Favorite Post Apoc Style

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Jamfke

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Loves me some Gamma World, but I also love the Road Warrior atmosphere in the movies, with the Fallout games sort of being a combination of the two. I am also one of those that loved Kevin Costner's Water World and The Postman. There have been several awesome styles of post apocalyptic themes presented throughout the decades, what's your favorite and why?
 

Simlasa

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My interest gravitates towards either the 'fantasy apocalypse' of Earthdawn and Tribe 8... or the 'living in the ruins' style of Fallout and Gamma World (minus its sillier notions)... with an eye towards exploration and rebuilding.
 

TristramEvans

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Tribe 8 would be my favourite game with a post-apocalyptic setting.

The setting is a fascinatingly unique blend of post-Catholic Myth, Neolithic Tribal societies, and Clive Barker-esque horror. I'd say that it manages to hit some strange equilibrium between The Dark Crystal and Mad Max.

And I really likes the Silhouette system - it's simple, streamlined, and very easy on GMs & players, so it quickly "fades into the background", while remaining robust enough to provide straightforward resolution. It's in my top ten favourite RPG systems, many of which I consider almost on par with MSH(FASERIP) and would probably use instead if that didn't exist (Savage Worlds and D6 being other examples).

Along those lines, the magic system hits a really sweet balance between a playable system, but still loose/interpretive enough to still "feel magical" (if that makes sense). It at once reinforces the setting's themes and provides a means for players to express their character's unique outlook.

The initial set-up is really straightforward and understandable while at the same time providing new players with an instant understanding of their place in the world and their background as tied to the setting. Each player belonged to a tribe that was directly ruled by the physical manifestation of one of their Gods - "Fatimas", and as such grew up focusing on those traits that embody that Fatima, but at some point were cast out for going against the grain in some way, or displeasing their god. In the case of Agnes, the child, this could be as simple as losing (or winning) a game of hide and seek or tag that upset her in some way. So the players are often from very unique backgrounds, but all share a common "origin event" that binds them together and gives them a common goal/struggle.

And the Z'Bri are fantastic villains, disturbing monstrosities that are the exact opposites of the Fatimas in some ways, and their mirrors in others (there's a good reason for this).

Also, the game ostensibly takes place in post-apocalypse Canada, which as a Canuck is pretty cool, but it's also easy as pie to relocate to any other place in the world (such as the gaming group's hometown or nearby area).


After Tribe 8, second favourite is probably Paranoia, followed by Car Wars
 

Charlie D

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Mutant Year Zero. I love Gamma World but Mutant Year Zero is gritty despite its outlandish mutations. And the mutations eventually kill your PC so there is a cost. MY0 is a hex crawl,ing stronghold building, exploring, trade building, and mystery uncovering RPG that is ground level but grand in scope. And you can expand the world with uplifted animals, sentient robots, and humans if you like.
 

Silverlion

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I like gonzo. Gamma World. I live in a world too gritty to want to play in one like it, for the most part. So I want fun and sillier notions of GW, or something similar (Atomic Highway with mid-gonzo is fun.)
 

Picaroon Jack

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I go from Rifts to Apocalypse World.

I've never played the zombie apocalypse and would be willing to give it a go as a survival/horror.
 

VisionStorm

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Dark Sun - cuz it's my favorite, most original D&D setting ever. The world has been devastated centuries of careless use of life-draining magic fueled by the life force of plants, turning the world into a desolate wasteland. Life is brutal and every day is a struggle to survive. Water and metal are scarce, and people must fend themselves against brutal monsters uniquely adapted to their hostile environment while armed only with fragile bone or stone weapons. Elves, dwarves and halflings are barely recognizable, as they've evolved to adapt to their circumstances. Elves are lithe and tall long distance runners that never stay in any place too long. Halflings are brutal cannibals who feed on other races and hang from the world's last remaining forests. Dwarves are even stockier than usual, clean shaven and bald. There are also unique creatures such as Half-Giants and mantis-like Thri-Kreen, and more.

There are other post-apocalyptic settings I also like as well (RIFTS for example), and some might escape me right now, but Dark Sun tends to come to mind when the topic comes up.
 

