D&D as a Post-Apocalyptic Wasteland


I remember a blog post that analyzed the encounter tables and wilderness rules from the original Book III Underworld & Wilderness Adventures.

It basically describes a very post-apocalyptic world. Settlements few and far between, monsters lurking in between and gangs of bandits and brigands roaming the countryside.

Also this blog discusses the implied original setting in great detail. Its fascinating to read.

including a pdf document:



I respectfully disagree--I think that definition of "post-apocalyptic" is so broad as to be nearly meaningless. Finding ancient, advanced artifacts is such a staple of both fantasy and sci-fi that it would mean there are very few settings that aren't post-apocalyptic under that definition.
Agreed. When your definition of "post-apocalyptic" includes "The Lord of the Rings," you've gone way beyond what most people would think of as "post-apocalypse" fiction.

IMO, the key feature of a post-apocalypse setting is that the apocalypse is omnipresent. It shapes and defines the setting in a way that is visible to the audience. Even if the inhabitants of the post-apocalypse world have forgotten how their world got that way, the audience can clearly see how it continues to dominate their lives.

In "The Lord of the Rings," the setting's past includes several apocalypses--the War of Wrath, the fall of Numenor, and the War of the Last Alliance. But the fallout of those apocalypses does not have much effect on daily life in the Shire, or even in Gondor. It isn't a post-apocalypse setting in any meaningful way.