Preleminary information

We are in a post apocalyptic world, the human population is drastically reduced, and radiation "gave birth" to the undead. Long story short, in this zombie world, if there is a concentration of zombies you'll find a lot of radiation. But not always the other way around.

Zombies are also very smart and organized. Some have kept their human selves, a lot have even improved in some areas. Lots of them are just basic zombie grunts that can barely say "braaains".

The subject of interest

I'm trying to have a city that has a human side and a zombie side, pretty much like they did in World of Warcraft with the city of Shattrah.

That would be a very cool hub for quests, dialogues, and a general good source of "reasons and ideas" for me in the future. I would really like to have this.

But I need a reason for it to have happened, a way to make it work because of radiation, and a reason for both sides to not attack each other relentlessly.

Practically, the city is shaped like an egg, north side is human, south side is Z. There is a very large road that crosses horizontally which is the frontier.

I'm thinking all the radiation would be only in the south side, and there would be a massive lead/concrete wall or something similar to help reduce the radiation to the north side. That and also some distance. We'll assume that they live with very high amount of exposure but would rather have that for a while and not have to deal with the outside of the city, which is far less controlled and you would most likely be eaten.

The middle road could be some kind of "no mans land" where nobody attacks each other but everyone can interact and trade (quests, etc.). I think this is really cool, and it'll make my players very curious of the zombie side. Which I could use later.

Now that area would be dangerous because of increased radiation, but there are practical ways to handle it (hazmat suits, not staying too long, etc.) That can be dealt with just like having a city near an irridiated area.

The real question

I don't see any reasonable reason this scenario would be viable, yet, I feel like it could be done. How?

I was thinking of some kind of "forcefield" (like UV lights) so zombies wouldn't attack, and zombies would have trading supplies that human needs or something. But that doesn't really work because my zombies are daylight friendly, and also this all feels... not real.

Do you think this is possible? In what context could humans & zombies coexist?

Sorry about the wall of text for such a simple question. I wanted to give as much information as possible to get the best answer possible.

Thank you very much for your time.


Adding some more information to help provide an answer :

Everyone was human once, most of them were injected with the brand new cure for old age, which eventually had a bad chemical reaction and lead to aggressivity & death, as well as lots of radioactivity. This bit is probably scientifically ridiculous, but is already established in the game.

The city has not been discovered yet by my players, so it can be anything. Right now I like to believe that the people that died and came back alive with self awareness/intelligence just moved to another district because it was easier for everyone, the main reason being the radiation that the undead "radiate" and would kill the living.

Slowly the undead lived on their side and the living on their own side aswell.

Some zmobies lost intelligence and just run for brains. Some a stronger, some have special abilities. I'm leaving myself an infinite scope of possibilites. They don't throw fireballs, they don't fly, they don't shoot lasers through their eyes, but some can have XRay vision or incredible hearing. I don't know how I define this, but you might get the general idea. It's not "too" supernatural, but it's a bit supernatural.

Right now I'm buidling the city from scratch, and from what I've read, I need both sides to have an incentive, a need to each other, otherwise it won't hold.

They're not always uncontrollably aggressive, some are, but in the city we'll say that most aren't (or are kept under control by zombie police force?). But if they're generally stronger (which they can be considering they have powers and humans dont), they still need a reason to not just bluntly attack the human side. This is the bit that troubles me most I think, as right now, this is what makes my city be plausible or not.

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    $\begingroup$ Why trade with someone who wants to eat you? Can zombies think? Do they consider humans equals or cattle? Consider Robinson Crusoe or The Time Machine for ideas $\endgroup$ – nzaman Sep 7 '17 at 14:12
  • $\begingroup$ Welcome to WorldBuilding Gil! "So anyway, I'm here for some seeds, if you could give me some ideas to make this work in a reasonable and realistic manner, that would be amazing :D" looks like an invitation to open-ended brainstorming, which is not a good fit for the site. Please take the tour and visit the help center to learn more about the site. I can't see objective criteria to answer the question here. In fact I only see an invitation for opinion-based tips "[...] something smart and reasonable for this to happen in the first place [...]" Could you edit your post? Have fun on the site $\endgroup$ – Secespitus Sep 7 '17 at 14:54
  • $\begingroup$ Hello Secespitus, Or should I say, hi back from rpg :) i'll try to edit it that way but it would be a different question that is not what I tried to ask. I genuinely was looking for opinions. And now that answers have been given, they would not fit anymore. $\endgroup$ – Gil Sand Sep 7 '17 at 14:57
  • $\begingroup$ I edited a bit but even myself don't find it convincing to avoid the opinion-based card. $\endgroup$ – Gil Sand Sep 7 '17 at 15:11

Having different classes of zombie with some being viable for civilized trade and diplomacy has been done, Fallout would be the obvious example.