Jamfke

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Tribe 8 would be my favourite game with a post-apocalyptic setting.

The setting is a fascinatingly unique blend of post-Catholic Myth, Neolithic Tribal societies, and Clive Barker-esque horror. I'd say that it manages to hit some strange equilibrium between The Dark Crystal and Mad Max.

And I really likes the Silhouette system - it's simple, streamlined, and very easy on GMs & players, so it quickly "fades into the background", while remaining robust enough to provide straightforward resolution. It's in my top ten favourite RPG systems, many of which I consider almost on par with MSH(FASERIP) and would probably use instead if that didn't exist (Savage Worlds and D6 being other examples).

Along those lines, the magic system hits a really sweet balance between a playable system, but still loose/interpretive enough to still "feel magical" (if that makes sense). It at once reinforces the setting's themes and provides a means for players to express their character's unique outlook.

The initial set-up is really straightforward and understandable while at the same time providing new players with an instant understanding of their place in the world and their background as tied to the setting. Each player belonged to a tribe that was directly ruled by the physical manifestation of one of their Gods - "Fatimas", and as such grew up focusing on those traits that embody that Fatima, but at some point were cast out for going against the grain in some way, or displeasing their god. In the case of Agnes, the child, this could be as simple as losing (or winning) a game of hide and seek or tag that upset her in some way. So the players are often from very unique backgrounds, but all share a common "origin event" that binds them together and gives them a common goal/struggle.

And the Z'Bri are fantastic villains, disturbing monstrosities that are the exact opposites of the Fatimas in some ways, and their mirrors in others (there's a good reason for this).

Also, the game ostensibly takes place in post-apocalypse Canada, which as a Canuck is pretty cool, but it's also easy as pie to relocate to any other place in the world (such as the gaming group's hometown or nearby area).


After Tribe 8, second favourite is probably Paranoia, followed by Car Wars
Going to pick up a copy of Tribe 8 now. Sounds intriguing.
 

under_score

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I grew up on Mad Max and the first two Fallout games, so have a lot of love for that style. But I also like gonzo in the style of Bakshi's Wizards.
Mutant Crawl Classics hits a sweet spot for me, whereas Crawling Under a Broken Moon is too silly for my taste.
 

xanther

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I prefer hard, Road Warrior + Fallout (but a little less gonzo than Fallout, less mutations, and no requirement for the retro future feel). Basically no to gonzo mutation for me.

As RPG games go, the feel of Aftermath! (not the rules) has been my favorite, with Atomic Highway and Barbarians of the Aftermath being good seconds. I do love the character starting village concept of Mutant Year Zero but not the mutant heavy setting

Or my PA "Appendix N"
Literature: “A Boy & His Dog” (Harlan Ellison), “Damnation Alley” (Roger Zelazny), “The Postman” (David Brin) “False Dawn” (Chelsea Q. Yarbro), “Stormrider” (Robert Baron), “Second Variety” (Phillip K. Dick), and “Wool” series (Hugh Howey).

Video: The Omega Man (1971), Genesis II (1973), Planet Earth (1974), The Ultimate Warrior (1975), Survivors (BBC 1975-77), Ark II (1976), The Road Warrior (1981), You Got Lucky (1982, Tom Petty), The Terminator (1984), Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome (1985), The Book of Eli (2010), Dredd (2012), Mad Max Fury Road (2015)
 
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Jamfke

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Mutant Year Zero. I love Gamma World but Mutant Year Zero is gritty despite its outlandish mutations. And the mutations eventually kill your PC so there is a cost. MY0 is a hex crawl,ing stronghold building, exploring, trade building, and mystery uncovering RPG that is ground level but grand in scope. And you can expand the world with uplifted animals, sentient robots, and humans if you like.
I'll be checking this one out too! Thanks for the suggestion.
 

Silverlion

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I like Thundaar weird races and fantasy or "super far future" a la Zothique and Numenera.
Thundarr is my Jam...seriously. Got my blu-ray and DVD copies, and was working on a retro-clone sort of a known game system with a Thundarr inspired setting (mostly smashing Kirby more into Post-Apocalyptic with magic and things like Barbarian robots.) But I need to do some system and character rewriting...mostly for scale.
 

