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Tabletop Game / All Flesh Must Be Eaten

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All Flesh Must Be Eaten is one of the most popular and well known gamelines produced by Eden Studios for its Unisystem roleplaying game, even compared to its RPGs inspired by Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel and Army of Darkness.

All Flesh Must Be Eaten, typically abbreviated as "AFMBE", is a Survival Horror Tabletop Role-Playing Game based around the concept of a Zombie Apocalypse. Extremely modular in both character design, creature design and setting design, this has contributed to its surprising levels of popularity: not only did the corebook eventually receive a "Revised" edition with rules for converting from Unisystem to d20 Modern, it spawned two books containing nothing but premade character archetypes, three books of collected fiction, a world of pre-made settings, and an array of other sourcebooks as well. These include mixing zombies with Pulp, Kung-Fu and Gun Fu action, Westerns, Science Fiction, pirates, conventional fantasy and wrestling.

While All Flesh Must Be Eaten prides itself on its flexibility for budding Game Masters (called "Zombie Masters" in the game's lingo) to create their own world, the corebook naturally comes with an extensive list of deadworlds (settings) for a game to be set in. Each of the subsequent sourcebooks also include several deadworlds as well, to better showcase their rules.

The Revised edition of the AFMBE corebook includes rules for converting the game from Unisystem to d20 Modern. The "Fistful o' Zombies" sourcebook, covering western themed zombie games, has rules for converting to Deadlands.

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  • Rise of the Walking Dead: A strange radioactive contamination causes the dead to rise, their contaminated bodily fluids causing anyone they bite to die and come back to life as a new zombie. Clearly inspired by Night of the Living Dead (1968).
  • PHADE to Black: Four years ago, a mad teenager raised the corpse of his AIDS-infected drug-overdosed girlfriend and slept with her, only to destroy her after coming back to his senses. His subsequent promiscuity unleashed the deadly PHADE virus on the world, creating an ever-growing population of unusually strong and smart blood-drinking zombies.
  • Grave Impact: A meteor, a fragment of a planetoid blasted off after it was oversaturated with necromantic energy, is blown up before it can impact with earth, spreading necromantically radioactive dust across the planet and causing the dead to rise as strong-but-mindless zombies that can only be slain with fire and which exist only to kill. Derived from Night of the Comet.
  • Sacred Soil: An apparently successful attempt to create an environmentally friendly fertilizer has created mutated plants that infest the bodies of the dead and raise them to destroy humanity.
  • They Came From Beyond: The earth has been invaded by vaguely insectile aliens which enslave corpses as an unstoppable army to conquer worlds and then strip them bare of all that they have to offer. Loosely inspired by Night of the Creeps.
  • Mein Zombie: In the battlefields of World War II, the Nazis have unleashed a new weapon: dead soldiers that are still able to move, fight and kill, and which keep on coming, blind to pain and fear, until a bullet enters their head.
  • After The Bomb: Decades after nuclear war destroyed civilization as we know it, the survivors have emerged to begin rebuilding. Due to specially-designed neutron bombs used in the war, certain humans have evolved a greater resistance to radiation. Unfortunately, when those humans die in heavily-irradiated areas (such as most of the world's major cities), they reanimate and physically warp into hideously powerful, radiation-fueled, nearly indestructible zombies.
  • Dead At 1000: In the year 1000 AD, an insane black magician named Lucius Mordecai has unleashed a zombie army upon medieval Europe.
  • Until The Ending Of The World: The Rapture has come, and those who were not good enough to go to Heaven, but not evil enough to go to Hell, have been given a chance to prove themselves worthy by fighting against the hordes of the walking dead now storming across the world, evil spirits unleashed as part of the End of Days.
  • Dawn Of The Zombie Lords: The world has been conquered by the undead armies of a number of incredibly powerful necromancers, who now rule over separate territories.
  • Rebirth Into Death: The mystical and highly complicated system that determines where souls are reincarnated into after their death has broken down, and now humans are being reincarnated in their own corpses — as fully intelligent, but still flesh-craving, zombies. The catch is, players will roleplay zombies in this one.

    Fistful o' Zombies 
  • Singing Cowboys: A goofy deadworld based on the stage for a 1950's "singing cowboys" serial, into which the writer/director is adding zombies in order to cash in on the sci-fi monster movie craze.
  • True Grit: Four explorers found the ruined capital city of the lost Indian tribe, the Anasazi, and foolishly broke the elder signs imprisoning the Eldritch Abomination, "Kinatuk — The Blood Thing", which had destroyed the Anasazi. Now free to roam the world once more, Kinatuk has begun to slaughter humans and animals alike, reviving them as zombified slaves that drip gore from their mouths. Based upon "gritty" Western movies from the 1960s and 70s.
  • Spaghetti With Meat: A travelling Snake Oil Salesman named Alouicious Rheems makes a Deal with the Devil for a miracle cure that turns out to reanimate those who drink it as intelligent, but still flesh-eating, zombies. Murdered by "Scratch" Willaims and his thirty-strong band of bloodthirsty bandits, the bandits drink several bottles of his tonic and arise as the first zombies, then proceeding to go on a bloodthirsty killing spree across the west, occasionally raising up more dead men as weaker, but still smart and deadly, zombie banditos. Derived from the "spaghetti westerns" of the 1960s, personified by Clint Eastwood.
  • Dances With Zombies: Shortly after the Massacre of Custer's 7th Cavalry Regiment at the Battle of Little Big Horn, the Sioux Indians learn that Sitting Bull's spirit-vision of destroying the entire white race was a trick played on them by the manitou, and the white men are dying... but rising up as zombies that mindlessly yearn to devour the indians.
  • Bloody Old Muddy: Though the Union/Confederate war ended five years ago, the dying goes on, as the Confederate dabbling in bioweaponry has unleashed a plague that spread rampantly across the Mississippi River, leaving an ever-growing horde of zombies.
  • Here Comes The Cavalry: When a greedy prospector tricks a peaceful indian tribe into buying smallpox-infected blankets from him in hopes of clearing them off their gold-rich land, the survivors perform a dark ritual that raises the plague-dead as vengeful zombies.
  • North, to Alaska: In the freezing cold Yukon, the gold rush is on. But a meteor strike has created a new strain of walking dead men, freezing cold zombies that exist only to drain the warmth from anything they encounter.

