[Let’s Study] Fallout the Roleplaying Game, Part 7: Gamemastering and Review

In our last installment, we’ll be looking at the Gamemastering chapters and wrapping up with a review of the Fallout RPG.

Gamemastering

The gamemastering chapter opens up with a few ways to use the rules as a gamemaster, starting with advice on how to set Difficulties, introducing Complications and using Action Points.

Safety and consent is also detailed here, something that needs to be called out as commendable as Fallout is a game with a lot of inherently difficult and occasionally mature topics. Anyone who has played through the Fallout games knows this, but in the context of a tabletop game it’s important to be able to get consent from all the players, while having the necessary means to communicate if a situation or topic is getting out of hand.

The mood and themes of fallout are discussed as well, with tips to create Quests for the game along with rules for awarding players for successful Quests, whether with caps, experience points, or other benefits.

denizens of the wasteland

This chapter is a rather hefty bestiary of creatures that your characters in Fallout will likely run into, and most probably shoot. Each has a description, and variants of each are given their own stat blocks complete with special abilities listed.

All your favorite opponents are here, from the Mirelurks, to Super-Mutants, to Robots and Ghouls. Given the rich number of encounters in the Fallout games, there’s something here for everyone.

With a bang or a whimper

The sample adventure for Fallout is a three act storyline set before the start of Fallout 4. Set in the Commonwealth, the story is quite a solid take on the bleak (and somewhat horror-sciencey) world of Fallout and players will benefit from having a broad range of skills to survive it.

An interesting point to this adventure is that it starts with the Gamemaster and the players working together to establish what the settlement in the adventure is like. This shared creation is getting more common in games, and while I’m admittedly not used to it, I do like that it’s seeing some use here.


Review

Mechanically-dense and full of random tables and a massive equipment list, Fallout is a Rules-Heavy take on the 2d20 system. If the Devil is in the details, then Fallout is firmly in hell, but in a good way. Fans of the videogames will instantly recognize analogues of the mechanics they’ve come to know and love reflected in a way that is playable on the tabletop.

The game oozes the unique Fallout vibe, and is generally complete in terms of everything you’ve seen in the games. My concerns lie with the possibility that it might be slow going given all the rules, but with time and familiarity, I expect things to go faster.

Combat is a common feature, but seeing Scavenging and Survival being given a lot more space in this book is a relief. In a setting like this, stuff (even junk) is valuable, and the game takes pains to make everything you can possibly pick up worth something.

That said it isn’t for everyone. People who are looking for a narrative game will have to give this one a pass, as it falls firmly into simulation. People who enjoy shorter story arcs and hex-crawls will love this game, and I’m eager to see what else Modiphius will release for the game, whether it’s new settings, or a means to explore further.

Art and Layout

As a Modiphius product, I’ve come to expect good art and layout in their books, and Fallout is no exception. Font choices and clean layout are accompanied by gorgeous artwork, with the bestiary being a notable section for featuring the various kinds of disturbing things you’ll see in your wanderings in the Wasteland.

Conclusion

Fallout is big, beautiful and might be a little hefty for those who aren’t used to a lot of mechanics, but everything about this book is a love letter to the videogames. Get it if you’re a fan of the games, or if you’re looking for a darkly humorous take on the apocalypse mixed with 1950’s Atomic Age nostalgia.

It’s a game that lends itself well to irreverent play, or serious storylines. Like a beaten up Chryslus Highwayman, it might take a bit of elbow grease to learn get going, but once you do, you’ll be exploring the vast expanse of the Wasteland like a pro.


If you’re looking to grab the Fallout RPG, you can pre-order some really snazzy physical versions right now at the Modiphius Website!

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