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After The End / Tabletop Games

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  • 2300 AD is the sequel game to Twilight: 2000, but since it's set 300 years after the earlier game after humanity has had time to recover, it's generally much more upbeat.
  • After The Bomb (originally a spin-off of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles & Other Strangeness, now separate) takes place in a post-apocalyptic world populated by both human survivors and mutant animals as a result of a virus followed by a grand nuking of the population. (They assumed the virus was a bio-weapon, it was just a prank. Oops.)
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  • Aftermath! is an old Scavenger World game, and it's slim pickings since it's a few generations after the end. There's lots of scenarios for the setting, lots of little rules systems for simulating special cases, lots of genetically engineered life forms and Schizo Tech and you are as likely to die of starvation and exposure as violence.
  • The backstory of Anima: Beyond Fantasy, suggests quite heavily the setting is the Earth in a more or less distant future after Man's civilization faded into oblivion for unknown reasons, and with it Man's memories too.
  • Apocalypse World takes place roughly fifty years after some sort of apocalypse. A suggested overarching goal for the characters is finding out what caused it and seeing if they can fix it, or at least move it from a Crapsack World to a Cosy Catastrophe.
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  • More or less the point of Atomic Highway, which goes so far as to provide guidelines on pretending to bomb your own home town in order to use it as a post-apocalyptic adventure site.
  • BattleTech (Although the 'end' happens after humans have colonized space).
    • Battle Tech has had a few Apocalypses:
      • The fall of the Star League and the resulting 1st and 2nd Succession Wars which bombed the galaxy back to the Stone Age (barely 20th century tech, with how to make mecha and starships all but lost, though not how to repair them)... this was followed by 2 more wars lasting 300 years all together although these were low intensity conflicts because of the damage inflicted earlier.
      • The Word of Blake Jihad, a deliberate attempt to once again bomb the inner sphere into the dark ages, costing several TRILLION Lives over a 13 year-long war. Planetary saturation nuclear orbital strikes were common.
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  • Chuubo's Marvelous Wish-Granting Engine is set after most of reality was drowned by a tide of nothingness. It's mainly about pastoral fantasy adventures.
  • d20 Modern had the D20 Apocalypse sourcebook, which covered After the End games with suggestions, extra rules and some discussion about different kinds of post-apocalyptic games (and had three example settings: Earth Inherited, a non-sectarian rapture setting where those that weren't righteous enough to be raptured or evil enough to be whisked straight to hell remained on Earth to witness battles between angels and demons and often rise to heights of heroism or fall to depraved depths in response, Atomic Sunrise, a classic post-nuclear war setting expanded on from one D20 Future setting called simply The Wasteland, and Plague World, a setting where a biological warfare alien invasion end up succumbing to their own weapons after thrashing human civilisation and the player characters are cryogenically frozen teams from just before the end meant to retake Earth once the main alien force departed).
  • The Dark Sun campaign setting for Dungeons & Dragons was in its ancient past a typical Medieval European Fantasy world, but centuries of wizards abusing magic turned it into a blasted desert planet whose inhabitants have mostly turned to barbarism.
    • Game designers' early descriptions of what Dark Sun would be like actually referred to it as "the Forgotten Realms after they dropped the Bomb".
  • The Day After Ragnarok, a setting book for both Savage Worlds, Hero System, and now FATE Core. The Nazis managed to pull off a summoning ritual that pulled the Midgard Serpent into our reality, but before it could fully manifest, an American suicide team loaded the Trinity Device into a plane, rammed into the Serpent's eye, and detonated the bomb. The flailing around of a gargantuan serpent (whose head alone is 350 miles across) in its death throes while dripping magical radioactive snake venom from its fangs crushed most of western Europe and northern Africa.
  • Deadlands: Hell on Earth features a pretty straightforward nuclear war. Oh, and then the bombs turned out to be fueled by angry spirits, too. And then the Horsemen of the Apocalypse appear. And then it gets really bad.
