Resource: B-
From 161 reviews
Game: C+
From 361 reviews

The Day after Ragnarok

Explorer's Edition

Contents

Publisher Description

See it smolder. See if you can save it.



Mighty-thewed barbarians and grim mercenaries roam the desolate plains of Ohio. Giant snakes, and those who worship them, prowl the ruins of St. Louis. Pirates battle the Japanese invaders in the South China Sea. Bold British agents, equipped with experimental bio-technology, thwart the insidious infiltration of Stalin’s humanzees. Sky-raiders strike from hidden bases in the Sahara, deros skulk in South American caverns, and the Texas Rangers fight electrical death worms to save Los Alamos.

 

A Game With a (Very) Alternate History [ edit ]

The Day After Ragnarok is a game with an ... unusual premise.  In 1948 Hitler managed to Jörmungandr, the Midgard Serpent of Norse mythology, from his watery home.  Faced with a Naz-summoned gigantic serpent (we're talking 350 miles across) Harry Truman did the only sensible thing, nuking the hell out of the beast using a special "Trinity Device".

Truman succeeded in killing the creature and thwarting the Nazis, but it left an incredibly massive wurm body covering large parts of Europe (nearly all of the British Isles) and Africa.  It is from here that a very imaginative campaign setting arises, one full of dieselpunk adventures across the globe.

A World of Adventure [ edit ]

The world of The Day After Ragnarok is full of pulp adventure opportunities, but also many post-apocalyptic ones, and in many ways TDAR is heavily influenced by Conan the Barbarian.  For instance, after the serpent fell its (poisonous) body generated giant tidal waves, wiping out most of the eastern United States (a shell of the government still exists in California ... but isn't recognized by Texas).

Many parts of the world have completely lost civilization, leading to many opportunities for "barbarians in ruines" adventures.  At the same time many key nations have survived in some form, offering many other adventure opportunities.  For instance, Stalin leads an army of frost giants in Russia, while the British Empire has relocated to Australia (the last continent untouched by war).

Savage Worlds, Explorer's Edition - Rules SummaryCollapse

Character Creation [ edit ]

As with most games, Savage Worlds characters have attributes, in this case five of them (essentially the D&D attributes, without Charisma).  Attributes are measured as a die type, so a weak character would have a d4 Strength, while an incredibly strong one would have a d12.

Players can also select a race for their character (or remain human to get an extra edge), and a number of skills.  Just as with attributes, skills have die-type-based ranks.  Raising skills higher than their associated attribute costs double, but otherwise there are no restrictions, so you can make a cowboy/hacker/biologist if you so desire: there are no class limitations.

Finally a player selects Edges, which provide special benefits to the character, similar to feats in Dungeons and Dragons or advantages in GURPS .  To gain edges characters can take on hindrances (similar to GURPS disadvantages).  Every edge costs the same in Savage Worlds (no varying point costs like in GURPS), and there are only two levels of hindrances (Major and Minor; one major or two minor provides an Edge).

There are also a somewhat limited number of hindrances and edges compared to some other generic systems, but this isn't necessarily a bad thing.  While it does mean less customization options, it also means new players can review their options much quicker, speeding up character creation overall.

Core Mechanics [ edit ]

To succeed at an action in Savage Worlds, you roll a die based on the associated skill, and then also roll a separate "wild die" (a d6).  Either dice can "ace" ("explode"), which means that if you roll the maximum number on the die, you get to re-roll it, and add the result of all the rolls together.  You can then choose to keep either your original die or the "wild" one (whichever rolled higher), and if that die's result is 4 or greater (after any penalties), you succeed.

Players also start with "Bennies", and can earn more during play through good role-playing.  These "Bennies" can be used to re-roll any roll, giving characters another chance to succeed at critical actions.

Combat [ edit ]

When it comes to combat, Savage Worlds uses a deck of regular playing cards to determine who goes in what order.  The higher the player's card, the sooner they go in initiative, and if a player gets a joker as their card they can go at any point (and also get a bonus to their rolls that turn).

Between it's wild dice, "aceing" (ie. exploding) dice, bennies, and jokers, and various other factors, there are a lot of ways to succeed even when your skills are low, although of course higher skills are clearly a benefit.  All of this leads to a system that's more "fun" and cinematic, but also a bit less realistic, and also potentially more "swingy" (compared to, for instance, a system like GURPS).

Aggregated Review Scores

SourceAverage Score# of ReviewsAs Of
Amazon4.4 / 5121/27/2022
Drive Thru RPG4.7 / 5291/27/2022
Good Reads3.85 / 5811/27/2022
RPG Geek7.91 / 10391/27/2022

While The Day After Ragnarok's somewhat quirky setting won't appeal to all gamers, its clearly found popularity with many GMs.  The supplement has an average score of 7.65/10 from the (very critical) RPG Geek website, and an even more impressive 4.5/5 from Amazon.

And if TDAR sounds fun, but for some reason you're not a fan of Savage Worlds, the supplement also has two other versions, one for Hero System and one for FATE Core.  So if exploring a pulpy, diesel-tech post-apocalyptic (and barely post-WW II) world sounds like fun, you've got not one but three choices of rules systems.

But whichever system you choose, TDAR will undoubtedly offer an unusual and creative new setting for your next campaign, with a unique blend of dieselpunk technologies and mythical/barbaric elements!