Initial Drylands brainstorm

Dug up some of my old brainstorming notes for Drylands and thought I’d share.

Initial Brainstorm

Game Name: Drylands

December 16, 2005 -> Oil Peak (note: anaylzed February 16, 2006)
April 19, 2019 -> Oil supply ends (note: April 19, 1775 was the “start” of the American Revolution)
November 2, 2023 – Dakota Belt forms (note: original North / South Dakota also formed on November 2)
By 2025 -> total regression

– pushing wells too hard, instead of gradual build up
– putting the “big rigs” on immediately, to get the most oil today as compared to planning ahead
– oil is still there, but no way to effectively harvest it
– demand exceeded ability to produce oil
– oil prices continued to rise
– some oil companies had 2-3 months oil supply (OECD alone had 54 days, and 37 days emergency stockpile)
– reached the fabled $300 / barrel before the 2019 “crash”

– minor animal mutations (from steel mills, etc.)

Global Warming
Acid Rain
– food / water shortage
Collapsed Economy

West got flooded from rising water level? San Fransisco, Los Angeles, etc.

Disaster could have been adverted, but people started panicking, and looking back many poor decisions were made
Alternative energy:
– Ethanol / Hydrogen (both have a negative net energy when including production)
– Nuclear (a few nuclear plants, but have been destroyed, melted down, flooded, or looted, basic infrastructure could not support them)
(could still be used in the east, where the new “government” is, all but destroyed in the west)
– Fusion (ideal solution, but not enough invested, too focused on “hydrogen hype”)
– Other oil harvest techniques (tar sands, oil shale, coal liquifaction, gasification, etc.)

Missouri River = Minaki River (Sun in Siouan-Mandan indian language)

North Dakota + South Dakota + Nebraska = Dakota Belt

North Dakota Stats
Area: 70704 sqmi
Pop: 642200 (year 2000)
Capital: Bismarck

South Dakota Stats
Area: 77121 sqmi
Pop: 754844 (year 2000)
Capital: Pierre

Nebraska Stats
Area: 77358 sqmi
Pop: 1711263 (year 2000)
Capital: Lincoln

Flag Meaning:
1 dune for each merged state
Brown line is Minaki River, also the “belt”
Mixed colors from each state’s flag

Armor is location specific (leg pieces, etc.)
– Can have 3 mods: always, < X (damage is reduced if initial damage is under value), and X% (roll under percent value to apply damage mod)
– -1 damage
– -1 damage defender, the more critical a location is hit (ie: head -> feet)
– Roll damage against location, reduce damage based on armor in location
In general combat should be lethal, only 2-4 shots to bring a target down
Range on guns is by increment, so a shotgun shell may have a range increment of 5. First increment = no penalty
– Each additional increment gives a bonus dice to defender (D4?) to simulate it being harder to hit, and hitting less critical locations
– All guns have a max of 10? range increments
Limbs can be blown off during combat
If HP drops below 0 for a location, roll constitution checks or the like to see if the person dies
Can use stunning / criticals / fumbles / aimed shots (gives plus to difference mentioned above), etc.
Close combat, maybe some sort of “attack move” / defensive reaction type game
– Attacker uses feint
– Defender guesses / rolls? to use block, dodge, etc.
Weapons: crossbows, bows, slings, javelins, guns, close combat weapons, etc.
– Can be different sizes, made of different materials, with different upgrades

Weapon Example (on player sheet):

Name Weight Effects
UZI 5 None
Name Damage Range Amount
Ammo D8 10 24/30

Weapon Example (on merchant sheet):
* Ammo is not listed unless special types are available

