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Customizing your Genre Rules

March 25, 2020

I’m looking at running Apocalypse World in the near future, and the game has a very good way of giving the GM high level Directive Rules – Agenda, Principles, etc.

Anyway, for Apocalypse World, one of the directions is “Barf Apocalyptica” – basically infuse the world with all the things that make it post-apocalyptic – the weird mesh of our current world, ruined, with weird and strange and broken things.  It serves to remind the GM to constantly push the agenda of the game’s genre.

A bit more focused, for you

So, as I’m prepping, I’m writing down some inspiration ideas that I can refer to for my game to make sure I have the kind of apocalyptica I want:

  • The verge of falling apart
  • Junk survives
  • Danger is around the corner
  • A junkyard solution, but once in a while something pristine
  • Critters are dangerous but never quiet

Mind you, these are basically cues to myself that I know I can use to inspire immediate ideas in narration and description – a different game, different group of players, and of course, each GM would come up with their own.

Any Genre

However, there’s no reason you couldn’t make a short list like this for a superhero game, or Star Wars, or whatever kind of game you’re looking to play.  Whether they need to be something the players share in or just as reminders for you as a GM, that’s up to you.

Sometimes as GM’s we end up with a lot to juggle and the genre description can suffer a bit – between math, many NPCs, and players with lots of questions or actions all happening at once, it can be useful to have a reminder for yourself.

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