The Hotness
Games|People|Company
Dune: Chronicles of the Imperium
Vaginas Are Magic!
Blades in the Dark
Dungeon Crawl Classics Role Playing Game
Hillfolk
The Derelict
Tales from the Loop
Sentinel Comics: The Roleplaying Game – Starter Kit
AMBER Diceless Role-Playing
Bushido (3rd Edition)
Dark•Matter Campaign Setting
Horror on the Orient Express (2nd Edition)
Adventures in Middle-earth Player's Guide
The Lapis Observatory
Binding the Wind
Realm of Chaos: The Lost and the Damned
Masks of Nyarlathotep Companion
The One Ring Roleplaying Game
ICONS Superpowered Roleplaying: The Assembled Edition
Player's Handbook (D&D 5e)
Hoard of the Dragon Queen
Everyone is John (2nd Edition)
My Little Pony: Tails of Equestria, The Storytelling Game
Dresden Files Accelerated
Princess Pillowfighter
Bree
Thieves' World
The Morrow Project
Toon (Deluxe Edition)
Monsters & Treasure
Children of the Horned Rat
I6: Ravenloft
Blood Spawn: Creatures of Light and Shadow
Villains and Vigilantes (Version 2.1)
Dungeons & Dragons Essentials: Monster Vault
Savage Thundarr!
Masks: 1,000 Memorable NPCs for Any Roleplaying Game
The Burning Wheel Fantasy Roleplaying System (Gold)
Macabre Tales
Keeper Rulebook
Investigator Handbook
Onslaught at Arda I
Spellbook Cards: Druid
Spellbook Cards: Bard
Curse of Strahd
Mutant Bikers of the Atomic Wasteland (Fudge)
Cepheus Engine System Reference Document
Epsilon City
The Curse of the Statuettes
Dungeon Master's Guide (D&D 4e)
Recommend
8 
 Thumb up
 Hide
36 Posts
1 , 2  Next »   | 

RPG» Forums » General Discussion » RPG Design

Subject: What Do You Like About Post-Apocalyptic Settings? rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Oliver Shead
Australia
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
Avatar
Hey guys, I'm gearing up for the Kickstarter launch of Infected Zombie RPG on August 16 (http://infected.immersion-rpg.com), and it has made me really feel... post-apocalyptic!

So this made me wonder - what do you like best about post-apocalyptic RPGs? What's the best themes of them, and have you ever played some really cool post-apoc RPG games?

Personally, I love it when the world is dynamic, still full of colour and interest and countless possible plot lines, rather than just a two-dimensional survive-or-die or outrun-the-zombies story. I find those ones work well for a while, but eventually start to get pale, and boring.

I love it when the world has evolved in unique and interesting ways. For instance, the latest Mad Max (Fury Road) was a cool example of that. The world is virtually unrecognisable. There are new religions popping up, strange technology that takes advantage of certain situations, or comes about through a lack of resources (and a lot of ingenuity), and all sorts of odd and unusual factions.

It's great when the factions are really dynamic too. For example, you might have the Desert Dwellers who hate (and war with) City Dwellers, but there are missionaries from the same cult which spread their believers throughout both societies, and who then have their own angle and political leanings, which will start to influence how these two sides are interacting (the two sides may even team up to kill the sect - who knows?).

Those sorts of things keep me hungering for more, and make my mind go down devious pathways as I imagine the complex situations and dilemmas I can put my pcs through.

Personally, I like them to be really gritty and quite realistic, as that does seem like the post-apocalyptic feel. Tech should, naturally, be quite low I feel, or rare.

I also love it when I see how the society that was is slowly crumbling away, into ruins. The Last of Us did a great job of that, as did Rise of the Planet of the Apes. I really like it when there are plants growing all over them, they're flooded, rusting and degrading into nothing - but still visible as what they once were.

