A different kind of old school role playing game. Part 1, Pre-ruin unrest

It's hard to understate the impact of the movie The Road Warrior on a bunch of twelve and thirteen year old boys in the early eighties. One of our friends had a father who was an early adopter, and bought a fairly early VCR. Of course, that year he had an overnight birthday party and we all settled in to watch Mad Max and The Road Warrior, back to back. We were enthralled, of course, and it was all we could talk about for days afterwards. 

Shortly thereafter, a friend came over with news he'd picked up a new RPG at the local game store. He was very secretive about it, and we were all curious what he'd found. And lord, what a game had he found.

Image lifted from Wayne's Books (http://www.waynesbooks.com)
Other games were set aside for a time as we devoured those three books, pondered the extensive but not difficult to follow combat flowchart, and marveled at the depth of detail presented - damage categories for every caliber of round known to man, random tables for scrounged loot, a thirty-position hit location chart, and more - and we quickly brought it to the table. 

No, really, we did. We didn't balk at the math, we weren't afraid of the character creation process, and we didn't sweat that we didn't fully understand the disease rules. This was a system designed to bring us to a world of makeshift shields crafted from road signs, hoarding shotgun shells, crazy bikers with fluorescent mohawks, and surviving on cans of Dinky Di dog food. We couldn't wait to get the game to the table.

Notable memories include the seemingly fortuitous but eventually disastrous discovery of a flame thrower (we took the random tables as gospel, even when they bent reality all out of shape); the adventure that saw us boarding a space shuttle for an orbital colony of survivors who came down to Earth to raid for supplies; and the glorious time when one friend's character took a shot from a laser rifle (they're in the book, so you have to use them, right?) to the location 12 - the crotch. Turns out, you take enough damage in a location and the location is severed. And if it's done by a laser, it's immediately cauterized. We fell about the place laughing over that one. We were, again, twelve and thirteen years old.

Fast forward thirty years, and a friend is clearing out his collection. He has a printing of Aftermath! on hand that he wants to unload and yours truly jumps on it. A few days back, it arrived. And re-reading it, I'm reminded of why I like the game so very much. Even now, it speaks to me, a full-blooded simulation system, written by people who share my taste in games. 

So now you're going to have to endure with me as I read through it thoroughly, with my more modern and mature eyes, and reminisce about the game, our campaigns such as they were, and how I might go about tightening a few bolts, putting a few liters of pure grain alcohol in the tank, and firing this old jalopy up for another spin.


  1. Ah, I remember that game. Never actually got to play it, but a friend at school had a copy; I'm not sure he ever got very far with it.

    Wasn't that the one that described ANFO, only they didn't call it ANFO, they used two other common chemicals and explained that these weren't the real thing so it wouldn't work in real life?

    1. I'll have to look into that, the friend who owned our community copy of the game was also our resident bomb maker and Anarchist Cookbook owner. If anyone would have noticed the omission, it would have been him.

      Destroyed a perfectly good dutch oven trying to make his own C-4 once... amazing he survived to adulthood.

    2. Found it, book 2 p.39.

      A simple chemical treatment with a substance so common we are not really sure we should mention it will turn any ammoniated nitrate fertilizer into a very efficient explosive.
      The fertilizer is sold in 25 kg sacks, which should be soaked in kerosene (kerosene is not the correct material) and allowed to dry. Use of a fulmiating [sic] primer (see below) will set it off. Extreme heat will cause it to ignite and burn, but not explosively, It is otherwise completely stable.


Post a Comment

Popular Posts