Design Notes

Post-Apocalyptic Blues is mostly based off of the d20 Modern game system. I saw mostly, because d20 Modern works under the assumption that players are functioning in the modern world. A world with hospitals and department stores and law enforcement and computers and telephones that work. The purchase system, for example, simply assumes that anything the players could want to buy is available and it is just a matter of making a purchase check to get it. Drop a few hundred nukes on the whole thing, then wait fifty years, and suddenly the skill sets and abilities of standard Modern characters just don’t fit. You can’t walk into a store and buy a weapon. Hell, you are going to have a hard time finding clean water. The more I looked at the basis system, the more it just didn’t work.

Then there is the matter of magic. Suddenly magic is just overpowering. You don’t have a high tech military or police department to keep fireball throwing mages in check. You can of course just not employ magic at all. But if you are setting a game in New Orleans, you can’t ignore the supernatural culture of the city and be authentic.

So things had to change. The d20 Modern framework is still in tact. Character progression remains unchanged. Combat still runs under the normal rules. But for this supplement to do what I wanted it to do, things had to change.

Some changes are small but pervasive. For example, to simplify the skills, we’ve merged Hide, Move Silently, and Sleight of Hand into one skill: Stealth. Climb, Jump, and Swim are all part of the Athletics skill. Mechanics is pulled out as a separate skill from Craft, because it has some special rules attached to it (particularly for jury-rigging items). While minor changes, they have an impact on an assortment of rules. So a lot of things needed to be cleaned up to reconcile the core rules with these adjustments.

I also had to look at the weapon proficiencies. Some weapons have been moved around because in a world lacking the manufacturing infrastructure we currently have, some weapons just are not going to be available while others are suddenly going to become important.

Much of the inspiration for the feel of the game and some of the changes made is from the Fallout universe. This is a world where people wielding bows and swords are found side by side with guys shooting laser weapons scavenged from an old military installation. But even though those weapons exist, they aren’t widespread simply because finding ammo for them is difficult and repairs aren’t always possible.

It is also a world very firmly rooted in the Occult. But this isn’t a setting where people are firing lightning bolts at each other or turning people into frogs. The magic system is based on the concept of Sympathetic Magic. Spellcasters employ poppets, amulets, talismans, and an assortment of items to work their magical rituals. This type of magic is imperfect, dangerous, and erratic. The magic system in Urban Arcana just wouldn’t work for the feel of game I was looking for. So I had to completely redesign magic from scratch.

So I’ll be using this page to keep track of our playtest sessions on the new rules and make adjustments as problems come up. I’ll also add world details as the game progresses so that others can follow along with the team’s exploits. Whatever happens, I know I can count on them to find holes and blow them wide open for their own amusement. They are helpful that way.

Design Notes

Post-Apocalyptic Blues JulieAnnDawson