Friday, October 27, 2017

Blast From The Past: Deadlands (classic)

Welcome to a Spaghetti Western... With meat!

Who doesn't love a good Western? Okay, a lot of people. The genre is something of an acquired taste. I understand that. I've never been a huge fan of the Western. The older ones, the really old ones with singing cowboys and heroes in White Hats (that, by the way, is the origin of the phrase), are terrible to my modern sensibilities. The genre is hard to get into, but has a strange romance to it. There's something about that lone man with a gun and a mission that appeals to Americans. The times when things made a bit more sense. Or were more simple. It was a time of exploration and desperation. Of all the genres in media, the Western is the quintessential American genre. Except when they're mimicking Japanese Samurai epics. Seriously. Look that up.

Sister Mary doesn't mess around

But, many years ago, I stumble upon the Deadlands card game, Doomtown. My dad found a large box of the cards at a garage sale and thought I might like it. And, oh, did I. Eventually, I found out the card game (which will be reviewed in a Gone But Not Forgotten article before too long) was based on a RPG. After picking it up, I loved it. An original and interesting system, a new look at an Alternative History of the Civil War and the following Wild West era, and gave it a unique twist.
Since I love this game so much, you better hold on to your hats, cowpokes; this is going to be a long one. I couldn't hold myself back...

The system in the original books is a prototype of the current Savage Worlds system. If you're familiar with that, you're ahead of the class.

The basic mechanics of the system use a unique mix of playing cards and dice. Even to create your characters. You draw cards to get your stats, which generate points to buy Aptitudes, Edges, and get more from Hindrances. Instead of character classes, you buy the skills and advantages to make the kind of character you want. You can mix and match a bit. You could make a scientist that's also a bare-knuckle brawler. Or a gun fighter with mastery of historical poetry. It's really up to you.

As I mentioned, the system uses a mix of playing cards and dice and it starts with character creation. To build your character, you draw a dozen cards from a regular deck of cards (jokers in and Hoyle's strongly recommended). From those twelve, you select ten to keep. You convert the cards into a series of stats, with the cards' number telling you what type of die (d4, d6, d8, etc), while the suit of the card determines how many dice (2d6, 3d4, etc). Once you figure out what you have to work with, you have to assign them to your stats. As I'm sure you've figured out, there's ten stats, which are divided into “Corporeal” meaning the physical (Deftness, Nimbleness, Quickness, Strength, Vigor) and Mental (Cognition, Knowledge, Mien, Smarts, Spirit). When you're assigning those stats, you'll want to know what you want your character to do in the game. If you're looking to play a rough and tumble gunslinger, you'll be upping those Corporeal traits. If you want to play someone who can think his way around corners, you'll be upping the Mental stuff. One thing to know is that your points for skills are going to based on the die type of some of your Mental traits. Oh, and Spirit isn't a dump stat. Keep it at d6. At the very least.
Once you get done with your Traits, it's time to start working on your Edges and Hindrances. You can use the points you have for your skills to buy Edges, but I strongly suggest you just take some Hindrances to get some points. Edges are another way to focus your character, making him or him faster, more charismatic, Brawny, or you can select an Arcane Background (more on those later). Hindrances help you flesh out your character, is he Randy? Is he Wanted somewhere? Maybe he's Mean As A Rattler? Or could he be Loyal? Any points you don't use on Edges can be used on your skills, too. Nifty, huh?
Once you've got all this figured out, it's time to work on skills, or Aptitudes. While your Aptitudes are based on your Traits, you might be required to switch them around. Let me explain a bit. Let's say you want to do some “Shootin'” with a rifle. You put points into the Aptitude Shootin': Rifle, to a maximum of 5. Now, normally Shootin' is a Deftness Aptitude. If you have a Deftness of 2d6 (that's roughly human average by the way) and a Shootin' of 5, you'd roll 5d6. Your Trait determines the die type and the Aptitude rating determines how many dice you roll. Now, let's say you want to make a trick shot or something, so you'd have to use Cognition for it. If your Cognition is 1d8, you'd use 5d8 for the roll to see if you can figure out how to make the shot, then 5d6 to take the shot. Does that make sense?
If you're looking for more points, there's a great little Edge you can take. It's called Veteran of the Weird West. It costs you zero points and gives you 15 points to spend on your character. How cool is that? But, it comes at a cost. After you pick this Edge, your Marshal (the GM of the game) draws a card from a deck and compares it to a chart in the Marshal's Handbook and gets to mess up your character just a little bit. Isn't this fun?
Now, a little while ago, I mentioned “Arcane Backgrounds.” They're an edge you can take and there's a few of them. The folks who deal with devils are called Hucksters. Those “Practitioners of the New Science” (AKA mad scientists) have an Arcane Background. Native Shamans have their own. As do the servants of God, the Blessed. In addition to their Arcane Background, they also need to take a skill for their power. Each level in this skill lets them take a “spell” (except mad scientists). There's also source books for each one of these groups which give them new Edges to help focus their powers as well as give them a ton of new spells. If you want to play one of these, you really need to get these books, too.
Now, those are the Arcane Backgrounds in the core book, but there's a few more. In The Great Maze, they give you rules for the Chinese Fightin' Arts (Martial Arts to modern folks). In Bloody Ol' Muddy, there's rules for Voodooists. In Law Dogs, they introduced Shootists, which are a lot like Hucksters, but focus only on their guns. There's even rules for Anahuac Priests, and Aztec Priests. While powerful, these things are a point sink. Three points for the Arcane Background, up to five for the skill you need (Faith, Hexslinging, Ritual, etc), and more if you want to get Edges to make your magic user better. If you want to play one of these, you need to be really smart with those character points.

