quarta-feira, 11 de março de 2009

Big Brother Zombie - Trust, Popularity and Infection

"Paul! Trust me, you be the bait, and when the dead guy runs for you I pump its skull full of lead!"

Here I'll cover the final steps of the game, those regarding, as you might have noticed, Trust, Popularity, and Infection.


Through forced cooperation or friendship born from facing a common threat, players can simulate these relationships through the allocation of points of Trust. The mechanics for Trust exists in several games and I think its awesome, and the BBZ is a good stage for their excellence. If you feel some curiosity in them, try The Mountain Witch, Hot War, and The Dead, amongst others.

Each Contestant will establish relations of Trust with the others, through the allocation of Points of Trust. These points can be used when both competitors are cooperating in a task, a Conflict with other competitors or against Zombies. Basically, the Contestant who Trusts another gives him 1 Point of Trust, with the Trustee being able to retribute such confidence in the form of +1 dice per Test/Conflict or Combat, to aid the one who gave him the Trust points.

In one example, if Marc trusts Rita by 2 points, then Rita can use these points to help Marco, giving him +1 dice.

However, the Trust has a reverse. At any given time the Contestant can use all the points to betray the one who Trusted him.

In continuing the example above, Rita may betray Marco by adding +2 dice on a Conflict against him.

There is no limit to the Points of Trust that Contestants may give, but can only give them over the Confessionals.


In a reality show there is always a "Confessional" in it, in which the Contestants can talk about what happened, ramble on their doubts about each other and, thanks to the magic of television editing, about things that viewers have not yet seen. These mechanics have rarely been used in games, if I recall correctly I've only seen them on the excellent InSpectres game by Jared Sorensen, and it fits like a glove in BBZ.

During a Confessional, one of the Contestants will get up from his chair at the table and sit in another chair, put aside in the beginning of the game for this purpose. He then addresses the other players, much like he was talking to the camera on the Confessional. There he can talk about any issues related with the other Contestants, with the Tasks, etc., as if to comment on something the House.

But he can do more. He can talk about events that have not happened in game, like on television where it seems that the Contestants predict the future, and most important, is the only time in the game they can assign points of Trust. Each Contestant can speak in the Confessional as many times as he wants, but can only give 1 point of Confidence per session, or per hour of play, depending on the general length of the game.


The Contestants compete for Popularity, as in any standard television show. This reflects that viewer reaction where they want to see their favorite Contestants carry on and win the game.

The BBZ mechanically reflects this as follows: each time a Contestant Escalates a Conflict, or each time in a Test or Conflict he has the most number of Successes of all Contestants, or when he has double the Successes of his opponent, he adds +1 Points of Popularity. The Contestant also gets +1 point for each time he decides to follow his Disorder, while endangering their safety or that of other Contestants.

Points of Popularity can be used in Tests, Conflicts and Combat, adding to the dice pool before the Test is done. This does not mean that the Popularity drops, only that the Contestant has better chances of being successful, reflecting the wishes of the viewers at home.

The Popularity is influenced by the Presence of Contestants. Starting Popularity is equal to Presença -1, and Contestants can have up to twice the value of Presence in Popularity.

If the most popular Contestant dies and becomes a zombie, all other Contestants get 1 Point for free, but the dead Contestant continues playing as zombie, which will be seen below.

"Paul, you have a sever bite wound on your arm. We do not know if you are infected or not, so we have to saw it out."


In the world of BBZ it's not 100% certain that the victim of a Zombie bite will automatically become another Zombie. No one knows exactly why, but even those killed by Zombies sometimes don't arise as the undead.

When a Contestant is bitten the Big Brother secretely Tests Vigor vs Vigor, testing the Contestant's Vigor against the Zombie's. If the Zombie has twice the successes, the Contestant will turn into a Zombie, in [Contestant's Successes]-1 Tasks time. If the Zombie only has more Successes, then the bitten Contestant will turn into a Zombie in [Zombie's Successes]-1 Tasks time.

In one example, if Marc is bitten, the Big Brother will test his Vigor with the Zombie's, in this case rolling 3 dice for Marco and 5 for the Zombie. For Marco, the Big Brother takes 2, 3 and 5, or only one Success, for the Zombie, the Big Brother gets 4, 4, 5, 6 and 6, three Successes, clearly more than twice Marco's Successes. This means that Marco will turn into Zombie immediately! If Marco had two Successes, he would become in Zombie after two more Tasks had occurred in the House, and during that time nobody knew if Marco would go play for the other team or not.

If the Contestant has more Successes than the Zombie, regardless of the number of Successes, then he doesn't becomes a Zombie. In case of a tie, roll all dice again.

There is a way to avoid Infection and prevent the Big Brother from doing this Test, which is to cut the member that is supposed infected. This radical way to avoid Infection can only be made if the Zombie didn't kill the Contestant outright, of course!

The Contestant who has a cut member to prevent the Infection Test automatically loses 1 point of Vigor and 1 point of Presence, but also gets 1 point of Popularity, for demonstrating enough Coragem to undergo such operation.

Zombies as Contestants

When a Contestant is killed by a Zombie and turns into an undead, the player does not automatically stop playing. Instead, he becomes one of the attractions of the program, and continues to gain Popularity!

When this happens, the player loses his Courage and Presence and sees his Vigor go up to 5 or any amount that the Big Brother has decided that the Zombies have in your game, is no longer able to assign and use Trust, thus is also not able to use the COnfessional, but may continue to use and gain Popularity. For each Contestant the new Zombie kills, it gets +1 to its Popularity, and for each it turns into another Zombie it gets +2!

The use of the Popularity is the same, add more dice in Combat, but the player wins one more option for the game, which is to set Tasks, as if he was a secondary Big Brother. For this, the player spends 1 point of Popularity and assigns the new Task, which must involve his Zombie, necessarily. Player discretion is advised. And also some sadism.

EDIT: I do not know how I could forget, but the good guys of rpg.net did remind me of one important aspect of all reality shows: Immunity!

Before each Task, players have the possibility of seeing that one of them is safe and away from the Zombies while their companions get on with the Task. This process is not automatic, as happens in normal reality shows: in BBZ, Contestants must agree among themselves, before each task, who will have Immunity. The method for doing this is completely at their discretion, but it is recommended that a scream or two, followed by a threat and/or a stab, is used.

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