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Tabletop Game: Zombie: The Coil
The eponymous Coil.
A Storytelling Game of Tragedy, Mortality, and Freedom.

Life is a cycle: we’re born, we live, we die.

But what happens when someone doesn’t stay dead?

This fan-made game set in the Old World of Darkness asks that question, exploring just how far someone is willing to go to stay "alive" once given a second chance. It’s an extremely nihilistic world where your next meal may just be someone you cared for, or who cared for you. Perhaps, if you can fight off the survivors’ guilt, the Fever and your Lich, you may just find an answer to it all. Or maybe you’ll just become yet another Yuya.

The rulebook and character sheet are hosted courtesy of Big Name Fan Mr Gone.

Tropes seen:

  • A God Am I: A sentiment found in various cells, but is most highly concentrated in the Seraphim.
  • The American Civil War: A major turning point in the history of the Living Dead: with the deaths of so many people, more Féos became Living Dead. They had to organize, or be wiped out. So they created their own Underground Railroad, figuring they’d be safe. Then came WWI and WWII. These decades were known as the Hounfar Rush. They led to the creation of Zombie culture, and according to some, the first Births.
  • Amnesiac Dissonance: When you are Born as a zombie, you remember very little of your Living life, represented in game mechanics as Whispers. The less human you start out, the more you remember. By following Compulsions (routines you once had in life), you eventually gain more access to your Whispers. Becoming a Zombie can...change you. You may not even recognize your old self. And if you ever hit 10 Whispers, you remember EVERYTHING of your old life. Your old personality is reborn in you, and you have a few options: one consumes the other, relegating it to the subconscious; they are in equal balance; or they fuse, and you experience a third Birth.
  • Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence: A possible result of transcending Mortality. Maybe. All that Gobi has said about it is that it is possible, and that it is similar to Transcendence or Ascension.
  • The Atoner: Penitents, some Crying Skull Posse members.
  • Awesome Mc Cool Name: Some of the sample names for the Living Dead include: Donna Damnit and Johnny Muertos. Some are more mundane however, depending on what they remember from before their deaths.
  • Bilingual Bonus: Grandes and Féos are Spanish for "large ones" and "ugly ones", respectively. The name of the Zahn cell comes from the German word for "tooth".
    • Knochen, the name for the Living Dead who are too decayed to pass for normal humans translates as "bone" in German.
  • Brain Food: If you're strong enough to crack open the skull, you can gain the maximum amount of Viscera for eating a human by eating the brain.
  • Church Militant: The Mortuum Templum, with the emphasis on the Militant.
    • Also, the Echelons organize themselves with religious titles: the grunts are organized into Choirs, above them are Preachers who run the choirs. Parts of cities are overseen by Ministers who have their own special choirs, which are populated by under-priests, who spy on the choirs to make sure they stay good little zombies. Then there are the Cardinals who run the city.
  • Conspiracy Theorist: The Zahn.
  • Corrupt Church: The Prima and Seraphim cells.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: This is the Crat Cell’s MO.
  • Crapsack World: It’s an oWoD. What more do you need to know?
    • Well, there is the fact that several Cells work to make the life of the average Living worse, since it makes it easier to feed that way. You know that charitable organization working to improve the nearby slum? The one that got shut down? It was cutting off their access to easy bodies.
  • The Dead Have Eyes: Actually, that depends on their state of decomposition. If they don’t, then their Meridians provide replacements that equal the vision they had in life. To the point that many of them need glasses, just like in life.
  • Enemy Without: The status as such for Liches, since they are the personal nemesis of every Zombie, and take the form of the nearest dead thing when a zombie is at its weakest. Note that ‘dead thing’ can include animal corpses, the human they just ate, the nearest wooden house…
  • Evilutionary Biologist: Found in the Lanmora, Pulse Wave, and the Seraphim, to varying degrees.
  • Fantastic Racism: Grandes consider Jackals disturbing, sick and twisted monsters for eating the flesh of the dead (they call it ‘ripened’). Jackals call Grandes murderers and cannibals. And both groups look down on the Féos (referring to them as the mindless Walking Dead).
  • Government Conspiracy: Theorized to be one of the reasons that Hounfars seem to be lessening, that the government is covering up the news, possibly to keep the Living Dead isolated.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: What is the botch result for Impuestos? The Féos try to eat you.
  • I Am A Humanitarian: What kind of Humanitarian is the difference though: Grandes eat the living, Jackals eat those already dead. Sometimes including reshuffled Living Dead.
  • Intrepid Reporter: Usually what the Zahn see themselves as.
  • Jack the Ripper: Even zombies wanted to know who he was, and this hunt led to the birth of the Zahn.
  • Knight Templar: The Templum Mortuum.
  • Mad Scientist: The MO of the Pulse Wave cell.
    • To a degree, also the MO of the Cell of Eyes.
  • The Masquerade: Again, an oWoD game. The Haze (the Coil causing the Living to forget) and the Zombies themselves make sure to keep the reality of the Living Dead a secret.
  • Mercy Kill: This is the justification for the Mercies cell: they eat the dying/those who would commit suicide anyway, and keep it as painless as possible.
  • Not So Different: Zombies hate the trafficking and enslavement of their kind, especially by Augurs. However, many of them participate in the Marketplace, where Living are bought and sold to feed the Zombie population. The irony isn’t lost on the majority of the consumers, they just don’t care, as it makes a tough job a whole lot easier.
    • Then there are the Lanmora, who have chosen to become Augurs. Their reasons are varied, from outright sociopathy, to wanting children, to wanting some kind of security. And they do provide a necessary evil: during Hounfars they control the majority of the Féos, which keeps their reshufflings low, Living mortality low, and keeps the Living Dead hidden.
  • No Zombie Cannibals: Averted - while Jackals tend to prefer dead bodies that aren't walking around, they'll eat other zombies in a pinch.
  • Our Angels Are Different: There is a cell known as the Seraphim. They like to go for the Old Testament look. It isn’t pretty.
  • Our Zombies Are Different: They come in two playable flavors: Grandes and Jackals. Zombie bites are not infectious. All start as Féos, the Walking Dead, consumed by their Fever. After their Birth, they become either Grandes or Jackals, depending on how they got their Birth meal. Around one in four Féos actually experience Birth.
  • Path of Inspiration: The Echelons, the Seraphim, the Prima.
  • Reincarnation: Gone Horribly Wrong is (one of) the explanations for Zombies.
  • Shout-Out: Several, although probably the most humorous one is where the Zahn sneer down at a small internal faction that claims to have found evidence of an “international organization of blood-drinking aristocratic families has been manipulating the mundane population for the past several centuries as pawns in their own interpersonal wars and conflicts”.
  • Sociopathic Hero: The Dalinari, for a certain definition of hero.
  • Stealth Hi/Bye: Sufficiently high levels in Erzulie allow the user to pull this off.
  • Weaksauce Weakness: Salt, the bane of all Zombie existence. Theories include that its chemical properties interact poorly with the Zombie ichors, or that as the symbol of life it combats the unlife that zombies represent.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: The leader of the Dalinari, Charlie Rayburn, goes from nice guy wanting to enact social change through eating the guilty, to this, to outright insanity.
  • Winds of Destiny, Change: The Legbé Viva, with a healthy does of Screw Destiny
  • World War One: The start of the Hounfar Rush.
  • World War II: The end of the Hounfar Rush.

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alternative title(s): Zombie The Coil
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