My wife and I both love watching AMC’s The Walking Dead, and apparently we’re not alone since last Sunday it led the nation in ratings with over 11 million viewers. The show led me to search for a zombie apocalypse themed pen and paper RPG and what I found was Outbreak: Undead which has been available since 2010. If you want a detailed review of the handbook and game mechanics check out the article from Gnomestew. This popular TV show and somewhat less popular RPG along with some carefully placed whip blows from our almighty Goblinbeat overseer inspired the background for Stark Dawson, zombie slayer extraordinaire. Aside from Outbreak: Undead, Stark could be easily integrated into a zombie themed Dungeons and Dragons or Savage Worlds System.
Stark had a truly deranged childhood as he was born in the midst of a zombie outbreak that took over an entire island continent that was evacuated and quarantined. Certain factions have succeeded in controlling the advance of these zombies to other regions of the world, but there has been no success in ending zombie domination of the island. He had the distinct privilege to be born into a tiny community of humans that were not allowed to evacuate, but somehow survived years of zombie onslaught. Stark never got the chance to know his father who died getting Stark’s mom to safety as she was in labor with him. So, it was with the help of a protective older brother and an emotionally broken mother, that Dawson learned to survive under the most hellacious circumstances. Their small band didn’t dare attempt to leave the island since any vessels seen leaving the island after evacuation were destroyed on sight for fear of spreading the infection. When he was 15, his group decided to attempt escape in the hopes that the island was no longer being watched. However, once the tide had taken his party out into the sea, an explosion rocked the makeshift vessel. Stark saw his mother’s flesh peel from her bones as the heat from the blast struck her. He jumped overboard and after struggling to stay afloat on a piece of wreckage for three storm-racked days was picked up by a wary but kindhearted fishing boat captain 200 miles away. Now that he is off the island he wants to find out who is responsible for the zombie infection as well as his mother’s death. He wonders if his brother survived but seriously doubts it. Anger and thoughts of vengeance fill his ever-waking moment.
Since he’s always had to get by without access to manufactured goods, Stark can be extremely resourceful, from making his own ammunition and repairing weaponry to hunting/snaring game and foraging. He also is adept at melee combat against multiple opponents, not taking normal minuses for being flanked, and he has an amazing knack for obtaining advantageous positioning across a variety of terrain. Mr. Dawson can be extremely cold and deadly, rarely hesitating to dispose of a threat; however this makes it difficult for him to connect with others outside of a combat situation. He has been a loner for many months and trusting others is very difficult for him.