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Stuff I think would be grand to change in Urban Dead

  • Headshot This is at present a broken skill. I firmly disagree with the effect, as it strips XP away without the player's consent. The original purpose was as an XP sink against zombies, who were otherwise levelling up and maxing out too fast. But a better solution would have been to create alternate ways to spend that XP. It's defenders point out that it is the only way to break a seige. But it does this, not by the numbers game, but by psychological warfare. If the only way for one side to win any fight is either to demoralise the enemy leave the area, or worse, demoralise them into leaving the game, there is a problem.
Headshot has recently been changed to raise standup costs by 5 AP when a zombie si killed by this. I personally think this is a vast improvement on the balance situation for zombies, sufficient for my to switch a character to playing as a zombie, but a large number of whiners have gone on strike in response to the change.
  • Ankle Grab - With the new headshot change, the Jumpin' Jack tactic of standing around waiting to be killed then standing up again for 1 AP, essentially acting as a bullet magnet, has been nerfed. This skill no longer needs changing.
  • Zombies need human stuff - There are a small number of items which are essential or greatly beneficial to zombie characters, but can only be obtained by a human character. This encourages some rather odd gameplay that is out of genre.

Rule Changes


  • Syringes
    • Syringes should not be combat weapons. Trying to hit someone with a syringe who is actively resisting typically requires several people, including one or two to physically restrain them. And that is assuming the target is essentially unarmed, which doesn't apply to zombies. Combat revives are not a realistic tactic.
    • Variant (A)
      • A character's contacts list should be expanded into two sections, "friends", and "others".
      • A zombie can recognise his old friends (those in his contacts list). If a character in this list tries to revive the zombie, he will stay still, and the revive has a 100% chance of success.
      • Optional: If the zombie has Memories of Life, or perhaps as a skill under that one, he can recognise members of his former group, and will stand still for anyone with the same group affiliation. The zombie isn't necessarily recognising the exact face at this level,but rather the gestures, body language, clothing, secret signs, and other telltale clues to group affiliation.
    • Variant (B)
      • base hit chance with a syringe is 100%.
      • The server remembers the last [N] times the zombie character tried to make an attack. Whether the attack succeeded or not is irrelevant; it is the attempt that matters.
      • When a syringe is used on the zombie, the 'last made an attack' timestamps are compared with the current time. Each such timestamp that is within 24 hours will reduce the hit chance by [N]%.
  • First Aid Kits - These should not work on zombies. the force that animates a corpse is not the same one that keeps mind, body and soul together.
  • DNA Scanner - These always give the information, but the XP bonus is only awarded as per current rules. If the scan is successful and the character has a revive syinge available, the option to revive that particular zombie should be available.
  • Chainsaws - Completely in genre, and you know it. Requires gas tanks as 'ammunition'. Rather than gas tanks giving a set number of shots, I'd suggest that the chainsaw is usable as long as it has the 'fuelled' status tag. However, each attack with a chainsaw has a [N]% chance of consuming the fuel inside the chainsaw. It then takes another gas tank to refuel it.

Modified Skills

  • Body Building - This human skill should provide no benefit to zombie characters.
  • Headshot - I am satisfied with the current changes, but I will wait with an open mind to see if it is balanced or not. That is currently impossoble to see when a significant part of the zombie population (especially the organised part that metagames effectively) is on strike, skewing the available data. Change: Maximum standup cost is 10 AP. This effectively means that headshot now only hurts zombies who have ankle grab.

Game Mechanics

  • Search Denial - Each zombie present has a 1% chance of ruining any search attempt. This is a separate check from the basic search rolls.
  • Attacking Barricades - Zombie characters (not living people) gain one XP point for each successful attack on a barricade. This is still significantly less than even zombie on zombie XP gains, but stops mall seiges, where the barricades go up and down but never fall, from being a one-sided XP party.
  • Crossing Barricades - Each time a survivor crosses a barricade, there is a small (%5) chance that a part of it collapses, as if it had been attacked. This isn't griefy, as griefers would be able to attack them far more efficiently with a crowbar anyway.

