Monday, January 28, 2013

DIY Grind House Torg And Oasis Of The Zombies For Your Old School Horror Campaign


 Back in high school I worked at a Friendlies resturant as a waiter right down the street from a mall. This game was making its way through the pages of Dragon magazine. My group played the hell out of this game. I came across this post on Tales of the Grotesque and Dungeonesque about DIY Torg. You can read this marvelous post right over Here
So nothing about this post is going to be original at all. But the idea was so good that all weekend its been running through my mind.
For those of you not familiar with this classic here's a brief overview of Torg according to wiki:
"Torg is set in a near future setting, known officially as "the near now." At the games's starting point this world has been subjected for several months to a year, to a pan dimensional invasion by a series of "High Lords" who have changed the natural laws of large swaths of Earth to reflect those of their home dimensions. The players assume the role of "Storm Knights", people from Earth and the various invading realms, who possess limited reality altering abilities, and who oppose the plans of the High Lords."

The idea here is that the world is invaded by various realms each controlled by a Highlord. Here's what I came up with over this weekend for this thought exercise. First this is going to be a grind house version of Torg. In other words "B" movie versions of the standard rpg trope worlds.
Here's the list: 
  1. Europe - Conan Labryth Lord pulp setting with touches of Arduin 
  2. Greenland and Iceland  - The Melnibone realms and the Young Kingdoms 
  3. The UK - The Great Britain of the future of Dorian Hawkmoon
  4. USSR - Runequest with touches of Crypts and Things 
  5. Canada - The Super soldier reality of Underground 
  6. United States -  A. East Coast - Realms of Crawling Chaos - This is the pulp realm of New England. B. The West Coast - post apocalyptic world of Mutant Future/Metamorphisis Alpha/Gamma World 1st and 2nd edition  With touches of The Kult rpg 
  7. Mexico and South America - The Empires of the Petal Throne 
  8. China and India - Carcosa reality 
  9. Austrilia - The Talaslinta realms 
  10. Japan and Indonesia - Cyberpunk 2020 
  11. Africa- The Naked Lunch Realms - Over The Edge  
  12. Anarticia - The "At The Mountains of Madness" Realms 
File:Weird Tales March 1945.jpg

This is only a thought exercise but I even came up with a first adventure with a horror slant. There's a craptastic horror film known as Oasis of Zombies. When I used to run Nexus The Infinite City. This was one of my convention main stays. 
Take a look at the trailer but there is plenty of T&A in this flick 

This grind house flick involves the treasure hunt for 9 million dollars in gold. The zombies are the remains of  Nazi commandos who were massacred. They are still guarding the gold. Take any group of adventurers and away you go.
The place is under a curse. Everything is still as fresh as it was when the soldiers were killed. They are decaying ever so slowly.

There are a few exceptions to the usual zombie rules: They only animate at sunset. The zombies have been feeding for centuries and they hide the bodies that they "consume". Tales of the gold continue to draw adventurers. Those who are bitten and die will turn into zombies and must be burned.
Here are some of the reasons to use this movie for such an adventure. 
  1. The movie's gold may have strange properties associated with the tragedy that surrounds it. Who knows what types of black mages and necromancers could be drawn to it. 
  2. The movie's plot is perfect for "cross parties" of adventurers 
  3. Movie backstory and characters might make excellent NPCs for other adventures 
  4. There are enough zombies to take on any size party 
  5. For a game such as Kult the oasis might be a place folded into the illusion and may only appear at certain times. The gold might easily draw any number of wannabe black magicians. 
  6. Could there even be gold? Its never shown in the movie at all. Is the place really cursed or is there another nazis recovered artifact animating the dead?
    Oasis of the Zombies makes an excellent low level adventure to get this sort of a Torg style campaign world off  the ground and a great jump off point for the horrors yet to come. I may actually run this sort of world in the near future. Other movies and animes that come to mind for this  include Demon City,Vampire Hunter D, and many of the house of Hammer science fiction films  


  1. I like your use of Underground there! That's an under-appreciated setting.

  2. I got into Underground from the adds in the back of Dragon Magazine and the artwork of Peter Chung the same guy who did Aeon Flux. Underground became part of a meta game campaign that I ran for many years called Nexus The Infinite City. The game was convertible to a host of new school games but I wasn't crazy about the mechanics.
    Thanks ever so much for the comment. I'm going to be covering Underground in some detail coming up.


    my version

  4. There are some very solid ideas in there. I loved the ideas but not the execution of some of Torg.