Name Weight Cost Clip Size Effects
UZI 5 2 30 Medium None

Various conditions (burned, ripped, etc.) can be applied to each armor piece, each piece may or may not be affected by everything
– ie: leather can be ripped, metal can’t
– Once a condition is applied, the armor no longer reduces damage?
– Weapons like flamethrowers can therefore apply “burned” to armor pieces, etc.
– Even things like falling can dent or rip armor
Ammo is scarce, must be maintained seperately
– Ammo weighs nothing, unless extreme (5+ clips / gun) amounts are carried
Food gives Vitality that is used like action points? Maybe used in skills / feats somehow?
No profession / class system
Feat / perk system, again used based on Vitality?
Stats could be, Strength, Endurance, Awareness (dex + perception), Reason (wis), Knowledge (int), Personality (charisma)
Inventory system could be by item size as well as weight? Assumed that players will want to carry a lot
– Or maybe “slot” based, so you can carry 2 “medium” guns (or 1 large, or 4 small), etc.
Currency is the “Foundation Seed” (fs), small hard white balls which produce a shorter heartier version of wheat
– Produced on the moist east, difficult to grow anywhere due to acid rain / dust, results in a controlled economy
Horses / mounts have mutated to be able to drink polluting acid rain water?
Could still be some “non-evolved” mounts for cheaper
Downside of a mutant mount is you can’t eat it’s meat in an emergency
Barbed wire is used for everything in the Dakota Belt, it’s so common from the miles and miles of fences
– Wrapped around close combat weapons, woven into armor, stripped and used as rope
Leading up to the collapse, many immigrants (east indian, black, oriental, etc.) return to their homeland country
Voodoo becomes a larger practiced religion, as well as cults, crusades, zealots, witch hunts, etc.
After the collapse, slavery (for labor, pleasure, etc.) are common place among “local warlords”
Cannibalism is also a new trend amongst the starving lower class, especially those in large cities
Water requirements = 2 liters / day, can live 4 days without water
Food requirements = 2500 calories, or 25 food units (name?), 1 food unit = 100 calories, 100 calories = 3 strips of bacon
– Can live 2 weeks (base) without food, and additional days depending on weight?
Sleep requirements = 6 hours minimum a day

Character Ideas

(Notice some similarities to Dinosaur Cowboys names in posses you’ve seen?)
Characters (figure): The Doctor (fabius bile), Plague Marine (twilight marine), Trask (dual scissors),
Quidel (missionary), Elbridge (twilight tallarn), Chief Jolon (necromunda ratskin), Graves (marine scout),
Trista Camus (slc warrior), Khulan (slc demolitions), Jed Blesse (slc crouched safari)

Miscellaneous: Nahuel (jaguar), Nantan (spokesman), Nodin (wind), Jolan (valley of the dead),
Alexander Culbertson

Plague Marine:
Was using steroids (lowers immune system), and had liver disease (unknown at the
time). Was wounded in combat (trying to control the riots?), which resulted in
him being left in the field (without any antibiotics) for 3 days before crawling
to a nearby town. Considers the marines to have abandoned him (therefore hates
Graves the most). Has a case of flesh eating disease “necrotizing fasciitis”,
caused from the above circumstances.

First experiment of The Doctor, perhaps his son? Similar appearance, both rely on
chemicals, etc.

Little background is known to the rest of the party. Stern and doesn’t smile much,
competent at all tasks, a real survivor. In truth Quidel was named Howard Lenn and
was an accountant before the end. Never had any family, few friends, etc. Something
snapped inside when all the riots started, and he hasn’t been the same quiet accountant
since. Tries to avoid killing if possible, just as a base human instinct, but will
do what is necessary to survive. Tends to see Graves as what he could have become
if he hadn’t “snapped” and changed so much. Changed his name after his half-Indian

Chirgory (The Doctor):
Main antagonist to Quidel and his group, used the sinking economy to be bolder
and bolder with his experiments, until he was capturing slaves in broad daylight
to test chemicals on. Created Trask and treats the Plague Marine. The automated
machine on his back would make a fighting style similar to “Dr. Octopus” from
Spider-Man; many limbs lashing at all angles.

Your average henchman, worked at some simple job before the destruction, like many
others his family was killed (wife and daughter before his eyes). Death of son
was unconfirmed, may possibly be alive still. Has much bitterness and a hard edge,
but is loyal and devoted to tasks.

Chief Jolon:
Crazy medicine man, dislikes all technology. Although he may seem to ramble
and have little sense, Jolon many times offers insight. It is assumed he
shuns technology (and consumerism societies) as he saw what became of the
Indian nations.

A modern day “paladin”, believes in right and justice for all, volunteered for
military service. Plague Marine’s background somehow relates (served in the
same unit, maybe used to know each other?). Graves has all faith that the
military will restore order. Doesn’t see eye to eye with many of the other
party members, although Quidel respects his strong beliefs.

Trista Camus:
Was a single mother with 2 children (both girls), worked as a waitress during
the day, and bartender at night in a small town in South Dakota. During all the
riots and madness, was seperated from her two daughters. Has a hardened edge from
this and the constant harassment since the end. Was adept at shooting from growing
up on a farm, and kept up the skills for self defense later on. After the end she
focused completely on the rifle, and has become a master sniper. Doesn’t talk much
and tends to sob quietly on dark lonely nights.

