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How to survive video game - zombie soldier

Generic zombies

(How To Survive video game)


Power Level:
Game system: DC Heroes Role-Playing Game

Context

The late 2000s and much of the 2010s experienced an obsession with zombies. This was followed by an obsession survival video games, followed by zombie survival games. How to Survive (2013, abbreviated as H2S1 to differentiate it from the sequel) was one of the enjoyable ones.

Some screenshots come from the 3rd person view of the game for illustrative purposes. But the stats and stuff reflect the isometric version of the game.

The descriptions and stats reflect the Normal difficulty level for the game.



  • This profile features tabletop RPG mechanics about the video game’s gameplay – see our video games writeups FAQ for more.
  • This profile features non-canon hypotheses about in-game events and mechanics – see our video games writeups FAQ for more.

Overview

The zombies in the first How to survive video game are humans or animals who have fallen victim to an infectious agent. This is usually transmitted by a bite and into the bloodstream.

An infected person will become increasingly listless and psychotic. An obsession with devouring raw meat then appears. Eventually turn into zombies and their body start decaying. The rate of decay is undocumented.


Powers & Abilities

For an equipped and prepared person, a few zombies aren’t dangerous. But of course not everybody is armed and ready, zombies frequently come in groups or even hordes, and sooner or later one makes a mistake.

Most such zombies attack by mindlessly attempting to bite anything with a pulse. This isn’t a very efficient form of melee attack, but one bite that draws a significant quantity of blood may suffice. Quick cauterisation, or failing that amputation, will be necessary to save the patient.

Senses and speed

Zombies have very poor senses, and seem badly near-sighted. They will attack moving things though, as movement is easy to spot.

They respond aggressively to loud noises, under the assumption that it indicates a food source. Zombies seem fairly good at tracking the location whence noise comes. They also seem able to sense spilled blood, and to ignore noises that occur naturally (such as thunder).

Zombies can respond to attacks. If they see another zombie felled by a ranged attack, they can assume it comes from a food source and surge toward the right general direction. That it’s probably going to get them into enemy fire never enters their rotten mind.

Most zombies can but shuffle. Any person able to walk briskly can outpace them. However some — maybe 1 in 4 — can still run, albeit with an odd gait. They run fast enough to catch most people, but not an unencumbered person sprinting.

Durability

Zombies are more durable than people. Attempting to engage them in hand-to-hand is far too dangerous. It is possible to break bones and the like, but the fighter is within biting distance.

A long, hefty weapon wielded by a fit person will smash zombies fine. Multiple body blows from, say, a baseball bat or a machete will be necessary. It is thus advised to aim for the head and/or neck. Decapitation will drop them, and breaking jaws to prevent them from biting is always a good idea.

Headshots with ranged weapons also work good. Zombie skulls aren’t as solid as that of a healthy human.

These zombies are somewhat flammable. Recent ones likely have inflammable gas within, and old ones are dry enough.

Interestingly, these creatures aren’t immune to pain and shock. Blows that do not break them can still push them back and cringe. This is an important asset for their opponents.

Respawning

Since this is a video game, the zombies keep respawning. One could imagine that these are the same ones over and again.

For instance, perhaps they are able to absorb organic compounds from their environment. This might take the form of a powerful corrosive effect seeping from their body. They thus slowly reconstruct the destroyed parts using drained carbon from the puddle of corrosive liquid oozing from their broken body.

If this No-Prize Hypotheses  is true it would be possible to permanently take them out of commission. Howbeit that would require storing downed zombies on specialized sites without access to “nutrients”. This means individual morgue trays using specialized materials.

“Gas zombies”

Some zombies are filled with gas from decomposition. They are larger, bloated, and have a heaving belly filled to bursting. The explosion will likely not kill a fit person, but will leave most stunned and sprawled over.

Thankfully these are slow, and just as stupid as the others. Cool-headed and accurate shooters can single them out to detonate them among their fellow zombies.

“Night zombies”

These gaunt, hunched creatures may not have been human originally. These might be mutated large monkeys. They do move like moneys.

“Night zombies” only come out after dusk.

These are more robust than an ordinary zombie, can move as fast as a healthy human, and fully see in the dark. They also have what Bostonians would no doubt call wicked claws.

Thankfully, “night zombies” are dazed and scared by bright lights, such as from a flashlight. Keeping them at bay is thus easy… as long as you’re in a well-lit area, or can point your flashlight at them as they get too close. Several coming from different directions is a problem.

“Tall zombies”

These are much like basic zombies, but taller. Their body is gaunt and distorted upward, with a stretched neck and torso.

What is happening is unclear. If our No-Prize Hypothesis about zombie rebuilding themselves is correct in your setting, then one suspects that this is what happens when a zombie corpse drains matter from another nearby zombie corpse to rebuild itself.

