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ZORA: The ZOMBIE OUTBREAK RESPONCE ASSOCIATION

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  • ZORA: The ZOMBIE OUTBREAK RESPONCE ASSOCIATION

    Hello all!
    Below is details for an allegiance that is active in my "Heroic Age" setting for the Trinity Continuum. It is a world of pulpy heroes, super science and the weird world that they live in. If you would like to support the writer and artist (me) and to see more content of this sort, come visit and subscribe to my Patreon (https://www.patreon.com/Aaronsmonsters).


    ZOMBIE OUTBREAK RESPONSE ASSOCIATION

    AKA: ZORA
    Motto: "Raze the Dead!”
    Formed: October 31, 1970
    Type: Independent Agency
    Headquarters: Trenton, NJ
    Agency executives: Dr. Abigail Frost, Director; Barton Hill, Principal Deputy Director
    -------------------------------------------------------------
    Concepts: Anti-hero, badass bookworm, crazy survivalist, detective, ex-military, fringe theorist, idiot hero, necromancer, one-man army, weirdness magnet, vampire hunter.
    Connections: Clergy, exterminator, hacktivist, mortuary scientist, retired cop, street gang, survivalist, taxidermist
    Skills: Aim, Close Combat, Enigmas, Medicine
    Edges: Adrenaline Spike (••), Armor Expert (••), Danger Sense (•), Endurance (••), *Half Life (•), Hardy (• to •••), One against an Ocean (••), Small Unit Tactics (••)
    Gifts: Skill (Aim, Enigmas, Medicine)

    “You know what the difference between me and you really is? You look out there and see a horde of evil, brain eating zombies. I look out there and see a target-rich environment.” -Dillis D. Freeman Jr.
    The Zombie Outbreak Response Association (ZORA) is a global network dedicated to combatting and containing the Undead in its many forms. Though primarily focused on Zombies, ZORA also combats other forms of undead such as Vampires, Ghouls, Haunts and a host of related entities. The undead threat is a danger to all living persons, and an outbreak can happen at any time. However, thanks to the tireless efforts of the agents of ZORA, most of the world is ignorant of this looming threat.
    The Zombie Outbreak Response Association recruits from an odd assortment of dedicated persons that often do not fit well within other occupations. Often, government agencies and law enforcement will use ZORA as a dumping ground for agents who they cannot out and out fire, or who are placed on the “shit list” of someone farther up their respective chains of command. They also recruit soldiers, law enforcement, scholars, tech specialists and a wide range of dedicated and uniquely skilled persons from a wide range of disciplines.

    HISTORY
    The undead have always been around, haunting the edges of civilization down through human history, and staying mostly in the shadows. Several outbreaks from the past are on record, such as the Vicksburg, Mississippi outbreak of 1863, the London revenant plague of 1897, and the Key West horde of 1935 to name a few. ZORA was first formed in 1970 primarily in response to the great ghoul plague of 1968 which ravaged New Jersey and Pennsylvania. The initial team was assembled out of an assortment of a host of heroes and reformed villains, all of whom with extensive experience with the undead. Their initial success led them to gain considerable resources and media attention. They were deployed against additional outbreaks and Cold War experiments in undeath (which were distressingly common).
    Though ZORA was very effective, changes in policy and the often gross and thankless aspects of zombie hunting, the agency has fallen on difficult times. Now, decades later, the organization has suffered budget cuts, staffing issues and a host of administrative meddling that has left them a rag-tag group of dreamers, zealots and odd-balls that are nonetheless, very effective. Now the agency is greatly diminished in size and resources, but is still dedicated to its cause.

    ORGANIZATION
    Resembling a mix of government agency, private think tank, and corporation, ZORA uses an interlocking structure of directors, senior agents, and department heads to run its diverse and eclectic staff. Most agents and employees are organized into Response Teams which generally handle operations in a given area. Response Teams can be small; in some cases, a single agent might be tasked with handling cases in an area. However, large cells of a dozen or more members are found in large population centers like Empire City or Chicago. Unusually skilled or specialized agents might be ‘loaned” to different Response Teams, especially in light of a particularly nasty outbreaks.
    ZORA is headquartered in Trenton, New Jersey, where it maintains a renovated police station that houses state-of-the-art zombie fighting equipment. ZORA trains its new agents in combat and the use of zombie detection and fighting gear as well as investigation and basic med lab training. The public knows very little about ZORA, and the agency prefers a low profile. However, they remain well known and appreciated by the police, tabloids, homeless and sewer workers in metropolitan areas.

