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chainer1216
2017-07-10, 12:15 AM
Years ago when i was a young man bright eyed and new to gaming i ran a dnd game in a homebrew setting, then a second and then a third, but the third ended abruptly, the whole party died in a fight that should have been challenging but doable(a PC decided to betray another PC out of nowhere.)

That was 8ish years ago and now my players are asking for a return to the setting and we've decided that the most interesting way to take it is where, because the heroes died, the BBEG won and destroyed civilization before the current pantheon could fight it to a stalemate which ended in mutual destruction.

The only problem is that ive never run a post-apocalypse game before, let alone one in a fantasy setting, anybody got any advice or ideas?

Mark Hall
2017-07-10, 11:29 AM
Fantasy post apocalypse changes a lot of things, but it also depends on where you were before the apocalypse, and what happened after.

For example, let's take the Forgotten Realms... a pretty standard D&D-style fantasy world. If your massive apocalypse DOESN'T kill most of the people, ruin the land, and disable the Gods, it's not going to last terribly long, because you've got a huge population base, and the ability to make land very fertile through clerical/druidic magic. You may hit the reset button, but it will climb back slowly.

Compare this to Dragonlance, where the Cataclysm caused massive geographic changes AND took the gods out of the picture. Suddenly, famine and disease are real to people who didn't have to worry about them before (if you got really sick, a cleric could heal you), and that's on top of the local geography changing, meaning what you used to do for food wouldn't work anymore (Tarsis the Beautiful, once a major seaport, was miles inland). Those pressures increase the likelihood of war, to be sure.

Then, you get to Athas, which never had gods, but the Cleansing War ruined the land. Combine that with a political apocalypse (the reign of the Sorcerer Kings) and you get a variety of different responses and ways of living in the ruined land.

So, what does your apocalypse look like?

Martin Greywolf
2017-07-10, 12:22 PM
First thing you need to figure out is, what exactly do you want out of your PA game in the broadest sense. Should it be a fun yet brutal romp, Mad Max: Fury Road style? Do you want scarce equipment and careful resource management a la STALKER? Or perhaps something very, very dark and psychologically scarring to the tune of The Road? And more importantly, what do your players really want out of that game?

All of these different types of games will need different approaches, and most likely different systems, or the same system with different modifications.

hamlet
2017-07-10, 02:26 PM
It should also be pointed out that D&D inherently implies, to a certain extent that is, a post-apocalyptic setting. The old times were greater until things fell. The land is just lousy with old ruins/dungeons/monuments to the past. The Old Magic is stronger or more dangerous/wild. Artifacts. Etc.

So, to some degree, a post-apocalyptic D&D setting looks a lot like the standard one.


That said . . .

Who was the BBEG in the old campaign? What were his/her/its goals? If it actually accomplished them, how would it change the face of the world and the lives of everyday people?

If it was a dark god intent on wiping out an entire race (elves, say) then there'll be the leftover ruins of an entire civilization for adventurers to explore/die in. Forgotten Realms had a whole thing about that. The looting of old evlen artifacts could become a lucrative economic concern and the PC's might have to fight off competitors.

If it was just a local fascist empire, then they'll have taken control of everything and society itself would react to that. How would it change?

Some details!

chainer1216
2017-07-10, 04:43 PM
The BBEG was a primordial dragon god that had been resurrected and defeated several times at this point, each time becoming more and more corrupt and warped. It had been sealed beneath a massive city tree that was cared for and occupied by the vast majority of the worlds elves, so goal #1 once freed was to extict the elves and then the humans whose cities were already weakened by months of more or less conventional siege. It and its forces more or less succeeded before other gods step in and they all kill each other.

So no more gods, no more elves and very few standard humans but lots of kobalds and assorted dragon halfbreeds.

As for the type of PA i want, its defanately Fun but Brutal Mad Max style.

