You're a survivor in the zombie apocalypse. As far as you know, civilization has collapsed on a global scale. The only thing for certain is that the dead are preying on the living and most of the living are getting more desperate as time goes on. Somehow, you need to find a way to survive. Your best bet is to find other survivors and resources to increase your chances, but nothing is easy in this new world.
Dead State is open-ended. There are characters and events that could happen, but the story depends on where you go, what you do, and who you meet. Serious examination of a national crisis or natural disaster. Humans and a lack of order are a bigger threat than the undead. Think Hurricane Katrina, Children of Men, Dawn of the Dead – NOT Resident Evil, Return of the Living Dead, zombie shooter-type games.
Slow, shuffling, stupid zombies. They respond to sound and sight of the living. They're not very dangerous in small numbers, but can overwhelm in large packs. Their bites are infectious, and most people will die within three days of being bit.
In the normal version of the game, you can't due from being bitten, but your allies can. Antibiotics will control but not cure the infection. Not all bites will cause infection, but the lower a character's health, the more likely a bite will cause infection. There is also a game mode where the player CAN be infected and antibiotics won't work. As you can expect, it's much more difficult.
Dead State is turn-based, meaning the player doesn't have full control over their party, but can issue group and individual commands. The player is also responsible for equipping teammates. Sometimes allies may not respond to player commands if their Morale is low or because of their personality or because they are panicking.
In the normal mode of the game, the player doesn't have to worry about eating, but their allies will need food every day or a shortage can impact Morale. This is one of the reasons the player will have to go out and scavenge, which is risky due to other humans looking for (and killing for) food, not to mention zombies. Food is consumed automatically every day by allies, so there's no need to have to sit there and distribute it, because we're not making an apocalyptic lunch lady sim.
Panic is caused either by fear of zombies or combat stress/wounds. Some characters will never panic from zombies and some will never panic from combat stress. A few will never panic at all under any circumstances, and that includes the player. Low Morale/depression will increase chances of Panic.
Morale is one of the major systems in the game, reinforcing one of the bigger themes in a zombie apocalypse scenario. Maintaining positive Morale is one of the major tasks the player has to do. Morale is based on Mood, which is generated by allies. When allies are in good spirits, their Morale drain is minor, but if they lose hope, they start generating a larger Morale penalty. Morale is calculated daily and is drawn from the player's "good will" reserves. When Morale is negative, it can cause greater problems in the Shelter. Luxury items can help raise Morale, and certain actions/decisions the player makes can have a positive or negative effect on Morale.
The Shelter is a structure that can be used to house allies and equipment the player finds. The shelter can be upgraded with certain resources, but the perimeter must be maintained to keep the structure safe. It's the player's base of operations.
Try to avoid making Noise. Zombies (and humans) are attracted to noise. Large groups of humans fighting will generally draw zombies to the area too. There are creative ways to deal with the zombies, but the best thing to do is to just be careful how loud you are. Make too much noise for too many rounds of combat, and zombies will start to overwhelm even the most experienced party.
There are melee and ranged weapons. Melee weapons are quieter, while ranged weapons are more powerful and noisier. Zombies on their own aren't that hard to kill, so if you're capable with a melee weapon, your characters should be able to take one down with melee without generating too much noise. Humans, however, are much deadlier than zombies and may be wearing armor and shooting back. Guns are an effective weapon against humans, but the noise can attract zombies. Of course, characters that are good with melee/ranged and have decent equipment will be able to handle a variety of situations. There are also special one-use items with combat or strategic uses.
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