    ADVANTAGES
    ZORA Response Teams enjoy near autonomy, and are expected to handle themselves with a minimum of aid from the main office. They are typically set up with a regional HQ, usually a lab or warehouse leased or purchased by the agency, from which the response team will operate. As resources are very tight at ZORA, additional aid is usually not available unless things are very bad. As a general rule, Response Teams interact closely with the CDC, WHO, local and State law enforcement, acting as consultants and advisors. When things get sticky, ZORA teams will typically try to work with these allies, but are just as likely to go it alone, and with no backup.

    WHY ZORA?
    The Zombie Outbreak Response Association is great for good old-fashioned monster hunting. Part detective story, part thriller, and part gallows humor slug fest. ZORA is the place where malcontents go, and where otherwise capable but socially disfavored heroes get stuck. Response Teams are often drawn from all manner of backgrounds, allowing for any combination of origins, though a tendency towards dark origins and grim outlooks are common. Also, ZORA works with anyone and everyone to reach their goals, so a troupe including ZORA agents, Branch 9, AEON, and Les Fantômes characters is not impossible. Friction and even open opposition might be a result, but as long as the undead menace is the real enemy, ZORA can take the heat.

    *New Edge: Half-Life (•)
    You have contracted the Zombie Virus and were on the way to becoming the undead, but the antidote was administered in time. You character suffers no health problems from being in damp or underwater environments. He rarely needs to breathe and can hold his breath for 30 minutes, and his near dead flesh provides sufficient insulation from the cold. Due to his cold, near dead flesh, he rarely needs anything more than a warm coat to be comfortable anywhere on Earth. Your character can to endure cold temperatures down to −34° F without discomfort, and his chilly skin provides him with one level of soft armor. Though you are not undead, you are greyish green in color and have “zombie eyes”, requiring the use of makeup and contacts to pass as a fully living person.
    Drawbacks: Characters with this Edge suffer 1 Complication to all Social rolls relating to appearance from people who are uncomfortable with the undead.
    Last edited by MythAdvocate; 07-15-2021, 09:54 AM.


    “Humpty had always sat on walls, it was his way.”
    Jasper Fforde, The Big Over Easy

  • #2
    Hello all!

    Below are the basic rules that I use for Zombies in ZORA games. So far, these "lesser" zombies make for great dangerous goons against Talent level characters. The world of ZORA has many other forms of undead that are far more dangerous (and accrue far more paperwork).
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    ZOMBIES
    Zombies (aka Walking Dead, or Corpus Vigere) are a shambling menace that is the most common enemy faced by agents of ZORA. A standard zombie is a corpse that has been reanimated by Necro-Mortosis* (aka Necro Virus or the Zombie Virus) into a feral, cannibalistic creature. Although the zombie’s body is still dead, it retains a small portion of its former intellect, but none of its former morality. These vile creatures are in a constant state of decay, but never seem to entirely rot away (or run out of puss). To survive the creature is driven to devour still living flesh, favoring brains and bloody organs such as the liver. A desperate zombie can subsist on river muck, offal and other waste, but these "filth eaters" are never satisfied by this diet. Zombies that are denied food often go into hibernation, a state that they can maintain for several months.
    Contrary to popular media, Zombies are not evil. They are scavengers and opportunistic predators, but are not overly aggressive unless they are in a group. Some brave (foolish or crazy) people have even trained zombies as “pets” of a sort or otherwise using them as guard dogs and pack-mules. Most zombies are wild, and dwell in small packs in out of the way places such as sewers, swamps or junkyards where they prey on animals and lone humans. Thankfully, most zombies are afraid of bright lights and can be destroyed or run off by determined people. However, infection in such encounters is very likely.
    ----------------------------------------------------------------