What are your favourite aspects of Post Apocalypse settings? And hey, if you like zombie settings too, what's your favourite aspects of those?
5 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Pandora Caitiff
United Kingdom
Norfolk
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I like PA settings that have small but functioning societies that make sense. Towns need to be able to produce enough food to survive without outside support, bandits can only function if there is regular trade between enclaves, the lack of electronics doesn't stop guns, bicycles or dynamos from working or being built, etc.

Unless we're playing for the aesthetic, and not as a survival/rebuilding game. Then you can have mutants, and car duels, and cyborgs to your hearts content.

As for zombies, I prefer games that follow Night of the Living Dead (clashing personalities kept in a cramped environment until they crack) rather than ones about waves of enemies you can kill without a bad conscience.
10 
 Thumb up
0.05
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Marshall Miller
United States
Malden
Massachusetts
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
The Warren is a roleplaying game about intelligent rabbits trying to make the best of a world filled with hazards, predators and, worst of all, other rabbits.
badge
Marshall is a Boston-based researcher and game designer.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
In everything from the Mad Max to Watership Down, the themes I like exploring in post-apocalyptica are survival and community. The excitement comes from the protagonists being exposed and threatened without the advantages we normally take for granted but innovating and making sacrifices so that they/others can carry on. In reaction to overwhelming adversity, survivors also form groups and have to make decisions about how they choose to live. Often there are multiple groups with disparate ways of living but it's up to the protagonists to forge a new society based on the values they choose.


9 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Hans Messersmith
Canada
Hamilton
Ontario
flag msg tools
admin
Runnin' down the avenue,(Pant, Pant, Pant) See how the sun shines brightly In the city on the streets Where once was pity, Mr. Blue Sky is living here today.
badge
Mr. Blue you did it right, But soon comes Mr. Night, Creepin' over, now his Hand is on your shoulder, Never mind I'll remember you this way.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
PandoraCaitiff wrote:
I like PA settings that have small but functioning societies that make sense. Towns need to be able to produce enough food to survive without outside support, bandits can only function if there is regular trade between enclaves, the lack of electronics doesn't stop guns, bicycles or dynamos from working or being built, etc.

Unless we're playing for the aesthetic, and not as a survival/rebuilding game. Then you can have mutants, and car duels, and cyborgs to your hearts content.
Pandora has nailed this, as usual, for me. If anything, my desires are even more extreme. I either want something like Legacy: Life Among the Ruins, or I want something like Road Hogs, but I'm not much interested in anything in between.

In practice, I have tended more towards the mutants/car duels/cyborgs side of the spectrum, essentially fantasy or mythic journey with different narrative color.
4 
 Thumb up
0.02
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Eric Jome
United States
Franklin
Wisconsin
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mb
Oliver Shead wrote:
Hey guys, I'm gearing up for the Kickstarter launch of Infected Zombie RPG on August 16 (http://infected.immersion-rpg.com), and it has made me really feel...


Promotional?

Actually it's refreshing to see someone who can use the forums to promote their work correctly. I know several publishers who can't manage it.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Oliver Shead
Australia
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
Avatar
cosine wrote:
Oliver Shead wrote:
Hey guys, I'm gearing up for the Kickstarter launch of Infected Zombie RPG on August 16 (http://infected.immersion-rpg.com), and it has made me really feel...


Promotional?

Actually it's refreshing to see someone who can use the forums to promote their work correctly. I know several publishers who can't manage it.


Haha, yeah I don't like just product bashing. I find just chatting on forums about cool things like PA settings is fun. And hey, if people happen to like what I say, and maybe check out my stuff, then all the better - if not, no worries.

Brings me to a question - how can you retain a gritty, realistic edge in a PA setting, in the face of stuff that just couldn't logically be there? Like Rifts - I found its first manual was very PA in feeling, but in later (and later...and later) books, it got much more glitzy, techy and just bizarre. But I loved it too, despite the system making no sense. It's all about that wicked story. Still, I found it was pretty hard to justify some of those storylines being at all realistic.