    Enter The Zombie 
  • Hard Boiled Corpses: A high-ranking member of China's Communist Party, Colonel Tsai Hsing, has decided to take inspiration from the urban legend of the CIA having created crack cocaine and introduced to the poor black communities of America. His team, "Operation: White Thunder", has created a new ultra-potent version of heroin by, among other things, cutting it with toxic waste from China's nuclear power plants, which they are flooding the steets of Hong Kong with in the hopes that it will kill off all drug users and dealers, thusly solving the organized crime problem. But those who don't die swiftly from using White Thunder proceed to die and come back as intelligent zombies, still hankering for their dopamine fix — if they can't get White Thunder, they go after human brains instead. Now Hong Kong is shaping up into a war between the police (who want to stop all the murders), the Triads (who want dead guys to stop killing them and taking their drugs), the Black Ops (who want to contain this problem and find a way to get out of this mess intact) and the Zombies (who just want to get their fix). Loosely inspired by traditional Gun Fu Hong Kong Heroic Bloodshed movies, such as those of John Woo.
  • Flesh Eaters in Little China: In the Little China district of San Francisco, the evil sorcerer Hung Shao has been quiet for centuries, content to surround himself with zombie slaves and make a fortune off of zombie-equipped sweatshops. But recently, he got greedy, and flooded the streets with his undead minions in hopes of openly conquering the city. But then he got distracted when he discovered one of the plants he needs for his immortality elixir has gone extinct. His attention diverted from the war to instead trying to find a replacement medicine, the assorted martial artists and sorcerers of Little China are now striking back against the necromancer. Derived from Big Trouble in Little China.
  • Once Upon A Corpse In China: In ancient China, rivalry between martial arts schools has taken a very deadly turn. Livid at the skill of the Flowering Lotus School, and incensed that it openly accepted and trained women in the martial arts, the five most locally powerful schools of the martial arts (the Striking Snake, the Golden Tiger, the Striking Crane, the Flying Dragon, the Fighting Monkey) banded together to murder its teachers and destroy the school. Now the five Li Sisters have returned as vengeful zombies, and are working to raise an army of martial artist zombie women, and with them slay all the men in China. Already, the Striking Snake school has fallen... Inspired by generic "chop-sockey" high-flying kung-fu-action films.
  • Undead Kombat: Centuries ago, a group of Persian mystics discovered that the souls of those who had slain at least 20 people were trapped in limbo, and could be resummoned as undead warriors. However, every 25 years, these zombies would need to destroy and consume the essence of another zombie, lest they return to oblivion. The mystics established a tournament, held once every 24 years, in which their stables of undead warriors would duel to feed themselves and winnow out the weak — now, in the modern era, not only has this tournament become the obsession of the mystics, a new trial run is being held. For the first time, powerful living warriors are being allowed to compete. Inspired by Mortal Kombat.

    Pulp Zombies 
  • The Hollow Earth: The heart of the world is actually a great series of caverns and hollow spaces, where a huge army of malevolent zombies has been imprisoned since the Bronze Age, slowly growing in number and hatred. And then the magical artifacts that keep them imprisoned below the earth are removed from their pedestals, breaking the spell and letting them claw their way back to the surface again...
  • Zombies, Inc.: The Doc Savage-like "Pinnacle of Humanity", a legendary adventurer and crusader for justice named Zaxor, has discovered a formula that returns the dead to life. The discovery drove him insane, and now he seeks to create a huge gang of his unusually intelligent zombies to form his own global crime empire.
  • They Want Our Women!: A Deadworld with its tongue firmly planted in its cheek, the earth is invaded by huge-headed Little Green Men from Mars with evil technology, freaky psychic powers, an obsession with JELL-O and the burning desire to kidnap all of humanity's women to turn them into brainless zombie-slaves.
  • The War of the Worlds, Part II: Aliens have recently visited earth, abducting and reanimating human corpses as part of their whimsical experiments. Satisfied, they dump the corpses into earth's orbit and leave — unaware that their experiments have made the zombies tough enough that they can survive re-entry into the atmosphere...
  • The Chinese Menace: A Chinese "Yellow Peril" criminal mastermind named Kang Ming has finally carried out his most audacious plan yet, secretly distributing rice tainted with black magic to Chinatowns across America. Those Chinese people who eat it are transformed into psychotic blood-drinking zombies that only attack those who lack Chinese blood; only by failing to drink blood for four hours does the spell wear off and they return to normal.
  • The Maltese Zombie: For over a century, the wealthy Gustavus family has secretly owed their success to their possession of an ebony statuette depicting a walking corpse, a black magical relic from Malta that can animate the dead as slaves to whoever holds it. But now the statuette has been stolen... and they want it back.
  • Hannibal East, Re-Animator: A mad medical student named Hannibal East has become consumed by his mad experiments in reanimating the dead. Obviously based on Herbert West–Reanimator.

