Maximum Apocalypse the RPG Post (Apocalyptic) with the Most
Over at Nerdarchy the YouTube channel Nerdarchists Dave and Ted destroy your fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons campaigns with five different apocalypses. But there’s another tabletop roleplaying game that looks at these apocalyptic scenarios and scoffs! Maximum Apocalypse earns the title because characters drop into a world not only post apocalyptic but the aftermath of all the apocalypses (apocalypti?) AT THE SAME TIME. You’ll draw on every survival instinct and trick you can imagine in the face of 11 distinct apocalyptic perils taking place simultaneously. Think you’ve got the grit, determination and savvy to live through kaiju attacks, robot uprisings, zombie infestations, economic collapse, the Rapture and six other threats to all existence? Then read on…
Maximum Apocalypse RPG
“In Maximum Apocalypse: RPG, players take on the roles of survivors of one of many apocalypses, adventuring across the ravaged wasteland attempting to survive the many dangers that lurk around every corner. In order to survive, you will need to scavenge and craft new items while also scrounging for food and fighting off everything from zombies to an alien invasion.”
Rock Manor Games approached Nerdarchy to help promote the Maximum Apocalypse RPG Kickstarter currently going on right now and we got an opportunity to playtest this awesome new game in a couple of sessions with the producers. No sense burying the lead — this game is all kinds of win in my book. The apocalyptic survival genre appeals to me through media like Resident Evil, The Walking Dead and Mad Max so I was super excited to dive into an RPG made to recreate these vibes.
Maximum Apocalypse RPG is a tabletop roleplaying experience based on the post-apocalyptic board game series of the same name. The RPG designer Scott Uhls created it as a fan of the board game and together with Rock Manor Games put together a terrific product. The playtest sessions we participated in including Rock Manor Games owner Mike Gnade with Scott as the Game Master. By the time we’d finished up character creation not only was I hooked my character and Mike’s already formed our own shared backstory, something that made our roleplaying experiences incredibly immersive and rewarding. You can download a quick start guide for free here.
The premise of the RPG presents a world ravaged by apocalyptic scenarios, except instead of focusing on a single overriding danger they all strike simultaneously. Certainly there’s more than enough material and imaginative space to play games incorporating only one, a handful or all of these apocalypses. Our short campaign including them all of course — we wanted the full Maximum Apocalypse treatment! Part of character creation includes determining the specific apocalypse your character already survived. Since I chose to create my character completely through random dice rolls, my Peak Oil Collapse scenario matched Mike’s so we decided they’d survived together.
Guadalupe Henderson is one of my favorite RPG characters ever! Playing this 13 year old kid in a setting ravaged by zombies, demons and killer robots really drew me into the story and setting. The apocalyptic premise makes it super easy to imagine relatively normal people acquiring and developing skills that might be highly unusual in a mundane setting. For example, Guadalupe is an expert marksman and decent at fixing cars. Mike and I decided she wound up protecting his character, a doctor and a bit of a thief, as they survived the Peak Oil Collapse together. A quirk Guadalupe wound up with gave her protection from infection because of her blood, and we figured the doctor felt maybe this could help the world somehow.
The game engine for Maximum Apocalypse is really smooth. The RPG uses a roll under percentile system, meaning higher scores and traits make your character better at those things. The character sheet looks a little intimidating at first glance with lots of boxes and scores but these are hugely advantageous because they’re mostly time savers. Ability scores and skills are noted for half and quarter scores, representing higher degrees of success. For instance if your Agility is 55, you roll d100 to make a check and if it’s below your score, you succeed. If you roll below half your score (27 in this case) it’s a great success and manage to roll below a quarter of your score (13) and you achieve an amazing success.
One of the key components of a post apocalyptic survival story — probably the most important of all — is making due with what you can find and I love the way Maximum Apocalypse handles this aspect along with resource management in general. As you survive scenarios you’ll gather Component Pieces. You’ll spend these to craft gear and equipment, fix broken things and so on. Basically this is the currency and resource management rolled into one. We used ours collectively as a group to craft a makeshift bridge and individually to repair weapons we scavenged and fashion unique items. Ammunition is universal, meaning you don’t need to find different bullets for your pistol and a rifle. This doesn’t apply to heavy weapons like nuclear warheads though. Sadly, Guadalupe never got to utilize her proficiency with such things.
Playing a campaign run by the game’s designer made things incredibly smooth rules wise and there wasn’t any times when things felt clunky or anyone ran into the rules and broke the immersion of the story we created together. This is a sure sign of a good game and a great group. As I mentioned I dig this genre so it was tremendous fun to think in this mindset. Guadalupe fashioned a suppressor out of empty plastic bottles, scavanged for chips and candy and duly conserved ammunition while exercising extreme caution whenever apocalyptic monsters attacked. My proudest moment came while very carefully exiting a mall. With the outside mere feet away I asked GM Scott a simple question that changed everything. I don’t want to spoil anything so you’ll have to check out the game and play the Get to the Van scenario yourself.
And you can see lots of people play Maximum Apocalypse RPG too! One of the really cool and smart things I dig about the Kickstarter is how the creators shared a list of quite a few places to check out game plays. Not for nothing but the very first Maximum Apocalypse RPG Premiere took place right in our own backyard! Nerdarchists Dave and Ted along with Dead Aussie Game, DM Jazzy Hands, Casey and GM Scott Uhls played a fantastic scenario with an unforgettable ending over at Nerdarchy Live right here. You can find the list of game plays with links on the Kickstarter page and here it is to entice you as well.
- Nerdarchy June 9 8PM EST
- NotGreatRPG June 12 6PM EST
- Great GM Live June 14 3PM EST
- RPG Talk June 18 1PM EST
- NotGreatRPG June 19 6PM EST
- Maximum Apocaladies June 23 8pm EST
- Nerdarchy Live Chat June 25th 12pm EST
- NotGreatRPG June 26th 6PM EST
Obviously I enjoyed the heck out of Maximum Apocalypse RPG. The game system is easy to pick up and versatile in play. Stories don’t get much more dramatic and tense than survival tales and with the incredible dangers facing multi apocalyptic survivors you never know how things will turn out. A single scenario packs a ton into the experience and if your character survives, a follow up scenario hammers home the same thrills as you wonder just what apocalyptic catastrophe Maximum Apocalypse RPG throws at you next. The Kickstarter campaign already achieved funding and continues to climb and unlock new stretch goals. Check it out and discover the pledge level that’s best for you here.