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Head Shot! Zombie Apocalypse Action Roleplaying
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Head Shot! Zombie Apocalypse Action Roleplaying


When the dead return, hungry for brains, smart folk know that the only way to stay alive is to stick together!

This Cortex Plus Action Roleplaying hack focuses on the Player Characters as a team of survivors, thrown together by circumstance and working together to make it in a world overrun by zombies of many different varieties. There are only three things they have to do: (1) scrounge for resources, (2) avoid antagonistic survivors that want to steal their stuff, and (3) when they inevitably run into a horde of zombies…go for a HEAD SHOT!

HEAD SHOT! is not a standalone game! It uses the Action Roleplaying flavor of Cortex Plus, found on pages 116-154 of the Cortex Plus Hacker’s Guide.

It is fully compatible with the newly Kickstarted Cortex Prime game - any conversion necessary will be added as a free PDF download once that game is released in 2018!

In this hack, you'll find:

  • An introduction to the Zombie Apocalypse of your own creation!
  • Full details on creating Player Characters (AKA "Survivors").
  • New and variant Attributes, Distinctions, Specialties, Signature Assets, and 37 new or modified Talents.
  • New framing devices and mechanics for Missions that force the Survivors to brave the zombie hordes to scrounge up supplies, help other folks out, and otherwise put themselves in danger.
  • The Viral Pool, a pool of difficulty dice that also feature mechanisms for generating random encounters and hazards!
  • A huge variety of zombies, including 4 main types and 5 variants that you can mix and match, plus all the rules for creating zombies of varying mechanical complexity.
  • Voodoo zombies, a completely different take on zombies both mechanically and story-wise.
  • An entire chapter of antagonists (gangs, cults, psychopaths, bandits), environmental hazards, and wild animals that may threaten Survivors who are lucky enough to sneak past the zombie hordes.
  • Tips for stealing these rules and ideas for other flavors of Cortex Plus, such as Dramatic and Heroic.
  • A character sheet designed specifically for use with this hack!
  • Game Master cheat sheets for quick rules referencing, or for use as inserts in your favorite DIY Game Master Screen!

Are you ready to brave a world overrun by the walking dead?

1/12/18 Update: We've added an 8-page guide to converting Head Shot to the newly released Cortex Prime SRD available to backers of the Cortex Prime RPG Kickstarter and designer Cam Banks' Patreon! This guide includes planned revisions that will available to all former and future purchasers of Head Shot!


6/22/2016 Finalized cover, clarified Alerts under Viral Pool
7/19/2016 Added character sheet, streamlined formatting
8/2/2016 Added cheat sheets/GM screen inserts
2/10/2017 Updated layout & character sheets (including a form fillable one) by Craig Judd
1/12/2018 Added a Cortex Prime update document! 

If you like what you see here, check out neuronphaser's other Cortex Community Content:

Cortex Plus Cheat Sheets

neuronphaser is an RPG enthusiast since 1985, dedicated to creating the tools and sharing the tips you need to optimize your tabletop roleplaying experience.

Elena Naylor is an artist and illustrator who has a graphic design & fine art degree. See more of her artwork at

Craig Judd is a freelance designer, illustrator, and editor, with a focus on RPG products. He also produces his own RPGs.

Cortex Plus Community Created Content

 Customers who bought this title also purchased
Reviews (1)
Discussions (7)
Customer avatar
Andrea P April 23, 2017 12:27 am UTC
Hi Tim. I didn't buy this product already, however, up in the comments, you wrote:
Assign dice to all five ATTRIBUTES, using either method:
1. One Attribute at D10, two at D8, and two at D6;
2. One Attribute at D10, three at D8, and one at D6.

Of course, I think this could possibly be an error, 'cause the 1st choice seems wrong, underpowered.
Customer avatar
Tim B April 24, 2017 10:41 pm UTC
The text was corrected and the version that is live now (and has been updated for previous buyers) shows the correctly balanced version.
Customer avatar
Tim B February 11, 2017 12:35 am UTC
Updated to the brand new, ultra-cool looking layout from Craig Judd, with new character sheets. There's also a form-fillable character sheet!

POD version coming soon...!
Customer avatar
Tim B April 21, 2017 4:29 pm UTC
Softcover B&W edition now available in print! Bundle it with the PDF and it's still the same price!
Customer avatar
Tim B December 14, 2016 6:13 pm UTC

Page 7 of the PDF incorrectly provides a spread of Attribute dice for character creation that mentions six Attributes, but there are only five. The correct text is:

Assign dice to all five ATTRIBUTES, using either method:
1. One Attribute at D10, two at D8, and two at D6;
2. One Attribute at D10, three at D8, and one at D6.

This information will be updated in the document as soon as I can get my hands on the working files and make the update.
Customer avatar
August 07, 2016 12:50 pm UTC

Is the hacker's guide required to use this? Or can some of the other cortex+ games be used?
Customer avatar
Tim B August 09, 2016 8:38 pm UTC
Technically, this does require the Cortex Plus Hacker's Guide as it references pages and rules in that book. However, those rules are derivative of Leverage (for the most part) and Firefly (way less), so you could probably use either of those sources with just a little bit of work and get this to work. Leverage is definitely the closest rule set.
Customer avatar
August 15, 2016 2:14 pm UTC
Thank you! I think I'll eventually end up getting the hacker's guide.
Customer avatar
Tim B August 15, 2016 6:55 pm UTC
Glad to help out! It's a great book, you'll enjoy it.
Customer avatar
Jeff P July 28, 2016 5:23 pm UTC
Hi Tim! "Brawn" is listed twice on the character sheet.
Customer avatar
Tim B August 01, 2016 4:59 pm UTC
Nice catch! Fixing now.
Customer avatar
Tim B June 22, 2016 9:07 pm UTC
Updated with new cover and some clarifications on Alerts (basically a random encounter or complication that is added to the survivors as the Viral Pool grows and the zombie hordes become ever more present).
Customer avatar
Tim B June 17, 2016 6:55 pm UTC
Howdy folks! Tim Bannock, author of Head Shot! here. Just wanted to let you know that if you find any errors or points of confusion, please feel free to post 'em here and I'll work to correct things as quickly as I can!

FYI, we are already working on an update to the cover art (just to make it look even snazzier!), and it looks like I've already spotted one missing comma and some text that was deleted during a round of editing that maybe shouldn't have been. You should see an update in a few days or maybe a week (just so I can compile any other errata and get it all fixed at once).

Hope you like it, and happy gaming!
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File Last Updated:
February 02, 2018
This title was added to our catalog on June 15, 2016.