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killer7

GMing a Post Apocalypse campaign

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Hi, new user here.

I've been studying the Hero System for a while, and played it a bit (I prefer it over d20 by a far shot), and I've decided to GM a game for my friends.

Can you guys give me any tips on GMing a PA game, what I can do to streamline it, etc? I'm thinking of adapting the Fallout system, but I'm not sure if thats the best solution.

 

tl;dr: What should I do to get straight to the action, and to avoid spending months just preparing the game? This will be my first time GMing a more serious campaign.

 

Any ideas are appreciated, thanks.

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Re: GMing a Post Apocalypse campaign

 

Here's a few random thoughts on my first PA game, which I ran last year.

 

I DID spend some time preparing for the game, because I had never run PA before, and only played in one such game very briefly years ago. But I didn't do as much prep work beforehand as I usually do; most of the work happened during the game.

 

My game was a Morrow Project knock-off, where the players wake up centuries after the Apocalypse and try to discover what has happened. I didn't tell the players in advance that it would be a PA game, only that they should create modern, heroic-level characters who had been recruited for a secret, para-military project.

 

I picked one location in the U.S. to set the game, and did some reading up on that area. Once the game started, my players provided a LOT of additional research.

 

Both Dark Champions and Fantasy Hero were vital resources, since the game was basically modern characters in a medieval world. I chose not to use magic, psionics, or mutants, although I did use a lot of the creatures in the HERO System Bestiary and Monsters, Minions, and Marauders.

 

Your biggest challenge will be to figure out when your game is set (during the Apocalypse, just after it, or long after). Once you have that nailed down, decide how fantastic your world will be. Will there be magic/psionics/mutated people or monsters? Is there super-advanced future tech?

 

For the smallest amount of prep work, I think my setting worked pretty well. I basically only had to work up the base the players started in, the area around the base, and the first few encounters. Everything else came later, as the game went on.

 

Hope that helps.

And welcome to Hero, and the board! :thumbup:

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Re: GMing a Post Apocalypse campaign

 

Okay, that stuff sounds great. I'm thinking of setting it roughly 50 years after a nuclear fallout, so that radiation and mutation will play a huge roll in the game. I'm aiming for a kind of mad-max wasteland, which should at least save on time, So I'll make a starting location and a few simple monsters. Thanks for the advice and the welcome :D

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Re: GMing a Post Apocalypse campaign

 

Quick question: Would it be lame and/or cheesy to set the game directly in the fallout milieu? I really like the flavour (and having a lot of the work already done :(), but I don't want it to feel like a cop-out

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Re: GMing a Post Apocalypse campaign

 

Welcome killer7.

 

I run a Gamma Hero game based on the Gamma World setting.

 

Yes, it is a little lame to use the Fallout material, but so what?

It is a great place to start, has plenty of material to convert.

 

 

If your players have not played Fallout then use it, if they have played it or become aware that the game is based on the computer game, then you as GM have work ahead of you.

 

The first rule of Fight club, err running Hero, is know the rules.

If you are going to have Mad Max like action, read up on vehicle combat, create some vehicles of varying tech or abilities.

Will you have Segment by Segment move?

Can you convert MPH to KPH?

Do you have rules for vehicle hit location?

 

The second rule is..something you are already doing. Ask question and solicit help for problems here on the boards.

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Re: GMing a Post Apocalypse campaign

 

killer7, I've only played a little bit of Fallout, so I'm not that familiar with it. But I agree with what lensman said; it's better to use it if your players aren't that familiar with it.

 

For monsters, look at the HERO System Bestiary and/or Monsters, Minions, and Marauders. These excellent monster books are primarily intended for fantasy, but I used plenty of creatures from both for my PA game.

 

And if you haven't already gotten Hero Designer, buy it quick. It is terrific for new players/GMs (and very inexpensive for what you get). It will help you work up characters and creatures in a hurry. The best part is that it enforces the rules, so you can be sure anything you build in it is legal, rules-wise.

AND you can get all the monsters from the Bestiary already done up in HD for a measly $6.99 from the Online Store. This is a BIG time-saver.

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Re: GMing a Post Apocalypse campaign

 

killer7, I've only played a little bit of Fallout, so I'm not that familiar with it. But I agree with what lensman said; it's better to use it if your players aren't that familiar with it.

