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The Fantasy Apocalypse
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Prak
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 04, 2017 7:21 am    Post subject: The Fantasy Apocalypse Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Had the idea to do a post apocalypse D&D game the other day. Not "D&D is a post apocalypse setting" but a game set in D&DLand after some manner of apocalypse.

The immediate idea I had for the nature of the apocalypse was a physical repository of spells "detonating" and causing lots of wild magic zones and permanent spell effects in addition to physical damage.

What other kinds of apocalypses might befall D&DLand?
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OgreBattle
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 04, 2017 7:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Quote:
What other kinds of apocalypses might befall D&DLand?


Magical disaster crushes all cities and turns them into super-dungeon towers that go high into the sky and deep underground. Civilization rebuilds itself by delving in to come back with lost magic.
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shlominus
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 04, 2017 8:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

one god beats all the other gods somehow, reshaping the world according to their vision. works best with evil gods obviously, but a neutral one might work. depending on the god, this would have different results.

some examples from the forgottem realms: talos' world is always ravaged by storms, shar's is one of eternal darkness, with tempus there would be permanent warfare, while peace would be unthinkable, and so forth...

you could also use a neutral god of trickery for a more fun, gonzo campaign, where almost everything is an illusion/trap.
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phlapjackage
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 04, 2017 9:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

OgreBattle wrote:

Magical disaster crushes all cities and turns them into super-dungeon towers that go high into the sky and deep underground. Civilization rebuilds itself by delving in to come back with lost magic.

So basically, Earthdawn? I guess the mechanics are a little wonky, but for a sort of post-apocalypse fantasy rpg with great fluff, Earthdawn can't be beat...
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angelfromanotherpin
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 04, 2017 11:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

I believe the Den go-to is The Shadow Over The Sun, where a geometrically-expanding swarm of shadows ends basically all life in the world. You could do a thing where plane-traveling survivors are reclaiming their lost home, that might be cool. I think rebuilding the shattered ecosystem before the plants that can thrive without pollinators overoxygenate the atmosphere would be a concern.

This thread might also be worth looking at.
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fbmf
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 04, 2017 1:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

With the loss of the sun (nuclear winter, a wizard did it, whatever) the Underdark races have surfaced and are the apex predators/advanced civilizations. The PCs are in a mad max (but always cold and dark) environment. Anything civilized (bigger than a village of 100 or so) is controlled by drow / mind flayers / duergar / kuo-toa / whatever.

Magic items either have to be salvaged from the ruins of the lost civilizations or stolen from the Underdark folks.

Game On,
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Thaluikhain
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 04, 2017 2:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Hmmm, I think the Elder Evils covered this a bit, a few of the evils devastate the world and go back to sleep, leaving a new campaign setting in their wake, but with not much detail. I think Heroes of Horror has a bit of that as well, areas falling the Taint and with little resources.

There was an idea in the book about undead about how everything turns into a zombie sometime after it dies, doesn't need a necromancer or anything.

Also, wasn't that the basis of the Dark Sun setting?
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Harshax
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 04, 2017 3:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

What if the apocalypse is the result of all the big wizards fucking off to another dimension or being uplifted by the goddess of magic underpants? If the world was some advanced level of magi-tech, with magic trains, global communication arrays, golems and sapient automata, gates and seals preventing invasion from demons, losing all that knowledge and skill would result in a breakdown of society. Why did the wizards leave? Were they really leaving to a new paradise? Was something coming for this world?

Dungeons are nests of dangerous magic, monsters, or experiments running amok as the wards and active maintenance by wizards has lapsed. The availability of flame lances and force cubes becomes more scarce. People dive dungeons, laboratories, forgotten towers and pocket dimensions to find the secrets all these greedy asshats kept for themselves. Some people are going to be inspired to climb the empty rung at the top of the ladder. Some are going to try and preserve whatever magic knowledge is left to maintain their people. Some just want the Pit of Despair to stop vomiting monstrous mutants that terrorize or pervert their country. Some pupils, now the masters, want to find answers - insisting their former mentors were abducted, or maybe they want whatever the wizards wanted but were unwilling to share.

EDIT - spelling, grammar


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nockermensch
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 04, 2017 4:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Scenario 1: post-shadowapocalypse
1) Shadows kill people > create more shadows > mostly everybody is a shadow
2) World (meaning, that material plane/sphere) gets so infused with negative energy thanks to (1) that several portals to the Negative Energy Plane open
3) Shadows all move to the Negative Energy Plane, where it's more confortable for them > Portals close
4) World is now a blasted, spooky and mostly empty place. Life starts to recover. But there's still so much residual negative energy lying around that it's not uncommon that things die and just come back. Different societies form, dealing with the abundance of undeath.