Silverlion

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Dark Sun - cuz it's my favorite, most original D&D setting ever. The world has been devastated centuries of careless use of life-draining magic fueled by the life force of plants, turning the world into a desolate wasteland. Life is brutal and every day is a struggle to survive. Water and metal are scarce, and people must fend themselves against brutal monsters uniquely adapted to their hostile environment while armed only with fragile bone or stone weapons. Elves, dwarves and halflings are barely recognizable, as they've evolved to adapt to their circumstances. Elves are lithe and tall long distance runners that never stay in any place too long. Halflings are brutal cannibals who feed on other races and hang from the world's last remaining forests. Dwarves are even stockier than usual, clean shaven and bald. There are also unique creatures such as Half-Giants and mantis-like Thri-Kreen, and more.

There are other post-apocalyptic settings I also like as well (RIFTS for example), and some might escape me right now, but Dark Sun tends to come to mind when the topic comes up.
I really wish I had the energy and patience to hack that setting to BRP/Mythras/Something else.

Cause D&D does it poorly IMHO (same with Planescape)
 

zanshin

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I like the idea of a Fallout type setting, but have never got one going.

Midnight is a great fantasy post apocalyptic setting that I have played in a lot.

My 4e & 5e campaigns have been set in Realms of Chirak, a D&D post magical apocalypse setting. Highly recommended.

 

VisionStorm

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I really wish I had the energy and patience to hack that setting to BRP/Mythras/Something else.

Cause D&D does it poorly IMHO (same with Planescape)

IDK, Dark Sun will always bring AD&D 2e feelings of nostalgia for me, since it was the first RPG product I ever got, and my introduction into 2e. I had played Basic D&D for a while by then, but didn’t really know the rules and Dark Sun was my first dive into an RPG rule set. So I’ve always associated it with 2e.

However, D&D’s Zero-to-Hero style, starting out at level 3 (so not really Zero technically) is probably not the best system to emulate a brutal deadly land where every day is a struggle for survival. And I always hated D&D’s Vancian magic system, which doesn’t really emulate magic based around the idea of channeling life energy (or elemental energy in the case of divine magic) to fuel magic. D&D’s psionic system also kinda sucks to the point they appear to have given up on it, yet it’s so central to the world of Dark Sun. So I suppose D&D really doesn’t handle it well.

PS/On the general topic: So many mentions of Fallout are making me wanna play in that setting in PnP as well. I’ve been playing Fallout 4 a lot lately, and have revisited it a lot over the years because of the settlements. That and the character customization gives it a lot of replayability for me. So I half live there at this point.
 

Klibbix!

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I think I prefer the less gonzo style of post apocalyptical fiction, but I'm not sure it translates as well over into gaming as I'd like. My favourite PA novel is probably Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang by Kate Wilhelm (which I highly recommend) but I'm pretty sure the setting would be boring to play in.

I prefer settings where everything is different, but not complete irradiated wastelands, so maybe the post-post apocalypse. I can't think of any games that I know of that really match what I'm thinking of, but I'd totally play the shit out of a Chrysalids game, a game where everything else is weird or fucked up and off but you don't play a psychic 18' tall albino hemophiliac with increased caloric needs.

That being said, my group has played Mutant Future a number of times and had a ton of fun. It really produces utter freaks.
 

PolarBlues

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For games, I really like post-apocalypse Western. I think the Wild West tropes do for the post-apocalypse what the faux-medieval does for fantasy; it provides a set of common assumption for how non-adventuring things work and gives it consistent look and feel.

I remember when I first started running Gamma World back in the day I really struggled with the more mundane aspects of the setting. It only clicked for me when I started describing Gamma World towns as having saloons, sheriffs and maybe a creepy undertaker. Eventually I just wrote my own gonzo, post-apocalypse Western which became Bounty Hunters of the Atomic Wastelands.
 

