Category Archives: Atomic Highway

Ask The Stargazer: “What is the one RPG that you have never run, but have always wanted to?”

Ask the Stargazer! Today’s question has been asked by a reader who calls himself Lon. And while it’s a perfect question, I am not sure how I should answer that. Let me start by saying that the list of RPGs that I have never run, but always wanted to is probably longer than my arm. Who am I kidding? The list is way longer than both of my arms. 😛

For many years I have been collecting roleplaying game rulebooks. If I said I had dozens of RPG books this would probably be an understatement. And the number of books I bought on RPGNow over the years is quite impressive. Of course I have not yet read all of those and I will probably never use all of them, but there are a few I really would love to run one day.

Let me list a few of those:

  • Doctor Who: Adventures in Time and Space RPG
    I got a copy of this fine game as a review copy from Cubicle 7 a while ago. I haven’t had the time to write a proper review yet, but from what I’ve seen so far it’s an awesome game. The mechanics are pretty nice and the designers managed to grab the essence of the series and put it into their game. Marvelous!
    I am a big fan of the new series and I even managed to get my girlfriend fall in love with it, too. Now I need to find a few more players and the time to run that game.
  • Shadow, Sword & Spell
    For quite some time I wanted to run a Sword & Sorcery game. And if I should ever find the time to run one, I will probably use Rogue Games’ SS&S to run it. The game uses Rogue Games 12° System which I like a lot. That reminds me I should write a review of SS&S at some point in the future. I have to admit I was unsure whether it was ok for me to write one, since my name appears in the credits of several Rogue Games products since I have done some proofreading for them.
  • Dark Harvest: Legacy of Frankenstein
    Dark Harvest is one of the most impressive games I’ve ever read. The setting is extremely awesome and if you are looking for a unique horror game, you should check out this game. Alas the unique setting makes it complicated to find players interested in playing the game. But I totally love it and I am looking forward to all the new stuff coming out in the future.
  • Atomic Highway
    Since playing Interplay’s Fallout back in the day I love the post-apocalypse genre. And Atomic Highway is one of my favorite pen & paper roleplaying games of said genre. My plans to run a Fallout-inspired game using the AH rules utterly failed but that doesn’t mean I don’t want to run Atomic Highway anymore. But perhaps next time I will use a setting more fitting to the rules. As the name of the game implies vehicles play a significant role. If your vision of a post-apocalyptic world looks much like the Mad Max movies, AH is the perfect game for you. In the Fallout world modern vehicles are almost non-existent, which caused a few issues. But I digress.
  • Gamma World
    Yes, you read that correctly. Even though I am not too fond of D&D 4th Edition I am quite excited about that game. I have to admit I haven’t picked it up yet, but from what I’ve heard it’s awesome. For some reason I am in the mood for some wacky post-apocalyptic game with anthropomorphic animals and weird mutants with improbable powers. And it seems Gamma World is the perfect remedy for that itch. 😉

But of course this list is far from being exhaustive. I could go on for pages listing all the cool games that I would love to run. My collection is full of exciting games and there are even more out there I haven’t picked up yet. If you ask me, it’s a great time to be a gamer. There are more games out there than ever and the community is more active and vibrant than ever before. Don’t let them tell you everything was better back in the day. I highly doubt it was the case. The only thing that was better was that when we were young, we had a much more free times on our hands we could use for playing RPGs. But I digress.

Now that I have answered Lon’s question let me ask my readers: What is the one RPG that you have never run, but have always wanted to? As always every feedback is appreciated!

By the way, if you have a question you want to ask the Stargazer, send an email to askthestargazer@stargazersworld.com!

