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My playgroup is looking to start a new, stand alone campaign (not long-time running, just a couple of sessions) that is set in a post-apocalyptic world.

We have two distinct sets of criteria. The first is game needs.

  1. It should be able to handle "scaling" easily; i.e., players should be able to control a single character, a group of characters, and a whole clan with relative ease. Preferably, players should be able to control a single character and a group of characters at the same time. Example: Player A controls character Johnnie who is searching for petrol at a decrepit station while simultaneously controlling Patrol Group A who is trying to lead a pack of mutant ravagers away from Johnnie.

  2. It should have mechanics for large-scale travel in groups — something that simulates the hardships of ~300 people travelling the wastes with few resources. Think the band of humans in Banner Saga, but on a bigger scale.

  3. It would be nice if the default setting was post-apocalyptic, but barring that, having a system that easily translates into the setting desired.

The second set of criteria is games that it cannot be. We are trying to play a new game system, one we have never seen before. To that end, this game cannot be:

  1. A d20 variant (d20 Modern, Future, et. al.)

  2. A D&D variant

  3. A Fate variant

  4. A Call of Cthulhu variant

  5. A World of Darkness variant

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Apocalypse World seems like the obvious answer. It offers explicit rules for leading a group or gang (or having your group or gang act remotely), it's certainly post-apocalyptic, and it has nothing to do with any of the systems in your list of things it cannot be.

You might need to do a wee bit of squeezing for the large-scale travel in groups, but the Hardholder playbook's stuff for the player's holding is already most of the way there: The player rolls at the beginning of each session to, basically, find out if the people who live in the player's holding have enough resources or not.

The book recommends 6+ sessions, which might be too many to count as "a couple". That's the only direct problem I see.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ The GM of my playgroup gives this answer his official seal of approval. \$\endgroup\$ – sillyputty Jun 25 '15 at 15:06
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Legacy: Life Among the Ruins is Powered by the Apocalypse, but differs from Apocalypse World. The setting is by default further beyond the time of the apocalypse. It's also deliberately built to scale from individual to community seamlessly, and even span multiple generations. A couple of expansion books provide more options.

Wreck Age is an RPG powered by a skirmish combat system. It is designed so players can control a single core character plus secondary characters, and community resource management is a big part of the game.

Neither game explicitly has rules for large-scale group travel, but group resource management is built into both, so coming up with your own group travel rules should be easier than with other games that solely focus on individuals.

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