During the month of August, I’m participating in RPG a Day 2017. Each day I’ll answer a question, or my interpretation of a question, about tabletop roleplaying games. For those who have wanted your beloved UncleBear to get back into RPG blogging, this is the closest you’re going to get.
What is an RPG Genre Mashup You Would Most Like to See?
The world needs a Victorian-era post-apocalyptic roleplaying game. If you need me to explain why, you just need to go read more Charles Dickens. Living in poverty feels like living in the End Times, and the conditions of the working poor during that period were abominable. Just take the sooty skies, the crime, the imperialism, and the classist, racist, and misogynistic oppression, and turn it up to 11 with steampunk flourishes.
How would the world end? Probably slowly and painfully due to some plague. Maybe due to pollution, where the air and water hits a tipping point and becomes poisonous. Aristocrats and royals would be living in underground palaces while the lower classes struggled to survive on the surface. As the creeping apocalypse spreads, nations would foolishly throw their healthiest and heartiest men into wars over resources. Mad scientists and intrepid adventurers would travel the world looking for solutions, or just livable spaces. In the end, only those with some sort of immunity would be left, scrounging for resources in the ruins of empires.
You could play with the notion of proto-Morlocks and the Eloi from The Time Machine, if you want to. The Martians from War of the Worlds might invade after the fact, or perhaps in a reversal or sequel they’re the ones who dropped the germs that wiped out most of humanity. You could foreshadow World War I, which obviously won’t happen in this timeline. The social and political commentary that could be made through the setting is rich and deep. Use it as an allegory for modern attitudes toward climate change, income disparity, or a whole raft of other issues. It would still be a fun game, because survival horror has so much storytelling potential.