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Tabletop Game / After The Bomb

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After the Bomb is a Role-Playing Game by Palladium Books set in the post-apocalyptic future of Earth that started out as a supplement published by Palladium Press in 1986 for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles & Other Strangeness. A second edition was published in 2001 as a stand-alone product and, like the first edition, is considered part of the Palladium Books Megaverse that includes Rifts. Both editions of the game were written by Erick Wujcik, with the second edition having Kevin Siembieda credited with "additional text and ideas."


The main storyline is centered on the Eastern United States now mostly inhabited by mutant animals and a few human survivors of a worldwide nuclear war that killed nearly 99% of humanity. Though the second edition of After the Bomb has gone through a rules change and entirely updated the back-story, it remains compatible with the following previously released expansions:

  • Road Hogs (October 1986) – Expands the setting to cover the west coast of the United States.
  • Mutants Down Under (June 1988) – Expands the setting to cover Australia.
  • Mutants of the Yucatan (July 1990) – Expands the setting to cover Mexico's Yucatán Peninsula.
  • Mutants in Avalon (January 1991) – Expands the setting to cover Great Britain.
  • Mutants in Orbit (March 1992) – A dual Rifts/After the Bomb title, it covers colonies in orbiting space stations, the moon and Mars.

Tropes in this game:

  • After the End: The setting is post-apocalyptic, as you might assume from the name.
  • Alternative Calendar: Most dates are given as After the Crash.
  • Animal Superheroes: Depending on the rolls and point-buy, you can end up with such a character.
  • Apocalypse How: The Crash is a Class 3a, while the current setting is mostly in Class 2.
  • Beast Man: Characters with "Partial Human Looks" tend to be this.
  • But What About the Astronauts?: Mutants In Orbit. Earth had several populated satellites and even colonies on the Moon and Mars at the time of the Big Death. They survived, and are trying to cope with the fact the only really habitable planet in the Solar System has turned into a house of freaks. Mars was marginally terraformed, but thanks to a Mad Scientist, it's now overrun with mutant Bee People.
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  • Camp: Given randomization in the character creation rules, you can end up with some very interesting results. One reviewer notes, "The players in my group ended up a tiny psionic bat, a huge kung-fu kicking frog and a four-feet tall elephant powerhouse."
  • Carnivore Confusion: Semi-Averted in the second edition rules as it's possible to take a disadvantage that limits your character to being exclusively a carnivore, herbivore, insectivore, or a ruminant. Handwaved in the original with modified meat-equivalent vegetables that carnivores could eat.
  • Creator Provincialism: The main setting is the East Coast of America. Later supplements expand the game to other parts of world.
  • Closed Circle: The oceans of post-Crash Earth are extremely dangerous, making cross Atlantic and cross Pacific travel effectively impossible.
  • Depopulation Bomb: In the backstory, around 74% of all humans on Earth are killed off by a man-made super virus.
  • The Empire: It's even called “The Empire of Humanity”, which bear some similarities to the Coalition from Rifts, with a militantly pro-human/anti-mutant stance, mutant dog soldier, and being one of the more technological advanced civilization still around. Unlike the Coalition, however, the Empire has been much less successful in their campaigns, up to being called the political “Sick Man” of post-Bomb North America in the second edition's fluff.
  • Fantastic Racism: The Empire of Humanity and Jakarta have being militant anti-animal/anti-mutant human supremacists as their Hat. There are also groups who are anti-human and some Purebreeds are described as being biased against those who aren't members of their group.
  • Funny Animal: Most characters are either these or Civilized Animal.
  • Game of Nerds: The skill description for "Baseball" reveals that not only is the game still popular, it's practically a religion.
  • Happiness in Slavery: There's a character trait available to formerly domesticated animals that causes them to feel this way towards humans or human-looking mutants.
  • Interspecies Romance: Mentioned in both editions, with some rather interesting points being brought up by the second.
  • Little Bit Beastly: Possible when combining "Full Human Looks" with various animal abilities such as claws or fangs, though not as pronounced as with most uses of this trope.
  • Mad Scientist: Professor Sybeck, Emperor Christian's second-in-command.
  • Mix-and-Match Critters:
    • Spider Goats, based on Real Life transgenic goats [1], along with other Chimera animals.
    • Averted in the first edition, which points out that while Interspecies Romance happens, offspring are only possible between animals of similar species (such as dogs and wolves). It's also emphasized that humans cannot interbreed with other animals, thereby preventing Half-Human Hybrid. Second Edition does away with this last part, at least as far as mutant pigs and primates are concerned...
  • Noble Demon: General Mike Ulster is given a Character Alignment of Scrupulous, as opposed to the Diabolic Emperor Christain and the Miscreant Professor Sybek. He's pro-human, but not anti-mutant, and regrets every man lost under his command.
  • Non-Mammal Mammaries: Shows up in the artwork, up to and including what look like nipples on a (presumably) male bird.
  • Nuke 'em: What kills off the remainder of humanity after the virus.
  • Point Buy System: Part of the character creation involves using Biological Engery (BIO-E) Points to purchase features for your character, such as claws, flight, more humanoid features, and even psychic powers.
  • Putting on the Reich: The Empire of Humanity, to the point that it can come across as a poor man's version of the Coalition from Rifts. (Though, amusingly, After The Bomb predates Rifts by 4 1/2 years.)
  • Retcon: The second edition backstory elaborates on the original by having the nuclear war that destroyed the world set off due to a high-school prank gone wrong.
  • 20 Minutes into the Future: The setting takes place a few decades after the 21st century.
  • Too Dumb to Live: The genetic hackers prior to the Big Death created “prankster diseases”, potentially lethal viruses, as an extreme sport. Somewhat justified, in that humanity had developed cures for all existing diseases and could handle the average "prankster disease" within minutes. Unfortunately, some prankster (whose name would be cursed were it known) managed to create something so virulent that not even that level of medical science could handle it.
  • You Are What You Hate:
    • Emperor Daniel Christian, leader of the anti-mutant Empire of Humanity, is secretly a mutant as well.
    • Between mutation and interbreeding, it's an open question whether any of the current generation's "humans" are actually human. Even in the Empire of Humanity, many of their human aristocracy are either mutated, or are secretly mutant animals passing as human.


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