Crowdsourcing, Games, Interviews

Interview: Rebels of the Outlaw Wastes Coming to Kickstarter Next Week


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Tabletop roleplaying games (TTRPG) are dominating the popular crowdfunding platforms recently, and the post-apocalyptic setting seems to be a perfect fit for many of these. Games like Radlands, Wreckland Run, Salvage Union, and many more are showing off their gorgeous artwork and innovative rulesets while building dedicated communities around their social media and Discord servers.

Rebels of the Outlaw Wastes is a current TTRPG from developer Nerdy Pup Games that hopes to continue that trend with its upcoming Kickstarter launching October 4.

“I will personally write in extra swear words into the text with a Sharpie.” – Michael Addison

“You are Rebels, misfit outlaws that resist the authoritarian Powers that rule the Valley, the last vestige of civilization,” the game’s description explains. “Play as cyborgs, robots, mutants, or rock-n-roll nomads in a dangerous but beautiful wasteland left over from the collapse of the oldworld. Heed the call of The Voice, a mysterious DJ played by the GM that broadcasts hints and warnings into the Wastes to help guide Rebels to their destiny.”

The game is already available as a playtest version on, but this Kickstarter campaign will add so much more for those looking to get their hands on a physical copy that includes updated final rules and other added benefits.

I was able to sit down with the game’s creator, Michael Addison, to discuss the game, the Kickstarter, and his plans for the future.


Post-Apocalyptic Media: Tell me a little about your background. What inspired you to make this game, and when did you bring Banana Chan on board?

Michael Addison: Hi, I’m Michael Addison, I’m an independent game designer and publisher from the Midwest. I’m a big fan of post-apocalypse and dystopian films and stories like Mad Max, Logan’s Run, and Fallout. Post-apocalypse gets a lot of love in the tabletop rpg world, but most games embrace the grimmer, grittier aspects of the genre.

I found myself wanting to play in some of the brighter, weirder worlds into the genre, like Tank Girl, Turbo Kid, Solarbabies, and Six-String Samurai. The ideas all clicked together for me while watching the Na Na Na video from My Chemical Romance’s Danger Days album. A crumbled future doesn’t have to be dusty, dismal, and depressing. I wanted bright colors, cool music, and rad, rebellious characters with hope for their world.

What many of these punk takes on post-apocalypse have in common is a sense of camaraderie among their heroes and an oppressive enemy to fight! So, the idea of a band of over-the-top outlaws fighting against an authoritarian oppressor became the core of a game. I spent a bunch of weekends watching old post-apoc movies from the 70s and 80s, looking for commonalities that fit those themes.

Once the major concepts came together, I asked Banana Chan to join the team to help flesh out the rules into a full book and add in a truckload of strangeness and punk vibes that they do so well!

Post-Apocalyptic Media: Rebels of the Outlaw Wastes is already available as a downloadable game at, so what would this Kickstarter bring beyond that download?

Michael Addison: Our main goal for the Kickstarter is to fund a print run of the physical book, along with actual physical stickers that are used to upgrade characters during play! The itch version of the game is a playtest version of the rules. We’ll be polishing the rules into their final form with full artwork and professional layout design.


Post-Apocalyptic Media: What are your plans for Kickstarter rewards? I imagine there will be stickers!

Michael Addison: Right, so in addition to a full-color PDF version of the rules and the physical book itself, each book will come with a total of 54 uniquely illustrated stickers.

We’ve got a couple of extra rewards to match the gonzo energy of the game, too. I’m offering a special MOAR SWEARS version of the physical book, where I will personally write in extra swear words into the text with a Sharpie. There’s also a NO SWEARS option, where I’ll cross out any swear words by hand and add a few rainbows and unicorns instead.

Finally, there’s a limited deluxe option where I will customize and paint a toy diecast car to use as a prop for vehicle action scenes in your game. Day One backers will receive a set of bonus decal stickers as a thank you for early support, too!

Post-Apocalyptic Media: How about stretch goals? What are your plans if the initial goal is surpassed?

