Do we as a species have a morbid fascination with the end of the world? Even if we don’t, nothing lasts forever and some kind of end awaits us at some random point in the future. Whether you believe it to be plague, pestilence, fire, war, zombies, or the eventual destruction of Earth when the Sun runs out of gas, it’s going to happen.
As gamers, we’re in a unique position to explore some of those eventualities while having fun in the process. Where else do you get to gleefully ponder the actions of a character in a fictional pre-, post-, or apocalyptic scenario?
So that brings me to 3 Generations After The End, a collection of articles describing a post-apocalyptic setting the gang at Gamer Assembly have been working on for a while. They released it a year ago and I’m only now getting back to it, but wanted to cover some of the fun ideas it includes.
Ultimately it’s a collection of nine different articles/stories, plus some introductory material, a collection of monsters, and some enemy NPCs in a 20 page PDF available at DTRPG/RPGNow. But if you’re worried it was written with a particular system in mind, it wasn’t. They deliberately kept it system-neutral and ended up with stat blocks for D&D 4e, Gamma World 4e, Savage Worlds, FATE, and Apocalypse World – so you can likely take the ideas and fudge them into your favorite system pretty easily.
Like any apocalypse, it had to start somewhere. Bad things happened. The world was torn asunder. Many perished. And though magic returned to the world, it remains up in the air as to whether that caused the rest of the destruction or not. That didn’t stop the magic users from collecting the resources that were left and fighting among themselves. But they’re not the only game in town. The Techno-Priests are trying to use technology from before the end to secure their own domains in the world. And nature itself has surged to fill the void with mighty forests and creatures no longer afraid of mankind.
There are islands of surety in the chaos, though how secure they may be is a matter of opinion. You may have to leave those islands of relative safety to scrounge for old tech, food, or a place to call your own, but others have the same idea. It reminds me a bit like Mad Max meets Logan’s Run with the Technomages from Babylon-5 and Terry Brooks‘ world of Shanarra thrown in for good measure. There are other mixed-genre settings like Shadowrun that do this too, but I like the openness of the world 3 Generations offers.
One of my favorite articles is from Chris Jackson about the forests and how wild they’ve become… “It is sheer folly to venture within the woods alone, so oftentimes a member of an adventuring group will take a misstep and be attacked by feral foliage, and for the rest of their lives bear the marks of the encounter…” It really gives “Keep off the Grass” a whole new meaning when the grass wants to poison you, envelop you, and digest you over the course of a couple of weeks.
The whole book is free and short enough I won’t spoil things for you, but suffice it to say there are plenty of great ideas here to mine for your own campaigns in just about any genre. Why not pick it up and peruse the pages of 3 Generations After The End to see what you can find?