Dungeons can be much more than just tunnel networks full of traps, monsters and treasures. Want to create some truly memorable concepts for future dungeons in post-apocalypse RPGs? You can find plenty of inspiration in the rich history and weird present-day of our own world.
Future Dungeons of the Cold War
The Cold War soaked popular culture in the constant dread of nuclear war. As the Western powers and the Soviet bloc faced off with enough atomic firepower to bake the planet many times over, sci-fi authors drew upon all our collective fears to create many classics of post-apocalyptic survival.
From the novel A Canticle for Liebowitz to the Fallout computer RPGs to the TV series The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, the fallout shelter has been a persistent image. In modern storytelling, the fallout shelter is the modern dungeon, a place of bleak drama as well as black humour.
Afterlifestyles of the Rich and Famous
The finale of the comic book Punisher: The End takes place after a thermonuclear war that has doomed all of humanity. Elderly vigilante Frank Castle arrives at a bunker in the ashes of New York City. Within this shelter are the elites who ruled the world, profited from its misery and injustice, and brought the world to this terrible fate. When confronted, they beg Castle to let them live. They claim to be the only ones with the knowledge and resources to rebuild civilization. In a nihilistic turn of events, he executes them all for their crimes, then wanders off to die of radiation poisoning.
It’s a typically cheerful ending from writer Garth Ennis (Hellblazer, Preacher, The Boys).
Now, with the advent of Vivos xPoint, anyone can have their own bunker full of elite survivors, for the right price.
And the Fallout future is one step closer.
How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bunker
The 575 hardened concrete bunkers of Vivos xPoint are located in the former Army Munitions Depot in the Black Hills of South Dakota. This is the land that was stolen from the native tribes in the Black Hills War of 1876. The very place where the hopes and dreams of the Plains Indians were brutally extinguished is set to embody the dreams of an entire community of apocalypse-minded survivalists. There’s something horribly poetic about that.
Now, envision xPoint as a heavily-armed and well-stocked town/faction in the post-nuclear wasteland of an RPG such as Apocalypse World, Darwin’s World or even Rifts. Just think of the attitudes and politics that could brew up in such a group. The end of the world proved that they were right about everything. They might feel vindicated, entitled, filled with a kind of Manifest Destiny, or who knows what else.
Or, take a page from the concept of the kaers of FASA’s Earthdawn. Imagine what happens if a shelter designed to survive the unimaginable gets breached and overrun by vicious marauders or mutant monstrosities. Voila, we have an instant dungeon full of baddies to slay and cached supplies to loot. This Earthdawn concept is one of my favourite explanations for the existence of monster-filled dungeons, by the way.
Remember, the history and mystery of the real world is the best gaming inspiration of all.
Read more about the company that’s building underground survival communities here.
Watch out for Part 2 of Future Dungeons. What happens when a paranoid dictator bunkerizes his entire nation?