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Q&A: Post-apocalyptic RPG 'Aftermath!

Zombie Mondays

We had a chat with Scott Bizar of Fantasy Games Unlimited about their classic post-apocalyptic tabletop role-playing game 'Aftermath!' Bizar discussed the game's history, design and why there are no zombies in it...yet.

Q: I understand that FGU first published Aftermath in 1982. How many editions of the game have there been? And what have been some of the changes between editions?

A: Aftermath! is still in its original form and has had one edition. FGU has never believed in doing up new editions of games every few years as that was seen as a way to force gamers to repurchase the same game repeatedly. We have done a few revised editions of a few of our titles, but that is not our usual policy or plan.

Q: Who were the creative team behind the game?

A: Aftermath! was created by Robert N Charrette and Paul Hume, who also designed Bushido and Daredevils, using the same basic system. That system (described in No. 3 below) is in its most basic form in Daredevils and at its most detailed/complex form in Aftermath!, with Bushido falling between the other two in complexity and detail.

Q: Could you describe the game mechanics?

A: Like most RPGs, Aftermath! begins with character creation where each character begins with basic Attributes. Character creation continues with Talents that measure raw ability or aptitude in a variety of areas, which are generally applied in skills. The skill system shows that each skill is based upon one or more Talents and can be developed by study or practice for an improved score. Those who with to attempt a task without the necessary skill can often gain a chance to successfully perform that skill to achieve the desired end by use of their raw Talent score in the Talent that is the base for the necessary skill. All tasks undertaken by a character are given a Task Value (to show complexity or difficulty and reflect time required to complete the task) and a Base Chance of Success (based on their Skill or Talent in the required area).

Q: Could you describe some of the potential settings provided for the game?

A: Aftermath! was created to allow for role-play in any post-holocaust setting. We have published a number of adventures and campaigns with varied settings, where the main thrust of the game is to create the situation player-characters might face twenty or one-hundred years after the apocalypse that destroyed civilization. Some settings might be nuclear war, climate change, apocalyptic plague, meteor hitting the earth, alien invasion, etc.

Q: 5. Will there be a zombie supplement?

A: That is an interesting question. Aftermath! was published long before the current interest in a zombie plague or apocalypse. As the main thrust of Aftermath! (in keeping with the fictional genre) has been a setting twenty or one-hundred years after the apocalypse, the zombie plague made popular by things like "The Walking Dead" and "World War Z" are somewhat outside of the main thrust of the game as those would be taking place during the actual holocaust. Though we have discussed that type of situation for those interested in it in The Aftermath! Survival Guide, where guidelines are given for most imaginable situations from the point of view of surviving the apocalypse as it occurs, we have not actively worked on adventures set in a zombie apocalypse. As FGU is a publisher, as opposed to a development house, we depend upon the proposals of our writers (existing and new) for all such projects. An Aftermath! campaign set during a zombie apocalypse would certainly be viewed with great interest, though we do not have any current or past proposals of that nature from any of our writing teams.

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