I’ve run several post-apocalypse campaigns over the years, using a variety of game systems:
Gamma World — gonzo mutant jackrabbits and all
Aftermath! — 20 years after a nuclear war, using my hometown as a setting
Twilight: 2000 — the default WWIII-is-petering-out setting
Basic Roleplaying — zombies take over America in multi-generational campaign
Apocalypse World — small, isolated enclaves eke out a living, avoiding poisoned skies and other enclaves
NEMESIS — WWIII-has-just-ended journey across the remains of America
Mutant: Year Zero —the NEMESIS campaign extended forward by three generations
Along the way I’ve learned a few things about post-apocalypse settings and running campaigns in them. Much of that education has come the hard way, through trial and error, and I’m certainly still learning. As with any GM advice, your game is your game, and some or all of this may not make sense for you and your campaign. So take it as food for thought. With that in mind, whether you’re already game mastering a post-apocalypse campaign or are in the planning stages hopefully some of these suggestions will be helpful. Read more
If a biological armageddon hits the United States, how do vaccines reach Americans quickly? In the event of a nuclear war, who gets the word out about who is in charge and what laws are being enacted?
If you’re planning backstory for a post-apocalypse campaign, these little details can add to the verisimilitude you’re trying to invoke. They’re even more useful if you’re planning a near-future apocalypse-in-progress campaign. For example, when the zombies take over, where’s the President of the United States hiding out? As the GM it’d be good to know, right? Read more
A one-shot session is a stand-alone game session not meant to be part of a larger campaign. It’s a low-risk way to give a new game a spin without the investment of a campaign. If the group doesn’t like the rules or the setting, it’s no big deal; you’ve learned more about your group’s preferences, which is a good thing. Read more
In the software development world, the MVP (Minimum Viable Product) approach has gained mainstream acceptance because it works. MVP dictates that your first release of any software product should incorporate only those capabilities that are vital to the success of the product. By releasing only those key capabilities, you can validate your initial assumptions about what works for customers, get your product to market faster, and avoid wasting time building features nobody really wants.
Managing the development of software projects has made me acutely aware of the power of the MVP approach, and over time I have adapted its core principles to my tabletop roleplaying campaigns. I call this MVC, for minimum viable campaign. Read more