-Land! Unlike in the Runed Age where there is a story behind the undead scourge’s appearance, in Z-Land the appearance of runic magic is a mystery. No one knows where it came from, and for years (perhaps even decades) people considered those who think they can do magic to be crazy, much like in today’s world. That all changed once certain undead could cast spells…

The Mechanics

Just as how the undead plague works differently when set in the Runed Age, bringing the runic arrays to a real-world(ish) earth’s apocalypse will also change them in certain ways to better make them fit.

Firstly, as with last time the runic arrays can’t effectively create “living things” in the post-apocalyptic world. Any plant material, animal material and water is deformed by the runic arrays when created or transmuted. Water becomes brackish and foul, meat and blood comes out rotten and plants are already decayed. As a simple rule of thumb, you can’t make anything edible or drinkable through the runic arrays. Just because you have magic, doesn’t mean you don’t need to work at surviving like the rest of us. The runic arrays will be able to target water, animals and plants just fine, it just won’t be able to properly create or transmute them.

Secondly, there is no such thing on earth as orichalcum, and so the orichalcum rune is meaningless. The only way to power the runic arrays is through direct application of energy and human blood, but here is where the third big change comes in: infected blood does not power the arrays nor do the arrays even recognise any infected person (living, dead or undead) as human or even an animal. This means you can’t just put an array on a bullet and shoot it at an infected human to wreak havoc. In saying that, the arrays will work just fine against normal, uninfected humans.

Lastly, normal humans won’t be the only one capable of using the runes to create magic. The Unborn, the offspring of infected humans, area semi-intelligent and utterly evil, caring only for conquest, chaos and cannibalism. We will go more in depth about them in a future Kickstarter Update, but for now all you need to know is that they too (somehow) have learnt how to harness the runic arrays, but not only by scribbling them down like you will be doing. No, they can speak the arrays. They can create incantations and unleash the runic arrays as spoken spells.

If you bring the runic arrays to Z-Land, you will have necromancers and liches to deal with in a world that has fallen apart!

We’ve hit 90% on the campaign, so it’s just the final stretch to go now! Click on the image above to go the campaign, back it and share it around! We can do it, only 9% left and 9 days to go!

Z-Land Kickstarter Update #2

It’s only been 9 days into the Kickstarter campaign and we’ve already breached the 60% mark! We’re well on our way to making our funding goal and we have three weeks left to go!

And so in that optimistic mood, today we’re gonna talk about what you can expect to get in the first version of the beta rules that we’ll release as soon as the Kickstarter finishes.

BETA 1.0

The Core Sigil Rules: The core system of Z-Land will be near identical to the Sigil System rules (so if you’ve already played the Sigil System or the Runed Age, it should be a walk in the park for you). This means you can expect all the rules regarding Skill Checks, Combat, Social Encounters, Equipment and Advancement. One unique difference you’ll see is that there is no “Runes” or “Supernatural” Skills, rather we have created the “Luck” Skill for Z-Land and we’ll talk all about how that works in a later update.

Character Creation: We have revamped our Character Generation to fit in with a modern Earth so you will be able to create a realistic feeling character for the day the apocalypse happens. For those of you who want to already start in the apocalypse, we have made an “add on” Character Generator that will take your character from Day-0 to 10 years so you can already start as a hardened survivor.

Survival: The first version of the beta will come with the survival rules already present in the “Realms” section of the Sigil System. That covers thirst, hunger and stamina/exhaustion and that will already give you the feel of living in a world where food, water and sleep are hard to come by.

Infection: What would a game about the undead be without the undead plague? The beta will you give all the rules about getting infected, what happens to you while the infection spreads, how to slow it down and what happens when you go to sleep for the last time.

Pre-made Characters: To get you into the game as quickly as possible, we will give you a handful of pre-made characters. These will be made with the extant Z-Land beta character creation to show you what sort of character you too will be able to make.

Of course remember that this is only the first version of the beta rules and the full game will have far, far more rules in it. As we expand the game rules and correct whatever miscalculations we find will we will update these rules and notify you, so that you will always have access to the newest version.

And as always, remember to click on the image above to get to the Kickstarter campaign, pledge and share the link around!