Left 4 Dead is a co-operative first-person shooter that pits upwards of 4 human-controlled players versus legions of not quite undead “zombies.” It was released by Valve Software in November of 2008, and was followed by a sequel, Left 4 Dead 2, a year later.
The basic premise behind Left 4 Dead is that the eastern United States (and, perhaps parts of Canada) has been overrun with the “Infected.” These are humans who have contracted a highly contagious rabies-like pathogen, which renders its victims extremely violent while simultaneously destroying or inhibiting certain higher brain functions. The result is a “zombie” apocalypse in which all semblance of law and order has completely broken down in the afflicted areas. In addition, the infecting seems to be spreading far faster than attempts to contain it, meaning there many be no safe places left for uninfected humans to retreat to, where they can try and ride out the course of the infection.
Gameplay consists of groups of four survivors (anywhere from one to four human players, the rest being computer controlled bots) making their way from reinforced safe house to reinforced safe house (where food, water, first aid kits, weapons, and ammunition are stored), while eliminating Infected and simultaneously collecting weaponry, ammunition, and other helpful items, until they can reach a rescue point. Along the way they must not only navigate various obstacles (such as the terrain itself), but also deal with hordes of Common, Uncommon, and Special Infected.
Common Infected are just that, normal humans suffering from the rabies-based pathogen. Uncommon Infected are a variant of the Common Infected, possessing unique equipment or properties. Special Infected are extremely mutated Common Infected, each with unique powers and abilities. These Special Infected are the Boomer, Charger, Hunter, Jockey, Smoker, Spitter, Tank, and Witch. The latter two are “boss”-level Infected, and on higher difficulty levels can be hard to nigh-impossible to kill.
I’ve adapted the Infected to HERO System terms, presenting them using the 6th Edition rules set. I’ve tried to retain the flavor of the Special Infected, simultaneously simulating their in-game powers while also making sure they are easily playable using the HERO System rules. Written with the idea that most survivors are Normals (thus totaling perhaps 100 points or so), the Special Infected may seem a bit low-powered (especially with regards to defenses.) However, I do include suggestions on how to make each one more powerful and/or flexible, and readily admit to adapting the “Easy” power level Infected.
While the character sheets are primarily meant for a Post-Apocalypse Hero setting, you could easily turn them into the victims of some strange mutagenic in a Champions game, the results of foul necromancy in Fantasy Hero (or even full-blown undead with a little work), or the dreaded experiments of a Pulp Hero medical madman.
Click on a Special Infected to be sent to their character sheet.
Return to Video Game-Derived Character Adaptations