Sunday, October 22, 2023

Escape from Manhattan (chapter 4)


Escape from Manhattan
copyright 2023 Derek Stoelting


Anthony Quintano, CC BY 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

Daddy brings us to the parade every year. We ride the subway in from Brooklyn and wait in front of the Warwick. It was our spot. This year was no different. There we were, a family amongst thousands of other families and millions of people. . . all to welcome Santa to town.

We didn’t so much hear, as we did feel, the explosion. The ground rumbled beneath our feet. It was slight, enough to notice, but not enough to worry about it. It wasn’t until everyone noticed the smoke in the sky far to the south that people started to worry. Within an hour, people were trying to get out of Manhattan as quick as they could.

Not us. Daddy took us to a diner and set us down for lunch. He said he wanted to let all of the crazy people do their running about and that we would leave later. The food was okay. We all had cheeseburgers and fries. Regina had a strawberry shake and I had a chocolate shake. By the time we finished eating, everyone else had left the diner. We waited for the streets to start clearing out, before we left.

The rest of that day and week were a blur. We couldn’t get off the island. The police and the National Guard shut them down and were shooting at people who tried to cross them! We found an apartment building where we could hide. Some nice people let us in. They didn’t have very good food. When the power to the apartment went out, we all left. We ended up in a place called Yorkville. Daddy says we will be safe here.

We have been in Yorkville for a month, now. Daddy leaves every other day with other people. He said that the boxes falling from the sky have supplies in them and whomever gets to them first gets to keep what’s in them. Last week, he started taking a gun with him. Everyone that goes with him also has a gun. I’ve heard them talking about zombies, but I know they aren’t real.

Last night, I snuck out and listened in on a meeting. Daddy met with Kaipo. They were discussing some lady named Lola Loca. Apparently, she and her teen friends are causing problems outside of Yorkville. However, they quickly changed the topic to discussing the zombies, again. I don’t understand why they are talking about zombies. I think they knew I was there and listening in, so they were trying to scare me off.

The next day, Daddy took us to a building at the back of the neighborhood and taught us how to shoot Uzis.

The Parade

The Thanksgiving Day Parade has been a tradition in Manhattan since 1924. It has occurred every year, except for three: 1942, 1943, and 1944. The parade tradition continued this year: marching bands, floats, singers, and giant balloons make their way south from Central Park to Herald Square. The route is approximately 2.5 miles long.

One million people crowded in Manhattan just for the parade, bring the number of potential zombies on the island to near 3.5 million.

Thousands of police were on hand to help maintain the peace. Their keen eyes watched over checkpoints and every ear listened for dispatch to name their location and an event to handle. Trained police dogs walked the crowd sniffing for explosives. Police helicopters and drones filmed the parade while spying on the crowds lining the streets and watching windows. The National Guard was placed on standby in the event something bad happened.

The Beginning of the End

At 11:59 AM, the power from Greenwich Village to the Bowery went out. At noon, the sky above the Washington Square Park neighborhood flashed purple and an instant later, something detonated near the intersection of Bleecker and Sullivan Streets. In an instant, an entire city block was turned to rubble and debris rained down. The explosion and falling debris wounded thousands and killed hundreds of people.

First responders reacted immediately. Paramedics and firefighters sped down streets, fighting crowds to get to ground zero. Police officers made an effort to help clear the streets, but panic had set in. Word spread quickly and people began their flight from Manhattan.

Not twenty minutes later, a riot broke out at the Union Square Holiday Market. Calls flooded the 911 call center from people seeking help as fellow shoppers began beating and killing each other. The police moved as quickly as they could to contain the riot. Before they could do so, additional riots began in Chelsea, Central Park, and Fort George.

The mayor requested the governor send in the National Guard. They set up blockades on every bridge connecting Manhattan to the outside world. Ferries, trains, and subways were stopped by the Coast Guard or National Guard and sent back to their originating piers and stations.

The effort was likely too little, too late. By the time all of the blockades were in place, hundreds of thousands of people had made it off the island. Those that had not left the island, began their holiday shopping, visiting the usual tourist traps, or trying to find a place to eat that did not have a two-hour wait time.

Blocking all of these people in Manhattan only exacerbated the situation. As the riots grew from their locations and raged across town, cell phone service dropped out completely for the five boroughs. People took to the streets to purge their hate and anger onto their fellow man. Murder, arson, theft, and rape became the actions of the day. Families were torn apart as crowds surged or rioters attacked. No one was safe and everyone was on camera.

News casters on the ground and in helicopters continued to broadcast what they were seeing. Street and security camera footage were leaked to the outside world, allowing everyone to witness the atrocities being committed. Every talking head and video blogger had something to say. None of it was useful.

The End

People were murdering each other for a new television when the world realized zombies were the cause of the riots. No one knows if they caused the explosion, were a result of the explosion, or the result of something else entirely.

The National Guard stopped letting anyone out of Manhattan within hours. It did not matter if you were police, a city aldermen, or your grandfather had a heart attack in Des Moines. You were not leaving the island. Those who tried were stopped and sent back. Those who refused to comply were beat, at first. Later, they began shooting those who refused to comply. They were as frustrated as the people stuck in Manhattan.

New Jersey sent their National Guard into the state to help supplement the New York guardsmen. Connecticut activated their National Guard and stationed them along the border with New York.

Cell phone, Internet, television, and satellite radio transmissions in the five boroughs were turned off by the networks. Virtually no one in Manhattan had an analog tv receiver. A few had radio receivers, but even most of those were in cars. The sounds of the radio and the car running would draw zombies towards the vehicle. So, listening to the radio while in a car was not feasible. Without fuel coming onto the island, that become a very limited resource.

One week in, the National Guard started parking large vehicles on the bridges out of Manhattan as barricades versus someone trying to drive their way over the bridge. They left the final 100-200 yards clear on each bridge to ensure they had a kill field for any zombies came looking for a meal. Below ground, they had subway trains and utility trucks blocking the tunnels. NYPD SWAT snipers were established on the train tracks to stop anyone or thing trying to leave the island by the trestles.

In the coming weeks, rumors of similar riots occurring in Chicago, Atlanta, and LA were quickly squashed by the White House Chief of Staff. Everyone knew the riots occurred, just now how they ended.

Current Situation

Rotten to the Core

Surviving the holidays” was never a more apropos statement. Two months have passed since the explosion. Almost everyone in Manhattan is tired, scared, cold, and hungry. . . or dead. People cower in fear, not knowing when or if help will ever arrive. They are slowly beginning to band together. The larger of the groups are establishing safe houses, places where zombies cannot enter, supplies can be managed, and marauders can be fought off. Smaller groups are congregating in the neighborhoods or businesses they knew before the explosion happened. They raid nearby buildings for supplies and watch the skies for the next supply drop, hoping it will land close to their location.

The air temperature hovers between 25-40° F, but with the wind it can feel closer to 0° F. Overcast skies are normal for this time of year. Snowfall is not likely to accumulate more than twelve inches throughout the month of January and again in February. March will bring half that amount.

Power throughout the city fluctuates with no discernable pattern. Only 25% of the power needed is flowing into Manhattan. Because of that, brown outs and black outs are quite common. Besides the lack of power, weather, accidents, and sabotage are additional reasons power outages occur. Strong winds can rip down power lines, knock down trees or tree limbs into the power lines, and even send construction debris into the power lines, causing them to fall to the ground where they may become “live” wires until the power source is turning off. Zombie Masters can roll D10 for whether or not a location has power: 1-7 it does not have power and 8-10 power is available.

Food, water, and medical supplies are hard to come by. Gangs of thugs are patrolling streets for supplies and innocents to victimize. Even without the gangs and zombies, walking the town is still dangerous. People are setting up traps, both for protection and to catch victims. Empty looking buildings are the Russian roulette of Manhattan: is it empty, are zombies waiting for new guests, are there gang members, are there traps rigged for potential victims, are there non-violent people inside, or some combination of all of that?

The government started airdropping supplies into Manhattan in late December. However, unless you have a gun or are very lucky, you will not be the person controlling their distribution.

Safe Houses

After the initial rioting and the National Guard shutting off the island, everyone began to focus on how to survive against the zombies. Forward thinking individuals began barricading themselves in their homes, in businesses, or anywhere else where they could erect barriers and store supplies. The most successful and least paranoid of these people soon began opening their “homes” to others. They realized that with more like-minded people in their space, their chance of survival grew.

The most successful and most populated safe houses are located in Chelsea, Hell’s Kitchen, Yorkville, Sugar Hill, and Dog Town. However, there are safe houses within each of the neighborhoods on the island. Some are smaller in physical size and can accommodate fewer people, others do not have enough supplies to support many people, and there are those who suffer under the guns of gangs.

