It's 1953 and the United States is under siege.You, your family, your neighbors, and your friends have to fight the shambling dead as they trample your begonias and drag ichor all over your new front porch. They're clawing at the door, and it's not just because they want your apple pie recipe.
DEAD SCARE is a tabletop roleplaying game by women, about women and children killing zombies in McCarthy-era America. It's based on Apocalypse World by Vincent Baker, and combines subverted 1950s American idealism with a blood-spattered zombie apocalypse.
It began when President Truman was the first public target of a Russian bio-weapon the Russkies designed to turn people into flesh-eating zombies. Everyone watched it on TV that night, and nothing in the good ol' US of A will be the same ever again.
Women and Children Only
Playsets in DEAD SCARE focus on the women and children who survived this event, and it follows them as they make their choices to build a future for themselves. The skills and backgrounds in the playsets reflect a variety of lifestyles, socioeconomic statuses, and gender roles. However, much of the expected traditional bedrock of society has been repurposed and overhauled to counter against the hunger of the zombie menace.
How will you defend yourself when the shambling dead break down your white picket fence?
If your husband is a cop, there's a revolver in your nightstand. What do you do when your husband isn't a cop and your nightstand is empty?
Your ad man or professor husband sure provided for you before, but what are you going to do now that it's just you and the kids and something wants in?
There are weapons all around you, you just never thought about your household goods that way.
Your knitting needles are spears.
Your kitchen knives are good for more than slicing chicken. Though you probably don't want zombie meat for your casserole or hotdish.
Even that old vacuum can find new life as a zombie killing death dealer.
And the kids? They're not powerless either.
Junior's finally going to have a use for all that batting practice.
Little Sally's jump rope can make a zombie snare.
You're all in this together.
Don't give up.
This game is a very different take on the zombie apocalypse. In DEAD SCARE, women are the heroes, so it's very fitting that this project showcase the talented women who developed it. We're very excited to be putting out this content, which we're also proud to say is accessible to blind and low-vision gamers as well.
(That's why each image has a caption, as well. Screen readers don't handle images well.)
The vision of America that DEAD SCARE is crafting is a very different one. So much so that we want to give you glimpses of what it's like from all over America during the time period of the game. To that end, we've gathered an amazing group of women and non-binary writers to create Postcards from Across America, a digital add-on for DEAD SCARE.
Postcards from Across America is a stretch goal for the campaign, one that will be reached in two different ways: backer goals, and monetary goals.
For every 100 backers the campaign gets, we'll add a new postcard. Once the campaign funds, every $500 above the goal will also unlock a new postcard.
Every backer of $15 or higher will get this digital add-on, which will unlock at 100 backers.
The first postcard will come from DEAD SCARE writer Elsa S. Henry, who will write about women's colleges. Following that, here's the start of the list of writers and their topics:
- Shanna Germain - Ithaca, NY
- Delilah S. Dawson - Georgia
- Shoshana Kessock - Brooklyn/Jewish Issues
- Whitney "Strix" Beltran - Oklahoma
- Nora Last - Minnesota/Food scarcity
When this unlocks you'll get the first two postcards. We've got a lot more writers lined up for this as well, so the more backers we get, and the more we raise, the better Postcards from Across America is going to be!
Writer/Developer - Elsa S. Henry
Elsa S. Henry is a historian-turned-game designer. She delights in subverting history for the benefit of gaming. She is the community manager for storium.com and is a contributing writer to Onyx Path Publishing's Wraith: the Oblivion 20th Anniversary Edition. This is her first RPG as a writer/designer.
Editor - Lillian Cohen-Moore
Lillian Cohen-Moore is a horror writer and fiction editor first drawn into editing games in 2010. She's worked with Catalyst Game Labs, White Wolf, and an array of indie publishers, all in the pursuit of fun, clear game text.
Art - Elizabeth Simins
Elizabeth Simins is an artist living in Portland with two fluffy cats, Link and Zora. Though her memoir comics (Manic Pixel Dream Girl; Bad-at-Games) and assorted illustrations have appeared all over the internet, she is probably best known as the creator of Gaming's Feminist Illuminati (or the t-shirt anyway). DEAD SCARE is her first RPG as well as her first zombie-focused work.
Layout - Tiara Lynn Agresta
Tiara Lynn Agresta is a veteran layout artist in the RPG world. Since 2009 she's worked with Margaret Weis Productions, Catalyst Game Labs, White Wolf, Frog God Games, and loads of indie publishers, including Exploding Rogue Studios for Iron Edda: War of Metal and Bone.
Publisher - Exploding Rogue Studios
Exploding Rogue Studios is Tracy Barnett and Brian Patterson. They have published three tabletop roleplaying games, including Iron Edda: War of Metal and Bone. This is their sixth Kickstarter.
We're keeping the rewards for this Kickstarter very streamlined.
Rather than clutter up our take on the zombie apocalypse with a lot of extras, we're focusing on making sure what we offer can provide you many great sessions of DEAD SCARE. Our stretch goals will add content to enrich your 1950s zombie survival experience.
We have an additional shipping cost for all backers because shipping is invariably expensive, and we want to be transparent about where the money is going. Breaking out shipping as an extra cost helps shine a light on the realities of fulfillment.
We think that supporting retailers is very important. If you have a store and want to resell DEAD SCARE, this is the tier for you. And please remember, it's for retailers only.
COMMUNITY MEMBER - You get everything the SCOUT LEADER gets, with a bonus: You’ll have the option to send us a photograph of a woman who is important to you (yourself, a family member, a good friend). Elizabeth will transform the image into art for the book, and Elsa will make them an NPC. The NPC will be part of the DEAD SCARE book, and you'll get an 8x10 print to keep. (Please note that you must get permission from the subject!)
You get to take a woman who's important to you and make her part of the game! How cool is that?
CORPORATE SPONSOR - You get everything the SCOUT LEADER gets, with a bonus: You’ll have the option to pitch us an idea for a traditional product from the 1950s, household cleaners, cigarettes, cars, etc, and we'll create a 1950s-style advertisement for that product, themed around the zombie-infested world of Dead Scare. That ad will appear in the book, and you'll get an 8x10 full-color print for you to keep.
This one came out of an awesome conversation on Twitter with fans of the project. We're very excited to offer it.
PLAYBOOK ARCHETYPE - Your very own DEAD SCARE Zombie Survival kit, themed after one of the playbooks in the game. As well, we'll schedule a game session of DEAD SCARE for you with creator Elsa S. Henry. This is in addition to everything in the COMMUNITY MEMBER tier, including the NPC and art.
UPDATE: This tier now includes the CORPORATE SPONSOR reward as well!
This one's a lot of fun, and we're happy to be offering it. If you like customized items and you want to have a kit themed after one of the playbooks in the game, this is the tier for you!
Risks and challenges
This is the first project that Exploding Rogue Studios has worked on that is someone else's vision from start to finish. Exploding Rogue Studios is acting strictly as publisher, unlike previous projects where we have contributed the content. This is a new and exciting avenue for us to explore.
We've completed over 17,000 words. Art and editing are actively in progress during the Kickstarter. Between Brian and Tracy's publishing experience, we've published 5 books and we know the business. We're all veterans here. We've assembled an amazing team of woman creators and we're going to use our experience to bring their voices and vision to you.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (22 days)