Exodus is a post-apocalyptic role-playing game developed by Glutton Creeper Games, now a subsidy of 4 Hour Games. It exists entirely to appeal to Fallout fanboys who want to wear Power Armor but can't afford Space Marine miniatures.
Exodus was formerly titled Fallout: Pen and Paper d20. GCG licensed the Fallout IP rights from Interplay in 2006 to make a pen and paper RPG. The following year, Interplay sold the IP to Bethesda, who promptly sent a Cease and Desist to GCG. In the six months that followed, GCG turned a full Fallout RPG into a thinly veiled Fallout RPG.
After being acquired by 4 Hour Games, content production was unexpectedly ramped up, and now it has a variety of sourcebooks and adventure modules available online, some for free. Who would have thunk it?
In 2012, the world nuked itself to shit after a lengthy cold war between the United States and China. Before this, the US committed a lot of Nazi science to produce super soldiers, resulting in hordes of bio-engineered mutants running around. Thirty years later, civilization is slowly getting back on its feet, but raiders, slavers and cultists are making this difficult. Even the most technologically advanced faction, the
Brotherhood of Steel Steel Disciples are no help, preferring to rob and loot technology for their own selfish ends. There is a strong Cold War aesthetic, but the designers can't seem to decide if it's emulating the 50s or the 70s.
Of course, none of this matters, because the
GM Overseer is just going to set the game in the Fallout universe anyway. That's why you're playing this, right?
Not a whole lot to choose from in the PHB, although more options came in expansion.
- Humans: The average Joe or Jane. Work exactly as they do in any other RPG: variable stats and starting feats. Pretty much the race of choice for anyone planning on using guns (i.e. everybody).
GhoulsGhüls: Slow, zombie-like pariahs that know what's up. Pitifully slow and with a penalty to Strength and Dexterity, and gain feats every fourth level instead of every other level, there is basically no reason to ever play one of these. Unusually, they also get a bonus feat at first level, since they were born human. Also immune to radiation, I guess.
SuperTrans-Genetic Mutants: Orcs with miniguns. Awesome. Rulebook says they are always Chaotic Evil. Less awesome. For players wanting to be a Marcus-esque mutant, Rule Zero is your only hope. Things begin to suck worse when it you see that their stats are wildly imbalanced, granting a +4 to STR and +2 to CON at the cost of a -2 to all mental ability scores. Their fingers are also too big to fire pistols, so you're SOL in the early game if you didn't invest in Strength.
- Bio-Genetic Mutants: The first race to be added in an expansion, Bio-Gens are the setting's half-orcs. Literally, they are the offspring between humans and super mutants. No, that has no basis in canon, just move on. They are smarter than full mutants, and can choose what mental score takes a hit, but only get a +2 STR and nothing else. Get a bonus feat (despite never having been human), but it has to relate to military training to represent some background fluff nobody actually read.
- Symbiotic Mutants:
Fucking furriesHumans that have been genetically modified with animal DNA to get a variety of new powers. Can choose two racial traits ranging from pathetically underpowered to godlike, at the cost of a relatively minor drawback. Gets a bonus feat at level 1, because why not?
- Dregs: Uglier ghouls that are slightly tougher. Still slow and taking penalties to DEX, they at least marginally more viable in melee. Surprise, surprise, they get a bonus feat.
Why Exodus Sucks
- Piecemeal character creation. Like d20 Modern, Exodus tries to depart from the classic D&D class system by splitting the classes into class, background, and occupation. "Class" is a blatant misnomer, since it only decides if you'll be a fighter or a skill monkey. Background and occupation are where you'll get proficiencies, bonus feats and class skills, resulting in characters that either have nonsensical backstories or a very narrow set of non-overlapping skills. Character creation also takes about twice as long as it should for a non-magical setting, since no effort was made to keep these all in the same place.
- No proofreading. The sourcebooks are full of typos and inconsistencies, and at least once references "the computer series", showing that minimal effort was put into hiding the Fallout plagiarism.
- All the races suck. Unless you're a mindless berserker, there's no reason to play anything except for human. Ghouls are useless in combat, mutants can't shoot anything smaller than a hunting rifle, and symbiotic mutants have to trade their ability score modifiers for basic utility. And as if that weren't enough...
- Racial experience curves. Apparently someone decided that ghouls were overpowered, so they gain levels 10% more slowly than humans. Super mutants get it worse; by the time a mutant is halfway to level 17, a human has already reached level 20. This ensures that the party never levels up all at once (oh who are we kidding, you're going to be a human anyway).
- Feats out the yin-yang. All races start with two feats, you get a feat every three levels by default, and you get a bonus feat every even level from class. Unless you're a ghoul, of course, in which case you gain feats more slowly. Of course, this might be because of...
- Feat requirements for simple stuff. Unless you take an exotic weapon proficiency for every new type of weapon, you'll be stuck shooting pistols and rifles the whole game. Big guns and energy weapons each require a feat, and big energy weapons require two.
- Skeevy as shit mechanics. While it's always been possible to, for example, use a sleep spell as a magical roofie, few RPGs would actually suggest doing so. Not Exodus. It openly admits that cattleprods are effective date-rape drugs, and they're cheaply and widely available. The second that mouth-breather in your party buys one, shoot him and run away.
- Crippling drug effects. Unlike in the CRPG series, where drugs had huge benefits with only minimal risk of addiction, drugs in Exodus cause ability damage that takes days or weeks to wear off, and have a minimum 10% addiction rate. You could reasonably smoke yourself to death from one bad save.
Why Exodus Isn't That Bad
- The armor system, while complicated and unbalanced, provides some comprehensive rules about damage reduction.
- It provides some interesting flavor for its firearms, even if they do get a bit same-y.
- Its bestiary is respectably sized and includes rules for creating new monsters, even if it is sold separately.
Alternatives to Exodus
- d20 Modern with mild homebrew
- Pathfinder using a lot of house rules and firearms sourcebooks
- The Big Apple Wasteland, a homebrew d20 system
J.E. Sawyer's Fallout PnP, a semi-official optionHaha, nope, that's never getting finished