A.C.: After Collapse™ (A.C.) is a flexible d20 based post-apocalyptic tabletop role playing game. A.C. encourages classless character creation and dynamic world building after a societal collapse of many causes. These could include any type of civilization ending scenario: nuclear Armageddon, ecological disaster, medical epidemic (including zombie plagues or other imagined ills), civil or political factors, an AI menace, or anything else that can be imagined. Gameplay starts five decades or more after the last national government ceases to function. Men and women of this period think of themselves as “Survivors” because they must contend with the unforeseen consequences of actions taken long ago.
All major aspects of the post Collapse experience are scalable in a way that allows each participant to enjoy basic or advanced play. Referees control the extent of knowledge that is available to players before play starts, including background knowledge that provides context and Basic/Advanced skills that could be hard to find or nonexistent.
Temperature sensitive Structure Points can be assigned by referees to anything breakable. These simulate wear and tear that causes irreplaceable equipment to eventually fall apart. Armor Points can be similarly assigned to simulate the durability of armor, weapons, etc.
Players and referees alike benefit from scalable effects of poison, radiation, and the effects of combat (i.e., lethal and/or nonlethal damage). Player characters are awarded Character Points (CPs) by the referee as a form of experience that can be used to improve attributes, acquire new skills, or upgrade basic skill subfields to advanced skills that represent more meaningful expertise.
2) Extent Of Knowledge
Knowledge becomes power as referees decide if contextual background knowledge by category is common, obscure, or lost. Having that context informs players and referees alike of what is familiar to postapocalyptic makers and takers or what is mysterious to them when they first encounter it. The same framework is applied to the Basic/Advanced Skills that represent what heroes and villains can really do.
3) Classless Character Generation
Age determines how much background knowledge and how many basic skills any character has before they are introduced to the setting. The number of dice rolled for each of the nine attributes is determined by the age of the character before they are introduced to the setting. Each is allotted 1d6 for every six years of age, to a maximum of 30 years. One category of background knowledge can be chosen for every full six years of age a character is before play. One basic skill group for every three years of age can be selected for characters prior to starting the game. Players are free to mix and match Basic skills that have been allowed by the referee (i.e., as common knowledge).
Violence is adjudicated in 10 second rounds using a d10 initiative system to decide who goes first on a second by second basis. Characters and NPCs have Target Profile Numbers that serve as “To Hit” numbers (similar to armor class) when opponents want to attack them. That number is reduced according to amount of encumbrance the character or NPC has to slow them down, making them easier to hit. Some attributes provide additional modifiers. Injury is simulated by subtracting Hardiness points when blood is drawn or bodies are harmed; loss of Vigor points represents depletion of physical energy that can result in unconsciousness. Heat signatures and electromagnetic emissions are included for advanced game play.
5) Structure Points, Armor Points
A.C. presents a system of temperature sensitive Structure Points and Armor Points that can be assigned to anything for the purpose of simulating durability. Structure Points are subtracted on a one to one basis when items or objects are damage by combat effects. Armor Points must be overcome and reduced before individuals can be harmed, simulating physical protection factors relevant to combat. Loss of all Structure Points or Armor Points indicates the item has been destroyed.
6) Poison, Radiation
Nothing is more quintessentially postapocalyptic than toxins and radiation. Threat level scales have been assigned to both in an effort to flexibly simulate them in any form the referee wants to portray. Poison can be fast or slow, debilitating (weakening), or lethal. Radiation can be debilitating, harmful, mutagenic, or harmful AND mutagenic. When combined with the effects of weather, sighting rules, heat signatures, and electromagnetic emissions, poison and radiation become formidable threats for any group of intrepid explorers.
7) Renaissance Or Ruin?
A.C. is a postapocalyptic tool kit that allows you to simulate and experience a wide variety of themes and situations. We’ve provided a big backstory to get you started, involving the rise of Artificial Intelligence (AI). Everything from firearms and body armor to electronics has been presented with enough detail to encourage the exploration of a shattered world, crafting to make what you want or need, and as much empire building as you can handle.
Will you learn from the past and make a better future or will you forget the old world and make the most of whatever you can take?
Justin Oldham is a visually impaired writer and game designer who lives in Anchorage, Alaska. He is the creator of A.C.: After Collapse, as well as the anthologies and novels based on the game. They include: Before The Collapse, During The Collapse, Haven’s Legacy, and Search for Haven Justin has written on the subject of his vision impairment. Other credits include: Tales from the Kodiak Starport, Showdown at the Kodiak Starport, Crisis at the Kodiak Starport, Bibix, The Fisk Conspiracy, and How To Write Conspiracy Fiction.
Picture provided by the author.
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