Winterblight

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If I'm watching a TV show, I like the Mad Max style post apocalyptic vision. For my RPG games I prefer the fantasy style of post apocalyptic such as Earthdawn - much less emphasis on day to day survival and more on exploration and recovery of what was lost. So a dash of hope tempered by the fact that the evil responsible for the apocalypse is still out there and needs to be defeated.
 

Jamfke

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For games, I really like post-apocalypse Western. I think the Wild West tropes do for the post-apocalypse what the faux-medieval does for fantasy; it provides a set of common assumption for how non-adventuring things work and gives it consistent look and feel.

I remember when I first started running Gamma World back in the day I really struggled with the more mundane aspects of the setting. It only clicked for me when I started describing Gamma World towns as having saloons, sheriffs and maybe a creepy undertaker. Eventually I just wrote my own gonzo, post-apocalypse Western which became Bounty Hunters of the Atomic Wastelands.
I have your game open in a tab right now. I'll be reading through it soon. Looks good so far from what I've been able to check out.
 

Vidgrip

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There is a part of me that revels in the notion of gonzo Gamma World style play. The trouble is, I don't actually like it once I start playing. It just gets too silly. Mutations that change during game play is over-the-line for me.

I'm currently prepping a short post-apoc campaign using D&D 5e using the Hellscapes tool kit (you can find on drivethru). That's a great system, and easily tunable. I only have to change one sentence of RAW to bring mutations into line with what I like. It has all the usual options, including some gonzo stuff, but keeps things modular enough that I could use it to run The Postman or Mad Max just by telling players "no Bestials or Mutants" during character creation.

The one question I'm still wrestling with is the extent to which the survival challenge (as in finding enough to eat) would be an enjoyable aspect of the game. I generally focus on exploration and ruin crawling, rather than tracking the party's water supply. I enjoy survival aspects in video games, but have never put that emphasis into a TTRPG. It could easily get tedious.
 

PolarBlues

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The one question I'm still wrestling with is the extent to which the survival challenge (as in finding enough to eat) would be an enjoyable aspect of the game. I generally focus on exploration and ruin crawling, rather than tracking the party's water supply. I enjoy survival aspects in video games, but have never put that emphasis into a TTRPG. It could easily get tedious.

Sounds like you were using the latest 7e edition of Gamma World. Previous editions don't push the comical/absurdist element quite as far (though none of them can be accused of being realistic).

As far as raw survival, yeah, that never did it to me. But then even in Gamma World I was always more interested in what happens in town, the NPC's personalities and scheme rather than fighting monsters that just want to eat you.
 

Silverlion

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There is a part of me that revels in the notion of gonzo Gamma World style play. The trouble is, I don't actually like it once I start playing. It just gets too silly. Mutations that change during game play is over-the-line for me.

I'm currently prepping a short post-apoc campaign using D&D 5e using the Hellscapes tool kit (you can find on drivethru). That's a great system, and easily tunable. I only have to change one sentence of RAW to bring mutations into line with what I like. It has all the usual options, including some gonzo stuff, but keeps things modular enough that I could use it to run The Postman or Mad Max just by telling players "no Bestials or Mutants" during character creation.

The one question I'm still wrestling with is the extent to which the survival challenge (as in finding enough to eat) would be an enjoyable aspect of the game. I generally focus on exploration and ruin crawling, rather than tracking the party's water supply. I enjoy survival aspects in video games, but have never put that emphasis into a TTRPG. It could easily get tedious.
Yeah looks like D&D for the 4th edition. I say just let players pick however many powers from the cards as they want and go from there.

I came here to add Tony Rogers (sometimes called Buck) from Armageddon 2419, Hiero Dusteen, Visionaries, and Thundarr as mentioned as my sources.
 

xanther

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I like the idea of a Fallout type setting, but have never got one going.

....
If you can find them, the strategy guides for the various Fallout games always came with a big map and maps of almost every location, so you have a setting source book right there with literally hundreds of adventure locations. The guides also provide stats on monsters and gear. I always got the strategy guide because a Fallout fanatic. :smile:

Now rules system, there is (or was a pen and paper version of the game on-line at one time using the same rules as the computer game.
 

