I am looking to start writing a campaign for some friends, but am not sure what system to use for this. I am trying to be as specific as possible with my requirements, so as not to end up asking a list question, so if I have excluded everything, please feel free to offer systems that miss as narrowly as possible :)

My group are old rpg-ers, and a mix between number-cruncher types and story-teller types, so the system needs to be fairly complex, without bogging us all down in the numbers every two minutes.

System: I would like a fairly detailed system, with equal playability and interest across several modes of play/classes etc. I would also like to see some kind of non-combat character development as well as the standard combat improvements.

Setting: while I know I can create the setting in any system, I'd like to find a system that already has the details of the world ready-made - I would rather not sit with the Hero system for hours to work out the stats for a laser-turret, for example. The setting I'm looking for is best described in short as Shadowrun, but post-collapse. There will be artifacts of a Shadowrun-like world, but the players don't have access to any of that level of tech, they are more "mad-max" in tech level. A little like Fallout, without as much left-over tech.

The aim of the campaign is to provide a tech-rich (and hence dangerous) environment for the PC's to forage to make a living without being equipped for hi-tech solutions (as they would be in vanilla Shadowrun, for example)

The challenge for me so far has been the disparate tech levels between the world and the characters, I feel like I'm making DnD characters to play Shadowrun (and in a way, I am), but need a system that will cover both together. (And in fact, mixing two settings in D20 might be my best solution here, as long as the power balance isn't too far off)

Although all the settings/systems I've mentioned have it, I didn't intend for magic to be a part of this world. I may play with some psi or techno magic if a ready-made system has it, but don't require any.

So, does this beast exist? Or have I doomed myself to mixing and/or making my own?


1 Answer 1


Savage Worlds

First, I would check out Darwin's World. It is a setting in itself, but also provides a comprehensive toolkit for post-apocalypse (or post-collapse if you prefer) gaming. It includes:

  • Varying technology levels and penalties for using items of a higher level than you are used to
  • Different languages in the waste lands
  • Rules for creating first, second and third generation mutant player characters
  • Different character backgrounds to choose
  • Precognitive, telekinetic and telepathic powers
  • A whole bunch of equipment and weapons
  • A living world with factions, adventure locations, androids, ideas for campaign themes and a whole menagerie of monsters to throw at the players

The best thing though is that its relatively easy to pick and choose the aspects of the setting you want to use in your game.

Another setting I would look at is Deadlands: Hell on Earth. This is another post-apocalyptic world, which extrapolates what would have happened if the bad guys won in the original Deadlands setting.

The version updated for use with Savage Worlds is relatively new though, and misses things like an adventure generator. However, a companion guide is expected out at some point that should fill in the gaps. Another potential issue is that it has very close mechanical and fluff ties to the Old West, and some of these would be quite difficult to remove whilst still retaining a coherent setting.

On top of that, Savage Worlds is well supported by fan-created material, including another entire post-apocalypse toolkit for free, which looks like a quality effort. It also has support for fantasy races as well as magic and cybernetics - to bring in the rest of the Shadowrun elements.

Between the flexible system and the wide community support, I think you'll find most of what you need to create the world you imagine with just the minimum of effort required.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Nope, it takes the Deadlands setting and extrapolates what would happen if the Reckoners won and is set in 2097. If you don't know much about the setting, I can edit it into your answer later when I have some time if you like :o) \$\endgroup\$
    – Wibbs
    May 8, 2013 at 9:19
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Phil - I already dropped in a mention based on a quick look at the preview. But please feel free to expand on it! \$\endgroup\$
    – gomad
    May 8, 2013 at 9:38

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