Is it just me or is the post-apocalypse much like a fantasy world?

art-002 Last week I’ve been playing the new Defiance MMO from Trion Worlds. It’s set into the same setting as the TV show of the same name. While it’s not really a post-apocalyptic setting, it shares a couple of tropes with the genre. And this got me thinking about post-apocalyptic settings again. For a long time I have been wanting to run a post-apoc game, but for some reason it never left the planning stages.

Yesterday I made a realization, which might have been obvious to some (perhaps even most) of you: post-apoc settings work a lot like fantasy settings. In a lot of fantasy settings the wide-spread settlements are points of light in the darkness of an untamed wilderness. Only the bravest and most foolhardy adventurers dare to enter the wilds in search of riches and glory.

In post-apocalyptic settings it’s often the same. There are usually only small settlements in a vast wasteland which is overrun by mutants or other nasty creatures (this differs based on what the cause of the apocalypse was). These settlements are ruled by more or less tyrannical warlords. And this is yet another parallel to fantasy settings. The dungeons filled with deadly traps and untold treasure are not so different from the underground vaults in many post-apocalyptic settings where fearless scavengers can find pre-apocalypse artifacts and other valuable commodities.

With a lot of the tropes of both genres pretty similar, running a post-apocalyptic campaign may be a way for people usually running fantasy games to experience something new without leaving their comfort zone completely.

What do you think about this? Am I totally delirious or are those two genres closer than one might think? Or was this totally obvious to anyone and I was the only one oblivious to the fact? Please share your thoughts below!