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Let’s Play D&D With ‘The Last Of Us’

4 Minute Read
Mar 1 2023
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Be careful not to step on any rogue vines. This week we’re taking on the infected when we play D&D with The Last of Us.

Lately we’ve all been tuning in to watch The Last of Us. Whether or not you played the games, you’re probably invested in Joel and Ellie’s adventures through the post-apocalyptic U.S. countryside. It’s been a wild, exciting, and sometimes upsetting ride full of characters that feel more real than the average zombie movie cast.

I know, I know, we’re not supposed to use the Z word, but lots of the same rules apply and it’s still true that these characters act in ways that feel more relatable and understandable than some characters in those other shows. They make the choices we would… even if they’re not the right choices. And nowhere can we see that more easily prove that than at the game table. So this week we’re playing D&D with…

Ellie

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Ellie is a sort of hard character to make because her growth is so steep. When we meet her she’s not terribly well equipped for life in the outside world. And she doesn’t get those skills very quickly, either. Joel continues to have reservations about even giving her a gun – or teaching her to shoot – for many episodes. In the grand scheme of adventuring, she’s barely on the level chart at all.

But she is adventuring so she has to be on the chart somewhere. I went with Ranger because it felt most right for somebody with budding survival instincts and an interest in ranged weapons. Unfortunately, at level one there’s almost nothing to really work with. But she’s still learning, she’ll figure it out soon.

I have a feeling I’ll be coming back for a very leveled-up version of Ellie next season. But for now, she’s still learning how to shoot that firearm.

But Ellie needs something to fight so here’s a….

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Clicker

via HBO

I had a lot of fun with this sheet. Most of the inspiration from this comes from a mixture of Zombie and Myconid, and if you’re familiar with either of those entries in the Monster Manual, you can probably tell.

On their own, none of these undead-plant things would be terribly difficult to defeat. They have a not insignificant number of hit points because the budding mushroom growth gives them some natural armor. But realistically your average adventurer probably fights things much harder than this on a regular basis.

I took a few creative liberties with Clickers for the same brevity. For example, this wouldn’t be the first step of infection while this sheet definitely treats it that way, and I left out their ability to echolocate. The first would have required multiple monster sheets to make sense, and the latter felt more like flavor text than anything. They find you. How they find you can be up to the DM’s description.

Where it would get interesting is their Myconid-like ability to let others in the area know right away when they’ve taken damage so they can join in the battle. That, and the steady D6 necrotic damage until you turn quickly puts this fight on a pretty scary timer before things spiral out of control or you start losing party members.

Of course, I gave players a way to cure this while that doesn’t exist in the show or game. But D&D takes place in a world of magic, so the rules have to be a little different. Plus, it would be too mean for the DM to tell a player, “Sorry you took damage, just start rolling a new character now.” That is unless you’re playing a horror one-shot. Then all bets are off.

How would you incorporate The Last of Us into a D&D game? What do you think of the show so far? What movie, show, game, or comic should I make sheets from next time? Let us know in the comments!

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Happy Adventuring!

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