When shopping for the apocalypse, remember one major thing: You are going to destroy whatever it is you're wearing. You're going to be in a place with fake blood and real mud, running around and fighting off zombies, raiders and other horrors of the wasteland. Keep that in mind when shopping for clothes.
Good Will, Salvation Army, or anywhere to get cheap and worn down clothing is your best bet when finding clothing to wear. These places are roulette, so check back every so often to see new things that came through if you can't find anything you wanted the first time through. If you don't want to buy anything second hand, make sure to get something you aren't going to be attached to. Like I said, it's going to get dirty. When you find what you want, make sure it fits properly and is comfortable, because you're going to be wearing it a lot.
The clothes that you purchase for game should have a sense of timeless feel to them. Avoid modern shirts, T-Shirts, and articles of clothing that have decals or silk-screening on them. Try to choose clothes based on functionality and timeless nature. Materials such as leather, cotton, denim, and wool are great for costume while modern blends and synthetic blends like polyester are not as genre appropriate.
Choose your accessories with care. Aiming for broken, distressed, or re-purposed materials is far superior than taking accessories at face value. Perhaps taking the delicate spoon and bending it into a ring, or a necklace piece, would provide a better costume piece than the large chunk of fake jewelry in the case. Using belts as accessories to keep your jacket together is far superior in genre than finding a piece with working zippers.
When choosing a piece of clothing follow these general guidelines:
- Buttons and belts are better than zippers or Velcro.
- The brighter the color, the less likely you could make it.
- Decals and logos are either gone or damn near ruined.
- If your not a Pure Blood, put the fist fulls of jewelry down.
- If you are a Pure Blood, always grab another fist full of jewelry and use it in ways not intended.
Next thing to do is distress. Make the clothing look as though it survived the apocalypse. Rip a few holes in it and stitch some of them up, heck, just undo all the stitching and redo it all if you want a genuine dystopian look to it! But two pieces of clothing that are meant to cover the same portion of your body, cut the two apart, and stitch a working outfit together based on which pieces work best. Add coffee, tea, or fake blood to discolor or stain your clothes. Get some paint on it, rub it in the dirt, sand blast it if you even want to! You want to make sure your clothing looks the worst so you can look your best.
Make sure that you find clothing that makes you feel like your character. When you put your clothing on you should be able to look at yourself and see the imagine you think of when you think of your character. If you feel like it's not enough, just add things as you go. Layers, accessories picked up over time, and character costume details grow with your character. Maybe you find a hat you think your character would like or a different shirt (or piece of shirt) that would look good. The more you add, the more your character evolves.
Next you should add bags. Canvas, burlap, denim, or other forms of rugged shoulder and hip bags are going to be needed for hauling your scrap and herb. In a society where at times you need to take a few days worth of dried food with you at a time, make sure you have someplace to toss the materials that you would carry with you.
Lastly, think in layers. Adding scarves, bits of fabric, and layers allows a survivor to adjust their clothing based on the needs and weather conditions they are going into. An old scratched set of goggles on your forehead, a bit of fabric to cover your mouth, or a hat to keep the sun out of your eyes are all key components in nailing that dystopian ascetic.
Armor design for physical representation follows a certain set of guidelines:
If you are making 'starter armor' (armor you get for free with a new character) you will want to make a very basic set of armor for your first piece. Often times characters have armor crafted in game to produce better valued armor item cards. Better valued armor requires more coverage, and with that, you will want to leave yourself the leeway to add and improve your armor physical representation to match your newly in-game crafted armor.
Starter armor is gauged on the following scale:
1-10 points of armor provided for total body coverage.
Points break down as full torso coverage providing 4 points, both arms providing 2 points, both legs providing 2 points, and head providing 2 points.
1-10 points of armor provided for materials used for armor.
Points break down as 1-3 points for leathers, 4-6 points for leathers with genre appropriate plastics reinforcing, 7-9 given for battered metal reinforced cloth and leather, 10 given to combinations of mostly metals.
1-10 points of armor provided for genre appropriate nature of armor.
Points break down as 1-2 points given if it looks like it was taken straight off the shelf or purchased at a ren fair, 3-4 points if it looks like it was hand made and/or incorporates cold war era components, 5-6 if the armor is armor appropriate materials re-purposed as workable armor ( items that would stop a bullet), 7-10 if the materials are hand made from re-purposed materials that look like they jumped off the pages of the Dystopia Rising Table Top Books.
If you have non-starter armor, or armor that has been crafted in game, your physical representation of that armor should be 10% body coverage for every 10 points of armor provided. If you are wearing armor that provides 30 points of armor, the majority of your torso should be covered with genre appropriate armor physical representation. If you are wearing 50 points of armor, your torso and arms or legs should be covered. If you are wearing 75 points of armor, your torso and all of your limbs should be armored. If you are wearing 100+ points of armor you should have your torso, your limbs, your head, your throat, and your hands covered at minimum.