Killing Characters is Fun!

We tried the Walking Dead-style Funnel last Friday and I think it went really well. It was a welcome change after my recent GM-related negativity - I personally had a ton of fun running it, and I hope the players did to.
The best part of it, that I didn't even think about when I came up with the idea, is the freedom it gave the players to try weird things and to play out horror-movie style tropes to full effect. See, I had assumed that the game would just be the characters lining up to be ground into paste, played for laughs as we described the gruesome ways they were torn to pieces as their dice betrayed them. While that certainly did happen, the coolest side effect of playing 4 "disposable" characters was that players developed scenes and situations that they don't normally get into during regular games.
I don't know about you, but most people I play with tend to be cautious, careful and calculating in their games. They have a strong connection to their character and try to keep them alive, ESPECIALLY during zombie-style games where they try to act the way someone SHOULD act during an apocalypse, being all practical and boring. 
Without that connection to their characters though, caution goes out the window and crazy shit happens. Out of 16 starting characters, 8 survived, but 3 of those belonged to the one guy who was playing fairly conservatively. The other three players jumped at the chance to act out all those ridiculous things that characters do in horror movies all the time:
  • Two characters killed each other fighting over supplies.
  • One guy got attacked while making out with another character.
  • One character literally ran away - she was so freaked out that she just took off in a panic and we never heard from her again. There was no roll to preclude this, the player just decided that it made sense for the character, and it did. But that's not something you would ever see in a normal game.
  • The biggest running gag was the two sociopaths who kept fighting and trying to kill each other. The noise from their bickering led to the group constantly being attacked and having to run for their lives (everyone else probably should have left them behind but it was too hilarious). In the end both dudes were ripped to pieces by zombies because they were both too stubborn to be the first guy to run away.
  • I was even a little saddened by the loss of one character, and not the one you would think. He was the total asshole of the group, but the player ran him perfectly, using the other characters and NPCs, stockpiling supplies and taking advantage of his charisma to get ahead. He was easily the best developed, smartest and most equipped character, and then he died in the last moments when he fell of a fucking roof and broke his neck.
  • One guy even got to make a heroic sacrifice, holding the door in the face of a hoard of zombies while the rest of the group ran to safety.

How many of those awesome deaths would have happened in a game where everyone is playing safe and calculating?

Another fun horror trope: Only half the character deaths were directly caused by zombies, and half of those were only caused by zombies because the characters were distracted trying to kill each other.
Just like in a zombie movie, the characters' worst enemies were themselves.

I seriously recommend playing a DCC Funnel-type of game in a zombie apocalypse setting. It's a spleen-ripping good time.


  1. As a player of this game, it was a ton of fun. I know we can now "level up" one of our survivors, but I think it'd be great if the next session also involved a 3 new characters to funnel, as support for our one good character. Or even better, we do the 0 level funnel a couple of more times. Then we funnel all of our level 1's together, kind of like a pyramid tourney.

    1. You can play 4 new level 0 characters if you want, especially if there's other new players, so you can all start fresh. That way you can see if you find another good character you want to keep.

      Eventually you will want to pick and start building a character though. The game will get tougher, and you'll want someone with a little survivability. I noticed the zombies were a little weak last time, I gotta make them a little harder to kill.

  2. That sounds like a lot of fun! The DCC funnel has its advantages. Cool.

    1. It _was_ cool. The funnel is awesome anyway, and everything is better with zombies!


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