After going through all that on Are Zombies Tough, I thought of a good idea for a campaign. I have often said that there has to be something wrong with a person to make them an adventurer. Why would a normal person decide to risk their life for money? Are there really no better options for earning a living?
OK - so here is how this one sets up. The GM makes up a whole bunch of characters, but not adventuring types - civilian types. I know, those games that don’t recognize civilians make this hard. Might be time to switch to an actual role-playing game (like Legend Quest). Anyway - say there are a dozen playable characters, and the players take one or two each. Then their town is assaulted by a pack of zombies. The zombies are barely together. They wander the open town, attacking those they see, but can be found wandering in ones and twos and dealt with by gang ambushes. The GM should kill some of the playable characters not controlled by the players, just to show it can be done.
OK - put the survivors aside and next game session - a new town, a dozen new playable characters (again civilians) and another pack of zombies. This pack might be a little better organized, maybe they have a goal of some sort, like the church (probably where all the non-used playable characters are hiding). Again, team work and tactics should win the day, but now they understand that the zombies were not really attacking the town, but instead the church.
Third session, third town, third team of civilians, third zombie attack. This time, a necromancer is discovered and captured. Under questioning, it is revealed that he is a disciple of some evil god who is trying to have a war with the god who’s churches are being attacked. Yes, it took three attacks, but now they know there is a holy war brewing between the god of necromancers and the god of the farmers (a god of light? agriculture?, whatever).
OK, so now, the players get to look at all the survivors from the three towns and choose the “posse” that is going to go out against the necromancers’ base. Now they are adventurers. Now they can start thinking about arming themselves with real weapons and armor. Why do it this way? Well, every campaign needs to start somehow, and this beats the whole, “You all meet in a bar”. This writes their character history while starting the campaign. This team will find that the first necromancers’ base is only the tip of the iceberg. They will have to work against the cult to avoid a holy war, and possibly avert a civil war or necromantic coup. Once they accomplish all that, they will be mid-level adventurers and will likely stick together to adventure. They might also be approached as soon as this is done to take on another undead threat, being seen as the region’s local band of undead hunters. I may write this up as one of our Campaign Starter Kits, but you have all the ideas here.