OSR: The Bendyblunderbus: Post-Apocalyptic Public Transit

Everyone thought the Apocalypse would bring the total collapse of civilization.

They were mostly correct. Banking, personal hygiene, and concrete all crumbled.

People expected the Apocalypse to divide the world into arbitrary zones. They expected delays, horrible smells, raving hooligans, arcane symbols, crumbling infrastructure, creeping ennui, and furious driving.

They didn't realize the implications until it was too late.

The Bus, Paul KirchnerThis is a plausible story.
The busses survived. Perhaps they will be the Earth's true inheritors. Ancient bus routes criss-cross the land, controlled by rival gangs of piratical lunatics in tattered uniforms, their busses turned into mobile fortresses of gunpowder and rope.

Paying passengers - warlord or slave, dirt-grubber or bullet-farmer - all are welcome on any Bus, provided they have a valid ticket or pass. The ancient laws are still respected. No fighting, save with rival Busses (or fare-dodgers, for all's fare in love and war). Ultraenvironmental engines and the sheer force of tradition keeps the busses running. Exact change only.

Luka started this. Sleep deprivation finished it off.

Busses of the Wasteland

The Doubledecker Bus-of-the-Line

The grand capital ship of the transit fleet, the Doubledecker carries stiff-necked Vice Admirals and other pseudonaval types into battle. In the empty parking lots and scoured motorways, lines of Doubledeckers pass by, firing wildly as their crews reload dozens of smoking cannons. As the bus routes are fixed, some battles are repeated daily or weekly until detours can be arranged. Ready the pneumatic boarding ramps!

The Bendyblunderbus

Dread and fear the Bendyblunderbus, for it can deliver a broadside to both beam and stern! It flanks, it slithers, it swipes and darts!
Blue Murder at St Trinian's (1957)

The School Bus

Permitted by ancient law to snatch up any truant children (on weekdays, excluding holidays), the School Bus is half prison, half brawl, and half mad. Stuffed into uniforms and given a variety of ancient sports implements of uncertain use, the feral children soon learn vital life skills for the post-apocalyptic wasteland.

The Charter Bus

Given a Letter of Marque, the Charter Bus can freely pillage behind enemy bus lines, unbound by the ancient laws of road and sign. But who grants the letters? And why do they always seem to meet terrible fates?

The Metropolitan Omnibus

Pope of the busses.

The Bus Replacement Service

When there's no more rails in hell, the trains will roam the earth. Wheels screaming and spinning, they inch across the withered face of the world, smashing buildings and churning fields to mud. All trains that still move are declared busses "for the duration."

Loathsome Rivals

The Rank Taxis, who dart and plunder, and the Wraith Ridershare who follow in their wake. The Immortal Tram. The Ice Cream Van.

No private cars. No standard post-apocalyptic panoply of jalopy-tanks and gun-trucks. Just a whole bunch of busses.

Your Mission

Acquire a bus, then fend off rivals and former allies. Let your line grow strong. Collect fares, assist with their problems. Track down the highwayman Dick Turnstyle, whose fare-dodging exploits are legendary. Seek the source of the Plague of Scooters.

Explore the tunnels of the Subway, which (in an ill-advised pre-apocalyptic franchise experiment) also connects to the ruins of identical sandwich shops found every few blocks.

Locate the fabled Bus Depot, which lurks at the End of the Line, where all service shall cease, and all lines terminate.

What is this that roareth thus?
Can it be a Motor Bus?
Yes, the smell and hideous hum
Indicat Motorem Bum!
in the Corn and High
Terror me Motoris Bi:
Bo Motori clamitabo
Ne Motore caedar a Bo—

Dative be or Ablative
So thou only let us live:—
Whither shall thy victims flee?
Spare us, spare us, Motor Be!
Thus I sang; and still anigh
Came in hordes Motores Bi,
Et complebat omne forum
Copia Motorum Borum.

How shall wretches live like us
Cincti Bis Motoribus?
Domine, defende nos
Contra hos Motores Bos!

Alfred Godley


  1. I feel like such a shill to do this but I actually have two things I've produced recently which I genuinely think could go well with this.

    I recently posted about "Four-Dimensional Hexcrawling" where I outline a "moment" dimension which could be really good for modeling the bus routes as essentially moving keys on a hex map:

    Also, the Court of Hell example I include in my recent game Maximum Recursion Depth is somewhat like this idea except modeled loosely off of New York's MTA subway system rather than buses:


  2. I am going to turn this into a ItO hack or die trying!

    1. Well? Did you die trying or manage it? Inquiring minds want to know (and/or mourn).

  3. This reminds me of the 1970s horror movie Death Line (aka Raw Meat), about cannibal troglodytes hiding in the London Underground. Mind the gap!

  4. This is ridiculous.
    I love it.

  5. What Luka starteth, sleep deprivation shall taketh all the way!