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
Thinking About the Unthinkable
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
Glorantha first sprang from the fertile mind of Greg Stafford in 1966. As he discovered the details of this imaginary world, he kept adjusting its cosmology, magic, history, politics, and cultures. Other contributors got involved, and Glorantha became arguably the most thoroughly developed of all fantasy roleplaying settings.
There’s a Lot to The Forgotten Realms
Wizards of the Coast selected The Forgotten Realms as the default setting for D&D 5 in part because the world is so deep. Since the days of Advanced Dungeons & Dragons, Ed Greenwood’s fantasy world has been fleshed out in adventures, setting descriptions, and other supplements. Now that I’m getting back into D&D after a long hiatus, I decided to see how much Forgotten Realms material had been published prior to 5th edition. The short answer is: a lot (and I didn’t even delve into the novels, comics, board games, and video games).