  • Degenesis, a German indie RPG system self-advertising its genre as "Primal Punk", takes place in a post-apocalyptic Europe several centuries after a series of asteroid impacts which depopulated the continent, additionally releasing an extraterrestrial fungal parasite that hitchhiked a ride on said asteroids. This parasite is -very slowly- converting the biosphere and causing certain wide-ranging mutations in some people, such as extensive Psychic Powers. Some vestiges of civilization have been saved in a few places and several groups have kept at least some pre-apocalypse tech, but most of the depicted world note is caught somewhere between The Dung Ages and the beginnings of a weird kind of new Industrial Revolution, with some particularly badly hit areas having regressed nearly all the way back to the Stone Age. Outside of the very few cities and the comparably few towns, savages, witches and mutants abound, and the nights are dark and full of terrors. Despotism, religious fanatism (with some new and very weird beliefs) and a kill-or-be-killed mentality run rampant, with humankind engaged in a life-and-death struggle against the aforementioned virus and its progeny, which are assumed to be the next evolutionary step, and neither side comes across as either "good" or clearly "evil" for the sake of evil.
  • Earthdawn is set on Earth's Fourth World, after a devastating invasion of other-dimensional Horrors wiped out most living things on the surface and mutated what was left. The Horrors (mostly) returned to their home plane after the level of magic dropped too low for them to stay, allowing the survivors to re-emerge from their retreats and begin to repopulate the planet.
    • Shadowrun is the distant future of Earthdawn, after known history (the Fifth World) and the return of magic (the Sixth World). The backstory features a major pandemic wiping out about a quarter of the world's population, a resurgence of the pandemic knocking off another ten percent, a pernicious computer virus destroying nearly every device connected to the Internet, and the major world powers (the USA, China, and Europe) suffering terrible socioeconomic catastrophes and allowing multinational corporations to attain sovereignty at their own expense. Civilization has largely died back to urban sprawls while nature is struggling to reclaim the abandoned, contaminated corners of the world.
  • Eclipse Phase is by default set ten years after the Fall, in which the TITANs reached godlike power and reduced Earth to a scarred wreck haunted by vicious swarms of carnivorous nanobots and other, nastier surprises.
  • Fantasy Flight Games released a whole series of RPGs set during and after the end, appropriately titled The End of the World, with each of the four settings detailing a specific cause for the collapse of civilization; Zombie Apocalypse, Wrath of The Gods, Alien Invasion, and Rise of The Machines.
  • Epic Card Game plays with this: Reality ends up falling apart because of battles between the powers that be. Realizing how disastrous this was, the deities decide to remake the universe and use proxies to settle their conflicts from then on.
  • Exalted takes place after three different Ends, and is set at the End of an Age. First was the Primordial War (named after the Primordials, the creators of the universe, who lose), involving the extinction of scores of civilizations and races; most of Creation was burned up by a sore loser's last act before surrendering. Then the First Age, which was ended by the Usurpation. Lastly, a plague made by a ghost of a Solar killed in the Usurpation killed 90% of the population, and was followed by an invasion of The Fair Folk, who succeeded in unmaking half of Creation (by area).

    The good news? You play as the eponymous Exalted. They can do anything, including flattening the Fae and pushing them back to reclaim parts of Creation from the Wyld, and in the past they beat down the creators of the Gods themselves. The problem is that the forces of the Underworld have Exalts too, and then there's that Great Curse the Solars suffer, which slowly turns them into crazy tyrant-demigods. The potential to fix the world is there, it'll just take a lot of work, and the Exalts overcoming the effects of the Great Curse along with every possible threat to Creation... but if anyone can do it, they can.
  • Fragged Empire is after the after the end. Humans are dead, Archons had a cataclysmic war, the other races kinda survived for a while, and only now is it picking up again.
  • Gamma World is set on an Earth which, centuries after some ill-defined global catastrophe, is populated with mutants of every mental and physical stripe, sentient animals and plants, insane malfunctioning robots and humans. The players are strongly encouraged to not take this very seriously. The RPG credits Lanier's Hiero books, Aldiss' Hothouse, and Andre Norton's Star Man's Son as influences (see Literature).