Not everyone chooses to stay in a safe house. Many people prefer to stay on their own, not trusting other people enough to live with them. Some choose to band together with other families, in essence creating small safe houses.


The Chelsea safe house is located in what was the Chelsea Market. The buildings are large enough to house several hundred people and it is located on the High Line. There are no ground level entrances into the community. All windows and doors are boarded over and blocked with furniture. Exterior barricades are made of vehicles, fencing, and concrete blocks taken from nearby construction sites.

To enter the building, visitors must enter other nearby buildings and use skywalks or the High Line. Armed guards are placed at each of these locations who will challenge visitors as soon as they are visible. No firearms, explosives, or hand weapons are allowed in the community. Visitors must check theirs at the door. Residents have their own location they check weapons in and out of near the High Line entrance.

The community is lead by a council of five. These five people were the original founders of the community. They meet informally most times and then hold a monthly meeting with the community to address anything that concerns the well-being of everyone. Barbara Colfax is a former police officer and oversees community safety. Bryan Sherman was a paramedic and oversees medical and disease topics. Teddi Jenkins was a financial officer and oversees supplies, in general. They have several people working for them that oversee specific areas, like food, water, or ammo. Rose Roosevelt was an alderwoman from the area and now provides community support as a public figure for the council. Most of what she does is try to make people feel good. Belle Ewing was a construction contractor and now oversees structure-related topics.

The community allows anyone in need to rest in the community. These visitors are kept in a separate area than the residents and are locked into their location. There are a few copies of the key, most are with the council members, but an additional one is kept in a combination lock box near the door for the security team to use. Visitors are provided with food, water, new clothing if desired, medicine if available, and a bed. Unless they are seriously injured or diseased, they are allowed to stay for three nights. On the fourth morning, they must either leave or request to join the community.

Guests who request to leave by the fourth morning of their stay are taken to a skybridge. Their belongings are placed at the far end of the skybridge and any firearms that were confiscated are unloaded, but the ammo is still there.

Those requesting to join the community are paired up with residents of the community and one of the council members, typically Rose. They are slowly integrated into the community and given responsibilities. Everyone aged sixteen to sixty-five is expected to contribute to the community. The community’s rules are posted at all entrances and scattered throughout the buildings.

Violent newcomers are forcibly removed. Those that are expelled are not given their weapons back upon leaving.

Scavenging teams are allowed D10 bullets per firearm. Scavenging teams are overseen by the council. Residents wishing to join or form a scavenging team must apply to the council.

Chelsea Rules:

1.      Violence in the community will not be tolerated

2.      All weapons are confiscated upon entrance to the community

3.      No alcohol is allowed for consumption – all alcohol is to be given to the kitchens for cooking

4.      All goods, medicine, water, and foodstuffs will be shared equally

5.      Everyone 16-65 contributes; anyone else may elect to contribute

6.      Everyone is responsible for protecting the community

7.      If you can’t work out a problem, take it to the council

Hell’s Kitchen

The safe house in Hell’s Kitchen operates out of the Intrepid Sea, Air, & Space Museum and attached naval vessel. The safe house was established by members of the small law firm of Gordan and Perseguir and their investigative contractors.

The rules of the Hell’s Kitchen safe house are posted at entry points, the dining area, and at most bathrooms. Residents are to do no harm to any other resident or their property while on the ship or on the shore. All firearms will be properly maintained and remain unloaded while on the ship unless in defense of the community (carrying the ammo is fine, loaded guns are not). Share your wealth with others less fortunate in the community.

This safe house is the most secure from outside influence compared to the other safe houses in Manhattan. There are four entry and exit towers to the ship. Only the first and last towers are able to be used in this manner. The middle two towers are still in place, but the ground floors are heavily barricaded. Spotters are stationed on the deck of the aircraft carrier to watch for activity.

A security contingent performs regular patrols of the nearby streets and is comprised of former first responders and retired military personnel. They are very quick to investigate and deal with potential threats. They are also responsible for gathering supply drops. Anytime an aircraft is spotted in the area, the team is activated and leaves the ship. They use pickup trucks to follow the aircraft until it leaves the airspace or drops supplies. The trucks are stored in nearby buildings for ease of access. The team is led by former USAF Pararescuewomen Jessica Campbell. Everyone on the team is cross-trained on firearms, rescue techniques, and field medicine.

Residents of the safe house live in the aft starboard section of the ship. Most of the ship is closed off to keep people from accidentally hurting themselves while wandering alone. There is enough room for several hundred more people to take up residency in the ship. However, everyone is screened by a team before being allowed on ship. Adriana Perseguir, Marc Gordan, and Jain Loeb, a psychologist, lead the interviews.

The Hell’s Kitchen and Chelsea safe houses have a good relationship. They are in regular contact with each other and will send supplies or personnel to each other, when needed and available. Chelsea has begun sending residents to Hell’s Kitchen for firearms training. The trainers spend more time discussing safe handling and maintenance of guns than target practice. They also teach the Chelsea residents how to wear and move in body armor, self-defense techniques, and other survival themed skills. In return, Chelsea sends electronics and water to Hell’s Kitchen.

The Intrepid is not sea worthy. None of the vehicles on the Intrepid have working weapons systems. The vehicles on display would also require a lot of maintenance to be functional.

The biggest challenge for the Hell’s Kitchen safe house is overpopulation. While there is more than enough room on-board the ship, there simply are not enough supplies to keep everyone healthy. Eventually, Jessica Campbell will need to transition into a more “desk jockey” leadership role and organize more people to help with scavenging for supplies. These people might be the characters or they might be non-first responders. If the latter, she will try and place a more experienced person in charge of them and hope for the best. She fears the worst.

Setting up a more robust trade agreement with Chelsea would help alleviate some of the overpopulation issues. Establishing some sort of trade with Dog Town would also benefit Hell’s Kitchen, but they have nothing that Dog Town wants.


The Yorkville safe house is a brick building on East End Avenue between East 86th and East 87th. Some residents have begun stretching out into the next block north on East End Avenue and the nearby Mayor’s Residence in Carl Shurz Park. The streets in the neighborhood are lined with taxis and expensive cars. The lack of subway access in the area led to a high number of taxis. Today, driving through the area is a very slow and tedious process beset with many dead-ends due to vehicles blocking the roads.

The community is led by Anton Gruber and his husband Kaipo. Anton managed a very successful art gallery in Yorkville and has translated those skills into community leadership skills. His ability to manage people helped build a sTable society with structured rules and ways of compartmentalizing problems for ease of resolution. However, he does not have the skills needed to actually survive the reality of his world. He has zero knowledge of survival skills. He has never used a knife to cut anything besides a loaf of bread. He doesn’t even know how to drive the very expensive car Kaipo bought him for his 52nd birthday.

Kaipo sees his role as the leader of the scavengers, mostly because he misses shopping for new clothing and décor for their old condo. He takes a handful people hunting for supplies every three days. They leave car trunks open after going through vehicles and prop open the doors to buildings they have searched. There is no pattern to where they go and which vehicles or buildings they “shop” at.

The community has a few handheld walkie-talkies that they use between the buildings and with the scavenging teams. There are fewer than ten firearms between the residents. Guns and ammo are something Kaipo’s shoppers are to keep an eye out for, but rarely find. All of the food, water, and medicine from the buildings on the block has been transferred to the safe house. Oscar Balogun assigned the role of quartermaster to himself and oversees the storage and distribution of supplies.

The residents are lucky in that the National Guard can see them from across the East River and supply drops occur on a semi-regular basis. The residents in the Mayor’s mansion have taken to painting messages on bedding for the National Guard. The messages are typically items the community needs or “When will you save us?”

Despite the tranquility of the open ground of the park across the street and the view of the East River flowing by, residents of this safe house are not convinced of their safety. Most of the people living here have little to no background in self-defense or how to use weapons. Most of the weapons in this community are thrown items (rocks, bottles, etc.) or made by the members (brooms turned into spears, clubs from Table legs, etc.).

Loca Lola’s gangs visits the area at random and always strikes at the Yorkville safe house. Her people like to throw Molotov Cocktails at the building and take great joy in hearing the people inside panic. They have yet to breach the property, but it is only a matter of time before they decide to make a go of it. The result will not be good for the residents of Yorkville’s safe house.

Loca Lola’s people know supply drops are occurring semi-frequently near the Yorkville neighborhood. They have watched the community claim the drops, hoping to identify a weakness to exploit during a future drop. Citizens with firearms always accompany those gathering the supplies. The gang members would rather not have a shoot out over supplies, especially when they do not know how many more guns could be inside the safe house.

Sugar Hill

The Sugar Hill safe house is the NYPD’s 30th Precinct building. The building was looted during the riots and chaos after the explosion. So, despite the fact that everyone thinks there are thousands of guns in the building, there aren’t.

