Rock Manor Games has great news for fans of their Maximum Apocalypse Board Game… they’re Kickstarting a Tabletop RPG! The new RPG will give players the chance to delve more deeply into the post-apocalyptic world of the game, this time with detailed, customized characters and an unlimited variety of scenarios. They’ll have the chance to salvage, craft, and fight their way through hostile environments, working as a team with a single goal: to survive.
The mechanics are based on a d100 system with two main phases of gameplay: Regular and Combat. In order to play most effectively, every player needs their own polyhedral dice (2d4, 2d6, 2d8, and 3d10s), character sheet, and a writing utensil. Dice rolls, like many other RPGs, determine success or failure on skill checks and combat. In this system, they’re based on a Success Threshold. Totals below the threshold are considered successful, and anything above is a failure. The lower the number, the greater the success, and vice versa. Players can choose to use “Luck” once a day to reroll their dice for another chance at success in an important moment. Players can also gain advantage if they work together or leverage their special skills to ensure a better chance at success. This emphasis on teamwork and strategy encourages thoughtful and cooperative character building for a truly immersive experience.
Character creation for Maximum Apocalypse is detailed, with a plethora of archetypes to inspire rich roleplay. Every player chooses a primary and a secondary archetype from a list of post-apocalyptic personalities. It takes many kinds to make it to the end of the world, and they’re all options in Maximum Apocalypse, from Gunslingers and Thieves to Scientists and Mechanics. Players can further customize their characters with a “Personal Apocalypse,” their own experience of the end of the world. It can be anything from aliens to a nuclear winter, and every character can have a different inciting incident. That’s the “Maximum” in Maximum Apocalypse. Anything and everything is possible. There can be a Veteran Mechanic who escaped zombies in the same group as a Gunslinging Surgeon who narrowly avoided alien abduction, and it’s up to the players and the Game Master to weave these stories together. It’s a fantastic opportunity to be creative, and the rich backstories inspire the players to invest in the world.
All of these choices offer advantages and disadvantages in the form of bonuses and special skills. The combination of the primary archetype, secondary archetype, and personal apocalypse gives players the chance to build interesting, well rounded characters for a varied team of survivors. They can also supplement those bonuses with more specialized skills, like hacking or driving, depending on the kind of game they want to play. In a hostile world, every advantage counts, so a well-balanced group is just as important as a well-balanced character, motivating players to strategize and work as a team even before the game begins in earnest.
When the characters are created and the game begins, stakes are already high. Even in the “Regular Phase” of gameplay, danger is around every corner. Players can choose to spend this phase however they’d like: resting, crafting, eating, scavenging, etc. but many actions can increase the Enemy Attraction Gauge (EAG) and trigger an attack. Every scenario starts at a specific value, and as the characters go about their tasks, the value rises and falls according to how loud or disruptive the activities are. Whispering may cause the value to decrease, for example, but driving or hunting will make it increase. Once the value hits a certain number the Game Master makes an EAG Challenge Roll, and if it’s a success, the party is attacked and the second phase of gameplay begins: Combat.
Combat in Maximum Apocalypse is high stakes and variable. Turn order is based on Initiative scores that decrease as more “action phases” are taken. Players can attempt two “complex” actions (attacks or other time consuming activities like taking aim, moving, or clearing a jammed weapon) and any number of free, quick actions that the GM deems appropriate. Players can also dodge, parry, or riposte any attacks as a reaction in order to avoid harm. All this activity keeps combat engaging, while giving “support” classes the opportunity to affect things as much as the fighters themselves. It also requires teamwork among the party, with so many things happening at once, players must work together to even the odds.
Enemies come in as many forms as there are apocalypses. Situations can span zombies, mad max-style vehicle showdowns, and drone warfare, and include chases and difficult terrain. They challenge every character type, from the fighters and medics to the drivers and hackers, keeping players invested in the outcomes of each round, constantly strategizing the team’s next move. And the variety doesn’t stop there. Characters can be physically harmed by weapons, but they also can suffer harm to their mental state through “Resolve Attacks” or their health through “Immunity Attacks” by zombies or enemies affected by radiation. These different avenues of damage add flavor to combatants and introduce more challenges that players need to incorporate creatively. Teamwork again is vital. Healing, crafting, scavenging, repair, all are options, and often necessities, during the Combat Phase. Creative use of environment is important as well, underscoring the immersive nature of the game. Resources are everywhere, if the players have prepared their team well enough to take advantage of them.
Sound like fun? Want to get a taste of the game before the Kickstarter? Check out their Quickstart Guide now. It’s got everything a budding apocalypse team needs: rules, a general overview, pre-generated character sheets, and a quick scenario to give a feel for the game. Pick a pre-gen or build a survivor from scratch and help your team escape zombies through a hazardous landscape, using items that you salvage and craft along the way. Whether you fancy yourself a veteran prepper or are just discovering the charms of a world post-cataclysm, Maximum Apocalypse the RPG looks to be a fun ride for fans of the genre and the board game.