Mongolian heritage, name means “wild horse”. Most just call him Ghengis (some
to offend him, some as a joke, etc.). Before the end, Khulan was a demolition
expert in a terrorist group that consisted of him and his 2 brothers. While
attempting to bomb a supermarket in Seattle’s china town, his two brothers were
killed (one from the explosion, one during a police chase). Khulan was eventually
captured and put in a mental institute / prison. After the end he escaped from
the prison, and has been rampaging around ever since. Very unstable personality
and tends to use violence to get what he wants. Khulan is extermely adept at
explosives though, and is useful to the party because of this. Can relate to
Chief Jolon – both are foreigners (of a sort) and a little unhinged. Chief Jolon
is the only one that calls Khulan by his true name, and not just Ghengis.

Jed Blesse
American, hot blooded and red necked. Grew up as an only child in Nebraska, working at
his father’s veterinary clinic (which was just attached to the farm homestead) since he
was a child. Enlisted in the Iraq War at age 18, in 2006. Assigned as a combat medic
until the end of the conflict. After returning home, continued veterinary work until his
father (a lifetime smoker) passed away from lung cancer. After the death Jed took over
the family business completely, and worked on it until the collapse began. His mother
was killed in a food riot. After the collapse Jed was enlisted for a short while in the
new Dakota Belt militia force, again as a medic. Once the governing branch of Dakota Belt
fell apart, he continued to hire out as a freelance medic. Amusingly calls himself a “vet”,
both referring to his time in the Iraq War and his veterinary status. Tends to use rougher
methods for healing, as his first medical experiences were with animals.
Is nervous around foreigners, likes weapons of all types, and will try to help any who
really need it. Current age 37.

Gaston Gero
Leprosy mechanic

Trask, Jr.
Scavvy blunderbuss, dislikes “Junior” part of his name, scavenger, poor, was a farmer

Example Character

— Biography —
Owner: Carlo
Name: Khulan
Nickname: Ghengis
Gender: Male
Nationality: Mongolian
Age: 29
Height: 5’8″
Weight: 145

Level: 0
Experience: 912

— Attributes 18/19 —
Strength: 1
Endurance: 2
Awareness: 3
Intelligence: 2
Personality: 0

— Hit Chart —
Total: 18
Head: 2
LArm: 2
RArm: 2
Legs: 3
Feet: 1
Torso: 8

— Statistics —
Melee Skill: 1
Ranged Skill: D6
Action Points: 7
Movement: 3
Initiative: 3

— Information —
Survival Roll: 25
Prevent Roll: 52
Conscious Roll: 32
Burden: 49/63/92/266
Required Food: 11 units

Armor List

Available Materials (cheapest -> expensive):

Notes on Advanced:
Biosteel (20x as strong as steel, is spider silk from genetically modified goats)
Vectran (5-10x as strong as Kevlar, natural successor)
Nanotubes (made from carbon)
Exoskeleton (wearable machine with many benefits)
Shear Thickening Fluid [STF] (liquid that hardens when impacted)
Kinetic (reverses bullets own energy)
Flak (stops sharpnel)
Carapace (made of Dyneema thermoplastic)

Use above materials, in the size category of Tiny, Small, Medium, Large, Huge

Weapon List

Ranged Weapons:
Pistols, Rifle, Shotgun, Projectile (grenade launcher, etc.)

Melee Weapons:
Curved Blades
Two-handed Swords
Two-handed Axes
Maces & Clubs
Knives & Daggers

*Remember to do grenades and other throwing weapons (javelin, knives, etc.)!
*Remember archaic ranged weapons like crossbows, bows, slings, etc.

Version Changelog

+ Drylands Changelog +

-= Version 1.2 (September 2009) =-

– Fixed a few typos and grammar errors
– Changed some nomenclature from “/ DX” to “per DX”
– Moved Carry Over header to below the Action Points table
– Increased miniature scale to the proper 28mm instead of 25mm
– Removed Combining Skills section as it didn’t make sense
– Changed Difficult Terrain to be 2 and 3 AP instead of 2x and 3x
– Changed Difficult Terrain so stacking just uses the highest AP value instead of a combined value
– Clarified Difficult Terrain example to have a scenario with stacking
– Added inline AP cost to Stance changes instead of referencing the table
– Changed Attack of Opportunity to only be when enemies move out of combat
– Noted that Attacks of Opportunity cannot be modified by spending AP
– Renamed Attack of Opportunity to Fleeing Attack
– Reworded the Two Handed section to apply to small or medium weapons
– Increased Zero Hitpoints Locational to restore to 1hp instead of 0hp
– Removed the Under the Shelf section as it wasn’t useful and can be roleplayed around
– Changed Weather Types roll to D20 instead of 2D12
– Changed Weather Severity roll to D20 instead of D6 to match the dice type of Weather Types
– Updated Weather Types and Weather Severity table to match the new dice types
– Changed starvation to use Survival Roll instead of a custom calculation
– Renamed Excessive Travel to Forced March