One of Hoyle's Hucksters. Pick a card... Any card.

Before I go on further, let's talk more about how the game works. First off all, you need at least two decks of cards to play: one for the posse (a “party” in other games) and one for the Marshal. When it comes to initiative, each member of the posse makes a roll. Then, you get cards based on your roll. The Marshal draws a few for the bad guys and then starts counting down from Ace and on down to Deuces, with the suit of the card figuring out who goes first if more that one person has a ten for example. If you draw a red joker, you get to go whenever you want. If the same card, the exact same card, is shown (as the Marshal is using his own deck) there's a roll off to see who goes first. If the posse draws the black joker, things suck for the player who drew it. In general, black jokers are bad news no matter what you're doing.

Another Huckster. Looks like he didn't draw a joker...

Now, let's talk about how you roll those dice. As you've seen, you get to roll multiple dice for any kind of roll. But, there's one big difference in how it works. When you're rolling for a stat, you roll all your dice and then take the HIGHEST of the dice. Let's say you've got 3d10 in Smarts and you're making a roll. You get a 5, a 2, and a 6, then your roll is 6. Got it? Good. When it comes to trying to figure out if you succeed or not, you're looking for a Target Number (or TN). Usually, the TN is 5, but it can go as low as 3 and as high as 13, odd numbers only. I hear you asking “How can you make a 5 if you're only rolling d4s?” Good question. The answer is “Exploding Dice.” Let's go back to our example. You roll your 3d10 and this time you get a 2, a 5, and a 10. Since you rolled the top number on the die, called an Ace, you get to roll another d10 and ADD it to the last one. So, let's say the second one is a 7. Now, your top die is a 17. Cool, right? It's important because you can also get a “Raise” on your roll. A raise is when you get 5 above the TN. If the TN is 9 and you get 14, you got a success and a raise. But, there is something that might confuse you. When it comes to damage, you add dice together, like you do in most other games (except if it's a stat check). So, if you pop off your Peacemaker, you roll 3d6 and add those three together. You know what's cool? Damage dice can explode, too. I've seen a Peacemaker do 30 damage thanks to that.
So, I'm sure you're wondering what happens when you do that damage, what it really does to folks. Unlike most games, like D&D for example, you don't have hit points. Instead, you have wounds and locations. And Wind for non-lethal and bleeding damage. The locations are your limbs (right and left arms and legs), your guts and you head. You can take up to five or six wounds in each location before it gets maimed. Of course, you can's exactly take a maiming wound to the head and keep breathing. Each level of wounds applies a negative modifier to your rolls and you have to see if you stop bleeding. Also, since this the 19th century, if wounds to your limbs can mean you can lose them, even if you're able to get medical attention. Isn't this fun?
But, there's a way to not take damage at all, as well as boost your rolls. And get experience. Fate chips. That means poker chips. Because poker is big in this game. You can spend the fate chips the Marshal hands out to negate wounds, heal Wind damage, boost rolls in different ways, and use them for some spells. If you end the session without spending all of your chips, you can convert them into Bounty Points, which are the experience points in this game.

