I watch the Walking Dead, it is an enjoyable show if you don’t mind the gore. I have not now nor do I plan to start reading the comic books, I just cannot get into that frame of mind. That said there are more than a few things that drive the role playing veteran and historian in me crazy.
First, I understand that in the first season or two that everyone was still figuring out how to fight the zombies, things were still new. But after that, I begin to have some serious issues with the way these people fight. And as a role player, it drives me even crazier because I have spent so much time poring over weapon lists and reading up on them.
After the first man realized that putting a sharpened stone at the end of a long stick was much better than just using that sharpened stone people have known that a spear is a superior weapon to a knife. For personal defense, and for hunting purposes. You don’t hunt a large predator with a knife, and that is what the zombies qualify as.
And yet, with the exception of Micchone and Morgan everyone still just uses knives, which places them in close, striking distance of the zombie. That is just silly and anachronistic for the purposes of highlighting the action of someone driving a knife into the skull of a zombie. Particularly once they discovered that the zombies were attracted to the sounds of guns it would behoove the characters to figure out the most effective quiet way of killing the walkers.
I understand that you cannot take a group of adults and transform them into spartan warriors overnight. But you would think that by now someone would have come up with the concept of a shield wall backed by spears as a way of stopping a surge of zombies. We know that it has been several years at this point since things went down, and yet no one has figured this out?
And to add insult to injury there is this most recent season. Apparently there is a very large, organized and armed force that acts roughly like a feudal baron. Now this force has an accord with several groups that have built themselves safe spaces: pay tribute or get destroyed. This is not terribly surprising that in year 4 or 5 of the zombie apocalypse a group could get that organized. What is insulting is that when you have this group, and one of these settlements refuses to pay tribute and instead kills your men, you don’t play cat & mouse. Instead, you bring your overwhelming force to the gates of this settlement, show off what you have and make it clear that there is only one option. Otherwise, you just endanger your men and end up with unnecessary deaths.
Really the tactical and strategic thinking and actions of pretty much everyone in this show are a nightmare. Which makes me wonder if anyone who has actually studied history is even still alive. I’m not a trained historian, I’m an amateur, and I admit more focused on some of these things than the ordinary person. But most of this goes beyond a lot of academic training, this is common sense.
Which is a reason why I have never been able to come up with a convincing campaign for translating the zombie apocalypse to D&D. Because the people in a fantasy world would know how to deal with a zombie outbreak, what are good weapons and what are not. And they mostly already live in feudal systems so their daily life outside of dealing with the zombies is already on this level.
That and the thing that makes the zombies in Walking Dead really frightening is their numbers. Well in a fantasy world, even a high fantasy one, there just are not enough people to create the kind of numbers that you see in the show. So if you want to create a horde type of scenario you really have to go with a different type of creature.