"COVID-Z" is a Palladium Dead Reign campaign run between 2020-2021 with the Houston-area RPG group.

The campaign followed the player characters as they lived out their lives normally in 2019 unaware of the coming pandemic to come in 2020. Unlike the real timeline of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) as an illness caused by a virus that can spread from person to person, this alternate reality's virus is much more deadly with far-reaching ramifications, with death coming 100-fold then the resurrection of the dead.

The first episode was played on October 17, 2020, and continued on a weekly basis until August 7, 2021, with the game sessions happening on Saturday evenings. The campaign entails a 30-episode story arc, after which the game was retired, so other campaigns/game systems can be enjoyed.

Campaign Setting

The campaign starts in July 2019, with the world only hearing about snippets of information coming from China about a new deadly virus. No one is concerned with its spread, as the president attempts to close the borders and limit air travel, but infected people still arrive on the mainland of the United States.

Player Characters

The main function of this campaign is a plot-base storyline that is character-driven by the actions of the party. At the outset of the campaign, each player started with three random Survivor choices, along with a randomly chosen benefit. After the player selects one of the three random Survivor choices, the other two selected choices will remain as backup characters in case the primary character dies. Stats were issued and not rolled: 18, 17, 16, 15, 14 ,13, 12, and 11, with a bonus +2, +4, and +6 to the 18, 17, and 16 stats. All hit points were considered maximum up to and including level 5. Regardless of the Palladium Megaverse, only Humans are allowed in this campaign, although there is a slight chance for a psionic character to be created. Character O.C.C. classes are limited to Survivors only, as the zombie epidemic has not yet started and other O.C.C.s would not be feasible. Any player who started a character after the campaign had begun would start at two levels below the highest level character; lowest level being level one. Alignments are limited Principled, Scrupulous, Unprincipled, and Anarchist. Any player who was unable to make it on a regular basis, would be level adjusted by experience points as to be no less than two levels below the highest level character.

Important NPCs

As the campaign is self-contained with the area of the zombie-infected North America, the players have an opportunity to meet and establish a variety of NPC contacts, allies, and enemies. All NPCs have an equal importance to the campaign, as each one tends to add enrichment while major NPCs might only be seen from afar if the characters do not have the right connections. Most NPCs are solitary folk with one primary base of operations as it is dangerous to travel in urban areas where the dead rule.

At the outset of the campaign, the PCs live and work in the city of Houston, eventually leaving on a Pacific cruise making connection with other trip participants. Disaster ensues as the zombie apocalypse begins while the PCs are out to sea. Eventually, the party makes their way to Mexico, finding the government has dissolved and many would be leaders are trying to stake their claim on the land. The party continued to make connections in an area where most of the PCs did not speak Spanish.

Episode Guide

Each weekend, the players assembled to play what has been designated as an episode. Each week, a recap of the most recent episode’s happenings was posted to allow those who have been missing for many or few episodes to get a feel for what they have missed. Any postings on this website has the same information given out each week via social media, although much of the personal commentary was left out.

Places of Note

The world has turned upside-down and places of safety are now controlled by the dead. Due to circumstances beyond their control, the PCs end up in Northern California and Baja Mexico, miles away from their Texas homes. Most populations centers have been ravaged by the sudden advent of the humans bodies re-animating after being deceased over a short period of time. Altercations would happen in cities and towns, as well as out in the rural of western North America.

Rules and Redundancy

The main goal of the campaign is to have fun. Unfortunately, there are times when rules can come into conflict when players are attempting to achieve their goals. House Rules allow for situations like these to be mitigated when there is insufficient information to deal with specific encounters. The Redundancy aspect reflects on additional content which adds depth and complexity to the campaign and clears up any gray areas.

Weapons Locker

Core rule books contain a plethora of melee and ranged weapons for the players to choose from. However, there are times when the characters encounter weapons and items of power that go beyond the scope of what is readily available for purchase. Herein lies an inventory of non-standard items encountered throughout the campaign, from the mundane to the spectacular.

COVID-Z by Serhii Selin, Important NPCs by Ayoub Wardin, Places of Note by Adam Jones.

Artwork for Serhii Selin on this page falls under Adobe Stock Standard License.

Artwork for Adam Jones and Ayoub Wardin on this page falls under Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.