If you don't know how to play poker, you might just want to brush up before you play. Maybe you should buy yourself a copy of Hoyle's Book of Games...

I don't think she's interested, muchacho

When it comes to the setting, the game starts out in 1876 (by the time the “classic” system was shut down, it was 1879) and the Civil War is still going on. Before you ask how that could happen, there's a bit of back story you should know. On July 3rd 1863, an event known as The Reckoning began. If you don't know your history, the Battle of Gettysburg was going on. One of the bloodiest battles in the war in a battle that would later prompt the famous Gettysburg Address. This is when the West got Weird. There were reports of the dead rising and eating the brains of their former comrades. There were other things that happened that day. The entire Union garrison in New Orleans was wiped out in a single night. Union ships on the Confederate blockade were attacked by mysterious monsters. People who had read Hoyle's Book of Games suddenly discovered a code that allowed them to tap into the Hunting Grounds and trick demons into giving them little boons of power. Indian (Native American) shamans were suddenly granted much more power from their nature spirits. This is why the war dragged on. Whenever there were large battles, things would get... Weird. This allowed the Confederacy to survive just long enough to free their slaves and get France and the United Kingdom to break the Union blockade. With the blockade over, the Confederacy has survived. Out west, things are much more complicated than they were in our time, not the least of which is what happened to California. In 1869, the western half of California fell into the Pacific ocean. As a native Oregonian, I laughed with wicked glee when I read this. Anyway... So, when the Great Quake happened, as the survivors found a mysterious mineral called Ghost Rock was found. It's a lot like coal, but better. It was also a key ingredient in gadgets that were being made by the purveyors of the New Science. Better known as “Mad Scientists.” With the magical boost given to them, the Native Americans used the distraction of the never-ending Civil War to take back some of their lands. The Sioux were able to reclaim most of Dakota territory and hold it. The Mormons also used the distraction of the conflict to declare neutrality and wait to see who was going to come out on top. To make matters even more “fun,” both the North and the South declared a race to what was left of California (now known as the Great Maze due to the pillars of land left behind by the Quake). Several folks jumped at the chance to win the prize. This being Deadlands, it quickly devolved into what's called the Great Rail Wars.
Now, let's take a minute to talk about the “Weird” in the Weird West. When the Reckoning started, a few odd things happened. In the deserts of the American West, critters known as “Rattlers” appeared. They're not called that because they're like rattle snakes. No, the “rattle” is from your teeth. They're gigantic worms that burrow under the ground and then pop up for a tasty snack (if you've seen Tremors, you have a rough idea how this works). Usually a cowpoke and his horse. While the most wildly known ones are the ones from the Mojave, there's some others lurking about, too. In the Great Maze, after the Great Quake, actual sea serpents turned up. The Chinese immigrants took to calling them Maze Dragons and the name stuck. There's also other weird things running around, rumors of werewolves, vampires, and other nasty things. I could go on, but I'd rather not spoil any surprises for anyone who might play the game... But, most people dismiss them as rumors. That's in part to the work of groups in the USA and the CSA. In the USA, the Pinkerton Detective Agency were hired by the Union government to keep things quiet. But, in 1877 or so, the government ended the contract and created the Special Services Agency. This new Agency hired some of the best and brightest from the Pinkertons, including the elusive head of the Western Bureau, a man known only as The Ghost. South of the Mason/Dixon line, the weirdness (and country wide law enforcement) is handed by the notorious Texas Rangers. The Rangers also act like the US Marshals for the CSA, which divides their attention. The Rangers and the Agency differ in methods, but have one common goal: Keep the weirdness out of the papers. Of course, there's one major newspaper that's working towards revealing the truth to the world, but most people think it's bunk. That would be the Tombstone Epitaph. To most folks, the Epitaph is entertaining to read but not to be believed. There's a lot of folks out there trying to report the truth, but they tend to vanish if they make too much of a ruckus about what they've seen. When you read the source books, the player's section is usually written in the form of one of those three groups (the Rangers, the Agency, or the Epitaph), so you want to remember them.