Vitruviansquid
2017-07-10, 05:36 PM
Years ago when i was a young man bright eyed and new to gaming i ran a dnd game in a homebrew setting, then a second and then a third, but the third ended abruptly, the whole party died in a fight that should have been challenging but doable(a PC decided to betray another PC out of nowhere.)

That was 8ish years ago and now my players are asking for a return to the setting and we've decided that the most interesting way to take it is where, because the heroes died, the BBEG won and destroyed civilization before the current pantheon could fight it to a stalemate which ended in mutual destruction.

The only problem is that ive never run a post-apocalypse game before, let alone one in a fantasy setting, anybody got any advice or ideas?

Logically for a D&D setting, I would start by asking what happened with the gods and other beings able to exert godlike powers (wizards, dragons, etc.). Then the rest of the setting would tend to take shape from there. (However, the fact that D&D all but requires the existence of gods and godlike beings in their settings is one of the reasons I don't like D&D, but that's neither here nor there).

So your BBEG and gods destroyed each other in a war of insane scale? Okay, then how was this war of insane scale fought? What would the aftermath of the war look like? How would non-godly beings have adapted to life in the world after this war of insane scale?

1337 b4k4
2017-07-10, 07:29 PM
Depending on the specifics of the BBEG winning, one thing to consider is that in a PA scenario, your BBEG may be less an actor and a villain and now more of a part of the world (or region anyway), just like having two suns, or the whole area being a desert might be. That is, don't stat up the BBEG in this scenario, because the conflict isn't about stopping or overthrowing the BBEG. It's about the personal level day to day conflicts. The neighboring settlements vying for scarce resources. The survivor camps struggling to make it while harpies pick off the weak. It's the little remnant of the town that just found a small piece of the past preserved, and could be an oasis, but is besieged by a manticore. Or the city by the sea, fortified on 3 sides by a cliff to the water, with the access to water and food that the sea and it's tributaries provide, doing its level best to hold against the encroaching chaos of the times.

In short, your players won't see or meet the BBEG for a very long long time (if ever), they will instead know him through the effects his victory has had on the world, rather than directly via actions and henchmen. Direct conflict may never occur, it might take decades or even centuries before the world is restored to a point where the elimination of the BBEG would have any impact other than creating a power vacuum for LBBEGs

kraftcheese
2017-07-10, 10:08 PM
The BBEG was a primordial dragon god that had been resurrected and defeated several times at this point, each time becoming more and more corrupt and warped. It had been sealed beneath a massive city tree that was cared for and occupied by the vast majority of the worlds elves, so goal #1 once freed was to extict the elves and then the humans whose cities were already weakened by months of more or less conventional siege. It and its forces more or less succeeded before other gods step in and they all kill each other.

So no more gods, no more elves and very few standard humans but lots of kobalds and assorted dragon halfbreeds.

As for the type of PA i want, its defanately Fun but Brutal Mad Max style.
I suppose you could think about the kind of society kobolds, dragonborn and humans would create; are they seperated into city states? Where do they get their food and water? Do they loot the ancient ruins for resources? Live in the ruins? Are they working together in some places, or opposed?

Friv
2017-07-11, 12:26 AM
Okay, so here are my thoughts based on the setting that you've described.

The Divinity War was bad news. The gods literally stepped down from the heavens and fought a primordial dragon of chaos, while their servants flocked to defeat his worshippers and cut off his power. Presumably, all of the gods were united here, but perhaps one or or two defected in hopes of survival, only to be slain. But the gods are gods. Their energy can't really die. Instead, it flows across the world, pooling into random people and monsters in moments of chaos. In theory, this will one day allow new gods to be born. Right now, though, it's mostly creating terrible monsters. A handful of divinely empowered people are trying to hold the line against terrible monsters with the raw might of various divine domains, but it's not... it's not going great.

There are still clerics, though. They are those who have gathered divine essence into themselves, and they are largely steadholders and protectors - too valuable to be risked in the chaos that the world has descended into, and too rare to do more than protect a small settlement or town. At least... those are the stories. You've heard about these places - rumours, legends. You've never seen one. But maybe you will.