Scenario 2: magical asteroid ring
1) Heavy magitech world with large moon.
2) moon is terraformed > colonists live there
3) main world cracks down thanks to magical experiments gone wrong / war / terrorism / ???
4) game happens from the perspective of the moon colonists, centuries later: The surface of their world is a cratered, inhospitable hell. From the underground, survivors start to thrive again. Not only there's much to explore on the surface, but with some magic, it's easy to fly and reach the huge ring of debris orbiting the world. Rumors of still functioning cities and weapons of the ancients somewhere above.

Scenario 3: reverse rapture
1) A world is doomed.
2) The pantheon of <race> sees that coming, and promise to take their chosen faithful to a "paradise".
3) Game happens from the perspective of the original inhabitants of said paradise, that weren't consulted about what suddenly happens: portals open on fertile plains, major river deltas and other points that can support huge populations, and then huge populations of <race> start pouring in. War and genocide seems inevitable. The sky rumbles and clerics know that native and foreign gods are themselves fighting.
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Mord
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 04, 2017 5:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

The RPG "Desolation" is set in just such a scenario. I half-read the book a few years ago, but can't speak to its quality. The fiction is all very grimdark though.

The apocalypse in this setting, "The Night of Fire," was some manner of magical catastrophe, but the specific nature and causes of it are unknown.

The setting only ever got 2 sourcebooks, so it obviously didn't catch on.
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FrankTrollman
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 04, 2017 6:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

The question of what kind of apocalypse you want is mostly a question as to what kinds of dungeons and civilization you want. You can think of this as an assignment of your points of light and points of darkness.

A setting is "post apocalyptic" if an important part of your activities is scavenging. If there's stuff left over from the beforetimes, and you are wandering around in dangerous areas trying to find and repurpose that stuff, you're living in a post apocalyptic scenario. That means of course that most D&D settings are inherently post-apocalyptic, although most of them are pretty vague as to what exactly the apocalypse even was.

So let's give some solid examples: imagine for a moment that you want the dungeons to be depopulated cities. All you have to do is to come up with an apocalyptic event that depopulated the cities. Maybe it was a demonic uprising like Act III of Diablo II. Maybe it was the cloud cities falling out of the sky like in ChronoTrigger. Maybe it was a Zombie or Vampire invasion. Maybe it was the ancient dragons or gods smiting the cities for hubris. Obviously cities are full of stuff and if the civilization had better technology and/or knew more magic than the current one, those cities are going to be full of cool stuff you want to get.

On the flip side, imagine that instead you want the dungeons to be some sort of wilderness areas like spooky forests or trackless deserts. Rural areas don't have a lot of people in them to begin with, so figuring out why they are mostly depopulated isn't difficult. Basically encroaching monsters would be plenty reason enough, but if you want something topical like climate change reducing farm yields that's fine. What you gotta explain is why there's stuff left over from the beforetimes you want to scavenge in the wilderness areas. Power nodes the old settlers used to use before they got driven off by monsters from the portals, relics of the dragon wars fought in those lands, or the goods from old outposts along the now defunct trade routes are sufficiently cliche.

-Frank
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CapnTthePirateG
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 04, 2017 11:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

So maybe I'm a crazy person, but can't you just do a plague or a flood or some shit?

You can open to almost any page of the old testament and a natural disaster is a huge enough event in the iron ages that it may as well be a nuclear war.
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Dogbert
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 05, 2017 1:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

CapnTthePirateG wrote:
So maybe I'm a crazy person


TL;DR: Yes.

Long version: In a d&d land where wizards and clerics (and needy gods that need -living- people to exist and have power and give GMs big penises) are everywhere, nothing short of a true E.L.E can possibly cause civilization to collapse. Furthermore, unless you kill Mystra again, the wizards and clerics who obviously escaped to their demiplane realms will just come back and rebuild the whole thing as soon as the dust settles.

In addition, over 3/4ths of the Monster Manual keep d&d land perpetually surrounded by "the thousand dooms." Just look at a creature of a CR as lowly as shadows (immortal, invulnerable to muggles, viral, and with a built-in grudge against all living humanoids). Magic is the only thing that keeps humanoids from becoming extinct, especially since d&d land's civilizations are so unbearably slow-paced (their middle ages have lasted tens of millennia and counting). If magic up-and-left one day, they'd all be dead long before reaching the renaissance, let alone the information age and laser weapons.

CapnTthePirateG wrote:
You can open to almost any page of the old testament and a natural disaster is a huge enough event in the iron ages that it may as well be a nuclear war.


Dregs from millennia B.C clearly had a most limited imagination, because around 80% of the stuff we know either didn't exist or hadn't been discovered back then.
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Thaluikhain
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 05, 2017 1:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

CapnTthePirateG wrote:
So maybe I'm a crazy person, but can't you just do a plague or a flood or some shit?

