Fallout Shelter RPG: Area Moves

Cleaning up Fallout Shelter RPG

I was working at cleaning up some of my Fallout Shelter RPG game. Something that has inspired me heavily is the Discern Realities podcast, as I'm hearing so much interesting things around area moves and environmental type moves.

First off, in regards to the results, remember that this hack doesn't use a 2d6 roll, but instead a simple d10 + Stat modifier + Outfit modifier. 

To that end, I decided to simplify some of the mechanics of the game, and specifically make it easier for someone else to possibly run the scenario. I got one request from my friend Andy, and I think what I sent back made a lot of sense to me, but would probably be a little less intuitive and friendly to others.

Also, I've been unendingly impressed with the Servants of the Cinder Queen module, and I find it's format just perfect as a GM, so planned to model my updates toward that look and feel.

Examples of an Area Move

So, one of the first things I did was reduce my list of generic moves, which included moves that could not be used at any time, but were specific to rooms. As an example, here is a move associated with the Power Plant room:


When rushing a power room, roll +Strength. On a 5-7 choose 1. On a 8-10 choose 2. On a 11+ choose 2 and gain lucky Caps.

  • Gain 1 power
  • Prevent someone else’s failure
  • Gain lucky Caps

I purposefully leave open the 1-4 result (a failure), open to GM moves, which I've listed separately in that area (again, similar to Servants of the Cinder Queen). Also, because rushing a room can be performed as a group activity, I'm giving people the option of helping each other, in case failures result, however at the cost of additional resources or Caps, which adds some contention in the mechanics.

The Wasteland was part of my earlier game that sometimes became a bit long, as I liked to explore that aspect of the RPG, however constant feedback was that people preferred that shorter, in lieu of more vault activity. So, here's a new area move for The Wasteland:


When traversing the wasteland, roll +Luck. On a 5-7, choose 1. On an 8-10, choose 2. On an 11+, choose 2 and find a Lunchbox item.

  • No need to consume water.
  • No need to consume food.
  • Avoid danger.
  • Find Caps.

This is much simpler than my prior mechanics around this part of the game, and simplifies the struggle to balance encounters and resource management. I'm really excited to see how this plays out at GoPlayNW, when I'm first running it.

I also think reducing many of these moves to this simplified text and character choice allows me, as the GM, to provide more player agency, if desired... some of that "How does that look?" type questioning that the players then get to answer.

The New Look

So how does it all look now? I've used many of the same headings from Servants of the Cinder Queen, such as Connections, ImpressionsDetailsDiscoveries, and GM Moves, when putting together my Fallout Shelter RPG scenario. There are also many bullet point lists for ease of use, and Area Moves, when appropriate. 

As an example, here's a spoiler-free view of one of the areas, when approaching Vault 321:

 The new Servants of the Cinder Queen-style ripoff for my Fallout Shelter RPG game.

The new Servants of the Cinder Queen-style ripoff for my Fallout Shelter RPG game.

And all that just makes running the game that much easier, however it doesn't mean the game I'm running is static. All these put together creates one scenario (of many possible scenarios) for the game. You can also easily use PC generated content to have a significant impact on the scenario, if you so choose.

Testing time!

And in a few days, it's off to GoPlayNW 2016, where I'm running this at the con. I've got 4 players signed up, and we'll see how it all pans out.