15 min read

It’s a man eat man world.


  • Z Nation was another big TV show aired by Syfy and produced by The Asylum. It lasted for five seasons, from 2014 to 2018.
  • The world as we know if is no more. It’s a (zombie) man eat (human) man world now. Choose your side, and join the mission because where there is life, there is still hope.
  • The show took a fun, weird approach to the zombie apocalypse (in contrast to The Walking Dead). It tried every possible idea at least once!
  • This article was written during the fourth season of Z Nation.



  • Real Name: Steven “Doc” Beck.
  • Known Relatives: Son (name unrevealed), ex-wife (deceased).
  • Group Affiliation: Operation Bitemark.
  • Base of Operations: Mobile.
  • Height: 6’2″ (1.88 m). Weight: 160 lbs. (72 Kg.). Age: 58 during Season 4.
  • Eyes: Brown. Hair: White.

Powers & Abilities

Doc acts as the group’s medic, but he is not a real medical doctor. Rather:

  • He was a therapist pre-apocalypse.
  • This and having led a wild hippie life made him knowledgeable about drugs and medicines.
  • He was a dedicated fan of the ER TV show, from where he learned most of the trade.
  • He more recently learned how to perform simple medical procedures.

As a fighter, Doc is much more durable than he looks. He has survived some really bad punishment. Being blown up, being irradiated, having been exposed to toxic gas, having been hit viciously, etc..

He expertly wields a pair of hammers, his melee weapons of choice, for pummeling the zombies.

He is also a fairly good marksman when needed.

Doc Beck - Hodgkinson - Znation Z-nation


Beck used to be a hippie, and traveled around a lot in the United States of America.

More recently, he was working as an addiction recovery councelor, and apparently doing a great job at that.

He has a son, who still could be alive out there somewhere.

Zombie apocalypse

When the apocalypse started, he was working as usual. But as his colleagues and patients started going crazy and eating each other, he quickly realized they had become zombies.

He somehow managed to get out alive, perhaps thanks to his alleged earlier experience in the Navy. But little is known about the period immediately thereafter.

He also survived the hard times called the Black Summer (no relation). Little is known about those.

Doc Beck - Hodgkinson - Znation Z-nation - Fuller shot


Three years after it all started he joined a group of people, as their unofficial doctor. These took on themselves the greatest possible mission: the salvation of mankind.

The group has consisted of a few different characters, as some died and others joined. It is called Operation Bitemark and took on the task of transporting Murphy, the only human being alive immune to the zombie bites.

Murphy’s blood is expected to produce a vaccine, thus saving mankind. If they can just transport him to the last working biochemistry lab in California.

Over the years, Doc underwent many insane adventures in the post-apocalyptic world. Still, eight years after it all started he is still going strong, and still joining worthy causes for mankind’s sake.


How it all started

Great moments of Doc

Never mind what’s after 5:50.


Bonus video – the Grand Canyon strategy!

Zombies of the Apocalypse, or Zompokalypse now!

In the world of Z-Nation there are many types of zombie. Different circumstances have produced a number of varieties.

A few specifics are given below. What will they think of next?

Standard zombie

These are either slow (and low on energy, which usually occurs with decay) or fast (and capable of running as fast as any human if they are fresh).

Practically all types of zombies are permanently killable by a headshot, headstab or beheading. Destroy the brain, destroy the zombie.

All zombies are attracted by sounds of all types, and the smell of human. Their greatest “desire” is to eat all humans.

Humans killed thusly become zombies themselves within seconds. Even being bitten by a zombie will lead to a horrible infection (treat this as a gradual Poison Touch attack) that will slowly lead to death (and zombie animation).

A standard zombie will roam the lands for humans far and wide, but will eventually die permanently of starvation. However, this takes 10-20 years or so by the estimates made by some researchers at the outpost of Zona.

When hungry enough, some zombies will attempt to eat other zombies. There’s even a ball of zombies trying to eat each other constantly has been seen rolling around! Dodge if it heads your way!

And if you ever planned on going to the Grand Canyon for some sight-seeing, forget it, it’s now filled to the brim with zombies! But Doc was never near it (or so he says)!

Firefighter zombies

These were standard zombies, but still carried their firefighter helmet from their living days. This makes them trickier to destroy!

