Children of Uma puts RPG players in the driver’s seat of the post-apocalypse
We’re not in Kansas any– what? We *are* in Kansas?
Post-apocalyptic worlds and vehicle mayhem are a classic flavour combination. Mad Max: Fury Road perfected it for the screen, and the tabletop space is no stranger to twisted metal futures. The currently crowdfunding Children of Uma is a synthesis of cinematic action and desperate ecological stakes, all playing out in a dessicated middle America.
Children of Uma is a love letter to those high-octane, sandblasted action films of decades past from writers John McGuire and Geo Collazo. Players suit up as members of The Hellsings, a ragtag found family of survivors led by Croc, a hardened biker mutated by a project of the old world’s government. Donning animalistic helmets and monikers, the group will attempt to forge meaning out of the hardscrabble life of what folks call the Neo Dark Age.
The setting springs from previous titles designed by McGuire and uses his 3,2,1...Action! ruleset to keep scenes tight, tense and moving forward as fast as possible. The system relies on a single 10-sided die to resolve conflicts that the Game Runner classifies into one of three ascending difficulties. Tight margins for error lend a lot of weight to each roll, but players can ease that strain by briefly narrating “plot holes” with details that are exciting and outrageous without completely breaking the campaign’s realism.
The 100-page core book will detail the world, the rival gangs that control what used to be America’s breadbasket and the gnarled, rusted-out vehicles that tear across its corpse. There will also be 20 character concepts players can use as the foundation for their Hellsing members and a long running storyline, written by Meghan Ball, that groups can play as-is or use as a launchpad for their own unique adventures.
The concept art depicts a Fury Road aesthetic by way of indie comic imprints - fully realized characters in road leathers, driving spike-festooned chassis and toting barely working weapons salvaged from a long-forgotten world. And like the Mad Max films, it doesn’t seem like Children of Uma is preoccupied with a classic hero’s narrative. The people of the present didn’t kill the world, nor do they care to seek vengeance for a society they never experienced. Life is rough, but what’s new? There are personal scores to settle and gasoline to secure.
Children of Uma’s Kickstarter campaign runs through May 18th and is funding both a softcover and hardcover physical edition alongside digital copies of the rules. McGuire expects delivery to backers to begin in September of this year.