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Kol Korran
2013-05-02, 05:28 PM
So some friends of mien and myself are trying to set up a game (the system doesn't matter) in a modern times post apocalyptic world (Mostly influenced by the Fallout game series). But when planning the first game session, I've started to design a town, characters and such, and I'm feeling that it's a lot like a western- guns, tough people, general scarcity of resources, a lot dangerous ground to travel, danger of violence very real...

What do YOU feel makes for a post apocalyptic game, what gives it that special feel?
Currently I'm thinking of:
- constant reminders of the world that was lost.
- effects of the devastation, such as mutated creatures and such?

but other than that i'm stupmed... suggestions?

Zahhak
2013-05-02, 05:51 PM
modern times post apocalyptic world... I'm feeling that it's a lot like a western

The only difference between a Western and a post-apocalyptic setting is that in a Western there's still the ability to call in the feds, otherwise its just a difference of technology.

Chromascope3D
2013-05-02, 06:11 PM
The only difference between a Western and a post-apocalyptic setting is that in a Western there's still the ability to call in the feds, otherwise its just a difference of technology.

Yeah, you're going to be hard-pressed to create a setting that isn't a western. Bandits, vigilantes, small-settlements trying to survive in a hostile wasteland, all of them basic tropes in both sub-genres. Mad Max? It's a western. The Road? A western. A Boy and His Dog? You guessed it, also a western. Heck, even Waterworld is a western. The only way you're going to make it believably post-apocalyptic is to constantly throw it in your player's faces. Ruins, highly advanced guns, jury-rigged cars, more ruins, cities of scrap, radiation (or leftovers from disasters of equivalent proportions), mutants, and lots and lots of ruins!

Hiro Protagonest
2013-05-02, 06:13 PM
The only way you're going to make it believably post-apocalyptic is to constantly throw it in your player's faces. Ruins, highly advanced guns, jury-rigged cars, more ruins, cities of scrap, radiation (or leftovers from disasters of equivalent proportions), mutants, and lots and lots of ruins!

...That actually sounds like an awesome FPS or RTS.

Zahhak
2013-05-02, 06:16 PM
Well, Kol wanted to base this on Fallout, which is an FPS, and there's an RTS game in the setting too.

Grinner
2013-05-02, 06:26 PM
Aside from the ancient ruins, absurdly powerful technological artifacts, and mutant wasteland, there needs to be a profound sense of something lost. A pining for the good old days, when the mutant bears didn't wake you at four in the morning.


...That actually sounds like an awesome FPS or RTS.

You know, I've got this weird feeling that someone made a game like that a while back. I'm pretty sure it was actually sequel to another game, but I can't quite place my finger on it...Was it called Meltdown or something?

Hiro Protagonest
2013-05-02, 06:28 PM
Well, Kol wanted to base this on Fallout, which is an FPS, and there's an RTS game in the setting too.

Fallout is a first-person RPG. Like, moreso than System Shock.

And I didn't know there was an RTS.

And actually, I meant 4X game, not RTS.

Bulhakov
2013-05-02, 06:53 PM
Total lawlessness outside of settlements. Surprisingly low level of crime inside of settlements. Interesting historical fact - the average wild west town saw 1.5 murders per year. Why? Because either a) everyone in town owned a gun and cared for order or b) only lawmen were allowed to carry guns in town, and it was easy to control things in a small community.

Limited communication between towns. (Unless you introduce some sort of "radio wasteland" you'll be limited to letters passed along by well-protected caravans)

Lots of technological relics, but nearly all of them not functioning due to degradation and/or no-one around to know how to fix/use them. (E.g. The characters may find an anti-tank missile, but finding someone that can replace or jury rig a blown capacitor on its firing circuit is a whole new story).

People with any special skills (like being able to run and maintain a diesel generator or perform basic medical procedures) will be extremely respected and well protected.

Few words on realistic food/economy in a post-apoc world:

No "rich/poor" (as there is little to spend money on) but more "powerful/weak" (people who have supporters/followers/friends vs. lone wolf survivors vs. people who would not survive without help of the society). Expect most trade to be done in barter form, as there's no place to spend the riches (a bag of corn can be more valuable than a bag of gold).