“Super-zombies”

These huge monsters are superhumanly strong and resilient, as well as highly aggressive. They are clearly not based on any existing humanoid. It is possible that they are the result of a large pile of demolished zombies cannibalizing each other as they respawn.

Taking one such creature down requires a large volume of firepower, especially with the rubbish improvised weapons available on the islands. They do not seem vulnerable to fire. It is also important to stay mobile as they charge at a gallop.

How to survive video game - zombie monster

There seem to be several “levels” of such creatures, each larger than the last. Particularly large specimens sometime hammer the ground, sending a shockwave rippling for a good dozen meters.

One such “high level” super-zombie could somehow conjure multiple hordes of zombie iguanas – 8-12 per call, at least 3 times in one fight, using (in DC Heroes terms) the Animal Summoning Power. Or maybe it simply was nearby zombie iguanas attracted by the din of the fight, I have no way to tell.

Electrified zombies

These are zombies that have been loaded with enormous amperage and electrical equipment. They are tougher than the rest and can emit short electrical arcs, or shock people hitting them.

Worse, they naturally attract electricity which “revives” them once they’re down. Worse still, they are usually found near lightning collection pylons, which is the reason why they are electrically charged in the first place. They need to be lured away from those to be destroyed.

Even worse, they can drain excess current from a nearby electrified zombie. So if you’re fighting 2 such creatures and take down one, an arc will leap from the second and start reviving the first.

Zombie volcanologists

These are simply zombies wearing heavy, armoured, magma-proofed suits. These suits are tough enough to ignore most weapons.


Animals we never saw

Various local animals were also mutated. These include :

  • Crabs, who seem stronger than before. Beyond making them mindlessly aggressive, the infection makes them run faster and capable of inflicting serious wounds to people. And now that I’ve done the screenshots rather than reflexively shooting them on sight, they do look much more like a severed zombie head on four crustacean legs…
  • Emu-like (or are those ostriches ?) flightless birds. These roams in large mobs, and a dozen shrieking zombie emus rushing a potential victim is likely to be fatal. They run very fast and mowing them all down in time is difficult.
  • Deer. Such large creatures enhanced by the zombie infection are very dangerous unless one is heavily armoured. They’ll charge targets to either kill or knock them down, then bite. Did you know that deers have canine teeth ? It’s regrettable.
  • Piranhas. These frenzied schools will devour anything they can sense nearby, including other zombies.
  • Komodo dragons (or are those iguanas ?), which are remarkably resilient.


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Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG Print Friendly

Tell me more about the game stats

Basic H2S zombie

Dex: 02 Str: 02 Bod: 03 Motivation: Hunger
Int: 01 Wil: 00 Min: 10 Occupation: Hungry
Inf: 02 Aur: /// Spi: 10 Wealth: ///
Init: 005 HP: ////

Powers:
Directional hearing: 04, Skin Armor: 04, Systemic Antidote: 06, Ultra-vision: 01

Bonuses and Limitations:

  • Directional hearing only to sub for AV/EV when attempting to determine whence a noise comes.
  • Skin Armor is only effective vs. unarmed attacks and knives.
  • Ultra-vision is Night Vision Only.

Skills:
None

Advantages:
Iron Nerves.

Connections:
N.A.

Drawbacks:
Distinct Appearance, Catastrophic Rage, CIA toward Devouring Meat, Partial Attack Vulnerabilities (-1CS RV vs. fire and lightning), MPR (Very near-sighted), MPR (movement speed limited to 00 APs), Minor Bulletproof Syndrome.

Equipment:
Some zombies still wears tattered body armour. This is Skin Armour: 01 or 02, Half-Effective vs. energy. If these cover enough of their bodies it neutralizes their Partial Attack Vulnerability, and wearing a helmet will give them the No Vital Areas Advantage as long as it’s on. A Trick Shot can knock the helmet off since a zombie can’t properly secure it.

Equipment:
Zombie volcanologists wear these SUITS [BODY 06, Flame immunity: 06, Skin armour: 03, Note: the suit is covering enough to nullify the Partial Attack Vulnerability toward flame, but is electrically conductive. The visor has BODY 03, and it can be broken with a Trick Shot that gets one RAP against a RV of 03. Once the visor is broken the suit acquires the Partial Coverage Limitation (long coat level)]

The suit includes a BODY 03 dorsal tank that can be ruptured with a well-aimed piercing attack. If that happens the zombie will charge, but two Phases later the tank will explode (Bomb: 05, automatically destroys the zombie volcanologist).

How to survive video game - zombie pack


Running zombies

Same as above, but they don’t have Bulletproof Syndrome and enjoy their full movement speed.

