Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Researching the Post Apocalypse Landscape

The foamboard is cut into panels and setting on my work-table downstairs, but before I actually start shaping, sanding, and painting, I thought I'd share some of the places I searched to get more feel for what the PA world might look like.

In my PA games, I imagine it to be a world with few people, hungry, often sick, and too often fighting each other to survive.  The landscape is scarred with war, desease and decay.  Maybe in places rebuilding has begun, but most live in a decaying wasteland of a fallen empire.  The question is, just what does our world look like when it is broken and left to decay?

Since I decided to base my gaming terrain on my own home town, I figured I'd wander around town photographing any abandoned buildings or places, noting the manner in which nature breaks down our accomplishments, and then do some online searching.  Silly me. I have the "misfortune" of living in an area that is growing despite the ecomy, so most empty buildings have been leveled with new developments going up. Great contrast to where I grew with many old abandoned storefronts, houses and steelmills within walking distance.  Too bad I didn't have a digital camera 30+ years ago.

From time to time, I'll stumble upon such structures in my travels, and if I have a camera with me, will take a few pics.  The brewery below is one such building. 

Anyway, I still have to go through about 30 CDs to chase down the other pics of this and a few other structures.

While searching for pics, it occurred to me that there are three basic things that I am looking for; battle damage, structural decay, and reclamation.

Battle Damage: I want my terrain to have evidence of battle having taking place during the calapse of civilization.  Not overwhelming evidence, just some blowed-up stuff here and there.  Maybe the result of factions fighting each other shortly after things got bad, rather than armies participating in full scale war.  Enough to help make the terrain a little more interesting.

Structural Decay: Next is the structural calapse of buildings and civil engineering, etc.  Rather than just build broken things, I thought I'd try to get a feel for how things really fall apart over time, maybe after 10, 20, 30 years of nature beating on them.  While getting it "right" really doesn't matter with respect to the game, it could be fun to model.

Reclamation: Lastly was an effort to study how nature reclaims the land.  How the earth "absorbs" those things left setting on it, the manner in which foliage forces its way through various construts, etc.  Basically, how nature erases the memory of man.

Below are a few links to sites that I found helpful or just plain interesting. Some are very specific in nature, or have just a few pics of interest, others are expansive and could take weeks to view entirely.  Hopefully something here might be of use or of interest to others. 

Battle Damage:



Structural Decay:




General Sites:

Hopefully I will be posting some photos of my terrain in the next few days.


  1. A great resource, and I love where you are going with the ideas too.

  2. Thanks for the links.
    Great tabletops !