The best motivation would probably be trade, humans will have to provide some incentive for the Z's to cooperate and trade is the most obvious. There can also be the greater threat from the outside, perhaps there is something out there which the zombies would need human help to keep at bay?

The sentient zombies would probably want to keep their mindless brethren out of the city or restricted to special zones where they can be used as labor but not threaten the status quo. The humans will be uneasy enough as they can't really tell the two kinds apart visually. (I mean, once you strike up conversation it'll be easy enough but people tend to be antsy around animated corpses, it's in our genes.)

Basically, if you ask me, as long as there is a reason to cooperate the division and non-aggression will take care of itself. Sure, there will be fringe groups on either side which prosper from conflict, which in itself lends to interesting story leads. (Use modern conflicts like Northern Ireland or Israel/Palestine or basically anywhere you've got armed separatists as a reference point.)

But there will be an uneasy truce as long as it's necessary and basically there's you story. No real need for walls, just a very paranoid police state in which parts that ultimately don't really trust each other have to cooperate to survive.

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    $\begingroup$ Oh, yes, fallout ! I agree with what you're saying. So basically, "don't do anything, it just works like that already" is pretty much what you have in mind. This is good. And having this constant tension and paranoia gives many opportunities for story elements, as well as a pretty good atmopshere. I guess sometimes, the answer is right there in front of my eyes. Thanks man, this is good material ! $\endgroup$ – Gil Sand Sep 7 '17 at 14:52

If the city is divided as such because the south side experienced some kind of radiation leak (which turned them into zombies), perhaps that could explain the friendly human/zombie division? If the north side was initially residential, and the south was industrial/commercial, perhaps some families and friendship groups were split when the initial catastrophe happened.

If enough of the zombies are sentient (or if there's some kind of incentive to keep being nice to them, as they may get more rational and sensible as time goes on), then maybe they remember their family members and want to keep in contact with them. They recognise the issues with radiation, hence the geographical division, but a few might get desperate to see family members and try to cross the wall.

Also, what sort of characteristics do your zombies have? If they're particularly strong, maybe the south side of the city is more dangerous (beyond the city walls is a huge expanse of wilderness with deformed and hungry creatures trying to get a meal of human or zombie, for example) - the zombies could trade military protection for human luxuries. They might be able to get by eating brains, but would love a spaghetti carbonara once in a while?? The city division basically needs to be mutually beneficial, otherwise either the zombies or humans will start trying to mess things up. If the majority of the populations are happy with the setup, it could even become self-policing.


If there was some geographical reason for the majority of the zombies or humans to end up on one side, it'll probably just perpetuate itself. If the zombies are rising from the dead, maybe the city hospital/morgue/cemetery is on the south side? A few small pockets of zombies may have started out in the north, but then migrated to the south, because it's nice to be surrounded by people who have something in common with you.

Also, if zombies don't need electricity (or some other utility), and humans do, humans might try to get the land that best suits their needs, while zombies get whatever is left. That might start out as a point of contention, but then they may well end up just happy where they are.

Also, I don't know if this would help, but your scenario sounds kind of D&Dish - try the Role Playing Games SE?? https://rpg.stackexchange.com (Actually, I see you've already come from there. No worries!)

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    $\begingroup$ Thanks for your answer, it already gave me some extra ideas. I've provided more information which might help you expand your answer, or clarify what I'm trying to achieve $\endgroup$ – Gil Sand Sep 7 '17 at 14:39
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for the added edit K.Price. Again, good information for me, thank you really :) I just came from RPG, and someone said that my question might be a better fit here, so I tried to adapt it for here. But all the networks share that rule about opinion-based questions that will probably end up with this question being closed. I ended up writing it on RPGNet and /r/rpg subreddit $\endgroup$ – Gil Sand Sep 7 '17 at 14:59

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