A large band of people fleeing zombies established this safe house. They came to the building like many others, seeking weapons. While lacking any newfound weapons, they were able to barricade the building using the many pieces of office furniture present. In time, they further fortified the building with tools from the hardware store across the street. They also secured the alleyway to St. John’s Baptist Church and the entrances to that building.

The group has stripped doors, trunks, and hoods of the local vehicles. These are used for window security shutters and body armor. They cleared trees from the nearby parks for firewood to use when power is not available. A nearby plumbing and heating company’s building is raided anytime parts for those items are needed. The nearby Bearcy House was raided for bedding and other living quarters items.

The community is led by Elizabeth Tembo. A former school principal, she makes it a priority to not only provide children a secure place to live, but to continue their learning. Elizabeth has engaged several residents to establish a series of classrooms where different activities can be conducted – whether learning mathematics and science, participating in the book club, or creating artwork. These classroom activities help the parents of the children achieve a sense of normality from before the explosion. Her organizational skills as a principal help her better lead this community.

Elizabeth’s son Arno leads the efforts to keep everyone fed and hydrated. He worked at a north-end Michelin starred restaurant prior to feeding the Sugar Hill safe house. His wife, their children, and her extended family all help him with the preparation and feeding of the residents. Arno constantly complains about the lack of quality ingredients and how there is not enough food for everyone to stay healthy. His wife, Makenzy, would tell you she has never seen him smile more than she has when he is serving dinner to the people in the safe house.

Terry Cameroon oversees the teams of explorers. He was a photographer of abandoned, urban places until zombies began eating people. He uses maps to track where the teams go and what they find. The teams also travel with literature to hand out to the smaller safe houses. The hand-written literature serves as an advertisement in an effort to convince the smaller safe houses to move to the Sugar Hill.

Pat Martin is the closet thing the community has to a security chief and property manager. Pat served in an US Army mechanized infantry unit during the Persian Gulf War and Iraqi War. They left the Army with an honorable discharge and immediately began studying for a degree related to electrical engineering at SUNY. When they arrived at the 30th Precinct, security was mostly non-existent. They offered to help get a security detail up and running, which led to everyone assuming Pat was in charge of the property’s defenses against zombies and raiders.

The primary challenge to Sugar Hill is the lack of a larger safe house nearby. The closest, larger safe house is the troubling Dog Town safe house at the 207th Street train yard facility. The other safe houses are at least six miles away. This leads to the smaller safe houses in the area leaning on the Sugar Hill community for support. Support can mean supplies, but also helping to fix infrastructure or help defend against other safe houses. Whenever possible, Sugar Hill helps out those in need. They have found that it is sometimes easier to just absorb the smaller safe houses than it is to constantly send help.

Hidden in the 30th Precinct is “Her.” Nobody knows who she is, only that she was locked in a cell when the original group arrived. She refuses to give her name or leave her jail cell. Her only requests have been for a hand weight set, better pillow, meals, and cigarettes when they are available. The safe house’s leadership has tried to interrogate her several times, all of which have failed. They have unlocked her cell and invited her out. This resulted in her pulling the cell door shut, relocking herself in captivity.

Dog Town

Dog Town is the safest place to be in Manhattan, as long as you know your place. Named for the leader of the community, “Big Dog” Hector Ramos, Dog Town is controlled by an alliance of street gangs from Manhattan and Yonkers. The gangs took up residency in the 207th Street train yard after the rioting in Hudson Heights moved north into Fort George and along the highways.

Big Dog is from Yonkers, but was in Manhattan visiting a girlfriend when the explosion happened. They stayed in her apartment until they could see cars burning several streets away. At first, they planned to cross the Henry Hudson Bridge. Police barricades and the sound of gunfire convinced them the Broadway Bridge was a better idea. By the time they arrived at the Broadway Bridge, a group of people on the Marble Hill side of the bridge were shooting at everyone and everything that moved on the Manhattan side. The train yard was nearby and protected by a fence-topped block wall. When they arrived at the block wall, Big Dog shot his girlfriend in order to distract the zombies as he climbed over the fence.

The next day, Big Dog found the train yard was the home of several different communities spread out over the property. He went about meeting the different groups and playing a middle-man to all of them. He worked out agreements between Latin Kings, trainyard workers, Bloods, and the others. The agreements are tenuous at best. His actions made him the de facto leader of the train yard. Due to the bad attitudes of most of the yard’s residents, Big Dog must rule with an iron fist. Crimes committed inside the yard are not tolerated. The worst crimes result in either time in the “car” or expulsion with no food, water, medicine, or weapons.

The “car” is a freight train boxcar kept separate from all others. People who get in trouble are thrown into the car for an unspecified length of time with zombies. Sometimes it’s five minutes, sometimes it’s twenty. Rarely is it outside of those lengths of time. The number of zombies is usually only one or two. However, there was that one guy who “joined” the zombies in the car.

The rules of the community are to leave each other alone, keep your hands and weapons to yourself, do your part, and don’t get in each other’s way.

The community lives and operates from the buildings along W. 215th Street. Big Dog tries to keep the gangs in separate buildings. There are enough buildings on site that this can be done, it simply is not convenient for everyone. All of the food, water, and medicine are kept in a main building with Big Dog and the non-gang residents.

The gang members handle security details and going out to hunt for supplies. The gangs switch between the roles every week. Big Dog knows the gangs keep some of what they find and he has no problem with that. The gangs are doing the heavy lifting where there are zombies and armed groups. Big Dog knows that letting them have little rewards keeps them working with him. He does keep an eye out for larger firearms and explosives. While he does not have an issue with those items in the hands of the gangs, in general, he does not like the idea of one gang being able to outgun the other.

Non-gang members are welcome to go with on hunting trips, but they must bring their own equipment, such as backpacks, guns, and knives.

The trainyard employees follow the leadership of Lennie Getz. They spend most of their time fixing up places for people to stay inside the buildings and repairing broken equipment. In late December, a group of raiders attacked the community using the railroad spur as an entrance. After a long fight, the raiders retreated and gained nothing for their effort. The next day, the trainyard employees moved train cars and debris onto the spur to make it more difficult for outsiders to use it.

In a more positive light, the trainyard employees routinely gather up all the children and take them for a ride on a flatbed train car. It is a short ride, but they make a big deal out of it to keep the children distracted from reality and bring some joy to everyone in the community.

When the National Guard arrived and began blockading the University Heights Bridge, a group of Dog Town’s citizens tried to cross the bridge. The National Guard was under orders to not let anyone cross the bridge. However, when they saw gang colors among the people crossing the bridge, they opened fire on them. Seven people died from the gunfire, some immediately, others over the course of a few days. Since then, Dog Town guards will occasionally shoot a gun towards the National Guard bivouac blockade as a reminder of what happened.

Due to Dog Town’s size and firepower, they have control of the north end of Manhattan. The smaller communities know this, know that the gang members will react violently if confronted, and try to stay out of their way. Thus far, the Dog Town hunting groups have not raided any of the smaller communities. They do pick up new members on occasion as people tire of living without proper protection or supplies. Because Dog Town is three miles north of the nearest, larger safe houses, they have no contact with them.

Smaller Communities

There are people living in every Manhattan neighborhood. Some of them live alone or with a few families, friends, or allies. Some live high up in apartments while others have dug into ground floor markets and homes. The following are a few of those locations that Zombie Masters can use in their games.

West 79th Street Boat Basin

35 people are living in these yachts. Some of them are yacht owners, but most are not. They are using the bicycles from the bike rental location in the nearby park as zombie deterrents by laying the bikes down in a manner that will trip up the zombies, essentially a series of tripping hazards. Twice a day, someone goes through the zombies that are caught in the bikes and provides them with final death. The people raided the café across the street for immediate food and drinks. Now that those are almost gone, they are using some of the bikes for mobility in raiding nearby buildings for supplies.

Water Treatment Plant

There are several of these around the island. The advantage these locations have is that to enter the buildings, you must cross a small causeway. This provides the residents a sort of moat as protection. The downside is the smell inside the buildings is not always the greatest.

Subway Stations

Several stations are used as safe houses across Manhattan. By virtue of being underground, subway stations are typically warmer and safer than anywhere above ground. The safety comes from the fact that no one knows you are there, without entering the subway. This also means zombies do not notice you as a potential meal. Whjle there are zombies wandering the subway tracks, there are not stealthy creatures and walking on gravel makes enough noise to alert the living. Most subway stations also have gates and fences that can be used to control perimeters. The challenges in the subways are the lack of food and water and lack of natural light.


