Characters in Dead Weight are survivors of a zombie apocalypse, living in a high density urban environment where they engage in "freerunning" (Parkour) to gather supplies and evade zombies. All characters are assumed to have some degree of skill in freerunning. The first half of the rules establish the setting. All survivors have banded into Tribes that live in the upper floors of skyscrapers. The more powerful the Tribe, the higher the floor they occupy. Lower floors are penetrated by zombies, upper floors become progressively safer the higher they are. Unfortunately for the survivors, all remaining supplies are found down at ground level, out in the urban sprawl. This necessitates frequent excursions of freerunning to allow survival. Most zobmies--most--are typical zombies. Some are worse. The goal of players is to keep their characters alive another day and hopefully gather some supplies in the process.
Characters have several Characteristics, including Grace, Virtues (Haste, Cunning, Passion), Tags (brief narrative descriptions), Glory, Doom, and Loot. Characters begin with three points of Grace, variable points in Virtues (an array of 2, 1, 0), a couple tags, and zero points in Glory, Doom, and Loot. No two characters can share the same distribution of Virtues.
Characters also belong to a Tribe (roughly analogous to an adventuring party in a traditional fantasy RPG). Tribes have several stats, including Height, Status, and Population. Height begins at one--not good, Status at zero, and Population at 50.
During the Day, the game proceeds as a narrative action largely among characters. Characters assume the narrative event by having a character embody one of their virtues. If more than one character wants the focus, a die mechanic selects a winner. Upon completing the narrative and returning home, dice are used to determine Loot points which contribute to Tribal Status, Population Growth, and Height.
During the Night, the GM controls the game using Doom dice which lead to zombie activity.