    COMMON ZOMBIE (MEDIUM THREAT)
    The Common Zombie (aka Creeper, Shambler, Walker) is the type of creature most often associated with the walking dead. They are wretched, confused creatures that wander around looking for someone to eat. As they are the most recently turned, many Common Zombies are confused with living persons, and so can pass on the Necro Virus quickly if not eliminated. At this stage, Common Zombies can be handled and destroyed with relative ease. If they survive for more than a few nights, Common Zombies can be fairly cunning, operating on the level of a dog, including pack and ambush tactics. ZORA operates on a “Destroy on Sight” policy for all Common Zombies.
    Primary Pool: 7 (Biting, Groaning, Shambling)
    Secondary Pool: 5 (Eating, Grappling, Dripping Goo)
    Desperation Pool: 3
    Enhancement: 1
    Defense: 3
    Health: 4
    Anomaly Powers: Diseased, Undead, Meat Snack

    ZOMBIE TRAITS
    • Diseased: All zombies are carriers of Necro Mortosis* (aka Necro Virus, the Walking Plague or the Zombie Virus). See below for details on this horrible disease. Zombies are also incredibly dirty, especially after being active for some time. Storytellers are encouraged to attach any any all sorts of diseases to a Zombie.
    • Undead: Zombies are not alive. They are tireless, and never suffer damage or Complications from needing food, water, rest, air, or similar biological requirements. In combat, if a zombie is Taken Out, it immediately dies. For all intents and purposes, it is completely dead. If its head is not destroyed, however, it comes back to life within 24 hours at full health (though still a rotting,. Even if it is dismembered, it will crawl or wriggle to the best of its ability (Storytellers are encouraged to be descriptive)
    • Meat Snack: Zombies constantly crave bloody, still warm flesh. Whenever they are presented with warm flesh, they will attempt to grab and bite this tasty treat. Zombies do not need to eat, but they like to do so anyway. To resist this impulse (for example, when a “tame” zombie doesn’t want to bite its master), the Zombie must succeed on a difficulty 2 Desperation Pool roll. Failure does not necessarily mean immediate indulgence (this is left to the Storyguide’s discretion), but some behavioral quirk shines through.
    ----------------------------------------------------------------

    NECRO-MORTOSIS*
    Necro-Mortosis (aka Necro Virus or the Zombie Virus). This disease can be passed on through the exchange of blood, saliva or other bodily fluids, including bites. Upon infection, uninspired characters (NPC’s) die within an hour and turn into Common Zombies within 1-5 hours. Inspired characters can resist the virus for a time or even halt its progress with extreme efforts (amputating a bitten an arm or leg, use of fire, etc). There are a number of treatments available that can the advancement of this virus, but require hospitalization and very good medical staff.
    Necro-Mortosis can also be carried by rodents, and some species of insects and worms, which do not suffer any symptoms of the undead. This disease can also lay dormant in dirty water, particularly water that has fecal matter in it. Thankfully, boiling kills the virus in its dormant state.
    Damage Rating: 5, Tags: Continuous (hourly), Deadly (after 4 hours), Threat Type: Injectable
    Last edited by MythAdvocate; 07-13-2021, 11:11 AM.


    “Humpty had always sat on walls, it was his way.”
    Jasper Fforde, The Big Over Easy

    Comment


    • #3
      Write up vampires. But please make them Necro Nerds like the "Things We Do in the Dark" gang. Some of the Vamps would be malevolent weirdos, most of them. Some of the Vamps would be creepy nerds with powers but much more selfish than evil. A few (PCs) should be interested in joining the good guys. Some should be truly evil. Think of the soul dead creep who was in charge of the office in the original English version of "The Office." He was evil, but he thought he was a nice person.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Astromancer View Post
        Write up vampires. But please make them Necro Nerds like the "Things We Do in the Dark" gang. Some of the Vamps would be malevolent weirdos, most of them. Some of the Vamps would be creepy nerds with powers but much more selfish than evil. A few (PCs) should be interested in joining the good guys. Some should be truly evil. Think of the soul dead creep who was in charge of the office in the original English version of "The Office." He was evil, but he thought he was a nice person.

        Oh yes. In the wings as I write this. The PC's will encounter them soon. He he he.

        Vampires in the world of ZORA are a varied bunch. As you say, many are awful, but not all of them. More on that subject soon.
        Last edited by MythAdvocate; 07-13-2021, 11:23 AM.