Blaster zombies

Created around a nuclear detonation, these odd mutant zombies move at superhuman speeds. They can outrun even a car. In game terms, they actually have 5 or 6 APs of the Superspeed power.

Furthermore, they are immune to Murphy’s zombie-controlling powers. This same immunity has been seen also with some other rare zombie groups.

Blaster Zombies even seem to employ some tactics, dodging, regrouping, etc. in fights. Some of their representatives were wearing suits, but they were running around on all four like some inept, common zombie! Bad Robot? No, Bad Zombie, I say!

Doc Beck - Hodgkinson - Znation Z-nation - Zombie horde

Medicinal zombies

At an old medical institution could be spotted roaming zombies. These were clearly suffering either from a condition or the effects of a drug (presumably but not necessarily consumed in life).

These included some very nervous zombies meandering about back and forth at high speeds, and some Viagra zombies (don’t ask!).

Radioactive zombies

These odd zombies became radioactive and glowing as they were active around the strongly radioactive area of a nuclear power plant (and its core).

Contact with one of them will lead to eventually lethal doses of radiation damage. Better start poppin’ those iodine pills, baby!

Baby zombies

Yes, zombie babies crawling around at dangerous speeds and purposes have been spotted. Not to be cuddled with!

Doc Beck - Hodgkinson - Znation Z-nation - Zombie glowing green ambush

Religious zombies

In a few eye-catching scenes, a number of specific religious groups of zombies have been seen. This includes Amish zombies, Mennonite zombies, and Mormon zombies. Collect all three, as Doc would say.

And then came Catholic Nun zombies!

Plant zombies

Through some oddity there are zombies on which plant life grows.

They can be stuck in vegetation and part of that vegetation, or walk around looking almost like living plants. By necessity they are slow, but generally powerful.

They may have been an offshoot created when zombies were used as fertilizer for growing weed!

Far North zombies

An Inuit zombie was spotted on one occasion, but it was frozen stiff in Alaska. It was sleighing along an unaffected husky dog, which thus became the best friend of Citizen Z.

Impersonator zombies

Amusingly, we have seen a bus-load of Abraham Lincoln impersonator zombies!


Showmen zombies

Also, clown zombies (yeah, that’s a bad combo!), parade zombies, and pigtail-wearing cheerleader zombies have been spotted.

Celebrity zombies

A collector of zombies also kept the zombie of George R.R. Martin in his museum.

Bomber zombies

A group employed zombies as attackers by binding dynamite around them and sending them towards enemies to blow them up, whipping them forward no less. Go, boy, go…. kaboom!

Alien zombies

Around Area 51 could be spotted zombies that also appeared to be genuine alien beings. Really?!

Doc Beck - Hodgkinson - Znation Z-nation - Zombie horde in field atmospheric


A zombie-grafting onto human-experiment gone awry. A zombie hand attached to Dr. Kaligari slowly took over the human host, changing it into something half-dead, half-alive.

After five years, the resulting huge humanoid zombie thing had four arms, with the face of his assistant whose zombie hand it had been. It had an extra face on its chest, and Dr. Kaligari’s own talking face on the back along one working hand!

The lower pair of arms could handle a submachinegun just fine, or just punch opponents. Zombie powers with street smarts – lethal combo!

Animal zombies

Yes, animals can be zombies too!

Sheep zombies, bear zombies, rat zombies, dog zombies and wolf zombies have been seen, and fought at various locations. Note that they are not suitable trophy animals!

Doc Beck - Hodgkinson - Znation Z-nation - Zombies in the woods

Next Generation Zombies

Introduced in Season 4, the zombie virus has mutated and some new zombies are now much worse than before!

They are no longer permanently killed by a simple headshot, headstab or decapitation. These zombies are only temporarily stunned, lying down “resting” (and treacherously appearing permanently killed) for a while the first time they have suffered enough damage to kill a standard zombie.

But soon enough they rise again, seemingly even more durable and faster than before. Then keep on moving until they have been pulverized or disintegrated by physical damage.

In DC Hereoes RPG terms, they then have a much higher BODY score than standard zombies.

