Saturday, November 19, 2005

What a week! Work was a bit hard, and I kept meaning to watch a certain movie again so that I might comment on it, but I never got around to it. So, despite that many have not yet taken the last test, I present you, with spoiler warning for those that have not taken the test yet:


I was surprised by the initial test results, as everyone seems to have no problem identifying, and properly dealing with, realistic zombies, they have considerably more difficulty with the magical zombies. I'm surprised as I gave enough clues for each, but here are the answers:

First, these are worth 10 points a piece:

1. Surreal zombie: Father's sword (half points for blessed spear)

The fact that it has no head and can still pinpoint you and attack should be enough to let you know that it's a surreal zombie. Weapons with personal significance are best, as mentioned, but a blessed melee weapon that can impale them in place is also an okay choice, worth half credit. Bottom line: nothing can logically survive without a head and still be a threat. (interesting mastermind theory, Frank, five extra bonus points)

2. Classic zombie: Revolver (half points for rifle)

Half eaten and shambling, you can almost hear it say 'brainssssss'. Revolver is the best choice not because it's better than the rifle, but because the rifle is better used elsewhere.

3. Historical zombie: Holy symbol (half points for blessed spear or father's sword)

This one confused some people, but as mentioned these zombies act more like zealots than zombies and are the most likely to be curable. What most of you forgot is "they should not be killed"! You could run them through with a spear, but how is your sanity going to hold up when they turn back to normal before they die? How is it going to hold up when you find out that none of their deaths were necessary? Magic is definitely the way to go, but only the holy symbol might hold them back without harming them.

4. Highly contageous zombie: Rifle (half points for grenade)

Most importantly, you must keep these zombies away. IT's obvious that the victim was not physically harmed by other zombies and turned very quickly (as he's still in his suit). Rifle is the best, as it can be reused, but the grenade also could possibly work...against a small group of them. It's highly contageous though...

5. Gothic zombie: Blessed spear (half points for holy symbol)

This is another one that confused you. They can still talk, are covered in blood and appear to have a state of manic glee. For those that didn't guess, it's a vampire. It isn't a major, powerful vampire, but one of the weaker spawn that are often created by more powerful, elder vampires, so they classify as zombies. For this one, the blessed wooden spear (or stake) would do best. Although the holy symbol might keep it away, how will your sanity hold up if it kills another innocent person in front of you? (oh and for the record, Frank, I didn't say they called your name directly, only that they called to you, but that's still a good point, so +5 bonus points)

6. Experimental weapon zombie: Grenade (half points for rifle or revolver)

Now this zombie's description could also label it as a surreal zombie, but you have to assume the zombie without a head is the surreal, which leaves experimental. These zombies are physically powerful, so you need to do a lot of damage or run as fast as you can. A careful throw of the grenade, followed by a sprint in the opposite direction is your best bet, but otherwise, you should go with powerful firearms.

Now, give yourself 5 extra bonus points if you got all the magical zombies correct (historical, surreal, gothic) and 5 bonus points if you got all the realistic zombies correct (classic, contageous, experimental).

The remaining points are gotten by your condition, after fighting all six of these zombies in order, from 1 to 6. This is where your description of how you fight them becomes important. You have three health points and three sanity points. If you lose all three health, you're dead. If you lose all three sanity, you're insane. How healthy and sane you are also affects how well you fight.

1. If you used your father's sword and cut him to pieces, or you attempted to stake him to the ground, lose no health or sanity. All other answers, lose a point of health (guns and explosives are mostly ineffective), and if you tried the holy symbol, lose a point of sanity as well, as seeing the holy symbol fail might shake your faith (surreal zombies traditionally have to be fought ourselves).

2. If you shot it in the head, lose no health. All other answers they probably got a bite in. If you used the grenade, assume it blew their legs off, but they still kept crawling, since the grenade at their feet probably didn't hurt their brain enough. They then surprise you and get a bite.

3. If you disabled it without killing it, lose no health or sanity. If you used the grenade, it smacks it back towards you with the scythe, lose a point of health (but the expolosion kills it too, and quickly enough that you don't see it die). All other answers it turns human right before dying, and screams "Why?!!!" at you. Lose a point of sanity. (5 points for Frank for inventiveness)

4. If you killed it from a far distance, lose no health or sanity. If you used a grenade without taking cover, lose a sanity, as bits of him reach near you and may or may not have infected you. If you killed it relatively up close, lose a point of sanity, as you can't be sure if you're infected or not. If you're already lost a point of health and you fought it very close (spear or sword) then you're infected, therefore dead. No additional penalty for the holy symbol or revolver, besides the sanity loss.

