The RPG Consortium Free Form Roleplaying Forums Archives
Forums > RP Ideas Interest Query > Post ELE Rp

04/12/2006 4:01 AM

The idea sort of grew out of a short story I wrote. I was thinking post-apocalyptic, but did not want there to have been a nuclear war. So I started thinking, and the most obvious thing, next to nuclear war, that could decimate human civilization would be an Extinction Level Event such as a meteor impact or a supervolcano. I wanted it to be set in North America, so that ruled out supervolcano, because Yellowstone is the most likely site for such an event. I also wanted their to be no nukes left laying around and very limited petroleum. So I wrote that the world launched its entire nuclear arsenal in a failed attempt at stopping the meteor, which ended up hitting the Middle East. The resulting tidal waves decimated coastal cities worldwide, and the ensuing ice age has made most of those cities landlocked anyway.

After writing the story, I thought it would be cool to rp in the setting. It would take place about a century after the strike, in what is left of the US, in sort of a modern western setting. Some semblance of the US still remains thanks to the efforts of a small number of now-legendary philanthropists who pooled their resources prior to the strike to stockpile food, evacuate coastal cities, and try to keep as many people alive as possible. They also managed, after the strike, to breed a very hardy grain that had a better chance of surviving the harsh conditions. Their organizations did, anyway. Canada survived to some extent as well, but temperatures worldwide are dropping and the glaciers are advancing and making things bothersome up there. The northernmost states are getting a little chilly as well. Mexico has fallen into anarchy and is controlled by warlords who fight over the oil fields. The Alaskan oil fields have been made unusable by the dropping temperatures and the glaciers. The Texas oil fields, and slowly rebuilding offshore drilling, supplies what little petroleum the US has. Long-distance travel is mostly by train, because the US does have coal. In my original idea Utah had formed a theocracy under a new prophet who claimed to be the successor to Brigham Young, but I don't really know about that anymore.

The fate of the rest of the world is largely unkown. The ash thrown into the atmosphere by the impact made communications patchy at best, though as it settles they will get better. Weather patterns became unpredictable, and that combined with a dearth of fuel put a stop to air travel. Most ships capable of making ocean crossings were disabled in the tsunamis caused by the impact, and the receding oceans made the surviving drydocks inaccessible to repair them. So the North American continent is fairly isolated.

My main problem here is that though I have a setting, I do not have anything to do in it. No quest, if you will. I have a few hazy ideas, one of which is some over-ambitious rich fellow/organization trying to destabilize the weak government and take power, but it is very hazy, and I do not really like it.

So, interest or suggestions?

04/12/2006 8:17 PM

It's interesting that you post this idea, since I had a very similar idea; however, in my scenario, there's no dramatic cataclysmic event. Instead, the world (simply) runs out of oil, and economies collapse, which leaves a very fractured world.

My setting would focus on the Pacific Northwest area of the former United States. Technology has taken a nose-dive, and people have had to simplify their lives incredibly. In some areas, communities have taken root, while others are abandoned and growing wild. Cities are not desirable places to be, as infrastructure is continually decaying; therefore, most people have banded together in small communities, some of which are influenced heavily by pre-colonization indigenous cultures (Indians, folks; we're talkin' tribes!). To be clear: centralized government is no more; what is left are many small communities and tribes that work cooperatively (for the most part) to guarantee that everyone has the necessities to live.

I am planning on starting with a small version of this in the training area. Like you hinted at, there is no large-scale conflict, as people are trying to survive. Rather than war and competition, most people are engaged in cooperation. Any conflict that arises will tend to have more to do with seasonal, natural events, or wild animals.

The training area scenario that I have in mind will begin with a small house surrounded by gardens, wetlands, hills, and a certain cave. I would plan on expanding this area to be a small community, but this is where I plan to start.

One nice feature of this system, I think, is that we will develop diverse cultures as well as individual characters. Ambitious, I know, but I'm allowing my imagination to play a little. Also, there will be a very real, very personal kind of 'earth' magic that characters will be able to tap into.

Those are my ideas, so I'm wondering if they could jive with what you are planning. I think that I will want to develop the training area first as I've described it above, but if you think that our separate (but very similar) ideas could be integrated into something, let me know. Perhaps the slightly different worlds that we are envisioning could be modified enough to mesh into something interesting--I think so.


04/12/2006 10:31 PM

You're idea sounds pretty cool, but it seems to me there are some differences in our intent. It sounds to me like you do not want a conflict, whereas I sort of do....I was lamenting the fact that I do not have a decent idea for one. An rp with no conflict could be interesting, though. I will probably check out your thread when you post it. I can't think of much but differences in our settings right now. Maybe I am just tired...anyway, here is some further clarification of what I was thinking.

In the short story I hinted at the bottleneck caused by massive population dieoff had caused some folks to begin developing telekinesis and the like (some anthropoligists theorize that a supervolcano-induced bottleneck caused the developement of modern levels of intelligence in homo sapiens) , and the conflict was between the remnants of the US (the good guys) and the descendants of the nazi-esque survivalists that are the vast minority now, but once people started starving after the ash decimated harvests had more supplies and guns than everyone around them and so became a majority. Both wanted those with abilities, and the main character was such a person. My main character was....pretty overpowered. The story was not all that great, which is why I modified the setting into what I posted.