Treat these as standard zombies, already with one AP higher BODY score from the start. Then once they have been seemingly destroyed, raise them up again soon, and this time with even higher DEX and BODY APs along loads of Damage Capacity.

As if this wasn’t bad enough, they are also smarter than average zombies (with one AP higher INT score!). Next-gen zombies can in time maneuver around obstacles, and even track a human target over many miles if needed.

Post-apoc survivors see them as generally unkillable and refer to them as Mad-Zs. Even one of them can pose great problems for a group of veteran fighters!


While not zombies, this group merits mention.

They are post-apocalyptic human survivors who have lost their minds completely. They behave like crazed animals, with little regard for their or their fellow’s safety. They’ll just go on the attack screaming (think Ghouls from the Fallout games).

It is impossible to communicate or reason with them, and they are also cannibals (and even eating zombies!), clad in truly post-apocalyptic mismatched gear and usually wielding melee weapons.

Z Nation shooting a zombie road forest


Doc is a tall and somewhat lanky elderly man. He is in great shape and has a large white beard and long white hair.

He is usually seen in relaxed, hippie-like clothing and on occasion dons a pair of red glasses.

He carries two hammers, a bag and a sidearm at most times.

Doc Beck - Hodgkinson - Znation Z-nation - S4 team


Doc is quick-witted and wise, and actually funny. Being the most chatty one in the group he has the greatest one-liners in the show.

Doc is usually also the voice of reason in any group he is part of.

He has some hippie tendencies, but this aspect is often exaggerated by others. Sometimes he is referred as such by strangers as an insult, but he just shrugs his shoulders at that.

Still, when something extraordinarily weird happens, and this is not uncommon in their world, he initially believes that he is having narcotics flashbacks, until someone else sees it too.

Surprising him is not easy, as he believes in most conspiracy theories, has seen some truly odd things, and lived to tell the tale. This ex-addict now works by the side as a drug dealer, but this has become less recreational (usually marijuana or oxycontin) and more medical over time.


He sees 10K as a son of sorts, respects Warren’s authority and leadership, enjoys verbal banter with Murphy, and and is friends with Abby, and similarly on friendly terms with Charles Garnett, Mack Thompson, Sgt. Lilly, Sun Mei, Lucy Murphy, and Cassandra.

But he could never figure out Javier Vasquez or Hector ‘Escorpion’ Alvarez.

He is considered an asset also by Citizen Z, the coordinator of Operation Bitemark up at the Northern Light Listening Post in Ellesmere Island, Canada.

Interestingly, he knew Sketchy and Skeezy, possibly the two greatest conmen of the Post-Apocalyptic world far back.

Now and then, he happens upon old acquaintances, and generally he has no specific enemies. He is, in fact, a great team player, and has a good heart. He has little understanding for unnecessary cruelty, insanity, and evil.

While sometimes loosing heart and hope, he usually soon bounces back up more dedicated than ever before.

Doc can survive very well on his own as well if needed, but, as he so often says, he hates it when the team splits up. There is no doubt that Doc will fight to save what’s left of the world to his very last breath, and that he is a valuable asset to his compadres.

Doc Beck - Hodgkinson - Znation Z-nation - Hammer and pistol


“Holy acid flashback, man !” (upon seeing Abe Lincoln zombies)

“Hold on. Marijuana, zombies, and GMOs. What could go wrong ?”

“Why we gotta split up ? I hate it when we split up !”

“I voted for you !” (attacks senator zombie) “That’s no way to treat a tax payer !” (hack) “Veto that !”

“It’s the apocalypse, man. None of this shit makes any sense.”

“That little zombie-proof son of a bitch !” (upon seeing 10K alive yet again)

“Why does it always have to be underground ? Can’t we for once have a big showdown in a penthouse, an aviary, somewhere with a window ?”

“I think we have been kidnapped and enslaved for evil purposes. Again ! I hate when this happens.”

“It’s hammer time !” (smash) “Write it down.”

DC Universe Adaptation

(This section proposes ways of using this character in DC Universe stories).

Doc is fitting as a post-apocalyptic fighting rookie doctor in a number of settings. In an isolated area of the world of Kamandi fighting the intelligent animals, or the Endworlds books fighting the Doctor.

