Welcome to the end of the world! In the latest episode we look at the FGU RPG Aftermath!, a game that is still supported by useful online resources.
I ran a one-shot for GrimCon but working out the rules was a challenge.
Thankfully Doc Cowie is on hand to help me through the twists and turns.
Also mentioned is Improvised Radio Theatre with Dice.
There’s a First, Last and Everything from Doc RPG Griff
Ed and Blythy watch Threads in the GROGGLEBOX.
Support The GROGNARD files on Patreon.
7 thoughts on “Episode 42 – Aftermath! RPG (with Doc Cowie)”
Oh no. Did FGU ever produce a system that DIDN’T require the GM to have a degree in advanced mathematics?
The second part of the show got me thinking and reminiscing because, you see, I was an extra in Threads.
How many kids can say that at 14 they survived being nuked?
A group from my school, somehow got the chance to be extras in the filming of the post-bomb scenes, many of which were filmed at the now demolished Royal Infirmary, a truly wonderful Victorian hospital near the city centre. It was a freezing Sunday morning when we arrived and got the greeting and directions from the director, and being the scamps we were, with nothing better to do (Games Workshop wasn’t open on Sundays in those days, so Alan and I had to fill our day somehow) we wandered off, and found the BBC makeup department.
A tall tale, delivered in a believably earnest manner (we were roleplayers after all) found us sitting in make-up chairs surrounded by black and white images of victims of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, getting some serious make-up applied, emerging an hour or so later, so mutilated that when we went home in the dark, later that day, the passengers on our bus were almost retching, and my Mother who’d forgotten I was at the filming, cried out aloud when I walked through the door.
On the downside, it was weeks before I fancied Mars bars or cornflakes, and I developed a fear of red gelatine based products, all of which, when artfully applied turn a fresh faced youth into a walking war crime.
It was a great day out and very educational.
There’s a scene where the masses are all shuffling into the hospital through a stairwell, and someone above pukes onto them. Watch carefully and you will se a couple of the shuffling masses do a little sidestep so that someone else gets the puke.
That was Alan and I, and the kid who got the fould mix of fruitjuice and tinned vegetable was ‘Pottsy’.
You see, inbetween scenes we wandered all over the place and found a bucket of fake puke. We also heard what it was for, so when Pottsy was pushing to get into the camera’s eye later on, when the scene was being filmed, we obligingly allowed him his 15 seconds of fame and allowed him to ‘respond to what comes from within’ as is right and proper for a method actor.
We also managed due our full make-up together with a few successful luck rolls to get into the BBC crew canteen rather than having a cold sandwich and a cup of third rate soup, and dined rather well, until we were finally rumbled by a BBC senior type who ousted us after we failed our ‘Save Versus Adult’ rolls.
However, later on, we got our revenge after seeing him duck into a room, we quickly and I might add , artfully, rigged the door to deliver a lukewarm, sticky beverage onto him, covering his head and his red ‘Puffa’ jacket.
Fast forwards a few months to the morning of the Triples wargames show, and I am sitting there at about 7 AM on a bright and sunny morning with a new-found but short lived friend from the other end of the city, a well heeled lad by the name of Nick, on the wall of the disused station adjacent to the Royal Victoria Hotel, chatting about model kits and military things in general, when we see a bloody great mushroom cloud on the horizon.
In unison we roll backwards over the wall and drop into the approved ‘duck and cover’ position, as any right minded kid would do in the early 80s, expecting to see a brief X-ray of each other and then become dust. Nothing happens…
We stand up, dust ourselves down, and taking it in our stride, climb back up onto the wall. It’s only a few minutes later when I realise that this must have been something related to Threads, and I excitedly tell Nick that it’s OK, we are going to survive.
It was strange how we could just accept stuff like that and then recover from it without our hearts missing a beat.
Of course had it been something like being 1 minute late (instead of 2 hours early) for the show, it would have been altogether different and would probably have scarred us for life.
For Blithy’s information the largest Russian weapon was the 50mt (not 1000 mt) Tsar Bomba. They didn’t have many but just one of those would have done more damage to the UK than the comparitively limited strike depicted in THREADS.
That’s one of the problems in depicting the immediate post-nuclear world in games or in drama: you have to make some assumptions that aren’t necessarily convincing to have any people left at all.
I remember the Really, Really Realistic Post Apocalyptic One-Page Post Apocalyptic Game Steve Jackson published in MURPHY’S RULES. I seem to recall it went something like this.
You roll a d6 to see if you survive the initial blast. On a six you do.
You roll a d6 to see if you manage to dig your way out of the rubble. On a six you do.
You roll a d6 to see if you survive the looting of the the cities and the fighting for the pitiful few remains. On a six you do.
You roll a d6 to see if you survive the fall out. On a six you do.
You roll a d6 to see if you survive the nuclear winter. On a 1 to 6 you don’t.
Of course at that time they were using the WRG ‘modern’ rules which required 3 sixes to initiate the launch in the first place.
An excellent episode took me back to the 80’s. When I joined the Police in 1984 Threads was used as a training film to what would happen in the event of a nuclear war and how it would impact on the police service. In those days we had a Superintendent in our force who was in charge of War Operations in the likelihood of an attack!
When I became a village bobby in 1986 in my garage (yes I lived in the police station) was a wooden crate containing a hand crank audible air raid warning siren. In the event of the four minute warning I was to drag this out of the garage and sound the alarm to residents. Once every six months we had “attack drills” and each station was fitted with a warning receiver where local government could communicate with us (see the linked image – I had the device on the right) http://www.ringbell.co.uk/ukwmo/img/bothgenerations.jpg
I loved crunchy simulation style games back in the 80s but Aftermath was kind of crazy and I barely ran a couple sessions of it. The best I did with it was borrowing the melee, wound location, and archery rules into the otherwise simpler sibling Bushido, making for a very gritty samurai movie like feeling where characters could get graphically injured and killed. Just a dash of Aftermath worked pretty well, alongside learning spreadsheets on writing a Bushido character sheet generator to calculate all the base skills from the attributes. Yes, I did also play ASL and Star Fleet Battles.
Another British film worth watching; https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0059894/ The Wargame – it’s just 48 minutes long.