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!

The Runed Dead Crossover

Something has gone terribly wrong in Middelburg, and perhaps the rest of the world as well. The runes and arrays have always been the gift of the gods, a symbol of their trust and love of humanity that they would give the very power of creation to such lowly mortals. The runes saved us from utter annihilation during the Great War with the Inhumans, but it seems now that it was only a stay of execution. The runes are killing us, but that is nothing new. Now, though they are bringing us back as fell creatures that feast on human flesh and feel no pain. The more we use the runes to protect us, the more we create these unholy abominations. One day soon, the only feet shuffling through the street of Middelburg will be those of the dead and the damned.

Both The Runed Age and Z-Land run on the base Sigil System rules, which means rules for one can easily be applied to the other. What’s sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander and all that. This means that all the rules we have made, and are making, for Z-Land can be used to play an apocalyptic game of The Runed Age. So if you want to scavenge in the ruins of Middelburg as a horde of rune-fuelled undead chase after you, then read on.

While the rules for Z-Land can easily be ported over to The Runed Age, the lore obviously cannot. The world of The Runed Age is its own beast and the time wherein the game is set is wildly different to modern times. Not to mention that with the runes and arrays, there is nothing simpler than killing scores of undead at a time. So for The Runed Dead, a few things need to be changed.

First and foremost is that the undead in The Runed Age are not the result of genetic and biochemical experiments gone awry, but are magical in nature. The runes and arrays themselves are raising the undead. And this brings us to perhaps the greatest change: there is no infection and thus no way of becoming infected by the undead. A bite from the undead will hurt like the dickens, but it won’t transform you into one of them. Instead, dying while in the presence of a runic array (specifically within the field of effect of an array) brings you back as one of the shambling and shuffling undead; and being in direct contact with a runic array for too long will turn you into a living undead.

This might seem like an easy way of avoiding becoming an undead revenant, but remember that the defensive arrays on your clothing and armour will surely encompass you, meaning that dying in armour is a sure way of coming back after death. Also, while tattooing defensive arrays used to sound like a good idea, or having arrays on the inside of your clothing always seemed like a good second measure, these are against your skin and means that over time they will corrupt you into becoming a living undead.

As the undead are fulled by whatever mystical energy gave power to the runic arrays, they can also sense the whereabouts of any runic array near them and are drawn like moths to a flame to any runic array. Once they reach one, they will do everything they can to destroy a runic array, even going so far as to ignore living creatures around them (as long as they are not threatening).

The final change to the runes in the apocalypse of The Runed Age is that the runic arrays no longer effectively create “living things”. 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. Lore wise, this adds to the apocalyptic feel by having even the runes themselves be corrupted; and mechanically it makes it so that you can’t just create all the food and water you want, you will have to go scavenging.

Can you survive in a magical world where the very magical essence of the world has turned against you?

The insane and the rambling speak of a god, a new god, an old god, perhaps the only god. They say this Farw├╝stan exists solely to destroy and has regretted saving us from the Inhumans. They say He is now reaping his vengeance by sending the Runic Scourge to wipe out any trace of the runes He gave us to destroy the Inhumans. I’ve never heard of this Farw├╝stan, but it makes about as much sense as anything now. The Scourge has swept over all of Middelburg and I must say it does look like the realm of a god of destruction…

We are almost at the 60% mark in our Kickstarter and with your help we can get to 100% in next to no time! So click on the image above and have a look at the best post-apocalyptic RPG not yet released!

Also stay tuned next Wednesday when we’ll show you how you will be able to bring the might of the runic arrays to Z-Land and add a little fantasy into gritty reality. Also stick around for Friday when we show you what you will be able to expect in the the Beta 1.0 Rules in March.

Magic Mondays – Life Rune & Circle of Life

For Magic Mondays this week we celebrate all things undead in Z-Land by giving you a whole new rune!

