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Video Game / Dead State

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Let us beware of saying that death is the opposite of life. The living being is only a species of the dead, and a very rare species.

Dead State is a post-apocalyptic Role-Playing Game developed by DoubleBear Productions with the assistance of Iron Tower Studio, who later relased The Age of Decadence. The game was partially funded through Kickstarter and released in 2014. It casts the player as the leader of a safehouse during a Zombie Apocalypse. Although zombies will, of course, be a constant menace, the focus of the game is human interaction: other survivors will be both your greatest asset and your greatest threat.

It went through a massive rehaul and content patch as of May 13th 2015. Now called Dead State: Reanimated it boasts Hardcore mode, Iron Man Mode, and allows for PC infection.

Now has its own wiki here


Tropes featured in Dead State include:

  • 24-Hour Armor: Averted. Once you get back to the shelter, armor is automatically removed from the character models.
    • Played straight with Sir Charleston; he takes being a knight seriously, and wears his armor at the Shelter.
  • Absurdly Ineffective Barricade: Some of the barricades you see on various maps were very hastily constructed, or clearly didn't do their job considering the amount of undead wandering around behind the barrier.
  • Action Survivor: Almost everybody.
  • After the End: Exactly two weeks after the Zombie Apocalypse caused society to collapse.
  • A.K.A.-47: There is a weapon in the game named this. No guns have a company or brand name.
  • And the Adventure Continues: All the endings.
    • The military ending sees your companions evacuated to an unknown safezone away from the fallout, at the cost of you being drafted into what remains of the army as a commander
    • The bus and jet endings has you and your companions fleeing the area to parts unknown.
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  • Anti-Hoarding: Fresh food spoils over time, even when refridgerator is running, so hauling back more than daily consumption is pointless. Various luxury items have different weight to them combined with varied value, so if their weight more than they provide, they are the first thing to be left behind (highlights include CDs and cutlery).
  • Anyone Can Die: As long as the main player is alive, the game goes on.
  • Apocalyptic Log: Can be found all over the place in the form of laptops, cellphones, flyers, computers, and cameras.
  • All Bikers Are Hells Angels: The Coyotes. Most likely because they killed the other bikers.
  • Apocalypse How: Seems to be a Planetary Class 2. France might still be around but Mumbai, Italy, and the US are pretty much gone.
  • Apologetic Attacker: The survivors at the US-83 truck stop apologize for trying to kill you - they're only doing it because they need your supplies.
  • Armor Is Useless: Averted. Running around without armor is a great way to get killed.
    • And then played straight in that any armor you peel off of zombies (at least, any zombies turned less recently than a few minutes ago) is rendered useless. Being worn by a dead and decaying body wrecks a lot of things, apparently.
  • Artificial Stupidity: Any enemies who have loaded guns won't hesitate to fire them willy-nilly, which will attract every zombie on the map to them (and even more off of it).
  • Artistic License – Biology: Zigzagged with the Zombie Virus. There is no disease that works like this and shouldn't... Which is why the CDC admits it has no idea what to do about it.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: Guns. Not only do you have limited ammo for them, but the noise easily draws other zombies to you. However, with some training, they easily end fights.
  • Basement-Dweller: You find six of them in the basement of a gaming store (tabletop and video). They start to fight each other when you go down the stairs. Their names are Filthy/Unwashed/Dirty/etc. Basement Dweller.
  • Batter Up!: Bats are good weapons for fighting the undead, not least because they're Unbreakable Weapons.
  • Beware the Living: Zombies quickly became more of a nuisance than actual danger. It's looters, bikers and survivalists that are the real threat. Especially when they pack guns and remain ignorant to the amount of noise firearms create. It's also possible to end up besieged by them, putting a drain on resources and manpower on constant repairs of the fence.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Davis Cray is arguably the nicest and most reasonable survivor you can meet. But as the Non Standard Game Over shows, if he feels that your leadership is more trouble than its worth, he will take action.
  • The Big Board: Davis sets up a large whiteboard in the Cafeteria for the survivors to track their work progress.
  • Bloody Horror: Lots of areas, understandably, have considerable quantities of blood splashed around.
  • Boring, but Practical: Of all the stuff you scavenge?
    • Baseball bats are unbreakable and can attack diagonally. They only take 4 AP for attacks so even characters with low agility can attack twice.
