Monday, August 31, 2015

Mini Adventure -- Mad Max

I ran this 90 minute game inspired by Mad Max a few times this year with folks of various ages and every time it was a whole lot of fun, so I thought I'd share it with my two or three readers. The mechanics are a simplified version of my RATS! game and the setting is a generic post-apocalyptic desert with a tip of the hat to Mad Max. Due to its simplicity, this game requires no prior knowledge or any experience in gaming.

Source: Blitz Cadet

Character Generation

1) Player distributes 10 points between four abilities.
Ferocity: use this ability whenever you're trying to damage someone or something.
Examples: Kick someone off your truck, intimidate a foe, force open a door.
Survival: use this ability whenever you're trying to avoid being damaged.
Examples: Keep on walking despite thirst and exhaustion, stay on your feet after being pushed.
Cunning: use this ability whenever you're trying to fix, understand or interact with something.
Examples: Repair a faulty engine, understand the meaning of tracks in the desert, treat wounds.
Serendipity: use this ability whenever you have no idea what you're doing.
Examples: open a random box and hope to find something good there, avoid random bandit ambush.

2) Player distributes 10 points between any number of skills they want. Skills include, but are not limited to.
Jumpin': move between moving vehicles. Difficulty is function of distance and relative speed.
Drivin': Ramming, dodging and controlling the vehicle. Difficulty is function of terrain and absolute speed.
Bossin': Allow allies to ignore pain, allow them to act on your turn, boost friendly actions.
Tinkerin': Repair and improve vehicle in motion. Difficulty is function of task and speed.
Healin': Restore ability and skill points lost during the game. Each two wins restore on ability or two skills.
Shootin': All ranged attacks. Difficulty is function of distance and relative speed.
Beatin': All melee attacks. Difficulty is function of target's Survival.
Knowin': All theoretical brainy stuff. Difficulty is function of GM's whims.


Any test is a combination of an ability and a skill as determined by the GM. Roll one die per point. Rolls of 5-6 count as wins. If you've scored as many, or more, wins than the target difficulty or the wins rolled by the opposition, the test is successful. Rolls of 1 count as fails. If you have no wins and some fails than the test backfires in a manner determined by the GM based on how many fails you have.
A boosted test scores wins on rolls of 4-6. A hindered test scores wins on rolls of 6.
Regardless of success or failure, any test reduces the skill used by 1 point until rested or restored through bossin'.

Basic difficulties ranged from 1 to 5 and are modified by the relative speed of actor and target and the roughness of the terrain. As a rule of thumb, increase Difficulty by 1 for every 20 kmph of relative speed, by 1 for uneven terrain and by 2-3 for very rough terrain.


Whenever a creature or vehicle are damaged they remove a number of ability points spread among as many abilities as they like. Vehicles are considered to have only two abilities -- hull and gear. Each time a point of gear is reduced, the vehicle loses one speed category.
For example, a car has six gears (R/20/40/60/80/100). If it loses one gear point, roll a 1d6 to determine which speed category it loses. On a roll of 4, for instance, it will lose the ability to go at 41-60 kmph.


Any character can move six squares and act, or run twelve squares and take no further actions. Vehicle velocity is divided into gears. The higher the gear, the quicker the vehicles moves, but also the more difficult all actions on it become. See "Starting Vehicles" below for the difficultly of controlling different vehicles at different speeds.
Source: Sandara

Starting Equipment

  • The players divide the following items between their characters however they see fit. Asterisks show how many shots/ charges the items has.
  • Shotgun *** (Short distance, damage 4+leftover wins)
  • Sniper Rifle * (Long distance, damage 6+leftover wins, armor piercing)
  • Grenades x 3 (Short distance, damage 6+leftover wins to everyone in short distance)
  • Stim shots ** (restore 4 ability points)
  • Pistol ****** (Short distance, damage 2+leftover wins)
  • Kevlar x 2 (negate 2 hits)
  • Smartphone (3 calls/ data searches)

Also, everyone has a sword, a knife and a rope.

Starting Vehicles

The group starts the game with the following vehicles:

  • Truck (10 hp 20(+0)/40(+1)/60(+2)/80(+3)/100(+4))
  • 2 Bikes (3 hp 20(-1)/60(+0)/80(+1)/100(+2)/140(+3))


Your community is under attack by mutant fanatics who want to take your gasoline. Your allies across the desert have powerful war machines, but no fuel to power them. You are to drive a truck with gasoline to the camp of your allies. You must reach them within 90 minutes or your community will be overrun.


  • 4 mutant fanatics (2 in all skills and abilities) and 1 ogre mutant (same as fanatic only Ferocity and Survival are 5) climb the truck as you break through the blockade and try to get to the steering wheel.
  • 4 spiked cars (5 hp 30(+0)/50(+1)/70(+2)/90(+3)/110(+4)) driven by evil communists. They try to ram your truck and destroy your wheels. Roll 1d6 on the start of each car's turn. On a roll of 1, it loses one gear and is forced to reduce its speed.
  • A wide creek. You can either drive around it, wasting time and risking a bandit ambush, or jump over it, risking falling down to your death. Some kids also tried quickly building a bridge from the cannibalized remains of enemy vehicles and various elements of the surrounding nature.