The Life rune does exactly what it’s name means: it distinguishes between that which is alive and that which isn’t. If you simply link Create with Life, it will create a conglomerate of single cells as they are the ancestor of all life, but that isn’t what makes it so interesting. When you modify any Plant or Animal rune (such as Human, Canids, Felids, etc) with Life, you can specify that you only want to target living animals. And as you will see below you can also make exclusionary modifications so that you can specify you only want to target dead things… or in the case of Z-Land, undead things.

And to see the Life rune in action, here is the Circle of Life array:

Notation: Create a Containment Field that excludes Dead Humans if any are present.

Class: Defence

Description: The most basic of anti-zombie arrays you can make, and also the one that will save your life more times than you will be able to count. The Circle of Life destroys dead (and undead) humans when they enter the array’s field of effect. It’s simple, it’s clean, but it brings a new element to the realm of runic array design and that is the concept of the exclusionary modification.

Exclusionary modification works in much the same way as a normal modification. Whatever rune you put as the modifier tells the array what specific sort of material to target. Modify a Blood rune with a Human rune and you tell the array not to target any sort of blood, but to target human blood specifically; modify the Human rune with a Life rune and the array will specifically target living humans only. It all sounds straightforward and very familiar, but what if you don’t want to target living humans or all humans, but specifically dead (or undead) humans?

Well there are two ways to do this. First is to make an array that targets all humans, then use that array as a secondary array inside a larger one and exclude living humans from the effect of that secondary array. It does the same thing as the Circle of Life, but you can easily skip all those steps and simply use the Life rune as an exclusionary modification to tell the array to target humans that are not living.

As you can see in the array above, to make an exclusionary modification is quite simply. All you do is add an extra ring around the rune to show it is being excluded just like you would do with an “If-Not-Then” statement or an “Exclude” statement that the Circle of Life also has.

And there you go, now you have far more flexibility in your runic array designs. Remember you can also use an exclusionary modifications when it comes to speed and size runes to be able to better hone the accuracy of your arrays.

We are more than halfway to our Kickstarter funding goal and with your help we can get to 100% in next to no time! So click on the image above and have a look at the best post-apocalyptic RPG not yet released!

Also stay tuned for Wednesday when we’ll show you how you will be able to bring the undead, survival goodness to The Runed Age’s Middelburg and you will be able to bring the magic of the runic arrays to the apocalyptic wastelands of Z-Land.

Z-Land Kickstarter Update 1

The Kickstarter is up and running and now 24 hours later we have time to sit back for a while and see what happened.

We’re pleased to announce that in only one day we have already gotten half of our funding goal!

So to you 43 backers who have helped us this far, we cannot thank you enough. But we still have the other half to go, not even to mention all the stretch goals so we need your help, dear reader, to get us that far. Every little bit of funding we get helps, from the largest backer level to even just a dollar, so don’t be intimidated by the higher backing tiers and get scared off, we will be infinitely grateful for any help you can give.

Also, help doesn’t just have to come in the form of backing the Kickstarter. What every Kickstarter campaign need most (after funding of course) is exposure. So if you can share the Kickstarter to your social circle and online groups, you are doing us a favour larger than you can imagine.

And now for a couple of FAQs. It’s only been a day but we’ve already gotten a few.

The System

The first thing a lot of folks want to know is what system Z-Land will be based on, and if they can give it a test or two to see how it works. Well for those of you are curious, Z-Land will be based on the Sigil System, much as The Runed Age, although it will come with a host of unique mechanics focused around survival, social factions and the undead infection. The Sigil System is also available as a free download over on DriveThruRPG, so click the banner below and have a look!

The Money

A fair question if there ever was one is what we plan to do with the money we raise. The short answer is “Art.” The longer answer has a pretty chart along with it.

After the fees that Kickstarter takes from the total funding is taken off, we will be spending the money predominantly in two ways: to cover the printing costs at DriveThruRPG for the physical products and all the art we are going to get. We will squirrel away a few pennies to cover editing and proofreading, but the main costs we want to cover and the main reason for the Kickstarter campaign at all is to get money to fund as much art as we can get our hands on to make the Z-Land Corebook look as grand as possible.

If you have any questions, comments or critiques, please feel free to drop us an email! We are always happy to help.