Fallout Tabletop Role Playing Game Review

Fallout The Role Playing Game from Modiphius Entertainment
War... War never changes... Even on the tabletop

About Fallout The Roleplaying Game  

Fallout RPG Core Rulebook

Fallout The Role Playing Game Core Rulebook

Fallout the Role Playing Game is a shared storytelling game where one player takes on the role of the Overseer, or Game Master, and the other players take on the roles of the player characters. The Overseer sets the framework of the story, controlling the NPCs, and enemies. The Players control their character actions, interacting with the game world. Together with the occasional dice roll a shared story is experienced. 

The overseer tells a bit of flavor setting the scene. The players then choose an action. The Overseer decides if that action requires a roll or not. If it requires a roll the Overseer will pick an attribute and a stat. Adding those together becomes your target number. Roll under that to generate a success. How difficult an activity is determines how many successes are needed to pass the check. 

The 2D20 system from Modiphius is designed as a roll-low system. The lower you roll, the better the results. It is similar to other Modiphius games each adapted to their own style to fit each game that it is used in. 

Modiphius released Fallout the Role Playing Game in March 2021 as a digital release, July 2021 was the UK physical release date, and August 2021 was the physical US release date. It was initially met with a lot of hype for the franchise coming to a tabletop role-playing system. 

From reviews and forum posts the release was initially met with a bit of criticism about the era it is set in. The core book focuses heavily on Fallout 4. It is unsure if this was by design to draw more people in from a recognizable setting, or if it was part of the IP negotiation with Bethesda. Many folks hoped it would contain more information about New Vegas, California, or some of the other eras that the Fallout games have been set in. 

Other critics have stated the core book felt incomplete when it came to the crafting systems and settlement building systems. Modiphius has released several books since the core release that have addressed many of these issues. 

A lot of the criticism now deals with the lack of regular products. From following posts on Modiphius' Facebook and Discord there's a long process for producing these books including IP approval from Bethesda. I have noticed a decline in such complaints. One issue that remains is the price points of some of the products for what you get.
Except for the Map Pack, I feel the products are fairly evenly priced for what consumer gets compared to other TTRPG products.
One of my issues with the Fallout game from Modiphius is that there isn’t a print-on-demand option for some of the PDF adventures. When a new PDF adventure comes out I buy it and have to go down to my local print shop to print the PDF off or stick to using it on my tablet.

Fallout The Role Playing Game -  Story  

Fallout RPG Maps

Fallout Game Maps from Fallout The Role Playing Game

Fallout 2D20 RPG - Developers Chat About Every Release

The core book of Fallout The Roleplaying Game follows much of Fallout 4. Set in the post-nuclear devastation in the commonwealth of Boston. Chapter eight of the core book talks a lot about the events after the Great War. There's a lot of lore to take in. 

There are key locations, key events, generic locations, common encounters, and potential plots to inspire Overseers to tell some pretty fantastic and dangerous stories. 

The core book comes with an adventure "With a bang or a whimper" that will take players through a really good introduction to the game, some of the mechanics, and the lore of the Commonwealth. 

The great part about a shared storytelling experience is the core story can be set wherever the Overseer wishes to set the game in. Want a Fallout game set in Upper Peninsula Michigan or in the heart of New Orleans? With a little bit of work and world-building the game can be set wherever the overseer and the players wish to explore. I have seen posts about games set in Michigan, London, Hawaii, and several other places around the world. An Overseer is only limited by their imagination and the work they put into the story they wish to tell.


Fallout The Roleplaying Game -  Character Creation 

Fallout RPG Character Sheet

Fallout The Role Playing Game has character... sheets!

Three Eyed Townie has a fantastic series of how-to-play videos on their YouTube Channel where they go over many aspects of the game. 

In the core book, you are given many options when it comes to creating your character. Chapter Three goes through the process quite well. 

  • Step 1 - Choose Origin

Origins are a player character's background. The options in the core book are a Brotherhood Initiate, a Ghoul, A Super Mutant, A Mister Handy, A Survivor, or a Vault Dweller. Each origin contains special attributes that are added to your character. They will also influence the starting equipment players have access to. 

  • Step 2 - Increase S.P.E.C.I.A.L. Attributes

SPECIALAttributes are the core stats of the game. Strength, Perception, Endurance, Charisma, Intelligence, Agility, and Luck. Players have a set number of skills to put into their attributes. There are several arrays listed to help players along, or they can simply apply the points themselves.

  • Step 3 - Tag Skills and Skill Ranks

Skills are how you interact with the elements of the game world. Players select their tag skills and buy skill ranks. Tag skills are special skills that your character has focused on in their background.