The wizards are gone. Or at least - not gone, but shattered. The old spells became unreliable when a primordial god of chaos chained the fabric of magic to his will, and all of the great mages died opposing him. There are still hedge-mages, will-workers, but they're weak. Every spell needs to be developed from scratch, every item needs to be tested. Things don't always do what they're supposed to.

And there's the problem of the Bloom. They were once elven territory, but they're twisted, now. Not scorched clean, no. The Dragon was crueler than that. They're a massive fungal bloom, choking out the world, and they're spreading. There are things in the jungles, and those things devour all life. Nothing is safe.

There are still cultists praying for the Dragon's return. They believe it was halfway through reshaping the world into something better when it died, and the troubles are a result of a job unfinished. The dwarves and the gnomes retreated into their underground cities, but the Bloom thrives in the dark. It's cut their settlements off from one another, and if they want to find each other they need to travel the surface. The halflings returned to their nomadic ways, and they're looking for the few safe places left.

You grew up in this world. There are people still alive to tell you about when they were young, when the weather was sane and didn't change from sun to storms in a matter of moments, when you didn't need to shelter from terrible hurricanes and blizzards from week to week. Farming is hard. It uses the last of your community's hoarded magic. And you can't stay here. The plants are dying and the kobolds are hungry. You're the only members of your settlement who are any good in a fight, and you need to be their scouts - move ahead, find safe ground, help them reach it, and then move ahead again. There must be somewhere safe, where everyone you love can stay alive...

Friv
2017-07-11, 12:43 AM
And having dumped that massive pile of random setting thoughts into the world, something actually useful...

If you're running a Mad-Max/Fallout style post-apocalyptic game, the first thing you need to decide is whether the PCs are wanderers or part of a settlement. If they're wanderers, the difficulty becomes, "why don't they settle down?" If they're settlers, the problem is usually, "why do they care about this place" with a side helping of "why would they ever leave"?

You can deal with this in a few ways. If the players are starting in a settlement, I'd suggest building it as a group. Let everyone create a few NPCs, define one thing about the settlement that is interesting and useful, and define one problem that the settlement is currently suffering from. Then, the story becomes about ranging into the dangerous areas nearby to solve those problems.

If the players are straight-up wanderers, the question is "why did they join together", "how do they get around", and "will they settle down". You can be ready for the game to more or less turn on a dime if they find somewhere they like spending time in.

In both cases, the story is about scarcity, uncertainty, and violence. There are groups out there prospering, but they're prospering in the short term. In the long run, they're going to run out of victims and turn on each other. Everyone else is struggling. Food is hard to come by, water is not much better, and keeping track of these things is critical.

Players should be aware that a lot of classes are going to be restricted a bit, if you're doing D&D. You might want a rule that you can't single-class as a spellcaster; you have to multiclass no more than half your levels as a spellcasting class. Or you could E6 it, to restrict how much magic the players have access to. Or a mixture of the two. You don't want Create Food and Water to trivialize problems, but you also want magic to be a thing that can be used to make life better for the players and the settlement.

chainer1216
2017-07-11, 01:31 AM
I know the game is going to at least start out as wandering, ive spoken to 3 of the 4 players and have gotten a slittle bit of backstory,

PlayerA is a Half-Ogre(played as giant) phy-war who was raised among Fire Giants where he was abused, he stole a sword and left and now he dreams of helping rebuild a more civilized society.

PlayerB is a Minotaur who lives in a maze, guarding what is a large amount of useless gold and maybe a Mcguffin or two. One day someone actually made it through the maze and stole a/the Mcguffin and now he's traveling to find the thief and get the item back, its a matter of pride ya know?

PlayerC is a Kobald sorcerer who specializes in trap-like spells and summoning(maybe), he was contracted out by PlayerB to improve the mazes defenses before the thief got through anyway, he's traveling with the Minotaur because again, its a matter of pride.

And while i haven't talked to PlayerD i have a feeling that he'll be a more typical character with motivations more in line with playerA.