Or fighting the Traitor General on Nu-Earth along the Rogue Trooper (who is blue just like Murphy used to be!).

Doc Beck - Hodgkinson - Znation Z-nation - Handsome couple

DC Heroes RPG

Steven “Doc” Beck (during Season 4)

Dex: 04 Str: 03 Bod: 04
Int: 05 Wil: 04 Min: 04
Inf: 03 Aur: 03 Spi: 04
Init: 012 HP: 025


Acrobatics (Climbing): 04, Charisma (Persuasion): 03, Martial Artist (EV): 04, Medicine (First Aid, Medical Treatment, Surgery): 04, Military Science (Cartography, Demolition, Survival): 04, Weaponry (Firearms): 04, Weaponry (Melee): 05, Vehicles (Land): 03


Expertise (Pharmaceuticals, Psychology), Familiarity (zombies, zombie types and behaviors), Schtick (Paired weapons: hammers).


The survivors of Operation Bitemark (the leader Lt. Roberta Warren, Thomas aka. 10K, Addison ‘Addy’ Carver; all High), Simon ‘Citizen Z’ Cruller (High), Alvin Bernard ‘The Murphy’ Murphy (Low; High from Season 4 onwards), Sketchy and Skeezy, post-Apocalyptic con-men at large (Low).


None demonstrated.


Responsibility of Power.


Post-apocalyptic survivor, former Addiction Councelor.






  • Medicinal Bag [BODY 01]. Doc will usually carry around a bag of medications. That includes oxycontin, Z Weed (marijuana fertilized by zombies) and whatever else he can scavenge. He has enough stuff in it to be able to adminster the First Aid subskill, and sometimes also the Medical Treatment and Surgery subskills.
  • Hammers (x2) [BODY 04, Enhance (EV): 01 (cap is 04), Descriptor: Blunt]. This is Doc’s preferred melee weapon for destroying zombies. Due to the lack of ammo, he has instead become a proficient expert at fighting with a pair of sturdy hammers.
  • Some sort of standard firearm (handgun or rifle, sufficiently powerful to put down a standard zombie by a headshot). It varies from adventure to adventure depending on what can be found, and naturally is ammunition also very scarce (say one or two full clips only).
    At the end of an adventure, or even in the middle of it, he may have spent all available ammo, but he may mysteriously have new ammo packs and stuff already during the ongoing episode if he spends 5 HPs to replenish and regenerate all his gear.

Design notes

Z Nation episodes play out just as if it were a role-playing game session. There is lots of post-apocalyptic hilarity and insanity going on with every concept tried and tested.

There is also a clear long-term end-goal in mind, with each episode constituting a single adventure per se. Characters come and go; when someone dies, another character joins the team with little introduction or rhyme or reason (perhaps the same Player’s next Character).

And sometimes characters are just away on their own missions (did Addie Carver’s player just move away or what?!).

After each episode, i.e. adventure, reward the survivors with their respective Hero Points Awards. Replenish and regenerate all Equipment the characters may have paid HPs for (including ammo) between episodes.

In Doc’s case it means he will always have access to his hammers, his bag of medicine and a firearm with a limited amount of ammo.

More design notes

Doc’s fighting skills improved slowly over the series as his very survival depended on it.

During Season 4, which was some eight years after the Zombie Apocalypse (Zompokalypse for short) he was up to the current impressive Firearms and Melee subskill levels listed in this writeup.

If an earlier version of Doc is to be used these can be lowered down to a bare minimum of 3 APs. Neither did he have the Paired Weapons Schtick until Season 4, which is set two years after Season 3, during which the world got even worse. Doc grew to the occasion.

Also, his HPs were set at around 10 only when the show started until they rose up to the current levels in Season 4.

Doc hits much harder than what one would expect of a man of his size and stature (in fact, all the team does). This is represented by the Martial Artist (EV) subskill.

While Doc does get very nervous in some zombie situations, and who wouldn’t, he is a fairly good candidate to have the Iron Nerves Advantage as well. Give him this if you wish to highlight this aspect of the character.

By Dr. Peter S. Piispanen.

Source of Character: Z-Nation TV-series, seasons 1-4, character played by Russell Hodgkinson.

Writeup completed on the 17th of May, 2018.