Introduction to the Apocalypse
“What the hell year is it, anyway?” Bogs dropped the last few inches to the dry, dusty ground from his improvised perch on top of the vehicle, his boots sending a thin cloud of earth up from the impact.
“The fuck should it matter?” replied Ranch, squinting out over the road below from the seat of his rusted buggy. “It’s today, and today we get paid.”
Bogs scraped his boot along the ground, sending another drift of dust and grit skittering behind him. “Haven’t you ever wondered, though? I mean, I know it doesn’t change much but surely someone would have kept track of it. I mean… hey!” Bogs whirled around to face Ranch as the rock struck him in the back of the shoulder. “Man, fuck you!”
“Shut it! Listen…” Ranch held up a finger as he leaned out over the steering wheel of the buggy. Bogs stood for a moment and let the world around him settle. The unmistakable drone of another engine echoed along the rock faces around them. It was hunting time…
Welcome to the apocalypse, mucker. I hope you came well prepared, otherwise the wasteland will rip you up quick.
Apocalypse World is a tabletop roleplay game, published by Lumpley Games and available at their website. The setting is, as the name implies, the post apocalyptic, though with no specific theme or setting. Instead the players create the world setting together, throwing ideas into the pot to cover several basic areas of world building and then they let the story unfold. Unlike many other tabletops games, where play is dictated by dice rolls and structured rules, the game is more about narrative flow where the game master only makes his own moves against the player as a result of their faulture in skill tests
If you are new to roleplay games and are looking for a good place to get started, but you are unsure about having to remember 400 pages of rule book, this is a good game to get started on. And the character play books are totally free to download on their site, so your players can get a free reference copy without needing to buy in themselves.
So, is this an advertisement or something? I know it is coming off as such, so thank you for putting up with it. Now, onto the writing part of this whole saga.
I ran a few sessions of this game with some friends before we were slowly but surely unable to continue playing due to personal schedules, and the story was just starting to get good. I did, however, keep all the notes about the setting of our particular apocalypse as well as scraps of ideas and background info for the different factions that inhabited the world. One day recently I sat down and looked at the files I had and felt a little sad that this world was not going to be explored further. Then I realised, though not in the spirit of the tabletop game itself, I could still continue to flesh it out in story form.
And so begins the writing of the Apocalypse Journals. Initially the stories will follow along with the adventures the group I played with had in the world of The Skid, with a little artistic interpretation thrown in for the sake of flow. After all, not everything is roleplayed in tabletop and some exposition is briefly thrown on the table for the sake of conceptualising the humdrum and moving on to more exciting stuff. After that I will continue with the ideas I had for future potential sessions and see where the story goes from there. Heck, I may even roll on the character sheets to see what happens as I write. One of the great things about the game rolling mechanic is that a failure does not always mean harm to the player. It just means something different happens to what they wanted, the tables turned on them and instead you continue telling the story with this in mind.
Going forward, I may also further explore other apocalypse settings and write more stories in the future with different flavours of the post-apocalypse. I have some inspirations I could work on, but one thing at a time. it has struck me that, outside of video game, TV, and movie settings there is not a lot of post-apocalyptic representation in literature. Let’s see if we can change that.