After the Scouring – The Way Forward

By Nick Middleton June 10, 2008 3 Min Read
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So, with the imminent arrival of BRP in print and it already being available as PDF, and the fact that I can see the light at the end of the tunnel (ish) on a first issue of Uncounted Worlds, I thought it was time I turned my thoughts back to After the Scouring.

It looks likely that I won’t be running this again this year – the Thursday Group’s real life commitments are such that playing time’s at a bit of a premium, and we’re having fun with a RIFTS game at the moment; well, with the setting anyway – every session is regularly punctuated with ritual cursing of the game system and the atrocious layout of the rule book… And by the time we finish the RIFTS run it’ll be winter and I have to run Call of Cthulhu or one of the players will hurt me. But everyone’s expressed an interest in returning to the setting and characters of After the Scouring, so it looks like I have a golden opportunity to port the setting from RQIII to BRP in advance of playing again next year.

So, my intention is to develop my ideas of how I’m going to do After the Scouring using the new BRP core rules here, as a sort of ongoing journal.

Some clear objectives need spelling out in the first instance. AtS was always intended to capture the “real world changed in strange but ultimately explicable ways” feel of classic British post-apocalypse SF (Sword of the Spirits, Peter Dickinson‘s Changes trilogy, John Wyndham’s Chrysalids) I read as a child in the shadow of mutually assured destruction in the 1970’s. So ultimately, although there are supernatural elements to the setting, the feeling should ultimately be that these are somehow manifestations of a superior understanding of the universe (if not an actual superior technology). And I wanted the sense of distance from the change in the world to be close. Settings like Dreampod 9’s excellent Tribe 8 are great – but I didn’t want the “fall” of the old world to be mythology – I wanted it to be close and viscerally immediate. In the second half of the game we played last summer, the characters met an NPC who not only lived through the Scouring, but was sufficiently old at the time of the Scouring that he remembered watching CSI: Miami and of course one of the player characters was actually born before the world changed as well.

So those are the touch stones of the setting. When I ran the game last year, we basically just used RQIII with a few tweaks. I need to spell out those tweaks, and see which ones are key and which we just tinkering. I also need to think which bits of RQIII that aren’t in BRP were providing essential elements of the setting and thus need recreating. So that’s the topic for the next post or two I think.