Thursday, August 14, 2014

Forgotten Friday Post Apocalyptic Cinema - The Ravagers 1979 As Fodder For Your Old School Campaigns

The Ravagers 1979 film poster.jpg
When i was a kid there were certain films of the post apocalyptic genre that scared the crap out of me. This movie's trailer was one of them, I remember seeing it at a drive in up in New York State. It made a lasting impression on me, and it wasn't until years later that I found it again on VHS when I was working in a video store back in 1990 something up in Boston.
These days it's been mostly forgotten but I've used this one as an adventure for Gamma World first edition back in the latter half of the 90's.

According to wiki : 
Ravagers is a 1979 film directed by Richard Compton and based on the novel by Robert Edmond Alter.[2] In the aftermath of a nuclear holocaust survivors do what they can to protect themselves against ravagers, a mutated group of vicious marauders who terrorize the few remaining civilized inhabitants.
In the aftermath of a nuclear holocaust, animal-like creatures known as "the ravagers" roam the earth and kill all survivors. A man named Falk (Richard Harris)[3] witnesses his wife's murder by the creatures. Seeking vengeance, Falk becomes a vigilante.
He joins a small community, led by Rann (Ernest Borgnine), living aboard a ship anchored off shore. The ship is destroyed in an attack by the ravagers. Falk then leads his fellow survivors on a desperate quest for a place where they can live in peace.
Using The Ravagers As 
Fodder For An Old School Post Apocalytic
This film is typical 1970's post apocalyptic science fiction cinema, and its like a punch in the gut. Brutal,raw, and perfectly suited to a gritty grind house style campaign adventure.  The Ravagers as a mutant species are something like the 'mutant vampires' from the Omega Man on steroids. They're relentless, regenerative, and utterly without remorse or morals. These horrors have more in common with zombies then they do with mutant monsters. The film is damn depressing in places and while action packed, I'd recommend this one as an adventure encounter rather then a full campaign. Here's the way I ran this one, Warren comics used to have a hero whose world were over run by vampires and werewolves all of the mutant variety. The comic had a heavy post apocalyptic feel to it and was riffing off both the Vincent Price film 'The Last Man on Earth' and The Omega Man.
I simply made the Ravagers one more type of species that branched off from the rest of the mutants were wolves and vampires.
The Ravagers 1979 film poster.jpg
While Mutant Future has a weird grind house gonzo feel, I've used this film with Twilight 2000, as well as Mutant Future. The Ravagers are almost close to the Reaver's of the Fire Fly television series. But they'd fit right at home in the Urban landscapes of Mutant Epoch as well. These low level horrors fill a nice gap in an urban adventure where violence and horror keep the action rolling.
The film has 
Rann (Ernest Borgnine) whose presence in the pre Escape From New York lends the film a weird Road Warrior quality that gives it a strange connection to that kind of PA adventure. The ship off shore, the bizarre community, the community residents, and other factors lend the film a timeless quality and perfect fodder for an old school campaign.
 Because of its rarity on even VHS, this film is well below the radar of many PA fans. With a bit of work, The Ravager can make a very nice mid level adventure encounter during a full campaign.
I've actually used this one several times as an encounter in a Thundarr based campaign to really break up the action and put the characters in a slightly darker place in the wastes.
Because of the film's unknown quality, the Ravagers fills the mid level PA adventure set quite nicely. A DM could get away with a lot of encounters using this film and the knowledge that many PA fans have never heard of or seen this one. Simple , well done, and in a need for a viewing of The Ravagers. Watch your back when the DM sick's these monsters on the PC's.
The other detail about the film, almost all of the city locations are in tact with lots of riches and artifacts are mostly untouched because of the nature of the Ravagers mutations.  
So there are lots of looting of artifacts and reclaiming of 1970's style weapons, antiques, works of art, and more.


  1. I've never heard of Ravagers before, I'll have to check it out. Thanks for the heads up on it.


  2. That's why I do this Ed, let folks know what's out there and how it can be used pal. Cheers!

  3. I totally remember seeing this on TV as a youngster at some time back in the 1980s and it was after I'd been exposed to 1st Edition Gamma World, so I was very intrigued by it.

    Coincidentally, a few years ago I posted a bunch of "Encounter Tables" for Mutant Future and/or 1st Edition Gamma World on my blog (which I'd originally created back in the 1980s to fill in a bunch of missing pages in my second-hand copy of the Gamma World rulebook). Two of those encounters were based on the Ravagers movie, although I slightly changed the names in order to avoid copyright infringement. Check 'em out!

  4. Great stuff, Martin and thanks for these with me my friend. These will come in quite useful for an upcoming Mutant Future campaign over the Winter, I've got coming up! The Ravagers was/is one of my favorite guilty pleasures and at the top of the list when it comes to Mutant Future/ Gamma World source material. Nice to see that I'm not the only one whose used it as well.
    We always try to change the names of the guilty to avoid those my friend even as kids and thanks again for sharing this.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.