There are several hundred school, community college, college, and university buildings in Manhattan. Many of them make great safe houses for smaller groups. Most of these locations have food and water onsite, even if only in vending machines. They typically have enough furniture for living and for use as barricades versus zombies and raiders. Some of them have interiors that are dungeon-like, providing twists and turns that can be used to confuse anyone or thing that breaks into the building.

Story Ideas

The following story ideas should work for any location, even if specific locations are mentioned. Zombie Masters should consult the Complications Table, if they need more meat for the session.

Assault on Precinct 666

The characters are at the Sugar Hill safe house when another group attacks. The attackers are misguided about the availability of weapons stored here. So, any attempt to reason with them will do no good. The attackers are not heavily armed. Most have small or medium pistols or baseball bats. The problem is that there are a lot of them (at a minimum, number of characters x 10 + 10). While there may be more residents in the precinct, there are not that many guns and ammunition is always hard to come by.

The community has a few choices. Surrendering is not an option. No one knows what the attackers would actually do if they got inside and were allowed to be in charge. There is an access tunnel through the sub-basement of the precinct. No one knows if it actually goes anywhere, but getting everyone in should not be a problem. Another option would be to send out a small team to either fight off the attackers or draw them away from the safe house.

Bad Luck and Trouble

The characters need ot make a supply run from Hell’s Kitchen to Chelsea and back.

The High Line is a greenway/trail that runs along the western edge of Manhattan for 1.45 miles. It connects directly to the Chelsea Safe house and provides a raised trail between Chelsea and the Hudson Yards. From the High Line, characters can access many buildings, travel to other locations, and descend to the streets below, without encountering zombies.

Zombies are unlikely to climb the stairs to chase down food. This makes the High Line a great way to move around the city without sneaking past zombies or shooting them in the head. What works well for the characters also works well for anyone who might want what the characters have. A group of armed thugs might make a specific section their turf or a large group might use it to attack the Chelsea safe house.

Medical supplies are needed in Chelsea and Hell’s Kitchen has excess. The characters need to get the medicine there as soon as possible. Naturally, there will be problems. Zombie Masters should roll three times on the Complication Table for the trip to Chelsea and twice for the trip back. Adding a time limit for how soon Chelsea needs the medicine is an extra level of stress ZMs can add.

Can’t Find My Way Home

The characters were in town for the parade and are now stuck inside a manager’s office in the Macy’s building. They are low on food, have an additional D10 + 2 people with them (all unarmed, hungry, and short on patience), and the building is crawling with zombies. The building is filled with D10 x 10 zombies. There are vending machines in the break room. If the characters can get to them and break them open, they will have enough food for everyone for another day. However, there is no door on the break room and busting open vending machines will make enough noise to attract the zombies With food running out and extra mouths to feed, they need to get out of this building and find a better place to hide until help arrives.

If it arrives.                                                         

Give Me Shelter

A former president and their daughter are stuck in Manhattan. Secret Service, with the help of some local police, are doing their best to keep them safe. However, they do not have much time. Per radio contact with the Secret Service, the number of zombies in their area is increasing steadily and they may need to move the president and their daughter to another location.

The characters are a group of specialists selected to go in, get them, and get out. Each character is provided with up to three firearms, choice of body armor (see the Gear Table in chapter two for stats), two grenades, choice of Getting Medieval weapons, and a radio. The radio has an effective range of two miles inside Manhattan. The players and ZM should work out any other equipment they might want (within reason). Handguns come with 30 rounds, shotguns with 20 rounds, and rifles with 100.

The National Guard drive the characters to a subway entrance in Long Island City, Queens. A small bivouac is setup and the characters are introduced to Lieutenant Trombley. He will guide the characters down a nearby subway entrance that leads to the Steinway Tunnel. As they make their way to the tunnel past a recoilless rifle squad, Lieutenant Trombley makes casual conversation with the characters. Where are they from? What did they do before “all of this”? He informs the characters that they have a 1.5 mile walk to the other side and that the tunnel has several (unworking) trains in it. These should help the characters avoid zombies or funnel the zombies into kill zones.

Zombie Masters can use the location Tables to determine where the president and their daughter are located (neighborhood, building type) or pick a favorite location of their own choosing. The Complications Table should be used once per neighborhood the characters pass through on their way to and from reaching the president. If the characters make short work of complications on the way to the president, feel free to move the president to a new location that the characters must find. Clues should automatically be found and not require die rolls to discover. An easy method is for one of the Secret Service team to write a message on the wall letting characters know where they went.

Characters in this story are stronger, faster, better than a standard person. They have 20 points in attributes, 35 points in Skills, up to 15 points in Qualities, and up to 10 points in Drawbacks (which then provide an equal number of points in either Skills or Qualities to be added to the character). They are not necessarily Special Forces, Secret Service Agents, or even US Marshals. They are simply the best options in the current environment.

Lord of the Flies

A group of teenagers has claimed a neighborhood as their “turf.” They leave most of the people who live in the neighborhood alone. However, if they catch any one person or group of people outdoors that they think are weak, they will demand a tribute. Typically, they take food or water. If those aren’t available, weapons, ammo, clothing, or valuables (pre-zombies) are accepTable replacements.

“Loca” Lola, a fiery redhead originally from the Bronx, leads this group. She and her friends were caught in Manhattan when the zombies rose and did not make it to the subway in time to get out. Lola’s group slowly gathered members. As it grew in size, power struggles flared. By mid-December, the group had 50 members, but four people were trying to be the leader. So, one morning, Loca Lola and a handpicked few went from camp to camp, killing anyone supporting the other leaders. Ten dead bodies later, Loca Lola had her own “army.”

Lola set ground rules with her people: all firearms and ammo in the neighborhood belong to her, no killing people unless you must and then kill the zombie, no raping or beating women and children, and everyone helps. Her army has since pressed these rules onto the surrounding neighborhoods, for better or worse. She typically enforces her rules with a 3-strikes and you are out mentality. However, any offense against teens earns the criminal a run through the “gauntlet.” All present gang members grab a blunt object and form a tunnel. If the criminal can make it through the tunnel, while the gang members hit them with their blunt objects, the criminal gets to live.

Anyone dealing with Loca Lola must be prepared to lose something. If she does not come out on top of deals, she will strike out at the other party. If she feels she is currently at a disadvantage, she will send a group of thugs at a later time to damage the other party or something important to them.

Taking out the Trash

A group of people calling themselves, “The Trashmen” are using trash trucks to “clean up the city.” They have added metal screening to truck windows and plows to the front of the trucks. Most of the people seen with the trucks wear sanitation employee clothing, but it is unknown if they are actually former members of the local sanitation workers union.

Led by Echol Walker, a former sanitation worker, the Trashmen’s primary headquarters is the former New York Department of Sanitation Transfer Station on FDR Drive. They have a secondary base of operations on the opposite side of the island at Sanitation Pier 99.

The group is very combative and willing to stand and fight against groups of the living who get in their way. They will also target those living groups who they feel the world would be better without. They will use the hoppers to crush the living and the zombies. Once a truck is full of the dead, they typically take it to one of the rivers and empty it. Occasionally, they will take it near an enemy’s basecamp and dump the dead bodies there. This tends to attract zombies, which creates a very large problem for whomever lives nearby.

The Trashmen use fear tactics to get their way. They like to remind people of who they’ve killed, areas of zombies they’ve cleared, and the fact that all of them are armed with AR-style rifles. All of them wear masks, helmets of some sort, and body armor if they can find it. Many of them paint their clothing and trucks with colors and matching graffiti, leading to “units” and “gangs.” The different gangs patrol different areas of town, “taking out the trash” and spreading their power.

Characters facing Trashmen were likely marked for removal. The best option is to move to the other side of town. If that isn’t an option, loading for bear is the only way to deal with them, as they will not negotiate with “trash.”

Characters looking for help in removing another group of troublemakers could do worse than try to convince Echol Walker to help out. The hard part is not convincing Echol that the third part is a pest that needs to be removed. The hard part is convincing him that the characters are also not worthy of being removed. They will need to apply charm or give off airs of not being a threat to the Trashmen or anything that interests them.

Growing Up Dead

On that fateful November day, hundreds of thousands of children were on Manhattan Island. Thousands would be left parentless on the island. The largest gathering of preteens is at a storage building on South Street near the Coleman Skatepark. On quiet days, the kids spill out into the nearby softball fields, playgrounds, and parks.

Two months into the apocalypse, adults at the nearby Smith Houses (apartment complexes) tried convincing and then dragging the children to live with them. The adults thought they were doing the right thing, trying to protect the children. Instead, five adults were killed when the entire group of over 200 kids rioted to save their friends. The adults were left in the street, bloody and mangled. A couple of the children were hurt when punched by adults, but all of the adults froze when facing children armed with rocks, sticks, rebar, knives, and a handful of pistols. It wasn’t in the adults’ nature to fight against armed children. Those few who tried, paid for it with their lives.