        “Humpty had always sat on walls, it was his way.”
        Jasper Fforde, The Big Over Easy

        Comment


        • #5
          VAMPIRES IN THE HEROIC AGE
          "There are as many types of vampire as there are disease; some are virulent and deadly, and some just make you walk funny and avoid fruit." ― Terry Pratchett, Carpe Jugulum
          Vampires are a dangerous and intriguing presence in the world of the Heroic Age. From independent vampires and localized outbreaks of Vampirism down through history to vampire gangsters and street packs of more recent nights. In past ages, vampires were responsible for many atrocities, being every bit as awful as legend claims. Over the past two centuries, vampires have been known to create gangs or “families” of Dhampir and Renfields to take over a region or business enterprise, using their powers to exert great control. Such activities are of great concern for law enforcement and ZORA, but continue to this day.
          Since his most recent return from the grave, the ancient vampire Count Dracula has become a great cultural influence. Having established himself as the sovereign ruler of the South American country of Anduras (a fictional nation), and founder and CEO of the DeVille Pharmaceuticals, this ancient vampire now has diplomatic immunity AND a powerful presence in pop culture (think of a cross between Doctor Doom and David Bowie). The popularity of this famous vampire, as well as many books, movies and music has granted vampires a measure of acceptance in society. These days, vampires are often seen as sex symbols, trend-setters and tragic personalities by pop-culture. They are still seen as dangerous predators, but ones that it is extremely fashionable and exciting to have around. This is enough to keep ZORA agents awake at night.
          Contrary to popular belief, vampires are not necessarily evil. All are blood-craving predators, but many really just want to be left alone. Some even go out of their way to be protectors of their community or a region where they dwell. Officially, ZORA considers all undead as a menace, including vampires. However, in practice, they are treated as a manageable concern. Dhampir and Renfields (see below) are seen as potential assets in the fight against the greater undead menace, as these beings have inside experience of the shadowy world of the undead as well as their other abilities.

          Below are some options for including vampires in a Heroic Age game.
          ------------------------------

          DHAMPIR (ORIGIN)
          Dhampir are the children of a vampire and a human. Most often, their vampire parent is absent, resulting is resentment towards their undead half, but some Dhampir have spent time living among their vampire kin. They appear to be entirely human, but are pale and slender, with jet-black hair and red, black, green, or yellow eyes. They have pronounced canines that extend for feeding and slightly pointed ears. Some of the less fortunate (those with a Presence score of 2 or below) have bat-like features. All Dhampir are nocturnal, preferring to be active at night and sleep during the day.
          In the Heroic Age, Dhampir are the most visible form of Vampire, being a stylish and more mortal form of the undead. Most Dhampir live amongst humans, keeping a low profile and indulging in their predatory needs in private. Many Dhampir do not enjoy public attention, while some relish in the sex appeal that their vampire blood grants them. A small number of Dhampir have become associated with ZORA, acting as informants and some as direct agents.
          Path Concepts: Bat-person, fang-banger, mystic, sewer dweller, VILF
          Possible Connections: Children of the night, mobsters, night club goers, occultists, vampire relatives
          Skills: Athletics, Enigmas, Larceny, Survival
          Edges: Animal Ken (• to ••), Covert (• to •••), Hair-Trigger Reflexes (•), Half-Vampire (•), Hardy (• to •••), Night Eyes (•), Striking (••), Tough Cookie (••)
          Gifts: Skill (Athletics, Larceny, Survival)

          RENFIELD (ROLE)
          A Renfield (aka Blood Thrall), is a human who has been transformed into a half-vampire through vampire blood transfusion or a Super Science process. A Renfield appear to be entirely human, though often having a gaunt, starved look, with large eyes and large pointed teeth that extend for feeding. Rather than subsisting on the blood and organs of people or large animals, Renfields are more likely to eat small, living creatures such as insects, worms and rodents. The consumption of these “small lives” is deeply revolting to most people and pathetic to vampires.
          In the Heroic Age, Older vampires seeking to gain control in a region will often form “families” or “vampire high schools” to exert control, creating a mafia-like network of Dhampir, Renfields and lesser vampires. Renfields serve their undead masters for a variety of reasons, fear, greed, longevity, power, and in the hopes of one day being turned fully into a vampire.
          Path Concepts: Amoral surgeon, blood-sucking lawyer, ghoulish butler, mob enforcer, necromancer
          Possible Connections: Corrupt hospital staff, criminals, occultists, pet shop owners, smugglers, vampires
          Skills: Close Combat, Humanities, Larceny, Medicine
          Edges: Adrenaline Spike (••), Always Prepared (•), Direction Sense (•), Half-Vampire (•), Hardy (• to •••), Patron (master) (• to •••••), Skilled Liar (••)
          Gifts: Skill (Close Combat, Larceny, Medicine)