    All Tomorrow's Zombies 
  • The Cybered Dead: In a world of Mad Max post-apocalyptic desolation in between huge cyberpunk mega-cities, the megacorporations control all. In this twisted world, when the dead first started to walk, the megacorps tried to control them, cybernetically enslaving them to artificial "hive brains", though that failed and now hordes of cybernetically modified dead roam much of the world. But some unscrupulous megacorps still try and take advantage of things...
  • The Cycle of Death: The looming energy crises were solved when India made startling advances in the fields of bio-engineering and nanotechnology. However, these advances have brought with them dangers. Most notably, the as-yet-undiscovered existence of a mighty psychic entity, born of a growing telepathic network amongst humanity and the mental thrashings of which spawn vile entities of pure psionic rage encased in dead human flesh — the "demons" known as Asuras — and a deadly type of nanobots known as Pil 3/s, or "Legion", that exist only to infect human bodies, disassemble them for the raw materials to make more nanobots, and spread, still wearing a ghastly pastiche of the body they were made from.
  • Cyber Marines and Death Scenes: All contact has been lost with MR-372, an alien planet that humans have colonized and which is the source of a remarkable bio-energy source that is of great importance to the human race. Space Marines sent to investigate have learned that the planet has been invaded by the Acridians, a biotech using race of dimension-traveling insectoids, carnivorous, brutal, war-like and bloodthirsty beings that ravage and conquer dimensions. They have already slaughtered the human inhabitants of MR-372, draining their spinal fluid for an aphrodisiac and recreational drug and converting the corpses into zombie slaves. Loosely inspired by Doom and Alien.
  • Virtual Armageddon: In a world ravaged by a vicious virus that targets the central nervous system, massive numbers of people are abandoning their bodies to escape to a huge virtual reality world called "Neutopia". However, this sanctuary is proving a deadly trap; the victims of the Norepinephrine Targeted Misfire Syndrome are rising as deadly zombies in real life, and the combination of their depredations and the strain caused by the mass emigration of humanity is causing the system to begin breaking down. Which results in many of the virtual humans being corrupted into "Lo Res Zombies", who exist only to corrupt other virtual humans into more of their own kind. Zombies in reality, zombies in the system, and it may not be long before the system breaks down utterly.
  • Death of the Alliance: A Space Opera setting where the Zothian Empire has fallen under the leadership of a powerful and depraved necromancer, the Emperor Krauss and his chief henchman, a fallen Mystic Knight now called the Dark Lord Garth. Their armies of zombies, equipped with advanced technology, have crushed the Thraxian Empire and their Mystic Knights, long a force for peace and equality in the universe. Now the resistance is rising up to try and defeat the evil Zothians. Obviously a pastiche of Star Wars.
  • Dead Contact: On the colony planet New Hastings, ghosts of an extinct alien race called the Palakale have learned that they can reenter the world of the living by taking over the bodies of dead humans, and are striving to kill the populace of New Hastings so that they may walk amongst the world of the living once more. A futile effort, as their dead bodies cannot sustain themselves and they will literally consume themselves in a few weeks. But by that time, if not stopped, they will have already killed all of the humans present on the planet.
  • I, Zombie: In a world where humanity has grown to depend on the support and assistance of legions of loyal robots, they must learn to instead fend for themselves after a newly developed transportation system is revealed to have the side effect of transforming its users into flesh-eating zombies... and the robots, programmed to be incapable of harming humans, are useless to fight them off.