Freebies: Atomic Highway

Atomic Highway, an excellent post-apocalyptic roleplaying game written by Colin Chapman is now available for free! Here’s what Colin has written in the announcement on the official Radioactive Ape Designs site:

RIDE FOR FREE! 70124_thumb
The Atomic Highway pdf is now free to download! Atomic Highway and its fans have been really good to me these two years since its release, so I felt it was time to release AH into the wild, so to speak. Now, anyone who wants to check it out can grab it for free at DriveThruRPG, in perpetuity.
Grab it from DriveThruRPG!

And while you’re there, Irradiated Freaks is now down to $4.99. What have you got to lose?

Atomic Highway is my favorite choice when it comes to post-apocalyptic RPGs and the underlying V6 Engine could work great in other genres as well. I am still hoping that Colin will release a generic V6 rulebook one day for us to tinker with. In the meantime, you should check out AH, especially now that it’s free! If you want to learn more about AH, please check out my post about it.

Fallout: Indianapolis – From SPECIAL to Atomic Highway

When I started converting the Fallout world to the Atomic Highway rules I encountered a few problems.

No Vehicles?
Chryslus Highwayman Aside from the Chryslus Motors Highwayman in Fallout 2 and the Enclave Vertibirds there are no working vehicles in the whole series (I am ignoring Fallout: Tactics here). But almost every Rearing and Pursuit grants the character one or more vehicle related skills. Shall I drop vehicle skill altogether or shall I introduce vehicles to the Fallout world?

When you think about it doesn’t make that much sense that a lot of high-tech from before the war survived (like power armor, energy weapons, computers, etc.) but there are not even a few primitive cars. If you ask me this has more to do with the limitations of the game engine used back in the day and less with any ingame reason. That’s why there will be some vehicles in Fallout: Indianapolis for the characters and NPCs to cruise around in. Problem solved!

Weapons and Armor
10mm Pistol Atomic Highway uses pretty broad categories for weapons. Instead of dozens of different models of pistols, rifles etc. you just get a light pistol or medium rifle. That makes it very easy to convert Fallout’s weapons to Atomic Highway stats. You just have to decide in which category any given weapon fits best. A 10mm pistol from Fallout is just a medium pistol. Done!

Energy weapons are a bit trickier. But since the player characters are not supposed to stumble upon high-tech equipment directly after leaving the vault, I still have some time to think about how to handle plasma and laser weapons.

Winterized T-51b Converting armor is as easy. Atomic Highway knows three categories of armor: light, medium and heavy which offer 2, 4 and 8 protection respectively. I added a fourth category which I called powered armor that grants 12 protection and adds 1 to Muscle while worn. I also decided which armor from Fallout fits into which category. Here’s what I’ve come up with:

  • No armor: Robes, Vault Suit, normal clothes
  • Light armor: Armored Vault suit, Leather jacket
  • Medium armor: Leather armor, Metal armor, Tesla armor
  • Heavy armor: Brotherhood armor, Combat armor
  • Powered armor: T-51b Power armor

Ghouls, Super Mutants and Brahmin!
Aside from the retro-futurism and the iconic weapons and armor, the unique creatures in Fallout are another important aspect of the world. If it doesn’t have any two-headed cows in it, it isn’t Fallout! Luckily you don’t need Brahmin stats that often and Atomic Highway has quite an extensive list of creatures in it’s Irridated Freaks supplement. In addition to that some of the regulars at the Radioactive Ape Forums have been converting iconic Fallout creatures to AH rules already.

Again, the player characters won’t fight Super Mutants in the first session, so I still have some time to come up with stats for the more powerful creatures later.

Character creation
It’s amazing that you don’t need that many tweaks to be able to run a game inspired by the Fallout series using the Atomic Highway rules. When everything works as planned, my players will create characters this Saturday.

That reminds me that I haven’t talked about character creation yet. To make things easier I decided that the player characters all hail from Vault 82, where their families survived the devastation of the Indianapolis area during the war. Instead of creating a new Vaulter rearing, they all get the Remnant rearing but may replace any vehicle skill for another skill of their choice. Pursuits will also be slightly restricted because of the character’s having lived underground all their lives.