I’ve just run a one-shot of Webworld, the spidery post-apocalypse RPG from NeonRot
Webworld’s setting is an arachnid nightmare. Giant spiders of various types have conquered the Earth, blanketing it in sticky webbing. Civilization has collapsed, and the few survivors huddle in underground shelters, occasionally creeping out to scavenge for food and supplies. While traveling, the survivors must constantly avoid being eaten by gargantuan spiders, or worse – turned into hosts for a cluster of spider eggs.
Humans who are implanted with eggs turn into Hosts, blind mindless zombies who use sound to find other humans, then burst forth with swarms of little spiders.
The whole thing has a great survival horror vibe. Imagine The Walking Dead or The Quiet Place. That’s the tone they’re going for here.
Webworld is class based – Storyteller, Survivalist, Scout, Mechanist, Firestarter, and Exterminator are the options. Initial character creation is just selecting a class; there are no random rolls. Each class has a number of 8 sided dice in a dice pool. i.e. Mechanists all start out with a dice pool of 4d8.
Characters have four stats – Strength, Agility, Speech, and Mind. The default value for each is determined by the class. e.g. Firestarters all start out with STR 7 AGL 4 SPC 2 MND 3
Each class also has a number of abilities. New characters get to choose one, and more can be earned as characters advance. e.g. Exterminators could choose Toxic Smoke, giving them the ability to create a smoke bombs that would drive all spiders out of an area, but do two damage to all players in the area (2 dice would be removed from everyone’s pool)
The basic mechanic of Webworld is the Dice Pool. Whenever a character has to do something risky, they can choose to exert themselves by rolling any number of dice from the pool, and adding the appropriate stat. The dice are removed from the pool.
All rolls in the game are D8, so make sure you have enough eight-siders.
If the total of the roll is 6 or below, they fail. 7-10 mixed success, 11-13 total success, 14+ perfect success. If a player succeeds, they get one D8 back in their pool.
The Dice Pool also serves as hit points. If it falls to zero due to effort, the character is too exhausted to continue and must be helped by other players. If it falls to zero due to a spider attack, they have been snatched up by a spider and taken away to a lair. The other players must decide whether to carry out a rescue, or leave them to their grisly fate. (this actually happened in my one-shot; the players chose to leave them)
The Dice Pool can be refreshed after a 4-hour rest, which presumably would be difficult to find in spider-infested areas
The best mechanic, and I think the heart of the game, are Webscapes. Each environment the players enter is given a Webscape – basically a number of D8s. When the players enter a area, the GM rolls those dice and records the numbers rolled. (repeat numbers are re-rolled).
Every time a player makes a roll, if a die comes up with one of the Webscape numbers, the player has made noise or disturbed a web, alerting a spider. This will eventually draw a spider closer. This is kept track of with the Arachnid Proximity(AP) number. For a new location it starts at zero, but as the players do things and start rolling Webscape numbers, the AP starts to rise. A provided table describes the increasing signs of spider activity. The spider arrives at AP 5 and actually starts attacking on 7. A spider attack will usually cause a player to lose 1 die from their pool.
The more dangerous an area is, the more dice in the Webscape. e.g. An old office building has Webscape of 3d8. The GM rolls 3, 5, and 7. Every time the players roll dice in that building, if any of the dice come up 3, 5, or 7, the AP starts to rise.
This mechanic has a couple interesting effects:
- Every roll has tension – even if you succeed, you might make things worse.
- It keeps the players moving. This is the spider’s world now, and you don’t want to stay in one place too long.
- It encourages small parties. If you had 8 players, they could probably eventually succeed at whatever they were trying to do, but that much activity would draw in spiders really quickly.
Hosts have their own Host Proximity table that works in a similar way
A list of spiders with special abilities is provided, along with several lists of possible locations, obstacles, and spider nests.
There’s also a short sample adventure in which the players have to travel across a spider-infested city to recover an atomic power source from an abandoned auto factory.
Ludicrously Minor Nitpick: It doesn’t really matter, but the sample scenario was set in NYC. NYC doesn’t really have auto factories (the last ones closed in the 1920s), so I modified the scenario a bit. The players had to cross mid-town Manhattan to make it to the remains of the New York Auto Show in the Javitz center. Once again, If you don’t know NYC geography (or don’t care), it’s not important, but I thought I’d mention it.
It’s a short 25-page game that’s designed to do one thing – allow you to run a terrified group of players through a high tension arachnid nightmare. It does this one thing very, very, well.
Note that the game is very deadly, Players can lose characters really easily.
I could imagine using Webworld for other, similar settings. It’d work really well for a Quiet Place adaptation.
My Character Sheet
I bought Webworld in person at a gaming store (Pegasus Games in Lancaster, PA), so I didn’t have an electronic version of the character sheet. There was nothing online, so I decided to create my own print-friendly fillable character sheet. The game’s author (@Neon_Rot), after seeing my tweet about the initial design, was kind enough to send me a PNG of the official character sheet.
Here’s my custom version. It’s half-letter sized. I’ve added it to my ever-expanding web of character sheets.
The font on this sheet is Zombie-Noize by Mr. Fisk Fonts. It’s available free for personal use.
One thought on “Webworld: A mini-review and custom character sheet for the post-spiderpocalypse RPG”
Here’s a more detailed review someone did on YouTube: