ORACLE

8/06/2009

The Day After Ragnarok

Ever wanted to step out of the archaic world and fight the Outer Dark in a more modern setting? How about in the apocalyptic aftermath of World War II, will that work for you? Well get ready to take up your sword and sidearm, The Day After Ragnarok is on the shelves and daring you to play.

Written by Kenneth Hite, who describes the game as, “’Conan the Barbarian: 1948’ meets ‘Quatermass and the Giant Snake’”, Ragnarok is an alternate history game set in a world of swords, sorcery, super science and pulp adventure. This is one of the coolest sword & sanity settings I have ever read.

Imagine if the Nazis wanted to summon forth the Midgard Serpent, and unleash it upon the world. Now imagine it worked, ushering forth the day of Ragnarok. Jörmungandr is released upon the face of the earth, along with global chaos and mass destruction. As a last ditch effort the Allies initiate “Operation John Henry” and a lone B-29 named Strange Cargo armed with atomic explosives is sent on a suicide mission to slay the beast. The plane reaches its target, and miraculously manages to kill the Serpent with a megaton atomic blast to the head. But this was not a victory. The earth was changed… spoiled. Atomically radiated venomous blood rained down, and the body of the Midgard Serpent fell, causing tidal waves and earth quakes. Its carcass lay dead stretching from Scotland to Sicily. Madness ensues, and adventure begins…

The setting offers many challenges, including: giants, hydra, serpent cults, mutated animals and insects that have grown to monstrous proportions (giant snakes abound), and don’t forget the other survivors of the apocalypse. Characters can range from arcane scholar to barbarian, secret agent to outlaw, and many other possibilities. Sounds fun, huh?

The Day After Ragnarok is a Savage Worlds setting (HERO Edition coming soon) published by Atomic Overmind Press. Even if you do not use Savage Worlds as the game system I feel the setting presented it strong enough to purchase this book anyway. Use the setting and power it with whatever game system you like.

If I haven’t convinced you this should be the next game you buy then maybe the press release will:

Know, O Prince, that between the years when the Serpent fell and the oceans drank America and the gleaming cities, and the rise of the Sons of Space, there was an Age undreamed of, when nations guttered low and flared brilliant across the poisoned world like dying stars – California and Texas each claiming the flag of the West, France torn asunder and facing the desert, harsh Mexico, slumbering Brazil, Argentina where the seeds of Thule lay waiting, ancient lands of Persia and Arabia and Iraq between two empires, the coldly clutching Soviet Union whispering behind its Wall of Serpent, Japan whose warriors wore steel and silk and khaki. But the proudest kingdom of the world was Australia, the last green and pleasant land, ringed around by its dominions and bulwarked by the sea.

Welcome to the world at the end of the world. The skies are shrouded with burning, oily smoke, the Earth groans under a poisoned corpse, and the only way out may be deeper into the belly of the beast. This is a world about a flavor and a feel as much as it is about extrapolation. That said, this world has something of an edge to it – it’s a world nearly killed by the death of wonder, although far from all the wonders are dead. Put the “grim” back in “grime” and see the world outside the smeared Perspex windscreen.

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