do you get your ideas?"
That has to be the single most common question I get in email; most DMs
probably get asked the same thing a lot if they have a good game.
This page is to answer that question, and to provide other DMs with ideas
and tools they might find useful - for it is the never-ending job of the
Dungeon Master to come up with new ideas.
Before anything else, my primary inspiration for this campaign was Leslie
Fish's song Serious Steel. You can read the lyrics here,
and buy the CD (which has a bunch of other great music on it!) through
the link on the bottom of the page.
When I was first designing
the campaign, I found a great article on running post-apocalyptic games.
I've tried to contact the author, but to no avail. I'm making it available
for download since it is a great article, and I hope the author understands.
The Apocalypse: They Said It Could Not Happen Here! ©1996 B. Vince
||Forget the movie - the book is actually good.
|The Logan's Run trilogy
William F. Nolan & George Clayton Johnson
|Forget the movie here too - although a rumored remake
sounds VERY interesting - and enjoy the series. Terrific cultures
and lots of great adventure hooks for the creative DM.
The Fifth Millennium series
S.M. Stirling & Shirley Meier
|OOP & hard to find, but worth the effort. How can
you not love the Kommanzu, horse-warriors that worship Baiwun Thunderer,
his hammer Ehmex, Zailo Unseen, and the rest of the gods of the Ztrateke
a'Kommahn? Or a spell that turns your fingernails into razor-edged
steel - permanently? Well-written stories, believable characters,
exotic survivor-states, and a luck-cat named Ten-Knife-Foot, who's
major occupations are eating, mating, and destroying anything that
tries to keep him from what he wants. Sounds a bit like Olivia.....
In the fourth century, two young women, lovers and bardic students,
are imprisoned by an immortal elven bard for trying to learn elven
music. Centuries later, one escapes with a sentient harp and vows
to free her beloved, no matter what. Two hundred years later, in
modern Denver, she finally finds the weapon she needs to battle
for her lover's freedom: heavy metal rock music.
She forms a band, trains them for the battle to come, and blasts
open the Gate to Elfland with Quiet Riot's Bang Your Head.
A brilliant novel, wonderfully written.
|Civilization dies by comet.
|Warday & Nature's End
|The end of the world through limited nuclear war (Warday)
and through general ecological collapse (Nature's End). Of
the two, Warday is the most pertinent to the campaign and is
a great, if depressing, read.
|Fallout 1&2, Fallout Tactics
||Terrific role-playing games and a decent squad-level
combat game. Fallout got me interested in running a post-apocalyptic
game in the first place. Grim, dark, full of adventure, noble deeds
(or vile ones, depending on how you wanted to play it), black humor,
and just the right dose of weirdness.
||Fallout's spiritual predecessor. One of the best CRPGs to hit the
market, bar none. Snag it if you find a copy, and keep in mind the
graphics are the best the mid-'80s had to offer.
||Conspiracies, bizarre experiments, black projects - this game has
it all. A truly great FPS melded seamlessly with an awesome RPG. Can't
wait for the sequel....
The Mad Max trilogy
|Required viewing for any post-apocalyptic
campaign. The Landmaster may be the King of the Road, but nothing
beats the Interceptor for overall cool!
|Heavy Metal - Den & Taarna
||Terrific imagery, especially in Taarna. A wonderful combination
of technology and magic
|The Blood of Heroes
||A great model of one type of post-apocalyptic adventuring company,
and a nice vision of a dystopian high-tech survivor state.
Pictures: 1, 2,
|Features the king of all post-apocalyptic vehicles, the Landmaster.
The Black Interceptor from Mad Max is a close second, but it has no
weapons and isn't amphibious.
||Patrick Swayze as a lone wandering warrior in a desert wasteland.
Good for ideas about wasteland resource conflicts and the rule of
|The Warrior & the Sorceress
||OK, it's a cheese-fest and a remake of Yojimbo. But it's
a cheese-fest that features David Carradine as a fallen holy warrior
and some very nice fight scenes in another great wasteland resource
conflict. The four-breasted dancing girl is a plus, too...
||More Patrick Swayze. Guerilla Warfare 101 as high-school kids take
on the Soviet Army in the Colorado Rockies.
||Worth it for the sequence of the world falling apart into general
chaos alone. Also a good dramatization of secondary kill and survivor
||So-so adaptation of the novels.
|Escape From New York
||An all-time classic. Needs no introduction.
|Big Trouble in Little China
||Guns, magic, demons, heroic battles, sassy dialog. A must for any
|The 10th Kingdom
||The opening sequence is a gorgeous, if lighthearted, vision of the
||Motorcycle jousting, honor, revenge, and the glory of a Dream.
||The original Zaphod, and an object lesson in the dangers of wishes
coming true. The hows, whys, and whats of the Change all come back
to the Krell and how they destroyed themselves.
||A sword-swinging Elvis impersonator in a post-apocalyptic Vegas.
||Vegas is laid waste once again. Nice survivor settlements and high-tech
enclaves. Cute love robot, too.