A person needs 0.5 kg of food per day to survive (assuming most is carbohydrates, such as flour with some proteins/fat/vitamins to complete nutritional needs) and 3 liters of water. For a settlement of 100 people that means 1.5 tons of food per month and 9 tons of water. That has to come from somewhere, so factor in farmers and wells. Plus in a post-apocalyptic world farming is probably a much more dangerous and organized job (you can't expect typical farmer houses waaay outside of town as in a wild-west setting).

Matticussama
2013-05-02, 06:55 PM
I think that many of the small details that give it that post apocalyptic feel can be taken directly from Fallout, which works since it was already an inspiration.

1) Irradiated food and water are common, and non-irradiated food and water are more rare and, thus, more expensive. While it may add a layer of record keeping, use some sort of radiation poison system that has in-game effects. When they take a point of radiation every time they eat/drink during their adventures, it drives that point home and makes towns (and the supplies they can buy there) even more valuable. Don't piss off the shopkeeper, because you need those bottles of fresh water.

2) In addition to typical raiders, bandits, and survivors, have organizations directly descended from the pre-apocalyptic world. This could be an organized military force, government forces, etc; some groups that have a strong tie to the world before, and who want to return it to that. This can easily tie into the feeling of loss that many survivors should feel.

Emmerask
2013-05-02, 07:00 PM
So some friends of mien and myself are trying to set up a game (the system doesn't matter) in a modern times post apocalyptic world (Mostly influenced by the Fallout game series). But when planning the first game session, I've started to design a town, characters and such, and I'm feeling that it's a lot like a western- guns, tough people, general scarcity of resources, a lot dangerous ground to travel, danger of violence very real...

What do YOU feel makes for a post apocalyptic game, what gives it that special feel?
Currently I'm thinking of:
- constant reminders of the world that was lost.
- effects of the devastation, such as mutated creatures and such?

but other than that i'm stupmed... suggestions?

To make it stand out from a generic western like scenario I think environmental factors should be important:
Acid rain (and with that I mean acid that seriously injures anyone outside)
Floods
Earthquakes
frequent impacts of smaller asteroids or space debris

Then maybe add some mutated insect swarms, locusts that eat meat could be fun :smallbiggrin: (and actually extremely scary :smalleek:)

Settlements in general should be bunkers or cave systems, so that there is little similarity to western towns.

Hm that would be all, though maybe with additional information there could be more :smallsmile:

Geordnet
2013-05-02, 07:27 PM
You could always try something that's much farther along the road to recovery than is the norm for post-apocoliptic settings.


For instance, let's say you set it around where Germany and Poland used to be. The Ruhr Valley is irradiated, as well as Berlin, but middle-sized cities like Frankfurt (am Oder) were spared the worst of it. The government survived or was rebuilt, and trade has reopenned with neighboring states -especially Siberia, which is now highly productive farmland.

However, the effects of the apocalypse are still felt. US eastern and western seaboards, western Russia, Korea, China, India, Pakistan, Iran, Israel, and parts of the UK, France, and other EU states have all felt the fires of a nuclear exchange. The nuclear winter eventually gave way to summer, with the ice caps shrinking and weather shifting dramatically.

On a more fantastical side, mutants etc. have been accepted and integrated into society, albiet as second-class citizens.

Local governments have survived, thrived even. The governments of former cities banded together to reform large nations, but many smaller governments retain their indipendance. The economy has survived, with fair in the old currency maintained with petrol-backing by the reformed governments. In smaller settlements, a bottle of clean water is the primary unit of exchange.


You can still have the basic feeling of post-apocolyptia in this sort of setting, but with a different style of game. Instead of worrying about day-to-day survival, the players can take on a different role. One could frame a detective or a spy story easily in such a setting, or even a Call of Cthulu-esque game. Basically, anything you could do in a modern setting you could do here.


EDIT:
Also, I'd advise looking at the setting Command & Conquer: Tiberium Sun and its immediate successor. That's definitely got a post-apocolyptic feel, but it's more of a Sci-Fi than a Western.

TheThan
2013-05-02, 08:07 PM
I recommend you go watch Mad Max. But then again, I just canít get Beyond Thunderdome.