  • Godbound takes place after humanity has laid siege to Heaven and crafted godlike entities to claim its vacant throne, tearing much of it to shreds in the process. As a result, Heaven is a shattered realm, its celestial engines flailing blindly. Reality is beginning to fray, with the Night Roads opening paths to the beyond everywhere, and fragments of corrupted divinity manifest as devastating monsters. The big question facing player characters is whether they use the fragments of celestial engines they claim to gradually repair Heaven, if that's even possible, or use them to prop up their own little realms.
  • The GURPS supplement Reign Of Steel depicted a post- Robot War setting where Earth is divided up and ruled by eighteen artificial intelligences and the human population is just 37 million, most of which are either in slave camps of one sort or another or are hunted like wild animals in the wilderness. The catchphrase: 'The war is over. The robots won.'
    • Also an invaluable resource for post-apocalyptic GURPS gaming is GURPS Y2K, which takes a long look at the fears of the turn of the millennium and the post-apocalyptic (or straight-out apocalyptic) scenarios that would develop.
    • GURPS now has a series of post-apocalypse genre books actually called After the End.
  • Legend System's Hallow setting is built from the remains of a solar system, with floating islands powered by living engines (called angels) keeping everything running.
  • Microscope A game can be built around this theme, or it can be a blip in game time as a city is destroyed in a single turn.
  • Mutant Future is a close-as-you-can-get-it retroclone of post-apoc RPGs such as Gamma World using the Labyrinth Lord rules.
  • Mutant — Year Zero : In this game, you play as one of the People — heavily mutated humans living in the Ark, a small and isolated settlement in a sea of chaos. The outside world is unknown to you, and so is your origin (there are also expansions for mutated animals, robots and non-mutated humans). It appears to be at least loosely a prequel to Mutant UA, just set much closer to the End (by UA civilizations have arisen and stabilized).
  • Numenera: The setting, known as the Ninth World, takes place one billion years in the Earth's future after eight subsequent civilization arose, achieved incredible heights of power and technological sophistication, and vanished or collapsed. Fragments and leftovers of the previous worlds are littered everywhere — vast machines, monoliths, ruined cities and ancient installations dot the landscape, desolate after millennia or more of abandonment, while nearly everything alive — animal, plant, microbe — is likely descended from or at least affected by the biotechnological experiments of bygone empires (except for the natives of alien worlds and dimensions who were left stranded on Earth when the empires that brought them there collapsed). Even the landscape and the weather bear the marks of the ancients, from artificial mountain ranges created for who knows what reasons to roving storms of nanomachines gone mad and feral after their creators disappeared. The Ninth World lives in the shadow of its past.
  • Paranoia is set after a nuclear war... or something... known as the Big Whoops, which ended with The Computer ruling over a huge population living underground in Alpha Complex which may be a dome city.
    • If the High Programmer book is to be believed it's San Francisco that's domed and underground, because a really big rock (or something) was going to hit the Earth, then commies took over the world
    • It's intentionally vague, but the main constant is not available at your security clearance, citizen.
    • According to the second-edition corebook, humanity retreated into the underground complexes to avoid a giant asteroid. Alpha Command, the computer that took care of day-to-day issues in human civilization, was damaged during the impact, and much of its data was lost. When it tried to boot up protocol files, it found an old '50s defense manual and assumed Communist sabotage, which it transmitted to the computers in charge of each complex — starting with Alpha Complex.
  • Palladium's flagship title, Rifts, takes place a couple centuries after the apocalypse. On midnight of the Winter Solstice in the year 2098, two nations in South America engaged in a brief exchange of nuclear weapons, killing several million people. The sudden death of so many people, combined with the mystic timing of the event, caused the Ley Lines crisscrossing the Earth to surge with a power unseen since the disappearance of Atlantis. This caused a number of weather anomalies across the planet which caused more deaths, fueling the ley lines even further, resulting in a chain reaction of death and increasing magical power. Eventually, the magical level rose to the point that the ley lines started becoming unstable, causing the eponymous Rifts, holes in time and space, to tear open and pour forth aliens and monsters, causing even more death. By the end, 60% — 80% of the Earth's population had been wiped out, leading to a Dark Age that lasted roughly a century, where humanity clawed its way out of the chaos and horrors caused by the Coming of the Rifts. In the main setting, Earth is now a dimensional hub where magic and technology exist side-by-side, sometimes peacefully, often violently. Humanity has regained a few footholds here and there, alongside aliens and other creatures who are as much victims of the Rifts as the natives, trying to eke out an existence on a world gone mad. There is also a supplement, Chaos Earth, which takes place literally the day after the apocalypse happens.