 

For monsters, look at the HERO System Bestiary and/or Monsters, Minions, and Marauders. These excellent monster books are primarily intended for fantasy, but I used plenty of creatures from both for my PA game.

 

Don't forget the Asian Bestiaries. And don't mind the word "Asian" in the title, there's plenty of giant snakes and lizards, huge fish, hairy bipeds (i.e Bigfoot-like creatures), and other strange animals to suit any PA game.

 

Oh, and here, your first NPC: Max Rockatansky (http://surbrook.devermore.net/adaptationsmovie/madmax.html)

 

Hmm... the HTML is a mess. I'll fix it tonight.

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Re: GMing a Post Apocalypse campaign

 

I don't remember the author's name but there's a discover magazine (I think) article and book based on the premise of what the earth would be like if humanity just vanished.

 

Good source material on how nature deals with the leftovers of civilization. Some research on the region around Chernobyl and some other areas that have been abandoned.

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Re: GMing a Post Apocalypse campaign

 

Yo Killer,

 

Some thoughts about your Mad-Max-esque universe proposal:

 

1) After 50 years, what vehicles that aren't homebuilt are going to be either cannibalized for parts, museum pieces with no fuel or lubricants, or a piles of rusty metal.

 

2) On top of that, most of the roads that aren't being used will have turned into thickets of brush and crumbled piles of asphalt (or covered by sand in a desert). So vehicles had better be able to manage serious off-road conditions and still make incredible alcohol mileage (not likely).

 

3) Any survivors this far gone are going to be cautious at best of strangers and preemptively homicidal at worst. What few towns there are will have defenses, fortifications and militias to man them.

 

4) Any mutations 50 years out will not be beneficial, but detrimental and more than likely fatal. Some areas may be so radioactive that it kills all life to the point that even decay will not take place -- imagine mummified bodies (and parts) leftover from the war just lying around...

 

5) Local governments with resources will still be around, but any vestage of state or federal authority will be long gone if there isn't military might to back it up. Most likely scenario will be remnants of military units acting as marauders and bandits, warlording over the resources they need to survive.

 

Good luck with your game.

 

Matt "Too-much-of-a-realist" Frisbee

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Re: GMing a Post Apocalypse campaign

 

Thanks for all the input guys! I've decided to go with Fallout after running it by the playgroup (they said they would prefer a conversion o_O).

I've reworked the S.P.E.C.I.A.L. system to fit the given stats, and changed the formulae for derived stats and weapons to match the 3d6 system. Just mapping and NPCs left :D

When I'm done I think I'll put up a tiddlywiki for all of the conversion material if you guys are interested. Anyway, back to the grind!

 

Lensman & Frisbee: You raise some interesting points that I'm going to have to put a lot of thought into. Getting the setting and flavor tuned is proving quite challenging

 

Tancred & Susano: For now I'm going with adapted Fallout enemies (and a few locational ones I rolled up), but as it progresses I will undoubtedly be looking for source material, so thanks.

 

(Vehicles and automatons won't appear until later on in the game so I'm putting them off for now >_<)

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Re: GMing a Post Apocalypse campaign

 

I am working on some vehicles for my run anyway' date=' so when I finish some I will post here.[/quote']

 

Y'know... once PA HERO comes out I really need to re-watch Mad Max and Mad Max II and write-up some of the principal characters (and the Last of the V-8s).

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Re: GMing a Post Apocalypse campaign

 

Y'know... once PA HERO comes out I really need to re-watch Mad Max and Mad MAx II and write-up some of the principal characters (and the Last of the V-8s).

 

Dont forget the Gyro Captain ;D

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Re: GMing a Post Apocalypse campaign

 

Dont forget the Gyro Captain ;D

 

Max, Goose, Toecutter, Gyro Captain, Humongus, Wez, the Warrior Woman, and... Papagallo?

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Re: GMing a Post Apocalypse campaign

 

I think using an already developed setting is perfectly all right, *especially* if the players are familiar with it. It will give them the ability to relate without a lot of effort on your part. I however would *not* recommend reworking Hero into the SPECIAL stats. Keep HERO the way it is and just use the Fallout setting. Hero is complicated enough without having to rethink the stats. You can create the "perks" relatively easily as well as packages too.