Michael Addison: We have a roster of very talented writers lined up as guest contributors to the book, including Ennie award winners Banana Chan, Whitney Delaglio, and Sen-Foong Lim. Each guest writer is contributing a custom world as a stretch goal reward. Custom worlds can be used as the setting for your game in place of the default world-building, with unique rules and character options included. Additionally, at the $15,000 mark, we will unlock a second set of sticker artwork by artist RadJinja, which backers will be able to pick up as an add-on to their pledge.

Post-Apocalyptic Media: The ruleset for this game seems very open-ended and flexible, similar to something like Torchbearer. What made you decide to make the rules this way?

Michael Addison: I really like rules that say “Yes” to player ideas. When your Cyborg Cosmonaut Rawker is trying to impress a scav boss by wailing on a guitar on the roof of the team’s rocket-powered muscle car as it jumps a 100-ft canyon, it really hurts the flow of the game if you need to re-read a section of rules or look up a table of modifiers to figure out if they succeed.

There’s one unified system for any roll, and the player chooses what Skill they roll and what outcomes they get from that Skill. It shifts the conversation between players and GM away from what the characters can and cannot do, and more towards what awesome thing are they going to do next?

I really wanted the game to have a lot of immediate gratification. For instance, characters improve by completing achievements listed right on their character sheets. When they complete an achievement, they earn a Badge that improves their Skill, which is a sticker that goes directly on the character sheet as soon as you earn it. The end result is a lot of little dopamine rewards during a session, and a lot of laughter as your Rebels succeed (or sometimes fail spectacularly) at amazing feats.

RotOW character

Post-Apocalyptic Media: I’m a huge fan of vehicle-based TTRPGs, and I noticed you have an interesting ruleset for road combat called VROOM. Can you explain how that works?

Michael Addison: VROOM! It stands for Vehicle Relative Order and Orientation Map. VROOM is a diagram that shows where vehicles in an action scene are relative to the Point, the focus of the scene. The Point could be a runaway oil tanker, the armored car of a villain that has kidnapped an ally, or the Rebels themselves if they are escaping pursuit.

Every other vehicle in the scene is Leading, Pacing, or Trailing relative to the Point. Rather than keeping track of exact speeds and distances, we just assume that the entire pack of vehicles in the scene are hurtling across the wastes at roughly the same speed. Vehicles can jockey to gain ground or cost ground for other vehicles, passengers can trade fire or leap from vehicle to vehicle, and ultimately you want to drive your enemies into the dust behind you.

It’s enough detail to set the stakes for the scene and paint an evocative picture, without a lot of complicated information to track.

Post-Apocalyptic Media: How do you feel about the giant boom in TTRPG popularity in the last few years? What do you think caused this boom?

Michael Addison: I’m thrilled about the recent growth of the industry. Not only are there more people playing, but more folks from a variety of backgrounds with a variety of interests. It makes the hobby stronger in every way.

Two main factors have helped with this growth lately. First, the popularity of actual play streams and podcasts has invited a lot of new folks into the hobby. RPGs can seem cryptic without any direct experience with them. Being able to watch someone else do it from the comfort of your own couch helps demystify it and makes it easier to think “I can do that, too.”

Second, a lot of folks found themselves with extra time at home during the pandemic. RPGs at their core are talking games, and a natural fit for video calls. Roll20 and other virtual tabletop apps had a boom in subscribers and users in the last couple of years.

I believe the hobby will continue to grow in the foreseeable future.

I want to thank Michael Addison for the interview and I look forward to seeing how well this campaign does on Kickstarter. Be sure to be one of the first to get notified when it goes live on October 4 by following the page here.

Want to chat about all things post-apocalyptic? Join our Discord server here. You can also follow us by email here, on Facebook, or Twitter. Oh, and TikTok, too!

    Shawn has been infatuated with the post-apocalyptic genre since he wore out his horribly American-dubbed VHS of the original Mad Max as a child. Shawn is the former Editor-in-Chief at, creator of the Aftermath post-apocalyptic immersion event, and author of "AI For All," a guide to navigating this strange new world of artificial intelligence.
    He currently resides on top of a mountain in the middle of nowhere with his wife and four children.

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