There doesn’t seem to be running volcanologists, perhaps because of the cumbersome suit. One suspects they’d just crash to the ground.


“Gas zombies”

Same thing, but with the MPR and Growth: 01 (Doesn’t Increase STR, doesn’t Increase Weight).

If reduced to a Current Body Condition of 1 or lower, or if they’re close enough to an opponent, they’ll detonate. This is Bomb: 02 and Shockwave: 05, Combined. This destroys the zombie… for a time.

How to survive video game - two bloated fat zombies


“Tall zombies”

These have an AP of Always On Growth, raising their STR and Physical RV.

“Night zombies”

Dex: 03 Str: 02 Bod: 04 Motivation: Hunger
Int: 01 Wil: 00 Min: 10 Occupation: Hungry
Inf: 02 Aur: /// Spi: 10 Wealth: ///
Init: 006 HP: ////

Powers:
Claws: 04, Directional hearing: 04, Skin Armor: 04, Systemic Antidote: 06, Ultra-vision: 04

Bonuses and Limitations:

  • Directional hearing only to sub for AV/EV when attempting to determine whence a noise comes.
  • Skin Armor is only effective vs. unarmed attacks and knives.
  • Ultra-vision is Night Vision Only.

Skills:
None.

Advantages:
None demonstrated.

Connections:
N.A.

Drawbacks:
Distinct Appearance, Catastrophic Rage, CIA toward Devouring Meat (as long as that doesn’t involve entering lit areas), Partial Attack Vulnerabilities (-1CS RV vs. fire and lightning), SIF of Being caught in bright lights.


Charged zombie

Dex: 02 Str: 03 Bod: 04 Motivation: Hunger
Int: 01 Wil: 00 Min: 10 Occupation: Hungry
Inf: 02 Aur: /// Spi: 10 Wealth: ///
Init: 005 HP: ////

Powers:
Directional hearing: 04, Force field: 02, Lightning: 04, Lightning being: 04, Regeneration: 14, Skin Armor: 04, Systemic Antidote: 06, Ultra-vision: 02

Bonuses and Limitations:

  • Directional hearing only to sub for AV/EV when attempting to determine whence a noise comes.
  • Force field is Self Only and only effective against solid projectiles fired for 1+ APs away.
  • Lightning has No Range but is Combined With STR.
  • Regeneration only when exposed to electricity. The full 14 APs would be the result of being struck by lightning ; lower intensities will result in lower APs.
  • Regeneration continues after death.
  • Skin Armor is only effective vs. unarmed attacks and knives.
  • Ultra-vision is Night Vision Only.

Skills:
None.

Advantages:
Iron Nerves.

Connections:
N.A.

Drawbacks:
Distinct Appearance, Catastrophic Rage, CIA toward Devouring Meat, MPR (Very near-sighted).


“Super-zombie”

Dex: 03 Str: 07 Bod: 06 Motivation: Hunger
Int: 01 Wil: 00 Min: 11 Occupation: Hungry
Inf: 04 Aur: /// Spi: 11 Wealth: ///
Init: 008 HP: ////

Powers:
Damage capacity: 04, Directional hearing: 04, Growth: 02, Running: 04, Skin Armor: 06, Systemic Antidote: 08, Ultra-vision: 01

Bonuses and Limitations:

  • Directional hearing only to sub for AV/EV when attempting to determine whence a noise comes.
  • Growth is Always On and Already Factored In.
  • Running is only in a straight line, Charging everything in their path without any Multi-Attack penalties. This will likely send them crashing into something ; on the following Phase reorienting after such a crash requires a Dice Action and an Automatic Action.
  • Skin Armor is only effective vs. unarmed attacks and knives.
  • Ultra-vision is Night Vision Only.

Skills:
None.

Advantages:
Iron Nerves.

Connections:
N.A.

Drawbacks:
Distinct Appearance, Catastrophic Rage, CIA toward Devouring Meat, MPR (Very near-sighted).

How to survive video game - dead zombie monster


“Super-super zombie”

A “high-level super-zombie” has one more AP of Growth (raising STR, movement speed, physical RV), 5 more APs of Damage Capacity, and the Shockwave Power at about 5 APs.


Zombie crabs

Dex: 03 Str: 00 Bod: 01 Motivation: Hunger
Int: 01 Wil: /// Min: 10 Occupation: Hungry
Inf: 01 Aur: /// Spi: 10 Wealth: ///
Init: 012 HP: ////

Powers:
Claws: 02, Directional hearing: 04, Enhanced Initiative: 05, Shrinking: 06, Skin Armor: 02, Systemic Antidote: 03, Ultra-vision: 02

Bonuses and Limitations:

  • Directional hearing only to sub for AV/EV when attempting to determine whence a noise comes.
  • Skin Armor is only effective vs. unarmed attacks and knives.
  • Shrinking is Already Factored In.
  • Ultra-vision is Night Vision Only.

