It is 40 years after the Nuclear Cataclysm. The earth has been destroyed by a global pandemic called The Sickness. The disease stripped its victims of their thoughts, memories, beliefs, and anything else that once made them human. The infected led riots which begat murders which begat wars which ultimately begat a thousand flashes of nuclear radiance. The earth was re-baptized in fire and blood, and from the burnt ashes the Dystopia was born—a land that lives in the shadow of mushroom clouds and forever transformed by the fallout.
You are a Dystopian survivor who is Marked by the Fallout; this means the radiation has in some way bestowed you with supernatural power. You will need these Gifts of the Fallout to survive the endless perils of the Dystopia: limited supplies and shelter, mutated beasts, power-hungry factions, corrupt leaders, and all the men, women, and yes, even the children who are still enslaved by The Black Dream (the last and most debilitating stage of The Sickness). But perhaps the greatest threat on your life is yourself. Every living creature on earth is infected with The Sickness, and as you are exposed to greater amounts of radiation, you too may succumb to the living nightmare of The Black Dream.
But survival is only a requirement, not your true purpose. Many Dystopians live to see the days of humankind renewed. This desire has sparked The Reclamation Movement. Its goal is simple: restore the glory of our former civilization. Reclamation is about recovering lost knowledge and technology. It’s about rebuilding our homes and cities and societies. It’s about slaying ignorance through education, art, philosophy, and the other pillars of a restored civilization. Most importantly, it’s about vanquishing The Sickness and those who are mastered by it.
How will you help bring about the Reclamation? Will you rescue others from the dangers of this world? Will you construct settlements? Lead factions? Teach children about the old world and how to survive in this new one? Or will you forsake your fellow man to preserve your own life, to fulfill your own needs and desires? The choice is yours, but never forget that The Sickness is a disease of the soul. Once it gets inside you, it will never let you go.
The characters that you play in Reclamation (called Protagonists) are quite unlike the iconic champions that most people envision when they think of heroes. You won’t find any knights in shining armor here. The moral compass of humanity is broken. In other words, you would do well to stop thinking of a Reclamation Protagonist as perfection personified. So what then are the defining characteristics of a Dystopian hero?
Flawed. Damaged. Tragic.
Most Dystopian “heroes” are regular people coping with impossible circumstances (and with supernatural power thrust upon them). They’ve witnessed the death of loved ones and the atrocities of evil men. They sleep with the sounds of mindless killers clawing at their doors. Their dreams are haunted by all the innocent blood they’ve spilled in the past and all the blood still to come. They realize there are forces in this world that they are woefully unprepared to fight or even resist. In short, Dystopian heroes have seen too much, done too much, and felt too much. Yet your emotionally scarred character will be called to greatness all the same!
The actual process of creating a Dystopian character can take just a few minutes. However, you can add as much complexity or nuance as you desire. There are no true character classes or kits. You design EXACTLY the kind of character you wish to role-play. The most important decision you will make is choosing your Mark of the Fallout. This determines what kind of special powers your hero will possess:
- The Mark of Fortune – Observing Supernatural luck and versatility
- The Mark of Enlightenment – Channeling ancient rites of power
- The Mark of the Machine – Transforming yourself with technology
- The Mark of Transformation – Unlocking mutational powers in your DNA
- The Mark of Perfection – Willing yourself to absolute success & victory
The Action System
Reclamation is developed around a unique gaming model that is versatile, fast-paced, and engaging. Reclamation lets you work with the main storyteller (called the FateDealer) to collaboratively create the rules of the game on the spot and help direct your own fate over the course of the adventure!
Here’s how it basically works:
- You announce that you’re going to take an action of importance. (Strength, Dexterity, Speed, Resilience, Intellect, Manipulation, Perception, Spirit)
- The FateDealer says which one of your eight traits is being tested by this action.
- You suggest one or more talents (32 in total) that you think would be helpful in this situation.
- You make an “action check” using the FD’s suggested trait and your suggested talent. The result of your check determines what happens next.
Almost every conceivable action that you could take in a role-playing game can be covered in the almost infinite number of trait/talent combinations. To further speed up the action, Reclamation uses 52-card playing decks to resolve actions; this is exponentially faster (trust us!) than rolling and counting dice. Result randomization is secured by periodic deck shuffling and the implementation of “burn cards.” Reclamation introduces a number of exciting and unique game mechanics through the use of playing cards.
Anything Goes Combat
Reclamation introduces a truly inventive combat system that gives you more control over how you attack and react to enemy strikes. When you strike foes, you determine how aggressively you come at your opponent. When enemies attack you, decide whether to defend yourself against the attack or try and turn the table on your adversary and counter-strike him. Reclamation makes combat feel like an elaborate dance of blades, guns, and blood. Those who learn the dance become powerful fighters of the Dystopia,while the foolish just bleed.
The excitement of combat is further amplified with Drive Points and Epic Action Points. These are points that can be spent at any time to perform truly remarkable feats in combat that are worthy of remembrance. Basically, the sky is the limit once you start spending these points.
Looking to gear up your protagonist? Don’t count on starting the game with AK-47s, rocket launchers and armored suits (although there are rules in the guidebook for all these things!). Most Dystopians learn to invent weapons and armor out of the surrounding debris like true apocalyptic survivors. For this reason, Reclamation includes rules set to help you transform ANYTHING into a weapon: screwdrivers, hedge clippers, cable modems, golf clubs, car axles, stop signs, bricks, etc. The same is true for armor. If you have a Kevlar vest, then awesome! Most survivors have shin guards and hockey gloves and helmets made from pots and chest plates lined with book coverings held together with duct tape. Reclamation is not about slaying monsters, snatching gold, and buying plate mail. It’s about chopping the abomination’s head off and fashioning the skull into a helmet or making a shield out of a garbage can lid. Only heroes with the wits to survive shall overcome the trials of the Dystopia!
The Soul Path
The Soul Path is the game mechanic that puts the “horror” into this post-apocalyptic horror game.
The greatest challenge characters face in this world is this—in order to survive you must do horrible things, but in order to live with yourself you must not. As you witness or participate in truly cruel or wicked acts, you slide down the Soul Path towards despair. If you’re so lucky as to witness or perform acts of love and charity, you will slide up the Soul Path towards hope. The state of your soul determines how much radiation poison you can handle before The Sickness begins to take over your thoughts and actions. And remember, those precious Gifts of the Fallout force you to gain radiation each and every time they’re invoked. Unless you’re careful, those powers that you thought would save you will instead be your first-class ticket to The Black Dream.
Unlimited Storytelling Potential
In my humble opinion, the most common limitation found in most post-apocalyptic RPGs is that the gaming possibilities are very limited. Most of the time you just travel through barren wasteland after barren wasteland and fight zombie after zombie until you’re bored and buy a new game. Reclamation is far more ambitious in scope! Yes… there are wastelands, but there are also regions that have been turned into supernatural paradises. Sure… there are “zombies” to blast away, but you’ll also be pitted against mutated beasts, erratic and often lethal climate changes, crazed survivor cults, two-faced politicians, factions, secret societies, former “heroes” driven mad by their own thirst for power, cold and calculating archons that want to bring about the end of humankind, and so on!
Reclamation blends post-apocalyptic, contemporary, fantasy, and sci-fi, and horror themes together to create a unique and special world for you and your friends to explore. Whether you want to play an RPG that focuses on survival, conquest, political intrigue, or supernatural horror, Reclamation has all of that in spades!