You can open to almost any page of the old testament and a natural disaster is a huge enough event in the iron ages that it may as well be a nuclear war.


For that matter, a history book. Civilisations have fallen to war, plague, climate change etc ever so often.

Alternatively...well, if a bunch of powerful adventures attacked your country, killed your important rulers and mages and priests and ran off with the treasury, your society would find itself in real trouble.
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souran
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 05, 2017 7:21 pm    Post subject: Re: The Fantasy Apocalypse Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Prak wrote:
Had the idea to do a post apocalypse D&D game the other day. Not "D&D is a post apocalypse setting" but a game set in D&DLand after some manner of apocalypse.




So.... you want to make a standard D&D campaign? I seriously cannot think of a SINGLE published setting for which what you are talking about is not already the case.

Here is a quick rundown;

Pathfinder -> Abolethes crashed a comet into the world to kill all the humans because they had made them to awesome. Additionally, the game is nominally set a mere couple of years after the disappearance of the most important human deity who tried to fix things after the comet. Also elves and gnomes are explicitly survivors of apocalypses in their own native worlds.

Forgotten Realms -> The original setting was based on the world having undergone a magic apocolypse where wizards tried to usurp the gods and it sent their floating cities crashing to earth. Each edition afterwards has also been apocolypse based with the gods getting booted out of the planes, wierd ass moons showing up or otherwise having something crap up the whole setting.

Dragonlance -> the original setting has the events happen after the gods smashed a comet into the world because people were using magic to try and punish people for thought crimes.

Darksun -> wizards killed the world!

Greyhawk -> wizards killed the world but different. Oerth exists after wizards destroyed most of world, for extra dying earth credit the implication is that the "wizards of the west" did this with nuclear weapons. Greyhawk castle sits on site that some of those wizards had used as a failsafe bunker.

Ebberon -> this is the least full apocalypse but it is basically a setting set right after WWI which people in our world considered to be the apocalypse.

Really most D&D settings are set after some catastrophe. I tend to think that this is mostly historical mirroring. By having an equivalent to the fall of the Roman Empire in your setting you can have a long history without needing to justify why people are still filth farmers.
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Harshax
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 05, 2017 7:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

The heart of the question is how much does the apocalypse determine the main reason for adventuring parties?

Is the world stable, albeit not as awesome as it was, and dungeons are full of cool shit that upsets the power structure?

Is the party the last best hope to find water, dispel the curse, cure the plague? Are dungeons full of cool shit that everyone needs to survive?

Is some trope of D&D almost entirely missing and needs to be completely rediscovered to improve a society that has mostly moved on without it, ala Dragonlance and divine magic?
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maglag
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 05, 2017 10:43 pm    Post subject: Re: The Fantasy Apocalypse Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

souran wrote:

Ebberon -> this is the least full apocalypse but it is basically a setting set right after WWI which people in our world considered to be the apocalypse.


Actually Eberron does have one nation wiped out by a magic nuke that left behind enough not-radiation to stunt up all healing and natural growth in the area, so some post WW II too. The only reason there's not cold war equivalent is because that whoever came up with said nuke seemingly blew themselves up with it, so nobody knows how to replicate it.

Mind you, there are also the invasion of otherworldly insane horrors to reset things now and then.
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OgreBattle
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 06, 2017 7:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

RIFTS- lots of people died unleashing their spirit energy activating leylines that mess up the weather and bring in dimensional monsters. Some are friendly but most eat people.

Wizardry: Tale of the Forsaken Land: instead of a global apocalypse it's a localized one. A catastrophe destroyed the capital and a bunch of other places in the world (the forest of the elves and so on), now a super dungeon goes deep underground in its place and the destroyed landmarks are reported to be found inside. The surviving princess has made it open to adventurers to enter and explore to plumb its depths.

Breath of Fire Dragon Quarter- Surface world is unihabitable so humanity lives deep underground, the elites live closer to the surface with better air quality. The nobility are descended from dragons and the percentage of dragon blood in them is social rank.

Nausicaa- The far future post apocalypse world is mostly poisonous fungus forest with plane eating bug inhabitants. Human civilization tried burning down the forest in the past but gigantic kaiju bugs flattened them for it and current civilization is kingdoms and hamlets made up of the survivors. Technology of the old world is dug out of the ground with major cities built over archives of intact technology.
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K
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 06, 2017 10:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

I'd reverse engineer from your monster list since the apocalypse is basically an excuse to refresh the planetary monster stocks.