    • The best value-for-weight luxuries you can find are... batteries and thread. Flashlights and portables, clothes and wounds... when everything goes to hell, it's the little things you miss.
    • The best value-for-weight provisions you can find are... bags of nuts.
  • Bolivian Army Ending: A lot of other people's stories end like this. They most likely got turned, eaten, killed, or die, but there is a small chance they might live.
    • Ryan's family might still be alive as you find the family photo in a bag not on a zombie.
  • Breakable Weapons: Many of them, particularly improvised ones. The kitchen knife even has a special attack that breaks the blade off in the wound, causing a guaranteed critical hit and bleeding.
    • The screwdriver has a special attack when you plunge it into the brain of a zombie being an instant kill.
  • Burger Fool: The "Mmm, Bison!" restaurant chain.
  • Burn the Undead: One way to get rid of zombies. They remain aflame until they die.
  • Bury Your Gays: Literally. During Paul's recruitment random event you can help him bury his partner. This is all but required to recruit him.
  • But What About the Astronauts?: One of the logs has the International Space Station demanding answers from mission control as they're being kept in the dark and they can watch city after city on Earth lose power.
  • The Chains of Commanding: Being the leader means being the one who has to make the unpopular decisions.
  • Character Customization: You can customize your character at the beginning of the game.
  • Character Portrait: Allies and some neutral or hostile characters have these.
  • Cheese-Eating Surrender Monkeys: Averted. The French police are rounding up and shooting anyone who they even think is infected. This is a case of Properly Paranoid as the US has already fallen.
  • Closest Thing We Got: Renee isn't a doctor or even a medical student. She was training to be a veterinarian. However she's the only one with any medical training in the starting group of allies (unless you build your character as a doctor during character creation).
  • Cold Equation: When supplies get low you might have to do this. Killing the Chickens for a quick boost of meat is the first option... A CDC plan was to do this with the infected. The number of survivors that would die from anti-biotic immune and/or resistant bacteria after years of anti-biotic use would be much higher than any infected in safe zones.
  • Colour-Coded Emotions: In one of the menu screens, characters moods are displayed in different colored text.
  • Crazy Survivalist: Not only do you have to deal with lone survivors that will shoot on sight, you also have groups of criminals who have decided that they are the new government. The player group can also be played as this.
  • Creepy Basement: Several of these on various maps.
  • Critical Encumbrance Failure: Played With. Carry weight is calculated using Strength and characters are simply unable to pick more than their limit, even if that would exceed it only by a 0.1 pound.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: Lot of potential for this from various sources. Most noticeable in the various victims decorating Predator Town.
  • Daylight Horror: The best time to explore is during the day. Unfortunately, zombies don't sleep.
  • Death by Materialism: Getting greedy is a fantastic way to get someone shot in the face.
  • Death by Pragmatism: If the player is exiled from the Shelter or otherwise removed from leadership, it's game over.
  • Dialogue Tree: Lots of these. There are several novels worth of text in the game.
  • Difficult, but Awesome: Specializing in ranged combat. Limited ammo and makes a lot of noise which in turns summons zombies. However, you'll hit almost every time and guns can finish fights fast.
  • Disaster Democracy: Develops as time goes on. The player has the final say on group decisions, but sub-leaders have the ear of various groups of people who will react to your choices.
  • Drop the Hammer: One type of melee weapon.
  • Driven to Suicide: Elaine if you don't talk her down. Also numerous people in the background, you'll find people who killed themselves rather than face the zombies.
  • Drugs Are Good: Several characters request medical marijuana as a luxury item.
  • Dying Moment of Awesome: Bud's wife. She went to the Clinic, knowing that they were being swarmed with Zombie Infectees. She went anyway as that was her job. Bud even says that's one of the things he loved about her.
  • Early Game Hell: Things are definitely difficult at the beginning of the game. Your weapons suck, you have no armor, and your characters are very few. Facing more than two zombies at once is suicide, and combat will in general drain your people's limited health pools. Later, as you get more recruits, better combatants, powerful weapons, and shelter upgrades, zombies become more of an annoyance than anything, provided you don't make too much noise. It's the living that become your greatest concern at that point.
  • Eaten Alive: Comes with the zombie apocalypse territory.
  • Elite Zombie: Almost entirely averted. The only variations on the zombie theme are the crippled, crawling ones, the ones who're on fire, and the ones with body armor.