:smallcool:

Seriously though, here is a tip for running a game in a post-apocalyptic future.
Barter systems: money has become obsolete, well not really obsolete, more like itís lost itís value. People are burning cash for heat and melting down coins for their base metals.
Instead, people are going to develop a trade or barter system. In which people trade items for other items they want. Useful items are going to be more valuable than non-useful items. For example a crowbar is going to be more valuable to a person than a cell phone (working or not). Why you ask? The crowbar is a tool that makes someoneís life easier, where as the cell phone does not. The value of an item and what its worth in trade is entirely dependent on two factors: how useful that item is, (owning simple tools (like said crowbar) make life easier than not having those tools) and how much that item is desired by the people you're bartering with. Items that require power/fuel/ammunition will be more or less valuable depending on how easy that power/fuel/ammunition is to acquire. For example an AK-47 is a very useful gun to have, if you have the ammunition for it. If you donít, then itís just a stick.

I can come up with more tips but itíll have to take some time to write them out.

Cealocanth
2013-05-02, 08:21 PM
The general format of a Western is the frontier. The so called endless, barely hospitable wasteland where the setting takes place. Fallout does this very well by creating a literal wasteland. Think about the first time you walk out of the Vault in Fallout 3. Nothing as far as the eye can see. That's the setting of a western and a Fallout like post-apocalypse. Essentially the setting will tell you "the world is your oyster."

But if you want to try to avoid the western feel of it, I recommens putting it in a restricted area. Cities are great for this. Then the game becomes not about surviving in a wasteland, but being hunted, or dealing with other people. Think about the setting of Bioshock, for example. The restricted area forces the game to not be protagonist vs. nature, but protagonist vs. antagonist(s). This can be simulated through alien invasion or nuclear warfare, but cities work incredibly well for zombie apocalypses. If your players face death at every turn and feel like they're being hunted, you're doing it right. (In the event you've never played Bioshock, TV examples would be Jericho or Falling Skies. Blade Runner does this marvelously.)

For D&D though, if you're going to be playing out in the world with ancient ruins and dungeons to explore and marauding troops of orcs to kill, no matter what you do it'll become a western. Restricting the play area is possible in D&D, but the game is really rigged for the first play style.

Zahhak
2013-05-02, 08:31 PM
It occurs to me that the cause of the apocalypse is going to have an impact on how you can tell the difference between the post-apoc and a western:
* "WWIII": Huge loss of life, major population centers are ruins, severe distrust of consolidated power
* Nuclear Armageddon: All life on Earth's surface has ended.
* Pandemic/Biological Warfare: Huge loss of life, major population centers are sources of terror, people probably use gas masks or surgical masks when outside their sealed houses
* Failure of Modern Technology: most lose of life is probably just due to food shortages (and the riots that followed). Cities may still be largely inhabited, people probably worship old technology
* Rise of the Machines: All life on Earth's surface has ended, or the war is kept going to keep the Machines from getting bored
* Astronomical Impact: Let's ignore some science here (http://gizmodo.com/5984469/what-would-actually-happen-if-the-2012-da14-asteroid-crashed-for-real) and just focus on the Earth getting hit a **** ton. Would only really be an issue if a large number of major cities were all destroyed in quick succession. So, there's that.
* Alien Invasion: If they can get here and launch a full scale war against us, human extinction.
* Environmental Disaster: Result depends heavily on the kind of environmental disaster, but many things can be figured: ice age means ****s cold, heating means there are large deserts and long droughts, water is poisoned means the major activity is fighting for clean water, so on
* Peak Oil type scenarios: Seen Mad Max? Well, there you go.

So, you have that.

Geordnet
2013-05-02, 09:42 PM
It occurs to me that the cause of the apocalypse is going to have an impact on how you can tell the difference between the post-apoc and a western:
* "WWIII": Huge loss of life, major population centers are ruins, severe distrust of consolidated power
* Nuclear Armageddon: All life on Earth's surface has ended.
* Pandemic/Biological Warfare: Huge loss of life, major population centers are sources of terror, people probably use gas masks or surgical masks when outside their sealed houses
* Failure of Modern Technology: most lose of life is probably just due to food shortages (and the riots that followed). Cities may still be largely inhabited, people probably worship old technology
* Rise of the Machines: All life on Earth's surface has ended, or the war is kept going to keep the Machines from getting bored
* Astronomical Impact: Let's ignore some science here (http://gizmodo.com/5984469/what-would-actually-happen-if-the-2012-da14-asteroid-crashed-for-real) and just focus on the Earth getting hit a **** ton. Would only really be an issue if a large number of major cities were all destroyed in quick succession. So, there's that.
* Alien Invasion: If they can get here and launch a full scale war against us, human extinction.
* Environmental Disaster: Result depends heavily on the kind of environmental disaster, but many things can be figured: ice age means ****s cold, heating means there are large deserts and long droughts, water is poisoned means the major activity is fighting for clean water, so on
* Peak Oil type scenarios: Seen Mad Max? Well, there you go.