  • Step 4 - Choose your perk

Perks are special abilities that you get to choose to add to your character. These could be anything from rerolling dice to more powerful hits to finding more stuff when scavenging the wasteland. Some perks have requirements like SPECIAL stat or skills at specific ranks before acquiring.

  • Step 5 - Fill in extra stats. 

This section is filling out the rest of a player's character sheet. Figuring out carry weight, damage resistance, health, luck, and other derived stats. 

  • Step 6 - Equipment

It’s dangerous to go alone and take this. Based on the origin a player chose they have access to packs that help equip a character for the dangers of the wasteland. These include weapons, ammo, food, or armor.

Fallout The Roleplaying Game - Gameplay


What makes you S P E C I A L that's oh so special!

Now that a player has created a character they want to begin adventuring in the wasteland. The Overseer describes a situation.
“You begin your adventure heading into a small market to buy supplies. As you go about shopping you come across a table with a Mister Handy robot tending to the items. One of his arms appears to be severely wounded. It approaches you. He speaks in a robotic British accent “Excuse me if you don’t find what you are looking for here I’m sure we can find something a bit more… well interesting…”
In front of him is a nice pistol, a crowbar, and some stimpaks. 

Players are given a choice as to what they wish to do.

To do something the player describes what they wish to do. The overseer determines the appropriate attribute and skill combination. The player takes their skill + applicable attributes and adds them together. This becomes the target number the players need to roll D20s under to generate one or more successes. Players start with 2D20 with ways of buying more dice, increasing the number of successes with rolling under tag skills. 

The Overseer sets the difficulty between 1to 5. The difficulty gives the player the number of successes needed to pass their action. On D20 rolls of 1 multiple successes are generated. Any D20 that rolls 20 causes complications. These can be immediate complications such as a gun jamming, or story-driven complications later in the adventure. If the players meet or exceed the number of successes needed the task succeeds. 

Having more success rolls than what is required generates action points a meta-game currency that players can use at various times in the game. These action points can buy more actions, affect dice rolls, give rerolls, and several other options. 

Back at the market, Our player wishes to purchase the crowbar.
Mister Handy says “That will cost 10 caps.” (Bottlecaps are the preferred currency of the wasteland).
The player wishes to barter for a cheaper price.
The GM calls for a roll of a Barter Skill roll. That’ll be Barter + Charisma.
Our player has a 3 in Barter, a 7 in charisma so his target number is a 10. He takes 2 D20s, and spends an action point to buy a third. He really wants that crowbar.
The GM sets the difficulty of this at 1.
Our player rolls the 3 D20s and rolls a 2, 8, and 12.
The 12 is too high. The 8 generates 1 success, and the 2 generates 2 successes because Barter is a tag skill for our player.
With 3 total successes, the player generates the needed 1 success and 2 action points that he decides to bank.
“The Mister Handy gladly accepts your offer of lesser cost and instead of 10 caps it’s only 5.”

There's a bit more to the rules of Fallout 2D20 but this gives you a very brief look at what Overseers and Players do. The gameplay is limited by the Overseer and player's imagination. Depending on the kind of style of play that is preferred. A group might prefer hack-and-slash style gameplay while another group might prefer more investigation and social interactions. As an overseer, it’s a good idea to bring a mix of both but be prepared for either to show up and adapt to what is needed.

Fallout The Roleplaying Game - Combat  

Fallout RPG Dice

Fallout The Role Playing Game Dice

Three Eyed Townie again with how combat works in Fallout The Role Playing Game. 

Combat goes in rounds. Beginning with the character who initiated combat who gets an initial action. Then the players go in turns based on their initiative stat.
During a player's turn in combat, they get access to one minor action and one major action with the ability to purchase one more with Action Points.

  • Minor actions are simple actions such as aim, draw an item, or move.
  • Major actions include assisting, commanding an NPC, first aid, or attack.

Attacking works similarly to skill checks where a skill and attribute are chosen based on the type of attack. The number of successes needed is the defense rating of what you are trying to hit.

One of the unique aspects of Fallout is the use of hit locations. A player can choose a specific hit location by increasing the difficulty by 1 OR there is an available hit location D20 die that a player can roll to make their shots a bit more random. 

Combat is one of a couple of systems in Fallout The Role Playing Game that took our local players the longest to get used to. The balance of minor actions and major actions took some time to get familiar with. The starter set comes with handy reference sheets for combat that are very nice to have at the table. These are also available online, and custom ones can be found on various forums.

Fallout The Roleplaying Game - Available resources

Available products for Fallout RPG from Modiphius Entertainment.

