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What would you want to see...


...in a reconstruction guide for an area? The biggest towns, of course, and a general listing of what's in the area. But what sort of specifics would you want?
What would I want to see?

Descriptions of how things have changed since before the war. Descriptions of what wrecked the area. Descriptions of how things are recovering, lasting changes, and who the new power players in the area are and some broad idea (don't go detailed, just impedes the ref's freedoms if you go too far) of the power/capability/assets/manpower of any of the 'power groups' in the area.

Also a chapter on campaign hooks might be nice.
I agree with almost all of what Kaladorn is saying, except for bit about not getting too detailed. I want details on the power groups, things like weapons, numbers, that sort of thing. I think it's a lot easier to alter something that's there as opposed to building it from the ground up. If the details aren't there, what's the point in buying some sort of reconstruction guide? I'd be better off just making up the details on my own, otherwise.
I don't mind a general indication. I just find when you get minutely detailed, you do sort of mentally constrain the Ref. Yes, he *can* change things, but for a lot of us, if it is written, it implies that it has been thought out. To change that seems like it might be a bad idea (sometimes a really bad idea). Whereas if the description is more vague, you feel you have more of a canvas to work on and later work won't depend on an interpretation that differs from yours.

Remember, if the formal book said "X has an AT gun" and you removed that, but then the next supplement that comes out sort of revolves around that in some way (there are less trivial examples), then you've got to fix that too.

Better to just have a description like

"The Hell's Angels control Red Deer. They are about 1300 strong, and over half of them have salvaged motorcycles. About one third are combat veterans returned from Europe, another third are some pretty hardened criminals,and the remaining third are new pledges. Armament tends to be mostly weapons scavenged from private collections and caches along with some weapons salvaged from overrun police departments. This variety includes a good proportion of M16s, AR15s, M4s, C7s, C8s, AK47 and AK74s, and a few Galils and G3s. Most of the Angel's carry a long arm, though some small percentage may prefer an SMG (UZI, MAC-10, HK MP-5) or a shotgun (usually a pump, but a few sawed off double barrel room brooms can be found as well). They have a fair supply of home made explosive devices made primarily from plastique or dynamite. They have some improvised grenades and mines. Most of them do not possess or wear body armour, though some of the leadership have low profile vests under their leathers."

That description doesn't say how many M16s they have, or if they have a few M249s, or if they might not have a LAW, or if ammo is short supply, or there are weapons maintenance issues - all of these things can be written in by a GM while leaving the substance roughly the same. That's what I'm talking about by limited detail - don't tell me how many rounds everyone is carrying, name every weapon, etc.

And the point in buying the guide is to get a median level of detail and an overall picture of how things got together (or not) in an area and who the power groups are. To get some ideas and to give you a setting detailed enough to easily run but not so detailed as to be overly limiting.
Like I said before, Kaladorn, I agree with almost all of what you said. Including what you said about having a high level of detail. In fact, the problem you describe (about having a hard time playing around with things when there was a high level of detail) is one I used to have (and still do to an extent) quite often. Your description of the level of detail is about what I'd be looking for, too.

I guess what I was really saying (now that I have a better idea of what you meant by broad and detailed), was that I'd like for a small increase in the level of detail in certain areas. Kit lists for military units, for example. In the 2.0 book, all that was listed was tank strength with an accompanying very small blurb that covered all units generally. What I'd like to see is a more detailed breakdown, so that the numbers of tanks, APCs, guns, etc was included and some sort of detail on deployment areas of specific units that gives a slightly clearer picture than the info found in the section on Poland (which was quite good).
PBI, I'm with you on detail for personal equipment. That's what makes the character live. Most people don't know the details of how to assemble LBE, how to setup a cooker, etc, all the kinds of stuff their characters know. Some good descriptions and pictures of the gear could really flesh that out. And at least notionally accurate kit lists by nationality are a big step too.

I only have 1.0 as a referent (well, I own 2.0 but don't know it off by heart), but Escape from Kalisz (the intro adventure) was very well written out and detailed in terms of the battle prior to the start of the game and the troop strengths, etc. You *did* need to map out each stage of the battle to come to understand the way it was fought, so a watersoluble marker and some acetate helped a lot. But the detail was good.