So, you have that.
Just a few nitpicks:

* Nuclear Armageddon: Not as bad as you think. A limited nuclear exchange would only seriously effect a small area, while a moderate one would still leave the majority of the earth inhabitable.

* Pandemic/Biological Warfare: The nature of disease will mean that the plague will die off shortly after it stops spreading. A cure might have been found (too late) that can deal with the rare re-emergence.

* Failure of Modern Technology: As an engineer I can tell you that technology won't "just fail", or become "lost". The power grid, internet, and other utilities might collapse due to stress and disaster, but that's just the tip of the iceberg. Science will recover.

* Rise of the Machines: Humans will probably win. (http://what-if.xkcd.com/5/) (The biggest thing in our favor is EMP.) It could be a costly victory, though, with pockets of resistance in hiding.

* Astronomical Impact: That article was talking about a specific asteroid hitting the Earth. Other ones can do a lot worse.

Zahhak
2013-05-02, 10:53 PM
* Nuclear Armageddon: Not as bad as you think. A limited nuclear exchange would only seriously effect a small area, while a moderate one would still leave the majority of the earth inhabitable.

I was assuming a nuclear war with two or more countries launching multiple high yield nuclear warheads, which would basically kill all life on the surface of the earth.


* Pandemic/Biological Warfare: The nature of disease will mean that the plague will die off shortly after it stops spreading. A cure might have been found (too late) that can deal with the rare re-emergence.

People are superstitious and after seeing 75%+ of the human race wiped out in a few years, that would leave a lot of people with enough PTSD that I doubt anyone would want to leave the house without a gasmask


* Failure of Modern Technology: As an engineer I can tell you that technology won't "just fail", or become "lost". The power grid, internet, and other utilities might collapse due to stress and disaster, but that's just the tip of the iceberg. Science will recover.

The majority of the stories that deal with the failure of modern technology as a major theme rely on either quasar radiation acting as a planet wide EMP that somehow also stops all kinds of electricity or a deus ex machina. The exact way it happens is largely irrelevant because those stories are usually overlong metaphors for the danger of relying on technology.


* Rise of the Machines: Humans will probably win. (The biggest thing in our favor is EMP.) It could be a costly victory, though, with pockets of resistance in hiding.

Debatable.


* Astronomical Impact: That article was talking about a specific asteroid hitting the Earth. Other ones can do a lot worse.

I used that as an example that the overwhelming majority of possible astronomical impact events are unlikely to be nearly as dangerous as portrayed in fiction. One in 65 million years is really low odds of anything truly severe happening.

Geordnet
2013-05-02, 11:24 PM
I was assuming a nuclear war with two or more countries launching multiple high yield nuclear warheads, which would basically kill all life on the surface of the earth.
So was I. Even if the entire nuclear arsenal of mankind at the height of the Cold War was launched, the effect you're looking for wouldn't happen.



People are superstitious and after seeing 75%+ of the human race wiped out in a few years, that would leave a lot of people with enough PTSD that I doubt anyone would want to leave the house without a gasmask
Possibly, but by the first or second post-apocalyptic generation, that fear would be a thing of the past. Not that there'd be enough gasmasks for everyone to have that luxury, anyways.



The majority of the stories that deal with the failure of modern technology as a major theme rely on either quasar radiation acting as a planet wide EMP that somehow also stops all kinds of electricity or a deus ex machina. The exact way it happens is largely irrelevant because those stories are usually overlong metaphors for the danger of relying on technology.
Need I say that they're also completely unrealistic? :smalltongue:



Debatable.
Fair enough.



I used that as an example that the overwhelming majority of possible astronomical impact events are unlikely to be nearly as dangerous as portrayed in fiction. One in 65 million years is really low odds of anything truly severe happening.
Um, so multiple once-in-1000-years events happening in rapid succession isn't? :smallconfused:

Besides, it's still more likely than the aliens. :smallwink:

Zahhak
2013-05-02, 11:42 PM
So was I. Even if the entire nuclear arsenal of mankind at the height of the Cold War was launched, the effect you're looking for wouldn't happen.

Nuclear radiation from a few dozen warheads impacting at the same time gets into the atmosphere and circulates through the whole atmosphere causing it to rain radioactive water which will either outright kill everyone, or make all water poison, contaminating soil and eventually killing everyone. It might take some time, but, everyone will die.


