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Post Apocalyptic Rock’n’Roll Road Movie RPG

“Do you remember that band?  Y’know… from four, five years back.  The one with the song that went kinda ‘NuuuuhNuuuuhDurrooooo’ and all that?”

“Yeah, kinda.  Well, I remember that song of theirs, at least.  I heard they broke up.  Some kind of messed up business.  I think they all went out into the wastelands and went their separate ways.  You’d hear stories about them occasionally – all the mad, messed up shit they’d each be getting up to out in the madlands.”

“What kind of mad shit?”

“Y’know – the usual.”

“Well, I heard a rumour.  I heard they’re getting back together.  Going on a tour of the townships.”

“With the shit they pulled before?  They’re going on tour and don’t expect nobody to shoot them, say, five or six hundred times?”

“Well, I guess they might be expecting a little trouble.  But it’s a sure thing.  I heard they were getting the band back together.  They’ll be starting the tour right about here, as far as I heard.”

“Well, shit.  Now I don’t know if I should go see them or not – if they survive long enough to play, it’d sure be fine to see if all those stories were true.”

System

I’ll be using a very simple system, because I hate being bogged down with rules too much.  It’ll be FATE based, but with most of the complicated stuff pulled out.  FATE’s communal character gen helps ensure that all the characters are tied together in some way, and it also helps flesh out the setting and shape the game, so I won’t be planning too much until we have characters.

Player Characters

The PCs are the members of a recently reformed band (with the option of a manager or roadie as well).  The name of the band will be decided in the character gen session.  As will the band members’ upringings and intertwined histories.

At the moment, I think the character generation phases will be as follows:

Q1) WHERE DID YOU START OUT?
Q2) HOW DID YOU JOIN THE BAND? (this will involve another PC)
Q3) WHAT MADE YOUR NAME? (this will involve a different other PC
Q4) WHY DID YOU LEAVE? (this should involve either another PC or something plotty)
Q5) WHY ARE YOU BACK?

Setting – Introduction

The game takes place on, for want of a better description, a shithole planet.  The terraforming never quite worked, and as a result the place is a dustbowl.  Think something along the lines of Firely, Mad Max and the Fallout computer games.  Then set the Blues Brothers there and cross it with Spinal Tap or Bad News on Tour.

The game will take place on the road between gigs, with each game culminating in a gig of some kind.  Sometimes that’ll be at a venue, sometimes it’ll be 1990’s “desert rock” style – set up in a desert outside of town and turn up the bass… jam loud and see who turns up.

Technology level is “broken down shitty hi-tech castoffs”.  Nobody can afford the good tech unless they bought it broken and kinda-sorta fixed it themselves.  There’s very little good tech on this world anyway… and the only people left here are either too poor or too stubborn to leave.  Or rich tourists, because if you don’t have to live there, the dustbowl can be kind of pretty to look at in the good seasons.

Even though everybody left about 80 years ago, things only really went to shit about 25-30 years ago, when you were a kid.  Before then, things were still shit, but everyone thought it’d get better… nobody knew how badly the terraforming had failed.  Nobody realised that the local wildlife was quite as fucked up as it is.  Nobody realised that there were weird, creepy alien ruins out in the desert full of messed up devices and gizmos that might either cure your cancer or eat your face if you turn them on.  Or both.

But above all, nobody realised that this shithole would have such an awesome music scene!

The Tourbus

When out on the road, you need to travel in style!

Setting – Locations

LONGDROP

A large township, but it doesn’t look it from outside.  Only a part of the town is visible from the plains, as the rest lines the walls of the huge, inexplicable sinkhole at the centre.  Everyone vaguely remembers that the hole (called “The Drop”) was part of the terraforming process in some way, but everybody who really knew how that shit worked (or more accurately, didn’t work) has long since left, when ships still came and went.  Longdrop is positively cosmopolitan compared to most places, and is a main trading and entertainment hub.

