Dead Reign Campaign House Rules

I've spent a lot of time reading the rulebook and browsing the forums. There seems to be a lot of conjecture on what would make the game "better", so this is what I plan on implementing.

I don't want a Walking Dead clone, but I also want to encourage a bit of longevity in my campaign. DR has a reputation for not being user-friendly; in fact, most people seem to agree that, when played Rules-As-Written (RAW), most PC's don't stand a chance of getting out alive.

Zombies and Combat

As written, there seem to be some confusion about pages 37 and 182 in Dead Reign. From what I can gather, p.37 is for  Melee and p.182 is for Ranged. The "should not miss range" is already taking into account the -4 to head shot (natural 17 to hit) but not the +3 hit head or neck.That being said, we'll simply be using "regular" Called Shots from most other Palladium Games rules. See my uploaded GM screen for my details.

Head Shots:

Following the above bit, I won't be requiring a 'natural 17' to hit the head. It's a called shot done at a -4 ("standard" Called Shot penalty). If you miss, you have a 50% chance of missing altogether, otherwise it's a hit to the main body.

Any roll of 17+ (modifiers to Strike included) is a HEAD SHOT on a non-Dodging zombie, even if the shot wasn't a Called Shot (unless for some strange reason the player would prefer it not to be!). From getting lucky to being experienced enough to know better, this will help players thin the horde nicely, and who doesn't want messy head shots in a zombie game?!

Armor Rating:

We'll be ignoring AR as written. Instead, any shots or strikes that are below the AR will do 50% damage (round down). I've seen some thoughts on using Pen[etration] Values, but nothing I'm too keen on yet.


Compendium of Contemporary Weapons (p18) says, "Damage and Shock at Point Blank Range (10'/3m) should typically deal double damage when fired at a vital area such as head, eye, chest, etc". Combine this with the Zombie Combat rules (DR p181) and the characters should have an easier time up close and personal, assuming they can hit!

Speaking of Gun Combat:

The damage is pathetic for the firearms, as written, and the lengthy page of rules for close up shots etc were dragging down the game so I made some changes here too.

The roll to strike on the d20 was added into the damage roll in addition to xdx rolled for damage. Suddenly a gun was deadly once more, and getting a solid hit (ex, a 17) hurt more then getting a 8 to hit the enemy.

How it worked out:
Much better, players respected firearms rather then laughing at .9mm handguns they treated them as the potentially lethal weapons they were supposed to be. Gun vs. zombie now was effective rather then laughable. (Before this one player consistently did more damage hitting the zombies with the but of their shotgun then they did by shooting them with it.)

Strength and Physical Endurance:

By the rules as written it’s supposed to be around x2 of their strength as a human, so a human with a average p.s of 10 would be 20 and a football liner backer with a P.Sof 17-18 would be 34-36! [:shock:] In play I found this basically this meant the typical zombie could easily thump an average person and a "strong zombie" able to punch a reinforced door off it's hinges/rip a car door off in seconds, with a half dozen able to flip a car like nothing.

Obviously this isn’t balanced or fun in a game where zombies are the most common foe, so I ditched this part, and gave zombies a +5 to whatever their P.S was before the zombified. This made the undead a little stronger then normal, and still nasty, but not the undead terminators palladium seemed to think they should be.

Physical Endurance was nearly the same way, with the "Joe/Jane Average" zombie having an insane amount compared to how little palladium firearms did. I used the same fix for strength and gave them a +5 to P.E.


The Survivor seems like the most logical choice for a player to play if the game takes place anywhere in the first month after the Wave. However, it has been pointed out that most occupations don't get to learn new skills as they level. I see the fix for this as one of two options:

1. Add this to each occupation:

  "Secondary Skills: If no additional Secondary skills per level are mentioned under the chosen occupation, the Survivor receives +1 Secondary Skill at levels 3, 5, 7, 9, 11 and 13. Selections are made from the Secondary Skill list in the Skill Section. These are additional areas of knowledge that do not gain any special bonuses, other than possible bonuses from having a high IQ. All Secondary skills start at the base level."

2. Allow the players to multiclass into other O.C.C.s. My requirement would be that they have to have met a person of that O.C.C. first before they can change over, and they have to train with him or her

"The Survivor O.C.C. is an easy one to multiclass; Since you are required to pick/roll a previous occupation, and then establish what level it was at before the apocalypse (roll 1D4), all you have to do is ignore the level roll (everyone starts at 1st level, and continue from there".

I dont know if these rules are official, but i am getting them straight from:

"Characters that wish to learn a new O.C.C. must first advance at least one level in their current O.C.C./R.C.C. At second level (or wherever desired), they may opt for training in the new O.C.C. as soon as they reach that new level (it cannot be done after they have advanced in their new experience level).

When the character begins their new training, they are zero-level in the new O.C.C. The character must earn experience points equal to the new O.C.C.'s second level (if Men of arms or adventurers) or third level (if magical or psychic). When that amount of experience points is acquired, the character has passed their apprenticeship and is now at first level in his new O.C.C.

Once characters change over to their new O.C.C., they retain their old skills (but frozen at the levels they achieved before the change) but all new P.P.E., S.D.C., and other increases will be based upon their new O.C.C. ALL new experience points are awarded to the new O.C.C. Characters who change to a new O.C.C. will get all of the O.C.C. skills and special abilities, but only half the number of O.C.C. related and secondary skills. When powers/skills are duplicated, they get whichever is the better of the two, they do not add them together. For special powers and abilities that specific O.C.C.s may possess, adjust where necessary."

Skills - Learning new

Many O.C.C.s allow a character to gain Secondary skills as they level. There are times, however, when a character wants to learn, or is being schooled in, a skill they might not normally have access to (like Wilderness Survival or Zombie Lore). In this case, in order to learn, a few requirements must be made:

*Person teaching the skill must at least have 60% in the skill and an IQ => 12

*The teacher must spend 3 months of practical teaching (hands on experience/ theoretical (the new book learning) and the person learning must spend 8+ hours a day using the knowledge, by the end of the three months you have level 1 of the skill

Another method is to start by determining if the skill can be learned through self taught methods or if a teacher is required. Even self-taught methods may require materials like training videos or instruction books. Observe the secondary skill list for examples of what can generally be learned by self-teaching or minimal instruction.

If it requires a teacher, it may also require special materials. You can't learn to use a computer without a computer and you can't learn to fix a car without tools. Figure out what is needed.

Next is figure out how long it takes. This could take a little internet research. Or you can take a quick and dirty rule of thumb from Heroes Unlimited. So about 4-6 hours a week in instruction and about 6-10 hours a week in practice. The book suggests that this should go on for about three semesters (one and a half school years). I would suggest just totaling up the total amount of time needed (312-468 hours of instruction and 468-780 hours of practice). That may be too long for many skills and not enough time for others. That's where some research comes in handy. You might also want to choose just practice for secondary skills.

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