Desolation is a Post-Apocalyptic Fantasy RPG created by Greymalkin Designs in 2009. It is set in the world of Scondera, after an apocalyptic event called "The Night of Fire" killed 90% of the population. It delights in Subverting, Averting, Inverting, and otherwise Playing With common Fantasy tropes. It uses the Ubiquity dice pool system, the same system as Hollow Earth Expedition.
It has two supplements: Desolation: Survivors and Desolation: Journeys Before and After. Journeys was released in 2010 and featured expanded rules for playing before the Apocalypse, including new spell casting rules, equipment values, magic items, and archetypes. It also included a full campaign consisting of eight scenarios that begin before the Night of Fire and lead players through the Apocalypse and into the After. Survivors was released in 2016 and contained new rules for creating orc, goblin and kobold characters, new magical traditions, expanded scavenging rules, dozens of new creatures, nearly 60 non-player characters and more than 20 new sample communities.
Desolation provides examples of the following tropes:
- After the End: Of course.
- Constructed World: Scondera
- Enemy to All Living Things: The "Unnatural" racial trait gives animals and plants a bonus to attack rolls against elves, and gives elves a penalty to all skill rolls in woodlands. In addition, if an elf stays in a place too long, crops fail and animals fall sick.
- Dark Is Not Evil: Necromancy is explicitly stated to not be evil. Also, there is nothing sinister about shadow magic besides its users being extremely secretive and tending to put their talents to... morally dubious usage.
- Dark Is Evil: On the other hand, most of the necromancer NPCs tend to be unpleasant people. Of course, when your magical tradition is almost universally reviled and often outright illegal, and you are almost universally either feared and obeyed or feared and treated like crap because of that, you probably aren't going to look favorably upon people.
- Deadly Decadent Court: The baronies of Kar'Danan were this pre-apocalypse.
- The Empire: Inverted with the Ascondean Empire, which, pre-apocalypse, was unambiguously one of the best places to live, although, like everywhere else, it did have its problems and Values Dissonance.
- Glass Weapon: The weapons made by desert dwarves are made of glass.
- Heinz Hybrid: The entire mongrel race is this.
- Just Before the End: Although the majority of the game takes place After the End, The Journeys Before and After sourcebook for playing games during this time period.
- Left-Justified Fantasy Map: Inverted. The Ascondean Empire, the pre-apocalypse center of civilization and default homeland for most player characters is in the east.
- Our Dwarves Are All the Same: Averted. Although dwarves are often excellent smiths, they are a very diverse race. There are actually two types of dwarves: Mountain Dwarves (which, at first glance, appear to be your typical fantasy dwarves, but have Hidden Depths) and Desert Dwarves (which have very little in common with traditional fantasy dwarves other than being good smiths). In addition, dwarf NPCs mostly avoid stereotypes, and sample characters include a kleptomaniac mountain dwarf who is convinced that the apocalypse is not over.
- Our Elves Are Better: Thoroughly averted, but played straight until 300 years ago, when elves were rejected by nature. They have been a Woobie Species ever since.
- Religion of Evil: The Cult of Baranthum and The Fellowship of the Father's Fury. Especially The Fellowship of the Father's Fury.
- Walking Wasteland: The "Unnatural" racial trait means if an elf stays in a place too long, crops fail and animals fall sick.