  • The End of the World as We Know It
  • Fate Worse than Death: Getting infected. However a steady supply of Antibiotics can prevent this fate.
  • Foreboding Architecture: Predator Town. The mangled corpses scattered around should be more than enough warning that you don't want to mess with the people inside.
  • Heroes Gone Fishing: Fishing is one of several ways you can replenish the food stocks at the Shelter.
  • Gay Option: The PC can be homosexual depending on some of the choices you make during character creation and the intro sequence.
  • Genre Blind: Zombie fiction was never popularized to the level of OTL in the world of Dead State, leaving most people clueless about the infection.
  • Genre Savvy: For all his pitfalls, Doug Schultz is well-versed in zombie fiction and video games, so his early survival suggestions (along with his initial plan of surviving the apocalypse) are dead on the money. He's also the only person expecting from the very start problems from other survivors.
  • Ghost Town: There are many abandoned areas in the game, although one random event is named this specifically. It's not really abandoned.
  • Goodies in the Toilets: Bathrooms are a source for luxury items like toilet paper, soap, shampoo, and tampons.
  • Gun Accessories: Suppressors, extended magazines, laser sights, etc.
  • Hacking Minigame: You discover the game's "lore" by beating a letter substitution minigame.
  • Handicapped Badass: Davis somewhat. He's able to climb stairs and make repairs while in his wheelchair but he can't fight.
  • Harder Than Hard: Hardcore/Iron Man mode, added after the game was released. In this version of the game, antibiotics don't work so getting bitten is a death sentence.
  • Hate Sink: Several characters qualify for this, such as Troynote , Cliffordnote , and Effremnote , to name a few.
  • Helmets Are Hardly Heroic: Averted. Not having a helmet lowers your defense which can quickly become lethal.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: When raiding homes and campsites for supplies, the player can slowly realize that you're actually the bandits here.
  • Hide Your Children: There are no children in Dead State. Justified in that the Texan government prioritised the evacuation of children highest, and that the Countdown virus doesn't resurrect children after killing them. So any children that might have been left behind are very likely to be dead and/or eaten.
  • Humans Are the Real Monsters: Various groups you encounter aren't above murder, theft, and deception. Of course, the same can be true for the player depending on the choices you make.
  • I Did What I Had to Do: When you're desperate for supplies you quickly start attacking people you wouldn't.
  • The Immune: By default, player's character can't get infected. There is an option allowing to catch infection with a PC, aptly informing about making the game Harder Than Hard.
  • In-Universe Game Clock: A 24 hour clock.
  • Ironic Name: The town of Splendid is anything but with all the zombies and looters walking around.
  • It's Up to You: The Player character must always be in the exploration team.
  • Late to the Tragedy: The game opens with the Player Character waking up after having been bedridden and unconscious for two weeks in the basement of the High School the action centers around.
  • Locked Door: Many areas were secured before the player got there. You can pick locks or bash doors down.
  • The Load: Several allies don't have much to contribute, for various reasons, although there might be a purpose to keeping one around. Others are just an outright drain to resources and/or a powder keg awaiting ignition, but come in package with some of the best characters.
  • Luckily, My Shield Will Protect Me: Both Mooks and the player. However, while a shield weighs you down and prevents a character from using two handed weapons, it can also add much needed defense to a melee fighter.
  • Machete Mayhem: One of the melee weapons, with two varieties - regular and combat one. Both are pretty useless.
  • Mêlée à Trois: Late game maps (or earlier if Sequence Breaking) has some of the enemy factions fighting each other. Of course the noise of the fight draws zombies to it, making it a Looter/Survivalist/Zombie battle. You can join in or pick off the survivors.
    • In Menard Strip Mall you come across a group of Coyotes (criminal, not the mammal) hunting a gang of looters. You can just keep on walking or take them all out.
  • Mercy Kill: Possible with infected survivors.
  • Mike Nelson, Destroyer of Worlds: Elaine for getting her pilot boyfriend to open the cockpit door and causing him to get bit. Which resulted in the plane crashing.
  • Mission Control Is Off Its Meds: Lane the Radio DJ has moments of this, either due to the heat in the radio station, isolation, or the stress of the apocalypse. He gets better the next day.
  • Monsters Everywhere: Depends on the level. Some are sparsely populated, while others are swarming with zombies or looters.
