Okay, the wife's birthday game is going to be what I hereby dub "Dead Reign Lite." It will also be a template for "Lite" Palladium. A lot of the ideas here come from my issues with the system, and with earlier Palladium mechanics I liked from Mechanoid Invasion.
1. Attributes are all in the 3-18 range. No rolling extra dice for attributes of 16+.
2. All characters are 1st level Survivors with occupations selected by me.
3. You only get your OCC skills plus four slots for skills your character learned "the hard way" in the five months since the zombipocalypse. These skills will come from a list I will prepare shortly, but include combat skills, salvage/jury-rig type skills, basic first aid, wilderness survival, etc.
4. No hand to hand= 1 attack per round , Basic=2, Expert=3, Martial Arts/Commando=4.
5. No SDC for characters.
6. No Hit Points for zombies. (They only have SDC, since they aren't alive)
...my wife is worried that this is fettering away the last of my summer vacation, and now she's wondering if she should have asked me to do a Little Fears game. I am trying to assure her that this is something I've wanted to do since the very first RIFTS session I played.