Not the first time I’ve been Left4Dead

From the Wikipedia page for Left4Dead
Left 4 Dead is a co-operative, survival horror, first-person shooter game by Turtle Rock Studios.
“Left 4 Dead puts four human playable or AI-controlled Survivors of an apocalyptic pandemic against hordes of aggressive “Infected” (zombies). These Infected are controlled by an AI that dynamically balances difficulty and mood depending on the players’ progress and situation. In an alternate game mode, human players can control up to four different monsters with special abilities and cooperate to stop the Survivor players.

The common infected encountered during the game are fast and agile, weak individually but overpowering the survivors with numbers. Besides common infected there are five boss infected, whose mutations grant them special abilities that make them much more dangerous.

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed playing Left4Dead over the last couple of days – there’s something really satisfying in playing one of the ‘boss infected’ and stopping the PCs from reaching their safehouse. The music is excellent and really adds to the atmosphere. I’ve written up some statistics and additional rules for running a Left4Dead game using the Zombi rules and I’d love to hear your thoughts on them.

The stats for a basic zombi are:

GunPlay:0 CloseCombat : 5
B&E Action: 3 Stealthing: 3
Movement: 5 Awareness: 5
Scrounging: 0 Persuasion: 3
Survival: 3 Medical: 0

Modified Rules for Left4Dead:
Fast Zombis:

Rule: When someone comes within sight or hearing range of a Zombi it will run at the source of the noise and climb over objects to reach the source. This is especially dangerous where car or building alarms are concerned – the Zombi is especially attracted to these sources of noise, something that can be taken advantage of when a grenade is retrofitted with sound and light emitters. Zombis move at normal humans speeds.

Ganging Up:

Rule: When large numbers of zombis gang up, they will attempt to beat, hit or bite the survivor. Zombi attacks are simple closecombat attacks but if a PC is attacked by more than 4 zombis, then they have their panic rating reduced by two for every 4 zombis present – this can be very serious if attacked by 10+ zombis. A GM will roll the attack once for four zombis involved in the attack and if the result is a hit, add one point to the damage score. e.g Four Zombis attack a Player. They score a hit and roll once for damage, (1d6/3)+1 giving a result between 2 and 3 points of damage. If eight zombis make the same attack, it is treated as two groups of four. The only defense against this is a Shove which is a CloseCombat attack made by the survivor against the group. Only one group of four can be shoved at any one time and this requires that the Survivor make a successful CloseCombat attack taking into account his reduced Panic rating. There’s an advantage to keeping your back to a wall.

Fire Damage:

Rule: All zombis are severely affected by fire and even a small blaze will cause 1d6 damage per turn.

The most common boss infected is the Hunter, who has a pounce attack that pins survivors to the ground and renders them unable to defend themselves while the Hunter attacks.

Rule: The Hunter can leap up to sixty feet ( 20 metres ) in any direction. If it makes a successful Movement, then it will land on a Survivor within range and pin them. The only defense on this is assistance from other Survivors (or shooting the Hunter first by winning initiative). Once pinned, the Hunter does not need to make CloseCombat rolls to successfully hurt the Survivor but inflicts 1d6/3 every turn.

The Smoker has a long, grasping tongue which can capture survivors and drag them away from their teammates.

Rule: The Smoker may make an Awareness roll to ensnare and drag a Survivor up to thirty feet (10 metres). The survivor may again only be released through the intervention of another Survivor. Once ensnared, the Survivor is helpless against other attacks (from other Zombies) and after 1 turn of dragging, will also be attacked by the Smoker itself for 1d6/3 per turn.

The Boomer, a bloated infected whose vomit and bile attract the common infected and temporarily blinds the player.

Rule: A successful Movement roll means the Boomer has successfully vomited over every Survivor within 10 feet (3 metres). If shot, the Boomer will explode and coat everyone within the same range in his foul-smelling bile. The Boomer only has 5 hit points so this can happen easily. Once covered in the bile, the Survivor’s panic rating drops by a full five points for two turns as the liquid distorts vision. The bile will also attract every Zombi within a kilometre (half mile) to the Survivors (GMs will likely roll 2d6+6 to see how many show up.

The Tank is a huge, muscular infected and the most difficult to kill. The Tanks can knock the survivors back a distance and throw objects in the environment or large pieces of earth.

Rule: The Tank’s CloseCombat Score increases to 10. It may also pick up rocks and anything to hand and throw them using it’s Movement score with a range of 100 feet (30 metres) doing up to 1d6 damage. This may be dodged. The Tank has thirty hit points and will therefore take a lot of gunfire to take down.

The Witch is not aggressive, unlike the other boss infected. She will not attack the player unless provoked; by loud noises, lights or being near her. However her attack is the most damaging, on all difficulties her attack will knock down a player in one hit and on the expert difficulty is instantly fatal.

Rule: The Witch has Movement 10 and CloseCombat 10. She also has 30 hit points. But she will not move unless there is loud noise within 10 feet (3 metres). She will then attack doing 1d6 damage per successful hit.

Terms (Left4Dead, Hunter, Smoker, Boomer, Tank and Witch) and contexts used in this post are likely trademarks of Valve Software and is not meant to infringe. The game is $49 on Steam and also available in good games stores worldwide.

About matt

Gamer. Writer. Dad. Serial Ex-husband. Creator of The 23rd Letter, SpaceNinjaCyberCrisis XDO, ZOMBI, Testament, Creed. Slightly megalomaniac
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