    Worlds of the Dead 
  • Aces High: World War I: When Baron von Richthoven, alias The Red Baron, is shot down in January 1917, his restless soul refuses to stay dead and he rises as an undead pilot, determined to continue fighting for his beloved Fatherland. His existence, and the strange curse that lets him instinctively resurrect any member of his "Flying Circus" as a fellow zombie pilot — only when they have been destroyed a second time, truly killing them, is a new pilot inducted into the Flying Circus — have furthermore goaded the Germans to put into usage the diaries of Baron Frankenstein, retrieved from a castle in Switzerland. Only the revenant of Richard Raymond-Barker can slay the undead Red Baron, but the other German undead are not so bound by destiny.
  • Blighted Isle: The great potato blight that caused widespread famine in the Ireland of 1846 has taken an even worse turn in this deadworld. The blight has infected the earth of Ireland, meaning that any human buried in it is animated by the twisted fungus as a ravenous organ-eating zombie. And because of the actions of some insane Irish escapees in trying to infect an English graveyard with the same polluted soil, the whole island has been barricaded in an effort to keep the dead trapped on the island — along with all of the people who are still alive.
  • Dead Men and Derring Do: In 1640, France, the much-hated Cardinal Richelieu discovered a profane alchemical formula that granted him immortality — at the cost of needing to feed upon human hearts. His own guards, horrified by the undead monster he had become, betrayed him, but they couldn't destroy him — instead, binding him in an iron face-mask, they sealed him away in the deepest cells of the Bastille, hoping he would never be free. But, twenty years later, well-meaning swordsmen broke into the Bastille and freed "The Man in the Iron Mask", and the Cardinal feasted upon their flesh and that of the prisoners, releasing a horde of zombified prisoners upon the streets of Paris. Realizing he could control these monsters, Richelieu now seeks domination over every last man, woman and child on the planet — living or dead.
  • Tales of the Walking Dead: Arabian Nights: In 796 AD, when the ambitious Vizier to the Sultan Ibn Madhi of Amman offers his own daughter's hand to the bride-seeking royal, the young girl runs out into the desert and beseeches the spirits of the sand to save her from marriage to such a brutal man. Discovering a jinni bound in a ring, she barters its freedom in exchange for an unstoppable army that will destroy not only her hated would-be groom, but the entire Islamic Empire. Amused by this idea, the jinni agrees, calling to lesser jinn and having them possess the nearly ten thousand victims of the Sultan, raising them up as an army of the walking dead that destroy Amman, then lope off into the dunes in pursuit of their goal.
  • The 47 Gaki: On December 15, 1748, the 46th anniversary of the day that forty-six of The 47 Ronin were forced to commit Seppuku, they arise as powerful undead, determined to topple the former Shogunate and conquer Japan with an army of their own walking dead minions.
  • Over The Wall: In the era of the Roman Empire, Pictish Shamans have discovered a set of magical tattoos that raise the bearer as a ferocious, superhumanly fast, strong and agile organ-eating undead monster. Creating many of these abominations, the Picts have turned them against Hadrian's Wall, trusting the undead predators will scale its heights and proceed to slaughter their way towards Rome, leaving Britain back in the hands of the Picts once again.
  • Frankenstein, 1935: Baron Frankenstein's study into reanimating the dead revolutionized the British Empire when he used his lore to restore life to Queen Victoria, who now rules as the 116-year-old Queen Victoria the Everlasting. But the British Empire has stagnated into a decadent, corrupt civilization, supported by a huge slave-caste of blood-drinking semi-mindless reanimates.
  • The Crusade of the Damned: In the year 1937, a mad cultist has used the black magical relic that saw the Templars executed to resurrect the Templars as an army to conquer humanity.
  • Dial Z for Hero: A deadworld parodying the Golden and Silver Ages of comic books, where people who have died have mysteriously been returning as super-powered undead heroes and villains.
  • Our Zombies At War: With the aid of necromantic lore devised by the Thule Society, Adolf Hitler created a massive army of zombies and used them to conquer much of Europe, only to bog down in a stalemate with the Soviet Union when they created their own armies of psychotronic zombies. The year is 1940. Germany and Russia's zombie armies have been butchering each other ceaselessly, with no end in sight. Both powers are courting the United States of America, which remained out of the war, while America is secretly exploring its own zombification methods, the super-soldier program known as Project West.
  • The Dread Menace: The Communist threats to America in the 1950s led to America destroying itself, thanks to Project SPEx — a Special Projects and Experimentation group intended to fight against Communism of all kinds. Their wonder drug, the suggestive influencing toxin known as Neuro-Thene-12, turned out to damage the brains of those exposed to it so badly that they became mindless, insatiable, violent killing machines... but only after it had already been deployed over wide areas. And as the drug bonds to the glandular system, any fluid transfer between the "zombies" and a living person spreads the toxin further...
  • Peace, Love and Zombies: The CIA's "Project: MK-ULTRA" went down no less than three routes in reviving the dead. Group A used radiation to enhance a rare virus first discovered by the Werhmact near the end of World War II, injecting this into living victims to strong, bloodthirsty, brutal, uncontrollable zombies that could spread their condition by biting. Group B used research into Voodoo to create a chemical compound that would bring back a recently deceased body as a docile, inoffensive, simple-minded walking corpse. Group C used a chemical process perfected in the 1920s by a little-known Massachusetts physician who disappeared under mysterious circumstances, creating fully intelligent zombies — who needed to feed on human brains. Group C organized a break out, and the three types of zombie have since scattered across America.
  • Sweet Zombie Treat: In the 1990s, the heir to a once-wealthy ice cream company used black magic to contact the spirit of the company's founder, his grandmother, and received a new recipe for an ice cream that was both low-calorie and ultra-delicious. The only problem is that people who eat it and die come back as zombies, still addicted to that ice-cream... and perfectly willing to rip it out of living peoples' guts to get it.
  • Welcome To Whimseyville: The dark secret of the popular theme park Whimseyville is that all of its "animatronic" characters are actually zombies, created through chemically preserved corpses animated by computer chips in their brains. Perfectly harmless... Except for the fact that Hurricane George has recently blown past, scrambling the programming in the zombies and leaving them increasingly hungry for fresh meat and belligerent.
  • A Not-So-Perfect Storm: On a small island southwest of Jamaica, a medical research team has accidentally reanimated the dead buried on their island, just as a mighty hurricane comes along...
  • Parallelium: The time has come when the boundaries between the worlds of Earth and Parallelium, a fantasy world where many monsters — including armies of the walking dead — roam, have grown thin, allowing residents of one world to cross over to the other.
  • Immortality: A world where the zombie apocalypse has destroyed the old society, but few yet realize that the zombies walk amongst them in a more literal fashion. The walking dead are the souls of those who died, for the afterlife is mysteriously barred to all, and by feeding on the stuff of the soul, zombies can disguise themselves as living beings.
  • Panacaea: A world where the titular Panacaea, a combination of nanotechnology and adaptive genetics, has eradicated all illness, deformity and disease. The problem is that those who die are revived as killer zombies, but Recycling Inc. has found a way to make even these creatures useful.
  • Legacy: A post-apocalyptic world where unbridled ecological destruction have caused the dead to walk, forcing humanity to fight side by side with Simulacra, artificial humanoids, in hopes of staving off the destruction of their species.
  • The Dead of Space: Aboard the slower-than-light "sleeper" colonist ship, the Papa Legba, systems malfunctions and space radiation have created a mutated fungus in the cryopods, creating walking dead that seek only to devour human flesh.

