Motto: "Raze the Dead!”
Formed: October 31, 1970
Type: Independent Agency
Headquarters: Trenton, New Jersey
Agency executives: Doctor Abigail Frost (Director), Barton Hill (Principal Deputy Director)
Concepts: Anti-hero, badass bookworm, crazy survivalist, detective, ex-military, fringe theorist, idiot hero, necromancer, occult detective, weirdness magnet, vampire hunter.
Connections: Clergy, exterminator, mortuary scientist, retired cop, street gang, survivalist, taxidermist, undead cultist
Skills: Aim, Close Combat, Enigmas, Medicine
Edges: Adrenaline Spike (••), Armor Expert (••), Danger Sense (•), Endurance (••), *Half Life (•), Hardy (• to •••), One against an Ocean (••), Small Unit Tactics (••)
Gifts: Skill (Aim, Enigmas, Medicine)
“You know what the difference between me and you really is? You look out there and see a horde of evil, brain eating zombies. I look out there and see a target-rich environment.” -Dillis D. Freeman Jr.
The Zombie Outbreak Response Association (ZORA) is a global network dedicated to combatting and containing the Undead in its many forms. Though primarily focused on Zombies, ZORA also combats other forms of undead such as Vampires, Ghouls, Haunts and the occasional Eldritch Abomination. Most disturbing is the growing number of “Ghoul Groupies,” human followers and allies of these beings. The undead threat is a danger to all living persons, and an outbreak can happen at any time. However, thanks to the tireless efforts of the agents of ZORA, most of the world is ignorant of this looming threat.
The Zombie Outbreak Response Association recruits from an odd assortment of dedicated persons that often do not fit well within other occupations. Often, government agencies and law enforcement will use ZORA as a dumping ground for agents who they cannot out and out fire, or who are placed on the “shit list” of someone farther up their respective chains of command. They also recruit soldiers, law enforcement, scholars, tech specialists and a wide range of dedicated and uniquely skilled persons from a wide range of disciplines.
The undead have always been around, haunting the edges of civilization down through human history, and staying mostly in the shadows. Several outbreaks from the past are on record, such as the Vicksburg, Mississippi outbreak of 1863, the London revenant plague of 1897, and the Key West horde of 1935 to name a few. ZORA was first formed in 1970 primarily in response to the great ghoul plague of 1968 which ravaged New Jersey and Pennsylvania. The initial team was assembled out of an assortment of a host of heroes and reformed villains, all of whom with extensive experience with the undead. Their initial success led them to gain considerable resources and media attention. They were deployed against outbreaks and Cold War experiments in undeath.
Though ZORA was very effective, changes in policy and the often gross and thankless aspects of zombie hunting, the agency has fallen on difficult times. Now, decades later, the organization has suffered budget cuts, staffing issues and a host of administrative meddling that has left them a rag-tag group of dreamers, zealots and odd-balls that are nonetheless, very effective. Now the agency is greatly diminished in size and resources, but is still dedicated to its cause.
Resembling a mix of private security services contractor, pest control, and corporation, ZORA uses an interlocking structure of directors, senior agents, and department heads to run its diverse and eclectic staff. Most agents and employees are organized into Response Teams which generally handle operations in a given area. Response Teams can be small; in some cases, a single agent might be tasked with handling cases in an area. However, large cells of a dozen or more members are found in large population centers like Empire City or Chicago. Unusually skilled or specialized agents might be ‘loaned” to different Response Teams, especially in light of a particularly nasty outbreaks.
ZORA is headquartered in Trenton, New Jersey, where it maintains a renovated police station that houses state-of-the-art zombie fighting equipment. ZORA trains its new agents in combat and the use of zombie detection and fighting gear as well as investigation and basic med lab training. The public knows very little about ZORA, and the agency prefers a low profile. However, they remain well known and appreciated by the police, tabloids, homeless and sewer workers in metropolitan areas.
ZORA Response Teams enjoy near autonomy, and are expected to handle themselves with a minimum of aid from the main office. They are typically set up with a regional HQ, usually a lab or warehouse leased or purchased by the agency, from which the response team will operate. As resources are very tight at ZORA, additional aid is usually not available unless things are very bad. As a general rule, Response Teams interact closely with the CDC, WHO, local and State law enforcement, acting as consultants and advisors. When things get sticky, ZORA teams will typically try to work with these allies, but are just as likely to go it alone, and with no backup.
The Zombie Outbreak Response Association is great for good old-fashioned monster hunting. Part detective story, part thriller, and part gallows humor slug fest. ZORA is the place where malcontents go, and where otherwise capable but socially disfavored heroes get stuck. Response Teams are often drawn from all manner of backgrounds, allowing for any combination of origins, though a tendency towards dark origins and grim outlooks are common. Also, ZORA works with anyone and everyone to reach their goals, so a troupe including ZORA agents, Sunstreak Labs, Branch 9, AEON, and Les Fantômes characters is not impossible. Friction and even open opposition might be a result, but as long as the undead menace is the real enemy, ZORA can take the heat.