Does anyone else have that trouble, or do they just love the crazy ride? I know most of my mates don't care at all, they just love the coolness of the game.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jay Peters
United States
Eugene
Oregon
flag msg tools
designer
badge
"Dreams save us. Dreams lift us up and transform us. And on my soul, I swear... until my dream of a world where dignity, honor and justice becomes the reality we all share, I will never stop fighting."
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
PandoraCaitiff wrote:
I like PA settings that have small but functioning societies that make sense. Towns need to be able to produce enough food to survive without outside support, bandits can only function if there is regular trade between enclaves, the lack of electronics doesn't stop guns, bicycles or dynamos from working or being built, etc.

Unless we're playing for the aesthetic, and not as a survival/rebuilding game. Then you can have mutants, and car duels, and cyborgs to your hearts content.


This is pretty much it for me. Dark Sun Boxed Set was my first real post-apocalyptic game and will always be one of my favorites, especially with the cities and their sorcerer-kings. I think that part of the game is what hooked me more than anything else.

I'm also pretty partial to Reclamation Role-playing Game with its focus on rebuilding, rather than just surviving. Thematically I like Desolation quite a lot as well, and the opening fiction goes a long way to driving home what the game is about (small, functioning societies that make sense, even if they are terrifying).

As for zombies, I'm pretty burned out on the genre as a whole but I like survival horror rather than splatterpunk. Night of the Living Dead, 28 Days Later and Dawn of the Dead are all the winners for me, where it's more about the survivors dealing with each other and the outside threat rather than hordes of zombies shambling into chaingun fire.
6 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Lowell Francis
United States
South Bend
Indiana
flag msg tools
badge
explanation does not equal excuse
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I mentioned this thread over in this post.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
True Blue Jon
United States
Vancouver
Washington
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Morality conflicts
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Gamma World has been my favorite, with Rifts a close second; I suppose it is that the world is once again ready for adventure, to begin again.
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
JOHN ALEXANDER
United States
North Carolina
flag msg tools
I'm pretty much on the side of mutants/psychos/cars and craziness. I love seeing people with more modern sensibilities doing action adventure stuff, which is hard in realistic modern settings. Ash from Evil Dead! Taking modern characters and putting them into fantasy settings works...but post apocalyptic works even better.

Tank Girl, MasterBook After the Bomb octaNe. I love the aesthetics first and foremost. Although I was already in love with Post Apocalyptic stuff long before it came out, Road Warrior really cemented a look and feel I adore. I want the mohawks, the leather and chaps. Borderlands>Fallout>Stalkers

That said, I like the harsher side of things as well. While I love that Post-Apocalyptic Punk feel/look, I can settle for more boring stuff too. I still get the take of modern people doing action adventure vibe I love. Though if it gets too grimdark I lose interest pretty quick. I don't want Apocalyptic play. There has to be hope.

4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Mixu Lauronen
Finland
Helsinki
flag msg tools
designer
badge
The revolution lasted six minutes and covered one hundred and twelve meters.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Mease19 wrote:
In everything from the Mad Max to Watership Down, the themes I like exploring in post-apocalyptica are survival and community.


One word: Summerland (Revised and Expanded Edition). It is all about survival and communities.
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
MARCUS GABRIEL
United States
Grosse Pointe Woods
Michigan
flag msg tools
"Five cents, please," his front door said when he tried to open it. The toll door had an innate stubborness to it... UBIK
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I like the PA world as described in A Canticle for Liebowitz.

https://archive.org/details/ACanticleForLiebowitz
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Caroline Berg
United States
Washington
flag msg tools
designer
badge
...124 to run fleeing from the mountain. ...125 to use a rope to climb the cliff. ...126 to quickly cast "summon stairs." ...127 to dodge under the falling rocks.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
For me, I love the rebuilding of society that comes with the Post-Apocalyptic genre. Not only the factions and how people deal with each other, but how people deal with the destroyed world - what resources are left, how people protect or exploit them, how they try to keep going despite a truly awful situation.

I also love the sacrifice that comes with the genre. How there is one person, or a group of people, who have to die to reach their goal. No matter how bleak things are, one person (or group) will try to make a difference, and die for their ideals. I love the juxtaposition of that small hope for the future starkly contrasted with the utter despair of the now and the blind determination of one person (or group) who will die to make that future happen.

