undead president, an adventure from the knife-shaped sphere, troika exclusive

A one-shot where you play as a group of friends that just so happen to be inside a mall when the zombie apocalypse starts (using the 1978 dawn of the dead board game).

I wanted to get this out in time for Halloween. 

For a real spook this Halloween season, try being generous to a complete stranger or asking someone questions about themselves without using those questions as a gateway to answering them yourself, and/or lastly, being open at all times to be hurt.

This year my Halloween costume is my room via 'wearing' my room during Halloween. 

Now to the adventure...

What triggered the zombie apocalypse?

Brain parasites are unknowingly present in the Nation's number 1 corn producer.

The Mall: 

In the top left corner of the map is a key (click the image to view it larger). There's an icon for "character placement symbol." Start the party in "Theatre II." They've been excited to see whatever new Werner Herzog film TORTLES. It's nearing the end of the documentary and this guy sitting in front of the party starts being a real asshole. Like stands up and blocks their view. This asshole jumps out of their seat so violently their Bepsi and popcorn (you know from the nation's number 1 producer of corn) flies back and hits the players. How you reveal this first zombie to the party is up to you. It could be so dark in the theatre they just think they're about to get into a fight with some asshole who groans and it's not revealed until later what they really are.

Looking back at the map key again, the "Zombie Placement Symbol" provides locations to encounter zombies (stats below). The map has all of the store names so it should be easy to run from here.

The Goal:

It's obvious. To leave the mall safely with your friends. 

Further Complications:

There's a rival party in the mall that are unwilling to help any other survivors. The party will inevitably encounter them.

During the initial mayhem, the mall will be put on lockdown with those metal grates that roll down and block all the exits.

Consider giving the party some friends who aren't Werner Herzog or documentary film fans to rescue in a different area of the mall that were window shopping.

There are ~250 people and ~50 zombies in the mall at the start of the game, and a pet store. 

There no cops in The Knife-Shaped Sphere. 


Let's use more of the original board game material. 

Use this sheet to keep track of the zombies as the players kill them. Use the numbers next to the zombies as their Skill and double it to find a zombie's Stamina. All zombies inflict damage as Small Beasts. Use grappling rules when encountering groups of zombies. Use the number next to the zombie tokens as their Skill and Stamina scores (for example: Skill 3, Stamina 3, Initiative 1, Armor 0).

Remember the rival party I mentioned above. Use the pink area of the sheet below for their stats and equipped weapons. Use the first number as their Skill, the second as their Initiative, and the third as their Stamina. For example, Peter has Skill 5, Initiative 1, and Stamina 20. Rifles deal damage as firebolts and pistols cause pistolet damage. 

Rival party:
Skill 5, Stamina 20, Initiative 1, Armor 0

Roger Skill 5, Stamina 20, Initiative 2, Armor 0

Skill 3, Stamina 16, Initiative 2, Armor0

Skill 2, Stamina 16, Initiative3, Armor 0

Consider this:

Zombies only die if their brains are destroyed. Zombies don't have to be slow in your game. Zombies have a hoard mentality. 

Each time the party listens to the radio or watches tv (a timeline):

1. A reporter says: "There is a zombie invasion. Zombies are all over the city and are attacking living humans. Be very cautious of them."

2. Congressman's message: "Do not worry citizens. The zombies will be killed and you will be able to return to your way of life. We must stay alert. I've heard that some have thought it a good idea to try to make friends with the undead. It will not work, no matter how you talk to them about pacifism, they will bite you. Do not fuck with zombies! Thank you, your congressman."

3. A Market Professional: "Things will be better after the undead invasion because a lot of the undead had jobs. Jobs will open up with healthcare. Don't fret. This will have a happy ending after all."

4. A reporter says: "The undead have destroyed much of the city. The president has said, "there is no need to worry." 

5. "This is the leader of the undead. The undead now rule over The Knife-Shape Sphere. We are the leaders of this great land. We have been voted in through a fair election. There were no human candidates. To the living people of The Knife-Shaped Sphere: my army of the undead is going to find you. We are going to make you undead. We are going to fuck up your shit. We are watching you right now. We have your phones tapped. We have cameras on every street. In every store. Everywhere, watching your detestable living human bodies. The time is nigh you mother fuckers, soon you will be undead. You have a choice, if you join us freely and come out of your hiding places we will gently bite you. If you decide to remain hidden, we will bite your faces off, rip your jaws out and stick dynamite up your asses. We own everything now. The radio will only play christian punk. There will be only one store in every town, called undead mart, which I own personally. It will supply all of your undead needs like alarm clocks, dishwashers, and above-ground pools. Thank you, your president."


1. Bar & Restaurant
2. Art Gallery
3. Audio Center
4. Cobbler Shoes
5. Jewelry Store
6. Record Loft
7. Expectation Maternity
8. Sewing Center
9. Theater 
10. Collector's Corner
11. Bathroom
12. Optics Clinic
13. Bath Fads
14. Brane Lyrant (designer)
15. Special Gifts
16. Eco Bank
17. Games for All
18. Superlative Sportswear
19. Goalile Deli
20. Flavores Ice Cream
21. Tony's Pizza
22. Card Corner
23. All Aboard Travel
24. Nickle's Department Store
25. Interior Concepts
26. Clam House
27. Flo's (hair salon)
28. Cheese City
29. Offices
30. Miscellany
31. The Youthful Idea
32. Doggies Galore
33. Costly Drugs
34. Radio Shanty
35. Murth Brothers (tools)
36. Camera Store
37. Family Book Nook
38. Sports Center
39. Bea's Bakery
40. Bobs Barker Shop
41. Uniforms Inc
42. Arcade

(if you'd like to support me there are links on the right to purchase my zines)


All zombie movies have these scenes so here are some ideas to include in running Undead President.

1. Someone must kill him or herself

2. At least one scene where ~5 zombies are eating one human. There is a bird's-eye-view shot of the person screaming.

3. There must be a scene where at least two of the living are peeking over something, and one of the living does the 'be quiet' gesture with their index finger.

4. There needs to be one stubborn character, always a white male protestant. In some movies, a white male protestant creates the zombies.

5. Horror movies must have man-ass now. Since 28 days later, man-ass has appeared a lot in horror movies.

6. Low-budget horror movies are generally ~80 minutes long. 80 minute long gaming sessions are still fun (probably more fun than playing for ~3 hours in some cases).

(if you'd like to support me there are links on the right to purchase my zines)

1 comment:

  1. Love this. There are a lot of neat little details here that make this a very “knife-shaped sphere specific” version of a zombie apocalypse. This gives it a twist that really makes it stand out. The use of the board game for a map and game management is a great touch.