I think one of the problems with giving too much detail about a given area in terms of enemy deployments is this: Events in the particular TwU could start to make these look ill-thought out. If the characters have been laying waste to all the bandits to the west of this area, then it would make sense that bandits have fled into it and there were more forces as part of this regions bandit overlords, etc. I can't quite describe this the way I want to, but essentially I'm arguing that some amount of detail is going to be situtionally determined and going below that level means writing stuff that may immediately be useless when the campaign area is used.

Kit, equipment, career, contacts.... detail these a lot, yes. They help make the character a real person.

When it comes to detailing enemy forces, give a decent indicator of strength and experience and logistics/equipment, and then maybe some 'objectives' or 'plans' for those groups. Taking my prior example:

"The Hell's Angels in Red Deer are well supplied. They've got a large surplus of grain extorted as part of an organized protection racket from local farmers. They prevent smaller bandit bands from praying on their tennants, ruthlessly. If anyone moves into the area and looks like a threat to the farmers, they'll get enough force together to kill them, chase them off, or break them and have them join up. If they look like they'll have assets to contribute, they'll arrange for the contribution to happen. Their goal is to maintain a stable base of operations and essentially be a defacto non-interfering government in the Red Deer region. At some point, they hope to push into the ruins of Edmonton on recovery operations and push down towards the ruins of Calgary to expand their power. They plan to expand slowly, so as to eat up smaller bandit groups in manageable chunks and so as to install farmer on any arable land. Oddly, they have introduced into their zone of control more safety and security than has been seen in most of this region for a long time. Their taxes are in the form of crops, livestock, petrochemicals, and the occasional farmer's daughter. Not perfect overlords, but the paperwork they require is minimal as is the bureaucracy. "

This kind of thing outlines what they are up to, what their plans are, how they will deal with comptetition, their likely reaction to wealthy (lots of kit) PCs or NPC groups passing through the area, etc. From that, it should be simple to fit deployments to the situation. The entry could talk about how they patrol, what a typical patrol might look like, how quickly they can summon help, communication methods, etc. And of course about how content the local farmers are, but detailing them might be detailing another whole power group...

So, I think I see what you are after - you want to have a solid feel for the area, for the people in it. I just want it to be presented in a way that you understand why they are doing what they are doing now, what they are likely to do and why, and I think this then dictates largely the "how" or "how many" aspects of that.
Great ideas - I had thought of some of that, but I see where I should add a few things.

And why is it just Canadians on this thread - do we have rebuilding as an inner imperative?

It's appropriate, though, as I'm working on an area in Canada. So I don't expect a large number of AKs to surface, mostly C7s and C9s, M16s, and civilian weapons. [Obviously foreign troops would have their own national equipment.]

In the book they have Sterlings in the kit list [which I understand is a bit of a giggle for front-line troops] but a friend who was in the reserves said that they probably still had some tucked away somewhere - I was thinking that the militias would get some.

Does anyone know when Canada got the Coyote scout vehicles? I was thinking that all of the Leopard tanks would be in Europe [mostly blown up] but there might be a few Coyotes here.
I would like to see more stuff on salvage and materials processing with an eye towards community rebuilding. My campaigns, as well as my players like 'treasure hunts', with all kinds of crunchy tables with tooling, machnery, power equipment, and how to use things like smelters and mills. Political situations and interpersonal sill use plays a big part also. The main problem with the most of the tables now, as in other 'post apocolypse' type games, is apparently the world is crammed with the equivalent of an armored division's entire inventory of vehicles, weaponry, and gear about every 10 square miles or so, it seems, which won't be the case in reality.

Military weaponry will be a lot rarer than is the standard in most of these games, and vehicles a lot more rare, and even then most will be useless crap. A civilian truck is more valuable than a duece and half; only nations with money to burn operate the kind of vehicles the West operates.

In my limited personal experience in the military as well as an aid worker in disaster areas, the amount of looting and gang activity is also greatly overrated; cooperation between people and towns is usually greatly increased and high priority. While there are 'roaming well armed gangs' in some areas, there is only a brief period in the aftermath before they are either destroyed or break up and run off, and never a permanent condition, except in areas where it is purposely caused by outside governments.