The children are nominally led by a trio of eleven year olds: Chunky Monkey, Baby Girl, and Ace. “Led” is an overstatement, they simply have the most influence when they have time to build a case. If something comes up and the children are rushed, no one is likely to be the leader and mob rule takes over, like it did when the adults from the Smith Houses inserted themselves into the children’s lives.

Chunky Monkey hated his nickname prior to the apocalypse. He found that being one of the tallest and heaviest kids gave him an intimidation factor with the other, scared children, he embraced the nickname. He is not super nice and neither are his immediate entourage of friends. He holds court in one of the larger storage rooms.

Baby Girl was in the parade as a member of a junior cheerleader squad. She still wears the outfit under winter clothing she wears. A couple of the girls from her squad stayed with her. Other kids joined up with her while trying to escape the island. Baby Girl is the nice face among the children’s leadership. She enjoys the attention she receives for being one of the “leaders” and makes sure she dresses the part. On slow days, she can be found on the roof of their building staring across the river. She misses her life and wishes the military would just come over and save her.

Ace lived in the Smith Houses before the zombies rose. When they saw the other children gathering and making a community at the storage building, they ran off to join them. Ace is convinced the adults came to the storage building to take the kids because Ace decided to live there. When the other kids decided to attack the adults to get their friends back, Ace led the way, using their knowledge of building layouts and which adults were likely involved.

There are other leaders among the children. Birdie oversees a lot of the looting. Duckie and Dimples, brothers, handle the kitchen area. Spooky likes to think they are in charge of security. No one is really in charge of security, but if anyone messes up the security of the building, Spooky is the first one to punish the offender.

Characters living with at the South Street building are restricted to children. Some of them will be teenagers in the next year and no one is sure what that means. There is just as much drama, infighting, backstabbing, looting of nearby buildings for food and water, and killing zombies here as there is anywhere else on the island.

Adults trying to gain entrance to the building will receive a stern, “No, thank you, go away.” Adults who fail to follow those instructions are likely to be met with thrown, sharpened rocks, homemade spears, led pipes, and eventually small pistols. The kids are willing to trade goods with adults, but all trades must occur outside on the nearby basketball courts.


The AFMBE core book discusses aged based character creation on page 29. Our recommendations for building child characters in this Deadworld are as follows:

·        Primary Attributes: 9 points, no Primary Attributes can be higher than 2

·        Skills: 15 points, no more than one at 3, all others at 2 or less

·        Secondary Attributes, Qualities, and Drawbacks: as usual for Norms



Metro 2022

The characters are in the subway system. Maybe that’s where they are living. They could be sheltering due to severe weather or hiding from people who want their stuff.

As the characters are hiding, they hear a noise from the subway tunnels. At first it sounds like water. Yet, the longer the characters listen, the more they realize that is not it. Eventually, they will either hear zombies moaning, recognize the sound of many shuffling feet on rocks and debris, or see the zombies. The subway tunnel is filled with zombies, wall to wall. The direction the zombies are traveling is not important, but for those interested, they are moving in a direction towards the explosion site.

The characters have three choices: run, hide, or fight. Fighting outright is a losing battle. The shear number of zombies will outlast the number of bullets and the muscles in the characters’ arms. Running is the best alternative. However, if there is something bad above ground, which is worse? Hiding is the best option. The zombies are not interested in and will not immediately notice the characters. There are (D10 x number of characters and NPCs) x 10 zombies.

As the zombies pass by the subway station, characters hiding must pass a Difficult Willpower Test every ten minutes it takes the horde to pass by. Each subsequent roll after the first is at a cumulative -1. If the Test is failed, the character rolls on the Fear Table. If the result on the Fear Table involves making a noise, D6 zombies notice. These zombies will seek out the character/s while moaning for their dinner. This adds a -2 to all future Difficult Willpower Tests in this situation.

Zombie Masters may choose to add a band of armed thieves behind the characters at this point. What Zombie Master doesn’t love a good fight amongst the living with adoring zombies watching from the sidelines?

Mr. Fix-It

The electricity to the safe house was running fine until the storm last night. Now, there’s no electricity, which means no heat and the temperature outside is dropping. The characters have a big task in front of them. They need to locate the power source, while guarding an electrician and helping carry his equipment, in order to turn the heat back on.

No one in the safe house is familiar with the power source for the safe house. The electrician, Bob, can help with that. He needs to get into the nearest subway station and from there, he should be able to locate the nearest substation. That should be where the problem exists. As long as it is not a software issue, he can take care of it.

Zombie Masters can create complications or roll on the Complications Table for each step of the process, ignoring those that make no sense. Zombie Masters who want a shorter runtime can skip steps 2-6.

Step One: locate the subway entrance
Step Two: locate the power substation entrance two floors down
Step Three: the fix doesn’t work due to a lack of power arriving at the substation; now Bob has to go to the next location following the power lines
Step Four: take a 20 minute walk through steam tunnels to find the pumps that keep water out are flooded
Step Five: swim across the area where the pumps are located and find the power source on the other end to reset it, by the way, the power source is trapped; beware of zombies under the water’s surface!
Step Six: after returning power to the pumps, wait 30 minutes for the water to be pumped out
Step Seven: return to the original substation and make sure everything is working properly
Step Eight: return to the safe house

Punishing the Wicked

A white supremacist group is active in the neighborhood. They are killing anyone they think is a criminal or non-white. After killing their victims, they use markers to paint “1488” on their victims’ forehead or clothing. They are leaving the dead behind to become zombies. They feel this is right, because it means the “lesser” are doing their bidding. An Intelligence + Crime or Intelligence + Knowledge Task tells the players what type of group is behind the killing.

The hate group may be a handful of bad people or part of a larger group that is operating across this section of town. Their hideout will be obvious once found. How the characters find it, is up to you. There are flags of the USA hanging from windows and flagpoles. Most of the hideouts are altered to represent the ideals of the group; hate-filled slogans and the blood of their victims are typical adornments. They are barricaded in their base of operations and constantly have guards on duty. This is not to say the guards are good at their job, just that they are present.

Characters who do not scare off or destroy the hate group will eventually suffer for it. The hate group will eventually find the characters’ hideout and raid it. They will try to kidnap white woman and children to “save them” and try to kill anyone, white or otherwise, who fights back. Characters who are aware of the Dog Town safe house could do worse than enlisting aid from them.

The Source

Something is drawing zombies to the site of the explosion.

Investigation of the site can be done from the rooftops surrounding the 170 block of Bleecker Street. The explosion’s center point was behind the buildings in an alley between a Chinese food restaurant and a tea house. Where there were buildings, there is now a crater 200 feet across and 50 feet deep. The explosion’s shockwave was so powerful that it knocked the surrounding buildings down and away from ground zero. In turn, the flying debris severely damaged everything in its path, including caving in some of the surrounding buildings. All of this combined to form a ten foot high berm around the crater.

At the bottom of the crater, there appears to be a hole. It is not perfectly centered, but it does appear to be large enough for a person to climb through. If the characters are here before February and have binoculars or succeed at a Very Difficult (-5) Perception + Notice Task, they see a set of normal size footprints leading from the hole to the top of the berm. The footprints disappear at that point due to the debris being too uneven to catch footprints. If the characters are here in February or after, they will not have an opportunity to see the footprints due to zombies.

If the characters are at ground zero prior to February, there are D10 x 100 zombies milling about. If the zombies notice the characters, the zombies will come for them. If the characters are here in February or after, the same number of zombies are here, but they are all climbing down into the crater, destroying the footprints leaving the crater. More zombies arrive by the day until March when they arrive by the hour. Both situations require an instant Difficult Willpower Test that if failed, requires a roll on the Fear Table.

 What is through the hole in the crater is up to the Zombie Master. It could be nothing. It could be the entry point for a Zombie Lord from another time in space. It could just be the site of a gas main explosion and the zombies are trapped here because of all of the debris until one of them figures out to climb down the hole and out through the subway system.

Supply Drop

The sound of an airplane draws the characters’ attention skyward. A DC10 is flying low towards their area. Within seconds, it begins dropping supply crates. Parachutes slow their descent and lit flares mark their position. In addition to any complications between where the characters are standing and where the supplies land, they will likely be forced to deal with others once they reach the crates.

The characters will see D4 crates dropped. They will land D10 x 100 yards away. Once on sight, roll for an encounter and for the type of supplies that are in the crates.


