Toxicity I Am Zombie
Toxicity I Am Zombie from Make-Believe Games is a different take on tabletop role-playing games since it is set in a zombie infested 1970s New York and it combines the traditional horror tropes with a great rule engine, a simple character creation system and it will certainly lead to some unique stories.
Since Toxicity I Am Zombie is a project initiated by Mark Rein-Hagen, – the creator of Vampire: The Masquerade, World of Darkness and Ars Magica, there is a lot to be excited about and if you add some amazing art from people like Mark Kelly or C.A. Suleiman then you certainly have a recipe for success. They are already successful with their Kickstarter campaign which got funded in only five hours and it’s no wonder if you look at the amazing work they did with their presentation.
Toxicity I Am Zombie presents itself as 50% zombies, 50% dungeon crawl, 100% grind house and it is both a supplement to the I Am Zombie line as well as its own game. I Am Zombie was the first game of the Xenocosm line and it is set in the aftermath of a zombie outbreak in which you become a zombie yourself. Instead of being based in modern times as the original I Am Zombie, Toxicity takes you into a tarantinesque 1970s New York.
This role-playing game considers itself a part of the old school renaissance (see more about this subject here) so it is focused on dungeon crawling with a rules engine entitled Axiom. In it, each player takes a different responsibility such as the Narrator, Arbiter, Scribe (journal keeper) or the Wrangler (manager).
The system prides itself in the facility with which you can create a new character since you only have to pick five cards that each describe an archetype. Combining them together will define the character and each of them covers a different trait: mental, social, physical, mayhem and scourge. The cards are specifically designed for this purpose and have two sides, a warm one and a cold one which becomes active if the player takes damage. If all your cards turn cold your character is incapacitated.
Toxicity I Am Zombie uses only regular d6 dice and is overall quite easy to understand, allowing you to get started in just a little while. According to the developers: “We have worked for years on creating a fluid and interactive storytelling system that remains as simple and elegant as the ID cards themselves. A system so clean and easy to learn and play that a newbie Narrator really doesn’t need to know much about the rules. In fact, the rules and the players can sort of run themselves under Axiom. The only thing the Narrator really needs to worry about is… THE STORY, ITSELF.” You can get quite an in-depth idea about the system by downloading Axiom Null from the website of Make-Believe Games and checking it out for yourself.
Now let’s get back to Toxicity, you can use this as an expansion (or maybe a campaign setting) for I Am Zombie or simply consider it a separate game. There will be three core books that are similar to the first edition of D&D in their design, the first one is entitled Player Axioms: Toxic & Toetags and this is where your learn about character creation, combat, as well as everything else that you need to play the game.
The second book covers the Narrator Axioms: Skags & Shamblers, meaning that it will talk about the monsters and villains that you have to fight throughout along with their traps and treasures. This means that the book is mostly intended for the Narrator.
The third book called the World Book: Undercity & Hellholes talks about the areas where the Toxic are in charge and about all the twisted things that can be found in those dark places. It talks about the horrors of the depths and gives you an idea of how to build a dungeon with a sample Hellhole designed for starting characters.
The actual game is expected to come out sometime in September 2016 and it will cost $29.95, for which you get the Narrator Screen, the three booklets with 32 pages each as well as the 60 ID cards, but this is just the starting project since each stretch goal will add more content (14 additional ID Cards have already been reached).
If you are interested in this project and want to find out more about it share this article on your social media to let your friends know and check out the Make-Believe Games campaign on their Kickstarter page!