People as a group will tend to pull together to a remarkable degree, not isolate themselves and start wiping out strangers every time one pops up, so rules that take this into account when designing campaigns would be useful. With such a huge decline in population, this will be an even greater tendency.

yes, it's very dull for those that just like games where they can cut loose with all sorts of weaponry, but those tend to be very short campaigns, so an eye toward long term rebuilding, and after a few years of consolidation and reaching a certain 'comfort level' in your areas, then you can escalate into grander political conflicts as a background for shoot em ups, but it shouldn't be because every town in the entire North American continent has 20+ tanks and dozens of armored cars they 'salvaged', along with thousands of kilos of explosives and thousnads of mil spec weapons.

In short, I would like intelligent backgrounds, not an unrealistic world full of fortress towns surrounded by howling hordes of morons. I also like lots of crunchy stuff that saves me work; I can read novels or make my own tables a lot cheaper than buying gamebooks, and unless there is lots of crunchy stuff that saves me work it's not worth $20-$40 to buy a source book filled mostly with editorials and 'color' which I can do myself for free.

I wish I'd have saved a link for a page I downloaded that gives a n example for all that meandering stuff I typed but I can't find it now, so maybe later.
I am glad to hear that, in your experience, not everything devolves into roving gangs of looters everywhere.

A friend and I were banging out some ideas, and that was one thing that we had come up with - the tendancy of people to pull together. About the only first-hand experience we had had with that sort of thing was the Red River flood of spring 1997 - flood levels highest recorded since 1880s [or earlier, not sure now]. Most of the towns in southern Manitoba had ring dikes, so they were literal islands in a shallow lake. Winnipeg was worried about learning to tread water. But while towns were evacuated, tens of thousands of volunteers helped sandbag - units of the army were called in to help. There were a few people arrested for looting, but it was only a handful - and compared to the tens of thousands setting up sandbag dikes, it was a drop in the bucket.

Of course, this is all in an intact society, not a post-apocalyptic T2K world, but it does bode well as far as I'm concerned.

I'm working on an area of Canada, so the megatonnes of military gear isn't here for the taking like it was in the old Poland campaign sourcebooks. And I've listed some of the notable industries that salvage operations would look at, but I can't list all of them, since I'm including a major city. I do have links to the local Chambers of Commerce, so if people are so inclined they can see who the Chamber members are - give them an idea of what sort of stuff is available.
As so much of T2000 seems to be a dystopia. What about some places different forms of utopia are being tried out?
Now there's a word you don't hear in connection with T2K much - 'utopia'.

What would you suggest? What forms and where?
Well, I agree that is why it could be placed on the map. A couple utopias and hope others can add to the list...

An ecotopia in the North West where nuke strikes were limited and there is a tradition of worker coops in the forestry industry. Mondragon with an ecological bent.

Austrovenia reinvent a pluralistic central European state which becomes what the Czechs were toying with before the end of the Dual Monarchy...the United States of Central Europe.

In the depths of Africa above the Southern Africa/Azania destruction a new multiracial democracy comes into being linking a thousand villages via wireless and is attempting to launch from the ECC/EU's rocket base satellites to expand a network across africa.

Ireland uniting and giving up on sectarian violence to act as peacekeepers in the French Peace which is slowly coming into being.

Iceland engaged in emergency relief for first the Scandavian Union and the Baltics before becoming a base for foundations like Medicins sans Frontiers.

A third Cuban revolution inspired by the ideas of Che and begins to experiment in a different economy which begins to gain influence and stabilizes parts of Latin America.
I like the idea of a utopia and have a story surrounding one for the source book. Always nice to have a quiet, calm and gentle environment in a hostile and war torn world.

Update: I am finally seeing a light at the end of the writing tunnel with the source book. But just as things having been moving along nicely I get hospitalized, start school and need to return my daughter to school. Meanwhile my son-in-law ends up in one of the major hot spots in Iraq and ends up having to drag a curious General out of harms way. And that was all last week. Sigh...Almost there folks.

This is a good thread. Good ideas and comments. Thanks.
One of the attractions of RPGs for me has always been the little tidbits of obscure (obscure for me, anyways) knowledge and history I could pick up.

This was the days before the Internet and well stocked libraries, so naturally I lean toward preferring sourcebooks that I can learn new stuff from, and I think this is true for lots of RPG'ers, otherwise nobody would play RPG's with such great graphical game interfaces available for computers. RPG's have to offer something different, and for me it's always been learning new stuff.
Kaladorn, thanks for reminding me about the Kalisz scenario. I had the chance to read through 1.0 and afterwords I was left wondering why Kalisz wasn't included in 2.0. If the new book is going to have some sort of suggested starting campaign (like the older versions), then I'd like to see some sort of Kalisz-like scenario included as well, as opposed to how 2.0 did things.

