Michael Wolf is a German games designer and enthusiast best known for his English language role-playing games blog, Stargazer's World, and for creating the free rules-light medieval fantasy adventure game Warrior, Rogue & Mage. He has also worked as an English translator on the German-language Dungeonslayers role-playing game and was part of its editorial team.
In addition to his work on Warrior, Rogue & Mage and Dungeonslayers, he has created several self-published games and also performed layout services and published other independent role-playing games such as A Wanderer's Romance, Badass, and the Wyrm System derivative Resolute, Adventurer & Genius, all released through his imprint Stargazer Games.
Professionally, he works as a video technician and information technologies specialist. Stargazer's World was started by Michael in August 2008.
We are still there! LHC has not killed us (yet), so we still have some time left to play post-apocalyptic roleplaying games! There are probably dozens of interesting roleplaying games featuring the end of the world, but now I want to write about some of my favourites:
d20 Apocalypse (Wizards of the Coast)
D20 Apocalypse is THE toolbox for GMs planning a post-apocalyptic campaign. It’s a sourcebook to Wizards of the Coast’s d20 Modern. In the 96 page softcover book you find rules for playing at the end of the world, several campaign ideas including advanced classes and monsters. The included campaign models are Atomic Sunrise, Earth Inherited and Plague World. If you look for a complete campaign setting with all details fleshed out, d20 Apocalypse is probably not the right book for you. But if you plan to use d20 Modern and you want to run a fully-fledged post-apocalyptic campaign of your own creation, the book is worth a look.
RIFTS (Palladium Books)
If you are a fan of roleplaying games you’ve probably heard from RIFTS. RIFTS is a unique mix of post-apocalyptic, cyberpunk, fantasy and horror elements. Rifts Earth is still one of my favourite campaign settings, but I think that the rules used by the game are nothing short of a catastrophe itself. If you can get over the unbalanced and confusing Palladium system used in the game, you get one of the most unique post-apocalyptic campaigns ever published. In 2005 a revised “Ultimate Edition” was released that made some minor updates to rules and setting, but I haven’t seen it yet, so I can’t comment on the changes. If you want to play a cyborged elf wielding magic and piloting a giant robot fighting against ancient demons and a nation of faschists, check out RIFTS!
Twilight 2000 (GDW)
Twilight 2000 is clearly a product of the 80s. NATO and Warsaw Pact have gone to war and dropped a few of those thermo-nuclear devices the military is so fond of. The campaign is set into a destroyed Europe where the remnants of former armies try to fight against warlords who came to power after everything went down. I made first contact with Twilight 2000 in form of the computer game based on the tabletop RPG. I was at once drawn into the setting and was blown away by the great character creation. The games’ rules are old-school but not as bad as Palladiums’ and the campaign is based on what everyone feared in the 80s. I recommend playing Twilight 2000 with people who still remember the early 80s or check out the upcoming version that features a completely rewritten timeline.
What are your favourite post-apocalyptic roleplaying games? Share your thoughts in the comments below!
This morning I installed two plugins that will make reading this blog even more enjoyable!
You’ve probably already noticed the small star icons below the post titles. You can now rate posts from zero to five stars. I hope I will be able to implement a “highest rated post” widget soon. Stay tuned and please rate my posts.
WPtouch is a plugin that applies a special theme to the blog, when viewed by an iPhone or iPod touch. This greatly decreases load times when accessing the blog. You can still comment on articles and view all the content but WPtouch is not compatible with the ratings plugin, so you can’t rate posts from your iPhone. But there’s a link that allows you to switch to the “Normal View” showing the standard theme again.
If you encounter any problems with these plugins, please contact me via the contact form on the “About” page or use the comments below.
UPDATE: The “Highest Rated” widget is now working, showing the 5 highest rated posts.
Recently WotC’s Randy Buehler has revealed the plans for the future of DDI. In the near future we’ll no longer get Dungeon and Dragon for free, but we’ll have to pay to be able to access Dungeon, Dragon and the Bonus tools. A one-month-subscription will set you back around 8$ but the monthly price will be reduced to around 5$ if you subscribe for a whole year.
If we were talking about the printed Dragon and Dungeon from earlier (better?) times, I would subscribe at once, no questions asked. But since we are talking about digital magazines, I am more than skeptical. I don’t have any hope that Wizards is going to surprise us with a completely revamped and better website for DDI. And the current D&D website is not only looking outdated but it’s usability is subpar also. A digital magazine isn’t a bad thing in itself, but when you take Wizards’ history of failures in the digital domain into account, the future of Dungeon and Dragon looks grim indeed.
The other features you’ll get for your subscription is the D&D Compendium and the so-called Bonus tools. The latter are minor tools that they should have given us for free. They are nothing I would want to pay money for. The D&D Compendium could be interesting, especially if you plan your adventures on the PC. But like the rest of the D&D website, the Compendium is badly designed and lacks usability. By the way, while I was writing these lines, the Compendium didn’t work but I got the following message:
Server Application Unavailable
The web application you are attempting to access on this web server is currently unavailable. Please hit the “Refresh” button in your web browser to retry your request.
When DDI was first announced I was thrilled, but after the delay of the Character Visualizer, Character- and Dungeon Builder and the D&D Gaming Table and the utter failure of Gleemax, I fear that DDI was a good idea on paper only. Although Randy Buehler is teasing us with Dragon and Dungeon exclusives I am sure that I can resist the temptation. And so will a lot of D&D fans all over the world. To answer my own question: No, DDI is not worth up to 8 bucks per month as long as Wizards doesn’t show us that they can really pull this off.
A Roleplaying Games blog
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