I don’t know about you, but I’ve been enamored with the Fallout world since its first iteration in 1997, Fallout: a Post-Nuclear Adventure. When its successor, Fallout 2, came out a few years later, I was hooked. Last November, Fallout 3 wasn’t just the icing on the cake, it was a whole new layer…or flavor…or…something else…cake related. And like cake, I devoured these games. I consumed every morsel of dark humor, vivid wasteland, and the immersive story behind it all. But my hunger wasn’t sated. I needed something more. I needed…dice.
After brushing the offensive grime of 4th Edition D&D off my boots (I’m afraid the smell will never leave), I had to find something new; a break from swords and spells and Orcs and Elves. I needed Fallout: the Pen and Paper RPG! A cursory search turned up no such product, but I was determined now to make this happen. I gathered my tools: d20 modern, d20 apocalypse, d20 future, fallout.wikia.com, and a case of mountain dew. I closed my eyes, inhaled deeply, meditated on the task ahead of me, exhaled slowly and thought, Someone had to have done all this work for me already. So I went back to scour the grimy tubes of the internet.
Like I said before, there was no Fallout RPG, so to speak, but there was no lack of post-apocalyptic campaign settings either. The most common go-to was either GURPS or Darwin’s World, but with my comfortable knowledge of the d20 system and my lazy aversion to learning something new, I was forced to search on. Then I stumbled across Exodus: Post-Apocalyptic Roleplaying by Glutton Creeper Games. The kicker? It was formerly titled Fallout: Pen and Paper d20. The story goes like this. GCG licensed the Fallout IP rights from Interplay in 2006 to make a pen and paper RPG. The following year, Interplay sold the IP to Bethesda, who promptly sent a Cease and Desist to GCG (which incited both joy and anguish among Fallout fans who have been historically picky when it comes to their favorite post-nuclear IP). The six months that followed turned a full Fallout RPG into a thinly veiled Fallout RPG. But was it a good thinly veiled Fallout RPG? I cracked open a cold Nuka-Cola Toxi-Cola and prepared to find out.
I ordered the Exodus Survivors Guide from the GCG website, which is actually the only place you can find the book (my local game shop hadn’t even heard of it) and began the waiting process. On a side note, I’m an incredibly bad waiter. The book finally arrived a few days later and I eagerly tore through the packaging. As I had already seen the cover of the book, I knew what I was expecting, that being something serviceable.
Here’s a side-by-side of the original cover versus what they changed it to.
Not quite the same charm of its namesake’s, or ex-namesake’s rather, art. The book itself was paperback and about an inch thick. I quickly leafed through the pages to get a sense of what I was truly holding. For some, the first thing they might have seen was a low-res picture of WWII inspired propaganda or an interesting, yet text-obscuring cityscape to fill a page. I, however, saw something different. I saw the toolbox that would let my Fallout campaign finally take shape.