          NEW EXTRAS:

          HALF-VAMPIRE (•)
          Prerequisites: Dhampir or Renfield Paths.
          You are a mix of human and vampire, whether a Dhampir (see above) or a Blood Thrall created through vampire magic or blood transfusion. This hybrid, half-undead nature grants you enhanced health and a longer lifespan. The character has 2 Enhancement to resist all poisons and diseases. Also, you heal three times faster than normal and increases your lifespan by 25%, potentially increasing your lifespan to 160 years. Half Vampires have a set of sharp retractable teeth (fangs, shark teeth, rat-like incisors, etc). These teeth serve as vicious close-combat weapons that grants 2 Enhancement with the Concealable, Grapple, Melee, Piercing, and Worn tags.
          Complication: You have an urge to consume blood and raw flesh when available, whether from small animals or other people. You can resist the urge to hunt for one Scene on a successful Resolve roll. Open indulgence in this habit can draw the attention of Vampires and vampire hunters.

          NIGHT EYES (••)
          Prerequisites: Half-Vampire
          You have slitted cat-like eyes that glow in the dark. This grants you the ability to see both infrared and ultraviolet light, including thermal infrared (heat) and improves the user’s night vision. The Half-Vampire has 4x magnification for both distance and close work. Users suffer no visual penalties for dim light and gain 2 Enhancement to all actions involving vision. The inhu*man appearance of these eyes gives the user a level 1 Complication to all social actions with people who are prejudiced against non-humans. However, in Anduras, and among certain subcultures elsewhere having a visibly inhuman aug*mentation provides the user with 1 Enhancement to all actions influenced by his looks.

          ------------------------------

          There is more to be said concerning Vampires, Dhampir and Renfields in the world of the Heroic Age. So, stay tuned! I am just getting warmed up.
          Last edited by MythAdvocate; 07-15-2021, 12:10 PM.


          “Humpty had always sat on walls, it was his way.”
          Jasper Fforde, The Big Over Easy

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          • #6
            Blood sucking lawyer becomes a literal description which both Perry and Hamilton would need to admit in court.

            Comment


            • #7
              I have to add a very general comment. I really like the entire Heroic Age setting of yours.


              House Rules - The Basics - House Rules for Trinity Continuum
              Fists of Flux - Inspired and Powered Martial Arts for Talents
              Tomes of Inspiration - Rituals and Dark Magic in Fists of Flux

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Mateus Luz View Post
                I have to add a very general comment. I really like the entire Heroic Age setting of yours.

                Thank you. I have a campaign going right now. So I am encouraged to go into greater detail. All of the PC's are members of ZORA, stationed in Hoboken. Looking forward to delving deeper.

                Right now, the player characters are:

                Avery Singe (Psychic Detective): Avery Singe is a former FBI agent on “permanent loan” to ZORA following an undisclosed incident. Agent Singe is highly prescient, and able to sense the “telluric” energy, a skill that is highly valued in the agency.

                El Tigre Blanco! (the white tiger): Jules Blanco is a former Luchador turned undead fighter. When donning his white tiger mask, Jules transforms into the Vampire wrestling El Tigre Blanco! Jules is a huge person, with muscles on top of other muscles and an ego to match.

                Frankie Gretsch (Reformed Ghoul): Frankie was bitten in a Class 2 Zombie outbreak (aka a Zombie Jamboree) while working security in the Pennsylvania Ghoul swarm of 2019. Thankfully, treatment was administered before Frankie turned fully into an undead creature.
                Last edited by MythAdvocate; 07-15-2021, 12:40 PM.


                “Humpty had always sat on walls, it was his way.”
                Jasper Fforde, The Big Over Easy

                Comment

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