Survivalist Gaming Ending, System Agnostic Irregularity, and the Future of Salt in Wounds

Hey there gentle tribality reader.

J.M. Perkins here, proud to have been able to write my two weekly columns for Tribality for the last three months. The time has come for me to make a couple changes with my writing here, and I thought I’d post about it to give ya’ll a heads up.

-I’ll be stopping my survivalist gaming column. It’s been a blast to write, but I feel like I’ve wrung out all of my ideas (for now at least).

-I’ll be shifting to an irregular posting schedule for my ‘System Agnostic’ instead of the weekly schedule.

But I’ll be doing all this to make more time to…

EXPAND THE SALT IN WOUNDS SETTING! W00T!

Right now, I’m busy transferring the Salt in Wounds material to its own website. I’ve also commissioned an artist to produce some art based on my specifications. My goal is to do a weekly post just about Salt in Wounds. I’ll have more information for you (including how to sign up for updates) soon. (And here it is!)

So if Salt in Wounds is your jam, I should have some exciting stuff for you soon. And if not, I hope you continue to enjoy all the awesome work here on Tribality (I know I do). Anyway take care, and be sure to wish me luck in expanding Salt in Wounds in the comments below.

The End of the World RPG Line

Fearless commander Shawn actually suggested I add this to last week’s list of 5 Post Apocalyptic Role Playing Games, but I thought it was interesting enough to warrant its own post.

Fantasy Flight Games is in the process of releasing its ‘End of the World Line’ where they create a custom game/ruleset for several different apocalypses. One has been released (Zombie Apocalypse) one is forthcoming (Wrath of the Gods) with two more planned (Alien Invasion and Revolt of the Machines). Whatever your preferred flavor of the apocalypse, they’ll have a sourcebook ready for you.

5 Post-Apocalyptic Tabletop RPGs

Apocalypse World

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 Apocalypse World is a game that focuses on the themes of ‘survival’ and ‘relationships.’ It’s also an extremely lethal game which is my personal preference for post-apocalyptic story telling. Another unique feature of Apocalypse World is that the setting is supposed to be fleshed out via character generation, with GMs not doing any manner of preparation beforehand. Apocalypse World has also won a ton of awards.

Darwin’s World

4 Unlikely Apocalypses for Your Game

Many tabletop roleplaying games heavily feature an apocalypse to great effect; either one threatened, one that happened in the past, or one that it currently happening. But there are apocalypses beyond the return of the titans, beyond zombies, and beyond massive earthquakes. I wanted to share a short list of potential apocalypses to integrate into a game that will hopefully surprise, delight, or terrify everyone involved.

  1. The Perfect Counterfeit/Economic Apocalypse

In this scenario, you create a world or situation wherein what has served as currency is now perfectly, expertly counterfeited.

Terrify Your Players in all the Right Ways!

Award-Winning author and Tribality.com contributor, J.M. Perkins, guests on the Dungeon Master’s Block this week talking about survivalism and horror in gaming. One of J.M.’s incredible strengths is taking the simplest items or creatures most gamers ignore, and creating a horrific situation that not only makes sense, it rocks your players’ minds. New or old. From his article turning a ring of sustenance into a thing of terror, to building an economy around the butchering of a living monster, J.M. is the only horror writer that makes me rethink how I look at the world.

Food, Iron Rations & Starvation

Adventuring is hungry work.

A normal, sedentary lifestyle runs you around 2000 calories a day. Athletes (which would probably be more akin to adventurers) do around 3800 healthily. In addition to calories, there’s also a idiosyncratic set of nutritional needs per person – vitamins, minerals, and an appropriate balance of protein, carbohydrates, and fats. All of this get usually simplified as ‘you have ten days worth of rations.’ If you want to add some survivalist flavor to your game, here’s some approaches you might decide to use.

Survivalist Gaming: Carry the Weight

Depending on your rules system, carry weight may or may not be a big issue. And frankly, even in systems wherein carry weight is a factor (most Dungeons and Dragons variants) it is an aspect of the game that will most likely be hand-waved away. Which is a legitimate option, taking carry weight into consideration necessitates a ton of book keeping. And if it’s not fun for your table, don’t do it.

But I’m going to make my best case for why you should consider adding carry weight considerations into your game.

Survivalist Gaming – What Does Survivalist Gaming Feel Like?

A survivalist game should feel dangerous, hazardous, and one wherein basic necessities (food, water, shelter) are things to be coveted and worked for; that there are more than monsters to be afraid of and that starvation, dying of thirst, or being felled by untreated injury are all major concerns and likely fates for their characters. The players should feel that their characters are isolated in a threatening world. And, to be focused on survival means that living through the day is not guaranteed.

More than anything, a survivalist game should feel deadly and in ways that players might not otherwise expect or prepare for.

So how can you make your game feel more appropriately survivalist? Advice and suggestions after the jump.

Survivalist Gaming – The End of the World

This is the way the world ends, the world ends, the world ends. This is the way the world ends not with a bang but a whimper.
T.S. Elliott – The Hollow Men

‘When the sh*t hits the fan’ or ‘The End of the World as We Know It’ (TEOTWAWKI for short, or at least shorter) are phrases that get bandied about a lot in survivalist circles; they’re catch alls for the type of scenarios survivalists envision themselves handling. Every prepper has their favored (or perhaps most feared) version of the apocalypse and in this week’s survivalist gaming column, I want to talk about ‘The End of the World’ and how to incorporate or use it in gaming.

The most important question to ask when anyone talks about the ‘end of the world’ is – the end of the world for who?

Survivalist Gaming – Water water Everywhere…

…and not a drop to drink. In real life survival situations, securing an adequate supply of water is perhaps *the* most important consideration (sometimes eclipsed by the need for shelter depending on environment). You can live around a month or so without food (with some steep drop offs in functionality throughout that time), but water you get at most a week and that’s in a perfect climate without needing to exert yourself aka not the reality for real life people in survival situations and/or characters in a game.

So let’s discuss how an increased focus on the realities of water can improve your role playing game.