Skills:
Martial Artist (AV, OV): 04, Military science (Camouflage): 04

Bonuses and Limitations:
Military Science only on sand beaches.

Advantages:
None demonstrated.

Connections:
N.A.

Drawbacks:
Distinct Appearance, Catastrophic Rage, CIA toward Devouring Meat, Partial Attack Vulnerabilities (-1CS RV vs. fire and lightning).


Zombie emu

Dex: 02 Str: 02 Bod: 03 Motivation: Hunger
Int: 02 Wil: /// Min: 10 Occupation: Hungry
Inf: 01 Aur: /// Spi: 10 Wealth: ///
Init: 011 HP: ////

Powers:
Claws: 04, Directional hearing: 04, Enhanced Initiative: 05, Running: 04, Skin Armor: 03, Systemic Antidote: 05, Ultra-vision: 04

Bonuses and Limitations:

  • Directional hearing only to sub for AV/EV when attempting to determine whence a noise comes.
  • Skin Armor is only effective vs. unarmed attacks and knives.
  • Ultra-vision is Night Vision Only.

Skills:
Martial Artist (AV): 04

Advantages:
None demonstrated.

Connections:
N.A.

Drawbacks:
Distinct Appearance, Catastrophic Rage, CIA toward Devouring Meat, Partial Attack Vulnerabilities (-1CS RV vs. fire and lightning).

Note:
A mob of zombie emus will usually have a dozen to a score of beasts. By carefully progressing it is possible to only be noticed by a group of 3-4 among the mob, though. The rest will only come if they notice something unusual. Presumably they think the attacking group is gone after mice or somesuch.


Zombie deer

Dex: 05 Str: 04 Bod: 05 Motivation: Hunger
Int: 02 Wil: /// Min: 10 Occupation: Hungry
Inf: 03 Aur: /// Spi: 10 Wealth: ///
Init: 012 HP: ////

Powers:
Analytical smell/tracking scent: 02, Directional hearing: 03, Jumping: 00, Running: 05, Skin Armor: 04, Stagger: 06, Swimming: 03, Systemic Antidote: 06, Ultra-vision: 02

Bonuses and Limitations:

  • Directional hearing only to sub for AV/EV when attempting to determine whence a noise comes.
  • Skin Armor is only effective vs. unarmed attacks and knives.
  • Stagger is Combined with their STR when attacking.
  • Ultra-vision is Night Vision Only.

Skills:
None demonstrated.

Advantages:
Lightning Reflexes.

Connections:
N.A.

Drawbacks:
Distinct Appearance, Catastrophic Rage, CIA toward Devouring Meat, Partial Attack Vulnerabilities (-1CS RV vs. fire and lightning), MPR (Near-sighted).

How to survive video game - zombie deer and campfire


Zombie piranhas

Being attacked by a school is an AV 10, EV 06 attack – per Phase. They can opt to Critical, if they don’t seem to inflict enough RAPs.

Being nimble, small and underwater they are practically invulnerable barring explosives and other “fishing” methods.


Zombie iguanas/Komodo dragons

Dex: 04 Str: 03 Bod: 05 Motivation: Hunger
Int: 00 Wil: /// Min: 10 Occupation: Hungry
Inf: 01 Aur: /// Spi: 10 Wealth: ///
Init: 010 HP: ////

Powers:
Claws: 04, Directional hearing: 04, Enhanced Initiative: 05, Joined: 03, Running: 04, Skin Armor: 03, Sealed systems: 10, Systemic Antidote: 05, Ultra-vision: 04

Bonuses and Limitations:

  • Directional hearing only to sub for AV/EV when attempting to determine whence a noise comes.
  • Sealed systems only to operate without breathing.
  • Skin Armor is only effective vs. unarmed attacks and knives.
  • Ultra-vision is Night Vision Only.

Skills:
None demonstrated.

Advantages:
None demonstrated.

Connections:
N.A.

Drawbacks:
Distinct Appearance, Catastrophic Rage, CIA toward Devouring Meat, Partial Attack Vulnerabilities (-1CS RV vs. fire and lightning).

Note:
It’s not uncommon to run into 1 or 2 adults with 1 or 2 youngs.


Design notes

These stats are intended for a low-HP, low-AV, low-EV environments. See our writeup for Nina Markovic to gain a sense of the intended scale.

You can also refer to the writeup for the deathclaws in Fallout to see examples of computations at such a scale and how, say, a BODY of 06 is huge when only “normal” AP and HP values are involved.

Sébastien Andrivet.

Source of Character: How to Survive 1 video game.

Helper(s): Darci.

Writeup completed on the 21st of June, 2016.

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