Possibly, but by the first or second post-apocalyptic generation, that fear would be a thing of the past. Not that there'd be enough gasmasks for everyone to have that luxury, anyways.

It's surprisingly easy to make a gasmask, and I think I said something about "the first few years"


Need I say that they're also completely unrealistic?

They're all completely unrealistic. What's your point?


Um, so multiple once-in-1000-years events happening in rapid succession isn't?

It seems slightly more likely.


Besides, it's still more likely than the aliens.

That doesn't say much of anything.

Geordnet
2013-05-03, 12:04 AM
Nuclear radiation from a few dozen warheads impacting at the same time gets into the atmosphere and circulates through the whole atmosphere causing it to rain radioactive water which will either outright kill everyone, or make all unfiltered water (mild) poison, contaminating soil and eventually killing everyone. It might take some a lot of time, but, everyone will die (of cancer).
The worst-case scenario (assuming no cobalt bombs) is that human 'natural' (age-related death) life expectancy drops by 10-20 years due to increased cancer rates (and even that's pushing it). Wildlife adapts fairly quickly to the increased background radiation, outside the immediate blast zones. Water can be purified of the majority of radioactive material by simple distillation and filtering.

Honestly, the fallout is by far much less of a problem than the resulting nuclear winter.



They're all completely unrealistic. What's your point?
My point is that the others are actually possible, no matter how unlikely. :smalltongue:



It seems slightly more likely.
It isn't, though. Three once-in-a-thousand-year events happening at once is itself a once-in-a-billion-year event. (Two is once-in-a-million, four once-in-a-trillion, etc.)

Matticussama
2013-05-03, 12:05 AM
I think arguing about the most realistic way for an apocalypse to happen is a bit obtuse. If the DM wants an apocalypse, then they're going to write in the style of apocalypse that they want; how likely a nuclear war v.s asteroid collision is seems irrelevant to the conversation.

Geordnet
2013-05-03, 12:07 AM
how likely a nuclear war v.s asteroid collision is seems irrelevant to the conversation.

I concur; I'm just nitpicking on the details of how each possibility would go down. :smallwink:

Mr Beer
2013-05-03, 01:00 AM
To me, ruins of man's once might endeavours are a big part of the post-apocalypse setting. Empty echoing streets in the middle of once crowded cities, rusted out shells of cars, something flapping in the breeze, that feeling of being watched...

Resource management becomes very important, especially access to clean water; food and guns.

Injuries and disease are deadly without access to modern medical techniques. A minor knife wound or a human bite could turn septic and kill you or at least cause a limb to require amputation - which could kill you.

You can't trust anyone, everyone will be very suspicious of strangers.

The cause of your apocalypse matters a lot, as does the length of time since it occurred.

Environmental changes are quite possible, even minus actual wars, multiple cities burning could put a lot of crap into the atmosphere plus nuclear plants melting down (safety features may prevent this?) and oil fields burning.

Zahhak
2013-05-03, 01:07 AM
The worst-case scenario (assuming no cobalt bombs) is that human 'natural' (age-related death) life expectancy drops by 10-20 years due to increased cancer rates (and even that's pushing it). Wildlife adapts fairly quickly to the increased background radiation, outside the immediate blast zones. Water can be purified of the majority of radioactive material by simple distillation and filtering.

Honestly, the fallout is by far much less of a problem than the resulting nuclear winter.

Wow, I just realized I was talking about the fallout, but thinking about nuclear winter. Crap my brain is not working right right now. Not sure if you consider it a legitimate source, but one of the users at Rationalwiki has a userpage talking about the initial launch of a nuclear war would be enough to basically screw the whole hemisphere affected. If I give it some effort, I could probably find it for you.


It isn't, though. Three once-in-a-thousand-year events happening at once is itself a once-in-a-billion-year event. (Two is once-in-a-million, four once-in-a-trillion, etc.)

I think a better way to state my point is one widescale life ending meteor in 3.5 billion years that happened 65 million years ago. So, three Tunguska sized meteors impacting major population centers would be a bit more likely, being once in a billion compared to once in 3.5 billion. You could also argue about a Chicxulub sized meteor would probably make the affected continent basically devoid of life, while three Tunguska meteors impacting (say) Tokyo, New York, and London would result in probably 67 million+ dead but the surrounding area would still be habitable. And one of these makes for a more interesting game setting.


