The Infection

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Note: This setting rules is from the War of the Dead Savage Worlds setting.


The Infection is fast-acting and 100% terminal. Whenever a character receives at least 1 wound (after soaking) from an Undead’s bite, he is infected. Unless the character is the lucky one to be immune, there’s no additional roll to resist the Infection, benny to spend, or special Wild Card ability to become immune. If the character didn’t manage to soak all the wounds when the damage was taken, his number is up. It’s just a matter of when.

Characters in the zombie genre tend to die and rise again at varying rates, which help add to the suspense of when someone will suddenly try to attack you. Z-Day strives to imitate that. The following rules are designed to determine how long it takes an infected victim to die and become an Undead. Make sure to keep all results secret from the player group to help add to the tension of the story. Typically, this mechanic is used when one of the player characters becomes infected. For a non- player character, you can have the transformation take place at whatever rate benefits the story.

Once a character becomes infected from an Undead’s bite, the rate of death and transformation depends on the seriousness of the wound. In Savage Worlds, this is indicated by the number of wounds the character received. For characters who receive wounds from multiple zombies, the rate of transformation is determined by the most serious injury suffered from an Undead, not the total wounds received.

One Wound: If the character only received a single wound, the bite isn’t usually deep. Roll 1d20 to determine the number of days before the Infection begins to affect the character.

Two Wounds: When a character receives 2 wounds from an Undead’s bite, the injury is usually enough that the virus has entered the bloodstream. Roll a d12; the result is the number of hours before the Infection starts affecting the character.

Three (or more) Wounds: If a character receives at least 3 wounds from a single bite, roll 1d6. The result is the number of minutes before the Infection begins to affect the character.

Either way, once the Infection begins to affect them, they gain a level of Fatigue as the fever starts. They’ll continue to gain a Fatigue level each hour until falling unconscious.

As soon as the fever begins, the character must immediately make a Vigor roll at a – 1 for the first level of Fatigue. If the character succeeds, he must continue to make another Vigor roll at the end of every hour with the normal penalty for continued Fatigue. If the character fails the Vigor roll (or one hour after he becomes Incapacitated from Fatigue), he’s died. The character is gone, and the player is free to create a new one using the replacement character rules from the advancement section of the Savage Worlds rulebook.

Once the character has died, roll 1d6. The result is the number of minutes until he revives as one of the Undead (unless the brain is destroyed first).

Unfortunately for the survivors, dying from a bite isn’t the only way someone becomes one of the Undead. Whenever a character dies of a means other than a zombie’s bite (as long as the brain wasn’t destroyed), roll 1d6 to determine how many minutes until he reanimates.


Removing an Infected Limb

If the Undead made a called shot to a limb and injured the character, then there is a chance that the limb could be removed to stop the Infection from spreading. Removing the limb must be done within the allotted time rolled by the Gamemaster for the Infection (so on a 1 wound bite, if the Gamemaster rolled a 16 on the d20, then the limb must be removed within 16 days).

To remove the limb, a Fighting roll must be made against the victim’s Parry. If the victim is restrained, the Fighting roll is against a Parry 2. At least 3 wounds must be done before the limb is removed (which means the one doing the amputation might find himself hacking or sawing for a few rounds before he accomplishes the grisly task). Removing a limb is never easy, and causes considerable trauma to the body.

Once the limb is removed, the character must make a Vigor roll at –3 (the wound penalty) or become Incapacitated. Once the character is Incapacitated, roll on the Incapacitation chart as normal, but ignore any temporary injuries. The character has already suffered a permanent injury (and gains the One Arm or One Leg Hindrance as appropriate).

Unfortunately, severing a limb doesn’t always stop the Infection from spreading. Now you roll a d6. If the roll is a 5 or 6, the Infection continues to spread throughout the victim’s body, and severing the limb did nothing to stop it.


The Infection

Z-DAY: Undead Apocalypse rrouillard