5. If you killed it with the spear through the heart, or banished it back to the netherworld with the holy symbol, lose no health or sanity. If you used the holy symbol to merely keep it back, lose a sanity as it muches on another innocent person. If you used any other weapon, lose a health.

6. If you used the grenade, or shot for the point of the zombie that looked the most weak, lose no health or sanity. If you're down to one sanity and use a gun, you don't aim well and take a point of damage before killing it. If you used any other weapon, or just shot anywhere (even the head, if you didn't verify that it appeared to be a weak spot) lose a health.

If you have 3 health left, you get 20 points. If you have 2 left, you get 15 points. If you have 1 left, you get 10 points. You get these points even if you're insane, as years of therapy might cure you.

If you have 3 sanity left, you get 20 points. If you have 2 left, you get 15 points. If you have 1 left, you get 10 points. You get these points even if you're dead, as you died in a state of peace.

If you only had 1 health and 1 sanity left, lose 5 points.

To show how it's scored, Frank scored:

First part:
1. 0 (+5 bonus)
2. 10
3. 5 (+5 bonus)
4. 10
5. 0 (+5 bonus)
6. 10 (+5 realistic perfect)

Second part:
1. lose 1 health and 1 sanity
2. -
3. lose 1 sanity
4. -
5. lose 1 health
6. -

1 health and 1 sanity, barely alive and barely sane: 15 points

Total score: 70 points, just made it thanks to bonus points, easily told the difference between realistic and magical zombies, but didn't deal with the magical ones appropriately. PASSED

Today's lesson....SURPRISE MIDTERM!

That's right, now it's time for the midterm. Answer the following questions with open, detailed answers, but not longer than a few sentences a piece. Let's see you what you've learned:

For argument's sake, let's say you live in a city, are currently living alone in an apartment on the second floor of the building that you just moved into, and don't know your neighbors.

1. You just saw on the news that zombies, half eaten, muttering 'brainsss...' have overrun the city, and at that very moment you lose power and water, what is the first thing you do?

2. One of the fellow people in the building is doing something very stupid, or trying to be leader when you know you could do better. What do you do?

3. There are two of each of the items listed in the previous personality test in the building. Which three to you take? What do you do if someone else wants the same thing you want?

4. Surprise! Everyone on the first floor is a zombie, and they're coming up the stairs. There is a fire escape, but they're coming up fast. What do you do?

5. You had to leave the building, as unfortunately its not secure, and one of your negihtbors did something very cowardly or selfish back there at the zombie attack. What do you do/say? What if the leader didn't do a good job? What do you do/say?

6. What if a neighbor killed another neighbor, what would you do? What if one of them was appearing to turn into a zombie?

7. Whoops! Someone just killed an innocent person by mistake. What do you do? What if they didn't seem sorry, or seem unstable?

8. You've piled into one or more cars, and need somewhere to go. The places nearby: the mall (one of your neighbors is the manager of one of the stores), the hospital (one of your neighbors is a nurse), the museum (one of your neightbors is a security guard and has the key), another apartment building where a friend of yours lives (you don't know if they're there), or the airport (one of your neighbors is a pilot). What do you do if others don't agree?

9. What the...? Wherever you went, there's three strange things there! There's a floating, chuckling being that looks exactly like the teacher you hated in the 3rd grade! There's a wailing, bleeding figure wandering randomly in your direction! There's a slug the size of a car moviing remarkably quickly towards you, blocking the exit. What do you do?!

10. The head zombie, wreathed in black flame, wearing a crown of femurs and holding a staff high, offers you a choice: kill your friends and join him, or prepare to die in the most excruciatingly painful death imaginable. What do you do? How do you fight, whatever you choose to fight?

Good luck everyone!

Class dismissed

Saturday, November 05, 2005


Well class, I can see that I didn't get as many responses for the last test, but then again, it was just more or less for fun, so we won't use it for a grade. For those who are interested, here's the breakdown of the order you should eat them:

The most important factors to remember are: usefulness alive, and likelihood to run away on their own. I mentioned that there was food for the animals, so even though the big animals will eat more food, it's safe to assume that feeding them won't be a problem, especially since horses and cows can eat grass.

