I will soon be starting my ATZ-FFO campaign (next month, hopefully) but I have quite a bit of prep work to do beforehand. One of the things that I wanted to add to this campaign was character record sheets (CRS) for my Stars and Grunts. The main reason for this is that I want to add a greater degree of complexity in my game with regards to skills. My friend Joe/Zabadak began a discussion on the Board of the Living Lead forum about how unrealistic it was that Rep is used to cover so many skills - shooting, melee, driving, initiative, leadership, etc. I totally agreed with him and that got me thinking. I realise that the reason for the all-inclusive Rep stat is to keep the game's mechanics simple and speed up play. I was happy to go along with that in my ATZ-BDTZ campaign, but now that I am making a fresh start with FFO I want more complexity in my game. I'm aiming for somewhere in between the simplicity of BDTZ and the complexity of GURPS.
So to that end I am giving my characters six skills that are separate from their Rep. They are Driving, Melee, Shooting, Fitness, People and Savvy. Rep will be used for Initiative and any tests not covered by the other six skills. In After The Horsemen, Fitness, People and Savvy were separate skills from Rep but in FFO, Fitness has been incorporated into Rep and is used for Physical Challenges. In my game they are all separate skills.
The stat scores for the six skills are worked out as follows - three skills are chosen at the same level as the character's Rep, two are chosen at Rep minus one and one is chosen at Rep minus two. To show this in action, I present to you my CRS for Vampifan as he will appear on Day One of my new FFO campaign.
Vampifan is my alter ego in FFO. He is like me in some respects but he is much more an idealised version of how I'd like to appear in a zombie apocalypse. Plus, by setting my campaign in Mayhem City, USA, certain changes were necessitated. In real life I don't drive, fight or shoot. In FFO, Vampifan drives to work most days, he practices kendo once per week and he is a keen member of his local gun club. He still likes to eat too much junk food and spends too much time working on his computer, hence his pitifully low Fitness score. His People skills are high, due to his many meetings with clients and staff members, whilst his Savvy skills are about average. I kept his Slow Attribute as before but I gave him the Born Leader attribute to boost his chances of keeping Team Vampifan together at the end of each month. With regards to Attributes, I prefer to choose the Attribute that I think best represents that particular character, rather than dicing for it and getting something inappropriate. Is that cheating? No, it is not. It is creating the characters that I want to best tell my story. For the most part, I stick with the Attributes listed in FFO, but for a few characters I have chosen ones that appear in ATH.
When it comes to increasing a character's Rep or Skill, I shall stick with the rules as they are in FFO, with one slight change. Normally a person can roll to increase their Rep or a skill. Because I have greatly increased the number of skills I will allow a character to increase their Rep or two separate skills, provided that both skills were used successfully in the encounter. The exception to this rule that a zero-level skill can be increased in place of a successfully used skill. As per the rules in FFO, no skill can be higher than the character's Rep score. Grunts are limited to having no skill or Rep higher than six. For Stars, there is no limit. Due to the number of skills I'll be using in my campaign, character advancement will be slower than in a normal game of FFO but I don't mind that. Sometimes advancing too quickly can derail a game.
I am a fan of the rule in FFO for "loading up" your own PEFs with pre-generated characters. As a consequence, I have been spending a lot of time these past few weeks designing my own Grunts to use in my campaign and I now have a nice selection of Survivors, Gangers, Civilians, Police and Military folk to choose from. Each of them has their own CRS.
Here are the CRSs for Big Sil, Angie and Gap as they will appear on Day One of the new campaign. Note that all of Team Vampifan are now presented with their full names as well as their nicknames, something I never did in my BDTZ campaign. Big Sil and Angie are Rep:4 because they have had a tough upbringing and have had numerous scrapes with other gangs and with the police. Gap is just a typical civilian office worker and so is just Rep:3.
I realise that this post will be of little practical use to most (all?) of you, but it was important to inform you of the house rules and changes I will be making to my own ATZ-FFO campaign. The beauty of the THW games is that they are yours to do with as you wish.