 

Since you have a general setting, you know the kind of NPCs and Creatures you need to create, so now it's just doing grunt work. I'd be curious to see the stats of things like Mutants and DeathClaws. :)

 

-shnar

 

P.S. Also rather excited for Fallout3 myself...

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Re: GMing a Post Apocalypse campaign

 

Quick question: Would it be lame and/or cheesy to set the game directly in the fallout milieu? I really like the flavour (and having a lot of the work already done :()' date=' but I don't want it to feel like a cop-out[/quote']

 

Hey K7, welcome aboard.

 

I've been thinking of running a PA game sometime soon myself so your post caught my eye.

 

I think you should use whatever gets you into the setting. IMHO most games like this quickly morph into whatever you and the players are interested in. The most important thing is to have everybody more or less on board when you start. After that, you'll know where to go.

 

And have a little REP to get you started...

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Re: GMing a Post Apocalypse campaign

 

I however would *not* recommend reworking Hero into the SPECIAL stats. Keep HERO the way it is and just use the Fallout setting. Hero is complicated enough without having to rethink the stats. You can create the "perks" relatively easily as well as packages too.

 

Here, here. I second this motion.

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Re: GMing a Post Apocalypse campaign

 

I ran in mudpyr8's game this Gencon and last Gencon, and I can't wait to see what kind of trouble happens next year!

 

Hero is a great system for presenting Fallout.

 

But remember, you don't have to use the adventure as presented in the video game; heck, you don't have to use the same area, I'm setting up a game that will be set in and around Indianapolis, at least, that's the plan.

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Re: GMing a Post Apocalypse campaign

 

For all your Post-apoc needs, characters from the Mad Max films:

 

http://surbrook.devermore.net/adaptationsmovie/moviechar.html#max

 

Great stuff in there. Ever intend to stat up the Amazon or Papagallo?

 

Oh, and we all assumed that the Lord Humongous was actually Johnny the Boy - the facial burns and all that...

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Re: GMing a Post Apocalypse campaign

 

Great stuff in there. Ever intend to stat up the Amazon or Papagallo?

 

Oh, and we all assumed that the Lord Humongous was actually Johnny the Boy - the facial burns and all that...

 

Papagallo? Maybe. And Virginia Hey was "the Warrior Woman."

 

As for Lord Humongous, the common thought was that he was Jim Goose. I never felt he could be Johnny the Boy -- he's way to large in height and build.

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Re: GMing a Post Apocalypse campaign

 

If you're still going for a Fallout Adaptation I could give you some of my Resources i've been using Failing that Here's what I did the streamline my campaign

 

Excel sheets (Any similar program will suffice) These make weapon/armor/general equipment managing for purchase, bad guy gear, or simple shopping list for the players a breeze simply hand them the list and tell them what's available at the shop. It's best to make the list of things the players would either frequently buy or things that they SHOULD buy I.E. Gasmasks, stimpacks etc...This will also allow you to know the standard pricing of an item without having to constantly think about it. Simply look at it's average price and modify it to fit the shop owner (I.E. Jerk who over prices things or a indebted shop owner who sells at a discount)

 

The above listed thing has helped the most for me but another item that's useful is Weapon Tabs these are simple print n cut tabs made specifically for interchangeable firearms, Fallout being a setting where the average player is going to go from POS homemade pistol to somthing better and then something better beyond that it helps to have these items on standby for when the player wants it...Say for instance after they blow away the raider who had a auto shotgun? wouldn't it be nice to go "Oh you want that gun? well here ya go" rather than listing off stats and dragging the game to a halt.

 

These are just some things that made GMing much easier for me in most games. It takes a bit preparation but it's worth it in the end.

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Re: GMing a Post Apocalypse campaign

 

Quick question: Would it be lame and/or cheesy to set the game directly in the fallout milieu? I really like the flavour (and having a lot of the work already done :()' date=' but I don't want it to feel like a cop-out[/quote']

 

I don't think it would be lame or cheesy at all. No more so than countless campaigns based on other games, tv shows, movies, novels, or comics. If you like the Fallout universe, why reinvent the wheel? Besides, if the campaign is successful and runs for very long, you'll start adding your own stuff to it and make it your own. Go for it.

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