SPIRES

A scattered township of small shacks, each on the top of a pillar of stone.  Each pillar is maybe 3 metres across, and they’re generally spaced at about 10 metres apart.  There are hundreds of pillars in the valley, with the middle third being taken by shacks.  Folk from Spires are a little paranoid, and each treats his pillar (or pillars) as their own personal fortress.  Most folks are hunters or family of hunters.  The main business in Spires is gullylizard meat, which is hunted with tethered spears from the tops of the pillars.  The gullylizards are considered “a mite ornery” and will strip a man’s flesh from his bones in seconds, given the opportunity

LAST STOP

This was the spaceport.  It’s not anymore, as FALLON’S END doesn’t get visitors now.  It’s considered creepy as all hell, although nobody’s really sure why.  Some folks live here.  Nobody knows why.  They’re mostly treated like crazy people.

CYPRESS GROVE (Player Contribution)

It might be a lakeside town, but this ain’t paradise. The water’s may be sweet as sin, but any man who lives here for more than a few months goes sterile. And while those who were born here might not have problems (a lifetime of exposure, or maybe some genetic quirk carried by the mother) anyone else who drinks the water, gets addicted. Seriously addicted. That’s why the few who make it there, never leave.

And of course, the society there is a little messed up. When there’s no men capable of fathering kids, something has to be done. Once a year, some citizens head out hunting. They bring back at least three or four men, who for the next three months, are treated like kings, and every woman of childbearing years in town is theirs for the asking. After three months… well, there’s not really the supplies for a wicker man, but a good old fashioned drowning works just as well. And all things told, it’s considered a good way to go.

P07-Freight (player Contributon)

…or just “Freight” to the locals.

The city takes it’s name from the serial number of the abandoned freight ship it’s centered around. 120 people live within, including the ruling family descended from the original captain. 300 or so poorer people living outside. Home to several gangs, including The Daylighters (outside) and The Freighters (insiders).

Tractor’s End (spun out of chargen)

At the end of one of Fallon’s End’s huge highways lies the ancient (well, kind of rusty) husk of a giant road-laying machine.  Towering seven or eight stories high, and as long as fifty cars placed end to end, the Tractor provides both shelter and a landmark that can be seen for miles in any direction.

The townsfolk guard the tractor well, and try their hardest to preserve it intact.  Rumour has it that the secret priesthood of the great road reside inside, and work to return it to life… at which point it will crush the unworthy and bring new roads to the Fallon’s End.

Drybone (SPUN OUT OF CHARGEN)

Drybone isn’t so much a settlement as a long string of small townships spread throughout a long, wide canyon.  Clustered together, the farmers of Drybone are a surly lot and not entirely welcoming of outsiders, even though they need the trade they bring.

One of the conspicuous things about Drybone is that, for all their prudishness and old-time religion, they really do tend to cut loose when some fresh entertainment rolls into the area.  Fights tend to start easily and the grudges they start seem to last forever – which may explain why they all live so spread out!

With several stages around the townships, Drybone is a lucrative area for a band to play… there are several venues, each with enough of a local audience to support a gig or two.  The downside is that all of those venues are owned and managed by Cyrus Honeydew – who is practically Drybone personified:  surly, superior and able to hold a grudge so hard it might burst at any moment!

Player Characters

4 Comments

  1. Additions to this are welcome from players, and potentially even from folks with nothing to do with the game.  If I incorporate something from the comments, I’ll fold it in to the post above (with credit) and then delete the relevant comments.

  2. I grew up on a farm/commune (after much consideration, still has no name) of about 30-40 people. It was built with more ideas than any real skill, and as such my dad and I were constantly repairing the poorly constructed greenhouses/buildings from the harsh desert weather and occasional animal attacks. The damage eventually became irreparable, and the place was declared a failure – my dad and some others went off to start again in a better location, I left to find a new calling in life.

    • Excellent – now, how do you think that start in life shaped your character? What “life lessons” or skills did the experience give you?  If you had to pick two short phrases or sentences that summed up what that part of your life made you, what would they be?

      Did it make you have a keep trying until it works attitude or a just walk away and start again attitude, or did it just make you come away feeling like I ain’t no farmer?  Would you say that you were born into failure?For some more upbeat thoughts, how about something like searching for my place or looking for a calling?

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