Thursday, June 28, 2012

Building The End Of The World Brick-By Brick

While checking out the new Lord of the Rings LEGO sets now available, I half-seriously did a Google search for "post-apocalyptic LEGO." I was just curious as to whether some creative "brick-clicker" had built a blocky wasteland scene.

I had no idea what I'd stumbled across...

It's turns out there is a "genre" of LEGO landscaping called "ApocaLEGO" and it's kinda popular. And cool. Check out the Google link I just provided, and here's a neat article on Boing Boing about the end-of-the-world theme.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

My Endless Quest Has Ended

Way back in 1982, as I perused the local Waldenbooks, I came across a section dedicated to those Choose Your Own Adventure books. However, one title caught my eye - Dungeon of Dread by Rose Estes, Book 1 of the Endless Quest series. What made this stand out was that it was published by TSR and based in the Dungeons & Dragons universe. I saw it as a great way to play D&D "solo" during those downtimes when my group couldn't get together. So I picked it up and brought it home, pouring over it over one summer. I read and re-read that book to the point  that I knew all of the paths and all of the outcomes. I even tried to draw a map of the dungeon as it corresponded to the text. However, for some reason, I never picked up another one that summer, and I packed this book away with a stack of other paperbacks.

About 3 years ago, the book resurfaced at my parent's house. I thumbed through it, recalling how much fun I had with it when I was (much) younger. I did a bit of research to see how many other TSR Endless Quest books has been released and, needing yet another "collection obsession," decided to collect the entire EQ library. I scoured used book stores, thrift stores, and library sales. I made trades and swaps with other collectors. I dipped into eBay and Amazon for some of the truly obscure ones. As of Friday, with the acquisition of Tarzan and the Tower of Diamonds, I have achieved my initial goal of collecting every Endless Quest Series 1 and 2 book, as well as the entire run of Super Endless Quest Adventure Gamebooks. Here's what all 65 books looks like:

First of all, Series 1 consisted of 36 books released between 1984 and 1987. A large number of them were written by Rose Estes, who wrote 9 of them. However some of the other books in this first series were written by such notable TSR folks such as Mike Carr, James Ward, Roger E. Moore, and Margaret Weis. Although most take place in the D&D fantasy genre, some of the other books take place in the worlds of Top Secret, Star Frontiers, and -- of course -- Gamma World. There were also two books each based on the adventures of Conan the Barbarian and Tarzan of the Apes.

Next up, Series 2 was a "relaunch" of the Endless Quest line in 1994. There were 11 books released in this series, although there were two others (The Test and Sands of Deception) that were written, but never published and released. Some other stalwarts who contributed titles to the EQ line in this series included Allen Varney, Nick Pollotta, and Jean Rabe.

Finally, there were 18 books released between 1985 and 1988 that fell into the Super Endless Quest line. (Later renamed Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Adventure Gamebooks.) This series had a deeper role-playing element as there was a simplified RPG system built into the book that depended on dice rolls, hit points, spell casting, and combat. A player character card was stitched into each book (which also doubled as a bookmark). One of my goals with this series was to secure the original PC card that accompanied each book -- easier said than done. But each book pictured here has that elusive PC card. (I had a heck of a time finding Prince of Thieves as there was a certain similarly-named Kevin Costner movie that made Internet searches very problematic.)

Even though there are several other TSR choose-a-path book series out there -- Crimson Crystal, Fantasy Forest, Heart Quest, and Marvel Super Heroes, to name a few -- I think I'm gonna hold up on the next round of search-and-find. After all, I have plenty to read now as it is.

And to keep this post applicable to this post-apocalyptic blog, I'll review the four or five Gamma World-related EQ books in this collection in the near future.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Our Third Birthday

Sunday marked the third anniversary of The Savage AfterWorld. Thanks for the support! Here, have some cake!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Notorious NPC: "Rotgut"

6th Level Mutant Human
STR: 10 --- INT: 18
DEX: 20 --- WIL: 12
CON: 11 --- CHA: 8
HPs: 49 --- AC: 5
Mutations: increased sense (sight); mental barrier; negative empathy

“Rotgut” is the nickname given to a well-known, yet disliked bartender who works at the local watering hole. Rotgut appears as an average-sized human wearing a tattered pair of overalls and a bartender’s apron. He never speaks, and his head is always covered with a welder’s mask, shielding his face from view. Many people are uneasy with his appearance to the point of hostility. This disquiet has spilled over into bar fights that break out on a weekly basis. The owner of the tavern keeps Rotgut around, because “He’s the best damn mixologist I’ve ever found.” It’s said that Rotgut’s skills are such that he can turn turpentine and spidergoat sweat into a delicious cocktail.