  • Mook Horror Show: In the Junkyard map you come across a bunch of Coyotes, Looters, Survivalists, and Militia members that are the remnants of the groups you've killed/defended yourself from. And they remember who you are.
  • Morale Mechanic: Keeping the other survivors in your Shelter happy is one of the keys to staying in a leadership position.
  • Murder Is the Best Solution: Often true while looking for supplies. Of course, the people you're robbing usually have the same idea.
  • Mutually Exclusive Party Members: Zig-Zagged, since it regards the same person. If you ever get Sir Charleston in your group, you will eventually face a choice: let him live his fantasy or bring him back to reality. This means a choice between Sir Charleston, a fearless knight in impenetrable armour and 2nd best fighter in the whole game, or Carlton Harriets, a wimpy geek with some engineering skills that can produce said armour for everyone else. Depending on when you make this decision, Carlton might end up being virtually useless aside his special crafting item, with terrible stat and skill levels.
  • Necessary Drawback: Each and every character that has great stats, skillset and/or perks also comes with some balancing factor that makes getting and keeping them around an extra hassle. Best doctor? Can't speak English. Best builder? Already infected. Best fighter? Suicidal and psychotic. Best scientist? Held captive in a building full of the most dangerous human enemies in the game. And not all of their issues can be solved.
  • No Communities Were Harmed: Welcome to scenic Splendid, Texas.
  • No Periods, Period: Averted with Melina.
  • Not Using the "Z" Word: Characters rarely, if ever, refer to them as "zombies." Justified because Zombie fiction never really took off in the game's 'verse.
  • Perpetual-Motion Monster: Once animated, zombies remain animated until they're destroyed.
  • Post-Apocalyptic Dog: Lightning and Pepper. There are also packs of feral dogs or attack dogs accompanying looters.
  • Properly Paranoid: This applies to most characters, especially at the beginning of the game. The French as well; they are shooting anyone who they think is infected. Seeing as US as a country has fallen...
  • Random Event: A wide variety of these pop up as you explore. They can bring new allies, supplies, or horrible death.
  • Real Is Brown: Although the game does take place in central Texas in summer.
  • Reduced to Ratburgers: Rats are also known as "apocalypse chicken" in Dead State. Even worse is gathering mealworms for the survivors to eat. Depressingly, both of these have among the best nutritional value of all available food; scavengers returning with these will keep the shelter alive longer than just about anything else — the morale drop is because they really won't enjoy it.
  • Room Full of Zombies: Several of these, such as the Old Church or the doomed community at Alamo Way.
  • Run or Die: Depending on how you're playing, certain fights are better off avoided entirely.
  • Schmuck Bait: Repairing the initial fence to full capacity. Each point of its HP costs one part, so you are going to spend a whooping 100 parts to make it done, not to mention time and manpower. Something you can entirely avoid by just repairing it partially and then moving as soon as possible to wood fence, which costs 50 parts, while instantly "fixing" the defenses to 150 HP. All you really need is spending on it 5-10 parts and move forward to better things.
  • Set a Mook to Kill a Mook: Otherwise known as smart battle tactics. Confronted with a group of enemies too strong to fight directly? Lead a mob of zombies to them!
  • Sadistic Choice: "Sorry, guy, but your wife was bitten and we're running low on antibiotics. Out she goes."
  • Safe Zone Hope Spot: The State Shelters. They're about as safe as you would expect.
  • Save Scumming: You can do this with the maps due to the small size. However, the game takes place over numerous days and something days ago can and will affect you later on. Save Early, Save Often.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Shoplift and Die: Literally, depending on who or what is lurking in the store.
  • Shown Their Work: A lot of the lore entries show some actual understanding of science and statistics. Shown the most when a lore entry has a CDC analyst comes to the conclusion it would be better to kill any infected rather then treat them. Not because of cost or logistics but because having untold thousands on a daily supply of antibiotic would result in a drug-resistant and immune disease that would then wipe out most of the survivors in the world.
  • Shrouded in Myth: The origins of the virus itself. Mainly because anyone at Ground Zero of it is either dead or undead. It started in Africa with rumors of zombies eating people, and the fast forward to Mumbai being eaten and everything quickly goes to hell.
  • Slept Through the Apocalypse: Doug and the Player.
  • Sliding Scale of Undead Regeneration: Type II - The zombies don't regenerate, but they're not falling off the bone either.