SavAce

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There are aspects I like from a decent amount of post-apocalyptic material. I agree with the digging of the Thundarr the Barbarian kind of stuff. Another favorite of mine is Xenozoic Tales, a.k.a. "Cadillacs and Dinosaurs"! The vault aspect of the setting does bring to mind the Fallout games that were to come, but in general I just like the comic book tone and the '50s pulp "Man of Action" square jawed vibe. I dunno, it just feels... summer, alive, open and vital in a way that puts me in a happy place. While we're at it, I'll toss Kamandi on the pile as well, because Kirby.

CadillacsAndDinosaurs.jpg
 

PolarBlues

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Ah yeah, the Cadillacs and Dinosaurs roleplaying game. I am sure the artwork must be to die for, but I don't think the GDW system is for me.
 

SavAce

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Ah yeah, the Cadillacs and Dinosaurs roleplaying game. I am sure the artwork must be to die for, but I don't think the GDW system is for me.
Yeah, the art is all pulled straight out of Mark Schultz's material and gorgeous. While the GDW system does have a certain clunk & antiquated feel, the whole game is, like, 142 pages long. That's all short and light enough for me to entertain the idea of actually using it as is someday. :-)
 

Panzerkraken

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Living Steel is easily my favorite PA setting. They hit an exact point of detailed wreckage without getting too weird in it, and have a path to "win" the game and rebuild society.
 

Vidgrip

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Living Steel is easily my favorite PA setting. They hit an exact point of detailed wreckage without getting too weird in it, and have a path to "win" the game and rebuild society.
Yeah, I love that setting, too. I actually ran a few sessions in it, but had to rip out all of the game's mechanics and replace them with something my group and I could wrap our heads around.

In general, I like the idea of PA settings on lost colony worlds. You can have all the usual PA themes, without relying on radiation or nanites to explain the presence of monsters and non-human playable races. Mysterious alien ruins are a bonus.
 

Panzerkraken

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Yeah, I love that setting, too. I actually ran a few sessions in it, but had to rip out all of the game's mechanics and replace them with something my group and I could wrap our heads around.

In general, I like the idea of PA settings on lost colony worlds. You can have all the usual PA themes, without relying on radiation or nanites to explain the presence of monsters and non-human playable races. Mysterious alien ruins are a bonus.
I actually love the mechanics in Living Steel, I think they did a great job streamlining the system from Phoenix Command down to something that works for a roleplaying game instead of a combat simulation, but then I could easily be accused of loving my crunch. The setting is amazing though; and the Rhand:2349 book is about one of the best ones I've seen, ever. I just with there was more information on some of the specific climate zones and flora, fauna, etc. "Big lizard-based predators" as the only thing described other than Deinonychia didn't do it for me.
 

AsenRG

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Loves me some Gamma World, but I also love the Road Warrior atmosphere in the movies, with the Fallout games sort of being a combination of the two. I am also one of those that loved Kevin Costner's Water World and The Postman. There have been several awesome styles of post apocalyptic themes presented throughout the decades, what's your favorite and why?
Somewhere between Road Warrior/Postman and Fallout, I guess.
 

xanther

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If one really likes "Postamn" the book (the movie somehow lost it half way through and removed a whole bunch of really cool setting stuff) then think you''d like “False Dawn” (Chelsea Q. Yarbro), and maybe even “Stormrider” (Robert Baron)...if you can find them. Of course any movie with Tom Petty in it is good by me. :smile:

For example, Stormrider is about a bunch of post-apocalyptic motorcycle clubs in the mid-west. Think Mongols (the historic ones not the MC) on motorcycles, but with many different gangs/clubs vying for power, some decent others down right demonic.
 

xanther

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That's about my sweet spot these days too. Something with all the tragedy and hardships of how you'd imagine the world would be plus just enough gonzo to keep you guessing.
I also like the re-build aspect, so crib settlement building from the newer Fallouts.
 

Fenris-77

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In terms of gonzo, I think that Octane might be my pick. Not only is it gonzo, but it's like gonzo with a Dick Dale soundtrack. Think of smashing Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas together with Gamma World with a heavy soupcon of pop culture riffs and heavy metal moments.
 
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