In a sense, I want both the bleakness and the hope; but more bleakness than hope. The agony of losing beloved characters has to be greater than the joy of knowing those who survived will be in a better place because of those sacrifices. However, I'm also fine with people dying for their cause with no changes occurring - because I'm a bleak person and things don't always end happy.

And I have to say, The Quiet Year very nicely fills that niche for me. As does A Doomed Pilgrim in the Ruins of the Future and the rest of the games in The Sundered Land.

As for zombies... I loathe them, and I tend to avoid games which have them. Not that I completely avoid all games with zombies - because I inevitably get roped into them by friends, but they are never my first choice of a theme or of a monster (if other monster types are available). About the only time I willingly have zombies in a game is when they are part of Lovecraftian mythos, like in Call of Cthulhu (2nd - 6th Edition) or Mansions of Madness.
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Oliver Shead
Australia
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
Avatar
Blammo wrote:
PandoraCaitiff wrote:
I like PA settings that have small but functioning societies that make sense. Towns need to be able to produce enough food to survive without outside support, bandits can only function if there is regular trade between enclaves, the lack of electronics doesn't stop guns, bicycles or dynamos from working or being built, etc.

Unless we're playing for the aesthetic, and not as a survival/rebuilding game. Then you can have mutants, and car duels, and cyborgs to your hearts content.


This is pretty much it for me. Dark Sun Boxed Set was my first real post-apocalyptic game and will always be one of my favorites, especially with the cities and their sorcerer-kings. I think that part of the game is what hooked me more than anything else.

I'm also pretty partial to Reclamation Role-playing Game with its focus on rebuilding, rather than just surviving. Thematically I like Desolation quite a lot as well, and the opening fiction goes a long way to driving home what the game is about (small, functioning societies that make sense, even if they are terrifying).

As for zombies, I'm pretty burned out on the genre as a whole but I like survival horror rather than splatterpunk. Night of the Living Dead, 28 Days Later and Dawn of the Dead are all the winners for me, where it's more about the survivors dealing with each other and the outside threat rather than hordes of zombies shambling into chaingun fire.


Yeah that about sums it up for me too. It's fun having the communities that are trying to rebuild, and having to deal with the problems of each other.
What makes that the most fun, I wonder? And how can a game designer (i.e. me...haha), best capitalise on that?
I usually like to add lots of area detail, NPC's, plots that are going on, factions within factions, and that sort of depth, which gives lots of plot potential.
The trick is that you probably shouldn't try to overly flesh it out...and with a post apocalypse, it's hard to flesh out all areas. So do you go generic and let the GM pop your fluff wherever they like, or just expand on a couple of very specific places?
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Oliver Shead
Australia
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
Avatar
edige23 wrote:


Nice blog mate.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Oliver Shead
Australia
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
Avatar
adularia25 wrote:
For me, I love the rebuilding of society that comes with the Post-Apocalyptic genre. Not only the factions and how people deal with each other, but how people deal with the destroyed world - what resources are left, how people protect or exploit them, how they try to keep going despite a truly awful situation.

I also love the sacrifice that comes with the genre. How there is one person, or a group of people, who have to die to reach their goal. No matter how bleak things are, one person (or group) will try to make a difference, and die for their ideals. I love the juxtaposition of that small hope for the future starkly contrasted with the utter despair of the now and the blind determination of one person (or group) who will die to make that future happen.

In a sense, I want both the bleakness and the hope; but more bleakness than hope. The agony of losing beloved characters has to be greater than the joy of knowing those who survived will be in a better place because of those sacrifices. However, I'm also fine with people dying for their cause with no changes occurring - because I'm a bleak person and things don't always end happy.

And I have to say, The Quiet Year very nicely fills that niche for me. As does A Doomed Pilgrim in the Ruins of the Future and the rest of the games in The Sundered Land.

