Sunday, August 26, 2012

ACKS Modern & Zombies

The description of the Adventurer, Conqueror, King System begins:  
In a world of fallen empires, some relics of the past are good only for a beastman's bludgeon; others make ruin delvers rich.
It captures the old-school dynamic of adventurers of purse and fortune battling baddies, getting rich, getting powerful and becoming lords themselves. Of course this implies that there is a world of riches, power, and glory sitting out there, just waiting to be won - hence the "world of fallen empires" bit.

I've been watching The Walking Dead recently and have had conversations about the political underpinnings of the story. Like much zombie fiction, the drama is derived from the tension of people struggling to survive in a world that has fallen apart and suddenly turned hostile.Yet there isn't much in the zombie genre that focuses on what happens next. What is life like twenty, thirty, or fifty years after the zombie apocalypse? Assuming mankind has rebuilt to a degree and begun to reestablish semblances of order, this would also be a "world of fallen empires."

The scenario is begging for a system that, like ACKS, puts the players on a path to glory. A post-zombie apocalypse world offers countless ruins filled with ancient secrets, horrors, and opportunities for greatness. The emerging political order is bound to be rife with warlords to battle and isolated communities in need of heroes and leaders. In true Hobbesian fashion (which makes for great role-playing drama, of course) an inevitable Leviathan would emerge. Is this a tyrant waiting to be deposed, or is it the PCs? It could be a bit like Mad Max, but perhaps not so resource poor. After all, it's hard to get rich enough to build an empire if you're killing every highway robber for his tank of gas.

So that's what a couple hours of country driving produced yesterday: a Mad Max-Zombie Apocalypse-ACKS combo. This could be hella fun.


  1. For life after a zombie (vampire, in this case) apocalypse, check out Justin Cronin's "The Passage" (sequel due out this month). The book begins with the apocalypse and the whole second half takes place about a hundred years later in survivor communities. One of the best pieces of post-apocalyptic fiction that I havwe read.

    (RisusMonkey commenting from work)

  2. A setting which is basicaly Day After Ragnarok + World War Z?

    This is relevant to my interests.

  3. @RisusMonkey - "The Passage" is still on my to read list... but I wonder how it could be merged with the Buffyverse...

    @Chris - My thought was more World War Z + Mad Max/Book of Eli, rather than Day After Ragnarok... but hey, that works too!