    Zombie Smackdown 
  • Babes and Barbed Wire: An independent wrestling promotion in the American southwest rests its success on the overly-muscled shoulders of its leading performers. Unfortunately, their medical expert, the son of a former Nazi scientist, has come up with a new drug to cancel out pain, which he's incorporated into their steroid injections. Alone, it wouldn't be a problem, but mixed with anabolic steroids, it causes a new syndrome, spread through fluid contact, which turns the victim into a raging, uncontrollable maniac...
  • Legendary Masked Men: A cult of Huehueteotl, the Aztec god of fire, ran into trouble after the Spanish invasion. In order to make money so that they could continue serving their god, they became part of the early luchador tradition. Over time, the front became more and more important until they forgot the religious element. But that's changed with the emergence of Muerte, the new head of the cult. He's renewed their practices of human sacrifice, and worse, has recovered a lost ritual to create intelligent, resilient "seed" zombies that can create mindless, fire-breathing "soldier" zombies from their victims. And the first step to their success is the lucha circuit, where nobody asks what's under your mask.
  • Land of the Undead Rising Sun: Centuries ago, a mighty oni known as the Suffering Priest walked Japan, feeding on pain and raising the dead to serve him. A daimyo sacrificed his kingdom to seal the Suffering Priest in a quiet, peaceful temple, where he lacked the pain he needed to stay in this world. But a few days ago, Universal Combat Group, a hardcore Japanese wrestling organization, held a show at that temple, and the Suffering Priest awoke as he felt the pain of the wrestlers. Necrohammer, the company's champion, felt the awakening, and now he's made a deal with the Suffering Priest. He's become one of the greatest wrestlers in Japan, but every wrestler he faces dies in the ring and instantly awakens as a zombie. The Suffering Priest's army slowly grows.
  • Immortal Kombat: A billionaire construction mogul, bored of all "normal" sporting events, was inspired by his son's video games to hold a yearly no-holds-barred tournament away from prying eyes, where competitors of all sorts fought for a million-dollar purse. This year's tournament has an unexpected catch, though - one of the fighters, a pro wrestler named the Mortician, is undead, and his particular brand of undeath is starting to spread to the staff and the competitors...
  • Extreme Zombie Entertainment!: The dead rose, and after the initial panic, they became just another part of the world. They have full legal rights and can get by just fine on animal brains. But people aren't very fond of them, so they get all the bottom-rung jobs. That is, until Bill McMurry, wrestling promoter, realized that wrestlers who feel little pain and don't get tired might make for amazing matches. And if zombies wrestle ordinary folk, well, that's your face/heel combination right there.
  • Battle Zombies Victory: Seven years ago, aliens arrived on Earth, and demanded that someone face their strongest warrior in single combat, with the fate of the planet as the stake. One man, Daniel "Red-Eyed Devil" Gobi, climbed into the ring against their champion. After seven hours, neither contestant fell, and so the aliens declared a draw, announcing that they would return for a rematch in seven years. Gobi collapsed dead immediately after they departed, and humanity went into a frenzy of preparation for the rematch. What no one suspects is that the alien's new champion is Daniel Gobi, back from the grave...
  • The Fallen and the Risen: Armageddon has come, and heaven and hell are at war, with the world of men as the battleground. The problem is that both sides are immortal, meaning that angel and demon alike cannot make any headway. Over the years since the war began, Heaven and Hell's forces alike have found themselves with far too much time on their hands. Even as humanity tries to survive in a world of angelic and demonic overlords, the divine and diabolic amuse themselves by keeping particularly strong humans as gladiators... and if granting them the curse of undeath makes for a better show, so be it.

    Arrrgh! Thar Be Zombies! 
  • Voodoo Queen of the Shrouded Isles: After two Haitian men are tortured and murdered under false accusations of piracy by an arrogant Royal Navay Captain, their mother, a powerful Mambo, goes mad with grief and strikes a bargain with three of the Petro loa; Erzulie-Jan-Petro, Ti-Jean-Petro, and Marinette-Bwa-Chech. Sacrificing her life, she causes the gates of Hell to shake open, unleashing armies of seafaring zombies upon the world.
  • The Black Fleet: A Spanish privateer in 1519 steals a sacred crystal skull from a hidden temple in South America, dooming his fleet to undeath and a cursed existence. Though allowed to return to the grave upon restoring the skull to its rightful home, the skull is stolen again in 1690, causing the Black Fleet to rise and begin raiding the world, hoping to find the skull and return to their eternal rest once more.
  • Islands in a Dark Sea: A Space Opera setting that mixes swashbuckling fantasy with science fiction, where the players are privateers fighting against an alien race of undead necromancers seeking to conquer all of space/The Dark Sea.
  • Pieces of Eight: A set of short mini-settings, the most attention being given to the Tay Son Rebellion (Asiatic piracy set in Vietnam) and a setting involving a curse set by the Aztecs.