As for zombies... I loathe them, and I tend to avoid games which have them. Not that I completely avoid all games with zombies - because I inevitably get roped into them by friends, but they are never my first choice of a theme or of a monster (if other monster types are available). About the only time I willingly have zombies in a game is when they are part of Lovecraftian mythos, like in Call of Cthulhu (2nd - 6th Edition) or Mansions of Madness.


Yeah I do agree. I think the bleakness and despair should always be the most powerful elements in a true PA game. But without a glimmer of hope to push the characters on, it just gets TOO dark.
I must say, I basically share your distaste for zombies, in that I'm not a fan of the cliche...which is ironic seeing as I made a zombie RPG! However, I do like to turn the tropes on their heads somewhat, with few zombies left (whatever happened to zombie rights?), fairly robust survivor communities and a story of rebuilding society. I guess you can't totally escape the cliches, but you can try!

The sacrifice and moral dilemmas brings me to an interesting thought - should mechanics for morality/sanity/humanity be included in a PA setting of this ilk?
I like it, personally, as it can mechanically show your slow descent into depravity. But some others have mentioned that they dislike it, and prefer to just RP it.
Thoughts?
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Pandora Caitiff
United Kingdom
Norfolk
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Oliver Shead wrote:
Yeah that about sums it up for me too. It's fun having the communities that are trying to rebuild, and having to deal with the problems of each other.
What makes that the most fun, I wonder? And how can a game designer (i.e. me...haha), best capitalise on that?
I usually like to add lots of area detail, NPC's, plots that are going on, factions within factions, and that sort of depth, which gives lots of plot potential.
The trick is that you probably shouldn't try to overly flesh it out...and with a post apocalypse, it's hard to flesh out all areas. So do you go generic and let the GM pop your fluff wherever they like, or just expand on a couple of very specific places?


I'd quite like to see a guide or even better a system for generating "realistic" post-apoc communities and their problems. I'd much prefer to build my own, than feel like I was playing in someone else's campaign notes.

Of course a few sample towns would be a good idea to show how it works, and for people that wanted to just set up and play.
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Caroline Berg
United States
Washington
flag msg tools
designer
badge
...124 to run fleeing from the mountain. ...125 to use a rope to climb the cliff. ...126 to quickly cast "summon stairs." ...127 to dodge under the falling rocks.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Oliver Shead wrote:
The sacrifice and moral dilemmas brings me to an interesting thought - should mechanics for morality/sanity/humanity be included in a PA setting of this ilk?
I like it, personally, as it can mechanically show your slow descent into depravity. But some others have mentioned that they dislike it, and prefer to just RP it.
Thoughts?

Mechanics for morality have yet to be done well in a game - there have been some interesting discussions about it over in the BGG design forums, and people seem to universally agree that it would be interesting if done well, but no one seems to do it well... it is incredibly tricky to do and not seem like you are pushing an agenda (this is the right way to behave, this is wrong, etc...)

There are already a number of games that focus on the descent into insanity and have stats to track said progress, in fact, I play a number of them - but the minute you add sanity as a stat in your game, you are going to be compared to the other games that have it.

Honestly, at this point, I'd just leave it as something people can roleplay if they want it - with no rules in your game. It is easy enough to tailor a scenario towards a game like that - and you could even provide an adventure set-up which focuses on such issues, if you want to have it highlighted in your book. A more subtle way of guiding people than "Your humanity stat is now 15 (out of 50), you are sick and depraved - so let's see how you roleplay that!"
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Oliver Shead
Australia
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
Avatar
adularia25 wrote:
Oliver Shead wrote:
The sacrifice and moral dilemmas brings me to an interesting thought - should mechanics for morality/sanity/humanity be included in a PA setting of this ilk?
I like it, personally, as it can mechanically show your slow descent into depravity. But some others have mentioned that they dislike it, and prefer to just RP it.
Thoughts?

Mechanics for morality have yet to be done well in a game - there have been some interesting discussions about it over in the BGG design forums, and people seem to universally agree that it would be interesting if done well, but no one seems to do it well... it is incredibly tricky to do and not seem like you are pushing an agenda (this is the right way to behave, this is wrong, etc...)

