Unhallowed Metropolis is an unusual take on the usual zombie roleplaying game. The game is produced by Strix Publishing, which is based out of Seattle. We spoke with company owner Simon Berman about this game – a combination of zombies and quasi-steampunk.
When did your company develop the game? Who were the talent?
This is kind of a complex question! Unhallowed Metropolis was created in 2007 by Jason Soles (Lead developer of Privateer Press' award winning miniatures games, WARMACHINE and HORDES) and Dr. Nicole Vega. It was originally published by Eos Press, and later Atomic Overmind Press produced a revised edition that is currently in print. I came on in 2008 as a writer and have since been involved in various facets of the game ever since. The game has been on something of a creative hiatus since 2012 but we're getting things in gear again. That started when I acquired both the publication rights to the game from Atomic Overmind Press earlier this year and the remaining stock of books.
What is the premise?
It's probably simplest to let the game speak for itself, here:
“It has been two hundred years since the outbreak of the Plague, when the dead rose to feed on the flesh of the living. No nation was spared. Everywhere, the animates prowled the streets, killing and spreading the infection as they passed. Countless millions perished in the chaos that followed. Ultimately, seventy percent of the world’s population succumbed to the Plague, secondary epidemics, or the mass starvation that followed.
The year was 1905: the dawn of the new dark age.
London 2105. The capital of the Neo-Victorian Empire is a vast, densely crowded city. Beneath the towering walls and crackling Tesla arrays, where the fallout of a thousand crematoria darkens the streets, ten-million souls live in fearful squalor. Physicians, driven by an insa- tiable hunger for immortality, search tirelessly for the elixir vitae, the fabled alchemical solution promising life eternal and a cure for the Plague. Predators, human and inhuman, stalk the slums and rookeries, preying on the unwary and the helpless.
Below the haunted streets, resurrection men and body snatchers hock their grisly wares at blood-stained meat markets. Their clients are degenerate ghouls and amateur anatomists who practice the outlawed science of reanimation.
Above it all, the aristocracy looks down from their walls of privilege, pristine and enduring, but preyed upon by dangers more insidious than those that infest the streets.
The restless dead prowl the wastelands beyond the city’s walls, while spontaneous outbreaks of the Plague ravage the popula- tion within. It is only through constant vigilance and massed firepower that order is maintained.
Even in this time of darkness there are those with the strength to fight. Undertakers, Mourners, soldiers, and men of faith and reason do battle with the horrors of the age, keeping a solemn vigil over the Unhallowed Metropolis.”
Tell us about your zombies.
Our zombies are the classic, shambling horde style—with a few exceptions. We want the zombies to be terrifying in the way that weather can be. They are an omnipresent threat that can be dealt with trivially for the most part, but God help you if you're unprepared. There are also rare "zombie lords," zombies with greater mental acuity and capable of exerting a psychic force upon the hordes of mindless animate dead. A horde of zombies under the command of a zombie lord can bring even a fortified city to its knees.
Are there expansions?
Absolutely! Unhallowed Necropolis is a 195 page, hardcover source book that details the secret history of the supernormal and introduces ghosts, psychics, and mediums to the Neo-Victorian World. Both this sourcebook and the core book are available from Strix Publishing: https://strixpublishing.patternbyetsy.com
We've also produced several small digital supplements, as well as two free adventures, and a combat reference sheet, all available at Drivethrurpg: http://www.drivethrurpg.com/browse/pub/3797/New-Dark-Age
Is there any tie-in content such as novels?
Not yet, but we have a lot of plans in the works that we'll be announcing in 2017!