    One of the Living 
  • Croatoan Rising:' Ten years ago, Earth inadvertently slipped through a gap in reality and entered a nightmarish Dark World. Half of humanity vanished without a trace, and the survivors are totally amnesiac. Worse, the rift never closed properly, so the world has now become increasingly inundated with monsters, zombies, and Eldritch Abominations.
  • Digging Our Own Grave: When a zombifying virus emerged in China, it led to World War III as countries exchanged nuclear fire. Miraculously, humanity survived and rebuilt, but the last remaining vestiges of civilization are points of light in a world filled with lawless badlands, irradiated wastes and roving armies of zombies.
  • On The Ground Floor: Nearly 50 years have passed since the dead rose. A civilization of neo-barbarians has arisen in New York, descendants of those who sought refuge in the artificial peaks of the city's highrise apartments and skyscrapers by cutting off the staircases leading to the zombie-infested streets. But the need to survive means that brave souls must constantly descend to the land below to recover useful goods like soil, seeds, medicine, fuel and mechanical components.
  • Necropolis!: In 1928, it's been ten years since San Francisco was dragged into its own pocket dimension by a powerful and insane undead Pharaoh, who has claimed the once-modern city as his new eternal kingdom with the aid of an army of zombie warriors.
  • Make Space: In the year 2115, Earth's ecology has been ravaged by the strange and intense radiation unleashed by the passage of Romero's Comet, an energy that has also caused the dead to rise and stalk the living as virtually unkillable horrors. Threatened by the dead and starvation, humanity is desperate to escape to the stars be reclaiming the space colonies that were in orbit before Romero's Comet passed... but first they'll have to wipe out the armies of zombies infesting them, created from those who were in residence when the comet passed and thus were slain by its unfiltered radiation.
  • Silver: The medical nanobot "drug" known as Silver seemed like a universal panacea... but then it was discovered that the nanobots would reanimate the bodies of the dead and convert them into cyborgs under their own control. When humanity tried to stop them, the nanobots turned on their creators, infecting and destroying all electronics, plunging humanity back into a roughly 18th century level of technology.

This work includes examples of:

  • Apocalyptic Log: A game can certainly have plenty of these pop up. The opening fiction for the corebook in both editions is one of these of a scientist documenting his own succumbing to the zombie infection.
  • Attack Its Weak Point: If the zombie doesn't have the "All" weakspot, you need to do this if you want to kill it.
  • Badass Normal: The "Survivor" character type is aimed to be this, though a player who manages to make themselves come off as badass, in game, while playing a Norm (the weakest of the character types) is also definately one of these.
  • Black Comedy: Here and there. To pick one random example, there is an archetype from The Book of Archetypes called Necrophiliac. You know where this lead to...
  • Brain Food: One of the official choices of meal that a zombie can need to feed upon. Because it is harder to get to, and a zombie will need to work harder to get a full meal, it's considered a weakening zombie aspect.
  • Deadly Lunge: A zombie special motion aspect that lets them make sudden, sharp surges of motion to grab prey that has come too close — it's even called "The Lunge".
  • Elite Zombie: With the highly intricate zombie creation rules, these are easy to churn out.
  • The Gift: Every character who wants to use supernatural powers must purchase a Quality simply called "The Gift". This indicates an innate link to the supernatural. The exact nature of that link is determined by what Qualities you purchase after taking "The Gift".
  • Go Mad from the Revelation: Zaxor in the "Zombies Inc." deadworld discovered a way to raise the dead. This went against everything he ever believed about the afterlife and drove him into maddened evil.
  • Gone Horribly Right: The Fantastic Drug "Silver", from the Deadworld of the same name, was an attempt to create nanobots that could be injected into people to counteract all manner of medical maladies, such as diabetes or mental illness. It worked... but then the nanobots Turned Against Their Masters and began hijacking the bodies of the dead for their own purposes, as well as seeking to aggressively spread to living humans.
  • Gone Horribly Wrong: In "Rebirth into Death", the first sapient souls figured out how to arrange the system that distributed the energy that makes up living things so that the worst individuals could not come back as sapient beings (as the book puts it, Hitler may reincarnate, but "only as a particularly racist badger"). However, some of the first sapients discovered a way to enter Paradise and refused to let the others in, starting a civil war... which means nobody was performing maintenance on the system, and now it's malfunctioning and sending life energy into corpses.
  • The Gunslinger: The "Shooter" character type. Thematically built for Gun Fu usage, but the same powers can also be used to generate things like preternaturally skilled archers. Especially because Shooters draw their powers from the same pool as Martial Artists.
  • Hollywood Voodoo: Scrupulously averted in the "Arrgh! Thar Be Zombies!" sourcebook, which, while it does include some more "fantastic" options for voodoo, focuses on on providing a realistic breakdown of the various loa and their worship.
  • Horror Hunger: The fact zombies crave human flesh (or blood, or organs, or souls) is this to begin with. "Rebirth into Death" really plays up the Horror aspect by having the players be some of the newly reborn zombies and unable to resist that gnawing, agonizing craving for living meat.
  • It Can Think: Your standard zombies are rated -2 on an Intelligence scale of 1 to 6, "Dumb as Dead Wood"; nothing more than mindless shambling, biting flesh-eaters. However a full palette of intelligence options exist for them, including Tool Use (at 1, they'll break windows with rocks; at 3, they can drive cars), Long Term Memory (they know you went into that building and know you'll have to come out sometime) and even Problem Solving skills (piling up boxes to reach a high window to climb through because a human locked themselves in). A clever ZM can really shock players with how much their zombies can learn.
  • Kill It with Fire: Fire is pretty good at burning things up, especially if they have the Fire weakspot. On the other hand, zombies can do it right back to you with their "Spew Flame" special aspect.
  • Lampshade Hanging: The Pulp Zombies book places a notable amount of nods and references to the fact that the Pulp Deadworlds are kind of hokey, but that's just playing to Pulp's traditions.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: In one of the core book's chapter-opening vignettes, a group of zombie hunters in a small town are sent to burn down its one funeral home, which was run by a massive cheapskate not above leaving a customer's dead relatives on their porch if their check bounced. When they arrive, they find zombies carrying saws and eating freshly-severed legs. One is crawling, so they remove the shoes nailed to its feet and find its feet were cut off at the ankle. When they enter the building, they find a number of exactly-identical coffins, one of which is screaming, and an embalming kit that's using only plain water to flush the system. The leader of the militia concludes that the building's owner was screwing his customers over, "trimming" them to fit in cheap mass-ordered coffins, and some of his late clients decided to give him the same treatment. He also decides he has no interest in saving the penny-gouging bastard, and they torch the building.
  • The Lifestream: This is basically the secret behind life and death in the "Rebirth into Death" deadworld. It's also going wrong, which is why there's a Zombie Apocalypse in the first place.
  • Magic A Is Magic A: While all forms of supernatural powers use the same power source (Essence) and the same rules, there is a considerable difference between the Inspired, Magic Users, Chi Powered Martial Artists, and Psychics.
  • Mystical Plague: PHADE is what happens when a mad necromancer raises the corpse of a girl who had AIDS and died of drug overdosing, then sleeps with her without using protection, and then starts sleeping with living girls.
  • Nigh-Invulnerable: If the "None" weak spot is chosen for a zombie, it becomes nearly unstoppable, requiring literally hundreds of points of damage to put down (representing brutalizing the corpse until it has no ability to move left).
  • Non-Ironic Clown: Yes, really, with the "Alcoholic Party Clown" character archetype hosted on the game's official website. According to his bio, the guy used to be an entertainer at kids' parties who enjoyed his job, and despite the Zombie Apocalypse hitting him pretty damn hard, he's still doing his best to survive, help out others (especially kids), and trying to bring a bit of levity to the grim realities of a zombie-plagued world.
  • Non-Lethal K.O.: In the "Singing Cowboys" Deadworld, most instances where a character would die are replaced with this, as fits the setting. Main characters, thugs, and the Big Bad all have innate Plot Armor; thugs can only have the guns shot out of their hands, the Big Bad is only ever arrested, and heroes who would be killed simply get captured, or maybe stagger back into play a few scenes later dirty but unharmed. The exceptions are if you face an Elite Mook (both sides get one "freebie", and then are perfectly capable of killing each other) or zombies and other supernatural foes (who completely ignore this rule and will eat you given the chance).
  • Nuclear Mutant: Radiation creates the zombies in several of the official deadworlds.
  • Oh, Crap!: Colonel Tsai Hsing in the "Hard Boiled Corpses" Deadworld had this reaction to learning his drug causes reanimation. The scientists under him reacted with, "This is amazing! We have to tell the world!" Colonel Tsai's reaction was, "If this gets out my career is over and I'll probably hang!" The colonel managed to keep the scientists from leaking info by shooting one of them, but he's well aware this is going to go south extremely hard at some point, and has begun siphoning funds into an escape plan for when it finally does.