There are already a number of games that focus on the descent into insanity and have stats to track said progress, in fact, I play a number of them - but the minute you add sanity as a stat in your game, you are going to be compared to the other games that have it.

Honestly, at this point, I'd just leave it as something people can roleplay if they want it - with no rules in your game. It is easy enough to tailor a scenario towards a game like that - and you could even provide an adventure set-up which focuses on such issues, if you want to have it highlighted in your book. A more subtle way of guiding people than "Your humanity stat is now 15 (out of 50), you are sick and depraved - so let's see how you roleplay that!"


Yeah that's a good point. I've been leaning in that direction myself - and it's actually how I play my games. So I guess I should practice what I preach eh! It's funny... no one wants to be told how to RP. Tools and tips are fine, but what's the point of a game creator railroading your RP? There's no way he could possibly think up all possible situations.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Oliver Shead
Australia
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
Avatar
PandoraCaitiff wrote:
Oliver Shead wrote:
Yeah that about sums it up for me too. It's fun having the communities that are trying to rebuild, and having to deal with the problems of each other.
What makes that the most fun, I wonder? And how can a game designer (i.e. me...haha), best capitalise on that?
I usually like to add lots of area detail, NPC's, plots that are going on, factions within factions, and that sort of depth, which gives lots of plot potential.
The trick is that you probably shouldn't try to overly flesh it out...and with a post apocalypse, it's hard to flesh out all areas. So do you go generic and let the GM pop your fluff wherever they like, or just expand on a couple of very specific places?


I'd quite like to see a guide or even better a system for generating "realistic" post-apoc communities and their problems. I'd much prefer to build my own, than feel like I was playing in someone else's campaign notes.

Of course a few sample towns would be a good idea to show how it works, and for people that wanted to just set up and play.


Ah that's interesting. I must say I've usually been oriented the other way - I love checking out towns that game creators have already made, and then working out the sheer depth that I could create from that.

But that being said, making systems can be good too. I know Rifts had loads of systems for generating towns, cities, planets even, and political entities. But I never used them. I would tend to just make up what I wanted, and roughly base it off what they had in the books - or use what was in the books if it was good (my absolute favourite was the Federation of Magic).
Do you think something like that would be good though? A series of tables? It could very quickly generate some interesting situations, so the GM doesn't have to strain their wits. Now that I think about it, it sounds interesting, even though I never tended to use them before.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Pandora Caitiff
United Kingdom
Norfolk
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Oliver Shead wrote:
Do you think something like that would be good though? A series of tables? It could very quickly generate some interesting situations, so the GM doesn't have to strain their wits. Now that I think about it, it sounds interesting, even though I never tended to use them before.


It depends on what sort of style you're going for.

Completely random tables only really work for gonzo Gamma World style games. Or if they are very vague and open to interpretation, so they're more for spurring the GMs own creativity.

Tables with a handful modifiers might be a simple way to do it. Something like:
87: Ore Mine. Increase Prosperity rank by 1. Pick two nearby towns as trading partners. Guards from this town will have better quality weapons and armour.

Of course what I'd really like (but it's much harder) is something like Dungeon World has. A template for different settlement types, and a variety of optional modifiers and plot hooks for interesting features. Things like natural resources, oaths or enmities to nearby settlements, or a desperate need for something they can't make themselves.

If you can get the GM to think about how these disparate settlements interact, you've already got some interesting situations to embroil your players in!
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jay Peters
United States
Eugene
Oregon
flag msg tools
designer
badge
"Dreams save us. Dreams lift us up and transform us. And on my soul, I swear... until my dream of a world where dignity, honor and justice becomes the reality we all share, I will never stop fighting."
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Oliver Shead wrote:

Yeah that about sums it up for me too. It's fun having the communities that are trying to rebuild, and having to deal with the problems of each other.
What makes that the most fun, I wonder? And how can a game designer (i.e. me...haha), best capitalise on that?
I usually like to add lots of area detail, NPC's, plots that are going on, factions within factions, and that sort of depth, which gives lots of plot potential.
The trick is that you probably shouldn't try to overly flesh it out...and with a post apocalypse, it's hard to flesh out all areas. So do you go generic and let the GM pop your fluff wherever they like, or just expand on a couple of very specific places?