  • Rocket Age has Jupiter's moon Io, once a paradise inhabited by a beautiful and advanced people, now a diseased and toxic wasteland inhabited by their hideously mutated descendants. Evidently the Iotes did something to anger their Europan neighbours, but exactly what has never been made clear.
  • Stars Without Number features an event known as the Scream, which wiped out all contact between the galaxy and all methods of hyperspace travel. The spin off Other Dust shows what happened on Earth after the event. Between the wandering nanocloud that's been hacked to mutate anyone it comes in contact with, said hacker being an impossibly powerful psionic who survived the Scream and now wants to watch the whole world burn, and the remnants of the fascist "Mandate" who are still around, things aren't great.
  • The third edition of Traveller, the New Era was set after the destruction of interstellar civilization by a massive Civil War followed up by the release of a homicidal Computer Virus superweapon. The death toll was in the trillions.
  • Twilight: 2000. The canonical example of an RPG which plays the post-apocalypse setting deadly straight and right at the latter end of the Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism, without using it as an excuse to have supernatural weirdness or mutants.
  • Known apocalypses in the Warhammer 40,000 'verse:
    • For humans, we have the Age of Strife at the end of the Dark Age of Technology, where after defeating the soulless robots called the Men of Iron, humanity fractured into a million states before the God-Emperor of Mankind came and restored order; the Horus Heresy at the end of the Great Crusade, where fully half of the human race turned to worshiping demons and wiping out the other half, ending with the rebellious Horus dead and the Emperor on life support; the Age of Apostasy following the First Age of the Imperium, where the mad Goge Vandire drove the Imperium into self-destructive religious madness; and, arguably, the Time of Ending, which is going on right now. After each one, humanity recovered; after each, the recovery was less complete, and society became worse. There are quite likely at least a few apocalypses that have simply not been named, and the current state of the setting is essentially that a number of different apocalypses are being held back solely because they're getting in each others' way.
    • There have been at least several other apocalypses involving other races going on: the most recent and significant must be the fall of the Eldar, although there is the apocalypse that wiped out the Old Ones as well. In fact look at any race and you'll find an apocalypse or two somewhere in their background (though with Chaos and the Tyranids they were usually CAUSING them).
    • The Tau were on the brink of wiping themselves out in a civil war called Mont'au, or "the Terror", before the mysterious Ethereal caste appeared in the eleventh hour to get them to work together. Not a mean feat, considering their best weapons at the time were pikes and black powder cannons.
    • The Orks have fallen from a previous state of civilization, having inadvertently destroyed their Brainboy leaders and descended into murderously happy anarchy. In older material, this may well be the same event that destroyed the Old Ones, who in that material created the "Krork" as living weapons; in more recent canon, that has been rolled back to a "maybe".
    • As many pages describe in regards to this setting, the whole Galaxy is effectively after the end. The darkness and madness won, and won millennia ago. There is no hope for a better future, there is no hope for victory, and hoping for these things indeed actively aids the darkness. The old powers of the galaxy are under siege and in terminal decline, the rising powers are sandwiched between horrific powers orders of magnitude their greater. The fate of the galaxy was sealed when the Warmaster Horus crippled the God Emperor, and eldritch abominations, remorseless kill-droids and tides of alien monsters are pouring into the galaxy. Good lost. Evil won. And evil won ten thousand years ago. The end came, and the end went, and the creatures of the galaxy just haven't figured out they've lost yet.


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