|John Carpenter's Vampires
||High-tech vampire hunters tearing up the American southwest in the
name of the Vatican.
||A great love story, worth seeing for that alone. On the gaming side,
Brandon Lee shows just how nasty someone with a protection from
arrows spell on them (or a waster) can be.
||An epic tale of the eternal conflict between the forces of technology
and magic. Faery power versus Panzer blitz. Armies of demons and radioactive
mutants. Gotta love it!
|A Boy And His Dog
||More good survivor settlements and high-tech enclaves. Don Johnson's
Vic is thoroughly unlikeable, but that's OK. His dog Blood is really
|The Omega Man
||Charleton Heston against a world full of vampires
||Hard to describe without giving away the ending, but a great portrait
of a normal person discovering the very extraordinary. A more positive
view of how some people could react to the Change.
|She (the Sandahl Bergman version)
||Wacky post-apocalyptic cultures. Worth it for Zenon, a character
who appears at the end, alone. Well, that and Sandahl's bath scene,
and the overall bizarre sense of humor to the thing.
||Killer mutant kangaroos, resource battles, great survivor settlements,
and Malcolm McDowell chewing the scenery with reckless abandon.
||All the righteous people were just taken to Heaven and you are stuck
on Earth as the world goes to Hell - for the next seven years, anyway...
|The "Planet of the Apes" movies
||Who can forget the Tabernacle of the Almighty Bomb?
Web link: http://home.att.net/~bfox/g2pe.html
|The pilot for a Gene Roddenberry series that didn't make it. A cryogenics
researcher named Dylan Hunt (they re-used the name in Andromeda)
is awakened from cold sleep after a couple of centuries on ice. Some
very cool cultures and technological toys. The PAXer dart is the inspiration
for the campaign's LINDA pistol. My favorite toy, though, is the subshuttle.
||Sequel to Genesis II, with a different lead actor. Dylan
and the PAX team in the Women's Country. Pretty radical ideas for
1974 network television!
One of my main sources of inspiration has always been music. I try to
start every game session with a theme song, and like all of the PCs to
have a theme song of their own.
Campaign Theme Songs
|Lucky - Bif Naked
|Yesterday - The Beatles
||After the Gold Rush - Neil Young
|American Pie - Don McLean
||Closing Time - Semisonic
||Transmission Ends - Chris DeBurgh
|Put Your Lights On - Santana
of Destruction - Jesse Ventura
|Hammer to Fall - Queen
||The End of The World - REM
|Symphony no. 9 - Dvorak
||Stand or Fall - The Fixx
Theme Songs For Specific Areas
|Summon the Heroes - John Williams
||The New Kingdom of the Outlands
|The Temple - Jesus Christ Superstar
||No other song captures the Overlord's Las Vegas as perfectly
as The Temple: "Name your price/I've got everything/ Name
your pleasure/ I will sell..."
|Money - Pink Floyd
||The Ka Corporation
|Journey to the Spirit World - Buddy Red
||White Buffalo Calf Woman
Other songs by Leslie Fish (bless her survivalist, anarchist heart!)
I consider to be inspirational for the game:
||Cities of the Sun
||Black Powder & Alcohol
|The Day it Fell Apart
||The Digwell Carol
||Bring it Down
|Soundtracks for Atmosphere
|Hellraiser 1 & 2
||Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome
||Conan the Barbarian
|Streets of Fire
|Bram Stoker's Dracula
||A terrific post-apocalyptic RPG. Character generation could take
three hours, but it was worth it. Long OOP, snag it in an auction
if you can. The Sydney University supplement alone has enough potential
adventures in it to keep a game going for a few years...
|The Morrow Project
||An Aftermath! contemporary. Much more active following. Grab anything
you can find.
||One mutation from Column 'A', two mutations from Column 'B'...
|Thundarr the Barbarian
||Enough cheese to fill a nacho plate the size of the Rose Bowl, but
the magic/technology clashes and post-apocalyptic cultures are fertile
ground for a good DM.
|Do-gooders with a talking chimp saving the world from the forces
of evil. The Ark II isn't as cool as the Landmaster, but it'll do.
Extra coolness points for the jetpack.
|Friday the 13th
||Nothing to do with the movies of the same name - an awesome series
about a group of people recovering cursed antiques sold by a guy that
got himself re-possessed. Nice magic/technology interaction.
|X-Files & The Lone Gunman
||Needs no introduction.
|Wild, Wild West
||The original series. A steampunk classic and a great source for
wacky gizmos. Besides that, Megalito Loveless is a worthy example
of a good, resourceful, epic villain. Study this deeply!
||Again, needs no introduction.
||A series from New Zealand. A virus wipes out all the adults in the
world and leaves the kids to fend for themselves. It's a soap opera
for teenagers, but it has some great survivor cultures, a good plotline
that is very character-driven, and decent acting. The only point where
disbelief CANNOT be suspended? Where the Hell all these kids found
an endless supply of makeup and hair mousse. Check out the official
site at www.tribeworld.com.