I had not thought that tech would take a nosedive in my setting: people still have the knowledge, just most people do not have the time to construct it, and most of the good powerful folks are concentrating their efforts in agricultural technology to try to prevent even the greater population dieoff that they anticipate will come with the ice age. Military tech is still around, because the US kept record of where their stuff was, but it cannot be used often because of fuel limitations. The only folks who would be developing new weapons and the like would be possible villians, or entrpreneurs who supply weapons for a public that wants to defend itself against the lawlessness. Like I said, sort of a wild west setting. Not much law, very few automobiles, lots of folks armed.

The idea of a resurgence of tribalism and small communities could easily be incorporated into mine though. The dearth of petroleum would make agriculture far more labor-intensive, which would require more spread out, small communities. So that aspect could be put in rather easily. That's all I got for now.

04/13/2006 8:38 PM

I think we could mesh our separate, original ideas with some tweaking. But, you are certainly right, there are differences as they stand now, and I think that that's a good thing. Combining them might be an interesting experiement. One of my stray thoughts today was about the "no centralized governement" element of the setting that I propose, and I wondered, is that likely? One thought was that some form of the centralized US Government would remain, but without the US econonmy, resources, technology, and widespread media like television and computers, its power and scope would be greatly diminished. A logical outgrowth of that is that there would be a small remnant of the federal government that radiates from Washington DC. A passing thought right now is that there could be other pockets of the former nation as well, maybe what remains of New York City, and perhaps some militaristic splinter group out of Crawford, Texas. ;)

One possible plot that could develop in the world I am imagining is between these centralized, militaristic pockets and the more pastoral and tribal communities. Here, I see a similarity with your idea of a conflict between your remnant groups and the nazi-esque survivalists. It seems like my setting does tend to be less dramatic and conflict-oriented than the one you are imagining, though, when we begin to contrast them.

A note about the technological decline in the setting I propose: without fossil fuels, many of the conveniences we take for granted--electricity, running water, telephones, etc--would be virtually offline and non-existent. These things depend on petroleum to run as well; the only way for them to still be available in a fossil-fuel depleted world would be if, sometime before fuel ran out, society put a lot of the remaning energy into developing alternative power sources like solar cell arrays, biodeisel, hydroelectricity, or others. Wind power and water power would certainly be options for after oil runs out, but without a large-scale switch-over, any wind or water power would be small-scale.

I think you hit the nail on the head with the labor-intensive, small-scale agriculture. This would be a crucial part of the setting that I am thinking of.

Those are some more of my thoughts for my setting.

[Edited by ByDaylight on Thursday, April 13, 2006 8:41 PM]

04/13/2006 9:50 PM

I realize that without elecricity that tech would be impossible. I just have trouble with the concept that noone would manage to replace fossil fuels in power generation. I think that there is enough demand for electricity that some form, whether it be what you mentioned or nuclear power, would be brought in to replace fossil fuels in power generation. It is fiction, I know, but it seems illogical to me that no supply would rise to meet the demand. For engines, that is another story. Gasoline can be made from coal, though it is inefficient. I think biodiesel is a viable fuel though....so do these folks- http://journeytoforever.org/biodiesel_make.html#1mixing

Anyway, on combining them. A thought I had when posting last time but that I did not put in was that the US could be a villian. You said Indians, I thought manifest destiny. Steam locomotives, guns, and horses conquered the continent once before, and that would fit in with my concept of the world as a sort of wild west, and with yours of low tech. Still, I do not think that technology would decline everywhere, just in those areas without power. Areas around nuclear, hydroelectric, tidal, geothermal, solar, and wind power plants would not experience the same loss of technology as would occur elsewhere. The population woudl have to decrease, though....thinkers need food too, and electricity is not going to power combines and harvesters. For a low-tech society to survive, because I think that technology would spread from these places, they would have to have advantages. You mentioned an earth-magic; I have always been a fan of the tech vs. magic, and though I was thinking more along the lines of a scifi setting (as in no magic), I suppose I could compromise. Just an idea though.

Sorry if anything is disjointed. I keep thinking of stuff an putting it in....so any original organization intent I has likely been lost. :)

[Edited by Benjmn on Thursday, April 13, 2006 9:53 PM]

04/17/2006 11:12 AM

Hey B,

In a world with depleted (no) oil, biodiesel would not be viable, but the striaight vegetable oil option mentioned in your link would work, given that people would be able to build the engines. In a world with limited oil, which I think is the setting you are envisioning, biodiesel would be an option, but would be very limited.

The setting I am proposing has depleted oil--no oil left. I've posted the first bits of it in the Training Ground, under the thread "Hawthorn House," if you are interested. If we want to think about merging our two visions, I think we will have to work at finding common ground between my tendency towards a low-conflict setting and your more conflict-oriented setting. This means compromise on both sides, and ending up with something in-between and new for both of us. But if you'd rather keep the lines of conflict drawn, distinct, and prominent, I'm probably not a good creative partner for that. I'm not very interested in war-type conflicts, this side against that.

04/18/2006 9:52 PM

I think we will have to work at finding common ground between my tendency towards a low-conflict setting and your more conflict-oriented setting.

That does seem to be the biggest problem.

I actually was not envisioning a war-type conflict, even in my original idea. More of a multi-sided conflict with many sides, all of who are not clearly good or evil was what I had in mind. For example, the US government would not have changed all that much from today. It would still try to keep secrets and would retain some of the "ends justifies the means" mentality that parts of it seem to have today. The different powers would help, hinder, ignore, or any combination the quest and main characters. I just had no clear idea of what character or its goal.

The RPG Consortium - http://www.rpgconsortium.com