The unease that occurs in Rotgut’s presence is due to his negative empathy mutation. Those around him feel as if they can’t trust him or that he means to do them harm the moment their back is turned. Nothing could be further from the truth, but Rotgut has accepted his lot in life to be eternally disliked. This mutation caused a mob to turn on him at a young age; his face was horribly disfigured and his larynx was damaged as a result. He hides his face under the mask, as he feels his hideous appearance combined with his negative empathy mutation might get him killed. Rotgut’s increased sight mutation makes it difficult to sneak up on him, and his mental barrier protects him from most mental attacks. Ever since he was attacked, he remains ever on guard from future violence. Rotgut trains in combat in his downtime and has gotten good enough to merit two attacks per round. He is also fast enough to boost his AC as well as give him a +4 bonus when attacking via missile attacks. His +3 Initiative Modifier also ensures that he will get the first attack in nearly every instance.

Rotgut’s expertise in mixing things together goes far beyond simple drinks and cocktails. Rotgut is a gifted chemist with an innate understanding of the way liquids and fluids combine. He has developed his own versions of both nitroglycerine and “Greek fire.” He has created new kinds of fuel that burn more efficiently and longer in internal combustion engines. He has crafted poisons, detoxification mixtures, and a host of other chemical wonders. He has a sizable lab hidden on the outskirts of town where he tinkers with his experiments. Rotgut would love to share these wonders with someone, but his negative empathy mutation makes developing friendships an impossibility. If he ever decides he's had enough animosity, Rotgut has stockpiled enough explosive power to level a small city. This, combined with his combat swiftness and expertise, potentially makes him a very dangerous man.

Monday, June 18, 2012

"" Back Up

Looks like my brand new domain name,, was hijacked or usurped or sold out from under me or redirected or something. No amount of calling and emailing or whatever is giving me any degree of satisfaction, so please use until further notice.

EDITED: After hours of "I have no idea what I'm doing," I finally figured out that -- somehow -- all of my domain's CNAME records had a period added at the end. Removed them, and we're good to go.

Signed Metamorphosis Alpha Winner (As Well As Other Prizes)

One week after I made the offer to hold a "raffle" of a Jim Ward-signed edition of Metamorphosis Alpha for everyone who donated to the Bail Out the Warden Fund, I have compiled a list of all donors. So here's the Prize up for grabs:
And the winner is BRIAN RUSSELL! Congrats Brian, and thank you for your donation!

Now then, as a surprise, I had also lined up two other raffle prizes as second and third prizes for two other donors. Here are the additional Prizes up for grabs:
However, because Brian was the sole donor during the week I had the offer posted, the winner of the Mutant Future rules is BRIAN RUSSELL! And the winner of the Apocalypse Tech Report is BRIAN RUSSELL! Congrats Brian, and thank you again for your donation! (I'll also send you one of the Savage AfterWorld dice too.)

Sunday, June 17, 2012

How To Ensure There Won't Be A Second FLGS Visit

This is my obligatory Free RPG Day summary, along with some friendly advice for the Friendly Local Game Store I visited.

I went online and found a store within 30 miles that was participating. Didn't even know this store existed (it's in a small little nearby town) and I had hoped I had found a new FLGS to frequent. When I walked in, the first thing that struck me was the microscopic small size of the store. Picture one bookshelf on one wall filled with games and RPGs, and two display cases (in a U-shape) filled with dice, cards, smaller swag, etc. On the shelves behind the counter were tons of Magic booster and HeroClix. Now imagine all of this crammed into a room the size of your bathroom -- it was that tight. But as small as the place was, I was stunned by the sheer amount of good stuff there.

So I mentioned to the two behind the counter that Free RPG Day brought me there, and I was looking for a new place to hang. Owner seemed happy -- clerk behind the counter less so. (Very bored.) I set aside a piece of free swag and began looking around to drop more cash in the store.

"So your site says that you hold events and tourneys. Where are those held?" I asked.

"Oh, right here in the store," the owner said, as I tried to figure out the mechanics of how that would work. (I wouldn't have to wait long.)