Maynard, yeah, I see what you're saying about a permanent state of chaos. The temporary kind (and temporary can mean several years) can't be excluded from the game, though, and it wouldn't be a simple game mechanic. There's historical precedent for periods of disorder similar to those in the original books. One decision I see that needs to be made is how devestated will the world be? If it's devestated to such an extent that society essentially breaks down, then drawing on recent historical experience won't be terribly useful, and we should look to the period after the fall of Rome and before the rise of fuedalism as a model that better suits how society might come back together. By that, I don't mean an actual feudal structure or technology loss, but rather a sort of societal progress through the hierarchy of needs. Looking at the intial stages of the development of what would eventually become the feudal system of government, I see striking parallels to the feel of a T2K world. No, strangers weren't shot on sight, but they were held in suspicion. And yes, people did band together eventually, once the difficulties facing them locally grew to outweigh the very real dangers of travel between communities. There were marauders and raiders that made life difficult, there were even minor wars (any sort of organized government will eventually lead to political wrangling), and disputes over access to raw materials.

I agree that people tend to pull together eventually, particularly locally, but history shows us that such harmony doesn't last. I can see a lot of minor wars, raiding and the like taking place between regions in a T2K world until things begin to get better re-established. Remember, traditionally, T2K has been taking palce in the immediate aftermath (or at least starting then), so more disorder to start seems fine. As for continuing the disorder, well, that might depend a good deal on how well nature is behaving. If all people have to contend with is each other and adapting to the new rules of society, fine, but if they suddenly find themselves in a situation where there's natural disaster after disaster, that'd go a long way to dragging out the recovery.
If you want modern day chaos, I might suggest places like Somalia of the period just prior to, during, and post American intervention. Or some parts of the former Yugoslavia while various forces ethnically cleansed one another. For every hopeful story like Earth quake relief or tsunami relief or the far milder flooding at Winterpeg or the the Ice Storm that hit Ontario and Quebec, there could equally well be a story like Rwanda, like Somalia, like the former Yugoslavia, like other parts of Africa or some of the shenanigans going on in the Rim Pac areas.

Don't get me wrong: Things stabilize. I just read something from a US officer back from part of Iraq. He indicated a massive drop in insurgent activity in the sector he was responsible for - and what did he attribute that to? Getting the water back running, the power back on, and civilization functioning again. Suddenly a lot of insurgents vanished back into normal day to day lives (suggested interpretation: People who have no power, no water, no lives can get quite annoyed).

I think if you want to find small places to stick minor 'utopias', though I'd simply prefer enclaves of sanity in a larger insanity, places like some of the BC Islands would be okay. Some of them have hemp sandal wearing commune types there already. They've got this organic thing down.

No matter where you were to place such a thing, it should be a place that is naturally bountiful and defensible.

Nice places sometimes end up a shambles. Someone who saw Khabul before the Soviet invasion and after (I've listened to them talk) would have very different impressions. Someone who visited Beirut in 1966 vs. 1976 would have very different impressions. Civilization and Barbarity are two ends of our human continuum, and we osciallate between them. Sometimes we are near the middle, maybe even a lot of the time. But we sometimes spend 10 or 20 years or longer at one extreme, in a particular area.

Re: Sterlings - Gone. Probably stored somewhere, but officially phased out before 2000. I think so probably was the FN (though their may be cadet units with FNs?). And the Parker Hale, possibly, but I'm not sure. Certainly C7, C8, Browning HP (maybe Glock for JTF2? but they probably can get MP5 as well), C6, and C9 covers the conventional weapons list. I think the Coyote is just coming into being around 2000-2001. LAVs, OTOH, in the form taken by the Bison, have probably been around for a while. Certainly their predecessors, Cougars and Grizzlies, were. The jeep would be our good old (argh) Bombardier Iltis. We're pretty much done with tanks - we've sold off second hand turrets to the Australians. Probably still have some around, but don't expect to see them deployed.

