Jump to content
HelplessBystander

How to orient Game Mechanics towards a Post-Apocalyptic setting?

Recommended Posts

HelplessBystander

Hello,

So recently, my investigators messed up. Big time. Like, failed-to-prevent-Dread-Cthulhu-from-being-summoned level bad. Now, the world is in upheaval as the Mythos-knowledge forcefully tore away at the public’s sanity and the world descended into chaos.

 

Now, is there any supplements (preferably free and legal) that addresses End-of-The-World scenarios? Is there any BRP rules that heightens stress, encourages resource gathering and management, and still allow the game to run smoothly? If not, how would you go about making orienting the game into an End-of-The-World scenario mechanics-wise? I’m confident in storytelling skills and narrative weaving, but Google-Funisnt exactly giving me a lot of resources to work with. :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Travern

The BRP supplement Rubble & Ruin covers the post-apocalyptic survivalist settings if you're going the Mad Max route.  While Pelgrane Press's Cthulhu Apocalypse is for the Trail of Cthulhu RPG, it contains a lengthy section devoted to running Lovecraftian games after the end of the world.  You can scavenge it for ideas, but you'll have to homebrew BRP equivalents to its GUMSHOE rules mechanics.

 

Are your players set on the standard world-in-flames survivalist setting for the return of the Great Old Ones, though?  A GOO-ruled dystopia could just as easily be a weird and uncanny one, in which the Mythos has been normalized and incorporated into daily life.  Imagine a Nineteen Eighty-Four where the slogan on the posters is "Great Cthulhu Is Watching You" and the Two Minutes Hate for citizens is one of the "new ways to shout and kill and revel and enjoy themselves" that the GOOs have taught people.

 

EDIT: The apocalypse mechanics section for Cthulhu Apocalypse I mentioned is available as a separate purchase - and DriveThruRPG is offering it on sale for a few more hours...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
HelplessBystander

Thanks for the advice! But honestly, the GOO generally aren't exactly the 'friendly dystopian government' and they're usually more interested in bringing the Spiders of Lang to Earth than implementing any human-centric governing body. Mad Max style apocalypses sounds like a pretty good approach. :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
The_Tatterdemalion_King

I'd go for more of a Rabid vibe, myself... 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
HelplessBystander

I'd go for more of a Rabid vibe, myself...

I have...literally NEVER heard of the movie until I googled it, but I'll see if I could further incorporate this advice into my campaigns. :D

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
MrHandy

You could check out Zombie Apocalypse via the link in my signature to see how I handled it, first as a player and then as Keeper. There's an extremely large amount of material there, but the rules thread might be helpful. It's non-Mythos, but it has its own mythology similar to the Cthulhu Mythos, and there are more threats than just zombies.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
HelplessBystander

You could check out Zombie Apocalypse via the link in my signature to see how I handled it, first as a player and then as Keeper. There's an extremely large amount of material there, but the rules thread might be helpful. It's non-Mythos, but it has its own mythology similar to the Cthulhu Mythos, and there are more threats than just zombies.

Thanks! I'll have a look around.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
yronimoswhateley

There's a short (~5 page) chapter in the 7th Edition supplement "Cthulhu Through the Ages" that deals with that sort of setting ("Cthulhu End Times") - see also the free autocalc character sheets for the various through-the-ages settings. It's about two and a half pages of nice fluff for the setting, and about two and a half pages of descriptions of new skills (see the character sheet), new professions (scavengers, lore seekers, messengers, healers, gladiators, survivalists, and the like), and optional rules ("Hardened Sanity" - see "Getting Used to the Awfulness" on page 169 of 7e CoC rulebook).

 

The "Cthulhu Through the Ages" PDF doesn't cost much and 7th Edition is backwards-compatible with earlier editions, but if you hesitate to spend several dollars for a 5-page chapter of a 7th Edition supplement, I think you can probably read between the lines of the character sheet enough to improvise.

 

There was also a more-or-less complete earlier "Cthulhu End Time" supplement written many years ago that covered the subject in a lot more detail, which may still be available out there somewhere as an "abandonware" supplement, I believe due to the generosity of the creators (I take it a publishing deal disintegrated before the project could be finished, and the creators released the unfinished product to the public instead). I remember it looking very promising, being a novel idea at the time and containing a lot of great ideas, but the version I saw years ago was still rough around the edges, missing a few important illustrations and maps and such, and perhaps missing one or two entire chapters. Still, if that is still available free, it might be one of the best sources of information on such a setting available.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
HelplessBystander

Alright. Thanks for the tip. I'll see what I can do.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
andreroy

The "Cthulhu Through the Ages" PDF doesn't cost much and 7th Edition is backwards-compatible with earlier editions, but if you hesitate to spend several dollars for a 5-page chapter of a 7th Edition supplement, I think you can probably read between the lines of the character sheet enough to improvise.

Cthulhu Through the Ages was, essentially, a book meant to bring the 6th (and earlier) edition's settings (Invictus, Dark Ages, Dreamlands, End of Time, etc.) to 7th edition with quick, easy conversion guide.

 

Works well backwards too.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
HelplessBystander

I see. Good for you.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
DAR

So, the biggest thing about this is that you get to decide how fast things happen. The default seems to be to assume that the world comes crashing to halt and goes up for grabs immediately, which is certainly an option. But GOO's operate on geologic time scales, so... maybe Cthulhu takes decades or centuries to rise?

 

I would run this as a slow burn. Rationalize the initial burst of craziness and images of CVthulhu Rising as a massive psychic event, but leave the "world" essentially intact. But a world that is slowly turning on itself like a cancer.

 

I'd look to films like The Crazies and REC for inspiration, the things that will happen will be explained as virus outbreaks and mass hysteria. Children of the Corn style cults will start popping up, and there will be inevitable Dreamcatcher-style responses as the government(s) start to figure out that things are going absolutely, horribly bad (aside of course, from those that are subverted, Dead Zone gives a great idea as to what you can do with the players figuring something like that out). I think you get much more bang-for-your-buck out of this methodology.

 

Look to Delta Green the RPG for loads of great ideas that you can use, merely bumping things up a notch if you feel like it. 

 

D.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
HelplessBystander

Great ideas. I'll try incorporating them. :P

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.