I think both can work. Dark Sun was great because of the different city-states, their sorcerer kings and how those sorcerer-kings influenced the theme of the city. Boyrs the Dragon of Tyr vs Nibenay the Sixth Champion of Rajaat vs Hamanu the Lion of Urik, each of them had their own style that was reflected in the city they ruled. The drawback here was that it required a lot of different sourcebooks to get all the information but at the time I didn't mind so much. These days I'd love to have all that info in one book but I completely understand the limitations a product like that would run into.

On the other hand, Atomic Highway's toolbox approach was fun too. When we played that one our GM did all the heavy lifting with developing communities and his own factions. For him, it was perfect because he didn't have to push a bunch of setting stuff out of the way to run the game the way he wanted.

PandoraCaitiff wrote:

I'd quite like to see a guide or even better a system for generating "realistic" post-apoc communities and their problems. I'd much prefer to build my own, than feel like I was playing in someone else's campaign notes.

Of course a few sample towns would be a good idea to show how it works, and for people that wanted to just set up and play.


Outbreak: Undead came to mind here. While it's set in the zombie apocalypse, the stronghold creation was pretty interesting, with ideas like limited resources and benefits to certain professions in the stronghold. Your stronghold could only support X number of people so who do you pick that can contribute to your survival? While not on the same level as Apocalypse World or Mad Max or Degenesis or most other settings that jump to mind when you say "post-apocalyptic" the system was pretty cool and I could see it being adapted fairly well, with zombies becoming raiders or mutants or whatever you feel like.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
John "Omega" Williams
United States
Kentwood
Michigan
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
MARCUSRPG wrote:
I like the PA world as described in A Canticle for Liebowitz.

https://archive.org/details/ACanticleForLiebowitz


hah, I am the exact opposite. I hated the PA described in that book. ugh!

As for what I like in PA settings.

A: No zombies. Zombies does not a PA make. ugh.

B: Not too damn bleak. Darwins World and a few other PA settings are just too nhilistic.

C: Exploration or reconstruction. Things to discover or do.

D: Possibly a world gone mad or at least fallow. mutants, overgrown ruins, possibly a sense of time has passed since whatever happened.

E: Lost tech. Things to recover and hopefully use.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Oliver Shead
Australia
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
Avatar
Cool, thanks everyone, that's really interesting.

I find it curious that a lot of people have mentioned how they dislike zombies! That's a bit of a bummer for me, seeing as I'm making a zombie RPG (of course, with quite a twist on it), but hey, c'est la vie, I'll just have to roll with those punches!

I do like the idea of having tables for info on the setting to do with pacts, alliances, things they need and that sort of thing, like PandoraCaitiff mentioned.

PandoraCaitiff wrote:
Of course what I'd really like (but it's much harder) is something like Dungeon World has. A template for different settlement types, and a variety of optional modifiers and plot hooks for interesting features. Things like natural resources, oaths or enmities to nearby settlements, or a desperate need for something they can't make themselves.

If you can get the GM to think about how these disparate settlements interact, you've already got some interesting situations to embroil your players in!


What I do wonder is just how much extra detail people want in creating their survivor settlements and that sort of thing? I tend to free RP it myself... I don't need tables and charts and that sort of thing to work out what will work in a settlement (though they can be fun and can add some extra info and ideas).
But I do see others (like Outbreak: Undead, as mentioned by Jay Peters), who go into a lot of detail, giving stats and restrictions, bonuses and all sorts of things to flesh out a community.
What's your thoughts on that? I tend to find too much of it just becomes needless rules, but it's more important to know what most gamers like. From what most people have mentioned, it sounds like they're kind of on the same line as me - give detail, but leave enough room for the GM to have creativity and not need a ton of source books.
But do the communities and places need stats?
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
1 , 2  Next »   | 
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.