Several weeks ago, my friends and I were trying to decide what kind of RPG we wanted to undertake during the time we'd be camping in the north woods. We threw around a few ideas, but once we found the one, we all quickly agreed on it and threw our entire beings into ironing out the details.
This, my friends, was the beginning of what would become the post-apocalyptic, alternate-universe, epic saga known as... Orphans of the American Dream.
The premise of the campaign is as follows: we all play idealized versions of ourselves eight years into the future of an alternate universe where the nuclear apocalypse occurs in July of 2015. All of us have been going our own ways, trying to survive in a world gone mad, an America that is no longer united, a hellish landscape where only the most resourceful survive...and then, eight years after the day when everything fell apart, we meet once more in the city we all called home: Janesville, Wisconsin. After a reunion filled with mixed emotions, we would eventually decided to work together and become what would essentially be post-apocalyptic apostles, traveling the nuclear wasteland that was America, spreading the gospel, helping those in need, and giving justice to evil.
We were all incredibly excited about this idea and ended up playing it in the Fate role-playing system, which I believe worked really well for the campaign and the way it needed to feel. And the best part is, we ended up getting almost every single person on the student leader camping trip involved in the game. We had such fantastic character creation, with intriguing stories and harsh struggles that each of our idealized selves were dealing with. My brother Connor was the narrator of the story, and his own alternate self was absent for the game (though he might appear later on down the road), and he did a fantastic job of corralling us and our crazy antics into a workable plotline.
Shortly, I'll go over the characters we created. I played a charismatic survivalist version of myself who was really good at hunting and other outdoorsy stuff and had two Siberian Huskies as companions. Jared became a hardened mercenary who has trouble trusting anyone. Maddie, shortly after the apocalypse occurred, began taking in orphaned children, and basically became their protectors. Adam Schliesmann was a jack-of-all-trades who started a colony in Canada. Emily Feirer was a child of the street who's seen the worst and tries to help wherever she can.
There were several other characters, but those were the main ones that were actually played in the course of the three sessions we played during the camping trip. Everyone had wonderful character interaction and story-mindedness, and we came up with some great stuff as a result. It was one of my favorite RPGs, simply because of the fun everyone was having.
At some point I might do a write-up of our first session and the things that went on, but I've given you a good idea of the tone of the game already, and that was my intention. I really enjoy when I can get those who normally wouldn't do something "nerdy" like this to have a lot of fun role-playing. It's one of the best exercises of creativity, problem-solving, and storytelling that exists in the world, and it's one of my favorite things to do. Sharing that with others is great fun for me.
So, as I close, I have two questions for you... In the case of the nuclear apocalypse (most of the major cities in America were nuked, and society collapsed afterward), what would you change about your past (before July 2015) to make you better prepared for the apocalypse (a different skillset, job, etc...)? And how would you survive when it came? This is an alternate universe, so we're letting you change that one thing about your past to make you into your more idealized, survive-the-apocalypse-able self.
I'd love to hear your answers in the comments! As always thanks for reading.