A recent mention on RPGNet inspired me to take a little time off from writing about Bounty Hunters of the Atomic Wastelands to talk instead about Mutant Bikers of the Atomic Wastelands, after all this is really where it all started..
MBAW was a very simple post-apocalyptic game I wrote a many, many years ago. It features the Fudge rules stripped down to just a handful of skills and whole lot of attitude. The skills all had silly names like “Take it Like a Man” or “Figure Stuff Out” and the equipment rules meant you could not take stuff between sessions. That’s pretty much it. Given the name the”Mutant Bikers” portion of the title the lack of any rules for mutations or vehicles might seem a bit of an oversight but that’s just the way it was.
The artwork ( of yes, there was ‘artwork’) as I recall I got by digitising some of my old drawings using a handheld scanner. Now I’m not claiming these were great drawings to start with but handheld scanning will brutalise pretty much anything. Here is a little example.
But those were simpler times. It was the late 90’s, back then no one expected a to download roleplaying game to be particularly professional, or even spellchecked.
And yet somehow or other, it seemed to strike a chord. I won’t say that MBAW was something of a cult hit but it did develop a following of sorts, Enough of a following that, even after I stopped supporting the game, it spawned at least two fan made spin-offs games that took and expanded MBAW, word for word in places. There is also Savage Worlds conversion of MBAW though I’m not entirely sure what’s there to convert. The Internet it truly a place of wonder.
At the end of the day MBAW got played by real people. Even now it still gets occasionally mentioned on roleplaying fora. It’s a survivor. What else can you ask of from a little, homemade game?
And so as I endeavour to put the final touches to BHAW, it seems only fitting to take a moment to remember where is all started and make again. Have a look it you like but be gentle.
BHAW may be a better, more complete and sophisticated game but I somehow doubt it will have quite same stubborn longevity of MBAW.
Update May 2016:
I decided to give the MBAW a face lift in a brand new edition, more specifically Mutant Bikers of the Atomic Wastelands – the 20th Anniversary Edition. It is the same game it has always been, I just added a new cover, jazzed up the original artwork and sorted out the messed up layout.