This is a cover for a Vampire: the Masquerade source book, it helped inspire Deadlands

Speaking of source books, there's some you really want to pick up. There's some for locations, such as City O' Gloom (Salt Lake City as we would know it), The Great Maze, and South O' The Border (Mexico of course). There's also books for Back East in the USA and the CSA. If you're thinking about running a game in or near a location, you should pick these up. If you're thinking about playing a Texas Ranger or a member of the Agency, there's books on those. The same goes for Hucksters, Shamans, and the Blessed. There's also a book called Hexarcana, which is a must-have for any Arcane Background. Why? Because they update all of the Arcane Backgrounds and give you a few more spells. One book everyone should get is Smith & Robards. The book is full of weird gadgets and alchemical creations, which anyone can use. These inventions vary from useful (things like Gattling rifles) to humorous (automatic flapjack maker anyone?) but it also gives your resident Mad Scientist an idea of what's already been done. Another one you need is The Quick & The Dead, which aren't always mutually exclusive in Deadlands, because it has all of the information on the setting. There's also helpful charts in the back for Marshals for random encounters for the road. There's also Tales O' Terror 1877, which updates the setting and some rules (which you don't need if you've bought the Player's Guide and the Marshal's Handbook). For Marshals, there's Rascals, Varmints and Critters one and two.
One cool thing is that the older source books have adventures in them, some focused on the Arcane Background for those books, but they're good for any posse you have.
There's so many source books, I honestly list them all, but you should take a look at them just in case.

Even after all of this, if you can't come up with what kind of character you want to play, there's Archetypes in the Player's Guide, as well as many others in each source book. You can also use them for inspiration for characters, too. The only problem with the Archetypes is that you don't get the ability to make awesome draws for your character and you might have to shift things around to make the character fit exactly what you want to play.

Whew... That was a long one. And I barely scratched the surface of this game. If you want more, such as details on the Arcane Backgrounds or locations in the Weird West, let me know. I wouldn't mind doing a whole series on this game. It's one of my favorites. Plus, the information is still mostly valid and relevant because there's Deadlands: Reloaded which continues the world but in the Savage Worlds system.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Let's Review: Evil Spares None

What is it?:
Evil Spares None is a cooperate horror board game that I helped Kickstart a few years ago.

The setting:
It's based on the typical “slasher flick” type movie we remember. You take on some high school students trying to get away from the slasher while trying to who's behind the mask. The victims, I mean students, are forced to flee , running through the town, passing by those killed by the Psycho and those yet to be killed. and collect evidence to discover who the killer is.

The system:
The system is a bit of a mess. At the start, you get 2-3 characters to start with. But, you can only activate one to begin with and hope you get the chance to put the rest in play. Or just activate them as your other characters die. During your turn, you get three actions with your characters, but you have to burn an action to switch to another character if you have more than one in play. Characters have a Health stat, a Combat stat, and Brains stat, in addition to a special Active ability and a special Stand-by ability. They seem to have a huge amount of variance between them and I haven't played enough to see how balanced they are.
In between player turns, the Psycho gets to move one space and draw cards. These cards usually let him move more, so he can catch up with you before you get a chance to even move your first character.
When it comes to drawing Action cards, you have to be in the right spot on the board to get the chance to draw them. And you need those Action cards. You also need to make it to the right spot to reach a Stranger before the Psycho gets there first. Strangers can become Townies, who you can sacrifice to save your own skin, or can become another Character. And, for even more fun, you need to reach the bits of Evidence left around so you can solve the mystery... And hopefully use it to survive when the Psycho comes calling.
When it comes to placing new parts of the board, you're suppose to do it randomly, but that's really hard when the tiles are double sided. Draw the wrong one, and everyone is fucked. Hard.
The one thing that goes smoothly is combat. It's simple dice rolling and comparing Combat stats between the Characters and the Psycho. Weapons and other Action cards can help the players, and Evidence and Townies can be “thrown at” the Psycho to avoid the combat. But, as the Psycho increases in power, he becomes harder and harder to defeat... Well, slow down, really, in combat.
As you play the game, there are a few score boards you have to keep track of. The first is the Stalk-O-Meter, which tracks who's the Target of the Psycho and who's going to be next. Being the Target is bad. Very bad. Then, there's a Psycho score board and a Player score board. The Psycho score moves up based on what the Psycho cards do. And some Psycho cards are conditional upon the Psycho score is. The Player's score moves up by finding Evidence and hurting the Psycho. Thankfully, it's pretty easy to get those all figured out.