Supply Drop Opposition Table

D8 ; Result ; Quantity

1 ; An armed group that has zero interest in sharing ; D10 people with weapons similar to the characters
2 ; An armed group that is willing to share the findings ; D6 people with better weapons than the characters’
3 ; D10 Zombies
4 ; D6 Zombies
5 ; An unarmed group of people who will back down from the characters ; D8 people
6 ; A hostile, armed group and zombies ; D6 people and D10 zombies
7 ; A larger group of hostiles and zombies ; D10 people with shotguns and rifles ; D10 x 2 zombies
8 ; No one or thing of concern


Supplies Dropped Table

D6 ; Supplies

1 ; Whatever was in the crate was destroyed on impact and is now useless
2 ; Winter clothing and blankets
3 ; Games and books
4 ; Food
5 ; Medicines and first aid supplies
6 ; Water


War Zone

The characters are hiding out in a tall apartment building. Over the course of the night, different groups within the apartment begin to fight. At first, the fighting is between different rooms and floors. Then, outsiders come in looking for a safe place to stay, food, water, and gear. This does not go over well and the fighting continues. The intensity cranks up as more heavily armed groups come to the building for the same reasons. Add all of these dead people turning into zombies and now the characters are in a war zone. Eventually, the fighting or the zombies will make it to the characters. What will they do to survive?

When Two Sides Go To War

While out hunting for supplies or traveling, the characters hear the sound of fighting. If they investigate, they discover two armed groups trying to kill each other. Zombie Masters can insert allies of the characters as one of the two groups to draw the characters into the fight. The two groups may be fighting over a supply drop – what can the characters do to get to those supplies and get away with them?

If Dog Island is one of the two groups, they will fight hard for their goal. They are well armed and use common sense tactics. They are not military, but they are accustomed to street fighting.

If the white supremacists are involved, they are likely trying to use military style tactics. They are not that good at it. However, their military gear and clothing with skull designs makes them appear more frightening than they really are.

If Loca Lola’s people are involved, they will use dirty tricks to win the fight. They are not against using prisoners as meat shields, nor luring zombies behind the enemy’s lines for a squeeze play.

If the Trashmen are involved, they will have two trash trucks and D8 people. They throw anyone, living or otherwise, they come across into the back of their trucks to crush them.



Generic NPC Stat Blocks

The following NPCs are designed for use with this Deadworld:

·        The Bum / Subway Dweller is a survivor and designed that way on purpose

·        The “Teen” is designed for use with Loca Lola’s group

·        The New Yorker / Thug works for most of the residents at Chelsea, Hell’s Kitchen, Yorkville, and general populace

·        The Police / Gang Member are designed to be used with residents of Dog Island, the white supremacists, or police

·        The character creation rules for Give Me Shelter characters can be used for the security team from Hell’s Kitchen


Bum  / Subway Dweller

Str 3

Dex 2

Con 4

Int 2

Per 4
Will 3


Life Points  50

Speed  12


Qualities and Drawbacks:  Hard to Kill 4 (4)

Skills: Crime 3, Getting Medieval 1, Knowledge 2, Kung Fu 2


Gear: glass bottle that can be broken and used as a weapon capable of damage equal to a large knife


Str  2

Dex  2

Con  2

Int  1

Per  3
Will  2


Life Points  22

Speed  8


Qualities and Drawbacks: Fast Reaction Time

Skills: Crime 2, Knowledge 2, Getting Medieval or Kung Fu 2, Sports 2, Wild Card (Video Games) 2


Gear: raggedly clothing, simple weapons (rocks, knives, spears), trinkets, walkie talkie with a 4 block radius

Police / Gang Member

Str  4

Dex  3

Con  4

Int  2

Per  3
Will  4


Life Points  42

Speed  14


Qualities and Drawbacks: Natural Toughness

Skills: Crime 3, Getting Medieval 2, Gun Fu 3, Influence 2, Knowledge 3, Kung Fu 2, Language 1, Wild Card: Urban Combat Tactics 3


Gear: medium caliber pistol, collapsible baton, handcuffs or zip ties, bullet proof vest, police radio, cell phone, trauma kit, and pepper spray

New Yorker / Thug

Str 2

Dex 2

Con 2

Int 2

Per 2
Will 2


Life Points  26

Speed  8


Qualities and Drawbacks: n/a

Skills: Crime 1, Getting Medieval 1, Gun Fu 2, Kung Fu 1, Knowledge 2, Language 1, Sports 1


Gear: backpack of loot and snackbars, baseball bat or large knife, 1 in 5 will have a small-medium caliber pistol or crossbow



Zombie Anatomy 101

The Basics

The basic zombie is no world beater. It relies on numbers, not talent. Its -2 Intelligence means the zombie has no language, no tool use, no problem-solving, and no long-term memory. Its subhuman intelligence allows it to shuffle around, look for food, and get up when knocked down. They have Dead Points, instead of Life Points.

Zombie Aspects

Zombie Aspects are what we use to determine a zombie’s characteristics. For example, the zombies in this setting all have “Dumb as Dead Wood” as one of their Aspects. This means they have a 0 for Intelligence.

If you add up the points associated with each Aspect, plus the total levels in Skills, you know the Zombie’s Power score. This Power score can help a ZM determine how many zombies they can throw at the characters. Standard Escape from Manhattan zombies have a Power of 12. Three Escape from Manhattan zombies per character is a good number to start with. If you find the players can easily handle that many, crank it up.

More information on Zombie Aspects can be found in the AFMBE corebook.

Flesh Notes

As is well known, zombies suffer damage a bit differently from normal people. Unless there is something unusual going on, they do not suffer from shock, pain, or bleeding. Severed limbs, decapitation, and maiming are all in a day’s work for a zombie. The following rules apply when battling zombies.

Flaying the Flesh

If the zombie’s Weak Spot is not struck, the zombie ignores any damage. Any non-bullet, non-weapon damage that causes 100 Dead Points of cumulative damage completely destroys the zombie. Likewise, if 200 Dead Points of cumulative damage from a weapon or weapon-like device is delivered to a zombie, it is destroyed.


Damage applied to zombies is never doubled after armor. So, if the zombie is shot by a small caliber handgun for D4 x 2 damage, that is all the damage it takes. Only the living suffer double damage from slashing and piercing items.

Hit Location

It is often important to know where a character has hit a zombie. For those zombies with a Weak Spot, like the brain, it is crucial to the character’s survival. If necessary to the game, once a zombie has been hit, roll D10 and use the Hit Location Diagram to determine where the zombie was hit. Most players are going to used called shots to the zombie’s Weak Sport as soon as it is known. Naturally, this diagram also works great to determine where players are shot or bit by enemies.

Hit Location Table

1 ; Head or Neck

2 ; Right Arm, Hand, or Wrist

3 ; Left Arm, Hand, or Wrist

4-6 ;  Torso

7-8 ; Right Leg, Ankle, or Foot

9-10 ; Left Leg, Ankle, or Foot


Escape from Manhattan Zombies

Escape from Manhattan zombies are quite boring. 90% of all zombies in this Deadworld have very little that is special about them. In fact, outside of what they might be wearing, they are not much better than what one might expect to see in Night of the Living Dead. However, 10% of all zombies in this Deadworld have a special Aspect and 1% of the zombies have two special Aspects.

All of them have the classic weak spot of “brain.” Attempts to hit zombies in the head suffer a -5 penalty (Called Shot: Head). Any attack that hits the head has the damage modifier increased by 5.

Escape from Manhattan zombies need to consume at least ten ounces of flesh every day. Every 24 hours without this sustenance lowers the zombie’s Strength by one-quarter of its Strength rating to a minimum of zero. Once its Strength drops below one, the creature is very weak and can do little more than drag itself slowly along. Lack of food will not destroy the zombie, but it will render unable to do anything more than shuffle around, moan, and try to eat something.


Escape from Manhattan Zombies (standard)

Strength  2
Dexterity  1
Constitution  2
Intelligence  -2
Perception  2
Willpower  2

Dead Points  15
Speed  2

Skills: Kung Fu 2
Attack: Bite damage: D4 x 2 (Zombie attacks with a Difficulty Dexterity Text; for each zombie crowding around (if more than one and up to five), victim suffers a -1 per zombie on any defensive Task or Test)

Weak Spot: Brain (+6)
Getting Around: Life Like (+3)
Strength: Dead Joe Average (0)
Senses: Like the Living (+1)*, Life Sense (2)
Sustenance: Daily (0), All Flesh Must Be Eaten (0)
Intelligence: Dumb as Dead Wood (0)
Spreading the Love: Only the Dead (-2)

Power: 12

*  Stunned for one Turn if it takes 10+ Dead Points in damage after armor from one attack

Escape from Manhattan Zombie Special Aspects

Ten percent of all zombies in this Deadworld have one of the following special Aspects and one percent of all zombies have a second special Aspect. The following are Aspects witnessed in Manhattan. This list may not be all inclusive and ZMs are welcome to use their favorite Zombie Aspects from AFMBE products to complement this list.