– Clarified first paragraph
– Minor reformatting
– Added base Ranged Skill of 15 to Awareness calcuations
– Added a few calcuations inline instead of “see Rules”

– Some capitalization fixes
– Added a minimum of 1 note to certain halving conditions (like Dented)

– Changed the Addicition Difficult roll to equal to or less than instead of just less than
– Where possible simplified Addiction Timeline to be per week and per day
– Changed Blink to give +10 static ranged modifier
– Lowered Blink Addiction Timeline to 2 doses per day
– Lowered Blink Addiction Withdrawal to -3 Awareness
– Changed Finger to give +10 static melee modifier for 1 turn
– Increased Finger Addiction Timeline to 2 doses per day
– Changed Finger Addiction Withdrawal that also has -3 Melee Skill
– Changed Book to +D6 intelligence instead of +2-4
– Reduced Dust to an Addiction Length of 14 days
– Note that Her Holiness heals hp in any chosen locations
– Reduced Her Holiness to an Addiction Length of 14 days
– Lowered Shingles chance of paralyzing to 1%
– Increased Swan Addition Timeline to 7 doses per week

– Added a note about Dakota Belt Centaurs
– Fixed a few typos, added a few sentences

– Reduce Crushing Blow prequisites to Rank 3 Strength
– Renamed Human Shield to Grapple
– Reduced Wristslash penalty to -3 and -5

– Removed a redundant note about minimum on (Location) Shot
– Renamed Arch Shot to Arc Shot
– Decreased Blessing I to 10 damage reduction
– Reworded Dodge to only be against ranged attacks
– Increased Quick Fix II to 95% unjam
– Added Ready II, which allows 4 AP carry over
– Added Strain Weapon II. Reworked to have larger fumble range and a damage bonus
– Added Sturdy Build II, which allows rerolling until a higher result
– Minor rewording to Superman (Attribute)
– Lowered Take Control to 3 and 5 AP
– Modified Tough as Nails to be +D4hp only, without a choose 2hp option

-= Version 1.1 (November 2007) =-

– Variety of typo fixes, minor rewording, reformatting and restyling, etc.
– Changed base metric system to inches instead of squares
– Added a note about representing stances in relation to miniatures
– Added a General Combat section for shared rules
– Added a note for min/max ranks and the effect on fumble/critical ranges
– Modified critical hits to be unblockable and ignore armor
– Added a note about fumbling explosive devices
– Reworked Ranged Combat section to use the new to hit rules
– Added note about simplifying the ranged combat formula
– Added a Damage on Destroyed Location rule and transfer chart
– Updated Location Destruction to account for the new combat system
– Added an Elevation Difference rule section
– Added a Scattered Miss section for thrown devices
– Added a simple rule for Surprise Attacks
– Added a note about maximum range increments
– Changed Aimed Shot to be steadying the weapon
– Added Placed Shot, which mimics the old Aimed Shot
– Changed working of Blocked Shot to Obstructed Shot
– Added ranged combat example
– Reworked Melee Combat section to use the new to hit rules
– Added Entering Melee Combat section
– Added Ranged Weapons in Melee section
– Clarified Two Handed weapon rule for large weapons
– Simplified two handed melee rules to a set damage bonus
– Clarified Shield Bash rule
– Clarified Blocking rule for techniques
– Modified rules for opponents in a stance to fit with the new melee rules
– Removed dual wielding ranged weapons, as it was starting to have no benefit
– Updated dual wielding melee weapons to be a bit stricter

– Added a few new fields after more playtesting
– Updated to match the new rules

– Added the Upgrades.doc file, which has the statistics for ranged weapon upgrades
– Completed details for 13 ranged weapon upgrades
– Removed brainstorm upgrade list from Weapons.txt

Summary Chart
– Added the Quickchart.doc file, which is a large font document meant to be used as summary

– Modified physical attribute description to use the new combat system

– Minor rewording to fit into a similar tone as Upgrades

– Updated certain talents in regards to the other rule changes:
(Location) Placed Shot, Arch Shot, Blamo, Boondock Style, Berserker,
Concentrated Shot, Dodge, Double Tap, Duck and Cover, Elflike, Go For The Eyes,
John Woo Style, Packrat, Precise Shot, Ready, Speedy, Stop Drop And Roll,
Strain Weapon, Sturdy Build, Wild Shot

– Removed Double Strike
– Removed Timed Strike
– Updated certain techniques in regards to the new melee system:
Leading Strike, Lucky Strike, Pure Strike, Break Cover, Distract, Feint,
Let Them Come, Parry, Prepare Defense, Taunt


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