Is it worth it?:
I hate to say it, but...
I paid $25 for the game and I don't know if it's something I really want to play again. As one of my friends who played with me said “These rules are way more complex than they need to be.” That sums up my feelings. I think it could have used a bit more playtesting to simplify it. The idea is sound, but the execution was fumbled. Now, I do feel like I got a good amount for what I paid for, but I wouldn't have bought it blind like I did.
While I did have to put the game pieces together (which means putting stickers on things), I didn't mind that. My only real compliant was that the character pieces are wooden things with “Minecraft Avatar” versions of the characters. Why not just have a profile picture or just name instead? Minor, but not something that really sold me.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Blast From The Past: All Flesh Must Be Eaten

Welcome to the world of survival horror! Good luck!

Ah, zombies. What can be said about zombies that hasn't been said a million times over by now?
Honestly? Not much. But, in those early years of the zombie craze, a game named 'All Flesh Must Be Eaten' was published. And it was good.

All Flesh, or AFMBE, is a universal zombie system that covers all kinds of characters, genres, and types of zombies. It's a point-buy system, for both the zombies and the characters.

The system divides characters in the three different types: Normals, Survivors, and Inspired (later Powered or somesuch). This allowed the Zombie Master (ZM) to create the tone for his games right off the bat. Since Norms were the lowest in terms of points, they'd die quicker in games, thus really creating a sense of dread for the players. Survivor were more powerful, but that doesn't necessarily mean they could survive longer, depending on the zombies. Inspired/Powered provides some magical back-up for some settings. I haven't seen it done too much, but you can have characters of different types. I avoid it because people who play Norms are going to drop like flies, which can make for hard feelings. Inspired are some where between Norms and Survivors in terms of points (as they blow a lot of points for their powers), but can be added in to groups of either. A group just of Inspired would be interesting (and something I may investigate for a future campaign).
If you can't come up with a character, or yours died due to some bad rolls (this game isn't forgiving for characters at all), you can pick an Archtype. Because the game doesn't have classes, they created a solid list of Archtypes you can use in a pinch or for inspiration. They made so many, there's two whole books of them. There's Archtypes for cheerleaders, private detectives, bikers, Game Masters, rich people, poor people, urbanites, country boys, strippers, porn producers, necrophiliacs (ew, mega ew), soldiers, video stork clerks, cowboys, inventors, and anything else you can imagine.

Once you pick (or get assigned) your character type, you get to put points into stats. There's six of them in the game. The typical three physical: Strength, Dexterity, and Constitution. Then there's the mental ones: Intelligence, Perception, and Will. From these you get your derived stats, things like Life Points, Endurance Points, Speed, and Essence. Once you get your stats figured out, you move on to Qualities and Drawbacks. There's some Qualities you'd have to be stupid to not take (like Fast Reaction Time) and some that you know you're probably not going to need (stuff like Wealth and Resources). My real problem with the game comes here, as it's very easy to abuse the Qualities and Drawbacks if you know what kind of game you're going to be playing. And aside from the ones you abuse for points, there's not a lot of 'good' drawbacks. By that, I mean the ones that really help you flesh out your character and make them feel real, without crippling or hindering them.
Lastly, there's skills. And you're going to wish you had more points for them no matter what type of character you have. Since this is a D10 system (Stat + Skill + D10 = Results, pray for 9 or better), you really need those combat skills high to make sure you're going to be able to drop those zombies before they drop you. But, you won't be able to have a wide selection of those combat skills because each combat skill requires a new skill for each weapon. If that confused you, let me break it down like this: Let's say you want to be able to use shotguns and handguns. If you want them at level 3, that's going to cost you six points. Three for Handgun, three for Shotgun. If you want to be able to fight, you can take Brawling. But, for two points per level, you could take Martial Arts... Which next to no one does. And there's a lot of skills you're going to want to have to survive. Dodge, so you don't get shot. First Aid, so you can keep people alive. Stealth, so you can sneak past zombies. You get my point. Unlike every other resource, there's no way to get more skill points (at least from what I've seen). Which is very frustrating.