Power +8

The skin along this zombie’s fingers has peeled back to reveal claws. These claws are preternaturally sharp and capable of tearing through flesh, leather, and even thin sheet metal (car roof anyone?). D6 x Strength in slashing damage.

Constricting Tongue
Power +2

This zombie is able to instantly launch and grow its tongue, using it like a boa constrictor uses it’s body. With a successful New Yorker / Thug + Kung Fu Task, the zombie can grab, but not wield, items or other people’s body parts. If the zombie grabs someone, they immediately do Strength x 2 damage and Strength x 3 on subsequent rounds. Breaking free from this zombie requires a Difficult Strength Test.

Dinner’s Ready
+2 Power

This zombie will scream for D4 rounds once it has its sights on dinner. The scream is loud enough for everything within a 200 yard radius to hear it. All zombies realize this is a call to feed.

Power +2

Something about this zombie’s appearance is particularly horrific. Anyone looking at this zombie must make an immediate roll on the Fear Table, without first making a Fear Test first.

Multiple Eyes
Power +10

Characters seeing this zombie for the first time must make an immediate Fear Test. This zombie’s head is covered in eyes and they all operate independently. This zombie suffers from the same Like the Living flaw when hit for 10+ Dead Points in one attack, but they also have a Perception score of 7.

This is the same as the Sense Ability “Like Nothing You’ve Ever Seen” from the AFMBE corebook.

Natural Armor (Tough Hide)
Power +2

This zombie has thick skin that appears similar to that of an elephant or other pachyderm. It has an Armor Value of D6 + 1.

Power +6

This zombie regains Dead Point equal to its Constitution per Turn.

Tentacles for Arms
Power 0

One or both arms of this zombie have coalesced into tentacles. Other than more flexibility, the tentacles provide no extra benefits to the zombie, when compared to those zombies who still have their arms. Fear Tests related to this zombie suffer a -1 penalty due to the nature of the malformed body.



Random Zombies

1D20 Roll ; Solo ; Pack of D10 Zombies

1 ; Santa Claus ; and his elves

2 ; Sad Clown ; and the rest of the team from the clown car

3 ; Balloon Handler ; and the rest of their team with their balloon

4 ; Krampus ; more Krampii (or is it Krampuses?)

5 ; Drum Major ; the rest of the marching band

6 ; Shriner in a small car ; and the rest of the fez wearing, small car driving, Shriners

7 ; Rokkette ; the entire dance troupe

8 ; Parade Goer ; so many parade goers

9 ; Music Star ; their entourage

10 ; News Caster ; the rest of their crew

11 ; Police Officer ; more police officers and they all still have their guns in holsters

12 ; Ambulance Personnel ; more personnel and a zombie on a stretcher

13 ; Mayor ; and all of the other politicians in town for the parade

14 ; Barista ; customers looking for another cup of brains

15 ; Construction Worker with sledgehammer ; the rest of the work crew all with tools and bright yellow vests

16 ; Protester ; more protesters and they will fight each other for flesh

17 ; Business Woman in a nice suit ; jerks from the office she works in

18 ; Art Museum Docent ; busload of kids visiting the Guugleheim Art Museum

19 ; Philosphy Major ; hipsters from East Village

20 ; Cosplayer ; and the rest of the deceased marvels


Don’t have a D20? Roll a D10 and a D6. If the D6 result is 1-3, use the D10 roll as is. If the D6 result is 4-6, add ten to the D10 result.



Zombie Descriptions

Santa Claus: Santa’s been naughty. He has blood dripping through his beard and it’s hard to determine which red on his suit is blood and which is fabric

Santa’s Elves: these houligans look and act frantic. Their heads snap back and forth, looking for their next meal while clacking their teeth and sniffing the air with their tongues.

Sad Clown: this sad looking clown comes complete with a teardrop by its eye, but do not let that fool you. They are actually quite happy to see you. You can tell, because they are walking towards you with arms reaching out to give you a hug.

Balloon Handler: despite being a zombie, this balloon handler is dressed appropriately for the weather and looks quite warm. Anyone looking for warm clothes could do worse than bright orange colored clothing with a few dark stains on them.

Krampus: is still carrying it’s sack for collecting children. The arms and legs sticking out of the bag wouldn’t bother you so much if they weren’t wiggling.

The Marching Band: they still have their instruments, but most are busted and covered in gore. The drum major always gets the first bite of any kill.

Shriner: what’s funnier than a zombie riding in a mini car wearing a fez? A small fleet of zombies doing the same thing. What’s not funnier? The fact their faces are covered in gore and they are waist high.

Rokkette: these beautiful dancers are now covered in enough gore to remind you of your high school prom. Watch out for their power kicks.

Parade Goer: these tourists are everywhere. There is absolutely nothing special about them.

Music Star: surrounded by their entourage. Its great to see the star still wears their smile, even in undeath. The small intestine hanging out of their mouth is a bit much, though.

News Caster: along with their crew, the news caster drags their equipment along in the hunt for a meal. They are often dressed inappropriately for the weather.

Police Officer: missing most of their face and their taser is still in hand. However, the rest of their equipment is still on them: large caliber handgun, bullet proof vest, collapsing baton, snack bars, handcuffs, and more. The question is, are you good enough to kill the zombie in order to get the gear?

Ambulance Personnel: covered in blood and with half their pockets emptied, these two paramedics were transporting victims of zombie bites when the victims got up and attacked them. They managed to restrain one of the zombies to the gurney and are now escorting the gurney through town.

Mayor: was not liked when they were alive and yet, somehow, they are liked even less now that they are undead. The body has so many bullet holes it looks like someone was using it for target practice.

Barista: some are wearing green aprons, some are wearing knit caps, but all of them look annoyed that they exist. They are also followed by D10 customers holding out their coffee cups begging for more. . . brains.

Protester: no one knows what they were protesting. Blood and gore cover any sign of who they represent or what they oppose. They are typically found with D8 former protestors who might be of the same or opposite opinion. The only thing they all agree on, though, is that fresh flesh is the best flesh.

Business Woman: she’s from the Financial District and you know this because she’s wearing her $2k suit and a MLB ball cap. She’s also being followed by the guys in her office who should have been fired years ago for sexual harassment.

Art Museum Docent: they wear boring clothing in an effort to blend into the background and not detract from the art. However, the splatter of blood across their body suggests they may have become the art. A zombie teacher and 2D20 elementary age zombie kids follow. The children are particularly terrifying due to their enthusiasm for their “art.”

Philosphy Major: they are still walking their bicycle, wearing their designer sunglasses, and fedora. This zombie continuously glances about, as if afraid they will miss something important or perhaps a sale on sweater vests.

Cosplayer: someone thought playing the undead version of their favorite hero was a great idea. So did the zombies. Now this cosplayer is covered in fake and real blood. Keep an eye out, the rest of the Beyond Humans must be around here someplace.


Manhattan Location Tables

The following Tables are designed for use when planning an AFMBE session. The Location Tables come in three varieties. The first lists out the various neighborhoods in Manhattan. The second is more specific and provides a list of various tourist-orientated locations to be used. The third Location Table provides generic locations (bar, elementary school, retail store, etc.). If you roll a random location that makes no sense, simply re-roll for a new location.

Building a Session

Zombie Masters can use these random Tables to build a scenario. Here is how:

1.      Roll on the Neighborhoods Table to determine where they are currently located

2.      Roll on the Generic Locations Table to determine what building they are in

3.      Roll a second time on the Neighborhoods Table to determine where they want or need to go

4.      Roll a second time on the Generic Locations Table to determine what building they need to locate

5.      Roll on the Reason to Leave Your Hideout Table to determine why they are going out into the world

6.      Roll on the Complications Table as many times as you need to add survival horror aspects to the session

Zombie Masters can also use the Complications Table to insert a random element into whatever doom they have devised for the characters.