About that time, four other "local regulars" entered. (The store is now literally packed with the five of us -- it was THAT SMALL.) The owner and clerk obviously knew them and they struck up a conversation about whatever campaign they're involved in. The new arrivals gathered around the display cases, purchased a few Magic boosters, and began incorporating them into the decks they had brought. (I was kinda shoved away to the back of the store and away from the merchandise I was trying to look at.) A mat was brought out and draped over the display case (the one I was trying to look into), and two three-person Magic games broke out among everyone but me. I had been forgotten.

So I thanked the owner, paid for my Cthulhu Dice (the only item I had picked out before the regulars showed up), and left. I was trying to decide between Munchkin Quest, Settlers of Catan, and The Adventurers (we need a new board game for my group), but I decided I just wasn't gonna drop that kind of scratch on a store that brushed off the New Guy so easily.

Oh, I did get the DCC free item that brought me there, so it wasn't a total loss.

MY ADVICE TO ALL FLGS: If someone new walks into your store, assume that it's someone with a stack of cash looking to buy something substantial that day (as well as stopping in for future purchases). Also assume that this person was scouting out a location to recommend to his friends (and blog readers). And finally, although your "local regulars" are your daily bread-and-butter, try to remember that -- more than likely -- they're there solely to play and hang out rather than shop around -- unlike the guy who told you he specifically sought you out that day.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Donate To The Warden For A Chance To Win A Signed Metamorphosis Alpha RPG (And Get An AfterWorld Die Too!)


When I met Jim Ward -- the creator of Metamorphosis Alpha, Gamma World, and a host of other classic RPGs and supplements -- at Gary Con, I purchased a copy of Metamorphosis Alpha - 4th Edition from him. He was kind enough to sign it as well. He also signed my personal copy of Met. Alpha too. I've had plans to give this extra copy away to one of my readers since the day I brought it home. And it just dawned on me -- how about turning this into a fundraiser for the Bail Out the Warden Fund  as well? So here's how this will work:

As pictured below, I have a brand-new, purchased-from-Jim-Ward-himself, signed-as-well, hardback copy of Metamorphosis Alpha Universe (4th edition) that I'll be giving away to someone who has made a donation to the Bail Out The Warden Fund.

For every dollar you donate, you get one "entry" into the raffle. Donate $5, get five entries. Donate $10, get 10 entries. Etc. The more you donate, the higher the chance of winning, but even a donation of $1 will get your name into the hopper. At the end of the week (let's say next Monday, June 18), I'll take all of the entries and will randomly draw one to win the signed RPG. This offer is good WORLDWIDE as I have no problem mailing overseas to our Mutated Minions outside of the U.S.

To keep track of who donated and how much, after you've made your donation, please forward your donation confirmation email to me at gameagain (at) gmail (dot) com along with your mailing address. I'll keep a running list of entries, which will be posted just prior to the grand drawing next week. Regardless whether you win or not, your donations will help a great guy who started all of us along the path to post-apocalypic RPG mayhem.

Thanks everyone for your support in this cause. - Sniderman-

OFFER UPDATED: To sweeten the deal, any who donates $10 or more will get a free Savage AfterWorld die mailed to them. So even if you don't win The Big Prize, you still get something for your generosity! I normally only give these out at conventions or other special events, so now's a good time to grab one of these as well as put yourself in the running for an awesome signed prize! And I'll mail these anywhere in the world at my own cost, so there's no stopping you from making a donation. (Plus, you're donating to a worthy cause.)

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Issue 14 of Wisdom From the Wastelands Now Out

Issue 14 of Wisdom From the Wastelands has been released. The Mutant Future-themed supplement is now released in a bi-weekly format.

Issue 14 - Aggregates: Aggregates are composite creatures that result from the changes that develop from a host and a symbiont living as one. Rather than one individual host creature being infected by a single parasite, the aggregation process describes how two species merge over generations. Many aggregates do not survive the initial infection or bonding process, and it is only through large numbers of the host species and symbiont species combining that a new species eventually develops.

The issue is only 99 cents and available at Drive Thru RPG.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Compete To Be "Last Family On Earth"

Just got a press release about a new reality competition show where families compete to be the last ones in an end-of-the-world-proof bunker on December 21, 2012 (if you subscribe to the whole Mayan calendar thing). From the release:
Viewers will help decide which families will die — and which one lucky family will survive the end of the world — in a new Spike TV reality competition series called “Last Family on Earth.”

Over six episodes, families subscribing to the notion that the end of civilization is set for Dec. 21 (as perhaps dictated by the Mayan calendar) will compete for a spot in an underground bunker that the network says has been built to withstand nearly any end-of-days disaster. A panel of three survivalist-expert judges will help determine which family is given the bad news that it’s going to be left out to “die” each week by being left outside the bunker.