Most importantly, you should save the two animals that create food on their own for last. The chicken should definitely be the last animal you eat because it can provide an egg for you every day. The cow should be second to last, as it can provide milk, but milk isn't the same thing as food, so it has to settle for second.

The next most useful animal is the dog, as it can guard for you, and will bark when anything strange begins to approach. The next is the horse. Even if you have no idea how to ride one, it can probably fight the zombies, and definitely provide a distraction when you escape. The next is the cat, as it can see in the dark, but again, it might not warn you of an approaching attack.

That leaves the animals that aren't useful, and you should definitely start with the ones that are likely to run away.

The first you should eat is the rabbit (oh come on people, they're giant rats). The next is the monkey (contrary to what you see in movies, unless it's a gorilla, it's really not smart at all). The next you should eat is the ground hog (they can dig). Then you should go on to the ones that probably won't escape, as they'll still be there when you get to them later. You should eat the sheep, and then after that, the turtle.

So here's the final breakdown, starting with what you should eat first (remember, these animals would do the same to you if the situation were reversed):

1. Rabbit
2. Monkey
3. Groundhog
4. Sheep
5. Turtle
6. Cat
7. Horse
8. Dog
9. Cow
10. Chicken

Frank's answer isn't so good I'm afraid, because it kills useful animals early and leaves useless animals until the end. It's not completley bad though, as it leaves the chicken until near the end, but it's still only good for a 70%. I'm afraid you have no companions to prey upo,n Frank.

Today's lesson: Knowing your enemy.

One member of the class, Vincent, said that the school was a viable option for a place to hide, because zombies can't open doors. To that, I say: Are you sure? Velocirapors can open doors, why not zombies? Are you sure the zombies are really that dumb? If they can't open doors, then how'd they get in the room in the first place? Clearly, you need to identify your enemy. Here's what to look for:

1. Appearance.

Most importantly, you must be able to determine on sight if someone has become a zombie or not. Are they decaying? Are they acting very strange and making bizarre sounds? In some movies, it was actually a little difficult to differentiate a zombie and a drunk/injured person. Look for tell-tale signs that the person coming towards you is one of the members of the damned.

2. Behavior.

Do the zombies move quickly or slowly? Do they try to eat their victims alive, or do they attempt to kill them first? How intelligent are they? Can they open doors? Can they use weapons? Before you can create a full plan for dealing with/escaping from the zombies, you must know how they'll react and approach you. Knowing what your enemy is capable of, and how they will react is vital to protecting yourself from them. Also, you might be able to avoid many unnecessary fights if you can use your knowledge of their behavior to avoid them, and not make yourself a target (sometimes it's just as easy as disguising yourself as a zombie).

3. Powers.

Some zombies are little more than nearly dead people, but others are capable of surviving nearly any injury. This also includes any diseases that they might possess, but more on that in a moment. Some zombies also possess nearly magical strenght, and other bizzarre powers including regeneration, flight, mind affecting powers, shapeshifting, and even retaining memories of the person they once were. Never assume that they're just lurching beasts in need of a head shot. On that note...

4. Weaknesses.

An injury to the head is the universal method for zombie killing, but it might not be the only one, and in some situations, head shots may not be effective at all. Try to take note of any fights you've had/seen involving zombies (but don't start one just for this, it'd be a stupid way to die). Also try to find any zombies that have died/have been killed just lying around. If you're fighting them, always aim for the head no matter what, as this will keep them away, obscure their vision, break their jaw and very likely kill them. Take note, however, if any injury will do, or if it needs to be a head shot. Don't discount that they might have supernatural weaknesses, such as sunlight, fire, silver or holy objects, but don't rely solely on any of these either. They may also have a weakness by design, such as they dying if they don't eat flesh, or relying on a hive mind to control them. Remember, finding a universal weakness of the zombies is the first step to killing them all.

5. What causes people to become zombies?

Is it a disease or is it magical? Is there any way to reverse the effects when they begin to change? How quickly is the change into a zombie? Will they change gradually, or will they be perfectly fine one moment and a zombie the next? It might also be possible that no more people can become a zombie than whom all ready have. Don't panic, and try to find external sources of information, including tv, radio and the internet if possible. If they all came from a single location...well, it's your call whether to investigate or not, but gather as much information as you can, and don't abandon your fellow survivor after they're bitten. If it turns out to be a magical spell causing it, you're going to pretty bad for shooting them.