When it comes to combat and damage, things get kind of cool. Rather than having you roll 5d8, you roll 1d8 and multiply it by 5. Since the multipliers can change due to range or other factors, it makes it really easy to figure out damage in combat. Different types of weapons, like slashing weapons and bullets, do more damage to unarmored targets. If you want to make combat to go even faster, they give you the average damage done, so you don't even have to roll. In fact, the whole system can be done without dice, but it's not quite as fun. One thing I really like is how they did guns. Rather than giving you a list of guns that people would argue about, they just give you the type of gun and caliber of the round. From there, you can figure out the magazine size and anything else you might need. Nice and easy. Of course, everything besides the weapons are a little dated (cost and stats for a PDA, when was the last time you saw, much less used, one of those?) but still a decent list.

But, I think we all know where this system is going to shine: That's right, the zombies. While it's a little confusing at first, it's amazing once you figure it out. In addition to giving the zombies stats and skills, you can also figure out their weak spot, what the feed on (and how often they need it), how they make other zombies, and other cool powers. Spread throughout the books, there's a great amount of fun and unique powers. Things that make it so technology doesn't work around them, they can taint the ground when they die, they can even move their detached body parts. Using this system, you can make any zombies you've seen in fiction, from the fast and furious 28 Days Later zombies, to the classic Night Of The Living Dead slow and purposeful flesh eaters. And you can mix and match. You could make slow but smart zombies, fast and strong zombies, zombies that can track the living themselves and tear open cars to get to the delicious bits inside. You can also throw your players for a loop. Imagine your players taking careful aim at the zombie's head... And having it keep walking with its skull blown open because the weak spot is the spine. If they have one at all. The system can also handle weirder things, like vampires, be they like the Last Man On Earth type (the original I Am Legend movie with Vincent Price, a true classic of zombie and vampire cinema) or some real horrific monsters. Sparkly pretty boys need not apply. By fudging things a bit, you could probably make werewolves and aliens, too. In fact, one of the supplements, All Tomorrow's Zombies, includes rules for making playable alien races. Using the various books, the Zombie Master (a GM by any other name) and the players can have a lot of fun coming up with unique characters and monsters.
If you're worried about balance, you don't have to. As you add stats, skills, and other abilities, you add to the zombie's Power. The total power is roughly how powerful a zombie is. You total up the points for a Norm or Survivor, by adding together the same things (skills, stats, and Qualities), and see which one is higher. That's enough to figure out how many zombies you need to create a threat for the group.

When it comes to setting, AFMBE doesn't have one, it has tons. Deadworlds, as they're called, are plentiful. In the core book, there's six unique and interesting Deadworlds to choose from The first one is the standard Romero style zombies and outbreak. But, there's one during World War Two, another at the turn of the last millennium (the year 1000 AD), and another that's decades after the end of the world as we know it. Two of them are set as the world is ending, including a set of religious/divine zombies. The last one lets you play zombies. How's that for different? Each one of the supplements gives you even more Deadworlds to play with, as each one usually includes two or three more. That's not including the one that's nothing but Deadworlds. It's great for a pick-up game or for those of you who can't come up with a setting on your own. There's no shame in that...

Speaking of supplements, there's quite a lot of them. The ones I strongly recommend are One Of The Living and the Book of Archtypes (both one and two). These books add in so much more to the game and several rules you really want to have. One Of The Living helps you take the game from a “Beer and Pretzels” type game to a full campaign. It helps your players make better characters and helps the ZM think long-term about the game. Not only goes it give you the science of how a corpse decays, but how people react when under stress for long periods of time and start losing the things they need and want. It's something you don't see in a lot of RPGs. Mind you, you probably don't need stuff like that in most other games.
The other supplements boil down to “(Blank) but with Zombies!” Things like wrestling (which has some surprisingly in depth information about wrestling and some terrifying Deadworlds), Kung-Fu Action stuff (which caused the Shaolin Soccer Mom Archtype), a sci-fi setting book (that has a “Star Wars but with Zombies!” Deadworld), and one that is titled “Dungeons and Zombies.” Take a wild guess what that's about. The good news is that no matter what you're thinking about, there's probably a supplement and a Deadworld you can use.

When my gaming group is a player short, and we know in advance, I'll come up with something using AFMBE. Recently, I came up with an idea for zombies in Vietnam. I call it “Tet of the Undead” as the game takes place during the Tet Offensive. What's worse than Communist rebels in the jungles of Vietnam? Undead Communist rebels in the jungles...

I'm also using this system to develop a Silent Hill game. The rules are flexible enough to handle the bizarre and terrifying monsters, to give you mechanics for the effects of fear, and even rules for psychic powers.