I think arguing about the most realistic way for an apocalypse to happen is a bit obtuse. If the DM wants an apocalypse, then they're going to write in the style of apocalypse that they want; how likely a nuclear war v.s asteroid collision is seems irrelevant to the conversation.

Aside from technology simply failing, we've been mostly arguing about most likely ways for a specific type to happen (like astronomical impact) and what would happen (like nuclear armageddon). And I think this is relevant because if he wants to run a game set in a post-pandemic world, the talk about how easy it is to make a gas mask, or the luxury of them, is relevant.

Blightedmarsh
2013-05-03, 01:25 AM
What I would do is make it nearly impossible to live outside unprotected. Between ash storms, radiation, acid rail/lakes/rivers, toxic waste, unexploded munitions, collapsing ruins, depleted oxygen/rampant CO2 overload and hunter killer drones the outside is significantly more hostile than the surface of mars.

Small hermetically sealed city states. Dark, damp, overcrowded and claustrophobic conditions ruled over by totalitarian and paranoid politburos, security strongmen or military/scientific juntas.

The rival states form fractious leagues and are in a state of constant strife over the control of outlying communities and precious resources (old tech, functional facilities, water sources ectra).

Man on Fire
2013-05-03, 04:19 AM
So some friends of mien and myself are trying to set up a game (the system doesn't matter) in a modern times post apocalyptic world (Mostly influenced by the Fallout game series). But when planning the first game session, I've started to design a town, characters and such, and I'm feeling that it's a lot like a western- guns, tough people, general scarcity of resources, a lot dangerous ground to travel, danger of violence very real...

What do YOU feel makes for a post apocalyptic game, what gives it that special feel?
Currently I'm thinking of:
- constant reminders of the world that was lost.
- effects of the devastation, such as mutated creatures and such?

but other than that i'm stupmed... suggestions?

Lack of supplies, constant one, feeling of coming end, desperate fight for survival, total annihilation of any maion government structure.

Some advice:
- Eliminate money. Money doesn't mean a thing in world short of supplies of everything. Neuroshima rpg has system that goes like this - people exchange what they have. You want food and drink? Say goodbye to your gloves. You want to stay indoors at night? Well, nice six-pack of beer you have right there. Need a car? Sure, how about I'll sell it to you for that huge stash of all playboy isues?

- Diversify. Don't let two cities be the same. Lets one be women-only city, run by crazy nun who decided men have caused god's wrath and world needs to be cleansed of them, meanwhile in another one men are fighting over who gets to reproduce with three remaining women, while in yet another one lack of hands for job caused need for both genders to be treated equally on al llevels.

- think how people deal with the apocalypse? Some may have given up to despair ("they're gone...they're all gone.."), others embraced hedonism ("we'll all die, why not have fun when we still can"). Few turned to faith ("It is all God's punishment for our sins! Repent!") while some were driven away from it ("God who allowed this to happen isn't worth worship"). Some realize the only means of survival lies in cooperation ("together we can rebuild the world!") while others embraced their darker side ("Finally we don't need to pretend we are not just bunch of monsters"). Strike for diversity.

Jerthanis
2013-05-03, 05:15 AM
One way to reduce the "Westerny" feel of a postapocalyptic setting is to make the apocalypse have reduced the population to a handful while leaving most of the resources of society intact. The classic zombie apocalypse scenario is this situation, where for the most part survival takes the form of scavenging existing food and water, rather than organizing survivors into groups to produce new food and other resources. So if you want to diversify by making the non-town area feel very different from town, consider adding an element like this, where moving into a new area means meeting the four people still alive in what was once a metropolis.

Totally Guy
2013-05-03, 05:27 AM
You need settlements named after misunderstood signs.

You might have a community called "onalds" because they live near a broken McDonalds sign.

Radar
2013-05-03, 05:34 AM
As for supply scarcity it might be important to:
1. Make sure you count all food and water used. Pre-apocalyptic canned food will be very valuable even if the labels have long peeled off (you do run a risk of eating paint, but it's worth it anyway).
1a. Even if food is a problem, booze will be made anyway. Granted, it will be foul and made from things that should not be named, but people will want to get plastered at least as much as they do now.

2. Aside from barter trade, keep the trading offers everchanging and somewhat limited. For example: you try to buy some ammo for your gun and the villagers do have a few shotgun rounds, some M4 clip and homemade lead bullets for secession era revolvers along with gunpowder - just too bad you have a Beretta.

