Ready your baseball bats and reload those crossbows because The Walking Dead Universe RPG is set to be released on November 28th. Swedish publisher Free League, famous for Mutant: Year Zero and the Blade Runner RPG have adapted the distinctly American horror television series into a tabletop setting capable of telling a variety of post-apocalyptic stories.
The Walking Dead ended just over a year ago with 177 spanning a remarkable 11 seasons of television, during which zombie media rose to another height of pop culture prominence before returning to a background simmer. More than just an evocative world and well-known intellectual property, producer AMC hopes that this collaboration with Free League will stand as a pillar of continued narratives in The Walking Dead’s post-television era.
We’ve previously covered the basic rules and mechanics that guide The Walking Dead Universe RPG - players portray survivors in a post-outbreak US who band together for the sake of survival. Sessions involve scrounging for resources, maintaining a safe haven that the group establishes during Session Zero, and out manoeuvring the roaming hordes of undead as much as possible.
Groups can tackle longform goals in Campaign play, whether that means surviving a harrowing journey across the country in search of safety or hewing their own haven out of the post-apocalyptic wastes. Or they can apply their skills to a short-term stint in Survival Mode, which will often feature characters and locations from the television series seeking help with immediate calamities. As noted above, AMC and the Walking Dead Universe’s chief content officer Scott M. Gimple are keen to use the RPG to tie the now-finished series to its various upcoming spinoffs.
Free League has pulled on design threads from several of its previous titles in weaving the structure of The Walking Dead Universe RPG. A threat system borrowed from Blade Runner tracks how much zombie attention the survivors have garnered - too much and they run the risk of being swarmed and devoured. Base building rules borrowed from Mutant: Year Zero outline efforts to rebuild a semblance of society, while inter-player conflict is swift, brutal and deadly efficient - not unlike taking a swing from Lucille directly to the face.
A crowdfunding campaign earlier this year raised SEK5,920,362 (about $565,000) to create a core rulebook and starter set that have already shipped out to backers and should be arriving by time of publication. Free League will begin selling digital and physical editions of the RPG on its website and through hobby shop retailers on November 28th.