Now, with this information, we can most likely catagorize the zombies into a general type:

1. Classic

Classic zombies move slowly, don't speak except possibly in single word mumbles, attempt to eat people alive, and generally need to be killed by a head shot. Getting bitten by one of these zombies will usually result into a full transformation into the undead. Despite what some movies may show, after the initial shock, the military should have no trouble dealing with these zombies. Movies where zombies such as these destroy the world are rediculous (my god, think of what a zombie would do to a tank, or a jet fighter! How will we survive?!). For these, just find a safe place and wait for help. Essentially, treat it like any natural disaster, and don't panic.

2. Historical

The original zombies weren't actually completley dead, and were living people changed through a dark magic into a zombie slave. These zombies are more like people in a trance, and although they won't be as hard to kill, they can usually carry weapons and think a lot better than your classic zombie. Try to avoid killing, if possible, as they are the most likely type of zombie to be able to be cured, and treat them as you would crazed zealots. Again, the authorities should be able to deal with this, but if not, try to find the puppet master controlling them.

3. HIGHLY contageous zombies

Some zombies are definitely the result of a disease, and can cause you to become a zombie yourself MUCH easier than others. For these, there is virtually no hope of being cured, and becoming a zombie can result from merely getting their spit on you, or breathing near them. Avoid contact with these zombies at all cost, and this may be the rare case that travelling alone might be better than being in a group. These zombies spread their disease very quickly, and finding a safe place might be hard, so get out of there as soon as you can.

4. Surreal zombies

Popular in strange horror flicks and Silent Hill games, these zombies are not necessarily dead people, but possibly surreal manifestations of your subconscious, or even ghostly spectres, or in the worst case scenario, wang monsters (don't ask). These zombies are more similar to monsters and ghosts than traditional zombies, but they usually behave, and are fought, the same way. Be careful, as these zombies are very likely to have strange powers that you might not expect. You don't have to worry about where you attack these creatures, but they don't have any specifiic weakness as well, just keep shooting/hitting them, but weapons/items that have personal significance may be more powerful than normal, as often these demons are meant specifically for you. They most likely won't have a disease, but their nature may take a very large toll on your sanity. Try to keep calm and sane, and like always, don't fight them unless you have to, but unlike the others, you are likely to get no help from the authorities, so be prepared to see this one through to the end...possibly on your own.

5. Government/Corporate weapon project

A governemnt/corporation has developed the ultimate biological weapon. The only difference between this zombie and the others is that the zombies created by biological weapons tend to keep mutating, into larger and more dangerous 'boss' monsters. Expect these zombies to keep changing, and become different and more dangerous creatures for you to face. This is another zombie that is often reversible with an antidote, as the group that created this would have been careful to have one in case they were accidentally infected. In this case, the governemnt may not be able to handle things, and may destroy an entire city in an attempt to stop it, so you have to focus on getting out of there. Don't feel pressed to fight, as the real monsters are hundreds of miles away, reaping profits from the disaster, but if you have to, try to use bigger, more powerful weapons, including explosives.

6. Gothic zombies

Again, these zombies may have aspects of any of the other types, but the main difference is that their weaknesses tend to be more severe and supernatural. Silver, holy objects, running water and fire tend to kill them dead when absolutely nothing else works. They tend to be stronger than normal zombies, but on the other hand, their weaknesses are more pronounced. In certain cases, vampires can be considered zombies for these purposes. Find their weakness and attempt to destroy them with it, as the government's attempts at using guns against them will most likely fail.

Now, for this test, I've decided to shake things up a bit, and see if you can properly identify what type of zombie you're dealing with, and deal with them appropriately, with the correct weapon:


You can only use each of these weapons once:

Holy symbol
Your father's sword
A blessed wooden spear


1. A headless zombie, moving directly towards you.

2. A half eaten zombie, moaning, with his arms outstretched towards you.

3. A cloaked zombie, muttering a single word over and over, holding a scythe.

4. A clean, woundless zombie in a business suit.

5. A smiling, bloody zombie, calling to you, and laughing at you.

6. A zombie that's moving quickly, and whose flesh is throbbing in an unnatural way.

Now, these descriptions might fit more than one type (almost anything will fit surreal), but we're looking for the best type for each, also considering that each has to be used once.

Also, give your reasoning why each weapon would work well for that type of zombie, and how you would use it against them.

Class dismissed.