3. Everyday items will be repurposed for other uses:
- some rich family had a nice marble kitchen table top? They break it in two and make a crude handmill out of it.
- mechanicaly inclined people will tinker with power tools to make them work without gas or electricity (hand-cranked driller, pedal-powered tablesaw etc.)
- pools will now be used to store rainwater for drinking and agricultural purpose (unless acid rains are a thing, but then farming is pretty much out of question)

Asmayus
2013-05-03, 06:08 AM
Try Life after People on youtube; it's a series that looks at what happens to the world and our creations when humanity is removed from the equation.

DigoDragon
2013-05-03, 06:47 AM
Try Life after People on youtube; it's a series that looks at what happens to the world and our creations when humanity is removed from the equation.

Second this suggestion. It's a great resource to gauge the decay of our creations once we stop maintaining them. Useful for long-term campaigns that go on decades after the disaster.

Cespenar
2013-05-03, 06:52 AM
Play Fallout 1. Import most of the stuff (themes, etc.) found there into your game.

Run out? Play Fallout 2. Import more stuff.

TheStranger
2013-05-03, 08:05 AM
As a couple people have said, post-apocalyptic is just Western with the serial numbers filed off. It's small settlements, large frontiers, and conflict. I suppose there are ways to subvert those, but I think you lose a lot of the post-apocalyptic feel as well. So you probably just need to embrace it.

Depending on where your game is set, one way to subvert a lot of Western/post-apocalyptic tropes might be to not have your setting be a desert. A lot of the world is forest, or was at one point, and would revert to forest pretty quickly if people weren't around. And if your players are running around in a temperate rain forest that used to be New York, it might not occur to them that they're playing a Western.

Scow2
2013-05-03, 08:09 AM
Post apocalyptic is kinda like "Western-meets-D&D". After all - there are lots of dungeons ruins from the pre-apocalyptic age filled with magic items Advanced technology, supplies, and loot.

Kol Korran
2013-05-03, 08:43 AM
Thanks for all the advice so far! quite a lot to recount. Currently the main things that I'm taking from this are:
- To figure out what caused the apocalypse, and how it changed the world.
- Scarcity of supplies and a barter system.
- Settlements mostly relying on their own, with loose and tense relations.
- A big part is the feeling of loss, the feeling of the world that was and now is gone. Be it by ruins, signs, books, music and more.
- Extreme environmental hazards.

I'm not sure I can bring all of it into this introductory game, but at least soem of it Will work, so big thanks to everyone!

(Note: I don't mind it having some western feel, just not ENTIRELY western. :smalltongue:)

Zahhak
2013-05-03, 11:29 AM
Something that a few people have mentioned that I just now thought of is food and agriculture. In the immediate aftermath of an apocalyptic scenario growing food wont be a huge deal because you can scavenge, but after a little bit when people start reforming settlements, growing food is going to be huge. A lot of settlements are going to be like medieval towns: an actual town structure in the center of a large ring of farms with some houses.

So, the question becomes "what about if there's only acid rain or contaminated soil?" Well, that's when we get one of those "all life on the surface of the earth has died out" type of scenarios.

Lord Torath
2013-05-03, 11:35 AM
Have them encounter at least one forgotten library. Could be a university library; could be a public library. But seeing all these books on things no one has time for any more (the mating habits of snails? Really?!? And to think that everyone used to have a car! And who would have time to read 20 shelves of Tax Law?) can help drive home what has been lost. And give new hope to those who want to rebuild. Depending, of course, on the level of technology available when the library was built ("I even remember you. Time Travel, practical applications.")

zorenathres
2013-05-03, 11:52 AM
depending on how much time has passed between the cataclysm & the present, everyday items that are no longer available should reserve a premium in trade (the longer, the more valuable & rare), an unopened candy bar, a pack of smokes, a bottle of coke etc...

though that candy bar might be a little stale, & those smokes are kinda dry, they remind people of the old world, when they were more at ease & things were "golden". and of course, it gives your players something to trade to townsfolk when your players really don't feel like trading any of their hard-earned supplies when down the road they may need them.

EDIT; also, been seeing lots of post-apocalyptic movie names, but one movie not mentioned, which I think is one of the closest movies to representing fallout visually I have seen, has to be Hardware (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hardware_%28film%29)