*New Edge: Half-Life (•)
You have contracted the Zombie Virus and were on the way to becoming the undead, but the antidote was administered in time. You character suffers no health problems from being in damp or underwater environments. You rarely need to breathe and can hold your breath for 30 minutes, and your near dead flesh provides sufficient insulation from the cold. Due to this cold, tough flesh, you rarely need anything more than a warm coat to be comfortable anywhere on Earth. You can endure cold temperatures down to −34° F without discomfort, and your chilly skin provides you with one level of soft armor. Though you are not undead, you are greyish green in color and have “zombie eyes”, requiring the use of makeup and contacts to pass as a fully living person.
Drawbacks: Characters with this Edge suffer 1 Complication to all Social rolls relating to appearance from people who are uncomfortable with the undead.
The following gear is issued to all ZORA operatives as part of a field op kit. All of these items are fairly easy to replace (with the proper paperwork), with many stockpiled at the characters home base.
ACR Personal Locator Beacon (1)- There’s a good chance your team will get separated, and the ACR Aqualink personal locator beacon is the perfect way to help keep the team connected. The beacon comes equipped with internal GPS, 5-year battery life, and will send a distress call.
Blackhawk S.O.L.A.G. HD Kevlar Gloves (1 pair)- Sometimes you will have to punch a zombie in the face, and you want to make sure you are well protected. Made from DuPont Kevlar and high-quality treated leathers. The hard-shell plates will protect the back of your hands without affecting dexterity.
Coleman Expedition First Aid Kit (1)- The folks at Coleman put together a 200-piece first aid kit designed for the ZORA agent on the go, and even comes packed in a semi-hard protective case. It contains drugs and equipment for treating most common diseases and poisons and performing all surgery that does not require a hospital operating room. It provides 1 Enhancement for all such medical tasks.
Dead On Annihilator Superhammer (1)- This heavy duty hammer was created specifically for a zombie outbreak equipped with a bottle opener, multi-purpose wrench, nail puller, chisel, and demolition axe. Perfect for skull crushing. Enhancement 2, Blunt, Brutal, Deadly
Heckler & Koch P2000 Pistol (1)- Guns are not the first choice of defense against zombies, but you do need one for emergency situations. Pistol stats (see page 125)
Leatherman MUT EOD Multi-Tool (1)- This multi-tool comes complete with stainless steel handles, wire cutters, serrated knife, needle nose and regular pliers, saw, hammer, firearm disassembly punch, cleaning rod and brush adapters. It even comes in a black sheathe for easy transport.
Paracord Survival Bracelet (1)- Constructed from extra beefy paracord held together by a stainless-steel D shackle, this thing is worth its weight in gold. Originally used for US parachute lines during WWII, the lightweight nylon rope has proven to be useful in many survival applications in the field.
Tactical Sammich (2)- Each individually packaged meal will have a 2-year shelf life, 300 calories, and comes in honey BBQ beef or pepperoni flavored.
Wolverine Steel Toe Boots (1 pair)- A good pair of steel toe boots is a must. This particular model features a full grain leather upper paired with a manmade sole, and of course that steel safety toe.
These items are found back at the office. ZORA hates it when agents lose these.
Cold Steel Brooklyn Smasher Unbreakable Baseball Bat (8)- There’s something about cracking a zombie over the head with a baseball bat that has us feeling like kids on Christmas. If you’re going to go this route, make sure your equipped with one of these bad boys. Made from a durable polypropylene, this baseball bat is nearly indestructible. Enhancement 2 Blunt, Quality 1, Melee, Two-Handed
Fox Titan Body Armor (4)- Riot gear is just too heavy and bulky, but this Fox body armor fits the bill nicely. The lightweight, flexible hard plastic will provide protection while still keeping you mobile. Composite (Impact-resistant, Slash-resistant) Composite, Soft 2, Hard 1
M4 Tactical Crossbow (5)- Zombies are drawn to sound, which makes guns a last resort when being attacked. This weapon comes equipped with a red dot sight, LED flashlight, Wolf’s Eye Blue Light gun attachments, and is backed by 180 pounds of draw weight to accurately shoot 8mm steel ball bearings.
Mossberg 500 Pump-Action Shotgun (2)- While guns are not the best option when dealing with zombies, there will certainly be situations where one is needed. Shotguns seem to be the most practical gun when it comes to killing zombies – and who better than Mossberg?
Thermal-Eye X-50 Thermal Imaging Camera (1)- Zombie killing is a 24-7 job. If you think the undead will stop coming through the early morning hours, you have another thing coming. Make sure you see them coming in pure darkness with this device. Lightweight, waterproof and shock resistant, this is the perfect set of eyes for the night.
United Cutlery M48 Kommando Ranger Hawk Axe (5)- This lightweight axe features a stainless-steel blade that is perfect for silent kills. This thing also comes wrapped with 14 feet of removable paracord, carabiner, and military style compass. Enhancement 3 Edged, Melee, Quality 3, Weighted
Vanguard Endeavor ED Binocular (2)- These top-of-the-line binoculars will help you identify friend and foes far beyond what your eyes can see. The binoculars are completely waterproof, feature 8.5x magnification, 45mm objective lens.