3 Terrifying Post-Apocalyptic RPG Settings


The end of the world is a great setting for RPGs and post-apocalyptic games have existed since almost as longs as there has been role-playing games. Metamorphosis Alpha was the first in 1976 but it was Gamma World in 1978 which really established the genre. These and other games of the era reflected the worries of the time, especially nuclear war while more modern games have tended towards a zombie-based apocalypse. But they are dull ways to destroy civilisation.

In search of a better way to bring about the apocalypse, the 6d6 Team used regular RPG Thinktank to dream up new ways to end the world. To help us, we had special guests Dave Allsop and Jared Earle of Nightfall Games. Jared and Dave are publishers of the dystopian SLA Industries RPG. Between us we brainstormed three post-apocalyptic RPG settings.

Cthulhugeddon – Dave & Jared of Nightfall Games

Our Armageddon concept is ‘The Stars are Right’. Cthulhu wakes from his death sleep and with aid of the Great Old Ones, and their servitor races, defeat humanity and conquer earth. What remains of mankind either serves the varying factions and cults, like the esoteric order of Dagon etc or tries to fight against the mythos reigned planet as best or as futility as they can. Choose your side.

Black Hole Flyby – Mark

Undetected until it was too late, a small black hole had spent a billion years drifting through space before it passed by our solar system. It didn’t get close enough to consume anything, but its vast gravitational well disrupted the order of the solar system. The Sun itself was flung out of its orbit and is now flying up out of the galactic plane. Mars and Jupiter collided in the most spectacular event of the century; Mercury plunged into the Sun; and Earth began its escape.

Humanity now faces a darkening future as the Sun retreats in the sky. Temperatures plummet, with the average cooling by a few degrees a year. The Moon still orbits the Earth, but it does so eccentrically and the tides have become floods. Human society did not survive this climate chaos, but the species will straggle on for a little while longer depending on how well it can find new sources of energy.

Crops have died so billions have starved, the tidal floods destroyed many cities and collapsed economies. Most dangerous of all was the loss of a future, which crushed the idea of civilised society itself. Suffice to say that now, heat is life.

Death of the parents – Emily

On an boring painfully average day in March, at 2.35 PM all human life over the age of 18 died.

All that is known is that there was a was a high pitched buzzing noise before all the adults died, and now all the worlds scientists, doctors, leaders and preachers are gone.

Winter is approaching and the rumours around the campfire are that something is picking off the oldest of us left, all those entering adulthood.

In this setting you would take on the role of a teenager left in a world without adults, but it is far from a child’s dream. With no power, doctors, no fast food, and streets filled with the dead. The struggles of teenage life seem far away when you have to figure out how to survive the cold nights and rival gangs of older teens and feral kids.

It would be revealed that the adults were killed off by a virus planned by an alien race, and now they have began to settle on the Earth rounding up the survivors.

What Are Your Ideas?

We will be doing a follow-up on RPG Thinktank on these post-apocalypse RPG settings. Let us know your take on these ideas and suggest your own end-of-world scenarios in the comments below.

Artwork CC-BY-SA by ButteredBap.