How much military firepower is there in North America? Answer: A lot. Compared to how much is exported, not a big chunk, since we tend to preposition our assets (well, by 'we' I mean the USA). But even so, there are a fair number of APCs, a lot of air assets (B2s, B52s), a fair number of helicopters, and anything sort of developmental. I'm not sure where the artillery spends most of its time, I'd guess forward deployed. But since fighters can now stage easily out of the US to bases elsewhere and larger planes can launch round the world strikes from US bases, the point of having ones assets exposed is lesser.

If Canada was going to hell in a handbasket, a lot of folks in the big cities would have a tough time. But most farmers have one or several long arms tucked away. Some have twenty or thirty guns. Now, most aren't assault rifles, but many are .303, .308, etc. (or shotguns). As a very ugly situation recently in Alberta demonstrated, one semi-automatic HK rifle felled 4 RCMP officers in very short order. And Canada's PDs and reserve units have fairly significant stockpiles of small arms. Where would we come up short? Artillery. Armour (other than maybe APCs), ammo for heavier weapons (even mortars and HMGs, and ATGMs). Air support. Air transport. Rifles we have, many of the other things may end up being harder to get.

Go into the USA - They have NG units more heavily equiped than the Canadian Army (Abrams, F16s, etc). They have NG units with good levels of organic air assets, even if they are older Hueys and such. They have a *lot* of gun owners, especially in some really pro-gun states and in some rural areas. And down there, in some spots, a gun owner can own a machine-gun! (still, though getting a new one is pretty hard I believe). I wouldn't be surprised if a number of folks have caches in their back 40 with heavier weapon or lots of ammo. And they have a fair number of military vehicles, even some PDs have armoured vehicles and air assets.

I guess what I'm saying is that if social order breaks down in north america, local groups have both a better arsenal to protect themselves with and a greater threat from organized brigands with heavy firepower. Canada has a little less of it than the USA, but I wouldn't want to live in downtown Toronto with the world coming apart around me - I think I'd rather be in Northern Ontario... it'd be safer.
Originally posted by Jon Crocker:
In the book they have Sterlings in the kit list [which I understand is a bit of a giggle for front-line troops] but a friend who was in the reserves said that they probably still had some tucked away somewhere - I was thinking that the militias would get some.
Phased out. Probably still some around, but we've probably chopped up or sold off to some third world country the unused ones. Now, when I was enlisting, way back in 1987, the front line (reserve) combat unit I was looking at being a part of (SALH) was an armoured recce unit, and the C1 SMG (Sterling) was very popular. Now, this was probably before the C8 really appeared to speak of, it was just much prefered to the FN. But the SALH had a job profile which was 'spot them, call artillery' as opposed to engaging the opposition directly (unless it was with the venerable 105mm RR, just being phased out).
Here's a question. The rules say 'Sterlings available', but would it be better to
A. just let history overtake that, or
B. come up with a rationale to make Sterlings available again?

I'm assuming that since it's a WW2 era weapon that its manufacture would not be as difficult as a C7, and it could have been re-introduced as a locally produced weapon should high-tech parts from X no longer become available. [I was checking out the DND page, and they give good descriptions of current equipment but usually not where it was made.] Range is less, but when you're facing down a bandit gang, Sterlings are better than nothing.

Or, would there be enough stored gear to keep units more-or-less equipped? There shouldn't be huge mountains of supply crates, but enough to keep a few thousand troops in personal weapons might be possible.
I did some temp duty at a storage facility in Utah. There was one huge warehouse that held nothing but Thompson .45 SMGs and Lee Enfield Rifles. 1000s of crated weapons still in the grease paper and never issued.

I don’t know but I would guess Canada has similar caches of old production weapons out there. The Sterling was a widely produced weapon, like the Thompson. With the world coming apart and the military being stretched to a breaking point, someone is going to break out those old lots of weapons.

Just for grins lets say the Sterling’s were stock piled in 1990. By 1997, and after the first round of nukes fell, Canada, and the U.S. and everyone else I suppose, would want to get a new local law enforcement or military arm up and running. Production shortages prohibit arming them with modern weapons, so out pop the sterling’s and Thompson’s. Locally, they become pretty common.

Just thoughts.
That's pretty much what I would have guessed, but it's always good to get first-hand confirmation.

That means the Sterlings can stay; since the Canada: 2000 article in Challenge #30 said that the Alberta government traded fuel to MilGov in return for arms, we can safely add some Thompsons as well. I don't think Lee Enfields were in the rules, but I can look those up too.