So much fun to be had in Fallout The Role Playing Game

Since the release of the game, Modiphius has provided many resources for Overseers and players to expand their adventures in the wasteland.
We’ve talked a bit about what elements are in the core book so far. Beyond the rules, character creation, and lore, the Core Rulebook has stat blocks for various creatures and NPCs that inhabit the wasteland. These are very well laid out and easy to find. They offer guidance on how to level these creatures up for more advanced adventuring parties.

The core book also contains an adventure “With A Bang or a Whimper”. This offers a really good introduction to the rules of the game and an introduction to the game world.

For Overseers, they released a GM screen that is a nice quick rules reference for those running the game. Along with the GM screen, there’s a scavenging reference book that helps in one of the other more complicated systems of the game.\

The Game Master Toolkit is a set of resources for Overseers to help elevate their games even more. It contains quick reference handouts for players. A GM booklet with advice on how to run the game and more tables to roll from. There are character sheets, a set of Nuka Cola caps, and a nice large map of the Commonwealth and downtown Boston. The GM booklet and the quick reference handouts are really handy from this set.

The Starter Set contains a quick reference rulebook A decent introduction to the rules found in the core rulebook. The Starter Set contains premade characters, a set of custom D20s and D6s, a 20-sided hit location die, nuka cola caps, and an adventure. The adventure, Once Upon A Time In The Wasteland, pairs nicely with the adventure “With a Bang or a Whimper” found in the core rulebook. The starter set is nicely put together compared to starter sets from other TTRPGs. 

Other resources include custom dice packs, a Perk Card deck, and a high-quality battle mat with vault graphics.

There are 3 PDF-only adventures available and 1 adventure compendium available that players can adventure through. The Winter of Atom book is really nicely put together and well written. 

There’s an NPC Pack of characters that Overseers can easily add to their game. The latest sourcebook, Settlers, focuses on settlement building in the game. 

Fallout The Role Playing Game-  About the Developer 

Other game worlds from Modiphius Entertainment.  

Modiphius Entertainment's wide range of game settings. 

Fallout The Roleplaying Game was developed by Modiphius Entertainment with permission from Bethesda Studios. Modiphius has other 2D20 games available such as Achtung Cthulhu, Star Trek Adventures, Dune, Dreams and Machines, Conan, and others. They are a distributor of board games as well.

Fallout The Role Playing Game started off with a very thirsty reception. The content was good and many forums and discord chats were longing for more. Whenever a new product would be announced it wasn’t long before comments like “When is more coming out?”
The game has picked up release speed with regular releases happening more frequently. The biggest complaint now just simply seems to be the cost of the products. Modiphius is one of the few TTRPG companies that offer a PDF copy of many of their games if you’ve bought it from a third party like your friendly local game store or bookseller. That is a really nice feature of the company. 

The company has a great social media team. I have had a lot of good interactions talking to the mods on their discord. If you have the chance April Hill is a great GM to watch with the actual play series from Modiphius.

Overseer April Hill takes A Group Of Strangers through Winter of Atom in this live play

For myself and my local players, there are elements of Fallout 2D20 that are a bit clunky. Combat took a bit to get used to. I found myself running out of ammo fairly quickly in the early games. I thought this was a design flaw but it is not. It is by design to give more feel of dangers in the wasteland.
Scavenging and modifying weapons is another system that takes a bit to get used to as well. After some experience with it, a lot of what is a struggle with scavenging is knowing which table to roll on and where to find it. The scavenging reference book that comes in the GM Kit and the one with the GM Screen are super handy to have nearby.
Fatigue, Hunger, Thirst, Sleep, exposure, and disease all play a role in enhancing the dangers of the wasteland. For new players, these can easily be home-brewed out, but once an overseer and players get comfortable using them they are a really fun element to bring in. They are slightly annoying sometimes when the stats start getting low and messing with you.

The Fallout The Role Playing Game core rule book is listed on the Modiphius Storefront as $58.35 for the physical book and $22.04 for just the PDF. 

Fallout GECK Special Edition

Final Verdict -

  • Fallout The Role Playing Game gets an 8 out of 10 from me.
  • The art in the core book and the supplement books are definitely a 10 out of 10.
  • The writing needs a bit more proofreading as there are little easter eggs of grammatical issues in the books. This has improved as more products have come out So a 7 out of 10.
  • Gameplay gets an 8 out of 10 from me. It adapts the 2D20 system really well. The feel of skill rolls, survival stats, combat, and inventory management give a good sense of the game world and the dangers in the wasteland. 

"Worlds of stories unfold before me. I long to experience them, learn from them, then write my own. Oh horizon, what secrets do you keep. Lets see what is out there. Roll for initiative."
Gamer Since: 1990
Favorite Genre: RPG
Currently Playing: Everspace 2
Top 3 Favorite Games:Fallout 4, Need for Speed, Diablo

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