Burst of Insight-Ruins of Yesterday’s Tomorrow, part 1

A couple of posts back I talked about rebooting settings to create new campaigns and while I was thinking on the topic of reboots I stumbled on a D&D 5e character sheet in the style of Fallout complete with art of Vault Boy and my mind got to turning on how I might run a fallout tabletop mini-campaign. 

Right now, I don’t have the time or bandwidth to create a whole campaign (even a short one) set in Fallout’s retro future wastelands but that doesn’t stop me from contemplating it. A lot. Fortunately for me I have this blog that gives me an excuse to dabble in it even if it never hits my table.

As I’ve said before I’m a sucker for a good character sheet and whomever put the fallout sheet I found together did an excellent job (link)…BUT…They used 5e pretty much unchanged. Don’t get me wrong 5e is a great game, I’ve had fun playing it the few times I’ve had the opportunity so this isn’t me calling out the newest version of D&D as a bad game. It’s just not the engine I would use for a Fallout game. It doesn’t feel like Fallout to me, D&D is just too heroic.

Not that I would probably use the new rules from Modiphius either. Again not because its a bad game in this case it’s back to I don’t have the band width. Learning a new ruleset for a one-shot or short-shot mini-campaign seems like more work than I want to put in right now.

So despite just saying I don’t have the time my dumb brain decided, “Ooooh! Let’s plan a Fallout mini-campaign and even make a character sheet! That’ll be awesome!”

First step then was deciding on a ruleset to use. Normally, I default to the Cypher System, or Genesys, which has a perfectly good Fallout theme but, no. my brain wasn’t having any of it. The rules I would theoretically use needed to be something SPECIAL (yeah, that pun is intentional. You’re welcome.) 

If you’re looking to capture the right feel in a reboot the rules and character sheet can be used to immediately set the right tone. Fallout needs to be dangerous and gritty. We’ve been playing Delta Green and I recently grabbed a copy of the 7th edition of Call of Cthulhu (CoC) so the d100 based rules of Chaosium’s Basic Roleplaying (BRP) were firmly in my mind as I started my planning. Call of Cthulhu has a reputation, many players who have never cracked a cover of a CoC know the investigators are fragile in both mind and body. Not a terrible place to start a Wastelands game.

So, I got to thinking about the character sheet and googled some Vault Boy images and decided to forgo the normal BRP attributes and skills. Instead I opted for the “SPECIAL” attributes (Strength, Perception, Endurance, Charisma, Intelligence, Agility, and Luck) and a short custom skill list derived from the skills used across the various video games.


Once, I had a rough character sheet (with borrowed art from the internet) I started to think about the sort of story I’d tell. Come back in two weeks and I’ll lay out a few of the key details I’d focus on to properly reboot Fallout 4 as a tabletop mini-campaign.

Burst of Insight

Andrew Marlowe

placed in the Top 16 of RPG Superstar in 2012 and 2014, one of the few contestants to get that far in the competition twice. Since then, he has contributed to many Paizo and third party Pathfinder products, including one of the network’s favourite releases in the Pathfinder Player Companion line, the Dirty Tactics Toolbox. Every other Tuesday, he will be sharing his Burst of Insight, with design tips for would-be game designers from a decorated freelancer.