A few months ago I waxed lyrical about some inspiration for post-apocalypse gaming and in particular the Survivalist novels of the 1980s by Jerry Ahern. As fulfilment of the Crooked Dice 7TV Apocalypse Kickstarter gets closer I’ve decided to revisit this irradiated world where men were men, women were women, guns were cool (and overly described repeatedly in the prose) and the red menace was real.
As a reminder this pulpy post-apocalyptic novel series racked up over 20 titles telling tales of the titular Survivalist, John Rourke and his adventures following the nuclear devastation of World War III and a subsequent Russian occupation. In case you had forgot our hero had the following traits:
- Ex-CIA operative
- Weapons expert
- Survival and wilderness expert
- Medical doctor
- Super-sensitive eyesight (so has to wear mirrored shades ALL the time)
- Motorbike rider (almost exclusively always a Harley Davidson)
- Smoker (because it was respectable in the 80s)
- Fluent in multiple languages
- Irresistible to women
- His middle name is Thomas (yes really)
This guy is crying out for the tabletop!
So two things to do. Find a figure to represent this alpha male in 28mm scale, and stat him up for 7TV.
Miniature choice first! Rourke has many weapons of choice, but the most iconic are his ‘twin Detonics Combat Master .45, shoulder holstered pistols’. The novels are very focused on the exact name, model, calibre and so on of the various weapons being used, in fact arguably more effort is put into the description of military hardware and material than is expended on characters. But I digress, the key thing is I had a couple of sprues of the old Wargames Factory Male Apocalypse survivors laying around and a quick snip round with the clippers and plastic glue and I had the vested, shade wearing, pistol wielding post-nuclear survivalist I need.
In terms of the stats, I used the excellent fan built Agency Casting Tool for 7TV to produce a suitably matching profile for 7TV. I based the core profile on the generic Action Hero, but made a few changes to the attacks and special abilities to match the unique range of skill our hero has. With a star quality of Burst of Action coupled with Blown Clear, Hard, Fight Back and Lucky as base special effects for this profile I felt we were nearly there, I swapped out Lucky for Medic (as previously mentioned Rourke is of course also a fully trained MD, and he’s so damned good he’s no need of luck).
The only problem I really came across was how to represent the ‘twin Detonics’. 7TV doesn’t have any rules for dual wielding; the 2 shot ability most pistols have doesn’t really cut it as it simply allows more than one shoot action to be taken a turn. What I wanted was double the fire power in just one attack. After some head scratching I decided to swap out the standard pistol from the Action Hero profile with a high powered pistol from the military weapons list. This gave me a boost to the strike value and still gave me the 2 shots option, but I didn’t really think that it still represented that balletic gun play action I was after. Rather than invent any rules I think I solved the problem but adding the ‘Deadly’ effect to the attack profile. This would allow me to chuck in an extra attack dice, so to me gave a nice approximation of the extra punch you might get from firing two pistols at once.
Of course non of this came cheap. Following the rules in the 7TV Producers Guide for customising profiles has led to John costing a chunky 15 ratings (points). The vast majority of stars in 7TV only cost 10. However as I’m sure you can appreciate our Survivalist has a very unique set of skills and is in effect a one man army, so I’m not too worried about this.
With 7TV Apocalypse due out in March John will be getting some action soon I’m sure. Might even build him his ride if I can find that Project Z bikers sprue anywhere…..