New Skills

  • Wild Gesturing - Requires Memories of Life skill. Zombies can use this skill to communicate limited kinds of information to other zombies. It is treated similarly to a speech action, but is limited to communicating only ideas such as "go north" from a dropdown menu. I'm undecided whether it should allow exact locations to be specified, or if it should be limited to simple compass directions. It's almost redundant with Death Rattle anyway. This idea is obsolate with the new Feeding Groan skill.
  • Entrail Art - Requires Memories of Life skill. Essentially graffiti for zombies. It costs 1 AP and 5 HP for the zombie to use this skill. 5 HP may seem expensive, but HP are an incredibly cheap resource for zombies. The chief differences between the two skills is that the gesturing will only be seen by the zombies present at the time, while entrail art will last until over-written by more entrails or graffiti. Entrail art will over-write spray painting, and spray painting will over-write entrail art. Entrail Art also grants zombies XP in the same way that Tagging does for humans. Letters are changed similarly to zombie Death Rattle. The changes are based on teh idea of the 'ink' flowing downwards, distorting the letters, so teh changes are different from Death Rattle.
 abcde fghij klmno pqrst uvwxyz 0123456789
 obodo hghll klmno pqnot uuwxyz ol2z4s6n8g
  • Skeletal Ribs - Requires Brain Rot skill. The zombie's bones poke out of ragged holes, protecting the tissues underneath. They act as a flak jacket if the zombie is not already wearing one. There is no extra benefit if the zombie is already wearing a flak jacket, this skill merely provides the benefit for brain rotters who cannot otherwise get a flak jacket.
  • Leathery Hide - The zombie skin is extra-tough, and the muscles have taken on the consistency of tanned leather. The zombie gains +10 to maximum HP. This is essentially the zombie version of Body Building, and is identical in all respects, except it only functions while the character is a zombie (and Body Building only while the character is alive).
  • NecroNet - Requires NecroTech Employment skill. Allows the character to use his mobile phone to check how many zombies have been tagged in his current suburb in the last 24 hours.
  • Foetid Stench - Requires Brain Rot skill. The zombie has started rotting, and smells real bad. All survivors get a -5% penalty to hit with all attacks. If there is any zombie with this inside a room, the survivors get a message that "something smells real bad here." The specific zombie cannot be identified, unless of course there is only one present.
  • Fast Loading - Military skill. The survivor is trained in gun use, and no longer needs to spend APs to reload a pistol or shotgun. Requires Basic Firearm Training.

Skill Tree

This is a summary of the new skill tree with the above changes.


  • Shopping - Player may choose which stores to loot, when searching a mall. The Consumer class starts with this skill.
    • Bargain Hunting - Player is 25% more likely to find something when searching a mall.
  • Body Building - Player has a maximum of 60 Hit Points instead of 50. Zombies can NOT benefit from this skill.
  • Tagging - Player's spraycans last longer. XP bonuses are awarded for tagging certain buildings.
  • Construction - Player is able to barricade buildings.


  • Basic Firearm Training - Player gets +25% to hit with all ranged weapon attacks. The Private and Cop start with this skill.
    • Pistol Training - An extra +25% to hit with a pistol.
      • Advanced Pistol Training - An extra +10% to hit with a pistol.
    • Shotgun Training - An extra +25% to hit with a shotgun.
      • Advanced Shotgun Training - An extra +10% to hit with a shotgun.
    • Fast Loading - No AP are spent to reload.
  • Hand To Hand Combat - Player gets +15% to hit with all melee weapon attacks.
    • Knife Combat - An extra +15% to hit with a Kitchen Knife.
    • Axe Proficiency - An extra +15% to hit with an axe. The Firefighter begins with this skill.
  • Free Running - Player can move from one building to an adjacent one without expending extra AP to enter it. Bypasses barricades which would otherwise prevent entrance. The Scout begins with this skill.


  • NecroTech Employment - Player is able to operate DNA Extractors, and can identify NecroTech offices from the street. Starting skill for the NecroTech Lab Assistant class. (Zombies can identify NecroTech buildings with this skill.)
    • Lab Experience - Can recognise and operate basic-level NecroTech equipment. Required Skill for reviving a zombie with a revivification syringe.
    • NecroNet - Scientist can use mobile phone to count number of tagged zombies in the suburb.
  • First Aid - Player is able to heal an extra 5 HP when using a first-aid kit. Starting skill for the Medic and Doctor classes.
    • Surgery - Player can heal a further 5HP if working in a hospital with power. (Requires and Consumes first-aid kit)
  • Diagnosis - The HP values of nearby survivors are displayed next to their name. (Zombies can use this skill.)


  • Scent Fear: Survivors with fewer than 25 HP are shown as "wounded" in room descriptions, and asterisked on the map.
    • Scent Blood: The HP values of nearby survivors are displayed next to their name.
    • Scent Trail: Zombie is able to sense the new positions of survivors it's had recent contact with.
    • Scent Life Zombie has a chance to passively detect survivors inside buildings.
  • Digestion: Whenever the zombie deals bite damage, it gains HP equal to the damage dealt.
    • Infectious Bite: Bitten survivors become infected and lose 1HP per action until cured with a FAK.
  • Vigour Mortis: Zombie gets +10% to hit with all non-weapon attacks. The Corpse class starts with Vigour Mortis.
    • Neck Lurch: Zombie gets an extra +10% to hit with bite attacks.
    • Death Grip: Zombie gets an extra +20% to hit with hand attacks.
    • Rend Flesh: Hand attacks deal an extra 1 damage.
  • Memories of Life: Zombie is able to open doors to buildings.
    • Death Rattle: Zombie is able to communicate through a limited, groaned form of speech.
    • Feeding Groan If faced with a survivor, the zombie can emit moans audible up to six blocks away.
    • Entrail Art - Graffitti for zombies.
  • Lurching Gait: Zombie can walk as fast as the living.
    • Ankle Grab: Zombie only spends 1AP standing up.
  • Brain Rot: Zombie can never be revived, and is harder to DNA-scan.
    • Skeletal Ribs - Flak jacket for zombies.
    • Foetid Stench - Zombies is harder to hit.
  • Leathery Hide - Body building for zombies.
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