So if you want to fight forest dudes like treants and fae, then the world obviously ended in some freaky tree growth shit that literally made it impossible to farm as trees grew fast enough to destroy civilization. If you want goblinoids like LotR, then fantasy WW1/WW2. If you want undead and demons, then some fuckers put out the sun.
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phlapjackage
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 07, 2017 4:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Saberhagen (Swords books): East and West are about to have a nuclear war, and so scientists (with supercomputer/AI help) find a way to alter physics such that nuclear weapons no longer work. This basically works, except that:
1. The change in physics also creates "magic", "deities", etc
2. The change in physics lasts alot longer than intended
3. Demons are nuclear weapon explosions that gained sentience
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Chamomile: Deaddmwalking... was a holy warrior dedicated not to a specific cause, but to doing battle with a single foe. With his nemesis forever banished from our shores, he goes off to become a normal denner who puts irritating people on ignore rather than endlessly engage them.
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Kaelik
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 07, 2017 10:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

phlapjackage wrote:
Saberhagen (Swords books): East and West are about to have a nuclear war, and so scientists (with supercomputer/AI help) find a way to alter physics such that nuclear weapons no longer work. This basically works, except that:
1. The change in physics also creates "magic", "deities", etc
2. The change in physics lasts alot longer than intended
3. Demons are nuclear weapon explosions that gained sentience


This series, whether it knows it or not, is actually a centuries or millenia later sequel series to those books:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Broken_Empire_Trilogy
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Aryxbez
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 07, 2017 1:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

One I quite like was from [Tome] about a land rebuilding after the Undead won:
https://dndwiki.org/wiki/Races_of_War_(3.5e_Sourcebook)/A_World_at_War#Triumph_of_the_Necromancers:_Endless_Night

(copy + Paste the link, or highlight "Go to" should work)

I took from that idea, of having "Points of light" where different hallowed enclaves of civilization trying to stay in contact, and PC's do supply runs between the enclaves, and out into the dangerous undead-laden lands. You also have to deal with Enclaves various politics potentially, likely nobles who to become the dominant ruling force of the land, especially if formerly were in some ruling capacity long ago.
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phlapjackage
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 08, 2017 5:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Kaelik wrote:
This series, whether it knows it or not, is actually a centuries or millenia later sequel series to those books:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Broken_Empire_Trilogy

"It" just recently found this out last year. Mr. Green

It's weird, as a kid I read a few Swords books that my library had, but the library only had like 2 or 3 of them, and my whole life I had this feeling of "what happened in that series ?!?" Then last year, this whole "internet tubes" thing clicked for me, and I realized I could complete my dream of finishing the Swords books...which led me to also find the prequel trilogy as well. Technology, how cool...now get off my lawn!

*edit*
I think you mean this trilogy instead?
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Empire_of_the_East_series

If not, I've got some more books I have to read! Smile
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PhoneLobster: DM : Mr Monkey doesn't like it. Eldritch : Mr Monkey can do what he is god damn told.
Chamomile: Deaddmwalking... was a holy warrior dedicated not to a specific cause, but to doing battle with a single foe. With his nemesis forever banished from our shores, he goes off to become a normal denner who puts irritating people on ignore rather than endlessly engage them.


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Kaelik
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 08, 2017 9:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

phlapjackage wrote:
Kaelik wrote:
This series, whether it knows it or not, is actually a centuries or millenia later sequel series to those books:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Broken_Empire_Trilogy

"It" just recently found this out last year. Mr. Green

It's weird, as a kid I read a few Swords books that my library had, but the library only had like 2 or 3 of them, and my whole life I had this feeling of "what happened in that series ?!?" Then last year, this whole "internet tubes" thing clicked for me, and I realized I could complete my dream of finishing the Swords books...which led me to also find the prequel trilogy as well. Technology, how cool...now get off my lawn!

*edit*
I think you mean this trilogy instead?
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Empire_of_the_East_series

If not, I've got some more books I have to read! Smile


No, I'm saying the Broken Empire Trilogy is written by a different author who may have read those books in the 70s-80s and been inspired by them, or may have parrallely come to the same conclusion.

The series takes place in an empire millenia after a similar event. The advanced humans did something that opened up magic, but instead of happening within the relatively recent past, it happened so long ago that almost nothing seems to have survived (at least at first). The people of the empire have long established histories that all take place post change, even the magicians have somewhat faded into the visible background, as they have started playing their own game of thrones behind the scenes.

It's not an official sequel, but it's based on the same root concept, and I suspect was heavily influenced by that series.
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Thaluikhain
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 08, 2017 1:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

IIRC, in one of the AD&D books, Gygax lists "Hiero's Journey" as one of (many) inspirations, which is about a long post apocalypse world in which mutant monsters roam around and humanity is trying to find out how to make a computer.

A wacky idea, what if the adventures get thrown forwards in time, "Planet of the Apes" style, past some unknown apocalypse you don't have to explain, maybe running into the beginnings of the ilithid culture?
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