Posted in Settings

Australiana Apocalyptica

A few weeks ago I started up a solo game of Apocalypse World with my wife. We liked it but decided we wanted something different for a solo game and would wait for another month or two to play Apocalypse World with our main group once we’re done with Prime Time Adventures. This post has some custom moves that we were planning to use and probably still will – feel free to do whatever you like with them. I’ve also written up some brief setting details for an Australian apocalypse.

I knew I wanted our Apocalypse World to be in Australia, where we live. Even ignoring Mad Max, this country is a pretty amazing place and I have lots of ideas about what it could be like after the end times. I’m sure Vam has even more, very specific ideas, but that’s a post for another day perhaps. I presented three settings to my wife and asked her which one she wanted to play in. Here they are:

  • Overpopulated skyscrapers overgrown with relentless rainforest in the wild northeast cities
  • Slimy labyrinthine docks at the clogged, poisoned harbour by a rusting once-great bridge
  • Clusters of peeling corrugated iron buildings, caked in red desert dust under a cancerous sun

She said, “the first one” then added “…but we’re not just in the skyscrapers, are we?”. I told her no, we wouldn’t be, it was just an image evocative of that part of post-apocalypse Australia. So, of course, that was the one I had the least ideas about but we both made a pretty good go of it and the setting came together. Here’s a brief run down:

Setting: Bane

Bane is a huge city extending outwards and upwards, remnants of civilisation overgrown by relentless rainforest. There was enough food here when the world ended, water too. And it was out of the cancerous sun, thanks to the Canopy. So everyone came. Everyone.

Bane is big, but the rainforest claims back more and more each day and there’s less and less space for the booming population. Towering office buildings have turned residential. Dozen people to a room, hundreds lining hallways. And the Canopy: so many trees – some bigger than the buildings – that only the highest floors of the highest skyscrapers ever see sun and feel the breeze.

Everyone below lives in the Canopy’s sweltering eternal darkness. Pitch-black sauna, 24/7. Tensions run high, tempers thin. Fans are prized, ice is killed for. Vines get into everything, messing up what juice still flows through strangled wires. Then there’s the dream sap that pries open your mind, the bloodthirsty rainforest predators, the unpredictable cabal of brachiators, and hundreds of plants ready to kill you in any number of ways.

It’s not a matter of if you’ll die a sudden violent death, it’s when and how, and why anyone should care. It’s what you’ll do with your short sweaty existence before life kills you.


So, that’s our happy little apocalyptic world. For playing there, we’ve got two custom moves so far:

When you consume the dream sap, you open your brain to the psychic maelstrom.

When you wander around without light in the endless sweltering darkness under the canopy, roll+sharp. On a 10+, all 3: you get where you were going without incident. On a 7-9, choose 2:
– you don’t run into anyone you’d really rather not see right now
– you don’t get turned around, lost and delayed
– your scent doesn’t catch the interest of any rainforest predators

Feel free to use or change or do whatever to any of this. We’ll use it eventually, but if you use it first, I’d love to hear about it.



I live in Canberra, Australia. I love games and stories.

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