Location Table One: Neighborhoods

D10 ; Results

1 ; Upper Manhattan

2 ; Inwood

3-4 ; Fort George

5 ; Washington Heights

6 ; Hudson Heights

7 ; West Harlem

8 ; Hamilton Heights

9 ; Manhattanville

10 ; Morningside Heights

11 ; Central Harlem

12-13 ; Harlem

14 ; St Nicholas Historic District

15 ; Astor row

16 ; Sugar Hill

17 ; Marcus Garvey Park

18 ; Le Petit Senegal

19 ; East Harlem (Spanish Harlem)

20-21 ; Upper East Side

22 ; Lenox Hil

23 ; Carnegie Hill

24 ; Yorkville

25-26 ; Upper West Side

27 ; Manhattan Valley

28-29 ; Lincoln Square

30 ; Columbus Circle

31 ; Sutton Place

32 ; Rockefeller Center

33 ; Diamon District

34 ; Theater District

35 ; Turtle Bay

36 ; Midtown East

37-38 ; Midtown

39 ; Tudor City

40 ; Little Brazil

41-42 ; Times Square

43 ; Hudson Yards

44 ; Midtown West

45-46 ; Hell’s Kitchen

47 ; Garment District

48 ; Herald Square

49 ; Korea Town

50 ; Murray Hill

51 ; Tenderloin

52; Madison Square

53 ; Flower District

54 ; Brookdale

55-56 ; Kip’s Bay

57 ; Rose Hill

58 ; NoMad

59 ; Peter Cooper Village

60 ; Chelsea

61-62 ; Flatiron District

63 ; Gramercy Park

64 ; Stuyvesant Square

65 ; Union Square

66 ; Stuyvesant Town

67-68 ; Meatpacking District

69 ; Waterside Plaze

70-71 ; Downtown Manhattan

72 ; Little Germany

73 ; Alphabet City / Loisaida

74 ; East Village

75-76 ; Greenwich Village

77 ; NoHo

78 ; Bowery

79 ; West Village

80-81 ; Lower East Side

82 ; SoHo

83 ; Nolita

84 ; Little Australia

85 ; Little Italy

86-87 ; Chinatown

88 ; Financial District

89 ; Five Points

90 ; Cooperative Village

91 ; Two Bridges

92 ; Tribeca

93 ; Civic Center

94 ; Radio Row

95 ; South Street Seaport

96-97 ; Battery Park City

98 ; Little Syria

99 ; Central Park North

100 ; Central Park South


Location Table Two: Tourist Traps

3D10 ; Result

3 ; United Nations Building

4 ; Grand Central Station

5 ; Times Square

6 ; One World Observatory

7 ; Flatiron Building

8 ; The Battery

9 ; Queens Midtown Tunnel

10 ; Inwood Hill Park

11 ; Little Red Lighthouse

12 ; The High Bridge

13 ; Jackie Robinson Park

14 ; Apollo Theatre

15 ; 3rd Avenue Bridge

16 ; George Washington Bridge

17 ; Metropolitan Museum of Art

18 ; Chrysler Building

19 ; The High Line

20 ; Rockefeller Center

21 ; Chelsea Market

22 ; Guggenheim Museum

23 ; Macy’s Herald Square

24 ; NYC Ferry Station Pier

25 ; East River Park Amphitheater

26 ; Radio City Music Hall

27 ; Strawberry Fields

28 ; Gapstow Bridge

29 ; Duke Ellington Statue

30 ; Loeb Boathouse


Location Table Three: Generic Locations

3D10 ; Location

3 ; Apartment or Condo

4 ; Arts Building

5 ; Bank

6 ; Bar

7 ; Bridge

8 ; Bus Stop

9 ; Coffee Shop

10 ; Comic Store

11 ; Construction Site

12 ; Elementary School

13 ; Gas Station

14 ; Government Admin Office

15 ; Hospital

16 ; Hotel

17 ; Library

18 ; Museum

19 ; Office Building

20 ; Park

21 ; Penthouse

22 ; Pier

23 ; Police Station

24 ; Religious Building

25 ; Restaurant

26 ; Retail Building

27 ; Sports Complex

28 ; Subway Station

29 ; Theatre

30 ; University / College


Reasons to Leave

D10 Roll ; Result

1 ; Food and Water

2 ; Something important broke (water source, power, etc.) and either you need to fix it or move to a new home

3 ; Something or someone compromised your location

4 ; Save someone

5 ; Weapons

6 ; Medical Supplies

7 ; People are gathering someplace to leave the island

8 ; Someone else has decided they like your hideout and are willing to kill you to have it

9 ; The zombies in the area are attacking your barriers at night; they almost got in last night

10 ; D10 zombies are arriving in your area by the hour




Roll 4D10 ; Result

4 ; 8D6 people armed with medium caliber pistols, shotguns, and baseball bats and they want your stuff

5 ; D10 x 100 horde of zombies blocks the main path the characters planned to use

6 ; Weather turns very inclement: high winds, subzero temperatures, and heavy snow fall or rain – travel time is doubled and all Perception Tasks suffer a -2 penalty

7 ; The characters arrive at their destination and the people there are not happy to see them, use the Reasons to Leave Table to determine why

8 ; Come across D6 people who want to go with you; they have zero means of protecting themselves, but have a few cans of food they can give the characters as payment

9 ; An improvised explosive device goes off nearby that will attract D20 x 2 zombies; Difficult Dexterity Test or suffer D4 piercing damage from flying debris

10 ; This morning’s fog is not burning off in the sunlight, making it hard to see more than 100 feet away; all Perception-based Tasks suffer a -1 penalty

11 ; Public execution in process, as a group of 8 masked individuals prepare to shoot a line of people kneeling on the ground in front of them

12 ; A box truck is parked facing into a nearby alley: the back of the truck is open and stocked with food and water, but the truck is out of fuel

13 ; A lone woman carrying a machete in one hand and carrying several heads gathered by their hair in the other is walking down the street, alley, or subway tunnel straight at you

14 ; D10 pack of zombies stumbles out of a nearby building or alleyway and heads for the characters; at least one of the zombies has a special Aspect

15 ; As you pass near parked cars, one of their alarms sounds and begins attracting the attention of zombies

16 ; Kids in a building yelling for help down to the characters from their apartment window: zombies broke into their apartment; if the players don’t help, the kids will jump from the windows to get away from the zombies (D6 damage per yard fallen, max D6 x 50 and 18 Life Points per kid)

17 ; D10 x 5 group of zombies begins falling off of nearby roofs and then giving chase to the characters

18 ; A group of armed thugs run out from an alleyway, notices the characters, shoots at the characters as they run toward a subway entrance, and descend into the darkness – all of them were wearing or carrying brightly colored children’s backpacks

19 ; Hundreds of rats swarm past the characters and the all must make an immediate Feat Test; anyone not dodging or fleeing out of the way of the rats will take D4 slashing damage per round they are among the rats

20 ; A pregnant woman with two small children in tow, all three wear backpacks containing food that they will trade for safe passage to the nearest safe house; she also has a concealed firearm, knows how to use it, and is not afraid to do so

21 ; A sniper from several stories up starts shooting at the characters

22 ; D8 thugs attack the characters with machetes, baseball bats, and a chainsaw

23 ; The smell of food wafts from what was once a diner and is now a boarded up building; if the characters look into the diner and are pleasant, Gerard and Emilie will offer to make the characters a meal of noodles and vegeTables

24 ; Screams of the living echo from a subway entrance, followed by a loud banging noise, and then more screaming

25 ; D6 religious fantatics looking to kill unbelievers: do you believe, brother?

26 ; The Trashmen are in the area “taking out the trash”; if the characters do not sneak past them, D6 Trashmen with a trash truck attack and radio for back-up

27 ; The characters arrive at their destination, only to find it on fire when they arrive; the fire destroyed whatever the reason they had for coming here

28 ; D4 HUMVEES are in the area capturing survivors for scientific research

29 ; A grisly scene: a pile of dead bodies, a few zombies having a nice meal, and the sound of more zombies shuffling this way

30 ; A hell-bent motorcycle club is in the area causing problems by burning structures and parked vehicles, shooting at people, and running people down; D6 x number of characters in bikers

31 ; As you arrive at your destination, a group of D10 x 2 people show up looking for shelter on the run from a horde of D10 x 12 zombies

32 ; A group of D10 x 3 preteens have banded together to survive the winter and you have what they want,  seriously, anything you have, they will call out and demand as tribute; use Kids stat block but add Hard to Kill 5 and each child is armed with a small caliber pistol, if one kid shoots their gun, they all pull and begin shooting

33 ; A D6 handful of people run out from a building, hands raised in the air, they quickly drop to their knees and ask the characters to allow them to travel with the characters; they are willing to trade the location of an arms cache in exchange for taking them to the next community

34 ; The characters arrive at their destination to find it is in good condition, is not suffering from recent attacks of any sort, and everyone seems genuinely happy to see the characters; short reprieve or eerie situation?

35 ; A lone zombie stalks the characters; yes, they have to roll the die to deal with the zombie (running, fighting, or hiding), after all, a simple mistake can lead to a complicated death

36 ; The characters arrive at their destination only to find it overrun by zombies

37 ; D6 people dressed in military fatigues and armed with automatic weapons are moving through the area on foot, you currently have the drop on them

38 ; D4 cars carrying D4 people each are racing through the streets playing Zombie Race 2000 and living targets grant more points than zombies

39 ; A car pileup blocks your way, D10 x 2 zombies are here searching for food and D4 people are crying out for help; Difficult Willpower Test to walk away and not help

40 ; Roll twice more and use both results

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