Something like the Fallout series. I think the resource managment aspect of such a world (and its parallels to the fantasy post apocalyptic world that is default B/X d&d) would be ripe for the making.
With the materials from USCMC this wouldn’t be too terribly difficult to pull off, at least for a one-shot of some stripe.
Absolutely. Use the Torchbearer character sheet but pull gear and benefits from USCMC. Allow characters to specialize in any skill from the USCMC character sheet.
Treat swords, axes, crossbows, etc. as pistols with regard to making versus tests against hand-to-hand tests.
I also have rules for cybernetics, non-Marine combatants and psychic powers waiting in the wings.
My first thought was the USCMC, which I will admit that I haven’t read yet, so maybe some of those rules answer my following questions. One aspect that I think is important for specifically post-apacolyptic play is this idea of scavenging and the need to constantly be repairing and finding equipment, this mad-max style apacolyptica is a key difference (to me) from a more futuristic cyber-punk style setting. Torchbearer doesn’t have “item durability”, does anyone have a good idea about how scavenging and the need to “gerry-rig” equipment could work? I feel that is the way to demarcate Star Wars IV: A New Hope type world (or mad-max, or zombie apocalypse, or fallout) from the shiny, clean and chrome colored Star Wars: Episode I/II/III shadowrun/cyber-punk/philip k. dick type worlds.
Should a common “twist” simply be a broken piece of equipment and a scavenging skill to getting it working again? I would like to see degrees of repairability if possible. Maybe a “grind” for technology. Each “turn” using a piece of technology has its own “grind” separate from the player character’s own physical grind. The camp phase, perhaps could be used to cure the angry condition of the PC or perhaps the “over heated” condition or “out of bullets” condition of a rifle. Instead of a cooking test, you would have a repair test.
In my experience playing the game, our equipment is always getting broken, lost, or otherwise discarded to make space for loot. Equipment twists work well as conflict compromises, too. Also, “charges” are built into the magical equipment already, so you could extend that to firearms, etc.
What we are missing are cybernetics, mutations (both the beneficial and the bad kind), and the proper nouns to make the world come alive.
part of me wonders if the “character grind” of b/x d&d would be better replaced with equipment grind as the focus of game play. When I think of apocalyptic fiction I think of equipment grinding down, not the people. Perhaps a subtle difference from the source material (b/x dungeon crawling). Characters still have disposition of course in conflicts, but I’m not sure that the character grind of hex crawling/dungeon crawling should have the same focus in an apocalyptic game.
What’s the game about; I don’t just want to re-skin TB by changing nouns as it were. But perhaps replacing character grind with equipment grind is unfeasible. But if you look at the modification done in the Darkest Dungeon crpg where they replaced the, mostly physical, character grind with a mental grind to better fit the eldritch horror tropes, maybe the system is malleable enough to adjust just what the “grind” is grinding; be it “hit points” in a dungeon crawl, “sanity” in eldritch horror, or “advanced technology” in the post apocalypse.
Re-Skinning physical Conditions to put emphasis on equipment:
Well stocked: +1D to all tests
Low on Ammo: -1 to disposition in ranged conflicts
over heated weapons: must resort to melee?
light source is out of power: Can’t help or use Beginner’s Luck at night or underground?
Out of meds: -1D to skills, Nature, will and health
armor broken: ?
or something like this:
Well cared for: Protects as plate, +1D on any test of strength
Weathered: -protects as chain, +1D on tests of strength
Worn: protects as leather, +1 on tests of strength
I’m not sure the grind translates very well to equipment. Equipment is not constantly in use in Torchbearer, but the characters themselves are, which is why the grind affects the mind and body and not gear. Character action and motivation can be entirely social, or built on trickery and cunning, rather than weaponry and gear, so it wouldn’t quite make sense to degrade gear based on a timer. Instead, think about how the game works with things like plate armor, hammer & spikes, etc., where there are damage or different varieties of usage checks whenever you use them, and where they are subject to twists. I think it would work best if each piece of equipment came with certain usage conditions, all trackable on the character sheet.
You should definitely have a look at the USCMC material. Ammunition is tracked, big weapons require a test to reload and maintain, and light sources are handled slightly differently because of batteries, etc. This in conjunction with the grind would really put the pressure on.
Characters should also have to contend with radiation, disease, and malnourishment, depending on your vision of the apocalypse. I am not sure how I’d introduce these concepts mechanically, but with some work I think you could really get them to spin with the already existing mechanics, rather than tacking them on for flavor.
In other words: with a post-apocalyptic hack (or any “version” or “setting” hack), I would focus more on using the modular nature of Torchbearer to create something workable, rather than overhaul the system and change what the game is about.