Concept: Rōnin of the toxic wasteland
This is one of my favorite concepts to date. I really want to take a stab at this myself, and will probably do so in a future Forgotten Tale.
For some reason in the near future (disease, war, alien invasion, asteroids - hehe), humanity’s infrastructure is destroyed, leaving few survivors in small pockets around the world. So far, a typical world setting for post-apocalyptic stories.
Now, imagine it fifty years after the event. A time gap where two or so whole generations have come and gone. Due to the nature of survival in this new world, there would be no-one from before the event, and probably few, if any, of that first generation.
The world has moved on. Survival, while still a major concern, is no longer the only concern. Local communities would have stabilized. Only ruins, fragments (books and other written material), and tales from the time before. It is possible that some electronic devices are still in use. Someone could rig a power source (water wheel, surviving solar panel, bike operated, etc.), and using supplies from an electronics store or salvaged device, rig up adapters and modifications to get something working.
The protagonist is a “modern day” rōnin. A person who was either expelled from or had her community destroyed and now travels as a wandering “warrior”.
One of the highlights of this concept is the sheer possibilities. What has happened to the world? How have people, their culture, and society changed?
Imagine if a group of people, say slavic or asian, composed the majority of the people to survive in… New York city. How would they adapt and grow? How would the remains of a predominantly different culture effect them? How would it effect relations with other nearby pockets of humanity?
Apocalypse stories tend to focus on the immediate or right after, rarely do they deal with a few generations in where we have very tangible remains of the world before, but no-one from the world before to explain them.
Check out The Last of Us as a good source of inspiration and art.