Monday, April 18, 2016

Review: GURPS After the End 2: The New World

The release a couple of weeks ago was the follow-up to After the End 1.  I did a quick review of the first volume, but I decided to mull this one over a bit more and post a more thorough breakdown.

The End

I like the mild joke of making "The End" the first chapter.  This is a list of possible end-of-the-world causes, secondary effects, and pointers to appropriate hazards, discussed in the next chapter.  This is a comprehensive list: bombs, robots, nature's wrath, and other such elements are discussed, as well as ways to mix and match them.  I'm sure you could come up with some that aren't listed but it definitely hits all the most common elements, covering the background elements of Mad Max, Fallout, and most post apocalyptic B-Movies at the very least.  I really liked the Primary Cause and Secondary Effects sections of each catastrophe, as they include lots of good notes about things to look up and consider.

Wasteland Hazards

This chapter covers the places and things that want to kill you in the Wasteland. It's a very meaty discussion, broken up into sub-sections by theme, so you have Chemicals and Munitions, Climate, Disease, Gangs, Mutants (complete with Fallout Super Mutants with the serial numbers filed off,) Nanotech, Paramilitaries, Radation, Rogue Bots, and Zombies.  Throwing all of these at the PCs at once means you're either a very naughty GM or you're running an even more kitchen-sink setting than Fallout.

I thought this chapter was excellent.  There's a lot of good notes about each category of badness, and while, as usual, a GURPS GM has quite a lot of prep work to do, you at least have a list of things to go through and consider what elements you want or need to throw in, with enough guidelines to make the decisions easier.

Boldly Going Forth

This is the "How do the PCs use their skills" section that all the dedicated lines have, and it's as good as I've come to expect from these ongoing series.  The Survival section has a quick Survival skill rule about gathering supplies I'm probably going to immediately start using in my Fantasy games, as it cuts down on the non-exciting rolls while making high skill levels still important.

The section on Ruins is worth mentioning as well, as a quick die roll can settle the important question of "Is this piece-of-crap gonna fall on my head?"

Next is Scavenging, with some of the best guidelines for using Scrounging I've seen yet.  That's rather appropriate, considering the book's aimed at the genre where scavenging is at it's most important, but it's also useful and is something else I might start using in my non-AtE games.

The next section, on inventing stuff, is also very good, with a couple of charts of modifiers worth printing out for your Gadgeteer if you have one in the game.

Computers, Combat, and Persuasion round out the chapter, and they're useful but don't have anything worth noting independently unlike the earlier sections.

Post-Apocalyptic Game Mastering

The final chapter is the GMing chapter, which I sort of glossed over in my reading.  It's a bad habit of mine with most if not all gaming books I own.  I will say the section on Making Everyone Useful is definitely worth a second read-through.

Final Grade: A.  This was a solid book, and it's another must-have for post-Apocalyptic GURPS.  I'd highly recommend picking it up.

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