Friday, January 21, 2011

Its The End of The World As We Know It

...and I feel fine.

Had another of my gaming epiphanies last night.

I am considering running a Post-Apocalypse campaign for my New Jersey group.

This would represent a serious departure in tone for me and it would be a subject I haven't really covered in depth since running Gamma World in the early-to-mid-80's.

I am considering use a hacked and expanded variant of the free to download RPG COLLAPSE, combined with some ideas from Apocalypse World, Fiasco and the Japanese TRPG Crash World.

The key elements to consider for me will be:

The nature of the Collapse/Apocalypse
When did it occur.
How much time has passed.
Is the end result Gamma World or a more realistic approach.

I have some ideas brewing that may answer these questions but open up a whole boatload of new ones. My favorite!

More to come...

Barking Alien


  1. In about the past year or so I have become enamored with the idea of running a zombie apocalypse survival horror game, but alas, I have no one in my area upon whom to inflict it.

  2. Hey alien, how does one go about e-mailing you?


  3. @Erin - It the end of all things. Wish you were here.

    @Christian - One does it the old fashioned way! barking alien at gee mail dot com. ;)

    @Bill - Go Armageddon!

  4. Have you looked at Greg Christopher's WIP Cascade Failure? It's interstellar in scope and a more realistic approach. I'm not sure how complete a system you need, but he might be able to help you out or offer something to inspire. The development blog:

  5. It looks very interesting, though not exactly what I have in mind for this. I'm trying to keep the scope to Earth for the most part. I have the idea that instead of the small world we now have thanks to the internet and regular air travel, the world will once more seem huge and foreboding thanks to the complete collapse of infrastructure and government support services.

  6. I think the COLLAPSE system is very open ended to hacking! I also plan on offering specific "blue book reports" which would be a setting brief with details and adventure ideas centered on a specific collapse event. Zombies will probably be first and could be combined with a viral outbreak in general as an off shoot. I tried to keep the system simple so its easy to play and learn, plus you can house rule the hell out of it to make it your own. Glad you are having a go!

  7. Wow Fenway thanks for popping by and following! I really love COLLAPSE. It hits that sweet spot of being rules-lite and simultaneously evoking the feel of the genre.

    My biggest question going into this is the nature of the world post-COLLAPSE as it were. I don't really want to go Thundarr the Barbarian, prefering to keep that feeling of 'modern society has broken down but we remember the basics' that you could easily get from COLLAPSE and/or Apocalypse World.

    At the same time, mutations, nanotech, biotech and cybernetics need to play a part somehow. Or maybe just limited versions of those elements and a little psionics. I want weird in my aftermath but not full on Super-Sorcery.

    Tough one.

  8. @Barking Alien:

    "I don't really want to go Thundarr the Barbarian': HERESY *rings bell* Anathema.

    'I want weird in my aftermath but not full on Super-Sorcery.':
    Oh, come on. Just one try... You won't be hooked or nothin' :-)

    In all seriousness, how about some Fallout:

    the fan created SPECIAL rules and supplements


    D6 Gamma World?

    These are rules-lite, imo.
    Hope that helps!

  9. @Velaran - Its not that I don't like or enjoy those things, its just not how I see this particular campaign.

    D6 Gamma World though. That sounds fun!

  10. @Barking...I thought about your setting ideas and drew up my own background to support it.

    You can check it out on my collapse rpg blog site.

  11. @Barking Alien:
    Oh yeah, I could tell. ;-)
    Everyone loves Thundarr!(Mostly)

    The weird thing is no-one ever seems to want to go full on Thundarr-apocalypse.(Though there is that new game: Sorcery and Super-Science. And good fortune to it!)

    I mean, more realistic takes have been available for years: Morrow Project, Twilight 2000, Aftermath, D20 Future, Post-Apocalypse Hero, Atomic Highway, etc....

    It seems Fantasy Doomsday is about as popular as straight Westerns in RPG-ville. One of those things, I guess.

    D6 Gamma World is pretty cool. Maybe it'll be what you're looking for. Good luck!

  12. Thanks Velaran (you too Fenway5 but I'll say more once I've seen your new stuff).

    I am sort of leaning toward The Morrow Project, Atomic Highway meets I Am Legend and a bit beyond. I want to add a bit of the crazy but I don't want to go full on Gamma World/Thundarr/RIFTS.

  13. @Barking Alien:
    Apocalypse Campaign:
    I am Legend? The movie or book version?
    Are Zombies gonna be a mainstay? If you have access to Dead Reign(its subtitle is Zombie Apocalypse) from Palladium, it has some good ideas in that regard, even if you don't care for the rules set(every person I knew who played Palladium games modified the rules noticably.)

    A bit of crazy? How about Palladium's out of print Systems Failure? An apocalypse is caused by a Y2K event due to other-dimensional, energy eating, alien bugs. Humans struggle to survive as they're herded into the cities to generate power for their insect overlords. Biotech(Splicing Bug DNA into humans specifically.) and psionics included(Both Government projects turned against the Invaders, so PCs could have some extra support.). I liked it a lot, myself.

    I'm also eying the BRP supplement Rubble and Ruin and its BRP Fantasy counterpart Ashes to Ashes. I've seen good reviews of Atomic Highway and its mutants source book, Irradiated Freaks. I'm gonna check it out.

    The Morrow Project? The PCs must be in the employ of a person/group with great resources who foresaw the Catastrophe, huh? On a side note, a new version of this is supposed to come out soon; I'm intrigued as I've never played it.

    Gamma World:
    The 1st-3rd Editions of Gamma World were fairly staid(though humor could be injected, if you liked) compared to 4th Edition and the especially Gonzo 4th Edition D&D Rules(But like 7th Edition of the Actual game!). In the early stuff, it was the radiation side effects on the environment that made you say 'What?', and the Pure Strain Humans immunity to same was a head scratcher, too. It had a good vibe of survival horror that was suddenly swallowed up by Wild 'n' Wahoo. Never understood why. Perhaps they were trying to differentiate it from Aftermath, Twilight: 2000 and the Morrow Project. We always played it straight, but now we use Mutant Future.

    RIFTS just STARTS with Gamma World and Thundarr! Interesting concept, I want to try this game at least once.

    Hope the campaign's taking shape, and proceeding apace.

  14. To me a lot of the decisions here are driven by "what your players will tolerate" as much as "what you would like to run". I've known groups where Twilight 2K was perfectly acceptable and Gamma World was not an option, and I've known the reverse, yet both are fairly well-known PA games. Like a lot of the less-popular genres of RPG you probably have to narrow it down, present it to your group, then see if they bite. You say that you want to run D&D or Star Trek or Star Wars or Traveller and people have a pretty idea of what you intend but PA takes a little more specificity.

    Side note: Zombie PA has always seemed a little limiting to me for a longer campaign - the cause leads to one type of threat - zombies - with maybe a few variations. The radiation/biowar/alien invasion collapse gives you more to work with as far as mutant humans & animals or robots of all shapes and sizes, or alien species, hunting animals, vehicles, and tech if you go that route.

    Plugs: If you do look into the Gamma World type option don't forget Mutant Future (old school) and Savage Gama World, a Savage Worlds conversion that is really well-done.