The competition will showcase survival techniques and provide key information that like-minded viewers may also use in preparation for doomsday. In addition to endurance and physical skills, challenges will test the contestants’ leadership abilities, integrity and character, the network added.

“Last Family on Earth” not only will focus on a Mayan interpretation of the apocalypse, but the show also promises to help prime contestants for a variety of annihilation scenarios, including a pandemic, global government or economic collapse, nuclear war, reactor meltdown, solar flares, massive asteroids, lethal climate change, a pole shift, calamitous earthquakes — even widespread anarchy.
Oh, and if you'd like to compete on the show, visit for more information. Deadline for entry is June 20, 2012.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Ray Bradbury: 1920 - 2012

Famed science fiction-fantasy author Ray Bradbury has passed away at the age 91. I purchased three paperbacks of his novels 30 years ago -- Fahrenheit 451; The Martian Chronicles; The Illustrated Man. Those same three dog-eared copies have followed me throughout my life, and have been brought down and reread hundreds of times. Two of his short stories, in fact, shaped my love of two distinct literary genres.  A Sound of Thunder shaped my love of time travel -- and its inherent dangers. And There Will Come Soft Rains is a melancholy post-apocalyptic slice of life. Thanks Ray for being the first author who sparked that inkling of inspiration in me.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Starships & Spacemen 2E IndieGoGo Now Underway

Goblinoid Games has announced a new IndieGoGo project to fund the second edition of their flagship galactic space RPG Starships & Spacemen. And here's the part of the blurb that has me veeeery interested:
This second edition of the classic game is compatible with Labyrinth Lord and Mutant Future.
With this announcement, the Goblinoid Universe cross-expands beyond fantasy and post-apocalypse, "boldly going" into the world of space exploration. So now your "final frontiersmen" can visit a world populated by both wizards and mutants!

But only if funded, so stop by IndieGoGo and toss some support behind the project!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Steve Jackson's Munchkin Apocalypse Coming Fall 2012

For those folks who are fans of Steve Jackson Games' Munchkin card games, prepare for the upcoming End Of The World! Coming in Fall 2012...

More info to come as we approach the release date!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Savage Menagerie: Pfrzt

No. Enc.: 1d4
Alignment: Neutral
Movement: 60' (20')

Armor Class: 7
Hit Dice: 4
Attacks: 1
Damage: Special
Save: L2
Morale: None
Hoard Class: None

The bane of androids and robots is the energy-draining entity known as a Pfrzt (pronounced "fritz"). A Pfrzt looks like a basketball-sized floating orb, bluish-black in color, crackling with energy over its surface. It could be mistaken for ball lightning at a distance. The Pfrzt was developed in Ancient Days as a way to safely absorb and discharge massive amounts of dangerous energy, for example, from a malfunctioning reactor or rogue combat AI.  In the Mutant Future, these energy absorbers float aimlessly across the wastelands, homing in on the strongest energy signatures it can detect.

When it encounters something with a strong energy signature (vehicles, generators, and 'bots are a favored target), the Pfrzt will approach the target, attempting to make contact with it. If a Pfrzt successfully makes contact, it will instantly drain a device of all of its power. A vehicle's power cell will be emptied, or a power generator will cease to function. If an android or similar artificial life form makes contact with a Pfrzt, it should make a save versus Energy Attacks. If unsuccessful, the android will take 3d6 hit points of damage (as its power is drained away). A successful save results in half-damage. A Pfrzt will ignore all organic lifeforms, as the energy produced by a biological lifeform is too small to be recognized.

Attacking a Pfrzt is also difficult, as it takes no damage from energy-based weapon attacks, simply absorbing the energy. The only way a Pfrzt can be injured is by unpowered and/or hand-held melee weapons. However, because of the nature of a Pfrzt, it discharges 3d6 hit points of electrical damage from its energy-retaining cell structure when struck. Non-conductive weapons made of wood or plastic, or ranged "slug-throwing" weapons such as pistols and rifles are the only ways to avoid this discharge.

A Pfrzt will consider its mission as "complete" once it has absorbed 50 points of energy. Because it is single-minded of purpose once it has homed onto a target, the best way to deal with it is to somehow "feed" it via energy weapon discharges or by tossing charged power cells and batteries at it until it has taken in its fill of power.

Mutations: energy absorption (electric), energy-retaining cell structure