  • So Long, and Thanks for All the Gear: If a character leaves the Shelter, they take all the gear they had equipped with them (and maybe even additional supplies).
  • Spiritual Successor: It was developed and written by some of the people who worked on Fallout, Arcanum and Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines, and has been all but explicitly declared to be a successor to the first two in terms of dialogue and gameplay style, albeit with zombies.
  • Take That!: To Rick Perry's day of prayer.Explanation  In-Game he asked all of Texas to pray for the infection to end. One ally knew that was the sign that they would have to get the hell out. Ironically, the State of Texas' drought did end, with record breaking rain fall and massive flooding in 2015.
  • Team Pet: The player has the option to adopt a dog and put it on their team. Obviously, dogs do can't wield weapons or wear armor, but they compensate for this by their better senses which can more effectively alert the player's team to threats. In combat, they're immune to the zombie plague and panicking, have twice the movement/attack points of most survivors, are able to attack diagonally (for which human allies require specific weaponry), and have a carrying capacity on par with the humans.
    • Later updates added cats that raise morale and keep the rats away at the cost of more food. You can also raise chickens for eggs and horses for transportation (and meat in a pinch).
  • Technically Living Zombie: Averted. At least one lore entry has a CDC researcher explain, in detail, that the virus is not rabies, or anything like rabies.
    "Yes the West African Rabies virus does cause extreme aggression and work as fast as this virus. The aggression in the West African rabies does not come after the subject is expired!"
  • The Bad Guys Are Cops: Two factions in the game are ex-cops. One are random looters who were cops and are attacking anyone nearby. The second is a bunch of cops and their families who have holed up in a courthouse and will shoot any non-cops. They do give a warning before they fire.
  • Uriah Gambit: One of your survivors with bad morale is constantly giving you headaches? Just take him out in the field and use him stupidly. As long as you don't kill him yourself (i.e. he falls to the enemy), then you only get a one-day morale hit, then he's out of your hair forever.
  • Waking Up Elsewhere: The player wakes up two weeks into the zombie apocalypse after surviving a plane crash in Texas.
  • We Need a Distraction: Zombies are drawn to sound. This can be used to your advantage. You can even draw them to you for the scraps of supplies they carry.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Getting people killed will earn you a severe tongue-lashing from the other survivors, especially if they happened to be friends and relatives of the deceased. And doing morally-questionable deeds in front of your more scrupulous allies will get you a drop in morale and a stern word from Davis.
  • Wrench Whack: One of the starting weapons is a pipe wrench.
  • Tuckerization: In the demo, the premade characters' name was Brian Doublebear, the main developer and the Dev Team respectively.
  • Video Game Caring Potential: You can rescue or recruit dozens of survivors, most of whom are quite grateful.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: You can also kill any of the people you recruit, either by letting them die in combat or taking them out of the Shelter for a "terrible accident."
    • On Serpent Street You can break into a house where you fight a survivor. Once he's dead and you loot his house, you discover a locked room where the man's terrified family is hiding from you.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Every other faction in the endgame; you can't even interact with them to warn them of the meltdown happening at the nearby nuclear power plant. It's unlikely anyone cares, though; the only ones you can trade with - Pleasant Oaks Summer Camp and the Oil Refinery - are slaughtered by the other factions a few weeks before you learn about the meltdown.
  • Why Don't Ya Just Shoot Him?: One option to deal with Regina when she threatens to kill you during your morning talks if she's unsatisfied with the way you're doing things.
    • You can do this with certain members, however this of course gives you a -50 morale hit from the death of a survivor and also of course one less pair of hands in the shelter
  • You Lose at Zero Trust: If your morale hits -300 after the month long grace period and any time after that, Davis will have enough and kill you. You also would suffer the same fate if you get tossed out during a Mutiny.
  • Zombie Apocalypse: Why, of course! The game largely follows the classic Romero Rules after all.
  • Zombie Gait: The game's zombies are strictly traditional, slow-moving lurchers.
  • Zombie Infectee: In a slight departure from the classic Romero Rules, infectees can stop the turning process with a steady supply of antibiotics, but not entirely cure it; an infectee will eventually turn if they lose access to antibiotics. The player is, due to the Rule of Fun, immune to the infection on normal difficulty. The dev team have hinted at a harder "survival mode", where this won't be the case.


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