  • Our Monsters Are Different: With the customizability of the zombie creation rules, it's quite possible to build some very crazy stuff. The Atlas of the Walking Dead sourcebook even provides AFMBE stats for different undead monsters from around the world, some of which have notes for reskinning their statblock to represent very similar critters from elsewhere in the world.
  • Our Ghouls Are Creepier: Beyond the typical confusion between "flesh-eating zombie" and "ghoul", actual stats for Arabic-style ghouls are provided in the Atlas of the Walking Dead.
  • Our Mermaids Are Different: The "Black Fleet" has swimming zombies called, variously, sirens, mermaids and shark bobbers. They're the undead forms of people who died in the water when their lower torsos were eaten away by sharks or zombies. They can either use their entrails as Combat Tentacles or use them to use to the lower half of a shark or dolphin, which combines with their illusion powers to let them disguise themselves as mermaids and lure human victims close.
  • Our Monsters Are Weird: Very weird indeed. Atlas' entries on animals that are either undead or have undead-like traits are particularly strange, including the likes of the Jaracaca (a Brazillian snake that sneaks into houses so it can suck the milk from the breasts of lactating women) or the Eng Banka (a decaying dog that steals human souls).
  • Our Vampires Are Different: In addition to the fact that any monster built with the zombie creation rules and feeding on blood or souls can be portrayed as a vampire, Atlas of the Walking Dead includes a large number of vampires. Most obviously are the Gothick Vampire (vampires as popularized in modern culture, ala Dracula or Carmilla or Interview with the Vampire) and the Vampire (vampires as the bestial, rapacious, gluttonous corpse-predators from European mythology), but there are also the likes of the Gyonshi, Penanggalan, Shuten-Doji and Vyrkolokas.
  • Our Zombies Are Different: Very much so.
  • Outside-Context Problem: In many of the published "deadworlds" (set anywhere from The Middle Ages to The Wild West to Space Opera far futures), the Zombie Apocalypse is something that nobody is ready for.
  • Outside-Genre Foe: While various "deadworlds" would essentially have run the same without the Zombie Apocalypse to deal with, the Fistful O'Zombies "deadworld" Singing Cowboys explicitly falls into this, with the In-Universe director of the B-Movie that the Player Characters are part of shoving a Zombie Apocalypse into the script with nobody else being the wiser (in an attempt to to cash in on both the Roy Rogers "singing cowboy" type of Westerns and the sci-fi film craze of The '50s), and no adjustments done to the plot. As such, the rules encourage the Games Master and the players to play a Lighterand Softer, Denser and Wackier, Never Say "Die" type of game... until the zombies come along.
  • Picky People Eater: The Menu aspect of zombie creation allows a Zombie Master to specify if the zombie simply eats flesh indiscriminately or goes for specific meals. Specific options in the corebook are blood, brains, organs (or "sweet breads) and souls.
  • Playing with Fire: Almost player in a game where zombies need to burned, of course. For a default character, though, the Alcoholic Party Clown specializes in using a seltzer bottle and water balloons, both loaded with alcohol, to splash zombies with flammable liquid before igniting it with a lighter and fireworks. It's noted that this an extremely dangerous way to fight, especially for a drunkard, but it's subtly implied that he doesn't really care if it goes wrong for him.
  • Pro Wrestling Is Real: Generally subverted and played with in Zombie Smackdown. Fights in the ring are scripted and run on different rules than fights in "the real world" - taking a hit only reduces Endurance Points and Essence, not Life Points, unless the attacker decides to make it a "shoot fight" and hit them for real. However, the rules don't explicitly prevent you from using your wrestling moves outside the squared circle...
  • Psychic Powers: Both Pulp Zombies and All Tomorrow's Zombies feature these, though slightly different in each version — mainly in the list of powers available. Pulp Zombies features Clairvoyance, Mind Control, Psychokinesis, Pyrokinesis, Read Mind, and Telepathy. All Tomorrow's Zombies has Biokinesis (which divides into Healing and Harming powers), ESP (which divides into Clairvoyance and Remote Viewing), Mesmerism, Pyrokinesis, Telekinesis, Telemagery (a power also seen in Terra Primate) and Telepathy (which divides into Reading and Sending).
  • Raising the Steaks: Stats for zombied dogs, rats and cows show up in "Rise of the Walking Dead". The "Sacred Soil" and "They Came From Beyond" deadworlds note that such critters are also appropriate, giving sidebars for adapting them to fit with their particular take on zombies.
  • Removing the Head or Destroying the Brain: If you choose the "Brain" weakspot for your zombies, naturally.
  • Sad Clown: The aforementioned Alcoholic Party Clown archetype from the game's website; in the "default" archetype fluff, before the Rise, he had a beloved animal partner in the form of a performing ferret named Sparky. He first encountered zombies when they attacked a party he was playing at, where Sparky saved a kid from a zombie, but got eaten in the process. The sight still haunts him, driving him to turn to drink — both to try and dull the pain and to burn every damn zombie to cinders with gloriously flammable alcohol.
  • Shout-Out: To just about any zombie movie, game or novel you can think of. Herbert West, the titular Reanimator of the H. P. Lovecraft story Herbert West–Reanimator, gets mentioned, referenced or parodied in several official deadworlds.
  • Stupid Jetpack Hitler: "Mein Zombie" is based on the idea that Hitler's scientists came up with a chemical concoction that causes those injected with it to return as somewhat trainable zombies.
    • Soviet Super Science: It's just as valid an explanation as Stupid Jetpack Hitler. In fact, in the official deadworld "Our Zombies At War", the Soviet Union has resisted the zombie army of Nazi Germany by means of creating their own army of "psychotronic zombies".
  • Survival Horror: The whole point of the game.
  • Supernatural Martial Arts: The "Martial Artist" character type differs from any other character with the Martial Arts skill by having "chi powers", which let them do this.
  • Title Drop: The default option for a zombie's feeding habits (allowing it to gain sustenance from any part of the body) is "All Flesh Must Be Eaten".
  • Tragic Monster: Many intelligent zombie varieties.
  • Walk, Don't Swim:In "Band of Zombies", Japan launches an invasion of the USA by marching an army of zombies across the ocean floor, in retaliation for the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
  • Weird Historical War: Multiple Deadworlds involve a Zombie Apocalypse erupting in the middle of a war, sometimes because of a government project trying to weaponize the dead and sometimes because the war disrupted Things Man Was Not Meant to Know. The very last sourcebook that Eden Studios put out for the gameline was even Band of Zombies, a World War 2 sourcebook that also tied into the similar Deadworlds from the corebook and Worlds of the Dead.
  • Zombie Advocate: The in-setting joke organization "PETZ" ("People for the Ethical Treatment of Zombies") are this. Naturally, when they show up, they're treated as being Too Dumb to Live.
  • Zombie Apocalypse: Duh.
  • Zombie Gait: One possible way that zombies move, especially if their "Getting Around" aspect is chosen as one of the lower speed versions.
  • Zombie Infectee: You're certain to run across (or wind up as) these guys eventually.